Are BB Guns Illegal in the City of Lawton?
I'm not jaded enough to think that a bb gun is a right of passage for every child in this state, but it sure is for a large number of them.
Whether it's the passing on of a family hunting tradition, a life lesson in responsibility, or just sharing your outdoor sports of target shooting, for those that embrace it, a kids first bb gun is sacred.
But what if you live in Lawton?
The way the law is written seems contradictory to itself. The firing of "any" weapon is unlawful inside city limits, but there's an allowance on private property?
The only reason I'm bringing it up is there was an epic lunchroom debate on what you can and can't do in your own backyard inside city limits. From bb guns to bows, one coworker swore they were all illegal to "fire" on your own property.
The law is as follows:
16-4-4-466 - Discharging firearms and other dangerous weapons—Exception.
A. No person shall discharge any firearm, rifle, CO2 gun, air gun, BB gun, or slingshot.
B. This section shall not apply to the following circumstances:
1. In necessary self-defense of persons or property;
2. A law enforcement officer in the performance of his duty;
3. For the purpose of target shooting or practice on a range operated by qualified personnel; qualified personnel shall consist of either a certified firearms safety instructor, rifle or pistol marksmanship instructor certified by the National Rifle Association, or person designated by a rifle or pistol club, public or private school or military agency;
4. For the purpose of target shooting on private premises with air, spring or CO2 operated BB, pellet guns or slingshots if:
a. The target area is enclosed in such manner and with materials that will stop the projectiles;
b. Such target shooting is supervised by an adult at all times; and
c. Any safety precautions recommended by the chief of police are complied with.
5. In an area recommended as a hunting area by the state and approved by the chief of police. Such area shall be posted as required by the chief of police and may be closed at any time by the chief of police;
6. Where a permit is issued by the chief of police; or
7. Any military exercise or parade.
If you read the bold portion above, it doesn't seem like bb guns are illegal to discharge in your own backyard provided you have an adequate backstop as a general safety measure, but as it's somewhat vague, what do local politicians consider "adequate" in terms of a backstop?
I've had several bb guns in my lifetime and have yet to see a pellet or bb shoot through a wood fence. They're just not that powerful until you get into the kind of large caliber air rifles no parent would let a child loose with anyway.
Does that mean my fenced yard is an adequate enclosed area for teaching a child how to responsibly and accurately shoot a bb gun?
Perhaps the law can be interpreted as needing a fully enclosed area, but surely this doesn't mean I'd have to build a personal indoor bb gun shooting facility in my own back yard right? That's just ridiculous. Perhaps the law would only require a purpose-built bullet trap to comply with the municipal code.
These are built of steel and constructed to contain bb's and pellets, but there's a safety aspect against firing a bb into steel. A lesson we've all learned from decades of watching A Christmas Story.
You'll shoot your eye out.
So the question remains, are bb guns illegal to fire inside the city limits of Lawton? How do you interpret the vague law? Do you have cool neighbors? Is it don't ask/don't tell?