- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Baltimore is attempting to combat crime with a ban on replica handguns and rifles.

A bill was unanimously passed Monday by Baltimore City Council members that gives preliminary approval to ban certain toy guns. The legislation, which comes against a bloody backdrop of 800 shootings across the city in 2016, is expected to pass by December.

City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young spoke to The Baltimore Sun on Tuesday to tout the policy.

“We’re getting stores robbed with replicas,” Mr. Young said. “We’ve got people running around with these things and they almost look real. I don’t think we should be allowing replica guns in the city of Baltimore, especially with the murder rate we have.”

The city is on track to have 300 homicides for the second consecutive year, the newspaper reported.

Citizens who violate the ban may be fined $250 for the first offense and up to $1,000 for each subsequent infraction.

“The fewer guns we have on the streets, real or replica, the safer it is,” said City Councilman James B. Kraft, who introduced the proposed ban.

Gun-rights advocate Mark W. Pennak, president of Maryland Shall Issue Inc., told The Sun that Mr. Kraft’s legislation was “hopelessly vague” and will have the practical effect of creating “a whole new class of criminals in the City of Baltimore for the mere home possession by entire families of otherwise perfectly legal toys.”

Mr. Kraft countered that replicas can be used in theatrical productions, for training purposes by certified instructors, and in some competitions.

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