Criminal charges warn as Orbeez shootings surge in southern Illinois

MT. VERNON, Illinois — Police in several parts of the country are dealing with a surge in Orbeez gun cases. Some law enforcement agencies in southern Illinois are warning of criminal charges if the trend continues.

In Illinois, the Mt. Vernon Police Department says it recently handled several incidents involving Orbeez guns. Investigators say the situation often involves teens shooting and sometimes hitting other people with fire gel or water-based pellets.

Orbeez Gels are not intended to be used intentionally as a weapon, but humans can shoot Orbeez with a makeshift airsoft gun, which will explode on impact with humans or targets. While such guns can be legally purchased from stores, some communities, such as Mt. Vernon, have laws that strictly prohibit their use.

in one Facebook post on Tuesday, Mt. Vernon Police warned of criminal charges if an offender uses an Orbeez gun “to threaten people, shoot at people, damage property, or shoot at people.” Police say charges can range from misdemeanors like assault to felonies like aggravated assault. Mt. Vernon also restricts “firing projectiles” such as Orbeez guns as part of a city ordinance.

Some officials believe the recent spike in Orbeez shootings stemmed from a recent TikTok challenge. The hashtag #OrbeezChallenge went viral on the platform a few weeks ago. Over the past month, some St. Louis neighborhoods also reported a surge in airgun and paintball shootings, believed to have been inspired by the social media challenge.

According to TikTok Community Guidelinesthe platform specifically bans videos that “depict, promote, normalize, or glorify” dangerous acts as well as illegal activities and certain amateur stunts. the #OrbeezChallenge. Criminal charges warn as Orbeez shootings surge in southern Illinois

Nate Jones

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