• Ken Kraushaar

"Toy guns" are not toys.


can you tell which one is the firearm and which is the airsoft "toy" ?

(can you tell which Kriss gun is real?)

In recent times, we've seen more officer involved shootings in response to what are perceived to be real firearms, which turn out to be airsoft guns, which are modeled to look like their "real" counter parts.

We've seen recently also, individuals carrying modified airsoft pistols in order to frighten victims into thinking they have a real firearm during robberies, etc. More over, we see teenagers committing murders with the real thing.

Public outcry has been somewhat one sided where police are blamed when an officer, perceiving a threat, shoots and kills a child because they believe the child to be carrying a real firearm when the child fails to take the officer's instruction to disarm and respond slowly and follow the orders given.

Some important notes for parents to pay attention to, in order keep their children safe and out of these situations are as follows:

1. Parents must teach their children that firearms are not toys, and part of doing so means treating airsoft replicas of the real thing, with the same respect as the real thing. When I was growing up, my father wouldn't let me point toy guns at my friends because he didn't want me to form a bad habit in thinking that guns of any sort were toys. There is a reason a child can't legally go out and buy one themselves. they are not toys.

2. If parents are going to allow their kids to have airsoft guns, realize that there are penal codes in California concerning this, which are as follows:

PC 20150. (a) Any person who changes, alters, removes, or obliterates any coloration or markings that are required by any applicable state or federal law or regulation, for any imitation firearm, or any device described in subdivision (b) of Section 16700, in a way that makes the imitation firearm or device look more like a firearm, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

PC 20170. (a) No person may openly display or expose any imitation firearm in a public place. (b) As used in this section, "public place" means an area open to the public and includes any of the following: (1) A street. (2) A sidewalk. (3) A bridge. (4) An alley. (5) A plaza. (6) A park. (7) A driveway. (8) A front yard. (9) A parking lot. (10) An automobile, whether moving or not. (11) A building open to the general public, including one that serves food or drink, or provides entertainment. (12) A doorway or entrance to a building or dwelling. (13) A public school. (14) A public or private college or university.

PC20175(m) The entire exterior surface of the imitation firearm is white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, or bright purple, either singly or as the predominant color in combination with other colors in any pattern, or the entire device is constructed of transparent or translucent material that permits unmistakable observation of the device's complete contents. Merely having an orange tip as provided in federal law and regulations does not satisfy this requirement. The entire surface must be colored or transparent or translucent.

Further, in Sonoma County, where I'm from, Ordinance 19A "small arms ordinance" defines small arms as:

(A) For purposes of this ordinance, the term "small arm device" shall mean any pistol, revolver, gun, rifle of any caliber, shotgun of any gauge, air gun, BB gun, blow gun, slingshot, longbow, crossbow, or any weapon or instrument which throws or propels bullets, pellets or missiles of any kind by means of explosive powder, compressed or forced air or gas, springs, elastic rubber or like substance or force.

(b) For purposes of this ordinance, the term "posted" land shall mean land where signs forbidding trespass, shooting or hunting are displayed along all exterior boundaries at intervals of not more than one thousand seven hundred fifty feet (1750′) apart and at the entrance of all roads and trails entering such land.

(Ord. No. 2413.)

Parents should also be aware of other parts of this ordinance such as:

Sec. 19A-3. - Possession and use of small arm device by minor.

  • (a) No minor under the age of twelve (12) years may be in possession of a small arm device in the county of Sonoma unless such minor is accompanied by his parent, guardian or a responsible adult.

  • (b) No minor over the age of twelve (12) years and under the age of fourteen (14) years may be in possession of a small arm device in the county of Sonoma unless such minor (1) is accompanied by his parent, guardian or a responsible adult or (2) is on the private property of his parent or guardian and has on his person both the dated written permission of his parent or guardian to be in possession of said small arm device and one of the following: (i) a valid California Hunting License, or (ii) a California Hunter's Safety Certificate, or (iii) if in possession of a speargun, a valid California Fishing License.

  • (c) No minor over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of eighteen (18) years may be in possession of a small arm device in the county of Sonoma unless such minor (1) is accompanied by his parent, guardian or responsible adult, or (2) has on his person the dated written permission of his parent or guardian to be in possession of said small arm device and one of the following: (i)a valid California Hunting License, or (ii) a California Hunter's Safety Certificate, or (iii)if in possession of a speargun, a valid California Fishing License.

  • (d) No minor in possession of a small arm device may be on private property in the county of Sonoma unless such minor is accompanied by the owner or controller of such property or is in possession of the dated written consent of the owner or controller of such property.

  • (e) For purposes of this section, the term "responsible adult" shall mean a person over eighteen (18) years of age in immediate possession of (1) a valid California Hunting License, or (2) a California Hunter Safety Certificate or (3) a California Fishing License if the small arm device which is possessed by the minor is a speargun.

(f) Violation of this section is a misdemeanor and shall be punishable on first offense by fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and on each subsequent offense by fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00).

(Ord. No. 2413).

  • Sec. 19A-4. - Responsibility of parent or guardian.

(a) Any parent or guardian who permits or suffers a minor in his care and custody to violate any provisions of this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor punishable on first offense by fine of twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and on any subsequent offense by fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500.00). Any such parent or guardian shall be liable for any damages suffered by third persons or agencies by reason of violation of this ordinance by the said minor to the full extent provided by state law.

(Ord. No. 2413.)

Part of keeping our kids safe must come down to good parenting, which means if your child has one of these imitation firearms, they need to treat it with respect; if they have one that is modified, then it's the parent's job to take it and dispose of it.

While your child may not be happy with you for doing so, you have to ask yourself: "is my child's life more important than their having this toy?" Part of 'doing better' involves not just the police, but also our involvement in keeping them safe, which includes potentially making them unhappy and taking action if what they are doing is unsafe.

Legally, these guns are not toys. they are not "replica guns," they are guns, they just don't fire their projectile the way a firearm does. As such, they need to be treated with the same respect as a gun which fires by way of powder and primer. Educate yourself, and keep your kids safe.


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