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Flipper:

Seen in the Salt Lake County Code of Ordinances, § 10-64-010, as well as in several other Utah local codes:

It is unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm, gun, sparrow gun, flipper or similar contrivance within the limits of the county except in a careful and prudent manner, and in such designated area as the council shall by proclamation appoint.

What in blazes is a "flipper," in the sense used here?

GD:
Catapult? Are siege weapons not banned?
4.13.2009 4:48pm
mariner:
When I was a kid we could buy cheap wire-frame slingshots, that we referred to as "beany-flips".

I'm not sure if that's what is referred to here.
4.13.2009 4:49pm
Tim in Philly (mail):
A flipper is probably some type of "Zip" gun. It probably derives it's name from the action used to fire it. I am not sure of this however, but i do seem to remember seeing something like this when i was in Boy Scouts. Yes, back in the day the Boy Scouts actually taught young men to make zip guns. It was part of survival training.
4.13.2009 4:52pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
It's an old-fashioned wooden slingshot, according to Dictionary of American Regional English.

When looking up very old colloquialisms like this, I find the best source is Google Books.
4.13.2009 4:57pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
(Offensive term warning to that last link I posted, by the way. According to the dictionary I cite, the term "flipper" was often used just as part of the name. It was often used as part of a phrase, "n____ flipper," presumably because whites probably used to harass and annoy blacks with them.)
4.13.2009 4:59pm
A Law Dawg:
Catapult was my first reaction as well.
4.13.2009 5:01pm
Mike G in Corvallis (mail):
Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.
4.13.2009 5:03pm
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
Jeez, guys, you aren't supposed to come up with a real answer. EV was just looking for a chance to write about the 2nd amendment right to bear dolphins. :)
4.13.2009 5:04pm
Bama 1L:
I found a Salt Lake Tribune article that puts the statute in context but doesn't tell us what a flipper is. Maybe a flipper is a slingshot with which the "hoodlum boys" cast rocks at the sparrows?
4.13.2009 5:08pm
Liberal Libertarian:
Its a knife that flips open. http://www.knivesplus.com/kershawflipperknives.html ; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LlRq-RKOjY

No idea why it is in the discharge section though it is a CW.
4.13.2009 5:09pm
Bama 1L:
PatHMV posted while I was looking that up. I think we have a slingshot.
4.13.2009 5:10pm
Le Messurier (mail):
OK, so now I know what a flipper is, though I doubt it will enter my day to day vocabulary. But maybe "sparrow gun" would be a useful if only I knew what it meant. Is it a specific type of weapon designed for taking out sparrows like elephant guns are for elephants? Which leads me to another question: Are elephant guns OK under the ordinancev since no mention is made of them?
4.13.2009 5:13pm
PC:
Which leads me to another question: Are elephant guns OK under the ordinancev since no mention is made of them?

Back in my younger days I fired a rifle my grandfather owned that he called an "elephant gun." It was a high powered rifle used for hunting big game (.300, iirc. I do remember that it had a major kick), so I doubt it would be exempted. Gramps never used it for elephant hunting, but he did drop a moose or two with it.
4.13.2009 5:22pm
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Personally, I find the image of loading a trebuchet with a dolphin amusing.
4.13.2009 5:22pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
A sparrow gun seems to have been not very powerful.

It appears from this description to be a rifle which, rather than firing a normal cartridge, fires a mini shotgun-type shell. Like a .22 which, rather than having a single bullet at the tip of the shell, is filled with many smaller pellets.
4.13.2009 5:25pm
PatHMV (mail) (www):
On the other hand, maybe this is what is meant. One gun and 125 projectiles, by registered mail, for only $1.75! By Express shipping for only $2!

(Boy, I love old ads!)
4.13.2009 5:29pm
Hank Bowman, MD (mail) (www):
PC, an 'elephant gun' was a very large caliber (usually larger than .45 inches) firing a low-pressure cartridge. The various .4 caliber rifles were considered medium bore, although today the .458 Winchester Magnum and .460 Weatherby Magnums are considered 'elephant guns'. A true elephant gun could run as large as a .600 Nitro Express, and IIRC there was even a .700 Nitro express. These were typically made in double rifle (two side-by-side barrels with a common stock and trigger mechanism) so there was a fully functional backup round without having to work an action. The cartridges were designed to operate with relatively low pressure to minimize the brass case from swelling after firing, making extraction and reloading difficult - a good thing with four or five tons of very irate elephant coming at you.

However, the round that probably was used to kill the most elephants was the relatively small 7x57 Mauser, used by Walter Dalrymple Maitland "Karamojo" Bell, a professional elephant hunter. These days most are probably killed with the 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester) fired from a poachers FAL rifle. As with all hunting (legal or not) shot placement counts far more than what is fired.
4.13.2009 5:39pm
Syd Henderson (mail):
PatHMV (mail) (www):
On the other hand, maybe this is what is meant. One gun and 125 projectiles, by registered mail, for only $1.75! By Express shipping for only $2!

(Boy, I love old ads!)


Is that what we would call a BB gun?
4.13.2009 5:47pm
Careless:

Jeez, guys, you aren't supposed to come up with a real answer. EV was just looking for a chance to write about the 2nd amendment right to bear dolphins. :)

GIS has nothing.
4.13.2009 5:50pm
PC:
PatHMV: Like a .22 which, rather than having a single bullet at the tip of the shell, is filled with many smaller pellets.

My great-grandmother used to keep a .22 loaded with rock salt on her back porch to shoot "critters" in the garden (gotta love southern suburbs).

Hank Bowman, MD: These days most are probably killed with the 7.62x51 (.308 Winchester) fired from a poachers FAL rifle.

A quick google brings up the .300 win mag (7.62x67) which would put it in that range. Maybe not officially an "elephant gun," but it's in the same range.

I wonder if a .50 Barrett would be considered an "elephant gun?" Poor elephant.
4.13.2009 5:50pm
gwinje:
Not quite a .700 Nitro Express, but amusing nonetheless.
4.13.2009 5:55pm
ASlyJD (mail):

Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.



Okay, don't have my charts and dictionary in front of me, but I'm guessing:
I have a catapult. I will sell it for no amount of money, from it your large rocks are released

How about this one:
Hic mui catapulta est. Illas multa simillima ad ea sunt, sed
illa mea est.
4.13.2009 6:01pm
DA:
ASlyJD,

Not quite. It means (literally translated): I have a catapult. Unless you give me all of your money, I will send an immense rock at your head.
4.13.2009 6:22pm
Mike McDougal:

It was often used as part of a phrase, "n____ flipper," presumably because whites probably used to harass and annoy blacks with them


When I was about 5 my grandfather mentioned something about that. I had forgotten it until now.
4.13.2009 6:41pm
Putting Two and Two...:
The association with "sparrow gun" is quite telling. Obviously, the law is intended to punish those who flip the bird...
4.13.2009 6:50pm
ASlyJD (mail):
DA: That sounds suspiciously like a Terry Pratchett quote.
4.13.2009 6:51pm
kwo (mail):
I grew up in Idaho and Utah. A flipper is a slingshot made from a forked tree branch or carved 2x6 and a cut-up inner tube (which basically acts like a big rubber band). They're still popular at family reunions and such.
4.13.2009 6:52pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Mine is simply a badly translated Full Metal Jacket quote.
4.13.2009 6:53pm
D.R.M.:
A true elephant gun could run as large as a .600 Nitro Express, and IIRC there was even a .700 Nitro express.

When Holland &Holland made their last .600 Double-Express in '74, they guaranteed to the buyer it would be the last new one they ever made. So, when offered a pile of money in '89 by an American collector, they made a .700 instead.
4.13.2009 8:04pm
Glenn W. Bowen (mail):

My great-grandmother used to keep a .22 loaded with rock salt on her back porch to shoot "critters" in the garden (gotta love southern suburbs).


...huh?
4.13.2009 8:13pm
Avatar (mail):
"This is my catapult. There are many like it, but this one is mine"?
4.13.2009 8:23pm
Fub:
PC wrote at 4.13.2009 5:50pm:
PatHMV: Like a .22 which, rather than having a single bullet at the tip of the shell, is filled with many smaller pellets.

My great-grandmother used to keep a .22 loaded with rock salt on her back porch to shoot "critters" in the garden (gotta love southern suburbs).
I recall commercially available .22 cartridges called "rat shot" in vernacular, but sometimes "sparrow shot". Wikipedia entry for it is here.

Instead of containing a slug, the end of the casing was crimped (or cut several times and crimped) to contain a few very small pieces of lead shot. That made a .22 rifle into a sort of mini-(or micro)-shotgun, with very limited range and penetration. It also meant rigorously cleaning the gun after firing a few, as they tended to gum up the rifling.

I'm not sure if that is the same as a "sparrow gun", but it might be.

Another possibility for "sparrow gun" is a compressed air rifle, typically shooting a .17 slug. Some of these these were much more powerful than the Daisy BB gun, and were very popular for youngsters hunting squirrel and other small critters.
4.13.2009 8:31pm
ASlyJD (mail):
Avatar:
That's what I was going for. Those more skilled in Latin than my three semester will probably correct it.
4.13.2009 8:50pm
Laura(southernxyl) (mail) (www):
" My great-grandmother used to keep a .22 loaded with rock salt on her back porch to shoot "critters" in the garden (gotta love southern suburbs).



...huh?"

Glenn, if you're wondering about "critters", those would be "creatures". In the context, squirrels, rabbits, possums, and any other small animal that would be rooting around in the vegetable garden.
4.13.2009 9:03pm
PC:
...huh?

Or if you were wondering about shooting a gun in the suburbs, it was two decades ago in Mobile, AL. afaik, it was legal. If not, the police never bothered her. She had the gun on the porch 'til the day she died and that was when she was in her 90s.
4.13.2009 11:35pm

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