Thursday, August 25, 2005

Police Say Pellet Guns Pose Real Danger

A 12-year-old boy was charged Tuesday with assault and felony menacing for allegedly hurting another child at a skate park in Parker. Police confiscated a bat and an Airsoft pellet gun but it's the pellet guns that have officers particularly concerned.

Police say that the pellet guns are becoming so realistic that officers may not be able to tell the difference during a confrontation.

Aurora police have confiscated at least 10 of the fake look-alike weapons in the last year. CSU police in Fort Collins are also dealing with the problem.

The pellet or paintball guns with an obvious orange tip are easy to spot as fake but sometimes, the guns have been altered and the orange tip is painted or marked black, police.

Other guns look identical to a real Glock 22, .40-caliber weapon. They have similar company logos and both use a clip-style ammo magazine.

"We don't have time to ask, 'Is that a real gun?' It's just dangerous. It's not a good idea to have replicas of guns that are so realistic," said Rudy Herrera of the Aurora Police Department.

Police say they may only get a look at the barrel before they have to react with the real thing.

"There's no way for an officer to be able to tell the difference through the mechanics of the way the weapon works. There's not enough time ... These were intended to be identical replicas," Herrera said.

Police want to get the word out -- if you point one of these toy guns at an officer, you could be very sorry.

"If I deem that there's a threat, I'm going to take action just as though it's real. And, unfortunately, we'd have to figure out whether or not it's a real gun after the fact. And that's not right," said Aurora police Officer Marcus Dudley.

Police say that pointing a realistic weapon at anyone could result in an arrest for felony menacing. Officers say there's also a national trend among gang members who paint the end of a real gun bright orange, just to confuse people. That's why police say they won't hesitate.

"We will not hesitate. We have families too. We want to go home to our families every day," Herrera said.

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