Posted on April 9, 2014 at 6:39 PM
Wednesday, Apr 23 at 5:58 AM
4/22 UPDATE: The free Airsoft Awareness and Safety Seminar is at the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Click here to download the flyer.
VIRGINIA BEACH -- Sergeant Billy Zelms with the Virginia Beach Police Department isn't exaggerating when he says there are thousands of kids in Hampton Roads shooting Airsoft guns every day.
"They are becoming the modern day of what used to see BB guns, Red Riders and Nerf guns,” Sgt. Zelms said.
Airsoft guns look like the real deal. They only shoot pellets, but they commonly come in styles that replicate guns used by military and law enforcement personnel. That makes differentiating the Airsoft guns from real guns difficult for everyone.
"We've had calls about people concerned about what they see with a child or a teen carrying an assault rifle down the street only to be found out later by law enforcement that it was an Airsoft gun,” Sgt. Zelms said.
Airsoft guns can also cause severe damage to individuals if they’re not used properly.
"It can be extremely dangerous. It can knock out eyes, it can knock out teeth if not used appropriately," said Christopher Wratten, who owns Ballahack Airsoft in Chesapeake.
There have been injuries reported across the country from these kinds of guns, so the Virginia Beach Police Department has teamed up with Ballahack Airsoft for a public awareness seminar to teach the community, airsoft enthusiasts and parents more about this growing trend.
"There's nothing better than to educate everyone on exactly what it is because ignorance can mean tragedy,” Wratten stated.