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

 

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms must always be defended!
Get a sticker for a donation to Rally for our Rights of $5 or more.
CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS

The Right To Keep And Bear Arms Will Be Defended Sticker - Rally for our Rights

(other designs available)

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.

 

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms must always be defended!
Get a sticker for a donation to Rally for our Rights of $5 or more.
CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS

No politician who supports gun control should get armed protection paid for by those they are trying to disarm sticker : Rally For Our Rights

(other designs available)

Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim

Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim Connor Betts

I’ve written about this disturbing “Gun Violence Memorial” website before.  A website that claims 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.  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. Did you hear the recent mass shooting number for 2019 as 251?  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.

It should have come as no surprise to me that one of the latest “gun violence victims” listed on the Gun Memorial site is 24 year old Connor Betts, the mass murderer who killed 9 and injured 27 when he opened fire at popular nightlife area of Dayton, OH this past weekend.  Betts was killed within minutes by police – with a firearm – and because the officer used a firearm, Betts is now another stat, another “gun violence” victim that the anti-gun left is using to push their agenda.  This particular scenario is especially disgusting as they are also using the real victims as well to push for all sorts of gun control, including dangerous “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order laws.  

Gun Memorial Website Honors Dayton, OH Mass Shooter As Gun Violence Victim Connor Betts

But honestly, it did come as a surprise to even me that this anti-gun group is so hell bent on twisting their numbers to fit their narrative that they would memorialize this particular evil perpetrator.  At the time of this writing, three people have already lit a candle for Betts.  And I must ask the question: does memorializing mass shooters lead to more mass shooters?  

The Denver Westword often uses this same website to validate their stories about gun ownership and/or violence.  And they should be ashamed.

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 Connor Betts 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 Dayton, OH.

Why “Red Flag” ERPO Laws Are Not The Solution To Mass Shootings

Are "Red Flag" ERPO Laws The Solution To Mass Shootings?

After every public mass shooting, the call for gun control reaches a new pitch.  Those on the anti-gun left have gone so far as suggesting banning nearly every modern day semi-automatic firearm and having police go door to door confiscating them.  And those on the right are calling for “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order laws in every state.

But is this really the answer?  The suggestion of a door to door gun confiscation would be laughable if these people were joking- but they aren’t.  How any politician believes using what they refer to as “weapons of war” to confiscate “weapons of war” will not turn into a war, is beyond me.  Even the anti-gun, Bloomberg funded website “The Trace” admits there are at bare minimum 20 million civilian owned, modern day sporting rifles in the US, and nearly all of them have never been used to commit a crime.

So what about “Red Flag” laws?  Let’s take a quick look at Red Flag laws and what they do…

“Red Flag” laws are also called ERPO’s or Extreme Risk Protection Orders, a term coined by the anti-gun movement to deter from the negative reputation that came with “Red Flag” legislation.  Don’t be fooled though, they are the exact same thing.  Red Flag laws have actually been around since 1999, although they are quickly rising in popularity.  In fact, Connecticut had a Red Flag law in place when the Sandy Hook shooting happened and California had one in place at the time of the San Bernardino attack, the Thousands Oaks shooting, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting.

The proponents and mainstream media will tell you Red Flag ERPO laws allow family or law enforcement to petition the court to have the firearms removed from someone who is proven to be a danger to themselves or others.

To the general public, this sounds pretty benign, and polling reflects that when the law is presented this way.

But what if I phrased it this way: It’s a law that allows an abusive ex to petition the court, over the phone, for $0, to have the firearms confiscated from an individual they wish to disarm.  The petition is granted based on the lowest evidentiary threshold used in court, a preponderance of evidence (meaning there is a 51% chance that the accusation is true) and when the temporary order is issued by the court, it is coupled with a search warrant.  This means the first time the accused even finds out these proceedings are taking place is when the police are at their door ready to raid their home prepared to take away their means of self defense against the same abusive ex who requested the ERPO – and possibly the means of defense for their children.

Because that is exactly what these laws do.  It is legalized swatting that can be done by a laundry list of family members, former and current roommates, and anyone you have ever been intimate with.  Don’t believe me?  Read through the 30+ pages of HB19-1177 “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders that was just signed by the governor here in Colorado.

There is a big difference between supporting the concept of a Red Flag law, and supporting the actual legislation that is being passed. The devil is always in the details.

But do they work?

Well, we already pointed out above three mass shooting in California with one of the broadest Red Flag laws (right behind Colorado’s), as well as Sandy Hook in Connecticut.  So, no, they didn’t work to stop killers in those instances and there is zero evidence they have thwarted any attacks elsewhere.

But what about suicide? Proponents will of course tell you yes, they work.  States like Indiana pointed to stats showing suicide by firearm was decreasing.  Well, 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.

Why are we seeing these results?  Because these laws have nothing to do with mental health, and everything to do with taking away the guns.  The bill sponsors here in Colorado even admitted that during the month long debate before the bill passed by ONE SINGLE vote with every Republican and three Democrats voting against it.  Watch the video here:

These laws are widely opposed by law enforcement, as they realize the danger they will put their officers and citizens in, as well as the unconstitutionality of the law.  In Colorado, more than 50 of the 64 sheriffs opposed the legislation, as did the Denver and Aurora police unions.  The ACLU has opposed legislation in other states such as Rhode Island.  And people have been killed having these Red Flag orders served, such as happened in Maryland when a woman ERPO’d her brother after a family dispute. She later admitted she did not believe he would have hurt a fly, but he was killed when he refused to turn over his guns. Trading death for death is never the answer. The lives of gun owners do not matter less than the lives of anyone else.

We should also always remember in the “do something” era, passing feel good, knee jerk, virtue signaling legislation is a waste of valuable time and resources that could be used to actually DO SOMETHING, for example Maine passed a completely different proper adjudication law to address the same issue.  You can learn about that by listening to this podcast here.

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms must always be defended!
Get a sticker for a donation to Rally for our Rights of $5 or more.
CLICK HERE TO GET YOURS

No politician who supports gun control should get armed protection paid for by those they are trying to disarm sticker : Rally For Our Rights

(other designs available)

More Than Half Colorado Counties Say WE WILL NOT COMPLY To Red Flag Law Should It Pass

Colorado Counties Say WE WILL NOT COMPLY To Red Flag Law Should It Pass : Rally for our Rights

(red counties have passed resolutions, yellow counties sheriffs oppose but county has not taken action, gray counties sheriffs support, white is unknown)

UPDATED July 13th, 2019

Recently we reported when two Colorado counties passed resolutions declaring themselves Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties, and since then that number has grown to over half of Colorado’s counties that have either passed a resolution or are poised to pass one at an upcoming meeting.  In addition, both the Denver and Aurora Police Unions expressed their opposition in a press release.

Wondering what a Second Amendment Sanctuary County means?  In nearly all of these instances, these efforts are being led by the county sheriff, then joined by the county commissioners, who say no county funds will be used to process ERPO’s or store confiscated weapons, and that the right to keep and bear arms extends to all citizens of the county.  How far will YOUR sheriff go to not comply should HB19-1177 become law?  Well, it varies and I’d suggest asking them yourself for more specific clarificiation.

Here’s the scoop on the current list of Second Amendment Sanctuary counties:

Garfield County: Passed Resolution April 8, 2019
Las Animas County: Passed Resolution April 3, 2019
Phillips County: Passed Resolution April 3, 2019
Morgan County: Issued Statement April 3, 2019
Bent County: Passed Resolution March 27, 2019
Sedgwick County: Passed Resolution March 20, 2019
Montrose County: Passed Resolution March 20, 2019
Mineral County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Lincoln County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Archuleta County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Delta County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Logan County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Huerfano County: Passed Resolution March 19, 2019
Crowley County: Passed Resolution March 18, 2019
Jackson County: Passed Resolution March 14, 2019
Rio Grande County: Passed Resolution March 13, 2019
Elbert County: Passed Resolution March 13, 2019
Alamosa County: Passed Resolution March 13, 2019
Washington County: Passed resolution March 12, 2019
Douglas County: Passed resolution March 12, 2019 (Sheriff not in support)
Dolores County: Passed resolution March 12, 2019
El Paso County: Passed resolution March 12, 2019 (Sheriff may still enforce law or parts of law)
Prowers County: Passed resolution March 11, 2019
Cheyenne County: Passed resolution March 8, 2019
Park County: Passed resolution March 7, 2019
Teller County: Passed resolution March 7, 2019
Baca County: Passed resolution March 6, 2019
Conejos County: Passed resolution March 6, 2019
Kit Carson County: Passed resolution March 6, 2019
Weld County: Passed resolution March 6, 2019
Moffat County: Passed resolution March 5, 2019
Montezuma County: Passed resolution Feb 28, 2019
Custer County: Passed resolution Feb 28, 2019
Kiowa County: Passed resolution Feb 28, 2019
Fremont County: Passed resolution Feb 26, 2019
Rio Blanco County: Passed resolution May 21, 2018
Otero County: Passed resolution in 2013, although they commissioners and sheriff are refusing to draft language specific to HB19-1177

These municipalities have joined with their counties:

Craig, CO: Passed resolution March 11, 2019
Canon City, CO: Passed resolution March 18, 2019
Milliken, CO: Passed resolution March 27, 2019
Silver Cliff, CO: Passed resolution April 1, 2019
Lamar, CO: Set to pass resolution
Greeley, CO: Considering

Colorado Counties Say WE WILL NOT COMPLY To Red Flag Law Should It Pass : Rally for our Rights

The following counties are considering implementing similar resolutions or their sheriff is in opposition:

Adams County

Adams County Sheriff Rick Reigenborn stated on Facebook that he has not been up to speed on the Red Flag Bill, but upon further review he agrees Sheriff Reams brings up a lot of important issues, and as written, he opposes the bill as well.  He believes there are many flaws.

Eagle County

In Eagle County the sheriff came out the day the governor signed the bill with a very thorough analysis of why he is now in opposition of the legislation as written.  That can be found here.

Routt County

The Routt County sheriff has publicly stated that he supports the concept of a Red Flag Law, but finds HB19-1177 deeply flawed with many potential problems.

Ouray County

The Ouray county sheriff is against the bill.

Saguache County

In Saguache county, the sheriff has asked the citizens to contact their county commissioners requesting they pass a Second Amendment Sanctuary resolution.

Grand County

Grand  County Sheriff is in direct opposition of Colorado’s Red Flag law, calling it unconsituational, and the county commissioners echo his concerns.  They are determining what to do next.

Yuma County

Yuma County Sheriff T.C. Combs is working with the Yuma County Commissioners to pass a resolution making their county a Second Amendment Sanctuary.  They are currently awaiting legal advice before moving to the final vote.  All three county commissioners support the resolution.

Chaffee County

The Chaffee county sheriff said at state senator Kerry Donovan’s town hall that he is in complete opposition of Colorado’s Red Flag bill, and he joined with the commissioners to draft a letter to the legislature pointing out 14 very specific issues with this legislation. The commissioners side stepped the issue at their recent meeting and moved the issue to a public forum.

Pueblo County

The Pueblo County Sheriff has publicly voiced his opposition and two of the three Democrat county commissioner made public statements at their last county commissioner meeting that they have grave concerns with the bill (the third was not present).

Mesa County

Rose Pugliese, chairwoman of the Mesa County Board of Commissioners, said her board passed a comprehensive resolution in 2013 supporting the Second Amendment and she plans to present the newest resolution to the entire board of commissioners in the coming days.  The Mesa County Sheriff has also come out in strong opposition to the Red Flag legislation currently being considered.

Larimer County

In Larimer County, Sheriff Justin Smith has publicly stated his opposition to the current version of the Red Flag bill, and all three county commissioners (including Democrat and former State Senator, John Kefalas) have issued a letter to the Senate asking them to oppose this bill.

Jefferson County

Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader is also in public opposition to HB19-1177.  The Board of County Commissioners have yet to make a statement.  I will reach out to them as well.

 

Parkland One Year Later: The Government Has Blood On Their Hands

Parkland One Year Later: The Government Has Blood On Their Hands Rally for our Rights Colorado
Today marks one year since the United States saw a school massacre that broke the hearts of a nation, ignited a fire in new activists, and if you’re paying attention – shattered your trust in government.  That massacre being the Parkland, Florida school shooting where 19 year old Nikolas Cruz took the lives of 14 classmates and three teachers.

On February 14th, 2018 Nikolas Cruz took an Uber with a backpack equipped with an AR-15, grenades, and ammo to his old school.  He walked past the school security monitor, Andrew Medina, who knew he wasn’t allowed on school grounds and found his presence “suspicious”, although did nothing.  Cruz walked past the building where school resource officer, Scot Peterson, was talking with another student.  Peterson was employed as a sheriff’s deputy with the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, but his charge was to protect the students at Parkland High School.  It should also be noted that Peterson was the only armed person permitted to be on school grounds.  Cruz walked through the unsecured school doors into his former high school from which he’d been expelled.  In this gun free zone not one person attempted to stop him, nor was there any security measures in place.  At 2:21 pm he opened fire.  It was a rampage that would last at least 20 minutes before Cruz simply walked out of the school and into a nearby neighborhood, where he was eventually captured and confessed.

Heartbreaking.  How can this kind of tragedy happen?  It shouldn’t have.  And it wouldn’t have if the government had done their job.  

The Parkland High School Shooting spurred a gun control movement this country hasn’t seen in decades.  March for our Lives formed under umbrella groups Moms Demand Action and Everytown For Gun Safety, all which are funded by Michael Bloomberg, have taken to the streets and the halls of congress.  Frantic and misguided students, parents, teachers and individuals have exploited the Parkland tragedy calling for massive gun control across the nation – from city ordinances to federal laws.  What they should be acknowledging instead is the complete and utter government failure that allowed Parkland to happen in the first place. More laws were not needed. The current laws simply needed to be enforced.

The government has blood on their hands, and as a mother I say that unapologetically.  

• Nikolas Cruz was not a stranger to Broward County law enforcement.  In fact, police had been called to his home at least 37 times over the course of only a few years. 37 TIMES!  The reasons ranged from harming animals (shooting chickens with a pellet gun), assault on his mother, assault on his siblings, harming himself, threatening to harm himself, threatening to harm others, and more.  Not once was he charged.  Not once did the police take any action, even though action on almost all of these would have required his name to be entered into the NICS database preventing him from legally being able to purchase a firearm.

• In addition to the 37 reports law enforcement did follow up on (although ultimately ignored in the end), in February 2016 a tipster called Broward Sheriff’s Office to say Cruz ‘could be a school shooter in the making’ and had been making threats on Instagram, but deputies did not write up a report on that warning, instead they forwarded it to School Resource Officer Scot Peterson. That report came just weeks after a relative called urging Broward Sheriff’s Office to investigate if he should have the weapons he had, and possibly seize them.  In the end, both reports were ignored.

• Late in 2016 a “peer counselor” reported to School Resource Officer Scot Peterson that Cruz had possibly ingested gasoline in a suicide attempt, was cutting himself and wanted to buy a gun. A mental health counselor advised against involuntarily committing Cruz.  In Florida, such action can be done under the Baker Act, which allows the state to involuntarily commit individuals deemed a threat to themselves or others. People committed under the Baker Act are legally barred from obtaining firearms.  This event was followed up on by Florida Department of Children and Families, and even though he had fresh cuts from “cutting” and his mother shared her fear that he constantly talked of wanting to buy a firearm, he was deemed stable and, once again, ignored.

• In September 2017 a YouTube user named “nikolas cruz” postsed a comment stating he wanted to become a “professional school shooter.” The comment was reported to the FBI in Mississippi, but was not followed up on.

• In November 2017 a family member called Broward County Sheriff’s Office to report that Nikolas Cruz was dangerous, had made legitimate threats, and had weapons.  Her concerns were ignored when Cruz told them he’d give the weapons to a family friend.  This again would have been a legitimate use of the Baker Act.

• Also in November 2017, after Cruz’ mother died, he was taken in by a Palm Beach County family.  They contacted the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office to report a fight between Cruz and their 22 year old son. A member of the family said that Cruz had threatened to “get his gun and come back” and that he had “put the gun to others’ heads in the past.” The family did not want him arrested, so the report was ignored.

And again in November 2017 a caller from Massachusetts reported that Cruz is collecting guns and knives and was threatening to be a “school shooter in the making.” A Broward County Sheriff’s Deputy advised the caller to contact the Palm Beach sheriff.  If the caller ever did contact Palm Beach, it’s not on record.

• In January 5, 2018 a report came in to the FBI’s tip line claiming that Cruz has “a desire to kill people” and could potentially conduct a school shooting. The information was never passed on to the FBI’s office in Miami.  The FBI has even publicly acknowledged their failure.

And these are only the failures BEFORE the incident.  Since the incident it has come to light that:

• The only other armed person on school grounds, resource officer Scot Peterson, hid behind a concrete wall during the rampage.

• School Security Monitor, Andrew Medina, had a long history of sexually harassing female students, all which was swept under the rug.

• Broward County Sheriff took 26 minutes to enter to the school.

• Nikolas Cruz was easily able to walk out of the school, blending in with other students and walked into a nearby neighborhood, where he was later arrested.

• After a lawsuit against the Broward County Sheriff’s Department, the school district, and Parkland High, a judge determined that NONE of these entities had a responsibility to protect the students.

You would think after all of this, those closest to the tragedy would be asking why – and how – this kind of failure is possible.  You would think that in the change they wish to see, the government would be the last place they’d be seeking it.  I mean, what makes them think anything will change?  History shows it won’t and it doesn’t, and, in fact,  nearly every mass shooting the US has seen government failure like this exist behind it.

Even last summer during a counter protest Rally for our Rights held while March for our Lives was staging a “March on the NRA”, a conversation afterward between myself and the organizers of the other event resulted in agreement that these failures exist, and that before we discuss new laws, we should be discussing why our current laws are failing.

What is the solution?  We need to acknowledge our society has a violence problem and a suicide problem, but to call it a gun problem is disingenuous.  To create gun control laws that disarm and effect only the law abiding is a false sense of security.  Mental health is a strong component of this issue.  Any individual who will walk into a school and execute students is mentally ill, even if not previously diagnosed.

We have soft targets in schools such as Parkland, where someone like Cruz can simply wander in with nothing in his way, and not one person inside the school is legally given the ability to defend the students they care for as their own.  Programs such as FASTER Colorado provides no cost or low cost intensive training to school staff who voluntarily choose to be armed and is approved by their school board.  They are also provided with deep concealment training, trauma training, and psychological training.

In the end, we will never eradicate evil, but we can defend ourselves from it.  

 

Actually, David Hogg…It’s Illegal To Use Tax Money To Fund Gun Control Research

On another episode of “Things Anyone Can Say On Twitter” gun control proponent, David Hogg, recently tweeted: “Congress ought to create a federal tax on gun sales to fund gun violence research.”

For someone who cares so much about laws, and creating new laws (even while current gun control laws are failing at the fault of the government), Hogg himself fails to understand there are currently laws in place that would make it illegal for tax money to be used to fund research into what he calls “gun violence”.

In fact, it is illegal for the arm of government responsible for researching risk and prevention, the Center For Disease Control, to use funding to advocate for or promote gun control.  This is due to 1996’s “Dickey Amendment“.  Most recently, in March, 2018, President Donald Trump addressed the Dickey Amendment in his $1.3 trillion spending agreement, but did not include a change in funding.  Instead it clarified that the CDC can conduct research into gun violence, but cannot use government appropriated funds to do so.

But this brings to question, what would the CDC find if they did unbiased research?  They might find that while gun crime is going down, public perception believes otherwise.

It’s Illegal To Use Tax Money To Fund Gun Research gun crime rally for our rights colorado

David Hogg rose to fame along with fellow classmates as they politicized the February, 2018 Parkland High School shooting and used it as a platform to call for stricter gun control under the guise of March For Our Lives – an organization that works under the umbrella of the Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety.  Since it’s inception, some of Hogg’s classmates have left the movement citing a change of heart when actually talking with gun owners and gaining a better understanding of why they those choose to own firearms.

So, Mr. Hogg, before you continue asking for government to make more and more laws, I’d suggest you learn more about the ones that we currently have on the books.