Good question, one that any lawmaker should consider at least three times before making laws or ordinances. Especially when “this” is this: “It may soon be illegal to possess non-lethal weapons, such as BB guns, air guns, bows and arrows or slingshots, in public places in South Portland. After listening to several speakers who said such a law would violate their rights, the City Council voted 6-1 Monday night to amend the city’s weapons ordinance to ban non-lethal weapons.” Thomas Blake was the only city councilor who asked the logical question: WTF? Or, to use his words, “Are we really going to go there and regulate this? People aren’t asking for this regulation. We can deal with this problem in other ways.” On the other hand . . .
But the remaining councilors, led by Linda Boudreau, said the ordinance change is needed to prevent potentially deadly confrontations between police and people with air guns and BB guns, which look authentic.
Boudreau said she is concerned that an officer responding to a complaint of a person with a gun could end up shooting someone who has a toy gun. In 2009, South Portland police responded to 33 complaints involving guns that shoot metal or plastic pellets.
“It gives me goose bumps thinking about that,” Boudreau said of the potential for an innocent person to be shot.
I don’t think that came out exactly the way she intended. Nor will this ordinance, which needs one more vote before it becomes law. (Did anyone mention the fact that toy guns have orange tips and that anyone who tries to pass off a toy gun as a real gun to the police pretty much gets what they deserve?) Mind you, Mayor Thomas Coward (no really) is not completely insensible to common sense. Just mostly.
Mayor Thomas Coward, who supported the ordinance change, indicated that he might consider an amendment at the council’s next meeting to drop slingshots and bows and arrows from the regulation.