Does SB 798 mean anything to you? If you enjoy your Second Amendment rights, then you should probably be familiar with it—and take action!
I’m not big into shooting airguns (airsoft, BB guns, etc.) these days. Frankly, I’m limited on time, so when I have the chance to go shooting I prefer the real thing. But like most kids, when I was younger I had a BB gun that I shot regularly. Before that I “played guns” with neighborhood friends. We would run around with our toy guns and let our imaginations go wild … like kids do.
One afternoon, we were playing guns and decided to climb to the roof of my parents’ garage. If I remember right, I think we were “soldiers” that day, pretending to be positioned at a “lookout station.” Before we knew it, there were other “soldiers” surrounding us on the ground—except they were quite real and wearing badges. A neighbor across the alleyway called the police, insisting we were shooing her garage door with our “BB guns.” The police quickly realized our guns were merely gun replicas aka toys—not BB guns. Needless to say, I didn’t play guns in public much after that.
Luckily, at that time we were obviously kids in broad daylight with toys. For the boys in blue, there was really no mistaking us for potentially serious criminals with real BB guns, or firearms for that matter. A 13-year-old California boy (who stood nearly 6-feet tall and weighed 200 pounds) wasn't so lucky last December; he ran from police officers and, when cornered, pulled out a BB gun that looked identical to a Beretta 92FS. One of the officers shot and critically wounded the boy.
What if the boy’s gun would have been clear? How about bright red, purple or another “bright” color? (Note: Those guns I just linked to are firearms, not BB guns or airsoft guns.) Would the officer have shot the boy? Would the officer have dismissed the handgun as a replica and let his guard down? I guess a better question is, if someone pulled a gun on you, would you let your guard down and refrain from protecting yourself if the gun was “…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…”? What if it was dark out?
California Senator Kevin de León seems to think bright coloring of replica handguns will protect police officers and innocent bystanders. Here’s the shocker that'll leave you in a state of disbelief (maybe): He’s backed by Los Angeles law enforcement officials and several others. Here's a glimpse at the main guts of the bill:
Senator de León’s bill, SB 798, has already passed through the California State Senate, and is now on its way to the seven-person California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety.
Yes, if this bill passes and becomes a law, the airsoft and airgun industries will suffer greatly. More importantly, the thousands of folks who enjoy airsoft and airgun sports will suffer. Most importantly (let’s read between the lines), bills like this are one more gateway for anti-gun politicians and other special interest groups to weasel their way into firearm regulations—hence the reason I brought up your Second Amendment rights in the first paragraph.
Here are a few key points to pay attention to when speculating about SB 798:
- SB 798 will not protect police officers or innocent bystanders; it will in fact have an opposite effect by providing false security. (Brightly colored firearms—not just BB guns or airsoft guns— do exist!)
- SB 798 will put lawful airsoft and airgun owners under the same umbrella as criminals.
- SB 798 will put airsoft and airguns into the same category as other “gun replicas” aka TOYS. Airsoft and airguns are not toys, and shouldn’t be considered toys by any means.
- SB 798 would negatively affect sales in the airsoft and airgun industries, thereby harming our economy.
- SB 798 author, Senator Kevin de León, cited Wikipedia as a reliable source of information in the draft of the bill—enough said.
Currently, the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety hearing for SB 798 is scheduled for June 28, 2011.
Here are a few easy ways you can put a stop to SB 798:
- Fill out this petition form provided by Pyramyd Air. They'll do the rest for you.
- Download, sign, then mail or fax this letter to Senator de León (see detailed instructions on the page).
- Call the seven members of the California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety and express your concerns.
(Note: I have already taken advantage of the first option provided by Pyramyd Air.)
Here are a few links to more helpful information regarding SB 798:
- Copy of the SB 798 for you to read in full.
- Up-to-date Facebook page with current developments regarding SB 798.
- Senator Kevin de León’s website.
The following is a video by an airsoft aficionado explaining SB 798 and how it affects the airsoft industry:
Please leave your thoughts and comments about SB 798 in the comment box below!