If you're still considering what to get your children for Christmas this year, one local lawmaker warns not to buy toy guns that look like the real thing. Rep. Austin Badon's warning comes after an Ohio boy was killed last month carrying a fake gun that police believed was real.
At the St. Bernard Indoor Shooting Center, owner Brannon LeBouef teaches his clients the safe way to handle firearms. LeBouef is also a member of law enforcement and says having extensive knowledge about guns, is crucial to his job. "People think just because a cop carries a gun that he's a gun guy and that's most often, not the case," LeBouef explained.
Just last month, police officers in Cleveland shot a 12 year old after they believed the toy gun he was carrying, was real. In September, 14 year old Cameron Tillman was killed by a Terrebonne Sheriff's deputy in Houma after the deputy mistook Tillman's BB gun for a 45 caliber weapon.
Showing off the similarities between a real gun and fake one, State Rep. Austin Badon comments that it's too easy for kids to get their hands on guns that look real.
"The federal law states that only the look alike guns which are the little cheap, plastic guns, those things have to have the orange tips," Badon explained.
But BB guns, pellet guns and paint guns can look as close to a real gun as the manufacturer wants to make it. In Ohio, one lawmaker is proposing changing the law to put orange tips on all BB and pellet guns in addition to toy guns but Badon says state law can't supersede federal law. Instead, he suggests parents use a little more discretion.
Holding up a toy gun he purchased from a local sporting goods store, Badon says, "This thing was modeled after a Russian assault rifle. Why would you buy a kid something like that?"
Brannon LeBouef says he thinks it's most important to talk to kids about the right and wrong way to use their toys. "If your kids are in your backyard playing cops and robbers with each other or even running through the woods, that's one thing but if they go in the mall and start pointing them at people, regardless of it has an orange tip or not, there's going to be an issue," LeBouef said.
Austin Badon say he believes the federal law must be changed, especially because of how many children have been killed by police in recent months.