Last week, a cosplay photoshoot involving a large fake rifle caused quite a stir on the public Seacliff State Beach in Monterey Bay, California. The costumed model was seen carrying the huge replica gun at the beach, and judging from the photos, nothing indicated that it was fake. Some beachgoers reported the photoshoot to the police, and the whole case prompted a public warning from the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office.
According to KRON4, the incident occurred on Wednesday, 3 June. As you can see from the video, the woman was wearing a costume and she was at the beach with a photographer. Therefore, many people assumed that the “rifle” was merely a part of the photoshoot. However, others claimed that it wasn’t the right place or time to carry a rifle (even a fake one), especially with children around. The reports from concerned citizens prompted the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office to issue a public warning about carrying firearms. They said that even if it’s a replica, carrying weapons is definitely not a good idea.
“They may know it’s a replica. As we’ve seen in the picture they’re walking around having a good time with what they know may be a fake firearm, but our responding officers don’t have any idea what they’re walking into, as well as the other public member that are on the beach.”
As I mentioned, the fake rifle from this photoshoot didn’t have any indications that it was fake. According to regulations in California, it’s prohibited to buy, sell, manufacture, send and receive imitation firearm for commercial purposes, except in these cases:
- A non-firing collector’s replica that is historically significant and offered for sale in conjunction with a wall plaque or presentation case;
- A BB device
- A device where the entire surface is certain bright colors, or which is entirely transparent so that the contents are completely visible; or
- Starting January 1, 2016, a spot marker gun which expels a projectile that is greater than 10mm caliber.
The legislation also notes that “brandishing or displaying the imitation firearm in public may cause confusion and be a crime.” According to DPReview, it could end up in paying a fine for the first and second infractions and potentially be followed by a misdemeanor for future violations.
Honestly, I wouldn’t go into the US law about owning and carrying firearms, as it’s way more liberal than the regulations in my country. In this particular case, I can understand that some people figured out this was a fake rifle. The lady was wearing a costume and she was posing, so they didn’t pay much attention to it. However, I also understand those who felt threatened and reported the photoshoot to the police. There was no way they could be sure that the gun was fake and they naturally felt uneasy.
But the bottom line is, if you’re a photographer, make sure to check the laws and regulations regarding firearms, even fake firearms, before you do a photoshoot like this in public. Otherwise, you could get in trouble. Heck, sometimes police officers even mistake a tripod for a gun, but that’s another story.