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Santa Monica : Law on Toy Guns Studied

September 24, 1987

The city attorney's office is drawing up an ordinance that would make the brandishing of toy guns a misdemeanor, part of a countywide movement to restrict use of replica firearms.

The measure probably will be presented to the City Council for consideration within 30 to 60 days, City Atty. Robert M. Myers said.

The council, acting on a request by Councilman Herb Katz, voted at the end of its Tuesday night meeting to direct the city attorney to draw up an ordinance.

West Hollywood passed a similar ordinance on Monday, which took effect immediately. Burbank on Tuesday gave preliminary approval to a broader ordinance that makes it illegal to sell toy weapons and a misdemeanor to wield them.

The County Board of Supervisors last month passed an ordinance that makes brandishing a firearm "in a threatening manner" a misdemeanor. The board asked cities in the county to enact similar measures.

The action came in response to several incidents in which the use of phony guns posed "a serious threat to public safety and security," the board said. Last month, a Los Angeles television reporter was forced to read a statement by a man wielding a fake weapon who interrupted a live broadcast.

Santa Monica's eventual ordinance could go further than the county's because the council earlier asked the city attorney and staff offices to study additional regulations, Myers said.

Those include putting labels on replica firearms that warn of the potential misdemeanor violation.

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