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Toy guns can cause problems when used in public

I read a story about Grants Pass police being concerned about people carrying airsoft guns, which as I understand it, shoot some kind of plastic bullet that's supposed to be harmless. Police said some people in town were concerned because they thought these toy guns looked too real.

I thought there was a law that any toy gun had to have an orange tip on the end of the barrel so people could tell the difference. Is that a state law or is it up to cities or counties to pass such a law? Does it apply to paintball guns?

— Joe S., Medford

There might be no law on the books specifying how a toy gun is presented, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to brandish one in public, according to Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau.

"We have no law in the city saying you need to have a orange tip on the end of an airsoft gun, but it wouldn't hurt to paint it on for safety reasons," Budreau said.

Budreau said officers are sometimes called when passers-by see a person with an airsoft gun walking around a yard.

"They think it's a real gun and call us," Budreau said.

Budreau added that while it's not required to alter your toy gun, it is unlawful to shoot it in the city limits.

Shooting any type of projectile, including pellet guns, dart guns, blow guns, crossbows and anything propelled by air or spring, is against city code, Budreau said.

"That's why you can't play paintball in the park," he said.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.