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nemisis1400
12-17-2009, 2:25 PM
searched on calguns some time ago and could only get a few statements here and there that potato guns are illegal. How long ago was this in effect? whats the penalty? And seriously, why potato guns? they're so simple to make, did someone take one in the face or something?

joe_sun
12-17-2009, 2:37 PM
We made them back in the 90's until someone started using them to load up rocks in front of the potato and shot them at people and it made the news.

The news reported that the DOJ considered it a destructive device and will charge you will a felony if you have one so we never played with one again but I've never seen anything official but since we are in California it makes sense because EVERYTHING is a felony here.

maxwellca21
12-17-2009, 2:39 PM
tomatoes gun are legal....go make one of that.

nemisis1400
12-17-2009, 3:11 PM
gotcha, just gotta hope no one does a drive by tomato gunning. though seriously, it's actually illegal!?!?!! how the hell does this work?

stormy_clothing
12-17-2009, 3:12 PM
is it fun ?

then it must be illegal

I saw one blow a hole throw a garage door you could pass a basketball through

GrizzlyGuy
12-17-2009, 3:12 PM
It would depend in part on how the potato gun operates: compressed air/gas or via combustion/explosion. 12001 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12001.html) defines a firearm like this:

(b) As used in this title, "firearm" means any device, designed to
be used as a weapon, from which is expelled through a barrel, a
projectile by the force of any explosion or other form of combustion.


The compressed air types wouldn't be a firearm, but the more common types in which you ignite hair spray/starter fluid/etc. would seem to meet that definition. There may be local laws to contend with as well.

PEBKAC
12-17-2009, 3:16 PM
It would depend in part on how the potato gun operates: compressed air/gas or via combustion/explosion. 12001 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12001.html) defines a firearm like this:



The compressed air types wouldn't be a firearm, but the more common types in which you ignite hair spray/starter fluid/etc. would seem to meet that definition. There may be local laws to contend with as well.
So basically to make a legal potato gun it has to be bore diameter < .50 inches if you operate by combustion? I mean assuming you don't want to build a ticket to the state penn...

GrizzlyGuy
12-17-2009, 3:21 PM
So basically to make a legal potato gun it has to be bore diameter < .50 inches if you operate by combustion? I mean assuming you don't want to build a ticket to the state penn...

I can't say for sure, but you might be right. It would only be a "destructive device" if larger than .60 caliber (from 12301) (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12301.html):

The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter,
shall include any of the following weapons...

3) Any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which fires
fixed ammunition, or any ammunition therefor, other than a shotgun
(smooth or rifled bore) conforming to the definition of a
"destructive device" found in subsection (b) of Section 479.11 of
Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, shotgun ammunition
(single projectile or shot), antique rifle, or an antique cannon...

(4) Any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device of
a diameter greater than 0.60 inch, or any launching device therefor,
and any rocket, rocket-propelled projectile, or similar device
containing any explosive or incendiary material or any other chemical
substance, other than the propellant for that device, except those
devices as are designed primarily for emergency or distress signaling
purposes.

Super Spy
12-17-2009, 3:28 PM
I wonder if one could have registered their "Pre-ban" spud gun. Since it has a smooth barrel it's more of a shotgun. Certainly not an SBS....though they sometimes had evil pistol grips. I'll admit to shooting one in Oregon :) .....Years ago.....Properly constructed a spud gun could lob a potato several hundred yards with enough accuracy to repeatedly hit the broadside of a metal barn. In Oregon this is just considered redneck entertainment....or maybe fast food.

wash
12-17-2009, 3:31 PM
They are muzzle loaders if that makes any difference on the DD point.

My policy is if you really want one, use compressed gas and call it a t-shirt launcher.

Super Spy
12-17-2009, 3:38 PM
They are muzzle loaders if that makes any difference on the DD point.

My policy is if you really want one, use compressed gas and call it a t-shirt launcher.

Propane is a compressed gas.......

GrizzlyGuy
12-17-2009, 3:39 PM
I did some Googling, and back in 2002, it looks like the legislature was trying to change 12301 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12301.html) to explicitly call out potato guns (http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:JYcRIKvF78kJ:info.sen.ca.gov/pub/01-02/bill/asm/ab_2501-2550/ab_2513_bill_20020221_introduced.pdf+potato+gun+le gal+california&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShlRPPgal5CCRlcYGbN5Mze1BcyBuTPSX5XtUUG Fy1JaffZuP9Cr-VIa7PnPx6XwHA24zE9wGXEX3SM4VCojSmixpeCR5HZwB-lU-RgcIdfwLKG7ebLtf1I-ZaNnwIPHM31Hs41&sig=AHIEtbQnEXPo8MnxbQfw7_Fau_TMOgA3BQ):

(3) Any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which
fires that is capable of firing fixed ammunition, or any ammunition
therefor, including, but not limited to, what is commonly known as
a potato gun or potato cannon, other than a shotgun (smooth or
rifled bore) conforming to the definition of a ‘‘destructive device’’
found in subsection (b) of Section 179.11 of Title 27 of the Code
of Federal Regulations, shotgun ammunition (single projectile or
shot), antique rifle, or an antique cannon.


That bill must not have passed, because the current 12301 doesn't say anything specifically about potato guns. That doesn't necessarily mean that a potato gun > .60 caliber wouldn't be considered one - it just isn't explicitly included. I'd err on the safe side.

PEBKAC
12-17-2009, 3:41 PM
I can't say for sure, but you might be right. It would only be a "destructive device" if larger than .60 caliber (from 12301) (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12301.html):
Okay, so it is < .60 in. as long as it is just a potato gun, not one of those awesome steel sabot launching "spud guns"...thanks. :)

joelberg
12-17-2009, 4:34 PM
So does that statute make .78 cal muzzleloaders illegal in CA? Cabela's doesn't think so.

redcliff
12-17-2009, 4:45 PM
We have a pumpkin patch up here that operates around Halloween. They have "corn shooters" that launch ears of corn and pumpkin cannons that shoot small pumpkins. Lots of fun. (Hawes Farms if anyone is interested)

http://hawesfarms.com/images/cornCannon.jpg

If it's illegal the LEO doesn't seem to care :)

bigcalidave
12-17-2009, 4:49 PM
BTW compressed air guns are more powerful and WAY more fun than any combustion potato guns.

nemisis1400
12-17-2009, 4:56 PM
yeah but i wanna make french fries by way of potato gun and tennis racket, it's just not the same. that i have no idea how to make a compressed airgun outta scratch. been looking at those gamo whispers though, would be nice to shoot in the backyard.

bigcalidave
12-17-2009, 5:37 PM
Ummm. Look it up, you can make insanely powerful air cannons. It's all about dump valves and pressure chambers :)
http://www.spudtech.com/

joelberg
12-17-2009, 5:37 PM
I'm still pretty sure that potato guns are legal as muzzleloaders. If they aren't, then neither are .78 cal muzzleloaders they will ship to CA from Cabela's.

Maybe you're just not allowed to call them potato guns.

ZRX61
12-17-2009, 5:44 PM
If you build it with a .75 bore you can fire frozen tater tots & drop your target at quite a distance. Stings like all heck as well :(

I doubt they are illegal as I "almost had an incident" involving mine & a passing patrol car several years ago. He drove past just as it fired & it almost took the christmas lights off his roof.
We had coversation about the does & do nots of spud cannoneering which basically consisted of "DO make sure the road is clear & do NOT fire if a police car is approaching"
He left after I gave him the plans (1.5in bore/42in long barrel, 3x18in combustion chamber) & material list to take to Lowes to build his own :)

I've moved on to seige engines now & have a Trebuchet & a Mangonel to play with :)

radioman
12-17-2009, 5:46 PM
NO they are not, over .50 cal

joelberg
12-17-2009, 6:01 PM
NO they are not, over .50 cal

So you're saying that a .53 or .58 or .78 cal muzzleloader, like Cabela's will ship to CA is illegal too?

jamesob
12-17-2009, 6:27 PM
So you're saying that a .53 or .58 or .78 cal muzzleloader, like Cabela's will ship to CA is illegal too?
well, ummm , uhhhhh,hmmmmm, i ah well ah crap.

CHS
12-17-2009, 6:33 PM
NO they are not, over .50 cal

I've got a .54 cal muzzle-loader and some .54 cal round balls that would like to argue that with you.

five.five-six
12-17-2009, 7:17 PM
it's a dd

joelberg
12-17-2009, 7:47 PM
it's a dd

So you're saying that several muzzleloaders over .50 cal that many Californians own are illegal?

sac550
12-17-2009, 7:50 PM
Not a DD b/c it doesn't fire fixed ammunition. A potato isn't fixed ammunition. It is not a firearm UNLESS you design it to be used as a weapon.

LiberalGunner
12-17-2009, 7:59 PM
My god, who would want to shoot a potato? I guess that's what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment? I think it gives shooting enthusiasts a bad name when we pursue things like this.

joelberg
12-17-2009, 8:03 PM
My god, who would want to shoot a potato? I guess that's what the founding fathers had in mind when they wrote the 2nd amendment? I think it gives shooting enthusiasts a bad name when we pursue things like this.

:D:rolleyes::dots:

MP301
12-17-2009, 8:21 PM
Short answer - NO.

joelberg
12-17-2009, 8:24 PM
Short answer - NO.

FAIL.

Why?

Are you going to say that >.50 cal muzzleloaders are illegal too?

SteveH
12-17-2009, 8:26 PM
I've seen training bulletins that tell police to arrest for the same charge as pipe bombs and other IEDs when they encounter spud guns. Don't know if any DA's are actually filing the cases that way though.

nemisis1400
12-17-2009, 8:44 PM
i'm so confused, does this mean if i wanna make a vegtable launcher, i have to buy a musket? I got a ball & cap revolver, i might be able to load some peanuts in there, but what am i gonna do with peanuts?!!?

joelberg
12-17-2009, 9:07 PM
The issue is that some of the people who are saying that spud guns are illegal are citing statute that would effectively make a large amount of completely legal muzzleloaders illegal, which is clearly incorrect.

CHS
12-17-2009, 9:23 PM
OK,. So potato guns are illegal.

But muzzleloaders greater than .50cal are legal?

What if I put a small potato in my .54cal muzzleloader? Does my black powder gun become a DD?

joelberg
12-17-2009, 9:27 PM
OK,. So potato guns are illegal.

But muzzleloaders greater than .50cal are legal?

What if I put a small potato in my .54cal muzzleloader? Does my black powder gun become a DD?

Exactly the point.

Spud guns are not destructive devices. Unless the spud is loaded with tannerite.

ColdDeadHands1
12-17-2009, 9:39 PM
But what if I previously owned my potato gun before 2000? Am I OK then?:43:

five.five-six
12-17-2009, 9:45 PM
sure, but you can no longer buy this


http://ephesians.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/potatoes.jpg

IIRC, anything with a bore over .50 is a DD, the ATF makes exceptions for shotguns by make and model


even if they don't get you on a DD, they could nail you as a zip gun


in short:

illegal

ar15robert
12-17-2009, 9:47 PM
ATF -- Yes, they are legal.

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226

As defined in section 921(a) (3) of Title 18, United States Code (USC) the term "firearm" means --

(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
(D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

As defined in 26 USC subsection 5845(f) (2) the term destructive device includes any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may readily be converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellent, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary or his delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and (3) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. The term 'destructive device' shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684(2), 4685, or 4686 of title 10 of the USC; or any other device which the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.

It is unlawful for anyone to make or possess a destructive device which is not registered in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms Act.

We have previously examined that certain muzzle loading devices known as "potato guns." These potato guns are constructed from PVC plastic tubing. They use hair spray or a similar aerosol substance for a propellant, and have some type of spark ignitor. We have determined that these devices, as described, are not firearms provided that they are used solely for launching potatoes for recreational purposes. However, any such devices which are used as weapons or used to launch other forms of projectiles may be firearms and destructive devices as defined.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Firearms Technology Branch, Room 6450
650 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20226

Sincerely yours,

(signature)
Curtis H. A. Bartlett Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

bombadillo
12-17-2009, 9:52 PM
Man, the last time I had a potato gun, I blew my eyebrow off by firing it while primed with ether. It blew and so I was looking down at the sparker and it blew a second time. It usually burns so clean that there's nothing left but it blew a second time and it burned my eyebrown off and took my eyelashes with it and scratched the hell out of my cornea. Not a lot of fun a few days before you're the best man in a wedding getting pics taken of you with no eyebrow.

ColdDeadHands1
12-17-2009, 10:06 PM
Dude! Show the pics! We know you have em!

Seesm
12-17-2009, 10:58 PM
So it is legal? Always thought it was illegal... We had them as kids... And I heard they were a big no no...

m98
12-18-2009, 12:28 AM
is it fun ?

then it must be illegal



10000% TRUE FACT in the state of Kommifornia.......Did you know that if you were operating a radio controlled toy that was powered by lithium polymer batteries on say a public park/land of some sort, that you may be ticketed and cited. I've had heard this in the RC rockcrawling community as there are quite a few guys that run their RC crawlers on lipo batteries and have been confronted by rangers/wardens. The reason is that they say that lipo batteries IS Dangerous and is AN Extreme Fire hazard.

joelberg
12-18-2009, 6:44 AM
So it is legal? Always thought it was illegal... We had them as kids... And I heard they were a big no no...

They are legal. Read the ATF letter on the previous page.

Mulay El Raisuli
12-18-2009, 7:27 AM
We have a pumpkin patch up here that operates around Halloween. They have "corn shooters" that launch ears of corn and pumpkin cannons that shoot small pumpkins. Lots of fun. (Hawes Farms if anyone is interested)

http://hawesfarms.com/images/cornCannon.jpg

If it's illegal the LEO doesn't seem to care :)


ROAD TRIP!!!!!

The Raisuli

P.S. To bombadillo; oh, man, that's awful. Not that you burned off your eyebrows, but that your pic was taken at a wedding. Because those pics WILL be saved for years/decades. Which means that someday, when your friends are old & gray, they'll gather around Mr. Fusion-powered entertainment device & say, "Yes kids, & that's your Uncle bombadillo, who burned off his eyebrows with a potato gun. Oh, what a funny character he was back in the day!"

Sad. :)

CHS
12-18-2009, 7:45 AM
even if they don't get you on a DD, they could nail you as a zip gun

in short:
illegal

This is the first logical answer to the argument I've seen.

However, the zip gun laws in CA are so horribly written that they pretty much cover ANY gun that's not made by a licensed manufacturer, or a copy of a license manufacturers design.

But the problem still lies with muzzleloaders. They aren't copies of any licensed manufacturers design. I would say that the "spirit" of the zip gun law was intended to stop people from building things like spud guns, but at the same time with the muzzleloading precedent and the ATF letter, I see a very easy defense.

mej16489
12-18-2009, 11:25 AM
Personally I think Lime Cannons shoot allot better then Spud Guns.

HUTCH 7.62
12-18-2009, 11:37 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Potato Guns were considered non registered firearms and were considered a felony

Barbarossa
12-18-2009, 12:10 PM
I hear the Pipe Fitter's unions keep getting busted for constructive possession.

7222 Hawker
12-18-2009, 12:20 PM
Can you imagine getting selected to sit on a jury for some kid with a potato gun? I think I would just have to laugh and tell them to call me when they had a real case. The fact that some lib actually tried to write legislation on this is absolutely absurd.

freonr22
12-18-2009, 12:31 PM
I wonder if one could have registered their "Pre-ban" spud gun. Since it has a smooth barrel it's more of a shotgun. Certainly not an SBS....though they sometimes had evil pistol grips. I'll admit to shooting one in Oregon :) .....Years ago.....Properly constructed a spud gun could lob a potato several hundred yards with enough accuracy to repeatedly hit the broadside of a metal barn. In Oregon this is just considered redneck entertainment....or maybe fast food.


they make 2" and 3" rifled barrels

nemisis1400
12-18-2009, 12:48 PM
wait, seriously rifled barrels? where can i get these? i need pipes that are rifled for . . . making water go straighter . . . screw it, i'm going vegas and need me some vegetable launchers.

CHS
12-18-2009, 1:41 PM
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought Potato Guns were considered non registered firearms and were considered a felony

Uhhh.. then at least 70% of my firearms are felonies.

There is no registration requirement for firearms in CA except for new sales of handguns, and only handguns. All long guns, shotguns, receivers, and "other" are unregistered.

command_liner
12-18-2009, 2:13 PM
Propane is a compressed gas.......

Speaking of propane, I have heard it mentioned that if one takes
an old 20 lb propane tank, a nipple to connect up a 1" commercial
sprinkler dump valve, a T to connect up to a compressed air source,
and another 1" nipple, a flare out to 2" pipe and a short section of
2" pipe for a barrel, the results are quite good. Reports are the
total cost is about $25, and you can launch a lemon so far it disappears
from sight. So I have heard.

Further reports indicate that at 50PSI such a device stores enough
energy to kill a human, so do not go too wild.

Typical propane tanks are 300 PSI rated and typical 2-stage compressors
go to 175 PSI. For a 6' barrel, 175PSI might put an ear of corn out at
1500 yards or so. One might think.

joe_sun
12-18-2009, 3:38 PM
They are legal. Read the ATF letter on the previous page.

Just because something is okay Federally doesn't mean it is legal in California. Don't fall into that trap.

CHS
12-18-2009, 3:50 PM
Just because something is okay Federally doesn't mean it is legal in California. Don't fall into that trap.

But if there's nothing explicitly declaring them as illegal in CA, then the ATF letter offers some legal protection.

As does the legality of muzzle-loading firearms.

joelberg
12-18-2009, 4:05 PM
But if there's nothing explicitly declaring them as illegal in CA, then the ATF letter offers some legal protection.

As does the legality of muzzle-loading firearms.

Yup.

According to some of the FUD people have spread in this thread, .50 + cal muzzleloaders are illegal too. And we know that's not the case.

GrizzlyGuy
12-18-2009, 4:34 PM
Yup.

According to some of the FUD people have spread in this thread, .50 + cal muzzleloaders are illegal too. And we know that's not the case.

Muzzleloaders are excluded from the definition of "destructive device" in 12301 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12301.html) because they don't use fixed ammunition:

The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter,
shall include any of the following weapons... any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition...


The feds define "fixed ammunition" here (http://law.justia.com/us/cfr/title27/27-2.0.1.2.4.html#27:2.0.1.2.4.2.16.1):

Fixed ammunition - That self-contained unit consisting of the case, primer, propellant charge, and projectile or projectiles.

So, a muzzleloader wouldn't be restricted in caliber per 12301 since it doesn't use fixed ammunition. Neither does a potato gun, so it wouldn't be considered a "destructive device" either.

But a potato gun does seem to meet the definition of a zip gun from 12020 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html):

(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or
device which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensed
pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of
the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a
manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section
921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations
issued pursuant thereto.
(C) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemption
from paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181
and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencing
with Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United States
Code, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(D) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an
explosion or other form of combustion.

Based on it being a zip gun, I'm calling ILLEGAL on the hair spray/starter fluid/etc. types of potato guns here in CA unless someone else has a better analysis.

ar15robert
12-18-2009, 4:48 PM
IMO use it as a weapon then you may be screwed.Like shooting at another person,attempt to commit a robbery,launching potatoes to destroy occupied buildings,moving cars,etc.

Just seeing how far you can luanch a potato against a hill or open field i doubt you will have any problems.Similar to a model rocket i guess

CABilly
12-18-2009, 4:51 PM
California Penal Code Section 12020

(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or
device which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensed
pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of
the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a
manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section
921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations
issued pursuant thereto.
(C) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemption
from paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181
and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencing
with Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United States
Code, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(D) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an
explosion or other form of combustion.

Potato gun sounds like a zip gun. If you designed one that used compressed air to launch the spud, you might be safe. But then again, local ordinances would probably still be in you way. I'd advise against building or acquiring one.

WRT muzzleloaders:
The term firearm does not apply to a federally defined “antique” firearm for the purpose
of dealer licensing requirements, sales or loans between private parties, or requirements
to obtain a Handgun Safety Certificate pursuant to Penal Code sections 12070, 12071,
subdivisions (b) (c) or (d) of 12072, or 12073. The term firearm does not apply to
federally defined “curio” or “relic” long guns over 50 years old for the purpose of
transfers between private parties. (Penal Code §§ 12001(e), 12078(t)(2).)


The general prohibition in this section does not include antique firearms. An antique
firearm is defined as any firearm that was manufactured in or before 1898 and is not
designed or redesigned to use rimfire or conventional center fire ignition with fixed
ammunition. This includes any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap, or similar type of
ignition system or replica thereof, regardless of the date of manufacture. Firearms
manufactured in or before 1898 that use fixed ammunition which is no longer
manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of
commercial trade are also considered antiques. (Penal Code § 12020(b)(5).)
This general prohibition also does not include any firearm or ammunition that is a curio
or relic as defined in section 478.11 of Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations and
is in the possession of a person permitted to possess such items pursuant to Chapter 44
(commencing with section 921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations
issued pursuant thereto. (Penal Code § 12020(b)(7).)


So if they can be freely transfered between parties, how can they be illegal?

(source: http://ag.ca.gov/firearms/forms/pdf/Cfl2006.pdf )

sac550
12-18-2009, 8:53 PM
not a zip gun unless you use it as a weapon. if you use it as a weapon it could also be a firearm at that point.

IrishPirate
12-18-2009, 8:56 PM
I wonder if one could have registered their "Pre-ban" spud gun. Since it has a smooth barrel it's more of a shotgun.

maybe if you used mashed potatoes you could claim that it is a spud-shotgun!! :D

CHS
12-19-2009, 7:16 AM
Based on it being a zip gun, I'm calling ILLEGAL on the hair spray/starter fluid/etc. types of potato guns here in CA unless someone else has a better analysis.

I would say the ATF letter qualifies as an exemption to the tax being required. Therefore "all of the following" can't apply. So it's not a zip gun :)

HUTCH 7.62
12-19-2009, 9:20 PM
maybe if you used mashed potatoes you could claim that it is a spud-shotgun!! :D

MMM spuds make great sabot slugs I.E. ram potato through barrel then insert nails reinsert potato into barrel.

GrizzlyGuy
12-20-2009, 8:00 AM
I would say the ATF letter qualifies as an exemption to the tax being required. Therefore "all of the following" can't apply. So it's not a zip gun :)

Dohh! Are you saying that I just sawed up my super-magnum PVC spud shooter for nothing? :o

Just KIDDING, I did not possess any such super-magnum spud shooter. :p

Blue
12-20-2009, 8:05 AM
the cop that took mine when i was 16 told me it fell under the zip gun catagory.

CHS
12-21-2009, 7:08 AM
So here is the ATF letter, specifically saying they are NOT firearms.

ATF -- Yes, they are legal.

Department of the Treasury
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Washington, DC 20226

As defined in section 921(a) (3) of Title 18, United States Code (USC) the term "firearm" means --

(A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive;
(B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon;
(C) any firearm muffler or firearm silencer; or
(D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

As defined in 26 USC subsection 5845(f) (2) the term destructive device includes any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may readily be converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellent, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary or his delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; and (3) any combination of parts either designed or intended for use in converting any device into a destructive device as defined in subparagraphs (1) and (2) and from which a destructive device may be readily assembled. The term 'destructive device' shall not include any device which is neither designed nor redesigned for use as a weapon; any device, although originally designed for use as a weapon, which is redesigned for use as a signaling, pyrotechnic, line throwing, safety, or similar device; surplus ordnance sold, loaned, or given by the Secretary of the Army pursuant to the provisions of section 4684(2), 4685, or 4686 of title 10 of the USC; or any other device which the Secretary of the Treasury or his delegate finds is not likely to be used as a weapon, or is an antique or is a rifle which the owner intends to use solely for sporting purposes.

It is unlawful for anyone to make or possess a destructive device which is not registered in accordance with the provisions of the National Firearms Act.

We have previously examined that certain muzzle loading devices known as "potato guns." These potato guns are constructed from PVC plastic tubing. They use hair spray or a similar aerosol substance for a propellant, and have some type of spark ignitor. We have determined that these devices, as described, are not firearms provided that they are used solely for launching potatoes for recreational purposes. However, any such devices which are used as weapons or used to launch other forms of projectiles may be firearms and destructive devices as defined.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms
Firearms Technology Branch, Room 6450
650 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20226

Sincerely yours,

(signature)
Curtis H. A. Bartlett Acting Chief, Firearms Technology Branch

And the "zip gun" regulations:

California Penal Code Section 12020

(10) As used in this section, a "zip gun" means any weapon or
device which meets all of the following criteria:
(A) It was not imported as a firearm by an importer licensed
pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section 921) of Title 18 of
the United States Code and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(B) It was not originally designed to be a firearm by a
manufacturer licensed pursuant to Chapter 44 (commencing with Section
921) of Title 18 of the United States Code and the regulations
issued pursuant thereto.
(C) No tax was paid on the weapon or device nor was an exemption
from paying tax on that weapon or device granted under Section 4181
and Subchapters F (commencing with Section 4216) and G (commencing
with Section 4221) of Chapter 32 of Title 26 of the United States
Code, as amended, and the regulations issued pursuant thereto.
(D) It is made or altered to expel a projectile by the force of an
explosion or other form of combustion.

Obviously it meets criteria A and D, and subject to CA law, it would appear to meet B as well.

But lets look at C and the ATF letter. The ATF letter explicitly mentions that these are recreational devices and are NOT firearms. If something is not a firearm then no firearms excise tax needs to be paid.

Now, I haven't looked through the entirety of Chapter 32 of Title 26 USC, but in typical fed fashion it would appear that tax's are only due on an item that's manufactured for sale. Personal-use items are not subject to any excise taxes at the fed level. And this is all that counts. Even if you were supposed to pay a tax on it at the State level, the law specifically states the Federal code.

So since potato guns are totally exempt from Chapter 32 of Title 26 USC, then C does not apply. Since C does not apply, "ALL OF THE FOLLOWING" cannot apply and therefore potato guns are NOT zip guns in CA. Period.


Edit: You know... In reading Chapter 32 Title 26 USC, it would appear that the zip gun law in CA can't have ANY teeth whatsoever. Any home-made firearm, period, is exempt from paying any kind of excise tax, even if it's a totally new design that no one has ever done before. As long as it would meet the definition of a Title 1 firearm, you don't have to pay tax and it's not a zip gun. If it was a title 2 firearm however, then disobeying the zip-gun laws will be the least of your worries. The ATF doesn't like it if you don't pay your taxes on an SBR/SBS/DD/AOW/MG/SUPPRESSOR.

leelaw
12-21-2009, 7:20 AM
Federally, potato guns are legal.

Under state law, potato guns that use combustion to launch the projectile are "firearms", and one with a bore of over .5" is a destructive device.

Pneumatic potato guns are legal, if not used like a weapon (shot at a person, etc.)

CHS
12-21-2009, 7:34 AM
Federally, potato guns are legal.

Under state law, potato guns that use combustion to launch the projectile are "firearms", and one with a bore of over .5" is a destructive device.


Nope:

The term "destructive device," as used in this chapter,
shall include any of the following weapons... any weapon of a caliber greater than 0.60 caliber which fires fixed ammunition...

A muzzleloading potato gun does not fire fixed ammunition.

It's not a DD. It's not a zip gun. It's legal.

milkman0
03-19-2010, 9:47 AM
I e-mailed the CA Bureau of Firearms last week inquiring about the legality of spud guns and they just called back yesterday. He said that they are illegal based on CA Penal Code 12020C.10, the zip gun law. I think it is safe to assume that the CA authorities (police, sheriff, etc) will act as if spud guns are illegal. I agree that the tax law mentioned above would seem to nullify this zip gun classification, but understand the risks.

Check your local city ordinances as most cities have laws that prohibit all devices that propel projectiles.

Personally, I think if you are using it responsibly as recreation with plenty of room to shoot, and you aren't bothering anyone, you aren't going to have problems.

CHS
03-19-2010, 10:17 AM
I e-mailed the CA Bureau of Firearms last week inquiring about the legality of spud guns and they just called back yesterday. He said that they are illegal based on CA Penal Code 12020C.10, the zip gun law. I think it is safe to assume that the CA authorities (police, sheriff, etc) will act as if spud guns are illegal. I agree that the tax law mentioned above would seem to nullify this zip gun classification, but understand the risks.


Yeah, spud guns definitely don't pass the test for zip guns.

Doesn't mean you won't have one confiscated, or worse, get arrested for having one.

But they're definitely not illegal and definitely not zip guns.

yelohamr
03-19-2010, 11:28 AM
What if you use hash browns for ammo?

powderedtoastman
03-19-2010, 11:52 AM
searched on calguns some time ago and could only get a few statements here and there that potato guns are illegal. How long ago was this in effect? whats the penalty? And seriously, why potato guns? they're so simple to make, did someone take one in the face or something?

I :rofl2: at this part! When we were kids we wrapped a rock in duct tape and pounded it till it was big enough to shoot, and we flat out shot it at each other. I remember getting one in the calf, and having a black bruise for almost 2 months . . . I miss bein a kid! :43:

stan
03-19-2010, 11:58 AM
I :rofl2: at this part! When we were kids we wrapped a rock in duct tape and pounded it till it was big enough to shoot, and we flat out shot it at each other. I remember getting one in the calf, and having a black bruise for almost 2 months . . . I miss bein a kid! :43:

one time we talked my friend into getting shot with a 1.5" potato gun in the back at about 10ft distance, in trade for 2 jugs (half gal each) of my home brewed beer. the welt / bruise was like 8" diameter LOL :D

and we had him wear a helmet just in case, we're very safety concious

MichaelKent
03-19-2010, 2:03 PM
My brother actually designed and built an automatic spud gun - you hold the trigger and it will fire potatoes one after another. I think the gravity fed "mag" held like 5-7 spuds.

Would be rather funny if that winds up being more legally questionable than the saiga conversion I'm considering. :p

RideIcon
03-19-2010, 4:54 PM
if you use fuel and there's a combustion, its a firearm.
compressed gas/air is good to go

CHS
03-19-2010, 5:01 PM
if you use fuel and there's a combustion, its a firearm.
compressed gas/air is good to go

Doesn't matter.

Potato Guns are legal, even if there's combustion:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=3526827&postcount=67

motorhead
03-20-2010, 12:55 AM
do i need id to buy potatos or hairspray?:rofl2:



2" X 4' bbl.
6" X 18" chamber
est. 400fps with a 1# potato. (still trying to figure how to chrono a potato)

Mulay El Raisuli
03-20-2010, 6:11 AM
and we had him wear a helmet just in case, we're very safety concious


Clearly!


The Raisuli

JDay
03-20-2010, 9:08 AM
Its my understanding that they are legal for anyone over 16 to manufacture in California. However you should check local ordinances first.

JDay
03-20-2010, 9:14 AM
IIRC, anything with a bore over .50 is a DD, the ATF makes exceptions for shotguns by make and model


Muzzle loaders are exempt.

JDay
03-20-2010, 9:21 AM
But a potato gun does seem to meet the definition of a zip gun from 12020 (http://law.onecle.com/california/penal/12020.html):

The only way it meets the definition of a zip gun is if its a "weapon."

CHS
03-20-2010, 9:25 AM
The only way it meets the definition of a zip gun is if its a "weapon."

*forehead smack*

This has already been gone over in this thread. See my analysis here:

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/showpost.php?p=3526827&postcount=67

They're legal and they're not zip guns. They ARE technically firearms in California, at least when loaded. But they aren't illegal. And they aren't DD's because they don't fire fixed ammunition.

JDay
03-20-2010, 9:25 AM
I e-mailed the CA Bureau of Firearms last week inquiring about the legality of spud guns and they just called back yesterday. He said that they are illegal based on CA Penal Code 12020C.10, the zip gun law. I think it is safe to assume that the CA authorities (police, sheriff, etc) will act as if spud guns are illegal. I agree that the tax law mentioned above would seem to nullify this zip gun classification, but understand the risks.

Check your local city ordinances as most cities have laws that prohibit all devices that propel projectiles.

Personally, I think if you are using it responsibly as recreation with plenty of room to shoot, and you aren't bothering anyone, you aren't going to have problems.

I wouldn't trust anything they say, they have plenty of information on their website that is contrary to state law.

Ballistic043
03-20-2010, 11:20 AM
it doesnt matter if you dont trust them. if its written as municipal code/city ordnance you better follow it within city limits.

ill admit, some municipal laws are complete BS and probably stem back to the early 1900's. but you need to respect the laws within your particular city because they vary.

a good example of this is during the 4th of july. alot of Huntington Beach residents will travel to costa mesa to buy fireworks since they are legal to sell and use in Costa Mesa. but as soon as a resident brings the fireworks back within our city limits and get caught, they will receive a fine and confiscation.