"Super Dell" Defends His Actions

"Super Dell" Defends His Actions

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Richard Piatt ReportingCommunity support for 'Super Dell' Schanze is mixed the day after a weapon charge against him was made public. Schanze is charged with Threatening with a Weapon in a Fight after an incident in Draper on May 21st.

A key part of Schanze's legal case is the question of whether he was justified in drawing his weapon in that argument. That part will be played out in court. As it turns out, it has for Schanze in the past.

In this most recent case, Dell Schanze says he pulled his gun because he did feel he and his eight-year old daughter were in danger.

Dell Schanze: "When bad guys attack you, you're supposed to be prepared to defend yourself. Self defense, absolutely self defense."

But at least 11 witnesses in the Draper neighborhood disagree. Some of them followed Schanze to the end of their street for an angry confrontation over his speeding through their neighborhood. One of the men threatened to damage Schanze's Jaguar with a rock, after which Schanze pulled his gun.

For Schanze there is a lot riding on his version of the story. Utah law is clear, pulling a gun in public is only justified if a person's safety is in question.

Ed McConkie, Utah Bureau of Criminal Identification: "The training for concealed weapons they train you over and over and over that if you pull a weapon, you better be ready to use it and it better be justified."

Even among firearms rights advocates there are differences of opinion over Schanze's justification for pulling his weapon. Janalee Tobias of Women Against Gun Control has strong feelings about brandishing a gun, and about speeding through neighborhoods, too.

Janalee Tobias, Women Against Gun Control: "A gun is absolutely the absolute last resort that you ever use in any kind of confrontation."

Dell Schanze has always been a colorful public figure. But court records show Schanze was making a name for himself in the legal system through the 1990's. There are at least 25 traffic and weapons cases on record against Schanze since 1990. They include a charge of brandishing a gun in a shopping mall, exploding a pipe bomb in the early 90's, and a number of speeding, and reckless driving charges. Some were dismissed.

If phone calls and e-mail responses are any indication, Schanze has a lot of people who support him and his right to protect himself, but there are just as many people who feel strongly that pulling a gun in this neighborhood argument was not appropriate.

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