Deep in the heart of Texas, where there are more firearms in homes than people, Dallas County will start taking guns away from a specific group of individuals as early as this week. As an avid supporter of American’s right the bear arms, I also support the county’s move to do this, but the method has me a bit puzzled.
Dallas County will be the first in the nation to collect weapons from domestic violence offenders as a preventative measure to keep victims safe. Statistics prove that women are 500 times more likely to lose their life in an argument with a violent offender if there is a gun in the home. But before anyone gets up in arms about government overreach into someone’s armory, understand that there are no rights being taken away here. The way it works does not mean officials are knocking down offender’s doors, raiding homes, and seizing what’s not theirs. In fact, the rule operates on an honor system with criminals.
According to WFAA, this rule is not new, but the execution of it is. Federal and state law forbids anyone with a domestic violence conviction or an emergency protective order against them from possessing firearms, but until now, Dallas didn’t have a way to collect and store relinquished guns.
County Criminal Court Judge Roberto Cañas, who is one of two judges who handle misdemeanor domestic violence cases, devised a plan called “Firearm Surrender Project,” in collaboration with a local Dallas Fort Worth area gun range, where criminals can go and safely surrender and store their guns until they are legally able to have them back.
Although officials expect to collect around 700 guns each year under this plan, that’s giving criminals far too much credit in assuming they are going to be honest about what weaponry they have at home.
More than it being an ineffective project, considering it relies on the unreliable word of a criminal, it’s going to cost taxpayers in the area a lot of money. Cañas’ collection idea includes having a deputy on staff at the private gun rage to run the operation of signing in and out offenders’ firearms.
Taxes will be used to cover that salary, along with start-up costs to get the project rolling. So far, $37,000 has already been dumped into this, through a grant given to the country from the governor’s office. Cañas and crew will need double that amount over the next year to keep the project going.
The way the rule works is that offenders are simply asked at conviction if they have a gun. IF they are honest and admit they do, they are ordered to surrender that gun at the range and get it signed off that they did. They are also given the option to give it to a third-party instead, to someone who is legally able to own a gun. That looks a lot like, “Here friend, take my gun, say I gave it to you, then give it back.”
“There’s no doubt that the intersection of firearms and domestic violence is a very lethal one,” Cañas said. “If we can take a step that will even prevent one homicide, this project will be worth it.”
Criminals can’t buy guns if they’re convicted of violent crimes and they shouldn’t be able to keep guns they have after conviction if they are a proven threat to people’s lives. But the fact is, felons will always have firearms because they don’t buy them through legal means, and they aren’t going to be honest in giving them up.
For this reason alone, everyone needs to own firearms to defend themselves against the unknown. It’s the bad guy with a gun that gives the good guys with guns a bad rap with gun-grabbers. Effort and money would be better spent in empowering women to know how to use a firearm and prevent themselves from becoming a victim in the first place, or again if they already are one.
Blacks Beat Elderly White Man Until Hero Shows Up With Gun
As a young man was walking out of a Kroger grocery store in Little Rock, Arkansas, he saw something terrifying and decided to act immediately. Seven people had surrounded a helpless elderly man and were beating him to the ground.
Without deliberating what he should do, the 24-year-old, identified only by his first name Gene, did what he had to in this tense situation. He dropped his bags and drew his weapon on the punks across the parking lot.
“I saw seven people against one guy and I did not like those odds,” Gene told KOLR-TV. Adding that he was freaking out and shaking, it was his first time pulling his gun on anyone since he first decided to pack heat.
Surveillance footage outside the grocery store captured the moment on April 22 when Gene pointed his gun at the abusive thugs, threatening to pull the trigger if the cowards refused to stop beating the elderly gentleman. The gun got the attackers’ attention, who shouted back at the concealed carry permit holder, ”This isn’t your fight, you need to walk away, you need to put the gun down,” according to The Blaze.
Other shoppers outside the store who witnessed the standoff immediately alerted police from their cell phones. But by the time officers arrived at the scene, the assailants had scattered off like the rodents they are, and the victim had gotten away as well.
Although it’s unclear what caused the altercation between the guys and the elderly man, a followup investigation revealed that one of the assailants was the victim’s nephew. Police spoke with the elderly man and about the attack, and he opted to not press charges.
Despite this being the first time Gene had to brandish his weapon after years of legally carrying one, he would not hesitate to make that decision again, as it was the right thing to do and the reason gun owners are prepared — to protect the lives of others when they’re in danger.
“When you see a crime happening and you see someone getting injured, if you have the ability to stop it, you should do so,” Gene said.
He was also responsible in keeping his finger far from the trigger while pointing his weapon at the punks, as he was always taught not to touch it until he intends to pull it.
Witnesses to Gene’s reactions supported his decision to pull his gun. “The guy did the right thing,” one woman said.
The infamous anti-gun whiners Moms Demand Action have pushed and begged for Kroger stores in particular to ban concealed carry, since they believe the store is somehow a magical place where nothing bad ever happens. But this incident proves just how ridiculous their “groceries not guns” argument is. They believe that in situation such as this elderly man getting the beat down, he should just endure the injuries, maybe even death, while people standby shouting for the thugs to stop, hoping that police arrive sooner rather than later.
Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage
Analysis contradicts widespread views about racial targets
Rev. Jamal Bryant leads a rally outside of the Baltimore Police Department’s Western District station during a march and vigil for Freddie Gray on Tuesday in Baltimore. Mr. Gray died from spinal injuries a week after he was arrested.
Body cameras will not boost police-community relations (video):
“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.”
That quote usually causes smoke to pour out of liberals’ heads … but a recent incident in Chicago proves just how true it is.
Over the past weekend, a criminal named Everardo Custodio tried to commit mass murder.
Police say he pointed an illegal handgun at a sidewalk full of people in Logan Square andopened fire on the crowd.
That incident could have been another deadly tragedy in one of the country’s most dangerous cities.
This time, however, things were different.
A 47-year-old Uber taxi service driver had just dropped off a passenger when he saw Custodio open fire on innocent people.
Instead of taking cover, he took action.
The anonymous Uber driver decided that he wasn’t going to stand by while innocent people died. He pulled out a concealed shotgun from his car and dropped the rampaging criminal with several well-placed shots.
According to authorities, the heroic driver has a concealed carry permit and was carrying his firearm legally in his vehicle.
There were no charges filed against the armed Good Samaritan, and the man “was acting in self-defense and in the defense of others,” according to Assistant State’s Attorney Barry Quinn.
The criminal, meanwhile, was taken to a hospital where he was put under arrest. He’s facing charges of aggravated battery with a firearm and illegal possession of a firearm.
For many years, Chicago has had some of the most draconian gun laws in the nation. Incidents like this, however, are showing us exactly why people need the right to defend themselves — and in this case, defend an entire crowd.
Criminals bent on murder don’t follow laws. Unarmed, innocent people are a crowd of just victims. When responsible citizens can be armed, however, they have a fighting chance to defend their lives.
Florida Sheriff: ‘Surrender peacefully or You can guarantee we’re going to shoot you!’
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd responded defiantly to a reporter on Friday when he was asked if he “regrets” saying that his officers were prepared for a “gunfight” with a group of dangerous murder suspects.
“I think everybody understands the gravity of what happened and the urgency and the response that you took,” the reporter began. “Some of the comments you made last night about shooting the suspects, possibly, and the comments today about ‘ready for a gunfight’ — was that in the heat of the moment? Do you have any regret about that?”
The sheriff immediately took a stern tone in responding to the question.
Several people were driving on a road near a wooded area of Illinois when they saw a disturbing sight: A little girl in tears, wandering out of the forest alone.
The three-year-old girl was distraught, but she was able to tell people that her name was Aliya.
When police asked the child how she ended up in the forest alone, the traumatized child gave them a chilling answer.
She had been taken there by her father, who pushed her into a secluded trash can like a piece of human garbage.
“Our investigation initially shows that the father left the child in a garbage can and drove away from the forest preserve,” said Andrew Flach, a state Family Services spokesman.
Police added that the man had left three-year-old Aliya “where he believed she would not immediately be found.”
What kind of monster would treat a young girl like garbage? Police received a shocking answer to that question very quickly.
Investigators sent out a media alert and were contacted by Aliya’s desperate mother. That’s when the case became even more twisted.
The investigation found that the girl’s father is named Faiz Ikramulla. That is a Muslim name that means “Glory to God” in Arabic… and police knew they had heard it before.
Ikramulla was no stranger to the police. Last year, he attacked cops and led them on a high-speed chase that damaged several police cars and endangered many lives.
According to the Chicago Tribune, that previous incident ended with the man being Tasered while he spit blood at police officers and screamed “Allahu akbar!”
Warrants were quickly issued for the fleeing man’s arrest, and police located him in the southern part of Michigan. He was charged with kidnapping his own three-year-old. Additional charges are also likely.
What would drive a father to try to “dispose” of his only daughter in a trash can where he thought nobody would ever find her?
The Baltimore Police Department has used an invasive and controversial cellphone tracking device thousands of times in recent years while following instructions from the FBI to withhold information about it from prosecutors and judges, a detective revealed in court testimony Wednesday.
The testimony shows for the first time how frequently city police are using a cell site simulator, more commonly known as a “stingray,” a technology that authorities have gone to great lengths to avoid disclosing.
The device mimics a cellphone tower to force phones within its range to connect. Police use it to track down stolen phones or find people.
Until recently, the technology was largely unknown to the public. Privacy advocates nationwide have raised questions whether there has been proper oversight of its use.
Baltimore has emerged in recent months as a battleground for the debate. In one case last fall, a city detective said a nondisclosure agreement with federal authorities prevented him from answering questions about the device. The judge threatened to hold him in contempt if he didn’t provide information, and prosecutors withdrew the evidence.
The nondisclosure agreement, presented for the first time in court Wednesday, explicitly instructs prosecutors to drop cases if pressed on the technology, and tells them to contact the FBI if legislators or judges are asking questions.
Detective Emmanuel Cabreja, a member of the Police Department’s Advanced Technical Team, testified that police own a Hailstorm cell site simulator — the latest version of the stingray — and have used the technology 4,300 times since 2007.
Cabreja said he had used it 600 to 800 times in less than two years as a member of the unit.
Nate Wessler, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union, said 4,300 uses is “huge number.” He noted that most agencies have not released data.
The Florida Department of Law Enforcement says its officers have used the device about 1,800 times. Police in Tallahassee say they have used it more than 250 times; police in Tacoma, Wash., 170 times.
Former U.S. Judge Brian L. Owsley, a law professor at Indiana Tech, said he was “blown away” by the Baltimore figure and the terms of the nondisclosure agreement. “That’s a significant amount of control,” he said.
Agencies have invoked the nondisclosure agreement to keep information secret. At a hearing last year, a Maryland State Police commander told state lawmakers that “Homeland Security” prevented him from discussing the technology.
Wessler said the secrecy is upending the system of checks and balances built into the criminal justice system.
“In Baltimore, they’ve been using this since 2007, and it’s only been in the last several months that defense attorneys have learned enough to start asking questions,” he said. “Our entire judicial system and constitution is set up to avoid a ‘just trust us’ system where the use of invasive surveillance gear is secret.”
Cabreja testified Wednesday during a pretrial hearing in the case of Nicholas West, 21, and Myquan Anderson, 17. West and Anderson were charged in October 2013 with armed carjacking, armed robbery, theft and other violations stemming from an attack on a man in Federal Hill.
Cabreja took what he said was a copy of the nondisclosure agreement to court. It was dated July 2011 and bore the signatures of then-Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III and then-State’s Attorney Gregg Bernstein.
Defense attorney Joshua Insley asked Cabreja about the agreement.
“Does this document instruct you to withhold evidence from the state’s attorney and Circuit Court, even upon court order to produce?” he asked.
“Yes,” Cabreja said.
Cabreja did not comply with a defense subpoena to produce the device in court. He said he was barred from doing so by the nondisclosure agreement.
An FBI spokesman declined to comment on the technology or the document.
The signatories to the document agree that disclosing the existence of the stingray would “reveal sensitive technological capabilities possessed by the law enforcement community and may allow individuals who are the subject of investigation … to avoid detection.”
They agree that “disclosure of this information could result in the FBI’s inability to protect the public from terrorism and other criminal activity” by rendering the technology useless for investigations.
The signatories agree that if they receive a public records request or an inquiry from judges or legislators, they will notify the FBI immediately to allow “sufficient time for the FBI to intervene.”
Cabreja testified Wednesday that his unit received information about a stolen cellphone. He said detectives obtained a court order to get the phone’s general location using cellphone towers from a cellphone company.
With that information, detectives ventured out to the Waverly neighborhood with the Hailstorm. The device is portable and can be used from a moving vehicle. Cabreja likened it to a metal detector for cellphone signals.
The device forces cellphones to connect to it. In this case, it was a Verizon phone, so identifying information from every Verizon customer in the area was swept up.
Cabreja said the data was collected but “not seen.” Detectives were interested only in the target phone.
Cabreja said the device allows police to make a stronger signal emanate from the phone to help them find it.
“It, on screen, shows me directional arrows and signal strength, showing me the phone’s direction,” he testified.
The detectives traced the phone to a group home and knocked on the door. They told the woman who answered that they were conducting a general criminal investigation and asked to come inside, Cabreja said, and the woman agreed.
Seven detectives entered the home, he said. They used the Hailstorm to make the phone ring before anyone knew why they were really there.
Amid growing questions about the stingray, details of the technology have been trickling out of some jurisdictions, and it is now relatively easy to find descriptions online of what it does.
Insley, the defense attorney, called it the “worst-kept secret,” and questioned why local police continue to be gagged.
Cabreja took notes with him to court that he said came from a discussion last week in which the FBI coached him on what to say in court.
The talking points included: “Data is not retained.”
Cabreja did not refuse to answer any of Insley’s questions, but he said his answers were constrained by the nondisclosure agreement.
Defense attorneys and privacy advocates express concern about the scope of the stingray’s powers, and whether the courts are equipped to provide proper oversight of the police who use it. They argue that the use of the device amounts to a search and requires a warrant.
Baltimore police obtain court orders under the state’s “pen register” statute. Insley says that law authorizes police to capture only the numbers that are called or received by a phone, not the more detailed metadata and location information the stingray collects.
He said those orders also require a lower standard of proof than a search warrant, and judges are not aware of what they are authorizing.
“They’re basically duping these judges into signing authorizations to use stingrays,” Insley said. “If they can increase the signal strength of your phone or make it ring, they can pretty much make it do anything.”
But prosecutors say the language in the orders authorizes real-time GPS location, and Cabreja testified that police only use the stingray to find “target” phones and not to spy on the innocent.
In Maryland U.S. District Court last fall, an argument about the stingray device was cut short when the suspects took plea deals. And on Wednesday, following Cabreja’s testimony, prosecutors and defense attorneys entered into plea negotiations instead of debating the merits of the stingray further.
In cases where the stingray becomes a sticking point, Wessler said, “defense attorneys are being able to get really good deals for their clients, because the FBI is so insistent on hiding all of these details.”
“There are likely going to be a lot of defense attorneys in Baltimore who may have an opportunity to raise these issues,” Wessler said. “They are on notice now that their clients may have some arguments to make in these cases.”
Authorities say an elderly couple who died in an apparent murder-suicide at their northern New Jersey home had a history of domestic incidents.
Elmwood Park police tell The Record that since 2012, officers had responded to three calls at the home of 100-year-old Michael Juskin and his 88-year-old wife, Rosalia. Authorities believe Michael Juskin killed his wife with an ax as she slept late Sunday, then killed himself in the bathroom with a knife.
Family members say Michael Juskin suffered from dementia.
In March 2012, police responding to a 911 call found him to be unstable and took him to a hospital for evaluation. Another call came in September 2013, when Rosalia Juskin claimed he was harassing her.
The third call came Jan. 13, when Rosalia Juskin said her husband had locked her in the basement in his confusion.