Responding to a recent 911 call, Hopkins, Mn., police found three men having a gun battle, but it turned out to be all in fun with Airsoft guns, which are powered with compressed air and shoot plastic pellets. “My worry is that we will shoot someone with an Airsoft gun, or an officer will make a mistake and get shot,” said Sgt. Darin Hill. Hopkins officials may ban people from having Airsoft guns out in public. To transport the guns, people would have to carry them in cases.
Many Airsoft guns are so realistic looking that police departments use them in training. “One of my biggest fears is shooting someone with a toy gun,” said Lino Lakes police Sgt. Kelly McCarthy. “These are an issue for law enforcement nationwide.” Last month, teenagers were arrested in Michigan for shooting Airsoft guns from a car at other vehicles. In California, five masked teenagers with Airsoft guns were detained after a report of a man with a rifle on a school roof, and in Connecticut two young boys had their Airsoft guns confiscated by police after they shot at a mail truck. “I don’t want this hobby to become illegal because some kid makes a mistake,” said Erik Pakieser of the Minnesota Airsoft Association. “And I don’t want some kid getting hurt because they’re not wearing eye protection or because they get on the wrong end of the police.”