In the wee hours of the morning on December 3rd, an unnamed man was walking toward the building in which he lived when he was approached by two unknown suspects. They were trying to gain entrance to the building, but the resident wouldn’t let them in. After leaving his home once more that morning, a third man had appeared at the entrance and this time, they threatened him with a pellet gun, eventually shooting him in the back, chest, and face; assault with deadly weapon (CA Penal Code 245(a)(1))
Interestingly, both the states of California and Massachusetts have strict laws concerning BB guns. Although there are federal regulations regarding the legality of pellet guns, state laws seem to be far more extensive. For example, according to the California Department of Justice (Bureau of Firearms), legislation affecting “Imitation Firearms” was introduced in 2004. SB 1858 added the category of “BB” guns to the definition of imitation firearms and (CA Penal Code 12550) makes it illegal to alter a fake firearm in any way to make it appear to be an actual firearm.
Additionally, it is considered a crime to sell or transfer fake firearms to minors. Even concealing an imitation firearm or “openly display” one in a public place is against the law in the state of California. Penalties may include a $100 (first offense) and $300 fine (second offense). Although the man who was shot with a pellet gun outside of his Tenderloin apartment may not have been seriously injured, the persons involved in the ‘shooting’ may face prosecution for simply having publicly displayed a pellet gun.