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Police Department Will Trim $3 Million From Budget By Scrapping Firearms Training

Saturday, January 14th, 2017

January 14, 2017

 

 

by Elliot Fineman

 

(satire) The Plains River Police Department (PRPD) announced today it will trim $3 million from its yearly budget by immediately ceasing firearms training of all officers. More than half of the department’s budget has traditionally gone to firearms training, a practice to now be fully phased out.

 

Asked about the new no firearms-training policy, Chief William “Willie” Johnson said the force did not realize the money was being wasted until recent testimony before the Wisconsin state legislature from Fred Doyle, a gun industry lobbyist. Doyle explained that the only way citizens can exercise their “God-given right to self-defense” is to carry a gun. “Even if they have never fired one—they can safely carry it and defend themselves because self-defense is a reflexive, intuitive act,” asserted Doyle.

 

“Why on earth would police officers need training when citizens need no training to be able to defend themselves? It makes no sense,” said Chief Johnson. “Twenty-four states now issue permits without requiring someone to ever have pulled a trigger once. Clearly firearms training of officers, and retraining which we had been doing every six months, is a waste of taxpayers’ money.”

 

Recently, federal legislation that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons anywhere in the U.S. even if they reside in the growing number of states requiring no training whatsoever or no permits has been filed by Congressman Richard Hudson, Republican of North Carolina. The states of Idaho, Mississippi, Missouri, West Virginia, Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont and Wyoming now allow “permitless carry”–carrying a concealed weapon without any training or state permits. Permitless carry will likely soon be legalized in Texas, Montana, Utah, Indiana, New Hampshire, North Dakota and South Dakota.

 

Not everyone on the Plains River force applauds the move. “How can we possibly stop crimes in progress and accurately hit human targets without frequently spending a lot of time at the range?” asked Officer Chip Andrews, 25, of Driftburg who has recently joined the force. “An officer with no firearms training is useless on the beat–and puts everyone else, civilians and officers, in danger at the same time.”

 

But Shirley Stark, a PRPD public information officer, disagrees. “Rep. Hudson’s bill already has 77 co-sponsors. Clearly all those lawmakers are not wrong. It is increasingly obvious that training to know how to handle and shoot a lethal weapon is not necessary for its appropriate use. We are happy to have identified this misappropriation of our funds.”

 

As part of its elimination of firearms training, the Plains River Police Department will shutter its 18-year-old firing range on Dunkins Road/Route 29.

 

When asked about the department decision, Mayor Rich Cooper lauded the discovery of the “regrettable waste of funds that has gone on year after year” and said he hoped the money could now be “used for the schools” or “water department upgrades.”

 

 

 

Elliot Fineman

CEO – Founder

National Gun Victims Action Council

www.gunvictimsaction.org/donate

www.gunvictimsaction.org

 

Another Legal Gun Owner With Mental Illness and Prior Violence

Sunday, January 8th, 2017

January 8, 2017

 

Like two other murderers, Florida airport murderer’s gun was returned by authorities.

 

Confessed Fort Lauderdale murderer Esteban Santiago, like 85% of mass shooters, was a legal gun owner. And, like a comparable number of mass shooters, he had severe mental illness, prior legal incidents and was known to authorities.

 

 

 

Who remembers Aaron Alexis who killed 12 at the Washington Naval Yard in 2013? His military service was checkered with misconduct and he had mental health issues but sailed through his background check and bought his murder weapon at Sharpshooters in Lorton, VA two days before his shootings. No matter that he had been previously charged in two shooting crimes.

 

Who remembers Kyle Aaron Huff who killed six at a Seattle rave? Like Santiago, police in Whitefish, MT returned Huff’s gun after they seized it when he previously shot up a public art installation. No hard feelings. (In 2014, police returned a gun seized from a dangerous man whereupon he killed his wife and himself.)

 

Like most future mass shooters, Santiago was known to authorities. He had been charged with domestic abuse, a mere misdemeanor said Justice Clarence Thomas when considering the Constitutional right to own a gun.

 

When legal gun owners kill, especially mass shootings, the gun lobby is usually silent because its official position, “criminals don’t obey laws,” is contradicted. 

But the gun lobby also thinks the “rights” of convicted felons, domestic abusers and people who have been hospitalized for mental illness to own lethal weapons are more important than their future victims.
 
After the Virginia Tech murders, NRA lobbyists pushed through a gun restoration provision for mentally ill people in national background check laws if they “will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety.” Key word “likely.”

 

“In several ways this bill is better for gun owners than current law,” boasted the NRA website because “certain types of mental health orders will no longer prohibit a person from possessing or receiving a firearm.”

 

Thanks to the gun lobby maneuver, Sam French, a Virginian who was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric facility and told authorities he heard voices, had his right to possess firearms reinstated and his gun returned after a short court hearing in 2009. Why should hearing voices intrude on his “gun rights” bellowed the gun lobby–a question now being asked in Fort Lauderdale.

 

Will the Gun Lobby Say This About Today’s Mass Shooting?

Friday, January 6th, 2017

We Don’t Need New Laws Says Gun Lobby…Except Maybe These

Sunday, December 25th, 2016

December 25, 2016

 

“How are those gun laws working out for you in Chicago?” It is the most common, snide remark we hear at NGVAC along with “F– you you anti-freedom, anti-American libtrards.”

 

For five years we have pointed out that almost 60 percent of crime guns recovered in Chicago were originally sold in states with weaker laws. Since 2009, more than 1,500 guns found at crime scenes in Chicago have come from one gun store, Chuck’s Gun Shop in suburban Riverdale. Chuck’s along with three other gun sellers not within Chicago city limits provided 20 percent of Chicago’s crime guns between 2010 and 2014.

 

The weapons used by gunmen to shoot two Chicago police officers and shoot at a downtown commuter train, crimes within days of each other in October 2014, came from–any guesses?–Indiana, the home state of Vice President-elect Pence.

 

 

Gun advocates like to play dumb about Chicago but they are the first ones to see why only federal laws work when it favors them. Who remembers the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre accusing home rule communities with laws restricting guns of “nullifying the right to carry” because people “could drive on their highways with the guns, but they couldn’t stop anywhere”?

 

The gun lobby loves to say that we do not need new gun laws; that we have enough already that simply need to be enforced and besides laws “don’t work.” Chicago is proof. Yet it is the gun lobby that used the same jackbooted lawmakers it hates to pass the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (that says you can’t sue gun makers) and the Tiahrt Amendments that prohibit using evidence of a gun dealer’s link to crime guns to revoke his license and prohibit the FBI retaining records of gun buyers who pass the National Instant Criminal Background Check beyond 24 hours.

 

I wanted to “make sure I was fulfilling the needs of my friends who are firearms dealers,” admitted Representative Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) when he spearheaded the Amendments.

 

Now, with Trump elected, the gun lobby is pushing for a federal “carry reciprocity” law that would allow concealed carry permit holders “a unilateral right to move between state lines.” Why shouldn’t someone granted the right to carry a gun in a state that requires no permits or no training whatsoever–yes there is a growing number!–not be able to walk down Fifth Avenue?

 

Chicago is far from the only city that is a violent casualty of guns trafficked from states with looser gun laws and a lack of federal laws. New York police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and Omaha Police Officer Kerrie Orozco were all killed with guns purchased from the same Georgia gun dealer reported New York Daily News last year. The gun lobby yells when local laws nullify the “right to carry.” How about when laws in loose gun states nullify law enforcement officers themselves?

 

 

Gun-Free Zones Under Donald Trump

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

 

by Elliot Fineman
CEO – Founder
National Gun Victims Action Council

 

December 22, 2016

 

While campaigning for office this summer, Donald Trump, the NRA’s candidate, blamed gun violence on “gun-free zones.” For example, the 90 who died in the Bataclan theater in Paris last year would be alive today if they had been armed he said. (He did not explain how, in the dark, the 1,000 people in the audience—having pulled their guns out—would know the good guys holding guns from the bad—and not shoot each other, or innocent bystanders. Nor did he explain how untrained carriers would shoot accurately when studies show that fully trained police officers in the U.S. miss 7 out of 10 shots.)

 

Nor would the Charlie Hebdo staff, also gunned down in Paris, have stopped the bad guys if they had been armed admitted a pro-gun group that restaged the massacre in Dallas a week after the January 7, 2015 shootings. At least nine states have now passed laws allowing civilian carriers to have no training at all—it’s an infringement of “gun rights”—yet carriers without any skills are expected to keep environments safe.

 

Trump also blamed the 2015 murders of four Marines and a Navy sailor by Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez at Chattanooga military posts on gun-free zones though he was embarrassingly wrong. (Military Times says, “At least two service members involved in the Chattanooga shooting were carrying personal weapons during the attack, in possible violation of current military rules, and unsuccessfully returned fire in an attempt to stop the homicidal gunman.”)

 

Trump and the gun lobby are shockingly silent when they can’t blame violence on “gun-free zones” as in the shooting of 18 police officers last summer in Baton Rouge and Dallas. Weren’t they “good guys with guns”?

 

Gun-Free Zones Provide The Safest Environments

 

Trump and the gun lobby are also shockingly silent on the most well-established gun-free zones in the world—corporate boardrooms and headquarters. No major corporation in the U.S.—including the NRA— permits guns in its corporate headquarters and boardrooms. Why? Because guns in an environment make that environment dangerous.

 

Metal detectors, guards and secure building floors thwart any gun carriers from getting near corporate officers. When was the last time anyone heard about a shooting in those very dangerous “gun-free zones” known as corporate headquarters?

 

Of course, virtually all of these same corporations that shield their officers from gun risks allow their employees and customers to face them by permitting guns in their stores and outlets.

 

Yelling “gun-free zone” lets zealots ignore the element of surprise that kills so many heroic law enforcers. Instead, they pretend that everyday armed citizens can do what law enforcers do. President Reagan’s own highly trained Secret Service couldn’t stop him being shot—but armed teachers, students and school staff will stop shooters? Dream on, gun advocates.

 

Carrying Guns Does Not Provide Self-Defense

 

We at NGVAC have tested gun self-defense with 77 volunteers at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland with Mount St. Mary’s University crime researchers in the most exhaustive study of gun self-defense to date. Civilians, even with their guns drawn (so they would not lose time retrieving them from holsters), were unable to approach the accuracy and judgment of trained police officers in all scenarios—including highly trained civilians. They were “killed” despite their weapons, failed to stop the bad guys and even “shot” at bad guys who were unarmed.

 

Civilians didn’t even take cover reported the Washington Post on our research. “They didn’t attempt to issue commands to their assailants. Their trigger fingers were either too itchy — they shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people, or not itchy enough — they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.”

 

In Trump’s and the NRA’s upside-down world, gun-free zones are the cause of gun violence not guns: more guns in more places make us safer they say. Yet numerous studies show just the opposite is true—but, of course, those are only facts.

 
National Gun Victims Action Council
www.gunvictimsaction.org/donate

www.gunvictimsaction.org

 

New Year’s Resolutions for the NRA for 2017

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016

Some Gun Advocates Not Celebrating the Trump Victory

Friday, December 16th, 2016

 

“The danger we face is that the leadership of the so called gun-rights groups actually like gun-control laws,” an open carry advocate recently wrote. “They will not be lobbying for a repeal of America’s gun-control laws because without them they have no reasons to ask the gullible members of the public for donations.”

 

 

The open carry advocate has a point. After the election and re-election of President Obama and mass shootings, gun-rights groups use the “confiscation” card to raise money. Democratic gun-grabbers infringing on gun owners’ rights is the literal wind in their fundraising sails. How do you keep the money flowing in and cast gun owners as “victims” when all three branches of the government are soon to be solidly Republican, conservative and pro-gun? Clearly the government is not going to take anyone’s gun.

 

 

 

Even before the Trump victory, it has not been easy to cast people who own IWI Tavor SAR or Izhmash-Saiga assault rifles as “victims.” In fact, the attempt has bent gun-rights groups into embarrassing, crybaby positions like yelling “oppression” when newspapers publish gun owners’ names or when gun carriers can’t take their weapons into locked mental health facilities.

 

 

Americans can own as many of whatever kind of gun they want, bring them almost everywhere, buy them without background checks and endure no pesky registry. They do not even have to report lost or stolen guns (though you’d think they’d want to in order to keep them from “bad guys”) or limit their gun purchases to one a month. Where is the oppression?

 

 

Carrier reciprocity, say gun-rights groups! It is no fair that someone who is legal to carry a gun in a state with no training requirements whatsoever can’t walk down Fifth Avenue in New York City! So what it they may not even know how to handle or shoot a lethal weapon since training is optional.

 

 

An increasing number of states are passing laws making training requirements for carrying guns in public illegal. Why? “The government should not deem it necessary to micromanage the citizen exercise of essential rights,” wrote the Wisconsin Gun Owners Organization, quoting the NRA. ” Citizens “are capable of deciding for themselves that attending firearms training is the responsible thing to do.”

 

 

Such state laws sound like a joke–if gun training is not necessary why are municipalities wasting millions training police?—but they are ominous. NGVAC tested gun self-defense with 77 volunteers at the Prince George’s County police department in Maryland with Mount St. Mary’s University crime researchers last year and found training matters. Civilians were inferior to trained police officers on every level. “They shot innocent bystanders or unarmed people” reported the Washington Post on our research and “they didn’t shoot armed assailants until they were already being shot at.”

 

And there is another way gun owners are oppressed say gun-rights groups, trying to retain victimhood: the restriction of silencers! Silencers were regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1934 because of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and their obvious appeal to criminals and those intent on violence and wrongdoing. But now, gun-rights groups say the restrictions are an infringement of gun owners’ rights because shooters’ ears hurt. No fair!

 

 

With all three branches of the government soon to be pro-gun and no bigger issue to crow about than silencers and reciprocity, the gun lobby is clearly suffering from a case of be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Especially when it comes to fundraising.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some Gun Advocates Not Celebrating the Trump Victory

 

Levi Strauss Joins Growing Number of Businesses Saying “No Guns”

Friday, December 9th, 2016

He is a former U.S. Army captain who can clean a gun blindfolded. But last month, Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh asked customers not to bring guns in the stores after a customer carrying a handgun shot himself in a Commerce, Georgia store.

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“You don’t need a gun to try on a pair of jeans and it’s really out of respect for the safety of our employees and consumers shopping in our stores,” said Bergh adding that store workers have raised concerns.

 

Levi Strauss joins Panera Bread, Sonic, Chili’s, Chipotle, Starbucks, Jack in the Box, Target, Whole Foods, Peet’s, Ikea, Disneyland, California Pizza Kitchen, Buffalo Wild Wings, Toys R US and the AMC and Cinemark theaters in recognizing that most customers do not want to dine or shop next to gun carriers.

 

 

Almost five years ago, NGVAC, working with the Episcopal Peace Fellowship and Fellowship of Reconciliation, declared a Valentine’s Day boycott of Starbucks because of its refusal to ban guns or even post a sign telling customers they were entering an armed zone. In response to our boycott, menacing groups of gun carriers staged derisive “Gun Appreciation Days”–even in Newtown after the Sandy Hook massacre–which moved Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz to request that “customers no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas” in 2013 because carriers were “increasingly uncivil” and “even threatening.”

 

 

 

Like Levis, Starbucks has experienced gun accidents. In 2011, at a Cheyenne, Wyoming store, a carrier dropped her purse, discharging a gun and the bullet missed a customer by 12 inches. Less than two years later, at a St. Petersburg, Florida Starbucks, another woman dropped a purse with a gun. Early this year, there was a shooting in an Aurora, Colorado Starbucks.

 

Like Starbucks (whom Bergh says he consulted) and other no-gun chains, Levis will also likely see no dip in business. Why? Because gun advocates have a loud bark but little financial power as consumers. An NRA boycott of ConocoPhillips over its gun policies was an embarrassing flop a few years ago. Conversely, a boycott by gun safety oriented customers of H&R Block because of a partnership with the NRA was swiftly successful.

 

Corporations, when they take a stand, can effect social change more quickly than lawmakers. Within weeks of Microsoft’s pro-marriage equality stand, hundreds of other companies followed suit. Indiana reversed its Religious Freedom Restoration Act within days of hearing from Apple, American Airlines, the NCAA college sports league and others, threatening to pull their convention business. The NFL reversed its tolerance of players’ domestic violence charges within days of hearing from sponsors like Anheuser-Busch and the Radisson hotel chain.

 

Bergh and other CEOs are realizing they will lose no business in banning guns and it is in their self-interest. The top law firm Mayer Brown advises that property owners who do not put up “no guns” signs could easily face the argument that injuries were entirely “foreseeable” in court if violence occurs. Until he ran for President, Trump properties even sported “no guns” signs.

 

It is ironic that every major U.S. corporation already bans guns in their board rooms and headquarters. Are customers and employees less important? We applaud Levi Strauss Chief Executive Chip Bergh!

Pivoting Politicians? They Learned it from the NRA

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

 

It was May, 1999, a month after the Columbine massacre. Testifying before the House Judiciary Crime Subcommittee, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre told federal lawmakers “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory, instant criminal background checks for every sale, at every gun show no loopholes anywhere for anyone.”

 

Flash forward to February, 2013 a day after “American Sniper” Chris Kyle was shot and killed on a gun range not a “gun-free zone” despite his skills. Then, declared LaPierre on Fox News in a 180 degree pivot, universal background checks were unthinkable because they were the first step to a registry and government tyranny. (Gun violence is really caused by gangs in cities like Chicago he told an incredulous Chris Wallace who asked how gangs pertained to the Newtown, Aurora and Clackamas Town Center massacres.)

 

Wayne LaPierre - Google Search

 

Universal background checks were not LaPierre’s only pivot. In 2008, to defeat Obama, LaPierre actually quoted candidate Hillary Clinton as a pro-gun voice to prove that President Obama would be a gun grabber. During the same campaign, Mitt Romney was ridiculed by the gun lobby for a weak hunting resume; Trump, apparently, didn’t get the memo.

 

Of course when it comes to federal regulation, the NRA has an ongoing pivot. It hates all laws except the ones it gets on the books. For example, the Tiahrt amendments, tacked on to appropriations bills since 2003, prohibit ATF from releasing firearm trace data for use by cities, states, researchers, litigants and members of the public. Let’s get those bad guys! They also mandate destruction of purchaser records within 24 hours.

 

The NRA also pushes laws to make it illegal for employers to ask an employee if he brought a gun to work and doctors to ask patients if they have guns in the home.

 

After the mentally ill Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people at Virginia Tech in 2007 with a weapon he purchased legally, the NRA enacted another pivot. It pretended to work with Congress on a bill to close the associated loopholes but it was a con job.

 

“In several ways this bill is better for gun owners than current law,” read the NRA web site. “Under H.R. 2640, certain types of mental health orders will no longer prohibit a person from possessing or receiving a firearm. Examples are adjudications that have expired or been removed, or commitments from which a person has been completely released with no further supervision required. Also excluded are federal decisions about a person’s mental health that consist only of a medical diagnosis, without a specific finding that the person is dangerous or mentally incompetent.”

 

Perhaps the biggest NRA pivot is—it wants the same jackbooted government it hates to protect gun owners from the scary press!

 

After the Memphis Commercial Appeal posted online a searchable base of the state’s 220,000 gun permit holders, some of whom had arrest and conviction records, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action went ballistic.

 

“Your decision to publicize the personal information of Right-to-Carry permit holders in Tennessee is unjustifiable, disgraceful, and dangerous,” he whined in an unpublished letter to the Appeal on the NRA web site. Dangerous? Don’t their guns make them safe?

 

 

 

 

 

Police Are Outgunned and the Gun Lobby is Okay With It

Monday, November 21st, 2016

 

It has been almost ten years since Miami police officer Jose Somohano was killed and three others wounded with a high-power, assault style rifle. At the time, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, a former police officer and police director said, “There’s absolutely no reason I can see having these weapons out on the street.” The International Association of Chiefs of Police agreed and urged Congress to pass “an effective assault weapons ban,” condemning the “firepower available to criminals.”

 

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The Federal Assault Weapons Ban (AWB), a subsection of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, banned the manufacture for civilian use of semi-automatic firearms defined as assault weapons as well as “large capacity” magazines. The ban was passed by the U.S. Congress on September 13, 1994 and allowed to expire ten years later.

 

While the ban had serious loopholes, the Washington Post wrote after the Miami murders that since its 2004 expiration “the guns, once found solely in the hands of soldiers, are aimed at officers on patrol,” and that “already 12 of the 60 homicides have involved the high-power guns.” John Rivera, president of the Dade County Police Benevolent Association at the time, said police did not even have a “fighting chance” against such weapons.

 

Flash forward to last summer when 18 police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge were shot with assault weapons–a Saiga AK-74 and a TAVOR. The New Orleans Advocate wrote that “the notion of putting such weapons in civilian hands would be regarded as insane in any other country,” as the TAVOR, according to its manufacturer, fires 900 rounds a minute. Nor were the murderers “bad guys who don’t obey laws.” They had passed their background checks and legally bought their high-power weapons with which they killed police, so the gun lobby was silent. You can’t abridge “gun rights.” (The lobby was also silent about Muhammad Youssef Abdulazeez who passed his background check and killed four Marines and a sailor in Chattanooga in 2015.)

 

Two years after the Miami police officer killings four police officers were killed in Oakland with high-power, assault weapons and, in Pittsburgh, three officers were killed and two injured with such weapons.

 

The Pittsburgh murderer, Richard Poplawski, was a violent white supremacist who bought a semi-automatic AK-47-style legally despite his involvement with hate groups, domestic violence charges and an order of protection against him.

 

After the Dallas and Baton Rouge law enforcement officers were murdered, veteran news man Bill Moyers asked how the gun lobby can claim patriotism while hating the government. “On the one hand, its supporters are mostly conservatives who believe in law and order, the kind of folks who value social and familial hierarchy and respect for authority. On the other hand, the group preaches contempt for government — and police are the spear point of government authority.”

 

He’s right. The “patriotic” NRA defends armor-piercing “cop killer” bullets and criminal-friendly gun silencers. Why? Whose side is it on? It defends the gun show, online and terrorist suspect loopholes all of which result also in law enforcement officer deaths.

 

A gun rights website actually praises the TAVOR used to murder Baton Rouge officers in cold blood. The TAVOR is great for “close quarters-style fighting” says the site and “is exceedingly compact” which “makes it much easier to sneak the gun in and out of your apartment building.” What?

 

 

 

 

 


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