How many mistakes can the AP make in one short story? "Stand your ground" was not an issue in the Montana shooting. Nor in the George Zimmerman case. I'm sure Montana law, prior to the amendment, allowed self-defense in cases there was no tumultuous entry into a house (as in, if outside the house, or in the house if there is a reasonable fear of death or great bodily injury). "Stand your ground" laws do not give "a person the right to use force or threaten to use force to protect his or her own home from unlawful entry or attack."
That's a pretty good list of errors for a twelve-sentence story.
Prof. Volokh discusses the decision here.
Hmmm... the hostage taker had 40+ arrests for sexual assault (released on bond on all), for being an accessory to the murder of his wife (released on bond), and seven for harassing families who had lost a serviceman in Afghanistan (for which he got probation).
A member of Parliament from Victoria says ""No more useless gun laws. Because most of our gun laws now seem to be aimed at the law-abiding, not at the criminals," Mr Bourman told reporters on Tuesday."Exhibit A: Sydney. None of our gun laws stopped that.""
The Supreme Court today handed down Heien v. North Carolina. An officer stopped a car that had a brake light burned out, and in the course of the stop discovered cocaine. It turns out that the North Carolina traffic statutes say that a vehicle must have a working stop "lamp," singular. The State court of appeals ruled that this meant the stop was not supported by probable cause: no reason to believe a law was being violated. The State supreme court ruled that the stop was valid, because the officer's misunderstanding of the law was reasonable. A reasonable mistake of fact does not eliminate probable cause; does a reasonable mistake of law do so?
The Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that the stop was valid. Justice Kagan and Ginsburg concurred, writing to stress that (1) the question of reasonableness is an objective one, not one linked to the officer's personal thoughts or training, and (2) the test is stricter than the one used for qualified immunity (which is loose indeed). Justice Sotomayor dissented, arguing that a mistake of law, reasonable or not, means there is no probable cause.
UPDATE: I quite agree that it is incongruous to have government actors protected by a "reasonable mistake" defense, and have citizens often covered by "ignorance of the law is no excuse." It's particularly so in the area of qualified immunity where, as Sotomayor's dissent points out, civil suit is not allowed unless "anyone but a complete incompetent would have known this was illegal and unconstitutional." And that's when a government actor's pocketbook, not his liberty, is at stake.
With a private citizen, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and even when intent is required the prosecution can ask for a "willful ignorance" instruction, that essentially even if defendant didn't know, if you think he sorta shut his eyes to it, you can find him guilty.
I haven't researched it, but I wonder how this plays out in the setting of a criminal prosecution of a government actor for deprivation of civil rights. Is ignorance of the Constitution no defense, because it's a criminal case, or is reasonable failure to appreciate there was a constitutional right being violated a defense because of qualified immunity? Bear in mind that all of this is judicially created. The statutes say nothing about qualified immunity, or about willful ignorance.
Story here. I really can't see it as filed in good faith. Apart from the Lawful Commerce in Firearms Act problem (a massive one), where is the negligence (selling a lawful rifle?), how do they solve proximate causation (intentional criminal misuse of a tool usually breaks the chain of cause), and after that they have to prove facts that aren't true -- that the AR-15 platform is unsuited for sporting use or self-defense. The lawsuit may be good for PR but this is the type of thing that risks a court awarding sanctions to the defendants.
A ways back, NBC's David Gregory appeared on Meet the Press, filmed in DC, flashing around a 30-round AR-15 magazine, in public violation of DC's ban on such. DC was pressed to prosecute and, of course, declined. Legal Insurrection blog sought to obtain, via the Freedom of Information Act, data relating to the non-prosecution, and won another motion, to obtain a police affidavit that called for his prosecution.
Also at the link are emails between NBC News and the DC Police Department, before the event. NBC asks, can we bring in and show the magazine? DC PD responds no, it is completely illegal, just use a photo of it.
The only thing more ridiculous than criminalizing possession of a box and spring is refusing to enforce the ban based upon the possessor's clout and friends.
It's the latest Pew survey. They started asking the question in 1993, when "gun control is more important" led by 57-34%. Its lead peaked in 1999, at 66-34%. Today "protecting gun rights is more important" leads, 52-46%. The big change started in 2007, and from 2010 onward the two were in a dead heat.
"Compared with last January, support for gun rights increased by 6 points among Republicans and Democrats, 7 points among independents, 8 points among whites and 10 points among African Americans."
"The gun and ammunition laws were passed, our legislators said, to make it difficult for our gangs to obtain the guns and bullets they need to rob law-abiding citizens and to murder each other. These laws were first introduced about twenty years ago, and I think they have been amended once or twice. Today, all of us Belizeans know that these are laws which are abysmal failures, if we are to judge failure or success on the basis of the original intent of the laws.
What the guns laws have succeeded in doing is to intimidate and victimize innocent citizens who live in certain targeted neighborhoods. The laws are draconian, and they have contributed to the ever-growing sense in the Belizean people that we are not in control of our own destiny."
"The evidence is the weed law and the evidence is the gun law. These are not Belizean laws. These are oppressive laws. The PUDP are in bed with white supremacy. Power to the people."
In Austin, a gunman begins firing into buildings. An policeman going off-duty stops him with a 110 yard one-handed pistol shot. The officer was with the mounted unit, and holding two horses' reins in his other hand; he scored a solid chest hit.
Here's their story on the military seeking a new handgun to replace the Beretta. A few problems:
The Beretta in the pic is appears to be a .32 pocket pistol.
It's illustrated with hollow point projectiles.
The story says the 1911 was first issued during the "war in the Philippines." I assume this refers to the Moro Rebellion: the main fighting there came in 1900-1902, and by 1911 things were pretty much still. .45s were issued during the Moro Rebellion, but they were revolvers.
It says that "guns chosen by the military achieve cult status, used as iconic weapons in James Bond and other action movies..." I can't recall that James Bond ever used a military weapon.
Cleveland PD officer fatally shoots a 12 year old who is holding an airsoft gun. Now it appears that Cleveland hired him after another PD asked for his resignation, based on his emotional instability on the firing range.
"During a training episode at a firing range, Loehmann was reported to be "distracted and weepy" and incommunicative. "His handgun performance was dismal," deputy chief Jim Polak of the Independence, Ohio, police department wrote in an internal memo."
The Ninth Circuit just ordered both sides to brief the petition for rehearing en banc, noting that "A judge of this Court having made a sua sponte call for a vote on whether this case should be reheard en banc..." (in legalese, "sua sponte" usually means for a court to do something without being asked to do so -- in this case, after the motion was denied. At issue are the motions by California and Brady Center to intervene and take over the case, seeking the rehearing en banc that the Sheriff did not seek.
In a separate ruling, the Court allowed Plaintiffs to file quite long (35 pages) briefs on the question.
Eugene Volokh has on the event. I think I can guess why the Court would want to consider Peruta, and not its companion cases. Peruta is cleaner case, and the other two decisions are decided essentially by referencing it. If the issue is going to be reconsidered, why not take Peruta rather than its progeny?
UPDATE: a description of what's going on. Basically,
The 9th Cir. has something like 28 active judges. The custom is that they divide into three judge panels to decide cases.
Peruta won before the panel. California cannot both (1) may "may issue" permitting and (2) ban all carrying, open or concealed, without a permit in incorporated cities and counties. The question was whether San Diego wanted to ask for en banc review (theoretically, before the entire 20+ judge court, but the Ninth Circuit is so big that en banc goes to 10 randomly selected judges and the chief judge). That's hard to get, really ties up the court, and usually it takes a conflict between two panel decisions to do it. Then en banc comes in to settle which panel decision should be the law of the circuit).
San Diego didn't want to try that, so it just let the time for requesting en banc pass.
California (and some antigun groups), which had never been involved in the case, filed motions to intervene and take over the case, so that THEY could ask for en banc. The argument was essentially, "we didn't join in this case earlier because we thought San Diego would protect our interests, and now it's not going to.
The panel denied the motion. California had simply waited too long. It could have gotten involved at any earlier stage, but passed it up.
California moved to take that decision, the denial of permission to intervene, and moved to have that decision taken en banc.
Apparently, at least one judge thought it was a good motion, so the court ordered both parties to brief it. Then they'll see if there are enough votes to grant it. It takes a majority of judges.
If denied, Peruta stands (altho two cases heard at the same time raising much the same issues might be taken en banc). If granted, California becomes the new defendant, and files its motion for rehearing en banc, and the court decides that. And of course after that, there's potential Supreme Court involvement.
An argument against State preemption: it prevents cities from stopping dueling. I suppose that in Pottstown PA there are already letters out, asking the satisfaction due a gentleman.
I hope their seconds aren't foolish enough to arrange the "encounter" on Main Street. It's hard to aim a dueling pistol with traffic whizzing by on either side, and since the seconds are supposed to stand somewhat to the side, they'd be run down for sure.
Announcement here. Brian D. Aitken will discuss his book "The Blue Tent Sky: How the Left's War on Guns Cost Me My Son and My Freedom" at the Cato Institute. They'll also have the discussion online.
Hat tip to Alice Beard....