Gun salesman: impossible to recognize fake gun in split second



Posted on April 30, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Updated Wednesday, Apr 30 at 7:49 PM

SPOKANE, Wash.--Witnesses said the murder suspect, who Spokane police shot and killed Tuesday, was carrying a fake gun. Spokane police had not confirmed on Wednesday whether the gun was real or fake. A gun salesman said it is hard to tell the difference between the two in a split second.

Spokane police were on the scene of a murder Tuesday when the murder suspect himself drove to the area. Police said Jeremy Arnold, 37, pushed through police barricades, got out of his car, and showed a gun before police shot him.

READ: Friends think Spokane man killed by police chose death over prison

A gun sales clerk at the White Elephant said the store carried all types of guns, including BB pellet guns and airsoft pistols.

Sales clerk Terry Johnson said, “It shoots the plastic pellets and it comes in different colors, different amounts,” describing an airsoft pistol. “Most of the kids use them to play with.”

 Johnson said the plastic rounds would sting and leave a welt.

KREM 2 News asked Johnson how hard it would be to tell the difference between a real gun and a fake gun.

“The only way is if they were able to see the orange tip on it,” Johnson said. “Depending on the timeframe that they've got that they see and can react, they may not be able to see that, and of course, it's not that large either.”

Johnson said some children paint the tip of the gun.

“They'll paint them black to match the gun so there's no way you can tell,” said Johnson.

Johnson said an orange tip on a pellet gun is not required. He said people use them to shoot varmints on their property. Johnson added a pellet could pierce skin but normally do not kill people.

“It could, but not normally. If they've got clothing on, the clothing takes up some of the impact so it reduces some of the energy on it,” said Johnson.

Johnson added some pellet guns are also BB guns. He said they look like revolvers.

KREM 2 News asked Johnson how fast somebody can tell if a gun is real or fake.

“It's real hard. It's real hard, and almost impossible in that split second that they have to react,” said Johnson.

Law enforcement had previously told KREM 2 News that the time it takes to tell whether or not a gun is real or fake is a luxury they do not have.