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A California man is in some hot water after Fresno police discovered his "Super Soaker" shotgun.
Randy Smith, 54, was walking around with the children's water gun hanging off his neck when police stopped him, KMPH reports. The toy was allegedly modified to be a "zip gun," a crude firearm that in this case could fire a 20 gauge shotgun shell.
Cops took the gun apart and discovered the sneaky upgrade. But how did they know to check?
Unfortunately for Smith, the officers had just been briefed about people turning toys into weapons. When they saw Smith brandishing the Super Soaker, their suspicions were raised.
Smith was arrested and slapped with a number of charges, including being a convicted felon in possession of ammunition and a felon in possession of a firearm.
He was also charged with manufacturing an illegal weapon. In California, it's illegal to make, sell, or own certain types of weapons. In addition to zip guns, things like shurikens, nunchuks, cane knives, and a slew of other awesome action movie-type weapons are off limits. Those convicted can face up to a year in jail, a fine up to $1,000, or both.
Once again, unfortunately for Smith, the offense is also a "wobbler." This means, depending the facts of the case and the defendant's criminal history, it can be charged as either a misdemeanor or felony. The latter carries a much harsher sentence.
In Smith's case, it looks like he's had some run-ins with the law in the past. Also, unlike most zip guns (which are generally easy to recognize as firearms), his modified Super Soaker shotgun was much more covert in nature. Most people wouldn't think to be wary of it. This means his alleged violation could end up being charged as a felony, instead of a misdemeanor.
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