Brightly-Painted Firearms Concern Calif. Cops

MARTINEZ, Calif. --

Police were issuing a warning Monday night about a growing trend of guns being painted in vivid colors that make real firearms appear to be toys.

Authorities were concerned about the difficulty of telling the difference between these brightly colored real guns and fakes.

At Canyon Sports in Martinez, gun enthusiasts have the option of buying several guns that are painted in the brighter, more feminine colors aimed at female gun owners.

"Most of the pink guns are toward breast cancer awareness," said Canyon Sports owner Ron Kennedy.

But there is a downside to colorful guns.

"Certainly, a kid finding a pink gun is going to think it's less of an issue than a gun that is black and menacing looking," said Pleasant Hill Police Chief Pete Dunbar.

And the guns sold Canyon Sports don't compare to some of the other guns that have law enforcement concerned. Some people are painting handguns and rifles with what's called Duracoat in dramatic colors and patterns.

"We're getting officer safety bulletins to be on the lookout for guns that look like toy guns," explained Dunbar. "Especially at night when you can't see much anyway, it just adds to the danger that law enforcement folks come into every day, where you don't know what's going to happen where what we thought was a toy gun was a real gun."

The Oakland Police Officers' Association has also been warning its members about this deceptive threat.

"The only thing I suspect is that if they get in a situation with a police officer that maybe the police officer will look at the weapon and think it's a toy, and potentially get a drop on a police officer," said Oakland Police Officers' Assoc. President Dominic Arotzarena.

Canyon Sports owner Kennedy said he doubted the painted guns were a serious threat.

"Most criminals spend very little money on their firearms," said Kennedy.

This warning comes during a January in which 15 officers have been killed across the United States, so it's no surprise that officers would be wary of any potential threat.

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