They may look like toys or junk, but Winnipeg police say improvised guns can be deadly.
So far in 2019, police have taken 30 of these weapons off the street.
“We’ve never seen numbers like this historically,” Const. Rob Carver with the Winnipeg Police Service said.
“The numbers are shocking even to seasoned officers and it presents a real risk out on the street for anyone, including our officers. The people who are putting these together don’t know what they’re doing. There are two elements of risk – it could fire and seriously injure someone, but it could blow up and injure the user.”
On Wednesday, the Bear Clan Patrol found an improvised gun and shared pictures on social media.
“… we took our first zip gun off the street today. If it was fired it probably wold have killed the user,” they Tweeted.
WATCH: Bear Clan Patrol turns ‘improvised firing device’ in to Winnipeg police
James Favel of the Bear Clan Patrol said the gun was actually taken away from a youth who was chasing another youth with it, looking to”do some damage.”
“It was being used more as a club. It didn’t have a cartridge, so it wasn’t going to be deployed as a firearm thankfully,” Favel said.
He said improvised weapons are a growing problem in the city, and hopes the WPS Gangs and Guns Unit will curb the trend.
Carver says the weapon turned in by the Bear Clan was the most crudely put together firearm they had seen.
People need to be extremely careful when dealing with one of these weapons, said Carver
He also warned that anyone who might stumble upon one, as in the case of the Bear Clan discovery, should contact police immediately.
“Don’t touch it. You can’t tell if there’s a shell in it easily or not. Call 911 – it’s that kind of emergency – and we will deal with it.”
Carver added that officers confronted with such a weapon would have no choice but to treat it as a deadly threat.
Carver said improvised firearms are often connected to gangs and drugs, adding, however, there are no known homicides where a makeshift firearm like this was used in the city.