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Close calls with realistic-looking pellet guns spark warning
Washington County Sheriff's Office cites three incidents in four days
The Washington County Sheriffs Office is warning residents about the dangers of replica guns.
According to the Sheriffs office, deputies have seen a surge in incidents involving fake firearms. Sgt. Bob Ray, a spokesman for the Sheriffs office, said that the guns were very realistic and could cause significant danger to the community.
In the last four days, Ray said, deputies have had three separate calls to 911 reporting a person shooting or threatening to shoot people. In all three occasions, very realistic replica guns were used. The guns fired pellets or BBs, according to Ray.
Sheriffs deputies are often forced into making split-second decisions about whether a gun is real, Ray said. In a rapidly developing situation, a realistic looking replica gun can easily be identified as a real gun, with potentially tragic results.
In all three cases, Ray said, deputies were able to resolve the situations peacefully, but it wasnt until closer examination that deputies realized that the guns werent real. Two of the three incidents resulted in arrests.
We work hard every day to ensure that our interactions with the public are as safe and peaceful as possible, said Washington County Sheriff Pat Garrett. These dangerously realistic guns are being marketed as cool and trendy, (but) when improperly used, the consequences could have catastrophic results.
While actual statistics are difficult to calculate, reports of deaths, injuries and close calls involving replica guns are becoming more common across the nation, Ray said. Many of these incidents involved individuals using a replica gun to commit a crime.
Federal law requires airsoft guns to have an orange collar on the muzzle, transparent or neon-colored bodies. Toy guns are required to have a bright orange plug at the end of a non-shooting barrel or a body thats brightly colored. Unfortunately, Ray said, pellet and BB
guns do not fall into either category.
Deputies caution the public to be wary of the possible repercussions of carrying or handling replica guns in public and ask parents not to allow their children to use these realistic looking guns.