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« Harbor Gateway Area Kicks Off Community Summer Program | Main | Gunman Armed with .357 Magnum Confronts Officers »

June 26, 2007


Can someone help myself and my coworker out? Is a pellet gun a real gun or like a BB gun? Can a murder charge stick if it's not a real gun and it was an accident?
In order for it to be a murder charge don't you have to have intent to kill the victim?

A pellet gun uses compressed air to fire a small lead projectile. They're potentially more powerful than BB guns because the pellets can travel faster and weigh more, but they fall short of the power of most real firearms. Nevertheless, they are potentially deadly weapons. This is the first time I've ever heard of a death as the result of a pellet gun.

The press release obviously gave us a very abbreviated version of the facts of the case, so it's unknown what behavior of the suspect indicated his intent (or negligence). If they had enough to actually book him under the murder charge, there had to have been at least an inkling of intent leading up to the shooting.

Whether it's a real gun or not has nothing to do with the definition of murder.

And remember, the case will be presented to the District Attorney's office after further investigation. Provided with more details, they will decide what charges, if any, will be brought against the juvenile suspect. Those filing charges may be completely different from the booking charges.

A pellet riffle is commonly known as a BB gun.

Since the killing was accidental, it is manslaughter.

Thanks for clearing that up! My co-worker thinks since it was an accident and he is a juvenile that he shouldn't be charged with murder.

Help me out, do you not have to be 21 years old to be in possesion of a BB gun? Also is it not the respobsibility of the homeowner to have that said item locked up?

Dear Grade F; There are numerous cases of fatalities and severe injuries involving pellet guns. Our society likes to lessen the seriousness of offences with these weapons by refering to them as BB guns or "just like a BB gun". Pellet/BB gun means it will fire either type of amunition. It is an air riffle , which means one must pump it up before pulling the trigger to get any real force out of it. The more one pumps, the more the force. The more DANGER there is. Therefore, they can produce enough "real power as most firearms" and are potentionally deadly. There are all different sizes of pellets you can shoot out of them. Some quite large as in for small animal control reasons. Like racoons, etc. These ARE NOT TOYS but, very real guns!! They have been labled as "toys" for too long. Twenty years ago, a BB gun was just that. It shot tiny little round BB's. Too many people and parents view them as the BB guns of our childhood & earlier, and don't expect something "bad" to ever happen when they give one of these things to a child, or leave one laying around. The State Law will dictate if the boy can be charged with anything by his age. All states are different. The charges will go from there...if the law deems so. I know this because I have done countless hours of research on this very subject. I am a Mother of a Son that lost his life to an air riffle gun. A pellet/BB air riffle. Pumped up seven times and with the largest pellets that could be used. Another child, standing less the 20 feet away, pointed that gun at my son and shot him in the chest. It pierced his heart and he died in the Operating Room 3 hours later. The coroner listed it a homicide, intentional shooting by another person. In the state I live in, there is no accountability under the age of 14. I ask "why did he even point and shoot the gun at my son or any other living"? It was an accident, they were just playing around. I didn't think it would kill him.....a few of the things I was told. This happened at the home of his father and the state decided parents can't watch their children all of th time so, ...I lost my Son 3 days after his 12th birthday. There has never been fault found with anyone that day. Per State Law. The investigation also stated FYI....that the velosity of the pellet that struck my son was equivalent to being shot by a 22 gage shotgun. NO ONE can ever tell me these things are not "real" firearms or can not cause a death. Research it on the web. It's happening everywhere. The reason nobody does anything about it....the NRA!! Gotta keep 'em happy.

I didn't explain myself well enough, Cathy. I just meant that press release was the first time that *I* had read about an air rifle fatality. I grew up with them as a kid and certainly understand they are potentially deadly weapons. I knew there had to have been deadly accidents involving those weapons that didn't make the news.

Grade F:, Thanks for your reply. I know I sound quite passionate about this subject, and I am. Unfortunately, for my son and my family, his story did make the local news. Also, State wide and I have been told into the neighboring states. The sickening part to this is someone in California decided to publish the story of my son's killing on there website and create a blog such as this one. We live inthe Southeast. This blog was specifically about my son & his accident. During my research I stumbled upon this site and I was devasted all over again. There are so, so many mentally deranged people out there. These are children we're talking about. Since my son's death, I have seen at least 5 more deaths reported in my state alone in the same manner. All children. There was a story reported on national TV recently about a 12 year old boy that shot his Mother in the head & killed her with an air pellet gun he had gotten as a Christmas present. It's not getting better, only worse.

I, too understand ur hatred for pellet guns and BB guns. My brother just recently turned 18 when a pellet gun took his life. His friend was playing target trying to hit cans, he ended up cocking the gun one too many times, and it misfired. It hit my brother's aorta and punctured his lungs. He was hemorraging, internal bleeding the medical examiner said. Because of a pellet gun my brother didnt get to attend his senior graduation, he passed away on Aug 2, 2007, ( a date that is forever embedded in my mind) just days before his graduation. I mean when are people going to take these things seriously. they say its not dangerous, but look at how many people have lost their loved one because of these guns they deem toys. when are people going to open their eyes and realize that it could one day be someone they love. People need to understand the dangers of these so called toys. And it just sickens and saddens me to know that even though people read these stories in the news, they dont learn anything from it. So I hope that one day people will actually start learning. Yes, accidents happen, but at the same time, when you are cocking a gun, you should have enough common sense not to be pointing it anyone. So I sincerely hope people who read this, really read the stories here and heed the warnings. Im in Guam and it happens here too.. So people open your eyes.

I remember air-powered guns (BB, pellet, CO2, pump, paintball, even Airsoft) sold in this country as being very clearly marked that they are not toys. Of course, a warning on packaging has limited usefulness, if the end user has no sense of responsibility. Parents who give this type of weapon (not toy!) as a gift to their kids and provide no sort of supervision or training are just asking for trouble. There are lots of instances in LA (and other cities, I would assume) of kids using them to vandalize property, torture animals, and shoot sleeping homeless people. I grew up enjoying shooting air guns responsibly, and it helped transition me to safe use of weapons as an adult for this job.

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