An ordinance before the city council is seeking to bar the sale and possession of CO2 pellet guns within city limits. Anyone in possession of a pellet gun will face a $100 minimum fine, according to the ordinance.
Patricia McNeil, a city resident, came before the council in February to inform council members of the dangers of the CO2 pellet guns. “These guns are so real looking that police cannot tell the difference,” said McNeil. “It puts our kids in danger.”
The ordinance defines the toy weapon as “a weapon filled with a disposable cylinder containing liquid carbon dioxide that acts as a pressurized gas filling the chamber allowing a high capacity shot of ammunition.”
McNeil mentioned an incident that happened in Napier Academy, a city school, where students were threatening each other with the guns leading to the principal confiscating the toy weapons. “As you know, we have armed police officers, with guns out there in our schools,” said McNeil, suggesting that if a police officer perceives the toy gun as a real weapon, he may be inclined to fire.
The city resident told the council she wanted the stores selling the pellet guns to stop. “Store owners are selling pellet guns to our children for play must be told to stop, and move these guns out of their stores,” said McNeil.
Council members sympathized with McNeil’s cause, some stating they would speak to stores in their respective wards to dissuade them from carrying the toy guns that resemble actual handguns. “Can you tell us which stores that you know of are actually selling the guns?” asked Kenneth McDaniel, councilman at-large, during that February meeting.
McDaniel wanted to know the locations of stores selling the weapons so he could visit the stores to discourage the owners from selling the realistic weapons to school children.
The ordinance allows for fines up to $2,000 and community service of up to 90 days to anyone caught with a pellet gun. Council members are set to vote on the resolution during the next regular meeting.