Category Archives: gun control

California “snafu” releases personal information of nearly 4,000 gun safety instructors

clerical-error

From Fox News: The private information of thousands of California firearms instructors was accidentally released by the state late last year in response to a journalist’s Freedom of Information request.

The data request was made in August, when a reporter for Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), an NPR affiliate, sought all information on Firearms Safety Certifications available from the California Department of Justice.

The information was released in October, and a clerical error gave the reporter wide access to the personal information of 3,424 firearms instructors — whose dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and California identification numbers were handed over, according to NRA-ILA, the legislative arm of the National Rifle Association.

The error was caught two months later, and the California DOJ sent out a letter to all of the Golden State’s instructors letting them know their personal information had been compromised.

“The Department discovered the data breach on October 17, 2016, and notified the requestor of the error and asked that the information be destroyed and that no further dissemination of it occur,” said the letter, sent by the Office of the Attorney General Kamala Harris. Harris is now a U.S. senator.

The letter also recommended the firearm instructors place a fraud alert on their credit. Since driver’s license numbers are appealing to identity thieves, a fraud alert could prevent criminals from misusing someone’s personal data.

NRA officials blasted the California DOJ for its data breach and questioned why it took the department so long to alert the thousands who were affected. “This privacy breach is just another example of the California Department of Justice’s disregard for the rights of gun owners,” Jennifer Baker, director of public affairs for the NRA, said to FoxNews.com.  “There’s no reason why the private information of firearms instructors should have been released – the DOJ redacts information all the time.”

Baker also questioned the length of time it took the state to inform victims of the breach.  “It’s time the California government start awarding gun owners the same respect as it does non-gun owners.”

Some security experts said that while it wasn’t a significant data breach, there is still cause for concern. “The main concern, if any, would be identity theft, simply because it is so prevalent,” police consultant and retired Los Angeles Police Lt. Raymond Foster said to FoxNews.com. “I don’t think anyone would threaten these instructors, but one concern is that many of them are retired police officers and that could put them at an additional risk. Most of them when they are off-duty like to lie low and blend in. But I’d imagine that NPR would never publish this info and would likely just rip it up.”

The reporter, who the NRA-ILA identifies as Aaron Mendelson, acknowledged in his FOIA request that part of his request would be redacted. “…Please inform me of the redaction and the legal justification for it,” said the request, which was obtained by FoxNews.com.

Since receiving the data, it appears that none of the information has been published in any recent stories. In its letter to firearm instructors, the California DOJ said that it had asked the reporter to destroy the information he received and if he did not do so he would face legal action.

Neither Mendelson nor officials for Southern California Public Radio immediately returned calls for comment.

Gun instructors in California took the news of their information being released in stride. Dennis Santiago, an independent gun safety instructor in the Los Angeles area, who received the DOJ letter, told FoxNews.com he at first thought it was a hacking incident. “I was speaking with other instructors at a gun shop about it and they didn’t seem too concerned,” Santiago said. “They took it as being the cost of being in America.”

DCG

This is Chiraq: 9 killed, 27 wounded in MLK Day weekend shootings

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others? – MLK Jr.

From MyFoxChicago: At least 36 people have been shot across the city over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, leaving nine dead, according to Chicago Police.

The latest killing happened at 11:36 a.m. Monday in the West Side Austin neighborhood, where a vehicle pulled up to a 24-year-old man who was on a porch in the 4800 block of West Hubbard and shot him repeatedly. He was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he died, police said.  The Cook County medical examiner’s office has not released his name.

About 1:10 a.m., a 36-year-old man was standing outside in the 2200 block of West Chicago in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood when someone in a black SUV opened fire, striking him in the abdomen, face and left leg. He died at Stroger Hospital, police said. His name has not been released.

Early Sunday on the Near West Side, officers responded to a call of a person down about 5:30 a.m. in the 2600 block of West Van Buren and found a man in his 30s or 40s dead at the scene with a gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities, who were still working to identify him.

About 1:15 a.m., a 34-year-old man was gunned down in the Lawndale neighborhood on the West Side.He got into an argument with someone who shot him in the chest in the 4700 block of West Polk, police said. He died at Mount Sinai Hospital, authorities said. His name has not been released.

Saturday night, a 26-year-old man was killed in an Austin drive-by shooting. He was outside in the 5500 block of West Rice about 7 p.m. when a vehicle drove by and someone shot him multiple times. The man, who has not been identified, was taken to Mount Sinai, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Two men, ages 27 and 39, were standing in the street at 8:05 a.m. Saturday in the 1100 block of South Francisco in Lawndale when someone got out of a black car and fired multiple shots, police said. They were taken to Mount Sinai, where the younger man died of wounds to the head and chest, authorities said. His name has not been released. The older man was in good condition with a back wound.

Another man was killed and a woman was wounded about 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the South Side Englewood neighborhood, where at least five people went into a house in the 6000 block of South Carpenter and shot two people repeatedly. Tyrone Blake, 25, of the 6100 block of South Indiana, was pronounced dead at the scene at 3:48 a.m., authorities said. The 26-year-old woman was taken in critical condition to Stroger Hospital.

Read about all the shootings here.

At least 22 more people were wounded in nonfatal shootings across Chicago between 4 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Monday. Last year, 32 people were shot over the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday weekend, five fatally.

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Mukilteo shooter: ‘I wish they never sold me a firearm’

evil

What a coincidence the timing of the criminal’s statement: This will give ammunition to the Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, who is trying to push an “assault” weapons ban through legislation. How convenient to have this talking point for an anti-gun agenda.

From MyNorthwest.com: The convicted murderer in a tragic Mukilteo (Washington) shooting last year was granted his right to make a statement before his sentencing Thursday. He used the time to say that the access to a gun was a factor in his crime.

“I will never speak to the public again, I forfeited that right,” Allen Ivanov told the courtroom Thursday. “But I would like everyone to hear loud and clear that it was the ease of acquiring a gun that enabled me to act on my emotion. I don’t mean to absolve myself of guilt or dodge responsibility, but I know for a fact that given the feverish state I was in, I never could have done this with my hands. I wish they never sold me a firearm. And I wish I was never legally allowed to buy one.”

Ivanov, 20, shot and killed three people, and wounded a fourth on July 30, 2016 — shortly after purchasing an AR-15 rifle. He was angry over his ex-girlfriend Anna Bui, and how she had moved on with her life after their breakup. Ivanov shot and killed Bui, Jake Long, Jordan Ebner — all 19 years old — at a small party at a Mukilteo home. Will Kramer was shot and wounded during the incident.

Saying that “life is precious” and that he was “hopeless, suicidal and outraged” on the day of the Mukilteo shooting, Ivanov provided additional details about what happened on the tragic day. He reportedly read the user’s manual for the AR-15 in the car before he used it to take the three teenagers’ lives. In court, he said he waited for hours outside the home before the shooting.

Ivanov said he pulled the trigger in a moment of shock and that “Satan was in control.” Since the murders, he said he has cried his eyes out every day and that his ex-girlfriend, Bui, visits him and talks to him in his dreams.

“I have ruined my life,” Ivanov said in court. “I have caused my family a lifetime of sadness and loss. I have ended all my friendships.”

“Even though I can’t put myself in any of your places, I do have an idea of how awful my actions were and the damage I have caused,” he said to the victims’ families. “A damage which cannot be undone. I want to apologize wholeheartedly for all those whose lives I have taken — Hannah, Jordan and Jake — and all of you whose lives have been so darkened by my actions, parents, relatives, friends as well as Will and his loved ones. I understand this has been a nightmare for all of you. It certainly has been for me.

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AG Bob Ferguson unveils assault-weapons ban for Washington — and a backup plan

ag-bob-ferguson

AG Ferguson working hard to protect your Second Amendment rights…

I’m so glad I now reside in Oklahoma instead of Washington state!

From Seattle Times: Attorney General Bob Ferguson proposed legislation on Monday that would ban the sale of assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines in Washington.

Recognizing the political difficulty of such a bill, Ferguson, who announced in September that he would seek an assault-weapons ban, also released an alternative on Monday: a bill that would keep assault-style weapons legal, but would make them more difficult to buy, by raising the minimum age to legally own such a firearm and requiring them to be licensed, similar to a concealed-weapons license.

The draft bill Ferguson released Monday, the first day of the 2017 Legislature, would ban semi-automatic rifles that have a detachable magazine and a pistol grip beneath the barrel. It would also ban magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition and semi-automatic pistols with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Ferguson, a Democrat who easily won re-election in November, said the definitions of “assault weapon” used in his bill are similar to those used in laws in New York and Connecticut that withstood legal challenges. The ban would apply only to sales of such weapons, grandfathering in currently owned guns.

A second bill from Ferguson would not ban such weapons but would require them to be licensed. To get a license, a person would have to be at least 21 (rather than 18), would have to complete a gun-safety class and could not have been convicted of a felony. To buy an assault weapon, a person would need a license, an additional in-depth background check and be subject to a 10-day waiting period.

“I believe a ban on the sale of assault weapons is the right policy for Washington, and I will keep fighting for that,” Ferguson said in a prepared statement. “I’ve said from the beginning that it would be an uphill battle. My alternative represents meaningful reform that will enhance public safety now.”

Both bills will be sponsored by Sen. David Frockt, D-Seattle, among others. Frockt was one of dozens of solely Democratic lawmakers and officials at a September news conference, in which Ferguson said he’d been spurred by the July killings of three teenagers in Mukilteo.

Allen Ivanov, the shooter in the Mukilteo killings, pleaded guilty in December. Ivanov, then 19, had, according to police, legally purchased an AR-15 — a common assault-style weapon that would be banned by Ferguson’s bill — just days before the killings. Similar weapons were used in high-profile mass shootings in Newtown, Conn.; Aurora, Colo.; San Bernardino, Calif., Dallas and Orlando, among others.

Among the supporters standing with Ferguson in September were the parents of Will Kramer, who was wounded in the Mukilteo shooting. Kramer’s parents spoke in support of an assault-weapons ban then, and his father did so again Monday. “If our current political leadership doesn’t have the will to pass a ban on the sale of assault weapons, I would support the assault weapons enhanced background check bill as an incremental step towards increasing public safety and reducing gun violence,” Paul Kramer said in a statement.

Gun-safety measures have had far more success in recent years as ballot initiatives than in the Legislature, where Republicans control the state Senate and generally oppose new restrictions on guns.

A push for universal background checks passed on the ballot in 2014 after failing in the Legislature in 2013. A process to keep guns away from people deemed dangerous — following a court order — passed on the ballot in November after previous legislative failures.

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Texas lawmaker pushing for Constitutional Carry

jonathan-stickland

Rep. Jonathan Stickland fighting for the Second Amendment

Liberals’ head sure to explode. Works for me.

From Fox4News: A state lawmaker from Bedford wants to make it legal for all Texans to pack a pistol, with or without a permit.

Two controversial gun laws have come through the Texas Legislature in the past few sessions.  Legislators passed the Open Carry law two years ago. Campus Carry also allows the concealed carry of handguns on college campus.

But State Rep. Jonathan Stickland wants to take it a step further. He has authored House Bill 375, or the Constitutional Carry bill, to give all Texans the right to openly carry a handgun.

“Right now what HB 375 is looking to do is make the CHL program right now optional for folks. We don’t think that Texans should have to take a required class or pay a fee to exercise their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves,” Stickland said.

The Texas Democrats and critics worry the bill would give unstable and untrained people easier access to guns. Stickland argued gun owners would still have to meet the current requirements, but wouldn’t have to go through the process of getting their CHL.

“This is not an expansion of who can carry or where they could carry. So people who could currently qualify to get their CHL license would be able to do it under constitutional carry, but no one new,” he said.

Stickland said criminals by nature do not obey the laws, so the restrictions are only hurting the good guys.

“What we are looking to do with Constitutional Carry is remove some of the barriers that are keeping the good guys from being in a position to defend themselves,” he said.

Gov. Greg Abbott has not committed to supporting the bill, but Strickland said it is still one of the top two priorities for the Republicans. He’s filed similar legislation in the past. He thinks this year is the year that it will pass.

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Chicago records 762 homicides in 2016, up 57 percent from previous year

rahm emanuel ap photo

Take a bow, Murder Mayor Rahm Emanuel/AP Photo

But, but, how can this be with the city’s very strict gun control laws? What a distaster that city has become.

From Fox News: The city of Chicago recorded 762 homicides in 2016 — an average of two murders per day, the most killings in the city for two decades and more than New York and Los Angeles combined.

The nation’s third largest city also saw 1,100 more shooting incidents than it did in 2015, according to statistics released by the Chicago Police Department that underlined a story of bloodshed that has put Chicago at the center of a national dialogue about gun violence.

The numbers released Sunday are staggering, even for those following the steady news accounts of weekends ending with dozens of shootings and monthly death tolls that hadn’t been seen in years. The increase in 2016 homicides compared to 2015, when 485 were reported, is the largest spike in 60 years.

Police and city officials have lamented the flood of illegal guns into the city, and the crime statistics appeared to support their claims: Police recovered 8,300 illegal guns in 2015, a 20 percent from the previous year.

The bulk of the deaths and shooting incidents, which jumped from 2,426 in 2015 to 3,550 last year, occurred in only five neighborhoods on the city’s South and West sides, all poor and predominantly black areas where gangs are most active. Police said the shootings in those areas generally wasn’t random, with more than 80 percent of the victims having previously been identified by police as more susceptible because of their gang ties or past arrests.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was expected to discuss the newly released statistics Sunday afternoon.

The city has scrambled to address the violence. Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced last year that 1,000 officers would be added to the police department. At the same time, police officials have been trying to figure out why homicides and shootings — which began climbing the year before — suddenly surged.

Johnson has said several factors contributed to the increased violence. He noted 2016 was the first full year since the city was forced in November 2015 to release video of the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black and shot 16 times by a white police officer. The video cost former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy his job, sparked major protests around the city, and led to federal and state investigations of the department.

It also left Johnson with the task of trying to restore public trust in what appeared to be a weakened police force, a perception that was only buttressed by a dramatic drop in the number of arrests in 2016.

While the police department has cited several factors for the declining numbers, including a concerted effort not to make minor drug arrests and focus on gun violence, Johnson acknowledged in a recent interview with The Associated Press that officers have become more cautious — in part out of fear of becoming the next “viral video.”

That, he said, has “emboldened” criminals. “Criminals watch TV, pay attention to the media,” he said. “They see an opportunity to commit nefarious activity.”

DCG

This is Chiraq: 30 shot, 7 fatally, in Christmas weekend shootings

blacks protesting black-on-black crimes

From MyFoxChicago: Seven men were killed and at least 23 other people have been wounded in shootings across Chicago since Friday evening, according to Chicago Police.

The weekend’s most recent fatal shooting happened Sunday morning in the Morgan Park neighborhood on the Far South Side, police said. Officers responded to a call of a person shot at 9:54 a.m. and found a 24-year-old man shot multiple times in the 1100 block of West 112th Place. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead, police said.

Earlier Sunday, an 18-year-old man was shot in the Gage Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side. He was driving north at 1:33 a.m. in the 5300 block of South Francisco when shots rang out and he was struck in the neck and back, police said. He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Less than an hour earlier, a 21-year-old man was shot to death in the South Shore neighborhood. He was found at 12:49 a.m. lying on the ground in the backyard of a home in the 2600 block of East 76th Street, police said. He had been shot in the head and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Shortly before 9 p.m. Saturday, a 20-year-old man was found unresponsive with a gunshot wound to the left side in a backyard in the 8900 block of South Hermitage in the South Side West Englewood neighborhood, police said. He was taken to Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he was pronounced dead.

Officers responded to a shooting just after midnight Saturday in the 3000 block of West 38th Place in the Brighton Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side and found a 27-year-old man on the ground with gunshot wounds to the head and abdomen, authorities said. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 12:25 a.m. His not name has not been released, pending notification of his family.

At 10:50 p.m. Friday, two men walked out of a West Side Austin neighborhood home in the 500 block of North Laramie, and at least one person opened fire on them, police said. The older man, 21-year-old Derrick Jones, was shot across the body and pronounced dead at the scene at 11:19 p.m. The other man, Stephen Tucker, 20, suffered gunshot wounds to the head and back and died at Mount Sinai Hospital at 11:44 p.m., authorities said. They both lived on the block where they were killed.

The weekend’s latest nonfatal shooting wounded two people on Sunday in the Southwest Side Lawndale neighborhood. Officers responded to a call of a person shot at 10:42 a.m. and found a 29-year-old man and 27-year-old woman suffering from gunshot wounds in the 3800 block of West Roosevelt Road, police said. The man was shot multiple times in the back and the woman was shot in her right knee, police said. Both were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where their conditions were not immediately known.

At least 21 more people were wounded in other shootings between 4:30 p.m. Friday and 8 p.m. Saturday. Last year, 30 people were shot in Chicago over Christmas weekend, leaving six dead.

Take a bow mayor/NBC photo

Take a bow mayor/NBC photo

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