NRA Believes Stalkers’ Have the Right to Bear Arms

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Wayne LaPierre (Credit: Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

The National Rifle Association has now taken up the fight against federal legislation banning those convicted of domestic violence against dating partners and stalking from purchasing guns, according to Laura Bassett’s article on June 25, NRA Fights For Convicted Stalkers’ Gun Rights. The federal law already prevents persons convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence from purchasing firearms. However, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) proposes the addition of convicted stalkers to the group and is in favor of expanding the definition of convicted domestic violence against “intimate partners” to include dating partners, according to legislation S. 1290 which she introduced. Bassett reports that two different senators’ aides confirmed that the NRA sent letters to lawmakers strongly opposing the measure even describing it as “a bill to turn disputes between family members and social acquaintances into lifetime firearm prohibitions.” The letter from the nation’s largest gun lobby also states that the measure “manipulates emotionally compelling issues such as ‘domestic violence’ and ‘stalking’ simply to cast as wide a net as possible for federal firearm prohibitions.” Klobuchar in an email to HuffPost stated, “As a former prosecutor, I know how domestic violence and stalking can take lives and tear apart families. This is a commonsense bill that would protect victims and keep our families safe, and I will continue to work to move this legislation forward.”

Legislation has been gaining momentum in the states that would prevent all convicted domestic abusers from purchasing guns and even the NRA has relaxed its stance on such bills over the past year due to the fact one of its own top officials was convicted of domestic violence and prohibited from owning a firearm. However, the federal push for domestic violence gun bans has raised some red flags for the gun rights groupies e.g. Klobuchar, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) have all introduced measures to expand and strengthen gun restriction for people who are convicted of domestic abuse or stalking or who have emergency temporary restraining orders issued. According to a report released last week by the Center for American Progress, stalkers and physically abusive dating partners are just as deadly as violent spouses. In addition, domestic abusers with access to guns are seven times more likely to kill their partners than those without access.

Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), a congresswoman who survived a gunshot to the head in 2011, met last week with House and Senate leadership, White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett, numerous other lawmakers and policy experts to discuss what Congress can do to protect women from gun violence committed at the hands of domestic abusers and stalkers, Basset reports. Giffords’ gun violence prevention PAC, Americans for Responsible Solution, found that women in gun friendly Texas favor a law requiring stalkers to turn in their firearms. Halyley Zachary, executive director of the PAC, told HuffPost:  “Protecting women from gun violence means ensuring we have laws that keep guns out of the hands of stalkers and domestic abusers. By opposing this commonsense bill, [NRA chief] Wayne LaPierre and the NRA leadership has once again shown it is out of step with the vast majority of Americans and responsible gun owners. Now, the question for NRA-backed candidates around the country is: do they share the NRA’s position?”

Caught in the Crossfire: Unintentional Shooting Deaths Since Newtown

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

According to a study released on June 25,2014  by Everytown for Gun Safety, at least 100 children have died due to unintentional gunfire in the year following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. John Feinblatt, the president of the group who conducted the study, explains to HuffPost, “Too often we just say it is an accident or inevitable. But what this data shows is it’s preventable.” In Sam Stein’s article for HuffPost, 100 Children Died In Unintentional Shootings In Year After Newtown, that the report entitled Innocents Lost: A Year of Unintentional Child Gun Deaths examines in great detail the frequency, causes and victims of these shootings. According to Everytown, 73 percent of the shootings counted were done by minors who are defined as 14 or younger. While 57 percent of the cases showed that the victims were shot by someone else usually an older peer, 35 percent involved the victim shooting him or herself and usually involved younger victims. Further data shows that the these shootings occurred in familiar placed to the victims with 84 percent being killed in their home, a friend’s home or a family car and ,in 76 percent of the cases, the gun belonged to a parent or family member. The shooting found in the study occurred in 35 states with most happening in small towns and rural areas.  Stein explains that the finding from Everytown come from extensive review of news stories and subscription service in the 12 months after the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook. Any shooting found to contain any ambiguity as to whether it was accidental or not or could not be confirmed as accidental by law enforcement officials was left out resulting in a possible under-counting of the final results published in HuffPost.

The group, Everytown, itself has had its fair share of controversy due to the methodology used to count the school shootings which are kept in a separate database since Newtown, according to Stein. Erika Soto Lamb, a spokeswoman for the group, insists that the criteria used to calculate the findings were fair and arguments against it were driven by pro-gun supporters. The numbers calculated in the report are higher than what the Center for Disease Control projects which is an average of 62 children per year ages 14 and under. Stein figures that the 100 children killed per year works out to 2 children killed per week. The issue for Everytown with respect to gun control comes in the form of poor education about how to properly store firearms and the dangers. The group supports the idea of imposing criminal liability for irresponsible gun storage in the form of well tailored child safety laws as the report even cites Florida’s Child Access Prevention law. Feinblatt sums it up by saying,”There is no question when you look around the country you see a real patchwork of laws having to deal with child access, and yet we have research that is compelling that laws that impose criminal sanctions are effective. We only have to look towards the drunk driving movement. … It decreased and deterred people from drunk driving, which obviously we have come to accept as dangerous. And we need to come to the same acceptance.”

The Circus Has Come to Town

Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy appeared on CNN’s ‘State of Union’ on Sunday to discuss many things, but one particular subject sparked quite a response from the governor. As one of the country’s strictest gun control legislation goes into affect in Connecticut just four months after the Newtown shooting, the NRA president Wayne LaPierre has wasted no time publicly criticizing the new legislation as alleged fears spread that the gun manufactures might flee the state. The governor has this to say reports the Huff Post:

“Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus. They get the most attention and that’s what he’s paid to do. This guy is so out of whack, it’s unbelievable. 92% of the American people want universal background checks. I can’t get on a plane as the governor of the state of Connecticut without somebody running a background check on me. Why should you be able to buy a gun?….We’ve decided that public safety trumps all of that (regarding gun manufacturing). I hope they stay and manufacture products that can legally be sold. But if they leave, that will be a decision they make. We’re not making them leave.”

Meanwhile, in Washington, families of the Connecticut school shooting along with President Barack Obama are walking the halls of Congress to garner support for stricter gun control regulations. The group has already helped to push the nation’s most restrictive gun law that was signed by Gov. Malloy, D-Conn, on Thursday. As Congress returns from spring break the families plan to spend the next weeks on Capitol Hill where the gun control debate has reached a stalemate. Using their own personal stories and the lasting affects of the Dec 14 shooting, the group hopes to speak to senators who have yet to support gun legislation. As David Wheeler, who lost a 6 year old son, Benjamin, commented to the Associated Press: “I’m not a constitutional scholar and I’m not a Second Amendment specialist. I don’t know the ins and outs of gun policy but I know …,” his voice trailed off as a sob catches in his throat. “But I now know one of the things that no father should ever know. And in our system of representative government we have to use our voices.”

Many of the families affected by the Newtown Massacre at Sandy Hook come from diverse political backgrounds and do not always agree on policy reports the Associated Press. The group includes gun owners, Democrats and Republicans. Mark Mattioli, who lost his 6 year old son James, attended a NRA news conference last week to endorse  a proposal to train school staffers as armed officers, while relatives of nine victims have a non-profit group called the Sandy Hook Promise who came together to sign letters Thursday to senators asking them to vote for expanded background checks, stricter gun trafficking laws and ban ammunition magazines with more than 10 rounds. The magazine Adam Lanza used a magazine capable of 30 rounds of ammunition firing 154 shots during the four minute rampage in the school and stopped to reload giving 11 children the chance to escape according to the Associated Press. Nicole Hockley who lost her 6 year old son, Dylan, in the classroom where Lanza reloaded commented that, “They ran for their lives. Dylan was not so fortunate. If there were lower capacity magazine clips, there’s a chance Dylan would be here with me today.” She drives home her point by handing out cards to lawmakers with her son pictured in a Superman T-shirt and grinning with the caption “Honor his life 3/8/06-12/14/12. Stand with us for change. Now is the time.” Bill Sherlach also passes out a similar card with his Wife, Mary, a school psychologist who died, pictured asking lawmakers, “Can you show the same courage in your vote today?”

As strong as the message may be to lawmakers, it’s a tough road ahead as Congress has a strong tradition of protecting gun rights as barring large capacity magazines are difficult and senators cannot agree on the expanded background check. The Sandy Hook Promise stated days after the shooting as a group of neighbors came together and decided to take action to heal the community and aid victims’ families. The group has so far shoveled driveways, given funds to those on hard economic times and use their personal and professional connections to support public policy from mental health to gun safety. The co-founder Tim Makris had this to say, “This is not about just guns. The gun is the enabler, the cause is mental health.” Ubnfortunately for COngress, the iussue befoe them is guns. THe families of victims watchs on March 28 as Obama spoke about Congress and the importance of his proposal: “Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids.” Obama plans to meet with the families Monday when he travels to Connecticut for a speech at the University of Hartford Sports Center close to the capitol where the governor signed the sweeping new gun restriction into law Thursday according to the Associated Press.

Connecticut Has Done What Congress Could Not

As the gun control debate become exhaustive and the international community seems to have an easier time getting their act together than Congress, Connecticut has decided to take action statewide to protect their citizens and put some minds at ease a mere three months after the Sandy Hook shooting that claimed so many lives and intensified the gun debate. Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) on Thursday signed comprehensive gun control reforms less than 12 hours after the state legislature approved it in a late night session according to Huff Post. Malloy during the signing ceremony commented that the event was profoundly moving saying Connecticut came together as few other places have and are able to do as Washington remains divided (thank you NRA and second amendment supporters) and lawmakers have no excuse to expand background checks. Both of Connecticut’s two Democratic senators, Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, supported the expanded gun control which requires background checks on private gun sales, bans the sale of magazines holding more than 10 rounds, and expands the state’s assault weapons ban including new gun models. As Malloy stated, the provisions will be in effect immediately with others being phased in. The bill also has new registration requirements for high capacity magazine owners who purchased before the law and creates the nation’s first dangerous weapons offender registry. The legislators during Wednesday nights session applauded the bill as it will allocate $15 million more to school safety and mental health monitoring programs. Many of the families who were affected by the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton were present for the historic signing and President Barack Obama will also visit Connecticut on Monday to applaud the new reform as well as make a case for broader gun control measure being debated by Congress.

 

 

 

 

 

Controlling the Multibillion-Dollar Global Arms Trade

As the United States continues to debate gun laws and regulations, the United Nations seems to be having an easier time agreeing on how to regulate the global arms trade by adopting an international gun treaty after decades of trying to keep illicit weapons out of the hand of terrorists, insurgents, and organized crimes. The U.N. General Assembly approved the first treaty to regulate the multi-billion dollar global arms trade with a vote of 154 to 3 with 23 abstentions as the assembly chamber broke out with applause and cheers as the numbers were revealed. As the British Foreign Secretary William Hague states, “This is an historic day and a major achievement for the United Nation. The world wanted this treaty and would not be thwarted by the few who sought to prevent the introduction of robust, effective and legally-binding controls on the international trade in weapons.” The treaty will take effect once the 50 countries ratify it and much depends on who does or doesn’t as well as how it’s implemented. Last Thursday, Iran, North Korea and Syria blocked the adoption by consensus at a negotiating conference and on Tuesday the three voted “no” on the resolution while Russia and China abstained as they are both major arms exporters pushing Britain and other treaty supporters to seek a vote. The United states as well as many countries who voted for the treaty  control their arms exports, but there has never been an international treaty to regulate it. Australian Ambassador Peter Woolcott believes that the treaty will “make an important difference by reducing human suffering and saving lives.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry agreed but stressed that the treaty only applies to the international trade “and reaffirms the sovereign right of any state to regulate arms within its territory.”

The three countries which opposed the treaty and many countries that abstained complained that the treaty has many loopholes and can easily be “politicized” stating the key argument is the treaty favors  exporters like the United States over importers who need arms for self-defense and doesn’t include provision to ban sales to armed groups, according to the Associated Press. The treaty does not cover domestic arms trade, but will require countries who ratify it to establish national regulations to control transfers of conventional arms, parts and components as well as arms brokers. According to Diplomats, on the insistence of the United States a list of regulated arms was dropped- it covers battle tanks, armored combat vehicles, large caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles launchers, small arms and light weapons- leading many supporters to believe that this will limit the scope of the treaty. The treaty prohibits ratified states to transfer conventional weapons if they violate arms embargoes or promoted genocide, crimes against humanity or war crimes as well as prohibits the exports of conventional arms if they are used on civilians or civilian building such as schools and hospitals. The treaty also requires parties to take measures to prevent the spread of weapons to illicit markets.

Ammunition was a key issue in negotiations as some countries want the same controls as for arm sales, but the United States and others opposed such tough restrictions according to the Associated Press. The final decision for each ratified country calls for the establishment of regulations for export of ammunition “fired, launched or delivered” by the weapons covered by the convention. Hopes of reaching an agreement were dashed last July when the U.S. followed by Russia and China needed more time to consider the accord, so the General Assembly in December decided to hold their final conference and deadline last Thursday. This time, the United States supported the final text, but Iran, North Korea and Syria used the U.S. consensus requirement to block adoption of the treaty however a provision in the treaty allowed the U.N. members to go to the assembly for a vote if consensus wasn’t reached. The General Assembly resolution had over a 100 cosponsors before the vote on Tuesday and it only required a majority vote from the 193 member world body. As Brian Wood, Amensty Internatoinal’s head of arms control and human rights, had this to say adter the vote according to the Associated Press: “The world has been waiting a long time for this historic treaty. Despite Iran, North Korea and Syria’s deeply cynical attempt to stymie it, the overwhelming majority of the world’s nations have shown resounding support for this lifesaving treaty with human rights protection at its core.” The treaty will be open for signatures from member states on June 3 and the supporters will continue to campaign to get all the countries to sign and then ratify it.

 

Gun Proponents Take Action and Speak Out

Heidi Heitkamp Michael Bloomberg

 

 

 

 

Surely this debate will never end until both sides can compromise which will probably be when hell freezes over. Nonetheless, many of the Second Amendment supporters are speaking out or taking action to protect their rights but most importantly their guns. Eventually, with the public outcry and fierce opposition to any sort of gun control legislation, the White House as well as Congress will ultimately have to decide what is the best measure for the country. As lawmakers debate arming teachers and administrators to prevent more school shooting, one Colorado school district has voted to allow superintendents and high school principals to carry concealed semi-automatic pistols on campus which some believe sidesteps laws that keep the schools gun free reports the Associated Press. Dolores County, in southwestern Colorado, voted unanimously in February to allow Ty Gray, principal of Dove Creek High School, and Superintendent Bruce Hankins to double as security officers. Both men will receive an extra $1 a year for the responsibility after completing a concealed carry course and receiving permits to carry on campus from the county sheriff. Hankins told the Cortez Journal that this will give them the ability to respond immediately to any shooting. Like Dolores County, New Jersey Passaic Valley High School’s board of education voted unanimously last month to allow the principal, a retired police sergeant, to carry concealed on campus which Ray Rotella has no problem doing so since he has a license to carry one reports the Associated Press.

There is a big difference between Dolores County and Passaic as Rotella explained last month, “It’s a unique situation. I’m not advocating administrators carry weapons. You don’t just give a gun to someone even with a little training. You’re talking about someone who was in law enforcement. I was a firearms instructor.” The reasoning behind the decision in Dolores County was the response time for police is 40 minutes and with a limited budget “it is necessary to rely upon existing staff to fulfill the function of the needed security personnel.” But according to Laura Cutilletta, a senior staff attorney for the San Francisco-based Law Center Prevent Gun Violence, believes that administrators are already dealing with so much and don’t have the experience of a security guard or police officer that the stress may affect their ability to serve the school well. As she explained to the Associated Press, “They’re not used to being in that type of stressful situation, not the type of stress that a police officer faces,” she said. “The likelihood of causing more death and injury is through the roof. Even police officers have a hard time hitting the target during a stressful situation, so how can we expect a superintendent or principal to do it?” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed several bills into law last week that require background checks for private and online gun sales as well as banning ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds. Many states already ban guns on campus unless carried by peace officers, security guards, or employees with permission to carry from the school’s superintendent. But after the Sandy Hook Shooting many lawmakers in two dozen states are making it easier for school employees or volunteers to carry on campus for example South Dakota’s Governor, Dennis Daugaard, signed a bill March 8 to allow districts to permit teachers and personnel to serve as sentinels and carry guns on campus which will go into effect July 1.

On the other side of the aisle, the gun violence and gun control ad blitz is in full effect as the $12 million ad buy from Mayor Against Illegal Guns begins to target key Senators such as Heitkamp to support gun control legislation and comprehensive background checks. Bloomberg the co-founder of the group and personally financed the ad blitz is spending $156,000 in North Dakota. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) the target of the ads came out on Tuesday in the Grand Forks Herald to criticize Bloomberg’s federal fun control push saying the mayor needs to worry about his own city’s gun violence than North Dakota. As Heitkamp explained in a statement: “North Dakota continues to have one [of] the highest rates of gun ownership and lowest incidences of gun crime in the country. Yet New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists on taking gun-driven crime statistics in his city and from other major cities and trying to force those numbers into a narrative that just does not fit North Dakota.” Bloomberg has defended the ad buy by saying, “These ads bring the voices of Americans — who overwhelmingly support comprehensive and enforceable background checks — into the discussion to move senators to immediately take action to prevent gun violence.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, North Dakota one of the highest rates of gun ownership at 50.7 percent but one of the lowest gun homicide rates at 1.1 per 100,000 below the national rate at 2.75. Heitkamp attributes the low gun violence rate to the proud outdoor heritage that firearm owners in her state understand the rights and responsibilities that come with guns. According to the Associated Press, this is not the first campaign that has targeted Heitkamp’s position on gun control as the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence launched ads attacking her pro-gun stance less than a week after being sworn in as senator in January. The ad read, “No parent should have to send their children to school wondering if they will come home. Shame on you, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), for telling the country on Sunday that the Obama Administration’s response to Newtown — which may include universal background checks and a ban on assault rifles and high-capacity ammunition magazines — is ‘extreme.'” The group was responding to Heitkamp’s statement that White House’s gun control plans were too extreme.

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.

 

 

Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show

 Richard Nixon Gun Control: Former President Wanted Total Ban On Handguns, Records Show.

Who knew I am a little surprised. Out of all the presidents in recent time interested in gun control, Richard Nixon is not the first that comes to mind for me but according to Oval Office Recordings he proposed getting rid of Saturday night specials, contemplated a handgun ban, and refused to to pander to gun owners the Associated Press reports. The several unreported recording and White House memos from the Nixon years paint a much different picture of the conservative president who was willing at one time to take on the National Rifle Association even though he was warned against it. According to one recording, Nixon explains, “I don’t know why any individual should have a right to have a revolver in his house…The kids usually kill themselves with it and so forth…can’t we go after handguns, period?” Nixon continues: “I know the rifle association will be against it, the gun makers will be against it.” But “people should not have handguns.” The remarks came just a day after a would be assassin shot and paralyzed segregationist presidential candidate George Wallace on May 16, 1972 reports the Associated Press. Even though Nixon called to Congress for more modest legislation banning Saturday night specials, not all of his aides shared his passion according to the recordings and memos seeing gun control as a political loser. However, Nixon a Republican said he would sign a ban on Saturday night specials if Congress would pass it, but that never happened which is a potent sign of the NRA even 40 years ago. As the president tries to ban assault weapons and large capacity ammunition magazines because no one needs these to kill intruders or hunt, in Nixon’s times he tried to get rid of Saturday night specials because the guns were too poorly made to be relied on. As the Associated Press reports, one conversation Nixon had with Attorney General John Mitchell in June 1971 talks about this subject specifically with Mitchell simply replying that it would be difficult because of the gun lobby to get ride of the Saturday night special. The term Saturday night special comes from Detroit where cops observed the frequency of guns used to commit crimes on the weekend and was cemented by Lynard Skynard’s 1975 song, “Saturday Night Special.”

While many of the conversations were supportive of gun control, Nixon did not support measures that went beyond handguns. In another cosernvation just a few days after saying people shouldn’t have handguns, the president asked, “What do they want to do, just disarm the populace? Disarm the good folks and leave the arms in the hands of criminals?” However, most of his comments were in favor of stronger gun laws in his taped conversations available at the National Archives website and the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. After the shooting of Wallace, on June 29,1972 at a news conference Nixon vowed to sign a law banning Saturday night specials which a year later was passed in the Senate but the House never acted on it. Of course, the power of the NRA was too strong to overcome as the bills sponsor Indiana Democrat Birch Bayh explained. Another politician a year later put gun control on the radar on Jan. 30, 1973 when two robbers shot Sen, John Stennis, D-Miss, and survived to live until 1995. A day after the shooting, Nixon told his staff “We better damn well be for it now, huh?” At a news conference the next day, Nixon repeated his call for a Saturday night special ban and in a move few policiticals would make explained, “Let me say, personally, I have never hunted in my life. I have no interest in guns and so forth.” His staff continued to warn him that gun control was a loser issue for his administration because of the powerful lobby supporting guns. The effort to ban Saturday night special has blurred into the background as gun control supporters have refocused their attention on more powerful weapons. Nixon as well shifted his focus and by June 1972 a moth after hos banning handgun comments Nixon recorded a conversation trying to get the FBI to stop invewstigati9on the break in at the Watergate office building where the Democratic offices are located that was tied to his re-election committee. Although many have forgotten about the handgun tapes, history has never forgotten the Watergate tapes that would bring down a president.

Mandatory Gun Ownership Provisions Under Consideration In Communities Across The Country

Mandatory Gun Ownership Provisions Under Consideration In Communities Across The Country.

And this is a good idea because….

Communities nationwide, the latest in western Maine in a town of 140 people, are considering passing measures that would require gun ownership even though these ordinances are widely considered unenforceable. However, the town of Byron already has the support of all three members of the Board of Selectmen and the Head Selectman Anne Simmons-Edmunds believes that the residents will approve it at Monday’s town meeting. From Idaho to Georgia, communities have been considering the idea to require or recommend their residents to arm themselves ever since the Sandy Hook Shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14 as well as caused fear among gun owners about possible restrictions on their Second Amendment rights. The ordinance up for a vote in Maine, according to Huff Post, asks “Shall the town of Byron vote to require all households to have firearms and ammunition to protect the citizens?” As Maine’s Attorney General Janet Mills explains that the ordinance even if accept by the town will be null and void as it is pre-empted by a 2011 law that bars municipalities from adopting firearms regulations. Unfortunately, the same situation has already happened in southwestern Maine in Sabattus where a similar ordinance was not taken to a vote on the advice of the police chief. The idea though has caught on in Nelson, a city southwest of Atlanta and home to 1,300 people, where supporters of a gun ownership proposal say that because of light police patrols the city is unprotected for most the day. According to Huff Post, the proposal does have several exemptions for people who object to owning a weapon including convicted felons as Mayor Pro Tem Jonathon Bishop has stated. The rule has actually passed unanimously on its first read and awaits a final vote April 1. Some communities do not go as far as requiring gun ownership, but instead recommend the idea of owning a firearms as has been done in Spring City, Utah, Virgin, Utah, and Cherry Tree, Pa. In Greenleaf, Idaho, a town of 900 people the ordinance adopted ion 2006 encourages residents to keep a gun at home and seek training on how to use firearms. In Maine, Simmons-Edmunds in Byron has said that 90 percent of the households in the town already own a gun and that if passed the ordinance would not result in door to door checks the ordinance is more a statement that the town will not give up its guns.

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.”