That is the title of Second Amendment attorney Dave Hardy’s new book. It details how Federal negligence and arrogance got people killed and how the perpetrators got away free due to the law. I’ve been reading the book and will post a full review of it in the near future. From what I’ve read so far, I highly recommend it.
However, this post isn’t about Dave’s book but rather about how negligence on the state and local level in California allowed a mentally disturbed and often violent man to kill five people before he himself was killed in a shoot-out with police. The murders happened earlier this week in Rancho Tehama Reserve. In addition to the murders, this mad man shot up the local elementary school wounding one student.
The murderer was out of jail on bail from an assault in January where he had been charged with a total of five felonies and two misdemeanors. At the time he was released on bail, the judge in the case ordered him to surrender his firearms and had issued a protective order which barred him from “owning, possessing, purchasing or attempting to purchase firearms.” He had certified to the court that he had turned in his firearms to the custody of a local gun shop.
At the time of his shootout with police, the murderer was found to be in possession of two semi-auto rifles which seem to have been made by him as well as two handguns registered to someone else.
As reported by the Orange County Register, police were called to his residence many time between January and this week’s murders. However, he always refused them entrance.
Why were police called to his residence?
At a tense news conference Wednesday, police conceded that neighbors had repeatedly complained about (the murderer) firing hundreds of rounds from his house.
Tehama County Assistant Sheriff Phil Johnston said authorities responded to calls several times, but the 44-year-old (murderer) wouldn’t open the door, so they left.
“He was not law enforcement friendly. He would not come to the door,” Johnston said. “You have to understand we can’t anticipate what people are going to do. We don’t have a crystal ball.”
So you have neighbors reporting that a prohibited person is having target practice in his yard and the local law enforcement does nothing about it. Let me repeat that he was out on bail awaiting trial on five felonies and had a protective order against him banning his possession of any firearm.
As law professor Laurie Levenson of Loyola Law School makes clear below, they didn’t need his permission to enter.
“You can have probable cause even if officers don’t see a gun or hear shots,” she said. “They do not have to see the suspect with the weapon if all the circumstantial evidence indicates that he is violating the orders.”
Levenson said officers don’t even need a warrant to search a suspect’s home if they believe the caller and the evidence they are hearing and collecting indicate the suspect is firing a gun.
“If an officer believes there is someone with a weapon who is not entitled to have a weapon, the law permits the officer to go in,” she said.
While I imagine confronting a man who reportedly had both anger issues and was somewhat psychotic is dangerous, that is what police are paid to do and that is why they have SWAT teams.
No one knows if the killer’s wife, neighbors, and the random people shot or killed would still be alive if the police had intervened when the neighbors called to complain but the odds certainly are higher.
I don’t know California law as to whether the Tehama County Sheriffs’ Department can be held liable for negligence. As Dave Hardy makes clear in his book, under Federal law this negligence would come under the “discretionary function exemption” and not a damn thing would happen to that department.
The other thing I do know is that no new gun control law would have stopped this killer. There were laws on the books that were meant to prevent him from having firearms. They were ignored. Moreover, the police declined to enforce them even in the face of complaints from neighbors that indicated he was violating the law. Gun control laws stop the law abiding. They don’t stop criminals and they don’t stop those intent on ignoring the law.