Home » Opinion » Editorials
An error on display: Forgetting Ward Bird
Current law states that "the act of producing or displaying a weapon shall constitute non-deadly force." The law was changed to prevent more people from going to prison for defending themselves against perceived threats by simply showing that they are armed. The case that sparked the law was the famous story of Ward Bird, the Moultonborough farmer who was convicted in 2009 of criminal threatening for waving a handgun when a trespasser refused to leave his property.
Bird was convicted of waving a gun when a woman looking for another piece of land drove up his driveway, posted with "no trespassing" signs, and refused his commands to leave. He got three to six years in state prison for using "deadly force" when he waved his gun.
After a huge public outcry, the Executive Council commuted Bird's sentence and the Legislature changed the law to clarify that homeowners may defend themselves by showing that they are armed. Now Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord, wants to revert to the old, bad law. That would be a serious mistake. Simply displaying a weapon is quite often a defensive act. It is commonly done nationwide to frighten criminals into fleeing. It works. And Shurtleff would make it a crime in most circumstances.
READER COMMENTS: 0
- Agencies to offer summer food service to Derry children in need - 0
- Derry school district continues to push its high-achieving students - 0
- Keene State professor eager to explore plant’s mysteries - 0
- Windham to reconsider dodgeball ban - 0
- Hooksett students taken to nearby school after gas leak - 0
- Londonderry students who haven't had whooping cough vaccine asked to stay home - 0
- Pinkerton Academy grads told they are 'a promising generation' - 1
- Derry school district looks to boost its bandwith - 0
- Nashua South grads told to embrace lessons from challenges - 0
READER COMMENTS: 3
- House, Senate at standoff over vaccines, voter registration bill - 0
- Rochester parents called to court to answer for truant children - 0
- Rochester woman under arrest in underage party - 0
- LeBron, Heat edge Spurs in OT, force Game 7 - 0
- Santos drives in three as Curve beat Fisher Cats in 10 - 0
- Large billboards grabbing attention on Route 101 in Epping - 2
- Pearl Street lot proposal involves student housing in Manchester - 3
- Manchester VFW posts fights to survive without poker cash - 2
- Surveillance led NSA to 50 terror 'events' - 1
Nashua couple's deaths called suspicious
Voter restrictions: Who will govern us?
UPDATED: Apology issued for naming of Boston bomber as a victim of gun violence at Concord rally