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Archive for April, 2013

Missouri Senators Cite Gun, U.N. Conspiracy Theories In Voting To Defund Driver’s License Bureau


Editors Note:
Read this article from Think Progressive about the Missouri State Senate decision to eliminate all funding for the states Department of Revenue’s Driver’s License Bureau and slash funding or several other state agencies and their reason why.

By Nicole Flatow on Apr 23, 2013 at 1:30 pm

In retribution against a Missouri agency’s record-keeping of concealed carry gun permits, the state Senate voted Monday to eliminate all funding for the Department of Revenue’s driver’s license bureau and slashed funding for several other agencies. If the measure became law, it would halt the issuance of driver’s licenses in the state, and would hobble the core functioning of several other agencies that senators believe played a role in collecting gun permit information to combat fraud. Raw Story explains:

Republican lawmakers in Missouri became alarmed at a recent hearing at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing when Revenue Department Director Brian Long refused to agree to stop scanning and retaining concealed carry data. Long said that the records helped to prevent fraud.

Long resigned from his post as director earlier this month.

The 2005 federal Real ID Act requires states to retain a database of scanned documents for verifying identity. Missouri appeared to be the only state where the license bureau was charged with printing concealed carry permits, either on driver’s licenses or as a separate document. Lawmakers gave the licensing bureau control over concealed carry permits in 2003 to help law enforcement identify people who were [sic] weapons.

But lawmakers have recently become increasingly concerned that gun records would be shared with federal officials to create a gun registry that could lead to confiscations.

Melissa Wilson, wife of state Rep. Kenneth Wilson (R), told the committee earlier this month that she was certain that gun records had been shared with the federal government as a part of a United Nations initiative called Agenda 21, which some conservatives believe is a conspiracy to “transform America from the land of the free, to the land of the collective” through “a mind-control” tactic called the Delphi technique.

A 2009 Missouri law prohibits state officials from implementing the federal Real ID Act, and a state House panel this week approved legislation that made it illegal to share information about concealed carry permits.

Lawmakers may have some reason to be concerned about the privacy of Missouri’s record-keeping generally. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) recently ordered an end to electronic copies of concealed carry permits, after a list was sent to a fraud investigator at the Social Security Administration (who did not use the list). But concerns that the record-keeping will lead to gun confiscation or play a role in a United Nations conspiracy theory are completely unfounded. Federal gun registries are already illegal, and nothing in Obama’s executive orders nor the defeated congressional proposals would come close to widespread confiscation, which would be a Second Amendment violation. The theory that some claim will “transform America” — Agenda 21 — is nothing more than a series of non-binding recommendations about how to better use natural resources in promoting development. But that has not stopped some from alleging that Obama is using a mind-control technique known as “Delphi” to garner support for the U.N. plan. A concern more grounded in reality is how the state will protect public safety if it abolishes its drivers’ license system.

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Louisiana House Passes Gun Bill That Sponsor Admits Is Unconstitutional


By Nicole Flatow on Apr 25, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Undeterred by even a gun bill sponsor’s admission that it is unconstitutional, the Louisiana House passed legislation Tuesday to criminalize any enforcement of gun laws restricting possession of semi-automatic weapons. By a vote of 67-25, legislators signaled their approval for punishment by up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine for officers’ attempts to enforce federal law. The Times-Picayune reports:

House Bill 5 passed by a vote of 67-25 even as its sponsor, state Rep. Jim Morris, R-Oil City, reiterated his belief that the legislation is unconstitutional. […]

“Although I like what this bill states…I have $100,000 of student loans that tell me it’s probably unconstitutional,” said Rep. Joe Lopinto, R-Metairie, one of the bill’s supporters. Opponents cited the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which says any state law that conflicts with federal law is unconstitutional.

Morris also said he know the passage of his bill could open up the state to litigation. Regardless, he said it would be worth fighting the federal government on the issue even “if we have to spend every dime.”

In November, Louisiana voters passed a ballot initiative that created constitutional gun rights that are arguably stricter than the Second Amendment. A court has already relied on this constitutional amendment to strike down a ban on gun possession by violent felons. But even this state amendment cannot insulate the state from the supremacy of federal gun law.

The bill, which will now go before the Senate, is one of eight aimed at expanding gun rights that cleared a House committee the day after the Senate filibustered federal background check legislation. Also on Tuesday, the House passed a bill to penalize one who “intentionally disseminates for publication” concealed carry permit information. Because the bill would ostensibly punish even third parties who don’t illegally obtain the protected information, the bill could violate the First Amendment and newspapers are threatening to sue.

On Wednesday, the House passed another bill to allow lifetime concealed carry permits, meaning once someone is vetted once for a permit, they will never have to verify that they still qualify. But proponents of the bill said the Louisiana State Police, which issue the permits, are immediately informed if a permit-holder is involved in a felony, and their permit is immediately revoked.

Editors Note:

Even after the bills sponsors admitted that the bill was unconstitutional the Louisiana State House passed a bill 67 to 25 making it a criminal offence to enforce any gun laws restricting possession of semi-automatic weapons. This Think Progressive article states the bill caries a punishment of up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine for any officers’ attempt to enforce the Federal Law. By the term "officers" I assume is meant any police officers or law enforcement officers.

The Louisiana House reportable also passed another bill allowing lifetime concealed weapon’s permits.

The bills were sent to the Louisiana Senate where I hope saner legislator mind’s will prevail.

Gun Group Raffles Off Assault Rifle Used In Newtown Shooting To ‘Resist Barack Obama’


By Rebecca Leber on Apr 27, 2013 at 2:06 pm

The Tennessee Firearms Association is raffling off one AR-15 semiautomatic rifle, the same weapon used by Adam Lanza to kill 20 children and six adults in Newtown.

According to the promotion, “TFA is giving away a BUSHMASTER AR15 to advance the effort to resist Barack Obama, the federal government and even a few in Tennessee state government who are determined to destroy your 2nd Amendment rights!!”

The promotion began earlier in April to coincide with the Senate’s consideration of gun violence prevention legislation. And while contestants do not have to be a TFA member to enter, the promotion notes TFA would “appreciate” donations, ending with, “Our rights under the 2nd Amendment and even the Bill of Rights are not safe in Tennessee! We must act with force and determination to protect, preserve and restore our rights!!!!”

The Tennessean reports that the raffle has already drawn more than 10,000 entries for the Monday drawing.

But Tennessee gun groups have little reason to fear for their representatives’ position on guns. Both Senators Bob Corker (R) and Lamar Alexander (R) voted against the Senate bill to expand background checks — two of 46 Senators who filibustered a safety measure that is approved by 90 percent of Americans.

“This may illustrate perfectly what I’ve been saying all along: They create these issues to raise money. That just stokes the fire to frighten folks,” former state Rep. Debra Maggart said of the motive for the raffle. Maggart herself was a target of both TFA and the National Rifle Association in her Republican primary last year.

Editors Note:

Another article from Think Progressive about a group known as The Tennessee Firearms Association raffling off a AR-15 Bushmaster semiautomatic Rifle, the same kind of rifle used at the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre to kill 20 First grade children and 6 adults in Newtown, Connecticut, to support and protect Tennessee Gun Owners 2nd. Amendment Rights.

The group already reportable has 10,000 plus entries.

Members Of Congress Introduce Legislation Based On Fringe Conspiracy Theory


By Annie-Rose Strasser posted from ThinkProgress Justice on Apr 26, 2013 at 11:05 am

Two Republican members of Congress introduced legislation on Friday that would limit the amount of ammunition the government is able to purchase at a given time. The bill is a response to far-right conspiracy theories that the government is “stockpiling” ammunition, either to wage a war against the American people or to dry up the ammunition market so average citizens can’t buy bullets.

Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), and Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) will put forth the Ammunition Management for More Obtainability Act (or, AMMO) Act in both the House and Senate. The bill would require executive branch agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to maintain ammunition levels below the average monthly amounts that the agencies had before Obama took office.

According to a joint press release from Lucas and Inhofe, “The legislation would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a report on the purchasing of ammunition by federal agencies, except the Department of Defense, and its affect on the supply of ammunition available to the public”:

“President Obama has been adamant about curbing law-abiding Americans’ access and opportunities to exercise their Second Amendment rights,” said Inhofe. “One way the Obama Administration is able to do this is by limiting what’s available in the market with federal agencies purchasing unnecessary stockpiles of ammunition. As the public learned in a House committee hearing this week, the Department of Homeland Security has two years worth of ammo on hand and allots nearly 1,000 more rounds of ammunition for DHS officers than is used on average by our Army officers. The AMMO Act of 2013 will enforce transparency and accountability of federal agencies’ ammunition supply while also protecting law-abiding citizens access to these resources.”

For members of Congress whose interests have generally aligned with those of gun and ammunition manufacturers, this legislation isn’t smart economics; limiting the ability of the government to buy ammunition will remove a key consumer, drying up demand and causing manufacturers to take a sales hit. Similarly, Lucas and Inhofe’s claim that the government “limit[s] what’s available in the market” if it buys up more ammunition reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of basic economics. If demand for ammunition increases, ammunition producers will increase production in order to meet this demand.

Last week, another Republican representative, Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) brought up the “stockpiling” conspiracy in a hearing with DHS Sec. Janet Napolitano, who said it was “inherently unbelievable that those statements would be made.”

The theory comes from fringe websites like Alex Jones’s Infowars, but have been given a platform by Drudge, a site that commonly peddles unfounded conspiracy theories. Even some far-right sites have taken it upon themselves to debunk the claim that DHS is “stockpiling” weapons. Brietbart.com described the theories as “based more on panic than fact.”

Editors Note:

It appears that there is no end to what certain members of the U.S. Congress NRA pro gun rights group will go to appease gun conspiracy groups as pointed out in this Think Progressive article about a proposed joint bill from Republican Reprehensive Frank Lucas and Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, both from Oklahoma.

4 Congressional Relatives Who Are Well-Paid Lobbyists


4 Congressional Relatives Who Are Well-Paid Lobbyists | Care2 Causes

Clipped from: http://www.care2.com/causes/4-congressional-relatives-who-are-well-paid-lobbyists.html

There are a lot of perks that come from being related to a member of Congress, not the least of which is a heightened shot at receiving a cushy job. As a terrific Washington Post expose reveals, over the past five years, 56 family members of federal legislators were employed by lobbying firms in order to protect major corporate interests.

Although it may seem unethical, it isn’t actually prohibited to, say, hire a Representative’s child to lobby on behalf of a bill that is being considered by his or her parent’s Congressional committee.

Here are four such egregious examples that The Washington Post detailed of how Congressional relatives pushed the boundaries of conflicts of interest in their lobbying efforts. While every instance includes assurance from the involved parties that nothing unethical transpired, considering that 6 out of 7 such lobbyists were hired only AFTER their relatives were elected into office, it seems hard to believe that – at the least – the companies spending hundreds of millions on these lobbying efforts weren’t hoping to benefit from some familial influence.

1. Republican Tennessee Senator Bob Corker likes his former staffer Justin Spickard enough to permit him to marry his daughter. About the time he became Corker’s son-in-law last year, Spickard gained employment as a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute.

Since then, six bills Spickard lobbied for passed through Corker’s committees. Corker even co-sponsored a bill to push through the Keystone Pipeline, which happens to be Spickard’s pet project. Spickard’s firm notes that while there are no rules or laws that would disallow Spickard from lobbying his father-in-law, that still no such interactions have taken place.

2. After Missouri Democrat William Lacy Clay retired from the House in 2000, his son William Lacy Clay Jr. won his seat. Like many former Congresspeople, rather than getting out of politics altogether, Clay Sr. actually transitioned into lobbying, with his new firm receiving more than $200,000 from attorneys who represent investors.

Meanwhile, Representative Clay Jr. offered Congress a bill that would provide additional legal rights to defrauded investors – a certain boon for attorneys representing these investors. The overlap between the father and son’s interest is merely a coincidence, apparently. Clay Jr. insists he had no discussions with his dad on the subject.

3. Throughout Bill Emerson’s 16 years of service in the House, his wife, Jo Ann Emerson, worked as a lobbyist for insurance and restaurant businesses. Once her husband died, Emerson took over his seat and in time served on a number of budgetary committees, including one in charge of both the Agriculture Department and FDA. Already, that’s a lot of conflicts of interest, but this story has only just begun.

Now Emerson’s two daughters are lobbyists – one for General Motors and one for Monsanto. Combined, the two companies have spent more than $12 million lobbying Congress and have seen 25 bills that benefit them go through Emerson’s committees. Moreover, Emerson herself has sponsored 17 bills that are friendly to GM and Monsanto’s interests.

Representative Emerson claims to “never ever” discuss work with her daughters, despite that being a frequent conversation topic amongst most parents and grown children I know. For what it’s worth, the always trustworthy Monsanto says, “Any employee of Monsanto may not lobby their own relatives… we understand that our policy is more than the law requires.”

The good news is that Emerson will be giving up her seat in a couple of months. Except that it’s not really good news, since the corruption just gets deeper. Despite winning her re-election bid in November in a landslide, she has lined up a job to lead the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, a lobbying firm. It is speculated that she will earn nearly $2 million annually in this role. Although she won’t yet be compensated by the lobbyists during her last weeks of Congressional voting, it seems fair to question her allegiance to the people given her upcoming professional trajectory.

4. Even Nevada Democrat Harry Reid, a sponsor of the Senate ethics bill, has some dubious connections. Reid’s son-in-law, Steven Barringer, has worked as a lobbyist for the city of Henderson. The city has spent hundreds of thousands on lawyers, including Barringer, to advocate for certain bills – many of which ultimately failed — but were supported by Reid nonetheless.

Still, Henderson did profit marginally from legislation that Reid helped pass. Then, in 2011, Henderson named Harry’s son, Josh Reid, the city attorney. Harry Reid’s spokesperson gave the usual “Reid’s family did not influence his decisions” statement.

Editors Note:
This article, as the ones above, were taken from Care2. I am posting this article as just a brief example of governmental lobbying that occurs daily not only in the U.S. Congress but also in every state legislature around the country.

93% of Senators Who Rejected Gun Control Paid by NRA


Clipped from: http://www.care2.com/causes/93-of-senators-who-rejected-gun-control-paid-by-nra.html

by Kevin Mathew April 22, 2013

When 90% of Americans want increased gun control policies and their elected officials reject even minimal reform, it begs the question, who exactly are our Congress members representing? Well, as usual, the money tells a significant part of the story: 42 out of the 45 Senators who voted no on the recent bill have received significant donations from the gun lobby.

“Politicians are bought!” “Politics are corrupt!” “Corporate interests over the welfare of citizens!” You’ve probably heard it all before and this kind of thing – sadly – no longer surprises you. But even if it’s something you’ve come to expect, that doesn’t make it any less disgusting or any less important to remind everyone how flawed the system is.

With research conducted by the Sunlight Foundation, The Guardian reported on the donations from the NRA and other pro-gun organizations over the last couple of decades. The NRA alone had given $800,000 to the Senators who helped nix the bill.

Among the top NRA recipients are Roy Blunt (Missouri) with $60,550 and Saxby Chambliss (Georgia) with $56,950. Fellow Republican Senators John Thune (South Dakota), Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Jim Inhofe (Oklahoma) have each received well over $40,000 apiece, as well.

While donations of this sort are generally made during election cycles, at least two Senators suspiciously received money from the gun industry in recent weeks. During the month of March, Richard Burr (North Carolina) and Dan Coats (Indiana) had donations from an ammunition manufacturer and shooting group. Considering that these donations came at a time when gun control looked more likely to pass, their potential impact cannot be discredited.

In fact, there may be many more donations made by the gun lobby in recent months that we are not aware of yet. Although that financial information would normally have been made public by now, the ongoing Congressional ricin scare has postponed the filing deadline. Since the NRA and gun lobby have certainly been busy positioning themselves politically since the Sandy Hook massacre, it is not unreasonable to believe these groups put their money where their mouths are.

Of course, these groups have enough financial sway that they do not even need to spend it to get what they want. Commonly, the NRA will stoop to fear tactics to keep politicians on their side. Rather than giving money, the NRA threatens to give politicians’ future opponents significant donations to defeat anyone who they feel has slighted them. President Barack Obama blames these threats on the bill’s failure, explaining, “They worried that the gun lobby would spend a lot of money and paint them as anti-second amendment.” Nevertheless, he vowed that “the effort is not over.”

While there are pro-gun control organizations that have raised money to push the alternative agenda, the capital spent is a fraction of what the NRA spends to oppose these measures.

Although Rand Paul is one of the three Senators who voted no without having recorded gun lobby donations, he does have an affiliation with the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that considers itself a “conservative” version of the NRA. The other two Senators, Heidi Heitkamp and Mark Begich, are both Democrats who have no known notable gun lobby ties.

Notably, four people who voted in favor of the bill had also received money from the gun lobby. Senators John McCain (Arizona) and Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania) were just two out of four Republicans who supported increasing gun control, while Joe Manchin (West Virginia) and Tim Johnson (South Dakota) followed their Democratic party over their former benefactors’ wants.

As much as we have a gun problem in this country, lobbyists and private interest campaign money may prove to be a more dangerous threat. So long as our political system enables a powerful group’s interests to take precedence over the will and well-being of the American people, our safety is constantly at risk.

Editors Note:

This article again taken from Care2 confirms what I believe many Americans at least expected already.

This is also a very good example of why I strongly believe that the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United vs. The Federal Election Commission should be overturned. In that ruling, more commonly known as just Citizens United, the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations are People and that Money was Free Speech thus allowing Corporations and Business to donate large somas of money to politicians. In essence those with the most money have the loudest voice.

Combine that with a loophole in the federal tax law that says Social Welfare Organizations do not have disclose there contributes and you have the reason for this happening with the NRA, among other big Corporations and Businesses, latterly holding Congress hostage by the purse strings.

That is why I am such a strong supporter and volunteer for organizations like Move to Amend and Citizens against Citizens United, just to name a few, who are working to over turn the Supreme Courts decision by petition Congress.

Well enough of that rant for now. You’ll hear more about that in future posts to this blog.

As always please feel free to comment on this post or any other appearing in this blog. Thanks.

States Allow the Mentally Ill to Regain Gun Rights


States Allow the Mentally Ill to Regain Gun Rights | Care2 Causes

Clipped from: http://www.care2.com/causes/mentally-ill-people-petition-to-regain-gun-rights.html

States Allow the Mentally Ill to Regain Gun Rights

Across the country, states are beginning to allow people who lost their gun rights because of mental illness to petition to have them restored. Although a handful of states had such laws on the books for years, since 2008 more than 20 states have passed similar measures. Ironically, Michael Luo writes for the New York Times, the flood of gun-restoration laws began with a piece of legislation passed by Congress in 2007 which was designed, in the wake of the Virginia Tech massacre, to make it more difficult for people with mental illnesses to access guns. The NRA forced legislators to add a concession which would allow people who had their gun rights revoked to petition for restoration.

The states say that they want to make sure that no one who is a threat to public safety can obtain firearms. But in practice, the decision about who should have their gun rights restored is patchily enforced. According to Luo, “states have mostly entrusted these decisions to judges, who are often ill-equipped to conduct investigations from the bench. Many seemed willing to simply give petitioners the benefit of the doubt. The results often seem haphazard.”

These concerns seem even more pressing in the wake of the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords, as people question how the government should act in the intersection between gun violence and mental illness. Although, as both gun rights supporters and mental illness experts are quick to assert, many people with mental illness are not violent, Luo explains that the NYT‘s investigation found “multiple instances” in which people won back their gun rights, only to be convicted of violent, gun-related crimes.

Some states, like New York, have set stricter standards for restoration. They require assessments by mental health experts and an extensive review of medical records. In many cases, though, restorations by states are not reported to the FBI. One problem is that few states have gained federal money to improve their reporting standards.

The issue seems to come down to how well officials can predict violence. ”Dealing with somebody who suffers from severe mental illness and mixing that with firearms, you really have to cross the t’s and dot the i’s,” said Richard J. Vagnozzi, a deputy district attorney in California who handles these cases. The process, he says, “isn’t perfect, but we do the best we can with the available data and what we’re allowed to do.”

The horror stories are truly horrifying. What gun rights advocates seem to be forgetting is that having a gun carries a significant amount of responsibility. Access to firearms is not an inalienable right, it’s a serious social liability. There are some people who are proven to have mental illness and may not misuse guns. But authorities need to be more than completely sure that people who have access to guns can use them responsibly before they give them to anyone – much less people who have been legally denied their gun rights. This Fourth of July, with all of our talk about rights and freedoms, let’s remember that being an American also involves an obligation to preserve the safety of our country and communities. And that means erring on the side of caution when it comes to dispensing gun rights.

Photo from Phanatic’s Flickr photostream.

Editors Note:
This second article from Care2.com shows the states changing attitude towards the rights of the mentally Ill especially in the matter of restoring gun rights. I personally have worked in both the state mental health system and the community mental health system and I am usually one of the first to advocate on their behalf. But I also know the realities and pit falls of mental health as well. Effective treatment of most mental condition’s often require the administration of medication prescribed by the doctor. There are thousands of people that live and function in society thanks to these prescribed drugs. But I have seen minority of people who function quite well on medication in a controlled environment but once realest from that controlled environment and are back on thee own either forget to take their mediation or quit on purpose, usually with the belief that "Why do I need to take pills I feel fine and in control now." This can range in time from weeks to years after discharge resulting in the symptoms of the mental illness returning. As I said above this group is only a minority compared to the majority of people that through the use of medication are able to return to normal life.
As always please feel free to comment on this or any article appearing on this blog. I welcome comments and criticism both good and bad. Thanks.

America s Back Gun Restrictions, Says New Poll


Poll: Americans Back Gun Restrictions | Care2 Causes

Clipped from: http://www.care2.com/causes/americans-back-gun-restrictions-says-new-poll.html

Americans Back Gun Restrictions, Says New Poll

A new Ipsos/Reuters Poll has found strong support from Americans for restrictions on gun ownership and where they can be carried.

91% of those surveyed agreed on the need for background checks before a firearm can be sold. Only 6% said they thought gun ownership should require no or very few restrictions.

Nearly three-quarters of respondents said they supported limiting the sale of automatic weapons, and 62% oppose bringing firearms into churches, workplaces or stores. 69% supported laws like those recently repealed in Virginia that limit the number of guns someone can purchase in a given time frame.

However, nearly half of those surveyed felt crime rates were rising where they lived — even though FBI statistics show violent crime is declining. And most of those surveyed said they supported laws that allow Americans to use deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their own home or in a public place.

87% supported the use of deadly force to protect themselves from danger in their home.

Two-thirds said they backed laws permitting the use of deadly force to protect themselves in public.

Said pollster Chris Jackson:

“Americans do hold to this idea that people should be allowed to defend themselves and using deadly force is fine, in those circumstances. In the theoretical … there’s a certain tolerance of vigilantism.”

The survey included 650 Republicans, 752 Democrats and 520 independents. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online poll is measured using a credibility interval and this poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.6 percentage points for all respondents.

Next week, victims of gun violence will converge on Capitol Hill to challenge Congressional leaders and members to keeps guns out of the hands of dangerous people.

The lobbying effort is linked to the anniversaries of the mass shootings at Virginia Tech and Columbine High School. It is led by Colin Goddard, who survived being shot four times in 2007, and includes Tom Mauser, whose 15-year-old son Daniel was killed in the Columbine High School massacre on April 20, 1999, and Sherialyn Byrdsong, whose husband Ricky was killed on July 2, 1999 by a white supremacist.

Said Goddard:

“Time and again after high-profile shootings, we’ve heard members of Congress say that now is not the ‘appropriate’ time to discuss legislation to prevent these tragedies. Well, 32 Americans are murdered every single day in this country. We want to know: When will it be ‘appropriate’ to talk about keeping us safe? We are tired of living with the tragedy of gun violence, and we want Congress to act now to protect us and keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. We won’t rest until they do.”

Brady Campaign President Dan Gross said that thousands of Americans are dead “because the gun lobby has made it easy for dangerous people to get, carry, and use guns.”

The Brady Campaign is organizing to stop bills it’s calling the “George Zimmerman Armed Vigilante Act.” The Senate bills, similar to one which passed the House late last year, would allow dangerous people to carry guns anywhere in the US, even though those states’ concealed carry laws would make it highly unlikely that someone like Zimmerman would be granted a permit to carry a gun in public.

Editors Note:
This article and the next few to fallow are taken from Care2.com. I am posting them on this blog to illustrate that not everything we generally think we know about gun laws is true. This first article shows the number of people supporting the change in gun regulation laws.

A Way To Help: An open Letter from U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren


It’s a calm, quiet day in Boston today. It’s difficult to believe that such horror filled our streets only a week ago.

Two times, bombs rocked the streets of Copley Square. Three lives were taken that day, and a law enforcement officer was killed just three days later. More than 260 people were wounded, many of whom remain hospitalized with amputations and other scars of tragedy.

I’ve heard from folks across the country, asking what they can do to help. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Boston Mayor Tom Menino have formed a fund to help the people most affected by these tragic events.

If you’re looking for a way to help, please consider making a donation to The One Fund Boston today.

During the Boston Marathon, everyone in our city cheers for each other. We help each other across the finish line. When terror struck, we acted as a family. Throughout the chaos, courageous people ran toward danger to help strangers in need.

Now we cry together. We pray together. We help each other.

No one can replace what we’ve lost here in Boston. But today, and in the weeks and months ahead, we’ll get through it together — through sorrow and anger, rehabilitation and recovery. That’s what families do.

The OFA family knows how to work together to accomplish amazing things. Let’s make a difference for the Boston Marathon victims.

Your donation will directly help the families who need it most.

Please make a donation now to The One Fund Boston:

http://my.barackobama.com/The-One-Fund

From West, Texas to Watertown, Massachusetts, we remember and honor the men, women, and children we lost last week. We help those whose lives will never be the same. And we thank our first responders, medical professionals, law enforcement officers, and National Guard for their heroic work.

I’m very proud of the people of Massachusetts for their strength, resolve, and courage. Bostonians are tough.

We are fighters — and we cannot be broken.

No matter where you live, thank you for being with us in our time of crisis and our time of healing. We run together.

Elizabeth

Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator, Massachusetts

Editors Note:
I an reposting this letter I received in my email for anyone that would like to help the survivors and their families of the Boston Marathon Bombings or the West, Texas Explosion. Please keep them all in in our thoughts and pays. Thank you.

Gun zealots: Shooting victims should stay out of debate


Editors Note:
This article by Alex Seilz-Wald was copied from Salon.com and shows just how far gun rights advocates and the NRA will go to try and stop any kind of proposed gun law change. As always please feel free to comment on this or any article appearing on this blog.

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 09:00 AM EDT

Clipped from: http://www.salon.com/2013/04/23/gun_zealots_shooting_victims_should_stay_out_of_debate/ Tuesday, Apr 23, 2013 09:00 AM EDT

Former Rep. Gabby Giffords and Newtown families are props and bullies, gun rights absolutists explain

By Alex Seitz-Wald

Topics: Gabrielle Giffords, Guns, Gun Control, James Taranto, Wall Street Journal, Rand Paul, Newtown school shooting, News, Politics News

EnlargeFormer congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (Credit: Reuters/Samantha Sais)

James Taranto, who not only writes a column for the Wall Street Journal but also edits its opinion website, rightfully became the most hated man on Twitter yesterday afternoon for questioning whether former congresswoman Gabby Giffords could have possibly written the New York Times op-ed she published last week shortly after a gun control bill died in the Senate, considering how injured she remains after getting shot in the head two years ago.

Here’s Taranto parsing the forensics of her column-writing abilities on an NRA radio show Friday, caught by Media Matters’ Timothy Johnson yesterday:

TARANTO: One fascinating thing about this is this piece was published no later than 9:03 PM on Wednesday evening, because that’s when it first appears on the New York Times’ Twitter feed. The last Senate vote on amendments to the gun bill was a bit after 6 [PM]. Giffords appeared at the White House at 5:35 [PM] when we saw that enraged rant by the president. The Manchin-Toomey [background check] provision was the first vote. That was at 4:04 PM. So if you read this piece it’s presented as a cry from the heart, as Giffords’ personal reaction as somebody who’s been wounded by gun violence to the betrayal of these Senators. So we are supposed to believe that somehow in less than five hours a woman who has severe impairments of her motor and speech functions was able to produce 900 publishable words and put in an appearance in the White House in the course of it. So I think that’s a little bit odd.

Ironically, in a column Thursday, Taranto wagged his finger at Giffords for practicing “incivility and unreason.”

But it’s not just Taranto. From Sen. Rand Paul to small-time radio hosts, gun rights absolutists seem eager to dismiss gun violence victims and condemn them for daring the speak out.

The National Review’s Kevin Williamson criticized Giffords in a particularly ugly way saying, “it should be noted that being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions.” A Washington Times editorial that said Obama was “exploit[ing] the grief” of the Newtown families by “using them at every opportunity as props to make a political argument.” Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro likewise decried Obama for “exploitation of victims of violence using guns.” Another conservative blogger accused Giffords of “emotional bullying.”

Of course, Republican Paul called gun violence victims “props,” but even conservative Democrats were not above rejecting the right of victims to participate in the debate. “It’s dangerous to do any type of policy in an emotional moment,” said Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich told the New York Times. “Because human emotions then drive the decision. Everyone’s all worked up. That’s not enough.”

A radio host in Minnesota even told gun violence victims to “go to hell.” “I’m sorry that you suffered a tragedy, but you know what? Deal with it, and don’t force me to lose my liberty, which is a greater tragedy than your loss,” said Bob Davis on AM 1130.

This camp seems to reject not only the arguments made by gun violence victims, but their right even have their voices heard. Or itassumes they’re feeble and easily manipulated by nefarious gun-grabbers — can they have no genuine opinions of their own? Imagine if these were the victims of the 9/11 terror attacks or the Boston Marathon bombing — would conservatives call them “props” too?

Meanwhile, gun owners are held up as the real victims of gun polices, whose voices must be heard and whose rights can never be infringed upon, even if they happen to be suspected terrorists. So if you want to be taken seriously by conservatives when discussing gun violence, make sure you don’t become directly affected by it.

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon’s political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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