NKY city bans popular water pellet guns in public spaces

The guns are advertised for children as young as 5, but they’ve become a nuisance in municipalities across the country.
Published: Apr. 22, 2022 at 8:45 PM EDT
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DAYTON, Ky. (WXIX) - Water pellet guns are now banned from being used in city parks, sidewalks and right-of-ways in Kentucky’s riverfront city of Dayton.

Mayor Ben Baker signed the executive order Friday. A violation will result in a fine but could also result in criminal charges.

“It’s perfectly fine to have it in your yard, in your property and stuff like that,” said Dayton Police Chief David Halfhill. “You just can’t have it in the city’s parks and shooting people out in the streets.”

The water pellet guns are a popular toy for children. The Orbeez manufacturer advertises the guns for ages 5 and up. But the pellets can cause bodily injury, which Halfhill says could result in a felony charge of wanton endangerment.

“These Orbeez guns, they’re not good to cause death, we know that,” he said. “But they could cause serious physical injury by putting out an eye.”

The police chief says the executive order prohibiting the guns in public areas comes after the city received multiple complaints of people being shot.

“When they’re doing it, at the time, they don’t think about it. They think it’s fun,” Halfhill said. “But it could cause panic because you don’t know what you’re being shot with nowadays. You don’t know what’s coming out of these guns. You might find out later that, oh, it was just this, but you could be charged with inducing panic if you do it in a big public space.”

The ordinance likewise comes in response to a recent TikTok trend encouraging people to shoot water pellet guns at innocent bystanders. Police departments in Florida have reported several incidents.

Halfhill says the ordinance allows officers to confiscate the guns.

“This puts into perspective where we can take possession of these guns, and we don’t have to give them back, and we can charge them with a violation of the ordinance.”

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