West Vancouver police are warning the public after arresting a 21-year-old found carrying a replica pistol at Park Royal mall.
The man was shopping in a store around 5:30 p.m. Monday when security spotted him moving the apparently real firearm from his jacket pocket to his bag.
Police responded with their very much real guns drawn and quickly arrested the man.
“The public expects us to keep them safe and we have the duty to respond, especially to weapons calls like this in a certain type of way. Sometimes that includes us using our firearms. But it is a serious situation where somebody sees someone in a public space with a firearm that they believe to be real and are unsure how they’re going to use. Obviously, we’re going to respond accordingly,” said Const. Nicole Braithwaite, West Vancouver police spokeswoman.
The pistol turned out to be a BB gun, although a very real looking one.
“This was almost indistinguishable from a real handgun,” she said.
There are a number of charges in the Criminal Code of Canada related to replica firearms if they are used in the commission of an offence, Braithwaite said.
“But, as he wasn’t using it in the commission of an offence, he was not charged with anything,” she added.
Police seized the gun for safekeeping and later returned it to the man on the promise he wouldn’t have it out in public again.
“He completely understood what he did was very stupid,” she said.