A Pennsylvania hunter who was mistaken for a turkey in a shooting has been awarded $4 million by a judge.
Michael Hobbins was blinded and suffered aneurysms after the hunting accident in 2010. Hobbins was hunting turkey in Union County, Pennsylvania. So was Leroy Miller.
Miller was reportedly stalking a turkey from behind a tree when he heard a noise and took a shot. Unfortunately, the source of the noise was Hobbins and not a turkey, reports Harrisburg's WHP-TV.
Hunting is an inherently risky activity. After all, it involves armed individuals trying to kill living creatures. So while it is not uncommon to read about a hunting accident, you may be wondering what happened in this Pennsylvania forest to lead to a judge handing down a $4 million award.
Michael Hobbins' lawyer said that this is not really a case about a hunting accident. Instead, he said it is a case about a person (Miller) who had no business carrying a gun in the first place.
Miller is a convicted felon. And under Pennsylvania law, he should not have had possession of a gun, whether it be for hunting or any other purpose, WHP-TV reports.
Pennsylvania has some of the nation's toughest gun laws. The state requires background checks from those purchasing guns, and prohibits certain people from owning guns completely, The Scranton Times Tribune explains. Prohibited individuals can include felons, illegal immigrants, and those declared mentally defective by the courts.
Because Miller is a felon and should not have been out there hunting with a gun in the first place, Hobbins' lawyer believes that the judge wanted to send a message with the $4 million award -- the message being that individuals who are not supposed to be in possession of firearms will face severe penalties if they are caught with such a weapon.
- Union County judge hands down $4 million verdict in hunting accident (The Daily Item)
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- How to Restore Gun Rights After a Felony (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Can Felons Legally Own Muzzle Loading Guns? (FindLaw's Blotter)