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Gun control

Not so much, but better than nothing! I don’t suppose he has many options:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Striving to take action where Congress would not, the Obama administration announced new steps Thursday on gun control, curbing the import of military surplus weapons and proposing to close a little-known loophole that lets felons and others circumvent background checks by registering guns to corporations.

Four months after a gun control drive collapsed spectacularly in the Senate, President Barack Obama added two more executive actions to a list of 23 steps the White House determined Obama could take on his own to reduce gun violence. With the political world focused on Mideast tensions and looming fiscal battles, the move signaled Obama’s intent to show he hasn’t lost sight of a cause he took up after 20 first graders and six adults were gunned down last year in an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

One new policy will end a government practice that lets military weapons, sold or donated by the U.S. to allies, be reimported into the U.S. by private entities, where some may end up on the streets. The White House said the U.S. has approved 250,000 of those guns to be reimported since 2005; under the new policy, only museums and a few other entities like the government will be eligible to reimport military-grade firearms.

The Obama administration is also proposing a federal rule to stop those who would be ineligible to pass a background check from skirting the law by registering a gun to a corporation or trust. The new rule would require people associated with those entities, like beneficiaries and trustees, to undergo the same type of fingerprint-based background checks as individuals if they want to register guns.

False equivalencies NRA style…

OR, what Digby said, “Good God.”

This video has been out a while, I really don’t know how I missed this. I have seen memes on the Social Network with this message.

If you honestly think this is a valid point, let’s just get back to the false arguments of presidents taking too much vacation time or griping about the falsely named “Obama phones.”

There is plenty of issues to criticize the Administration about.

This just isn’t it.

 

 

 

How about some mandatory safety classes and liability insurance…

I hate reading stories about little kids getting their hands on weapons.

A 4-year-old boy died in Michigan on Sunday evening after obtaining a handgun and shooting himself in the head, according to police.

Dundee police responded at around 4:15 p.m. on Sunday to a 911 call reporting that a child had shot himself.

Personnel from the Monroe County Ambulance and Dundee Volunteer Fire Department attempted to save the boy in the front bedroom of the house before transporting him to St. Joseph Hospital in Ann Arbor. He was pronounced dead at 5 p.m…..

A family friend who was living at the home with the father of the boy was arrested in connection with the shooting.

The 30-year-old man was charged with manslaughter with gross negligence. He was being held at the Monroe County Jail. An arraignment was scheduled for Monday.

I live in the gun laden South and I don’t have any real strong fears about guns, but, really would it be too much to require gun owners to have some mandatory gun training and some liability insurance, because some of them do not seem to have any common sense.

Some may say these are isolated incidents, but, here is a taste of some idiocy in Tennessee last week.

The owner of a Memphis cookie store inside a shopping mall where no guns are allowed chased three thieves who stole $45 from his cash register with a 9mm, firing shots into the air as he did so. Now he may lose his lease:

The signs on the doors of Southland Mall warn no guns allowed inside.

That includes everyone, even tenants who lease space in the mall.

Still, the owner of a cookie store inside the mall brought one to work anyway and used it.

“Bringing a gun and then pulling it out in front of a bunch of people that’s setting a bad example for your company,” said Phil Ross of Memphis.

The police report says three guys grabbed $45 out of the cash register.

They reportedly never produced a gun, but according to the police report, the store owner did…..

A McMinnville man has been arrested after firing a gun to scare off a community softball league he’s been feuding with:

According to the incident report, participants of the game said 49-year-old Herbert Crockett Conley, who they said complained to league officials for months about softballs being hit on his property, heard several gunshots being fired from his home.

Softball league officials explained once they heard the gunshots, nearly 150 adults and children quickly sought shelter at a neighboring community center, fearing for their lives.

No, I do not believe all gun owners are idiots or irresponsible and, maybe, mandatory training and insurance might not stop idiots like this from doing really stupid things. But, it might help those who get hurt and, hopefully, some of the idiot might be a little more mindful that they are, in fact, in charge of that weapon.

 

It’s good to have guns around the house, isn’t it?

Hey now!

A woman in Arizona has told police that she accidentally killed her husband with his own shotgun after he insisted that she pick it up even though she told him she was uncomfortable around guns.

The Daily Courier reported that Prescott Valley police responded to reports of a shooting on Gentle Winds Road Monday afternoon, where 56-year-old Gary Wingate was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a statement, the Prescott Valley Police Department said that Wingate’s 54-year-old wife had not been comfortable around firearms, but he asked her to pick up his 12-guage shotgun and hand it to him anyway. The weapon discharged while she was in the process of handing it to him, striking him in the upper torso.

“It seems like they meant to take [the shotgun] out this weekend on a trip and he wanted her to get more familiar with it,” Sgt. Brandon Bonney explained.

‘I regret my vote for Stand Your Ground’

Translation: “The NRA lobbyist told me it wouldn’t be a problem.” See how well that worked out?

After reports emerged this week that every single Florida state senator voted to pass what has become known as Florida’s state Stand Your Ground bill in 2005, then-Senate Democratic leader Les Miller said he regretted that vote more than any other he took in the Senate, and didn’t understand the law at the time.

“I’m not at an attorney,” Miller told the Tampa Bay Times. “So we relied on the advice of our staff and the lawyers in the caucus.” That advice, he said, was that the law would allow people to defend their homes and their cars – not to become vigilantes on the streets.

Had he known it would be used in street confrontations, he would not have voted for the bill, he suggested. “People are dying because of the ‘stand your ground’ law,” Miller said. “It was a bad bill.”

News reports and judicial analysis from the time suggest there were warnings about the law’s effects even before the law’s passage. But Miller’s comments reflect disagreement and confusion about the bill during debate, with some insisting it only protected the home and vehicle.

The verdict

I’ve seen some unjust verdicts in my time, but I’ve always accepted the frustrating principle that, in a system that’s set up to try to protect the rights of the innocent, we will occasionally see guilty people go free. Sounds very high-minded, right? It’s a lot harder to swallow when you see the system treat the innocent as guilty. And that’s what we saw in the trial of George Zimmerman, where, in the eyes of many, Trayvon Martin somehow was the one on trial.

If you want the details of why Zimmerman was found not guilty, you can read this.

But I think Scott Lemieux best addresses the larger issues here:

It is far from obvious that the prosecution (which was unable to even articulate a coherent narrative of the night’s events to counter Zimmerman’s) met its burden of disproving Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. That it failed to reach a guilty verdict cannot be seen as evidence of white supremacy on the part of the jury.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that race didn’t play a major role in the case. Trayvon Martin, guilty of nothing but walking on the street in a hoodie, was certainly killed because of racial profiling. And it is entirely possible that a trial of a poor African American killing a white man in similar circumstances would have played out differently (although the problem is not that the jury’s acquittal of Zimmerman was unreasonable but that a poor African-American man would have been much less likely to receive a fair trial, particularly assuming he could not afford to hire his own counsel). It’s easy to imagine a counterfactual case where a mostly white jury would have been less willing to credit a plausible self-defense claim if it came from an young African American man than a white man. To argue that the jury’s verdict wasn’t obviously wrong as a matter of law is not to argue that persistent racial inequities aren’t relevant to the case in a number of ways.

But it is important not to lose sight of something else: the inadequacy of the law in most states to deal with America’s gun culture. Carrying a deadly weapon in public should carry unique responsibilities. In most cases someone with a gun should not be able to escape culpability if he initiates a conflict with someone unarmed and the other party ends up getting shot and killed. Under the current law in many states, people threatened by armed people have few good options, because fighting back might create a license to kill.
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It’s not about ‘Stand Your Ground’

Scott Lemieux at the American Prospect:

Although some media reports continue to assert that Florida’s infamous “stand your ground” law was “central to Zimmerman’s defense” during the trial, the defendant’s team didn’t even invoke it; Zimmerman’s defense involved just standard self-defense. Under Florida law, the fact that Zimmerman initiated the conflict with Martin did not foreclose a self-defense claim if Zimmeran “reasonably believe[d] that he…[wa]s in imminent danger of death or great bodily harm and that he…has exhausted every reasonable means to escape such danger other than the use of force which is likely to cause death or great bodily harm to the assailant.”

This was the basis for Zimmerman’s defense, and under Florida law it was thestate’s burden to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. (Intuitively, this may seem like a quirk of Florida law, but the vast majority of states place the burden of proof on the state to disprove a claim of self-defense.)

Having not watched every second of the trial, I am not prepared to say that the jury got it right. But I do think that on its face the jury’s verdict wasn’t unreasonable. It is far from obvious that the prosecution (which was unable to even articulate a coherent narrative of the night’s events to counter Zimmerman’s) met its burden of disproving Zimmerman’s claim of self-defense beyond a reasonable doubt. That it failed to reach a guilty verdict cannot be seen as evidence of white supremacy on the part of the jury.

To be clear, this doesn’t mean that race didn’t play a major role in the case. Trayvon Martin, guilty of nothing but walking on the street in a hoodie, was certainly killed because of racial profiling. And it is entirely possible that a trial of a poor African American killing a white man in similar circumstances would have played out differently (although the problem is not that the jury’s acquittal of Zimmerman was unreasonable but that a poor African-American man would have been much less likely to receive a fair trial, particularly assuming he could not afford to hire his own counsel). It’s easy to imagine a counterfactual case where a mostly white jury would have been less willing to credit a plausible self-defense claim if it came from an young African American man than a white man. To argue that the jury’s verdict wasn’t obviously wrong as a matter of law is not to argue that persistent racial inequities aren’t relevant to the case in a number of ways.

But it is important not to lose sight of something else: the inadequacy of the law in most states to deal with America’s gun culture. Carrying a deadly weapon in public should carry unique responsibilities. In most cases someone with a gun should not be able to escape culpability if he initiates a conflict with someone unarmed and the other party ends up getting shot and killed. Under the current law in many states, people threatened by armed people have few good options, because fighting back might create a license to kill. As the New Yorker‘s Amy Davidson puts it, “I still don’t understand what Trayvon was supposed to do.” Unless the law is changed to deal with the large number of people carrying concealed guns, there will be more tragic and unnecessary deaths of innocent people like Trayvon Martin for which nobody is legally culpable. And to make claims of self-defense easier to bring, as Florida and more than 20 other states have done, is moving in precisely the wrong direction. And, even more importantly, no matter how self-defense laws are structured the extremely unusual American practice of allowing large number of citizens to carry concealed weapons leads to many unecessary deaths. (All 50 states, it’s worth noting, permit concealed carry.) Cases like the killing of Martin should compel reconsideration of the lack of significant gun control in the United States, but for whatever reason this isn’t the lesson that most legislators are likely to draw.

Thanks, Thomas Soldan.

Assault weapon sale for a cause…

Organizations do a variety of activities for fundraising. When I was in high school we would have sandwich and bake sales. Girl Scouts sell cookies and the masses beg for Thin mints and Do-se-does. 5k runs are also popular with causes and charities.

An Ohio personhood activist is selling assault weapons and ammo for the personhood cause

Patrick Johnston, founder of the anti-abortion group Personhood Ohio, sent out an email this past weekend encouraging recipients to help his cause by “buying an assault rifle” and “some high capacity magazines and a ton of ammo.

He wasn’t suggesting they buy just any assault rifles, mind you, but assault rifles from Johnston’s personal collection including two Chinese SKS rifles and a MAK 90.  All three weapons use the same ammunition the AK 47 (7.62×39mm). Two of the rifles come with high capacity magazines and one includes a drum holding 100 rounds. He is also auctioning off 2550 rounds of ammo.

It seems that the proceeds from this sale are to fund a large personhood mail campaign

“What do you do when you have a Personhood mailing to 20,000 pro-life Ohioans that costs $5,500 and only have $2,900 in your Personhood account?” Personhood Ohio Director Patrick Johnston wrote in a fundraising email on Sunday. “I’m selling some of my favorite things – some powerful rifles and ammo.”

But, the personhood movement is on the fringe even with Right Wing

Personhood advocates’ push to endow zygotes with the rights of U.S. citizens hasn’t won support from other Republicans or other anti-abortion groups. The Supreme Court has confirmed that personhood is “clearly unconstitutional,” and it’s failed to take hold in conservative states like Oklahoma and Mississippi. The one notable exception is North Dakota, where the state legislature passed a personhood amendment that will be on the ballot in 2014.

Nothing promotes the sanctity of life better than an assault weapon.

H/t medical malpractice attorney Thomas Soldan.

The new anti-gun movement

And how they’re taking on what’s left of the NRA. Fascinating.

But instead of increasing the pressure on politicians, gun-control advocates believed they could prevail through reason alone. While the NRA issued members voting instructions, their adversaries produced well-researched reports on gun violence. “We’ve always been too polite, by appealing to politicians to do the right thing, … appealing to their conscience and hoping they’d come around even when the evidence suggested they wouldn’t,” says Ladd Everitt of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “We went too far into the realm of educating the public and ceded the field of politics to the NRA. That was disastrous for us.”

All along, though, the gun lobby’s vulnerabilities were there for a serious opponent to exploit. Long before Wayne LaPierre’s rambling press conference after Newtown, the NRA had barreled well out of the mainstream—take LaPierre’s 1995 characterization of federal agents as “jack-booted government thugs.” It has become increasingly easy to find gun owners openly critical of the organization’s extreme politics. And demographic trends have concentrated its most ardent members in ever-narrower regional pockets.

That serious opponent has finally emerged. In 2006, Bloomberg formed Mayors Against Illegal Guns with 14 of his counterparts. One of the group’s first moves was to dispatch undercover investigators to Virginia gun shops—the source of many guns on the streets of northern cities—where they recorded footage showing how easy it was to make illegal purchases.10 In 2010, Bloomberg hired Wolfson, a hard-bitten veteran of three Hillary Clinton campaigns. Listening to the mayor’s team discuss gun control is very different from talking to longtime advocates—the conversations are an odd mash-up of the ruthlessness of campaign hacks and a moral crusade. For an administration that has made its share of ethical compromises—disregarding term limits, pulverizing opponents with the mayor’s personal fortune—gun control has become the ultimate validation.
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