Southeastern silliness, or an ounce of prevention?

Burlington, IA — The Burlington City Council is considering an ordnance to ban the open or concealed carry of a toy or air gun on one’s person without a proper Iowa carry permit, and mandating that they be carried in a proper gun case when otherwise being transported.  Citing several past cases of mistaken identity, particularly with minors, Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird fears that police officers may someday shoot someone with a toy gun, believing in the moment that the gun is real and resulting in the use of lethal force.

Burlington Mayor Shane McCampbell said, ““It’s not saying that nobody can have [a toy or BB gun].  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.”  The proposed ordinance would cover all spring-loaded or compressed air powered BB and airsoft guns, as well as any other paintball, pellet or replica gun.

We at IFC certainly recognize the potential public safety issue here, and we applaud the Burlington City Council for their good intentions in considering this matter.  However we must also ask whether a city ordinance, which will ostensibly be aimed mostly at children, is really the appropriate and most effective solution to the problem?  The youthful offenders in question are already acting foolishly, and there’s presently no logical reason why a minor walking around with a BB gun will be deterred by a new ordinance–not to mention law enforcement will still be required to confront them and will still be faced with the same problem.  It must be considered then what such a law will actually accomplish, except just making a few city officials, and maybe a few parents, feel good for a while?

The Burlington City Council will likely hear this issue twice more prior to a final vote.

If you live in Burlington, give the matter some thought and let your city representatives know what you think.  For everyone else in Iowa, this is the kind of thing we all need to stay vigilant for and always be ready to provide input on.  This isn’t specifically a Second Amendment issue this time, but we must nonetheless take care that anti-gun fear and paranoia doesn’t spill over into other issues, and result in the passage of still more ineffectual laws that seem so popular today.

Providing a little food for thought,
Barry B. Snell
IFC Communications Director
NRA Member

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