Thursday, December 23, 2010

Founder of Alaska Peacemakers Militia pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault charge, awaits trial on gun charge

26-year-old Schaeffer Cox of Fairbanks, Alaska is a self-declared "sovereign citizen." He leads a group called the Second Amendment Task Force, whose web site features a variety of videos with guns and offers t-shirts with aggressive messages (see below) for sale.

Cox also founded an organization called Alaska Peacemakers Militia whose members pledge to keep "thugs" from doing "stupid, lawless stuff" in the event of a natural disaster or the collapse of civil society.

Last March Cox rushed to the rescue of one of the members who felt his constitutional rights were being violated.  Police said they were responding to a 911 hang-up, the member claimed the police were conducting a warrantless search of his home.  Cox arrived on the scene armed with a concealed Ruger .380 semi-automatic handgun.  Under Alaska law anyone carrying a concealed firearm must immediately notify any law enforcement officer they come into contact with of the concealed weapon. Cox failed to notify police of his gun and was subsequently arrested for a misdemeanor weapons misconduct charge.
Just two weeks earlier, Cox was arrested for felony assault. His wife filed a complaint against him after he grabbed her by the throat and pinned her up against the door of their car. She said he squeezed her neck to the point where she felt she was going to pass out. When she filed her complaint police noted bruising throughout her neck, a fingernail abrasion on the left side of her neck and redness and swelling on both sides of her neck.
Cox is a law-abiding citizen with no prior criminal record. Cox pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment, a misdemeanor, and was ordered to attend anger-management classes and placed on probation for two years.
At a pre-trail hearing this month his trial date for the weapons charge was moved to February 14th. Cox indicated that he plans to represent himself.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Man in jail for pointing loaded shotgun at wife's head

47-year-old Michael Leiner of East Hampton, Connecticut is in jail, held on $500,000 bond. Judge Morgan reminded Leiner that "the reason you're in the system right now is because you put a shotgun to your wife's head and threatened to shoot her."
Leiner is a law abiding citizen with no prior convictions. He became upset with his wife over a financial matter, went into his basement and got his shotgun. Leiner then allegedly cocked the shotgun and aimed it at his wife's head.
His wife was able to talk her way out of the home. When police arrived and searched the home they found the loaded shotgun with an active shell in the chamber.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Man accused in sex-slave case charged with unlawfully transporting firearms

32-year-old Bradley Cook, of Kirkwood, Missouri, was one of five men arrested and accused of torturing and mutilating a runaway teenage girl. Federal grand jurors just added a new charge, a felony charge that he unlawfully transported firearms, including a Czech-made rifle, shotguns and pistols.
Cook's attorney says he is a law abiding citizen with no criminal record other than unpaid traffic tickets. But court records indicate that an FBI agent testified that Cook frequently visited the home where the teenage girl was being held captive to have sex with her and often jolted her with a crank-activated phone rigged with wires attached to parts of her body. "He was the most excessive individual to use that crank phone," the agent testified.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Murder of John Lennon

       Thirty years ago a young Mark David Chapman stood outside the Dakota apartment building in New York City waiting for John Lennon. Chapman had a history of emotional problems, had begun to hear voices and began to obsess over two things: the book "The Catcher in the Rye"; and killing John Lennon.
       On October 27, 1980, Chapman went to a Honolulu gun store and bought a .38-caliber Charter Arms Special five-shot revolver for $169. Chapman purchased the gun legally. Because he had no criminal record and had never been committed to a mental institution he was allowed to purchase the gun.
A few days later he flew to New York. Once there he discovered that New York's Sullivan Law blocked him from buying ammunition for the gun. He turned to a friend in Georgia for help. He flew to Atlanta and told his friend he had bought a gun for personal protection and needed some bullets "with real stopping power." His friend sold him five hollow-point bullets, the kind that expand as they pass through their target.
       After flying back to Hawaii to visit his wife, Chapman returned to New York in December. According to the statement he gave to police: "I went to the building. It's called the Dakota. I stayed there until he came out and asked him to sign my album. At that point my big part won and I wanted to go back to my hotel, but I couldn't. I waited until he came back. John came and looked at me and printed me. I took the gun from my coat pocket and fired at him."
       Chapman shot Lennon four times in the back and shoulder. One of the bullets dissected Lennon's aorta, which caused severe bleeding. Police rushed Lennon to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m., December 8, 1980.

John Lennon's songs include:




Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Man shoots driver after fender bender

73-year-old Charles Dunbar and 34-year-old Stacy Stautzenburger got into a minor fender bender on Texas 71 Eastbound in Austin. The two cars pulled off to the side of the road and the drivers got out to talk. Stautzenburger did not have his proof of insurance with him and called his wife to have her bring it. He then got back into his car. Dunbar followed him to the driver's window and warned him not to leave, to wait until the police showed up.
At some point Dunbar pulled out his .32-caliber Beretta Tomcat handgun. (Dunbar says he pulled out his gun because Stautzenburger was trying to leave. Stautzenburger says he was trying to leave because Dunbar pulled out a gun.) As Stautzenburger's car started to move, Dunbar shot him.
Dunbar has a concealed weapons permit and is a law abiding citizen with no criminal record. He told the police he brings the handgun with him for protection when he goes to Austin.
According to his statement, Dunbar said that he pulled the trigger in order to stop Stautzenburger, but that he was not intending to kill him. He also stated that he was afraid Stautzenburger was going to run him over. However, investigators say in court documents that there was no way the car could have run him over while Dunbar was standing in the position he claimed to be.
Stautzenburger was shot in the neck. He was treated at a nearby hospital and released.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Maine man sentenced to three-months for gun trafficking

Randy Goodwin, of Acton, Maine, needed to earn some extra money to support his five children. So, he decided to sell guns. Randy, a law abiding citizen with no criminal record, bought guns from a licensed dealer in Waterboro and sold them through the pages of the classified bulletin Uncle Henry's.
Between September 2009 to January 2010 Goodwin sold almost 100 handguns to Joseph Burns, of Lynn, Massachusetts, a convicted felon. Soon after these sales several guns traced to Goodwin were seized by police during arrests in Lynn.
At his sentencing hearing, Goodwin told the judge he did not know he was breaking the law and that he lives in fear that one of the guns he sold has been used to commit a violent crime.
"He had to know that something was wrong," said Judge D. Brock Hornby, "Even though he didn't know his conduct was illegal. All of the warning bells should have been going off."
Judge Hornby sentenced Goodwin to three months in prison, two years of probation, and ordered him to participate in community service by speaking publicly about state and federal gun laws.
Maine law allows for the private sale of guns where there will be no criminal background check run on the buyer and no records kept of the sale. Uncle Henry's, the publication where Goodwin sold his handguns, frequently runs half page ads from Project Safe Neighborhood that detail federal gun laws and clearly state that these laws prohibit you from selling a gun to someone who lives out of state or is a convicted felon.
Massachusetts strictly regulates the sale of guns. As a consequence, the trafficking of firearms between Maine and Massachusetts is a significant problem.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Man shoots at wife and father-in-law

43-year-old David Minnick of Somers, Wisconsin is a law abiding citizen with no prior criminal record. Last Monday he began questioning his wife about another man. When she told him she planned to leave him he ran inside their home, got a gun and came after his wife. His wife ran across the street to her parents' house and hid inside while they called the police.
Minnick tried to break into his in-laws' house and shot at his father-in-law.
"The flash from the end of the barrel actually sprayed by back. That's how close he was to me," said the father-in-law.
Minnick went back to his house and barricaded himself inside. After several hours he surrendered to police.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wisconsin man shoots television, causes 15-hour police standoff

67-year-old Steven Cowan of Vermont, Wisconsin is a law abiding citizen with a clean criminal record.  Monday night he sat down to watch "Dancing with the Stars" with his wife.  When Bristol Palin, daughter of vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, began her routine Cowan jumped up and began swearing, upset because he felt the girl had no talent.
According to his wife, Cowan went upstairs for 20 minutes and returned carrying a loaded shotgun. He blasted the television then pointed the gun at his wife and told her to go get his pistols. His daughter had recently taken away his handguns for safety reasons.
His wife left the house and called the police. A SWAT team surrounded the house and officers were able to talk Cowan out after an all-night standoff.
According to his wife, Cowan is under stress because of financial problems, suffers from bipolar disorder, and was drinking the night of the incident. She also told police that 15 years ago Cowan threatened her with a machete when he couldn't find some ammunition and he has threatened to shoot one of their cows.