Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced legislation on Wednesday titled the Look-Alike Weapons Safety Act of 2015. Boxer described the legislation as an effort to prevent shootings by police in situations where an officer believes a fake gun might be real, as in the 2014 fatal shootings of 12-year-old Tamir Rice and 22-year-old John Crawford at the hands of police.
The bill would grant the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) authority to “regulate all imitation firearms, including airsoft, BB and pellet-firing guns” and require “the exterior surface of all such products sold in the United States to be painted a particular color or combination of colors so they are clearly distinguishable from real firearms.”
According to Cleveland.com, federal law currently requires airsoft pellet guns to have a painted orange piece on the tip, but not BB guns. The toy gun that Tamir Rice had in his possession when he was shot was reportedly missing its orange tip.
A similar bill, California Senate Bill 199 also known as the Imitation Firearm Safety Act, was signed in California last fall requiring that replica guns in the state be painted on the “entire exterior in bright colors or having florescent strips on their salient parts.” That law will take effect on January 1st, 2016.
Ohio State Representative Alicia Reece (D-Cincinatti) announced plans the day after Tamir was shot to introduce a bill called “John Crawford’s Law”, a bill “modeled after California Senate Bill 199”, mandating that all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio bear bright colors or fluorescent strips.
“No child should ever die because a police officer or anyone else mistakes a toy gun for a real weapon,” Senator Boxer said in a press release. “This legislation will protect our kids and help law enforcement by making sure that imitation firearms cannot be mistaken for real firearms.”