This is definitely just one of THOSE topics that people generally feel strongly about one way or the other. I grew up in a house, like many kids, where we were not allowed to play guns. I didn't have a problem with it, and I don't remember my brother caring much either, but maybe I'm wrong. We were allowed to sword fight, which we did with eachother and my dad all the time and loved. We DID have real guns in our lives. We grew up in Alaska and my mom and dad slept with a shotgun hanging over their bed - I'm serious!
It was for bears, which had gotten into the house before. My dad also hunts and he taught my brother and I how to shoot and to use guns safely. We each got a 22 for our 12th birthdays. STILL - my parents didn't let us "play" guns because they felt that they were not something you played at.
I guess I feel the same way. I have a 7 yr. old boy who has never had a problem with our not allowing gun play. I'm just not comfortable with kids pretending to shoot and kill. Its just way too real in everyday life. People go into preschools and highschools and shoot children - even though my kids don't know that, I don't want them pretending to shoot people. I DO feel that all kids, boys often especially, have aggression and energy to work out, but like I've said before I just let them channel that into other play - such as sword fights, meat eating dinosaurs, etc. Yes, gun play is common, but it isn't necessary, there are lots of other ways to get out aggression.
And mamadub - I don't explain sword "fights" as anything else - I don't have a problem with kids letting out healthy aggression, I just don't like gun play.