While most of the media were fawning over Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s adorableness at their father’s polo match this week, a handful of Twitter users decided to twist the royal tots’ fun into something much more sinister.
You see, Prince George was playing with a toy gun, something that was, and still is, a common child’s plaything. But that didn’t stop a select few from shaming Prince William and Duchess Kate for allowing the four-year-old to have some fun with the supposedly evil piece of plastic. What really set them off were photos of the young prince pointing the toy at other children, as well as his mother.
This isn’t okay anymore... My American side here, biased maybe b/c of everyday #gunviolence in USA,but my British side agrees. No child in this day and age should look at any gun as a fun toy. This looks far too real. .(And I LOVE Prince George, don’t get me wrong!) @teamtrace pic.twitter.com/UEqtFi5WTH— Daisy Torme (@daisytorme) June 10, 2018
Yes, the bright orange tip makes it look very real.
Completely tone deaf of Kate Middling to give Prince George a toy gun. Doesn’t she read the papers in her own country with all the gun deaths? If the Duchess of Sussex had done this, she would be excoriated in the media! Lucky George isn’t black or police would have shot him.— Amy Wyatt ???? ?? (@Lewisno1fan) June 11, 2018
So with crime rising faster than a Tory's offshore bank account what do they give Prince George to play with... A Gun.https://t.co/usbXI3YHyN— JmRoyle (@MyArrse) June 12, 2018
Sad to see George playing with a gun when the whole country has a gun/knife crime situation. Maybe in training for killing wild life in later years. Thought he was a sensitive child. Better if he was seen playing with a toy car or football. Sadly the royals will never change. ??— Adrina M Price (@SingingDri) June 10, 2018
The royals will never change, and apparently, the anti-gunners will never learn. That “gun/knife crime situation” Ms. Price speaks of continues to worsen despite the nation’s strict gun, and now knife, control laws. The tool—or in this case, the toy—isn’t the problem.
People are complaining because Prince George had a plastic gun ?? I had a plastic gun when I was little guess what I grew out of it I didn’t grow up to be a mass shooter or become obsessed with guns I hate guns now so just leave the boy alone and let him be a child— Roxanne Fowler (@Roxanne_Tegan) June 10, 2018
“People offended after seeing Prince George playing with a toy gun?!” was you never a child?? You seriously need to get a life! when I was a child boys imitated the A-team or Arnold Schwarzenegger, role play stimulates imagination and improves intelligence!!— Sofia (@Miss_SofiaO) June 11, 2018
Kids have been messing around with toy weapons for decades, and experts say it’s more than okay.
In the light of the Prince George “controversy,” The Independent talked with some parenting coaches who actually think this type of play is important to a child’s growth (emphasis mine).
“I understand why gun play worries parents, however research shows that any aggression demonstrated while engaging in 'war play' is not carried over into real life. ie: kids who play with guns become no more violent than those who don't,” Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert and author of The Gentle Discipline Book told The Independent.
“Pretend play is an important way for children to make sense of the world; in an age where guns are becoming more prevalent, gun-play helps them to process what they may see on the news, or indeed be subject to in real-life in a safe way.
Parenting coach Bea Marshall agrees, adding: “In my experience of raising my own sons, and also working with families around the world, one thing I have learned is that many children will find a way to create a gun no matter how hard you try to keep guns out of their world. Sticks, lego, wooden spoons and more are often turned into a gun and the intention behind it is completely innocent.
“As guns are a very real aspect of the world we live in today, whether the military, online gaming, movies or sport, I encourage parents to be part of their child's exploration of guns.
“Guns only become 'bad' when we give them that meaning. In doing so we introduce fear and control into our relationship with our children rather than focusing on connection and joy.
“As your child grows up they will naturally learn more about the various uses and consequences of guns and the connection you have created with your child will allow for deep and insightful conversations about this knowledge.”
In other words, banning children from playing with toy guns will do about as much as the United Kingdom’s actual gun ban: nothing.