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BB Guns Look Like Real Guns

DAVENPORT, IA – A 9-1-1 call yesterday put Davenport police officers on high alert. There was a report of an individual with a gun and a group of kids. After officers arrived on scene, they discovered that the alleged gun was actually a bb gun.
/ Source: KWQC-TV

DAVENPORT, IA – A 9-1-1 call yesterday put Davenport police officers on high alert. There was a report of an individual with a gun and a group of kids. After officers arrived on scene, they discovered that the alleged gun was actually a bb gun.

Major Don Schaeffer, Assistant Police Chief, says incidents like this happen too often around the nation. He remembers an incident in October 2013 when a man named Ryan Franklin was shot by a Davenport officer after he appeared to reach for the gun.

“It looks authentic. It looks very intimidating if you have that and somebody is reaching for it. The officer has to respond,†says Schaeffer, “He can't take that chance.â€

Franklin's weapon turned out to be a bb gun, but Schaeffer says the officers are   trained to respond like it's an authentic weapon.

More and more, bb and airsoft guns are looking like real guns, whether they are rifles or handguns.

Schaeffer says, “Those officers are making a split second decision – all of them – I don't know any of them who haven't given some type of verbal demand or order to get down, drop the gun or something.†He says the problem starts to happen when the person does not comply to the orders.

Carrie Boyd, Assistant Manager at EZ-Livin' Sporting Goods, says it's easy for a bb or airsoft gun to be mistaken for a real one. She and her team have been selling them for 35 years. “They look real, they certainly do,†says Boyd, “We've had ones that look like 357 handguns. They really look like handguns.â€

Boyd says some of them don't even have a safety orange tip, so it makes it even harder for the law enforcement to identify. She says, “You don't take any chances with anybody. You don't ever want to assume that it's a toy if it isn't.â€

Major Schaeffer agrees, “They need to comply if they are confronted by the police. The police are going to have to handle it like it's an authentic weapon and you need to listen to what the order is by that officer.â€