Eighth grade kid in Texas was killed by local police when he waved a handgun at them and refused to put it down. There was a building full of witnesses heard them yelling that over and over before they fired.
There is the usual aw-fuck-it! head shaking about how something like this can happen–especially since the kid's weapon was actually a pellet gun.
Kid punched somebody in the nose, pulled out the pistol, and then the police, answering a student-with-a-gun call, took him down.
His parents are in shock and stunned grief, and they wonder, why did the police have to shoot him three times? Why not only once? Or the unspoken one: Why at all? It wasn't even a real gun! He was a middle school boy, only fifteen. (Turned out it was twice; the head wound was a cut from the fall.)
Look at the two images above. Can you tell which is the 9mm pistol and which is the pellet gun copy? If you can, do you think you could do so if somebody had it in their hand and was pointing it at you?
Utah police kicked a door in Ogden, and six of them got shot, one fatally so, by somebody in the house. (Or maybe friendly fire, apparently that is a possibility.) But even so ...
Would you be counting your shots in either situation?
Over and over again, I bump up against this: If a bunch of LEO's pointing guns at you tell you to drop your weapon and you aren't ready to meet your maker? Drop the fucking thing. It's a lot easier to sort out the legalities if you are still around to do so.
Note: Airsoft and other pellet guns are often marked with a plastic day-glo red or orange ring at the muzzle, so they are instantly identifiable as such. See the images below:
How long do you figure it will be before some psycho realizes that dipping the muzzle of his real pistol into day-glow red paint will give him an advantage if the LEO standing across from him thinks he's got a pellet gun?
In California, a bill to make pellet guns of brightly-colored or clear plastic failed to pass recently, but that's probably not a bad idea. The clear, anyway:
But the bright colors? Not so much. Have a look at the SIG P238 and the Glock: