Irresponsible Gun Owner of the Day: Gene Schenberg

For those who have never had the pleasure of visiting this tree-lined town, St. Louis has more than its share of squirrels. So many, in fact, that they were prominently featured as participants in not one, but two baseball playoff games this past postseason. A lot of Cardinal fans figured the scampering animals brought the home team luck and thus, the Rally Squirrel was born. But you know how these things are. No matter how popular something may be, there’s always someone who’s not as enamored with it as everyone else is. And it seems safe to say that Gene Schenberg, a resident of the leafy suburb of Chesterfield, isn’t a fan of the tree-dwelling rodents…

Schenberg, a former Chesterfield city councilman, has taken to shooting at the little buggers that dare set paw in his yard. While we’d like to think he read our piece yesterday and is only channeling his inner redneck, it seems he’s much more concerned with protecting his daffodils and dahlias. He hasn’t broken out the rimfire ordnance yet, instead using pellet and dart guns. So far. But Gene’s been less than scrupulous about rule number four with the guns he is using. As reports:

(Current city councilman Matt) Segal said Schenberg’s discharge of weapons has been a problem in Greenfield Village subdivision for about three years.

“His neighbor just behind has a pool in the back yard, and the family found three-inch long darts all over the pool deck, in the pool and on their roof, and they called the city three years ago,” Segal said.

Because of Schenberg’s and other Chesterfield residents’ squirrel mayhem, Segal voted for a new law to address all the gunfire.

Segal was one of the seven council members — only Ward 1 Councilman Barry Flachsbart was opposed — who gave preliminary approval Jan. 4 to legislation that would plug the loophole in city laws. A final vote is set for the Jan. 18 council meeting.

The legislation would ban the discharge of weapons within 150 yards of a house, dwelling or apartment to protect crops or any other property anywhere in the city.

The proposed law would not, among other things, apply to any police target or police shooting range; or any club or individual shooting range; or when such shooting is necessary to protect lives or livestock.

The law also isn’t intended to impede or limit rights of a person to use deadly force under the state’s “castle doctrine.”

There seems to be some disagreement as to the constitutionality of the measure and Dave Roland, director of litigation with the Freedom Center of Missouri, warned the council that the ordinance will likely be invalidated. Segal and the other members of the pro-squirrel caucus are likely to roll the dice and take that chance.

In the mean time, we’d like to remind Mr. Schenberg and the town’s other sciuridae-hating residents that no matter what kind of gun you’re shooting – even one that shoots three-inch darts – you should not only know what you’re shooting at, but what’s beyond it. And to help him remember, we’re awarding our IGOTD honor to Gene. May he use it to rally his anti-squirrel neighbors to both fight the new ordinance and protect their gardens from the encroaching grey menace.