Local Police Reports, Park Forest

Park Forest Police Raise Alarm About Toy Guns

BB guns, toy guns, real guns, Park Forest police, PFPD
Toy guns or real guns? In this case, both are BB guns. If carried by children or adults, they appear real to law enforcement. Park Forest Police share their concerns. (Photo: PFPD)

Park Forest, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Park Forest Police raised an alarm about toy guns Wednesday afternoon on Facebook. Consider the guns pictured above. In a moment you might see someone holding such a gun and think that it is real. These guns look like weapons, the type that might fire bullets.

But they are not weapons that fire bullets. They fire BBs. They are two BB guns, “without an orange safety marker, or any indication that they weren’t legitimate firearms,” police said in their statement.

In an instant, they might appear real, and police are very concerned their next encounter with someone holding a toy might go very badly, and they plea with parents to take these “toys” away from their children.

“As you quickly scroll through your Facebook feed, eager for your next dose of social media gossip,” police said on Facebook, “you briefly see the pictured guns and assume an ambitious officer made a noteworthy seizure of two illegally possessed firearms.”

“The truth is much different,” the statement said.

Police relate that, “during the past week, on two occasions, Park Forest Officers have responded to reports of a subject brandishing a firearm in public.”

Consider the report coming in through SouthCom Dispatch. Consider the term “brandishing,” “wave or flourish (something, especially a weapon) as a threat or in anger or excitement,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary.

In both incidents where police responded to these reports, “several tense moments transpired, including a brief foot pursuit that ended with the subject hiding near a fence with one of the pictured firearms within arm’s reach. Thankfully, each incident concluded with the subjects being detained without injury to them, the officers, or any innocent bystanders.”

The subjects were identified as juveniles, according to police, and the firearms were determined to be “toys.”

“BB guns,” police said, “without an orange safety marker, or any indication that they weren’t legitimate firearms. In each incident, witnesses related the juveniles displayed the guns in public then concealed them in their waistband, as if they were real weapons.”

modern cap gun, bright orange plastic, toy gun
A modern cap gun, its barrel made from bright orange plastic to prevent it being mistaken for a real gun. (Photo: Mike Prosser from Austin, TX, USA, on flickr, CC license)

Did you play with cap guns when you were younger? Ours were silver, bright, chrome-like silver. They made loud “pops” when we pulled the triggers and the toy gun fed the red paper roll caps through the firing mechanism, each one struck by the hammer of the gun. If we had everything lined up correctly, that is. Some also had the plastic guns with the plastic rings packed with a tiny amount of firing powder.

Times are different now. No one called police on us when we were playing outside with our toy guns. With the ever-escalating number of shootings, some committed by children, people are wary. People call the police, as they should if they suspect that someone is “brandishing” a weapon.

But some “toy” guns look real today.

“We’ve made this plea before, and we’ll make it again: Parents, take these toys away from your children,” police continue. “At the least, make sure these toys never leave the confines of your home and make sure your children understand the consequences of acting as if these toys are real firearms.

“During a life-or-death situation, such as an officer confronting a subject reported to be armed, these toys are indistinguishable from real firearms.”

“We care deeply about the children in our community, as well as the frightened citizens who witness these incidents and frantically call 911 in a panic,” police said in the statement. “We don’t want to make life-altering decisions based on toys.”

And, then, the plea:

“Please, help us out?”