Shooting Foam Darts at Cars

The other day on the highway I was wondering if it is legal to shoot others cars with little rubber darts commonly found in Nerf toys. Although it is illegal to through things into converatable (sp?), what about shooting darts?


Is there a law that says “you can’t shoot darts at a car”? Probably not. The law is going to say something like “acting in a reckless manner while driving” or “engaging in an act likely to cause a disruption to traffic” or whatever and then the fact pattern will be compared to the law. The law has to be written in such a way that a reasonable person would be able to understand that a particular act was in violation. A reasonable person would understand that firing missiles from one moving car to another would constitute “acting recklessly” or whatever the law says.


I doubt if any state has a specific ban on using Nerf™ darts in traffic but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could be charge with a catch-all like wreckless endagerment and rightly so. People won’t realize that the projectiles coming at them are harmless and such a stunt could easily cause a major accident when people react.

If they fall to the ground, you would be littering.

Short answer: no. Longer answer covered in a thread that although I posted in, isn’t coming up either in searches or my subscribed posts.

Basically, it’s assault/battery (or the vehicular equivalent). The person you’re attacking has no idea what you’re doing and it’s distracting/creating a road hazard, etc.

The concensus was that 1) you’d get arrested 2) whatever happened to you as a result of the driver defending himself would be considered self-defense.

You can’t do it while driving - it would open you up to charges of dangerous or distracted driving. However, as a passenger, you could do this - as long as you made sure that the other driver either knew that you were firing a Nerf gun at his car, or made sure that he wouldn’t be able to see it until he pulled off at the rest stop.

I think Tom and Ray of Car Talk once proposed this as a method of identifying poor and dangerous drivers on turnpikes. Presumably, you’d shoot the darts at someone who cut you off, drove only 70 in the passing lane, etc., all other drivers would be aware that someone could be shooting these darts, and a surcharge would be added to your toll depending on how many of these you got nailed with.

Not to mention that, if you do it in a location (states with generous gun-carrying laws, big cities where various criminal types carry guns regardless, anyplace where an undercover cop might be functioning, or even just a citizen with a concealed weapons licence) where someone is armed, and thinks you’re attacking him/her, you are running a risk that is likely to get you featured in the Darwin Awards for that year.

“But … but … I was only playing around. I didn’t use anything dangerous, and I didn’t mean any harm …” is not what you want to be gasping out as you expire in the EMTwagon.

…but only if the cars don’t crash. Once the cars crash, it’s no longer ‘wreckless’…

There are many many many reasons why doing anything remotely like what you are describing would be a bad idea and would likely lead to civil and criminal penalties.

I am going to assume that no one reading or posting to this thread would ever consider doing anything as foolish as this. I am going to further assume that the question behind the op’s question is not “if I did this, would I get in trouble” but “how specific do most criminal statutes get when they describe prohibited conduct.”

Off the top of my head, I would say that the act you are describing would

  1. likely amount to battery
  2. very likely amount to assault
  3. almost certainly amount to criminal negligence.

This would constitute battery if you hit anyone, and assault whether or not you hit anyone so long as anyone reasonably believed they could be hit (e.g. you miss but just barely because the person sees the dart and ducks out of the way).

It would also almost certainly ammount to criminal negligence. Any reasonably prudent person would or should know that firing projectiles at other cars–whether foam or plastic or whatever–would be distracting (to say the least) to other drivers and could cause accidents.

Dave Barry wrote about this in his recent column. According to him, the idea originated with the comedian Gallagher. (Perhaps this is what prompted the OP?)

I don’t think you would get a dart very far out your window before the wind blew it down on to the road.

If the guy in the car you’re shooting has a gun, you could end up dead.

That’s called “THe Law Of THe Jungle”. Do not run afoul of it.

First time I heard it was from George Carlin. He suggested darts with little flags that say “IDIOT” on them. If you get three you get a ticket for being an asshole.

Thanks for the sanity check Otto. When I read the Dave Barry column last week I was thinking, “That was an old George Carlin joke”, but when he attributed it to Gallagher it got me to questioning my memory.

Personally, I always wanted to use a paintball gun. And I think I would have a distinct advantage because I’m left-handed. :smiley:

Well see, your mistake was in thinking that anything original can be attributed to Gallagher.

Carlin, Foxswothy, Gallager – I don’t care – it is about timing and they all have it. I laugh at / with them all.

Too much of any gag gets old and so if you see / hear it over and over… well of course it isn’t funny anymore.

I can see “disturbing the peace” for that one, along with “issuing fighting words.” I mean, if darting your car because I think you’re an idiot isn’t an invitation to a fight, I dunno what is.