Local News

BB Guns Can Be Dangerous

Posted October 10, 1998

— BB guns may look like toys, but they aren't -- many are dangerous.

It's like any other gun or rifle -- if you don't use it properly or it gets into the wrong hands, it can be extremely dangerous. The problem with such guns is that anyone can buy them.

A Pamlico County man was recently charged with fatally shooting his wife. The 40-year old woman was shot to death with an air rifle. Doctors say the BB pellet penetrated her chest, went into her lung and cut an artery.

Kids have legal access to these guns, too. There are several types of BB guns on the market. Air guns, air rifles and BB guns and rifles are extremely popular among kids. It's perfectly legal for minors to buy them and own them.

But John Sumrell, who owns a Fayetteville gun shop, doesn't sell them to minors who aren't with adults because he feels responsible for every gun he sells.

"They're still dangerous. They have to be treated like any tool, any power tool. It has to be treated with caution and common sense," he says.

Sumrell says of these types of guns, pump air rifles, are the most powerful.

"It will kill from penetration, mostly from high velocity. It doesn't have any kind of hydrostatic shock or anything like that, like a regular gun would. But of course neither does a .22," Sumrell says.

"The BB guns that are sold in Kmart, Wal-Mart, all the stores like that, department stores. Kids have access to them and they're dangerous and have the potential to kill you."

Sgt. Kevin Vos is a firearms instructor with the Fayetteville Police Department. He says he uses an air rifle to teach his kids how to shoot. But he knows some kids use them for different reasons.

"A lot of times kids will take them out to the street," Vos says. "Onto neighborhood streets and start firing them, not knowing the hazards behind them."

These types of guns are used mainly for teaching kids how to shoot and general target practice.

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