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Joined: 23 Oct 2007
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Location: Newfoundland, Canada

06 May 2009, 1:20 pm

One of the guns that these cops have is real and the other is a toy.
Can you tell the difference?


Police say anyone would have had a tough time determining whether this toy gun was the real thing.

But that's what one officer had to do from 120 feet, after two calls came into police headquarters, describing a man with a gun in the area of Torbay Road Monday evening.

Two officers prove the difficulty of the task, while standing side by side and holding a real Heckler & Koch MP5 machine gun and the plastic gun taken from the scene Monday evening.

Justin Ryan, an 18-year-old developmentally delayed boy, was playing with the toy gun when the officer approached him with his gun drawn, says his mother Catherine, who says the whole family was shaken by the incident.

"I was here in the house and my next-door neighbour came in and she said, 'You better come out quick. The cops got Justin,'" she says.

Ryan says when she got outdoors her son was on his knees with his hands behind his back.

"I lost it. I said, 'What are you doing? What's on the go?' and I couldn't ... I was just frantic," Ryan says.

"Biggest thing is ... if there had've been nobody around we would have gotten one call saying Justin is dead or he's in jail."

Justin is at the intellectual level of a six- or seven-year-old boy.

"I can't let him go across to the store himself because he's not streetwise," Ryan says.

She says Justin told the officer that the gun was his toy and that he couldn't have it.

She says that was when another boy came running up to the officer saying, "He's delayed, don't shoot him."

Ryan says her son bought the toy gun at a nearby dollar store.

She says it's fine that they couldn't tell that her son was delayed, but says police should have a better way to tell if a gun is a toy or real.

Constabulary spokesman Const. Paul Davis says the officer did exactly as he was trained to in this kind of situation.

"As our officers were responding they were being provided some of the information. ... An officer arrived in a parking lot and observed a person with what appeared to be a machine gun or similar to what's called a Heckler & Koch MP5," Davis says. "These officers know they're responding to a man with a gun."

Davis says despite reports that other children were playing in the area, the officer reported that he and Ryan were the only two in the area.

He says the officer described getting out of his patrol car and starting to repeat instructions to Ryan to drop the gun and back away from it. In fact, his commands can be heard on the 911 tapes Davis played for the media.

It was when the officer got close enough to kick the gun away that he realized that it was plastic.

"I'd suggest to you that looking at that quickly ... that it can be difficult for a police officer at 120 feet away to make a clear and definite conclusion as to what he's dealing with," Davis says, explaining that the officer said Ryan appeared to be a mature man carrying a gun.

"He has to deal with it as if it's real until he determines differently."

Davis says the officer then holstered his own gun and started talking with the boy's family and others who had made their way outside.

Ryan says the officer then said "'Listen here lady, you needs to calm down,' he said. 'A few minutes later and I was about to shoot him.'"

"It was a very charged situation and people were upset," Davis says, adding that the officer denies saying those things.

Davis says the officer did apologize to the family at the scene, but that no formal apology has been issued because the officer didn't do anything wrong.

"In our community today it's not unusual for you to hear police reports of instances that involve firearms guns and violence. We don't know where we're going, when it is, what time of day it doesn't matter. He was faced with what he was faced with, he acted appropriately and he dealt with it appropriately."

Here's a question, what happened to the bright orange tip that all toy guns are supposed to have? That is the most obvious way to tell if the gun was a toy or not, without it, the cop has no way of knowing.

While I am not a big fan of the RNC, I will say that they did no wrong here, the parents should have had more sense then to let their child play with a realistic looking toy gun, if there is no orange tip, add duct tape or something else...

Humans are intelligent, but that doesn't make them smart.


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Joined: 18 Oct 2008
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06 May 2009, 2:06 pm

I can not tell the difference, I think letting kids play with a toy gun which looks like a real gun is a very silly idea. It could lead to a fatal misunderstanding.

Health is a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity :alien: I am not a jigsaw, I am a free man !


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Joined: 20 May 2008
Age: 33
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Location: Montreal, Québec

06 May 2009, 11:39 pm

It's all fun and games until sonny boy decides to point someone and pew pew and he drops down and red stuff starts coming out. :p
Now i'm reminded of Gorillaz's "Kids with guns".


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Joined: 19 Mar 2007
Age: 38
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07 May 2009, 12:45 am

It says he bought it at the dollar store. The orange tip is a US law, and dollar stores rarely carry merchandise made in the US since the imported crap is so much cheaper. Dollar stores only carry items that they can get for less than a dollar, so quality manufacturing principals is not something their products are known for.

I've seen plenty of toy guns in discount stores which don't have the plastic tip, I've also seen ones where the tip can easily be removed.

Snowy Owl
Snowy Owl

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Joined: 1 Apr 2009
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Location: Round Rock, TX

08 May 2009, 5:10 pm

Letting kids play with toy guns is stupid. Granted, as a kid, I had a few, orange tip included, but now I look back and realize how stupid they were. When you have problem surfacing where cops can't tell the difference between a real and a fake gun, it's time to do something. Innocent children get shot for this senseless act. Think about this...would you want your kid playing with a toy gun only if knowing that a cop would mistake it for a real one? I'm not talking about letting your kid play with an orange tipped gun, but a real looking one. I didn't think so, not to mention the fact that it inadvertently tells a kid that guns are OK to carry around and that somehow guns are cool, and let's be honest...unless you're a hobbyist or collector, guns are not cool. Oh, and on the off chance you seem to think they're cool, go talk to one of the Virginia Tech survivors, or the victims' families. They might disagree.


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Joined: 27 Nov 2008
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08 May 2009, 7:58 pm

I cant tell the difference


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Joined: 30 Apr 2009
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Location: Woodbridge, VA

09 May 2009, 3:34 am

These orange tips are often painted over or removed. In some states it's illegal to remove the orange tip, and it's a violation of Federal law to transport them across state lines without it. At a good distance away, there is absolutely NO way to tell the difference between the toy and the real gun.

Heart of the guardian, way of the warden, path of the exile.