Bill on toy guns clears state Senate

  • State Senators Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro, right, and Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, seated, watch as the votes are tallied for de Leon's bill to require toy guns to look different from guns that fire bullets, during the Senate session at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would prohibit imitation firearms like the one a 13-year-old boy was carrying when he was shot to death in October by a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy.

SB 199 would require BB, pellet and airsoft guns to be brightly colored or translucent so that they are not mistaken for the real thing.

The bill, co-authored by state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, advanced Tuesday by a vote of 22 to 8. It now heads to the state Assembly's Public Safety Committee.

Andy Lopez was killed Oct. 22 after Deputy Erick Gelhaus reportedly mistook Lopez's BB-style gun for an authentic assault rifle.

State law prohibits imitation firearms such as the one the teen carried from being displayed in public unless the weapon meets color guidelines. Federal statutes also require that weapons that expel plastic pellets, such as airsoft guns, be equipped with orange tips.

SB 199, co-authored by Sen. Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, would take it a step further by requiring that all BB, pellet and airsoft guns made and sold in California be colored a certain way. Paintball guns would be exempted.

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