Guns, Firearms, Projectile Weapon Sports/Discharge of a weapon

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Minor shooting his BB gun in Wooded area charged with "discharge of a weapon" . My son has taken the "Hunters Safety Course" and is knowledgeable of gun safety.  He even gets after other kids when they play with plastic toy guns not to point at anyone. A person who saw him reported the incident as, "a teenager using a rifle or shot gun in the woods."  Should legal charges be enforced ? As a parent it appears as a misunderstanding due to the lack of gun knowledge on the civilian's behalf. No one was being threatened or endangered. The "lady" assumed he had a "weapon". Not sure where to find city limit laws and the PD was not sure if the BB gun was considered a firearm or weapon. I guess I wouldn't be so concerned if they hadn't "hand cuffed" him and treated him like a criminal. He was extremely cooperative and friends had told the PD it was a BB gun (the PD was in full SWAT gear!). your Expertise?

Answer
Linda,

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you...I have been down ill the past few days.  I don't know where you live and as such, I am not sure what the particular laws in your area are.

It does seem to me that the police over-reacted.  Perhaps the response was a result of the current climate after the school shootings in CT.

I would probably suggest a couple of things...first, I would research your local city ordinances relative to firearms and air guns.  In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to discharge a BB gun inside the city limits, even if done on your own private property.  Also, state laws would dictate whether or not a BB gun is considered to be a firearm.

I am very surprised that they cuffed and arrested him.  If he is actually being charged, I would consider having a conversation with the prosecutor.  Unless you live in a really 'gun unfriendly' place, this would fall into the "over-criminalized" category in my view.

Good luck...

Doug

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Doug Little

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I can answer questions relating to Legal Concealed Carry in most of the Western US, with detailed knowledge of Concealed Carry laws in Arizona. I have an in-depth understanding of tactical and defensive handgun skills including Close Range Gunfighting, Armed Vehicle Operations, Low Light Gunfighting and Advanced Concealed Carry techniques. I can answer detailed questions regarding Firearms Safety, Gun Handling and Marksmanship techniques. I can also answer detailed questions in the area of Crime Prevention and Victim Avoidance. ***PLEASE NOTE: Despite having done so in the past, I cannot continue to answer questions about valuation of firearms of any kind or questions regarding when a gun was made or what the impact of age or condition might be on the value of any firearm, either contemporary or antique.***

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NRA Training Counselor, NRA instructor for Personal Protection in the Home, Home Firearms Safety, Basic Pistol and Refuse to be a Victim disciplines. Certified by the AZ Dept. of Public Safety as a Firearms Safety Instructor for AZ Concealed Weapons Permit Classes and AZ Unarmed and Armed Security Guard Training. Instructor in both Low Light Gunfighting and Close Range Gunfighting. As a Staff instructor for Suarez International, I teach intermediate and advanced level tactical handgun courses. I am also teach intermediate and advanced level courses in the AR15/M4 and Kalashnikov Rifle platforms. I am a multiple graduate of Gunsite Academy and hold a certificate of Armed Vehicle Operations from them. I have been instructing in Arizona professionally for the past 9 years and have over 20 years shooting experience. Certified by the International Society of Crime Prevention Practitioners as a Crime Prevention Specialist.

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National Rifle Association, Life Member; International Society of Crime Prevention Practioners; International Defensive Pistol Association; Arizona State Rifle and Pistol Association; Association of Police Marksman; President, US Marshals Posse - District of Arizona

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BS, Political Science, Appalachian State University; Suarez International - Low Light Instructor, Suarez International - Close Range Gunfighting Instructor, Gunsite Academy - Armed Vehicle Operations, Arizona Department of Public Safety - Firearms Safety Instructor, NRA Instructor Ratings in Personal Protection in Home, Home Firearms Safety and Basic Pistol, ASP Tactical Baton Instructor, ASP Tactical Handcuff Instructor.

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