In the wake of last month’s Cleveland Police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice for holding a toy BB-gun, as well as the Beavercreek Police shooting of John Crawford III back in August, Ohio police are now making the astonishing claim that “criminals are painting real guns to look like toys.”

The implication of this new announcement by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department in Cincinnati, Ohio is that police have no choice but to treat everything that is shaped like a firearm, like a real firearm. In a real sense, they re preemptively announcing that they very well might fire on someone for holding something that overtly looks like (or is) a toy gun.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Department claims that criminals a red-painted, .380 handgun was found during the arrest of 23-year-old Orlando Lowery. They claim that far from this just being a red gun, he was trying to trick police into believing it was a toy.

The arrest came Friday, December 12th, 2014, only four days after legislation had been introduced in Ohio that would require “lookalike” guns like what John Crawford and Tamir Rice were holding, to be brightly colored and/or otherwise marked.

Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil said that guns being painted colors like red is “a scary thought” since that could make officers believe they are real.

“And the fact is right here in Hamilton County, we arrested a dangerous individual who we believe purposefully painted a loaded handgun red to mislead law enforcement into thinking this was a toy gun,” a statement released by Neil said.

Beavercreek Police Officer Sean Williams said that he had no choice but to fire on John Crawford because the pellet gun that he had looked like an assault rifle. But this ignores the underlying fact that had he been carrying a real assault rifle, he would have been protected under Ohio law.

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(Article by Moreh B.D.K.; image via AP/Hamilton County Sheriff)

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