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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008

    Default Are Paintball Guns Legal Children Under Age 16

    My question involves criminal law for the state of: N.Y.

    My friend is telling me that it is illegal for children under the age of 16 to own Paintball Markers in New York State and as such, are recommending that no one under the age of 16 be allowed to play, even with a waiver. I have played against kids under 16 years of age at your facility (and been shot by them, too!). What am i overlooking or missing in my research? he sited this NYS Penal Law:

    Section 265.05 Unlawful possession of weapons by persons under sixteen

    It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of sixteen to possess any air-gun, spring-gun or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring or air, or any gun or any instrument or weapon in or upon which any loaded or blank cartridges may be used, or any loaded or blank cartridges or ammunition therefore, or any dangerous knife; provided that the possession of rifle or shotgun or ammunition therefore by the holder of a hunting license or permit issued pursuant to article eleven of the environmental conservation law and used in accordance with said law shall not be governed by this section.

    A person who violates the provisions of this section shall be adjudged a juvenile delinquent.

    I think they are reaching here and I’d like to know if any of you have some ammo to help me. (Hopefully not a “dangerous knife”!)


    [1] Generally, only the two counts on which appellant was formally adjudicated and sentenced would be before the court. But for the efficient administration of justice we address all four counts. See Minn. R. Crim. P. 28.02, subd. 11 (appellate court may review any matter as interests of justice may require).

    [2] Although courts can and have pieced together a definition of “firearm” for use in the criminal code, this case, as have others, indicates the need for the legislature to craft a clarifying amendment to Minn. Stat. ch. 609, with a focus on whether the meaning of “firearm” can be precisely understood in various sections of that chapter.

    [3] When a court of last resort has construed the language of a statute, the legislature is deemed to intend that the language be given the same construction in subsequent statutes on the same subject matter. Minn. Stat. § 645.17 (4) (1998). See also State v. Gorman , 546 N.W.2d 5, 8-9 (Minn. 1996) (prior judicial interpretation gives guidance).

    [4] This warning, from an egg carton, certainly does not make eggs “dangerous weapons.”

    Always keep eggs refrigerated.
    Wash hands before and after handling.
    Cook thoroughly. Do not consume raw.
    Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.”

    [5] An “arm” is defined as “[A] weapon, especially a firearm * * *.” The American Heritage Dictionary 100 (3d ed. 1992).

    [6] A “weapon” is defined as “[A]n instrument of attack or defense in combat, as a gun, missile, or sword.” The American Heritage Dictionary 2022 (3d ed. 1992).

    [7] Our decision does not, of course, preclude paintball-based civil liability in the right circumstances.

    Parents Liable for Child's Paintball Gun Injury
    Michael Bobelian
    New York Law Journal
    February 20, 2004

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    In a case of first impression, a Staten Island Supreme Court judge has ruled that a toy gun that shoots paintballs is an "air gun" under state and city laws, and held a teen and his parents liable for injuries to another child.

    In Adone v. Paletto, 11928/03, Justice Joseph J. Maltese ruled in summary judgment in favor of plaintiffs, finding Christopher Paletto, 13, and his parents liable for injuries to the eye of Danielle Adone, who was hit by a paintball while standing in the Paletto's driveway.

    The judge left it up to a jury to determine damages.

    In June, 2003, Christopher, while perched on the roof of his garage like a would-be sniper, fired away at Danielle, 12, who stood in his driveway. He fired twice without hitting her, then hit her in the left eye with the third shot. The girl suffered retinal damage and lost partial sight in the eye.

    Christopher said did not mean to hurt her -- "he was 'just messing around," shooting some pellets to pass the time because he was "bored," the decision said.

    His parents knew about the toy gun, according to the opinion. They watched Christopher shoot it regularly in their backyard, the judge said, and they even drove him to a supply store to purchase carbon dioxide (CO2) cartridges and paintballs. But the parents warned him to be careful, and "not to shoot when anybody is around."

    Under New York Penal Law § 265.05, "it is 'unlawful for any person under the age of sixteen to possess any air-gun, spring-gun or other instrument or weapon in which the propelling force is a spring or air."

    New York City Administrative Code § 10-131(b) also prohibits possession of such guns unless "used within a licensed amusement facility." The Paletto driveway did not qualify as such a facility, the judge said.

    The court, pushing aside constraints of "hypertechnical interpretations of a criminal statute," found that Christopher's gun, powered by carbon dioxide cartridges, fell into the "plain, natural language" of the penal code. Since Christopher was under 16 and carried an "air-gun," he had violated state and city laws.

    The ruling, which was issued Feb. 13, went on to find Christopher's parents accountable for the girl's injury.

    "[T]he parents," said Maltese, "not only were responsible for their child ... but brought him to the store [to] purchase 500 paintballs and on occasion saw him shooting the gun."

    The judge brushed aside the Paletto defense: that the accident was "unforeseeable."

    "Such a contention is not tenable in that if one fires a gun several times at an individual," the judge said, "it is clearly foreseeable that one of those shots will hit that person." Maltese found the Paletto parents liable "under the doctrine of negligent entrustment," and said the case will proceed to trial "on the issue of injury to the plaintiff."

    John Bosco of Bosco, Bisignano and Mascolo on Staten Island represented Danielle and her father, Darrly Adone. Harvey R. Brown of the Law Offices of Michael F.X. Manning in Manhattan represented the Palettos.

    Subscribe to New York Law Journal

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Behind a Desk

    Default Re: Are Paintball Guns Legal Children Under Age 16

    You quoted New York's statute. What part of it are you having difficulty understanding?

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