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Thread: Gun laws take the limelight in Wild West park shooting case

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  2. #2
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    I hate local news that gives no clue where it's located.

    I finally found the customer contact page that shows this paper is in New Jersey.



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    Regular Member compmanio365's Avatar
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    I hate it when people post a blind link without so much as the barest hint of what it contains. Post a summary or something; this isn't Twitter for gods sakes.

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    http://www.dailyrecord.com/article/2...SFRONTCAROUSEL

    The owner of the Wild West City theme park where a cowboy actor was accidentally shot three years ago has argued in court papers that he and his employees didn't need permits to carry handguns on his property.

    A Sussex County assistant prosecutor countered in a court filing last week that such an argument would mean anyone working at Wal-Mart and ShopRite also would be allowed to carry firearms.

    "Defendant, in essence, is advocating a return to the 'Law West of the Pecos' made famous by saloon keeper and Justice of the Peace Roy Bean," Sussex County assistant prosecutor Greg Mueller wrote in court papers.

    The arguments were related to an attempt by theme park owner Mike Stabile to have criminal charges against him dismissed, with a hearing on the matter scheduled for March 24 in Superior Court in Sussex County.

    Stabile, two corporations and a manager have been indicted on a variety of charges stemming from the July 7, 2006, shooting of Scott Harris, now 40, of Netcong. Among them are aggravated assault, transferring handguns to juveniles, violating laws meant to protect the public, and carrying handguns without a permit.

    A 17-year-old cowboy actor, believing his gun to be loaded with blanks, shot Harris in the forehead during a skit at the Byram theme park. Law enforcement officials have since barred the theme park from using real weapons in their skits.

    Stabile has asked for most, but not all, of the charges to be dismissed.

    His most recent filing did not address the prosecutor's charge that he hindered the investigation by waiting a week before providing authorities with bullets brought to the park by an actor. Authorities said he failed to produce that evidence even as they searched for bullets.

    The parties appeared close to a plea agreement last year, based on statements made in court, but none materialized. Now, the case may face delays as Stabile's attorney, Robert Bonney, has filed a request to be relieved as counsel. Bonney is the second attorney to represent Stabile in the matter.

    (2 of 2)
    In a motion filed with the court, Bonney asked for his certification in support of that motion to be sealed, writing that it "may be prejudicial to my client." Bonney did not return phone calls last week. Stabile did not respond to a request to be interviewed but did issue a prepared statement through his publicist, Dan Hirshberg.

    "Robert Bonney is a competent attorney," the statement said. "We appreciate everything he has done. He has done a good job up until this point."

    Bonney argued in court papers that Stabile is not responsible for the shooting partly because he had no way of knowing one of his actors violated park rules by bringing real bullets onto the premises. He alleges that law enforcement officials didn't properly instruct the grand jury in several areas and that one of the charges, violating a law designed to ensure public safety, is so vague that it's unconstitutional.
    He also argues that juveniles are allowed to carry firearms when supervised by someone holding a firearms purchaser identification card, and that the law doesn't prohibit carrying guns on private property.

    Mueller countered that the juvenile was not supervised, and was alone when he mistakenly loaded his gun with real bullets in an area called the Opera House. A candy dish that usually contained blanks was empty, Mueller said in court papers, so the juvenile went into the unlocked gun case of another actor, Adalberto Morales, who brought bullets to the park, apparently without anyone's knowledge.

    Mueller also wrote that an exemption for carrying handguns on private property doesn't extend to employees. And while Stabile had a rule against real bullets at the park, Mueller argued, he didn't enforce it. During grand jury testimony, which has been filed in court, law enforcement officials say someone brought bullets to Wild West City on at least one other occasion and used them for target shooting. Morales told law enforcement authorities he was unaware of the rule, and had been bringing real bullets to the park for a month.

    "That means a tragedy finally occurred after defendant failed roughly 30 times to remove the hazard," Mueller wrote.

    Mueller also said in court papers that it appears Stabile knew a permit was required to carry handguns, even on his property. He cited a document signed at Wild West City by the 17-year-old actor, writing that it "instructed the juvenile that he would need a 'pistol permit.'"

    Stabile has said he has rules against pointing guns directly at anyone during skits. Mueller said actors were told to point in the general direction of other actors to add realism, a requirement stipulated in a document they signed. Mueller has said that's a violation of state law.

    "This would, necessarily, require the actors to point their firearms in the direction of another actor, and the general public," Mueller wrote.

    Both Morales and the 17-year-old previously agreed to plea bargains that included all charges being dropped after a probationary period.

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    compmanio365 wrote:
    I hate it when people post a blind link without so much as the barest hint of what it contains. Post a summary or something; this isn't Twitter for gods sakes.
    I thought "Gun laws take the limelight in Wild West park shooting case" constituted a decent hint.



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