Grandma cleared in airport gun trial


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michaelbane
October 22, 2006, 03:38 PM
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
By Gabrielle Banks, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Carlotta Yvonne Kirksey was headed off to see relatives in California when a security screener at Pittsburgh International Airport spotted the silhouette of a pistol in the Moon grandmother's bag.

The screener asked the neatly dressed 58-year-old if it were possible she had a gun in her carry-on luggage.

Realizing her predicament, Ms. Kirksey blurted out: "Yes! It is real and it is loaded."

She testified before Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Cheryl Allen yesterday that she had purchased and loaded the .38-caliber snub-nosed Derringer 30 years ago, then stashed it in a closet. Unbeknownst to her, she said, the palm-sized weapon must have dropped into the travel bag when she was packing to leave her house.

She travels frequently and did not intend to create a stir, much less a national security threat, she said yesterday after her nonjury trial. She picked that particular bag for the Nov. 17 trip, she said, because it matched her outfit perfectly.

Officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewed the grandmother of seven, noted her immaculate record and decided against pursuing criminal charges.

County police, however, charged Ms. Kirksey for having the gun that was confiscated with two bullets inside.

Assistant District Attorney John Francis Dwyer argued yesterday that in "a post-9/11 world," the government must uniformly enforce "a zero tolerance policy." The prosecutor asked the judge to convict Ms. Kirksey on one misdemeanor count of carrying a firearm without a license.

Defense attorney Joseph K. Williams III argued that the defendant did not pack the weapon intentionally.

After the lawyers had finished, Ms. Kirksey held a fist before her tightly-closed eyes, awaiting the verdict that for almost a year has kept her life on hold and her close-knit family on edge.

Though taking a loaded weapon through airport security or onto an aircraft is a serious offense, the judge said, she recognized that the retired Port Authority bus driver did not knowingly carry the gun.

Ms. Kirksey broke down in tears when Judge Allen said "not guilty." She then embraced her husband, son and other family members who came to support her and testify if needed.

Outside the courtroom, Ms. Kirksey said she regretted the mistake and was relieved at the outcome.

"All I do is go to church. I'm not a criminal. I'm a Christian," she said.

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.22-250
October 22, 2006, 04:21 PM
Glad she has been cleared, a victory for common sense.

Nigel.

Sistema1927
October 22, 2006, 06:19 PM
Assistant District Attorney John Francis Dwyer argued yesterday that in "a post-9/11 world," the government must uniformly enforce "a zero tolerance policy." The prosecutor asked the judge to convict Ms. Kirksey on one misdemeanor count of carrying a firearm without a license.

zero tolerance = zero sense.

Some people find it easier to follow orders than to exercise sound judgment.

Aguila Blanca
October 22, 2006, 06:26 PM
+1 for the judge, and -10 for the prosecutor.

The problem facing this country isn't just "zero tolerance" (although that's bad enough), it's people (idiots) like this prosecutor who find it easier to pad their records with convictions of innocent people who were caught in the commission of an unintentional blunder, while they allow the intentional criminals to get away because it's more work to go after them.

Werewolf
October 22, 2006, 06:27 PM
zero tolerance = zero sense.

Some people find it easier to follow orders than to exercise sound judgment.Bravo - Bravo!!

There are many banes of civilized society. Zero tolerance is one of the more insidious ones as it exists to remove responsibility from thinking human beings and put it instead on the written word. Unfortunately it is impossible for any set of words to anticipate every possible scenario thus we get more and more written words all designed to constrain us all.

JohnBT
October 22, 2006, 06:29 PM
Who keeps a revolver with only two rounds in it?

Nevermind, moving right along now.

John

Cosmoline
October 22, 2006, 06:40 PM
Wasn't it a derringer?

Autolycus
October 22, 2006, 07:55 PM
Do you think that the prosecutor would be so angry if it was his mother?

I also have to ask though do you think the FBI would drop the charges if it was not an old women and everyone made him look silly? That is what I would have to ask. I disagree with the decision and agree with the prosecutor in that either you let everyone do it or no one.

I disagree with the entirety of it altogether. Nobody should be charged for carrying a gun.

crunker
October 22, 2006, 09:02 PM
OMG she had a gun.:what:

Before the 1960s it was legal to carry a weapon onto a plane, and guess what? Back then we had no September 11th...

TexasRifleman
October 22, 2006, 09:23 PM
Assistant District Attorney John Francis Dwyer argued yesterday that in "a post-9/11 world," the government must uniformly enforce "a zero tolerance policy." The prosecutor asked the judge to convict Ms. Kirksey on one misdemeanor count of carrying a firearm without a license.

Well we are supposed to have a zero tolerance policy for morons working in the DA's office, but that isn't working either.

DerringerUser
October 22, 2006, 10:26 PM
"All I do is go to church. I'm not a criminal. I'm a Christian," she said.

Whats the difference?:p

Just kidding. Im surpirsed she wasn't convicted, in this world she probably would've gotten the death penalty :eek: .

JohnBT
October 22, 2006, 11:02 PM
It did say Derringer. I only saw ".38-caliber snub-nosed".

So what's a snub-nosed Derringer?

John

P.S. - And why did Henry Deringer (1786-1868) only have one r in his name?

carpediem
October 22, 2006, 11:06 PM
Does anybody really think that a 20-something guy could get away with the same thing? Gender and age shouldn't be a mitigating factor.

Autolycus
October 22, 2006, 11:33 PM
I agree with Carpediem. I stated it earlier. I dont think that had it been me a 25 year old male I would have gotten off as easily.

johnster999
October 23, 2006, 02:58 AM
Never should have gone to trial. Waste of time. Glad granny didn't go to prison.

Ryder
October 23, 2006, 07:08 AM
Does anybody really think that a 20-something guy could get away with the same thing? Gender and age shouldn't be a mitigating factor.


No, but he should.

Grandmothers around here kill people and only lose their drivers license. The same incident would put me or you in prison. Lots of things shouldn't be, but they is.

mp510
October 23, 2006, 05:34 PM
And why did Henry Deringer (1786-1868) only have one r in his name?
Because that's his name:) The spelling with 2 r's that has become generic was from a mispelling of that Philly gunmaker's name. That spelling became popularized by the spelling Derringer on foreign made replicas of Henry Derringer's blackpowder pistols, that depicted weapons similar to the one used to kill president Lincoln.,

Actually, it's a good thing she got popped in PA. Had she been caught in Cali, she would have faced a felony charge.

I'm glad to see she was acquitted.

carpettbaggerr
October 24, 2006, 12:38 AM
If a 25 year-old managed to buy a gun and stash it in the closet 30 years ago, he deserves to get off. :)

strambo
October 24, 2006, 02:12 AM
Who keeps a revolver with only two rounds in it?
The type of person who's telling the truth when they say it must have fell in the bag and they didn't mean to have it. Hooray for the judge. Speaking of "zero tolerance" isn't that what Al Qeada preaches? Good company, how ironic.

My interpreter said he almost got beaten as a teenager by the Taliban for not having a beard...he had some peach fuzz, all he could grow. He only avoided said beating by riding his bike really fast to get away. That's zero tolerance for you. Make a rule, then enforce it without applying any common sense.

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