Kevin de Leόn (D-Los Angeles), the dim-witted state senator who embarrassed himself in a rant about “sniper automatic weapons,” “gun engines,” and “ghost guns” that quickly went viral, and who previously proposed an ammo bill that suggested only old white guys aren’t criminals, has now successfully advanced a bill to the state assembly requiring toy guns be brightly painted or transparent.
Stop me if you know where this is headed:
The Senate today approved the Imitation Firearms Safety Act (SB 199) by Senator Kevin de Leόn (D-Los Angeles) which requires BB, pellet and airsoft guns to be painted bright colors to help law enforcement spot them when they are confronted with youngsters playing with firearms. The vote was 22 yes – 8 noes.
“Toy guns are deliberately made to look like real firearms which has led to fatal confusion for officers and tragic consequences for families,” said Senator De Leόn. “Painting toy guns bright colors will make them harder to mistake for real firearms.
Claiming inspiration in the shooting death of Andy Lopez—A teen shot seven times in the back and butt by a trigger-happy Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy for carrying a airsoft rifle with the barrel broken off to a friend’s house—de Leόn is apparently completely unaware that many firearms sold in the United States come in colors other than black, and the trend is towards brightly-colored guns.
Shooters can either paint the firearms themselves (like the famous “Hello Kitty” California-compliant AR-15 shown below), have them colored by gunsmiths, or purchase them straight from the factory in any number of colors.
de Leόn’s gun color bill is legislative harassment that is already being negated by a trend towards colored firearms.
While earth tones and camouflage patterns are the most popular choices (such as the Kryptek IWI Tavor I photographed/drooled over at the 2014 SHOT Shot in Las Vegas a few short weeks ago), guns in every shade of pink, purple, orange red, yellow, green and blue are also gaining in popularity.
If the California state assembly is actually interested in saving lives, they’d be far more effective if they insisted on better training and screening of law enforcement officers instead of legislating the non-issue of gun colors, which is not even touched upon in law enforcement training doctrine.
Put in terms even a California State Senator might understand, Andy Lopez didn’t die because the AK-pattern airsoft toy with the barrel and front sight assembly broken off wasn’t orange or blue.
Andy Lopez died because Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus fired eight bullets into Lopez’s body before his partner could even get out of their car.
In an interesting twist of timing, the Santa Rosa Police Department has completed its investigation of the Oct. 22 shooting of Lopez, and handed over the results of the investigation to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.
It remains to be seen if Gelhaus will face criminal charges.
We don’t need to know the outcome of the investigation to know de Leόn’s gun color bill won’t save a single life, but instead might create the situation where members of the general public or police officers might hesitate when faced with real firearms that come in any number of colors.
de Leόn’s gun color bill may very well create a false sense of security that costs a law enforcement officer his life, and I personally wouldn’t want to be the legislator or governor who helped pass such an idiotic law, who has to explain that vote to surviving family members in front of television cameras.