Gun shop paints 'Hello Kitty' theme on real weapons
David Edwards and Muriel Kane
Published: Wednesday February 20, 2008

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A gun supply shop in Wisconsin is painting and decorating guns to look like children's toys, and many police officers are concerned.

"If somebody points it at an officer, he could hesitate," Bryan Soller of the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police told CNN, "in which case he could get shot or, even worse, the officer could react and take the life of a child."

Sgt. Manny Mendoza of the San Bernadino County Sheriff's Department in Barstow, CA warned that "now we’re at the point where anything that looks like a gun, no matter what color, is considered a firearm, and we will act accordingly to defend ourselves and the public."

Jim's Gun Supply of Baraboo, Wisconsin, which boasts on its website that "we adhere to the highest legal and ethical principles in the conduct of all aspects of our business," primarily offers the customized guns in camouflage patterns. However, it also provides a selection of items in shocking pink, including one with a Hello Kitty logo on the stock, as well as other garish and historical replica designs.

The DuraCoat product used on the guns was originally designed to prevent corrosion. There have been concerns in the past that it could be used by criminals to make real guns look like fakes, but these candy-colored designs that might prove irresistible to children create new worries.

The owner of Jim's Gun Supply, Jim Astle, defended his business in a statement to CNN. "Over 75% of them are law enforcement," he argued. "They're buying them for their wives so they'll go to the range and shoot with them. ... Paint doesn't make it any more deadly than black."

This video is from, broadcast February 19, 2008.