Calgary police are responding an increased number of incidents involving the use of firearms within city limits, only to find that the guns in question are replicas.
In an interview with CBC on Sept. 5, Inspector Mike Tillotson said that it’s a public safety concern because, from a distance, it is difficult to tell whether someone is holding a real or fake gun.
“If we believe it to be a real gun we have to treat it like it is,” said Tillotson.
Calgary Shooting Centre President James Bachynsky said that often air-powered guns are almost exact replicas, however they are generally distinguished with orange muzzles or clear plastic bodies.
Bachynsky is aware of the consequences of shooting within city limits.
“Target practice on private property violates city bylaw.”
“Use of a replica to commit a crime will result in criminal code firearm charges and the replica will be treated just like a real firearm,” said Bachynsky.
Mount Royal University nursing student Jonathan Dennis said, he would not be interested in owning an air-powered gun if it did not look legitimate.
“It needs to look real,” said Dennis.
“Once you put an orange stripe on, it’s more of a toy.”
The police need to better inform the public that it is illegal to shoot a gun in the city, said Dennis.
“They need to make that more apparent, especially on the packaging of (gun) boxes.”
It is considered a dangerous and unlawful practice to discharge a firearm, pellet gun, B.B. gun or a gas-powered gun within this city, according to City of Calgary Bylaw.
The fine for discharging a gun can total up to $1,000.
For more information on City of Calgary Bylaw regarding air-powered guns, click here.