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Local woman buys toy guns to keep from kids

Canyon Country resident purchased entire stock of play assault rifles after Connecticut school shoot

Posted: January 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 2, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Jennifer Roa displays some of the toy guns she purchased outside The 97 cent Store in Canyon Country on Friday. Jennifer Roa displays some of the toy guns she purchased outside The 97 cent Store in Canyon Country on Friday.
Jennifer Roa displays some of the toy guns she purchased outside The 97 cent Store in Canyon Country on Friday.

A Canyon Country woman bought the entire stock of toy assault rifles off the shelves of her local discount store recently, saying the community — including local businesses — must show sensitivity after the Connecticut school shooting.

“I asked them to please be sensitive and remove the entire stock from the shelves, and they refused,” said Jennifer Roa during an interview outside The 97 Cent Store, where she bought the toy guns.

“It offended me and others, after the tragedy, that this store received a full stock of assault rifles and refused to pull them off the shelves,” she said.

In the wake of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. — the national tragedy that left 20 children and six adults dead on Dec. 14 — Roa decided while shopping that she had to take action locally, she said.

Clerks informed Roa they could not remove the toys without the store owner’s consent, and he was unavailable, she said.

The owner, also the store manager, did not return multiple requests to comment on the incident late last week, and store clerks said they never know when he will visit the store.

Roa said she arrived at the decision to buy the guns when no one else offered a solution.

“One lady said she agreed with me, but she didn’t know what could be done,” Roa said. “What can be done is they can be taken off the shelves.”

At $1 each, Roa purchased all 11 of the toy automatic assault rifles the size of her forearm.

“I even bought the broken ones,” she said, holding up a rifle that had lost the protective orange cap designating it as a toy.

“We should start here with this one little thing,” Roa said. “We could start by not having kids play with toy guns at home.”

Though her son played with a toy cowboy pistol when he was young, Roa said, she solidified her resolve against the toy assault rifles after the shooting in Connecticut.

“Before this, I wasn’t opposed to toy guns. They are not inherently evil in and of themselves. It’s just a lack of information that makes them dangerous,” Roa said. “There are better toys.”

Though Roa supports individuals’ constitutional right to bear arms, she believes the responsibility of gun ownership requires parents and children to be educated on the issue.

“We have the right to bear arms, and we have the right to control them in our own homes. But there are better toys,” Roa said.

Play with toy guns can be dangerous, she said.

“You give them that toy and they can’t separate it from reality,” Roa said. “It’s the curiosity and intrigue that makes them dangerous.”

She doesn’t plan to buy out the stock of toy guns at other local stores, hoping that parents will take the responsibility to inform their children about gun danger.

“I’m going to destroy them. Break them up,” she said.

Opening a plastic wrapper, Roa pulled out the gun, held it straight out at shoulder level and snapped it.

“(The Connecticut shooting) will happen again,” she said, “but there will be 11 fewer children to point a toy gun at a police officer and get killed.”


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