Burlington considers law forcing carrying cases for all guns

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Burlington, Iowa is looking into an ordinance to make it illegal to openly carry a toy gun or conceal one with clothes.

According to the ordinance, that includes any spring-loaded, compressed-air, or other BB gun, airsoft gun, paint ball gun, pellet gun, or replica of a firearm.  The law would prohibit taking those guns on or into any public street, alley, highway, sidewalk, public way, public ground or public building, or within an automobile on a public roadway, without written consent of the council unless the gun is carried in a way authorized for concealment by the Iowa Code pertaining to firearms.

A person who would violate that would receive a simple misdemeanor.

"It's a proposal to conceal these guns in a proper case. They make those cases at all the department stores and whether you're walking or in a vehicle, you would be expected to case these guns," said Burlington Police Chief Doug Beaird.

"It's not saying that nobody can have one.  It's saying that they need to be in a proper carrying bag, so that you're not running around with a BB gun that may or may not look real," said Mayor Shane McCampbell.

In 2012, there were 19 reports to the Burlington Police Department of a person carrying a gun that turned out to be a toy gun. In 2013, there were 26.

"The idea was, if the problem continues, it's gonna be a matter of time until we actually end up with a confrontation with somebody that has a gun, that's maybe not real. We can't make those kind of decisions that fast," said Beaird.

In 2013, there were also at least 70 reports of windows that were shot out in the city.

Monday, July 7, 2014, the Burlington City Council approved the first hearing of the ordinance. There will likely be two more hearings.

Beaird says this is more about education than enforcement and they will work to spread the word to kids.


  • Aleric

    Welcome to England. See this is how Liberals fool you into thinking you still have your second amendment rights while making the owning of a gun as effective as a swimming pool with no water.

  • Zowell Walker

    There goes “cops and robbers” and “cowboys and Indians” that I grew up playing. They complain about “violent video games” but force todays kids to do their role playing on the PS2 or Xbox because their toy gun might scare someone. This seems like an overkill to me but if you look at what is happening to our nation as a whole, I guess it’s not surprising.

  • Tim Irving

    They are not talking about the real guns !! I can understand not wanting to have a cop in the position of making a decision to shoot and finding out the guy was waving a water pistol around. They didn’t mention concealed carry with a permit or open carry in a holster but I expect that will be a part of the conversation. I carried concealed with a permit when I lived in Iowa many years ago and I doubt they will mess with that. They used to be pretty strict about issuing and I expect they still are. We always carried long guns and hand guns when going out to hunt or to the range cased and I don’t see a problem with that, actually like the idea..I think I would support this idea if I lived there. It wouldn’t work here very well. We carry pretty openly when we are going out to hunt or to the range, and we don’t have to have a permit or license to carry concealed even though they are issued and needed if we carry in adjoining states.

    • Jon

      Iowa is a shall issue state. To get a permit to carry weapons, one needs only be 18 years old, not be a felon or guilty of domestic assault, and take a training class (online classes are acceptable too). Not strict at all. :-)

  • Carrie

    Because we all know that criminals follow the laws. It’s not the law abiding citizens that after doing these things. And if you’re going to do this for real guns as well, you might as well keep calling Burlington “little Chicago”. It’s obvious that gun control works wonders in Chicago.

  • William Baker

    It’s an outright ban. How does one get a toy gun home from the store without concealing it? Lets charge 5 year olds with misdemeanors.

  • F.T.

    This is a very stupid proposal that is designed only to harass law abiding gun owners. A good security holster, concealed under clothing is better than a gun case carried openly. All anyone has to do is a hit and grab and they may have a gun. It really shows very ittle common sense on the part of the police chief and anyone else who thinks this is even close to a good idea.

  • F.T.

    The criminals will still carry their real, loaded, high capacity guns concealed and you won’t know they have it untill they want you to know. That is when they stick it in your face.
    Do they not have any concealed carry permits there for real guns. Around where I live, anyone who would walk down the street with a gun case would be hit quick by a former “purse snatcher” who just decided to escalate his goals.

  • Katrina Anon

    Are any of these people school officials? I thought such lunacy was limit to school boards and principals.

    Are we now going to charge children with misdemeanors for carrying a toy? Does that mean if a kid points a finger at someone and goes “pow” the police are going to be called. I hope the city runs PSAs warning kids not chew pastries into the shape of a gun.

  • Charles Mack

    So they are making it illegal to open-carry a toy gun so the police don’t have to make the decisions on whether it is real or not? IOW – they can shoot a kid with a water gun and say, “Hey – that kid was breaking the law. It wasn’t our fault”?
    Here’s a tip – if it is a kid in the yard or the back seat of a car and he is pointing a gun with an orange tip on it — chances are, it is just a toy.

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