Oops: Activist charged with felonies after running afoul of gun law he championed

posted at 9:41 pm on February 10, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

In which a good guy with a gun could end up in jail for four years because he lobbied for a law that assumed there was no such thing as a good guy with a gun.

Meet Dwayne Ferguson of Buffalo. The 52-year-old is a well-known community activist, founder of MAD DADS (Men Against Destruction Defending Against Drugs and Social Disorder), and a public face of the SAFE act, a law passed by New York in the wake of Sandy Hook which made carrying a gun on school grounds a felony. Ferguson was at an elementary school Thursday mentoring students when the school went on lockdown because of a report of a man with a gun on campus. Ferguson guarded students in the cafeteria for hours before he and law enforcement realized the lockdown was caused… by him.

Ferguson, 52, told WGRZ-TV that he frequently carries the gun, for which he has a permit, and did not realize he had it on him when he went to the school as part of the mentoring program.

Those who have worked with him also said they believe it was an honest mistake.

“I’m sure Dwayne went into the school not thinking he had the gun on him,” said Rev. James E. Giles, a friend of Ferguson and president of Back to Basics Outreach Ministries. “We know this for a fact, that he called out to a Buffalo police lieutenant asking why the school was in lockdown, and that they were looking for a man with a gun.

“Dwayne’s reaction was to get his kids – he had about 50 of them – and make sure they were safe,” Giles explained. “He led them into the cafeteria and closed the doors.”

Giles, like Ferguson, is a member of Buffalo Peacemakers, an anti-violence coalition that targets gang-related street crime.

Ferguson is a security guard outside of his work in schools and he frequently carries a legally permitted firearm. Now, once Ferguson was ensared by the SAFE Act, the gun-control activists who know him began to sound a lot like gun-rights activists.

“The more they make these gun-free zones, the more they make people vulnerable to mass killers like at Columbine and Sandy Hook,” said Stephen J. Aldstadt, a Colden resident who serves as president of the state Shooters Committee on Political Education.

Some of Ferguson’s supporters echoed similar criticism, saying that carrying a weapon meant Ferguson could have helped police in the event there was a gunman actually threatening students.

“Dwayne probably was in a position to help the police not knowing that he was the one they were looking for,”
said George Johnson, president of Buffalo United Front.

And, this is what it looks like when gun regulations trip up otherwise law-abiding citizens— something about which gun-rights activists are always warning.

Ferguson, at the time of SAFE Act’s passage, thought people like him should be punished even more severely:

News 4 interviewed Ferguson in March of 2013 at a rally in support of the NY SAFE Act. At the time, Ferguson stated the law did not go far enough.

“Our kids are not buying assault weapons, they’re buying pistols and they’re buying them right out of community stores and back here in the school. So this is serious. It needs to go further than what it is,” he said.

It’s easy to get schadenfreudy about this, but I really don’t think the state should be spending money going after this guy, prosecuting and possibly imprisoning him. On the other hand, the rule of law requires he answer for this alleged crime— one for which he himself lobbied to eliminate the possibility of lenience. What would be the reasoning for letting him off the hook? There’s explicitly no exemption for “no ill intent” in the SAFE Act. Merely having a legal gun makes one a criminal. Perhaps the best-case scenario is that Ferguson goes through the system, the jury and judge make their call, and maybe a few more activists will think twice about laws they pass in the future.

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Some of Ferguson’s supporters echoed similar criticism, saying that carrying a weapon meant Ferguson could have helped police in the event there was a gunman actually threatening students.

1) Isn’t that what all of us pro-2nd Amendment people say when arguing against the gun-grabbers like Ferguson?
2) How could he have protected anyone if he “didn’t know he had the gun”?

dentarthurdent on February 11, 2014 at 5:26 PM

verbaIuce on February 11, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Nicely played.

Solaratov on February 11, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Overerall a bad decision but reasonable people dont think he should be charged with any crime. Seems like a decent guy whose just so focused on helping disadvantaged kids in his community that he probably forgot he had his gun with him.

verbaIuce on February 11, 2014 at 9:20 AM

So let me see if I get this right, he is claiming ignorance to the law (which is not an excuse under the law), which he helped to push and pass. And then claims he didn’t know that he could not carry a gun on school property. Plus he forgets he has the gun on him even though it weighs a couple of pounds. I see….someone said liberalism is a mental diease but to see it in action is priceless.
Sometimes I wonder where they find these liberals…do they look for them under a rock, do they grow them in the ground or do they pick them off a tree? Maybe some can enlighten me.

One_If_By_Land on February 11, 2014 at 5:46 PM

Look on the bright side when you get out of prison in 4 years now a convicted felon you can at least still vote.

gxbhkt on February 11, 2014 at 6:12 PM

Been looking for those stories of bullets ricocheting killing 6 people…. it happens all the time I am told. I just cannot find the stories.

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM

It looks like our tax dollars will soon be paying for the living expenses of yet another community organizer.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 6:35 PM

So let me see if I get this right, he is claiming ignorance to the law (which is not an excuse under the law), which he helped to push and pass. And then claims he didn’t know that he could not carry a gun on school property. Plus he forgets he has the gun on him even though it weighs a couple of pounds. I see….someone said liberalism is a mental diease but to see it in action is priceless.
Sometimes I wonder where they find these liberals…do they look for them under a rock, do they grow them in the ground or do they pick them off a tree? Maybe some can enlighten me.

Someone craps them out, and forgets to flush.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 6:37 PM

I for one, will not be standing by Fergie as a fellow gun owner.

He is a gun-grabbing fiend, and needs to be taken off the streets.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 6:41 PM

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 6:37 PM

Thanks Jack, I don’t know how I could have forgotten that one.

One_If_By_Land on February 11, 2014 at 6:42 PM

Been looking for those stories of bullets ricocheting killing 6 people…. it happens all the time I am told. I just cannot find the stories.

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM

You’re just not looking in the right place. If you check out some Looney Tunes cartoons (a favorite reference source for liberals) you will see that it happens all the time.

climbnjump on February 11, 2014 at 6:58 PM

First and foremost, and assuming the story is true, Im sure I speak for everyone when I say I’m most thankful it didnt go off when he was walking down a narrow school hallway. Their probably would’ve been at least six deaths and who knows how many more injured by the richochet. Which happens all too often.

verbaIdeuce on February 11, 2014 at 9:20 AM

So there I was, standing in my perfect shooting stance, my firearm pointed safely down range, my sites set squarely on the target. Then I pulled the trigger, and inexplicably six people dropped dead, and who knows how many lay wounded.

Since all who were present, saw my gun was aimed at my intended paper target when I fired, no one knew it was my bullet that caused all the carnage.

I simply packed up my gear, and quietly walked to my car, stepping over several bodies on the way.

Got away with one there.

True story. Really.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:40 PM

I heard Fergie’s lecture to the kids went something like this:

Now boys and girls, never ever carry a gun, like I do.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:42 PM

Got away with one there.

True story. Really.

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:40 PM

Hey, man, don’t even joke about stuff like that. It happens all too often.

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 7:43 PM

I want to see Fergie square off with Zimmerman, in a real quick draw showdown.

But that’s jut me

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:50 PM

I wonder if our resident libbies will give this young man a slap on the wrist:

Patrick Bryan Mitchell, a student at South River High School in Maryland, forgot that his shotgun was in his car after going hunting the night before, drove onto campus, and now faces expulsion, even though an investigation “revealed that Mitchell had no ill intent.”
An administrator found the shotgun after surveilling cars in the parking lot and spotting a shotgun shell in Mitchell’s car.
According to CapitalGazette.com, the administrator called the school resource officer who “retrieved an unloaded Mossberg 12-gauge shotgun” from Mitchell’s car, as well as a box of shotgun shells. He then called Mitchell to the office and handcuffed and arrested him.

CWchangedhisNicagain on February 11, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Flurry of progressive blog articles about how conservatives are lying about this guy’s identity/armed status/shoe size in order to manufacture a “nontroversy” in 3… 2… 1…

The Schaef on February 11, 2014 at 10:06 PM

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:40 PM

it happened because you pulled the trigger …. you are suppose to gently squeeeeze the trigger while concentrating on the front sight …..

conservative tarheel on February 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

He needs to suffer the consequences of the laws he helped to enact.

Concealed weapons are like underwear. You’re not thinking about them constantly, but you sure as hell know that you have them on.

justltl on February 12, 2014 at 8:27 AM

“but I really don’t think the state should be spending money going after this guy, prosecuting and possibly imprisoning him…”

No, let him suffer like the next innocent person who makes the same mistake will.

Nomas on February 12, 2014 at 9:42 AM

In which a good guy with a gun could end up in jail for four years

This moron is NOT a good guy. He actively worked to take away everyone’s second amendment rights. That makes him an evil thug. Give him life in the pen.

earlgrey on February 12, 2014 at 1:15 PM

It’s not just having the gun in the school. From the article:

“Dwayne’s reaction was to get his kids – he had about 50 of them – and make sure they were safe,” Giles explained. “He led them into the cafeteria and closed the doors.”

This gunman actually took 50 hostages, and refused to let them escape.
That should be a MAJOR felony. Death is too good for him, but it’ll do.

ReggieA on February 12, 2014 at 3:38 PM

JackM on February 11, 2014 at 7:40 PM

it happened because you pulled the trigger …. you are suppose to gently squeeeeze the trigger while concentrating on the front sight …..

conservative tarheel on February 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

You are correct sir!

JackM on February 12, 2014 at 9:13 PM

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