Pittsfield police crack down on gel pellet toy guns amid safety concerns

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PITTSFIELD — The Pittsfield Police Department has issued a stern warning against the use of Orbeez and similar air-powered toy guns that shoot gel pellets, citing a surge in complaints and several safety concerns.

In recent weeks, the department has received numerous reports of juveniles using these toys, which can closely resemble real firearms, raising the risk of misidentification by both the public and law enforcement.

The high-speed projectiles have caused injuries, such as welts and eye damage, and in some cases, the pellets were frozen to inflict additional harm or property damage.

Authorities are particularly troubled by the disruption caused in the downtown area, where individuals have been seen running and driving unpredictably, endangering themselves and others.

Under Massachusetts General Law chapter 269 section 12B, it is illegal for anyone under 18 to possess or use an air-powered rifle unless supervised by an adult.

Shooting a projectile across a public way is also prohibited, with potential criminal charges including Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon, Disorderly Conduct, and Possession of a Dangerous Weapon during a Breach of the Peace.

The Pittsfield Police Department has confiscated several of these toys and returned them to parents with warnings.

Nonetheless, repeat offenders or severe incidents may lead to criminal charges.

The department urges parents to discuss the risks and legal ramifications of playing with these toy guns with their children.

To report any related public activity, the community is encouraged to contact the Pittsfield Police Department at 413-448-9700.

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