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Grovetown man to fight $291 ticket for shooting BB gun

Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013 1:26 PM
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013 10:34 AM
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When Mckenzie Ussery moved into his Grovetown home on Dec. 19, he got an unexpected – and unwelcome – housewarming gift.

Mckenzie Ussery, 19, was fined $291 for shooting a BB gun at a cup propped up in a tree in his backyard in Grovetown. He plans to fight the ticket in Grovetown Municipal Court on Jan. 22.  JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
JIM BLAYLOCK/STAFF
Mckenzie Ussery, 19, was fined $291 for shooting a BB gun at a cup propped up in a tree in his backyard in Grovetown. He plans to fight the ticket in Grovetown Municipal Court on Jan. 22.


Grovetown authorities cited the 19-year-old for shooting a BB gun in his backyard, which borders the Columbia County Alternative School campus.

Ussery, who moved into his Railroad Avenue home with his wife and 6-month-old daughter, said he plans to fight the $291 ticket in Grovetown Municipal Court on Jan. 22.

“This BB gun will not hurt you,” he said. “It won’t even break a window.

“You probably couldn’t even put a dent in a brand-new tub of butter with it.”

Ussery said he was cited with discharging a firearm within the city limits but was unaware that his BB gun, powered by compressed air, was classified as a firearm.

Ussery said he was told by Grovetown police that any spring-loaded, black powder or compressed-air gun, including a paintball gun and even a NERF toy gun, was considered a firearm.

According to Grovetown’s city ordinance, paintball and BB guns fall into the firearm category but toy guns do not, said Grovetown Department of Public Safety Chief Gary Owens.

Owens said Grovetown officials are considering amending the firearm ordinance to exclude certain devices such as paintball and BB guns.

Owens said people are typically given a warning on the first offense.

“We generally cite people that are not taking due regard,” he said. “The officer makes that determination based on several factors.”

Owens, however, defended the citation, stating the incident occurred just five days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Owens said his department received a call from an alternative school teacher who reported seeing a man shooting a rifle near the school. The school went into a precautionary lockdown, he said.

“You know the school’s on edge,” he said. “Now everybody is on high alert.”

Ussery said he fired his 11-year-old BB gun three times to test it.

He said Owens and an officer banged on his back window when they arrived at his house. After Ussery explained the situation, he said, they demanded he be escorted inside to retrieve the gun.

“They treated me like I just shot somebody in the face,” he said.

Ussery said he was forced to give them his gun and won’t be able to get it back until he appears in court.

In addition to a fine and court fees, Ussery said, he also faces 30 days in jail.

A week or two after Ussery’s run-in with authorities, he said, a neighbor shot a high-powered rifle outside. Ussery reported the incident, but nothing was done, he said.

Owens said he’s unaware of any such complaints, adding that officers would immediately look into that situation if notified. He said his department is trying to prevent shootings like those that took place in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14.

“Some demented individual will eventually try to trump this, and it’s a sad situation,” Owens said. “It’s a fact of life that we live in.”

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soapy_725
44049
Points
soapy_725 01/09/13 - 01:41 pm
1
0
The young man will have to learn the rules of CC...
Unpublished

they are nebulous, lose leaf binders that are used by "road patrol" ( magistrate judge quote). Beware. You can arrested for a tail light out or be totally ignored with a twelve foot Wally World trailer with no lights, turn signals or license plate. Beware. You can be arrested for open container in the Circle K parking lot and be ignored with an open container on the public streets and sidewalks of Evans GA.

CC has a low crime rate because the overwhelming majority of its citizens are law abiding. Not because we have the best in LEO's. It is what it is.

CC as with many GA counties, or little kingdoms, certain citizens are always privileged. Beware of equal justice, a myth.

LLArms
470
Points
LLArms 01/09/13 - 01:41 pm
19
0
What the crud? BB Guns and

What the crud? BB Guns and Paintball guns classified as firearms? Going to go hunt down the Grovetown ordinance listings for that garbage.

Do you people really want a cop like that as your point of authority? I live in what people call Grovetown, but luckily I am technically in Columbia County on the opposite side of I20. Good grief...

"He said his department is only trying to prevent tragedies like the one that happened in Newtown, Conn., on Dec. 14."

GOOD JOB YOU AVERTED ANOTHER 20 CHILDREN BEING KILLED BY A BB GUN BY CONFISCATING IT???

What a JOKE.

CobaltGeorge
174954
Points
CobaltGeorge 01/09/13 - 02:38 pm
18
3
My God

Owens said his department received a call from an alternative school teacher who reported seeing a man shooting a rifle near the school. The school went into a precautionary lock down, he said.

BB gun does not make any noise that is noticeable. She said she SAW not Heard. "Rush To Judgement on teacher and Grovetown LEO.

Little Lamb
48859
Points
Little Lamb 01/09/13 - 02:38 pm
18
1
Vowell

Maybe the Grovetown police force would like to hire Jimmy Vowell to enforce these gun laws. He has about as much discernment as Chief Gary Owens.

By the way, how come the officer is not named in the story?

Willow Bailey
20605
Points
Willow Bailey 01/09/13 - 02:46 pm
21
1
Overreact much?

So, the Sheriff's office got a call from the school and sent Barney out to investigate. So far so good. But what happened after Barney found the truth? Does this $300 citation prevent future deaths? No, it pads the budget of the sheriff's dept and gives Barney something to do.

dichotomy
37344
Points
dichotomy 01/09/13 - 02:46 pm
22
0
Riiiiiiiidiculous !!!!!!!!!!!

Riiiiiiiidiculous !!!!!!!!!!! I seel Grovetown is still just the little money grabbing speed trap it was back in the 60s and 70s.

1) the ordinance is ridiculous.
2) the officer was childish and petty. Was Barney Fife his hero or something.

"Owens said he’s incognizant" PERIOD.

The officer should have taken into account that Ussery was a new resident and could not have possibly known, or anticipated, that Grovetown would have such a chicken crap ordinance. I'm sure a warning would have been sufficient. Did that ticket say Merry Christmas, signed Barney Fife ?

scoobynews
3896
Points
scoobynews 01/09/13 - 02:53 pm
16
1
How on Earth did they hear a

How on Earth did they hear a BB gun way over on the school's campus????? Grovetown has long been known for charging people left and right for stupid stuff. Almost $300 for that!!!

csrareader
1288
Points
csrareader 01/09/13 - 03:44 pm
19
0
Perfectly understandable for

Perfectly understandable for a school official to react to sighting of someone shooting what he/she thought was a rifle, and understandable for the Grovetown PD to investigate. However, it's silly for them to issue a citation after realizing what had transpired.

burninater
9921
Points
burninater 01/09/13 - 05:41 pm
5
16
Y'all are missing another

Y'all are missing another possibility here. If they heard the gun at the school, maybe the BB gun Mr. Ussery showed the police officer was not actually the gun being shot at the time of the school official's call.

storiesihaveread
358
Points
storiesihaveread 01/09/13 - 07:41 pm
16
0
Leave it to Grovetown

To make the news for this. Lived there for 18 years never knew the law about BB guns. Heck I gave my son one for Christmas one year. So I guess we broke the law about 200 plus times by shooting it in my backyard.

specsta
7126
Points
specsta 01/09/13 - 07:48 pm
18
0
Too Much...

$291 fine? Possibly 30 days in jail? For shooting a BB gun?

This is the problem. Too many ridiculous laws that entrap citizens for activities that should not be illegal. This man's actions did not harm any person or their property.

At some point, unless we rid our legislatures of career politicians/lawmakers, the US citizen will break a least a dozen stupid laws just by rising up, going to work, and going home. We will all be criminals and miscreants.

thauch12
7062
Points
thauch12 01/09/13 - 08:15 pm
13
0
Combine ridiculous laws with

Combine ridiculous laws with law enforcement officers who don't have the greatest intellect/common sense and this is what you get. I really hope this guy doesn't sue (he'd have an open and shut case) because that would be even more of my taxpayer money wasted.

OpenCurtain
10049
Points
OpenCurtain 01/09/13 - 08:18 pm
11
0
I thought Sheriff Taylor retired

Deputy Barney Fife 20 years ago?

Did he take a job in Grovetown instead on Mount Pilot?

crkgrdn
2287
Points
crkgrdn 01/09/13 - 08:22 pm
12
0
What's next?

In our own backyard? Morons loose here, too?
The country is going down faster that I ever dreamed.
Law enforcement in Grovetown seems to have too little to do.

Gage Creed
19372
Points
Gage Creed 01/09/13 - 08:36 pm
13
1
Somebody call Piers Morgan,

Somebody call Piers Morgan, Michael Bloomberg, Diane Feinstein and Joe Biden....BB Guns must be BANNED! NOW! (Was that too over the top?)

GiantsAllDay
10463
Points
GiantsAllDay 01/09/13 - 08:40 pm
1
0
Mr. Ussery

Mr. Ussery,
Here's what you do: Plead not guilty. Demand a jury trial. No way in hell will any of your peers convict you. Get court tv to cover the proceedings. Show the world what fools the grovetown cops are.

dstewartsr
20393
Points
dstewartsr 01/09/13 - 09:21 pm
13
0
No surprise.

I live here; the department has like, three, maybe four good officers. The rest are like the three stooges on meth, with the interpersonal skills of a bumfight promoter; saying hello to one of these clowns will bring a confrontation and watch: As soon as Porky's face turns red, he/she will put their hand on their weapon. I mean, every department follows the leaders, and our last chief had to slink away in the middle of his term. 'Nuff said.

GnipGnop
12744
Points
GnipGnop 01/09/13 - 10:04 pm
8
0
I guess some officers miss the common sense class...

Waste of the courts time and a waste of tax dollars...MAROONS!!

Darby
29170
Points
Darby 01/09/13 - 10:14 pm
13
0
Owens, however, defended the citation, stating the incident.....

.....happened just five days after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that left 20 children and six adults dead.

Can you say "Knee-Jerk" reaction? Reminds me of an incident a few years back where a child was suspended from school because she had a "pistol" on her charm bracelet.

"Zero tolerance is just an excuse not to think, or exercise judgment or apply simple logic.

Obviously, Owens is just the latest example of the Peter Principle in living, breathing color.

oldfella
620
Points
oldfella 01/09/13 - 10:09 pm
10
1
Should have got a bow + arrow as a gift instead!

Is a bow classified as a "firearm?" I sure wouldn't want a broad-head from a hunting bow sailing over a fence and hitting me dead center. If they aren't firearms, I guess there would be no problem. Seriously though, these kind of stories typically come from California, New York or England. Generally Georgia is very much "common sense" when it comes to gun laws, but perhaps Grovetown is the exception to the rule.

MarinerMan
2107
Points
MarinerMan 01/09/13 - 10:14 pm
10
0
Paging Chief Owens....
Unpublished

Before the firestorm erupts, please contact the Judge and between the two of you, make this "go away". While I understand the timing of this "transgression", you really don't want this to be covered by every news outlet around, do you ?? REALLY ?? This is NOT the kind of publicity Grovetown wants.

metalhead
30
Points
metalhead 01/10/13 - 12:31 am
12
0
You don't need more than 10

You don't need more than 10 BB's to shoot at paper cups. Ban high-capacity BB guns with more than 10 BB's. Close the gunshow loop hole and background checks for BB gun purchases. Save our children!

jmo
18383
Points
jmo 01/10/13 - 02:32 am
11
0
"Groovietown"

First a "speedtrap" now a "BB Gun trap". Be careful not to step on a sidewalk crack. Oh, I forgot; they don't have sidewalks.

Riverman1
93233
Points
Riverman1 01/10/13 - 05:16 am
6
1
Check your Red Ryder before

Check your Red Ryder before entering the town limits. I'm sure glad I don't live inside any city limits and can shoot a BB gun all I want. This is a lot of money to this young guy. He should get a toy gun and walk around in his back yard and see if the cops show up again. Doesn't a man have a constitutional right to have a toy gun on his property? He could cut a deal with them. He'll stop walking around with the toy rifle if they'll drop the charges.

Dixieman
17214
Points
Dixieman 01/10/13 - 06:24 am
6
0
Dixieman has 10,021,655 points

Nerf guns? This story is insane. So are the Grovetown po-leese. Hope the defendant wins and then sues the police department.

jkline
527
Points
jkline 01/10/13 - 06:28 am
8
0
BB-Gun Citation

My diagnosis: paranoia, enforced by the police. Who was wrong in this case? 1. The neighbour who reported him to the police. 2. The policeman who wrote the citation. 3. The writer of the police rules that made the policeman think that he should do it. 4. The writer of the law. 5. The legislators who agreed the law. 6. The voters who elected them and have not objected.

Who is not wrong? The poor fellow with the BB-gun in his own back yard.

smartasugarsugar
139
Points
smartasugarsugar 01/10/13 - 06:43 am
5
0
I guess it depends on who shows up at your door

i just asked a Grovetown police officer a couple of weeks ago about a solution to my "squirrel infestation" and he suggested that very item a bb gun. an instrument that does not require a license to purchase or operate. hmm so this poor sap is the target of ignorance it seams. sorry for ya man.

actually there is two problems I'd like to point out. 1, some teacher has made an issue of the off school property use of a "firearm" and 2, now a police officer has no choice but to do something about it. so its a case of a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing. Hmm and this person is a teacher? oh of criminals, never mind those students are doomed.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/10/13 - 08:35 am
4
0
Groovytown not so groovy.

Groovytown not so groovy. The episode where Barney locked up the town and then went into depression b/c Andy acquitted them all was replayed the other day on TVLand. Quite apropos. This story gives me such relief that our country will protect the rights of all citizens, including gun-owners. NOT

gapatriot1
12
Points
gapatriot1 01/10/13 - 09:47 am
4
0
This will really make us look good when it hits Fox News

What idiots came up with the firearm classification?
A firearm is a weapon that launches one projectile or more at high velocity through the confined burning of a propellant.
Quite a bit of debate is by people who have never fired a gun or know what a firearm is.
Some of my grandkids got softair guns for Christmas. They hurt more than a BB gun.
Hey, Deputy Fife, can I get a reward if I turn in my grandkids.

louiemcman
66
Points
louiemcman 01/10/13 - 09:55 am
3
2
It's a wonder he didn't shoot

It's a wonder he didn't shoot his eye out...how ridiculous. Oh well the next Executive Order may take care of all of this!

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