July 27, 2004

Ohio Ophthalmologist Stripped of Gun License

By Jim Phillips

The Athens News

In a case that is reportedly creating a buzz among local police officers and gun-rights advocates, an Athens doctor who allegedly pulled a gun during a traffic confrontation has had his concealed-carry permit temporarily suspended.

"It has been a topic of discussion in the law-enforcement community, and amongst the gun owners," confirmed Jerry Sullivan of Buchtel, who is both a county sheriff's deputy and a supporter of Ohio's new concealed-carry law.

Sullivan said the case of Dr. Jeffrey McAdoo "may set some legal precedent," as it could be the first case in the state in which a concealed-carry permit holder has pulled a gun out and claimed he did so in self-defense.

McAdoo, an ophthalmologist who practices in Athens, has pled innocent to a charge of aggravated menacing, stemming from an incident July 9 on Shafer Street. According to police, McAdoo cut off Athens resident James Kirkendall in traffic near the West Union intersection, prompting Kirkendall to approach McAdoo's vehicle to upbraid him.

McAdoo has reportedly admitted pulling a gun on Kirkendall, but claims he did so only after Kirkendall assaulted him. Kirkendall has been charged with menacing -- a lesser charge than the one McAdoo is facing -- but he denies assaulting McAdoo.

"That would be accurate," said attorney K. Robert Toy, who represents Kirkendall. "There was no assault. I don't think there's any basis for the charge (against Kirkendall)."

If Kirkendall threatened bodily harm to McAdoo, this could support a menacing charge against Kirkendall, and might also provided McAdoo with legal justification for pulling his gun, if he truly believed he was in danger of death or serious physical harm. However, Toy claimed, Kirkendall "did not make any threats."

Attorney Herman Carson, who represents McAdoo, could not be reached for comment last week.

Under Ohio law, a citizen who has a concealed-carry permit must give it up if he or she is charged with a crime of violence. The Athens County Sheriff's Office confirmed Friday that McAdoo's permit has been suspended while his case is pending, and that this is the first such suspension in the county since the state's concealed-carry law went into effect earlier this year.

Kim Norris, chief of communications for the Ohio Attorney General's office, said Friday that her agency could not determine whether any other permit holders in the state have had their permits suspended. The law has been in effect such a short time, that only one set of quarterly reports on permit holders has been submitted to the state so far by the individual counties.

"This is the only one that I know of, but that doesn't mean much," Toy said, noting that he would probably have heard only about suspensions in southeast Ohio.

Sullivan said that nationwide, suspensions of concealed-carry permits are uncommon. "The states that have concealed-carry weapons laws have a very low percentage of people that have their license suspended," he said.

Local newspapers already have received letters on the McAdoo/Kirkendall case, both supporting McAdoo's right to pull his gun, and criticizing him for doing so. The case could conceivably clarify legal issues such as when a concealed-carry permit holder has justification to brandish his weapon in public.

"I've got a big question about that, and so does everybody else in the state," Toy said.

Sullivan said he knows both McAdoo and Kirkendall personally, and has no idea who was at fault in the incident. If no independent witnesses are found in addition to the two men and Kirkendall's teenage son, who was in his vehicle, it may be difficult for a court to get at the truth of what happened, he suggested.

Sullivan noted that McAdoo is an experienced gun enthusiast. "He's a very competent shooter," he said. "He's very familiar with firearms."

Both men have court dates in Athens County Municipal Court Aug. 17.


Posted by Admin at July 27, 2004 10:29 PM