BB Gun = Deadly Weapon?


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StopTheGrays
April 21, 2005, 12:34 PM
Arrests made after BB Gun fired at School (http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=289&e=4&u=/kcra/20050421/lo_kcra/2680044)

A Sacramento-area student is facing felony charges after a BB gun was fired at an area school.



Police moved in to sweep Natomas Middle School Wednesday to make sure there were no more weapons on campus.

The BB gun was fired several times into a crowd of children at the school Tuesday, according to authorities. Two students were hit in the leg, suffering minor injuries, official said.

"They weren't aiming at anybody. They were just shooting into a group of kids because they thought it was funny and cute. Well, it isn't," said Natomas School District Superintendent Dr. Steve Farrar.

While authorities said the student who pulled the trigger was not aiming at anyone, they also said the act was potentially fatal.

School officials said the BB gun -- a silver and black model like the one pictured right -- looks similar to a real revolver. While searching backpacks, another pellet gun and an unloaded .22-caliber pistol were also confiscated.

Four students in all were arrested. The boy who fired the BB gun faces an assault with a deadly weapon charge, and three other students face possession of a firearm charges, authorities said.

On Tuesday, school officials told parents about the incident, sending each family a recorded telephone message.

According to the school district, the students involved face mandatory expulsion from school.
Is a BB gun classified in California as a deadly weapon? If so, why or how is the law defined? :confused:

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Desertdog
April 21, 2005, 03:51 PM
Is a BB gun classified in California as a deadly weapon? If so, why or how is the law defined? ?
The authorities like to charge people with the worse possible charges they can come up with, knowing if they go to trial they will probably lose, thus assault with a deadly weapon.

With a charge like that, they probably count on a guilty plea of some misdemeanor charge, which the charge probably should have been in the first place. :cuss:

Standing Wolf
April 21, 2005, 04:18 PM
School officials said the BB gun -- a silver and black model like the one pictured right -- looks similar to a real revolver.

Similar is close enough in the People's Republic of California.

AnthonyRSS
April 21, 2005, 04:24 PM
Firing a bb gun into a group of kids is stupid and very dangerous. Why shouldn't he get assault with a deadly weapon charge?

Risasi
April 21, 2005, 04:24 PM
It is a deadly weapon. If you use it as a blunt instrument...not as a projectile launching device.

fjolnirsson
April 21, 2005, 04:26 PM
Actually, a BB gun is defined under CA law as a "firearm", under legislation passed while I was in the police academy there. We had a special update to our books, which is why I remember. Airsoft and Paintball guns also fall under firearm. The law says something about a projectile fired by means of explosive or pressurized gases, IIRC.

And few people even noticed. Until now. It is a felony charge, according to law.

Preacherman
April 21, 2005, 08:05 PM
It certainly is a deadly weapon - if fired from close range at a vulnerable target (e.g. into the ear, or the eyeball) it can penetrate to the brain and kill you.

Shalako
April 21, 2005, 08:13 PM
I don't think kids should bring guns to school and fire them at other kids.

I bet the kids didn't think they should do that either, but they did it anyway.

Boats
April 21, 2005, 08:52 PM
I still have a spidery disruption under the skin of my calf from the Great Idiotic Oregon BB Gun War of 1980. It was inflicted by my brother before we lost our air rifles for the summer. I could see how one could kill if striking in the right spot. A toddler was murdered in Scotland with one recently and now there is talk of banning air rifles in the UK.

Lewis and Clark carried a lethal pneumatic rifle on their expedition. Air rifles can be made to be at least as dangerous as a smoothbore muzzle loading black powder rifle.

shermacman
April 21, 2005, 09:19 PM
Great Idiotic Oregon BB Gun War of 1980.

Curse you Boats!

Single malt scotch is expensive!
And it stings when it comes snorting out my nose!
I have killed many a tree rat with my Crossman pellet gun. It hits hard enough to penetrate fur and muscle, so it could absolutely kill a person. Through the throat could be a nasty bleed out, through the eye lies blindness. Idiot punk.

P95Carry
April 21, 2005, 09:24 PM
Potentially deadly in extreme cases ....... decidedly DANGEROUS in many cases when used carelessly. Life may not be lost but eyes can be. Kids who play with BB guns - even the lower powered ones - should follow the four rules. Period!!

(Which is also excellent training for later, with firearms proper).

mete
April 21, 2005, 09:52 PM
BB guns have injured and killed kids especially the high powered ones. We were never permitted to have BB guns as kids though we did have 22s. My father thought that all too many kids and adults think they are toys. I agree !!

arcticap
April 22, 2005, 03:59 AM
This was a reckless act which certainly deserves punishment. There may be CA law that considers a bb gun a firearm. However, is EVERY bb gun a deadly weapon by virtue of simply being a bb gun? Wouldn't the state have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the bb gun was actually capable of killing someone? Or would it only have to prove that any bb gun is a deadly weapon under the law of CA (no matter what). A stone may potentially be a deadly weapon as well, but not every thrown stone is automatically capable of being deadly. I would prefer to hope that the lad is found not guilty of that charge, at least not unless he is actually guilty. :scrutiny:

whm1974
April 22, 2005, 07:25 AM
You know there are BB/Pellet guns that can shoot over 1000 fps. Those are more then capable of killing someone.

-Bill

brickeyee
April 22, 2005, 10:40 AM
State law and case law will govern.
If the state has defined a BB gun as a deadly weapon the court will follow the law as clearly written. Arguments that the gun is not deadly will not be allowed. The clear statement of the law will govern. Trying to argue a definition to a court is rarely successful. The decision has already been made.

If the state law does not directly define a BB gun as a deadly weapon, you may be able to make an argument to the court. Depending on how the state court system is organized previous decisions may have set a precedent already however. Overcoming a precedent is tougher, but can be done (usually by attacking the basic assumptions used to establish the precedent).

StopTheGrays
April 22, 2005, 10:53 AM
Actually, a BB gun is defined under CA law as a "firearm", under legislation passed while I was in the police academy there. We had a special update to our books, which is why I remember. Airsoft and Paintball guns also fall under firearm. The law says something about a projectile fired by means of explosive or pressurized gases, IIRC.

Does Cali make people do a back ground check if they want to buy a BB gun or paintball gun or have a waiting period? Not that I am saying they should but it seems silly to define it as a firearm and not treat it like a firearm. I mean either it is or it is not. :confused:

Gung-Ho
April 22, 2005, 11:22 AM
Why shouldn't he get assault with a deadly weapon charge?

Because the next nut case will say...."Hmmmm, I was just going to use a BB gun, but what the hell, I might as well use the real thing, after all, they will charge me with the same crime as long as I don't kill anyone."

svtruth
April 22, 2005, 12:30 PM
Think of the $$ Cali municipalities can save by issuing BB guns to their LEOs.

GEM
April 22, 2005, 12:58 PM
If you search the medical databases, you find quite a few serious injuries and fatalities from them. They are dangerous.

flatrock
April 22, 2005, 01:03 PM
It certainly is a deadly weapon - if fired from close range at a vulnerable target (e.g. into the ear, or the eyeball) it can penetrate to the brain and kill you.

There are few objects that cannot be used as a deadly weapon. Fists have been used as deadly weapons many times both intentionally and unintentionally.

Using such a weak definition of a deadly weapon makes it so that all assaults are assaults with deadly weapons.

TRLaye
April 22, 2005, 04:01 PM
California specifically exempts AirSoft firearms from the deadly weapon category because it shoots plastic projectiles rather than metal.

You do not have to have a background check for the purchase of an air gun. They can be bought in a sporting goods store.

A deadly weapon can be anything. I agree that the charge is simply being used as a point to plea bargain from to get the best charge accepted with the least expense to the state.

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