As the Death Toll Rises, The Great Gun Debate Rages On

From the Debates at home to the debate abroad, the U.S. needs to address and take a firm stance on gun control as the death toll rises. Everyday more people are dying from gun related deaths and nobody has address the real issue which is not the second amendment but finding better ways to regulate the gun trade in America. Here is a compilation of events that will make any American whether for or against gun control to think twice about what is really important.

Hitler Gun Control

When Ohio’s school board president posted her opposition to gun control she used Adolf Hitler’s image to get her point across, while a well known conservative commentator argued about the efforts to restrict guns he commented that if the Jews in Poland had more arms there would of been more survivors of the Holocaust. In the months since the Newtown shooting in Connecticut, some gun rights supports have compared the U.S. gun control efforts to Nazi restrictions on firearms arguing the government is leaving the people defenseless against tyrants reports the Associated Press. Isn’t that what the military is for? However some experts argue that the argument distorts history since Hitler loosened tight gun laws governing World War I Germany evening barring Jews from owning weapons and moved to take them away. Oh those fact checkers strike again. Gun advocates who cite Hitler in the U.S. gun debate fail to realize that Jews in the 1930s Germany were a small population with few guns before Nazis take over, even though it fits the current debate the truth is that Hitler’s firearms laws made no difference in the Jews’ survival. As historian Steve Paulsson, an expert whose family survived the city’s destruction, said, “Objectively, it might have made things worse” if the Jews who fought the Nazis in the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising in Poland had more and better guns. Nonetheless the comparison remains strong online as former Major League Baseball pitcher John Rocker wrote in January, “Absolute certainties are a rare thing in this life, but one I think can be collectively agreed upon is the undeniable fact that the Holocaust would have never taken place had the Jewish citizenry of Hitler’s Germany had the right to bear arms and defended themselves with those arms.” National Rifle Association President David Keene thinks the analogy is appropriate – Gov Andrew Cuomo depicted as Hitler at a New York rally in February- during an radio interview on March 1 saying, “Folks that are cognizant of the history, not just in Germany but elsewhere, look back to that history and say we can’t let that sort of thing happen here.”

However according to the Associated Press, the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish civil rights group, has asked that Hitler and the Nazis be kept out of the debate saying the rhetoric “is such an absurdity and so offensive and just undermines any real understanding of what the Holocaust was about. If they do believe it, they’re making no serious examination of what the Nazi regime was about.” As Harcourt explains, “To suggest that the targeting of Jews in any of the gun regulations or any of the other regulations is somehow tied to Nazis’ view of guns is entirely misleading because the Nazis believed in a greater deregulation of firearms. Firearms were viewed, for the good German, were something to which they had rights.” U.S. gun rights advocates disagree pointing to the 1943 Warsaw ghetto uprising where 700 armed Jews fought off  a large German force for days until they fled to tunnels and the ghetto was burn to the ground house by house. The problem with this argument as Paulsson points o9ui is that if the Polish Jews would of limited their resistance the Nazi troops might not have destroyed the ghettos allowing more to survive and escape, but when they chose to fight other times in 1930s and 1940s Poland it incited vicious counter attacks. However, Heller a gun activist said the uprising and ore guns might not have stopped the Holocaust but gave the Jews a fighting chance and saved many from the concentration camp according to the Associated Press. But Paulsson, whose mother was freed from Auschwitz at the end of the war, dismisses this twisting of facts: “Ideologues always try to shoehorn history into their own categories and read into the past things that serve their own particular purposes.”

Thousands of gun deaths since Newtown

The Huffington Post has tracked gun-related deaths in the United States since Newtown. Click here for an interactive map of those who have died. In the 98 days since the Sandy Hook Massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, guns have killed at least 2,243 more people. Click here to read about the thousands of gun deaths since by Huff Post “One Nation Under Guns.”

Arms Trade Treaty Nra

The United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty, an international convention on small arms sales now being negotiated at the United Nations this week and next in New York, has drawn more than a 100 demonstrators at Lafayette Square on Friday urging the U.S. to back the treaty according to Huff Post. The supporters are optimistic even though the treaty would face political and policy hurdles. Salil Shetty, secretary general of Amnesty Internation, told the Huff Post before addressing the protestors across from the White House that, “We are still very hopeful that we’ll end up with a treaty. The important thing is [that the Arms Trade Treaty must] protect human lives and protect human rights. We will get a treaty, the question is ‘how good is it, how strong is it?’ That’s a bit up in the air right now.” The intended purpose for the treaty would be to prevent the transfer of arms across boarders to governments using  them in war crimes, genocide and other human rights violations. There are a few sticking points though. Among the most contentious was ammunition sales as opposed to weapons sales would be covered in the treaty as the United States delegation opposes including ammunition in the ATT which has angered a number of protestors. As Shetty explains to the Huff Post: “The argument the U.S. is making is a very practical one, saying that it’s very difficult to track [things like ammunition]. But there are many governments that produce ammunition, and they’re not blocking [it from being included in the treaty].” As Paul O’Brien, the vice president of policy and campaigns for the human rights group Oxfam explains, “We’re confident we’re going to get something. But something isn’t good enough. If we don’t get a strong treaty, it’s not going to mean anything for the people on the wrong end of violence.”

What would it be without the National Rifle Association voicing its concern? Well of course the NRA chimed in along with strong resistance stateside from gun rights advocates portraying the treaty as in international poly to deprive Americans of their Second Amendment rights states the Huff Post as NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre demanded last summer during a U.N. speech: “We have watched [the treaty] with increasing concern and, one year ago, I delivered … our objections to including civilian arms in the ATT. I said then, and I will repeat now, that the only way to address NRA’s objections is to simply and completely remove civilian firearms from the scope of the treaty.” During the predawn hours of Saturday, two amendments were put forth in the Senate: one to prohibit the U.S. from signing the ATT which was approved in the Senate 53-46 and the other to affirm that the international treaty would not trump the U.S. Constitution which passed by a voice vote. According to Huff Post, both amendments will be worked on in committee then proceed to the House as the Senate departed for Easter recess after passing the budget bill.

 

 

Guns In Capitols Laws Gain Momentum In States

Guns In Capitols Laws Gain Momentum In States.

The debate that has swept the country has now made it to the steps of state capitols and not everyone is excited about the idea. Kansas may join 11 other states allowing some civilians to carry guns inside the state capitol which most states restrict the practice to member of the state legislature while Texas allows anyone to carry inside the building. However opponents say that civilians carrying guns make them feel endangered, while gun enthusiasts see it as exercising their Second Amendment rights. Texas state Rep. Garnet Coleman (D-Houston) told Huff Post that, “The law enforcement in the Capitol should be done by the state troopers and not by members of the Legislature. I feel less safe. Even though someone has gone through training, sometimes it is better to move away from danger. Get the appropriate security there. The chance he will shoot an innocent person is high. It concerns me if someone wants to be a hero.” Eight states allow civilians to carry concealed weapons in their capitol buildings and three states say they allow guns in capitols but gave no specifics reported Morgan Cullen, a program analyst at the National Conference of State Legislature. Texas allows anyone to carry a concealed pistol with a permit to bypass metal detectors at the capitol as Texas state Rep. Jonathan Strickland (R-Bedford) told the New York Times that he wears his gun routinely and people are used to guns in Texas. Coleman sees it as a problem even though concealed carry permits require background checks as he explains, “Background checks mean that nothing has occurred in the past, it does not mean it could not happen.” Kansas state Rep. J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) told Huff Post he is not concerned with concealed carry permits bringing  guns because they have to undergo background checks. An example of things going horribly wrong is the shooting death of New York City Councilman James Davis (D) in 2003 inside City Council chambers by his political opponent, Othniel Askew, who legally purchased his gun and was able to under City Hall rules to bypass metal detectors. The Kansas plan adopted by the state House carries specific stipulations as state Rep. John Wilson (D-Lawrence) explains that the bill allows concealed carry guns in other public building not the Capitol. He also commented he is not in favor of guns in public places. Unfortunately the bill was passed before discovering an error in the written amendment allowing people to openly carry guns in the Capitol instead of the concealed carry which now leaves the decision up to the state Senate. Arizona state House Minority Leader Chad Campbell (D-Phoenix) told Huff Post he has a problem with guns in the Capitol as he explains, “I’m a gun owner and I have no problem with gun ownership. But I don’t think that there is a need to carry them to the floor.” Only time will tell if such laws are effective or a complete disaster.

Kansas Lawmakers Tack Guns-For-Teachers On To Existing Bill

Kansas Lawmakers Tack Guns-For-Teachers On To Existing Bill.

Even though the nation is now up to its eyeballs in the sequester and gun control on a national level has been put on hold, the debate has now been taken up by the states. Safety will always be a concern no matter where you go because according to the Second Amendment supporters Americans have the right to carry weapons either conceal or not depending on the state. The only places we do not have guns are actually almost everywhere so the solution some people think will work is more guns more safety especially after the Sandy Hook shooting. The problem is not enough guns, the problem is not enough regulation and enforcement. Putting, not more guns, but guns in the school will only add to the problem not the solution and unfortunately gun violence cannot be completely prevented in this country unless their is a complete ban on weapons totally, but have no fear gun toting Americans and NRA you will always have the second amendment to cling to (even though you don’t fully understand what it means).

A Kansas legislative committee on Wednesday passed a bill that would allow concealed guns in public building and allow teachers to carry guns at school. State Rep. Brett Hildabrand (R-Shawnee) who presented the guns for teacher amendment said the measure gives school board the discretion to implement it as well as decide who specifically are allowed to carry a gun. According to Huff Post who spoke with state Rep. Travis Couture Lovelady (R-Palco), he commented that, “It is an excellent bill and a great step forward. With these gun-free zones and what we have seen around the country, they are a target for mentally ill people to do mass harm to folks…They are having the opposite effect. It is putting the public at risk. The only people following the law are the law abiding citizens who are potential victims. If we empower them to defend themselves they can.” Hildabrand also commented that,”If someone goes into a school with the intent of a mass murder and knows that there is no law abiding person who can fight back, they would be more willing. If they don’t know if someone would shoot back it creates hesitation.”

However, not everyone agreed with the bill. State Rep. Emily Perry (D-Mission) voted against explaining there are other ways to safe guard the schools and noted that the teachers she had spoken to did not like the idea and spoke of the costs involved to install required equipment. The bill allows public colleges, nursing homes, and hospitals to have a four year waiver on guns which Perry fought to have extended every four years but was unsuccessful as the Legislature though it was unnecessary and could be reviewed again in 2017. Perry also wanted to included mental health centers in the list of places with a ban on concealed weapons which also failed. According to Huff Post, Perry explained her dismay by saying, “We need to help those struggling with mental health… The idea of mixing concealed carry with mental health is not a good idea.” However Couture Lovelady argues that those opposing concealed carry in public building do not realize the danger of having a gun free environment. As he explains, “There is a lot of fear out there that doesn’t match up with reality and logic…Gun-free zones actually hurt people and don’t help.”

Second Amendment Lawsuits Expose Rift At The Top Of Gun Rights Movement

Second Amendment Lawsuits Expose Rift At The Top Of Gun Rights Movement.

Well now the NRA knows the frustration people are having with gun control as the administration has to deal with the NRA so the NRA must now deal with the SAF. I hope in seeing what the SAF is doing to progress for pro-second amendment rights that the NRA will work better with the administration to finally reach some sort of gun control measure to protect and keep people safe while allowing the group to still have the right to bear arms. In world of gun right groups, Alan Gottlieb over the past fiver years has tried to expand gun rights with his Washington based nonprofit the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) building one of the most significant rulings. Gottlieb hopes to open the legal floodgates by litigating dozens of cases nationwide which to me seems more of what an ambulance chaser would do than someone trying to protect people’s right. Why make a spectacle of a very serious problem in the United States with gun violence on the rise and no end in site? The Sandy Hook shooting and a series of gun related violence has raised more concern and support in favor of gun control measures, but the ongoing conversation seems to revolve entirely around legislation even though the most significant changes are happening in the courtroom instead of Congress.

The SAF has brought several cases before the court successfully litigating most of them while simultaneously changing the way the second amendment is interpreted. One stand out of the group is Northern Virginia based Litigator, Alan Gura, who in successfully arguing District of Columbia v. Heller before the Supreme Court made it so the Second Amendment not only protects the state militia’s rights to posses a gun but the right of the individual. After the Heller victory, he teamed up with SAF to file more than 40 lawsuits including a major win with the 2010 McDonald v.Chicago case that extended the Heller decision to cover the states overturning the Windy City’s handgun ban it held for 28 years. While the NRA is its own powerhouse in the political world, many have turned their attention to the SAF’s lawsuits that could have a larger impact on the future affecting everything from conceal weapons, background checks, and the firearms industry liability if harm comes from their products. People in the gun movement world see the SAF either as a brave defender or simple as an ambulance chaser that could damage the gun right movement. Many question the SAF’s strategy because of the long term effects that legal precedents have on their movement that could potentially harm the cause if it’s an unfavorable one.

After the Heller decision, the NRA has chosen a more gradual approach to gun rights expansion. According to the Huff Post, Richard Broughton, a law professor and former Justice Department prosecutor, said, “The NRA takes on specific issues, and they’re not going for broad Second Amendment rulings. Instead, they’re asking the courts to narrowly interpret gun regulations and working to win smaller victories they can build on.” Ken Klukowski, a law professor and former NRA staffer, agrees saying, “The NRA takes the long view. They are extraordinary minds for the long ball and the big picture.” The NRA announced as of late it will be considering a lawsuit against the Illinois State Police over a backlog in gun permit applications. A NRA spokesman according to the Huff Post had this to say about the NRA’s litigation strategy that it “is designed to defend the fundamental constitutional right of our over 4.5 million members and tens of millions of supporters.”

The SAF has been far more aggressive than in the NRA about taking on cases. The cases totals for mid-February have the SAF with 18 gun rights cases pending in trial and appellate courts, while the NRA only has nine open cases. According to Huff Post, the totals are remarkable considering the SAF only has $4 million to litigate such cases versus the $243 million the NRA has to litigate. Litigation for the NRA was and still is not their main priority as they prefer to buy I mean influence and elect people with their millions of dollars at the state and federal levels without fighting it out in the court. The SAF on the other hand would rather attack gun regulations in court than prevent it from being passed all together like the NRA. The way Alan Gura tells it is that the NRA focuses on lobbying elected officials which undermines the litigation efforts of the SAF. Klukowski said that the Heller and McDonald rulings are just the beginning of decades of litigation over the scope of gun rights in American the Huff Post reported.  The next big case prediction will be to address the right to carry firearms in public which the high court has yet to rule on. This past Friday, the circuit courts reached a split decision on two cases that will likely reach the high court: the 7th Circuit declined to preserve an Illinois law barring concealed weapons while the 10th Circuit declared a concealed carry ban to be constitution. Both disputes are of course backed by the Second Amendment Foundation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chad Littlefield’s Family Defends Fatal Gun Range Outing

Chad Littlefield’s Family Defends Fatal Gun Range Outing.

Sad that when someone tries to do good something bad happens. We can all learn something from this.  On Friday, in Midlothian, Texas the relatives of the man killed alongside a former Navy SEAL sniper at a Texas shooting range said that he was trying to help his friend who was a troubled war veteran and the outing was for “therapeutic purposes.” Hundreds turned out for Chad Littlefield’s service who was fatally shot alongside his friend American Sniper author Chris Kyle. The Authorities have confirmed that the man the two men were trying to help suffered from post traumatic stress disorder. Littlefield’s father-in-law defends the idea of helping veterans through target practice as his son-in-law would assist Kyle in his efforts to help veterans. Police say the suspect 25 year old Eddie Ray Routh shot both men multiple times before fleeing on Feb. 2 and even told his sister as well as brother-in-law he couldn’t trust the men so he had to kill them before they killed him. Routh is in jail on a $3 million bond. Besides the hundreds who turned out for the funeral, hundreds of people lined the street to watch the procession pass. Both men became friends a few years ago as soccer dads and their families vacationed together on occasion. A memorial for Kyle is set for Monday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.

 

Gun Control Bill With Bipartisan Support Unveiled In House

Gun Control Bill With Bipartisan Support Unveiled In House.

All I have to say it is about time for both parties to work together even though I am sure not all members agree. On Tuesday, lawmakers revealed their first bipartisan bill to make firearms trafficking a federal crime. During a press conference the bill’s sponsors- Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Scott Rigell (R-Va.) and Elijah Cummings (D-Md.)- said that the measure would create one federal code giving law enforcement the ability to prosecute gun traffickers and impose up to 20 years in jail for those who buy guns for people who cannot buy them on their own.This recommendations is among the gun violence package give to the President last month. Scott Rigell, a sponsor of the bill, said “As a lifetime member of the NRA, as a firearm owner, as a father … I’ve got a problem with people who break the law using firearms because it inevitably puts pressure on my rights…When we punish the bad guys, we’re protecting the good guys. That’s really the essence of the bill.” Another bill sponsor, Patrick Meehan, said he’s “glad to be able to reach across the aisle and work toward common sense solutions” like their gun trafficking bill, which he noted has a companion bill in the Senate. For some like Cummings the issue is personal since losing his nephew to gun violence a year and a half ago. The man obstacle to this bipartisan partnership is whether the bill will make it to a vote. There is support from both sides but it all depends on whether or not House Republican leaders will allow it through. The Senate, however, will be the first to vote on the bill and will have to pass. Hill aids and gun policy advocates expect something to pass in the senate but are unsure about whether this will happen or not. The goal is to get as many single measures passed toward a solution to the gun violence issue, but combining them with other measures may hurt their chance of being passed according to the bill sponsors. The NRA has not officially taken a position on the new bill yet but hopes to work with Congress as it passed through the legislative process.

NRA Scoffs At Obama Skeet Shooting Photo

 NRA Scoffs At Obama Skeet Shooting Photo.

Let it go man. I really don’t understand why it is important to Republicans and the NRA that Obama has shot guns because that is irrelevant to the fact that roughly 1,400 people have died because of guns since December. The NRA needs to choose which battles to fight and not start WWIII over gun regulation. A photo released Saturday of the president skeet shooting would of silenced his critics but then again maybe not. When he did his interview with New Republican Magazine, he had answered yes to the question if he had fired a gun and sent heads spinning and left many surprised. The White House released a photo dated Aug. 4, 2012 with the caption Obama is shooting clay targets on the range at Camp David. The picture shows Obama shooting a gun wearing jeans, a polo, and earmuffs. The National Rifle Association has rejected Obama’s gun proposal and now the photo saying one photo cannot erase his lifetime support of every gun ban and every gun control scheme according to the organization’s spokesman. The NRA opposes any further background check laws or a ban on assault weapons and high capacity ammunition magazines. Remind me again, why people need these? The White House Press Secretary in a recent press conference was asked about the president’s  skeet shooting and he could not comment on it because he doesn’t know about it . “Because when he goes to Camp David, he goes to spend time with his family and friends and relax, not to produce photographs,” Carney, said. Fun fact here folks Obama has at least one White House photographer with him at all times. The speculation is that the photo is part of a plan to make Obama appear more sympathetic to gun owners. A top official of the National Skeet Shooting Association has said the photo suggest he is a novice pointing to his stance and how he hold the gun. Maybe he is a really bad shooter because I have seen a lot of those. Who cares if he knows how to be professional shooter or not? Most people at home who are gun owners are not experts. The only reason he released a photo was to quiet his opponents and I think they are just mad that he was able to. Kudos to you Mr. President! In the interview in The New Republican he states his deep respect for hunting in this country and calls for gun control advocates to be better listeners in the debate over firearms. The NRA is trying to distract people with this ridiculousness about a photo so people can forget about gun control measure and not focus on the real problem which is gun violence. Plus for all you second amendment folks out their read your Constitution carefully and remember the time frame it was written in: DOES NOT APPLY TO TODAY. Hey I don’t have an issue with the idea of guns but if I had a dime for every time I heard one of you say guns don’t kill people, people kill people then I would be a billionaire. Remember folks it is true people kill people but guns help out a lot and that is what this debate should be about preventing those people from getting guns so easily.