A Broken Gun Is Still A Gun

As a private investigator, I kind of want to blog about topics that are somewhat directly or collaterally associated with our profession.  But in this, my first posting, some may think I have failed miserably. However I think the topic may be interesting to many; and to those of us who investigate for a living, it may even have implications for an investigative scenario we have yet to experience.

Have we seriously considered what charges such as Flourishing A Firearm or Carrying A Concealed Weapon mean at the “granular level”? I thought Flourishing meant waving a real firearm (with some exceptions), and CCW meant carrying a firearm that was capable of being discharged.  Of course I know that in many cases, subjects may have flourished what was thought by victims to be firearms, but turned-out to be toys or replicas of some sort. In such cases, the resulting charges may have been reduced from felonies to misdemeanors.

Not in the case of  The United States of America v. Steven Dotson, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana in Indianapolis.   Dotson, a convicted felon, was involved in an apparent disturbance, during which he was suspected of brandishing a firearm.  In a search incident to his arrest, an inoperable firearm was found in Dotson’s pocket.  Dotson was charged with Felon In Possession Of A Firearm, which carried a 3 ½ year sentence.  The defendant argued that because the gun was not operable, the charge was unfounded. The court disagreed, finding that despite gross disrepair; the gun had not lost its design and met the definition of a gun pursuant to U.S. Code.  As such, the government proved its case, and Steven Dotson went back to jail.

So I guess the moral of this story could be a gun is always a gun, even if it doesn’t work, and even if “it’s just a heap of twisted metal barely even recognizable as having once been a gun”.    As for convicted felons, apparently this one didn’t study enough law while in prison; but will get a second chance!