“With three pit bulls attacking a young boy on the street outside his Northwest Washington home in January, [Ben Srigley] grabbed a 9mm Ruger P90 handgun from his bedroom, ran outside, and shot and killed one of the dogs,” washingtonpost.com reports. Turns out Srigley purchased the handgun legally in Virginia but failed to register it in Washington, D.C. Perhaps Mr. Srigley [rightly] figured that registering his gun in our gun-averse nation’s capitol would have been exceedingly difficult if not impossible, and that if he failed to register the gun, he’d have alerted police to the presence of a pistol on or near his person, thus risking being disarmed when he needed his gun to protect himself and, I’m thinking out loud here, innocent life. According to the Post, I’m being provocative. They say the case made Srigley . . .
“unwitting fodder for gun-rights advocates who saw his case a perfect example of why they assail as draconian the District’s laws that make owning guns exceedingly difficult.”
Yes, well, Srigley’s defensive gun use certainly put D.C. officials in a bind. If they pursued and convicted the D.C. dog killer on a weapons charge, they risked exposing their gun laws as draconian [see: above]. So, to make a long story short, they cut a deal.
Deputy Attorney General Andrew Fois called it a “one in 10 million case” in which authorities “tried to balance what he did, the law that he broke, the circumstances under which he broke it and what he did to help the boy.”
Fois’s team offered Srigley a deal in May to spare him jail. First, he would pay a $1,000 fine. Then, after a planned move to Maryland, he would register his handgun and two long guns he had in storage. Lastly, he would stay out of trouble for two months. In return, a charge of possessing an unregistered firearm would be deferred until July.
On Tuesday, the conditions met, D.C. Superior Court Michael J. McCarthy accepted the prosecutor’s motion to dismiss the charge. Srigley can now petition to have the arrest expunged.
Did Srigley move or was he pushed? If so, that’s one hell of a precedent. We’ll leave your natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms alone if you get out of Dodge. (A thought that’s occurred to at least one former New England resident.)
Second the fine is not fine with me. It allows the DA to protect D.C.’s unconstitutional gun laws, claim victory and save face. To wit:
“We don’t want people to not help,” Fois said, explaining that the unique circumstances of Srigley’s case prompted much discussion in his office. “But when you break the gun laws, it’s not something we can turn a blind eye to. He made amends by paying a decent fine, and he registered his guns, and he moved out of town. The laws of the District of Columbia are vindicated, while recognizing the unique contribution he made saving a young boy’s life.”
If not that, then where’s the fine for NBC commentator David Gregory for possessing an illegal “high-capacity” magazine (flaunted on national TV as a prop for his assault on NRA VP Wayne LaPierre)?
Srigley had long guns in storage? How, exactly, did those enter the picture? Did the D.C. po-po have a search warrant for those guns?
Srgiley isn’t saying squat. The Post chooses to interpret this information as an indication that the case isn’t about gun rights—because Srigley doesn’t say it is. Why would he? As millions of northeasterners will tell you, the first rule of gunfight club is that you don’t talk about gunfight club.
More than that, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the DA made Srigley’s silence on the case a non-negotiable from day one.
Srigley’s attorney said his client knew his gun was illegal — he declined to say why it was never registered — but he heard the child’s screams and acted on instinct. “He could have made a choice not to intervene,” Onorato said. “Instead, he had a handgun and he used it properly to defend that child. We’re all thankful he took that action.”
The Centers for Disease Control reports that some 800k Americans seek medical attention for dog bites per year; half of these are children. “Of those injured, 386k require treatment in an emergency department and about 16 die.” So if restored gun rights can save one child . . .