People in St. Paul will no longer be able to carry in public nonlethal firearms such as airsoft guns, the City Council decided Wednesday.
The council unanimously approved a ban on the public display of real-looking replica guns and made it a misdemeanor to do so. Council Member Lee Helgen proposed the ban in response to reports of a recent surge in juveniles carrying airsoft guns.
No one spoke against the ordinance at the public hearing last week, and an industry representative said it was "common sense" not to display the realistic fake guns.
Also Wednesday, the council:
Approved a moratorium on electronic billboards for the next 12 months to study their effects and to decide on how to deal with them. City officials have been worried that the billboards, which show multiple images, may distract motorists.
Received a draft proposal for Invest St. Paul, a multi-million-dollar reinvestment initiative by the administration to improve neighborhoods. Planning Director Cecile Bedor told the council, meeting as the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, that vacant housing will be the first issue addressed in the coming months.
MYRON P. MEDCALF