Photo special: water pistol warning

I'm still relaxing in the sun, so here's today's photo:

So it doesn't have much to do with language use and even less to do with journalism, but I think it is quite striking as a sign of the times. For anyone who can't see, the photo is of a pack of children's water pistols (is there any other kind?) with a warning underneath reading: "It is an offence to sell imitation firearms to anyone under the age of 18."

I took this photo in a London branch of Woolworths. Incidentally, I ended up buying some water pistols from this very shop (although not the ones pictured) and it took me a good 15 minutes to extricate them from the packaging, even with a knife and pair of kitchen scissors. I suppose the excessive packaging could be to prevent anyone ripping the "imitation firearms" out of the box in the shop and running amok with them.

Haven't really got time to check, but should 'water pistols' be hyphenated? Or one word, perhaps?


Roy said...

I was recently in America and, outside "City Hall" in a very small rural town there was a sign that said "No concealed firearms allowed on the premises". So I guess you could take your AK47 assault rifle in as long as it was clearly visible. Further along the street there was a bar with the same sign in one window and, in another window, a sign that said "Large selection of guns for sale inside". I win't be going there for a quiet beer on Friday night.

Kel said...

My computer's OED says that water pistol is not hyphenated... same with water gun and squirt gun, which is what I called them growing up in the States :)

TootsNYC said...

I know that U.S. law requies that any imitation gun (even an air rifle) that *looks* like a gun (big plastic water guns don't count) MUST have a bright orange plastic tip on it, so cops don't shoot your kids for carrying around his play rifle.

But as I said, big plastic water guns don't count, because they're not realistic.

I think if I owned a store that sold water guns, I'd be really tempted to put up a sign that said,
"it is an offense against common decency to sell imitation firearms, especially water pistols, to anyone OVER the age of 18." For kicks.

JD (The Engine Room) said...

When I was a kid, I had a battery-operated water pistol that looked a little like a real gun - at least, it was black and gun-shaped. Nowadays it seems that all the water pistols you can buy in the UK look like alien weaponry - all bright colours and funny shapes. I suppose that's to stop the police shooting the wrong people too (they need all the help they can get over here).

'Squirt gun' - I like that. Would you have a water fight with a squirt gun, or would it be a squirt fight?