Broken Gun Is no Deadly Weapon, Ohio Court Says

     COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) – Calling an inoperable handgun “no more of a deadly weapon than … a laptop or a briefcase,” the Ohio Supreme Court threw out a minor’s concealed-weapon conviction Thursday.
     With nearly unanimous support, the five-page decision says “an inoperable pistol that is not used as a bludgeon” cannot be considered a deadly weapon under Ohio law.
     The ruling tosses a first-degree misdemeanor conviction against J.T., a minor who was arrested when a police officer discovered a Hi-Point 9mm handgun in his waistband.
     A magistrate determined that, even though the weapon was inoperable, it “was still capable of being used as a deadly weapon.”
     The Supreme Court disagreed, finding that the gun “had lost the sole function for which it had been designed.”
     “It was no longer a deadly weapon unless there was some evidence presented that it was used as a bludgeon or otherwise used, possessed, or carried as a weapon,” Justice William O’Neill wrote for the court. “There was not.”
     To O’Neill, an inoperable pistol is “no more of a deadly weapon than is a laptop computer or a briefcase, yet attorneys are not routinely arrested for carrying concealed weapons as they enter our courthouses.”
     Three of O’Neill’s colleagues concurred in full, while another two concurred only in judgment.
     The lone dissent came from Justice Paul Pfeifer who said he would have dismissed the appeal as having been improvidently accepted.

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