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Robberies prompt push for replica gun sale ban

Posted at 8:15 PM, Jan 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-07 20:17:22-05

In the wake of the Tamir Rice case and several armed robberies involving replica guns, an Ohio lawmaker is renewing his push to ban the sale of toy guns. 

Representative Bill Patmon, District 10, said the toy gun at the center of the shooting death of 12-year-old Rice in November 2014 prompted his decision to draft House Bill 119

The legislation would ban the manufacturer and sale of toy guns. While it would not outlaw possession, it would also make it illegal to alter a replica gun to make it look more like a real firearm. 

Violators could be charged with a first degree misdemeanor. 

“If it looks like a duck walks like a duck it should be a duck,” Patmon told newsnet5.com. “You shouldn’t have to wonder about it. Police officers shouldn’t have to wonder.”

Police have had several run ins with fake firearms since the Tamir Rice incident. 

On Wednesday night, Cleveland police said a 14-year-old robbed at least two victims with a replica gun, threatening to shoot one of the victims who was with her two young children. 

Police tracked the teen back to a home on the city’s west side.  According to a police report, the juvenile admitted to the three robberies.  He showed the officers the gun, which was determine to be a replica revolver. 

Police in Akron also arrested a 14-year-old Wednesday night for an alleged aggravated robbery with a bb-gun on Sunset Ave in Akron.

According to the police report, the teen was allegedly stealing ornaments out of a yard, when the homeowner came out to confront the him. Police said the teen pulled out a realistic looking toy bb-gun and pointed it at the homeowner before fleeing the scene.

Despite the growing number of toy gun incidents, Patmon said the bill has been stalled in committee since March. 

Meanwhile, the proposed date for the ban to take effect has come and gone. 

“I’m hopeful about getting the hearing but that doesn’t stop me from persisting,” Patmon said. 

He faces stiff opposition from gun lobbyists and conservatives who argue that the bill infringes on second amendment rights. 

“It is a training piece i see that people have no business training for,” Patmon said. 

Fueled by President Obama's recent push for gun control, he said he’s hopeful the bill will get a hearing next month. At least one hearing is required by the rules of the legislature.