Paul Jacob

Before what she had asked even registered in my mind, my brilliant and bossy 13-year-old daughter told her in no uncertain terms (as if to even ask had been a major breech of protocol), "Absolutely not!"

Miffed by my older daughter's usurping of my august parental authority, and now waking up to this unexpected question, I asked the little one why she wanted a gun. She explained in a matter-of-fact way that there were good guys and bad guys and she wanted a gun to protect herself from the bad guys.

"What would you do with a gun?!" her older sister shot back at her.

"Shoot the bad guys," she replied.

I explained to her that she was too young to have a real gun and that our neighborhood was very safe ? a whole lot safer than television, that's for sure. But I also told her that I agreed with her thinking and that, yes, guns can be very, very helpful to good guys in stopping bad guys. (And I double-checked what she was watching, for good measure.)

I decided, then and there, that I wanted her to have a toy gun. And, thanks to the wonders of multiculturalism, I was actually able to find one, no doubt manufactured in China.

My 5-year-old makes a heckuva lot more sense than those who fear, without a shred of evidence, that playing with toy guns will somehow turn kids to crime. She makes more sense than the school in Indiana, where officials altered their school's mascot ? a Minuteman ? to remove the musket he carried. They feared the armed minuteman symbolized gun violence. I guess they hadn't yet gotten to American history.

My young daughter knows the musket as a symbol of freedom, and if a symbol of violence, of justified violence. She knows that guns are not good or bad, but people can be either. (Apparently, reading her my Common Sense e-letter at bedtime is paying off.)

Her toy gun is just a toy. But it is a grand symbol of freedom, self-defense and a healthy disdain for political correctness.

And sometimes she lets me play with it.

Paul Jacob

Paul Jacob is President of Citizens in Charge Foundation and Citizens in Charge. His daily Common Sense commentary appears on the Web and via e-mail.