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Old October 7, 2011, 08:56 PM   #1
MissouriShooter
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Anti-self defense law in Missouri ...

From the NRA-ILA web page:

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

On August 2, in a speedy and quiet manner, the City of Maryland Heights enacted a far-reaching, ominous ordinance that bans all discharge of firearms within the city limits. In taking this draconian swipe at law-abiding gun owners, the City Council has effectively stripped gun owners of their ability to sport shoot, hunt and defend themselves and their loved ones from a violent attack! That’s right, under the new ordinance, even the discharge of a firearm in self-defense is banned in Maryland Heights!

While the direct impact of this measure will first be felt by law-abiding hunters, sport shooters and gun owners living in Maryland Heights, the practical effect is that all Missourians, non-resident hunters and sport shooters will be prohibited from hunting and shooting within the city limits, even where it is safe to do so. Moreover, every resident, as well as those law-abiding gun owners passing through Maryland Heights, would be denied their right to defend themselves and their loved ones.

Regardless of whether or not you reside in Maryland Heights, using the information below, please contact the Mayor and City Council Members immediately and urge them to reconsider this misguided and unconstitutional measure. Encourage them to stand up for your Second Amendment rights and hunting heritage by repealing the citywide ban on the discharge of firearms. Be sure to pass this information along to your family, friends and fellow Second Amendment supporters and urge them to do the same!
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:03 PM   #2
KyJim
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I wonder if anybody contacted the city within the last four years about this?
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:07 PM   #3
MissouriShooter
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It has never been posted in the city codes and it actually seems to have happened this year, not 2007.
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Old October 7, 2011, 09:50 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissouriShooter
On August 2, in a speedy and quiet manner, the City of Maryland Heights enacted a far-reaching, ominous ordinance that bans all discharge of firearms within the city limits. In taking this draconian swipe at law-abiding gun owners, the City Council has effectively stripped gun owners of their ability to sport shoot, hunt and defend themselves and their loved ones from a violent attack! That’s right, under the new ordinance, even the discharge of a firearm in self-defense is banned in Maryland Heights!
My municipality (in another state) has had such an ordinance on the books for a number of years. I became aware of it only a few months ago. I wrote to the head honcho of the powers-that-be, pointing out a number of issues with it (among them the lack of an exception for lawful self-defense under State law), and a few weeks later I was invited to sit down with the Ordinance Committee to discuss the problems with the ordinance.

To my surprise, they seemed to listen. I had a call a couple of days ago from the head honcho's secretary informing me that she'll let me know when the next meeting of the Ordinance Committee is scheduled and that they'd like me to attend.

Last edited by Aguila Blanca; October 9, 2011 at 01:10 AM. Reason: speeling
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Old October 7, 2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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Thankfully MOST of the towns in this area (Northern Chicago Suburbs) that have laws like that EXEMPT people firing a weapon in self defense. I think once upon a time I researched this when figuring out where I was going to move to and only found one town in this area that did not have an exemption for self defense. Thankfully the town I live in has NO special firearms laws.

An example from the next village over, Northbrook IL. (note: there is no place to practically hunt in Northbrook)

"It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any firearm, air rifle or airgun in the village. This section shall not be construed to prohibit any officer of the law to discharge a firearm in the performance of his duty, nor to any citizen to discharge a firearm when lawfully defending his person or property"

http://library.municode.com/index.as...eName=Illinois

Section 17-42
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Old October 8, 2011, 09:27 AM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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That doesn't seem all that egregious, really. Every city and village wherein I have ever lived has had a "no discharge" ordinance and I've never been aware of any explicit exemptions for self defense. However, I have never heard of it being a problem, here or anywhere else. Are there places that allow hunting with firearms INSIDE city/village limits? If so, that's insane. Discharging firearms in city/village limits SHOULD be illegal. On the matter of self-defense, I think it's a phantom problem.... I mean, it's illegal to shoot people too, but that doesn't apply to self defense. Or, more appropriately I suppose, self-defense would be an "Affirmative defense" against the discharge ordinance.
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Old October 8, 2011, 09:33 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MissouriShooter
It has never been posted in the city codes and it actually seems to have happened this year, not 2007.
Municode.com says it was effective May 1, 2008 (assuming we're talking about the same code section), so it's been there a while. Call the city attorney. Get on the city council agenda. Call your ward representative.

Any idea if anyone has been convicted under this statute in a self-defense shooting?

Edited to add: I agree with peetzakilla. I think this is more of a phantom problem than anything. If state law allows self-defense with a firearm, and I'm pretty sure it does, that's going to trump a municipal ordinance.
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Old October 8, 2011, 10:23 AM   #8
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Much Ado About Nothing

IIRC, it's against the law to shoot someone, too. Except in cases of self-defense. Undoubtedly self-defense situations would be exceptions also, even if not specifically written into the statute. In any event, I don't see why someone would be unwilling to defend his or her life out of fear of being charged with a misdemeanor offense of discharging a firearm within the city limits!
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Old October 8, 2011, 08:50 PM   #9
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I'm actually somewhat sympathetic with the OP. Long story short, there was a menacing looking dog outside my house and multiple calls to animal control led to nothing. My wife called 911 and said I was getting ready to shoot the dog. Dispatcher told her they would arrest me for discharging a firearm inside the city. It did have the effect of getting animal control there within 10 minutes.

I case of a real emergency the defense of justification should be available if you discharge a firearm in self-defense for example.
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Old October 8, 2011, 08:59 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim View Post
I'm actually somewhat sympathetic with the OP. Long story short, there was a menacing looking dog outside my house and multiple calls to animal control led to nothing. My wife called 911 and said I was getting ready to shoot the dog. Dispatcher told her they would arrest me for discharging a firearm inside the city. It did have the effect of getting animal control there within 10 minutes.

I case of a real emergency the defense of justification should be available if you discharge a firearm in self-defense for example.
Well, yeah, but that's not an immediate threat. If you were being ATTACKED by the dog I can virtually guarantee there would be no charges. The dog might be big and ugly and rabid looking but that doesn't mean you can just go outside and shoot it.

Same thing with a human threat. You may well be arrested under this ordinance if you fired a warning shot because if you have time for a warning shot you're not in immediate, unavoidable danger. However, if a BG pulls a knife and you put two in his chest, you're not going to be charged.
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Old October 8, 2011, 11:19 PM   #11
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A blanket ban on discharge of firearms would have the effect of banning shooting ranges.
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Old October 9, 2011, 04:22 AM   #12
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I don't think a ban on shooting ranges would pass a legal challenge. However, I also wonder if the city council even considered that possible impact; Missouri generally seems pretty gun-friendly.
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Old October 9, 2011, 04:57 AM   #13
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Well, a no discharge law applies to both bad guys and good guys. Since the law is now on the books, there should be no more gunfire from bad guys in your area whatsoever. After all, The law prohibits it!

Missourians and anyone living in any area with such well thought out laws should rejoice! The streets are now safe from danger! A law is on the books saying so!

Oh, wait. That's all BS. I forgot I was living in the real world for a minute there.

On a serious note, It baffles me how stupid our elected leaders are. We are truly led by the "least among us". The only thing most leaders are good at is lying and posturing.

Rant over.
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Old October 9, 2011, 08:26 AM   #14
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Quote:
Discharging firearms in city/village limits SHOULD be illegal.
The farm I grew up on was in the Village of Ashaway, RI. We hunted on the farm, we used guns to killed cattle for butchering, protect the livestock and just to shoot and have fun.

We also hunted ducks in the winter along the river, which ran through several villages and cities.

No reason to make it illegal.

If people had to travel long distances to shoot only in the country (Out of an incorporated city, town, village) we would have no shooting ranges in a lot of these places.

A blanket statement like the above does not take in to account varied regions in the United States.
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Old October 9, 2011, 09:03 AM   #15
Brian Pfleuger
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I never said anything about "incorporated areas".

I'm talking about villages as in "miniature city", small, populated areas with many buildings in an otherwise rural area.

If you're governing bodies label what should be an area of "township", meaning lightly populated, rural areas, as a "village", well, they're just silly and that's a different topic.

In case there's any confusion, please refer to the following diagrams as the intent of my wording, much like you would order a steak at ponderosa based on THEIR definitions of "doneness" and not your own.


City:

Village:

Rural area, generally incorporated as a "town":
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Last edited by Brian Pfleuger; October 9, 2011 at 09:16 AM.
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Old October 9, 2011, 09:16 AM   #16
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Does the city code exempt the police, or did they forget to do that? I can see lots of potential for troublemaking.
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Old October 9, 2011, 11:14 AM   #17
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Most politicians are or were lawyers. I think they purposely pass ill-conceived legislation that will generate litigation.

This law will not stand, it's similar to Chicago's ban on gun ranges which is in the process of being overturned. But there are some lawyers who will get rich in the process at the expense of Maryland Heights tax payers.
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Old October 9, 2011, 12:11 PM   #18
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Virtually every place I have ever been has an ordnance or law against discharging firearms inside city (town) limits. States also have laws against discharging firearms withing x feet of a public road (50 to 500', typically, depending on state). The only exceptions, if any, are on private property that you own.

Plinking, hunting, and dispatching pests inside city limits with a firearm will get you a ticket (or possibley worse). Shooting in self defense generally does not, however I have heard cases, from the most un-gun friendly locals, where a justified shooting did result in a "discharge of firearm" violation.

Apparently, the local prosecutors, so upset that they couldn't charge the defender with any other crime were able to use the ordance to charge them with something, at least. After all, they can't just have citizens shooting people (justified or not) and getting off completely scott free, now can they?
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Old October 9, 2011, 06:27 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C0untZer0
Most politicians are or were lawyers. I think they purposely pass ill-conceived legislation that will generate litigation.
I disagree with this. I've spent most of my legal career working with city government in some form or another, and nowhere near "most" of the politicians that I've dealt with were lawyers. And passing intentionally passing ill-conceived legislation that will generate litigation . . . that's just asking to bankrupt the city that pays your salary. Frankly, I've wished on many occasions that more politicians were lawyers, so that I didn't have to spend so much time explaining why their ill-conceived legislation was going to get them in trouble.
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Old October 13, 2011, 09:23 AM   #20
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Indiana passed SB 261, I think is the right reference, in 2010 under Senator Jim Tomes which is a preemptive law establishing uniformity throughout the State and prohibiting local government from establishing gun laws/ordinances contrary to the States law. Hence, its advocates argue that if the State is the licensor for concealed carry that it is the ultimate arbiter for establishing the regulations governing the regulated activity and that local ordinances that impose potential criminal penalties upon a license holder are prima facie unconstitutional. Its coming under fire this year, but he should be able to sustain it in the 2011 legislative year - its a good model for people to look at in other States, though.
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Old October 13, 2011, 12:09 PM   #21
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Come on MissouriShooter for dredging up outdated information and crying that the sky is falling. Have you bothered to read the ordnance? Apparently not.

What you are worried about happening already happened 4 years ago!

Quote:
It has never been posted in the city codes and it actually seems to have happened this year, not 2007.
Really? Did you even go to the City website and look and see for yourself?

It seems it did go into effect in 2007...
http://www.marylandheights.com/Modul...ocumentid=1060

Revised 2008...
http://www.marylandheights.com/index.aspx?page=40

The ordnance did not ban hunting, sport shooting, or training. It did not bad self defense.

Google is your friend. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=City+of+Maryland+Heights+ordnances
Check the 3rd link down.
Or check the 4th for the entirety of the municipal code. It has its own search engine, for crying out loud. You could have searched for "gun discharge" and found out what you needed to know.
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Old October 13, 2011, 01:28 PM   #22
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The affirmative defense of self defense would generally excuse one from an unlawful discharge rap.

But still, there was a defense shooting in response to a home invasion. Cincinnati, IIRC. The elderly man's pistol was taken as evidence as is normal, however, the police refused to return it because it had been discharged within city limits. Been trying to find an article but am coming up dry.
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Old October 15, 2011, 09:54 AM   #23
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Ugh...

Now I feel like I was bamboozeled
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Old October 16, 2011, 11:03 AM   #24
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In reading the revised ordinance 2008-3087, I see no exception for defense or self-defense.

Section 14-308 was amended with some exceptions to discharging of firearms within the City of Maryland Heights under section 1 (b) (1-5).
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Old October 16, 2011, 11:52 AM   #25
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Quote:
2009 New Hampshire Code
TITLE LXII — CRIMINAL CODE (Includes Chapters 625 - 651-E)
CHAPTER 627 — JUSTIFICATION
Section 627:3 Competing Harms.



Share |



I. Conduct which the actor believes to be necessary to avoid harm to himself or another is justifiable if the desirability and urgency of avoiding such harm outweigh, according to ordinary standards of reasonableness, the harm sought to be prevented by the statute defining the offense charged. The desirability and urgency of such conduct may not rest upon considerations pertaining to the morality and advisability of such statute, either in its general or particular application.

II. When the actor was reckless or negligent in bringing about the circumstances requiring a choice of harms or in appraising the necessity of his conduct, the justification provided in paragraph I does not apply in a prosecution for any offense for which recklessness or negligence, as the case may be, suffices to establish criminal liability.
Yes, I know, this is New Hampshire, but I believe every state has similar laws.

It's agains the law to drive in the wrong lane, but swerving to the other lane to avoid a child, large boulder, etc., would hardly result in you being cited. Same for defending your life from violent criminal attack where discharge of firearms is concerned.

Now banning hunting in a ruaral area just because the city has incorporated it into the city limits is something I'm opposed to.

Banning shooting in areas because they're congested with people is necessary whether the area falls within the city limits or not.

Last edited by Nnobby45; October 16, 2011 at 11:58 AM.
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