Tag Archives: Florida

Demand soars for concealed carry permits, data shows

second amendment3

Shannon Watts hardest hit.

From Fox News:  The number of concealed carry permits in the United States has topped 15 million over the last year, according to data collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center.

That’s the largest one-year increase ever in the number of permits issued, according to the research center. In July 2016, the center reported that 14.5 million people had concealed handgun permits. As of May of this year, the number is already 15.7 million.

John Lott, founder of the group and a Fox News columnist, said several states, including Arizona, Florida, Michigan and Texas, have seen a big jump in the number of gun permits issued. There are several reasons for the increase – most notably, a rise in women and minorities seeking to purchase handguns, Lott said.

“I think you’re continuing to see a change in the composition of people who go and get permits,” Lott said. “Women are growing at a much faster rate than men.”

Between 2012 and 2016, Lott said, the growth rate for women was twice as much as it was for men. He also said minorities are purchasing handguns at a higher rate compared to previous years.

Firearms instructors are reporting an increase in the number of black women learning how to use guns around the country, as noted in an earlier Fox News report. Gun instructors who teach self-defense courses say more women are looking toward guns to protect themselves against crime.

In a May 10 statement to Fox News, NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said women are the fastest growing segment of firearms buyers in the country. “The NRA is a natural home for women firearms owners,” Mortensen said. “Increasingly, women today don’t want to rely on a spouse or neighbor for protection. They want to be able to protect themselves and their families.

The Crime Prevention Research Center – a nonprofit, gun advocacy research group – releases an annual report each July documenting firearm statistics by citing numbers provided by state agencies. The center’s official report for 2017 is due in July but Lott said data already collected shows a significant increase in permits in a number of states.

Arizona had 272,622 such permits in 2016 and 315,107 as of May 2017. Florida had 1,581,742 last year compared to 1,755,580 as of April 30.

Lott noted other factors contributing to an increase in permits. “You’re seeing states making it easier for people to go and get permits,” he said.

In contrast, states like California and New York have among the toughest requirements for permits in the nation. 

In Sacramento County, as of December 2016, residents are “required to pay $220 in application fees, pass a state criminal background check, take a 16-hour training course and have approval of the sheriff’s department by having ‘good moral character’ and a good reason to have CCW,” according to the center.

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Caught stealing from her own charity: Demorat Corrine Brown guilty on fraud, tax evasion charges

corrine brown

Demorat Brown hopefully will do some time for her crimes.

From Fox News:  Former Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was found guilty on 18 fraud and tax evasion charges Thursday afternoon in a Jacksonville federal court.

The charges stemmed from accusations she illegally siphoned thousands of dollars from her charity into her own bank account for lavish parties, trips and shopping excursions. Brown was found not guilty on four of the 22 total charges.

Brown served as a Florida representative in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 until 2017. She was defeated in her 2016 primary race.

The indictment came after an investigation into the charity One Door for Education Foundation Inc., which federal prosecutors say was purported to give scholarships to poor students but instead filled the coffers of Brown and her associates.

Earlier this year, One Door President Carla Wiley pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after it as determined that she had deposited $800,000 into the foundation’s account over four years. Over that time, federal prosecutors say it gave one scholarship for $1,000 and that Wiley transferred herself tens of thousands of dollars.

“Congresswoman Brown and her chief of staff are alleged to have used the congresswoman’s official position to solicit over $800,000 in donations to a supposed charitable organization, only to use that organization as a personal slush fund,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, chief of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement earlier this year.

Brown’s former chief of staff, Elias “Ronnie” Simmons, and the charity’s president pleaded guilty after their federal indictments for misusing the charity’s funds, and testified against Brown.

Brown said she was left in the dark about the goings-on with One Door’s money, and blamed the theft on Simmons. Brown said she left those details to Simmons and other hired staffers, and said she should have paid more attention to her personal and professional finances.

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Travyon Martin will receive posthumous degree in Florida

Trayvon MartinMore proof that college degrees aren’t worth anything these days.
From Seattle Times: MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — A university will award Trayvon Martin a posthumous Bachelor of Science Degree in aviation five years after the black teenager was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer in central Florida.

An announcement on Florida Memorial University’s official Facebook page says Martin’s parents, Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin, will accept the degree during a May 13 commencement ceremony. Fulton graduated from the Miami Gardens university and, along with Tracy Martin, co-founded the Trayvon Martin Foundation.

The university’s statement says it will honor the steps Martin, who was 17 when he died in 2012, took toward becoming a pilot.

George Zimmerman said he shot Martin in self-defense as the teen returned to his father’s home after a trip to a convenience store. A jury acquitted Zimmerman of second-degree murder in 2013.

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Blue Lives Matter flag deemed ‘racist,’ ordered to come down

blue lives matter flag

From Fox News: A Florida woman is being told to take down her Blue Lives Matter flag that’s been flying for several years now by her homeowners association.

Jeff Gaddie told Action News Jacksonville that his daughter in St. Johns County has been flying the flag to honor him and many other family members who are law enforcement.

“She called to ask why,” Gaddie said. “They told her they had received a complaint that it was considered racist, offensive and anti-Black Lives Matter,” he said.

The association asked the woman, who did not want to be identified for fear of backlash, to submit a request for permission to fly the flag, which has since been denied.

Action News Jacksonville reached out to the First Coast Association Management, which said only American and military-themed flags are allowed to fly in the neighborhood, even though there are other types of flags flying.

Gaddie says the flag is only a show of support and the family is planning to appeal the decision at the next homeowner’s association meeting.

Click for more from Action News Jacksonville.

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Court rules that Florida doctors can ask patients about guns and gun safety

adalberto-jordan

Circuit Court Judge Adalberto Jordan

Guns, what guns?

From Fox News: A federal appeals court ruled on Thursday that Florida doctors can talk to patients about gun safety, declaring a law aimed at restricting such discussions a violation of the First Amendment’s right to free speech.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law does not trespass on patients’ Second Amendment rights to own guns and noted a patient who doesn’t want to be questioned about that can easily find another doctor.

“The Second Amendment right to own and possess firearms does not preclude questions about, commentary on, or criticism for the exercise of that right,” wrote Circuit Judge Adalberto Jordan (appointed by Obama and born in Cuba) in one of two majority opinions covering 90 pages. “There is no actual conflict between the First Amendment rights of doctors and medical professionals and the Second Amendment rights of patients.”

Circuit Judge William Pryor, who was a finalist in President Donald Trump’s search for a Supreme Court nominee, said in a separate concurring opinion that the First Amendment must protect all points of view.

“The promise of free speech is that even when one holds an unpopular point of view, the state cannot stifle it,” he wrote. “The price Americans pay for this freedom is that the rule remains unchanged regardless of who is in the majority.”

The law was passed in 2011 and signed by Republican Gov. Rick Scott with strong support from the National Rifle Association. It was the only one of its kind in the nation, although similar laws have been considered in other states.

Supporters in the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature insisted it was necessary because doctors were overstepping their bounds and pushing an anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment agenda.

The law was challenged almost immediately by thousands of physicians, medical organizations and other groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union as a violation of free speech in what became known as the “Docs v. Glocks” case. A legal battle has raged in the courts since then, with several conflicting opinions issued.

“We are thrilled that the court has finally put to bed the nonsensical and dangerous idea that a doctor speaking with a patient about gun safety somehow threatens the right to own a gun,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida.

The 11th Circuit noted that Florida lawmakers appeared to base the law on “six anecdotes” about physicians’ discussions of guns in their examination rooms and little other concrete evidence that there is an actual problem. And doctors who violated the law could face professional discipline, a fine or possibly loss of their medical licenses.

“There was no evidence whatsoever before the Florida Legislature that any doctors or medical professionals have taken away patients’ firearms or otherwise infringed on patients’ Second Amendment rights,” Jordan wrote for the court.

The NRA and Florida attorneys had argued that under the law doctors could ask about firearms if the questions were relevant to a patient’s health or safety, or someone else’s safety, and that the law was aimed at eliminating harassment of gun owners. But the 11th Circuit said there was no evidence of harassment or improper disclosure of gun ownership in health records, as law supporters also claimed.

“There is nothing in the record suggesting that patients who are bothered or offended by such questions are psychologically unable to choose another medical provider, just as they are permitted to do if their doctor asks too many questions about private matters like sexual activity, alcohol consumption, or drug use,” the court ruled.

The ruling did determine that some parts of the law could remain on the books, such as provisions allowing patients to decline to answer questions about guns and prohibiting health insurance companies from denying coverage or increasing premiums for people who lawfully own guns.

The case will return to U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in Miami for a ruling that follows the 11th Circuit’s direction. The case could, however, also be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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680 Cubans returned home since end of ‘wet foot, dry foot’

wet-foot-dry-foot-obama

Via Fox News: About 680 Cubans have been returned to the island from various countries since then-President Barack Obama ended a longstanding immigration policy that allowed any Cuban who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become a legal resident, state television reported Friday.

Cuba’s government had long sought the repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy, which it said encouraged Cubans to risk dangerous voyages and drained the country of professionals. The Jan. 12 decision by Washington to end it followed months of negotiations focused in part on getting Havana to agree to take back people who had arrived in the U.S.

Cuban state television said late Friday that the returnees came from countries including the United States, Mexico and the Bahamas, and were sent back to the island between Jan. 12 and Feb. 17. It did not break down which countries the 680 were sent back from.

The report said the final two returnees arrived from the United States on Friday “on the first charter flight especially destined for an operation of this type.”

Florida’s El Nuevo Herald newspaper reported that the two women were deemed “inadmissible” for entry to the United States and placed on a morning flight to Havana.

Wilfredo Allen, an attorney for one of the women, says they had arrived at Miami International Airport with European passports. The women requested asylum and were detained.

The repeal of the “wet foot, dry foot” policy was Obama’s final move before leaving office in the rapprochement with the communist-run country that he and Cuban President Castro began in December 2014. The surprise decision left hundreds of Cubans stranded in transit in South and Central America.

Before he assumed the presidency on Jan. 20, Donald Trump criticized the detente between the U.S. and Cuba, tweeting that he might “terminate” it.

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Gun-shaped house key almost ruins couple’s cruise trip

key

Fer cryin’ out loud…

From Fox News: A Florida couple’s Carnival cruise vacation was almost ruined last weekend as they attempted to board the ship because one of them was carrying a 2-inch house key shaped like a gun.

Henry Echevarria, a deputy sheriff in Pasco County, Fla., was boarding a cruise ship in Port Canaveral with his wife Lisa Jan. 15 when a ship security agent halted them at the entrance.  “He pulls out my key and says ‘Oh, here’s the problem,” Echevarria told WTSP.

As a law enforcement official, Echevarria says he understands routine security procedures but was shocked that such a small item would cause an issue. The deputy sheriff says he tried to explain that there was no way the key could be used as a weapon.

“First of all, you can’t even get your finger in the hole if it was a gun and you can barely get a finger around the grip,” he said. “They say I can’t have it. I can’t get on the boat. I either need to get rid of it take it back or not cruise.”

But ship security stood firm and, left with no choice, Echevarria elected to have the key placed in the ship’s safe until returning back to port. But the law enforcement official says the cruise line’s unusually strict policy could have harmful security implications for customers. “They [Carnival] have my address, they have my key, all they need to do is make a replica and next thing you know they could be at my house,” he said.

After his vacation, Echevarria says his key was returned but told FoxNews.com that he has tried reaching out to the cruise line for an explanation.

“So far the one time I called to speak with customer service, “John” kept trying to blame the security company and would not get that the supervisor from Carnival was the one who ultimately took my house key and placed it in a safe at Port Canaveral,” Echevarria said.  He also says he’s sailed with Carnival before and never had an issue with his house key.

Carnival may not have contacted Echevarria to resolve the issue but in an emailed statement to FoxNews.com, Carnival’s vice president of corporate communications Jennifer De La Cruz, reiterated the cruise line’s prohibited items policy which bans “all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components.”

“While our Prohibited Items Policy does prohibit “all firearms including replicas, imitations and their components,” a house key shaped like a firearm is not what is meant by the term ‘replica’ and the key should not have been retained,” De La Cruz said.

“We contacted the third-party company that provides security services at the port in question to discuss the matter and initiate corrective training so this doesn’t occur in the future.” Echevarria says he still awaiting a reply from Carnival.

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