Following last February’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, some students claimed local government officials were at fault for failing to provide protection to students. The students filed suit, naming six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina.
U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom dismissed a suit filed by 15 students who claimed they were traumatized by the Parkland High School shooting. Students argued that authorities’ failure to prevent the shooting violated their 14th Amendment rights to due process. The students had sued Broward County, the sheriff, the school superintendent and a school resource officer last summer in connection with the February shooting in Parkland, alleging they failed to protect them.
The suit named six defendants, including the Broward school district and the Broward Sheriff’s Office, as well as school deputy Scot Peterson and campus monitor Andrew Medina. Bloom ruled that the two agencies had no constitutional duty to protect students who were not in custody.
This decision adds to a growing body of case law establishing that government agencies — including police agencies — have no duty to provide protection to citizens in general:
“Neither the Constitution, nor state law, impose a general duty upon police officers or other governmental officials to protect individual persons from harm — even when they know the harm will occur,” said Darren L. Hutchinson, a professor and associate dean at the University of Florida School of Law. “Police can watch someone attack you, refuse to intervene and not violate the Constitution.”
The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the government has only a duty to protect persons who are “in custody,” he pointed out.
Moreover, even though the state of Florida has compulsory schooling laws, the students themselves are not “in custody”:
“Courts have rejected the argument that students are in custody of school officials while they are on campus,” Mr. Hutchinson said. “Custody is narrowly confined to situations where a person loses his or her freedom to move freely and seek assistance on their own — such as prisons, jails, or mental institutions.”
So, if the police are not required to protect the public, then who is?
It would seem personal safety is, according to this ruling, a personal thing, however, this seems to run counter the current climate of anti-second amendment rights…
“The Federal Bureaucracy, the deep state, could increasingly focus on gun owners in the coming years. The number of Americans who are violating firearm laws and regulations is increasing by tens or hundreds of thousands almost every year. This is not the result of a violent crime wave, but because politicians are continually criminalizing the possession of items that were previously legally owned.” — James Bovard
Is the illegality of gun ownership and right to self defense a possibility?
An example, the Connecticut legislature decreed that all owners of so-called “assault weapons” (which included any semi-automatic rifle with a pistol grip) must register their firearms. Perhaps as few as 15 percent of gun owners bothered to comply with the new law—meaning that Connecticut had up to 100,000 “criminals” living within its border. A 2016 Albany Times Union editorial also noted that 96 percent of roughly 1 million New Yorkers who owned so-called “assault weapons” failed to comply with registration requirements. California gun bans have been met with similar non-compliance. Typically, local governments have begun jumping on the bandwagon. Deerfield, Ill., recently decreed a $1,000-a-day penalty on anyone who fails to surrender or disable their semi-automatic firearms.
As government agencies — not Congress— are able to directly access databases that relate to gun ownership, the agencies themselves are often in a position to abuse this information. These databases are under the control of bureaucracies like the FBI that face little to no accountability from voters.
The National Instant Background Check System (NICS) is the background check system for firearms purchases and was a part of the 1994 Brady Act. Any gun owner that wants to buy a gun from a federally licensed firearms dealer (FFL), must go through a background check. Under this system, the FBI looks at certain factors such as criminal history and mental health to determine if an individual presents too much of a risk to own a firearm.
Although NICS is marketed as a speedy background check system, it comes with its own set of problems. NICS has gained notoriety for producing false positives, where law-abiding citizens are mixed and matched with criminals who have the same name.
Some estimates from the Crime Prevention Research Center indicate that in 2009 alone, 93 percent of initial NICS denials were false positives.
NICS has remained intact even when evidence has shown that it is ineffective in combatting crime. Note: crime rates had already gone into steep decline by the mid-1990s, well before NICS went into effect in 1998.
Bovard thus raises an interesting concern: “While such laws were made by elected officials, it is unelected bureaucrats who are largely left in charge of enforcement, and that can cause big problems for gun owners”.
Exercising control over this sort of legal abuse can be exceptionally difficult when dealing with unelected bureaucrats.
Citizens can vote out anti-gun politicians, but it is much more difficult to curb bureaucratic overreach. In some cases it may require abolishing or defunding of a government bureaucracy…so it goes.