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Old December 10, 2001, 12:39 AM   #1
ThePatriot29
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Join Date: November 15, 2001
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Question about ASPs

Hello,
I'm a newbie, but a longtime firearms enthusiast. I reside in Virginia, and have a question about the legality of ASP batons. Virginia law forbids the carrying of "spring sticks", defined as:

"Spring stick" means a spring-loaded metal stick activated by pushing a button which rapidly and forcefully telescopes the weapon to several times its original length. "

It is my understanding that ASPs do not have a button which activates them, and thus would be legal under Virginia law. Am I interpreting this correctly?

Thanks


Definition taken from: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp...0+cod+18.2-308
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Old December 10, 2001, 11:18 AM   #2
ThePatriot29
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Thank you. Are there firearms lawyers, and how do I find one? If not, what's a good way to find a lawyer who works on firearms cases? Thanks for the advice
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Old December 11, 2001, 12:23 PM   #3
Erich
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I'm a lawyer who does criminal defense appeals, and this is the sort of definition I hack out in the courts. Given my experience with ASPs (used to sell them, long ago, though I only have a Monadnock Autolock now) and the link to the statute you set up, it doesn't look like an ASP is a "spring stick" under that statute. (The ASPs I've seen require an outward or centrifugal thrust or movement to open them - pushing a button does not deploy them.) However, my perfunctory glance at the statute is definitely not a legal opinion: I have not researched VA law to see whether there have been any cases regarding the definition of "spring stick" or even verified that the link you published is to the controlling statute. As Erick suggests, you really must talk to an attorney in your jurisdiction to get an opinion on your local law.

Regardless of the answer you get from the attorney you contact, there are no guarantees . . . the cop who finds the ASP will decide whether he arrests you on the charge. The prosecutor's office will decide whether they will charge you under the statute. A judge in your state will decide the legal question of whether the charge will go forward. If the judge says, "Go ahead," a jury of your peers will decide whether you committed a crime in carrying the ASP. Ultimately, a panel of appellate judges from your state may have to review the case and decide whether your ASP is a "spring stick" under the statute . . . if they haven't done so already.

As Erick suggested, calling the local prosecutor's office might get you an answer - though it might not be the same answer you'd get at the prosecutor's office in the next jurisdiction over or even from another prosecutor in the same office. There really isn't anything that will guarantee that you're not going to get hassled and have to defend yourself in court and maybe even lose - regardless of how clearly a statute might seem to support you. Unjust things do happen sometimes.

But talking to the local prosecutor is probably your best bet. The answer you get from them is probably going to be pretty reliable. If you want to go the other route, the local Bar association can hook you up with numbers for criminal defense lawyers who should know the subject, although I'd try to get a couple of names from an attorney with another specialization. Find out who the attorney would go to if he had a problem. Not all lawyers are as on top of things as they might be; you want to hire one who's on the ball.

Good luck. Ain't law fun? :barf:
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Old December 12, 2001, 09:02 AM   #4
ThePatriot29
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Erich, Thanks for the opinion. I will follow up on it with one of those sources. Weapons laws are so stupid. They leave such loopholes it's not even funny.
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Old December 12, 2001, 11:33 PM   #5
Mushinto
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Quote:
...Weapons laws are so stupid. They leave such loopholes it's not even funny.
The only loopholes in weapons laws is that you are still allowed to have weapons. That loophole will be the subject of the next weapons law.
ML
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Old December 13, 2001, 04:22 PM   #6
Stoic
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Consult a Virginia licensed attorney. Generally speaking, an ASP may still fall within the definition of a dangerous instrumentality or weapon under VA law. In my State, an ASP is a dangerous weapon under the law. To carry it concealed would be the same thing as carrying a firearm illegally. It's not worth it in my book to carry an ASP, knife, or other type of weapon without a license. If such weapons could aid your situation, then retreating could also assist. Whenever a civilian has the opportunity to flee and is not confronted with deadly force, then reacting with a weapon such as an ASP could easily turn you into the aggressor and at odds with the law. An ASP really isn't going to make you any more effective than a trained martial artist using only his hands. Get martial arts training and you can carry that with you anywhere you go.
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Old December 15, 2001, 11:25 AM   #7
Mushinto
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Just for the record, ASP is a brand name connected to a particular manufacturer. The proper name for the weapon is "expandable baton". A minor point, but I find that the ASP people are annoying, pricegaugers and anti-free trade. The best expandable baton I have found is from CASCO, a division of Monadnock.
ML
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Old December 15, 2001, 03:30 PM   #8
MW740
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I used to carry an ASP in my back pocket while I was working security at a bar in the not so nice part of one of our nations largest cities. I only had to pull it out once and that was because I had three drunk aggressors. Just the fact that I pulled the ASP out, extended it with that reasuring noise, and the fact that I stood my ground made these perpetrators think twice and they left. Thank God that I didn't have to hit anybody with it. As far as legality was concerned, I wasn't to worried about that because of the amount of physical confrintations that I had to deal with. My main concern was my safety and the safety of my co-workers.
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