BB gun amnesty launched

POLICE have today warned that anyone carrying a ball-bearing (BB) gun in public risks being killed by armed officers.As Suffolk constabulary kicks off a month-long amnesty on BB guns, a stern warning was issued to make people aware of the similarities in appearance to a real gun and the panic that can be caused.

POLICE have today warned that anyone carrying a ball-bearing (BB) gun in public risks being killed by armed officers.

As Suffolk constabulary kicks off a month-long amnesty on BB guns, a stern warning was issued to make people aware of the similarities in appearance to a real gun and the panic that can be caused.

In 2006 police received 216 calls from concerned members of the public, many of which resulted in armed officers being dispatched to investigate.

Operational Support Group Inspector Alex Morrison said: “Our armed response officers are highly trained, but even they can find it impossible to tell the difference between a BB gun and a real gun, especially when they first arrive on the scene and see the gun from a long distance away.

“Firearms officers have to make split-second decisions about whether a situation poses a threat.

“With many people owning realistic looking BB guns, particularly teenagers, we are worried that an armed officer could be forced to take lethal action against someone who appears to pose a significant threat.”

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Posters warning of the threat have been produced by the force and will be distributed around the county.

Carrying a BB gun in a public place can lead to criminal charges for possessing an imitation firearm, which carries a penalty of six months imprisonment or a fine.

Parents or anyone concerned about BB guns in their home can arrange for them to be safely collected and destroyed by Suffolk Police, by telephoning 01473 613500.

All guns will be subject to forensics and intelligence tests before they are destroyed by trained firearms officers.

Are BB guns a problem in your neighbourhood? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an email to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

PANEL

Tips for responsible BB gun owners from Inspector Alex Morris

n.Owning a BB gun is not illegal but carrying them in public could lead to criminal charges.

n.Only use them responsibly in a private place

n.Make sure you are out of sight of onlookers who may be alarmed by realistic-looking firearms

n.Ensure that any BBs or pellets fired remain safely inside your property

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