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New airsoft gun ordinance in Grand Rapids goes into effect in April

Details of the ordinance and an educational campaign was outlined by Police Chief Eric Payne and Mayor Rosalynn Bliss Thursday
Posted at 5:06 PM, Mar 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-05 22:49:31-05

Police and city officials announced Thursday the details of a new ordinance that will limit the way certain airsoft guns can be handled in public.

“We continuously encounter people with guns that look very real. So our request for the city attorney was to explore some type of weapons ordinance that would address that," Said Chief Eric Payne. He says that a state firearm law was changed in 2015, but did not address "pneumatic" or toy guns being handled by kids specifically.

The ordinance says that these toy, or replica guns, cannot be brandished of fired in public, besides at a target range or other location that allows it. Anyone under 16 will need to be supervised while using them, and all of the weapons will need to have an orange or other bright tip on it.

For a first offense, somebody found improperly handling one of these phony weapons will receive a civil infraction. "The city commission thought it really important, particularly for the imitation firearm portion which was going to be more likely to affect youth, to really have it sort-of decriminalized for that first offense," said Assistant City Attorney Kristen Rewa.

A second offense would be a misdemeanor charge, with up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.

The ordinance will go into effect on April 1 this year.

Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss was also in attendance Thursday, along with her Mayor's Youth Council. Telling FOX 17, "When we talk about gun violence, there a lot of issues we need to address. It's complex but every little step matters.”

You can find out more about the ordinance by visiting the City of Grand Rapids website.