Domestic Violence, Felonies and Gun Rights
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The “Merovingian Bloodline” is an esoteric doctrine and network of secret societies that have a pedigree purporting to relate back to a time before Charlemagne. King Dagobert II and his descendants used such fables to perpetuate the succession of their royal bloodline. They insinuated that the dynasty’s claim to the Frankish throne was bolstered by a genetic connection to Christ via Mary Magdalene.
There are powerful political and ancient family interests in Europe that are preparing to lay a similar groundwork. Expect to soon hear rumors and suggestions, perhaps with signs or miracles, that certain leaders have a connection to extra-terrestrial civilzations. Such claims are essential for the European Union to acheive its dream of embracing a future European strongman.
It seems unlikely that a European Union leader would directly make a claim to be descended from Christ. Insinuating a connection to an extra-terrestrial race is not that different than the European monarchies’ historical tradition of claiming quasi-divine status. The so called history book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, has already created a predisposition in the popular imagination toward the idea that there are old families in Europe that are descended from Christ himself.
The authors of the book even suggest that those descendants might be intentionally creating clues to their own existence after remaining secret for many years. The claim is that the past secrecy is due to the Catholic Church persecution of the Priory of Sion and the divine Merovingian bloodline for disclosing the alleged fact that Christ did not die on the cross!
“Holy Blood, Holy Grail” is a based on a pseudo-historical hoax. Written by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, the supposed facts actually mine a wide vein of deceptions pertaining to the “Priory of Sion” in France that have allegedly been part and parcel of the European darkside for centuries. The exact origin of many of these fables is hard to determine because of the long time prevalence of secret societies in Europe that promulgate all kinds of disinformation!
The mark of deceptive religion is often not denying Christ but an emphasis on feelings and Spiritualist practices. I have not seen any Evangelical churches that try to communicate with the dead but an emphasis on inner peace often compromises the call for believers to actively contend with evil forces in the world around us. The Book of Proverbs states:
Those who forsake the law praise the wicked; those who uphold the law contend with them!
Churches that refuse to speak to the life and death issues of the day, like abortion, often also avoid taking strong positions on Bible doctrine. Germany was full of Christians who acquiesced as the racial theories of the German National Socialist Worker’s Party became part of the German National Church, a Lutheran organization that traditionally had legal ties to the German government.
At first glance, churches in the United States are not entangled with the government. Neverthless, the threat of losing tax exemptions and other pressures and influences are compromising the call for our churches to take a prophetic stand regarding the issues of our day.
Traditional concepts of rights and duties, checks and balances and the original meaning of the U.S. Constitution protect our ability to spread the Gospel. The American Church has reached across the globe to bring the Gospel message of deliverance in most places. Are we now to acquiesce in a New World Order managed by false prophets and leaders that promise to perform miracles? Any suggestions that a leader has ties to divinity or a superior race lead us back to the time when aristocrats claimed a Divine Rights of Kings. With reinforcement from the Church in Rome, Charlemagne, Dagobert and their offspring claimed a Holy Roman Empire which was neither holy nor Roman!
Our forefathers staked their lives, their fortunes and honor on the premise that ordinary men and women could govern themselves if we would just remain submitted to Biblical morality and eschew any religion not revealed in the Scripture.
Now the history books are being rewritten. But the ancient landmarks cannot be removed because many Americans are presently in the same state of mind that existed in the 13 colonies right before the American Revolutionary War. British soldiers attempted to dragoon the colonials into giving up American arms stored in local armories around cities like Boston. But the new breed of colonists had decided that their ancient rights trumped the claims of kings, those with aristocratic pedigrees and even Acts of Parliament!
Racism goes hand in hand with claims of aristocratic genealogy because genetics is always close to the heart of elitists. Even in America we are starting to see families like the Bush family and the Clintons achieving influence that could become the basis for a new aristocracy.
The U.S. Progressive, Margaret Sanger, founded Planned Parenthood, and advocated improvement of the human race by genetic engineering called Eugenics. She was an influential thinker who successfully advocated forced sterilization for poor blacks and other groups of “defectives“); Sanger was a forerunner to the racial theorists of the Third Reich- in fact, the Nazis quoted Sanger profusely.
We should shun anything that has to do with such deceptions and be very careful about subscribing to conspiracy theories. Nevertheless, the Scripture instructs us to expose the works of darkness and to be vigilant because the devil is constantly seeking to deceive the very elect.
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A few years back, the Philippine National Police decided not to ban Filipino citizens from carrying pistols in public. The PNP issued and enforced a six-month ban during the last presidential election with a proposal to make the ban permanent. President Benigno Aquino took office on June 30, 2010 and very diplomatically pointed out why the ban was not an answer to crime in the Philippines. The previous president, an anti-gun advocate, was severely discredited when the Ampatuans, her political machine in the Maguindanoa area of Mindanoa, allegedly committed a massacre against the Ampatuan dynasty’s political opponents. The trial commenced September 8, 2010 and is till gearing up for some trials in 2015! Many of the victims were journalists.
President Aquino, the Supreme Court chief justice and other influential figures have been frequent visitors to gun shows in recent years, according to Philippine gun rights activists. Experts at the gun shows lecture on legal aspects of gun ownership, sports shooting and how to maintain a firearm.
In the Philippines, any citizen that can afford the relatively expemsive fees can get a license to own a conventional gun, subject to a police clearance and other security checks. The law allows people to carry guns outside their homes if they can prove to police they may need to use it in self-defence. Lawyers, judges, businessmen and even journalists walk the streets with guns.
There are about 1.3 million licensed firearms in the Philippines, with 600,000 in the hands of private citizens and the rest held by the military, police and other law-enforcement agencies, according to police estimates.
There is roughly one firearm in circulation for every 40 Filipinos when you count all the weapons for which there are no permits.
Every time there is an election a ban gets imposed but after the last election the PNP proposed a permanent ban- at least on “Away From Home” permits.
“Noynoy” said that he was not in favor of a total gun ban in the Philippines because it might not be the answer to the crime situation.
“Away From Home” permits are so expensive that only the rich can afford them and permits to keep firearms in the home are renewed annually for about $100.00 for each weapon! “Away From Home” permits are much like concealed carry licenses in the U.S. but cost about $200.00 per year on top of the annual fees required just to own each firearm! Keeping a gun in your home requires a psychological examination and enough red tape to choke a caribow- the Philippine water buffalo that still accomplishes much of the work done by tractors in more industrialized nations.
There are also limits on how many weapons of different calibers Pinoys can own. One small caliber pistol- e.g. .22 caliber- one small caliber rifle and one high power pistol and one high power rifle. If you don’t have an Away From Home permit, you have to make arrangements with the police in advance just to transport your unloaded weapons to the range!
Almost every time there is an election the national police and/or the President (by executive order) temporarily bans weapons outside the home and roadblocks go up with inspections to enforce the bans. Sometimes the ban is short lived and other times the temporary ban goes on indefinitely! If you have friends in high places, however, it probably just isn’t a big deal!
The country only has 250,000 security forces to protect some 100 million Filipinos, according to Aquino. In Southern Mindanao, Islamic rebels have recently invaded villages and taken local people hostage during battles with the AFP. Additionally, Communist NPA rebels are still active in the mountains and many provincial and rural areas. Given this situation, Aquino said the response time would be much slower.
He said that if laws are rigidly enforced, good police work can solve crimes committed by outlaws. Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel, on the other hand, advocated banning guns on the streets “to ensure peace”.
The NPA assassins, or “Sparrows“, reportedly deploy 1911 style .45 pistols with grip safeties taped down. The Sparrow team approaches a vehicle that is stopped in traffic. The weapon is worn inside the wasteband under the belly. One hand inside the pants pocket pushes the weapon upward into the other hand and the executions occur with a well-practiced outward snap of the arms in traffic at busy times of the day.
Some local governments support citizen paramilitary forces such as the Civilian Home Defense Force and its successor, the Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Units.
Extra-judicial killings promote rumors that government forces paticipate in terrorist attacks. Accusations are also rampant that the leftists attack their own sympathizers and then blame attacks on government troops!
The Peaceful, Responsible (pro-gun) Owners of Guns thought the proposals were “impractical and unrealistic”. But Malacañang (the counterpart to our White House) directed PNP Director Gen. Jesus Versoza to make sure that all sides were heard and all opinions weighed.
Certain lawyers’ and judges’ groups pressed Gen. Versoza to lift the total gun ban.
Executive Secretary Leandro Mendoza said. “In my experience, the issue is really equally divided on both sides. The decision is not easy to make.” He claimed to see merit in the argument of legal gun owners that a total ban would only benefit criminals who do not care about regulations.
Do the police actually make the laws in the Philippines? Some Filipinos threatened to file suit against the PNP if it insisted on a gun ban extending beyond June 9, 2010.
“We are not only fighting to allow us to carry our firearms but to protect our lives,” said lawyer Banjo Navarro III, A2S5 Coalition interim spokesman. Indeed, Philippine journalists have been assassinated in numbers that compare with countries like Iraq and Russia. On Nov. 23, 2009, 31 journalists were killed at one time in the above referenced massacre in Mindanao. Sadly, political assassination will remain a way of life in the Philippines.
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It is too early to know whether a gun trust will provide any protection from charges of violating I-594. The initiative does not provide any exception for temporary sharing of firearms with trustees names in an NFA Gun Trust. The federal exception for temporary transfers of NFA restricted items to trustees has been promulgated administratively by the BATF and is not binding on Washington State.
In fact, there could be an issue as to whether even the temporary sharing of an NFA restricted item with another trustee named in your NFA gun trust violates I-594. I-594 defines a transfer as follows:
(25) “Transfer” means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.
The Initiative defines a person as follows:
(17) “Person” means any individual, corporation, company, association, firm, partnership, club, organization, society, joint stock company, or other legal entity.
Trusts are not listed as persons under the definition above but might qualify. If a trust is deemed to be a person and the trust owns the item, a transfer between co-trustees might be legal without a background check.
We are continuing to assess these and other issues regarding the new law. Please check this website and the NFA Gun Trust site.
See also Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC.
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We will represent you in petitioning the court to restore your right to own firearms. At the present time, the federal government no longer considers a Washington State Fourth Degree Assault (DV) to be a prohibiting conviction. This a complete reversal because, up until a few months ago, the NICS would not recognize restoration of rights for non-felony domestic violence convictions entered in Washington State!
If you have a conviction in Washington, however, you still need to get your rights restored because you are prohibited from possessing firearms under state law. Nevertheless, this is very good news and applies even to people that have been previously denied for Assault 4 convictions in the past. The requirement is to have at least three years from the date the conviction was entered for domestic violence cases and five years for felony convictions.
There is a great deal of safety in relying on the advice of an experienced attorney. We can restore your rights in most cases provided that there is not Class A felony- such as kidnapping- and provided that the prior conviction was not for a sex offense. Your attorney needs to focus in the area of firearms rights in order to understand the complexities and conflicts between the various laws and jurisdictions.
Note well: When answering the questions for a NICS background check: Question 11i on Form 4473 should be answered with strict accuracy: answer “yes” if, and only if, you have a conviction for an offense that meets the federal Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence definition pursuant to 18 USC 922(g)(9); i.e., “use or attempted use of physical force or threatened use of a deadly weapon“.
Thus, you should state no regarding convictions for domestic violence if you only have a Fourth Degree Assault conviction that was entered in Washington State. All of those offenses listed in 9.41.040(2)(a)(i) fall outside the federal definition of Misdemeanor Crime of Domestic Violence.
Assault in the Fourth Degree, Coercion,
Stalking, Reckless Endangerment,
Criminal Trespass in the First Degree,
Violation of the provisions of a protection order or no-contact order restraining the person or excluding the person from a residence.
See RCW 9.41.040
On the other hand, when applying for a Washington State Concealed Pistol License the answer would be yes to the offenses listed above but not necessarily for every conviction identified as DV on your criminal history. Thus, you will need legal advice from an attorney with very technical expertise if you have a domestic violence conviction in Washington.
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Initiative 594 is a proposed measure that its proponents claim will prevent mentally ill and other prohibited persons from obtaining firearms.
The campaign is being financed by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Bill Gates, Nick Hanauer, Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer along with other leftist Billionaires. The anti-gun Bloomberg’s “grassroots” organization Everytown For Gun Safety filings with the Public Disclosure Commission reveal a $50 million action fund to support I-594.
The initiative, sponsored by the Seattle-based Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, is thus being promoted by Bloomberg and other out-of-state interests that seek to destroy the freedom that has made Washington a state where there is less crime than other states.
Unfortunately, we also have people like Bill Gates living in Washington State that fail to respect the many gun owners participating in all kinds of shooting activities who do so very safely and in a law abiding manner.
Initiative 594 contains language that demonstrates an agenda less to do with universal background checks and more to do with creating difficulties for those of us that own and train others in the use of firearms.
The measure will criminalize, with few exceptions, all temporary transfers of firearms that do not involve purchases, such as for safekeeping, hunting, loan, recreational sharing, safety training, coaching, transport, etc.
The Federal Way based Armed Defense Training Association is a good example of how the law may impact local gun owners. Founded in 2010, the non-profit group provides opportunities for education, training and gun safety. Many of the public service presentations involve members teaching gun safety to new gun owners and those who may be thinking of becoming first time gun owners.
The fact that the association’s members volunteer to let folks handle unloaded firearms in very closely supervised settings, often in a church, library or similar setting, raises the issue of whether we could be prosecuted for a crime just by letting someone handle a firearm.
It sounds ridiculous but the I-594 definition of transfer includes temporary handling of firearms. The Armed Defense Training Association is not a political group but many of the members have become concerned about how the law will be applied to our training activities.
But it is not just armed citizens like us that are concerned. The Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs voted to oppose I-594 and support I-591. Initiative 591 is a proposal that prevents government gun confiscation without due process and requires that background checks in Washington comply with a uniform national standard.
If the Legislature were dealing with such issues, I-594 would never even be reported out of committee. Legislators know what happened in Colorado when lawmakers were recalled for infringing on the right of the people to keep and bear arms. Voters should be clear and vote for I-591 to keep a clear national standard in place.
On the other hand, I-594 is deceptive and seems to be intentionally confusing. Bad legislation always has unintended consequences. The gun ban lobby wants Washington to believe that the NRA does not represent the large numbers of us that own firearms. The truth is that we should all be offended when Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and others pour millions into the radically deceptive agenda of the gun banners, saying and doing anything to turn the rest of us into helpless sheep.
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About five years ago the new was that the cartels just across the border from El Paso, Texas had erupted in violence. According to the Wall Street Journal Ciudad Juárez was ground zero in Mexico’s war against drug cartels.
Now the news that is starting to leak out but still denied by the Obama Administration and ignored by the mainstream media is that Islamic terrorists are joining their operations with the cartels and may be targeting Fort Bliss. The reports of terrorists from the Middle East crossing the border from Mexico are not new. Nevertheless, the Islamic State’s control of huge quantities of money and vast amounts of oil rich real estate means that they have to invest their money somewhere.
Drugs, kidnapping, extortion and beheadings are the stock in trade for the cartels and ISIS. reaching out and touching U.S. personnel in the United States accomplishes several objectives shared by both the cartels and Islamic terrorists. Hitting U.S. interests sends a potent message to their enemies but it also sends a message to their friends. Thus, recruiting in which ISIS seems to be doing very well, will get even better. ISIS may even recruit cartel members (or form its own cartel) for financing operations near the Southern border) and joint operations bring new skills and increased firepower to both organizations.
Juárez’s approximately 165 deaths per 100,000 residents several years ago made it the murder capital of the world. That compared with 48 violent deaths per 100,000 residents of Baghdad.
The citizens in Michoacán province of Mexico are now in a more powerful position because they have armed vigilantes that have acquired full automatic weapons. Some of them lived in the United States and learned their skills in the street gangs of LA. But bearing arms makes citizens disciplined, vigilant and alert to danger whether it is from domestic political factions, criminal organizations or foreign terrorists. Every Mexican American should be in favor of making guns available to law abiding Mexican citizens.
Mexico’s government waged war with the drug cartels by militarily occupying many areas within Mexico. Mexico might have done more to fight drugs and violence in Ciudad Juárez than any other place in Mexico. The drug gangs have diversified and extortion has provided a new motivation to increase the body counts.
The extortion wave that is very familiar in Mexico is almost identical to the Islamic State’s operations in Syria and Iraq. Fasten your seat belts and discuss these developments with your neighbors. These things may not be as far from your town or city as you think!
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The ADTA presented a New Shooters’ Clinic at a church in Everett. The Armed Defense Training Association’s board of directors has looked carefully at starting an ADTA chapter in Snohomish County and we even identified some interested individuals and organized an educational meeting. The interest is there but leaders still have not come forth. Everett, WA 98203.
Is there a need for an all volunteer chapter of the ADTA in Everett, Snohomish, Lynnwood, Northgate, Kirkland, Woodinville, and surrounding areas?
The New Shooters’ Clinic was held to prepare participants for a live-fire shoot at West Coast Armory. The Live-Fire events are an important part of what we do but our approach is to remind folks that the most important tool for staying safe is mental preparation. If you think this is something you would like to discuss and learn more about, contact the ADTA or Mark Knapp.
Topics discussed at new Shooter Clinics including hands-on segments:
… The Four Basic Rules of Gun Safety
… Semiautomatic Handguns
The West Coast Armory range in Factoria-Bellevue area was the venue for several live fire action drill events the ADTA presents on a regular basis. The group also regularly presents Live-Fire action drills at an indoor range in Federal Way.
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 of every persuasion, ethnic and political background, provided that you do not advocate unlawful violence.
Inquiries can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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NFA Firearms are guns and other items regulated by the National Firearms Act (the “NFA”). Many people mistakenly refer to them as “Class 3” firearms or weapons.
In Washington, suppressors (or silencers) are now legal to own and shoot. The NFA still regulates these items and individuals, business entities, and trusts are permitted to purchase suppressors and some other items by obtaining permission from the ATF. Transferring or making these items requires completion of a Form1 or Form 4 along with payment of $200 for a tax stamp.
While a traditional trust can be used to purchase NFA firearms, there are many problems with using a traditional trust and therefore only an NFA Gun Trust should be used.
WHAT IS AN NFA GUN TRUST?
We help individuals and their families educate and protect themselves from unintentional violations of the NFA. The process of creating an NFA Gun Trust involves talking with the Law Office of Mark Knapp PLLC and The Apple Law Firm PLLC to determine what and how the client’s family makeup will influence the structure of the trust.
We will also assist you to limit future legislative and transfer tax risks associated with NFA firearms ownership. Once the NFA Gun Trust is designed an attorney who is licensed in the proper state reviews the trust and forwards the trust to the client. The client reviews the instructions and FAQs and has a phone consultation to discuss any questions or comments on federal and state laws.
If necessary, modifications are made, then all grantors and trustees sign the trust. Once the trust is properly executed, NFA items can be purchased. The entire process takes less than a week and often only 1 – 2 days.
The ATF requires that all individuals obtain approval from their Chief Law Enforcement Officer (the “CLEO”) as part of the application process to obtain a Title II firearm from another individual or Class 3 dealer. Many CLEOs around the country are refusing to sign or even acknowledge the ATF Forms.
No CLEO Signature Required
There is no legal remedy in most states to force the review of these forms. In Washington a NFA Gun Trusts do not require the CLEO’s signature to obtain approval on a Form 4.
No Fingerprints or Photographs are Required
When using an NFA Gun Trust to acquire Title ii firearms, no fingerprints or photographs are required. This is a cost savings and can also significantly decrease the time required to take possession of the items. Often fingerprints have to be retaken because they are not acceptable for the FBi’s criminal database.
Individuals who submit their ATF forms to their CLEO are often concerned about who will have knowledge of their firearms. They also express concerns that they will come under additional scrutiny because the police will have knowledge that they are in possession of these more restricted firearms. In most states when using an NFA Gun Trust, neither the CLEO nor the police are given notice that you will be in possession of or own the NFA firearms.
If you become incapacitated, your family or friends are often the ones to help you. in doing so, they may come in contact with the restricted items and put themselves at risk of violating the NFA without knowledge. An NFA Gun Trust helps protect these individuals from violating the NFA by providing them clear instructions on what they are and are not permitted to do. Many normal trusts actually instruct people to break the law.
When you die your individually owned firearms will be part of your “probate estate.” With an NFA Gun Trust, your firearms are not subject to probate or made part of a public record. Your beneficiaries will be protected because they will receive guidance on how and under what circumstances the items can be legally transferred. if you have children, a NFA Gun Trust has specific provisions to protect them and make sure they do not receive the firearms if they live in a location where it is illegal to possess NFA firearms, and most importantly an NFA Gun Trust can help ensure that your children are mature and responsible enough that you would want them to have the firearms.
Call the Firearms Lawyer or (904) 685-1200.
Co-owners and Authorized Users
When an individual purchases Title ii firearms, he or she is the only one permitted to use or have access to them. Many people incorrectly believe that it is permissible to let others use their NFA firearms when in their presence. However, the NFA would consider this a transfer and be a violation of the law. When your spouse or someone else knows the combination to your firearms safe, you may be violating the law through constructive possession.
Improper possession through constructive possession is a form of an unapproved transfer and a violation of the NFA. If you use an NFA Gun Trust to purchase Title ii firearms, you can designate additional owners and authorized users. if you want to add or change users or owners a NFA Trust can be adapted to reflect your current desires. The risk of constructive possession can be dealt with by adding that person to the NFA Gun Trust so that they can be in legal possession of the Firearms. This can help protect you and your family from the penalties of violating the NFA.
Reducing Risk of Legal Changes
Many groups are attempting to limit the ability to transfer firearms to family members or friends. With an NFA Gun Trust an adult child, family member, or friend can be made a co-owner of the trust. While the ownership of the NFA Gun Trust can be changed, the NFA Gun Trust is still the registered owner of the firearms and no transfer has taken place under the NFA. Penalties for violating the National Firearms Act can be severe.
Each violation of the National Firearms Act subjects the owner to forfeiture of all weapons, 10 years in prison, and fines of up to $250,000. Thus, our NFA Trust provides guidance to family members that rely on the trust after you are gone.
Benefits of a NFA Gun Trust Over a Corporation or LLC
Corporations and LLCs have annual fees associated with them. Business entities are not private and much information about the individuals associated with them is contained in public records. Corporations and LLCs have annual state fees and other costs associated with the maintenance of the entity.
To make a change to an NFA Gun Trust, one simply amends the trust to change who can use, purchase, or possess the firearms without risk of criminal liability for violating the NFA.
The Copyrighted NFA Gun Trust
Our NFA Gun Trust is protected by US Copyright Laws and designed from the ground up to protect the firearms and those who are using or may be in possession of them from the penalties proscribed by state laws and the NFA. The NFA Gun Trust has been rewritten with these principals in mind. This trust instructs the grantors, trustees, successor trustees, and beneficiaries on their rights, duties, and qualifications and guides them through the proper way to purchase, use, and transfer the items under state and federal regulations.
Each NFA Gun Trust comes with a comprehensive instructional memorandum that covers how to purchase, transfer, use, share, transport, store the firearms as well as how to use the trust based on questions and feedback from thousands of clients.
How to Begin the Process of Creating Your NFA Gun Trust
The first step in creating your NFA Gun Trust is to call Mark Knapp at (253) 202-2081.
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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 and 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.
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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.