WASHINGTON, DC, AUG. 2, 2016--Today Arsenal Attorneys™ filed a suit in the US District Court in Washington, DC on behalf of three plaintiffs challenging the District of Columbia's ban of Tasers® and other non-lethal electronic arms.
The plaintiffs are asking the court to declare DC’s ban on non-lethal electronic self-defense devices unconstitutional in violation of the Second Amendment. A successful outcome for the plaintiffs would likely to lead to repeal or challenges of similar anti-self-defense laws in other jurisdictions. Several states currently ban possession and/or carry of electronic arms, including New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Hawaii. In addition, a number of municipalities ban electronic arms, including Baltimore City and County and New Orleans, and various smaller cities across the country.
Arsenal Attorneys™ filed their clients’ case, Wright v. District of Columbia, against the District of Columbia and Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier. An application for a preliminary injunction will be filed as soon as the defendants are served.
The lead plaintiff is Crystal Wright (pictured), a public relations professional, political commentator and author. Ms. Wright publishes a blog entitled “Conservative Black Chick.” She is also author of the newly released book by Regnery Publishing titled "Con Job: How Democrats Gave Us Crime, Sanctuary Cities, Abortion Profiteering, and Racial Division." Court documents recite that Ms. Wright has been cyber-stalked and threatened for her outspoken political beliefs. Another plaintiff is Brendan Turner, who has twice been robbed at gunpoint in DC. The third plaintiff is Traci Dean, a nurse who often works late hours. All three plaintiffs want a Taser® to protect themselves in appropriate circumstances. Each applied to Taser® International to purchase a Taser® Pulse model and were denied based on DC law which prohibits a Taser® or stun gun just the same as an explosive like a grenade.
Ms. Wright originally considered a firearm for self-defense; however, the District of Columbia’s restrictive gun control laws made that a difficult and long process. Her parents suggested she obtain a stun gun as a short term, non-lethal solution. They were shocked when her attempt to purchase a Taser® online was barred by DC law.
Wright said, “The ban on these non-lethal weapons makes no sense given that it has been legal for several years for law-abiding citizens to use firearms, very lethal weapons, to protect themselves in the District of Columbia.” She continued, “Shooting another human being changes the lives of all involved, even when it is legally justified. There are extremely negative legal, social and psychological consequences I would prefer to avoid, if at all possible.”
The plaintiffs’ attorney, George Lyon, of Arsenal Attorneys™, a national firearms and Second Amendment law firm based in Arlington, VA, said “The Supreme Court has clearly stated that the Second Amendment is not limited to guns. It extends to all arms commonly possessed and used for self-defense. That plainly includes Tasers®, which are legal in the vast majority of states in the country.”
According to Mr. Lyon, his clients’ case became stronger following a US Supreme Court decision in March reversing a Massachusetts conviction for possession of a stun gun on Second Amendment grounds. In that case, Caetano v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court held that the state court’s decision affirming the conviction was inconsistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. Massachusetts ultimately dropped the charge against the defendant rather than defend its prohibition on stun guns.
Ultimately, attorney Lyon said, “The Taser ban is a remnant of DC’s anti-self-defense mindset that the Supreme Court rejected in the landmark Heller decision. It’s time for it to go.”
D.C. currently classifies Tasers and stun guns as “destructive devices” the same as bombs and poison gas. Attorney Lyon called that classification “nonsense, given that Tasers are not designed to kill or cause permanent injury.” He explained, “A Taser is designed to temporarily incapacitate an assailant so the intended victim can get away and call the police. Police use these devices every day to subdue suspects without significant injury. The U.S. Justice Department has stated that police use of Tasers decrease injuries to both suspects and officers. Ordinary citizens should have access to this self-defense tool for the same reasons.” According to the Taser website, some 18,000 law enforcement agencies are equipped with the device and more than 275,000 Tasers have been sold to the public.
Attorney Lyon understands these issues first hand. He is a DC resident, and he was one of the original plaintiffs of the Heller v. District of Columbia, in which the Supreme Court held in 2008 that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual's right to possess a firearm for self-defense within the home. Lyon was also a plaintiff in Palmer vs. District of Columbia, in which the DC Federal Court overturned DC’s complete ban on the carrying of firearms outside the home in 2014. In addition to his law practice, Lyon is a certified firearms instructor and self-defense expert. He regularly helps clients with gun ownership and carry permits in the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.
The following was first published with our permission by 'The Truth About Guns', one of the most popular online sources for firearm issues.
Two Former CNN Newspersons: Defensive Gun Use of the Day
By George L. Lyon, Jr. of Arsenal Attorneys™
We in the defensive firearms training community are forever urging our students to make a plan and practice the plan. But who practices drawing from a purse while soaking wet and naked?
It will soon be a year since Lynne Russell and her husband Chuck de Caro were just looking for a dog friendly place to stay for the night (Russell is pictured at left comforting the bed ridden de Caro and their their emergency responders).
The two former CNN newspersons were traveling from the Washington, DC area to Los Angeles with their 13-year-old dog, Oliver and decided to follow the legendary Route 66. They had stopped to have dinner in Albuquerque, New Mexico with friends.
Lynne is most well known as the first female network nightly news anchor, having spent 18 years anchoring CNN’s headline news from 1983 to 2001. Few people know she is a licensed private investigator and once served as a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia.
Chuck served with the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) prior to a career as a special assignments correspondent for CNN. He currently is a national security consultant and veteran of the Special Forces. They both hold carry permits from their home state. Their route allowed them to carry their personal protection handguns almost their entire trip up to the California state line.
I recently had the pleasure of providing them the 18-hour District of Columbia Concealed Pistol License course, during which we discussed in detail the events occurring that night in Albuquerque.
After their dinner with friends, Lynne and Chuck had limited options for lodging in Albuquerque. Needing some place that would accept their pet, they thought Motel 6 had left the light on for them.
What they didn’t know is that this Motel 6 they chose had been the scene of hundreds of police responses over the preceding several years. It was a frequent location for prostitution, drug deals, and other crimes.
The City of Albuquerque had previously threatened to take action against the motel, prompting the establishment to install 32 surveillance cameras and to employ a security guard. On the night in question, however, the security guard was on an extended personal phone call, and no one at Motel 6 was monitoring the security cameras.
Thinking they were in for the night, Chuck and Lynne took off their carry guns and placed them on a table beside one of the beds. Chuck then headed to the bathroom to take a shower. Lynne needed to feed the dog, but had left the dog food in the car.
She went out to the car to get the dog food. There she met Tomorio Walton, who apparently was in violation of his parole from a 2010 Tennessee aggravated robbery conviction. Walton had been convicted for robbing a woman at gun point as she was walking to her apartment.
Walton asked Lynne for a cigarette as she walked to her car. “I don’t smoke,” she replied. The suspicious Walton made her Spidey sense tingle, but when she looked back at him, he had disappeared. Motel 6 video cameras show that Walton had secreted himself around a corner and as Lynne returned to her motel room, Walton grabbed her and pushed her into the room with enough force that she ended up sprawled on one of the beds.
At that instant Chuck came out of the shower naked and wet looking for a towel. He saw Walton sending his wife flying through the air backwards. As she crashed on the bed, Chuck yelled, “What the hell is going on here!” He thought she was going to be raped.
Walton quickly leveled a gun at Chuck and said “I need your money” and concocted some story that his girlfriend had been kidnapped. The couple were carrying very little cash, however. Seven long minutes of negotiation then proceeded about whether they had anything of value to give the robber. All the while, Walton was waiving a semi-automatic handgun at Lynne and Chuck. Lynne explained to me she was convinced Walton was going to kill them after he got what he wanted.
Walton did not see their guns lying on the table between the beds, so dripping wet Chuck moved in front of them to block Walton’s vision. Lynne managed to grab her purse and slip one of the guns into it. She handed it to Chuck saying, “Honey, I think there’s something in here you can give him.” Chuck replied, “Yes, there is.”
Chuck explained to me that he thought about whether he could shoot through the purse, but was concerned whether his semi-automatic handgun would malfunction so he knew he had to draw the gun from the purse to shoot. Walton by this time had grabbed Chuck’s laptop computer, headed for the door, then turned and opened fire on Chuck. Chuck drew his gun from the purse and returned fire. He advanced on Walton in a combat crouch while yelling a battle cry of the US Army Rangers. His military training from four decades earlier had automatically kicked in.
In what Chuck thinks was no longer than four seconds, both men emptied their guns. Three of Chuck’s seven .380 FMJ rounds were stopped by the laptop Walton held. The remaining four rounds struck Walton who then threw his empty gun at Chuck, ran out of the motel room and collapsed in the parking lot where he soon died. Chuck took a through and through round to the abdomen, another shot to the abdomen that is still in his body, and a hit to the leg.
As he lay rapidly bleeding on the motel room floor, he chanted repeatedly, “call 911, compress the wound, elevate my feet, give me fluids.” Miraculously, the robber’s shots missed anything vital though Chuck is still recovering a year later after multiple surgeries.
There are several takeaways from this incident. Among them:
First, a gun does you no good unless you are carrying it. Lynne was only going to be out of the room for a few minutes, but it was during those minutes when the threat developed. She left her gun on the table in the room. She recounts that one of the detectives who interviewed her after the shooting said, “What were you thinking going out of that room without your gun?”
Second, don’t assume a nationwide chain of lodging establishments are safe and don’t assume anyone is monitoring the security cameras. Lynne and Chuck have now learned that there have been serious problems with Motel 6’s around the country, not just the one where their incident occurred, and several have been shut down. They are suing Motel 6 and the company that provided the security guard who was distracted from the incident by a lengthy personal phone call.
Third, Lynne was attacked during a period of transition when her attention was focused on opening the motel room door. Moments of transition are periods where we are most vulnerable due to task fixation. It is important to heighten our awareness during those periods and be sure our environment is safe.
Fourth, mindset prevailed. Chuck had the warrior mindset that he was going to protect who he calls “the girl of my dreams” at all costs. He drew while at gunpoint himself, closed on the attacker, and won the gun fight despite taking multiple rounds.
Fifth, Chuck ended the threat with relatively weak .380 FMJ rounds fired from a small handgun. The assailant was shooting hollow points, also .380, but most of them missed Chuck and Lynne. Good shot placement took out the attacker.
Sixth, if it comes down to it, an object like a laptop computer might offer some cover to protect vital areas of the body.
Seventh, take a trauma medicine course with your travel companion and have on hand with you a minimum blow-out kit: a tourniquet, pressure bandages, and a hemostatic agent such as Quikclot™ or Celox™. Lynne only had the motel’s towels to try to stop Chuck’s bleeding.
Eighth, don’t expect the fight to be cost free. From a legal standpoint, this was a black and white self-defense shooting; however, Chuck was shot and has a long period of rehabilitation. Police took their guns for evidence. Their dog was so traumatized he had to be put down. Lynne and Chuck now fear retribution from Walton’s accomplices who appear to have gang connections. Attempted murder charges against the assailant’s cohort, have been officially dropped because the main witness has disappeared. Hence, the need for the District of Columbia carry permits.
By the way, both passed their shooting qualification and are the 75th and 76th persons to receive carry permit licenses from the District of Columbia.
George L. Lyon, Jr, Esq. is an attorney licensed in Virginia and the District of Columbia, and he practices law with Arsenal Attorneys™, a national law practice. Mr. Lyon was one of the initial plaintiffs in the US Supreme Court’s landmark Second Amendment case, District of Columbia v. Heller. He was also a plaintiff in Palmer v. District of Columbia, which last year forced DC to begin issuing carry permits to residents and nonresidents. Mr. Lyon is one of the few firearms instructors certified by DC Metropolitan Police Department to provide the required training for DC carry permits. He can be reached at arsenalattorneys.com. This article is written for general educational purposes only. It does not offer legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. Arsenal Attorneys™ serve clients in 40 states. Always seek legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.
Arsenal Attorneys were proud to lead the recent creation of the National Capital Friends of NRA committee and sponsor NCFNRA's first annual banquet on June 17, 2016 at Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia. The tickets sold out 10 days prior to the event, and over 200 people attended.
The evening featured a live fife and drum corps consisting of current and former musicians of the US armed forces. A variety of prizes were offered in drawings, silent auction, and a live auction. The prizes included firearms, gear, training, adventure travel, sports tickets, and historical artifacts.
Awards were given to members of the local community who showed courage in defense of the Second Amendment, including the landlords of two local firearms dealers who had been targeting in particularly brutal attacks. Other honorees included Mr. Dick Heller, plaintiff of the landmark US Supreme Court Decision, District of Columbia v. Heller, and a 94 year old WWII veteran who served behind enemey lines as an OSS secret agent in Paris.
Based on the success of this event, Arsenal Attorneys is preparing the second annual NCFNRA banquet on May 19, 2017 at Army Navy Country Club.
Please contact our firm if you are interested in donating, sponsoring, volunteering, or attending this event. We want to continue this tradition as the largest gathering of Second Amendment supporters inside the Beltway.
Arsenal Attorneys' George Lyon appeared on WMAL this afternoon to discuss recent court decisions and gun control politics with host Larry O'Connor. The segment can be heard at this link at approximately the 7:40 mark.
O'Connor asked Mr. Lyon about the Supreme Court’s denial of cert re the New York and Connecticut assault weapons ban appeals from the Second Circuit. Mr. Lyon said it was not unexpected given that the Supreme Court had declined to hear a similar ban case from Illinois earlier this year. O'Connor asked if the refusal to hear the case had any particular significance, for example, did it reveal whether the court was influenced by the recent mass shooting in Orlando. Mr. Lyon explained the Court is asked to hear thousands of cases a year and only agrees to hear around a 100 or so. Thus said he does not think the decision was influenced by this recent event. Mr. Lyon said we would not likely get a Supreme Court ruling on a so-called assault weapons ban unless there is a circuit split.
O'Connor asked whether Arsenal Attorneys is advising our clients differently in light of recent events. Mr. Lyon said, given the prospect of a Hillary Clinton controlling Supreme Court appointments, he would be advising people to buy any firearm they think they might want to own. "Hillary’s copy of the Constitution doesn’t have a Second Amendment in it."
On this Memorial Day, Arsenal Attorneys™ will pay respect, honor, and remember the fallen who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their fellow Americans.
In appreciation of all military personnel and their families, we ask you to join us in contributing to the USO—the United Services Organization. The main office of Arsenal Attorneys™ in the Washington, DC area is located in a high rise just minutes from Arlington National Cemetery. The largest tenant of our building is the USO, and we’ve had pleasure of learning about their mission and observing their hard work.
The USO strengthens America’s military service members by keeping them connected to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation. For nearly 75 years, the USO has been the nation’s leading organization to serve the men and women in the U.S. military, and their families, throughout their time in uniform. From the moment they join, through their assignments and deployments, and as they transition back to their communities, the USO is always by their side.
Today’s USO continuously adapts to the needs of our men and women in uniform and their families, so they can focus on their very important mission. We operate USO centers at or near military installations across the United States and throughout the world, including in combat zones, and even un-staffed USO service sites in places too dangerous for anyone but combat troops to occupy.
USO airport centers throughout the country offer around-the clock hospitality for traveling service members and their families. Our trademark USO tours bring America and its celebrities to service members who are assigned far from home, to entertain them and convey the support of the nation. And our many specialized programs offer a continuum support to service members throughout their journey of service, from the first time they don the uniform until they last time they take it off.
The USO is not part of the federal government. A congressionally chartered, private organization, the USO relies on the generosity of individuals, organizations and corporations to support its activities, and is powered by a family of volunteers to accomplish our mission of connection.
Just prior to the onset of America’s involvement in World War II in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought to unite several service associations into one organization to lift the morale of our military and nourish support on the home front. Those entities--the Salvation Army, Young Men’s Christian Association, Young Women’s Christian Association, National Catholic Community Services, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board--became the United Service Organizations or, the USO.
Today, the USO has continued to support our nation’s military and their families for over seven decades as they defend our country and its freedoms. By providing support to our servicemen and women as they perform their most challenging duties around the world, our credo is to be always by their side.
The reach of the USO’s 160 centers extends to countries on every continent except Antarctica, operated by thousands of staff and volunteers whose goals are to match our service members’ vigilance and provide best-in-class service to those who sacrifice so much for America.
Memorial Day is a time to pause for reflection before the distractions of summer. Today we remember the many sacrifices so many have made for our country, but we should remember them year round. If you join us today in contributing to the USO, you will receive their Limited Edition 2016 4th of July T-Shirt so on Independence Day you can continue honoring our military and their loved ones. Please visit this link to make your contribution and to request your July 4th T-Shirt.
Arsenal Attorneys™ is a law firm based in the Washington, DC area, and we serve clients in nearly 40 states across America. Our law practice includes a variety of services, such as business services, estate planning, criminal defense, and firearms law. We are particularly renowned for our Arsenal Gun Trust™ solution for NFA firearms, such as silencers/suppressors and SBRs. Our diverse clientele have included presidential campaigns, firearms manufacturers, and nonprofits. We look forward to the opportunity to serve you.
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