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BB-gun bill advances in reaction to LAPD shooting

Ivan Ruiz, 7, a South Gate Tiger Cub Scout, with a BB gun.

In response to the police shooting of a Los Angeles teenager, state lawmakers on Tuesday backed a requirement that BB and pellet guns be made entirely with bright colors so that officers do not mistake them for deadly firearms.

The Senate Public Safety Committee approved the legislation sought by Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in response to the December police shooting of a 13-year-old boy carrying a pellet gun in Glassell Park.

The boy was left paralyzed in the shooting, which LAPD officials said occurred when an officer felt threatened because he was unable, in the dark, to distinguish that the weapon involved was a replica of a Beretta  handgun.

"We have seen significant tragedies across the U.S., especially in Los Angeles,’’ LAPD Deputy Chief David Doan told senators during a hearing on the measure at the Capitol.

Currently, toy guns must be brightly colored to distinguish them from being mistaken for real firearms.

Gun-owner rights activists and firearms sellers oppose the new measure, which next goes to the full Senate. Some critics said it was an overreaction, while others warned it could give police officers a false sense of security when dealing with BB guns that can cause injury.

"To color a BB gun or a pellet gun as if it was a toy would put officers in more danger,’’ said Gerald Upholt, a lobbyist for the California Assn. of Firearm Retailers.

The pellet gun involved in the Glassell Park shooting had an orange tip, but officers said did they not see the tip.  SB 798, authored by Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles), would require the entire pellet gun to be painted in bright colors, and would extend the use of such colors for the first time to include BB guns.


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Photo: Ivan Ruiz, 7, a South Gate Tiger Cub Scout, cocks his BB gun for the first time as nearly 4,000 Los Angeles County Boy, Cub and Adventure Scouts and their adult leaders celebrate a three-day Cen-Ten-O-Ree camping celebration marking the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Boy Scouts of America at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in El Monte on May 22, 2010. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (36)

And if I paint my Glock bright orange they will think it is a toy????

There's already a pink Hello Kitty rifle out there. It's a real honest-to-goodness AR-15.


So does this law address customizations like that?

And make it a LAW that fellons can't paint theirs.

LOL ignorant fools. A bb gun is quite capable of killing a person. It has the same potential as a 22. cal bullet. Mine has a 1200 (twelve hundred) fps muzzle velocity. Just aim for the eye.

If the officer could not distinguish the orange tip on a black gun in the dark, then how could he be able to tell if the whole gun is orange. I am 15 and I love airsoft guns, the looks of them and the games that can be made. Obviously either the cop did not tell the kid to drop his gun or the kid is an absolute retard for thinking that the cop would not react to presence of a weapon. Any one can color a gun, real or fake. How about people grow up and use common sense. So we don't need all these dumb laws.

In the uk this is law already to have over 51% of the bb gun in a bright color take a look http://www.bbguns4less.co.uk

I'm painting all my guns bright orange today so that I can carry them around and people won't be nervous about it.

What a brilliant idea!

Maybe there should be a law to paint stupid people bright colors... thugs and cops alike. Just leave my guns alone!

More moronic laws.
Here's a thought, try hiring cops who are not afraid.
When a cop starts walking around so terrified of getting shot that he can't see the bright orange tip on the toy gun then it's time for him/her to turn in their badge an walk away.
It will only be a matter of time before they shoot some young kid who is playing cops and robbers.

Why doesn't the LA mayor suggest police interaction classes in public schools? That would seem to be a worthy inner city class. They should cover things like: don't show your gun, if the policewoman saw your gun, go ahead and put it down, 'cause she already got the drop on you, playing gangsters at night in the park with a BB gun really isn't a good idea, and above all, don't assume the cop will know you're just role playing.

Have a nice police officer explain these things to the class and hand out lollipops. If it saves one young boy (and lawsuits against the city), it'll be worth it.

What kind of idiocy is this. Does anybody think this won't prevent people from painting a real gun, or painting their toy guns black?

I am a supporter of law enforcement but somebody should seriously investigate the potential threat in this case.

airsoft guns are not to be sold to people under the age of 18 which should be an early warning that airsoft guns are not toys. passing this bill will not help the danger of misuse in "bb devices" but increase it. airsoft guns can reach ballistic velocity of over 300fps and when used without proper equipment can penetrate or damage parts of the human body.
there are also existing firearms that have bright color bodies. with the bill this will also put law enforcements in potential danger of under age gang activities if ordered to only act upon "dark looking firearms" any real looking fire arm in public, bright colored or not are not to be lightly treated.
you cannot regulate the behavior of an impotent adolescent instead what the state should do is pass a bill that will help educate young teenagers the dangers of misusing firearms and replicas

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