Petition Johnson City Ordinance

Discussions among Airsoft players in the Tri-Cities( Kingsport, Johnson City, Bristol) TN area.

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Petition Johnson City Ordinance

Postby jdmnynja » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:20 pm

Hello all, I don't really post much but this has been something I have been looking into for a while now. Not sure if this has been hit on before, but I've been thinking pretty hard about this. Being as there is a large population of airsoft players in Johnson City and the surrounding areas, I think with the proper amount of support and work, we could get the ban on air powered type weapons repealed in Johnson City.
The other night I was speaking with a city police officer and we got into the discussion about it, he also told me that he played and so on. It turns out the ban was actually introduced to copper BB type guns because some thugs were shooting out windows (30 something I believe) and they decided to ban them. This carried over to airsoft and paintball guns when they emerged. I believe this is a harsh decision when the people that put this ban in have little or no education in our game. There are always going to be those thugs in everything, not just airsoft. They can get real guns just as easy as an airsoft gun. However, proper education and rules to follow I think would be a step in the right direction. The officer told me the current police chief may be open to the idea if I were to write up a good agenda and had a group of people governing our movement, along with a large petition to repeal the ban. So...
My proposal and inquiry to the Tri-Cities players (and if your not from the tri-cities feel free to assist) would be first to see who all is interested in joining me in this and getting educational material written up for the governing bodies of Johnson City. A petition needs to be written up and getting support of prominent figures would also be a major step in the right direction. I think I could get some law enforcement on our side as long as there are rules to follow for players and dealers. This would be a big step for our city, and would help the airsoft industry grow into Johnson City. There is plenty of business and space in here and with this ordinance repealed I believe it could make way for shops and/or fields to open up in the future.
Again, sorry if this has been questioned before, but I am trying to take this as a serious matter to look into and to fix. I really think if we got them to understand and learn more about our sport then they would potentially at least consider changing the ban. Any thoughts or ideas? Support? Thanks guys.




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Postby redneckemt » Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:27 pm

What exactly is banned?
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Postby xandman » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:29 pm

This has been done before, I have talked with the county clerk, and spoken with some of the city council members and they still define it as "paint ball" and they do not care about "mil-sim" or the training one can get from it, and from the mouth directely of the city council "anything that propeled by air that shoots a projectile is illegal in the city limits no exceptions"(then asked about super soakers he just laughed). I have tryed for almost 3 years on this matter and it is the same outcome

1.Ask a public official about his/her stand on it (then usuly given the same answer "what is airsft?")

2.Ask a officer, just to be given a very short answer and then hear a sob story about some poor kid in the dark pointing a airsoft gun at a cop

3.Ask a city council member, just to be given the run around and never be taken serious, and the same as the public official you have to explain what airsoft is then when you ask to be given time infront of the city council to speak your case they give you the most polite "hell no" you have ever heard

I would love to be able to play in my home town and not have to drive 30 min to play a quick pick up game with my friends but airsoft in Johnson city is a classic case of 1 or 2 people ruining it for everybody, I am not saying that we cant change this but it wont be a easy task, I will be glad to help
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Postby redneckemt » Sat Dec 13, 2008 2:38 pm

Can someone please provide a copy or a link to the ban.
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Postby Sgt_York » Sat Dec 13, 2008 3:09 pm

Someone told me that it was passed because some stupid ETSU student was drunk and shot out the rear window of a police cruiser with a bb gun, so instead of throwing him under the jail, they punish all of us.

You cannot buy, sell or use BB guns, airsoft, paintball, etc. within the Johnson City city limits.

You know what they say, money talks. Maybe we should attack this through the money side. Think of the money that could be made by Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Hobbytown, Mahoney's, Dicks, etc if they could sell within Johnson City. I'd say they could put more pressure on the powers that be than we could.

I never really understood why I could go to Wal-Mart and buy a 12-gauge and blow someone's head off, but I couldn't buy a freakin' bb gun.
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Postby kosmak125 » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:19 pm

It did not help that some kid shot a ups guy in the face at mahoneys!
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Postby jdmnynja » Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:33 pm

redneckemt, I am not aware of an online link to any of this information, but I assure you they are banned within the city limits of JC. And speaking to officers, yes I have. That's what I was trying to say in the first post. The officer I spoke to has airsoft guns, and so do his kids. He is in agreement with what I'm saying. He also told me that they have orders though to shoot at anyone if they point anything at them as well though. So orange tip or not, you point it at them and your getting shot. He also told me about thugs that shot fireworks and crap like that at cruisers, and about blew one up. There's a lot of different stories on a lot of things. But I've got a few good links I think I could rely on (links as in people) and I'm going to try to get to work more on it at the beginning of January when I have more time. Holidays aren't the best time. But support is the first key thing to get, then education. How in depth did you get on your last attempt, xandman?
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Postby Core » Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:14 am

from what xand told me in parafrog one day what he described was his last attempt, i found the "whats airsoft" comment pretty funny in particular. Also though you may want to look into not getting the officer in trouble, I'm no lawyer but you want to provide as much proof as possible without harming the people your trying to help, we've all got a relative of some sort that is a lawyer or public official, and I'm no exception, I don't live in JC but I'll figure out all the details I can and demand to get a word in with the city council or a change to the law, these people won't roll over on this and if they think its such a big deal they will hear you out.
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Postby redneckemt » Sun Dec 14, 2008 10:18 am

I think the ban is illegal under both the TCA code. and the Federal Code.

Local Goverments don't have that power, I don't belive. I had a nice long brief written up but the tones went off, so I had to lose it all. I'll try to post the information tommorrow. Let me find the Case Laws on this I'll post more tommorrow.


jdmnynja if the Officers have to have orders to shoot someone that points something that looks like a gun at them, they have no business being cops. That's just common sence, you point something that looks like a gun at a Cop you're deserve to be shot.



BUT YOU STILL HAVEN'T SAID WHAT IS BANNED.

Possession of Airsoft guns inside the city limits?- Meaning inside of your house.
Use of Airsoft guns inside the city limits? - GOOD THING
Buying of Airsoft guns inside the city?
Carrying Airsoft guns inside the city? - Meaning inside of your car.



WHAT IS BANNED???
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Postby jdmnynja » Sun Dec 14, 2008 11:51 am

redneckemt, to my understanding and how the officer put it to me, airsoft weapons are illegal period. no firing, no possesion, no selling, nothing. mahoneys and walmart in johnson city do not sell bb guns, airsoft guns, paintball guns, or even accessories for them because of the ban. mahoney's used to, but had to pull them after the ups man got shot in the butt, or something like that. same with all other stores. that's why no airsoft shops have opened in JC. If shops have opened in bristol and kingsport, i'm sure JC has been looked at for potential, but with that ordinance in effect, selling them would be impossible i think. I'm wanting to meet with a council member or the police chief sometime in january to get the facts straight on this ban and find out what can be done. i'm not going to use the officer's name, you're right Core, I didn't really think about that. I will be sure not to get them in trouble. But I think having friends on the law enforcement side would help a lot, and getting friends in the city. Anything we can find out is going to help this though. i'm not saying that people should be allowed to carry them in public, but at least be able to own them, fire them, play on your own property, start a store, etc.
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Postby bigrik » Sun Dec 14, 2008 3:03 pm

The way the ordinance reads it bans the sale, carry, and discharge of any item that can throw small projectiles within the city limits. Its a broad law, that covers bb guns, airsoft guns, paintball guns, slignshots, etc. Waterguns dont qualify because they are considered toys that shoot water, not small projectiles. Airsoft falls into the category because the gearbox uses a small burst of air to fire the bb, regardless of whether its powered by battery or not.

Here's your ordinance:

11-124. Air guns, slingshots, etc.. No person shall sell, keep in stock,
offer for sale, give away, carry or discharge, within the city, an air gun or other similar implement for throwing small projectiles. (1985 Code, § 16-28 )
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Postby jdmnynja » Sun Dec 14, 2008 5:31 pm

It is very broad and I think unfair.

Look at the date in which it was written, 1985. That was before airsoft even hit the markets. They should rethink it. Many, many people play both paintball and airsoft.
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Postby bigrik » Sun Dec 14, 2008 6:30 pm

jdmnynja wrote:It is very broad and I think unfair.

Look at the date in which it was written, 1985. That was before airsoft even hit the markets. They should rethink it. Many, many people play both paintball and airsoft.


Although enacted in 1985, it has had experience regulating airsoft. Specifically the incident at Mahoneys. If your unfamiliar, the store had just gotten a shipment in at their JC store. At the time, things didnt seem like the city would enforce the rule towards airsoft as the items were low power, low budget guns. More toys than anything. Two guys go in, and buy two guns at the same time the UPS man is finishing his delievery, and they load up and shoot him in the parking lot. This turned the citys attention to airsoft, and now with the boom, and other incidents all over the state involving airsoft, the attention is on it hard.

The best advice would be to initially circulate a petition to get signatures from responsible players who reside in or around JC. Make sure its well drafted, and make sure the signatures come from people of voting age. The more adults, and especially military, political, and law enforcement signatures would make it more beneficial.

Then you should research who (if any voted against the ordinance) and if they are still involved in city government, approach them about it. The chances of this being repealled is slim, but not necessarily worth the effort to try. Government changes, and so do ideals, but you have to convince them its worth doing for the majority of the city, and that is going to be hard unless you can show revenue gains amoungst other things.
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Postby jdmnynja » Sun Dec 14, 2008 8:58 pm

So, currently with a blank board, what would be the first and most important thing to do? Get a petition running you think and talk with people? If I am going to write up a petition, I want it professional. I wouldn't be the best person to write up something like that, I'm not lawyer or politician.
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Postby bigrik » Sun Dec 14, 2008 9:17 pm

a petition is simple, state your purpose, set up lines for signatures, and age, location, and career choice takes it a bit futher. Set up an area for them to date it when they sign, and set a goal of the number of signatures youd like to get. You dont need experience to draft a petition. You going to want the majority to be from JC as thats the voting base. The retail aspect and the money the city is loosing should be focused on second by gaining signatures from outside of the city.

Truth is man, to see this through, and get it where it in front of the right people, be prepared to spend a lot of time, and maybe even some money.

Best of luck and maybe some of the others can help you from the legal standpoint. But, at the risk of sounding negative, i doubt much will end up happening from the effort. There arent enough of the people with the power, in the right places in JC. To the majority of the city airsofters are just a very small percentage of people, some not even of legal age to vote, which makes a big difference, and some reckless enough to ruin the hardwork in the future.
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