Boston Police Targeting Toy Guns

“Police plan to target replica guns and the inappropriate use of scooters, mopeds, and off-road vehicles to keep Boston streets safe from violence this summer,” reports. “Commissioner William B. Evans revealed his plan as Boston approaches the Memorial Day weekend with 11 homicides on record for the year.” Wait. What? Surely that’s not the BPD’s answer to Beantown’s “gun violence”? Don’t call me Shirley and check it out . . .

Police displayed an array of replica guns that had been recently seized or turned in through a city gun-buyback program, and Evans cited the case of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, who was fatally shot last year by an officer in Cleveland as he played with a fake pistol.

“It’s very frustrating for our officers,” he said. “If a young kid thinks it’s a toy … the worst thing that possibly could happen is one of us thinking it’s real and shoot a young kid. We’re pleading with parents. We’re pleading with the community, store owners not to sell these to the kids.”

He said officers seized about 250 replica guns last year. Last month, Boston police Sergeant Henry Staines accosted a man for videotaping officers surrounding a teenager who was playing with a realistic-looking fake gun on Edgewood Street in Roxbury. Staines later apologized.

At the time, Evans said that Staines acted partly out of frustration over these fake guns, noting that with tension between police and citizens high across the country, Staines was upset at the idea that police could have shot a child playing with a toy.

“They’re a big issue for us,” Evans said Friday. “Nobody wins with these guns that look as real as possible.”

Toy guns are such a big issue for the Boston Police that the entirely sympathetic Boston Globe had to cite a case in Cleveland where a cop shot to death a boy wielding a toy gun (with its orange tip removed). Panem et circuses people, bread and circuses.

Hmmmm. Could this dog-and-pony show have a little something to do with the now infamous video [above] of Officer Henry Staines hassling a videographer and showing him a toy gun [above]?

To be fair, Boston robbers have been known to hold-up store using fake guns. In that case, what difference does it make to the police whether the gun is real or not? Is the BPD jefe seriously suggesting that eschewing toy/replica guns for kids would cut down on plastic firearms-related crime? Just wondering’ . . .



  1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    The biggest selling toy in my neighborhood growing up were steel 1911s and German Lugers. We played army all day and night.

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      Pffffpt. Kids and their 1911s…

      We had potmetal Colt single-action Army cap guns…

      1. avatar KCK says:

        With the smoking red paper caps as they exited above the hammer from the roll coiled up in the faux cylinder. I can smell it now.
        It would feed with each trigger pull so I guess my Colt was a double action.

        1. avatar ghost says:

          I always loved the smell of caps in the morning.

        2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Those were the days!

      2. avatar Grindstone says:

        I had a little green M16 that made a clunky ‘rat-tat-tat’ noise. And I wore a batter’s baseball helmet. In retrospect, the team colors of the Cincinnati Reds is not conducive to setting up an ambush.

        1. avatar Ralph says:

          I had a little green M16 that made a clunky ‘rat-tat-tat’ noise.

          A lot of real ones make the same noise when you shake ’em.

        2. avatar joel says:

          Yea but in my youth, the “Big Red Machine” was awesome! I always wanted a Reds helmet but could never convince the parents of the importance….

      3. avatar JWM says:

        Greenie Stick EM caps. A charge of explosive material on a peel and stick cap. Colt revolvers with plastic shell casings and seperate plastic bullets that would launch on firing. You had to eject the empties, retrieve your bullets and recap the casings before firing again. About the same reload speed as a cap and ball revolver.

        1. avatar Timmy! says:

          Oh how I hated those stick-on gunpowder caps as a kid! They would get stuck to the soles of your shoes (by your evil older brother) and pop when you stepped on them. No wonder I’m so jumpy nowadays… WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT NOISE!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    2. avatar Rokurota says:

      Toy 1911. Because shooting two caps is silly.

    3. avatar joel says:

      Jeez, all we did was play cops and robbers, army, cowboys n Indians…..thank God a cop never showed up and shot us….oh, in the 4th grade, if we were going to a friends house after school, the teacher would let us put our bb guns in the coat closet…and, when I was 10, I would strap a savage .22 to my bike and ride out of town to check traps before school. The town cops who saw me would just wave…this was 1975….I miss those days….

      1. avatar Pieslapper says:

        We were poor and couldn’t afford the fancy store bought guns. So we played army by chucking rocks and dirt clods at each other.

        1. avatar MacBeth 51 says:


        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          We had the guns, but we used the dirt clods as grenades…

  2. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    OOOOOHHH…this hurts my head. IQ limit for Boston’s finest…gotta’ get those evil scooters!

  3. avatar Sammy says:

    Chewed up Pop Tarts are next, then thumb and forefinger restrictions will be explored.

  4. avatar Paul53 says:

    What about stuffed animals? They shoot any toy dogs (yet)?

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Did they shoot toy Dinosaurs? The cops may think the toy Dinosaurs are real and a danger to society just like in the Jurassic World Movie.

  5. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    “Police plan to target replica guns and the inappropriate use of scooters, mopeds, and off-road vehicles to keep Boston streets safe from violence this summer,” I always heard Vespas were just deadly when used in criminal hands. Mom’s Against Vespas. Think of the children….

    1. avatar William says:

      There was that Vespa made for the French that had a recoilless rifle mounted to it…

    2. avatar Pantera Vazquez says:

      Tom, I do not know if you live in an urban area or not, I do-as such I shall try to give you an idea of what the deal with the scooters is. Many urban areas have street gangs, the vast majority of which are heavily manned by preteens and teens. These little monsters are used by OGs as couriers, dealers, robbers and in some cases riders. These kids for the most part are from the lower economic levels of society and as such are limited to low cost scooters, mopeds, mini bikes and go carts. While cheap, these vehicles give them the speed and maneuverability necessary when needed to skip off in crowded urban environments, giving the urban car driving police departments a serious challenge.

      1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Give the cops horses. They are great at getting over and around obstacles. Dirt bikes might work as well.

        1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

          Won’t work for all cops.

        2. avatar Another Robert says:

          holy moly–that’s a lotta doughnuts…

      2. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

        These moped outlaws must be the 2%ers that we never heard about from the AMA.

        1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

          Well, the cycle outlaw gangs were really riding mopeds at the Twin Peaks incident. The Harleys were actually photoshopped in.

        2. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

          @Tom-It is more socially acceptable to shoot white men, who are standing in front of their bikes, then it is shooting a misunderstood urban youth off of a moped. Imagine the riots. Both groups willingly choose not to be members of the social contract, but at least one of the groups is not in the press for killing innocent people everyday in the cities and territories the call home.

      3. avatar Indiana Tom says:

        Pantera, I live in the sticks and out here the punk kids use cheap Chinese dirt bikes and ATVs.

    3. avatar tmm says:

      Bandidos, Cossacks, and Vespas, criminals all….

      1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

        If I ever see a Support Your Local 81 Club sticker on a Vespa used in a drive-by, that individual will have my respect and my full attention. I will be kind of curious though as to where the armed,large, whiteman only club member is at, and when the bylaws were changed from Harleys only.

  6. avatar Sixpack70 says:

    Don’t these guys have some real police work to do? Like preventing terrorist attacks at large gatherings which occur often in Boston?

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Well, they do look for toy plastic grenades…..

    2. avatar Geoff PR says:

      “Don’t these guys have some real police work to do? Like preventing terrorist attacks at large gatherings which occur often in Boston?”

      Or the terrorists boarding trans-continental airliners at Logan…

    3. avatar B says:

      Terrorists are scary. Its much safer to take toys away from children. They’ve gotta make it home, after all.

    4. avatar Stinkeye says:

      I imagine they’re hard at work trying to ban toy pressure cookers as we speak.

      Too soon?

  7. avatar Lurker_of_lurkiness says:

    as he played with a fake pistol.

    Actually iirc it was a pellet pistol (possibly co2), thus no orange tip.

  8. avatar Ralph says:

    Boston cops going after kids with toy guns is a lot safer for them than going after bad guys with real ones.

    Boston is a very safe city these days, which has everything to do with gentrification and little to do with the Boston PD. I think it’s why Evans is so concerned with one of his minions blowing away a child who’s pretending to be a cowboy rather than being worried about a gang-banger blowing away a rival, which nobody cares about.

    1. avatar TokShifter says:

      Hmm. You may be on to something there.

  9. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    How can they “go after” toy guns? Are they going to confiscate legal items? I guess that’s never stopped cops before.

  10. avatar Mark N. says:

    Does the Boston Police actually have the right to seize toys from tots? Wow.
    And I thought the schools were bad….

  11. “I do not give you permission to videotape me”. What the h*** is the officer talking about? As far as I know, (the lawyers in the group please correct me) on public streets the police can not stop someone from tapeing, nor do they have the right to ask someone not to tape them. Why are police so gun shy (excuse the pun) of people who video tape them?

    1. avatar Daily Beatings says:

      Boston PD already knows this is illegal:

      1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

        Boston PD already knows this is illegal

        Since when do cops worry about legalities? This guy was arrested for something that wasn’t even against the law, too. It happens. It’s happened here. We could fill TTAG with stories.

    2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      A guy (semi-truck driver) in our group got stopped by a LEO recently and he was ordered to stop recording him. The driver objected and was “assisted” by the LEO to stop recording. He didn’t fight it on the side of the road because his trailer was loaded and he couldn’t afford to be detained, especially overnight.

      This stuff happens all too often.

    3. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Frank, here is another cop (Houston) erasing evidence a few months ago because he doesn’t want a citizen taping him. Problem was he hit the start/stop button twice and it kept going. He threatened to jail someone for legal activity. I don’t think that cops generally care about the rule of law.

      There are lots of similar videos and stories. Law? Pshaw. F’ the law. The law is what I say it is.

  12. avatar Grindstone says:

    “It’s very frustrating for our officers,” he said. “If a young kid thinks it’s a toy … the worst thing that possibly could happen is one of us thinking it’s real and shoot a young kid. We’re pleading with parents. We’re pleading with the community, store owners not to sell these to the kids.”

    How about, you know, STOP SHOOTING KIDS?

  13. avatar Defens says:

    Boston, uh, Strong? Maybe, Boston’s Wrong?

    Anyway – why don’t they look for those equally scary facsimile pressure cookers, and the ever present backpack? If they were to ban backpacks, the terrs would have no way to tote their weapons of mass destruction with impunity.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      The D.C. cops blew up a pressure cooker that turned out to be — a pressure cooker. The dangerous dude who had it in his car uses a pressure cooker to make rice, which we all know is a very bad thing for anyone on the Atkins diet.

      Now if the cops can get rid of all the deep fryers . . . .

  14. avatar davidx says:

    Hey, c’mon! They mos def needed four or five cruisers and ten cops to get this 14-year-old mutt with his toy, and then the added stress of educating the citizen who was brazenly filming them.

    I got a kick outta hearing the Boston accent again, though; I was born and grew up down in MA and still tokk like that myself. Been up in Vermont now for twenty years so I don’t hear it that often anymore. Also got a laugh outta the beak on the commish; jeezum, he could open a can of B&M Boston Baked Beans with that hook!

    First I’ve heard, though, about the dastardly motor scooters and Vespas and suchlike; boy, those mean streets are dangerous these days; however did we manage with one lone cop answering calls, and actually getting outta the croozuh once in a while to do a foot patrol instead of only for sinkers at the Dunkins. With no tasers and only a billy club and a .38 revolver…

    1. avatar Grindstone says:

      I want to hear, just once, a Bostonian say “I’ve got my car keys in my khakis.”

      1. avatar davidx says:

        Red Sox star David “Papi” Ortiz has a tutorial on the Toob on how to tokk Boston. And there’s a couple of thin paperbacks around, maybe outta print by now, that explain/ed Boston English. I’ve had people visiting up here for one reason or another and when we get to talking no one around us can understand much of what we’re saying. My wife also says that on trips down to MA, the closer we get the more my old accent kicks in. There’s a kind of subset of Boston English among the Boston Irish, however, which is pretty interesting, some different slang here and there.

  15. avatar Skyler says:

    I’m so impressed that superintendent-in-chief William Gross has FIVE stars on his collar. He must think he’s important.

    Important enough to take candy and toys from children.

    Go shelter in place, Bostonians. That’s all they think they have to say. Until there’s a shot heard round the world.

    1. avatar davidx says:

      No kidding! Police chiefs now strut around with general stars and rows of ribbons and medals and look like nothing so much as Paraguayan navy admirals. Then they open their gobs and spout nonsense and drivel, and you remember that they got that gig by hiding from calls and not being around for backup and studying for the series of promotional exams and kissing the politicians’ asses nonstop.

      1. avatar Former Water Walker says:

        I guess…see:Tom Dart sheriff of Cook co.Il. Looks like an azzwhole at a bar…

  16. avatar ghost says:

    Saw five kids the other day coming down the street with “firearms” shooting at each other. Did not notice the difference between real and play. I ran, quivering, into the house yelling, “get down”. Then the dog and cat looked at me like, you wussie.

    1. avatar Nick says:

      My exwife did that once, except the kids weren’t shooting each other at the time. They were adolescents and had AK and AR style air soft guns. She came in screaming about kids in the street with guns, and swore they looked real. So, I grabbed my holster and pistol and went to go look. About the time I got to them I heard the first “shot”. I immediately realized they were toys and went back home to poke fun at her.

  17. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Good grief.
    I’m so glad I don’t live in a place like that.

    1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

      I feel your exasperation and I will be saying the same about your great state, which I love visiting. Tom, pretty soon you are going to have to have a firearms identification card, because that is the only way the state can track when you(lawabidingcitizen) hand a gun to friend and break the law by not having a background check.

  18. avatar FedUp says:

    Down with moped violence, says Mother#$&ingItiots Demand Scooter Action. (/sarcasm)

  19. avatar ghost says:

    Fear is a valid survival trait. Pure freaking terror is not.

  20. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Good point. The cops will have a Toys From Tots program.

  21. avatar Stinkeye says:

    “It’s very frustrating for our officers,” he said. “If a young kid thinks it’s a toy … the worst thing that possibly could happen is one of us thinking it’s real and shoot a young kid.

    So, rather than hire officers with IQs higher than their shoe size and then training them to not shoot kids on sight like that shithead in Cleveland, it’s just easier for everyone in the city to turn in whichever of their kids’ toys you don’t like? Glad we could make your job easier, Chief.

    1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

      Smarter police yes, but I would have shot Tamir Rice in the face the second after his hand touched his waistband producing a realistic weapon. Be a thug and catch a slug, and most inner city killers are 10 and up, due to weaker juvenile penalties. Those kinds of situations happen fast but are extremely slow in playing out.(pre-carcrashimpactfeeling) The cop thought he was in danger when a suspect went for a weapon in his waistband and an armed citizen would have been able to fire in this exact scenario. The cop’s partner needed better training in how not to drive into a kill zone, and all the blame is on the cop driver and the dead thug. The little thug in training should have known the consequences of drawing down with a realistic toy gun on cop.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        So you you would drive right up too him and shoot him as soon as you step out of the vehicle? I hope you’re not a cop and that you never are.

        1. avatar GreatPlainsSower says:

          I am a Christian so NO I would not murder him, but I wouldn’t hesitate killing him if I thought innocent life was at stake, including mine as a fellow armed citizen. I wouldn’t drive up and shoot him like he had to worry about from his fellow concerned neighbors proclivity for popping off everyday. If I was a cop that would be a good shoot, like it will be announced as.
          The cop driving that car had no situational awareness and negligently placed his partner in the line of fire of a 172 pond 6’2 pretending to be armed suspect. I would hope my fellow citizens would not be racially prejudiced against me for defending my life from some one trying to act hard, only to find out they were pudding. The cop that pulled the trigger fired flawlessly under pressure and stopped the postured threat, like I would hope my fellow citizens would in that situation. It was a single shot for the engine block.

      2. avatar Bob says:

        “An armed citizen would have been able to fire in this exact scenario.”
        Yes they would have and they would also be a guest of the government for 20 to life.

  22. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    Every time I pass by the toy department I have to stop look and hold the cap guns. I really had fun as a kid. My adult hands don’t fit them anymore.

    You could even buy plastic model hand guns and some full size plastic model rifles in the late 1970’s. You use testor glue just like on a Revell or Monagram car or ship model. That was so much fun.

  23. avatar gsnyder says:

    Better get on it, those toy guns are going to kill lots of people, dangerous, very dangerous. Hysteria generation deluxe, what a bunch of idiots.

  24. avatar Roymond says:


  25. avatar DaveL says:

    Was the chief born without a sense of shame, or did he have to have it surgically removed? I’d be a lot more sympathetic to police issues with toy guns were it not for two things:

    1. The seemingly uncanny ability of civilian firearm owners to NOT shoot children playing with toy guns; and

    2. The tendency for police to see a gun where there is in fact a wallet, a cell phone, or nothing.

    1. avatar Bob says:

      Except a citizen is not given a paid vacation for killing another citizen. Big difference in consequences.

  26. avatar Shire-man says:

    When I lived in New Haven the NHPD did something similar. After years of hood rats zomming all over the city on dirt bikes and quads cutting across lanes of traffic, riding over sidewalks, running people down, assaulting and killing each to steal said dirt bikes the NHPD finally decided it would be worth enforcing traffic laws.
    Long story short it made absolutely no difference. If I recall correctly the great dirt bike impound experiment was a record year for shootings, murders and thefts.

    To this day friends tell me the great summer ghetto past-time is still ripping up city streets on your quad while sticking up peers in rival neighborhoods for their dirt bikes.

    Of course if whitey goes 5 over the limit in his Beemer it’s a ticket. Ghetto Joe cuts across four lanes on his quad to punch out some guy waiting at the Popeye’s walk-up window and the NHPD looks the other way.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Of course, because citing the guy in the beemer is easy.

      1. avatar davidx says:

        This is know as the Low-Hanging Fruit Theory of Modern Law Enforcement. Much easier and safer to nail middle-class and working white folks going five over, and maybe with a sticker that expired yesterday. Anything more than that nowadays is probably asking too much.

  27. avatar pg2 says:

    I feel safer already.

  28. avatar DetroitMan says:

    “Police displayed an array of replica guns that had been recently seized or turned in through a city gun-buyback program…”

    Wait, the police are purchasing toy guns through gun buyback programs? I think I just hit on a new get-rich-quick scheme. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to run to Toys R Us.

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