Photographs: A Decade’s Worth of Toy Guns in America

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Our country loves its guns, and that affection begins among the very young, with water pistols and other, more realistic toys. The photographer Kristina Loggia was always aware of that — but when her own child turned 3 years old and asked for a toy gun, she encountered head-on her “desire to control my children’s desires and the overall ethical and moral questions that guns present us with.” Out of bounds to liberal urbanite parents, utterly normal in many parts of America, toy guns say a great deal about what we declare appropriate for children today.

Loggia photographed 16 toy guns, collected over a decade. Each is presented on a weathered bare sheet of plywood, making all of them look (Loggia points out) a bit like pinned specimens set on a lab bench for examination. Some appear startlingly like the real thing; others are completely toylike. Are these benign playthings, or a gateway to something malicious? As we hear about yet another very young, very disturbed person going berserk in a public space, it is just possible that they are both.

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Orange Revolver Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Hollywood Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Art Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Duct Taped Water Pistol
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Lock and Load Machine Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Red Ryder Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Brown Machine Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Rubber Band Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Gum Ball Water Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Water Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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Marshmallow Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia
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First Gun Photo: Kristina Loggia