This is an interesting trend that makes sense.
While the federal government does not track criminals’ use of toy or replica guns, some individual police departments say they’ve noticed an uptick.
In Edmonton, Canada, police said imitation guns were involved in 1,598 incidents in 2015 — up 38 percent from a year earlier.
In Arlington, Texas, suspects are increasingly using lookalike guns, including an incident earlier this year in which a man carjacked a woman using an air gun that resembled a real pistol, and another case involving a teen who threatened an officer with a replica gun. The officer managed to knock it out of the teen’s hand and tackle him.
Arlington police Lt. Christopher Cook said that between March and August, nearly 20 percent of the weapons seized by police after they were used in crimes turned out to be lookalikes.
So far, police haven’t had to use deadly force. But Cook said that could change in an instant.
“There’s no training in the world that we know of where an officer can readily distinguish a real gun from a fake gun,” he said. “That’s not realistic, because officers have to make split-second decisions to ascertain whether it’s a firearm or not.”
It makes sense for the crooks as long as they truly don’t intend to shoot anyone. The fake guns are cheap and easier to get than real ones. Plus, it is not a crime to carry a toy gun if they get caught with one. On the down side, cops and bystanders can’t tell the difference and a crook is more likely to be shot if he or she waves it around.
Of course, the hardened criminals who truly don’t mind shooting people – drug dealers, gang bangers, and the like – still have real guns. Always assume the gun is real.