By LISA MARIE PANE and BRENDAN FARRINGTON
(AP)– Just months after his 18th birthday, Nikolas Cruz went to a Florida gun store to buy a weapon. But there were limits on what he could purchase at his age.
Cruz wasn’t old enough to buy any of the handguns at the store. But there’s no such restriction for rifles, shotguns or the AR-15 that police say he used to carry out the nation’s deadliest school shooting in more than five years.
The young age of the man accused in the Florida high school shooting that killed 17 people has revived the debate over age requirements for gun purchases in a country where a patchwork of laws and rural states steeped in hunting culture allow kids as young as 14 to buy rifles.
In most states, it’s easier for teenagers to buy rifles than handguns.
Federal law requires someone to be at least 21 to buy a handgun from a licensed dealer, but only 18 in most places to buy a long gun. In some states — mostly rural places with a strong tradition of hunting — you can buy a rifle at the age of 14 or 16.
Gun-rights advocates call the long gun an integral part of American culture, allowing kids and their parents to bond while out in the woods hunting and providing a way to teach youngsters firearms safety.
Gun-control advocates counter the laws are outdated and fail to recognize the toll that modern, militaristic-style long guns have played in killing scores of innocent men, women and children. They say such rifles should not be in the same category as a bolt-action rifle that a young hunter uses to shoot a deer and vow to add this to the list of restrictions they are pushing for despite having little momentum in Congress to do so.
“It used to be the case that long guns were hunting guns. They were bolt-action shotguns and single-shot rifles and things really people bought for hunting or sport shooting and weren’t the kind of (AR-style rifles) that are used in mass shootings,” said Robyn Thomas, executive director of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
An estimated 8 million AR-style guns have been sold since they were first introduced to the public in the 1960s, and about half of them are owned by current or former members of the military or law enforcement, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
On average, more than 13,000 people are killed each year in the United States by guns, and most of those incidents involve handguns while a tiny fraction involve an AR-style firearm. Still, the AR plays an oversized role in many of the most high-profile shootings, including the nightclub shooting in Orlando and the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history: the attack by a gunman holed up in a Las Vegas hotel that left 58 dead and hundreds injured.
States including Maine, Minnesota and Vermont allow teens 14 or 16 years old to buy or purchase long guns without parental consent, with some exceptions. Only two states — Hawaii and Illinois — have imposed stiffer age restrictions, requiring someone to be at least 21 before they can purchase a long gun.
The disparity in age requirements between handguns and long guns exists largely because of the popularity of hunting in the U.S. Hunting deer, ducks, geese, varmints and various other animals is a way of life for youth in many states, and the laws are generally written to accommodate purchases of rifles and handguns for teenagers.
The younger age for long guns dates back to the 1880s. While handguns have long been tied to crime, long guns have been part of the fabric of American life — from hunting and target shooting to gun clubs in the Boy Scouts and some schools.
Florida is a large and diverse state. Despite the buzz and glitz of some of its largest cities like Miami and Orlando, large sections of the state remain rural, conservative and gun-friendly. Republicans have held strong majorities in both legislative chambers for the past two decades and have moved more often to expand gun rights than restrict them — leading some gun-control advocates to call the Sunshine State the Gunshine State.
The man designated to be Florida’s next House Speaker, Republican Rep. Jose Oliva, indicated hours after the school shooting that he wouldn’t be in favor of gun restrictions.
“You don’t take cars off the road because someone got drunk, used one and killed someone. You don’t take a car off the road because someone rented a U-Haul and ran it into some people in New York City,” Oliva said.
Florida is a state where one of the leading Republican candidates for governor, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, proudly agreed when a newspaper editorial called him a sellout to the National Rifle Association.
Gun-control advocates and even some police officials are holding out hope — albeit a longshot given current political realities — that there will be some movement to change age requirements.
“An 18-year-old with an AK-47 and an AR-15 is completely unreasonable,” said Frank Fernandez, director of public safety in Coral Gables, Florida, and the chairman of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s firearms committee. “That is a weapon that is meant for destruction. It’s not a weapon that you can use to go hunting. That is a weapon … used in the theater of war.”
Follow the AP’s complete coverage of the Florida school shooting here: https://apnews.com/tag/Floridaschoolshooting
Man who killed Sheldon Prawl in 2013 will spend nearly 50 years in prison
“Sheldon tried to kill my sister,” Carleton Davis said to Prawl’s mother Beverly Daley as she read her impact statement to the court.
“I have not only lost one child but two children, and if it was up to me, Davis and Cheri would receive the death penalty,” Daley said.
It took two weeks of trial and nearly 6 hours total of deliberation for a jury to convict 38-year-old Carleton Davis in the death of Sheldon Prawl.
Today, Carleton Davis, 38, was found guilty of second-degree murder and felony concealment of death. Judge Imelda Pate told Davis that he would spend nearly 50 years in prison. He was sentenced to serve a total of 38-to-48 years in prison. Davis killed Sheldon Prawl in 2013 and put his remains in two-cement filled foot lockers outside a house in Detroit, Michigan. Police later found Prawl’s body after a neighbor reported a bad odor coming from the backyard.
Davis sister Cheri Davis, has also been charged in the case. She was the girlfriend of Prawl. She has been charged with felony destruction of bodily remains to conceal a death, felony conspiracy, felony accessory after the fact, and felony common law obstruction of justice and she is out of jail on bond.
Here’s what Carleton Davis had to say to the court before his sentencing BELOW:
Stay tuned to NewsInOnslow.com for all the latest.
Man accused of killing Sheldon Prawl in 2013 won’t testify, evidence is circumstantial
A man accused of killing Sheldon Prawl in 2013 will not testify in his murder trial.
Carleton Davis, 38, of Georgia, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Sheldon Prawl.
In court, Assistant District Attorney Mike Maultsby said that Prawl was last seen on Halloween in 2013 and, shortly thereafter, 35-year-old Cheri Lee Davis, Carleton Davis‘ sister, reported him missing. Prawl’s body was found in Detroit, Michigan dismembered in two separate containers filled with cement on May 30, 2014.
In the States closing argument Wednesday afternoon, they spoke about the relationship between Davis and Richard Jackson, who lived next door to the home Prawl’s body was found. Jackson and Davis were pulled over in Brunswick County in 2014 on unrelated drug and gun charges.
“The case is a circumstantial evidence case. The circumstances, in this case, proves without a reasonable doubt that the defendant killed Sheldon Pawl,” Maultsby told the jury.
Maultsby talked about how Prawl and his mother Beverly Daley spoke every other day and on October 31, 2013, she received a text message from Prawl’s phone saying “Travel, talk to you soon.” Davis said in her testimony that she gave it a few days before she contacted Cherri Davis, Prawl’s girlfriend on November 2, begging her to make a report to the police about her son missing.
In the state’s closing argument, Maultsby told the jury that “Carleton Davis had a motive to end the life of Sheldon Prawl because he did not like what he did to his sister.” It took the state 58 minutes to argue their closing to the jury and the defense will argue their closing at 1:30 PM Wednesday afternoon.
District Attorney Earnie Lee receives case about officer who used ‘excessive force’ against Anthony Wall in Warsaw
“No Justice, No Peace” is what Onslow County District Attorney Earnie Lee will hear if he does not indict the officer who ‘excessively with force’ arrested Anthony Wall in Warsaw, North Carolina on May 4, 2018.
Anthony Wall, 22, of Fayetteville was at Waffle House after taking his 16-year-old sister to prom in Warsaw, North Carolina when he was choked and slammed by Officer Frank Moss. It’s unknown why Officer Moss used such aggressive force against the 22-year-old, but I guess it’s better than the officer pulling out his gun and killing Wall.
Officer Moss has a history of abusing and terrorizing black families in Warsaw, North Carolina for years. If you look at how big Officer Moss is and look how small Anthony Wall is, there’s no way Moss couldn’t have subdued Wall without choking him.
District Attorney Earnie Lee said on Tuesday that the investigation into whether Officer Moss used ‘excessive force’ or not is in his hands.
Lee said the report was received from N.C. State Bureau of Investigation regarding the controversial arrest of Anthony Wall. The evidence will be reviewed and a decision afterward.
One of Wall’s attorney, Benjamin Crump said Wall’s arrest was a “gross violation of his civil and human rights.” Wall is also represented by Fayetteville lawyer Allen Rogers.
The whole world will be watching District Attorney Earnie Lee’s office, and his decision could impact his career for the good or bad.
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