A Utah man who says he wanted to prove that he shouldn’t be able to have a gun may get his wish now that he’s been charged with a felony.
Police in Tooele County, Utah say that 33-year-old Spenser Terrell Thomas was arrested on Saturday after pointing what appeared to be a firearm at a local police officer. Thomas was apparently riding an electric scooter down the road when he spotted the officer and approached him.
The officer, parked on the west side of the road, reportedly watched the suspect from his passenger rear view mirror and saw that Thomas began slowing down while he approached the front passenger side of the patrol car.
The probable cause affidavit states the officer rolled down his window as it appeared Thomas wanted to speak with him.
Upon doing so, the officer reportedly observed Thomas put his arm inside the vehicle while holding a handgun that appeared to be tan and black in color, pointing it down towards the officer’s right leg.
The officer says he ordered Thomas to drop the gun multiple times before quickly exiting the vehicle and withdrawing his firearm from his holster.
Thomas allegedly dropped the gun in the front passenger compartment of the vehicle and stepped away.
The affidavit states that Thomas told the officer he had wanted to turn the gun in to “try to get gun regulations changed” and to “prove a point that he shouldn’t be able to have a gun.”
The “gun” turned out to be a “pepper ball style handgun” loaded with a “hard rubber/foam style projectile ball,” but the officer had no way of knowing that until he was able to get a closer look at it after Thomas dropped the weapon.
The officer, understandably, told Thomas that he had nearly been shot as a result of his stunt, and then took him away to the Tooele County Jail on a felony charge of assault on a peace officer with a deadly weapon.
I suppose it’s possible that he was mentally unstable or trying to commit suicide by cop, but so far the evidence points to Thomas simply being a moron who didn’t think about the consequences of his actions. What was he thinking was going to happen as a result of this stunt? Police would be so overcome by his actions that they too would immediately start calling for more gun control? Maybe the passage of “Spenser’s Law” requiring all would-be gun owners to demonstrate they’re not a dumbass before being “allowed” to exercise their Second Amendment rights?
On the off chance that Thomas was in the midst of a mental health crisis I hope he gets the help he needs, but if this really was, as he told the officer, a stunt to “prove a point” then I think the criminal justice system should give him a lesson in how gun laws actually work, even in a state as Second Amendment-friendly as Utah. A felony conviction is a disqualifying factor for gun ownership, so if Thomas doesn’t want to be able to legally get ahold of a gun then prosecutors should oblige by taking this case to trial and securing a conviction. There’s no need to change any existing regulations. Just enforce the laws already on the books and Thomas can sleep soundly knowing that he’s proved his point and is no longer able to lawfully possess a firearm.