Another robber shoots self, but catches WMD charge? Is the Judge a WMD?


January 24, 2008, 01:17 PM
Don't know if anyone posted this yet, but I didn't see it...

Apparently this guy shoots himself while committing a robbery, and gets a WMD charge for a handgun altered to shoot 410 shells.

Now I've seen, and admittedly liked, the Taurus Judge I saw on tv before: so this makes me wonder, how would you alter a handgun, likely a revolver, to shoot 410 shells, that wasn't built that way to begin with, if the cylinder isn't long enough to support the shell, it would not be an easy thing to modify the frame of the gun even to put a different cylinder in there, right? I'm no revolver expert, or gun expert for that matter, but I was wondering if this case of bad reporting, bad police work, or a highly unusual case.

Would modifying a revolver to shoot .410 shells be a crime, compared to buying a Judge off the shelf? I know the story says he's in illegal possession of the gun, because of a felony, that's a given. Put felony possession of a handgun is one thing, and I'm assuming possessing a WMD is a completely different charge.

Unsuccessful Robber Shoots Self in Foot
20 hours ago

CHERRYVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Authorities said an unsuccessful robber shot himself in the foot ... by shooting himself in the foot. Police said Kelvin Ethelbert Roberts, 28, botched his plans to rob a Cherryville convenience store by accidentally shooting his right foot.

According to an arrest warrant, Roberts dropped a .45-caliber handgun in front of Gasland USA on Sunday. The gun hit the ground and went off, a bullet striking Roberts in the foot.

Roberts faces several charges that include attempted robbery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Police said the handgun had been altered to fire .410 shotgun shells.

Authorities said Roberts was in illegal possession of the gun because of his felony cocaine possession conviction in 2002 in Chautauqua County, New York.

Cherryville is about 40 miles northwest of Charlotte.

Information from: The Shelby Star,

ETA: Now I see a lot of other handguns that shoot .45 and .410, so that makes this even more bizarre to me.... That it's either bad reporting or bad police work, but I'm interested in what you all have to say... Thanks...



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General Geoff
January 24, 2008, 01:19 PM
Bogus charge, it will not stick. If I were the judge, I'd reprimand the prosecution for such a ludicrous charge.

January 24, 2008, 01:35 PM
In some areas certain types of firearms can be considered a "destructive device" but I have never heard of any kind of personal-use firearm referred to as a weapon of mass destruction. That would be a ludicrous use of the term IMHO. "Mass destruction" implies mass casualties or massive damage to infrastructure, such as a canister of nerve gas or a truck full of ANFO. The defining characteristic is that a WMD is indiscriminate in dealing death and destruction, whereas a personal arm is highly selective - it will only damage/destroy what it is pointed at for each consecutive pull of the trigger.

I think the reporter got his terms mixed up. Maybe someone from that state can clarify on the local legalities involved and whether WMD is actually the charge being lodged.

* in CA a SKS with a functional grenade launcher attached is designated a destructive device, for instance.

January 24, 2008, 01:46 PM
i hope the prosecutor gets fired for that charge, and i also hope the reporter was just mixed up. and i hope he never regains full use of his foot

January 24, 2008, 01:47 PM
mass destruction from a revolver that now may have 5 bullets left. yep thats masssive destruction.

January 24, 2008, 01:57 PM
NC law classifies among other things: unregistered/unlawful NFA firearms,bombs,rockets,grenades etc as "weapons of mass destruction".
I'm not sure as to when such laws were enacted,but they may actually pre-date the usage of WMD referring to NBC weapons etc.

January 24, 2008, 02:05 PM
The term “weapons of mass destruction” predates the nuclear bomb. It was first used in 1937 to describe Nazi bomber planes during the Spanish Civil War.

- googled up using wmd and nc

January 24, 2008, 02:12 PM
Maybe they'll try to make the claim that a revolver that fires .410 shotshell is actually a shotgun with a barrel under 18inches, so its a prohibited NFA gun, and then the WMD charge (in NC) would stick.

Would be stupid and bad news for Taurus.

January 26, 2008, 04:18 AM
Well, that was kind of my whole point. You can buy the Judge here in NC or SC, so I don't understand how this charge could stick. Illegal possession by a felon, or related charges, certainly. But the WMD thing, I don't get it, coz the gun itself would have to be classified as such. And the report specifically said it was 'modified' to shoot .410, again, is this even possible? Or are either the cops or reporters mistaken in thinking it wasn't manufactured this way from the beginning.


January 26, 2008, 05:45 AM

§ 14‑288.8. Manufacture, assembly, possession, storage, transportation, sale, purchase, delivery, or acquisition of weapon of mass death and destruction; exceptions.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to manufacture, assemble, possess, store, transport, sell, offer to sell, purchase, offer to purchase, deliver or give to another, or acquire any weapon of mass death and destruction.

(b) This section does not apply to:

(1) Persons exempted from the provisions of G.S. 14‑269 with respect to any activities lawfully engaged in while carrying out their duties.

(2) Importers, manufacturers, dealers, and collectors of firearms, ammunition, or destructive devices validly licensed under the laws of the United States or the State of North Carolina, while lawfully engaged in activities authorized under their licenses.

(3) Persons under contract with the United States, the State of North Carolina, or any agency of either government, with respect to any activities lawfully engaged in under their contracts.

(4) Inventors, designers, ordnance consultants and researchers, chemists, physicists, and other persons lawfully engaged in pursuits designed to enlarge knowledge or to facilitate the creation, development, or manufacture of weapons of mass death and destruction intended for use in a manner consistent with the laws of the United States and the State of North Carolina.

(c) The term "weapon of mass death and destruction" includes:

(1) Any explosive or incendiary:

a. Bomb; or

b. Grenade; or

c. Rocket having a propellant charge of more than four ounces; or

d. Missile having an explosive or incendiary charge of more than one‑quarter ounce; or

e. Mine; or

f. Device similar to any of the devices described above; or

(2) Any type of weapon (other than a shotgun or a shotgun shell of a type particularly suitable for sporting purposes) which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, and which has any barrel with a bore of more than one‑half inch in diameter; or

(3) Any firearm capable of fully automatic fire, any shotgun with a barrel or barrels of less than 18 inches in length or an overall length of less than 26 inches, any rifle with a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length or an overall length of less than 26 inches, any muffler or silencer for any firearm, whether or not such firearm is included within this definition. For the purposes of this section, rifle is defined as a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; or

(4) Any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into any weapon described above and from which a weapon of mass death and destruction may readily be assembled.

The term "weapon of mass death and destruction" does not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line‑throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684(2), 4685, or 4686 of Title 10 of the United States Code; or any other device which the Secretary of the Treasury finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, is an antique, or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes, in accordance with Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United States Code.

(d) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class F felony. (1969, c. 869, s. 1; 1975, c. 718, ss. 6, 7; 1977, c. 810; 1983, c. 413, ss. 1, 2; 1993, c. 539, s. 1228; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2001‑470, s. 3.)

im guessing they will indeed try to claim that it is by design a short barreled shotgun... which any good lawyer would shoot down easily by simply bringing up ATF definitions

January 26, 2008, 06:39 AM
There are handguns which can be fired with .45 Colt ammunition and .410 shotshells interchangeably. One is a superposed derringer with barrels not much longer than the shell itself. In order for it to be classified as a sawed-off shotgun, it has to be a smoothbore. If it has a rifled bore, it's not a shotgun.

If the guy reamed the rifling out to create a smoothbore pistol, and it will chamber a commercially available shotshell...even if it's .22 rimfire "rat shot"...
it fits the legal definition of a sawed-off shotgun. If it has rifling in the doesn't. If it did, then simply buying .22 rat shot ammunition and loading it into a pistol would place tens of thousands of people in violation of federal firearms law.

January 26, 2008, 10:21 AM
Oh, I just got it.

January 26, 2008, 10:26 AM
Quick google search found the following .410 chambered revolvers. Taurus judge, Magnum research bfr, Bond Arms texas defender or snake slayer, the Thunder Five, oh and last but not least the thompson encore. Wow that's alot of readily available WMD's. Maybe NATO should send some inspectors over here. :evil:

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