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January 15, 2004

Peasants with Pitchforks rally at the Castle of Arrogance.

WorldNetDaily has an update on the DeMar case.

In the aftermath of a decision to prosecute a homeowner who shot an intruder, a feisty crowd of 200 citizens packed a town board meeting to voice opposition to a local ban on possession of handguns.

Hale DeMar, of the Chicago suburb of Wilmette, protected his family Dec. 29 by shooting Morio Billings, who is accused of entering the DeMar home twice within 24 hours, the Chicago Tribune reported.

And, as we shall see, the pressure is having some effect - at least upon the Chief of Police, who is trying to work both sides of the issue.

But DeMar was charged with violating a local ordinance banning possession of handguns and breaking a state law by failing to renew his Illinois Firearm Owner's Identification card. He faces up to a year in jail, a $2,500 fine or court supervision or probation if convicted on the charge of owning a handgun without a valid firearms card. The village's handgun ordinance carries a separate fine of up to $750.

DeMar is vulnerable here. Unless you are the guy who wants to be the one to take a FOID case to the Supreme Court (which probably won't take it, and you'd probably lose) he should have kept his FOID up-to-date. I know, I know - if you aren't allowed to have guns, getting the card is like a red flag, etc. And Demar is in the situation lots of gun rights people sloganeer - "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6." This situation just serves to point up one of my grumps with prosecutors - they like having as many aspects of our lives 'criminal' as possible... so that they have charges to trade around or get you on even if they can't get you for whatever it is that actually brought you to their attention. In this case, they know that charging DeMar with assault, or attempted murder, etc is a loser. So they are going after the 'technical' charges in order to secure a conviction. While I'm sure in court they will bring up the preferred solution, i.e., 'fort up' and wait for the cavalry (never mind that most houses/apartments aren't built for that - that's the residents fault, eh?) they won't make it a leg of the case. They won't argue that DeMar defended himself illegally, they'll just say, "Look, he didn't have a current FOID and he owned a handgun." Bad man. Must go to jail, be fined, etc. They will structure the argument so that the fact that DeMar was defending himself isn't an issue. Which will make using that as the primary focus of the defense difficult, depending on how Illinois law and the judge handle that sort of thing.
And any conviction on this issue will make life more difficult for DeMar in civil court, when the perp sues him for shooting him with an illegal weapon. Let's hope jury selection for prosecution/plaintiff in those cases are a bitch!

He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 6 to face both charges.

On Tuesday night, many at the meeting of the Wilmette Village Board booed and jeered when trustees expressed support for the ban, the Chicago paper said. Several audience members loudly emphasized the words, "And justice for all," during the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Damn natives are restless. How dare they challenge the wisdom of their betters?

The Chief is trying to have it both ways:

Wilmette Police Chief George Carpenter defended the handgun ban.

"My experience is handguns create a hazard in the home," he told the crowd, according to the Tribune. "My experience is that handguns are far more likely to be stolen, to be used or threatened to be used in domestic situations, or to be used or threatened to be used in suicides."

But he then goes on to say:

Carpenter said he could not condemn DeMar's actions, because the homeowner was in a "situation where he did what he thought was appropriate." But the police chief advised residents facing a similar situation to keep the family together, call 911 and not confront the intruder.

"The parent is the last line of defense for the family until the police arrive," Carpenter said, according to the Tribune.

I can't condemn him the Chief says. Ah, so now we are edging away here - putting the onus on the Prosecutor, are we, Chief?

The Chief is right. Calling 911, keeping the family together, and forting up *is* a good idea. But no plan survives contact with the enemy. Sometimes, we aren't all together - sometimes the bedrooms are on separate floors. There isn't a phone in every room. Most interior doors are not terrbily robust. And that baseball bat, easy to swing in the hallways (especially if you are a small person, or old, etc) will stop that bad guy. No need to be able to stop them before they get within arm's reach, right? Get a clue you hopeless morons - the situation is already dangerous, and outcomes uncertain. The handgun at least gives the homeowner some chance of gaining the initiative.

Perhaps the city should publish plans of what constitutes an acceptable floor plan and structure specs and build them into the code? After all, that's the preferred solution, right? And let the criminal justice system work it's magic. After all, the system works, right? I mean, we can rely on the system to protect us from this sort of vermin - and keep them away from us, right?

Prosecutors say Billings crashed through the home's front window after he was shot then drove himself to the hospital in the family's SUV, which he had stolen the night before.

Billings, convicted last year of a similar home burglary in an affluent Minneapolis suburb, is now in the Cook County Jail with bail set at $3 million.

Yep, sure can. After all, the perp was convicted last year of a similar crime and is still under state control and/or rehabilitated. See? You don't need no stinking gun.

By the way, the people aren't stupid. They understand Plan A. They'd just like to have a Plan B, in case Plan A doesn't work out that well...

Wilmette resident Jim Szczepanik, 51, was one of many gun-rights advocates who argued no homeowner should be punished for defending his family.

"My Plan A is to call 911 and keep the family upstairs," he said, according to the Chicago paper. "But my Plan B is to have a loaded firearm and put a bullet in the intruder."

Hmmm, Jim. Better hope Trustee Michna wasn't paying attention to that comment - you just gave him the probably cause he needs to try to get the police to check your FOID and come search for handguns - after all, you can't put a bullet in someone unless you own a weapon, dude.

Trustee Bernard Michna was among the minority who defended the ban.

"There could have been an outcome much more bleak for that family if more shots had been fired," Michna said, according to the Tribune. "I think it's close to unanimous there will be no change in the handgun ordinance."

This isn't terribly well written - Michna was in the minority of people speaking who spoke in support of the ban. Short term though, he was in the majority of people who can do anything about it - the Trustees, considering the second half of his statement. By the way, Mr. Michna - here's betting the police will generally get to your house quicker than the average citizens house...

The whole article is here.

Initial story is here.

John | Permalink | Comments (0) | Gun Rights | Politics
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