Monday, October 24, 2011

CCSO Issues Cautions About Replica Guns

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is cautioning the public about the seriousness and potential consequences of airsoft guns that appear real.

These look-alike guns are used to play military-style games similar to paintball but cheaper and less messy, because the weapons fire plastic pellets instead of paint capsules that burst on impact.

CCSO wants the public to be aware of the dangers and consequences of public displays of such weapons.

The guns' striking realism can create unnecessary encounters with law enforcement. They can also scare other people who might be lawfully armed and who may respond with deadly force due to a perceived threat to their own safety.

Toy guns -- airsoft guns included -- are required under federal law to have a bright orange tip to distinguish them from real weapons. The law was put in place to protect law enforcement personnel and teens from misunderstandings, injuries and deaths. Still, some guns are sold without the orange tips and those unaware of the law would be none the wiser.

CCSO encourages people who own airsoft and similar toy guns not to alter them. Keep in mind that the orange tip does not protect you: some people do not know about airsoft guns and may assume that these are real guns.

CCSO also encourages parents to tell kids to use airsoft guns away from the public eye where no one will mistake the guns for real guns or be hurt by an errant BB.

When using airsoft guns, make sure everyone within view understands what you are playing with and what you are doing.

If a law enforcement officer approaches you while you are using airsoft guns, immediately set the gun down, then stand still and slowly put your empty hands up, eliminating perceived threat to the deputy.