Gun control activist says he forgot he was ‘carrying’ while visiting school

Dwayne FergusonWhat do you call a community leader who urges his state to pass legislation that makes it a felony to carry a gun on school grounds and then violates that law? Several labels come to mind. One of them is hypocrite. Another is under arrest.

Buffalo, N.Y., station WIVB reports (via The Daily Caller) that 52-year-old Dwayne Ferguson, head of the Buffalo chapter of MAD DADS, rallied in 2013 in support of the NY SAFE Act, telling reporters at the time that the current gun control laws didn’t 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.

That was then. So you can imagine the surprise of community members when a reportedly armed man near the school or on the grounds turned out to be Ferguson. A dozen patrol cars, a SWAT team, K9 units, and the Erie County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter were summoned to Harvey Austin Elementary School in response to a 911 call that came in around 4:15 p.m.

The building was placed in lockdown and around 60 students who were in the building for after school programs were herded into the cafeteria as officers from every district in the city went room-to-room in twos and threes looking for a possible gunman. A portion of Sycamore Street and Walden Avenue were closed and parents were kept from the scene until a preliminary sweep of the school was complete.

In the preliminary sweep, no gunman was found, and school buses arrived at the school around 5:30 p.m. to take the children to School 91. But it took until at least 7 p.m. before the students began to arrive to be released to their parents.

On the second pass, which was more thorough, the SWAT team got lucky and found its man. Right around the same time Dwayne Ferguson — who was the man — got very unlucky.

His excuse? He forgot the gun was on his person.

Police say they don’t believe Ferguson had any ill intent, which sounds perfectly reasonable. In addition, he has a valid permit for the weapon. But bringing a loaded weapon onto school grounds was a definite no-no, and Ferguson has been charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon.

Superintendent Pamela Brown released a statement late Thursday night stating, in part:

I understand our parents’ concerns, and I express my deepest apologies for the anxiety they have experienced. I also apologize for the interruption of the students’ after school activities, while I commend them for following the instructions provided by our trained staff. Due to laws that are in place, and whether this was an intentional act or an oversight on the part of the individual in question, this is now a police matter.

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