Legislation in Ohio prompted by two recent fatal police shootings would prohibit the production, sale and public display of lookalike guns.
A bill introduced Thursday by Rep. Bill Patmon would ban all BB guns or other gun replicas that could be confused with a real firearm. Violators would face up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine, the Northeast Ohio Media Group reported (http://bit.ly/19gp0wb ).
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Patmon said the ban is needed after two fatal police shootings last year of young people holding lookalike guns in Ohio. Twenty-two-year-old John Crawford III was fatally shot in August while carrying an air rifle in a suburban Dayton Wal-Mart. A 12-year-old boy with a pellet gun in Cleveland was killed in November.
"It's either a gun or it's not," Patmon told the media group. "This idea of imitations has gone a bit far, especially in this day and age."
Ohio lawmakers haven't yet acted on another proposed bill requiring all lookalike guns to be brightly colored or have fluorescent strips.
Patmon said that proposal doesn't go far enough.
National Conference of State Legislatures records show that at least 12 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have laws restricting sales or uses of imitation firearms. Some of the laws require bright coloring; others ensure stiff penalties for those using lookalike guns in alarming or criminal behavior.
Information from: The Plain Dealer, http://www.cleveland.com