The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Man Arrested for Super Soaker Shotgun in Fresno

Some would say that his ingenuity knows no bounds. Officers would say that he was an idiot who committed a crime that was dangerous to himself and others.

The New York Daily News reports that 54-year-old Randy Smith was arrested after he was caught walking through the streets with a homemade shotgun. The most amazing part is that he built the gun out of a Super Soaker water gun.

The first question that probably popped into your mind is, how do I get one? Well, that's what Google is for. Next question.

Ah, your second question — is that a crime? Why yes, yes it is. Under the California Penal Code, if you make, take, bake, sell, borrow, or steal a zip gun, you are subject to imprisonment for up to one year.

You might be wondering what a “zip gun” is. Well, the statute doesn’t define it, which leaves it up to interpretation and debate. However, the commonly understood meaning is a homemade gun, usually made for a few bucks worth of pipe and a screw or nail. If you’ve ever seen a potato gun, imagine that, but made out of steel and more lethal.

There is an exception to the prohibition on zip guns. If you possess a Federal Firearms License that allows you to manufacture firearms, you may be able to make certain types of homemade guns legally.

However, each type of gun (handgun, shotgun, rifle) has its own state and federal regulations, so it’s better to check the ATF and California State laws or consult an attorney before creating your own Super Soaker shotgun.

Also, if you plan on making a homemade firearm, realize that such firearms operate under extreme pressure. A small mistake could lead to the zip gun exploding and severely injuring you and those near you.

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