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Each legislative session thousands of bills and amendments are introduced in the Pennsylvania Legislature. Only a fraction become law, and an even smaller portion receive wide media coverage.

These bills impact the lives of people living in Pennsylvania every day.

Each week The Sentinel will highlight one of the bills that has not received widespread attention.

About the bill

At least 16 people were shot by police in Philadelphia while carrying a toy or imitation firearm between 2007 and 2013, according to Rep. Angel Cruz, D-Philadelphia.

Cruz hopes to combat this is by eliminating the import, manufacture or sale of toy guns that look like the real thing.

“The determination as to whether a gun is real or fake needs to be made in most instances within a split second, especially in situations when one is considering whether to defend themselves against a threat,” Cruz wrote in a co-sponsorship letter. “Unfortunately, the decision is hindered because of the sale of toy or imitation firearms that cannot be easily distinguished from a real firearm.”

House Bill 682 would ban the sale of toy or imitation firearms unless it is “constructed in such a way that it is obviously not a real firearm,” Cruz wrote.

Cruz’s bill requires that toy guns be distinguishable from real guns unless it is either white or one of severely “bright” colors, be made of transparent or translucent materials, have a half inch cap on the end of the barrel, is legibly stamped on the exterior with the manufacturers name or does not have a laser pointer attached to it.

The bill also makes exemptions for toy or imitation firearms possessed solely for the purpose of a sale to another state, firearms used for television, motion picture or theater productions and antiques.

According to Cruz, at least 12 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico have created restrictions on the sale or use of toy and imitation firearms.

“I feel it only makes sense for Pennsylvania to do the same,” Cruz wrote.

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