Monday, December 22, 2014

Police In Washington State Refusing To Enforce I-594

Law enforcement officials in Lewis County, WA are refusing to enforce parts of the state’s new background check law, which stems from ballot initiative I-594 that passed in November.

The strict new law forces anyone conducting a private transfer of a firearm to undergo a background check. This includes gun shows, online purchases and gifts.

But Lewis County officials are saying they will only prosecute those who break the law intentionally.

“We wanted to make sure that the citizens of Lewis County knew that we weren’t looking to make criminals out of ordinary citizens,” explained prosecutor Jonathan Meyer. “We’re not going to try to trap citizens into transferring a gun to a friend and then try to nab them on a violation of 594. That’s not what we’re interested in.”

Meyer and Sherriff Rob Sanza are the first elected leaders in Washington State to publicly state that they will not enforce the new law. But they are far from the only officials in the country who have taken public stands against gun control laws.

According to the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), there are at least 484 sheriffs around the nation who oppose federal gun control in one form or another.

In Colorado, all but seven of the state’s sixty-two sheriffs formed a coalition and sued the state government after the state legislature passed an extremist gun law in 2013. (The suit was thrown out.)

In New York State, several sheriffs have publicly criticized the SAFE Act, the state’s hardline gun control bill. Sheriff Tony Desmond of Scoharie County, New York, has even said explicitly that he intends to ignore the law.

“If you have a weapon, which under the SAFE Act is considered illegal, I don’t look at it as being illegal just because someone said it was,” he said.

Other sheriffs in the state are complying with the law, but only with great reluctance.

“I feel as an elected official and a chief law enforcement officer of the county it would be irresponsible for me to say, ‘I’m not going to enforce a law I personally disagree with,’” said Sheriff Richard Devlin of Otsego County.

“[But] I won’t do anything as far as confiscating weapons. We’re not checking out registrations. People that are lawfully using a firearm for target shooting, we’re not bothering those people.”

Monday, December 15, 2014

Background Checks Initiative Launches In Nevada…NRA Sitting Out Again

Gun control groups are launching another billionaire-backed campaign to expand background checks in Nevada, the latest in their efforts to roll back gun rights at the state level. And just like in Washington State, the NRA is sitting on the sidelines.

Last week, the Nevada background checks initiative cleared a major hurdle when the Nevada Secretary of State certified that it’s supporters had collected enough signatures to get the background checks measure on the ballot for 2016.

This decision came despite evidence submitted by a local gun rights group citing “numerous irregularities and rules violations” in the petitions. One group, Nevadans for States Gun Rights, claimed that the gun control lobby had missed deadlines in providing the signatures and filing some of their paperwork.

The President of Nevadans for State Gun Rights, Don Turner, wants to challenge the Secretary of State’s ruling in court, but he does not have enough resources to do so. He said in a recent interview that the NRA has been staying out of the fight.

“There's an old saying that, 'If you want to be a big dog, you've got to get off the porch,'" Turner said. “Right now, [the NRA] is just watching.”

A gun politics expert, Robert Spitzer, says that the NRA doesn’t think it can compete with the enemy’s resources in Nevada.

“[The NRA] may be doing a bit of political triage in terms of how and where they allocate their resources,” Spitzer said. "I have a feeling the NRA thinks they could be bled dry”.

Reports say that the anti-gun lobby might pursue similar initiatives to the ones in Nevada and Washington state in at least twelve other states.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

New York State Deems 278 Gun Owners Too “Unstable” For Firearms

New York State is set to confiscate firearms from nearly 300 individuals who the state has judged to be “mentally unfit”, reports say.  

New York’s SAFE Act gun control law allows the state to confiscate firearms from people who health professionals believe are too dangerous to own weapons. The law does not require health workers to inform the individual before reporting them to the state.

Health professionals have already reported 38,718 “at risk” individuals since the law was enacted in 2013. Of these individuals, 278 currently have pistol permits, the Syracuse Post Standard recently found.

Several of these gun owners have already been forced to surrender their weapons. Although the state won’t say how many confiscations have taken place, the Post-Standard found evidence of at least four.

Other confiscations have reported elsewhere, including one where a college librarian was forced to surrender his weapons simply because he had briefly been prescribed anti-anxiety medication.

Most people agree that dangerously insane individuals should not have access to firearms, but experts have also said that the New York’s “no-gun” database far exceeds the actual number of mentally ill people in the state.

Sam Tsemberis, the former director of New York City’s involuntary hospitalization program for homeless and dangerous people, said in November: “[38,000 at risk individuals] seems extraordinarily high to me. Assumed dangerousness is a far cry from actual dangerousness”.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Black Gun Owners Defend White-Owned Business In Ferguson, MO

A group of black gun owners in Ferguson, Missouri have banded together to protect a white-owned gas station from looters.

Armed with handguns and an AR-15, they stood guard over the store during the protests in August and again last week.

Because of their bravery, the gas station is the only store on its block that hasn’t been destroyed or boarded up. It has stayed open and undamaged throughout the rioting.

“We would have burned to the ground many times over if it weren’t for them,” storeowner Doug Merello told a reporter.

The armed citizens, all former employees of the gas station, are not being paid for their efforts. They are risking their lives simply out of loyalty for their former boss.

“He’s a nice dude, he’s helped us a lot,” said one of the volunteers, named R.J.

The selflessness of these men should be a national news story, as the Free Thought Project has pointed out. Yet most news outlets have ignored it completely.

The media goes to great lengths to avoid any story that makes gun owners look good, and this story does exactly that. As the Free Thought Project puts it:
“[This story] shows the true power of people policing themselves. Responsibly arming themselves and practicing their second amendment rights, these 4 men were able to do what thousands of national guardsmen, police and FBI were unable to do, prevent looting and damage to property.”