A pastor in St. Louis, Missouri is emulating local Police Chief Sam Dotson in implementing a gun buyback program in his community. The only catch? It's not for actual guns, but for toy weapons children have accumulated.
Pastor Rodney Francis of the Washington Tabernacle Baptist Church says children and their parents will be able to bring fake guns, swords, and other violent toys to the church this summer, where they can trade them for something more "wholesome."
“My wife and I feel that we need to do everything we can to not allow our kids to get exposed to this too early. They’re going to get exposed to it, but we can protect them early on so they don’t get a distorted view of what those can do to the human body,” he explained to local CBS affiliate KMOX.
“We want to engage the culture of violence and one of the strategies that we thought we might be able to use is to educate parents about the danger of allowing kids to continue this access to toy guns and playing with toy guns.”
While people on both sides of the political spectrum agree that it's best to limit the amount of violent movies and video games children are exposed to, the program is likely to ruffle some feathers for conflating guns and gun violence. It seems to teach children that guns are only for violent criminals, and should be turned over to the proper authorities.
The move follows a slew of disciplinary measures across the country against children who referenced toys guns at school, made gun signs with their hands, or threw an imaginary grenade at pretend "evil forces" during recess.
Front page image courtesy of Shutterstock.
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