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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What can we do?

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

And then there are the crisis lines:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE LIE

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

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

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

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

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

Here are those nine:

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

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

WHY THIS MATTERS

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

 

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Five of Colorado’s Ten Safest Cities Are In This ONE Second Amendment Sanctuary County

Five of Colorado's Ten Safest Cities Are In A Second Amendment Sanctuary County : Rally for our Rights

A list of Colorado’s safest cities based on FBI crime statistics has been released, and five of them are in Second Amendment Sanctuary county, Weld County, including the top spot. Could it be that gun ownership and independent self protection leads to less crime?  More information on data and methodology can be found here.

The top ten safest cities are as follows:

  1. Firestone (Weld)
  2. Louisville (Boulder)
  3. Frederick (Weld)
  4. Golden (Jefferson)
  5. Broomfield (Broomfield)
  6. Windsor (Weld)
  7. Parker (Douglas)
  8. Erie (Weld)
  9. Johnstown (Weld)
  10. Steamboat Springs (Routt)

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams has led the Second Amendment Sanctuary movement across the state and is an outspoken opponent to Colorado’s poorly written and unconstitutional “Red Flag” ERPO legislation, which ultimately passed by a single vote.  The law will go into effect January 1, 2020.

Five of Colorado's Ten Safest Cities Are In A Second Amendment Sanctuary County : Rally for our Rights

Back in April he stated he’d rather sit in his own jail than enforce such unconstituational orders on the citizens of his county.

“If a judge issues an order saying a person can’t possess weapons, and also compels law enforcement to perform a search warrant to seek out those guns, I believe that’s a violation of a person’s constitutional rights,” Reams said.

“I have a hard choice at that point. I can potentially violate someone’s constitutional rights. Or I can violate a court order. I would rather be on the side of violating a court order than someone’s rights.”

More than 50 of Colorado’s 64 sheriffs opposed HB19-1177, “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Orders ERPO, and 37 counties have declared Second Amendment Sanctuary status.

In addition to having five of the top ten safest cities, Weld county has below state average suicide rates. This is important because Giffords group has been pushing the narrative that Second Amendment Sanctuary counties have the highest suicide rates, a narrative that is parroted by Moms Demand Action.  What they fail to mention is MOST of these counties have very small populations. For example, they are using Custer county’s calculated suicide by firearm rate of 49 per 100,000 people to make their case, but Custer county has a population of 4,900 people and ONE suicide by firearm.

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams regularly testified to his concern that Colorado’s “Red Flag” legislation as written does nothing to aid those who do need help, and instead sends deputies to confiscate firearms from someone who may be suicidal, while leaving the person in crisis.  Such actions will only escalate and exacerbate a distressing situation.  Compassion may be lost on the gun grabbers, but it is not lost on us.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Longmont City Council Meeting On Extreme "Gun Safety Resolution"

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

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

Here is what the resolution calls for: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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School Backpedals After CO Teen Was Banned From Classes For Shooting Guns With Mother

School Backpedals After CO Teen Was Banned For Shooting Guns With Mother Even After Police Cleared Him : Rally for our Rights

In a follow up to the story we broke yesterday of a Loveland, Colorado teen who was banned from classes after he posted videos of himself shooting guns with his mother on Snapchat, the student has now been cleared to go back to class and the school is backpedaling.

Here’s a recap of what happened: Justine Myers took her son, Nate, shooting earlier this week. When they returned home they discovered the police were attempting to contact them.  Nate had posted two videos on Snapchat; one video had the firearms they were going to use with the caption “Finna be lit” (which is teenage slang for “going to be a great time”), and the other was a video of him shooting while his mother instructed him. Someone had seen these videos and reported him to police via the school’s Safe 2 Tell system which allows anonymous tips to law enforcement and the school.  The police spoke with Nate and his parents, watched the videos, determined Nate was not a threat to himself or others nor had he made any threats, and they were well within their legal rights. They then went on their way. But that wasn’t good enough for the school.  The following morning a voicemail was received from Thompson Valley School District stating that Nate could not go to school and was banned indefinitely until a “threat assessment” hearing was completed. The school also refused to provide Nate with school work to prevent him from falling behind. When Justine explained the situation and stated the police had already assessed it and cleared him, her words were hastily dismissed by school officials.

After this story broke fellow parents, community members, and even elected officials contacted school admin and district board members to express their disapproval of this blatant violation of the student’s civil liberties, as well as the complete disregard for parental rights.  And it undoubtedly had an effect.

The threat assessment hearing took place this morning and Nate has been cleared to return to class. The school officials came prepared with a packet of his homework, and stated they believed him to be a good kid and never thought he was making threats against the school.  They acknowledged that his classmates may now react differently to him (I mean, he’s practically been accused of being the next school shooter, right?) and offered to make sure no one gave him trouble. The SRO who was present agreed that the Safe 2 Tell system is sometimes used inappropriately by students wishing to anonymously seek revenge on another student.  School officials also cautioned Nate to not post these types of activities on social media.  Justine quickly reminded them that this is his First Amendment they’re talking about, and although she gets their point, that is a dangerous slope they’re heading down.

When Justine questioned why any of this had to happen in the first place since the police had already assessed the situation, she was told the school hadn’t received the police assessment until the following afternoon, nearly 20 hours later.  Now here’s where I call BS.  If there is a report of a threat that is deemed credible enough to warrant police investigation to a student’s home on a weekday evening, the results of such investigation would have been relayed immediately to the school to determine if the school was safe to open the following day.  And if that police assessment wasn’t immediately relayed, that school has far bigger security issues than any parent even realizes.

Everyone bent over backwards to try to right the situation, but no one went so far as to apologize.

Is it over for Nate?  The good news is nothing permanent will go on his school record and he can continue his education.  But he’s undoubtedly been traumatized by the entire situation and now will have a “reputation” at school.  He’ll also have the thought police living in his own head every time he wants to share anything that isn’t lock-step with PC culture.  And at 16 years old, he’s had his civil rights violated for participating in not one, but two, constitutionally protected activities – shooting guns and sharing a video of it.

On January 1, 2020 Colorado’s “Red Flag” Emergency Risk Protection Orders ERPO law will go into effect.  I’ve long said ERPO’s will be Safe2Tell for adults, and students have dubbed Safe 2 Tell as “Safe 2 Swat”, referencing the act of “swatting“, a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address.  Had this same scenario taken place while the ERPO law is in effect, Justine likely would have lost her firearms.

We need to continue to rally together as a community and push back at every turn.  If you or your child ends up in a situation like Nate’s, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Rally for our Rights. We’ve got your back.

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Colorado Student Banned From School For Going Shooting With His Mom

Colorado Student Removed From School Indefinitely For Going Shooting With His Mom

Justine Myers is your pretty average northern Colorado mom.  She loves her kids, supports the troops, praises our first responders, and owns firearms. On Wednesday, Justine picked up her 16 year old son Nate early from school for some mother-son bonding time – she took him shooting, a common northern Colorado hobby.

After a fun afternoon, they return home and get settled in – and the police show up.  Nate had posted on his Snapchat that he was going shooting with his mom along with this video (for those who need a little help translating the slang kids use these days “Finna be lit” basically means “Going to be a good time”.)…

And here’s a video of him shooting with his mother, who can be heard instructing him:

A report had come in to the police department about the video and they were told Nate was a threat.  After showing the videos to the police officers and explaining that they’d simply gone on a mother-son outing to train with their legally owned firearms, the police stated that they had done nothing illegal and were well within their rights.  They also determined Nate was not a threat to himself or anyone else, and went on their way.

But it wasn’t over.

This morning Justine woke up to a voicemail from Thompson Valley School District where Nate is a junior at Loveland High School in Loveland, CO.  The voicemail informed Justine that a report had come in claiming Nate was a threat to the school and he was not allowed to return until further notice. The report presumably came through Safe 2 Tell.  There are reports that a school wide email was also sent to parents about the “threat”.   Justine immediately contacted the school assuming she could easily clear things up, especially since the police had already assessed the situation and realized no one had done anything wrong or made any threats.  She was wrong.  The school not only refused to provide her with more information about the “threat”, but they refused to provide Nate with schoolwork so he doesn’t get behind.  A “threat assessment hearing” has been scheduled for Thursday morning at 10am at the school admin building where Justine will be allowed to defend her son against SEVEN school officials who will be in attendance to, as she was told, “make their case”.  Make their case of what?  That Nate’s outing with his mother to train with her firearms somehow makes him a danger to the school?

I spoke with Justine, as well as two different attorneys who specialize in Second Amendment issues.  The bottom line is the school is legally within their rights at this time.  According to the attorneys, the school has a protocol that must be followed when a report of a threat comes in through Safe 2 Tell or other means, even if the report is completely false – and there is nothing parents or students can legally do about it, even with a lawyer.  If the student is charged or further action is taken, that changes.  This is why students have dubbed Safe 2 Tell as “Safe 2 Swat”, referencing the act of “swatting“, a criminal harassment tactic of deceiving an emergency service into sending a police and emergency service response team to another person’s address.  The person who will face no repercussions?  The false accuser.  As for Nate, he has aspirations to join the military and is now worried this incident will go on his permanent school record with far-reaching implications.

If this happens to you or your child, what should you do?

1.) Don’t talk to the police.
2.) Be prepared for a visit from CPS.
3.) Consider moving your firearms to safe place until it is cleared up.
4.) Contact us for lawyer referrals and moral support.

We’ve had some people accuse us of this story being fabricated.  We don’t fabricate stories. The mother is a member of our organization and we reached out to help her.  We have both email and voicemails from the school but chose to not publish them out of fear of readers doxxing the school employees (something we’d rather not be held legally liable for). The story is breaking. Click here for another source.

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Arming Teachers In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know

Arming Teachers In Colorado: Everything You Need To Know - Rally for our Rights

 

Since the recent remarks made by the Douglas County, CO School District Superintendent, Dr. Thomas Tucker, vowing to remove any school, even a charter school, from his district if they wanted armed school staff to be part of a security plan, the amount of misinformation I’ve seen about “armed teachers” has been astonishing. The idea that people like myself, who support school and community autonomy over school security, wants to see every teacher in every school “packin’ heat, gun slingin’ like the old west” is downright ridiculous.  Hell, some of the stuff I’ve heard you’d think we wanted to arm kids (we do not, trust me)!  So let’s look at the facts…

Colorado is one of dozens of states that legally allows individuals to carry a concealed firearm on school grounds during school hours with specific conditions.  The laws in each state vary to some degree.

Here is exactly what Colorado’s CRS 18-12-214 (3) (b) states: “A permittee who is employed or retained by contract by a school district or charter school as a school security officer may carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvement erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school while the permittee is on duty;”

So, what does that mean?

It means that school district boards or charter school boards can authorize individual school staff members to conceal carry a firearm on school grounds, even if that person does not work for a security company.  When a decision is made to allow a school staff member to carry, the district will contract with the employee to add the “school security officer” designation to their primary job duties.

Do these staff members have to be insured? Are there training requirements?

In most cases when a staff member is designated on their contract to be a school security officer, a “rider” is added to their insurance.  This insurance rider requires 24 hours of firearm training over the past year, four hours of classroom instruction on firearms safety and use of deadly force, 14 hours of live fire range training exercises, six hours of school active shooter training, and the shooting range test police officers need to pass, among some other things.

Where do they receive the training? 

As more schools are looking into this option, almost all are working with FASTER Colorado.  FASTER stands for Faculty/Administrator Safety Training and Emergency Response.  They are dedicated to training school staff with an all of the above approach.  Their training goes far beyond what insurance requires, adding in a trauma class and a psychological portion.  The trauma skills ensure they’re equipped to not only stop a shooting, but save lives as well.  In some of the most tragic school shootings, it is apparent had someone in the school been equipped to stop the bleed, the fatality rate would have dropped – often times substantially.  The psychological portion discusses how to interact with a school shooter and asks the question “Can you handle what you may one day have to do?” To graduate from the FASTER training, tactical skills must exceed that of law enforcement.  You can watch a 90 minute FASTER presentation here.

Who knows which staff members are armed?

This is entirely up to the school district, but in most cases it is only a select few within the school and local law enforcement.  It is critical armed staff works with local law enforcement to develop a strong communication plan should an active shooter situation occur.

Won’t kids get a hold of the guns?

Part of the training is deep concealment techniques.  This means authorized staff does not simply carry a handgun holstered to their hip or in a conceal carry purse.  It means they have learned and practiced using concealment techniques that are “on-body” 100% of the time, and invisible to even a trained eye.

Isn’t this expensive to the schools?

The insurance rider does increase cost, but it is only a fraction compared to the expense of hiring a SRO or private security.  In addition, there are private grant programs available to schools who cannot afford it.  The FASTER Colorado training is offered at low or no cost when needed.

Are any schools in Colorado already doing this? 

Yes, over 30 school districts in Colorado have authorized personnel.  Many of these districts are rural.  For example, Hanover, a small community southeast of Colorado Springs has authorized staff because in the case of a school shooting, it would take at minimum 30 minutes for law enforcement to arrive.  But more suburban schools are also adding this as part of their security plan.  It is a decision that should be made by parents, teachers, and community members.  It may not be for every school, but for many it’s a great fit and requested by parents.

Many teachers say they don’t want this responsibility.  Will they be forced to carry a firearm if their district does this?

Absolutely not. This is 100% volunteer. No one is forced to do it, and no school is either.  But it’s also important to remember some staff members DO want this responsibility, many of them individuals who already conceal carry on a daily basis outside their regular job and train on their own time as a hobby.  We have seen again and again a teacher, or a coach, die while trying to protect their students with their body. That same individual could save not only their life, but the lives of others, if they are given a fighting chance.

Teachers need to focus on students, not security.  Wouldn’t this affect student education?

First, “school staff” does not mean “teachers”.  It means janitors, cafeteria workers, school counselors, coaches, and/or teachers, etc.  Admin makes up a large contingent of staff.  Many of them are volunteering to take on this role.

Second, there is nothing as distracting as a school shooting.  It leaves life long trauma.  Children don’t survive.  Their safety should be a #1 priority.

Final thoughts…

I’m a single mother of three.  One of my biggest fears is that my children will be in class when a depraved student chooses to create a Columbine copycat – but what I fear even more is that there will be no one there to protect them.  There is no one-size-fits all security plan.  It’s important that school boards and superintendents listen to what parents and the community want.  As parents, we have every right to be critical of our schools and to ask they do a better job protecting our students.  If you want your child’s school to consider allowing well trained and authorized armed staff, the best place to start is the school board.  Email them.  Call them.  Attend their meetings.  Find out where they stand.  And if you need direction, contact us.

You can help Rally for our Rights continue to be at the forefront of defending gun rights while advocating for a safer society by making a contribution today.  Your support is greatly appreciated.  DONATE HERE.

CO School District Threatens To Shut Down Charter School That Allows Armed Staff

Douglas County CO School District Threatens To Shut Down Charter School That Allows Armed Staff : Rally For Our Rights

In Colorado it is legal for public schools and public charter schools to have armed staff if the school board (or in the case of charters schools, the charter board) authorizes the specific individuals.  More than 30 districts in the state already have some form of armed staff.  Reference: CRS 18-12-214 (3) (b).

Douglas County School District in Colorado has 91 schools under their control with ONE school, Ascent Classical Academy – a charter – who is implementing a new security plan this year that includes some staff members being legally authorized to carry. These authorized individuals are volunteers who went through the extensive teacher training program called FASTER Colorado.  FASTER not only teaches tactical techniques, but also has a focus on psychological and trauma skills as well.  For a teacher to graduate from the training program, their tactical skills must exceed that of law enforcement.

Last week during the second “Interim School Safety Committee” hearing at the Colorado State Capitol (a committee put together after the tragic STEM School Shooting at a charter school in Douglas County last May), district superintendent Dr. Thomas Tucker emphatically stated that no schools in HIS district were allowed to have armed staff, that it was a violation of district policy, and if any of them tried to do it, they’d be asked to leave the district.  This included charter schools.

Watch the video here for the complete exchange:

The superintendent’s position has nothing to do with safety, and everything to do with anti-gun ideology.  Under state statute, charter schools have autonomy over their security plans. Reference: CRS 22-32-109-1 (2).  Ascent Classical Academy has a contract with the school district that allows them to implement their new security plan, and they also have a waiver from the district policy GBEB, which talks about armed staff.  In December 2018, the newest anti-gun school board adopted a new policy ADD, that fundamentally changed the previous policy from a mere statement to a directive. They took restrictive language on armed staff from policy GBEB and inserted it into this new ADD – which NO ONE has a waiver from since it wasn’t even applicable to anyone until it was suddenly created last December.  This was an underhanded move to prevent Ascent Classical Academy from implementing their new security policy, even though that policy was developed at the request of parents and teachers of that particular school which does not have the funds to hire a full time SRO.

Ascent Classical Academy is negotiating a transfer to the state charter oversight board but are they insisting the local tax funding the Douglas County kids currently receive continues to support their education – and rightfully so.  The Douglas County school district has been resistant to allow ANY funds to continue to support the school and has even threatened to shut it down if the school will not comply with their new terms.

Parents and community members can attend the Douglas County school board meetings, as well as contact board members and the superintendent here.

They can also voice their concerns to the Interim School Safety Committee by clicking here.

And they can attend the next School Safety Committee hearing on Sept 20th at 9am in the Old State Library of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver, CO.

Help Rally for our Rights continue to attend and document these legislative hearings and bring the information to light!  CLICK HERE TO MAKE A DONATION.

Actually, Donald Trump Could “Red Flag” Chris Cuomo – And Here’s Why

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

In the wake of two tragic public mass shootings, one of which the National Gun Violence Memorial actually honored the perpetrator as a gun violence victim, calls for knee jerk gun control legislation has been front and center on both the left and the right.  Prominent Republicans such as President Donald Trump, Congressman Dan Crenshaw, and several senators are calling for “Red Flag” Extreme Risk Protection Order ERPO laws.

And now, after Colorado passed an atrocious “Red Flag” ERPO bill in 2019 – a bill that passed by only ONE vote in the hyper-partisan Democrat controlled legislature with every Republican and three Democrats voting against it – we might be looking at Colorado becoming a blueprint for the whole country, a very terrible idea.

Then yesterday I woke to this tweet from President Donald Trump: “Would Chris Cuomo be given a Red Flag for his recent rant? Filthy language and a total loss of control. He shouldn’t be allowed to have any weapon. He’s nuts!”

I, just like millions of others, had to hunt down exactly what Trump was talking about.  And I did.  Here’s what happened:

A man in New York approached CNN’s Chris Cuomo and called him “Fredo”.  Watch the video for the exact exchange, but here’s a snip…

Cuomo: “You’re going to have a problem”
Man: “What are you going to do about it?”
Cuomo: “I’ll fuckin ruin your shit. I’ll fucking throw you down these stairs”

Now here’s where I think this gets really interesting following Trump’s tweet; Cuomo could actually get Red Flagged for this.  The criteria fits perfectly.  This is why:

1.) He made a violent threat – and even though the threat was regarding stairs, not firearms, it STILL qualifies!  Below is an excerpt from HB19-1177, Colorado’s “Red Flag” ERPO law.  You can access it yourself here, scroll to the bottom of page 8 and top of page 9.

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

2.) We know he owns firearms because he has stated that on Twitter in the past.  Again in HB19-1177, it states another qualification is ownership, access to, or intent to posses a firearm.  Read it yourself here, scroll to the bottom of page 8 and top of page 9.

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

And his Tweet stating he’s a gun owner:

HB19-1177 Colorado Red Flag ERPO Extreme Risk Protection Orders

Now the person Cuomo threatened wouldn’t be able to bring forth the “Red Flag” ERPO petition (unless, of course, he wanted to state him and Cuomo had an affair in the past), but that person – or anyone for that matter – would be able to approach law enforcement and ask them to do it for him.  Or if an ex-girlfriend of Cuomo’s saw this, or maybe a live-in nanny he’d fired, they’d be able to go right to the court and file the petition themselves.

What happens next?   Well, Cuomo would get a visit from his local law enforcement agency with a temporary “Red Flag” order in hand, along with a search warrant to find all those guns he’s told us he owns.  Within 14 days, he’d be able to go to court and show the judge Trump’s tweet, and convince him or her that he is not a risk to anyone at all – even though he’d made the threats to throw that man down the stairs. If the judge doesn’t agree to return his guns, the order goes into effect for 364 days, during which time Cuomo will have one opportunity to ask the courts to get his firearms – his means of self defense – back. Of course, each time the court considers returning them, the person who brought forth the petition will be alerted and have an opportunity to ask the judge to not return them – FOREVER.

Sounds like some real “common sense gun legislation” doesn’t it?  <insert sarcasm>

But it proves the point of exactly how poorly these laws are written, and that Trump, as misguided (or not?) as his Twitter statement was, it is 110% accurate and not hyperbole at all.