Kindergarten kids get “gun licenses” in New Zealand

A kindergarten in New Zealand requires kids to earn a “gun license” before they are allowed to play with toy (cardboard) guns. reports

Central North Island Kindergarten Association general manager Jan Ballantyne said labelling gun play as “bad” and banning it sent a mixed message to children whose fathers were hunters, farmers or in the armed services.

“For us to be making value judgments like that is quite wrong, but children need to know that there are rules. It’s important for children to know, yes, there are guns, they can kill, and there are rules around that.”

[Hat Tip: SayUncle ]

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Pedro

    And so the propaganda rolls on . . . . .

  • Pietro

    I would expect that a driving licence is required to play with toy cars… IMHO children are learning that their life will be haunted by stupid bureaucrats.

  • I think this is a very positive thing. Catching kids early and teaching them responsible gun ownership is something that should be more wide spread.

    Of course, I suppose there are those who would argue that this was traditionally the role of the parent and in some ways this official teaching of gun responsibility takes away one of the treasured relationships between a parent and their child. A father teaching their son (or mother and daughter, etc, etc) to shoot is not only a very special time of bonding between the family members it creates a heritage of responsible gun ownership that is likely then to be passed down to future sons and daughters.

    Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with schools reinforcing this fire arms teaching. I guess maybe it is a sign of just how busy parents are these days that they maybe don’t have teh time to do this themselves – a pity.

  • Burst

    Are you suggesting it won’t?

  • Raph84

    Honestly this is way better than the zero tolerance foolishness where children are suspended for finger guns etc.

    While a “license” might sound a little rough to the ear (and carry a message of stateism over personal liberty) it is a step in the right direction as it helps teach the lesson of personal responsibility, so at least in that respect I’m all for it.

  • What a great idea. Teach people how to do things the right way from the start. From the article:

    “‘What I noticed in my other workplace, when we banned it, was that the children would hide and shoot you – they get sneaky about it. The play would turn quite negative.

    ‘We teach them you don’t leave [guns] lying on the floor, you don’t shoot people, you make sure you ask to borrow someone else’s gun.’

    If a child “pretend” shoots another child, they have their gun licence revoked.

    All the guns are made by the children out of paper or cardboard, and must be stored in a gun rack between play sessions.”

  • cc19


    So if these kids play, “cops and robbers,” can the, “bad guys,” ignore getting a license? Their pretend guns could have been stolen or bought on the black market; bad guys don’t play by the rules. 😛

  • charles222

    Sounds pretty good to me. Children don’t get taught personal responsibility in our instant-gratification society anymore.

  • KP

    It is only a step in the right direction when compared against the zero tolerance policies. This gun licensing thing is focusing on the wrong thing. Yes, there are rules when dealing with firearms but focus needs to be in gun safety NOT in gun bureaucracy. It really doesn’t matter that you know about the 10 day waiting period, one handgun a month, no detachable mag etc etc if you still take that rifle and sweep all your buddies with a booger picker on the hot button at the pretend range.

  • Fubar

    Actually this may have some good points… making kids aware that guns are to be used only in specific ways. Yeah, I know it seems a bit over the top but I can see it actually being a benefit especially if a child chanced upon a real loaded weapon, they would know it was not something to point at people even in play.

  • subase

    Better than a rogue 4 year old criminal terrorizing the other kids in the playground by ‘shooting’ them with imaginary bullets.

    People need to realize that kids from infancy have seen adults shoot and kill each other with guns, so that’s what they do.

    With this type of early training the kid can then move upto a cap gun and water pistol licence. If a person doesn’t have a gun they aren’t allowed to shoot them, U.N Geneva convention propaganda indoctrination some might say. But I see it as taking shooting/killing people with guns seriously.

    Now all we need are mini AKs, ARs, 1911s and Glock water pistols so the kids learn how to disassemble, clean and operate them. Educational toys no doubt.

    The NRA should get on this, their educational wing is weak.

  • Shouldn’t there be a special circle in Hell for people who force bureaucracy upon children?

  • Pietro

    @ Milgeek & Burst
    Maybe it’s because of my not native english, so forgive me if I misunderstand and/or I am not cristalline in explaining myself… but my understanding about this is that kiwi kindergardens are forbidding playing with toyguns. And there is no father/son shooting toghether in sight.
    The issue is that some children had problems labelling guns as bad things cause guns are part of their parents life.
    So, to help these young pariahs, schools invented for them a sign to be hanged at their neck. But they have to pretend to shoot at bullseyes, no human targets.
    My opinon is that this is a VERY BAD thing, cause a child that pretend to play and kill other children is doing something very natural (and he/she will still imagine to do that with a sword, a car, anything).
    I agree that teaching rules about gun management (but also about any dangerous item or behaviour) is very smart. But I think that the average kid knows that he is playing when he “kills” another kid. And I believe that a kid that is harassing other kids is not going to solve the problem at the origin of his misbehaviour only cause you enforce this “licence” thing.
    Also, (and I am lightly ironic but not too much) if we have to be responsible, then there are way more chances that a kid, when grown, kills somebody with a car than with a gun. So please cancel all these driving licences to kids that pretend to imaginary crash their imaginary cars!

  • Edward

    “What I noticed in my other workplace, when we banned it, was that the children would hide and shoot you – they get sneaky about it. The play would turn quite negative.

    “We teach them you don’t leave [guns] lying on the floor, you don’t shoot people, you make sure you ask to borrow someone else’s gun.”

    Pedro, Pietro, look at this part…

  • Máté

    So those kids will shoot real guns before they woud play with toys? Sounds fun to me.

    @Raph84 suspended for finger guns? Where?

  • Komrad

    I think it is an interesting idea, maybe not the best, but a good one. Honestly though, boys have been playing war since the dawn of time, and part of that play is pretending to kill people or things. I remember playing war and in a way I still do every time I visit the range. Teaching kids about real gun safety and not just run and tell an adult at a young age is a good thing, it teaches respect instead of fear, which is much more likely to prevent an accident.

    For example, if a kid is really interested in daddy’s hunting rifle, they are eventually going to get into it unless it is locked in a safe and the key well hidden. When (not if) they get to the gun, knowing that they shouldn’t play with it wont help much, but knowing they shouldn’t play with it (even though they are) and when daddy takes them to the range, they always need to point it away from people and not pull the trigger until they’re ready, they’re much less likely to do anything dangerous with it. Of course the gun should be locked, unloaded, and hidden and the ammo hidden elsewhere, but if a kid wants to find something they know is in the house, they’ll find it eventually. Just ask any kid who’s ever peeked at their Christmas presents.

    It is good that they are not simply resorting to zero tolerance, which makes it so the problem doesn’t have t be dealt with rather than actually dealing with it.

    The zero tolerance schools have now is absurd, I don’t think a kid could get suspended for pointing finger-guns at people or having gun related magazines as is so often cited, but treating a 2″ folding knife or airsoft gun the same as a centerfire handgun or rifle is simply absurd. I remember when I accidentally brought a folding knife to school in my coat pocket. I noticed it before classes started and turned it in to the dean. SHe confirmed that if I hadn’t noticed until class started and turned it in then, I would have received the same 5 day suspension as someone who didn’t turn it in, the only reason I got off free was because school hadn’t officially started yet.

    The same thing goes for drugs. A bottle of ibuprofen is treated the same as a bag of weed or a bottle of Vicodin or a sheet of LSD paper. I know from my son that most teachers would probably just have the student put it away or confiscate it until the end of the day, but if the administration knows about it, they are required to at least suspend the student.

    Zero tolerance does not teach our children responsible ways to use medication or tools or firearms, it just makes them try harder to hide the fact that they have them.

    Sorry for writing such a long rant. I think I’m done now.

  • TGM


    Responsible gun ownership should not require a license. Freemen don’t ask for the governments permission to own a rifle.

  • Jusuchin

    I actually think this is good. It teaches what not to do and what to do, etc…rather than “GO HOME YOU’RE SUSPENDED OMG YOU EVIL CHILD.”

  • cobetco

    I personally have mixed feelings about this, i dont think kids really understand the concept behind this, i do think it is a good thing to teach firearm responceabillity, but not at that age, there too young (in my opinion) i remember my grandfather taught be that guns were not toys when i was 12 or 13, he nailed a piece of meat to a range wall and shot a single round into it with his handgun, i remember clearly understanding how destructive the thing he was about to show me how to use was.

  • turnpike

    Better yet: teach them safety also. I think everyone should know how to safely handle a firearm.

  • Chase

    Toy licenses for the toy guns! This seems pretty cool to me. It’s certainly better than when I was a kid, and no guns of any kind were allowed (which didn’t stop us from capping each other with our fingers).

  • Nadnerbus

    Not a bad idea. I guess one could make the argument that it conditions kids to be deferential to the state, but to me its no worse than saying the pledge of allegiance or reciting the boy scout motto. We all need to live by certain rules to get along in a modern society, and teaching kids how to abide by those rules instead of just treating them like perpetual infants incapable of learning basic manners and respect is a step in the right direction. And these are, after all, children. There are lots of rights that we do not grant kids for obvious reasons.

    A funny thing happens when you treat people, even kids, with the expectation of maturity and responsibility. They often step up to the role. This just has the added benefit if making kids clear on the fact that real guns are objects to be respected and used carefully.

  • RC

    When I first started reading I thought it was absurd. But I do see the point and found myself agreeing with the sentiment behind it, by the end of the story. I think it’s a good thing to teach firearms safety rules at an early age…and this seems to me to be a perfect way to do it.


  • Mountainbear

    Back when I was a kid we played stuff like cops & robbers with toy guns that shot those round and strip blanks.

    We aimed at each other.

    We didn’t have such regulations and none of us turned into serial killers.

    I play softair and shoot at my opponents there with little plastic guns.

    I own several real guns today. I’m not shooting them at people, despite doing it with the blank toys back then and with my HOWA in the scenario.

    This is ridiculous. It’s not going to teach the kids responsibility. Heck, that is the job of the parents anyway. It’s just another case of parents being lazy buggers and having the government do their job.

    The idea with the driving licence isn’t a bad idea. If we do it for toy guns, why not for toy cars as well? More people die in traffic accidents every year.

    These kids can’t play one of the most basic games that kids everywhere used ot play. Call it “cops & robbers”, call it “cowboys & indians”, call it “Räuber & Gendarm”. That game is essentially outlawed now.

    This is the same nonsense as all the morons going after first person shooters with the weirdest “arguments” (some German politician once claimed that playing Counterstrike teaches people how to shoot real guns.)

  • Martin (M)

    As an Education specialist these days (my wife has a PhD in Education), I can tell you that 5 and 6 yr olds aren’t developed enough to understand any possible positive concepts that the educators may be tying to convey here.

    At these ages, however, they can grasp the concept that you aren’t to play with real guns.

    This isn’t about gun safety. This is pure political fertilizer.

  • Máté

    I think they should also tie the kids’ arms and legs, so they cant hit/kick each other… They could also cover their eyes, so they cant even think about killing someone, they dont know how looks…
    This idea souds plain stupid, but i thing Germany will adopt it asap.

    @Mountainbear, @Komrad I titally agree.
    @subase lol

  • subase

    In the playground we used to play war by throwing seeds from a tree at each other until someone got one straight in the eye, then everyone would run off before the teacher came.

    In my view, shooting people with say water guns or pretending to shoot people is a better practice than throwing stuff at them. At least one of them can be coordinated on some level, rules of engagement can be established but throwing stuff is a dangerous free for all. I’m ashamed I once threw stuff behind cover at a younger kids head, that was sitting minding his own business.

    Just look at the games boys play. Heavily competitive if not violent, they involve hitting things at each. (in my case it was hitting a tennis ball with ones hand at each other, and they would hit it back. Sort of like racquetless tennis)

    Sports can be seen as a more positive outlet for aggression and violence, I don’t see why projectile safe gun-like things, can’t also be used in the same fashion.

  • Pete

    The technocratic-marxist hellhole that the bastard Aldous Huxley was trying to sell in his book…the hellhole that the great Geroge Orwell was trying to warn us about is happening in front of our eyes.

  • John P.

    Why not make it a requirement that a gun safety course be passed before you can play with the guns and give certificate of achievement and not a license. Labeling it a license is teaching bureaucracy more than safety. Why not issue every child a toy gun upon completion that they can take home with them and bring to school when they choose. With rules like,”if we see it during class it gets taken away but playground time is ok.” Sound reasonable?