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Gun amnesty extends to replicas

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Police say using a BB gun in a public place could lead to arrest by armed officers.
Hertfordshire police have again urged residents not to carry air pistols or BB guns in public places.

The renewed warning comes as the force takes part in a nationwide month-long gun amnesty during which members of the public will be able to hand in any illegally held weapons or ammunition without fear of prosecution.

The amnesty also applies to air guns and replica weapons.

According to superintendent Steve Hughes of Hertfordshire Constabulary, imitation guns, and BB guns in particular, are a concern as many reports of firearm sightings in Hertfordshire turn out to involve imitations.

"Worryingly, many young people view the casual carrying of guns as fashionable, much like carrying a mobile phone. In many cases they are simply replicas, but by carrying such items in a public place, they could face the real possibility of being confronted by armed police officers, something which we are obviously extremely keen to avoid," he said.

The police say new legislation in relation to the possession of firearms in a public place is to be introduced by the Government. It will enforce a minimum five-year sentence for the illegal possession of a replica firearm and make it an arrestable offence to possess, in a public place, an imitation firearm or air weapon without reasonable excuse.

When handing in weapons during the amnesty members of the public are asked to follow these simple guidelines:

  • Take a logical and direct route from their home/business premises to a police station
  • The surrendered weapon should be carried in a box or other appropriate packing
  • If travelling in a car the weapon should, if possible, be carried in the boot
  • The gun should, if possible, be handed in unloaded and separated from any ammunition. (If anyone is unsure about how to make a weapon safe they should contact their local police station for advice prior to handing it in)
  • Never point the weapon at anyone or have it on display in a public place.
Hertfordshire Constabulary has put together a page on its website setting out how people should go about handing in weapons.

31 March 2003

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