Police warn gel blaster toy gun social media trend can be dangerous, illegal

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Clovis Police are trying to get ahead of yet another trend on social media that's not only dangerous but can be illegal--toy guns that shoot gel pellets.

Videos on TikTok show the tiny ammo, even frozen at times to be more painful and harmful, being shot from vehicles or even balconies at strangers.

"Challenges on social media sites where they are telling these people to do these things, but they don't really realize what the outcome is," said Sgt. Jim Koch of the Clovis Police Department.

Clovis Police say the latest incident involving one of the toy guns was at a gas station at Fowler and Shaw Ave. A man called in saying he wasn't hurt, but that he had just been shot at by something from a vehicle driving through the parking lot.

He added that the driver yelled a racially motivated slur before shooting. Officers caught up with the suspect and found a gel blaster gun with him.

The 18-year-old was arrested on a felony count of a hate crime and one misdemeanor count of negligently discharging a BB device.

"That takes several officers off the street and they have to go and investigate this incident," said Sgt. Koch.

Officers say even though it's a toy, shooting a fake gun in public could trigger a reaction with a dangerous outcome.

"Don't hurt that much when they strike somebody, but think the worst part is that you are pointing something that looks like a gun at somebody," said Sgt. Koch. "You are pulling a trigger, that person is now getting struck with something and they don't know what it is."

A local retailer tells Action News that their latest shipment of the toy guns sold out in a single day. They say anyone who buys the product is required to be 18 years old. Police are urging parents whose kids have these toy guns, to make sure they aren't using them in dangerous situations.

"Parents need to understand what is going on. They need to be aware of what their children are doing and discuss it with them," said Sgt. Koch. "Find out. I am sure there is a good time and a place for one of these. But out in the public randomly shooting them is not the time or the place."

Clovis Police wants to remind people that shooting any projectile, especially from a moving vehicle, is not only dangerous but against the law.
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