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gun and firearm are synonyms BTW


No they're not.


A firearm is defined in da law in most states, and typically refers to a personal, carryable weapon that fires a dangerous projectile usin' explosives.


A gun is a generic colloquial term referrin' to anything that fires any sort of beam or projectile, from the electron gun in an old style TV to da 16 inch guns on a battleship to the radar gun the cops use to give yeh a speeding ticket.


there are some folks and a few with law degrees who might have suggested this is not "kind" BTW


Name one. :)


Yeh have to stretch credulity beyond da breaking point to reach a conclusion that being hit by a marshmallow in a mutual game of marshmallow shootout is "unkind". And of course, because of da 3 G's "flaming" marshmallows aren't allowed in the BSA :). (congrats, though. Even da best pyrotechnic scouts I know never considered flaming marshmallow guns. Can't wait to tell 'em!)



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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First an interesting aside about water balloons. When I was in college, a group of students built a very large water balloon catapult (basically a three story tall funnelator - spread between two buildings). They launched a big water balloon from it. It flew some 600 yards (they were up on a hill) and hit a parked bicycle broad side. It bent and broke the frame, totaled the ten speed (I saw the photos, it looked like it had been hit by a truck).


That put an end to their water balloon launching. :)


The incident actually gave one of the students involved nightmares for a week. She told me she would have dreams of the balloon hitting and killing someone. Its amazing what five pounds of water at high speed can do.


As for the water pistols, I agree that the ban is all about the not pretending to harm another person stuff. Thats why its OK to use a laser tag gun, just dont point it at real person, or a representation of a person (no person shaped targets).

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gun and firearm are synonyms BTW


Well, it depends on what you mean by synonym. If you mean that a thesaurus might suggest that in some situations one word could be used instead of the other, then sure, they are synonyms.


If you are trying to suggest that they mean the same thing when referring to a class of items, then I'd have to ask, have you actually looked the words up? They do not, in any sense, mean the same thing in that regard.


Go ahead, pick a dictionary and check it out. We'll wait.


Many, many things can be dangerous, but we don't ban them all. Staple guns, paint guns, dart guns, water guns, are these really more dangerous than axes, hammers, stoves, rocks, and sharp sticks?

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Richard -


As I understand it, you are the chief health and safety professional for the BSA. According to your LinkedIn page, you are "the subject matter expert for safety issues, hazard identification, analysis, resolution and monitoring for the organization." You provide "content and editorial leadership for Scouting Safely website and online health and safety social networks / communities" as well as "safety and health interpretations for standards, rules and policies and procedures."


We are volunteers in your organization. All we're doing is asking for some of that interpretation of the editorial content that you are responsible for. I appreciate your willingness to come into this area and engage. But the query was whether water guns fall into the banned category in the G2SS. We've clearly already read the G2SS, and found it lacking. Simply pointing people back to that source does not answer the question.


What's wrong with a yes or no answer?

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If I meant Airsoft guns, I would have said Airsoft guns.


Attempts at obfuscations aside, google water gun and police shooting and you will find examples.


I'm not suggesting (and never did suggest) that water guns are dangerous, only pointing out that even some professionals mistake water pistols for real guns, with tragic purposes, so a statement suggesting that water guns can't be simulated firearms has a major flaw - the fact that some water pistols can be mistaken for a firearm (and are therefore simulated firearms). Indeed, to simulate is to copy, represent or feign the real object, and there are still water pistols being made to look like real firearms.


"Political Correctness is real and is out of control having many undesirable effects. Anyone remember the story about 7 years back of the 8 year old expelled from school for using a chicken tender as a simulated gun with friends playing in school ?"


Let's not confuse political correctness with zero tolerance. They just aren't the same. In this case, it's a zero tolerance policy which is insane. Had it been political correctness, the lad would have been expelled from school for having a chicken tender in the first place because it could offend vegetarians.


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First I think that this ban on water guns is a little extreme, but as BB RO I wasn't allowed to put up pictures of any living thing.


Second to the question of gun and firearm being synonymous, if you are in a banquet hall and a stranger comes in and someone yells "he has a gun" do you duck and cover or ask if it is a firearm or some other type of gun.

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Right, EagleWB, that's the time that they mean the same thing. In other situations, they don't.


But that doesn't really matter - I'm not sure why we're even discussing it, although it's an interesting aside.


The quote in question is Pointing any type of firearm or simulated firearm at any individual is unauthorized. Most water pistols are clearly made in the resemblance of a real pistol (one of the definitions of "simulated"). No, they aren't an exact simulation, but that is not normally the expectation.


I guess I could go with another definition of "simulation", which is "made to look genuine". I can then say that a water pistol does not actually appear to be a genuine firearm, and is therefore ok.


The BSA bans laser tag and paintball guns, and those don't look exactly like real firearms either, so it would appear that the rule would apply to more than airsoft guns. I think that it's common for people to interpret this rule as meaning "nothing that resembles a gun or might pretend to be a gun or might be called a gun should be pointed at another person."

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"First I think that this ban on water guns is a little extreme.."


What "ban"? Just because one reads it on an internet forum, or because some "adult" at a Cub Scout day camp said so, (as the OP said) does not mean BSA believes that there is a "ban". Maybe YOU have banned it, or maybe someone else banned it, but BSA has not banned it.


Whether there is a "ban" or not lies in the head of the beholder. Refer back to the mission of BSA - to help boys make ethical choices. You cannot do that by referring to a list of do's and don'ts published by BSA. You have to figure this out on your own. How can an adult leader ever hope to teach boys make ethical choices in their lives if they can't think for themselves and want to find the "answer" in a clearly defined and unambiguous document published by BSA?


It cannot be done, and I believe this is the reason why BSA INTENTIONALLY does not spell out every tiny detail in black and white such that any person with an ounce of brain could get the right answer. They FORCE you to use the brains God gave you to make the right ethical choice.


So are squirt guns a bad thing or not? Figure it out for yourself, in your own head, and do the right thing. And dont be too swayed by the hotheads on any internet forum that profess to tell what the true answer is.

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The Guide to Safe Scouting is vague when it comes to squirt guns. It can be interpreted two different ways. RichardB does not offer any help other than to read the link to the Guide to Safe Scouting.


Unless the Guide to Safe Scouting is revised to specifically mention squirt guns or RichardB gives us national's interpretation then we all should use our best judgement.


I feel that squirt guns are fun, safe, and completely ethical to point at another person. I would ask that those Scouters who fell otherwise to let me do what I want with my own unit.


On the same note. If you feel squirt guns are not appropriate for your unit I will respect your opinion and let you run your unit the way you feel is best.

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Got a chuckle when I saw this thread.


Had one troop doing drive by squirting from their golf carts at resident camp. They showed up to flag one evening with several super soakers in violin and guitar cases. CD was entertained.


It was kinda entertaining when they made "Hits" on the camp staff or other troops.


Another example on how poorly and unevenly the G2SS is being followed.


Most Packs in our immediate vicinity have a huge water fight every summer and it involves throwing water balloons and squirt guns.


Nothing will happen if you hold a squirt gun fight......You won't be kicked out of the BSA, your charter won't be revoked.......Ya know the boys might even have a good time.


Just got to shake my head.

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Richard B --


Being in the risk management business, maybe you can put this baby to bed by sharing some of the findings of BSA's risk analysis of squirt guns?


How many injuries and deaths occurring annually are attributed to squirt gun use during Scout activities? What is the cost to the BSA of these deaths and injuries? What are the most common injuries caused by squirt gun use?


I'm also curious about this flaming marshmallow idea. How do you get a burning marshmallow through a PVC tube? How many instances of flaming marshmallow guns has been reported to BSA? I'll assume the most common injuries are burst eardrums trying to blow a hot, stick hunk of marshmallow through a PVC pipe.





Here's my guess (and no, I'm not expecting a reply):


The H&S guys at national think this is just as goofy as the rest of us do. The policy, which Click23 posts, doesn't say jack about squirt guns. It mentions "simulated firearm" then further refines that as paintball or laser tag -- not squirt guns. A ban on squirt guns is just another product of the fertile minds of Scouting bureacrats all over the country, like the bans on sheath knives and open-toed shoes. The BSA policy guys aren't going to get involved in settling this because, 1) the don't have the time, 2) there may be instances where local councils need the flexibility to ban certain things and don't want overly detailed policy to get in the way, and, 3) they assume -- perhaps incorrectly -- the rest of us have IQs above 25.

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You guys just don't get it!

"The policy, which Click23 posts, doesn't say jack about squirt guns. "

Since it doesn't say anything about that, nor "marshmallows" either, why do y'all keep hammering on Richard and BSA about a supposed "policy" that isn't??

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Fscouter, I don't think you are understanding the opposite position. There are people who hear the phrase "simulated firearms" to include marshmallow guns. I personally find that to be a reasonable interpretation of the sentence, if not a reasonable policy. You can continue to argue that it's not a policy, but it's a plausible interpretation of the G2SS.


I love Twocub's analysis, though, and I think he's exactly right. I'd add to that, no matter what National says, there are going to be those who over-interpret it and those who under-interpret it, and that if National were to try to right something in sufficient detail with all the caveats and definitions, you'd end up with something more like the legal code, which is not usually user-friendly for the general public to read.


Another possibility is that Richard does see the point of this argument, but because he officially speaks for the BSA, he can't just throw out his own personal interpretation; it would have to be something that he made sure there was institutional backing for.

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Hello the Fire,


1- The watergun fight had been the Friday staple at every prior year's Cub Scout Day Camp. This year our Director went to Camp School in Washington State. (Poor planning, last minute volunteer drafted to be camp director; Washington was the only school available in the short time window...)

Back here in Georgia, every day at camp was in the 90s, so the water gun fight was much anticipated. But despite pressure and cajoling from pretty much every reasonable individual at camp, the director said 'No Way!' and indicated that the water gun fights were specifically addressed in camp school as something that was banned. The water soaked sponges were a poor substitute.

Bottom line - somebody in the BSA chain of command is banning the use of waterguns. They may be using G2SS as their reason; but it is happening.


2- Did they cut out the target restriction? My best recollection was that we could not shoot at "living things or representations of humans". (Which I interpretted as no live cats tied to your target and no pictures of politicians you don't like. Pictures of bears and deer were shootable.)

I can't find the target restriction in 'Unauthorized Activities', where it was before.


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