By Elijah McGuire-Berk
Web Editor
The Department of Public Safety (DPS) found several students in possession of airsoft guns, which is a breach of College policy.
In the email sent out to the campus community on April 14, DPS included the policy for Fireworks, Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives, or Other Weapons, which states that an item that is “[a] dangerous article or substance with the potential to injure or discomfort a person…is prohibited at any time for any purpose at any place on the campus or other property of WC.”
Director of Public Safety Gerald Roderick said, “We have seen an increase of these airsoft guns on campus and with students in general. It’s fairly alarming because these guns, although they’re airsoft guns, they do fire projectiles at a pretty high rate of speed.”
Students found firing a BB or airsoft gun in town will be fined $100, referred to the student conduct process for adjudication, and will be referred to law enforcement. According to College policy, students found with a weapon will likely be removed from campus, pending conduct review.
Although the plastic BB pellets are not as dangerous as actual bullets, they can still inflict harm, especially if someone is shot at a close range.
Roderick is primarily concerned with their resemblance to real firearms.
“If you get shot in the eye with one of these things, you have a pretty serious injury,” Roderick said.
“The serious implication of one of these things is that they do look like an actual handgun,” he said. “That can draw bad results in certain situations if one were to display that publicly. [The owner] would, in fact, be interpreted as armed and dangerous [by law enforcement].”
Chestertown Police Department Lieutenant John Dolgos echoed Roderick’s sentiment.  He spoke in particular about an incident when a student was outside behind Queen Anne’s House, shooting a plastic Frisbee with a BB gun. The pellets were hitting a building owned by the hospital, who called the police to deal with it.
“The problem with these are that certain weapons are not allowed on College grounds,” he said.
He noted that discharging a BB or airsoft gun within town limits is illegal, although owning them is perfectly fine. His biggest concern was not the weapon itself as much as it was how people may see it.
“Somebody driving by who does not know it is a BB gun is going to call it in as a man with a gun on campus. Imagine what kind of response that would be if we got that kind of call,” Lt. Dolgos said.
Regarding the incident outside of Queen Anne’s, Lt. Dolgos said that no one was charged, but Chestertown Police did seize the BB gun.
Another incident occurred during a traffic stop on campus. The vehicle was searched and the police found an airsoft pistol, which greatly resembled an actual gun. The gun was legal for the owner to possess in town, but violated WC weapon policy.

The Elm

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