Painting guns to look like toys is patently dangerous

November 30, 2017
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In an era of increasing firearm foolishness – bump stocks, 30-round magazine clips and silencers –  it shouldn’t be surprising that two local entrepreneurs think it’s a good idea to paint hand guns and assault rifles to look like toys (“One-of-a-Kind Weapons,” Nov. 24).  Seriously?  The recent massacres in Las Vegas and Sutherland, Texas are still fresh in our collective consciousness, as is the memory of the Sandy Hook carnage five years ago.  And just last week, St. Louis City topped the number of homicides recorded in each of the past two years.  Now, the Post – Dispatch is legitimizing a local business engaged in such a patently dangerous practice.


Protecting a firearm’s metal finish from rust or camouflaging it with paint for use in hunting are longstanding practices.  But painting lethal weapons to “resemble toys like a Nerf gun and a Nintendo zapper” that so easily could be mistaken defies all logic.  If trained police officers have difficulty distinguishing between real and toy guns, what possible reason can there be for making their job more challenging and unnecessarily increasing the risks to our children?


Most disheartening, however, were the cavalier comments of the business’ founders.  According to one, “If you have a gun that looks like what some people call a toy, you have the obligation to be responsible.”  No, responsibility means not painting the gun to look like a toy in the first place!  Nor is tricking out a gun like “fixing up a house,” as the other partner suggested, because the consequences of misidentification are “fixed” in a mortuary.   Surely, there must be some other metal product that could benefit from their creative skills, technologically sophisticated coating process and business savvy.


The Reverend Marc D. Smith
Bishop’s Deputy for Gun Violence Prevention
Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

Published Nov. 28, 2017, St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letters to the Editor

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