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Baltimore council waters down proposed mandatory minimums for illegal guns

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 14:30

Two were arrested after a scuffle following lengthy hearings this week on a controversial proposal to establish a mandatory minimum sentence for those found with handguns near Baltimore schools, parks, and other public buildings. (Photo: WBFF)

After a public hearing degenerated into arrests in Baltimore on Tuesday, an amended draft ordinance designed to bring strict sentencing for some found with guns passed out of committee.

The proposal, which originated with Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office, was passed 5-2 by the Judiciary Committee after hours of sometimes emotional hearings were briefly interrupted by the arrest of two people following a melee, as reported by local media.

The measure originally aimed to criminalize the carry or transport of a handgun, either openly or concealed, within 100 yards of a public building, park, church, school, or “other place of public assembly” with a mandatory penalty of one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

As modified this week, first-time offenders would not be eligible for the mandatory sentence except in cases where the illegal handgun they possessed was used in a crime. Also, the state’s attorney’s office could use discretion in charging individuals with violations of the city ordinance should it become law, skirting the issue entirely.

However, even diluted from the original language proposed by Pugh, the bill is facing serious opposition from some on the Council. Prior to this week’s hearings, slightly less than half of the 14-member body was in favor of the measure and a few outliers remain unconvinced.

Brandon Scott, who represents the Second District, told WJZ he was staunchly opposed to the proposal.

“The amendments make the bill easier to stomach, it still doesn’t change the fact that I disagree with the bill in its entirety and its principles of mandatory minimums,” Scott said.

In addition, the ordinance has drawn fire from civil rights advocates, with attorney Joshua Prince penning a letter to city leaders warning of a number of potential legal pitfalls resulting from the patchwork of new gun free zones and arbitrary language.

The amended measure is expected to be taken up by the full council on Aug. 14.

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Categories: Gun News

Kansas man gets 30 years for trying to detonate a car bomb at a military base

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 14:00

John T. Booker was arrested in April 2015 after he drove a van filled with explosives to Fort Riley with the intention of blowing it up.

A Kansas man was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for attempting to blow up a car bomb at a military base.

John T. Booker, 22, of Topeka, Kansas pleaded guilty to one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction and one count of attempted destruction of government property by fire or explosion, according to a Department of Justice news release.

The FBI first started investigating Booker, also known as Mohammed Abdullah Hassan, in early 2014, when he wrote on Facebook that he wanted to commit jihad. “I will soon be leaving you forever so goodbye! I’m going to wage jihad and hopes that i [sic] die,” he wrote, according to a criminal complaint.

“Getting ready to be killed in jihad is a HUGE adrenaline rush!! I am so nervous. NOT because I’m scared to die but I am eager to meet my lord,” he wrote.

Soon after, Booker began talking with federal informants, telling one that he dreamed of fighting in the Middle East. He also proposed that he and the informant kidnap and kill an American soldier.

In March 2015, while under FBI surveillance, Booker and two informants went to Freedom Park near Marshall Army Airfield at Fort Riley in Kansas. While there, one of the informants recorded a video of Booker where he pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, and then made threats against members of the military.

“Get your kids out. Get your loved ones out of the military. Because, wallahi, (ISIS) is coming for them. From inside, whether it be in their homes, whether it be on a base like this, whether it be in the recruiting stations, whether it be in the streets…Wallahi, we are coming for them and we seek their blood because their blood is halal for us to kill them.”

“Wallahi” is an Arabic term for “I swear to God.” A week after making that video, Booker rented a storage unit and told the informants about it. Soon after, they started collecting materials to build a bomb.

After gathering inert explosive materials and other items, Booker devised a plan with the informants to build a car bomb and to blow it up at Fort Riley in a suicide attack. In April 2015, Booker made a second video in front of the phony explosive materials.

“You sit in your homes and you think that this war is just over in Iraq…Wallahi, we today we will bring the Islamic State straight to your doorstep,” he said. “You think this is just a game, wallahi when this bomb blows up and kills as many…as possible, maybe then you’ll realize it.”

On April 10, 2015, Booker and an informant drove a van containing the fake explosive device to Fort Riley. When he made the final connections to the device, which he believed would arm the vehicle, he was arrested without incident.

“If Mr. Booker had been successful in detonating a car bomb, the results could have been dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties,” said Darrin Jones, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Kansas City Division. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners remain committed to protecting the citizens of the United States and thwarting acts of terrorism.”

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Categories: Gun News

Female firearm instructor aims to train 1 million women

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 13:30

Firearms instructor Marchelle Tigner, left, provides instruction to another woman at a class in Lawrenceville, Georgia. (Photo: Lisa Marie Pane/Associated Press)

As the number of female and minority gun owners continues to grow, one Georgia-based firearm instructor aims to teach black women how to shoot.

Marchell Tigner, owner of Trigger Happy Firearm Instruction, is a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor whose personal mission is to provide training to 1 million women.

“It’s important, especially for black women, to learn how to shoot. We need to learn how to defend ourselves,” Tigner told the Associated Press, noting that black women are more likely to become victims of domestic violence.

According to her website, Tigner, whose love of firearms stemmed from spending seven years in the National Guard and later working at a firing range, started her company last year after she noticed a lack of representation for black women in the gun community. Tigner said she worked at a firing range and would often see women trying to learn how to use a firearm at the instruction of their significant others, something which, she said, made her uncomfortable.

“Sometimes it’s hard to believe you can do something until you see someone who looks like you in that position,” Tigner noted.

Thus, Tigner’s firearm instruction company was formed.

As part of the training, Tigner provides plastic replicas to women as she goes over basic safety rules and proper stance, grip, and handling. The instruction then moves to the range where women learn to load a magazine and, finally, shoot the target.

“The bad guy’s dead. He’s not getting back up,” Tigner tells a student as they look over a bullet-riddled target during a recent class in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The class was made up of about 20 women; some experienced with firearms, some not.

Jonava Johnson, 50, who attended the class, noted that gun ownership has also been rather frowned upon in the black community. Johnson admitted her own fear of guns, which stemmed from a domestic violence situation when she was just 17 years old. Johnson’s ex-boyfriend, armed with a gun, threatened her before he fatally shot Johnson’s new boyfriend in front of her.

About 30 years after she witnessed the death of her high school boyfriend, Johnson considered getting a gun after her daughter was sexually assaulted in their own home. Johnson instead decided to get a guard dog, but she’s now a proud gun owner.

“I hope I never have to kill anybody, but if it comes down to me or my children, they’re out,” Johnson said.

Tigner said it’s important for women to feel like they’re in control of their own safety.

“I’m just here to empower women and make sure that no one else becomes a victim,” she said.

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Categories: Gun News

Cleveland mayor’s grandson indicted on gun charges (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 13:00

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson’s grandson was indicted by a grand jury Friday on weapons charges.

Cleveland.com reported Frank Jackson Jr. caught two fourth-degree felony gun charges, one for carrying a concealed firearm and another for improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle.

The charges stem from a June 9 traffic stop in which Jackson was the passenger of a truck that was stopped for blocking traffic. Officers allegedly found a .40-caliber bullet and evidence of marijuana on the vehicle floor where Jackson had been sitting. Jackson also told the officers he had a gun magazine in his pocket.

Jackson’s arraignment is set for Aug. 4 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas court. The driver, who was 17 years old, received weapons charges in juvenile court.

Mayor Jackson has a history of advocating for strict gun laws in Cleveland, and this spring said the “availability of guns” had played a key role in the city’s problem with shootings. He was especially critical of the fact that so many juveniles had access to guns in the city.

In a recent statement, the mayor said his grandson’s arrest was “deeply personal and painful.”

“Frank is my grandson and as any parent or grandparent who has raised children in a challenging environment knows, there is a constant worry about their wellbeing,” the mayor said.

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Categories: Gun News

TSA discovers record amount of guns in carry-on bags, one in wheelchair cushion

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 12:30

This .40-caliber handgun was found hidden inside a wheelchair cushion at Knoxville’s McGhee Tyson airport. (Photo: TSA)

The Transportation Security Administration outdid itself earlier this month when it discovered a record amount of firearms in carry-on bags for one week, including a handgun hidden inside a wheelchair cushion.

The TSA blog reported that for the week of July 10-16, a record 89 guns were discovered in carry-on luggage in airports throughout the country. Of those firearms, 74 were loaded and 27 had a round chambered.

Among the discovered guns was a loaded .40-caliber handgun found hidden inside a wheelchair cushion at the Knoxville McGhee Tyson airport. Also of note was a .22-caliber pistol found tucked inside the rear wasteband area of a traveler after a LAX body scanner revealed an anomaly on the traveler’s person.

Another unusual item also surfaced in the record setting week, as a 120mm practice tank warhead was found in a checked bag in El Paso. According to TSA, anything resembling live ordnance, real or inert, is not allowed in either carry-on or checked luggage.

Firearms are allowed to be transported, so long as they are unloaded and locked in a hard-sided container as checked baggage. Passengers must declare firearms when checking the bag with the airline.

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Categories: Gun News

Rep. Scalise surprises GOP whip team with a phone call

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 12:00

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (center) meets with staff while checking on his vote count on Dec. 11, 2014, in his Capitol office. (Photo: Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Rep. Steve Scalise surprised fellow congressional Republicans with a phoned-in pep talk Monday night from a Washington, D.C. hospital bed.

Members of the GOP whip team said the Louisiana congressman sounded “in good spirits” and even joked about whether the Senate passed the healthcare bill yet, according to Politico.

Scalise remains in fair condition at Medstar Washington Hospital Center after undergoing surgery for a deep tissue infection July 13. He told the whip team he could soon be transferred to a rehab facility as he begins the physical recovery process, according to the Washington Post.

The House Majority Whip nearly died June 14 when a disgruntled Bernie Sanders supporter opened fire on congressional Republicans and staffers practicing for a charity baseball game at a park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Attendees of the whip meeting said Scalise thanked Special Agents Crystal Griner and David Bailey for saving his life. The officers — on duty as his security detail that morning — traded gunfire with the shooter before mortally wounding him. Both sustained gunshot wounds during the attack, along with Republican aide Zach Barth and Tyson Foods lobbyist Matt Mika. All have been treated and released.

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Categories: Gun News

Gun Review: Savage Model 42 Takedown combo gun (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:57

Rimfire-shotgun combos have been in-and-out of vogue for many decades, and while the “old” guns from Savage, Springfield, and Stevens have become more collectors than everyday shooters, companies like Chiappa, EAA, and Baikal have attempted to fill the void.  None is better known, however, than the remake of Savage’s beloved 24, now renamed the Model 42 and available in both standard and takedown versions.

The Takedown and its Uncle Mikes pack, with neatly embroidered Savage logo and a pocket for extra gear. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Savage Model 42 Takedown

After going years without producing a popular combo gun since the popular 24, Savage first came back with the new 42, and now for 2016-17, the 42 Takedown.  The break-open combination guns are available with either a .22LR or .22 WMR barrel over a .410 bore shotgun.  The guns wear a black synthetic stock with red line and letter trim and blued metal work with 20-inch carbon steel barrels.  The 42 Takedowns weigh in at a feathery six pounds even, and measure only 35.75 inches overall length. There’s even a takedown-youth model that measures a full inch shorter and a pound and a half lighter, though most youth shooters would do just fine with the standard model.

The Takedown 42 fits easily into its carrying case (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

When broken down, the combo fits nicely into its included Uncle Mike’s 8×24 inch soft black carrying bag with MOLLE webbing and a pocket for additional gear.  There are two sling studs, as well as a soft rubber butt pad (not that there’s any recoil to begin with).  Squeezing the lever ahead of the trigger guard breaks the action, and either one or both barrels can be loaded. Once the action is closed, the shooter can then actuate the hammer switch which manually selects which firing pin will be struck.  The cycle proceeds: cock the hammer, pull the trigger, and if you’ve loaded two rounds, switch the hammer-mounted selector, and repeat.

The upper 22WMR barrel over the 410. Note the manually actuated side-grip extractors. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The lever at the front of the trigger guard breaks the action open, while the safety is easy to access at the rear of the action. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Push button takedown located on the lower forend. Not the rough finish on the plastic of the stocks. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

As the forend slides forward from its locked position, the gun can be taken down with the lever at the front of the trigger guard. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The 42 takes down easily with one button allowing the forend to move forward, yet remain attached to the barrels; the entire front section is then simply tipped off the frame by breaking open the action. MSRP of the Model 42 is $500, with real-world prices closer to $375.

Double barrel detail. Note that the barrel band culminates in a one-piece, non-adjustable front sight. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Barrel branding. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Forend detail shows off grip grooves, red line detail and a front sling swivel. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The molded Savage grip cap. Stocks are plain and fairly roughly finished but get the job done. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Thick rubber recoil pad with red-line detail. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Testing the new 42

While its synthetic stock is weather and heat resistant, its slimline build and light weight lends it a flimsier feel than shooters of the original Model 24.  That’s a double-edged sword, however, as the narrow, light stock and overall build ties the gun naturally to a break-down, stow-away combo that would be easily bagged, buried, or carried.

The Model 42 packs easily into its included Uncle Mikes carrying bag with room for additional ammo and gear as well. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Our only other qualms are the plastic, non-adjustable sights and lack of mounting options for optics. The sights are not the easiest to acquire and take some practice to shoot with proficiency, but it can be mastered with practice.   There’s also the fact that the .410 is currently the only shotgun offering.  There’s no telling what Savage has in the works, but the old .223/20 gauge combo guns were sweet for longer range, heavier duty work.  The benefit with the current models, however, is that both .22LR or 22 Magnum and .410 shotgun ammo is light enough to carry in bulk if needed.

Test ammo for Takedown 42. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

While the stature and price of the Savage 42 make the gun instantly appealing to young and novice shooters, the platform takes some practice for both safety and proficiency.  With some range time, shooters can pretty easily get accustomed to the process of setting the hammer selector, cocking, firing, barrel selecting, cocking, firing, and extracting with a degree of safety and speed.  The 42 does, however, fit well and lend confidence to young shooters based on size, weight, and lack of recoil.

When the Takedown Model 42 is broken down, it doesn’t take much more room in the pack than a bunch of ammo. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

In the field

Though aesthetics may not be for everybody with the slim black synthetic and vibrant red trim, the littler banger serves its intended purpose.  The 42 Takedown cycled all the ammo we provided with perfect reliability and we experienced the adequate accuracy you’d expect from such a gun.  Given the limitations of the factory “iron” sights, we felt most comfortable staying inside a 50 yard hunting range. We enjoyed hunting small game with the 42, as it’s light, wieldy, and covers the gamut of longer range shots on distancing squirrels with the .22 WMR barrel and sneaky nearby bunnies with the .410.

Taking aim at a treetop squirrel. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The gun comes up to the shoulder well, and is quick to acquire targets in the field.  The safety is easily actuated, though in hunting situations, it is quite noisy if your quarry is sound-wary.  With the nicely embroidered, padded soft case and simple, one button takedown, the Model 42 is an ideal gun to keep in the backseat of the truck, tuck away at the cabin, or even slide into a survival pack.

The somewhat crude and nonadjustable iron sights, combined with the lack of provisions for an optic, were our biggest criticism of the Model 42. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

The 42 with a selection of the ammo it eats. This is our 22WMR/410 model. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

Conclusion

In short, the new Model 42 is not quite reminiscent of either the options or build quality of the beloved original 24s.  The guns limitations, however, are also its strengths in terms of size, weight, and versatility.  The 42 is really its own animal, and while not the same as its predecessor, is nonetheless a solid option for backpacking, bug-outs, small-game hunting, and young shooters alike.

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Categories: Gun News

Court orders release of dash cam showing police shoot armed man 40+ times (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:30

New Jersey authorities released a dashboard camera video from March 2014 showing the deadly police shooting of an armed suspect days after the state’s high court ruled such videos should be made public, the Associated Press reported.

The court ruled in favor of North Jersey Media Group, which argued the footage can “inform the public’s strong interest” in the fatal police shooting without “undermining the integrity of an investigation.” The group requested the video for a police use-of-force report.

For more than eleven minutes, the video shows officers chase a black SUV driven by 27-year-old Antoquan Watson outside the Atlantic City area.

“Be advised, he just brandished a weapon out the window,” an officer can be heard telling dispatchers in the video. Seconds later, Watson drove through a red light at a busy intersection, attempting to thread the needle through moving cars. A maroon SUV clipped the back left bumper of Watson’s vehicle, causing his car to spin around and face officers, who stopped their squads and yelled at him to put his hands up.

Watson exited his vehicle, which was still in gear, and walked towards officers with a gun pointed at them as his SUV drifted into the adjacent lane. He opened fire on the officers, taking 13 steps in their direction as they fired back. His SUV, with the driver’s side door ajar, gently bumped into another vehicle just moments before he fell to the ground.

Sirens blaring, people can be seen running away on the sidewalk as officers continue to fire dozens of rounds at Watson, his body flinching with each impact before it becomes still. When the gunfire ends, shouting continues, as several officers come into frame with their guns drawn. One officer handcuffs Watson, and two other officers shake hands to celebrate. Watson died from his injuries.

Seven officers opened fire on Watson that day — four from Pleasantville and three from Atlantic City — striking him with more than 40 rounds. A grand jury reviewed the incident and determined their use of force was justified.

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Categories: Gun News

Attorney blames ‘everything bagel’ for Malheur occupier’s failed drug test

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 11:00

Jason Blomgren. (Photo: MCSO)

Taking a page from a Seinfeld script, the attorney for a conspirator who occupied the Oregon wildlife refuge last year said his client tested positive for morphine because of the poppy seeds on an “everything bagel” he ate, according to details recently uncovered by local reports.

When confronted with failed drug test results on May 22 showing Jason Blomgren testing positive for morphine, his lawyer, Robert W. Rainwater, explained: “it is our position that the positive urine sample test was caused by the bagel he ate for breakfast and not an illegal controlled substance.”

The comical explanation emerged after Blomgren tested positive for opiates and oxycodone this month. Rainwater then said his client may have a problem with addiction. Drug use is reportedly a violation of Blomgren’s release conditions.

Blomgren pleaded guilty last year to conspiring to stop federal employees from working at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge through intimidation, threat or force. He was subpoenaed by the government to testify in trial against the occupation’s leader, Ammon Bundy, and other members of the occupation, but was never called as a witness.

The Bundys and others occupied the refuge for more than a month in protest over ranchers they said were being wrongfully imprisoned by the federal government. The occupation ended in January 2016 when a confrontation with law enforcement left one of the group’s members dead and led to the arrest of eight others.

A group of co-defendants, including Ammon Bundy, were found not guilty of all charges in October 2016, and a mixed bag of verdicts were handed down to another group of defendants in March.

Out of custody for more than a year, Blomgren has been ordered to stop eating poppy seeds, and on Monday the government withdrew its motion to find him in violation of his supervised release. According to a negotiated plea agreement, he is expected to be sentenced to probation on Aug. 28.

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Categories: Gun News

Federal court rejects D.C. ‘good reason’ requirement for concealed carry

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:30

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine said the District would continue to fight the case, and for now at least, the good reason requirement is still active. (Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP)

The U.S. Appeals Court handed a victory to gun rights advocates seeking to overturn the District of Columbia’s strict “may-issue” policy for issuing concealed carry permits.

The three-judge panel issued a permanent injunction Tuesday prohibiting city authorities from enforcing a “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program, which has resulted in more permits declined than granted and has effectively barred most people from exercising Second Amendment rights outside their home.

“To be sure, the good-reason law leaves each D.C. resident some remote chance of one day carrying in self-defense, but that isn’t the question,” said Judge Thomas Beall Griffith in his majority opinion. “The Second Amendment doesn’t secure a right to have some chance at self-defense. Again, at a minimum, the Amendment’s core must protect carrying given the risks and needs typical of law-abiding citizens. That is a right that most D.C. residents can never exercise, by the law’s very design.”

Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson wrote a dissenting opinion, saying the District’s good reason regulation passed muster and that, while the Second Amendment protects firearms in the home, “Regulations restricting public carrying are all the more compelling in a geographically small but heavily populated urban area like the District.”

The ruling comes in the combined cases of Wrenn v. DC, backed by the Second Amendment Foundation, and Grace v. DC, backed by the Pink Pistols organization. Both sought to bar the city from applying the vague “good reason” test as part of its gun licensing program.

Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, called the decision a significant court victory. “Today’s ruling contains some powerful language that affirms what we have argued for many years, that requiring a so-called ‘good cause’ to exercise a constitutionally-protected right does not pass the legal smell test,” he said. “We’re particularly pleased that the opinion makes it clear that the Second Amendment’s core generally covers carrying in public for self-defense.”

At least 16 mostly Republican state attorneys general and a number of police lobby and conservative political organizations supported the cases. The National Rifle Association joined the Grace lawsuit as amicus curiae.

D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine said the District would continue to fight the case and for now, at least, the good reason requirement is still active as they weigh an appeal. “The District of Columbia’s ‘good reason’ requirement for concealed-carry permits is a common-sense gun regulation, and four federal appeals courts have rejected challenges to similar laws in other states,” said Racine in a statement. “As we consider seeking review of today’s 2-1 decision before the entire D.C. Circuit, the ‘good reason’ requirement remains in effect.”

The states of California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, and Washington as well as gun control organizations such as the Brady Campaign and Everytown opposed the suits and supported keeping Washington’s strict gun laws on the books.

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Categories: Gun News

Everytown says canceled Jamey Johnson concert a win for gun control

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 10:00

Johnson has not said why the show was scrapped over the weekend, but the general consensus is that it had something to a weapons policy banning bringing firearms into the venue’s backstage area (Photo: jameyjohnson.com)

While the country artist himself isn’t talking, the fracas over security at a venue in that lead to a scratched concert has drawn acclaim from advocates in favor of stronger gun laws.

The House of Blues in North Myrtle Beach has won acclaim from gun control groups following the cancellation of a planned Jamey Johnson show Saturday.

The live music venue did not elaborate on just what happened, only saying “Tonight’s artist refused to adhere to our safety and security guidelines and would not enter the building. Unfortunately, tonight’s show is canceled,” while offering refunds for those who bought tickets.

Shannon Watts, the founder of Moms Demand Action, released a statement Tuesday applauding the House of Blues and promoter Live Nation for the cancellation.

“Their no-weapons policy prioritizes the safety of all guests of the venue – artists and concertgoers alike,” Watts said. “Americans should be able to go to a concert or dance in a nightclub without the fear of gun violence. The Live Nation policy puts the security and safety of its customers first.”

Johnson, a Marine veteran, has not released a statement, but singer Melonie Cannon reposted a rant from drummer Tony “TC” Coleman saying the House of Blues put metal detectors between the group’s bus and the entrance and treated them like they were “terrorist.”

The post by Coleman was hashtagged #NOONEfromTeamJohnsonattemptedtocarryaguninside.

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Categories: Gun News

GOP senator caught blasting Trump, mocking lawmaker for duel challenge

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 09:30

Sen. Susan Collins and Rep. Blake Farenthold. (Photo: Getty Images)

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine took some heat Tuesday when a hot mic captured her tearing into President Trump and basting a fellow lawmaker for challenging her to a duel.

Collins’ comments came at the end of Tuesday’s hearing on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, the Associated Press reported. She could initially be heard criticizing Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, which calls for deep spending cuts to domestic programs, Medicaid, medical research, food stamps and highway funding.

“Whenever there was a grant, they just X-ed it out, with no metric, no thinking about it, no nothing,” she said to Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island. “It’s just incredibly irresponsible.”

“I think he’s crazy,” Reed replied.

“I’m worried,” Collins added.

Collins also took the opportunity to mock fellow Republican Rep. Blake Farenthold, who on Friday called out “some female senators from the Northeast” for not supporting Trump’s health care legislation. He then said he would challenge them to a duel “Aaron Burr-style” if they were men from his home state of Texas.

“Did you see the one who challenged me to a duel?” Collins asked.

“I know,” Reed replied. “Trust me. Do you know why he challenged you to a duel? ’Cause you could beat the shit out of him.”

“I don’t mean to be unkind but he’s so unattractive it’s unbelievable,” Collins added.

Collins then referred to a picture of Farenthold grinning in pajamas next to a woman in lingerie.

Later on Tuesday, Collins said she had received an apology from Farenthold and had offered one in return.

“Neither weapons nor inappropriate words are the right way to resolve legislative disputes,” Collins said in a statement. “I received a handwritten apology from Rep. Farenthold late this morning. I accept his apology, and I offer him mine.”

For his part in the kerfuffle, Reed said he was just trying to lend support to Collins.

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Categories: Gun News

Updated Arizona drivers manual includes tips for gun owners

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 09:00

In an effort to avoid potentially deadly confrontations with police officers during traffic stops, an updated version of the Arizona driver’s manual includes instructions and tips for drivers carrying firearms.

Although drivers manuals in several states include how to handle traffic stops and other interactions with law enforcement, as the Associated Press noted, it appears Arizona is the first state to offer tips specifically aimed at gun owners.

The Arizona Driver License Manual outlines the proper procedure for pulling over and interacting with law enforcement officers, as well as what drivers can expect from an officer during a traffic stop. According to the manual, drivers are expected to comply with the law enforcement officer’s orders, and failure or refusal to do so is a violation of the law and may result in arrest.

In addition to general safety guidelines to follow during traffic stops, the manual states gun owners should keep their hands clearly visible on the steering wheel and immediately notify the officer that they have a firearm and inform the officer where the weapon is located in the vehicle. The manual also notes that, for safety reasons, the officer may take possession of the weapon throughout the remainder of the traffic stop, but that if no crime has been committed, the weapon should be returned to the driver.

The manual states drivers should not reach around inside the vehicle and if an item is needed, first inform the officer what item is to be retrieved and from where, then wait for confirmation from the officer to retrieve that item. The manual also notes that drivers should not exit their vehicle or otherwise approach the officer unless given explicit confirmation to do so.

However, the manual also notes, “Law enforcement officers are expected to maintain the highest level of professionalism during a traffic stop,” and provides instructions for dealing with questionable conduct.

Democratic state Rep. Reginald Bolding, who worked with the Department of Public Safety in developing the new guidelines, said he was inspired to make the changes following the shooting death of Philando Castile last year. Castile, who possessed a valid concealed carry permit, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Minnesota as he reached for his wallet. Castile had informed the officer he was legally carrying a firearm but continued to reach behind him despite repeated warnings not to do so.

Bolding said the goal was to create “a set of standards,” while Quentin Mehr, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said, “It all comes down to safety.”

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Categories: Gun News

Study: Southern U.S. a hotbed for gun theft

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 08:30

Between 2012 and 2015, thieves lifted $328 million worth of guns from private owners across the southern United States, according to a study released this week.

The Center for American Progress said Tuesday more than half of the 1.2 million privately-owned firearms stolen over those three years came from southern states. Seven of the top 10 states where 22,000 guns go missing from retailers daily are southern: Texas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi.

“This problem does not affect all states equally,” the study says. “From 2012 through 2015, the average rate of the five states with the highest rates of gun theft from private owners — Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Alabama — was 13 times higher than the average rate of the five states with the lowest rates — Hawaii, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and Massachusetts.”

Likewise, gun store thefts occurred 18 times more often in the top five ranking states as compared to the bottom five. Dealers in Georgia reported more than 1,100 guns stolen in 2016 — a 122 percent increase over the year before. South Carolina gun store thefts tripled in the same time-frame, according to the study.

“Every two minutes, a gun is stolen in America,” said Chelsea Parsons, vice president of Guns and Crime Policy at the Center for American Progress, in a press release Tuesday. “These stolen guns feed directly into illegal gun trafficking networks and are destined for use in violent crimes, so gun dealers have a substantial obligation to secure their dangerous inventory and prevent against theft.”

The center recommends state and federal officials enact safe storage laws with tougher penalties for private owners, while challenging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to regulate security protocols and inventory compliance measures for gun dealers nationwide — so long as Congress gets out of their way.

“Congress should remove the rider on ATF’s budget that prevents the agency from requiring gun dealers to conduct an annual inventory reconciliation, a commonsense business practice that would help ensure that dealers are keeping track of their dangerous inventory,” the study says.

The ATF identified the rise in gun store burglaries and robberies “as one of the primary external challenges that are straining the agency’s limited resources” in 2018.

The law does not force dealers, however, to comply with security measures the agency recommends — hampering its attempts to reduce these crimes.

“We as an agency don’t have the regulatory authority to come in and say you have to have an alarm system, bars on the windows, cameras. …” John Ham, senior investigator and public information officer for the ATF Kansas City field division, told the Kansas City Star in April. “And while the vast majority of the industry has gone that direction themselves, it still hampers our ability to combat this as effectively as we’d like.”

Rep. Brad Schneider, a Democrat from Illinois, proposed a H.R. 3361 Tuesday in response to this problem. His proposal, the SECURE (Safety Enhancements for Communities Using Reasonable and Effective) Firearm Storage Act, would mandate federally licensed dealers safely store their inventory when closed for business, as well as compel the attorney general to promulgate security policies for FFLs. Compliance with these to-be-determined regulations would become part of the FFL application approval process.

“The SECURE Firearm Storage Act makes practical improvements to ensure gun dealers are properly safeguarding their inventory so fewer of these weapons can be easily stolen and later used in violent crimes,” he said in a press release. “This bill is a commonsense step for gun safety, and I remain committed to finding further thoughtful ways to tackle this critical public health crisis in our communities.”

Parsons called the bill “a crucial step forward.”

“Nobody in America is in favor of gun theft,” she said. “And Congress should act quickly to enact this commonsense measure to help protect all of our communities.”

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Categories: Gun News

Group seeks criminal charges against ‘animal terrorism’ that led to suicide of Spanish huntress

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 08:06

One of the many images posted to Melania Capitan’s social media account. (Photo: Instagram)

A Spanish hunting organization is pushing for criminal charges against the “animal terrorism” that drove huntress and social media celeb Melania Capitan to suicide, according to reports.

The Royal Spanish Federation of Hunting said it has presented a criminal complaint for consideration to the Public Prosecutor’s Office on Monday, charging “animal terrorism” against those who “made an intolerant and violent attack against the hunting group, with insults, calumnies, threats, even death, after the tragic, sad and sad death of Captain Melania.”

Authorities ruled the death of 27-year-old Capitan as a suicide after she was found dead in her home in northeast Spain last week. She reportedly left a note and made phone calls before her passing. Details about the messages have not been made public.

Capitan gained fame and nearly 10,000 followers sharing her expeditions and hunting trophies via social media. But along with fans, came troves of hateful messages and even threats that made their way out of the Internet and into her personal life, which continued after her death.

While many speculate her suicide was influenced by cyberbullying, at least one friend said that wasn’t what drove her to take her own life. “It is a lie that she committed suicide because of the threats, because she was a very brave woman, very strong, a fighter,” one friend told reporters, adding that her suicide was likely the result of “personal problems.”

[ Independent ]

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Categories: Gun News

Firearm industry reacts to high-profile ‘smart gun’ hack

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 07:06

A security researcher found a number of both high and low tech hacks to find vulnerabilities in the Armatix iP1, including defeating it with a $10 magnet (Photo: Wired)

In the wake of a recent article highlighting several recently exposed security shortcomings in the German Armatix iP1 pistol, the trade organization for the firearms industry weighed in.

Guns.com sent the footage of Wired’s interview with a security researcher who found multiple ways to defeat the Armatix GmbH Smart System — a personalized handgun which is designed to pair to an RFID-equipped wrist watch to be able to fire — to Larry Keane, the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel.

Keane said he had heard rumors the gun could be defeated fairly easily but was surprised that it could be done with a simple magnet as detailed in the video.

“It does not change our view on authorized user recognition technology being applied to a firearm,” said Keane, standing by the group’s position that they are not opposed to the further development of so-called smart guns– as long as it is not made a requirement by lawmakers.

“No mandates, let the market work, you shouldn’t bring to market a product before it is truly safe and reliable,” he said.

Laws requiring the use of smart guns only — such as a dormant example adopted in New Jersey in 2002 — have been repeatedly blamed for the stagnation in the marketing of personalized firearms. Earlier this year Arizona’s Republican Gov. Doug Ducey approved a measure that would specifically block state or local laws requiring guns to use electronic firearms tracking.

Keane further warns any firearm that uses such advanced technology may be cost prohibitive to some potential gun owners. For instance, the controversial iP1 retails for $1,400 whereas many semi-automatic .22LR pistols can be had for less than a quarter of that amount from legacy gun makers with more name recognition.

“If consumers want it – a debatable proposition based on our polling – then manufacturers will decide whether to invest the R&D in developing it, but it will be very expensive and out of the price range for the vast majority of consumers,” Keane said.

When it comes to firearms safety, the industry insider contends that, at the end of the day, every firearm ever made is capable of being secured against unauthorized use beginning with a simple cable lock like the ones included with new firearms and that NSSF distributes as part of their Project ChildSafe gun safety education campaign.

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Categories: Gun News

U.S. Navy ship fires warning shots at approaching Iranian vessel (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 07:01

The Pentagon on Tuesday reported that a ship of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy made a persistent and unsafe approach on U.S. vessels and had to be warned away.

The Iranian vessel, an IRGC Nassar-class patrol craft, reportedly came within 150 yards of the coastal patrol ship USS Thunderbolt (PC-12) while in international waters of the Persian Gulf.

As stated in the release, the Iranian ship did not respond to attempts to establish radio communications, leading to more drastic measures.

“The Thunderbolt crew then fired warning flares and sounded the internationally recognized danger signal of five short blasts on the ship’s whistle, but the Iranian vessel continued inbound,” officials said. “As the Iranian vessel proceeded toward the U.S. ship, the crew again sounded five short blasts before firing warning shots in front of the Iranian vessel.”

After the shots across the bow, the Iranian craft finally halted.

“The Iranian vessel’s actions were not in accordance with the internationally recognized… ‘rules of the road’ nor internationally recognized maritime customs, creating a risk for collision,” said a statement from the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The Thunderbolt, a 179-foot coastal patrol craft commissioned in 1995, carries a pair of stabilized 25mm Mk38 cannons, four .50 caliber heavy and two 7.62mm general purpose machine guns, Mk 19 grenade launchers, and assorted other weapons. The ship has also been recently retrofitted with the new MK 60 Griffin Missile System, a modified Hellfire missile launcher capable of multiple salvos.

As reported by USNI News, Thunderbolt was operating with two Coast Guard cutters, a U.S. Army logistics vessel, and the guided missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf.

According to the Sepah News Agency, the official organ of the IRGC, the Navy’s Third Division released a statement that a U.S. Navy “battleship” fired at an Iranian patrol boat in the Persian Gulf that was patrolling in international waters and that the U.S. fleet operated in an “unprofessional and provocative” manner before leaving the area.

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Categories: Gun News

Ohio fairgoers try their hands at police shoot-don’t shoot simulator (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 07:00

One Ohio sheriff hopes a firearm training simulator at the Clark County fair will help people to better understand the split-second decisions law enforcement officers must often make.

The training simulator, which goes through a series of different scenarios in which the user must decide whether or not to pull the trigger, will remain at the fairgrounds through Friday and is free to use for anyone 18 years and older.

“You only have like a split second most of the time and people don’t understand that,” Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett told the Springfield Sun-News.

“It’s very realistic and very true to life … You have school scenarios, you have traffic stop scenarios, you have domestic scenarios you have people with knives,” Burchett added.

Michell Shaw was one fairgoer who gave the simulator a whirl. She said although the simulator wasn’t real, it still left her feeling nervous and shaken knowing that the situations could very well be.

“It’s a great experience to understand what police officers go through every single day. To have to react in a minute, it’s very stressful,” Shaw said.

“There’s a lot of criticism toward the officers as far as whenever they shoot an innocent person,” Burchett noted. “But they don’t see what we see. So with this, they’ll be able to see what we see.”

But Burchett also believes the simulator to be an invaluable tool for anyone who carries a concealed weapon.

“A lot of times you’ll read in the newspaper about the CCW holders stepping in, and some of it’s good, some of it’s bad,” Burchett said.

The sheriff said they’ve never used any such technology, which costs around $90,000 but was rented for the week for $3,000, but has encouraged all of her deputies to use the training tool while it’s available.

[ Springfield News-Sun ]

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Categories: Gun News

Hi-Points shouldn’t eat bullets the wrong way if you want them to keep working (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 06:59

Matt on Demolition Ranch is trying to clear out his gun safe by destroying a .40 S&W Hi-Point JHP model but is having a hard time.

He had already tried his best to assassinate the ~$200 polymer framed Ohio special by methods including dragging it behind a truck, hurling it into a flesh-eating bacteria-filled body of brackish water, smoothing out the finish by running it over, and riddling it with gunfire.

Now, he tries an almost impossible muzzle-on shot down the pipe to see what happens.

Sure, the video has a drawn out opening (more than two minutes before you get into the meat of the subject) but it is worth it, and it takes a few rounds to actually put the TKO on the JHP.

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Categories: Gun News

South Carolina man shot, killed neighbor who attacked him (VIDEO)

Wed, 07/26/2017 - 06:59

wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

An early morning altercation over the weekend between two neighbors in a Lexington, South Carolina, neighborhood left the aggressor dead after he was shot by the man he was attacking.

Police received a 911 call around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and when they arrived on the scene, they found Derek Fogle, 31, lying in a yard with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

In what police are calling “an unprovoked attack,” Fogle yelled as he approached Joseph Scott Nicewonger’s home. According to reports from local media, Nicewonger was in his garage at the time and Fogle chased him through his yard, then threw Nicewonger to the ground and repeatedly struck him in the head.

Nicewonger, who was armed with a handgun during the altercation, told authorities he shot Fogle to end the attack, then immediately called 911.

Witnesses said prior to the shooting, Fogle had walked through several yards as he banged on doors and yelled.

Without providing further detail, authorities stated they believe Fogle may have been in an “altered mental state.” As part of the investigation, an autopsy will be performed on Fogle, which will include toxicology tests.

[ WISTV ]

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Categories: Gun News

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