Lakewood, Wash., Considers Ban On Displaying Toy Guns In ‘Threatening Manner’

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A city in Washington State is considering tightening its firearm restrictions…by cracking down on toy guys. City officials in Lakewood, Wash., are now considering passing a law that would make it a crime to display a toy gun in a threatening manner. The possible policy change comes in the wake of two incidents - one in which police officers fatally shot a man who was wielding a toy gun.

A court case about the other incident, during which a woman waved a toy gun in front of her roommates in a way that made them feel unsafe, was thrown about by a judge after he agreed with the defense that a toy gun could not really have harmed anyone.

“It is undisputed that the weapon (the woman) was alleged to have carried was a toy gun,” the defense wrote in its motion. “A toy gun is not capable of causing bodily harm any more than any other inanimate object can cause harm.”

The proposed law would make “it illegal to carry or display a firearm or any other item that appears to be capable of causing harm in a manner that intimidates others or causes them to fear for their safety.” Some have said that “any other item” is too broad a definition.

Mayor Don Anderson questioned whether the law was so broad that it would cover a situation during which an individual who was holding a can of soup in a hostile manner would be prosecuted. He does want the new law to include toy guns. “The hangup was the details of the definitions,” he said. “We want it polished.”

People in the city have different feelings about the proposal, Komo News reported.

"I played with toy guns when I was little," says local mom Keshia Vaetoe. "I never killed anybody. I never shot anybody. Everything can be threatening. I can pick up a piece of beauty bark and scratch you with it. Is that threatening? I don't know. I think it's kind of silly."

"I think that it's good to have the awareness," says one woman who didn't want to be identified.

A Lakewood mom who did not want to be named has now banned her 8-year-old son from playing with Nerf guns outside the house.

"Toy guns should be treated very seriously and treated with respect," she says. "If he is to be riding in the car, it is not to be taken in the car. So that it's not misconstrued."

Sources: Komo News, The News Tribune