A New York town held a toy gun buyback exchange event for local children, asking for their imitation firearms in exchange for a “safe alternative,” according to local media.
Officials in Hampstead, Long Island, encouraged children to turn in any toy guns they received as Christmas gifts, like water pistols and replicas, for a replacement toy like sporting goods and educational items.
“Saying no to guns is important – even toy guns,” said Hempstead Village Mayor Don Ryan earlier this month.
Another official explained that kids need to turn in their toy guns to learn that “guns are dangerous.”
“The purpose is to offer safe alternative to toy guns. We don’t want the kids playing with guns. Guns are dangerous,” Hempstead Village Trustee LaMont Johnson said.
Former Tucson, Arizona, police officer Brandon Tatum called the event an “overreaction” that “demonizes” gun ownership.
“I think that we need to teach our children about gun safety. We need to give them access to information on these topics,” he told Fox News Saturday.
“I think we need to do the right thing by teaching our children about safety with guns just like we do when children go to the swimming pool.”
“You teach them about safety, and that’s gonna curb the violence or [sic] curb the deaths that are associated to our children,” he added.