February 6th, 2006, 23:27
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: At the entrance to the Big Top
Japan to ban powerful toy air guns
From another source, not as bad as it sounds.
Police agency to ban souped-up air guns
The Asahi Shimbun
The National Police Agency will ban ownership of remodeled toy air guns strong enough to pierce the skin, in reaction to drive-by shootings involving these strengthened weapons, officials said.
To regulate these guns, the NPA will submit a bill to revise the Law to Control the Possession of Firearms and Swords to the regular Diet session as early as March, the officials said.
The NPA is considering a maximum prison term of one year or a fine up to 300,000 yen for those found in possession of such remodeled guns.
The owners of an estimated 800,000 remodeled air guns will be required to scale down the weapons' power at specialty shops. Air gun dealers will cover the remodeling fees, the officials said.
Japan has stringent laws restricting the ownership or use of guns, including air guns designed for hunting and competition. Toy air guns, which usually shoot plastic pellets with compressed air or low-pressure gas, are excluded on the grounds that they are not strong enough to harm people.
But these toys can be remodeled to shoot metallic projectiles at higher speeds. The remodeled toys are sold over the Internet.
A series of drive-by shootings involving those guns occurred last year.
In late September, two passenger cars in Wakayama Prefecture were shot by another driver with a remodeled air gun. The projectiles created a hole with a 5-millimeter diameter in a window of one vehicle and shattered the rear window of the other.
Similar shootings occurred in Osaka Prefecture in August and September.
The NPA will consider toy air guns with a power of 3.5 joules per square centimeter or stronger as illegal, the NPA said. That power is strong enough to make people bleed, according to the officials.
The power of the guns can be measured at specialty shops.(IHT/Asahi: February 7,2006)