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Thread: Fredericksburg vehicle stop leads to gun charge

  1. #1
    Regular Member coondog22554's Avatar
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    Fredericksburg vehicle stop leads to gun charge

    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2.../1313160674fls

    "...a pistol was found on the floor board. Police described the weapon as a Smith & Wesson pellet gun with the orange tip cut off and the barrel bored out.
    He is charged with a concealed weapon violation and being in possession of an altered handgun.

    There very well may be more to this story than what is reported in the Free Lance Star but it brings up several questions.
    If the handgun was on the floorboard was it in full view of the officer and not concealed? (It wasn't reported as being under the seat)
    Can someone help me find the Virginia law concerning altered handguns?

    Larry

  2. #2
    Regular Member coondog22554's Avatar
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    I did find this...

    § 18.2-311.1. Removing, altering, etc., serial number or other identification on firearm.

    Any person, firm, association or corporation who or which intentionally removes, defaces, alters, changes, destroys or obliterates in any manner or way or who or which causes to be removed, defaced, altered, changed, destroyed or obliterated in any manner or way the name of the maker, model, manufacturer’s or serial number, or any other mark or identification on any pistol, shotgun, rifle, machine gun or any other firearm shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Repeater's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by coondog22554 View Post
    http://fredericksburg.com/News/FLS/2.../1313160674fls

    "...a pistol was found on the floor board. Police described the weapon as a Smith & Wesson pellet gun with the orange tip cut off and the barrel bored out.
    He is charged with a concealed weapon violation and being in possession of an altered handgun.

    There very well may be more to this story than what is reported in the Free Lance Star but it brings up several questions.
    If the handgun was on the floorboard was it in full view of the officer and not concealed? (It wasn't reported as being under the seat)
    Can someone help me find the Virginia law concerning altered handguns?

    Larry
    So, an "altered" (pellet) gun was found on the floor board. And that's a crime?

    There has to be more to this story.

  4. #4
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    I thought about posting this.

    Same questions I had. I would bet the arrestee "consented" to a search. For some reason, they always seem to do that.

    As for the altering, perhaps they are claiming that the orange tip "identifies" the gun as not being a real firearm, so that would fall under the "identification" part of the law. Just a guess.

    TFred

  5. #5
    Regular Member coondog22554's Avatar
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    I'm no expert on pellet guns. Do they even fall under the definition of a firearm.

    “An instrument which was designed, made, and intended to expel a projectile by means of an explosion. It is not necessary that the Commonwealth prove the instrument was “operable,” “capable” of being fired, or had the “actual capacity to do serious harm.” (Va Supreme Court 2002)

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    There has to be more to it. An airgun is an airgun is an airgun. You can alter it anyway you want as long as it uses air.

    My guess is he altered it to fire fixed ammo, which is pretty stupid since most are made of pot metal.

  7. #7
    Founder's Club Member thebigsd's Avatar
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    Interesting. I have to take the article with a grain of salt since it is the Freelance-Star. The article was vague as to why they searched the car. I would be interestes in knowing if they were even allowed to search the car or if the individual gave them consent.
    Last edited by thebigsd; 08-12-2011 at 02:26 PM.
    "When seconds count between living or dying, the police are only minutes away."

  8. #8
    Regular Member Gunslinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    There has to be more to it. An airgun is an airgun is an airgun. You can alter it anyway you want as long as it uses air.

    My guess is he altered it to fire fixed ammo, which is pretty stupid since most are made of pot metal.
    Well, he would get one shot from it before it blew his hand off.
    "For any man who sheds his blood with me this day shall be my brother...And gentlemen now abed shall think themselves accursed, they were not here, and hold their manhoods cheap whilst any speaks who fought with us on Crispin's day." Henry V

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    I'll look for and post the cites later, but for now a few quick comments: It's agin' the law (statutory) to alter a toy weapon by taking off or disguising the orange tip; it's agin' the law to "conceal" a firearm (and by extension an imitation firearm) on the floorboard if the location on the floorboard is such that it cannot easily/readily be seen (case law on this); it's agin' the law (statutory) to alter a toy weapon so that it can accept/fire real ammunition. There are several other things that are agin' the law that this person probably also did, but it seems they are content (for now) with the charges they have filed.

    Chilluns, listen real close: toy firearms are not toys. Do not play around with them and make them even more firearm-ish.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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  10. #10
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    I think the reason for the stop in the first place is 'interesting'....

    (from the linked article)
    The officer watched the men as they entered the service station and noticed that they left the gas station building, returned to their vehicle and went through a bag in the back seat of their car, police said.


    The officer believed their actions were suspicious and initiated a traffic stop on the car in the parking lot, police said.
    So 'going through a bag' in the back of your car is now suspicious enough to justify a police stop?

  11. #11
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    OK, I found some of the citations. Still missing, I think, one. Yep, it's the altering a toy by taking off/painting over the orange tip. Somehow I'm thinking it's federal & my search engine for that is kaflooey so I'll need to rely on Google/Bing. Maybe I'll find it - if so, I will post.

    stay safe.

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1100776.pdf
    Supreme Court of Virginia Expands What Constitutes a Firearm to Include an Obvious Toy Gun Under Va. Code § 18.2-53.1
    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1101003.pdf A John Wayne's Replica Gun is a Firearm Under Va. Code § 18.2-53.1
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-284
    § 18.2-284. Selling or giving toy firearms.
    No person shall sell, barter, exchange, furnish, or dispose of by purchase, gift or in any other manner any toy gun, pistol, rifle or other toy firearm, if the same shall, by action of an explosion of a combustible material, discharge blank or ball charges.

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/0262012.txt
    " ... Finally,
    he found a pellet gun "stuffed" between the driver's seat and the
    console. McKay could not see the gun when Fountain was in the car
    "because his leg was next to it." However, after Fountain and the
    passenger had gotten out of the car, when McKay "stuck [his] head
    in . . . [he] could see the [pellet gun] . . . ." He stated,
    "very little . . . just the very back of the grip" of the gun
    protruded above the level of the seat. ..."
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  12. #12
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    Lots of interesting (and alarming) angles to this story.

    Not directly on point, but the admin for one of the cop-watcher type blogs posed a sarcastic question along the lines of: did you ever notice that criminals cannot hide their guns under their car seats? The guns are always laying out from under the seats where any plain-view snooping cop can see them.

    Glad to hear I'll be stopped in Fredericksburg if I go into a store, realize I've forgotten my wallet, and go back to my car and rummage in my bag for it.
    Last edited by Citizen; 08-12-2011 at 06:29 PM.

  13. #13
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    OK, I found some of the citations. Still missing, I think, one. Yep, it's the altering a toy by taking off/painting over the orange tip. Somehow I'm thinking it's federal & my search engine for that is kaflooey so I'll need to rely on Google/Bing. Maybe I'll find it - if so, I will post.

    stay safe.

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1100776.pdf
    Supreme Court of Virginia Expands What Constitutes a Firearm to Include an Obvious Toy Gun Under Va. Code § 18.2-53.1
    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...wp/1101003.pdf A John Wayne's Replica Gun is a Firearm Under Va. Code § 18.2-53.1
    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-284

    § 18.2-284. Selling or giving toy firearms.
    No person shall sell, barter, exchange, furnish, or dispose of by purchase, gift or in any other manner any toy gun, pistol, rifle or other toy firearm, if the same shall, by action of an explosion of a combustible material, discharge blank or ball charges.

    http://www.courts.state.va.us/opinio...tx/0262012.txt
    " ... Finally,
    he found a pellet gun "stuffed" between the driver's seat and the
    console. McKay could not see the gun when Fountain was in the car
    "because his leg was next to it." However, after Fountain and the
    passenger had gotten out of the car, when McKay "stuck [his] head
    in . . . [he] could see the [pellet gun] . . . ." He stated,
    "very little . . . just the very back of the grip" of the gun
    protruded above the level of the seat. ..."
    You need to dig a little deeper Skid. Those aren't even close to applicable.

    Yes, it is illegal to use a toy firearm to intimidate someone. Committing an armed robbery with a toy gun is still an armed robbery, brandishing a toy gun is still brandishing BUT...just possession of an altered toy other than one altered to fire fixed ammunition is not a crime.

    You last cite is outdated. Pneumatic weapons are now specifically exempted in the statute.

    From the little information out, this guy still hasn't broken any laws.
    Last edited by peter nap; 08-12-2011 at 06:52 PM.

  14. #14
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    While I agree that pneumatic weapons are now no longer "firearms" I'm willing to bet a bannana-flavored chalk meal that the courts would uphold the concealed finding for anything else found stuck between the seat and the transmission hump.

    Oh! Almost forgot - Thank you for reading the info to be able to make cogent comments. It's really appreciated.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    SNIP Oh! Almost forgot - Thank you for reading the info to be able to make cogent comments. It's really appreciated.
    What does reading info have to do with two gents making comments?

  16. #16
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    What does reading info have to do with two gents making comments?
    Not comments, but cogent* comments.

    stay safe.

    * http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cogent
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
    ----Allahpundit

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Not comments, but cogent* comments.

    stay safe.

    * http://www.thefreedictionary.com/cogent
    Pssst. It was a joke. Two gents. Co-gent. Get it?
    Last edited by Citizen; 08-13-2011 at 10:41 PM.

  18. #18
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    Maybe I should put the orange back on the the tips of the kids camo painted nerf rifles???? Nah...

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