This may sound like it has to be satirical but it is not; it is a real story that demonstrates just how far some states have strayed from common sense when it comes to gun laws. The back story is also an indictment of stand your ground laws. Not surprisingly, it takes place in Seminole County Florida, if that sounds familiar it should — it’s the same county that allowed George Zimmerman to walk free after killing Trayvon Martin.
In 2012 40 year old John Wayne Rogers, who is legally blind, and drinking buddy 34 year old James T. DeWitt got together at Rogers’ home for an all night drinking session. The next morning they made a beer run and resumed drinking.
At some point they began to argue and Rogers retreated to his bedroom and returned carrying a .308 Remington rifle with which he shot DeWitt in the chest from approximately 18 inches away.
Rogers claims that DeWitt was charging at him but DeWitt’s girlfriend, Christina Ann Robertson who was also present tells a different story. She says that the two men had been “play fighting” as they often did and that Rogers retrieved the rifle and shot DeWitt with no provocation.
In January Circuit Judge John Galluzzo granted Rogers immunity from prosecution under the state’s stand your ground law setting him free.
Last Friday Galluzzo ordered that Rogers rifle and a 10 mm Glock handgun both confiscated at the time of his arrest be returned to him saying that he did not want to return them but that he could find nothing in the law to allow him to refuse to do so.
This is where Florida’s gun laws in general are shown to be seriously deficient.
Rogers has a long history of violent behavior and has been arrested and convicted several times yet the law in Florida still allows him to own firearms.
Among his past convictions is one for domestic violence, a charge which would forever bar him from owning a firearm in most states, yet in Florida, the fact that he was convicted and sentenced to probation for that charge does not limit his right to possess a gun.
In the domestic violence case he was convicted in, Rogers fired 15 rounds at his cousin and roommate, Michael Rogers. His probation was revoked a year later and he was sentenced to 71 days in jail after he pushed and punched a woman.
With all of the factors in this case taken as a whole, a blind man with a penchant for heavy drinking and violence who has had multiple arrests for violent incidents common sense would dictate that he be forbidden from ever possessing a weapon again, but in Florida, common sense is overruled by a wide open interpretation of the Second Amendment.
The only thing about the ruling that made any sense at all was that the judge did rule that the ammunition confiscated be forfeit since it was too old and unsafe.
Watch a news report on the case below.