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MailTribune.com
  • Firing BB guns inside city limits is illegal

  • Is it legal to shoot a BB gun in the city of Medford? A boy in our neighborhood received a gun for Christmas and spent three days shooting randomly at everything — without any adult supervision. He hasn't put his eye out yet, but he did shoot and kill two birds, including a dove. I did reprimand him for this. What else can I do?
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  • Is it legal to shoot a BB gun in the city of Medford? A boy in our neighborhood received a gun for Christmas and spent three days shooting randomly at everything — without any adult supervision. He hasn't put his eye out yet, but he did shoot and kill two birds, including a dove. I did reprimand him for this. What else can I do?
    — Lorraine H., Medford
    Quite simply, Lorraine, you can call the cops. It is illegal to discharge a BB gun — or most weapons for that matter — in Medford.
    A Red Ryder BB gun might look just wonderful in the movie "A Christmas Story," but the reality is something else. In Medford, if you own a BB gun, about all you can do with it is look at it.
    We'll just recite Medford Municipal Code 5.160, which applies to the discharge of weapons:
    "No person other than a peace officer shall use, fire or discharge a slingshot, crossbow, bow and arrow, blowgun, or weapon that is designed for and readily capable of expelling a projectile at the time it was discharged by force of spring or pressurized air or gas or gun powder or other explosive within the city or in a city-owned public park."
    There are a few notable exceptions, such as a person using a firearm in lawful self defense or for someone at a shooting range, shooting gallery or other areas designed specifically for target shooting.
    Medford police Lt. Mike Budreau said officers could issue a $150 citation if someone is caught shooting in city limits.
    If the boy in question is 12 or older, he would receive the citation himself. If he is younger, his parents would get the citation.
    In most cases, officers respond to a report of a shooting after the deed is done and the gun has been put away. Unless the officer witnesses the shooting, no citation would be issued. A neighbor could file a complaint, but most just opt to have the officer warn the child and family.
    "We advise them of the law — that usually gets the job done," Budreau said.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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