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Newslinks for 4/12/2006

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Best-seller leads scholar to file lawsuit
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A scholar known for his work on guns and crime filed a defamation lawsuit Monday against University of Chicago economist Steven Levitt, co-author of the best-seller 'Freakonomics.'"

"John Lott Jr. of Virginia, a former U. of C. visiting professor, alleges that Levitt defamed him in the book by claiming that other scholars had tried and failed to confirm Lott's conclusion that allowing people to carry concealed weapons reduces crime. ..."

"According to Levitt's book: 'When other scholars have tried to replicate [Lott's] results, they found that right-to-carry laws simply don't bring down crime.'"

"But according to Lott's lawsuit: 'In fact, every time that an economist or other researcher has replicated Lott's research, he or she has confirmed Lott's conclusion.'" ...
 

Gun maker banks on Pentagon
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"It is hard to imagine a company sinking as low as Smith & Wesson ..."

"Just two years ago, the company's chairman was found to be a convicted felon ... Federal investigators were looking into accounting irregularities ..."

"Adding to the company's woes, American soldiers for the past decade have carried Italian-made Berettas, and most police forces long ago switched to handguns from Glock ..."

"But now, with new owners and a new chief executive ... Smith & Wesson is coming back to life, thanks to an expanding Pentagon budget and growing spending by the Homeland Security Department."

"With consumer sales of rifles, shotguns and handguns flat for the past decade, Smith & Wesson is casting its lot with Washington ..." ...
 

Not-so-slick Hillary
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Red states are turning scarlet for Sen. Hillary Clinton as her cultural elitism becomes transparent to Middle America."

"Mrs. Clinton, D-N.Y., her party's likely presidential nominee, has quietly co-sponsored an insidious gun bill of fellow liberal Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J. But Hillary's slick move to silence left-wing critics will backfire as it blows holes in her well-cultivated image of a red state-friendly moderate."

"Honest liberals are less repulsive than dishonest ones in America's heartland."

"The lawsuit-friendly bill Hillary is co-sponsoring would make public a national database of weapons used in crimes and illegal sales so plaintiffs could sue gunmakers more easily for the actions of their buyers." ...
 

FL: Florida Should Take Another Look At 'Shoot The Avon Lady' Law
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Prosecutors call it the 'Shoot the Avon Lady' law and police officials complain it has complicated murder investigations and encouraged violent confrontations."

"It's time to take another look at the 'Stand Your Ground' law that lawmakers adopted last year at the urging of the National Rifle Association. ..." ...

"So far, the new law has been mentioned as a potential defense for a truck driver who shot an unarmed car owner, for a man who allegedly started a fight and then shot his opponent, and in a gang confrontation that resulted in two deaths."

"The law may not be spreading vigilantism as opponents feared, but it appears to be complicating cases for police and prosecutors. ..." ...
 

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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... "Self-defense is a big topic with this group."

"'It's not really a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender issue as much as it is a human rights issue,' Greene says. 'The right to defend is a basic human right.'"

"The organization that has brought these people together, the Pink Pistols, isn't simply a Second Amendment fundamentalist group. These people have more than just guns in common."

"The Pink Pistols advocate the use of firearms for self-protection, specifically among their target audience: the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The slogan of the loosely organized club-there's no formal process to become a member-is rather blunt: Armed gays don't get bashed." ...
 

TX: Babysitter tries to come to defense of parents who were shot at
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A father is killed and a mother hurt after a gunman started shooting at them as they returned home early Tuesday morning." ...

"Brandon Lettries, 29, and his wife Michelle, 24, were headed into their home when a man started shooting at them." ...

"The couple's five children were inside the house. Lettries' brother had been watching the kids. When he heard the shots he ran outside and returned fire, striking the car of an innocent passerby. The couple inside wasn't injured." ...

"Michelle Lettries has been treated and released from Ben Taub Hospital. Prosecutors will determine if the brother who returned fire will face any charges or if he was acting in self-defense."
 

IN: Charges filed in convenience-store shooting
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"George Lebron faces a lengthy recovery from the broken bones and internal injuries he suffered when he crashed his car Tuesday night."

"He also faces a lengthy jail term if convicted of firing shots into a convenience store while the security guard, owner and her two young children were inside." ...

"No one in the store was wounded when the man started shooting because the store was closing and he couldn’t go inside, Fazekas said."

"As the guard returned fire, a Merrillville woman driving by was shot in the chest, police said." ...

"Fazekas said when a ballistics report is completed, police will know who shot Winfield. The security guard will not be charged because prosecutors determined he was firing in self defense."
 

NY: Bronx clerk shot by customer
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A Bronx hoodlum shot a bodega clerk in the chest yesterday after the worker refused to sell him cigars without checking his ID ..."

"Just minutes before the shooting, workers at the grocery store called 911 to report that the irate customer had knocked over a potato-chip rack and threatened to return."

"'\[The operator\] said, 'Has he got a gun?' store owner Jose Babito told the Daily News. 'I said, 'No,' and they didn't come. Now look what happened.'" ...

"The shooter, who had harassed the bodega workers in the past, waltzed into the deli ... and asked to buy Phillies Blunts cigars, workers said." ...

"The deli owner, who is Gomez's father-in-law, said he had gotten an order of protection against the thug." ...
 

CT: Man charged with firing a gun near school appears in court
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A Superior Court judge today appointed a public defender to represent a Newtown man charged with firing a gun near the high school last month."

"Kevin FitzGerald, 46, of Berkshire Road has been charged with breach of peace, unlawful discharge of a firearm and second-degree reckless endangerment as a result of the March 31 incident."

"FitzGerald asked Judge Carl Schuman to reduce his $10,000 bond, but the judge refused the request after the prosecutor objected and pointed out that FitzGerald was already free on bond." ...
 

NY: Taking shot at tougher pellet gun laws
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Three Nassau County legislators fired what they consider an opening salvo at the practice of minors buying hard-firing BB, pellet, and paint ball guns."

"They gathered for an unusual news conference ... where police officers shot out glass windows, soda cans and an apple to display the power of some of the targeted weapons."

"'In light of recent news events involving the hospitalization of two youngsters ... and massive property damage in nearby communities, I believe we have to keep these potentially dangerous weapons out of the hands of minors,' Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) said ..."

"A proposed law ... would ban selling to those under 18 any pellet, BB, or paint-ball gun that shoots projectiles 350 feet per second or more." ...
 

FL: Environmentalists and gun advocates reach compromise on bill
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Environmentalists and gun advocates reached a compromise Tuesday over a national pro-hunting bill that could be headed for a final House vote next week."

"Florida's National Rifle Association want Florida to become the third state to pass legislation ensuring that the number of acres dedicated to public hunting stays the same, or is expanded annually. So far, Illinois, Georgia and Maryland have passed similar legislation."

"Some Florida environmentalists opposed the bill (HB 265) until the NRA agreed to add language exempting state parks from the search for new hunting acres."

"Park lovers had feared the bill ... could make state parks fair game in the search for available hunting land." ...
 

LA: Bill would protect evacuees' gun rights
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"With little debate, the Senate voted 39-0 Monday for a bill that would prohibit police from confiscating firearms of law-abiding citizens in times of emergencies or disasters."

"The vote on Senate Bill 93 by Sen. Joe McPherson, D-Woodworth, an outdoors enthusiast and gun-rights advocate, sends the measure to the House for debate."

"McPherson filed the bill in response to actions by New Orleans area police who confiscated firearms from evacuees during Hurricane Katrina. He said that the federal and state constitutions recognize the right of citizens to bear arms and that a hurricane or an evacuation from a natural disaster or emergency does not eliminate that right." ...
 

UT: Lehi officers justified in shooting ex-cop
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Two Lehi police officers who returned fire at a former officer in January, striking him in the knee and foot, were justified in their use of deadly force, the Utah County attorney has determined."

"A statement released Tuesday by Utah County Attorney Kay Bryson says no criminal charges will be pursued for the actions of officers Tim Hunsaker and David Boss."

"On Jan. 27, Art Henderson, a former Lehi policeman, was in his pickup truck en route to the home of his estranged wife, Natalie Henderson, when he saw a vehicle she owned. Her boyfriend, Craig Trimble, was driving, and she was a passenger." ...
 

NY: Ex-Finest 'Guns Down' Former Cop
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"An ex-NYPD detective went berserk following a fit of road rage on Staten Island last night, unleashing a hail of bullets that killed a retired hero cop and wounded his trusty work dog, authorities said."

"Steve Vitale, who once headed the Port Authority Police Department's canine unit - which helped recover bodies from the World Trade Center bombing in 1993 - was shot in front of his horrified wife."

"Vitale died at Staten Island University Hospital shortly after 6:45 p.m. as SWAT teams surrounded the Springville house of the alleged shooter, former Manhattan Detective Allen Lau of the 17th Precinct." ...
 

WA: Fort Lewis soldier pleads guilty to stealing military equipment
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"One of 10 Fort Lewis soldiers charged with stealing thousands of dollars worth of military equipment and selling it pleaded guilty during a court-martial Monday."

"Staff Sgt. Arthur O. Smith pleaded guilty to 25 counts of unauthorized sale of government property, one count of failure to obey order and one count of obstruction of justice." ...

"The men are accused of stealing and selling more than $120,000 worth of Meals Ready to Eat, Gore-tex jackets and trousers, knives and tool sets, bullets, blank ammunition, chemical light sticks, sun goggles, rifle cleaning kits, Camelbak hydration packs, GPS devices, a smoke grenade and other items." ...
 

NY: Casanova Cop Shot By [Cop] Wife
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A retired NYPD officer with a reputation for philandering was stalked and then ambushed yesterday by his estranged cop wife, who pulled alongside his car on a Brooklyn street and repeatedly shot him, law-enforcement sources said."

"Within hours, authorities apprehended 70th Precinct Officer Alison Jamison ... on suspicion that she tried to kill her Don Juan hubby, Todd Jamison in a jealous rage, sources said." ...

"Law-enforcement sources say Alison tailed Todd, 43, in a rental car ... pulled up next to him and let loose with several rounds from her 9 mm service pistol, blowing out her own passenger-side window in the process. The off-duty cop drove off - only to make a U-turn and allegedly shoot at him again." ...
 

FL: Deputy and Girlfriend Dead in Murder-Suicide
Submitted by: H2economy

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"A Volusia Country, Florida, sheriff’s deputy and his girlfriend were found dead Monday morning in an apparent murder-suicide. Police discovered the bodies after responding to a report of a disturbance. On arriving at 5:40 am, they found the bodies of Ronald Vachon, 24, and Kendra Early, 24, in Vachon's apartment. Investigators said Vachon and Early both had wounds consistent with being shot and said they were treating the scene as a murder-suicide."

"Vachon was a police officer with the Daytona Beach Police Department for three years before being hired by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office in Feb. He was enrolled in the sheriff's office's training program for newly-hired deputies. ..."
 

TX: Harris County prosecutor's upbraiding of jurors over a not guilty verdict was unprofessional and unjust
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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... "Rene Villalobos Velez, 29, had been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after shooting a merchant in the shin during a quarrel last year over the purchase of a mattress. Velez claimed self-defense ..." ...

"... [Prosecutor Doug Richards] said he expected jurors to honor their oath to uphold the law: 'I do stand by the fact that there's no way they could have been listening to the evidence in this case and still have reached the same verdict.' Richards is apparently under the impression that jurors cannot disagree with a prosecutor's judgment without violating their oath. If that were true, there would be no reason to have a jury system." ...
-------

Submitter's Note: Why do we need 'stand your ground' laws?
 

UK: 'Rambo' Jailed For Rifle Theft
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A MODEL soldier who went off the rails after going to Iraq was jailed for seven years yesterday for possessing a stolen rifle."

"Irish Guardsman James Piotrowski, 22, smuggled the SA80 assault rifle, stolen by a colleague, out of barracks and hid it in his mother's house."

"The defence claimed he had post-traumatic stress brought on by the first wave of attacks in 2003."

"The Colchester barracks military court was told he was judged best recruit - but then came Iraq. After seeing women and children 'shot to pieces' he began drinking to excess." ...

"Judge Jack Bayliss rejected the claim and threw Piotrowski out of the Army. He said: 'They are designed for one purpose and that is to kill.'"
 

New Zealand: Boy with toy gun sparks police raid
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Armed offenders squad members blocked a central Napier street and cordoned off a home after receiving a report of a youth brandishing a pistol yesterday."

"Acting Sergeant Ian Cheyne said Wellesley St was closed for about an hour after a member of the public reported seeing a youth waving a pistol at his head and pointing it under his chin ..."

"Mr Cheyne said the pistol turned out to be an imitation firearm and a boy, 13, received a shock when armed police wearing balaclavas arrived at his house." ...

"Meanwhile, about the same time in Hamilton, a youth allegedly pointed an imitation revolver at passing traffic in the central city."

"A youth, 18, was arrested and will face a charge of presenting an imitation firearm."
 

UK: 200 British military weapons missing
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"More than 200 British military weapons reportedly have been lost or stolen since 1997, raising security concerns in the country."

"Opposition Member of Parliament Stephen Crabb urged the government of Prime Minister Tony Blair to 'put its house in order,' reports the Independent."

"The loss came to light after a soldier was jailed by a military court for handling a stolen assault rifle, the report said."

"Speaking to the BBC, Crabb said, 'Heaven forbid that a British Army firearm goes missing and ends up being used in an armed assault, armed robbery, or even murder.'"

"A Ministry of Defense spokeswoman said 167 weapons had been recovered since 1997 although it was not known if all of them were from the 200 missing." ...
 

CA: Stepfather could face charges
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Police investigating the suicide of a middle-school student say the boy's stepfather could face criminal charges for allegedly not securing the rifle the boy used to kill himself."

"Anthony Soltero, 14, shot himself March 30. According to the family's attorney, the De Anza Middle School student was distraught after a vice principal threatened him with jail time and school discipline for protesting immigration-reform bill HR 4437."

"Police withheld the name of Anthony's stepfather because he has not been arrested or charged. Ontario police Lt. John Evans said the man kept the rifle in the family's garage. The weapon was not in a gun safe and had no locking device, Evans said." ...
 

PA: Women with guns
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"The chances of spotting a woman at a rod and gun club used to be a shot in the dark."

"But women who are buying memberships to local sportsmen's associations are right on target with state and national statistics."

According to Jerry Feaser of the Pennsylvania Game Commission, female enrollment in state hunter and trapper courses has steadily increased over the past five years." ...

"The game commission has a handful of new women wildlife conservation officers, Pennsylvania State Police and FBI are promoting the employment of women and more women are discovering that hunting is an enjoyable outdoor family activity." ...
 

PA: York County Woman Found Guilty of Harassing Hunters
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Pennsylvania Game Commission officials today announced that Nancy Lee Lauro, 50, of Hanover, York County, was found guilty of interfering with five lawful hunters during the 2005 regular rifle deer season. The hearing ... resulted in Lauro being ordered to pay a $500 fine. ..."

"On Nov. 28, the first day of the 2005 regular rifle deer season, Lauro confronted five hunters ... and knowingly interfered with their hunt on numerous occasions during the day. The five hunters were on land where they had permission to hunt, were properly licensed and were wearing the required amount of fluorescent orange. Under the Game and Wildlife Code, it is unlawful to knowingly or intentionally interfere with lawful hunting and furtaking." ...
 

OR: Spring shooting — good practice for young hunters
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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... "We topped out on a ridge and stopped for a moment to shade our eyes, looking east. Everywhere we saw mounds made by ground squirrels. From each mound, trails radiated out into the greenery like spokes from a wheel. And there, a little varmint, on his haunches, 7 inches tall, silhouetted against last year's grass."

"Belding's ground squirrels (also called sage rats), without crops cultivated by humans, do not grow out of balance. ... But in an alfalfa field everything changes. Food is so plentiful that they don't have anything left to work at except multiplication. ..."

"This was Jason's first hunt. ... He'd shot a BB gun before, but this was his first experience with a 22 rifle." ...
 

UK: Bond gun hidden in teen's room
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"CRIMINALS converted a fake James Bond style gun into a working firearm so it would fire bullets."

"An illegal gunsmith in Liverpool altered an imitation Walther PPK pistol, the firearm carried by the fictional spy, to allow it to be used as a deadly weapon."

"Now a teenager is beginning a five-year jail term after he admitted storing the gun for a friend."

"Police raided the home of Carl Taylor on November 11 last year after getting a tipoff that the 18-year-old had been handling weapons for offenders." ...
 

Jamaica: Perilous re-licensing procedures
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"BECAUSE OF the numerous, very serious concerns that many people expressed to me, three years ago I publicised the dangers that renewing firearm licences pose. I hope that it will not take something catastrophic for things to change."

"The newly commissioned Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) has taken over the issuing and renewal of firearm licenses. The FLA was established because of the corrupt practices of some unscrupulous police who either extorted money to perform their firearm licensing duties or sold licences to people who didn't qualify (including criminals)."

"As usual, the many innocent will have to pay the price for the sins of the few. ..." ...
 

UK: Couple In Gun Terror
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"A TERRIFIED couple were held at gunpoint in an exclusive Sheffield suburb when three armed men fired shots into their home and forced their way inside."

"The husband and wife, in their 30s, were getting ready for bed when two shots shattered their bedroom window and three men climbed in."

"One of the men pointed a gun, believed to be a pistol, at the couple while his accomplices ransacked the room looking for valuables."

"The gang escaped with a haul of flat-screen TVs and a cache of jewellery worth a 'substantial amount'."

"They fled in the couple's silver BMW X5, which was parked on the driveway and later found on Woofinden Avenue, Nether Green." ...
 

Ireland: Government committed to tackling crime head on
Submitted by: Bruce W. Krafft

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"Last week amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill were debated in the Dáil. The Bill is a response by this Government to the emergence of a new type of crime and a new type criminal. The Bill will do this by tackling the changing nature of criminality ..."

"A gun amnesty is to be introduced which will allow all those who have a gun to hand it in without facing questions from the police. Unwanted or discarded guns have a habit of ending up in the hands of the wrong people so it is important that we remove that threat. A similar amnesty in Britain in 2003 was extremely successful with over 43,000 guns and other offensive weapons handed in by members of the public. ..." ...
 

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