LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Will colorfully painted BB and pellet guns help police protect themselves from officer-involved shootings?
KNX 1070’s Pete Demetriou reports the City Council has asked the City Attorney’s office to draft an ordinance that has raised doubts from some Angelenos.
The motion, which was first introduced in June (PDF) by former Councilman Dennis Zine, cites two officer-involved shootings in 2010 during which the LAPD encountered suspects who used “imitation firearms that resemble a real firearm.”
The department then recommended to the Police Commission that the city draft an ordinance that would require all BB devices, Airsoft pistols, and other imitation firearms to have the entire exterior surface painted “in a distinguishable color that will enable law enforcement to readily distinguish these imitation firearms from other firearms.”
Council members voted 14-1 on Wednesday in favor of drafting the measure, which would only apply within Los Angeles city limits.
In a March 28 memo (PDF), LAPD Chief Charlie Beck wrote, “It is the Department’s duty to emphasize how important it is to draft new laws or amend existing laws that would help prevent future OIS incidents associated with BB devices and imitation firearms.”
Spokesmen for Daisy Outdoors, one of the largest manufacturers of air and BB guns, called the proposed legislation irresponsible, arguing that markings on any gun are unlikely to change the behavior of its owner.
At least one local resident remained skeptical that a coat of paint would solve the issue.
“Sounds really unnecessary,” said one man.