Deadly replicas
Look-a-like guns could result in tragedy

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 30/98) - All RCMP Const. Jeff Hurry knew was that he was responding to a call with a firearm involved.

Upon arriving at the scene and conducting his investigation, he discovered a youth with a replica pellet gun.

A youth was lucky -- this time.

"The firearm we uncovered in a person's knapsack so closely resembled our own Smith and Wesson that I was just startled," said Const. Hurry.

"It was even housed in its own sidekick holster. A belt holster which we issue."

Hurry said when he first looked at the hand gun, he thought it may have been one of the RCMP's own firearms until he picked it up and felt it was a little lighter.

He said had the replica been pointed at an officer or seen hanging on a person's belt, their reaction would have been swift and defensive.

"We would have taken cover immediately, tried to ascertain what type of firearm we were dealing with and you never know where it may have led," said Hurry.

"Any citizen, any police officer, would definitely mistake this for a real firearm and that's of great concern to us."

Cpl. Paul Moffit said there are many such replica weapons in Yellowknife and there's a growing concern among police officers that the look-a-likes are a tragedy waiting to happen.

"They're not stainless steel, they're plastic. But, the thing is, they're so lifelike it's unbelievable," said Moffit.

"If one of these firearms was ever hauled out during a disturbance or in the commission of an offence and pointed at the attending officers, who knows what would happen."

Hurry says store owners have to start being more responsible with who they sell the replica firearms to.

Although there is no Firearm Acquisition Certificate required to purchase the air guns, common sense can go a long way in averting tragedy.

"You can't sell one of these to a 12-year-old and expect him to be responsible for it.

"I'll tell you, I was very, very nervous when I pulled this weapon out and seen how close it resembled our own.

"We have to have people more aware and exercising better judgement before we have a tragedy occurring over one of these weapons."