Is a BB gun a firearm? Minnesota Supreme Court will decide

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Is BB gun a firearm? The Minnesota Supreme Court will hear a case that asks just that question.

The justices agreed last week to hear the appeal of David Lee Heywood, who was convicted in 2013 of illegal possession of a firearm and sentenced to five years in prison.

The weapon he had was a Walther CP99 Compact .177-caliber BB gun, which looks like a standard Walther P99 handgun, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Heywood, 37, is not allowed to have any firearms because of a prior drug conviction.

The trial judge told the jury that a BB gun is considered a firearm under Minnesota law, and Heywood was convicted.

Heywood appealed, arguing that the statute doesn't define "illegal firearm," according to the Pioneer Press. He said a weapon should only be considered a firearm when it uses gunpowder or an explosive charge to fire a shot; BB guns use compressed gas.

The Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld Heywood's conviction in September, citing several previous rulings by the panel as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, which consistently classified BB guns as firearms.

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