Anyone in the City Hall building in Flippin, Ark., last Monday was likely "flippin' out” when Mayor James “J.J.” Hudson fired a rifle in the police chief’s office, shooting a baseball-sized hole through the second-floor window.
According to Hudson, he was handling a firearm seized by police when the weapon accidentally discharged.
Nine days after the incident, Hudson told the Baxter Bulletin, “It’s all been taken care of; it’s all been cleaned up. I’m not going to have any further comment on it.”
Despite the mayor’s words of assurance, the Bulletin reported that the window had not been repaired or replaced, and that shards of glass still decorated the entrance to City Hall.
According to Police Chief Dusty Smith, the incident unfolded as follows:
On 09/09/13 at approximately 9:28 a.m. I was in my office located at 239 East Main St in Flippin speaking with someone on the phone. Mayor Hudson came to my office and picked up a firearm that was in my office.
I heard a loud shot and looked up and observed the southeast corner window of my office broken. Mayor Hudson stated that the firearm had went off. Mayor Hudson advised me that he was attempting to unload the firearm and that the ammunition in it had jammed.
Mayor Hudson is no stranger to controversy; in November 2011, he was arrested and charged with drinking in public, public intoxication and third-degree battery after an altercation with a man outside a local apartment complex. Hudson publicly apologized for the incident, but refused to step down from office, despite pressure from one former councilmember.
Hudson had another brush with the law in November of 2012, when he was involved in a traffic accident and cited for driving under the influence of prescription opiate hydrocodone.
The mayor pled guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge, but again refused to resign.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) claims that calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard is like banning spoons to fight obesity.
In an interview with Newsmax’s John Bachman on Tuesday, Gohmert said Congress should be talking about Americat’s mental health crisis, instead of gun control.
“Mental health seems to be playing into the Newtown shooting, the Colorado shooting,” he told Newsmax. “It obviously has an effect, and it’s interesting that these people seem to have a common tie with extremely violent video games. And if they have mental health issues and play extremely violent video games, they seem to have trouble distinguishing between what is reality and what isn’t.”
Gohmert’s position echoes that of Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who said “the left” is trying to use the Navy Yard shooting as an argument for more “gun control” measures, when what we really need is to monitor video game purchases and the amount of time spent playing them.
“I’d be all for everybody keeping their sidearms if they’re in the military and on a military installation,” Gohmert added.
“I see a lot of problems here, and blaming this on guns is like saying the big problem with obesity is we’ve got too many spoons,” he said. “It’s not the spoons, it’s not the guns. It’s the people who have them. There’s a lot of things that need to be done, but one of them is to deal with the mental health of people who have guns.”
Although random mass shootings have been the subject of media attention and the cause of political controversy throughout the past few years, they actually comprise a small fraction of the murders committed in the United States, a study from the Congressional Research Service claims.
The Congressional Research Service’s report found that 78 public mass shootings have occurred in the United States throughout the past 30 years. According to Bloomberg, the organization defines a mass shooting as an incident “in which four or more people were killed at random by a gunman killing indiscriminately.” It excludes crimes in which a clear motive is determined, such as gang-related or domestic shootings. According to those guidelines, mass shootings account for less than one tenth of one percent of the 559,347 people murdered in the United States over the past thirty years.
Public shootings may only account for a small percentage of murders committed in the United States, but they still have a significant impact on society. Media coverage of such shootings tends to be extensive, as was the case with the country’s most recent tragedies: the Newtown, CT elementary school shooting, the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting, and the recent mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. These high-profile mass killings tend to have a larger effect on societal debate and push for action.
After last year’s shooting in Newton, for instance, President Obama vocalized his support for stricter gun-control laws. Connecticut, New York and Maryland all passed laws limiting access to assault weapons, and similar legislative action began in at least seventeen other states. Many states, on the other hand, have loosened gun-control restrictions since the recent shootings have sparked debate on the issue of 2nd amendment rights.
Mass shootings have also had an effect at the local level. According to Peter Blair, the director of research at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program at Texas State University in San Marcos, police departments are increasingly trained how to respond to a mass shooting. Officers used to be required to establish a perimeter around areas such as schools and wait for backup when a gunman was inside. That approach has changed. “Police policies around the country now authorize officers to go in solo,” Blair said.
Yesterday’s shooting in the Washington Naval Yard, which resulted in the death of at least 12 people, received similar media attention to previous mass shootings. As details of the incident unfold, so will societal and political debate on the issue of gun-control.
California may soon be the first state in the nation to ban lead in hunting ammunition, although the NRA is fighting the government the whole way. If bill AB711 passes, hunters’ bullets will not be able to contain the toxic metal, which poisons wildlife as well as humans.
Lead bullets are already illegal in eight California counties where condors live because the material is harmful to the endangered birds. The new proposal would expand such restrictions to cover the entire state.
According to environmentalists, animals eat the fragments inevitably left behind by these bullets, and now lead is showing up in the meat supply, poisoning human consumers.
“There's no reason to keep putting toxic lead into the food chain or risking human health when there are nontoxic bullets already on the market and in use by hunters,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity.
Said Dan Taylor of Audubon California, “We've removed lead from gasoline, paint and children's toys. It's clear that lead ammunition has no place in hunting when safer and more effective alternatives are available.”
In 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Dakota Department of Public Health released a study indicating that meat hunted with lead bullets was too toxic for children and pregnant women to consume.
NRA lawyers are fighting the ban, claiming that people will lose their jobs if the lead-bullet market dives and that copper bullets are more expensive than lead ones. They also claim that fewer people will buy hunting licenses if they can’t use lead bullets, which will result in less funding for conservation.
The California General Assembly has already passed the proposal, and now it is up to Governor Gerry Brown to decide whether he will sign the bill to enact it into law. Even if it passes, the bill will take several years to fully kick in.
Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck believes “the left” is trying to use the Navy Yard shooting as an argument for more “gun control” measures, when what we really need is to monitor video game purchases and the amount of time spent playing them.
On Monday, Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old IT contractor, opened fire in Washington D.C.’s Navy Yard, killing 12 people and injuring eight others before he turned the gun on himself.
“You know, certainly, this topic has already taken a turn again, the left’s already making this about gun control,” said Hasselbeck, the latest addition to “Fox & Friends” since leaving “The View.”
Hasselbeck put forth a 25-year-old theory positing a link between gun violence and video games, despite the fact that there isn’t a single, scientific study to support such a link. According to data from the Department of Justice, the more violent video games created the larger the decrease in crime rates.
“Is this about gun control or is this about a guy who has a history of drinking a lot, playing video games a lot and a few shooting incidents?” co-host Brian Kilmeade asked.
“One thing that happens often in a situation as tragic as this is we start to spread blame where it possibly doesn’t belong, right?” Hasselbeck remarked. “I think we all know where the blame truly belongs, and that would be right in Alexis’ hands.”
“But you talk about this guy’s background, as we look into it,” Kilmeade continued. “He’s got a friend, who said, ‘Yeah, he had an obsession with video games, shooting video games. In fact, he would come over and he would be playing so long — these video games, these shooting games — we’d have to give him dinner, we’d have to feed him while he continued to stay on them.’”
“Are more people susceptible to playing video games?” Hasselbeck asked. “Is there a link between a certain age group or [demographic] in 20- to 34-year-old men, perhaps, that are playing these video games and their violent actions?”
“What about frequency testing?” she continued. “How often has this game been played? I’m not one to get in there and say, monitor everything, but if this, indeed, is a strong link, right, to mass killings then why aren’t we looking at frequency of purchases per person? And also, how often they’re playing and maybe they time out after a certain hour.”
Pennsylvania parents and students want answers after the champion rifle team was left out of Emmaus High School’s yearbook.
Parents gathered at a school board meeting in Lehigh County on Monday, but school officials offered no explanation for leaving the team out.
“This board, this administration and the East Penn School District staff all claim they are here for the students,” said Chris Donatelli, who’s son was on the team last year. “I come to you tonight to ask that all put their money where their mouth is. Produce and provide to these students an amendment packet to the yearbook highlighting this tremendous accomplishment by they and their fellow students.”
The undefeated district champions weren’t pictured or even mentioned.
When asked about the incident, School Superintendent Thomas Seidenberger simply said, “This is a high school issue.”
Dennis Ramella, director of the athletic and student activities, told parents he wasn’t involved in the production of the year book.
“The rifle team is a part of the athletic department. We include them in everything. We include their accomplishments everywhere we can,” Ramella said. “In every sense of the word, it was an honest mistake. If you look at any school’s yearbook, you’re going to find errors.”
Yearbook advisor Andrew Moxey said the photo was left out because it was submitted too late, but offered no further explanation.
“Mr. Moxey, to date, has not come back with a satisfactory answer,” Donatelli said.
The late photo still doesn’t explain when the team wasn’t even mentioned.
The yearbook photographer, And Herb, said he turned in the photographs on time, according to Guns.com.
Parents want the yearbook committee to issue an “amendment packet” to add the team’s achievements to the yearbook.
“Produce and provide to these students an amendment packet to the yearbook highlighting this tremendous accomplishment by they and their fellow students,” Donatelli said.
He said parents don’t want to believe their kids were left out simply because of the national debate over gun control.
“I’d hate to think it would be that,” Donatelli said. “We’re just trying to get answers.”
Three murders in Chicago over the weekend brought the city’s homicide total to 300 for the year, according to police.
The first victim was 24-year-old Adrian Sianez who was fatally wounded in a gang-related shooting Sunday morning and was found in the Gage Park neighborhood on the Southwest Side.
Sianez was walking the 5500 block of South Mozart at 3:40 a.m. when someone jumped from an SUV and started shooting. He was shot multiple times in the back and once in the buttocks, and was pronounced dead at 10:11 a.m.
An unidentified man in his 20s was found beaten to death around 7:05 a.m. Saturday morning as well. He was found in Washington Park in the South Side.
After an autopsy was performed on his body, police learned that he had died of head injuries and ruled his death a homicide.
Joanna Lopez was also found at her Lower West Side home Sunday morning, where police discovered that she had been stabbed to death. If ruled a homicide, her murder could mark the 300th of the year in the city.
Police are currently questioning a person of interest related to the case.
San Bernardino man Davion Titus accidentally shot himself Saturday after carrying a revolver in his waistband with the hammer cocked.
The 22-year-old was sitting outside his apartment with a woman when she heard a noise and asked Titus to investigate. He proceeded to retrieve his gun from the apartment and search the area for the source of the noise.
When Titus failed to discover anything, he returned to the apartment and talked with the woman for some time, keeping the revolver in his waistband.
Titus moved to adjust himself and accidently caused the gun to fire.
The shot was fired at 6:04 a.m., according to a San Bernardino Police Department news release.
“It must have dislodged,” Sgt. Gary Robertson said of the single-action Freedom Arms 454 Casull. “The only way that goes off is with the hammer cocked.”
Police arrived at an apartment complex on the 3000 block of North Golden Avenue where Titus was found suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper torso.
Titus was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
Iowa lawmakers are split on a law that allows blind residents to obtain gun permits to carry firearms in public.
Legally blind applicants only have to complete an online course. There isn’t a visual component or hands-on training involved. Several permits have already been issued, although the state is not sure how many.
While “state law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability,” law enforcement officials are worried about public safety, according to Salon.
Private gun ownership for the legally blind is nothing new in Iowa, but 2011 gun permit changes made it possible for blind gun-owners to carrying firearms in public. Since then, people who are not legally allowed to drive a car are legally allowed to carry a gun in public.
Polk County officials said they have given three permits to individuals not legally allowed to drive due to visual impairment.
“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them [a permit] just based on that one thing,” said Sgt. Jana Abens, the spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office.
“There’s no reason solely on the [basis] of blindness that a blind person shouldn’t be allowed to carry a weapon,” said Chris Danielson, the public relations director of The National Federation of the Blind.
He said public safety concerns are unfounded.
“Presumably, they’re going to have enough sense not to use a weapon in a situation where they would endanger other people, just like we would expect other people to have that common sense,” Danielson said.
Permit advocates say that to take away the right to carry a gun in public from blind citizens is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). While gun ownership is considered a Constitutional right, driving is considered a privilege.
Federal law does not prohibit blind people from gun ownership, but many states do enforce provisions, like vision tests, in order to obtain a permit.
“At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm?” asked Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere. “If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”
Sheriff Warren Wethington of Cedar County, Iowa, said he supports the law because blind people can learn to effectively use firearms. His daughter, who is legally blind, can operate a gun and plans to obtain a permit when she turns 21.
“If sheriffs spent more time trying to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and not people with disabilities, their time would be more productive,” Wethington said.
A young girl fatally shot herself with a handgun at Yellowstone National Park on Saturday morning.
The girl’s mother called 911 after her daughter shot herself with a handgun at the Grant Village Campground near Yellowstone Lake. Emergency responders were unable to resuscitate her, according to park spokesman Al Nash.
The age and identity of the child is being held until extended family can be notified.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., added an amendment to the Credit Cart Accountaiblity Responsibility and Disclosure Act in 2009 that allowed concealed guns to be carried in national parks.
The bill was primarily "...to establish fair and transparent practices relating to the extension of credit under an open end consumer credit plan, and for other purposes."
But section 512 concerns Second Amendment rights: “Congress needs to weigh in on the new regulations to ensure that unelected bureaucrats and judges cannot again override the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens on 83,600,000 acres of National Park System land and 90,790,000 acres of land under the jurisdiction of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.”