At last week’s gun policy summit at Johns Hopkins, public health figures and politicians got together to come up with suggestions for reducing gun violence in America. Those included things like banning high-capacity magazines, mandating background checks, and reinstating the ban on assault weapons. But there was one glaring hole in the experts’ recommendations: the threat of six year-olds making gun shapes with their fingers.
Earlier this month, a six year-old at a Montgomery County school was suspended after pretending to shoot an imaginary finger-gun; a couple weeks later, two other six-year olds were suspended from a Talbot County school for the same offense.
School officials consider these actions threats to other students, ones that should be taken extra-seriously in the wake of school shootings like those at Sandy Hook Elementary. But child psychologist Joe Kaine argues that 6 year-olds’ brains aren’t developed enough to understand why pretending to shoot a classmate might anger adults. “I can certainly appreciate that at school, that’s not a type of play that they are going to endorse and I certainly support that, but that’s where we educate the time and place for doing things,” Kaine told WJZ.