Many Americans have fond childhood memories of receiving a harmless toy gun, or better yet an official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle, under the Christmas tree. But it appears the Grinches in the anti-gun community won’t even permit a Christmas armistice in their culture war against firearms. In an event modeled on a gun “buyback,” on December 21, the children of Hempstead, N.Y. were asked to turn in their toy guns in exchange for a brand new toy.
According to an account from Newsday, this attempt at indoctrination was organized by Manhattan socialite Jean Shafiroff, with the assistance of the Hempstead Heights Civic Association and the participation of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall, whose city is listed as supporting Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Earlier in the month Shafiroff made the New York Post’s notorious Page Six when she held a “lavish” gift drive at her home and turned away guests who brought toy guns.
Making clear her joyless attempt to condition the children of Hempstead, Shafiroff told Newsday, “I wanted children to know toy guns are not good toys… By exchanging them for a much better gift, it shows a toy gun is not worth having.” Lamont Johnson of the Hempstead Heights Civic Association echoed Shafiroff’s sentiment, noting “We need to get away from that culture and give children appropriate toys. Hempstead is sending a message guns are not to be played with.”
Revealing that this was not an effort to simply separate children from toy guns that could tragically be mistaken for an actual firearm, Newsday reported that “[m]ost of the toy guns handed in were brightly colored.”
This is not the first time Shafiroff has held this event, nor is it at all novel. Toy gun turn-ins have been around for decades and have become part of the year-round ideological attack on harmless fun. We suspect that toy gun turn-ins are about as effective in achieving their goals as the gun turn-ins that inspire them.
Any effort to provide underprivileged children with Christmas gifts should, of course, be applauded. However, it is unfortunate that a self-absorbed few would use what should be a selfless act in order to indulge their own political prejudice.