A Buffalo, N.Y. community activist who is well known locally for pushing for a highly restrictive 2013 gun control law has been arrested for — wait for it — carrying a gun illegally at a public elementary school.
The arrested gun-control advocate, Dwayne Ferguson, caused quite a scene at Harvey Austin Elementary School, reports local CBS affiliate WIVB.
At about 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, police acted on a pair of anonymous 911 tips. A battalion of cops quickly swarmed the school. The brigade included over a dozen squad cars, the SWAT team and K9 units. The Erie County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter and what appears to be an armored vehicle also turned up.
The school was immediately placed on lockdown. Parts of two streets were closed.
About 60 students who were still on campus participating in after-school activities were funneled to the cafeteria.
Cops searched the school room by room and would not let parents on campus until they were satisfied that no shooting threat existed.
Ferguson, 52, was at Harvey Elementary because he works as a mentor in an after-school program for disadvantaged students.
He said he frequently carries a pistol. He has a license but the license does not matter under the strict state law Ferguson helped pass.
Among much else, the 2013 law, deemed New York’s SAFE Act, made it a felony to carry a gun on school property, according to The Buffalo News.
While it had previously been illegal to carry a gun on school grounds, the new law bumped the crime from a misdemeanor to a felony in response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.
The community activist has claimed that he forgot he was carrying his gun in a felony gun-free zone he helped create.
Rev. James E. Giles, Ferguson’s friend and the president of Buffalo’s Back to Basics Outreach Ministries, vouched for this claim.
“I’m sure Dwayne went into the school not thinking he had the gun on him,” Giles told The Buffalo News.
Giles said Ferguson even asked police on the scene what was going on.
“Dwayne’s reaction was to get his kids — he had about 50 of them — and make sure they were safe,” Giles explained.