Two middle-school age boys had toy guns taken from them while they were at school in Grand Cayman Tuesday.
The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service said the boys were not using the imitation firearms when they were found and would not face any charges for possessing them because the devices are not legally classified as firearms.
However, police said these types of toy guns fire small plastic pellets which can cause injury, and which can be mistaken for a real weapon.
‘People could end up phoning the police saying ‘there’s a young boy in my neighborhood with a gun’ and armed officers will respond, and they will treat it as if it’s a real gun,’ said RCIPS spokesperson Deborah Denis.
‘Perception is reality,’ said Acting Police Commissioner Rudolph Dixon. ‘We are concerned that if more of these toys arrive on the island there could be lethal consequences if someone fails to obey police instructions during an incident.’
Ms Denis also points out that if a toy weapon is used in the commission of a crime, for instance in a robbery, the person arrested and charged with the crime would face a minimum ten years in prison, if convicted.
She also noted charges might be filed if a public disruption was caused by a child waving a toy gun about.
‘If they were in a public space, say running around George Town with them, any case like that would have to go to our legal department for a ruling.’
They boys are expected to face school discipline, but the Ministry of Education did not state what exactly that discipline entails since the incident did not occur at a government school.
‘I would urge the community, in particular parents, guardians and teachers to…ensure that the youngsters are not in possession of realistic looking toy guns at school or in public places,’ said Acting Commissioner Dixon.