RANDOM GUNFIRE ON THE RISE 

SHANNON?S LAW -- THE LATEST 
ARIZONA REPUBLIC PRINTS CORRECTION

WHAT DOES SHANNON'S LAW SAY

THE HISTORY OF SHANNON'S LAW


RANDOM GUNFIRE ON THE RISE 
RANDOM GUNFIRE ON THE RISE 
RANDOM GUNFIRE ON THE RISE

Is Media Reporting Accurate?
Is Media Reporting Accurate?

by Alan Korwin 
Author, The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

At least 12 bills related to guns are now circulating in our legislature. Are gun subjects accurately covered in the news? Unfortunately not.

For example, two weeks before this paper helped promote a carefully staged publicity event about random gunfire (Revelers Who Fire Gun Risk Felony, 12/28/00), they had the story you're about to read. The staged event -- run by power brokers who care little for your civil right to arms -- claimed Shannon's law is working and gunfire is down. The story below, based on police statistics, shows random gunfire is up.

Why the difference? Reporters aren't asking. Didn't someone cover this before the staged media circus declared things are fine? The answers sadly confirm many readers' suspicions -- we frequently get no real reporting anymore. It's just hype parroted faithfully by a lazy lapdog (should be watchdog) press. The informed republic our founders thought essential is a relic.

When I asked Phoenix councilman Phil Gordon on KTAR why he boasted about 10,000 gunshot reports (with only 17 arrests), he said many calls were duplicates or otherwise false. OK, many are false -- what kind of statistic is that? Are 17 actions against 5,000 crimes more acceptable?

Police deserve praise for acting against this witless crime. But the notion that we must pass redundant laws to obtain publicity or action should infuriate you. The real story:

-----------

According to statistics obtained from the Phoenix Police, reports of random gunfire have risen slightly since Shannon's law became effective last July. In the first four months since the law's passage, gunshot reports averaged 595 per month, a 3.4% increase over last year. The new law was intended to prevent such crimes.

You folks in the news media should not ignore this.

In an effort to stop criminal acts of so-called "celebratory" gunfire, legislators passed Shannon's law, the third statute outlawing such activity. It provides a misdemeanor (minor) offense, which can be bargained down from a felony (major offense), solely at prosecutors' discretion -- new plea-bargaining power they won in last-minute legislation. The two pre-existing crimes are both strict felonies.

(The main characteristic of a felony is its jail term of a year or more. County Prosecutor Romley proudly claimed Shannon's trials are yielding sentences averaging three months. Not a reporter blinked. Even the "too lenient" statute that Shannon's replaced carried four months imprisonment.)

Police made several highly publicized arrests in the law's first months, widely reported as proof of effectiveness. However, the fact that more than 500 gunshot complaints are still made monthly (or more than 1,900 if you use Phil's figures), adds credibility to critics who claimed a third, lower-class crime was a government smokescreen, and that enforcement is what any solution would need. As the police numbers indicate, there is hopelessly little enforcement of any of these laws, and people are left unprotected.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Phoenix police expert said that until Mayor Rimsza insists that Police Chief Hurtt takes action, residents in the beleaguered neighborhoods will have to endure the ongoing mortally dangerous activity. Another statute on the books simply doesn't matter.

One result of all the attention is recognition that the problem is overwhelmingly confined to a few neighborhoods. The idea that these neighborhoods are expendable, a charge frequently made by neighborhood activists, has been denied by officials.

Not tested yet are other aspects of Shannon's, such as its self-defense protection for shooting during an animal attack within city limits. Legislators this session will consider expanding that common-sense protection statewide.

So you see, news like this is available. Just not from the news media.

Alan Korwin is the author of six books about gun laws, including The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide. He posts gun-law updates and can be reached at gunlaws.com.

588 words For Immediate Release (1/31/01)

Contact: Alan Korwin 
BLOOMFIELD PRESS 
?We publish the gun laws.? 
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254 
602-996-4020 Phone 602-494-0679 
FAX 1-800-707-4020 
Orders http://www.gunlaws.com 
alan@gunlaws.com 


Shannon's Law -- The Latest 
Arizona Republic Prints Correction

Friends and Fans,

Appearing in The Arizona Republic (Tues., 8/8/00, p. B7) is an editorial I wrote exposing the hoax that got Shannon's Law passed. The editorial department had an unusually tough time with this one, because the letter is accurate (yes, because it's accurate). I spent hours talking to the top brass in an effort to get it released.

The article put the op ed folks in the position of making corrections for the newsroom, which they don't like to do -- it's the newsroom's job to make its own corrections. But because the news people are understandably reluctant to announce that they got it wrong for months, in effect enacting a law under false pretenses, they don't want to give the subject ink.

This created a monumental ethical dilemma for the editors. If editorial can't run a letter because it is correct, and the newsroom won't make the corrections, well, you can see their difficulty, and how it trashes any semblance of the paper's credibility.

I'm pleased to say the editorial ran essentially unedited, including the call to action for passing "Shannon's Credit" next year, a draft bill that circulated in last session's legislature, which would create a tax credit for gun-safety training. It's a good bill, now exposed to the public eye, and it's posted later in this file.

I'd like to thank Angel Shamaya of KeepAndBearArms.com for his insight in the editorial's lead, Craig Lindsay for his intellectual and moral support, and Bob Blackmer for his excellent work on researching the numbers. People file hundreds of "shots fired" reports every month, but the police make no arrests, and the paper hasn't informed anyone about it, until now.

The full text of the editorial appears below, followed by the statute language, analysis, and the history of this bizarre attack on the Bill of Rights.

Sincerely,
 Alan Korwin, Author 
The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide


From: The Arizona Republic 
(Tues., 8/8/00, p. B7, circ. 500,000)

"Shannon's Law" Myth Exposed 
The Complaints Turn Out True

by Alan Korwin

Dear Editor,

Explore for a moment why some people don't trust newspapers as much as they should.

When your reporter recently made a one-digit mistake, writing "124 years" instead of "224 years" in a historical note, it earned a 13-column-inch correction and apology (July 6, wrong date on Declaration of Independence).

But when a major public-policy story stated repeatedly that a controversial law you've promoted is working, when it hasn't even become a law yet, it got a one-inch correction saying you inadvertently "implied" the law was working (June 17, "Shannon's Law Nets Arrest"). This hurts.

The day AFTER the impotent one-inch correction ran, a top-of-page editorial proclaimed, "Shannon's Law Shows It Works," repeating many of the errors, adding insult to injury. This burns.

The correction didn't explain Shannon's law (reckless gunfire) is only a misdemeanor, or a felony at the discretion of prosecutors -- a plea-bargaining power prosecutors lobbied for and were granted.

The story says judges can lower the charge, but judges lost this power in the lobbying process. That whole boondoggle is plainly described at gunlaws.com. It got zero ink from the paper, along with Shannon's "deadly-force-against-wild-animals" clause and more.

The worst part is that Shannon's was continuously reported by The Republic and the state media, and enacted, on a myth that random gunfire is a misdemeanor (minor offense) and should be increased. But as the story explains, the gunfire suspect was booked for a felony (major offense) without Shannon's, under our solid reckless endangerment laws. Readers told The Republic these laws existed while the push to pass Shannon's was on, and were ignored. This is wrong.

Your own coverage confirms reckless gunfire is a felony, Shannon's is a misdemeanor, and the only thing missing are arrests. We enacted Shannon's Law under false pretenses.

You should be nice, and acknowledge the truth. Fix months of erroneous reports (though too late to stop the legislators), and stop demeaning decent people who exposed the hoax as "naysayers."

When the paper enthused (July 8) there were "only" 295 complaints of gunfire in Phoenix on Independence Day, it forgot to mention there were no arrests. Laws don't stop perpetrators. Arrests do.

We saw no mention that in January when Shannon's was front page news, people filed 690 gunfire complaints, with no arrests reported. And in February, 564 complaints with no arrests for what we now know are felonies. And in March, 605 complaints with no arrests reported, though Shannon's kept getting hype. And in April, 690 complaints. The past three years have seen 22,686 complaints, and media silence. Why?

The Republic literally tells its readers we must pass laws to publicize problems, in your editorial. You credited publicity and arrests as the solution -- just what the naysayers urged all along -- and you don't seem to make the connection.

In other words, because government jumped (with the backing of a small cadre of anti-rights zealots), you promoted a self-evidently redundant law.

But reports of thousands of shots with no arrests encouraged you to do nothing. There's the nub. The journalism code of conduct seems missing. People rightly detest egregious errors concerning the Bill of Rights.

Eisenhower warned of the military-industrial complex. Now recognize and fear "the government-media complex," a horrific alliance that reports no news until government legislates our freedoms away.

That's why the public mistrusts you. Not because you got a date wrong.

Want to regain some trust? Show some guts. Run an expose on the Shannon's scam and bogus "news" that got it passed. Then cover next year's "Shannon's Credit," the tax break for gun-safety training and publicity, which would help keep us safe.

Sincerely, 

Alan Korwin, Author 
The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

Alan Korwin, the author of six books on gun laws, is a voice of reason and can be reached at alan@gunlaws.com 

612 words 
Copyright 2000 Alan Korwin 
One-time North American Serial Rights

Contact: 
Alan Korwin 
BLOOMFIELD PRESS 
"We publish the gun laws." 
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254 
602-996-4020 Phone 
602-494-0679 FAX 
1-800-707-4020 Orders 
Order Online
http://www.gunlaws.com 

 

-------------------------------------------------

To: Ken Western, Arizona Republic 
cc: Keven Willey, John D'Anna, selected staffers, friends and fans

Ken,

I don't expect you'll run two articles on the same tough subject from one lone freelancer, but I want you to know how I feel.

 ----------------------------------------------------

I want to thank and congratulate the editors at The Arizona Republic for their courageous actions in printing my column (8/8/00) about Shannon's law. Dozens of people have written to me expressing gratitude for exposing the hoax that Shannon Smith?s parents and the state had unknowingly endured, and astonishment that the paper would run such a piece. Your actions served the public well. Four people actually named Keven Willey for her fortitude in letting the story appear (and they likely didn't know how right they are).

You folks were in a very difficult position but prevailed admirably. With the news department refusing to run corrections month after month, it placed editorial in the tough position of having to second guess the reporters and their bosses. But you did the right thing, and ran the column that accurately identified unacceptable and unethical reporting. I hope you don't have to face this challenge often, but if you do, take the high road as you did in this case, and serve your readers and the ideals of good journalism.

Out here, we're all hoping the reader advocate, columnists or news staff at The Republic will followup with coverage of the scams that passed this knee-jerk law in the name of "doing something" and "helping this poor girl's parents." The new law actually hurt the parents, and undermined our legal systm. One must feel sorrow for Otis and Lori Smith, beset by unspeakable tragedy, and then duped by bigots into giving up their girl's name to the cause of political correctness.

The best thing we could do now is to finally motivate action to really "do something" about random gunfire, which the authorities continue to ignore.

As I'm sure you recognize, gunfire reports have not stopped because a law was passed or because the paper inked a reader's expose.

The Friday edition (8/11/00) exemplifies this.

Yamilette Navarro's fears on page B1 demonstrate, with terrifying clarity, that Shannon's law has not and cannot stop gunfire. This traumatized 12-year-old should be able to live at home without "so many bullets." You could help her do this in two ways.

You could call for, as Shannon's law proponents solicited, yet another attack on our Bill of Rights in the vain hope of increasing our safety. Heaven knows this approach appears in print often enough, frequently from AP wire stories that run without comment. If we just totally restrict guns, there would be no criminals shooting bullets, right?

Or you can take the course that Yamilette and people like her clamor for, and insist that the authorities get busy. You must ask why they?re idle, and not accept all their excuses -- no one's there when cops roll in; it's only a misdemeanor; we can't get witnesses to testify; prosecutors won't take the cases; everything else is more important; our budget is limited; and the great unspoken one -- it's simply too dangerous to approach an idiot shooting live ammo into the sky.

Authorities now have at least three potential felonies to choose from (disorderly conduct with firearm, endangerment, Shannon's). They must take gunfire reports seriously, stake out areas of high incidence, gather video and physical evidence, go undercover if necessary, and make collars. This will happen when mayor Rimsza insists that chief Hurtt has his officers make arrests. And don't make ?showplace? charges under Shannon's, allowing criminals to squirm free with misdemeanor plea bargains and fines, charge the felony counts, even aggravated assault in the worst cases, and lock them up.

When we nab a few handfuls of perps and put 'em away, the rest will get the message (or be out of circulation) and the problem is going to shrink dramatically. The laws, without the enforcement, will do nothing and little Yamilette's fears will remain real. Stir up public consternation. Do it for the children.

Thanks once again for a fine job.

Sincerely, 
Alan Korwin, 
Author The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

 back to top


SHANNON'S LAW

 

Everyone followed the front-page drama and pomp surrounding "Shannon's Law," a bill enacted due to a single tragic death. None of the published or broadcast reports that I saw accurately reflected what was passed. Here's what the public finally got from the lawmakers.
Alan.


WHAT DOES SHANNON'S LAW SAY
WHAT DOES SHANNON'S LAW SAY

by Alan Korwin

PART ONE: Point by point description
PART TWO: Analysis of bill text
PART THREE: Text of statute

PART ONE
PART ONE

  1. Enacted as SB 1307 in the year 2000, Shannon's law introduces a potpourri of new Arizona gun law and effects, by amending A.R.S. §13-3107, effective at noon, July 18, 2000.

  2. Under Shannon's, the old strict-liability class 2 misdemeanor charge for firing a gun within city limits is eliminated.

  3. Instead, firing a gun in or into a city or town, with criminal negligence, recklessness, knowledge or intent, is a class 1 misdemeanor or a class 6 felony, at the discretion of the prosecutor. Analysis of the complex bill text appears at the end of this update.

  4. The exceptions from Shannon's include a firearm discharged:
    1. - In justifiables;
    2. - On a properly supervised range (as defined below);
    3. - In hunting grounds;
    4. - For controlling nuisance wildlife, with a permit;
    5. - With a permit from the chief of police;
    6. - By an animal control officer in the performance of official duties;
    7. - Using blanks;
    8. - More than one mile from an occupied structure;
    9. - In self defense or defense of someone else against an animal attack, if a reasonable person would believe it's immediately needed for protection.

  5. The new one-mile rule introduces a distance measurement into state gun law, on top of the existing 1/4-mile rule (which only applies to hunting) and the federal 1,000-foot rule (which applies to school zones, with exceptions).

    Especially in cities which have annexed large tracts of empty land, it appears that target practice more than one mile from an occupied structure and within city limits, would not violate anything, an unexpected expansion of individual liberties and human rights under Shannon's law.

    However, there is no test of this new law, and courts are known to behave in unpredictable ways -- I would generally recommend against making yourself the test case. It's also critical to note the broad definition of "occupied structure," which would include, among many things, your own empty car within a mile of any discharge.

  6. Another expansion of human rights is introduced with creation of a new justification for the use of deadly force, the 19th in Arizona, this one for protection from animal attacks. While this only provides an exemption for such shots being charged under Shannon's (you still might be charged under several other laws), there are already rumblings about asking a future legislature why a person shouldn't enjoy "Shannon's protection" for any shots fired legitimately under any dangerous animal attack.

  7. The phrase "properly supervised range" has been redefined in two ways.

    The original meanings are reorganized but appear to remain the same, that is, a range operated by the NRA, amateur trap assoc., national skeet assoc., any other nationally recognized shooting organization, or any public or private school, plus federal, state, county or city approved facilities, and underground ranges on public or private property.

    An observation: These days, with hoplophobes (people phobic about guns) and anti-rights bigots inventing the fantasy that you have no right to arms, it's encouraging to see just how many places are protected by law, where you can practice your right to arms. If you have no such rights, how could there possibly be shooting ranges open to the public?

    In addition, Shannon's law rewrites the old BB-gun requirements by expanding the definition of "properly supervised range" to include shooting air or carbon dioxide gas operated guns, with adult supervision, inside city limits, apparently overturning several municipal ordinances to the contrary.

  8. Because blanks are specifically excluded from Shannon's, they might be OK at times when you're not "disturbing the peace" (which now seems the only other likely charge, since the former discharge-in-city-limits is replaced), such as on New Year's Eve, or at a special event where it's expected.

  9. A city or town is defined to include any non-city-or-town land enclosed within the city or town.

  10. Shannon's law makes changes to The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide in at least eight places, so you might want to notate your copy until a new edition is on the market, hopefully by next year.

    Based on page numbers in the current 19th edition, Shannon's law affects:

    21   BB guns
    84   One-mile rule
    87   Discharge in or into city limits
    88   Wild animal justification and using blanks
    108   Justification for use of deadly force
    111   Warning shots
    173   Definition of city or town
    203   A.R.S. §13-3107

PART TWO: ANALYSIS OF BILL TEXT
PART TWO: ANALYSIS OF BILL TEXT

This was the most difficult-to-decipher section of state law I can recall. Although the first paragraph only says "criminal negligence" and only a class 6 felony is mentioned, the next paragraph and three other complex laws must be properly and simultaneously read to extract the actual meaning. I worked directly with the people who actually wrote this language to solve the puzzle, and special thanks go to attorney Mike Anthony for his help, endurance and attention to detail.

First, since criminal negligence must be proven as an element of the case, A.R.S. §13-202 applies, which says if you must prove criminal negligence to make a charge, then proving recklessness, knowledge or intent are sufficient.

Next, you must consider the "wobbler" clause, A.R.S. §13-702(G), which allows prosecutors to charge a class 6 felony as a class 1 misdemeanor if they wish. The wobbler clause normally isn't available to a person if a gun is fired, but prosecutors lobbied for and got the following language added to allow 702 to apply: "Notwithstanding the fact that the offense involves the discharge of a deadly weapon," in Shannon's paragraph (B). There is some disagreement over whether that language is sufficient to allow 702.

Then comes the language allowing prosecutors to eliminate the wobbler option for a defendant. Shannon's says if the prosecutor decides to charge you with A.R.S. §13-604(P), the dangerous felony charge, on top of Shannon's, then the wobbler clause becomes unavailable. The way it's written, if you're guilty of Shannon's, you're pretty much guilty of 604 (a split decision is conceivable but highly unlikely if it's determined a gun was fired). The prosecutor isn't required to charge 604, though, creating negotiating room.

The story behind the story

Because city and county prosecutors lobbied for and are granted power to potentially reduce your charge under Shannon's, before you even get to court, they gain a valuable tool for obtaining plea bargains -- plead out and we get you the misdemeanor, otherwise, you face rights-removal and virtual destruction through a felony conviction.

Charges brought by city police officers could remain in city courts, which can only handle misdemeanors. This means a defendant could face two levels of plea-bargain -- one from the city (accept the misdemeanor or "go upstairs" to county court where the felony could be charged), and then again by the county (take the misdemeanor or face the add-on 604 charge and lose the misdemeanor option).

Although the state website version says the emergency clause was passed, making the law effective immediately, they didn't have the votes for that, and it won't go into effect until July 18. In any event, no effect on random gunfire -- the bill's publicized purpose -- has been reported since passage.

Police sources continue to indicate privately that a person firing live ammo into the air is still considered too dangerous to approach, relative to the low risk. The large number of reported shots fired results in very rare instances of injury, a function of the diameter of the bullet and the area of possible landfall, minus the area a person takes up, an extremely small number.

The city of Phoenix also reports that it will install a set of microphones that can pinpoint the location of a fired shot, in neighborhoods where this happens most often. When tested in California, the system reduced gunfire from 400 shots to 4 -- without a new statute, and without any police work.


PART THREE: TEXT OF STATUTE
PART THREE: TEXT OF STATUTE

The 380-word text of the amended statute, from the state website, effective July 18, 2000, is:

13-3107. Unlawful discharge of firearms; exceptions; classification; definitions

  1. A person who with criminal negligence discharges a firearm within or into the limits of any municipality is guilty of a class 6 felony.

  2. Notwithstanding the fact that the offense involves the discharge of a deadly weapon, unless the dangerous nature of the felony is charged and proven pursuant to section 13-604, subsection P, the provisions of section 13-702, subsection G apply to this offense.

  3. This section does not apply if the firearm is discharged:

    1. As allowed pursuant to the provisions of chapter 4 of this title.

    2. On a properly supervised range.

    3. In an area recommended as a hunting area by the Arizona game and fish department, approved and posted as required by the chief of police, but such area may be closed when deemed unsafe by the chief of police or the director of the game and fish department.

    4. For the control of nuisance wildlife by permit from the Arizona game and fish department or the United States fish and wildlife service.

    5. By special permit of the chief of police of the municipality.

    6. As required by an animal control officer in the performance of duties as specified in section 9-499.04.

    7. Using blanks.

    8. More than one mile from any occupied structure as defined in section 13-3101.

    9. In self defense or defense of another person against an animal attack if a reasonable person would believe that deadly physical force against the animal is immediately necessary and reasonable under the circumstances to protect oneself or the other person.

  4. For the purposes of this section:

    1. "Municipality" means any city or town and includes any property that is fully enclosed within the city or town.

    2. "Properly supervised range" means a range that is operated:

      1. By a club affiliated with the national rifle association of America, the amateur trapshooting association, the national skeet association, or any other nationally recognized shooting organization, or by any public or private school, or

      2. Approved by any agency of the federal government, this state, a county or city within which the range is located


      3. With adult supervision for shooting air or carbon dioxide gas operated guns, or for shooting in underground ranges on private or public property.

###

For Publication, 651 Words, 5/19/00
One-time North American Serial Rights
Copyright 2000 Alan Korwin



Alan Korwin is the author of seven best-selling books on gun law, including The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide, now in its 19th edition. He can be reached at gunlaws.com.

Contact Alan Korwin
BLOOMFIELD PRESS
"We publish the gun laws"
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
602-996-4020 Phone
602-494-0679 FAX
1-800-707-4020 Book orders
http://www.gunlaws.com
alan@gunlaws.com

BRAND NEW --
BRAND NEW --

Licensed to Carry by Greg Jeffery
Check out this 30-State Shall-Issue License Guide,
find out what it takes to get a carry license in each state.
Use the link below.

ALSO --
50-State Traveler's Guide to the Gun Laws
Year 2000 Edition
Use the link below.

LOOK AT GUN LAWS OF AMERICA YOURSELF --
If you knew all your rights you might demand them.
Use the link below.

AVAILABLE AT LAST:
Gun-owner guides for --
--------------------------------------
AZ, CA, FL, NJ, NY, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA
--------------------------------------
Use the link below.

http://www.gunlaws.com

Guns Save Lives

back to top


The history of Shannon's Law follows.


A national issue is brewing about something called Shannon's Law, an Arizona battle pitting legislative deceit against real improvement.

Backgrounder: Shannon Smith was killed when a bullet, fired skyward by an unknown individual, fell to earth and struck her in the head. In response to this unique tragedy, a handful of legislators convened a special legislative session, and attempted to rush through a bogus new gun law. The attempt failed, blocked by grassroots support, but it reappeared in the regular session which started in January. Now, an alternative Sunshine Gun Law has been proposed.

A slightly edited version of this article ran in The Arizona Republic (circ. 500K) on Dec. 17, 1999, and other papers around the state.)


INSTEAD OF SHANNON'S PENALTY ENACT SHANNON'S CREDIT
INSTEAD OF SHANNON'S PENALTY ENACT SHANNON'S CREDIT
INSTEAD OF SHANNON'S PENALTY ENACT SHANNON'S CREDIT

by Alan Korwin

Shannon's Law (the Arizona proposal about shooting guns in the air) is not what it appears to be.

At a town hall a few years ago, I heard one precinct police chief publicly state that of 1,900 shots-fired reports that year, they made no arrests. None. They don't even respond on a routine basis. Why bother, since no one's there 20 minutes later when a squad car rolls in.

A new penalty will do absolutely zero for this problem. Sorry folks, but you're being bluffed with smoke and mirrors. If this law passes next session, all you get is the status quo and politicians who can tell you how good they are.

Next time you hear a prosecutor say they can't get convictions for irresponsible "celebratory" gunfire, ask how many cases they've tried. You're not going to like the answer. No arrests means no cases. A new penalty will not change this.

They propose a class 6 felony as the Shannon penalty. Ask them if they realize that recklessly shooting a gun -- vertically or otherwise -- is already TWO class 6 felonies: Endangerment (§13-1201) and Disorderly Conduct (§13-2904).

Ask them if they know, as police already do, that about the most dangerous thing you can do with your life is to approach a stranger who's firing a gun in the air -- on the off chance you might ever actually witness it.

And don't fail to notice the language being tossed around -- guns are always fired "into the air," that's how they work. This proposed law has nothing to do with stopping crime.

It is driven by gun bigotry that has become rampant in America -- blind hatred and irrational fear of firearms that is both ignorant and immoral.

This New Year's, be sure to follow the precise policy the police have set up for themselves, as reported in The Arizona Republic this week: Duck. Be under CONCRETE cover from 11:50 p.m. to 12:10 a.m. I commend the police for this valuable safety tip. But how many random shooters do you think this policy will apprehend, whatever the penalty might be. There are no plans for locating and examining all these spent rounds.

I recommend the Texas approach to this problem: "Safety through education, not legislation." If the legislators are so determined to enact new law, they should instead honor Shannon Smith's memory with a tax credit for gun-safety training, and by so doing, strongly incentivize responsible behavior. You can find other thoughtful "Sunshine Gun Laws" at my website, gunlaws.com

The forces of repression who are pushing the one-more-law approach would give us Shannon's Crime and Shannon's Penalty. But if we instead give everyone a tax credit for getting some gun-safety training, and encourage responsible citizenship, we create Shannon's Credit and Shannon's Benefit. How would you rather be remembered.

Let me close by saying I resent our legislators' vigorous efforts to rush through a worthless gesture in a surprise special session, instead of taking the time and care to produce meaningful change. It is an affront, and I feel it.

Sincerely,
Alan Korwin,
Author The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

Alan Korwin is the author of seven books on gun laws, and can be reached at alan@gunlaws.com.

Contact: Alan Korwin
BLOOMFIELD PRESS
"We publish the gun laws"
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
Office 602-996-4020
Fax 602-494-0679
Sales 1-800-707-4020
http://www.gunlaws.com

PART TWO


January 5, 2000

ARIZONA REPUBLIC Page-One Error
ARIZONA REPUBLIC Page-One Error
ARIZONA REPUBLIC Page-One Error

Misinformation Clouds Shannon's Law Misinformation Clouds Shannon's Law

Dear Editor,

Robbie Sherwood's article on the front page of today's Arizona Republic ("Heston to speak to state House" 1/5/00), contains the following error:

"..Shannon's Law, which would have increased penalties on revelers who fire their guns into the air..."

The proposed penalty, a class 6 felony, is no different than existing penalties. No increase was planned or offered, and enforcement against celebratory gunfire is known to be virtually nonexistent. The statement incorrectly implies that the law would have made a substantive improvement.

An accurate statement would be:

"...Shannon's Law, which would have created a third Class 6 felony for revelers who fire their guns into the air..."

To present the issue accurately, the story would need to include:

"Police report that despite thousands of 'shots fired' calls annually, virtually no enforcement takes place. Firing a gun into the air is a class 6 felony under reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct statutes. No provisions for enforcement are included in the new proposal."

Maryvale Precinct Commander Kevin L. Robinson's recent letter to the paper (12/30/99) bears out the difficulties and lack of enforcement.

I urge you in the strongest terms to make a prominent correction. [Note: No correction was published.]

The existing campaign will put a third unenforced felony on the books, in the name of Shannon's Law, and legislators know this. The Republic's unfortunate error exacerbates this folly.

Very truly yours,

Alan Korwin, Author The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

PART THREE


From: Alan Korwin, Author The Arizona Gun Owner's Guide

To: State Legislators and others

Re: Shannon's Law

"CELEBRATORY" GUNFIRE IS ALREADY A FELONY IN ARIZONA "CELEBRATORY" GUNFIRE IS ALREADY A FELONY IN ARIZONA "CELEBRATORY" GUNFIRE IS ALREADY A FELONY IN ARIZONA

Despite what you may have heard from the spinmeisters, celebratory gunfire (shooting guns up into the air) is prohibited in Arizona by two mandatory class 6 felonies, but there are virtually no arrests, no prosecutions and no convictions, despite thousands of complaints annually.

Politicians, police and prosecutors are blaming the law instead of dealing with department-wide deficiencies. Decide for yourself:

§13-2904. Disorderly conduct; classification. A. A person commits disorderly conduct if, with intent to disturb the peace or quiet of a neighborhood, family or person, or with knowledge of doing so, such person: 6. Recklessly handles, displays or discharges a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument. B. Disorderly conduct under subsection A, paragraph 6 is a class 6 felony.

Charges can also be brought this way (with the same penalty):

§13-1201. Endangerment; classification. A. A person commits endangerment by recklessly endangering another person with a substantial risk of imminent death or physical injury. B. Endangerment involving a substantial risk of imminent death is a class 6 felony.

Statements in local news reports that Shannon's Law would increase penalties are flatly inaccurate. They are all class 6 felonies.

"Last Dec. 31, between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m., our bureau received 2,463 calls, of which 1,505 were reported gunshots fired. The sheer volume makes random gunfire a difficult issue to address." -Kevin Robinson, Commander, Maryvale Precinct.

Ignorance, and wholesale lack of law enforcement, not lack of laws, are the roots of the problem.

MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT SHANNON'S LAW

Plainly there for anyone to see, two Arizona statutes outlaw "Bang, bang, Yahoo!" Neither law requires the difficult-to-prove element of "intent" as part of the offense. Look again yourself. The argument that these laws aren't up to the task is dishonest.

The attempt to pass a THIRD class 6 felony for this unprosecuted crime is disingenuous and insults law-abiding Arizonans. Given such deceit, gun-rights activists are rightly concerned that broad language about firing guns "into air" could easily criminalize perfectly legal activity. It is characteristic of the vile anti-gun bigotry so rampant in America these days, bigotry honest people must wrongfully endure.

Worst of all, a triply redundant statute is the wrong way to honor Shannon Smith's memory. It is ineffectual feel-good salve that leaves the wound festering, especially when a truly positive treatment exists. People are wise to the chicanery.

Support for safety training makes sense and should be enacted instead. A third felony would languish on Arizona's books. An intelligent safety program WOULD SAVE LIVES RIGHT AWAY, and could spread and have benefits nationwide.

«»   «»   «»

It is well documented that a public information campaign can have the effect we all seek -- to eliminate the incredibly reckless and terribly dangerous act of celebratory gunfire. On what logical basis could you refuse to encourage more of this success? From The Arizona Republic, Dec. '99:

"My neighborhood had hundreds of gunshots every New Year's. So, last year I experimented with some fliers," said activist Harold Fox, who lives near Seventh Avenue and Van Buren Street.

"It was astonishing," Fox said. "I didn't hear a single gunshot in the area where we passed out the fliers.

"Neighbors got the idea to call police, and people who might shoot realized their neighbors might call the cops on them. The shooters get the message: 'We're watching you! Don't shoot!'"

This kind of citizen-based activity would be encouraged and earn a tax credit under the newly proposed Shannon's Law. Citizens could sponsor billboards, public service announcements, buy gun safes or trigger locks, even get safety training themselves under the new draft of Shannon's Law.

So which will it be, dear noble legislator -- a third unenforced felony on the books -- and we're wise to that -- or an educational approach that we know works? Please make the good decision and support firearm safety training with Shannon's Law.

(Copy of new Shannon's Law bill language appears below, in "Part 6")

Contact: Alan Korwin
BLOOMFIELD PRESS
"We publish the gun laws."
4848 E. Cactus, #505-440 • Scottsdale, AZ 85254
602-996-4020 Phone
602-494-0679 FAX
1-800-707-4020 Orders
http://www.gunlaws.com

PART FOUR


Shannon's Law - National Posting You heard it here first -- 1/9/00

Re: Heston to Open Arizona Legislature Monday

Charlton Heston could get caught in a setup when he speaks to the Arizona House tomorrow on opening day. He was featured on the front page of our state paper, The Arizona Republic on Jan. 5, in connection with "Shannon's Law."

People here know that Shannon's Law, as currently written, has potential to severely undercut gun freedoms and do absolutely nothing to stop the crime it pretends to address. The attached information explains this.

The opportunity exists to make Shannon's Law a tax credit for gun-safety training, a law that would incentivize responsible behavior and forces opponents to argue against safety. This idea resonates strongly with the grassroots out here, and in my opinion, has national potential too.

I want to encourage you to support Shannon's Law as a tax credit for gun-safety training, and not as a third unenforceable statute on the books that would outlaw firing guns "into air."

And I think the "sunshine" concept of Shannon's Law as an incentive to responsible gun ownership would work in all the states.

Sincerely,

Alan Korwin,
Author Gun Laws of America

[Note: The next day the paper said, twice on page one, that Heston supported Shannon's Law as a redundant felony, though Heston never said this. His only quotes carefully danced around the issue, and I have it from good sources that his waltz was deliberate.]

PART FIVE


January 8, 2000

From: Daniel T. Garrett Former General Counsel, Arizona Department of Revenue

To whom it may concern:

I have heard various "Shannon's Law" proposals in Arizona. However, the new version that creates a credit for firearms safety training provides a truly fresh and positive approach to America's gun laws.

This is a terrific idea. The old bill from the hasty special session would just add another felony on the books -- one that will rarely if ever be enforced. But the new Shannon's bill can make a real difference. Not only does it respect each individual citizen's right to bear arms, but it helps them exercise that right safely and responsibly. Safety and responsibility are what we all seek. The old way, a redundant and basically unenforceable new felony, is feel-good legislation at its worst.

What a welcome change! Instead of seeing continued efforts toward legislation that tends to illegitimize honest ownership of firearms, here is one that motivates intelligent exercise of that right. To encourage continuing education makes perfect sense.

I am confident that a state tax credit for firearm safety training will do more to prevent accidental injuries from the misuse of firearms than any other proposed legislation. If Shannon Smith's parents want to support legislation that will provide the greatest benefit to the most children -- day in and day out, year after year, they should support this prudent and effective incentive.

Especially in a case such as this, "a little education for prevention" will be more effective than "just another punishment for misuse."

Sincerely, Daniel T. Garrett

PART SIX - NEW BILL LANGUAGE


REFERENCE TITLE: income tax credit; firearm safety training

State of Arizona
(sponsoring house)
Forty-fourth Legislature
Second Regular Session
2000

_.B. _____

Introduced by ________________________

AN ACT
AMENDING TITLE 43, CHAPTER 10, ARTICLE 5, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES BY ADDING SECTION 43-1089.02; RELATING TO PROVIDING AN INCOME TAX CREDIT FOR FIREARM SAFETY TRAINING, TO BE KNOWN AS "SHANNON'S LAW".

Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:

Section 1. Title 43, chapter 10, article 5, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 43-1089.02 to read:

43-1089.02. Credit for firearm safety training; definitions

A. FOR TAXABLE YEARS BEGINNING FROM AND AFTER DECEMBER 31, 1999, A CREDIT IS ALLOWED AGAINST THE TAXES IMPOSED BY THIS TITLE FOR EXPENSES INCURRED BY THE TAXPAYER DURING THE TAXABLE YEAR TO OBTAIN OR SPONSOR FIREARM SAFETY TRAINING, BUT NOT EXCEEDING ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS IN ANY TAXABLE YEAR. THE ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR LIMITATION ALSO APPLIES TO TAXPAYERS WHO ELECT TO FILE A JOINT RETURN FOR THE TAXABLE YEAR. A HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO FILE SEPARATE RETURNS FOR A TAXABLE YEAR IN WHICH THEY COULD HAVE FILED A JOINT RETURN MAY EACH CLAIM ONLY ONE-HALF OF THE TAX CREDIT THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED FOR A JOINT RETURN.

B. IF THE ALLOWABLE TAX CREDIT EXCEEDS THE TAXES OTHERWISE DUE UNDER THIS TITLE ON THE CLAIMANT'S INCOME, OR IF THERE ARE NO TAXES DUE UNDER THIS TITLE, THE TAXPAYER MAY CARRY THE AMOUNT OF THE CLAIM NOT USED TO OFFSET THE TAXES UNDER THIS TITLE FORWARD FOR NOT MORE THAN FIVE CONSECUTIVE TAXABLE YEARS' INCOME TAX LIABILITY.

C. THE CREDIT ALLOWED BY THIS SECTION IS IN LIEU OF ANY DEDUCTION PURSUANT TO SECTION 162 OF THE INTERNAL REVENUE CODE AND TAKEN FOR STATE TAX PURPOSES.

D. THIS CREDIT SHALL BE KNOWN AND MAY BE CITED AS "SHANNON'S LAW".

E. FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION "FIREARMS SAFETY TRAINING" MEANS EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS AND RELATED MATERIALS WHICH ADDRESS ONE OR MORE TOPICS PROVIDED IN SECTION 13-3112(N)(3). SUCH PROGRAMS SHALL INCLUDE BUT NOT BE LIMITED TO THE PROGRAMS APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY PURSUANT TO SECTION 13-3112.

 
Complete alphabetical list
Gun LawsGun Rights Gun PoliticsFree SpeechVideosSelf Defense and Safety
SurvivalPolice GuidesKnivesNovelsThe Founders PackageHistory of Rights
ButtonsRecent Additions  123Women & KidsFirst-Time Gun Owners
E-BooksNewest ProductsPackage Deals
Bloomfield Press

gunlaws.com and bloomfieldpress.com are domains owned by Alan Korwin.

Alan is a nationally recognized author of numerous books
on gun laws and other topics.

If you like this site you'll like his books. Take a look