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Thread: Smithfield Woman Charged Armed To The Terror Of the Public

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    Smithfield Woman Charged Armed To The Terror Of the Public

    I found a newspaper article in the Smithfield Herald today that a woman was charged GATTOTP after she took out her 22 caliber rifle out of her car to stop a public street fight. Who ever wrote this article states that it is illegal to carry guns or any other deadly weapons in the state of NC. She was released after paying her bond and has to goto court. Anyone else know about this?
    Last edited by madcitysw; 06-03-2012 at 11:16 PM.

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    Regular Member Medic1210's Avatar
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    Link would be nice. Sounds like GATTOTP isn't the right charge, but rather should be charged with brandishing a firearm.
    Last edited by Medic1210; 06-03-2012 at 11:15 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medic1210 View Post
    Link would be nice
    Well I found it in the newspaper, but I did find the link.

    http://www.theherald-nc.com/2012/06/...al-charge.html
    Last edited by madcitysw; 06-03-2012 at 11:16 PM.

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    Campaign Veteran MAC702's Avatar
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    This was an interesting bit:
    Police say they seldom charge anyone with “going armed to the terror of the public.”
    How much is "seldom" and what were their circumstances? Not being from your area, I've heard of the charge, but may have missed where else it has been used, rightly or (more probably) not...
    Last edited by MAC702; 06-03-2012 at 11:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAC702 View Post
    This was an interesting bit:

    How much is "seldom" and what were their circumstances? Not being from your area, I've heard of the charge, but may have missed where else it has been used, rightly or (more probably) not...
    I heard of this charged before, but I not too sure about this area since I moved here a couple years ago. I guessing Smithfield don't have too many problems with guns that much. You would think they do since Selma is bad area to live lol.

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    Regular Member J_Oliver's Avatar
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    IANAL, but...

    By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a marmer to cause terror to others. The N.C. Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense.

    The reasons it will/will not stick:

    1) By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himse/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon.

    - The N.C. Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Check.

    2) For the purposes of terrifying others.

    - I believe using it to scare people into not fighting qualifies. Check.

    3) AND go about on public highways in a marmer to cause terror to others.

    - Now what a minute. I thought she was in front of her house? Because if this is the case, I'm pretty sure the absense of this will render this charge null and void.

    Was it right of her to do? No. Would it have been if someones head was being pummeled into the pavement? Yes. However, this wasn't specified and since the report said everyone involved in the altercation fled the scene, I'm assuming nobody was in immediate danger.

    End rant...

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    If the comment in the linked article regarding the Attorney General's office stating it was "unclear" on what would justify this charge is accurate then it would seem to me that one charged could argue "unconstituional" based upon vagueness. After all if the States top law enforcement official isn't clear on what would justify a charge then it certainly isn't written in a NON VAGUE manner.
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    Quote Originally Posted by J_Oliver View Post
    Would it have been [right] if someones head was being pummeled into the pavement? Yes.
    Oh come ON! Everyone knows that having one's head pummeled into the pavement does not justify shooting someone! After all, the assailant is unarmed. You can't shoot an unarmed assailant even if he is pounding your head into the pavement. That isn't a life or death situation. Didn't you learn ANYTHING from the fracas in Florida?


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    Regular Member J_Oliver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruger View Post
    Oh come ON! Everyone knows that having one's head pummeled into the pavement does not justify shooting someone! After all, the assailant is unarmed. You can't shoot an unarmed assailant even if he is pounding your head into the pavement. That isn't a life or death situation. Didn't you learn ANYTHING from the fracas in Florida?


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    I almost spit my coffee out reading this. I would add if they're unarmed and wearing a hoodie, but you know how vague these things can be....

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    I think I can agree with you that you shouldn't be pointing a gun at a group of people that are fighting in the street to try and stop it. But I think she should had just call the police. But ain't it the same way if the police came along and points his gun at the people fighting on the street to try and stop it????

    Quote Originally Posted by J_Oliver View Post
    IANAL, but...

    By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a marmer to cause terror to others. The N.C. Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense.

    The reasons it will/will not stick:

    1) By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himse/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon.

    - The N.C. Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Check.

    2) For the purposes of terrifying others.

    - I believe using it to scare people into not fighting qualifies. Check.

    3) AND go about on public highways in a marmer to cause terror to others.

    - Now what a minute. I thought she was in front of her house? Because if this is the case, I'm pretty sure the absense of this will render this charge null and void.

    Was it right of her to do? No. Would it have been if someones head was being pummeled into the pavement? Yes. However, this wasn't specified and since the report said everyone involved in the altercation fled the scene, I'm assuming nobody was in immediate danger.

    End rant...

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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    the main concern for me is if this sticks or she pleads guilty than the rest of us in NC will be charged readily for it also
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

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    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    OK, here we go...

    As the "unofficial resident expert" on GAttTotP in NC, I'll weigh in on this one.

    First of all, GAttTotP is almost NEVER filed as a "stand-alone" charge. It is almost ALWAYS used as a "piling-on" charge, when someone has done something else with a firearm that is egregiously stupid, dangerous or criminal, and involves being in a vehicle or walking on a public road.

    Second, NC has no "Brandishing" charge on the books. You CANNOT be charged with "brandishing" in NC, because such an offense is not defined or prohibited under the law. We DO have "Assault with a deadly weapon", "pointing a gun" and a few other charges that involve pointing a gun at someone in a menacing way, but there is NO SUCH THING as a "brandishing" violation under NC law. (This is why LEOs and DAs use the GAttTotP violation in weapons-related assault cases...)

    Third, it is, in fact, illegal to carry a loaded long gun in a vehicle in NC if it is accessible from the passenger compartment, AND it is "concealed". As far as I can find, there is no statutory prohibition on loaded long gun transport in a vehicle if it is in plain view. But on the floor, behind/under the seat, or under a blanket will get you in trouble.

    So now that we know these things, let's see what this woman did...

    She had a loaded long gun in her car. It is not known how or where it was stored in her vehicle, so we cannot make a call based on this story whether or not she was in violation of NC's CC statutes...

    She witnessed a fight, and decided she was going to go all "RoboCop" on them. She then retrieved her rifle (which we don't even know was loaded or not, because no shots were reported fired), and pointed it at the people in the fight to persuade them to stop.

    So is she guilty of GAttTotP? Depends...

    Did she walk with the gun on the street, or a public roadway? If she remained on private property while she was waving her gun around, then GAttTotP is NOT applicable, regardless of how "terrifying" her actions were.

    It DOES, however, sound like she is guilty of "assault with a deadly weapon", which is a MUCH more serious crime, but requires a victim to testify that they were personally assaulted. From the sound of it, the people in the fight are not the sort of people who would willingly cooperate with police, so I doubt anyone will file an assault charge against this woman.

    So the only real option that the police have is to toss a GAttTotP charge at her and see if they can get it to stick.

    I hope she gets a decent lawyer. If they make this one stick, it sets a VERY bad precedent in NC, and could allow the police to levy GAttTotP charges at ANYONE who some random person says was waving a gun around--which could include ANY deranged, lying "anti" who wanted to ruin the day of a lawful OCer...

    Good luck on this one, folks.

    It sounds like this woman is probably too stupid and ignorant to be trusted with anything more dangerous than a plastic butter knife. Unfortunately, she will probably get represented by a public defender, and will most likely be convicted of the GAttTotP charge. As much as she DESERVES to be charged with SOMETHING and punished for her stupidity, there are potentially long-ranging ramifications to such a conviction that could make things a little dicey for OCers in NC, if they have contact with aggressive, psycho "antis" who are willing to file false claims against them.

    This does not bode well...
    Last edited by Dreamer; 06-04-2012 at 11:46 PM.
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    Put very well as usual.

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    From the Smithfield Harold article posted above:

    "North Carolina law is unclear on whether “open carry” of weapons is legal in the state."

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    Regular Member Medic1210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyBoy276 View Post
    From the Smithfield Harold article posted above:



    Easily understood, because open carry isn't specifically listed from my understanding. The law is such that if it isn't stated as being against the law, it is allowed. That means for some, it's unclear, because they like to see something actually say it is allowed.

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    Regular Member sawah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dreamer View Post
    She had a loaded long gun in her car.
    There is nothing I saw that indicated it was a loaded gun.
    A firearm is a tool of convenience, not effectiveness - Clint Smith, Thunder Ranch

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    Quote Originally Posted by sawah View Post
    There is nothing I saw that indicated it was a loaded gun.
    I stand corrected.
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggression—and this is hogwash."
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    Regular Member papa bear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawah View Post
    There is nothing I saw that indicated it was a loaded gun.
    doesn't matter. nothing wrong with a gun in the car. loaded or unloaded

    i agree with dreamer, the probable is that. but it is unclear in NC wither that is with a loaded weapon or not
    Last edited by papa bear; 06-06-2012 at 12:46 PM.
    Luke 22:36 ; 36Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

    "guns are like a Parachute, if you don't have one when you need it, you will not need one again"
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    i you call a CHP a CCW then you are really stupid. period.

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    Where to start. First off people have already been convicted of GATTTOTP in this state so her being convicted will not create a legal precedent. I do know the State Supreme Court has ruled a holstered firearm is not GATTTOTP, State Vs. Huntley.

    With that out of the way, I still believe people should be charged, convicted and lose their firearms rights when they do stupid acts. The acts I deem stupid are warning shots, showing someone you are armed to claim your superiority and displaying an unholstered firearm to deter any potential unlawful acts that have not yet occurred are some of them.

    When I unholster my pistol or present my long gun I do it with the intent of discharging it to stop an immediate threat. Pulling out a rifle and pointing it at people to stop a particular action that is not life threatening and not intending to discharge that weapon should lead to charges.
    Last edited by NC-Heel; 06-06-2012 at 08:55 PM.

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    Regular Member sawah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC-Heel View Post
    With that out of the way, I still believe people should be charged, convicted and lose their firearms rights when they do stupid acts. The acts I deem stupid are warning shots, showing someone you are armed to claim your superiority and displaying an unholstered firearm to deter any potential unlawful acts that have not yet occurred are some of them.

    When I unholster my pistol or present my long gun I do it with the intent of discharging it to stop an immediate threat. Pulling out a rifle and pointing it at people to stop a particular action that is not life threatening and not intending to discharge that weapon should lead to charges.
    Though I agree with you, I think we are a LITTLE too harsh with people who do stupid acts with their firearms when those people probably did not harm anyone or really mean to harm someone. I know warning shots are bad, but no one dies as a result. I know brandishing is very bad, but here again, no one dies or is harmed. I'd like to see some discretion afforded to those who are truly afraid, but probably over-estimating the threat. I'm not advocating we create a culture of fear, but there are a lot of females, elderly, disabled people who are choosing to be armed and who sometimes are faced with situations where they need an intermediate remedy when backing up is not enough and shooting someone is too much.

    We allow LEOs to do a bit of brandishing, maybe we can re-think the penalties for a LAC doing so. Having said that, I'm dead set about doing those things when operating a motor vehicle - i.e. flashing your gun at other drivers to intimidate them should be dealt with harshly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NC-Heel
    I still believe people should be charged, convicted and lose their firearms rights when they do stupid acts.
    The acts I deem stupid are warning shots, showing someone you are armed to claim your superiority and displaying an unholstered firearm to deter any potential unlawful acts that have not yet occurred are some of them.
    When I unholster my pistol or present my long gun I do it with the intent of discharging it to stop an immediate threat.
    I disagree with that bolded part.
    I see displaying / having in-hand & pointing as 2 steps on the force continuum.
    The next step above pointing would be shooting.
    Any of those can stop an immediate threat, & I'd really prefer NOT to harm anyone.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MKEgal View Post
    I disagree with that bolded part.
    I see displaying / having in-hand & pointing as 2 steps on the force continuum.
    The next step above pointing would be shooting.
    Any of those can stop an immediate threat, & I'd really prefer NOT to harm anyone.
    That is where my thoughts differ. An immediate threat is one that can not be deterred only stopped. A threat can be deterred. Someone walking down the street toward you with a machete is only a threat to you and if you point a firearm at them to deter them you are now breaking the law not them. A man charging you with the same machete raised above his head is an immediate threat and needs to be stopped.

    Pointing a firearm at someone now makes you a threat to someone elses life and by law, as long as they are not committing a felony at the time, they have the right to defend themselves. I am not a police officer participating in a felony traffic stop. If I point my weapon at you there is a projectile coming your way.
    Last edited by NC-Heel; 06-06-2012 at 10:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sawah View Post
    Though I agree with you, I think we are a LITTLE too harsh with people who do stupid acts with their firearms when those people probably did not harm anyone or really mean to harm someone. I know warning shots are bad, but no one dies as a result. I know brandishing is very bad, but here again, no one dies or is harmed. I'd like to see some discretion afforded to those who are truly afraid, but probably over-estimating the threat. I'm not advocating we create a culture of fear, but there are a lot of females, elderly, disabled people who are choosing to be armed and who sometimes are faced with situations where they need an intermediate remedy when backing up is not enough and shooting someone is too much.

    We allow LEOs to do a bit of brandishing, maybe we can re-think the penalties for a LAC doing so. Having said that, I'm dead set about doing those things when operating a motor vehicle - i.e. flashing your gun at other drivers to intimidate them should be dealt with harshly.
    The police are allowed to do it way too much with no recourse but they are given credentials to identify themselves. LAC and bad guys both look alike. weapons should never be used as a deterrent. There is no way to define when pointing a weapon at someone is acceptable or not. Should a lady be able to walk out of a grocery store at night and point a pistol at everyone she sees on her way to her car because they scare her with their presence? That guy over there looks creepy let me draw my weapon just in case he tries something. These two guys are arguing over who was first in line, let me solve this problem with my gun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NC-Heel View Post
    That is where my thoughts differ. An immediate threat is one that can not be deterred only stopped. A threat can be deterred. Someone walking down the street toward you with a machete is only a threat to you and if you point a firearm at them to deter them you are now breaking the law not them. A man charging you with the same machete raised above his head is an immediate threat and needs to be stopped.

    Pointing a firearm at someone now makes you a threat to someone elses life and by law, as long as they are not committing a felony at the time, they have the right to defend themselves. I am not a police officer participating in a felony traffic stop. If I point my weapon at you there is a projectile coming your way.
    I think if I was walking down the street, depending on circumstances and saw a person with a machete, I'd draw and palm my firearm. Remember the Tueller Drill. I realize you're giving an example and yes, just having a machete or a chainsaw or any potential weapon does not rise to the level of 'gravest extreme'. In fact the most dangerous weapon on the streets is a car driven by a driver texting on their cell-phone and you can't solve that with a firearm, sadly.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sawah View Post
    I think if I was walking down the street, depending on circumstances and saw a person with a machete, I'd draw and palm my firearm. Remember the Tueller Drill. I realize you're giving an example and yes, just having a machete or a chainsaw or any potential weapon does not rise to the level of 'gravest extreme'. In fact the most dangerous weapon on the streets is a car driven by a driver texting on their cell-phone and you can't solve that with a firearm, sadly.
    Yeah, but we are talking about using a firearm as a deterrent not making it easier to bring into a gunfight. There have been many times I have made my concealed weapon easier to access due to a potential threat. As far as cars, that is the reason I carry a pistol chambered in 357Sig. It and 5.7 is the only defensive round that will consistently penetrate laminated automotive windshields and still have any energy left.
    Last edited by NC-Heel; 06-06-2012 at 11:31 PM.

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