Contact: Kevin Coughlin
March 1, 2012
Today Senator Andrew Manynard (D-Stonington) joined the call of Representative Diana Urban (D-Stonington/North Stonington) and Stonington Police Chief Darren Stewart for proposed legislation to ban simulation (“simu”) guns on school grounds. The bill would also prohibit the alteration of such imitation firearms to appear authentic.
"We are all painfully aware, even in recent days, of shootings that have occurred on high school grounds across the country. I am happy to support this request of local law enforcement officials, who approached us in response to an incident in Stonington that involved look-alike weapons and a panic that an actual school shooting was in progress. This bill is an effort to aid police in determining the actual level of threat in an incident that might occur and avoid tragedy," said Senator Maynard.
“My hope is that this bill will raise awareness of the dangers of these simulated guns and avert a tragedy that is two fold: the terrible unnecessary loss of a life and the terrible impact on the police officer placed in a situation that required action,” said Rep. Urban.
Simu guns or simulated guns are imitation firearms, usually toy guns, which have been altered to look as if they are “real” firearms. The proposed House Bill 5220 would prohibit altering imitation firearms to look like real guns. It would also ban look-a-like firearms, paintball guns, pellet-firing air guns, and BB guns from school grounds.
At a press conference on Thursday, Stonington Police Chief Darren Stewart discussed an incident in December where the police responded to a report of children on a school grounds with firearms. The responding officer arrived on the scene to discover a teenager holding what appeared to be a pistol at the head on another teenager.
The officer pulled his service weapon and ordered the youth to drop the gun, but the youth hesitated. The officer had to order the youth to drop the gun a second time before the gun was dropped. It turned out that what appeared to be a pistol was not a firearm at all, but a realistic copy of a police service weapon with the colored tip, designating it as a fake, removed.
Stewart said that this wasn’t the first time Stonington police responded to a call concerning the presence of firearms only to discover that there were only “simu” guns. He also discussed the tragedy earlier this week in Florida where police shot and killed a man wielding what the police thought was a real firearm.
Similar legislation has been introduced in Michigan this year that would criminalize alternating imitation firearms to make them look like real firearms. The Connecticut bill is being considered by the Children’s Committee.
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