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Criminal Jury Instructions  

Criminal Jury Instructions

 

FIREARM

A "firearm" is any sawed-off shotgun, machine gun, rifle, shotgun, pistol, revolver or other weapon, whether loaded or unloaded from which a shot may be discharged.  You must find that the firearm was operable at the time of the offense.

Source:  General Statutes § 53a-3 (19) (applies to Penal Code).

Commentary:  The phrase "from which a shot may be discharged" in the definition of "firearm" has been interpreted as requiring that the firearm is operable.  The operability of the firearm is a factual finding for the jury.  State v. Belanger, 55 Conn. App. 2, 7, cert. denied, 251 Conn. 921, cert. denied, 530 U.S. 1205, 120 S.Ct. 2200, 147 L.Ed.2d 235 (1999).

Note:  The definition of "deadly weapon" in § 53a-3 (6) and the definition of "firearm" in § 53a-3 (19) have overlapping definitions.  A deadly weapon is, in part, any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged.  A firearm is any of 6 enumerated weapons, plus "any other weapon," whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged.  I.e., all firearms would fit the definition of a deadly weapon, and some deadly weapons would fit the definition of a firearm.  Whether a particular weapon would reasonably come within one of these definitions is to be made on a case-by-case basis.  See State v. Grant, 294 Conn. 151, 159-61 (2009) (BB gun could come within definition of firearm); State v. Hart, 118 Conn. App. 763, 776 (2009), cert. denied, 295 Conn. 908 (2010) (pellet gun could be a deadly weapon, a dangerous instrument, or a firearm).   

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