To the editor: The answer to the toy gun vs. real gun problem will not be found in well-intended legislation. It will be found in parenting, education and a little common sense. ("Real or fake? Tragic encounters fuel debate over realistic-looking replica guns," Feb. 13)
In my capacity as a police use-of-force expert, I've seen cases of shootings involving toy guns and replica firearms. In one case, a woman who was stopped for speeding pulled out and pointed at the officer a "handgun" that was a replica of the semi-automatic gun that I carried as a law enforcement officer. Weeks before her death, she told her boyfriend that she painted over the required orange tip because she wanted to make it look like a real gun.
Take a look at the Big 5 advertisements for realistic-looking airsoft and BB guns in The Times and try to pretend that you wouldn't shoot if you encountered one in a threatening situation. Conversely, I have seen photos of many real guns that were painted to look like toys.
People in public places who are foolish enough to brandish or point what appears to be a weapon can expect to be shot if they do it in the presence of a police officer.
Greg Meyer, Los Angeles
The writer is a retired Los Angeles Police Department captain.
To the editor: Toy guns are a result of little boys wanting to "play" like big boys. Children don't realize how deadly guns are. They are made to kill.
If people like 22-year-old Jordan Baylon, an airsoft gun enthusiast quoted in your article, want a real-life experience with guns, they should join the Army. Get these "toys" off the street.
Ron Anderegg, Los Angeles