Local government bureaucrats in Keene are infringing on my right to bear arms.
In July I applied for a concealed carry license. One man, Ken Meola, denied it. I appealed, and this week the news came back: Judge Burke denied my appeal.
Judge Burke’s decision means that while it is perfectly legal for me to carry a firearm openly, it is a crime for me to conceal that firearm, for example by putting on a winter jacket.
The next step is to move on to the State Supreme Court. I haven’t decided whether or not I’m going to do that, but I’ll give another update when I speak with my attorney.
I’m disappointed about this decision, but I’m not surprised. The State is a many-tentacled beast, and the different facets of it protect each other. First the legislators did their part by camouflaging a restriction as a right: they call NH “shall issue” but ultimately leave the power of permission to one man working for the police. Then the police did their part to deny my rights, essentially arguing that they are restricting my freedoms because I don’t respect them. Finally, appeals are made to lawyers who also work for the State.
In district court yesterday morning, Keene Police prosecutor Jean Kilham seemed to be suggesting that because Derrick J was laughing during proceedings that he doesn’t deserve the right to concealed carry a gun. Derrick was clearly laughing at the absurdity of the violence brought against him during his Victimless Crime Spree, which was detailed in witness testimony today.
Derrick J’s attorney, Free State Project participant and former FSP vice president Evan Nappen, is known among defense attorneys in New Hampshire as the go-to guy for gun rights cases. Nappen did a fine job today and Derrick seemed very pleased with how he argued the case.
The Keene police argued that Derrick J is “unsuitable” to conceal carry, the big loophole word in the state’s “shall-issue” statute. While simultaneously admitting that it’s fully legal for Derrick J to carry a gun openly, they claim that due to a record of victimless “crimes”, alleged cannabis use, and suggested affiliations with violent groups, that Derrick J should be prohibited from concealing.
Burke ends the hearing and retires for the holiday weekend with a DVD of Derrick J’s Victimless Crime Spree as part of the evidence in the case. Perhaps he will sit down with the family this holiday weekend and watch the movie that he helped make possible. (more…)
After I got off-the-air from my live Saturday radio program (on which we discussed the initial Pumpkin Fest 2014 riots), I headed back down to the college. At the time, there was a helicopter broadcasting a message to disperse or be arrested. I arrived at the gateway to Keene State College – Winchester St. to witness a huge throng of police marching down the street. I quickly pulled out my camera and began to record:
After walking around the nearest building on campus, in full view of the line of police, activists walked onto campus and right back over to Winchester St. We continued walking west on Winchester and no cops said anything to us there. However, we again went on campus and came back out on Madison St., on the west end of the college. Here there were several police standing around the intersection and one of them told me we couldn’t pass, despite college students walking down Winchester St. immediately behind them. (more…)
Jared Goodell is a Keene native and local independent journalist. Yesterday he was the host for EIGHT hours during Pumpkin Fest 2014 on Cheshire TV, the local public access channel. Jared also put thousands of dollars of his own money into producing the all-day event coverage. For this amazing effort to cover the yearly festival (it would not have been covered on CTV without him), he is rewarded with an evening visit by Pumpkin Fest organizer Ruth Sterling who behaves in a ridiculous manner:
Sterling attempts to grab his microphone multiple times, as well as block the camera’s view of Jared, accuses him of frightening the guests of the festival and demands he stop talking about the riots happening just a few blocks away in the college neighborhood.
Since Jared is a newsman at heart, he feels obligated to report on what is happening in-town, and tangentially related to Pumpkin Fest. He defends his right to be the media and she responds by telling him she’ll “pull the plug” (which she has no control over) and that he should behave because she gave him the physical location for the CTV remote studio. As though she somehow was doing him a favor – he’s the one who spent over $5,000 of his own money to make the coverage of her event happen!
At one point in the beginning of the video, Sterling accuses Jared of being a “Free Stater”, this is the new pejorative to describe anyone who stands up for their rights. It’s not Jared’s first time causing controversy for reporting the news. Earlier this year he stirred it up for reporting from the scene of this Summer’s suicide and on the resignation of a despised school principal. Jared is not afraid to break the official city narrative of Keene being a perfect, blemish-free New England town, and is willing to take the heat. Keep up the good work, Jared – we’re all Free Staters now!
Thug cop Joseph Kelley of Weare, NH is now no longer fired, according to a recent Concord Monitor article. Not only that, the officer, who previously had been terminated for falsifying documents (the tip of a corruption iceberg), will be receiving back pay for all the months he’s been gone and all mention of his termination will be struck from his record. While he’s no longer fired, he’s also not yet back on active duty, so he’ll continue to collect paychecks for doing nothing until at least May 2015 and at any point until then he could be reinstated.
Weare is where I got arrested and charged with wiretapping. They dropped the charges, I sued them for violations of my 1st amendment rights, fought them all the way to the Appeal’s Court, and won. The town settled for $57,500. This took 4 years, in the meanwhile, the police chief retired early, 3 officers involved left the department, including Joe Kelley, who is one crooked cop (he took me out back, with 2 other cops, the night of my arrest, encircled me nice and tight, and threatened me, telling me to: “Get out of here before someone gets hurt.”) (more…)
Earlier this year, I was surprised by the state police with an arrest for “unsworn falsification” and “prohibitions”. Essentially, they were charging me with two class A misdemeanors for filling out their driver’s license application incorrectly. As it turns out, had I filled it out the same way two days prior, it would have been completely legal. Despite referring to me as a “customer”, they treated me like a criminal rather than simply helping me correct the mistake, as any actual business would who cares about their customers.
They alleged I used a “false” name, my given name of Ian Bernard, to apply for their license when I apparently should have used my now “legal” name of Ian Freeman. At no point until my arrest was I given any indication that this was illegal. The ladies at the DMV were aware of my use of both names, and happily processed the application. I attempted to make it clear during the trial that I did not knowingly use a false name, as I don’t consider my given name to be false, nor was I attempting to defraud anyone. No one has claimed I’ve defrauded them, ever. I honor my word, regardless of the name I use.
None of that mattered in the decision that came by mail after the trial, which found me guilty on both counts. Sentencing is still to come, but I’m facing as much as two years in prison. The last time I was in jail was 2011 for the civil disobedience of blocking a police car when they were attempting to arrest a peaceful woman for drinking alcohol in Central Square. In that case I was sentenced to 90 days in jail and nine more months suspended for two years. Will judge Burke decide that these ID “crimes”, which have no victim, deserve a more serious punishment than civil disobedience? Stay tuned here to Free Keene to find out.