Police suspend gun licenses after suicide

This is a discussion on Police suspend gun licenses after suicide within the The Second Amendment & Gun Legislation Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; http://www.townonline.com/arlington/...66228072529919 Police suspend gun licenses after suicide By Les Masterson/Staff Writer Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - Updated: 05:15 PM EST A 29-year-old Thorndike Street man, ...

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Thread: Police suspend gun licenses after suicide

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    VIP Member Array paramedic70002's Avatar
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    Police suspend gun licenses after suicide

    http://www.townonline.com/arlington/...66228072529919

    Police suspend gun licenses after suicide
    By Les Masterson/Staff Writer
    Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - Updated: 05:15 PM EST



    A 29-year-old Thorndike Street man, who was enrolled in a gun safety course at PSMG Gun Shop on Park Avenue, fatally shot himself at the business last Wednesday.

    Peter Hartzel, of 104 Thorndike St., was on his third day of training in the gun shop’s course. The business’ owner and gun safety teacher Paul Giragosian, 60, was standing beside the man when Hartzel put the handgun against his temple and fired the shot at about 3:30 p.m. last Wednesday. The bullet exited Hartzel’s head and grazed Giragosian, who suffered a minor injury and wasn’t taken to a hospital.

    Rescue 1 transported Hartzel to Lahey Clinic where he was pronounced dead shortly after 5 p.m.

    After the suicide, Police Chief Fred Ryan suspended Giragosian’s license to deal firearms, his gunsmithing license, his license to carry firearms and his license to possess a machine gun. Giragosian is appealing the decision, and a court day is scheduled on Feb. 12 in Cambridge District Court.

    Ryan also ordered the confiscation of the man’s firearms, but Giragosian sought and received an injunction against Ryan from Cambridge Superior Court. The court informed Ryan he should not remove Giragosian’s guns and a hearing on the issue is set in Cambridge Superior Court today.

    Ryan said his department will use all of its authority to investigate the business’ safety.

    “We will review all safety procedures used by this place of business,” said Ryan.

    This is the second time in less than five years that a customer killed himself at the Park Avenue business, which is located in Downing Square. In December 2002, Chris Chao, 28, 201 Pleasant St., suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Chao, who was licensed a short time before police revoked his license prior to the incident, was left alone in the downstairs firing range when he fired the fatal shot.

    Police suspended Giragosian’s license to sell firearms for 31 days at the time. Ryan added that police asked Giragosian to complete a firearm safety course, submit to inspections and comply with all gun licensing laws.

    In addition, police shut down PSMG last year after an unannounced inspection found Giragosian’s dealer license had expired. Police also alleged that Giragosian had an unsecured rifle in the store, which Giragosian denied. He said the firearm was not a rifle and did not require a trigger lock. Police sought a criminal complaint in Cambridge District Court, which was later dismissed.

    “The case was not dismissed because I was a good guy,” said Giragosian, adding about the chief, “He was a liar.”

    Giragosian said Ryan is singling him out. The shop owner said Ryan, as the licensing authority, is to blame for issuing a gun license to Hartzel. It’s the police’s responsibility to review a person’s character and their record before issuing licenses. However, Ryan said Hartzel had not applied for a license before enrolling in the gun safety course.

    Regarding the 2002 suicide, Giragosian said police did not alert him that they had revoked Chao’s license to carry. If he had known, Giragosian said, he wouldn’t have allowed Chao to shoot in his firing range.

    Ryan said there is a loophole in the law in which there is no way to inform gun shops when a person’s license to carry has been revoked. Police would have no way of knowing where a person is enrolled in a gun safety course so they can warn the person’s instructor. In fact, by law, a person whose license has been revoked can still enroll in a gun safety course, Ryan said.

    The chief said the fact remains that Chao was left unsupervised in the shooting range the day he killed himself in 2002.

    Giragosian has owned PSMG for nearly 30 years, and said before Ryan became chief in 1999 the business owner did not have any problems with police.

    “I always had a clean record,” said Giragosian, adding there have been two suicides during Ryan’s time as the licensing authority in Arlington but none previously.

    When asked to comment on Giragosian’s charge, Ryan said, “I take my responsibility to enforce the firearm safety laws very seriously. I’ll continue to do so. I don’t want to comment on how matters were handled by previous administrations.”

    The shop owner added that three months after the 2002 suicide he thwarted another suicide at his shop. He said a woman entered the store and asked that Giragosian train her. The shop owner said he told her to go through the gun licensing process, but the woman refused and offered him $4,000 for a loaded gun because she wanted to kill herself.

    Giragosian said he sat with the woman for 15 minutes and talked her out of killing herself. He also called police, he said, and she was taken to an area hospital to receive help. Seven months later, she called Giragosian to thank him for saving her life, he recalled.

    “Where was Ryan then?” asked Giragosian.
    Giragosian said he needs his licenses back so he can reopen his store and support his family.

    “I’m losing money every hour, every second,” said Giragosian about his closed store.

    If Giragosian does not get his licenses back, he warned he will seek litigation.

    “The town is going to be sued very, very highly,” he said. “(Ryan) has demeaned my character.”
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

    Guns Save Lives. Paramedics Save Lives. But...
    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Sounds like a lefty scapegoat scenario, where his is the dumb luck of running a place where suicides go to practice and to simultaneously have a vindictive police chief. And the police withdraw his ability to do business? I'd think a judge would need to be involved to yank all of that. The justifications include that the shooter was left unsupervised on the range? Hell, that's true of most any indoor range I know of, and a few outdoor ranges. Doesn't make the business responsible for not having jumped on the guy in the 1sec it would take to cap one's self.

    My guess: He and his attorney wins a decently large award from the city.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array Spectre's Avatar
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    Seems to be a growing problem...people just rent a gun at a range and shoot themselves. You can't see what people are thinking, and this range owner actually talked a lady down!

    Also, it's a moot point whether or not somebody has a permit to carry if they want to go through a safety course. Only a convicted felon cannot be in possession of a firearm.

    Ryan needs a smackdown and fast.

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Oh wait...this is Massachusetts...that's why the police have all of this power...

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    Senior Member Array briansmech's Avatar
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    maybe they should focus more on why the people of this community want to kill themselves so much instead of where and how theyre doing it...

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    Way to run over the gun owners right to support his family, with reasoning susices cannot happen out of a gun range. the PD chief sounds like a typical dumb political person.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


    Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

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    VIP Member Array Tom G's Avatar
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    Its not right to put the man out of business due to this. I don't think any one saw this coming. The shop owner was convicted on the spot with out evidence to back it up. The sheriff was wrong. what would have happened if this had of happened on the sidewalk down the street. I hope the owner comes out okay. he should file a law suit,

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Judge, jury and executioner. The police chief is a gun-grabbing violator of rights. He's gonna have a large asterisked item in the fiscal year summary, this year, one that's going to be hard to wish out of existence: the "unwarranted, unnecessary, punitive and vindictive action fund." It's going to cover a very large lawsuit by this man's business/estate.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
    Thoughts: Justifiable self defense (A.O.J.).
    Explain: How does disarming victims reduce the number of victims?
    Reason over Force: The Gun is Civilization (Marko Kloos).
    NRA, GOA, OFF, ACLDN.

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    Member Array ethereal's Avatar
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    No one is arguing this wasn't a suicide, so I don't understand the police chief's actions. The shop/range owner provides a place to shoot - and the fellow chose to end his life. Tragic, but I agree with ccw9mm, it can happen so fast.

    Even if you're standing right next to them, you'd have a tough time stopping someone determined to end their life with a gun on a range during a class.
    Protect your family. Reload. Call 911.

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    Maybe the next suicidal person will be nice enough to do the deed in the sheriff's office.
    George

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. Albert Einstein

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    Distinguished Member Array lowflyer's Avatar
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    They need to outlaw shooting yourself at gun stores.
    Whatever doesn't kill you postpones the inevitable.

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccw9mm View Post
    Judge, jury and executioner. The police chief is a gun-grabbing violator of rights.
    This police chief is sickening.

    I want to address his "logic."

    He claims that there is a need to take away Giragosian's license(s) because Mr. G. failed to stop a suicide?? How exactly is it supposed to be possible to know someone's mind, that they're going to commit suicide?

    Further, if a person picks up a gun and suddenly puts it to his temple and pulls the trigger, how is anyone else supposed to physically prevent that from happening?!

    This is insanity. There is no other word for it. The chief is holding this businessman accountable for not stopping something that no one should have any expectation he would have the power to stop. I don't care if the guy has had a dozen suicides happen in his shop. They are not within anyone's power to prevent. The guy was there for a gun safety class. What is the instructor supposed to do, demand confidential medical and mental health records of all prospective students, and screen (using what professional psychological knowledge?) for anyone who might be suicidal before letting them near the guns?

    To demonstrate how hard it would be to prevent a determined suicide, think about this. A guy could go into Walmart and buy a box of 9mm, then go into a gun shop and ask to see a Glock 19. He could palm one single round, quickly drop it into the open chamber, thumb the slide stop, put the gun to his head, and kill himself in probably under 2 seconds. Who can step in within that time and keep it from happening.

    I'd love to read that this idiot police chief is removed from his position.

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    I googled "giragosian" and while nothing came directly up about this case, I did find this link, which shows an interesting handgun that seems pretty innovative. (At least, I've never seen anything like it commercially marketed.)

    Spartan Super Seven

    Apparently, the barrel and frame become a rigid piece, and the action moves behind it, providing better accuracy than conventional locking-barrel designs. Beyond that, I don't know anything about it. Has anyone used this kind of gun before?

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    Distinguished Member Array LenS's Avatar
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    As someone said, this is Massachusetts!!

    In MA, ALL business licenses (including so-called "state licenses") are issued or approved by the local police chief. He really doesn't need any reason to refuse to issue or suspend/revoke any license. Only appeal is the local District Court, where the local chief/PD are "ever present" working criminal cases. As a prominent firearms attorney told me some 20+ years ago, it is damn near unheard of for a District Court judge to overrule any police chief on anything!

    Of course anyone with three working brain cells can tell you that if someone picks up a gun for training and suddenly puts it to his head, your reaction time in trying to prevent the suicide is NOT going to be fast enough to do any good. In this case, the shop owner was allegedly standing beside him and was also struck by the same bullet. Thus he certainly was within a "span of control" with his student . . . it's just impossible to prevent something like this.

    - Police chiefs here are "political animals", appointed and fired by the local board of selectmen (city council or mayor in larger cities) at their whim. Thus, their continued employment depends on kissing the asses of the local BOS (and boss).

    - There appears to be a strong flavor of either revenge or a desire to do something to get rid of the gun shop totally in their town by this police chief. I'll bet that his BOS is 100% behind him in doing this.

    - In MA to merely possess guns, ammo, components (including spent .22 cartridge cases) requires a LTC (I'm keeping it simple). A local chief can suspend/revoke a LTC for "suitability" with absolutely NO evidence of any wrong-doing, no hearings (only court appeal . . . see my comments above).

    - MA courts are as liberal as they come (I think that they get their training from San Fran), very weak on jailing real criminals and very hard on "politically incorrect" but otherwise law-abiding citizens. I wouldn't take any bets on the shop owner winning all the battles required to get back all his licenses and it will cost him a minimum of $25-50K in legal fees and a number of years to do it. MUCH easier to pack up and move the business to NH.
    NRA Instructor

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    I hope he sues the crap out of the city/county and wins..
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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