Hey, New York: We Want Our (Toy) Guns

For this past Christmas, I purchased what I thought would be a fun/funny gift for my husband. It’s a BUG A-SALT 2.0 Insect Eradication Gun. A friend of mine happened to mention this toy one day while we were discussing fly swatters and more useful options for getting rid of the pesky insects that make their way into our homes. If you haven’t seen one of these devices, think upgraded toy gun that releases a powerful shotgun spray of common table salt, decimating bugs on contact. One of the BUG A-SALT’s descriptions reads: “Rid your house of all those pesky pests and have a blast while doing it.”

Clearly, it’s all in fun. The BUG A-SALT is a toy (as long as you don’t aim it at people or animals … or shoot it too close to objects you’d like to keep fully intact!). And while we haven’t been able to try it out on any bugs just yet (it’s been 7 degrees here in Alabama), it put quite a nice pattern on a sheet of aluminum foil (actually denting and even penetrating the sheet). So it looks promising! Unfortunately, it’s so promising that my husband is now intent on leaving the doors open to our house when warmer weather comes back around so all kinds of bugs can be let in for the slaughter.

I happened to share a photo of my husband with his shiny new “fly swatter,” which began an entertaining conversation about banning “a-salt” weapons and making safe spaces for bugs. But one of my friends who lives in New York commented that while it’s definitely a pretty clever bug-eliminating tool, she can’t even have one shipped to her in her home state. I had to inquire about this further. I mean, we all know that there are certain states that are pretty terrible about our right to keep and bear arms, but this is just silly. You can’t get a toy gun in New York? It’s a salt weapon, not an assault weapon.

My friend Carolann (who is also a firearms instructor and chapter leader of The Well Armed Woman) explained, “It’s just crazy here. No one will ship to us! We can have the BUG A-SALT toy gun, but we have to go to the store to buy it. It’s the same with airsoft guns; it’s very hard to get them shipped.”

And apparently, for my friend (and for all those who live in New York), it’s more than just the difficulty getting toy guns. “Stun guns are illegal,” she added. “You can’t get them at all or even own them. And pepper spray cannot be shipped to us … period. We can only go into stores and purchase them, and then there are restrictions on what we can and cannot have.”

So, not only is New York a highly restrictive state for purchasing, possessing or carrying firearms, it seems that the governing bodies have left their residents with very few non-lethal forms to use for self-defense, as well. And let’s not forget the addition of restrictions (and burdens), thanks to the New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act of 2013 (commonly known as the NY SAFE Act). As reported, some of the provisions in the NY SAFE Act include:

  • Broadening the legal definition of assault weapon to include firearms with one or more “military-style features, such as a telescoping stock, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, grenade launcher and others.”
  • Allowing 10-round magazines purchased before April 15, 2013, but making it illegal to load more than seven rounds of ammunition into a magazine, except “at an incorporated firing range or competition…”
  • Requiring ammunition dealers to conduct background checks (similar to those for gun buyers) and banning direct internet sales of ammunition.
  • Amending the New York Mental Hygiene Law to add a new reporting requirement for mental health professionals that forces them to inform authorities “if they conclude, using reasonable professional judgment, that [an] individual is likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”

I’m just glad that I don’t live in a state that is so restrictive on my right to protect myself and the ones I love … or on my decision to have a toy designed for killing flies. All I know is that my husband now has a toy gun. A TOY for eliminating pesky little critters who breach our home defenses and often end up in our kitchen and our living spaces. Sorry, New York, but I don’t want to use sticky bug catchers or homemade soda bottle traps; the BUG-A-Salt is an innocently fun and highly effective insect eradicator. And the ammo is super cheap!

Mosquitos and gnats: Beware.