I don't think toy guns lead to real violence. If I didn't give my kids guns, they used their fingers. I couldn't take them away! They'd use a stick or something else. I've always had a gun...neither of my kids were ever interested in it. Only once did my son go to the range with me. Just no interest in the real thing. At 33, he still has no interest. My daughter at 30, just bought her first gun.
My sons played with toy guns, they played cowboys & such; it was a way of teaching them a respect for guns for one thing. My first dh was a cop with the DC Metro police dept. (my oldest son is also a cop there now). Just because a little boy (or girl) plays with a toy gun doesn't mean they are going to grow up and become a violent person or a killer. Criminals are always going to get guns, no matter what the laws are; it's the nature of a criminal period. They have no respect for the law, for guns or for other people. Our boys were taught how to use a gun at an early age and taught how to care for a gun; they were also taught a very healthly respect for guns.
They're just toys. I played with them when I was younger and I've never even touched a real gun. My parents let me know the dangers of real guns. My father had guns which I never even knew about until I was an adult.
My kids use toy guns that look like toys. Nothing that looks real. But, we do have real guns in our house too, and also teach kids how to shoot .22's, airsoft, paintball, and BB guns. We also do skeet shooting. Its never been a problem because we do teach them how to do it safely, and there is always a handler with them. I think if kids are taught the dangers and how to do it safely, there is a better chance for more respect for the gun, versus not understanding it, finding a parents and thinking they can use it "the way mom or dad does", and then it goes off in the wrong spot.
Yep. We are also huge shooters so, we have taught our girls how to handle and shoot real guns. They both do very well and are not afraid to handle one. We have 2 fire proof safes we keep everything in.