Police issue BB gun warning
Hertfordshire police are asking parents not to buy their children BB guns for Christmas. They say they pose a serious risk of injury and could lead to the handler being arrested.
Officers say anyone using a BB gun in a public place is at risk of being arrested for a number of offences including the "possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence".
BB guns can be bought relatively easily and legally in the UK. They fire small plastic balls which appear to be harmless, however police say they do pose a threat to the safety of others and to their owners if they are used in a public place.
Hertfordshire police are also asking shop owners, who sell BB guns to children, to think twice about the consequences of these guns being used irresponsibly.
According to Chief Superintendent Tony Burden, head of the constabulary’s Operational Support Department, all sightings of guns are taken seriously and involves the immediate dispatching of armed police officers.
"BB guns can look very realistic and in responding to such an incident, officers have to treat the gun as a real firearm until they can be absolutely sure that it is not a lethal weapon. We would ask parents and shop owners to take this warning extremely seriously and help us to prevent their child or someone else’s from getting seriously injured or worse."
"We want people who own imitation firearms to be fully aware of the consequences of showing and using them in public. We obviously do not want to cause unnecessary alarm to BB gun users and in turn we want to warn them of the distress they may cause to other members of the public," he added.
The recommendation from police is that if parents are happy for their children to have BB guns they should supervise their use and make sure they are used in a private area such as their own garden.
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November 30, 2002