HOPKINS, Minn. (WCCO) – The city of Hopkins is one step closer to restricting a popular toy gun for kids, due to the threat some say they pose to police officers.
The Hopkins City Council voted unanimously to approve an ordinance that would ban Airsoft guns from public places.
Airsoft guns are a realistic-appearing toy that shoot plastic pellets not intended to injure. But they look so real that it’s sometimes difficult for trained professionals to tell the difference.
Hopkins Police said the similarity the toys have to real firearms have led to some tense moments in recent weeks for officers responding to calls of people with guns, all of which turned out to be Airsoft guns.
Airsoft guns are sold with an orange cap to immediately distinguish the difference between a replica and a real gun. But there are times when the owner either removes the orange tip or colors it.
That led Hopkins Police to push for a change in the law, limiting the areas where airsoft guns can be used.
The ordinance would ban the use of Airsoft guns in public places, including yards surrounding residences visible from the street or neighboring structures.
The ban would not include anywhere licensed for the sale of firearms, events involving the exhibition of firearms or parades or public events authorized by the city.
Though the City Council approved it, Hopkins charter requires two votes to be taken for each ordinance to go into effect. Another vote is scheduled for May 1.
If approved, the ordinance would go into effect on May 10.