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Baltimore to Ban Replica Guns ‘For Safety of Our Children’

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A Daisy Powerline 340 bb gun similar to the replica gun carried by 14-year-old Dedric Colvin when he was shot by Baltimore Police last April. The replica gun resembles a Beretta M9. (Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

A Daisy Powerline 340 BB gun. (Photo: Jerry Jackson / Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore is making moves to ban replica guns.

The City Council casted a preliminary vote Monday to approve legislation that would make it unlawful to own, carry or possess a replica firearm that could “reasonably be perceived to be a real firearm.”

The preliminary vote in favor of the legislation was unanimous. A final vote will be held in December. If passed, and all signs suggest that it will clear the council, the ban would punish offenders with a $250 fine for a first offense and a $1,000 fine for second and subsequent offenses.

The impetus for the legislation was an officer-involved shooting back in April when a detective shot and wounded Dedric Colvin, 14, of East Baltimore.

Colvin was carrying a Daisy PowerLine Model 340 spring-air pistol when the officer shot him in the leg and shoulder. According to Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, the Model 340 was an “absolute, identical replica semiautomatic pistol.”

City leaders believe that by prohibiting real-looking toy guns they’ll improve public safety.

“It’s something that we should do for the safety of our children,” City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young told The Baltimore Sun.

“We’re getting stores robbed with replicas,” he continued. “We’ve got people running around with these things and they almost look real. … I don’t think we should be allowing replica guns in the city of Baltimore, especially with the murder rate we have.”

With respect to shootings, Baltimore has eclipsed 800 and will probably break 300 homicides for the second year in a row.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has indicated support for the legislation.

“Mayor Rawlings-Blake has every intention of signing the legislation when it reaches her desk,” spokesman Anthony McCarthy said. “Her interest is in ensuring that we educate the public of the potentially dangerous consequences of putting replica guns in the hands of our children.”

While the politicians of Baltimore are behind the ban, those within the local gun community have voiced opposition to the ban.

Mark W. Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue Inc., wrote a letter to the council arguing that the ordnance is “hopelessly vague” and undermines federal law preventing states from banning the sale of certain replica firearms.

Pennak said it would “create a whole new class of criminals in the City of Baltimore for the mere home possession by entire families of otherwise perfectly legal toys!”

“There are better ways to address the underlying concerns without flouting federal law and without subjecting the citizens of the City to discriminatory arrests and prosecutions for violations of a vague law,” he wrote.

Should the legislation pass, Baltimore will join cities like New York, Chicago and Washington which also prohibit replica guns.

***

Pennak certainly has a point. For every thug in the streets using a replica gun to rob a convenience store, there are probably hundreds of other residents in lawful possession of a toy gun. To criminalize toy guns will indubitably punish the law-abiding while doing little to nothing to stop those using them to perpetrate robberies and intimidate citizens, as common sense tells us that if a thug is willing to break laws criminalizing theft, burglary, robbery, that same thug is — more likely than not — willing to flout a gun ban.

As with real gun bans, toy gun bans do not work because it’s a supply-side approach. Baltimore can pass all the bans it wants to and it won’t make one bit of difference so long as there is a persistent criminal demand for firearms — real or replica. To truly address the problem, city leaders need to stop targeting tools and toys and start putting bad guys behind bars.

As for children playing with BB guns, it’s a rite of passage in many parts of this country.  But there is a time and a place for it.  Unfortunately, for the children of Baltimore, the crime-ridden streets of the city are definitely not the place!  Parents need to step up and use common sense.

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Scotty Gunn November 20, 2016, 2:25 pm

    “It’s for the Children”, “If we can save just one life it is worth it”
    Federally funded abortions for anyone over 12 is a right!
    The Liberal mindset is very confusing…

  • Captain November 20, 2016, 12:21 pm

    Why are they always blaming guns, fake or otherwise? What about the parents who are letting their kids roam the streets with a realistic looking BB gun? Do they blame cars for drunk drivers? How about planes when they crash and kill 200+ people?

  • Jim November 19, 2016, 1:41 am

    Here in Cleveland Ohio a kid with a “Replica Gun” who was pointing it at people was shot and killed by a cop. That was a number of months ago and since then no “children” have been shot playing Bad Ass Gangsteer with a Replica Gun. They got the message that if it looks real gun you just may get Killed by a Real Gun.

  • BJG November 18, 2016, 7:44 pm

    When ever democrats mention children in a sentence, they either want to take your guns or raise taxes. After a while it becomes sickening.

  • wily Roentgen November 18, 2016, 3:19 pm

    Maybe adults should be barred from owning, buying or using alcohol because children may be using it or seeing a adult use such.

  • Bob Black November 18, 2016, 1:57 pm

    Well we wouldn’t want people to have to be parents and tell their kids not to bring their toy guns out in public and point them at people (Tamir Rice) That would be asking too much. Knee jerk as usual.

  • Fred Wilson November 18, 2016, 11:53 am

    I don’t get it. Is this a concerted effort to force criminals to use real guns? If I am to be robbed by the local “crack head” I would very much prefer that he (or she) use a toy gun. Much safer for all concerned.

  • George Hovey November 18, 2016, 11:10 am

    As a gun owner and ex-Baltimoron ( a term long used by the inhabitants themselves), I’m saddened but not surprised at the knee-jerk reaction of readers when “gun” and “ban” are used in the same sentence.

    To me the crucial issue is children being shot by police while playing with replica guns. Various unrealistic advice was offered by readers (e.g. police shouldn’t be so quick to shoot). An officer has to assume that a thing that looks like a gun is a gun, or he may not be around long. But kids love to play with guns, and are not noted for good judgment. A likely response to an officer’s order to drop the gun is “huh?”.

    Unless you think such a kid deserves to be executed (and I see some of you do) a reasonable response is to try to take them (the replica guns) off the street. The fact is that if you have had a good drug day (selling it, I mean) you can have a gun literally in minutes on the streets of Baltimore, so there is little need for actual criminals to use replica guns.

    Unless you think such a kid deserves to be executed (and I see some of you do) a reasonable response is to try to take them (the replica guns) off the street by banning their sale.

    Believe it or not, plenty of people in the inner city are not criminals and are terrified by the violence. Their children are regularly killed in crossfire. They are just trapped by economics and bad education. They would love get out.

    • Israel November 18, 2016, 1:57 pm

      This type of wording is Lousy and the intent is Highly questionable. A replica gun can also be an historical black powder weapon used for re-enactments, hunting and self defense. It looks like a back door approach to banning Black powder weapons. Either way it is a Jim Crow Law meant to keep weapons out of the hands of ethnic poor people and turn them into victims. Gun free zones are killing zones.

    • Mike November 19, 2016, 6:33 am

      Again no real effort for a solution, just ban everything. Maybe inner city crime and shootings have more to do with poverty, unemployment, drugs, and poor schools.

    • Ed November 19, 2016, 8:00 am

      George H. – Your comment has all the hallmarks of an antigun person. You say the posters have “knee jerk” reactions, you mention the crucial issue is “children”, you call the law a “reasonable” measure and you say basically that if we don’t agree we must want the child “executed”. so you say the measure is reasonable and if we disagree you demonize us. very sad you pretend to be a gun owner.

    • Jim November 27, 2016, 7:51 pm

      I agree with some of what you said but strongly disagree too I grew up with toy guns played with them All the time we all did no one got shot by police or anyone else, this is a problem with children not being taught right from wrong and everyone making excuses for them what we need is a revival of parents in this country not just people having babies.

  • Ed November 18, 2016, 10:53 am

    amazing. they should have a toy gun buy back while they’re at it. feel good measures don’t feel good for long. then you need to concoct another hair brain law to feel good again.

  • Larry November 18, 2016, 10:15 am

    This makes sense when you consider the alternative is banning the stupidity of the Baltimore population & we all know that is an impossibility without winding up with a ghost town.

  • Merlin November 18, 2016, 10:05 am

    The bottom line is, kiddies; When you are ordered by LEO to drop the weapon, DROP IT!!!!!!

    • Slingblade November 18, 2016, 2:20 pm

      Yeap good idea…Blue Egos Matter!!

  • Dewey Wells November 18, 2016, 9:07 am

    It’s always “for da chirrun” when they’re trying to pass/passing a bill that makes no sense. And Baltimore of all places. Aren’t they busy enough finding police officers “not guilty” (thank goodness) when their idiot DA way overcharged six of ’em?

  • William Starks November 18, 2016, 6:13 am

    Now if we could only ban replica politicians……

  • EVEPRO November 18, 2016, 5:51 am

    Hitler used the same logic, “for the safety of our children”!

  • EVEPRO November 18, 2016, 5:48 am

    Yet another BS law aimed at eliminating our gun culture. Zero gun tolerance in schools when a kid is sent home for drawing a gun, now its eliminating toy replica models to keep our kids from cowboy and Indians type play that most people in my generation enjoyed. Next, no one under 30 can shoot any zombie on a computer game.

  • JerryJ November 18, 2016, 4:33 am

    What do you expect from a city, 20 or so years ago voted on what they “wanted” to be known as, Baltimoreans or BALTIMORONS ?????????????
    You guessed it, ANYONE who “resides” in Baltimore are NOW known as ” BALTIMORONS “

  • DRAINO November 17, 2016, 9:53 am

    Here we go again. Addressing the WRONG PROBLEM with MORONIC SOLUTIONS that won’t get anything done. Hey! I’ll bet that’s a Democrat controlled town!!! Surprise!!!!!!!! It is. Wow! When will these idiots get off the Insanity-go-round??

  • Christian November 16, 2016, 4:24 am

    And here we have another completely stupid legislation, that won’t stop anything but to increase the difficulty of law abiding citizens to comply with the law itself. Funny, this time it will not be passed because of criminals misusing real guns but because officers of the law shoot innocent people because they mistake toys with real guns and shoot immediately instead of ordering “Get down on the ground”! So, who is the bad guy in this case? The toy guns and the people that buy these things (I would buy myself a real gun a hundred times before I buy such a toy) or the government and all of its henchmen that want to enforce “law and order” by their own liking?

    If these guns look just like a real firearm, theoretically the police would have to check every gun out on the streets, to see if it is a real gun or not, which means, if you are the owner of a real gun, be prepared for getting checked by police officers twice a week or so. This is the only thing I can imagine right now, if this legislation will be passed.

    I’d say leave it to the parents once again. They should decide if their child can carry a replica gun or not. But I say, police officers shall finally learn to not shoot everything that moves and has a gun, as long as he/she is not threatening anyone, in a country that gives its people the right to keep and bear arms (no matter if real guns or BB guns) in its own constitution!

    And another thing: Although I dislike him in some ways personally, I think it was really time that Trump has been elected and I can’t wait for the day he will actually be sitting on the chair in the White House for the first time. It is about time to act against all this legislation madness.

  • Will Drider November 15, 2016, 8:46 pm

    Can’t wait till they arrest Santa Clause for running a plastic pipeline of illegal items. Is the City going to pay citizens for the mandated private proerty loss? This really is not about BGs using fake guns during robberies or the kid that doesn’t listen to cos and gets shot. It s about eliminating toys that are the true entry level item that starts kids interest in firearms. Guns are only addressed as bad things in schools, this eliminates t at home.

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