A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, October 12, 2007

An Air Soft Case

For the benefit of Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr, what is the legal definition of a gun or a firearm in Pennsylvania?

A gun or firearm is defined by federal and Pennsylvania law to mean any weapon that is designed to fire a bullet or other projectile by means of an explosive. A firearm silencer or muffler is also included in the definition of a firearm, as is a destructive device and ammunition.

Federal and Pennsylvania definitions of a firearm do not apply to antique firearms, which include any firearm manufactured in or before 1898. Pennsylvania and federal definitions of a firearm do not include toys that fire plastic balls by means of compressed air or springs. A Hi Point carbine makes the cut, but thirty airsoft toys and a collection of blades do not. Super Soakers don't make the cut. Water hoses do not make the cut. Blenders do not make the cut. Two whole beef patties special sauce lettuce cheese pickles onions on a sesame seed bun doesn't make the cut either. So why are three law enforcement officials doing photo ops behind a table filled with toys guns and toy ninja swords? Could it be that they are trying to legitimize a faux pas with a sensationalized song and dance?

"I do not think an attack was imminent and I am not certain that an attack was going to occur at all," Bruce Castor stated. "It could have simply been big talking by a kid who thought that he was bullied previously and he was going to exact his revenge." Police found about 30 air powered guns, swords, knives, videos of the 1999 Columbine attack, books such as The Anarchist Cookbook, a U.S. Army counterinsurgency operation handbook, and notebooks filled with violent missives, Castor claimed. Also found was a Hi Point carbine, now known in the mainstream media as a "9mm assault rifle." No 9mm ammunition was found for the Hi Point carbine. Police also discovered several explosive devices described as homemade grenades: plastic containers filled with pellets to which gunpowder could be added at any time. Authorities said one grenade was operable and the others had been in the process of being assembled. I guess gunpowder could be added to the chicken salad in the tupperware beside the milk in the old Frigidare too. That would make a hell of a mess.

The boy's mother was charged today with unlawful transfer of a firearm, possession of a firearm by a minor, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child and two counts of reckless endangerment. She was later released on bail. Oh, by the way Bruce, it is not illegal for a parent to purchase their child a firearm.

So look Bruce, no doubt the boy had problems. Address the real issues. Don't try to manufacture a case where there is no substance. That only makes you look silly.

To read the exact legal definition of a firearm, go to 18 USC § 921- Definitions.

Information for Pennsylvania Firearms Purchasers & Basic Public Safety

Montgomery County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr.

Pennsylvania Firearms Law



Anonymous Robb Allen said...

I was wondering about the definition since it includes "explosive". Gunpowder is not an explosive, rather a propellant. The primer is explosive.

So, if I devised a mechanism that would ignite the gunpowder via a spark of electricity, would it then no longer be a "firearm"?

Granted, I know the answer to that, it's just that we can putz with the technicalities behind what makes a gun a gun to give the state headaches. And that's fun.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous angus lincoln said...

I'm happy to see you took this one on Xavier, the kid may need to be watched, but now the whole story is embellished with inaccuracy, that it does indeed make anyone involved in it look silly or looking for a pay raise. The only thing they really accomplished here is giving the anti gun folks more ammunition. Likely one of their goals as well. Sad.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Standard Mischief said...

I can't even see the Hi Point carbine in the photograph.

Perhaps we need to create a "Nifong" award, awarded to attorney-jackasses and "peace officers" who use lies and sensationalism to attempt to further their own career?

10:46 AM  
Blogger Hobie said...

If I added shotgun pellets (or bolts and nuts) to a can of bp that would be a grenade? These folks are ridiculous. Thanks to you for taking the time to write this one up.

10:50 AM  
Anonymous Natalie Solent said...

What a bunch of fools!

1:19 PM  
Anonymous John Hardin said...

It doesn't even seem to be a carbine any longer. A more recent report has the DA/police saying the kid had a 9mm pistol.

The hyperbole of "powered weapons shooting BBs" on the CNN website was also hilarous.

10:48 PM  
Blogger Joe Carpenter said...

When my co-worker told me of this story and showed me the sensational video, I looked closer. Did a search and found a better video, and paused it here and there. Much to my amusement then anger I see a table full of airsoft guns in the story being passed off as real guns. Even on crappy internet video at halfscreen, you can make out the small holes where the machine screws go in, and even onf of them with the handgrip plain BROKEN OFF.
I pointed out these facts to my co-worker, and the story lost all its sensationalism. I showed her a link to an eBay auction for a $30 AK47 springer, and said, "Here's where he got his "arsenal" from."

I used it as a teaching tool: if this is how they portray one kind of story, how do you know they're not playing up everything else?

2:30 AM  

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