Texas Man Charged With Shooting Gun At Charging Bear

BY Herschel Smith
5 years ago

The Montana Standard:

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) — A 57-year-old Texas man faces a federal misdemeanor charge of discharging a firearm in a national park after he reported shooting a charging bear with his .357 revolver.

Brian R. Muphy’s attorney is scheduled to plead not guilty on Murphy’s behalf during a court hearing in West Glacier on Friday. Murphy is scheduled to appear via video.

Charging documents say Murphy was hiking on the Mount Brown Lookout Trail on July 26 when a grizzly bear charged him. He told rangers he discharged his bear spray and fired a shot when the bear continued toward him. The wounded bear fled and could not be located.

It is legal to carry a gun in Glacier National Park but it is illegal to discharge it. A conviction carries a $500 fine.

By my count this is at least the second life that has been saved from a bear attack after legalization of firearms in National Parks, the first instance being mid-2010 in Denali.

Of course, Mr. Murphy is now charged with a crime.  There are two problems that could be contributing, the first being that laws are now passed in broad sweeping language that apparently ignores guilty intent, or in other words, Congress is Eroding the Mens Rea Requirement in Federal Criminal Law.

The second problem that could be contributing is that the enforcement in question may be of a regulation rather than a law, which is made via federal register by armies of lawyers sitting inside the beltway who have been (unfortunately) empowered by Congress to do just that.

But the third problem is there  is obviously a prosecutor who wants to take this case to court, otherwise he wouldn’t have a scheduled court appearance and need a lawyer.

The law becomes absolute in contemporary America, regardless of the fact that a man’s life was saved because he discharged a firearm.  But it’s absurd that Congress would have passed a law allowing firearms in National Parks early in 2010, but then refused to allow people to use that firearm to defend their lives.  Since it is absurd, it clearly wasn’t the intent of Congress (or should not have been).  Therefore, the prosecutor is likely to blame for the fact that Mr. Murphy has to defend himself in court for saving his own life.

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Comments

  1. On September 26, 2014 at 10:22 am, Paul B said:

    I think I would attack the regulation and it method of passing rather that whether I was in court.

    That would be more expensive, but if Murphy wanted to cheap out he should pay the fine.

    It will depend on the judge drawn more than anything else at this point.

  2. On September 26, 2014 at 10:32 am, Herschel Smith said:

    Maybe you’re right. Isn’t that a shame. It’s sad when it comes to this when it would be better and easier to deal with if our prosecutors had souls. I understand why the regulation is in place (i.e., to prevent plinking and target shooting in an area not designed for that). But clearly this has nothing whatsoever to do with that.

  3. On September 26, 2014 at 2:56 pm, Paul B said:

    True. Maybe we need to add a counter to the law?

    I can remember as a young teen plinking rock gopher on what might have been federal land. No GPS so it was harder to tell exactly where you were.

    I’m kind of with Denniger and we need to back off all regulations around guns, now that we have Muslims hacking heads in the USA.

  4. On September 27, 2014 at 11:52 am, revjen45 said:

    This sort of nonsense is typical of the Obongo Regime and Reichsfuehrer Holder. The law isn’t supposed to make sense. If it did legions of shysters would have to find gainful employment.

  5. On September 27, 2014 at 10:45 pm, Oregon Hobo said:

    I agree that this is a garbage charge, but I disagree on the fine details.

    IANAL but I expect that Mr. Murphy will be mounting an affirmative defense, not a mens rea defense. A mens rea defense is a claim that the defendant did not intend to perform the lawbreaking act or did not believe it fit the circumstances outlined in the statute (note that this can only be due to a misunderstanding of the circumstances, not a misunderstanding of the law). An affirmative defense means that the defendant does not contest that he intentionally acted in a manner contrary to the applicable statute, but claims that the circumstances legally relieve the defendant of responsibility (eg. insanity), justify the criminal act (eg. self-defense), or exclude the court from acting (eg. due to lack of jurisdiction or statute of limitations). I’m sure I’m missing a bunch of other affirmative defenses but hopefully you get the gist.

    This an important distinction, because while the prosecutor has the burden of proof to establish mens rea (beyond a reasonable doubt no less), the defendant has done that part of the prosecutor’s job for him by already admitting to having fired the shot, and to having done so under circumstances that were clearly intentional (to paraphrase a recent informops.wordpress.com article, never miss an opportunity to STFU). Assuming the defendant will mount an affirmative defense, the burden of proof will then be upon the defendant to prove the extenuating circumstance.

    There are many laws on the books that have been defeated by affirmative defenses claiming exceptions for which there is no explicit provision in the law. In the case of self-defense, inalienable right to life supercedes acts of Congress and all that… of course the practical value of a 1st Amendment claim in a modern-day court of law is anyone’s guess.

    Ok done splitting hairs for now. Thanks for the article.

    #OREGON HOBO#

    DISCLAIMER: I am not a lawyer, and nothing I say should be construed as legal advice, or advice of any other kind. In fact my entire essay is chock full of terrible ideas end-to-end. Failure to heed this disclaimer may result in your being killed/tased/fined/imprisoned/deported/renditioned to Uzbekistan/sodomized with a sharpened spoon. If I am subpoenaed to the witness stand I will tell the court I begged you not to do it!

  6. On October 17, 2014 at 6:10 am, Baron Von Zipper said:

    Damn, that was good. Please leave a card.

  7. On October 17, 2014 at 6:05 am, Baron Von Zipper said:

    Prosecutors a sociopaths who will do anything to further their career. Right or wrong does not play into their calculations.

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You are currently reading "Texas Man Charged With Shooting Gun At Charging Bear", entry #12781 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Federal Firearms Laws,Firearms,Guns and was published September 25th, 2014 by Herschel Smith.

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