LAPD Swarms Library After Citizen Reports Star Wars Stormtrooper as ‘Gunman’ During Reading Event

LAPD Swarms Library After Citizen Reports Star Wars Stormtrooper as 'Gunman' During Reading Event : Rally For Our Rights

 

First, this is NOT satire.

Second, you read that right.  A “concerned citizen” actually called the police and reported a cosplay Stormtrooper as a gunman at a Star Wars Reads event at the Los Angeles Public Library.

According to KTLA News 5, “A Star Wars-themed event catering to children at the Los Angeles Public Library’s Silver Lake branch on Saturday drew a police response after someone reported a performer dressed as a Stormtrooper as an armed man, authorities said.

The incident unfolded around noon at the library, 2411 Glendale Blvd., a Los Angeles Police Department sergeant said.

Officers responded to a report of a person with a gun and were directed to a performer wearing the costume of the evil warriors from the Star Wars series. The performer carried a large prop gun as part of the costume.

After briefly detaining the Stormtrooper, officers determined the weapon was, in fact, a prop and posed no threat.”

There were reports on Twitter of LAPD initially swarming the building, scaring children and parents alike.

This hyper-vigilant report of a gunman at the mere sight of a cosplay prop is undoubtedly a response to the fear mongering and brainwashing the gun grabbers spread every day.  It’s also a peek into the future with Red Flag Laws.

Star Wars Reads is a month long event that is held worldwide with many events at local libraries, bookstores and even schools.  During these events, people will dress as characters from the films and read to children.  The all ages events are meant to spur excitement and interest in reading, a worthy and wholesome goal.

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The Delusion of California Gun Control

 

California Governor Gavin Newsom is like the rooster in the fable who says, “Look how wonderful I am. When I crow in the morning, that’s the reason the sun rises.” Simply put, he’s too delusional to see the coincidence.

Governor Newsom just signed 15 new gun related bills into law. During the signing he had this to say:

“California has outperformed the rest of the nation, because of our gun safety laws, in reducing the gun murder rate substantially compared to the national reduction. No state does it as well or comprehensively as the state of California, and we still have a long way to go.”

He also added that between 1993 and 2017, the latest available, there was a 62 percent decline in the gun murder rate in California, nearly double the 34 percent nationally.  What he fails to mention is that in 1993 California’s gun murder rate was well above the national average.  In 1993 the gun homicide rate in California was 9.6 per 100,000 people, while nationally it sat at 6.75 per 100,000.  In 2017 California landed at 3.64, just slightly below the national average of 4.6.  Their decline was in line with the national trend, but steeper due to the how high it was initially.

Likewise, Newsom’s claim that California’s drop in gun homicide has anything to do with the state’s ever more restrictive gun laws. Nationally, the 34 percent drop in gun homicide is the consequence of the crack epidemic declining since 1993. As to California’s 64 percent drop in gun homicide, that’s the result of both the state getting a handle on the drug trade, but more significantly, the effect of gentrification from the mountains of cash brought in by Silicon Valley and high-tech. Large swaths of California real estate have been upscaled and where rich people move in, gang-bangers and drug dealers get pushed out. East Palo Alto, one of the most dangerous communities in California, has been swallowed up by Silicon Valley and no big surprise, its violent crime rate has plummeted. Los Angeles has been similarly gentrified. Boyle Heights, another neighborhood notorious for gangs and violent crime, has been recast as a trendy hotspot for the very well-to-do, and its violent crime and gun homicides have gone down.

So if more restrictive gun laws are really the answer, let’s look at two other states that have pursued aggressive gun-control measures like California’s.

From 1993 to 2017, Illinois experienced a 34.9 percent drop in gun homicide–in keeping with the national average. And Chicago is the murder capital of America.

From 1993 to 2017, Maryland experienced a 15.25 percent drop in gun homicide–well short of the national average by half. And Baltimore is the most dangerous city in America.

The big difference between Maryland, Illinois and California? Neither Illinois or Maryland have seen big influxes of cash and gentrification like California.

Let’s look at another telling example about the impact of gentrification: New York City.

In 1911, the city passed the Sullivan Act which required that anyone who possessed a handgun had to get a permit issued by the police and to have all handguns registered.

What was the result? Fast forward to 1981, which was the most violent year in New York City’s history with over 2,000 murders, mostly by handguns. The time was known as the “Death Wish” years when the city was one of the most dangerous in the world.

Now New York City is one of the safest? What happened? The government got serious about stopping organized crime and drug dealers but more importantly, it was New York’s “broken windows” policy. The city cleaned itself up. Research any article about the New York City turn-around and gentrification was key. And you’ll be hard pressed to find any mention that gun control was a factor. Why? Because gun control only affects law-abiding gun owners and they are not the cause of violent crime.

Let’s throw more cold water on the more-gun-control-makes-us-safer myth. Let’s look at Colorado. From 1993 to 2017, the state experienced a 26.2 percent drop in gun homicide. (You have to consider that Colorado was safe to begin with compared to California, Illinois, or Maryland.) In 2014, Colorado enacted two of California’s hallowed gun-control measures, Universal Background Checks and the High-Capacity Magazine Ban. Since then, Colorado’s gun homicide rate has increased by a whopping 47.6 percent. So anyone who claims that gun control has made the state any safer is as delusional as the Gavin Newsom rooster.

What else Gavin Newsom fails to mention is that despite California’s very restrictive gun-control environment, four of the most publicized recent mass-shootings happened on his turf: San Bernardino, Thousand Oaks, the Poway Synagogue, and Gilroy. And three of the most dangerous cities in America are in California: Stockton, San Bernardino, and Oakland. That’s nothing to crow about.

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Understanding Colorado’s “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO Law

Colorado’s Newest Red Flag ERPO Bill Is Worse Than You Think : Rally for our Rights Colorado

Background

HB19-1177 Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO was introduced into the Colorado State Legislature on Feb 14, 2019.  It was sponsored by Rep Tom Sullivan and Rep Alec Garnett in the state house.  It passed the house on March 4, 2019 with every Republican and two Democrats voting against it. It was sponsored by Sen Lois Court and Sen Brittany Pettersen in the state senate, where it passed on March 28, 2019 with every Republican and one Democrat voting against it. This legislation had bi-partisan OPPOSITION.  It was signed by Governor Jared Polis on April 12, 2019.  It will become law on January 1, 2020.

Red Flag laws, also known as Extreme Risk Protection Orders or Gun Violence Restraining Orders, have been around since 1999, when Connecticut adopted theirs.  This was followed by Indiana in 2005, California in 2014, Washington in 2016, and Oregon in 2017.  In 2018 nine other states passed Red Flag ERPO laws, and in 2019 three states passed them, including Colorado.

What the public is being told about Colorado’s law

A family member or law enforcement officer would petition a court to request the ability to immediately seize a person’s guns. If a judge signs the order, the weapons can be taken away and the court must hold a hearing within 14 days to determine whether to extend the seizure and bar the person from purchasing more firearms. The longest a judge could order the seizure of firearms is 364 days. The entire process is a civil, not criminal, proceeding.

Who can petition the courts?

According to the bill summary and media reports, only family or household members, and law enforcement can petition the courts. But what is the definition of “family member” and “household member”?

According to the bill language, “family or household member” means:

  • Person related by blood, marriage, or adoption;
  • Person who has a child in common with the respondent, regardless of whether such person has been married to the respondent or has lived together with the respondent at any time;
  • Person who regularly resides or regularly resided with the respondent within the last six months;
  • Domestic partner of the respondent;
  • Person who has a biological or legal parent-child relationship with the respondent, including stepparents and stepchildren and grandparents and grandchildren;
  • Person who is acting or has acted as the respondent’s legal guardian;
  • A person in any other relationship described in section 18-6-800.3 (2) with the respondent. [So, what does 18-6-800.3 (2) say? “Intimate relationship” means a relationship between spouses, former spouses, past or present unmarried couples, or persons who are both the parents of the same child regardless of whether the persons have been married or have lived together at any time.]

What is needed to file the ERPO petition?

The filing of the ERPO petition can be done either in person or over the phone.  The petition must be filed in the county court of where the accused lives – but since the petitioner can do it over the phone, they don’t even need to be in the same state.  There is NO filing fee.  The petitioner even has the option to not provide their address, and in certain cases, it can be done anonymously.

Questions that will be asked on the petition include how many firearms the person being accused has, what types, and where they are located.  This doesn’t only include ownership – it also includes possession, custody, or control.

Petitioners are also asked to disclose if there are any other legal actions pending between parties, such as: current restraining orders, lawsuits, civil suits, custody cases, etc, but the existence of such cases shall not delay or prevent an ERPO from being granted.

What happens after the ERPO petition is filed?

Once an ERPO petition is filed, a hearing will be set either the same day or the next day.  Once again, the petitioner (accuser) does not need to be present. They can attend this hearing over the phone.  At this hearing, the petitioner will be asked to provide a “preponderance” of evidence. Preponderance is the lowest evidentiary threshold used in the court system. It is based on the more convincing evidence.  But these hearings are ex-parte with only the accuser present, so there is no counterevidence presented.

What kind of evidence are they looking for?  A recent act or credible threat of violence, even if such act does not involve use of a firearm.  Self harm or threats of self harm within the past year.  A prior violation of a protection order.   A previous ERPO.   Prior domestic violence convictions.  Prior ARREST, even if not convicted, of a whole host of other crimes.  Ownership, access to, or intent to purchase a firearm.  Drug or alcohol abuse.  Recent acquisition of a firearm or ammunition.

At this hearing the court will either approve or deny the ERPO.  If it is denied, they must document reasoning for denial.

How will the ERPO be enacted?

Once the ERPO and warrant are in hand, it’s up to law enforcement how they take action, but these are judicial orders coming down from the courts.  Law enforcement is required to carry out the orders.  During the act of serving the ERPO on the accused, law enforcement must also determine if the individual should be put into a 72 hour involuntary commitment hold.

Once the firearms have been confiscated, the accused will be asked if they’d like to sell them, store them with law enforcement, or store them with a FFL.  The accused’s information will also be added to the CBI and NICS database prohibiting them from purchasing guns.

The order will include a future court date for the permanent hearing.  This will be the first opportunity the accused will have to speak on their own behalf.

The creation of a civil search warrant

Buried deep inside the bill language is one of the most unconstitutional pieces. They are creating a new type of search warrant in the state that would be specific to gun owners only: a civil search warrant.  This civil search warrant would be issued along with the initial temporary ERPO.

Currently, with very few exceptions, search warrants are only issued for criminal reasons.  According to mountains of existing case law, search warrants are granted by convincing a neutral and detached magistrate that they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is occurring at the place to be searched or that evidence of a crime may be found there.

Very few civil search warrants have ever been issued, and the ones that have were in cases of intellectual property such as seizing computer files, and even those required clear and convincing evidence.

What happens at the 14 day ERPO hearing?

First, it’s important to understand this hearing is WITHIN 14 days.  It could be in 3 days, or 6 days, or 14 days.

Prior to the hearing, the court will appoint an attorney or the accused can obtain their own or they can proceed self represented.  Because no one has been charged with a crime, these are civil cases, not criminal.  This means public defenders are not used, but instead the state would appoint one from a pool of attorneys who have agreed to work these cases.

During this hearing the petitioner and the accused will have the ability to provide evidence, call witnesses, cross examine witnesses, etc.  Once again, the petitioner does not need to be present, and can provide sworn affidavits.

The judge will make their decision based on clear and convincing evidence.

At the end of the hearing, the judge will either dismiss the ERPO, and the firearm rights of the accused will be restored and their guns returned.  Or the temporary ERPO will become a permanent ERPO.  This would mean it will remain in effect for 364 days.  The judge has the discretion to schedule hearings sooner than the 364 days if he or she believes the order should be lifted sooner.  The accused also has ONE opportunity during that 364 day period to request a hearing.  If they do request a hearing, the petitioner is alerted and that person can request it be denied.

What happens when the 364 days is up?

The petitioner will be alerted that the ERPO is going to expire, and they can request it be extended.  If this happens, another hearing similar to the one at 14 days will take place.  And it begins again.

What are the penalties?

Any person who has in his or her custody or control a firearm or purchases, possesses, or receives a firearm with knowledge that he or she is prohibited from doing so by an ERPO or temporary ERPO is guilty of a class 2 misdemeanor.

There are no penalties for false reports/false accusers.

Have ERPO’s worked in other states?

It’s difficult to say because the majority of the laws are so new.

States like California and Connecticut have still seen horrific mass shootings.  Sandy Hook happened in Connecticut while they had a Red Flag law in place.  California has seen a public mass shooting each year since theirs went into effect in 2014.

States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing, but turns out it wasn’t.  It was still increasing but not at the projected rate, so they consider that a win.  In addition, suicide by other methods has skyrocketed and Indiana has dropped from 19th in the country for mental health in 2011, to 45th in 2015, and in both 2016 and 2017 suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all residents over all demographics, and the leading cause for certain demographics.  Their Red Flag law was enacted in 2005.

They are also used differently in various states, and this is largely because the laws from state to state vary so drastically.

Florida has seen ERPO’s used 5 times a day since the law went into effect mid-2018, with over 2000 firearms taken. In contrast, Oregon has received 132 extreme risk protection order petitions total through August 2019 and granted 107.  Their law went into effect in 2017. These varying numbers are due to the process in which they are granted, as well as who is able to request them. Colorado’s law is one of the worst based on the broad range of people who can petition the courts as well as the low evidentiary threshold needed to grant one.

There is no mental health component

The claims that Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will help those in a suicidal crisis is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst.  Colorado’s law has no mental health component to it.  The legislation asks law enforcement to enter the home of a suicidal individual who own firearms (forcibly if necessary), confiscate those firearms, and leave both the person in crisis and many other tools to follow through with the act of taking their own life.

This is not compassion. This is not empathetic.  This is cruel.

If you are a firearm owner and are suicidal – or someone else in your home is suicidal – there are options.  Hold My Guns is a private group who is working to partner with FFL’s and police departments to offer a place people can store firearms during a crisis (www.holdmyguns.org).  In addition, Walk The Talk America offers non-crisis support to gun owners (www.WTTA.org).

And then there are the crisis lines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255, or chat online
Veterans Crisis Line:  Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online

There is deep concern within the firearms community that the existence of an ERPO law will make gun owners no longer reach out for help when they need it.

What about Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties?

Since the debate over the ERPO legislation began in spring of 2019, over 50 county sheriffs have come out publicly in opposition to the law as written in Colorado.  Many of them still support the Red Flag concept, but after reading through the legislation that was passed in Colorado, they cannot support it.  Their reasons vary from unconstitutionality, to worry of putting their officers and citizens in harms way, to worry about the abuse that will likely be rampant with the poorly written law.

37 counties have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status.  What this means varies from county to county.

In addition, the Denver Police Union and Aurora Police Union also opposed the law as written, citing constitutionality.

Constitutional Concerns

2nd Amendment aside, Colorado’s Red Flag law has many constitutional concerns.

The creation of a civil search warrant is a 4th Amendment violation.

The taking of property without due process is a 5th and 16th Amendment violation.

The inability to face your accuser or be heard by an impartial jury is a 6th Amendment violation.

Not to mention the chilling effect it will have on the 1st Amendment.

A constitutional lawsuit cannot be brought forth until someone is “harmed” by the law, meaning until someone is ERPO’d, there is no plaintiff for the case.  Expect to see challenges to this law once it goes into effect January 1, 2020.

 

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17 Times Government Put Guns In The Hands Of Criminals

The latest buzzword in the anti-gun rhetoric dictionary is “mandatory buyback“, primarily referring to semi-automatic rifles or as the gun grabbers call them “assault weapons”.  Since an outright ban is not a very popular idea, especially with tens of millions of just AR-15’s owned by law abiding citizens, the anti-gun politicians need a new tactic.  Enter buyback programs.

I’ve written about buybacks before, highlighting how they are often used by individuals to sell their crap guns and purchase better ones.  But this latest proposal of “mandatory buybacks” is just ridiculous.

First, they aren’t buying back anything.  They never owned the property in the first place.  They are creating a law that would force citizens to sell their property to the government at whatever price the government deems adequate, and if the property (gun) owner refuses, they become a criminal.  Reminds me of eminent domain.

Second, any responsible gun owner knows if their firearm is in their possession, it will not be used to harm anyone.  That is the safest place it could possibly be. And if an individual owns a firearm with the intent of harming others, they sure as hell won’t sell it to a buyback program.

But this got me thinking about some of the stories I’ve seen where people have taken their rifles in to the police after a tragic mass shooting, saying they don’t want these guns on the streets anymore.  Now, I won’t criticize their intent.  It is their own property.  They can do with it what they chose.  But do they really know what will happen to that rifle after they turn it in?  Is it really safer in the hands of the government than in the hands of a law abiding gun owner?

A little research shows that not only does the government actually run guns to criminals themselves, but they lose them all the time.

Here are a handful of examples in no particular order:

Baltimore: Members of the Gun Trace Task Force (GTTF) went rogue and eventually eight officers were convicted of stealing money, drugs and guns from the people they stopped, then reselling those same drugs and guns.

Michigan: police chief created a “reserve officer” unit, but turns out it was just a way to sell firearms, ammo, and body armor to celebrities, many who were barred from owning firearms.

California: police officer left her gun in the restroom, where it was promptly stolen.  She apologized, so it’s okay. 

New Mexico: police chief, along with a town trustee and the town mayor, was busted for running guns to a brutal Mexican drug cartel. 

Missouri: police chief was purchasing firearms with city funds then those firearms went “missing”. 

North Carolina: police chief was arrested for selling confiscated guns that should have been returned to the rightful owners after charges were dismissed. 

New York City: police officer was manufacturing illegal guns and selling them to criminals.

Nationwide: law enforcement and government guns regularly found in the hands of criminals.

Washington DC: police officer sold guns to those barred from purchasing them legally; at least one was used in a murder.

California: two police officers sold more than 100 firearms to convicted felons.

California: gun control proponent, State Senator Leland Yee promised votes and guns in exchange for campaign contributions, as well as participated in a gun trafficking scheme running gun from the Philippines with known mobsters.

California: school board president busted in the same gun trafficking scheme as above.

Nationwide: ATF can’t find “substantial number” of guns stolen from a government disposal facility. 

Nationwide: DEA agents keep losing guns and no one cares. 

Worldwide: 2000 guns were sold by the government to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of tracking the sellers. They lost track of the guns, some turned up in murders, most are still on the streets.  This is known as Fast and Furious. 

Worldwide: Pentagon lost weapons given to Yemen. This includes: 1,250,000 rounds of ammunition, 200 Glock 9 mm pistols, 200 M-4 rifles, 250 suits of body armor, 300 sets of night-vision goggles, among other things. 

This list was compiled after a 20 minute Google search.  You can only imagine how much more is out there as well as what hasn’t been discovered.  It also begs the question of what will happen with all the guns confiscated through “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPOs.

So yeah, don’t sell your guns to the government.  You never know where they’ll actually end up. 

Have other stories of government corruption or incompetence regarding firearms?  Drop them in the comments.

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Sandy Hook Promise Glamorizes School Shootings With New Back-To-School PSA

Sandy Hook Promise Glorifies Mass Shooters With New Back-To-School PSA

In a back-to-school PSA so disturbing you’d think it was made by the school shooters themselves, Sandy Hook Promise shows how the anti-gun community capitalizes off of fear and does not care about unintended consequences.  The TV ad was premiered Wednesday on the TODAY show.

The purported goal of the PSA video is to encourage people to learn the signs of would-be school shooters so they can help stop them before they start, a noble goal.  But digging deeper into their website, it is clear they are simply another anti-gun nonprofit as they parrot similar claims that have been called out by even NPR when citing the number of school shootings that happen each year, and they are pushing for dangerous Red Flag ERPO laws like was recently passed here in Colorado. Nowhere is it mentioned that Connecticut already HAD a Red Flag law in place when Sandy Hook happened.

The perverse video, which begins with students showing off their newest back to school essentials, quickly turns dark when a school shooting begins and suddenly those back to school essentials are used to defend and save lives by soon-to-be victims. It ends by simply telling viewers to visit the Sandy Hook Promise website, but undoubtedly triggers a deep and unnecessary fear in parents, teachers, and especially students.  I personally would never let my children watch it, and would be furious if they saw it elsewhere.

WATCH IT HERE

School shootings are unusual, horrifying and dramatic – which is exactly why they get so much media attention.  According to FactCheck.org there have been 64 deaths from school shootings between the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012 and the end of 2018. This includes not just mass school shootings, but “students who died after being shot on school grounds, during school hours or after, being shot on college campuses—or at student housing—where they were enrolled for classes.”

Students are 370 times more likely to die in a car accident travelling to or from school than they are to die by firearm at school.

In addition to the unnecessary and distressing emotion this video aims to evoke, I must question if it would have the opposite effect on a could-be-school shooter who will undoubtedly be the first to watch it over and over and over, enjoying every moment, fantasizing about what “could be”.  The video portrays exactly what drives certain students to commit such atrocious acts.  They get off on the fear instilled in their fellow classmates and teachers.  It depicts the emotion potential school shooters are wanting to elicit from their victims.  So does glorifying it in a $100,000+ production video do more harm than good?  What happened to “no notoriety”?

Evan Todd, a Columbine High School shooting survivor and spokesman for Bullets Both Ways, had this to say in response to the PSA video:

“Policies and security protocols that leave gaps in protection are not acceptable any longer. Ignorance nor apathy will protect our schools. There are ways to prevent and there are ways to defend. We should demand both.”

There are evidence based solutions that prevent and stop school shootings.  There are policies that fuel potential shooters while leaving our kids and teachers defenseless.  And then there is crap like this which serves to do nothing good.  It breeds unreasonable paranoia, re-traumatizes victims, and acts as school shooter porn.  It is completely irresponsible.

 

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Gallup Poll Shows The Majority Of Americans Want Gun Laws To Stay The Same Or Be Less Strict

If you’ve watched any of the Democratic presidential debates, or listened to much mainstream media, you’ve probably heard that the majority of Americans want stricter gun control laws based on a gun specific Gallup Poll.  Hell, even Longmont City Council was citing this poll during a recent fight over an extreme anti-gun resolution they were trying to pass.

But facts matter.  We had our research team dig deeper into this poll and what we found were half truths and omissions. Here’s what was asked:

“For each one, please say whether you are — very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, somewhat dissatisfied or very dissatisfied. If you don’t have enough information about a particular subject to rate it, just say so. How about the nation’s laws or policies on guns?”

Many people were dissatisfied.  But some were dissatisfied AND wanted less strict laws.  Some were dissatisfied and wanted laws to stay the same. THESE responses were omitted from the results. 

“(Asked of those dissatisfied with U.S. gun policy) Would you like to see gun laws in this country made more strict, less strict, or remain as they are?”

When broken down, 39% were satisfied, 8% were dissatisfied and wanted less strict laws, 5% were dissatisfied and wanted laws to stay the same. This means 52% wanted laws to stay the same or be less strict.

Our researchers broke up this data to give a clearer picture of how these polls are being distorted by not showing the full picture.  Here is our graph based on the actual responses given to Gallup, none omitted. The green line is the sum of all dotted lines with the exception of no opinion.


Given the data provided by Gallup, one could say the majority of Americans DO NOT want stricter gun control laws. 

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A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO’s Red Flag ERPO Law Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A Crisis

“Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO laws are picking up steam across the nation.  Some states have had them in place for many years, such as Connecticut who implemented theirs in 1999, or Indiana who crafted their law in 2005, and California jumped on the bandwagon in 2014.  I’ve written about how ineffective they have been in those states. But the past two years, other states are quickly following suit, including Colorado who passed one of the most egregious laws this past spring.  It will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Across the county, these laws are being touted as “suicide prevention” by anti-gun groups such as Everytown For Gun Safety and their grassroots arm, Moms Demand Action. Now, these groups have been known to tell half truths, mislead, and fear monger, but their claim that Colorado’s Red Flag law will reduce suicide is one of the most upsetting lies I have heard them tell.  That’s because suicide is very near and dear to my heart.  My sister committed suicide 4 1/2 years ago.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister was my best friend.  She lived one town over, she was the mother to three, and our oldest daughters were born 5 weeks apart.  Her suicide rocked my world, and I still shed tears when I think about it.  I have her name with a semi-colon tattooed on my arm, my only tattoo.  I will never forget the night my mother and my sister came to my home to tell me she was gone, knowing I’d take it harder than anyone else. At first I was in denial as I insisted that she must just be in the hospital, and I needed to get to her. Once past denial, I needed to know where her body was. I got on the phone and desperately started calling people until I connected with the coroner.  Her body was in the morgue at a local hospital.  I so desperately wanted to be with it. I couldn’t imagine my sister alone in a cold morgue, awaiting autopsy. The next morning was when reality struck. The physical pain I felt in my heart when I awoke was something I had never experienced before and haven’t experience since. Watching her children mourn was heartwrenching. For them everything changed the day she made the choice to take her life.  The trajectory of their lives took a sharp, ugly turn.  I would do anything to be able to go back and help her that day. But I can’t.

A Disservice To Suicidal Individuals: CO's Red Flag ERPO Laws Will Only Exacerbate A CrisisMy sister didn’t use a firearm to take her life, although she was a gun rights supporting liberal.  She used a bottle of pain pills that had been prescribed to her by her doctor.

The claims that Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law will help those in a suicidal crisis is disingenuous at best and dangerous at worst.  You see, Colorado’s law has no mental health component to it.  In fact, Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has testified to that many times, pointing out that the legislation asks law enforcement to enter the home of a suicidal individual who owns firearms (forcibly if necessary), confiscate those firearms, and leave both the person in crisis and many other tools to follow through with the act of taking their own life.

This is not compassion. This is not empathetic.  This is cruel.

There is also strong evidence that when responding to one of these suicidal ERPO’s, law enforcement will arrive with a SWAT team, not only exacerbating the crisis, but escalating it to the point of no return.  Early this year, one of our supporters, Ralph Shnelvar, took his own life.  He was going through a rough separation and his wife had reported to the police that he was suicidal and had a firearm.  Ralph sent worrisome emails to his close friends, who immediately went to his residence to try to offer help.  When they arrived, what they found instead was a large police presence and SWAT officers who spent several hours outside the home trying to get Ralph to come out of the residence.  Friends and family were blocked from talking to him. Eventually two police robots were sent inside the home where they found Ralph dead.  No one can tell me that SWAT did not exacerbate that entire situation, possibly causing and/or expediting the ultimate tragic death.

One of Ralph’s friends testified about this situation in front of a State Senate Committee during the “Red Flag” debate in March. Watch that video below.

This is what Colorado’s “Red Flag” law will look like.  SWAT teams going after those who are in crisis, or those who are innocent, another danger we’re facing as the legislation is so poorly written.  Here in Colorado a Tinder date turned stalker can petition the courts over the phone free of charge to have someone’s guns confiscated, and the judge who determines if they should do it, will base it off the lowest evidentiary threshold, a preponderance, meaning there only needs to be a 51% chance the accusations are true. Preponderance only requires more evidence than counter evidence, so given that the respondent is not able to respond until after the seizure of the guns no one will ever lose on that standard.

Let’s also talk about the fear these Red Flag laws will create for gun owners, especially veterans.  If we fear that reaching out for help will result in SWAT showing up at our house, those who need help will will stay silent, again only increasing suicides, instead of reducing them. We cannot stigmatize asking for help, just as we cannot stigmatize being a gun owner.

What can we do?

Gun owners are compassionate and caring, it’s often why they choose to train and carry in the first place.  Because they love their communities.  So we should be asking the question what can WE do? Unfortunately there are not a ton of gun owner specific suicide resources, which is unfortunate because it’s desperately needed.  But if you are a firearm owner and are suicidal – or someone else in your home is suicidal – there are options.  Hold My Guns is a private group who is working to partner with FFL’s and police departments to offer a place people can store firearms during a crisis.  There are also multiple suicide prevention hotlines. And recently CU Anschutz unveiled an interactive map that shows out-of-home gun storage facilities for this exact reason.  WTTA.org also offers non-crisis support to gun owners.

And then there are the crisis lines:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255, or chat online
Veterans Crisis Line:  Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, text 838255, or chat online
Have other resources I should add?  Drop them in comments.  And please know, you can always reach out to your friends at Rally for our Rights, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  We’re here for you.  Contact us here

 

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We Are Being Lied To About Mass Shootings AGAIN – And Everyone Should Care

On the heels of three shocking mass shootings in the United States in the past month, we’re once again bombarded with stories from mainstream media with headlines like “There have been more mass shootings than days in 2019” or “The El Paso shooting is the 249th mass shooting of 2019”.  The media loves to make evil people famous. These stories quickly go viral and concerned citizens start calling for more gun control, as if almost on cue. I can’t say I blame them. If I thought what happened in at the El Paso, Texas Walmart had happened every single day in this country over the past nine months, I’d be pretty freaked out too!

On September 1st, 2019 – the day after the heartbreaking Odessa, Texas shooting rampage – CBS News, Insider News, KUNC, and several other mainstream news outlets released articles claiming that there have been anywhere from 283 to 313 mass shootings in the United States during 2019. I decided to look into this and what was found surprised even me.  The American people are being grossly lied to – and they should care.

Society Is Being Lied To About Mass Shootings - And Everyone Should Care

In order to determine how many mass shootings there are, we need to know the definition of a mass shooting. Finding that definition seems easy enough, right?  Think again.  There are actually many definitions of “mass shooting” and most seem to be arbitrarily made up to fit the narrative an organization or publication wishes to push.

Mother Jones defines mass shooting as: “Indiscriminate rampages in public places resulting in four or more victims killed by the attacker, excluding the death of the attacker.”

The Gun Violence Archive defines a mass shooting as: “Four or more shot or killed, not including the shooter. They also do not remove any subcategory of shooting – meaning they don’t exclude, set apart, caveat, or differentiate victims based upon the circumstances in which they were shot – including crime, gang activity, and domestic/familial incidents.”

The “experts” at Reddit have decided to make up their own definition, therefore Reddit defines a mass shooting as:  “Four plus people injured or killed by firearm, including the gunman.”

Finally we come to the Congressional Research Service’s definition: “The incident takes place in a public area involving four or more deaths—not including the gunman, the shooter selects victims indiscriminately, the violence in these incidents are not a means to an end.”  It should be noted that CRS breaks up shootings involving four or more individuals as public, familial, and felony (robbery, gang activity, etc).  This is because the motives behind each vary greatly.

To make matters even more confusing, the FBI has separate definitions for “mass murder” and “active shooter”.

There are several inconsistencies between each of these definitions. For such a severe issue that allegedly only occurs in the United States, why do we not have a universal definition for this type of event? And why is it the government can agree on the definition, but the gun grabbers won’t use it?

For the sake of this investigation, we used the definition put forth by the Congressional Research Service.  The CRS’s website explains that it “works exclusively for the United States congress, providing policy and legal analysis to committees and members of both members of the house and senate, regardless of party affiliation.” The website further explains that the CRS  is a “shared staff to congressional committees and members of congress. CRS experts assist at every stage of the legislative process.” To put it simply, congress uses the CRS’s research to develop policy and create laws.

THE LIE

Now that we’re “armed” with the facts we need, lets dissect the statistics being pushed by the media.

The stats used in the news sources cited above stating there have been 283 mass shootings thus far in 2019 are from the Gun Violence Archive.  Okay, let’s look a little deeper into the GVA. The mission statement on their website states it is a “non-profit corporation formed in 2013 to provide free online public access to accurate information about gun related violence in the United States.”  It should be noted this organization is tied to the Gun Violence Memorial, who includes perpetrators and even most recently the Odessa, Texas and Dayton, OH mass shooters, as gun violence victims because they were killed by firearm, even though justified.

We dug into Gun Violence Archive website’s “mass shooting” report for 2019. We filtered the list by lowest deaths to highest. Immediately 10 out of the 12 pages were disqualified, as there were between 0 and 3 deaths per incident. That means right away, 272 incidents out of 294 do not qualify as a mass shooting by definition. In fact, 148 of these incidents resulted in zero deaths.

That leaves only two pages to dig through. The most common theme with the remaining list of incidents is that they were primarily either family or domestic violence related, or drug/gang related. Using the definition used by the CRS, that removes all but nine shootings that actually count as a public mass shooting. Yes folks, there have only been NINE mass shootings this year in the United States – not 283.  

Nine mass shootings compared to 283 is a substantial difference. The media easily plays off the ignorance of the public, taking advantage of the fact that there is not a universal definition of “mass shooting”, and blowing up an issue that desperately needs cured, but solutions are not found with half truths and intentionally misleading information.

Here are those nine:

Sebring, Florida – January 23
Palm Spring, California – February 3
Aurora, Illinois – February 15
Virginia Beach, Virginia – May 31
White Swan, Washington – June 8
Gilroy, California – July 28
El Paso, Texas – August 3
Dayton, Ohio – August 4
Odessa, Texas – August 31

(In an effort to not publish the shooters names, we are not including that information. But a quick search by date and location here will provide more details into these events.)

WHY THIS MATTERS

This clearly shows that the media has a blatant disregard for the truth.  They either have an ulterior motive in what they report, or they are too lazy to verify what is being given to them.  It’s likely a bit of both, but the former is rather frightening.  They are manipulating the general populace by creating hysteria through a skewed mass shooter narrative. This in turn will influence public opinion, and ultimately public policy. Additionally, combining domestic violence and gang/drugs into public mass shootings is irresponsible. Each of these need addressed, but the motives are so different, which means the answers are too. Grouping it all into one term is as much an injustice to the victims and potential victims as grouping suicide into “gun violence.”

 

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Gun Violence Website Honors Odessa, TX Shooter As “Gun Violence” Victim

I’ve started making it a habit to check the “Gun Violence Memorial” website anytime I hear of a justified death by firearm.  These gun grabbers waste no time adding evil perpetrators who were killed in self defense to their website. Gotta pump those numbers up, right?  Today I checked for the murderer from Saturday’s Odessa, TX shooting spree and as expected, they’ve set up a page for him, even allowing people to light virtual candles in his honor.

I’ve written about this disturbing “Gun Violence Memorial” website before, most recently when they honored the Dayton, OH shooter as well.  They claim to be about honoring victims of gun violence, keeping daily stats, and allowing people to light candles for lost loved ones.  On the surface it sounds genuine, until you start digging deeper and realize they also “honor” perpetrators who are killed justifiably, whether by their victims or by law enforcement.  If a gun is used, they’re honored.

This website gets their information from the “Gun Violence Archive” another website which on the surface sounds honest, but again, they also count perpetrators as gun violence victims to pump up their numbers, as well as create their own definitions of “mass shooting” to drive hysteria and instill fear. Did you hear the recent mass shooting number for 2019 as 283?  Yeah, they got that from them.  We’ve debunked the Gun Violence Archive’s mass shooting numbers before (and I’ll be doing it again soon).  Click here to read more on that.

I wrote last year about the memorializing of a 60 year old man who was killed in self defense by a 23 year old woman while he was bashing her head into the guardrail during a Washington road rage incident.  In that instance, eventually the push back to the “Gun Memorial” site was so massive they removed him.  Good.  They should remove Seth Ator too.  In fact, they should remove anyone who was justifiably killed by firearm.  Guns also save lives.  They did for that young woman in Washington, and they did this past weekend in Odessa, TX.

Real, honest conversations need to be had about these tragedies, but when those wishing to disarm us use such dishonest tactics to sway public opinion, they can’t be taken seriously.  And I must ask the question: does memorializing mass shooters lead to more mass shooters?  

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Longmont, CO Wants to Register Their Gun Owners, Mandate Smart Tech Gun Locks

Longmont City Council Meeting On Extreme "Gun Safety Resolution"

In a Gun Safety Resolution so extreme it puts Boulder, CO’s so-called “assault weapons” ban to shame, Longmont, CO city council is asking federal and state elected officials to implement laws such as gun registration and requiring gun locks so advanced the technology barely even exists yet, among many other things.

On Tuesday, Councilman Tim Waters presented the resolution.  It was voted 5-2 to advance to the next step – deliberation and a final vote which will take place on Tuesday, Sept 10 at 7pm during the weekly city council meeting.  If approved, Mayor Brian Bagley would have to forward this resolution to state and federal elected officials conveying that these are the laws city council believes Longmont’s law abiding gun owners should have to abide by.  It should be noted, Mayor Bagley was one of the NO votes to move the resolution forward, along with Councilwoman Bonnie Finley.

Here is what the resolution calls for: 

1.) Required state issued permits for gun ownership.
2.) Universal background checks on all sales, including the private sale of firearms*.
3.) State issued permits for concealed carry*.
4.) State issued permits for concealed carry within a vehicle*.
5.)  Banning the personal sale or purchase of military grade weapons by non-military personnel.
6.) Limits on magazine capacity*.
7.) Required gun locks that enable only permitted gun owners to fire a weapon.
8.) Prohibitions of gun ownership by convicted felons and individuals convicted of domestic abuse.
9.) Red flagging individuals who have given family members and/or law enforcement reasons for concern about their mental and emotional stability*.

(Read the PDF of the resolution distributed by Councilman Tim waters on Tuesday here.)

According to Councilman Waters, the asterisk denotes laws that already exist in Colorado, although it’s unclear what he means by #4: State issued permits for conceal carry within vehicle.  Is he suggesting Colorado has a separate permit that allows individuals to carry a firearm within their vehicle or is he simply denoting it’s an extension of #3?  Just to be clear, there is no separate law requiring a permit to carry within a vehicle in Colorado.

The others with an asterisk are accurate – #2, #6 and #9.  In 2013 Colorado passed expanded background checks as well as restricted magazine capacity to 15 rounds, although it’s done nothing to curb gun deaths (homicides and suicide combined), and in fact, gun deaths have been rising at an alarming rate in the state since those laws were enacted. You could almost make the case that it’s had the opposite effect of what was intended.  And as for #9, Colorado’s “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO legislation was signed into law this past April, but the law will not go into effect until January 1, 2020.  I’ve also pointed out that Red Flag laws don’t work in other states that have them, such as Indiana where suicide rates are skyrocketing and they’ve had a Red Flag law since 2005, or California where there has been a public mass shooting yearly since they enacted their Red Flag law in 2014, and Sandy Hook happened in Connecticut after they enacted their Red Flag law in 1999.

But now let’s take a good look at the other laws the resolution calls for…

#1: State issued permits for gun ownership.  This is a gun owner registry plain and simple.  A registry required based off an irrational fear of property we own. Which class of people will Longmont suggest we register next based off an irrational fear? Muslims? Jews? The bigotry of the council is astounding. And how much will it cost to register? Are they also discriminating against poor people who can’t afford to register? Oh, and we all know exactly who will NOT register – criminals. In addition, talk of a registry always begs the question of how it will stop evil people from committing evil acts?  Would someone who wishes to do harm with a firearm not do so because they’ve “registered”, suddenly instilling morals and a sense of right from wrong into the individual? Absolutely not.

#5: Banning the personal sale or purchase of military grade weapons by non-military personnel.  What does this even mean? If they’re referring to banning access to firearms such as AR-15’s or AK-47’s that civilians can legally purchase from a gun store in the United States, it certainly wouldn’t be included under #5 as those firearms are not used by military.  Maybe they mean they want to eliminate the ability for civilians to spend $30k and purchase a full auto through the NFA?  Considering the latter is still legal in Boulder where they banned “assault weapons” in 2018, it’s more likely that Councilman Tim Waters has no idea what he is even talking about, but still supports sending men with “weapons of war” to confiscate “weapons of war” from people who have done absolutely nothing wrong.  I bet he claims to be against police brutality too, even though he’d support police enforcing his ban up and to the point of brutal force.

#7: Required gun locks that enable only permitted gun owners to fire a weapon.  Now we’re not just talking about access to firearms via a smart technology safe, but the actual requirement that the gun cannot be fired unless by the registered gun owner.  This kind of smart technology barely exists, and what does exist is incredibly expensive.  For example, German firearms manufacturer Armatix LLC manufactures RFID enabled guns that are only activated by those with an authorized watch. But the pricetag is through the roof at $1800 for it’s most basic .22 caliber iP1 pistol.  So again, we’re talking about laws that limit access to self defense only to those who can afford it, blatant discrimination against the poor.  The technology also doesn’t come without flaws, and dangerous ones at that.  Even though the manufacturer says the bracelet must be within 1 foot of the firearm to function, multiple videos have proven that all it takes to bypass the safety block is a simple magnet held next to the firearm, rendering it an overpriced and awkward .22 handgun.  Plus RFID jammers are easy to make, creating a whole new black market where stalkers and rapists can obtain the means to deactivate a potential victim’s instrument of self defense.

#8: Prohibitions of gun ownership by convicted felons and individuals convicted of domestic abuse.  This is already federal law, with felons and domestic abusers being entered into the NICS database, prohibiting the legal purchase of a firearm, and it’s simply illegal for them to own one.

If there is one word that comes to mind after reading this, it’s privilege.  This is what privilege looks like.  Councilman Waters, along with council members Marcia Martin, Polly Christiansen, Aren Rodriguez, and Joan Peck who joined him in his support of this resolution, are so privileged they don’t understand why someone could possibly ever need to defend themselves.  And those who are underprivileged and live in poverty would have their right to self defense stripped of them, even though statistics show people living in households in the US that have an income level below the Federal poverty threshold have more than double the rates of violent victimization compared to individuals in high-income households.  And because the poverty rate of African Americans is almost double of that of Caucasians, you could almost call Councilman Waters proposals white privilege. I mean, he must believe only rich white people should be allowed to defended themselves, right?

Now, some may say resolutions are worthless; simply a statement with no teeth.  I don’t see it that way.  What I see is a city council who will be voting September 10th on whether or not they believe these laws should be forced upon the 94,000 people in their city. And if their vote is yes, what’s to stop them from doing an ordinance next?

Please speak up, especially if you are a Longmont resident.  You can email the entire council at once at: [email protected] and telephone numbers can be found here.  Attend the next city council meeting:  Sept 10th at 7pm, Civic Center 350 Kimbark St. Longmont, CO 80501.  If you are comfortable doing so, come with a 3 minute prepared speech to give during public comment (it’s easy). If you don’t want to speak, please still come and offer support to others.  Questions?  Contact us.

 

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