GRPD warns of BB guns that look like firearms

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Grand Rapids police are warning parents of the dangers of letting their kids have BB guns that look like real firearms.

The warning comes after a boy around the age of 12 or 13 was taken into custody on the Fourth of July while carrying a BB gun that appeared to be real. Video posted online shows the incident. In it, two Grand Rapids officers can be seen pointing weapons at the boy and saying they need to “work it out.” They then approach the boy, who was already lying on the ground when the video begins, handcuff him, take the BB gun from his waistband and put him in their cruiser.

On Wednesday, the Grand Rapids Police Department posted a photo on Facebook of the gun involved, which looks like a real pistol.

Police say the boy cooperated and is not facing criminal charges. He was returned to his mother at the scene.

While such BB and replica guns are not illegal, GRPD says it is dangerous for kids to carry them because police have to respond as if they’re real. They say they’re confiscating such items at least a few times per week.

“It’s not us out keeping kids from playing as kids, it’s people out using them in a way they’re not intended for and it makes the community unsafe,” GRPD Sgt. Dan Adams said.

Police say they have had officer-involved shootings involving replica guns. They don’t want young people to carry them in public at all.

At Tuesday’s City Commission meeting, it was announced that the city attorney is drafting a proposed ordinance that would ban the brandishing of replica guns, BB guns and paint guns that can be mistaken for real firearms.

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