“Jeremy Pinnow, 28, of Cascade in Sheboygan County, was doing remodeling work in a large apartment building near N. 14th and Locust streets the evening of April 12 when he and two co-workers were robbed at gunpoint by two men who hogtied the victims, pressed a gun to the back of Pinnow’s head, and took his wallet, phone, money and Chrysler Neon,” Wisconsin’s jsonline.com reports. “As they left, they told Pinnow that when he got untied, he could find the car near in the alleys near N. 25th and Capital.” INSERT CHRYSLER NEON JOKE HERE. But what happened next was not so funny . . .

The victims reported the robbery to police, who later saw men matching the suspects’ descriptions on foot, gave chase, and recovered items, including Pinnow’s car keys. The suspects got away.

Two nights later, Pinnow was parked at a gas station near N. 26th and W. Capital Dr. He was looking for his stolen car. A police officer approached and asked if he had guns, drugs, knives or bombs. Pinnow said he had a gun. The police found his chrome Cobra .38, which he purchased legally at a Washington County gun show prior to being robbed, in a closed plastic case under the driver’s seat. A magazine with five rounds was in a center console. Pinnow was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor.

The rest of the story chronicles the legal wrangling surrounding the arrest, which has implications for concealed carry laws in the Eat Cheese or Die state. Suffice it to say, an activist judge named J.D. Watts ruled that Pinnow was within his state-protected right to armed self-defense, and threw out the charge.

According to Watts’ order, released Friday, no evidence at hearing suggested Pinnow had the gun for any unlawful purpose . . .

Watts found that Pinnow . . . had just been robbed, was searching for his stolen car in a high-crime area, and had tried to comply with another state law about the transportation of firearms by keeping his gun unloaded, and in a case.

“He was exercising his right to bear arms in a reasonable and prudent manner,” Watts wrote . . . Requiring Pinnow to put the encased unloaded firearm out of reach would effectively deny him his right to bear arms.”

Hmmm. How is searching for your stolen car in a high crime neighborhood a reasonable and prudent thing to do? NEVER MIND that it’s a Chrysler Neon. And do we know for sure that Pinnow had the gun for self-defense rather than, say, retribution? In any case (so to speak), Mr. Pinnow violated one of the rabbi’s rules of order: avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places.

In this case (so to speak), it’s the case misegos that’s drawn my ire. Locked or unlocked, loaded or unloaded, in reach or out of reach, the casework qualifies Mr. Pinnow for our IGOTD nod. Here’s my thinking . . .

Guns are dangerous. They have to be to be effective. Extraction is the most dangerous part of armed self-defense. Draw your gun badly and you could shoot yourself or an innocent bystander. Draw your gun too slowly and you could put yourself and other friendlies in more danger than you would have had you used the time to counter the threat using another strategy.

In other words, I believe that gun owners have a responsibility to do no harm—except the harm that they need and are allowed to do. If you’re going to introduce a firearm into a potentially lethal confrontation, a responsible gun owner knows how to do it well. I do not support regulations that mandate concealed carry classes. But I reckon gun owners have a moral obligation to know how to draw and fire their weapon as safely as possible.

Mr. Pinnow’s “solution” to his security needs while hunting for his stolen car was dangerously half-assed. It could have gotten him killed. It could have resulted in the death of an innocent bystander. Pinnow should have either left the gun at home or packed it properly, loaded, on his person. If that put him on the other side of the law, well, that would have been his decision. A responsible gun owner has the courage of their convictions, and the means to defend them.

17 Responses to Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Jeremy Pinnow

  1. Pinnow should have either left the gun at home or packed it properly, loaded, on his person.

    If he did the first he might be dead by now. If he did the latter he would be in prison by now.

    How is it that complying with the laws regarding transportation and carrying of firearms is irresponsible? He made a good faith effort to balance compliance and liberty, and as a result, got a historic ruling not only in his favor, but also in the favor the liberty of all.

  2. If that put him on the other side of the law, well, that would have been his decision. A responsible gun owner has the courage of their convictions, and the means to defend them.

    Bullplop. You really expect people to either go completely unarmed, or completely in violation of the government laws, and if the latter that they will have the incredibly deep pockets to fight it in court?

    Suffice it to say, an activist judge

    An activist judge? Did your account get hacked by an anti?

    • Seriously – an activist judge?

      I get the feeling this post was some sort of red herring or a trap.

      Granted, driving around a high crime area looking for the people who robbed you at gunpoint – not a good idea. But trying to carry your firearm in a way that complies with the law (however unreasonable) does not make you an irresponsible gun owner. Nor does doing something stupid like looking for your stolen car in a “dangerous neighborhood.”

      Anyway – back to the “activist judge” comment. Didn’t the judge do his job here? Didn’t he interpret the law in the most reasonable and rationale manner possible? What makes him an activist, exactly?

  3. How is searching for your stolen car in a high crime neighborhood a reasonable and prudent thing to do?

    When it represents your sole means of transport to work and when it is a substantial financial investment AND the COPS WON’T FIND IT FOR YOU, then yes it’s reasonable and prudent assuming you manage to figure out some means to provide for your defense. That’s what this young HERO did.

    Mr. Pinnow violated one of the rabbi’s rules of order: avoid stupid people doing stupid things in stupid places.

    Rules are great oftentimes. That’s a great rule. However, there are always exceptions to rules and the dogmatic adherence to them is more dangerous than the intentional conscious violation of them.

    NEVER MIND that it’s a Chrysler Neon.

    You disparage the man’s vehicle and his actions. I’m guessing he is a poor man who couldn’t afford something nicer and who couldn’t afford to replace his POS vehicle. Apparently he should lose his car, his job, and sell his gun to stave off starvation for a week or two?

    And do we know for sure that Pinnow had the gun for self-defense rather than, say, retribution?

    The fact that he didn’t have it loaded and on his person is evidence of that. He went out of his way to comply with the law. People out for retribution don’t make an effort to comply with firearms transportation and carry laws.

    Mr. Pinnow’s “solution” to his security needs while hunting for his stolen car was dangerously half-assed. It could have gotten him killed. It could have resulted in the death of an innocent bystander.

    And he could have gone on a shooting spree and killed 6 people including a federal judge and a 6 year old girl! That’s why concealed carry should be illegal! because he could have! that’s why all guns should be illegal – he could have done something horrible! /sarcasm

    This “irresponsible” gun owner is responsible for this headline: Judge: Concealed Weapons Ban Unconstitutional for Robbery Victim

    This “irresponsible” gun owner just got the rights of self defense and arms recognized in a state that previously gave zero recognition to these essential and inalienable rights. Your “responsible” advice would have gotten him deep into the poverty trap, dead, or imprisoned and it would have done nothing to advance liberty in Wisconsin.

  4. “How is searching for your stolen car in a high crime neighborhood a reasonable and prudent thing to do?”

    Because it’s his car.

    And, have no fear, Patriot Henry, WI getting concealed carry is as good as done imo. The main question though is “what kind of concealed carry?” WI already basically has constitutional open carry (except in cars). You can probably walk around with a rocket launcher and 20 extra rockets without a permit there as long as you’re open carrying it. lol.

  5. I think what the author was getting at was that an unloaded revolver, in a case, under the seat, stored seperate from the ammo, pretty much takes it out of the equation for self defense purposes. An attacker with a knife could start 100 yards away and stab you before you could get it into action.

    • I think what the author was getting at was that an unloaded revolver, in a case, under the seat, stored seperate from the ammo, pretty much takes it out of the equation for self defense purposes.

      I’ve read quite a few self defense accounts in the papers where the defender goes and retrieves a gun from inside a vehicle or house and successfully deploys it. The equation is never known before hand and even afterwards it is usually obscured. Sometimes one can use an unloaded firearm successfully for defensive or offensive purposes. The unloaded .38 under your front seat is better than the loaded .45 at home.

      Transporting a firearm is not irresponsible. Nor is attempting to retrieve your own property. This man did nothing wrong, and thanks to the courageous judge, he won’t be deprived of his rights when he can finally apply for a concealed weapons permit.

  6. That’s all well and good, but can you please, please, please provide a picture of a “magazine with five rounds” for a chrome Cobra .38? I’m dying to see it.

  7. First, it’s either a Dodge or a Plymouth Neon, not a Chrysler Neon. Second, yes, the engines were crap but I damn well loved mine, right up to the day it was totaled because a young woman pulled out in front of me looking the other way.

    I think the “magazine” must be a (I forget the exact term) a speed-loading clip, 5 or 6 rounds in a row so you can load relatively quickly, albeit slower than if you used an actual revolver speedloader.

    At least the article didn’t claim it was an assault revolver.

    This time.

  8. The judge correctly ruled that the owner was “exercising his right to bear arms in a reasonable and prudent manner,” and I agree with Judge Watts and with Patriot Henry. Pinnow went looking for his car. What’s irresponsible about that? My only question is, what was the officer’s bullshit excuse for the Terry stop? And why did Pinnow bother answering the officer’s questions?

  9. As someone who has reported property crimes to the police and has watched them fail to collect any evidence, even obvious fingerprints, I can understand his feeling that he was on his own to get his car back. Was he acting stupid? Maybe. But we’ll never know what his true intentions were beyond trying to get what was rightfully his back. Whether its a shitty neon or not, someone took his property, at gunpoint, and he felt pretty deeply wronged.

    Young men are nothing if not brave to a fault in the face of obvious danger.

  10. For shame. He obeyed laws. He went to retrieve his property with means of protection. If the cops wouldn’t give him a ride to pick up his car what do you suppose he should have done. And I feel that encouraging someone to disobey regulations is more irresponsible than what this guy did. Should have come up with a better example this time. This is one of those times I wish I could articulate better.

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