Hello Kitty celebrated her 40th birthday back in 2014, and the cute little cat has earned megabucks for Japanese firm Sanrio. Look around next time you are in K-Mart … you will see Hello Kitty sneakers, paper towels, panini makers, chopsticks, wine and more. You can even eat Hello Kitty dumplings in Hong Kong, fly on a Hello Kitty plane to Taiwan or hang at Hello Kitty Con in Los Angeles. And the latest addition to the trend? Hello Kitty … guns. Yes, I do mean real guns, not water pistols or even cap guns or BB guns, but real guns that shoot real bullets and kill real people.
To be fair, Sanrio does not condone the manufacture of this product, and in 2013 issued the following statement:
“Sanrio®, the owner of the Hello Kitty® property, wishes to correct the gross misconceptions cast by recent media reports suggesting that we are involved in the manufacture or sale of Hello Kitty guns. Sanrio has not and will not authorize the manufacture or sale of any gun or firearm and does not condone the use of our intellectual property for the purposes of marketing such merchandise.
“Any firearm and/or image featured in these stories was customized and/or digitally manipulated without authorization to include Sanrio’s Hello Kitty copyrighted images and trademarks. Such actions constitute copyright infringement, trademark infringement and dilution. Sanrio’s attorneys will take appropriate legal action against anyone who is manufacturing, selling or displaying such products.”
Nonetheless, until just last week, Hello Kitty guns were being sold and readily available on the internet. A company called GlamGuns sells this AK-47 assault weapon, touting it as being “A perfect gift for the young lady of the house.” And behold, this monstrosity costs only $1,072.95. This is so wrong on so many levels that I don’t know where to begin!
Interestingly, I first came across the image of a Hello Kitty handgun in an article about a week ago. I bookmarked the article, as I frequently do when something catches my interest, but I am not ready to do anything with it at that moment. When I went back to the article this morning, the image of the handgun had been replaced with a different gun, one covered in flowers rather than Hello Kitty. “Both images, which were shared on the site’s social media, have since been removed. The shop didn’t have authorization to use either the Dallas Cowboys or the Hello Kitty design. Sanrio, which owns the rights to Hello Kitty characters, acted quickly to ask that the shop cease all promotions, images and sales of the gun immediately because of a copyright infringement, saying it “does not condone, and does not permit, its Hello Kitty intellectual property to be reproduced on guns or other weaponry.”” (Gomez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 May 2016)
Yet another company, Blackwater, was custom-designing guns with the Hello Kitty logo. I found the following notification on their website this morning: “PLEASE NOTE THAT DUE TO THREATS AND IGNORANCE FROM SANRIO™ (MAKERS OF HELLO KITTY™) I WILL NOT DO ANY HELLO KITTY™ INLAYS AS OF 29MAY16 YOU CAN THANK THE TYPICAL LIBERAL ANTI-GUN MENTALITY FOR THIS”. Blackwater apparently designed ‘The Dark Hello Kitty™ inlayed – Sig P226’ shown here and sold for a mere $2,100.
As one of those ‘liberal anti-gun mentalities’, I would first like to give a two-thumbs-up to Sanrio for their social conscience and for putting humanitarian concerns above profit. And I would like to give a kick-in-the-rump to companies who thought it was a good idea to put Hello Kitty on weapons whose sole purpose is murder, and to any who would buy such garbage.
I do not like guns. I think they should be confined to military and law enforcement. That said, I understand that I am in the minority, that the citizens of this nation have a Constitutional right to own guns, and that right is likely to remain for the foreseeable future. However … to decorate guns so that they look like toys to small children is not a ‘right’ … it is sheer and utter stupidity. Already there are entirely too many tragic instances of children shooting other children because the parents were not intelligent enough, or perhaps just didn’t care enough to keep their guns locked away safely. Already some children are being raised to think of guns as a toy. So, why in the Sam Hell did anybody think it was a cool idea to decorate a gun with a cute little kitty image, arguably the most popular little kitty among the younger set?
There can be no excuse for an intersection between the innocence of children and guns. Yet, in addition to the Hello Kitty mess, kids and guns intersect in numerous manners. Did you know, for example, that the National Rifle Association (NRA) sells merchandise for children, including t-shirts and bibs with the group’s name on them? They also sponsor an annual ‘Youth Day’, an event where kids and their parents “enjoy a handful of activities that the NRA is involved in,” including roping cattle and shooting.
In July 2014, freshman representative Robin Kelly introduced H.R.5093 – Children’s Firearm Marketing Safety Act, into the House of Representatives. You can read the text H.R. 5093 but in a nutshell, it would ban:
- the use of cartoon characters to promote firearms and firearm products,
- firearm brand name merchandise marketed for children,
- the use of firearm marketing campaigns with the specific intent to appeal to children,
- the manufacturing of a gun with colors or designs that are specifically designed to appeal to children, and
- the manufacturing of a gun intended for use by children that does not clearly and conspicuously note, by specified warnings on the firearm, the risk posed by the firearm by labeling somewhere visible on the firearm.
It seems to me a reasonable bill, however the best information I could find was that it was introduced and is still sitting somewhere in the house gathering dust. Of course, the same can be said of nearly every bill that was introduced by a democrat for the past seven years, so why should this be any different, right?
Many of my friends and acquaintances own guns, but I hope that even they are appalled by the display of stupidity involved with associating a primarily children’s product in order to sell firearms. If anybody thinks it was a good idea, then I don’t think I want to know that person. Eventually, the gun madness, as I see it, in this nation must end. People in other countries around the globe think the U.S. is crazy for it’s gun policies, or I should say, lack of policies. No other nation in the world tolerates the freedom that is given to Americans to own and use guns. The freedom to be murdered at random in a shopping mall, movie theater, church, school, or even in our own home. Think about it.