Are Firearms The Real Problem or People Who Abuse them?

With the escalating scourge of mass killings, we are obliged to examine both the underlying causes of and potential solutions to drastically reduce mass shootings, by those with depraved and evil minds, sociopaths, psychopaths, terrorists and barbarians who without any conscience (morals) whatsoever use military style assault weapons and/or stockpile and then utilize huge quantities of bullets and large quantities of ammunition magazines to murder innocent and unsuspecting individuals regardless of age, race, sex,  .

It is noteworthy, the subject of colossal shootings is complex and there are clearly two sides of the equation. Moreover, these concerns are not new; sadly and repeatedly have political overtones. Hence, it is hoped the reader of this blog will perform his/her own search on the internet to review state and federal firearms laws, exceptions, limitations and other issues, including actual statistics. We should be mindful that these are serious and horrific acts, yet we need to acknowledge there also are far more deaths that are due to other causes (such as deaths due to driving under the influence, but for the sake of this comment only and albeit an over simplification and generalization, but we do not outlaw or seriously limit the sale &/or consumption of alcohol).

Proponents of gun control claim we need stricter gun control laws. Opponents claim we already have strict regulations, and in those jurisdictions that have “gun-free zone” laws in which it is prohibited from having a firearm these locations have a far higher number of shootings.

First, it is noteworthy, that the Federal Gun Control Act, enacted in 1968, establishes a list of those (such as felons) who are prohibited from possessing, obtaining or receiving firearms and ammunition. In addition, there are many other restrictions as to the sale, use, possession, transfer, etc. of such weapons. Click the following link for the 247 page Federal Firearms Regulations: Federal Reference Guide

Second, California has one of the strictest gun control laws in the United States. Yet, the recent shootings in San Bernardino, a large metropolis in California, occurred even though assault weapons were used and are already against the law. Also, California has a huge number of restrictions, such as limiting large capacity magazines that hold a dozen or more bullets. Click the following Link for the California Firearms Laws summary: California Firearms Law

Is the solution to enact tougher gun laws? If so, why did the most recent shootings occur in three states (California, Colorado and Oregon) that already have very strict gun laws?

Some pundits argue the states that have the most lenient rules and regulations regarding firearms have the lowest number of mass shootings; perhaps, because terrorists look for sites where they will not face opposition by individuals that “carry” weapons. Maybe that is one of the reasons movie theaters and malls, shopping centers, schools, churches and social centers, etc. have been the place of choice and selected by such terrorists. These same pundits encourage individuals to arm them self to be able to defend and/or fight back; they note that police cannot be on every corner and the drive time to respond is too great to risk your death or anyone else in the interim. Some advocate we urge our legislators to pass emergency legislation to increase the number of police, sheriff and FBI, and give them the power they need to accomplish their job.

It is hoped this blog will open a further dialogue in the reoccurring debate that includes many who claim taking away &/or more severely limiting those law abiding individuals who desire to possess and/or carry firearms will not prohibit the lawless, who it seems inevitably find ways to obtain whatever weapons they desire, whether illegally or not. Choose the narrative you feel comfortable with, but be open to seeking a realistic solution that is based upon logic, reason, and, of course, our United States Constitution, and not political rhetoric. Contact your state and federal legislators to voice your opinion.

Is a University Liable for Violence on the Campus?

The California Court of Appeals was scheduled  to hear oral argument on Friday, August 7, 2015 in a case filed in 2010 by Katherine Rosen against her attacker and UCLA, which is governed by the Regents of the University of California; at the time she was a UCLA student who was stabbed and had her neck slashed during a class in an unprovoked attack by a fellow student. In the criminal case against the defendant, he was found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in a psychiatric hospital, Patton State Hospital, for an indefinite period of time.

In the civil action the plaintiff argued the university failed to properly respond to warnings about the potentially violent behavior of the defendant. This was in contrast to the defense arguments that it was a random act of violence. Proponents of civil liability contend a university owes a duty to provide a safe environment to and protect its students from others on the campus, particularly those who get treatment from the college for mental health conditions. It is a sad reality that acts of cruelty that are plainly brutal and  inhumane have become a national scourge.

Hotel rape suspect arrested, linked to park assault (Sam Spital)

Commentary by Criminal Attorney Sam Spital:

“The UT online edition of the news on December 27, 2012, reported a previous rape suspect was now arrested for assault, rape, attempted murder and false imprisonment of a hotel housekeeper. The 44 year old offender who was released after an arrest for rape in October due to insufficient evidence, was reportedly linked by DNA to both the previous and current vicious crimes.

The defense attorney may be faced with what is often irrefutable DNA evidence establishing guilt, however, that still leaves open the issue regarding the penalty for the crimes. This is a significant area for the experienced lawyer to set forth with compelling evidence the elements of remorse, if any, as well as mitigation.

As a criminal defense attorney, it is my considered opinion that a sentence should depend upon multiple factors and not just the proof of a crime. Here is the opportunity to view the entire panoply of facts, issues and history regarding both the crime and the defendant. For example, the life and social history of the defendant as well as the lack of any prior jail &/or prison sentence are material facts and certainly highly relevant to the disposition of a case.”

Man suspected of escaping police custody, beating elderly woman with handcuffs – Good Samaritan runs suspect down, police say (Sam Spital)


“ABC Channel 10 News on November 27, 2012 posted online their account of a suspect who had been arrested in the evening hours during the past weekend for burglary of an automobile and escaped before being completely handcuffed and placed in the SDPD cruiser; and who the following morning came across a 71 year old woman he violently attacked and beat on her head with the handcuffs, one of which was still attached to his wrist. An onlooker standing nearby ran to the aid of the innocent and unsuspecting victim. The suspect ran off but was eventually caught by the Good Samaritan. No other facts were posted in regards to the original crime, and the article was devoid of any other information as to the underlying reason and/or motivation for the vicious attack. Hence, it is unclear if the suspect will be charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery, assault with intent to commit great bodily harm, elder abuse, etc.

This scenario also raises a serious question as to whether the police officer making the arrest took appropriate measures to prevent the escape of a suspect being taken into custody. Further, whether the police used adequate means in the following search of an offender, having reason to know he might be a serious danger to others. The SDPD is in the process of examining the facts and the procedures used in the within case. Clearly, a review of protocols is in order.

In addition, there is the exposure the police face in a civil lawsuit by the elderly woman whose life was placed in jeopardy as a result of possible police negligence. There are immunities that governmental entities have and, therefore, a personal injury lawyer who might be retained in such a case would have to examine all of the possibilities as well as to determine if any theory of liability exists under the facts that would provide an exception and allow for liability for the damages she sustained. The initial claim against the police would have to be filed within six months of the incident.”

–Sam Spital


Palm Springs police say Pendleton Marine assaulted cop before killing (Sam Spital)


Palm Spring police were reported to have shot and killed a Marine from Camp Pendleton, age 22, who accelerated his car at a police officer in a parking garage, refusing to turn the vehicle off as another officer attempted to climb inside the passenger window, according to the CBS Channel 8 online news of November 13, 2012. Even though one of the officers ‘repeatedly ordered the suspect to stop the vehicle,’ at the same time a fellow Marine in the passenger seat did nothing to stop the inevitable tragedy in which the driver drove toward one of the officers, who feared for his life. The car crashed and the officer that was struck was injured and treated at a local hospital in Palm Springs.

The incident occurred about 2:00am and one of the Marines was ‘visibly drunk.’ Clearly, our soldiers sustain serious challenges in serving our country, and the stress they feel on a daily basis can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol is used to cover up the damaging memories that are carved into their brain from daily (negative) military experiences. While the excruciating pain seems more tolerable when drinking, the unintended consequences and behavior that stems from the consumption could be prevented &/or controlled. Clearly, we need more and better preventive care and treatment. Of course, public intoxication and driving under the influence are far too frequently the source of criminality. Since the officers are on administrative leave, no further information was supplied in the article in order to evaluate the facts and circumstances any further.


Firemen charged with robbery, felony assault, and threatening a witness

Three firefighters in San Diego pleaded not guilty to felony charges after they were accused of fighting with a pair of brothers, robbing and threatening three brothers. The firefighters, aged, 36, 26, and 29 were charged with robbery, threatening or intimidating a witness, making criminal threats and felony assault. According to reports, the firefighters also caused great bodily injury.

The prosecution stated that one of the alleged victims was leaving a bar when he was involved in a verbal altercation with the firefighters, one of whom made a derogatory comment. The firefighters then followed the man and assaulted him. After they left the bar, the alleged victim called his brother, then pursued the firefighters and there was another fight. It was reported that one of the firemen took a wallet from one of the brothers, removed cash, and a family photo. He also threatened him and said he has pictures of his children so he should not contact law enforcement.

When a police officer drove by and approached the firemen, they found the cash, bank card, and photos of the brothers. The firefighters pleaded not guilty and could face nine years in prison if they are convicted. All were jailed the night of the fight, but posted bail. They were off-duty at the time of the incident.

One of the firemen was a 12-year veteran of the Fire-Rescue Department. According to their defense attorneys, the firemen have strong ties to the community and continue to be employed at the fire department.

Defense attorneys have stated that the brothers were the aggressors and the firemen acted in self-defense. Defendants will face potential penalties enforced by the criminal justice system as well as any personal and professional consequences of a criminal allegation.


Ratings and Reviews

BBB 10.0Samuel Eugene Spital
Samuel E. SpitalClients’ ChoiceAward 2021 Samuel Eugene SpitalClients’ ChoiceAward 2020
avvo rated 10/10 in Criminal Defense avvo rated 10/10 in Juvenile Law avvo rated 10/10 in Licensing
avvo rated 10/10 in Personal Injury Top ContributorAward 2012Samuel Eugene Spital Samuel Eugene SpitalReviewsout of 207 reviews