Welcome to Common Gunsense

I hope this blog will provoke some thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence. I am passionate about the issue and would love to change some misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America by sharing with readers words, photos, videos and clips from articles to promote common sense about gun issues. Many of you will agree with me- some will not. I am only one person but one among many who think it's time to do something about this national problem. The views expressed by me in this blog do not represent any group with which I am associated but are rather my own personal opinions and thoughts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Boo- don't mess with guns on Halloween

This post has been updated since first posted.

Halloween is coming right up. Who thinks about guns on Halloween? Obviously some people are afraid of anything and everything. In 1992, Yoshi Hattori, a 16 year old Japanese exchange student was shot to death by a Louisiana man who thought the student meant him harm. The man was found to be not guilty by reason of self defense though later found liable in a Civil suit. Hattori was dressed in a Halloween costume and was looking for a party but was at the wrong house. He meant no harm. There was a language barrier. But he was shot for just being at the wrong house while dressed in a costume and looking foreign.

I wouldn't mess with this guy, would you? I mean really. If he thinks his neighbors should be afraid of him because he carved a pumpkin with his gun, he is delusional. Either that, or downright scary. Watch him do it here:

Right. This man said a gun was a "common household tool." The cynicism and stupidity of that statement speak volumes. The gun guys try to make us think that guns are just tools. They are not. Guns are deadly weapons. They don't fall into the category of tools. But if they can convince everyone that a gun is just a tool not to be feared but to be used, then they can make the argument that guns don't cause any more harm than a hammer or a screwdriver. Of course, reasonable people understand that this is not true. Everyone knows that hammers don't kill 32 people a day. Nor do screwdrivers or wrenches. But facts don't matter to the NRA and its' minions.

So wouldn't it be great if families got together in their neighborhoods and carved pumpkins with handguns? Check out the holes in the back of the pumpkin. Where did those bullets go once they made it through the back side of the pumpkin? Bullets don't know where to stop.

But the other scary thing is how many people shoot in the dark at something or someone they are "scared" of without really thinking first. Some people are afraid of their own shadows. Others shoot at shadows. One young Pennsylvania girl was dressed as a skunk and got shot by her uncle. You just can't make this stuff up. From the article:
A 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot in the shoulder Saturday night by a family member who thought she was an animal outside a New Sewickley Township home, police said.
New Sewickley Police Chief Ronald Leindecker said the girl, whom he would not identify, was over a hillside around 8:30 p.m. during a Halloween party at 376 Brewer Road.
Leindecker said an unidentified male relative mistook the girl, who was wearing a black costume and a black hat with white tassel, for a skunk and shot her in the shoulder with a shotgun.
The girl was alert and talking when she was flown to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, Leindecker said. A report on her condition was not available. Leindecker said he was not sure if charges will be filed. He added that the man had not been drinking.
So first of all, the uncle is might lucky he didn't kill his niece. Second of all, do people just shoot skunks and other animals when they come around? I would rather go inside or find a way to trap the animal or avoid it. My mother used to tell a joke about how you get rid of skunks. You put a bowl of Lutefisk under the porch and a family of Norwegians will move in. It was her sick humor but maybe she was on to something.

This one isn't about Halloween but I'm throwing it in because it again shows that when you are holding a gun in your hand, all kinds of bad and scary things can happen. A young family man is dead because his friend mistook him for a boar during a hunt:
Clinton Haas, 34, was killed Thursday evening while hunting in the Bridgewater Development near Jupiter with friend Ernie Small Jr. The 36-year-old Small, of West Palm Beach, likely mistook Haas for a boar and shot at him, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials said. The shooting was ruled accidental but the investigation remains open.
“He was the most kind, and giving, caring person. He always went above and beyond for others,” Allison Haas said. “I don’t know what other words. He really wore his heart on his sleeve, he took care of so many people.”
Haas said she knew her husband was going to the Bridgewater development, a gated, private area near Island Way and north of Indiantown Road, with Small to spread corn feed to draw the pigs out.
“At this point in our investigation, this appears to be a terrible hunting accident,” said Capt. John Suggs, law enforcement supervisor for the FWC, in a statement. “As with all hunting incidents, we will conduct a thorough investigation to find out how and why this hunting trip ended so tragically.”
The couple, who have a son and twin daughters, own Florida Lift Tech Inc., a one-man repair business. Haas was a mechanic for heavy equipment, such as sod machines.
Clinton Haas was a licensed hunter and has caught a boar before. One time he even brought home his prize and the family had the animal for dinner.
Another innocent man is shot by accident by a "law abiding" gun owner- his family left fatherless. This has happened far too often in America. So the lessons here are:

  • Don't shoot at things that go "bump in the night"
  • Don't shoot at skunks on Halloween
  • Don't shoot at people wearing costumes who come to your door on Halloween
  • Don't have your guns out on Halloween
  • Stop being so afraid and paranoid
  • While hunting, make sure you know exactly at what you are shooting. There are safety rules about that. Guns are dangerous.
  • Don't carve pumpkins with guns
  • Use common sense on Halloween. Lives depend on it.
  • Be careful about where your children trick or treat. Do parents have to ask if there are guns in the homes where their children go to parties or trick or treating?

Speaking of shooting at fruits and vegetables and being safe while doing so, check out this story about a stray bullet coming from law abiding shooters entering a nearby home, luckily not hitting innocent people inside. From the article:
60-year-old Craig Jacobus, of Allentown, Pennsylvania, was hosting a "shooting party" in his back yard. According to reports there were about 40 people at the party, of all ages. Guests were using metal can lids and watermelons as shooting targets while shooting a 9mm handgun and an Ar-15 and AK-47 assault rifle. 
Police were called when a bullet from the AK-47 struck a neighbor's house. Stanley Reinhold was in his sun room when he heard an unusual sounds. Upon closer inspection, Reinhold discovered that a bullet had hit his house. 
Reports indicate that the bullet hit a porch rail, entered through the window frame, angled upward to a wall and then bounced back toward the window before falling to the floor of the sun room.
When police arrived at Jacobus' house to investigate they could see traffic on the road behind where the targets were located as well as the high school athletic fields. 
Jacobus insisted that they were shooting in a "safe manner" and told police he had hosted similar parties before. He was arrested and charged with recklessly endangering another person. Jacobus was arraigned last week and leased on $25,000 bail.
Hmm. As you can read from the comments on this post, most of the gun guys think that shooting at targets like these is perfectly safe. Nothing will happen to those bullets that go through pumpkins, watermelons or whatever. After all, they are shooting in a "safe manner." Just trust them.


  1. Good morning Japete, I watched the video in your latest post and I can tell you exactly where those bullets went. If you look behind the poor punpkin, you can see a hill rising up behind it with various targets installed.
    That would make it a shooting range. So, he was obviosly thinking about where the bullets go and was acting responsibly.

    1. I don't think shooting holes in a pumpkin is necessarily responsible. It's stupid and shows the guy saying a gun is an every day tool. It is not. That is the part I most object to. Have you forgotten all the incidents of careless behavior with guns that I post? You have missed my point but I have now come to expect that

    2. japete writes: "I don't think shooting holes in a pumpkin is necessarily responsible. It's stupid and shows the guy saying a gun is an every day tool."

      Shooting a produce is quite common - there are multiple ranges and gun clubs in the twin cities - and even in the Duluth area - that target such as these.

      Personally, I prefer watermelon to pumpkins.

    3. You guys get your kicks out of the weirdest stuff.

    4. Shooting at produce is stupid and a waste of produce.
      The shooters do it because they want to see what looks like something being hit and bleeding; the alternatives include soaking bundles of newspapers in red water.

      It is the antithesis of using a firearm as a tool; it is using a firearm as a weapon, nothing more, nothing less - it is weapons practice.

      As a tool to carve pumpkins it does a lousy job.

      Firearms are weapons, they are not hammers or screwdrivers or shop vacs or my food processor on the kitchen counter that processes pumpkin for cooking, or a toaster oven.

      It is an attempt - and a bad one - to conflate two different, dissimilar things. As propaganda it is a failure.

      This guy simply looks like another lunatic trying to use a gun to look dangerous because he is a wuss otherwise just like all the other old white flabby and crabby guys.

      He doesn't look impressive, he just looks stupid.

      Of the majority of people I've come across who have seen this, the consensus is the same - what a jerk, does he know how stupid he looks to NORMAL people?

      No one wants this guy around, much less walking their streets, in their libraries where there kids are looking for books to read, or shopping in the same grocery store.

      I suppose he belongs in the walmart mens rest room with the rest of the clowns in the peopleofwalmart.com 'military auxilliary', shooting innocent porcelain toilets out from under their behinds while relieving themselves.

      Because you never know when that walmart plumbing is gonna getcha.

  2. Taran is much better at it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlrUHoT3iC8

    1. Great. Apparently this is a thing amongst the gun guys. I hope they have fun and stay safe. It does not look like a good time to me nor to most people.

  3. Too many "law abiding" gun owners shoot without thinking. People die every day because of it. And too many of their fellow gun owners justify away those thoughtless acts with callous excuses. What these apologists fail to realize is that acts like these make a black eye on responsible gun owners. It's time for people to rise up and condemn the shooters. No excuses.

    Consider this case, for instance, where a man and his boy were shooting at roosters when the boy shot at a truck, and the ricochet hit and injured the father: http://kidshootings.blogspot.com/2012/10/12-year-old-maryland-boy.html

    1. Baldr, in this case I agree with you completely. I have no patience for people who don't think, especially where firearms are concerned.

    2. Baldr (Jason) writes: "Too many "law abiding" gun owners shoot without thinking. People die every day because of it. And too many of their fellow gun owners justify away those thoughtless acts with callous excuses. What these apologists fail to realize is that acts like these make a black eye on responsible gun owners. It's time for people to rise up and condemn the shooters. No excuses."

      Condemn someone for shooting at pumpkins with a perfectly safe backstop? Why?

    3. You're a little touchy aren't you Bryan? Did anyone condemn the man. I just happen to think it's stupid and potentially dangerous. And his saying that a gun is an ordinary tool around the home which it is clearly not according to the definition that most people believe. You guys are in the minority of people who think this kind of stuff is fun and funny. I don't agree.

    4. @ Bryan, I was obviously talking about the "skunk" shooter and the shooter of the trick-or-treater, not the "pumpkin guy."

      But since you brought it up, yeah, I'd say the "pumpkin guy" is pretty dumb, too. A gun is a lethal weapon. It should be treated with respect, not as some sort of clever toy.

  4. OK, yeah, he does have a hill as a backstop, but what's to say there isn't some rubbish such as a rock or something else which could cause a richochet?

    Secondly, despite a berm, a horse was hit within the distance a .22 bullet can travel from a shooting range near where I grew up. Yes, it was an accident which wounded a horse. Lord knows how many stray rounds occur at a range. Someone could look them up.

    I know that a stray .50 round hit someone five miles away in Texas a few years back.

    But, if you think Hickock45 is responsible, check him out using an AK variant, Arsenal SGL 21 (7.62X39), to carve a pumpkin:

    The right I see Hickock45 exercise is the one to make a wanker of himself in public.

  5. Joan

    The video you reference is of Hickock45 - he's a retired cop, I think in KY and a fairly well respected gun blogger and youtube personality. Going to have to differ with you on the whole tools definition - guns are in fact tools, they're worn on the ultility belts of law enforcement, my dad while he was in Vietnam and by normal citizens like myself who carry them for self defense.

    Yes, guns are serious business, but shooting pumpkins is just fun -kind of like bowling pin shoots, clay pigeons etc. Hickock45 was doing so in a responsible manner and throughout the footage, was demonstrating safe/proper handling techniques. While again, firearms are serious, they can in fact be fun.

    As to the Halloween holiday, yeah, there are a lot of lunatics going around. In fact, there's been an Internet/Facebook posting that's encouraged folks to murder pitbulls - Halloween was dubbed "kill a pitbull day" by some clown - you battle the idiots with guns, I battle the idiots trying to exterminate a breed, through legal and illegal means.

    Where I grew up, Halloween also had a darker meaning - Devil's night - arson was as commonplace as trick or treaters. While that's kind of fallen by the wayside, it is a reason people keep and bear arms.

    Happy holidays.

    1. Guns are not, in fact, tools. Find me the definition of a gun that says it's a tool.
      " gun1    [guhn] Show IPA noun, verb, gunned, gun·ning.
      1.a weapon consisting of a metal tube, with mechanical attachments, from which projectiles are shot by the force of an explosive; a piece of ordnance.
      2.any portable firearm, as a rifle, shotgun, or revolver.
      3.a long-barreled cannon having a relatively flat trajectory.
      4.any device for shooting something under pressure: a paint gun; a staple gun.
      5.Slang . a person whose profession is killing; professional killer: a gangland gun."

      Facts apparently don't mean anything to you.

    2. Look like definition #1 of tool fits the mark.

      noun /to͞ol/ 
      tools, plural

      A device or implement, esp. one held in the hand, used to carry out a particular function
      - gardening tools

      A thing used in an occupation or pursuit
      - computers are an essential tool
      - the ability to write clearly is a tool of the trade

      A person used or exploited by another
      - the beautiful Estella is Miss Havisham's tool

      A piece of software that carries out a particular function, typically creating or modifying another program

      A distinct design in the tooling of a book

      A small stamp or roller used to make such a design

      vulgar. A man's penis

      derogatory. A dull, slow-witted, or socially inept person

    3. Nope it doesn't. A particular function would be killing or injuring a person or animal. That is not a "function" like gardening or cutting a piece of paper, or pounding a nail. If you think a gun is a thing used in an occupation then it might fit with the military or law enforcement.

      Good night Robin. You are more than annoying. I'm done with this thread because it doesn't add anything to a purposeful discussion.

  6. Is this the kind of tool you all think of as a gun? Something that goes off accidentally and stupidly by its' owner? http://ohhshoot.blogspot.com/2012/10/woman-showing-off-her-gun-in-hair-salon.html

    Woman showing off a gun in a hair salon shoots someone. Useful tool, that.

  7. If they are tools, they are tools with the purpose of seriously injuring or killing a person (or animal).

    I would add that they are destructive.

    Otherwise, you lost wouldn't be so interested in them.

    As for Hickock45 being a former policeman, as you point out it was probably in some rural area where his reckless behaviour might not affect anyone.

    No one with any intelligence would do such a thing in a populated area.

  8. Dear readers- no more comments trying to convince me wrongly that a gun is a tool. It is clearly not.

  9. For all you gunloons out there arguing semantics about whether a gun is a "common household tool," as the "pumpkin guy" called it.... Yeah, it's a tool... a tool of death. That's the point. This isn't a wrench or a screwdriver or shovel, this is an item purpose-made to kill humans quickly and efficiently. You guys are so wrapped up in your fetish that you can't see the difference.

  10. Baldr

    Speaking in such dramatic terms as "tool of death" doesn't make you seem any less shrill or anymore credible. This is the kind of thing I was talking about with the rhetoric - sure, the pro2A side goes over the line all the time and there's a lot to be said about that...but that being said, shrill dramatics aren't going to allow for the reasonable on my side to take you seriously.

    If you're looking to gain consensus, drop the dramatics, argue from fact and maybe we'll work with you.

    1. And you're sure that would gain consensus?? You can tell the folks on your side to do the same. You guys are amongst the worst when commenting on blogs.

    2. @PitBullAngel: Are you denying that guns are "tools of death?" What do you think they are for? Decorative paperweights? It's not being overly dramatic to describe them for what they are intended for. Guns are made for killing or threatening to kill. Other uses are secondary to the design.

      If you deny this, then I think you should sell your guns and dig your head out of the sand ... maybe with a less-lethal tool like a shovel.

    3. am I acting shrill? Nope. I'm trying to cut through the handwringing, on both sides and trying to have a conversation. I'm interested in safety - that's why I encourage you to take a look at more of Hickock's videos - he's very much about safety.

      AS much as I am about safety, strengthening checks, weeding out the maniacs and I don't know, actually punishing people for crimes of violence, Im also about preserving rights.

      I've read the commentary on your blogs - and you know what, you're right to knock those off who make threats or prattle on endlessly without making a point. That said, the rhetoric has to be balanced. When I see "tools of death" or perjoratives such as maniac when describing a video that had no such maniacal inference, that's what I mean when i say its hard to take the conversation seriously.

      I can't speak for the folks on "my side." many of the folks on "my side" are all for their gun rights but very into supressing the rights of others - ie gays, dog owners, blacks or continuing the madness that is the drug war.

      At the risk of running off at the mouth, why not a suggestion? Have a real conversation with folks who are really interested in the balance of safety and fundamental rights? Stop lumping all who support the second amendment, concealed carry et al, as "nuts" or "stupid and dangerous." I'm not nuts - I'm a fairly well educated individual who works hard every day to support my famiily, is involved in the community and politically and can see that both sides of this issue have the capability to rise above being bickering neonates.

      Again, I'm willing to talk. As are many more of us. Not all of us are out to scream at you and while we cannot control the actions or mouths of the worst of us, we are wholly capable of carrying on as adults.

    4. I really don't need any lectures from you. First off, Pit Bull, it's difficult to even have a reasonable discussion with someone who has chosen the name of PitBullAngel. Second off, I am not lumping all of you into one category. Why do you guys do the same with people like me? We are all gun banners to most of the folks on your side. Shrill? No one said you were shrill. The reason I write about stupid and dangerous gun owners is because there are so many of them. I call attention to them because if I don't who will? It needs attention. Too many people are killing other people with guns every day. Something needs to be done. And far from engaging in any reasonable discussion, folks on your side make darned sure that nothing is done by threatening and inciting fear and paranoia. The majority agrees with me, and it even sounds like you might. It's too bad that too many people on your side, aka NRA types, believe in that stuff. Otherwise we might be able to have a discussion. I do engage, by the way, with quite a few gun owners outside of this blog. They choose not to hang around on blogs with the trolls. They agree with what I am doing and support reasonable gun laws. They are reasonable folks. Many of them are good friends, in fact. My husband is a gun owner. He is really quite reasonable and disagrees with everything the NRA says and does. But "fundamental rights" is something that gets in the way of a serious discussion because it tends to lead to anything reasonable being taken off the table in the name of rights. What do you mean by that anyway? There is a now a right for individuals to own guns for self defense after recent Supreme Court decisions. But that does not preclude passing reasonable gun laws. So we may or may not agree. And I don't think you are nuts. You just represent a point of view that is very different from mine and from the majority. I, too, am well educated and work hard at whatever I do, including trying to prevent gun injuries and deaths. I am very involved politically and in my community as well, having served in elective office. As to rising above "bickering neonates". To whom are you referring? It's too bad that most of you do scream at me.

  11. As far as I can tell, the person carving the pumpkin with his firearm is obeying all the rules of gun safety.

  12. Arguing over whether it's a tool or something else is taking the argument in the wrong direction. Where do you draw the line? Any tool can be misused. Which ones should we make illegal?

    A pencil? You can put someone's eye out, ruin their hearing, and damage their brain.

    A shovel? All too easy to clobber someone, or cut deeply.

    A vehicle? Those kill people all the time. Sometimes unintentionally.

    If I term all of these "killing machines" you'd think I was loony. But the fact is it does NOT matter what the *intent* of the tool was in the inventor's mind. People will use it for their own purposes no matter what someone else says. How many people use the back end of a screwdriver to pound nails in on occasion? Isn't that mis-using a tool? You'll never stop humans from finding their own way to get something done.

    Like a pencil, a shovel, and a car, a firearm also has uses that don't involve harming people. At the same time, each of these retains the potential to harm someone.

    In all cases, it takes a human to make Bad Things happen with each one. Why shouldn't they all be taken away? Why focus on just one?

    You may or may not feel that shooting at a pumpkin is the correct use of the tool, but then throwing rocks or launching water balloons at it is in the same category by your definition... now, throwing rocks or launching water balloons at pumpkins while on the overpass above a busy highway in 5pm is what turns it into a reckless and dangerous activity. But you cannot convince me that it's reckless or dangerous when undertaken in a shooting range, with proper eye and ear protection, while handling the firearm correctly and maintaining awareness of what you are doing.

    It all comes down to the user, not the tool.

    1. The last time I checked, a water balloon or a rock are definitely not tools. What does that analogy have to do with anything? Nothing, in fact. How many people are killed by water balloons or rocks again?

    2. And vehicles are not the same as lethal weapons; they have totally different and necessary use.

    3. Come on, seriously? Rocks were probably among the very first tools. We used them to make shape flint spear tips, among other things:


      Seriously. I urge you to get serious. Learn some history. A gun is a tool. That you do not like the use it is intended for does not alter the definition. I'm sure, somewhere back in prehistory, there were a small cadre of people who were perhaps uncomfortable with the definition of flint spear tips as tools. But as a technological species, I suppose that is the way things are. There will always be those who embrace technology and those who fear it. Which are you?

    4. The last time I checked, we were not living in the Stone Age when stones were among the only weapon the Cave Men had. This has nothing to do with whether or not I embrace technology, Sebastian, or whether I fear or not fear anything. A gun is not a tool.

  13. Since we cannot see from the video if he is or is not, because the surrouning is not clearly visible, it would be inapropriate to comment either way.

    The better criticism, the clear criticism is that he's a nut case, and that he is using a firearm like some sort of toy, rather than treating it appropriately as a weapon.

    He's so close to the pumpkin, you can't even claim genuine target practice.

  14. Dog gone, I get that you don't think what the man in the video is doing is entertaining. It isn't really entertaining to me either, however using perjotative terms about a person just to show your disapproval doesn't accomplish much. The wonderful thing about this country is that everyone can exercise their freedom to do what makes them happy. What you do might not be my idea of fun, but I support your option to pursue it.
    How should he be treating his weapon. Most here seem to agree that he appears to be handling it safely. With all due respect, its not the Holy Hand Grenade.

  15. Hmm. As you can read from the comments on this post, most of the gun guys think that shooting at targets like these is perfectly safe. Nothing will happen to those bullets that go through pumpkins, watermelons or whatever. After all, they are shooting in a "safe manner." Just trust them.

    Japete, From what I recall, we were commenting on the video you had posted in which the shooter was shooting on a range and handling the firearm in a safe manner. Based on the information in your update, the police were entirely justified in intervening and I'd doubt you'd find anyone here that would suggest that what they did was safe. Two differnt situations, two different outcomes.

  16. Outcomes are never predictable when it comes to bullets and guns. I have copious examples on this blog to prove that.

  17. Your suggestion that most of the people posting comments about the video you posted would have no problem with what was happening in the update is inaccurate. I believe I posted a comment to the effect. I take firearms safety very seriously since it's a part of my vocation.
    I cant speak for the others, but I would have been quite unpopular at that party.

  18. A gun is not a toy.

    Being fascinated with using a gun as a toy indicates a failure to appreciate a firearms as a lethal weapon. That suggests a failure to correctly understand important distinctions and a relationship to his firearm that is a bit sick and twisted, as a fetish object.

    So, I think he's nuts, and there is some evidence to support that.

  19. This is why SYG should be repealed. With Stand Your Ground this criminal would not have a second chance to get his victim's property and the victim might get off without losing anything. Where is the common sense?


    1. Indeed. SYG laws should be repealed. I am betting that this might have been a burglary with the result the home owner would have eventually gotten free or someone would have found him. Had he not gotten his gun, most likely no bullets would have been fired.

    2. "The incident occurred at about 10:45 a.m. Jan. 3 at Leone's home on Via La Cumbre. Authorities said Cutrufelli entered the home, put a gun to Leone's head, tied his hands with a belt and rummaged through his bedroom for valuables."

      I think a more accurate description of this would be armed robbery or agravated assault. It goes a little beyond any kind of burglary.
      I think that since it took place inside a home, you're thinking of the castle doctrine. California has such a law, though it will be interesting to see if it is applied to cancel out the lawsuit the assailant has filed.

    3. It was Robin who called it SYG. Castle Doctrine law may decide the man was in the right to shoot the robber. A jury will get to decide as it should.

    4. No Mark, I am talking about SYG. Most SYG laws have a provision that if the shooting was legal self defense you cannot be sued for civil damages or if you are and if you win the loser must pay all court costs and your legal fees. This would tend to make frivolous suits like this rare.

    5. Robin, some castle doctrine laws provide for immunity from lawsuits. Missouri has such immunity included in their castle doctrine law. Minnesota doesn't have a castle doctrine law, and doesn't seem to require retreat in your home. Though my source says that there are four cases in Minnesota where duty to retreat was upheld. A bit troubling that.

    6. Minnesota does have a Castle Doctrine law. There is no duty to retreat in the home.

    7. As I said before, the current law doesnt specify a duty to retreat, but a castle doctrine law was Vetoed by the Governor in March.


    8. As I said before there is no duty to retreat I'm Minn law. No one has been convicted of killing someone in legitimate self defense in Minnesota. The Governor vetoed a Shoot First or Stand Your Ground law. There is a provision for "Castle Doctrine" in Minnesota law.

  20. japete writes: "It was Robin who called it SYG. Castle Doctrine law may decide the man was in the right to shoot the robber. A jury will get to decide as it should."

    This isn't about a criminal case - that's already settled. The homeowner was in his legal right to use legal force.

    Why should a criminal who committed burglary, armed robbery, and attempted murder be able to sue a homeowner because the criminal was shot while committing multiple felonies - in a man's home where he had every right (and did) to use lethal force?

    This lawsuit is completely frivolous and should be tossed.

  21. I disagree
    Syg laws neef tweeking not an abolition. Homeowners and those found to have legally defended themselves should absolutely be exempted from ridiculous civil suits. Being a burglar or criminal carries with it certain occupational hazards....one of them being lead poisoning.

  22. Questions have been raised about Minnesota's "castle doctrine" and "duty to retreat". This will be the last comment on this issue. Any further comments will add nothing to the discussion. Here is a link to explain Minnesota law http://www.cjglawoffice.com/minnesota-defense-of-dwelling-and-person-act-bill-expand-self-defense-deadly-force/

    From this link: " Although not contained in Minnesota statues, common law imposes a duty to retreat when reasonable. However, neither Minnesota statutes nor common law impose any such duty when reasonably defending yourself or your home during a home invasion. The thought is that reasonable retreat in self-defense outside the home applies because there may be a safer place, your home. By contrast, self-defense in and of the home is paramount to the protection of family. The only Minnesota cases where there was duty to retreat applied to self-defense in the home involved circumstances where the deadly force was objectively unreasonable."

  23. Interesting you state "facts don't matter" as it applies to the NRA "and it's minions". It's a common leftist ad homimen attack where you attack the person and not what they actually say. Worse - you cherry pick what they say to make them seem like the morons you want to portray them as.

    So, some facts - not from the NRA, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Center for Disease Control (CDC). The FBI information comes from the yearly published Uniform Crime Report, primarily Table 8, Expanded Homicide Data Table 8. It's accessible here: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/tables/10shrtbl08.xls

    The CDC information is freely available on their website. You'll have to do your own digging to verify, which I encourage everyone to do for themselves.

    Homicide Deaths in the U.S., 2010 (latest year published) shows 12,996 total homicides, 4,223 of which involved a firearm of any type (handgun, rifle, shotgun, other - "other" is an actual category listed by the FBI). That's a lot of firearm deaths by the number, but it's still just 1/3. You can argue that knives and fist/feet kill less people (and poisoning), but you can't argue it based on the objective facts.

    The Bureau of Justice Statistics, a Dept. of Justice (DOJ) agency, reports that since 1995, firearms are used in less than 10% of violent crimes. That means more than 9 out of 10 times violent crimes, firearms are NOT used. Source: http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/glance/percentfirearm.cfm

    Interesting what FACTS show us, huh?

    According to the CDC, total U.S. deaths (from everything) in 2010 were 2,465,936. Firearm homicides: 4, 223. Pretty small in comparison. Homicides don't even crack the top 10 causes of death (although suicides comes in at number 10) according the CDC http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr60/nvsr60_04.pdf

    Hunting deaths, and other accidents still account for deaths attributable to firearms, yes. And suicides are by firearms sometimes too. Counting them for crime in disingenuous. But according the CDC, total firearm deaths (includes suicides which as a category is the number 10 cause, AS WELL AS accidents and homicides) is 31,347. Sounds like a lot, right? An epidemic? Depends on what you compare it to. Would you say there is a poisoning death epidemic? A falling off ladders & roofs epidemic? Motor vehicle death epidemic? What about flu? Pneumonia? Accidental deaths? Because according the CDC, there were 177,154 injury deaths in 2009. Unintentional injury deaths in 2010 were 118,043. Motor vehicle deaths 34,485. Poisoning deaths 41,592. Unintentional fall deaths 24,792.

    So what "common sense laws" do you think we should enact to address these epidemics? All of them account for more deaths than guns do each year, with the exception of unintentional fall deaths, but even that is really close.

    When you use anecdotal (story) evidence, as you do in your column, it's easy to make it seem like firearms are a real significant problem. Comparatively, they aren't. Statistically, they aren't. Only when you cherry pick and use anecdotes to the SEEM to be so.

    What about Aurora, CO, and the so-called "assault rifle" used? According to the FBI, in 2010 there were 343 rifle homicides (which include grandpa's old bolt-action hunting rifle). In 2009 it was 348. Almost the same. In those same years feet/fist deaths (the FBI categories as "body" for the weapon type; it means someone was beat to death with hands & feet) were more than DOUBLE the rifle homicides at 745 feet/fist homicides in 2010 and 817 in 2009. WOW! Maybe we need to ban feet and hands?

    I'm not a member of the NRA, or a spokesperson, though maybe I should be both. But this information is publicly available from government agencies. And these facts fly in the face of your weak argument.

    1. It's hard to count the ways in which you are absolutely wrong. But here goes. It is well known that there are at least 10,000-12,000 gun homicides a year. A simple check of many different sites will show you that. I have no idea where you were looking but apparently you have no idea where to get accurate facts. That's the problem. You guys are often fact free. Here are the real numbers for you from the CDC- http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/homicide.htm

      "Firearm homicides
      Number of deaths: 11,493
      Deaths per 100,000 population: 3.7"

      America has more total gun deaths per 100,000 than almost any civilized other country not at war. That number is about 30,000 which includes suicides and accidental deaths. That, too, is well known to anyone who bothers with the facts. As to the Aurora shooting, do you think it was O.K. for Holmes to shoot those folks that day? Or what are you saying? Are you excusing the gun deaths by "rifle"? However many there are, there are too many. Feet/fist deaths? Are you serious? Anyone with brains knows that death by kicking or fists is far far below that of gun deaths. Gun deaths take the lives of more people in some age categories than any other kind of violent death. I don't believe separating out gun deaths by rifle or handgun is instructive at all. The CDC uses firearm deaths. Bullets come out of handguns and rifle alike. Too bad you found faulty information. Next time, check your facts before commenting on this blog. I fact check and I research and provide facts. Too bad you didn't do the same.

      Apparently, facts don't matter to you either, NRA member or not.

    2. So who to believe....2009 CDC stats or 2010 FBI stats. Or 2009 FBI stats which show,.. Heck here's the whole thing.

      Weapons 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010
      Total 15,087 14,916 14,224 13,752 12,996
      Total firearms: 10,225 10,129 9,528 9,199 8,775
      Handguns 7,836 7,398 6,800 6,501 6,009
      Rifles 438 453 380 351 358
      Shotguns 490 457 442 423 373
      Other guns 107 116 81 96 96
      Firearms, type not stated 1,354 1,705 1,825 1,828 1,939