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Enough is enough: Drop fine for BB gun

Posted: January 16, 2013 - 12:03am

Thank God for judges. When emotions get the better of everyone, we can count on them to apply the calming salve of rationality.

That’s what we hope, at least, will be the case with Mckenzie Ussery, a Grovetown man who is facing a hefty fine for shooting a BB gun in his backyard Dec. 19.

Let’s be clear: It appears the authorities all did the right things in this incident – up to a point.

When a staffer of the Columbia County Alternative School saw what she believed was a man with a weapon behind their campus, just a few days after the horrific Sandy Hook Elementary shooting, school personnel were absolutely right to call 911.

When Grovetown Public Safety officers received that call, they were entirely correct to swarm Ussery’s home.

But: When they discovered that there was nothing more threatening than a somewhat-oblivious 19-year-old testing an old BB gun in the yard of the home he’d moved into that very day, they should have stood down, told him to be more aware that his yard backed up to a school, and to have a nice day. Point made, point taken, lesson likely learned.

Instead, they slapped Ussery with a $291 ticket – for discharging a “firearm” within city limits.

This is where anyone with the slightest smattering of commonsense should say, “You have got to be kidding.” Certainly, we expect Grovetown’s Municipal Court judge will share that view. Even the director of the city’s Public Safety Department admits they already were looking at amending the firearms ordinance to remove BB guns; the judge should encourage it.

It is indisputable that school personnel should react with the utmost caution to any hint of danger, especially in such times of heightened alerts. Police should act accordingly, and Grovetown’s cops deserve praise for their quick response.

But they also should acknowledge when enough is enough. Drop the fine – and give Ussery back his BB gun.

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Comments (8)

Little Lamb


Grovetown's council made an error if they classified a BB gun as a firearm. To be a firearm, you need a fire. Something needs to combust and propel the projectile.

A BB is propelled by compressed air, and that air is not compressed by combustion, but rather by mechanical energy.

Let him off on a technicality, and declare Grovetown's firearm definition unconstitutional by way of stupidity.


Sandy Hook Reference

The police chief made a reference to Sandy Hook as a way of justifying the arrest. That was out of line and displays their lack of reasoning even more. Because some have irrational fears, it doesn't justify making stupid arrests.

Paul Ricca

They should think now about

They should think now about changing the rules but they need to make sure that the new rules would not create any security issues. Given the high crime rate the people should carry self defense weapons. One can find such weapons online along with video game swords which are available at

Andrew Cowan

It is absolutely true that

It is absolutely true that the judges have to use reasoning to make sure that they are issuing the right judgment. However, when it comes to handling guns one has to be really careful, it is best to undergo gun training programs for this purpose. You should contact SA Firearms Instruction & Training which offers CHL classes San Antonio area.

Andrew Cowan

The recent incidents have

The recent incidents have indeed made people scared and they want to stay aware and alert to stop any such incident in future. It is the right time to learn self defense techniques, so if you have a gun undergo a training course to acquire Florida concealed weapons permit.


Summer camps can be indeed a

Well, that is very disappointing. Since it was confirmed that he was just testing a BB gun, which is not that harmful for a human being in long ranges. He could have been warned instead of slapping this hefty fine.

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Paul Ricca

Recent mass shooting events

Recent mass shooting events have made everyone worried and that is why the gun safety issue is being discussed everywhere. However, those who own firearms they should use good gun cleaning systems to ensure that their machines are working properly.

Paul Ricca

No more controversy should be

No more controversy should be created regarding this issue. However, one should take the gun safety issue seriously now after so many incidents. These days not only firearms but even items like aerospace metals and specialty alloys are available for sell online.


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