BURLINGTON, NC -- Police in Burlington say parents should think twice about buying a BB gun for their children for Christmas.
Police say BB guns are looking more and more realistic and causing confusion for police while patrolling.
Lt. Mark Yancey with BPD showed WFMY News 2 just how realistic a BB gun looks compared to his own handgun.
“If you are not holding those two guns, you couldn't tell the difference between a real gun and a BB gun.”
The fact that the two guns look so similar is the reason why some gun shop owners are no longer selling BB guns.
Bryan Brinkley, owner of SCB Guns and Ammo in Thomasville says they’ve never sold BB guns because they’re afraid of what could happen if they wind up in the wrong hands.
“We don't trust it because when we sell the guns, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night if we sold a gun to a kid that's going to get it for Christmas and they go out playing in the yard with it and they try to shoot at somebody and they think it's a real gun and then somebody shoots them,” said Brinkley.
Yancey says even detectives have been stumped on crime scenes.
“We've had robberies as of a late where the suspect in the robbery used a BB gun,” said Yancey. “But until we ended up catching him and finding out later on, we didn't know that it was a BB gun.”
With Christmas coming up soon, Brinkley knows he could make a lot of money selling BB guns, but it's a risk he's not willing to take.
“It doesn't matter how much money you can make at it, it's still not worth the risk on selling the guns if the kids aren't taught how to use it, it's just not worth it because they may get killed over it,” said Brinkley.
Police say owning a BB guns leads to a spike in vandalism, robberies, and other crimes.
Yancey says if you plan to buy your child a BB gun, make sure you talk to them about safety first.
"You should buy it not to turn your child loose with it but to go out and teach responsible gun ownership and to also have fun with it."
BB guns should be treated with the same respect and caution you would in handling any gun, according to Yancey.
For more safety tips, click here.
© 2017 WFMY-TV