TUSCALOOSA COUNTY, Ala. — Authorities in West Alabama said they are coming face-to-face with toy guns that look all too real. Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy worried the outcome could be very dangerous.
Cheyenne Martin's son wanted a Nerf gun for Christmas.
"I'm okay if my child has a BB gun or pellet gun, something like that," Martin said, "I think through using that they can learn something about gun safety."
Martin said toy manufacturers are doing everyone a disservice by making them look completely real. Last month, a BB gun was confiscated by sheriff's deputies.
Sheriff Abernathy called this a public safety issue. He said Split-second decisions could lead to a tragic ending when a deputy is confronted with this type of weapon.
"When you see a weapon like that and it does look identical to it, you have to assume it is a legitimate weapon," Abernathy said, "There is no other way for you to look at it."
Martin hoped manufacturers would consider making BB and pellet guns distinct from the real thing.
"What purpose does it serve your child to have a gun that looks realistic enough to fool men and women who use firearms on daily basis? What purpose does that serve your child? It doesn't," Martin said.
Abernathy said parents need to teach their children how to safely operate these weapons and interact with law enforcement, even if it is just a BB gun.