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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Students Fight To #FreeShep

Eighteen-year-old Sawyer Shepherd is a senior and baseball player at Missouri’s Carthage High School. He’s also an avid hunter, which landed him in trouble last week. After a morning turkey hunt, Shepherd put his disassembled shotgun in a case under the front seat of his truck. He then got ready for school, but forgot his gun in his truck.

When school officials were alerted to a possible gun on campus, Shepherd admitted there was a shotgun in his vehicle. Police declined to press charges, as no laws were broken. But school administrators suspended Shepherd for 10 days—jeopardizing his graduation.

While officials struggle with the right decision, students have made their position clear. They’re rallying around Shepherd using the hashtag #FreeShep and holding gatherings in his support. District Superintendent Blaine Henningsen says a final punishment has yet to be determined, but hopes to have the issue resolved this week.


Padres Put Police In Peril At Petco

The San Diego Padres have continued a disturbing trend in major league sports by banning off-duty and retired cops from carrying firearms at Petco Park.

Major League Baseball and the National Football League have both put themselves at odds with police around the country by instituting policies banning cops from carrying. They are facing pushback from police in places like Minnesota, New York and especially Texas, where state law allowing cops to carry trumped league policy at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium and Houston Texans’ Reliant Stadium.

The Law Enforcement Officer’s Safety Act gives officers the right to carry anywhere in the country, partly because they often face threats from criminals they’ve encountered. The leagues argue that they already have adequate security in their stadiums, but how does that justify disarming at-risk cops? In denying gun rights to police, the leagues are simply solving a problem that doesn’t exist.


North Carolina Upholds Self-Defense Right Of Permanent Residents

While some might assume that the Second Amendment applies solely to American citizens, there is a growing legal precedent for the view that all law-abiding residents are entitled the right to bear arms. A federal district court in North Carolina just ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny permanent resident non-citizens concealed-carry permits. This ruling is one of several in recent years in which courts have defended the right of non-citizens to own and carry firearms.

UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh wrote an insightful editorial on the ruling, which he views as correct. He made sure to point out that none of these rulings creates firearm rights for illegal aliens—only documented, long-term residents are eligible.


Tennessee Gov. Haslam Reluctantly Signs Park Carry Bill

On Friday, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam signed a revised version of HB 995, also known as the “guns in parks” bill. The legislation, which went into effect immediately, allows handgun permit holders to carry in all park areas that are not on school property or within the vicinity of school-sanctioned events.

While previous versions of the bill would have allowed carry in the capitol complex and banned toy guns within 150 feet of schools, Haslam reportedly found the most recent version to be a good compromise, calling it a “vast improvement from the bill as initially introduced.”

National parks have allowed carry with permits since February 2010, so this legislation, which prohibits municipalities from making their own rules regarding park carry, further simplifies the complex patchwork of laws faced by gun owners unwilling to give up their right to self-defense while enjoying sometimes-remote outdoor recreation areas.


Wisconsin: “Fact Checker” Admits Waiting Periods Don’t Cut Violent Crime

Following up on a Wisconsin state senator’s remark that “There’s no statistical evidence that [Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases] reduces violence whatsoever,” even Politifact—which commonly exhibits an anti-gun bias—had to admit that Republican Senator Van Wanggaard’s assertion was “mostly true.”

Last week, the Wisconsin Senate voted to pass Van Wanggaard’s bill—which also appears to have the support of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker—to end Wisconsin’s waiting period for handgun purchasers. If passed, gun buyers will be able to take possession of their firearms as soon as they’re cleared by the instant check system—just like it is done nearly everywhere else in the United States.


Alabama Armed Citizen Lauded By Sheriff

DeKalb County, Ala., Sheriff Jimmy Harris is praising an armed citizen who stopped a business burglary in progress. 

According to media reports, when two men broke into a business in Fort Payne, Ala., last Thursday, an armed citizen saw them carrying merchandise out the back door. Instead of just looking the other way, he called the sheriff’s office and held the duo at gunpoint until deputies arrived.

“I would like to thank the citizen for being so observant and contacting the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office about this incident,” Sheriff Harris said in a press release. “Even though we don’t ever advise a citizen to put their self in danger, we are thankful that he did. The deputies were on scene within seven minutes and were able to make these arrests without incident because of the citizen’s actions.”


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