A teenager toting a replica rifle at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre got a lesson from police in the potential consequences of carrying fake guns in public Friday morning.
Sgt. Judy Bird of the Abbotsford Police Department said a 16-year-old boy was carrying the fake rifle home from a friend’s house when he decided to stop by the mall. At least one witness called police just before 11 a.m. Officers on scene found the teen after he walked by them carrying the rifle, Bird said. She said the gun resembled those carried by police, although it was a little shorter.
The boy was not aware that carrying something resembling a firearm in public could be problematic, Bird said. She noted that people should not be carrying such guns anywhere in public, where people – and police – may think they are real.
The boy was spoken to and subsequently released. Police were also at the mall to deal with two other less-serious incidents, increasing the appearance of a massive police response, Bird said.
In April, a similar situation triggered a large police response near a Mt. Lehman church. And in 2015, several incidents involving non-lethal guns prompted police to warn that officers must assume that pistols and rifles are real when called to a scene.
That year, The News investigated the sale of look-alike fake guns. The sale of replica guns is prohibited by law but rarely enforced, although retailers are allowed to sell certain airsoft guns with muzzle velocities in a defined window.