New Ohio Bill Could Better Distinguish Real and Fake Guns


 Ohio lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it clear which are the toy guns and which are the real ones. If approved, this law would require all BB guns, air rifles and air-soft guns to be brightly colored, or at least have fluorescent strips.

This comes after a 12-year-old boy is shot and killed in Cleveland by police because they thought he was holding a real gun.

When staring down the barrel of a gun, it’s impossible to tell if it’s the real thing, or a look alike. “You make split second decisions and sometimes you know it may be the wrong decision but it, you have to make a decision at that time,” said Chief Deputy James Zusack with the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department. 

Now, lawmakers are looking into whether it would be helpful if look alikes were brightly colored. Zusack said he think’s it’s a good idea. 

Jill Kernick is the mother of 11 and eight-year-old boys, who has the toy guns. “They’re taught by my husband and I not to take them in public places, not to point them at an adult, let alone at a law enforcement officer, and you know, we’re responsible. We watch what they do with them,” she said.

Chief Deputy Zusack said that’s the key, parental responsibility. “The solution is more keeping track of your kids, knowing what they have, what you purchased for them, their maturity level and knowing when they have this air soft gun and where they’re taking it,” Zusack said. 

Officer said, as in real estate, location is everything. Using a look alike gun in a backyard or the woods is fine. In public, it’s asking for a misunderstanding, and maybe a fatal one. 

Two people were killed this year, one inside a WalMart, holding look alike guns that were thought to be real. “And we don’t have time to distinguish, maybe, if it’s real or not real,” Zusack said. 

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