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When a toy gun and a real gun are presented side-by-side, it’s almost impossible to tell which is a fake, James City County Police warn.
It’s even difficult for officers — who carry real Glock 9 mm handguns — to quickly tell the difference between their weapons and that of a pellet gun handled by a child or adult.
That was the case during one incident Wednesday, when James City County Police were called to Ironbound Park after a man was struck by some kind of projectile, Stephanie Williams with the James City County Police Department said.
Officers found eight people between 15 and 19 years old with two pellet guns that, from a quick glance, are indiscernible from the real thing.
“While, fortunately, no one was injured in this incident, it is an important reminder about the dangers associated with toy guns,” Williams said in a news release. “The harsh reality is that an individual in possession of one of these two guns could be hurt, or worse, because someone mistakes the toy gun for a real gun.”
Williams said historically, toy guns are marked by an orange tip, but people will remove the orange tip or fasten an orange tip to real guns to hide the distinction.
To her knowledge, this is the first time an incident such as this has been raised in the county.
She encouraged parents to supervise children playing with toy guns and noted the county’s code states it is unlawful for a minor under age 16 to operate a pneumatic gun.
“Parents should be sure kids understand the dangers associated with these guns, both from the perspective of what they can do to another person but also how it looks to a law enforcement officer or other citizen encountering someone bearing one,” she said.
Pellet guns are often advertised as having the look and feel of a real pistol and can be found at local sporting goods stores.
Questions regarding firearm safety can call Master Officer Alan McDowell or another officer at 253-1800.