Aesop’s Lost It

Earlier today, I wrote about why I disagree with Aesop about charging Alec Baldwin for killing Halyna Hutchins.

Aesop hates it when people bring up the four basic rules of safe firearms handling.

Hoo boy.

The “Four Rules” have no place in criminal law. Not anywhere, in 50 states of 7 US territories, nor anywhere else on the planet, nor in any legal or criminal code extant.

First, Aesop in correct in one respect: those words are not in § 30-2-3, under which Baldwin is to be charged.

“Involuntary manslaughter consists of manslaughter committed in the commission of an unlawful act not amounting to felony, or in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death in an unlawful manner or without due caution and circumspection.”

However, the prosecutor most certainly can use the Four Rules, commonly accepted standards in the firearm training industry… the firearms industry, for that matter — every new firearm I’ve bought came with a manual with those rules printed in it, every firearm class I’ve taken spells them out, they’ve appeared in virtually every industry magazine I’ve ever read — to describe just how Baldwin acted “without due caution and circumspection.”

Aesop might as well claim that Badlwin shouldn’t be charged because § 30-2-3 doesn’t specifically say not to point a load gun at people and pull the trigger when you don’t even know if it’s loaded. Those words aren’t there either.

“Without due caution and circumspection” are, and the Rules illustrate what due caution and circumspection look like.

Clearly I’ll need to stop visiting Aesop’s blog for a while, until he chills out and regains some of his senses.


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2A advocate, writer, firearms policy & law analyst, general observer of pre-apocalyptic American life.

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