Carmel considers BB, pellet gun restrictions

Carmel is considering restrictions on the use of BB guns, pellet guns and Airsoft rifles within city limits.
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Carmel is considering restrictions on the use of BB guns, pellet guns and Airsoft rifles within city limits.

After concerns from residents about people firing them too close to homes and people, city leaders say at the very least, this topic deserves some serious discussion.

Rene Barnard takes safety seriously when it comes to shooting a firearm, especially since she's a mom. She's taking a class to train on using her gun properly.

"Whenever you have children around and firearms of any sort, you really need to discuss what safety precautions are necessary," Barnard said.

Now, in the name of safety, more restrictions could be coming to Carmel. The city is considering adding BB guns, pellet guns, even Airsoft rifles to its weapons ordinance.

That would essentially make it illegal to fire one within city limits.

"This comes about from some kids that were just not responsible with these Airsoft guns, is what they call them," explained Carmel City Council President Eric Seidensticker.

He says he was contacted by a resident, who got concerned after teens fired Airsoft guns toward her home. That resident went to police, who legally couldn't do much. They advised getting the city council involved.

Barnard says she can understand the need.

"I'm a mother. That would be my biggest worry that a teenager next door is shooting and somehow my child is injured," she said.

The City of Columbus recently took restrictions even further, making it illegal for teens to even carry a BB or pellet gun. Since that new ordinance, there haven't been any problems or citations in Columbus.

Carmel isn't going that far, but as a gun owner, Barnard still wants to see a balance between safety and people's rights.

"I think it would just depend on the type of BB gun versus soft pellet gun and I would just want more information," she said.

That's the message from Carmel city leaders too. They plan to tweak the proposal based on public input.

"The intent is to basically put some responsibility into the adults, the parents, to teach their kids right," Seidensticker said. "I'm a proponent of the Second Amendment. This is a function of education. It's not trying to restrict something. But if we can put something in a format that parents are going to now pay attention to, now maybe the end result is okay."

Carmel leaders expect a lot of changes to be made to this proposal. They also want to encourage discussion on the topic.

The BB gun proposal is up for discussion at the city's public safety committee meeting, Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Carmel City Hall.