Baltimore to Outlaw Paintball, BB, and Pellet Guns

This seems like a useless bill, but lets examine why City Councilwoman Helen Holton thinks this ban is necessary:

Holton said she is concerned with two recent shootings in which police officers shot residents who were pointing toy guns at the officers.

“The sophistication of toy guns have reached such epidemic proportions that you can’t differentiate between what is a toy and what can do harm,” said Holton, D-8th District. “Officers should not have to make a split-second decision: Is it real or is it fake?”

My question is, how is this ban going to make that sort of situation easier to deal with. Certainly the ban isn't actually going to stop these types of situations from occuring. If anything, this ban will give the officers greater incentive to shoot and ask questions later. They could argue that no matter what weapon the suspect was holding, it looked dangerous, and under the new ban, illegal as well.

It also give Baltimore Police another distraction to look out for and another tool with which they can punish otherwise law abiding citizens. Paintball and target shooting are not unpopular in the area, and if someone in the city is set on getting ahold of a realistic weapon, all they need do after the ban is drive a few miles to the surrounding counties.

Of course, the strongest argument against this bill is that it will only impede law abiding citizens from using these weapons in the city. People who are taken to robbing stores with BB guns will continue to do so. In case it isn't obvious, criminals don't care about the law. If they are willing to commit robbery, they are willing to use an illegal pellet gun to do it.

Furthermore, getting a legal permit for a gun in the city is no easy task. I am sure that some residents of the city have purchased these "realistic looking toys" in the in the interest of personal protection. Should this bill pass, I expect that more innocent folks will end up being arrested than dangerous criminals.

I would much rather have the City Council focus on how they can empower police officers to catch more robbers. Instead, the City Council appears to be legislating to create a city where all crimes are committed with REAL HANDGUNS.

At least Baltimore's Finest will finally be able to shoot a suspect who is holding a weapon without having to debate whether it is legal/deadly or not.

UPDATE: An editorial in the Examiner agrees with me. They point out a few things:
Giving police the power to arrest any citizen they see on the street with paint, pellet or BB gun also will result in nothing but increased street strife and more weapons concealment...

Laws attempting to prevent firearms crime have almost a century of failure to their credit now. If gun control doesn’t work on real guns, what makes anyone think it will work on toys?
I would argue that most people on the city council have not reached the same conclusion about gun control, correct or not.

The most important point is this:
The City Council would better serve public safety by tackling structural reforms — like finding a way to better align police arrests with charges.

With about 20 percent of the 100,000 arrested each year released from Central Booking without charges and another 24 percent who see their charges dropped in court, police are wasting time rounding up the wrong people. Asking them to enforce a toy gun ban will only drain more time from removing violent felons from Baltimore’s streets.


Demeaning to Women

George W. Bush knows how to pick the right man for the job. When he wanted to start a ground war and a national occupation, he made sure to hire a man to craft a policy that resulted in one of the most botched occupation jobs in history. When he needed someone to watch over the Federal Emergency Management Agency and make sure that in the case of a national disaster, the nation was coordinated and prepared, he hired a man whose previous job had been cleaning up Arabian horse shit.

So when it came time to hire a man (and believe me, MEN know a whole hell of a lot about women's birth control) to do the following:

"...oversee $283 million in annual family-planning grants that, according to HHS, are 'designed to provide access to contraceptive supplies and information to all who want and need them, with priority given to low income persons.'"
George W. Bush knew exactly who to go to.

He hired the man who recently said this about contraception (his new BREAD AND BUTTER mind you):

"--the crass commercialization and distribution of birth control is demeaning to women, degrading of human sexuality and adverse to human health and happiness"
Indeed, Eric Keroack, the man being paid by your tax dollars to be in charge of the office of family planning is openly hostile to doing his job. The only way to take this hiring practice to next extreme is for Bush to somehow get a Marxist hired to be the head of the Federal Reserve.

City Council may Cap Parking Ticket Late Fees

Capping the $16 a month late fee sounds good to me, though it may be too late to affect my several overdue parking tickets.

There are a few plans in the works.

This is the best one, from Councilman Jack Young:

Young's bill originally capped the penalties at three times the face value of the ticket, a cap that was initially opposed by the both the city finance department and the police department. The finance department argued that parking scofflaws were primarily not city residents, and that limiting the fines would be a disincentive for violators to pay.
However, I seriously doubt the city would give up such a large amount of revenue, so most likely the cap won't really be a cap at all, but simply a reduction of the amount of the monthly late fee.

As Councilman Robert Curran notes:

Curran said a compromise was necessary to get backing from the finance department, though he still thinks the monthly late penalty is too high. "I would have liked to have reduced the penalty rate from $16 a month to $12. I think $16 is usury," he said.
So what is $12, usury-lite? If the city is serious about this, they should go with Young's plan or at least include something to eventually stop the fees from piling up. Often, parking tickets stuffed under windshield wipers in Fells Point end up in the Bay, victims of the high wind. The same can be said for cars parked anywhere in the city. Either way, the late fees are out of control, and I know firsthand. Lets hope Councilman Young's bill makes it into law.