In 2005, David Haywood of Minnesota received a felony drug conviction, and thereby forfeited his Second Amendment rights. During a 2013 traffic stop, police found a firearm in his glove compartment, and Haywood was sent back to prison on a minimum five-year sentence. On Monday, an appellate court upheld the conviction.
What makes this case unusual is that the “firearm” in question was a Walther CP99 Compact BB gun.
Haywood’s attorneys claimed that, as BB guns do not utilize gunpowder, they shouldn’t be subject to the same rules governing possession by felons. Minnesota statue offered little help—it refers to “firearms” but has never defined them. So the court had only a 1977 state Supreme Court decision, which defined BB guns as firearms using wording from state fish and game laws, as precedent—meaning BB guns are firearms in Minnesota until either the legislature adopts new language or the state Supreme Court changes the definition.