Arizona Moves to Correct Contradictions in Firearm Definitions


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Dean Weingarten
February 16, 2013, 10:41 AM
Arizona, as with many states, has numerous definitions of what is legally considered a firearm. The definition of “firearm” is found in several different places in the Arizona legal code. This makes it difficult for citizens and lawyers to determine what is legal and what is not. People have faced prosecution for possessing items that most would not consider to be firearms, such as BB guns, airsoft replicas, squirt guns, or antique guns that are not legally firearms under federal law.

One man was prosecuted for possession of a firearm for a collection of parts that experts testified could not fire, but could be made to fire if nonexistant custom parts were created and installed on the existing components. By that standard, anyone with steel, files, and a hacksaw could be prosecuted as being in possession of a firearm.

In order to prevent confusion, Arizona bill HB2234 creates one uniform definition of “Firearm” that conforms to current federal definitions and insures that citizens will not be prosecuted under firearms statutes for possession of BB guns, squirt guns, antiques, pepper spray, and replicas.

Here is the proposed definiton, which may become a model for other states to follow:

"Firearm" means any loaded or unloaded handgun, pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun or other weapon that will expel or is designed to expel a solid projectile or projectiles by the action of an explosive or a burning gas, that was manufactured after January 1, 1899 and that is designed to use fixed cartridges. Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

Link to proposed legislation

©2013 by Dean Weingarten. Permission to share granted as long as this notice is included.

http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/2013/02/arizona-moves-to-correct-contradictions.html

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izhevsk
February 16, 2013, 11:15 AM
Colorado has a similar bill being read (not sure of current status) which if I read correctly clarified a "deadly weapon" to include unloaded firearms as well.

Found the bill: http://www.leg.state.co.us/clics/clics2013a/csl.nsf/fsbillcont3/A1381F329604BCFB87257AEE0057E410?Open&file=1043_ren.pdf

I stand corrected - it actually "qualifies as a deadly weapon regardless of the manner in which it is used or intended to be used".

blkbrd666
February 16, 2013, 11:27 AM
Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

So, in Arizona a firearm with the firing pin removed is no longer a firearm.

deadin
February 16, 2013, 11:45 AM
So, in Arizona a firearm with the firing pin removed is no longer a firearm.

However, what about if you have the firing pin in your possession? Is it then considered "constructive possession"?

ApacheCoTodd
February 16, 2013, 11:52 AM
Interesting cut-off date. I should think for greater clarity and given the time period, the cut-off would be January 1st 1900.

I wonder what the date is picked for, technology, patent filing?

"But officer, it's not a firearm till I replace this part... the magazine." There's a $5,000 lawyer bill waiting to happen.

danez71
February 16, 2013, 12:38 PM
Interesting cut-off date. I should think for greater clarity and given the time period, the cut-off would be January 1st 1900.

I wonder what the date is picked for, technology, patent filing?

"But officer, it's not a firearm till I replace this part... the magazine." There's a $5,000 lawyer bill waiting to happen.


But it says:

Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

I dont dont inserting a mag would be consider "repair" by most people.

ApacheCoTodd
February 16, 2013, 01:31 PM
But it says:



I dont dont inserting a mag would be consider "repair" by most people.
""....use of tools or the replacement of parts.""

I was facetiously concentrating on the OR, a target of many lawyers.

deadin
February 16, 2013, 01:34 PM
I wonder what the date is picked for, technology, patent filing?

It actually should read "on or after January 1st 1899" then it would correspond with the Federal definition of an antique being manufactured "in or before 1898".

2ifbyC
February 16, 2013, 03:50 PM
Thanks for the definition update.

FYI, I did hear from McCain; he said he is for 2A rights but is non committal. He wants to review any gun control bill language before deciding whether he will support it or not.

I have not heard from Flake as of yet (over seven weeks and have written twice).

mljdeckard
February 16, 2013, 03:54 PM
McCain does not vote on the laws for the state of Arizona.

2ifbyC
February 16, 2013, 04:19 PM
I was giving the OP an update from our AZ representatives in Congress. Sorry for the confusion since the thread definition was related to AZ laws.

NMPOPS
February 17, 2013, 02:19 AM
.use of tools or the replacement of parts.""

I was facetiously concentrating on the OR, a target of many lawyers.

Your taking this out of context. Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

Replacement of the magazine is not a "mechanical repair".

barnbwt
February 17, 2013, 02:48 AM
Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

So, if you slam the gun down on the ground real hard as the officer is approaching and smash something important, you weren't carrying? Or a critical part you can remove and discard quickly (and replace cheaply)?

I agree with the intention of the law, clarification is badly needed in many places due to the piled up layers of weapons laws passed over the years. 10 points for any Texans who know what a "Slung Shot" is ;). Aside from that one caveat at the end, it seems a very reasoned (not "reasonable") and precise definition that I would imagine most would find acceptable. Does this make felons out of highschoolers who make a hairspray powered potato gun?

TCB

beatledog7
February 17, 2013, 08:35 AM
AZ (and the other 49) should concentrate on defining and then cracking down on "criminal acts" before focusing on what amounts to nothing more than one of the many implements occasionally used in committing them.

Mousegun
February 17, 2013, 09:39 AM
Many of the gun laws are written by people that don't fully understand guns and have to make them as broad as they can in order to get their point across.

Then the prosecuter steps in and joins the party, plays with words and does his best to lay the hurts on the victim.

ApacheCoTodd
February 17, 2013, 12:11 PM
.use of tools or the replacement of parts.""

I was facetiously concentrating on the OR, a target of many lawyers.

Your taking this out of context. Firearm does not include a firearm that is incapable of being fired without mechanical repair by the use of tools or the replacement of parts.

Replacement of the magazine is not a "mechanical repair".
Again... facetiously commenting upon the replacement of a non existing magazine with a loaded one and that leaving an opportunity for an altered interpretation. The magazine being argued as being a part or component necessary to the functioning of the gun.

Then the counter would be to single load it.

The point is that legally, the word "or" separates "replacement parts" from "mechanical repair" as being two completely different circumstances.

I don't get what's so hard to understand in pointing out the glaring potential gap in their new definition.

danez71
February 17, 2013, 01:38 PM
Again... facetiously commenting upon the replacement of a non existing magazine with a loaded one and that leaving an opportunity for an altered interpretation. The magazine being argued as being a part or component necessary to the functioning of the gun.

Then the counter would be to single load it.

The point is that legally, the word "or" separates "replacement parts" from "mechanical repair" as being two completely different circumstances.

I don't get what's so hard to understand in pointing out the glaring potential gap in their new definition.


If youre being facetious, I get it.


If youre not... there really isnt a "glaring potential gap in their new definition" because the "or" separates two methods of fixing a gun in need of mechanical repair.

All I was saying is that gun with out a mag would be a tough sell to claim it was 'in need or mechanical repair'.

However... now that I think more about it, a gun with a mag disconnect cant be single shot loaded and fired and is essentially non funtional at all as the mag is an essential part for the firing mechanisms to function.


Hmm.... interesting. Still a tough sell IMO

armoredman
February 17, 2013, 01:50 PM
AZ (and the other 49) should concentrate on defining and then cracking down on "criminal acts" before focusing on what amounts to nothing more than one of the many implements occasionally used in committing them.
This is necessary to keep a standard definition, so "criminal acts" aren't prosecuted for a non-criminal offense. I can see it getting amended to add, use of machine tools, or the replacement of internal parts essential to the firearms mechanical functioning.
Or something along those lines - not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

9mmepiphany
February 17, 2013, 01:52 PM
Does this make felons out of highschoolers who make a hairspray powered potato gun?
I think that falls through the loop hole of "and that is designed to use fixed cartridges"

kozak6
February 19, 2013, 05:27 AM
So then what's the point?

I'm not aware of anything resembling a firearm that uses a fixed cartridge with burning gas as a propellant.

9mmepiphany
February 19, 2013, 03:37 PM
I'm not aware of anything resembling a firearm that uses a fixed cartridge with burning gas as a propellant.
Fixed cartridge in legalese is meant to differentiate it from guns which are loaded with separate bullets, powder and primer/priming compound.

So that would mean cartridges with the propellent contained in a case capped with a bullet at one end and a primer at the other, which would be loaded into the chamber as a single unit

armoredman
February 20, 2013, 10:20 AM
Ammunition generally comes in three flavors, fixed, semi-fixed and loose.
Fixed - cartridge made complete of case, powder, primer and projectile in one moveable unit.
Semi-fixed - projectile loaded into a breech ahead of bagged powder charges, usually with a separate primer set into the breechblock. Most commonly found in heavy artillery.
Loose - loose powder poured into a fixed chamber, not bagged of other wise contained, generally found in black powder/muzzle loading firearms.

That's the definitions as I remember them from Gunners' Mate A School a few years back.

BBQJOE
February 21, 2013, 09:21 AM
I have not heard from Flake as of yet (over seven weeks and have written twice).

I just got this today from Senator Flake:

Thank you for contacting me about gun control legislation.

In the wake of the tragic December 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, there has been a surge in the introduction of congressional legislation attempting to address gun violence. A ban on assault weapons, restrictions on ammunition and magazines, and increased background check requirements have all been proposed.

As you may know, I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and I do not believe that our society needs more laws restricting gun ownership. What we really need is to do a better job of keeping guns out of the hands of those who should not have them, while ensuring that those who break existing laws are fully prosecuted.

To that end, I support more effective and broader background checks for those purchasing firearms. For example, the state of Arizona has more than 120,000 records of mentally ill individuals barred from buying guns – but Arizona has not shared those records with the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which checks the names and records of would-be gun buyers to determine if they are disqualified from receiving firearms. At the same time, it is incumbent upon lawmakers to ensure that those eligible to buy guns can do so without untimely delays. I therefore am opposed to universal background checks on private sales, which would be extremely costly and apply to private transfers between family members, friends, neighbors, and even firearms passed down through wills.

Thank you again for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to do so again in the future. I also encourage you to visit my website, which may be found at flake.senate.gov .

armoredman
February 21, 2013, 10:42 AM
Got the same one.
Also, today is the last day for any of the introduced bills to be heard in their originating committee. If they are not heard, they are dead - not one anti-rights bill is scheduled for a hearing, from a fast check of ALIS. Four pro-rights bills did get past the first hearing.

Lennyjoe
February 21, 2013, 11:54 PM
I got the same response from Flake as well.

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