Two recent incidents in which Airsoft guns mistaken for weapons

MAYVILLE/WAUKESHA (WITI) -- A lockdown of Mayville High School and Mayville Middle School on Wednesday, May 22nd is the second in recent weeks to cause a panic after an Airsoft gun was mistaken for an actual firearm.

On April 16th, near Waukesha's Carroll University, police responded to reports of a man walking with a gun. The situation led to a lockdown of Carroll's campus.

50-year-old Michael Wiedemann of Waukesha was cited for disorderly conduct after it was determine he was carrying an Airsoft gun.

Just over a month later, it happened again in Mayville.

"The first thing that comes to my mind is 'Why?' and 'Who taught you this?'" Andre Tillman said.

Tillman is a member of what he says is a growing Airsoft community. Described as a recreational activity, Airsoft uses replicated guns that fire plastic BBs.

Tillman says he is concerned about how these incidents may affect the sport's rapid growth in southeastern Wisconsin.

"The more negative light that gets brought to the sport, the slower we'll grow, or it may stop growing completely," Tillman said.

Tillman says to cut down on the confusion and avoid having folks mistake Airsoft guns for actual guns, gun cases, bright-colored components and barrel socks are part of the appropriate protocol.

"The protocol is to treat it as it is a real gun, until it is determined otherwise," Brian Dorow said.

Dorow is the Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College and helps train police officers.

"They all look alike. How do you decipher which one is the Airsoft gun, and which one is the real gun? It's very tough," Dorow said.

Dorow suggests Airsoft competitors keep others informed about Airsoft events.

"Let your neighbors know. Let your parents know. Perhaps, let the police department know if you're gonna be outside," Dorow said.

Dorow also suggests putting the gun in a case in order to eliminate a potential 911 call.