Prince George innocently playing with a toy gun at a charity polo match in England did not sit well with some netizens.
While watching dad Prince William take part in the match held Sunday, June 10, the third in line to the British throne was pictured holding a small black gun as he played with children on the grass.
George, 4, also had a toy knife and pair of handcuffs. Duchess Catherine supervised the children including Princess Charlotte.
Other pictures showed the two siblings running across the grass at the Beaufort Polo Club in Gloucestershire.
Netizens expressed their views on the toy on social media, with some expressing worries on gun violence and others defending it as mere child's play.
"This isn't okay anymore… My American side here, biased maybe b/c of everyday #gunviolence in USA,but my British side agrees. No child in this day and age should look at any gun as a fun toy. This looks far too real. .(And I LOVE Prince George, don't get me wrong!)," reasoned Daisy Torme (@daisytorme) on Twitter.
Deesa Roberts (@DeesaRoberts) said, "Here's why the sight of #PrinceGeorge playing with a toy gun is triggering for some of us. Black mothers in the US have to teach their sons not to play with anything (a toy gun, a cell phone, etc.) a policeman could claim looked like a real gun. Their lives depend on it."
Roxanne Fowler (@roxanne_tegan) said playing with guns as a kid did not automatically mean one could become "a mass shooter."
"People are complaining because Prince George had a plastic gun. I had a plastic gun when I was little guess what I grew out of it I didn't grow up to be a mass shooter or become obsessed with guns I hate guns now so just leave the boy alone and let him be a child."
A Michelle Maynard (@seayork2002) said, "Would I buy my son a toy gun? no, would I stop him playing with one? NO. does it bother me that Prince George is playing with one NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?"
Those who reacted negatively raised concerns on gun violence, which has shown no signs of slowing down in the United States given lenient gun laws. As of May 18, there have been 101 mass shootings since the start of the year.
In the United Kingdom, the 1996 Dunblane school massacre involved a 43-year-old man killing children ages 5 and 6. Since then, the UK has implemented strict gun control and has only had three mass shootings from 1983 to 2013.
Should Prince George get his hands on real firearms, it would most likely be when he is old enough to begin training for the military. While a military career is not required of royals, royal family members who have pursued it include his own father, uncle Prince Harry and grandfather Prince Charles.