A Utah-based gun company is facing backlash this week after selling a Glock handgun casing that transforms the weapon to look like a children’s Lego toy.
The gun company, Culper Precision, agreed to remove the product from its website and “not make or sell anything like this in the future,” after Lego reached out, according to a statement from Lego to USA TODAY.
The “BLOCK19” kit, which borrows from Lego’s characteristic red, blue and yellow brick design, debuted last week with a website page touting it as “SUPER FUN!”
“This is just one small way to break the rhetoric from Anti-Gun folks and draw attention to the fact that the shooting sports are SUPER FUN!” the site, which has since been taken down, said, according to the Washington Post. “Here’s the thing. Guns are fun. Shooting is fun. 30 rounds full auto is fun.”
The BLOCK19 set off a social media firestorm amid concerns that the kit could cost children their lives.
David Pucino, a senior staff attorney at Giffords Law Center, said it is reckless to refashion a gun to look like a toy: “There is a level of responsibility that comes with being in the business of deadly weapons.”
“If you are selling a weapon that can kill someone you need to take responsibility for that, to acknowledge the risks your product poses, and to make it as safe as possible,” he said. “Culper Precision failed to live up to that standard in every way.”
Pucino said no federal law prohibits guns from resembling toys, but the BLOCK19 may qualify as a prohibited “disguised gun” under certain state laws, including New York. Pucino called the product irresponsible and said it “goes against the most basic tenets of gun safety.”
“This is a horrifying product,” he said. “The risk of any person, but in particular a child, confusing a handgun with this covering for a toy, are obvious. The first thing you tell a child about guns is that a gun is not a toy.”
Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, voiced her concerns about the product on Twitter. Watts told USA TODAY the “unintentional shooting crisis that we have in this country” is “a uniquely American crisis.”
“It’s because we have this vocal minority of gun extremists who believe that unfettered access to loaded guns at all times supersedes the sanctity of life and the safety of children,” she said. “That is not the mainstream view of Americans. It’s certainly not the view of responsible gun owners.”
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There was a 31% increase in unintentional shooting deaths by children between March and December 2020 compared to the same time period in 2019, according to Everytown Research & Policy. The organization counted 314 unintentional shootings, resulting in 128 deaths and 199 nonfatal injuries.
“What this company is doing is putting children’s lives in peril,” Watts said. “It’s dangerous and repulsive.”
She added, “There’s no responsible gun owner in this country who would think that this is acceptable.”
In a statement following the backlash, Culper Precision said: “People have the right to customize their property to make it look like whatever they want.”
“It seems that no matter what we create in the firearms industry anti gunners seem to leverage every *true* innovation shortly after its release to talk about why guns are bad,” the statement said. “Rather than live in fear of the loud voices on social media we decided to release Block19 in an attempt to communicate that…owning and shooting firearms responsibly is a really enjoyable activity.”
The statement said responsible gun owners are expected to safely secure their firearms, but “we are never in support of legislating personal responsibility.”
“We would remind everyone that failing to secure a firearm of ANY color from unauthorized persons is irresponsible,” according to the statement.
While Pucino was relieved to hear the gun kit was no longer available, he was disappointed Culper Precision “failed to apologize or even acknowledge why so many people were appalled at this dangerous product.”
Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.