On Halloween, Baltimore City lawmakers met and moved a bill forward from committee that would ban people from possessing toy guns that resemble real firearms.
With two of its five members absent, the Judiciary and Legislative Investigations Committee unanimously voted to bring the replica gun ban bill before the full council. Council members Mary Pat Clarke of District 14, Jim Kraft of District 1 and Bill Henry of District 4 approved the measure with amendments. Those stipulations make exceptions for guns used for training and paintball and ones that can clearly be discerned as toys.
The real targets of the bill aren’t Nerf guns or Super Soakers, but rather black toy replica handguns that look like the real thing. This past April, police shot a 13-year-old boy in Southeast Baltimore after they saw him with what looked like a pistol. An officer shot the boy when he attempted to flee on foot. They later found it was just a replica semi-automatic pistol. Now, lawmakers are looking to protect other children who might find themselves in dangerous situations thanks to their fake guns.
This bill would make possession of fake guns a punishable offense and would allow police to seize the toys.
As WBAL-TV reported, some worry such a ban doesn’t address the issue of police not having the proper training that would keep them from shooting a kid with a toy gun in the first place. However, Councilman Kraft told the station that while some officers do need more training, the ban would still be able to get lookalike guns that could put children in harm’s way off the streets.
With the replica gun ban bill out of committee, it still needs approval from the City Council in order to become law. The full council will take the measure up for a second reading and vote on Monday, Nov. 14, and a final reading and vote on Monday, Dec. 5. If it clears those hurdles, it’ll head to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s desk before she leaves office.
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