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If you ask me, any plunger-style water pump/shooter/"gun" that doesn't resemble a firearm should be acceptable for scouts to use at camp. Going back to 1992, first there was the "Dip Stik" -- a big syringe made out of PVC pipe. They are still used today on river trips as bailing pumps and there are numerous plans the Internet on how to make something like them. A few years later in 1994, the straight handle was replaced with a more ergonomic angled handle as is still being sold today as the "Stream Machine Hydrobolic Water Launcher". Works as both a bilge pump and a water gun that can shoot a huge blast of water over 50 feet.


Perhaps an easy rule of thumb that BSA could adopt is the "orange tip rule" regarding water guns. If the manufacturer isn't putting an orange safety tip on it, then some federal regulator has decided it isn't a "look-alike or imitation firearm". The orange tip has been a federal requirement since 1988 I for any toy that resembles a firearm, although I cannot find the specific statute or regulation that defines what specific characteristics or criteria are used. Interestingly, the double-barrel Stream Machine model is required to have an orange safety tip but the regular Stream Machine models do not. Supposedly it's because the double barreled model has a fore grip so that makes it look too "gun like". The only caution I'd add is the criteria would need to be based on whether or not the orange tip is present when new in the package. Removing an existing orange safety tip would not make a water gun permissible to use.


Might not be a perfect definition, but it seems like it would be fairly easy to decipher what is allowed and what is not. It could possibly be used to help cover unforeseen "toy guns" in the GSS in addition to water guns. Although paint ball guns and laser tag guns aren't required to to have orange tips, those are specifically mentioned in the GSS, so there's no conflict.



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The "simulated firearm" has little to do with the shape of the launcher. (Although the red-tip rule is probably wise in some neighborhoods.) It has to do with the purpose of targeting. For most launchers (air-soft, paintball, photons), the purpose is to simulate delivering a skin-penetrating tissue-disrupting projectile.


With that aqueous stuff, the purpose is treating/preventing heat stroke. So *all manner of launchers* delivering lower-than-body-temp liquid H2O should be permissible within the G2SS.


That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.



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Not sure how to interpret G2SS for squirt guns ... but ... baning squirt guns and laser tag is silly. Period. It's so silly it's even hard to have a fact based discussion on the topic.


Here's a few things to think about....



Join soccer, football or baseball. My eight year old's soccer clinic and team regularly had squirt gun fights after practice to cool down. They loved it. Bet he remembers that soccer camp for years.


Our scouts regularly play laser tag. It's unofficial. No uniforms. Near by pack webelos often join us. Including one or two parents from the council shooting sports committee. They are careful not to let anyone know they are on that committee. But they love laser tag. They roll their eyes at the laser tag rule ... because they have an IQ higher than a rock.


Adding silly rules to a critical document like G2SS waters down the other rules. Ignoring youth protection rules damages people forever. Ignoring aquadics rules and people die. Ignoring the laser tag rule has very very little risk other than maybe needing to fill out an application as a soccer coach to spend your free time and have fun.


Banning laser tag (and if appicable squirt gun fights) teaches scouts very little about gun safety or muzzle control. It teaches alot about it being okay to ignore rules selectively.


If appearing militaristic is the issue, we should eliminate the Chess academic pin and belt loop. Chess was created to teach military tactics and prepare leaders for war.


I can respect people who think laser tag and/or squirt guns are boring. Fine. Not your cup of tea. I just can't respect the opinion that the activities are not acceptable. That's silly.

(This message has been edited by fred8033)

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Fred, while you have strong personal feelings that the GSS ban on laser tag is misguided, as a long time firearms instructor, I respectfully disagree. Military and LE personnel often train with laser based firearm simulators. It provides excellent training with instant feedback on aim and muzzle control, especially while moving. Recreational laser tag is essentially the same except you can be "killed" repeatably after some short penalty time where your gun is disabled. It is a game that simulates shooting other people, period. And that is why the GSS bans it. If that makes my IQ lower than a rock for understanding the intent of the rule, then what does that say about someone doesn't?


At some point with water guns, there's a departure from the simulated shooting of another person to where you are just trying to get the person wet with a spray of water. I guess that's the problem - it's too subjective of a differentiation. And without any mention in the GSS about water guns, I can understand why some CDs would rather error on the side of caution and tell people to leave them at home.



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drhink - My apologies. I should not have made the IQ crack. It was cheap.


My family and our scouts just enjoy laser tag so much. There wasn't a time when we didn't leave the arena sweating and laughing and discussing all the things that happened. It's safe, exciting and gets the scouts hearts pounding from running around. And it's not really that much different then capture the flag or anyone of any of the other games that are really war based.


Does the military and police use laser weapons for practice and skills development. Sure. But there's a difference between training to kill and playing a friendly game with your friends. It might be a fine line, but it's definitely there and it's a big difference.


It's just hard to respect the laser tag rule when you can schedule a trip to play laser tag with your church group but not your scout group or sports group or neighborhood friends.


attempt at humorA good rule of thumb should be that BSA should not establish a more liberal position than the city of San Francisco. And I remember playing laser tag at a conference near San Fran not that long ago.

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"It might be a fine line, but it's definitely there and it's a big difference."


Sure Fred, there's a lot of running around in a dark room with loud music and smoke effects, and that certainly adds to the "fun" of laser tag. But your ultimate objective is aiming "a gun" at a person's vital zone and pulling the trigger. Fred, as an adult, I have no doubt the distinction between laser tag and firearm shooting is clear to you. But I wouldn't be very confident that 100% of 7-18 year old boys could explain what's different.


Not trying to sound too harsh, but not everyone believes in the principles of scouting. That's why not everyone is a scout. There's nothing wrong with having interests outside of scouting, but if you have a strong opinion that something in scouting is wrong, dumb, or otherwise negative, nobody is forcing you to stay.

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Drhink: Thank you. That's it in a nut shell. When my stepson was a many years younger, his attitude toward lazergunning (tag? You're it?) was "It's a game!! Just a Game!!" when our family would nix it, but his dad said ok. After a stint in Iraq and Korea and Afghanistan, he comes to us and admits, it was more like urban ambush and kill your opponent than "only a game". That's the defining quality. You are trying to kill your opponent. Yeah, they get up again after "recharge", but it still is practicing to kill.

Capture the flag? Any wide game? Chess? Checkers? They may well have a history in warfare, but as a game, you're not out to "kill" the opponent, only play better than them.

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drhink: "nobody is forcing you to stay." Your right. There are many scouting units I would not stay in, and in fact, my 2nd son left a troop because I did not like what the troop was teaching my son.


I was recently on a many hour drive with my oldest son. Our chat included the question of what's the worst part of scouting. His comment came quick: Adults that take the program too seriously. If I leave a legacy in scouting, I hope my legacy is that more people join and stay in scouting because of my involvement. I'll trust the rest to the scouts and the program.


As for the laser tag / water gun rules .... If you believe laser tag violates the principles of scouting, then don't play and don't support your own unit playing. But don't tell me and my units it's wrong. It's your opinion and the rest of us get stuck explaining the silly situation and finding ways to support scouts doing something without violating the "letter of the law" that they want to do and that we think is perfectly okay.


And I've had many family members serve in the military too.

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But your ultimate objective is aiming "a gun" at a person's vital zone and pulling the trigger.


Horse manure.


Your ultimate objective is to score points in a high-tech game of freeze tag. Didn't yeh ever play freeze tag as a boy?


I appreciate that some folks want to be apologists for the BSA's untenable position on this matter. Yah, and I appreciate that a few folks out there as parents believe that it's just philosophically or morally wrong to allow their children to play with toys in a way that they as adults can imagine might resemble shooting someone. That's their right.


Da thing is as a parent, I always understood that my right ended on my doorstep, eh? It'd be wrong for me to try to force every parent or program participant to agree to adhere to my personal philosophy, even though I know I'm right. ;)


Fact of the matter is that there is no safety issue here, and the vast majority of program participants have no philosophical problem with squirt guns, or laser tag, or paintball, or even those dreaded marshmallow guns. Most feel that it truly does take an IQ less than a rock to believe that scout-aged boys can't distinguish between a shotgun and a water cannon or light-up space toy.


So da question to the minority is not whether yeh feel you're right, eh? We know you do. ;) It's whether you feel it's proper to impose your will on the majority when there is truly no objective safety issue. Do yeh feel in a democracy, or even in the BSA where we're tryin' to teach kids about citizenship in a democracy, that that's appropriate?


Because if yeh do, then that means a minority who doesn't like some activity you enjoy can do the same to you.


I like the "BSA should never be more liberal than the city of San Francisco" test. ;)




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