Defend Yourself and Become a Felon

I actually question how useful right-to-carry would be in the Garden State, when pretty regularly you see people defending themselves getting into trouble with the law.  This Jersey City gun shop owner had some words with individuals who were blocking him in double parking.  Not the wisest thing to do if you’re armed, but that doesn’t excuse beating someone to the ground.

Not long after, his store had a gun stolen, and officials used that as an excuse to pull his license, and not longer after that he was facing felony charges.  Hudson County prosecutors got not only one grand jury to indict the guy, but two, after the initial charges were thrown out after it was shown the prosecution lied about the gun shop owner not having a license for the gun.

What’s wrong with people in New Jersey?  I’ll be the first to admit that confronting the double parking vehicle wasn’t the smartest thing to do.  Once the situation escalated, the smart thing to do was to retreat and call the police.  But you don’t get to beat a man when he’s down on the ground.  I might, as a juror, consider charges of simple assault for the both of them, and I’d probably even accept a charge for firing the gun within city limits.  But a felony gun charge, when the guy is licensed to carry?  No way.  It looks like he got off with probation, but he’s still a convicted felon:

A former Jersey City gun store owner who fired into the air while he was apparently being attacked outside a Downtown club two years ago was sentenced today to two years probation and 100 hours of community service and ordered to undergo anger management counseling.

So he gets sentenced as if it were a simple assault, which at worst it was, since it depends on who’s story you believe as to whether he was a willing participant in the fight.  But it doesn’t, to me, appear that Mr. Murray asked to be beaten.

18 thoughts on “Defend Yourself and Become a Felon”

  1. This is a conscious and concerted government policy all over the globe. Britain is a good example, but it’s definitely “coming to a neighborhood near you.”

    Self defense is under attack as smoking was a few years back, and look what happened to that.

    I always thought the “right of self defense” was virtually a genetic imperative, but apparently the New Model Homo Sapiens are intent on wiping it off the books.

  2. I truly do everything in my power to stay out of New Jersey. I do not vacation there, or go to the Casinos there either. I ride a motorcycle, so for me it’s a double wammy. Wear a helmet and do not bring a gun.
    I occasionally have to go to Cherry Hill, and I get in and get out. I don’t spend any money there!
    I can’t believe the people there are all such sheeple!!

  3. This is why many instances where only the display of a firearm is used to stop an attack are never reported. We’ll never know the true numbers of firearm use protecting lives, when the reporting of the incident can have an outcome similar to this. True, the bad guys get away, and the crime is never reported, but the good guy is saved from persecution, and possibly prosecution, after having simply protecting himself.

  4. Sebastian:

    I have read many articles about this whole saga of the Jersey City gun shop owner, David Murray, and his street confrontation with the minor celebrity comedian with the major attitude, Donnell Rawlings. (I have actually had the displeasure of seeing this jerk on TV and hearing him on radio.)

    As I understand it, once the situation escalated, David Murray the gun shop owner was already on the ground after being felled by a punch, a punch that possibly may have been thrown by Donnell Rawlings the comedian. In other words, David Murray was sucker-punched, which typically sends the recipient to the asphalt in a street fight.

    There was no option for David Murray to retreat at this point – he was on the verge of being brutally stomped on by Donnell Rawlings the comedian and several acquaintances. David Murray’s holstered .357 revolver was starting to slip out by this time, and one of the assailants was beginning to reach for his weapon. David Murray did what any sensible armed citizen would have done in this situation – he pulled out his weapon from his holster first, before it could fall free to the ground and become just like a fumbled football still in play.

    David Murray used his discretion in choosing to fire his weapon into the air rather than at Donnell Rawlings and company. This caused Donnell Rawlings and company to cease their attack and flee the scene. For this, David Murray is being punished, while Donnell Rawlings and company were never so much as even arrested for their initial assault on David Murray.

  5. Dealing with attacks is always a problem. My19 yr old son had an attempted car jacking a couple of weeks ago. He was in the car stopped checking a map with the window open and engine off,seat belt on. A black male opend the door and grabbed in to jerk him out of the car. He did not get jerked out due to the seat belt. Then the carjacker pulled out a knife. My son carefully got out of the car grabbed the wriste of the knife and jerked the robber into the car and then slammed him into the road. Then my son got in his car and drove off.

    My son did not call the police.Why? he did not want to be chatged with assault and battery. He was not hurt and no damage to the car to verify his account.

    So the car jacker got a lesson and broken wrist probably but no jail. My son did not get hurt and spenf time at police or get charged. This was in Baltimore so he made the right call.

    If the public is not certain the police will side with them then it is unlikely they will call them in this type of sucessful defense.

    As to this case of the gun owner It is better to be judged by 12 then carried by 6.

  6. This is Hudson County. Anything is legal when it means local government gets what it wants in the end.

    And that is closing of a gun shop, and one less gun owner.

  7. I was in that store while it was open—just a few blocks from my house—and spoke with Murray. Not that it has much bearing on this, but he was a little weird and when my wife and I left, we both thought he seemed kind of psycho. I got the vibe from him that he was the kind of guy that the antis stereotype us as—the guy who’s itching to defend himself.

  8. That doesn’t surprise me. He didn’t exactly seem innocent in the whole encounter, which is why I suspect he was convicted. Still, I don’t think the felony conviction is justified. I would have accepted simple assault, and yanking his license to carry, without much protestation.

    But it’s interesting they charged him with having a gun for an illegal purpose, that illegal purpose being firing a gun into the air in violation of a city ordinance.

  9. Sebastian:

    I think that firing into the air thing is a State thing as well. I took a use of force class and they mentioned this is a no-go in NJ, even the PD is bound by it.

  10. Guav:

    Didn’t this guy have Dirty Harry movies playing on the TV, and movie posters for vigilante films on his walls?

    Supposedly, this guy was the first person, who was a legal gun owner in JC to be charged with a gun crime since sometime in the mid 90’s. JC supposedly has 15k legal gun owners.

  11. Yeah, I think he might have—but he also had a life-sized cardboard stormtrooper from Star Wars standing next to the door. Like I said, odd dude.

    Firing into the air in a densely-populated urban area is pretty dangerous—better to shoot the people attacking him than the bullet coming down on an unrelated person’s head.

    Luckily it didn’t.

  12. Since this is New Jersey we’re talking about here, a state which has no “stand your ground” type of self-defense law as far as I know, the gun shop owner being discussed here probably would not have been that much better off if he had sent those .357 magnum rounds toward his attackers instead of skyward.

    First off, the prosecutor would have look into whether the gun shop owner had been in violation of any of New Jersey’s hyper-technical and convoluted gun laws. Second, if any of the gun shop owner’s attackers had been hurt or killed by gunfire, there would quite likely have been lawsuits filed against him, right?

  13. 1911 & Sebastian—I should have been more clear. I meant morally, not legally. In trying to not shoot the thugs, he could have shot someone totally innocent.

  14. I’m now wondering if the gun shop owner should have just had his weapon loaded with blanks. That way, he could have fired into the air like he did without endangering anybody, while still scaring off the thugs who were trying to pummel him into the pavement.

    If this scenario would have resulted in a positive outcome for the gun shop owner, i.e., his attackers retreating and him not getting prosecuted, then I guess it could set an example for the other New Jersey pistol-carry-permit holders. As long as your weapon is only loaded with blanks, and you don’t actually fire it toward the bad guy or guys coming at you, then you probably won’t get indicted, that is, if you manage to survive the attack from said bad guy or guys.

  15. One of the problems gun owners face in NJ, under any circumstances, shooting someone is considered *use of deadly force*. There is no shooting someone in the ass to make him/her stop. Even the PD is bound by this, only the Military, and I’m told, the Dept of Energy can shoot someone, and have it not considered *use of deadly force*.

    And don’t even think of shooting anybody in the back.

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