How many of you have ever played with toy guns or BB guns growing up?
I remember running all over the block as a kid, with all the neighborhood kids, as we “shot the bad guys” on the other team with pop guns, cap guns and the like.
Cowboy and Indian fights were also a regular occurrence – only it seemed like none of my friends would “die” after I shot them!
Just last week I returned with my family from vacation and while I was unloading the mini-van when we got home I must have pulled a dozen toy guns out of the back seat that my kids used while we were traveling.
Pretty normal behavior for many children in Iowa, right?
Well not for much longer, if the City Council in Burlington, under the direction of Mayor Shane McCampbell, has their way.
Recently the City Council had the ‘first reading’ of a new proposed town ordinance that would make it a criminal offense to let your children or grandchildren play with these toy guns and BB guns in certain settings without obtaining WRITTEN permission from the City Council first.
This ordinance even bans your children from playing with toy guns in the backseat of the car while you drive – without permission from Mayor McCampbell and the council.
Can you imagine writing that? “Dear Mayor McCampbell – can my 5 year old play with his new toy gun when we drive through town tomorrow on our way to Grandma’s house?”
But that’s not all – if you are convicted of this “crime” you could face a fine in excess of $500 and/or a 30 day stint in jail!
(This little criminal and his parents better stay out of Burlington, IA, if the City Council’s new ordinance becomes law as it makes playing with toy and replica guns illegal in many settings!)
Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird maintains that he is pushing for the ordinance, with the support of the Mayor, because he is afraid that someone might mistake a child playing with a toy gun for a criminal which may result in a child being shot by one of his officers.
“Sounds like a solution in search of a problem” said one IGO member from Burlington, who continued “Iowa kids have been playing like this for generations, now they may be ‘locked up’ for it?”
While there may be some good motivations for criminalizing kids (or the parents of kids) who play with toy guns, we certainly can’t understand it.
It seems like a crazy overreach of the power of City Council in small town Iowa.
When we spoke to Mayor McCampbell about this last week, we were even more concerned.
He seemed confused about what his own ordinance would do, first saying that a violation of this ordinance doesn’t carry jail time and fines and then later saying that he can’t envision the city actually charging parents or children for playing with toy guns.
Mayor McCampbell went on to say that he’s concerned about possible robberies that could result if children are allowed to play with BB guns.
When we asked him what it was about a BB gun that would make a child rob a gas station the Mayor didn’t have an answer for us other than to say that he feels obligated to be “forward thinking.”
When we reminded the Mayor that current law already makes it a crime to rob someone with a firearm, even toy or replica firearms, he had no response other than to assure us that “this is going to happen.”
We need your help to stop this folks!
This type of big government overreach is exactly what other small towns in Iowa have tried to do lately, and it’s important that we continue to stop these whacky plans so that other towns don’t try to follow suit with their own anti-gun schemes.
Please contact the City Council IMMEDIATELY as they are meeting tonight to go over this ordinance again.
Tell them that the thought of needing written permission from a governmental body to allow your children to play with toy firearms, like some child needing permission to use the bathroom in gradeschool, is insulting to Iowa parents and grandparents.
Remind them that it’s not “forward thinking” – it’s just stupid – and makes criminals out of Iowa parents. Make sure they know what you think about the possibility of being jailed and fined for this “crime” too!
- Council Member Becky Anderson at [email protected].
- Council Member Robert Fleming at [email protected].
- Council Member Tim Scott at [email protected].
- Council Member Becky Shockley at [email protected].
As the council members have not provided phone numbers, feel free to call the City Clerk’s office and register your concerns with the council that way. The City Clerk’s number is (319)753-8124.
I hope you’ll make your calls right away – the meeting is taking place tonight and it’s vital that the council members hear from you right away.
Please understand that if this passes in Burlington, it can come to your town. So whether you live in Burlington or elsewhere in Iowa, please make your calls and send your emails today!
P.S. The City Council in Burlington wants to take upon themselves the authority to issue written permission slips to Iowa parents whose children want to play with many types of toy and replica guns that Iowa kids have been playing with for generations!
If your children commit such ‘brazen acts’ as running through the alley behind your home with one of these toys, or ride in the back of your car with one of these toys “unsecured,” you may be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine of over $500 and a 30 day stint in jail!
This is “forward thinking,” according to the City Mayor Shane McCampbell and he’s not backing down with this crazy scheme unless he and the rest of the City Council hear from you before tonight’s City Council meeting.
• Council Member Becky Anderson can be reached at [email protected].
• Council Member Robert Fleming can be reached at [email protected].
• Council Member Tim Scott can be reached at [email protected]rlingtoniowa.org.