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Guide to Safe Scouting Question

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While the dictionary may require the use of powder or other explosive to call something a firearm, at least one civil jurisdiction here in California of which I am aware (Ventura County) has legally defined air rifles as firearms.

 

Several years ago one of our sons was shot at by some other kidss with an air rifle. During the follow up police investigation I learned this little legal tidbit. Fortunately the shooters were not good shots. Point is ... I am satisfied that a weapon does not have to use gunpowder to be considered a firearm for regulatory purposes.

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Mark, I was going to make the same point in response to FatOldGuy, but since you have made it, let me just add an example that is near and dear to my heart since I have had some real-life "discussions" (read: near-arguments) over it. I mentioned it earlier in this thread.

 

The G2SS says that boating on flowing waters (I forget the exact terminology) is not an approved Cub Scout activity. So, what happens if a family with a boy of Cub Scout age (let's say he's 10 years plus 364 days) decides to go canoeing on a reasonably mild, wide, slow-moving river, with no other Scouting families? Does the BSA care? No. Now, why is it ok if the family decides to do it, but not ok if the Cubmaster decides to do it? In my opinion, it is because it is not a moral issue, it is a safety (and liability) issue. The BSA has decided to draw a bright line between Cub and Boy Scouts as to where boating may take place, for safety reasons. However, a family is perfectly free to make its own judgments, based on the activity involved, and the capabilities of the boy (i.e. strength, swimming, common sense in case of emergency, etc.) The family also gets to decide for itself how much risk it is willing to take. Some families might take their pre-teen children on the Lehigh River (more challenging), as opposed to the Delaware River (less challenging.) I would not. But for BSA unit-related activities, the decision has already been made.

 

Now, some may say that because the BSA rules do not take individual circumstances into account, they may prohibit some activities that are in fact safe. I think this is true. I also think it is fine. The BSA seems to feel that if it is going to "err," it is going to be on the side of safety. I remember when I was a Boy Scout, my predecessor as SPL regularly went hunting with his family and in fact was a NRA-licensed gun safety instructor. If a whole patrol full of such boys wanted to go hunting, it probably would be very safe (probably safer than taking a brand new Boy Scout kayaking, which I believe you can do.) And yet the BSA says no hunting for Boy Scouts. I don't have any problem with that.

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"You wrote these rules? You must have since you know the intent. If not, you must be reading between the lines."

 

Writing them isn't necessary to know the intent, only access to historic document is. In my EVIL 1962 edition of the Scoutmaster's Handbook, it is clear that Scouters are to refrain from using alcohol and tobacco around Scouts to set an example. Oddly, the current Scoutmaster's Handbook (the GOOD version) doesn't list tobacco or alcohol in the index.

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"Is it your belief that the BSA allows you to point a BB rifle at a person, since it was not specifically identified and it does not meet the dictionary definition of firearm?

 

What leads you to believe that a squirt gun is not included by the word ANY?"

 

Bob,

These are the two question you posed. I answered them individually and added

"I agree that pointing any type of firearm or gun or any weapon for that fact at another person is wrong."

 

I don't believe the rule applies for BB guns & not squirt guns. I never said that. Your reading between the lines is where that came from.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

 

 

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Ed please explain this then,

You said "So a squirt gun is ok!"

 

you also said regarding squirt guns "It doesn't fit the definition of firearm & isn't listed"

 

Well Ed the definition you provided does not match the characteristics of a BB gun either, but you seem to think that is against the rules.

 

But then you said "I don't believe the rule applies for BB guns & not squirt guns. I never said that."

 

It seems you did say that Ed

 

(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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When I was a youngster in grade school we'd have a massive squirt gun battle at school on the last day of school. Oddly, none of us shot our parents, killed our teachers or grew up to rob 7-11s.

 

 

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Perhaps I can shed some insight from the Risk Management Division of the BSA and my personal experience.

 

A few years ago, I was approving purchase orders for a huge weekend Cub Scout event. One of the requests was for money to purchase laser rifles for a huge laser tag game.

 

I spoke with my boss, the Scout Executive about it and he and I weren't sure we should approve such a thing.

 

I turned first to the Guide to Safe Scouting and didn't find any reference. I called national, got a secretary in risk management and she told me that it is covered in the Guide to Safe Scouting. The page number she gave me referred to "war games."

 

Not satisfied with that, I called and got the National Director of Risk Management on the phone. He said that laser tage is prohibited as a war game -- people shoot at each other. I argued to no avail and came to see the sense in that.

 

However, I said, "If that's the theory, what's next? Banning squirt gun fights at day camp?"

 

His reply, "We're thinking about it." WE meant the committee . . . I let it go.

 

Arguably, one could say that the problem with paint ball and laser tag is shooting to "kill." Those "hit" are out of the game (for at least a while,) but those hit in a squirt gun fight are only wet and not "dead."

 

The folks who have been debating this over Scouts-L can go ahead and write their letters to national -- and then write some more letters when they figure out that Capture the Flag can also be called a war game and get that one placed on the restricted activities list as well.

 

DS

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When I was a scout we had huge troop water gun fights. And now we all earn a living by sticking up 7-11s (need to remember to list this on the 'what do you do?' thread).

 

Bob White, so it was your 'opinion', h'mm...that sure clears up everything for me.

 

With regard to the air rifle thing, G2SS makes a distinction between firearms and air rifles by mentioning them specifically and separately, but with equal standing. "The Boy Scouts of America adheres to its longstanding policy of teaching its youth and adult members the safe, responsible, intelligent handling, care, and use of firearms, airguns, and BB guns in planned, carefully managed, and supervised programs."

In my 'opinion' (the opinion that I serve? h'mm maybe it IS mine!) BSA considers firearms and other things with barrels and projectiles to be different, but under the same restrictions. (I'm still struggling with particle beam weapons. NJ, they look more like something out of Ghost Busters...and we sort of act that way too, when playing with them)

 

To use a different example, G2SS is also restrictive with regard to chainsaws and powered log splitters. Because BSA makes no mention of other powered implements (say, backhoes, trenchers, or jack hammers) it is possible for one person to have an 'opinion' that such are ok for use by boys because they are not specifically listed - and another person to disagree.

If BSA would clarify such restrictions with a statement of principle as well as their specific examples, these arguments would not end but I think there would be fewer of them. At least we wouldn't be bickering over whether or not it was permissible to 'point' a bow an arrow at someone...just because it is neither a gun nor a firearm. The principle would work there quite well. Probably for those jack hammers too.

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Bob, Bob, Bob,

I answered the questions you asked. You read between the lines & came up with your assumptions.

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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I'm glad that I sat this one out.

Someone might have wanted to take me behind the Scout and :

Paint Ball, Laser, Shoot or Squirt me.

As a kid my Mum said it was rude to point - What a wise Lady she was.

Eamonn

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That's Okay Ed, I didn't think you would answer the question, I just wanted to point out your contradictory statements.

 

It's a very simple policy, I am confident that the majority of the forum readers understand it and will abide by it. What you choose to do with what you think it means is of course up to you.

 

Bob White

 

 

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Dsteele, that made so much sense that it even felt good. I couldn't agree more. Maybe even for the squirt guns. But you must admit, clear unambiguous statements of policy are better than the other kind.

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Interesting perspective, Dave. I guess they'll have to change the name of the book to "Guide to Safe and Politically Correct Scouting."

 

If you connect the dots from rifles to BB guns to paintball to lasers, the next logical dot in the line is squirt guns.

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Can anyone satisfy my curiosity as to what caused them to single out carbon tetrachloride as a restricted compound? I know it's a poison. So is chloroform and a myriad of other compounds. So why single out carbon tet? Is this especially available, more than other compounds? I don't have a problem with the policy, I'm just curious. Dsteele, can you work your magic here?

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Carbon Tet is an extremely toxic chemical strongly believed to be a powerful carcinogen that up until the fairly recent past was used in fire extinguishers. Carbon Tet is now a controled chemical and is no longer approved in extinguishers. If you have a container with carbon tet it needs to be treated as a hazardous material, contact you local fire department for information on disposal.

 

It was singled out in the G2SS in the section on fire extinguishers because there may still be persons owning this type, other chemicals such as chloroform were not mentioned since they are unrelated to the topic.

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