Friday, March 19, 2010

OUR VIEW: Say no to airsoft guns

It's common sense that anything that looks like a real gun shouldn't be allowed in urban areas. The risk for accidental injury is too great, particularly at night when vision is obscured.

We urge the North Ogden City Council to maintain its current law prohibiting the use of airsoft guns and reject a request that youngsters and others be allowed to use the guns on private city property with adult supervision.

Recently, a Boy Scout troop, fulfilling a merit badge requirement, approached the city council and asked that airsoft guns be allowed with certain safety requirements. This would be for personal use and not as part of the Scouts, Scout leader Dean Halbert explained to the council.

Boy Scout Colby Widdison told council members that he and the other boys believe that with safety gear, playing with an airsoft gun can be done without harm.

And Councilman Brent Taylor and city resident Dave Hulme both expressed support for changes in the law that would allow some type of airsoft gun use.

However, we hold with the opinion of North Ogden Police Chief Polo Afuvai in wanting to maintain the ban on airsoft guns. Right now possession of one is a class B misdemeanor. As Afuvai demonstrated to councilmembers, an airsoft gun looks like a regular handgun.

Its only distinction is orange at the end of the gun. That is not enough disguise to prevent a misunderstanding that could lead to a fatal tragedy.

Besides, it is clearly stated on the airsoft gun that was shown to the North Ogden council that it is not for youngsters' use. And North Ogden is not the only city that prohibits the use of airsoft guns. Ogden, Centerville and South Ogden also have laws against its use.

Afuvai is correct that ending the prohibition on airsoft guns can make the city less safe.

He suggests parents talk to him about requests to use the toy gun in backyards.

Frankly, as we've stated before, if it looks like a weapon, we don't want to see it being used.

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