GUN GRABS BEGIN: States seizing guns from firearm owners they deem ‘dangerous’

SAN DIEGO, CA — Since January, states with so-called “red flag” laws have begun confiscating firearms from individuals they consider “dangerous”.

Within the last two months, police officials in California have seized guns from individuals they deemed an immediate threat, among them, a 38-year-old man who they say had threatened his wife after an incidence of domestic violence, a 23-year-old ex-Marine who, authorities claim, had developed paranoia and a 39-year-old man who was reported by neighbors for firing his weapon in his own backyard.

The move toward seizing guns has reached a fever pitch in the wake of such high profile mass shootings as the Las Vegas massacre and Parkland, Florida high school shooting and, experts say, it’s only the beginning.

Red flag laws, which are on the books in California, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon and Washington State, allow law enforcement officials to remove guns from people deemed by a judge to be dangerous. Similar measures are being considered in more than a dozen additional states including Hawaii and Pennsylvania.

“The reason I like gun violence restraining orders as an option is that we can use them even if the person hasn’t been convicted of a crime,” Mara W. Elliott, the San Diego city attorney, told The New York Times (https://tinyurl.com/y85sc9eb). But many Republicans oppose the new laws, Many Republicans oppose red flag laws and argue that a judge’s order to seize a person’s weapon may violate Second Amendment rights when no crime has been committed.

In a statement on its website shortly after Oregon passed the new law, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action called it a violation of due process.

“Yesterday, Governor Kate Brown signed Senate Bill 719A. Based on a California law enacted in 2014, SB 719A will create a so-called “Extreme Risk Protection Order” (ERPO) that could be obtained by a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member in an ex parte hearing to deprive someone of their Second Amendment rights without due process of the law,” the statement reads (https://tinyurl.com/yckwha9j).

“By allowing a law enforcement officer, family member, or household member to seek the ERPO, SB 719A will allow people who are not mental health professionals, who may be mistaken, and who may only have minimal contact with the respondent to file a petition with the court and testify on the respondent’s state of mind. This ex parte order, which strips the accused of their Second Amendment rights, will be issued by a judge based on the brief statement of the petitioner. The accused will not be afforded the chance to appear in court to defend themselves against the allegations when the ERPO is issued. These orders may be issued without any allegations of criminal behavior,” the statement continues.

Ramesh Ponnuru, a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group, says that more laws that restrict the rights of those not convicted of a crime, is not the answer.

“This is a country with hundreds of millions of guns in circulation, and that fact imposes real constraints on what policy can achieve and on what kind of policy makes sense,” said Ponnuru. No one, Ponnuru added, should expect any one law to fix everything. “Realism is the right attitude,” he said.

Brad Banks, an Indianapolis criminal law attorney at Banks & Brower, says in his state, the law appears to be working.

“It’s fair and balanced and addresses the immediate need of protecting people with significant mental impairment but also has safeguards for the court to review” whether an individual should have the firearms returned, Banks told the Indy Star (https://tinyurl.com/y73qbuuc).

During a roundtable meeting at the White House this week, President Donald Trump met with state leaders and gun victims to discuss the effectiveness of such laws and to determine what steps need to be taken to prevent further mass shootings.

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HIGH SCHOOL HORROR: 1 Dead 3 injured in high school shooting

ROCKFORD, WA — One person was killed and at least three others were injured Wednesday after a gunman opened fire at a high school in Washington State.

Police say three victims, all believed to be children, have been taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment and are, at last word, in stable condition.

The shooting occurred this afternoon at Freeman High School, which is located in Rockford, approximately 19 miles outside of Spokane.

One fatality, who sources say was a student at the school, has been confirmed and law enforcement officials have taken a suspect into custody.

No other information has yet been made available.

…STORY DEVELOPING

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‘NO WHITES ALLOWED’; TENSIONS FLARE AS SCHOOL PLANS ‘WHITE PEOPLE FREE DAY’ ON CAMPUS

OLYMPIA, WA — A college in Washington State is facing growing backlash after announcing its plans for a “white people free” day on campus.

According to a report published by The Olympian (http://www.theolympian.com/news/local/education/article152491379.html), organizers at The Evergreen State College called for a day free of Caucasians at the school in an effort to protest “white privilege”.

Things backfired, however, when a white professor on campus spoke out against the plan, saying he no longer feels safe on campus due to the color of his skin.

Calling the planned day “an act of oppression in and of itself,” Professor Bret Weinstein said he planned to show up on campus to spite the demonstration. “If there was interest in a public presentation and discussion of race through a scientific/revolutionary lens, I would be quite willing to organize such an event,” Weinstein wrote in an email to Director of First Peoples Multicultural Advising Services Rashida Love (http://college.usatoday.com/2017/05/30/protests-erupt-over-racism-at-evergreen-state-college/?utm_source=feedblitz&utm_medium=FeedBlitzRss&utm_campaign=usatoday-newstopstories).

In response to Weinstein’s rebellion, students quickly began calling for the professor to be fired and on Wednesday, May 23, approximately 50 students confronted Weinstein outside his classroom. The demonstration grew and at one point nearly 200 students flooded into the instructor’s classroom.

“Hey-hey, ho-ho, these racist teachers have got to go,” the students chanted in a video which was uploaded to social media.

The video quickly went viral and students at the school claimed they were the targets of “conservatives and white supremacists”.

“We demand that the video created for Day of Absence and Day of Presence that was stolen by white supremacists and edited to expose and ridicule the students and staff be taken down by the administration by this Friday,” the students who had organized the event said in a statement to the College Fix (https://www.thecollegefix.com/post/32824/).

In light of the protests, Weinstein now says he no longer feels safe on campus due to the color of his skin. “I have been told by the Chief of Police it’s not safe for me to be on campus,” he told Seattle’s KING news (http://www.king5.com/news/local/olympia/professor-told-hes-not-safe-on-campus-after-college-protests/443098670).

Speaking out against the protest also in no way makes him a racist, added Weinstein.
“When one opposes these proposals, what happens is one is stigmatized as ‘anti-equity’ and because I am light-skinned the narrative suggests I’m a person who has benefited from privilege and that I’m trying to preserve that privilege in the face of a legitimate challenge,” he said.

The students say they will continue to protest what they call “racist policies” at the college.

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YOUR TAX DOLLARS AT WORK: SEATTLE CITY WORKERS GIVEN TIME OFF TO ATTEND ANTI-TRUMP RALLIES

SEATTLE, WA — The city of Seattle has passed a resolution that permits city workers time off to attend anti-Trump protests.

The resolution, which passed unanimously this week (https://seattle.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=3029606&GUID=632BC851-1321-4A05-865F-48335990330C&Options=Advanced&Search=&FullText=1), declares May 1 a “Day of Action” in which all city employees are encouraged to attend a series of anti-Trump protests instead of reporting to work.

Drafted by Council member Kshama Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party, the mandate orders supervisors of city government departments to remind city workers that they can utilize the two days they receive per year for “days of faith and conscience,” to attend the planned event.

A statement released by Sawant’s office just before the vote read:

“I urge council members to approve this May Day resolution, which explicitly recognizes the right of city workers to take the day off and provides protection to city workers who may otherwise worry about retaliation. May Day has historically been an important day of action for worker and immigrant rights. It’s especially significant this year, with immigrants, working people, labor unions, women, and the LGBTQ community under attack from Donald Trump. If Seattle is truly a Sanctuary City that supports immigrants and working people, then it should lead the way by enabling City employees to stand in solidarity with immigrants and all workers on May 1.

Further, I call on everyone who opposes Trump’s bigoted, anti-worker agenda to participate in peaceful May Day activities, particularly the official May 1 Action Coalition march. Join our growing Resist Trump Coalition to actively organize and build the fightback against the billionaire class. Without workers’ mental and physical labor no business can make profits and none of the productive forces of the world can be harnessed.”

“It’s clear when we organize, mobilize and fight, and when we strike together we can win,” Sawant told her fellow members of city council just before voting took place.

“If we truly want to build a summer of resistance against Trump and the billionaire class,” Sawant told Seattle’s King5, an NBC affiliate, “then we will need disruptive action like shutting down airports, and shutting down highways.”

When reached for comment, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray said he supports the idea of Seattle city workers attending the May Day protests, but criticized Sawant’s calls to “fight”.

“I think it would be unfortunate and perhaps even tragic for an elected official to encourage people to confront and engage in confrontation with the police department,” Murray said of Sawant’s comments during a press conference.

Washington State Patrol Captain Ron Mead took it a step further, calling Sawant’s rhetoric “reckless and irresponsible.”

“It’s unsafe for both protesters and motorists alike, and we are simply not going to tolerate that unlawful behavior of trying to shut down the interstate or state highway systems,” he told local radio station KIRO.

While all city employees are eligible for the day off and encouraged to attend, the time taken off for the event will reportedly be unpaid. When asked who will cover the needs of the city as employees attend the protest, a spokesperson for city council replied, “no comment”.

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