As reported, Darrell Jerome Ross shot and killed Edward Mitchell Perry Jr. after Perry entered Ross’ home with a gun, looking for someone with whom he had had a disagreement. Before Ross was able to fatally shoot Perry in self defense, Perry managed to non-fatally shoot another person in the house. Normally this is where the story would end, as police believe the shooting was justified self defense. However Ross had a previous felony conviction, which makes it unlawful for him to have a gun. As a result, Ross is being charged with possession of a firearm by a felon.
As I’ve discussed before, convicted felons are prohibited from owning guns by the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, as well as state laws. While I don’t necessarily have a problem with prohibiting someone convicted of attempted murder from owning a gun, I am concerned by the fact that many crimes are now felonies, including rather disproportionate examples (such as the fact that passing a stopped school bus, even if no injury/collision results, is a felony in Alabama). It just strikes me as unjust for this man to be prosecuted for gun possession when his actions stopped a criminal from committing one (or more) murders. While the law is what it is, this seems to me like the kind of case where a prosecutor should exercise discretion, and not charge the man whose stopped the shooter.