Tag Archives: BB gun

Minn. Man Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for Illegal Possession of BB Gun

The Minnesota Supreme Court is set to take on a case that will determine whether a BB gun is considered a firearm as it pertains to felons who have had their gun rights stripped due to a prior conviction.

37-year-old Minnesota resident David Lee Haywood was sentenced to five years in prison for possession of firearm by an ineligible felon during a 2013 incident in which officers found a Walther CP99 Compact .177 caliber BB gun in the glove box of his vehicle while arresting him for violating the terms of a no contact order.

Haywood’s gun rights had been stripped in 2005 following his conviction on felony drug charges. He is being represented in the case by public defender Thomas Handley Jr.

[RELATED: Fact Check: 355 Mass Shootings So Far in 2015?]

Courthouse News Service notes that Haywood was convicted on the firearms charge by Ramsey County District Court and that his conviction was subsequently upheld by the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Haywood claims that Minnesota statutes’ definition of a firearm is unconstitutionally vague and noted that Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word as “a weapon from which a shot is discharged by gunpowder,” which differs from a BB gun which discharges via compressed gas.

[RELATED: Update: Iowa Student Suspended For BB Gun Faces Misdemeanor, No Further Disciplinary Action From School]

In affirming the conviction, Minnesota Court of Appeals Judge Michelle Ann Larkin wrote in her opinion, “Minnesota’s appellate courts have consistently interpreted the term ‘firearm’ as used within certain sections of chapter 609 to include BB guns.

She pointed to a case as precedent in which a man who committed a robbery with a BB gun pleaded guilty to aggravated robbery while armed with a dangerous weapon and was given a minimum sentence based on the interpretation that his possession of a BB gun constituted a firearm.

The record indicates that the BB gun looks like a miniature version of a standard Walther P99 [pistol]. The record also indicates that the BB gun has an effective range of approximately 350 yards and a substantial muzzle velocity,” wrote Judge Larkin.

Characterizing Haywood’s appellate argument, Judge Larkin added, “Haywood argues that the district court erroneously concluded that the BB gun in this case qualifies as a firearm under the statute and that the district court therefore erred by denying his motion to dismiss and by instructing the jury that a BB gun is a firearm under Minnesota law.

Iowa Student Suspended After BB Gun Discovered In Neighborhood

Dubuque, IA- A student attending Dubuque Senior High School was suspended after a BB gun allegedly belonging to the student was found inside of a car that was parked off of the school’s campus in a nearby neighborhood.

A parent of another student saw the BB gun in the car and called the police, who responded immediately and tracked down the student who allegedly owned the gun. There have been five other incidents this month involving Dubuque students in possession of BB guns.

Despite the fact that the gun never entered the school’s property, the student was suspended. Mike Cyze, the director of school and community relations for the Dubuque Community School District, explained the reason for the student’s suspension to news station KWWL:

“This morning’s incident occurred adjacent to campus during arrival time while other students were present. Police responded to the location of the vehicle as well as to Senior High School, at the time not knowing what, if any, threat may have existed. Given this, there was a significant disruption to the learning environment and having the student on campus would have continued that disruption throughout the day. It is the district’s practice to suspend students involved in similar instances while the investigation is conducted by police and administrators and the facts can be determined. Disciplinary action, if any, is determined based on the results of that investigation.”

Cyze’s position as a communications director was created by the school board two years ago to assist in the transmission of information from the school to parents. “We just default to sharing that information with folks. Usually when it happens other students know about it. Word travels and we want to make sure folks know what the actual threat was,” Cyze told news station KCRG.

In a letter to parents, Dubuque Senior High School Principal Dan Johnson clarified that “there was never a threat to students or staff” and the BB gun “was not displayed in a threatening manner.”  The Dubuque Community School District’s Weapons Policy states: “Weapons and other dangerous objects and look-a-likes shall be taken from students and others who bring  them on to the School District properties or onto property within the jurisdiction of the School District (“school property”) or from students who are within the control of the School District.” It has not been clarified that the neighborhood where the BB gun was found falls within the jurisdiction of the school.

Follow Annabelle on Facebook and Twitter.