Renton, a city south of Seattle, has asked citizens and businesses to register their surveillance cameras with the police department so they can get access to thousands of private cameras installed throughout the city.
From the MyNorthwest.com story: “It’s called the Camera Registration Program. Since it launched Thursday, more than 40 homeowners and business owners have already signed up.”
I understand citizens wanting to do this – catch the bad guys. Yet I would be hesitant to participate in this program.
“Sgt. Christy Mathews told KIRO 7 the partnership was the idea of the department’s Community Programs Division. According to Mathews, surveillance images are typically obtained by officers and detectives knocking on doors, asking business owners and homeowners if a surveillance camera might have captured a particular incident.
Now, the locations of homes and businesses that register with the Camera Registration Program appear as blue dots on a satellite map of Renton. Mathews said other police agencies have databases of available cameras on printed pages, but not on a computer-generated map. She believes Renton PD’s is the first.
The Camera Registration Program is volunteer-only and does not allow police officers to see images in real time.
It simply lets investigators know a camera is in the area and that its owner is willing to cooperate with police officers. Those officers can then “log in from their cars and see there are three houses in this area, and the suspect fled this way, so maybe these three cameras will show something,” Mathews explained.”
What if for some reason you don’t want to turn over your camera data (i.e., you’re doing something embarrassing or your child may be implicated in a crime; or maybe you are coming back from the gun range and unloading your car and now authorities may inquire about safe gun storage)?
Will the police obtain a warrant and compel your turn over camera data?
As with most things related to government and high tech, I would not trust anyone with my personal data AT ALL.
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I love it when gun grabbers prove they know nothing about basic firearm safety and don’t practice what they preach. Granted, the gun this woman is holding in the picture is an air pellet gun yet she is contradicting the firearm safety rules listed directly behind her.
The Lewiston Tribune in Idaho reports that Bloomberg’s “Moms Demand” held a class to teach people about gun safety. From their report:
“A new group in the Lewiston-Clarkston Valley is taking a grassroots approach to preventing unintentional firearm deaths among children by educating parents and gun owners about responsible ways to store guns.
The Moms Demand Action group held its second information session Wednesday to present the organization’s BeSmart campaign message, which aims to make adults responsible for the safety of children while around guns.
According to numbers presented by the group, each year in the United States nearly 300 children younger than age 18 gain access to a firearm and unintentionally shoot themselves or someone else — often fatally. Another 500 children a year kill themselves with a gun.
“Deliberately, there is nothing in this program that says you shouldn’t have a gun*,” said Marcia Banta, a member of Moms Demand Action. “As a matter of fact, we are speaking much to people who do own guns. I am confident there is no one in this valley who sells guns that wants those guns to harm children.”
Banta, of Lewiston, has a concealed carry permit. She helped bring the program to the valley because she thinks it offers valuable tips.
As for Christie Fredericksen, also with Moms Demand Action, her family has been personally affected by gun violence. With the increased school shootings around the nation, she decided to join the organization. “It’s promoting common-sense solutions to decrease gun violence,” Fredericksen said.
The United States has the highest rate of unintentional shootings in the world, according to the presenters. Around 4.6 million children in America live in homes where guns are not safely locked up or are loaded when not in use.
“Gun violence has become all too common,” Fredericksen said. “If you haven’t been affected by it personally, you most likely know someone who has.”
The campaign’s message is simple. It encourages adults to take five steps to prevent child gun deaths and injuries. Those include securing guns in homes and vehicle by making sure they are unloaded and properly locked up; modeling responsible behavior around guns; asking about unsecured guns in other homes and vehicles kids plan to visit; recognizing the risks of teen suicide; and telling peers about the campaign.
The duo hopes to spur dialogue in the valley that will lead to fewer accidental shootings.”
*It’s ironic that the Moms Demand representative would make this statement considering their financier, gun-grabber Michael Bloomberg, is spending big bucks to eliminate your Second Amendment rights.
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It’s amazing that some progressives actually take this womyn seriously.
From Fox News: Liberal political website Vox is getting accused of jumping the shark after publishing an appeal to “fix the Constitution ASAP” so that 29-year-old incoming Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez can run for president – claiming “there’s no time like the present to start working to abolish arbitrary qualifications.”
Vox co-founder and senior correspondent Matthew Yglesias wrote that “phenomenon” Ocasio-Cortez “is the biggest star in the Democratic Party,” and therefore it is “completely ridiculous” that the Constitution makes anyone under the age of 35 ineligible to run for president of the United States.
“There’s nothing wrong with old people per se, but essentially everyone has lost a step or two both mentally and physically by their mid-70s,” Yglesias wrote. “The really awful thing about being old is that you just keep getting older over time.”
Even Ocasio-Cortez pushed back on the premise:
“How about… no,” she wrote. “Sometimes political media is too fixated on personalities instead of policies. The whole country JUST went through an exhausting midterm election. We need a break.”
“This is truly Vox’s jump the shark moment. Not exactly sure how you can claim to be anything other than pure parody when you are publishing pieces like this. I guess they believe – wrongly – that all publicity – even negative publicity- is good,” conservative strategist Chris Barron told Fox News.
NewsBusters managing editor Curtis Houck told Fox News that Vox is “supposed to be knowledgeable and explain things to the masses” but “always finds a way to baffle people by showing that they’re the ones who struggle with basic facts and trying to explain things.”
“Vox is quickly becoming a parody of itself and this fantasy of wanting her to be president even though she hasn’t been sworn in yet is ludicrous,” Houck said. “At least Barack Obama had served in the state Senate and then the U.S. Senate for a few years and could have claimed to have had some experience in office.”
Yglesias argued that “young is better than old” and suggested America would be better off with Ocasio-Cortez than an older candidate such as Bernie Sanders, 77, or the 76-year-old Joe Biden.
“We’re sitting here in the winter of 2018 talking about filling a presidential term that won’t start until 2021 — with an inevitable reelection campaign in 2024 for a term that wouldn’t end until early 2029,” Yglesias wrote.
Yglesias noted that people even younger are often “trusted with life-and-death situations in a huge array of contexts” such as having children and serving in the military.
“The constitutional prohibition on people under the age of 35 serving as president is just one of these weird lacuna that was handed down to us from the 18th century but that nobody would seriously propose creating today if not for status quo bias,” he wrote.
Yglesias even argued that her “AOC” nickname works in her favor.
“Is having a nickname a sign that you would exercise good judgment in the Oval Office? Absolutely not. Butit’s proof positive that she’s an honest-to-goodness political superstar, and it’s clear that’s what many Democrats are looking for in 2020,” he wrote.
Yglesias tweeted that “AOC should run for president and dare the Supreme Court to stop her.” His message was met with an onslaught of criticism online.
“It’s amazing someone gives you a paycheck,” one user wrote while another added, “I get that you don’t like old people, but you’re going to be one someday, so maybe lay off the hatred for now.”
The argument for changing the presidential requirements is among a host of ideas being floated on the left for major constitutional overhauls in response to President Trump’s administration and, most recently, the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Critics have floated packing the Supreme Court, overhauling the Electoral College and considering term limits on the high court in response.
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Leyla Pirnie–victim of discrimination over gun ownership
Leyla Pirnie, a 24-year-old Harvard graduate student, has been asked to move out of her Massachusetts student apartment after her roommates ransacked her room while she was away for a weekend.
Pirnie told the Washington Free Beacon that her roommates confessed they went looking for guns because she is from Alabama and owns a Make America Great Again hat—two items that led them to believe that she also would own firearms.
She said she was confronted about her guns by her six roommates on her return from her weekend break.
“When I asked them why they were in my room to begin with, they each came up with completely contradicting stories (none of which made any sense), but one comment struck me in particular: ‘We saw that you had a MAGA hat and come on, you’re from Alabama… so we just kind of assumed that you had something,'” she said. “I asked why they didn’t just call me and ask me before intruding. One of the girls responded that fear took over her body and she felt compelled to search my room until she found proof… I cannot make this up.”
Pirnie also said that despite explaining she was trained in the use of guns, her roommates were more concerned with someone breaking in and turning the guns on them or that a gun “might go off on [its] own.” Although, Pirnie said her biggest issue was her roommates, who she barely knew, going through her personal belongings. Pirnie went on to say that she believes her landlord “showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”
The discovery of Pirnie’s firearms prompted one of the roommates to e-mail the landlord, David Lewis, to verify that Pirnie was in compliance with applicable firearms laws.
“We discussed with Leyla that all of us are uncomfortable with having firearms in the house, and that their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premise to which we are entitled,” the roommate wrote to Lewis.
Lewis, president of Avid Management, the company that owns the apartment house, said in an e-mail to the household, “Since it’s clear that Leyla wants to keep her firearms, it would be best for all parties if she finds another place to live.” That e-mail came after Lewis had consulted with his attorney and after an inspection of the firearms by Somerville, Massachusetts Police Captain James Donovan. Donovan told Lewis and the tenants that Pirnie was in full compliance with Massachusetts state law, and that the firearms were kept, stored and maintained in full compliance with Massachusetts state law.
Lewis acknowledged that Pirnie was well within her rights and that she was not violating any laws. But his e-mail continued, “That being said, it is clear that the rest of the housemates are extremely uncomfortable with the idea of Firearms (sic) being kept in the household and this difference in philosophy and life style has led to an uncomfortable level of tension and stress for the entire household.”
Pirnie has refused to vacate her apartment. She said that when the roommates confronted her about her firearms she explained to them she was a legal gun owner who is trained in the safe handling of firearms. She said the roommates weren’t concerned with Pirnie’s handling of the guns but rather that somebody might break in and turn the guns on them or the guns “might go off on their own.”
She told the Beacon that her landlord’s concern over some of her roommates being uncomfortable with legally owned firearms is misplaced and his request that she move out is inappropriate.
“What I find uncomfortable is coming home to find out that six people I barely know went into my bedroom without permission and went through every single one of my drawers, without any regard to my privacy whatsoever,” Pirnie said. “My landlord’s e-mail, though carefully crafted, showed tremendous prejudice against my right to legally have firearms.”
Pirnie said her motivations for owning firearms have been ignored even though she shared them with her roommates. While an undergrad, she said she was in a physically abusive relationship. She said the experience is part of what drives her to be armed.
“Nobody has bothered to question, ‘Well, why do you want to have protection? Could it be because you’ve experienced something where you need to protect yourself as you see fit?'” she said. “I have a real and legitimate reason as to why I want to protect myself.”
When Pirnie and her father rejected Lewis’s request that she move out in the middle of studying for finals, Lewis responded by saying his request “was based strictly on practical and not ideological terms.” He then warned that if the other roommates moved out Pirnie would have to pay their rent.
“If the other roommates were to move out, Leyla would need to find roommates to share the place or foot the entire $6000+ monthly rent herself,” Lewis wrote in an email to Pirnie and her father. “Obviously it would be much easier for the others to stay and just fill one room (and I’m confident—were this to happen—that the remaining housemates will release Leyla from any further responsibility under the lease) and that’s why I proposed what I did.”
Pirnie feels she’s being punished for being a gun owner.
“I’m still very much so being threatened out of my apartment,” she said. “Either I leave and incur moving expenses or my roommates move and I incur their rent expenses… Doesn’t seem right. Not only is this a blatant violation of my privacy, but it’s also a violation of my rights.”
A search of Pirnie’s social media accounts reveals much about her political and religious philosophy. According to her Facebook page, Pirnie is from Izmir, Turkey. Pirnie says on her page that she began studying at Harvard on September 4. In a Facebook conversation about Ronald Reagan and the belief that the United States is a Christian nation, Pirnie identifies as a Christian. In response to a Reagan quote that saw the 40th president quoted as saying, “The constitution was never meant to prevent people from praying: its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray,” Pirnie said, “It’s important to keep in mind that this country was founded on Christian principles and values, with the belief that we should be tolerant of other religions. That doesn’t mean that we should be changing things like “in God we trust” or “merry Christmas” to “happy holidays” just because it might offend someone. Christians can’t be the only ones who are tolerant of other religions.”
Pirnie said in a University of Alabama questionnaire in 2015, “My name is Leyla Pirnie. I was born and raised in Izmir, Turkey for 12 years; however, my parents are both American. My mother is from German descent, while my father is from Scottish descent.”
A search for Pirnie’s Twitter account shows that her account has been suspended. It is not clear why this occurred; the last mention for her username came in May 2015.
Since Pirnie’s eviction story spread across the internet, she has deleted her LinkedIn account. A view of a cached version of that page shows that Pirnie is a graduate of Fairhope High School, class of 2009, and a 2017 graduate of the University of Alabama. At Alabama, Pirnie studied International Relation and Affairs, French and Political Science.
While at the University of Alabama, Pirnie was the social chair of the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity for Women and the Director of Public Relations for the International Students Association. Pirnie also said on her LinkedIn page that she is a senior director of Ropir International S.A., a package delivery company based in Doral, Florida. A separate online profile shows that Pirnie lived in Paris, France, for a time.
Since November 30, when the Washington Free Beacon broke the story of her threatened eviction, support from conservatives has skyrocketed. She was interviewed by FOX News. In addition, her story has struck a chord with conservatives on Twitter, with many rushing to offer their support to the Harvard grad student. Here are just a couple of their illustrative responses:
“A Christian in Turkey is almost as bad as being a Conservative in a Starbucks or at Harvard…….Dave Lewis has no legal grounds to remove her and if he attempted to do so, it would be in violation of her 2nd Amendment rights. As for her two roommates, I’m assuming all three of them signed the lease agreement. If they did and the two roommates moved out, the bigoted Dave Lewis’s only legal recourse would be to pursue them for non payment of their portion of the rent……”
“This is why people should talk about gun ownership before becoming roommates. Her roommates should never have searched her room or her belongings. A lot of younger people claim to her values, but their values seem to be do “whatever I feel like even if it’s wrong.”
Alex Roberts, writing for Halsey News December 1, concluded his article with a sentiment that many who support Pirnie echoed on their social media accounts.
“What this situation comes down to is another white educated woman who has found herself attacked when she has done nothing wrong. The landlord clearly displays no respect for the rights of Layla Pirnie who was legally within her rights and met the state requirements according to the very police officers who David Lewis had inspect the situation.”
This past November, Washington voters approved numerous gun control laws that include a mandate on how you store your firearms in your home. Now the demorats in Oregon are following their lead to infringe upon their citizens’ rights.
The Oregonian reports that demorats plan to introduce legislation next year that says you must store firearms in your home with a lock. From their report:
“Gun owners who fail to follow through could be fined as much as $500, or $2,000 if a child gets unauthorized access to the firearm, according to a summary of the proposal released by supporters on Tuesday. They did not include a copy of the actual legislation, which will be introduced by Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland, and Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, after the session begins in January.
The proposal also would make it easier for shooting victims to sue for damages if the gun owner failed to secure the weapon, report the loss or theft of the gun in a timely manner or supervise a child using the gun. That provision would not apply if the gun was used in self-defense or defense of another person, according to a news release from the new gun advocacy nonprofit State of Safety Action.
“The weapon that took my mom’s life was unsecured and taken from its owner’s home,” said Jenna Yuille, Cindy Yuille’s daughter, in a press release. “If it had been properly locked and stored, my mom might still be here today.” Jenna Yuille is now working with State of Safety Action.
Forsyth’s brother-in-law Paul Kemp is also working with the group. “Responsible gun owners always safely secure their weapons when not being carried,” Kemp said in a news release, noting that he is a gun owner. “It is time that all gun owners do that. There have to be consequences for those reckless and careless gun owners who don’t secure their firearms.
Supporters of the proposal repeatedly compared it to traffic safety laws. “It’s like a seatbelt law, you’re working to change behavior,” said Henry Wessinger, president of State of Safety Action, in an interview Tuesday. He said the group learned through polling that 75 percent of Oregon gun owners already lock up their weapons.
This is so typical of the political elite: Do As I Say, Not As I Do.
George Gascon is the demorat district attorney for San Francisco. He was appointed by fellow gun grabber Gavin Newsom in January 2011 to succeed gun-grabber Kamala Harris and was elected DA of San Francisco in November 2011.
An excerpt from his piece proves he has mastered the fear-mongering, gun-grabber terminology: “These “assault magazines” are devices that hold more than 10 bullets. They were designed and manufactured for military use to allow soldiers to kill the maximum number of enemy combatants without reloading.”
He supports San Francisco’s latest stab at the Second Amendment which includes banning the possession of firearms at gatherings like parades or protests, even when they are relatively small.
Now SF Gate reports that the Gascon flew commercial while carrying a firearm and fired whistleblowers who reported his unlawful actions to TSA. From their report:
“A former senior investigator says he was fired for blowing the whistle on his boss, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón, who he alleged carried a gun while flying — in violation of federal law.
Gascón reacted with a “pattern of retaliation and harassment” that culminated in the termination of senior investigator Henry G. McKenzie on Oct. 30, 2017, according to the suit filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.
In the Nov. 24 filing, McKenzie says that Gascón — who is also the city’s former police chief — took a gun on board commercial flights repeatedly after becoming D.A. in January 2012.
According to the suit, members of the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Investigators Association, which included McKenzie, discussed the “need to blow the whistle” on Gascón’s potential criminal violations in early 2017.
Sometime that spring, an investigator in the district attorney’s office contacted the Transportation Security Administration to report Gascón’s alleged unlawful travel with a firearm.
“The issue is flying armed while not being a peace officer, and flying armed when there was no need to” for law enforcement purposes, McKenzie’s attorney, Fulvio Cajina, told us.
Under federal law, peace officers who are armed while traveling are required to state that they are doing so for good reason — a reason related to their work — under penalty of perjury. The investigators believed that, as district attorney, Gascón was no longer an active peace officer and had no need to travel with a gun.
In the months after the TSA was notified, five of the Investigators Association’s seven-member governing body were either terminated or reprimanded. In all, according to the suit, “nearly half of the district attorney’s investigative department — or about 14 staff members — “were either terminated or forced to resign under intense pressure within a five-month span,” the suit said.
At a Sept. 5, 2017, training day at the Lake Merced shooting range, Gascón allegedly told the entire investigations staff that “there was a ‘cancer’ growing in the Bureau of Investigations and he was going to cut it out,” according to the suit.
In what was described as a rant, Gascón told the group that if anyone was going to talk to The Chronicle’s Matier & Ross, “they better make sure they had their facts straight” and that he would “be around a lot longer than anyone else” at the bureau.
The next day, on Sept. 6, 2017, McKenzie says he was placed on administrative leave and that an internal affairs investigation was pending.
McKenzie alleges he was removed from his job because he “was either a whistle-blower or had aided a whistle-blower.”
He was fired the next month, and in late February, McKenzie’s termination was upheld by the D.A.’s office after an administrative review. McKenzie has since found a new job.
In the meantime, according to the lawsuit, “federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into defendant Gascón.”
TSA spokeswoman Lorie Dankers declined comment, saying the agency “cannot provide any additional detail beyond what is in publicly available documents.”
Graham Moomaw reports for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Dec. 6, 2018, that the West Point High School in West Point, Virginia, fired French teacher Peter Vlaming for refusing to go along with the madness of ‘transgenderism’ by addressing a female 9th-grade student who imagines herself to be male with the Left-mandated “correct” male pronouns.
Note that FOTM‘s recounting of Moomaw’s report for the Richmond Times-Dispatch refers to the biologically-female student as “girl,” “she” and “her,” instead of “boy” and male pronouns employed by Moomaw, which is now mandated for journalists in America’s insane Left-dominated media.
Vlaming, 47, who had taught at the school for almost seven years after spending more than a decade in France, told his superiors his Christian faith prevented him from using male pronouns for a student he saw as female.
A year ago, the student was in Vlaming’s class, at which point, she had identified as female. Then, over the summer, the girl’s family informed the school system of her “transition” to being male. Vlaming agreed to use the student’s new, male name, but avoided using any pronouns — he or him, and she or her — when referring to the student in her presence. But Vlaming did use female pronouns to refer to the female student in conversations with others. According to “witnesses,” during a class activity on Halloween involving the use of a virtual reality headset, the student was about to run into a wall, and Vlaming told others to stop “her.”
In other words, the school relied on spies and informants.
The student said that Vlaming made her feel uncomfortable and singled out. And the school’s administrators sided with her. They recommended that Vlaming be fired for violating the school system’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies that were updated a year ago to include protections for gender identity.
West Point’s principal Jonathan Hochman said he had told Vlaming to use male pronouns in accordance with the student’s wishes, and hyperbolically condemned Vlaming’s refusal as “I can’t think of a worse way to treat a child than what was happening.” West Point schools Superintendent Laura Abel said that Vlaming’s gender “discrimination” created “a hostile learning environment” which made the student and her parents feel “disrespected.”
Although the school district’s attorney, Stacy Haney, justifies Vlaming’s firing on the basis of a school employee’s refusal to follow policies, Vlaming’s lawyer, Shawn Voyles, said the school district’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies contain no specific guidance on the use of gender pronouns, and that even as a public employee, Vlaming has constitutional rights of his own, specificially the right “to be free from being compelled to speak something that violates your conscience.”
Speaking in his own defense, Vlaming said he loves and respects all his students and had tried to reach a solution based on “mutual tolerance.” But the effort was rejected, which put him at risk of losing his job for having views held by “most of the world for most of human history.” Vlaming said, “That is not tolerance. That is coercion.”
Vlaming’s hearing drew an overflow crowd, made up largely of parents and students who support him. They describe Vlaming as a model teacher who does extra duty as a soccer coach and bus driver. They had brought to the hearing “Justice for Mr. Vlaming” signs, but school officials forebade the signs in the meeting room with the ridiculous excuse that the small room did not have space for the signs. So the signs were left in a stack outside the meeting room’s doors.
During the hearing, to highlight the pitfalls of rules against “misgendering,” Vlaming and his lawyer pointed out that school principal Hochman himself used the “wrong” pronoun for the student during his testimony. Describing his conversation with Vlaming after the incident on Halloween, Hochman testified that he told Vlaming: “You need to say sorry for that. And refer to her by the male pronoun.”
Despite the support from many students and parents, the school board chose to terminate Vlaming’s employment. Superintendent Abel released this brief statement after the vote: “As detailed during the course of the public hearing, Mr. Vlaming was recommended for termination due to his insubordination and repeated refusal to comply with directives made to him by multiple WPPS administrators.”
Vlaming has asked the School Board to reconsider their decision — the “absurdity” of punishing a teacher for discrimination on the basis of pronoun usage alone, with no accusation of overtly malicious behavior. He said, “I am being punished for what I haven’t said.”
Vlaming is considering a wrongful-termination lawsuit and is consulting with his attorney. He said: “I have to research how we would do that, what that would entail. I do think it’s a serious question of First Amendment rights.”
Contact information for your protests:
Principal, West Point High School
Phone: (804) 843-3630 x104
Laura K. Abel
Superintendent, West Point Public Schools
Phone: (804) 843-4386
There is a petition asking Superintendent Abel to reinstate Vlaming. To sign, click here.
Tyler Hubbard in a screenshot from his Instagram plea…
This extremely biased article does not call out the real goal of this group: Eliminate private gun sales (as they reference an “unlicensed dealer” sale at a gun show.) Funny, I couldn’t find one mass shooting that was committed with a gun obtained via private sale.
But never let facts get in the way of an agenda.
From Yahoo: After announcing his involvement in the Toms apparel company’s campaign to support universal background checks in the firearm industry last week, Florida Georgia Line’s Tyler Hubbard went one step further on Monday, calling out 34 fellow country artists to add their voice of support to Toms’ “End Gun Violence Together” campaign.
In an interview with Rolling Stone Country, Hubbard expanded on his decision to speak out on the issues of gun violence and gun control, and explained the reasoning behind his call to encourage a wide range of country artists — including Blake Shelton, Chris Stapleton, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Luke Bryan and even fellow FGL bandmate Brian Kelley — to join him in the campaign.
“We’ve been given a platform and a voice for a reason, and it’s really time to start using that voice for more than just talking about our music and ourselves,” Hubbard says. “Whether it’s at a country bar or a country concert, every artist in our genre has been affected by gun violence directly or indirectly, and it’s something that really hits close to home and something that everybody wants to talk about, but doesn’t really know how to. But there’s no better time than now.”
Hubbard’s comments come just a month after last month’s shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, where 12 men and women were killed at the country music bar, and little more than a year after the massacre at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas, two events that have galvanized the country music community on the issue of gun violence. “We’ve seen it firsthand,” he says. “Our fans and artists are getting shot.”
The Georgia native also cites growing up and having a family with wife Hayley Hubbard as factors that have influenced his thinking on gun violence over the years. “Before, I’d like to think that I was probably a hard-ass who could dodge a bullet, which is not true,” he says. “Now that I’ve got a wife and kids and family, I really start to think about things from a different perspective and I really want to start trying to make a change.”
Hubbard explained that focusing on an issue like universal background checks, supported by a vast majority of Americans in repeated polls, helped make it easier to speak out on a polarizing topic like gun control. “You’d have to be hard-pressed to find somebody that thinks there shouldn’t be background checks,” says Hubbard. “It’s not really as confrontational or controversial as one may think.”
The federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, has been in place since 1993, but there are a number of inefficiencies and loopholes (including the ability to purchase firearms from unlicensed dealers at a gun show without a background check), that have made the system less than 100 percent effective. Toms’ “End Gun Violence Together” campaign is aimed at encouraging lawmakers to pass legislation that would strengthen the federal government’s ability to run background checks on all citizens purchasing firearms in the United States.
Speaking alongside Hubbard, Toms founder/CEO Blake Mycoskie expressed admiration for the Florida Georgia Line singer’s ability to address the issues from the perspective of a firearm enthusiast. “That’s my favorite part of Tyler’s first video, is when he says, ‘I’m a proud gun owner,’” says Mycoskie, who, like Hubbard, admits he has not historically been involved in politics. “That, to me, is what broke the dam: the idea that we can celebrate the sporting nature of using guns responsibly and at the same time we can say that it doesn’t make sense that if you’re a felon you can leave prison and go buy five guns tomorrow.”
But Dick’s quickly circumvented its pledge by opening its outdoor-focused Field & Stream chain.
After the mass shooting last February at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Dick’s was one of the first businesses in the U.S. to clamber on board the ensuing “March for Our Lives” gun-control movement by declaring they would stop selling assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, barr the legal sale of guns to those under age 21, and hire their own gun-control lobbyists to push for stricter gun laws nationwide.
At the time, Dick’s paradoxically predicted that although the move could hurt sales, it would also draw more shoppers to its stores.
In August, Dick’s admitted that sales at stores open for at least 12 months tumbled by a bigger-than-expected 4% during the second quarter. But Chairman and CEO Edward W. Stack put on a brave face, insisting he was confident sales would turn around.
Alas, Dick’s drop in sales is continuing, such that the company may soon close down their entire Field & Stream chain of 35 stores across 18 states.
On September 15, 2018, Dick’s billionaire CEO Edward Stack, 64, told investors during the Goldman Sachs Retailing Conference that same-store sales dropped 3.9%, that its “decisions…on firearms” has hurt sales of its hunting and outdoors business, and that it may close its outdoor-focused Field & Stream stores.
Stack, son of Dick’s Sporting Goods’ founder Richard “Dick” Stack, said:
“Well, we’ve made that decision at the end of February, what we’re going to do with firearms. And what we said is, we would not sell any of the assault-style rifles, we wouldn’t sell high-capacity magazines. We’d never sold bumps stocks which turn a semiautomatic weapon into basically an automatic weapon, and we wouldn’t sell firearms to anyone under 21 years of age.
So that’s in February. It’s still a little early to tell…. So we’ve had some vendors who’ve decided based on our decision to not sell the assault-style rifle that was used in the Parkland shooting that they wouldn’t sell us…any firearms anymore…. We’ve had some other people who’ve indicated that they wouldn’t shop with us any longer. So we’ve got to take a look and we’ll assess this through this holiday season, if the brands are going to continue to or not. Some brands are not going to continue to sell us. If consumers upset with us, we will make a decision of what we’re going to do with Field & Stream.
My sense is that we can either take a look at closing that store, that concept or reconceptualizing it into a more of an outdoor type concept and…as we move into the end of the fourth quarter, we’ll make a decision as to what we’re going to do.”
Having admitted that Dick’s gun-control stance has hurt sales, Stack whistles past the graveyard by entrenching even deeper in the company’s sales-losing policy. He said:
“We’ve made some decisions on firearms in the past and we’ve had a pretty good idea of what these consequences were going to be. We felt that was absolutely the right thing to do. We would do the same thing again if we had a mulligan so to speak to do it again. And but at the same time, our business has been pretty good….
So has it had an impact on the foot traffic and people who were upset with us on this? Yes. Has it
impacted our profitability? No. We found ways to offset that. We’re…taking 10 stores this fall and taking firearms out of all of those 10 stores and reconceptualizing the footprint, the product mix….we’re going to test this in 10 stores and see what happens.”
MyNorthwest.com reports that this organization wants to expand Extreme Risk Protection Orders, to include “hate-based threats,” to limit open carry firearms in crowded public events, parks, and libraries, and to restrict access to high-capacity magazines.
“Washingtonians did their part at the ballot, now it is time for our legislators to do their part,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, in a news release. “Our statewide coalition — including community leaders, survivors, advocates, public health experts and law enforcement — created the most robust agenda we have ever put forward.
Hopkins promised that “each and every policy will save lives in our state,” and that the group is “looking forward to working with our gun responsibility majority in Olympia to ensure our lawmakers pass the kind of laws Washington families and communities want in place.”
While I-1639 faces a court challenge from the 2nd Amendment Foundation and the NRA, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility will bring its own fight to the state Legislature, hoping to continue its momentum from the November election.”