Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Trayvon Martin (1995 - 2012)


The GVP Report - March 20, 2012


Trayvon Martin (1995 - 2012)

On February 26, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed as he walked back to his father's fiance's home in Sanford, FL, after buying Skittles and a can of iced tea at a convenience store.  Trayvon was shot by 28-year-old George Zimmerman who was acting as a neighborhood watch volunteer in the gated community.  Zimmerman, a concealed weapons permit holder, was carrying a 9mm handgun.  Trayvon was unarmedZimmerman has not been charged with a crime and claims he shot in self-defense. The FBI has opened an investigation into the incident.

For detailed accounts of the incident, including 911 tapes,  read Think Progress - What Everyone Should Know About Trayvon Martin and Mother Jones - The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained.

As CBS News points out this case exposes the realities of a new generation of self-defense laws.  In 2005 Florida passed a "shoot first" law that allows the use of deadly force as a means of self-defense in public places without first trying to back off from a confrontation.  But, as the Tampa Bay Times reported in 2010, the "stand your ground" law makes it tougher to prosecute assailants.  The newspaper also noted that justifiable homicides have risen since the law was enacted.

Trayvon's parents have started a petition calling for justice for Trayvon and demanding Zimmerman be charged in the killing and the case handed over to prosecutors. Go here to sign the petition. 


In The News

South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard vetoed a bill that would have allowed residents to carry concealed handguns in public without a permit.  He said it would make it difficult for police to determine if people were prohibited from carrying guns due to criminal records.

The Christian Science Monitor, Gun Nation: Inside America's Gun-Carry Culture, asks with Americans carrying handguns in so many public places, from parks to college campuses, is it making the country safer or more dangerous?

A jury sided with the parents of two students slain in the 2007 massacre at Virginia Tech ruling that officials were negligent in their actions when they hesitated to let students know of a gunman on campus. 

A group of 100 environmental organizations, led by the Center for Biological Diversity, has petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate lead in ammunition as a toxic substance.  They argued that species are harmed when they feed on carcasses of animals killed by lead bullets.

In less than a month, three children in Washington state were shot when a child gained access to a handgun. Two of the children died and the third was seriously injured. Washington does not have a Child Access Prevention law that holds gun owners responsible who leave loaded guns in locations accessible to children. 

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) has introduced a bill that would force states to accept ccw permits from other states, even if those states had less restrictive requirements.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns has sent a letter to Senate leaders opposing the legislation. 

Newly released records indicate that Badger Guns in Milwaukee, WI lost their federal firearms license due to numerous serious violations.  In order to revoke a gun dealer's license the ATF must show a dealer knew the law on firearm sales and knowingly broke it.

A Pennsylvania mother lost a second child to gun violence when her son was killed by a gunman who opened fire at a Pittsburgh psychiatric hospital.  Her son was returning from a lunch break and just happened to be in the lobby when the shooting occurred. 


Community Support

Barry Nolan, Boston Magazine, Massachusetts: Where Stricter Gun Laws = Fewer Deaths,  looks at the Trayvon Martin shooting and points out that MA has strict gun laws and the second lowest gun death rate in the nation while FL, with its loose gun laws, has a gun death rate almost three-and-a-half times higher.

Brian O'Neill, Tacoma, WA News Tribune, Controlling One's Gun Is Not "Gun Control", "The real question is whether the gun lobby will continue to view any attempt to hold gun owners responsible for their weapons as the stealthy presence of gun control." 

Fabiola Santiago, The Miami Herald, Unarmed Teen's Killing in Sanford Deserves Answers, "What would be happening now, how differently would this case have been handled, if it had been a black Crime Watch captain with a police record and a gun who killed a white teenager with Skittles and a can of iced tea?"

Bill Badger and 14 others, Arizona Daily Star, Obama Must Get Moving: Americans Want Overdue Reforms to Gun Checks. Survivors and family members of the Tucson shooting urge the president to repair the gun background-check system. 

Frank DeFillippo, Splice Today, An Armed and Not So Polite Society, looks at the Second Amendment and notes "much of the interpretation is based on the placement of a simple coma."

Christopher Evans, Cleveland,OH Plain Dealer, Taking Aim at Gun Enablers. After a recent school shooting Evans asked a local gun dealer about responsible gun ownership and leaving guns where children can get hold of them. "It has nothing to do with accessibility of guns," the dealer replied. "I'm not gonna enter that conversation.  It's absurd."


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

 The Missouri House has voted to add gun owners to the state's list of protected minority groups.  One openly gay legislator expressed outrage that Missouri would protect gun owners from discrimination but not protect people based on sexual orientation.

For the first time, the NRA has endorsed a challenger to a Republican Senate incumbent, endorsing Richard Mourdock in the Indiana primary race against Senator Richard Lugar.  The NRA's Chris Cox explained that Mourdock has agreed to vote the NRA position on all measures relating to guns and to vote the way the NRA wants him to on all U.S. Supreme Court nominations.

The National Association for Gun Rights has uncovered a new anti-gun crusade, "simply put, George Soros is working to ban guns in your town."


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Governor Vetoes "Shoot First" Bill


The GVP Report - March 6, 2012


Legislation

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton vetoed a "shoot first" bill saying citizens already have the legal authority to defend themselves and the expanded bill could but police at risk.  In related news, an Indiana House committee worked to expand the state's "shoot first" to include situations involving police, saying citizens could resist police entry into their homes if the police are acting illegally.

In other legislative actions:

Colorado - The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against the Board of Regents ban on guns on campus, saying the ban was not approved by the Legislature.

Illinois - The House Executive Committee has approved a bill that would require statewide registration for handguns and place a tax on ammunition.  The revenue would be given to trauma care centers in high crime areas. 

Iowa - The House approved a "shoot first" bill and a bill to write gun rights into the Iowa Constitution.  Calling the constitution bill "very, very extreme.  It would eliminate all gun laws" 40 Democrats walked out on the debate, in an effort to delay the vote. 

Oregon - The Oregon State Board of Higher Education unanimously adopted a policy to ban guns from the state's seven campuses.  The vote came a day after the Oregon Senate voted down a bill to prohibit guns on campus while also voting to hide the identities of Oregonians with concealed weapons permits.

Texas - The TX Parks and Wildlife Commission is considering a proposal that will let hunters use a silencer when hunting deer, birds, and alligators. "Some neighbors don't want to hear gunshots," said the Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement. 

Virginia - Gov. McDonnell signed into law a bill that repeals VA's 19-year-old purchasing limit of one handgun a month. Noting that Virginia is the number one out-of-state source of crime guns into New York, Mayor Bloomberg strongly criticized the decision


In The News

A federal judge in Maryland ruled that the "right to bear arms is not limited to the home" and declared a key provision of the state's gun-control laws unconstitutional. 

Dina Parmertor, whose son Danny was one of 3 students shot and killed at Chardon High School in Ohio, "What is that, picking out a casket for your son? We're supposed to go and pick out colleges."  17-year-old TJ Lane has been charged with shooting and killing 3 students and wounding 2 others. But with no Ohio Child Access Prevention laws the gun owner probably won't be held accountable

Reports indicate that the 9-year-old Washington state boy who brought a handgun to school has had a "tumultuous" life.  The gun unintentionally discharged, striking an 8-year-old girl. Charges are pending against the boy's mother for leaving firearms unsecured around her house.

Security checkpoints at Tampa International Airport report a 200 percent increase in people being caught bringing guns through security.  The most common response is from people who are clueless as to the location of their guns, "I forgot the gun was in the bag."

Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson has been placed on the witness list for the trial of the man accused of shooting and killing her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew. 


Community Support

Paul Waldman, Think Progress & The American Prospect, multi-part series on the NRA's exaggerated role in American politics.  Part II: Overrated Endorsements.  Part III: Two Elections (1994 & 2000) the NRA Did Not Win.  Part IV: The Declining Role of Guns in American Society

Cliff Schecter, Happiness: Not A Warm Gun,asks "At what point does this senseless violence (not to mention man-on-gun love) become simply unacceptable?" And notes that "a combination of activism by survivors, reports like Waldman's and demographics will not be kind to the gun industry in the coming years."

James Alan Fox, Pistols and Paranoia, writes that it's not necessarily concealed weapons but "strangers with concealed weapons beneath their coats and paranoid ideas floating around their brains" that is scary. 

Dava Castillo, Violence and American's Children: Why?,  looks at research from Dr. Bruce Perry, Child Trauma Academy, who has developed a set of factors contributing to violent, aggressive behavior along with proposed solutions. 

Spocko, My Firedoglake, School Shooting in Ohio Leads to Call for More Guns in Schools, imagines a conversation between Mr. Conceal Carry Guns Everywhere and one of the spouses of the four armed police officers shot and killed while sitting at a coffee shop in Washington. 

New York Daily News, Just Look At Him, writes about an 8-year-old boy hit by a stray bullet fired from an illegal gun. "To those who have blocked action, to the NRA and congressional gun zealots, we say, look at Armando's face, look at Armando's wound.  He is your victim."

Reminding viewers that There Are Many Ways to Protect Yourself Without Using A Gun, a South Carolina television station runs a report on A Different Defense. 


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Media Matters, Exclusive: A Veteran Confronts NRA's Keene Over Law That Endangers Troops.  An Air Force veteran speaks with the president of  the NRA at last month's CPAC about a law that prohibits base commanders from questioning their troops about privately owned guns.

The Iowa Gun Owners is trying to remove Republican Clel Baudler as chairman of the Public Safety Committee because he didn't support a bill to allow people to carry guns without a permit. 

Georgia Rep. Ann Purcell (R), chair of the Public Safety Committee, has received death threats because a bill to eliminate the requirement for a permit in order to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public isn't moving fast enough through her committee.