Fake guns and other non-lethal firearms may be a toy for a lot of youth, but possession of them can lead to tragic consequences.
The Baraboo Police Department has issued a release urging parents and other mentors to educate children on the dangers of carrying “facsimile”, or artificial/non-lethal weapons following reports of such sightings.
Department Capt. Ryan La Broscian said the message was a result of department officers investigating reports of “armed” individuals.
“In one case, the reporting party observed at least three individuals prowling near a rail car, one of which was observed as having a long gun type weapon,” said La Broscian in an email. “The second case, officers were investigating a call in which one individual allegedly threatened to kill another.”
Both cases involved youth carrying BB guns. La Broscian added that a juvenile from Baraboo fired a BB gun in another area.
Carrying a facsimile firearm is not an offense, but displaying it in a fashion that could alarm or threaten another person is, according to the BPD release. Such presentation could also result in usage of a real firearm by someone in possession of one or law enforcement.
Some facsimile firearms can cause injury or even death in very rare cases, particularly BB guns. This, along with the risks involved in encounters, should factor in parents’s decisions to purchase such items for their children, according to BPD.
Baraboo ordinances prohibit discharging of any firearms, real or fake, in the city, with few exceptions.
Two other area police chiefs, Nicholas Brinker in Wisconsin Dells and Keith Klafke in Portage, endorsed BPD’s message. Brinker said that it is always a concern for WDPD when reports of facsimile firearm possession arise, as anyone could perceive it as being a real lethal weapon.
Both Brinker and Klafke said their departments have not received reports of recent incidents. Police departments in Lake Delton and Mauston indicated no incidents involving facsimile firearms
Schools on the south side of Beaver Dam were briefly locked down on Thursday due to a man in the area in possession of a facsimile firearm. He was issued a municipal citation and released from custody.
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