Hand Mortar Hunter Charges Thrown Out by Judge
Straight talk, from straight faces
Monday, November 19, 2018, 06:04:UTC)(
16 December 2011
On November 1, 2011, Forest Guy, of Monte Vista was hunting for elk during the Colorado muzzle loading season, but instead of using a standard muzzle loading rifle, Mr. Guy was using a 15th century firearm known as a hand mortar.
During testimony, Fred Dunn of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and the arresting officer, explained to the court what a hand mortar is.
"A hand mortar," said Dunn, "is a firearm used in the 15th century to fire fused grenades at the enemy. It has a barrel bore of about 2 inches and a barrel length of about 4 inches. The weapon was very dangerous because if it misfired, the lit grenade was still in the barrel and would explode with grave consequences for the shooter."
The prosecution charged Mr. Guy with numerous hunting violations as well as reckless endangerment to himself and others by using the hand mortar and fused grenades to hunt for elk.
The defense argued that firearm regulations for the elk muzzle loading season in Colorado only stipulate that the firearm be loaded from the muzzle, use black powder, have iron sights, be larger than .50 caliber, and fire balls or conical-shaped projectiles. It went on to say that because the fused grenades were in the shape of a ball, that the firearm was indeed legal.
After about two hours of deliberation, Judge Fannie Flats of the Del Norte District Court threw out the charges, stating that she could find no legal basis to charge Mr. Guy.
When the ruling was delivered, Mr. Dunn, clearly outraged, stood and asked the judge how she could be such a blithering idiot, for which he received a day in jail for contempt of court.
A spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Wildlife told reporters, "Mr. Dunn's comments were out of line, but no formal discipline has been recommended against him by the department as of this time. However, we certainly will be amending the hunting regulations to ensure that hand mortars cannot be used to hunt big game in Colorado."
When asked about the verdict, Mr Guy replied, "I like it. The judge was just fine."
When asked what he would do if Colorado changed its regulations for next year, Mr. Guy simply said, "No problem. Next year I'll hunt in Utah."
Upon leaving the courtroom, attorneys for the defense were too busy laughing to comment.