Imitation firearms should be kept out of the public eye and "will be treated as real, until proven otherwise."
Coquitlam RCMP issued the reminder today (Nov. 17), while also noting air guns are considered firearms under the Criminal Code, after a pair of BB guns were recently surrendered to local officers — one that looked like an assault-style rifle.
Four youth males were seen in the area of Como Lake Park on Nov. 9 carrying the weapons in plain sight. The other appeared to be a pistol, according to a news release.
Around 12:30 p.m. that day, spokesperson Cpl. Alexa Hodgins explained they were seen wearing balaclavas and were with a grey 2006 Acura near the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and Foster Avenue.
Officers ultimately found the group in a nearby alleyway, Hodgins added, and they had claimed to be using the imitation guns while filming a music video.
An inspection determined the two firearms were BB guns, which were then surrendered to police.
"There will be an immediate and heightened response when police respond to reports involving weapons to ensure the safety of the public and responding officers," said Hodgins.
"Imitation firearms can pose a significant risk to the public, police and the person who is carrying it, as the differences between real and fake are in the details."
BB, pellet and airsoft guns are considered to be firearms.
In fact, Coquitlam RCMP explain they're "subject to the same licence and registration requirements as conventional firearms," especially high-powered air guns, and should only be used in designated areas or on private land.
"Less powerful air guns are not considered to be firearms under the Firearms Act, however can be considered firearms under the Criminal Code if they are used in a criminal or negligent manner," the local detachment's release stated.
The public is being reminded that imitation weapons should be locked in a secure case and out of reach of children and youth to "prevent misunderstandings, accidents or thefts."
You can visit the Canadian Firearms Program page of the RCMP's website to learn more about the specific types of air guns and how to keep them secure.