Friday, July 18, 2014

Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes: Highway Gunplay

Poor Matt Sinclair.

A judge here in Illinois recently ruled that Sinclair can't have his charge of Aggravated Unlawful Use of a Weapon thrown out on the basis that his (apparently allegedly loaded) firearm would have been legal to possess in Illinois, if only he had waited three months, paid a $150 fee, undergone 16 hours of mandatory training, and made application to the Illinois State Police for a concealed carry license (CCL) before waiting another two to three months for his license to arrive. Sinclair's argument was that, since there was a delay between the date that the old statute went away (by court order) and the implementation of the CCL program, he had the right to carry his firearm in the meantime without the permit.

I'm actually kind of inclined to agree with that argument in the abstract, but that isn't how our legal system works in any other case, so there was never much hope for these kinds of desperate moves from defense lawyers. As the judge pointed out in her decision, the law was in place and clearly stated that firearms couldn't be carried loaded in Illinois except with a CCL, and the fact that there was a delay before the CCL could be acquired didn't undo that, especially since everyone knew how long the delay was supposed to be.

I'm sure the judge would claim not to be biased against Sinclair's motion by the other facts of the case, but I freely admit that I'm not rootin' for him. See, Sinclair probably wouldn't have (allegedly) gotten caught with his firearm, except that Sinclair, who played linebacker for the University of Illinois Fightin' Illini and now coaches or administrates or something, got a little worked up on the way home from a game against Purdue in Indiana. There's a very nice lady who alleges that she called the cops because Sinclair "pointed a handgun out of his truck's window" at someone right in front of her on the interstate. For some reason, she panicked and called the cops, who stopped Sinclair at the next exit and (allegedly) found his gun and a set of brass knuckles, which are still verboten in Illinois to this day. It turns out that it was all just a bit of grab-ass hijinks on the highway--you know how boys can be. Sinclair was only pointing the pistol at another U of I staff member, and he was only kidding. The lady behind them somehow misinterpreted a guy pointing a gun at another guy on the interstate as some kind of dangerous and/or criminal situation, though, and here we are.

I'm peppering this with allegedlies mostly for the fun of it; Sinclair, his head coach, and lawyers on both sides seem like they've gotten past the point of trying to argue about whether Sinclair actually pointed a (loaded?) handgun at a dude's noggin in public while driving. The head coach was so outraged that he actually publicly declared that Sinclair had "clearly had a lapse in judgment after returning to Champaign-Urbana on Saturday," language usually reserved for actual rape or attempted murder in NCAA Division I.

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