MAHOMET — A junior high student was caught with a realistic-looking weapon at a school bus stop. The sheriff’s office is alarmed after a mother sent video of a student pointing what looks like a real gun at another student.
After the incident last week, officials are asking parents to be pro-active. Toy guns are prevalent in the community, but children should be reminded they’re toys and, under no circumstances, should they be brought out in public.
Parents and kids should be aware conceal-carry laws are allowed in Illinois and, if people feel they’re in danger, those who are armed could take the right to protect themselves and others seriously.
If this gun looks real, you’re not alone. Up close, there’s no mistake this plastic gun with its fake noise is just a toy, but in public, this toy can be seen as a weapon.
“Somebody who’s standing with this amongst a group of people, being observed from 20-feet or more away, this looks like a real handgun.”
This image shows one student pointing a toy gun at another. While an obvious toy to the mother who took the picture at a school bus stop. Chief Deputy Allen Jones says these situations should not be considered a game.
“When you add to it the possibility of a firearm, now you have deputies who are going to have to roll up and make a quick decision, is this a firearm that’s going to be used on another child, another officer, or is it a toy gun?”
With the potential of someone being scared or even having a concealed-carry license, the scene could get even more serious.
“You have to assume that the situation is dangerous and that’s just the reality of it. If someone is waving it around like a real gun, you have to react that it is a real gun or someone could get hurt.”
In a compromising situation, jumping the gun is a serious concern for police officers.
“But, when you’re the only one in a group of people holding a gun, pointing it a them, it’s a touch decision to make.”
Officials urge people who see a risky situation to pull the trigger by letting them know immediately.
“When you get down to it, the whole intention to it is safety. We want the kids to have fun, but there are places not to take these.”
Jones says officers can typically identify a fake gun by a plastic orange piece on the tip. They ask owners of toys to make sure it’s not broken off, especially for those which are more realistic-looking.