An airsoft rifle caused alarm for police and residents last night at a popular park in Saanich.

On Monday, April 24, 2023, at approximately 7 pm it was reported to police that two men were walking along the pathway at Balmacarra Park and then down to the beach carrying a long gun.

Police attended to the area and observed two men matching the description getting into a vehicle. Officers were able to conduct a high-risk traffic stop before the vehicle pulled away.

Located in the trunk was a black long-gun, which was shortly thereafter determined to be an airsoft rifle.

The men had explained that they were target shooting down on the beach and were immediately very apologetic for generating a police response and concern amongst the community.

“Please remember that police treat all firearms as if they are a real threat until deemed otherwise, and that calls like this put the public and police at significant risk,” said Cst. Markus Anastasiades. “There are currently no indoor or outdoor spaces in Saanich where the public can discharge any firearm or crossbow, which include pellet or bb guns, except in very specific situations.”

Both men were released without charges and the rifle was seized by police.

For reference, please read Saanich Bylaw 9414 Firearm and Bow Discharge.

Further, a firearm is defined in the Bylaw as:
any rifle, pistol, or shotgun, and includes an air gun, air rifle, air pistol includes air guns, air rifles, air pistols and spring guns, but does not include a starting pistol that is incapable of firing a projectile and is used for the discharge of blank ammunition in connection with an athletic sporting event.

For questions regarding Saanich Bylaw, please contact Saanich Communications:

File 23-7267

Cst. Markus Anastasiades
Public Information & Communications Officer

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