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What is a Dangerous Weapon?

Matt Brady
Matt Brady

A dangerous weapon, sometimes referred to as a deadly weapon, is generally defined by courts as any object which can cause bodily harm or is wielded with the intent to harm or kill. Most jurisdictions have laws which minutely list what is considered a deadly weapon. For example, a defendant may be convicted of wielding a deadly weapon in cases of negligence, where harm is caused accidentally through irresponsible behavior. Individuals can also be charged in certain regions for merely for possessing a dangerous weapon without a permit.

Most jurisdictions have an exhaustive list of what items are considered to be a dangerous weapon. These lists include the usual suspects, such as firearms and knives, but often also include more obscure objects, such as cane swords and Kung Fu stars. It’s also common for regional laws to include provisions that allow a typically innocent object to be considered a deadly weapon if used with the intent to harm. Therefore, even though a car may not be specifically cited within a legal list of deadly weapons, it could be considered one if used with the intent to harm or kill.

A golf club can become a dangerous weapon if used recklessly, regardless of the user's intent.
A golf club can become a dangerous weapon if used recklessly, regardless of the user's intent.

Individuals carrying dangerous weapons are often required to have a permit or license that legally allows them to do so. If an individual is caught carrying a firearm without a permit, he or she may face charges for illegally carrying a dangerous weapon. Depending upon the region and the court system, these charges may amount to more than just a slap on the wrist; individuals have been fined as well as served prison time for this offense.

It isn't always necessary for a person to intend harm to be charged with assault with a dangerous weapon. In cases in which a person's accidental actions are deemed negligent, it can be considered reckless assault with a dangerous weapon. These can be difficult cases because a substantial argument has to be made that the defendant could have or did foresee that his or her actions could harm another person. For example, if a golfer tees off and the ball accidentally strikes someone, it may be difficult to charge someone with reckless assault, considering that such danger is inherent when stepping onto a golf course. If a golfer throws a golf club in anger after a bad shot, however, and accidentally strikes someone in the process, then charges of negligence and reckless assault may well apply, with the golf club being listed as a dangerous weapon.

Discussion Comments


My friend was being threatened by another guy from our school and I was asked to come along to record the argument in case my friend got hit and a fight started. Since I knew that the guy had a history of violence, I decided to bring my air soft gun to intimidate and scare him away if he pulled out a knife or other weapon. The air soft gun was concealed under my coat in a holster and I had no ammo for it. When the guy hit my fried, they started to fight and a few seconds into the fight, I tried to break it up by pushing them apart. In doing so, my coat lifted, exposing the gun in its holster. The guy took a swing at me and I told him that he did not want to hit me, and that it would cause more problems if the fight continued.

I thought of a new way to break up the fight. I told them there was a car coming to try to make them run, but they still did not stop fighting, so I tried to break them up again and he swung at me again. Then my friend won the fight and we went back to his house to try to fix up the cut on his lip and then I went home. The next day at school I was escorted by the vice principal to the office and was told there was a police officer who wanted to see me. I waited in the office for about two hours then was told I'm being investigated for dangerous weapons and and assault. Then I was questioned about what happened and told the officer the same as above. I just turned 18 the day before this happened. The officer said she would continue the investigation and would call me to let me know when I have to go to court.


My nephew was in the state of Ohio and he was left on the street by people who were supposed to take care of him. He was approached by a woman with a bag full of pill that she was trying to sell (She is a known Drug dealer) he got in a scuffle with her. He tried to take the bag and the bag flew back and hit her and broke her nose. Can this be called felonious assault? He cannot afford an attorney and the PD told him this was not a serious charge. Can anyone help him?

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    • A golf club can become a dangerous weapon if used recklessly, regardless of the user's intent.
      By: WavebreakmediaMicro
      A golf club can become a dangerous weapon if used recklessly, regardless of the user's intent.