Airsoft gun "prank" lands three Florida teens in jail

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Airsoft guns serve a lot of purposes. Some people use them for training purposes–you can conduct relatively safe force-on-force training with them, as an example–while others use them for fun and games. They are generally classified as toys, after all.

However, a lot of people have recently started using them to shoot people who aren’t part of a game or a training scenario, and it’s a problem.

For three Florida teens, it’s now an even bigger problem.

Three teens were cited after firing airsoft guns at several people — an action police say is not only illegal but potentially dangerous.

Jacksonville police were called about 8 p.m. Wednesday with reports that several people were being shot with airsoft guns. The guns are low-power toy replicas that fire plastic or resin projectiles.

Although airsoft guns are non-lethal, [Police Chief Adam] Mefford said some are realistic enough that they could create a problem if brandished against someone who is carrying a concealed weapon and might not immediately be able to tell the difference. In addition, he said, law enforcement authorities who are responding to this type of call need to treat any gun as though it’s a real, loaded weapon until they can determined otherwise.

Bingo.

Look, when a realistic-enough gun is pointed at you, it sure looks real enough in the split second it takes to respond to a lethal assault. If you point that at someone who is armed, someone is going to have a bad day.

Almost 11 percent of Floridians have a concealed carry permit, after all. That means more than one in 10 people could be armed and willing to respond to the threat of lethal violence with lethal force of their own.

It’s fortunate these kids didn’t run into any of them.

I mean, I get it that kids do stupid things. Especially in this day and age of everyone chasing social media fame. However, parents, make sure your kids and even their friends understand there are very real dangers in trying this kind of nonsense well beyond being arrested.

Honestly, getting arrested looks like a best-case scenario considering the alternatives.

And when someone does get killed doing this crap, I don’t know that I’ll be able to muster much sympathy for them. After all, you’re pointing a realistic gun at people who don’t know it’s not real and all but inviting someone to pull a gun so realistic it fires actual bullets to respond.

This just seems like another reason firearm safety should be taught in schools. Then a reminder could be introduced that if you point a gun-like object at someone, they may well be justified in ending your life out of a desire to preserve their own.

No one wants kids to get shot over a stupid prank or other juvenile stupidity, but sooner or later, it’s going to happen. When it does, though, responsibility for it really does rest on the kid who started it.

Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. People say stuff like that for a reason.