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Red Ryder BB Gun Carries Threat Of $500 Fine Two Months In Jail.
The Baltimore Sun ^ | December 21, 2002 | Laura Vozzella

Posted on 12/22/2002 8:47:06 PM PST by Draakan

With looks that can kill, BB guns banned for youths Fed up with realistic toys, city officials OK measure.

The BB gun, like the classic Red Ryder celebrated in a popular holiday film, is a traditional Christmas gift that has always come wrapped in a certain risk. Now the toy carries a threat that has nothing to do with putting an eye out: a $500 fine and two months in jail.

It is a misdemeanor in Baltimore to sell or give a BB gun to anyone younger than 18, under an ordinance adopted by the City Council this month.

In one of America's most murderous cities, where juvenile homicides are up 50 percent this year compared with last, officials are fed up with toy guns that look like the real thing.

"We're dealing with a different element now," Council President Sheila Dixon said. "If you give it to a minor and we trace it back, that person will be fined or charged with a crime."

Forget the romance of the Red Ryder, the wooden-stock BB rifle designed in 1938 and portrayed as a boy's to-die-for holiday gift in the 1983 movie, A Christmas Story. Some of the most popular BB guns these days don't resemble the long guns of the Wild West, but the semiautomatic pistols packed by street thugs.

And instead of playing with the guns - taking target practice at Coke bottles or, at worst, terrorizing squirrels - some Baltimoreans are using them to prey on people, police say.

City police do not track how often BB guns are used to commit crimes, but say they're turning up more often in the hands of offenders. The toys are much easier to obtain than real weapons, police say, and won't result in gun charges in the event of an arrest.

Two 15-year-olds - one armed with a BB gun, the other with a knife - robbed and stabbed Wendell P. Rawlings last month outside the home of his sister, City Council Vice President Stephanie C. Rawlings Blake.

"Unfortunately our youth ... aren't using them for recreation," Rawlings Blake said.

Gun-rights advocates say the city has bigger problems than BBs. They point to recent high-profile crimes - a police officer gunned down last month, apparently for testifying in a criminal case; a family of seven wiped out in an October fire that police believe was set to punish them for reporting neighborhood drug-dealing - and call a crackdown on toys silly.

"They've been whacking witnesses and intimidating people. It's as bad as Chicago ever was," said Roy Tarbutton, legislative vice president for the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association Inc. "They can keep doing all the feel-good stuff they want to do. They're not addressing the problems.

"They can't control the drugs; they can't control the guns on the streets," he said. "Anybody who's going to obey the [BB gun] law is not the person who's the problem. ... Why keep hammering law-abiding citizens? Let's enforce the laws we've got."

The surge seemed partly attributed to better reporting by agencies, according to the director of the study, David L. Carter, a criminal justice professor at Michigan State University. But he said toys and police were tangling more and more, often with tragic results for officer and BB gunman alike.

"We interviewed a number of officers who were involved in these shootings," Carter said in an interview last week. "They just couldn't come to grips with it, they couldn't cope with it. ... It destroyed his or her life once they discovered they had shot and killed a person and that person just had a toy gun."

What makes the toys dangerous is precisely what makes them appealing to wannabe gunslingers: They're dead ringers for the real thing.

"You should see some of these guns. The slide works; the magazine comes out," said Baltimore police Col. Robert Stanton, chief of detectives.

Stanton had a "Winchester-looking air gun" as a child growing up on suburban Long Island, but he shakes his head at toys like the pellet gun he displayed at a recent meeting of police officials.

"It looked so much like a Glock 17, when I put it on the table to show the commanders, a couple of them wouldn't pick it up because they thought it was a real gun," he said. "It can be really frightening.

"We just had a homicide in the Western District where the robber wielded a BB gun and the victim in the robbery produced a real gun and shot him dead," he said. "They do look real, and in the dark and in the moment, with the element of fear involved, you don't really have time to discern."

The online catalog for Daisy Outdoor Products of Rogers, Ark., a leading BB gun maker, boasts of the "contemporary styling" of its pistols. "Looks like the real thing," it reads.

The Daisy catalog also includes a warning that BB guns should not be considered toys and should be used only under adult supervision.

Joe Murfin, director of marketing for Daisy, declined to comment on Baltimore's ordinance, except to note that Daisy requires mail-order customers to provide an affidavit certifying they are at least 21 years old.

It is not clear if mail-order companies that ship BB guns to city juveniles could be penalized under the measure, city officials said. Stores outside Baltimore that sell to underage city residents are not affected.

Council members had set out to outlaw possession of BB guns, air rifles and air guns by anyone in the city, regardless of age. But they found out that such a broad ban would run afoul of the federal Toy Gun Law passed in 1988.

But some wish they could ban the guns altogether. Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi, chairman of the public safety subcommittee, said the guns have no place "in a city like Baltimore."

Even some opposed to the ordinance acknowledge that the city's crime casts a shadow on innocent gun activities.

Tarbutton, of the Maryland State Rifle and Pistol Association, grew up in south Baltimore and in the early 1960s was a member of Polytechnic Institute's now-defunct high school rifle team.

"I used to carry a cased rifle on the bus, keep it in my locker," said Tarbutton, 58. "Today I'd go to prison for doing the same thing."

(Excerpt) Read more at sunspot.net ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 2ndamendment; banglist; copernicus3; crazylaw; nuts; plainsilly; rkba; secondamendment
Slowly but surely we are turning into a country of socialist and cry babies, not to mention the trashing of our Constitutional Rights.

"Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi said the guns have no place "in a city like Baltimore"

What about kids just having fun, and learning the responsible use of guns?

1 posted on 12/22/2002 8:47:07 PM PST by Draakan
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To: *bang_list
bang
2 posted on 12/22/2002 8:50:07 PM PST by The Obstinate Insomniac
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To: Draakan
"You'll shoot yer eye out, kid."
3 posted on 12/22/2002 8:50:26 PM PST by Trickyguy
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Comment #4 Removed by Moderator

To: Draakan
"You'll shoot your eye out, kid."
5 posted on 12/22/2002 8:51:24 PM PST by dfwgator
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To: Draakan
Thank God Shepard didn't live to see this.All I can say to the City of Baltiore is "Excelsior you FATHEADS!!"
6 posted on 12/22/2002 8:54:02 PM PST by xkaydet65
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To: drphil
Eggs~actly!

It's the intent, not the weapon.

7 posted on 12/22/2002 8:54:52 PM PST by norraad
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To: drphil
I agree, what was the problem there?

As for the coty ordinance, it seems like it should not be legal. I will have to think about it some more - but there may be an equal protection argument.

8 posted on 12/22/2002 8:58:40 PM PST by TheOtherOne
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To: Draakan
"You should see some of these guns. The slide works; the magazine comes out," said Baltimore police Col. Robert Stanton, chief of detectives.

Stanton had a "Winchester-looking air gun" as a child growing up on suburban Long Island, but he shakes his head at toys like the pellet gun he displayed at a recent meeting of police officials.

"It looked so much like a Glock 17, when I put it on the table to show the commanders, a couple of them wouldn't pick it up because they thought it was a real gun," he said. "It can be really frightening.

Bwahahaha!

The cops are afraid of guns!

What a country.

9 posted on 12/22/2002 8:58:58 PM PST by metesky
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To: Draakan
Geez my Dad gave my son a BB gun for his birthday one year. I've always considered it a sort of traditional gift for a boy, my brother had one as a kid, as did my father.

I guess now we're encouraging violence (and somebody'd probably tell me I'm sexist too lol).
10 posted on 12/22/2002 8:59:03 PM PST by visualops
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To: TheOtherOne
coty = city

(my wondeful mac has all of a sudden turned slow! Yikes! The mouse, keyboard, everything ---- I need help. That is what keeps causing my typos.)

11 posted on 12/22/2002 9:00:22 PM PST by TheOtherOne
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To: Draakan
"It looked so much like a Glock 17, when I put it on the table to show the commanders, a couple of them wouldn't pick it up because they thought it was a real gun," he said. "It can be really frightening.

So let me get this straight.

Sworn peace officers were afraid to pick up a pellet gun because it looked like a real pistol?

12 posted on 12/22/2002 9:01:37 PM PST by primeval patriot
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To: Draakan
I believe that Baltimore's current claim to fame is that it is the nation's violent crime leader. Desparate times call for desparate measures
13 posted on 12/22/2002 9:01:59 PM PST by KansasCanadian
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Correct URL: http://www.sunspot.net/bal-te.md.bbgun21dec21.story
14 posted on 12/22/2002 9:10:32 PM PST by primeval patriot
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To: drphil
Exactly, anytime a weapon is pointed at an individual, he has the right to protect himself. He has no way of knowing what caliber the weapon is, or even if the firearm is loaded. The threat of death is true real to second guess the assailant.
15 posted on 12/22/2002 9:10:52 PM PST by Brad C.
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To: Draakan
This sounds like a good place to give a warning.

Don't let your pet out to run free (shouldn't do it any way) on Christmas day. Experience talking, now. My dog was shot (nothing serious) on two consecutive Christmas days.

Kids get a b-b gun, and on Christmas day, a dog or cat, running free, is an inviting target. Parents are distracted, and well, the kids do what kids do.

I love b-b guns and pellet guns. I love my dog even more. If I have to keep her in on Christmas day, that is a small sacrifice.

B-B guns are a great way to teach the little ones about gun safety.
16 posted on 12/22/2002 9:13:49 PM PST by Lokibob
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To: Draakan
Two 15-year-olds - one armed with a BB gun, the other with a knife - robbed and stabbed Wendell P. Rawlings last month outside the home of his sister, City Council Vice President Stephanie C. Rawlings Blake.

Lemme get this straight... the victim was robbed and the victim was STABBED, and they want to get rid of the BB gun?

Do they think the guy would be any less robbed or stabbed without it?

17 posted on 12/22/2002 9:19:13 PM PST by Dianna
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To: Draakan
We need a graphic to go with headlines like this. Maybe a picture someone pulling a particular boneheaded stunt with the caption "Brought to you by people with no friggin' clue."
18 posted on 12/22/2002 9:22:20 PM PST by hopespringseternal
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To: KansasCanadian
Desparate times call for desparate measures

Yeah, but desparate times don't call for desparat non-sequiturs.

19 posted on 12/22/2002 9:23:44 PM PST by hopespringseternal
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To: Draakan
I read sometime ago, that in Boston, a kid brought a water gun to school, and used it against a classmate.

The classmate pulled out a .45 and blew the water pistol toteing kid away.

The reaction of the Boston School district was to BAN WATER GUNS.

I wish I could find the news reports to verify this. It could be a urban legend.
20 posted on 12/22/2002 9:25:31 PM PST by Lokibob
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To: metesky
LOL......Cops afraid to pick up a gun. Now wonder they have a crime problem there. What a Pu**y A**.
21 posted on 12/22/2002 9:43:10 PM PST by Husker24
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To: Trickyguy
"Don't forget to drink your Ovaltine."
22 posted on 12/22/2002 9:46:46 PM PST by Tanniker Smith
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To: Draakan
I thought that this article was written about England, till I read it.
23 posted on 12/22/2002 9:49:10 PM PST by MonroeDNA
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To: drphil
"We just had a homicide in the Western District where the robber wielded a BB gun and the victim in the robbery produced a real gun and shot him dead."

I agree. What's the problem? The only problem I see is that the person responsible for the quote forget to use the word "JUSTIFIABLE" before "homicide."

24 posted on 12/22/2002 10:15:14 PM PST by capitan_refugio
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To: drphil
A homicide?????? Sounds like justice to me

How about "Justicide"?

25 posted on 12/22/2002 10:35:13 PM PST by jz638
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To: Draakan
The BB gun, like the classic Red Ryder celebrated in a popular holiday film, is a traditional Christmas gift

It's just a matter of time before "A Christmas Story" is shelved by the major networks. Or maybe Spielberg will buy the rights and have the gun removed. Then poor Ralphie will never get his Red Ryder.

26 posted on 12/23/2002 5:06:29 AM PST by germanicus
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To: Draakan
We now live in the formerly satirical future.

If you are ever found guilty of anything at any time you will be considered to be guilty of everything for all time.

Unless you are Ted Kennedy or William (BJ)Jefferson Clinton.

Welcome to the 21st Century.

Best regards,

27 posted on 12/23/2002 5:12:56 AM PST by Copernicus
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To: Draakan
Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi is just rearranging the deck chairs of the SS Baltimore as it continues to sink into the deep Bravo Sierra created by Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi and other worthless rats and NOI members.

Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi probably defends Soddomite and other Islamofascists who gas and kill their native people.

The Goron inner cities become more dangerous and more of a joke each day with leaders like Councilman Kwame Osayaba Abayomi.
28 posted on 12/23/2002 8:36:41 AM PST by Grampa Dave
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To: Lokibob
Let's see here: It was Boston?

Well then the ruling makes sense, no one in that school system including the faculty, can count to .45. OTOH, They presumably all know something about water, their once-fair city is surrounded by a vast expanse of the substance.

In fact, the fatter of their two Senators once drowned a registered voter from another state in it.

29 posted on 12/23/2002 8:54:03 AM PST by Kenny Bunk
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