Fake Gun Leads to Criminal Charges for New Jersey Actor

Fake Gun Leads to Criminal Charges for New Jersey Actor

A New Jersey man is facing criminal charges for the fake gun he was using as a prop while filming a movie.

Carlo Bellario is an actor and a comedian. While filming a low budget movie in Woodbridge, New Jersey in November 2015, the BB gun he was using in his role as a bodyguard landed him in hot water when local residents saw it and called the police.  According to Bellario, a number of officers quickly arrived on set:

“They rolled up hot. There was eight of them. They got out. They were all charged up, ‘who’s the guy driving, where’s the guy with the gun?’ I said, ‘I’m right here, we’re actors, we’re shooting a movie.’ I’m in character still. It was in my waistband. I pulled it out slowly because I don’t want to make the wrong move.”

Despite Bellario’s explanation, the officers elected to arrest him under charges of weapons possession for the fake gun. According to some sources a BB gun is considered a firearm in the state of New Jersey and regulated as such.

Bellario’s situation is complicated by the legal status of the film shoot. The producers apparently lacked the requisite permits to film in the area, or to film using replica firearms.

Carlo Bellario served four days in Middlesex County Jail, and is currently barred from leaving the state until the matter is resolved in court. Faced with daunting legal expenses and losing work due to his inability to travel, he has started a Go Fund Me campaign to help with the bills.

Photo from Carlo Bellario’s Facebook Page.

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  • Jenny Everywhere

    Here’s where I’ve heard differing stories: Was it a BB gun — the kind that shoots a copper-clad steel projectile — or an AIRSOFT gun — the kind that shoots a nylon or plastic projectile? All too often, airsoft guns are referred generically as “BB guns” because the projectile is ROUND, not because it is in actuality a BB.

    BB shot is metal shot between size B and size BBB, .180 inch nominally. It was popularized by air-powered guns made by Daisy, who standardized it at .175 inch diameter, copper-plated steel being intended for purpose-made BB guns. But the origin of the shot was SHOTGUN pellets made of lead. So a “BB Gun” is a projectile weapon that fires a metal projectile between .175 and .180 inches, using air or gas instead of a burning chemical propellant. (Yes, I know, it’s the expanding gas from burning powder that makes a bullet go, but the reason for expanding gas — generation of gas by burning vs compressed cold gas is important.)

    AIRSOFT, by contrast, is a PLASTIC ball between 6-8mm in diameter, 6mm being a defacto standard. The weight of such balls are highly variable, between .12g and .48g, though 6mm and .20g is the most common. This is nowhere near “BB” size, being much larger than a BBB shot. So they’re both bigger AND made of a different material. The only thing Airsoft pellets have in common with BB shot is the shape, and sometimes the propellant material.

    A spring-powered Airsoft uses the force of a spring to propel the ball. It’s hard to discover whether or not a gun that fires metal BB shot using a spring uses the actual spring force OR compressed air from a spring-powered compression chamber to fire the pellet, because looking up “metal bb spring gun” comes up with people calling Airsoft guns made of metal that use springs to propel the ball “BB guns” inaccurately. This is also the main contention I have with “BB Gun” in general these days…but a BB gun GENERALLY uses compressed air, either compressed by a spring-operated compression chamber that uses the force of cocking the weapon to force a piston into a tube to compress the air in it, or a gas such as CO2 or Propane from a metal compression cylinder, as the motive power for the ball. Airsoft guns either use the force of the spring to physically launch the plastic ball, a compressed-air piston, or liquid gas like CO2 or Propane (Green Gas is basically propane with silicone oil and deodorants).

    New Jersey weapon law classifies a “BB gun” as, effectively, a shotgun. Mostly because that covers unrifled barrels and round shot pellets, NOT the propellant used. In fact, some states define “firearm” as a device that propels a bullet or shot through a barrel, and includes practically any expanding gas, hot or cold, making the “fire” part of “firearm” essentially moot. To buy a true metal-projectile BB gun in New Jersey requires the SAME EXACT PERMIT to purchase as a true firearm. But reading NJ law:

    “Any person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:58-4, is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the handgun is in the nature of an air gun, spring gun or pistol or other weapon of a similar nature in which the propelling force is a spring, elastic band, carbon dioxide, compressed or other gas or vapor, air or compressed air, or is ignited by compressed air, and ejecting a bullet or missile smaller than three-eighths of an inch in diameter, with sufficient force to injure a person. Otherwise it is a crime of the second degree.”

    One can see that the material of the projectile is IRRELEVANT to New Jersey. If it propels a projectile, it’s an ebil gunzah. PERIOD. That means you have to get the SAME PERMIT for a Wal-Mart $14 airsoft spring gun as you would for a $2000 Charles Daly custom .45 firearm. To the chucklewits in the People’s Republic of New Jersnika, they’re ALL “firearms”.

    But I still would have liked to know if the prop gun in question was an airsoft (plastic ball) or BB gun (metal ball). I just think it’s lazy to refer to Airsoft as “BB” when it ISN’T.

    The rule in New Jersey is: If you’re making a film, use NON-FIRING prop weapons and super in the muzzle flash in post. And get a film permit that includes the use of non-firing prop weapons so they don’t try to haul you in on “disturbing the peace” or “public menacing”. In the PRNJ, you dare not fire a spitwad from a straw in the sight of a cop, or he might call THAT a “firearm” too. If it can scratch a cornea, it can “injure a person”, so it becomes a “firearm”.

  • Sir TuberKopf

    Since no one in NJ but LEO’s can have guns on the street, any report of a firearm or firearm looking device brings the gestapo in full Monty. Permits to carry are essentially nonexistent for civilian residents.

    Air guns or BB guns are in all cases considered firearms. Possession is limited to your property or a gun range, and it must have been purchased legally. A handgun style air gun or BB gun requires a separate pistol permit to purchase for each handgun. To possess one in NJ requires the owner to have an FID (long gun and ammunition purchasers) card. They can be obtained by non-residents who have a second residence in NJ. If you move to NJ and own airgunds or firearms already, you just need to obtain and FID purchaser card, save your receipts. No weapons registration is required.

    Air soft guns and paintball guns require no permit in NJ. They like toy guns must have the orange tip. It is strongly recommended that there is parental supervision to insure your child’s safety from nutty law enforcement when using them. If that orange tip is defaced, removed, hidden that is a felony. Brandishing a toy gun (like an actor might) is a felony.

    If traveling through NJ with a firearm or airgun or BB gun, you must follow the Federal safe passage law for transporting firearms. Never deviate, never admit you have a firearm, if questioned about firearms change the subject, keep asking “am I free to go” to every question. Do not submit to a search, see previous step. If you are forcibly searched, state that you are protected by federal safe passage law and demand a lawyer. Repeat until you obtain results.

    NJ is a fascist state that refuses to honor the US constitution. NJ prisons hold many people that thought the Constitution would protect them.

    Last note, the head of the NJ state police decided with the approval of Chris Christie’s AG that the entire line of Gamo Whisper air rifles qualify as assault weapons, even though they posses not one attribute identified in NJ’s assault weapons ban law. The crime, they are quiet air rifles so they must have a silencer built in, silencers are banned in NJ, so they must be illegal. Bring one into NJ under any guise, and you can get ten years in the state pen. Crazy huh these air rifles are sold in toy stores across America.

    • RE Federal safe passage law. This gets interesting if traveling on a motorcycle. While not impossible, it’s difficult to avoid jersey if going to Long Island. What a rotten place. I am glad I moved from the area. It’s just getting worse. That said, why the hell hasn’t the NRA challenged Christie?

      • Sir TuberKopf

        The judiciary in NJ has no qualms about legislating from the bench. They are complicit with prosecutors and law enforcement in their color of law unconstitutional behavior. You can’t appeal your case without a judges OK and you won’t be allowed to bring your case to the Federal courts. The courts will also not allow a constitutional defense.

        Recently a couple cases were brought by people of means over NJ’s judicial policy to deny all requests for permits to carry. Jersey courts dragged it out over and over costing defendants huge dollars. When the case was finally about to go to a federal court that would likely recognize prior precedence, and find NJ law unconstitutional, the state issued the permits, killing the court case. Nothing like spending a $100,000+ for a permit to carry.

      • Lets Go Buffalo

        Ummm….Long Island is part of the other socialist state of NY! Why would you travel there with a pistol? You need a NYS Permit to possess and that does NOT cover you in NYC.

    • Bigearsbarry

      And one of the main reasons I never go there. I don’t ever plan on spending my hard earned money somewhere that doesn’t trust me with my rights.

    • Sir TuberKopf

      I did more research on this story, the toy gun in this case was in fact an airsoft gun. The police report specifies that.

      The actual complaint filed by police was for two things, first possessing a replica firearm in public and the second using a holster in a public place to hold a replica firearm without a permit to carry. In NJ these two violations carry a five year sentence.

      So ladies don’t even think of dressing up in public like Laura Croft Tomb Raider on Holloween in NJ.

  • David O’Connor

    Michael, I hate to tell you but no matter how many times you call a BB gun a fake gun it is not. Granted, it is not a powder fired gun, but it certainly is not fake. Many people have been injured and some have died from being shot with a BB gun. However, I hate NJ gun laws.

  • Green Hornet

    AVOID NJ AT ALL COST!
    I got a ticket for talking on my cell phone when I wasn’t, Judge said you are guilty even with paperwork showing cell phone was NOT active during time in NJ
    I would hate to be the BB gun guy!!!

  • that a BB gun is considered a “firearm” only shows how demented the NJ politicians really are. In no way is a BB gun a firearm.

  • Steven Smith

    Living in Georgia I played Airsoft all the time in on my block with the neighbors, no cops called on us ever. turned 18 went to NJ to live while i went to college and decided to do some target practice, made some friends they got airsoft guns and we had one big battle up and down the street….until PD showed up and i got to see the front end of a Glock 21….saw my life flash before my eyes…then I was told i might be going to jail but when i showed them it was plastic bb’s not metal ones…and we said we had mosquito bites not welts from the bb’s they cut me loose….but took all of our guns -___- Hate NJ

  • spasmonaut

    I feel for the dude, and I hope that this and other similar “nonsense” stories continue to bring shame to NJ for the authoritarian state that it is. Admittedly, using a “gun” prop in public without taking the proper precautions is pretty reckless. I live in a neighboring state that is much more respectful of the 2nd Amendment, but even here I wouldn’t do something like this group did. Still, the whole “firearm” definition broadly painting over nearly anything that fires a projectile is utterly stupid. There is no “reactive” propellant used in an airgun to deem it anything remotely close to being a firearm. They simply used a compressed gas (whether air, CO2, propane, etc.) to propel the projectile. Can they be lethal? Sure! Can a screwdriver be lethal? You bet! Are either of them firearms? Not a chance.

  • nicholsda

    Do people in NJ also have to pay a poll tax to vote? Seems like it is the same kind of idea concerning firearms.

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