St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled BB guns cannot be considered firearms under Minnesota law.

The ruling stems from a challenge mounted by a St. Paul man, who was sentenced to five years in prison in 2013 after he was convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm after he was caught with a BB gun in the glovebox of his car.

In deciding that a BB gun is not a firearm, the Supreme Court noted the state law used to prosecute the man does not specifically define the term firearm. The justices looked to dictionaries to find the “plain and ordinary” meaning of the word and determined the common definition for firearm is a weapon that uses “explosive force,” which is not the case in BB guns.

The Supreme Court ruling also lists a number of examples of other state laws that state firearms use explosive force or combustion and others that use the term “all other guns” when the intent is to prosecute offenders for using other types of guns in the commission of a crime.

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