Lawmakers wrestle over definition of ‘gun’

Gun Rights

DOVER — Quick, picture a gun. Pretty simple, right? Now how exactly how would you define it? Make sure your definition accurately covers all firearms and contains no loopholes but doesn’t accidentally include other objects. Not quite as simple, is it? That’s the problem in the Delaware Code: An overly broad definition that encompasses far more than what it’s intended to apply to, according to Rep. Jeff Spiegelman, a Clayton Republican. State law characterizes a firearm as “any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable, loaded or unloaded,” not counting a BB gun. “We are the only state in the country that has a definition of firearm that basically says anything that fires anything,” Rep. Spiegelman said. “A slingshot’s a gun. A bow and arrow’s a gun. A Punkin Chunkin cannon’s a gun.” As you might imagine, that can be problematic. Gun control legislation would technically include the aforementioned devices, Rep. Spiegelman said, meaning a parent who gives a slingshot to his or her child would officially be violating state law. In practice, such a situation is virtually guaranteed never to occur, thanks to common sense and prosecutorial discretion, but some still see the definition as an issue in need of fixing. Hunters are unable to use airbows because they are grouped with guns under state law, according to the House Republican caucus. Rep. Spiegelman is planning legislation that would adopt […]

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