By Chief Steven J. Wojnar
Dudley Police Department
I recently received a question surrounding the use of BB Guns or air rifles. The person wanted to know the rules and regulations surrounding the possession of these weapons. They also were seeking information on some of the consequences if these are used improperly; particularly involving the killing of small animals for sport. I was asked to provide some information on this subject.
The air rifle or BB gun rules are contained in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269 Section 12B. Generally, a minor under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult, or have a firearms license issued to them, in order to posses or use these weapons. People over the age of 18 do not require any type of permit. When using these weapons, all people are prohibited from discharging “a BB shot, pellet or other object … from or across any street, alley, public way or railroad or railway right of way.” The penalty for violation of this section carries up to a $100 fine and confiscation of the weapon. Other charges may also apply if someone is injured or property damage occurs. These can include separate assault or destruction of property offenses.
Harassing or injuring wildlife is another issue altogether. Under certain circumstances, property owners or farmers are allowed to kill animals which are damaging crops, property, or harming livestock. In cases where people kill small animals for “sport,” the penalties can be much more severe. A number of offenses under Chapter 131 of the General Laws apply. Depending on the exact circumstances, a person could be subject to illegal hunting violations, harassing or harming of wildlife, or cruelty to animal offenses. Violations of these laws carry significant fines and / or possible jail time. Violators are also subject to arrest. It is not only against the law, it is cruel to harm or kill animals without any legitimate purpose.
It is important to remember to use these and all weapons responsibly. Many accidents and injuries can occur. Pellets, BB’s, and bullets cannot be recalled once they are fired. They will hit whatever or whomever are in their way. Please remember to exercise the proper caution while using these guns.
I wish to take a moment to congratulate Dudley Police Sergeant Pamela Daniels on the occasion of her retirement this past week after over 34 years of service to the Town. She began her duties back in 1978 as a part-time officer and dispatcher. She also became the first full time female police officer in Town. She finished her career after serving nearly 10 years as Sergeant. Pam performed numerous duties with the department over the years and her contributions were greatly appreciated. Everyone at the department wishes her the very best for a long, happy, and healthy retirement.
- Wednesday, 22 August 2012
- Posted in Categories: : Chief's Corner