State Trooper Michael L. Keyes can carry a gun while on duty. When off duty, however, he is barred by law from possessing any firearms.
Keyes being banned from firearms off duty stems from a decision by the state of Pennsylvania's Superior Court, based on events from seven years ago.
Keyes suffered from deep depression, tried to kill himself repeatedly by taking drugs, and was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, reports The Patriot News. These factors weighed in to the decision made by the court on whether to allow Keyes to carry a firearm off duty.
The court's ruling states that Keyes' involuntary mental health commitment constitutes an unsurmountable legal barrier to his ability to possess a gun.
The federal Gun Control Act is at play in this decision. It bars anyone who has been subjected to involuntary mental health commitments from possessing guns. Expungement is not possible for Keyes' involuntary mental health commitment record and so he cannot surmount the federal ban.
Infowars comments on the situation, stating an implication here that public officials have special status over private citizens, since Keyes can carry a firearm when he is serving the state.
President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott wrote that it is rational for Keyes to still be allowed a gun on duty because he is under supervision and observation of superior officers and his fellow troopers.
The Patriot News attempted to reach Keyes' attorney, Joshua Prince, for comment on the case, but was unsuccessful.
New photos of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza's home have been released, including one of a toddler boy gnawing on a handgun.
The Daily Mail reports that photographs showed multiple rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot paper targets, gun cases and a safe with a rifle stored inside. There was also a check written by Adam's mother, Nancy, for him to purchase another gun.
The most disturbing find may be the photograph of a toddler boy in camouflage gear sitting on the floor with ammunition across his legs gnawing on a handgun, as reported by WBLX.
Another item recovered in the home was a birthday card from Adam's father, Peter Lanza, offering to take his son shooting.
Nancy Lanza found guns to be a hobby, and handwritten notes were found around the house with addresses of local gun shops and NRA shooting certificates. She and Adam regularly went to target practice together.
In the new book "Newtown: An American Tragedy," family friend Marvin LaFontaine reveals how he used to invite Nancy and Adam to his property for shooting sessions. LaFontaine states in the book that Adam was comfortable with a firearm at four years old, and Nancy preferred the Ruger for Adam as a young child.
Nancy Lanza was shot dead by Adam before he went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed 20 first graders and six educators on December 14, 2012. Adam turned a handgun on himself when police arrived at the school.
11Gun Control Groups Spent More Money On Advertisements Than Gun Rights Groups In Year Since Sandy Hook
The December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. immediately ignited a debate about gun control and Second Amendment issues in the United States. According to Advertising Age, the amount of money spent on gun control television advertisements since the tragedy occurred has surged, with gun control groups advertising spendings surpassing $14 million. Gun-rights organizations, on the other hand, spent $1.9 million on advertising throughout the previous year. The study also notes that Second Amendment rights groups spent $6.2 million on lobbying politicians as opposed to advertising.
Despite all of the money being spend on both sides of the agenda, a new CNN poll reported that support for stricter gun control has decreased in the year following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to the media outlet’s survey, 55% of Americans supported stricter laws in the weeks immediately following the shooting, compared to 49% now.
Support for gun control seems to be fading even as school shootings appear to be more commonplace. The recent school shooting in Colorado was little but a blip on the media radar. A new gun control ad, released in conjunction with the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the relative lack of discussion surrounding the issue, consists of a mostly silent soundtrack and images of the shooting before displaying text that reads “But with 26 more school shootings since that day, ask yourself: is silence what America needs right now?”
It appears as if silence on both sides of the issue is what is continuing to happen, at least on the advertising side of the debate. With New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ending at the end of the year, he has pledged to dump millions into pro-gun control causes and advertisements nationwide. As is the case with any hotly-debated issue, a similarly wealthy individual or group on the other side of the equation is likely to dump their own money towards influencing legislation and public opinion.
A volunteer firefighter in Maryland filed a federal lawsuit after he says he was wrongfully terminated for a writing a pro-gun comment on Facebook.
Mark Grutzmacher is suing Howard County and its fire chief for violating his first amendment rights.
Grutzmacher was not a paid employee, but he says the position provided “valuable benefits,” including a state tax credit of $3,500 each year and a pension after 25 years, according to Courthouse News Service.
He had been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for 18 years when he was terminated.
The sarcastic comment Grutzmacher made wasn’t even on his own Facebook page. It was a comment he made on a friend’s post.
"On Sunday, January 20, 2013, Mr. Buker 'posted' a satirical comment concerning assault weapons legislation that was pending in several jurisdictions in the United States on his Facebook page,” the claim states. “The post could only be viewed by Mr. Buker's Facebook 'friends,' including Mr. Grutzmacher, not members of the general public.”
Kevin Buker, a former battalion chief who also lost his job, wrote: “My aide had an outstanding idea ... Let's kill someone with a liberal ... then maybe we can get them outlawed too! Think of the satisfaction of beating a liberal with another liberal ... it's almost poetic. ...”
The Grutzmacher commented: "But ... was it an '[assault] liberal'? Gotta pick a fat one, those are the 'high capacity' ones. Oh pick a black one, those are more 'scary.' Sorry had to perfect on a cool idea!'"
Grutzmacher says he was fired by the county on Mar. 6.
His claim seeks reinstatement, with benefits, an injunction, damages for mental anguish and distress, and attorney's fees and costs.
Buker was also fired by the county and is seeking reinstatement. He is not a party to Grutzmacher’s lawsuit.
The sister of Newtown victim Victoria Leigh Soto, a 27-year-old first grade teacher, expressed her frustration that Congress has not passed any new gun control measures since the school shooting on “Fox News Sunday.”
Carlee Soto, 21, told host Chris Wallace that she is dedicated to gun control advocacy.
“It was extremely hard to watch these members of Congress come in and vote no on something so sensible,” Soto said of the failure of the Manchin-Toomey background check expansion.
Soto was in the Senate gallery when the bill was voted down in April.
“It’s a background check, and it only takes 90 seconds,” she added. “It’s not preventing anyone that should not have a gun. It was hard for that to happen, and to see it happen. But like President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden told me that no one ever thought slavery would be abolished, no one ever women thought women would have rights. I believe that we will have sensible gun laws in the future.”
“You recently joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” Wallace said, “and I’ve know you’ve gone out around the country to argue for more gun controls. I got to think that’s a tough thing for you because I’ve got to think at least that you would like to get as far away from this as possible.”
“It is hard," she responded. "There is definitely days where I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to speak on camera, I don’t want to speak in front of a group of people. But my sister can’t do that. And there are so many people that can’t be advocates for this, and I know I can.”
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School. He killed fifteen children and two teachers before he forced his way into Soto’s classroom.
She hid students in a closet and told the shooter that the children were in the auditorium. Several students ran from their hiding place and Lanza fired at them. She threw herself into the line of fire.
“I am so proud to say I am Victoria Soto’s sister,” her younger sister said Sunday.
Fox News guest Larry Pratt argued Sunday that mass murder will not stop in the U.S. “until we get rid of the laws that prohibit” guns.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Pratt, the head of Gun Owners of America, if Congress’ failure to pass new gun control legislation since the massacre at Newtown is a success for the gun lobby.
"We're not really going to be able to talk about a victory until we get rid of the laws that prohibit people from having guns to protect themselves in schools and in other places," Pratt said. "Every one of our mass murders in our country has occurred in places where guns were prohibited."
“So you want to see the legislation that’s out there rolled back?” Wallace asked.
"That is correct, Chris,” Pratt said. “The legislation that is on the books is lethal. It is killing people. All of these gun free zones are murder magnets. We've simply got to get rid of them. It's an illusion that somehow we're going to be safer in a particular area because you can't have a gun, because the bad guy is going to have a gun.”
Pratt previously entertained theories that the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a “programmed event” created by the government, according to Media Matters
As the bells tolled 26 times in Newtown, Conn., to honor the 20 children and six adults who were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today, President Barack Obama gave a tearful address asking the nation for stricter gun measures to put an end to these tragedies.
“Newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns,” Obama said. “The victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own.”
“Beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change,” the president said.
“We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily,” he continued. “We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.”
He thanked the parents of Sandy Hook victims for bravely stepping forward to guide gun reform. Earlir this year, many of the families came forward to support the Manchin-Toomey background check expansion, a bill that failed in April.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that real change won’t come from Washington,” he cautioned. “It’ll come the way it’s always come – from you, from the American people. As a nation we can’t stop every act of violence, we can’t heal every troubled mind, but if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every children like they’re ours.”
Americans for Responsible Solutions, the anti-gun violence group led by former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, released an ad this week in conjunction with the one-year anniversary of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn.
The ad titled “Silent Night” shows mournful photographs taken in the wake of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in which 20 children and six adults were killed on Dec. 14, 2012.
The 30-second ad concludes with the message: "30,000 die each year from gun violence. How long do we have to wait for Congress to act?"
Since the shooting at Sandy Hook, Congress has not passed any gun reform legislation.
A statement from astronaut Mark Kelly accompanied the ad.
"In the weeks after Newtown, we heard politician after politician give eloquent speeches -- promising that they would keep our communities safe. They promised that they would honor the dead in Newtown," he said.
He noted the bipartisan background check expansion, the Machin-Toomey amendment, which failed to overcome a Republican filibuster in April.
"The Senate, it seemed, was in the grip of the gun lobby. Gabby and I were disappointed, but we were not defeated," Kelly said. "The fight is not over. And America will not forget Sandy Hook."
While in office, Kelly’s wife was shot in the head during a mass shooting in Tucson in January 2011.
11Super Bowl Gun Commercial Banned, Fox News Host Says Breast Cancer Awareness Made NFL Soft (Video)
After the National Football League rejected a Super Bowl commercial from a gun manufacturer for violating its gun policy, Fox News host Andrea Tantaros criticized the league for going soft and becoming “feminized,” citing the pink football gear of the breast cancer awareness campaign.
“The NFL, I understand, are under fire,” said Tantaros. “Their guys wearing the pink cleats and they’ve got the Ravens talking Obamacare. It’s a more feminized, softer NFL. Why don’t they just put away the pig skin, bring out the Nerf ball, play in a bouncy castle? Maybe change the name Dallas Cowboys because Cowboys use gun [sic] to like the Tabby Cats. And Patriots use guns, maybe we can call them the Pamphleteers. Or something, you know, less violent.”
“I mean, it’s absolutely ridiculous, but the NFL, again, more pressure and they’re catering to, as you point out,” she told co-host Greg Gutfeld, “the elitists, the media, people who actually don’t even love football. They’re [real] fans, most of whom probably own guns.”
The NFL policy on commercials states that, “firearms, ammunition or other weapons are prohibited; however, stores that sell firearms and ammunition will be permitted, provided they sell other products and the ads do not mention firearms or other weapons.”
Gun manufacturer Daniel Defense says it believed it had created an ad that complied with the NFL’s gun policy, but the NFL told them otherwise.
Ten-year-old Eric Klyaz died in June after he was accidentally shot while playing with a gun in his neighbor’s garage. The neighbor, Todd Francis, is now facing charges of accidental manslaughter; key witnesses spoke in Wednesday’s preliminary hearing.
Francis, accompanied by his wife and teenage son, listened to the testimony as he wiped tears from his eyes.
On the day of the accident, Klyaz was playing with Francis’ 9-year-old daughter in the garage of the defendants’ home in San Diego. The children discovered a firearm, and began to play with it. The gun fired, shooting a fatal bullet into Klyaz’s chest.
San Diego Police Officer Vito Messineo interviewed Francis’ daughter immediately after the incident, and testified about their conversation.
According to Messineo, he asked the girl what had happened. “She answered, ‘We were inside the garage playing, it was just us. There was a gun sitting on top of the couch and we were both touching it. Then it fired and it was pointing at Eric.’”
The officer also asked her who had been holding the gun. She responded, “Well, we were both holding it. I don’t really remember. It was just there and we both had it.”
Francis’s teenage son was watching the kids that day, as his parents were away from home. Francis insisted that the gun had not been loaded. “He said, ‘I just want to let you know that the gun was hidden and I know for sure it was not loaded. I guess I should’ve secured it better. If that kid dies, I don’t want to live anymore,’” testified Messineo.
Francis had reportedly hidden the gun case behind the water heater in the garage, and says he repeatedly told the children not to touch anything in there. He also claims that the ammunition was stored in a separate location.
Francis is an ex-employee of the TSA, and had recently lived in Las Vegas before moving back to San Diego. He is also the brother of Steve Francis, who once ran for mayor of San Diego.