In a country with over 300 million real guns, it is hard to distinguish plastic guns, BB guns and pellet guns from authentic guns.
They are sold across the country as a toy to play with, but they can also have deadly consequences.
Looking like the real thing, they can cause alarm for people as well as police who respond to calls involving them.
Even in brightly lit areas, toy guns are difficult to identify, while in low-lit areas, a toy gun could be mistaken by someone who would view it real and the individual carrying it as a threat.
Authorities are asking parents to help keep their children safe by keeping these toy guns out of their hands. Captain Tommy Cox with the Laurel Police Department said these toys should never be in the hands of kids.
“I can’t see anything good allowing them to run around with this, especially in an environment like a city where everyone lives kind of close together,” Cox said. “Kids often cut through back yards and neighbors see them and what good is going to come from them walking and running around with that (toy gun) stuck in their pants?”
While the Laurel Police Department has not had any incidents involving toy guns, authorities there are being proactive in asking parents help them in preventing what could possibly be tragic accident.
As to what should be done with a toy gun if a parent has already bought one for their kids? Captain Cox did not mince his words.
“Take it away and get rid of it," he said.
Most stores that sell replica guns do not sell them directly to children. The only federal regulation that restricts imitation guns, toy or otherwise, falls under the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which states that imitation guns must have a bright marking or an orange tip on the muzzle.