Blue Line

Police issue caution about imitation, modified firearms

March 19, 2024  By Thunder Bay Police Service

Mar. 19, 2024, Thunder Bay, Ont. – The Thunder Bay Police Service is continuing to be concerned about the presence of firearms and lookalike firearms in their community.

On Wednesday, police held a media event to demonstrate examples of several types of firearms — both authentic and imitation — to highlight the dangers and risks that these items present.

Given the increasing prevalence of firearms and their involvement in the commission of violent crime over recent years, officers responding to situations where a potential firearm may be present must assume that the weapon is real until proven otherwise.

Replica or imitation firearms have been involved in recent incidents that had the potential for tragedy.


In one incident, an officer responded to a call involving an impaired driver who was unresponsive behind the wheel of a vehicle. The officer proceeded to enter the vehicle and the driver then woke up, producing what appeared to be a firearm and pointing it at the officer. This was in a dark, confined space where it makes it almost impossible to determine or differentiate whether it was a real firearm.

Police have also responded to recent calls, involving the Emergency Task Unit, where a potential firearm was reported to have been seen or present and resulted in standoff situations.

The increased presence of firearms — both real and indistinguishable from real — adds a significant element of risk to otherwise standard calls.

In addition, police have recently seized a firearm that is designed to look like a smartphone. These concealed weapons present a significant risk to public safety.

Members of the Thunder Bay Police Service are dedicated to protecting and serving the community and are committed to combatting gun and gang activity.

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