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Realistic Blank Guns Available to Public

March 05, 2004  | 

More people are wielding a wide variety of replica pistols and machine guns, causing more police officers to wonder if each gun-toting suspect they encounter is holding a toy or a deadly weapon. Officers responding to a recent report of gunshots in West Philadelphia found that a teenager had been firing blank rounds from a very real-looking silver 9mm handgun he had bought off the Internet. No one was harmed, but the result could have been very different. These blank-firing guns produce the smoke and bang of a real weapon, making it even more difficult to recognize them as toys. They are used in military funerals and movies, but some worry that it is too easy for people to obtain them for recreational use that could prove deadly. Although experts say they haven’t seen a strong trend of these guns on the street, with prices as low as $50 and the anonymity allowed with many online sales transactions, blank guns could become a bigger problem in the future. Capt. Greg Malkowski, who responded to the shooting scare in Philadelphia, couldn’t tell the gun was fake even from 5 feet away. He says if the 18-year-old had pointed the fake gun at him he would have reacted by shooting with his duty pistol. “Parents should watch when their kids are on the Internet. What they buy could get them killed.”

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