What is a paintball gun?
- A piece of equipment used in paintballing. Markers make use of an expanding gas such as carbon dioxide or compressed air (sometimes referred to as compressed nitrogen) to propel paintballs through the barrel. The paintball community generally prefers to use the term "marker" rather than "gun" in order to mitigate the public perception that paintball markers are weapons, and that paintball is a dangerous sport. The muzzle velocity of paintball markers can approach 300 feet per second (about 90 m/s, 200 mph or 320Km/h). Muzzle velocity above 300 feet per second is ruled unsafe in most commercial paintball fields. Below 300 ft/s, most paintballs will break upon impact without leaving significant damage beyond a small bruising. Due to the speed of flying paintballs, players must wear masks to protect the eyes, mouth, and ears when barrel blocking devices are not in place.
USE BY LAW ENFORCEMENT/ MILITARY AGENCIES
Paintball guns can be slightly modified to launch pepper-spray balls/pellets where physical proximity to a suspect is deemed dangerous but deadly force is not warrented. Although generally considered non-lethal when properly used (targets should exclude the face, eyes, throat or spine) deaths have occurred. In 2004 the Boston Police Department during crowd control situation killed 21-year-old Victoria Snelgrove using a pepper-spray projectile weapon. She was hit in the eye, the pellet opened up a three quarter inch hole in the bone behind the eye, broke into 9 pieces and damaged the right side of her brain. She died 12 hours later.
The weapon that killed Victoria Snelgrove was manufactured by Fabrique Nationale de Herstal. Because of this incident, several police forces, including the Seattle Police Department, discontinued use of the model FN303. There were further claims regarding the inaccuracy of this gun, and in November 2006 The Journal of Testing and Evaluation published a paper on the subject.
PAINTBALL GUN OFFENCES
Paintball guns resemble 'real' guns. They can be purchased without the need for a licence or background checks etc. on the buyer. Paintball guns are accessible and available to criminals. It is likely that crimes involving threats with guns which are not fired and not recovered, may involve the use of a paintball or other imitation/replica guns.
What are paintballing guns used for?
- In shooting games where players eliminate opponents by shooting them with pellets containing paint.
HOW DO PAINTBALL GUNS CONTRIBUTE TO GUN CRIME?
Enabling crime (robbery etc.)
- Paintballing (and bb/imitation guns) are used to enable crime because they look like real weapons. Even if the gun is not fired, victims are threatened, frightened, coerced and intimidated, which can cause long lasting psychological damage.
Read about these crimes by clicking on 'Reported Incidents' and from the 'Issue type' option select 'paintball / bb/imitation / unidentified gun'.
- Paintball guns are capable of firing projectiles and have been used to cause criminal damage.
Read about these crimes by clicking on 'Reported Incidents' and from the 'Issue type' option select 'paintball / bb/imitation/ unidentified gun'.
John Spencer, a former soldier, threatened two police officers with a gun, an unloaded gas-powered ball-bearing gun he used for paintballing. He had called the police to his home in Houghton, Cumbria, after hearing noises outside his house. He claimed he did not recognise the officers as police. He pleaded guilty to a charge of possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He was given a suspended nine-month prison sentence and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid community work. He was told by the judge that he "could have ended up being shot dead".
Source: News & Star, 18 September 2010
A family pub was targetted by in a drive-by paintball attack. A window was smashed, and a customer who was shot in the hip sustained bruising. A couple walking their dog were also targetted and two college students suffered minor bruising.
Irresponsible storage/gun loss and theft
- Gun owners who own and use their guns legally also contribute to gun crime and compromise public safety by:-
1. Failing to store their guns responsibly.
2. Leaving guns on public transport.
3. Leaving guns in cars parked in the street, pub car parks etc. where they are likely to be taken by opportunist thieves.
To read about these incidents click on 'Reported incidents' and from the 'Issue type' option select 'Lost/stolen weapons'.
- A paintball rifle, an imitation of a Second World War assault rifle, was among items stolen from a car in Hereford.
Source: Hereford Times, 30 March 2009