The state Senate on Monday approved a measure requested by the Los Angeles Police Department to require BB guns to be made in bright colors so that police officers do not mistake them for real firearms.
The legislation was opposed by Republican senators who said it goes too far in regulating personal conduct.
"Clearly this is over the top," said Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Roseville) "We've got to draw the line somewhere for gun rights, and we can start with BB guns."
Sen. Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) sarcastically questioned whether the state would extend the requirement to sticks, which he said are also used by children pretending to have guns and might be mistaken in the dark for the real thing.
But Sen. Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) said his bill is needed to protect children and law enforcement officers from situations in which a BB gun is mistaken for a real weapon.
De Leon cited several incidents throughout California, including one in December in which an LAPD officer shot a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a pellet gun in Glassell Park.
SB 798 next goes to the Assembly for consideration.