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legality in texas

Post questions and info about combustion (flammable vapor) powered cannons here. This includes discussion about fuels, ratios, ignition systems, safety, and anything else relevant.
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legality in texas

Unread postAuthor: Nertzor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:54 am

well, a few friends had me make some for them.

The cops were called, and aside from a noise complaint they were let go and told they could shoot them, just not within city limits.

i figured I had this figured out at this point as any problems wouldve arisen right then and there. If the cop knew the laws regarding such.

however a little birdy told me it was a felony to even own a spud gun in texas, sounds a bit far fetched, but Im not looking to spend any time in prison or paying fines for having fun with my friends. So im researching

I have discovered many sources that say combustion spud guns are classified as firearms in the state of texas, but not regulated. whatever that means.

and another source claiming that the bureau of tobacco/firearms told him personally (via email) that they were not illegal in and of themselves, depending on what was fired from them. Flaming/explosive/living ammo was illegal but potatoes were fine.

who is right here?
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:00 am

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Unread postAuthor: Nertzor » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:05 am

im aware what the wiki says, it quotes the same email that I mentioned in my post.

all the information I have found runs you in circles or dead ends, never arriving at a definite yes or no.
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Re: legality in texas

Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Jan 11, 2012 1:19 am

Nertzor wrote:however a little birdy told me it was a felony to even own a spud gun in texas


That notion seems to come from one of the frog boy aritcles:

Daniel Berry was trying to keep a frog from crawling out the end of the 7-foot barrel of a potato gun early Monday when everything "just went black and red." His world likely will remain black for the rest of his life, he said Thursday from his hospital room.


The Denton 17-year-old’s story has people arguing nationwide on talk shows and the Internet. And though Daniel said he thinks there must have been some sort of delayed firing when the spud gun went off, sending the frog into his face at 400 feet per second and blinding him, some experts say that could not have been the way it happened.

Daniel, his brother and a friend were fishing about 1 a.m. Monday when they saw a group of teens on the Old Alton Bridge. They were firing potato guns, which are made of PVC pipe with a canister for a propellant and an ignition.

"We wanted to shoot them, and we asked if we could. We wanted to have fun," Daniel said. "We’re teenagers. That’s what we do.

"They told me they were shooting frogs out of there, and I wanted to do it," he said. "The frog kept trying to crawl out."

The gun uses a 9-volt battery with a foot-long wire with a button on the end for ignition. They sprayed deodorant into the compression cylinder as propellant, and he pushed the button. Nothing happened, despite several pushes.

He was the only one holding the gun, Daniel said. He set down the firing end and went around to the barrel to make sure the frog was still inside.

"Nobody clicked the button. It just went off," he said. "It knocked me down and I was all bloody, and my brother and friend dragged me all the way to the car and took me to the hospital."

He was listed in critical condition at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth until Thursday, when he was transferred to a room. He may be released soon, he said. He has a broken nose and jaw, and doctors plan reconstructive surgery. They will check out his left eye to see whether he might be able to someday detect light.

Joel Suprise sells potato guns full-time at an Internet Web site from Wisconsin. There is no such thing as a delayed ignition, he said.

"There is no possible way for a combustion-based spud gun to ‘just go off,’" Mr. Suprise said. "Nor is it possible for there to be a delayed firing. The ignition button had to have been pushed at the exact time of firing."

Mr. Suprise said a combustion-based spud gun uses an electrical spark to ignite a mixture of fuel and air just like a spark plug ignites a fuel-air mix in the cylinders of a car engine.

The spark lasts for only a few hundredths of a second, he said. After the spark has ceased to exist, there is no residual heat or ignition source anywhere in the chamber. Therefore, a "hang fire" is not even possible with a combustion-based spud gun, he said.

Tucker Carlson, commentator for CNN’s "Crossfire," agrees there could be no hang fire, but since there is no trigger guard, the button could accidentally be pressed without the person knowing it, he said. Last year he wrote an article for GQ magazine on potato guns.

Mr. Carlson has four children and several spud guns. He closely supervises their use, he said.

"I like them. They are fantastic toys, but dangerous toys," Mr. Carlson said. "They’re all capable of hurting you. I had a stockade fence in my back yard and in one afternoon, we disintegrated it."

Possessing a potato gun is a third-degree felony in Texas. But federal authorities say federal law does not govern them, and they are legal in Wisconsin, where Mr. Suprise lives.

Denton County Sheriff’s spokesman Kevin Patton said some experts tell him that if the mix of propellant was too heavy, there could be a hang fire.

"One deputy went to the scene and the other went to the hospital," Mr. Patton said. "We took witness statements, and the investigation found this to be an accident."

Larry Barnes, another Wisconsin dealer, said he believes Daniel may accidentally have caused the ignition without knowing it. Perhaps there was a short in the wire leading to the ignition button, and when Daniel set the gun down and moved it around, the connection was made, he said. The back of the gun could have rolled over, depressing the button, he said.

"The bottom line is the gas is ignited by a spark. It takes electricity to make that spark jump. It’s a microsecond," Mr. Barnes said. "When you press the button, the points generate an electric spark, just like spark plugs. Once the spark is gone, it’s not going to reoccur by itself unless the button is pushed."

Both dealers emphasize the importance of parental supervision, and their Web sites stress safety measures.

"You don’t look down the barrel of any gun, any time," Mr. Barnes said. "I sure hope this young man gets better. I said a couple of prayers for him last night."


Interestingly on the ATF Q&A page:

Q: How do I obtain a classification from ATF for my “potato gun?”

A: Any person desiring a classification of a “potato gun,” “spud gun” or similar device must submit a written request (not e-mail) to the Director and include a complete and accurate description of the device, the name and address of the manufacturer or importer, the purpose for which it is intended, and such photographs, diagrams, or drawings as may be necessary to make a classification. A final determination may require physical examination of the device. Such requests for classification should be submitted to: Bureau of ATF, Firearms Technology Branch


I think it's safe to say that it's not strictly against the law, but the safest way to go about it is not to attract too much attention to yourself and use your spudgun in a responsible manner that does not disturb or endanger others.
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Unread postAuthor: Zeus » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:28 am

I must say JSR, thanks for posting that. And people say karma doesn't exist. No pity for that little shithead, I just feel sorry for the frog getting smashed into his face.

Nertzor, down here they are in the same class as 105mm howitzers, so just keep things low profile, and you'll be fine.
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/sarcasm, /hyperbole
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Unread postAuthor: jackssmirkingrevenge » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:43 am

Zeus wrote:I must say JSR, thanks for posting that. And people say karma doesn't exist. No pity for that little shithead, I just feel sorry for the frog getting smashed into his face.


The legend of "frog boy" has been known on the forum for a while.
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Unread postAuthor: Zeus » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:57 am

By god JSR, you're right.

And I practically mirrored what was said.
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/sarcasm, /hyperbole
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Unread postAuthor: pneumaticcannons » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:20 am

I'm sorry, I just love that pic too much :D :D :D :D
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Unread postAuthor: Moonbogg » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:42 am

pneumaticcannons wrote:I'm sorry, I just love that pic too much :D :D :D :D


That is so wrong, yet so damn right.
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Unread postAuthor: mattyzip77 » Wed Jan 11, 2012 3:47 pm

Im in Massachusetts, and I was told by a state trooper that basically if its pneumatic its legal, if its combustion, its not!! Hope that helps!!
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