Over the past three weeks in Philadelphia’s University City area, at least seven people have been assaulted or robbed by kids and teens using BB guns, the Philadelphia Daily News reports. There have been eight armed robberies around Drexel University in the last two weeks. In at least two of cases, police suspect the teens carried BB guns.
Black or silver guns that fire metal BBs instead of bullets look like 9mm handguns and most victims believe they’re real and may be scared they could die. It’s a trend that has alarmed cops and instilled fear and outrage at the University of Pennsylvania and the surrounding neighborhood. Police speculate that BB guns have become more accessible. BB pistols, which sell for under $20, are easily available and buyers don’t need a license or registration to carry them. Philadelphia and some surrounding townships ban their sale, but they can be purchased in stores like Wal-Mart and Kmart, over the Internet, and on the street. While BBs typically don’t kill, they can penetrate skin, bone, and especially eyeballs. Penn and Philadelphia police launched a tactical task force 10 days ago to combat the crime surge.