Teens playing with replica guns encounter ‘overwhelming’ police response in Abbotsford

Police issue warning about the dangers of playing with replica guns in public after seizing three airsoft guns Tuesday following 9-1-1 call.

Police seized this replica airsoft gun and two airsoft handguns Tuesday night from three teens.

Police seized this replica airsoft gun and two airsoft handguns Tuesday night from three teens.

A report of a man carrying what appeared to be an assault rifle near an Abbotsford church drew a large police response Tuesday and, later, a warning to the public about the perils of playing with look-alike toy guns.

Abbotsford Police received a 9-1-1 call around 9 p.m. Tuesday from a resident who had spotted a person carrying what looked like a large rifle near a church in the 3300 block of Mt. Lehman Road.

“As you can imagine, that generated an overwhelming response from our patrol division,” Const. Ian MacDonald said Wednesday morning.

At the scene, police officers found three teens between the ages of 15 and 18 carrying what looked to be guns. Two resembled handguns, the other looked like a police-issued rifle; in fact, all three were replica airsoft guns that resembled the real thing.

The teens complied with police orders to drop their fake weapons, which were then seized for destruction. Police then had words with the boys’ parents.

“Those are very lower-end consequences when you think of what could have happened,” MacDonald said. He warned that such incidents carry with them the potential for a lot worse if those using replica firearms don’t immediately comply with orders, forcing officers to make a decision.

In December of 2015, 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.

That story followed two incidents involving the use of imitation firearms.