ATLANTA -- A lot of people think BB guns are toys.
They are anything but.
While APD has not said whether the weapon used in the tragic killing of a baby Friday was definitively a BB-rifle or a pellet-rifle, either one has the potential to injure or even kill. \
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Many of them look like real firearms and feel like real firearms. But technically, according to the ATF, they are not firearms.
They are however, guns. Air guns. And in the wrong hands they can certainly be lethal.
"It takes one pump," said Jay Wallace, demonstrating how the air guns load. "Put in a single shot, right here. You should treat this just like any other rifle. This can definitely be deadly."
Wallace is the owner of Adventure Outdoors in Cobb county. He showed 11Alive News just how powerful air rifles can be, even when they're unloaded.
He dry-fired one of them into a thick piece of cardboard.
"You can see right here just from the oil, where it dented that box," he said, pointing at the dent. "Just the pressure coming out of there."
Put that air pressure behind the small-grain ammo the weapons use, and you've got a lot of danger in a very tiny package. That's because BB's and pellets are smaller than traditional bullets.
But depending on the power of the air gun, the projectile can reach speeds in excess of 12-hundred feet per second. That's as fast as a .22-caliber bullet and faster than some .38's.
With the ammo shortage, air rifles have become increasingly popular, as more people buy them to save money on target practice.
But Wallace says the rules for handling them remain the same as any firearm.
"You never point a firearm, a BB-gun, or a pellet-gun at anything you're not willing to shoot."