Desert Hot Springs acting Chief of Police, Jim Henson called for a ban on replica firearms after Monday’s incident where police confiscated two real and one replica firearms after they say three 14 year olds were caught making threats against Desert Hot Springs High School.
“The officers did take a replica of an AR-15,” Doria Wilms, Desert Hot Springs Assistant City Manager said on Monday in a press conference. “It looks exactly like an AR-15,” she added.
“The only thing this is going to cause is for a child or juvenile to point it at law enforcement and have a deadly confrontation take place,” Interim Chief for Desert Hot Springs Police Department, Jim Henson said at the same press conference.
On Tuesday, Congressman Dr. Raul Ruiz issued a statement saying, “I agree with Desert Hot Springs Police. Owning a replica fake weapon in today’s gun violence context can put your life and others in jeopardy, so why risk it?”
In May, another incident involving a fake gun took place in Santa Rosa when a student pulled out a replica gun which led to a lockdown and a manhunt. That student was 15 year old.
One growing concern over these “toy guns” are how easily they can be obtained.
Several gun and sporting good stores in the Coachella Valley have bb or airsoft guns that look identical to assault rifles. Even a simple Amazon search can find you several guns that look like assault riffles.
We spoke with several local stores that did not wish to go on the record regarding this story.
We did learn that you have to be at least 18 years old to purchase a replica gun. The three students who were arrested on Monday were 14 years old.
At this time, we have no word on how the three 14 year old students were able to get a hold of these guns.
Airsoft guns are required to have orange distinguishers in three places, the tip, the trigger guard and the base of the grip. However, bb guns do not require these markers.
“I can tell you right now if officers encounter this at a school, out on the street, someone jumps out of the street and points at an officer there is a high probability that a deadly confrontation is going to happen,” said one detective with DHSPD at Monday’s press conference.
The question remains if toy guns that look like assault rifles should be illegal.