The problem is that LEGO sets have always had guns! I had tons of Legos when I was a kid, and one of the oldest sets (pirates) came with toy muskets and flintlock pistols. The "Space" themes have always had guns of some sort, although usually more far-out that rifle-like. The "underwater" set had spear-guns. The "castle" set (the oldest one I can remember) had swords, spears, pikes, and poleaxes. The "wild west" sets had revolvers, rifles, and even dynamite.
In short, I have absolutely no idea what these people are talking about. Legos haven't become "violent" because they've added some new, more modern, guns. When I played with them the entire idea was to have fights! If you weren't building giant bases and war-ships and armies, well then you weren't playing with them. And I entirely fail to see how a toy that can become whatever a person wants can be bad in any context (I say person because Legos are not simply a children's toy).
Lego fans and members of The Brickish Association, which bills itself as forum for adult fans of Lego, say there has been a clear shift in policy.
One senior figure in the association said the company had used semi-realistic guns in the past, for pirate sets and those for cowboys, but nothing like those seen in its Star Wars and Batman products.
"Lego's take on creating weaponry has changed over the years," he said.
"My understanding is that the philosophy of the founding fathers of the company was to be non-violent and not to include realistic guns.
"But as they have got more realistic sets and sets that are licensed with big films, there has been an acceptance of guns.
"I very much hope Lego is not being dragged along by a trend for more violent toys and games.
"The philosophy of the company is very family friendly, non-violent, play."
Huw Millington, who runs the Brickset website, said: "There has been a change in emphasis with more realistic-looking guns. It may be that the tie-up with Hollywood is to blame.
"Some people say the brand has gone downhill since it signed licensing deals with big films, but personally I don't agree."
I would love for these guys to explain to me how exactly making guns slightly more realistic makes the toys more violent. Does it really make a difference if it's the gun pictured in the article or a long black stick? As someone who rather recently used the long black sticks as missile launchers, I can tell you that it does not. The entire point of Legos is to engage your imagination, and the pieces will turn into weapons, whether they're realistic-looking or not.
And how exactly is a toy gun not "family friendly"? Last time I checked, little boys love guns. Who didn't have some kind of cowboy or police toy set growing up? Who didn't play "cops 'n' robbers" or some similar game? Who didn't have a fort in the backyard stockpiled with stick weaponry? Who didn't have squirt-gun wars? Why is it that all of a sudden anything that involves any kind of violence is bad?
And, of course, there's the obvious solution: DON'T BUY YOUR KIDS THE SETS WITH GUNS IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH GUNS. I could turn this into a tirade against idiotic parents who want other people to take responsibility for their children, but that's a subject for another day.