Monroe resident calls for law against the careless, reckless discharge of a firearm
By Jeff Gerber
On July 4, 2016, the beloved 23-year-old horse Joby was shot and killed. The homeowners living in Union County saw this happen and knew where the shot came from.
They knew something was wrong after they heard a volley of three to four shots. One of the horse’s owners was in the kitchen, looked out the window toward the pasture and saw Joby prancing around as if he had been stung by a bee.
The people responsible for this murder had been asked on several other occasions not to fire weapons across their property. They knew good and well the homeowners on 13 acres of land had horses.
One of the individuals involved in this horrific crime just laughed. They recommended not standing there, as it would be dangerous, even though the homeowner stood on their own property line pleading with one of the shooters to not infringe on their property rights and jeopardize their own lives, their horses, neighbors, or children and parents that gather for various sporting events, not to mention the many houses surrounding their property.
On Aug. 2, 2015, the Union County Sheriff’s Office was called because these people were firing irresponsibly across the homeowners property once again.
The deputy who came out never wrote a report. He only took officer’s notes. This is incomprehensible and negligent. To have been called out for gunfire and have to tell the dispatcher these people just fired a gun while on the phone with the 911 dispatcher and the bullet zipped by the owners while they were walking on their own property and not to prepare a proper report is beyond disbelief.
The officer was well informed at the time that these people were potentially going to kill one of them, one of their horses or another person if they were not stopped. It all fell on deaf ears and look what happened.
On July 4, 2016, standing in the same spot as Joby playing and giving him a treat no more than 30 minutes before he was shot, made it clear it was Joby’s life or the owner’s. This was only 70 feet from the house! These irresponsible people were shooting at a barrel with no berm or backstop to catch the projectile. There is a very sparse wood line between the property but nothing to stop a bullet. The bullet was fired from a high powered rifle (AR-15). The bullet traveled 1,200 feet and destroyed Joby. A necropsy was done by a state lab but a bullet could not be recovered because it fragmented beyond retrieval.
Union County Sheriff’s Office stated no charges will be filed. Are you kidding me? Why? Because Union County and North Carolina do not have a careless and reckless discharge of firearms laws. This is absolutely ridiculous. This person shot a high-powered rifle in the direction of the pasture. The only recourse left is to have is a civil case. There are 17 other houses in the direction where this person shot. This individual won’t be charged also because animals are considered property in North Carolina. This is also ridiculous.
What we would like to see happen for the protection of not only animals but for every living being is to have a law passed for the careless and reckless discharge of a firearm. And to see that it changes that animals be called companions rather than property and people to guardians rather than owners. Something needs to be addressed for people who cannot afford to seek justice when they are wronged, as well.
Citizens in North Carolina should be able to enjoy their own property without the fear of being shot or even killed when they walk outside. We were shocked to find out no law is on the books to protect citizens from these circumstances.
We have no desire to take away anyone’s gun rights. I, as well as the owners of Joby, are supportive of the Second Amendment and members of the NRA. What we desire is to make gun owners be responsible for the projectile when it leaves a firearm. So having a careless and reckless discharge of firearms law in place might just save someone the heartache endured during this tragedy.
The second part of this very important legislation is if an individual or individuals are seen committing this offense where no harm has occurred they be charged with a A1 misdemeanor. Their rifles may be confiscated and only be returned with a judiciary’s permission. If the crime involves a similarity as is the case with Joby, they will be charged with a class H felony.
So let’s Band together and support “Joby’s Law.” By all means, if you have any questions, please contact Jeff Gerber (founder of The Justice For All Coalition) at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you and God bless!
Jeff Gerber, of Monroe, founded The Justice For All Coalition. He submitted this as a letter to the editor but it is formatted as a story due to its length.