Are toy guns to blame for young people being shot by police officers? The town of Salisbury, Maryland, is considering a ban on BB guns and toy replicas of real guns as a way of stopping these types of shootings.
City councilman Muir Boda said, “We’re seeing kids around the country getting killed because police think they have real guns. They don’t have time to figure out if they’re a real gun or not.”
After residents of the city approached him and he did a little research, Boda, who works for Walmart, found that “toy guns have orange markings, but the look-alike BB and pellet guns do not.” According to Boda, at the store where he works, toy guns are popular. “It was one of our hottest stolen items.”
Jake Day, mayor of the town, says the proposed law could be “something we could certainly consider doing” and that “the bottom line is I think we will be doing something.”
Council President Jack Heath says it’s worth exploring. “I certainly think it’s worth a discussion, especially with everything that’s been going on.”
City Councilwoman April Jackson is concerned about the number of youth that carry fake guns. She feels if you can be proactive and prevent it “before it happens, why not do it?”
A total of 41 replica guns have been recovered by Salisbury police in the last five years according to police chief Barbara Duncan, with most of those being BB guns. Cap guns and paintball guns have also been confiscated. Twelve arrests have been made involving juveniles with replica guns. Boston, New York, Washington, and California are among the states that have already banned toy guns.
Cleveland police officers shot 12-year-old Tamir Rice when he pulled out a toy gun and they mistook it for a real one. A bill was introduced this year in the Maryland General Assembly that would have outlawed toy guns unless they had fluorescent markings on them, but it didn’t make it out of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Should toy guns be outlawed? Let me know what you think.