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'Banana Gun' Gets Man Arrested for Felony

A "banana gun" was cause of a Colorado felony arrest for allegedly pointing the intimidating fruit at officers.

Nathen Rolf Channing, 27, was arrested for felony menacing near Grand Junction, Colorado, for allegedly drawing and pointing a banana at officers "in the same manner someone would draw a standard handgun from a concealed holster," reports Denver's KUSA. Channing claims that he was simply joking, but the cops didn't seem amused.

Can pointing a "banana gun" get you slapped with a felony?

The Banana, Most Menacing of Fruits

Bananas can resemble many household objects, and entire songs have been written about bananas being used as phones. But while children might get a good laugh treating a banana like a phone or remote control, at least in Colorado, they should avoid pointing them like guns.

Channing was charged with felony menacing, which in Colorado is a class 5 felony punishable by one to three years in prison. In order to "menace" someone on the felony level in the Rocky Mountain State, you must:

  • Knowingly place or attempt to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury; and
  • Use a deadly weapon or object used or fashioned in a manner to make a person reasonably believe it is a deadly weapon; or
  • Represent verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon.

According to KUSA, the Mesa County Sheriff's deputies who encountered Channing maintain that he drew the banana from his coat and pointed it at them like a gun. When Deputy Donald Love began to draw his own handgun, Channing yelled to the deputies "It's a banana."

Intent, Knowledge, and Bananas

While Channing is sticking to his story that the banana stunt was joke material (he also told deputies he was a standup comedian), this might be more serious than being booed off stage. Even if it was not Channing's intent to cause the deputies to fear for their lives, the law only requires that he "knowingly" did so.

It's a fine distinction, but if Channing reasonably believed that his actions would lead to officers fearing for their safety, he may be in trouble. The menacing law also requires that the banana was used or reasonably represented as something like a deadly weapon.

Is it reasonable to believe that a yellow object pointed at you was a gun?

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