Later On

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Archive for the ‘Guns’ Category

Does the NRA believe that the tree of liberty also requires the blood of schoolchildren?

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The NRA and its more militant members have been fond of quoting Thomas Jefferson’s statement made in support of the Revolutionary War, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

What is missing at the end of the sentence is “… and schoolchildren.” I do not see how the constant occurrence of school shootings in any way is nurturing to the tree of liberty, and yet the NRA (and its more militant members) strongly oppose any steps that might mitigate the carnage.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 May 2018 at 5:53 am

Posted in Education, Guns

Politicians who took NRA money ought to give it back

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Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post:

One of the extraordinary findings in the Senate Judiciary Committee’s preliminary report released on Wednesday concerns the National Rifle Association. The report states:

The Committee has obtained a number of documents that suggest the Kremlin used the National Rifle Association as a means of accessing and assisting Mr. Trump and his campaign. Two individuals involved in this effort appear to be Russian nationals Alexander Torshin and Maria Butina. Mr. Torshin is a Putin ally and the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Russia, and Ms. Butina served as his assistant. She also founded Right to Bear Arms, the Russian equivalent of the NRA, and started a business with former Trump supporter and adviser Paul Erickson. Both Mr. Torshin and Ms. Butina have longstanding ties to ex-NRA president, David Keene, and in 2013, hosted him in Russia for a pro-gun conference.
During the campaign, Mr. Torshin, Ms. Butina, and their intermediaries repeatedly offered the campaign back channels to Russia and relayed requests from President Putin to meet with Mr. Trump. The Kremlin may also have used the NRA to secretly fund Mr. Trump’s campaign. The extent of Russia’s use of the NRA as an avenue for connecting with and potentially supporting the Trump campaign needs examination. Requests for documents and staff interviews have been sent to Ms. Butina, Mr. Erickson, and Mr. Keene, but they have refused to cooperate.

Russia’s alleged use of the NRA as a kind of front group raises serious questions, according to Russia experts. “We’ve focused a lot on the Russian outreach on social media, but we’ve missed the entirety of Russian influence efforts,” says former FBI special agent Clinton Watts. “Active Measures seek to engage on three levels, State-to-state, State-to-people (social media) and state-to-party. The NRA outreach represents their ground game where they seek to engage sympathetic parties and organizations in the target audience by aligning along common interests.” He reminds us, “During [the] Cold War, this was via communist parties and socialist groups, now with Russian Active Measures it’s through groups like the NRA or religious connections.”
There are numerous questions yet to be answered — the extent of the NRA’s knowledge of Russian meddling, whether the NRA participated in a conspiracy to break campaign finance laws barring foreigners from making campaign donations and where the Russian money funneled through the NRA wound up. Nevertheless, Max Bergmann of the Moscow Project observes: “It looks increasingly clear the Russians were looking to infiltrate the American right. What’s shocking was how little resistance the Russians seemed to face.”
Congressional hearings into the possible use of of right-wing front groups by the Kremlin would certainly be appropriate. Meanwhile, the NRA revelation raises a serious problem for politicians who have received money and/or support from the NRA. No one is suggesting that any candidates who benefited from the NRA’s largesse knew of Russia’s alleged infiltration; however, now that significant questions have been raised about the origin of campaign money, any candidate who received NRA support, I would argue, has at least a moral obligation to give the money back. Those who have gotten the coveted “A” rating from the NRA should think twice about touting the stamp of approval from a group that wittingly or unwittingly allegedly helped in essence launder Russian money. Opponents of the NRA-backed candidates would be foolish not to demand that they give their NRA money back — perhaps in rubles.
Finally, one has to ask . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 May 2018 at 4:00 pm

Did the NRA’s Dana Loesch Just Admit to Tax Fraud?

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Apparently so.

Written by LeisureGuy

3 May 2018 at 10:39 am

Ten Arguments Against Gun Control — And Facts That Prove Them Wrong

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Daniel Brezenoff writes in Medium:

I remember where I was when the mass shooting at Columbine High School happened — the offices of the Daily Tar Heel Newspaper on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. All the staff stood around in shock. We’d seen school violence, we’d seen mass shootings, but this — this was different.

So planned, so military, so calculated and so, apparently, random. Surely, many of us thought, Americans would have to stop everything and figure out what’s wrong.

But we didn’t. We went on.

I don’t remember where I was when I heard about any other school shooting. They’ve become a fact of life. No shock, just resigned grief.

Are guns to blame? Young male rage seems at least equally at fault — whether we call it mental illness, toxic masculinity, a sickness in our society, or a culture of violence, it’s an undeniable reality. Boys are learning that violence is power, that life is dispensable, and that, if they aren’t popular, athletic, strong, or smart, they have very little value.

Yes, we need more and better mental health care in this country, and we need increased access. But making this into solely a mental health problem isn’t helpful (see below).

A culture change, especially among young men, would be. But cultural change takes time. And of course, it is really impossible to legislate — unlike successful gun control.

Gun control isn’t “the answer”. But it’s surely a piece of the puzzle.

None of us, I think, have much hope that we can change many minds in arguments over the Second Amendment. But it appears, with enough public tragedy, the needle moves a little.

The status quo comes in many forms, and one is some really dumb arguments that get made repeatedly in the noosphere. Here are some we all hear a lot.

You’ve probably heard the responses before — hell you’ve probably written several yourself! But it might be helpful to have them all in one place, with citations. Hyperlinks provide solid sources, as well as examples of these stupid arguments (so you know I didn’t invent a straw man) and some further reading.

  1. Guns don’t kill people, people do. If they dont use a gun, they’ll use something else — like a hammer, knife, or bomb.

Right — but with the possible exception of bombs, guns make it much easier, don’t they? Isn’t that why the Second Amendment protects guns and not knives or hammers? Isn’t that why mass killers so often choose guns — not baseball bats? There will always be objects that can be used as a weapon. But why make it easier? Would you rather confront a killer with a gun, or with a bat?

And yes, though actual bombs are illegal, homemade ones can be, well, made at home. Ok, we can’t prevent that 100% of the time. But the idea that we should make every type of gun available to everyone just because they could also get a bomb makes no sense. Why give more a killer options?And, we’ve actually made it harder to build homemade bombs. Large purchases of certain ingredients are considered suspicious, and may be monitored, heavily regulated, or reported when purchased. But bombings are relatively uncommon domestically. There are more gun deaths in the US in 2 years than deaths by terrorist bombings in the entire world in 40. Would limiting access to guns make them more common? It’s possible — but that’s not an argument against gun control.

2. Gun control is a violation of the 2nd amendment

Confiscating everyone’s guns would be a violation of the Second Amendment. So would banning all guns outright. I know plenty of people would like this outcome, but let’s face it: It’s isn’t even a remote possibility.

During Obama’s presidency, after every mass shooting, at a school or elsewhere, before anyone could start talking about gun control, we heard it: Obama is coming for your guns! He’s gone, but our guns are still here. Even the staunchest gun control advocates in Congress and in statehouses don’t talk about banning guns.

It’s illegal to commit fraud, or incite a riot, or lie to a police officer. But these aren’t violations of the First Amendment protection of free speech.

The Second Amendment doesn’t give everyone an absolute right to every kind of weapon no matter what forever. We don’t allow grenade launchers or fully automatic weapons. We can certainly limit military style rifles in number, and ensure anyone owning one is really of sound mind, without “infringing” the right of “the people” to “keep and bear arms”.

3. Gun control won’t work

But it clearly does work. Countries with stricter gun control than the US nearly all have far fewer gun deaths and a lower murder rate. The exceptions are generally places where government is so ineffective they could be called a fail state.

Meanwhile, the states with the worst rates of gun murders are states with lax gun control.

And, in places with strict gun control but high levels of gun violence — like Chicago or DC — guns are easily obtained and transported from neighboring states like Michigan and Indiana, or Virginia and West Virginia, with some of the most relaxed gun restrictions on Earth.

 

That’s why national legislation is needed. And as long as we rely on piecemeal attempts by localities, guns will find their way across state borders.

And national legislation works. When was the last time someone committed a crime with a bazooka, fully automatic machine gun, or rocket launcher? Those are illegal, and somehow those laws work. Keeping these out of civilian hands is hard, but it would be impossible if some states allowed them.

Even crime generally seems to stay higher when gun laws are loose. Even though crime and violent crime have been declining nationwide, the trend is generally stronger where gun laws are tighter — especially once you account for population density as a factor that would increase crime. . .

4. Cars kill lots of people — should we ban cars?

Cars aren’t designed to kill people, but they do, and because of that, they are strictly regulated. If only we regulated guns and gun-owners half as carefully as we do cars and drivers.

States track every vehicle sale carefully. All drivers must take a written and field test to get a license, which they must renew periodically. It can be suspended or revoked. Severe mental illness and certain criminal offenses can prevent licensure. Cars themselves are also regulated heavily, with VIN numbers, mandatory insurance, license plates, and safety requirements.

The result: Dramatically reduced auto fatalities. As of 2015, more Americans are killed by a gun than are killed in car crashes. And — surprise — the states leading the trend are mainly those with lax gun control.

We mandated seatbelts, and airbags. We long ago got rid of metal dashboards. We changed gas tanks to prevent explosions. And that’s not to mention air quality regulations that have saved countless lives.

But no one is coming to confiscate your chevy. . .

Continue reading. There’s a lot more. Later in the article:

Written by LeisureGuy

2 May 2018 at 11:54 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Guns, Law

A teen missed the bus to school. When he knocked on a door for directions, a man shot at him.

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And people say the US is racist and gun-crazy! Eli Rosenberg reports in the Washington Post:

The 14-year-old was walking to high school after sleeping late and missing the bus when he decided to ask a neighbor for directions.

It was a banal request, but it nearly got the student from Rochester Hills, Mich., killed Thursday.

The woman who opened the door after Brennan Walker, who is black, knocked on it started yelling at him. Then the woman’s husband grabbed a shotgun and fired it at him, Walker and police officials said.

Walker told WJBK TV that “she was like, ‘Why are you trying to break into my house?’ I was trying to explain to her that I was trying to get directions to Rochester High. And she kept yelling at me. Then the guy came downstairs, and he grabbed the gun, I saw it and started to run. And that’s when I heard the gunshot.”

After sprinting away from the house, Brennan, who was not hit, hid and broke down in tears, the outlet reported.

“I’m kind of happy that, like, I didn’t become a statistic,” Brennan told the outlet, saying his mother had told him that black boys were at risk of being shot by others.

Jeffrey Zeigler, a retired firefighter who is white, was charged with assault with intent to murder and a felony firearm charge, local news outlets reported, and his bond was set at $50,000. He faces as much as life in prison, according to a video of his arraignment.

“There’s a lot more to the story than what’s being told, and I believe that will all come out in court,” Zeigler said at the arraignment. “I was in bed yesterday morning when my wife started screaming and crying … ”

The judge interrupted Zeigler to prevent him from finishing.

The man’s wife appeared to have called 911 around 8:20 a.m. saying that her husband had chased a black male who had tried to break in, according to the Associated Press.

“It is just absurd that this happened,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard told WJBK. “I feel terrible for the young man; I feel terrible for the mom and the anxiety that they had to go through. We are going to ask for every charge permissible for this guy who stepped up and fired a shotgun because someone knocked on his door.”

Brennan’s mother, Lisa Wright, told the outlet that she had heard that the man missed only because he forgot to take the gun’s safety off.

She said police showed her surveillance video of the episode taken from a camera installed at the home where the incident happened.

“One of the things that stands out, that probably angers me the most is, while I was watching the tape, you can hear the wife say, ‘Why did these people choose my house?’ ” Wright said. “Who are ‘these people?’ And that set me off. I didn’t want to believe it was what it appeared to look like. When I heard her say that, it was like, but it is.”

Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett said in a statement that he was “personally sickened by the initial reports and they suggest behavior completely unacceptable and inconsistent with the character and values of our community.”

The situation is similar to another that took place in Michigan, in Dearborn Heights, where a white man shot a 19-year-old black woman after she knocked on his door after crashing her car nearby. That man, Theodore Wafer, was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to a minimum of 17 years in prison in 2014. . .

Continue reading. I wonder whether this couple voted for Trump or for Clinton.

 

 

Written by LeisureGuy

13 April 2018 at 7:36 pm

How Vermont’s NRA A-rated governor was ‘shocked’ into backing new gun laws

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Meagan Flynn reports in the Washington Post:

Surrounded by gun-control opponents heckling him outside the Vermont State House on Wednesday, Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed into law the most restrictive gun-control measures in the state’s history.
While some had come to thank him, Scott knew that many there who voted for him based in part on his A-grade rating from the NRA were “disappointed and angry” with him, he said.
Some yelled “Traitor!” and “BS!” as he tried to assure them that the laws he was about to sign were not intended to “take away your guns — period.” Others told him he had lost their votes and brandished signs that said “One Term Gov” and “Not My Governor.”
But it was clear from his remarks that Scott had already considered all of that. Two months ago, after police foiled an alleged shooter’s plans to storm a local high school and kill as many as possible, Scott said he could no longer sit back and do nothing. He had already made up his mind then.
“I know these discussions have been difficult, emotional and complex — barriers that frequently lead to inaction,” he told the crowd. “But this is not the time to do what’s easy. It’s the time to do what’s right.”
The three laws Scott signed Wednesday ban the possession and sale of bump stocks and magazines holding more than 10 rounds for a long gun and 15 for a handgun, unless purchased before Oct. 1.
To ensure background checks on private gun sales, the new laws require that all guns be bought and sold through a licensed firearm dealer, excluding sales between immediate family members. Buyers must be at least 21, unless they complete a Vermont hunter safety course or are in the military or law enforcement. The laws also allow police to confiscate a gun from a person under specific circumstances when the person poses a threat.
Under House bill 422, law enforcement can temporarily confiscate a gun from a person who has just been arrested for domestic violence, in which case a judge would decide whether to return the gun to the defendant at the next-business-day arraignment hearing.
The judge could decide that not possessing a gun should be a condition of the defendant’s release, or that the gun should be taken from the defendant under other abuse-prevention orders. Under Senate bill 221, the state can seek an “extreme protection order” that “prohibits a person from possessing a firearm for up to one year” if a court finds that the person “poses a significant danger of causing injury to himself or another person.”
Violation of these laws could result in jail time between six months and a year or fines between $500 and $1,000.
The passage of the gun-control laws in Vermont marks a significant change in course in a state where bipartisan resistance to gun-control measures thwarted even the most modest gun-restriction proposals for years. Vermont still does not require law-abiding gun owners to have a permit to carry guns in public. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 April 2018 at 10:47 am

Posted in Government, Guns, Law

This Parkland teacher left his gun in a public bathroom. It was loaded, BSO says.

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One of the drawbacks of arming teachers. Madeleine Marr reports in the Miami Herald:

Not the most normal sight: a gun left in the bathroom stall.

But that’s exactly what went down on Sunday in a men’s room at the Deerfield Beach Pier.

The circumstances of how the Glock 9mm got there are unusual.

According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, the weapon was left by Sean Simpson. If his name sounds familiar, he’s the teacher at Marjory Stoneman Douglas who said he’d be willing to arm himself while on duty.

According to the sheriff’s office report, Simpson told deputies he’d left his gun by accident. By the time the chemistry teacher realized his mistake, the Glock was already in the hands of a drunk homeless man who had picked it up and fired. The bullet hit a wall.

Simpson was able to grab the gun away from the vagrant, Joseph Spataro, who was charged with firing a weapon while intoxicated and trespassing.

As for the MSD teacher, he was  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 April 2018 at 10:09 am

Posted in Daily life, Education, Guns

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