Carlo Bellario, the actor charged with using a BB gun as a prop while filming a movie in New Jersey, has declined a plea agreement in favor of going to trial. Bellario, who believed the producer had a permit for the pellet gun and was not using the firearm in the commission of any crime, was arrested in Woodbridge in November while on the set of a low-budget film. He was offered a three-year prison term—but if he loses in court, he could face five years for weapons possession, plus another 10 years at the court’s discretion.
N.J. Assemblyman Jon Bramnick has stated he believes the charges should be dropped, and is currently working on a bill with Sen. Raymond Lesniak that would give prosecutors more discretion in cases like Bellario’s. “This actor is shooting a movie with no criminal intent whatsoever,” Bramnick said. “Common sense dictates that this guy should not be facing prison.”
We’ll keep you posted.
Colorado Sheriffs’ Lawsuit Gets A Reset
The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that Colorado Sheriffs (and other plaintiffs) had no standing to sue the state over gun-control laws pushed through in 2013, vacating a lower court ruling against them.
The effect is twofold: It provides a roadmap for the sheriffs (led by attorney Dave Kopel of the Independence Institute), and the other plaintiffs in the suit, to file a new case, and it vacates the lower court’s finding against them on the case’s merits. The loss in the lower court is erased, as if the case never existed.
The sheriffs have already scored wins: A preliminary injunction in June 2013 forced the state to abandon confusing provisions requiring “continuous possession” of grandfathered magazines and a ban on magazines that could be “converted” to accept more rounds—which included practically all magazines.
Kopel said Tuesday that the plaintiffs “certainly will” file a new case.
British Government Catalogs Gun Owners With Terrorists In Surveillance Database
The British government has compiled a national database cataloguing not only known terrorists but also “every single person in the U.K. with access to firearms,” according to the UK Shooting News website.
The Draft Investigatory Powers Bill, nicknamed “the Snoopers’ Charter”—much of which went online even before Parliament examined it—institutionalizes mass surveillance, with particular attention aimed at gun owners and shooting club members. “To help manage the risk of U.K. based subjects of interest accessing firearms ... the security and intelligence agencies acquired the details of all these individuals,” including names, addresses, telephone numbers and more, and compiled it into its database, according to the 300-page bill (and reportedly partial law).
As UK Shooting News notes, this registry represents “an instant target for hackers working with organized crime, terrorists or even foreign state actors. The very fact that it exists makes every member of the licensed firearms community less safe.”
Rhode Island Hearing On Gun Bills Draws Hundreds
More than 400 people packed into Rhode Island’s State House on Tuesday to debate more than a dozen gun-related bills. In attendance for the House Judiciary Committee hearing were representatives from the Rhode Island 2nd Amendment Coalition and the Bradford Sportsmen’s Club in Charlestown. Also on hand were members of the anti-gun Bloomberg group, Moms Demand Action’s Rhode Island chapter.
Pro-gun bills discussed included proposals to allow for the automatic renewal of a gun permit or license, and concealed-carry license reciprocity for neighboring states such as Massachusetts and Connecticut.
On the gun-control side, measures ranged from banning concealed-carry permit holders from carrying guns on school grounds and banning magazines that hold 10-plus rounds of ammunition, to preventing those convicted of domestic violence offenses from owning or buying guns. “All of these things are just disguised as efforts to promote safety,” noted Michael Salvadore, president of the Bradford club.
Iowa Hearing Protection Act Heads To Governor
The Iowa House of Representatives on Tuesday voted to concur with the amended version of House File 2279, the Hearing Protection Act, with a 78-21 vote.
HF 2279 passed its final vote in the Senate with an overwhelming 46-4 bipartisan vote, but due to a favorable amendment made by the Senate Judiciary Committee, the measure had to return to the House for a concurrence vote. HF 2279 will now be sent to Republican Gov. Terry Branstad for his consideration and signature.
If Gov. Branstad signs HF 2279 into law, Iowa will become the 42nd state to allow for the sale, use and possession of firearm sound suppressors. NRA-ILA thanks everyone who reached out to their legislators in support of the measure. Please contact the legislators who supported HF 2279 and thank them for their support.
Tampa Man Fights Off Home Intruder
A Tampa, Fla., man on Tuesday shot and killed a home intruder who had broken into his residence.
According to a report in the Tampa Tribune, the homeowner was upstairs around 12:45 p.m. when he heard someone trying to enter the back door. Grabbing his gun, he ran downstairs and found a strange man in his kitchen. He then fired several shots at the stranger, who died at the scene.
The homeowner told Tampa Police that he was in fear for his life when he shot the intruder.