BALTIMORE, Md. (WJZ)– A new push from council member, Jim Kraft, could put a citywide ban on replica guns, taking them out of the hands of children and teens.
This comes just days after a teen with a fake gun was shot and killed by police in Ohio, and just months after Baltimore City police shot a 13-year-old with a similar replica gun.
It’s a growing problem across the country and now Baltimore is looking to crack down.
In the heat of the moment, replica guns force officers to make split second decisions. Potential life or death scenarios becoming all too common nationwide.
“This is such an easy problem to resolve,” said district one Councilman Jim Kraft.
In 2014, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed by police in Cleveland while holding a pellet gun. This and other incidents sparked outrage, and now have Baltimore City Councilman Jim Kraft pushing for legislation to ban replica guns citywide.
“We have too many children who have real guns and we have too many children who use real guns,” said Kraft.
Even though Councilman Kraft just introduced the bill on Monday night, it’s quickly gaining support from some of the city’s top leaders.
“These are dead ringers, they look like the real thing,” said Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “Police officers in the heat of the moment, in a scenario where it’s potentially life or death, no human has the capacity to differentiate between the vast majority of these firearms and the real thing.”
Davis says it’s legislation that will undoubtedly save lives. “If we take that replica firearm from a kid and that kid no longer has the ability to posses it, we have no idea then what we prevent the next day, the next week.”
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said she supports the concept of the idea. “I’m supportive of the concept but we have to see how the bill develops in city council. We have too many instances across the country where toy guns and replica guns have been confused with real guns, putting our children in harms way.”
In a city that can speak from experience. New York, Chicago and Washington D.C. all have imposed restrictions on replica firearms.
The bill in Baltimore City could get final approval by December.
“Something good must come out of a tragic situation,” said Davis.
According to the Washington Post, since the start of 2015, there have been at least 60 deadly police shootings by people holding toy guns.