Airsoft News: Airsoft rifle looks real; Port Angeles neighbors alarmed

PORT ANGELES -- A Port Angeles man unintentionally caused a scare by playing with a fake rifle while with a group of friends near an apartment building Thursday.

Five Port Angeles police units blocked the apartments near the intersection of C Street and Lauridsen Boulevard after a 9-1-1 caller reported a man or a group of people brandishing a "rifle of sorts" at the back of the apartments, Deputy Chief of Police Brian Smith said.

"Based on the initial information, it appeared to be something that looked like a semiautomatic rifle," Smith said.

After surrounding the building, police talked with the men, who were all adults.

No one was cited.

"It was a very realistic duplication of an SKS rifle," Smith said.

The Airsoft replica had a 30-round magazine -- identical to the look-alikes police use for training. The gun was heavy and lifelike with sturdy metal and a wooden stock.

"It was an extremely realistic semiautomatic rifle that any reasonable person would think was a functioning weapon," Smith said.

Fake guns typically have orange caps that distinguish them from a live weapon. This gun did not have an orange cap.

It's not illegal to have a replica gun, but it is illegal to point or brandish one in a threatening manner, Smith said.

"It's not a crime if it's not alarming people," he said.

Smith said the people playing with the gun "didn't have a lot of situational awareness."

"We spent some time talking to them," Smith said.

Source: Rob Ollikainen | Peninsula Daily News

Airsoft News: Sackett Shows Council Airsoft Guns

Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett brought his guns to town Wednesday night or, to be precise, he brought them to the City Council meeting, a few steps from his office at the police station, and passed them around the room.

Airsoft Glock Caliber Pistol,Airsoft Glock Caliber Pistol
POLICE CHIEF BRET SACKETT holds up a real and fake .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol.
The real pistol is in Sackett's right hand. Robbi Pengelly/Index-Tribune

Sackett had his guns to make a point, albeit not like Billy Joe, the tragic figure in the famous Johnny Cash song who defies his mother, brings his guns to town and is shot dead in a bar. Sackett was there at the request of Councilmember Joanne Sanders who read a recent news story about the police department's intention to crack down on simulated guns. The chief's guns included a 9 mm Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun and two .40 caliber, Model 23 Glock semi-automatic pistols, the gun chosen by the FBI as the bureau's official service weapon.

Sackett said the MP5 was the same assault weapon he used as a member of the Sheriff's Department's SWAT Team, the only difference being that the one circulating through the audience fired plastic "AirSoft" BBs instead of bullets. And of the two Glocks he held up to display, one was an AirSoft pistol and one was his own, unloaded, service pistol. The two looked identical, the AirSoft version even having a functional slide and clip release like the real thing.

Sacket told the council that in one survey of law enforcement officers, 14 out of 40 failed to recognize under close examination that an AirSoft gun wasn't the real thing.

Their close resemblance to real weapons poses a clear dilemma for law enforcement officers who have encountered AirSoft weapons on the street and, in the case of a Florida student, responded with deadly consequences. That young man was brandishing an AirSoft gun with the mandatory orange tip painted black and was shot and killed by police.
In Sonoma in November, police arrested an El Verano man in a fast food restaurant who brandished an AirSoft gun at a customer, demanding food.

Typical muzzle velocities for AirSoft pistols can exceed 450 feet a second, approaching or even exceeding the speed of real small-caliber ammunition like the .22 short pistol cartridge.

Sackett shared a quote from a children's center in Dayton, Ohio, that children have been treated with AirSoft BBs "in the lung, liver, heart, brain and eye."

He explained that a number of state and city laws forbid the discharge of the guns inside city limits within 500 feet of a home, and that even brandishing one of the guns in a threatening manner is a misdemeanor punishable with a jail term of not less than 30 days.

Source: David Bolling (INDEX-TRIBUNE EDITOR) |