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Old February 18, 2007, 01:33 AM   #1
Indrid Cold
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What are the legal ramifications surrounding blanks?

Now, first off, I'm not about to suggest that someone use blanks as a method to deter the bad guy, as it's obvious that the situation could turn *really* nasty, *really* fast and leave you without actual ammunition. However, I'm still curious as to how firing blanks is dealt with. Firing live ammo within city limits is illegal (with the exception of a few select circumstances) but are blanks considered live ammo? I live in a fairly wooded suburb (we've got fields and forests surrounding the house) and every once and a while we get a coyote coming around which has eaten a neighbor's cat (he's going to meet the .22 pretty soon...), and raccoons which like to start fights. If I were to find one of the two causing a ruckus and fired off a blank to startle them with noise, is that legal? I don't imagine it would be, but at the same time, I've never heard of the situation arising. Thanks.
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Old February 18, 2007, 01:37 AM   #2
Trip20
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If your intent is to "startle them with noise," why does it have to be the noise of a gun?

Any loud abrupt noise will do. Like a wooden spoon against a pot.
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Old February 18, 2007, 02:12 AM   #3
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Legally, firing a blank should generally about be the same as firing a real round.
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Old February 18, 2007, 02:33 AM   #4
Indrid Cold
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Trip20 - Well, I realize that. An airhorn would also work, but I'm just using blanks to as an example to serve the purposes of my question, "How are blanks treated under the law?"

Kozak6 - Not trying to be picky here, but does "should" mean that it does, or is that your opinion? Bit confused.
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Old February 18, 2007, 03:02 AM   #5
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I find it very hard to believe blanks are illegal anywhere any time. They would only be illegal where ever making a loud noise would be illegal. The definition of a firearm according to most states, and the ATF, is a device which uses powder to expel a projectile. No projectile = no gun. Think about a starter pistol. They use those at schools. Use any kind of real gun near a school and you're going away for a long long time.

That said, it doesn't mean your neighbors won't call the cops when they hear a gun shot.
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Old February 18, 2007, 03:18 AM   #6
Indrid Cold
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See, that's what I was thinking... I've never heard of someone getting arrested or getting fined for shooting blanks, but at the same time, I've never heard someone say "Oh yeah, I needed to scare off those stupid crows so I went and shot a few blanks" or anything of the sort. I mean, stupid as it sounds, I would expect that I would have heard of some foolish highschool kids messing around shooting blanks at each other playing war games or some such nonsense. But, so far, nothing. No stories about penalties for using them, and no stories about using them legally... Any LEO's able to chime in on this?
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Old February 18, 2007, 09:27 AM   #7
Al Norris
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Someone correct me, if I'm wrong here. But "blanks" do expel a projectile. Its a paper wad that shoots out of the barrel at bullet speeds. It can kill at anything like "close encounter" ranges.

Many actors that think blanks are safe, have shot and wounded themselves or their friends (some of which have died) when just "playing around" with them.

I would think that the law would come down on you pretty hard, if that happened.
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Old February 18, 2007, 09:28 AM   #8
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While the blanks can be considered a pyrotechnic, it does not change the status of the firearm itself.

Most cities/municipal zones that have ordnances about discharging a firearm within city/municipal limits, say nothing about the type of ammunition, the act says firearms, so if one shoots a firearm, even though it is a blank round (noise maker/pyrotechnic) under the law you have still discharged the firearm.

If the need exists for scaring birds, coyotes, foxes, feral dogs the Orange plastic flare pistols have banger shells available, but then you can also run a foul of noise ordnances too and when a 110 -150 decibel bang goes off in the neighborhood, expect that someone, especially in this day and age , will be calling the police and who will respond to the the report of a sound of an explosion or shots fired.

They might tell you not to do it again or ticket you for disturbing the peace or even mischief and depending on where and who, send you the bill for the call out.

So the airhorn pots and pans or even a super soaker would be a better option in my opinion.

PS. Blanks are also not that common, they are out there, but you really have to look for them.

Last edited by Mueller; February 18, 2007 at 09:31 AM. Reason: additional comment
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Old February 18, 2007, 01:32 PM   #9
revjen45
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Many moons ago an actor named Jon-Erik Hexum (1957-1984) died from shooting himself in the head with a blank fooling around with a prop gun. They are not harmless up close.

Last edited by revjen45; February 18, 2007 at 01:33 PM. Reason: possible offensive word
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Old February 18, 2007, 01:50 PM   #10
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I have fired many blanks that utilize a crimp at the end of the case. The only thing that left the barrel using these was hot gas and flame. There was no paper or wad in the shell.
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Old February 18, 2007, 02:06 PM   #11
Mueller
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I think they are referring to the 4 in 1 blanks, IIRC and other blanks had plastic bodies and formed nose cones with a brass case head and other inhouse designs that were made up by armourers/special effects people, where they used wadding and epoxy to manufacture blanks.

The gas jet alone has sufficient power to be fatal, if in close contact.

The star crimped blank was/is more a military preference, since they must function in full auto's and must mimic fully the profile of the issue round and made the way they are, they resist deformation and tend to feed with better reliability and this gives manufacturers a place to use cases that failed to meet the specifications required for the service round.
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Old February 18, 2007, 04:12 PM   #12
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i dont think you would be breaking the law by firing blanks just as long as your not doing it in the middle of the night. they sell those blank guns for dog training, those arent illegal. i wouldnt try firing blanks in a heavily populated area but if you are in a somewhat wooded area i wouldnt worry too much.
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Old February 18, 2007, 04:19 PM   #13
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use a pellet gun, a good head shot should do the trick for those critters if you use a powerful enough one
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Old February 18, 2007, 04:44 PM   #14
Mueller
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Quote:
I wouldn't try firing blanks in a heavily populated area but if you are in a somewhat wooded area I wouldn't worry too much.
Check your local ordinances, before taking any advice off the internet.

Just because it's legal to own, does not mean that you can use it within the jurisdiction in which you live.

Remember that every state/county/city/municipal region/incorporated etc have all sorts of different rules and restrictions concerning firearms and the use of such and you may find to your dismay, that what your doing isn't allowed.

I see signs here every now and then, that say incorporated area no discharge of firearms allowed beyond this point, or words to that effect and know many cities have ordnances restricting the legal discharge of firearms and they make no distinction if ammunition with projectiles is used or one that makes nothing more than noise.

You have discharged a firearm for a purpose other than defense of life or at a certified range and if you are lucky they may say don't do it again if not expect to have it taken away and go to court and hopefully get only a misdemeanor charge and not a felony that prevents you from owning firearms.

Like I said before "Check your local ordinances, before taking any advice off the internet."

Hope this helps.
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Old February 18, 2007, 06:02 PM   #15
Indrid Cold
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Thanks guys. Like I said - this was mostly for hypothetical situations. I've got a nasty air rifle (1000fps) that should take care of them, but I was just curious about blanks.
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Old February 18, 2007, 07:04 PM   #16
45-70
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Listen to Mueller

Check your local ordinances and state laws. More than likely, discharge of a firearm will be illegal, regardless of what type of ammunition is fired to cause the discharge. Why are starter pistols legal in some places? Because they are not "firearms." They use blanks too. If using blanks was OK, why would they need a starter pistol?
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Old February 18, 2007, 07:20 PM   #17
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I do beleive Mueller is absolutly correct. I would not care to quibble with the local law enforcement over the definition of what is considered a firearm.
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Old February 18, 2007, 07:46 PM   #18
BigBang
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If you really wanna shoot blanks, just get a blank firing pistol. They're really cheap, and since they have a solid barrel, it's more or less impossible for anybody to call it a firearm. Somewhere I saw a revolver designed to only fire shotgun primers, which happen to be just as loud as a .22 blank.
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Old February 19, 2007, 11:25 PM   #19
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I was given a 'blank gun' by a friend not too long ago. Its basically a 1911 model with a plugged barrel that fires 8mm blanks. I fired one round to see how loud it was, and its about as loud as maybe a .22 or equivalent. I can imagine it would get you in trouble if used improperly, but its definately not considered a firearm in any way. He even bought it off of ebay if I remember right.
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Old February 23, 2007, 10:07 AM   #20
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If it illegal to dischareg a firearm, I would think that includes blanks. The neighbor that reports you will not know the difference.
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