I grew up playing with all sorts of toy weapons — air rifles, phasers, nerf bows, plastic nunchucks and swords — and I love ’em to death. But I don’t want my kid playing with toy guns until I’m confident he understand the difference between a real gun and a fake one.
My son and I play with swords instead of guns. Last count, he had twelve of them. My rule with these is “it’s not a sword unless it is a sword.” A sword is a sword; a stick is not a sword. I don’t want my kid picking up sticks on the playground and whacking his friends with them, and when he gets older I most certainly do not want him picking up other objects — say, a poptart — and declaring it to be a gun. That sort of crap is liable to get my kid expelled and my ass busted on suspicion of being some sort of arms dealer.