- Associated Press - Saturday, December 26, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - The Minnesota Supreme Court has agreed to review the case of a convicted felon sentenced to five years in prison for possessing a BB gun.

David Lee Haywood, 27, was charged in Ramsey County in 2013 with possession of a firearm by an ineligible person. He was convicted after the judge told the jury that a BB gun counts as a firearm.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld his conviction in September. The Minnesota Supreme Court will now consider the issue, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported (https://bit.ly/1IvOtCd ).

Court papers say Haywood was caught with a BB gun that looks like a small version of the popular Walther P99 pistol. Police found it during a traffic stop. Haywood was deemed ineligible to possess a firearm because of a 2005 drug conviction.

On appeal, Haywood argued that a BB gun shouldn’t be considered a firearm under a state law that makes it illegal for a felon to possess a firearm but doesn’t define the term. He cited several dictionary definitions, which defined a firearm as a weapon that uses gunpowder or an explosive charge to fire a shot.

But the Court of Appeals said the state’s appellate courts have consistently interpreted the term “firearm” to include BB guns. It cited a 1977 state Supreme Court ruling that said the term should be defined broadly to include guns using newer types of propellants, not just gunpowder.

Haywood’s attorneys had argued that the earlier cases were incorrectly decided so the appeals court was not bound to follow those rulings.


Information from: St. Paul Pioneer Press, https://www.twincities.com

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