Today we left for Pennsylvania on a road trip to visit our daughter and her family for the Easter break. While driving I thought I would take a look at the gun laws in the states through which we will travel in light of the Trayvon Martin shooting. First of course is Minnesota where Governor Dayton recently vetoed the " Shoot First" bill. This article by a former prosecutor looks at the differences and similarities between Minnesota's proposal and the Florida Stand Your Ground law:
"So whats wrong with Minnesota's proposed Castle Doctrine bill?
Most important is the fact that there is no duty to retreat in a person\'s home if someone enters illegally. That has been the major factor expressed by many in support of the proposal Come into my house and you\'re toast.
There are a number of other parts of the proposal that I find troublesome.
The proposal sponsored by Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, and Sen. Gretchen Hoffman, R-Vergas would have allowed for the use of deadly force without a duty to retreat in a great many places other than a person\'s home.
It also allowed a person to use deadly force if they reasonably feared harm. The proposal contained a provision that creates a presumption that the fear is reasonable. Current law requires the use of the reasonable-man standard and leaves the question up to the jury. Whether someones fear is reasonable is something a jury can understand. Proving beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not reasonable, as the proposed law would have required, would seem to be nearly impossible.
The Cornish/Hoffman proposal allowed the use of deadly force if someone is threatened with substantial bodily harm (SBH). The law defines that as including a temporary disfigurement. That means a punch to the face and a black eye would allow the use of deadly force. Current law limits the right to use deadly force only when threatened with great bodily harm (GBH) or death. The definition of GBH includes a permanent disfigurement or broken bone."
Tim Dolan is the Minneapolis Chief of Police. The NRA and its' friends don't much like law enforcement even though Cornish and several legislators pushing the bill were themselves members of law enforcement. Go figure. By the way, Minnesota got a score of 14/100 on the recent Brady Campaign state scorecard for gun laws.
"We'll have to jam it down their throat," he said. "It may take two or three years, but we'll do it."Cornish's castle bill offered armed property owners immunity from prosecuting for shooting or killing a person who entered a home by "stealth or force" and it expanded the so-called castle to include cars, business places and even a tent."We just want more latitude for the citizen who's grabbed by the throat and beaten up," he said.The former small-town police chief, deputy and game warden says he doesn't blame Dayton for the veto. Instead, he blames law enforcement."The one that disappoints me most is gun-grabber Tim Dolan," Cornish said frankly.
Speaking of the NRA, the NRA and ALEC will do anything to get their way. Check out this article:
So on to Wisconsin where a conceal and carry law passed finally after the unpopular Republican Governor Scott Walker took over the State House and the equally unpopular legislature couldn't wait to get that Shall Issue law passed.The money trail leading to the watershed law in Florida—the first of the 24 across the nation—traces primarily to one source: the National Rifle Association. When Gov. Bush conducted the 2005 signing ceremony, standing alongside him was Marion Hammer, a leader and familiar face from the pro-gun lobbying powerhouse. But the NRA's support for the Stand Your Ground law was far more than symbolic. An analysis by Mother Jones of election and lobbying records reveals that the NRA was instrumental in creating Stand Your Ground: Over a nine-year period the organization gave more than $73,000 in campaign donations to the 43 Florida legislators who backed the law. That money was buttressed by intense lobbying activity and additional funds spent by the NRA in support of the bill's introduction and passage.The NRA's point man in the Florida legislature was state Rep. Dennis Baxley (R). In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Baxley, a card-carrying NRA member and an ally of Bush's, reaped financial support from the NRA's Political Victory Fund. In 2000 Baxley received a $500 campaign donation from the NRA (the state's legal limit per election cycle) on top of nearly a thousand dollars more in independent spending backing him. By 2004, the NRA awarded Baxley its "Defender of Freedom" award. And in 2007, the NRA spent a whopping $35,000 on radio advertising to support Baxley in a primary fight. (He lost.)
Wisconsin also now has an expanded castle doctrine law which has come under question after the Trayvon Martin shooting and a recent self defense shooting in Wisconsin. From the article:
Advocacy group Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort says making available concealed carry permit information would allow groups to ensure people who carry concealed handguns, knives or electric weapons are "as law-abiding as the lawmakers promised," said Jeri Bonavia, the organization's executive director."Since we don't know who concealed carry weapon holders are, we don't know what they're doing" or if they're the ones committing violent crimes, she said. "That's really frustrating. Are these people as law-abiding as the senators promised us, or have we been kind of duped?"But the National Rifle Association says making sure concealed carry permit holders are abiding the law isn't a job for the general public."That's the function of law enforcement," said Andrew Arulanandam, director of public affairs for the NRA. "There's no need for these people to have their privacy compromised. Anyone who makes any other argument is not being honest."The Green Bay Press-Gazette examined Wisconsin's concealed carry law as part of Sunshine Week, an effort to spotlight freedom of information and public access to government records. Wisconsin is one of 20 states that doesn't allow any access to concealed carry permit records. Twenty-five states, including California, Indiana and New York, allow the public to access concealed carry permit records, according to Sunshine Review, a nonprofit organization.
Wisconsin received a score of 3/100 on the Brady Campaign's scorecard. So Illinois is next. It is the one state that has resisted the NRA's push for a conceal and carry law in all 50 states, but not for lack of trying. From the article:
We return to the District Attorney’s decision relating to the fear of imminent danger needed to use lethal force in Wisconsin. Deadly force is only justified if a person reasonably believes such force is necessary to defend against imminent death or substantial harm under Section 939.48(1)So at the time Mr. Kind reached the closed door, there was no imminent danger of death or great bodily harm. All he had to do was lock the door to secure his home and guard what he knew to be safe from harm. This is probably why the District Attorney added the presumption of the Castle Doctrine being applied secondary.
The NRA loves to challenge laws in court. Illinois received a score of 35/100 on the Brady Campaign scorecard. Indiana, on the other hand, received a score of 4/100. There are reasons for this. Indiana has a version of a Stand Your Ground law which has also being examined with new eyes after the Trayvon Martin shooting.Downstate lawmakers have been supporting some sort of concealed carry measure for years, but they have repeatedly failed to get something passed. Illinois Governor Pat Quinn vowed to veto any concealed carry bill that landed on his desk.Frustrated by a lack of action on Springfield, U.S. Rep. Tim Johnson (R-Ill.) introduced a measure in Washington that would allow nonresidents with valid permits in their home states to carry concealed weapons in Illinois."Forty-nine other states understand this and have reasonable policies in place to ensure that only law-abiding people willing to go through authorized safety training are permitted this right," Johnson said in a statement late last year. "The only reason Illinois is the exception is Cook County. This is not acceptable."
Ohio is next. Until recently, Ohio was the state of the latest big media discussion about gun violence when a teen-ager got access to a gun and shot up a high school in Charden, Ohio. I have already written about that one. Enough said. But Ohio legislators would love to have students carrying guns on college campuses. This article does not agree:As part of a national push to strengthen self-defense laws, Indiana tweaked its law in 2006, a year after Florida enacted its version.Florida's law states that a person who is attacked in any place 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."Indiana law already had said that people are justified in using deadly force if a person reasonably believed it was necessary to prevent themselves or someone else from being seriously injured; to prevent a "forcible felony"; or to counter an attack or unlawful entry on your home or to prevent a hijacking.Just in case that wasn't clear, lawmakers in 2006 added that people had "no duty to retreat" before using that deadly force.
Crazy, indeed. Ohio's score on the Brady Campaign score card was 7/100. So finally we will get to Pennsylvania, my favorite part of our drive. Something happens at the border between Ohio and Pennsylvania, where it immediately becomes hilly and there is an iconic looking farm right across the border on the north side of the Turnpike. Now we know it will only be hours instead of days to our destination. Speaking of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, this incident doesn't make me feel particularly safe while on the road.I have no problem with guns. I'm from Texas — I was born with a holster.I support the Second Amendment, and there is nothing I enjoy more than an afternoon of shooting. There's a time and a place for guns.During class at a university is not one of them.Proponents of guns on campus will argue that it creates a safer environment in the classroom and deters crime. They are wrong.Do I believe that I could safely carry a concealed weapon on campus? Yes, because I've known how to responsibly handle a gun since I was a child. But that doesn't mean that I trust everyone else to carry guns.Let's be honest, the majority of Americans are idiots. I can safely say that I know more dumb people than smart people.I wouldn't even trust my most intelligent of friends to carry a gun on campus, much less an idiot.Accidents happen. People bump into one another. Guns can go off. This is a situation we should all avoid, especially at school.As far as guns being a deterrent for crime, they are. LSU Police Department officers have a large presence on campus, and they just so happen to carry guns. LSUPD deters crime, not students.I don't trust some wild-eyed vigilante to keep me safe.
I think I will just celebrate getting to our destination without being shot by a "law abiding" gun owner. Pennsylvania has a Stand Your Ground law as well.For one Pennsylvania man, landing a gig after a job hunt prompted him to shoot his guns and one of those shots might have gone over the Pennsylvania Turnpike, according to police outside Harrisburg.Dmico Davenport, Jr. of Middletown, Pa. was charged Tuesday with five counts of reckless endangerment, three counts of disorderly conduct and one count of propulsion of a missile onto a roadway, according to Middletown (Dauphin County) Police.
Ah yes, why stop to ask questions when you have a gun in your hand? The Brady Campaign gave Pennsylvania a score of 26/100. So I can't wait to see my family and celebrate the Easter holiday with them. If you celebrate Easter, I hope you will enjoy the holiday and your families as well. Unfortunately, the families of 7 more people will not get to do so. In yet another average day in America, there has been a mass shooting at a California college.A fundamental change in Pennsylvania’s self-defense law was that it no longer requires a homeowner or an average citizen in almost any location to retreat from an attacker. If there is a threat, violence can be the first response.The law also protects a person who acts in self-defense from civil lawsuits by an attacker or attacker’s family.There are 21 laws like this that have been adopted across the nation in recent years.In many states, including Pennsylvania and Florida, the National Rifle Association campaigned for the law’s passage.Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-19th District (Photo: newpittsburghcourieronline.com)Rep. Jake Wheatley, a Democrat who represents a large portion of the City of Pittsburgh, said he argued for the law because it meant people who felt they were in danger didn't have to stop to question whether to retreat or whether they might be sued later.
Where is common sense? There are too many victims. Isn't enough about enough?Seven people died and three others were wounded in a shooting at a small California religious college Monday, Oakland police said.An Asian male in his 40s was detained as a suspect, but he has not yet been charged in the shooting, according to police spokeswoman Johnna Watson said.