A consumer watchdog is calling on one of the world’s largest toy makers to stop selling “assault-style” toy guns.
In a letter obtained by CBS affiliate WROC and dated Dec. 3, two heads of the Empire State Consumer Project urged Hasbro to “remove assault-style toy weapons” from its product offering.
Hasbro is known for making Nerf guns, popular children’s toys that fire foam balls, foam darts and discs.
“As we watch holiday toy commercials, we see the Nerf Ultra One and other extreme Nerf machine guns for children and are reminded of mass shootings that have devastated American children and families for decades now. In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny,” wrote Judy Braiman and Carol Chittenden.
The letter makes specific reference to a holiday ad released in November, which features a young boy’s relatives competing to gift him the biggest Nerf gun:
“Toy guns are one thing, but these emblems of mass destruction take them to the next, horrifying level,” Chittenden and Braiman said in the letter.
“It’s a matter of this being a very vulnerable consumer group. Children buy what they see and we’re not sure this is driven by market demand for assault weapon toys by children or the industry creating the demand,”” Chittenden, director of the Empire State Consumer Project, told WROC.
According to the Empire State Consumer Project, Hasbro is violating its stated mission to “ deliver joy, creativity and connection around the world and across generations.”
“How does promoting play with huge automatic weapons create joy, creativity and connection around the world, and across generations, and make the world a better place for children? How do these weapon products use your business as a force for good? Who would this child be shooting with his cache of assault weapons?” Braiman and Chittenden wrote.
Parents interviewed by WROC agreed with the Empire State Consumer Project’s stance.
“Actually kind of shocking to see that whole round of bullets on the gun itself. I would definitely not buy it, wouldn’t recommend it. I think there are so many other toys and images that we could be introducing our kids to,” said Lisa Lagana.
“There’s too much violence in our world, especially gun violence in the United States. So it’s not a good thing to set a precedent, when you’re a kid, of a gun like that,” said Debbie Cutter.
- An actress holding a Nerf gun in a holiday commercial published on November 16, 2019.: Screen grab