Decorated guns present new dangers

A man in Baraboo, Wis., is custom painting weapons with the Hello Kitty character on them. From handguns to semi-automatics, he will paint it if the price is right – at least $100 for one color painting.

There are lots of ways to decorate a machine, but having a pink gun with a cat design on the handle is the most dangerous thing anyone could do.

A video on features Jim’s Gun Supply, where painted guns are sold with all kinds of designs.

Bryan Soller, president of the Arizona fraternal order of police, said in the CNN video that owning a gun like this could be dangerous because it could make a police officer hesitate, making him or her vulnerable to an attack.

Or a child could easily pick up a gun like this thinking it was just a toy and pull it on an officer. The police officer might think it was real and shoot the child with the gun.

I’m all about the Second Amendment. If the forefathers thought it was important enough to put it in the Bill of Rights, people who pass background checks should be allowed to own a gun. But to paint a gun and make it look like a toy is not smart.

A reporter in the video interviewed a woman on the street who looked at a picture of the gun.

She said, “It’s Hello Kitty.”

When she was told it was a weapon people use, she abruptly said it wasn’t funny.

With the recent news at Northern Illinois University, guns have become a sensible issue, and making guns resemble a toy makes weapons an even bigger hazard.

Some might remember “Home Alone 4,” where the little boy tricks the thieves by painting his toy gun black. Granted there are more differences to a real gun and a toy gun than the color, but the point is, it could be easily confused if it had a Hello Kitty design on it.

Hello Kitty is a character created by Sanrio and hit the market in 1960. Sanrio was created by Shintaro Tsuji, according to the Sanrio Web site.

The characters of Sanrio have become a worldwide hit.

The philosophy of the company is to spread the Sanrio magic and make a “small gift, big smile.” I don’t think Tsuji had Hello Kitty being painted on a gun as a part of his marketing plan.

Hello Kitty was in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in November and celebrities have also been seen supporting the character. Hello Kitty guitars were signed for charity by the cast of “High School Musical,” including Vanessa Hudgens and Zach Efron. Miley Cyrus was also seen wearing a Hello Kitty necklace at the 2007 Teen Choice Awards.

Consumers can see the Hello Kitty character on other merchandise like toasters, purses and notebooks, but surely a gun is a first.

Jim Astle, the owner of Jim’s Gun Supply, said in the video that 75 percent of the customers who send him guns are in law enforcement and are buying them for their wives.

A hot pink gun doesn’t disguise what it is – a gun is a gun.

But, according to the video, the law is on their side. The reporter said this gun design was legal and Jim’s Gun Supply is legitimate.

However, when legitimately decorating a gun, people should think about the repercussions painting a cute little cat on their gun could have.

It could cost them more than a couple hundred bucks.

Opinion editor Ana Bak is a junior news-editorial journalism and political science major from Quito, Ecuador.