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Dave Olson, Published December 14 2010

Moorhead City Council votes 5-2 for intial approval of fake gun ordinance

It may soon be against the law to carry a phony gun in Moorhead.

On a vote of 5-2 on Monday, Moorhead City Council members gave initial approval to a revised city ordinance that prohibits people from carrying facsimile weapons in public places.

The revision needs one more reading to become effective, and officials said that could happen Jan. 10.

Luther Stueland and Mark Hintermeyer were the only council members who said no to the change Monday.

“This is a Second Amendment issue. I still find it a violation of my natural rights,” Stueland said of the proposal, which came back to the council after an earlier discussion showed some council members wanted it made clear the rule would not apply in private residences.

At past council meetings, Moorhead Police Chief David Ebinger said facsimile weapons can be a problem at things like private parties and they can also be used as a form of intimidation in domestic situations.

On Monday, he said he would still like to see a facsimile gun ban that extends to private homes, but he said the ordinance change given initial approval Monday would still be useful.

“It can help us avert a tragedy,” Ebinger said.

Council members Dan Hunt and Diane Wray Williams voted for the ordinance change but said they, too, were worried facsimile weapons could be a problem in domestic situations.

“We’ve watered it down, made it less effective,” Hunt said of the ordinance change.

Council member Mark Altenburg supported the latest proposed ordinance, stating it was important to send a message to felons and others barred from owning real guns that Moorhead will not allow realistic versions of firearms in public places.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

Ordinance wording

No person shall carry on their person in a public place as defined in Minnesota statute … a facsimile firearm within the city.

Facsimile firearm means any object not actually a firearm which is a replica of an actual firearm, which substantially duplicates an actual firearm, or which could reasonably be perceived to be an actual firearm.

This ordinance shall not restrict the use of a facsimile firearm for self defense of a person’s residence or place of business.