Can you tell the difference?

two guns

Two handguns. One is an Airsoft pistol, a toy that uses compressed gas to shoot a 6mm plastic pellet at approximately 300 feet per second that might cause a bruise if it hit bare skin. The other is a real semiautomatic pistol that fires a 9mm bullet at approximately 1,200 feet per second and could cause a fatal wound. Can you tell the difference just by looking at them? If you can’t, how can you expect your child to know the difference?

Elementary school children, middle schoolers, and even high school students have accidentally injured or killed other children because they couldn’t tell the difference either, and didn’t know what to do if they encountered a firearm outside of responsible adult supervision. What would you want your child to do if he or she encountered a pistol like this one outside of responsible adult supervision? How will they know if you don’t tell them?

Please talk with your children about gun safety even if you don’t own guns. Read this article for information about how to get the conversation started ( and consider hosting or delivering the presentation “Why and How to Talk With Your Children About Gun Safety (Even If You Don’t Own Guns)” in your community ( 


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