One enterprising suspected drug dealer in North Carolina got in touch with his artistic side and painted his Glock, MCK Conversion kit, and 50-round drum magazine to resemble a Nerf gun, according to a recent press release.
Narcotics investigators in Catawba County were executing a search warrant at a residence when they found the bright blue and orange firearm, along with a trove of drugs and about $2,300 in cash. Police also seized 19 additional rifles, pistols, and shotguns.
“Firearms of this type, while not illegal to possess, are concerning to law enforcement,” the release said. “Firearms, in general, are commonly seized in conjunction with searches where felony amounts of narcotics are present.”
Damien Alonzo Burch, 35, of Catawba was arrested and charged with felonious possession of cocaine, felonious possession of mushrooms and misdemeanor possession of marijuana, the release said. The release did not mention any firearms charges, and it’s unclear whether Burch painted the firearm himself or whether it belonged to someone else.
GunsAmerica reached out to Catawba County Sheriff’s spokesman Capt. Aaron Turk, but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
The Glock wasn’t the only colorfully painted firearm seized by police at Burch’s house. Another photo shows a purple and yellow shotgun, a red and gold Glock, and another yellow handgun. Police also seized several bolt-action rifles, a lever-action rifle, a shotgun, and a variety of semi-automatic handguns and revolvers. The photo also appears to show one of the rifles outfitted with a thermal optic.
Investigators seized quantities of cocaine, psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana as well.
Disguising real guns as toys isn’t a new phenomenon. All the way back in 2014, a local news station in Alabama ran an article describing the difficulty law enforcement agents have with real “toy” guns.
“It’s another method of people on the street, especially some of our bad guys being able to hide the weapons from a distance. If it’s painted pink or blue we typically don’t associate that with a threat, it’s something that is typically a toy, so we are much less likely to treat it as a threat,” said Captain John Stringer of the Madison Police Department.
Police may be especially hesitant to react to what looks like a toy gun due to frequent media criticism of officers who shoot people who brandish toy firearms. Most famously, police in Cleveland killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice after he reportedly tried to pull out a toy gun that had been modified to look like a real one.
Burch was released on a $20,000 unsecured bond on Wednesday, according to CNN.