Friday, November 13, 2020

The FEC and the Federal Campaign Finance Law

Election Day information

Tuesday, November 3, 2020, is Election Day. The Federal Election Commission (FEC) administers the federal campaign finance laws, but has no jurisdiction over the laws relating to voting, voter fraud and intimidation, ballot access or election results. For the convenience of voters, the appropriate federal or state agency to contact is listed on this page.

How to file a complaint with the FEC

The Federal Election Commission administers and enforces the laws that govern the financing of elections for federal office—the U.S. House, Senate and President. Other election-related laws are not within the FEC's jurisdiction. Any person may file a complaint with the Commission if he or she believes a violation of the federal election campaign laws or FEC regulations has occurred or is about to occur. The Commission reviews every complaint filed. If the Commission finds that a violation occurred, possible outcomes can range from a letter reiterating compliance obligations to a conciliation agreement, which may include a monetary civil penalty. All FEC enforcement matters are kept confidential until they are resolved.

Monday, October 19, 2020

The Coronavirus and the Constitution

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus.

Most people infected with the COVID-19 virus will experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment.  Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.

The best way to prevent and slow down transmission is to be well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. Protect yourself and others from infection by washing your hands or using an alcohol based rub frequently and not touching your face. 

The COVID-19 virus spreads primarily through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose when an infected person coughs or sneezes, so it’s important that you also practice respiratory etiquette (for example, by coughing into a flexed elbow).

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Lawsuit seeks to stop Ocala face mask ordinance

Lawsuit seeks to stop Ocala face mask ordinance
Ocala Star-Banner
By Carlos E. Medina
Posted Aug 14, 2020 at 7:45 PM

Ocala-based attorney Christina Miller filed the legal action on Thursday, a day after the Ocala City Council voted to overturn the mayor’s veto of the mandate. Miller V. Ocala (PDF)

An Ocala attorney filed a lawsuit on Thursday seeking a temporary injunction to stop enforcement of the emergency face mask ordinance recently enacted by the Ocala City Council.

The suit, which Christina Miller filed on her own behalf, also seeks to permanently strike down the ordinance, arguing the measure is unconstitutional and an unlawful delegation of powers by the city.

The suit contends that the City Council ordinance shifts the responsibility of enforcement to business owners instead of itself.

"Ocala has not specifically enacted any legislation that actually requires individuals to utilize face coverings," according to the suit. "In a clear effort to circumvent the Constitutional question of governmental powers with regards to face mask mandates, Ocala has instead unlawfully delegated both its powers and responsibilities, of legislating and enforcing individual citizen’s choices with regards to face mask usage, to private business owners.

Additionally, the suit contends that forcing business owners to interject themselves into the private healthcare decisions of residents is unconstitutional.

Among the exemptions in the ordinance is one for those who demonstrate medical conditions that will not allow them to wear a mask. That, Miller argues, puts businesses in conflict with individuals’ constitutional privacy rights.

In the suit, she notes that the burden places business owners in a position that violates both the U.S. and Florida constitutions.

"In the absence of any lawful mandate, Floridians should be free to make their private healthcare choices free from the unwarranted intrusion of unqualified third parties," the lawsuit states.

Miller points out that while courts hearing more than a dozen lawsuits filed against face mask ordinances in other parts of Florida have largely sided with the government, this case was unique because the ordinance is vague and overly broad.

A call to Miller late in the afternoon on Friday was not immediately returned. Similarly, a message sent to Councilman Matt Wardell, who introduced the emergency ordinance, also was not immediately returned.

On Wednesday, the city council voted to override Mayor Kent Guinn’s veto of the ordinance.

The ordinance makes business owners responsible for encouraging face masks or risk a $25 fine. The ordinance compels businesses to post signs stating that face masks are required, to ask customers who are not wearing masks to wear one and to require all employees to wear masks.

But customers can ignore the encouragement, and no penalty can be brought against them.

In defending his veto, Guinn called the ordinance a toothless mandate that was more about symbolism.

"It’s a mandate that you don’t have to follow," he said.

The emergency face mask ordinance passed 4-1 on Aug. 4. On Monday, Guinn vetoed the ordinance, prompting Wednesday’s emergency meeting.

Wardell said the ordinance does not punish businesses if customers decline to wear masks while at their establishments.

On Thursday, Wardell defended the ordinance.

"I haven’t looked at every mask ordinance in the state, but I’ve got to imagine ours (the City of Ocala’s) is one of the softest, given the fact that it doesn’t actually mandate individuals wear a mask," Wardell said.

The lawsuit also comes on the heels of a decision by Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods ordering deputies not to wear masks in most instances and banning employees and visitors from wearing masks inside the sheriff’s office building.

That directive was in direct response to the Ocala face mask ordinance. The move drew widespread national attention as one of the first known public mandates against masks.

On Thursday, Woods eased the mask ban significantly when it came to lobby visitors. Originally, the sheriff’s lobbies were to remain a mask-free zone. Visitors who did not want to remove their masks could sit in their cars and wait for a phone call when it was their turn.

Sheriff’s officials now say visitors must briefly remove their masks to capture their faces on the security camera. After that, they can replace their masks.

The no-mask policy, however, continues for the more than 750 sheriff’s employees. Deputies will not wear masks while on duty, and administrative workers also will remain maskless while in the office. Exceptions to the no-mask policy include sheriff personnel working at the courthouse, the jail, in public schools, in hospitals and in dealing with people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or at high risk of complications from the disease. Read more

Marion County deputies ordered not to wear masks

Marion County deputies ordered not to wear masks
Ocala Star-Banner
By Austin L. Miller
Posted Aug 11, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Sheriff Billy Woods forbids his employees and those visiting his offices to wear masks in most circumstances as Ocala wrestles with mask mandate.

As the city of Ocala wrestles with an ordinance requiring face coverings for people inside businesses, Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told his employees they will not wear masks at work and visitors to his office can’t wear masks either.

Woods, in an email dated Aug. 11, said "my order will stand as is when you are on-duty/working as my employee and representing my Office – masks will not be worn."

Ocala City Council passed an emergency ordinance last week requiring people to wear masks inside businesses. Mayor Kent Guinn vetoed it Monday and the council will meet Wednesday to consider overriding the veto.

Marion County set a single-day record on Tuesday for the most deaths related to COVID-19, with 13 more deaths reported.

Ocala and other municipalities in Marion County also advise officers not to wear masks while on duty so their communication to people they encounter is clear. Nationally, there is no consistent approach. Officers have been disciplined for not following state directives to wear masks, but Florida does not have a state-wide order.

Woods has made some exceptions for officers to wear masks while working at the courthouse, the jail, in public schools, in hospitals and in dealing with people suspected of being infected with COVID-19 or at high risk of complications from the disease.

"For all of these exceptions, the moment that enforcement action is to be taken and it requires you to give an individual orders/commands to comply, the mask will be immediately removed," Woods said.

Woods said deputies who work special details or special events won’t be allowed to wear masks unless it falls under the exceptions he provided.

"As for special details and/or any special events (paid or not), masks will not be worn. Effective immediately the entity that has requested and has hired a deputy for a special detail will be given clear instruction by Darian Tucker at the time of their written request that masks will not be worn (unless one of the exceptions above applies). In addition, if you are the special detail deputy you will again advise the contact person that a mask will not be worn by you," according to the email.

The sheriff said if anyone confronts an employee about them not wearing mask, the employee should "politely and professionally tell them I am not required to wear a mask nor will I, per the Order of the Sheriff," and walk away.

"From that point on it will be my burden and responsibility to take care of the person and answer their problem, complaint or their question," Woods said.

For those visiting a MCSO office, Woods said "effective immediately, any individual walking in to any one of our lobbies (which includes the main office and all district offices) that is wearing a mask will be asked to remove it." He added, "in light of the current events when it comes to the sentiment and/or hatred toward law enforcement in our country today, this is being done to ensure there is clear communication and for identification purposes of any individual walking into a lobby."

Woods said MCSO lobbies have barriers that protect employees and the visitors. He said "if a person does not wish to remove the mask they will be asked to leave. If the individual is not comfortable with standing and waiting in the lobby with other individuals, politely ask for their cell number and advise them to stand outside or sit in their vehicle and you will text or call them with their completed transaction."

Woods said the decision was not easy, and pondered on it for the last two weeks.

"We can debate and argue all day of why and why not. The fact is, the amount of professionals that give the reason why we should, I can find the exact same amount of professionals that say why we shouldn’t. Since the beginning of this pandemic the operation of this office has not changed and no wearing of masks has been put in place," he said.

However, public health officials at local, state and national levels consistently advise that there is clear and mounting evidence that face coverings properly used are among the best methods to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Woods said at 900 employees, "our number of cases so far has proven that the current way we are approaching the issue is working."

At least 36 employees at the Marion County Jail, and seven outside the jail — including patrol officers — have tested positive for COVID-19. More than 200 inmates have tested positive. An infected nurse at the jail recently died.

Woods ended with, "this is no longer a debate nor is it up for discussion. Please keep in mind this entire pandemic is fluid and constantly changing the way things are done. However, my orders will be followed or my actions will be swift to address."

County Commissioner Carl Zalak told the Star-Banner that he supports Woods’ decision.

"I agree with the Sheriff base on his best judgment and I appreciate the way he handled it," the commissioner said.

City Councilor Matthew Wardell, who sponsored the city’s face mask ordinance, said while the Sheriff’s Office is Woods domain, he disagrees with his stance on mask.

Ocala Police Chief Greg Graham said the department issues masks to officers but while on duty, he doesn’t expect them to wear masks because he wants their orders to be clearly understood.

Belleview Police Chief Terry Holland also said officers on duty should not wear masks so the lines of communications are clear.

Chief Mike McQuaig of Dunnellon Police Department said he doesn’t require officers to wear a mask in their calls-for-service. He too wants the officers commands to be heard clearly.

Both Holland and McQuaig said officers are given masks. McQuaig said if a store requires an off-duty officer to wear a mask, then it’s the officer’s decision on whether to wear one or not. Read more

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Is a Florida Chief Judge Taking Cues From a Prosecutor?

Brad King, State Attorney - Fifth Judicial Circuit of Florida 

Jacqueline Azis, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Florida
& Somil Trivedi, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project
SEPTEMBER 10, 2018 | 1:00 PM

Prosecutors are some of the most powerful elected officials in our country. They decide what charges to file or dismiss, how severe the charges will be, whether to seek cash bail, and what plea offers are made. Through their lobbying associations, they also shape criminal statutes to their benefit, often blocking reforms that the community supports.

But while prosecutors wield immense control over the direction of our criminal justice system, they certainly can’t handpick the judges who hear their criminal cases.

Or can they?

In Marion County, Florida, Brad King — the elected state attorney and the county’s top prosecutor — believed he was losing too often in the criminal cases his office was prosecuting. Instead of upping his game, he managed to shift it in his favor, with the help of a judge whose job it is to guard the integrity of the judicial process.

On July 12, King sent a scathing letter to the administrative judge of Marion County, Judge James McCune, complaining about two of McCune’s colleagues, before whom King and his staff regularly appeared: Judge Robert Landt and Judge Thomas Thompson III. That letter was obtained by the ACLU of Florida through a public records request, and is being publicly released in full here for the first time.

King’s complaints were brazenly self-serving. Of Judge Landt, King asserted that his "rulings on such things as motions to dismiss, motions to suppress evidence, and motions to set bond, and his sentencings, are consistently more favorable to the defense than other judges." King threatened to assign fewer prosecutors to Landt’s docket, because "we expect little in the way of punishment for those defendants." As for Judge Thompson, King complained that he "grants continuance after continuance to defendants," in reference to a tool commonly used by judges to postpone proceedings and requested by both sides to allow proper preparation for trial. In his letter, King also formally demanded that the number of judges in the Marion County Criminal Court be reduced.

After sending his letter, King claimed that his issues with Landt relate to allegations of harassment of King’s female attorneys. However, these allegations were investigated and closed years ago. Moreover, King’s letter makes clear that adverse rulings, not those claims, are the reason King sought Landt’s removal.

Within days of receiving the letter, Chief Judge Sue Robbins, who oversees Judge McCune, gave King exactly what he wanted. Without consulting defense attorneys, whose clients’ cases are directly impacted by these changes, Robbins reduced the numbers of judges in the Marion County Criminal Court from four to two. Specifically, she removed Landt and Thompson — the judges King had criticized in his letter.

The two remaining county judges on the criminal docket both used to work as prosecutors for King. The judges who were removed — Landt and Thompson — were both up for re-election, with primaries on August 28. Landt ran against a current assistant state attorney working under King. That candidate proudly posted Landt’s reassignment letter on his campaign website, boasting that his competitor has been removed from the criminal bench.

It remains a mystery why a chief judge, who is charged with neutral oversight of a judicial district the size of Connecticut, took such an action after receiving King’s letter. Ruling for the defense, or not doling out sufficient "punishment," is not legitimate grounds for removal. This would be true even if the judges were consistently getting it wrong on the facts or the law — but they weren’t. Florida’s appellate courts regularly affirmed these judges over King’s objections.

Going forward, how can people who appear in Marion County Criminal Court feel they are getting a fair hearing or trial — knowing their judges have effectively been selected by the prosecution, or that they might fear removal if they rule on behalf of the defense?

What State Attorney Brad King did — seeking to influence who is on the criminal bench by sending a scornful demand letter to judges — is highly irregular, to say the least. On Robbins’ part, accepting the unreasonable demands of a state attorney is even more inappropriate. Her decision, shortly following King’s request, gives the appearance, at the very least, that she is easily pressured and, at worst, that she is biased toward the prosecution over the accused.

A prosecutor’s grievance should never become policy. Prosecutors aren’t kings and they don’t get to issue decrees. They — and the judges who oversee their cases — are public servants, accountable to us all. Read more

Saturday, July 18, 2020

John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80

Representative John Lewis
John Lewis, Towering Figure of Civil Rights Era, Dies at 80
The New York Times
By Katharine Q. Seelye
July 17, 2020

Representative John Lewis, a son of sharecroppers and an apostle of nonviolence who was bloodied at Selma and across the Jim Crow South in the historic struggle for racial equality, and who then carried a mantle of moral authority into Congress, died on Friday. He was 80.

His death was confirmed in a statement by Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Lewis, a Georgia Democrat, announced on Dec. 29 that he had Stage 4 pancreatic cancer and vowed to fight it with the same passion with which he had battled racial injustice. "I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life," he said.

On the front lines of the bloody campaign to end Jim Crow laws, with blows to his body and a fractured skull to prove it, Mr. Lewis was a valiant stalwart of the civil rights movement and the last surviving speaker from the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

More than a half-century later, after the killing in May of George Floyd, a Black man in police custody in Minneapolis, Mr. Lewis welcomed the resulting global demonstrations against police killings of Black people and, more broadly, against systemic racism in many corners of society. He saw those protests as a continuation of his life’s work, though his illness had left him to watch from the sidelines. Read more

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Ocala jail: 44 inmates, 10 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19

Ocala jail: 44 inmates, 10 staffers have tested positive for COVID-19

Forty-four inmates and 10 staffers at the Marion County Jail have tested positive for COVID-19, Sheriff Billy Woods said on Tuesday. That includes eight inmates who were isolated last week and wound up testing positive. An additional seven inmates are being examined to see whether they have contracted COVID-19. Read more

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

How the Obamas could easily win eight more years in the White House

Michelle Obama is currently even more popular in America than her husband, Barack.

How the Obamas could easily win eight more years in the White House
New York Post
By Michael A. Walsh

As the president of the United States shelters in place with the White House press corps, and Joe Biden gibbers senselessly into the GoPro camera in his Delaware basement, this fall’s national election has been thrown into a cocked tricorn by the coronavirus. Many of Donald Trump’s retail-politicking strengths — the huge rallies, his command of crowds — have been neutralized, and while he still has control of the narrative from his bully pulpit in the West Wing, the national media remains dead set against him, and puts the worst possible spin on every word he speaks.

Meanwhile, Biden and his wandering hands are safely confined to quarters instead of out on the campaign trail, which shields the Democrats from more possible fallout over not only his past behavior but his full-throated endorsement of Communist China throughout his career. The donkey party is thus free to market the cardboard-cutout version of its candidate, having finally accomplished their mission of running a generic Democrat against Orange Man Bad, without ever having to expose him to the general public.

No wonder there’s talk on the Left of canceling the conventions and running an all-mail election. The further away the country stays from reopening, the better their chances.

Still, as 2016 demonstrated, even when the fix is in, you never know. What the Democrats need in order to be sure of beating Trump is the perfect vice presidential candidate, one who will not only balance the ticket, push progressive causes, and check all the social-justice boxes but who will turn out the African American vote in droves without Biden’s having to say a word or lift a finger.

Biden’s already on record as saying he’ll choose a woman. But none of the defeated female candidates for the nomination, including Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, excited much interest from the Democratic base during the primaries, and while there’s a small Stacey Abrams boomlet currently going on, her record as the defeated candidate for Georgia governor doesn’t inspire much confidence — even if, in her own mind, she still thinks she won.

Adding Michelle Obama to Biden’s presidential bid would be an unstoppable ticket, and potentially give the Obamas eight more years in the White House.

So the choice is clear: Michelle Obama. Never mind that she has even less political experience than Hillary Clinton did when she ran for the White House, and has long said she disdains public office.

Currently, Michelle is in talks to possibly endorse Biden via a video and is said to be lending her name to a campaign fundraiser as early as next week, according to The Hill. "If she engages, God help Donald Trump, because she’s tough as nails and enormously popular," former Democratic Party chairman of South Carolina Dick Harpootlian told the outlet. With her husband finally having endorsed Biden last week, the stage is now set.

Here’s how it would work:
  • In the next month or so, Biden would announce Michelle Obama as his running mate. With a little reverse engineering of the Obama-Biden bumper stickers of 2008 and 2012, they’re good to go.
  • Michelle would immediately attract the undying worship of the national press corps. With the country still in lockdown, she can wave to Andrea Mitchell & Co. from the front door of her residences in Washington, DC ($8.1 million purchase price), Martha’s Vineyard ($11.75 million) or Chicago ($1.65 million).
  • Barack Obama, who manfully supports his wife in all her endeavors, would joke about being the First Husband and cite his familiarity with the White House as a qualification.
  • Nov. 3: With the black vote and the Bernie Sanders wing of the party solidly behind them, the Biden-Obama(s) team would defeat Trump in both the popular vote and the Electoral College, flipping Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and North Carolina and winning both houses of Congress.
  • Jan. 20, 2021: Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president of the United States.
  • Jan. 21: On live television, Joe and Dr. Jill Biden tearfully announce that the 78-year-old president is "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office," and that under the 25th Amendment, he’s resigning. Michelle Obama is now president of the United States and will not only fill out Biden’s term but will retain her eligibility to run again in her own right in 2024 when she will have turned 60.
  • Jan. 22: President Obama announces her choice for vice president …
However unlikely, it’s the smart play. How could the Republicans ever counter it?

Michael Walsh is an author and screenwriter. His next book "Last Stands: Why Men Fight When All Is Lost" (St. Martins), is out later this year.

Thursday, June 25, 2020

House passes Democrat-led bill for sweeping police reform in wake of George Floyd's death

House passes Democrat-led bill for sweeping police reform in wake of George Floyd's death

NBC News
By Rebecca Shabad and
Dartunorro Clark
June 25, 2020

BREAKING: U.S. House passes sweeping policing reform bill, largely along party lines, that aims to address systemic racism and police brutality in wake of the police killing of George Floyd; Minnesota Rep. Omar presided over the vote.

WASHINGTON — The House passed a sweeping police reform bill on Thursday largely along party lines to address systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.

"Exactly one month ago, George Floyd spoke his final words — ‘I can’t breathe’ — and changed the course of history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said on the steps outside the Capitol Thursday morning, flanked by House Democrats, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus, chaired by Rep. Karen Bass of California.

Americans have since been demanding that that "moment of national agony become one of national action," Pelosi said hours before the 236-181 vote.

Applause broke out in the chamber after the bill's passage. Three Republicans — Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan — broke ranks and joined Dems in supporting the bill.

"The George Floyd Justice and Policing Act will fundamentally transform the culture of policing to address systemic racism, curb police brutality and bring accountability to our police departments," Pelosi said. "It will save lives."

Bass said that it was not until the advent of cellphone cameras that stories of police abuse "were finally exposed to the world," and that deaths were previously "disregarded, not believed, not acknowledged."

"We are supposed to be the beacon of hope for human rights in other countries, and the Justice and Policing Act is a bill for human rights in our country," Bass said.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., presided over the afternoon debate as speaker pro tempore. Omar represents Minnesota’s 5th Congressional District, which covers the city of Minneapolis, where Floyd died on May 25 while in police custody after an officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes.

"This is the first step in bringing real change to policing in this country," said Omar in a statement following the vote. "My community has been crying out for justice and real reform for decades."

"This legislation is an important step in the right direction, but we can’t stop here, she said. "We must heed the calls of the people who are impacted by police brutality daily and restructure broken police departments across our country." Read more

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Yes your employer is legally allowed to confiscate your phone while you are at work.

Yes your employer is legally allowed to confiscate your phone while you are at work.
Avvo, attorney answer by Sagar P. Parikh
Business Attorney in Beverly Hills, CA

Q&A Asked in Anaheim, CA
Is it legal for a manager to take your cell phone away? And, in the event money goes missing from phone case, what can be done?

by CoreMark| 
October 05, 2018

More and more employers are banning cell phones in the workplace because they are distracting enough to be a serious safety issue for workers.

Most notably, General Motors has banned all employees, including its CEO, from walking around with their mobile phones while talking, texting or using other smartphone functions.

You already know the dangers of using your phone while behind the wheel, as vehicular deaths have spiked since the ubiquity of smartphones. But in many workplaces – think warehouses, construction sites, factories and other worksites with equipment and inventory – the distraction of a smartphone can have deadly consequences.

On top of that, they are "productivity killers," as a report called them after finding that 75% of employers surveyed said that at least two hours a day were lost to distractions like texting and the Internet. Read more

Can an employer ban the use of cell phones at work? How about audio and video recordings?
These questions bring up issues that have been the subject of recent litigation.

Yes, you can limit or even prohibit use of cell phones during work hours. Employees can be expected to give their undivided attention to the work you pay them to perform, and if that means cell phones need to be turned off or put away, you are entitled to make this request. However, employees should be allowed to use cell phones during their break and meal periods, as this time needs to be truly their own in order to satisfy the requirements of state law. Fair warning: if you attempt to prohibit cell phone use during all non-break time, you may receive some fairly aggressive push back. A more lenient policy may do the trick. Our standard language says, "Personal cell phone use should be kept to a reasonable limit during working hours. Reasonableness will be determined by your manager." This language gives your managers considerable discretion, but they should be trained to use the same standard of reasonableness for all employees to avoid claims of discrimination. Read more

Police in Norway Haven't Killed Anyone in Nearly 10 Years

Armed Police Officers on patrol Oslo Airport 
Police in Norway Haven't Killed Anyone in Nearly 10 Years

Police in Norway hardly ever use their guns, a new report released by the Scandinavian country's government shows. In fact, it's been almost 10 years since law enforcement shot and killed someone, in 2006.

Perhaps the most telling instance was when terrorist Anders Breivik opened fire in 2011 and killed 77 people in Utoya and Oslo. Authorities fired back at him, all right, but only a single time. In 2014, officers drew their guns 42 times, but they fired just two shots while on duty. No one was hurt in either of those instances.

Considering that police officers in the United States have killed more than 600 people this year alone, the report certainly is eye-opening. Of course, law enforcement officials in the United States face greater threats of violence while on duty.

Guns are not central to police activity in Norway, which is one reason why the law enforcement shooting rates are so low. As in Britain, police in Norway typically patrol while unarmed and only bear arms in extenuating situations.

In the past, experts have said that reevaluating U.S. law enforcement tactics--specifically having less of an emphasis on force and making face-to-face interactions more common--could help cut the shooting rates there, at least in the short term. A more complicated issue is the relative lack of trust in police officers in the U.S.

Sociologist Guðmundur Oddsson, speaking to Tech Insider, said Norwegians' higher sense of trust in law enforcement was perhaps one of the reasons for the country's low gun violence rates. "Trust is an extremely powerful mechanism of informal social control. In smaller, more ethnically homogeneous countries like Norway, building that trust is easy. People feel a sense of togetherness for many reasons, including the fact that most people look similar and hold similar beliefs," he said. Read more