Laser tag / paintball games / firearms ownership

I have been associated with the Straight Dope message board community for nearly four months. During those months, I have seen several discussions about firearms and related topics. Oninions on the private ownership of firearms vary widely in this forum, just as opinions vary in other places in our country. I have stated my thoughts several times and I respect the position that others have taken on this issue.

Here is my question: If you strongly oppose private ownership of firearms, how do you feel about games which employ “laser tag” equipment or paintball guns?

Now that depends on whether you refer to"hits" or “kills” when you’re done at the end of the day.

Sounds like a cop-out, slythe. Which side of the gun control debate do you support?

As far as I know…no one has been killed while playing laser tag or paintball. I have never seen someone robbed with a paintball gun…have you?

Not a cop-out at all. My attitude of those types of games depends entirely on whether your approach is one of skill and agility at hitting a target, or joy at “killing” the most people. If you’re having trouble figuring out my point of view, I WILL elaborate further, But I thought it was self-evident.

Ah, yes, I agree that I have never heard of anyone beign robbed with a paintball gun. And I have never seen a report of someone being killed playing laser tag or paintball games. But my point is that if people want to do away with private ownership of firearms because the guns are “evil”, why aren’t those people campaigning hard to stop laser tag and paintball games? I mean, my God, if cartoons and demonic music can lead people to shoot other people, what the hell are these “games with guns” capable of teaching people - especially young, impressionable teens! Ferchrissake, those games put guns right into the hands of the participants! And there is no dire consequence of being shot or doing the shooting!

      • I tend to think that it has much to do with the fact that (under proper circumstances) being destructive is fun. Paintball is an extension of that. You might also note the high degree of destruction present in videogames, and most videogames are targeted at males. Among themselves, guys tend to understand this stuff, but women give you a lot of blank stares when you try to explain it. “Why do little boys play with guns?” -Well, they just do. You don’t have to tell them to. They tend to be drawn to it.
  • The few times I played paintball, it nearly killed me. - It usually involves running around in the woods for 30-45 minutes nonstop. I don’t really see it as being something that leads to dire consequences because it’s more of a social activity than most people (who ain’t tried it) realize. It heavily involves teamwork, and many murderers seem to be social outcasts some time before they come unhinged. I kinda doubt there’s many transitions from the first to the second.
  • Also, I am too young to remember directly, but there were a lot of TV shows during the 50’s and before that were cowboy-type epics that usually involved the bad guys getting shot at the end of the show. The Lone Ranger may have tried to shoot for the hand, but many others didn’t bother being so specific. The general message was “bad guys lose”. General messages today tend to center around criminals as another “legitimate culture” and as “victims of society” rather than vermin to be exterminated. - MC

Just to let you know last year in VA a teenager was killed playing laser tag. He and a friend were playing around his school at night. A cop stopped at the school because of reports of people being around the school at night. What the cop saw was someone with a gun, when he saw the flicker of light from the gun he thought he was being shot at, so he returned fire killing the teenager. I do not say that I am against laser tag or paintball guns however you do need to be careful. People can see things when they are scared that afterwards they say I should have known better.

Just for the record, I think paintball looks like a great time.
My father, a life-long NRA member (but not a nut) and competitive pistol shooter (for the last 25 years) is adamently against paintball games. He works part time in a sporting goods store, and has refused to sell them to clueless people. Anyway, it all stems from his idea that aiming guns (of any kind) at each other is just a damned bad habit to get into. He is very safety aware, and taught me good gun safety growing up. (I even did a bit of competitive shooting when I was young). But he thinks that when you start giving kids any kind of guns to aim and shoot at each other, it’s a slippery slope to them using real guns on each other. I guess he figures it desensitizes them to how serious and dangerous real guns are. So that’s the view from one real life shooter.

An optimist sees an opportunity in every calamity; A pessimist sees a calamity in every opportunity.