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Baltimore bans BB guns for kids...

Discussion in 'Legal' started by Preacherman, Dec 23, 2002.

  1. Preacherman

    Preacherman Well-Known Member

    From the Baltimore Sun http://www.sunspot.net/news/yahoo/bal-te.md.bbgun21dec21,0,4355291.story?coll=bal-newsaol-headlines:

    With looks that can kill, BB guns banned for youths
    Fed up with realistic toys, city officials OK measure
    By Laura Vozzella
    Sun Staff
    Originally published December 21, 2002

    The BB gun, like the classic Red Ryder celebrated in a popular holiday film, is a traditional Christmas gift that has always come wrapped in a certain risk. Now the toy carries a threat that has nothing to do with putting an eye out: a $500 fine and two months in jail.

    It is a misdemeanor in Baltimore to sell or give a BB gun to anyone younger than 18, under an ordinance adopted by the City Council this month.

    In one of America's most murderous cities, where juvenile homicides are up 50 percent this year compared with last, officials are fed up with toy guns that look like the real thing.

    "We're dealing with a different element now," Council President Sheila Dixon said. "If you give it to a minor and we trace it back, that person will be fined or charged with a crime."

    Forget the romance of the Red Ryder, the wooden-stock BB rifle designed in 1938 and portrayed as a boy's to-die-for holiday gift in the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story. Some of the most popular BB guns these days don't resemble the long guns of the Wild West, but the semiautomatic pistols packed by street thugs.

    And instead of playing with the guns - taking target practice at Coke bottles or, at worst, terrorizing squirrels - some Baltimoreans are using them to prey on people, police say.

    City police do not track how often BB guns are used to commit crimes, but say they're turning up more often in the hands of offenders. The toys are much easier to obtain than real weapons, police say, and won't result in gun charges in the event of an arrest.

    Two 15-year-olds - one armed with a BB gun, the other with a knife - robbed and stabbed Wendell P. Rawlings last month outside the home of his sister, City Council Vice President Stephanie C. Rawlings Blake.

    "Unfortunately our youth ... aren't using them for recreation," Rawlings Blake said.

    Gun-rights advocates say the city has bigger problems than BBs. They point to recent high-profile crimes - a police officer gunned down last month, apparently for testifying in a criminal case; a family of seven wiped out in an October fire that police believe was set to punish them for reporting neighborhood drug-dealing - and call a crackdown on toys silly.

    "They've been whacking witnesses and intimidating people. It's as bad as Chicago ever was," said Roy Tarbutton, legislative vice president for the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. "They can keep doing all the feel-good stuff they want to do. They're not addressing the problems.

    "They can't control the drugs; they can't control the guns on the streets," he said. "Anybody who's going to obey the [BB gun] law is not the person who's the problem. ... Why keep hammering law-abiding citizens? Let's enforce the laws we've got."

    A 1990 U.S. Department of Justice study of the criminal use of toy guns - believed to be the first and last of its kind - found the number of robberies and assaults committed with toy, replica and pneumatic guns rose 75 percent between 1985 and 1988. The study was based on a survey of about 150 law enforcement agencies.

    The surge seemed partly attributed to better reporting by agencies, according to the director of the study, David L. Carter, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University. But he said toys and police were tangling more and more, often with tragic results for officer and BB gunman alike.

    "We interviewed a number of officers who were involved in these shootings," Carter said in an interview last week. "They just couldn't come to grips with it, they couldn't cope with it. ... It destroyed his or her life once they discovered they had shot and killed a person and that person just had a toy gun."

    What makes the toys dangerous is precisely what makes them appealing to wannabe gunslingers: They're dead ringers for the real thing.

    "You should see some of these guns. The slide works; the magazine comes out," said Baltimore police Col. Robert Stanton, chief of detectives.

    Stanton had a "Winchester-looking air gun" as a child growing up on suburban Long Island, but he shakes his head at toys like the pellet gun he displayed at a recent meeting of police officials.

    "It looked so much like a Glock 17, when I put it on the table to show the commanders, a couple of them wouldn't pick it up because they thought it was a real gun," he said. "It can be really frightening.

    "We just had a homicide in the Western District where the robber wielded a BB gun and the victim in the robbery produced a real gun and shot him dead," he said. "They do look real, and in the dark and in the moment, with the element of fear involved, you don't really have time to discern."

    The online catalog for Daisy Outdoor Products of Rogers, Ark., a leading BB gun maker, boasts of the "contemporary styling" of its pistols. "Looks like the real thing," it reads.

    The Daisy catalog also includes a warning that BB guns should not be considered toys and should be used only under adult supervision.

    Joe Murfin, director of marketing for Daisy, declined to comment on Baltimore's ordinance, except to note that Daisy requires mail-order customers to provide an affidavit certifying they are at least 21 years old.

    It is not clear if mail-order companies that ship BB guns to city juveniles could be penalized under the measure, city officials said. Stores outside Baltimore that sell to underage city residents are not affected.

    Council members had set out to outlaw possession of BB guns, air rifles and air guns by anyone in the city, regardless of age. But they found out that such a broad ban would run afoul of the federal Toy Gun Law passed in 1988.

    But some wish they could ban the guns altogether. Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi, chairman of the public safety subcommittee, said the guns have no place "in a city like Baltimore."

    Even some opposed to the ordinance acknowledge that the city's crime casts a shadow on innocent gun activities.

    Tarbutton, of the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, grew up in south Baltimore and in the early 1960s was a member of Polytechnic Institute's now-defunct high school rifle team.

    "I used to carry a cased rifle on the bus, keep it in my locker," said Tarbutton, 58. "Today I'd go to prison for doing the same thing."
  2. sm

    sm member

    I read this in disbelief.

    "We're dealing with a different element now," Council President Sheila Dixon said. "If you give it to a minor and we trace it back, that person will be fined or charged with a crime."
    I'm looking at my Red Ryder. No serial # a ha!
    anyone know how to change the ballistic fingerprint--we know how well that works.
    < off>

    Gee , my parents taught me how to responsible, firearm safety and all...I'm either a relic...or parents don't teach kids nowadays
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2002
  3. Betty

    Betty Well-Known Member


    Blaming objects for the abuse of the owner...

    I wasn't lucky enough to have a BB gun as a kid, but I did have one very realistic looking squirt-shotgun.

    In high school (I graduated in 1996), the guys still had their hunting rifles in their vehicles. It didn't bother anyone. All that stopped after the Richland High School shooting (one teacher, one student murdered). Responsible kids were scared to be labeled as murderers because of the crazy actions of one individual. We all had our vehicles searched one day after that and the boys were physically searched. The guys passed their pocket knives to the girls.

    Banning BB guns is just another silly "feel-good" law that won't affect crime.

    Parents: teach your kids the safety rules. Playing with realistic gun toys should be in designated areas like back yards or areas known to neighbors so there won't be mistaking cops n' robbers for the real thing.
  4. Marko Kloos

    Marko Kloos Moderator Emeritus

  5. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Well-Known Member

    DRRR! Rule number one of a gunfight...bring a gun.

    Cops afraid to a gun? :D :p :rolleyes:

    Boo hoo. Rule number #1 of a gunfight....see above :D

    Including cops and judges, or just the serfs?
  6. Goet

    Goet Well-Known Member

    This was posted at DUh

    and I was rather surprised at some of the responses.

    Many don't agree with the ban.

    Go figure. :confused:
  7. Nathaniel Firethorn

    Nathaniel Firethorn Well-Known Member

    BB guns have been considered "firearms" in PRNJ for many years. :rolleyes:

    In fact, there was a case last spring where an Army sergeant lost his career and was sentenced to three years in jail for raising a welt on a teenager who had repeatedly vandalized his home and was trying to do it again. :mad:

    - pdmoderator
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2002
  8. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Well-Known Member

    I am SO glad that I moved to PA from MD in 1979. That state has turned into a real cesspit. :mad:
  9. Capital Punishment

    Capital Punishment Well-Known Member

    Thank God i live in Anne Arundel county. Im 15, and i own 2 pellet guns. Oh no!
  10. RustyHammer

    RustyHammer Well-Known Member

    No good deed goes unpunished.
  11. Standing Wolf

    Standing Wolf Member in memoriam

    <sarcasm> I guess Baltimore isn't still going to be able to claim to be one of the nation's most dangerous cities. </sarcasm>
  12. BerettaNut92

    BerettaNut92 Well-Known Member

    Are Nerf guns considered firearms?
  13. deej

    deej Well-Known Member

    You'll shoot your eye out!



    Yes, what would Ralphie think?
  15. Chaz

    Chaz Well-Known Member


    He shot his eye out! :eek: Well, almost.
  16. Dan Shapiro

    Dan Shapiro Well-Known Member


    And this law would have kept this guy from being stabbed how?
  17. twoblink

    twoblink Well-Known Member

    I'm waiting for someone to get killed with a screwdriver; so they can ban that as well..

    If someone did get killed with a screwdriver, I will be the first one for the banning of all of them; that way, the anti's can see how stupid blaming the "object" instead of the "offender" is.

    I'm trying to get plastic bags banned as they have caused quite a number of infant deaths, more so then guns... :rolleyes:
  18. Tamara

    Tamara Senior Member

    To be truly safe, I think that the city of Baltimore should erect a wall and put checkpoints at all the entrances. When entering the city, folks will be strip-searched and then issued paper coveralls to wear while in town.

    Plastic spoons will be issued at meal times.
  19. Southla1

    Southla1 Member In Memoriam

    "I'm waiting for someone to get killed with a screwdriver; so they can ban that as well.. "

    Now I am not going to swear to this but IIRC some years back New York City either passed or tried to pass a law controlling butcher knives.....................No S***!

    Why hell after 9/11 it's a wonder they did not try to outlaw Boeing 767's.
  20. deej

    deej Well-Known Member

    Do you know how sharp those get when you break them? They'll just dispense every subject a predetermined amount of tasty mush. Utensils are so 20th century.

    Mmmmmmm, soylent green.


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