CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Chicopee police were called to a city park Monday afternoon, following reports of children walking around with guns.
According to the department, at around 5:30 P.M., police received reports of juveniles walking around with firearms at Lincoln Grove Park. When they got there, officers saw a group of young people place a backpack on the ground and walk away.
Officers saw a pistol sticking out of the bag, and then found an AR-style rifle inside. Both of the weapons were determined to be BB guns.
Police say the children took measures to conceal the orange tips in an attempt to make them look real. Massachusetts state law requires all toy guns manufactured or sold in the state to feature a bright orange tip or be brightly colored all over.
22News talked to Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh about altered fake guns, “It creates a police reaction and police response because it has to be treated as a real firearm until proven otherwise.”
While responding officers have training on how to deescalate these situations and determine if the gun is real or fake in real time, private citizens nearby may not have that training.
“It’s going to frighten a lot of people that might be at the park,” said Walsh.
Beyond the safety concerns, there are legal consequences… even for minors. According to Walsh, illegal possession of a BB gun in public carries can land you a fine and will get the gun taken away. If the BB gun is pointed at someone or causes a disturbance then there could be criminal charges.