Bend city councilors will be asked next week to update the city’s ban on discharging weapons inside the city limits, to reflect the rise in recent years of such items as airsoft and paintball guns, making clear they can be used legally, in certain conditions, on private property.
“The city’s original prohibition on discharge of weapons was adopted at a time when guns were guns, toys were toys, and everyone knew the difference,” stated an issue summary for the code amendments on Wednesday night’s agenda, drafted by Assistant City Attorney Gary Firestone and police Patrol Capt. Ben Gregory.
“The proliferation of items that discharge projectiles but are not intended to cause harm has led to a review of the existing code language and this proposed code amendment,” they continued.
They officials also said that “the city has received some comments from members of the public regarding the use of airsoft guns and other items that shoot projectiles.”
The proposed amendments would clarify that the weapons-discharge prohibition also applies to BB, airsoft and paintball guns. But it would allow the discharge of airsoft and paintball guns on private property – as long as “the discharge does not present an unreasonable risk of harm, and the discharged projectile remains on the private property,” the issue summary stated.
The amendments also clarify that enclosed ranges can legally operate, and also exempts “nail guns or other carpentry tools being used for their intended purpose.”
The goal of the revised language is “clearer standards (to) provide for better and more even enforcement,” the issue summary noted, with new exemptions that “allow reasonable activities.”
The ordinance itself states that “exceptions are needed to take into account common practices that technically are violations but do not present a public safety risk.” If the exemptions don’t apply, a violation of the weapons discharge code would remain a Class A civil infraction.