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Campus cops: NERF guns considered real firearms

Zombie game shirt

Students playing a campus-wide game at the University of Colorado are being warned not to use the popular toy NERF guns, which shoot foam darts.

In fact, posted signs say they aren’t allowed even to have the toys on campus. The signs state, “If you’re caught walking around the University of Colorado at Boulder with a NERF gun, you could be arrested.”

The issue arose when a website began promoting the “CU Boulder Humans vs. Zombies” game, and an estimated 600 students signed up to participate. In the game, the humans are supposed to shoot the zombies with NERF guns to keep them away.

But campus police ban such toys, fearing they could be painted to look like a real weapon and someone could become alarmed and notify authorities, who would have to respond.

Campus police spokesman Mollie Bosley told WND there have been instances on other campuses where lockdowns have been ordered because of a citizen report of a “weapon.”

The game website now warns, “STOP USING NERF GUNS IMMEDIATELY.”

It continues: “You can be criminally charged for carrying one on campus. No weapons of any kind besides socks.”

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The organizers of the game wrote on the site, “The original moderators really screwed up big and got a huge fan base for the game before the school or police department approved. This causes big issues for … anyone unaware of the game.”

Zombie game website

The alternative, the website suggested, is to use socks as weapons.

On the website for Denver television station KUSA, a forum page participant noted that students at Colorado State University, in Fort Collins some 50 miles away from Boulder, recently recommended continuing to allow concealed carry of real guns on campus.

“At least CSU doesn’t treat their students like children and allows responsible adults to carry a real gun! Besides with the recent surge in NERF gun sales the economy is on the rebound!”

Added another, “With the past history of binge drinking and violence at CU, I would think school officials would be happy that students have decided to take up a harmless KIDS game! But then again, maybe officials are upset because they are constantly mistaken for the zombies! Grow up … and let the kids have some fun. Let’s hope we all remember this when the next election comes around and we have to vote for CU’s Board of Regents.”

There was an abundance of sarcasm, too: “Next they will get mats and milk at 10:00 a.m. and lay down for a half hour!!”

Bosley told WND not only do some people paint their NERF guns to look like real guns, there are manufacturers of real guns that have started selling units that are brightly colored and look like toys.

“If we have people playing a game and someone happens to be walking and sees someone crouched down with something that looks like a weapon, then they call us, we’re going to respond,” she said.

At CSU, the student government body voted 21-3 this week in support of keeping CSU a conceal-carry campus. The final decision by the school will be made later.

In Utah, universities aren’t allowed to ban guns, but across the rest of the nation, CSU is one of only a handful of schools allowing concealed weapons.

Local Larimer County sheriff Jim Alderden says, “I think whenever you create a gun-free zone, you have an opportunity for criminals to act with impunity.”

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