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Do I have to spend a stunt to have a blaster rifle?

Page 126 of the Mindjammer core rulebook states:
Do I Have to Spend a Stunt to Have a Blaster Rifle?
No, you don’t. Purchasing a weapon as an extra is a way of giving you mechanical advantages like weapon ratings, attack bonuses, or weapon aspects. If you’re not concerned with such advantages and simply want to describe your character using a certain weapon purely for colour, your GM may allow you to do so as part of the gear you automatically get when taking the Melee or Ranged Combat skills.”

But … How much damage does the weapon do if the character picked it up off the ground (or the corpse of a foe) and hasn’t spent the points on it? (the weapon itself is written up on the next page, but costs two stunts.)

In my opinion, the issue of spending a stunt applies only to the character creation phase. After that logic should apply. If the character finds, steals, is issued, etc. a blaster rifle then they have a blaster rifle. A regular, full stat blaster rifle.

I can’t point to any rule that specifies that, but it seems to be logical, and, as GM you can do whatever you want anyway.

My reality is currently only one player. Even though he often works with allied NPCs, it made sense to make his character more powerful than the average starting character because he is ultimately alone. So we altered the rules to suit.