…if you think it’s right to do so.

See, when I was a small kid I was handed a toy cap gun by my grandparents. To this day, it was a toy I still remember fondly. It was a double barrel shotgun mock-up, and the red cap ring went into the chambers accessible via an unlocking lever just a like a real one. I would stand on the front porch for a long time (hard to tell how long “kid time” is to adult time) and pretend to shoot bad guys.

But more importantly, my experiences with the cap gun have not lead to me shooting anyone with a real gun.

I’m willing to bet that since the invention of the toy gun, the vast majority of people who grew up playing with these fake firearms have never used an actual firearm to bring harm to the innocent. In fact, I’m willing to bet there’s a good solid chunk who did end up owning actual firearms that used them to help people. Guns save hundreds of lives a year, so the chances of my guess being true are pretty good.

But despite the fact that guns in the hands of the good saves lives, and the lack of good guys with guns seems to assist in the taking of innocent life — 98 percent of mass shootings have occurred on gun-free zones — there are groups out there who believe that turning away from firearms is the only way to keep people safe, and a community crime free.

According to WIVB, Capt. Steve Nichols of the Buffalo police is encouraging parents to toss the idea of getting their kids a toy gun for Christmas in favor of something “more educational.”

“Little kids like to play cops and robbers but you know in the environment we live in, there’s so much violence in this world that there’s so many other options for kids to have fun,” said Nichols.

“Even with toy guns they reach an age where they start taking off the orange tip and they start pretending that they’re real guns and try and use them in robberies or other things and really all that’s going to do is get them hurt,” he added.

Nichols is backed by a group called F.A.T.H.E.R.S., whose president, Leonard Lane, said: “Whatever you put in a child’s hands that’s what he feels comfortable with and you put a toy gun in his hands at an early age and when he gets older he’s going to want the real thing.”

Both of these men are shooting themselves in the foot, so to speak. Blind fear and ignorance have never helped anyone, and these men are dangerously encouraging parents to miss out on a great age at which to teach their children about gun safety and usage.

Every gun I was handed by my family when I was young, be it a toy or a real working rifle, came with lessons. I was educated from a young age all the do’s and dont’s of gun ownership. The right and the wrong, the how and the when. Desensitization to the firearm did occur, but from it came the opportunity to create something this society needs.

And what society needs right now is the good, dangerous person. The person who will draw iron in defense of himself or others when evil decides to strike. Without the good, dangerous person, then the bad has its way.

And we know the good dangerous person is integral to a safe society, as they’ve been proven to save lives, and stop evil in its tracks. Stephen Willeford, who grabbed his rifle and stopped the recent Sutherland, Texas, shooting is one such example. The website Bearing Arms has an entire section of their site dedicated to stories of the good guy with the gun stopping crimes.

If that’s not convincing enough, a recent study found that legal gun owners in Texas have a lower murder rate than Britain where guns are banned.

Do not make the foolish mistake of thinking that teaching your kids that firearms are scary will stop gun crime. The numbers prove that this isn’t how the world works. Instead, educate your children that yes, firearms are dangerous, and that danger should be utilized for good.