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Old October 9, 2002, 05:20 PM   #1
Drizzt
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(TX) Boy almost pays dearly for realism of trendy toy gun

Boy almost pays dearly for realism of trendy toy gun

'The possibilities are terrifying'

10/09/2002

By SCOTT PARKS / The Dallas Morning News

George Dunham didn't want to be a killjoy.

So he bought his 11-year-old son the hot toy for boys. Everyone in the neighborhood, it seemed, owned an airsoft pistol or rifle – a realistic-looking replica that fires plastic projectiles about twice the size of traditional metal BBs.

Now Mr. Dunham and other parents are counting their blessings and reconsidering the wisdom of letting their sons run around their Coppell neighborhood with real-looking toy guns.

"We could have had a tragedy on our hands," said Mr. Dunham, who co-hosts a sports radio show. "The possibilities are terrifying."

Here's what happened:

Coppell police Officer Cayce Williams was on patrol near the intersection of Crane and Mockingbird at 2:30 p.m. Monday. It was a day off school for students; teachers were working. The boys were home, but the rainy weather didn't hold them inside the house.
They donned their protective eyewear and went outside to play war games with their airsoft guns.

Officer Williams noticed one of the boys walking down the street. As he drove by in his patrol car, it looked as if the boy was trying to conceal something in his left hand, Officer Williams would report later that afternoon.

It looked like a handgun.

Officer Williams turned around, and the boy ran onto Pelican Lane. It took him about 300 yards to catch up to the boy, he said.

"The handgun was in his left hand and I drew my firearm and pointed at him as I exited my vehicle," Officer Williams wrote in his report.

The boy, listed as age 12, dropped his pistol on the ground and put up his hands. Amid tears, he explained that his gun wasn't real and shot only soft pellets.

Even up close, Officer Williams said, the pistol looked exactly like a Sig Sauer P228, a 9 mm handgun. A bright orange plastic tip on the end of the barrel – a legal requirement for replica firearms – was the only indication that it was a toy, he said.

"The gun had a detachable magazine, working slide and hammer," he said in his report. "It appeared to be real."

Other boys had run away when they spotted Officer Williams. They told their mothers what happened, and those moms rushed to the scene. Back-up police units, including a special-operations van, showed up.

Mr. Dunham, a morning talk show host on KTCK-AM (1310), was at home when his son ran into the house to report his friend's encounter with Officer Williams. Mr. Dunham said the incident shook him up and made him think. He talked at length about it on his Tuesday morning radio program.

"I'm really sorry and embarrassed," he said. "Police have enough on their hands. They don't need to be having to figure out what's a real gun and what's not."

Police declined to identify the 12-year-old boy who had stared into the barrel of Officer Williams' very real pistol. They turned him and his airsoft pistol over to his mother and filed no charges against him. Mr. Dunham said he and other parents confiscated the guns from their sons.

'Going to be big'


Sporting good stores and Internet retailers sell the airsoft replicas of real firearms. Many of them come from Europe and are sold under licensing agreements with firearms manufacturers that make the real thing.
The guns, sold under a variety of brand names, range in price from a spring-operated pistol for $20 to gas-powered automatic machine guns that sell for $350 to $400.

Lee Grubb Jr., a salesman for Academy Sports & Outdoors in Dallas, said the airsoft guns are gradually replacing traditional BB guns for two reasons: You can retrieve and reuse the brightly colored pellets, and customers think the plastic pellets are less likely to injure someone than metal BBs or pellets.

"This Christmas, they are going to be big," Mr. Grubb said.

Airsoft gun sellers say their products seem to appeal to the same people who engage in paintball war games.

Paintball guns have unique designs that don't resemble real firearms. But realism is a major selling point for airsoft guns.

Airsplat.com of Pasadena, Calif., touts its airsoft guns as "identical to their real counterparts," saying "they feel, look and act like the real thing."

Ash Chan, a customer service representative for the company, said airsoft gun enthusiasts fall into two major categories: boys who like BB guns, and older guys who attend organized war games that require realistic military attire and authentic-looking replicas of pistols, assault rifles and machine guns.

"I know parents have a tough time controlling their kids," Mr. Chan said. "But they should really discourage them from playing with these things out in public."

Mr. Dunham agrees.

"As popular as it is with your kids, you have to take a stand against it," he said.

http://www.dallasnews.com/latestnews...uns.632ea.html
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Old October 9, 2002, 05:40 PM   #2
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we had a recent discussion about the topic of realistic looking toys....

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...B&pagenumber=1
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Old October 9, 2002, 05:48 PM   #3
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I wasn't there but ....

Why did the cop pull his gun on the 12 year old boy?
Quote:
The handgun was in his left hand and I drew my firearm and pointed at him as I exited my vehicle," Officer Williams wrote in his report
The kid didnt point his gun at him did he?

Just not too long ago a cop shot but not killed a 7 year old whare I live. Some cops need to chill out a bit.

I mean think about it. Kids have toy guns. We all had them when we were kids.
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Old October 9, 2002, 06:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Kids have toy guns. We all had them when we were kids.
Actually, I had a real gun -- a 22LR, but real nonetheless. At 12yo I bought my own ammo at the local gun shop.
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Old October 9, 2002, 06:16 PM   #5
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even though we may have had toy guns or even a few real guns entrusted to us by our parents, we had/still have a respect for life and knew better than to threaten peoples lives.

most kids today dont have that respect. many have no compulsions about commiting violent acts.
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Old October 9, 2002, 07:59 PM   #6
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Every Sunday morning...

...the little road outside my front door is witness to 10 to 20 young men in BDU's, LBE gear and M-16's, CAR-15's and G3's tramping along.

My landlord warned me that this was the neighbor's kid and his buds marching down to play airsoft wars at grandma's house, so I shouldn't drag out the real thing and fire them up.

I have, however, yelled from the porch "Hey, you need to get a team sling for that MP-5 to free up your hands!" and given advice on tactics, as well as admitted to owning a Beretta 93R gas gun and an MP5SD6 AEG, which they thought was way cool, me being an "old lady" and all ("You can come play any time you want, ma'am; we're always looking for new players!"). Wait'll I show 'em my Marui FN P-90 and MP5K-PDW that just arrived from Hong Kong the other day.



Hey, Oleg, you still want that SD6?
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Old October 9, 2002, 08:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
The kid didnt point his gun at him did he?

Just not too long ago a cop shot but not killed a 7 year old whare I live. Some cops need to chill out a bit.
The cop thought it was a real gun and reacted accordingly until it was determined it was not a real gun. He had every right to draw on a person who had a gun already in his hands.

I would've reacted the same way if I was that cop.

Kids kill with real guns these days. A 12 year-old kid shot a cop in the face recently when the cop asked why he wasn't in school.

Cop shoots kid and turns out kid had fake gun: "We want this officer's head on a plate."

Cop gets killed by kid with real gun: "Poor officer."

Looks like a lose-lose situation for the cop both ways.
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:30 PM   #8
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If I'd had children they wouldn't have had toy guns. I'd have started taking them to the range at the age of four or five to "help" me shoot real guns. I'd have given them real guns as they grew ready, but no toy guns.
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
by SR_15_M4...

Why did the cop pull his gun on the 12 year old boy?

The kid didnt point his gun at him did he?
The town where this took place, Coppell, TX, is very upper middle class. The crime rate is extremely low because the cops are extremely vigilent in their patrols. The kid was not out in the country, but in an upscale housing developement, carrying what looked like a real Sig P228. When he saw the cop, HE RAN. If you were that cop what would you think? Just a kid with a toy, I guess, right?

BTW, runt, your observation about the Catch-22 the cops are usually in, was very well put.
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:43 PM   #10
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I used to have all kinds of toy guns as a kid, and only played with them in the back yard or safely in the house. I had a pump-action squirt shotgun that looked quite real from a distance.

Toy guns can be great trainers to teach kids safety rules, and can help kids learn the difference between what's real and what's not. That's how I learned - shooting big brother in the butt with the rubberband gun was ok, but with a BB gun or real one, no way!

I like for kids to have fun, but I don't want to see one shot by an officer who thinks it's a real gun. And the officer will feel absolutely terrible if he shot a kid who only had a toy.

If kids are going to play with realistic looking toy guns, especially Airsofts, I think they should keep it confined to designated safe areas like the back yard where passers-by won't see them, and unwilling parties aren't involved.
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
If kids are going to play with realistic looking toy guns, especially Airsofts, I think they should keep it confined to designated safe areas like the back yard where passers-by won't see them, and unwilling parties aren't involved.
Oh, absolutely!

If you are carrying a very realistic-looking toy gun, do not point it at a stranger, cop or no, because they may not get the joke!
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Old October 9, 2002, 09:57 PM   #12
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Boy, some people's children...

What Runt of the Litter said.

On the flip side, I wonder (β€˜tho not enough to spend time on a search) how many bad guys have applied day-glo orange to the muzzles of real firearms and how many good guys have held fire long enough to get shot as a result.
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Old October 9, 2002, 11:24 PM   #13
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Kids are dangerous

quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The kid didnt point his gun at him did he?

Just not too long ago a cop shot but not killed a 7 year old whare I live. Some cops need to chill out a bit.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Houston Independent School District officer recently (friend of mine) caught a middle school student with a loaded HK USP .45 in his backpack. Gun was reported stolen from a home burgulary.:barf:

Deady Middle School (2 years ago), a student stabbs a fellow student in the head with screwdriver. Kid is currently being help in Harris County custody until his is 18, then will be released with a clean record.:barf:

This is in Houston, TX. The police have every right to be jumpy especially in schools. Recently, a parent of a student (16 yr) who physically attack a Houston Police Officer, sued the officer and the department for him hitting the student and subduing her.:barf:

A few years ago, several kids (<16) where shot dead as they tried to carjack someone with an airsoft Desert Eagle.

Kenneth Lew
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Old October 9, 2002, 11:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Why did the cop pull his gun on the 12 year old boy?
Because anyone big enough to hold a gun is big enough to pull the trigger. The cop did the right thing.
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Old October 10, 2002, 12:03 AM   #15
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A 10 year old was involved in a beating in milwaukee last week. Young age doesn't equal lack of evil intent. Hell yes, point your weapon at someone holding a realistic looking replica at you until they put it down. Doing anything less is foolish.
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Old October 10, 2002, 01:02 AM   #16
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I'm glad I grew up in the late 70's, early 80's. We toted realistic guns, machine guns, pistols, dummy grenades and such around freely. We played in and around our houses, killing each other, wounding and maiming our buddies in mock wars. It was fantastic fun. We played on playgrounds, in the park, even a local grain mill. The police came by, waved, reminded us it would be dark soon.

Jesus H. Christ, this country is riding the short bus.

And to those of you who won't let your kids own toy guns, screw you for being a PC-ninny and trampling on one of the brightest memories a young boy can have. I hope in your next life you have to be raised by YOU. Please defend yourself and tell me all the reasons why it's no good for them. I need to be reminded of how screwed up everyone is.

My kindergarted daughter has a cool wooden cadet rifle I got for her - and she blows me, the dog, her mom and her friends away in bliss. When I remind her that it's a toy, she says "Dad, real ones kill you, I don't play with real ones". How is it a 5 year old is outsmarting half the world? God bless her ignorance of what the rest of the world thinks. Too bad it won't last.
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Old October 10, 2002, 01:36 AM   #17
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swingset You make a good point but...

Quote:
Jesus H. Christ, this country is riding the short bus
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Old October 10, 2002, 01:44 AM   #18
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I am pretty strongly against giving toy guns to young kids. Guns are a responsibility, owning them is a civil right, and a patriotic duty, it should not be taken lightly. Toy guns teach a LOT of bad habbits, particularly about putting fingers in the trigger gaurd, and pointing barrels at other people. Several newbies I've taken to the range have had to unlearn bad habits from their childhood.
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Old October 10, 2002, 02:15 AM   #19
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I like airsoft alot, and have no problem with toy guns as I had them as a kid. But I do not think you should be getting your 10-12 year old kid a airsoft gun, even a cheap springer pistol and letting him run around with it. First off, stuff like this might happen. Second off kids are very damn likely to shoot each other's eyes out with these things. They're not toys for kids, a squirt gun would be a much better choice.

When my buddies and I are trapsing off to go play some airsoft in our BDU's and LBE's we are constantly worried about this kind of stuff, since we're grown and indeed look quite authentically armed to the teeth. I fully expect airsoft to get banned at some point, or at least neutered until all you can have is a funky space gun or something...
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Old October 10, 2002, 03:02 AM   #20
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Sorry SR bout the "name in vain". I forget what forum I'm in sometimes. Say that in a musician's forum and no one looks twice. But, that's the way I talk - and hopefully heaven understands.
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