Toy Guns Easily Confused For Real Thing
Yesterday A 15-year-old boy packing a BB gun was shot in the face by a Bronx plainclothes cop after the teen made a move for the fake gun. Full Story.
Marcus Bonner was shot in his left cheek after narcotics detectives spotted him arguing with a rival group of teens. He pulled the imitation handgun and threatened the boys sending these boys running for cover.
While this is a unfortunate and tragic situation, the officers appeared to follow proper procedure, and under the same circumstances I would have done the same.
Many people are concerned that the realism of Toy / Airsoft guns makes them dangerous. Parents need to be aware that giving an airsoft gun to irresponsible children can put their child in danger.
The main concern surrounding toy gun safety is the realistic nature of the weapons themselves. Airsoft guns, for example, are exact replicas of lethal firearms in both appearance and weight. The only notable difference between airsoft and lethal weapons, other than the blaze orange tip at the gun barrels end.
The problem here is that these toy / replicas guns look exactly like the real thing. For example look at the photo below of the replica toy Airsoft guns.
Can you tell their fake?
If someone were pointing one of these guns at you would you think it were fake?
Do we really expect our police officers not to respond to a perceived threat?
Airsoft is a game or sport in which people take part in the simulation of military combat. The guns are made to look exactly like the real thing, but the ammo is different and safer. Airsoft first originated in the late 1980’s in Japan. Since guns are illegal to own in Japan, some people developed a type of gun that was a replica of real guns, except it fired plastic bb’s. This quickly became very popular in Japan. It then spread through out the rest of Asia and parts of Europe. Nowadays, airsoft is still very popular in those areas and has the United States interested as well. The reason airsoft has never really taken off in the US is because its cousin sport, paintball, has the popular vote. It is gaining popularity though.
Product descriptions use phrases like “full scale,” “life-like,” “true to weight” and “highly realistic.” Imported as toy guns, federal law requires that Airsoft guns have “blaze orange” tips.
As a police officer, I’m telling you that the blaze tips are small and hard to see, particularly in low light. Owners often pry them off, or disguise them with tape or marker, exacerbating the “look-alike” risk.
Another problem with this so called safety measure is that many criminals and gangsters have painted red tips on real guns to make police officers hesitate.
In other circumstances criminals will take off the blaze tip to perpetrate a crime with the toy gun.
Kids also take the blaze tips off, why? No idea.
Here’s a few basic safety tips:
We need to teach our kids that these types of guns should only be used in organized games, in designated and segregated from the public areas.
Private property should be chosen over public places such as streets and parks. By playing on private property, the chances that the game being mistaken for something more are highly diminished.
Never remove the brightly colored warning tip from the weapon.
Never bring the gun to school or into any public building – this could result in panic, alarm and criminal charges.
They need to understand that they should never point a toy gun or any weapon at anyone.
They should understand that if they display their gun in the public or a vehicle that it may be perceived as real weapon, an result in a not very pleasant visit from the police.
Remember – The police will be responding to a 911 gun call.
They should always transport the gun in a case, hidden from public view.
If you are confronted by a police officer while transporting or playing with your airsoft gun, drop the gun, stay calm and follow the officers orders to the letter.
Tell them the officer that the gun isn’t real, and ask them what you should do.
Don’t make any sudden movements and DO NOT argue with the officers.
~ concord carpenter