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View Full Version : Voluntary gun searches, a good idea or another gun grab ploy?



Don
08-05-2008, 07:06 PM
""A Welcome Mat for Gun Searches"

By STEVEN GRAY

Kieran Doherty / Reuters / CorbisArticle

Buzz In the coming weeks, Boston police will begin asking parents in several impoverished, high-crime neighborhoods to allow searches of their homes without the need for warrants. The surprising reaction: many parents and community leaders are all for it. And that is making for an intriguing civil liberties debate.


Under the experimental program, dubbed "Safe Homes," teams of police officers assigned to Boston's public schools will hunt for leads on youths believed to have guns. Tips might come from neighbors, or even parents or guardians, who are often fearful of their own children. Three plainclothes officers and a clergyperson or community activist will show up at the youth's home. The officers will ask parents to sign a form allowing the search of the home, including the child's room. Weapons found in the child's possession will be seized, and no charges will be filed unless the weapon is linked to a violent crime. "This is an interaction between human beings, where common sense will prevail," Edward Davis, Boston's police commissioner, told TIME.

It is a risky endeavor for Davis. He was tapped to lead Boston's 2,200-officer force in October 2006 after having spent a dozen years as police superintendent in Lowell, Mass., a city with roughly one-sixth Boston's population. Davis arrived in Boston as the number of homicides and shootings were falling. However, a string of high-profile youth shootings gripped the city. The tipping point for Davis was last summer's fatal shooting of Liquarry Jefferson, just eight years old, by a seven-year-old cousin. "Every time I go to the scene of a crime and see a young kid who's been shot, it causes you to reflect on what you're doing, and search for best practices to test," Davis says.

In recent weeks, Davis rallied support for the program among several community leaders. Some of Davis' staunchest supporters have been black leaders, particularly ministers, who are desperate for anything that will quell youth violence. "There's a cry from the parents and neighborhoods to do whatever it takes to reduce this gun violence," says Emmett Folgert, executive director of the Boston Youth Collaborative, in the city's Dorchester neighborhood. Folgert says he supports the experiment with mixed feelings. Much of its success, he says, "relies on the integrity of individual police officers and their leaders, and so far, they've proven themselves to be trustworthy in the eyes of the community."

The American Civil Liberties Union swiftly assailed the program and announced plans to issue leaflets in several neighborhoods to inform residents about the potential ramifications of allowing police officers to search their homes. Jorge Martinez, executive director of Project Right Inc., a social service organization in the Dorchester neighborhood, asked the police department to require a defense attorney to be present at all searches and tell residents that such searches are voluntary. "Many of these folks are from third world countries, where anyone in uniform symbolizes oppression," says Martinez, referring to the Grove Hall neighborhood, home to a mix of African-Americans, Haitians, Dominicans and Cape Verdeans.

The ACLU's opposition, however, has failed to move many community residents in neighborhoods directly impacted. "I understand political correctness and the potential civil liberties risks. But until you have bullets flying over your head, I suggest you take your leaflets and keep them in the suburbs," says the Rev. Jeffrey Brown, interim executive director of Boston TenPoint Coalition, a group heavily involved in reducing gang violence, particularly among the city's black and Latino youth. Brown says he plans to walk with police officers during searches.

Some critics warn, however, that the "Safe Homes" experiment could potentially incite allegations of racial profiling. And there's concern that parents and children who refuse searches will face retaliation or unfair scrutiny from law enforcement and school officials. The program's track record, moreover, is not encouraging. "Safe Homes" is modeled on a program started in St. Louis in the mid-1990s. Early on, about 98% of St. Louis residents approached by police officers consented to searches of their homes, according to a 2004 U.S. Justice Department report. Guns were found in about half the homes searched, and an average of three guns were seized per household. But by decade's end, the program had failed, partly because of poor support from residents of high-crime neighborhoods, and the inconsistent way the program was administered by the police department.

If the St. Louis effort is a guide, there's little reason to believe the Boston program will significantly reduce the number of guns in high-crime areas, particularly where so-called "neighborhood guns" are routinely passed between friends and relatives. Boston police say they don't have an estimate of how many guns are in the hands of youth, although the department seizes about 700 guns a year. Davis says he hasn't set formal benchmarks to measure success. "But if I can get my hands on a dozen guns, I'll be very happy," he says, adding, "It'll be successful."

Jay, Idaho
08-05-2008, 08:46 PM
In 1997 or so, Richmond VA began a program of aggressively prosecuting all crimes involving firearms. In 10 years, they have cut the number of murders to about half of the 1997 figure.
Several LE agencies work together on this. Sounds like a good program to me.
Article was in WSJ, either Sat or Monday, I think.

pendennis
08-05-2008, 09:33 PM
There's a similar program starting in Oakland, CA. Same premise. Police are quoted as saying any guns found during voluntary searches will not be used to prosecute people in the home; only those guns which can be traced to a crime.

Those who trade freedom for security, end up with neither.

Best,
Dennis

Bill Wynne
08-05-2008, 10:36 PM
Taking unregistered alley sweepers and Saturday night specials and zip guns from the homes of underaged high risk kids is a good thing. I cannot find a downside here. I wouldn't want my wife to call the police about my 40X or my hunting rifles.

Concho Bill

vinny
08-06-2008, 12:09 AM
Could this "program" be considered a slippery slope?
vinny

speedpro
08-06-2008, 12:45 AM
Could this "program" be considered a slippery slope?
vinny

you betcha, and any residence where a firearm is found or recovered will be put on a list and in the future if any household member attempts to make a legal gun purchase the'll be delayed or denied by NCIS, simply because they were a participant in the govt program, then it's up to you to cleanse youself cuz gov't don't gaf what happens after the fact. First step NCIS requires you to submit your fingerprints on a card they have so conviently availiable and it goes on and on and on. Friggin NRA dropped the ball on this one as well. :mad:

BTW ... St. Louis, accordiny to the FBI reports is and has been in the top 5 high crime areas amoung major cities despite the "safe house" program initiated in the last decade, the cops did a pretty good job of cleaning up the streets in StL a few cop's were shot and killed in the process:(
I think it the mindset of the "morons" that live there, their "CRAZY"...:eek:

Don
08-06-2008, 01:38 AM
I dont like it.

If the authorities/schools/neighbors suspect that someone in my household is dangerous and hiding a gun, without enough evidence for a search warrant, than the authorities can inform me of the situation and I can than perform the search myself and take the appropriate action (of course that will never happen, authorities dont operate that way).

I dont want to grant someone unlimited search authorization to toss my property, dig up yards/foundations, punch holes in walls, rip into furnishings..........have the authority to do all those things that can happen in extreme searches, without any limits.

I dont want to grant someone else the authority to decide which guns in my household are legititamally owned by me or someone else.

I dont want to be put in the position of being declared guilty until I can otherwise prove innocent, for gun items like threaded muzzles/tuners vs. silencers, etc.

Bill Wynne
08-06-2008, 06:14 AM
Don,

Feeling the way you do, just say no and go search your kid's room yourself. If you find any, you better have the best talk with your child that you ever had. That is exactly what I would do. These are parents who are not like us. In many cases they are single parents with out of control 14, 15, and 16 year old gang bangers who don't listen anyway. This way they will have to break into your house or mine and steal another "piece".

Don, I don't like the smell of this thing either. Parents should raise their children so they don't sneak around at night with guns looking for trouble. Please understand, these are the bad guys we speak of. Most will be in prison soon anyway but maybe it won't be for murder or armed robbery.

Just another thought. What it they find a gun that was stolen from you in the kid's room?

Concho Bill

W. owens
08-06-2008, 08:02 AM
this isn't new news: (From a March 25 article)

"Boston police officials, surprised by intense opposition from residents, have significantly scaled back and delayed the start of a program that would allow officers to go into people's homes and search for guns without a warrant.

The program, dubbed Safe Homes, was supposed to start in December, but has been delayed at least three times because of misgivings in the community. March 1 was the latest missed start date."

Link to story: http://www.boston.com/news/local/articles/2008/03/25/police_limit_searches_for_guns/

I do think this is a bad idea. There is probably a need for something to be done in Boston, but I don't believe that this is it. To akin (if I remember history) to McCarthyism. A solution might lay in allowing the law abiding to carry concealed.

nrb
08-06-2008, 09:04 AM
W. Owens, what does this voluntary home search program have to do with "McCarthyism"?

I am opposed to the search program and feel as others that the provence of our home is our own responsibility. This is a slippery slope.

best, nrb

W. owens
08-06-2008, 09:19 AM
maybe a poor choice of words on my part. I was trying to draw the parallel of spying out your neighbors who may be communist. That is unless my memory of history is wrong. And my memory might be wrong.

rhaney2
08-06-2008, 11:18 AM
In 1997 or so, Richmond VA began a program of aggressively prosecuting all crimes involving firearms. In 10 years, they have cut the number of murders to about half of the 1997 figure.
Several LE agencies work together on this. Sounds like a good program to me.
Article was in WSJ, either Sat or Monday, I think.
Are you kidding,They will not search any of my property with out probable cause and a search warrant.
Thats just another way of invading my rights,i'll take care of my house and kids if they have a gun,i will not allow the cops to do it for me,my house and cars are my personel property and i take case of my own security

Bill De
08-06-2008, 11:35 AM
rhaney2, Jay does not agree with the searchs. He's talking about putting away the bad guys so they don't continue to commit crimes. Kind of like the 3 strike laws. No way will I let them in my home without a warrant.

Jay, Idaho
08-06-2008, 12:57 PM
Are you kidding,They will not search any of my property with out probable cause and a search warrant.
Thats just another way of invading my rights,i'll take care of my house and kids if they have a gun,i will not allow the cops to do it for me,my house and cars are my personel property and i take case of my own security

Whoa! I did NOT comment on the voluntary search program. I mentioned the program that strongly and strictly enforces laws where firearms are used in criminal activity.

Jay, Idaho

Don
08-06-2008, 05:47 PM
............about this voluntary gun search program, is that it seems to fall into the same category of voluntary rights programs as voluntary consent to a polygraph exam or voluntary right to an attorney.........................if either is revoked/envoked against the wishes of authority, then an individual automatically becomes a "person of interest".

And we all know what can happen to a "person of interest", just ask Richard Jewell or Steven Hatfield.............many years later, hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees, lost careers, and you might finally get your life back, what is left of it.

And to those who think that this program can only occur in "bad neighborhoods", think again. Once a program is put in place, successfully funded, and deemed politically acceptable and popular under the feel good guise of "law and order", it can spread anywhere.

rhaney2
08-06-2008, 07:49 PM
Whoa! I did NOT comment on the voluntary search program. I mentioned the program that strongly and strictly enforces laws where firearms are used in criminal activity.

Jay, Idaho

Sorry Jay,i get your point now.
We have so many laws the cops don't know when to enforce or stop and call the station on laws.
If we were to lift all gun laws,it might work better,that way,we could protect ourselves.

Rustystud
08-06-2008, 08:33 PM
I have been a law enforcement officer for 32 years. We have a constitution in this great land. Having Police in your home is only inviting trouble for you. You should police your own home and know what your children have in their possession. Roger is absolutely correct, the police must have probable cause and a search warrant.

Here in North Carolina If you have a CCW permit it comes up on your license and vehicle registration. If you are a CCW permitee and are "approached by a law enforcement officer" and you are in possession of a firearm you are require by law to disclose to the officer you have the firearm. This may be a catch 22.

The city of Raleigh takes this one more step. I you disclose you have a firearm they will search you and or your vehicle with out making an arrest, with out your consent , and without a search warrant. They then will run your firearms make, model, serial number through DCI and NCIC looking for any wants. They do this under the guise they are mandated to do so by a Federal U. S. Department of Justice Program they are participating in. I contacted the U.S. Department of Justice and they said this program is only to run the serial numbers of guns taken in the course of a criminal act. They agreed that Raleigh PD was over stepping its legal authority. As well as misrepresnting the U.S. Department Of Justice Program. But refused to do anything about it.

I know of several other Departments in the US that are also over stepping their authority.

Put your foot down and contact the NRA and let them know what is going on. You have rights and should not give them away.

If you are not a criminal they will make you a criminal.

Rustystud

beemanbeme
08-07-2008, 12:49 PM
Sounds like another version of "if you have nothing to hide why shouldn't the police be able to kick you door down and search your house??"
By going at it piece meal, and targeting the poor folks to start, they are getting support from the middle and rich class. But then, having opened the door, they will pick another section and then another until the cops will have what is in reality a no knock, no warrent search ability anywhere in the city.

IMO, it is a very slippery slope.

RStiefel
08-07-2008, 01:52 PM
With some of the legal language used in this, LEO have a pretty wide range of options.

pendennis
08-07-2008, 07:39 PM
Several of you have touched upon the solution.

Your children, until they reach the age of majority (most states, age 18), do not have Fourth Amendment rights, per se, since they live in your home. Search their rooms, their cars, wherever they can hide things. That's the best way to keep drugs, guns, and anything else illegal, out of your home. Run a benign dictatorship.

Trust? The word didn't appear in my dictionary when we raised our kids. When they got to driving age, the rule was no booze, no matter what. The punishment was total permanent ban from driving family cars.

Best,
Dennis

Sitting Duck
08-07-2008, 08:18 PM
This is what happens when the family unit breaks down, religion is pushed to the wayside, and corporal punishment is considered inhumane.

The only role government hasn't assumed is that of God. But I'm sure they're working on it.:eek:

Jay, Idaho
08-07-2008, 09:25 PM
Trust? The word didn't appear in my dictionary when we raised our kids. When they got to driving age, the rule was no booze, no matter what. The punishment was total permanent ban from driving family cars.

Best,
Dennis

NO SECOND CHANCE! That program works but must be put in place very early in the child's life. That is the rule in a number of countries on drinking and driving. And it works.......
Biggest problem is that Mama can't be that mean to the lil' darlins' and Dad is often long gone, or has limited part-time influence.
I told my son that if he really embarrassed us with stupid behavior, I would move away and not tell him where I went. He must have believed me.......
That really freaks Psychologists out. "Oh dear, fear of parental abandonment is too cruel, etc". I'm not a Psychologist so I could do it.

Paul Fielder
08-08-2008, 10:07 AM
....we just snuck out and crossed the border for our booze. Lucky to be alive. I think high school sports saved me from being a complete idiot.

No way will my kids get away with it...that place is much more scary than it was 20-25 years ago.

pf

<><

Wilbur
08-10-2008, 05:53 AM
I never played high school sports...dammit!

BTW - At what age does one become eligible for the second amendment?

Paul Fielder
08-10-2008, 08:59 AM
I never played high school sports...dammit!

BTW - At what age does one become eligible for the second amendment?

The love for competition (and hunting I should add) kept my feet on a path that otherwise could have been ugly. This is a strange place down here. Remember, for me dope was 10x less expensive than the booze too!! I had a lot of fun in Mexico but did get to spend one night in jail...wasn't my fault. Soo glad the coaches never found out!!


anyway...not sure about your eligible question. I always had a scatter gun in the back of the Bronco in case there was a chance to go shoot some doves. Dad knew it and we even hooked up. Football usually over lapped the season but we got out early every now & then and had to be ready. Even then, I would rather go hunting than a chance to party. Not sure what would have happened 20 years ago if the school had known about the 20ga on campuss??

pf

<><

Wilbur
08-11-2008, 05:48 AM
I think you took that the way I meant it...as in I may be the idiot I am cause I didn't participate in HS sports...

Paul Fielder
08-11-2008, 09:51 AM
I think you took that the way I meant it...as in I may be the idiot I am cause I didn't participate in HS sports...

I've been here long enough to catch your humor. Remember....it was 'total idiot' in my case:-)

We had "no pass, no play" policy, so I stayed away from the tough courses and coasted through my HS education.

Actually, I wish I hadn't played football the way my body feels today & fortunate to have gotten injured before I played a down of college & quit both the sport I loved and a chance to get a degree. Just dumb decisions looking back.

Who is the idiot now??:-)

pf

<><

beemanbeme
08-11-2008, 02:34 PM
At a very, very early age, my kids were taught, and re-taught the relationship between responsibility and previledges. And in my house, most everything except minimum food and clothing was a priviledge.
And so, by the time the kids reached driving age, getting good grades and doing chores without nagging was a given. Then you add a set of car keys and you (the parent) have some real power.

Also, I made no bones about the fact that I might search my kids room at any time. :D

Foxtrotoscar
08-21-2008, 11:40 PM
I've noticed a lot of threads begin by responding to the matter at hand, then drift further and further off topic until a topic such as this one turns into a series of arguments over the best baked bean recipes...

If I recall during the Clinton administration a similar "voluntary" search for firearms was proposed. If I recall there was a huge constitutional stink about it, something about your not being able to voluntarily surrender your constitutional rights. I don't recall the details beyond that, but do remember that portion. Beware the slippery slope...

alinwa
08-22-2008, 12:56 PM
Taking unregistered alley sweepers and Saturday night specials and zip guns from the homes of underaged high risk kids is a good thing. I cannot find a downside here. I wouldn't want my wife to call the police about my 40X or my hunting rifles.

Concho Bill



The thing that scares me most sometimes is hearing this sort of rhetoric from committed and dedicated gun people!!!


WHAT EXACTLY does this mean Bill??

What's an "unregistered alley sweeper"? Or conversely what's a registered alley sweeper?

What's a "Saturday Night Special"??

What's a "Zip Gun"????? How many are out there?


I'm a gunsmith, I've built guns from the ground up. I've built set guns, trap guns, pen guns, buckle guns......... who builds zip guns? Where do the kids GET this sort of stuff?



In other words....... why the negative appellation? THIS IS MEDIA HYPE! This is the sort of verbiage that makes rules SOUND good. IMO these "underaged high risk kids" are just KIDS, just plain ol' kids like every body else except they're missing the stability of a cohesive family. They're sometimes threatened by the society around them and some of them do respond by acquiring guns....... GUNS, not "alley sweepers" or "zip guns". My belief is that solid and consistent application of existing law is what's needed, not some new invasion of privacy in the name of "security" and "doing whatever it takes".......



"doing whatever it takes"........... what BUNK!



IMO MOST of society mouths platitudes like "If It Saves ONE Life It's Worth It"....... "If it helps ONE child it's worth any cost"..........




This is pure liberal feel-good garbage.


In the real world everything is a matter of risk assessment and cost of human life. Actuary tables chart this for the insurance companies. In the real world the cost of insuring automobiles is driven by death and injury/dollar. Driving on our roads is more dangerous than being in the war in Iraq for crying out loud! "We did what it took to make everybody safe" is only a utopian CONCEPT, it's in no way an achievable reality........... The cost of building bridges, dams, office buildings, homes, cars, ANYthing factors in loss of life.


Gener'ly rules which are designed to "save lives" don't IME and creating another government funded program in the name of "making kids safer" is just a money pit.



Ok.... I'l stop now.


rant OFF :):)


I'm probably breaking all the rules about "political topics" anyway..


Let's just say, I DO see a downside. :(






I better get outta' here and go talk about shooting.


LOL


al

beemanbeme
08-22-2008, 07:48 PM
What Al said +1 .