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Thread: Hardy, VA Man Arrested for Carrying a Gun Across School Property While Hunting

  1. #1
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    Hardy, VA Man Arrested for Carrying a Gun Across School Property While Hunting

    http://www.wset.com/Global/story.asp?S=14271995

    The old boy probably didnt even think twice about it having done it all of his life, but I could be wrong. Let's see if the federal government wants to make a fight of this. I honestly hope the old man fights these dopey laws.

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    Regular Member The Wolfhound's Avatar
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    I heard the Attorney General.....

    .....say that there can be no crime without intent. It was on another topic in an interview on WRVA with Doc Thompson. Where, oh where, is the intent? Once again a stupid and illconsidered law makes a felon of someone who had no intention of commiting a crime. I hope he fights it.

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    Hey guys, I've been lurking here quite a while (too lazy to make a profile) but according to The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1995 I've read that it is legal to walk on school grounds with a firearm as a means to get to/from hunting grounds.

    here's where it says (it's halfway down the page)
    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/44/922

    (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while
    traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to
    public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school
    premises is authorized by school authorities.

    I'm not sure this will affect anything because of the lack of authorization on the schools behalf, but it's a nifty thing to know.

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    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man_Slayer View Post
    Hey guys, I've been lurking here quite a while (too lazy to make a profile) but according to The Gun Free School Zones Act of 1995 I've read that it is legal to walk on school grounds with a firearm as a means to get to/from hunting grounds.

    here's where it says (it's halfway down the page)
    http://codes.lp.findlaw.com/uscode/18/I/44/922

    (vii) that is unloaded and is possessed by an individual while
    traversing school premises for the purpose of gaining access to
    public or private lands open to hunting, if the entry on school
    premises is authorized by school authorities.

    I'm not sure this will affect anything because of the lack of authorization on the schools behalf, but it's a nifty thing to know.
    I think he was charged under state law.

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    That's useful info Man_Slayer. If nothing else this addresses my interest in the federal pursuit of this man.

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    The 'Press Release' from the Franklin County Sheriffs Office.

    http://www.franklincountyva.gov/frco...y-gap-lockdown
    FRANKLIN COUNTY SHERIFF’S OFFICE PRESS RELEASE
    The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Hardy man Thursday morning after he walked across a grassy area at the entrance to Windy Gap Elementary School with a shotgun.

    Dwight Evans Griffin, 79, of Hardy, who lives in front of the elementary school, is charged with possession of a firearm on school property, according to Franklin County Sheriff Ewell Hunt.

    Windy Gap Elementary was on lockdown after Principal Brenda Hopkins contacted the Sheriff’s Office at 8:44 a.m. to report that a man dressed in camouflage clothing and carrying a shotgun was walking across the soccer field in front of the school.

    Twenty deputies, including the Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team, and three State Police Troopers responded to the call, along with public safety personnel, Hunt said.

    Griffin was arrested without incident, Hunt said. Griffin told investigators he was rabbit hunting and walked across the school’s driveway and the edge of a grassy area, which borders his back yard, to reach the gate at the back of his property.

    “After thorough investigation, we do not believe Mr. Griffin had any malicious intent,” Hunt said. “He simply used poor judgment.”

    No injuries were reported and the school reopened after law enforcement and public safety personnel cleared the scene at 9:25 a.m.

    By: Sheriff Ewell A. Hunt
    Franklin County Sheriff’s Office

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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    If that's the case, he never should have been charged. Where is common sense in America anymore?!
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODA 226 View Post
    If that's the case, he never should have been charged. Where is common sense in America anymore?!

    Too many people are sitting on it and as always, it stinks.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training.” Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    An interesting read regarding the Sheriff.....

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/236505

    While the entire article is an interesting read..... this paragraph is particularly interesting:
    Sheriff Hunt is scheduled for a jury trial on the record-keeping charge March 23. If convicted, he faces a maximum one-year jail sentence and $2,500 fine. State law says the circuit court, if petitioned by voters, may remove a sheriff from office for neglect of duty, misuse of office or incompetence.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blk97F150 View Post
    An interesting read regarding the Sheriff.....

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/236505

    While the entire article is an interesting read..... this paragraph is particularly interesting:
    Which has what to do with the guy getting charged? All I see/smell is a red herring.

    I'm still trying to understand why the guy could not stay on his own property to get to the gate. Unfortunately, Google Earth does not show the school/

    stay safe.

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    I'm a little torn on this one...on one hand, I can see how a random man walking behind a school with a shotgun could incite panic. I am in no way, shape, or form a supporter of the extreme nature of the Gun Free School Zone Act, but I also don't think this was OK either.

    However, he is elderly. Gun laws are complex, convoluted, and contradictory, even for those who are well versed in internet research. This story reminded me A LOT of this..

    74-year-old San Jose man arrested for carrying firearm near school

    After his brothers watched a newscast about the national movement to carry guns in public, they told Sherman "Tony" Fontano he could do that himself. Two San Jose police officers also said it would be OK.

    So this week, Fontano, 74, put his unloaded .357 Magnum into his waistband and took a walk with his girlfriend.

    But he was soon surrounded by police who had their own guns drawn. Unfortunately, nobody had mentioned it is against the law in California to walk with a firearm near your neighborhood school.

    "I just can't see what I did wrong," Fontano told the Mercury News on Thursday. "I'm not a member of anything. I'm not political. I just wish the cops would have told me not to carry it near a school. This was all a total mistake."

    Fontano was arrested Monday after he and his girlfriend took a shortcut through a field at Allen at Steinbeck School. A parent spotted the gun-toting retiree and called police.

    Fontano finds himself caught up in a national controversy known as the "Open Carry Movement," whose supporters have been trying to convince the public that carrying a pistol in public is as normal as carrying a pen.

    John Pierce, one of the co-founders of www.opencarry.org, said the law used to arrest Fontano is one of many arbitrary statutes that violate the constitutional right to bear arms. He didn't know about Fontano's arrest until called for a comment Thursday, but he said
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    he supports Fontano and people like him.

    But San Jose police Sgt. Ronnie Lopez said Fontano's actions created a dangerous situation, adding police always take reports of a firearm near a school very seriously.

    "It's just not wise to carry a weapon around," Lopez said. "It could lead to a tragic outcome."

    Fontano, who could face a felony charge, is out of custody and is scheduled to appear in court on Dec. 28. The district attorney is reviewing the case and no charges have been filed, according to spokeswoman Amy Cornell.

    With some exceptions in California — including if you're near a school, are a felon or high on drugs — people can openly carry unloaded guns. If you want to carry a concealed weapon in California, you need a permit.

    Fontano can't believe the fuss his morning walk with his never-been-fired Magnum has caused.

    "It's a nice looking gun to put in your showcase," he said "So, this here thing has blown me away."

    Fontano describes himself as an Obama-supporting Republican who grew up hunting for food in Texas to feed a family of eight brothers and four sisters.

    His 63-year-old girlfriend, Deanna Leos, says Fontano's brothers were talking to him about a newscast they recently saw about the open carry movement, and told him it was perfectly OK to carry his unloaded Magnum. About a month ago, Fontano said he stopped two police officers specifically to ask them if he could carry his unloaded gun, and they told him it was fine. He says no one ever mentioned the school exception.

    Leos is "horrified" and "humiliated" at what happened. "They all jumped out at us and pulled their guns like they were going to shoot us," she said.

    She remembers warning Fontano not to take their morning walk with the gun.

    "I was against it," she said. "But Tony wanted to prove his point. I thought this might open a can of worms."
    http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stori...nclick_check=1
    That's the link to the story, however it is a few years old and was archived, so they want money to access it. I copy/pasted this from a forum discussion. The Fontano case was even more ridiculous than this one, in my opinion.

    I can understand that these men, who are elderly, would lack the means and knowledge to appropriately adhere to firearm legislation. Both cases have involved gross overreactions from LEO. However, I'm not sure that I completely disagree with these men being arrested. Charged I have an issue with, arrested maybe not. I do not agree with many of these laws, I think they're complex, they often contradict themselves, unclear, unjust, and oftentimes unconstitutional. But I don't think that gives us a right to pick and choose which ones are enforced, regardless of their question validity. I hear it time and time again from open carriers, law enforcement doesn't know the law, ignorance is no excuse, its their job to know. That goes both ways, and if you're going to carry a firearm, YOUR job is to do so safely and within the limits of the law. But I don't think this man should be charged, especially since many LEOs DON'T know the law.

    Plenty of us have called our local enforcement agency with an open carry question and been given incorrect information. Heck, unless you're an ardent supporter of gun rights, there's a good chance you'll lack a sufficient knowledge of gun laws in your state. I met a soldier from California this evening, owns numerous firearms, has a North Carolina CHP, carries all the time. He had absolutely no idea that open carry of an unloaded firearm is legal in California. What should be done is two things: revamping of gun control laws so that they are no longer so ambiguous and open to interpretation...when it comes to something like a firearm the last thing I want determining how an encounter with an LEO ends is his mood and interpretation of a statute.

    Secondly, mass education needs to occur on these laws. If there was a way to make every firearm owner and LEO take a course every year or few years on all firearm laws that apply to their location, without creating a weapons registry, that would be amazing. I suppose not even mandating it would be necessary, because forcing it still won't stop the stupid. It could be mandated for ALL LEOs annually, and offered to civilians FOR FREE through different mediums: in person, online, handbook. And we could *gasp* ensure individuals KNEW about these classes. Firing ranges and gun stores could hand out information pamphlets to their customers, television, newspaper. I wish I could take one, jeez, swimming through a mountain of federal and state firearm statutes is exhausting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Which has what to do with the guy getting charged? All I see/smell is a red herring.

    I'm still trying to understand why the guy could not stay on his own property to get to the gate. Unfortunately, Google Earth does not show the school/

    stay safe.
    Character/integrity of the sheriff (or lack of...).

    Mapquest has it. Try this:
    http://mapq.st/gViQeJ

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by x3atthis View Post
    since many LEOs DON'T know the law.
    Now, where is the REAL contradiction?

    Law enforcement is not qualified to dispense legal advice, meaning they cannot tell you what a law means or how to go about abiding it.

    Yet they are tasked with enforcing those laws, making split-second decisions which can have lasting and many times negative consequences for those they rashly judge,

    Law itself is a conundrum.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
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    Remember to Vote in November and maybe we can change some of the laws that make criminals out of people going about their daily business with no criminal intent!

    Gun laws around schools are a pet pieve of mine. The only rule around or in schools should be if someone is showing criminal intent!

    It is curious that the federal GFSZ hasn't come into play here. I would love someone to challenge it in court. Then again if they never charge anyone with it they can use it to scare "law abiding citizens" from carrying at/around schools. Funny, it doesn't seem to scare criminals.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blk97F150 View Post
    Character/integrity of the sheriff (or lack of...).

    Mapquest has it. Try this:
    http://mapq.st/gViQeJ
    Thanks for the link showing the school. Still confused about why he had to cut across the school soccer field, but it's not important. He thought it was.

    Unless you know that the Sheriff set out to arrest him on a bogus charge, I still don't see what one thing has to do with another. And I doubt it was the sheriff who said the magic words ("You're under arrest") and put the cuffs on him. Still say it's a red herring you threw out there.

    stay safe.

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    Regular Member Neplusultra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Wolfhound View Post
    .....say that there can be no crime without intent. It was on another topic in an interview on WRVA with Doc Thompson. Where, oh where, is the intent? Once again a stupid and illconsidered law makes a felon of someone who had no intention of commiting a crime. I hope he fights it.
    Where did you hear him say this? I'd like to read or listen to it myself.....

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by 45acpForMe View Post
    It is curious that the federal GFSZ hasn't come into play here.
    GFSZ is a federal law and local police are generally uninterested in enforcing/acknowledging federal law unless a serious crime is committed.

    Federal crimes, I believe, are investigated by the FBI, not local municipalities.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylde007 View Post
    Now, where is the REAL contradiction?

    Law enforcement is not qualified to dispense legal advice, meaning they cannot tell you what a law means or how to go about abiding it.

    Yet they are tasked with enforcing those laws, making split-second decisions which can have lasting and many times negative consequences for those they rashly judge,

    Law itself is a conundrum.
    Police officers are NOT "Law Enforcement"! Their responsibility is to present a person "suspect" of committing a crime to a Judge who "enforces" the law.
    Bitka Sve Rešava!
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    Guy lives right down the road from me. The school was built behind a row of houses that were built years ago. The road leading to the school runs beside his property and wraps behind it. About 500 yards down the road is the Roanoke Rifle Range.

    I thought the field and track that is behind his property was a park like area and not part of the school. That would have been ehat he was on.

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    I think that there is a conflict among the various statutes regulating hunting. (I'm assuming he was properly licensed at the time and that whatever he was hunting was in season.) Here's the statute containing the more specific language that applies to people who are lawfully hunting:

    § 29.1-527. Counties, cities or towns may prohibit hunting near public schools and county, city, town or regional parks.

    The governing body of any county, city or town may prohibit by ordinance, shooting or hunting with a firearm, or prohibit hunters from traversing an area while in possession of a loaded firearm, within 100 yards of any property line of a public school or a county, city, town or regional park. The governing body may, in such ordinance, provide that any violation thereof shall be a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall give any county, city or town the authority to enforce such an ordinance on lands within a national or state park or forest, or wildlife management area.

    So the question for me is whether the locality has an ordinance conforming to the statute. If not, I'd say this statute trumps the more general "thou shalt not" in 18.2, because specific controls over general.
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    I think that there is a conflict among the various statutes regulating hunting. (I'm assuming he was properly licensed at the time and that whatever he was hunting was in season.) Here's the statute containing the more specific language that applies to people who are lawfully hunting:

    § 29.1-527. Counties, cities or towns may prohibit hunting near public schools and county, city, town or regional parks.

    The governing body of any county, city or town may prohibit by ordinance, shooting or hunting with a firearm, or prohibit hunters from traversing an area while in possession of a loaded firearm, within 100 yards of any property line of a public school or a county, city, town or regional park. The governing body may, in such ordinance, provide that any violation thereof shall be a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall give any county, city or town the authority to enforce such an ordinance on lands within a national or state park or forest, or wildlife management area.

    So the question for me is whether the locality has an ordinance conforming to the statute. If not, I'd say this statute trumps the more general "thou shalt not" in 18.2, because specific controls over general.
    So this statute allows the governing body to create an exclusion zone 300ft wide within any private property that adjoins such public property?
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    I think that there is a conflict among the various statutes regulating hunting. (I'm assuming he was properly licensed at the time and that whatever he was hunting was in season.) Here's the statute containing the more specific language that applies to people who are lawfully hunting:

    § 29.1-527. Counties, cities or towns may prohibit hunting near public schools and county, city, town or regional parks.

    The governing body of any county, city or town may prohibit by ordinance, shooting or hunting with a firearm, or prohibit hunters from traversing an area while in possession of a loaded firearm, within 100 yards of any property line of a public school or a county, city, town or regional park. The governing body may, in such ordinance, provide that any violation thereof shall be a Class 4 misdemeanor. Nothing in this section shall give any county, city or town the authority to enforce such an ordinance on lands within a national or state park or forest, or wildlife management area.

    So the question for me is whether the locality has an ordinance conforming to the statute. If not, I'd say this statute trumps the more general "thou shalt not" in 18.2, because specific controls over general.
    Well the Municicode link for Bedford County is broken, of course, so after some ridiculous digging...

    http://www.dgif.state.va.us/hunting/...ordinances.pdf

    The following counties and cities have regulations concerning the use and transportation of firearms. The number or numbers following
    that county name indicate the regulations listed below for that particular county. In addition, certain counties have ordinances other than
    those listed, primarily pertaining to possession of firearms near parks or schools, hunting or discharging firearms near populated areas,
    residences, or buildings and age limitations for possession of loaded firearms on public roads. If a locality is not listed, state firearms
    restrictions apply (see Legal Use of Firearms and Archery Equipment).
    Hardy, as well as Bedford County, are absent from the list. So under that clause, he was within the limits of the law.

  23. #23
    Regular Member wylde007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODA 226 View Post
    Police officers are NOT "Law Enforcement"! Their responsibility is to present a person "suspect" of committing a crime to a Judge who "enforces" the law.
    Our definitions of "enforce" are on different planes, mate!

    If I am seized, I have been forced upon. Yes, police issue arrests/summonses on suspicion of violation, but they are given enough leeway to determine on their own what they "suspect" to BE a violation.

    That gives them an awful lot of authority right off the bat in my opinion...
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
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    Regular Member ODA 226's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wylde007 View Post
    Our definitions of "enforce" are on different planes, mate!

    If I am seized, I have been forced upon. Yes, police issue arrests/summonses on suspicion of violation, but they are given enough leeway to determine on their own what they "suspect" to BE a violation.

    That gives them an awful lot of authority right off the bat in my opinion...
    The term "Law Enforcement Officer" is very much like the term "Homophobic"...they both sound catchy, but have no basis in fact. Police Officers were once labeled as "Peace Officers". A police officer cannot sentence you to jail, they must bring you to a judge who then "enforces" the law.

    While an officer may have "leeway" as you alude to, a magistrate determines if there is enough evidence to remand a suspect to jail. Again, it is the magistrate, NOT the police officer that "enforces" the law.

    Homophobic literally means "fear of the same" so if you're straight, it means that you are afraid of other straight men and NOT afraid of homosexuals.

    The term "Law Enforcement Officer" was a term created as the militarization of US police forces took place in the late 1980's.
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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by ODA 226 View Post
    The term "Law Enforcement Officer" was a term created as the militarization of US police forces took place in the late 1980's.
    "Check" to that.

    I know that municipal police were instituted as "peace officers" but indeed their purpose, their intent and the execution of their duties has degraded to more of a mercenary revenuer than servant of the People and the law.

    However, a police officer can submit under the authority of the badge that a citizen has committed a crime and, more often than not, it is his word against that of the citizen. The cop is almost always given the greater benefit of the doubt by the courts and citizens then must convince that court of their innocence rather than the cop convince the court of their guilt - at least very much in the short term.
    The quiet war has begun, with silent weapons
    And the newest slavery is to keep the people poor, and stupid
    Novos ordo seclorum ~ Mustaine

    Never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

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