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BB-Gun Ban Intrudes on Rights

August 02, 1992

I oppose the ordinance the city of Laguna Niguel has passed prohibiting the discharge of a BB gun. I am not a member of the NRA, have never hunted, and made it a point not to be involved in the politics of our city. I do have 30 years' experience in law enforcement and formerly served as the chairman of the Laguna Niguel Public Safety Committee.

The catalyst for this ordinance was an unfortunate incident that resulted from a lapse of parental supervision. A majority of our City Council has taken that single occurrence as proof that all adults in Laguna Niguel have apparently abdicated their role as responsible citizens. This ordinance attempts to substitute an overly restrictive law in place of a parent's responsibility to supervise his child.

It is fair to assume this view of Mayor (Thomas W.) Wilson and Councilmen (Larry A.) Porter and (James F.) Krembas is in part based on the staff report they received from (Chief of Police Services) Joe Davis. This report can only be described as embarrassingly biased, incomplete, and flawed. It attempts to equate air guns to the powerful and deadly handguns carried by deputies, which they clearly are not.

Have we passed a law that deprives responsible adults of a freedom, knowing it will certainly be ignored by those who are actually causing the damage and injury?

Absent from the report is the fact that we already have a sufficient body of law to deal with the irresponsible. There are criminal charges ranging from assault to malicious mischief. Our attention should be focused on ensuring these existing laws are effectively and aggressively enforced, rather than adding yet another "unenforceable" ordinance to our lives.

JAMES J. ANNES, Laguna Niguel

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