(4) 'Sawed-off rifle' means a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade, and intended to be fired from the shoulder; and designed or redesigned, made or remade, to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed metallic cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifle bore for each single pull of the trigger; and which has a barrel or barrels of less than 16 inches in length or has an overall length of less than 26 inches.
This part shall not apply to:
(4) Possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer by a person who is authorized to possess the same because he has registered the sawed-off shotgun, sawed-off rifle, machine gun, dangerous weapon, or silencer in accordance with the dictates of the National Firearms Act, 68A Stat. 725 (26 U.S.C. Sections 5841-5862);
I have heard that Michigan and California have State laws that differ (measure with stock folded). I have only ever seen reference to those two States as being odd, and assume others are the same as federal law, but was just asking...
It appears that the GBI follows ATF procedures for measuring. The following quote is from a case involving the proper method of measuring a shotgun barrel.
Special Agent Del Thomasson with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation testified that he seized from defendant's residence a .12 gauge sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length. Special Agent Thomasson explained on cross-examination that the shotgun barrel was measured according to â€œpolicy and procedure through the alcohol, tobacco and firearms individuals to make the determination on the length of the gun.â€ This evidence was sufficient to authorize the jury's finding that defendant is guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun with a barrel less than 18 inches in length in violation of OCGA Â§ 16-11-122.
Wiley v. State, 204 Ga.App. 881, 420 S.E.2d 783 (1992).
But it may be up to you to introduce evidence of the proper procedure for measuring, as the state may meet its burden without taking any measurements, but simply giving the jury the gun:
The appellant contends that the state failed to carry its burden of proving the dimensions of the weapon which the Code specifies to constitute a â€œsawed-off shotgun,â€ i. e., â€œhaving one or more barrels less than eighteen inches in length or . . . an overall length of less than twenty-six inches.â€ Although there was no testimony as to the dimensions of the weapon, the weapon itself was introduced in evidence, it went out with the jury to the jury room for their deliberations, and the trial judge charged the provisions of Code Ann. s 26-9913a(a)(2), supra. It is argued that the jury's implicit finding that the weapon was the requisite length must have been based upon either their inaccurate sensory perceptions or an unauthorized experiment on the evidence.
The state prima facie carried its burden of proof by introducing in evidence the weapon itself, which was the best evidence of its size. â€œAll properly introduced documentary and demonstrative evidence will be taken into the jury room when the jury retires. This includes photographs, guns and other objects . . . The jury may examine and evaluate objects taken to the jury room, so long as their examinations and tests do not have the effect of introducing new evidence. Thus they may use a magnifying glass to examine evidence. The jury may smell and taste the contents of a jug to determine if it contained whiskey.â€
The burden is on the appellant to show harm as well as error. The jurors, who were presumedly intelligent, also can be presumed to have been certain enough from a visual examination of the evidence (which was not new evidence) and from their familiarity with the length of an inch from common experience, that the weapon met the statutory dimensions; if not, they would have requested the use of a ruler, or expressed their doubt to the trial judge. Likewise, the trial judge apparently had no doubt from his visual inspection of the evidence, nor did counsel for the defendant, who made no tender in evidence of a ruler to rebut the prima facie proof and, indeed, on appeal did not have the weapon sent up and does not even now contend that the weapon does not fit the statutory dimensions. â€œIt is the duty of this court to construe the evidence most strongly in support of a verdict which has been approved by the trial judge.â€ This is based on the fact that â€œ(i)n the trial of a criminal case the jurors are the sole and final arbiters of the facts, and, when a case reaches this court, where no error of law has been committed on the trial and the trial judge has approved the verdict, and it is supported by any evidence, however slight, this court is powerless to interfere.â€
This enumerated error is without merit.
Carson v. State, 241 Ga. 622, 247 S.E.2d 68 (1978).
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