Growing concerns surrounding misuse of toy guns

21 Jun, 2024 - 00:06 0 Views
Growing concerns surrounding misuse of toy guns Inspector Chakanza

Suburban

Jeremiah Mudonha Suburban Correspondent

THE increasing apprehension surrounding the use of toy guns has sparked concerns regarding their potential for misuse in criminal activities.

The latest generation of toy guns exhibits a level of realism that closely resembles real firearms, leading to instances where these toys have been used in criminal activities, robberies and acts of intimidation.

Law enforcement officials, such as Inspector Chakanza, the Harare Provincial Police spokesperson have expressed their concerns over the potential misuse of toy guns by criminals.

He said; “The similarities between some toy guns and real pistols pose a significant risk as individuals may be caught off guard or mistake them for real firearms.”

Insp Chakanza emphasises the importance of prioritising personal safety and adds; “We should treat any firearm, whether real, toy or fake as if it were real when confronted by an armed individual. Unfortunately, Zimbabwe currently lacks specific legislation dedicated to toy guns but existing laws related to firearms and public safety can be applied to address these concerns. Under the Firearms Act (Chapter 10:09), the possession, use and discharge of firearms is strictly controlled. Although toy guns are not explicitly mentioned, if they are used in a manner that violates the provisions of this Act, individuals could face legal consequences. Additionally, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) covers a wide range of offenses and if a toy gun is employed in the commission of a crime, individuals can be charged under relevant sections of this Act.”

Residents in Harare have voiced their deep concerns over the issue, with widespread advocacy for Government to either ban toy guns or implement stricter regulations on their manufacturing and sale.

Jane Smith from Greendale said; “Toy guns that closely resemble real firearms can easily lead to dangerous situations. It’s crucial for clearer design distinctions to be in place to prevent any confusion.”

John Edward Doe from Chisipite said; “Toy manufacturers need to step up and take greater responsibility. They should ensure that the toys they produce don’t closely resemble weapons commonly used in criminal activities.”

Another concerned Harare resident, Sarah Masukume said; “It’s high time Government and the police address growing concerns surrounding toy guns. We need stricter regulations to ensure the safety of our communities. I urge them to collaborate and implement measures that restrict the availability of real looking toy guns and hold the manufacturers and traders accountable. Our children’s well-being and the overall peace of our neighborhoods are at stake and swift action is needed to address this issue.”

Masukume’s plea highlights the urgency felt by residents for proactive measures to be taken by the authorities.

In the United States, airguns are sold as toys without the need for a license or permit.

However, regulations require these toys to have bright orange barrels to distinguish them from real guns. It is important to note that even if toy guns are unregulated, engaging in unsafe or threatening behaviour with them can lead to serious legal consequences.

The concerns extend beyond the potential misuse of toy guns, as some argue that certain toy guns may promote violent behaviour in children.

Parents are encouraged to choose non-violent toys that foster positive behaviour in their children.

As the debate continues, addressing the concerns surrounding toy guns requires a comprehensive approach involving legislation, regulation and responsible manufacturing practices to ensure public safety and promote a healthy environment for children and adults alike.

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