Monday, September 26, 2005


"I would like to bring you up to date with a comment heard on Fox News Channel during the reporting on preparations in Texas for hurricane Rita. Shepard Smith noted that Texas has a culture of individual independence and ownership of guns is common. He stated that any looter in Texas was likely to be confronted by armed citizens should police not be present, with the probability they would be shot. He opined that it was unlikely that police in Texas would even attempt to disarm citizens, and any force which did attempt to break into homes and disarm the homeowner might be met with armed resistance from the citizen.

Having lived and worked in New Orleans for a short period many years ago, and worked in the city temporarily several times since, I can certainly say there is a distinctly different culture in that city. Poverty and welfare have produced a dependency culture not found in the general population here in Texas. While most Americans generally would comply with reasonable governmental requests, I believe there are many US citizens, if not most, who would ignore government demands which they believe impinge on their rights and freedoms. Those citizens who would comply with an order to give up firearms are generally found in larger urban areas primarily in "Blue" states (and obviously vote Democrat).

I highly doubt that our Governor, and other state officials, would countenance any suggestion that disarmament be undertaken. While I'm not in the impact area, woe be unto any person who comes to my house and attempts to enter forcibly to disarm me and my family (or for any reason for that matter). And for the record I'm a retired federal Senior Special Agent and do have a significant respect for the law. However, I have a greater respect for the US Constitution and my rights and responsibilities as a citizen".


A federal jury on Friday found a former Alton man not guilty of violating federal gun laws. Derek Leland, 25, of Dover, N.H., was charged with three counts of lying on applications to purchase five 9mm pistols from Frati's Pawn Shop in Bangor in November 2003. The all-male jury deliberated for an hour before delivering its verdict following a day-and-a-half long trial in U.S. District Court. Leland grinned as his attorney, Stephen Brett of York Beach, playfully punched him on the arm each time the court clerk read, "not guilty." Leland's girlfriend, Rebecka Miller, 25, of Dover, N.H., who testified on Thursday on his behalf, wept as the verdict was read. "We're very happy that it went this way," Leland's mother, Linda Leland, 51, of Alton, said after the trial.

Assistant U.S. Attorney James McCarthy, who prosecuted the case, declined to comment on the verdict.

Brett said the jury saw Leland's honesty when he took the stand on his own behalf. "Derek told his story honestly and openly," the attorney said after the trial. "He didn't wane, he didn't waver and what he did is not against the law." What Leland did, according to McCarthy, was purchase five "Saturday night specials" between Nov. 22 and 29, 2003. When he purchased them, Leland told pawn shop owner Orlando Frati that he wanted them for Christmas presents, the prosecutor said Friday in his closing argument.

It is illegal for a person to buy a gun on behalf of another individual. Federal law allows a person to purchase weapons for possible resale or as a gift. Leland did not give them as gifts, according to court documents, but sold three of the guns to his roommate, Ian J. Nasino, 20, and one to a friend, Jeffrey H. Pulver, 27, in Berwick within 24 hours of purchasing them.

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