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Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

What do you classify as a weapon?

Asked by Hypocrisy_Central (26829points) February 17th, 2014

What do you classify as a weapon?
At risk of tainting someone’s idea what a weapon is, I will provide the details. A conversation broke out about weapons with a couple of friends, they are ex-military. I have been through the marine reserves but I don’t see weapons as they see weapons, theirs being closer to the talking points of the military. They think a deer rifle, or similar hunting rifle; single shot, semi auto or bolt action with 5 rounds or less is a weapon same as a FN FAR semi auto that can be converted to full and spit out close to 700 rounds a minute with a 20 to 40 round clip. They believe that since all rifles or sidearm were made off some military issue and that they are made to kill, that any firearm that fires a projectile is a weapon because it is designed to kill, animal, humans, notwithstanding. I say a Bushmaster, 30.06, or other rifles manufactured for hunting is not a weapon, it can be weaponized if used to shoot humans instead of deer. I believe it is a weapon if its created purpose was to take human life, be it a bladed knife, firearm, or anything else.

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47 Answers

longgone's avatar

Any item that is designed to cause bodily harm.

syz's avatar

I have a much broader definition of weapon than you do, including a bo, jo, asp, knives, bows…....and, of course, guns.

janbb's avatar

Like @longgone, anything that is designed to be used to physically harm.

ucme's avatar

I’m with Pat Benatar

Coloma's avatar

A fully loaded goose, projectile end aimed at target.

kritiper's avatar

Anything I can lay my hands on, just like Jackie Chan.

talljasperman's avatar

With enough creativity any tool can be used as a weapon.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Intent is what makes something a weapon. Crafting or obtaining something to carry out that intent is easy. Removing those objects will not remove the intent. It’s the culture that makes something a weapon. I considered my air rifle a toy as a kid although it could be used as a weapon. A hunting rifle is a tool to bring down game. A civilian AR-15 operates the same as a hunting rifle but can be adapted to many different uses (hence, it’s popularity). Many rifles are generally only used in recreational or competitive shooting. A fully automatic rifle I.M.O. is where the line gets crossed in any general context when it comes to firearms. I don’t really know why it would be needed in the public. I think it would be super fun to shoot at the range but awfully wasteful, expensive and somewhat pointless.
I feel like fixed blade knives are safer for doing general things like cutting rope or opening boxes but some feel that they are more of a weapon as if a folding knife is somehow less of one. Perception plays into it greatly, almost as much as the practical utility of something does.

Seaofclouds's avatar

Weapons can be anything so long as they are being used to cause harm. I could use a pencil to kill someone (by stabbing them in the right spot) if I wanted to. The item does not need to be specifically designed to cause harm to be a weapon.

Coloma's avatar

I agree with @ARE_you_kidding_me Intent is everything. You can kill someone with a frying pan. lol

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Someone with the right skill and talent can turn just about anything into a weapon,that could kill.

ccrow's avatar

So if I take a baseball bat and whack someone in the head with it, it’s not a weapon?

janbb's avatar

@ccrow I think there’s a distinction to be made between something that is being used as a weapon and something that has been designed to be a weapon.

longgone's avatar

@janbb I agree. I’m pretty sure that’s the distinction lawyers make, too.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

Any item designed to cause bodily harm is a weapon. Even if it’s locked away and never used, it’s a weapon nonetheless. You really can’t beat swords into plowshares.

Many items are designed for other purposes but get used as weapons. A paring knife is for the harmless and wholesome purpose of preparing vegetables, not for stabbing someone. A baseball bat should be used to hit baseballs, something fun and recreational, not for hitting somebody. A lamp is for lighting a room, not for bashing-in a skull. When such an item becomes a weapon, it’s been perverted and altered from its original meaning; distorted and corrupted. Yet, it still retains its intended purpose. If a plowshare gets used to harm someone, it remains a plowshare, not a sword.

ccrow's avatar

@janbb OK, but I don’t think it’s that black and white. What if you are in a survival situation- say a ‘bad guy’ is trying to kill you. You have no knife, gun, etc, you are going to be looking for something to be used as a weapon, whether it was created as such or not. I guess if you’re talking about legal definitions, then ok, it’s something designed to cause harm.

talljasperman's avatar

… Items can have more than one use.

janbb's avatar

@ccrow Again, anything you can get your hands on in that situation can be used as a weapon and will no doubt be described that way in court, but it is not a weapon by definition initially.

talljasperman's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul read up on Functional fixation … items can have more than one use

Pachy's avatar

Words can be weapons too.

Cruiser's avatar

Being trained in martial arts, legally speaking, my fists, my elbows and the heel of my foot are weapons. So my definition of a weapon is anything that could inflict bodily harm on another person is a weapon including my wife’s leftovers.

In the context of your military trained buddies, something that fires on automatic is a real weapon.

ucme's avatar

“This is my rifle, this is my gun, this is for fighting, this is for fun.”

JLeslie's avatar

I think to some extent it is situational for me.

I don’t think of a hunting rifle or a kitchen knife as a weapon if you ask me to list a bunch of weapons. Handguns and semi-automatic guns are weapons to me, and a knife purchased for the purpose of causing harm or defending oneself is a weapon in my mind.

I think a car can be a weapon if someone pusposely uses it to run into someone. Same with the kitchen knife.

Basically, it is a problem of the English language I think. We use one word and it can mean many different things with many nuances.

Coloma's avatar

Well then we have to include household products like bleach, ammonia, acetone. I could douse you in nail polish remover and toss a match on you.
Matches are deadly weapons too, and ant poison, rat bait, slug killer. D-Con those annoying neighbors. lol
What about cat litter?
Do you have any idea what a horrible death could be perpetrated by pouring scoop-able cat litter down ones throat?

What about Eye drops?
Serious laxative effect I have heard.
Death by Visine. haha
I could roast you a weenie on a nice Oleader stick?

Pick your household poison.

talljasperman's avatar

@Coloma you can die from water intoxication. too much water can kill.

majorrich's avatar

with enough force, anything can be a weapon. Take, say a rutabaga thrown hard enough could crush a skull. A carrot can easily pierce body tissue. A bamboo shoot can grow as much as 6 inches overnight. A person restrained thereupon would also be pierced. This was used as an interrogation technique in WW2

Darth_Algar's avatar

How is a hunting rifle not a weapon?

gailcalled's avatar

Lead pipe

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

Lies can be weapons. I guess so can be the truth as well.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

A woman’s sharpened tongue.

Aethelwine's avatar

There have been a few times in my life when I would classify a penis as a weapon.

Berserker's avatar

A guy in prison might be able to turn a toothbrush into a weapon. Apparently, actual ninja in Feudal Japan improvised a lot when it comes to weaponry. If I kill somebody with my monitor, in court, the monitor will be known as the murder weapon. Hm.
I guess in this case a lot of things can be weapons. I was always of the mind that a weapon is something you need through training to use though, whether this is a katana or a missile launcher. The monitor in my example should probably be a murder tool. Then again with a knife, you probably don’t need that much training to stab somebody.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

I used to file my fingernails to a very sharp point. I could slash quite deep with them, but I could also lock my knuckles, and punch my fingertips hard enough to drive them into a throat or abdomen. I could be deadly with a ballpoint pen, or a piece of fishing line. What couldn’t be a weapon would be the shorter list.

gailcalled's avatar

Fireplace poker
Large heavy vase
Piano wire
Screw driver
Crow bar
11” cast iron frying pan
Golf Club

KNOWITALL's avatar

Any object can be used as a weapon, your car keys to a pencil to a brick. It’s the intent, not the physical object.

Safie's avatar

Any object that can kill is a weapon…the mind can also become a weapon if you use it as such.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^ What if it can’t kill but can maim or do great bodily harm? What if it was not designed to do harm but was misused as such?

Coloma's avatar

I’m pretty sure I could kill someone with the 10lb. jug of horse cookies in the barn here.
Death by Old Dobbin apple & oat treats. lol

SecondHandStoke's avatar

(July 2016)

Commercial trucks.

Coloma's avatar

I could lash your head to one of the horses asses here, that would be a kicker for sure. lol

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

^^ ^Commercial trucks.*
Tow trucks, delivery trucks, tractor trailer rigs…..?

Aethelwine's avatar

If everyone had a truck someone could have stopped him. ~

Darth_Algar's avatar

The only way to stop a bad guy with a truck is a good guy with an rpg.

kritiper's avatar

The same things Jackie Chan does.

JLeslie's avatar

If someone says someone had a weapon, I think gun or knife. Obviously, there are many other things that can be used as a weapon, even words.

SaganRitual's avatar

Long ago, around 1983, the brilliant physicist Richard Feynman was interviewed at length by the BBC. You can see the interview on the TED website still. I’ll link it at the bottom. I’m reminded of the following comments by Feynman:

See that bird? It’s a brown-throated thrush, but in Germany it’s called a halzenfugel, and in Chinese they call it a chung ling and even if you know all those names for it, you still know nothing about the bird. You only know something about people…

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you call it. If toddlers accidentally shoot their parents, or their siblings, or themselves—which happens alarmingly often—it doesn’t matter whether it’s a weapon or not. If kids in schools were being massacred with pillows, I’d welcome government regulation on pillows.

I’m not worried about what it’s called, just how much harm is associated with it. And never mind any should, like the parents should have kept the gun locked up properly. The very reason we have laws is that people don’t do what they should do.

(Was your question even about gun control laws? Sorry if I went off on a tangent.)

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