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."

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