Question: A man Im seeing keeps a plastic squirt gun under the seat of his car. Its red, but otherwise looks like the real thing.
He says he keeps it there in case he ever needs to show it to somebody who messes with him in traffic.
He wouldnt actually point it at anybody, he says, just show it to them.
Ive never seen him do it, but if he does, could it get him in trouble? -- Lisa, Lakewood
Answer: Yes, he most definitely could get into trouble not only with the law, but also with another road warrior who might pull out a real gun.
I cannot emphasize enough how bad of an idea that is, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Guy Gill.
In this day and age, displaying a gun of any kind to another motorist for any reason could be a fatal mistake, he said. You simply dont know how the other driver will perceive it or what theyre capable of doing in return.
As for the law, heres what RCW 9.41.270 says:
It shall be unlawful for any person to carry, exhibit, display, or draw any firearm, dagger, sword, knife or other cutting or stabbing instrument, club, or any other weapon apparently capable of producing bodily harm, in a manner, under circumstances, and at a time and place that either manifests an intent to intimidate another or that warrants alarm for the safety of other persons.
Note the apparently capable of producing bodily harm. That would include red plastic guns mistaken for the real thing, Gill says.
The color of the gun makes no difference to us, he said. A gun painted red can injure or kill someone just as easy as a black or silver one. We know guns are out there in a variety of colors, including red, pink and orange.
The bottom line, Gill says: A responsible person would never carry around a gun (even a red look-alike) with the purpose of displaying it during a traffic incident.
Rob Carson: 253-597-8693
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