St. Marys University Student Association Backs Down on Nintendo Toy Gun Ban on Campus

Alexandria Bennett SMUDent Gaming Society Brandishing the NES ZAPPER at St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. (Credit: KRIS SIMS/QMI AGENCY)

The St. Mary’s University Student Association (SMUSA) in Halifax, Nova Scotia has changed its position on a campus-wide ban on the old Nintendo Zapper toy gun used in the classic game “Duck Hunt,” Sun News reports.

The controversy first began when the SMUDent Gaming Society released a promotional poster that displayed the Nintendo Zapper.

The poster was determined to be unacceptable by the St. Mary’s Student Association because it showed a “gun” — even if it referring to an orange toy gun with a long cord coming out of it. However, after being pelted with criticism, the organization has decided to back down and allow the organization’s planned activities to proceed.

As Sun News points out, “the plastic video game controller is used with the thirty-year old Nintendo Entertainment system.”

Here’s the sinister poster released by the SMUDent Gaming Society:

St. Marys University Student Association Backs Down on Nintendo Toy Gun Ban on Campus

(source: smujournal.ca)

“I was very surprised, they are older people, they grew up with this, it’s an iconic image that they should have seen throughout their households, their friends’ households, even arcades have them,” said Alexandria Bennet, a spokeswoman for the SMUDent Gaming Society.

Now SMUSA is saying the poster ban was just a misunderstanding. This was after they cancelled an interview with Sun News to talk about the issue.

“The poster I have seen on recent media was not the one displayed to us, the one that was displayed to us was pixelated, grainy and black and white, I did not recognize it at all, I might have been five years old the last time I played Duck Hunt, but it’s certainly something I would remember,” SMUSA Vice President Mike MacDonnell, Vice President said.

“If they had come to us with the one they have up right now, it would have been approved,” he added.

However, Sun News reports that MacDonnell did not have a copy of the image that he claims to have received. Further, members of the gaming club say there was only one version of the poster – the same one that has been circulating across the internet.

As a result of the “misunderstanding,” the SMUDent Gaming Society was forced to scrap their plans to host a “Duck Hunt” party on campus because the plastic toy guns with cords coming out of them were not allowed on school property. The organization was concerned they could be confused for weapons and perceived to promote “gun violence.”

“In terms of the toy guns, no, that’s not okay with our policy for our bar, we don’t want to take the fun out of anything, but just look at what has happened recently, so we want to make sure that we’re safe and everything remains tasteful and in good fun,” MacDonnell explained.

Anything that is in our bar that is promoting gun violence of any kind, we are not going to advocate for or endorse.

The student organization quickly changed its tune though.

Sun News has more details:

News of the zapper ban at student functions has provoked a flood of responses from Sun News Network Viewers and Sun paper readers.

About half an hour after giving the interview to Sun, SMUSA reversed direction, saying that Duck Hunt, complete with zappers, would be allowed at the Friday pub function after all.