General Crime

Toy Gun Bill Proposed in Wake of 13-Year-Old’s Death

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A month after a 13-year-old boy with a toy gun was fatally shot by a Sonoma County sheriff’s deputy, a California lawmaker today announced legislation that would regulate imitation firearms. State Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, announced the legislation this morning with co-author state Sen. Kevin de Leon, along with state Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-San Rafael, Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane and other community members at the Santa Rosa Old Courthouse. Evans is pushing for more regulation regarding the manufacture, sale, possession and use of BB guns, toy guns and other replica guns after the Oct. 22 death of Andy Lopez Cruz.

Under the proposed bill, imitation firearms would have to be painted a bright color to distinguish them from their lethal look-alikes, according to Evans’ office. Another component of the bill changes the definition of a “BB device” in gun laws to be more comprehensive. When Andy was shot by Sonoma County sheriff’s Deputy Erick Gelhaus on Moorland Avenue in unincorporated Santa Rosa, he was carrying a toy AK-47 rifle.

Gelhaus believed Andy was armed with a real assault rifle. The teen was shot seven times and died at the scene. The shooting of the eighth-grader prompted a series of protests and rallies in the community and beyond in the following days and weeks. Earlier this month, Andy’s parents filed a wrongful death suit against the county and the sheriff’s deputy involved in the shooting.

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