In 2014, a controversial ad was released by anti-gun nuts which basically encouraged children to steal their parents’ guns and turn them over to school officials. What could possibly go wrong?
It’s 2020. The ad has finally been pulled.
In the ad, which is no longer available, a young boy who looked a bit distressed walked into his parents’ bedroom, went into the dresser drawer, removed a handgun and put it in his backpack.
The boy then takes the gun, which is presumable loaded into his classroom. After class, he goes up to the teacher, takes the gun out of his backpack and slams it onto her desk.
“Can you take this away? I don’t feel safe with a gun in my house,” the boy says.
The voice-over guy then says:
“Our children deserve a safe world. Stop gun violence now.”
That is how the anti-gun crowd works. Use children to further your cause, because for liberals, it’s always “about the kids.” Except of course, when it is not.
Sandy Hook Elementary school was the site of an unspeakable crime. The unadulterated heartbreak that the parents of those poor children, as well as the family and friends of the adults who lost their lives cannot be measured.
In September, anti-gun violence advocacy group Sandy Hook Promise released a public service announcement that was in some ways a bit over the top.
And we take no satisfaction in saying that, nor do we take the statement lightly. The difference in this ad, however was that it attempts to address the warning signs behind school violence, as opposed to being directed toward gun control.
The ad, which aired around the time children were headed back to school, was titled “Back-To-School Essentials”.
It showed your typical back-to-school fare, with kids showing off their new school supplies and things such as backpacks and binders.
As the ad moves along, however, things become darker. Kids are shown running from what appears to be a school shooter in their new footwear, using their new jackets to tie a door closed. The video ended with a young girl in tears, barricaded inside a bathroom stall, typing out a text message on her phone telling her mother she loves her, footsteps in the background.
“It’s back to school time, and you know what that means. School shootings are preventable when you know the signs,” text on the screen reads, then fades to black.
Sandy Hook Promise, which is primarily an anti-gun group, was founded by families who were directly impacted by the tragedy that is Sandy Hook.
The group says that every year, they try to produce “creative and compelling public service announcements (PSA) illustrating that gun violence is preventable when you know the signs.” This seems to be a positive step in recognizing that it is not the guns that kill people, it is the people who carry the guns.
Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, who lost his son Daniel in the shooting told CBS News:
“This PSA is designed to evoke emotion that sparks serious conversations about prioritizing violence prevention in schools, rather than continually focusing on reactionary measures or practicing for violence that we ‘expect’ will happen.”
“In our video, we show the awful, painful reality that children across the country face as school shootings become more frequent. But we also make it clear that it doesn’t have to be this way; when we teach students to Know the Signs, and empower them to report warning signs to trusted adults, we can prevent school shootings and save lives.”
Honestly, who can argue with that?
After this, however the group goes off the rails. In response to calls for Congress to take further steps to curb gun violence, Barden said:
“We echo this demand for a full-Senate vote on gun violence prevention policies, including Universal Background Checks and Extreme Rise Protection orders, which can help to save thousands of lives every year.”
Extreme Risk Protection orders, commonly known as “red flag” laws, have been enacted in several states, and are an extremely controversial measure, since they do away in many cases with protections guaranteed under the Constitution, such as the right to Due Process.
We recently reported on a new law in Colorado, which has some in law enforcement refusing to honor the law.
Last year, the Colorado state legislature passed a so-called “red flag” law, which will allow law enforcement to temporarily take guns away from people the deem safety risks. The law went into effect on Jan. 1.
Under the law, family members or law enforcement can ask a judge to order a person’s firearms temporarily confiscated because they pose an “immediate safety threat to themselves or others.” Once petitioned, the judge must hold a hearing within 24 hours—or the next court day—to determine whether to grant the request. The person in question cannot be present for that hearing.
Within two weeks after the initial hearing, the judge must hold another hearing with all parties present in order to determine whether to confiscate that person’s guns for up to a year and also ban them from purchasing other firearms during that time period.
The law is expected to put a burden on already overburdened police departments. In Denver, for example, they’ve been working for months to develop a policy covering the new law.
Police officers who encounter situations where they believe extreme risk protection order is needed would have to call a detective who is familiar with the new orders to handle court filings and follow the case through court. There was no additional funding available from the state in order to cover that.
Likewise, the department had to set up a separate gun storage area and logging system for firearms that are confiscated through the new system so that the weapons are kept separate from evidence.
Division chief Joe Montoya is unsure about the new law. “The law is written with good intentions, but I don’t think they think of logistics,” he said. Hmmm. Sounds like the new bail fiasco in New York.
Another issue is some sheriffs have threatened not to enforce the law. This creates a problem across jurisdictions because if Denver police come in contact with someone who may be suicidal who lives in Weld County, the sheriff there has said he will not enforce the law.
Several other sheriffs in the state have said that they will not enforce the law, and in many cases, county commissioners are backing their decisions.
Just like in Virginia, some mostly rural counties in Colorado, 32 in all, have approved “Second Amendment sanctuary” status in opposition to the law.
Dan Feldman, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York said, “If you’re refusing to enforce state law, you’re really threatening the coherence of the state. Feldman it should be noted, was a member of the New York state legislature which passed a limited version of the bill in the early 1990’s.
In Weld County, Sheriff Steve Reams, who was an extremely vocal critic of the legislation, said he’ll avoid using the law and communicate with judges in his county to find workarounds. It will be a “case by case basis,” he said.
“I’m not interested in taking their guns into my office,” said Reams. “Taking the gun away isn’t the solution. We’re taking an inanimate object away but not taking the person to treatment in many cases, we could just be making the problem worse.”
Many of the counties that have supported their sheriff’s decision have put their money where their mouths are, or more precisely NOT putting their money where their mouths are, by refusing to build any new storage that may be required to store confiscated guns.
In some counties, law enforcement officials and community leaders are on opposite sides of the issue.
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For example, in Douglas County, Sheriff Tony Spurlock supports the bill, while the county’s three-member board of commissioners passed a resolution opposing it. In Chaffee County, the opposite is true. Commissioners are reluctant to pass a resolution opposing the bill, while the sheriff would like to see one put in place.
Keith Baker, one of the Chaffee commissioners, did say that he would like provisions included about false or malicious complaints strengthened.
“I want people to be confident that this isn’t a stalking horse to go after law-abiding citizens who obtain guns legally and that their Fourth Amendment rights are protected,” he said. “I’m also very fond of our Constitution. Honestly, I don’t see a ‘sanctuary county’ being constitutional, either.”
David Kopel, a constitutional law expert is someone who has written extensively about gun policy in the United States. He says he thinks the bill is generally a good idea, but he takes issue with how it is written—in part because of outside influence.
“The gun ban lobbies are getting more and more extreme and aggressive,” he said.
Think Moms Demand Action and Everytown, USA.
Kopel takes issue with the fact that during the initial hearing, the gun owner does not have the right to be present at that hearing, and the state has 14 days before the second hearing is held, during which time the gun owner cannot possess the weapons. At the second hearing, the judge can order the guns taken for as long as one year.
Kopel also addressed a scenario where someone petitions to have guns removed from someone where they intend to target them violently.
In addition, the burden of proof is extremely low–preponderance of the evidence”, which is the same standard used in civil cases, and which is a much lower bar to reach than the criminal standard, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
For his part, Sheriff Reams is concerned about the potential to aggravate an already volatile person by removing their guns.
“Going in and taking their guns and leaving the scene, I can’t see how that makes them less of a risk. It just takes one tool away,” said Reams, arguing that a person bent on hurting someone could do it with a knife or a car.
In 2018 in Anne Arundel, MD, police officers showed up to seize a man’s weapons based on a court order and he became irate.
Gary J. Willis answered the door holding a gun, then placed it next to the door. When police officers started to serve Willis with the order, he went off, opened the door and grabbed the gun.
When an officer tried to grab the gun from Willis, a second officer fired his service weapon, striking Willis who was pronounced dead at the scene.
The red flag law in Colorado has only been in effect for three days, so it will be interesting to see how this plays out. But one thing is clear. There is a vast divide between the gun grabbers and people who want to preserve their Second Amendment rights.
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