City Council Outlaws the Sale of Real-Looking Toy Guns

By Kenneth Lipp

Last Thursday the Philadelphia City Council passed an ordinance amending Chapter 10-80 of The Philadelphia Code, entitled “Safety,” by prohibiting the sale, possession, or use of toy or imitation firearms which substantially duplicate or can be reasonably perceived to be actual firearms.”

The bill’s text goes on to describe what constitutes a reasonable substantial duplicate, which is basically anything that’s not obviously a toy. The ordinance also outlaws toy guns with laser pointers and requires manufacturers to stamp or otherwise mark their products such that novelty weapons can easily be identified by maker.

We reported recently on a Police Advisory Commission report to the City Council regarding officer-involved shootings where the subject had BB guns or air rifles.

The law does not stop people from buying toy guns in other jurisdictions and bringing them to Philadelphia.

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About Kenneth Lipp

Kenneth is a writer and researcher. He’s from Alabama, and will not apologize for it. He moved to Pennsylvania in 2012, but has been in love with Philadelphia since a late-night stroll down Ben Franklin Parkway to the Art Museum in July of 2011 with the love of his life. He is interested in telling Philadelphia’s dynamic and absolutely unique stories with the zeal of a constantly enamored newcomer. Kenneth is also passionate about government transparency and protection of whistleblowers, most notably PFC Chelsea Manning. His research and reporting on law enforcement and surveillance have been featured in various publications, including Rolling Stone (Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters) and Popular Science (Boston Tested Crowd-Watching Software That Catalogues People's Skin Color). His training is in both genetics and history and he likes the joke about being a helicase and unzipping your “genes.” He’s driven to know, and thinks you can handle, the truth. Follow him on Twitter @kennethlipp.

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