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Court: flash-bang grenades are weapons of mass destruction

February 29, 2020 GMT

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — “Flash-bang” grenades often used by law enforcement officials are weapons of “mass death and destruction,” North Carolina’s Supreme Court has declared.

Friday’s decision reverses an appeals court finding that flash bang grenades found in a man’s car after a traffic stop were not devices capable of causing mass death and destruction as outlined in North Carolina law.

The appeals court said that any “grenade” subject to the prohibition on weapons of mass destruction must be capable of causing catastrophic damage consistent with the “highly deadly and destructive” nature of other items on the list.

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The appeals court said classifying a flash bang grenade or a smoke grenade emitting fog as a weapon of mass death and destruction was overly simplistic and comparable to classifying a cherry bomb as a “bomb” or a bottle rocket as a “rocket.”

But the Supreme Court noted that the language in the law defines a weapon of mass death and destruction as “any explosive or incendiary” bomb or grenade.

The case involved Adam Carey, an active duty Marine who was stopped for speeding near Jacksonville in 2016. Carey had “emergency lights” flashing on his own car and told a state trooper he was trying to stop another for speeding.

Police found guns, ammunition, suppressors, body armor and three flash bang grenades in Carey’s car. He was later convicted for impersonating a law enforcement officer and possession of the grenades as weapons of mass destruction.