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The Region

May 10, 1987

Use of a popular new toy "splat gun," which fires capsules of paint up to 50 yards, is illegal, the Los Angeles Police Department said. Police spokesman Cmdr. William Booth said the gun falls under a city code provision banning the firing of any firearm, including air rifles and air pistols. Police asked anyone seeing people using the gun to notify law enforcement officials. City Councilman Hal Bernson, who represents the western San Fernando Valley, said his office has received "a large number" of complaints from park users who feel threatened by those who carry the guns, conduct mock war games and often dress in camouflage clothing. Bernson said he will ask the city attorney's office to study whether the city can make sales of the gun illegal. Potential dangers from exotic toy guns were widely discussed last month after a 19-year-old man was killed by a San Bernardino County sheriff's deputy who mistook the youth's toy laser gun for a real weapon.

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