Riverside County Sheriff Sued Over Concealed Weapon Policies

Gun Open CarrySheriff Stan Sniff’s policy on who gets to carry concealed weapons in Riverside County is unconstitutional because it excludes legal U.S. residents, according to a lawsuit filed Oct. 19 in federal court. Sniff denounced the lawsuit, filed by a county resident and five gun rights groups, as politically motivated and designed to help his opponent in the Nov. 6 election.

In his lawsuit, Arie van Nieuwenhuyzen, a legal U.S. resident who was born in The Netherlands, argues his rights were violated last year when the Sheriff’s Department told him he could not apply for a permit because he is not a U.S. citizen. The Riverside resident and business owner said he bought a handgun for self-defense purposes, a need that extends beyond his home.

“Courts across the country have long held that legal United States residents are entitled to the same constitutional protections as everyone else,” the plaintiffs’ attorney, George M. Lee, said in a statement. “Sheriff Sniff’s discriminatory and unconstitutional policies and practices are denying people access to the right to keep and bear arms and violating the Fourteenth Amendment’s command that all people shall enjoy equal protection of our laws.” The other plaintiffs are the Calguns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Firearms Policy Coalition, the Firearms Policy Foundation, and the Madison Society Foundation. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Telegram

How Riverside plans to use interns to help the homeless

sanfranciscohomelessPeople without a place to live or on the brink of homelessness often sleep blocks from churches and government agencies trying to lift people out of homelessness.

Meanwhile, local universities have students training to address homelessness, who sometimes travel to other counties or continents to help. The social work internship program approved by the Riverside City Council on Aug. 14 aims to connect those needs with those seeking to help.

La Sierra, California Baptist University and Loma Linda University will send 13 interns to six faith-based nonprofit organizations in Riverside starting this year. The interns will also be tasked with finding grant money to continue the program in future years and with compiling data on the program’s effectiveness.

“We have congregations with very loving people who simply need some structure for how to serve the community, and this is a way to provide that structure,” said Daphne Thomas, an associate professor of social work at La Sierra University and field director of the Riverside school’s internship program. “We’re simply putting it together.”

After a one-year pilot, the program is expected to expand to other sites, including religions other than Christianity and interns from professions other than social work, said Luke Villalobos of Mayor Rusty Bailey’s office, which is supervising the program along with Path of Life Ministries. …

Click here to read the full article from the Riverside Press-Enterprise 

Riverside to consider declaring it’s ‘not a sanctuary city’

ImmigrationRiverside is joining the ranks of Inland cities debating California’s sanctuary state law.

Councilman Chuck Conder asked at the Tuesday, April 24, City Council meeting that a discussion of the sanctuary state law be put on the council’s May 8 agenda.

“I request that, in the soonest possible timeframe, an item be agendized to discuss and adopt a resolution of the City Council declaring Riverside, being a city of laws, publicly affirm that we are not a sanctuary city,” Conder said.

The discussion will most likely be held at the regular June 12 City Council meeting, City Clerk Colleen Nicol said Wednesday after consulting with Interim City Manager Lee McDougal. The city’s sunshine resolution requires a resolution and report be prepared at least 12 days before the meeting. …

Click here to read the full article from the Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino Shooting: Neighbors Too Politically Correct?

San BernardinoSan Bernardino used to be called “The Friendly City.” That was a long time ago, well before the municipal bankruptcy and the recession and the housing market collapse and the blight. The city still had Norton Air Force Base and the economic prosperity that came with it. The nickname — which was really more of a Chamber of Commerce gimmick, much like neighboring Bloomington’s short-lived effort to brand itself “Southern California’s Undiscovered Shangri-La” (not even close) — fit, despite the racial segregation and the sizable presence of Hells Angels. San Bernardino was a working class town that aspired to middle-class respectability, and until 20 years ago, the city managed to pull it off. It had distinctive neighborhoods. People knew their neighbors.

Since then, it’s been calamity after calamity for the city of 213,000 people. The mass shooting at the Inland Regional Center last Wednesday, which left 14 people dead and 21 injured, is one more distinction the dysfunctional city could do without. Former mayor Pat Morris lamented that the massacre would “unfairly tarnish” San Bernardino, which has struggled mightily since 2012 to work its way out of insolvency. “It deeply, deeply troubles me that this happened in our city — in any city,” Morris told the Los Angeles Times. “But it’s a real double-whammy for this to happen during our recovery.”

Morris’s parochialism is understandable. But the truth is, Wednesday’s attacks were another example of how disjointed and unserious the state, local and federal officials’ efforts have been at preempting domestic terrorism — not for lack of resources, but for lack of a clear understanding of the enemies we face. It’s a credit to San Bernardino’s police force, which has seen which drastic reductions in personnel as a result of the city’s insolvency, that the crisis was brought to an end so quickly with the help of the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Authorities had Syed Farook’s name and description shortly after noon on Wednesday. A witness from the holiday party that was the target of the attack said one of the shooters had a similar height and build as Farook, who had left the event abruptly several minutes before the shooting began. Police tracked a black SUV seen fleeing the Center’s parking lot to a townhouse in nearby Redlands, which initial reports said was owned by Farook’s family. It wasn’t until after police chased down the vehicle and shot its two occupants that they learned the other shooter was Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, and that the couple had amassed enough ammunition and explosives in the Redlands residence to carry off several more attacks had they so chosen.

As the news of the murderers’ identities spread, reporters began talking with the neighbors and tracking down relatives. A former neighbor in Riverside, where Farook graduated from La Sierra High School in 2003, described him as “quiet but always polite.” “Maybe two years ago he became more religious,” Maria Gutierrez told the New York Daily News. “He grew a beard and started to wear religious clothing. The long shirt that’s like a dress and the cap on his head.” Farook’s father, also named Syed, told the Daily News that his son was “very religious. He would go to work, come back, go to pray, come back. He’s Muslim.” Farook’s co-workers said he was respected and well-liked. He had traveled to Saudi Arabia and returned with a new wife he met through an online religious dating site. On his profile page, Farook described himself as an “Allah fearing, calm thought full (sic) and simple man.” Patrick Baccari, who shared a cubicle with Farook, said the couple recently had a baby and appeared to be “living the American dream.”

At this point, after dozens of attacks or foiled plots by quiet, polite guys who suddenly become religious and later start shooting people, we should know that appearances can be deceiving. What might look a little odd at the time takes on a sinister cast in retrospect. But nearly 15 years after 9/11, people seemed to have received mixed messages. The Homeland Security mantra of “if you see something, say something” conflicts with admonitions from elected officials and other doyens of the political class that “not all Muslims are terrorists” (obviously) and “religious and racial profiling is wrong” (not so obvious).

Faced with the choice of either “saying something” to the authorities about suspicious behavior that may or may not be a bona fide threat and remaining mum for fear of being tarred as a bigot people increasingly opt for the latter. Nobody wants that kind of hassle, and very few people think saying nothing will have the sort of deadly consequences that we saw on Wednesday. Yet that’s exactly what happened. CBS News reported that a man who worked down the street from the Redlands residence said he noticed “a half-dozen Middle Eastern men” coming and going from the place, but “decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.” Yet the man—whom the story did not identify, no doubt out of concern for his wellbeing—had enough common sense to recognize that something wasn’t right. “We sat around lunch thinking, ‘What were they doing around the neighborhood?’” he said. “We’d see them leave where they’re raiding the apartment.”

Three days after the massacre, law enforcement still has plenty of questions to answer as to why exactly Farook and Malik carried out the deadliest mass shooting since Sandy Hook. Clearly, it wasn’t just another case of “workplace violence.” But one conclusion couldn’t be clearer: a misplaced sense of political correctness very likely prevented law enforcement from learning of the threat before it could be realized. In a friendlier city, perhaps, a watchful neighbor would have said something.