Replica handgun regulations have long been a topic of spirited debate across the country; however, recent events have once again brought this issue front and center in Los Angeles. In September, our lawmakers passed regulations (which went into effect in January) limiting the colors which replica weapons can be manufactured in.
Since that time, several recent articles have highlighted this debate, deliberating who should be responsible for identifying a replica weapon, the police or those who carry and possibly intend to use them. Unfortunately, that is not the real problem here. While these regulations have good intentions of saving lives and protecting citizens, what they do not do is protect officers.
As we’ve said before in this debate, replica guns pose a severe threat to public safety, no matter what color they are. What’s to stop a hardened criminal from painting a real weapon the same bright color? Many fully operational firearms are manufactured and disguised in the colors these regulations allow, and guns can be altered aftermarket to look even more like toys. This is an issue our officers already encounter on an all too regular basis. Accordingly, officers must rely on their training and assume any weapon, regardless of the color, is fully loaded and capable of shooting live rounds. Do Angelinos truly want our officers to stand down any time a green or orange weapon is pointed in their direction? Surely not. And we will not. Behind the badge and uniform LAPD officers are somebody’s father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, etc., and as peace officers, they have the right and obligation to defend themselves and others in the face of imminent danger. When faced with a life or death situation, an officer cannot waver because the moment doubt enters an officer’s mind, it creates hesitation, leaving themselves and others vulnerable to injury or death.
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