'Mock' handguns are posing a major threat to people's safety across the nation, and now here in the Tri-State. Police departments find themselves in a battle against replica guns. Replica weapons are not a toy, and that is the main message Evansville Police are trying to get out. They look too much like the real thing, and that's the danger. Police say carrying one of these is dangerous, and could even cost you you're life
Take a close look at this picture the Evansville Police Department is sending out. Can you tell which one is a real hand gun, and which one is a mock gun? It's that similarity that's causing real life tragedies, and prompting Evansville Police to speak out. They say these guns are far from being just a 'toy.' "There is no way, in a confrontation with somebody, that you could differentiate between this and a real handgun," says Sgt. Jason Cullum. After a tragedy in California, police departments across the nation are getting the warning out. A thirteen year old boy was shot and killed by officials for carrying what looked like an assault rifle, it was actually a nearly identical replica of an AK -47. "All of the warnings are there. It's just up to us as responsible adults and parents to make sure that our kids do not underestimate the seriousness of this. It's not a toy, it's not to be displayed, and we want to try and prevent tragedies from happening here," says Cullum.
Police say they are starting to see more, and more, of these 'mock' guns in the area, mainly on the city's Southside. "We think some of these kids are scared of the environment that they are in, and they think by displaying these replica guns, that it will scare somebody away," says Cullum. From AK-47's to M-16's, officials warn manufacturers design the guns to look like the real thing. "When you're making that split second decision, you don't get the luxury of examining the weapon to see if it shoots a BB or if it shoots an actual bullet," says Cullum. "It's common sense. Don't get anything that looks like a real gun because it will be accepted as a real gun," says Bonnie Pierson. They cost as little as twelve dollars, can be purchased at several department stores, and in most cases, you only have to be sixteen years old to buy one. When carrying one out in public, people like Pierson do not see a replica, only a weapon. "It looks pretty real."