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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Quick draw

So a teenager without a license or insurance rams into the back of a guy's car. The teenager starts to flee the scene, and the guy takes his gun (fully permitted, and he'd been carrying for 28 years) and fires one shot into the air. The teen stops, and the guy holds him there until police arrive. Police don't arrest the teen -- they arrest the guy, for "pointing a firearm," a Class D felony. Ten months later, a jury acquits the guy, and, under state law, he was supposed to get his gun and license back. But the state won't give him either. The guy had pulled his gun once before, four years earlier:

According to a Noble County Sheriff's report, Grimes was driving on County Road 400S on Jan. 17, 2004 when he was rear-ended by a vehicle driven by Carl Liggett. “Grimes advised that Liggett was instigating a fight,” the report stated. “Grimes advised that he did have a gun in his hand which he removed from the glove box. Grimes advised that he did not point the gun at Liggett.”

The prosecutor and sheriff contend, and an administrative law judge agreed, that the two incidents together prove the guy is not a reasonable person "to have a license to carry a firearm - something state law also seems to allow under certain conditions. In this case, Shelton concluded, Grimes was not justified to fire his weapon, 'displayed an inappropriate suspicion of others' and had 'demonstrated a propensity for violence and emotionally unstable conduct.' " He pulled his gun twice in nearly 30 years of carrying, and no one was hurt either time, and that demonstrates a "propensity for violence"? In both incidents, he was rammed from behind, and in one case the other driver was fleeing the scene, and that means "inappropriate suspicion of others"?

We all need to be reasonable about guns and the efforts to keep them out of the hands of those who shouldn't have them. But on the surface, this seems awfully thin. Maybe the sheriff and prosecutor know more about this man than they're saying -- like he's a well-known hothead or something, If you have to spend $20,000 (the guy's legal bills so far) when you exercise a right, it isn't much of a right.


tim zank
Mon, 10/27/2008 - 1:14pm

It would seem to me, and any other reasonable person, he did EXACTLY the right thing both times. He made it clear he had a weapon, and he brought a halt to any escalation of volence.

Bob G.
Mon, 10/27/2008 - 2:58pm

And as usual, I can find absolutely NO flaw in your logic nor your assessment of the situation, Tim.

I also appreciate your bringing this story to light, Leo.

Bravo on both counts.


(and you kids stay off my lawn...or ELSE)

Mon, 10/27/2008 - 6:16pm

So the prosecutor and the administrative judge ignore the jury-decreed verdict and the Second Amendment ....

Sometimes our elected and appointed public officials, especially those tasked with upholding the law get carried away while on their daily power-trips. I shudder to think how bad it would be if every one of them wore uniforms with shiny buttons and shoes.

How is it that an acquited man can be treated so badly ...even if he is a hothead? Justice is indeed blind. Where is the unresolved felony charge that permits such treatment?

Jon Olinger
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 5:53am

OK, I'm a right wing bible thumping gun nut. It also disgusts me when elected and appointed officials step over their authority. (The very thing the 2nd amendment was designed to prevent:) But let me play devil

Kevin Knuth
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 7:32am

I hate to agree with Olinger......

But firing the gun in the air was not necessary to protect himself- that shows bad judgement. PERIOD.

Bob G.
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 8:22am

Well, since a typical round leaving a muzzle is in EXCESS of 1100 FPS (supersonic aka 700+MPH), and given it was shot UP, gravity will act upon the bullet. When the round reaches it's apogee, it WILL fall back to earth reaching a terminal velocity of ONLY 100 MPH.

Granted it "might" dent or ding something or someone, but it certainly won't KILL anyone.

Never the less, it IS still careless to do so in a populated area.
(but I stand with Tim on this too)

Using BLANKS or "frangible rounds" could be a WHOLE other ballgame, though.

(Ballistics R Us)

Larry Morris
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 9:31am

I think I would have looked for some dirt first - but failing that, in the air works for me - Bob's absolutely correct, the terminal velocity of a round falling back down after being shot in the air will not kill anyone - sure will scare someone into stopping, ... and Tim is also absolutely right - "He made it clear he had a weapon, and he brought a halt to any escalation of violence" - everyone else involved, the police, judge, prosecutor, etc., overstepped their bounds, ...

Kevin Knuth
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 9:56am

Larry, I have to disagree- the kid was FLEEING THE SCENE- that is not escalating violence.

In the other matter, I believe he was justified- but shooting into the air when your life is NOT in danger is not a good thing to do.

Larry Morris
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 10:00am

I would assume that the shooting in the air incident got the kid who was fleeing the scene to stop ? Seems to me that saved the police the trouble and expense of finding him and hurt no-one, ...

Jon Olinger
Tue, 10/28/2008 - 8:36pm

Guys I got to disagree with you here. On a couple of things...

1. Falling bullets are indeed deadly. It is rare, but there are plenty of documented cases and more than one study indication that, depending on the bullet's mass and diameter terminal velocity can be deadly.

2. If shooting one should shoot to center of mass. So... unless one is shooting at a duck don't shoot up. :)

3. Anything worth shooting once is worth shooting twice

Wed, 10/29/2008 - 5:52pm

WTH? Sure Bob, it might not kill them. Though outright death might be preferable to a paralyzing or brain-damaging injury.

And Olinger is right. There have been deaths as well.

Bob G.
Thu, 10/30/2008 - 8:00am

Well, I guess there are those that still believe that a penny dropped from the Empire State Building WILL go THROUGH a person's skull and body.

But if we're talking MASS (of the round, and not CENTER OF MASS), then dropping a PIANO from the ESB would definitely leave a mark (not that anyone would LET you do that).

If I had to "take one"...I'd rather get hit with a bullet going 100MPH (falling back to earth) than one going 700+ MPH laterally (with a lot more muzzle energy)...ANY day (and so would you).

People also receive brain injuries from tripping over their feet and smacking a table, or car crashes. Don't see anyone busting stones over CARS...or TABLES...or even ATHLETIC SHOES.
Then there are those wild pitches in the batter's box...