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Re: Laws and permits

Original poster: Jim Lux <jimlux-at-earthlink-dot-net> 

At 05:38 PM 4/14/2004 -0600, you wrote:
>Original poster: Nathan Savir <thoobik-at-yahoo-dot-com>
>Would anyone happen to know about laws involving making high-powered 
>magnetic devices at home? We actually want to make a magnetic gun, like 
>the coil that our physics teacher has that launches a metal ring several 
>meters into the air, but I though Tesla coilers might know things I should 
>be aware of. Permits we'd have to apply for or something? Any advice?

No laws specifically regulate such things. However, there are a whole host 
of laws about "nuisances", "hazardous activities", "destructive devices", 
"disturbing the peace", etc. , any or all of which can conceivably be applied.

Rule 1) Don't ask the officials.  They can easily say NO, without having to 
think about it, and then you're stuck.

Rule 2) Don't draw attention to yourself. No loud bangs. No shooting at 
mannikin targets in the front yard, etc.

Rule 3) Make sure you operate it with reasonable (visible) safety 
precautions (things like safe places for the projectile to go), so if 
someone does show up an ask questions, you don't look like some idiot who's 
going to hurt someone.  You can do remarkably dangerous things in the 
course of a legitimate business (which could be in your garage or living 
room, like any other business), but it's got to look "real".

While what you're doing isn't a firearm (in the legal sense), it has 
effects like one, and will make the gendarmes accordingly nervous. Pretty 
much every city has laws that prohibit discharge of firearms in homes, and 
if the locals feel that you're making a firearm, it's going to be an uphill 
battle to convince them otherwise. They might want to confiscate first, and 
work out the details later, and that "working out the details" might take a 
lot of time, money, and aggravation, as well as "marking" you for future 

I note that things like potato cannons are often classed as "homemade 
destructive devices", the possession of which are a felony in 
California.  You can probably fight it out in court, but it's going to be