Posts

11 Incidents in Which Lawful Gun Owners Made a Difference

As the Supreme Court continued its decadelong silence in protecting the Second Amendment, Americans last month nevertheless proved that they understand the importance of the right to keep and bear arms.

The FBI conducted a record-high 3.9 million background checks for firearms sales and transfers in June. The previous record of 3.7 million was set just this past March.

It is little surprise that, during these difficult and uncertain times, many Americans who never before considered the prospect of gun ownership are coming to appreciate their Second Amendment rights. Even in “normal” times, Americans often rely on their firearms to protect themselves and others.

According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost every major study on the issue has found that Americans use their firearms in self-defense between 500,000 and 3 million times a year. There’s good reason to believe that most of these defensive gun uses never are reported to police, much less make the local or national news.


Two regimes are fighting an ideological war in America today. But what side are you on? And how can you sharpen up on how to defend your position? Learn more now >>


For this reason, The Daily Signal each month publishes an article detailing some of the previous month’s many news stories on defensive gun use that you may have missed—or that might not have made it to the national spotlight in the first place. (Read accounts from 2019 and 2020 here).

The following examples of defensive gun use represent only a small portion of the stories we found in June. You can explore more examples in The Heritage Foundation’s interactive Defensive Gun Use Database.

  • June 1, Edinburg, Virginia: A Virginia pastor drew his handgun to protect himself from five trespassers who assaulted him on his property. Police said the pastor had noticed two of them apparently disposing of large items illegally in a dumpster at an apartment complex he owns, and asked the two to leave. They became angry and returned with three others, surrounding the pastor. The five threatened him with racial slurs, and one head-butted him. The pastor defended himself with his handgun and called 911. After an unfortunate mix-up in which police initially detained the pastor, officers arrested the threatening individuals and charged them with hate crimes.
  • June 4, Gustavus, Ohio: A homeowner spotted a man underneath a car in his driveway late at night, and grabbed a shotgun to confront him. The man, who police suspect was trying to steal car parts, rushed at the homeowner, who shot and wounded him. Investigators later discovered that the would-be thief possessed several power tools and had put a jack under the homeowner’s car.
  • June 5, Dudley Shoals, North Carolina: When two armed men tried to rob a convenience store, the clerk drew his own gun and fired at them until they fled. The store’s security camera captured the drama, police said.   
  • June 6, Lake Elsinore, California: A store owner intervened with his firearm to protect a woman from an assailant, police said. The store owner had seen the man punch and kick the woman. The attacker left when the store owner attempted to stop him, but returned minutes later holding a metal object. When the store owner stood between the man and the woman, the assailant pushed him to the ground and began to beat the woman again. The store owner retrieved his firearm and shot the man, who fled. Police later arrested him.  
  • June 13, Ogden, Utah: vengeful ex-boyfriend drove to the residence of his former girlfriend shared with her new boyfriend and, after an argument, opened fire on them. The woman, who police said was the past victim of domestic violence by him, drew her own handgun and fired in self-defense. Police later arrested the man and charged him with numerous felonies.
  • June 14, Rome, New York:  good Samaritan with a shotgun came to his neighbors’ rescue when he realized their apartment had been broken into by an armed intruder, police said. The intruder entered through a bedroom window and pistol-whipped a woman. The neighbor went into the apartment and fired at the intruder, who fled.
  • June 16, Delta Township, Michigan: A concealed-carry permit holder intervened to defend himself and other motorists when a mentally distressed man began firing a handgun at cars on a highway. Emergency dispatchers received at least 10 calls about the man before he jumped in front of the permit holder’s car and pointed a gun at him, police said. The permit holder, who had been on his way to enjoy a round of golf, shot and killed the man.   
  • June 20, Turner, Maine: A homeowner held two suspected burglars at gunpoint until law enforcement could arrive and arrest them. The homeowner, who had noticed a back door was forced open and a lock ripped off, saw the two leaving the residence with items in their hands. He drew his handgun, detained them, and called police.
  • June 23, Spokane, Washington:  An armed mother used her firearm to protect her teenage son after a meet-up to buy a cellphone turned into an attempted robbery. Her son had agreed to meet the[MK1]  sellers in a grocery store parking lot, but the cellphone was not as advertised. When he declined to buy it, the men assaulted the teen and tried to take money from his pocket. Police said the boy’s mother, who had parked nearby, saw what was happening, drew her firearm, and fired at the men—who promptly got into their vehicle and fled.
  • June 27, Louisville, Kentucky: When a man opened fire on a crowd protesting the police shooting of Breonna Taylor in her apartment, armed bystanders fired back, wounding the shooter. Eventually, several protesters were able to hold the shooter at gunpoint and convince him to drop his weapon. Police said the shooter had been arrested twice in previous weeks on riot-related charges. Earlier that day, other protesters had asked the man to leave because of his “disruptive behavior.”
  • June 29, North Freedom, Wisconsin: Parents shot their adult son in self-defense after he fired rounds at their home and broke in during the early morning hours.  Police said the parents called 911 to report that someone was shooting at their bedroom windows. They attempted to retreat to the basement when their son entered the home, but ultimately shot and wounded him. Police charged the son with attempted murder and other felonies. He already was facing charges for other violent offenses.

Sometimes, lawful gun owners get it wrong and end up in the national news for using their guns irresponsibly. But more often, they get it right and few of us hear about it.

Many of us don’t hear about mothers defending their sons, or good Samaritans coming to the rescue of innocent neighbors.

Many of us don’t hear about the protesters whose Second Amendment rights saved the lives of those exercising their First Amendment rights.

Many of us don’t hear about the countless others whose lives and livelihoods were protected because of lawfully owned firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens.

As the silence from the Supreme Court reaches deafening levels, we promise to keep telling these stories and highlighting the importance of protecting the right to keep and bear arms.

COMMENTARY BY

Amy Swearer is a senior legal policy analyst at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLES:

How Trump’s Law and Order Agenda Is Making Black America Safer Again

Ted Cruz: It’s ‘Racist’ to Defund the Police

In America, the System Trends Toward Justice


These are trying times in our nation’s history. Two regimes are fighting an ideological war in America today, with polar opposite viewpoints on public policy and the government’s role in our lives.

Our friends at The Heritage Foundation asked world-class speaker, educator, and researcher David Azerrad to walk you through his research and outline the differences between the “two regimes” in our society today—conservatism and progressivism—and their primary differences.

When you get access to this course today, you’ll learn key takeaways like what it means to be a conservative, what “modern progressivism” is, how a conservative worldview differs from a progressive one, and much, much more.

You will come away from this online course with a better understanding of the differing points of view, how they align with your principles, and how to defend your beliefs.

Don’t wait—start taking “The Case for Conservatism” course online now.

GET YOUR FREE ACCESS NOW »


EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Signal column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

UK: Police Commissioner Suggests Value of Armed Citizenry, is Quickly Rebuffed

Every once in a great while, an independent-minded United Kingdom official is overcome with a bout of common sense on firearms. However, such outbursts of reason are typically short-lived, as the gun control apostate becomes the immediate target of the country’s anti-gun establishment politicians and media. Such was the case in 2014, when former Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage had the temerity to point out that the UK’s handgun ban is “ludicrous” and call for its repeal.

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez

Following the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez was taken by a similar case of logic. During a June 12 appearance on BBC Radio Cornwall, Hernandez suggested that armed citizens could provide an important response to a terrorist violence.

According to an account and audio of Hernandez’s BBC appearance made available by the Guardian, a caller – who is a firearms dealer — to the radio show asked the police commissioner, “If there should ever be a terrorist attack, what happens if I and other people try to defend themselves using those guns? What would be the repercussions?” After lauding the caller’s question, Hernandez responded that such an armed response “might be some of our solution to our issues.”

The audibly dumbfounded BBC host, called the caller’s proposal “vigilantism,” going on to question the caller’s ability to properly handle and use firearms. Even after the host’s initial derisive comments, Hernandez defended her position stating, “I’m just saying, let’s officially have a look at that and see what would be the implications of it…. We work with businesses to keep our communities safe. I’d really be interested in exploring that with the chief constable.”

Unfortunately, Hernandez’s rational position was lost on Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer and Deputy Chief Constable Paul Netherton. The same day as Hernandez’s interview, Netherton issued a response to the police commissioner’s comments that appears to foreclose even a discussion about the use of private firearms to stop a terrorist threat.

In the release, Netherton noted that during an attack, “highly trained police firearms officers and Special Forces will be deployed to protect our communities,” and that “Under no circumstances would we want members of the public to arm themselves with firearms, not least because officers responding would not know who the offenders were, and quite obviously they would not have the time to ask.”

Netherton also reiterated official UK response policy, stating, “Our message to the public is a simple one: to run, to hide and to tell.” This charge is a noticeably neutered version of the United States Department of Homeland Security’s “Run, Hide, Fight.”

Just as disturbing as the UK’s disrespect of the fundamental right to self-defense is the ongoing effort by the UK’s political and media establishment to preclude any debate on the topic. Nigel Farage’s comments on the handgun ban were met with “fury,” with one opposing lawmaker dismissing Farage’s Ukip party as “extremely dangerous.” The BBC host dismissed Hernandez’s comments and the caller’s question out of hand. Likewise, Netherton released a statement refuting Hernandez’s position without exploration or discussion. Far from radical, Hernandez’s thoughts on fighting terrorism are shared by former Interpol Secretary General Ronald K. Noble.

Such foreclosure of discourse is unbecoming a so-called liberal democracy. Today’s UK would do well to rediscover the great English classical liberal philosopher John Stuart Mill, as his work on the merits of free thought and vigorous discourse appears to be foreign to most of its subjects.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Will the Brits Ever Learn, an Armed Citizenry is a Safe Citizenry

Ex-MI5 boss: People ask, why didn’t you follow all these people … on your radar?

Hezbollah flags fly in London on a Sunday afternoon anti-Israel march

Rep. Steve Scalise Introduces Bill to Relax Restrictions on Interstate Firearm Sales

VIDEO: Empowering Public Housing Residents to Defend Themselves

In this News Minute from the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, Jennifer Zahrn reports that, in Maine, Governor Paul LePage is expected to sign an NRA-backed bill that would allow residents of public housing to exercise their right to keep and bear arms.

RELATED ARTICLES:

The NRA’s Longstanding Campaign to Allow Guns in Public Housing Is Set for Its Latest Win

We need to protect public housing tenants’ right to protect themselves

ME Governor Paul LePage Declares Open Season On Drug Dealers (VIDEO)

Brady Campaign Labels NRA “Terrorists”

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has never had a firm grasp on the English language, as evidenced by the repudiation of their bizarre interpretation of the Second Amendment at the U.S. Supreme Court. However, this week, in an attempt to demonize NRA, Brady Campaign took their hyperbole to a new low, referring to the NRA as “terrorists.” That’s right; according to the Brady Campaign, the grassroots organization comprised of 5 million freedom-loving members that are dedicated to using the democratic process and legal framework to defend the constitutional rights of all Americans are “terrorists.”

The craven statement was made by Brady Campaign President Daniel Gross to The Hill. In the article, Gross criticized two Democratic presidential candidates, the NRA D- rated Bernie Sanders and F rated Lincoln Chafee, for not sufficiently conforming to the group’s radical gun control agenda. In taking particular issue with Chafee’s debate performance, in which the candidate stated he would try to negotiate with NRA, Gross stated, “[t]his is not a negotiation with the NRA… We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time radical gun control advocates, and others, have used this type of reprehensible language to slander gun owners or NRA. In early 2013, Stop Handgun Violence founder and president John Rosenthal, who is best known for his anti-gun billboard outside Boston’s Fenway Park, said on the Ed Schultz radio show that the NRA “in my mind is a terrorist organization as far as I’m concerned.”

Beyond full-time gun control advocates, the culprits are often their allies in the media. As recently as this month, New York Daily News columnist Linda Stasi wrote, “NRA should take its rightful place on the State Department list of terrorist organizations.” Last year, Mother Jones promoted a cartoon likening NRA to violent jihadis. Of course, the anti-gun Twittersphere and blogosphere are replete with similar inflammatory name-calling.

Not to be outdone, Hillary Clinton has gotten into the act. In June 2014, during a CNN “town hall,” Clinton remarked that gun control opponents “hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people.” However, never one to rest on her laurels, Clinton outdid herself in early October, comparing NRA to a state sponsor of terrorism when she told an Iowa crowd, “NRA’s position reminds me of negotiating with the Iranians or the communists.”

Those attempting to vilify NRA as terrorists or extremists should recognize that NRA’s positions are well within the American mainstream. A 2014 Gallup poll revealed that 63-percent of Americans believe that having a gun in the home makes the home a safer place to be. Further, another 2014 Gallup poll showed that when asked “[i]n general, do you feel that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict, less strict, or kept as they are now?” 52-percent of Americans opted to keep the laws the same or make them less strict.

In 2011, Barack Obama made a speech in Tucson, Ariz. following a tragic shooting, where he implored the nation to embrace civility in our political discourse. Obama noted that “only a more civil and honest public discourse can help us face up to our challenges as a nation.” Perhaps Obama would do well to direct similar comments more specifically at his increasingly base allies in the anti-gun community. We won’t hold our breath.

RELATED ARTICLES:

FBI: Crime Decreased in 2014

Those Poor Anti-Gun Researchers

In California, No Amount of Gun-Control Will Ever be Enough

Presidential Candidates, Members of Congress, and Governors Call for Military Right-to-Carry

Following the murder of four U.S. Marines and a U.S. Navy sailor by a terrorist in Chattanooga, presidential candidates, including former Florida governor Jeb Bush (R), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (R), businessman Donald Trump, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker (R), and former U.S. Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), have called for a change in federal law to allow stateside military personnel to carry firearms for protection. In addition, the governors of Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas have directed the adjutants general of their National Guards to authorize Guardsmen to be armed in their states.

Before the attack in Chattanooga, congressional Armed Services Committee Chairmen Sen. John McCain and Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) had been planning to include legislation in the upcoming National Defense Authorization Act to clarify an Army post commander’s authority to allow the carrying of personal firearms for protection. Now, numerous other senators and representatives have stated their support for legislation to allow military personnel to be armed for protection of themselves and their fellow troops here at home.

The outpouring of support for allowing military personnel to protect themselves is more than justified by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, which included an attack upon the Pentagon, and events related to other military facilities thereafter.  In 2009, a terrorist killed 12 military personnel and one civilian, and wounded 30 others on Fort Hood, Texas. That same year, another attack occurred upon a military recruiting office in Little Rock, Arkansas, resulting in the death of one soldier and the wounding of another. Over the next two years, law enforcement authorities foiled planned attacks upon military facilities in Baltimore and Seattle. In 2013, 12 people were killed and four were wounded in an attack upon the Washington, D.C., Navy Yard. And only eight months ago, the FBI issued a warning that ISIS was recruiting extremists to attack our military personnel here at home.

Military personnel are effectively prohibited from carrying personal firearms for protection by a Department of Defense Directive of 2011, which states:

Arming DoD personnel with firearms shall be limited and controlled. Qualified personnel shall be armed when required for assigned duties and there is reasonable expectation that DoD installations, property, or personnel lives or DoD assets will be jeopardized if personnel are not armed…

That directive traces back to another Directive from the early 1990s, which contains similar language.

EDITORS NOTE: We encourage readers to contact their U.S. senators and representatives, to voice their strong support for legislation to allow our military personnel to carry firearms for their protection.

Hollywood Elite to Erect Memorial to all Dead Home Invaders

HOLLYWOOD, CA – The silver screen’s most elite names and faces gathered at a discrete location, to discuss their disastrous participation in Michael Bloomberg’s first annual Gun Violence Awareness Day on June 2nd.

Wear orange

The stars had every reason to be concerned after their collective wearing of orange shirts to commemorate all those who have lost their lives to gun violence went largely unnoticed by the general public. Attended by Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, Michael Moore, and Jane Fonda, to name just a few, the discussion over cocktails and entrées extended into the late evening, until all celebrities came to a consensus that the best way to raise awareness for the victims of gun violence was to erect a statue of an unarmed man with a flashlight and a bag over his shoulder, climbing through a window.

Wear orangePenn, the leader of the Coalition of Film Actors Against Gun Violence, explained his support for the memorial.

“We live in a nation of small-minded, gun-toting ignoramuses who fail to realize that the reason for economically challenged individuals to enter strangers’ homes is not that they are criminals out to do them harm, but in actuality it manifests the desire of the disadvantaged classes to obtain items of materialistic culture that our capitalist society conditions them to think they need,” he stated.

“Deprived by the system of the means to afford expensive things, they try to acquire them the only way they can, by entering someone’s home and taking it. The so-called ‘burglars’ and ‘home invaders’ are, in fact, nothing more than casualties of America’s perpetual war on the poor and racial minorities,” said the star of Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Adorned with a golden plaque saying, “To all those lost to the mindless pull of a trigger,” the memorial is expected to appear in the center of the famous Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which will make it officially the first monument erected at a U.S. cemetery for political motives. Despite objections by locals and right-wing groups, Penn and his celebrity alliance claim that the monument will bear as much dignified significance as any war memorial in American history.

Jane Fonda supported Penn’s statement by saying, “It takes a lot of courage to enter a home of a complete stranger. We should honor their bravery, while at the same time recognize their sacrifice as a shameful legacy of conservative policies. Hopefully, this sacred memorial will raise awareness and help end the bloodshed,” said the actress famous for her portrayal of a gun-toting interstellar beauty in Barbarella.

The movement has been able to raise over $250,000 in donations since its inception yesterday, with most of the money coming from California’s wealthiest gated communities, protected by private security companies and teams of armed bodyguards.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on The Peoples Cube.

Hardening up our “Soft Targets”

soft target hard choicesMumbai, Nairobi, Boston, Martin Place, Peshawar, and Paris. What do all of these places have in common? They have all been victimized by the same terror tactic, a tactic which is difficult to fight. The dramatic September 11, 2001 terror attacks cost the terrorist operatives about $500,000 and countless man hours of flight training and planning to effectively implement. The ongoing terror attacks in Paris and the other places mentioned, cost little in terms of money, training and planning, but cost us an unimaginable amount in terms of precious lives and security costs. We must all remember that we are dealing with savages who are only interested in death and carnage. There will be no negotiations and no egress plan; these savages will die in the process of bringing death and destruction to others.

Although there is no reason to live in fear, or use these incidents to dissolve constitutional liberties, it is now the responsibility of business owners, school administrators, stadium and theater owners in population centers to, at a minimum, have a basic security plan for both a shelter-in-place and an evacuation scenario. If possible, make sure that you make contact with your police department’s community affairs liaison and ask them how you can assist in the unlikely, but possible, circumstance that your city or town is targeted by a small-arms tactical assault.

Some additional steps you can take which would cost you little but would benefit you greatly:

  1. Have floor plans of your business readily available both at the business or location, in electronic format, and in an off-site location, in the unlikely event that your business or location is part of any attack, law enforcement officials will need these plans to effectively strike back.
  2. Disregard all of the politically-driven narratives and do whatever you can do to legally obtain a concealed carry permit. Small-arms tactical attacks by terrorists will never be countered by begging, pleading, telling them you’re a gun-control supporter, or by spewing foul-language at them. These men and women are obsessed with death and have zero-interest in gun “control” laws. They will obtain the weapons they need to carry out their perverse mission; the only relevant question is “will you obtain yours to fight back?”
  3. High-quality video cameras are affordable and easy to install and will assist law enforcement not only with the identification of terrorists and criminals, but also with the identification of the tactics they are using.
  4. Do whatever you can, within reason, to make your big business, school, stadium or theater, “small.” A terrorist involved in a small-arms tactical attack needs to move to implement maximum carnage. Movement is the terrorist’s best friend and your worst enemy. Anything from remote door locks, to cheap door chocks, to security gates at strategic locations can make your big location “small” and restrict movement and buy you and law enforcement, time to respond.

There’s no need to panic and live in fear but there is a need to recognize the savages we are fighting and do everything we can, within reason, to “harden up” our soft targets and make the United States as unappealing a target as possible.

Ladies and gentlemen I offer you some good ‘Gun Sense’

With more and more women and men arming themselves with the latest tricked out versions of the AR-15 (the AR stands for Armalite, the company that originally manufactured this rifle), it is time to make sure you are using “good gun sense” when selecting a self defense weapon to defend your home and family.

Ladies and gentlemen I ask you: Will your home invasion self defense plan protect you from a Democrat prosecutor?

I have some tips.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is courtesy of VolkStudio Blog.

Kimberly talks violent crime and her right to self-defense

Kimberly Weeks is a survivor of violent crime. As a college student she was brutally attacked in her apartment. Kimberly was overpowered and defenseless against her attacker. After her horrific experience, Kimberly got her concealed carry permit for self defense.

When Kimberly was assaulted she had to plead with her attacker to spare her life during her harrowing ordeal. Later on when she testified before the Colorado legislature, she pled with lawmakers, who were considering legislation to ban concealed carry on college campuses, not to strip her of the right to carry on her college campus. She didn’t want to be left defenseless again.

Kimberly is now standing up to Michael Bloomberg and his gun control efforts. Listen to her call Michael Bloomberg out on his hypocrisy and say, “Mr. Bloomberg you do not have the right to tell me how to defend myself.“

See more at: MeetBloomberg.com/Videos

Florida HB-89 — “Threat of Force to Stop Attackers” Bill Passes

House Bill 89, Threatened Use of Force, introduced by Representatives Neil Combee (R-Auburndale) and Katie Edwards (D-Sunrise) was favorably amended and passed the Florida House Criminal Justice Committee by a bipartisan vote of 12-1. The bill currently has 29 cosponsors and with the number growing.

According to NRA-ILA, “HB-89 is a bill to stop abusive prosecutors from using 10-20-LIFE to prosecute people who ‘threaten to use deadly force’ against an attacker as a means of self-defense and to stop an attack. Some anti-gun, anti-self-defense prosecutors have been abusing the 10-20-LIFE law to prosecute average citizens who displayed a weapon or gun in self-defense to make an attacker back off.”

“Average citizens who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety, are being prosecuted for defending themselves. Because citizens took responsibility for their own safety, some prosecutors treat them like criminals and make them victims of a judicial system that is no longer about justice but rather about the whim or politics of prosecutors. 10-20-LIFE was passed to be used against criminals who use guns in the commission or attempted commission of crimes — NOT average citizens who rightfully defend themselves against threats of force,” notes NRA-ILA.

Voting In Favor of HB-89 were Florida Representatives Matt Gaetz, Ray Pilon, Irving Slosberg, Randolph Bracy, Mike Clelland, Dane Eagle, James Grant, Gayle Harrell, Dave Hood, Travis Hudson, Dave Kerner and Charles Van Zant.

Kionne McGhee voted Against HB-89.

FOLLOWING IS THE TESTIMONY OF MARION P. HAMMER:

HB-89 by Rep. Neil Combee & Rep. Katie Edwards
House Criminal Justice Committee
Thursday, November 7, 2013 3:00pm – 8:00pm

Thank You Mr. Chairman and Committee Members. The NRA and Unified Sportsmen of Florida support the Proposed Committee Substitute.

The simple truth is the intent of the 10-20-Life law is being violated.

10-20-Life was intended to lock up criminals who use guns during the commission or attempted commission of a crime.

10-20-Life was designed to put criminals behind bars and keep them off our streets – and to stop plea bargaining and sentence reductions for gun wielding criminals.

It was designed to stop prosecutors and judges from slapping gun-toting criminals on the wrist so they could quickly clear cases.

Folks, I was here in 1999 when we passed 10-20-Life – and NRA was a part of helping pass the law. I know what was intended and why.

10-20-Life was never intended to be used against citizens who, in an act of self-defense, threatened the use of force to stop an attacker.

It was never intended to be used on citizens who, in fear for their own safety, threaten to use force to stop an attack.

Yet that’s how some prosecutors are using it. Depending on the seriousness of the threat, they’ll try to put you in prison for 10 years or 20 years for threatening to use deadly force to protect your own life or the lives of your loved ones.

So the message from those prosecutors seems to be, if you actually use force in self defense — the law protects you But threaten to use force in self-defense, and they’re going to put you in prison for 10-20 years.

That is the cold hard reality of how some prosecutors are treating law-abiding people who never would have been in the system if they had not been attacked and in fear for their own safety.

There are people sitting in prison today who should not be there – but they are because prosecutors abused their discretion and violated the intent of 10-20-Life. This bill will stop that. Please support it.

Thank you.

Backlash for 3 Sarasota commissioners on Stand Your Ground Vote

Frances Rice, a Sarasota resident, is outraged at three Sarasota City Commissioners who voted to pass a resolution which calls for the repeal of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law.

“This will result in the denial of our Second Amendment right under the U.S. Constitution,” states retired Army Lt. Colonel Frances Rice, who is pursuing avenues for initiating a petition to recall Sarasota City Vice Mayor Willie Shaw, Commissioner At-Large Suzanne Atwell and Commissioner At-Large Susan Chapman (see photos and contact information at the end of this column).

“I was inspired by the successful recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse and state Sen. Angela Giron,” Colonel Rice said.  “They were ousted from office after they abridged the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Colorado with a draconian and unconstitutional gun-control law.”  She went on to say that “it is unconscionable that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman are now using their elected office as a vehicle for abridging the Second Amendment rights of the citizens of Sarasota.”

Colonel Rice further stated that Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have “misrepresented Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law as a gun law when it is not.  This law contains absolutely no references to guns or shooting.”  According to Rice the self-defense, self-protection law has four key components:

1.    It establishes that law-abiding residents and visitors may legally presume there is a threat of bodily harm or death from anyone who breaks into a residence or occupied vehicle.  Law-abiding citizens and visitors may, in these circumstances, use defensive force, including deadly force, against the intruder.

2.    In any other place where the law-abiding resident or visitor “has a right to be,” that person has “no duty to retreat” if attacked.   The law-abiding resident or visitor may “meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another, or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.”

3.    In either case, a law-abiding resident or visitor using the force permitted by the law is immune from criminal prosecution or civil action.  The law-abiding resident or visitor cannot be arrested, unless a law enforcement agency determines there is probable cause that the force used was unlawful.

4.    If a civil action is brought and the court finds the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) to be immune based on the parameters of the law, the law-abiding resident or visitor (the defendant) will be awarded all costs of defense.

Rice points to two articles which address how African Americans are affected by Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law:  “How Black Leaders Exploit Their People for Political and Financial Gain” by Gary DeMar and “Five Myths of the ‘Racist’ Criminal Justice System” by Larry Elder.

“Neither Vice Mayor Shaw nor Commissioners Atwell and Chapman called for a repeal of Florida’s self-defense law when a white man in Tampa, David James, was killed by a black man, Trevor Dooley, and Trevor Dooley invoked the self-defense law in his defense.  An article is posted on the Internet which provides additional analysis is entitled “George Zimmerman & Trevor Dooley: Stand Your Ground Hypocrisy?” by Lee Stranahan,” notes Rice.

Rice states, “Not one word was said by Vice Mayor Shaw or Commissioners Atwell and Chapman when, in Jacksonville, the NAACP advocated the use of Florida’s self-defense law in support of a black woman, Marissa Danielle Alexander, who claimed self-defense against an abusive husband.  The details about this case can be found in an article entitled ‘NAACP weighs in on what they say is a ‘Stand Your Ground’ case against Jacksonville woman‘ by Charles Broward.”

Rice notes, “Yet, Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman have now roused themselves and passed a resolution to repeal Florida’s Stand Your Ground self-defense law when their action will have no effect other than to deny the citizens of Sarasota their Second Amendment rights.”

Mayor Shannon Snyder and Commissioner District 2 Paul Caragiulo voted against the resolution. Mayor Snyder spoke in full support of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” self-defense law and the duty of elected officials to protect the Second Amendment right of the citizens of Sarasota.

Colonel Rice opined that “Vice Mayor Shaw and Commissioners Atwell and Chapman should be held accountable for their blatant abuse of power and malfeasance by being recalled from office.”

Two City Commissioners are already backtracking on their vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. Susan Chapman said,”We didn’t vote to repeal Stand Your Ground. We voted to revisit it.” Suzanne Atwell said her support for the vice-mayor’s plan should be seen as agreeing to have “a conversation about a highly charged issue.” The repeal was listed in the City Commission’s document titled Revised Final 2014 Legislative Priorities. The revised priorities state, “The City Commission requests that the State Legislature repeal the Stand Your Ground statute and establish a more civil approach to governance than afforded under the current statute.” [Emphasis added]

To view the results of this survey as a pie chart click here.

UPDATE: According to the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), “Yesterday, the Sarasota City Commission met with the Sarasota County Legislative Delegation to present the city’s list of legislative priorities.  One of those priorities requested the legislative delegation to work to repeal Florida’s ‘Stand your Ground’ statute. Fortunately, the four legislators attending this meeting disagreed with the city commission and oppose repealing the ‘Stand your Ground’ statute.”

EDITORS NOTE: The City of Sarasota is governed by a “Commission – Manager” form of government. There are five City Commissioners, two are elected at-large and three are elected from single-member districts. All elections are nonpartisan.

Mayor Shannon Snyder

Mayor Shannon Snyder
District Three
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Shannon.Snyder@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Willie Shaw

Vice-Mayor Willie Shaw
District One
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Willie.Shaw@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell

Commissioner Suzanne Atwell
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Suzanne.Atwell@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo

Commissioner Paul Caragiulo
District Two
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Paul.Caragiulo@sarasotagov.com

Commissioner Susan Chapman

Commissioner Susan Chapman
At-Large
1565 1st Street, Room 101
Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: (941) 954-4115
Email: Susan.Chapman@sarasotagov.com

Miami, FL: Good guy with a gun, stops bad guy with a gun

This story is courtesy of Michael Dorstewitz from BizPac Review:

National Rifle Association spokesman Wayne LaPierre recently remarked, “The only thing that will stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” Florida man made this point crystal clear over the weekend.

At a Burger King on Miami’s Biscayne Blvd., a robber walked in, displayed his gun and demanded that a family turn over its valuables, according to NBC-6 News Miami.

What the robber didn’t consider is that Floridians respect the Constitution, including the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

The father pulled out his own firearm and shot the robber in the leg.

Read more.

View more videos at: http://nbcmiami.com.

George Zimmerman and the Inalienable Right to Self-Defense

George Zimmerman was released from custody on Friday after posting a $1 million bond. Mr. Zimmerman faces second-degree murder charges. He has invoked Florida Statue 776.012, known as the “Stand Your Ground” law, as the basis of his justification to shoot Trayvon Martin.

A stand-your-ground law states that a person may use force in self-defense when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. In some cases, a person may use deadly force in public areas without a duty to retreat. Under these legal concepts, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations and the “stand your ground” law would be a defense or immunity to criminal charges and civil suit. Florida statute 776.012 states:

Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

The right to self-defense has been addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Beard v. U.S. (158 U.S. 550 (1895)) the SCOTUS found that a man who was “on his premises” when he came under attack and “…did not provoke the assault, and had at the time reasonable grounds to believe, and in good faith believed, that the deceased intended to take his life, or do him great bodily harm…was not obliged to retreat, nor to consider whether he could safely retreat, but was entitled to stand his ground.”

Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. declared in Brown v. United States (256 U.S. 335, 343 (16 May 1921)), a case that upheld the “no duty to retreat” maxim, that “detached reflection cannot be demanded in the presence of an uplifted knife”.

The question is: Did Mr. Zimmerman use the necessary force to “prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself”?

The fact that Trayvon Martin was unarmed does not prevent the use of deadly force. The determination of “imminent death or great bodily harm” is determined by the person being attacked, not the attacker.

In a Fox News interview noted trial attorney Alan Dershotitz stated, “This affidavit submitted by the prosecutor in the Florida case is a crime. It’s a crime.”

“If she [Angela Cory, the Florida state attorney and special prosecutor who Gov. Rick Scott appointed to handle the case] in fact knew about ABC News’ pictures of the bloody head of Zimmerman and failed to include that in the affidavit, this affidavit is not the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,” Dershowitz said. “It’s a perjurious affidavit.”

Even worse, Dershowitz warned that by overcharging Zimmerman, Cory may have planted the seed for riots if he is acquitted, as Dershowitz predicted will happen.

“If there are riots, it will be the prosecutor’s fault because she overcharged, raised expectations,” Dershowitz said. “This prosecutor not only may have suborned perjury, she may be responsible, if there are going to be riots here, for raising expectations to unreasonable levels.”

He said it is quite possible Zimmerman was guilty of a lesser charge, but the affidavit does not support a second-degree murder charge.

Florida Statute 776.012 allows defendants to make their self-defense case at a hearing presided over by a judge and without the use of a jury. If the judge deems self-defense was justified, the case can be dismissed without going to trial.

Florida Stand Your Ground Law:

2011 Florida Statutes CHAPTER 776 JUSTIFIABLE USE OF FORCE

776.012 Use of force in defense of person.—A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, against another when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that such conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force. However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat if:

(1) He or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the imminent commission of a forcible felony; or
(2) Under those circumstances permitted pursuant to s. 776.013.

776.013 Home protection; use of deadly force; presumption of fear of death or great bodily harm.

(1) A person is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily harm to another if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, or had unlawfully and forcibly entered, a dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle, or if that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle; and
(b) The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.

(2) The presumption set forth in subsection (1) does not apply if:

(a) The person against whom the defensive force is used has the right to be in or is a lawful resident of the dwelling, residence, or vehicle, such as an owner, lessee, or titleholder, and there is not an injunction for protection from domestic violence or a written pretrial supervision order of no contact against that person; or
(b) The person or persons sought to be removed is a child or grandchild, or is otherwise in the lawful custody or under the lawful guardianship of, the person against whom the defensive force is used; or
(c) The person who uses defensive force is engaged in an unlawful activity or is using the dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle to further an unlawful activity; or
(d) The person against whom the defensive force is used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who enters or attempts to enter a dwelling, residence, or vehicle in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person entering or attempting to enter was a law enforcement officer.

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

(4) A person who unlawfully and by force enters or attempts to enter a person’s dwelling, residence, or occupied vehicle is presumed to be doing so with the intent to commit an unlawful act involving force or violence.

(5) As used in this section, the term:

(a) “Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including any attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging therein at night.
(b) “Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
(c) “Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.

776.032 Immunity from criminal prosecution and civil action for justifiable use of force.

(1) A person who uses force as permitted in s. 776.012, s. 776.013, or s. 776.031 is justified in using such force and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action for the use of such force, unless the person against whom force was used is a law enforcement officer, as defined in s. 943.10(14), who was acting in the performance of his or her official duties and the officer identified himself or herself in accordance with any applicable law or the person using force knew or reasonably should have known that the person was a law enforcement officer. As used in this subsection, the term “criminal prosecution” includes arresting, detaining in custody, and charging or prosecuting the defendant.
(2) A law enforcement agency may use standard procedures for investigating the use of force as described in subsection (1), but the agency may not arrest the person for using force unless it determines that there is probable cause that the force that was used was unlawful.
(3) The court shall award reasonable attorney’s fees, court costs, compensation for loss of income, and all expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant is immune from prosecution as provided in subsection (1).

776.041 Use of force by aggressor. —The justification described in the preceding sections of this chapter is not available to a person who:

(1) Is attempting to commit, committing, or escaping after the commission of, a forcible felony; or
(2) Initially provokes the use of force against himself or herself, unless:

(a) Such force is so great that the person reasonably believes that he or she is in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he or she has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant; or
(b) In good faith, the person withdraws from physical contact with the assailant and indicates clearly to the assailant that he or she desires to withdraw and terminate the use of force, but the assailant continues or resumes the use of force.