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Mar 12, 2018 2:00 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Distant School Shootings Reverberate For A Mayor In East Hampton Village

East Hampton Village Mayor Paul Rickenbach. JON WINKLER
Mar 13, 2018 11:59 AM

On Sunday, February 18, dozens of people gathered on the Hook Mill green to honor 17 people who were killed on Valentine’s Day in the high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. One of those in front of the East Hampton Village landmark was Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., who gave a heartfelt speech in front of the crowd.

“Without question, the time has arrived to have a renewed debate at the national level to address meaningful gun legislation reform,” the mayor said at the time. “While supportive of the meaningful intent contained in the Second Amendment of our Constitution, the pendulum has swung too far in the wrong direction, resulting in wanton and unprovoked gun violence toward mainstream America.”

In December 2012, after 26 people, most of them young children, were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, Hook Mill in East Hampton Village was the site of 26 Christmas trees, which residents and visitors were invited to decorate to commemorate the victims.

At that time, too, there was a village-sanctioned vigil where Mr. Rickenbach gave a speech noting how such “horrific acts of violence” pained him as a father and as a grandfather.

This year, nearly three weeks after speaking at the vigil in February, Mr. Rickenbach sat comfortably in his office at Village Hall on a Friday afternoon, in a relaxed sweater with classical music playing in the background. Despite the calm and friendly environment, the Parkland shooting and a number of other shootings in the country were still on the mind of the mayor. He pointed out how frequently these “heartbreaking” events keep happening.

“I think we have to push the pause button and come together as members of the human race and recognize that something’s lacking in the equation,” Mr. Rickenbach said. “We’re not doing enough. A lot of well-intending good souls are attempting to step up to the plate to see if we can work together to somehow minimize this unfortunate bloodshed.”

Mr. Rickenbach says his personal investment in this issue is “first and foremost” based on the fact that he’s “a member of the human race” speaking out about the loss of human life. He hopes to use his position as mayor as a “bully pulpit,” he said, to ask how people can work together to reach a solution.

“I have moral difficulty with the fact that otherwise well-meaning and well-intending elected officials cannot grapple with the issue that’s staring us in the face,” said Mr. Rickenbach, who has run for mayor over the years under the “Hook Mill Party” banner, which is neither Democratic nor Republican. “To the extent applicable, I think the National Rifle Association holds dollars in front of many of our elected representatives—and when money talks, people walk.”

When asked for his thoughts on gun control, Mr. Rickenbach said that while he is a firm believer in the Second Amendment, the scope of weaponry available to the general public today is “absurd.” He added that he would like to see tighter restrictions on certain weapons and added that the country has fallen “woefully short of the mark” in addressing mental health in America.

He accused the Trump administration of “punting the ball,” as he put it, to other lawmakers. As he did in his speech at the vigil, Mr. Rickenbach referenced Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who said shortly after the Parkland shootings that it was “not the time” to discuss gun reform measures.

Mr. Rickenbach said he feels inspired by the teens who survived the Parkland shooting who are taking stands against current gun laws and the government’s lack of action.

“Quietly, they made my eyes swell up,” Mr. Rickenbach said. “I said to myself, ‘Maybe they’ll listen to these kids.’ That’s why I have faith in our country. We’re going through a bad phase right now—but we’ll get there.”

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Hats off to Mr. Rickenbach and to the brave students who have said "enough is enough" and have made the conscious decision to take back their future. We hear you!!
By johnj (980), Westhampton on Mar 15, 18 10:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
Come on Mr. Rickenbach, let's talk turkey. What exactly are you suggesting, in context of "meaningful gun legislation reform" and "supportive of the meaningful intent contained in the Second Amendment."

I think those who hold the INTENT of the Constitution near and dear know the answer to that.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 10:32 AM
Mr. Rickenbach can surely speak for himself, but it sounds as if he's among the majority of Americans who as of early March all polling shows are in favor of stricter gun laws: universal background checks, mandatory waiting periods, bans on assault weapons, age limits, access restrictions for felons and the mentally ill, e.g.
As for the Constitution, you do realize the 2nd A does not guarantee unlimited rights, do you not?
By June Bug (2432), SOUTHAMPTON on Mar 15, 18 11:20 AM
Unfortunately, none of that would ultimately stop what transpired in Parkland. Universal background check... wasn't an issue. Mandatory waiting period...wasn't an issue. Bans on "assault weapons"...won't stop a driven evil person and does not even consider what to do with millions of "assault weapons" let alone millions more of other guns and weapons. Age limits... likely unconstitutional, and doesn't really solve much - think Newtown shooter who used his mothers gun. Access restrictions for felons ...more
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 11:55 AM
> "access restrictions for felons and the mentally ill...."

As usual, little Miss June Bug, you are speaking from an uninformed position: felons are already Prohibited Persons and have no legal access to a firearm, for all the effect that has!

As for the "mentally ill" part, I agree, but your going to have a heck of a battle with the mental health profession.

As for the Constitution, I'm aware of what it says, and where the Supreme Court had set it's limitation, so don't ...more
By Frank Wheeler (1811), Northampton on Mar 15, 18 2:53 PM
Felons have no obstacles from buying firearms in situations where background checks aren't required.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 15, 18 2:54 PM
There are in fact provisions that allow felons to own firearms. The free market and responsible firearm owners are incredibly self-policing in this regard as well. Felons in general are NOT permitted to possess a firearm. Do you really think they want a paper trail that leads to them???? They will buy guns on the street - probably stolen.

There HASN'T been one instance of mass shooting - particularly that of which is the focus of this article and recent events - where a firearm was purchased ...more
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 5:48 PM
Yeah, that's what I said. Felons can legally buy guns.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 15, 18 5:56 PM
If they're adjudicated as such. Why aren't private sales to felons a problem you might ask? Felon in possession of a firearm charges require law enforcement to prove that a person is a felon and that he knowingly possessed a firearm. Much like proving someone possessed a controlled substance. This is why felons prefer obtaining firearms on the street, more often than not, stolen, and NOT via private sale.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 9:29 PM
That's a lot of words to say: "yes, current laws don't prevent felons from legally buying guns in situations that don't require background checks"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 15, 18 9:53 PM
That's even more words to say: "criminals follow laws."

By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 10:32 PM
And even if we don't see eye to eye on whether it's a problem that felons can buy guns, at least we agree that it can and does happen.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 15, 18 11:18 PM
Felons can buy guns anywhere. Everything happens in life. That doesn't mean we have to legislate everything at the expense of the law abiding, especially when it's already illegal.

By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 12:20 AM
Idk about EVERYTHING, but felons being able to buy guns legally without background checks is certainly one thing.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 6:58 AM
If only that had anything to do with the problem at hand.

Not ONE example of a mass event being perpetrated at the hand of a felon who obtained a firearm by passing a background check.

NOT ONE!
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 9:43 AM
I'm just correcting the misinformation that "felons...have no legal access to a firearm"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 9:49 AM
Felons do have legal access, under certain circumstances.

This statement is false however.... "felons being able to buy guns legally without background checks." Felons can either buy firearms legally, or they can't. The background check is irrelevant to the illegality. Felons deemed expunged and rights restored, are ok. Felons in and of themselves, commit additional felonies by mere possession if that can be proven.










By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 10:01 AM
Gun possession by a felon without restored gun-rights is a crime. Sale is only a crime if the seller knowingly makes the transfer to a felon.

Where there's no requirement to find out, how would a seller know?

Ergo, it's a legal sale.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 10:14 AM
The sale is a crime committed BY THE FELON who has not had his/her rights restored.

To suggest that a private gun sale does not involve any questions or interaction is ludicrous. ANYONE who transfers a firearm in violation of the law (TO A FELON) can be held strictly liable for any civil damages caused by the buyer's use of the weapon.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 10:26 AM
That a private gun sale can be completed without any questions is reality.

Several states have laws stating that it's illegal to knowingly transfer a gun to a convicted felon without requiring that they find out.

The crime of possession is committed by the felon. The transfer crime is committed by the seller where they knowingly transfer to a prohibited person.

The liability for failing to ensure a buyer is not prohibited from gun ownership should be criminal. I can't ...more
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 10:38 AM
Expanding the background check requirement makes no sense as a response to mass shootings (even though that is how it has been presented), because the perpetrators of these crimes, typically either have actually passed background checks or could do so because they do not have disqualifying criminal or psychiatric records.

Mar 16, 18 10:51 AM appended by Po Boy
So one can only wonder what the real agenda is here, and that is simple...gun control...AKA PEOPLE CONTROL.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 10:51 AM
So maybe some of the acts they committed, like getting kicked out of school for violent behavior, should be a disqualifying factor with mandatory reporting to NICS.

I'm not proposing we expand the background check requirement to private sales in response to mass shootings, I'm simply pointing out how felons can legally buy guns contrary to Frank Wheeler's belief above.

Mar 16, 18 10:57 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
I'd still love to know where you got that tidbit about civil liability, if you don't mind.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 10:57 AM
Felons who are prohibited from possessing firearms CAN NOT "legally buy guns." Let it sink in!!

Your response to Frank Wheeler was inaccurate as well..."Felons have no obstacles from buying firearms in situations where background checks aren't required."

FALSE! Of course there are obstacles... current federal and state law, the due diligence of the seller, the burden to the seller that they are responsible for what transpires from the sale...
Mar 16, 18 11:18 AM appended by Po Boy
BTW, Frank Wheelers statement: "felons are already Prohibited Persons and have no legal access to a firearm" is ACCURATE. We both know he was referring to felons in the core sense of those not permitted to possess firearms.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 11:18 AM
In some jurisdictions, the sale of a firearm where the buyer is not known to be prohibited from owning firearms is legal WITHOUT ANY REQUIREMENT that the seller confirm that the buyer is not prohibited from owning firearms.

That's a LEGAL sale to a felon. There are NO LEGAL OBSTACLES that would prevent that transfer from taking place.

Are you going to ignore my request of support for your claim about civil penalties for transfers to prohibited persons like you did on the 2-3% number ...more
Mar 16, 18 11:24 AM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
As to your append, maybe we should ask Frank: Hey Frank, were you already aware that felons had means of obtaining guns legally? Were you specifically referring to the crime of possession, or did you think that the law prevented legal transfer of guns to felons?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 11:24 AM
"That's a LEGAL sale to a felon."

But that's not what Frank Wheeler wrote, take it on it's value, not what YOU want it to be. You are ONCE AGAIN changing the narrative to fit your argument. He wrote: "felons are already Prohibited Persons and have no legal access to a firearm.:

And they are. The felon is committing...wait for it... a FELONY.

You can bring up whatever you like, it's encoded in state law in many cases, and I can't help you understand common sense.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 11:56 AM
The fact is that the can access a firearm legally, it's possession that's a crime. A transfer crime occurs when the seller transfers the firearm to a person they know is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

Many states don't require those private sellers to verify the buyer is not prohibited from possession, ipso facto, legal access.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 12:00 PM
And this has what to do with the particulars behind the mass shooting events we've seen?
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 12:10 PM
It doesn't, it's correcting the assertion that felons has no legal access to firearms.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 12:13 PM
Federal law in prohibits any person convicted of a felony from purchasing or possessing any type of firearm. It's that simple.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 1:27 PM
But sellers aren't always required to check whether their buyer is prohibited from purchasing or possessing any firearms.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 1:54 PM
And they shouldn't have to, but yet even so, they can be held accountable and liable for actions that result from the sale. What would you do?

Let's make school shootings illegal. That should make everyone happy.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 5:50 AM
How are they held accountable? You still failed to support your point about civil penalties, and we've already gone over how sellers in states like Georgia and Kentucky can make transfers without knowing the buyer's NICS status.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 18, 18 8:48 AM
State law supports the point of sellers being held liable and accountable.
Mar 18, 18 1:34 PM appended by Po Boy
You failed to respond to "what would you do if you were selling a firearm/"
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 1:34 PM
I'd check in with my state's laws on the subject. Outsourcing the sale to an FFL altogether seems like a safe bet.

That liability simply doesn't exist in every jurisdiction.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 18, 18 1:38 PM
So you would conduct a background check on the individual through an FFL or local authorities since you didn't know the indivual.

You just summarized the vast majority of private sales.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 1:52 PM
Yes, a majority, not all of them.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 18, 18 2:05 PM
Po Boy , you have thoughts and prayers to stand by. Let us know how that’s working.
By Fred s (2495), Southampton on Mar 15, 18 12:05 PM
It's not my place to question God's plan. But God' plan it is, so as tragic, heart breaking and unfortunate as it is, it is working as intended...like it or not.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 1:34 PM
Po Boy's god likes dead kids.
By VOS (1188), WHB on Mar 15, 18 3:20 PM
My God loves us all.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 15, 18 5:50 PM
All these high school kids are moved enough to walk out for gun control. But can't be bothered to stand up for the weird kid in their class getting bullied and screwed with daily. Meanwhile, red flags on the kid are being waved at every turn.

Some stand they're taking, eh Mr. Rickenbach?
By Mr. Snerdley (392), Southampton on Mar 15, 18 1:46 PM
1 member liked this comment
The US has always had a high level of gun ownership - in fact per capita gun ownership has been almost level over the past century. What has changed is the disintegration of family cohesion, drug use, mental health, and most prominently, the glorification of violence in the media. Drive around poor neighborhoods and you'll frequently see bust stops adorned with movie posters depicting some desperado with a girl in one hand and a gun under the other. "Get Rich or Die Trying" is the message Hollywood ...more
By Funbeer (260), Southampton on Mar 15, 18 4:15 PM
1 member liked this comment
Yet I don't see anyone willing to take on the fact that our culture as a whole is in decline. What's changed in the past the most over the past 30 or 40 years, it isn't the gun, its the people. We have abandoned traditional values and culture and our liberal media work overtime to normalize the most deviant behaviors. Violence is glorified in movies and television, popular music debases women, parents have given their children over to schools to raise and the mass secularization has seen too ...more
By Preliator Lives (390), Obamavillie on Mar 16, 18 6:41 AM
3 members liked this comment
Is that a policy proposal, or just a wagging finger?

A derisive comment is not really how you "take on the fact that our culture as a whole is in decline" right?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 7:04 AM
preliator lives: Your comment is the most accurate, concise explanation of the situation we , as a nation, find ourselves in.
By bigfresh (4317), north sea on Mar 16, 18 7:34 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes, of course society shouldn't groom future mass murderers, now how do we achieve that?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 7:40 AM
Its an acknowledgement of how the world is today.
By Preliator Lives (390), Obamavillie on Mar 16, 18 8:04 AM
I guess my grandfather's generation also thought mine ruined everything.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 8:09 AM
1 member liked this comment
Preliator Lives nailed it!

We as a society are experiencing the unintended consequences of years of liberal polices, action and behavior. I'll add in abandoning respect and value for human life and lack of respect for authority at any level.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 10:33 AM
I'll add in we eat too much processed food and not enough raw vegetables. That HAS TO be messing the kids up all kinds of ways.
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 10:39 AM
Whole milk, too.

It sure is easier to blame an inanimate object though. I'm sure Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach of the Hook Mill Party would agree.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 10:47 AM
1 member liked this comment
Easier to legislate through public policy, too!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 10:52 AM
Mandate and ban, too!
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 11:11 AM
1 member liked this comment
Like the mandated registration and background checks required for NFA firearms.

That's worked pretty well at keeping them out of mass murderers' hands!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 11:25 AM
Not that it was ever a problem, but you'd like to think so I'm sure, but more likely, it's the $30,000 price tag.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 11:48 AM
But why would someone planning to commit a crime care what it costs?

Aren't criminals just going to steal their guns from law-abiding gun owners anyway?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 11:52 AM
YES, that would be the preferred method for the criminal element, and why universal background checks on private sales simply penalize the law abiding.





By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 12:06 PM
So then why is the NFA successful?

Why aren't those firearms equally likely to be used to commit crimes?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 12:10 PM
Because they cost $30,000.

By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 16, 18 1:22 PM
Do criminals care what they cost? I thought they just steal them anyway?
Mar 16, 18 1:51 PM appended by Fore1gnBornHBgrown
The simple answer is: "NFA weapons generally aren't used in crimes because they're hard to get"
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 16, 18 1:51 PM
If you can afford to spend $30K on a gun you're going to lock it in a safe, and that makes it rather hard to steal. Plus, folks that have those toys don't advertise it, and if you have an NFA firearm you're also probably armed to the teeth otherwise. Not good odds for a thief surviving a burglary attempt.
By Funbeer (260), Southampton on Mar 17, 18 5:04 PM
"The simple answer is: "NFA weapons generally aren't used in crimes because they're hard to get"

Not at all. You see Fore, you continue to blame the gun for a human act. THE real answer is, because NFA is highly regulated, and only the law abiding follow regulation.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 5:46 AM
That doesn't make any sense with the rest of your views. If criminals don't care about regulations, then the strength of regulation on NFA arms wouldn't affect their use in crime.

The fact is that they're not widely available, heavily controlled, and owners take strong measures to protect them from falling into the wrong hands.

Lessons to learn for gun owners and legislators alike!
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 18, 18 8:56 AM
Criminals don't follow the law. NFA regulated firearms are not the preferred manner to acquire firearms...that would be on the street.

It's that simple.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 1:32 PM
So what is it about non-NFA guns that makes them more likely to be used in a crime?

That they're more readily available on the street? Why are they more readily available on the street?

Is it because they're a lot easier to obtain legally?
By Fore1gnBornHBgrown (6458), HAMPTON BAYS on Mar 18, 18 1:35 PM
No Fore, it's because criminals prefer to get them through nefarious means. Criminals don't follow the law.
By Po Boy (4073), Water Mill on Mar 18, 18 1:48 PM
1 member liked this comment
Guns are ubiquitous on our streets. The justice dept. knows where all the guns are and should order a massive effort to remove guns from the hands of criminals. They just don't want to do it. How will disarming law abiding citizens make us safer? Quite the contrary, we will be victimized by gun-toting criminals whie the police stand by and watch.
By Taz (615), East Quogue on Mar 16, 18 11:41 AM
2 members liked this comment
And HOW does the Justice Dept. know where "all the guns are" - what do you mean by that, specifically?

I do agree the police will stand by and watch because they can protect their own families. The rest of us (non-gun owners) are second-class citizens.
By Funbeer (260), Southampton on Mar 17, 18 5:08 PM