Did you ever shoot cans with a BB gun when you were growing up? Maybe you even learned a little bit of responsibility about not pointing it at people. Unfortunately, in some states, our children may not have that same opportunity to spend a nice Saturday afternoon in the backyard with their father, doing some target shooting with a BB gun.
New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, Rhode Island, and a few other states have decided that there is little or no difference between BB guns like the one from “A Christmas Story”, and real firearms. BB guns must be registered and are subject to the same laws as any firearms, and require a Firearms ID card. States like Virginia and Florida treat BB guns as firearms when they are used during criminal conduct.
In New Jersey, possession of a BB gun is equated with sawed-off shotguns, filing serial numbers off of guns, and using firearms to commit crimes; this means that children who are charged won’t be getting a slap on the wrist. As a matter of fact, under New Jersey’s Graves Act, they will be facing a felony charge and a minimum three-year prison term. Just a couple of months ago, in New Jersey, 22 year old Idyriss Thomas was in his own yard shooting a BB gun at a rubber duck for target practice when his neighbors called the police. Once police determined his gun was not registered, Thomas was taken to jail and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon.
And what about 2-inch, toy guns on a stuffed monkey? Apparently they are too dangerous to fly with, as Phyllis May found out on December 3, 2013. As she was preparing to board a plane in St. Louis, her carry-on bag was flagged by a TSA agent who noticed an armed sock monkey modeled off John Wayne’s Rooster Cogburn. The TSA agent stated “this is a gun”, and after May explained that it was a prop for the sock monkey, the agent is reported as replying “if I held it up to your neck, you wouldn’t know if it was real or not” before confiscating the toy gun. TSA issued a statement on Monday stating that “under longstanding aircraft security policy, and out of an abundance of caution, realistic replicas of firearms are prohibited in carry-on bags”.
I am very grateful for the work that law enforcement does to keep us safe every day, and I know that it is their job to enforce the laws, even when they don’t agree with them. As a matter of fact, I absolutely agree with the police responding to the neighbor’s 911 call about a person with a gun, and I have no problem with them doing their job and arresting him. My problem is with law itself, which is blind to the actual problem; it’s like trying to stop a life-threatening hemorrhage with a little band aid.
Likewise, I am sure the TSA agent was simply doing what she believed necessary, and I even agree 100% that realistic replicas of firearms could be a problem, but is a 2-inch, toy gun realistic?