Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Toy airsoft gun triggers alert

young student with a pellet gun triggered a police investigation after a incident Friday afternoon near CE Barry School.

“Police understand that these guns.... have become very popular. We further understand that many view these guns to be toys,” reports Corporal James Paulsen.

Because of their popularity “some children are purchasing these guns, receiving them as gifts, and playing with them at home and in neighborhoods with parental permission,” adds Paulsen.

“The problem is there is potential for injury. The guns are not meant to be shot at people. There is potential for injury especially in the eye area.”

The other problem is that Airsoft guns can often be mistaken for real ones.

“In today’s political climate, it is not going to be tolerated and there is potential that if your child brings an Airsoft gun to school or any public place they may be observed by a bystander who believes the gun may be real,” adds Paulsen.

“This situation obviously could rapidly deteriorate into an ugly situation, involving police, potential arrests, injury or worse. Times have changed, Toy guns don’t belong at school.”

Last month an incident in Chilliwack lead to the evacuation of a school and the deployment of a police emergency response team until it could be determined that a reported firearm in the school was a replica toy gun.

“Besides endangering other people, it also endangers the student who might be carrying a toy that could be misconstrued to be a weapon.”

On Friday, as school was letting out for the day, a group of students were standing on the corner of 5th avenue and Queen street across the street from the school, reports Corporal James Paulsen.

With an air-powered handgun which shoots plastic pellets, “one of the students shot at other students with the plastic pellets as they were leaving the area.” Two students were struck in the hip, hand elbow, hand, kidneys and buttocks.

“Fortunately neither of the boys had any lasting injury. “

The incident is under investigation by the school.

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