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Nassau County Legislature

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April 11, 2006

Denenberg proposes law prohibiting sale of BB & paint ball guns to minors

Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) demonstrates the kind of window damage that a BB gun can do. Legislator Denenberg has proposed a local law which would prohibit the sale of BB & paint ball guns to minors and require that retailers post notification of the law in a conspicuous place and store the guns behind the counter in a locked case.

Often portrayed as harmless toys, the reality is BB & paint ball guns can cause severe injury and even death. That is why Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) today proposed a local law which would prohibit the sale of BB & paint ball guns to minors and require that retailers post notification of the law in a conspicuous place and store the guns behind the counter in a locked case.

“In light of recent news events involving the hospitalization of two youngsters shot in the eye and abdomen and massive property damage in nearby communities, I believe we have to keep these potentially dangerous weapons out of the hands of minors,” said Legislator Denenberg. “It is my hope that by putting these additional safeguards in place we can reduce the number of injuries and senseless property damage.”

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports approximately four deaths per year are caused by BB guns or pellet rifles.

According to Legislator Joseph Scannell (D-Baldwin), chairman of the Public safety Committee, studies have shown that, at close range, BBs and pellets fired from these air powered guns can cause tissue damage and severe injuries, especially to the abdomen, chest, eye and head of children.

According to Legislator Denenberg, when an informal survey was done among retailers who carry the guns, it was found that several major sporting goods stores displayed the guns where minors could have access to them.

“The recent increase in popularity of pellet and BB type handguns poses many problems for the law enforcement community. The public should be aware that these items are not legal in the hands of persons under sixteen and can pose a significant safety risk to others as well. In the hands of children or those inclined to commit crimes the consequence of possessing these weapons could be deadly,” said Nassau County Police Commissioner James H. Lawrence.

Violators of the proposed law would be fined up to $1,000 for each offense. The law is scheduled to be heard in committees at the next legislative meeting on April 24.