VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — If you live in Virginia Beach and your child plays with airsoft guns, a free event Tuesday night might be worth your while.
In September 10 On Your Side reported on 13-year-old Khalid Caraballo, a Virginia Beach middle school student who was suspended for playing with an airsoft gun on his own private property.
WAVY.com investigated the issues involved with that suspension, and now Khalid has returned to his regular school.
“The school system should never have become involved … I think he was on private property … my property … and he disobeyed me, but this is a home issue. He won’t be doing it again,” said Khalid’s mother, Solangel, back in September.
But it is also clear that Khalid’s mother never gave him permission to use the toy gun, which is a big problem, according to the Virginia Beach Police Department. So, the department is holding an event to help parents know what city law says about airsoft guns.
At Tuesday’s Airsoft Gun Awareness and Safety Event, police will emphasize parental permission is the law in Virginia Beach.
“They are used under adult supervision, and used in a safe location where you have permission to use them, not just out running around on the street, because that is a dangerous place to be,” said Jimmy Cason with the VBPD.
Airsoft guns have orange tips and they are not fire arms, but they can sometimes look like the real thing, and that has created what police call a “blurred reality.”
Virginia Beach Police Chief Jim Cervera said, “Teenage boys and other younger kids are out with a weapon that looks like a real weapon. They know in their mind it is not real, but when a police officer arrives on the scene, they see a weapon, and it can go to a bad place.”
And Cason said the same mistake can be made on the part of the child: “The same holds true for the airsoft gun because a young child who has never been exposed to a real gun, who is accustomed to playing with an airsoft can very easily get the two confused. They look that much alike.”
Tuesday’s event will be broken into four segments, including two break-out sessions with hands on activities. It’s designed primarily for educating parents on how to help their children be more responsible with airsoft guns.
The event is free and will be held on Tuesday, April 22 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Law Enforcement Training Academy (411 Integrity Way). That is the building on Birdneck Road at the I-264 East off ramp across from the McDonalds.