The Deadly Pea Rifle

The Advertiser, Adelaide 

4 February 1905

The urgent necessity for a law regulating the sale and use of firearms is emphasised daily. In The Advertiser on Friday a correspondent particularised three accidents through boys having been permitted to use such deadly weapons, all these, he says, having occurred within a radius of 100 yards, though, presumably, on different occasions. Side by side with this statement appeared a Sydney telegram relating how a young woman was shot and seriously wounded by a boy with a "toy" pistol, in fact, one can scarcely pick up a paper without reading of similar accidents and fatalities occurring through the careless handling of firearms by children of tender age.

One of the most dangerous weapons in the hands of boys, however possibly because it is the most frequently used - is the pea rifle. This is supposed by many to be a comparatively harmless toy, instead of which it will carry a projectile, possibly with deadly effect, for a distance of 200 yards, and its report at that distance is almost inaudible to bystanders. Yet in spite of this, the rifle is entrusted to children to amuse themselves, although they would not be able to handle an ordinary gun. The use of this innocent-looking but dangerous weapon should be restricted in the case of boys and careless youths. At all events, the situation is serious enough to call for action of some kind.