Earlier this month, Friendswood police issued the community a reminder: Paintball, pellet and BB guns cannot be legally discharged within city limits.
A rash of incidents involving replica weapons — toy guns that look very similar to the real thing — should serve as a wake-up call that may jolt some people.
A 15-year-old Florida boy was shot and killed by police after bringing a replica 9mm to school and threatening to kill himself and classmates. A Washington high school was shut down briefly after a 17-year-old brought a similar weapon to school.
Friendswood police responded to a 9-1-1 call Christmas Eve expecting to find an armed man. He was armed — with an Airsoft pellet gun.
But it looked like an M-16.
Police responding to calls that a weapon is present or that shots have been fired do not have the luxury of time to examine the weapon closely to determine whether it is a real threat.
The days when kids could run around the neighborhood “shooting” each other with toy guns are gone.
After Columbine and dozens of other incidents involving ever-younger children wounding or killing someone, it’s time for adults to realize even toy guns aren’t toys anymore.
And it’s also time for older teens and adults to set an example by restricting use of paintball guns and Airsoft pellet guns to sites designated for combat-like play.
A person discharging a replica weapon outside these areas could end up with a class C citation and a $260 fine.
Or he could end up dead.
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