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Orange County Bar Association

BB Guns Considered Deadly Weapons in California

Law Offices of William W. Bruzzo

A California Court has found that BB Guns, that is air powered guns that shoot ball bearing type projectiles or pellets, may be considered deadly weapons under Penal Code Section 245(a) (1) [Assault with a Deadly Weapon]. Previously, the conventional wisdom was that BB guns were not thought of as equal to firearms, but this holding appears to blur the line.

In the recent case, People v. Brown, the facts of the case showed that the victims were actually shot with the BB gun and suffered small red welts to parts of their bodies. Despite the fact that the projectiles did not penetrate the skin of the victims, the court held that there was the potential of significant damage if the projectile hit the eye of the victim. Based on that potentiality, the court held that use of a BB gun qualified as assault with a deadly weapon. This is especially pertinent given that the holiday season is upon us, we all remember fondly that Ralphie from A Christmas Story wanted a Red Ryder BB gun, but was discouraged by his elders because he “would put an eye out.” Well, in this case Ralphie is still out of luck because now the California Appellate courts have also discouraged the use of BB guns because they can put an eye out. (See People v. Quamie Brown 2012 DJDAR 14417)

Here is a fun video clip from A Christmas Story

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Criminal Law Updates by the Law Offices of Orange County Defense Lawyer William W. Bruzzo (714) 547-4636 and wishes to our readers for a Happy and Safe Holiday Season. 

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