Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How Much We Pay When Killers Kill


The GVP Report - April 17, 2012


In The News

The Center for American Progress report, Auditing the Cost of the Virginia Tech Massacre: How Much We Pay When Killers Kill, asses the cost of the shooting for the taxpayers at $48.2 million.  Flaws in the system that allow easy access to guns "results in the inestimable loss of life and its horror and consequence. Sadly, we can calculate this cost another way...the taxpayer's bill for a spree killing."

Richmond Times-Dispatch, For Virginia Tech Families Little Clarity Five Years Later, looks at some of the survivors of the shooting who have become advocates for gun violence prevention.

Guardian News, Rise in Justifiable Homicides Linked to Weak Gun Control Laws, analyses FBI and other data since 2005 and finds a statistical correlation with states with both Shoot First laws and the weakest gun control and an increase in justifiable homicides. 

Ipsos/Reuers Poll on Gun Rights & Regulations found 44% of those surveyed had a very or somewhat favorable view of the NRA, 62% opposed allowing concealed weapons in a church, workplace, or retail establishment, and 91% supported background checks on gun sales.

LiveScience.com reports on a new study that finds when holding a gun a man of any size appears bigger, a notion that probably occurs at a subconscious level.  

Five former New Orleans cops sentenced in Hurricane Katrina shootings.  The men were sentenced for their roles in deadly shooting of unarmed residents in the chaotic days after the hurricane.

Washington Post, Trayvon Martin Shooting Spurs Protests Against Companies With Ties to Legislative Group, reports a number of organizations have pulled their support of conservative organization ALEC, a lobbying group working with the NRA to push "Shoot First" and other gun laws.

Two men confess to a shooting spree in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two white men gunned down five strangers, all African American, killing three of them


Officer Down

Police Chief Michael Maloney, Greenland, New Hampshire, age 48.  Shot in the head and killed while serving a drug-related search warrant.  He leaves behind a son, 22, a daughter, 28 an a 14-month-old grandson.

Deputy Sheriff Robert Paris, Stanislaus County, California, age 53. Shot and killed while serving an eviction notice. He is survived by his parents and two adult children.

Officer Jaime Padron, Austin, Texas, age 40. Shot and killed while responding to a call about a drunk man at Walmart.  He is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 10.

A man in Chicopee, Massachusetts opened fire on police with an AK-47 and a handgun.  A state trooper was wounded in the exchange of gunfire. 

An ex-convict in Brooklyn, New York wounded four officers during a gunfight inside a sixth-floor apartment. 

New York Times reports that according to FBI data, the number of police officers killed by perpetrators has risen sharply. 2011 was the first time more officers were killed by suspects than in car accidents.  


Community Support

Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, Battleground America: One Nation, Under the Gun, looks at the evolution of the NRA from a sporting club that encouraged gun control to a radical lobbying group. "Although rates of gun ownership, like rates of violent crime, are falling, the power of the gun lobby is not." 

Cenk Uygur, The Young Turks Current TV,  Democrats Should Never Have Abandoned the 2nd Amendment to Conservatives - We Need Gun Reform.

Spocko's Brain, Hey LaPierre, The Media's Not to Blame, You Are. A response to LaPierre's statement that the media is "manufacturing controversy for ratings" by covering the Taryvon Martin shooting.

Art on Issues, The Common Denominator of Right Wing Policy: Lost Lives, examines how special interest-driven policies are pursued despite well-documented, and often substantial, loss of American lives.

James E. Causey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,No Hands-On Training to Carry, "Last week, I successfully completed a firearm safety course that's required to carry a concealed weapon. It was the easiest class I ever took."

Jon Soltz, VoteVets.org, 'Shoot First' Laws: Even Troops in War Zones Can't Do That. The Florida law "gives more leeway to shooters than our own military gives to soldiers in war."

Adam Winkler, law professor at UCLA, Is Gun Control Dead? "But if gun control is dead politically, it remains alive and well in the courts, despite a few high-profile Supreme Court rulings."

Bill Press, The Hill, US Leaders Gun Shy. "The nerve of President Calderon of Mexico.  How dare he come to the U.S. and utter two words Americans are no longer allowed to speak?  I heard them myself in the Rose Garden last week: gun control."

Robert Spitzer, Salon.com, The NRA's Silent Motive. "Fewer American's own guns now than in the 1960s.  Is that why the lobby wants to make them more accessible?"


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Fear, Frustration and Guns as NRA Targets Obama.  AlterNet offers highlights from the recent NRA convention in St. Louis.

Guardian News, NRA: 10 Ways It Has Weakened Gun Control Laws in the US.  How the organization behind Florida's "Shoot First" law has been exploiting loopholes - and creating more - for years.

The Right to Bear Arms - in a US Assembly.  Mark Guarino reports on lawmakers in several states who feel the need to carry loaded hidden guns into state capitols and even on the assembly floor. 

Want to Be Seen As "Cool" in Texas?  Buy A Gun Silencer, looks at the trend in Texas to buy silencers for both handguns and hunting rifles.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Any Gun, Anyone, Anywhere


The GVP Report - April 3, 2012


Any Gun, Anyone, Anywhere

Rachel Maddow, Legislators Loosen Gun Laws No Matter How Grave the Tragedy. "How we will engage on the racial issue of the Trayvon tragedy and can this lead to a productive discussion about guns?"

Center for American Progress, 'Stand Your Ground' Law Leads to Trayvon Martin's Death: Legal Deadly Force Outside the Home Meets Racial Profiling, "The law shifts the burden of proof that defendants did not act out of self-defense onto the (often) deceased shoulders of their victims." And "allow individuals to act (with death force) on racist hunches about who is suspicious and who might harm them."

Mike Lupica, New York Daily news, Pistol Was the Trigger: Trayvon Martin is Just Another Notch for the Gun Lobby. "The NRA is relentlessly working to make buying a gun as easy as buying a lottery ticket."

The Downward Spiral, The "Gun Nuts" Finally Went Too Far. "The NRA's biggest problem is that it has been TOO successful. What can NRA lobbyists do when the politicians have become so cowed that there is no longer any realistic threat of serious gun control legislation being enacted?" 

Cenk Uyger, The Young Turks, interviews Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America.  According to Pratt you can shoot a guy who's beating you, but you can't beat a guy who's about to shoot you

Bloomberg News, Florida Turns 'Gunshine State' After Years of Republican Control. While violent crime has decreased in the last ten years, gun-related fatalities have increased 35 percent. 

Violence Policy Center report, "Never Walk Alone" - How Concealed Carry Laws Boost Gun Sales, looks at how the gun industry exploits NRA-backed laws to sell new guns to old customers and to entice new ones. "Truly the greatest beneficiary of national concealed carry stand to be the gun industry."


In The News

Study from Notre Dame Associate Professor of Psychology James Brockmole, in upcoming issue of Journal of Experimental Psychology, finds that holding a gun makes you think others are too

Mark Karlin, Truthout, Murder Incorporated: Guns, the NRA and the Politics of Violence on the Mexican Border.  Reports that "an iron river of guns flows across the border" and notes "Mexican Cartels are a profitable end market for US gun manufacturers and sellers."

After being denied a gun purchase in Oregon when background check found history of mental illness, John Shick bought two handguns through a newspaper ad in New Mexico with no background checkHe used the guns to shoot and kill one person and wound five others at Western Psychiatric Institute in Pennsylvania last month.

New Hampshire state legislator Kyle Tasker dropped one of his guns on the floor at the start of House Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee meeting.  Tasker routinely wears two guns in a should holster to legislative meetings.


Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Several sites offer comprehensive overviews of the Trayvon Martin killing and subsequent events:

New York Times: The Events Leading to the Shooting of Trayvon Martin.

Mother Jones: The Trayvon Martin Killing, Explained.

Huffington Post: The Trayvon Martin Tragedy.

Salon.com: Why Rush Limbaugh and the Right Turned on Trayvon Martin.


Community Support

Art on Issues, Guns in Restaurants/Bars: Establishment Owner Liabilities and Rights Infringement, looks at pending legislation in North Carolina to allow ccw in bars and argues that it not only violates bar owner's rights but also may potentially subject them to liability for any gun injuries.

A coalition including National Urban League, NAACP, ColorOfChange, MoveOn, AFL-CIO, SEIU, Center for Media and Democracy, ProgressNow, Common Cause, National Council of Churches and more attempted to talk to ALEC, to ask them to disclose all NRA funding and stop promoting "Kill at Will" bills.

Gail Collins, More Guns, Fewer Hoodies, "Whenever there is a terrible shooting incident somewhere in America, our politicians talk about everything except whether the tragedy could have been avoided if the gunman had not been allowed to carry a firearm."

Nicole Brodeur, No Safety Training Required to Get Gun Permit, "Getting a permit to carry a concealed weapon in Washington state is as easy as buying a new set of tires. There's a bit of paperwork, and you may have to sit for a spell while they make sure your records is clean. But you can be out and packing in less than an hour."

HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher tells Dr. Drew that the Democratic Party bowing to the NRA on the issue of gun control made it possible for the "Kill at Will" laws "This is what happens in American when one political party, in this case, the Democrats, completely rolls over on an issue, in this case, gun control."

Jonathan Zimmerman, Where's the Trayvon Martin Petition About Gun Control?, "We need to ask whether any private citizen should be carrying a concealed weapon, and whether 'Stand Your Ground' measures make people trigger-happy.  We need to think about the most common victims of our lax guns laws: African Americans."

Marian Wright Edelman, How Our Nation Can Protect Children, Not Guns, "It's shameful that when child and teen gun deaths are compared in 23 high-income countries, 87 percent of all children under 15 killed by guns were in the United States. To read the Children's Defense Fund 2012 report Protect Children, Not Guns click here

Cliff Schecter, Unarmed and Dangerous? "Both ALEC and the NRA exist to support the whims and wants of privileged and largely white members of society, while disenfranchising, impoverishing and even allowing the Trayvon Martins of our society to be gunned down in cold blood.  Racism is at their very core."


What the Gun Lobby is Doing

Strum, Ruger & Company, Inc. Gains on Fears Over Gun Control.  The company, which manufactures and sells firearms in the U.S., rallied 114.7% in the past year based in part on fears President Obama would enforce stricter firearm regulations if reelected.

The NRA  has a new item in its online store: hooded sweatshirts with a special pocket designed to carry a concealed handgun.  They sent out an email March 26th promoting the item and asking "Are you ready for a ccw hoodie?"

Media Matters, Not Just "Kill At Will": ALEC Helps the NRA Push Guns on Campus. After adopting the NRA model legislation that would allow ccw permit holders to bring guns on college campuses, ALEC helped introduce the legislation in 23 states in 2011.  Two states passed the bill. The bill was introduced in many states again in 2012.

Supporters of 'Stand Your Ground' Laws in Iowa, Illinois Don't Back Down.  Legislators who have introduced "Kill At Will" bills in Iowa and Illinois intend to keep pushing the bill, despite the national debate spawned by the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

Legal Community Against Violence,  25 states, including Florida, have "Kill At Will" laws containing provisions that generally allow the use of deadly force in self-defense with no duty to retreat in locations outside the home.