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Here’s how the NRA convinced lawmakers that killing a 13-year-old over loose change is ‘reasonable’

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The NRA is pressuring lawmakers to loosen up gun laws across the country, and then relieving gun owners of responsibility when they use their weapons to kill.

The results are predictable.

Rolling Stone reported on the fatal shooting of a Missouri boy last year by a homeowner who caught the 13-year-old and two friends going through his car for loose change, and how NRA-backed laws kept the shooter from facing murder or manslaughter charges in the child’s death.

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The homeowner, Lervurance McDade, was sentenced to two years of probation after pleading guilty to wrongfully possessing a firearm — the only charge prosecutors filed in the killing of Martinez Smith-Payne.

Both the shooter and the victim are black.

“It’s always sad when you see a young person who is killed because of guns,” Jennifer Joyce, the St. Louis circuit attorney, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch at the sentencing. “Obviously, this young man was in a place where he shouldn’t have been, doing something he shouldn’t have been doing. Missouri’s laws are pretty clear on this now, though. What we were left with in this case was a gun possession … Anybody else in that situation with that charge would have gotten the same result.”

The boys tried to run away, but McDade fired as they fled — but he claims it appeared the teens charged at him, which was enough to meet the standard of “reasonable fear” for prosecutors under the so-called “castle doctrine” law.

Missouri passed a version of the castle doctrine law, which enlarged legal protections for homeowners who shoot in self-defense, in 2007 at the urging of NRA lobbyists, and three years later lawmakers expanded the legislation to include all of a person’s property.

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That’s what prevented Joyce from charging the 60-year-old McDade, who was barred from legally owning a gun due to a previous felony conviction related to unpaid child support, in connection with the boy’s death.

The state’s House and Senate overrode the governor’s veto of a new gun bill in September, which removes the requirement of a permit for carrying a concealed weapon and adds additional “stand your ground” protections to gun owners who shoot when they feel threatened.

“Soon we’ll have guns at birth,” Joyce told Rolling Stone. “I don’t know where we go from here. It doesn’t look good.”

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That makes Missouri the first state to pass a “stand your ground” law, which was written for Florida by the NRA and promoted in 21 other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, since the 2012 fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin.

The American Bar Association has advocated the repeal of those laws, after research found “empirical evidence … that states with statutory stand your ground laws have increased homicide rates.”

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A recent study published by the American Medical Association found Florida’s homicide rate had jumped by 31.6 percent in the decade since it became the first to pass a stand your ground law.

Joyce declined to say whether she would have charged McDade in the teen’s death if the castle doctrine hadn’t been on the books, but she rebuked lawmakers who did the NRA’s bidding and helped stoke an epidemic of gun violence in her city.

“Who the hell is the NRA that they’re grading our politicians?” Joyce said. “Who’s the NRA that they’re holding such sway? Why are they running my state? I got to hand it to them – they’re masterful, like Lex Luthor.”

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Joyce said lawmakers from mostly white rural and suburban districts in Missouri were not just unwilling to help law enforcement address her majority black city’s gun violence epidemic — she believes they’re actively making the problem worse.

“But when we go to the legislature to talk about the loss of life we’re seeing, we sound like the teacher in Charlie Brown,” Joyce said. “They really don’t care.”


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Dr. Fauci: Trump officials are only hurting the president with their ‘bizarre’ attacks on public health experts

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, hit back on Wednesday at officials within the Trump administration who have been trying to undermine him.

In an interview with The Atlantic, Fauci said it was strange to see the president's loyalists publicly attacking him and other public health experts.

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Trump’s push to reopen schools appears to be blowing up in his face: polls

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President Donald Trump has been adamant that schools reopen in the fall, although he has given little to no guidance for how to do so in a way that won't lead to further eruptions of the novel coronavirus.

However, Business Insider reports that the president's rush to get schools open may already be coming back to bite him.

As evidence, the publication cited several national polls that show opposition to Trump's plans.

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Scientists fear the US could be battered by a second pandemic while still fighting COVID-19: report

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When health experts warn about the possibility of the United States suffering a “double whammy” with coronavirus, they are likely referring to two COVID-19 waves: the first wave (which has recently taken a turn for the worse in many Sun Belt states) followed by a possible second wave later this year in the fall and the winter. That’s how the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/1919 behaved: it was brutal during the spring but even more brutal when a second wave killed millions in the fall and the winter. But in a July 15 article for The Atlantic, journalist Ed Yong describes a different type of double whammy scenario: one in which the U.S. continues to be battered by COVID-19 while a separate coronavirus emerges and inflicts widespread misery.

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