Drew Peterson had a small gun, but his lawyers say there's nothing wrong with that.
Peterson's legal team summed up its arguments to have his felony gun case tossed before it goes to trial, but the judge presiding over it is waiting until next month before he hands down his decision.
A shackled Peterson, who also faces a murder charge in connection with the drowning of his third wife and is suspected of slaying his missing fourth wife as well, watched passively Tuesday as two of his six attorneys argued to have his gun case dismissed. Peterson was arrested in May 2008 and charged with possessing a semi-automatic assault rifle with a barrel short of the state-mandated 16 inches.
One of Peterson's attorneys, Steven Greenberg, insisted that Peterson is immune from prosecution because he carried the weapon while serving as a Bolingbrook police officer.
"Police officers are allowed to carry guns and they're allowed to carry guns that would otherwise be illegal," said Greenberg, who added, "There's a different set of rules for police officers."
Another of Peterson's attorneys, Joel Brodsky, launched a rambling argument in which he suggested that soldiers in the revolution might have armed themselves with a similar-sized rifle, apparently clearing the way for his client to have one more than two centuries later.
"If you would have mustered a militia at the time of the revolution, what kind of weapons would the militia have shown up with?" Brodsky asked, then answered that, "You would have seen people showing up with pistols and showing up with rifles of all different lengths. Because of that, it cannot be banned."
The rifle in question was surrendered to the state police by Peterson's son Stephen Peterson in November 2007. Less than a week before, Peterson's fourth wife, Stacy Peterson, vanished, never to be seen again.
In the wake of Stacy's disappearance, Drew Peterson anticipated a police search of his home, Stephen Peterson testified last month, and did not want to lose that particular gun to the law. Stephen Peterson said it was on of his father's "favorites."
Two days before the state police got around to raiding Drew Peterson's house and seizing numerous other firearms, along with his computers and automobiles, he gave it to his son for safe keeping.
Stephen Peterson faces no criminal charges in connection with accepting his father's allegedly illegal rifle, but was suspended from his job with the Oak Brook Police Department. He continues to receive his pay while awaiting a hearing.
Brodsky and Greenberg both accused the Oak Brook brass of punishing Stephen Peterson to get at his more infamous father.
"I think it's a direct result of his father perhaps being a disliked individual," Brodsky said, with Greenberg adding that the Oak Brook's higher-ups "should be ashamed of themselves."
Greenberg also slammed the state's attorney's office for bringing the gun case against Peterson in the first place.
"Prosecuting Drew Peterson for this is sort of akin to prosecuting Barack Obama for not getting his passport stamped when he goes to a foreign country," he said, adding, "Let's get on to the real case."
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