Thursday, June 7, 2007

11-Year-Old Arrested For Using Rubber Band Gun

WFTV Florida, June 6 2007

An 11-year-old Ocoee boy was arrested for playing with a toy gun. Police said the arrest was necessary, because it was a safety issue.

The boy was using a rubber band gun and his father said the kid did nothing wrong, but police said they take it as a serious threat and the 11-year-old is facing felony charges.

The crime isn't very common, but Ocoee police said it is serious. It centers on an 11-year0old boy and his toy short-barreled shotgun.

The incident started Sunday afternoon, when the 11-year-old was riding in his dad's pickup near Clarke Road and White Road in Ocoee. Someone driving nearby called police after they said the boy pointed what looked like a real gun out the window. The victim told police she was afraid for her life.

"With that type of behavior, it's hard to tell if it's a real gun or not, especially in their car," said Sgt. Randy Conyers, Ocoee Police Department.

But, according to the charging affidavit, the 11-year-old's dad said nothing was wrong with what his son had done and that he used to do it as a kid. The boy even told police he was pretending to be a cop and thought the victims were laughing with him.

The gun itself only fires rubber bands and was checked into evidence. Police didn't comment on the weapon's color or release any images. Still, the victims said they were frightened and, police said, toy or no toy, the charges are justified.

Eyewitness News spoke to the father of the suspect on the phone. He said his son is out of juvenile detention and that a judge told him the case would be dropped. He also confirmed that the gun was black, but that it looked more like a stick than a gun.

Eleven years old. Rubber bands on a stick.

Felony charges.

I leave it to you, the reader, to decide what an appropriate punishment would have been...
then to exercise this judgment as parents and as voters.

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