A strong call has gone out to ban the sale of toy guns or discourage parents from buying them for their children this Christmas. Picture: Brenton Geach/ANA Archives
Cape Town - A strong call has gone out to ban the sale of toy guns or discourage parents from buying them for their children this Christmas.

The call is especially against those guns imitating real ones because they are often used in real crimes.

Philip Bam, of the Grassy Park Community Policing Forum, called for a ban of replica guns.

“Children imitating gangsters with guns soon become targets for recruitment by gangs. Parents can help to frustrate the recruitment of their children by refraining from giving imitation guns as Christmas gifts,” he said.

Grassy Park police recently confiscated two imitation firearms in separate incidents from suspects who fled when they observed the police.

Roegchanda Pascoe, chairperson of the Manenberg Safety Forum, said the organisation could not dictate what parents should buy their children, but it did advise them not to buy toy guns as gifts.

“Nowadays children live in a time where they are exposed to guns and have attached having a gun to power. They see police and gangsters everywhere. Now children grow up wanting to have a gun.”

Gun Free South Africa said it supported the community policing forum’s call for a ban on imitation firearms, and said that recently, a senior police officer, André Traut, described how hard it was to tell the difference between a replica and a genuine firearm.

Metro police spokesperson Ruth Solomons said that recently, two imitation firearms used in robberies were confiscated.

“A member of the public was robbed at gunpoint of his cellphone and alerted police on patrol in the area, who set off after the suspects. The men, aged 23 and 26, were found in possession of an imitation firearm and a cellphone.”

Retailer Shoprite said: “Shoprite fully grasps the reality and impact of the violent society that we live in and how this affects our customers and communities. We listen when community requests are voiced and have always had a strong stance against violence and crime.

“The supermarket group, however, embraces the policy of providing its varied customer base with a choice of products to suit their needs, and our buying decisions are driven by our customer demands, which include non-replica toy guns.”

Janine Caradonna, spokesperson for retailer Pick 'n Pay, said its policy was not to stock toy guns that could be mistaken for a real firearm.

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Cape Argus