Currently Browsing: Carrying / Self-Defense

Charges Dismissed: Podcaster Paul Lathrop Tells His Story

I had mentioned a while ago the Podcaster Paul Lathrop was in some legal trouble as a result of a false accusation. Mosey on over to the Handgun World Podcast to hear Paul Lathrop tell his story of being charged with a gun felony. Recently the charges have all been dismissed because the gas station the incident occurred at had video that disproved the accusers tall tale.

There are lessons to be learned here, so I think it’s worthwhile to listen. For those who just want a summary, my takeaway from it is:

  • Paul’s student driver gets under the skin of another truck driver for some perceived offense, and the other driver deliberately blocks them in.
  • Paul’s student driver flips the bird to the other driver, who then becomes enraged, gets out of his truck, and starts climbing up to the cab of Paul’s truck, at which point he informs the other driver that he’s armed. The other driver backs off. At no point was the gun brought out.
  • Both eventually depart the scene, but apparently the other driver called 911 with a tall tale about Paul getting out of his truck waving a big revolver around threatening to kill him.
  • Paul gets pulled over on the road and confronted by the Nebraska Patrol, who after taking him to the other driver to be identified arrest him. The gun he carries is a Glock 22, not a revolver. Prosecutor decides to charge terroristic threats, and possessing a firearm during the commission of a felony.
  • Paul’s attorney obtains surveillance video from the scene that shows the other driver’s story to be false. The other driver won’t appear in court and perjure himself, and the prosecutor drops the charges.

From my point of view, the lessons are this:

  • If you get into a confrontation with someone where a gun is introduced into the situation either physically or as a warning, the first person to call 911 is presumed to be the victim, and that person should be you. If you are threatened enough to inform someone you’re armed, in the hopes that the fellow backs off, you’re definitely in “call the police” territory as well. If you don’t feel that threatened, you shouldn’t be introducing a gun into the situation in any manner.
  • I’ve written a lot about carrying defensive spray if you carry a gun, because the legal system tends to frown upon shooting people, or threatening to shoot people, for being belligerent assholes. It’s very useful to have force options that you can employ early on in a confrontation that do not have the legal implications of deadly force. In the situation described by Paul, he was in reasonable fear that the person climbing up his cab intended to use unlawful force against him or his student, in which case it would be justified to employ spray, not just threaten to use it. The standard for using force (but not deadly force) is “the use of force upon or toward another person is justifiable when the actor believes that such force is immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself against the use of unlawful force by such other person on the present occasion.” (Nebraska 28-1409). Most states are going to be very similar. That’s a far lower standard than what is required for deadly force.

I’m surprised that the authorities didn’t become suspicious when the accuser said Paul was waving around a big revolver and the cops recovered a Glock 22. But the jurisdiction and prosecutor were apparently not gun friendly.

I’m glad he got the charges dismissed. Being falsely accused like that is a nightmare. Be careful out there folks, and if you end up in a confrontation with some jerk, be sure to cover your own ass by calling 911 and making sure the authorities know who the victim is.

Careful Out There

Tam relays a story about a homeowner shot by police, and draws a few lessons, the first of which is if you called the cops, don’t then go running around outside your house with a gun. Seems sensible enough. The second one is the money quote though:

If you are on the playing field when they show up and you hear “Drop the gun!” then you need to drop the gun. Seriously. Like it just turned white-hot. (This is a good reason to carry drop-safe pistols, BTW. I realize that carrying that 1904 Ruritanian army surplus Schnellblitzenselbstlader in 8.3mm semi-rimmed is really cool, but aren’t you going to feel funny getting shot twice when you drop it: Once in the junk by your own gun when it hits the ground ass-end first, and again in the gut by the responding officer because he’s startled by the gunshot?)

RTWT, as always, with apologizes to those who love their Schnellblitzenselbstladers.

Prof. Joe Olsen Expressed Concern About St. Anthony Police

This was prior to the Castile shooting:

Instead, the stop was so troubling that he later went to the then-St. Anthony police chief to tell him he may have a serious problem with how the department conducts traffic stops. But the chief, Olson said, dismissed his concern.

“I told him that if you don’t fix this, you’re going to have an even bigger problem,” Olson said. “And that’s apparently what happened.”

Read the whole thing. Joe Olsen is one of the academics responsible for the Heller and McDonald decisions, and has been a RKBA activist for a long time. Longer than I’ve been alive.

Superior Court Rules No Weapons on School Property

Some unfortunate news from Pennsylvania Superior Court. I believe Superior Courts mean this is now law in the entire state, so currently, it is now illegal to carry weapons on school property. The law states:

§ 912. Possession of weapon on school property.

(a) Definition.–Notwithstanding the definition of “weapon” in section 907 (relating to possessing instruments of crime),”weapon” for purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to any knife, cutting instrument, cutting tool, nun-chuck stick, firearm, shotgun, rifle and any other tool, instrument or implement capable of inflicting serious bodily injury.

(b) Offense defined.–A person commits a misdemeanor of the first degree if he possesses a weapon in the buildings of, on the grounds of, or in any conveyance providing transportation to or from any elementary or secondary publicly-funded educational institution, any elementary or secondary private school licensed by the Department of Education or any elementary or secondary parochial school.

(c) Defense.–It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course or is possessed for other lawful purpose.

The Superior Court ruled that “other lawful purpose” needed to have a sanction from the school. In other words, the lunch ladies can have knives in the school, because their purpose is to cook lunch for the kiddies. The janitor can have a screwdriver, but not a student.

Statutes that are vague or unclear are supposed to be interpreted in a light most favorable to the defendant, but this very clear language, which exempts lawful purposes, was read to favor the state. The law already carved out an exception for the lunch ladies when it said “It shall be a defense that the weapon is possessed and used in conjunction with a lawful supervised school activity or course,” but then it went on to create a separate defense, the “other lawful purposes” defense, for the chef dropping his kid off at school on the way to the restaurant with the knives he just got sharpened.

As Josh Prince notes in his article, this appeal was pursued by a pro-se defendant, meaning a guy representing himself. That’s usually an invitation to disaster, as it was here. Nonetheless, the law is clear here, but there is no rule of law. They offer us the illusion, and not even a very good illusion, that there is rule of law, all the while ruling however they damned please.

Man Bites Dog: New York Times Comes Out Against Gravity Knife Ban

This is honestly something I’d never thought I’d see:

But the modern knives sold in countless stores bear little resemblance to the knives that were the original subjects of the ban. Many people, including carpenters, construction workers and stagehands, have no idea that their knives can be made to open with a flick of a wrist — a skill many New York police officers have developed. Most don’t know that simply possessing such a knife breaks the law.

The article goes on to note that a law office that handles such cases for defendents charged under this law says of the 254 of its clients, only four were charged with intent to use it unlawfully. How much do you want to bet of those four, they were arguable self-defense cases?

If even the New York Times agrees, it’s time for this stupid law to go. This is a good time to remind folks that Knife Rights is doing good work, and succeeding even in places no one would have argued success was achievable. But the fact is that gun rights today have far greater protections than those who choose to carry knives even for reasons unrelated to self-defense.

Encouraging the Hatpin Menace

As we planned our route through various states on the way to Louisville based on their carry laws, I was just thinking about how many laws I could break if I decided to wear more hats.

I didn’t have time to see if the states we’ll be traveling through still have hatpin restrictions on the books, but I was just thinking about this while digging out my American flag pin and admiring my great grandmother’s (1890-1986) hatpin that my mother gave me that resides in the same holder.

As you can see, this one isn’t very stabby anymore, so it may be fine under some ordinances. However, some of the bans were written based on how far the pins protruded from the hat (not the brim) rather than how sharp the ends might have been.


This one got its first test with me during a memorial service last month, and I’m happy to report that it was stabby enough to get through my hat and my hair. If I needed to, I’m sure it could have been sufficiently stabby enough to get through an attacker’s hand with some force. (Maybe. I’m not about to risk the heirloom pin to find out how much force it can take.)

It’s very tempting to see if any future cities for NRA conventions still have highly restrictive hatpin laws on the books that were specifically passed to keep women from defending themselves and find some lovely new hats that warrant wearing pins to secure them in place. A little civil disobedience can be fun. I checked, and I don’t see any newspaper accounts or Google hits for anti-pin ordinances in Louisville. Being the home of the Kentucky Derby, I would imagine that a ban would be more fiercely fought there than other places.

So whether your self-defense tool of choice is a handgun or hatpin, women are well protected in Louisville.

Why Carrying Pepper Spray is a Good Idea

I’ve been an advocate of carrying defensive spray for a while now, because there are plenty of situations where you’re justified in using spray, but are not even close to a deadly force situation. Such a case recently occurred at a Donald Trump rally:

The link above has more video from different angles, including one where she admits she had it coming. She got sprayed as soon as she threw a punch. If one punches a hippie in the face and cause serious injury, the cops might feel they have to do something, even if it’s just questioning to sort out who did what. You’ll notice the cops escorted her out, but didn’t make any arrest. I’m not honestly sure who employed the spray. Defensive spray is a very low level of force, and far less likely to cause long term consequences for either party in an altercation. If you’re in a situation like this where both parties are alleging assault, you’re far less likely to end up in real trouble with spray as you would if you used a higher level of force.

UPDATE: Looks like it wasn’t the guy who was punched who responded with the spray after all. I’ve watched the video from a few angles, and I don’t see where she was justified in throwing the punch, but with the other guy doing it, it’s not as clear cut a case of self-defense. It’s going to be a case of he said she said.

Don’t Believe Bloomberg’s Polls

It’s good to see that progress is being made in Idaho in regards to constitutional carry, but Bloomberg is doing his level best to fight it. They are disingenuously trying to pass off support for the concealed carry permitting system as opposition to constitutional carry. Consider this poll they are putting in front of lawmakers:

Under current Idaho law, people are required to have a permit in order to carry a concealed handgun in public places. In order to get a permit, people may need to complete a handgun-safety training course and must pay a processing fee. Do you … strongly support? Support? Oppose? Or strongly oppose … requiring permits to carry a concealed handgun in public in Idaho?

How would you answer this question? A no answer could be taken for not supporting concealed carry at all. It’s not like they offer the option for “No, I don’t support it because I don’t think you should need a permit.”

What this is reflecting is strong support for the current system, which is bad news for Bloomberg’s overall goals, not good news.

The Gilt Negligent Shooting Brings Out the Worst

The media went absolutely ape shit over the story that Jamie Gilt was accidentally shot by her 4-year old son, who retrieved the firearm off the floor of the vehicle and shot mom with it. My guess is she put the firearm under the seat and it slid back to where the kid could get it. The lessons here are pretty obvious:

  • The best place for a gun is strapped on your person in a quality holster that offers good trigger protection.
  • Guns belong in holsters, always, even if you’re carrying off body (a less than ideal solution to begin with). Triggers must be protected from external manipulation. My guns never leave their holsters unless they are being fired, cleaned, or stored unloaded for a protracted period of time (which never happens).
  • If you’re going to do vehicle carry, in a locked container within the car (and in a holster) is more prudent than tossing it under a seat. I’ve also seen ways to mount holsters to a vehicle that provides a reasonable degree of control while the driver is in the driver’s seat.
  • Carrying a firearm regularly is a serious commitment. If you’re not really willing to be serious about it, you’re probably better off leaving it secured at home. Tossing a gun under a seat when you have kids in the car is not being serious about the responsibilities that go with carrying a deadly weapon.
  • Teach your kids not to touch guns. They should understand firearms are very dangerous. Kids of a certain age don’t always listen, so that’s why we do the previous things I’ve mentioned.

Of course, apparently the media has decided if you post a few pro-Second Amendment Facebook posts that means you’re a “gun activist.” I believe this is deliberate on the part of the media, because the implication is that if even the die-hards can’t carry firearms safely, what makes you ordinary folk can do it safely? This is certainly bringing out the worst of the media.

It’s also bringing out the worst of the anti-gun folks.

No less than three fake facebook pages have been created to do nothing but shame this woman. The comments left on her page and the fake pages are the most inhuman and vile I’ve seen in a very long time.

We claim to be tolerant and inclusive, but people are calling for her sterilization, her child to be taken from her and saying that it’s only too bad that she was not outright killed […]

It’s amazing how violent supposed non-violent people can be when they smell blood in the water.

Funny how that seems to work, isn’t it. In truth there’s plenty of nastiness to go around any public issue, but the claims of peace loving very often ring hollow.

Ms. Lauer seems to offer some other useful advice on carrying with kids.

Debating Ben Crump on Stand Your Ground

This is back from August, but it’s the first I’ve seen it. Rick Ector of Rick’s Firearms Academy of Detroit debates Ben Crump on Stand Your Ground laws. Rick is absolutely right that the Martin case was a classic self-defense case and had nothing to do with Stand  Your Ground in Florida. Our opponents can only win by misleading people, as Ben Crump is doing here.

Rick did pretty well if you ask me. Debating on camera is harder than it looks.

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