Brandishing replica weapons can have dire consequences, including death, because they look very similar to the real deal. In August, a man was shot and killed in Colorado by Denver officers after brandishing a replica airsoft handgun.A Safford juvenile was referred to juvenile probation for disorderly conduct Sept. 16 after admitting to shooting an airsoft rifle near the Safford High School tennis courts. Airsoft guns are typically replicas of real firearms and are either spring-powered BB guns, electric-powered machine guns or gas powered. Airsoft guns are designed to look very realistic and can shoot small plastic pellets up to a range of 25 to 100 meters at speeds of about 75 to 150 meters per second.
The Airsoft gun, top, and the police rifle are similar enough to be mistaken for each other.
Safford Police were called to the school after an employee saw the juvenile shooting the gun. The airsoft weapon was located in the back seat of the juvenile's vehicle, but nobody was in the immediate area.The owner of the vehicle later approached the officer and admitted to firing the replica airsoft weapon.The juvenile said he was shooting the gun in the dirt because it was jammed and not working properly. He said it was his friend's gun and was given to him to paint.The juvenile was referred to juvenile probation for disorderly conduct for disturbing the peace of the employee who reported it and believed it was a real gun.Safford Police Chief John Griffin said officers and civilian gun owners probably would not be able to tell the difference between a replica airsoft weapon and a real weapon, especially in the heat of the moment."(That) could make someone pointing it at the wrong person very dead," Griffin said.