Replica guns are causing concerns for St. Thomas police.

Police recently seized a Magnum .177 Caliber BB gun from the backpack of a 16-year-old after he was arrested for breaching his probation order. 

Police say the replica was manufactured to be so realistic both visually and by weight that it was almost impossible to tell the difference between the BB gun and a real firearm without a close up inspection in well-lit conditions.

The majority of replica guns are legal, require no licence, have no age limit to purchase or possess.  Police say the laws surrounding their possession and use are concerning to police and complicated.

Officers say parents need to be aware of the risks involved with letting a minor possess a replica gun.  Minors need to understand that misusing a replica gun could have lethal consequences, say police.

Police say if it looks real, police will react as if it is real.  There is only a fraction of a second to make a life and death decision.   Any replica gun used to commit a crime is considered a firearm according to the Criminal Code of Canada.  The person using it is subject to the same penalties as if it were a real gun.

Police are asking residents to handle and transport replica guns with the same caution and respect you would give a real firearm.