SURREY â€” Check out these photos â€” can you tell which guns are real, and which are replicas?
Imagine that youâ€™re a police officer responding to a call of â€œa man with a gunâ€ and you have a split-second to decide if heâ€™s got a toy or the real McCoy.
Now imagine youâ€™re the guy holding a toy gun and the police are bearing down on you.
I remember being on a ride-along with the Surrey RCMP when a call came over the constableâ€™s radio that two young men had been spotted carrying guns near an apartment building in Guildford.
The cop drove that patrol car like I didnâ€™t know it could be driven.
We screamed over to the scene, me with my gut in my throat, to find these two young guys already splayed out on the grass, face down.
A Mountie had his gun pointed at the ground and a boot planted in one fellowâ€™s back. The hollering!
It turned out the teensâ€™ guns were water pistols that looked like AK-47s. They should have had red tips on the barrels to indicate they were toys, but for some reason black tape had been wrapped around them.
The lads were given a stern talking-to and sent on their way.
They were lucky, to say the least.
â€œUnfortunately, these incidents regularly involve someone with their latest air gun â€“ BB gun, pellet gun, airsoft gun â€” or replica, not realizing the risks associated with openly carrying or displaying these replicas in public or to a police officer,â€ Cpl. Bert Paquet says. â€œWhen police receive complaints about firearms, they have a duty to intervene accordingly, based on the information and details received.â€
So far this year the Surrey RCMP has dealt with more than 20 incidents involving airsoft guns or replica guns being used or transported in an unsafe manner.
â€œThe majority of these cases required a level of response based on the assumption that the weapons were real, posing safety issues for everyone involved,â€ Paquet said.
When transporting airsoft guns, pellet guns, paintball guns and of course real guns, Paquet said, they should be secured in cases in the trunk and not be with people in the car. They should also only be used in designated areas like gun club and paintball ranges, he added.
â€œThe attached photos clearly demonstrate the similarity between airsoft or replica guns and real firearms,â€ Paquet said. â€œWhile you have plenty of time to look at the images and try to determine which one is real, our officers do not.â€
By the way, the rifle on the top is real, as are the handguns on the right.