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Police Swarm Bungie Office Over Halo Replica Rifle 746

Posted by Soulskill
from the armed-and-nerdy dept.
sv_libertarian writes 'A panicked person in Kirkland, WA called local police on Wednesday, claiming they saw someone walking down the street with an AK-47. It was actually a Bungie employee carrying an overgrown model of a Halo sniper rifle, which resembles an AK-47 as much as a Volkswagen resembles a Formula 1 racer.' Halo 3: ODST is set to launch on September 22nd, and fans got some new details and early looks at the game during PAX.
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Police Swarm Bungie Office Over Halo Replica Rifle

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  • Ugh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 404 Clue Not Found (763556) * on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:07AM (#29340375)

    Fucking camper.

  • by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:11AM (#29340413)

    Win!

  • Ah, paranoia (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorpNO@SPAMGmail.com> on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:12AM (#29340419) Homepage Journal

    Maybe Congress can attempt to pass an "Assault Replica" bill.

    I've never understood the logic of banning a gun because it looks scary. American "assault rifles" are semi-automatic. Pull the trigger, and one shot comes out. Politicians want to ban them because they look intimidating next to, say, a standard bolt-action Ruger 30.06. This is like banning a V-6 equipped Camaro because "it looks fast".

    • Re:Ah, paranoia (Score:4, Informative)

      by nurb432 (527695) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:21AM (#29340505) Homepage Journal

      Don't joke, they have something similar to a 'replica ban' in the UK already.

      The rational is not 'because its scary', its to make the bans rather vague in their coverage. You capture more weapons that way, with the general publics approval.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by solevita (967690)
        I think the actual reason is to stop people holding up banks with replica guns; after all, if you're not planning to shoot anyone, you can hold up a bank with a replica just as well as with a real gun. No neither to worry about finding bullets or all that cleaning either.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nurb432 (527695)

          You go on believing that.. Its all about the disarming of America, little by little.

          if they can stigmatize ownership enough people will be afraid to own.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by maharb (1534501)

            We are already disarmed. The purposed of the clause in the constitution was to enable the general public to have equal ability to overthrow/control the government if it tried to overstep its boundaries. That is what our nation was founded on and that is what the founding fathers wanted to give the people. Now are are just like every other nation, ruled by our government and not the other way around. In terms of relative firepower the best a regular citizen can get might as well be a water pistol compare

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wagnerrp (1305589)
          By that same logic, you can hold up a store with a banana in your pocket. Posturing that you have a gun can often be just as effective as showing one. We should outlaw all of the phallic fruit.
      • Re:Ah, paranoia (Score:4, Insightful)

        by jabuzz (182671) on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:01PM (#29340973) Homepage

        That is because the police got very tired of the hassle and expense the massive inquiries that inevitably followed when some moron pointed a replica gun at someone, and a police marksman shoots them.

        Personally if you point a replica gun at someone, especially a policeman don't whine when you get shot.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jcr (53032)

      I've never understood the logic of banning a gun because it looks scary.

      It has nothing to do with logic. It's all about politicians pandering to those of their constituents who know exactly squat about guns, and think that a label like "assaut rifle" actually means something. Diane Feinstein does a lot of bragging about how her utter contempt for the second amendment "gets assault rifles off the streets."

      -jcr

  • by Vinegar Joe (998110) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:12AM (#29340421)

    Washington is an open carry state.

    http://opencarry.org/wa.html [opencarry.org]

    • by Rogerborg (306625) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:33AM (#29340623) Homepage

      +1 Informative, -1 Angry Ranting Nerd.

      Washington may be an open carry State, but are fully automatic firearms legal there? Are weapons with a caliber larger than .50 legal? Google before answering, and look at the size of the 'weapon' in question.

      Under Washington law, it is an offence to open-carry with the intent to cause alarm. A bystander was alarmed enough to dial 911. It's up to an officer to determine whether that alarm was intentional.

      So the police investigated, determined that no crime had been committed, and left some sensible advice. Advice, not orders. Seems about right to me.

      Next time you hear about some scruffy looking guy dragging a massive gun down the street, and you choose to move towards that person, then you get to armchair quarterback police response to firearms calls. M'kay?

      • by schon (31600) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:58AM (#29340949)

        Washington may be an open carry State, but are fully automatic firearms legal there?

        An AK-47 is semi-auto, not full-auto, so your question is irrelevant.

        Are weapons with a caliber larger than .50 legal?

        Again, the AK-47 is *SMALLER*, so why are you asking?

        Google before answering, and look at the size of the 'weapon' in question.

        The police were called about an AK-47 - not a "big gun I don't know the name of", but (specifically) an AK-47. Seeing as the caller specifically said AK-47, the cop's response should have been "AK-47's are perfectly legal to carry in the open."

        • by Jussi K. Kojootti (646145) on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:48PM (#29341553)

          An AK-47 is semi-auto, not full-auto, so your question is irrelevant.

          There may be semi-auto versions available for hobbyists, but as a general statement that is just wrong. The AK-47 is definitely a proper assault rifle capable of emptying the 30 round magazine in 3 seconds if need be. In fact it is pretty much the mother of all assault rifles, copied dozens of times around the world.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by X0563511 (793323)

            30 rounds in 3 seconds? I thought that was wrong, so I looked it up... and holy crap, you are right! 600 rounds/minute, that's 10 rounds per second!

            Damn!

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          That's highly unrealistic. They couldn't just ignore the call by replying that AK-47's are legal. As Rogerborg pointed out, even if it is lawful to openly carry such a weapon, it is not lawful to "cause alarm" with it, and the fact that someone called 911 shows that at least that person was alarmed, and thus investigation is required. Even if the gun is legal, the police are very much justified in at least advising the person how to carry it so as not to cause alarm.

          And from the 911 call-taker's point of

    • by eln (21727) on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:18PM (#29341185) Homepage
      The police investigated a complaint involving someone walking around outside an office building with what appeared to be an assault rifle. Would you rather they had told the caller it was probably just a replica, and hung up? How were they to know it was an employee with a fake gun rather than, say, someone on his way to massacre the occupants of the building, without going over and investigating?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Darkness404 (1287218)
        They should have told the caller its perfectly legal to open carry in Washington. Told the caller to have a good day and then hang up.
  • by houghi (78078) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:12AM (#29340427)

    But it looks very much like something real to me. Sure you can make fun of people not knowing it does not look like an AK47. I can also imagine that somebody who knows very little about riffles would say 'ak47' where he means 'looks like an assault wepon that is not like any standard hunting rifle'.

    • A point well taken, but there's a degree of normalcy shift you need to expect when you live around the corner from Bungie. At least the cops reacted appropriately, both to the initial information they were given, and to the actual situation once the facts came to light.
      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        A point well taken, but there's a degree of normalcy shift you need to expect when you live around the corner from Bungie.

        Yeah, knowing you live around some game developer studio is more usual to normal people than knowing what AK-47 looks like.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Vinegar Joe (998110)

        At least the cops reacted appropriately, both to the initial information they were given.....

        Since Washington is an open carry state where it's legal to carry a firearm openly, how was their reaction appropriate?

        • by P0ltergeist333 (1473899) on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:01PM (#29340983)

          In an age where it is not unheard of for a citizen to gun down schoolmates and coworkers, I think erring on the side of caution when someone is wielding a dangerous looking weapon in a populated area is appropriate no matter what the gun laws are. And I am not a fan of the police by any means.

    • by cheekyboy (598084)

      lets have 1000000 people call up the cops and claim someone is making a nuke in the back yard.

      stupid people wasting cops time should be fined, more so than, people speeding 3% above limits or downloading stupid songs made by filthy rich coke addict so called artists, yeah like its ok for them to smoke coke but not ok to download the music? stupid hypocrits the artists and the execs who prob smoke more coke.

    • Yes, but that thing has got the size of a WW2 antitank rifle. It dwarfs everything IzhMash has ever produced short of their aircraft cannon.

  • God forbid someone in the U.S. is seen having a gun.

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      The media has been stigmatizing and programming the public for decades. Sounds like its working rather well.

      Are rifles legal in that part of the country? if so, id be suing for harassment.

  • Well, to be fair, (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hawthorne01 (575586) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:16AM (#29340455)
    ...it doesn't look like an AK-47, but that's become the generic term for "semi-automatic rifle with detachable magazine", thanks in part to lazy reporters who don't know the 1st thing about firearms.

    However, it does look like a whole lot like a Barrett .50 sniper rifle [wikipedia.org], so even I'd wonder if it was the real deal or not.
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:17AM (#29340467) Journal

    their way to the local farmer's market called 911 saying that they thought they saw someone walking down the street with an AK-47

    I've seen people get paralyzed because a black beetle crawled across the kitchen counter. I suspect many people have the same irrational fear of guns, therefore if you carry ANYTHING that even resembles a gun their first instinct is to call for help (aka "call 911"). It's a phobia which is NOT rational, and it's no wonder they irrationally identified a toygun as an AK-47.

    >>>officers advised Bungie officials to transport the gun more discretely in the future.

    No. Read the Constitution mister cop (you know, that thing you pledged to protect, but apparently never read). Carrying a flag, sign, or other item is considered "symbolic speech" according to the Supreme Court and therefore protected.

    • by bcmm (768152) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:33AM (#29340627)

      I've seen people get paralyzed because a black beetle crawled across the kitchen counter. I suspect many people have the same irrational fear of guns, [...] It's a phobia which is NOT rational

      The thing that makes the beetle phobia irrational is that the beetle involved is harmless (well, technically I'm probably making an assumption about what part of the world you're from there). Whatever you think about gun control, you surely don't think they aren't dangerous. What exactly would you consider a rational phobia?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by pjt33 (739471)

      I would have thought it made sense to carry it less discretely. If they split it into several pieces then it will be more discreet.

    • by timholman (71886) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:52AM (#29340857)

      >>officers advised Bungie officials to transport the gun more discretely in the future.

      No. Read the Constitution mister cop (you know, that thing you pledged to protect, but apparently never read). Carrying a flag, sign, or other item is considered "symbolic speech" according to the Supreme Court and therefore protected.

      There's such a thing as being right, and there's such a thing as being stupidly right.

      Sure, I have the right to do lots of things. I can stand up in a PTA meeting and say: "I think we ought to reconsider if sexual relationships between students and teachers are really such a bad thing." I can walk up to a group of Hispanics and say: "I really think this country would be better off if you moved to Mexico." According to the Constitution if have the right to do it, but having that right, and dealing with the consequences of exercising that right, are two entirely different things.

      Walking down a street carrying what looks like an assault weapon to the average guy on the street is just begging for trouble. Notice that the cop didn't say "Don't carry the replica." He said: "Be discreet. Don't cause people to panic." There is a big difference between the two.

      When it comes to exercising and fighting for your rights, choose your battles intelligently. A mature adult chooses discretion and consideration when dealing with his fellow man, not meaningless confrontation just to prove a point.

    • by DragonWriter (970822) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:54AM (#29340877)

      No. Read the Constitution mister cop (you know, that thing you pledged to protect, but apparently never read). Carrying a flag, sign, or other item is considered "symbolic speech" according to the Supreme Court and therefore protected.

      Police are permitted to advise people that they would be generally better off doing things even when those things are not legally mandatory; of course, people are also free to ignore such advise, arouse suspicion in their neighbors, have the police called and have the police arrive to investigate. That something is Constitutionally protected doesn't mean it isn't suspicious to your neighbors, and it doesn't mean the police won't investigate when they get a report, and that both the report and the follow-up inquiry won't be perfectly legal.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:19AM (#29340485) Homepage Journal
    If you go around with a replica of a BFG-9000, the name of the gun claimed would be probably more similar to the actual weapon name.
  • Risk Assessment (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:26AM (#29340563)

    And while they called out the SWAT team for a replica gun, people shrug their shoulders at Labor Day traffic, which kills a lot more people than any shooting spree. Human beings are absolutely terrible at risk assessment.

    • The new math (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)

      And while they called out the SWAT team for a replica gun, people shrug their shoulders at Labor Day traffic, which kills a lot more people than any shooting spree. Human beings are absolutely terrible at risk assessment.

      The full weight of Labor Day traffic deaths is borne by fifty states and a population of 300 million people.

      The 2006 Amish school shooting spree occurred within a one-room schoolhouse in rural Pennsylvania.

      The body count doesn't tell you everything you need to know.

      Risk assessment isn't me

  • Whether it resembles an AK47 or not, it still looks like a scary looking piece of kit to the untrained eye. I know nothing about guns, and while it looks comically oversized, I wouldn't automatically assume it was fake.

    As a part-time theatre tech, I sometimes have to transport fake guns for shows, and I always do it discreetly. Just because I know they are fake, doesn't mean other people will, or indeed should know. It's not like people take classes on gun recognition at school. Unless you have an interest in such things, I don't see why you would know what different guns look like.

    Reminds me of that girl who strolled into an airport with circuit-boards, wires and blinking lights attached to her jumper, and was surprised when security got rather twitchy. It might not have looked like a bomb to you and I, but to the average person bought up on a diet of Hollywood films, where the bombs always have sticky out wires and flashing lights (and beep, just to let you know they are there), it certainly looked suspicious.

    At least in this case the police were a bit more calm and restrained once they figured out what was going on.

    • by iphayd (170761) on Monday September 07, 2009 @11:51AM (#29340849) Homepage Journal

      Right, but in this instance the police acted appropriately... They were alerted to a potential threat, contained it, discovered it wasn't a threat at all and left. No charges were filed, and a suggestion was given that would result in a whole lot of police and Bungie staff not having their time wasted.

      To the guy that said carrying the gun was political speech. Bullshit. In this instance, an employee was carrying a piece of equipment from point a to point b. That equipment just happened to be something that the general public took as a threat. The police suggested a way to alleviate time wasted in the future.

      If they were to actually carry this item as political speech, it would be wise to alert the police that you are doing so _before_ you start marching around with a fake gun. Otherwise, you are _very_ likely to be looking down the barrel of a very real gun.

  • Replica guns (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slim (1652) <john@ha[ ]up.net ['rtn' in gap]> on Monday September 07, 2009 @12:00PM (#29340969) Homepage

    In the UK, this could easily result in prosecution for carrying a replica gun. I'm not opposed to that law.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Totenglocke (1291680)

      Yet you're perfectly ok with people being able to allow knives, which are infinitely more dangerous? Glad I don't like in the U.K.

      I may love the creative things that come out of the U.K., but good god you people are idiots when it comes to common sense and freedom. Brian Cox even said point blank in an interview on Top Gear about a year ago that since he moved from the U.K. to the U.S. he's realized just how horrible the U.K. is about violating people's rights.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hitmark (640295)

        we humans sure love our rights, but those obligations that come with them seems to be a different matter...

  • by mschuyler (197441) on Monday September 07, 2009 @04:26PM (#29343651) Homepage Journal

    and concealed carry. In fact, it is a 'will issue' state meaning the local PD MUST issue a concealed carry permit within 60 days unless the background check reveals an issue. But the issue is a little more complex. This is how a Police Lieutenant explained it to me when I was taking a gun safety class here: Although 'Open Carry' is specifically allowed in Washington for anyone not otherwise prohibited from owning guns (such as felons), any other citizen can claim 'feeling intimidated' and call 911. If this happens, the PD MUST investigate and MUST send a report to the prosecutor, period. In fact, this Lt. reports being harassed by citizens for open carry when he was 'out of uniform' (meaning he had on a sweater and his badge was on a chain around his neck in full view, which is an authorized uniform in this jurisdiction.) If these people only knew. He carries three guns at once: One Glock in a holster, another mid-back, and a third J-frame .38 in his pocket (A J-frame is a fairly small revolver. The Glocks are, of course, semi-automatics.) The last two you'll never see unless he needs it.

    The bottom line here is that a gun-o-phobic populace can claim 'intimidation' because they 'feel frightened' if someone else is simply carrying a gun and lodge a complaint that must be 'investigated.' In this case people cannot be expected to know that a) the gun wasn't real and b) that it was not an automatic, which is PROBABLY illegal here (Lots of rules for this kind of firearm.) How the investigation was carried out is another matter, but here it had to get to that point.

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