JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Deputies in North Carolina seized what looked like a Nerf toy gun but turned out to be an actual firearm.
The Catawba County Sheriff’s Office said that during a drug raid, deputies found a converted Glock model 19 pistol with a 50-round drum magazine that had been altered to resemble a plastic Nerf toy gun that shoots foam projectiles.
“Firearms of this type, while not illegal to possess, are concerning to law enforcement,” the Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post, which included photos of the weapon.
Jacksonville residents were shocked when News4Jax showed them the photos and explained that it’s not a toy.
“Oh, my God,” Gracila Cain said. “That’s wild.”
“Oh, my gosh,” said Victor Musselwhite. “That’s unbelievable.”
Putnam County Sheriff Gator DeLoach said something like that is a bad game changer for anyone in law enforcement.
“Unbelievable. I saw the Nerf logo and immediately thought this was a Nerf gun. This is a mistake,” he said. “You know my biggest fear, Erik, is that they (my deputies) would have the same reaction you and I had -- that it was a Nerf gun or a toy and hesitate. That could be potentially deadly for one of my deputies or any law enforcement officer across the country.”
News4Jax crime and safety expert Ken Jefferson also pointed out that law enforcement officers responding to a call can’t tell the difference between something sold in the toy section of many stores and a real gun that looks like a toy, especially if it’s pointed at an officer, in a split-second.
“He would be justified in defending himself,” he said. “That’s what you have to realize. If it’s a child with a Nerf gun, you might have a slight pause. But, if there is a teenager or an adult that’s pointing a weapon at an officer, it could have severe consequences.”
Most local law enforcement agencies that News4Jax reached out to said they are used to suspects brandishing BB guns that look like automatic rifles but never a real gun disguised as a toy. Also, DeLoach said that it’s not uncommon for gun owners to customize their firearm with a new paint job, but he’s “never seen one that was done to mimic a toy.”