Thursday, March 11, 2010

Jury clears man who fired warning shots: "A jury has acquitted a man who fired two gunshots last year during a fight before a South Walton wedding, ruling he was acting in self-defense. Timothy Sonnier was acquitted of aggravated assault and aggravated battery with great bodily harm late Tuesday, his attorneys at the Destin law firm Pleat & Perry said Wednesday. He had pleaded not guilty at the beginning of the trial Monday. “This was a guy who was just defending himself and his life and his family,” said attorney Winter Spires. She said the gunshots Sonnier fired “were strictly warning shots” aimed nowhere near the man sheriff’s deputies called the victim in the case. The incident happened July 25, 2009, when Sonnier came to South Walton for a wedding and arrived at a condominium on Scenic Gulf Drive to find someone else intoxicated in his room, Spires said. There was an argument before 26-year-old Adam Sonnier “essentially attacked” Timothy Sonnier, Spires said, and a fistfight ensued. Timothy Sonnier eventually fired two gunshots, which Walton County sheriff’s deputies at the time said were aimed “at the victim” but instead hit a window and the floor. Spires said they clearly were warning shots, and “after the first shot, this guy still attacked him again.” Deputies also said Timothy Sonnier pistol-whipped the younger man, leaving a gash in his head. Walton County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Gurspan said the men were not related despite having the same last name."

CA: Lawmaker freaked by “open carry”: "A California lawmaker has stepped into a growing gun rights debate by introducing legislation that would essentially outlaw what’s called the ‘open carry’ of unloaded weapons on public property. The measure, which was first introduced last month but is not expected to have its first hearing until April, is meant to address the growing ‘open carry’ movement, in which some gun owners have taken to meeting in coffee shops, parks and restaurants while wearing holstered weapons to raise awareness about gun rights. ‘People should be free from the fear and the potential for violence firearms represent,’ said Democratic Assembly Member Lori SaldaƱa of San Diego, in a statement. ‘These displays of firearms can create potentially dangerous situations.’”

Mass. court upholds state gun-lock requirement: "The highest court in Massachusetts on Wednesday upheld the constitutionality of a state law that requires gun owners to lock weapons in their homes in a ruling applauded by gun-control advocates. The case had been closely watched by both gun-control and gun-rights proponents. Massachusetts prosecutors argued that the law saves lives because it requires guns to be kept in a locked container or equipped with a trigger lock when not under the owner's control. The Second Amendment Foundation Inc., however, cited a 2008 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that said people have a constitutional right to keep weapons for self-defense. The state Supreme Judicial Court, ruling in the case of a man charged with improperly storing a hunting rifle in his Billerica home, unanimously agreed that the Second Amendment does not overrule the state's right to require owners to store guns safely. "We conclude that the legal obligation safely to secure firearms (in the Massachusetts law) is not unconstitutional ... and that the defendant may face prosecution on this count," Justice Ralph Gants wrote. The case involved Richard Runyan, whose mentally disabled son allegedly shot at a neighbor with a BB gun. The 18-year-old showed police where his father kept other guns, and the father was charged with improperly storing a hunting rifle under his bed."

NM Governor signs law allowing guns in some liquor-serving restaurants: "People licensed for concealed handguns can take their weapons into New Mexico restaurants serving beer and wine under a new state law. Gov. Bill Richardson signed legislation into law on Wednesday. It takes effect in July. However, restaurants can stop people from bringing their handguns into an eatery by posting a sign that prohibits firearms or if the restaurant’s owner or manager tells a patron that firearms aren’t allowed. Even with the change in law, it will remain illegal to take a concealed weapon into a bar or a restaurant with a full liquor license — places that serve whiskey and other liquor besides wine and beer. New Mexico becomes the 41st state to allow the carrying of concealed handguns into at least some restaurants that serve alcohol, according to the National Rifle Association. Only Wisconsin, Illinois and the District of Columbia completely prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns. The Legislature approved the handgun measure during a 30-day session, which ended last month."

No comments: