Friday, April 12, 2024

Update in Louisiana Silencer Case: Plea Agreement with Right to Appeal

 

President Teddy Roosevelt's unregulated silencer.

 

On February 15, 2024 a plea agreement was reached in the silencer case in the Western District of Louisiana. In the case, Brennan James Comeaux had been charged with possession of five homemade silencers, two silver colored and three black colored. A warrant had been issued to search Comeax's home to find the silencers, based on probable cause.  A motion to dismiss had been filed in the case, contending the portions of the National Firearms Act (NFA) and later statues violated the Second Amendment of the Constitution based on the guidance of the Bruen decision published by the Supreme Court on June 22, 2022.

The federal prosecution argued silencers were not "arms" but accessories, thus not covered under the Second Amendment, that requirements for serialization and registration were par to federal power as allowed by the commerce clause, and there is a history of regulationg "dangerous and unusual" weapons while contending silencers are "dangerously unusual". From the government brief in the previous article:

In short, under Heller, even assuming that silencers are “arms,” within the meaning of the Second Amendment, they remain unusually dangerous and thus fall permissibly within this nation’s historical tradition of regulation.

Astute readers will see Silencers cannot both not be "arms" and also be "dangerously unusual. It is not unusual to see lawyerly arguments covering all bases this way. Essentially, the prosecution is saying: Our first argument is correct, but if the court does not accept the first argument, then our backup argument is this. It is not quite contradictory. As in the Metcalf Gun Free School Zone case, the plea agreement preserves the right to appeal the judges denial of the motion to dismiss on the grounds the federal law is unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. From the plea agreement:

3. The United States acknowledges that this is a conditional plea pursuant to Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ll(a)(2), and that Brennan Comeaux reserved his right to appeal the Court s adverse ruling as to his Motion to Dismiss and, should such appeal be successful, Brennan Comeaux shall be allowed to withdraw his guilty plea.

In the plea agreement, Brennan Comeaux pleads guilty to the first count of the indictment.  Count one is for possession of unregistered firearm(s). In the definition of the NFA, silencers are defined as "firearms".

 
COUNT ONE

 

POSSESSION OF UNREGISTERED FIREARM(S)

 

[26 U.S.C. § 5861(d)]

 

On or about June 2, 2022, in the Western District of Louisiana, the defendant,BRENNAN JAMES COMEAUX, knowingly received and possessed a firearm, to wit: two silver and three black firearm silencers, not registered to him in the National FirearmsRegistration and Transfer Record.All in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Sections 5841, 5861(d), and 5871. [26U.S.C. §§ 5841, 5861(d) and 5871].

As part of the plea agreement, Brennan Comeaux agreed to pay $100, forfeit the silencers, and receive a term of supervised release of not more than three years. The maximum penalty would be ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. You can see why nearly all federal defendants accept plea agreements. In this case, the fact of Comeaux's possession of the items was not contested.

No appeal has yet been applied for. There are other silencer cases in the courts which could bear on this case. One is in the Fifth Circuit, the same Circuit as this case. It is the lawsuit by AG Paxton for the State of Texas. The case is Paxton v. Richardson. The appeal of the Paxton case has been filed for the Fifth Circuit. This correspondent has not found and documents filed at the appeals court level.

If the Paxton case is successful, then Brennan Comeaux's appeal would be greatly enhanced.

There is a challenge to the ban on silencers by the state of Illinois which is ongoing. It is not a challenge to the federal law, but a challenge to the state ban. One of the contentions is whether silencers are included as arms under the Second Amendment. It the court find they are arms, it could be helpful to a Comeaux appeal.

Silencers are one of the weakest points in the National Firearms Act and its successor statutes. It remains to be seen if legislative or judicial attempts to remove them from the NFA will be the first to succeed.


©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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CA: Homeowner Drives off 4 Intruders with Gunfire

Los Angeles Police Department officers responded to a home in the 14000 block of Calvert Street, near Hazeltine Avenue, at approximately 9:45 p.m. regarding reports of a shooting, according to a report from NBC 4.

When they arrived, officers learned the man discovered four men inside his home and fired one shot at the suspects, who then fled the residence.

More Here

GA: Vehicle Occupant Shoots man Attempting Entry at 3 a.m.

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a shooting that took place in the 200 block of Broadway on Tuesday at 3:01 a.m.

Deputies found an unresponsive male with a gunshot wound at the Riverview Hotel.

According to an incident report, a male was attempting to enter into a parked vehicle and was shot by the occupant who was asleep inside.

 

More Here

Thursday, April 11, 2024

NM: Domestic Defense at Construction Site

At around 12:45 PM, officers from the Albuquerque Police Department were dispatched to a shooting at a construction site for new, single floor apartments on the 120 block of La Plata Rd NW. When APD officers arrived, they reportedly discovered a male who had been shot at least once, he was critically injured, and allegedly died at the scene.

We observed neighbors standing out in their yards watching the incident unfold. A witness on scene told our reporter that the shooting purportedly stemmed from a domestic incident.

Homicide detectives and investigators are being called out to the scene.

APD is telling us, after a preliminary investigation, homicide detectives are considering this shooting as a possible justifiable homicide. A woman appears to have acted in self-defense during an act of domestic violence by her boyfriend. Detectives will continue to investigate the shooting.

More Here

MS: Defense Claimed in Shooting of Lloyd Ashley Jr.

Martin accused Ashley of breaking into the home on Cliffwood Drive and pointing a gun at her.

"In fear for her life, Valencia defensively fired a weapon, striking Mr. Ashley," Martin said. "The absolute privilege under Mississippi's Castle Law doctrine applies in this matter, and the charges filed against Ms. Valencia Jones should be dismissed immediately."

Martin said the home is owned by Alanda L. Jones, Valencia Jones' mother. Both women live at the home. Martin said Alanda L. Jones called 911 "at least three times" to report that Ashley was in her home without permission before her daughter came home.

 

More Here

FL: Lauderdale Lakes Fight turns Deadly, two killed

Detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office Homicide Unit are investigating the circumstances surrounding a deadly shooting in Lauderdale Lakes.  
 
At approximately 11 a.m. on Sunday, April 7, BSO deputies and Broward Sheriff Fire Rescue responded to a shooting call near the 3100 block of Northwest 41st Street. On scene, emergency crews located Justys Whittle and Shakeif Brown suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. Paramedics pronounced Whittle deceased on scene and transported Brown to an area hospital, where he died. 
 
According to witnesses, Whittle attempted to fight Brown over an ongoing feud. During the altercation, another subject attempted to defuse the fight when Whittle pulled out a gun and fired multiple shots. The subject, who was also armed, then pulled out his weapon and returned fire.
 
The subject was taken into custody for questioning and later released. Detectives say, upon completion of their investigation, the case will be presented to the Broward County State Attorney's Office for review.
 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

MO: Domestic Defense, Woman Shoots Ex who Threatened Her

At around 8:30 a.m. Saturday, police said Montez chased her around on the 7000 block of Morgan Ford Road while holding his hand in his pocket "to make it look like he had a gun" while her son was in a car waiting for her, police said. 

"While she was trying to get away from him, and was screaming, 'No! No!' he continued to approach her on her porch. Terrified that he would kill her, as he threatened to do over and over again, (the victim) shot him in his leg," the probable cause statement said.

The shooting was captured on a home security camera. 

Police said Hopgood has a history of domestic violence arrests and has threatened the woman in the past, including an incident several months ago where he kidnapped her and her child for several hours until they escaped and ran for help.

 

More Here

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

NRA Members Protected Against Pistol Brace Enforcement (video of judge)

Judge Sam A. Lindsay, Dallas, Texas




Link to Youtube video of Judge Sam A. Lindsay

On March 29, 2024, United States District Judge Sam A. Lindsay, for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas, ordered a preliminary injunction stopping the  Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) from enforcing the final rule as it applies to pistol braces and NRA members. Once Joe Biden was elected President, the ATF had radically changed course, reversed fifteen years of previous administrative measures, and declared once legal pistol braces as re-defined "short barreled rifles.

The "final rule" claimed to be implementing measures approved by Congress in the 1934 National Firearms Act.  The court found the ATF had gone to far. In effect, the ATF created legislation, usurping the function of the Congress.  From the opinion by Judge Sam A. Linday United States District Judge of the Northern District of Texas in the Fifth Circuit:

The National Rifle Association of America (“NRA” or “Plaintiff”) brought this action on July 3, 2023, against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (“ATF”), Steven Dettelbach, in his official capacity as the Director of the ATF; the United States Department of Justice; and Merrick Garland, in his official capacity as the United States Attorney General (collectively, “Defendants”), for alleged violations of the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) and the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. In particular, the NRA challenges the ATF’s January 31, 2023 issuance of an administrative rule titled “Factoring Criteria for Firearms with Attached ‘Stabilizing Braces,’ ” 88 Fed. Reg. 6,478 (“Final Rule”), which created a framework for determining whether firearms equipped with a stabilizing brace qualify as a short-barreled rifle (“SBR”), a category of firearms regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 (“NFA”).

The controversial NFA had passed in 1934 after the primary purpose of the law, to require registration and licensing of all handguns, had been stripped from the measure because of lobbying by the NRA. What remained was mainly irrelevant and irrational at the time. Confiscatory taxes and registration of machineguns, of which only a few hundred were privately owned, registration of silencers on guns but not on automobiles,  registration of short barreled shotguns, seen as both crime weapons and homeowner's defensive tools, and registration of short barreled rifles, added to the bill at the insistence of an addled, drunk, or Machiavellian Minnestota Congressman, Harold Knutson. At the time, the bill and tax only applied to items which crossed state lines. By 2016, much of the NFA was already under attack. The law was full of contradictions and irrational requirements. The Hearing Protection Act would have removed silencers from the NFA. It would have passed in the First Trump administration except for the machinations of Paul Ryan, a peculiar opponent of a Republican president. 

In the conclusion and preliminary injunction, Judge Lindsay stops the ATF from enforcing the final rule, as it applies to pistol braces owned by NRA members, until the court case is adjudicated. This will likely come after the Supreme Court rules on the matter. From the opinion:  

III.Conclusion and Preliminary Injunction 

For the reasons explained, the court concludes that the NRA has associational standing to sue on behalf of its members and has met its burden of establishing each of the four requirements for a preliminary injunction. The court, therefore, grants the NRA’s Motion (Doc. 8) and request for a preliminary injunction, and it enjoins the ATF; Steven Dettelbach, in his official capacity as the Director of the ATF; the United States Department of Justice; and Merrick Garland, in his official capacity as the United States Attorney General from enforcing the Final Rule against the NRA’s members pending the final resolution of this action on the merits. In accordance with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65(d), this preliminary injunction order enjoins and applies with equal force to Defendants’ “officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys,” and “other persons who are in active concert or participation with anyone described in Rule 65(d)(2)(A) or (B),” and Defendants shall provide notice to all such persons of this preliminary injunction order.

The court ruling strikes at the heart of the ATF and other bureaucracies to create and define law as they so wish and a particular administration desires, even reversing policies of long standing. Such flagrant abuse of power is the exact opposite of the rule of law. The "Progressives" are exactly the opposite of what the claim. They wish to regress to the rule of the ruling class, where an ultimate ruler changes the rules at whim, favoring those in the ruling class. The Progressives oppose any limitation on government power. The Constitution was created, in large part, to limit government power. 


©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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CA: Oakland Gunfight, Resident Kills 1 Burglar, Wounds 1, is Wounded in Foot

OAKLAND — An East Oakland resident exchanged gunfire with two burglars, killing one of them, during an attempted home invasion that also resulted in the homeowner being shot in the foot, police say.

The March 15 killing of 39-year-old Charles Calloway has now been deemed by police and prosecutors a justifiable homicide, according to court records. But Calloway’s 38-year-old alleged accomplice, David Washington, has been charged with murder under the legal theory that he provoked the homeowner who killed Calloway into using lawful self-defense.

More Here

Monday, April 08, 2024

Debate, John Lott and Sanford Levison: Was the Second Amendment a Mistake?








Link to video

On March 11, 2024, Dr. John Lott debated the eminent law professor Sanford Levinson on the subject: Was the Second Amendment a Mistake?  The debate lasted about an hour. It was held at the University of Wisconsin, and started at 6:30 p.m. The debate was sponsored by the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI). The moderator was Professor Ryan Owens. 

Unlike much of what we see in politics, the debate was cordial and civilized. There was no student protest to prevent Dr. Lott from being able to debate Professor Levinson. Dr. Lott is an eminent scholar on gun control issues. Dr. Levison is credited with doing much to give credibility to the scholary examination of the Second Amendment with his article entitled "The Embarrassing Second Amendment", published in the Yale Law Journal in 1989. 

The format of the debate was: Introductions, 10 minutes to Dr. Lott, 10 minutes to Professor Levinson, 2 minutes to Dr. Lott for rebuttal; 2 minutes for Dr. Levinson for rebuttal; then a question and answer period with questions from the moderator and the audience. Because of time constraints, the Q & A period was merged with concluding remarks, first by Professor Levinson, with Dr. Lott speaking last. 

Both men are obviously gifted and well practiced public speakers. They showed how a civilized debate can be held without shouting and histrionics. As often happens in debates, they answered the question from significantly different points of view. 

Dr. Lott's position was that of an empiricist, appropriate for his training and profession as an economist. His position was: the Second Amendment was not a mistake, because more guns means more protection for the vulnerable in society.

Professor Levinson's position was a classic position of Progressives. It consisted of two basic points. First, that was then, this is now. Things have changed. Policies have to change with circumstances. The Second Amendment keeps the government from making changes. Second, restrictions on government are bad. Government is good. 

It appeared to this correspondent Dr. Lott's empirical approach was more persuasive. Professor Levison suggested, at one point, that given Dr. Lott's position, the government should subsidize the purchase of guns by lower income people. Dr. Lott responded by saying he would be happy if the government would simply stop making it harder for poor people to purchase and carry guns.

Professor Levison burnished his academic reputation by stating one of the best supports for the U.S. v Heller decision was the Dred Scott decision, decided in 1857. He gave an accurate portrayal of Chief Justice Taney's explanation of why black people could not be considered citizens. Black people would then be able to carry guns with them wherever they would go. This academic exercise seemed to support Dr. Lott's position more than Professor Levinson's.

I recommend watching the debate on Youtube. It shows how a civilized debate should be held. Dr.  Lott starts with a technique I have used, praising your opponent. It becomes harder for them to use ad hominem attacks, and sets the tone for a fact based contest. 

 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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MO: St. Louis, Naked Man Breaks through Wall, is Shot

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (First Alert 4) - The shooting of a man who allegedly broke through an apartment wall while naked and threatened to kill a man and his family will be investigated as an act of self-defense, police said.

According to St. Louis Police incident reports, officers were dispatched around 2 p.m. Friday to a report of a shooting in the 900 block of Park Avenue. There, officers found a man with a gunshot wound to his left hand. He was taken to a hospital for treatment.

More Here

CA: Physical Altercation in Redlands leads to Shooting

According to witnesses, the victim confronted the suspect on Park Avenue, south of Redlands Boulevard, and during the “physical altercation,” the suspect fired several shots, wounding the victim, police said.

The shooter was taken into custody and questioned before being released. He was in lawful possession of the firearm, which was collected at the scene.

More Here

Sunday, April 07, 2024

GA: Domestic Defense Gunfight in Atlanta, Victim Grazed, Suspect Killed

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - One man is dead and another is wounded after a shooting in northwest Atlanta, according to Atlanta Police.

Atlanta Police said a man in his 40s was killed at a house at 411 Westchester Blvd. NW.

A second man, police said, sustained a graze wound and was conscious and alert when transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he is now in stable condition.

Lt. Chris Hewitt said they responded to a “shots fired” call around 4 p.m. Crime scene tape blocked off the area most of the evening.

More Here

AR: Muhammad Harasses Ms Jones. Ms Jones Shoots Muhammed

According to a report by the Little Rock Police Department, the incident began at 9 p.m when 48-year-old Yusuf Muhammad began harassing 43-year-old Shearee Jones in the checkout aisle.

Witnesses stated that Muhammad was visibly aggressive towards Jones and that she asked him to stop.

The report says that he continued after this and assaulted her, leaving an abrasion.

In response, Jones brandished a firearm and struck Muhammad with multiple rounds.

The report says that Muhammad left the Kroger, but returned, leading Jones to fire more shots at him.

Muhammad was taken to the hospital where he is receiving treatment for his injuries.

 

More Here

Saturday, April 06, 2024

Third Circuit Upholds Second Amendment Rights of 18-20-Year-Olds

 


On October 16, 2020, a number of plaintiffs, including Madison Lara, the Second Amendment Foundation, and others, filed a lawsuit claiming Pennsylvania law which forbid 18-20-year-olds from obtaining a concealed carry permit or from openly carrying outside of the home during an emergency was an infringement of the rights protected by the Second Amendment.   This was nearly two years before the Supreme Court decision of Bruen.  On April 16, 2021, the District court ruled against them. On April 21, 2021, the plaintiffs  appealed the decision by the Pennsylvania District Court to the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. The decision held Pennsylvania law which forbid 18-20-year-olds from obtaining a concealed carry permit or from openly carrying outside of the home during an emergency was not an infringement of the rights protected by the Second Amendment. The three judge panel held the appeal pending the Supreme Court decision in Bruen.

The Bruen decision was published on June 22, 2022, clarifying the Heller decision and giving clear guidance on how to interpret Second Amendment cases.  In the clarification, the Supreme Court validated the right to carry outside the home and set forth how to perform judicial tests on laws which were challenged as infringing on the rights protected by the Second Amendment. On January 18, 2024, the three judge panel found the Pennsylvania statutes infringed on the Second Amendment rights of 18-20-year old people. It was a split decision, with Judge Restrepo dissenting.  On February 15, 2024, the defendants argued 18-20-year old people were not considered to be part of the people. Judge Restrepo agreed. The defendants filed for a re-hearing of the case en banc, by the entire Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

On March 27, 2024, a panel of the entire Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit voted to deny the request for re-hearing the case en banc. The panel consisted of thirteen judges. Six judges voted to hear the case en banc. Seven judges voted to deny the hearing. The six judges who voted to hear the case en banc were: Shwartz, Krause, Restrepo, Freeman, Montgomery-Reeves and Chung. Those six judges were effectively voting against including the Second Amendment as a fundamental part of the Bill of Rights. They lost the vote. The decision finding Pennsylvania laws infringe on the ability of 18-20-year olds to exercise the Second Amendment rights was upheld. The decision is now precedential law in the Third Circuit.

Analysis: The Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit serves the areas of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and the United States Virgin Islands.  Infringements on the rights of 18-20-year olds, protected by the Second Amendment, are likey in New Jersey, Delaware and the US Virgin Islands. There is no further appeal except to the Supreme Court. The case creates a split in the Circuits.  Similar cases are proceeding in other circuits. With this decision, it is likely one of the 18-20-year old challenges will be considered at the Supreme Court. This case is a good candidate, because the Biden administration may choose to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. The Supreme Court seldom refuses to hear a case which the executive branch asks it to hear.

In this case, the three judge panel closely adhered to the guidance put forward in the Bruen decision. It would be a favorable case for the Supreme Court to hear in order to reinforce the doctrines put forward in Bruen.


©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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TX: Security Guard Shoots, Kills Male who Pointed Gun at Him

HPD patrol officers responded to a shooting at the above address and found an unresponsive male with gunshot wounds inside an apartment.  Houston Fire Department paramedics responded to the scene and pronounced the male deceased.

A preliminary investigation determined a security officer attempted to break up a disturbance between the male (deceased) and another person in the complex.  The male, who appeared to be impaired. became irate, went to his apartment and retrieved his weapon.  He then returned and pointed the gun at the security guard.  Fearing for his life, the security guard discharged his weapon and struck the male.


More Here

FL: Teen Gunfight After Midnight, 1 Dead, 1 Wounded

The goal, according to Loux, was for Carlos Medina and Garcia to rob another teen of a gun he was carrying.

Shortly after midnight, Largo police say the pair confronted the victim and a shootout ensued. 

Police say Carlos Medina fell on the sidewalk after being shot, while the victim ran south and was located several blocks away by officers.

Both teens were carrying 9-millimeter Glock guns, according to Largo police. It is unclear who the guns are registered to and if they have been reported stolen. 

"They were all juveniles and being out and about after midnight in possession of a firearm," Loux stated. "No, it’s not legal."



More Here

Friday, April 05, 2024

GA: Atlanta Attempted Break-in, Suspect Shot, Wounded

Aggravated Assault: 1267 Martin St SE

Post Date:03/25/2024 9:14 AM

240841756

Preliminary Information: On 3/24/24, around 9:50pm, officers responded to 1267 Martin St SE in reference to a male shot. Upon arrival, officers located a male with a gunshot wound to the leg. He was alert, conscious and breathing and transported to the hospital in stable condition. Preliminary investigation indicates the male was armed while banging on the front door of the home demanding narcotics. The male then kicked in the door then physically struggled with the home’s occupant, resulting in him sustaining a gunshot wound. Units found the male nearby the incident location afterwards. He was transported to Grady where he is recovering in stable condition with arrest charges pending. The investigation continues.

 

Please keep in mind the above information is preliminary in nature and can change as the investigation progresses and new information comes to light.

 

Link here 

TN: Gunfight in Memphis, Security Guard in Hospital, Attacker Killed by Third Party

Bystanders on the scene tell Action News 5 that the victim appeared to be a security guard. He was rushed to Methodist South in critical condition.

“This should have never happened. This man was at work doing his job,” Quince said.

The other man outside was not injured by the gunfire. Police say he returned shots at the initial shooter, striking him.

Officers say the suspect barricaded himself inside the apartment thereafter. The Memphis Police Department’s Crisis Negotiations Team and SWAT Team were called to the complex to contact the gunman.

More Here

Thursday, April 04, 2024

MI: Resident of Apartment Shoots, Wounds Burglary Suspect

BAY CITY, MI — A would-be burglar was shot on April Fool’s Day, taking two bullets as he allegedly attempted to break into a home on Bay City’s East Side.

At 4:48 p.m. on Monday, April 1, police responded to an apartment building in the 200 block of North Jefferson Street after a citizen called 911 to report a bleeding man outside. Officers arrived to find a 33-year-old man had suffered two gunshot wounds to his torso.

More Here

NC: Customer at Gas Station Shoots Suspect who Threatened him with a Knife

Lincolnton Police Department officers went to a BP gas station on East Main Street around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. At the scene, officers found the robbery victim, who was a customer at the gas station.

The victim told police a man got into his car, tried to steal it, and held up a knife. He said took out his gun and fired, hitting the suspect.


More Here

Wednesday, April 03, 2024

Second Circuit: Defendant has Standing to Contest Connecticutt Ban on Carry in State Parks

Great Seal of Connecticut, public domain

 

On January 14, 2023, David J. Nastri, Esq. filed suit against Katie Dykes as Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental protection. Nastri challenged the constitutionality of Connecticut's ban on the carrying of handguns in Connecticut state parks for the purpose of self defense. From the complaint:

This is an action for declaratory and injunctive relief that challenges the constitutionality of Connecticut’s state regulation that bans the carrying of handguns in Connecticut state parks for the purpose of self-defense. Connecticut’s ban on handguns in state parks cannot pass constitutional muster under the historical standard that the Supreme Court announced in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, 142 S.Ct. 2111 (Jun. 23, 2022), and the Second Amendment requires the Court to put a stop to Connecticut depriving its citizens of the most popular means of self-defense where it is undoubtedly the hardest for first responders to protect them.

On August 22, 2023, the District Court, Judge Janet Bond Arterton, granted the state's motion to dismiss because the plaintiff lacked standing. Nastri appealed to the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. On March 29, 2024, a three judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a Summary Order to the effect that Nastri had standing, the District Court's judgment was vacated, and the District Court for the District of Connecticut is required to proceed with Nastri's lawsuit against the State of Connecticut. From the order:

The parties do not dispute that Nastri has established the first two imminence elements, in that he alleged an “intent[]” to carry his handgun in state parks for self-defense in violation of section 23-4-1(c). Vitagliano, 71 F.4th at 137. Thus, the central issue in this appeal is whether Nastri has demonstrated a credible threat that he would be cited for violating section 23-4-1(c) if he were to engage in that conduct.

The State of Connecticut put forward arguments the chances of Nastri being prosecuted were small, because few people noticed if someone was carrying a concealed weapon, and the statute was rarely enforced. The three judge panel rejected those arguments. They explained it was the burden of the State to show Nastri would not be prosecuted. It was enough for Nastri to show the law was in effect and the State did not disavow any possibility of enforcement. From the order:

 Far from disavowing enforcement against Nastri, the director of Connecticut’s Environmental Conservation Police testified at a deposition that his department (1) receives calls 7 about persons with firearms in state parks, (2) responds to those calls by sending officers to investigate, and (3) would take enforcement action if its officers found a person with an unauthorized firearm.

Analysis: This case is part of a trend where the courts are following the Supreme Court ruling in Bruen to treat the Second Amendment on the same level as other fundamental rights in the Bill of Rights, such as the First Amendment. Restricting the ability of a person to exercise their fundamental constitutional rights is an irreparable harm, no matter how short the duration. This case may become another building block in the wall to restore the free exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.  It is important to build this wall case by case. It is better to be able to sue to restore rights than to be forced to contest the constitutionality of the law in a criminal case, such as is occurring the Gun Free School Zone case of Gabriel Metcalf in Billings Montana.

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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KS: McPherson Homeowner Shoots Man Attempting to Force Entry

An intruder was shot as he was trying to enter a home in McPherson early Easter morning.

According to the McPherson Police Depaartment, Sunday at 3:29 AM officers responded to a shooting which occured in the 400 Block of East Avenue A.

According to McPherson Police Chief Mikel Golden, a 41 year old male was at home when he heard someone trying to get into his residence. The homeowner went to the door with his firearm. The male suspect attempted to enter the residence and the homeowner fired his weapon one time, hitting the suspect in the abdomen.

More Here

Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Bear Defense: Problems with Empty Chamber Carry

 

Shooting at flushing upland game birds can be fast and close. Shots are often taken in under a second.

Carrying a gun for defensive purposes, with an empty chamber, is a controversial measure which proponents claim enhances safety. It is one of the reasons handguns appear to work better for self defense against bears than long guns. Long guns are more commonly carried with an empty chamber than are handguns. Handguns are more commonly carried for self defense than long guns. A recent bear attack illustrates the problem of carrying a long gun with an empty chamber. From Alaskapublic.org 2021

“I remember looking over my shoulder, and I was saying something to them when I kind of heard the bushes crashing, and that’s when I looked up and looked over toward [where] the sound was coming from,” he said. “I couldn’t even really see it all at first because the brush was pretty thick, but about 20 feet away … this bear comes charging out of the brush at full speed.”

The victim had plenty of warning. He heard the bushes crashing. He had time to look in the direction the noise was coming from. It was almost certainly a large animal, a bear or a moose. If he had a loaded shotgun in his hands, he could have covered the area the sound was coming from, at the ready. The victim had a pre-concieved notion of how an attack might happen.  The most common way in which bear maulings occur is with a surprise attack from short distances.

Coltharp said it happened so fast.

“And without any, you know, warning at all. Normally, when they’re defensive over their territory, they let you know,” he said. “They get all huffy and puffy and they start popping their jaw and making a lot of noise, and there was there was absolutely none of that going on. So it was kind of a unique situation.”

The shotgun was slung on his back with an empty chamber. The action release probably had to be activated to chamber the first round. If the release is triggered while the shotgun is carried slung, weight of the forend tends to pull the action open, gradually opening the ejection port and exposing it to the introduction of twigs, dirt and debris.

Coltharp grabbed his gun from a sling on his back and tried to load the chamber, but the bear was faster than he was. So he jumped to the side to get his upper body and head out of the way in the hopes that Walloch, who was also armed, could get in a shot.

“And that’s when that’s when the bear reached down and just kind of chomped me right above my kneecap,” Coltharp said. “And [the bear] was just shaking me around by my leg. I was just laying there as it’s got me, just yelling, ‘Shoot it, shoot it, shoot it, shoot it!’ as fast as I could say it.”

There were three Fish and Game workers only a few yards apart along the trail when the bear attacked Coltharp. Coltharp, the victim, was the point man in the lead. This is a more vulnerable position, and requires extra diligence. The man behind Coltharp, Walloch, also carried a shotgun. As Coltharp was being mauled, he accessed the shotgun and shot the bear off of Coltharp, then shot two more shots into the bear to make sure it was out of the fight.

We are not told if Walloch carried his shotgun slung with an empty chamber. It is common for large bureaucracies to impose "safety" measures which place burdens on the people in the field in order to add a small amount of "cover" for the bureaucrats in charge.

Empty chambers have played roles in several bear mauling incidents. On September 7, 1990, Brian Kelly was hunting caribou in British Columbia. He surprised a sow grizzly with three cubs. He waved his arms and shouted as the bears closed in. After the ineffective waving, he reached for the rifle. From Bear Attacks the Deadly Truth, by Sheldon, p. 122: 

Instinctively, I reached for my rifle; waving and shouting wasn't going to work this time. My rifle was on the right side of my pack in a break-away mount. The magazine was full but there wasn't a round in the chamber.

The sow stopped three feet from Kelly. Instead of having a rifle ready and shooting the bear, Kelly punched the sow on the side of the head. He was severely mauled and took six months to recover. He never fired the rifle.

Ralph Borders was hunting Dall mountain sheep with his brother-in-law, Bill. As an Alaskan resident he had purchased a bear tag just in case they encountered one he wanted to take. On September 11, 1992, they encountered a sow with two cubs. The bears started running at them. From Some Bears Kill by Kanuit, p. 42, Ralph Borders recounts:

Bill carried a bullet in the chamber of his .06 and he was shooting, handloaded 180 grain Nosler seconds. I was trying to get my gloves off so I could chamber a round. (My .338 Ruger has always had a problem getting a shell from the clip to the chamber). 

Ralph Borders was hunting with an empty chamber. He estimated the bears were on them in four seconds. He was severely mauled by a sow grizzly. His brother in law, Bill, carried his rifle with a round in the chamber and was able to shoot the bear off of Ralph, but first had shot one of the nearly grown cubs. It ran off with the other cub. Ralph was unable to get a shot off. 

Analysis: 

There is a cultural set which claims carrying a firearm with a round chambered is unsafe. It may make sense to have empty chambers in camp, in vehicles or on horseback. A guide may insist clients who are behind him have empty chambers. An empty chamber imposes a severe disadvantage in many hunting situations or when carrying for self defense. Carrying a long gun slung over one's back, with an empty chamber, means a delay of several seconds before the gun may be fired. The delay is probably 5-7 seconds at minimum, and possibly several seconds longer. One of the reasons surprise bear attacks result in more injuries is, if the person being attacked has a few more seconds to react, they have time to unsling a long gun, chamber a round, and get ready.  It makes no sense to hunt game which may require a quick reaction, alone, with an empty chamber.

Conversely, when a long gun is held with a loaded chamber at the ready, many shooters can fire a sufficiently accurate shot at close range, in under a second.  It is not a difficult skill to acquire. Good practice can be jump shooting upland birds or ducks. If you are not quick, you miss many opportunities to harvest birds. Jump shooting doves can be nearly as fast as jump shooting woodcock or ruffed grouse. Several people have successfully defended themselves against surprise, close range bear attacks with shotguns and bird shot.

Much depends on a person's mind set. If a person knows the danger is there and an attack is possible, they are far ahead of the person who believes "It will never happen to me!"  Some practice with quick reaction drills and/or jump shooting game birds will strengthen the ability to engage the threat quickly and decisively. 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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OH: Gunfight results in Homicide, Police Investigate

AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Akron police are investigating a shooting, later ruled a homicide, on Saturday morning on Route 21.

According to police, there was a dispute at a South Arlington Street bar that continued in a car as it was driving southbound on Route 21 in Wayne County.

Police said during this altercation, gunshots were fired.

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TX: Man Forces way into San Antonio Home on MLK Drive, is Shot, Killed

Police say it appears the suspect forced entry into the home and assaulted the 27-year-old man who lived there. He told officers that he feared for his life and shot the suspect. 

Police say the shooting was deemed self-defense and the man who fired the shots was released.

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AR: Davis Woods Shoots Heavily Intoxicated Man in Self Defense

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (KAIT) - A Pocahontas man is in a Memphis hospital after police say he was shot.

The incident happened around midnight on Monday, April 1 at the Oak Creek Apartments.

Detective Trason Johnson said the “heavily intoxicated” man was shot by Davis Woods out of self-defense.

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Wyoming Governor Gordon Vetoes Bill to Reduce Gun Free Zones

 

 

On March 22, 2024, Governor Mark Gordon vetoed Wyoming House Bill 125 ( House Enrolled Act 49) which would have eliminated many of the gun free zones which exist in Wyoming.

Governor Gordon (R), in his veto letter to the Wyoming Secretary of State said: "The bill exceeds the separation of powers embodied in Article 2 of our Wyoming Constitution. I must, therefore, veto it."

HB 125 passed with veto proof margins in both the House and Senate. In the House, the vote was 57-7-1. In the Senate the vote was 22-8-1.  Wyoming requires a 2/3 vote of both chambers of the legislature to override a veto. However, House Bill 125 was passed on the last day of the legislative session, on March 8. The legislature has adjourned. Thus, the legislature cannot vote to override the veto because the legislature is not in session.

Governor Gordon, in the veto letter, indicated the idea of reducing the number of gun free zones in Wyoming should be left to local governments, school districts, community colleges and the University to consider at the local level.

Governor Matthew Hansen Mead (R) vetoed a similar bill in 2017, seven years ago.

Analysis: Powerful lobbies in the State of Wyoming have been opposed to this bill. They include the University lobby, the local government lobby, and the school/teachers lobby. The bill reduces the power of each of the three government lobbies, the government University, the local governments, and the government schools. The exercise of Second Amendment rights was historically curtailed in local governmental buildings while local governmental meetings were being held or when voting on election day. The government did not ban the exercise of the right to bear arms in local schools or universities when the Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.

Because House Bill 125 was passed with 88% of the vote in the House, and with 71% of the vote in the Senate, it is likely the bill will be re-introduced in the next legislative session in 2025. A close look at the Senate vote shows the bill passed a critical vote with a bare majority, 16 to 15. The key to moving the bill into law may be to pass the bill more than three days before the end of the legislative session. Under Wyoming law, if the legislature is in session, a governor has three days (excluding Sunday) to sign, veto, or allow the bill to become law. Once the legislature adjourns, the time to veto or sign bills is expanded to 15 days. In 2024, because the legislature adjourned on the same day House Bill 125 was passed, there was no opportunity to override a veto. If the bill is passed more than three days before the legislature adjourns, the possibility of a veto override exists.

The existing Senate leadership appears to be the major impediment to passing a version of House Bill 125. The Senate leadership gave House Bill 125 to the Senate Judicial committee. The Senate Judicial Committee  voted to not pass the bill 3 -2. The Senate, in a unusual move vote to take HB 125 from the Judicial Committee and vote on it before the entire Senate. The House has been more willing to pass this reform legislation. As the exercise of Second Amendment rights has become more popular in the United States, restoration and recognition of Second Amendment rights has followed at the state legislative and federal judicial levels. Wyoming has been a leader in restoring legislative recognition of the exercise of Second Amendment rights.

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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Monday, April 01, 2024

Black Bear, Early 1960's, Montreal River, Upper Peninsula Michigan, Ruger .22 Magnum

 

James Albert Maierle was a well known educator and sportsman, born in 1942 in Calumet Michigan. He was an enthusiastic hunter, fisherman and woodsman. He well known in his local area and published a few stories in hunting magazines. He died in 2022. His son related the circumstances of his father's shooting of a black bear in self defense in the early 1960's, on the Montreal River in the upper peninsula of Michigan. The location is only a few miles from where Maierle grew up. The area was pretty wild in the early 1960's. After the major copper mine shut down in 1967, the population dwindled further. From Jim Maierle:

 It was some time in the early 60s from what he told me, I don’t remember him saying what year specifically.  This was somewhere on the Montreal river up in Keweenaw county where he was stream fishing alone.  I believe it was in the spring.  He said he was walking along the river when he noticed a small cub.  He stopped and looked around and immediately realized he had inadvertently ended up between the cub and the sow.  He started backing away from both of them and the sow started advancing on him.  He put some distance from them but she wouldn’t stop despite him yelling and waving his arms to warn her off.  When he realized she wasn’t backing down he drew the Ruger and waited until it was quite close before he fired.  He was a very good shot so I have no doubt he wanted to make sure he could hit where he was aiming.  The bear went down as I described. [dead right there with a brain shot] He then took the cub and wrapped it up in his jacket and put it in the trunk of his car.  Not sure what to do with it and not wanting to just leave it to die out there, he brought it to a local bar where some of his friends were to show them (it was the 60s..).  One of them tried to pet it but it chomped his finger pretty good.  He took it home to his parents’ house and let it loose in the cellar for the night where it made a lot of noise from what he said.  Then the next day he called the DNR about it and they suggested he release it at a local dump where a mother with some cubs had been seen frequently.  He did, and some time after he heard this mother bear had an additional cub hanging around with her and the others.  Not positive if it was the same one but it’s likely so it could be it was a happy ending after all.

 

Because of this personal story of his I never go in the woods without a sidearm.  Largest is a .44mag Ruger but I’ve lately been carrying a lighter 45 long colt SAA or a .45acp P345.  I inherited his Single Six from the story but don’t carry it for bear protection LOL!

The story fits known bear behavior. Most black bears will run away from humans. Occasionally a black bear sow with a cub or cubs will attack a human. It is not common.  James Maierle would have been in his 20's at the time, probably home on spring vacation from college. The Montreal river is pretty wild, less than an hour's drive from his parents house. While the year is unclear, the background of James Maierle and the details of the event are reasonable and not contradicted by the geography of the area. This correspondent grew up only 250 miles away, at roughly the same time. The idea of showing a captured bear cub to your buddies at a local bar is authentically 1960's for the area.  James' son Jim says the revolver was an early Ruger Single Six with interchangeable cylinders and a 6 1/2 inch barrel.

Note: This correspondent contacted a cousin who lives in the upper peninsula a few miles southwest of where the incident occurred. He is a contemporary of James Albert Maierle. He did not recall hearing of this specific incident, but will ask his contemporaries about it. He is 88 years old. My cousin related an incident where he had to kill a black bear which had become habituated to humans. One night, his wife went out to use the outhouse at their hunting cabin, where they were spending time with family during the summer. She was blocked by the presence of a large black bear who was not intimidated. My cousin reluctantly accessed his .300 Savage, went out, and shot the bear. He did not want to shoot the bear, but it had become habituated to hanging about the hunting camp. It was too much of a danger to his wife and young children.

 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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PA: Philadelphia Woman Homeowner Shoots 2 Invaders, 1 Killed, 1 Wounded

Police say the woman found the two men, who broke in, and a struggle ensued, before shots were fired.

A 32-year-old man was shot in the head and the torso. He died at the scene.

Another 32-year-old man showed up at the hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest. He is said to be listed in stable condition.

The woman was taken in for questioning by police.

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Sunday, March 31, 2024

WA: Wenatchee Homeowner Shoots Intruder

"Obviously a homeowner has the ability to protect themselves if they feel like they're in danger or threatened," said Hahn. "But in this case, we just don't have enough information to be able to definitively say what exactly happened." 

The man was taken to Confluence Health Hospital Central Campus with a gunshot wound to his abdomen.

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Saturday, March 30, 2024

MT: Gun Free School Zone, Gabriel Metcalf Accepts Plea, Appeal Expected

Vivian and Gabriel's modest home in Billings, Montana


Gabriel Metcalf of Billings Montana has accepted a plea deal in the Gun Free School Zone (GFSZ) case which has been extensively covered by AmmoLand. The plea deal appears to be for probation only, with forfeiture of the single shot Rossi shotgun and six rounds of ammunition. There is no mention of a fine in the plea agreement. The right to appeal is preserved on page 7 of the agreement.

The plea deal specifically preserves the right to appeal the conviction based on the motion to dismiss entered on October 10, 2023. The motion to dismiss made two arguments. First, the claim was made Gabriel Metcalf was covered by the exception at 18 U.S.C. §922(q)(B)(iii), where the Montana statutes specifically creates an individual license for the federal law. Second, §922(q)(2)(A), the GFSZ law, is an unconstitutional infringement on the right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution.

The Gun Free School Zone act was initially found to be unconstitutional, in 1995, in U.S. v Lopez, because the United States government did not have the authority to regulate mere possession of a firearm within a thousand feet of any school. President Bill Clinton and Attorney General Janet Reno lobbied for a change in the law, declaring, if the firearm had moved in interstate commerce, the federal government had the authority to regulate possession of the firearm. The change was passed as part of an large spending bill. Eight circuit courts of appeal have ruled on the constitutionality of the law based on the wording change. Five have ruled the wording change cured the constitutional defect. Three have ruled the change did not cure the constitutional defect. No court has ruled on the constitutionality of the GFSZ act under the Second Amendment, except for the Billings District court, in this case, where Judge Susan Waters ruled the GFSZ act did not infringe on rights protected by the Second Amendment.

This correspondent has been informed the decision to accept the plea deal was an agonizing one for Gabriel Metcalf. A previous plea offer was rejected. This plea deal was only accepted at the last minute, after seeing what evidence would be allowed at trial.  No evidence would be allowed showing valid reasons to possess the firearm for defense of self and others. The federal statute does not contain a defense of self and others exception. The constitutional argument would not be allowed at trial. Preventing juries from hearing constitutional arguments has become standard practice. The recording of Gabriel Metcalf calling federal officers to ask for help because of perceived local police misconduct would not be allowed at trial. An estoppel defense, where the defendant relies on information given by local police, would not be allowed. Billings police repeatedly made statements to the effect Gabriel was not breaking any laws, so they could not arrest him.  The prosecutors had several witnesses who claimed they had seen Gabriel with a firearm, outside his property, on a public sidewalk, inside the Gun Free School Zone.  There was never an indication Gabriel had been on school property, had threatened anyone or had broken any other law.

As a practical matter, in order for the case to be appealed, Gabriel Metcalf had to be found guilty, either at trial, or through a plea deal. If Metcalf had been found not guilty at trial, he would not have grounds for appeal in this criminal case. This case appears to be the best test case to challenge the constitutionality of the GFSZ act.  The Ninth Circuit has been hostile to treating the Second Amendment as a fundamental part of the Bill of Rights. Some three judge panels have followed the Supreme Court guidance as given in the Heller, McDonald, Caetano, and Bruen decisions. At the Ninth Circuit, those have been taken to en banc panels and reversed.

Judge Susan Waters is reported as saying, in court, she will not hold it against Gabriel Metcalf if he appeals her decision to the Ninth Circuit. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for August 2, 2024.

Gabriel’s mother has set up a GiveSendGo site to help defend their home and to aid in Gabriel's defense. 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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FL: Gunfight/Marijuana Sale, 1 of 3 Robbery Suspects Shot, Wounded

Two Birmingham man were arrested, and third person sought, in a drug-fueled shooting at a Panama City Beach home.

Patrick Underwood, 21, and Kendrique Wesley, 19, are charged with armed robbery. One of them was shot during the holdup.

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FL: Domestic/Drugs/Mental? Man Grabs his Baby, Attacks Multiple People, is Shot


Several vehicles, including a work crew, stopped on the road to avoid hitting him. The crew attempted to hold him down and the family member dropped the shovel. Kaercher broke free and grabbed the shovel.

He then jumped on top of a vehicle and began hitting and cracking the windshield. He approached a man in a truck, opened the door, and began beating the man with the shovel, breaking his arm. The shovel then broke and Kaercher discarded it. Another person grabbed the shovel and hit him.

The driver was then able to grab his gun to defend himself. As Kaecher approached him, holding the Bible, the driver fired multiple times, striking him in the chest through the book.

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Friday, March 29, 2024

NY: Gun v Machete Confrontation in Staten Island Shooter is Former Police Officer

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — NYPD detectives investigating Wednesday morning’s shooting in Annadale say the incident took place after a traffic crash.

After a minor collision, a 45-year-old man approached a 50-year-old man while brandishing a machete, according to a spokesman for the NYPD.

The 50-year-old man discharged a firearm, striking the other man in the chest, police said.

Officers were called at about 9:25 a.m. to Vineland Avenue near Grantwood Avenue.


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Bear Defense: Aiming at the Wrong Spot


Carved polar bear skull shows position of the brain case.

One of the persistent myths about shooting bears in self defense is a bear's skull is nearly bullet proof.  Bears skulls are not bullet proof. However, bear heads are big. It is easy to miss the brain or spine if you aim at the wrong spot, or aim away from the brain because you are afraid the bullet will "bounce off".  This is exacerbated by trophy hunters' hesitancy to shoot a bear in the head. A powerful shot to the brain cavity will fracture the skull, making measurement for the record books impossible. 

It is difficult to hit the brain of a bear if you deliberately aim to miss the bear's brain. It is difficult to hit the brain if you are aiming at a place where the brain is not. Here are some examples where the myth and poor understanding of bear anatomy prevailed. 

The year appears to be about 1915 or later, as related by the writer, Calvin H. Barkdull on page 153 of Blood on the Arctic Snow, published in 1956.

"The bear stood directly facing me. I saw the long maine on is neck and shoulder hump rise and fall several times. I waited for him to raise his head so I could get a heart shot from the front.  I knew a head shot from the front would only irritate him." 

The narrator shot the bear several times with his .45-90 black powder cartridges from an 1886 Winchester rifle. He finally finished the bear with a head shot to the base of the ear.  

A .45-90 black powder cartridge is fully capable of smashing completely through a big bear's skull and brain with a frontal shot. The normal black powder load is a 400 grain bullet traveling at 1300 fps.  You have to know the right place to aim.  In this AmmoLand article the position of a bear's brain and how to aim for it are explained. Aiming between the eyes is not aiming at the brain if the bear's nose is pointed at you. Aiming for the bears eye is not aiming at the brain if the bear's nose is pointed at you. Below is a case where the shooter aimed for the eye and missed the brain.  November, 1986, Kodiak Island, Zachar bay, .454 Casull, Grizzly bear. From More Bear Tales, p. 104-107.

George Malekos was confronted with a large grizzly bear at 10 feet away on a gravel ridge, covered with snow. He had nowhere to turn. He aimed at the bear's eye, and shot. He fired two more times as the bear whirled around, and disappeared.

"So I aimed for the bear's eye and I squeezed the trigger".

His guide, Jack, confirmed his poor understanding of bear anatomy:

Jack asked me if I had hit the bear and I told him I had shot him in the eye. 

"Then you'd have a dead bear", he said.

 Later, he and his hunting companion shot the same bear with their rifles. They found the .454 round had creased the skull above the eye, then another shot from the .454 revolver had penetrated one foot of the bear as it was whirling around.

A Canadian game warden made a similar mistake with a large black bear when he aimed between the eyes of a black bear standing on its hind legs, looking direct at him. As the bear was large, the bears head would have been a little higher than his own. A line from eye to eye would be at the very top of the brain or just above it, with a thick skull at a slight angle just at that line.  Hitting just a half an inch high would mean the bullet would barely impact the skull, if at all, but would plow a bloody furrow in the hide and flesh along the skull above the brain. From winchestercollectorforum.org December 23, 2020:

I decided try and take this bear down with a shot directly between the eyes as his head was clearly visible and I was gettng concerned since I was clearly annoying him and he began showing signs that he might make a charge.  I would only have seconds before he was on top of me at that range. I knew that the gun was dead on at that short range. This was clearly a bear that had absolutely no fear of man and had probably never seen one in his life other than the fire  fighters and now me.  I squeezed the trigger and the bullet hit the bear between the eyes. He didn’t drop but instead immediately  spun around and took off a run into the dense brush behind him.

When you aim where the brain is not, good shooting means you miss the brain. People who are hunting bears for trophies do not want to shoot bears in the brain because doing so ruins the skull as a trophy. I suspect such is what happened with Larry Kelly in his famous encounter with a brown bear coming into a hunting cabin in Alaska. From Hunting for Handgunners, p. 225, 1990:

 Bob was having trouble with his gun and had backed up into the table, knocking everything over. I had backed into the stove, knocking that over. I pointed the .44 at the bear's chest from three feet away and fired. I expected the mighty .44 to blow the bear right out of the doorway, or at least to do a little more than get his attention. He only turned his head and looked directly at me as if the muzzle blast had bothered him.

A big bear's brain is about the size of a pint jar. For an accomplished handgunner such as Larry Kelly, it would be hard to miss from three feet, if you knew where it was at. Yet Kelly shot the bear in the chest.  In an emergency, you do what you have trained to do. Many guides are careful to tell hunters: do not shoot the bear in the head. It will ruin the trophy and the ability to score it for the record books.  In this case, with clear shots at the bears head, Larry and his guide fired a total of seven shots at the bear's chest and shoulder. Those shots can knock a bear down, and slow it down. But only brain or spine shots would stop it right now. 

There is a particularly sad case of Michael and Darcy Staver in 1992, in Glennallen, Alaska.

 It [a black bear] broke a window to get into the cabin where they were staying and drove them out.

The couple sought safety on the roof. Michael fired several shots at the bear with a .22-caliber handgun to try to scare it away. It left. When it did, he jumped down from the roof and took off to get help. He took the gun to defend himself, thinking his wife would be safe on the roof. She wasn't. While he was gone, the bear climbed a spruce tree next to the cabin, got onto the roof and killed Darcy.

Larry Kanuit, the author of several bear books, reports Michael Staver was very careful *not* to hit the bear, for fear of enraging it. P.  251 "Some Bears Kill".

Many bears have been killed with .22 rimfire. It does not require a brain shot, although brain shots work well. Shots from a .22 to the lungs will kill a bear in minutes. Shots to the abdominal cavity will probably kill the bear in days. 

If you are afraid of shooting a bear because you believe it might make them mad, the potential effectiveness of your shots are greatly reduced. 

This correspondent has come to believe the myth of big bears' skulls being bullet proof comes from from a misunderstanding of where a bear's brain is positioned inside the bear's head and skull.  If you aim to put the bullet where the brain isn't, it is easy to miss the brain.

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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TX: 2AM Shooting under Investigation by Police in San Antonio

The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. at a home in the 2500 block of Indian Forest, not far from both Binz Engleman Road and North Foster Road.

According to police, the man was able to get inside the home via the front door, by using a keycode. That’s when, police say, the man went upstairs while the other was coming out of a room with a gun and he shot the man in the face.

Police said the man shot was taken by ambulance to an area hospital, where at last check, he’s listed in critical condition. The shooter was detained by officers for questioning.

At this time, it is not exactly clear as to why the man entered the home and police did not say if there was a prior relationship between the two men.

 

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Thursday, March 28, 2024

TN: Gunfight in Harrison Home Invasion 1 of 3 Suspects Killed

The preliminary investigation reveals the three suspects broke into the home around 1a.m. and were confronted by the homeowner, according to HCSO.

Gunfire was exchanged between the homeowner and suspects.

HCSO says one of the suspects was shot during the exchange and died at the scene.


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Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Repressive States - No Right to Carry - Ban on Semi-Autos - No Suppressors - High Taxes


There are nine states which show up again and again as the most repressive states in the union of the United States of America. With the occasional exception, these states refuse to honor the Constitution; they have extremely restrictive policies on who may bear arms, they  ban common rifles, they ban the ownership of suppressors, they tend to have high taxes. They are all controlled by the Democratic Party.

The nine most repressive states are: California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

Of those nine states all but Rhode Island have enacted bans on some semi-automatic firearms, usually under a politically defined label of "assault rifles".  Washington State has also banned certain semi-automatic rifles. Litigation challenging such bans as a violation to the Second Amendment of the Constitution is moving forward in several states, including Maryland, New York, California, Illinois and New Jersey. At some point the Supreme Court will rule on one or more of these cases.

Of the nine repressive states, eight of them have laws which prevent most of the population from exercising their Second Amendment rights, especially the right to bear arms outside of the home.

 

The right to carry map, maintained at radical gunnuttery.com, shows the current state of the right to carry in the United States of America, by state.

Of the nine repressive state, eight have "may issue" laws whereby a government official has discretion to deny a carry permit based on his subjective opinion.  In this way, Martin Luther King was denied a carry permit in Alabama in 1956. John Stossel was denied a carry permit in New York City. Illinois is shown as a "shall issue" state. Illinois was forced by the Court of Appeals in the Seventh Circuit to pass a "shall issue" law, or risk being force to become a permitless carry state.

Of the nine repressive states, all but one ban the possession of silencers/suppressors in their state. Suppressors/silencers are effective safety devices which are common in Europe and many other countries. The American Suppressor Association maintains a map showing which states ban the legal possession of silencers/suppressors. Maryland does not ban the ownership of suppressors and allows them to be used for hunting. Suppressors/silencers are banned in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island.

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Taxation: of the nine most repressive states, six are in the top ten highest tax states, New York, Hawaii, California, New Jersey, Illinois, and Delaware.

All of the nine most repressive states,  are Democratic party trifectas, as shown by Ballotpedia. A Democratic party trifecta means both houses of the legislature and the governorship are in the hands of the Democratic party.

A similar situation existed with states in the South when they refused to follow Supreme Court rulings to desegregate public schools. Eventually, under a Republican administration, President Eisenhower enforced the desegregation order in Arkansaw schools. Do not expect a Biden, or any Democratic administration, to use troops to enforce Second Amendment rights in the repressive states.  Just as the Democratic party was the party of government power and segregation through the 1950's, the Democratic party is the party of government power and repression of Second Amendment rights since the Supreme Court rulings in Heller (2008), McDonald (2010), Caetano (2016) and Bruen (2022).

 

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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KY: Monticello Homeowner Shoots, Wounds Intruder

Officers believe 56-year-old Tracy Kidd entered a home and startled the homeowner.

The homeowner fired one round towards Kidd and hit him. The homeowner then called 911.


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Tuesday, March 26, 2024

NM: Man Flees Police, Breaks into Home, Threatens Woman, is Shot

The woman told police she thought about arming herself then but “did not know if she had time to use the weapon” if he also had a gun, according to the complaint. The woman said she took him to a “bowl of keys” in the kitchen and Rivera took several keys and left.

Police said the woman told them she then grabbed a gun and took her grandchild into the bedroom. She said she then found Rivera back in her hallway, “demanding more keys.”

The woman told police she pointed the gun at Rivera and “told him to get out” but he began approaching her instead, according to the complaint. She said she was scared “he would kill her or her grandchild” and she shot him once.

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MS: Man with Knife Chases Store Employee is Shot, Killed

Detective Tommie Brown said the unidentified male suspect walked into the store with a knife and started chasing an employee. Brown said the suspect was shot while trying to stab the employee. The suspect died at the scene.

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Monday, March 25, 2024

Idaho AG Files Brief Joining 27 other States Asking Supreme Court to Overturn Seventh Circuit 2A Decision

 


The Idaho Attorney General has joined with the Attorney General of Indiana and 26 other state AGs or Legislatures to file amicus brief in the case of Bevis v City of Naperville.

On November 22, 2023, the Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit denies the petition for an injunction pending appeal to en banc review or for a writ of certiori to the Supreme Court. On December 20, the request for an en banc hearing is denied. On March 8, 2024, a petition asking for a stay of proceedings pending a Supreme Court appeal is granted.

The case is about whether the State of Illinois has the power to ban an entire class of semi-automatic firearms. From the press release by Idaho AG Labrador:

[BOISE] – Attorneys General Raúl Labrador of Idaho and Todd Rokita of Indiana led 26 other states in filing a brief with the United States Supreme Court challenging Illinois’ unconstitutional ban of AR-15 rifles and their standard 30-round magazines.

“This ruling from the Seventh Circuit flies in the face of the Bruen decision and the Second Amendment’s unqualified command,” said Attorney General Labrador.  “To restrict an inanimate object based on nothing more than cosmetic appearance is absurd, and the Supreme Court needs to make this right with all expediency.”

The Seventh Circuit’s decision in Barnett v. Raoul found the Illinois gun ban constitutional, holding that the plain language of the Second Amendment and the term “Arms” does not apply to AR-15s because of their militaristic appearance.  The Seventh Circuit’s decision lacks any textual or historical basis.  In fact, the arms the Second Amendment originally protected were those used in military combat.  The Seventh Circuit’s analysis bears no resemblance to the analysis prescribed by the Supreme Court of the United States.

The brief asks the Supreme Court to grant certiorari and correct the Seventh Circuit’s erroneous decision, arguing that “[e]ven apart from having no basis in the text of the Second Amendment, the Seventh Circuit’s artificial divide between “militaristic” firearms and firearms used for self-defense is indefensible.

The 26 other states joining Idaho and Indiana are:

Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming, and the State Legislatures of Arizona and Wisconsin.

Astute observers may notice an amazing overlap between this list and states who are members of the Constitutional Carry (permitless) club. In the above list there is only two states which are not Constitutional Carry or permitless club members. They are Virginia and Wisconsin.  Arizona, Maine and Vermont are the only Constitutional Carry (permitless) states which did not join the amicus brief.



Such amicus briefs are becoming more common. At stake are two visions of how the Constitution is to be regarded. The governments of Idaho, Indiana, and roughly 26 other states generally subscribe to the ideology the Constitution is a contract between the population, the States, and the federal government. The contract should be interpreted as it was understood to be at the time the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were ratified.

Approximately 18-20 other state governments have a different vision of the Constitution. In this vision, the Constitution of 1787 (Bill of Rights in 1791) is/are outdated. The interpretation of the Constitution should be by Progressives who look to bend Constitutional provisions to their understanding of what is best for the Country based on the current situation.

These two visions are not necessarily in conflict. In practice, they are nearly always in conflict. The vision of those who wish to exert power over the population, and concentrate it in the federal government runs directly contrary to the structure of the Constitution as written, with its checks and balances, division of power, and limitation on the power of the federal and state governments.

©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch




OH: Disarm - Confrontation leads to Fatal Shooting

Craig, armed with a small-caliber rifle, confronted Russell, leading to a heated argument. As tensions escalated, Craig , authorities said, threatened Russell with the firearm. Russell attempted to retreat, but Craig reportedly persisted in advancing. A physical altercation ensued, during which Craig allegedly struck Russell in the face. The two men, reports say, grappled, and Russell managed to take the rifle away from Craig.

However, the confrontation took a deadly turn when Craig allegedly retrieved a knife and attempted to stab Russell. Russell, authorities said, fired the rifle, striking Craig multiple times in the upper torso. The severity of the injuries proved fatal.

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TN: Gunfight at Walmart Entrance, Victim shot, Suspect Arrested

It all started when two men and a 7-year-old boy were walking into the store and saw a man arguing with a woman in front of a car near store's entrance, court documents allege.

As they were making their way into the entrance, the man, later identified as Hopkins, shouted to the family and "asked what they were looking at," records show.

Hopkins and one of the two men argued before gunfire erupted, court documents allege.

Hopkins punched that man and pulled out his gun, prompting the man to take out his own gun, records show. The two shot at each other, and Hopkins allegedly shot the man three times.

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FL: Domestic Defense Gunfight, Ex Shoots Couple, New Boyfriend Defends, All Wounded

Keiondre Church, 23, who used to date the woman, then walked up and fired at the man in the car. They exchanged gunfire. 

Church was hospitalized in critical condition, and the couple suffered non-life-threatening injuries, police said. Church is facing first-degree attempted murder and aggravated assault charges.

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PA: Philadelphia Gunfight with Carjacker no Injuries

Police say a suspect tried to carjack a victim at 10th and Mount Vernon streets in North Philadelphia around 1:30 a.m. But the driver fought back and fired several rounds at the carjacker. The carjacker ran off and was not apprehended No injuries were reported.

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GA: Three People wounded in Gunfight

Douglas police say Carrie Ann Johnson, 35, was an instigator and primary aggressor in a chain reaction exchange of gunfire between two people when police say small kids were present.

“She pulled up and was like, ‘where is her money’ - well where was her $300, to be exact? And then she shot Nard, and then she shot Jackie, and then Nard shot her,” Lachelle Paulk, a family member and witness, said.

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Saturday, March 23, 2024

WV: Domestic Defense? Gunfight at Home, Victim and Suspect both Wounded

Arbogast was reportedly saying that “he was coming to the residence to cause bodily harm to [the victim’s] family, and kill the entire family,” the release said.

Deputies said a shoe print on the outside of the front door, which matched Arbogast’s shoes, showed he attempted to kick in the front door.

The victim, “fearing for the safety of his family,” fired a 9mm handgun from inside the house, which struck Arbogast, the complaint said. When the victim stepped outside onto the front porch, Arbogast “presented a 9mm handgun and shot [the victim]” wounding him; deputies said the round went through several layers of the home’s drywall, endangering those inside, including the five-month-old Arbogast said he was there to take.

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WV: Domestic Defense, Son Shoots, Kills Father

“On Wednesday, March 20, 2024, at approximately 7:15 p.m., Cpl. F. J. Turansky and other Buckhannon Detachment members responded to a residence on Guy Hardman Road in Rock Cave, W.Va., in reference to a domestic altercation with shots fired,” the release states. “Upon arriving on scene, the officers learned that Maxwell Laham was in a physical domestic with his wife and had shot a 12-gauge shotgun at her.”

The woman and her daughter escaped from the home, while the son got a shotgun of his own, according to the release.

 “Mrs. Laham and a juvenile daughter were able to flee from the residence, leaving her 15-year-old son in the residence,” according to the release. “Their 15-year-old son obtained a 20-gauge shotgun and went upstairs in their residence. Maxwell Laham then went upstairs and pointed the firearm at his 15-year-old son, who in turn shot Mr. Laham one time in the chest, killing him. No other injuries were reported.”

 

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