Some FL Schools Have Trouble Hiring Armed Employees

Under a new Florida law allowing some school employees to be armed, some smaller school districts are struggling to recruit enough “school guardians.”

After the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl., in February, Brevard County, Fl., Schools Assistant Superintendent Matt Reed faced a challenge unlike any in his career. His team had to find, hire and train more than two dozen new employees to carry firearms on school campuses and protect students in the event of a school shooter. They had less than six months. The district missed the deadline, reports the Tampa Bay Times. Brevard isn’t the only school system to have trouble complying with a new state law that allows certain employees to be armed, found an examination by the Tampa Bay Times and University of Florida student journalists of how the program is being implemented.

Some small districts struggled to recruit enough so-called school guardians to keep their schools safe. Levy County launched a program, only to have nobody apply for weeks. Others had trouble with the guardians they hired. In Duval County, a school safety assistant was arrested for pawning a weapon issued to him by the school district. In Hillsborough, a school security deputy resigned after exposing students to pepper spray. The problems have piled up, largely unnoticed, even as the concept of vastly expanding the controversial program has gathered momentum. Last month, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission urged the legislature to allow teachers to participate, saying the current law is too restrictive to keep kids safe. The program was created as part of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Public Safety Act, which aimed to increase school security in the wake of the shooting in Parkland. Florida school boards were required to either put a sworn law enforcement officer or a guardian on every campus.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned

Highlights A very high percentage of violent offenders use or carry firearms per federal sources. What this means for police-involved shootings and public policy. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former […]

The post Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

Highlights A very high percentage of violent offenders use or carry firearms per federal sources. What this means for police-involved shootings and public policy. Author Leonard Adam Sipes, Jr. Retired federal senior spokesperson. Thirty-five years of award-winning public relations for national and state criminal justice agencies. Interviewed multiple times by every national news outlet. Former […]

The post Criminals And Guns-Why Cops Are Concerned appeared first on Crime in America.Net.

from https://www.crimeinamerica.net

Little Proof Gun Background Checks Cut Crime

Democrats want to expand gun background checks but that might not cut crime. A new federal report says that 90 percent of prisoners who had a gun during their crime didn’t get it from a retail source.

This week, newly dominant House Democrats announced legislation that would require all gun buyers go through a background check, regardless of whether they buy a weapon from a licensed dealer, collector at a gun show, or stranger in a parking lot. Universal background checks are popular. A Quinnipiac University poll after the school shooting in Parkland, Fl., last February found that 97 percent of voters approved of the policy. Evidence that checks reduce crime is more complicated than the political momentum might suggest, The Trace reports. “The direct evidence on effectiveness is limited,” said Duke University public policy expert Philip Cook. “It’s very plausible that a state that tries to close this huge loophole and devotes resources to enforcing it will have good results. But not every program is going to be equally effective.”

Federal law subjects a gun sale to a background check only if the seller is a licensed dealer. Collectors who set up booths at gun shows or individuals who advertise a few weapons on a classifieds website don’t have to vet their customers. Some states require all gun transactions to go through a check. Twenty states and the District of Columbia regulate private sales, either by mandating  checks at the point of every sale or by requiring permits to purchase a firearm. A survey by Harvard and Northeastern universities in 2017 found that one of five guns is sold in an unregulated transaction. A U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report issued Thursday said that among prisoners who possessed a gun during their offense, 90 percent did not obtain it from a retail source. More than half (56 percent) had stolen it, found it at a crime scene, or obtained it off the street or from the underground market  Fewer than 1 percent obtained the firearm at a gun show.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Democrats’ Shift on Gun Control Moved Quickly

When Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) first became House speaker in 2007, key supporters included rural Democrats backed by the National Rifle Association. Now, Pelosi and many other Democrats are outspoken gun control backers.

The Democratic shift on gun rights has moved at light speed when compared with other political changes in direction, reports the Washington Post. In 2007, when Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) first claimed the speaker’s gavel, her majority was built from several dozen Democrats from rural areas who courted the endorsement of the National Rifle Association. Their ranks swelled later to give Democrats the largest congressional majorities of this century. In the four years Democrats held the House majority, they never advanced a significant gun-control measure. In the eight years they controlled the Senate, Democrats held just one meaningful debate on reining in gun laws, in spring 2013. It ended amid a Republican filibuster.

Tuesday, eight years to the day after she was shot and nearly killed, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) returned to the Capitol with Pelosi and Democrats back in charge of the House, fueled this time by dozens of newcomers who ran against the NRA. Giffords endorsed legislation that would impose background checks on all gun sales and most gun transfers. The bill, numbered H.R. 8 to mark the anniversary of the shooting, is expected to pass the House easily, the first of what promises to be several attempts to combat mass shootings and other gun violence.  Giffords, 48, walked onto the House floor with Pelosi and a few other Democrats, getting an emotional standing ovation from both sides of the aisle. With her husband, Mark Kelly, she helps run an organization to combat gun violence. Still, new gun-control efforts face an uphill climb to get enacted into law, given the Republican majority in the Senate and President Trump’s patronage of the NRA’s political operation. Republicans will continue to fight these proposals. The say the shooter who wounded Giffords bought his gun legally.

from https://thecrimereport.org

House Democrats to Push Background Check Bill

The legislation aims to close longstanding loopholes in federal law, which requires criminal background checks when guns are sold by licensed dealers but allows private citizens to sell and transfer guns to each other without a background check. The bill is likely to pass the House and fail in the Senate.

Five days after taking over the majority in the House, Democrats are set to introduce a bill that would significantly expand the requirements for background checks on gun sales. The legislation aims to close longstanding loopholes in federal law, which requires criminal background checks when guns are sold by licensed dealers but allows private citizens to sell and transfer guns to each other without any background check, The Guardian reports. Closing the loopholes has been the top priority of the gun control movement since the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school, which left 20 children and six educators dead. The bill will be introduced on the eighth anniversary of the Tucson mass shooting that targeted one of then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ constituent meetings. Giffords survived being shot in the head in an attack that left six people dead.

While the new bill is expected to pass the House, it is likely to be blocked from becoming law by the Republican-controlled Senate. Even the partial passage of what Democrats are calling a “universal background checks bill” represents a significant step forward for gun control advocates, as well as a sign of how far the Democratic party has moved to embrace gun control as a winning issue. In 2016, after a mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 people dead, House Republicans refused to allow a debate on gun control legislation, prompting a dramatic protest by Democrats, who staged a 26-hour sit-in on the House floor. The new legislation is expected to be stronger than the background check compromise that advanced after the Sandy Hook shooting, which would have closed the background check loophole for gun sales on the internet and at gun shows but left other private sales unregulated. That compromise failed to gain enough votes to overcome a potential Senate filibuster.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gun Ownership Is Rising Across Europe

Europe is far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. Worldwide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32 percent in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, with Europe accounting for for less than 10 percent of the total.

Gun ownership is rising across Europe, which until recently faced far less gun crime and violence than much of the globe. Not long ago it was rare to see armed British police. The uptick was prompted partly by insecurity arising from terrorist attacks, many with firearms, and also reflects government efforts to get illegal guns registered by offering amnesty to owners, reports the Wall Street Journal. Europe is far from facing the gun prevalence and violence in Latin America or the U.S., which lead the world. Worldwide civilian ownership of firearms rose 32 percent in the decade through 2017, to 857.3 million guns, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Europe accounts for less than 10 percent of the total.

Europe’s rapid shift is notable because of strict national restrictions. In most European countries, gun permits require thorough background checks, monitored shooting practice and tests on regulations. In Belgium, France and Germany, most registered guns may be used only at shooting ranges. Permits to bear arms outside of shooting ranges are difficult to obtain. Strict registration requirements don’t account for a surge in illegal weapons across the continent. Europe’s unregistered weapons outnumbered legal ones in 2017, 44.5 million to 34.2 million, according to the Small Arms Survey. Many illegal weapons come from one-time war zones, such as countries of the former Yugoslavia, and others are purchased online, including from vendors in the U.S. “Europe represents the largest market for arms trade on the dark web, generating revenues that are around five times higher than the U.S.,” says a recent Rand Corp. report. With more weapons comes more gun-related violence. National police statistics in France, Germany and Belgium show an uptick in gun law violations since 2015. In Germany, the number of legally registered weapons rose 10 percent, to 6.1 million, in the five years through 2017.

from https://thecrimereport.org

WA Bans People Under 21 From Buying Assault Guns

A November ballot initiative being challenged in federal court seeks to curb gun violence by toughening background checks for people buying assault rifles, increasing the age limit to buy those firearms and requiring the safe storage of all guns.

Washington state joined a handful of other states that ban anyone under 21 from buying a semi-automatic assault rifle. Voters passed a sweeping firearms measure in November that has drawn a court challenge from gun-rights advocates, the Associated Press reports. The ballot initiative seeks to curb gun violence by toughening background checks for people buying assault rifles, increasing the age limit to buy those firearms and requiring the safe storage of all guns. Only the age-limit portion of the measure goes into effect on Jan. 1; the rest becomes law on July 1. Fifty-nine percent of Washington voters approved Initiative 1639.

“Starting today, young adults between the ages of 18 to 20 will have their rights to purchase semi-automatic rifles stripped away,” said Dave Workman of the Bellevue, Wa.-based Second Amendment Foundation. The new federal lawsuit says the measure violates the Second and 14th amendments of the Constitution as well as gun sellers’ rights under the Commerce Clause. The full measure, when it goes into effect later this year, will expand the background check process to ensure that vetting for rifle purchases is the same as for buying pistols. People in Washington who buy long guns are checked by the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS.) In most states, you must be 18 to buy an assault rifle. But Republican-dominant Florida passed a law after a school shooting to increase the age limit to 21. Nikolas Cruz was 18 when he legally bought the assault rifle he used to kill 17 people in a Parkland, Fl., high school last February. Four other states — Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New York — also prohibit anyone under 21 from buying all firearms.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gun Violence in America: The Story of 2018, By the Numbers

The Trace’s data-driven year-end recap explains “13 statistics that tell the story of gun violence in 2018,” including an alarming gap in what’s known about nonfatal injuries and insight into a financially weakened NRA that got outspent in the midterm election cycle.

The last 12 months have presented a wealth of new knowledge and data about guns in America, The Trace reports in its year-end recap of “13 statistics that tell the story of gun violence in 2018.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figured in two of the data points: the 2017 tally of gun deaths showing the highest total in nearly half a century, and a “seriously flawed” CDC method of estimating nonfatal injuries that casts uncertainty on whether the numbers have gone up or down since the early 2000s. A key driver of those death statistics is suicide, a feature of American exceptionalism that produces a third of the people worldwide who die by gun suicide each year in a country with only 4 percent of the world’s population.

Other gun-violence data compiled by The Trace covered public policy and National Rifle Association finances. Before the Parkland, Fla., school shooting in February, only five states had some type of “red flag” laws meant to keep deadly weapons away from volatile people. In the coming months, eight more states passed such laws. Meanwhile, the NRA’s clout as an opponent of tighter gun restrictions shrank, thanks in part to financial troubles that put its 2017 year-end deficit at $31 million. The NRA spent $9.7 million on the midterm elections, one-third of its 2014 midterm tally, while gun violence prevention groups spent $11 million and helped their candidates rack up wins even in red states.

from https://thecrimereport.org

Could Bank Tracking Prevent Some Mass Shootings?

In eight shootings that kiilled 217 people, investigations uncovered a trove of information about the killers’ spending. There were red flags, if only someone were able to look for them, experts say.

Mass shootings set off debates on guns focused on regulating firearms and on troubled youths. Little attention is paid to the financial industry. A New York Times examination of mass shootings shows credit cards have become crucial in the planning. There have been 13 shootings that killed 10 or more people in the last decade. In at least eight, killers financed attacks using credit cards. Those eight shootings killed 217 people. Investigations uncovered a trove of information about the killers’ spending. There were red flags, if only someone were able to look for them, experts say. “Banks will complain this is the government’s job and it’s not our job, but you know what? They are the only ones with the ability to do this,” said Kevin Sullivan, a former New York Police fraud investigator, now president of the Anti-Money Laundering Training Academy.

Banks and credit-card networks say it is not their responsibility to track gun purchases. “We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods or services,” said a spokeswoman. A Mastercard spokesman fagreed, emphasizing protection of “cardholders’ independence” and the “privacy of their own purchasing decisions.”  Before James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70 others at an Aurora, Co., movie theater in 2012, he used a new Mastercard to help buy more than $11,000 in weapons and military gear. “This was a civilian making these orders, not the police and not the military,” said Sandy Phillips, whose daughter, Jessica, died in the attack. “Someone should have noticed.” Banks are required to report transactions of $10,000 by a single person, even if those transactions are legal. Banks also must file reports for transactions of more than $5,000 that the financial institution “has reason to suspect” are part of a plan to “violate or evade any federal law.”

from https://thecrimereport.org

Gun Rights Leader Predicts ‘Civil War’ Over Bump Stock Ban

Don Spencer, Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association president, warns an ATF regulation published Friday mandating the surrender or destruction of bump stocks by March, 2019 raises the “possibility for civil war” by gun owners. The regulation is already facing legal challenges.

Don’t look for a rush to the door of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives after this week’s announcement that bump stocks must be surrendered or destroyed, the Tulsa World reports.

The regulation, to be published in the Federal Register on Friday, gives owners of the devices until March 21, 2019, to act. A lawsuit challenging the regulation has been filed, and many gun owners are not interested in turning over anything to the federal government.

“I think the president made the wrong decision,” said Don Spencer, Oklahoma 2nd Amendment Association president. “I think it’s something that opens up the possibility for civil war. People are not willing to give up their guns just because it has a certain kind of stock attached to it. This is an attack on Second Amendment rights.”

The new regulation follows a promise from President Trump to review the devices after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in October 2017 in which the killer sprayed bullets from above into a crowd of concert-goers, killing 58, wounding 400 and resulting in many more injured in the ensuing panic.

Bump stocks actually are not particularly popular and are seen by most gun owners as a gimmick.In fact, “bump firing” is a technique that can be used with any semi-automatic rifle that is simply made easier using the special stock attachment.

David Reeh of the  Shooting Academy in Tulsa said the devices simply aren’t very safe and added that he doesn’t have a problem with the ban. “I think it’s a good idea,” he said. “If you’re firing one of those you lose too much control. It’s bumping back and forth and if it’s moving that much you’re losing control.”

Some critics note that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has beeen surprisingly “muted” in its approach to the ban.

On Tuesday, NRA spokesperson Jennifer Baker expressed mild concern, called the final rule “disappointing” and suggesting the administration should have carved out an “amnesty” for “law-abiding Americans who relied on prior ATF determinations” that the devices were legal to buy, reported Rolling Stone.

The new rule is already facing legal challenges, Rolling Stone added. A lawsuit brought by the Firearms Policy Coalition argues that bump stock owners must be compensated for devices that ATF had previously ruled legal.

“ATF’s abrupt about-face on this issue..smacks of agency abuse or dereliction of duty in following the law,” the suit alleged.

from https://thecrimereport.org