California: 21 Shot, 11 Fatally, and 1 School Bomb Attempt During Week of Widespread Violence

The state with the most strict gun control in the nation, California, is giving Chicago a run for their money.  In the past seven days, they have seen three horrific shootings taking 11 lives and injuring 21 as well as a school bombing attempt that was foiled by the groundskeeper.

On Thursday, Nov 14, 2019 a 16 year old boy used a .45 semi-automatic handgun to open fire at his Santa Clarita, CA high school.  He murdered two students and wounded three others before taking his own life. The shooter’s father had died in 2016 and had a history of domestic violence in the home prior to his death.  It has been reported that at one time law enforcement legally confiscated six firearms from the father based on their ability to track the serial numbers to him through California’s “this-is-not-a-registry” program.  It is now being reported that the firearm used in the school shooting was a privately manufactured firearm that did not have a serial number. It is not known where he obtained it.

Another horrific incident took place in San Diego, CA on Saturday, Nov 16, 2019.  During this massacre, a father used a handgun to kill his wife, three of their children, and then himself.  Another child survived and was last reported to be in critical condition. In this tragic incident, the mother had filed for a restraining order just days before but it is unclear if it was ever served, although a restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper.

Only one day later in Fresno, CA on Sunday, Nov 17, 2019 a family was gathered in a backyard watching a football game when two unknown suspects entered the yard through the back fence and opened fire in to the group.  Four people were killed and six others wounded.  It is reported that the family was part of the Hmong community, and possibly the attack was related to a violent Hmong gang.  The perpetrators are still at large.

To finish off the violent week, on Wednesday, Nov 20, 2019 a homemade bomb was found and defused at a San Jose, CA high school.  A groundskeeper found the device in the bushes right next to the school.  The school was placed in lockdown, administrative offices were evacuated, and a bomb squad was called in.  After some time the bomb was rendered safe and evacuations of the entire campus began.  Bomb dogs were brought in and area was cleared.  There are no suspects at this time.

Wow, what a terrible week for a state who continues to add more gun control laws on top of more gun control laws.  A state that has had a “Red Flag” law in place since 2014 and just recently passed legislation making that particular law so extreme even the ACLU opposed it.  In fact, California just added seven new anti-gun laws to their already extensive roster.

These atrocities are not supposed to happen in California.  They have “the laws”, ya know!  

As expected, national gun control advocates are already screaming for an assault weapons ban and expanded background checks because of the incidents I listed above.  Never mind California requires background checks on everything right down to ammo.  And each of these incidents used handguns, not so-called “assault weapons”, well, except for the homemade bomb.

Although honestly, I think this week of violence tells a much more important story, one that gun rights activists such as myself have been trying to help people understand.  Until we get to the root of the violence, it will not stop.  

And it’s even bigger than that.  Lawmakers need to stop grouping together violent crimes under the umbrella of “gun violence” or “mass shootings”.  It does a disservice to the victims.  It derails meaningful conversation and real solution seeking.

Let’s look at school shootings for example.  When will we start asking the hard questions about what is happening in schools that makes these children want to execute their classmates and teachers?  Why have suicide rates among children, teens, and young adults skyrocketed?  Why are our children choosing death?  These are questions those seeking gun control don’t ask.  They can’t, because it distracts from their heartless goal of disarming citizens.  When I talk with gun grabbers or law makers pushing for more gun control, I often start with the premise that we all agree on the problem, and I mean that.  The problem: school shootings are horrific and heartbreaking and we want to see them end.  We just disagree on the solutions.  The fact that we now have to worry about homemade bombs showing up at schools is a example of why it’s so critical we get to the root cause rather than simply making laws requiring the locking up of guns (which hasn’t stopped school shooters in the past) or making Red Flag laws that clearly have done nothing to prevent tragedy in California.

What about domestic violence?  The motives behind domestic violence murder and murder-suicide are extremely different than school shootings, or public mass shootings, or gang or drug related shootings.  Once again, grouping them in some ambiguous term called “gun violence” and assuming just another gun control law will help is downright dangerous.  Domestic violence is incredibly tricky because the victims are often afraid to leave, and when they do, they are sometimes in extreme danger.  This is why many victims have chosen firearm ownership and training when deciding to leave.  But it also poses yet another potential dangerous aspect to poorly written Red Flag laws because domestic violence perpetrators can actually use these laws to disarm their victims.

As for gang related shootings, tackling this epidemic is troubling as these people thrive on crime. No law will stop them. And again the solution to gang violence is very different than the solution to school shootings or domestic violence.

So, let’s start talking about solutions.  What do you think the solutions are?  Leave them in the comments. 

 

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Debunking CBS “60 Minutes” Segment On Colorado’s Red Flag ERPO Law

It seems a day doesn’t go by that we’re not debunking more lies and half truths coming from the mainstream media.  The latest is a 60 Minutes segment that aired Sunday.  This segment titled “A look at Red Flag laws and the battle over one in Colorado” is chock full of inaccurate facts, omissions, and misinformation.  We go over those below.

To watch the full segment, you will have to visit the CBS website and view it there.  It is 14 minutes long and free to watch.

You can watch a quick preview of the segment here:

Our take:

1.) There have not been 366 mass shootings this year (learn more: www.rallyforourrights.com/we-are-being-lied-to-about-mass-shootings-again)

2.) California passed their Red Flag law in 2014, not 2016.  Now this is a minor discrepancy, but something 60 Minutes absolutely should have gotten correct.  If they are going to flub on such a simple fact, what else will they get wrong?  Do they not know how to use Google?

3.) Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when Sandy Hook happened. Theirs was enacted in 1999. Sandy Hook happened in 2012 and was NOT the catalyst to write the law as the segment implies.

4.) Law enforcement is not the only entity who can petition the courts. Spouses, ex-spouses, roommates, former roommates, any relative or step-relative, a Tinder date gone wrong, or someone you had an affair with are all also people who can petition the courts for a Red Flag ERPO.   If you don’t fall in to the insanely broad range of people the law defines as “family members”, you can then simply go to a law enforcement officer and have them file the petition for you.

5.) The temporary orders are granted based on a preponderance of evidence – even when law enforcement files the petition.  Preponderance quite literally means the more convincing evidence, yet the person being accused is not present at the hearing and doesn’t know it’s taking place, therefore cannot present any evidence at all.  The accuser will ALWAYS present the more convincing evidence. How will any of these ever be denied?

5.) It’s despicable how Sheriff Tony Spurlock said “this is a tool to take away guns” then turns around and says “this isn’t about taking away guns, it’s about getting people the help they need” when there is absolutely NO mental health component to the Colorado law.

6.) Watching the Zackari Parrish footage has us wondering how that is any different than serving a Red Flag warrant? How would the outcome change? Also, if they just left him alone that night, what would have happened? Why did Spurlock send his deputies into what he knew could be a gun fight with soft body armor?

7.) Sheriff Steve Reams was thoughtful, reasonable and great in pointing out that we need to be helping people, not simply removing the tool that could do harm. We are thankful for him.

8.) They omit the fact that more than 50 of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs oppose the law as written, as does the Denver Police Union and the Aurora Police Union.

Learn all about Colorado’s Red Flag law here.

 

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Colorado Gun Control Has Been A Complete Failure In Reducing Violent Crime

In 2013 anti-gun elected officials in the Colorado legislature passed a package of gun control bills with the promise it would bring down violent crime and save the state from what they claimed was certain catastrophe. We knew at the time they were lying, and the most recent FBI data shows those laws have been a complete failure to help reduce violent crime. In fact, violent crime has been on a steady rise ever since the laws were enacted, reversing a downward trend.

Here’s what went into law July 1, 2013:

HB13-1229: Expanded Background Checks

This law expands the federal background check requirement to include private sales and adds a mental health component.

Under the new law, before any person who is not a licensed gun dealer transfers possession of a firearm, he or she must arrange for a licensed dealer to obtain the required background check. In obtaining the background check, the dealer must follow all procedures that it would follow were it transferring the firearm in a retail transaction, including recording the transfer, retaining the records, and complying with all state and federal laws.

The law also requires the reporting by the courts of persons to the NICS and CBI database who are (1) found to be incapacitated, (2) committed to a behavioral health treatment program (e.g., for substance abuse), or (3) involuntarily certified for short-term or long-term treatment and care for mental illness.

HB13-1224: Large Capacity Magazine Ban

This law prohibits the sale, transfer, or possession of large-capacity ammunition magazines or feeding devices, which includes fixed or detachable magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition among other things such as shotgun shell limits.  A through description of the ban can be found here.

HB13-1228: Background Check Fees

This law directs the Bureau to impose a fee for performing an instant criminal background check pursuant to state law. The fee amount cannot exceed the total amount of direct and indirect costs the Bureau incurs in performing the check.

The bills were signed into law by then Governor, John Hickenlooper.  Hickenlooper is currently running for senate against sitting Senator Cory Gardner who is up for reelection in 2020.  Hickenlooper has even gone as far as to praise the laws and the impact they have had on the state of Colorado.  I have no idea what he is praising.  The new laws also spurred the 2013 successful recall of State Senator Angela Giron and then Senate President John Morse.  Another recall attempt resulted in the resignation of former State Senator Evie Hudak.  The resignation was a strategic move by the Colorado Democrat Party to prevent losing a third senate seat.

But have these laws impacted violence in Colorado?  Our research team scoured the most recent FBI crime reporting data to get a better picture. The results were stunning.  Not only has crime not decreased as was promised, it’s increased – and drastically.  The following charts were put together based on the data provided by the FBI.

 

This first graph is violent crime which includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.

 

These following two charts show the overall murder rate year over year, as well as trends.  While these show the murder rate was rising before the 2013 laws (0.20 murders per 100K per year, between 2010-2013), since the laws passed it’s been rising 30% faster (0.26 murders per 100K per year, between 2014-2018). So not only did the laws not reverse nor even slow the rising murder rate, it is rising even faster than before the laws.


 

This chart below details the forcible rape rates in the state. 

Note: the revised line accounts for a change made to the definition of forcible rape in 2013 to include male victims of rape  (the FBI previously only added female rape victims into their data).  The revision also clarified that any penetration without consent was considered rape, including penetration by object.  Learn more about that change here

 

Below you will find the aggravated assault stats. The FBI defines aggravated assault as an unlawful attack by one person upon another for the purpose of inflicting severe or aggravated bodily injury.

 

 

And lastly, here are the robbery stats for Colorado.  The FBI definition of robbery is the taking or attempting to take anything of value from the care, custody, or control of a person or persons by force or threat of force or violence and/or by putting the victim in fear.

Bottom line: Colorado has a violence problem and gun control has done nothing to curb it.  Until we address the root cause of the violence, it will continue to escalate no matter how many laws are made to restrict the tools a violent person may use.

 

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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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