Baltimore Burns for its Gun Control Policies

The Village Voice, of all outlets, calls its attention to an unusual aspect of the present riots in Baltimore: the degree to which they were triggered by an arrest under Maryland’s weapons bans, bans proceeding from the gun control philosophy espoused enthusiastically by figures from Baltimore ‘s pathetically ineffectual Mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, and incompetent police chief, Anthony Batts, to Maryland’s late Governor, Martin O’Malley, to such figures as Jesse Jackson, last seen in the rubble of a burned-out CVS egging rioters on. Maryland’s current Governor, Larry Hogan, is a Republican and only a half-hearted supporter of the gun control regime.

So, how do we get from gun control, to this:

The root of gun control is in the desire to blame the weapon for crime, and so it is closely related to the desire to hold the criminal unaccountable for his actions. Gun control had its roots in vaguely written gun bans in former slave states (Maryland, you may recall from your readings in history, remained in the Union but was a slave state; passage of Union forces through Baltimore was sometimes impeded by the rioters of an earlier age). With youth, especially black youth, enjoined from acquiring firearms by “may issue” permit laws enforced then as now with a racial bias, newsmen in the 1950s imagined they were seeing an outbreak of knife violence. These West Side Story-era bogus reports led to a series of knife control laws.

That’s how the Voice comes into it. They noted long ago that New York enforces a vaguely worded “switchblade ban” in a way that (1) encompasses most modern folding knives, and (2) lets them single out minorities for disparate harassment and prosecution. Do they do that? Here’s the graphic the Voice uses to say that, yes, they do:

arrests-vs-release-black-hispanic-white-2

That’s for people stopped in New York, with knives covered by the ban; the Voice wonders, as do we, whether Baltimore’s numbers would be an iota better (Baltimore has a majority black police force, a black Chief and black Mayor, but like New York it has a disproportionately black criminal class, so these cross-racial comparisons are always fraught with risk).

And as you’ve probably surmised by know, Freddie Grey, the black suspect whose mysterious but violent death in police custody was the trigger for the rioters, was arrested on one of these bogus knife charges.

But Gray’s initial arrest may not have happened if not for an antiquated provision of Baltimore’s municipal code, which prohibits the possession of a “switchblade” knife. Gray had allegedly been running from the police, for reasons that still aren’t clear, and after a brief chase, officers found the knife clipped to his pocket in a closed position — he was not alleged to have brandished the knife or threatened anyone with it.

The arrest charge recalls an issue we’ve been covering in New York City for months — the NYPD’s enforcement of a half-century old law against so-called “gravity knives.” The law was the subject of a lengthy investigation we published last year which found as many as 60,000 questionable arrests in ten years, making the statute one of the top-ten most-prosecuted crimes in New York City.

Here’s a snap of Grey’s charging instrument, showing what he’d have been charged with if something hadn’t snapped his neck and severed his spinal cord while the cops had him locked up. The Voice is right: it’s a bogus malum prohibitum knife charge.

freddie_grey_complaint

 

Many legal experts — from defense attorneys to labor unions to an official body of the New York State Judiciary — say New York’s law is often being applied, incorrectly, to common pocket knives that the legislature never intended to ban. We documented the arrests of construction workers, building supers — even a bible camp counselor — for simply possessing a knife that most people would regard as benign, if somewhat utilitarian. In fact, under the NYPD’s interpretation of the gravity knife statute, virtually every pocket knife on the market can be considered an illegal weapon, regardless of size or criminal intent.

The municipal code under which Gray was arrested resembles New York’s law in several ways, and its peculiar wording is equally ill-suited to modern technology; as we discovered when we looked at gravity knife laws in New York, knife statutes often have not kept up with current knife designs.

We’ll get to the knife in a minute — once again, the Voice is absolutely right about the technicalities here, and so we’ll let them do the explaining — but we’re going to take this where they didn’t, and note that Maryland has a pathological police culture of ignoring violent crime and pursuing malum prohibitum gun and knife violations with Javertian tenacity.

That’s how we get from Freddie Grey being slammed into the back of a Baltimore cruiser for his last ride, to hanging the whole thing on Maryland’s totalitarian gun control regime. The Maryland Port Authority Police (the Harbor Tunnel cops) and Maryland State Police have both taken to running license plate scanners and stopping and hassling out-of-state motorists whose pistol permits come up in the automated license-plate dragnet, in hopes of catching someone transiting Maryland with firearms. (Interstate 95, the direct route between gun-friendly destinations like New Hampshire, Maine, Virginia North Carolina, Georgia and Florida, runs right through Baltimore).

Maryland’s oathbreaking State Troopers do not recognize the pre-emption of Federal law, 18 U.S. Code § 926A, that explicitly allows owners free transit with a secured firearm from any place where they may lawfully possess it to any other such place, regardless of the laws in between. (Maryland is not the only state to reject the law, but it is the only state to use systematic, automated searches to identify persons exercising their rights under § 926A. Likewise, it is one of very few states using a law designed to combat the Sharks and Jets menace to harass and imprison its own citizens).

Some news reports have suggested that Grey was a drug dealer. Perhaps he was; but that is not why the Baltimore PD says that they chased, arrested, beat and killed him. They say they did it over knife technicalities, as the arrest document above shows.

Here is the Village Voice, again, on those technicalities:

While news reports have described the knife Gray was carrying as a “switchblade,” the actual police report (see charging documents …) describes it as a “spring assisted, one hand opening knife,” … the most common on the market in recent years.

Popular models typically feature a “thumb stud” on the blade, designed for one-handed opening. The user starts opening the knife manually, and then a spring takes over, “assisting” in deploying the blade the rest of the way. Switchblades, by comparison, open with a button or switch contained in the handle of the knife.

The Village Voice report is thorough and accurate, albeit infused with the alt-weekly’s viewpoint. (One gets the impression they’ll like Freddie better if he was a dope dealer). Still, we suggest you   Read The Whole Thing™, and don’t neglect any sidebars or links to their back stories on the New York knife ban.

Knife bans are common where gun bans are law. The same impulse leads liberty-loathing legislators to proscribe tasers, mace, BB guns, airsoft toys, and in Massachusetts, even, model rockets. (The state became a national laughingstock when it required a gun license — one the state makes difficult for its subjects to acquire — for model rocket engines). These are always the same few coastal states, whose lawmakers often complain that the seething crime wave that is their urban underclass is somehow caused by your rural duck hunters or suburban MG collectors. Places like, naturally, Maryland, where the two largest sources of family income are working for government or collecting from government.

You might say, “When guns are outlawed… knives are next.”

It seems to us that the Voice is comfortable with the switchblade aspect of the ban; their objection is to extending it to ordinary pocket knives. They shouldn’t be; there are practical reasons to have an automatic, one-hand-opening knife, to wit, a switchblade. (We drew them in jumpmaster school, courtesy of the same taxpayers who bought the inept Baltimore PD all those cop cars that flickered their souls to the city’s overweening carbon footprint over the last few nights). Every jurisdiction from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe already criminalizes anything you can do with a knife that is harmful to others or to society, from assault to homicide to brandishing and threatening. All of those things are all crimes, they are malum in se and they ought to be crimes.

One definition of a crime is, or ought to be, some wrong act that society sufficiently disapproves to authorize the police to use deadly force to stop you doing. Certainly threatening, assault, and homicide are crimes under that definition.

But having a “wrong” knife in your pocket is a crime under Maryland’s definition. Just ask Freddie Carlos Grey.

You might have an eternal wait for his answer, though.

Just maybe, a knife sitting in a pocket or on a belt ought not to be something any Patrolman Palooka can impose the Nickel Ride Death Penalty for.

37 thoughts on “Baltimore Burns for its Gun Control Policies

  1. Y.

    >> NYPD’s interpretation of the gravity knife statute, virtually every pocket knife on the market can be considered an illegal weapon, regardless of size or criminal intent.<<

    Even if opening one would require gas-giant or sun gravity?

  2. tionico

    Spot on with the analysis of Maryland’s atrocious anti-weapons laws, certainly non-compliant with that pesky Second Article of Ammendment. “Arms” would certainly include all edged weapons suitable for combat and/or defense.
    Having done a bit more reading on the details recently emerged, I do have a feq quibbles with your article: first, video recently released shows the arrest and subeequent transportation to have been relatively mild. He was not “beaten and tossed into a squad car”, it was a “wagon”, judging from one photo I saw of the back doors open, a step van modified as a paddy wagon, common in most larger cities. Standing height through the doors and into the back, seats typically along the side, and a step or two to aid entry from street level. A far cary from a squad car, the typical four door passenger sedan. Second, and critical, is that he had had a serious neck surgery ten days previous, leaving his cervical spine VERY vulnerable. THIS recent surgery is quite likely how his spinal cord was severed… which could have happened as easily as his refusing to remain in his seat in the wagon and perhaps falling as he tried to escape or move about inside as the van travelled. One part of the arrest report says the van had to stop a time or two to remove him from the back, re-restrain him, and put him back in… details not clear, but it seems the guy was being pretty rowdy back there, reacting to his arrest. I’ve personally endured what I believe to be a similar surgery, also in result of an accident…. ten days out one is at super high risk of death or permanent disablement as the spinal column itself is seriously compromised until it heals, a process taking at least ten or twelve weeks. Until that process is complete, the structure of the spinal column is severly compromised and cannot protect the all-critical spinal cord…. almost completely severed in his case.

    You are correct, Maryland’s anti-gun laws are extreme… a few court cases to open them up have thus far failed in the courts. I am of the opinion that the general disarmament of Maryland’s people is part of what enables the unrestrained mayhem and destruction we are seeing. It certainly prohibits residents, and even outside folks, being armed as they go about their ways…. making them sitting ducks for the picking off by the local thuggery. It is one of the several states in whcih I will not live, and not eagerly visit. Seems unwise to even drive through, as my number plate will certainly reveal that I am likely (and would certainly BE in reality) carrying at least one firearm in my vehicle. One of the reasons upon which I base my strong opposition to paying for and enduring the hassle of getting my Mother May I Papers as a precondition to exercising my God-given right to be armed.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Second, and critical, is that he had had a serious neck surgery ten days previous, leaving his cervical spine VERY vulnerable. THIS recent surgery is quite likely how his spinal cord was severed… which could have happened as easily as his refusing to remain in his seat in the wagon and perhaps falling as he tried to escape or move about inside as the van travelled.

      That’s a detail that we hadn’t heard. We wouldn’t be shocked to find that Freddie Grey was, rather like Saint Trayvon or Saint Gentle Giant, not a downy-cheeked innocent.

          1. Harold

            The fear-mongering, SEO click-baiters love this story, and they use weasel words like this, “…may have possibly been the result of spinal and neck surgery that he allegedly received a week before he was arrested…”

            A Baltimore Sun reporter writes, “… court records examined Wednesday by The Baltimore Sun show the case had nothing to do with a car accident or a spine injury.”

            http://touch.baltimoresun.com/#section/-1/article/p2p-83415670/

            The neck surgery was all in someones imagination, given birth by some boiler-plate language in a court document.

            Writing for the internet is so much more fun when you don’t let the facts stand in the way of your narrative.

          2. Hognose Post author

            Thanks. I meant to include that story, which someone sent me by email, but have been on the phone all day. So your linking it is appreciated. The Sun words the story very carefully, but it does seem that the spinal injury story is purest bovine effluent.

            Incidentally, the “structured settlement” they sold to Peachtree, or tried to, was a pretty good deal, and their sale of it was a pretty lousy deal for them, much less than the NPV of the settlement. (I did the math in anticipation of doing the story).

  3. Tim, '80s Mech Guy

    The “pre existing condition” came out last night on Conservative Treehouse, nobody else has mentioned it. If it’s true another narrative fails, the truth comes out, most of the folks paying any attention to the story yawn and move on. The folks that still believe the BS-the “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” crowd-does an AAR and waits for next time.

  4. Gray

    Hognose,

    Have you seen any incidents with § 926A in play as affirmative defense. Not being an intentional Pollyanna, but “Notwithstanding any other provision of any law or any rule or regulation of a State or any political subdivision thereof…” seems to be quite all-encompassing.

    Are these situations of eventually beating the rap but not beating the ride?

      1. Hognose Post author

        Here are a couple of links. No time to read them now and unlike Andrew, IANAL! But the courts seem to be blowing 926A off

        http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ny-justice-court/1239262.html

        The defense is lost if the owner stops for reasons not directly related to his trip, such as a stay with his girl friend [see Missouri v. Baker, 639 S.W.2d 617 (Mo.App. S.D., 1982) ], or for business unrelated to the trip.   See Birch v. Texas, 948 S.W.2d 880 (Tex.App.-San Antonio, 1997). ….

        Because the defendant was not solely engaged in acts incidental to travel through New York, but was stopping for another purpose, he is not entitled to the defense provided by 18 U.S.C. 926A.   His motion to dismiss is therefore denied.

        He beat neither the ride NOR the rap.

        Three cases in this NRAILA link.
        https://www.nraila.org/articles/20120406/hr4269firearmstransportation

        #1: New york, didn’t beat the ride, beat the rap but lost a civil rights case.
        #2: New York, Not arrested, but not allowed to travel, and gun held for days (and he HAD an NY permit! NY state permits are not valid in NYC). Lost a civil rights case.
        #3: NJ: Beat rap but not ride, state of NJ argued that because his fligt was delayed and airline put him in a Newark hotel he was not protected by 926A.

        In Albany, N.Y., detention of gun owners and confiscation of firearms have been reported by persons traveling in full compliance with § 926A. The NRA has been forced to repeatedly warn gun owners that they should avoid using New York or New Jersey airports when traveling.

        Boston is another airport where the police (Mass. State Police) do not recognize 926A.

        Maryland has become, due to the Maryland State Police and Port Authority Police, a real hellhole. They also use NSA data and “parallel construction” to try to intercept and hassle gun owners.

  5. Ken

    I read an article in the past couple days, The Atlantic or Salon, I forget which, where they wondered why the police concluded it was a knife just by the clip. The posited that it might have been a potato chip bag clip or a hair clip. I can only assume the writer doesn’t know what a knife clipped to a pocket looks like.

    Whenever I see somebody with a knife clipped to their pocket I automatically look to see if they have concealed pistol.

    I highly suggest reading Salon. It is eye opening.

  6. robroysimmons

    A frisky politician could make hay out of Maryland’s assault on motorists as they travel from his/her state thru that despotic regime’s territory.

    Being the Left politically is comprised of a myriad of cults that really don’t want to pay the price for any of the other cult’s actions.

  7. Pingback: WeaponsMan: Baltimore Burns For Its Gun (And Knife) Control Policies | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  8. Brad

    In contrast to Maryland, I read somewhere that Arizona has one of the best legal regimes regulating knives, to the point of a state preemption law which prevents localities from screwing with you.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Brad and gang,

      A knife is a tool, not a weapon. Same as a hammer or a hatchet. But how many times have we seen in these pages the story of some hammer or hatchet homicide? And you know what? They have never had any problem prosecuting any of those wannabe Lizzie Bordens for those crimes. Because crime is, or ought to be, what you do, not what you own.

      Naturally I have several axes and hatchets, and other human-slaying-capable tools from a crowbar to a shovel and back again. I have more hammers than some hardware stores (right tool for every job, eh?), ranging from a mountaineering piton hammer to a sledge to a roofing hammer a layman would mistake for … another hatchet. Yet despite this collection that a typical reader of this blog would call “an okay tool board” and an NY Times “reporter” would call “an arsenal of sinister weapons,” I have yet to bludgeon, hack, dismember or disembowel anybody. I even have an alleged “Taliban beheading sword,” which despite its alleged provenance pitched to me back in the Hazarajat, has merely sat there on its sword stand, refusing to behead anybody, even Small Dog who’s sensibly afraid of it.

      Likewise, I have a lot of firearms that, if they killed anybody, did it before entering my employ. The nearest thing I have to a known killer is my original M4 stock from the unit, on my interrupted Afghanistan clone build.

      1. obsidian

        I have noticed in my garden adventures the standard Mattock is quite a Viking facsimile of a broad axe.
        Quite deadly on roots and rocks!

  9. Brad

    The fun never stops in Commiefornia.

    Among other things which are illegal: more than one pound of black powder, more than 8 pounds of smokeless powder, any rocket larger than 1/2 inch diameter(!!), and sticks. Yep, a stick is an felony crime illegal weapon to possess in California.

    I’ve often wondered how the state government reconciles the law prohibiting rockets with SpaceX mass producing Falcon9 rocket launchers in Southern California.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Easy. SpaceX, ULA and even smaller outfits like XCOR have licenses. Essentially, minor patents of nobility of restricted scope, but they have the blessing of the California equivalent of the Almanac Gotha or Burke’s Peerage.

      Many years ago, probably in 2003 or 2004 when I was doing aerospace journalism as a day gig and trying to get back overseas with my Guard unit, another journo and I got a tour of XCOR from CEO Jeff Greason. Afterward, we had lunch, the three of us, in the little Mojave Airport café and I mentioned that California regulation must have been a problem (Jeff was bitching about red tape). Jeff said, and I was taken aback by this, that California wasn’t a problem, and Mojave, particularly, was all-in for experimental aerospace and they were not a problem, that all his red tape problems were Federal in nature.

      Like I said, I was taken aback. (The other journo with me was too — another pro-gun, conservative to libertarian, type — what are the odds? Well, in specialty, aerospace and defense journalism, nonzero anyway). I mumbled something about the rate of increase in regulation was something he needed to be watching.

      Then, a few years ago, I see this:
      http://www.xcor.com/press/2012/12-07-09_XCOR_to_open_midland_resaerch_headquarters.html

      They’re still running the company out of Mojave, but it looks like the plan is to move the heavy lifting to Midland, Texas (which also has an R&D history — remember Jim Hall and Chapparral Cars?). I occasionally wonder if Jeff remembered our conversation.

      1. Brad

        I’ve met some XCOR people. Sometimes they show up and put on a panel at some Los Angeles area science fiction conventions. Interesting stuff.

        You are probably right about California licensing SpaceX. But maybe not. The thing is California weapons law is so byzantine and absurd the police are largely flummoxed when it comes to enforcing the law. Completely arbitrary selective enforcement seems to be standard procedure.

        Except for the original 13mm gyrojet pistol, I don’t think the California law prohibiting rockets has ever been enforced.

        I’m not sure, and I surely don’t want the headache of digging up the text, but I believe the segment of California law which prohibits rockets has no exception via licensing, only exceptions for the police and military. Now if anyone actually filed a complaint about SpaceX, I’m betting the issue would get dodged by claiming that SpaceX rockets are not ‘weapons’ and therefore not subject to the law. As if a banned 13mm gyrojet pistol rocket is somehow more formidible than a Falcon 9 which masses more than a million pounds!

    2. obsidian

      The walking cane must hit the ground at least once with every second step and never be simply carried.
      The idiots are in charge!

  10. Brad

    Even though weapon control is sold to the public as a means of crime control, I don’t believe that goal is what motivates the agitators for weapon control laws. I think ultimately it all boils down to power, and the desire of the weapon control proponents to contain all legitimate uses of force within the powers of the State.

    Telling is the knee jerk reaction of anti-gunners to condemn acts of self-defense by ordinary citizens as ‘vigilantism’. Also telling is the desire of anti-gunners to restrict weapons within jurisdictions which either already have very low crime rates or rapidly falling crime rates.

  11. DAN III

    As folks bemoan Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and other bastions of tyranny, understand that those you call “government” are going to do whatever they want to deny one their freedom or Liberty.

    I read here that this stategov and that stategov does not recognize this law amd that law. Well, too bad for those caught in the vacuum of those empowered with unlimited power, i.e., that which one calls “government”. Those wearing badges make up rules and laws as they go along. They have tens of thousands of laws they can choose from to cite one with. Doesn’t matter the cited statute doesn’t fit the crime. You’re gonna pay, one way or the other. You challenge the charge no matter it being a small, summary infraction or Felony 2. You believe in the ahem, “justice” system. Well pal, let me tell you about that bridge….!

    Once the “gun of government” puts it’s sights on you center mass, you are going to lose. Wake up ! Understand the enemy to Freedom and Liberty wears badges and black robes in concert with their enabler known as the District Attorney. And the
    aforementioned all supported by a cast of thousands of appointed bureaucrats. You cannot win. You do NOT have enough
    money. It may have ONCE been about you, the citizen. Sadly, it is now all about your friends, family, neighbors and strangers
    who work for “government”.

    Situational awareness. Start to understand the situation for your and my Freedoms and Liberties has become dire, in this nation. A

    Wake up !

  12. Pingback: Freddie Gray | Police | Baltimore | Riot | Rawlings-Blake

  13. obsidian

    I’ve seen knife laws so strict Swiss army classics are considered the same as a 1918 knuckle duster trench knife and a switchblade comb considered a switchblade knife.
    As for me, I don’t carry a switchblade, every time I have it opened in my pocket and cut the hell out of my hand, fingers or leg if not my jeans.
    I carry a knife that fits the profile of where I’m going or at. Big city I carry something small a Swiss Army knife midnite manager which has all kinds of whiz bangs like flashlights and orange peelers to distract from the blade.
    If I’m going into a hike/camp/fish I carry a short blade knife such as a Gerber survival knife with a fire striker.
    Just banging around home town I carry a Gerber small multitool with the knife blade broken to an inch, if I need to cut something I use the scissors.
    Anyone who has served in the military knows it’s the mind that is the weapon, the thumbs that make the weapon work and a hard heart to make the kill.
    I have carried a a piece of old Native American napped flint arrowhead in a business I worked that banned all knives just to open boxes. Crude but it worked. Funny how a man whose job is to open cardboard boxes doesn’t have the ability or tools allowed to actually open them short of ripping them open bare handed. This factory would allow band saw blades and banding metal to be crafted into an edge but no normal knives were allowed.
    people are quite stupid when it comes to knives as if everyone is a Sykes Fairburn armed commando wielding it.
    I was under the impression a clip made the knife not a concealed weapon.

  14. Geoff

    I guess I shouldn’t wear my Japanese Katana if I go to Maryland. Or my Bowie Knife.
    Not that I would ever go there anyway.
    No anti-guns States for me.

    1. Hognose Post author

      I have friends that will not come stay with me at the Manor, because they would have to pass through NY or MA, and maybe CT, NJ, MD, DE, etc. Except for Vermont, which is a uniquely pro-gun liberal state, NH is surrounded by the Warsaw Freakin’ Pact.

  15. Sir Lord Baltimore

    Thanks for the article on Freddy Grey and the legal BS regarding knives in Baltimore. As you can see from my tag line…I might know a thing or two about Baltimore. Grew up there. Worked in the pastoral environs that Mr. Grey was arrested in. I pulled up stakes about 2 years ago. The gun laws, crime and general quality of life was just too much to deal with….
    I can relate that the style of knife Mr. Grey had on his person was/is in common currency throughout the entire city. Pretty much every male I knew carried one. Black, white, working-class, or poor. Heck, you could find cheap versions at many ghetto corner stores. The one extant surplus store in town (A great place H and H 425 Eutaw Street) sells better quality ones over the counter.
    I never left home without a knife. It was Baltimore for the love of Pete. I always had a “switchblade” handy. Never got messed with by the police for it either. I dealt with the police often enough…I was employed as a drink slinger for a number of years. Also did work for various property management companies in places like ever glamorous West Baltimore. Never a peep outta the cops once.
    Frankly, the place where young Freddy was picked up was a place that I wouldn’t want to be without a weapon of some sort (a knife is a paltry thing).The police likely needed to have something to charge Freddie with.
    Petty criminal though he might have been. I personally believe he had a right to arm himself in any manner he saw fit.

    Kinda off the subject of knives but in a similar vein…Do you know if the provision barring felons from firearm possession was a result of the Gun Control Act of 1968?

    1. Hognose Post author

      Thanks for the Baltimo’ insight. All I know about the city I learned from a guy in my language class at DLI, and the book that was made into the TV show Homicide: Life in the Streets. (Never saw the show but I heard it’s good).

      As far as your question goes, the Federal prohibition, yes. There are state prohibitions too, although not in all states. (For instance, there’s none in Vermont). The Fed prohibition is on felons and on anyone convicted for a crime punished by more than a year in prison, so it catches some misdemeanants (for instance, Massachusetts DUI convictions can get you three years in the jug even though that sentence is never imposed on a first offender. ATF considers that federally disqualifying and will bust someone who thinks he’s legal as a “felon in possession” under the federal law, even though he’s not actually a felon).

      ETA: on the subject of felon disarmament and rights restoration, this post by Andrew Branca covers a seminar on the subject at the NRA annual meeting. Per Andrew:

      A particularly interesting Seminar talk was entitled “Gun Rights Restoration: The Nuts & Bolts and Present Day Military Issues,” presented by Attorney Derek A. DeBrosse, who specializes in this area.

      http://legalinsurrection.com/2015/04/nra-firearms-law-seminar-restoration-of-gun-rights/

  16. Sir Lord Baltimore

    Thanks for the information regarding felons and Federal firearms laws. If you feel the need to further your education in regards to the workings of Baltimore, here are a few recommendations:

    I personally don’t have much time (or love) for television. That said The Wire is a solid piece of television. It does a fine job of documenting the drug culture and how it permeates every strata of society in that town. Humanizes the dealers and police. Don’t bother watching the television version of Homicide. Its not very good for a variety of reasons.
    David Simon (director of the Wire and author of Homicide) also wrote an overlooked book “The Corner” that is well worth your time. Basically goes into an area of West Baltimore that was rife with open air drug markets (circa mid-90s) and dissects the lives of junkies and the community that housed them. Simon is a bit of a bleeding heart. As of late an arrogant blowhard but I cannot recommend The Wire and The Corner enough to those that want to know how Baltimore functions.
    An amazing book released a couple years back–Not in My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila does a great job of showing Baltimore’s history of housing discrimination and Federal Redlining. Again, he’s another bleeding heart. His analysis is spot on and the tale he tells is both eye opening and just damn depressing.
    Hope these recommendations are of interest.

  17. Ben

    Hognose,

    Something that I didn’t see mentioned in your article or in the comments is that the knife law in NYC, at least, is a must-arrest offense (by administrative decree). I can attest to this from personal experience.

    In 2011, I was standing on a subway platform in Brooklyn talking to my buddy (we were there on a visit as he wanted to see the sights before his upcoming deployment). I had, per my usual attire, a knife clipped into my right pocket. A police officer approached us, asked to talk, and after a few introductory questions, asked if he could remove the knife from my pocket (for officer safety, of course). I acquiesced, and he proceeded to examine it and seemed very intent on trying to get it to open without using the “flipper” on the back (it was a Kershaw Skyline). Met with varying success at this, he then directed his attention back to me and asked the usual questions: “Why do you have this?” “Do you know you’re not supposed to have this?” “Have you ever been arrested before?”, etc. He seemed to be of the opinion that it wasn’t *quite* a gravity knife (because it isn’t). But he still told me that he might have to arrest me. When I politely protested (I had no record, and clearly wasn’t a criminal, just a tourist taking his buddy on a tour through town), he showed me a notice from a recent precinct briefing that stated that gravity knives, switchblades, etc. were now considered must-arrest offenses. “Lucky” for me, his supervisor wasn’t working and he decided just to issue me a citation ($250). To be fair to the cop, it seemed like he was pretty reluctant to have to do anything at all and was professional and polite with me. However, I don’t know if that was genuine or just the “good guy” act a lot of people use to assuage their conscience while gaining compliance.

    The point of all this is: it was likely not even up to the cops whether or not they wanted to arrest Freddie Gray. Once they contact you and see the knife in your pocket, their choices are much more limited. Additionally, this shows that there is a strong push from the powers that be to target this kind of crime specifically. Whether their ignorance prevents them from seeing that this will necessarily mean fewer man hours to target other crimes, or whether they are deliberately prioritizing the peaceful carrying of tools over other more violent or serious offenses is up to the reader’s imagination.

    1. Hognose Post author

      In news today, they have charged six cops with… something. And the rioters are celebrating, crediting the riot.

  18. m1

    On the other hand ,Maryland law enforcement officials immediately came to the defense of “Joe The Homeowner” aka Joseph Harvey the racist,drunken,road raged,threatening criminal when he was justly killed threatening and charging towards off duty Black Detective Joseph Walker. Andrew of course wrote so many articles against Detective Walker. As if Harvey the racist criminal had every right to be a racist criminal and threaten plus charge towards Walker Andrew of course chooses to attack Maryland prosecutor Marilyn Mosby for doing her job.Of course,Andrew offered no such attack on Maryland prosecutor Anne Colt Leitess for doing her job. The issue is equity. Maryland LEOs immediately defended Harvey”a racist criminal”,who at the time he was killed had charges pending. Freddy Gray deserved the same immediate defense.

    1. Hognose Post author

      Harvey was a crumb, and the world is probably better off without him. However, Walker made some decisions that would have been less controversial in another state, but made him very vulnerable in Maryland. He may only have been acquitted because the prosecutor overreached with the Murder One charge.

      Here’s Andrew’s first post on Walker:
      http://legalinsurrection.com/2014/02/off-duty-cop-road-rage-murder-trial-next-big-self-defense-case/
      It seems pretty even-handed to me, and sensibly cautious about media reports.

      He doesn’t need me to speak for him, but I see Andrew’s main focus at keeping people aware of the law and out of the jam Det. Walker found himself in. Sure, he was acquitted, but a charge like that is life-destroying even if you “win.” Look at his reporting on the Michael Dunn case, where Dunn made a feeble claim of self-defense after shooting at several black youths and killing one of them. It all started because they were assholes, blasting rap music, and he was an asshole back, yelling at them about it. It was nothing that ever justified shooting anybody, and a kid is dead for being a mouthy kid (what kid isn’t?), and Dunn will die in prison.

      There are a lot of SD cases I wish Andrew would cover, but he’s only one guy. There was one up in Maine recently that ended in a murder conviction. (Of course, because it’s Maine, I think everybody’s white).

      Mosby is doing her job, if you define her job as fanning flames of racial animus. She hasn’t learned one of the big lessons of AD 73, which is that you inflame the mob at your own peril. What happens when her overreach falls short? Best guess, Baltimore crumbs (and extra crumbs who flock to Balto for the joy of destruction) burn neighborhoods again.

Comments are closed.