NY man arrested for using rifle to defend family from gang

George Grier — a family man whose home in Uniondale, on Long Island just east of New York City, was threatened last weekend by two dozen gang members – thought he as doing the right thing protecting his family by confronting the gang bangers with a rifle he lawfully kept in his home.  Instead, he found out that in Nassau County, home to an estimated 2,000 members of the ultra-violent “MS-13″ gang, brandishing a firearm, even in defense of one’s home and family, is a criminal offense.  He was arrested and charged with felony reckless endangerment.

What landed Grier in legal hot water was not that he fired the rifle (a semi-automatic AK-47) at any of the gang members gathered on his lawn who were taunting him with threats to kill him, his wife and his children; but that he fired a few warning shots into his lawn in an obvious attempt to scare the thugs away, not to kill or even wound anyone. 

As explained by Nassau County’s finest – who were alerted to the incident by sound detectors in the neighborhood that apparently can pinpoint the sound of gunshots and alert the police — because Grier admitted he did not see any of the gang members draw a weapon on him, his use of a rifle to try and scare them away was excessive and unlawful.

We can hope that if the local prosecutor persists in pursuing these trumped-up charges against Grier, a jury will acquit him.  However, in New York, where New York City’s mayor proudly upholds that city’s draconian gun control law that disarms virtually all law-abiding citizens, such result is by no means assured.

85 comments Add your comment

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 10th, 2010
6:57 am

Bob, first things first. with regard to your final paragraph, I do not believe Uniondale, Long Island is part of New York City. As such, NYC’s gun laws and Mayor Bloomberg’s views on gun control are in play. In this instance, I believe Nassau County prosecutors have the final say. either way, this is a tricky case, and calls into question the value of video/audio surveilance of citizens. what do we know about Mr. Greir? was there a reason the “gang members” were harassing him? did he fear for his life? what do we know about the “gang members” who were allegedly taunting him? were they armed? did they produce weapons? did they threaten him? if they were MS-13 members, why did the police not arrest any of them (or did they?)? at the end of the day, personal protection and self-defense is one thing; and firing 7.62 rounds ANYWHERE is another. did Mr.s Greir act judiciously or was his behavior reckless and rash? I guess we do not know, and that is why there will be a trial. I do not believe such behavior to be criminal, and I believe most gun ownership/posession laws to be draconian; but the moment a person produces a firearm or pulls the trigger, we cannot afford to assume he was acting lawfully; or that his “target(s) was not.

I'm gonna git you, Suckah!

September 10th, 2010
7:17 am

Now that’s a fine bit o’ thinkin’, Bob Barr. But the danger to the community was obvious: the lunatic who fired an assault rifle in a neighborhood. If I catch anyone doing that near me, I would make a citizen’s arrest and see that clown in prison where he belongs.

Don’t let a narration skew your common sense. A group of citizens can assemble and vogue gangbang all they want. It’s like shooting at a car that cut you off. Yes, you had to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision in which you may have been injured or keeled, but you have no right to retaliate in any form whatsoever. Many road rage incidents are caused by one driver assuming that the other driver is armed and getting ready to make a preemptive shot. (”I had to shoot him afore he shot me.”)

Bob Barr is baiting the book burners here. But that doesn’t mean I have the right to call him a moron. See how that works?

New Rule. You may not fire no firearm in no neighborhood nohow, (you total idiots).

Robb

September 10th, 2010
7:45 am

The guy has a right to defend his family and use deadly force if needed. Where he screwed up was firing a warning shot. Take a defensive/tactical gun course and your trainer will tell you never to do such a stupid thing. It is hard to second guess someone who is in a situation where they are threatened, but he should have used the gun to hold the thugs at bay while someone inside dialed 911. If they tried to enter his home, then he should have shot them.

Hopefully he will get off of these charges…and hopefully thugs and criminals will come to understand that a lot of us law abiding citizens are armed and wouldn’t think twice about shooting them center mass if need be.

HL

September 10th, 2010
7:57 am

A gun and an assault rifle are 2 different things. And why didn’t the guy call the police? I am ok with having a gun at home, even though I think it is not necessary, but I am sure that the only people that should own legally assault rifles are soldiers in combat.

There is nothing draconian about the law, it is only common sense – and if this gang is so violent and blood thirsty – why has no one else problems? Or why did the police not arrest them? Didn’t they have guns?

PinkoNeoConLibertarian

September 10th, 2010
8:10 am

All he really needed to do was to say that he thought he saw a gun and feared for his life. Works for LEO’s all the time, even when they aren’t outnumbered 24-1.

shaggy

September 10th, 2010
8:22 am

If any gang bangers EVER threaten my home, there will be no warning shot. I will try to hold them at bay, until authorities can take over, but if they come anyway, I hit what I aim at…every time…no warning needed at that juncture of the ex-gang banger’s experience.

Duh

September 10th, 2010
8:22 am

HL @7:57, please provide us with an accurate definition of “assault rifle”.

Carlosgvv

September 10th, 2010
8:25 am

Bob, I remember, years ago, reading about a young woman in NY who stabbed a man who tried to rape her. Because she used a switchblade knife she was arrested and charged. The judge said he was sorry but the law is the law. Some things just never change.

Rusty G.

September 10th, 2010
8:52 am

HL – A gun and an assault rifle are two different things? How? Clearly, in this circumstance, he was in lawful possession of the firearm, so any distinction you are drawing seems a bit arbitrary.

As to whether the gang is violent and bloodthirsty, I’m not sure how you’re jumping to the conclusion that no one else had any problems with them, much less that the fact that they had not yet been arrested had any bearing on whether they could exist and act violently. The fact that gangs exist seems to rather support the notion that, believe it or not, the police have not succeeded in arresting all of them for whatever shenanigans they get up to.

Seems to me that the situation hinges upon various claims. If they were truly threatening him with violence, firing a warning shot into the ground was ill advised but probably shouldn’t be a felony. But it’s also not explicitly protected by the constitution or anything. Bearing arms and firing them is a pretty fine line.

If it’s against the law in Nassau County to discharge a firearm except in certain circumstances, it seems like that’s likely to be a legitimate, if potentially draconian law.

For my part it’s tough to argue that he was in immediate danger. If he fired the weapon into the ground without response from the gang, it seems unlikely that he was really in all that much danger.

Grumpy

September 10th, 2010
9:28 am

NOT.
GUILTY.

Del

September 10th, 2010
9:34 am

If these individuals were in fact congregating on this home owners property without invitation taunting him with threats to both himself and to his family, he has every right to defensive action. If he fired the weapon safely into the ground to provide warning that he was indeed armed and prepared to use lethal force to protect himself and his family from attack then he acted prudently. If this district attorney is stupid enough to indite any lawyer worth his or her salt would get an aquittal.

Dang The Hung

September 10th, 2010
9:36 am

Disparity of Force is a valid self defense argument and has been used successfully as a defense many times in self-defense trails. Looks like it would apply here in this situation too.

Since when is a person a “Lunatic” for defending his family??? Get Real!

Jeb

September 10th, 2010
9:45 am

Did your wife use an assault rifle to warn your mistress?

Sam

September 10th, 2010
9:46 am

Well, if you ever watch Gangland, you’d wished he sprayed them all with hot lead. Bunch of worthless 20 year olds good for not a damm thing at the rate they’re going. A mini neutron bomb might be worthwhile in that neighborhood.

StJ

September 10th, 2010
9:48 am

“…the gang members gathered on his lawn who were taunting him with threats to kill him, his wife and his children…”

Any gang bangers on my lawn threatening to kill me or my family won’t live long, as I don’t believe in wasting perfectly good ammunition with warning shots.

Death threats are plenty of justification for deadly force to be used. Apparently the People’s Republik of New York (and the other blue states) don’t think so, which is why I don’t live there.

People should not be arrested for helping get rid of the gangs, they should be rewarded.

[...] NY man arrested for using rifle to defend family from gangAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog)George Grier — a family man whose home in Uniondale, on Long Island just east of New York City, was threatened last weekend by two dozen gang members … [...]

We All Lose

September 10th, 2010
10:08 am

We are endowed with an inalienable right to bear arms. This is exactly the reason—to protect our right to live and live free. What would the story be if the gang entered his home and slaughtered his family? They are lucky he fired a warning shot. If you ask me, he wasted two rounds. He’ll get off the hook in the long run, but what of the gang members? Will Bloomberg round them up, lock up the ones who can stay and send home those who are here illegally to protect his citizenry from their harassment? Doubt it, we wouldn’t want to offend anyone.

LJ

September 10th, 2010
10:43 am

Lots of mis-informed posters here. The rifle has been incorrectly reported as being an “assault rifle” by much of the media. It was merely a semi-automatic rifle chambered in an intermediate cartridge. It was NOT an “automatic” rifle by any stretch of the imagination. Regardless of the definition, the rifle was legally owned and kept in the home.

Typically deadly-force laws allow for a victim to use deadly force when his or her life is in danger. This does NOT require the attacker to have a firearm. A bar stool, baseball bat, screwdriver, etc can easily become a deadly weapon. 24 angry sets of fists and feet is without a doubt a deadly weapon. If multiple(let alone 20+!) gang members trespass onto your property and verbally announce their intent to kill you and your family(which was the case in this incident) you ABSOLUTELY have the natural right to defend yourself.

This wasn’t a case where a few guys were harassing someone on a street corner- this was a large group of violent males declaring their intent murder this man on his own property.

The reason why the homeowner was arrested was because of the asinine “duty to retreat” law in his area. Had he gone inside, locked the door, and waited for them to kick it in he may not be in jail(although the liberal PD there would more than likely lock him up still).

And FYI- He DID call the police. His wife was on the phone with 911 during the incident. The old saying holds true- when seconds count the police are only minutes away.

gatorman770

September 10th, 2010
11:00 am

This outrage does not surprise me at all in a state like NY where the gangs and criminals have more rights than honest hard working residents. He should have shot the first gangbanging SOB that showed a deadly weapon on his property.

shaggy

September 10th, 2010
11:16 am

It is true that you have to look at the location. Anywhere in New York state can be gang infested rat holes, like Gwinnett County…uhhh, oops, sorry New York.

ButtHead

September 10th, 2010
11:44 am

It is obvious that this guy needs better training. Never pull a weapon unless you are going to use it, he got that part, the problem is his aim. I little target practice should help him. By the way his wife called the police and it took over 20 minutes to get there, so what can a gang do to your family in 20 minutes???? This guy needs a metal not a court date, think how much tax payer money he would have saved us if capped a few of these parasites…

JJJ

September 10th, 2010
12:10 pm

His guilt or innocent will be decided by the court. The real issues are the social implications. Mr. Grier will certainly entertain the idea of moving to a safer neighborhood, therefore, allowing the parasites or “sic” Gangster’s to further spread their disease into the community. Eventually, the foundation of the community will be over-run with crime, poor performing schools, devalued properties and children growing comfortable to violence. Then, of course, the Democrats will preach of injustices and how government can repair their communities by spreading the wealth by developing the area with parks, stadiums, etc and calling this inner city redevelopment, but then the good law abiding citizens come back for the events, using their incomes to support the high taxes and get robbed and harassed. Eventually, the business go bust. Wow, did I just describe underground Atlanta? Then, of course, when the core business and government developments move to safer areas for earning higher revenues it becomes a flash point of race and who should get what. Economics 101; let the market determine the outcome, eventually the property values will drop so far that someone will develop and gamble on the community and maybe even subsidize the required Police force to keep it safe because we know the State and local Governments are decreasing police budgets and protection. Thanks Mr. Grier for starting the dominoes’ to fall. Maybe we as American should re-evaluate our three strikes and you’re out law; I suggest making it two strikes and getting what needs to be done, just quicker! There again, had Mr. Grier been capable of firing some warning shots and removing these Oxygen thieves from his property it seems apparent the community would only gain more strength, but what do I know, America goes to war and instead of occupying territory after victory we pay large volumes of “our” money to eventually donate the country back to its original ideology. Why go to war if you don’t get the spoils?
Who knows what the outcome will be for Mr. Grier, but I can promise you one fact, PETA might file a lawsuit on animal cruelty for the ants, termites and worms that may have died when the bullets entered the ground.

Chagall Guevarian

September 10th, 2010
12:13 pm

Paleo

Once again your empty rhetoric serves not funtional purpose. How about processing your ludicrous thesis when 20 gang bangers are in your front yard threatening to kill you and your family. Why not have the gang bangers sit down for a spot of tea and discuss the finer points of War and Peace? You have already admitted that you live in your books which shows you have little real life experience with anything you espouse. Your indictment over a man protecting his home is deplorable but not surprising. Keep living in your fantasy world. This man had every right to brandish his firearms while the perps were on his property. But if you want to be in the same situation and have 20 gang bangers rush you, rape your wife and children before cutting all your throats – this is a free country – you can have at it.

mrs. w

September 10th, 2010
12:13 pm

I would not have been shooting at the lawn.

Chagall Guevarian

September 10th, 2010
12:19 pm

Paleo

Does Michael Dukakis ring a bell?

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 10th, 2010
12:57 pm

Chagall, I’ll ignore you kids’ table moment. I agree with Robb, why the “warning shots”? if he he felt threatened enough to produce an AK-47 (I favor the Mossberg 500 with 00), he has sufficiently “warned” his attackers. so, you can refer to Mike Dukakis all you like, but your hyperbolic Charles Bronson “Death Wish” scenarios do not apply to ME, or Mr. Geir. I don’t live in Uniondale and I did not witness this incident.

Chagall Guevarian

September 10th, 2010
1:02 pm

Paleo

How long have you taken yourself this seriously?

Jefferson

September 10th, 2010
1:31 pm

You can’t shoot someone for stealing your lawnmower.

bank walker

September 10th, 2010
1:43 pm

Shoot the SOBs, every dam one of them!

Clint Eastwood

September 10th, 2010
1:54 pm

This tactic works well in the movies but I would not recommend it in real life. Unless ya feelin’ lucky…well do ya?

Hairlip walks into the Barr

September 10th, 2010
2:56 pm

Come on People. PLEEEEEAAAAASSSSSEEEE!!!Can’t a guy even aerate his yard in Long Island?

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 10th, 2010
2:57 pm

Chagall, since you posted at 12:13 and again at 12:19, why do you ask?

Chagall Guevarian

September 10th, 2010
3:25 pm

I’m curious to know if you are still happy for everybody to be in the presence of your wisdom and to know every single opinion that you have about every single issue out there? Is that easy enough for you to understand?

Hootinanny Yum Yum

September 10th, 2010
3:44 pm

11 killed and 5 wounded in Metro Atlanta since Aug 21st. One was by a house sitter taking care of someone’s house.

At least five armed bank robberies in the last week.

No. No reason at all to feel the need for defending one’s person, family or possessions. Taunting, bullying and threats aren’t tolerated in schools? If 18 to 20 uninvited youths ranging in age from 16 to 24 gathering on your front lawn are not a threat, what is? If you were in Macy’s parking deck in your car and these same youths were surrounding your care, would that be a threat?

HL: You, as well as many others, watch too much TV. What is the difference between an automatic weapon, semi-automatic weapon or assault rifle? Is it a clip or a mag? Are assault pistols legal? Is a 7.62 round a decent hunting caliber? Which is bigger: 20 ga, 16 ga or 12 ga?

Hillbilly Deluxe

September 10th, 2010
4:09 pm

If a person or group of persons, is threatening another person or group of persons, with bodily harm and/or death, the only prudent thing to do, is to take whatever action one deems necessary, to see that it doesn’t happen. You can worry about the law later, as you’ll still be alive. If you take no action, you may very well not live to find out. Would you bet your life, in a split second situation? Survival is the strongest human instinct. Always has been; always will be.

Peter

September 10th, 2010
4:28 pm

Holding the gun visible while your wife dials 911…….should have been the correct move…….But hey at a time like that who is going to think rational ?

I think the cops over reacted, and this has given the thugs a green light to continue to intimidate.

Please tell me Bob……if the shoe was on the other foot…..what would you have done ?

Barack

September 10th, 2010
4:36 pm

Based on my experience, I would have recommended that this citizen should have tried to negotiate first. If that failed, then I think the group hug would have been a good fall back response. Works every time.

Bang Bang Bob Barr Blog

September 10th, 2010
4:43 pm

It’s better to be tried by 12 than be carried by 6 and put under the ground by that same number.

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 10th, 2010
4:46 pm

Chagall, I am moved you care so much about my happiness and I am flattered you consider me “wise” (root of the word wisdom). thing is, these blogs are for folks to discuss/debate political issues and whatnot. your OCD-like interest in my posts is weird. at least other bloggers will present a counter-argument or alternate position, which is rooted in some sort of logical or “real-world” place (as opposed to ominous portents about 20 Mexicans raping my wife. you see, I’m not married).

paleo-neo-Carlinist

September 10th, 2010
4:49 pm

OH, and if the “20 gang bangers” did not “rush” Mr. What’s His Name, he did not (in my opinion) have the need to bust any caps. but again, he was there and you were not, so ultimately, the folks in Uniondale will sort the thing out. You ever fired a Ak-47. It’s not like popping off rounds with a .38 or a .45. It’s a weapon designed for combat/battlefield situations. Not exactly “home defense”, but to each his own.

SPQR(laissez faire)

September 10th, 2010
4:51 pm

More PEACE of islam..(sorry even the sarcastic use of the words peace and islam make me laugh)

Moments aftger a MUSLIM worker at a kraft food plant in PA was escprted from the building friday for unspecified reasons(probably threatening to blow up the place if the korans get burned..just my theory) she returned with a .357 Magnum and opened fire, killing two women and critically injuring a third co-worker before being taken into custody, police said.

Remember, you can’t have IED’s , without practicioners of EID

Bang Bang Bob Barr Blog

September 10th, 2010
4:52 pm

Long Island Law charged this guy with the same thing they hit Snookie with- Public Annoyance. Yep, said he was a terrible shot and was in desperate need of some range time. Remember eye and ear protection.

Call me a Constitutionalist.

September 10th, 2010
6:34 pm

This man’s only crime was lack of training on use of firearms. The only warning shots he should have fired should have been into the chest of the closest gang bangers. One should “Never underestimate the power of idiots in large groups.” The fact that there were 2 dozen gang members on his property making death threats to him and his family is enough for him to use DEADLY FORCE in order to defend himself. A threat to cause harm is an assault and once a person has been assaulted, one need not wait for it to turn physical in order to defend oneself. It matters not whether these thugs were armed or not, in that quantity it would have taken mere seconds for them to wipe out his family. The fact is these boneheads had no right to make threats of death to this man without expectation of him making any attempt to defend himself. Yeah, if he had shot them in the chest as I suggested, he would have to go to trial for killing some scum of the earth, at least he would still be around to defend himself. It’s better to be tried by 12 then be carried by 6.

Mike

September 10th, 2010
7:41 pm

I wonder what the entire story is. It’s hard to make a judgement.

I would have simply said, “I am going to call the cops first, and then if you come into my house, you will die.”

And then I’d close the door and wait for the first one to open the door.

You should NEVER show a gun unless you plan to use it. That’s cardinal rule number one.

He should have told them to leave, gone inside, called the cops, chambered a round, and wait for either the cops to show up, or the gang to mistakenly walk in.

Barring Logic

September 10th, 2010
7:52 pm

They were not “on” his property. They where shouting threats “onto” it. Big difference.

And, he shot that AK47 towards someone using words?

Who is the crazy person here????

Charles

September 11th, 2010
12:03 am

Better to be judged by twelve than by one. A person has to do what is necessary and worry about societies thoughts about it later.

Trey

September 11th, 2010
12:40 am

Robb, call the cops? Seriously, that is your answer for him is to call the cops? The cops would have done nothing but stir up the hornet nest even worse. He was best off with his weapon in self defense. Screw their law and carry a gun for self defense.

Trey

September 11th, 2010
12:41 am

Mike, actually the rule is do not point at what you do not intend to shoot.

Bryan

September 11th, 2010
12:43 am

I’m sure this has already been said, but…come on, Bob. This wasn’t NYC. It was in the same general part of the country, sure — but NYC laws don’t apply.

I’m a firm supporter of the Second Amendment, which means that I believe citizens should have the right to keep and bear arms. But keeping and bearing arms doesn’t mean shooting at your neighbor — shooting at people isn’t a “gun right.” Even if you don’t mean to shoot “at” them, there should be laws about being criminally stupid with a gun — and this was criminally stupid. Shooting “warning shots” into the ground? Yeah, bullets ricochet, man. That “warning shot” can kill someone dead.

It’s a simple rule — anything on the business end of the gun might end up dying, even if you weren’t aiming at them. So if you pull the trigger, you need to be sure that it’s worth someone’s life. So was it? No one had stepped foot on his property. The police were just a phone call away. And he had a semi-automatic rifle in his hands — no one was going to “storm” the place. Heck, he probably could have just closed the door and called police, and been totally safe. So was it worth someone dying? Absolutely not.

He broke the law, and the law is a good one. Even the most staunch libertarian should agree — doing stupid things with guns that might get someone killed…well, that ought to be criminal.

Bryan

September 11th, 2010
12:47 am

P.S. — I think the punishment should be a required gun safety class…

Keep ‘em, bear ‘em, shoot ‘em, but…don’t accidentally blow your kid’s head off with ‘em. That’s my view of the Second Amendment.