Poor gun Handling protected by an otherwise Good Law

“seven counts of felony discharge of a firearm, a third-degree felony. But the judge said he had no choice but to dismiss all charges because of the new law”

“The pickup was later found nearby, but the driver has never been located. An examination of the truck showed it was not hit by any of Clara’s bullets.”

Ok, a Stolen truck with a blade runs into his car several times, he get’s stopped, jumps out and shoots, albeit poorly, at the truck because he “Thinks” it’s turning around to hit him again. He claims self defense AND Since the prosecutor can’t or didn’t prove it wasn’t he get’s off. First thought, he’s really bad at handling his fire arm which tells me he’s probably not really well trained and probably not up on the laws. Second, the law was passed to keep the prosecutors from trying everyone that claimed self defense BUT the judge suggests they appeal? Dosen’t seem right to me.

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It’s an “interesting” approach to the manner of raising an affirmative defense, but that’s what the law seems to say… You would think the prosecution would be aware of and prepared to meet what seems like it would be an easy burden in this case — perhaps the intent was to set the stage for a challenge to the law?

(3) (a) Upon motion of the defendant filed in accordance with Rule 12 of the Utah Rules of Criminal Procedure, the court shall hear evidence on the issue of justification under this section and shall determine as a matter of fact and law whether the defendant was justified in the use or threatened use of force.
(b) At the pretrial justification hearing, after the defendant makes a prima facie claim of justification, the state has the burden to prove by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant’s use or threatened use of force was not justified.
(c) (i) If the court determines that the state has not met the state’s burden described in Subsection (3)(b), the court shall dismiss the charge with prejudice.
(ii) The state may appeal a court’s order dismissing a charge under Subsection (3)(c)(i) in accordance with Section 77-18a-1.


Yea, I guess under Section (3) (b) (ii), the judge was probably OK in suggesting an appeal.

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II am in no way condoning what Clara did, only that if the prosecutor had a strong case, he’d have pursued it. It seems the law prevented nothing, but a fishing expedition. It might have been that shooting changed the mind of the person that attacked him, and instead of making a U-turn, turned and left the scene. The accuracy, number of shots, and hitting another vehicle are all legitimate questions. The prosecutor likely could have pursued charges related to the shot that hit the other vehicle, but if it was self-defense, that would have been dismissed. Clara is still civilly liable for the damage to the other vehicle and could face other civil penalties if a suit is brought by the victims of his shooting.

What an interesting case story and legal case study.

What a teachable moment/case.

USCCA has offered some local in person/live free legal seminars. I went to one, I thought it was well done and would encourage everyone to attend at least one; And check out their books on sale.

I admit I don’t know all of the facts in this case.

Part of it suggests, he who fired, fired at a “plow” that was hitched on the truck. If so, why? Is that a bad idea and why? If the plow is curved, may that cause a bullet to ricochet and hit an innocent and or the self-defender/gun handler himself?

Mike164 who posted this subject - included in their title, Poor Gun Handling.

Another point was someone claimed the truck was moving away from the self-defender when shots were fired; If so, would that be a wrongful act on part of the man who fired?

Where was the man who fired when he shot? Was he still in his car, confined and cornered, with no way out, or was he already outside of his vehicle, standing where he could have walked or ran out of the way? Or might there still have been someone in the car at risk, he was protecting?


Other posts had talked about this importance. If one really likes a firearm, for its beauty and art, but if it’s not accurate, perhaps keep it, but not as one’s EDC nor go-to for home defense; But instead find an EDC that works best for you and is most accurate for you? And, train, practice, learn, & to be accurate. I went from poor to good in accuracy, it can be done.

The aftermath:

I once heard one say “You’re responsible for each bullet that leaves your gun”. That means including the ones that do not hit the perpetrator. That’s probably partly why some laws in high population cities are so strict, because when a bullet misses a perp, it has more chance to strike an innocent.

I heard another reputable person say “Plan on losing your job”; if you ever have to fire in self defense. As our employers will read about you in the news, and won’t tolerate your risk to their rep. Sad of course. Those employers who would not punish, kudos to them!

In this case story, it seems the case will go on, there is chance prosecutors will try again. Not sure if there will be any civil claims against the man, as opposed to criminal. Two very different but real legal risks. The man seems to now be undergoing seeking his standing back in society who has judged him already.

And folks, this case was in Utah, I think not known as an anti gun state. So imagine, how the courts and society would rule and act in less friendly states.

It brings to question, without me trying to judge him, but it brings to light, the level of wisdom of when to shoot, and how to shoot, and when not to. I think realistically, any one person’s actions reflects upon how our greater firearm rights community is perceived, whether we like it or not; And that we each have a responsibility to train ourselves and one another. In doing so it strengthens our cause. Someone else posted a topic about “morals”; Might it be our moral responsibility to learn and teach?

Get insured, if you’re not.

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In Utah the law says:
(2) The person using force or deadly force in defense of habitation is presumed for the purpose of both civil and criminal cases to have acted reasonably and had a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or serious bodily injury if the entry or attempted entry is unlawful and is made or attempted by use of force, or in a violent and tumultuous manner, or surreptitiously or by stealth, or for the purpose of committing a felony.

So once the case is dropped I don’t “Think” they can file a successful civil suit…

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This discussion of laws is helpful and important. Not all of us know our state’s laws as they pertain to the above scenario of “in one’s home”. Interestingly enough, one of the free USCCA legal seminars I attended, discussed how these laws can differ among states.

But it also brings to light, if one’s state’s laws are not as protective of “the good guys”, then might we have a moral obligation to do what we can to help change the laws for the better? As it affects us, our loved ones, and the future of our generations’ to come.

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And you live in a state that allows that (i.e., not Washington State).