Gifting a BB or Airsoft gun for Christmas? They can look realistic, and officers encourage parents to teach kids responsibility

ARAB, Ala. -- Thinking of putting a BB or Airsoft gun on your Christmas gift list? Law enforcement officers say that's fine, but they are also encouraging parents to educate their kids because some of those toy guns look very real at first glance.

"Some of them are realistic down to the minor details to where you really have to pick the gun up and look at it to make sure it's not real," Arab Police Assistant Chief Shane Washburn said.

Some of the toy guns look so realistic to the point where at first glance, it's hard to decipher if it is or isn't. Washburn says parents should teach their kids responsibility if they decide to gift one this Christmas season, including the younger kids. "Sometimes these guns do look real, and a child could get a real gun confused with a toy gun, so you want to use the same level of instruction with a toy gun as you would with a real gun."

"Go over the details of the weapon with them. Let them know how to properly use them and how not to use them. Make sure they don't point them at anyone or brandish them in a way that someone might think they're real."

Washburn says kids should be taught to treat a BB or Airsoft gun as if it's real, so if they find one under tree they know how to use it responsibly because the similarities between toy and real are sometimes hard to decipher.