Thursday, April 30, 2020

More on Florida Case where John DeRosset was Justified in Shooting a Deputy

A few days ago, on 15 April, 2020, the Florida 5th District Court of Appeals dismissed charges against retired General Motors worker John DeRossett, who wounded a deputy in a gunfight at his home in 2015. It was at night. The officer at the door was in plain clothes at the time, had no warrant, and was developing a case of solicitation for prostitution on DeRossett's niece, Mary Ellis.  The other two officers were in plain clothes, and hid in the dark outside the house.   The officers attempted to take Mary Ellis into custody, at DeRossett's home. The officers never identified themselves to DeRossett.

Everyone in the case admits going to the home of an alleged prostitute to make an arrest, after they fail to show up at the motel, where a controlled environment was set up, was highly unusual. From
Brevard County agents set up a prostitution sting on Aug. 20, 2015, arranging to meet DeRossett's niece, Mary Ellis, at a motel where a controlled environment had been set up to conduct an arrest.

When she didn't show, the three deputies in plain clothes went to her Covina Street home in Port St. John, where Agent Peter Stead grabbed Ellis from the doorway while John "Casey" Smith and Jason Roberts hid in the darkened yard.

During their testimony at the immunity hearing, the deputies said it was unusual to go to a suspect's home for a sting operation when a controlled environment had already been established.

When she was grabbed, Ellis began screaming for help from her uncle, who was in a back room eating at the time, according to court records.

I wrote about the case in a previous Ammoland article. Research has unearthed more about the case. I wish to clarify some of the legal and practical issues.

DeRossett knew his niece, Mary Ellis, had engaged in acts of prostitution in his home. He knew she had drug problems. That is why his sister had urged him to provide a place for his niece to stay. DeRossett had no criminal record. He worked as a security guard to supplement his retirement income. He had a concealed carry permit.

After DeRossett was in jail, two Brevard County deputies were dismissed because they were clients of Mary Ellis. Their names were found during the investigation of the case. From, September, 2015:
TITUSVILLE, Fla. – Two Brevard County deputies are off the job after participating in prostitution, according to the Sheriff's Office.

"I'm absolutely disgusted by the actions of these two individuals," Sheriff Wayne Ivey said at a news conference Sunday.

The two now former deputies were clients of Mary Derossett, 42, whose uncle shot Deputy John "Casey" Smith last month in a Port St. John neighborhood, according to Sheriff Ivey.
Sheriff Ivy let slip his bias in the case:
While the findings are a tough pill to swallow for the sheriff, there's something much more important to him.

"The most important thing for me is that the individual who shot Casey never sets foot on soil unless he's got bars in front of him," said Sheriff Ivey.
Sheriff Ivy wanted DeRossett in prison. It does not appear to matter to him whether the shooting was justified or not.

In 2015, Sheriff Ivy was up for re-election in a few months. He was re-elected in 2016, without opposition. He is popular in Brevard County.

This mudracking piece by shows potential bias on the part of Judge Lemonidis:
Prior to Lemonidis being elected to the bench (2014) - she was Michael Dunn's defense attorney. On November 23, 2012, Michael Dunn shot and killed 17 year old Jordan Davis at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station for allegedly playing his car radio too loud. Dunn would allege that Davis and / or his teenage friends threatened him with a shot gun - this shot gun was never recovered by the police.

According to a November 28, 2012 Huffingtonpost article - Lemonidis attempted to justify her client's eight gun shots, as being fired merely to scare off Davis and his teenaged companions.

The obvious question is - if Dunn can fire eight shots to scare off the teens - with Lemonidis still holding that her client qualifies for the SYG defense - then how as a judge, can Lemonidis ruled that Mr. Derossett waived his ability to claim an SYG defense - merely due to the fact that he fired ONE warning shot in the air?
Attorneys are hired guns in the legal profession. They are hired to do their best for their client. Just because Lemonidis argued for her client in the Dunn case does not mean she believed the argument in principle.

Volusiaexposed brings up interesting speculation as to why the authorities in Brevard County might want to keep John DeRossett locked up. It is hard to believe he would *not* be allowed out on bail, for five years, when he was a homeowner, a retired auto worker, had no criminal history, and was willing to put up a $450,000 bond (from relatives). I have not seen any reason to believe he was a flight risk or a danger to the community.  From Volusiaexposed:
Rumor has it that Mary's client list may reveal some other interesting clients' names. Making us wonder why they (BCSO) really invaded the Derossett home in the first place - was it simply to arrest Mary, or was it to recover her list of clients?

There are good reasons to believe DeRossett did not know the men accosting his niece were police officers. The deputies were not in uniform.  The area was dark. His statements, immediately after the shooting, in the hospital, and afterward, were all consistent with the belief unknown men were attempting to kidnap his niece.

It is the responsibility of police to reasonably make known they are acting officially. It is not the responsibility of citizens to assume anyone claiming to be a police officer *is* a police officer.

If the homeowner does not know a police officer is acting officially, they may legitimately defend themselves against that officer, just as they have the right to defend against any other person. What constitutes reasonable notice that an officer is acting officially, is up to judges and juries.

Prosecutors have accumulated enormous power over the last 50 years. The Supreme Court granted prosecutors absolute immunity for their actions. This has lead to prosecutors abusing their power. A person may be completely innocent, yet suffer enormous punishment, without ever being convicted of a crime.

This is known as punishment by process, or in common police parlance, "you may beat the rap, but you won't beat the ride".

Part of the reason the Stand Your Ground law was passed in Florida, was to curb prosecutor abuse of people who legitimately defended themselves, but were punished by the process.

One of those people was Gabriel Mobley in Florida

Judges were given authority to determine if the case had any merit before the case was brought to trial, to curb punishment by process.  Legislators required a judge to review the evidence, to see if there was a reasonable chance of conviction. If the evidence did not meet the standard of proof of "clear and convincing evidence" to a judge,  it would be unlikely a jury would find the higher standard of proof of "beyond a reasonable doubt". From
Supporters says the legislation, HB 245, which passed on a 23-15 vote, puts the burden of proof where it belongs: on the government.

“If you have been charged with a crime, the burden of proof is on the state,” said state Sen. Greg Steube, R-Sarasota. “We are not shifting the burden of proof, we are putting it where it belongs.”
John DeRossett is a free man today. He was not convicted and sentenced to life in prison for shooting a police officer.

He beat the rap. He did not beat the ride. He spent almost five years of his life in jail, because he shot a police officer in legitimate self defense. If the person attempting to grab his niece had been a pimp, he would have been hailed as a hero.

DeRossett had no reasonable reason to believe the person who grabbed his niece or the three men who shot at him were police officers.

Why was he held without bail for nearly five years?

One of those primarily responsible for this travesty of justice is former Assistant State Attorney Gary Beatty. He wrote an opinion piece about the case. It was published on 22 April, 2020. He admits the appeals court followed the law correctly when they dismissed the case. From
.. the Judges aren’t to blame for the outcome. They were bound by the statute the Legislature enacted.
Yet Beatty was the prosecutor who petitioned Judge Lemonides to keep DeRossett in jail without bond:
After DeRossett’s arrest, when he was in court for his first appearance, the judge granted my request that he be held without bond.
But why? DeRossett does not appear to have been a flight risk. He had been granted bond on 14 December, 2015, in the amount of $450,000, when the judge granted the request of prosecutor Gary Beatty to hold him without bond. Beatty says he requested DeRossett be held without bond at the first appearance, which would have been at the end of 2015 or early in 2016. It probably was before 24 February, 2016, because video footage in court on that day shows DeRossett in custody.

It would be interesting to find a transcript of the hearing to determine what reason was given for withholding bond. If anyone is able to locate it, please let us know. Beatty, in his opinion piece, does not give a reason for his request to have DeRossett held without bond.

The Florida First District Court of Appeal sums up what was shown by the evidence to the trial court for the immunity hearing. This is not my interpretation of the events, but the summation of what happened, by the Florida First District Court of Appeal, based on the voluminous evidence presented over five days to the trial court.  From the First District Court of Appeal order, 7 November, 2019.
WHAT HAPPENED IN THIS CASE— Petitioner, John Derossett, a sixty-five-year-old retired General Motors autoworker, owned a home in Brevard County, Florida. Derossett’s adult niece, Mary Ellis, lived with him in this home. Derossett had no criminal record, worked part-time as a security guard at Port Canaveral, and lawfully possessed a concealed weapons permit. He had also apparently taken a firearms training course.

On August 20, 2015, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Ellis answered a knock on the front door. As she opened the door, a man reached inside the threshold of the house, grabbed her arm, and began pulling Ellis out of the home and onto the covered front porch. Ellis struggled to resist her apparent abduction and screamed to her uncle (Derossett) that she needed help. At this point, two other men approached to physically assist the first man in pulling Ellis off the porch of the home and into the front yard.

Derossett, having heard his niece’s screams for help, hurried from his bedroom to the front porch. He was armed. One of the three men saw Derossett rapidly advancing to the front door with his firearm and announced to the other two men that a man with a gun was approaching. The three men abruptly released Ellis, pushing her towards the front door, and scattered on the front lawn. Derossett immediately came out of his front door and stood under “the canopy part of the porch.”

At this point, Derossett raised his gun, called out to the men, and fired a warning shot up in the air. The three men, now at diverse points on Derossett’s front yard, and likewise armed, immediately shot their respective firearms at him. Derossett fired back. In total, more than forty rounds were exchanged. Despite being fairly close to each other, because it was dark at the time, none of the four men engaged in this incident had a clear view of the others. Derossett and his niece were both struck by gunfire, as was one of the three men in Derossett’s front yard, who was severely wounded in the abdomen.
(As an aside, all four of the people shooting in the gunfight were shooting .40 caliber Glock pistols.  WESH News archive 24 February, 2016. The deputy who was severely wounded was wearing a bullet resistant vest, which stopped one the bullets. Another bullet struck him in the abdomen. He is a large man.)

The court of appeal found Judge Lemonidis erred when she ruled that DeRossett was not justified in firing the warning shot; The court of appeal found Judge Lemonidis made several errors of fact, in spite of clear evidence to the contrary. First District Court of Appeal order,

 For the following reasons, we conclude that certain factual findings made by the court in its order were not supported by competent substantial evidence and that its legal conclusions were erroneous.
First, the court’s findings that the deputies had neither entered the home nor removed Ellis from the home were not supported by any evidence. The testimony from Ellis and the deputies at the hearing conclusively showed that the first deputy reached into the home and pulled Ellis out and that the deputies thereafter physically engaged with the now-screaming and agitated Ellis on the covered front porch to eventually remove her to the front lawn within seconds of Derossett coming onto his porch with a firearm. No evidence was presented at the hearing that either refutes this sequence of events or suggests otherwise. Therefore, under section 776.013(5)(a) and (b), and directly contrary to the trial court’s factual findings, these actions of the deputies did constitute an entry into Derossett’s dwelling and a removal of Ellis from it.

Second, these unsupported factual findings led the trial court to its legal conclusion that Derossett was not entitled to the statutory presumption under section 776.013(1) of having a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to his niece at the time he fired the warning shot. The trial court essentially determined that the imminent threat of Ellis being abducted or kidnapped had dissipated because Ellis and the deputies testified that the deputies had released her and pushed her towards the front door just prior to scattering onto the front yard. Thus, the court found that Derossett’s firing of his warning shot at that precise moment after the deputies had scattered was “completely unprovoked” and, therefore, “unjustified.”

We conclude that the court’s apparent interpretation of subsections 776.013(1)(a) and (b) does not comport with the statute’s plain language. The statute directs a court to presume that a person held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself, herself, or another when using deadly force against a person if, among other things, that person had just removed another from the dwelling and the person using the deadly force knew that the abduction had occurred. Here, the three men clearly had just removed Derossett’s niece against her will from his dwelling. Derossett, as the person using the defensive deadly force, knew that this apparently unlawful and forcible act (his niece’s abduction) had just occurred. Thus, under these circumstances, Derossett was statutorily entitled to the presumption of having held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to his niece at the time that he used the defensive deadly force.12 The trial court’s conclusion that Derossett was not entitled to this presumption was incorrect.

The undisputed, rapid events that happened and were happening at Derossett’s home that night did not occur in a vacuum. There was no other evidence presented at this hearing other than that the forcible taking of Ellis from the home had just occurred, and that Derossett knew, or at the very least had reason to know, that it had just occurred. Accordingly, we hold that the trial court’s factual findings were not supported by competent substantial evidence and its legal conclusion was inconsistent with the plain language of the statute. However, for reasons more fully discussed below, we presently withhold the issuance of a writ of prohibition and relinquish jurisdiction to the trial court with directions that the court specifically address at a subsequent hearing whether either of the two exceptions under section 776.013(2)(c) or (d), Florida Statutes (2015), apply to preclude Derossett from being entitled to immunity from prosecution under section 776.032(1) for his otherwise justified use of deadly force.13
The account shows DeRossett was well within his rights to defend himself and his niece when he fired the warning shot and got into the gun battle. The only issue was if the exceptions to the Florida Stand Your Ground law applied. The  the evidence was presented in an immunity hearing before the trial, in front of Judge Lemonidis.

Judge Lemonidis was also in error when she found DeRossett had failed to state a prima facie claim of immunity. From the Court of Appeal
The trial court also separately found that Derossett failed to state a prima facie claim of immunity. This was erroneous for two reasons. First, after Derossett had presented his evidence for self-defense immunity at the hearing, the trial court in fact found that he had made a prima facie claim for immunity. The State then put on evidence at the hearing to rebut the claim. If Derossett had failed to present a sufficient basis for immunity, the trial court arguably would have denied his motion without the need to receive and consider evidence from the State.

A pertinent question is: Why did Judge Lemonidis make these factual and legal errors? Could it be she was biased against John DeRossett, because the person he shot was a police officer? 

The Court of Appeals found the State failed to present clear and convincing evidence, to prove DeRossett knew, or should have known, the men who had grabbed his niece, were police officers. The case was sent back to the trial court. The trial court now looked at the other potential exception: whether DeRossett was furthering criminal activity, because he knew his niece had conducted acts of prostitution in his house.

Judge Lemonidis ruled against DeRossett again, finding his knowledge of illegal acts constituted furthering of criminal activity.  During this period, DeRossett is still being held in jail without bond. DeRossett appealed this finding to the same Court of Appeal.

DeRossett was released on bond, on 20 March, 2020. On 15 April, 2020, the Court of Appeal again found Judge Leonidis at the trial court had erred.

The Court of Appeal then dismissed the charges against John DeRossett, and he was freed.

This is not a case of mere legal technicalities. This case was about the basic right to defend yourself, and whether defending yourself against police will bring harsh penalties, even if the police are in the wrong, and you are within your rights.

The repeated errors of the trial court, in favor of the prosecution and the police, and against John DeRosset, show a remarkable pattern.

If you are out walking, and find steel tracks laid on wooden ties; you see an engine with a motor running on the tracks; you see the engine hauling cars on wheels on the tracks; you very likely are seeing a railroad.

Prosecutors and judges have great power. They are people. People are fallible.  It is often difficult for people to set aside their biases. Justice is supposed to be blind. Prosecutors and judges are to set aside their biases, but they sometimes fail.

From a previous Ammoland article:

In Washington State, if a prosecutor's office charges an individual, and the individual is found not guilty in a self defense case, the state pays the legal fees of the accused, under RCW 9A.110.
The full text of RCW 9A.16.110 (2) provides:When a person charged with a crime listed in subsection (1) of this section is found not guilty by reason of self-defense, the state of Washington shall reimburse the defendant for all reasonable costs, including loss of time, legal fees incurred, and other expenses involved in his or her defense.
In 2015, the Florida legislature considered whether the State should be liable for legal fees if the defender was found to be immune. That bill did not pass. The Florida legislature should reexamine the issue. They should follow the example of Washington state. The requirement for reimbursement of legal fees, when a defendant is found not guilty in a self defense case, has worked very well, in Washington state, to rein in prosecutors who have absolute immunity from the Supreme Court.  Such a bill in Florida should include those times the case is dismissed in an immunity hearing.

John DeRossett spent nearly five years in jail, because bond had been denied, even though it had previously been granted. Let us see those transcripts from the hearing which are supposed to justify that ruling. Given the numerous factual and legal errors the trial court made, it may make interesting reading.

It appears Florida residents need more protections from overzealous prosecutors, not less.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

IL: Gunfight, Clerk and Brother Chase Down Armed Robbery Suspect

The clerk called his brother, who was driving with friends nearby on Roberts Road, Hanania said. Together, they chased the suspected robber into Bridgeview, where they engaged in a brief shootout.

The suspected robber was shot in the back and hospitalized in good condition, Hanania said. Weapons were recovered from both the suspect and the brothers.

More Here

CA: Suspect of Home Break-in Shot by Homeowner

A man suspected of breaking into a house in Lake Elsinore on Monday night was shot and injured by the homeowner, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday.

Deputies responded to the 18000 block of Carmela Court at around 11:30 p.m. after getting reports of gunshots in the area, authorities said. On arrival, they found a man in the street with multiple gunshot wounds.
More Here

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Corps of Engineers Proposes Rule to Remove Federal Infringements on Second Amendment from COE Lands

For decades, the Corps of Engineers (COE) has infringed on the Second Amendment rights of people in the United States, by limiting the bearing of arms on Corps managed lands and waters. In the last decade, lawsuits have challenged these infringements. The Corps lost one, appealed, and appealed another. After the election of President Trump, the Corps agreed to settle the lawsuits in March of 2017. The proposed rule simply aligns the Corps of Engineers rules with existing law on other government managed lands and waters. 

Conformity with state and local laws has been the law for National Parks for a decade. It has been an enormous success.  At the link, there is a button to access the site to submit a comment. It is on the upper right of the screen,in a rectangular blue box, with white letters which say "Comment Now". Clicking on the button takes you to the page to fill out your comment. Your personal information for contact will not be displayed, unless you put it in the comment itself.

Here is the official summary of the proposed rule. From
Proposed rule.


The Department of the Army, through the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”), is soliciting comments on its proposed revision of its regulation that governs the possession and transportation of firearms and other weapons at Corps water resources development projects (“projects”). This proposed revision would align the Corps regulation with the regulations of the other Federal land management agencies by removing the need for an individual to obtain written permission before possessing a weapon on Corps projects.


Written comments must be submitted on or before June 12, 2020.

You may submit comments, identified by docket number COE-2018-0008, by any of the following methods:

Federal eRulemaking Portal: Follow the instructions for submitting comments.

Email: Include the docket number, COE-2018-0008, in the subject line of the message.

Mail: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Attn: CECW-CO-N, Steve Austin 3F68, 441 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20314-1000.

Hand Delivery/Courier: Due to security requirements, the Corps cannot receive comments by hand delivery or courier.
Here is the comment I submitted. You are limited to 5,000 characters.  Most comments are simple and are simply counted as for or against. Of the extisting comments, about 97% were in favor of the rule removing the infringements.
I support this rule change. It is long overdue. The Corps is required to make this change by existing law and court settlements.

This change brings the Corps into alignment with existing law in other federal government managed lands.

It removes an untenable burden from unarmed rangers.

Massive benefits come with this rule change.

People will see the Corps must follow the rule of law, raising the public image of the Corps.

Crime will be decreased on Corps lands.

The ability to exercise the right to keep and bear arms will be partially restored. No government agency should routinely violate citizens fundamental rights, as the Corps has done for several decades.
In the next 55 days, there will be tens of thousands of comments. The vast majority should be in favor of the rule; however, groups such as the Center for Biological Diversity, the Everytown campaign, Giffords, Brady, Bloomberg, and others are likely to gin up support against this common sense restoration of the right to bear arms.

In 55 days we will know how the proportions of Second Amendment supporters and those who wish for a disarmed public will play out.

Commenting is very easy, and can consist of a few words, such as "I support this rule change."

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

TX : Harris County, Armed Victim Shoots, Kills, Armed Robber

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting call at the above address and found one male lying in the street unresponsive and another male (shooter) still on scene. HFD paramedics pronounced the male in the street deceased. The shooter, 29, surrendered his weapon to officers.

A preliminary investigation determined the deceased male robbed the other male and both men exchanged gunfire. The deceased male was shot. The other male was uninjured. Officers recovered property on the deceased male and learned the property belonged to the shooter.
More Here

AR: Domestic Defense, Ex Breaks in, Assaults Man, is Shot by Ex Wife

The initial investigation has revealed Luckey forced his way inside the apartment and began physically assaulting his estranged wife Tynisha Luckey and another man who was inside the apartment.

Tynisha Luckey allegedly retrieved a gun and shot Courtland Luckey several times. The other man involved was injured.

More Here

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

ND: Resident Shoots Man who Entered Home and Threatened Him

According to police, a resident in northwest Minot called authorities early Saturday to say he had shot an unknown man who entered his home and threatened him. Officers arrived to find a dead man inside.
More Here

OH: Robbery Suspect Shot in Legs

The first shooting took place on Iliff Avenue, near Talbert Street around 12:15 a.m. Sunday. Police said a suspect tried to rob someone and was shot in the legs.

More Here

CA: Clerk at Liquor Store Shoots, Wounds Armed Robbery Suspect

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A store clerk shot an armed suspect who tried to rob a liquor store in Lindsay on Sunday night, police say.

Lindsay police officers responded to the store on East Honolulu Street at around 10:40 p.m.

More Here

Monday, April 27, 2020

KY: Domestic Defense? Resident Shoots Back, Kills man Attempting Break-in

A 24-year-old man died after police said he was shot after breaking into a home in north Lexington late Friday night.

Lexington police said a woman called them to report that a man she had been dating had broken into her home on the 1900 block of Alice Drive and begun shooting.

“Another resident fired back, striking the intruder,” police said in a news release.

Read more here:

More Here

TX: Homeowner Shoots, Kills Burglary Suspect

DALLAS – A burglar ended up dead after trying to rob a homeowner ready to defend his property.

Police were called to the 2900-block of Villa Sur Trail on the Northeast Side of Dallas just after 11 p.m. Friday. Police tell us the homeowner came outside and discovered a burglar breaking into his shed. He drew his weapon and shot the burglar.
More Here

KY: Son Shoots Man Attacking his Mother

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- Lexington Police say the son of a woman shot a man they say was strangling the woman early Friday morning.

More Here

Sunday, April 26, 2020

FL: Domestic Defense, 76-year-old Mother Shoots Daughter

A 76-year-old woman shot her daughter Thursday afternoon while trying to defend herself in a domestic violence incident.

More Here

OK: Homeowner uses Shotgun to Stop Intruders from Breaking In

The caller said two men tried entering his home by breaking a window. The man said the intruders broke into the back door of the residence.

The homeowner was armed with a shotgun and confronted the suspects. The homeowner fired the gun at the men and they fled.
More Here

CA: Intruder Shot and Killed, Police are Investigating

A man suspected of breaking into a San Bernardino residence early Wednesday was shot and killed, the San Bernardino Police Department said.

More Here

TX: Intruder Shot by Husband was State Hospital Escapee

Duke said the woman called 9-1-1, and that’s when Reyes noticed her looking at him out the back window and tried to get into the house.

Duke said by that time, the woman’s husband arrived home and grabbed a shotgun.

The 42-year-old homeowner said he confronted Reyes who got on the ground before then charging him.

Reyes was shot once in the right leg, and that’s when deputies arrived followed by EMS.
More Here

IL: Chicago Woman Shoots Home Invader

CHICAGO – A woman shot a man who forced his way into her residence Wednesday night, Chicago police said.

Just after 6:15 p.m., police were dispatched to the 8300 block of South Kerfoot on the report of a shooting.
More Here

NV: Armed Property Owner and Neighbor hold Suspects at Gunpoint

Elko County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a property on West Bullion Road on a report of firearms being pointed at a woman for possible trespassing. They found the property owner, along with a neighbor, holding two people at gunpoint.
More Here

Saturday, April 25, 2020

WA: Armed Victim Shoots Assailant, is Wounded

Two men were shot in University Place early Tuesday after one allegedly attacked the other as he was walking with his girlfriend.

The confrontation occurred about 5:35 a.m. at 40th Street West and Sunset Drive West.

Read more here:

More Here

Friday, April 24, 2020

Appeals Court upholds Right of Armed Citizen to Shoot a Police Officer

On 20 August, 2015, in Brevard County, Florida, John DeRossett, 65, shot and severely wounded a Brevard County sheriff's deputy.

The agent was part of a sting operation, who were attempting to arrest DeRossett's niece, Mary Ellis, for prostitution.  They had set up a controlled environment at a motel, but Mary Ellis did not show up.   From
Brevard County agents set up a prostitution sting on Aug. 20, 2015, arranging to meet DeRossett's niece, Mary Ellis, at a motel where a controlled environment had been set up to conduct an arrest.

When she didn't show, the three deputies in plain clothes went to her Covina Street home in Port St. John, where Agent Peter Stead grabbed Ellis from the doorway while John "Casey" Smith and Jason Roberts hid in the darkened yard.

During their testimony at the immunity hearing, the deputies said it was unusual to go to a suspect's home for a sting operation when a controlled environment had already been established.

When she was grabbed, Ellis began screaming for help from her uncle, who was in a back room eating at the time, according to court records.
There was strong evidence DeRossett did not know the men accosting his niece were deputies. None of the deputies were in uniform.  His statements, immediately after the event, and in the hospital, were all consistent with the belief that unknown men were attempting to kidnap his niece. He knew his niece had problems with drugs and prostitution.

DeRossett was retired. He had a concealed carry permit. He had no criminal record. He had taken his niece into his home as a favor to his sister. From the petition to the Florida Fifth District  Court of Appeal:
Petitioner, John Derossett, a sixty-five-year-old retired General Motors autoworker, owned a home in Brevard County, Florida. Derossett’s adult niece, Mary Ellis, lived with him in this home. Derossett had no criminal record, worked part-time as a security guard at Port Canaveral, and lawfully possessed a concealed weapons permit. He had also apparently taken a firearms training course. 
On August 20, 2015, at approximately 9:30 p.m., Ellis answered a knock on the front door. As she opened the door, a man reached inside the threshold of the house, grabbed her arm, and began pulling Ellis out of the home and onto the covered front porch. Ellis struggled to resist her apparent abduction and screamed to her uncle (Derossett) that she needed help. At this point, two other men approached to physically assist the first man in pulling Ellis off the porch of the home and into the front yard.

John DeRossett was in a back room, eating, when he heard her screams. It was dark outside the home.

The first shot occurred when DeRossett fired a "warning shot" into the air. The men who had accosted his niece (the deputies) then fired at him, without identifying themselves. A firefight ensued. One deputy, John "Casey" Smith, was severely wounded.  More than 40 shots were fired. Both John DeRossett and his Niece were wounded, but less severely.

The homeowner, DeRossett, was charged with three counts of attempted murder of a police officer.

Police claimed the undercover deputy at the door told the Mary Ellis they were police officers as he grabbed her, and showed her a badge. She called 911 during or immediately after the firefight, and told the dispatcher she did not know who the men who grabbed her were.

The deputies had no warrant to arrest Mary Ellis.

Criminals often claim to be police to attempt to get compliance. The deputies never told DeRossett they were police.

Why would he be under obligation to believe them, unless they presented credentials or other convincing proof they were operating under lawful authority?

DeRossett was held in jail for nearly five years.

In August of 2018, at trial, his lawyer presented the defense that he was protected by the "Stand Your Ground" law.  The trial court found against him, saying that he knew, or should have known, the people he was shooting at were law enforcement officers.

He appealed to the Florida Fifth District  Court of Appeal in 2019.

The appeals court found the trial court had incorrectly made the determination DeRossett should have known the men attacking his niece, and him, were police officers.  The Fifth Circuit sent the case back to the trial court, to determine if a different exception to Stand your Ground applied. The Stand Your Ground law would not apply if he was "furthering criminal activities" when the action took place.

The trial court found against him again. This time, the court claimed the Stand Your Ground law did not apply, because he knew his niece had used her bedroom to conduct prostitution.

DeRossett appealed to the Florida Fifth District  Court of Appeal again. 

He stayed in jail until March of 2020, when he was allowed to bond out.

On 15 April, the Florida Fifth District  Court of Appeal dismissed the charges against him. They ruled mere knowledge that criminal activities, such as prostitution, had occurred, is not "furthering criminal activities".  From
VIERA, Fla. – Citing the Stand Your Ground law, the Fifth District Court of Appeals dismissed the longstanding charges against a Port St. John man accused of shooting a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy during a botched arrest in front of his home in 2015.
John DeRossett spent nearly five years in jail, for defending his niece against attackers who did not identify themselves as police.

John DeRossett is a free man today. He is alive. There was a time, when many assumed anyone, justified or not, who shot a police officer, would be killed by police.  That is not true. It is less true today than it used to be.

In Houston, police officers have been charged with felony murder in the deaths of an innocent couple. The husband dared to protect his wife and dog against an unannounced home invasion. The couple were killed, but the officers are being held accountable. 

Mistakes occur. Error is piled onto error. The world is not perfect.

Why, with the evidence, which was plain from the start, was John DeRossett locked up for nearly five years, when he was a homeowner, retired, who had no previous criminal record?

Will there be a civil suit against Brevard County?

The agents of the government are not supposed to be our masters. They are supposed to be our servants.

When agents of the government act as criminals, they should not be surprised when citizens treat them as criminals. When they disregard due process, they should lose immunity for their actions. 

The case shows why the Stand Your Ground law was needed. Warrants are not only to protect the accused. Properly used, they also protect police.  If the officer had a warrant, had knocked on the door and presented it, it is highly likely he would not have been shot.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch


FL: Armed Homeowner Shoots, Wounds, Car Burglar During Scuffle

DELTONA, Fla. — An armed homeowner shot and wounded a car burglar early Tuesday, launching an investigation that led to the arrests of the suspect and his alleged accomplice, Seminole County Sheriff's Office deputies said.

More Here

AZ: Husband Shoots Coatimundi who Injured Dog, Wife

Mark Hart, a spokesperson with the department, said the attack happened on April 18 at a home on Montezuma Pass Road. The long-tailed creature was in a carport on the woman’s property, when her dog went after the coati first. The woman tried to stop the squabble and was injured.

The woman’s husband, who was armed at the time, shot and killed the coati. The woman went to the hospital for a rabies shot and the dog was taken to the vet, Hart said.
More Here

Thursday, April 23, 2020

OH: Toledo Intruder Shot by Apartment Resident

Police responded to a person shot early around 1 a.m. in the 400 block of 4th St. When they arrived, they learned Darnell Jones, 28, entered the residence of James Hardwick, 29, without his knowledge or invitation. Jones has a listed address next door to Hardwick.
More Here

FL: Domestic Defense? Manager of Jacksonville Group Home Shoots Resident

The Sheriff’s Office said in a news release that a manager of the group home, a woman, may have been trying to defend herself from an “imminent attack" when she shot the resident.
More Here

TX: Armed Homeowner Fatally Shoots Intruder in Grand Saline

GRAND SALINE, Texas (KETK) – A home invasion turned fatal Tuesday morning after the homeowner shot the man.

More Here

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

CA; Fugitive Pursued by Multiple Officers, Shot by Armed Homeowner

CHP and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the chase, which ended near the I-80 Auburn exit when the suspect got out of his black SUV and ran into a residential neighborhood.

Deputies say a homeowner on the 4400 block of Belmont Place Lane shot the suspect. The suspect was transported to the hospital with unknown injuries.
More Here

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

OH: Domestic Defense Gunfight, Man Arrested

In an affidavit supporting charges against Hammers, Columbia police officer Joshua Popielarz wrote the incident happened about 11:15 p.m. Friday in the 5400 block of Baseline Place.

The victim told police Hammers knocked on the door and wanted to fight. She had a gun and he left, but fired several shots at her residence from the street. Three children were inside at the time. The victim fired back and then called 911.
More Here

AZ: Car Thief attempts Break-in, is Shot

Police said Davis drove to the neighborhood of 53rd Street and Indian School Road, ditched the stolen vehicle and tried to break into a house. That’s when the homeowner shot him.

More Here

Monday, April 20, 2020

Fire Tower Bear Attack, 1958

 image public domain from forest service, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

It was dark outside the little cabin near the fire tower in the Oregon mountains in 1958. Eight year old David Conner and his two younger sisters had gone to bed. He had not yet fallen asleep. It was quiet.

His mother's screams sundered the peaceful night.  Time and memories would be divided into two parts. Before the night of the bear, and after.

He jumped from bed and scrambled toward the kitchen. The kitchen light was on. On his left was his mother. On the right was the kitchen window over the sink, with a black bear pushing its head through the window screen.

David's father had been in the army in World War II. In 1958 he took a job working fire watch in the mountains near the Rock Creek area, outside of Baker City, Oregon. The Forest Service supplied a surplus WWII Dodge Power Wagon, which was used to get in and out from the fire tower. The previous day, David's father had spotted smoke, probably from a lightning strike the night before. Triangulation with other towers had pinpointed the location. It was closest to their tower, so David's father and older brother had left the cabin, in the Power Wagon, to put out the fire. 

David's Father going to a fire, 1958. Photo courtesy David Conner, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

There was electricity at the cabin. Water had to be hauled up to it. Indoor plumbing was limited to the sink. There were two outhouses, and a woodshed. The fire tower was about 50 yards away from the cabin.

David loved living there. His father allowed him to help watch for fires from the fire tower, and feed the half tamed chipmunks that shared the tower. A couple of mule deer does hung around the cabin, and sometimes clattered on the porch.

In the cabin, there was a gun rack. David's father left four guns hanging on it when he went to fight the fire. There was a double barreled LC Smith 12 gauge shotgun; a surplus O3-A3 Springfield .30-06, sporterized by Sedgely; a Remington model 721 .300 H&H Magnum; and a Winchester model 61 pump action .22 rifle. David's father kept the .22 loaded for when it was necessary to dispatch a porcupine (porcupines do enormous damage to timber) or to harvest a grouse for the pot.

Fire Tower guns in Pendleton, Oregon. The 61 Winchester is the lowest long gun. David did not remember the Remington bolt action .22 or the H&R revolver at the cabin the night of the bear. All of the guns, except the Remington .22 bolt action, are still owned by family members.

David's mother had put the children to bed when she heard a noise outside the cabin. She was a petite woman about five feet tall. She was in the master bedroom of the two bedrooms in the cabin. She thought one of the mule deer does was responsible for the noise. 

She took a look into the kitchen.  A bear was trying to get in through the window over the sink!

She screamed at the bear, Get Out!, and grabbed the little Winchester .22 pump from the gun rack. She knew it was loaded.

David looked at his mother. She had the .22 rifle in her hands. She screamed at the bear again. Get Out!

The bear ignored the screams and started working its way in through the window. 

David's mother stopped screaming. She brought the rifle to her shoulder and started shooting. 

Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow! Pow!

The little rifle was unusually loud inside the kitchen. The shots only took a couple of seconds. The bear dropped back out the window. David's little sisters had joined David at the doorway. 

Eventually, David and his sisters went back to bed. Somehow, they went back to sleep. 

David's mother stayed up the rest of the night. She kept the rifle handy. 

In July, near Baker City, it starts getting light by 5 a.m. David and his mother looked out the window to see if the bear was nearby. There was blood on the sink, on the window sill, and on the porch outside. 

After a careful visual search, David and his mother went out onto the porch. The blood trail lead toward the woodshed. 

David's Mother made an executive decision. They would wait inside, until David's father and brother returned. 

Two hours later, the older men in the family returned in the Dodge Power Wagon. 

David's mother explained what had happened. The two men loaded the .30-06 and the .300 H&H Magnum, and followed the blood trail. 

There, behind the woodshed, was the bear, dead, only 30 yards from the kitchen window.

David watched his father and brother skin out the bear. As he watched, his father pointed to the wounds his mother had inflicted on the bear with the .22 Winchester model 61 pump-gun. 

One shot went into the upper left jaw. Another shot went through the left eye. A third shot was just above the left eye. A fourth shot was in the nose, and a fifth shot was just below the right side of the jaw, in the neck, cutting the carotid artery on the right side. That shot was fatal. Blood had squirted from the artery, spraying the kitchen sink, the window frame, and on to the porch. The blood trail was heavy, and lead to the dead bear behind the woodshed. 

A bear's brain is located low, between and behind the eyes. A shot to or above the eye will often miss the brain. 

David's mother had gathered four empty .22 cartridges off the kitchen floor and put them on the table. David's father went to the Winchester model 61. He worked the slide. Out popped another empty .22 cartridge. David's mother had shot five shots. She had hit the bear five times.

David's father and brother tacked the hide to the side of the wood shed and put the skull inside.  Word spread around the mountains. A couple of days later, a ranger showed up to visit. David's father explained what had happened. They examined the bear hide and the bear skull. David's father went inside and retrieved the .22 Winchester. 

He and the ranger expended a couple of boxes of .22 cartridges plinking near the cabin. 

There never was a newspaper article or an official report. David's father and the ranger agreed the bear was a young male. 

David's account fits the profile of a predatory attack. Most predatory attacks are by young male black bears. The bear was persistent, and would not leave. 

Bears have extraordinary noses. Its nose told the bear the big males of the strange animal group were not present. Only the small female and her young were in the nest with the delicious odors coming out the window. Small females and young of prey species are often eaten by black bears.

Once wounded, the young male bear realized the strange animals were too dangerous to be prey. It was too late. 

There were only two fatal black bear attacks in the 1940s and 1950s in the lower 48 states. Carol Ann Poveranky, 3 years old, was taken in Michigan, in 1948, outside her home. A bear was implicated in the death of a hunter, Carl Herrick, 37, in Vermont, in 1943.

Bears were considered pests. Bear populations were low. People tended to be armed in the woods, and bears were shot on sight. 

How many predatory attacks simply ended as did the one at the Oregon fire tower? The bear underestimated its unfamiliar prey, and was killed before any person was injured. It might have been different without the little .22 rifle.

David's family talked about the attack and the bear for years. 

David says he must have heard it or told it hundreds of times. He was there, and he will never forget his mother shooting the black bear with the .22 as it tried to force its way into the little cabin. 

.22 rimfire cartridges are often underestimated. Bella Twin, a small, 63 year old Cree woman, shot and killed a world record grizzly bear with a single  shot .22 rifle, a Cooey Ace 1. 

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

AZ: Gunfight, Suspect Killed, when Armed Samaritans return Fire, 1 Severely Wounded

The suspected burglar who was killed Wednesday in Dolan Springs has been identified as Alan Marc Baker, 51. Sheriff’s office spokeswoman Anita Mortensen said Baker exited a home he had burgled when he fired a rifle at neighbors outside Wednesday afternoon.

Mortensen said Baker was struck when the neighbors returned fire. Baker fled but was discovered dead in the nearby desert.

The neighbor who was wounded in the exchange was flown to a Las Vegas hospital for treatment of his injuries. The sheriff’s office recanted a previous statement, clarifying that Baker could not be linked to other Dolan Springs area burglaries.
More Here

SC: Domestic Defense, Gunfight between Grandfather and Baby Daddy

Deputies say the homeowner told them his daughter and Logan had a child together, and that the two had an argument outside in the yard. The homeowner told deputies he told Logan to leave, but alleges Logan refused and brandished a handgun to threaten the homeowner. However, deputies say the homeowner went inside the house and came back with a rifle, ordering Logan off the property again. However, the homeowner told them Logan again refused, and then opened fire on the home.
More Here

Sunday, April 19, 2020

More PA: Man who Shot Three teen Attackers on SEPTA Bus was PENN Security Guard

A 24-year-old man who shot three teenagers on a SEPTA bus Thursday is a University of Pennsylvania security guard, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said Friday. No charges have been filed, and the investigation is ongoing, Krasner said.

Authorities have video of the shooting, about 1 a.m. Thursday on a Route 58 bus in Northeast Philadelphia, and a video-recorded statement that the man gave to police, Krasner said. It will take time to determine whether charges should be filed, he said during an online news conference.

More Here

CA: Security Guard with Gun Shoots Man who Charged him with Knife

During the course if their investigation, officers learned the deceased, whose name has not yet been released by police, first stabbed himself, then ran towards a security guard at the complex with the knife. The guard instructed the man to drop the knife. When he didn't, the guard shot him.

More Here

CT: Armed Homeowner Scares off Burglary Suspect

According to officials, the homeowner told officers that his barking dogs led him to find the unknown subject in his home shortly before 3:30 a.m.

The subject fled from the home after being confronted by the armed homeowner, according to police.
More Here

CA: Domestic Defense, Wife Shoots Husband

CONCOW — Detectives with the Butte County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a shooting that took place Saturday in Concow.

A woman called and said she shot her husband during a domestic dispute in a remote area of Concow, said a press release issued Thursday by the Sheriff’s Office.
More Here

Saturday, April 18, 2020

FL: (Neptune Beach) Tenant Shoots 1 of 4 Home Invasion Suspects

Just before 6 p.m. on Tuesday, police responded to the Park Place apartment complex.

An apartment tenant told police that three men forcibly entered through the front door in an apparent robbery attempt. The tenant used a firearm and shot one of the three suspects, police said.

More Here

Friday, April 17, 2020

PA: Legal Gun Carrier Shoot 3 Teens who Attacked him on Bus at 1 a.m.

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A man opened fire inside of a SEPTA bus claiming he was being attacked by three teenage boys, police say. The shooting happened just after 1 a.m. on the No. 58 bus at Bustleton Avenue and St. Vincent Street in Oxford Circle.

More Here

Followup FL: John DeRossett Innocent, Freed after 5 Years in Jail

John DeRossett shot at deputies who never identified themselves. One was severely wounded.

VIERA, Fla. – Citing the Stand Your Ground law, the Fifth District Court of Appeals dismissed the longstanding charges against a Port St. John man accused of shooting a Brevard County Sheriff’s deputy during a botched arrest in front of his home in 2015.

The decision, issued Wednesday, ends the prosecution of John DeRossett, 60, on the attempted premeditated first-degree murder of a law enforcement officer while discharging a firearm, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.
More Here

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Virus Shutdown Threatens Constitutional Carry in Tennessee

It seemed Tennessee would be the first state to join the Constitutional Carry club in 2020.  From an earlier article on Ammoland:

On 27 February, 2020, at 1 p.m., Governor Bill Lee announced he is proposing Constitutional Carry for Tennessee in 2020.
Both Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson and House Majority Leader William Lampeth endorsed the idea of Constitutional Carry. A specific statute was not in place when the announcement was made. With all three leaders endorsing the popular idea of Constitutional Carry, a bill seemed almost certain of passage. From
“I applaud Governor Lee’s commitment to Tennesseans’ Second Amendment rights guaranteed by our U.S. and state constitutions. This proposal will reduce barriers to ensure citizens have the ability to protect themselves and their families, while imposing stiffer penalties against criminals who possess guns illegally,” said Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

“This constitutional carry package is historic because not only does it uphold the freedoms granted to us by our nation’s founding fathers, it also imposes mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines on bad guys who illegally obtain or use handguns,” said House Majority Leader William Lamberth. “I want to thank the National Rifle Association for their work over the years in making today a reality, and I look forward to working with Governor Lee, as well as my House and Senate colleagues to get Constitutional Carry passed in Tennessee.”
The United States started 2020 with 16 states which have close approximations of Constitutional Carry.

Constitutional Carry is when residents are not required to have a government permit in order to carry loaded handguns in most public places, either concealed or openly. This was the state of the law when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791. It wasn't until a generation later that politicians started to infringe on Second Amendment rights, primarily with bans on carrying concealed weapons, then later, after the War Between the States, with requiring permits to carry.

In the 2020 legislative session in Tennessee, several bills were submitted, with considerable differences. Then, the Covid-19 virus, or Wuhan Flu, caught the attention of the legacy media and federal, state, and local governments.

On 19 March, 2020, the Tennessee legislature temporarily recessed, stopping legislative action. Constitutional Carry, which had been endorsed by the Governor, the majority leader in the House, and the Majority leader in the Senate, is dead in the water. The legislature hopes to resume the session on 1 June. From
Although lawmakers hope to return as early as June 1, the continued uncertainty of coronavirus has led some members to wonder when it might be safe to return to Nashville to continue their business for the year.
The Tennesee legislature was scheduled to be in session from 14 January, 2020, to 1 May, 2020. It is unknown how long the legislature may be in session after resuming the session on 1 June.

The legislature passed the budget on 19 March; there is little incentive for them to take up much work. 2020 is an election year, and legislators will wish to get out and campaign. Republicans hold supermajorities in both houses, so Democrats have incentive to limit the session as much as possible. Actions on HB2817, and SB2671 were put on hold as of  18 and 17 of March, respectively.

This shows how events can derail the best laid plans. No one planned for a pandemic to shut down the legislature for over two months.

How high a priority passage of  Constitutional Carry was to the legislature is unknown. If it had been a priority, it could have been passed rather quickly.

Tennessee Firearms Association has lobbied for the least restrictive version of Constitutional Carry, the Governor and legislative leaders version would include increased penalties for theft of firearms and possession by currently prohibited possessors.

It is possible a version of Constitutional Carry will be passed into law in 2020; if it does, it will be because of strong lobbying by Second Amendment supporters.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch  

MI: Gunfight, Man with CCW Shoots Armed Robbery Suspect in Detroit

At about 9:30 p.m., police say the 28-year-old suspect approached a 23-year-old man and pulled a gun on him. This took place in the 19200 block of West McNichols, west of the Southfield Freeway.

But the victim has a concealed weapons permit holder, police say, and he pulled a gun of his own and shot the suspect.
More Here

PA: Gunfight, Home Invader Pulls Pistol, is Shot with a .45

When those inside the kitchen told Battle to get out, he pulled a pistol from his waistband and aimed it at a person in the kitchen.

Another person inside the house grabbed Battle’s arm to disarm him that initiated a struggle.

Police said a person inside the house fired a round from a .45-caliber pistol striking Battle in the leg.
More Here

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Rodriquez v. City of San Jose may go to the Supreme Court; Conference on 24 April, 2020

image public domain as government publication at

In January, 2013, after a 911 call, a police officer of the City of San Jose seized 12 firearms from the home of Edward and Lori Rodriquez in the City of San Jose, California. No warrant was applied for.  The officer claimed knowledge that there were firearms in the house.  The firearms were removed under protest, even though one of the firearms completely belonged to and was registered to Lori Rodriquez, who remained in the home.

Edward was involuntarily admitted as a danger to himself and others, and lost his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, for a minimum of five years under California law.

None of the 12 firearms were illegal to own under California law.

The City of San Jose asked for a forfeiture order for the firearms from the local court, which was granted.

Lori went through the legal hoops necessary to have the firearms returned to her legal possession.

The city refused to return those firearms. The California Superior Court, and Court of appeals agreed with the city. The argument appears to be the City was under no obligation to return this property, even though there was a legal property right and the property was not contraband.

Lori appealed to the Federal District court under the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 14th Amendments.  On 29 September, 2017, the District Court ordered, in summary judgement, for the City of San Jose, that those rights did not apply. From
(“[T]he Supreme Court decisions in Heller and McDonald did not state that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms extends to keeping and bearing either any particular firearms or firearms that have been confiscated from a mentally ill person.”) (emphasis added). As such, Defendants’ motion for summary judgment must be granted as to Plaintiffs’ Second Amendment claim.
Lori and Second Amendment advocates appealed to the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit, in the customary three judge panel, ruled to affirm the District Court, claiming the Fourth Amendment did not apply because of a controversial exception known as "community caretaking".  They opined the Second Amendment did not apply because the Second Amendment did not apply to any particular firearm. From the Opinion of the Ninth Circuit, 23 July, 2019.

Civil Rights/Second Amendment

The panel affirmed the district court’s summary judgment for defendants City of San Jose, its Police Department and a police officer in an action brought by husband and wife, Edward and Lori Rodriguez, alleging civil rights violations when police seized firearms from their residence after detaining Edward for a mental health evaluation in response to a 911 call, and then declined to return the firearms.

The City petitioned in California Superior Court to retain the firearms on the ground that the firearms would endanger Edward or another member of the public. Lori objected that the confiscation and retention of the firearms, in which she had ownership interests, violated her Second Amendment rights. The Superior Court granted the City’s petition over Lori’s objection and the California Court of Appeal affirmed. After Lori re-registered the firearms in her name alone and obtained gun release clearances from the California Department of Justice, the City still declined to return the guns, and Lori sued in federal court.


The court granted the City’s petition. The court acknowledged that Lori could legally “walk . . . into any gun store and qualify to buy a handgun . . . and put [it] in that gun safe.” But it held that the City was nevertheless authorized to take the “low hanging fruit” of the guns the Rodriguezes already owned, irrespective of Lori’s ability to buy more, because of the danger that Edward presented. Stating that it was not “ignoring [Lori’s] Constitutional Rights,” the court concluded that it was not appropriate to return the firearms given the public safety concerns at stake.

It is instructive to notice the description of the guns confiscated by the city, even though none of them had been implicated in any criminal activity, as "low hanging fruit". None of them were illegal to own under California law. There is an entire philosophy attached to that phrase. If the guns should not be returned because they are "low hanging fruit", the point is that gun ownership, no matter if legal, is bad. Any way to diminish gun ownership, not matter how unjust, or ineffective, is good. The court is making a specific value judgement, rather than a legal one. It does not like legal gun ownership, so it will penalize legal gun owners whenever it can take "low hanging fruit".

This is the very essence of disparate impact and the chilling of an enumerated Constitutional right.

Legal gun owners are a minority in California. The majority of Californians, through their elected representatives, are working to punish gun owners for exercising their Second Amendment rights.  This is precisely the situation which the Bill of Rights and the Fourteenth Amendment were designed to prevent.

Lori and the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation asked for an en banc review of the case. As might be expected, as this case was decided to limit Second Amendment rights, en banc review was denied. If the case had been in favor of Second Amendment rights, as with the Young case from Hawaii, it has become expected that an en banc review would be granted.

Lori and the Second Amendment Foundation and Calguns Foundation appealed to the Supreme Court, asking for the grant of a writ of Certiorari, which would result in the Supreme Court hearing the case.

Of those cases asking for a write of Certiorari, only a small number are discussed by the court in conference.  This case has been accepted to be heard in conference.

The Supreme Court will listen to the arguments asking the case be  heard, in conference, then decide whether to grant the writ of certiorari or not.  The Supreme Court conference for the case on 24 April 2020. The results of the conference will probably be released on 27 April, 2020.

Here are the three primary questions the petitioners are asking the Supreme Court to decide in this case. From

  1. Whether the Fourth Amendment allows an exception to its warrant requirement for so-called “community caretaking” where the alleged danger to the community has been resolved and the premises to be searched and items then seized do not contain or pose an immediate threat making it impossible to obtain a timely warrant?
  2. Whether issue preclusion can bar a claim for deprivation of a constitutional right where the prior decision discussing the constitutional issue did not depend on resolving the merits of that issue, found state-law procedures remained that could moot the claimed infringement, and thus could not have been further reviewed in this Court given that the constitutional claim would be seen as unripe and potentially avoided by adequate and independent state grounds?
  3. Whether this Court should exercise its supervisory powers to review the improper circumvention of Second Amendment protections in the Ninth Circuit or, at a minimum, hold this case for No. 18-280, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. City of New York?
At lease one justice on the Supreme Court has indicated the case is worth discussing, or it would not have been placed on the conference list.

The Supreme Court only hears a few dozen cases a year.

We will likely know if Rodriquez v. City of San Jose has made the cut in two weeks.

 ©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

CA: Off Duty Officer Shoots Suspect who Stabbed Them

A failed carjacking in South San Francisco ended early Sunday with the suspect dead after an off-duty police officer was stabbed, then shot the suspect, who then stole a police car and led police on a chase before being shot again after ramming a police car and wielding a knife at officers, police said.
More Here

ME: Eric Bartlett Holds Joseph Harmon for Buxton Police

Police said Eric Bartlett showed "great restraint and incredible firearms discipline" for keeping Harmon in check without using deadly force.

It was found Harmon had stolen a neighbor's vehicle before breaking into the residence. He also dropped a handgun between two parked vehicles next door.

More Here

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Velocity Comparison of the CCI Velocitor and the Aguila Interceptor LR Cartridges

Five years ago, in 2015, Dr. William Harper, Ph.D+, writing in the popular forum,, made these observations about the Aguila Interceptor .22 Long Rife cartridge, which was advertised at 1470 feet per second. From
March 10, 2015

My Fellow Shooters:

In my CZ Ultra Lux Superexclusive in quiet air from a supported position Aguila Interceptor 40 gr. .22LR has grouped 1" at 100 yards, 2.5" at 200 meters, 3.3" at 300 meters, 6.5-7" at 400 meters, 10" at 500 meters, 12" at 600 meters. The muzzle velocity was remarkably consistent 1462-1468 averaging 1465 fps- better than any match load from the 28.5" barrel. This is a remarkable performance. I would not use this load from a semi-automatic or a weak action like a pivoting block.
I have a CZ Ultra Lux, although not the Superexclusive. The performance sounded very good. A few months ago some Interceptors were on sale for about $3.50 a box, with free shipping. That was an exceptional deal, so I ordered a thousand of them.

In comparison were a couple hundred CCI Velocitors which were about 10 years old. I was curious how the Interceptors compared to the Velocitors out of the same guns. The CCI Velocitors are advertised at 1435 feet per second.

A dozen guns of various barrel lengths were assembled. It is very difficult to compare velocities from different barrels. Chambers vary. In .22 rimfires, muzzles are choked or not. The bore can vary by a couple of thousandths of an inch in diameter. The bores may be very smooth or slightly rough.

The firearms varied in age from about 85 years for the the Springfield 84-C (previously referred to as the Village Gun) to a few months for the Thompson T/CR 22 and the Taurus TX22.   The Woodsman was made in 1951.

Comparing loads out of the same barrels eliminates many of the variables. 

.22 rimfire loads can vary considerably by lot.

These loads were chosen because they are some of the most powerful .22 Long Rifle loads available, they have had very good reviews, and to satisfy curiosity.

No accuracy comparisons were made.  The measurements were done with a Caldwell G2 Chronograph at eight feet from the muzzle. The temperature varied between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

The average increase, from the dozen firearms, was very close to that advertised, 42 fps higher with the Aguila Interceptors compared to the CCI Velocitors. The advertised difference is 35 fps.

I would hesitate to feed a steady diet of these very energetic cartridges through semi-automatics, but a couple of hundred rounds would probably not accelerate wear much.

.22 rimfires tend to be a bit picky about what ammunition they prefer. The CZ Ultra Lux liked the Interceptors a bit more than the Velocitors. That could easily vary from firearm to firearm.

I found it fascinating the Sig Trailside pistol and the Mossberg 702 both produced very little difference in average velocities of the two cartridges.  Competitive shooters of the Sig Trailside have warned of excessive wear with high velocity loads.  It is an exceptionally accurate pistol with standard velocity loads.

Both the CCI Velocitor and Aguila Interceptor are premium rounds which deliver remarkable power for the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. A quick search on the Internet shows the Aquila Interceptor available from 12 to 16 cents per cartridge, and the CCI Velocitor from 12 to 20 cents per cartridge.

I do not recommend the use of the .22 Long Rifle cartridge for big game. Every rule has exceptions.

In a subsistance or survival situation, many very large animals have been harvested with the .22 rimfire. The most famous of these was the world record grizzly bear taken by Bella Twin, a few miles south of Slave Lake, Alberta, Canada, on 10 May, in 1963. Bella Twin is said to have killed the enormous bear with a .22 Long cartridge from her single shot Cooey Ace  1.  She followed up the shot with several more to make sure the bear stayed dead.

Hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of domestic cattle, which have very hard skulls, have been slaughtered with the .22 Long Rifle cartridge. If you were traveling over or through wilderness, and chose a .22 rimfire as part of your survival gear, It would make sense to bring along the best and most powerful ammunition you could obtain in normal commerce. The CCI Velocitor or the Aguila Interceptor could be the cartridge which made most sense to stash with a .22 rifle or pistol in the back of an aircraft, or in a backpack.

If you desire the most power available in .22 Long Rifle cartridges, you should test both to determine which one works best in your particular firearm.

Prices should drop again, when the current demand is satisfied.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

AZ: Robbery Suspects Shot, Killed in Phoenix Apartment Complex

PHOENIX (AP) — Two men fatally shot at a Phoenix apartment complex apparently had attempted to rob the occupants of an apartment, police said..

Those killed Tuesday were identified by police as James Putney, 42, and Robert Rojas, 31.
More Here

Monday, April 13, 2020

Firearm Industry Economic Impact Rises 213% Since 2008

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The total economic impact of the firearm and ammunition industry in the United States increased from $19.1 billion in 2008 to $60 billion in 2019, a 213-percent increase, while the total number of full-time-equivalent jobs rose from approximately 166,000 to over 332,000, a 100-percent increase in that period, according to a report released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation® (NSSF®), the firearm industry trade association.

On a year-over-year basis, the industry’s economic impact rose from $52 in 2018 to $60 billion. Total jobs increased by 20,000 in the same period, from nearly 312,000 to over 332,000. The broader impact of the industry flows throughout the economy and supports and generates business for firms seemingly unrelated to firearms at a time when every job in America counts. These are real people, with real jobs, working in industries as varied as banking, retail, accounting, metalworking and printing, among others.
The firearm and ammunition industry paid over $6.74 billion in business taxes, including property, income and sales-based levies.

“Our industry continues to show the steady and reliable growth that is a hallmark of a healthy industry,” said Joe Bartozzi, NSSF President and CEO. “The workers who comprise our ranks are the fabric of our communities. They produce the highest quality firearms and ammunition that millions of law-abiding Americans rely upon to exercise their fundamental right to keep and bear arms and safely enjoy the recreational shooting sports. This growth translates to more jobs that add to our local economies, averaging $55,200 in wages and benefits. In addition, since 2008 we increased federal tax payments by 162 percent, Pittman-Robertson excise taxes that support wildlife conservation by 79 percent and state business taxes by 116 percent.”

The Firearm and Ammunition Industry Economic Impact Report provides a state-by-state breakdown of job numbers, wages and output covering direct, supplier and induced employment, as well as federal excise taxes paid.

  Access the full report here.

TX: Fiance of 73-Year-Old Shoots, Kills, Intruder who Attacked, Choked Him

GILLESPIE COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — A 19-year-old man was shot and killed after he broke in to a Fredericksburg house early Saturday morning, according to the Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office.

More Here

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Australia: Gunshops Closed Because of Increase in Demand

In Australia, the various governments are using the coronavirus emergency to stop sales of firearms. One of the stated purposes of those who plotted to disarm Australians was to reduce the number of Australians who had guns. That was unsuccessful. More people have guns in Australia today, than before the extreme gun laws were put in place in 1997.  The thinking that one purpose of the gun laws is to reduce the number of people with guns continues.

During the current emergency, on 31 March, the Daily Mail quoted the national police minister. From
Police Minister Lisa Neville said at a press conference on Tuesday the number of people attempting to access firearms and ammunition had doubled.

The minister and the National Cabinet decided to pause the sales of firearms and ammunition for sporting or recreational purposes.

They fear an increased amount of weapons on the street would be dangerous as tensions rise and firearms may be stockpiled or accessed by criminals.

There is no suggestion the people who desired firearms were not obeying the law, and following the intensely bureaucratic and slow process by which a person is grudgingly allowed to own a firearm in Australia, under tightly controlled conditions.  The government simply did not like the idea that more people were acquiring firearms.

The several different Australian states each approached the situation of the coronavirus a bit differently. In Queensland, gunshops and gunsmiths were labeled "non-essential".  From


  1. These directions apply from the time of publication until the end of the declared public health emergency, unless they are revoked or replaced.
  2. A person who owns, controls or operates a non-essential business, activity, or undertaking in the State of Queensland, including operating at a private residence, must not operate the business, activity or undertaking during the period specified in paragraph 5, subject to the exceptions set out in Column 2 of the Definitions table at paragraph 7.

(snip) In the list of non-essential businesses are gunsmiths and gunshops:
    Licensed armourers and licensed dealers as defined under the Weapons Act 1990
Most of the businesses listed as non-essential have exceptions for a lower level of activity. For example, restaurants are allowed to do takeaway and home delivery. Hair dressers and barbershops are allowed to operate with no more than one person per four square meters. Golf clubs are allowed to operate outdoor activities with social distancing.

There are *no* exceptions listed for gunshops and gunsmiths. The various levels of Australian government have made it clear the right of Englishmen to Arms has been destroyed by the English and Australian ruling elites.  In the current crises, there was no consultation with shooters. From
Consultation lacking, pest controller says

Ms Ridge described the ruling as knee-jerk and said the Government had failed to consult the pest control sector.

"We heard whispers of it on Saturday — yesterday we confirmed it through emails and phone calls," she said.
The Australian state of Victoria echoed the reason for shutting down gunshops and gunsmiths was the demand figures. From
Victoria has announced new enforcements following the National Cabinet’s decision to put a temporary ban on additional access to firearms and ammunition across the country.

Police Minister Lisa Neville said the state had seen “a doubling of attempts to access firearms - category A and B - and also of ammunition” in the past week.

“We are concerned by those figures,” she told media on Tuesday.

Australia is a mostly socialist country today. It is only a few decades from when they had much more freedom with firearms than they do today. Up until the middle 1980s, promoting gun control beyond handguns was seen as the "third rail" of Australian politics. It was a good way to end your career.

Now, suggesting that access to guns is a good thing, is a way to be mocked by the national Australian media.

On a recent conversation with a friend in New South Wales, I asked him about the situation. He confirmed the lockdown on gunstores and gunsmiths. He added this little bit of information. Anyone caught traveling who did not have a satisfactory "essential purpose" was subject to a $1,000 fine. When my friend and his family emigrated to Australia in 1964, if you wanted a rifle and ammunition, you walked into the store with cash, and walked out with the rifle and ammunition.

Australia has a written constitution. It does not have a written bill of rights.

©2020 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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