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Watermelon patch gun

Discussion in 'Firearms Research' started by DanGuy48, Apr 6, 2012.

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  1. DanGuy48

    DanGuy48 Member

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    Years ago, and I am an old geezer, I was reading an article about this gun and I thought it was commercially manufactured, but I'm sure it could be done DIY also. It was a shotgun, mounted on a low round pivoting platform. The platform had four long strings attached at the periphery, N,S,E,W. the strings were strung out through the watermelon patch and the shotgun was loaded with rock salt loads. As you surmise, someone strolling through the patch would snag a string, the gun pivots to that string and discharges. Does anyone have any pictures of one of these? I had been describing to a friend but so far no luck finding it on the web.
     
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I certainly don't know of any company that ever produced such a thing. Boobytraps using firearms are very VERY illegal -- no matter what you're firing out of it. (Just as is firing a firearm at someone trespassing or stealing produce.) I'm sure that years ago there were fewer liability lawsuits than today, but I'm still hesitant to believe any manufacturer would have sold something like that, as there really COULD be no legal use for it.

    Some yokle jury rigging something like that, back in the day, sure.
     
  3. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    I'm not trying to quibble or anything, and I'm aware of (my) state laws regarding booby traps as well as use of force. The laws here regarding booby traps aren't NEW, but they're not something that's been around forever either.

    I'm curious as to your knowledge of Federal and various (or at least your own) State's laws regarding them. When did booby traps become illegal? Does anyone know the circumstances of the legislation?
     
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Interesting question. I don't hoenstly know of any federal law that specficially speaks to the use of lethal traps. I don't really see why that would be a federal crime, but rather a legal matter left to the states. State by state it varies. In some cases it is specific, and some a function of case law interpreting the standard use-of-force laws.

    I'm not sure they've EVER been exactly legal. Just as we often discuss the question of the right to securing your property doesn't usually mean that you may use lethal force expressly to protect it (except in Texas, at night :rolleyes: :D) employing lethal force that is directed "to whom it may concern" cannot meet the required standards of justification. You aren't (generally) protecting a life. You are not making the decision to shoot based on your preception of the immediate necessity of doing so -- because you aren't making the decision to shoot at all!

    So take it back to 1630, and picture James the Massachusetts Bay Colonist propping up a matchlock fowling piece so it would fire if anyone opens the door to his thatched roofed cottage in Plimoth Plantation... if his neighbor opens the door to see if his pal James is home and gets his head blown off, James will be tried for (whatever their term for manslaughter was).

    The boobie trap probably isn't expressly illegal, itself, in that case, but the shooting simply cannot meet the standards for "self-defense" or other lawful homicide, so the crime is the same.

    Of course, that's a slightly different point than saying you can be arrested for simply creating or setting such a trap, absent any actual harm done. I'd be curious myself to know more about those laws.
     
  5. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  6. DanGuy48

    DanGuy48 Member

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    Interesting. I had never heard of those, similar idea though. The picture in the article I mentioned (and no, I have no idea now where I read it, probably 45+ years ago) looked like a fairly well made item, more so than the spring gun in the Wiki. Liability laws have changed a lot. My community has a concrete slide way at the dam for kids to play, built in 70s. Now it's no trespassing, chain link fence to keep kids from diving, etc.

    The slide is covered in spillway water at the very left edge of the wall of the dam and can't really be seen in this pic but can you imagine the reaction of parents these days to letting their kids play in an area like this?

    http://www.lakelinganore.org/
     
  7. SDC

    SDC Member

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    You see the modern versions of these built by people running grow ops in rural areas, using rat-traps and fishing line to fire shotgun shells; they are almost universally prohibited as "man traps" or "booby traps", but that doesn't seem to have much of a deterrent effect.
     
  8. .45Guy

    .45Guy Member

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    Gunrunner was selling a .36 "window security gun" or some such thing on their 24/7 auctions a few weeks back. I can't recall the manufacturer's name though.
     
  9. WardenWolf

    WardenWolf member

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    Lots of things WERE done out in the boonies in the 19th and early 20th Century, but that doesn't mean they were ever truly legal. They were just accepted. Back then, if you trespassed or stole someone's crops and the farmer blasted you with rock salt, the consensus was that it served you right and that you should have known better.

    With today's modern technology, such concepts can be made truly scary. Add electronics and a little know-how to the mix, and you wind up with something extremely dangerous.
     
  10. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    Heck, these days you can just about fly an armed remote controlled drone over your crops.
     
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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  12. .45Guy

    .45Guy Member

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    The patents should answer the legality question.
     
  13. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    I don't think so. You can patent anything you want. Doesn't have to be a product that is legal in any given jurisdiction. Further, you can build and own many things that it would be illegal to use in their intended manner.

    I don't mean to say there's anything illegal about building or owning a spring gun or trap gun. Using it as it is most directly designed to be used, however, is another matter.
     
  14. DanGuy48

    DanGuy48 Member

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    rcmodel, there we go. Looks a bit crude compared to the one I remember, but that's it. Thanks for the links.
     
  15. GCBurner

    GCBurner Member

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    I recall the book FIREARMS CURIOSA had illustrations of a flintlock trap gun with various trip wires to swivel the gun around, and with a covered lock for outdoor use. I believe it was made to protect cemetaries from grave robbers in the 1700s.
     
  16. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
  17. Mp7

    Mp7 Member

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    shame i can´t find the article about this turkish guy, who mounted a G3 over his doorstep
    of his holiday home ... only to activate it himself, after forgetting about it due to old age.

    ...yes it was full auto. Big mess.
     
  18. Magoo

    Magoo Member

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    Since the OP started out with a watermelon patch, even though he said some"one" rather than some"thing" I'd suggest a motion sensing sprinkler system to deter those melon stealing "things".

    It'd seem a reasonable next step to administer a "less than lethal" pepper spray like injectate through a similar, parallel but separate, system. That'd disturb all sizes and sorts of critters.

    I think my castle doctrine here in SC might extend right down to my 'maters, but I ain't likely gonna test that.
     
  19. .45Guy

    .45Guy Member

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    Why bother filing for patent protection on a product that could never be brought to market?
     
  20. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

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    Probably there are lots of answers to that question. The easiest one is that it might not be illegal to OWN one of these (depending on jurisdiction) but to use one, in the manner most commonly envisioned, would be. So, in a less litigious world, whether the owner gets in trouble for using it isn't the maker's concern!

    Another is that times change and something that might have been fringishly common in some areas with lax and spotty enforcement and interpretation of law becomes really out of the question as the legal system modernizes and the country becomes more uniform.

    Another is that many things are patented with the idea of selling them to some very limited and specific market, like law enforcement or the military. Whether or not any such entity ever agrees to purchase any of your product, you patent the idea before you take you prototypes in to demonstrate, lest your idea be stolen.

    Yet another is that some of these are sold as "signal devices" and are (on paper at least) intended to fire a blank cartridge upward in order to sound the alert that an intruder is in the wire. (Sort of like a sentry you don't have to feed.)

    And, not every inventor fully explores the legalities of possible use (heck, even sometimes whether the product even WORKS) before applying for a patent for some idea.

    Truth is, these things don't seem to have ever been very common. Few of us have ever seen one, even in a museum. They certainly represent a minescule drop in the ocean of patented ideas that didn't really take the world by storm. :)
     
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