Council to revisit firearms ordinance

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Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 12:00 am

The Bellevue City Council will revisit the question of whether toy guns should be prohibited within city limits.

A rewritten firearms ordinance will be considered by the City Council at its May 28 meeting, which would replace the ordinance passed in February.

The revised ordinance was submitted by Bellevue Police Chief Mark Elbert, who said the February ordinance was too broad because it made the firing of toy guns illegal and made no provision for persons acting in self defense.

The new ordinance makes it clear that no firearm will be illegal if it does not propel an object and makes only a loud noise or “report.”

It also states explicitly that nothing shall prevent anyone from discharging a real firearm in order to defend his or her own life or the life of another, a right that is guaranteed under state law and protected by the Second Amendment.

The changes make explicit what previously had been implied or assumed.

Deputy City Attorney Tim Buckley said in February that the ordinance’s omission of a self-defense component could not compromise a right that is guaranteed in state law.

The prohibition against toy guns was more problematic, he said, and might be revisited.

The February ordinance controlled toy guns that “discharge” a projectile, he said, which would have meant that the traditional cap gun, which makes only a noise, would not have been affected.

The new ordinance does not mention toy guns but permits any “firearm” that does not discharge a projectile.

It also provides exceptions for supervised students receiving instruction in the use of a firearm, patrons and staff using a commercial firing range, persons taking part in an authorized managed hunt and police officers in the performance of their duties.

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