Police seeing more fake guns that put lives at risk

Real and fake guns look very similar

Police are seeing more fake guns that look very much like a real gun, and from a distance it can be nearly impossible for a law enforcement officer to determine if a suspect is holding a real gun or a fake.

“We’re dealing with more facsimile firearms on the street. When I started back in 2005 there seemed to be once in a while we’d get facsimile firearm calls, BB guns and air soft guns. Now that number seems like it is much higher,” said Officer Christopher Masterson, a training officer with the Madison Police Department.

Earlier this week police in Madison responded to a report of the driver of a car pointing a handgun at a pedestrian. When officers located that car, they found a pellet gun inside that looked very much like a real handgun. They arrested 18-year-old Tylor Loving, the driver of the car, and 18-year-old Theron Walker on charges of disorderly conduct while armed.

The facsimile guns can also carry with them deadly consequences. A Washington Post investigation shows that 86 people who were carrying facsimile firearms were killed in the last year by law enforcement officers.

When police officers encounter a suspect armed with a gun the decisions are often made in a fraction of a second. They have to respond to what they see and it can be extremely difficult to determine if a gun is real or not.

Police seeing more fake guns that put lives at risk“Without time, I think it is almost impossible,” Masterson said.

With facsimile firearms showing up with increased frequency it is a problem that weighs on officers minds.

“I think every call an officer goes to it is probably in the back of their mind somewhere. Is this firearm that we’re being told about real or is it a facsimile?” Masterson said.

In encounters with law enforcement the facsimile firearms put lives at risk, which is something parents should consider.

“There is no reason for children to be carrying around facsimile firearms that look like real firearms,” Masterson said.