Thursday, November 20, 2008

Yes, This Is Stupid...

Pair arrested at RDU with gun silencers

MORRISVILLE, N.C. — Two men have been charged with carrying gun silencers in their luggage on an international flight, authorities said.

George Hope and Garry Latcham, two United Kingdom residents, flew to the Triangle last week aboard American Airlines' flight from London to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. They reported one of their bags as missing, according to an affidavit filed by an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent.

When airline workers located the bag, a customs agent examined it and found two silencers inside, the affidavit said.

Silencers are strictly regulated in the U.S.

Hope and Latcham were arrested Friday when they returned to RDU to pick up the bag. They told investigators they had bought the silencers in England and planned to give them to a friend in Roxboro whom they were visiting, according to the affidavit.
Yes sir...available at hardware stores worldwide but good for 10 years apiece in the Federal slam in the US of A!


Anonymous said...

The State Dept makes it pretty damn clear that U.S. citizens had better know the laws of the country they are travelling to unless they want to end up in the slam.

Can't say I feel sorry for these folks.

Anonymous said...

I do feel a little sorry for them. In the UK silencers are commonplace and required for some activities. They're viewed as pretty innocuous items.

Anonymous said...

I've been wondering about this a bit. I'd like to travel with a supressor, but I don't really want to put it in my checked bag for fear that it might go missing. Is it ok to carry on supressors?

Anonymous said...

I live in the same village as these guys in the UK. I know both these guys very well. This was a huge mistake on their behalf as obviously didnt know the rules and regulations regarding silencers as silencers aren't a problem in this country. Their families are incredibly worried for them, i hope the authorities see this for what this really is and do not use these guys as an example.

Anonymous said...

I live in the same village as these 2 men, they both hold legal firearms certificates in this country. They were not aware of the strict regulation laws of silencers in the US as its very common to use this in this country. Obviously as mentioned in the article these guys werent aware of this law as they otherwise would not have reported luggage missing to the authorities if they had something to hide. Hopefully all parties and regulatories will realise the guys unintentional mistake and will be released back to all their very worried family and friends.

Mitchell Hopper said...

Garry Latcham is a very good friend of mine and I have been shooting with him myself a couple of times in England.

Garry is as honest as the day is long and he would never intentionally try to smuggle illegal firemarms into another country. These silencers were a gift, I bet he wishes he wasn't so generous now!

He has two young children back home and I really hope that the court sees sense and releases both of these guys with a slap on the hand.

If you get to read this Gaz,
Good luck mate we're all thinking of you and I hope you're home soon!



vicky said...

I am the daughter of George Hope and in his defence i would like to state that my father holds a VALID FIREARMS CERTIFICATE which allows his to purchase and use silencers legally in the UK. Yes my father may have been naive to the US laws on the transport of silencers but he is by no means a criminal.

Leanne Hope

vicky said...

We write this as a family in deep distress and utter dismay over the arrest and detainment of George. George had been looking forward to his hunting holiday with his friend Garry when on Monday 17th November we received a phone call from George explaining he was being detained and since that phone call we have'nt received much more information. We are all extremely upset and life has come to a standstill not daring to move from earshot of the phone. George is a good, caring, hardworking, loving family man, his wife, 3 children and grandchild await his safe return. We hope this MISUNDERSTANDING CAN BE DRAWN TO A CLOSE SOON.

Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

We know the Hope family very well, coming from the same area in the UK and know that this has been a simple mistake on their part which has been taken out of context due to naiveity of US laws which differ so dramatically from the UK on the same matter..
I hope this and the above comments are seriously taken into account when the case is examined further and we hope to see George and his friend returning to their families as soon as possible..

Danni.. Nick..

susan said...

To all the people with no sympathy for Garry and George do you honestly think they would have jepardised their family lives if they thought that they could end up in jail for this. I am Garrys partner who is left at home with two children not knowing what is going on our one year old just keeps shouting of his daddy and an eight year old who cant stop crying as for me I am living in hell and just want this to be over so we can get back to our family life. I am praying while shedding many tears that this is seen for the genuine mistake that it is and send Garry home.

Anonymous said...

andria and cheryl would just like to say we are thinking of george and garry and their famlies.

Anonymous said...

This whole matter has been blown out of proportion.
I know both Garry Latcham and George Hope very well.
They are both honest decent family men with wives and children who have nothing to gain from this situation. It was a genuine honest mistake.
Here in the UK, we have the strictest Gun laws in the world, Handguns are banned outright. The right to own a handgun was withdrawn from UK citizens many years ago. They were taken from people and compensation was paid for their removal.
Again similar laws were applied to self loading rifles of a calibre above .22, and these were removed from people also. Our laws here are the most stringent in the World.
Both of these guys legally hold firearms for sporting purposes.
What seems to differ here is that in the UK, the purchase of a sound moderator is perfectly acceptable for use in conjunction with a firearm.
They are also allowed to be fitted to an air weapon so their purchase is not restricted, only when it is fitted to a firearm is it required to be entered onto a certificate.
They are a necessary piece of equipment when conducting vermin control over here in the UK.
It therefore stands to reason that if any one of these two men were of Criminal Intent, they would not be legal holders of weapons here in the UK.
Both Garry and George are 100% genuine guys.
I therefore urge the Authorities to look at this realistically and see that no harm was meant by their actions.

They both need their families and their families need them too.

I hope this matter is resolved quickly and they are returned to their families here in the UK.

Anonymous said...

let george n garry go home there familys need them

Anonymous said...

Anybody that thinks these two men deserve no sympathy and should not be released immediately is a fool.They should be ashamed of themselves.They reported the bag containing the silencers lost so obviously they were not hiding anything. The U.S authorities should be ashamed of themselves for not sending these men home. If it had been two american men in England there would have been uproar. In America it is acceptable to hold a license and purchase a gun... so therefore are you saying as long as it makes a loud bang when you shoot it is acceptable? And as for the comments about the laws of the country you are travelling to why didnt the original check in inform these men that the state they were going to had made these items illegal? Being naive is no excuse for being held in custody with your families worried to death, without so much as a phone call.

Anonymous said...

Does everyone know every law, even there own country,i think not,as for gary and george, guys i have known all my adult life,these lads are hard working people ,they would never harm anyone,i have the village shop and have had gary and george as customers for years, i know gary saved hard for this holiday george will have to ,these lads are family men ,i spoke to gary the day before they flew and him and george could hardly wait to come to the usa.jeff

bwaites said...

I CAN and DO feel sorry for these men. The U.S. Laws on suppressors are ridiculous.

My words mean nothing, but I apologize for our idiocy about this issue.

As our population rises, suppressors will be more and more necessary here, and hopefully we will take the same enlightened view as the UK about them.

I hope and pray that whatever judge sees this case will simply say, "Guys, you made a mistake, no one was hurt, go home to your families!"


Anonymous said...

I work with George and he is a top bloke. He is a hardworking guy who was looking forward to this trip immensely. Yes he has been naive and I urge the authorities to take this into consideration.But please end this and send the guys home to their families as soon as possible

Anonymous said...

To all you folks across the water:

If two Americans brought their legally owned handguns into the UK in their checked baggage and it was discovered by the cops, are you telling me the cops would not throw them in the slam? That they would immediately be sent home with a "sorry about that old chap"? Don't think so.

It doesn't matter if every gun owner in the U.S. thinks the prohibition against silencers is stupid.

And posting here on this blog isn't going to help get your buds released. You would be better off contacting the State Department.

Anonymous said...

We live in the same village as George and Garry and are very good friends with the Hope family. Both George and Garry are 100% genuine men and this has been a massive mistake. George and Garry are both family men who enjoy shooting as a sport and both hold fire arms certificates. These two men would not hurt a fly, they work hard for a living and looked forward to this trip.The authorities must realise that this has been a genuine mistake and let both George and Garry come home to there families and friends.

Anonymous said...

I'm not posting here to interfere in American law, but lets try and put this in propective.
Yes the families want them home as any family would.
Laws between the USA & UK appear to differ considerably here.
Its OK for one or two of the American guys to say they have no sympathy, but thats very rich coming from a place where you can ( or could ) openly walk into a shop a buy a handgun over the counter with no questions asked.

Sound moderators in this country are used purely for attachment to a weapon for use in conjunction with vermin control, and for no other such use, and that would have been the thoughts of these two lads at the time. There was NO criminal intent on their behalf.

Been kept in custody for what would be a trivial matter here is outrageous.

If I knew where to send it, then I would send these comments here, to the relevant department in the US.

I just hope the Authorities over the other side of the pond take this into account when making their decision.

Anonymous said...

People here in their home village cant believe what Garry and George are being accused of,,, They are both law abiding and family men. Common sense says if they had anything to hide they would hardly of gone back to claim a bag...
I think this is US law gone too far
Thinking of you both and your families,,,

Anonymous said...

Guilty, yes of naiveity. No sympathy! come on our good American friends. If you have never made a mistake in your life then judge away otherwise put yourselves in the shoes of these guys,jailed in a foreign country with their families going out of their minds with worry. Take this for what it is, an honest mistake, a holiday gone terribly wrong and lives changed by the horror of it all. Do you really think these guys would have happily rocked up to collect their bag had they been intent on wrong doing......

To Garry, Susan and family, we are thinking of you and hope that this will end for you soon.

Anonymous said...

"that my father holds a VALID FIREARMS CERTIFICATE which allows his to purchase and use silencers legally in the UK."

"only when it is fitted to a firearm is it required to be entered onto a certificate."

Still feel no symapthy for these two gents. If these two statements are correct then suppressors ARE regulated in the UK. They must b listed on a firearms certificate.

Which means these two gents should have asked themselves:are suppressors regulated in the US? A simple google or wiki search would have revealed that suppressors are heavily regulated in the US and are generally verboten.

As stated before, the US State Dept makes it clear that American citizens travelling abroad must know the laws of the nation in which they are travelling. For those intelligent enough to read between the lines the state dept makes it clear there isn't much the US can do if you are charged with a crime in a foreign nation.

So, if suppresors are regulated in the UK why in hell did these guys not think they were regulated in the US!?

paul longstaff said...

i am a life long friend of george and gary, i took these two guys to the airport who where looking forward to a shooting trip in america, i dont think these two guys would of took these silencers knowing what the consequences would be christmas is just around the corner and there familys need them home, send them home soon from best friend slim

Anonymous said...

Beats me why all these guys friends and family are posting on this blog? Talk about naive.

It would be a hell of a lot better time spent to be raising money, finding an appropriate lawyer (has this NOT been done?), or even chatting with the NRA.

NY State arrests US CITIZENS transferring between airports with firearms. Why should these guys be different? Wacky laws yes. But that is the law.

As one who used to arrest folks for these international legal fine points, I used to warn folks that "people go to jail for the difference between nada and nada mas". So when traveling, carry clean undies, local money and a cheap camera. That makes for a really enjoyable trip.

Anonymous said...

Silencers ARE NOT not regulated in the UK.
Anyone can go and buy one. You dont need a certifcate to buy one either.
They can be fitted to air weapons. Air weapons are not regulated in the UK. There is only a minimum age applied to purchase, possession etc.
The only stipulation is that if you have and use one in conjunction with a rifle, it has to be added to a Firearms certificate to say it is been used on that rifle. And thats it !!

Anonymous said...

A pair of nice guys made a mistake. how can no symphaty be felt for familys of these two men? its not the familys fault what has happened!! and may i suggest mr Anonymous, that if you your self have never made a mistake the carry on, otherwise take your snotty comments elsewhere! this may just be abit of news to you but to these men and there family life has took a bad change and the children and grandchildren of these men with be without them at christmas time. just think of who u hurt before you speak!

Anonymous said...

Yes exactly, you American guys who show no sympathy, these 2 guys have made a mistake.
They aren't terrorists, they are simply 2 Brit guys who flew out for a hunting trip with one of of your fellow citizens in the US.
They have families, children, wives and partners.
If you have nothing nice to say then keep your then keep your nasty comments to yourself.

Anonymous said...

can i just say to all of you nasty americans making negative comments, to please think before you speak. these two men have devstated famalies who have enough to deal with without reading this horrible remarks by you guys who are normally 'trigger happy' to say the least. the difference here is that these are two genuine guys with a legal intent. as a person who knows garry well, i can guarantee that this was a genuine mistake that has been blown way out of proportion by you lot! (remember who you guys come running to when the usa screw up!)

to garry, susan, elisha and charlie - good luck to you all, thinking of you!
gemma robinson x

Anonymous said...

erm, like world war 2 eh Gemma....... mmmm

jo said...

Let the lads come home Christmas is just around the corner and their kids need their dads home. Dont you think they have suffered enough held in jail for a simple mistake made. They are two lovely lads from a small village in the North of England and wouldnt hurt anyone just true family men. Keep your chin up lads see you soon
Marc, Joanne, Callum & Ollie Roe

Anonymous said...

just like world war two eh? -mmm It only took the USA 4 years to get involved, even then they had to be dragged into it.
Us brits are very proud of our nations history and for what we have acheived over the centuries for such a small nation. We changed the world!
Mostly though, we are proud of the fact that we are a nation built on common sense - a quality that seems more and more to be lacking in the good old USA.
Garry and George are only guilty of an error of judgment, they are loving family men with absolutely no malice or ill intentions at all, who's family need them now.
In Britain, I am certain that this would have been seen for what it is, a genuine mistake.
Send Garry and George home now, they and their families have suffered enough.

Anonymous said...

They come from Howden, so what do you expect....Aycliffe boys rule

Anonymous said...

the crack about being from howden and aycliffe boys rule, how stupid dont you think the families of george and garry will c that. a genuine mistake has been made here the lads and there familes need support not stupid wise cracks like that

Andrew said...

let's not get into a slagging match, most people in Great Britain realise the contribution the USA made during both world wars was paramount in defeating the forces of evil. This situation is not GB v USA. As Garry is my Brother in Law and George is a family friend all we want is common sense to prevail and get these boys home to their families, who are beside themselves with worry, it was a genuine if silly mistake, but no mailce or criminal intent was intended. With the help of the legal teams working on their behalf we are sure that Garry and George are receiving the best possible assisitance. Finally let me thank all of the people that have posted positive and suportive messages it has been appreciated by both families.

Anonymous said...

I have known Gary for about 20 years and all the things that have been said about him from family and friends are true . They are 100% good guys who have made the mistake of not reading the small print on the local gun laws in NC(how many of us read the small print). Lets get things in perspective here, rather than getting into a slagging match about who did what for who and when, why not see if something can be done to help these guy's, if there is anyone in NC who knows the people who would listen could you either print these comments and send them on, in a hope that they might just take a lenient view,
or post the email address on this site of the authority that may just take these comments into account.
Good luck Gary i hope they see sense .

Anonymous said...

I would just like to say how great the news is that Garry and George are now home, and that common sense has finally prevailed. Garry is also my brother in law and one of the nicest men that I have met and it is such a relief to everyone that this is finally over - just in time for Christmas.

With regards to getting this thing into perspective however (regarding references to the war etc) Lets do get this into perspective. If someone is leaving unthoughtful comments regarding Garry and also bringing the second world war into the equation then it is a persons right (my right) to defend them.

Nobody should ever forget the war and the whole of Great Britain will never forget the sacrifices made by millions of americans in helping free the world.

The point is though that some americans have the view that they won the war single handed and lets face it have gone on from there to think that they own the world and can do what they want, proved entirley by th fact that an american brought it up.

I am a very hardworking average man with two kids and I really worry for them growing up in a world that seems to be more and more dangerous every year because it has been affected by paranoid and crazy actions taken by america.

If people leave unthoughtful comments about Garry and my country then they sould be defended. If having a backbone enough defend your family to say what you feel is wrong, then I make no apologies.

Good luck Garry and George, hope that you get back to normality very soon.

Myself, Emma and the kids are over the moon that you are back.