Saturday, September 01, 2007

Illegal gun ban in Va: "More than 100 gun-rights advocates, most carrying handguns on their hips and wearing buttons saying "Guns Save Lives," came to the City Council on Tuesday night to protest what they called harassment of law-abiding gun owners by city officials. The protest was called by the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun-rights group, after Chet Szymecki of Yorktown was arrested in June at Harborfest for carrying a gun. Szymecki was arrested for violating a city ordinance banning guns at Harborfest - an ordinance that officials now acknowledge violates state law. City Attorney Bernard A. Pishko said city officials were unaware of a state law prohibiting localities from banning guns. Carrying a weapon openly is legal in Virginia, even at a large gathering such as Harborfest. Once city officials realized their error, the charges against Szymecki were dropped. "We made a mistake," Councilman Barclay C. Winn said. "It was unintentional." Most who came to protest didn't appear to believe it was an innocent mistake. "You know it was illegal," said Dave Vann, who drove from Falls Church to speak. "You arrested someone, and now it's going to cost you dearly." Szymecki, a Navy veteran, said he was manhandled and hurt and that his wife, Deborah, his three children and two other children who accompanied them were traumatized. He said he has hired Norfolk attorney Stephen Merrill. Others rose to describe incidents in which they said they were questioned and often handcuffed by police for simply carrying a firearm openly."

Guns Don't Kill Criminals, Criminals Kill Criminals: "In Newark, where three young friends with no apparent links to crime were executed Aug. 4, roughly 85% of victims killed in the first six months of this year had criminal records, on par with the percentage in 2005 but up from 81% last year, police statistics show. David Kennedy, a professor at New York's John Jay College of Criminal Justice, says the rise in criminals killing criminals has escaped policymakers' attention. "The notion that these (murders) are random bolts of lightning, which is the commonly held image, is not the reality," says Kennedy, who has examined the backgrounds of murder suspects and victims in multiple U.S. cities. "It happens, but it doesn't happen often." The slaying of truly innocent victims is so unusual in Baltimore that the chief prosecutor says the city has become dangerously numb to the carnage. "If we don't put human faces on the victims, we will become desensitized," State Attorney Patricia Jessamy says"

North Carolina: Victim In Home Invasion Shoots, Kills Intruder: "One of three men accused of breaking into a home and holding the residents at gunpoint was shot and killed early Friday morning by one of the residents. Wayne County Sheriff's Department officials said Antione Logan Chestnut [above], 19, of Dudley was shot to death after he and two other men broke into a home in the Dudley community at about 12:30 a.m. There were two adults and four small children -- ages 4, 5,5 and 8 -- at the home at 2546 Old Mount Olive Highway at the time. According to officials, Chestnut, Kayloe Lemont Middleton, 25, and one other man broke through a front door, ransacked the home and held the people inside at gunpoint. Police said Chestnut fired at someone in the home. The resident shot back multiple times, killing Chestnut. The other two men escaped the home in a dark-colored vehicle. Middleton was arrested later and is charged with first-degree burglary and first-degree kidnapping. Police are still looking for the third intruder."

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