State rep wants replica guns to be brightly colored

An Ohio lawmaker plans to introduce a bill titled “John Crawford’s Law” that would require that all replica guns be brightly colored.

The bill would require all BB guns, air rifles and airsoft guns sold in Ohio to have bright colors or prominent florescent strips, according to state Rep. Alicia Reece, D-Cincinnati, who serves as president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus.

Reece proposed the legislation Sunday, a day after a 12-year-old boy was shot by police in Cleveland after reportedly reaching for a replica gun. The Cleveland Police Department said the officer fired twice after the boy pulled the fake weapon — which was lacking the orange safety indicator usually on the muzzle — from his waistband.

The Cleveland Police Department is investigating the shooting. The boy died Sunday.

John Crawford III, 22, was shot and killed Aug. 5 as he carried a black air-powered BB gun at the Pentagon Boulevard Walmart in Beavercreek.

A Xenia grand jury in late September declined to indict anyone in Crawford’s death, but the office of Carter Stewart, U.S. district attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, is conducting its own review of what happened. The Crawford family will weigh its options when it comes to a possible civil lawsuit, according to its attorney, Michael Wright.

Reece said she is introducing the legislation in light of both police shootings.

“The shooting of John Crawford III devastated many people in our community and left us looking for answers,” Reece said. “This bill is but one small step in addressing this tragedy and helping to prevent future deadly confrontations with someone who clearly presents little to no immediate threat or danger.

“With Saturday’s deadly shooting of a 12-year-old in Cleveland, it is becoming crystal clear that we need this law in Ohio.”

The proposed law is modeled after California Senate Bill 199, Reece’s office said. The bill was introduced by Sen. Kevin de Leon in response to the fatal shooting of two teenagers by law enforcement officers who confused their replica guns for real guns. The measure was passed by the California legislature and will take effect in 2016.

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