What is the definition of a "loaded" firearm?


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Dope
November 16, 2007, 12:41 AM
Help me settle a disagreement with a buddy.

Do you consider a firearm to be loaded only if there is a round in the chamber? IE: it will fire if you pull the trigger. Or is it "loaded" if it has any ammo at all in it?

Dope

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akodo
November 16, 2007, 12:45 AM
First, it is always loaded.

Second, I'd count it as loaded even if a round was not chambered.

third, a person should be able to handle a loaded gun, keep your finger off the trigger and keep it pointed in a safe direction, don't forget that it is loaded.

LegalAlien
November 16, 2007, 12:47 AM
Any firearm that you have not PERSONALLY checked to have no round anywhere in the firearm, should be considered a loaded firearm

Jimmie
November 16, 2007, 12:47 AM
I say it's only loaded with a round chambered. In the magazine only - it's not loaded.

mikeb3185
November 16, 2007, 12:52 AM
it is loaded untill u check but after that still treat it as such

Jimmie
November 16, 2007, 12:52 AM
Holy Sunday school answers.

yesit'sloaded
November 16, 2007, 12:55 AM
I usually say that it is loaded but there isn't a round chambered. I consider a gun loaded if there is ammunition in the gun.

iiibdsiil
November 16, 2007, 01:07 AM
Never really thought about it. Unloaded to me is with the magazine out and a verification there isn't one in the hole. At the same time, if there is a mag in any of my handguns, there is one in the hole. I do know people carry theirs without one in the chamber, so I would have to say it's loaded as long as there is a mag in the gun that has rounds in it.

RNB65
November 16, 2007, 01:14 AM
As others have said, all firearms are loaded until proven otherwise. However, in 2005, Massachusetts passed a law defining a loaded gun as follows:

"For purposes of this section, "loaded shotgun or loaded rifle" shall mean any shotgun or rifle having ammunition in either the magazine or chamber thereof, such ammunition including a live cartridge, primer (igniter), bullet or propellant powder designed for use in any firearm, rifle or shotgun and, in the case of a muzzle loading or black powder shotgun or rifle, containing powder in the flash pan, a percussion cap and shot or ball"

I suspect there is no commonly accepted definition of loaded. It depends on where you are and what set of state laws you're reading. Col. Cooper's readiness conditions are a far better indicator of the state of a firearm:

* Condition Zero: A round chambered, hammer cocked, safety off
* Condition One: A round chambered, hammer cocked, safety on
* Condition Two: A round chambered, hammer down
* Condition Three: Chamber empty
* Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine

Adjust them accordingly based on what type of firearm you're talking about. For example, if you're referring to a Glock (or other DAO semi), conditions 0, 1, and 2 are the same as there is no hammer or manual safety.

Librarian
November 16, 2007, 01:22 AM
Any firearm that you have not PERSONALLY checked to have no round anywhere in the firearm, should be considered a loaded firearmI think that's the safe operational definition.

Are you asking for 'how you should treat a gun' (as above) or 'what my state or city has defined in law'?

RedNoma
November 16, 2007, 01:30 AM
While I agree with the safety tips above I see a loaded gun as one that has any ammunition in it, whether it be in the chamber or in a magazine/tube

pax
November 16, 2007, 01:33 AM
As defined by law in Washington state, if there's ammunition in the magazine and the magazine is in the gun, the gun is loaded -- even if the chamber is empty.

pax

modifiedbrowning
November 16, 2007, 01:35 AM
I say it's only loaded with a round chambered. In the magazine only - it's not loaded.
I agree.

Officers'Wife
November 16, 2007, 01:48 AM
Hi Dope,

Since the cardinal rule of firearms safety is to treat all firearms as loaded the definition is irrelevant.

Selena

.cheese.
November 16, 2007, 01:56 AM
Holy Sunday school answers.

my thoughts indeed :uhoh:

gunsmith
November 16, 2007, 02:07 AM
in CA a gun is loaded if you have a loaded magazine, in NV a full mag can be inserted into your semi auto but the gun is still not loaded as long as you didn't pull the charge and load one into the chamber.
once you crossed the state line into CA....it is loaded.

same with lever guns, I got the tube full of rounds but in NV it isn't loaded because the chamber is empty. ...in CA yup...it is.

Personally I consider it loaded without one in the chamber.

Until I inspect it, every gun is loaded.
If I inspect it I still treat it as loaded, even when dry firing it is pointed in a safe direction.

hyphen
November 16, 2007, 02:15 AM
If you were to ask me, I would say that a gun (more specifically, a pistol) is loaded when there is ammunition in the magazine. Thereby saying that ammo has been "loaded" into the magazine and fed into the gun. Even if there is nothing in the chamber it only takes a simple rack to put one in there.

However, a gun can still be considered loaded without an attached magazine a la cartridge in the chamber.

Revolvers are a no brainer.

Either way, like everyone has already said and the #1 rule of guns is that all guns are loaded until fully checked and should at all times be treated as though they are loaded.

novaDAK
November 16, 2007, 02:18 AM
To me the chamber empty/loaded magazine isn't "loaded"

But it is not "unloaded" either.

Basically, I don't consider it loaded if you pull the trigger as is and nothing happens (not counting manual safetys or single action ;) )

Unloaded is when you personally removed the magazine and check the chamber to be empty. Still I treat it as if loaded even though 'I know' its not.

Zoogster
November 16, 2007, 02:19 AM
Actualy it is more strict than that in CA.

In CA a firearm is legalyloaded if there is any ammunition attached to the firearm as well.

A rifle or shotgun for example with an empty magazine, and an empty chamber but with a round in a side sadde or on the buttstock would be defined legaly as a loaded firearm.

Some states define it as a loaded chamber, but do not count the magazine.
Others count the magazine as well.

Outside of legal definitions a firearm is always loaded. If you check the firearm's chamber and there is no magazine, and you had removed the magazine, and it does not leave your hand then you can deem it unloaded for purposes that require an unloaded firearm. This would include cleaning it, taking it apart, or other actions. However the moment you set it down, I would consider it loaded once again.
Failure to do so may one day lead you to remember doing an action you did another time or another day or otherwise place you or others in danger.
It takes but a second to insure no additional rounds will feed from the magazine and check the chamber thoroughly.

Any firearm that leaves your immediate possession for any length of time whatsoever is loaded. Even if you just watched someone empty it, or fire all rounds down range. You never know when they may think for you, help you out by loading it, or otherwise change the status without you knowing. Perhaps they stopped short of firing all rounds, or the slide locked prior to expending all rounds. The same goes for storing a firearm. You never know when your wife or girlfriend or other individual who has access changed the status of the firearm. You can not be sure that you did not change the status of it either. Even if you think you can good practices are a good habit to start because your memory may not always be as good.
If you have not just checked the firearm yourself and kept immediate possession of it, then as far as you know it should be treated as loaded. It takes but a split second to load a firearm, and after doing so so many times in life it will be a fairly automated step. This means you may not always recall even doing it. Check it, double check it, if you are unsure but think you already did, do it again.

NeenachGuy
November 16, 2007, 03:06 AM
Sometimes the definition of a "loaded" firearm changes depending where you are. For example:

It is illegal for any unauthorized person to bring or possess a loaded firearm within (including upon the grounds of) the State Capitol, any legislative office, any office of the Governor or other constitutional officer, any Senate or Assembly hearing room, the Governor’s Mansion or any other residence of the Governor or the residence of any constitutional officer or any Member of the Legislature. For these purposes, a firearm shall be deemed loaded whenever both the firearm and its unexpended ammunition are in the immediate possession of the same person (PC section 171c, 171d, 171e).

CajunBass
November 16, 2007, 04:03 AM
That would be any gun I haven't personally verified to be unloaded. If that's a "Sunday school answer" so be it.

44AMP
November 16, 2007, 04:21 AM
As far as I am concerned, if there is ammo in the gun, it IS loaded. Even if the chamber is empty, the gun is still loaded. Put 5 rounds in a revolver, with the empty chamber under the hammer. IS IT LOADED? I would say yes.

Most states define it as loaded if there is ammo (anywhere) in the gun. Some places go so far as to claim "loaded weapon" if you have an empty pistol and a loaded magazine on your person. You are in control of the gun & ammo, so that = loaded. Just as when you have had too much to drink, but are in your car with the keys in your pocket. You are in control of the vehicle, and impaired. You WILL see a judge (maybe after a fun weekend in jail).

Leitmotif
November 16, 2007, 04:40 AM
What is the definition of a "loaded" firearm?

See: firearm.

For an answer relevant to your argument... I consider a firearm with ammunition in it to be loaded, regardless of whether there is a round in the chamber.

VTFatBastard
November 16, 2007, 07:43 AM
* Condition Zero: A round chambered, hammer cocked, safety off
* Condition One: A round chambered, hammer cocked, safety on
* Condition Two: A round chambered, hammer down
* Condition Three: Chamber empty
* Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine

Adjust them accordingly based on what type of firearm you're talking about. For example, if you're referring to a Glock (or other DAO semi), conditions 0, 1, and 2 are the same as there is no hammer or manual safety.

Technically, a glock could be in condition 2, but there isn't MUCH difference between 0 and 1, though there is some.

macFarlaine
November 16, 2007, 07:54 AM
In the UK a firearm is considered loaded until you proove otherwise.

Grizzly Adams
November 16, 2007, 08:24 AM
Any gun is loaded that I have not personally cleared myself!

LAK
November 16, 2007, 08:29 AM
All guns are loaded.

I check mine frequently to make sure they are.

unspellable
November 16, 2007, 09:46 AM
The definition of "loaded" depends on context. For safe handling a gun is ALWAYs loaded unless dissasembled, and even then there are exceptions, for example the upper from a Luger can be made to fire without the frame.

For functional purposes, design, understanding how it works, etc, its loaded only if there is a round in the chamber, but we still have exceptions, how do you figure for a revolver?

Then there is the legal definition. Here in Iowa a firearm is loaded if the magazine is loaded, even if the magazine is not in the firearm. For example, if I lay a pistol in a case on the left side of my car trunk and lay the loaded magazine in another case on the right side of the trunk, that pistol is loaded. But we still have exceptions. If I have a muzzle loading rifle loaded but remove the cap then it's not loaded. But you won't catch me looking down the barrel to see what's in it.

ctdonath
November 16, 2007, 10:37 AM
Yes: context is important. The term does not have an absolute definition.

For safety: all are loaded unless you've personally & recently proven otherwise. "It's not loaded" is probably the greatest famous last words, slightly edging out "hold muh beer and watch this".

For defense: magazine inserted, chamber may or may not be empty. Ready to fire, or just a slide-rack away.

For law: your jurisidction may vary. NY and others define "loaded" as "readily accessable".

Erik
November 16, 2007, 10:47 AM
Check your local statutes for the particulars as to what statndsard you;ll be held too if you're concerned for whatever reason about being prosecuted, but as a general rule a semi-automatic is "loaded" when one of the following occurs:

1. A cartridge is in the chamber
2. A magazine with cartridges is inserted.

secamp32
November 16, 2007, 10:53 AM
In NY a gun is considered loaded if there is ammo near the gun. So if you have an "Unloaded gun" under the front seat and 1 round rolling around in the back of the same car, its considered loaded.

Dope
November 16, 2007, 12:45 PM
Thanks guys.

Judging by the myriad responses, there is no "standard" definition. I guess it depends on the person and even on the location.

While the explanation of the extremely obvious mindset of "all guns are always loaded" (or however you want to paraphrase it) was not what I was looking for, it's good to see that so many people are so adamant about safety. I'd rather have annoying safety nazis than people shooting each other by accident.

Personally, I was the one that considered a "loaded" firearm to be one with a round in the chamber or otherwise able to fire with a pull of the trigger. After thinking about it a bit though, I can't really consider a firearm with any ammo in it to be "unloaded" either. I guess there's no middle ground term. I will just have to be more descriptive when describing the state of a firearm. IE: instead of just saying "It's loaded" I will say "It's got a full mag but nothing chambered" or something along those lines.

Dope

yesit'sloaded
November 16, 2007, 12:57 PM
Reminds me of my favorite gun store. Guy clears it and hands it to me slide locked back. I inspect chamber and drop mag before dry firing. I give it back to him with the slide locked back with the mag in. He checks chamber and racks twice before dry firing and placing back under glass. For some reason that place has never had a ND.

romma
November 16, 2007, 02:35 PM
The firearm is loaded up till I personally check the chamber, then after I check it as well... Look at the Glock Fotay man that relied on someone else clearing his firearm...

tydephan
November 16, 2007, 02:47 PM
Pax summarized it pretty well (as usual.)

For autoloaders:
IMO, The gun is loaded when the magazine contains at least one round and the magazine is inserted in the pistol, regardless of whether there is a round in the pipe or not. However the opposite does not hold true. The gun is NOT unloaded when the magazine is removed. It is unloaded when the magazine is removed and the chamber is verified as empty (by me) using all means available, including but not limited to touch, vision, smell, ESP and the phone a friend lifeline from WWTBAM

For Revolvers:
I consider a revolver that has at least one round in the cylinder to be loaded.

ilbob
November 16, 2007, 02:51 PM
Do you consider a firearm to be loaded only if there is a round in the chamber? IE: it will fire if you pull the trigger. Or is it "loaded" if it has any ammo at all in it?

depends on the context. legally, in several states it is considered loaded if the magazine has rounds in it, even if the magazine is not even in the gun. or even in the same case.

from a safety prospective, best to consider it always loaded until and unless you prove otherwise

full-auto
November 16, 2007, 02:52 PM
I say it's only loaded with a round chambered. In the magazine only - it's not loaded.
Not true. There are 3 conditions to a loaded firearm:

1) Cocked and locked (this is blurred by a double action auto)
2) Round chambered and hammer down (blurred by striker fired handguns)
3) Loaded magazine, empty chamber

In either of these states the gun is "loaded" it's just at a different state of readiness.

Mannix
November 16, 2007, 02:52 PM
If there is a round in an inserted magazine or the chamber, or for revolvers if there is any round in the cylinder, it's loaded, but for safe handling, it's loaded until I personally verify otherwise.

full-auto
November 16, 2007, 02:55 PM
I say it's only loaded with a round chambered. In the magazine only - it's not loaded.

I agree.

...and that my friends is how accidents happen and people get killed.

full-auto
November 16, 2007, 02:57 PM
or for revolvers if there is a round in the cylinder, it's loaded,
Well, not really... if you have a round in the cylinder and it's not one turn from being aligned with the bore, then it's really not loaded.

:p

Just ribbing the folks who think a loaded magazine in a pistol isn't being loaded.

full-auto
November 16, 2007, 02:58 PM
depends on the context. legally, in several states it is considered loaded if the magazine has rounds in it, even if the magazine is not even in the gun. or even in the same case.
Ahhh, a resident of the Peoples Republic of Illinois.

I'm so glad I escaped that place and more specifically Crook County. :D

OpFlash
November 16, 2007, 03:18 PM
Allow me to throw a curve ball.

For legal purposes such as transporting a weapon in your vehicle (excluding overzealous places as such places as Il, CA, or NY), is it considered loaded if you have rounds in one of those hollow stocks that hold ammunition? What about my Kel-Tek Sub2000 that has the extra mag holder attached that I normally keep a loaded magazine in? There definitely are live rounds IN the weapon, but they cannot be chambered without first removing them from where they are stored in the weapon and then reinserting them or the magazine properly. I've always wondered how an LEO or the courts would view my Sub2K as I normally carry it which is with a loaded mag in the attached holder but no mag in the grip and no round in the chamber. Loaded or unloaded?

http://lh3.google.com/AutoXdriver/RifXSV9aNEI/AAAAAAAAACg/oH_oIM889yw/s400/Sub2K%20Case._sJPG.jpg

tkkr
November 16, 2007, 03:45 PM
If the chamber is empty but there are rounds in the magazine it's not called loaded. If it is, then what do you call a firearm with a bullet in the chamber? Loaded+1? I'm not about to start calling it that.

ilbob
November 16, 2007, 04:13 PM
depends on the context. legally, in several states it is considered loaded if the magazine has rounds in it, even if the magazine is not even in the gun. or even in the same case.

Ahhh, a resident of the Peoples Republic of Illinois.

I'm so glad I escaped that place and more specifically Crook County.
I am not sure why but the state police gave up on their odd claim that a loaded magazine = a loaded gun maybe 20 years ago. It was just never supported by law. Maybe they bowed to the inevitable.

I can't say I blame you much for leaving Crook County. Most of the rest of the state outside of East St. Louis is not so bad.

ndh87
November 16, 2007, 04:14 PM
Even if the slide is locked back and the mag is out, its still loaded. If you always treat a firearm as if it is loaded then you greatly decrease your chances of having to explain how you didnt mean to shoot the cat/lamp/wall because you didnt think it was loaded

full-auto
November 16, 2007, 04:40 PM
If the chamber is empty but there are rounds in the magazine it's not called loaded. If it is, then what do you call a firearm with a bullet in the chamber? Loaded+1? I'm not about to start calling it that.
What do you call a gun with a "bullet" in the chamber? I would call it jammed most likely, it depends on how the "bullet" got in there... was it a squib load?

Loaded is loaded, and yes - a full magazine inserted into the grip of a pistol is in fact loaded. It's called "Condition 3" by those in the know.

ihopewewin
November 16, 2007, 05:11 PM
Ive always thought that if there was ammo in the mag then it was loaded.:confused:

Lashlarue
November 16, 2007, 05:22 PM
What about, an empty chamber, no magazine but a grenade in the launcher!:)

Mannix
November 16, 2007, 05:39 PM
The meaning of loaded:

Literal: Round in chamber for a semi, round in the next hole in the cylinder for a revolver.

Legal: Varies, but virtually all jurisdictions would consider a gun with a round in the magazine or chamber for a semi, or in the cylinder for a revolver, to be loaded. Many would consider having an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in the same case loaded, some would even consider having a loaded magazine outside the case in the same area of the car as the unloaded gun to be loaded.

But for safety's sake, ALL GUNS ARE LOADED UNTIL YOU VERIFY OTHERWISE, AND EVEN THEN TREAT THEM AS IF THEY WERE!

Have you ever noticed how accidents always seem to happen with "unloaded" guns?

rdhood
November 16, 2007, 07:24 PM
I consider a gun loaded if I can shoot something with it within 5 seconds.

That means that if there is a loaded magazine next to the gun... its loaded. If a loaded magazine is in the gun... its loaded. If there is a bullet in the chamber... its loaded. If I can get a single bullet in the chamber in 5 seconds without a magazine.. its loaded.

I take the most liberal view of loaded.

jr_roosa
November 16, 2007, 08:01 PM
The best thing about the "loaded gun" laws is that some of them aren't based on a definition that you can look up, but rather that a jury in that jurisdiction once decided in a certain case that a gun in a certain condition was loaded.

Better yet, who cares what the definition _actually_ is. You never want to be in a debate with a police officer on the side of the road about the fine points of the law. That's not an argument you will ever win, and it will usually be the beginning of a bad day.

I'd say if the gun needs to be ready to fire, it should be ready to fire. Otherwise, the gun and all its parts should be locked up, and the ammunition locked up in a separate container. Both should be out of sight and out of reach.

If you're not ready to put a hole in something, the gun should be as unambiguously safe as you can make it. What's the point of anything in between?

-J.

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