Guns of the New West: A Close Up Look at Modern Replica Firearms

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It was December , a year and four months before Columbine, at my middle school in Charlotte. A teacher named Mr. Madison sent me and three other boys outside to look for stuff to put under a microscope — rocks, tree bark, empty snail shells, anything we could find. The school was located in a neighborhood three miles from downtown. A sewer line ran parallel and cut a wide trail through the woods between two residential streets.

We were at the edge of the clearing. I saw someone walking up with a hood over his head. When he got close, he pulled the gun and jammed it into my temple. I can remember that it was a little snub-nosed revolver, a brushed-steel frame. My mom was going to take me to a skateboard shop after school to buy a new deck.

If my wallet had been empty, would he have just walked away or become so frustrated that he pulled the trigger?

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When he was gone, the four of us rushed for the classroom and tried to tell Mr. Slow down!

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In the end, what happened was swept under the rug. My parents said the school was probably trying to keep the story off the news. But for those next few years, I ran around wild.

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I rode in the passenger seat while a buddy rolled down the window and fired a pistol into the night, blowing off steam after a breakup, empty casings spitting against the windshield. I dropped to the ground as gunfire rang from a car at a bonfire party. I pushed friends behind the brick foundation of a house as a shootout erupted over pills. There were times when someone could have easily been shot and killed. The second and last time I had a gun put to my head it was by the police.

I was walking down the side of Wilkinson Boulevard in Belmont. I was carrying a shoe box. I saw a police cruiser pass me and make a U-turn at a stoplight up ahead. When the Crown Vic came back, the driver jumped the median and next thing I knew there were multiple cars, lights flashing, officers ordering me to the ground.

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They had their guns drawn. I was lying flat on my stomach, and one officer came forward and put his knee in my back, his service weapon pushed into the base of my skull. They let the dog close enough that I could feel him barking against my ear. They told me I could get up, and I stood there trembling while they apologized. I moved to the mountains not long after that. A hundred and fifty miles west of where I grew up, I found a community that reminded me of my grandmother, where folks still kept big gardens and canned the vegetables they grew.

They still filled the freezer with meat taken by rod and rifle — trout and turkey, dove and rabbit, deer, bear, anything in season.

I keep a close-knit group of friends here, most of whom are at least 20 years my senior. Our generational difference is erased by a shared passion for wilderness and time spent in the field with gun in hand. This past Christmas, one of the men I hunt with, a man we call Son in Law, handed down a Model 94 Winchester to his grandson. The grandson would be the fourth generation to hunt with that rifle.

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A few weeks later, the boy took that. Those types of things are rare now, even in places like Appalachia. Among these men, there are centuries of experience gathered around the campfire each night. They toss around names — the Owl Boxes, the U. I killed my biggest deer to date on the 2nd of November from a tree one of those men sent me to. Fifteen feet up a hickory, I watched a tree line at the edge of a clear cut. I heard heavy footsteps and eased around the right side of the tree for a look, and there he stood.

He was broadside when I slid the cross hairs onto his shoulder.

I wanted to drop him where he stood. Pin his shoulders together and buckle him. Just before the deer strolled behind a cedar sapling, I touched the trigger, and the. A hundred and fifty grains of copper-jacketed lead hit just behind the shoulder and blood-shot the backside to pudding. The buck stooped forward and sprinted, back legs driving him over tangled ground.

He made it 40 yards before he crashed.

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From my stand, I could just make out the white of his stomach through the brush. I watched his ribs rise with each breath, that breathing slowing, slowing, then gone.

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There is a sadness that only hunters know, a moment when lament overshadows any desire for celebration. Life is sustained by death, and though going to the field is an act of taking responsibility for that fact, the killing is not easy, nor should it be. Instead I went to the place where I shot him, a yard shy of that cedar sapling, and followed the blood trail to where he lay. He was a big-bodied eight-point that would feed me for a year. I knelt there and ran my hands across his coat.

It took nearly an hour to drag him back to the trail, another half-mile from there to the truck. A few days later, I was driving back home from hunting camp in McCormick, S. Steps 1, 2 and 4 above are factual matters requiring expert evidence whilst steps 3 and 5 are the legal consequences which flow inevitably if those factual matters are proved.

If a weapon bears an approved house mark and has been certified in writing as de-activated, the item is presumed to be incapable of discharging bullets or shot. De-activated firearms are expressly excluded from the definition of realistic imitation firearm and are therefore not affected by the new realistic imitation offence: Section 8 Firearms Amendment Act Section 58 2 of the Act exempts from the provisions of firearms legislation including those provisions relating to certificate controls in sections 1 and 2 and prohibited weapons under section 5 all antique firearms which are sold, transferred, purchased, acquired or possessed as curiosities or ornaments.

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It is a question of fact and not law as to whether a gun is an antique, or not Richards v Curwen 65 Cr. The case of R v Burk e 67 Cr. Prosecutors are reminded that even if a weapon is held to be an antique by virtue of its age and characteristics, the exemption will only be available if it is possessed or dealt with as an "ornament or curiosity". There is no definition of "antique" in the legislation. There is Home Office Guidance on the issue which will assist prosecutors. Briefly summarised, the Guidance states that the following pre weapons will be classified as antiques:.

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The Guidance also states that old firearms which should not benefit from the exemption as antiques are set out below. However, it should be remembered that this is Guidance only and the bench or jury will always be directed that the issue as to whether a firearm is an antique is one of fact for them to determine. Prosecutors may wish to take into account the following matters when faced with an antique weapon:. From 14 July , it is an offence for a prohibited person as defined by section 21 Firearms Act to be in possession of an antique weapon and it is irrelevant whether it is possessed as a curiosity or ornament.

Section 31 Violent Crime Reduction Act VCRA : this offence is committed where on or after 6 April , a person who is not a registered firearms dealer sells or transfers an air weapon or exposes an air weapon for sale or has in his possession for sale of transfer.