Aug 28, 2014

Seniors and Conceal Carry Responsibilities

Recent news here at the Door Peninsula provides an embarrassment to Second Amendment rights activists and warrants a reminder of being a responsible firearm owner and concealed carry permit holder.
Back in March of 2014, a woman, Susan Hitchler, age 66, left her handgun in a stall of the women's restroom at Elmbrook Church. A church employee found the gun a few minutes later and turned it over to security. In a hearing held in June of 2014, Circuit Judge Lloyd V. Carter ruled on a defense motion to dismiss the case based on the fact that no crime was committed.
Hitchler told police she had removed the gun that was clipped to her waist when she used the restroom and forgot it. She called the church 30 minutes after she left when she realized she had left the firearm in the restroom. While no actual crime was committed, I agree with Nik Clark, president of Wisconsin Carry Inc., that leaving one's firearm in a public bathroom violates a rule of firearm safety: “Maintain control of your firearm at all times”.
One would think that this is a rare incident, although if I were the judge, I would also dismiss the case but with stipulation that the woman attend a firearm safety/handling course. This sort of carelessness is extremely rare amongst many who have concealed carry permits, but provides a negative view of others exercising their Second Amendment rights. Mr. Clark stated:
...Incidents illustrate why all children should be exposed to and trained about guns so if they do encounter one in an unexpected place, they know how to respond.
Fast forward to August of 2014, scene of a bizarre reenactment …
Gerald Hitchler, 76, was at the Egg Harbor Fun Park on August 9th, where he left his loaded Ruger .380-caliber firearm in a holster in the restroom at the public establishment. A customer found it and turned it over to park employees. The owner held it for a few hours expecting someone to show up to retrieve the forgotten firearm. No one showed, so he called the sheriff's office. The firearm was traced to Gerald Hitchler, who lives with his wife in Oconomowac; but they have a second home in Egg Harbor.
In the sheriff's office report, Door County prosecutor felt no crime was committed and Hitchler was told to pick up his firearm. Then the sheriff's office discovered that his wife had done the same thing a few months previously, who had been charged with negligently handling a weapon, which is a misdemeanor; but as aforementioned, the charges were dropped.
Their lawyer, Tom Grieve, the couple's lawyer, stated that it is not a shining moment for the couple in terms of responsible firearm ownership, but it is not criminal.
Once again, it is not a good story for those exercising their Second Amendment rights.
As Nik Clark, Wisconsin Carry, stated:
But that's only a crime if a child does get access to it and if the child injures themselves or others by discharging that gun. So that didn't happen in this case. Stupid yes, careless, yes, criminal? I don't think so.
Viewing the age of the couple, it seems that senility is the culprit; but worrisome for concealed carry permit holders in that the bizarre incident involving a couple who both absentmindedly forget their firearms in restrooms – looking bad for seniors who choose to be lawfully armed.
However, for those who think there should be a law against seniors having concealed carry permits, let's look at another story that provides a more positive outlook an incident that occurred at Internet Cafe in Florida …
In California, a senior woman (65) who owns a jewelry store stopped an armed robbery against several suspects …
In Milwaukee, a would-be robber uses a knife to attempt to steal money from cash register – but woman produces a revolver to counter his attack …
Senior, 78, foils home burglary attempt …
In the case of home break-ins when people are home, it usually involves senior citizens because predators think they are an easy mark, like women are usually the victims in a violent assault; thus, it is important that they be trained and allowed to carry concealed firearms for protection, if they choose to do so. More women today are knowledgeable in how to handle firearms and practice marksmanship at ranges than ever before – and that is good, because they are target for predators. College girls who fell victim to a rapist could have saved themselves if they were allowed to be armed.
The message here is that the Second Amendment is afforded to every lawful citizen – but please exercise common sense, honor the safety rules, and be responsible.

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