A consumer group is demanding that toy brand Nerf discontinue selling “assault weapon toys” to children. The group, the Empire State Consumer Project, argues that the company is promoting a culture of fear where children are becoming scared of mass shootings taking place at their schools.
The Empire State Consumer Project penned a letter to the board of Hasbro, the company which makes Nerf products, asking why the company markets these toy guns so heavily.
“When your products themselves violate most of your proclaimed corporate values, something is very wrong,” the letter stated. “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?”
The letter cites a specific Walmart commercial that depicts family members buying progressively larger Nerf guns for a kid. The clip ended with the family buying the child a Nerf Ultra One toy guy gun which holds 25 foam darts.
“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,” the letter noted. “In these times, the TV ad for this product plays like a Saturday Night Live parody, except that it is not at all funny.”
The letter took the toy company to task for targeting a susceptible segment of young consumers and creating an artificial demand for toy weapons. In the consumer’s group view, this demand would not exist under normal circumstances.
“It’s a matter of this being a very vulnerable consumer group,” the letter added. “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.”
It looks like some organizations are far too sensitive.
America is a free country, so people can hold whatever views they want.
However, claiming that toy guns are somehow linked to mass shootings or promote fear is a dubious assertion at best.
Hasbro should not give into this consumer group’s pressure and continue selling the products that its consumers desire.