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Iowa city council to consider banning open carry of toy guns

Iowa city council to consider banning open carry of toy guns without written permission.
Iowa city council to consider banning open carry of toy guns without written permission.
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If the city council of Burlington, Iowa, has its way, children will not be allowed to openly carry toy guns in public without written permission from city authorities, Iowa Gun Owners said on Facebook Monday. Moreover, children Children would be prohibited from concealing the toy guns underneath their clothing.

Iowa Gun Owners said the measure is set to be considered Monday night. The group also said that Mayor Shane McCampbell "unapologetically defended the proposal as 'forward thinking.'"

If the measure passes, children would not be allowed to play with or bring toy guns -- including spring-loaded, compressed-air, or other BB gun, airsoft gun, paint ball gun, pellet gun, or replica of a firearm -- into any public street, alley, highway, sidewalk, public way, public ground or public building without written permission of the council. The measure also includes automobiles, meaning children could not bring the toy guns into the family car without written approval.

WQAD said there is one caveat. The toys can be carried "in a way authorized for concealment by the Iowa Code pertaining to firearms," meaning a toy gun case.

“It’s a proposal to conceal these guns in a proper case. They make those cases at all the department stores and whether you’re walking or in a vehicle, you would be expected to case these guns,” Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird told WQAD.

“It’s not saying that nobody can have one. It’s saying that they need to be in a proper carrying bag, so that you’re not running around with a BB gun that may or may not look real,” McCampbell added.

According to WQAD, there were 19 incidents of people carrying a gun that turned out to be a toy in 2012. That number jumped to 26 in 2013.

“The idea was, if the problem continues, it’s gonna be a matter of time until we actually end up with a confrontation with somebody that has a gun, that’s maybe not real. We can’t make those kind of decisions that fast,” Beaird added.

The proposal had its first reading on July 7, WQAD said. Two more hearings are likely, Brittany Lewis added. Those who violate the ordnance would receive a simple misdemeanor. Iowa Gun Owners said those who violate the measure could face up to a month in jail and a fine in excess of $500.

Burlington would not be the first city to address the scourge of toy guns in the hands of marauding children, Liberty Unyielding's Rusty Weiss said. One New York child was punished and had his menacing Lego gun confiscated, while other children have been punished for bringing cap guns to school.

"In 2012," he added, "a California activist tried to organize a buy back program for toy guns."