They caught the guy. He was carrying concealed on school grounds, and based upon the penalties enacted in New York State about carrying a gun in such gun-free zones, he was arrested. The story was noted by The Truth About Guns.
A man with a concealed carry permit, notified by police that the school was in lockdown mode, gathered up children and protected them in a room — and didn’t check to see if he had his gun on him as he waited. He “totally forgot” that he had it on:
“Mental lapses happen,” Giles said. “Things happen. It’s an unfortunate mistake. Dwayne was not conscious that he was in school with a gun.”
Dwayne Ferguson, the man arrested for the gun — caught by a policeman who was patting down people as they left — is a community activist who pushed hard for the enactment of the very law under which he was arrested:
He was a well-known face in the movement for the SAFE Act, the state law that made carrying a gun on school property a felony. He was also a familiar presence in the hallways of the city’s Harvey Austin Elementary School, where he worked in the after-school program and mentored students. No one imagined that on Thursday he would show up at the school in possession of a gun, touching off an hours-long lockdown, search and ultimately his arrest on two felony charges.
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He was among local activists who stood with Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes last year lobbying for a law that would make possessing a gun on school property a felony. Prior to New York State’s adoption of the SAFE Act last year, in response to the Sandy Hook school massacre in Connecticut, it was a long-established state law that guns could not be brought onto school property. The only difference was that the crime carried less punishment as a misdemeanor. In an ironic turn of events, Ferguson was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon under that law for Thursday’s incident. The law carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison.
His friends are asking for leniency — but I’d wager that they would not extend that courtesy to conservatives. And of course, these same folks are not fighting for the rights of honor students expelled with criminal weapons charges for shooting spitwads — or suspended for pointing a finger and saying “bang.” Or arrested for having a pocket knife in the trunk of a car in the parking lot. These are among a myriad of cases driven mostly by hoplophobia. (As an aside, I note that Wikipedia editors want to get rid of “hoplophobia” because it is “perjorative” — but they’re perfectly fine with “homophobia” used to describe anyone who doesn’t think that same-sex marriage is a good idea, because anyone who disagrees with them is sick.)
Most of the commenters about this fellow in the school want the fellow locked up — they are outraged by the hypocrisy. But one, I think, has the right idea:
I suggest that the New York Pro 2A organizations and also the NRA reach out to provide financial and legal support for him. He is a pillar of Buffalo society with admirable help for underprivileged youth. All people need defense from draconian laws regardless of political affiliation.
The “pillar of the community” bit is not the key part, though Ferguson does seem to be a good guy in that regard. No, it is the law itself that is misguided and stupid, as even Ferguson’s defenders point out:
“The more they make these gun-free zones, the more they make people vulnerable to mass killers like at Columbine and Sandy Hook,” said Stephen J. Aldstadt, a Colden resident who serves as president of the state Shooters Committee on Political Education. Some of Ferguson’s supporters echoed similar criticism, saying that carrying a weapon meant Ferguson could have helped police in the event there was a gunman actually threatening students. “Dwayne probably was in a position to help the police not knowing that he was the one they were looking for,” said George Johnson, president of Buffalo United Front.
I’m intrigued by the fact that Ferguson has now (in an update I just saw) pled not guilty to the charge of having a gun on him on school property. Really? Not guilty by reason of good intent? Absent-mindedness? Leftist inclinations? Or what?
There’s one aspect no one seems to have pointed out yet: The only reason that the police were called is because someone in the school saw Ferguson’s gun and decided to complain about it. Otherwise, no one would have known — probably like countless other times this supposedly absent-minded fellow had his weapon on him in school. And whoever it was who complained apparently did not know Ferguson, or there would have been no point to a school lockdown to detain one fellow who apparently nearly everyone evidently knew.
Ah, but I forget — lockdowns are ridiculous overreactions and are done on a daily basis. From yesterday, a lockdown in the US over an empty holster, and panic in England over a decades-old dug up bullet in a garden.
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle