Alburnett Incident Highlights Blurred Line Between Fake and Real Weapons

By Forrest Saunders

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Local law enforcement has some serious concerns over real-looking pellet and BB guns.

Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said the pellet gun that put Alburnett High School on lockdown Wednesday looked a lot like a .22 rifle.

The sheriff said there are many look-a-like pellet and BB guns sold at big box stores everywhere. He called them safety concerns because they could easily be mistaken for the real thing if pointed at an officer, a potentially deadly situation.

“Unfortunately this is the age that we live in. You cannot have your law enforcement officers hesitate to the point where they put their own lives in jeopardy,” said Gardner.

Gardner said some manufactures place orange rings on the muzzle of look-a-likes, but that can be an issue too. According to the sheriff, criminals have started using tape to do the same thing to real weapons in hopes officers will hesitate during critical moments.

“When they’re pointing a real weapon at the cops, cops have to now second guess themselves,” Gardner said. “That hesitation can be lethal.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8610; forrest.saunders@kcrg.com

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