The 911 caller believed the gun was real. So did the police. The four boys at a Boston playground who were playing with the BB gun designed to resemble a real Beretta PX4 Storm .40 caliber gun had no idea that police were on the way, says the Boston Globe. Even though the boys ran from officers, and one of them reached into his waistband for what officers had mistaken for a deadly weapon, the BB gun was recovered without incident. The boys were turned over to their guardians with only a stern reprimand. The encounter Tuesday night could have gone very differently. It is the latest illustration of why Boston police, and now the city's clergy, are mobilizing against toy guns that look real.
“Thankfully, my officers showed tremendous restraint and because of that, we were able to turn what could have been a tragedy into a teaching moment,” Police Commissioner William Evans said yesterday. Last week, Brockton, Ma., police shot and killed a man after he allegedly pointed a BB gun at officers who were responding to a call from the man's wife that he was threatening to burn the house down. Authorities said the rifle and handgun he had “closely resembled authentic guns.” Replicas are toy guns made to look like real firearms, but they cannot discharge projectiles. BB and pellet guns, which can also be made to look as realistic as possible, can discharge projectiles. “You can't tell the difference, basically,” Evans said. “Kids know they're fake — we don't. We're trying our best to educate the public on the dangers of carrying the weapons around.” Clergy members are scheduled to hold a news conference today to call on retailers and manufacturers to stop selling the toy guns.