This report just in from the American Suppressor Association --
At 3:00 PM on Thursday, March 31st, Governor Terry Branstad signed House File 2279 into law, officially making Iowa the 42nd state to legalize the private possession of suppressors. Effective immediately, the new law also makes Iowa the 39th state to allow for the use of suppressors while hunting.
“The legalization of suppressors in Iowa is a tremendous victory for the law abiding citizens of The Hawkeye State,” said Knox Williams, President and Executive Director of the American Suppressor Association. “For the past three years, the ASA has worked alongside the Iowa Firearms Coalition, the National Rifle Association, Rep. Windschitl, and, this year, Rep. Baxter to get this legislation passed so that the sportsmen and women of Iowa could use these benign accessories to protect their hearing while in the field and at the range. We are incredibly excited that Iowa is now one of 42 states that allows suppressor ownership, and one of 39 states that allows their use while hunting.”
Arsenal Attorneys is a proud sponsor of the American Suppressor Association. We are already prepared to serve clients in Iowa along with about 40 other states where we offer the Arsenal Gun Trust. You may learn more about our Arsenal Gun Trust services at this link.
Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon debated control today on ABC-affiliate WJLA's Good Morning Washington. The segment coincided with the Washington, DC premier of a new film entitled "Making a Killing: Guns, Greed and NRA," by director Robert Greenwald. Mr. Lyon took exception with factual errors in the film's trailer, including the claim that the AR15 platform is not used by hunters. Additionally Mr. Lyon detailed the reduction in violent crime across the board during a time when the number of guns owned by Americans has doubled.
The full video can be seen here.
Arsenal Attorneys represents gun owners and firearms-related businesses in over 40 states. The firm offers a wide range of legal services, including criminal defense, business services, family law, and estate planning. We are particularly renowned for our Arsenal Gun Trust solution for NFA firearms and firearms-specific estate planning.
by George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq. of Arsenal Attorneys
A recent case from Montgomery County, MD illustrates vividly many of the concepts typically taught concerning armed self-defense and the use of deadly force. The facts below come from media reports and are thus not independently verified.
On December 20, 2015, Mario Perez, his son and girl-friend came to a holiday get together at the home of Frank Trujillo in Montgomery County, Maryland. At home with Mr. Trujillo was his wife and two children, ages 8 and 4. Trujillo was the Vice President of a local construction company. Perez had worked at the company where the two became friends. Trujillo had invited his friend over for the evening for dinner and drinks and to stay over until the morning.
Perez was a big guy. A football player in high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps after graduation. He outweighed Trujillo by some 50 pounds and was into MMA fighting according to Mr. Trujillo. In the course of the evening, Perez consumed a substantial amount of alcohol. The toxicology report would peg his blood alcohol content at between 0.22 and 0.28 percent. This amount of alcohol is roughly equivalent to a 200 pound man drinking in excess of two six packs of regular beer over a short period of time. At this level of intoxication Perez’s judgement and reasoning would have been radically diminished. Indeed, at slightly higher blood alcohol levels, such as 0.30 percent, unconsciousness is likely.
Perez may indeed have had an alcohol problem, having been previously convicted of driving under the influence at least twice before. In fact, Trujillo had been a character witness for him at one of his trials. According to Trujillo, a discussion concerning a work matter turned into an argument during their holiday get together. Perez became agitated. The situation escalated to the point where Perez threatened to kill Trujillo and his family. Trujillo’s attempts to deescalate the situation failed. He left Perez, retrieved a handgun, and stood outside his children’s bedroom door while his wife tried to call 911. According to Trujillo, Perez charged him and Trujillo shot him once fatally in the chest.
Police arrested Trujillo on first degree murder charges. He was initially held without bail for more than a week. He was released on bond December 29, 2015. Prosecutors then sought a first degree murder indictment from the grand jury arguing that Trujillo escalated the situation by retrieving his gun, that he should have simply called the police and that he should have retreated from the confrontation. After hearing Trujillo’s testimony, however, the grand jury refused to indict, essentially finding that he acted in self-defense.
This case illustrates numerous concepts involved in the use of deadly force in self-defense. There are five inter-related elements necessary to justify use of deadly force in self-defense: Innocence, imminence, proportionality, avoidance and reasonableness. They are well illustrated here. Of these five elements, the overriding one here and in most cases is reasonableness. Thus, you may use deadly force to stop what you reasonably believe to be an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm to an innocent person. Let's analyze this case under the five elements set forth above.
Innocence. Perez was the aggressor, he threatened Trujillo’s life and the lives of his family. Trujillo and his family were innocent.
Imminence. Trujillo could reasonably believe the attach was imminent. He testified that Perez was charging him after threatening to kill him and his family. In fact, Perez charged a man holding a firearm.
Reasonableness. Trujillo could reasonably conclude that Perez was capable of causing death or serious bodily harm. Perez outweighed him by 50 pounds, had been a Marine and studied MMA. Significantly, Trujillo knew Perez was a trained fighter. Reasonableness includes what you know about an assailant, including their training and their violent nature. Generally, you are not privileged to use deadly force against an unarmed attacker. The exception is where there is a disparity of force. Typical examples of disparity of force include a big guy attacking a smaller guy, a man attacking a woman, a healthy person attacking an infirm person, or a trained fighter attacking an untrained person. Here there was a disparity of force both in terms of size and training and Trujillo was aware of these facts. These facts justified Trujillo’s use of a deadly weapon.
Avoidance. Maryland is a duty to retreat jurisdiction, which means that before using deadly force a victim must retreat from the threat if he can do so safely. Despite the prosecutor’s statement to the contrary, retreat was not an option here. First, Trujillo was in his own home where there is seldom a duty to retreat. Second, he had protectees in the house he could not leave alone with Perez nor marshall them to safety while under attack. Third, there is never a duty to retreat if it cannot be done safely. The situation as described by Trujillo appeared to escalate very rapidly. Retreat was not an option. Likewise, faulting Trujillo for not calling the police at an earlier stage of the confrontation, is simply Monday morning quarterbacking by the prosecutor. It is likely that it was not until he realized how dangerous the situation was that Trujillo understood he had to take action. Had he tried to call the police without having armed himself, he likely would have been beaten to a pulp before he could have told the 911 operator what was happening. Under the circumstances, Trujillo did what he could to avoid the situation by leaving Perez, getting his firearm, and standing watch outside his children’s door.
Proportionality. Trujillo shot Perez once, which stopped him. You are only allowed to use enough force to stop the attack. Anything in excess, is not self-defense, but a crime. With the threat stopped, Trujillo ceased using force.
Under the circumstances of this case, the grand jury concluded that Trujillo acted in self-defense. A win for Trujillo? Not really. Trujillo lives in anti-gun Maryland and in anti-gun Montgomery County. Trujillo spent a week in jail for defending his family. He was charged with first degree murder. The prosecutor alleged he premeditated the crime of murder by retrieving the tool that saved his life and the lives of his family members. He had to hire a lawyer for presumably thousands of dollars, and he may very likely face a civil action by Perez’s survivors for wrongful death. And now he has to live with the psychological scars of having had to kill someone he trusted enough to invite into his home, not to mention the social stigma of having killed someone. This case illustrates vividly not only the various legal concepts involved in using deadly force in defense of self and family, but the toll that choice may take on your life.
How would you handle a similar situation?
This case challenges us to consider how we might prepare ourselves to exercise our right to self-defense. Obviously the need for tactical tools and skills, such as a gun and good marksmanship, cannot be separated from the need to know the law. Arsenal Attorneys works with firearms instructors to develop self-defense seminars combining the law, practical skills and decisionmaking in emergencies. Watch for our upcoming seminars.
The National Capital Friends of NRA is raffling a Barrett .50 BMG Rifle System (similar but not necessarily identical to the rifle pictured at left). Only 200 tickets will be sold, $100 each. The drawing will be held June 17, 2016 at the National Capital Friends of NRA Inaugural Banquet (attendance not required to win).
Tickets for the raffle and the banquet can be purchased online at this link.
Arsenal Attorneys is proud to lead the organizing committee for the National Capital Friends of NRA. Our banquet will feature drawings and auctions of firearms as well as adventure travel packages and other prizes.
The Friends of NRA raises money to support the shooting supports. We are particularly excited to foster such programs in the vicinity of Washington, DC, where school-based shooting programs have enjoyed renewed interest. You can support these efforts through your purchase of raffle tickets and by attending the banquet in June.
Arsenal Attorneys is proud to lead the founding committee of the National Capital Friends of NRA. We will be hosting our Inaugural Banquet on Friday, June 17, 2016 at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. The event will feature drawings, games, and auctions of firearms, merchandise, and international adventure travel packages.
Friends of NRA unites local supporters of the Second Amendment for camaraderie and to raise money for shooting sports. 100% percent of the funds are granted to programs that help foster and support shooting sports, such as the dozens of youth shooting programs affiliated with local school, scout troops, and community groups in the metropolitan Washington, DC area.
Our National Capital Friends of NRA Committee is dedicated to planting the flag of freedom on the banks of the Potomac River, and we encourage all Second Amendment supporters from Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia to attend our event. As the Inaugural Banquet this event will feature particularly special opportunities, including a drawing of a .50 BMG Barrett Rifle System.
To learn more, like our Facebook page. Tickets for the banquet and the .50 cal. Barrett are on sale at this link. Purchase a table of tickets and become eligible to receive the firearm of your choice.
Meet Arsenal Attorneys this weekend at one of the largest gun shows in America. The Nation's Gun Show will take place at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The hours of the show are Friday, 3pm-8pm, Saturday, 9am-5pm, and Sunday, 10am-5pm. If all the exhibitors' tables were place in a straight line, it would extend two miles. Find more details at their Facebook page.
Two of our attorneys and our legal assistant will be available to answer your questions about the wide variety of legal services we provide, including the Arsenal Gun Trust, criminal defense, business services, estate planning, and more.
At the show we offer free notary public services, and we will be laminating concealed handgun permits free of charge.
Our table is located near the entrance of the show beside the concession stand.
Arsenal Attorneys is committed to answering your questions about estate planning, firearms, business law, litigation, and criminal defense issues.
We'll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.