Police reveal dangers of carrying fake firearms as part of gun surrender campaign

Posted on 29th October 2014


A video showing how closely matched imitation firearms are to real ones has been released as part of Derbyshire police’s gun surrender.

On Monday, a video was released showing a real Glock 17 handgun next to a BB gun fashioned as a Glock imitation.

Viewers were asked to decide which one was the real gun, and the answer has now been revealed in a follow-up video released today.

The real gun was shown on the left hand side, while the right hand one was the almost identical ball bearing toy.

It is those kinds of imitation guns – as well as real, antique or even licensed guns their owners no longer require – that police want people to hand in.

A weapons surrender is taking place across Derbyshire until Friday, November 7. People with firearms or ammunition that they no longer want, need or should not have in the first place can hand them in at police stations during the surrender.

Several weapons and ammunition have already been handed in to police stations across the county, including shotguns, air weapons, BB guns, starting pistols and several hundred rounds of ammunition.

Inspector Jay Ashley, who is involved in the operation, said: “Gun crime is low across Derbyshire and has been dropping year-on-year for the past decade. A large part of that is down to surrender campaigns such as this, and the videos we have released are helping raise awareness of it.

“The side-by-side comparison of a real handgun and a fake one was designed to show people just how closely matched imitation guns can be to the real thing.

“If someone sees a person carrying a toy like a BB gun out in the street, they will not be able to tell if it is real or not.

“They will call the police and our armed response officers will turn out. People shouldn’t take the risk of carrying a fake, because the consequences are very real.”

Many viewers who watched the original video gave their answers over Facebook and Twitter, with many being unable to distinguish between the two.

Insp Ashley said: “The message we want to get across is that even having an imitation out in public is against the law, and can have very serious consequences for anyone seen with one.

“I’d urge anyone with an imitation gun, even if it is a BB gun, to hand it in during the weapons surrender.

“We’ve had a great response so far but we want more people to hand in any kind of firearm, to get them off the streets and out of circulation altogether. Every gun handed in is one less that could end up in the hands of a criminal.”

The operation is the first in 11 years to give people across the whole county the opportunity to hand over any firearms or ammunition they have, to help stop them getting into the wrong hands.

These include air weapons, replica or imitation weapons such as BB guns, antique firearms or legally-held guns that license holders no longer want or need.

The 12-day surrender is part of a nationwide focus aimed at reducing the number of guns in public circulation, and follows a recent change in the law that prohibits persons with suspended sentences possessing firearms and ammunition and relates to changes concerning the possession of antique firearms.

In July, changes were made to the Firearms Act 1968 that placed greater restrictions on who can legally possess firearms or ammunition.

These changes include persons who have received custodial sentences of between three months and three years, regardless of the offence, who are now prohibited from possessing any kind of firearm or ammunition for five years. Offenders who are sentenced to three years or more are prohibited for life.

Now, the same rule applies to anyone with a suspended sentence of three months or more.

There have also been changes to the law surrounding firearms that are classed as antiques, which can be possessed without a certificate if they are classed as a ‘curiosity or ornament’.

The changes also include anyone with a suspended or custodial sentence of between three months and three years who is now prohibited from possessing ‘antique’ firearms for five years. Anyone with a sentence of three years or more is prohibited from having antique firearms for life.

To find out where and between what times you can hand firearms in, call Derbyshire police on 101.

Do you need a quick answer to a general question? Then we recommend you visit the national Ask The Police web site.