By Haley Ryan - Metro Halifax
HALIFAX - Replica handguns are becoming more common in Halifax, and police are warning the public to think twice before buying one.
The guns and gangs integrated police unit displayed a table full of the fake weapons Wednesday morning, part of the 50 seizures already brought in this year.
“In my mind there’s no legitimate reason to be in possession of a replica handgun,” said Const. Mike Cheeseman of Halifax Regional Police.
He said besides gun enthusiasts using them for target practice in the woods, most replicas turn up in a crime scene when they’re used to intimidate people in a robbery or assault.
There’s also the issue of threatening someone who has the real thing.
“If they roll up on someone who has a real firearm, it could also result in getting themselves shot,” Cheeseman said.
In other areas of North America, Cheeseman said officers have actually shot and killed young people who they believe to have a gun, but it turns out afterwards it was only a replica.
“It just puts both the officer and the public in danger,” he said.
The court system recognizes replicas as weapons, and charges can be laid because they incite the same reaction in a victim.
In the last three or four years replica guns have become more prevalent, and much more authentic-looking, Cheeseman said, thanks to manufacturers taking steps to be closest to the original.
“I’m sure they could tell you all the good reasons why they do them (this way). As a police officer I don’t see the merits for it,” Cheeseman said.