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Toy gun bill moves on to senate for vote

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Running in the sprinklers and playfully shooting water at a friend or sibling with a water gun might become dangerous when that water gun looks too much like a real gun.

Real and imitation guns are no stranger to this part of the country. Often, hunters sport their .22 or other shooting rifle in the back windows of their truck cabs, and kids play cops and robbers or cowboys and Indians with toy guns. Sometimes, these toys guns that kids play with look like real guns and can become a danger when a police officer can't tell the difference.

Arkansas is trying to pass House Bill 2160, which will prevent retailers from selling imitation firearms.

According to the wording of the bill, sponsored by Rep. Fred Allen, "When police officers, school officials and others mistake replica weapons carried by young people as real weapons, the health and safety of Arkansans is jeopardized; citizens, including children, are killed in Arkansas and other states when a toy gun is mistaken for a real gun, or a real gun is mistaken for a toy; there is a real risk of an individual being shot by officers who are unable to establish the exact nature of the weapon; and valuable time and resources are being used up when armed response teams have to be sent to incidents involving imitation firearms."

As defined by the bill an imitation firearm is "a toy that is identical in appearance to an original firearm that was manufactured, designed and produced after 1898." These include air-soft guns that fire nonmetallic projectiles, replica nonguns and water guns. The bill does not include BB guns, paintball or pellet guns. Toy guns that have an orange plug on the mussle and guns that are translucent or any color other than black, brown, blue, silver or metallic are not included in the bill.

If the bill passes, anyone who does not follow the law could pay a penality of up to $1,000 for each violation.

The bill passed through the house and was sent to the senate where it was scheduled to be heard at a Senate Judiciary Committee April 6.



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