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  • Outrage of the Week: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin Blocks Efforts to Restore Rights to Veterans

    We have long reported on the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) scandalous practice of reporting to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS)  any VA beneficiary who has had a “fiduciary” appointed to help the individual manage his or her benefits. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has shown strong leadership in opposing this unjustified practice and tried to offer an amendment to the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill that would prevent such reporting without an adjudication of dangerousness. Incredibly, anti-gun Democrats, lead by Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, blocked consideration of the amendment, arguing it was better to over-report those who pose no danger rather than risk not reporting someone who was mentally ill. 

    According to an account in Congressional Quarterly, Durbin acknowledged that the current VA system likely leads to over-reporting. But Durbin called Grassley’s amendment “dangerous,” the article noted, because of his own estimate that some 8% of the 177,000 people VA has reported had been diagnosed with “serious mental illness.” This prompted Sen. Grassley to retort, “Shame on you,” before yielding the floor.

    Shame, indeed. Even according to Durbin’s own figures, nearly 92% of the individuals reported by VA have not even been found seriously mentally ill, must less proven dangerous. Sen. Grassley’s amendment, moreover, would not prevent the reporting of individuals whose mental conditions rendered them a danger to self or others. It would simply require that fact to have been established by an adjudicative authority in a formal proceeding. Under the current VA reporting regime, the only threshold required for a veteran or a member of a veteran’s family to lose his or her Second Amendment rights, presumptively for life, is a bureaucratic decision that the individual is incompetent to manage his or her finances.

    A fundamental pillar of America’s constitutional system is due process, the idea that government cannot take away life, liberty, or property without sufficient justification established in a formal proceeding in which the accused has a right to present his or her own case. The VA proceeding that is causing veterans and their families to lose the right to keep and bear arms not only lacks important elements of due process, it doesn’t even consider the person’s ability to safely and responsibly possess firearms. Financial acumen or wherewithal is not a sufficient, or even rational, basis for the government to deprive someone of the right to arms, certainly not someone who has served under arms in defense of his or her country!

    Durbin’s move shows very clearly that he and likeminded anti-gunners aren’t concerned about public safety. They are simply concerned with reducing the private ownership of firearms by any means necessary. That they would deliberately target America’s veterans through the very agency that is supposed to support them for service-related illnesses and disabilities is perhaps the lowest expression of anti-gun bigotry.

    Sen. Grassley has not given up on correcting this rank injustice, and he may try to offer his amendment again at an opportune time. Meanwhile, we can only repeat what Sen. Grassley said on the Senate Floor. Shame on you, Dick Durbin. Shame on you!

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • Three firearm truths everyone should know
    by Jeff Knox

    One of the problems in discussing guns and gun laws is the fact that many people don’t know what they’re talking about – especially among those advocating for stricter gun laws. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, it’s not so much that gun control advocates don’t know anything; it’s that so much of what they know is wrong.

    Let’s review some facts about terminology frequently used regarding guns and gun laws.

    1. There is no such thing as an “assault weapon.” Truth be told, marketers and the gun press of the 1980s bear some responsibility for creating and popularizing the term, but then it was picked up by the anti-rights lobby, and they’ve ridden it for all it’s worth. Today it is liberally applied to any gun that someone thinks looks scary or militaristic. Like beauty, “good” art, or pornography, what constitutes “assault weapon” is in the eye of the beholder. So-called “assault weapons” are not machine guns, and the laws restricting “assault weapons” do not apply to machine guns. Nonetheless, folks like Bloomberg, Feinstei, and a multitude of media outlets routinely suggest that the guns they are talking about when they mention “assault weapons” are fully-automatic machine guns.

    Before the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the state of Connecticut had some of the toughest restrictions on “assault weapons” in the country. That law didn’t prevent the murders. After the tragedy, the state implemented additional restrictions – none of which would have prevented or mitigated the horror in any way had they been in effect prior to the attack. Similarly, California has strict regulations regarding “assault weapons,” but these laws did not prevent or mitigate the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

    2. There is no “gun show loophole,” no “Internet loophole” and no “private transfer loophole.” When the Brady Background Check law was negotiated and passed, this issue was raised, and private transfers were specifically and intentionally exempted from the law. That’s a feature, not a loophole.A private transfer refers to a firearm sale or trade where neither the buyer nor the seller is in the gun business. Anyone who “engages in the business” of buying and selling guns must be licensed, and all licensees must fill out federal paperwork and submit buyers to background checks before proceeding with any transfers. A regular citizen who wishes to sell his personal property is free to do so, whether that property is a gun or a car, or an exercise bike. A private seller who sells a gun is taking a risk, just as a buyer from a private seller is taking a risk. Unless the buyer and seller know each other pretty well, there is always the chance that the gun could be stolen or defective, or that the buyer might be a prohibited person. That’s why it is common practice for private sellers and private buyers to insist on a bill of sale, which includes both the buyer and seller’s identity information. That’s just common sense. If there were a simple, free system for verifying that a gun is not stolen and to run a background check on a buyer, most private sellers and buyers would take advantage of it, as long as it didn’t create a permanent record of the transaction.

    But those same private sellers and buyers strongly – and rightly – oppose any scheme requiring that all transfers go through licensed dealers. The reason is the information that is collected and the records that are generated. Those records amount to a government invasion of privacy and are a steppingstone to universal registration. They also know that criminals, who are prohibited from purchasing or possessing firearms, can simply pay someone with a clean record to buy their guns for them or have a friend do it. Later, the straw buyer can claim the gun was stolen. The only effects of requiring all private transfers to go through licensed dealers would be to add expense and hassle to transfers, and lay the groundwork for a registration system.

    It is also important to understand that you can’t buy a gun over the Internet. All sales, other than those between licensed dealers, must be conducted in face-to-face transactions. A gun for sale can be advertised over the Internet, but the actual sale must be conducted in person or through licensed dealers.

    3. More guns do not lead to more crime. Stricter gun control laws do not result in reduced crime, and as gun laws have been liberalized around the country, with millions more people owning millions more guns, and it has become easier to own and carry firearms in more places, crime has gone down. Not only that, crime has generally gone down faster and more significantly in places with the laxest gun laws, while reductions in crime have been minimal to non-existent in places with the most restrictive gun laws.Arizona requires no license or permit to buy, own, or carry a firearm – openly or concealed – has frequent gun shows, has no restrictions on “assault weapons,” magazine capacity, or private transfers, and has sheriffs like Maricopa County’s Joe Arpaio who encourage citizens to go armed as a deterrent to crime and terrorism. But with all of the guns on the streets of Arizona, and in spite of its proximity to Mexico and the inherent problems associated with cross-border drug and human trafficking, crime in the state has been declining at a faster rate than the national average. Maricopa County, which includes the Phoenix metro area, has a violent crime rate that is a fraction of more restrictive locales such as Philadelphia, Chicago, or Baltimore.

    The more you know about guns and gun laws, the better you understand how wrong gun laws are. Gun control laws do not and cannot work. When they invariably fail to prevent atrocities or reduce crime, their proponents invariably propose even stricter gun laws. The experiment has failed. Gun control laws are an unconstitutional farce.

    ©2016 The Firearms Coalition, all rights reserved. Reprinting, posting, and distributing permitted with inclusion of this copyright statement. www.FirearmsCoalition.org.

  • Learn Firearm Fundamentals at 2016 National Matches Small Arms Firing Schools
    by Ashley Brugnone

    CAMP PERRY, Ohio – If you have ever dreamed of firing a real M16 rifle or M9 pistol in a safe and relaxed environment, sign up now for the Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) Rifle and Pistol Small Arms Firing Schools (SAFS) – taking place in July during the 2016 National Rifle and Pistol Matches at historic Camp Perry.

    The schools are designed for new shooters, so no past firearm experience or gun ownership is required to participate in SAFS. Students will learn basic instruction and firing practices, competition skills and live range firing. Intermediate shooters are also welcome to participate in this enjoyable and exciting opportunity.

    “It’s a really good way to introduce new people into the sport,” said SFC Brandon Green, a member of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and decorated competitor of the National Matches. “It’s great to get people out here to experience things they normally wouldn’t get to experience.”

    “It’s very hands-on, with one-on-one coaching from a professional. The rifles we use are sound equipment, and it’s a very safe environment,” he added. “Out at Camp Perry, it’s such a good place for people to experience marksmanship. You can’t ask for a better place to do it – this place has so much history.”
    The SAFS courses have been a staple at the National Matches since 1918, with the involvement of over 1,000 pistol and rifle participants continuing each year. The school is taught by members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit and conducted by military team members and CMP Master Instructors. The CMP sponsors the school and handles registration.

    Those searching for a more in-depth look at rifle shooting may sign up for the Advanced Rifle Course, which provides additional class instruction and the chance to fire in a special M16 EIC Match.

    Developed pistol marksmen will also be able to participate in an Advanced Pistol Course for more complex class instruction. The course will include a Q&A session with real Pistol Champions.

    “Experienced shooters that come back year after year, they pick up something new each time. We bring in different instructors who put their own spin on the material, and that’s what people pick up on and keeps them coming back,” SFC Green said. “Everyone needs to get out here. It’s a great time, and it’s a great experience.”

    Whether an expert shooter or picking up a firearm for the first time, come enjoy a day of fellowship and fun in one of America’s oldest pastimes – fortified by the security and knowledge of some of the best marksmen in the country!

    Pistol SAFS will be held July 11, followed by Rifle SAFS on July 23-24. All SAFS participants must check-in to the schools the day before. For more details on the Small Arms Firing Schools, visit http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-national-matches/small-arms-firing-sc.... Registration information can be found at http://thecmp.org/competitions/cmp-national-matches/.

    The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.

  • Background Check-Loving Media Gags on Its Own Medicine Thanks to New Obama Directive

    The hypocrisy of the anti-gun movement – and its cheerleaders in the press – is so obvious and consistent that it rarely bears special mention. They claim to support the Second Amendment, but they want to ban guns. They claim to embrace gun safety, but they’re too ignorant and afraid of guns to understand their common use and would rather criticize NRA for training people to safely use and own firearms. They express outrage at violence in America’s cities, but they don’t want law-abiding urbanites to have the means to protect themselves. They claim to stand with victims of violence, but they denounce attempts to empower the vulnerable as “shaming.” They don’t want you to have a gun, but they want better, braver people than themselves to use guns to protect them.

    And yet … they always manage to lower the bar with another mind-numbing double standard. Now, the same media that has kept up a constant drumbeat in support of "universal" background checks as a precondition to exercising Second Amendment rights are portraying background checks as an existential threat to the First Amendment.

    According to a Politico article published last month, journalists wanting to attend the Republican and Democratic political conventions this summer will have to submit to a new credentialing process that includes background checks conducted by the Secret Service.

    Ironically, the roots of the issue, Politico reports, stem from Presidential Policy Directive 22, an Obama administration decision that apparently gives the Secret Service the task of “access control” to the political conventions. Another report from USA Today indicated that Obama has issued 19 such “policy directives” (PPDs) without disclosing them to the public. 

    The USA Today article quotes a political scientist and former advisor to Congress as stating PPDs “have the same legal force as an executive order, forming a body of largely secret law.” Nevertheless, executive orders must be published in the Federal Register. “PPDs are not," the advisor said. "It is a kind of secret law. People have to obey it. But it's a directive that can allocate money, direct people or take a course of action." 

    The media, needless to say, are incensed. A piece in the Daily Beast – using a metaphor that we consider especially amusing – characterizes the Washington press establishment as “up in arms.” That article even suggests that the Secret Service, having been “tarnished” by “aggressive investigative reporting,” may abuse its newly-conferred authority to settle the score. 

    Journalists cited by the Beast fault the “inscrutable security screening process for which there are no plainly established criteria, and from which there is no appeal,” as well as the idea that government is now exercising discretion over “who can and can’t be a journalist.”

    “I don’t think the First Amendment allows that,” one journalist huffs. Concerns have also been raised that arrests arising from what the journalists claim is prior First Amendment activity might be enough to exclude them. Some are even floating the idea of “boycotting” the vetting process for credentials en masse.

    Now that big media is feeling the indignity and insecurity of submitting their rights to the whims of an opaque and seemingly arbitrary bureaucratic screening process, we can only say, “Welcome to the club ... It serves you right.”

    The same media that has failed to stick up for the rights of others who occupy different social and political circles – indeed, that has actively collaborated with the government to degrade the rights of those others – is now getting a taste of its own medicine. They chose kissing up to the Establishment over their professional roles as watchdogs. Now they’re the watched, and they don’t like it. 

    Dear Washington Press Corps, welcome to the world you helped create. We’ll see you at the convention … if you pass the background check.

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

  • FLASH: Ohio Concealed Handgun License Approved as Background Check

    COLUMBUS, OH - Buckeye Firearms Association (BFA) is pleased to announced that the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) has certified the Ohio Concealed Handgun License (CHL) as a valid NICS-compliant background check for firearm purchases. Click here to see the letter from the BATFE.

    This is the result of more than six years of work by BFA to improve and simplify background checks for Ohio gun owners. Thanks also goes to Attorney General Mike DeWine, who worked with the BATFE to help win this approval.

    And it's great news for Ohio CHL holders and law-abiding citizens who frequently get a "hold" when trying to buy a firearm.

    When someone wants to buy a firearm from a dealer with a Federal Firearms License, the dealer must first make sure the buyer is legally approved to make the purchase. After the buyer fills out Federal Form 4473, the dealer either calls in the information or submits it online so the BATFE can perform the required background check and issue the approval.

    While this is typically called an "instant background check," for many people it is anything but instant.

    "Sometimes the system is down," says Jim Irvine, Board President of BFA. "Or high demand overwhelms the system. Or maybe bad weather prevents government employees from showing up for work.

    "For some unlucky people, they share a name with someone else who is not permitted to purchase firearms or errors in the database cause delays. Historically, this has not always been a user-friendly system. Now, Ohio gun owners finally have a solution."

    House Bill 234 passed in December of 2014 and became law in March of 2015. That bill improved the background check and added disqualifications so that people who are not permitted to buy or possess firearms do not qualify for a CHL.

    By aligning the rules governing the Ohio CHL with federal law, and by checking CHL applications against the same databases the NICS system uses to ensure that everyone issued an Ohio CHL is qualified to buy a gun, the Ohio CHL has been approved as a valid NICS check.

    "This is a big improvement," continued Irvine. "It's good for everyone. Legal gun buyers will benefit because they can just show their license when making a firearm purchase. And even those who favor stricter gun regulation will like it because it will help the system do what it's supposed to do, which is help cut down on illegal purchases."

    The NICS check is valid for five years, the same as the CHL. If a CHL holder commits a disqualifying offense, sheriffs are notified and can revoke the license and, therefore, revoke the ability of the CHL holder to use the license to purchase a firearm.

    "Several other states have been doing this for years and it works well for BATFE, gun dealers, and individuals. It is a proven system in which Ohio is now participating for the benefit of everyone."

    NOTE: Only Concealed Handgun Licenses issued on or after March 23, 2015 are NICS-compliant. For those issued before that date, license holders must wait until they renew their CHL for their license to be recognized as NICS-compliant.

    In addition, it may take time for dealers with a Federal Firearms License to learn about this new process. Please be patient during this transition period.


    CLICK HERE to read the official letter of announcement on the BATFE website.


    Following is a press release from the Ohio Attorney General's office:

    Valid Ohio Concealed Handgun License Holders No Longer Required to Submit to Additional Background Checks for Gun Purchases

    (COLUMBUS, Ohio)—Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that Ohioans who have a valid concealed handgun license have now had background checks sufficient to purchase firearms without the red tape of another background check. 

    The U.S. Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms have agreed to Attorney General DeWine’s request for an exemption to the mandatory National Instant Criminal Background Check provided the Ohio concealed handgun license was issued on or after March 23, 2015, and that the permit has not expired under state law or been revoked.

    “I’m pleased Ohio concealed carry license holders will not  have to undergo additional background checks each time they want to buy a firearm,” said Attorney General DeWine. “Ohio concealed carry license holders who are in good standing have already passed thorough state and federal background checks  so there is no reason  to force them to submit to additional checks if they want to buy a firearm.”

    Attorney General DeWine was able to work with the ATF to obtain this exemption following changes made by the Ohio General Assembly in House Bill 234 that required the use of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) for all new and renewed concealed handgun licenses.

    Ohio is the 25th state to receive a NICS exemption for its concealed handgun license holders.

    The ATF’s NICS Exemption List can be viewed here: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/permanent-bradypermit-chart


    Related Article:

    What HB 234 Means to You: Part I - NICS compliant background checks

  • 10 key factors to keep active-killer response on the cutting edge

    Dr. Mike Clumpner brings a multi-faceted perspective to the many challenges of active-killer emergencies.

    Among other roles, he holds a PhD in homeland security policy, with dissertation research on coordinated public safety responses to active shooters...has logged 24 years in urban fire services, 21 years as a paramedic, and seven years in law enforcement, assigned to SWAT special ops...and he's a curriculum developer/instructor with the Dept. of Homeland Security. In addition he has trained more than 40,000 first responders across three continents regarding active-killer suppression

    In a special seminar earlier this year, hosted at the Force Science Training Center in Chicago, Clumpner shared what he considers current "best practices" for successfully mitigating active-killer events. His fast-paced, daylong session before a packed crowd was sponsored by the Cook County (IL) Dept. of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and the Illinois Tactical Officers Assn.

    Drawn from his riveting presentation and an interview afterward with Force Science News, here are 10 critical factors Clumpner considers essential for keeping an agency's active-killer protocol on the cutting edge.

    1. Know your opponent.

    "If our police officers knew as much about active killers as they do about the National Football League, we would have tens of thousands of active-killer experts," Clumpner says. "An abundance of after-action reports and other comprehensive response analyses are just a Google away, but most police trainers, leaders, and emergency responders haven't taken the time to study them.

    "Many of the lessons learned are consistent across incidents--communication problems, command and control failures, equipment failures, and delays in providing medical care for the critically injured. Without knowing the consistent shortcomings, officers and leaders are simply doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

    "Active shooters, on the other hand, do study and learn from past events to make their event deadlier and more sensational. Many are infatuated with previous killers. The perpetrator at Sandy Hook, for example, had a 6X4-ft. spreadsheet on his wall, detailing the tactics of 500 spree killings around the world, learning what worked and what didn't."

    2. Know your limitations.

    "Ninety-eight per cent of all active shooter events occur in jurisdictions with 100 police officers or less," Clumpner says. "Most school shootings are in rural or affluent residential areas.

    "You likely won't have immediate access to big-city resources. You need to know what your agency can bring to the event and what other nearby agencies can--and how you're going to fill the gaps.

    "You may not know you have problems until they surface in full-scale exercises. Repeated exercises before there's a crisis are essential. That's when you find surprises like which buildings in your area won't accommodate radio or cell phone traffic. What you think is an asset may turn out to be an Achilles' heel.

    "And you have to solve the problems--you. If you think the FBI hostage rescue team or military special forces are going to sweep in and save the day, you're probably sadly mistaken."

    3. Understand the complexity of active-killer events.

    So far in the US, Clumpner points out, roughly 40% of active killings have been "basic" events: one perpetrator, armed with a handgun, attempting to kill in one location.

    About 60% of active-shooter events have been "moderately complex." Such an incident has one or more of the following: multiple perpetrators, explosives, chemical/smoke munitions, denial-of-entry tactics, ballistic armor, or long guns.

    "What is absolutely coming to this country," he insists, "are 'highly complex' events, in which teams of highly trained perpetrators simultaneously attack multiple locations in one city. We are simply not prepared for these events."

    These will be mass casualty incidents, potentially involving heavy weapons, incendiaries, explosives, and other haz/mat components. "Understand the multiple moving parts required both of the perpetrators and the responders," Clumpner urges. "Understand the training and rehearsal necessary to counter this threat. The incident command strategies and tasks will be as complex as the incidents themselves.

    "As of now, when active shootings in progress have been stopped by police intervention, 70% of the events have been halted by a single officer, Clumpner says. "If you are not training personnel for solo-entry tactics, you are missing an essential component of counter-action.

    "But with an eye to the inevitable future, broad-based, multi-agency planning and training for large-scale operations is now also mandatory for every jurisdiction, regardless of size."

    4. Understand that "running to guns" is just part of a good response.

    "Of course, stopping an active killer is the top priority," Clumpner says. "If the perpetrator hasn't taken his own life already, officers generally neutralize him in the first four to six minutes after arriving.

    "Police understand the importance of running to guns; that's often the easiest part of active-shooter response. But after the threat is neutralized, these incidents often enter a period of chaos and confusion that can last an hour or more as officers search for additional actual or perceived threats and search for and treat numerous victims.

    "By focusing predominately on methodically searching for additional suspects, officers may forget about wounded victims who desperately need help. After a shooter in a Los Angeles airport was in custody, a severely wounded TSA employee was left unattended where he had fallen for 33 minutes before receiving medical attention.

    "Hundred of officers responded to that incident; paramedics were waiting outside, a mere 100 yards away. Yet no one tended to this bleeding victim for an appalling length of time."

    Clumpner suggests, "Try starting some of your training exercises with the suspect already dead or in custody. Practice managing all the other things that come into an event. He says this should include a rapid sweep through the building looking for victims, before launching a slow, thorough back-clearing.

    "This exercise can also include real-world complications most agencies never train for, like hordes of frightened parents breaking through or circumventing your perimeter control looking for their kids, opportunistic looters at a shopping mall that's under siege, intrusive media, and dispatch centers overwhelmed to the point of paralysis."

    5. Train to move and clear in large structures and outdoor locations.

    "Active-shooter training has focused so long on close-quarters tactics, moving in hallways, and clearing small rooms that preparing for encounters outdoors or in large buildings often gets short shrift," Clumpner notes. "Many patrol officers lack training moving in extensive malls, warehouse or manufacturing floors that cover city blocks, or even large church sanctuaries that seat several thousand people. In some of these sites, threats can be coming from 720 degrees around you.

    Clumpner had hands-on experience with one reported active-shooter incident at a commercial mall with numerous separate entrances, multiple inside levels that could have provided perpetrators a high-ground advantage from multiple angles, and 18,000 people inside for holiday shopping.

    "Tactical officers maybe have trained in such environments--maybe," Clumpner says. "But probably few patrol officers have--and they are most likely to be first on the scene at any killing spree."

    6. Prepare for "transitions" in the active-shooter threat.

    An offender who transitions from actively killing into a barricade mode with prisoners should not be regarded as the usual hostage-taker, Clumpner believes. "What he has, most likely, are doomed captives. He's just fortifying his location. Once he has demonstrated homicidal behavior, statistics show that the captives have small chance of surviving.

    "Time is not on your side, as it would be in an ordinary barricade standoff. Rather than fall back and wait for crisis negotiators, continue to drive into the threat," Clumpner advises. "Do whatever you can to keep the perpetrator in a problem-solving mode.

    "Continue to try to gain access to him, even if you have to breach through walls. As lifesavers, you want him to focus his weapon and attention on your efforts instead of on his captives."

    7. Anticipate "non-standard" offender tactics.

    "The biggest failure of 9/11 was a failure of imagination," Clumpner declares. "We failed to imagine how creative and unpredictable evil people can be."

    As a vital part of training, he recommends brainstorming what atypical obstacles you could face, and how to respond. An up-armored vehicle turned into a "mowing machine" that plows into crowds? Attackers dressed as cops? Canisters of chlorine gas deployed in school hallways? Plywood sheets nailed over windows and doors? A killer moving down the aisle of a school bus, shooting kids right and left? An active killer who goes mobile into a hospital?

    "Some of these have already happened here in the US and all have happened somewhere in the world. Yet few departments have trained for asymmetrical and unconventional assaults," Clumpner says.

    "Do not let the day it happens be the first time you've considered this type of event. That's not the time to be seeking answers."

    8. Develop response protocols for fire as a weapon.

    In 600 BC, Sun Tzu's The Art of War references the use of fire as a weapon, and offenders in modern times continue to employ this tactic, Clumpner says.

    Traditionally, Clumpner says, firefighters have been reluctant to move in to fight a fire when a hostile suspect is uncontrolled, and "police officers are not trained to work in the fire or smoke environment. In the resulting impasse, innocent lives can be lost as the police look to the fire department to control the fire and firefighters look to the police to control the threat."

    Clumpner and a research team have spent hundreds of hours conducting controlled-structure burns to determine the best methods for officers to rapidly search a burning house and conduct a hasty rescue operation. These experiments have confirmed how far officers can penetrate into a burning structure without special fire gear, what kind of portable fire extinguisher from a patrol car works best, and so on.

    Clumpner says he has trained hundreds of federal tactical personnel to sweep and clear a residence with a room on fire and get out safely in two minutes. Now he and his team teach a three-day course for officers on responding to fire as a weapon with an armed perpetrator present.

    The course includes how to defend against Molotov cocktails and hand-thrown napalm. "Recipes for making napalm are readily accessible on the internet," he warns, "and for the first time in almost 40 years in the US, we saw Molotov cocktails thrown at officers at Ferguson. It's perfectly reasonable to include these elements in your when-then planning."

    9. Train responders on the Rescue Task Force concept.

    The Rescue Task Force (RTF) concept is unfamiliar to many LEOs, Clumpner says. The idea is to deploy teams of medical providers into certain areas of an active-shooter site early on, accompanied by one or more officers for force protection. These RTFs provide immediate point-of-wounding care for victims, followed by rapid extraction to awaiting ambulances.

    Clumpner points out that half the victims at an active-shooter scene typically "will have moderate to severe gunshot wounds. If they are not to a hospital within 30 minutes, you'll have a mortality rate of nearly 70%. But with early medical intervention--within 20 minutes--the survival rate nearly doubles."

    When sufficient personnel are available, Clumpner recommends a division of forces. A primary law enforcement "contact" team or teams pursue the perpetrator(s) with the goal of locating, containing, and neutralizing the threat. These teams perform in the "hot zone," an area with an obvious and imminent threat.

    Concurrently, teams of medical providers with law enforcement protection follow behind the contact team(s) to deploy in the "warm zone," an area without an obvious threat, to treat and extract the injured.

    "In practice, officers often find this is harder than they think," Clumpner says. "There can be problems of rescuers maintaining stamina while moving unconscious victims, reliably marking areas that have been canvassed, maintaining protection for unarmed responders, and so on.

    "It's not a simple process. But done right, it will save lives."

    10. Integrate fire and EMS agencies into protocol development and training.

    A "silo" response--police, fire, and EMS operating independently in their own worlds--is yesterday's ballgame in active-killer strategizing, Clumpner emphasizes. "An active-killer event really can be four distinct incidents rolled into one: a law enforcement incident, an EMS mass-casualty incident, a fire suppression and rescue incident, and an explosives/haz mat incident.

    "Today's strongly favored approach is to integrate the roles and responsibilities of each public safety branch into coordinated planning, training, command, and performance."

    The two greatest challenges he has observed, Clumpner says, are: 1) convincing law enforcement that these events require fire and EMS integration for successful mitigation with a minimal loss of life, and 2) convincing fire and EMS providers to operate forward into the event, instead of staging blocks away for the all-clear signal, often hours after the event began.

    In winning cooperation, he called to mind a comment from a London fire brigade special operations manager who noted that the brigade faces a huge reputational risk if they are seen standing idly by doing nothing.

    Even with a good integrated plan on paper, Clumpner says, "there tends to be a lot of role creep and role confusion. It takes a lot of planning and rehearsal to make a joint response effective."

    Dr. Clumpner, president of Threat Suppression, Inc., is headquartered in Charlotte, NC. He can be reached at: mclumpner@ThreatSuppression.com or at: 800-231-9106.His firm's website is: www.ThreatSuppression.com.

    Reprinted with permission from the Force Science Institute.

  • Federal Judge (Again) Suspends Enforcement of D.C.'s Prohibitive Concealed Carry Regulation

    The fight to restore Second Amendment rights in the Nation’s Capital gained an important victory [last week] when U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon ordered D.C. officials to begin issuing concealed carry licenses without regard to the “good reason” requirement under which most applications are denied. Applicants must still fulfill the District’s other licensing requirements, including proof of firearms training and a thorough background check. What the District cannot do under the court’s preliminary order, however, is to force applicants to show an extraordinary need to carry that distinguishes them from the population at large. 

    “[T]he requirement’s intended effect,” the court noted, “is to prohibit the typical citizen from carrying a firearm outside his or her home for … legitimate and constitutionally protected purposes … notwithstanding the fact that he or she can successfully clear a multitude of qualifying hurdles.” It then held that because the District’s requirement does not focus on dangerous or irresponsible people but simply seeks to “reduc[e] the number of people exercising the right,” it is likely an illegitimate infringement on a “core” Second Amendment liberty, the bearing of arms for self-defense.

    The order came in the case of Grace v. District of Columbia, which was brought last December after plaintiff Matthew Grace was denied a concealed carry license in the District for the sole reason that he could not articulate any specific safety threat that differentiates him from a typical D.C. resident. Grace’s case is the latest in a long line of litigation that dates back to the landmark case of District of Columbia v. Heller in 2008. Heller, of course, held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense, irrespective of a person’s membership or service in an organized militia, and that D.C. could not ban handguns, as they are popularly chosen to exercise this right.

    The District, however, has defied the Supreme Court’s ruling with a series of overreaching regulations. First, it enacted an expensive and burdensome “registration” regime for gun ownership. Then it banned the carrying of firearms outside the home altogether. When the carry ban was declared unconstitutional, D.C. responded by enacting a “licensing” regime that required applicants to demonstrate an extraordinary need to carry a firearm. This system allowed Police Chief Cathy Lanier to deny almost all applications – even by law-abiding people who were trained in using firearms and wanted to carry one for self-defense – prompting criticism that it was tantamount to a rationing system, if not a de facto ban. 

    A lawsuit was filed to challenge the “good reason” requirement, and after years of litigation, a decision prohibiting enforcement of the requirement was thrown out on a technicality by a federal appellate court. That case was then transferred to another judge who issued a contrary ruling earlier this year allowing continued enforcement of the requirement. In the meantime, Grace filed his case and asked the court to suspend enforcement of the “good reason” regulation while the case was litigated, claiming that failure to grant immediate relief would result in irreparable harm to his Second Amendment rights. The court agreed and issued the order. While the court’s preliminary order does not resolve the case completely, it is a strong indication that Judge Leon is highly skeptical of the District’s claimed justification for the regulation.

    Indeed, Judge’s Leon opinion contains some unusually blunt language in dismissing the District’s more outrageous legal theories. In response to D.C.’s argument that a “longstanding” tradition of completely banning carry in urban areas means that lesser regulations don’t even implicate the Second Amendment, Judge Leon wrote, “Please. Put simply, this argument strains credulity ….” His analysis of D.C.’s argument that the Second Amendment is distinguishable from all other constitutional rights in that it has “no intrinsic value” begins, “What poppycock!” He also accuses the District of “irresponsible” hyperbole for painting a sinister and unsubstantiated picture of the supposed harms that would come from making concealed carry licenses available to any qualified applicant who negotiated the still significant hurdles required to get one. “One can only wonder what evidence, if any, the District could muster to demonstrate that the type of people who would be willing and able to successfully complete this regulatory gauntlet would nevertheless be likely to pose a safety risk to the greater community,” he wrote. 

    While a welcome development for the civil rights of D.C.’s residents, Judge Leon’s order is only one phase of what promises to be a long process of resolving the contours of lawful concealed carry in Washington, D.C. The divergent views D.C. judges have shown toward carrying in the District underscore the importance of Congressional efforts like the Second Amendment Enforcement Act and the election of a president who will appoint jurists who take seriously their oath to defend and protect the Constitution.   

    © 2016 National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action. This may be reproduced. This may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.

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