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Parkland Report Recommends Arming Teachers

A report released by a special safety commission in Parkland, FL recommends arming teachers to secure schools.

On Feb. 14, 2018, an armed attacker killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas (MSD) High School in Parkland. While the murders reignited a national debate on gun control in the United States, it also prompted a months-long investigation into how and why the event happened, and how similar events may be prevented in the future.

The MSD High School Public Safety Commission released over 400 pages covering details of the shooting, identifying security problems and making recommendations.

Among the recommendations was the expansion of a program that allows teachers and staff members to carry concealed firearms to defend students in the event of an active shooter.

“School districts and charter schools should permit the most expansive use of the Guardian Program under existing law to allow personnel — who volunteer, are properly selected, thoroughly screened and extensively trained — to carry concealed firearms on campuses for self-protection and the protection of other staff and students,” the report read.

The current Guardian Program, signed into law by outgoing Republican Gov. Rick Scott shortly after the shooting last year, currently only allows administrators or non-teaching staff to receive firearm training. According to USA Today, the program requires 80 hours of firearms instruction, 16 hours of instruction in precision pistol shooting, 8 hours of shooting instruction using state-of-the-art simulators, and 8 hours of instruction in active-shooter or assailant scenarios.

In April 2018, the Broward County School Board voted against adopting the program, which would have given Broward County schools over $67 million to train and arm teachers, according to the Eagle Eye, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s newspaper.

Speaking about the need for such a program, Polk County sheriff Grady Judd said “911 does not work when there is an active shooter,” noting that the average response time for an active shooter is five minutes while the Parkland incident was over in three.

This week’s report also recommended a full internal investigation of the Broward County sheriff’s office, which responded first to the shooting, to “address all of the actions or inactions of personnel on February 14th, 2018.”

The committee, which includes sheriffs, state politicians and parents of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas victims, among others, first met in April 2018, setting January 2019 as its deadline to submit a preliminary report. During the second half of 2018, the commission held monthly meetings interviewing witnesses and reviewing “a massive amount of evidence,” according to the report.

View the full report here.

Legal Challenges to Bump Stock Ban Begin Rolling In

As reported Tuesday and discussed on the GunLink Forums, the Department of Justice this week issued a new regulation reversing the BATFE’s longstanding position on bump stock devices. This regulation modifies the meaning of certain words and changes the codified definition of machine gun such that it now includes language inclusive of bump stocks.

This reclassification leads to a situation faced by many hundreds of thousands of owners of such devices whereby they must now either destroy or surrender to the BATFE their lawfully purchased property or become overnight felons in possession of illegal, unregistered machine guns.

No doubt worse than the fact that they must now hand over their property – purchased in good faith with assurance from the BATFE that the device was, in fact, not a machine gun – without compensation, is the manner in which the regulation came about.

To be certain, the regulation is causing an uproar among factions of the firearms community with talk about violations of everything from Article I of the US Constitution’s prohibition on ex post facto laws to various and sundry elements of the Bill of Rights to include the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 9th, and 10th Amendments.

The Cato Institute published a piece rightly stating that “this regulation is not an attempt to clarify a vague law, but to seize political expediency to expand the power of the executive,” continuing that they may reserve their “right to intervene in the coming litigation.”

It should come as no surprise that the first legal challenges to the Bump Stock Ban were put into motion just a few short hours after the announcement that it had been inked by Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker given that the opening shots in this legal battle were fired by some of the more prolific opposition to the change since its early stages.    Continue reading

Acting AG Signs New Bump Stock Ban

Devices Must Be Destroyed Within 90 Days of Rule Being Published

After months of speculation on whether such a measure could be taken under an ostensibly pro-RKBA administration, Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker signed a new rule today that classifies “bump stocks” as machine guns and bans their possession. The rule, set to take effect 90 days after it is published in the Federal Register – which is expected to happen this Friday – would require current owners of the devices to destroy them.

The BATFE had previously concluded that such devices were unable to be federally regulated as such because they are simply an accessory part. Following the Mandalay Bay attack in October 2017 in which the attacker allegedly used weapons equipped with such devices, President Trump prompted the DOJ to revisit the matter. AG Jeff Sessions introduced the proposed legislation in March 2018.

The new rule inaccurately concludes that these devices allow a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” making it a machine gun. Generally, under current regulations, possession or transfer of a machine gun manufactured prior to May 19, 1986 – the date on which the Firearms Owners Protection Act (and the Hughes Amendment thereof) went into effect.

The complete Final Rule can be read here. The summary of the rule reads as follows (emphasis added):

The Department of Justice is amending the regulations of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to clarify that bump-stock-type devices […] are “machineguns” as defined by the National Firearms Act of 1934 and the Gun Control Act of 1968 because such devices allow a shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger. Specifically, these devices convert an otherwise semiautomatic firearm into a machinegun by functioning as a self-acting or self-regulating mechanism that harnesses the recoil energy of the semiautomatic firearm in a manner that allows the trigger to reset and continue firing without additional physical manipulation of the trigger by the shooter. Hence, a semiautomatic firearm to which a bump-stock-type device is attached is able to produce automatic fire with a single pull of the trigger. With limited exceptions, the Gun Control Act, as amended, makes it unlawful for any person to transfer or possess a machinegun unless it was lawfully possessed prior to the effective date of the statute. The bumpstock-type devices covered by this final rule were not in existence prior to the effective date of the statute, and therefore will be prohibited when this rule becomes effective. Consequently, under the final rule, current possessors of these devices will be required to destroy the devices or abandon them at an ATF office prior to the effective date of the rule.

The BATFE sought public comment on the proposal, receiving upward of 100,000 comments, although passage of such a rule seems to have been a foregone conclusion with direction straight from the White House. Given the Second and Fifth Amendment concerns surrounding the issue and the time frame for it to go into effect, we expect to see a number of legal challenges to the rule.

Study Finds Fewer People Willing to Answer Questions about Gun Ownership

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.” ― Joseph Heller, Catch-22

A common thought (maybe even a rational one) is that gun owners hesitate to share their status as gun owners in surveys. It makes perfect sense, particularly in times of heightened concerns that anti-gun politicians are plotting to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights and the routine vilification of law-abiding gun owners by politicians, celebrities, and the media. A recent study confirmed that more people are refusing to answer questions about firearms ownership.

Iowa State University political scientist Robert Urbatsch analyzed data from the General Social Survey (GSS) and found that the number of people refusing to answer a question about gun ownership roughly tripled since the year 2000. The increase appears steady from the year 2000 through 2016 and Urbatsch found the increased non-response rate concentrated among Republicans (though the rates among Democrats and Independents also increased). Coincidentally, Pew recently confirmed that gun ownership is far more common among Republicans – meaning, the people driving the increase in the GSS question refusals are also those most likely to own a gun. Go figure.

Urbatsch discusses how this increase could be driven by increased polarization, by political elites’ and partisan commentators’ fear-mongering, or by distrust of government and an institutionalized belief in individual autonomy. For some reason, more people are hesitating to share their gun-owning status with a stranger on the phone conducting a survey for the government.

This isn’t new. Take a look at the Gallup trend below; notice the sharp increase after 1993…right around the time Congress was working on a major gun control effort (the 1994 assault weapons ban). In December 1993, less than 0.5% of respondents refused to answer that question. In July 1996 (the next time the question was asked), 2% of respondents refused. The number acknowledging they had a gun in their household dropped from 49% to 38% in the same time period. The percent refusing first hit 4% in October 2009, then hit 4% again in October 2013 and October 2014 – when anti-gun politicians controlled both the White House and the Senate. The number of refusals dropped from 2016 to 2017. A simple trend line does not indicate causation…but one major difference between 2016 and 2017 was the political outlook. In 2016, there was a concern that a historically anti-gun politician could win the Presidency; by October 2017, President Trump had secured the White House.   Continue reading

DOJ, SAF Reach Settlement in Defense Distributed Lawsuit

The Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation have reached a settlement in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms.

SAF and Defense Distributed had filed suit against the State Department under the Obama administration, challenging a May 2013 attempt to control public speech as an export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a Cold War-era law intended to control exports of military articles.

Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government has also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint.

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

“Under this settlement,” he continued, “the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”

RECALL NOTICE: HexMag .308 SR-25 10 Round Magazines

HexMag, Inc. .308/SR-25 10 Round Magazines Sold by Sentry Products Group Product Safety Warning and Recall Notice

Consumer safety is the first priority. Please contact HexMag immediately to facilitate the replacement of your .308/SR-25 10 Round Magazines at the factory at no charge to customers.  Recalled Risers will not be returned.  DO NOT use your .308/SR-25 10 Round Magazines unless it has been assembled with the new replacement riser! Any unintended discharge has the potential for causing injury or death

HOW TO DETERMINE IF .308/SR-25 10 ROUND MAGAZINES NEEDS REPLACED: 

Load your magazine with .308 cartridges of the until the magazine can no longer accept any additional cartridges. Remove each cartridge contained in the magazine and count the total number of cartridges that were capable of fitting within the magazine. If that number exceeds 10, the magazine is subject to this recall. Alternatively, if your .308/SR-25 10 ROUND MAGAZINES contains a black riser (depicted at left), then your magazine is subject to this recall.

REPLACING YOUR AFFECTED PRODUCT: 

If you own a magazine that is subject to this recall, Sentry Products Group will provide a replacement magazine configured with the replacement riser (depicted at right) and ship it to you at no additional cost.

Contact HexMag immediately! They will ask for your Name, Address, Telephone Number, Number of Magazines, and provide to you an RMA # for return and tracking purposes.  Once you have been provided an RMA #, you will need to remove the riser from your affected product, and send the affected riser to:SENTRY Products Group, LLC, 2929 S. Cole Road, Boise ID 83709.  Please discard the remaining components of the affected magazine. Upon receipt, Sentry will return a new replacement magazine.

CONTACT SENTRY (Monday – Friday, 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST)
Email: 308MagRecall@SentryLTP.com
Recall Hotline: 877.726.7328
FAX: 757.689.6066

 

 

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