Articles Posted in Guns/Firearms

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Charlotte DWI and Criminal Defense Attorney J. Bradley Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Can the police search my car without a warrant?”

The federal appellate court with jurisdiction over North Carolina just ruled in a surprising decision that “armed” does not automatically mean “dangerous” within the context of stop-and-frisk searches by police.

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Brad Smith of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Do I need to hire an attorney if I have been falsely accused?”

 

A York, S.C. man was arrested over the weekend after a disagreement over a bicycle he said a man stole from him. The man, Randall L. Hunnicutt, said the man stole his bicycle and money out of his wallet. The man admitted he had borrowed Hunnicutt’s bike four days earlier, but he told police he had returned it. He denied taking the money.

Arrested at gunpoint Charlotte Mecklenburg DUI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyThe argument began on Hunnicutt’s porch in York. After being accused by Hunnicutt, the man tried to walk away. Hunnicutt asked his son to bring him his shotgun. He then loaded the shotgun and began poking the weapon in the man’s face.

The man started to walk away, but Hunnicutt followed him and pushed him down, poking him with the shotgun. After Hunnicutt pulled the trigger, the man ran to a neighbor’s house and called police. Apparently the weapon did not discharge.

Nevertheless, Hunnicutt was charged with attempted murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. It is unclear whether additional charges are pending.

The Charlotte Observer reports that Hunnicutt’s age, as listed on the police report, is 29. The age of Hunnicutt’s son is unclear; also unclear is whether the son retrieved ammunition that Hunnicutt used to load the shotgun. In any case, the inference can be drawn that Hunnicutt’s son was too young to be employed as a shotgun-retriever in a drunken late-night argument between adults.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “Should I talk to the police?”

Police say that they are looking for a man they believe is responsible for a series of robberies that have impacted several local fast food restaurants over the past month. Authorities recently released security camera footage showing the man robbing several Cook Outs spread across the Charlotte area.

 

Grilling Burgers Charlotte DWI Lawyer North Carolina Criminal Defense AttorneyPolice say that four Cook Outs and one Wendy’s were robbed over the past month. The Cook Outs in Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and Rowan counties have all been hit, with the first robbery happening just under a month ago. The most recent occurred this past weekend.

 

Police say they are thankful that no one has been injured in any of the robberies, but that disaster could happen at any time given the way the robber has behaved during the encounters. Authorities say that the burglar fired a handgun several times in at least two of the robberies, leading police to fear that the man might lash out if provoked.

 

Police say they believe the robberies are related because the description of the burglar has been similar in each case. Additionally, all the robberies happened early in the morning, around 7 a.m. Store employees have said that the suspect is a black man in his mid-20s with shoulder-length dreadlocks. So far he’s worn a ski mask, which obscures the bottom portion of his face.

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “I was found not guilty of a charge, but my record still shows the charge.”

In a move that has sparked concern among some of the staunchest gun advocates, Iowa law enforcement officials have said that they will begin issuing gun permits to the blind. The gun permits will mean that blind individuals are allowed to purchase and carry weapons in public.

Vision Test Chart Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to officials with the state, the law is clear that local sheriffs do not have the legal right to deny any Iowan the right to carry a gun based on a physical disability. The news has some blind gun owners rejoicing including one man, Michael Barber, who told reporters at an Iowa gun store that he was thrilled with the news. Barber said, “When you shoot a gun, you take it out and point and shoot, and I don’t necessarily think eyesight is necessary.”

Other disability advocates say that denying individuals the right to bear arms due to eyesight trouble violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits different treatment based on physical disabilities. The National Federation for the Blind issued a statement in support of the Iowa measure, saying that with proper training blind people can be taught how to safely use guns. Moreover, the group noted that blind people have enough common sense to know when using a weapon would endanger others.

Though Barber may be happy to be able to legally carry his weapons, local sheriffs so far are split on the wisdom of the measure, with some saying they endorse the idea while others are more apprehensive. County Sheriff John LeClere spoke for the latter group when he said, “If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting.”

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Attorney J. Bradley Smith answering the question: “If I simply intend to plead guilty, why do I need a lawyer?”

In a bizarre episode earlier this month, police say four people were shot at an anti-violence rally sponsored by the Mothers of Murdered Offspring. Police say the vigil, meant to commemorate lost loved ones, occurred near Pinckney and Matheson Avenues in the Villa Heights neighborhood of Charlotte.

Bullets Charlotte North Carolina DUI DWI Criminal Defense Attorney Lawyer.jpgAccording to the Mothers of Murdered Offspring, the vigil was taking place to call attention to the recent death of a Charlotte man who police say was shot and killed when he attempted to rob a convenience store. About 50 people were gathered to honor the man killed in the shooting when, at around 10:30 p.m., gunshots erupted.

Authorities have so far revealed that four people were shot and wounded in the gunfire, including an 11-year-old boy. Thankfully, authorities say none of the injuries were life threatening. CMPD says they were called to the scene when a participant in the vigil called 911 to report that someone in the group had pulled a gun and began firing at those gathered.

Police said when they arrived on the scene most of the crowd had scattered and they had to spend time tracking down witnesses and taking statements. Some property damage occurred as a result of the shooting, with tires and windows being shot out of several nearby cars. Police say an investigation into the episode is still ongoing. So far no arrests have been made.

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According to a recent report by WBTV.com, a man who was wounded during a drive-by shooting at the Northlake Mall has been recently released from the hospital. The victim was 23-year-old Gregory Tillery. He was wounded while he was trying to get into his car parked outside of Dick’s Sporting Goods Store. On Monday, February 6, 2012, the police were called to the Northlake Mall after the caller reported a shooting in the parking lot. The officers who arrived on the scene found that the victim had been injured by a gunshot wound to the leg. He was expected to make a speedy recovery, despite earlier reports which said that the victim had suffered life-threatening injuries.

Post #2 criminal image.2.9.jpgWitnesses reported no less than five shots fired during the shooting. They indicated that as Tillery, the victim, was getting into his car, another vehicle pulled up and fired directly at him. Tillery was accompanied by another man. Police say the suspect also fired at him, but the bullet went through the legs of his pants and he was luckily not injured. The police are continuing with their investigation. They are looking at security footage to see if an image of the shooter was caught on videotape. Also, police are interviewing those who were with the victim and are interested in finding out why someone might want to shoot him.

Police were able to get a description of the suspect. Witnesses described him as a black male with dreadlocks. The witnesses also say that he was driving a white Ford SUV, either an Excursion or an Expedition, with some kind of trim at the bottom of the vehicle, either gold or tan. Police are asking that anyone who knows any information contact Crimestoppers.

Several other cars were hit by stray bullets. Fortunately, the cars were empty at the time and no other people were injured. The investigating officer, Lt. Brian Foley, said that if the circumstances had been different, this incident could have turned into a tragedy. One witness said, “They could have hit anybody else. [I]t could[‘ve] been somebody’s kid. [I]’s scary… What if it was your family[?] [W]hat if it was your kid or someone you knew[?]”

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Post #2 criminal image.jpgThe Charlotte Observer recently published a report by the New York Times about the rise in the number of concealed carry permits. The report recounts an incident where an Asheville, North Carolina man had a hair-raising experience with the driver of an SUV.

Alan Simmons and his family were riding bicycles down the road when they were approached by a driver in an SUV. The driver was visibly upset with Simmons because he was riding his bike in the street. Simmons stopped and so did the driver. The two got into a verbal altercation, but the driver of the SUV, Charles Diez, pulled out a gun and threatened to shoot Simmons. When Simmons turned to leave, Diez fired, but the bullet passed through his helmet barely missing his head.

Diez was legally allowed to carry that weapon. He was licensed to carry a concealed weapon and Simmons believes that that is the reason why a verbal altercation nearly turned deadly. Diez was eventually arrested and he pled guilty to assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill. The problem is not with the number of permits that are now being allowed across the country. The problem is the ease with which one can obtain a permit to carry a concealed weapon. North Carolina is one of many states that only requires a simple background check before allowing someone to obtain a concealed carry permit.

In addition to the ease of obtaining the permit, gun advocates are seeking to increase the places where guns are allowed. In the recent past, guns have been taken off of the banned list for bars, houses of worship, and college campuses. The argument in favor of increasing the presence of guns in public places is that gun owners should be allowed to protect themselves when they are out and about.

“These are people who have proven themselves to be among the most responsible and safe members of our community,” said Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida. Rep. Stearns wrote a bill that would require states to recognize other state’s gun permits, extending the Full Faith and Credit Clause to gun permits. The House has already approved the bill and the Senate is expected to consider it next year.

The New York Times conducted an investigation into North Carolina’s concealed weapons permit holders. The investigation revealed that several of North Carolina’s permit holders had been convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. In several of these cases, the state did not pull the gun permit from those convicted.

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Black Friday.jpgAccording to a recent news report by WRAL, police in Fayetteville are searching for two armed suspects who opened fire in a crowded shopping mall. Shoppers had already begun to arrive in anticipation of Black Friday’s massive retail discounts when the shooting began. Police say that one of the suspects fired the first shots around 2 a.m. near the entrance to the food court at Cross Creek Mall in Fayetteville, North Carolina. One individual ran inside the mall, followed by another armed man when the second suspect fired a second round of shots outside of the Macy’s Department Store.

Police say that no one with injuries checked into the local hospital, Cape Fear Valley Medical Center. Although no one was injured by the gunfire, the incident caused panic and chaos throughout the crowded shopping mall. Shoppers were frightened and many of them left the Cross Creek Mall to continue their Black Friday shopping in a less gunfire prone location.

Some shoppers reported people being trampled in the melee as the terrified shoppers tried to find a place of safety. One shopper was reported as saying, “People were running and they were yelling. . . Our first instinct was to hide, to get away from the situation.” That, however, did not seem to stop the holiday shopping spirit and Black Friday buying quickly resumed after the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department restored order at the mall.

The shooting at the Cross Creek Mall was not the only episode of violence that erupted this weekend among eager Black Friday shoppers. There were several reported incidents across the country where overzealous shoppers resorted to unsavory tactics to take advantage of Black Friday’s retail discounts. In Los Angeles, California a woman allegedly pepper-sprayed her fellow shoppers as she was attempting to securer X-Box gaming consoles on sale at a local Wal-Mart. There was also an incident in Kingston, North Carolina where a security guard was forced to use his pepper spray to bring order to an unruly crowd.

If and when the suspects in the Cross Creek Mall incident are captured, they may face several possible state and federal charges. If either suspect has been previously convicted of a felony, they come under the jurisdiction of the Felony Firearms Act in North Carolina which prohibits felony offenders from buying, owning, or possessing firearms. There are also federal firearms statutes that apply to felony offenders who are found in possession of handguns and other firearms. Both of these laws may apply simultaneously (because the federal and state governments are independent sovereigns), increasing the likelihood that these gunmen will face several years behind bars.

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