Virginia fraternity suspended over banners slammed as ‘offensive’

What’s nu?

A Sigma Nu fraternity has been suspended, making the second in one week, after they were seen greeting returning students with sexually suggestive banners.

“Rowdy and fun/Hope your baby girl is ready for a good time,” one message, scrawled across a bed sheet near the Old Dominion University campus in Norfolk, Va., read.

“Freshman daughter drop off,” read another with an arrow pointing at the off-campus fraternity house’s front door.

“Go ahead and drop off mom too…” added a third.

The crude welcome mats quickly paved the way for a likely enlightening semester for the culprits with the university’s president vowing to punish anyone found having violated the school’s code of conduct.

“Our students, campus community and alumni have been offended,” John R. Broderick wrote in a scathing letter sent out to the campus community on Saturday.

“A young lady I talked to earlier today courageously described the true meaning of the hurt this caused. She thought seriously about going back home.

“But she was heartened, she explained, when she saw how fellow students were reacting to this incident on social media. She realized this callous and senseless act did not reflect the Old Dominion she has come to love,” he continued.

Broderick was joined in outcry by Sigma Nu’s executive director, Brad Beacham, who also chided the banners as “offensive.”

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Concealed-weapon licenses fast-tracked for military

TALLAHASSEE – Florida, which already has the most concealed-weapon licenses in the nation, is now fast-tracking the process for active-duty military members and honorably discharged veterans.

Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam announced Monday that active and retired service members will immediately begin to get top priority when applying for the licenses.

The expedited process is part of the state’s reaction to a shooting rampage in Tennessee in which four Marines and a sailor were killed on July 16.

“The men and women who serve and have served our country deserve all of the support we can provide,” Putnam said in a prepared statement.

The announcement expands upon an executive order issued July 18 by Gov. Rick Scott. The executive order included a requirement that preference be given to members of the Florida National Guard when applying for concealed-weapon licenses.

The order also directed Adjutant Gen. Michael Calhoun to temporarily move National Guard members from six “storefront” recruitment centers to armories and to work with local law-enforcement agencies to arrange regular security checks of armories.

Putnam expanded the license fast-tracking to include all military members.

Active members of the military are advised to include copies of their Common Access Cards or other forms of official military identification with their applications. Veterans have to file copies of their DD 214 long forms with their applications to get fast-tracked.

The state agency hasn’t estimated how many members of the military and veterans will take advantage of the expedited process, said Putnam spokeswoman Jennifer Meale.

Currently, there are more than 1.41 million concealed-weapon licenses issued in Florida, according to the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, which administers the program.

The state went over the 1 million mark in December 2012, becoming the first state in the nation to surpass that figure.

Pennsylvania, which does not post its concealed-weapon numbers, has reportedly joined Florida in surpassing the 1 million mark.

According to a 2014 study from the Pennsylvania-based Crime Prevention Research Center, Texas has issued the third most concealed-carry permits among the states.

There were 825,957 concealed-carry permits in Texas as of Dec. 31, 2014, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers in 2014 made it more convenient to apply for a concealed-carry licenses by allowing county tax collectors’ offices to accept applications.

So far, 13 offices — Brevard, Highlands, Hillsborough, Indian River, Lee, Marion, Martin, Nassau, Okaloosa, Pasco, Pinellas, St. Johns and Walton — accept the applications.

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Concealed firearms now allowed at Kansas Capitol without permit

It’s now legal for visitors to enter the Kansas Capitol carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.

Concealed carry became legal in the Capitol last year. A person could take a gun in if he or she presented a permit to the Kansas Highway Patrol officers who provide security at the entrance.

This year, the Legislature passed a bill lifting the requirement that a person get a permit to carry a concealed firearm.

That law, which went into effect July 1, means a person does not need to go through a background check or training in order to carry a concealed gun on the sidewalk or other public spaces, including the Capitol.

“We’re still screening everybody like we did when we were letting people with concealed carry licenses in,” said Officer Patrick Saleh with the Highway Patrol’s Capitol Police. “We still need to check bags and packages for explosives. The only thing that’s changed is we’re not asking them for their concealed carry ID card. But otherwise they’re still coming through the screening center and we’re letting them right in as though they had a permit for it.”

Senate Majority Leader Terry Bruce, R-Hutchinson, one of the main proponents of the new law, said in an e-mail that the Capitol “should be treated just like any other public building in our state” and that “Kansans should be able to exercise their rights under the Second Amendment in this building.”

Gun control advocates say that allowing a person to carry a gun into the Capitol without any minimum requirements poses risks. The Capitol, which houses the Legislature and the governor’s office, is a popular destination for families and for school field trips.

“To allow people to carry loaded, hidden guns without first going through a background check or require any sort of training is a terrible and bad idea for public safety in Kansas,” said Brian Malte, senior national policy director with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

Rep. Travis Couture-Lovelady, R-Palco, who carried the legislation on the House floor, said it would be hypocritical for lawmakers to prevent people from bringing guns into the Capitol, He noted that lawmakers are able enter the building without going through metal detectors or being searched by security.

“I hate the idea of us treating ourselves differently,” he said.

He acknowledged that the Capitol could be a target for a gunman, but said allowing people to carry guns for self defense made the building safer.

“There’s a lot of legislators that are carrying, I’m sure. And there’s a lot of lobbyists that carry every day … and a lot of them are pretty good dang shots, so I feel pretty good about that,” Couture-Lovelady said. “And as far as those that want to do harm to us in the Capitol, if they really want to cause problems, if they really want to have a mass shooting in the Capitol the little metal detectors aren’t going to stop them. All they have to do is get someone in the building and then go to a side door and let people in with the big guns. So I just think it’s another instance of a false sense of security.”

Not all lawmakers are supportive of allowing guns into the Capitol without restrictions.

Rep. Stephanie Clayton, R-Overland Park, said that she doesn’t fear for her own safety but she worries that this makes the building more dangerous for kids visiting.

“I do have concerns for children who are visiting on field trips. I feel like it’s a less safe for the public,” she said. “There’s a different view where as a lawmaker I accept that risk where as a member of the public, do they really need to accept that?”

Clayton said her chief concern was not that there would be an active shooter, but that allowing guns into the building without requiring training increases the risk of a gun going off by accident.

“That’s what’s going to hurt us, is a misfire through a lack of training,” she said.

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The Department of Homeland Security plans to restructure its Office of the Chief Information Officer, including adding a new position to help the agency better procure technology.

DHS is creating a new deputy chief information officer position, DHS Chief Information Officer Luke McCormack wrote in a blog post. That person’s responsibility will be to oversee enterprise operations monitoring, service operations and service improvement, among other spheres.

McCormack wrote that DHS anticipates “increased competition, flexibility and reliability, decreased time-to-market and cost,” as well as stronger cybersecurity, in the procurement of IT services.

According to the blog post, the restructuring will allow the CIO shop to “transform into a more customer-focused and service-oriented organization.”

McCormack added: “We will take full advantage of emerging technologies from multiple sources, consolidate all service delivery functions, implement a newly revised governance framework and develop more strategic partnerships with our internal lines of business and industry.”

McCormack also announced Michael Hermus would join the department as DHS chief technology officer. Meanwhile, Margie Graves, currently DHS deputy CIO, will be promoted to “principal deputy CIO for strategy, governance and transformation.”

DHS officials were not available for comment as to how this position will differ from her current one.

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FAA Group to Review Mental-Health Screenings for Pilots

Following the lead of European regulators reacting to the presumed suicidal co-pilot who brought down a Germanwings jet, the Federal Aviation Administration has set up an advisory group to consider possible changes in mental-health screening of U.S. commercial pilots.

The industry-government committee, which also includes labor and medical experts, can look at everything from potential regulatory changes to voluntary efforts by unions and airlines, the agency indicated Wednesday.

The move, however, comes after international groups representing pilots and carriers have warned against overreacting to the Germanwings tragedy, which killed all 149 people aboard the Airbus jetliner that went down in the French Alps in March.

The European Aviation Safety Agency formed a similar study group last month, and German regulators have launched a separate effort to re-examine mental-health assessments of airline pilots. The aviation arm of the United Nations also indicated it would re-evaluate international mental-health standards.

It isn’t clear whether any of those groups will end up urging major changes to existing screening procedures. Strict privacy laws in Germany allowed Andreas Lubitz, the Germanwings co-pilot, to keep his mental problems hidden from management of the airline, which is a unit of Deutsche Lufthansa AG.

Safety and medical experts have stressed the difficulty of devising a new regulatory system—even one mandating more-frequent and in-depth screenings—that can reliably identify suicidal tendencies among pilots.

Given the current limitations of testing and medical science, many psychiatrists and psychologist believe such a goal is unreasonable. The public has to “recognize this is a complex medical challenge,” according to Olumuyiwa Bernard Aliu, president of the top policy-making council of the U.N.’s International Civil Aviation Organization.

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Illinois: Bill to Increase Opportunities for Hunters Needs Your Help

Recently, Senate Bill 1422 was amended to increase opportunities for hunters. SB 1422, as amended in the House, would expand hunting opportunities in the Collar counties by allowing the use of crossbows during the deer archery season.

Sponsored by Senator Neil Anderson (R-36), SB 1422 passed the House as amended by a 103 – 12 vote on May 21, 2015. SB 1422 now awaits a concurrence motion on House Amendment 1 in the Senate Agriculture Committee.

Experience in other states has shown that allowing the use of crossbows during hunting seasons helps retain and recruit hunters and does not have a higher success rate over vertical bows. NRA has always supported expanding on hunting opportunities when there is no biological reason to oppose them.

Also, crossbows would allow young hunters who do not yet possess the physical strength to use a vertical bow to go afield earlier and as a result, they would be more likely to recruit more family and friends into Illinois’ ranks of hunters.

Please call state Senator John Sullivan (D-47), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and urge a concurrence motion on House Amendment 1 to SB 1422.

Senator John M. Sullivan
(217) 782-2479

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Court Rebukes D.C. for Discretionary Licensing Regime

On May 18, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order prohibiting enforcement of provisions of D.C. law that effectively grant to the police chief the discretion to decide who may lawfully exercise the right to bear arms in public for self-defense.

This follows on the heels of an earlier ruling in which the District lost the argument that the right to “bear arms” does not apply outside the home, leading to the hasty enactment of an “emergency” may-issue concealed carry licensing scheme. Such a license is the only means by which most people can lawfully carry firearms in D.C. for self-defense. Monday’s case, Wren v. District of Columbia, made a preliminary ruling that D.C.’s policy of discretionary issuance would likely run afoul of the Second Amendment.

Under D.C.’s law, an applicant must show a “good reason to fear injury to his or her person” or “other proper reason” for the carrying of a concealed handgun. Apart from employment involving the handling or transportation of cash or other valuables, the only way to meet these requirements is to show “a special need for self-protection,” or for protection of a vulnerable family member, “distinguishable from the general community” (emphasis added).

In other words, the District has established a strong legal presumption against exercise of the right that an applicant has to rebut with “evidence of specific threats or previous attacks which demonstrate a special danger” to the life of the applicant or vulnerable family member.

The upshot of these requirements is that most applications will be summarily denied, which D.C. acknowledged to the court was the point of enacting them. The court wrote, “Defendants argue that the … requirement[s] reasonably further[] its important governmental interest in reducing the number of concealed weapons in public in order to reduce the risks to other members of the public and to reduce the disproportionate use of such weapons in the commission of violent crimes.”

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Bill to Improve Security Guard Licensing Approved by Committee

A bill to clean up California’s security industry was unanimously approved by the Assembly Business and Professions Committee Tuesday, moving it one step closer to becoming law.

Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Elk Grove) introduced the bill, AB 1042, after seeing an NBC 7 Investigates story exposing the local underground industry of untrained, unlicensed security officers.

The story came after two local deaths involving bouncers – one where the bouncer was arrested and charged for involuntary manslaughter and the other where the death was ruled a homicide. The San Diego Police
Department forwarded that investigation to the San Diego County District Attorney’s office for review.
Click here to see the complete investigation.

If adopted, the bill would further professionalize the security guard industry and protect public safety.

“If a guard or bouncer wears a uniform or performs a security role, they should have to meet minimum professional standards and pass background checks,” Cooper said in a press release about the bill. “AB 1042 will ensure individuals providing security services are properly licensed, trained and certified,” he added.

NBC 7 Investigates original story, exposed two issues in the security industry:

If a security officer/guard isn’t wearing a uniform, he or she does not have to be licensed in the state of California.

Many of security guards are getting state-issued security guard registration cards (also known as guard cards) and getting jobs but may be completing only a fraction of the curriculum.

AB 1042 updates the definition of a Proprietary Private Security Officer and adds examples of security officer duties to ensure individuals employed by a business such as a bar or restaurant and who provide security services are not unlicensed.

The bill is supported by the California Association of Licensed Security Agencies, Guards and Associates and will next be heard on the Assembly floor.

NBC 7 Investigates is working for you. If you have more information about this or other story tips, contact us: (619) 578-0393, To receive the latest NBC 7 Investigates stories, subscribe to our newsletter.

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Cincinnati Law and Public Safety Committee votes to repeal private police law

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati City Council’s Law and Public Safety Committee voted Monday to repeal a law that’s been on the books for decades that allows the city to hire private police officers.

After its fourth meeting on issue, which arose earlier this year after a Hamilton County prosecutor said he was not going to prosecute those arrested by private officers, the committee voted 3-1 to repeal it. Only Councilman Charlie Winburn voted against the repeal.

Since 1983, the city law has allowed Cincinnati’s police chief to grant specially-trained citizens full police powers, including the ability to make arrests. Businesses and organizations have used private officers — who receive Cincinnati police training — to provide security at various venues including the Ensemble Theater, the Regional Chamber of Commerce, Avondale Town Center and some apartment complexes.

There are two groups that employ the private officers: Cincinnati Special Police and the Cincinnati’s Private Police Association. Combined, they employ 10 people — seven of whom are commissioned officers.

The vote is expected go to council for a full vote on Wednesday.

At issue is concern raised by the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office that private officers do not receive adequate training and some have made erroneous errors on reports.

Hamilton County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Richard G. Gibson wrote a letter sent to the county’s clerk of courts in January outlining his concerns, which sparked the debate. In part the letter stated:

“We have recently had criminal complaints signed, and arrest and investigation reports completed by such officers which were legally erroneous, factually deficient, and almost completely unintelligible.”

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Haslam signs guns-in-parks bill

The governor signed the controversial guns-in-parks bill Friday morning.

Gov. Bill Haslam acknowledged he had initial concerns about the bill, but he approves of the latest version that passed the House and Senate.

“Overall I believe the legislation in its final form is a vast improvement from the bill as initially introduced,” Haslam wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey and House Speaker Beth Harwell explaining his decision.

“However, I am concerned that an unintended consequence may be operational challenges for local leaders in managing their parks in a safe, effective and consistent manner, due to events and situations that could not have been anticipated in drafting this law.”

Haslam told reporters Thursday he’d reviewed the legislation and would take action soon.

The bill nixes any local bans on people with handgun permits taking their guns into parks.

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has outspokenly criticized the bill. Friday morning he said he didn’t know what the governor planned to do with the legislation.

“I was opposed to the bill, opposed to having guns in parks. And if that becomes the law in the state of Tennessee and our local option is taken away from us, we’ll have to follow the law,” Dean told reporters Friday.

Dean said he planned to work with the Metro legal department to better understand how the law could be enforced.

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