What Happens When Good Intentions go Wrong? When Fighting for Rights Become Second to Power and Money?

What happens when good intentions go wrong? What happens when people get used to being in power and controlling everything? What happens when they feel the money flow is threatened? What happens when the rules/laws are not followed by the very people that wrote them? What happens when people feel that their “good thing” may be found out? Their way is the only way!

Does that make you think of the state or federal government? Federal Senators or State Legislators?

Well, it sounds like it. But what if I told you that is a “grassroots” pro-firearms rights group? What if you found out that the group you thought stood for all the right things, actually wasn’t as stand up as you thought? What if you were a part of the leadership of that group and when you questioned where the money went, and why things were being done the way they were, you got labeled as a troublemaker and were no longer welcomed by the leadership. Even to the point of not wanting you to talk at all to the rest of the members. What if when you ask for something as simple as transparency, you get all kinds of anger and heat? What if this leadership told you that being a part of the leadership was a good thing, as you got to go to a meeting every year at the expense of the members? Sounds good right? Nothing wrong with that by itself right? But add that to the other things and you start to think.  

You would think that a rights group that ask its members for money would be more than happy to tell those members where that money goes. Like the NRA posting its yearly financial report. Nothing to hide, right? You would think that a group that professes to be for rights would honor the rights of all, including its own members to ask questions and to question what and why things are done. 

If you were paying to be a member of a group, and that group failed to follow its own rules it had written for itself, what would you do? Speak up? Be silent and become part of the silent majority? Or just ignore it all?

A group that supposedly stands up for people that fails to follow its own rules and bylaws, fails to have membership meetings as it requires, failed for years to post where the money goes, only to do so when it is forced to, fails to keep its members informed of just what it is doing and what it needs them to do, is not much of a “grassroots” stand up group if you ask me. But then, they would not want you asking me. If you did I would say it’s time for a deep look inside, time for a look at who and how things are done and why, as it is written in the bylaws itself. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, even when it starts out as good intentions.

Is it wrong to question things? Is it wrong to point out that they (the leadership) need to do a better job of being transparent with financials and what they are doing to help people get their gun rights back. Is it wrong to be the voice of the members that have no idea what the rules are. How can people question what they do not know is wrong or going on? Where is the openness and honesty? 

Honesty you say? Did you know how many members are in these groups? I was told they do not want those numbers made public. Really? Why? Yet we can testify to numbers before legislators, but when asked by a board member, it’s secret? Think ethics, honesty, integrity, and transparency and ask yourself, does my group stand for these things and follow them? 

They could be such a driving force for good and the firearms rights of all the people they profess to represent, but fail to see what has happened. And we sure don’t want the members and public to know about it, that could cause “change”, and we all know that is a bad thing. They even have a Board of Directors, selected by the two executive members. But they don’t vote on much, as the two executive directors have final say so on everything regardless of the other Directors. Heck, the other “Directors” can’t even call anything up for a vote, the Executive Directors have to do that. The Directors are there just to settle disagreements between the two Execs. They said so themselves, and yes I have that in writing. Some of the leadership is afraid to speak out because they know how they will get treated, so they remain silent, yet thank people who speak up, and yes that is in writing also. When leadership is afraid to speak up to other leaders, what does that tell you?

And no I am not talking about the NRA, they do all those things the right way. This group questions our government about things all the time, yet we are not allowed to question our own “support” group about itself. Before you send money to ANY group professing to be fighting for your rights,  find out how the money is used, how you can become a part of it and do things to support your rights, how often do they send out information on issues and things of interest, do they assist you in learning about the issues and current Bills being submitted in the Capital (State and Federal). Ask questions, if they don’t like questions, then that should be a red flag.

Fighting for your rights is as simple as signing up for notices from your state and federal representatives and senators and writing them and letting them know how you feel. Writing opinion pieces based on facts and real-world issues and sending them to your local news media outlets. Post rebuttals to opposing pieces, be heard. Don’t settle for “we are working on it, but can’t talk about it right now”. Those opposing your rights talk about it all the time, you should be also! Write your representatives and tell them what you expect of them, they are hired by you, to represent you, and they can be fired (voted out) just as easy. You only have this last election cycle to look at to see that. Educate people on the real facts surrounding firearms and self-defense, most people who oppose your rights are woefully uneducated about the topics you care about and know, so educate them. What is your group dong to educate the public at large? If you do those things you will be doing more than some groups and most people. Become part of the solution, not part of the problem.

 

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Florida Officers are NOT Taught Firearms Law in the Police Academy.

I can only speak for my state, Florida, but I have found something that is very eye opening and needs to be addressed by the State of Florida.

I found that in the Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Curriculum there is no mention anywhere of the laws and procedures relating to firearms and Concealed Carry License holders and laws, and it is vital that it be addressed immediately as it could result in the serious consequences for both my fellow law enforcement officers, and the law abiding citizens of Florida!

I have been teaching and training law enforcement and corrections officers in Florida for more than 34 years. I currently am the Law Enforcement/ Corrections Training Coordinator at Santa Fe College, Institute of Public Safety in Gainesville, and have been there for going on 20 years now. I have been very active in the past in writing and developing the FDLE/CJSTC Curriculum that we use to teach in our basic courses, acting as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for FDLE on several subjects.

As part of my duties as coordinator, it is important that I review the current curriculums and make sure that we are teaching all of the needed information to make our officers/ deputies the very best informed and trained LEO’s we can. In addition, the more knowledgeable our LEO’s are the better they are equipped to handle situations that arise during their careers, and also helps to keep them from being liable for any misdeeds due to the lack of knowledge or training. It was while reviewing last years and this year’s Basic LEO curriculum that I found a serious omission in the text and materials.

I am sure that if I asked you how much time we spend on the firearms laws in the State of Florida in the Basic Academy you would probably say at least several hours, right? I mean with over 1.7 million concealed weapons license holders, you would think that we would address these laws and the proper way of dealing with this group of law abiding citizens correct? Well, we do not. There is actually 0 (zero) time or lessons dedicated to the instruction of the Firearms laws in the state of Florida. Even though Officers are expected to know and deal with these laws almost on a daily basis. In fact, we do not cover the laws concerning the CWL holders of Florida and what is legal and what is not as it pertains to citizens possessing firearms.

There are even only a few very brief, very short mentions of the Florida Chapter 790 in the entire training text. One of which simply mentions that it is one of the warrantless arrest exceptions for “Carrying a Firearm in Violation of an Injunction (s. 790.233, F.S.)” and “Carrying a Concealed Weapon (s. 790.02, F.S.)”[1] in Chapter 1. Chapter 2 mentions it as one of the crimes in Chapter 2, Unit 3, Lesson 2, Elements of crimes where it covers “carrying a Concealed Weapon (without a license), s. 790.01, Misdemeanor/ Felony”[2]. That is it! That is the entire law enforcement curriculum on dealing with firearms laws.

It is understood that we cannot cover every law and every situation in the Basic Law Enforcement Academies. I know this better than most people. But I also know that with the increase in Concealed Weapons License’s in the State of Florida (now over 1.7 million!) officers are encountering the law abiding citizen that is legally armed more and more. And with several current cases and lawsuits against officers and departments for unlawful arrests[3], or otherwise unknowingly violating a law-abiding, licensed citizens’ rights and getting complaints filed against them, we need to do something to better protect our officers, departments and the law abiding citizens of Florida.

I first discovered this lack of information when working on an in-service training curriculum with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office Training Unit. They were getting complaints about officers disarming CWL holders during routine traffic stops and were investigating the legality of this issue and trying to better educate their Deputies. I assisted with the curriculum due to my involvement in this subject matter for a number of years.  We developed and used a very good curriculum and taught their deputies during in-service about the current state laws concerning the carrying of firearms by citizens. Both lawful and unlawful, and the training was well received.

The major issue at hand is the practice of officers “disarming” lawfully carrying citizens on the side of the street without any further reason than they are armed. Any handling of a firearm (which the LEO may not be familiar with) on the side of the road or elsewhere is potentially dangerous. It has been discussed and there is case law to support the view that officers, while being able to use Stop and Frisk (F.S.S. 901.151) when someone is under investigation for a criminal act, and when finding that the person may be armed AND is a danger to the officer, the officer may frisk for weapons, it does not cover frisking or disarming a law abiding citizen, who is not breaking any laws other than a possible civil infraction of traffic law. Officers can and do ask motorist and passengers if they are armed, and rightly can do so. But by Florida law it is not covered that they can then, upon learning they are a licensed, lawfully carrying citizen, disarm that person and deprive them of their property. In fact, the courts have held otherwise. In fact case law states that it is not permitted.[4] In fact, Florida law does not require a citizen to notify an officer they are lawfully armed unless the officer directly asks the person if they are armed (790.06).

In order to prevent citizen complaints and lawsuits for violation of citizens’ rights, do away with the unnecessary handling of firearms on the side of the street, and to increase the trust of the citizens with our police officers statewide (which is vital right now considering current events) I respectfully request that the CJSTC consider adding a lesson on Chapter 790, Firearms Laws and include as part of that, “Law Enforcement interactions with Concealed Weapons License Holders”.

This training is vital to our current situation and may help prevent unnecessary litigation and even possible injury or worse happening to one of our LEO’s or a law abiding citizen. And it is important to remind everyone involved that there are multiple cases now of lawfully armed citizens saving the lives of Police Officers across the nation! Lawful gun owners are not the problem or the enemy!

 

Refs:

1 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

2 Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

3 Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

4 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

[1] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 52 & 53.

[2] Florida Basic Recruit Training Program, Text Book 1, Version 2016.07, Page 74.

[3] Freeman & Florida Carry v. City of Tampa, et al./ Norman vs. State of Florida (currently under review by the Florida Supreme Court) / Florida Carry v. City of Daytona Beach

[4] 741 So.2d 1268 (1999), Bruce WELCH, Appellant, v. STATE of Florida, Appellee. No. 98-2615. District Court of Appeal of Florida, Fifth District.

 

Mandating Self-Defense Insurance for those that Carry Firearms – good or bad idea?

“The cost of using your firearm in self-defense can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars if you have to hire a lawyer, get yourself bailed out of jail, and fight for yourself in court.”

There has been some back and forth in various media and groups on the internet about possible gun control laws that would require a person who carries a firearm for self-defense to have insurance in case the firearm is used in any incident. And some legislators thought about making it mandatory to get a concealed carry permit. I don’t think I need to tell you this is a bad idea on many levels, but just in case, let me try.

First, you should NEVER have to pay to exercise a right guaranteed by the Constitution. But even that is still not a reason good enough for some. Second, by requiring insurance to be allowed to carry a concealed or open carry firearm, you are limiting the exercise of a right to only those who can afford to purchase the insurance. That is basically “disenfranchising” to those with a lower socio-economic status. Third, the market is very limited in the choices of insurance carriers, and there is no “standard” that one can look for in a company.

Read the rest of the story here…

Reasoning with an Anti-Gun Advocate on Twitter…

“If anyone thinks it’s easy to get your point across using the limited characters on Twitter..”

I have been involved in many discussions with anti-firearms advocates over the last few years. For the most part, they start out with a statement about how “common sense” gun laws are needed. So I usually ask, “Name one law that has ever stopped a criminal who is intent on committing a crime from doing so?” Most of the time that gets them all riled up, and the conversation on their side devolves into insults and name calling.

I still try to talk some sense into those that will at least listen. Now and then you get that one that just flat out surprises you! This happened to me the other day on Twitter. If anyone thinks it’s easy to get your point across using the limited characters on Twitter, you have not used it in that way, or are not very verbose like me. But I still try, and it is refreshing when I find that one fairly open mind that will listen and then has an “ah-ha” moment.

While reading the anti-firearms posts to see who I could engage in a conversation, I encountered a “tweet” from a person using the name “Kitty Sparkle Pants” (I did not make that up!) who posted this message, “kitty sparkle pants‏, May 7, #NotOneMore bracelet arrived: donate to ttp://notonemore.com  for common sense gun laws and get yours. @Everytown”

She was talking about donating money to Everytown for Gun Safety for a bracelet that says “Not one more” on it.

I saw this as a chance to educate and engage. I replied to her post with one of my insights, “If you want ‘not one more’ you would teach people to defend themselves, not seek out ‘safe spaces.’” My statement must have caught her attention because we began a fairly long back and forth discussion with her bringing up the typical talking points, and my using logic. But then things took a turn I was not expecting.

Read the rest here…

Anti-Gun Activists are Using Gun Phobia, the Education System and the Liberal Media to Slowly Take Away Second Amendment Rights!

By Joshua Gant, Opslens contributer, and LEO!

“The concept that you can stop crime by increasing gun legislation is so off base that it is dangerous to the safety and security of each and every citizen of the United States.”

As I sit back and watch headline after headline tick across my screen, it’s disgusting to me to witness the assault being waged on our right to keep and bear arms. For the people who seem to have forgotten, those rights are guaranteed by a document that liberals like to side step from time to time called the Constitution of the United States.

Read the rest here.

Why Gun Control Will Not Work

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By Chris Wagoner:

If you do not live under a rock and pay any attention to the news and media at all, you will have heard the terms “gun control” or “common sense gun control” and also “assault weapon ban.” The issue is that if you ask different people to define these terms, you get different answers. No one can explain for you exactly what these terms mean, and there is a reason for that—a very simple reason. These terms describe something that does not exist. There is no such thing.

What? I know, I know– you have been bombarded with these terms for a couple of years now. You think you know what they mean, but you really don’t. They simply do not exist: there is no way to have, make, or legislate anything called “gun control.”

Gun control is a fallacy that those who fear or do not like firearms use to try to describe something they think will stop the shootings and killings that happen around the country. Well, I hate to burst their bubble, but there is not one single law—not one single “gun-free zone” or anything like that—that has stopped a single shooting. I would love to see the confession of a gun-wielding psychopath who said they were going to shoot up a location but decided not to because they saw a sign that read “gun-free zone”. There are people who think this happens; they are so sure of this that they want to create more gun-free zones. I guess it will take some incident they are involved in to make them realize you cannot legislate safety by taking away the ability of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves.

Read the rest of the story here…