A call for legislation
In light of yet another horrifying mass shooting on a school campus, I am proposing and calling for the N.C. General Assembly to pass legislation that would remove guns from people who are a real danger to others or themselves.
Similar to a domestic violence restraining order, a gun violence restraining order (GVRO) would allow a district court judge to order the removal of all firearms from a person who by clear and convincing evidence has exhibited threatening, erratic or dangerous behavior. Unlike a civil domestic violence protective order, the petitioner would not have to be in an intimate or familial relationship.
Any person, a teacher, co-worker, acquaintance who has firsthand knowledge that another person who is in possession of or has access to a firearm, and is behaving in a threatening manner, could petition a district court judge to issue an immediate GVRO. If granted, by clear and convincing evidence, a judge would order law enforcement to immediately and temporarily take and secure any and all firearms from that person.
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Within 10 business days, a hearing would be scheduled to give the petitioner and respondent an opportunity to testify why or why not the removal of all firearms should be ordered. If a judge finds by clear and convincing evidence that a gun violence threat exists, that person would be prohibited from possessing a firearm for one year. A violation of this civil restraining order would result in a criminal charge.
This gun restraining order proposal is not a solution to gun violence, but can be a step in the right direction to thwart future tragedies as it provides for people who “see something” have the power not only to “say something” but can “do something” by going to court. As we now know, numerous warnings about Nikolas Cruz were missed in Broward County. The FBI received the exact information that would have allowed a citizen to apply for a GVRO.
For 18 years, I was a judge and presided over hundreds of defendants in criminal court with charges of murder and gun violence. Time and time again, I heard co-workers, neighbors and victims testify “He was a time bomb. I knew this was going to happen.”
Personally, I want to see federal legislation that would ban all AR-15s, semi-automatic military guns and bumpstocks. A GVRO is not a panacea for stopping gun violence, but it could be a first step. The time to act with common-sense legislation is now.
N.C. House District 30
Once banned for good reason
An open letter to Sens. Richard Burr and Thom Tillis:
As a former career military officer, with four combat deployments (Southeast Asia/Vietnam), I understand the need for weapons that can “get the job done.” Such weapons include auto and semi-automatic rifles that can effectively kill the enemy, and do so quickly.
AR-15s and other assault style rifles were banned by Congress from 1994 to 2004 – and for good reason. They now are used predominantly in the most deadly mass shootings in our country (five of six such killings in the last six years).
The NRA likes to say these weapons, with their 30 round, quick-reload magazines, are for “home defense” and “sport shooting.” Recognized as the civilian version of the military (battlefield) M-16, we all know how they have been used, most recently in the Florida school shooting tragedy. Astonishingly, today any 18-year-old can buy this type lethal weapon in person, or online, from a private seller who does not even have to require a background check from that buyer (“gun show loophole”).
While we citizens of North Carolina know that you both have an A-plus rating from the NRA, and that you both are among its very top money recipients, we also believe that you are most capable of doing what’s right for the men, women, and yes, children, of this great nation.
Relative to the right of people to bear arms for the necessity of “a well regulated militia,” Congress passed the Second Amendment in 1789. At that time the standard rifle was a musket that had a one-round magazine capacity, and could be fired about three rounds per minute (maximum). One wonders today what our Founding Fathers would think of citizens using the Second Amendment as cover to legally own assault weapons easily capable of killing dozens of innocent citizens in just one minute.
It is well past time for Congress (and the president) to show the courage to enact gun laws that will severely limit the possibility of the carnage inflicted under the current inadequate federal laws. We Americans know such laws can be passed, and the overwhelming majority of us want action. We ask that you get to work – now.
Purple Heart recipient
More school cameras
The federal government goes to great lengths for the safety of federal judges, court personnel and the public. For example, the federal court in Greensboro has eight to 12 court security officers, five to six U.S. Marshals. Additionally a number of local, state and federal officers may be in court. There are a number of security cameras which are monitored during business hours.
Why can’t the the State of North Carolina increase the number of cameras and have them monitored. Having cameras monitored would significantly increase communication to school resource officers or other law enforcement officers. I’m sure the lottery money goes to building more schools; however, let’s put our children and grandchildren first and foremost. It’s time for schools to hire someone to monitor cameras as well as having a significant number of cameras at each school.
If not now, when?
Columbine, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, Pulse, Las Vegas, and now Parkland.
Now is the time to talk about gun control.
Nobody wants to steal your rifles. Hunt away, if that’s your sport.
We don’t want your protection pistols. Secure your house, if it helps you sleep at night.
But, we do want mental health checks. We want laws that keep track of guns that have been lost and stolen. We want those on terrorist watch lists to be turned away when purchasing weapons. And we want AR-15s, bump stocks and other weapons of mass destruction to be taken off of American streets.
Now is the time to talk about gun control.
After all, if not now, then when?
Wild night calls welcome
Instead of the cautious tone in this article (“What’s up with all these coyotes,” Feb. 13), we should be sooooo thankful and celebrating that nature has brought a new apex predator to North Carolina again.
The wild night calls of coyotes along the Eno River behind my house are so fabulous and inspiring to listen to at night. They deserve to be protected and honored at all times. Hunting coyotes in North Carolina should be prohibited.
Coyotes too aggressive
Coyotes stalk and attack not only pets, but children and adults on a national basis. Do not believe that they do not attack humans. Urban coyotes have become progressively more aggressive and dangerous and have lost their fear of man and domestic animals. They need to be removed and kept removed.
The proposed $4.4 trillion budget submitted by the Trump Administration is to the rich and powerful. It can be summed up in a few words: cuts in social programs, including Medicare, Medicaid, education, housing, food stamps, and transportation, but a whopping increase for the military and billions for the wall.
To claim it will generate investments of $1.5 trillion over 10 years is a con game and a big lie. The infrastructure project is a scam, with actually very little from the federal government, leaving states and cities to raise most on their own. Don’t count on the light rail now. And Trump’s budget would allow more pipelines and open public lands to more fracking and oil drilling.
Even worse is the science-denying attack on ecosystems on which all life depends, trashing national parks and monuments and opening them up as well to oil companies and developers. His offshore drilling plan , including gutting safety standards, is unprecedented, giving Big Oil a free pass to drill in 90 percent of our oceans and putting coastal communities on the east and west coasts including North Carolina at risk. This bill signifies the largest transformation of wealth from poor and working class to the rich since the Reagan Administration. And everything in it will impact Durham and the rest of the state. We better wake up and do all we can to stop all this. Trump will surely try to stop us from doing so.
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