California SB-798 (A Senate Bill that affects all of us)

  1. BigFish
    SB-798 is a California proposal now being considered to become law and will require all airsoft replicas to be manufactured in bright colors or to be clear so as to see the inner workings of the replica. The change in appearance to an airsoft replica as described by the proposed law will have a direct negative effect on the airsoft community for Milsim and Reenactment players in California and will impact the rest of the country as well by effecting the product we can buy, jeopardizing law enforcement safety by confusing replicas with real firearms, and by helping set a standard for other states to follow with their own misguided version of SB-798. SB-798 is a reaction to incidents such as the shooting of a thirteen year old Los Angeles boy on December 10, 2010 on a dark street. Certainly the families of the teens and the police officers involved have felt the consequences after the shooting, but the consequences go far beyond the police officers and the families of the teens involved. The actions of irresponsible teens focused the spotlight of attention negatively on an entire sport, a sport that preaches safety, responsible team play, honor and integrity. It can be assumed the teen wounded by police officers would not have been shot if he had complied with the officers instructions to surrender as did the two other teens involved in the incident. Instead it was reported by the La Angeles Times the wounded teen did not comply with the police officers commands to surrender and made motions leading the officers to draw conclusions he was armed and reaching for a weapon. The weapon was an airsoft replica of a Berretta 92F pistol. The teen’s actions, and the teen’s actions alone, resulted in the tragic shooting. In my opinion SB-798 makes little sense and should be opposed by the entire airsoft community as a whole. On February 21, 2008 WFTV.com in Florida published a story about law enforcement agencies on the look out for pink colored handguns, or what they called “Hello Kitty” guns. It stated police officers could now be facing criminals with guns appearing to be toys adding to a heightened concern over brightly colored guns designed to look like toys. Gun dealers such as Jim’s Guns, Jim's Gun Supply - DuraCoat Refinishing, offer brightly colored finishes that can be applied to real firearms at their customers’ requests and gun manufacturers such as Charter Arms manufacture products like the “Pink Lady,” a 38 special revolver commercially available for sale to anyone who legally can purchase one. Bottom line, brightly colored guns exist in real steal versions and mandating airsoft replicas to be brightly colored will not resolve the problem of identifying a replica with certainty. In fact it can only add to more confusion when being confronted by an individual carrying a gun. On the other hand; the current laws in effect mandating a bright orange tip on all replicas do clearly identify replicas as a non-lethal firearms. This bright orange tip at then end of the barrel clearly identifies what is a real firearm and what is not. In my opinion California SB-798 is an overreaction by Lawmakers when common sense would suggest the incident that resulted in the crafting of SB-798 in December 2010 was the result of a teen unwilling to comply with police officers requests. It has not been determined if the officers could have, or would have, had the time to identify the pistol as real or as a replica given the fact it was dark out and a flashlight was used to confront the teens. Ultimately, the poor response of one teen refusing to comply with police officers requests to surrender while reaching for his replica resulted in a quick decision from officers taking control of a threatening situation. Even if brightly colored, the officer would have needed to access the situation quickly and respond accordingly leaving little time to identify the the gun as a replica. Although tragic, a brightly colored replica would not have prevented the shooting given the fact the teen refused to comply with officers requests, real guns are currently available in bright colors, and police officers would treat any instrument being brandished as a weapon as just that, a weapon and a threat to their and the surrounding communities safety Big Fish Adirondack Rangers | An Upstate NY Airsoft Team

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