The City Council gave tentative approval this week to an ordinance that would make it illegal to threaten someone with a fake firearm.
Officials cited the recent freeway shootings and the incident involving television reporter David Horowitz, who was threatened with a toy gun while on the air.
"The fear that these weapons creates is as real as if the weapons themselves were real," City Atty. Gordon Phillips wrote in his report to the council. "The penalties for using these so-called 'toys' in a threatening manner should be the same as if they were real weapons."
The council approved the ordinance 4-0, with Councilwoman Marcia Martin absent, and is expected to adopt the law at its next meeting, Oct. 20.
Violation of the ordinance will be a misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The County Board of Supervisors, which passed a similar ordinance Aug. 25, asked cities to follow suit. The governor signed a similar law in September.