Toy gun bill proposed in wake of Santa Rosa teen's death

One month after a sheriff's deputy shot and killed a boy, lawmakers proposed legislation that would stop toymakers from producing imitation guns.
November 22, 2013 5:33:41 PM PST
It has been one month since a Sonoma County sheriff's deputy shot and killed a 13-year-old boy. Andy Lopez was carrying a realistic-looking Airsoft rifle when he was shot. On Friday, lawmakers proposed legislation that would stop toymakers from producing look-alike or imitation guns in an effort to protect children like Andy.

It has been 30 days and the Andy Lopez memorial in Santa Rosa is still there -- through rain and winds -- and it's now larger and more permanent than ever. Some see symbolism in that. "I think we're all still heartbroken. A month afterwards, we still feel the pain," Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo told ABC7 News.

Carrillo just happened to stop by Friday on his way home from a gathering of state and local politicians who say they plan to introduce legislation that would force manufacturers to make replica weapons look more like toys.

"This has now happened in a small community in Northern California and I think that people statewide are beginning to wake up to the fact that we have a problem with toy guns that look like the real thing," said Demoratic Sen. Noreen Evans of Santa Rosa.

It's not the first attempt at such legislation in California, but it would be the first successful one.

Asked how they could convince the NRA, Democratic Assm. Marc Levine of San Rafael said, "I don't know if it's about convincing the NRA. I think trying to convince them of anything is a lost cause. It's about making sure that thoughtful policymakers, people with a vote, make the right choice when they look at this legislation in the Assembly and Senate,"

After a month of protests, it was a relatively quiet anniversary with no new news about the investigation of how and why Deputy Erick Gelhouse put seven slugs into and through the 13-year-old. Critics have accused the sheriff's department of being trigger-happy and racist. This has led to a disconnect between the Latino community and law enforcement.

"I'm hopeful that the rest of the community is getting it," Carrillo said. And as he said that, much of the rest of Santa Rosa was busy getting lunch and more aware that the anniversary marked the Kennedy assassination ? not the death of Andy Lopez.

And gun laws?

"Look, if we couldn't, as a nation, do something after Newtown, if that couldn't change and it just made the NRA stronger and people wanting their gun rights, then one child in Sonoma County? Really?" Santa Rosa resident Carol McCormick said.

Well, they're really trying.


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