Monday, May 30, 2005

In Chandler, toy guns now legal in public

CHANDLER - People who carry toy guns that look real won't be breaking the law here anymore. The City Council rewrote a municipal weapons ordinance that used to make it a misdemeanor to carry a loaded air gun, BB gun or paint-ball gun in a public place even though it is legal to carry real guns under state law.The council made it legal to carry the less-lethal weapons but not fire them or display them in a threatening manner on public property. It's still legal to use them on private property. The law came under fire from parents who said the toys aren't dangerous and the restrictions were too harsh. But school and police officials said they are concerned about the real-gun appearance of toys and the potential for injury from plastic projectiles. David Layman, 50, said he has been complaining for months about the city's ban on carrying toy guns. He said the new wording is a step in the right direction but violations should be civil matters, not criminal offenses punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $2,500 fine.Layman's 16-year-old son is scheduled to appear in municipal court soon to defend himself on criminal charges related to his use of an AirSoft gun. Police helped draft the changes. Officers are most concerned with the use of toy guns that look real, said Chandler police spokesman Mark Franzen. "It's not a good thing to take those toy guns and point them at someone who can misjudge them as real weapons," he said. "Somebody could get hurt."


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