October 2008

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

 An 85-year-old grandmother from Lake Lynn in Fayette County, Pennsylvania kept an alleged burglar at bay in mid-August with the use of a .22 caliber handgun, according to newspaper reports. Police said a 17-year old suspect was attempting to burglarize Leda Smith overnight. Police said that’s when Leda Smith grabbed her gun and told the teenager that she would shoot him if he moved. “I had the gun on him before he turned around and said, ‘you’ve had it,’” Smith told local media. According to police, Smith ordered the boy to dial 911 and then gave him some advice. “Dial 911 and don’t attempt to throw the phone or I’ll shoot you,” Smith said. When police arrived, they took the teen into custody. Charges have been filed against him and an alleged accomplice. Trooper Christian Lieberum said the charges include attempted burglary and related offenses. “It was exciting,” Smith said. “I just hope I broke up the (burglary) ring because they have been hitting a lot of places around here.”

Self-defense is a crime under an on-the-books Allentown, Pennsylvania ordinance, according to columnist Paul Carpenter of The Morning Call. Carpenter reported that Allentown resident Michael Trilli contacted Carpenter after he was harassed for “exercising his right to carry a weapon.” A Trilli neighbor had “called police, who rushed to the scene with a canine unit and shotguns, and pounced, seizing Trilli’s gun, for which he had a license, from his holster.” Trilli’s gun was returned the next day but he was still peeved and sent Carpenter a copy of the state constitution, which states that the right of citizens “to bear arms in defense of themselves…shall not be questioned.” He also sent along a copy of Allentown ordinance 734.01, which states that, “No person shall use, carry or discharge firearms of any kind, air rifles, spring guns, bows and arrows, slings or any other form or weapons…within the limits of the city.” Carpenter wrote he “had a pretty spirited conversation with Allentown Police Chief Roger MacLean about all this…he emphasized that Trilli was not charged with a crime and he agreed that state and federal constitutions trump local statutes. ‘I think it (the city ordinance) needs to be looked at,’ MacLean said.”

The lawyers who defeated the District of Columbia’s handgun ban in the Supreme Court, successfully arguing that Americans have an individual right to arm themselves, want about $3.5 million for their trouble, reports Legal Times. The team, financed by The Cato Institute’s Robert Levy and led by civil rights and intellectual property lawyer Alan Gura, says it clocked at least 3,273 hours in the course of

In Ohio, as of early last month, concealed weapons permit holders may keep a gun hidden in the car as long as it’s carried in a secure holster. Previously, the law required the gun to be in plain sight. Permit holders also may bring a gun onto school grounds as long as the gun owner is in a car picking up or dropping off a child. “The more law-abiding people that have guns, the better off we are,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, “because the bad guys always have guns. You look at these school shootings or church shootings, the ones that have been stopped, it was because someone there had a gun,”

In Nevada, State Assemblyman Harry Mortenson of Las Vegas wants the state to adopt a legal doctrine strengthening a home owner’s right to use deadly force to protect someone’s life from an intruder. He already has submitted his bill draft to implement the “castle doctrine” for the 2009 legislative session. “I support the old philosophy that a man’s home is his castle and people should not invade it with impunity,” he said. “We’ve moved so much in the direction of helping the invader that I think we need to go a little bit in the other direction.”

District of Columbia v. Heller, which was filed in February 2003 and concluded in spectacular fashion on June 26, the last day of the high court’s cycle. The lawyers anticipate the District will oppose their fee petition motion.