The Baltimore City Council decided to take drastic action after a 13-year-old boy was accidentally shot in April. Police believed the boy had a real firearm, when in fact, he had a replica toy gun.
Their solution? Ban all replica toy guns via a gun control ordinance known as Council Bill 16-0761.
“If we had our way, we would ban all handguns in the city of Baltimore. We just don’t have the authority to do it,” said Baltimore City Councilman Jim Kraft (D – District 1).
Under this bill, no one is allowed to own or possess a toy gun. If a person is caught in violation, the toy gun can be seized by the Baltimore Police Department.
Baltimore Council Bill 16-0761 even includes an imprisonment provision. If a person is found possessing a replica toy gun more than twice, they can face a misdemeanor charge with up to 30 days in prison and a $1,000 fine or both.
Opponents of the bill argue it is the responsibility of the police officer to verify whether or not a gun is real. Councilman Kraft has a differing opinion:
It is true that some of our officers need more training, but the vast majority of the men and women in the Baltimore City Police Department are responsible officers, and they’re not out there looking to shoot somebody. We have to be working to improve the quality of our officers and the training of our officers, but at the same time, we have to be working to take these guns — both real and replica — off the street.
The ordinance passed 3-2 on the initial vote. Per procedure, three votes must take place before the bill becomes law, and the next vote will take place November 14th. If passed, a final vote will be held on December 5th.