Posted by Guest Writer on Mon, 11 May 2009.
Leicestershire Constabulary Armed Response Vehicles attend approximately 400 firearms incidents a year.
Around 45% of these incidents involve armed police officers actively searching for individuals who are alleged to be in possession of a firearm.
Having examined the figures, the disturbing fact is that a large percentage of these incidents involve young people engaging in acts of anti-social behaviour whilst in possession of a firearm or replica firearm. Imitation/replica guns operate in exactly the same way as the real guns they are modelled on, and in some cases even sound real when fired.
Because of this there is a serious concern amongst trained firearm professionals who attend such incidents and locate these individuals, that one day a young person will be shot by a police officer for being in possession of a gun that is ultimately proven to be a toy. There is a quick test in the picture contained in this article. When you click on it you will be shown a picture of a number of guns and only one is real - see if you can work out which one. The answer is at the bottom of this page.
The Law - Anti-Social Behaviour and Firearms
Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) is when someone behaves in a way that causes harassment, alarm or distress to other people. Individual incidences of ASB are catered for by legislation under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003. In the main these offences carry only minor sentences, but if you include an imitation or replica firearm into the same type of ASB, the consequences for the individual are far more serious.
The following offences are taken from the Firearms Act 1968:-
- SECTION 19 (as amended by the Anti-Social Behaviour Act) - makes it an arrestable offence to have possession of an imitation or replica firearm in a public place without lawful authority or reasonable excuse. The maximum penalty when tried at Crown Court - 4 years imprisonment.
- SECTION 16A - makes it an arrestable offence to possess an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. A young person in the street with a toy gun pointing it at passers by might find themselves charged with this offence. The maximum penalty when tried at Crown Court - 10 years imprisonment.
Did you guess which gun was real?
The real gun in the picture is the one on the top right. Even if you guessed right would you have honestly been able to guess right in the dark, or even in a split second?