By Dave Workman
Two of the nation’s largest gun rights organizations have joined with the popular syndicated “Gun Talk” radio host Tom Gresham in calling for a national dialogue in the wake of the controversial fatal shooting of an armed citizen at an Alabama shopping mall on Thanksgiving.
The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) have waded into what is apparently a terrible tragedy. The man police killed was Emantic F. Bradford, 21, who was at the Riverchase Galleria Mall in Hoover, a suburban community near Birmingham, according to published reports.
There was a shooting at this location and police responding to the incident apparently saw Bradford, gun in hand, and shot him. But it was subsequently reported that Bradford was not the gunman. His family said he had a carry permit, although in a telephone conversation with this correspondent, a spokesperson for the police declined to confirm that. Adding to the confusion have been the changing reports from police, as noted by CNN.
Initially, Bradford was believed to have been the perpetrator. Then he wasn’t the perp, but he had “brandished” a handgun. Then he hadn’t actually “brandished” a handgun but was holding one.
And thus arises a problem that was bluntly explained by both Gresham and SAF founder Alan Gottlieb, and it goes immediately beyond what happened in Hoover.
“There are more than 17 million gun owners in the United States who are licensed to carry concealed,” Gottlieb said in a news release earlier this week. “In addition, there are untold numbers of legally-armed citizens in states where permits or licenses are not required for either concealed or open carry.
“In an active shooter incident,” he continued, “these citizens are well within their rights to act in self-defense or in defense of others, even when it means they draw a defensive sidearm but don’t immediately open fire.”
So, Gottlieb, who also chairs the CCRKBA, is calling for “a national dialogue” on how police respond to active shooter reports.
“The likelihood that police may encounter a good guy citizen acting to defend himself or others has increased exponentially in recent years with the expansion of concealed carry,” Gottlieb observed. “We need to address the potential for mistaken identity fatalities so that good guys don’t shoot one another while the bad guys get away.”
Gresham spoke with Insider Online, concurring with Gottlieb and adding, “Callers to my radio show over the last 20 years want to do this right. Both citizens who carry and conscientious police officers know this is a situation fraught with peril and all parties need to work together for solutions. The police we work with know this is a very real problem.”
So, what’s the plan? Gresham and Gottlieb want this “national dialogue” to include law enforcement and commercial firearms instructors, open and concealed carry advocates and experts on the use of lethal force. Gresham said he had spoken with American Handgunner’s Massad Ayoob, a nationally-recognized firearms instructor and authority on firearms and self-defense.
Gottlieb and Gresham noted that armed private citizens have successfully intervened in mass shooting incidents, occasionally killing the perpetrators before police arrive.
“We have an opportunity to learn from the Hoover incident,” Gottlieb said. “Something good can come out of this terrible incident that will help police and millions of legally-armed private citizens reduce the likelihood of such a tragedy ever happening again.”
The other incident is even more troublesome for many gun rights activists, because it involved a Maryland man who was fatally shot during the service of what is generically called a “Red Flag order.” These orders, known more officially as Extreme Risk Protection Orders, or “ERPOs,” allow law enforcement to seize firearms from persons against whom court orders are issued after the filing of a complaint by a family member, police officer or some other “at risk” person.
In early November, an ERPO was issued against Glen Burnie resident Gary J. Willis. But there are eyebrow-raising questions here, the most important involving the time of the service: 5:17 a.m., Nov. 5. According to the police, Willis responded to a door knock or bell with a gun in his hand. When he saw it was police at the door, he reportedly placed the firearm on some sort of stand next to the door.
However, when he was served with the order, “he became irate, opened the door to the residence and grabbed the gun,” according to a report published online by the Anne Arundel County police.
“An attempt was made by an officer to take the gun away from Willis when Willis fired the gun.,” the report said. “A second officer fired their service weapon, striking Willis, who was pronounced deceased at the scene.”
In much of the country, a knock at the front door at that hour of the morning just might be met with an armed homeowner. This would include any police officer or sheriff’s deputy with whom Insider Online is acquainted.
When we contacted the Anne Arundel County police, a spokesperson could not explain why this call occurred at 5:17 a.m. The Red Flag law took effect on Oct. 1, and the Anne Arundel authorities had served several of those by the time the Willis incident occurred.
Critics of these ERPO laws contend that they are a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s due process protection, as well as the Second Amendment. The investigation was continuing as this report was prepared, and follow-up calls to the Anne Arundel Police were not returned.
Black Friday Gun Sales Up/Down
Depending upon to whom one listens, “Black Friday” gun sales in the United States were up again, or maybe not.
According to USA Today, “The number of background checks run by the FBI for firearm purchases this Black Friday saw a 10 percent drop after last year’s shopping day set a new single-day record.”
“The bureau told USA Today it ran 182,093 background checks for firearms,” the newspaper reported, “the lowest number since 2014. Last year, the FBI fielded 203,086 requests on Black Friday, up from the previous single-day highs of 185,713 in 2016 and 185,345 in 2015.”
But wait. The Beckley, WV Register-Herald reported that “Gun sales gave Rural King at Crossroads Mall the most sales bang on Black Friday, with gun safes, Folgers coffee and Tide and Arrow detergents also drawing customers.”
Bloomberg News also reported that gun sales were apparently down, based on the lower number of initiated background checks, and then said this: “Earlier this month, money managers with more than $4.8 trillion in assets announced they would band together to pressure firearms makers and sellers to change their manufacturing practices to have an emphasis on safety.”
A news release from the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) reported that, “a coalition of long-term global institutional and private investors…has come together to create and promote ‘Principles for a Responsible Civilian Firearms Industry.;”
Here’s a roster of who signed on: the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS); the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS); Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds; Florida State Board of Administration; Maine Public Employees Retirement System; Maryland State Retirement and Pension System; Nuveen, the asset manager of TIAA; OIP Investment Trust; Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund; Rockefeller Asset Management; San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System; State Street Global Advisors; and Wespath Investment Management.
Since when did it become okay for pension fund managers and other investors to start telling the firearms industry how to run its business? Gun companies have been responsibly doing business for generations, and with tens of millions of gun owners already owning somewhere north of 300 million guns—and that’s a rough, perhaps conservative estimate—and only a fraction of those guns are ever involved in a criminal act, according to years of FBI Uniform Crime Reports.
CCRKBA Seeks Handgun Sales Case Review
Meanwhile, CCRKBA has asked for U.S. Supreme Court review of its challenge to a decades-old ban on interstate handgun sales, which the group believes is an anachronism because of the advent of the National Instant Check System (NICS).
The case, known as Mance v. Whitaker, involves a Washington, D.C. couple and a Texas-based firearms retailer. Andrew and Tracy Hanson live in the District of Columbia, and wanted to purchase a handgun from gun dealer Frederic Mance, but the current law forbids the transaction.
CCRKBA brought their case to federal court with SAF’s financial support. U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, initially ruled that “even under intermediate scrutiny, the federal interstate handgun transfer ban is unconstitutional on its face.”
That ruling was reversed by an appeals court panel, and CCRKBA’s request for an en banc hearing before the full appeals court failed on what Chairman Alan Gottlieb called “a fractured 8-7 vote.”
However, Gottlieb is hopeful that with the new makeup of the high court, this case could wind up getting a hearing.
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