Two juveniles were scheduled to appear in court last Friday after they were arrested on suspicion of possessing a pellet gun at John Gray High School.
The incident occurred on 9 May.
Officers were alerted to a situation at John Gray at around 1.40pm when reports were received that a firearm was in the school.
Police recovered a weapon, which at first look appeared to be a handgun. Closer inspection revealed the weapon to be a BB gun, capable of firing small pellets.
Two juveniles were charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm, importation of a firearm, and sale of a firearm.
‘These weapons are dangerous in more ways than one,’ said Inspector Ian Brellisford. ‘Not only can these weapons inflict serious injury to another person, they are also illegal.
‘In addition, armed officers responding to reports of a firearms related incident cannot be sure if real or imitation weapons are involved. For the safety of the public, we have to assume that they are real.
‘If you own one of these weapons, chances are you will be arrested,’ said Inspector Brellisford. ‘Imagine that officers are responding to a firearms report, armed officers will be deployed who may believe they are dealing with a life- threatening situation. From any distance these weapons look and have the characteristics of a real weapon and until handled and examined by trained officers.’
The RCIPS is examining what can be done to help educate young people about these weapons and is researching what educational methods have been used elsewhere in the world.
It is anticipated that a multi-agency effort, involving the Department of Education and other agencies will be considered.
Neither the Education Department nor the Ministry of Education responded to repeated requests for comment about the 9 May situation.
Anyone in possession of an imitation weapon or a BB gun who is unaware of the law is urged to hand it into their police station. Under these circumstances, no action will be taken by the police. Under the Firearms law (1998 Revision), an air-gun, such as a BB gun, is illegal