Youth Faces Possible Six Years for Air Gun Misuse

This is a discussion on Youth Faces Possible Six Years for Air Gun Misuse within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Below is a story that ran in a local paper recently. Link: http://tinyurl.com/hls6d Teen may be facing jail time Liz Mitchell Staff Writer Wednesday, July ...

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Thread: Youth Faces Possible Six Years for Air Gun Misuse

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    Member Array woodstock's Avatar
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    Youth Faces Possible Six Years for Air Gun Misuse

    Below is a story that ran in a local paper recently.


    Link: http://tinyurl.com/hls6d

    Teen may be facing jail time
    Liz Mitchell
    Staff Writer
    Wednesday, July 26, 2006

    A 14-year-old Warrenton boy faces up to six years in jail for
    brandishing a toy gun in Yowell Meadow Park.

    Lt. Patrick Coffey of the Culpeper Police Department said six men were playing soccer Friday evening when they noticed a boy pointing what appeared to be a gun at them.

    Officer Kevin Wilson and Detective Jason Deal identified two suspects
    walking near Blue Ridge Avenue matching the suspect's description.

    Police detained two boys for questioning, and the soccer players were
    able to identify the 14-year-old as the culprit.

    Coffey said police recovered an Airsoft pistol, which shoots plastic
    pellets, lying in the grass near a bridge in the park.

    Although the weapon is a toy, Coffey said, it looked like a real
    weapon.

    According to police, the boy did not fire any shots at the men.
    The suspect is being held in a juvenile center until a detention
    hearing can be scheduled. Because of the boy's age, his identity was
    not released. [End]


    The applicable section of the Virginia code does specify air guns as being subject to this section of code. Seems kinda harsh for a kid to face a felony, but it was within 1000 feet of several schools.

    Our town, like many others, has schools in places we never expect. And we seldom think about where we are in relation to them. A thousand feet is a long way, especially when you have to take into account the entire school property before you start counting off the 1000 feet. I used DeLorme Street Atlas to make an approximate plot of where the schools in Culpeper are and then plotted roghly 1000 feet around each. You can't drive down Main Street without being in a "school zone" for almost the entire distance! The map is attached.

    So, if I go to the Post Office and disarm before leaving the car,and someone sees my gun and gets upset and calls the police about a brandishing incident I could conceivable be arrested. Hopefully it wouldn't go that far. But ...

    Any similar situations in your areas? And what are your thoughts?

    Rick
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    The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good.

    George Washington

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  3. #2
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    In Alabama the law doesn't give a distance from schools, but it does from public demonstrations. If there is a demonstration on our main street and I am in my front yard I am easily within 1000 feet of the demonstration.

    I don't think that legislatures actually have any idea how far 1000 feet is. They think it sounds like a reasonable distance. If someone told them that it was 333 yards they would probably have a better idea of what they are talking about. We can't really picture 1000 feet because there is nothing to compare it with. 333 yards gets peoples attention because suddenly they realize that we are talking about 3 and 1/3 football fields. You can put 2 decent size stadiums and parking end to end in 333 yards.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    Texas will let me carry in a parking lot of a school just not in the school or to a sporting event for the school.
    Timmy Jimmy

    If it is not in the US Constitution then the Federal Government should not be doing it.

    "Carrying a gun is a social responsibility."

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    Foolish kid but the quoted potential punishment seems absurd - seeing as he apparently did not discharge said gun.

    Seems some lessons to be learned without doubt but heck
    Chris - P95
    NRA Certified Instructor & NRA Life Member.

    "To own a gun and assume that you are armed
    is like owning a piano and assuming that you are a musician!."


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    In all honesty, I'm not sure the police could even prove he "discharged" the airsoft gun. Those little pellets are tough to find once you've shot one - they ain't very loud either.

    That is really harsh, though. I mean, like P95 said.... there some lessons to be learned but... uhh.... possible 6 years?
    The Gunsite Blog
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    Yep, it is a bit harsh if he is actually charged and convicted. It is up to the Commonwealth's Atty for that area to bring charges.

    A LEO friend of mine told me about a call he ran. A little old lady ran off the road and crashed into the median strip. The responding officer was told by the lady that a girl had pointed a gun at her from a passing car. A witness had the tag of the other car and the LEO I know stopped the car about 5 miles away. When asked about pointing a gun at the lady, the girls laughed and said that it was a banana and pointed to it on the floorboard of the car. The LEO said he released them at the scene pending the CA's ruling. The CA had the girl who "brandished" charged with brandishing a firearm and the driver as an accessory to something I forget now.

    At any rate so long as the person making the report believes it is a gun that is all that matters. In the case of a bank robbery if the teller believes the robber has a gun or if it is a fake gun believes it is real it is armed robbery. That is how it works here in VA.
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    Senior Member Array madmike's Avatar
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    Scott,

    I'm with you on this one. It seems others are missing what I'd say was the real point, people were made to think a gun had been pointed at them.

    No way is the kid going to do the max sentence, but something certainly must be done to make him understand that he has no right to place anyone in fear for their life.

    That applies, school or no school, real gun or not.

    Suppose he was a little closer. Suppose someone he wanted to "scare" with his toy gun had a real one. . .

    .
    Political Correctness has now "evolved" into Political Cowardice.

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    Senior Member Array hsuCowboy98's Avatar
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    6 years???

    A 15 yr old at the Juvenile center I work at got 20 for killing his father.

    6 for an airsoft pistol...cmon now, seems kinda harsh.
    Fear No Evil.

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    Senior Member Array madmike's Avatar
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    Like I said, little-to-NO-chance he'll get the max, may well be charges could be dropped.

    But this was NOT a simple, harmless prank. He had someone thinking that a gun was pointing at them. He needs to KNOW just how wrong that was.

    Use an airsoft in a bank robbery, the charge would still read, "Armed Robbery." (In Florida, at least. Not a specific firearms violation, but it does still constitute armed robbery.)

    Point a realistic-looking "toy" gun at someone who's really packing, you could die for your actions. And if there's any justice, the shooter would not face charges.

    No, I don't think that 6 years is an appropriate sentence for this person. I doubt any actual firearms charges could be made to stick, since no firearm was involved. But the fact that he caused someone to believe he had pointed a gun at them is enough for some real form of punishment to take place.

    Sympathy doesn't cure Stupidity.

    mm
    Political Correctness has now "evolved" into Political Cowardice.

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    Senior Member Array Timmy Jimmy's Avatar
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    I think the real lesson the kid needs to learn is if one us would have seen him point a gun at guys playing football (not the communist soccer) that we may have very well shot him with something alot stronger than that little plastic BB.

    There must also be more to this story since he is in juviy and not turned over to his parents.
    Timmy Jimmy

    If it is not in the US Constitution then the Federal Government should not be doing it.

    "Carrying a gun is a social responsibility."

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    Member Array Bryan's Avatar
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    anyone ever stop to think that maybe the other people were lying? So if some one accused you what would happen? how could you PROVE you didn't? Is a real fine line there. One persons word against another happens all the time and heaven help you if two people lie.
    -Diplomacy: The art of saying nice dogie until you can find a rock.
    -The truth is a three edged sword.
    -Your brain is your primary weapon everything else is just a tool.
    -When the only tool you have is a hammer then everything starts to look like a nail.

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    Senior Member Array GoodSamaritan's Avatar
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    At any rate so long as the person making the report believes it is a gun that is all that matters.
    That is a little disturbing. I have had my battery drill mistaken for a firearm twice now. I wasn't pointing it at anyone, just doing my job.
    I now tend to carry it upside down to keep some idiot from using OC spray on me.

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    In thinking about this case I remembered a thread from a few days ago. Here's what happens when you point the gun at the wrong person.

    http://www.combatcarry.com/vbulletin...ad.php?t=12294
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Member Array Eddie A.'s Avatar
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    Bryan,
    I know what you mean about the he said she said BS. The other day, not one, not two, but three people in my apartment complex told the office that I was allowing my dog to poop on there doorsteps. The first I heard of it I was being fined $50 for breaching the pet clause in my lease. Well I thought it was absolutely absurd that someone would accuse me of that and I told the office when they showed me a picture of me and my dog doing that crap then I would pay the fine, and not a minute sooner. Anyway, I know it's a bit off subject, but evidently if a couple of people say you did something even without proof, YOU MUST HAVE DONE IT. Go figure.
    "I'd rather have my gun and not need it, than need it and not have it"

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    Deep breath...

    No hearing mentioned in the article. So we don't even know if the boy has been charged by the CA (Commonwealth's Atty). All the reporter has is the possible charge and maximum penalty. Seems like a slow news day in Culpepper.

    The guy who roofed my house a few years back had two kids who were shooting BB guns at a target on a tree. The problem was the BBs were ricocheting and hitting a neighbors glass door. They broke it and the police were called. The kids were facing some rather serious weapons charges because in VA BB guns are no different than real guns under the law. What they received was a long lecture, confiscated BB guns and restitution for the door.

    Since the LEOs found the airsoft gun, they know shots weren't fired and they know which juvenile held the gun of the two I think we can surmise someone talked. Most likley the kid who didn't do it and subsequently the one who did. The counties I've lived in here do their hearings in the evenings. So it was likely that the kid was "held" until the evening hearing. It could also be that the kid has some "history" and they may not have believed his story and they were holding him while gathering evidence. It could also be that the LEOs know the CA will kick the kid loose and they wanted the kid to get the experience of being held to impress upon him what he did was wrong. A lot of different reasons he was "held".

    Now could it be just dumb luck that the six <sorry almost forgot communist> soccer players got together on their story about the kid pointing a gun at them and that then there was an air soft gun found along the route the kid took out of the park and that then the kid was identified by the <communist> soccer players. Yep, it sure is possible. It is a bit improbable that the kids then spilled the beans, which is the only way I can figure the cops would know some of the information i.e. no shots were fired.

    I've emailed the reporter and will let you know of any updates.
    Procrastinators are the leaders of tomorrow.

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