COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Toy guns looking like real ones have caused problems both locally and nationwide with accidental shootings.
Even cops often can’t tell the difference between what is real and what’s fake.
“Opened up the cylinder, checked it, made sure it was unloaded and didn’t realize that it was not a real gun until he was getting ready to put it into evidence,” said Lt. Catherine Buckley of the Colorado Springs Police Department.
“Can’t tell a toy gun from a real one. It’s not realistically possible,” said gun store owner Paul Paradis.
Not being able to tell fake from real is dangerous for both officers and others.
“They only have seconds to take a look at whatever that person has and try to make an assessment as to whether that is a real weapon or not and we have to err on the side of caution for ourselves and for the public,” said Buckley.
One gun store said you can’t fix how the guns look, but you can fix how people handle them.
“A really important thing is for every parent to talk to their child, if they have toy guns, to say that if the police ever come up don’t make any sudden moves. If you think the police are wrong we can discuss that later, but don’t do something dumb with a gun,” said Paradis.
Police said another contributing factor to the problem is when arriving on scene officers rarely know exactly who or what type of situation they’re encountering, so they have to be on high alert with their reactions to potential firearms.