John Rich asks fellow country artists Dierks Bentley, Tyler Hubbard to offer real ‘solution’ to gun control

NEW YORK – John Rich is challenging his fellow country music stars to a friendly debate over the Second Amendment. Rich, one half of the country duo Big & Rich, has never been one to shy away from politics. And when the "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" singer heard his friends and fellow artists … Continue reading “John Rich asks fellow country artists Dierks Bentley, Tyler Hubbard to offer real ‘solution’ to gun control”

NEW YORK – John Rich is challenging his fellow country music stars to a friendly debate over the Second Amendment.

Rich, one half of the country duo Big & Rich, has never been one to shy away from politics. And when the "Save A Horse, Ride A Cowboy" singer heard his friends and fellow artists Dierks Bentley and Florida Georgia Line's Tyler Hubbard were part of a new push for gun control, the proud Texan was really interested to hear their side.

"Successful artists, while they're only one person, or a couple of people, whatever it is, they have millions of fans," the 44-year-old told Fox News exclusively. "So when they speak, those millions of fans hear what they say."

Rich said he knows Bentley and Hubbard personally and has worked with them previously. He stressed that he has nothing but respect for them — but he does want to engage them in a conversation over the Second Amendment.

"The issue with gun control, you look at it and you go, 'These maniacs, these vicious people are taking a weapon and shooting people with it.' And then the flip side of that is, right now, I'm in New York City and back in Nashville is my wife and my two little kids," Rich said. "And if somebody breaks into my house, which rifle would you suggest I tell my wife to grab?

"Which one should she grab? The one that gives her the best chance at protecting her and my kids or the one that doesn't?" Rich asked fellow country music artists. "Those are the types of questions I would like to ask them."

The country music community has faced questions regarding gun control after recent mass shootings affected its fans.

In October 2017, a crazed gunman opened fire at the crowd of festivalgoers at the Route 91 Festival in Las Vegas, taking the lives of 59 people. It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

And in November of this year, a former Marine armed with a Glock 21 .45-caliber handgun with an illegal extended magazine opened fire on a packed California country music bar, killing 12 people, including a survivor of the Las Vegas festival shooting.

Several country stars have spoken out since the tragic events – both for and against gun control – notably Erich Chruch, who was one of the headlining acts at the Route 91 Festival. Church told Rolling Stone in a wide-ranging July interview that, while he considers himself a "Second Amendment guy," the National Rifle Association (NRA) is to blame for the mass shooting.

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Rich, who performed at the Route 91 Harvest Festival shortly before shots rang out at the show, told Fox News shortly after the tragic event that he gave his weapon to an off-duty police officer who was at his Redneck Riviera bar as they heard news of the shooting.

"I had a Minneapolis police officer off-duty hanging out. He came up to me and he showed me his badge and he says, 'I'm an officer… and I am not armed for the first time ever I can't believe it. Are you armed? I said, 'Yes sir, I am armed.' I have my concealed weapons permit and I said, 'Yes, I am armed.' He said, 'Can I have your firearm so I can hold point on this front door?'"

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Bentley and Hubbard's recent push includes asking for universal background checks and an effort to stop the "gun show loophole." They are asking for their fellow country artists to join their efforts.

But Rich is standing firm about his views on guns, telling us it's "only the bad guys [who] break the laws."

"When I go buy a firearm, I register and do everything [by the book]," he stressed. "I have my firearm and my concealed weapons permit to defend myself."

He added, "And so these artists that say that, by the way, I'm friends with all those guys…give us some kind of solution. What do you think we should do?"

You can find Sasha Savitsky on Twitter @SashaFB.

Michigan woman headed for church shoots, kills home intruder

Three Michigan women whose departure for church Sunday was interrupted by a home invader fought back against their assailant, with one of the women reportedly opening fire on the would-be thief and killing him.

Detroit Police said three women — ages 75, 55 and 29 — were leaving for church about 10:30 a.m. when a man confronted them in the home's driveway and forced them back inside. None of the women were identified.

Once in the house, the 55-year-old woman quickly retrieved a gun and fired two shots at the man, striking him at least once in the chest.

Neighbor Lashundra Craig told FOX2 she heard the shots ring out.

“I was about to go to church when I heard the shots," she said. "They put up the crime tape and I went to church."

The shooting took place after the man forced three women leaving for church back into a home on Detroit’s West Side. A crime scene investigator is seen walking outside the home. (FOX2)

Police said the man, who was believed to be in his 30s, was pronounced dead at the scene. The woman who pulled the trigger won't face any charges, as authorities said the shooting was an act of self-defense.

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Craig told FOX2 she gave the woman credit for taking action, saying the neighborhood of mostly senior citizens and single mothers on the city's west side is consistently targeted by criminals. Her own home was recently targeted by burglars in the middle of the day.

"I try to keep them away from my own home as much as possible but that's what we have to do,” she said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Harvard grad student told to move out after roommates find her legally owned firearms ‘uncomfortable’

A Harvard graduate student was told she has to move out of her apartment after her roommates found her legally owned firearms “uncomfortable” and anxiety-inducing.

Leyla Pirnie, a 24-year-old Alabama native, told the Washington Free Beacon that she felt roommates violated her privacy after searching her room without her consent and then confronting her over gun ownership.

"When I asked them why they were in my room to begin with, they each came up with completely contradicting stories … but one comment struck me in particular: ‘We saw that you had a MAGA hat and, come on, you’re from Alabama … so we just kind of assumed that you had something.’"

— Leyla Pirnie

“When I asked them why they were in my room to begin with, they each came up with completely contradicting stories (none of which made any sense), but one comment struck me in particular: ‘We saw that you had a MAGA hat and, come on, you're from Alabama… so we just kind of assumed that you had something,'” she said.

“I asked why they didn't just call me and ask me before intruding. One of the girls responded that fear took over her body and she felt compelled to search my room until she found proof. … I cannot make this up.”

Leyla Pirnie, a 24-year-old Alabama native, told the Washington Free Beacon that she felt roommates violated her privacy after searching her room without her consent and then confronting her over gun ownership. (Facebook)

This prompted her roommates to contact the landlord of the apartment, with one saying the presence of firearms makes others uncomfortable.

“We discussed with Leyla that all of us are uncomfortable with having firearms in the house, and that their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premise to which we are entitled,” one roommate wrote in an email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

"We discussed with Leyla that all of us are uncomfortable with having firearms in the house, and that their presence causes anxiety and deprives us of the quiet enjoyment of the premise to which we are entitled."

— Unidentified roomate

Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management, then asked Pirnie to vacate the premises, despite the authorities’ assurances that she complied with all gun-ownership laws.

“Since it's clear that Leyla wants to keep her firearms, it would be best for all parties if she finds another place to live,” Lewis wrote in an email.

‘Since it’s clear that Leyla wants to keep her firearms, it would be best for all parties if she finds another place to live."

— Dave Lewis, president of Avid Management

Pirnie told the outlet that she tried to reason with the roommates, saying she was a legal gun owner and was trained to handle the firearms, but the roommates were more concerned about someone else using the guns.

“Nobody has bothered to question, ‘Well, why do you want to have protection? Could it be because you've experienced something where you need to protect yourself as you see fit?'” she said, noting that she was a physically abusive relationship in the past. “I have a real and legitimate reason as to why I want to protect myself.”

The student and her father tried to defuse the situation and rejected Lewis’ request to move out of the apartment, but the property manager insisted his request had nothing to do with politics and was strictly practical.

"Not only is this a blatant violation of my privacy, but it’s also a violation of my rights."

— Leyla Pirnie

He went on to warn Pirnie that if others move out, she will be responsible for paying their rent, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Pirnie said the whole incident violated both privacy and rights, saying it “doesn’t seem right” that she has to bear the burden for her roommates’ feelings.

“Not only is this a blatant violation of my privacy, but it's also a violation of my rights,” she said.

Lukas Mikelionis is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LukasMikelionis.

Sanctuary city for gun rights? Washington state city mulls law to protect 2nd Amendment

REPUBLIC, Wash. – In this small town, near the Canadian border, Police Chief Loren Culp has become a celebrity after announcing he would not enforce a new sweeping gun control law passed by state voters in November.

“I felt it was such a blatant disregard for constitutional rights that I felt like I had no choice but to stand up for the people that I served, and that’s the citizens of Republic,” Culp said.

Initiative 1639 touches on many areas of gun control. It bars 18 to 20 year olds from buying semi-automatic rifles and makes it a potential felony if your gun ends up in the wrong hands. The law also creates enhanced universal background checks, mandates firearms training before buying a semi-automatic weapon and defines an assault rifle as “any rifle which utilizes a portion of the energy of the firing cartridge to extract the fired cartridge case and chamber the next round, and which requires a separate pull of the trigger to fire each cartridge.”

Voters across Washington state approved the measure 59-41. But in Ferry County, which includes Republic, nearly three out of four voters opposed it. Republic Mayor Elbert Koontz is among them.

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“Everybody in Republic has a gun,” said Koontz. “We don’t have a giant crime rate because nobody in their right mind would come to a house where people have guns and know how to use them.”

Chief Culp went even further than saying he would not enforce Initiative 1639, he also drafted an ordinance that would make Republic a gun rights sanctuary city. It would bar city employees from enforcing any gun law that infringes on the Second Amendment right to bear arms. When Culp announced his proposal to a recent city council meeting, most of the 250 residents attending gave him a standing ovation. It was a massive turnout, considering the city’s population is about 1,000 people.

But in Seattle, the reaction was very different.

“We are a society built on the rule of law,” said Renee Hopkins, CEO of Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which led the campaign for I-1639. “If we have leaders that are responsible for ensuring the laws are enforced, picking and choosing which laws they get to enforce, we have a huge problem.”

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The 2nd Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash. with 600,000 members nationwide, has joined the National Rifle Association in suing the state of Washington, seeking to overturn the new gun control measure. Its leader sees poetic justice in the political right getting into the sanctuary business, which up until now has been reserved for illegal immigrants.

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“I guess it’s a little unprecedented,” said Alan Gottlieb, President of the 2nd Amendment Foundation. “We’re moving into some unchartered territory in terms of defense of rights. In politics, there’s always pushback. When you try to take people’s rights away from them, they rebel. And that’s what you see in Republic, Wash.”

The gun rights sanctuary city ordinance will be discussed at the next city council meeting. Councilmember Rachel Siracuse isn’t sure which way she’ll vote. She is concerned that passing the ordinance might cost Republic much-needed state funding, or lead to a costly lawsuit.

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“I want to support our Second Amendment rights with all that I am, but yet I also want to protect our little city,” said Siracuse.

The city council could vote on the measure before the new state gun law goes into effect January 1, 2019. The state’s attorney general, Democrat Bob Ferguson, is a gun control supporter. His office said he would review the ordinance if it passes.

Dan Springer joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in August 2001 as a Seattle-based correspondent.

Oklahoma homeowner shoots, kills intruder 5 years after shooting another would-be burglar

If a would-be a burglar in Tulsa, Oklahoma needs any advice, it’s to stay far away from Charles Sweeney's property.

Just over five years and a month since Sweeney shot a man who was breaking into his house, the same thing happened Tuesday morning – except this time, the situation turned deadly.

"He comes into view, and BLAHM, that 9 millimeter is real loud inside the house," Sweeney told FOX23.

The Tulsa Police Department said the incident happened around 9:08 a.m., and when officers arrived at the home the alleged intruder, Donald Stovall, was found dead.

Officers said Stovall had crawled through a bathroom window into the home when Sweeney confronted him. It was during that confrontation Stovall was fatally shot.

"He brought this on himself, I have no sympathy," Sweeny told FOX23.

"I thought my life was in danger, I shot him, and I’ll do it again"

— Charles Sweeney

The shooting on Tuesday came just over five years after the homeowner was involved in a similar situation. In October 2013, he shot one of two intruders at his home, seriously injuring the man. Both burglars subsequently pleaded guilty to charges in that case and are in prison, according to the Tulsa World.

"This is the second time I've shot someone, and I've escorted at gunpoint at least half a dozen people off the property," he said.

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Tulsa Police briefly interviewed Sweeny before letting him go and said that people have the right to defend themselves in their homes.

Police said Donald Stovall crawled through a bathroom window into Charles Sweeney’s home when he was confronted, then fatally shot. (Tulsa Police Department)

"If you are in your home and you have an intruder come in and you feel that you are in fear of your life or the life of someone else who may be in your home, you are well within your rights to defend yourself,” Captain Karen Tipler told FOX23.

Sweeney now has a warning for any other potential criminals that may target his house: "I thought my life was in danger, I shot him, and I'll do it again."

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @travfed

Dem wanting social media scrutiny for gun-license applicants has violent, tax-delinquent past: reports

Be careful what you tweet, if you hope to someday lawfully own a firearm in New York state.

A Democratic state lawmaker from Brooklyn has submitted a bill calling for all gun-license applicants to let the government review their social media posts going back three years and their internet searches going back one year.

Investigators would then look "any good cause for the denial of a license," such as racial slurs, threats of violence and terrorism-related posts.

But the bill's sponsor, state Sen. Kevin Parker, has a history of his own legal skirmishes.

Parker was convicted in 2010 of roughing up a New York Post photographer – and allegedly did the same to a traffic agent in 2005, but avoided punishment by agreeing to undergo anger management training.

In addition, government records cited by the Post in 2017 indicated Parker owed more than $50,000 in property taxes and water bills.

"I need a raise," Parker joked when interviewed by the Post. “I’m considering becoming an Uber driver upstate.” He said he and his brother inherited two properties, and their tax burdens, from their parents after they died.

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As for his background-check bill, gun-license applicants would surrender their passwords for Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram accounts, and subject to scrutiny their search histories on Google, Yahoo, and Bing search engines.

Parker's proposal followed the Oct. 27 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. The suspect gunman allegedly posted anti-Semitic online before killing 11 people.

The New York Legislature's session begins in January, but no vote on Parker's bill has been scheduled.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Bradford Betz is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @bradford_betz.

South Dakotans may soon be able to carry concealed handguns without a permit

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – After years of unsuccessful attempts, supporters of legislation that would allow people to carry concealed handguns without a permit in South Dakota anticipate revived prospects once GOP Gov.-elect Kristi Noem takes office in January.

The legislation languished under retiring Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, but Noem in her campaign offered support for a so-called constitutional carry law. GOP state Sen.-elect Lynne DiSanto, who as a member of the state House of Representatives sponsored a permitless concealed carry bill that Daugaard vetoed, said such legislation is likely in the upcoming session and she's optimistic about its prospects.

"There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor," said DiSanto. "I think under a new governor it's very likely to pass."

"There are a lot of Republicans that are very excited to have a conservative governor. I think under a new governor [concealed carry legislation is] very likely to pass."

— South Dakota state Sen.-elect Lynne DiSanto

Daugaard has said the state's current gun laws are reasonable. Right now, it's a misdemeanor for someone to carry a concealed pistol or to have one concealed in a vehicle without a permit. At the end of October, there were nearly 108,000 pistol permits in South Dakota, according to the secretary of state's office.

Daugaard vetoed DiSanto's proposal in 2017 and also rejected a similar measure in 2012; constitutional carry legislation failed during the 2018 session after he issued a veto threat. Bill supporters have argued that getting a concealed pistol permit can be burdensome.

Backers are likely to get a boost from Noem, who triumphed over Democratic state Sen. Billie Sutton in the Nov. 6 election. Noem in January urged passage of a permitless carry bill.

At the time Noem didn't endorse a specific plan, though her campaign said she supported the policy "in principle." Transition team spokeswoman Kristin Wileman said in a statement this week that Noem won't commit to legislation until she can review its text, but said she's a strong 2nd Amendment supporter and thinks provisions like constitutional carry can "protect and even strengthen this right for South Dakotans."

"The governor-elect will work to find a way that law enforcement and gun-right proponents can come together around a solution," Wileman said.

Staci Ackerman, executive director of the South Dakota Sheriffs' Assn., said the group hasn't discussed 2019 legislation yet. But she said the organization supported a bill in the 2018 session that allowed permitless carry for state residents with a South Dakota driver's license or identification card; the measure didn't advance out of the Senate.

The 2019 session is scheduled to run Jan. 8 to March 29. Republicans will control both houses of the Legislature as well as the governorship.