Gun scrutiny spreads to toy shelves

Nerf guns and violent video games are targeted, but manufacturers note that they don't cause shootings in other countries.

By Jason Notte Jan 29, 2013 10:36AM
Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Caption: A man playing the newly released National Rifle The gun debate hasn't reduced stockpiles of Nerf rocket launchers or "Call of Duty" games one bit.

After the killings in Newtown, Conn., last month, the gun-control debate migrated from gun shops to toy and video game stores with a little help from the National Rifle Association. While many American parents have begun questioning the merits of toy guns on the playground, the NRA put video games in its crosshairs a week after the elementary school shooting that killed 26 people -- including 20 young students.

"There exists in this country a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells, and sows, violence against its own people," Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, said during a press conference on Dec. 21. "Through vicious, violent video games with names like Bulletstorm, Grand Theft Auto, Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse."

Don't forget Activision's (ATVI) "Call of Duty," Wayne. The most recent installment of that first-person shooter series -- "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" -- grossed $1 billion worldwide just 15 days after its Nov. 13 release and is still the second-best-selling game on the planet behind Capcom's "DMC." AdAge notes that the game's "Revolution" downloadable expansion pack, releasing Tuesday, gives players four new maps, the ability to play as zombies and a new weapon, the Peacekeeper hybrid SMG assault rifle.

Activision has refused to comment on accusations made by the NRA, which just released a shooting video game of its own, but maintains that "Call Of Duty" itself shouldn't shoulder the blame for violent incidents. As the game maker points out, “Call of Duty” is similarly popular in the United Kingdom, where the World Health Organization says there are 0.25 gun deaths per 100,000 people compared to 10 per 100,000 in the U.S. In France, where the gun death rate is only 3 per 100,000, "Call of Duty: Black Ops II" is still the most popular game in the land, according to video game tracking site VGChartz.

Hasbro (HAS), maker of Nerf guns, argued a similar point to AdAge about that toy's popularity in the U.K. Nerf products brought in roughly $410 million for Hasbro in 2011 and the company says the shooting in Newtown didn't diminish demand during the most recent holiday season.

"Nerf is all about active play and active fun. If you ask kids as young as when they're able to play, up through parents and grandparents, everyone understands that these are toys,” John Frascotti, Hasbro's chief marketing officer, told AdAge.

It also helps that the toy industry has its own set of gun-control laws on the books. Federal and state laws require toys like Nerf and water guns to be made in non-gun neon colors or at least to have an orange tip for the muzzle. Toy guns like the far more authentic Airsoft guns, meanwhile, can only be marketed to ages 14 and older and are confined to store gun departments away from toys.

More on moneyNOW

Jan 29, 2013 10:53AM
Look, all you anti-gun nuts....  Movies and video games do not cause shootings.

Criminals and Insane people, who will NEVER obey gun laws are the problem.   The drugs they give the mentally ill may contribute.  Inanimate objects don't kill people.   Cars are not responsible for drunk driving deaths.  Guns are not responsible for shootings.

PEOPLE are responsible for both.   Start hanging those that shoot someone while committing a crime.  Don't let criminals out of jail early.  Carry out death sentences within 90 days.   

Background checks and ID's keep honest people honest.  We should have the same requirements to exercise Second Amendment rights as we do for voting.

Those that propose banning guns are clearly violating the constitution.  Those that have taken an oath to uphold it are clearly traitors.

Deal with the root cause of the problem.   In the large urban areas, I'd have to say look at the what the policies of democrats has done.   Is Detroit and Chicago how you envision the future?
Segregated, welfare states, with little opportunity because high taxes has chased the productive out?   Obama is trying very hard to bring the Nation down to Chicago level standards.   Awful education, violence, and no hope?   
Jan 29, 2013 5:25PM
To all you anti gun freaks-

If wasn't for having a gun when an intruder broke into our house, there is a good chance my wife would not be here today. Calling 911 would have been useless!

Jan 29, 2013 12:27PM
People can think or say whatever they want, but it's the violent and and callous way that some in society has accepted the tools of killing and maiming to be the real source of the problems in this country. Gun control, if effective would only remove one portion of death. What's next? The knife, the axe, or anything that can be used in ending someone's life? It's easy to blame a tool in place of some in our society that are sick, mentally challenged, and selfish. We could add bullying, uncaring about our neighbor, stressed out and a whole lot of other ills that gun control wouldn't even start to change the warped view of some.. The government is trying to pass legislation that would be a solution to all of these deaths, but it's their way to temporarily calm the public, This will do nothing to be a permanent solution. Fortunately, most of our society is law abiding, and that includes legal gun owners.
Jan 29, 2013 5:18PM
when we were kids we carried guns on our hips we shot each other thousands of times this did not make us killers it gave us good times out doors playing the shows we seen on tv now moms wont leave there kids out doors they might fall and get a bo bo
Jan 29, 2013 4:06PM
     The 1st recorded U.S. school shooting was in 1770.  The next recorded shooting occurred in 1850.  The number of incidents gradually increased into the 1900s.  Many of these early shootings were committed by some rejected man who was turned down by the local marm, shot her at school and then committed suicide.  Guns were found in the majority of residences during those two centuries and the number of shootings increased at a lowly rate until the mid 20th century when school shootings became more frequent and deadly up to now when it is almost an epedemic tragedy.
     During the late 1960s and early 1970s this country transformed made serious social changes when it came to families.  The values and morals began a decline that has yet to stop even now.  Children have grown up for 45 years without learning manners, watching excessively violent movies that many try to emulate in real life, drugs are now being legalized, and to many citizens have gotten away from the Christian values and morals that guided this country since 1776.  Check the declaration, constitution and historical documents that are alluded in these writings.  We rapidly declining as a nation as a result.  Speaking of which: there is no amendment in the constitution that requires a separation of church and state.
Jan 29, 2013 5:15PM
Funny when I was growing up we all had rifles, shotguns and BB guns around the house. We had access to both the guns and bullets and I don't remember anyone except maybe a burglar getting shot. Maybe it isn't the guns it's the fact that people aren't held responsible for their actions. We were taught do the crime and do the time. I believe that if I had shot someone and my family was in the poesy and they cornered my, they would have fired the first shot if I resisted.
Jan 29, 2013 8:09PM

PS: Never in the history of the world has any government disarmed it's citizens with "their" best interests in mind.  They have an adgenda of their own which does not include "your safety""


PS:  Why do you suppose that Communist China is praising Obama for trying to destroy the second ammendment?  The Japanese avoided invasion of our country in WWII because they knew most Americans were armed and they would not be able to run rough-shod over them!

Wake up you naive people.

Jan 29, 2013 5:36PM
Anything for the libbyweeners to destract from the real problems!
Jan 29, 2013 5:27PM

The biggest loophole in all this Gun Control Talk is the lack of effective dealing with the criminal elements of this society by our so called Criminal Justice Systems.

Criminals committing violent crimes are continually being released back into society, with little or in some cases no punishment because of all the laws that have been enacted to protect their rights, at the cost of the rights of the people they victimize.

Logic would dictate that prosecution of criminals be stepped up, with more sever punishment, including execution of the most violent offenders.

Trials/punishment should be reduced to weeks if not days, instead of years, and if the death penalty should be the same, complete as soon as possible not years later, like the woman in Texas who was convicted in 1997 and her it is 2013. That is 16 years, what kind of deterrent is that There are others that have been waiting even longer.

It is the prosecution of offenders that needs to be address before banning gun, knives, toys, and violent video games and movies.

Jan 29, 2013 4:54PM
Start educating the parents with some common sense and let them set the proper example for their children.  Right.
Jan 29, 2013 5:32PM

I remember as a child my father buying me a mattel imitation colt revolver cap gun. The attention to detail was amazing. Now if a child were to walk around a neighborhood or playground with this toy he/she would be arrested or maybe shot by a police officer. Easily mistaken for the real thing.

Leave the toys alone. I have many fond memories of that toy gun and I don't plan on going to a school to shoot children. If the mother in Connecticut were still alive she would be looking a very long prison sentence for negligence. Guess that goes without saying.

Jan 29, 2013 7:03PM

The media holds a large portion of the blame for the "one-upsmanship" in mass shootings. They keep score of the dead and injured and give the killers the notoriety they could never achieve by doing something positive with their lives. We know more about the past of these killers than we do of our Commander-in-Chief. If their names were never published and their past not revealed in every detail, the glamor of their deeds would no longer be such of an incentive to try to outdo the past events.

Is it true that the past group of mass killers all have the Democratic Party in their roots?

Jan 29, 2013 6:28PM
The gun debate is progressing as it logically should.  Take away the guns from adults.  I haven't read the article, but this is the way I see it.  Then, take away the toy guns and teach children guns are bad.  They should never have a toy gun.   Then, when they grow up, they won't want a gun because they have been taught they are bad.  So, the gun problem is solved...for now.  Never tell the real reason for banning guns, real and toy.  The real reason is the government is afraid of the people and the gun debate is to protect government, not us.  Now, when a war breaks out years down the road, the military will want us to use guns but we are taught they are bad.  Enemy wins!!! Congress is afraid and they are not thinking!!!
Jan 29, 2013 8:02PM

Why is Mr. Obama and his whole administration not criticizing the extremely violent Hollywood Movie crowd and all the celebrities who support  him and his ideology and contribute money to his cause?


Only toys and video game violence affect people and make them imitate what they see?  illogical as heII.

The hoplophobic liberals and dumbocrats are afraid of anything that resembles a weapon.  If you point your finger at them they pee their pants.  The new generation is made up of hoplophobes and girly men.  I hope we don't get into a war on our soil.  Most of the people would surrender.
Jan 29, 2013 6:39PM
boy , you bitch about toy guns yet support the government in legalizing dope. Just goes to show how smart you really are.
Jan 29, 2013 8:19PM

There is nothing wrong with toy guns or anyother gun the Parents need to take control of there kids and not let other people tell them how to raise there kids meaning the GOVERMENT

Jan 29, 2013 5:01PM
The NRA was the one that pointed the finger at the media not the anti-gun people. Honestly as a citizen I have no control over anything in government the votes don't matter as the states have elected presidents over the popular vote on more than one occasion, petitions will fall on deaf ears(funny thing here is people rely on numbers to make a change but unions that also rely on numbers for changes are bad), and I don't have the money to run and make changes. Hence why I work and live my life and not worry about this garbage.  The world is full of idiots because there aren't enough hazards to rid the world of the undesirables in the first place.
Jan 29, 2013 7:41PM
What up with that, Obama didn't get to play cops and robbers when he was a KID !!
Jan 29, 2013 7:07PM
It must be 20 years ago when the loony lefties in Minneapolis bought ALL the toy guns at Target before Christmas then returned them after the holidays.  Yawn...they're making a difference!  Actually I haven't been able to find anyone that even remembers their crusade anymore...these are the same liberal public union dolts that put all the kids on drugs in the public schools and now here we opportunity for young antiquated enhanced bar for success raised by parents themselves out of touch with hope = despair and anger.
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