There have been many instances of individuals carrying replica handguns being shot by police as a perceived threat across the nation. Now, a new bill in Baltimore would ban people from not only carrying but also from owning replica guns in the city.
The legislation, drafted by City Councilman Jim Kraft, was introduced Monday at the City Council meeting. Kraft said it was influenced by the police shooting of a 13-year-old boy earlier this year, this story says.
From this story on wbaltv.com: “Kraft said he is not after water guns or Nerf blasters, but instead is concentrating on the ones that look like real weapons that could put children in a dangerous situations (sic) if they encounter police.”
“If we can get these replica guns off the street, then what we do is at least we provide for some degree of safety for the children,” Kraft said in the story.
If passed, the story says the bill would ban Baltimore citizens from “owning, carrying, or possessing any toy, imitation, facsimile, or replica pistol, revolver, shotgun, air rifle, BB gun, pellet gun, machine gun, or other simulated weapon, which because of its color, size, shape, or other characteristics, can reasonably be perceived to be a real firearm.”
“We talked about things like Super Soakers and things like that or water pistols that don’t look like a gun at all, you can tell that they’re a water pistol, so we wanted to make clear that we didn’t just ban toy guns, that they were replica guns,” Kraft said in the story.
For a first offense, there will be no civil violation, but the “replica” gun will be seized by police.
The third offense would be a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to 30 days in jail.
The story does not say how police plan to enforce the law if it’s passed, since the issue is the fact that police officers believe the replicas to be real firearms. If a police officer is confronted with a replica gun in the street, he or she sometimes does not have time to find out if the gun is real or not.
Kraft also said in the story, with muddled language, that even though he drafted a law making it the responsibility of law enforcement, that the responsibility for avoiding such incidents in the future really lies with parents: “This is really a thing on responsibility on the parts of parents and caregivers and on part of the merchants.”