Moorhead considers replica gun ban


August 17, 2010, 12:13 PM
Here is a story that I just read. While some might think that this is not truly a firearm issue, banning the representation of a gun is our business.

Moorhead police want it to be illegal to carry a replica gun in public. Officers say it will protect them and others who may be threatening with the fake guns. Police chief Dave Ebinger told the city council it's hard to tell whether the gun is a real firearm or not and that officers are forced to treat the replicas as though they are real. The chief also questions whether people with criminal records should be allowed to have replicas, since they are not allowed to have the real thing.

I suggest an email to the police chief.

Be polite

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Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 12:29 PM
Ask yourself this question... Would you carry a non-firing replica? Would you carry an airsoft gun?

There's a reason for this, and I don't think it's a bad reason.

Carrying a toy gun no matter how real it looks can be dangerous to the carrier and to the people around him.

Take this scenario, for example:

Man carrying airsoft pistol walks into convenience store robbery... This is something that could happen to anyone at any time, not something that never happens. Criminal sees said airsoft pistol and shoots carrier before carrier can "draw his gun".


Criminal sees airsoft gun and tells carrier to drop it, carrier does so. Someone behind or out of sight from the criminals grabs said airsoft gun and confronts criminals, they shoot and hit criminal with plastic bb and criminal wastes them with real gun.

OR ... OR... or...

The dangers of carrying a toy gun are just as serious as the dangers of carrying a firearm with the difference being that you can use a firearm to defend yourself if needed, you can't defend yourself with a toy short of throwing it at the BG.

Banning the carry of non-firing, replica guns and toy guns that look real makes sense to me. As long as they're not banning or trying to ban the carry of firearms or other self defense items then I'm not going to worry about it.

On Edit: Here are a couple links illustrating my point...

As you can see this isn't a new issue.

August 17, 2010, 12:36 PM
Or howabout we stop trying to use the laws to cure stupid.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 12:41 PM
The problem with that is when these idiots go out and get themselves shot, it endangers the innocent people around them.

I fully support natural selection, but instead of simply trashing on the lawmakers and the idiots that result in laws or proposals like this, why not come up with a better idea? It certainly doesn't help to sit at your computer and say "That's stupid." and continue on with your life.

Just because it's a government agency making the proposal and some mentally challenged individuals that resulted in the proposal, doesn't give anyone the right to sit here and trash either group. This is still The High Road, if I'm reading correctly...

August 17, 2010, 12:42 PM
making any representation of a gun illegal is just another step.

This would make kids toys illegal.

This would make war re enactments illegal

This is another nail in the coffin of the gun culture

Old Fuff
August 17, 2010, 12:44 PM
Just how does the Chief expect to enforce his proposed law? The most likely persons who carry "fake" or toy guns (including airsoft) are teens and children.

While there is some risk to the officers, I think that goes with the job. The better solution would be to use good judgment and "street smarts," not a new law. Hopefully the officers in Moorhead don't have a "shoot first and ask questions later," policy when they come across someone with a supposed weapon.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 12:48 PM
Guillermo: You're assuming that the proposed law is intended to target gun owners... That's another problem I see with gun culture on many of these boards... Every little thing that even sounds like it might affect guns in some tiny way is a direct attack on the right to bear arms... Come on, really?

Use the proper channels and get yourself a copy of the bill as proposed. It's public information - you can get it sent to you fairly easily with not much more effort than a simple phonecall or email.

I'd be willing to bet that it's got provisions for kids' toys when they're being used as intended, and also for re-enactments and other lawful uses of replica firearms. If it doesn't and they manage to get the bill to pass, I'm certain that it would be amended to include those and other provisions fairly quickly (as legislation goes anyway).

August 17, 2010, 01:11 PM

we live in a world where kids get suspended for drawing guns at school.
GI Joe is not allowed onto airplanes if he has a plastic sidearm

Yes, I assume that this is targeting the gun culture.

And since the government that governs least governs best this is, with the most positive spin, needless.

August 17, 2010, 01:21 PM
The police chief doesn't make law, the elected officials in the community do. As such it's important to direct our efforts at the people that might make the law and not just the person that wants it made.

I suggest the local news paper be contacted as well as the local TV stations. Use effective images contrasting kids with obvious toy guns in the US vs. kids with real guns being brandished and ask if reasonable people can tell the difference then why can't the Chief.

If he can't tell the difference then there's not rational judgement in him.

August 17, 2010, 01:23 PM
And let us assume that this is just a well meaning law.

A- why is it needed? Is this a problem in Moorhead?

B- so they have to try to write a law that allows for toys, and drill teams, and costumes and historical re-enactments, and buying gifts for nephews and GI Joe and wall hangings, and statues. By the time you are finished it is meaningless other than the hit on the gun culture.

gun guy
August 17, 2010, 01:56 PM
This happened here. It's summertime two kids, nothing to do, lets go down to the school, nobodys there, play laser tag. Something we probably did with cap guns. A housewife across the street, looks out her window, see's a figure with what looks like a gun, calls the police, man with a gun on the school grounds. Two Officers show up weapons drawn, begin to investigate, thinking its his friend, a 12 yo boy jumps around the corner, into a combat stance and tags his buddy, the officer tags back with a .357 magnum. No right here, no wrong, just a horrible accident. The officer committed suicide 1 week later.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 02:12 PM
And let us assume that this is just a well meaning law.

A- why is it needed? Is this a problem in Moorhead?

B- so they have to try to write a law that allows for toys, and drill teams, and costumes and historical re-enactments, and buying gifts for nephews and GI Joe and wall hangings, and statues. By the time you are finished it is meaningless other than the hit on the gun culture.

A- It could very well be a problem in Moorhead, but you and I don't know whether or not it is because you and I live in Texas and Florida.

B- This is the problem with a great many laws written... Exceptions must be made in some cases to keep the law constitutional, in some cases based on different situations and conditions... Although it could be made a lot simpler, we have a problem in this country called too much government. This results in many laws that are either unenforceable, pointless, or simply wrong. Prohibiting the carry of fake guns isn't a hit on the gun culture, it's protecting the idiots in the gun culture from causing harm to themselves or others, including the mental harm done to police officers that shoot these fools carrying fake guns around.

You have to look at the issue from more angles than just the view from your computer chair... Sure they don't want people walking around in public with fake guns... but it doesn't change the fact that my kid can still shoot his bb gun in the back yard, I can still carry my REAL pistol, and nobody gets hurt.
It just means I can't put a fake gun in my holster and walk down the street like an idiot because "It's not a real gun though!"

August 17, 2010, 03:11 PM
So you think that it is okay for you to holster up and put a gun in it and walk the dog but it should NOT be legal to put an imitation gun in the holster and walk the dog.


Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 03:20 PM
Having a real gun in my holster doesn't endanger anybody. Having a fake gun in my holster endangers myself and everyone around me, including any officer responding to a "man with a gun" call which happens from time to time in OC states and in CC only states where the gun is seen by a third party (printing, stray breeze, poor choice of carry solution, etc).

Sure the toy gun itself isn't a danger, it's the reactions of people around that make it a danger. Say you're carrying your toy gun down the block taking your dog for a walk and someone assaults you... A fake gun isn't going to help you, and could easily get you shot. The same holds true in LEO interactions where fake guns are concerned... It won't help you at all, and it could get you shot.

Plain and simple, there is no valid reason to carry a fake gun. The benefits to carrying a REAL gun are plain, and apparently you support that right if you're here (unless you're an anti in disguise, which your comments make me wonder about).

This is one of those laws where since the cops can't tell it's a fake gun, you could be shot if a fake gun is involved in any incident where you're carrying the fake gun. This particular proposed law (as you've posted it, not as it actually reads since I haven't read the actual bill, and apparently you're operating based on nothing more than a news story as well) seems to be fairly simple in premise... Keep people from carrying fake guns and getting themselves whacked. (for rationale, see the links I posted before)

Sure it's a classic example of using the law to avoid stupidity, but then when you think about it most crimes are pretty much stupid anyway. You think it's intelligent (or even simply OK) to carry a fake gun around, be my guest. Don't expect to be mourned if and when it backfires on you or someone you care for.

I'm not saying you or anyone you know would be dumb enough to walk around wearing a fake gun (unless they happen to be at an airsoft game or reenactment or what have you) but I am saying that some people obviously need to be protected from themselves.

Because fake guns are pretty much indistinguishable from real guns in this day and age, it isn't too much of a leap to see some regulation on the use and display of fake guns. A few seconds on a google search will show you that these fools that carry fake guns around are good at getting themselves shot by police. Instead of carrying a fake gun so you can circumvent the law and avoid getting your permit, go through the training and other requirements to get your permit and carry something that will do you some good.

As an aside, I don't support the permit systems in this country and I think carry permits should be abolished... Vermont and Arizona have the right idea, it's a constitutionally protected RIGHT to keep and bear ARMS (not toys)

August 17, 2010, 03:59 PM
I fail to see the logic

Having a real gun in my holster doesn't endanger anybody. Having a fake gun in my holster endangers myself and everyone around me

So the fake gun endangers everyone because a cop might over react but they wouldn't over react to a real gun?

(is not their reaction because they think the gun is how can their reaction be different?)

It is also fascinating that you support the right for everyone to go about armed but not faux-armed.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 04:11 PM
It's obvious you don't see the logic behind my opinion on the matter, even after I've posted links showing the dangers of carrying fake guns, and have explained myself into the ground on this topic.

How about this... We can agree to disagree. You can go on thinking what you like about the situation and my opinion on the matter, and I'll go on thinking that anyone walking around with a fake gun because they can (since, of course, it's not a real gun and no fake gun has ever caused a fatality... see previous links) is an idiot.

You look at it as a right to carry issue... I look at it as a common sense issue.

Sure my gun is dangerous. I wouldn't carry it if it wasn't. HOWEVER: my gun is only dangerous to someone threatening life or limb *according to the laws of my state* in my presence.

The difference is that (in most states, though some don't require permits) those members of society that carry firearms (real ones) have had at least whatever training their state requires. Permit holders don't often wander around waving their guns around, and certainly don't point them at police. Untrained individuals carrying fake guns in a manner that gives us legal carriers a bad image is worse for gun rights than a ban of fake guns is. Refer back to those links (if you bothered to look in the first place, which I doubt as you haven't referred to any of the incidents in the links) and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Before you bring it up, yes I stated I believe permit to carry shouldn't exist (according to the constitution, we all have the right to keep and bear arms, not just those of us that have permits) and yes I mentioned that permit holders have at least basic firearms safety training, and training in their local laws... In the event that permit systems are abolished, a training system should absolutely be instituted so that everyone gets a foundation of firearms safety (think Switzerland but without the required military service time).

Anyway, I'm done with this thread as it's degraded into nothing but an argument between myself and someone who can't look at things from anything but his own point of view, and those kind of discussions add nothing to the topic at hand.

August 17, 2010, 04:43 PM
I'll go on thinking that anyone walking around with a fake gun because they can . . . is an idiot.

I think, in general, I agree.

I am saying that some people obviously need to be protected from themselves.

By law? Nah! I have little trust of those with the inclination and power to make laws to "protect us from ourselves." I suspect most of us see where this can and would lead. To be specific, that is exactly the rationale used by gun-grabbers.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 04:46 PM
Cambeul41, I only support protecting people from themselves by law when those people endanger others by their actions. As long as they're only endangering themselves, have at it... That's just today's version of natural selection (you know, since we've eliminated illness and weakness as an agent of natural selection for the most part).

August 17, 2010, 06:10 PM
I think it would be more dangerous for you to carry a real gun Vs. a fake. If someone is that stupid to carry a fake gun than let them. I don't see how a fake is more dangerous than a real one. Why not make a law making it illegal to carry a unloaded gun? Same as carrying a fake isn't it? Both don't shoot.

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 06:19 PM
With a real gun, if something were to happen, at least I have the ability to defend myself and shoot back. With a fake gun, I'm walking around with a big target on my back and no way to respond.

Maybe I'm not clear enough, or can't explain it well but that's how I see it. Maybe someone else can explain it better.


August 17, 2010, 06:41 PM
I don't think that anyone is going to hop in to explain how a cop over reacting because of a fake gun is worse than a cop over reacting to a real gun.

The cop thinks the gun is real so his action, or over reaction would be identical.

August 17, 2010, 06:57 PM
Whats the difference if I were to walk around with a unloaded gun with no ammo versus a realistic fake? Should we ban unloaded carry? Someone walking into a convience store with a fake gun gets shot before he could "draw his gun", sounds like he would be shot either way so thats a pointless argument. Someone picking up someone elses gun to shot a criminal during the robbery, I've NEVER heard anything like that ever, most people would avoid it or confront with their own gun. What you said sounds like something out of an action movie of some sort. When a criminal asks them to drop the gun it either ends up with the victim drawing and shooting or losing the gun to the criminal right away.

August 17, 2010, 07:22 PM
I guess if you assume that a law that prohibits REAL guns being carried or displayed in public is a GOOD law, you will have no problem with a law tha prohibits fake or toy guns. What happened to the RIGHT to keep and BEAR arms?

Rail Driver
August 17, 2010, 07:26 PM
I simply don't see fake guns as "arms"
I never claimed to support gun control legislation in any form. Again, I don't see toys as guns.

August 17, 2010, 08:32 PM
With a fake gun, I'm walking around with a big target on my back and no way to respond.

Despite the alleged concern for policemen, the main reason why you think that fake arms should be illegal is so that they can shoot back.

gun guy
August 17, 2010, 09:05 PM
It seems a key point is being missed here. Many replica guns very real looking. But, its a toy, so, it's not well regulated and often, a parent wants their child, to play with guns, so they buy them a replica toy. Anyone remember the Johnny Eagle series? Every kid on the block, had one, or wanted one. Now, you have kids, playing with realistic weapons, in a split second decision, a kid hops your fence one night, playin tag, you see a gunman and fire. Same with the police officer. Thats the issue, not if you're wearing an airsoft to walk the dog.

August 17, 2010, 09:32 PM
GG, you are right

a very very few people are harmed by playing with realistic looking guns

enough to pass a law?


August 17, 2010, 09:51 PM
Officers say it will protect them and others who may be threatening with the fake guns

Moorhead does not have high IQ standards to become a policeman or the fake guns are a lot more lethal up their in the frozen tundra.

Or more likely, this was a soundbite created by a marketing company that someone didn't think about before they went to the press.

Brass Rain
August 17, 2010, 11:50 PM
I don't have a huge problem with this. Toy guns and replicas aren't firearms, or even close. They don't give you any of the advantages of having a gun for personal protection, but all the disadvantages. They just open up the doors for misunderstandings with no positive benefit. I mean, it's not very just to stop people from carrying around something that's no more than a toy, but the action of doing so seems like a plain bad idea. And if it was just one's own life one was risking by doing so, that'd be one thing. But we're also considering kids and people around the person carrying a replica.

When I was younger I was interested in Airsoft guns as a cheap, still fun alternative for when I couldn't go shoot real guns. And I would occasionally have them with me when hanging around with friends, so we could be going in the woods or whatever to pop off a couple of the little BBs at each other, or to shoot tin cans and whatnot. But in public areas I always took care to keep them out of sight, because the sight of them would only cause people to misunderstand and jump to conclusions and possibly have the police called on my friends and I. In this day and age, you just can't get away with that kind of thing.

August 18, 2010, 12:13 AM
the anti-freedom people that are on a board dedicated to liberty are puzzling at best

August 18, 2010, 09:33 AM
I believe this problem is a social problem - kids aren't being taught the safe use of firearms in school or out of school. Parents fail to educate themselves as well as their kids. We don't need a law to fix this (other than mandating firearms safely and training is school) - it will never work that way. We need to go back to a better time and get smarter about firearms.

I don't understand how 60-80 years ago kids grew up playing cops and robbers with cap guns (which were realistic enough) in their streets and back yards and it wasn't a problem. Then, many of them started hunting in grade school and could hunt by themselves in middle school and carry their weapons to school in deer season, participate on the school shooting team, and be around loaded guns in the home all the time without supervision. Yet, today, we have situations where kids get shot by officers because they were carrying a fake gun.

The issue of the kids going down to school to play laser tag is a truly amazing story replete with stupidity in my book. 1, the kids should have had better judgment. 2. The kids' parents should have set some boundaries and also known what they were doing. 3. The lady that called the cops should have exercised much more caution and maybe watched them for a little longer to see what they were doing. 4. The cop frankly is really to blame the least, if at all. People need to know that if you point something that looks like a gun at anyone - especially a cop, you may get shot. I thought that was common knowledge but apparently today it isn't.

Honestly, and it's not PC but I'll say it anyway, I think the lady that called the cops is at most to blame for this accident. She could have watched them to see what they were doing, she could have called out to them to stop or explain what was going on.

That's just my grumpy rant about this. :-)

August 18, 2010, 03:05 PM
My school is probably one of the few left in the country that has a rifle team. Then again its small and has little interest in the rifle team to get it going.

August 18, 2010, 04:32 PM
This is a solution looking for a problem. What are the statistics that say there are any increased instances of shootings of kids with airsoft or replica firearms? I've never heard of one. That doesn't mean there isn't a problem, but it does mean that without solid evidence that there's a need for a new regulation that there's no reason for one.

August 18, 2010, 08:49 PM
I see a police chief seeking to justify his continued employment by vilifying an inanimate object. In Atlanta it was a cartoon character key chain.

August 19, 2010, 03:45 AM
In Moorhead there was a police call that involved an intoxicated individual with a fake gun in his waistband. Convenience store worker got scared and made the call after the guy had left and the police went and tracked the guy down on a residential street.

MN already has a statute against terrorizing someone with a fake gun:

This guy bothered people but wasn't actually commiting a crime so now we have to make a crime to punish him.

Guns and more
August 19, 2010, 10:15 AM
Who is going to decide what a "replica" is?

School officials have shown they have no common sense after suspending kids who drew a gun, (not from a holster, on paper) or pointed a finger, or brought a G.I. Joe rifle 2" long.
Why would you trust any public official?
Don't trust anyone making more laws. We don't need more laws.

When I was 5yrs. old, I wore my Roy Rogers cap guns everywhere, nobody shot me.

Rail Driver
August 19, 2010, 10:24 AM
When you wore your Roy Rogers cap guns around everywhere, it was probably at least 50 years ago unless those cap guns were hand me downs from an older sibling or family member...

Carry of firearms (not toys) was looked at a little differently back then according to what I've been reading. Disciplining kids was looked at a little differently too... Now you risk going to jail for a simple spanking in the parking lot. Why do you think society is in the crapper and we're even discussing this topic? Because TOO MANY parents don't know, don't care, and refuse to raise their children properly, and they would rather let the state raise their kids. (Public school, public day care, welfare, jail, etc)

August 19, 2010, 10:27 AM
I'm sure that law will be VERY effective. Just like the gun free zone laws. I mean, the sign says gun free zone right? I'm sure no one will carry, even criminals. Look, if you carry a fake gun because you want to feel safe you are dumb. If you carry one because you are going to use to to threaten or rob people, somehow I don't think a law being made is going to stop you.

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