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Guide to Safe Scouting Question

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From the G2SS:

 

"Unauthorized and Restricted Activities

 

The following activities have been declared unauthorized and restricted by the Boy Scouts of America:

 

Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is unacceptable. However, law enforcement departments and agencies using firearms in standard officer/agent training may use their training agenda when accompanied with appropriate safety equipment in the Law Enforcement Venturing program."

 

Now I know that many troops arrange laser tag events. Has any authority in the BSA made a call as to the "appropriateness" of organized (commercial) laser tag events for troops?

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What about when you find a intruder about to rape your sister? "Sorry Sis, BSA says I can't point the shotgun at the guy."

 

Perhaps is should read:

 

Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is an unacceptable form of recreation or sport.

 

I've always thought that laser tag was taboo.

 

 

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Hmmm ...

It looks like an authority in BSA has already made the call. It's right there in the Guide to Safe Scouting; "Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or LASERS) at any individual is unacceptable." Pointing a gun of any kind at another person is just plain dumb. Just because some other troop does a dumb thing in violation of the G2SS (and with no BSA liability insurance protection) doesn't make it OK for another troop to be dumb too.

 

Just my personal opinion.

 

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I'd ask some of those "other" troops whether they got tour permits for the activity. Our council won't give permits for paintball or laser tag. The only way to do it is outside the confines of BSA as a parent/son event amongst a group of friends.

 

Martin Trew

Scoutmaster, T111, NJ

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Boy Scouts do plenty of activities, in and out of Scouting. Some of these, they do with all of their friends, some they do with just their Scouting buddies. Our guys do laser tag and paint ball on a semi regular basis. Most of the time, it is with a mixed bunch of Scouts and non Scouts. Sometimes, it's just Scouts that go. But as these are unauthorized activities, when they do them, they are NEVER Scout events.

 

I think if they are defined specifically as non Scouting, and everyone understands it that way, you should have no problem. I'd guess you might run into trouble though if you had a Tour Permit (obviously it wouldn't list laser tag), if you specifically arranged for two deep leadership (especially if the SM were there), or if the boys wore uniforms. I think you'd have a tough time convincing anyone that this was a non Scout activity.

 

Mark

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I'm always amused when parents try to get "cute" to get around the GTSS. I had a situation once when a mom who worked in a unit that ran our community paintball course, asked me before one of our COHs was about to begin if she could make an announcement after the formal program was over, that they would give a group discount if at least 10 boys from the Troop would join her son this Saturday, etc., etc. I told her I wouldn't permit it, since the activity would be associated with the Troop, and it was an unauthorized activity. Even though there would have been no tour permit, no uniforms, etc., I didn't think that a mishap would have survived the harsh light of public scrutiny, or my conscience.

 

KS

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KS,

 

Again, I wasn't clear enough to be understood.

 

If the boys set this up on their own, with no Troop involvement at all, I don't see it as a Scout activity. Saying it isn't allowed to be done by Scouts is like saying they can't go 4 wheeling. Of course they can't as a Scout activity. But if a group of people get together to do so, there isn't anything wrong with it. Just because a kid's friends happen to all be Scouts doesn't mean they can't do something the Scouts saay is illegal.

 

In your scenario, I agree with you. Allowing the announcement to be made at a meeting is easily identifiable to me as the Troop aiding the activity planning, and I think there would be a problem with that.

 

Mark

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I agree with KoreaScouter. If it walks like a unit-related activity and quacks like a unit-related activity, I think the leaders run the risk of being dead ducks if anything happens. (Hey, that was pretty clever if I do say so myself.) My son's former pack had the same issue with a "whitewater" trip for Webelos. G2SS essentially says that Cub Scouts (no exception for Webelos) do boating on lakes, not rivers (among other requirements, of course.) Some of the parents in the Webelos den (including a leader) ended up doing it as a "family activity" even though other leaders said this was not good enough. There were no non-Webelos involved, so you tell me whether it was a pack- or den-related activity. It was in my book. My son (and I) were out of the pack by that time and on our own camping trip that weekend.

 

As for laser tag, I recall a discussion about that in this forum, and I thought that the G2SS was not clear on this subject. Was this a recent addition? The current language seems pretty clear to me.

 

Fat The problems that Rooster sites in his initial post comes from units who have made a decision to not follow the program. The solutions he proposes in a later post can almost all be found within the written program resources.

 

FatOldGuy, why do you have to say things like that? You know that the BSA is not saying what you should and shouldn't do on your "own time." (Other than that you must obey the law.) The BSA does say that it is appropriate for persons of appropriate age to learn and practice target shooting within the BSA. They also say that you are not going to practice shooting at people (or animals) within the BSA. If you want to practice that, against the day when you might legally have to shoot someone in defense of self or others, you need to do it outside the BSA.

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Jumping Jiminy Crickets.

 

The third paragraph of my previous post was something that must have been in my copy-paste buffer from a post in another thread. (Bob wrote it, except for the word "Fat.") I must have hit the wrong button. I cannot edit posts for reasons that I cannot figure out, though the forum manager has tried to help me. I need to keep remembering to check the "preview" box.

 

So please disregard the third paragraph.

 

As either of my grandmothers would say if they were still with us, Oy vey.

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NJ, I'm getting a good laugh just now. I say that down here once in a while and no one has any idea what it's about. The third paragraph did have me a wee bit confused.

 

The whole paintball, etc. thing is something I fight all the time. The G2SS is clear on these activities but around here this stuff is rampant and I am constantly denying permission for such activities by the troop.

 

I do take issue with the wording, though. I have always understood that the term 'firearm', according to my Webster's, included "any weapon which expels the charge by the combustion of powder or other explosive; especially, such a weapon small enough to be carried, as a pistol, rifle, etc."

Or to pick further nits, nothing was specifically mentioned about air rifles nor, for that matter, water pistols. Does anyone seriously think that it is acceptable for the boys to shoot bows and arrows or sling shots at each other? I suppose a stickler for detail might try to make that argument. I understand the intention but the wording could be improved. As it is one must read between the lines:

 

Anything that shoots or launches a projectile must not be pointed at another person. Inclusion of laser tag (no actual projectile) as a prohibited activity implies that anything that has the appearance of a firearm also must not be pointed at another person. Any other thoughts?

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Packsaddle, I think you are correct. A laser gun (or whatever it is called) is not really a firearm. The language should be clarified. (Hear that, BSA? Clarified. Not with language about a "beam of light" that makes adult leaders wonder if they are supposed to start confiscating flashlights. OK?)

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What is being overlooked here is that it is not the beam of light being projected that the BSA is prohibiting. If it were then flashlight tag would have been included.

 

It is the gun being pointed at a human being that the BSA is prohibiting. Training children to point gun-like objects at people does not belong as an element of the scouting program. It is poor behavioral modeling.

 

Lets not go off the deep end and fear the banning of flashlights. The BSA did not ban the use of fire arms at appropriate targets, just aiming guns and gun-like objects at people.

 

Bob White

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"FatOldGuy, why do you have to say things like that? You know that the BSA is not saying what you should and shouldn't do on your "own time." (Other than that you must obey the law.) "

 

All I know is what BSA says, it is not for me to "read between the lines" or attempt to make BSA literature say anything than it actually does.

 

BSA says, "Pointing any type of firearm (including paintball, dye, or lasers) at any individual is unacceptable." It doesn't say, "during Scouting activities" but if it did, does that mean if someone attacks and stabs the riflery instructor at camp, that no one should hold him at bay with a rifle?

 

They could have said, "paintball, lasertag and similar activities involving gun-like implements are inappropriate for Scouting."

 

 

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I just scoured the entire G2SS (dated 7/2003) and couldn't find where it says paintball & laser tag are prohibited? I did find the part about them being unacceptable but I thought there was verbage that stated they were also prohibited?

 

NJ,

What preview button?

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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