Man charged after pointing replica handgun at woman in central Alberta town

A man is facing very real charges for pointing a fake handgun at a woman in central Alberta.

A man pointed a replica handgun at a woman after she asked him what he was doing on her property

Can you tell which is the real gun? The gun on the left is the pellet gun. The one on the right is the real gun. (CBC)

A man is facing very real charges for pointing a fake handgun at a woman in central Alberta. 

RCMP were called to a house in Coronation late Wednesday night after a woman had a frightening encounter with a stranger on her property.

When the woman asked the man what he was doing, police say he pointed the replica handgun at her. The woman ran from her home and called police. 

RCMP subsequently arrested a 27-year-old man and charged him with assault with a weapon and using a firearm in the commission of an offence.

He is scheduled to appear in court on Aug. 29. 

Fake gun, real punishment 

Under Canadian law, using an imitation weapon to commit a crime carries the same penalties as using a real firearm. 

Replica handguns are prohibited in Canada and they cannot be sold or given to an individual. However, people who owned a replica handgun before Dec.1, 1998 are allowed to keep it. 

EPS warns that if you use an imitation firearm to commit a crime you will face the same penalties as if you used a weapon. (EPS)

Cases involving replica handguns are increasing. In 2015, the Edmonton Police Service dealt with 1,598 files involving imitation guns — a 38-per-cent increase from the 1,160 files in 2014.

Edmonton police warned the public in June that in regards to police encounters, "if it looks like a gun, it's treated like a gun." 

They launched an initiative called "Fake Gun, Real Danger" in an attempt to build awareness about imitation guns.. 

"Whether it's a replica or not, if we see a firearm, especially a firearm pointed at a police officer or anyone else, we have to make that split-second decision and access our firearm," Sgt. Matt LeBlanc said in a video released as a part of the campaign. 

"It could be a lethal encounter."