Baltimore councilman James B. Kraft has introduced a bill that he claims will help stop violence against the city’s youth, by banning replica toy guns or imitation weapon “that can reasonably be perceived to be a real firearm.”
This comes after a city police officers shot 14-year-old Dedric Colvin in the shoulder and leg on a street in East Baltimore. Colvin was carrying a BB gun officers said resembled a semiautomatic pistol.
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This outlandish bill states that anyone found in possession of replica guns, including BB guns, air rifles, and pellet guns will be fined $250 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for a second offense. Any repeat offenders who are caught more than two separate times will face a misdemeanor charge with the maximum penalty a 30-day jail sentence.
An astonishing eight of Baltimore’s city councilmen support the bill, including President Bernard C. “Jack” Young, who claims he supports it “because it boils down to trying to save lives.”
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun, Young’s spokesman, Lester Davis said, “This gives the police another tool to make sure we protect kids.”
The main excerpts from the bill propose that the manufacturers be held accountable. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake liked the idea and supported it fully stating, “to hold manufacturers and those who are responsible for the point of sale accountable, and not families and especially our children.”
The spokesperson for the Baltimore Police Department, T.J. Smith said, “More additional conversation will go into it being crafted for the final bill. “Right now, [the bill is] about the person who possesses it as opposed to the people who sell it.”
James England, who writes for the Concealed Nation, criticized the bill in an editorial he wrote on the site, stating, “As we can’t outlaw stupid, we’re left with outlawing every single article or device that they could potentially get their hands on.” England writes, “Ostensibly this is to ‘protect the kids.’ The kids don’t need protecting. They need to be educated on reality. It doesn’t matter what TV show they watch or how much their parents don’t pay attention to them, if they threaten the life of another human being, that person is not obligated to make the distinction between a BB gun or real gun.”
This isn’t the first time Maryland has tried to have a statewide ban on replica guns. Previous legislation failed during their last voting session. They feel now, though, that with the shooting death of Colvin that the bill may receive more votes and ultimately be approved.
City officials in New York and Chicago have implemented similar bans.