Kuluaqyuk Simeonie says her 10-year-old grandson almost lost an eye.

A BB gun with compressed air cartridges and pellets. Hustvedt/Wikimedia Commons photo

A BB struck his nose, drawing blood, a few weeks ago and the shot was fired by another child, according to Simeonie.

“It was the side of his nose, his nostril. He’s just starting to heal now,” Simeonie said on Sept. 7, adding that the incident scared her. “I just freaked out. It could have been his eyeball.”

Simeonie said that children tend to think of BB guns as toys, but they’re “very dangerous.”

She doesn’t know how the youngsters got their hands on the weapon.

“Maybe without their parents’ knowledge, that’s what I thought. Because this parent commented that he wouldn’t let his boys play with their pellet guns,” she said.

She said her nephew, who was eight years old at the time, nearly lost his vision last year due to a BB shot by a youth.

Parents and the police should be involved in disciplining the children responsible for reckless shooting so they know better in the future, Simeonie suggested.

Depending on the type of BB gun used, the weapons commonly fire projectiles at 105 to 122 metres per second, capable of puncturing a metal can from 10 metres away. Airsoft guns can come in lower-powered models that fire plastic, sometimes paint-filled pellets.

The RCMP stated that parents may assume civil liability for their children’s actions, meaning, in certain circumstances, they can be sued for damages caused by their offspring.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, which governs those aged 12 to 17, judges can sentence youths to youth custody facilities, but this punishment is usually reserved for violent and repeat offenders, according to Justice Canada.

More often, youth are issued warnings or cautions from a police officer or a Crown prosecutor, or are referred to a community program like a justice circle. They may also be ordered to perform volunteer work, compensate the victim or attend a specialized educational program.

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