An Ohio Democrat has introduced legislation that would ban the manufacture, sale, and public display of imitation firearms in the state and would outlaw the disguising of a firearm to make it resemble an imitation firearm.
House Bill 119, authored by state Rep. Bill Patmon of Cleveland, would ban BB guns, air-soft guns, pellet guns or any other guns that a “reasonable person” would confuse with a real firearm. Violators could face 180 days in jail and a $1,000 penalty.
Patmon told the Plain Dealer the ban is needed because of the deaths of Tamir Rice and John Crawford III, who were shot by police while holding imitation firearms.
“It’s either a gun or it’s not,” Patmon said in an interview. “This idea of imitations has gone a bit far, especially in this day and age. … This is a bill that if it saves one child or one adult, then I think it’s done its job.”
Fortunately, fake guns would still be allowed for theatrical productions, “including any motion picture, video, television, or stage production.” While you could potentially land in jail if you’re caught in public with a BB gun, fear not. Your town’s next production of Annie Get Your Gun will be able to go on as planned.
Our kids had air-soft guns when they were teenagers; they were allowed to have them only after being taught about their safe use. That included stern lectures about not waving them around in public and even sterner lectures about how to transport the guns in their cars — how to react safely if they were ever pulled over by police.
How about instead of banning the imitation guns for everyone, we just try some parenting?