Special Ops Paintball: In trouble with the law... - Special Ops Paintball

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In trouble with the law... The police confiscated my Phantom :( Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   apoc4lypse 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:20 PM

So in an effort to wean myself off of the red dot sight, I shot two tubes worth of paint at the base of tree in the backyard while sighting down the barrel, from max 16 yards away. I got a decent 6" grouping on the tree (maybe a foot off the ground), all balls hitting and none missing the mark; apparently this was upsetting enough to my neighbor that he called the police (although I checked to make sure no one was in the surrounding yards and my line of fire did not cross over his property). Long story short, the officer who came to investigate confiscated my Phantom, citing that it was illegal to discharge a firearm within a residential area. I'm supposed to try and see if I can pick it up tomorrow. If I thought they'd actually confiscate it, I'd have had the foresight to show them my Talon Ghost instead, but alas.

Needless to say, I'm pretty miffed, and after reviewing some of the penal laws in my area (White Plains, NY), I still have a few questions.

Does a paintball marker count as a firearm? Pretty darn sure this is a resounding "NO", as firearms propel a projectile via an explosive charge/combustion.

Does a paintball marker count as a weapon? From what I've gathered, something can be considered a weapon if it's used to harm another person or another person's property. It was my property and the tree has no feelings, so I'd say no.

Does it count as a deadly weapon? Again, I'd say no, since the definition of deadly weapon as relating to projectiles, is "any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious injury, may be discharged...". So non-firearms, such as big-bore air guns used for big game hunting, would be considered deadly weapons, but a paintball marker, no.

Is shooting your paintball marker in the backyard, assuming a backstop and controlled, accurate fire, considered "reckless endangerment"? If there were anyone else to "endanger" by stray paintballs, I may say yes, but considering that there was no one at risk, I'd say no.

Has anyone else ran into trouble with the law while using paintball markers on private property? If so, what was the result?

This post has been edited by apoc4lypse: 20 July 2009 - 06:48 PM

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#2 User is offline   5N1P3R 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:34 PM

I constantly shoot my marker in my backyard. There is a small prairie behind it but diagnally from my house is one of the city's sheriff's house. One time I was running around with it and shooting wildly, but I was just shooting air :sick: He really chewed me out for that, but then I told him I didn't have any paint in the marker. Other than that, he doesn't care. He just told me to make sure I don't harm anyone or damage anyones property.

Maybe the cop didn't know what to do, so just to be safe, he took it.
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#3 User is offline   Anti Hero 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:37 PM

According to the World Paintball Union, it is considered improper to discharge a marker in a residential zone. Sadly enough action like this is what gives the sport such a violent and unsafe image. However personally I don't condone this sort of action anymore, I am guilty of such actions, luckily I did it around those who felt paintball was a safe and great hobby and quit doing so after I learned it's not really legal. The thing is, most people call it a gun, and therein it's a firearm and a superb machine for human harm. This is both true and untrue. Only real harm this can make is bruising, or mild scrapes and scratches unless you're not wearing a mask as instructed, then the risk is quite high for blindness or deafness.

This post has been edited by Anti Hero: 20 July 2009 - 06:38 PM

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#4 User is offline   T-RAN 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:38 PM

Well I know in Minnesota, that if you bring anytype of projectile firing object, that isn't considered a toy (i.e. Paintball, Pellet, or Airsoft Gun) out side even if it is on your own property and you are outside, it is against the law because you are within city limits, and the local authorities have the right to exercise whatever means the punishment or outcome will be, and in your case it was to take away the phantom, but then again it technically isn't an actual firearm, but it can still cause damage in the wrong hands.
In Police explorers we are taught that, paintball, airsoft, pellet, ect, are considered firearms it the book. I would say that when you pick it up, you should talk to whoever works there about what you don't understand, and if there is anyway that you can still shoot it whether it be in a garage, or inside or wherever you can find out.
And if the officer(s) are willing to listen, you could also talk to them about paintball, and give them some backround info. so they understand it a bit more.
If there is still anything that is unclear feel free to ask. If you want any other help, I have some more sources. Hope this helped a bit.

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This post has been edited by T-RAN: 20 July 2009 - 06:44 PM

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#5 User is offline   apoc4lypse 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 06:54 PM

View PostT-RAN, on Jul 20 2009, 09:38 PM, said:

In Police explorers we are taught that, paintball, airsoft, pellet, ect, are considered firearms it the book.


Maybe I'm misinterpreting your statement, but the legal definition of a firearm excludes paintball guns - or else we'd all have to fill out forms and pass a background check to buy one!

Do you mean that when used in a crime or whatnot, a paintball marker, airsoft or pellet gun can considered a firearm, and thus incur the same penalties as would a real firearm? Then yes, that's not up for debate.

Heck, if I pointed my wallet menacingly at a cop, it would probably be grounds to get shot. Look what happened to Amadou Diallo.
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#6 User is offline   apoc4lypse 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:26 PM

View PostT-RAN, on Jul 20 2009, 09:38 PM, said:

Well I know in Minnesota, that if you bring anytype of projectile firing object, that isn't considered a toy (i.e. Paintball, Pellet, or Airsoft Gun) out side even if it is on your own property and you are outside, it is against the law because you are within city limits...


Here's the legalese with respect to NY State Law:

3. Any person who, otherwise than in self defense or in the discharge
of official duty, (a) wilfully discharges any species of firearms,
air-gun or other weapon, or throws any other deadly missile, either in a
public place, or in any place where there is any person to be endangered
thereby, ... although no injury to any person ensues ... is guilty of a
class A misdemeanor.

So in this case, even if a paintball marker is considered a "firearm, air-gun or other weapon", since it isn't being discharged in a public place or "in any place where there is any person to be endangered thereby", there is no violation? Or am I reading this wrong?

This part is interesting: "wilfully discharges any species of firearms, air-gun or other weapon, or throws any other deadly missile" - does the "any other" imply that the item doing the discharging has to throw a deadly missile in the first place? At which point I don't think a paintball marker would count.

Edit: I trimmed the legalese a bit, since the other points refer specifically to "firearms or any other guns, the propelling force of which is gunpowder".

This post has been edited by apoc4lypse: 20 July 2009 - 07:29 PM

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#7 User is offline   T-RAN 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 07:31 PM

No, you're right its not an actual "firearm", but should be treated as such. And if it is used for the wrong reasons the will look at it like they would for a firearm, heck it doesn't help that they can look like actual guns too, but no technically you could get in trouble by doing anything suspicious with just about anything too.

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#8 User is offline   CapnStank 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:31 PM

The officer was simply exercising his discretion. He deemed your act unsafe and confiscated the marker.

Simply approach the police station professionally and calm. Do not get upset or anything when discussing the issue. Bring all the stuff to the table that you brought here including:
-Steps you took to ensure the safety of those around you
and
-Research you've done to justify your actions.

Show them that you cared about safety and took steps to ensure it. Show that you care about the law but misinterpreted it. As long as the officer is not an A-hole you'll get your marker back. Apologize to the neighbor when you do and try to come to some consensus about discharging the marker. If he is totally against it, simply don't do it.
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#9 User is offline   apoc4lypse 

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Posted 20 July 2009 - 08:46 PM

View PostCapnStank, on Jul 20 2009, 11:31 PM, said:

The officer was simply exercising his discretion. He deemed your act unsafe and confiscated the marker.

Simply approach the police station professionally and calm. Do not get upset or anything when discussing the issue. Bring all the stuff to the table that you brought here including:
-Steps you took to ensure the safety of those around you
and
-Research you've done to justify your actions.

Show them that you cared about safety and took steps to ensure it. Show that you care about the law but misinterpreted it. As long as the officer is not an A-hole you'll get your marker back. Apologize to the neighbor when you do and try to come to some consensus about discharging the marker. If he is totally against it, simply don't do it.


Yup, definitely going to follow your advice and I'll give you guys an update after I call them/drop by about it tomorrow. Though I don't think there's going to be any compromise with this particular neighbor - they've pretty much had it out for us since we moved to this house.

I'm definitely going to stop shooting outdoors, though both times the cops came by, they did suggest doing it indoors/in the garage; granted, the officer who confiscated my marker also commented that the Second Amendment was put in place for hunting, so who knows if that suggestion is legit. If I get permission (in writing) to shoot indoors, I may have to dry fire the electro in the garage at 25 bps with no barrel, just to freak the neighbors out :wub:
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#10 User is offline   Puzuma 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:22 AM

Why are you checking the penal laws? Has it occurred to you that you are in violation of certain BY-LAWS?
Here in Ontario, paintball markers only fall into a firearms category IF it's being used in a threatening manner(robbing a store, drive by shootings etc). Here in Kingston, the by-laws state that an AIR GUN cannot be fired in specific areas, basically anywhere south of Highway 401, but on the north side you could technically play in the streets (as long as all neighbors are ok with it).

I would suggest you contact you by-law enforcement officer(s), usually found at city hall, and find out what's going on.
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#11 User is offline   Eskimo 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:52 AM

do also look at it from the officers point of view.

He's going down the street and hearing "pop" "pop" "pop" which by most people is a rather unknown source of sound.
Of course he's going to be cautious.
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#12 User is offline   Swamphawk7 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 06:55 AM

I live in a rural area ...my nearest neighbor is a couple hundred yards away and he plays so... all i usually get is " hey man sounded like the _____ was ripping ! "

We do play a night game at a boat landing . The police showed up a few years back . " Oh my brother plays paintball, y'all have fun and be careful ." looked like he wanted to park the cruiser and join us ! Another female officer showed up another time and confirmed it was no problem for us to play there . I suppose it's because we're just having good, clean fun and no one has complained .

Best of luck with your situation. I would certainly follow the others advice. Just be cool and let them know it won't happen again. Make sure to find out exactly what the laws are in your area.

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#13 User is offline   apoc4lypse 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 07:58 AM

Puzuma, by by-laws I'm guessing you mean the municipal code? I checked those as well and there's nothing relating to firearms, paintball guns, or airguns, and so I'm going by the state (penal) code.

Eskimo, I see your point, but that's really not what happened. I shot two tubes of paint at a tree, the first tube in the span of one minute, then a one minute pause, then the second tube in another minute. This was after I had checked the yards to make sure no one was out. It was only after I was done shooting that the neighbors came out and started looking into my yard, and by the time the cop showed up to ask questions (whom they no doubt called), about 45 minutes had passed. Again I stress that no paintball flew astray, and I was shooting at the base of a tree with a large, 4"x5" compressed wood backstop, which proved unnecessary as my grouping was 8" on the tree.
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#14 User is offline   Droop 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 08:20 AM

View Postapoc4lypse, on Jul 20 2009, 06:20 PM, said:

So in an effort to wean myself off of the red dot sight, I shot two tubes worth of paint at the base of tree in the backyard while sighting down the barrel, from max 16 yards away. I got a decent 6" grouping on the tree (maybe a foot off the ground), all balls hitting and none missing the mark; apparently this was upsetting enough to my neighbor that he called the police (although I checked to make sure no one was in the surrounding yards and my line of fire did not cross over his property). Long story short, the officer who came to investigate confiscated my Phantom, citing that it was illegal to discharge a firearm within a residential area. I'm supposed to try and see if I can pick it up tomorrow. If I thought they'd actually confiscate it, I'd have had the foresight to show them my Talon Ghost instead, but alas.

Needless to say, I'm pretty miffed, and after reviewing some of the penal laws in my area (White Plains, NY), I still have a few questions.

Does a paintball marker count as a firearm? Pretty darn sure this is a resounding "NO", as firearms propel a projectile via an explosive charge/combustion.
True but not for the right reason, A paintball gun 0of .68 caliber is too high a caliber to be considered a firearm add to the fact that it is a pneumatic projectile system and it is most likely flambouyant, not that that matters but who has a silver and green shiney rifle? however the policeman can technically confiscate the marker so long as he dosent see that you arent actually shooting your own tree. its hearsay.

Does a paintball marker count as a weapon? From what I've gathered, something can be considered a weapon if it's used to harm another person or another person's property. It was my property and the tree has no feelings, so I'd say no.
yes it does, it can and will harm someone if not properly protected. and trees have feelings :dodgy:

Does it count as a deadly weapon? Again, I'd say no, since the definition of deadly weapon as relating to projectiles, is "any loaded weapon from which a shot, readily capable of producing death or other serious injury, may be discharged...". So non-firearms, such as big-bore air guns used for big game hunting, would be considered deadly weapons, but a paintball marker, no.
Yes it does, you can kill someone, shoot them in the temple with no mask on, if its traveling fast enough, they are dead. fully possible. considered deadly.
Is shooting your paintball marker in the backyard, assuming a backstop and controlled, accurate fire, considered "reckless endangerment"? If there were anyone else to "endanger" by stray paintballs, I may say yes, but considering that there was no one at risk, I'd say no.
I would say no, and have a chat with your neighbor and explain that it is not a firearm and you just enjoy shooting off a few balls at YOUR tree from time to time.
Has anyone else ran into trouble with the law while using paintball markers on private property? If so, what was the result?

I have not ran into trouble. I have had the cops kick us out of a few outlaw courses, I always calmly explain that we were mistaken in using the property, and politely excuse ourselves.
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#15 User is offline   Chaos Fiend 

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Posted 21 July 2009 - 05:04 PM

I believe that paintball guns are considered class B or C firearms depending on the state, but I could be wrong. I'd just go and talk to the police. It sucks that your neighbors either thought it was a gun (somehow) or we're annoyed with the sound or something. I shoot my markers all the time in my backyard in a rural neighborhood and no one cares. Some of my markers are loud as hell too.
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