Law abiding citizen’s gun stolen–by judge

This judicial abomination has already been well covered here, and mentioned here, but it’s outrageous enough that I feel compelled to rail against it, as well.

The gist of it is that Brad Hines, a concealed carry licensee, shot a man in self-defense (his assailant survived). In a hearing, the district court judge saw that the case against Mr. Hines was lacking, and found no probable cause for charging him.

However, Peter Strickland,the Senior District Attorney, had other ideas (along with a real problem with citizens defending themselves, apparently), and pressed charges anyway, and managed to get a grand jury to agree that there was enough cause to bring the case to trial.

Upon hearing the “evidence,” however, the jury took all of ten minutes to return a verdict of not guilty. Think about how flimsy a case would have to be for an entire jury to throw it out in ten minutes–it generally takes longer than that to get 12 people to agree on what kind of pizza to order.

Still, Mr. Hines’ troubles weren’t over. First, he had to listen to the pompous ass of a judge (Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons) deliver a disgustingly condescending lecture:

“Take that concealed weapon permit and turn it in to the Sheriff’s Office – you don’t need it.”

The incurable optimists among us might be hoping that Ammons meant that carrying the most effective means of self-defense is a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual, and thus not subject to licensing, meaning he objected to the idea of needing a “permit” to carry a firearm. Alas, that is not the case, as we find out with the judge’s next line:

“If the gun is returned to you, go sell it. You don’t need it.”

Remember, this is in the wake of an incident that showed exactly why Mr. Hines did need a gun. More importantly (and more alarmingly), what’s this “if the gun is returned . . .” crap about–it’s an innocent man’s personal property–how can there be any question of not returning it?

That’s where this story goes from annoying, to teeth-gnashingly outrageous. Apparently, North Carolina law gives the judge discretion regarding the fate of the firearm, despite the fact that its rightful owner was not found to have done anything wrong.

“In a hearing before a judge, the weapon can either be returned to the defendant or I can order the firearm turned over to the sheriff and destroyed,” Judge Ammons said.

It is probably not difficult to predict which course the judge chose,despite the arguments from Mr. Hines’ attorney. The judge was helped to his decision by urging from the estimable Mr. Strickland, who wants the gun to get the death penalty,

“We have heard the evidence and Mr. Hines took a firearm into a situation late at night where he knew it might be used,” Mr. Strickland said. “The state is concerned a similar incident might happen again.”

Imagine, carrying a gun where it might be used (gasp!)–apparently, we are only to carry a gun when and where we know we won’t need them (wherever and whenever that is).

And that is what the good judge ordered.

After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Ammons ruled the firearm be turned over to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins and destroyed.

“If the sheriff decides, he may sell, trade or exchange the gun with a firearms dealer as allowed by North Carolina statutes,” Judge Ammons said. “If there is no appeal within 30 days, the order will be carried out.”

So that’s justice, Peter Strickland and Judge Jim Ammons style–the kangaroo court is now in session.

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