Gail Gerlach is a Spokane area resident who has been acquitted of first-degree manslaughter charges. He shot 25 year old Brendon Kaluza-Graham on March 25, 2013. The shot killed Kaluza-Graham who was driving away in Gerlach’s vehicle. The defense argued that the Defendant saw the fleeing man make threatening gestures that looked like he was pointing a gun at Gerlach when the vehicle was about ten or twelve feet away but certainly not 66 feet as the prosecution reportedly argued.
The deceased man’s family was disgusted with the way the media portrayed Kaluza-Graham, saying their relative was made into a “one-dimensional thief.” According to the Spokesman Review, one family member lamented, “He was made into a poster boy for the angst of the community, a sacrificial lamb. That’s not right.”
“He had hopes and dreams,” said Ann Kaluza. “He was made into a poster boy for the angst of the community, a sacrificial lamb. That’s not right.”
Gerlach, who reportedly faced up to a decade in prison if found guilty, turned down a plea offer in which prosecutors offered him one year of confinement. Gerlach testified that he thought he saw Kaluza-Graham pointing a pistol at him through the back window of Gerlach’s SUV. His perception was that it was a gun and that “this was it", that he was going to be killed.
Gerlach told prosecuting attorney, Deric Martin, that he wasn’t aware children were gathering at a bus stop near where the shooting took place. Would he have acted in the same way even had he known they were there? One police officer brought up the presence of children that he saw after he had arrived on scene. There were children present at some point but the shooting was before the normal school bus stop time according to the Defendant, Gail Gerlach.
“Even if you had been aware, as you testified in direct examination, any kids at that bus stop would have been collateral damage,” Martin stated to the Defendant.
“… if you’d missed Mr. Kaluza-Graham or missed your vehicle, and hit one of them, that’s just a risk you were willing to take?” Martin asked.
“I didn’t miss,” Gerlach said.
Under the pressure of cross-examination from Martin, it sounded cocky. Bob Smith related much of this to me and assures that the Defendant is not arrogant or cocky. All acknowledge that the shot, while aimed at the threat, was a fluke. It hit glass, a child’s car seat and headrest before striking Kaluza-Graham. Gerlach testified that he shot because he believed if he didn’t, he would have been killed.
Robert Smith, of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho was an expert witness whose testimony was critcal in Gerlach’s trial. Smith spent over four hours testifying and was instrumental in helping the jury reach a verdict of not guilty. I asked him to share his observations regarding the case and he told me that he spent the last seven to eight months on Gerlach’s defense team with an associate, a retired state crime lab expert in firearms forensics. Smith’s expertise is in use of force, particularly lethal force.
Smith has no time for “gun shop commandos” or gun prohibitionists. He has been a law enforcement firearms instructor who also teaches armed citizens. After over three decades of such instruction he found some lessons in the case from which we can all learn.
The term “furtive movement” describes exactly what happened in Gerlach’s case. Smith uses the example of the Spokane County deputies who shot a man that presented keys in a manner that the deputies took as threatening. What the officers knew at the time that they had to make such a critical decision is how they must be judged by a police review board or a jury.
According to Smith, the media did not show bias against the deceased man but may have “massaged” the facts in such a way as to make Gerlach out to be an irresponsible gun owner.
“This case has never been about defending against a property theft by using lethal force. It has always been about self-defense against a perceived threat of deadly force against Mr. Gerlach, and that is what the jury understood, after weighing the facts of the case. Yet some of the media has reported before, during, and after the verdict that this is what the case was about.”
The news media published a high school graduation picture of the Brendon Kaluza-Graham and another picture surfaced after the trial that appearedto be Kaluza-Graham at about 12-14 years old. This is what many found so reprehensible in the George Zimmerman trial; i.e., photos that were several years younger than what the so-called victim looked like at the time of his crime. No sympathy for the armed citizen, no reports regarding all the other vehicles that Kaluza-Graham stole or even very much about 25 grams of methamphetamine in his possession. “He was just turning his life around.”
While the possession and the possibility that Kaluza-Graham was under the influence of drugs was inadmissible, it was known to the defense during the trial and explained the behavior Gerlach described. Remember the Zimmerman case? The City of Sanford fired their police chief because he refused to refer charges against Zimmerman. Eventually pressure was brought to bear via the media and protesters many of whom were threatening violence in the streets of Sanford, Florida. Even the U.S. Department of Justice brought pressure to bear and there is evidence Holder’s DOJ was committing resources to coordinate the protesters calling for Zimmerman to be prosecuted.
Eventually, prosecutors stepped forward at the state level and put a whole new spin on Zimmerman’s case. Unless you keep an extra two-three hundred thousand dollars lying around just for your criminal defense, it may be wise to not saying anything “that can and will be used against you in a court of law.” As law enforcement officers are told, “You may not go to jail because you did something wrong. You may go to jail because you could not articulate that what you did was right.”
Armed citizens are taught the same thing in most Use of Force classes. There is a reason police get 48-72 hours before they are required to make statements, Smith says. “We are all subject to the same psychological effects related to that critical incident. Learn the 2-5 minimal things to say, then don’t say anything more until you have had time to rest, reflect and seek counsel, both legal and psychological.”
The suggestion that Kaluza-Graham had a new job interview the next day makes for a good human interest story but isn’t Gerlach as sympathetic a victim as the deceased? Gerlach thought he was about to be killed and has been through hell and back- about $300,000.00 worth of hell! Isn’t that worth some sympathy?
Incidentally, the jury will now decide whether to award Gerlach reasonable attorney’s fees under Washington State’s special verdict statute for self-defense cases. The cost of his legal defense may be close to $300,000.00.
The jury deliberated a relatively short amount of time and determined that the case was one of self-defense. That means the state owes the defense some fees. A hearing on fees is expected within the month. Smith should have no problem getting outside expert fees. Defense attorneys, David Stevens and Richard Lee, showed the jury what it means to see things as a reasonable man or woman.
The case also show the Prosecutor’s Office not to file charges against honest citizens that are trying to do the right thing. The Spokane Prosecutor’s Office actually took a vote- three were for and three against filing; Steven Tucker broke the tie. Bob Smith comments, “Really, we charge now by vote, not evidence?”
The case was also forwarded to Steven Tucker’s office by the Spokane Police Department with no recommendation- which in a way is a recommendation. Tucker also publicly stated that he “wanted to send a message to the citizens of Spokane.” Well, perhaps the citizens sent a message back via the jury. Reasonable men and women can look at things from the point of view of what Gail Gerlach knew when he thought he saw a gun pointed at him.Permalink
Many people don’t realize just how vibrant social life can be in North Idaho. I penned my Firearms Lawyer column in the Federal Way Mirror for four years and occasionally have had opportunities to attend some Chamber of Commerce events and meet some of the local celebrities- mostly politicians and their camp followers. At such functions my political positions probably seem like a throwback to the days when Wyatt Earp sojourned in the Northwest and Neanderthals still roamed the earth.
I also shoot competitively in USPSA events, IDPA and 3-gun competition. But rarely have I enjoyed the degree of fellowship and good food that overflowed at several gatherings I attended last weekend in and around Spokane and Coeur d’Alene.
I went first to my client’s home and several of us shot IPSC targets. One of the best things about living in Eastern Washington and North Idaho is that you can step right out of your house and get some target practice. When it is really cold, like it was last week, some folks just open the window a few inches and shoot without leaving the warmth of their living rooms!
We were practicing on some of the same courses of fire that we would shoot at the Spokane Rifle Club on the following Sunday. The Inland Northwest Action Shooters just started shooting at SRC, which has a very well equipped indoor range and outdoor ranges that are spread out along the Spokane River. The competitors at the match raised funds for military families and INAS served great Asian cuisine from Chan Bistro on Argonne Road.
Many of the INAS shooters are also members of 3-Gun Nation which provided a Remington Versa Max shotgun for members who had previously shot 3-Gun Nation qualifiers. 3-Gun Nation has brought the sport of 3-gun to television and may be the fastest growing shooting sport around the U.S. Nothing will preserve our gun rights better than the excitement of action shooting coming into people’s homes via their big screen televisions.
3-gun matches were first held by the people that published Soldier of Fortune magazine. The sport features contestants that aim to become one man armies- or one woman armies- with shotguns, pistols and rifles shot at steel and paper at distances that go from in-your face close quarter combat distances to out beyond 800 yards. The fact that a whole breed of high tech optics has become available for 3-gun shooting means that big prize money and media exposure are on their way.
On Saturday night, I attended a dinner and business meeting with the Fernan Rod & Gun Club at the Coeur d’Alene Inn. By the way, North Idahoans will soon be able to participate in 3-gun because it is coming to the Fernan club in April. However, much of the discussion during the club’s business meeting pertained to environmental assessments that the club is conducting for the U.S. Forest Service.
The FERNAN ROD & GUN CLUB is an Idaho non-profit organization established in 1989 in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game. FRGC encourages family participation in matches and activities and is also a joint civilian, military, and police firing range facility. It is the only range with such a partnership in Idaho and one of the few of this type in the United States.
People need to think about what that means. Many residents of Kootenai County move from other places and may not appreciate how important shooting sports are to the well being of our local economy, law enforcement agencies like the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office and even for the federal government. Federal agencies like the Border Patrol (ICE) understand how critical the Fernan range is to their efforts to police our borders and keep Americans safe from an assortment of threats.
The fact that it can cost thousands of dollars to perform environmental tests and comply with so many state, federal and local requirements may not be what discouraged at least one local North Idaho sheriff’s department from acquiring land for a range. Bob Smith, who founded the Fernan club almost twenty-five years ago, told me that what deterred the Kootenai Sheriff’s Office from developing its own range was probably urban encroachment, not necessarily environmental issues.
Pierce County, Washington recently enacted a range preservation law. Bob pointed out to me that Idaho has also had a range protection law for some time that refers to “sporting use". The use of such verbiage may help get such legislation passed. Nevertheless, kowtowing to political correctness means that a law enforcement range like the one in Meridian would not be protected under the language of the law because it is a training facility and not for “sporting use".
The Idaho legislature has also made it a matter of law and public policy to support firearms related business activities. Thus, a new and improved range creation and preservation law may be a mandate that is for which it has become timely for lawmakers in Boise (and local North Idaho counties) to start campaigning!
Everyone I met agreed that it is time for the Idaho legislature and the federal government to get serious about empowering private enterprise and government agencies to create the kind of ranges that will draw big events to North Idaho and keep our citizens, LEOs and armed forces in peak form.
I am not sure what it will take to persuade bureaucrats to ease up on expensive environmental assessments and zoning impediments. There is a lot more to say on these and other subjects related to range development so we welcome feedback. Constructing major shooting venues in North Idaho is what many of the upcoming articles will be about in further installations of the Firearms Lawyer blog.
See Sandpoint PR magazine.
Reprinted with permission from Sandpoint PR.
Many in the education community oppose the idea of protecting schools with armed security. I talked to one principal about the idea of certifying specially trained school personnel to provide an armed presence in schools.
She was indignant that I would suggest armed personnel to protect the schools against active shooters. “Guns send the wrong message,” she insisted. Many parents and teachers get indignant about armed law enforcement in the schools.
The fact is, most school districts cannot afford armed security and just the cost of insuring volunteers could be too exorbitant.
Shipping companies refused to hire armed security- until recently- because the insurance companies considered it more cost effective to pay ransoms to Somali pirates than to allow armed personnel on expensive ships loaded with valuable wealth. The fact that sailors were occasionally tortured and killed constituted a negligible cost compared to other actuarial considerations. Are our kids any less valuable than a tanker full of petroleum?
Some teachers in Farmington, Missouri were recently informed that a school safety drill would require them to wear goggles and be shot at with air-soft pellet guns during an active shooter drill to be conducted by the police.
Despite the fact that they were informed the statute requiring such drills provides for opting out of the active shooter drills, the teachers objected to being offered the opportunity to be shot with air-soft pellet guns. Four teachers at Farmington High school even contacted the prosecuting attorney’s office after they were handed goggles during the exercise.
An active shooter is defined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as “an individual actively engaged in killing or attempting to kill people in a conﬁned and populated area; in most cases, active shooters use ﬁrearm[s] and there is no pattern or method to their selection of victims.” ~from Wikipedia
Active shooter protocols were developed after the Columbine massacre. Police realized that waiting for a SWAT team to arrive results in much higher body counts. Officers are now trained to go in immediately, with back up if possible, but not to wait for SWAT teams which may take more than 30 minutes to arrive. Most officers now have military style semi-automatic rifles in their patrol cars (those little black rifles with high capacity magazines) because they are more accurate at greater distances than shotguns or pistols.
Using simulated ammunition gives police officers opportunities to work out the problems of stopping one or more armed intruders that hide in the chaos of panic stricken students and school personnel. The Associate Superintendent in Farmington stated that the teachers had the option to declare, “I don’t want to be one of the victims, I think that’s too scary. Teachers could sign up to work in department meetings and in other professional developmental opportunities. We had about 45 members of the staff to do those.”
“I think what we’re going to see is a need to readdress and reevaluate the statute,” said the Missouri State Teachers Association spokesman. Of course, once the union sees the statute as an issue there is bound to be some hand wringing. The fact that we live in an evil world teeming with irrational violence is an interruption to a more important dialogue about making people feel good.
Teachers need to feel comfortable knowing that there are law makers busy trying to outlaw evil guns. Some guns are too heavy and powerful, others are too lightweight and still other are evil black rifles with those high capacity magazines. Parents should feel good because the teachers are dedicated professionals and deplore violence. Though many children are not reading well or doing very well in arithmetic, the government has new programs that will banish illiteracy!
The teachers’ union reminds us that our teaching professionals, like our schools, need more money and the members of the school board are touting global citizenship strategies. Mom and dad are not sure what global awareness has to do with reading, writing and arithmetic but everyone seems to feel so good about the Board’s latest fact finding trip to Finland or some country in Africa!
School shootings can supposedly be laid right to the door of NRA zealots like Wayne LaPierre and the Republicans in the legislature that capitulate to the evil gun lobby by offering opportunities for teachers to participate in “active shooter” drills.
Is now the time?
But isn’t it time to stop wringing our hands and take action? After the shootings in Connecticut, a Federal Way, Washington school superintendent was reported to have said, “I hate this conversation, I hate that it’s a necessary evil. What happened in Newtown…is just horrible. And having young children at home, and sitting and watching the TV, and seeing those photos with the names being called…with your children in the room, looking at the TV, and looking at you, and you’re fighting back the tears. You’re so thankful they’re sitting in that living room with you, and you’re not one of those parents. I can’t imagine what those parents feel like.”
We all felt such sorrow and dismay but the problem is that the expressions of sorrow and condolence above were the superintendent’s public response to a shocking event that called for him to use his lawfully delegated authority to prevent similar violence in the Federal Way schools. He went on to state during the January 8, 2013 school board meeting, “But the reality is, if a gunman wants to do what these gunmen want to do…there’s little that anyone can do to stop them. Putting guns in the hands of teachers and principals, who got in this business of educating kids, and not being armed forces…It’s just not a solution, in my mind, and will not be one that comes forward as a recommendation while I’m your superintendent.”
Some states are acting on it
Many states are already enabling teachers and armed volunteers to enhance police protection by wearing a pistol while in the schools. There is a need to develop programs that will include more than just opportunities for school personnel and volunteers to be a target for a simulated active shooter. Programs that entail tactical training for armed citizens already exist and criteria for certifying specially trained volunteers can be developed.
The idea of airline pilots becoming armed resulted in hand wringing about how cabins would become depressurized. Nevertheless, airline pilots can get certified and now carry in the cockpit. High-seas piracy has become much less profitable by the fact that shipping companies have deployed armed personnel on their ships. Maybe the legislators in Missouri wanted to shake some educators into reality.
We should not wait for the teacher’s union to endorse any programs that are not in line with a Brave New World that has been in the making since the advent of John Dewey and the Progressive agenda in the United States. Dewey could be characterized as a Forefather to the modern educational establishment and was one of the most influential American philosophers of the Twentieth Century.
A little history
In 1939, John Dewey was elected President of the League for Industrial Democracy, which promoted the U.S. labor movement. The student wing of that organization became the radical leftwing Students for a Democratic Society. He was accused of being an apologist for Communism but opposed Stalinism. An atheist, Dewey was one of the original 34 signatories of the first HUMANIST MANIFESTO in 1933.
Dewey believed that education and schooling are instrumental in creating social change and reform. “Education is a regulation of the process of coming to share in the social consciousness.”
Dewey taught that the adjustment of individual activity on the basis of such “social consciousness” is the only sure method of social reconstruction. Is it any wonder that our kids have lost their moorings? His belief in “Industrial Democracy” and that teachers are not in schools to impose certain ideas or to form certain habits in the child has become a reality in America. Now we need to send a new message- the idea that active shooters will folks in states like Utah are doing.
It is not just the students that are losing their moorings. Dewey’s Progressive policies have become so institutionalized that many teachers that have never heard of him are regimented and educated as John Dewey’s philosophical offspring.
Here are the 18 states that allow adults to carry loaded weapons onto school grounds with few or minor conditions:
•Alabama (which bans possessing a weapon on school grounds only if the carrier has “intent to do bodily harm")
•California (with approval of the superintendent)
•Connecticut (with approval of “school officials")
•Hawaii (no specific law)
•Idaho (with school trustees’ approval)
•Iowa (with “authorization")
•Kentucky (with school board approval)
•Massachusetts (with approval of the school board or principal)
•Mississippi (with school board approval)
•Montana (with school trustees’ permission)
•New Hampshire (ban applies only to pupils, not adults)
•New Jersey (with approval from the school’s “governing officer")
•New York (with the school’s approval)
•Oregon (with school board approval)
•Rhode Island (with a state concealed weapons permit)
•Texas (with the school’s permission)
•Utah (with approval of the “responsible school administrator")
•Wyoming (as long as it’s not concealed)
Washington state also provides for school boards to authorize individuals to be armed in the schools, so there are at least 19 states that should be on the list with many other states about to pass new legislation empowering armed personnel to protect public schools. Federal law recognizes that state legislatures and local school boards retain authority to arm school personnel and others in the schools.Permalink
The South King County Fire & Rescue has had its share of problems. As an example, the Chief, Al Church, complained about unfair attacks on his son claiming that Jerry Galland and Mark Freitas have conspired and “unfairly targeted the Church family,” even though his son was investigated by an independent board and found to have behaved unethically by contacting a woman that he helped to transport while on duty as an emergency medical responder.
See video of meeting.
Mark Freitas is an elected commissioner with a duly constituted responsibility to oversee the Chief’s activities. The commissioners hire the fire chief, who is the SKCFR’s administrator, and agree by contract to goals and expectations.
Chief Church initiated a formal complaint against Freitas which alleged the following:
• Driving through the District parking lot, to “check in on the Chief;
• Unfairly criticizing the Chief for not attending meetings each month at which his contract provides he is to report the District’s business and get commissioner approval if needed;
• Stalking the Chief and conducting surveillance on him at the chief’s house.
• Meeting with others such as Jerry Galland, for the purpose of obtaining “inside information” about the Chief and the Department’s activities.
• The chief negotiated a “few modifications to my contract”- i.e., a 100% increase in severance pay. In a year that saw firefighters being laid off, his golden parachute increased from over $170,000 to over $340,000 at today’s salary.
Nevertheless, seeking information about the severance package was alleged to be improper on the part of Galland and/or Freitas.
In early 2013, while reviewing Chief Church’s self written evaluation and prior to approval, Commissioner Freitas asked the CFO for the Chief’s compensation information; instead of providing the information, David Lawson turned the note over to the secretary and the board, who chose to treat it like a public records request, delaying the release until after it was of any use. The Chief became indignant that a commissioner was trying to make an informed opinion prior to adding a comment to an employee evaluation.
The seating arrangement in the board of commissioner meetings is such that the commissioners seat facing the room, the chief and secretary are in the front row. The chief accused Freitas of looking at him.
Apparently Freitas should be expected to stare out the window and avoid eye contact with Chief Church, a very common demand made by potentates and satraps operating under principles of despotism that are common throughout world history but entirely inconsistent with principles of equality as practiced in our constitutional republic. Of course, if your opponents get too aggressive you can initiate an investigation and your friends on the Commission might find an attorney that will put the offender in a poor light.
Jerry Galland, a friend of mine, attends the Commissioner’s meetings at the SKCFR and argues that Commissioner Freitas often positions himself in a position where he can fully participate. The chief accused Freitas, who I have met but do not know well, of moving to a position where Freitas “stares at me throughout the entire process.” I have had the experience of seeing Mr. Freitas in public and feeling as though he was looking at me in a harsh manner. When I went up to him and said hello, he was perfectly congenial.
According to the March 3, 2014 Investigative Report written by Attorney Russ Perisho, Freitas used to be a deputy with a sheriff’s department. Many LEOs are not overly congenial and can make people feel uncomfortable, especially people harboring a guilty conscience!
Church has made numerous unsubstantiated accusations against Freitas which the Investigator did not investigate. One such allegation is that Freitas had inappropriately gathered information from someone affiliated with the union involving a possible merger with Valley Regional Fire; sharing work product about the service benefit charge in 2010 with Bob Roegner and Jerry Galland; having coffee with a constituent, Jerry Galland, and other conduct that was “reprehensible, egregious and beyond mere words of expression.”
Church even alleged that Freitas was “feeding (Galland) with information”, all of which was “reduced into blog form” (www.southkingfire.net) so that Galland could personally attack him and his family.
Church claims that his son, Brandon, is “currently doing excellent work as a firefighter” and that Galland fabricated facts. Brandon Church was found guilty of ‘unprofessional conduct’ in a department investigation in early 2012. The district and the employee holding an EMT license is required by law to notify the Department of Health (DOH) when a licensee is found to have violated a condition of the license.
Neither the district nor the employee, Brandon Church, notified the DOH of inappropriate contact made by Church’s son even though the incident was found to have occurred and became widely reported in the communities SKCFR serves.
In November of 2012, while on probation at the fire district for unprofessional conduct, Brandon answered NO to a question on the renewal application regarding whether he had been disciplined for unprofessional conduct. Galland reported on his blog site regarding the District’s attempts to minimize the affair and not reporting what had happened to the state DOH.
Freitas was elected to serve the public and all the facts in the report are consistent with taking his duties seriously when it comes to staunching the costs that have many taxpayers fuming. The fact that four members on the SKCFR board of commissioners have conducted an investigation pertaining to alleged harassment and hostile work environment at substantial expense to the taxpayers- thousands in attorney’s fees- says something about our local political leadership.
The accusation that seemed to be well founded, according to Mr. Perisho the attorney-investigator, is that Freitas told the Chief and the Assistant Chief they should retire. I have never talked to the Chief but I know the Assistant Chief. Ed Plumlee is a wonderful person. But maybe they should retire. I don’t think either of them are too old but if Freitas meant that some folks at SKCFR need to come back to reality and stop wasting the taxpayers money. I agree with him!
The trouble is that after years of working together, people get so comfortable that no one wants to rock the boat. Meanwhile, there are all kinds of interests at work. Unions make demands. Constituents read newspapers and become unhappy if they hear that more money is not going for some facilities or equipment- stuff that our firefighters supposedly cannot go without.
Kids need braces and college tuition or a job as a firefighter- just for example. And then there are those pesky little travel expenses, steak dinners and other important functions.
Of course there are the other constituents that complain about proposals to spend more, guys like Jerry Galland that always find things wrong with the Commissioner’s meetings and then raise issues that are reported by the media. Galland claimed that he had the right to record the SKCFR meetings. It turned out he was right.
Then some Commissioners threatened to eject anyone that carried a gun into their meetings. A bunch of open-carry advocates showed up, the commissioners called the police and the police had the gall not to make any of the armed advocates leave.
After that Commissioner Fossos defended his violations of the campaign disclosure laws by claiming he had to leave a meeting with Galland at which he was scheduled to show his campaign expenditures.
Why did he have to leave? Because Galland came to the meeting with a gun. Even though there was no evidence indicating that Galland ever even carried a gun at that time, a PDC investigator found that the refusal was justified but still found two counts of noncompliance with campaign disclosure laws against Fossos.
Most investigators honestly report what they find. They have biases, however, just like all of us, and attorneys definitely have a need to obtain work. Most people know better than to rock the boat. Keep watching what is happening with the insiders in our local, state and federal governments.
Politicians are starting to fall into the pits that they dig for their enemies. The unfunded municipal, state and federal liabilities for public pension plans are a huge threat to our way of life and the unions just keep getting the same people elected again and again in Wsetern washington and then ask for more.
Meanwhile states like Illinois, California and Washington are getting closer to following cities like Detroit, Stockton and San Bernardino into bankruptcy. Wisconsin is one very good model of a way out of this mess. But South King County Fire is like a morality play that symbolizes the national issues that are about to set our house on fire.
The ADTA will present a New Shooters’ Clinic at a church in Everett. The Armed Defense Training Association’s board of directors has been discussing starting an ADTA chapter in Snohomish County and we soon hope to identify some interested individuals available to organize an educational meeting. We will be holding the clinic at 10:00 AM on Saturday, March 15 at Canyon Creek Church, in Everett, right next to Boeing.
Canyon Creek Church
1122 75th St SW
Everett, WA 98203.
The doors will open at 9:15am on Saturday, March 15. Please arrive by 9:45am. The presentation and workshop will begin at 10:00am. Depending on interest, the New Shooters’ Clinic may be the first step toward a new ADTA North-end chapter for Everett, Snohomish, Lynnwood, Northgate, Kirkland, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.
The New Shooters’ Clinic on March 15 is being held to prepare participants for our live-fire shoot at West Coast Armory on Saturday, March 29. If you intend to attend our March 29 event, you must have either participated in a previous ADTA live-fire event, or participated in an ADTA introductory workshop, such as this one.
Please plan to attend the New Shooters’ Clinic in Everett even if you will not be able to participate in the live-fire shooting event on March 29th. Our March 15 event is open to the public; there is no charge to attend. Friends and family are welcome. Our friendly and helpful ADTA Range Safety Officers will be present to assist.
Topics we’ll be covering, including hands-on segments:
… The Four Basic Rules of Gun Safety
… Semiautomatic Handguns
If you have a particular firearm that you’d like to learn more about, or use during the hands-on event, you are welcome to bring it to this event. Please ensure it is completely unloaded, and please transport it in a closed case. Our congenial range Safety Officers will verify the weapon is clear and safe before the event begins. If you wish to participate in the loading and unloading exercises with your firearm, please let us know ahead of time, and we’ll try to have appropriate inert practice rounds available for your firearm’s caliber.
Experienced and ADTA mentors will be available after this event for an extended question and answer discussion
The West Coast Armory range in Factoria-Bellevue area is the venue for several live fire action drill events the ADTA presents on a regular basis. West Coast Armory North is at 11714 Airport Road, Everett. The ADTA is hoping to present shooting events in Everett and recruit for the new ADTA chapter in the north end.
We have discovered that many churches and church members are enthusiastic about what the ADTA has to offer. We presently hold our regular monthly membership meetings at a church in Federal Way. The meetings are open to the public and we present speakers that focus on practical aspects of self defense, not religious or political topics. Church members, including pastors, have gotten involved in our group. But we welcome people from every religious persuasion, ethnic and political background, provided that you do not advocate violence.
In one instance there was even a discussion with a church about the possibility of ADTA range officers helping the church leaders to provide a church sponsored shooting event. Such activities are fun, build friendship and contribute to safer communities. Please do not contact the church for information regarding this event; inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.Permalink
Kris Jensen competes in a Biathlon Shooting Event on cross-country skis. Photo courtesy Kris Jensen.
Sandpoint PR Contributing Editor, Mark Knapp.
A lot of people watched the WINTER OLYMPICS and are asking questions about the Biathlon competition in Sochi. In a Biathlon, competitors get their heart beats racing by skiing across the countryside from one location to another and then stopping to engage targets out as far as 165 feet!
One of my friends asked me about the unique features of the .22 caliber rifles that the competitors use. I went to law school at Gonzaga with Kris Jensen. Jensen is a Biathlon competitor so I asked him about which rifle he shoots. It is an Izshmash 7-4. Izmash was at the Shot Show this year and, judging by their presence in Las Vegas, the armory that produced the AK-47 and many other Russian firearms, is invading the U.S. gun market in a big way.
There are two makers of biathlon guns, Anschutz, the German Biathlon rifle is about $3500.00- just for an entry level version without most of the accessories. The Izshmash entry level version is about $1500.00. All the guns used in competition have been modified extensively to lower the weight, custom fit the shooter and make the gun shoot more accurately. The rules of Biathlon are that triggers be within a certain pull weight, overall weight must be over a certain amount and lengths are also specified within certain parameters. Ammunition is standard .22 caliber.
The bolt action on the Anschutz is finger pull back and thumb press forward. The Izshmash action is also finger back and thumb forward but requires the thumb to come out on the side of the bolt, which is a little slower because your hand moves a little more between shots. This German YouTube video shows some good views of the Biathlon rifles that show the bolt action movement with finger back and thumb forward.
Jensen grew up in Wenatchee in a family that hunted a lot. Jensen had two other brothers that were also athletic. Over the years he enjoyed Nordic skate skiing more and more. His family had a cabin in the Methow Valley where he was cross-country skiing a lot during the winter. Skiing and shooting were a natural fit. Jensen is the President of the Methow Valley Biathlon board. The team is coached by a volunteer, Winthrop veterinarian Betsy Devin-Smith.
The participants are mostly high school kids but there is a Masters division that holds regular races during the winter season. There is also a club that uses facilities at Stevens Pass.
Jensen helps support the team and takes the pressure off the coach by administering the website and helping with logistics.
Methow Valley Biathlon has two main fundraiser events each year. They are called TRY BIATHLON. The club invites recreational skiers to come try the sport of biathlon. If you want to give Biathlon competition a shot or just get more information, you can go to http://methowvalleynordic.com/biathlon/try-biathlon/.
Range size really depends on the site. Shooting distance is 50m (165feet). A range typically has ten lanes, so that’s about 100 feet wide making the total shooting footprint about 16,500 square feet. Jensen estimates that with proper backdrop and good side shields you could squeeze it onto one acre (43,560 ft2). An enterprising entrepreneur or local government working with Idaho business leaders can create such a venue in North Idaho with a minimum of expense and use the range year around for action matches, high power and bull’s eye shooting the rest of the year.
The backdrop in the pictures is USFS land with a steep hillside. We have been advocating for additional shooting venues in North Idaho and there are already things happening behind the scenes that promise to be exciting! Olympic shooting trials can bring in a huge amount of international coverage and tourism. Thus, despite the suggestion that one acre may be sufficient, several acres may be more favorable to North Idaho’s plans for economic development.
If some investors want to get really ambitious, North Idaho can even become the birthplace of a new sport in which participants shoot rifle, pistol and shot gun from skis. Biathlon started as a military discipline with high power rifles. In 1978, eighteen years after Biathlon became an Olympic event, athletic officials bowed to European ways by going to standard velocity, more politically correct .22 caliber ammunition. Prior to 1978, the American team used Winchester Model 70s in .243 Winchester!
In the summer time, North Idaho can turn the Nordic skiing trails into motocross trails and really crank up some high speed shooting action!
Reposted with permission of Sandpoint PR.
The new campus security law that permits concealed carry on Idaho campuses passed and has been signed by Gov. Butch Otter.
There are presently five states: namely Colorado, Kansas, Mississippi, Oregon and Utah, that allow students, teachers and others to bring guns to class. Idaho and 22 other states presently leave it up to the colleges to determine who will carry on campus. Twenty-one states have enacted outright bans regarding carry on campus. The bill allows retired law enforcement officers and all people with Idaho’s enhanced concealed-carry permit to bring firearms to campus.
Applicants for the enhanced permit must be 21 or older. The legislation prohibits firearms in certain places like dormitories even with enhanced concealed-carry permits. Nevertheless, several of the trustees at North Idaho College were troubled by the proposal to provide students with the means of defending themselves. In fact, almost every administrator in Idaho opposed the legislation. They seem to think that arming students amid a “beer” culture is irresponsible.
Maybe it is time for colleges and university administrators to ask whether it is time to create new environments for higher learning by encouraging responsibility and trusting students to rise to a high level of serious endeavor by helping to make campuses secure and offering classes in gun handling!
Another concern was the need for local control with a majority of the trustees apparently voting to oppose the bill. It is worth noting that security guards at NIC are unarmed. Todd Banducci, an NIC trustee, a weapons instructor and expert military marksman, commented during a recent board meeting that he strongly supported the proposed bill along with arming campus security guards.
The majority view, however, seemed to be that arming students will be a dangerous innovation, especially when the security guards are not armed! To make it perfectly clear for the majority who voted to maintain the status quo, most law abiding folks on the NIC campus will be helpless for as long as it takes for the police to arrive if the present status quo prevails. That should mean also arming security on campus.
Unless we arm some personnel on the NIC campus, the present state of affairs leaves the NIC campus vulnerable to an active shooter attack. Utah and four other states allow carrying of firearms on campus. It’s noteworthy these states have seen very little if any increase in school shootings.
The rest of the United States has seen almost one school shooting almost every other day for weeks and school shootings have tripled. Isn’t it time to give people the opportunity to be armed during that critical gap while law enforcement is scrambling to get to the scene of an active shooting?
The proposed legislation followed fatal shootings on college campuses. A student shot and killed a teaching assistant at Purdue University in Indiana Tuesday. Another fatal shooting occurred outside a South Carolina State University dormitory several weeks ago.
Senator Curt McKenzie, an Idaho state senator who is proposing the bill, said that arming students and faculty can prevent school shootings.
The same week that the trustees met at NIC, police in Maryland were continuing to study a journal that the Columbia Mall gunman kept in which he expressed hatred for certain groups and unhappiness with his life. “Shooter’s handwritten journal offers no insight into whether he knew the victims,” police said in a tweet. Another tweet said the killer “knew he was having mental health issues.”
So What’s the Difference between an Active Shooter and Action Shooting?
Darion Aguilar, reportedly a skater and regular at the mall, shot himself in the face after killing two Zumiez employees. So what is the difference between an action shooter and an active shooter?
An active shooter is the modern parlance for a person who starts shooting at people in public places. In the case of the Maryland shopping mall, he killed his victims and injured several others with a 12-gauge shotgun.
Action shooters, on the other hand, are competitive shooters who train for speed and accuracy through practice shooting at multiple targets while on the move. Such exercises can be training drills or performed in competitive match venues like IDPA or USPSA matches. To qualify, action shooters follow strict rules of safety in highly controlled environments.
Republished from Sandpoint PR January 29,2014
Mark Knapp, a Federal Way and Spokane, Washington firearms lawyer, believes strongly in our Constitutional right to bear arms. He is passionate about firearms safety and proper training. As with any contributing writer, Knapp’s opinions are his own and not necessarily those of SandpointPR.com.
Idaho Beckons Gun Manufacturers
In September of 2013, the Idaho Firearm and Accessories Manufacturers’ Association announced that Idaho needs to find new workers for its $500 million firearms and ammunition industries. Idaho presently has an expanding manufacturing base for guns and ammo that cannot expand without a skilled workforce.
Jeff Sayer, director of the Idaho Department of Commerce, told a forum at Boise State University that one Idaho manufacturer would triple in size if it could hire more machinists with gun manufacturing skills. The Idaho Department of Commerce was at the 2014 Shot Show in Las Vegas along with Idaho manufacturers like MGM Targets, Nightforce Optics, Buck Knives, ATK, Integrity Ballistics, Riverman Gun Works and Unique ARs, to name a few of the many exhibitors and businesses that booth space with Idaho Commerce.
The Idaho Constitution and state statutes provide a protection for Idaho firearms and ammunition manufacturers that protects the industry from the kind of lawsuits that are designed to wear down manufacturers and drive up the price of the product for gun owners. This may be part of the reason that the state of Idaho has seen 50% growth of firearms and ammunition manufacturing over the last 10 years. Additionally, the largest producer of .22 and .223 caliber ammunition in the nation, CCI, a brand within the ATK Sporting Group, is located in Lewiston, Idaho.
There are also over 2 dozen manufacturers of custom arms, aftermarket parts, and specialized ammunition. For example, Riverman Gun Works, located in Coeur d’Alene is a manufacturer of MP5 Clones, ARs, custom 1911’s and a spring-loaded bolt action rifle which disassembles in two easy steps.
The Modular Breakdown Rifle can convert to multiple calibers. I visited their shop recently and picking up and handling their custom built AR-style rifles is a pleasure that will be understood by anyone that appreciates modern sporting rifles.
Knife companies are also finding Idaho to be hospitable to manufacturing. Buck Knives, also mentioned above, relocated to Post Falls after years in the San Diego area and even brought many of its workers from California several years ago.
MGM Targets of Caldwell hosts the MGM Ironman 3-Gun Competition in Parma, Idaho every year. Their hosting has become a premier event that brings many competitors and their sponsors in to shoot rifles, pistols and shotguns at hundreds of steel and paper targets. The shooting challenge ranges from firing from a zip line, shooting while running through trenches and firing while perched on top of a tower. Targets for the Ironman 3-Gun Match are arranged from close-quarters battle formation out to hundreds of yards. The 3-day event challenges the endurance of competitors and their equipment alike.
The whole state of Idaho is benefiting as more manufacturers find their way into the state. PNW Arms relocated from Issaquah, WA, to an area 2 miles north of Potlatch. The City of Potlatch has now announced that guns are a natural fit for its economic development plan. The City is working on converting the old Potlatch mill into a location for firearms-related manufacturing and other outdoor recreation companies. There may even be gun shops and residential development included in the mix!
But other states like Montana are busy doing the same thing and the competition to attract manufacturers is fierce. That is why the time has come to create venues that will offer the potential to showcase shooting sports in ways that make the world stand up and take notice.
“Shooting while dangling from a zip line two stories up in the air is something folks will pay to see and experience. Add full automatic weapons and moving targets that simulate real-life tactical scenarios and every manufacturer in the world will sit up and take notice.”
It starts with a friendly business environment and the vision to make things happen. But Idaho schools need to make sure students drill down on reading and arithmetic. Vocational programs at all levels that include specialized machinist courses, gunsmithing and other manufacturing skills will balance out the equation for Idaho’s prosperity during a time that has seen much of the rest of the world drifting in the doldrums.
Idaho: Gun Industry Opportunities
Republished with permission from Sandpoint PR
January 22, 2014
Firearms Lawyer, Mark Knapp, makes a solid case for introducing quality gun-training firearms ranges in North Idaho.
The United States is experiencing a historic wave of new shooters. And with that come new shooting facilities and other firearms related businesses. Bellevue, Washington, Las Vegas, Nevada and Potlatch, Idaho are cities that have attracted successful gun-related businesses. Idaho and Montana are both among a growing number of states that have recognized the economic opportunity created by America’s legacy of firearms freedom.
Las Vegas recently received a large amount of revenue from a sell-off of Federal land (authorized by Congress just for Nevada). The money had to be used on parks, and at least $64 million has been spent on the Clark County Shooting Complex. Las Vegas hosts shooting activities that include opportunities to shoot fully automatic weapons and other equipment that would be illicit contraband in states like California.
Arming citizens properly
Armed citizens from all over the United States are getting trained at places like Front Sight, another rapidly growing shooting complex near Las Vegas. Many new gun owners go to gun ranges like Center Target Sports in Post Falls. The needs don’t stop with instruction. Gunsmiths, holster and optics manufacturers and other retail sales are all examples of economic opportunities for North Idaho counties that are willing to manage zoning regulations in ways that encourage firearms related industries to relocate. Developing policies that promote indoor and outdoor ranges is a key to attracting such enterprises.
Can North Idaho learn something from Las Vegas and Bellevue? Center Target Sports, named as the best indoor range in the United States a few years ago, is already a model for other ranges that are springing up in cities all over the United States. Bellevue, Washington area hosts at least three indoor ranges, and a number of outdoor ranges, all within a short drive from one another. Boise area has at least one range that is marketing to families and even advertises that it hosts birthday parties at its facility.
A Little History
In 2011, a group of firearms enthusiasts created the ARMED DEFENSE TRAINING ASSOCIATION (ADTA). The group helped pave the way for a new indoor range in Federal Way with two law enforcement tactical bays and other facilities where shooters can practice target shooting. The range offers shoot-on-the-move practice and competition with pistols, rifles and shotguns.
The ADTA itself started when some members of the local Chamber of Commerce started asking each other what it would take to create a range for the suburban city located halfway between Tacoma and Seattle. We started presenting shoot-on-the-move events and New Shooter Clinics with an emphasis on safety. We quickly transition new and experienced shooters into advanced tactical drills- but always with basic safety first and last.
Members regularly share expertise with other members on the range and in classroom settings or at monthly membership meetings that are open to the public. The December membership meeting focused on Massad Ayoob’s stress-fire techniques with a live stress-fire event on the range the following week.
The new chief of Federal Way police also came and spoke to the group about situational awareness and how to stop criminal violence, The ADTA does not try to take the place of professional firearms training. The group offers a place to get started and to maintain gun handling skills. Formed in 2011, the ADTA, recently recognized by the IRS as a 501©(7) non-profit organization, is ready to reach out to help new chapters form anywhere in the Northwest and beyond.
One advantage of having various chapters will be the increased access to experts from various communities. The all volunteer staff can offer help to other ADTA chapters in other cities and the existing ADTA team can help get new chapters off the ground. The Federal Way group has been busy creating a model and systems that can be reproduced when other communities in the Northwest ask for help.
Volunteers can make it happen
The new ADTA chapters will attract volunteer instructors and qualified range officers that can help with bigger events. We are expecting to identify volunteers who are also experts in real estate, fund raising, public relations and other fields so we can offer opportunities to participate in unique training events that will make our families and communities safer.
It all starts with visualizing a state of the art gun range for the area where you live. Not an hour or two away from where you live but close enough that you can conveniently take your wife and kids or neighbors out for some practice. And big enough that the range meets local law enforcement, training and competition shooting needs. It’s like that movie, FIELD OF DREAMS- “Build it and they will come!”
Editor’s Note: This is the second post by Mark Knapp who comes to us from Federal Way, Washington. He is an action shooter with a high regard and respect for firearms as well as for the Constitutional right Americans have to train and use firearms. His opinions are his own and not necessarily those of SandpointPR.com; nonetheless, we welcome him to SandpointPR.
Syndicated for free republication with attribution: Sandpoint PR.Permalink
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