When Children Die...

I am a news junkie, and consumer advocate in the Tampa Bay area. I write a lot and there are no sacred cows. But nothing hurts me more than to hear of accidents that could have been avoided and are mortal to our children.  In every instance below an ADULT, usually a family member contributed to the death of their own sibling.  I cannot keep it in, this is so hurting not only to those involved but to those who care about others , especially about the children who will not see another day in their young lives because someone was STUPID, save the kind words, this is stupidity.  And to the idiot who wrote me and said it was not fair to show pictures, maybe when you put a face to reality it might ring a bell in some stupid persons mind.

Idiots behind the wheel - It’s a social issue, the guns are not the problems, as the expression goes, it’s the idiot behind the wheel, the finger on the trigger, and gross neglect.  Weapons don’t have brains, children don't know consequence, and neither do some of the parents. They don’t “go off” of their own accord.

When children die from a  gunshot there is one commonality - That child did not walk into a Firearms Dealer or Store, present his Mickey Mouse Club Membership card and purchase a weapon with marbles.  Someone had a hand in ending this child’s life or his siblings life due to neglectful actions by an adult. Blame it on ….

Parental Stupidity - Ignorance of gun safety , placement, under lock and key,  access to children etc.  Some people have acquired guns with no training, nor a knowledge of laws pertaining to their weapon.

Another problem is Genetics - Parents who want children to be just like Dad, only Dads never truly embraced safety.  It’s a right of passage in some societies. Mentions it once goes to the range, and forgets everything.  Most likely he is the same party teaching his children guns are macho, manly and so forth. 

A real culprit is the Media, Television, Computer Games, and Real War - Another problem is the media exposure.  The news media doesn’t do enough to promote gun safety, the TV has entertainment shows are mostly shooting and violence and lets face it we live in a country with 340 million people and about two guns for everyone. Having an ongoing war for 13 years certainly qualifies as one of the main endorsers of violence.

And number one on my hit list are computer games - Where you reboot and re-life certainly sends a bad message. Dead kids don’t get up for another round.  Thats an 8 year old at the NRA show.


NOVEMBER 2013 - A nine year old was arrested by local police in my town in the Tampa Bay area when the bus driver saw a gun in this kids pocket and radioed law enforcement.  It was a two shot Derringer in a 45 plus caliber, a common back up pocket weapon commonly carried in bear country.  Had he fired it the results would have been devastating.  The kid went to juvenile hall and under Florida law the parent(s) will be charged.  By rights the child can even be taken away from the parents.

This article contains information gleaned from the front pages of the newspapers, some research on my behalf and a desire to get the truth out because those with interests (people who make money from this endeavor) try to lighten or assimilate the tragedy.  The NRA will tell you these are isolated incidents.  

MAY 2016 - My local paper tells me this week alone two children in separate accidents under the age of six managed to find loaded guns in their home left unlocked, unguarded and the children  killed themselves.  One was four and one was five.   Parents at fault.

APRIL 2016 - Another unsecured loaded gun found it’s way into the hands of a five year old boy who shot his 4 year old sister to death.  State laws will dictate trial of the parent under neglect and the accessible gun laws.  Regardless it won’t bring back the child.  Parents at fault.


Three months ago,  the very pretty and not too bright Jamie Gilt,  31, a mother, self-adored model, actress, story teller, high-profile pro-gun activist, shop-lifter,self made celebrity facebook and Twitter no-brainer was shot in the back by her four year old boy after spending her motherly time grandstanding probably looking for some publicity or a job from the NRA.  

A real gun advocate, suffering from Palinitis, practically cloned, she bragged about she’s teaching her 4 year old how to shoot.  It appears she never graduated the four year old course on being a good mother.

Jamie posts about firearms on her social media accounts while driving through Putnam County, Jacksonville, Florida, on Tuesday.  She was shot in the back by her four-year-old son after he found her pistol lying on the back seat of her truck just 24 hours after she boasted about his shooting skills online.   This is true, he is skilled at four, he center massed the target at almost two feet.

“Even my 4 year old gets jacked up to target shoot with the .22".  She reportedly believes she has the right to shoot anyone who threatens her family - and plans to teach her offspring the same mentality.   Obviously her 4 year old believed that and shot Mom. In truth, the moron Mom is a threat to their family.

I can see it now  “The Terror of the Kindergarten” on the HBO channel.  Watch a five year old settle disputes over who gets the sandbox!

She placed the youth in a carrier in the backseat with a loaded gun accessible to him…he shot her in the back.  Mom might see some time when she recovers. Had the bullet struck the spine, she might never recover, she is very lucky.  Lucky but stupid and I don’t believe she stands a chance at the Mother of the Year awards.

Jamie is expected to face a misdemeanor charge of allowing a minor access to a firearm, authorities said Tuesday.  The Putnam County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday filed an affidavit with local prosecutors asking that Gilt be charged with the second-degree misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail, Capt. Gator DeLoach told reporters.

And not to say she’s an angel…  In 2013, Jamie Gilt, 30, was arrested by Jacksonville Sheriff's Department on April 4, 2013 after she was detained by security guards at Dillard's department store in the town. The prominent gun rights activist was spotted stuffing children’s clothes into her purse and hiding the bag in the child’s stroller.   

She was arrested by Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department and charged with a felony count Grand Theft Retail.  Officers released her on a bond of $2,503 pending a court hearing.  

The suspect was detained by loss protection personnel and the property, totaling $455 was recovered.  'The suspect was arrested on the above charge and transported to the Duval County Jail.'   Had she been convicted of a felony grand theft and had a felony arrest record she would not have access to guns.


APRIL 27, 2016,  MORE TRAGEDY - MILWAUKEE - As the family of 26-year-old Patrice Price continues to cope with her death, they're asking for the community's support. The young mother of three was shot and killed by her own two-year-old son, whom officials say got hold of a gun and fired from the backseat of a vehicle his mother was driving on Highway 175.

Price's employer said in a statement that she was always smiling, and could be counted on to help with any task -- adding that the mother of three will be greatly missed:

"All of us at REM Wisconsin were devastated to learn about the tragic death of one of our colleagues, Patrice Price, earlier this week. As a direct support professional, Patrice made a difference on a daily basis in the lives of individuals served by our organization—helping them with activities of daily living and ensuring they had opportunities to take part in community life. She was always smiling and could be counted on to help with any task. She will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.” -- Shelley Hansen-Blake, Executive Director, REM Wisconsin

According to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, April 26, Price was driving a vehicle -- headed southbound on Highway 175 in Milwaukee.  At Vliet, her two-year-old son fired a gun through the back of the driver's seat -- the bullet striking and killing Price. Officials said the gun apparently slid out from under the driver’s seat.

The 26-year-old Milwaukee woman was driving her boyfriend's car when a gun slid out from under the driver's seat and her 2-year-old son picked it up and fired it from the back seat. The bullet went through the driver's seat and hit Price in the back as she drove south on Highway 175 near W. Vliet St. about 10:30 a.m.

Adding to the tragedy was the fact Price had borrowed a car from her boyfriend, a security guard, because hers had been stolen four days earlier. When her car was stolen, the car seats for her sons — the 2-year-old and a 1-year-old — were also stolen, said Stewart.

MAY 2013 -  Ms. Saylor Martine, of Oklahoma, fifteen, died after she was shot in the head while toying with a firearm.  She was with her sister.  The culprit, according to the police, a semi-auto owned by her parents. It was purchased by Mom for her own protection.  So the story goes, she and her sister had been handling the gun when they placed it down on a counter, where it discharged.  

I call her the girl with angel eyes, how tragic.

No one believes the gun went off by itself, and fifty years in this game and I haven’t seen one go off by itself except in a fire. But I’m sure there is enough grief to go around, and the Sheriff is hesitant is doing anything about it.  He spoke and thought it was a gun defect.  

Obviously there is more to this.  An accident means no one is charged, especially the only one who knows the truth. The sister or possibly the mother, but a child is dead and someone was negligent.  The mother should be charged, and the child will have to live with it.

OCTOBER 2008 Christopher Bizilj - A family man goes to a gun show in his small New England town of Westfield, MA with his son and a camera. It was co-sponsored by the local traffic ticketing Sheriff who had a financial consideration (sponsor and partner) in the show.  See picture of this A-Hole below.  

With an “Instructor” watching, (determined to be uncertified, not old enough, the son of one of the sponsors, recently recruited, 14 year old)  the 8-year-old boy at the gun fair aimed a full auto Uzi submachine gun at a pumpkin and pulled the trigger as his dad reached for a camera.  The 14 year old “Instructor” had told the father he didn’t think this was safe.

It was his first time shooting a fully automatic gun, and anyone who has ever fired an UZI or Scorpion or Scepter know these things have the muzzle rise of an ATLAS rocket for the untrained.

It was too much for the 8-year old boy, simply the weapon had too much muzzle rise for him and literally shot his head off with Dad in the beginning proudly filming this important event in his child’s life.  No one got charged.  

Now gun safety experts — and some gun enthusiasts at the club where the shooting happened — are wondering why such a young child was allowed, permitted, in the same range, in the same field, at the same gun range to fire a full auto weapon used in war.

Simple, follow the money.   Money, a gun show, lots of vendors showing their wares, you don’t have to be an idiot to figure that one out.  And the sheriff put it together.  Local, state and federal authorities are also investigating whether everyone involved had proper licenses or if anyone committed a criminal act.  Well there’s the hangup. Most prosecutors are elected or appointed officials and the lobbies are very powerful.   We predict nothing will come of it.

More on this story and the conclusion:  Http://www.cnn.com/2011/CRIME/01/14/massachusetts.gun.show.verdict/index.html

During the gun show,  was firing the micro Uzi when he accidentally shot himself in the head. He died instantly.  At the trial, upon hearing the verdict, Fleury broke into tears. He later hugged his wife and spoke to reporters outside the courtroom, offering his condolences to the Bizilj family.

"This was meant to be an educational event for people and unfortunately this terrible accident happened," Fleury said, his voice heavy with emotion. "And I do want to express my heartfelt sympathy to the Bizilj family and their friends for this terrible accident.”  Christopher's father, Charles Bizilj, was present at the time of the shooting and videotaped the entire incident. Parts of that tape were shown to the jury, which also heard emotional testimony from the father. The trial lasted 10 days.

"I ran over to him. His eyes were open and I saw no reason for him to be on the ground. And I tried to talk to him and he didn't respond. I put my hand behind his head to try to pick him up and there was a large portion of his cranium missing. And I put my hand against the back of his head," Charles Bizilj told members of the Hampden County jury.

Fleury faced up to 20 years in prison if convicted of involuntary manslaughter and up to 10 years for each count of furnishing a machine gun to a minor. His lawyer, Rosemary Scapicchio, had argued that while Fleury helped organize the show, he wasn't directly responsible and hadn't actually given guns to the children there.

Carl Giuffre and Domenico Spano have also been charged in connection with the incident. The two were in charge of the show's shooting range and are accused of having provided the Uzi that killed Christopher Bizilj. Prosecutor William Bennett said he will decide next week whether to proceed with the case against them, given Fleury's acquittal.

AUGUST 2014   Charles Vacca, 39 PHOENIX — The 9-year-old girl who accidentally shot and killed a firing range instructor with an Uzi last week told her mother immediately afterward that the gun was too powerful for her and that it had hurt her shoulder, according to a Mohave County Sheriff’s Office report released Tuesday.

The family huddled around the girl, fearing she was injured, and did not realize that instructor Charles Vacca, 39, was wounded until another employee ran over, according to the report. After realizing what had occurred, the girl's parents immediately removed her and their other two children from the property and brought them to the nearby restaurant so they wouldn't see what happened, the report states.

The New Jersey family had been vacationing in Las Vegas and on Aug. 25 was shuttled to Bullets and Burgers, the firing range at Last Chance property in White Hills, Ariz. The family had taken a ride on a monster truck before heading to the shooting range, according to the report.

The girl's father was the first to fire the weapon, a mini Uzi 9mm, and then the girl took her turn. With the girl's mother recording, Vacca showed the 9-year-old how to stand and shoot the gun, allowing her to fire a few rounds.

At this point Vacca switched the gun into its automatic setting, according to a deputy who would later view the mother's video.  "(The father) said all of a sudden he heard a lot of rounds fire and saw (his daughter) drop the gun to the ground," the report states.

Range instructor Ross Miller witnessed the incident, and told deputies that he saw the girl start to shoot the weapon, and the recoil sent it straight up into the air and "crossed the path where Charles had his head," the report stated. Employees immediately started applying pressure to Vacca's head wound and called 911.

Medical personnel arrived and stabilized Vacca before transporting him to the University Medical Center in Las Vegas via helicopter. Vacca passed away shortly thereafter, according to the report.

The girl's parents did not permit investigators to talk to their children because they were "going through a lot," the report states. The man said his family was in shock and they wanted to leave the area and return to Las Vegas, according to the report. The girl's mother allowed investigators to access the video on her cellphone.

Investigators collected evidence from the scene, including the firearm, the magazine and four live rounds. Deputies were instructed to retrieve copies of the release waivers signed by the family, but were told by employees that the waivers had blown away after the incident.  But prosecutors are not filing charges in the case.  Because the mistake was made by the instructor who is dead.

In Kentucky, a five year old, just given a rifle, a sort of rite of passage in some families, left out in the open in a corner of the room, loaded and he proceeded to shoot his sister who was four.

3 year old Had Speights, accidentally shot and killed himself last month with his uncle’s handgun, which he found in a backpack.

Jarvis Jackson (1) was accidentally shot and killed by a boy (4) last month after their baby sitter brought a handgun to the house for personal protection and then fell asleep after leaving the gun loaded and unsecured on the kitchen table.

4-year-old Cody Ryan Hall, who accidentally shot and killed himself in April with a family owned handgun he found in an unlocked gun case.


A six-year-old Toms River New Jersey boy accidentally shot by Brandon Holt, 4-year-old neighbor on Monday night, has died.  Police said Holt was shot in the head by his friend after the younger boy went into his home on McCormick Avenue and somehow got his hands on a .22-caliber rifle. The boy found the rifle under a bed.  Police said the 4-year-old then went outside and accidentally shot the 6-year-old, who was sitting in a quad nearby.

The boy’s father, Anthony Senatore, was arrested and charged.
 Five counts of second-degree child endangerment one count of third-degree child endangerment.   Each second-degree count could potentially bring 5 to 10 years in prison, which means that if Senatore is convicted, he could theoretically face up to 50 years in prison. 

VERDICT TOMS RIVER – A Toms River man, who accepted responsibility for the fatal shooting of his 6-year-old neighbor by his 4-year-old son, was sentenced Thursday to three years in prison for leaving the loaded rifle that killed the boy unsecured and accessible to the children in his home.

Before Anthony Senatore, 35, of McCormick Drive, was sentenced for his role in the 2013 shooting death of Brandon Holt, he told Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels that his lapse in judgment will haunt two families forever.

"Although I will be sentenced this morning to a term of imprisonment, the torment of these thoughts will occupy me throughout my existence on this earth,'' Senatore said. .

"Brandon played with my own three children regularly and was a guest in my home on many occasions, including many times for dinner,'' Senatore said. "We considered him part of our family.

TEXAS: JOHNSON COUNTY AUSTIN MCCORD,  “Forgot he had a loaded magazine in the AK-47” when he pulled the trigger, shooting the girl in the stomach, on her 13th birthday, in a gun-cleaning accident, this imbecile must not watch much news.  And rule one is clearing the chamber of any rounds, Rule two is don’t point, Rule three is finger off trigger. Rule four is frickin idiots should not have guns.

He accidentally shot and killed his 13-year-old step-sister on her birthday while he was cleaning his AK-47.

Emilee Bates was shot once in the stomach by 19-year-old Austin McCord in their home near Joshua, Texas on Tuesday evening as he attempted to remove rounds from his weapon, authorities said.

He immediately hit a home alarm system to notify law enforcement and six minutes later - 
at 8.11pm - sheriff’s deputies arrived to find McCord holding his sister's wound.  She was airlifted to hospital in Fort Worth, but died at about 10pm on Tuesday.

Investigators said McCord had two dummy rounds above his loaded magazine. He ejected these rounds and thought he was making the weapon safe by pulling the trigger to drop the bolt on an empty chamber - but forgot he had a loaded magazine in the gun and it discharged.

DALLAS TEXAS - I guess the Dallas man who rushed his bloody grandson to the hospital pays more attention in the future to good gun control.  It does not refer to how to hold a weapon. It refers to how to properly store a weapon so a four year old can’t shoot himself.   He is  fortunate as his 4-year-old grandson, who was visiting his home Wednesday, found a loaded handgun beneath a pillow. The little boy shot himself in the shoulder and survived BUT... history repeats itself...

HOUSTON TEXAS - A 4-year-old boy who shot himself at his grandparents’ northwest Harris County home has died, family members confirmed Thursday. The family of Bryson Hernandez released a statement through Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital.

“Bryson, our sweet little boy who was loved by everyone he ever met, passed away earlier today and we are utterly heartbroken," his family said. The hospital and Sheriffs officials confirmed he was the boy who shot himself.

Authorities arrived at the Cypress home in the 15400 block of Redbud Berry Way shortly after midnight on Tuesday. Bryson was breathing and unresponsive. He was rushed to the Texas Medical Center where he remained until his death.

Bryson was visiting his grandparents at their home. Harris County sheriff's officials said they were "cooperating with investigators fully." The findings will be forwarded to a Harris County grand jury.

Children’s Protective Services also will investigate, but CPS officials said in the past the agency hasn't had any dealings with the family.  Bryson loved and was devoted to two things - his family, especially his sisters, and Iron Man - his favorite superhero.

“He looked up to Iron Man because he was strong, fearless and he dedicated his life to helping others," the family said in the statement.  CPS officials want to find out how Bryson was able to gain access to the gun. Last year, at least four children died in Harris County as a result of accidental shootings.

Adults can be prosecuted for making a firearm accessible to a child, a misdemeanor charge.

In the statement released Thursday, family members said they hoped Bryson's death would be a reminder to families with firearms in the home.

"Always check to make sure you know where your guns are and that they are safely out of reach of children, not loaded and locked away," the statement said.

Bryson, who fought for his life with the bravery of Iron Man, will now save the lives of other children as an organ donor.

Family members said he will soon be laid to rest in his Iron Man costume.

"We know he wouldn't have had it any other way," they said.

On a warm September evening in Columbus, Ohio, panicked witnesses called police to report that a group of boys had robbed a man at gunpoint and fled into a maze of alleys and fences on the city’s east side.   In the fading light, Officer Bryan Mason cornered two of the boys in an alley, where, according to police, 13-year-old Tyre King pulled a gun from his waistband. Mason fired three rounds, striking the teen in the head, chest and torso.

The black gun police recovered at the scene looked like their own department-issued, polymer-framed Smith & Wesson Military and Police semiautomatic pistol. It even had a laser sight. But police would soon learn that King’s weapon was a BB gun — a facsimile of the gun Mason used to shoot and kill the teen.

At a news conference the next day, Columbus Police Chief Kim Jacobs waved a stock photograph of the BB gun. “Our officers carry a gun that looks practically identical to this weapon,” she said. “. . . It looks like a firearm that could kill you.”

Police across the country say that they are increasingly facing off against people with ultra-real-looking pellet guns, toy weapons and non-functioning replicas.

Such encounters have led police to shoot and kill at least 86 people over the past two years, according to a Washington Post database of fatal police shootings nationwide. So far this year, police have fatally shot 43 people wielding the guns. In 2015, police also killed 43.

The Post analysis is the first accounting of fatal police shootings involving people armed with air guns, toys or replicas, a phenomenon last studied in depth more than 25 years ago, when Congress first sought to address the problem of police shootings involving toy guns. The 86 shooting deaths are among the nearly 2,000 people shot and killed by police since 2015, which The Post is tracking, something no government agency does.

Police recovered a wide variety of the weapons in the fatal shootings, but almost all had one thing in common: They were highly realistic copies of firearms. Of those, 53 were pneumatic BB or pellet guns that fire small-caliber metal balls or pellets.  An additional 16 were Airsoft guns, which use compressed air cartridges to fire plastic BBs. Thirteen were replicas, two were toys, one was a starter pistol and one was a lighter.

Experts who study the domestic market for pellet and Airsoft guns said consumer demand for replica firearms has grown.  “They are red hot,” said Tom Gaylord, an industry consultant who runs a popular blog for the Ohio-based Pyramyd Air, one of the largest air gun retailers in the country. Pyramyd Air declined to comment.

Police say it is virtually impossible to train officers to identify imitation firearms from any distance. Short of eliminating the guns, police have little choice but to assume the guns are lethal.

Efforts to stop production of the guns or radically alter their appearance have mostly failed because of resistance from gunmakers and gun rights groups, such as the National Rifle Association.

“We’re talking about this 26 years later, and I’m not sure anything has really changed except that tragic occurrences continue to happen,” said Chuck Wexler, who runs the Police Executive Research Forum, a policing policy think tank that studied the issue in 1990 for Congress. “A toy gun in a country with 300 million real guns is hard to distinguish.”

 Of the 86 fatal shootings involving imitation firearms since 2015, the most common theme was mental illness: 38 of those killed had a history of it, according to their families and police reports. Fourteen of the calls were domestic disturbances. Ten others began as robberies. The remaining circumstances range from patrolling neighborhoods to serving arrest warrants to making traffic stops.

Of the people killed, 50 were white men. The oldest person killed was Robert Patrick Quinn, 77, who was fatally shot in Pittston, Pa., as he rode his motorized scooter outside an apartment complex while waving a realistic-looking pellet gun.

Half of the shootings happened at night. In almost every case, police said the victims failed to comply with an officer’s orders. In 60 cases, police said they pointed guns at officers.

The BB gun recovered was made by Umarex USA, one of the largest air gun and firearm manufacturers in the world and the self-proclaimed “king of replicas.” Umarex makes air guns under the Beretta, Colt, Smith & Wesson, HK, Ruger and Browning brands.  It sells BB guns that are copies of such firearms as the iconic Colt Peacemaker, which was first produced in the 1870s, and the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine, a mainstay of specialized military and police units. The Umarex 40XP BB gun that King allegedly brandished sells for about $50 in stores, including Walmart.

Gunmaker Sig Sauer makes air guns that are advertised as “carbon copies” of their most popular lethal firearms, including the P226 semiautomatic handgun. A commercial on the Sig Sauer website displayed the BB gun and the lethal P226 as reflections of each other in a mirror.   The claim was they are used for training.

Umarex USA and Sig Sauer did not return repeated calls seeking comment.

Gun rights groups, including Gun Owners of America, based in Virginia, have lobbied against laws that seek to alter air guns to make them distinguishable from firearms.  The NRA declined to comment.

In the 1980s, a string of police shootings of children prompted Congress to pass the first and only federal regulations on toy guns.  Parents began to push manufacturers to make the guns appear less realistic. Retailers such as Toys ‘R’ Us stopped carrying realistic toy guns, and toy manufacturers began adding an orange plug to toy guns. After several states restricted the use of imitation firearms, Congress in 1988 passed a law requiring the bright orange barrel plug on all toy guns. The law applied to water guns, many replicas and Airsoft guns that fire nonmetallic projectiles, but it exempted BB, pellet guns and replicas of antique firearms.  The law also mandated two studies on whether the new orange tips would prevent shootings.

In one study, FBI recruits were confronted by assailants carrying firearms or guns with orange tips. The recruits had two seconds to decide whether to shoot. When faced with unmarked replica pistols or guns with orange tips, officers shot 95 percent of the time.


“It is clear from this study that the orange plug marking system does not help police officers distinguish between toy guns and real guns,” concluded the 1989 report, which was managed by the National Institute of Justice.

The second study a year later reached the same conclusion, saying that police response when confronted with the guns was linked to environmental factors — such as what a police dispatcher tells an officer. Calls for service in a high-crime area, for example, might lead officers to consider “a worst case scenario,” said the report, overseen by the Police Executive Research Forum.

But it was the behavior of the person holding the toy gun that mattered most.

“If they are told there’s a person with a gun acting in a threatening manner, that’s what they respond to,” said David L. Carter, a professor at Michigan State University who spoke to officers in 27 law enforcement agencies for the 1990 study.

Last year, Congress revisited the issue when Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced a bill that would force the country to enact a law similar to California’s, which requires the entire surface of all toy and BB guns be painted a bright color.

“No child should ever die because a police officer or anyone else mistakes a toy gun for a real weapon,” Boxer said in a news release at the time.  The bill stalled in committee.

Twelve states and the District and Puerto Rico have banned the guns or imposed restrictions on their use, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In the District, realistic-looking toy or air-powered guns cannot be possessed in public. In 2012, D.C. police seized about 450 imitation guns, according to the most recent data available.

In 2015, Boston outlawed imitation firearms in public. The law allows police to confiscate those guns, and they have seized 139 this year. Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said if a facsimile gun has been used in a crime, police will charge a suspect with possession of a real gun.

“They are the exact same unless you have it in your hand and take it apart,” Evans said.

The department sent every available unit, and they quickly came upon a black Honda Civic and a black Toyota Camry. Men wearing werewolf masks were hanging out of the cars’ sunroofs waving what appeared to be Heckler & Koch MP5 machine guns, according to Darnell and records.

Police disarmed the men. The guns were plastic toys, and the gunmen, university students were making a movie for a film contest.

“This is what those of us in law enforcement are so concerned about,” Darnell said. “You never know what’s real or what’s not, so part of the solution is to ban the sale of toy or replica guns.”

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