Minneapolis police are encountering more cases in which replica firearms are used in crimes or pose split-second decisions for officers, says the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Officers. don’t want to find themselves using lethal force against someone who’s pointing a fake gun at them. Today, the City Council is expected to restrict the carrying of nonlethal guns. That would follow more limited action by St. Paul this year; both cities appear to be in the forefront of U.S. cities.
Police confiscated 294 such guns last year, with another 129 collected in the first half of this year. Many were BB guns, which already face some state restrictions. But others were replicas used in assaults, threats, burglaries, car thefts — even kidnapping. The price of replicas ranges from under $20 to more than $200. The ordinance change would fill a gap in Minneapolis. Regulation of firearms is a state matter, but there’s little restriction on replicas or the airguns used by hobbyists such as paintball enthusiasts. It’s a felony to carry or keep those or BB guns on school property; they also can’t be brandished in a threatening manner.