Civil Liberties

Letting Kids Play with BB Gun Gets Queens Man Arrested


Yes, even a pellet BB gun can if improperly used put out an eye; but is playing with one at a park with your kids when it does not in fact cause any harm sufficient reason for arrest? Queens police think so, from CBS New York:

A Queens man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly firing a lifelike weapon and handing it over to his toddler-age son…..Jack Pawlowski was led out of his Queens home in handcuffs Wednesday, with his stunned wife and three young kids looking on. He said nothing as detectives put him into a squad car.

But earlier, he allowed CBS 2 up to the family's apartment to get a video of what he calls the harmless "kids' toys" that started it all.

Pawlowski told CBS 2 he took a toy gun, and two of his kids, around the corner to Ditmars Park. It was around noon and packed with kids and their parents.

It appears some in the park thought the guns were real at first.

"At first I thought I was hallucinating," said Maria Smilios of Astoria. "He pulled out this gun."

Smilios saw the toy up close, and at first thought it was the real thing. She gave CBS 2 a cellphone photo she said shows Pawlowski firing pellets at a tree.

Other aggrieved parents told him to leave the park, and he eventually did. One angry parent from the park:

called police, who arrived after Pawlowski left. She also called City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-22nd) and posted the photo on her "queensmamas" website.

That led to a tip that led investigators straight to Pawlowski's door.

"This is really a way to educate people," Vallone said. "You cannot run around with a realistic looking gun. It's against the law, and you could get arrested and actually go to jail."

Pawlowski "remained in custody Wednesday evening, on charges of reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a minor, resisting arrest, and possession of an illegal BB gun."

News video, including Pawlowski being dragged into the police car, the offending pellet BB gun, and the complaining parents at the CBS News link.

**UPDATE CORRECTION: Due to my own error, the headline originally referred to the gun as a pellet gun. It has since been corrected.