Utah Man Arrested For Discharge of a Firearm from a Vehicle

A Utah man traveling in Colorado was arrested earlier today for discharge of a firearm from a vehicle after he fired a single random shot out of a SUV he was a passenger in.

Guns and alcohol

Photo by: Ben Brown

Colorado State troopers responded to a report of a man firing a gun into the air while traveling down I-70 in Glenwood Canyon Colorado. Officers located the vehicle in question and were able to determine that the shot was made by the passenger in the vehicle who was notably intoxicated. 43 year old Ryan Johnson from Fairview Utah was arrested for prohibited use of a weapon and reckless endangerment.

Discharge of a firearm from a vehicle

Officers were not able to determine any malicious motive behind Johnson’s choice to fire a weapon out of his vehicle and there were no injuries reported. Regardless, his actions were distressing to the public and put others in danger. Utah State Code has a law for those trigger-happy individuals who may contemplate firing a weapon from a moving vehicle, even if there was no target in mind. Utah Code 76-10-508 states the obvious: “A person may not discharge any kind of dangerous weapon or firearm . . . from an automobile or other vehicle”; Doing so is a class B misdemeanor.

Firearms, arrows, throwing stars and nunchakus

Colorado, who until now may have not needed a law specifically to deter individuals from discharging a firearm from a vehicle does punish those who do so under Colorado Revised Statute 18-12-106. That section states: a person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if. . . recklessly or with criminal negligence he discharges a firearm or shoots a bow and arrow . . . [or] has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance”. That section also criminalizes using throwing stars and nunchakus on others.

Drunken regrets

Sobered up Johnson likely regretted his drunken display of gun-power and will hopefully make the wise choice to gain the assistance of a reputable attorney. Anyone else facing charges related to firearms, vehicles or both of those combined are also encouraged to seek legal counsel.

Manslaughter Charges for Utah Dad Who Left Gun Within Reach of Toddler

A Utah dad is facing manslaughter charges after leaving a loaded gun within reach of his toddler.

Loaded gun around children

Photo by: RONg

27 year old Tasman Maile, father of two, was booked into Salt Lake County jail after his two year old son got a hold of a loaded gun and shot himself in the head. The child was not expected to survive and was on life support only long enough for his organs to be collected and donated. Maile, who reportedly fell asleep while spending time with his two and seven year old had left the firearm within reach of the toddler while the gun was loaded and the safety was off. He is facing multiple charges including second degree felony manslaughter.

Reckless manslaughter

Although Maile did not intentionally cause the death of his son, his actions constituted manslaughter as he “recklessly cause[d] the death of another” as stated in Utah Code 76-5-205 due to his leaving an obviously dangerous weapon where a child too young to understand the potential hazard would be able to find it. Manslaughter is punishable as a second degree felony with a possible fine of up to $10,000 and a prison term of one to 15 years, although the loss of his child will last a lifetime.

Responsible gun owners only

With almost anyone being able to purchase and own a firearm, there are responsibilities that must accompany this right. Gun owners are expected to use and store their firearms safely. Rules such as not pointing guns towards people, keeping the gun unloaded until being used, and not being under the influence of alcohol and drugs are given when possessing a firearm. One of the most important rules to ensure the safety of others however, is to never have guns accessible to children.

Napping Burglar Arrested for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon by a Restricted Person

A Utah burglar caught napping on the job was arrested for multiple charges including possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

Napping burglar

Photo by: Ken

37 year old Thomas Luke Shupe was arrested after a woman found Shupe sleeping in her Huntsville Utah cabin after he pilfered it of beer and prescription drugs. Shupe left the scene but was later apprehended by police. While being arrested for the burglary, Shupe was also found to be in possession of a handgun that had been stolen from another cabin. Shupe was on probation following a previous arrest and as a Category I restricted person, should not have been in possession of a firearm. Shupe was arrested for several misdemeanors and second degree felonies including possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person.

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a restricted person

When someone is convicted of certain crimes, they may temporarily or permanently lose their right to possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon. This is known as being a restricted person. There are several reasons as to why someone would be considered a restricted person and there are varying degrees of severity related to those restrictions. According to Utah Code 76-10-503, “A Category I restricted person is a person who:

• Has been convicted of any violent felony . . . ;
• Is on probation or parole for any felony;
• is on parole from a secure facility . . .;
• [was charged for a violent felony as a minor within the last 10 years];
• is on probation for a conviction of possessing:
(A) a substance classified . . . as a Schedule I or II controlled substance;
(B) a controlled substance analog; or
(C) [their synthetic equivalents]”

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a Category I restricted person is a second degree felony if the weapon is a firearm or a third degree felony for other weapons. “A Category II restricted person is a person who:

• has ever been convicted of a felony; . . .
• [was charged for a felony as a minor within the last 7 years];
• . . . is in possession of a Schedule I or II controlled substance [while being in possession of a weapon];
• Has been found not guilty by reason of insanity . . . or mentally incompetent to stand trial for a felony offense; . . .
• Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces;
• Has renounced [their] citizenship . . . ;
• Is a respondent or defendant subject to a protective order or child protective order . . . ;
• Has been convicted of the commission or attempted commission of [domestic violence].”

Possession of a dangerous weapon by a Category II restricted person is a third degree felony if the weapon is a firearm or a class A misdemeanor if another weapon is used.

Know your restrictions

It is important for anyone previously charged with a crime to know their restrictions when it comes to weapons. When purchasing a firearm, a background check is usually performed that will alert gun sellers to anyone who is considered a restricted person. Unfortunately, sometimes there are flaws in the system such as what happened recently regarding the files of those found mentally incompetent not being received by the system that categorizes restricted persons. While these systems usually catch restricted persons attempting to purchase weapons, mistakes can happen which does not excuse a restricted person found in possession of a dangerous weapon. They can still face charges for possession of a weapon by a restricted person. The same goes to anyone who buys, borrows, or steals a weapon from a private party non vendor. Anyone who has been convicted of a crime should be responsible for carefully researching the terms of their probation or release to determine whether or not they will ever be allowed to own a firearm or other dangerous weapon. Restricted persons caught unlawfully with a weapon are encouraged to seek legal counsel immediately.