Bogus-gun use rises in real crime in D.C.


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RealGun
February 11, 2006, 11:30 AM
Bogus-gun use rises in real crime in D.C.

By Amy Doolittle
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 11, 2006

D.C. police and city officials want to stiffen the penalties for offenders who use BB, pellet and air guns as weapons.

Such "guns look very real, the weight is real, they have removable clips," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. "If an individual uses them to commit a crime, they should be treated as if they are using a real gun."

Under current law, if an offender discharges a BB, pellet or toy gun in the District while committing a crime, that person is charged only with the crime committed. If a person discharges a firearm during a crime, he or she also is charged with a weapons violation.

Persons convicted of owning or carrying a handgun in the District face a maximum of five years in prison.

There is no penalty for owning or carrying a BB gun, air gun or toy. It is illegal for people under 18 to own a BB gun in the District.

http://insider.washingtontimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060210-110721-4118r

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Manedwolf
February 11, 2006, 11:46 AM
Bogus-gun use rises in real crime in D.C.

By Amy Doolittle
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
February 11, 2006

D.C. police and city officials want to stiffen the penalties for offenders who use BB, pellet and air guns as weapons.

Such "guns look very real, the weight is real, they have removable clips," Metropolitan Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey said. "If an individual uses them to commit a crime, they should be treated as if they are using a real gun."

Under current law, if an offender discharges a BB, pellet or toy gun in the District while committing a crime, that person is charged only with the crime committed. If a person discharges a firearm during a crime, he or she also is charged with a weapons violation.

Persons convicted of owning or carrying a handgun in the District face a maximum of five years in prison.

There is no penalty for owning or carrying a BB gun, air gun or toy. It is illegal for people under 18 to own a BB gun in the District.

http://insider.washingtontimes.com/articles/normal.php?StoryID=20060210-110721-4118r


So what happens if someone points a fake but real-looking gun at you, and you shoot them?

What're the legal precedents for that, in various areas?

Standing Wolf
February 11, 2006, 10:55 PM
So what happens if someone points a fake but real-looking gun at you, and you shoot them?
What're the legal precedents for that, in various areas?

Much depends on your state law. In most states, if it looks like a real gun, you're justified in shooting the criminals wielding it during a robbery, et cetera. In Washington, D.C. or Chicago, you'd be arrested and charged with having a firearm.

beerslurpy
February 11, 2006, 11:16 PM
Yeah, there is a "reasonable belief" test. Assuming that self defense against threats to life is allowed, self defense against conduct that appears to be such a threat is also allowed.

None of this would be a problem if non-criminals in DC had real guns to defend themselves with.

carebear
February 11, 2006, 11:37 PM
This is kinda backwards.

Rightly enough, if you use a fake or real gun in a robbery you are charged with armed robbery because the victim can't know the difference.

If you discharge the real gun in the course of the crime (proving it to be a real firearm to the victim) you are also charged with discharging a weapon in the commission of a crime.

Now they want to make discharging the FAKE weapon (thus proving it to NOT be a real firearm to the victim) in the course of the crime have the same penalty.

:confused:

In any event, does armed robbery not carry a heavy enough sentence that we have to bother with discharge violations?

Crosshair
February 12, 2006, 12:26 AM
I know what you're thinking. Did he pump six times or only five? Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement, I've kinda lost track myself. But being as this is a Benjamin Sheridan 392, the most powerful pellet rifle in the world, and would put your eye clean out, you've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya punk?
:neener:

gc70
February 12, 2006, 12:40 AM
Excuse my ignorance, but how do you discharge a fake gun?

beerslurpy
February 12, 2006, 12:52 AM
No, the problem is that people can legally walk around with pellet guns and if they rob someone, the robbing is the crime rather than the pellet gun possession.

Put another way, if a cop walks up to you and tries to arrest you for shooting a pellet gun at pigeons, you can currently tell him to piss off. This law aims to change that.

RealGun
February 12, 2006, 09:57 AM
I see this as taking "deadly" out of "deadly weapon".

There is a separate firearms violation charge, possibly the only charge prosecuted. This law proposal would allow the possession of "looks like a deadly weapon" to be treated as a felony in its own right.

I suppose that if you shot someone weilding such a "weapon", and use of the "weapon" was not illegal, you could be sued by the punk's mom.

Rather than get lost in the trees with this concept, I go back to an objection to being prosecuted merely for possession, demonizing the gun. I think it should be an entirely different matter if a gun is actually used while committing a crime. If it isn't a "deadly" weapon, what are we really trying to accomplish here? It seems to me that "pretending to have a deadly weapon" is now a felony. It figures that it would come out of DC.

Fastlane
February 12, 2006, 10:06 AM
It will be just another excuse for D.C. to justify continuing their gun ban.

silliman89
February 12, 2006, 03:14 PM
Beerslurpy -- #8
Put another way, if a cop walks up to you and tries to arrest you for shooting a pellet gun at pigeons, you can currently tell him to piss off. This law aims to change that.

But if this law saves just one pigeon... It's for the baby pigeons!

carebear
February 12, 2006, 04:17 PM
If I was shooting a pellet gun at pigeons in DC and a cop saw me with the thing I'm pretty sure I'd be telling the cop to "piss off" while I'm proned out at gunpoint. :D

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