If you’re a longtime supporter of Iowa Gun Owners, then you know about the story of Jay Rodney Lewis.
Mr. Lewis, a federal employee on his way home from work in West Des Moines, was run off the road and attacked by multiple intoxicated criminals who were looking to impress their girlfriends.
Forced to defend himself after this pair of thugs refused to back down, Mr. Lewis was arrested and charged with multiple gun crimes as result of using his firearm in an obvious self-defense shooting.
Thankfully, after a couple of months spent in jail, Mr. Lewis had his day in court and was exonerated by the jury in less than 90 minutes!
But I’m afraid that Mr. Lewis is not the last Iowan who is paying the price for Senator Steve Sodders and Senator Mike Gronstal’s refusal to enact Stand-Your-Ground law in Iowa.
Last summer, we were made aware of a situation in Glenwood Iowa, over in Mills county, where another Iowan had to use his firearm in a case of self-defense only to find himself facing multiple felony charges.
Hurl Beechum was in his parents’ home in Glenwood when he heard his mother scream for his help.
His step dad, a local school administrator who happens to be a black man, had been attacked by members of a pack of 6 young people on the edge of his property after he asked them why they were using racial slurs against him as they walked by his house.
Mr. Beechum’s father was sucker punched in the face by a man one-third his age — a single punch that put him on the ground and left him unconscious!
Mr. Beechum, hearing his mother’s frantic cries for help, raced outside to assist his parents only to find himself overwhelmed by multiple attackers.
Fearing for his father’s life, as he still lay there on the ground unconscious, Mr. Beechum retreated into his parent’s home to grab his 9mm handgun.
As he raced back outside and saw this group of thugs surrounding his father — who was still laying on the ground unconscious — Mr. Beechum fired a single shot in self-defense.
Sounds pretty cut and dry, right?
You would think Mr. Beechum would have the applause of local law enforcement for defending his father against these violent attackers.
And you would be wrong.
That’s because the Mills County Attorney, Tricia McSorley, promptly filed 5 FELONY charges against Mr. Beechum for protecting his family.
Mr. Beechum was facing at least 25 years in the penitentiary because 6 thugs attacked his father, forcing him to act.
I don’t know about you, but stories like these make my blood boil!
It is stories like Mr. Beechum’s and Mr. Lewis’ that make it very clear how desperately we need Stand-Your-Ground law here in Iowa!
Mr. Beechum was set to face trial late last week.
The day before the trial was to kick off, the county attorney did an abrupt about face and dropped all charges against Mr. Beechum — but not before putting him through 6 months of misery as he faced 5 FELONY charges, 25 years in jail, and had to pay out countless legal bills.
And now that the criminal case is over, you would hope Mr. Beechum could breathe a deep sigh of relief, right?
But again, you would be wrong.
As the criminal investigation came to a close last week, the thug’s lawyer announced his intention to drag Mr. Beechum through civil court.
If this goes to civil court, Mr. Beechum will either win and pay countless attorney fees or he’ll lose and likely be bankrupted – all because some thug blitz attacked his father and left him unconscious on the ground!
THIS IS WHY WE NEED STAND-YOUR-GROUND IN IOWA!
Stand-Your-Ground is already law in dozens of states across the country.
While doing nothing to change the laws on when someone is justified to use deadly force, Stand-Your-Ground law simply allows you and I the ability to face a violent criminal attacker and use defensive action when necessary — without having to retreat.
What would have happened to Mr. Beechum’s father had Mr. Beechum retreated before taking defensive action?
Clearly, this duty-to-retreat that you and I suffer under Iowa is absurd.
Stand-Your-Ground law currently has 24 of the 26 needed co-sponsors in the Iowa State Senate -– meaning we are just two votes short of passage.
But Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal and Judiciary Chairman Senator Steve Sodders are refusing to advance this life saving legislation!
I don’t want to hear any more of these horror stories like the ones that Jay Lewis and Hurl Beechum went through here in Iowa.
This is a very real threat facing every gun owner in the state, who may be forced to use his firearm to defend himself or his loved ones — and this will continue to be the case as long as we don’t have Stand-Your-Ground law in Iowa.
The Beechum case also makes it clear that this threat is not contained in just the “big cities” or over in eastern Iowa.
Glenwood, Iowa has a population of just over 5,000 people and is located in extreme western Iowa — making it obvious that you are at the whim of any county attorney whose looking to advance their personal grudge against gun owners.
Now is the time to advance this much needed legislation, before your legislator comes knocking on your door seeking your votes for his/her reelection campaign this fall.
Most every candidate here in Iowa, and EVERY incumbent seeking reelection, claim that they support your right to keep and bear arms.
This is their chance to put their money where their mouth is.
Make sure your legislator knows that it is not sufficient for him or her to take action when this bill comes to the floor.
Passing bills as they come to the floor is easy. It is what’s happening right now, as this bill is locked down in Gronstal’s kill committee, where the real fighting is being done.
Make sure your Senator knows that if he or she intends to hide behind Senator Gronstal’s kill committee, that Iowa Gun Owners will expose them in their districts this fall.
The choice is theirs.
To contact your State Representative call (515)281-3221.
To contact your State Senator call (515)281-3371.
And if you can, I hope you’ll make a generous contribution to help Iowa Gun Owners mobilize grassroots gun owners all over Iowa as we work to advance Stand-Your-Ground law.
But whatever you do, please contact your legislators – that’s what’s the most important.
P.S. Just last week, the criminal case of Hurl Beechum out of Glenwood, Iowa came to a close.
This courageous man intervened and likely saved the life of his father who had been viciously attacked and knocked unconscious by a group of 6 thugs after he objected to their use of racial slurs as they walked by his home.
Despite the fact that it was 6 against 1, and despite the fact that Mr. Beechum was unable to stop this attack using physical force alone, the county attorney in Mills County brought 5 FELONY charges against Mr. Beechum for simply defending his father’s life.
And while the charges have been dropped, it does nothing to take away the 6 months of agony that Mr. Beechum undoubtedly endured as he was facing decades in the State Penitentiary and incalculable amount of legal fees.
But now that the criminal charges were dropped against Mr. Beechum, the thug who assaulted his father is now considering civil actions against Mr. Beechum!
These cases, whether you win or lose, ordinarily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to litigate. This is why we need Stand-Your-Ground in Iowa now.
So please, if you have not yet done so, sign your petition in support of Stand-Your-Ground law now!