ATTACK ON THE SECOND: Court rules Remington can be sued over Newtown shooting

HARTFORD (Newsmax) — Gun maker Remington can be sued over how it marketed the Bushmaster rifle used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012, a divided Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

Justices issued a 4-3 decision that reinstated a wrongful death lawsuit and overturned a lower court ruling that the lawsuit was prohibited by a 2005 federal law that shields gun manufacturers from liability in most cases when their products are used in crimes.

The plaintiffs include a survivor and relatives of nine people killed in the massacre. They argue the AR-15-style rifle used by shooter Adam Lanza is too dangerous for the public and Remington glorified the weapon in marketing it to young people.

Remington has denied wrongdoing and previously insisted it can’t be sued under the federal law.

The majority of the high court agreed with most of the lower court’s ruling and dismissed most of the lawsuit’s allegations, but allowed a wrongful marketing claim to proceed.

“The regulation of advertising that threatens the public’s health, safety, and morals has long been considered a core exercise of the states’ police powers,” Justice Richard Palmer wrote for the majority.

Lanza, 20, shot his way into the locked school in Newtown on Dec. 14, 2012, and killed 20 first-graders and six educators with a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle, similar to an AR-15. He shot his mother to death in their Newtown home beforehand, and killed himself as police arrived at the school.

Connecticut’s child advocate said Lanza’s severe and deteriorating mental health problems, his preoccupation with violence and access to his mother’s legal weapons “proved a recipe for mass murder.”

Joshua Koskoff, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, told the state Supreme Court during arguments in November 2017 the Bushmaster rifle and other AR-15-style rifles were designed as military killing machines and should never have been sold to the public.

“The families’ goal has always been to shed light on Remington’s calculated and profit-driven strategy to expand the AR-15 market and court high-risk users, all at the expense of Americans’ safety,” Koskoff said Thursday. “Today’s decision is a critical step toward achieving that goal.”

Military-style rifles have been used in many other mass shootings, including in Las Vegas in October 2017 when 58 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

The case was watched by gun rights supporters and gun control advocates across the country as one that could affect other cases accusing gun-makers of being responsible for mass shootings. Several groups, ranging from the National Rifle Association to emergency room doctors, submitted briefs to the court.

The 2005 federal law, named the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, has been cited by other courts that rejected lawsuits against gun makers and dealers in other high-profile shooting attacks, including the 2012 Colorado movie theater shooting and the Washington, D.C., sniper shootings in 2002.

James Vogts, a lawyer for Remington, has cited the 2005 federal law and previously said the Bushmaster rifle is a legal firearm used by millions of people for hunting, self-defense and target shooting.

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, filed for bankruptcy reorganization last year amid years of slumping sales and legal and financial pressure over the Sandy Hook school massacre.

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REPORT: Homeschooling soars in wake of recent school shootings

Washington, D.C. (Washington Examiner) — After a gunman opened fire on students in Parkland, Florida, the phones started ringing at the Texas Home School Coalition, and they haven’t stopped yet.

The Lubbock-based organization has been swamped with inquiries for months from parents seeking safer options for their kids in the aftermath of this year’s deadly school massacres, first in Parkland and then in Santa Fe, Texas.

“When the Parkland shooting happened, our phone calls and emails exploded,” said coalition president Tim Lambert. “In the last couple of months, our numbers have doubled. We’re dealing with probably between 1,200 and 1,400 calls and emails per month, and prior to that it was 600 to 700.”

Demands to restrict firearms and beef up school security have dominated the debate following the shootings, but flying under the radar is the surge of interest in homeschooling as parents lose faith in the ability of public schools to protect students from harm.

And it’s not just the threat of school shootings. Christopher Chin, president of Homeschool Louisiana, said parents are also increasingly concerned about “the violence, the bullying, the unsafe environments.”

“One of the things we’ve seen definitely an uptick in the last five years is the aspect of violence. It’s the bullying. That is off the charts,” Mr. Chin said.

In his experience, a mass shooting won’t change the minds of parents satisfied with their children’s public-school experiences, but it can tip the balance for those already leaning toward home education.

“I think what happens with these school shootings is they’re the straws that broke the camel’s back,” Mr. Chin said. “I don’t think it’s the major decision-maker, but it’s in the back of parents’ minds.”

Brian D. Ray, president of the National Home Education Research Institute in Salem, Oregon, who has conducted homeschool research for 33 years, said school safety has increasingly become an issue for parents looking at teaching their kids at home.

He said the top three reasons that parents choose homeschooling are a desire to provide religious instruction or different values than those offered in public schools; dissatisfaction with the academic curriculum, and worries about the school environment.

“Most parents homeschool for more than one reason,” Mr. Ray said. “But when we ask families why do they homeschool, near the top nowadays is concern about the environment of schools, and that includes safety, pressure to get into drugs, pressure to get into sexual activity. It includes all of that.”

After the Feb. 14 shooting in Parkland, Florida, vows by parents to pull their kids out of school erupted on social media, and some of them apparently followed through by making contact with their local homeschool advocates.

“I talk with these people on a regular basis, and clearly after a shooting, more of them are saying, ‘Hey, we’re getting more phone calls, we’ve got more people at the beginner session asking about safety,’” Mr. Ray said.

Not everyone agrees with the homeschool response. Takisha Coats Durm, lead virtual school teacher for the Madison County Schools System in Huntsville, Alabama, said that fleeing the classroom teaches the wrong lesson.

“Even though it seems we may be protecting them, we may be sheltering them instead of teaching them to work and find a solution for the issues and not necessarily running away from them, because these things are going to happen,” Ms. Durm told WAAY-TV in Huntsville.

Her comments came shortly after the May 18 shooting at Santa Fe High School, which left 10 dead, just three months after 17 were killed in the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.

While homeschool advocates are confident their ranks are growing, pinning down the number of U.S. at-home students is a challenge, given most states don’t keep count.

A 2017 U.S. Department of Education report estimated 1.69 million homeschool students from ages 5-17 in spring 2016, using data from the National Household Education Surveys program, which mailed questionnaires to about 200,000 selected households.

Those findings would indicate that homeschooling has been flat since 2012, but Mr. Ray estimated there were 2.3 million homeschool students in spring 2016, using figures provided by the 15 states that track homeschoolers, as well as Maricopa County, Arizona.

His figure represented a 25 percent increase between 2012-16. During the same period, the U.S. school-age population grew by about 2 percent.

“My bottom-line summary is that it’s been growing at an estimated 2 to 8 percent per year, and that’s compounded,” Mr. Ray said.

In Louisiana, which does ask homeschoolers to report their kids, Mr. Chin said there were 30,134 homeschool students registered in January, up from an estimated 18,500 to 20,000 in 2011.

“Homeschooling has exploded in our state,” said Mr. Chin, who homeschools his five children with his wife in New Orleans. “If homeschoolers were their own school district in our state, we would be the sixth largest in the state.”

Texas doesn’t require registration, but Mr. Lambert, who homeschooled his four now-adult children, estimated that the state has about 150,000 families and more than 300,000 students being taught at home.

“In fact we have more students being homeschooled in Texas than we have in traditional private schools in Texas, and that’s quoted by a number of our state officials,” he said.

His organization sponsored a poll last year that found safety ranked fourth among reasons parents decide to educate their kids at home.

“I’m required by law to place my kids in a public school or private or homeschool, but the state is not accountable in terms of the safety of these children,” said Mr. Lambert. “So we get lots of calls from people saying, ‘Hey my kid’s being bullied, my kid’s being attacked, and the school either can’t or won’t do anything about it, so we’re going to take care of our child. We’re withdrawing him.’”

Like Mr. Chin, he said a highly publicized school shooting may come as the tipping point for parents already inclined to pull their kids out of the public system.

“When a shooting happens, I call it the straw that basically breaks their idea of the public schools,” Mr. Lambert said. “They’ve already been thinking about it, and now somebody gets stabbed, or another teacher beats up another kid, or another kid beats up another teacher, and they say, ‘You know what? We don’t want to be there.’”

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CHOKING BACK TEARS: Sarah Huckabee Sanders issues emotional response to boy who says he fears being shot at school

Washington, D.C. — White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fought back tears on Wednesday after a junior reporter told her he feared being the victim of a school shooting.

The comment, which came from Benje Choucroun, a student at Marin Country Day School in California who was invited to the White House as a reporter for Time for Kids magazine, took Sanders visibly by surprise.

“One thing that effects mine and other students mental health is we are worried about the fact that we or our friends could get shot at school. Specifically, can you tell me what the administration has done and will do to prevent these senseless tragedies,” the 13-year-old asked.

“As a kid and certainly as a parent I think there is nothing that can be more terrifying for a kid than to go to school and not feel safe,” said Sanders, herself, a mother of three, as she fought back tears. “So I’m sorry that you feel that way.”

“This administration takes it seriously and the school safety commission that the president convened is meeting this week again in an official meeting to discuss the best way forward and how we can do every single thing in our power to protect kids in our schools and make them feel safe and their parents feel good about dropping them off,” Sanders said after steadying herself.

Thus far in 2018, there have been 23 school shootings where someone was hurt or killed.

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HERO COP: Armed officer credited with saving ‘countless’ lives after man opens fire at Illinois high school

Dixon, Ill. — Dixon police school resource officer Mark Dallas is being credited with stopping a student armed with a gun at Dixon High School this morning.

A 19-year-old male who had recently been expelled from the school was shot and wounded by Dallas at around 8 a.m. on Wednesday morning after the man appeared at the school and opened fire.

The suspect, identified as Matt Milby, is now in police custody.

“I could not be more proud of the police officer and the way he responded to the situation,” Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell said at a news conference following the incident. “With shots ringing out through the hallways of the school, he charged towards the suspect and confronted him head-on.”

“Because of his heroic actions countless lives were saved. We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery,” Howell added.

All Dixon Public Schools were initially placed on lockdown, but only the high school remained locked down late Wednesday morning.

No other injuries were reported.

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AN EPIDEMIC OF VIOLENCE: Shooter dead, two injured after gunman opens fire at Maryland high school

GREAT MILLS, MD — Two students are confirmed injured after a shooter reportedly opened fire inside a Maryland high school Tuesday morning.

The incident occurred at at Great Mills High School, located 70 miles south of Washington, D.C. just before 8:00 am EST.

According to eyewitnesses, the suspect, who has not yet been identified, walked into the 1,600-student school and fired a round at a 16-year-old female student. A 14-year-old male was also shot before a school resource officer neutralized the suspect by returning fire. The shooter was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both victims were taken to a nearby hospital. The female is listed in critical condition. The male is reported to be in stable condition. Neither victim has yet been identified.

“Our school resource officer was alerted to the event. he pursued the shooter, engaged the shooter, fired a round at the shooter,” St. Mary’s County Sheriff Tim Cameron said during a press conference late Tuesday morning. “The shooter fired a round as well. In the hours and days to come, we’ll be able to determine if our school resource officer’s round struck the shooter.”

“This is your worst nightmare,” Cameron added.

Students who witnessed the event said they never thought something like this could happen in their tight-knit community.

“I heard one shot and when we ran, we saw a teacher and he was looking at us with a confused look,” Terrence Rhames, a senior at Great Mills, told NBC News. “We were trying to figure out if this is real.”

“It was just shocking. You hear about shootings — you never think would happen to you,” Rhames added.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that his office was “closely monitoring” the situation.

“We are closely monitoring the situation at Great Mills High School. @MDSP is in touch with local law enforcement and ready to provide support. Our prayers are with students, school personnel, and first responders,” Hogan tweeted.

According to a report posted to The Bay Net, Jake Heibel, the principal of the school, told parents last month that the school had investigated threats of a possible shooting but found they were “not substantiated.”

Also last month, the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Department announced it had arrested a 39-year-old man and two teenage boys for “threats of mass violence” after the teens made threats about carrying out a school shooting at Leonardtown High School, a high school located about 10 miles from Great Mills. Police officials said a search warrant resulted in the discovery of semi-automatic rifles, handguns and other weapons, along with ammunition found in the suspects’ possession.

The incident comes just one month after a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida left 17 people dead.

The Parkland shooting resulted in The White House’s proposal of funding firearms training for school personnel in an effort to protect America’s students.

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‘I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU ALL’: DACA ‘Dreamer’ arrested after threatening to shoot up high school

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A 21-year-old illegal alien who was permitted to stay in the U.S. under Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) has been charged with making terroristic threats after threating to carry out a mass shooting at a New York school.

Police records show Abigail Hernandez was arrested and charged with making the threats via a post to Facebook which was reported to authorities.

As reported by Rochester First (https://tinyurl.com/ych83bhj) officials from the Rochester City School District called police on February 16 about a threat posted to East High School Facebook page, which read: “I’m coming tomorrow morning and I’m going to shoot all of ya b—-es.”

It took investigators several days to arrest track Hernandez down because she made the threats from a fictitious social media account, RPD Deputy Chief La’Ron Singletary said during a press briefing on the matter.

Hernandez was booked into the Monroe County Jail in lieu of bail, which had been set at $15,000. She has since been moved to a federal detention facility in Batavia pending trial.

Police say when they arrested her at her home on February 20, a shotgun was located inside the residence. It is not yet known in whose name the gun was purchased.

ICE officials have confirmed that Hernandez was an illegal immigrant who was in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, stipulates that certain people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children receive deferred action on deportation for at least two years. The program does not provide the individuals lawful status as U.S. citizens.

Rochester Police praised school officials for taking the threat seriously and reporting it in a timely manner.

“The quick thinking of school staff and the tenacious work of the investigators of the police department following through on this Facebook post lead to the arrest of Abigail Hernandez and the recovery of a shotgun,” a statement from the department reads.

The department went on to confirm that Hernandez will be charged as an adult.

East High School Superintendent Shaun Nelms released a statement Friday evening on the threat, stating he’s just grateful that no tragedies befell his school.

“Sadly, in wake of the recent Parkland, Florida tragedy, schools across the country have been grappling with social media threats intended to instill fear and anxiety,” the statement reads. “While we cannot comment on this particular police investigation around a threat made to East, I want to stress how fortunate we are to be part of a community in which the police department works closely with schools to ensure the safety of the entire school community. We remain very grateful to the Rochester Police Department for their partnership and for keeping us well informed throughout the entire process. Their presence on campus last week and their guidance on how to best keep staff and students safe during this efficient, successful police investigation reiterates their ongoing support. As always, the safety of students and staff is our top priority.”

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‘IT WILL ONLY MAKE SCHOOLS SAFER’: Cruz backs teachers’ rights to arm themselves in classroom

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Thursday said teachers who choose to do so should be free to arm themselves in the classroom.

“I think it makes perfect sense that if teachers want to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, that it will only make schools safer,” Cruz said while speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I don’t think you should make teachers do that, but if a teacher is comfortable and wants to be prepared to defend himself or herself, that’s a good thing,” he added.

The former Republican candidate for president’s comments come a week after a school shooting in Parkland, Florida resulted in the deaths of 17 and the injury of dozens more.

President Donald Trump on Thursday also called for similar measures, adding that protecting our schools through the use of armed teachers and former military members may be a solution to the ongoing violence.

“…Giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience- only the best,” the president tweeted. “…Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards. A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”

Cruz said the most effective way to combat gun violence is for law enforcement officials to target violent criminals and not law-abiding gun owners.

“The left’s answer is always, always always strip the Second Amendment rights from law-abiding citizens,” he said. “You want to see crime take off? Disarm the law-abiding citizens.”

Since the February 14 shooting, Democrats have called for stricter gun control laws and a ban on AR-15s.

NRA spokesman Wayne LaPierre, however, said cracks in law enforcement was to blame for last week’s shooting, not Second Amendment protected gun owners.

“What they want are more restrictions on the law-abiding,” LaPierre said while speaking at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday. “Think about that — their solution is to make you, all of you, less free.”

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LOCK AND LOAD: Trump calls for arming of teachers, staff in response to Florida school shooting

WASHINGTON, D.C.– President Donald Trump on Thursday called for the arming of school officials in the wake of last week’s Florida school shooting during which 18 students were reportedly killed.

Responding to criticism he received the day before after suggesting that teachers should be trained in the use of a firearm, the president said that well-armed staff may prevent such tragedies in the future.

“I never said ‘give teachers guns’ like was stated on Fake News @CNN & @NBC”, the president tweeted (https://tinyurl.com/yc3m6jaf). “What I said was to look at the possibility of giving ‘concealed guns to gun adept teachers with military or special training experience- only the best.”

“20% of teachers, a lot, would now be able to immediately fire back if a savage sicko came to a school with bad intentions. Highly trained teachers would also serve as a deterrent to the cowards that do this. Far more assets at much less cost than guards,” Trump continued. “A ‘gun free’ school is a magnet for bad people. ATTACKS WOULD END!”

The president’s comments followed a gathering at the White House Wednesday in which he was joined by students, parents, and teachers affected by the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting. Parents affected by the Sandy Hook and Columbine massacres were also invited to attend.

After asking the parents for their feedback, one father suggested the possibility of arming teachers, an idea that the president openly embraced. After discussing the suggestion at length, the president said his administration would be looking “very closely” into the option.

The president also on Thursday announced plans to ban bump stocks, gun modifiers that enable semi-automatic firearms to fire more quickly. In addition, he spoke of plans to raise the age requirement to buy a gun from 18 to 21 and called for stricter background checks.

“I will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks with an emphasis on Mental Health,” he announced on Twitter. “Raise age to 21 and end sale of Bump Stocks! Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue—I hope!”

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‘I’M GOING TO BE A PROFESSIONAL SCHOOL SHOOTER’: FBI warned of Florida school shooting in advance; Knew suspect’s identity

PARKLAND, FL — FBI officials were warned in advance of a deadly school shooting that took place on Thursday and were made aware of the shooter’s identity according to a witness who says he spoke with the FBI prior to the event.

According to 36-year-old YouTuber Ben Bennight, 19-year-old suspect Nikolas Cruz left a comment on one of his videos stating “I’m going to be a professional school shooter.”

“I am going to what he did,” Cruz allegedly promised in a September 24 comment on a video about the 1966 Texas University massacre.

Alarmed by the statement, Bennight took a screenshot of Cruz’s comment and notified both YouTube and the FBI.

“This comment said ‘I’m going to be a professional school shooter” and I knew that I couldn’t just ignore that,” he said.

Bennight says the FBI took the threat seriously enough to meet with him the following day.

“They came to my office the next morning and asked me if I knew anything about the person,” Bennight told BuzzFeed (https://tinyurl.com/yc59zkmy). “I didn’t. They took a copy of the screenshot and that was the last I heard from them.”

Bennight says he was contacted again by agents from both the Missisippi and Miami FBI field offices after Cruz allegedly opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, killing at least 17.

“I would like to think that they were already investigating this guy and they had him on the top of their radar and that’s how they ended up contacting me so quickly,” Bennight said.

Cruz, who had a history of discipline problems which resulted in his being expelled from the school, was taken into custody shortly after the deadly rampage.

In a statement, a lawyer for the family Cruz had been staying with since the death of his mother said he had purchased his gun legally.

Cruz’s social media posts just prior to the killings seem to indicate an obsession with weapons and the killing of animals.

Despite the alert to the FBI, local police officials say they received no notice about Cruz’s threats.

Superintendent Robert Runcie told reporters: “We received no warnings.”

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WAR ON GUNS: Michael Moore calls for ‘repeal and replace’ of ‘outdated’ Second Amendment

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Filmmaker and left-wing activist Michael Moore is calling for the “repeal and replacement” of the “ancient and outdated” Second Amendment.

In a lengthy Facebook post in response to Sunday’s Las Vegas shooting in which 59 people were killed and hundreds more were wounded (https://www.facebook.com/mmflint/posts/10154778028796857), the producer of documentary films “Fahrenheit 9/11” and “Bowling for Columbine” said the constitutional amendment which protects the right to bear arms must be repealed because it was created “before bullets and revolvers were even invented”.

“This is the sane approach that meets everyone’s needs – everyone, that is, except those of the serial killer, the mass murderer, the violent ex-husband, the disgruntled employee or the disturbed and bullied teenager,” the outspoken Democrat wrote. Calling gun violence a “daily tragedy,” Moore said the time to act is now. “This can come to an end with the repeal of the 2nd Amendment and replacing it with the 28th Amendment,” he said.

A “28th Amendment,” Moore continued, would demand that “the primary right of all people to be free from gun violence … shall not be infringed.”

“As over 90% of gun violence is committed by men, in order for a man to purchase a gun, he must first get a waiver from his current wife, plus his most recent ex-wife, or any woman with whom he is currently in a relationship (if he’s gay, he must get the waiver from his male spouse/partner),” he added.

This isn’t the first time that Moore has called for a repeal of the Second Amendment. He called for similar action after a 1999 school shooting at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado after two students, Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris opened fire killing more than a dozen of their fellow students. Moore again called for a repeal of the Second Amendment after police say 20-year-old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 children and adults at a school in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

“We will never eliminate all murder; that’s been with us since Cain killed Abel. But we CAN join the community of enlightened nations where gun violence is that rare occurrence — as opposed to the daily tragedy we now suffer here in the United States of America,” Moore insisted in this most recent appeal.

“We can start with the upcoming midterm election. Let every candidate know: If you take NRA money, we will remove you from office. Then do it,” Moore concluded.

Democrat leaders have also seized on the opportunity to reignite the gun control debate in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting.

“How many more dead bodies will it take to wake up this Congress?” Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga said to a group of reporters Wednesday on the steps of the U.S. Capitol. “This must stop, and it must stop now. We were elected to lead.”

Republicans, however, say Democrats are simply capitalizing on the deaths of innocent victims to push their anti-gun agenda.

“I think it’s particularly inappropriate to politicize an event like this,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Tuesday. “The investigation’s not even been completed.”

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