Traveling man's gun arrest appealed to high court
January 18th, 2011 @ 7:00am
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Missed flights only inconvenience most people. A late flight landed Utah gun owner Greg Revell in jail for 10 days after he got stranded in New Jersey with an unloaded firearm he had legally checked with his luggage in Salt Lake City.
The Supreme Court could decide Tuesday whether to consider letting Revell sue Port Authority of New York and New Jersey police for arresting him on illegal possession of a firearm in New Jersey and for not returning his gun and ammunition to him for more than three years.
Lower courts have thrown out his lawsuit.
Revell was flying from Salt Lake City to Allentown, Pa., on March 31, 2005, with connections in Minneapolis and Newark, N.J. He had checked his Utah-licensed gun and ammunition with his luggage in Salt Lake City and asked airport officials to deliver them both with his luggage in Allentown.
But the flight from Minneapolis to Newark was late, so Revell missed his connection to Allentown. The airline wanted to bus its passengers to Allentown, but Revell realized that his luggage had not made it onto the bus and got off. After finding his luggage had been given a final destination of Newark by mistake, Revell missed the bus. He collected his luggage, including his gun and ammunition, and decided to wait in a nearby hotel with his stuff until the next flight in the morning.
When Revell tried to check in for the morning flight, he again informed the airline officials about his gun and ammunition to have them checked through to Allentown. He was reported to the TSA, and then arrested by Port Authority police for having a gun in New Jersey without a New Jersey license.
He spent 10 days in several different jails before posting bail. Police dropped the charges a few months later. But his gun and ammunition were not returned to him until 2008.
Revell said he should not have been arrested because federal law allows licensed gun owners to take their weapons through any state as long as they are unloaded and not readily accessible to people. He said it was not his fault the airline stranded him in New Jersey by making him miss his flight and routing his luggage to the wrong destination.
Prosecutors said it doesn't matter whose fault it was: Revell was arrested in New Jersey with a readily accessible gun in his possession without a New Jersey license.
Lower courts have sympathized with Revell but refused to let him sue the police.
"We recognize that he had been placed in a difficult situation through no fault of his own," wrote Judge Kent A. Jordan of the U.S. 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. However, the law "clearly requires the traveler to part ways with his weapon and ammunition during travel; it does not address this type of interrupted journey or what the traveler is to do in this situation."
The case is Revell v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 10-236.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
Carrying Guns without a permit
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – One Utah lawmaker may soon make it easier for people to carry a concealed weapon without first obtaining a permit.
There are more illegal guns on the streets than police can keep up with. Representative Stephen Sandstrom of Orem has an idea on how to combat the problem.
“Right now, the gang bangers, the bad guys they can’t qualify for a permit. They are carrying without a permit anyway. The only ones being harmed are law abiding citizens. Some don’t have money or time to take a course to defend themselves.”
Sandstrom wants to make it easier for them by possibly changing the law to allow people to carry concealed loaded guns without a permit.
“All of the other rules would apply to them such as you wouldn’t be able to carry it in a church or at a school.”
“This legislation if passed would not allow any person who couldn’t currently possess a firearm get that firearm,” says Clark Aposhian, the chairman for the Utah Shooting Sports Council. He’s very much in favor of seeing the relaxation of gun laws in the state.
“It’s only a small step, but a huge step for lawful self defense in Utah.”
But for those against relaxing the current law, they say it’s absurd to allow anyone to carry a gun without requiring proper training, and they want to see stricter state gun laws. Aposhian says that would be a step in the wrong direction.
“Every progressive step towards self defense in Utah has been met with dire predictions by our detractors and none of those predictions has ever been realized.”
So with the flow of more guns on American streets more Utahns may soon be carrying a loaded one on them if Sandstrom has his way.
Lawmaker aims to do away with Concealed Carry Permit
SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah lawmaker wants to do away with the requirement to have a permit to legally carry a concealed weapon. While the legislation to change the law is yet to be written, it's already the center of a controversy.
Last year, a record 71,000 Utahns applied for a concealed weapons permit; more than 250,000 have been issued by the state. But if Orem Rep. Stephen Sandstrom's legislation were to pass, Utahns would no longer need one, nor would they need the additional criminal background class or training course that are currently required.
"I think that responsible, law-abiding people are going to take that responsibility on and they're going to use [the gun] properly." - Rep. Stephen Sandstrom
Sandstrom describes himself as a "Second Amendment purist." He's held a concealed weapons permit since 1994 and estimates he carries a gun about 70 percent of the time.
Utah's current requirements to obtain a permit, he says, should go away.
"You don't take a course and pay a fee to exercise your freedom of religion," Sandstrom says. "This is a guaranteed right."
The lawmaker is preparing to write a bill that would allow Utahns to carry concealed without taking any extra steps. If it passed, Utah would join Arizona, Vermont and Alaska as the only states in the nation where you can pack without a permit
"I think that responsible, law-abiding people are going to take that responsibility on and they're going to use it properly," Sandstrom says.
Steven Gunn, who sits on the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah's board, believes Sandstrom's bill is the opposite of what should happen during the 2011 legislative session.
"I don't think it's a healthy thing for our state to have large numbers of people carrying concealed weapons," Gunn says. "I think ultimately that leads to accidents and even confrontations with firearms that are not necessary."
Utah's current requirements are already viewed as some of the most lax in the nation. In fact, just under half of the permits given in Utah belong to out-of-state residents.
Some states, like New Mexico and Nevada, have stopped honoring Utah permits because applicants are not required to fire at a range as part of the training course.
If Sandstrom's bill was to pass, it still would be possible to get a concealed carry permit in the state if you needed one to travel out of state.
|Déjà Vu, All Over Again: "More Guns, Less Crime"
| News site HERE
|Friday, September 17, 2010
Paul Helmke and Dennis Henigan -- spokesmen for the beleaguered Brady Campaign these days -- are old enough to know what a phonograph record is, so for their benefit we'll put it this way: At the risk of sounding like a "broken record," gun ownership has risen to an all-time high, and violent crime has fallen to a 35-year low. Coinciding with a surge in gun purchases that began shortly before the 2008 elections, violent crime decreased six percent between 2008 and 2009, according to the FBI. This included an eight percent decrease in murder and a nine percent decrease in robbery.
Since 1991, when total violent crime peaked, it has decreased 43 percent to a 35-year low. The murder rate, less than half what it was in 1980, is now at a 45-year low. Throughout, the number of guns that Americans own has risen by about four million a year, including record numbers of the two types of firearms that the Brady folks would most like to see banned -- handguns and the various firearms they call "assault weapons."
Predictions that increasing the number of guns would cause crime to increase have been proven profoundly lacking in clairvoyance. One of our favorite gems comes from the Brady outfit, when it was known as the National Council to Control Handguns: "There are now 40 million handguns. . . . the number could build to 100 million. . . . the consequences can be terrible to imagine," the group warned in the mid-1970s.
"Terrible consequences" indeed, for gun control supporters. The number of handguns has reached almost 100 million; waiting periods, purchase permits, and prohibitions on carrying firearms for protection have been dismantled in state after state; gun ownership has soared; and violent crime has plummeted.
Supreme Court limits local gun bans
Justices rebuff Chicago, which defended ban as reasonable exercise of local power
June 28th 2010
MSNBC site HERE
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the Constitution's "right to keep and bear arms" applies nationwide as a restraint on the ability of the federal, state and local governments to substantially limit its reach.
By a 5-4 vote split along familiar ideological lines, the nation's highest court extended its landmark 2008 ruling that individual Americans have a constitutional right to own guns to all the cities and states for the first time.
In doing so, the justices signaled that less severe restrictions could survive legal challenges. The ruling involved a 28-year-old handgun ban in the Chicago area.
The ruling was a victory for four Chicago-area residents, two gun rights groups and the politically powerful National Rifle Association.
It was a defeat for Chicago, which defended its ban as a reasonable exercise of local power to protect public safety. The law and a similar handgun ban in suburban Oak Park, Ill., were the nation's most restrictive gun control measures.
Monday's decision did not explicitly strike down the Chicago area laws, ordering a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling. It left little doubt, however, that they would fall eventually.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the court, said the Second Amendment right "applies equally to the federal government and the states."
Lawmaker wants to require schools to teach gun safety
June 24th, 2010 @ 9:00am
By Andrew Adams
SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah lawmaker wants to require gun safety training in all state schools.
Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan, made his pitch to the Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee Wednesday.
A 1996 law encouraged schools to teach gun safety, but Stowell says fewer than 10 percent of students get the training.
"Our concern is, of course, for gun safety and for training students when they're faced with a firearm," Stowell said in Wednesday's hearing. "[It's] so they know how to react. It's not too uncommon for a student to show up with a gun, and it catches everyone by surprise."
Stowell says he is motivated by a number of accidents, including the death of a 6-year-old Iron County girl who found a gun under a bed. He asked for lawmakers' feedback before he drafts a bill to present this fall.
Some on the committee expressed concerns about mandating school districts train their students.
Another Self-Defense Gun Use
Validates SAF Chicago Lawsuit
BELLEVUE, Wash., June 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --
Yet another high-profile shooting this morning of a criminal by an armed Chicago homeowner further reinforces the Second Amendment Foundation's justification for its lawsuit to overturn the city's handgun ban.
SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb said the early-morning shooting in the city's South Austin neighborhood involved a fleeing felon who had run from police with a large volume of narcotics, and crashed through the window of the gun owner's home. The unidentified armed citizen reportedly has a valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card, according to the Chicago Tribune.
"This is the second time in a week that an armed private citizen has fired in self-defense against a criminal who was storming into his residence," Gottlieb noted. "Today's incident only amplifies our justification for our lawsuit to strike down Chicago's insidious handgun ban."
The wounded suspect was identified as Aaron Marshall, whose criminal history includes felony convictions on drug and weapons charges.
"Our lawsuit against the city was brought because people like Marshall roam the streets and neighborhoods of Chicago, and citizens are essentially defenseless unless they violate the handgun ban," Gottlieb stated. "Police cannot be everywhere all of the time, and the policies of Mayor Richard Daley and his administration have done less than nothing to make citizens safe from these thugs. Chicago residents should have the same right of self-defense as any other American citizen, but they need the right tools for the job.
"The homeowner in this morning's incident, just like the 80-year-old Korean War veteran who fatally shot another thug last week, did the city a favor," he said, "and he apparently will not be charged, thanks to a state law that protects such people, even where handguns are banned.
"Armed citizens," Gottlieb said, "are doing more to fight violent crime than Daley has done in his entire time in office."
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation's oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.
Oda: Utah's concealed weapons classes stress safety, defense. Added 5.27.10
Examiner site here
Last Edit: May 20 2010 - 1:57pm
In the May 3 Standard-Examiner, we editorialized that Utah needed tougher requirements in its classes for gun owners to earn a concealed weapons carry permit. ("Tougher gun classes needed") The editorial board also suggested that Utah emulate New Mexico, which requires a 15-hour course and also that the applicant show skill at a firing range.
The editorial prompted a lot of debate, both in support and against. I recently had the opportunity to talk with state Rep, Curt Oda, R-Clearfield, who plays a significant role in how Utah runs its CCW permit classes. Oda, a critic of our editorial, presented a defense of Utah's concealed weapons carry laws, and a criticism of New Mexico's policy.
The chief difference, explains Oda, is that Utah's classes are designed to stress safety, defense, avoidance of aggression and a clear understanding that if a gun is fired, there remain potential criminal and civil consequences for the permit holder.
"A permit is not a permit to use. It is a permit to carry and keep loaded (a concealed weapon)," said Oda. Stopping the threat, rather than killing or harming someone, is the purpose in Utah's classes. Oda describes New Mexico's policy as "overkill," and adds that its requirements to show skill at a firing range is comparable to applicants learning how to kill.
The adrenaline that results from a dangerous situation that might require a firearm is difficult for even experienced law enforcement professionals to handle, Oda said. "Defense and safety," or preventing a predator from feeling he can attack you, is the key to effective use of a concealed weapons permit, Oda added.
Another criticism Oda has of New Mexico's policy is that its long classes, high price and expensive renewal requirements are a method by that state to garner more revenue from taxpayers. "We, in Utah, feel that the cost of fees for the CCW program should only cover the cost of that program. To charge more, just to raise more revenue for purposes other than that program, is a discriminate unfair tax on those citizens in that program," he said.
In Utah, a CCW class lasts between four and five hours. The intent is to teach passive defense, says Oda. He believes that concept is misunderstood by many critics of the classes. Criminals are looking for people they perceive are weak, says Oda. If the criminal encounters a weapon from someone they are testing as a crime victim, the criminal will move on in search of other victims. Oda said that in Utah he's happy to see more women taking the concealed carry weapons course and hopes that trend continues.
In Utah, a base price for a permit class is about $85, not counting costs for fingerprints or background checks, says Oda. In the debate over what type of class to have, Oda reminds Utahns that a permit mainly allows holders to keep a weapon concealed and loaded. It is not, in the James Bond lexicon, a "license to kill." If a CCW permit holder abuses the privilege the permit grants, he or she will face the same legal consequences as anyone else. However, that would be a rare occurrence, as the permit classes, as mentioned, stress safety, defense, and avoidance rather than aggression, he adds.
Gibson is the Standard-Examiner's editorial page editor. He can be reached at email@example.com.