Madison has a gun problem. A fake gun problem.
The city council tonight (correction - in August) will discuss a ban on using facsimile guns "to alarm, intimidate, threaten or terrify another person."
Seems like common sense after the State Journal reports that police shot a man after he allegedly pointed a realistic-looking air gun at a an officer.
Listed as a possible "suicide by cop," DA Brian Blanchard has yet to decide whether the shooting requires any penalties toward the officers involved. Like the Montero-Diaz incident, some will want to sanction police for using self-defense.
Also, the possible city ordinance on fake guns comes on the heels of a story on TheDailyPage that several kids with fake UZIs, AK-47s and shotguns were found lurking around a church on Madison's far east side.
Apparently, the games were organized by a church member, and the pastor hasn't expressed concern about kids who "go out on the playground and play around."
The city ordinance is primarily sponsored by Ald. Judy Compton.
"I would advocate that we ban the facsimile guns altogether," Compton said in the State Journal. "What we need to do in the city is free our officers to be able to protect our residents from the threat."
I heartily agree, which seldom happens with Ms. Compton and I, but I also understand Ald. Brandon's concern: What will this accomplish?
Perhaps church-going gun-toters would pay more attention to an actual law, and the police will have another tool to prevent aggression by trench coat-clad teenagers. But there are deeper problems.
The state already bans the use of fake firearms to threaten, but some state lawmakers want to see a conceal and carry permission with real guns.
If Joe Blow, even with a sparkling lack of criminal record/mental illness, sees a vagrant with a fake gun, he might shoot said vagrant with the .38 special he would have in his jacket pocket.
Why do kids have realistic-looking fake guns in the first place? Can't they play with Nerf and squirt guns like when I was a kid?
Put an eye out...