Did Buncombe Sheriff candidate joke about killing gun owners?
Not really. But he came pretty close.
And in a state where pistol purchase permits have to be secured from the local sheriff, hearing this kind of joke makes permit holders a little uneasy.
R. Daryl Fisher is an Asheville Police Captain who is running for Buncombe County Sheriff. He is a Democrat. Earlier this month, he spoke to a local chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense - a national group seeking gun restrictions and confiscation.
At the 2:44 mark:
FISHER: Great question. How far do we go? Any weapon that's designed for use by the military, I think we should ban."
FISHER: "What about people who already have weapons? I'm going to tell you now - don't buy into the scare tactics. Don't believe the scare tactics. Because, you've heard people say 'You'll have to pry my gun from my cold dead hands.' Okay."
APPLAUSE & CHEERING
"Whenever you pass away we'll come get it, I don't know. I'm just saying. Joking just a little bit there. Now, the government cannot take a firearm that was legally purchased. So, based on the law today - if somebody purchases a firearm legally ... if we were able to pass a law tomorrow banning that firearm or banning the high capacity magazines or banning the mechanisms, there is case law that states we cannot enforce what happened yesterday when the law passed today. That's called an ex post facto law. It's unconstitutional. You just can't do it.
If you watch the video, it's clear that Fisher is playing to his audience (an activist group seeking more gun control and confiscation) with his delivery. His fake shrugging of the shoulders and sarcastic delivery conveys the impression that he's perfectly fine with prying guns from cold, dead hands - after he's killed that gun owner. This is how gun owners are interpreting his comments.
Fisher has responded to some of these critics on social media.
From his Facebook page:
To the voters and people of Buncombe County,
On Wednesday March 7, 2018, I was asked to address a group in West Asheville and relay information as it pertains to current gun legislation in NC. Attached is a link to the full video that was taken at this event. I took this opportunity to relay proposals on what I believe to be sensible gun legislation. As a candidate for Sheriff, I cannot enact legislation. If elected Sheriff I cannot enact legislation. But as a candidate for Sheriff, I can propose what I believe to be sensible gun legislation. It is up to our legislators to determine what becomes law.
If you want to know what my statements were, listen to all of the videos in their entirety. There is one statement that many up to now have taken offense to. That statement starts out with language similar to, "Don't believe the scare tactics," and I say that some gun enthusiast might say, "You will have to pry my gun from my cold dead hands." This is also a movie quote. The crowd laughed and I made a joke. I admit the joke was a mistake and I should not have joked. But I go on to relay that the government cannot take away any guns or any items that were legally sold before any new laws take effect. To do this would be unconstitutional because that would constitute what is called an ex post facto law. Responsible gun owners have nothing to worry about. We have to do something different because what has been done is not working.
I do not mind anyone disagreeing with me and I in fact encourage anyone who has a better proposal to please make that proposal. Being downright rude, making false statements, making half-truths or being utterly disrespectful is unacceptable. Proposing sensible gun legislation is only one of my values and beliefs. I have posted my vision of Justice for All and all of my values and beliefs in previous posts. Please do your own research, make an informed decision, and to properly voice your opinion, please do so on election day.
Fisher says the joke was a mistake and that he should not have said it.
OK. Apology accepted.
However, this doesn't mean he should be considered as a candidate for Sheriff.
As Sheriff, he would be in charge of all pistol purchase permits issued in Buncombe County. He'd also be overseeing the office in charge of processing local conceal carry permits. (He says he'd like to require CC permit holders to be more regulated, as well.)
Other comments he makes during this event raise more questions about his views on Second Amendment rights.
In this portion of his presentation, he is asked whether permits are public record. (They are not.)
He said: "Issued permits are not public record. Denied permits ARE public record. So, we can find out who's been denied."
Do you get the meaning here? He's implying that this information can be useful for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense.
To be clear: the reason gun control activists want permit holder information is to publicize it.
Gun controllers and media organizations like to post names and addresses of legal gun owners - which is an incredibly dangerous thing to do. So egregious is this tactic, that legislatures (like North Carolina) have made the information exempted from public information laws.
But the way Fisher deliverd this line (just like the way he delivered the "cold, dead hands" line) implied a conspiratorial, I'm-totally-with-you, wink-and-a-nod meaning.
Perhaps this is just the way Mr. Fisher speaks all the time to everyone, but the impression here is that he is a fellow believer in The Cause, and he might be interested in using public information in a way that endangers gun owners as well as those who sought to purchase guns but were denied by his office.
If he were running for any other office, this kind of rhetoric would not matter very much. However, as Sheriff, he is in charge of the very permitting process and the very personal information that these gun control groups seek to weaponize.
Will these kinds of comments win him enough support among his fellow Democrats in the primary? If it does, will it hurt his chances in the general election? And if he wins, will legal gun owners leave Buncombe County rather than interact with a Sheriff who seems openly hostile towards them?
Asheville seeks release of more police body cam footage
Attorneys for the City of Asheville are asking for the release of all of the body cam videos related to the beating and arrest of Johnnie Jermaine Rush in August. They went to court today to make their argument to a Superior Court judge.
Buncombe District Attorney Todd Williams, former Officer Chris Hickman, and Mr. Rush are all opposed to releasing it.
I can understand why the DA and the former officer would oppose the release. But the opposition from Mr. Rush seems odd.
The other videos are going to be released...
Cambridge Analytica's role in North Carolina's US Senate race
From NBC News:
But Chris Wylie, a 28-year-old Canadian who ran messaging for Cambridge out of its London office in 2014, said he worked on all the company's U.S. political campaigns in 2014, "and stopped at most of them, like Thom Tillis's campaign." Tillis ran for and won a U.S. Senate seat in North Carolina in 2014.
Wylie said that many foreign nationals worked on the campaigns, and many were embedded in the campaigns around the U.S. "It was not just me," he said. "Like 20 other people were. We had Canadians, British, Eastern Europeans, Lithuanians, Germans, Romanians, Greeks."
"We weren't just working on messaging. We were instructing campaigns on which messages go where and to who."
Wylie said that his largely foreign team instructed the Tillis campaign "on the messaging. We crafted his messaging, we targeted his messaging."
Here is how the Raleigh News & Observer's Colin Campbell framed it:
But from the same NBC story:
A spokesperson for the Tillis campaign said that Cambridge staffers could not have been embedded in the campaign in Raleigh because the Tillis campaign was based in Cornelius, N.C., which is outside Charlotte. NBC News, said the spokesperson, "apparently doesn't understand that a candidate's campaign and a state party are not the same things."
A spokesman for the Republican Party of North Carolina also said the Cambridge Analytica workers were not embedded in the Tillis campaign, but worked for the state party.
Admittedly, this is a far less sexy headline.