Tucson Citizen
January 15, 2004

Guilty verdict in federal land gun case

The head of the Civil Homeland Defense, convicted of carrying a firearm onto the Coronado Memorial, says he'll continue his mission.

Tucson Citizen

Not surprised by yesterday's conviction for carrying a gun into a national park last year, Chris Simcox, head of the Civil Homeland Defense, said he will not be deterred from his mission to help secure this country's borders.
"It won't change anything we do on the border," the 43-year-old publisher of the Tombstone Tumbleweed said. "It has bolstered my resolve and determination."

In a written ruling, U.S. Magistrate Judge Nancy F. Fiora found Simcox guilty of carrying a firearm on the grounds of Coronado National Memorial and lying to a park ranger about it.

He faces up to six months in prison and a fine of up to $5,000 when he is sentenced March 23.

During the nonjury trial Tuesday, defense attorney Joe Heinzl told Fiora that his client was mistaken about his location and did not intentionally violate federal law, which prohibits firearms in national parks.

Simcox was arrested on Super Bowl Sunday last year by a park ranger after he crossed a fence that separates Coronado National Memorial from private property south of Sierra Vista.

Convinced that his arrest was "politically motivated" by a park ranger who disapproves of the activities of Civil Homeland Defense, a border watchdog group, Simcox said his group has has never violated the law.

"I have proven myself, I am squeaky-clean," he said. "It's enough to just destroy every bit of faith I have in our justice system."

Simcox said he plans to appeal the conviction.