In the state of Texas, like many other states, police are saying that more crimes are being committed with imitation weapons like BB guns because they are made so realistically, are cheaper, and easier to obtain. Fake weapons like BB guns can be bought for as little as $25 and require no background check. Criminals also mistakenly believe that they will avoid harsher sentences if they are caught possessing a fake weapon instead of a real one.
In the county of Arlington, Texas, police have reportedly seen at least half a dozen crimes committed with a BB gun, imitation gun, or airsoft gun instead of a real one. In the most recent case, Arlington PD caught a teenager robbing someone with a fake gun, and the Houston PD says that the use of these fake weapons has risen over the years.
In states like Texas, New Jersey, and even California, if the victim of a crime believes the weapon is real, that is enough to warrant a felony charge as if the weapon were real.
CA Laws on Imitation Guns
Back in 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Senate Bill 199, also known as the California Imitation Firearms Safety Act. The state law requires that toy guns be easily distinguishable from real ones by sporting florescent strips, or brightly colored parts. The law was proposed and signed after a number of tragedies involving police shootings took place, when children were shot for having what police thought were real weapons. However, Airsoft and BB guns were not in California’s definition of imitation weapons. The bill took effect on January 1, 2016.
It is a crime to sell anyone under 18 years of age a BB gun or airsoft gun. See Cal. Penal Code § 19910. Additionally, it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $1,000 if you take an imitation firearm (including BB and pellet guns) onto an airplane, public transit facility like a train station, or public place. It is a crime to “brandish” a fake gun” for any reason other than self defense. See Cal. Penal Code § 417.4. Lastly, the charge can be either a misdemeanor of felony. For example, using a fake weapon to commit a crime such as a robbery is still considered a felony.
San Diego Criminal Defense and Firearms Defense Attorney
The Law Offices of David M. Boertje has handled all types of Misdemeanor and Felony criminal cases in San Diego County, including possession of possession of illicit firearms, imitation firearms, juvenile crimes involving firearms, and violent and nonviolent crimes. Law enforcement is increasingly cracking down on the use of fake weapons. Do not fight gun charges alone. We have successfully represented many defendants, including those with unlawful possession charges. If you have been charged with possession of a firearm, real or fake, contact attorney David Boertje today. Consultations are free and confidential.