U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., has introduced the â€śImitation Firearms Safety Act,â€ť which would require the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to develop a permanent, colorful change to the barrel of any imitation gun, including paintball and BB guns.
Already, a 1988 federal law requires that all toy guns have a bright orange plug, but Blumenthal demonstrated at a Friday press conference how it could be easily removed with pliers, or painted over.
â€śWhat needs to be done that my legislation would do is to have a much larger, clearly colored marker so that the barrel is unmistakably identifiable as a lookalike or toy and therefore cannot be removed,â€ť Blumenthal told the New Haven Register.
This small change could save lives.
Across the nation in the last two years, police have killed 86 people who were carrying toy guns, Blumenthalâ€™s office reported. Moreover, the toys are being used by criminals to intimidate victims to the point that the Baltimore City Council enacted a citywide ban on toy guns that look like working handguns and rifles, saying that replica guns were contributing to violence on Baltimoreâ€™s streets.
In the past, Blumenthal has appealed to manufacturers to make the needed changes, but they apparently feel that the appearance of â€śrealâ€ť is a selling point for the toys. A quick click on Amazon, for example, would provide a young commando (or a criminal) with a full arsenal of guns that look deadly.
Until his proposal gains more support, the senator is urging parents to step in.
â€śUntil imitation guns are made safer, parents should stop buying them,â€ť he advised
Santa, are you listening?