An alleged crack dealer arrested with a brightly painted pistol has given vivid testimony to the folly of a bill proposed by Ohio Democrats who want to mandate that toy guns and airsoft guns be brightly colored to avoid being confused with real guns.

They are apparently unaware of a invention, called “paint.”

Hamilton County deputies arrested a Lincoln Heights man Friday after finding him with illegal drugs and a loaded handgun that was disguised as a toy weapon.

Early Friday morning just before 1:30, authorities arrived to a home in the 9500 block of Wayne Avenue, where a person reportedly carried a handgun.

They used the report’s physical description of the suspect to locate a man who possessed a loaded .380 caliber semiautomatic handgun.

The weapon was painted bright red, and resembled a toy gun.

Also in the man’s possession was nine grams of crack cocaine, authorities said.

We’ve noted previously that law enforcement officers are trained to treat all gun-like objects as deadly weapons until it is proven otherwise, for the very simple reason that paint is cheap, and criminals will do the best they can to disguise their criminality to get an edge on law enforcement officers.

Legislators might spend their time more effectively if they allocated funding for a public awareness campaign on obeying the law.

Or is that too radical a concept?