Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Governors Strengthen and Weaken Gun Laws

The GVP Report - August 20, 2013

In The News

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed legislation that requires background checks on all gun sales, including private guns sales both online and in person.  The new law also requires gun owners whose weapons are lost or stolen notify police within 72 hours of discovering the guns are missing.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed 10 gun bills into law including disqualifying people on the federal terrorist watch list from owning guns and increasing penalties for illegal gun possession.

.50 caliber rifle However, New Jersey Gov. Christie vetoed a ban on .50-caliber rifles and gutted a proposal overhauling the state's gun permit system. "One person with one of these guns [.50 caliber] and incendiary armor piercing bullets could knock down a chemical plant and kill hundreds of people," said Bryan Miller, Heeding God's Call.

► A new law signed by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley allows people 18 to 20 years old to obtain concealed weapons permits. This has caused problems at local gun shops because you must be 21 to buy a gun from a licensed dealer. The sheriff has received "several complaints" that some of these young people with ccw permits were "being belligerent" about not being able to buy a gun from a dealer.

► The Oregon Supreme Court upheld a Portland ordinance that prohibits the carrying of loaded guns in public places by those without a permit.  The court pointed to the U.S. Supreme Court Heller ruling that said the Second Amendment right is not absolute.

► Associated Press reporters in Montana have been subject to online threats after seeking the names of concealed weapon permit holders. The AP sought the information "as part of our long-standing mission to assure transparency and accountability in government."

Fort Hood massacre trialThe prosecution is expected to rest this week in the trial of Army Maj. Nidal Hassan, accused of a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas that left 13 people dead and 32 people injured.

Florida prosecutors are not filing homicide charges against a 17-year-old who fatally shot a community choir director in the face, citing the state's Stand Your Ground/Shoot First law.  Prosecutors concluded that even though the teenager possessed the gun illegally, and even though his friends escaped the confrontation by simply walking away, the teen is immunized by Florida law.

Community Support

Outside the White House70-year-old Tom Harvey and his wife have been standing outside the White House for the past eight months holding signs asking for stronger gun laws. Person after person, from around the U.S. and from all over the world, gives them a thumbs-up or says "thank you for what you're doing."

Tara Haelle, Parents Against Gun Violence, Chicago Violence is Bad - Very - But Gun Problem is Bigger than One City. Chicago is not at the top of the pack of U.S. cities with the highest firearm homicides per capita. And when you step out and look at the U.S. murder profile, the picture is quite bleak, especially for the young.

Edgar Allen Beem, The Forecaster, Southern Maine, Insecurities About School Security. Many school security measures are essentially feel-good and about as effective as ducking under your desk in a nuclear attack. Ironically, increased school security may make parents feel good, but their children feel less safe.

Brian Beutler, Salon.com, What I Learned From Getting Shot. It turns out that even if a bullet only causes minor internal damage, doctors have to cut you wide open to make sure they're not missing anything dangerous or fatal.

► As gun owners across the nation declared Starbucks Appreciation Day at Newtown Starbucks, an open carry gun event was shut out.  To avoid the demonstrators, the store closed early "out of respect for Newtown and everything our community has been through."

Rep. Stacey Newman, The Turner Report, St. Louis, Missouri, Thoughts on Gun Violence. Instead of silence from the gun manufacturer's lobby after the next mass shooting, what if there was a sincere effort for collective responsibility? What if one firearm company expressed concern and locked hands with citizens to do everything possible to avoid additional gun deaths?

► Die-In in Chicago Activists staged a "die-in" against Stand Your Ground/Shoot First laws outside of the American Legislative Exchange Council's (ALEC) annual conference in Chicago. ALEC has helped to push Shoot First laws in states across the country.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► The Atlantic Magazine, Colorado's Gun-Control Recall: A Sign of Things to Come for Reformers? The Giron and  Morse recalls could turn out to be an expensive and mainly symbolic vote against two officials, but their backers are hoping for more.  They want to send a signal to other politicians that it's just not worth the trouble to limit guns - even if you can win a recall.

► Jon Caldera, Colorado Independence Institute, tells a group that if they succeed in knocking out Morse in the upcoming recall election "there will be a shudder, a wave of fear that runs across the country" and state legislators will say "that's not going to happen to me, I will not take on those gunnies."

► Time Magazine, Inside NRA University: The Gun Group Takes Supporters to School.  The NRA holds seminars for college students to learn the facts and fallacies of the gun debate, as defined by the NRA.

► Mother Jones, George Zimmerman's Biggest Defender: A Racist with a Criminal Past. Frank Taaffe, Zimmerman's unofficial media emissary, is a convicted criminal who recently appeared on The White Voice, a virulently racist podcast. He has given hundreds of interviews in support of Zimmerman, ranging from the New York Times to Fox News to CNN.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Dream Defenders

The GVP Report - August 6, 2013

In The News

Dream DefendersIn response to the Zimmerman acquittal, the Dream Defenders have occupied the Florida statehouse, demanding a special session on the state's Stand Your Ground/Shoot First law.  Gov. Scott has agreed to hold hearings on the law. The group also wants a special session to address racial profiling and the school-to-prison pipeline.  For an interview with the groups' executive director Phillip Agnew click here.

► After seven years of gridlock and obstruction by the gun lobby, the Senate finally voted to confirm a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

► A new study by Third Way analyzed internet gun sales in 10 states and found more than 15,000 guns for sale online without background checks.  And 2,000 web ads where buyers were intentionally seeking private sales without a background check.

► Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid predicted the Senate would vote again on background checks sometime before the midterm elections, but probably not before the beginning of 2014.

► A U.S. Court of Appeals upheld New Jersey's law requiring residents show a "justifiable need" to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public. The court ruled the mandate does not conflict with the Second Amendment. 

► Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel issued an opinion stating local school districts can't use state law to employ teachers and staff as guards who can carry guns on campus. A Clarksville district had planned to use the law to arm more than 20 teachers and staff when school starts this year.

► A Pew Research poll found that gun rights supporters donate four times more money and are more politically involved than gun violence prevention advocates.  Gun rights supporters are also more likely to vote for a candidate who agrees with their gun views.

Deb Cotton was one of 19 people shot during  a Mother's Day rally in New Orleans. She spent seven weeks in the hospital and endured eleven surgeries. Doctors said it was a miracle she survived.  She has over $50,000 in medical bills.

Gun suicides are on the rise nationwide. While suicide attempts usually stem from temporary setbacks, access to guns makes the equation much more lethal because those who choose a gun over pills, cutting or hanging almost never survive.

Community Support

Protect Children Not Guns 2013Children's Defense Fund, Protect Children Not Guns 2013, a compilation of the most recent and reliable national and state data on gun violence in America. In 2010, 2,694 children and teens died from guns and 18,270 suffered nonfatal gun injuries.

MTV, Every Action Counts, Melanie David Wages a Personal Fight Against Gun Violence. Melanie's brother was shot and killed in 2010. She recently went on stage to share her story as part of Girl Be Heard's "9mm America" show.

► Bill De Blasio, Public Advocate for the City of New York,Under Pressure to Divest, Eight Financial Firms Dump All Gun Stocks, 14 More Cut Holdings.   De Blasio's partners in the divestment campaign plan to build on this momentum. For more information about hedge funds and money managers invested in gun holdings go here.

► Tammerlin Drummond, Oakland Tribune, Children Exposed to Urban Gun Violence Suffer Warlike Trauma. Students in disadvantaged communities suffer from PTSD, just like children in Iraq. But people expect them to leave all those emotions outside and walk into school like any other student in a middle-class or upper-class neighborhood.

Bill Moyers talks with Tom DiazBill Moyers talks with Tom Diaz, former Violence Policy Center policy analyst, on Dangerous Gun Laws and how a lethal combination of self-defense laws and concealed carry laws makes us more vulnerable to gun violence.

► Dog Gone, Penigma, Contradictions: the Law Versus Police and Public Safety Campaigns. While following a person is legal, being followed is generally perceived as suspicious and threatening, and the public is consistently advised to be aware of it and to fear it. This seems to be an overlooked aspect to the Zimmerman trial.

►Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Innovation Memorandum, A Strategy to Reduce Gun Trafficking and Violence in the Americas. The flow of high-powered weaponry from the U.S. to Latin America exacerbates soaring rates of gun-related violence and undermines U.S. influence. But actions can be taken to reduce the availability of assault weapons and ammunition.

What the Gun Lobby is Doing

► Alex Seitz-Wald, Salon, "America's Scariest Police Chief" Suspended. The borough council of Gilberton, PA had suspended its "militia-founding, "libtard"-hating, conspiracy-theorizing police chief," Mark Kessler.

► Timothy Johnson, Media Matters, NRA's Wayne LaPierre: Despite Obama's Claims, "Many People" Believe Tyranny is "Lurking Just Around the Corner." In a recent op-ed, LaPierre also warned the administration is attempting to "disarm citizens on multiple fronts."

► Eli Stokols, 5280 The Denver Magazine, Dudley Brown's War. The executive director of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has been aiming to remake Colorado politics using hyper-aggressive and confrontational political strategies.

► Denver Post, Senators John Morse, Angela Giron recall elections set for September 10th. The two state senators are the target of recalls by constituents for their support of stronger Colorado gun laws implemented this month.