Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 14, 2014

Burlington council votes down toy gun ordinance

Jul 24, 2014

BURLINGTON (AP) — The Burlington City Council voted down an ordinance that would have required people to use carrying cases to transport toy or replica guns in public.

The Hawk Eye reports the proposal drew a huge outcry from people, many outside Burlington, who wrongly believed it would ban toy guns altogether.

Still, council members voted down the ordinance 4-1, saying it was too vague. Councilwoman Becky Shockley said the proposed rules might go too far in targeting young people.

Police Chief Doug Beaird suggested the ordinance because he said the department is getting more calls reporting young people carrying pistols or assault rifles, about 40 of them last year. He’s concerned that police officers or adults may not be able to tell whether a gun is real or fake and may shoot if they feel threatened.

“It’s a disaster waiting to happen,” he said.

The council asked him to work with Des Moines County Attorney Amy Beavers to try rewriting the ordinance.

Mayor Shane McCampbell, Beaird and other officials said they received hundreds of emails and calls, some using profanity and racial slurs, from people who opposed the ordinance. Many of them did not seem to understand what it was intended to do, McCampbell said.

The Iowa Gun Owners Facebook page posted the following: “Urgent gun owner alert!! The Burlington Iowa City Council is moving to pass an ordinance that would require you to get their written permission before your kids can play with toy guns, replica guns, BB guns, etc.!”

The ordinance said someone would need written permission from the council to carry toy guns, replicas, and BB or pellet guns without the recommended carrying cases.

A violation would have been a simple misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

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