In 2022, there have been multiple police calls for service in the City of Huntington Beach regarding citizens being shot with “water pellet guns.”
This trend has become increasingly popular amongst children and young adults due to a social media trend called the “Orbeez Challenge.” This national challenge, most popular on the social media platform “TikTok,” encourages people to do drive-by style shootings utilizing the projectile shooters (commonly referred to as “gel blasters” or “gel ball guns”).
In April of 2022, a juvenile was issued a criminal citation by the Huntington Beach Police Department for battery (242 PC), a misdemeanor, for shooting another in the face and body with this gun.
The Huntington Beach Police Department is making a concerted effort to crack down on these types of incidents. This activity could result in misdemeanor, and possibly felony, criminal charges, depending on the level of injury sustained by the victim. It could also lead to civil litigation for injury to person(s) and/or damage to private property. Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about the possible criminal charges that could arise from shooting another with the gun.
The trend also has the potential to cause fear or panic as some of these gel blaster guns could be mistaken for an actual firearm. The projectile shooters can be hard to distinguish from a firearm from a distance, and some have painted the toy guns to make them look like real firearms. The gel beads are typically created with water, but many conducting the challenge have begun freezing the beads to intensify their effects.