Independent from Long Beach, California on March 19, 1976 · Page 8
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Independent from Long Beach, California · Page 8

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Long Beach, California
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Friday, March 19, 1976
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Page 8
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Taser dart gun ruled a firearm; needs registration u»n »t»cii.c»in..Fri..M t rth».mi INDEPENDENT (AM) PRESS-TELEGRAM (PM--A-9 WASHINGTON (AP) The government r u l e d Thursday that the Taser, an electric d a r t gun intended a s ' a self-defense weapon that only stuns the attacker, is a firearm and must be registered when manufactured after May 1. Rex I). Davis, director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, said his agency undertook a study .of the Taser because of i n c r e a s i n g reports of its lise in crimes. HE SAID the ruling that it is a weapon eliminates the necessity of further action by t h e Consumer Product S a f e t y Commission, w h i c h was considering a move to ban the flashlight-shaped gun as a hazardous product. The ruling by the bureau, part of the Treasury Department, will apply to T a s e r s m a n u f a c t u r e d after April 30. This voids a . 1D73 letter f r o m the bureau giving the opinion that the device was not a fire.irm. That letter noted that b a r b s expelled by the Taser remained attached by wires to the device and thus were not projectiles under the Gun Control Act. BUT THE NEW ruling , discounts that and says that, because these barbs, or projectiles, are expelled by the action of an explosive, the Taser qualifies as n firearm. The ruling means Taser manufacturers and d e a l - ers must have federal fire- a r m s l i c e n s e s a n d maintain records required by the law for machine guns, sawcd-off shotguns and destructive devices. As s u c h , Davis said, permission-must be obtained froiii his agency, and a $5 tax-paid, to transfer a Taser f r o m one o w n e r to another after April 30, ' The ruling stopped short of an outright ban on the devices, but R e p . Elizabeth Holtzman, D-N.Y., reaffirmed her intention to seek a law permitting only law-enforcement officials to possess the weapons. The weapons fire a dart into a victim's body and can produce a pulsating electrical jolt of up to 50,000 volts to stun victims, according to the bureau. California A t t y . G e n . Evclle Younger had issued an opinion l a s t October [hat the Taser was a firearm and deadly weapon, and the Los Angeles City Council in February pass- ·Judge frees south raped )y 3 inmates NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -After denouncing the U.S. Bureau of Prisons for lax- ily in caring for youthful offenders, a federal judge on Thursday freed a 19- y e a r - o l d i n m a t e w h o charged he had been sexually assaulted by three other prisoners. ! Jan Elgaard of Ramsey, i who had served less than Iwi months of a possible s i x - y e a r sentence, w a s f r e e d by U.S. District Court Judge Herbert J. Stern from t h e Federal Keformalory in P e t e r s burg, Va.. "It is 'difficult enough for a judge lo sentence an individual (o i n c a r c e r a - tion," S t e r n s a i d Thursday. "That task becomes well nigh impossible and terribly frightening when prison officials cannot pro- v i d e r u d i m e n t a r y protection against this sort of crime." Elgaard had charged through his lawyer last month that three older inmates had raped him one night in his cell, threatening to kill him if he did not submit. S t e r n had sentenced Elgaard to an indefinite term of up to six years for the youth's part in a series nf bombings in B e r g e n .County last summer. Elgaard admitted his part in :the bombings and testified igainst the ringleader of he bombers, who received 15-year sentence. ed a resolution to support any ban of the weapon afler a series of crimes involving Tasers. Nationally, authorities have cited the use of the weapon in the commission of a number of crimes. Most recently, a 77- year-old couple living in a s u b u r b a n Philadelphia community w e r e f o u n d dead last weekend after, police theorized, they had been stunned w i t h the electric dart guns in their home and then robbed. Both were shot to death w i t h c o n v e n t i o n a l f i r e arms. On Feb. 22 in Sherman Oaks, Calif., five bandits a r m e d w i t h a Taser invaded the home of lawyer Bruce Thabit, immobilized him with the gun and then looted his home of $23,325 in cash and property. Husband can't sue 'other man' Wives 9 sex freedom upheld DOYLESTOWN, Pa. (AP) - A Common Pleas Court judge has struck down the right of a husband to sue his wife's lover for damages because, the judge ruled, a woman is entitled to choose her sexual partner. 'The principle that one person has a cause for action for money damages against another arising out of his spouse's voluntary ... sexual activity with another person is abhorrent and repugnant to modern standards," Judge Isaac S. Garb of the Bucks County court said Wednesday. But Garb emphasized that, in setting new legal principles in marriage, he wasn't favoring marital infidelity. "THIS IS NOT to advocate or even condone such conduct," he said. "This is merely to acknowedge what we consider to be a given fact in the evolution of our moral and sexual mores." Garb said it was a woman's constitutional right "to engage in voluntary natural sexual relations with a person of her choice," and he added Ihis privilege also was enjoyed by men. "We do not believe that the conclusion we reach constitutes the destruction of the family as an institution in Pennsylvania," the judge said. Pennsylvania courts have permitted spouses to sue under an ancient common law principle that a husband has t h e r i g h t to " t h e services, fidelity, consortium, body of his wife." Recently, wives began to bring actions against girlfriends of husbands under the equal rights amendment adopted by the state legislature. Supported by two other Common Picas Court judges In this metropolitan Philadelphia suburb, Garb dismissed the suit filed by A. B. Kyle of New Britain Township, near Doylestown. Kyle had sought damages in excess of $10,000 from 12 persons, including the man he claimed to be his wife's lover. He said the J2 had conspired to encourage his wife to leave him in 1974 and move to a farm-commune. IN ins COMPLAINT, Kyle, a business consultant, said the 12 persons told his wife he "was a crazy man; that his wife should not give in; that the commune would help her." After the decision was announced, Kyle said he planned to appeal. "My principal motive (or filing the suit was to have my wile's paramour cease adultery with her," he said. "It was for injunctive relief and isot for the money." Kyle admitted seeking money in the case but said it was not a major factor. "Since it is questionable that any of the people involved would have been able to pay flO.OOO, my request for money was an attempt to change their conduct," Kyle said. His wife was not available for comment. Galley got a fair trial, U.S. tells high court ~ i \ - y i WASHINGTON (AP) - life lerm, but IhiS IWBS re- The government told the Supreme Court Thursday that former Army U. William L Galley "was not tried in an atmosphere of persecution" and his conviction in the My Lii murders should be allowed to stand. In a brief signed by .lust i c e D e p a r t m e n t a n d Army lawyers, the govern- m e n t disputed Galley's claim thai lie was denied a f a i r t r i a l because of "worldwide and all-pervasive publicity." "This court has made clear that a jury's exposure to prctrial publicity is not necessarily a bar to a f a i r trial," t h e g o v e r n - ment lawyers argued. C a l l e y , 32, was convicted of murdering at least 22 civilians in a s w e e p t h r o u g h a V i e t - namese village of MY Lai in March l%8 white he was an Army platoon leader. He was sentenced to a duced to 10 years and tie is now free on bail. The Army has granted him parole, to be effective when and if his bail is revoked. Galley has been living as a civilian in Columbus, Ga., since his conviction was overturned on Sciit. 25, 107-1, bv U.S. District Judge ,1. Kllioll of Columbus. T h i s decision was reversed by Hie U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans, prompting C a l l e y to appeal to (he Supreme Court. There was no indication w h e n t h e court will announce its derision whether to hear the appeal. In addition to his argument about pretrial publicity, the former Army lieutenant c o n t e n d s Congress should h a v e been compelled to release confidential data for use in his trial. 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