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Posted: 1/2/2003 8:45:02 AM EST
New York's latest crime-buster: muzzling toy guns By Ashley Chapman | Special to The Christian Science Monitor NEW YORK – Her voice is impish and feminine, but her gun is menacing. "Give me your money," she says through a ski mask to a bank teller in New Jersey. The teller hands over $3,050, and the robber and another female speed off in a getaway car. But this wasn't exactly a Thelma & Louise duo. These robbers were 14-year-old twin girls who held up a bank with a toy air-pellet gun this fall. If passed, will the New York City law banning toy guns go too far? Their crime added fuel to a toy-gun scare that's sweeping the country: Baltimore just passed a law that makes it a misdemeanor to sell a BB gun to a minor; Chicago has introduced a bill to ban toy-pellet guns; Wal-Mart recently raised its age restriction for air-powered paint guns to 18; and Carrollton, Texas, has banned the public use of replica guns. And in New York, the site of many toy-gun fatalities, City Council members have introduced a bill to ban the sale of all toy guns - a ban that has not yet passed anywhere in the US. If the bill is approved, officials think it could help blaze the trail for the state, as well as cities nationwide. "We recognize that you can't pull all guns off the streets: If people have a criminal mind, they'll make a gun out of a stick," says Bill Wren, deputy chief of staff for Brooklyn Councilman Al Vann, who coauthored the bill. "But the bill is about how [a toy gun] makes people feel. If I feel threatened, I'm threatened." According to the most recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 1990, police departments nationwide reported 31,650 imitation guns seized between January 1985 and September 1989 during crime-related incidents. In New York City alone, more than 1,400 toy guns were used in crimes in 1987, 80 percent more than four years earlier. New York City's current law, signed in 1998, prohibits the sale of toy guns unless they are brightly colored or transparent or have a prominent trademark. But some City Council members think the law is ineffective: Kids can make toy guns look real simply by spray-painting a gun black, or hiding the toy trademark with tape. And even though Toys "R" Us and KB Toys removed realistic-looking weapons from shelves in 1994, some manufacturers still sell replica guns elsewhere. "If a kid has a toy gun that looks real, he could be in danger," says David Weprin, a Queens councilman and co-author of the bill. "We shouldn't glorify guns by giving them to our kids as toys," says the father of five. Toy manufacturers are opposed to the outright ban, since there is already a federal restriction on toy guns. Current federal law prohibits manufacturers from selling imitation firearms unless there is a orange plug in the barrel or a marking designated by the Commerce secretary. According to the law, imitation firearms include BB guns, air rifles, and pellet guns. The bill in City Council, on the other hand, would ban anything that can "reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm," which would mean a total ban on imitation firearms - regardless of color or markings. "If the federal law needs to be strengthened, we support it," says Tom Conley, president of the Toy Industry Association. "But if a product in no way resembles a real gun, we want to ensure that it reaches the market." Still, grass-roots interest in a blanket ban on toy guns is growing. "Giving our kids toy guns and then telling them to stay away from the real thing sends a mixed message," says Farideh Kioumehr, founder of the Anti- Violence Campaign in Sherman Oaks, Calif. She encourages children to turn in toy guns, which are then used in pieces of art. The program, Replacing Violence With Art, has collected more than 20,000 toy guns. Meanwhile, the impact of deaths from toy guns is ricocheting across the country, and more people in New York are thinking twice about buying them. Christopher Industrious of Manhattan, who was shopping in Times Square, would support the new ban. "Kids are imitating whatever they see in the movies and on TV," he says, motioning to his 3-year-old son. He says that one time when disciplined, his son "pointed his water gun at me." "Like toy cigarettes, they're promoting something violent," adds Donna Csolak of Princeton, N.J., who was at the Times Square Toys "R" Us. But she concedes she's against the ban because people should have a choice in their purchases. "Everyone has a right to buy what they want, but parents should have control over what [their kids] buy." For Maurice Davis, a salesman at Toys "R" Us, his unfortunate childhood encounters with both real and toy guns are seared on his memory. Growing up in Brooklyn, Mr. Davis was forbidden to play with toy guns. But when he was 11, a playmate pointed a toy gun at a police car. The cops mistook the toy for a real weapon, and sprinted toward them, brandishing guns. "I told my friend, 'Just drop the gun!' " says Davis. Now, standing next to a shelf of oversize paint guns, Davis says, "If they're gonna ban some, they might as well ban them all."
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 8:57:00 AM EST
"And in New York, the site of many toy-gun fatalities . . ." I'm assuming that they are referring to incidents where an individual brandishing a toy gun was fatally wounded by LE or a civilian. Am I missing something here because I find it hard to believe that the number is exceedingly high. E-95
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 8:58:54 AM EST
Better take up whittling if you want toy guns.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 9:08:57 AM EST
These idiots must have watched the movie Big Trouble. All kinds of problems arise out of highschool kids on one of those squirtgun assasine games. Actually a kinda funny movie. [uzi]...squirt, squirt, squirt
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 9:12:31 AM EST
No cap guns, dang!
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 10:25:41 AM EST
What next, banning thumbs and index fingers??? Fucking morons!!
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 10:39:05 AM EST
[b]"But the bill is about how [a toy gun] makes people feel. If I feel threatened, I'm threatened."[/b] What a pu55y. Liberals really like the "feel" word.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 10:41:16 AM EST
Couldn't agree with you more, V-Match. This country is going down the drain at both ends: California and New York.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 11:10:35 AM EST
In my limited experience in NYC, I can see them possibly banning "thumbs and index fingers", but NEVER middle fingers. Watch-Six
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 11:13:12 AM EST
This is toooo much!! You could get a felony conviction for whittling a wooden gun? I suppose you couldn't whittle a flash suppressor? I know I'm carrying this a little to far, you think? Those people are so stupid!
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 11:39:38 AM EST
Originally Posted By V-Match: What next, banning thumbs and index fingers???
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They already started a crackdown on that.Remember a couple of years ago, 2 kids got suspended for playing cops and robbers with finger guns on the playground or the other case where kids drew guns with crayons and paper?
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 11:42:53 AM EST
another straw as a side note, if I had kids, I wouldn't give them toy guns --- I wouldn't want them thinking guns are something to play with
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 11:44:09 AM EST
Originally Posted By E-95: "And in New York, the site of many toy-gun fatalities . . ." I'm assuming that they are referring to incidents where an individual brandishing a toy gun was fatally wounded by LE or a civilian. Am I missing something here because I find it hard to believe that the number is exceedingly high. E-95
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Most toy gun fatalities result from absorption through the skin by contact with the toy gun of a substance known to the state of California to cause cancer. Kids get cancer and die. If only parents would heed the stickers on toy guns: "Made In China" "Warning: This product is known to the state of California to contain a substance that causes cancer." "Harmful or fatal if smoked, inhaled, or swallowed." "Do not run with toy gun and sissors in hand." "Do not hold toy gun too close to a large gasoline fire or lighted dynamite stick." "Do not play with gun on Interstate highway at night."
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:22:15 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:47:12 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/2/2003 12:48:42 PM EST by AR-15Fan]
Oh for crying out loud... How many problems (especially deaths) do we have every year from toy guns? Can't be that many, jeez... I especially love the blissninnies who want them banned simply because they "glorify violence". Screw you hippie! Better start stocking up on pre-ban toys now guys. Hopefully there won't be a high $$ transfer fee and you can easily pass them on to your children. LOL. How assinine these liberals are.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 12:50:24 PM EST
Originally Posted By DrFrige: "Like toy cigarettes, they're promoting something violent," adds Donna Csolak of Princeton, N.J.,
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Smoking is a Violent activity????
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 1:09:02 PM EST
I am sure glad I don't live in NYC. I was watching that stupid show Animal patrol or what ever it is called on Animal Planet. The ASPCA confiscated a 76 year old man's air rifle and gave him a ticket for popping squirrels. The animal control officers said that air guns are illegal in NYC!!! WTF!!!! they care more about animals then people out there. I got sick of them arresting people over their fu%king dogs!!
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 1:14:57 PM EST
Originally Posted By 1_153_370_371_407: another straw as a side note, if I had kids, I wouldn't give them toy guns --- I wouldn't want them thinking guns are something to play with
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Very good point. That is what we are doing. However, I don't want some lawmaker telling me that's how I have to do it. Why does everybody keep saying this is a free country?
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 2:51:17 PM EST
Originally Posted By 1_153_370_371_407: another straw as a side note, if I had kids, I wouldn't give them toy guns --- I wouldn't want them thinking guns are something to play with
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Don't get offended, but Horsesh!t! I played with toy guns all my life. I was the kid in the neighborhood with the chest full of toy guns that were "issued" to the other kids for playing "army" or "cowboys and Indians." NEVER, NOT ONCE, did I EVER mistake/treat/use a REAL gun for a toy gun. Not as a kid nor an adult. Even as a kid, I understood (after my parents/grandpa taught me) the very substantial difference between a "pop gun", a BB/pellet gun, and a "real" gun. Kids deserve a little more credit for intelligence that most people give them (with firm consequences should they screw up as a constant motivation to do the right thing). That's the real trouble today--no real education and supervision and CONSEQUENCES for breaking the rules. We all knew that pointing a FAKE, plasitc and wood non-firearm toy gun REPLICA was completely harmless and inherently safe. Now it seems, liberals and armchair psychologists equate playing with fake/toy guns with a propensity to commit actual violent crime with REAL guns--horseshit again! It's like saying that racing around with Matchbox cars and crashing into things will ultimately cause Johnny to head-on crash into every vehicle he comes across soley for the thrill factor. Or, that building a LEGO house and then breaking it up as "Godzilla" will cause terrorist tendencies resulting in an "Oklahoma City" mentality just to see the building come down. It just won't happen that way. I fondly remember seeing the show SWAT in the mid-'70s. I wanted a toy M-16 so bad I could taste it. My lovely old grandma bought me and my cousin each one and we played "SWAT" all summer long that year. That likely planted a seed deep in me to want an AR15 years later as an adult but certainly didn't create a "homicidal firearms fanatic"--no, just a healthy enthusiasm for guns and everything related (the outdoors, competition, hunting, etc.). We are truly doing our children a disservice by denying them toy guns. Think of the history of this nation and the gun's place throughout. The exploits of Daniel Boon, Davy Crocket etc. (with guns playing a prominent part of the mythology) were lauded, when I was a kid, as the ideal of the American pioneer spirit and I won't let that magical part of being a youngster in America die without a fight.
Link Posted: 1/2/2003 8:24:39 PM EST
I didn't claim that giving kids toy guns would turn them into killers. I said if I had kids, I wouldn't give them toy guns. I'd take them out shooting with real ones instead.
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