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Thread: Definition of loaded firearm

  1. #1
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    I have been searching the 'net for a definition of loaded firearm, particularly semi-automatics. Maybe a stupid question, but I just couldn't find a definitive answer.

    A semi-automatic can be in three states, basically:

    1- Carried with one in the chamber and full magazine
    2- Carried without one in the chamber and a full magazine
    3- Completely empty

    What is technically (and legally) a loaded firearm?

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Mungo wrote:
    I have been searching the 'net for a definition of loaded firearm, particularly semi-automatics. Maybe a stupid question, but I just couldn't find a definitive answer.

    A semi-automatic can be in three states, basically:

    1- Carried with one in the chamber and full magazine
    2- Carried without one in the chamber and a full magazine
    3- Completely empty

    What is technically (and legally) a loaded firearm?
    Also it can have one in the chamber and nothing in the magazine. In fact one in the chamber and no magazine inserted.

    In my view if there is ammunition in the weapon it is loaded. But no matter what, it is ALWAYS loaded until I can check it for myself.
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    Lone Star Veteran Gator5713's Avatar
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    As Hawk said, if there is ammo in it, it is loaded. If there is one in the chamber, it is loaded and 'Charged'.
    However, different states may have different things to say about what condition you may carry. Some states may not allow you to carry 'charged' but you can have it loaded, while California won't allow you to have it loaded at all (magazine removed).
    Therefore, the reason behind your question may help you to get a more definitive answer.

    (these statements are from memory and therefore I do not have specific 'cites' for them.)

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    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    The legal definition varies state to state.
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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Gunslinger wrote:
    The legal definition varies state to state.
    +1

    This point can't be emphasized enough.

    Not only that, but the definition of loaded can also change if you're talking about vehicular transport vs. carrying on your body.

    In the state I live in, you can have shotgun shells clipped to your shotguns butt-stock and as long as the tube (or magazine) and chamber (or barrel(s)) have no shells in them, it's an unloaded shotgun. You can have a loaded magazine attached to your rifle (not in the magazine well) and so long as there is not a round in the chamber and there is not a magazine in the magazine well, it's an unloaded rifle. This applies even in a vehicle.

    However, in other states having a loaded magazine in the same compartment of your vehicle that the firearm is in constitutes a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

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    Regular Member demnogis's Avatar
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    Check your appropriate state's forum to find the legalities on what is considered "loaded" and "unloaded. The members in that forum will provide better help than in here. G'day

    Gunslinger wrote:
    The legal definition varies state to state.
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    Thanks guys. Just trying to understand the law a bit better. The only definition I could find online was:

    http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title49....8.1.10.3.html

    I can appreciate this is defined by state.

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    Regular Member Michigander's Avatar
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    I define all guns as always loaded.

    Legal definitions will vary.
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  9. #9
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    Varies from state to state.

    For example, in WA:

    (9) "Loaded" means:

    (a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the firearm;

    (b) Cartridges are in a clip that is locked in place in the firearm;

    (c) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the firearm, if the firearm is a revolver;

    (d) There is a cartridge in the tube or magazine that is inserted in the action; or

    (e) There is a ball in the barrel and the firearm is capped or primed if the firearm is a muzzle loader.


    What I like about this is that, from what I can tell (unless I'm wrong about what an "action" is) you can have a clip in your gun, just not locked in.


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    cynicist wrote:
    What I like about this is that, from what I can tell (unless I'm wrong about what an "action" is) you can have a clip in your gun, just not locked in.
    That's actually where I was going with the whole thing. Could be strategic to practice inserting a loaded magazine into an otherwise *legally* unloaded firearm, pulling back the slide and firing? Being quick and on the mark with that series of actions could prove useful.

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    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    cynicist wrote:
    [SNIP]
    What I like about this is that, from what I can tell (unless I'm wrong about what an "action" is) you can have a clip in your gun, just not locked in.
    Yup, as long as it's a true CLIP and not a MAGAZINE. And I'm not kidding either. Thefolks who wrote our state law actually knew the difference; they're definitely referring to stripper clips.

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