Ep. 76 Gun Laws in America Part 2
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Welcome to, is This Legal? Here are your hosts, attorneys, Colin McCallin and Russell Hebets.
Hello friends. Welcome back to another episode of Is This Legal? My name is Colin McCallin, and as always, I am beside my partner, Russell Hebets. Say, hi, Russell. Hello, everyone out there. So hope everybody's summer is off to a good start. You know, this podcast is gonna be one of our oh, heavier in tone type of podcasts. We are going to discuss gun laws in America, part two. This is a part two episode. We decided to record this week because we are very fresh off of the absolutely horrible school shooting that occurred last week in Uvalde, Texas, where 21 people died. 19 were kids. And actually, we, we did our part one of this topic back episode 20 that was recorded immediately after the school shooting in Parkland, Parkland, Florida. That prompted us to do the first episode.
We do encourage you to check out that episode from the standpoint that we went over. We did a pretty comprehensive overview of gun laws in America, the Second Amendment, its history, Supreme Court decisions that kind of codified a person's right to bear arms. And we've decided to expand that podcast, talk more about more gun laws going on in the country. And this is obviously something we don't want to ignore. We don't want to become desensitized to these horrible things. I think we, like most Americans, are hoping that something can be done to make sure this doesn't happen, because it still feels, we still get that horrible, horrible gut punch when we click on the news and see these headlines. Well, we were eerily prescient in our last podcast roughly three years ago when we said Yep. And we're sure there's gonna be, you know, more of these terrible, terrible mass shootings.
And here we are. Yeah. so, so before we dive in, let's make sure everyone's on the same page with what is a mass shooting. Let's talk about some statistics and definition, because there is no set definition for mass shooting. Definitions vary based on who you speak to, what media outlet is using it, but generally, mass shootings are when three to four victims are shot in a short timeframe, in one incident. And so, so you're gonna find different stats based on 3, 4, 5 people, people shot people dead. But in any case, we're talking about a number of casualties or deaths in a very short timeframe. And these are happening more and more and more in America specifically. It was amazing when, I mean, I was, I was thinking back to Columbine back in 1999 and how unique that whole situation felt at the time. And u unique is probably the wrong word to describe how it Right.
Unprecedented. Yeah. And it, it, it was like, how could this happen? And, you know, we're about 23 years removed from that, which is a long time and a short time at the same time. And, and, and honestly, Russ, there, there have been two mass shootings this week just, just this week where, you know, Columbine is just almost feeling so normal now, and that's honestly the scariest part of it. Well, that's the scariest part of it. And the scariest part of it also is how desensitized, I mean, like, it feels normal, but, and, and that's that desensitization, but it's also things where like, I, I don't like to hear about it. I Right. When, when Uvalde happened. Right. I honestly, initially I tried avoiding it. Right. Because I, I didn't wanna deal with it. I didn't want that in my psyche. I did too. And if that happens, what, where are we going from there?
Right? Right. So, so here's, here's some stats on how ubiquitous this has become in America. We're averaging, depending on the definition, 20 to 30 mass shootings per year in America, which is just mind blowing, the big drivers of injury and death in these mass shootings. There's a couple of big drivers in these really high casualty counts. They are assault rifles. They, there have been studies those result in six times more people being shot. High capacity weapons result in five times more people being shot. So those are a couple, and there's, there's no answer people as to why these these are happening. There's no single answer I should say. This is a very complex issue, but clearly those things are big factors in virtually all of the more publicized mass shootings. You're talking about ar fifteens. Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative> being used. Yeah. so let's, let's talk a little bit about what the legal landscape is around gun rights, because we laid it out in our prior, prior podcast.
Yeah. And by the way, you know, when, if you go back and listen now, the, the episode quality of that <laugh>, you know, we were just getting started. It's a little rough around the edges, but like, like I said earlier, the content is still, for the most part, unchanged three years ago to where we are now. Now we're gonna, we are gonna gonna get into some new stuff. You know, we're, we're gonna talk about a new pending Supreme Court case that's going on. We're gonna talk about other gun reform measures that people are talking about. We're also gonna talk about some some I guess, legal tools that are out there that we didn't discuss in the first podcast that that people are paying attention to in order to address gun control, gun reform, stuff like that. Right there, there's some interesting stuff going on.
So if you, if you listen to the last one, or you paused right now, pause <laugh> and go listen to the last one. You'll know that the Supreme Court was silent on the Second Amendment on gun rights for decades and decades. And 2008 is when they issued you, he district of Columbia verse Heller. That was where they codified the right of every person to have a gun in their home for self-defense. 2010, they expanded that to states and then they've been silent. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. So for the past 12 years, they've been silent. They now have a pending case, which has already been briefed. They've already had, they had oral arguments in November of last year, November, 2021. That is New York State Rifle and Pistol Association. Verse Bruin. This case, Colin, is a case that is challenging gun licensing laws in New York under the Second Amendment. For over a hundred years, New York has had a law on their books that basically said, if you live in New York and you want to carry a concealed weapon, you need to show a licensing officer that you have proper cause.
And that proper cause is in quotes to carry a concealed weapon. What that means is you need actual, not speculative self-defense needs. So here's an example. If you are living in New York City, and you are in a business that deals with cash mm-hmm. <Affirmative>, and you transport cash, that's probably gonna get you a carry concealed weapon permit in New York. Right. That's high risk. You have an actual reason to need that self-defense. But if I'm living in a penthouse in the upper West side and I go to my local sheriff and say, I, you know, like a concealed carry, because I might get broken into someday, you're saying that's probably not gonna cut it. Yeah. And, and we have to be clear, we're talking about outside the home, you definitely have a right to that gun inside your home. Right. That's, that was codified in Heller. Heller.
Right, right. But yeah, so you're living in that penthouse and you say, sometimes I go to the theater and New York is a high crime area, and I could get mugged that may not get it for you. Okay. Because that's not an actual evidence of Yeah. That's more like, well, this could happen. It could happen. It's speculative. Okay. So, and it's up to these. So where's the so where's the legal challenge here? That's what State of New York was, I assume I assume this gun ownership group took issue with that. They did. They did. And they basically said, this is too restrictive on gun rights. And they got a plaintiff who could go ahead and sue and they lost at the lower courts, got appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court heard those arguments, as I said, in November of last year.
And based on those oral arguments, Colin, the court is very likely to invalidate that licensee's licensing scheme by new, that's New York is being unconstitutional and overly restrictive. Exactly. Yeah. And, and here's the likely outcomes for it. They're likely to either say, well, one, the second amendment that we set in Heller extends outside the home to some degree, and New York has made it too hard to exercise size that. Right. So you have a Second Amendment Right. It extends outside the home. And this licensing scheme is curtailing people's Second Amendment constitutional rights. They could say that lawmakers have too much discretion, have given too much discretion to these licensing officials in determining this constitutional issue. Okay. You have a constitutional right, and you have these random stuffed shirt bureaucrats who are saying yay or nay. Right. Based willy-nilly. Right. Or less likely, but possible they could say, Hey, we're gonna ban any licensing Yeah.
Of gun rights. Which, which again, if, if you listen to our first podcast when we really get into Heller, I mean, Heller did an amazing job. You know, it's certainly a <laugh> pro-gun advocate opinion in the sense that essentially recognizes a Right. But there's a butt here, there is a butt because even the author of that opinion was Anton Scalia, who is now he's, he's dead. But he was, he wrote that opinion, and he was a very conservative justice. And he even said, look, the second amendment's not absolute. We can put reasonable restrictions on firearms. You can't carry in a, in a school, you can't carry in a hospital. You can't carry if you're a felon, you know, you can't carry if you're mentally ill. There's, they recognized that it is not absolute. And so, you know, it seems to me like, I mean, Russ, Russ and I are trying to read the tea leaves here.
I mean, based on what we see in oral arguments, and based on the fact that we know that we have a, a pretty conservative panel of the, of the currently constituted Supreme Court, I think it's very likely gun gun advocacy may get expanded. Right. With this decision. And yet I'm looking at it with, in the looking at Heller and saying, well, they recognize that if the Second Amendment is not absolute, that reasonable restrictions can be placed, including licensing. Right. you know, that a state can, can require before a person just willy-nilly gets a firearm. But truthfully, I, I, Russ and I are in agreement, we're expecting a decision to come down in favor of the pro-gun movement here. And, and let's, let's put this in context for anyone out there who's listening who says, Hey, it's in the Second Amendment.
The Second Amendment says, I have a right to bear arms. That means my right is absolute. I have a right to bear arms and you cannot tell me anything that curtails that. Right. Many people have that reading. I mean Right. A lot of people do. But here's, here's like, let, let's get some context for, for that argument there. First Amendment, right. Tope free speech. Right. You don't have a right to speak however you want, wherever you want. Right, right. Just because there's a right to free speech doesn't mean, the classic example is you don't have a right to yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Right. Right. That is not free speech. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And like that, that there's often areas of free speech for protests where they say, yes, you have a right to free speech, but here's the area where you can make that speech.
It's similar in Second Amendment. Like these rights are not universally applied where it's absolute, there's, there's gray here. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>. Okay. And this is the same. This, this is the same according to Heller. Right? Right. So the question is, what's the Supreme Court gonna do now that they are very likely to expand gun rights? And we don't know. We're trying to read the tea leaves. We're waiting for an opinion. I think it come, could come down really anytime now should come out outs this month or next. Yeah. The ball is in the Supreme Court's Court. <Laugh>, the ball is in the court. <Laugh> the ball is in the court. So I'm, I'm just picturing like Kavanaugh lining up to hit a backhand. He's like, alright, so your turn for the decision. Right. Yeah. so that's definitely something that we're gonna be paying attention to. And of course, when that decision comes down we'll update you, we'll let you know.
And the one thing that is apparent is whatever, however it comes down, it sure seems like the court is gonna take away options for lawmakers to, to regulate based on the Second Amendment right. Now one thing that we really didn't get into we're, we're gonna ta kind of take a, a different approach and, and, and let's talk about what, if any, liability a gun manufacturer has in the wake of a mass shooting, like the one that just happened in Uvalde. Now, this is actually something that I think we do have an update on since the last time we talked about this issue. And I think it's actually fairly significant. I will confess to you, I, I, I'm, I'm, I'm surprised I missed this news because this happened earlier this year, February, 2020 2022 the nine families of the Sandy Hook massacre, which was another school shooting a horrible one that happened at this point, 10 years ago just settled a lawsuit with the gun manufacturer Remington for $73 million.
Okay? This is the largest settlement that a gun manufacturer or judgment that a gun manufacturer has been exposed to ever by, by a long shot. Yeah. And, and there is a reason that there are so few of these lawsuits. Again, th this is something, I'm a lawyer, and I didn't know any of this until I started preparing for this podcast. And, and this may be news to you let's go back to 2005. Russ, George W. Bush was president. He signed something called the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. And I'm not gonna get into the the illegal language about this, but essentially what this is, is this is a litigation shield for gun manufacturers that essentially say you can't sue a gun manufacturer for liability after a person has used one of their guns in the commission of a crime. All right?
This was absolutely championed by the nra. In fact, after the announcement was weighed was, was made Wayne Lapeer, who is still the president of the nra you know, back in 2005, he thanked President Bush for signing the act, which it had lobbied for describing it as quote, the most significant piece of pro-gun legislation in 20 years. And, and here's the rationale for that, because there, there is a justifiable rationale for the signing of that piece of legislation. Like if you are a manufacturer of guns, right, or, or of anything that has the potential to cause harm to people. But when it's used as it should be used, and in this instance, let's say guns, if the gun is used for hunting, if the gun is used for legitimate self-defense, why should that gun manufacturer be liable for people who abuse the proper use of that product?
So that's certainly the thinking. I, I, I will tell you though, this is a lot more rare than you might think, though. I mean, there, there's only a, a couple of other industries with this, this type of liability protection a couple are vaccine manufacturers internet service providers. So, you know, if if someone defames somebody on the internet, you can't sue Google. Okay? Okay. Airline companies were exempted from liability suits connected with the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks, things like that. That's about it. Specific to that specific too bad attack. Okay? So this is, this is rare. I mean, so the, the fact that, that the gun manufacturer industry has this protection is not only super rare, but in, in this particular type of litigation, it is super powerful. I i, if you're a victim of a mass shooting, you're not allowed to go sue the maker of that ar 15 Well, victim of any shooting.
Exactly. Right. Exactly. Okay. Until though. Now, so let's talk about, but Parkland, Parkland got 73 million. How did that happen? No, not Parkland. Not Parkland. Oh, sorry. Not Parkland. Sandy Hook. Sandy Hook, sorry. And remember that took 10 years. Right? Okay. Now, here's how that happened. This is actually, I think, some amazing lawyering by the plaintiff's attorney who handled this case. So basically the the, the lawyer who sued on behalf of the Sandy Hook families he filed law a lawsuit based on a, the state of Connecticut, a consumer protection law. And what he argued, remember this, this protection of lawful Commerce and Arms Act, that is a federal law. Okay? So what he, what he did was he sued under this Connecticut state's consumer law indicating that Remington the gun you manufacturer, was unfair in their marketing practices. And they're saying that they violated, essentially a marketing law that required what Remington do was doing.
They were putting out ads for their AR 15 saying, Hey if you get this if you get this rifle, you're gonna reclaim your man card, you know make sure that you're ready for the war. There were these types of slogans. And this lawyer successfully argued that this type of advertising specifically reached out to mentally unstable people who might be inspired to commit a mass shooting. And he was able to do that because that act, that federal Act had either six or seven exceptions to it. That, and one of those exceptions is unfair trade practice. Exactly. Unclear marketing. Exactly. Right. And like, and, and unfair marketing, in effect, they're saying like, marketing illegal things. Exactly. Right. And so that's exactly how what this lawyer did is he tied those advertisings, as Colin said too, saying you're marketing it to people who are unstable, who are going to use this in an illegal manner.
Which frankly, that's what happened. Right? And many of many states in the country, including Colorado, have have these types of laws that would enable this type of a lawsuit. So it's very creative, but I'll tell you what, it scared the hell outta Remington. They, they tried to get summary judgment on this, trying to kick the case out. In fact, the case went all the way to the Connecticut Supreme Court in a Connecticut in a four to three decision. The Connecticut Supreme Court said, this lawsuit can go forward. The gun manufacturers Remington appealed all the way to US. Supreme Court, Supreme Court, US Supreme Court denied cert, which means they decided not to take the case case, which means the Connecticut ruling is undisturbed. Remington then offered the Sandy Hook, family's 33 million. Their lawyer said, absolutely not grossly inadequate. A few months later, they arrived at a figure of 73 million.
When, when did that get denied cert? Do you know? I don't have that information in front of me, but it, it must have been within the last couple years. So it already, the court already had a fairly conservative lean to it at the time that the US Supreme Court denied cert. Right. And, and what they, just to be clear, like when the Supreme Court denies cert, they are saying, we are not gonna take this up. They knew what the ruling was from the Connecticut Supreme Court. Right. And they said, we are going to leave that in place, and then that becomes the law for that case. So right now, if I'm a gun manufacturer I'm a little nervous about this case. And first of all, Remington went bankrupt. That's a whole nother story. But there might be ways to hit these companies in their wallet.
Well, it's, and we'll see if more of these suits, I think, I think we're gonna see more of these suits start, start to come. And honestly, I think they're gonna have public support right. Much more so than maybe they did in, in years prior. Yeah. And, and it's, you know, you dove more into that than I did. But when we were talking about this, I went and looked to see how badly a $73 million hit would hurt a gun manufacturer. Cuz you're talking about some industries you're talking about, you know, 5 billion Apple or Google. Yeah, 73 million. That's, that's Trump change. That's, that's the CEO's bonus in the end here. That's, that's the CEO's like weekend bender in, in Barbados, right. <Laugh>, but 70. So at the peak of Remington, like this is around 20 14, 20 15, their profit was 110 hundred and 20 million. So this 73 0 profit almost.
Yeah. This 73 million hit. This has the potential to definitely put gun manufacturers out of business if, if it hits 'em. Well, I'll tell you, again, coming back to this protection of lawful Commerce in Arms Act, I, I'm just, again, I had never heard of this act. This is the Federal Act. Does the Federal Act that shields the, the, the gun companies. To be clear, it's still in place. I mean, I'm just kind of wondering when we're gonna start seeing the emergence of political candidates who are specifically gonna say, I am going to vote to repeal the protection of lawful commerce in Act Arms Act. Because that's, that's where you're gonna go after the throw of the gun manufacturers if you get rid of this piece of legislation. I think it's pardon the pun, but open season on gun manufacturers. Yeah. Yeah. So, and, and so we're talking, you know, right now we've been talking, you know, gun manufacturers across the board, you know, for everything, whereas we'll get to, to later, but there's some people who want very targeted legislation on gun manufacturers to kind of prevent these mass shootings.
But before we get to that, Colin, let's talk about another thing that states are doing to try to mitigate and eliminate these mass shootings. And those are red flag warnings or red flag measures. Yep. And this is this is another thing that's gonna be unique to part two of this episode, because we did not actually have a red flag law in Colorado when we recorded back in early 2020. So what, let's talk about Colorado's red flag law. This is, and other states are doing this as well. These things are called Extreme Risk Protection orders. All right? And so basically, and, and, and that's what we're talking about with the Red Flag log. So if a family member is concerned about someone in the family, they have significant mental health issues, they're making threats of suicide, they're making threats against other people, and they have these types of weapons.
It could be a handgun, it could be an AR 15, any sort of deadly weapon, any sort of firearm. Yeah. Yes. basically the, in the creation of a 2019 law here in Colorado allows that concerned family member to go directly to a court and petition a court for an extreme risk protection order. And the long story short is they have to establish by clear and convincing evidence that a party is a danger to themselves or others. And the effect of the order, if, if it is granted, it would require the, the subject of the order to surrender all of their firearms for a period up to one year. That's the max up to one year. But let's be clear, initially, when they file this, this is a one-sided filing. Right. This is the, the person who's gonna have their firearms taken has no knowledge of this.
That's right. At the point it's filed. Right. So someone, let's say you think your Uncle Max, who has been crazy for years, is gonna finally go off the deep end and take his shotgun and go to town. You go to a judge, you say, judge, I think Uncle Max is me, mentally unstable, shouldn't have firearms. If you can present clear and convincing evidence that he shouldn't have a gun, the judge then signs an order to relinquish or give up all of his firearms. That order is then served on Uncle Max by the local sheriffs. And those guns are gone when that's when that's served. Right Now, uncle Max has a recourse. Right. Within 14 days, there has to be a second hearing in front of the judge that Uncle Max actually gets to participate in, where that clear and convincing standard has to be, be proven in order for the state to keep his guns away from him.
That's exactly right. And you know, this was, this is a very controversial law when it was signed into effect. I mean, there, there were, there were some concerns by the public. This is like, okay, they're gonna come get our guns and this is how they're gonna do it. Right. A lot of people thought that. And, you know, there, there were also some concerns on the part of law enforcement because they were like, okay, if, if, if we get one of these orders against somebody and they don't want to give up their guns, are we gonna send our officers into a police ambush? Which, which by the way, the Colorado Red Flag law is named after Deputy Zachary Parrish, who was ambushed by one such incident and he was killed in 2017. Right. Close. Cuz you know, there's guns involved. Exactly. I mean, and, and there are a lot of people who are like, you're going to over my, outta my cold dead hands.
Right. I mean, that's a quote that a lot of people really, really believe in and just look, so there's a danger here, and let me interject super quickly. When this law was passed, we got calls in this office. I distinctly remember one call I got from a concerned gun owner who the law was just passed. He had no reason to believe that anyone was coming for any guns of his. He wanted to put me on retainer because he thought the state was gonna come take his gun. Right. And I, I refused it. I said, you know, if, if someone files something, you know, gimme a call and I'll see what I can do. But right now, there's no reason to think that you're gonna lose your gun. And I never got a call from him again. Right. So just a little bit more on these red flag laws.
They are kind of, they're very similar to if someone wants to get a restraining order against somebody. So, you know, if Jebediah wants to get a restraining order against Cornelius, he goes to a court, he says why he's so scared of Cornelius. A judge will issue a temporary restraining order, but then, like, just like in the Red flag law a judge gonna allow Cornelius the opportunity to defend himself. And then ultimately, after every all parties have been heard, you know, he can court can issue a restraining order or not. It's the same type of thing in this type of case as well. And how have they been working so far? Well, it, it just seven days ago nine news here in Denver did kind of a two year roundup of these cases. And, and honestly, I was somewhat surprised by some of the statistics.
So first of all nine news broke this up into two GA categories. Red flag petitions that were filed by citizens and Red flag petitions that were filed on behalf of law enforcement. So law enforcement can do this too. It doesn't have to be a family member. Right. Of the 138 citizen initiated red flag petitions, only 45 Russ were granted. Okay. way less than half. Right. It's like 29%. And then, but for law enforcement, they filed 107 petitions. 101 were granted 95% success rate overall 60% were granted. It's interesting, they broke this up by county in Denver, the city and county of Denver, which tends to be a more gun control demographic. 65% of the petitions were granted go to El Paso County, Colorado Springs tend to have a little bit more gun advocacy advocacy people out there, only 20% of the petitions were granted.
So what matters where you're filing, so yeah. So the demographics matter. Yeah. And, and again, all of these things are temporary. 75 of 75% of the people who had to give up their firearms pursuant to an order like this are now eligible to get them back. So this is very temporary. It's kind of a bandaid. It's not a perfect law. But I will say this, many people in the gun advo advocacy corners were very concerned that this red flag prohibition was gonna just open up the floodgates to, you know, people having their guns taken away. And it 136 people in two years, I don't know, that's, to me, that's not a significant number in a state with over 4 million people. Yeah. Okay. So, so this, this red flag law is just one of several gun reform measures that are kind of floating out there, that people are talking about in order to stem this tide of mass shootings.
And here's just a list of some other things. People are talking about mental health restrictions. So codified laws saying if you have a history of mental health problems, you can't have a firearm universal background checks, which right now don't exist waiting period. So you wanna buy a gun, okay, you can buy a gun, but you have to wait 72 hours to get it. The red flag laws we talked about, and then the ban on assault rifles, ban on magazine sizes. I will tell you in the US across the board, every one of these reform measures has over 60% support across party lines, right? Yeah. Across party lines. And some of these are huge 84% support for universal background checks. So this would prevent things like just buying a gun from someone online, right? Without any check red flag laws that we just talked about.
Cross the board has about a 70% favorability rating in polls. And so it doesn't matter when you're, whether Republican or Democrat, the lowest two for Republicans were the ban assault rifles and limit magazine sizes. And even those were still between 40 and 50% of Republicans agreed with those. Wow. But, you know, you take independence and Democrats 60, everything was over 60% support. So I mean, there is strong support for measures to make these reforms. The question is, are they actually gonna get codified by any legislatures Right Now? Of course, there's also the response from gun advocacy folks, people like the nra and they're going the other way, of course, with this, I mean, they're saying we need that. This is what happened in Uvalde is just demon further demonstration that we need to further arm our police forces, that we need to arm our teachers, you know, that we b basically we need more guns to, we need more good guns to defeat the bad guns.
Okay. and here's, here's the issue that I just have with that. And, you know, we're not really gonna get into the facts of Uvalde too much, but we do know that there are reports coming out, Russ, that the UAL police department, the, the entity, you know, literally assigned to deal with this type of a threat, a mass shooter sat outside that school for almost an hour doing nothing, ignoring the pleas of parents whose kids were dying inside that school. And what I have to say about that is, okay, if, if we're have, if we have a police agency that presumably has guns, weapons, you know, to deal with this type of threat, and yet the police aren't even gonna engage because they're afraid of the shooter, what faith should we have that Mrs. Rosales in her third grade classroom is going to take out her nine millimeter Glock in, in such a setting and be able to defend her kids?
Right. It's, it's a, it's a tough, I mean, that's, that's the gun advocacy argument is that you need more good guys with guns and then more good guys with guns. We'll take out the bad guys with guns. This seems to fly in the face of that, you know, what their, the argument maybe is, well, he had an AR 15 and these, these police officers had, you know, nine millimeters and they were outgunned. And what you need to do is further militarize police forces so they can match fire power with fire power. Which, I mean, if that's your position, that's your position for me. I mean, arms races never seem like a good idea. I feel like. Yeah. I don't think more guns feels like the solution to this. Doesn't to me, doesn't to me. So it might to some of you, but this is just, I mean, as more of these go on, I, I'm, I'm, I'm <laugh>, I don't know, I'm, I'm, I'm looking at this very differently which each one of these ridiculous events that happens.
So I think what we're gonna do though is kind of wrap up. You know, we, we wanted to kind of give you guys an update of kind of where things are, are things gonna change? Is this gonna be something that we, we as a country decide to take on? Because we said this in the last podcast, and I think it bears repeating, this is clearly just an American problem. I mean, this doesn't happen anywhere else in the world. I, tiny, tiny fraction in the rest of the world. Yeah, right. You know, we are living in a country where there are 125 guns per 100 people in the country. That's how many guns we have. I, I just hope that at some point our country looks in the mirror and decides what country we want to be. Cuz I'm not really happy with it right now.
And I hope I hope other people feel the same way about it. Well, and we'll see, we'll see what happens. There's gonna be some legal decisions that are going to you know, factor into this that are, there are. And, and we'll see what happens. We'll try to keep you guys updated, but for now, let's move on to something much more fun. Oh, I'd love to do that. And much lighter, it is a time for our d c ot w w the, like, how we did that that time, the dumb criminal of the week. This is something we do every episode. And today we are taking our, packing our bags and heading to sunny Florida, Florida again, huh. Good old, good old Flo Fort Lauderdale. It never does, it never disappoints. It does never disappoint you. You know, if you hear Florida in the intro to a D C O T W I think of orange juice and I think of dumb criminals, man, that's just what I think of.
That's just good stuff. So so in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a man named George Horn walks into St. John the Baptist Church. George took no efforts to conceal himself, although unbeknownst to him, the church had surveillance cameras inside. Is this a break in? Did I miss that part? It, it's, well, I assume, or is it showing up for mass? No, it was at night, but I think, I think the church might have been open. Okay. All right. Okay. So, you know, the church allows people to come in and pray, you know, when mass is not going on. Sure. So there was no one else in the church. Okay. But I think the church was open. But he goes over to the votive candle cabinet and he decides he's gonna break into the locked cabinet under the votive candles. So he spends a considerable amount of time trying to get into this cabinet.
First thing he does is tries using a tire iron as a pry bar. He wants to steal candles. No, there's, there's something in the locked cabinet under the vote of candles. I don't know how. Collection basket or something, something, who knows. I don't know how he knew this. Maybe he's an old altar boy <laugh> like it could be, but there, there is something of value. So, so he at least is going after something of value. So, you know, for those of you who don't know, a tire iron is a pretty blunt piece of metal. It's got a curve on the end, not, you know, if I wanted to pry something, I'd probably use a, a crowbar <laugh>. But he's got a tire iron. It's not getting the, the cabinet open. He's, you gotta use what he can. He's, he's tugging on it. He's on his butt with his feet braced against it, trying to pull open a handle. The next thing he goes for to try to get it open is a probably about a foot high crucifix <laugh>. So he's, he's banging this crucifix into, he's using a, it as like a, a ha battering ram, kind of a hail Mary, if you will see <laugh>, well done <laugh>. Then he's trying to use it to pry open the door. Oh boy, use this crucifix. Then Jesus. Then shortly after he says, Hey, maybe I should use this hammer I have.
So turn turns out the hammer was the, the choice, the best implement. Right. If you got a hammer or a crucifix, I dunno what's gonna get that nail home. Who knows? I don't know if it was like symbolic. He wanted to break in using the crucifix, but yeah, he got the claw into the hammer and he was able to very quickly pry open that door, pop it out, take whatever was in there, and he got away at the time. Although he was tracked down like at the time, just a couple days later, and he was charged with burglary and theft. Wow. So old Georgie boy. What do you think, Colin? You know, I mean, we, we call these so this is where we give our knuckleheads is one to five, which is how stupid was this. Right? Right. I mean, I I, for me, this kind of like goes beyond knucklehead in the sense, I mean, gosh, you're stealing from a church from St.
John the Baptist, you're breaking into the vote of candles. Right. It's sacrilegious it's pretty darn. Yeah. I mean that's that, that's, I mean, that, that gets you four knuckleheads just right there. Just because this is a church. You know, and the fact that he opted for a crucifix, right. To accomplish this job over a hammer, that that puts it that, that gets me to the five mark. Yeah. So what he was, he caught on surveillance? Is that how he found this guy? Yes, yes. Really clear surveillance of this whole thing. Oh my gosh. Wow. Yeah. So I'm, I'm going to, I'm not gonna go five for him because I, I give him some credit for actually initially for getting away, getting away initially. Yeah. He didn't get caught in the act. But really for all the reasons you said and just like the crucifix is just like bizarre to me.
It's bizarre. But, so I'm gonna go ahead and give him four and a half. So George, you got, you got nine and a half out of 10. You are not the dumbest criminal of all time. And, and, but, and you're probably not going to heaven. No. Right? Yeah. I mean, he's, he's got that going against him. There's some fire waiting for him. Yeah. I don't know about where he's gonna end up. Let's leave it at that. So there you go everybody. I know this was kind of a heavy one. And you know, I'm hoping that, that we'll be back with some lighter topics. I'm sure we will be in more shenanigans in the future, but I'll tell you, a lot of you have been reaching out to us and it feels great to hear from our listeners. We do this for you.
We have fun doing it. Do you have an opinion on gun control? Are you a gun advocate? Do we think, do you think this country's should be more accommodating toward weapons? Please let us know. We want to hear from all opinions. You can find us at is this legal pod on Twitter. You can find us at our Hebets and McCallin Facebook page. You can email us directly at Denver Crime Law, all one email@example.com as many of you have been doing recently. Thank you for those. If you got a new you got a legal topic for us to tackle, we, we do those. We've done a few of those listener inspired episodes lately. If you even have an idea for the next dumb criminal of the week, we are happy to entertain ideas. Wanna be a contestant on Is this legal? We didn't have one of those, this episode, just cuz we wanted to focus on kind of the subject matter at hand. But we do those from time to time too. So, we'll, we'll be coming back with that. So everyone need time? Everyone out there, take us out. Russ, everyone out there, thank you for listening. Thank you for supporting us. Be safe, be smart, and we'll see you next time. Bye-Bye.
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