Many crimes and criminal statutes in Connecticut involve the use of a deadly weapon, but many people are often unsure as to how that term is defined. According to Connecticut’s Judicial website, the term is defined as the following.

A “deadly weapon” is defined by statute as any weapon, whether loaded or unloaded, from which a shot may be discharged, or a switchblade knife, gravity knife, billy, blackjack, bludgeon, or metal knuckles.

If the weapon is a firearm, it may be unloaded, but it must be in such condition that a shot may be discharged from it. Thus, if the weapon is loaded but out of working order, it is not a deadly weapon. If the weapon is unloaded but in working order, it is a deadly weapon.

Source: General Statutes § 53a-3 (6) (applies to Penal Code).

Commentary: The statutory definition explicitly excludes its application to either § 29-38 or § 53-206.

“Although both deadly weapons and firearms are designed for violence and are capable of inflicting death or serious bodily injury, firearms are limited to the most dangerous weapons and deadly weapons include a broader class.” State v. Hardy, 278 Conn. 113, 132 (2006) (finding that an air pistol was a deadly weapon within the meaning of § 53a-3 (6)); State v. Guzman, 110 Conn. App. 263, 274-76 (2008) (concluding that a BB gun is a deadly weapon as a matter of law).

The phrase “from which a shot may be discharged” in the definition of “firearm” has been interpreted as requiring that the firearm is operable. State v. Belanger, 55 Conn. App. 2, 7, cert. denied, 251 Conn. 921, cert. denied, 530 U.S. 1205, 120 S.Ct. 2200, 147 L.Ed.2d 235 (1999).

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