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DOJ awards 9 million 4 community policing active shooter training

House | News | Politic | Training

 

 

The Department of Justice on Monday announced $9 million in funding for community policing efforts and active shooter training.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the funding at the the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia, according to a news release.

More than a third of the money, about $3.6 million, will go towards the Community Policing Development Program. The money will fund training and technical assistance and will help develop new community policing strategies.

The funds will go to local police departments, schools and other community groups and non-profits focused on training. Organizations in ten states and the District of Columbia are getting the money.

“Community policing builds trust and mutual respect between communities and law enforcement, and that helps us reduce crime,” Sessions said. “Over the last 23 years, the Department of Justice has invested more than $14 billion in community policing—and I have no doubt that it has saved lives across America.”

Additionally, the Community Oriented Policing arm of the DOJ is awarding $5,392,529 to the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Center at Texas State University. The grant has been awarded through the Preparing for Active Shooter Situations Training Program.

The training is “designed to increase public safety by providing funds for scenario-based training that prepares officers and other first responders to safely and effectively handle active-shooter and other violent threats,” according to a fact sheet on the COPS website.

The training developed with those funds will be used to train law enforcement and first responders nationally. Training via e-learning modules could be one way the skills are taught.

“Under President Trump’s strong leadership, this Department of Justice will continue to provide law enforcement officers with the resources and tools they need to make this country safe,” said Sessions.

Massachusetts bump stock ban hearing has few takers

House | News | Politic

 

 

Although both chambers of the Commonwealth’s legislature have already passed a ban on bump stock devices, lawmakers held the first public hearing on the subject on Wednesday.

Few people attended the hearing, held by the Joint Committee on Public Safety, and only one speaker, state Rep. Donald Berthiaume, R-Spencer, addressed the panel, local media reported.

Berthiaume, one of just three lawmakers to vote against the sweeping House version of the prohibition last week, said he “never heard of a bump stock ever or trigger crank, and I’ve been shooting since I was a little kid” but was not inclined to support his chamber’s bill to ban them as he felt it was too vague.

That bill would bar the use on any rifle, shotgun or firearm of a device capable of increasing the rate of fire — a broad net that gun rights advocates argued could be interpreted to ensnare any number of gun accessories far beyond bump stocks. With no provision for grandfathering, those found guilty of possession of such devices would face between three and 20 years in prison.

The Senate version, which Berthiaume said he does back, sets more rigid definitions of “Bump stock” and “Trigger Crank,” regulating each in turn.

The Gun Owners’ Action League, the state’s National Rifle Association affiliate, said in a statement they do not support any legislative action on the devices but did credit the Senate version of the bill as stopping the “runaway train” of the robust House proposal which “granted unbridled regulatory authority to the Commonwealth over all firearms maintenance, enhancements, and modifications.”

Jim Wallace, head of the gun rights group, explained to media he chose not to speak at the hearing this week because there was no point in “testifying about something that has already happened.”

Lawmakers now must work out the differences between the two versions passed by the legislature before they can present the ban to Republican Gov. Charlie Baker who said he would sign anti-bump stock legislation “tomorrow” should it be presented to him.

Similar legislation is underway at the state level in Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Washington while at least three federal bills have been filed on Capitol Hill.

House Dems propose bills to stop online ammo sales, ban mags

House | News | Politic

House Democrats have introduced a number of new gun control measures in the wake of a deadly mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Among the proposals are HR.3962 to ban online ammunition sales, H.R. 4025 requiring gun dealers to report the sale of two or more rifles to the same person in a five-day period, and HR. 4052, which would ban magazines able to hold greater than 10 rounds.

“Several of my colleagues and I have introduced commonsense legislation that, if enacted, would reduce gun violence and the tragic impact it has on our communities,” said U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, the New Jersey Democrat sponsoring the Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act.

Coleman’s proposal is much like a state law approved last year by voters in California in the respect that it would require federally licensed ammo dealers to directly confirm the identity of those buying ammo over the Internet by verifying a photo I.D. in-person. Also, the measure would require the vendor to report any individual sales of more than 1,000 rounds in a five-day period to the U.S. Attorney General. Garnering 29 co-sponsors, all Democrat, the measure has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Gun reporting

The Multiple Firearm Sales Reporting Modernization Act, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calf., would require FFLs to report the sale of two or more long guns to the same buyer within a five-day period to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.

Currently, dealers must report multiple handgun sales while a 2011 rule that requires only dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas report multiple rifle sales. Under the new proposal, it would be the law of the land.

“This bill is a long-overdue update,” said Torres. “Our law enforcement agencies need to know if anyone is stocking up on AR-15s and AK-47s.”

The measure, referred to the Judiciary Committee, has three co-sponsors including Nevada Democrat Dina Titus, whose district includes Las Vegas.

Magazine restrictions

Billed as the Keep Americans Safe Act, Connecticut’s Elizabeth Etsy would ban detachable magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds. Backed by several gun control groups including the Brady Campaign and the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Esty contends it is needed for public safety.

“There is simply no good reason why sportsmen and women need more than 10 rounds in a magazine,” said Esty in a statement. “No sportsman or woman needs 30 rounds to kill a deer. It’s shameful that we protect our deer better than we protect our people.”

Referred to the Judiciary committee, Esty’s bill has 85 partisan supporters including virtually Nevada’s entire delegation to the House apart from U.S. Rep. Mark Amodei, a Republican whose district hails from the more conservative Northern part of the state including Reno and Carson City.

The bills join measures to ban bump stocks and other devices that can accelerate a gun’s rate of fire, mandates for smart gun use, expanded background check proposals and efforts to increase federal funding for gun crime research, all introduced in the past two weeks.

4th Green Beret missing after Niger ambush has been found dead

House | News | Politic

 

US officials say an American soldier missing for nearly two days in Niger has been found dead. He was one of four US troops killed in a deadly ambush.

His body was found and identified Friday after an extensive search. Four Niger security forces were also killed.

The Department of Defense on Friday also identified the first three Green Berets killed as Staff Sgt. Bryan C. Black, 35, of Washington; Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson, 39, of Ohio; and Staff Sgt. Dustin M. Wright, 29, of Georgia.

The name of the fourth Green Beret killed has yet to be released.

US officials say they believe extremists linked to ISIS were responsible for the attack about 200 kilometers north of Niger’s capital of Niamey.

The joint patrol of US and Niger forces were leaving a meeting with tribal leaders and were in trucks. They were ambushed by 40-50 militants in vehicles and on motorcycles.

Eight Niger soldiers and two US troops were wounded. The officials weren’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Governor sidelined Nevada expanded background check law

House | News | Politic

 

Nevada’s Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, has asked for further legal guidance on implementation of a voter-approved universal background check law that never took effect.

The measure won by a thin margin at the polls last November but was suspended by Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt over concerns on how it would be applied. Now, Sandoval has asked Laxalt’s office to take another look at the law, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Laxalt pumped the brakes on the measure after receiving a letter from the Federal Bureau of Investigation explaining the state’s private party background checks are in the purview of Nevada’s own resources as one of the 13 “point of contact” states that conduct their own checks through a central repository. With the federal government declining to process the expanded checks directly, and the Nevada Department of Public Safety neither authorized nor funded by the ballot measure’s language to run the checks, Laxalt contends the law is unenforceable.

With backers of the measure threatening a lawsuit, Sandoval has asked Laxalt to explore the bifurcated approach that would let the FBI handle person-to-person checks and the state others, The Nevada Independent reported. This “partial point-of-contact” concept would split responsibility for background checks between the Nevada and the feds.

Everytown President John Feinblatt argues Sandoval should direct state officials to immediately work with the FBI to implement the law, pointing out that nine other states already operate as partial point-of-contact states

“It is unconscionable that, after months of refusing to enforce the will of the people, the Governor is now passing the buck,” Feinblatt said in a statement. “He doesn’t need another opinion from the attorney general—particularly not the same attorney general who starred in the NRA’s ads opposing this law.”

The referendum backed by gun control advocates, Question 1, failed in 16 of the state’s 17 counties with only voters in Clark County approving the measure, in the end passing by around 10,000 votes. The initiative was funded by a $19.7 million campaign fueled in large part by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

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