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Rocket launchers, grenade found in garbage near CA high school

Police car lights (Dreamstime/TNS)
April 04, 2022

A pair of rocket launchers and a practice grenade were discovered in a California residence’s trash can near a school last week, according to authorities.

The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department told NPR that deputies in Perris Station responded Wednesday to reports of military ordnance found in a dumpster at the 32200 block of Leon Road, Winchester, less than one mile from Liberty High School.

Two empty, single-use, disposable AT4 launcher tubes and one inert practice grenade that had been cut in half were inside the garbage receptacle.

“Although the launcher tubes are illegal to possess, they were not a safety hazard and there was no threat to the community,” the department said. “This incident was not an unusual occurrence, as we routinely find and seize inert military ordnance.”

The department’s Hazard Device Team handled the collection of the military artillery.

Under the National Firearms Act, grenades and rocket launchers – also called bazookas – are classified as “destructive devices.”

“Destructive device.–The term “destructive device” means * * * (2) any type of weapon by whatever name known which will, or which may be readily converted to, expel a projectile by the action of an explosive or other propellant, the barrel or barrels of which have a bore of more than one-half inch in diameter, except a shotgun or shotgun shell which the Secretary or his delegate finds is generally recognized as particularly suitable for sporting purposes; . . .,” the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) website states.

While they are legal with certain registration federally, states and local governments can regulate or outlaw the weapons. In California, possession of a destructive device is illegal.

However, it is unclear who the weapons belonged to at this time.

Possessing the weapons could be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony, with fines ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 and up to three years in prison.

Also in California, a shooting in Sacramento left six people dead and 12 others injured on Sunday. President Joe Biden subsequently released a statement calling for more gun control.

Biden urged Congress to pass gun control legislation that includes a ban on ghost guns, requiring “universal” background checks for all gun sales – including private transfers, banning “assault weapons” and “high-capacity magazines,” and repealing gun manufacturers’ “immunity from liability.”

“But we must do more than mourn; we must act,” he added. “That is why my Administration has taken historic executive action to implement my comprehensive gun crime reduction strategy — from standing up gun trafficking strike forces to helping cities across the country expand community violence interventions and hire more police officers for community policing.”