Man caught with 150 guns documented previous ‘nightmare’ of gun hoarding, involuntary commitment
Interesting enough story from three separate Pittsburgh news outlets this morning (including Trib Total Media, where I’m a staff writer) about a guy named Russell Laing, 52, who was found with 150 guns in his suburban Pittsburgh apartment after local officers “got a call from someone requesting an ambulance.”
From the Trib:
[Laing] faces several felony charges, including four counts of terroristic threats, two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of reckless endangerment, McCandless police Chief Gary Anderson said.
Anderson said police got a call from someone requesting an ambulance to come the Presidential Arms apartment complex, 9815 Presidential Drive, about 1 a.m. yesterday. When officers arrived, they found the door to the third-floor unit slightly ajar.
Officers called out the name of the man inside, got no answer and went in. Inside, they found a man seated on a couch with an assault rifle in his hands.
“He cocked it in front of the officers,” Anderson said. “At that moment, their safety was at risk.”
The officers left the apartment and dispatched Allegheny County police for help. A SWAT team came to the scene to try to convince the man to come out.
Authorities removed the man from the apartment just after 5 a.m.
But despite loaded sentences like, “Police say they were familiar with Laing, but would not elaborate on how,” apparently either 1) no one thought to Google the guy’s name or look him up on the local UJS portal of magisterial docket sheets, or 2) my standards for investigation are low and bloggy. Regardless, it turns out the guy has a bit of a past. Behold “The Russel [sic] Laing Story” from the Gun Owners Alliance:
Today my gun collection still sits, I suppose, in the garage of the WDPD where they placed it after stealing it from my home. They refused to answer a certified letter sent in October 1997 to provide a lawfully required listing of the property they had taken from my home. During the course of my petition to vacate/expunge my 302 record, they filed a cleverly worded statement with the court implying that they could not open the gun safe that they dragged out of my home (how did they know it had/has guns in it?)…even though I personally unlocked it for them after they threatened to destroy it. But my story is not about the illegal and outrageous actions of a few local police officers who deviated from the honorable and trustworthy profession of law enforcement. My story is about legislation which was passed unanimously by Pennsylvania legislators which actually writes into law provisions that deliberately circumvent the PA and United State’s constitutionally provided right to due process under the law…so that just about anyone can “cry-witch” against any lawful abiding gun owner, as was done to me, and take their right to own firearms, their lawfully owned valuable property, their personalliberty, and their reputation with less due process than would be need to assess a parking fine!
The gist here is that according to Laing himself, this exact same “Officers Find Ridiculous Amount Of Guns Inside Apartment” situation happened in April 1996. Despite having been involuntarily committed to a mental institution (that’s a “302” here in Allegheny County), Laing was later allowed to become a legal gun owner.
Some interesting unanswered questions remain: Who made the call “requesting an ambulance” in this recent gun hoarding scenario? And why? And what sort of event was Laing experiencing when he decided to open his front door “slightly” and “cock” his assault rifle in front of police officers?
If previous literature is any indication, I’m guessing this is not the last we’ll hear from Russell Laing (who also has some other interesting drug and prostitution related charges that have been withdrawn from his record (PDF)).