The anitgunners never stop. This girl asked for and almost got what she deserved. She was lucky but she made that choice. I don't know but when Iwas a kid our guns looked real. We killed injuns, japs and germans on a dailey basis but never thought of robbing a bank. We were John Wayne and Audie Murphy all in one. The problem is not toy guns the problem is bad parents and stupid kids.
Toy guns trigger ban talk
Dallas would allow only those painted bright colors to be sold
By THOMAS KOROSEC
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle Dallas Bureau
DALLAS - Seventeen-year-old Amanda Delesantos' voice was firm when she told the teller at Laredo National Bank, "I have a gun. Give me all the money."
The teen fled with a sack of cash, but an off-duty police officer confronted her on the street, according to a police report of the Feb. 11 robbery in the tough Oak Cliff section.
Delesantos stopped and raised what appeared to be a handgun. The officer drew his gun and fired, but missed.
When officers caught Delesantos a few blocks away, they discovered her "gun" was actually a realistic toy.
Concerned about the use of toy guns in real crimes and the prospect of an officer mistakenly shooting a child, Dallas is poised to ban the sale and possession of all toy guns except those painted bright colors such as neon yellow or hot pink.
Although some experts are skeptical it will have an effect, the ban would mirror toy-gun laws that New York City and state passed in the late 1990s that go beyond federal provisions requiring toy makers to put blaze-orange caps over the gun barrels.
Toys that don't meet the new markings standard would be illegal even if kept inside a home under a proposal that passed the Dallas City Council's public safety committee by a 7-1 vote last week. It appears poised to pass the full council.
"I think we're saving lives," said Councilman Mitch Rasansky, who said he was surprised to learn how realistic toy guns have become since the six-shooters of his childhood. "I thought when I first saw one, 'This looks like the real thing. A kid could hold up a liquor store with this.' "
Deputy Police Chief Mike Genovesi said the push for new standards comes not from the police but from black community leaders in the city's southern neighborhoods.
"We're not the prime mover on this," said Genovesi.
The Rev. David L. Ferrell, pastor of the Trinity Valley Missionary Baptist Church in West Dallas, said the initiative began last October and has attracted support of a number of anti-crime and neighborhood redevelopment advocates.
He said blaze-orange barrel caps, which were mandated by Congress in 1988, are easily scratched off or painted over, and realistic toy guns are widely available in thrift stores and on push-carts. Ice-cream vendors sell them for $5 to $7, he said.
In June, about a dozen members of the community group Weed and Seed, the Black Panthers and the Brown Berets demonstrated in front of Soul Bazaar, a store in Fair Park, one of the most crime-ridden parts of the city.
The store's owner, Miyun Kang, told reporters she stopped selling the toys at the groups' urging.
"We've protested some stores," said Ferrell, who said his goal is to reduce violence. He said while he wished he could ban real guns as well as violent images on television, the sale of toy guns in Dallas "is something we can do something about."
Over the past several years, an increasing number of cities have shown their displeasure with the 18-year-old federal standard by passing their own bans.
New York City, which has banned black, gray and silver toy guns since 1955, passed a new law in 1998 requiring toy guns to be brightly colored or transparent. Under a similar state law, New York Attorney General Elliot Spitzer has targeted major retailers selling toy guns that don't meet the state's standards.
In 2003, his office sued Wal-Mart for selling toy guns that lacked the state's safety markings. The retailer settled the case that year and paid a $200,000 civil fine, the Attorney General's Office said.
That same year, when a New York council member proposed a total ban on toy guns, libertarians and other critics mocked the idea as "fun control."
In Texas, the Dallas suburb of Carrollton passed an ordinance in 2002 making it a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine to carry realistic toy guns in public. Highland Park and Plano followed with similar ordinances.
Houston does not have a local toy gun ordinance, but as in most major cities, police are confronted with people carrying them.
In March, a Katrina evacuee living in a Montrose-area apartment was shot and killed by an undercover Houston police officer. The man, who was suspected of dealing drugs, made a threatening move with what turned out to be a toy gun, police said.
In 2004, the Houston Chronicle studied 189 incidents over the previous five years in which police in Harris County shot citizens.
In only 1 percent of the cases was the person holding a toy gun, compared with 7 percent who were clutching objects such as screwdrivers or pipes.
Allen Sapp, a criminology professor emeritus at Central Missouri State University, said laws banning the sale of toy guns are ineffective at preventing accidental police shootings.
Sapp, who worked on a study for the U.S. Justice Department in 1990, said lighting, the individual's actions and response to police commands as well as the officer's expectations of danger were more important in such cases.
Still, the study found that toy guns are frequently used by criminals. The roughly 450 police departments surveyed reported that 5,654 offenses were committed with toy guns over the five-year study period.
"They're a problem, but the next question is, what do you do with them?" Sapp said.
He said a quick application of flat-black spray paint can erase any color or marking. "The only thing you're left with is banning their sale completely." he said. "That would still leave us with all the toys piled up in flea markets and garages and homemade ones. You read about the prisoner who makes a revolver out of tin foil and soap. If someone wants to make a fake gun, they can make one."