Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Johnson City has ordinance that outlaws sale of air-powered airsoft guns

While paintball is viewed as a fun sport, Johnson City officials decided long ago the guns are too dangerous for public use.

In 1985, city officials outlawed the sale of all air-propelled guns to the general public. All paintball markers, airsoft guns and BB guns had to be pulled from the shelves of retail stores.

"Many cities are passing these ordinances due to possible threats to bird sanctuaries and other refuges," said Maj. Trent Harris, operations division commander of the Johnson City Police Department.

No other area cities have such an ordinance.

"We have the occasional complaint or accident with a gun like that," Bristol Virginia Police Lt. Darryl Milligan said. "We do have a city ordinance that prohibits the firing of any projectile, whether its a real gun, an airsoft gun, or a bow and arrow, unless it is in a controlled environment."

Kingsport Police Department reports no paintball incidents in recent years.

"To my knowledge, we have had no incident relating to paintball guns or anything like that in our jurisdiction," Kingsport Police Deputy Chief Dale Phipps said. "I just recently got off of patrol, and I don’t ever recall having a problem."

Paintball proponents say any weapon can be dangerous if not used correctly, but they note that paintball facilities have proper equipment and safety practices. Other than a few bruises, paintball minimizes potential injuries, they say.

Paintball guns are regulated by the amount of compressed CO2 that is used with each shot. As long as paintball

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