Pennsylvania high court rules that an inoperable handgun counts as a firearm for sentencing purposes.

A gun does not have to be in working, firing…

A gun does not have to be in working, firing condition to trigger provisions of Pennsylvania’s mandatory sentencing laws, the state Supreme Court said in a unanimous decision made public on Wednesday.

The court ruled in the case of Sue Zortman, 43, who pleaded guilty in Clearfield County nearly four years ago to possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, possession with intent to deliver and conspiracy.

The Supreme Court agreed, citing a legal definition that a firearm is something “designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile” by an explosion or gas expansion.

“We have no doubt that the handgun was ‘designed to’ fire a bullet,” wrote Chief Justice Ronald Castille. “Arguably, firing a bullet is the only true ‘designed’ function — in fact, the essence — of a handgun, pistol or firearm.”

Castille said that fact remains even if the weapon is defective or temporarily inoperable.

“A car without gas does not lose its identity as an entity designed for locomotion,” the justice wrote. “A laptop computer does not cease to be a computer if its battery is removed. By the same reasoning, nor does a handgun lose its designed function merely because a critical piece is missing.”

Source: Mark Scolforo for the Associated Press via Greenfield Reporter.

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  • General Jim M

    It is either a deadly weapon or it is not.Where do they get these stupid judges? They are like the teachers who punnish a child for drawing a picture of a weapon or soldiers.