I was recently charged under this Municipal Code Ordinance. I'm trying to understand the "Strict Liability" under that statute.
Background: (I know this is ridiculous) I went to a famed taco stand in Columbus, that's in a shadier neighborhood. To be specific I was in this parking lot, getting lunch from the taco truck at the end. As you can see that's not an easy egress point:http://bit.ly/1URhE4x
Anyway, I was in my truck eating my delicious tacos when a guy came up to the passenger side and started knocking on my window harder than I'd like, asking for change. I got nervous over the interaction, the difficult exit, and the fact that he walked up to a group of other homeless guys and started ranting. So I chambered one in my 9mm (I have my CCW). I never have one chambered. I'm not arguing the logic, but more the point out that I'm not someone that was irresponsibly living on the edge of this happening.
I eventually left and went to store forgetting that I had chambered a round. Upon leaving the store and getting in my truck, I remembered and decided to take the one out the chamber. For legal reasons it makes less sense for me to get into what I remember of this. Suffice to say, I moved my hand in its direction and it went off. It shot me in the foot. It was so jarring that I don't remember clearly what happen next. Nobody noticed what happen. The cops confirmed there was no call regarding gun shots. Eventually, I sought out the police who were up the street and got an ambulance ride. I was charged under 2323.30, although the police were exceedingly nice and helpful given the circumstance. Columbus PD has always been fantastic, even here.
I just don't understand strict liability for this situation. I get it for statutory rape, because you had a chance to ID the person so regardless of how you didn't know their age, you had a shot. Same with speeding. You have control over whether you speed, regardless of whether you intended to. Your gauges better be right and foot light (pun).
Here, I really wouldn't say that I discharged or caused the gun to be discharged. That would mean I meant to shoot it in the direction of my foot. What if something fell into place causing it to go off. What if the gun had fallen and went off? I've never seen the firearm so i don't know if there was a malfunction of the firearm or cartridge. I know for a fact that manual safety failed. Is this one of those situation where there's no legal defense to the crime, but it's really more the prosecutor's discretion whether your activity is the type the ordinance meant to address? Is there a legal defense here?
2323.30 - Discharging weapons.
(A) No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged any firearm, airgun or other instrument used to explode any cartridge or thing filled with any explosive substance or material. For purposes of this section, firearm has the same meaning as used in Section 2923.11(B) of the Ohio Revised Code.
(B) This section shall not apply to:
(1) Devices in which paper caps containing twenty-five hundredths (0.25) grains or less of explosive compound are used, (providing they are so constructed that the hand cannot come in contact with the cap when in place for the explosion), and toy pistol paper caps which contain less than twenty hundredths (0.20) grains of explosive mixture;
(2) A law enforcement officer in the lawful performance of the officer's duties;
(3) Discharge of a weapon when acting in self-defense or defense of another, including as provided in Section 2901.05(B) of the Ohio Revised Code;
(4) Situations in which the firearm was discharged or was on or about the person or under the control of a person in the commission of a felony for which the Revised Code requires a term of imprisonment pursuant to Section 2929.14(D) of the Revised Code;
(D) Whoever violates this section is guilty of discharging weapons, a misdemeanor of the third degree.
(E) Strict liability is intended to be imposed for violation of this section.
(Ord. 2535-94; Ord. No. 1468-2011, § 5, 9-26-2011)