RED ALERT: SENATE DEFEATS MANCHIN-TOOMEY BACKGROUND CHECKS AMENDMENT 54-46
April 9, 2013 9 Comments
SENATE DEFEATED SEVEN GUN CONTROL AMENDMENTS, WILL VOTE ON TWO MORE APRIL 18, 2013, DEBATE BEGINS AT 10:00 A.M. VOTE BEGINS AT NOON
(WASHINGTON) The U.S. Senate voted down the Toomey-Manchin Gun Control Amendment on expanding Background Checks by a vote of 54-46, dealing a sharp blow to President Barack Obama’s campaign to curb gun violence after the Newtown school shooting.
Other measures backed by Obama – including a proposal to ban rapid-firing “assault” weapons and place a limit on ammunition magazines – also failed as the Senate voted down a total of seven gun-control amendments.
The votes are the culmination of weeks of intense negotiations and lobbying over Obama’s proposed gun restrictions, and the defeat of the background checks amendment doomed the biggest package of gun legislation Congress has considered in two decades.
Manchin, who delivered a floor speech earlier Wednesday, begged his colleagues to read the bill, emphasizing that it specifically prohibited a federal gun registry. Many opponents of the bill cited it would lead to a national gun registry as their reason for voting against it. On the floor, Manchin burnished his National Rifle Association membership card to try to flaunt his pro-gun credentials before attacking the group.
“I agree wholeheartedly with the goal of the NRA,” Manchin said. “I was surprised when the latest alert from the NRA was full of misinformation. … They are telling members that our legislation would criminalize the private transfer of firearms by honest, law-abiding citizens. … That is a lie.”
Hours before the vote, most of the backers of the Manchin-Toomey bill were openly resigned to the fact that it would fail. The only person who seemed to hold out some hope that senators would have eleventh-hour conversions was White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, who told reporters in his daily briefing, “There is an opportunity for 60 senators to do the right thing.”
Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, also a gun owner, accused the gun lobby of “shameful scare tactics” and questioned why his colleagues would reject a proposal backed by nearly 90 percent of Americans.
He said he would “vote my conscience” and back the assault weapons ban and limits on ammunition.
“We must strike a better balance between the right to defend ourselves and the right of every child in America to grow up safe from gun violence,” Reid said.
“If tragedy strikes again – if innocents are gunned down in a classroom or a theater or a restaurant – I could not live with myself as a father, as a husband, as a grandfather or as a friend knowing that I didn’t do everything in my power to prevent it,” Reid said.
Among the amendments offered by Republicans was one from Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, that would have become a substitute for the existing gun-control bill. It focused on improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increasing resources for prosecutions of gun crime, addressing mental illness in the criminal justice system, and strengthening criminal law by including straw purchasing and illegal firearm trafficking statutes.
The bill also would have established a high-level federal task force to increase prosecution of gun violence in the country, and create a nationwide version of Project Exile, to shift prosecution of gun crimes from state to federal courts.
“Rather than restricting the rights of law-abiding Americans, we should be focusing on keeping guns out of the hands of violent criminals, which this legislation accomplishes,” Senator Cruz said. “The only way to stop violent crime is to stop violent criminals.”
The Grassley Cruz Substitute Amendment was defeated by the Senate 52-48.
SENATE REJECTS BACKGROUND CHECKS ON GUN PURCHASES IN 54-46 VOTE
The Senate delivered a devastating blow to President Obama’s agenda to regulate guns Wednesday by defeating a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.
It failed by a vote of 54 to 46, with five Democrats voting against it. Only four Republicans supported it.
Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) voted against it. Reid supported the measure but voted against it to preserve his ability to bring the measure up again.
GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted “yes.”
The amendment sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Toomey appeared to have political momentum last week.
It would have expanded checks to cover all firearms sales at gun shows and over the Internet, but would have exempted sales between friends and acquaintances outside of commercial venues.
Democrats felt confident the compromise could pass once Toomey, a Republican with an A rating from the National Rifle Association, signed on. They were caught off guard by the vigorous lobbying campaign waged by the NRA, which warned lawmakers that Manchin-Toomey would be a factor in its congressional scorecard.
What appeared to be a likely victory for the president was resoundingly defeated by the Senate as jittery Democrats facing tough reelections next year joined nearly the entire Republican conference.
The NRA released a statement immediately after the vote that said the measure would have “criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens.”
“As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools,” NRA executive director Chris Cox said in a statement.
Now Democratic leaders will have to overhaul the pending gun control bill to give it a chance of passing the Senate in diminished form.
The failure of Manchin-Toomey means the broader bill still includes Democratic language passed by the Judiciary Committee to establish universal background checks. That language failed to attract a single Republican vote during the panel markup, and conservative Democrats such as Manchin and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) have said they cannot support the package without changes to the language on background checks.
The Senate’s failure to expand background checks means the three pillars of Obama’s gun control agenda have stalled. The chamber is expected to also reject proposals to ban military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips.
Gun control and immigration reform are two of the president’s biggest second-term priorities.
White House officials refused to acknowledge the likely defeat of Manchin-Toomey right up until the Senate vote.
At the White House briefing on Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney told reporters that while they believed passing the legislation “was always going to be difficult … we believe there is a path, a very difficult path, to get to 60 votes.”
A seemingly frustrated Carney railed against NRA-backed lawmakers, whom he said had spread “a lot of bogus information” about the amendment on background checks.
Manchin also criticized the NRA, who had given him an A rating, for distorting the substance of his amendment.
“I was surprised when the latest alerts from the NRA were filled with so much misinformation about the firearms background check legislation,” he said.
Manchin said the gun-owners-rights’ group told members the bill would criminalize the private transfer of firearms.
“I don’t know how to put the words any plainer than this: that is a lie,” he said.
Manchin and Toomey are likely to see their NRA rating downgraded as a result of leading the charge to expand background checks.
Obama and Vice President Biden kept their distance from the Manchin-Toomey in the days leading up to the vote, perhaps fearing their involvement could scare off potential Republican and conservative Democratic supporters.
Obama called Begich and Pryor last week, but did not press them hard on the vote.
“It wasn’t a high-pressure sales job,” Pryor told The Hill on Monday.
Biden traveled to Capitol Hill to preside over the vote. He predicted Democrats would be able to expand background checks in the future if they fell short Wednesday.
“I can assure you one thing — we are going to get this eventually. If we don’t get it today we are going to get it eventually,” Biden said.
Reid is mulling his next steps in the wake of the setback.
“I think the leader is trying to figure that out right now. It’s hugely disappointing that something that 90 percent of the public wants won’t get 60 votes. The country is in a different place,” said Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), the fourth-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership.
A Senate Democratic aide said Democrats are unlikely to rally behind an alternative proposal to expand background checks.
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) has proposed legislation that would allow potential gun buyers to conduct background checks on themselves and present certification to sellers. Coburn said his plan would give gun owners comfort that they are not selling firearms to criminals or the mentally ill.
Coburn said he expected a vote on his amendment on Thursday.
But Democrats and gun control advocates say the Coburn proposal is too weak because it would not require record-keeping to help law enforcement prosecute illegal sales and transfers.
A senior Democratic aide said his party will make background checks an issue in the 2014 midterm election.
“We’ll have an issue where 90 percent of the public is with us,” the aide said.
But Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the Senate Democrats’ chief political strategist — who played a large role in negotiating the bipartisan compromise on background checks — said the political impact of Wednesday’s vote remains to be seen.
“I think that America is largely for background checks,” he said. “An issue like this can end up helping, end up hurting. It depends.”
PRESIDENT OBAMA BLAMES GUN LOBBY AND ITS ALLIES AS STRICTER GUN CONTROL LEGISLATION FAILS IN THE SENATE
WASHINGTON — An angry President Obama criticized a minority of the Senate on Wednesday for helping defeat a proposal to expand background checks on gun purchases.
“It came down to politics — the worry that that vocal minority of gun owners would come after them in future elections,” Obama said in the Rose Garden. “All in all, this was a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
Obama was introduced by Mark Barden, whose son, Daniel, was among the 20 children and six adults killed Dec. 14 in a gun massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Besides other Newtown families, Obama was flanked by former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt.
Just hours before, the Senate voted 54-46 to defeat an amendment by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to expand background checks to include purchases made at gun shows and on the Internet. Forty-one Republicans were joined by five Democrats — primarily from red states where gun ownership is high — to reject the proposal.
The background-checks measure was seen as the core of legislative efforts to reduce gun massacres, such as the one in Newtown and the 2011 rampage near Tucson that killed six people and severely wounded Giffords, a moderate Democrat and gun owner who now champions gun-control efforts.
Sixty votes were necessary to get around a filibuster – a tall order because it meant drawing on Republican support to make up for losing majority-party Democrats. Obama slammed the Senate filibuster rules, and said the concern that gun owners would vote against senators in the next election caused the outcome.
Obama said the background-checks proposal did not include everything he wanted, but it represented “progress,” “moderation” and “common sense.” He chided the National Rifle Association (NRA) and its allies for falsely claiming it would create a “Big Brother”-type gun registry, even though the legislation would specifically outlaw such a thing.
“Instead of supporting this compromise, the gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Obama said. “This pattern of spreading untruths about this legislation served a purpose, because those lies upset an intense minority of gun owners, and that in turn intimidated a lot of senators.”
After the Senate vote, the NRA called the background-checks proposal “misguided.”
“This amendment would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring life-long friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution,” said Chris Cox, the NRA’s chief lobbyist. “As we have noted previously, expanding background checks, at gun shows or elsewhere, will not reduce violent crime or keep our kids safe in their schools.”
In an example of the political risk of gun votes, the liberal Progressive Change Campaign Committee launched an ad campaign targeting Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Begich of Alaska and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota for their “no” votes.
Pryor, Baucus and Begich face competitive fights for re-election in 2014.
Four GOP senators — Toomey, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona — crossed party lines to support the measure.
In a surprise, ailing Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., appeared in the chamber for the first time in weeks to cast an “yea” vote. He has been battling muscle weakness and fatigue, and came to the Senate floor in a wheelchair.
Earlier in the day, Vice President Biden acknowledged to mayors in an online chat that the Senate vote would be a long shot. But he vowed to keep pressing for gun-control measures, and was echoed by Obama during the Rose Garden event.
“I can assure you one thing: We’re going to get this eventually,” Biden said. “If we don’t get it today, we’ll get it eventually. I think the American people are way ahead of their elected officials.”
The Senate rejected several other amendments to the underlying gun bill, including one to ban assault weapons and limit the size of magazine clips. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the sponsor of the assault weapons ban, implored her colleagues to “show some guts” but the measure was defeated on a 40-60 vote.
A substitute plan by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would tighten the background-check database but not expand the types of sales subject to it was defeated. A measure by Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Collins to toughen rules on gun trafficking was also rejected.
OBAMA ANGRILY DENOUNCES GUN-RIGHTS GROUPS AS WILLFUL LIARS
By Dave Boyer | The Washington Times
President Obama angrily blamed the defeat Wednesday of his centerpiece gun-control proposal on lies spread by the National Rifle Association, calling it “a pretty shameful day for Washington.”
“The gun lobby and its allies willfully lied about the bill,” Mr. Obama said in the White House rose garden about 90 minutes after the vote. “It came down to politics.”
As he spoke, Mr. Obama was surrounded by family members of victims of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. Also with him was former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona, wounded in an assassination attempt.
Senators voted 54-46 late Wednesday to expand background checks of gun purchases, six votes shy of the 60 needed for passage of the amendment.
The vote was a huge blow to the president’s efforts since the Newtown, Conn., school massacre last December to enact a broad package of new gun laws. Mr. Obama and his team had considered background checks the most likely gun restriction to be approved by Congress, with polls showing as much as 90 percent of the public in favor of the measure immediately after the Newtown shootings.
The president put the blame squarely on the NRA, which he accused of spreading falsehoods that the legislation would lead to a national gun registry.
“They claimed that it would create some sort of big-brother gun registry, even though it did the opposite,” Mr. Obama said. “This pattern of spreading untruths … served a purpose. A minority in the U.S. Senate decided it wasn’t worth it. They blocked common-sense gun reforms, even while these families looked on from the Senate gallery. It’s not going to happen because 90 percent of Republicans just voted against that idea.”
Mark Barden, father of 7-year-old Daniel who was killed in Newtown, said any father in America could be in his shoes.
“It’s a proposal that will save lives,” he said of the measure. “We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. We’ve always known this will be a long road. We will keep moving forward and build public support. We will not be defeated. We are not going away.”
Mr. Obama vowed not to give up on seeking more gun restrictions.
“You’ve got to send the right people to Washington,” he told voters. “That requires strength and it requires persistence. I see this as just Round One. Sooner or later, we are going to get this right. The memories of these children demand it.”
GUN CONTROL IS OBAMA’S BIGGEST LOSS
By: Reid J. Epstein and Glenn Thrush | Politico
April 17, 2013
Never before had President Barack Obama put the moral force and political muscle of his presidency behind an issue quite this big — and lost quite this badly.
The president, shaken to the core by the massacre of 26 innocents at Sandy Hook Elementary School, broke his own informal “Obama Rule” — of never leaning into an issue without a clear path to victory — first by pushing for a massive gun control package no one expected to pass, and then sticking through it even as he retrenched to a relatively modest bipartisan bill mandating national background checks on gun purchases.
It was a bitter defeat for a president accustomed to winning, a second-term downer that may — or may not — foreshadow the slow decline suffered by so many of his predecessors. Obama seems to have the public behind him, but it illustrated his less-than-Johnsonian powers of personal persuasion, the possible shortcomings of his decision to wait a month after the killings to present a plan and above all the limits of his go-to “outside” strategy of taking his case directly to the American people.
More than anything, it was an emotional blow to Obama, who was as irritated at the four members of his own party as he was at the 90 percent of Republicans who defeated the bill.
One administration official told POLITICO the White House was especially disappointed with Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D), the only dissenting Democrat not up for re-election next year, who refused to go along with the bill even after White House chief of staff Denis McDonough visited her office to make Obama’s case on Tuesday.
Still, officials believed Heitkamp would have flipped if they had gotten closer to the 60 votes they needed.
“The president was tremendously committed and emotionally engaged. I watched the president with these families. He was there for them and really felt it,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat who worked closely with the White House in the aftermath of the worst school shooting in the history of his state.
“Background checks will happen,” he added, minutes after the vote. “This outcome is a delay, not a defeat.”
Added Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.): “I never saw a president fight so hard, a vice president, never on any issue… It shows us the cowardice of the Senate.”
In the end, however, moderates and conservatives in the upper chamber said they simply couldn’t deal with a flurry of progressive issues at once — from gay marriage to immigration to guns.
The other three Democratic “no” votes — Max Baucus of Montana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Mark Begich of Alaska — were never really in play, sources familiar with the situation told POLITICO.
One senator told a White House official that it was “Guns, gays and immigration – it’s too much. I can be with you on one or two of them, but not all three.”
A glum Obama was sitting in the White House Situation Room for a previously scheduled national security briefing when news of the 54-to-46 vote broke, according to a senior administration official.
Obama wasn’t watching the proceedings closely on C-SPAN because he already knew the whip count; over the last few days, the president personally lobbied most of the red and purple state Democrats and Republicans sitting on the fence, and had already vented his frustration with a handful of Democratic hold-outs who were waiting to see what other would do before committing.
In a break from protocol — Obama seldom talks publicly about what other politicians say to him privately — the president called out the Senate, including members of his own party, for succumbing to bullying of the National Rifle Association in the Rose Garden about an hour after the vote.
“Most of these senators couldn’t offer any good reasons… there were no coherent arguments about why we couldn’t do this… it came down to politics,” a visibly agitated Obama said, flanked by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a clearly shaken Vice President Joe Biden and family members of Sandy Hook victims.
Senators on both sides of the aisle “caved to the pressure and started looking for an excuse, any excuse, to say no,” he said, adding that he planned to continue pushing on the issue.
“I see this as round one,” Obama intoned.
But privately, administration officials were looking ahead to the far more sanguine prospects of negotiating a bipartisan immigration reform bill — and expressed hope that clearing the decks on guns would raise prospects for a faster agreement. Despite Obama’s vow to fight on, one senior adviser to the president said “it was a fair question” to ask if Obama’s old campaign apparatus, Organizing for Action, could help create a groundswell of protest against the “no” voters in each party.
Within an hour of Obama’s Rose Garden remarks his political arm, Organizing for Action, announced it is launching a “day of action” Saturday. Supporters in states with what OFA believes are persuadable senators will hold events and be urged to contact their senators.
“We won’t sit around and let Congress drag its heels while Americans are coming together to demand action,” OFA executive director Jon Carson wrote to supporters. “We won’t wait for the next Newtown.”
While Senate Democratic leadership never trusted that Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), one of the top negotiators on the bill was bargaining in completely good faith, the White House continued to negotiate with him.
Obama called the Oklahoman this week and allowed that he is open to Coburn’s proposal – which came without the recordkeeping requirement the White House and gun control groups have publicly demanded – but talks broke down once Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) turned their sights to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
The gun control groups central to Obama’s push never lost faith in the White House and praised its efforts even as it was clear the push would fail.
“Bribery isn’t what it once was,” said an official with one of the major gun-control groups. “The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”
The White House and Senate Democrats won significant victories, but never generated enough momentum to reach the 60-vote Senate threshold to pass any gun control bill.
At several points allies thought they would win — but in the end only Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) followed Toomey, and gun control allies always assumed they would get them anyway, even on the “gold standard” bill Schumer introduced before the Easter break.
“I’m very disappointed and there is a sadness here that there was a tremendous bipartisan effort,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) said. “Manchin-Toomey didn’t go as far as I would like to go but I supported it because there was a way to go for bipartisanship, so it’s enormously disappointed. I think today there are a lot of hard feelings.”
Mark Glaze, the director of Mike Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns said it was clear by Monday that Manchin-Toomey proposal wouldn’t get to 60 votes after the much-sought endorsement of the Second Amendment Foundation brought them no new support.
“You are not dealing with members who are looking for a reason to vote ‘Yes,’” Glaze said. “You’re not talking about members who are actually looking for solid facts or policy. You’re looking at members who are afraid of the NRA.”
By Wednesday, when it was clear to all the vote would fail, the Second Amendment Foundation rescinded its endorsement.
“The bottom line was that there were just not enough reasonable Republicans that Senator Toomey found,” said Matt Bennett, senior vice president of The Third Way. “This is not his fault – there just weren’t the numbers there to support what we were trying to do.”
Hours before the Wednesday afternoon vote, Biden all but admitted the White House would lose during a Google Hangout with four supportive mayors.
“This is going to be a close vote, but I can assure you one thing. That were going to get this eventually, we’re going to get this eventually. If we don’t get it today, we’re going to get it eventually. Because I think the American people are way ahead of their elected officials.”
Knowing the numbers were stacked against passing the Manchin-Toomey bill, Biden left the online chat hoping for divine intervention.
“I hope to God that there are 60 people up there who have the courage to stand up and understand that this doesn’t take much courage,” Biden said. “The people are with you.”
Families from Newtown, Tuscon, and Aurora watched from the Senator’s visitors’ gallery as the vote went down. A few cried, several looked on in utter disbelief. One woman, Patricia Maisch who wrestled a fresh magazine from Jared Lee Loughner in Tuscon, yelled “shame on you! from the gallery.
Said Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor Green , was killed in Tuscon said “we were all thinking it.”
“I’m very disappointed. It should just be common sense. We’ll all be back, we’re going to keep fighting,” she said.
SENATE REJECTS GOP GUN CONTROL ALTERNATIVE ON 52-48 VOTE
The Senate rejected a GOP substitute bill on gun control reforms Wednesday.
Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-Iowa) amendment failed on a 52-48 vote. It would have replaced S. 649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) called the GOP amendment a “weak and counter productive alternative” that didn’t go through regular order in the committee and “undermines law enforcement.”
Red-state Democratic Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) supported the GOP amendment, but it still didn’t overcome the 60-vote threshold.
Some GOP senators have said the Senate bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun-owners.
“The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Wednesday morning.
Sens. Grassley, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-Texas) alternative would have increased resources to prosecute violators of gun laws, criminalized straw purchasing and trafficking, increased school safety funding, and would have allowed interstate sale of firearms and transportation of firearms.
“In my view the approach of the federal government to violent crime should be very simple, it should be focused on stopping violent criminals,” Cruz said ahead of the vote. “[S. 649] doesn’t target violent criminals, it targets law abiding citizens.”
Their bill also would have created a task force, funded through an Asset Forfeiture Fund, to prosecute those who fail criminal background checks.
Graham said that out of 80,000 people who failed the background check last year, the Department of Justice only prosecuted 44. He said DOJ should at least go after criminals “dumb enough” to try to get a gun.
BLOOMBERG RIPS SENATE FOR FAILING TO EXPAND BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR GUNS
Calls Vote ‘Damning Indictment Of Stranglehold That Special Interests Have’
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Michael Bloomberg ripped the U.S. Senate for failing to pass a bipartisan effort to expand background checks.
The measure was defeated in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, failing to garner the 60 votes necessary to block a Republican-led filibuster.
The measure, co-sponsored by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Patrick Toomey (R-Pa.), was blocked by a vote of 54-46.
“Today’s vote is a damning indictment of the stranglehold that special interests have on Washington,” Bloomberg said. “More than 40 U.S. senators would rather turn their backs on the 90 percent of Americans who support comprehensive background checks than buck the increasingly extremist wing of the gun lobby.”
Bloomberg is the Co-Chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
Hours before the vote was held, two more senators — Republican Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — declared they opposed the background check measure. Their announcements, along with opposition from other Republicans and some moderate Democrats, left supporters without the votes needed for passage.
Bloomberg blamed both sides for failing to pass the measure.
“Democrats – who are so quick to blame Republicans for our broken gun laws – could not stand united,” Bloomberg said. “And Republicans – who are so quick to blame Democrats for not being tough enough on crime – handed criminals a huge victory, by preserving their ability to buy guns illegally at gun shows and online and keeping the illegal trafficking market well-fed.”
Rejection of the provision marks a jarring setback for gun control advocates, who had hoped December’s slayings of 20 children and six educators at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school would sway Congress to curb firearms violence. It is also seen as a victory for the National Rifle Association, which has fought the background check expansion as a misguided crackdown on gun rights that criminals would ignore anyway.
In a statement issued following the vote, Chris Cox with the NRA said the proposal “would have criminalized certain private transfers of firearms between honest citizens, requiring lifelong friends, neighbors and some family members to get federal government permission to exercise a fundamental right or face prosecution.”
On the vote, Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana joined Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Heitkamp in voting against the proposal. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a supporter of the plan, switched his vote to the prevailing “no” side to permit him to call for a revote in the future.
Begich, Pryor and Baucus are all seeking re-election next year.
Among Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mark Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona and Toomey sided with Democrats.
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head while holding a Congress On Your Corner event two years ago, took to Twitter to blast the Senate for failing to pass the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
“As of this morning, we’re short. We need more votes. It’s close,” Manchin said in a brief interview Wednesday. Asked how he could get the needed votes with so many opponents, he said, “We’re just hoping the good Lord will enter their heart and maybe change a few.”
Speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said “Expanded background checks would not have prevented Newtown. Criminals do not submit to background checks.”
Ahead of Wednesday afternoon’s vote, the White House said it wasn’t giving up hope. Presidential spokesman Jay Carney said Obama was working on building support.
The Senate considered an amendment to the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013, which would have implemented federal background checks for most gun purchases.
“Senators Manchin and Toomey – as well as Majority Leader Reid and Senators Schumer, Kirk, Collins, McCain and others – deserve real credit for coming together around a compromise bill that struck a fair balance, and President Obama and Vice-President Biden deserve credit for their leadership since the Sandy Hook massacre,” Bloomberg said. “But even with some bi-partisan support, a common-sense public safety reform died in the U.S. Senate at the hands of those who are more interested in attempting to protect their own political careers – or some false sense of ideological purity – than protecting the lives of innocent Americans.”
“The only silver lining is that we now know who refuses to stand with the 90 percent of Americans – and in 2014, our ever-expanding coalition of supporters will work to make sure that voters don’t forget,” Bloomberg said.
Two local governors and Maryland’s governor pulled out a last-ditch effort to urge the Senate to pass the bipartisan gun control measure going up for a vote.
“The majority of Americans support common-sense solutions to gun violence. Millions of them support proposals that go above and beyond the expanded background check legislation you are considering – as do we.
“However, while this proposal falls short of the universal background checks that are truly needed to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous individuals, we believe the Senate must take this first step to address gun violence in our communities and honor the victims.”
The governors added that it is up to the Senate to act so gun statutes are universal nationwide.
“In our own states, we’ve enacted legislation since the mass shootings in Aurora and Newtown to combat gun violence and make our communities safer while respecting everyone’s Second Amendment rights. But gun violence respects no borders, and our states’ laws alone are insufficient to systemically address gun violence on a national basis. Without federal action, our citizens are only as safe as the state with the weakest gun laws.
“We need the federal government to take the lead and enact reasonable laws to reduce gun violence by, at a minimum, ensuring that more gun purchasers pass a federal background check. The American people are clear on this issue – more than 90% support background checks prior to gun purchases. They understand that if you can’t pass a background check, you should not be able to buy a gun. We stand with them, and urge you to do the same.”
The governors also urged Congress to take up debate on high-capacity magazines, stricter penalties for gun trafficking and better school safety initiatives. None of those items are currently contained in the Senate measure because they do not have the necessary 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.
Following Wednesday’s vote, Gov. Malloy issued the following statement:
“On the issue of enhanced background checks, the American people are clear – 92 percent support them. The real question is how do the senators that voted against this most basic, common sense reform justify their vote against this measure?
“The members who voted against this proposal should be ashamed of themselves,” he wrote.
An Associated Press-GfK poll this month showed that 49 percent of Americans support stricter gun laws. That was down from 58 percent who said so in January.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Wednesday that gun control was a legitimate issue to debate but didn’t think victims and their families should be used “like props” to politicize a tragedy.
Relatives of victims of Newtown and other mass shootings have been lobbying lawmakers to restrict guns, and several planned to be in the visitors’ gallery during Wednesday’s vote, a spokeswoman said. Many have also appeared at news conferences, including at the White House.
“I think that, in some cases, the president has used them as props and that disappoints me,” Paul said at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.
Carney responded that the Newtown families were in Washington “because their children were murdered. They’re here asking the Senate to do something that’s common sense,” Carney said.
In a climactic day, the Senate planned to hold eight other votes Wednesday besides the one on background checks, all of them amendments to a broad gun control measure.
They included Democratic proposals to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, which are expected to lose; a Republican proposal requiring states to honor other states’ permits allowing concealed weapons, which faces a close vote; and a GOP substitute for the overall gun measure.
Taking a page from the NRA, a letter to senators from Mayors Against Illegal Guns warned that the group would keep track of how they vote on the background check and several other amendments. The group is funded by Bloomberg, who has spent heavily to support gun control candidates.
The AP-GfK poll was conducted from April 11-15 by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Corporate Communications. It involved landline and cellphone interviews with 1,004 randomly chosen adults and had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.
FEINSTEIN: ‘SHOW SOME GUTS!”
As the Senate debated the merits of an assault-weapons ban, an emotional Dianne Feinstein urged her colleagues to “show some guts” and vote in favor of the measure.
“I am really chagrined and concerned. If anybody cares, vote at least to prospectively ban the manufacture, the sale, the importation of military-style assault weapons,” she said in remarks on the Senate floor.
Feinstein is the author of the assault-weapons ban, which was defeated earlier today by a margin of 60 to 40. The compromise on background checks introduced by GOP senator Pat Toomey and Democratic senator Joe Manchin as also defeated, 54–46.
LEAHY-COLLINS’ GUN TRAFFICKING AMENDMENT FAILS TO CLEAR 60 VOTE THRESHOLD
The Senate voted 58-42, rejecting a gun control amendment addressing straw gun purchases.
Sens. Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) introduced the bipartisan amendment.
The Leahy-Collins amendment clarified language on lawfully buying a gun from a licensed dealer as a gift so that was not viewed as straw purchasing under the law.
GOP Sens. Collins, Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) supported the bipartisan amendment, but it wasn’t enough to reach the 60-vote threshold.
The Senate is considering the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. Some GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun-owners.
Leahy said the Senate bill would give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to prosecute straw purchasers — people who legally buy a gun but then sell it to someone who would not be able to pass the background check.
“This amendment would stop criminals from circumventing the existing background system,” Leahy said. “It’s designed to give law enforcement the tools to stop straw purchasing.”
SENATE REJECTS CONCEAL, CARRY GUN RECIPROCITY AMENDMENT
The Senate rejected an amendment addressing conceal and carry gun laws Wednesday.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) introduced an amendment that would have reconciled state conceal and carry laws. His amendment failed on a 57-43 vote — 60 votes were needed for passage.
Cornyn said his amendment would have allowed citizens issued conceal and carry licenses in their home states to have their firearm legally in other states. He said it would “treat conceal and carry licenses like a drivers license.”
Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) were the red-state and Western Democrats who supported Cornyn’s amendment. GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted against the amendment.
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) criticized Cornyn’s amendment, saying it would turn a “positive” conversation about protecting the nation’s children into a “feather” in the cap of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
“The amendment is basically mandatory conceal and carry reciprocity,” Menendez said. “This amendment forces states to accept other states’ conceal and carry permits. … So much for states’ rights.”
The Senate is considering the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools.
GOP senators have vowed to block that bill, claiming it goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun-owners.
“We should not be making it harder for law abiding citizens to execute their rights,” Cornyn said ahead of his vote Wednesday.
Cornyn said that those supporting stricter background checks for gun purchases should also support his amendment because “a conceal and carry license is like a background check on steroids.” But Menendez countered that the amendment could potentially increase gun violence, rather than decrease it.
SENATE REJECTS ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN ON 40-60 VOTE
The Senate rejected a ban on certain semi-automatic weapons with military-style features on Wednesday in a 40-60 vote.
The measure to reinstitute a ban on assault weapons was offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) but was not expected to be added to the main gun bill given opposition from Republicans and many Democrats.
Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Warner (Va.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) were the red-state and Western Democrats who votes against the amendment. GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) supported Feinstein’s amendment.
“I believe you should have the right to own a gun,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “But you do not need an assault weapon to defend yourself and your property. Assault weapons have one purpose and one purpose alone, to kill a lot of people very quickly.”
Ahead of the vote, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Feinstein’s amendment violated Second Amendment rights.
Democrats have been pushing for stricter gun laws since December, when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Feinstein said the Sandy Hook massacre “shocked the conscience of America.”
“Over the years as I’ve watched, I’ve come to see that these weapons are attractive to certain types of people: gun collectors, target shooters, hunters, but death tolls show that there is another group that covets these guns even more … their goal is to kill indiscriminately. … The question is, can this group of people who will kill with these weapons, buy these weapons easily, the answer is yes.”
Feinstein said her amendment had one purpose “to dry up the supply of assault weapons and high capacity firearms.” Her amendment would have banned the future manufacturing, imports and sales of certain assault weapons, but would not have taken the guns away from those who already legally own them.
BURR’S AMENDMENT TO PROTECT GUN RIGHTS OF VETERANS FAILS TO GET 60 VOTES
The Senate rejected a gun control amendment aimed to restore Second Amendment rights of veterans.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said he introduced his amendment to protect the Second Amendment rights of veterans and their families. His amendment failed on a 56-44 vote — 60 votes were required for passage.
Burr complained that when the Veterans’ Affairs Department determines that a veteran is no longer able to make financial decisions, the veterans’ name is sent to the FBI and added to the federal gun purchase ban list. His amendment would require a judicial ruling to determine if the veteran is dangerous before they are banned from buying guns.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Burr’s amendment was “ridiculous” because it would remove names of some people who are currently banned from buying guns for good reasons from the background check list.
Sens. Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Angus King (I-Maine), Mark Begich (Alaska), Mary Landrieu (La.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) were the Democrats and independents who supported the amendment.
Burr said the amendment from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) — which failed on a 54-46 vote — didn’t go far enough since it only allowed veterans to appeal the VA decision, rather than stopping the decision from being made in the first place.
Burr said the ban also affects family members who share a residence with the veterans because guns are banned from the home.
SENATE VOTES 46-54 AGAINST BANNING HIGH CAPACITY AMMUNITION CLIPS
The Senate rejected a proposal limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds on a 46-54 vote Wednesday.
Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) introduced the high capacity clip ban as an amendment to the Senate gun control bill. All amendments Wednesday needed 60 votes to pass.
“This amendment would save lives by helping to deprive mass murderers of a key means of massacre,” Blumenthal said before his amendment failed. “Mass shooters know that high-capacity magazines allow them to take more lives, more rapidly.”
Sens. Mark Begich (Alaska), Joe Donnelley (Ind.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Jon Tester (Mont.) and Mark Warner (Va.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) were among the red-state Democrats who voted against the amendment. GOP Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.) supported the high capacity clip ban.
The high capacity clip ban did slightly better than the assault weapons ban proposed by Sen. Dianne Feintein (D-Calif.). Her amendment failed on a 40-60 vote.
The Senate is considering S.649, the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. Some GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun-owners.
Ahead of the vote, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he thought the magazine limit would fail.
“One bullet in the hands of a crazy person is too many, which is why I will oppose a magazine limit,” Graham said. “At the end of the day the magazine limitation is going to fail because it does not address the problem.”
Democrats have been pushing for stricter gun laws since December, when a gunman killed 20 first-graders and six school employees at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
Blumenthal pointed out that the shooting at Sandy Hook was able to fire more than 150 bullets in five minutes and five children were able to escape the school while the shooter was reloading.
“Children escaped the slaughter when Adam Lanza changed magazines,” Blumenthal said. “More magazine changes might have helped save more lives.”
Blumenthal said he knew his amendment would be a tough vote for some of his colleagues but he said they should imagine how hard it was for the family members of victims at Newtown to come to the U.S. Capitol and urge lawmakers to pass “commonsense” gun control reforms.
“We owe it to the families to heed their message,” Blumenthal said. “We need to do something about the guns.
“Regardless of the result today, his cause is not going away. … The Newtown families are not going away … and we are not going away … [but] unfortunately gun violence is not going away.”
SENATE PASSES FIRST AMENDMENT TO GUN CONTROL BILL
The Senate voted 67-30 for an amendment from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that would withhold federal funds for states that disclose gun owners’ information.
More than 20 Democrats joined Republicans in voting for the privacy protection measure.
Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine (Va.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Joe Donnelly (Ind.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Martin Heinrich (N.M.), Tom Udall (N.M.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), Jeff Merkley (Ore.), Mark Warner (Va.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Joe Manchin (W.Va.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), Michael Bennet (Colo.), Mark Udall (Colo.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Bob Casey (Pa.), Chris Coons (Del.), Jeanne Shaheen (N.H.), Jon Tester (Mont.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Mary Landrieu (La.) supported the amendment Thursday.
“This amendment is designed to protect the privacy and safety of law abiding gun owners,” Barrasso said. “If a state or local government releases information on a gun owner, then that state and government will lose money from the federal government.”
His amendment, the first to pass, would withhold 5 percent of Community Oriented Policing Services federal funding from states and local governments that released “sensitive and confidential” information on law-abiding gun owners and victims of domestic violence.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) criticized the measure, saying it was a “feel good” amendment that never went through committee and deserved more than two minutes of debate.
Barrasso said that counties and states have released the information of gun owners before and that some of them were robbed as a result. He said guns were stolen after the information was released.
“By releasing this information, I believe puts a target on the backs of families,” Barrasso said ahead of the vote.
The Senate is considering the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners.
The Senate rejected seven other amendments Wednesday, all of which were subject to a 60-vote threshold.
SENATE VOTES 95-2 FOR BIPARTISAN MENTAL HEALTH AMENDMENT
The Senate voted 95-2 for an amendment to the gun control bill that would address mental health issues.
The amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), expands federal mental health programs, including in education, suicide prevention, substance abuse and trauma centers.
“Mental health problems often begin at a young age — however, less than half of the children identified with mental health issues receive treatment,” Harkin said ahead of the vote. “This lack of treatment has consequences. … The shame in this is that with access to the right treatment and supports, people can lead healthy and productive lives.”
Alexander said the amendment passed out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously.
GOP Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Rand Paul (Ky.) opposed the amendment.
The Senate voted on nine amendments to the gun control bill, only two of which reached a 60-vote threshold. An amendment from Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) that enhanced privacy protections for gun owners passed moments before Harkin and Alexander’s amendment.
On Wednesday, the Senate turned away proposals expanding background checks, an assault weapons ban, banning high-capacity clips and preserving gun rights for veterans, among others.
The rejection of the bipartisan background check amendment from Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) essentially killed the chances of passing the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act, S.649, which would expand background checks on gun purchases, crack down on gun trafficking and beef up security in schools. Some GOP senators have said the bill goes too far and infringes on the rights of gun owners.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) now has to decide if Democrats want to table the legislation or continue to work out party differences on the floor.
GALLUP: ONLY 4% OF AMERICANS THINK GUN CONTROL IS AN IMPORTANT ISSUE
In its poll from Apr. 4-7, Gallup surveyed 1,005 adults by telephone and asked, “What do you think is the most important problem facing the country today?”
Respondents answered in the following order:
Economy in general 24%
Dissatisfaction with Government 16%
Federal budget deficit/Federal debt 11%
Ethical/Moral/Family decline 5%
Immigration/Illegal aliens 4%
Guns/Gun control 4%
Situation with North Korea 4%
Lack of Money 3%
Lack of respect for each other 2%
Foreign aid/Focus overseas 2%
Despite the Obama administration’s strong push for more gun control legislation, few Americans are concerned about the issue.
As Gallup reports, “Few Americans mention guns or immigration as the most important problems facing the nation today, despite the current attention lawmakers in Washington are giving to these issues. The economy still dominates as the top concern, followed by jobs and dissatisfaction with the general way in which Congress and the government work.”
These data “underscore the prominence of economic issues in Americans’ minds,” said Gallup.
BACKGROUND CHECKS OPEN DOOR TO NATIONAL GUN REGISTRY
Written by Brian Koenig | Washington Free Beacon
As the contentious debate over new gun-control regulations surges forward, conservatives and liberty-minded critics are now posing concerns about new legislation that could establish a “gun registry.” Widespread fears of a national firearm registry persist even after many in Congress pledged to bar such a system from becoming active.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who drafted a background check provision as an amendment to sweeping new firearms legislation, contend that a registry is explicitly forbidden in their proposal. The provision says plainly that the Justice Department “may not consolidate or centralize the records” on firearms sales or possession, and that nothing in the amendment would open the door to a “federal firearms registry.”
Still, gun rights advocates worry that the provision paves the way for a slippery-slope scenario, where an expansion in background checks and regulations becomes a precursor to a national registry, which could then be abused to confiscate weapons from law-abiding Americans. “Once you get these lists out there, once you have a gun dealer keeping lists for lots of other people, the only way that works, frankly I think, is if you keep the paper,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said Monday in an interview with Fox News. “And if you keep the paper, eventually, somebody’s going to ask for it.”
Indeed, despite lawmakers’ assurances, skepticism over new gun regulations lingers on, as critics say the language in the proposal could very easily be altered. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) noted last week in a prepared statement that “current federal law can be changed,” and record keeping is one step closer toward registration. Grassley adds that testimony in the Judiciary Committee, and according to language provided by the deputy director of the National Institute of Justice, indicates that universal background checks can be instituted only if gun registration is mandated.
Writing for the Heritage Foundation’s blog, David S. Addington explains how various details in the bill “fuzz up the law” barring a national gun registry:
First, the legislation says that nothing in the legislation shall be construed to allow establishment of a federal firearms registry. In addition, it says that the Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize records of firearms acquisition and disposition maintained by licensed importers, manufacturers, and dealers, and by buyers and sellers at gun shows (and makes it a crime for him to do so).
But then, the STM [Schumer, Toomey, Manchin] bill takes those protections away by using the all-powerful word “notwithstanding” — “notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.” The courts may construe the “notwithstanding” to allow Attorney General Eric Holder to issue regulations that could begin to create a federal registry of firearms, because the law says he can implement the subsection without regard to the protections against a registry elsewhere in the legislation.
Such gun-control legislation could prove fatal to many Americans’ Second Amendment rights. Sen. Blunt cited new reports that said 185,000 residents in his state were already negatively impacted after a lengthy list of concealed-weapon permit holders was handed over to federal officials.
Thanks to a new gun law signed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo earlier this year — which targets any gun owner who is identified as suffering from a mental illness — a New York resident was forced last week to turn over his firearms license and all of his guns. Buffalo-area resident David Lewis was able to get his license reinstated, but only after a high-profile encounter with the state government proved that he was wrongly targeted.
Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) warned last week on the Senate floor that universal background checks will undoubtedly open the door to a gun registry system, leading to a scenario where the federal government will “surveil law-abiding citizens who exercise their Constitutional rights.” Lee noted that the Manchin-Toomey provision would allow U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to enact regulations that could very easily establish a national registry for guns.
“You see, the federal government has no business monitoring when or how often you go to church; what books and newspapers you read; who you vote for; your health conditions; what you eat for breakfast; and the details of your private life,” the Utah lawmaker affirmed. This, he added, includes not only Americans’ rights protected by the Second Amendment but other provisions of the Bill of Rights.
Critics note that the wrongful seizure of Lewis’ guns in New York is only a precursor to future problems for gun owners, especially if a national gun registry was ultimately put into place. And such a system would not have prevented the mass shootings that have taken dozens of lives over the course of the past couple years anyway.
As Adam Winkler, writing for New York Daily News, put it:
Better background checks wouldn’t have stopped the Newtown (Conn.) or Aurora (Colo.) shooters. Neither had any criminal or mental health history that would have appeared in the national database used for such checks. And no background check is going to put an end to the gang-related killings taking a heavy toll in Chicago….
With 300 million guns in America, anyone determined to find one won’t have too much difficulty. So don’t expect universal background checks to lead to a significant drop in gun crime or mass shootings.
TOOMEY-MANCHIN LETS DOCTORS BLOCK YOUR GUN RIGHTS
Investors Business Daily
April 16, 2013
Overreach: The gun control bill lets doctors put your name in the national criminal background check system without telling you. Can the government say you’re crazy and take your guns? It’s already happening.
The road to deeper gun control seems like another road paved with good intentions. Since many recent mass shootings have involved shooters with varying degrees of mental impairment, the desire to keep guns out of the genuinely mentally ill seems to be a worthy goal.
Yet it is being exploited with definitions so vague and undefined, and with controls so lax, as to become not a means of ensuring public safety but to fulfill an ideological agenda that sacrifices a fundamental liberty in the name of securing a marginal degree of safety.
The Toomey-Manchin proposal contains a provision that lets a doctor add a patient to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) without ever telling the patient he or she has been added.
This would seem to violate doctor-patient confidentiality, due process and the presumption of innocence in one fell swoop.
As the Heritage Foundation reports, this “gun control legislation eliminates any (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) privacy protection for mental health records in connection with the NICS system, leaving only what privacy protection the attorney general cares to provide.”
In other words, protection of your medical privacy and gun rights enshrined into law would be removed and put into the hands of Attorney General Eric Holder.
We have written how under New York’s SAFE Act, mental health records are being cross-checked with the names of gun permit holders.
New York state resident David Lewis, a 34-year-old college librarian, recently had his pistol permit taken away on the grounds that a check of health records showed he once took anxiety medication.
Under New York’s SAFE Act, it seems doctor-client privilege and the Second Amendment are null and void. Under that law, guns may be confiscated when a permit holder or someone trying to get a pistol permit is receiving mental health treatment or taking medication and is “likely to engage in conduct that would result in serious harm to self or others.”
What “likely” means and who gets to make that arbitrary determination is key.
Lynette Phillips of Upland, Calif., knows where this slippery slope can lead. She had legally purchased a gun years ago for her husband, David, as a present.
That gun and two others registered to her husband (who does not have a history of felonies or mental illness) were seized by police from the California Department of Justice wearing bulletproof vests and carrying Glocks.
Mrs. Phillips, it seems, had once voluntarily checked herself into a local hospital after adjustments to medication she’d been taking resulted in frequent and uncontrollable crying. When she later reviewed the file, she was shocked to find that the nurse had mistakenly recorded that she was involuntarily admitted and indicated she might be a suicide risk.
And even though her husband had no mental or criminal history, he lost his guns as well.
Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, the son of Vice President “Shotgun” Joe Biden, says one of his gun-control goals “is expanding and broadening the category of folks who have a mental health issue that we believe should prohibit them from possessing a firearm.”
Expanding how far and on what basis?
We have pointed out how the Veterans Affairs Department has been sending letters to returning veterans who have witnessed the horrors of war and may be seeking stress-related care and which say that a “determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving or transporting a firearm or ammunition” and leave vets with the burden of proving their sanity.
Such policies and legislation may have the perverse effect of dissuading those who need help from getting it while leaving society no safer and shredding a fundamental constitutional right.
REMOVE AND REPLACE
Senate Republicans ready substitute gun bill
April 16, 2013
Senate Republicans are preparing a substitute to the background check legislation crafted by Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), the Washington Free Beacon has learned.
The Democrat-controlled Senate is set to begin consideration of the Manchin/Toomey amendment Thursday, but a group of GOP senators has quietly drafted a replacement amendment, titled the “Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act of 2013.”
Sens. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), Ted Cruz (R., Texas), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), John Thune (R., S.D.), Kelly Ayotte (R., N.H.), and John Hoeven (R., N.D.) are sponsoring the bill.
Senators have been tight-lipped about the bill, but according to a fact-sheet obtained by the Free Beacon it would “reauthorize and improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, increase resources for prosecutions of gun crime, address mental illness in the criminal justice system, and strengthen criminal law by including straw purchasing and illegal firearm trafficking statutes.”
The bill would establish a high-level federal task force to increase prosecution of gun violence in the country. It would also create a nationwide version of Project Exile, which shifts prosecution of gun crimes from state to federal courts.
Additionally, the act would “reauthorize and improve” the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). Federal courts would be required to submit relevant information to NICS, and it would “ensure relevant mental health records” are submitted by states.
The bill would also call for the study of mass shootings and limit the Justice Department’s ability to conduct gun trafficking stings like “Operation Fast and Furious.”
“Sen. Grassley, with Sen. Cruz, is considering an alternative that emphasizes support for the Second Amendment and might include fixing the NICS system, providing resources to help address mental health and school safety, protecting veterans from false health determinations and addressing gun trafficking and straw purchasing,” a spokeswoman for Grassley told the Free Beacon.
The Manchin/Toomey legislation is widely considered Senate Democrats’ best hope of passing some form of gun control legislation, but it has yet to garner the 60 votes needed to end debate. Several Democratic senators from red states are still on the fence.
Senate Republicans are also preparing a series of amendments to be offered on Thursday to the Democratic gun bill, including legislation on concealed carry, gun trafficking, and mental health funding.
Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) is planning to introduce a concealed carry reciprocity amendment, his office told the Free Beacon.
Cornyn’s amendment would allow individuals with conceal carry privileges in their own state to conceal carry across state lines into other states that also permit it. Only Illinois and the District of Columbia completely outlaw concealed carry.
Cruz introduced two amendments Monday cracking down on straw purchases and gun trafficking. One of Cruz’s amendments would create a task force for prosecuting felons or fugitives who try to get guns illegally. The other amendment would prevent firearms straw purchasing and trafficking.
Cruz’s bills have attracted 10 cosponsors from the Senate’s conservative wing, including Sens. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Rand Paul (R., Ky.), and Mike Lee (R., Utah).
Additionally, a senior GOP aide said anti-gun trafficking language that recently passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee would likely be replaced out of concerns that it was overbroad.
Exactly which amendments will receive a vote is not clear. The GOP aide said there has so far been no deal between Republicans and Democrats on a unanimous consent agreement limiting Thursday’s proceedings to a set list of amendments.
The bill has been shopped around to Second Amendment groups to garner support. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) urged its members to contact their representatives in support of the bill on Tuesday.
“This positive measure would help Fix NICS and improve current law, without expanding background checks that punishing retailers and infringe on the Second Amendment,” the NSSF said.
GUN BILL BACKERS TRY TO QUELL ‘REGISTRY’ CONCERNS AS SENATE DEBATE BEGINS
As debate begins this week on sweeping firearms legislation, supporters are running into renewed concern from conservatives that the bill could lead to a gun “registry” despite adamant pledges to prohibit this.
Fear of a national registry has remained even after two influential senators last week proposed a compromise on background checks. The proposal, which will be voted on as an amendment, would expand background checks to gun shows and Internet sales while exempting personal transactions like those among family members.
The provision, meant to ease concerns about the checks becoming too pervasive, also included language to bar the creation of a federal registry.
But the language was not enough. Some gun-rights supporters continue to worry about a slippery-slope scenario, where a background check expansion sets the stage for a national registry — which could then be exploited to seize weapons from individuals. Despite the fact that licensed dealers already keep records of their sales and a national registry has not yet been created, the Second Amendment nightmare scenario has lived on.
“Once you get these lists out there, once you have a gun dealer keeping lists for lots of other people, the only way that works, frankly I think, is if you keep the paper,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., told Fox News on Monday. “And if you keep the paper, eventually, somebody’s going to ask for it.”
Concerns about gun seizures were stoked most recently after a New York gun owner had his weapons mistakenly seized. They were later ordered to be returned.
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who drafted the background check amendment, insist a registry is expressly prohibited.
The language of the proposal says the Justice Department “may not consolidate or centralize the records” on firearms sales or possession. It goes on to say nothing in the proposal would allow the establishment of a “federal firearms registry.”
Manchin, speaking on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” reiterated that sellers can do a background check and keep a record — but the proposal would prohibit a national registry, punishing anybody who tries creating one with up to 15 years imprisonment.
Despite the assurances, some lawmakers were skeptical.
“It has been said on the floor recently that background check legislation cannot lead to gun registries because federal law prohibits that. But current federal law can be changed,” Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said last week, calling recordkeeping a “step toward registration.”
He cited testimony that gun registration is important to ensuring a system of universal background checks works.
Those concerns were echoed Monday by Blunt, who said he plans to oppose the bill. He cited reports last week that said 185,000 people in his state were affected after a list of concealed-weapon permit holders was given to federal officials.
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., also said in a statement last week that the Manchin-Toomey proposal “prioritizes collecting records over protecting citizens.”
David Addington, with the conservative Heritage Foundation, argued that while the new proposal prohibits a federal registry, it also includes language that could create wiggle room for the Justice Department.
Yet supporters of new gun legislation are slowly peeling off votes in favor of the bill. The Senate voted 68-31 last week to advance to debate, easily clearing the 60-vote threshold.
The bill will have to clear that bar once more before earning a final vote — and some of those who voted “yes” last week could vote “no” the second time around.
But over the weekend, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he was “very favorably disposed” to the Manchin-Toomey amendment.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., as well as Toomey, have also signaled support from the Republican side.
Democrats have a 55-vote majority in the Senate, including two independents who typically caucus with Democrats. If all those Democrats vote for the bill, they would still need five Republicans.
But Democrats could lose a handful of their own — for instance, two Democrats facing reelection next year opposed last week’s motion — which would require even more Republican support.
It’s not yet clear whether Democrats can garner enough of it. Another prominent Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., announced Monday that he will oppose the Toomey-Manchin amendment.
“Instead of expanding a broken background check system, let’s fix it,” he said.
SENATOR HARRY REID SPEAKS ON THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT
Published April 15, 2013
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN SPEAKS ON THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT
Published April 15, 2013
SENATOR PAT TOOMEY SPEAKS ON THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT
Published on Apr 15, 2013
GUN CONTROL BILL IN PERIL
By: John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman | Politico
April 16, 2013
The tough gun-control bill that President Barack Obama wants now has little, if any, chance of passing this Congress – it’s struggling in the Senate and facing outright rejection in the House.
Vice President Joe Biden worked the phones Monday to try to salvage a bipartisan bill in the Senate but has come up short. Personal appeals from parents of Newtown victims and former Rep. Gabby Giffords haven’t worked either.
And even if Senate negotiators get to 60 votes, the House is certain to rewrite the bill – or discard it altogether.
A defeat would mean that in just five months after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings, the best chance for new gun controls in 20 years is slipping away.
The reasons are many:
The National Rifle Association hasn’t budged, and it warned supporters of the compromise Senate bill — authored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) — that the group would remember their vote when they are next up for reelection.
Speaker John Boehner’s House Republican Conference is turned off by back-room deals and many House Republicans come from the South and the Mountain West, where gun ownership is a way of life.
And moderate red state Democrats and reluctant conservatives couldn’t be persuaded to support even a bipartisan bill that falls far short of what gun control activists wanted.
It also, once again, displays the competing interests in the Capitol: A Senate attuned to national politics, and a House consumed with local, gerrymandered, constituencies.
And it shows the limits of Obama’s power — he campaigned in Connecticut, and Colorado to urge Congress to give the victims of Newtown a vote.
This bipartisan proposal, which expands background checks and closes the controversial “gun show” loophole, is gaining nearly no steam in the House, and in the Senate, it’s no better.
Senate Democratic leadership considered pushing back the vote to Thursday or later. Manchin and Toomey said Monday evening that they were short of the votes they needed.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” Toomey said. “We’re not there at the moment, but we’re were working on it.”
Manchin said he is “talking to everybody” about supporting the bill.
He will also appear Tuesday with Giffords, who was seriously wounded in a January 2011 shooting, to press Congress to pass the bill.
Reid is likely to lose three of his 55 Senate Democrats — Mark Begich of Alaska, Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Max Baucus of Montana. All three said on Monday that they were still reviewing the proposal and would not commit to backing it.
Other members of Obama’s party still undecided include freshmen Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, who is up for reelection in 2014, has also not said whether she would back the bill.
Reid got some good news Monday, when . 89-year-old New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a longtime gun-control proponent who has been out for several weeks with serious health problems, is expected to return to Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Democrats said.
Democratic Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Jon Tester of Montana, who had been swing votes, voiced support for the proposal as well.
“He’s not only supporting the bill, he’s asking other colleagues that come from hard-core red states to read the bill, which is what he did frontwards and backwards, and found out that if you’re a law-abiding gun owner, and you want your Second Amendment rights protected, this bill does that and does that with expansion, if you will,” Manchin said of Tester.
Late Monday night, the New York Times reported that Manchin and Toomey are considering a possible revision to their bill that would exempt residents in rural areas living hundreds of miles from licensed gun deals from some of the requirements of the bill.
The revision, which would be added only as amendment if the Manchin-Toomey proposal is adopted, is designed to appeal to Begich and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), said aides familiar with the issue. Manchin huddled with both Alaskan senators on the floor after a vote Monday night.
However, only four Republicans are voting for the bill at this time. They include Toomey, Mark Kirk of Illinois, Susan Collins of Maine and John McCain of Arizona.
Other Republicans are on the fence and undecided, such as Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Dean Heller of Nevada. Democrats believe they will pick up some of these Republicans.
Heller said that he is was still unsure of how he would come down on the Manchin-Toomey bill.
Flake on Monday night said he will oppose the measure, citing the way commercial sales are defined.
“Manchin-Toomey would expand background checks far beyond commercial sales to include almost all private transfers – including between friends and neighbors – if the posting or display of the ad for a firearm was made public,” Flake said in a statement on his Facebook page. “It would likely even extend to message boards, like the one in an office kitchen. This simply goes too far.”
Of the 16 Republicans who crossed the aisle last week and voted with Democrats to begin a debate on gun control, 10 of them have now formally said they will vote against Manchin-Toomey. They include Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker of Tennessee, Richard Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
Still, Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) are working on an agreement for the floor procedure for the Manchin-Toomey proposal.
”I am voting no,” Chambliss said Monday night. “It’s not the right thing to do.”
This leaves Reid with supporters in the mid-50s range for the Manchin-Toomey cloture vote, not nearly enough to overcome the Republican filibuster.
If Reid and McConnell work out a process for votes, it would make it easier to pass the bipartisan proposal —especially if less controversial votes come up first.
Reid and McConnell are negotiating over whether to allow each side three to five amendments on the main legislation.
Reid would push for votes on the Manchin-Toomey proposal; a ban on assault weapons; a prohibition on high-capacity ammunition magazines; a plan by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) to expand mental health funding; and a similar measure by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).
McConnell wants a vote on an alternative gun bill by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), designed to peel off GOP support for the Manchin-Toomey bill; a proposal by Begich and Graham to prevent the mentally ill from getting guns; a provision to created a federal “concealed carry” permit; and potentially others.
Failure to pass a gun bill could present a political opportunity for Obama and the Democrats. They can use the issue to run against GOP obstructionism in 2014. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other gun-control groups have dumped tens of millions of dollars in to the fight, and Democrats to appeal to them to give heavily to their incumbents — and Democratic super PACs — next year.
Republicans, for their part, will use any vote for more gun-control laws to target red state Democrats up this cycle. With control of the Senate at stake, and a map that is favorable for the GOP, the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups will play heavily in battleground states.
PARTIES’ RIFTS HINDER BACKGROUND CHECK MEASURE IN GUN BILL
By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and JONATHAN WEISMAN | The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Deep divisions within both parties over a bipartisan measure to extend background checks for gun buyers are threatening its chances as the Senate this week begins debating the first broad gun control legislation in nearly 20 years.
In spite of a vote last Thursday in favor of debating new gun measures, some Democrats who are facing re-election next year in conservative states have already said they will not vote for the background check measure offered by Senators Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, forcing Democrats to look desperately across the aisle to fill the gaps.
Republicans, in the meantime, are bitterly torn between moderates who feel pressure to respond to polls showing a majority of Americans in support of some new gun regulations and conservatives who are deeply opposed to them.
Further, an impending immigration bill may force Republicans to choose between softening their stance on either immigration or guns, but not both.
Sixty-eight senators, pressured by the families of those killed in gun violence, came together last week to overcome a filibuster threat that would have quashed the debate on a broader gun bill. But many of those votes are clearly not translating into yes votes for the only background check measure that has attracted bipartisan support.
“We’ve got some work to do,” Mr. Manchin said in an interview Sunday. “You’ve got some very close Democratic colleagues who are having some difficulties, and our Republican colleagues are trying to get comfortable.”
On Sunday, a small gun rights group, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, came out in favor of the Toomey-Manchin amendment, prompting Mr. Manchin to say he hoped the endorsement would help win more yes votes. Also on Sunday, Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, said he was inclined to support the measure; his vote, should it be yes, could bring along others and push the bill toward the 60 votes needed for final passage. .
And supporters of gun safety legislation, including President Obama, plan to campaign all week to win over some lawmakers who have expressed misgivings. Public pressure to pass gun legislation is also intensifying, with the families of the people killed in the Newtown, Conn., school massacre last year waging a highly public, and potent, campaign to win over lawmakers.
But an accounting of likely votes shows how difficult it could be to pass new gun legislation.
Senator Mark Begich, Democrat of Alaska, says he will vote against the measure, and at least three other Democrats are expected to join him in trying to defeat it, including Heidi Heitkamp, a freshman senator from North Dakota. Some left-leaning Democrats may also balk because of the gun-rights provisions that have been added to the bill to entice Republicans.
Among the 16 Republicans who joined 50 Democrats and two independents in voting last week to proceed to consideration of gun legislation, roughly seven have already decided not to support the measure. Another half-dozen Republicans who voted to proceed on the bill remain ambivalent.
The Republican Senators Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bob Corker of Tennessee, all of whom voted to proceed on the bill, are no votes right now, and several others are expected to also vote down the amendment on Tuesday, the expected day of the vote.
It is also unclear whether Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, Democrat of New Jersey, a likely yes vote who has been largely absent in the 113th Congress, would show up for the crucial vote this week.
Mr. Manchin, who spent much of last week buttonholing colleagues at the Senate gym and giving out handwritten pleas for support on the Senate floor, said he felt certain that people who read the bill would find their objections quelled. “The thing is, the easiest vote for me or any senator to make is ‘no,’ ” he said.
The Republican conflict came to the fore last week during a closed-door luncheon for Senate Republicans, when Senator Susan Collins, of Maine, eyes blazing, stood up and complained about a series of attack ads that she was facing back home from a gun-rights group with deep ties to Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky.
Ms. Collins, who faces re-election next year, said the gun ads were an example of the kind of internal Republican warfare that has hindered the party in Senate races the last two elections. She supports the amendments and other components of the new gun regulations legislation, and she released a lengthy statement on Sunday explaining her thinking.
Her comments, according to several Republican aides, ignited a tense debate, similar to many the party has faced since its loss in the race for the White House last year. Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, stood to say he had been raising money for Ms. Collins’ re-election, only to watch her have to spend it to defend herself against the attack from the gun group, which has been directed at other members as well.
Ms. Collins warned her colleagues that if she loses a primary to a strong opponent with gun-rights credentials, it could well cost the party her seat.
Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a freshman ally of Mr. Paul’s, jumped in to promise he had nothing to do with the group, according to officials briefed on the event. Then Mr. Paul, feeling attacked, stormed out. (A spokeswoman for Mr. Paul did not respond to repeated requests for comment.)
The Republican leader, Senator Mitch McConnell, of Kentucky, is facing his own re-election race and appears to have ceded leadership on the gun issue to more junior senators, Mr. Cruz, on the pro-gun group side of the debate, and Senator Mark Steven Kirk of Illinois, who supports new regulations.
Don Stewart, a spokesman for Mr. McConnell, said the senator had encouraged the search for compromise. “Senator McConnell’s views on the Second Amendment have been consistent throughout his career,” he said. “He encourages his members to be involved and actually believes in broader member involvement, not less.”
Should the background check amendment fail, a broader package of new gun legislation would continue to the Senate floor, but wounded. It would increase penalties for illegal gun sales, stop some trafficking and improve mental health reporting.
This amendment was set to replace the background check provision of the original legislation, which would also create harsher penalties for the so-called straw purchasing of guns, in which people buy guns for others who are not able to do so legally. Subsequent amendments, dealing with mental health, a ban on assault weapons and other issues, are expected in the days ahead before a vote on the overall measure.
Both Mr. Manchin and Mr. Toomey spent much of the weekend pleading with their colleagues for support. Former Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in a mass shooting, will be in the Capitol this week pressing members on their votes.
Mr. McCain, who is involved in potential new immigration legislation, offered Mr. Manchin and Mr. Toomey their best hope on Sunday. “Eighty percent of the American people want to see a better background checks procedure,” he said on the CNN program “State of the Union.” “I am very favorably disposed.”
Many Republicans who are considering supporting changes to the immigration system may see little upside to supporting the gun legislation as well.
“One of the reasons Republicans don’t have a governing majority is that we often pick the wrong fights,” Mr. Alexander said in speech in Lewisburg, Tenn., on Friday night. “Voting to prevent a debate on gun rights is an argument Republicans will lose with the American people. Defending Second Amendment rights is an argument Republicans will win with the American people.”
Mr. Manchin said he would continue to try to persuade his colleagues. “If you believe in something you have to work for it,” he said. “If you don’t you have to question why we are here.”
GRAHAM TO OPPOSE TOOMEY-MANCHIN
By Eliana Johnson | National Review
April 15, 2013
South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham announced earlier today that he will vote against the compromise amendment proposed last week by senators Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, which would expand criminal background checks to all advertised gun sales. Graham announced his decision on Twitter, arguing that the bill is “well-intentioned” but does not constitute “a solution to illegal gun violence”:
The amendment will likely face an uphill battle, and Graham’s announcement is a blow to gun-control advocates who had hoped to win him over to their side with this compromise.
The White House said today that the president is deeply involved in the push to pass gun legislation. Though press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that the Toomey-Manchin compromise does not represent the views of the administration, he applauded the “welcome and significant bipartisan progress.”
BACKGROUND CHECKS AMOUNT TO ‘NEW TAX ON GUNS,’ COBURN INSISTS
By David Sherfinski | The Washington Times
The deal senators have struck to expand firearm background checks to all Internet and gun show sales will drive up prices for consumers, weapons retailers say.
Manufacturers say the deal, which is the crux of the gun bill that senators will begin debating this week, also includes language that gives background checks for sales at gun shows priority over in-store purchases — something their top trade group says is unfair.
Under current law, background checks are required for sales only by licensed retailers. The director of the top trade group for gun retailers said expanding checks to include Internet and gun show purchases will drive up prices and push business to federally licensed firearms retailers, who in many cases will perform the checks for private sellers.
If background checks are required for all sales, he said, federal licensees could effectively corner the market, set their own transaction fees and pass the costs on to consumers.
“If they have to do [the background checks], that means they have to pay,” he said. “In the real world, a lot of people are going to raise their prices.”
As the Senate begins its debate, gun control advocates’ hopes for a broader ban on semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines have faded. That has left background checks as the centerpiece of the fight.
Proponents argue that tightening the system to include more transactions can help keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill, but opponents say the paperwork requirements could lead to a national gun registry.
Sens. Patrick J. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, and Joe Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, tried to combat those fears in their background-check proposal by specifically outlawing federal attempts to keep a registry and including stiff prison sentences for violators.
But Sen. Tom Coburn, an Oklahoma Republican who was part of the negotiations with Mr. Toomey before dropping out of the talks, said the record-keeping provisions in the deal are too onerous and amount to a “new tax on guns.”
“Instead of rerouting all commerce through federally designated persons that will charge a $30 to $50 and up to a $125 fee, creating a new de facto tax on guns, my plan would allow a consumer-friendly website or concealed carry permits to be used for verification, allowing law abiding gun owners the freedom to easily and safely transfer firearms,” he said in a letter to Senate colleagues.
Under the Toomey-Manchin amendment, concealed-carry permit holders are allowed to forgo background checks, according to Mr. Toomey’s office, which began an email blitz Friday touting reasons why the amendment “is good for gun owners.”
The Toomey-Manchin amendment also calls for up to 15 years in prison for any government official who tries to use the background checks to create a gun registry.
“Here’s the current law. Current law says if you go to a gun store, you have to have a background check,” Mr. Manchin said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And the gun store keeps it. If you go to a gun show today and you’re a licensed dealer, you still do the same thing. We’re treating everybody the same.”
One complication is that the Toomey-Manchin deal specifically directs the FBI to complete an instant background check request from a gun show before finishing any pending check elsewhere.
“Why is the Second Amendment right of a buyer at a gun show superior to that of a paying customer of a gun shop?” said Lawrence Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade group for gun and ammunition manufacturers. “Prioritizing gun show checks would delay checks for gun shop owners all across America on the busiest sales days of the week.”
The effects of the proposal are not clear. Since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting rampage in December, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System had eight of its 10 busiest days through March 31, and all of the top 10 weeks for background checks have occurred since December.
ACTOR JAY MOHR CALLS FOR GUN BAN IN WAKE OF BOSTON MARATHON BOMBING
By Jessica Chasmar | The Washington Times
“What bothers me most about today is that we’re getting used 2 it. ENOUGH. 2nd amendment must go. Violence has 2 stop. Culture MUST change,” he tweeted Monday night.
The “Jerry Maguire” star apparently received some backlash for the comment, because just five minutes later, he tweeted, “The 2nd Amendment lends itself to the CULTURE of violence we are living in. Stop blowing up my timeline w your gun/porn fetishes.”
The actor later tweeted that he wasn’t trying to be political with the comment, he was just “sick of watching bloodshed on tv.” He also added he was amazed at how many pro-gun responses he received in such a short time.
He then retweeted several angry comments from users calling him a hypocrite, an idiot, a “douchebag,” and saying his standup act is “excruciating to watch.”
NEXT STEPS: HERE’S THE DEMOCRATS’ PLAN TO PASS THE FINAL GUN CONTROL BILL IN THE SENATE
by Benny Johnson | BuzzFeed Staff
It has been almost 20 years since Congress has taken up the topic of gun control legislation.
As the new debate over gun control heats up, senior Senate aides on both sides of the issue laid out advocates’ plan to get their bill through the Senate.
The strategy advocated by gun control supporters in the Senate was described to BuzzFeed by two senior Republican Senate aides working to oppose the effort, and confirmed by a Democratic Senate leadership aide working to get it passed.
Prospects for the gun control legislation weren’t looking good until the recent Toomey/Manchin proposal.
The legislation proposed by Republican Sen. Pat Toomey and Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin would expand background checks for those looking to purchase guns, while providing some exemptions.
The new Toomey/Manchin language replaced the old background check language currently in the bill and was championed as bipartisan.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid then called for a cloture vote on the legislation with the new language in place. The Senate voted 68-31, for cloture to end the Republican filibuster effort by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and 10 other Senators and begin debate on the bill.
With that vote in hand, Reid is now going to bring up the highly controversial Assault Weapons Ban amendment championed by Senator Diane Finestein (D-CA) for a vote, as well as an amendment to ban high-capacity magazines.
Both of these amendments are expected to go down in flames. And Senate aides have said that is by design on Reid’s part.
By voting against these measures, conservative and moderate Democrats, like Sen. Mary Landrieu, will be able to position themselves as pro-gun.
Those votes are also designed to give cover to Montana Sen. Jon Tester, who hails from one of the most gun-friendly states in the country.
These members will be able to return home and say they voted against the most controversial aspects of the legislation.
Then, after covering for his members, Reid will bring the Toomey/Manchin bill to the floor for final passage.
Meanwhile, the White House will run interference for the Senate, building as much public support as it can for the bill.
The Senate will then debate heavily, with Reid needing at least five Republican votes to reach the 60 votes needed to end debate on the bill and move to final passage.
If Reid passes the bill, it will then head to the Republican-controlled House for a final vote. If the bill passes the House of Representatives it will then head to the White House for Obama’s signature.
OBAMA MOBILIZING ‘GUN CONTROL’ ADVOCATES VIA SOCIAL MEDIA
By: David Codrea | examiner.com
April 11, 2013
Calling it “a critical moment,” White House Deputy Senior Adviser David Simas sent out an email alert today advising “gun control” advocates that “For the first time since the 1990s, Congress might be on track to pass legislation aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States.
“Your voices are the reason we have a chance to win this debate,” he claims. “The American people expect and demand a yes or no vote.
“But this is a critical moment,” the email continues. “We want to make sure that your voices are impossible to ignore. So we’re asking people from all over the country to speak out online in concert — all at the same time.”
To do that, the email links supporters to page on the White House website where they are asked to “Pledge to speak out about the need to reduce gun violence.
“Over the next few days, anyone can sign up to tweet or share a message to Facebook,” Simas explains. “Through that time, we’ll gather up as many people as we can. Then we’ll make sure that all these individual messages get posted together in the same moment for maximum effect.
“That wave of social media will get seen by millions and millions of people,” he writes.
If there is a similar effort being conducted by any of the pro-gun groups, it’s a well-kept secret. Readers of this column and its companion The War on Guns blog know that “Five-Minute Activism” posts are issued on a regular basis asking supporters to contact their representatives, and anyone involved in gun rights advocacy is certainly familiar with email invitations to send those representatives a “fax blast” — for a fee. But in terms of smart utilization of social media, that’s something gun owners are playing catch-up with, and something some older ones ignore or avoid altogether.
“[A]dvocates who refuse to acknowledge [the utility of social media] are hurting themselves in two big ways,” Gun Rights Examiner wrote in February. “First, they’re cutting themselves off from information, that is, from vital intel. Second, they‘re allowing the opposition the use and mastery of cutting-edge weapons they refuse to even pick up, let alone practice and become skilled with. And they’re hurting the all of us by being absent from a battlefield we cede at our mutual peril.
“Going back to the reality that ‘progressive’ old media gatekeepers intend to keep us out of their news feeds and that we need to find alternative ways to go over, around, under or through them if we want our message to be heard, how is that a strategy for anything but being out-communicated, and thus outmaneuvered at every turn?” the column asked.
It’s a question that still hasn’t been answered as once more it looks like a tech-savvy White House is getting the jump on gun owners once again — due in no small part to “our” lack of preparation and to apathy, neither of which will bode well if and when actual sacrifices are required.
WHITE HOUSE WEBSITE EMPLOYS GUN CONTROL POP-UP AD
The official White House website (www.whitehouse.gov) now has a pop-up ad for gun control blocking visitors from getting to its homepage.
The pop-up ad declares, “Now Is The Time To Do Something About Gun Violence” and “Our voices are louder when we speak together.”
It also calls readers to “Learn More” by clicking on a link to an advocacy page where supporters can “Use the simple tool to pre-set a post to Twitter and/or Facebook that will publish simultaneously with thousands of others.”
The White also sent an e-mail to supporters today inviting them to visit the social media page and employ the tool.
Given Americans’ distain for annoying pop-up ads that distract and delay them as they browse the Web, it’ll be interesting to see if the White House pop-up successfully drums up support for the president’s gun control initiatives.
BLOOMBERG-BACKED GROUP LAUNCHES AD PRESSURING SENATORS ON GUN CONTROL
– The Hill
April 12, 2013
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is launching a round of television ads to pressure seven Republican senators and two Democrats to vote for a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.
The new ad invokes the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and subtly chides the Senate for taking up gun control legislation more than 100 days after the tragedy.
“Some Democrats and Republicans are coming together to support comprehensive background checks on gun sales,” a male narrator states in reference to a deal unveiled earlier this week between Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who both have A ratings from the National Rifle Association.
“Ninety percent of America supports comprehensive background checks. Call your senators and urge them to join the bipartisan effort for comprehensive background checks,” the narrator says. “Demand action. Now.”
Mayors Against Illegal Guns is a bipartisan coalition of mayors from around the country co-founded by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. Bloomberg, a vocal advocate for new gun controls, has a net worth estimated at $27 billion, giving the group access to considerable resources.
The Republican targets of the campaign are Sens. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Dan Coats (Ind.), Dean Heller (Nev.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). The Democrats are Sen. Mary Landrieu (La.) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
HOUSE SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER WARNED NOT TO BREAK ‘HASTERT RULE’ ON NEW GUN MEASURES
By John Parkinson | ABC News
APRIL 12, 2013
Although the Senate just jumped a procedural hurdle, clearing the way for a debate on gun control, two conservatives in the House of Representatives have worked in the past week to collect signatures on a letter to House Speaker John Boehner discouraging him from bringing any new gun measures to the floor without support from a majority of the House Republican Conference.
The effort is being led by Reps. Paul Broun, who has his eye on Georgia’s senate seat, and Steve Stockman, a Texas Republican who gained notoriety earlier this year for inviting rocker and 2nd Amendment-defender Ted Nugent to the State of the Union.
“We are writing to express our strong opposition to legislation requiring private sale background checks for firearms purchases,” the letter reads. “Under the precedents and traditions of the House, we would ask that no gun legislation be brought to the floor of the House unless it has the support of a majority of our caucus.”
That majority within the majority is also known around the Capitol as the Hastert Rule, after former GOP Speaker Dennis Hastert of Illinois. Boehner has broken it on key votes this year, testing his speakership, such as votes on the Fiscal Cliff agreement, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, and emergency relief for victims of Superstorm Sandy.
Boehner has long-maintained that he aspires to be the Speaker of the Whole House of Representatives, not just House Republicans, although it’s a tricky high-wire act to execute and one more slip could cost Boehner his perch atop the party.
The speaker today emphasized that he does not feel beholden to the informal rule.
“It was never a rule to begin with,” he said. “Certainly my prerogative or my intention is to always pass bills with strong Republican support.”
Although Boehner has recently come under fire for violating the unspoken rule five times over the past three years, Nancy Pelosi broke it on seven pieces of legislation during her tenure as speaker, while Hastert did so 12 times and Newt Gingrich needed minority majorities on six measures.
Boehner reiterated Wednesday that he will wait for the Senate to pass a gun measure before the House reviews it or potentially acts on it. In the meantime, he says, House committees will continue reviewing the issue as well.
A spokesman for Rep. Stockman says more than 45 Republicans have signed the letter, although it’s doubtful a “Hastert majority” of the House GOP will endorse it.
“The so-called ‘universal background check’ would be a violation of a constitutionally-guaranteed right on an unprecedented scale,” Broun and Stockman write in a letter seeking signatures. “The [National Rifle Association], [Gun Owners of America] and other gun groups have made available a substantial amount of research on the dangers of universal background checks, which we would be happy to pass along.”
A full copy of the letter is posted
TEXT OF THE STOCKMAN/BROUN LETTER
At this moment thousands of your voting constituents are receiving alerts from national pro-gun groups urging you to oppose so-called “universal background check” proposals.
I am writing to you to urge you to join them, by signing on to the letter to the Speaker from myself and Congressman Paul Broun, which is below this message, in opposition to such legislation.
The so-called “universal background check” would be a violation of a Constitutionally-guaranteed right on an unprecedented scale. It does virtually nothing to stop crime – or mass shootings – as most perpetrators of these heinous acts had no criminal or disqualifying mental health record.
A “universal background check” also erects tremendous obstacles for law-abiding citizens seeking to engage in lawful commerce. The Brady system frequently breaks down – for example, shutting off all purchases on Black Friday. And many sellers in rural areas would find it a great hardship to travel many miles, accompanied by their purchasers, in order to make a sale in a licensed dealer’s place of business.
The NRA, GOA and other gun groups have made available a substantial amount of research on the dangers of universal background checks, which we would be happy to pass along.
Please respond. The Stockman-Broun letter to Speaker Boehner may be found below.
Member of Congress
Member of Congress
Dear Speaker Boehner,
We are writing to express our strong opposition to legislation requiring private sale background checks for firearms purchases.
The so-called “universal background check” system would be a violation of Constitutionally-guaranteed rights on an unprecedented scale. The principle that no person can purchase or sell a firearm without first receiving government permission transforms the Second Amendment from a “right” that should be protected by the government into a privilege granted by the government.
In addition to constitutional concerns, even if every private transfer of firearms were regulated by the federal government, it would not be an effective crime fighting tool. Typically, shooters steal firearms (Adam Lanza), pass a background check (James Holmes and Jared Loughner) or receive their firearms through straw purchasers (which is already illegal).
Such a law would apply to transfers between family members, friends and neighbors, who would be required to seek out a federally licensed gun dealer to facilitate the transaction. Many sellers in very rural areas would find it a great hardship to travel many miles, accompanied by their purchasers, in order to make a sale in a licensed dealer’s place of business. And many small dealers are closed on weekends and holidays. Will the people’s right to transfer lawfully owned products be valid only during working hours?
We are also very concerned about the potential for official misuse and gun owner registration, as the BATFE is increasingly copying the contents of gun dealers’ 4473 forms.
Universal background check legislation is also opposed by the National Rifle Association, Gun Owners of America, the National Association for Gun Rights, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and other national and state level pro-Second Amendment organization.
Therefore, under the precedents and traditions of the House, we would ask that no gun legislation be brought to the floor of the House unless it has the support of a majority of our caucus.
RED ALERT: KING AND THOMPSON PLAN TO INTRODUCE GUN BILL IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
April 13, 2013
Republican Peter King of New York and Democrat Mike Thompson of California plan to introduce a replicated version of the Senate gun bill in the House next week.
“I will be introducing, along with Mike Thompson, basically the House version of the Manchin-Toomey bill on Monday or Tuesday at the latest,” King said.
King said imposing mandatory gun purchase background checks on the American people is the “best route to go.” He admitted working closely with Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania on the House version of the Senate bill. If passed, it will impose de facto firearms registration ahead of eventual confiscation.
The New York representative said he will introduce the bill “probably… Monday or Tuesday at the latest” and will have a legislative office draft of the bill “ready on Monday. We’re also showing [it] to a number of possible other co-sponsors.”
King said none of his House colleagues have voiced support for the House bill, but explained “when the time comes, if it comes to a vote, there will be significant support among Republicans” to undermine the Constitution.
“We’re not talking about a majority, but a significant number realize we have to do something,” he said. “Certainly having Pat Toomey involved, who was such a solid conservative, and when you see the polls saying 90 percent [of Americans are] supporting [background checks], many Republicans see that as the way to go.”
So far, King is the only House Republican to support the House version. He represents a suburban Long Island district where residents support weakening the Second Amendment rights of Americans who own firearms.
AOL Huffington Post predicts a House version of the anti-Second Amendment legislation may pass if the Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner of Ohio, decides to bring it up for a vote.
LARRY PRATT: 16 REPUBLICAN SENATORS BETRAY GUN OWNERS
Published on Apr 11, 2013
Urgent action required. It is urgent that every gun owner call their Senators today and demand that they oppose S.649
HERE ARE THE SPECIFICS. Harry Reid has now moved to proceed to S. 649, which would:
- Install a universal gun registry, and
- Send you to prison for 15 years for negligently selling, gifting, or raffling a firearm.
And this is just the beginning. If Reid successfully moves to proceed to the bill, he will try to bribe, threaten, and cajole the votes necessary to pass:
- The Feinstein gun ban (which covers shotguns, rifles and handguns that millions of Americans legally own),
- The magazine ban,
- The Lautenberg language to allow Obama to ban guns for every GOA and NRA member by simply putting its membership list on a “watch list,” and
- A Schumer-Toomey compromise where a gun-hating Schumer will try to convince hapless Republicans to betray their own party, to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and to destroy the Second Amendment movement for the sake of allowing Obama to “put points on the board.”
This is it! Contact your Senators. Have your spouse, family, neighbors, church, friends, and your dog contact your senator. Forward this email to all your pro-gun lists.
Tell your Senators to vote against S. 649! The time is short, so while it’s okay to send webmails to your Senators, it is preferable that you call them and tie up their lines.
You can call the U.S. Senate Switchboard at: 202-224-3121.
THE BATTLE WILL TAKE LONGER THAN WE’D HOPED
But there’s still a very good chance we can win!
“Gun Owners of America [has] been pressing lawmakers who may have wavered on this emotional issue of background checks.” – CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, April 10, 2013
We’ve been fighting these gun control battles for almost 40 years now. And we almost always win. But it’s almost always a nail-biter.
And so it is on Obama’s gun control agenda.
We’d hoped that we could stop the gun control bribe-o-thon early (and risk-free) by blocking the motion to proceed to the package. But thanks to sell-outs like Pennsylvania’s one-term senator, Pat Toomey, we’re going to have to take a different battle position and defeat the package at a later stage.
The Senate today overcame the Paul-Cruz-Lee filibuster and voted to move to proceed to Harry Reid’s gun control bill (S. 649). Where Reid needed 60 votes, the tally was 68-31.
Republican defectors who voted anti-gun were:
Alexander (TN), Ayotte (NH), Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Coburn (OK), Flake (AZ), Isakson (GA), McCain (AZ), Heller (NV), Hoeven (ND), Kirk (IL), Graham (SC), Toomey (PA) and Wicker (MS).
So, here’s where we are. Right after the Senate proceeded to the gun control bill, Harry Reid used his privileged recognition to put a bunch of amendments in place. In Senate parlance, they are referred to as an “amendment tree;” and they contain the universal registry bill, the Feinstein gun ban, and the magazine ban. These will be voted on in upcoming days.
As for the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer universal registry bill, don’t believe the press’ efforts to sugar-coat it. If you have ever had an “Internet … posting” on (or related to) your gun, you can sell it only by going to a dealer and filling out a 4473 and getting the government’s approval. Only a cave man would be exempt.
And once you have a 4473? Well, the ATF is going from dealer to dealer, copying the information on these forms, and feeding it into a database. But, says Toomey, he’s against universal registries. This is where it would have helped if Toomey had consulted someone who knew something about guns.
Registration and violation of privacy.
First of all, Toomey’s anti-registry language prohibits photocopying the 4473′s, but it doesn’t prohibit going into the FFL with a laptop and copying all the information. Second, ATF takes the position that the data it’s accumulating in a database is not a “registry,” so Toomey’s ban does no good. Third, guess what the sanction is for violation of Toomey’s anti-registry language? Answer: Eric Holder has to choose to prosecute himself and his own department.
But this isn’t the only bad thing about Toomey-Manchin-Schumer.
Section 107 of the sell-out also waives any federal privacy prohibitions under HIPAA to sending the names of Americans with PTSD, ADHD, and post partem depression to the gun ban database. But that’s not all.
Believe in Jesus, hand in your guns?
Because private shrinks will be able to add patients names into a federal database of the mentally ill – without due process – you will be at their mercy.
As Red State editor, Erick Erickson says, “Activist mental health providers will probably be overly aggressive in adding people to the list. Give it five years in liberal areas and people who believe in the physical resurrection of Christ will probably get automatic entry onto the list.”
And as for veterans? Toomey-Manchin-Schumer reinforces the proposition that bureaucrats in the Department of Veterans Affairs can take away veterans’ rights without any due process. If a veteran has $30,000 to spend getting back the rights Toomey-Manchin-Schumer wrongly took from him, the sell-out creates yet another redundant money-trap for restoration of rights that shouldn’t have been taken away in the first place.
Repealing gun owner protections.
What if you want to travel across the country? McClure-Volkmer allowed you to do that with an unloaded gun in the trunk (18 U.S.C. 926A). But, under the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer sell-out, unless you can “demonstrate,” to the satisfaction of the New York police (1) where you came from, (2) where you’re going, (3) that you’re legally entitled to possess the gun in the place you can from, and (4) that you’re legally entitled to possess the gun in the place you’re going, THEY WILL ARREST YOU in New York.
The Toomey-Manchin-Schumer sell-out creates a Biden-like commission to insure that the cries for gun control continue.
Like sprinkles on a pile of dung, Toomey and Schumer steal some of the proposals we drafted and try to use them to get us to buy onto gun control. But it won’t work.
The gun movement is united against this disgusting pile of gun control.
Here is the new battlefield. Because of the Senate rules, many of the upcoming gun control votes will need 60 (out of 100 votes) to move forward. That will almost certainly be the case with the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer proposal. And because the entire Second amendment movement – GOA, NRA, etc. – is against the Toomey language, it virtually ensures his amendment will fail.
And if Toomey-Manchin-Schumer doesn’t pass, then Reid probably won’t have enough votes to overcome a second filibuster on the bill–as it would contain the original anti-gun language sponsored by Reid and Schumer. This all but guarantees that the legislation would die, as Republicans and a half-a-dozen Democrat Senators would then team up to keep the bill from getting the required 60 votes.
One last question or thought: Did we waste our time supporting the Paul-Cruz-Lee filibuster and fighting the motion to proceed? No, because we forced Obama to fire most of his ammunition, as he dragged his human props around Washington in an effort to exploit them for political gain.
If Obama had been able to wait to play this card until Toomey-Manchin-Schumer came up for a vote, that vote would be a lot harder for us to win.
But Obama has already played this card for his “they deserve a vote” theme. Okay, they’re getting their vote. But by the time we reach the vote on cloture on Toomey-Manchin-Schumer, Obama’s exploitation of the victims of Newtown will begin to be realized for the cynical exploitative political ploy that it is. And he will be less able to shift gears and use the victims for the theme “They deserve a ‘yes’ vote.”
ACTION: So contact your Senators. Tell them to vote against cloture on the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer sell-out.
SHY NO MORE, N.R.A.’s TOP GUN WAYNE LA PIERRE STICKS TO HIS CAUSE
By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and JODI KANTOR | The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Victims of the massacre in Newtown, Conn., had just been laid to rest when Wayne LaPierre, the chief executive of the National Rifle Association, met with his board of directors in early January. A national tide of grief had prompted new attacks on his group and a White House push for more gun control measures, while Mr. LaPierre — who had called for armed guards in every school — was pilloried as a “gun nut” on the cover of The New York Post.
“I don’t know why the N.R.A. or the Second Amendment and lawful gun owners have to somehow end up in a story every time some crazy person goes off and kills children,” he complained to Cleta Mitchell, a board member, who says Mr. LaPierre was “horrified” by the deaths and “insanely angry” that he and the N.R.A. were being blamed.
“These people are out to get us and the Second Amendment,” she recalls him telling the board, “and we’re not going to let them.”
Now, as the Senate takes up gun control measures, the no-compromise strategy Mr. LaPierre has honed over his 35 years with the association is facing its most difficult test in decades. Lawmakers may defy Mr. LaPierre by extending background checks on some gun purchases, which the N.R.A. opposes. But since that grim January planning meeting, Mr. LaPierre has prevented what he and his group feared most: bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
Though Mr. LaPierre has long been on the public stage, today he provokes perhaps more debate than ever about who exactly he is. Supporters see him as a steadfast Second Amendment purist; critics cast him as a paranoid figure who believes, as he said last year, in “a massive Obama conspiracy” to seize the nation’s firearms or as a cynical mouthpiece who is paid nearly $1 million a year to warn of crackdowns and crises he knows will never come.
“Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus,” one of his most vocal detractors, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy of Connecticut, said after his state passed new gun control laws this month. “They get the most attention. That’s what he’s paid to do.”
Once so bookish that he was known for his copious note-taking and so clumsy with a gun that colleagues laughed at his shooting, Mr. LaPierre, 64, helped invent the modern N.R.A. and transformed himself along with it into a right-wing folk hero and a reliable source of polarizing statements.
Liberals search for explanations as to how a man who is no one’s idea of a highly polished spokesman can be so effective, and they accuse Mr. LaPierre of buying influence with campaign cash and intimidating lawmakers by “scoring,” or issuing public report cards, on how they vote. But what his critics often overlook is the iron relationship Mr. LaPierre has forged with many N.R.A. members.
Week after week, year after year, he is on the road, traveling to gun shows and hotel ballroom fund-raisers, where he dispenses affirmation and absolution, telling firearms enthusiasts that their N.R.A. ties have nothing to do with violence and everything to do with freedom.
The attendees form a ready-made base that Mr. LaPierre can draw on whenever he sees a threat to gun rights, and after spending much of his career building the membership — now nearly five million, the group says — he knows it well.
“We’ve got one guy on our committee, he’s 72 years old, he’s got a two-foot-long gray ponytail, and twice Wayne has picked him out at the national convention to give him a hug, to say, ‘You’re my trouper,’ ” said Gary Kamp, a judge in Cape Girardeau, Mo., who helped host a recent “Friends of the N.R.A.” dinner there for educational and training charities.
N.R.A. members admire Mr. LaPierre, who declined to be interviewed for this article, as “a guy who will never fold,” said Grover Norquist, the antitax crusader who is another board member.
“We are so used to electing politicians who go to Washington, D.C., and trim their sails and trade favors and do things they say they would never do,” Mr. Norquist said. “If you are going to ask people to write $25 checks, you have to signal to people, ‘I’m not folding; don’t you think about folding.’ And him not folding reminds everybody that we haven’t given up.”
‘Have They Lost Their Minds?’
Three months and a day after the Newtown massacre, Mr. LaPierre, dressed in his trademark business suit and starched white shirt, arrived with a security detail at a convention hall overlooking the Potomac for the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, a gathering of thousands of activists sponsored, in part, by the N.R.A.
From the earliest days after the shooting, Mr. LaPierre had been working to counter any legislative impact: sowing concerns about background checks, which in the late 1990s he supported; introducing his “National School Shield” plan to arm teachers, administrators and other school personnel; and making sure his base felt protected as the national trauma sank in.
But on stage that day, Mr. LaPierre kept going back to himself. He was introduced by a slick video montage produced by his organization of television commentary that made him out to be a member of the lunatic fringe, with pundits proclaiming him “whacked” and “the lobbyist for mass murderers,” which he used as the starting point for a 30-minute speech about how his opponents are really the irrational ones.
“They call us crazy, but no one — no other organization in the world — has spent more millions over more decades to keep Americans safe,” Mr. LaPierre said, referring to the association’s gun safety efforts.
He lashed out at “Janet Napolitano’s Department of Homeland Security” by playing a self-defense video from the agency advising office workers to use “whatever means are available” to overpower a shooter, while showing images of a hand pulling scissors from a drawer. “To protect our children in school, we recommend a trained professional with a gun,” Mr. LaPierre thundered. “They recommend scissors, and they say we’re crazy?”
And he had nothing but ridicule for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who had recently advised women to go outside and fire “two blasts” from a shotgun into the air if they heard an intruder.
“Honestly,” Mr. LaPierre asked, “have they lost their minds over at the White House?”
It was a typically combative speech, and like many of Mr. LaPierre’s other recent public performances, it was mystifying to some who knew him as a young man.
As a teenager growing up in Roanoke, Va., Mr. LaPierre had no apparent interest in hunting or guns, but a deep interest in politics, recalled Tom Lisk, a childhood neighbor who later worked for the rifle association.
He volunteered for the 1972 presidential campaign of George McGovern, a Democrat (back then Democrats were the dominant party in Virginia); earned a master’s degree in government and politics from Boston College; and then worked for a Virginia state delegate and gun rights advocate, Vic Thomas. Mr. LaPierre essentially fell into his job at the N.R.A. through Mr. Thomas, and he began working as a state lobbyist covering New York and New England.
He earned a reputation as being more shy and studious than ideological, accumulating stacks of yellow legal pads filled with detailed notes. Later, he recruited Mr. Lisk by telling him that the rifle association was “a great place to learn politics, learn about lobbying.” Being passionate about firearms was not a job requirement, Mr. Lisk said; he remembers Mr. LaPierre as more of a hockey fan.
John Aquilino, a former N.R.A. director of public education, said, “Wayne is not a gunny, he’s not ex-military, he’s not a hunter, he’s not a trapper.” What interested the young lobbyist was strategy.
He was deliberate and courteous, even to opponents, once surprising Naomi Paiss, a gun control advocate about to debate him on television, by warmly congratulating her on her approaching wedding. His fantasy, he told Mr. Aquilino, was to retire from the N.R.A. and open an ice cream shop in Maine. Instead he spent decades expanding the organization — founded in 1871 by Civil War commanders dismayed by their troops’ poor marksmanship — into a universe of its own.
The association’s skilled lobbying arm, the direct-mail hailstorms that help influence elections, the women’s council, the television network, the sports stars and celebrities (including the rock musician Ted Nugent and the actor Tom Selleck) who sit on its board are all, to some degree, the handiwork of Mr. LaPierre. Outreach to minorities has also been a LaPierre priority, said Roy Innis, the national chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality, who serves on the N.R.A. board.
On Mr. LaPierre’s watch, gun rights have expanded across the country; 41 states now issue permits to carry concealed weapons “in large part because of Wayne’s leadership,” the association’s Web site boasts.
“He has built a membership and advocacy organization that is the model for other nonprofit organizations, liberal and conservative alike,” said Anthony D. Romero, the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, an occasional ally of the N.R.A.
Devoted to the Cause
And as Mr. LaPierre took over the association, it also took him over. Since becoming its executive vice president and chief executive in 1991, he has devoted himself to the organization, serving as spokesman but also top administrator. He spends his weekends traveling to N.R.A. gatherings across the country, sometimes making multiple stops in a single weekend.
His wife, Susan, helps raise money for the association and is a co-chairwoman of its women’s leadership forum, which sponsors an annual luncheon that last year featured two prominent political spouses, Callista Gingrich and Ann Romney.
Years ago, Mr. LaPierre hoped to strike out as a consultant, Mr. Lisk said, an idea he abandoned when he realized how completely he had become identified with the gun issue.
Along the way Mr. LaPierre’s language has steadily grown more operatic, filled with warnings about government agents who were “jackbooted thugs” (1995), “an Islamic ex-con with two aliases and no job” (2002) and a “U.N.-declared official day of hate” (2011).
“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw the hellish world that the gun prohibitionists see as their utopia,” he wrote in February, conjuring images far worse than reality. “Looters ran wild in south Brooklyn. There was no food, water or electricity.”
Former colleagues say he speaks that way because that is what his job demands; Mr. LaPierre learned early on the dangers of appearing to back down. After his “jackbooted thugs” remark, he apologized, only to face his members’ ire, according to Richard Feldman, a former lobbyist for the association who now runs a rival gun rights group.
In small settings, people who know him say, he is mild-mannered and thoughtful.
“You ask if he is the same in private as he is in public — not at all,” said Ms. Mitchell, the board member, who is also a lawyer and a Fox News commentator. “In real life, he’s one of the shyest, kindest, most unassuming, total lack of ego, nonconfrontational — he hates confrontation — individuals I have ever met.”
Gun control advocates say the gap between the public and private leader is dictated by simple demographic reality. Because gun ownership has been declining for decades, “the N.R.A. knows it has to motivate a shrinking base,” said Josh Sugarmann, the executive director of the Violence Policy Center. “They have to reach out to the fringes.”
The more besieged N.R.A. members feel, the more committed they are, with regular jumps in membership after mass shootings, as was the case after Newtown.
“Illegitimi non carborundum,” Mr. LaPierre sometimes tells associates. It is a mock-Latin phrase for “Don’t let the bastards wear you down.”
With the Senate scheduled to begin voting on gun control measures this week, the question in Washington is not only which restrictions will pass. It is also whether Mr. LaPierre, having done more to expand gun rights than perhaps any other official in N.R.A. history, can keep winning now that the Newtown massacre has changed the national debate.
Already, two N.R.A. allies — Senators Patrick J. Toomey, Republican of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia — have broken with Mr. LaPierre to sponsor legislation extending background checks, which a bipartisan group of senators has embraced.
“The N.R.A. didn’t lose many fights in the old days, and they don’t lose many fights now,” said Charlie Cook, the editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report. “But circumstances have changed.”
Mr. LaPierre is being uncomfortably squeezed: from the right by organizations like Gun Owners of America, whose members regard themselves as even more ardent defenders of the Second Amendment, and from the left by new opponents like Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman, shooting victim and Glock owner, who says her goal is common-sense gun laws.
Gun control advocates are moving to cast Mr. LaPierre and his organization — which once used the slogan “I am the N.R.A.” to show its reach across American society — as extreme and out of sync even with its own members. A New York Times/CBS News survey in January found that 68 percent of households with N.R.A. members support background checks on all potential gun buyers; some sales, including those at gun shows, are now exempt.
New York and several other states have significantly tightened gun laws since the Newtown shooting. And longtime N.R.A. activities like sponsoring Nascar races, including one this weekend at the Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, are generating controversy. (A Nascar spokesman said the organization would review sponsorships, given “current circumstances.”)
All of that raises a question about Mr. LaPierre’s leadership
“The question for the N.R.A. is whether eventually he appeals to only so narrow a segment of the population that he consigns himself to irrelevance,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat and gun control advocate. “And I believe he is fast approaching that point of almost making a caricature of himself.”
Mr. LaPierre is fighting back. Last week, as the Senate voted to bring the Toomey-Manchin bill up for debate, the N.R.A. notified lawmakers that unless the measure was changed, it would take the highly unusual step of scoring a procedural vote, meaning that a lawmaker’s N.R.A. rating could suffer just for agreeing to allow the Senate to vote. “It was a message,” said Ms. Mitchell, the board member. “There are no free passes. We are keeping score.”
POSTED: FULL TEXT OF S. 649 ‘THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT’
Senator Pat Toomey has finally posted the full text of “The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act,” the so called gun Senate compromise bill, agreed upon by Toomey, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer. Here’s the text of 7,800 word bill:
Purpose: To protect Second Amendment rights, ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, and provide a responsible and consistent background check process.
To ensure that all individuals who should be prohibited from buying a firearm are listed in the national instant criminal background check system and require a background check for every firearm sale, and for other purposes.
Referred to the Committee on __________ and ordered to be printed
Ordered to lie on the table and to be printed
AMENDMENT INTENDED TO BE PROPOSED BY MR. MANCHIN (for himself, Mr. TOOMEY, Mr. KIRK, and Mr. SCHUMER)
Strike title I and insert the following:
TITLE I-PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT
SECTION 101. SHORT TITLE.
This title may be cited as the “Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013″.
SEC. 102. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) Congress supports, respects, and defends the fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
(2) Congress supports and reaffirms the existing prohibition on a national firearms registry.
(3) Congress believes the Department of Justice should prosecute violations of background check requirements to the maximum extent of the law.
(4) There are deficits in the background check system in existence prior to the date of enactment of this Act and the Department of Justice should make it a top priority to work with States to swiftly input missing records, including mental health records.
(5) Congress and the citizens of the United States agree that in order to promote safe and responsible gun ownership, dangerous criminals and the seriously mentally ill should be prohibited from possessing firearms; therefore, it should be incumbent upon all citizens to ensure weapons are not being transferred to such people.
SEC. 103. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this title, or any amendment made by this title, shall be construed to-
(1) expand in any way the enforcement authority or jurisdiction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives; or
(2) allow the establishment, directly or indirectly, of a Federal firearms registry.
SEC. 104. SEVERABILITY.
If any provision of this title or an amendment made by this title, or the application of a provision or amendment to any person or circumstance, is held to be invalid for any reason in any court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this title and amendments made by this title, and the application of the provisions and amendment to any other person or circumstance, shall not be affected.
Subtitle A-Ensuring That All Individuals Who Should Be Prohibited From Buying a Gun Are Listed in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System
SEC. 111. REAUTHORIZATION OF THE NATIONAL CRIMINAL HISTORY RECORDS IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM.
Section 106(b) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended-
(1) in paragraph (1), in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking “of this Act” and inserting “of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013″; and
(2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
“(2) AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.-There are authorized to be appropriated for grants under this subsection $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017.”.
SEC. 112. IMPROVEMENT OF METRICS AND INCENTIVES.
Section 102(b) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended to read as follows:
“(b) Implementation Plan.-
“(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General, in coordination with the States, shall establish for each State or Indian tribal government desiring a grant under section 103 a 4-year implementation plan to ensure maximum coordination and automation of the reporting of records or making records available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System.
“(2) BENCHMARK REQUIREMENTS.-Each 4-year plan established under paragraph (1) shall include annual benchmarks, including both qualitative goals and quantitative measures, to assess implementation of the 4-year plan.
“(3) PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE.-
“(A) IN GENERAL.-During the 4-year period covered by a 4-year plan established under paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall withhold-
“(i) 10 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the first year in the 4-year period;
“(ii) 11 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the second year in the 4-year period;
“(iii) 13 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the third year in the 4-year period; and
“(iv) 15 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State does not meet the benchmark established under paragraph (2) for the fourth year in the 4-year period.
“(B) FAILURE TO ESTABLISH A PLAN.-A State that fails to establish a plan under paragraph (1) shall be treated as having not met any benchmark established under paragraph (2).”.
SEC. 113. GRANTS TO STATES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF COORDINATION AND AUTOMATION OF NICS RECORD REPORTING.
(a) In General.-The NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended-
(1) by striking section 103 and inserting the following:
“SEC. 103. GRANTS TO STATES FOR IMPROVEMENT OF COORDINATION AND AUTOMATION OF NICS RECORD REPORTING.
“(a) Authorization.-From amounts made available to carry out this section, the Attorney General shall make grants to States, Indian Tribal governments, and State court systems, in a manner consistent with the National Criminal History Improvement Program and consistent with State plans for integration, automation, and accessibility of criminal history records, for use by the State, or units of local government of the State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system to improve the automation and transmittal of mental health records and criminal history dispositions, records relevant to determining whether a person has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories in accordance with section 102 and the National Criminal History Improvement Program.
“(b) Use of Grant Amounts.-Grants awarded to States, Indian Tribal governments, or State court systems under this section may only be used to-
“(1) carry out, as necessary, assessments of the capabilities of the courts of the State or Indian Tribal government for the automation and transmission of arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories;
“(2) implement policies, systems, and procedures for the automation and transmission of arrest and conviction records, court orders, and mental health adjudications or commitments to Federal and State record repositories;
“(3) create electronic systems that provide accurate and up-to-date information which is directly related to checks under the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, including court disposition and corrections records;
“(4) assist States or Indian Tribal governments in establishing or enhancing their own capacities to perform background checks using the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and
“(5) develop and maintain the relief from disabilities program in accordance with section 105.
“(1) IN GENERAL.-To be eligible for a grant under this section, a State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system shall certify, to the satisfaction of the Attorney General, that the State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system-
“(A) is not prohibited by State law or court order from submitting mental health records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and
“(B) subject to paragraph (2), has implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with section 105.
“(2) RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES PROGRAM.-For purposes of obtaining a grant under this section, a State, Indian Tribal government, or State court system shall not be required to meet the eligibility requirement described in paragraph (1)(B) until the date that is 2 years after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013.
“(d) Federal Share.-
“(1) STUDIES, ASSESSMENTS, NON-MATERIAL ACTIVITIES.-The Federal share of a study, assessment, creation of a task force, or other non-material activity, as determined by the Attorney General, carried out with a grant under this section shall be not more than 25 percent.
“(2) INFRASTRUCTURE OR SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT.-The Federal share of an activity involving infrastructure or system development, including labor-related costs, for the purpose of improving State or Indian Tribal government record reporting to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System carried out with a grant under this section may amount to 100 percent of the cost of the activity.
“(e) Grants to Indian Tribes.-Up to 5 percent of the grant funding available under this section may be reserved for Indian tribal governments for use by Indian tribal judicial systems.
“(f) Authorization of Appropriations.-There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $100,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2014 through 2017.”;
(2) by striking title III; and
(3) in section 401(b), by inserting after “of this Act” the following: “and 18 months after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013″.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.-The table of sections in section 1(b) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by striking the item relating to section 103 and inserting the following:
“Sec.103.Grants to States for improvement of coordination and automation of NICS record reporting.”.
SEC. 114. RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES PROGRAM.
Section 105 of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(c) Penalties for Non-compliance.-
“(1) 10 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period beginning 2 years after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General shall withhold 10 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section.
“(2) 11 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period after the expiration of the period described in paragraph (1), the Attorney General shall withhold 11 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section.
“(3) 13 PERCENT REDUCTION.-During the 1-year period after the expiration of the period described in paragraph (2), the Attorney General shall withhold 13 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section.
“(4) 15 PERCENT REDUCTION.-After the expiration of the 1-year period described in paragraph (3), the Attorney General shall withhold 15 percent of the amount that would otherwise be allocated to a State under section 505 of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 3755) if the State has not implemented a relief from disabilities program in accordance with this section.”.
SEC. 115. ADDITIONAL PROTECTIONS FOR OUR VETERANS.
(a) In General.-Chapter 55 of title 38, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following new section:
“5511. Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes
“(a) In General.-In any case arising out of the administration by the Secretary of laws and benefits under this title, a person who is determined by the Secretary to be mentally incompetent shall not be considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 until-
“(1) in the case in which the person does not request a review as described in subsection (c)(1), the end of the 30-day period beginning on the date on which the person receives notice submitted under subsection (b); or
“(2) in the case in which the person requests a review as described in paragraph (1) of subsection (c), upon an assessment by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection or court of competent jurisdiction that a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency.
“(b) Notice.-Notice submitted under this subsection to a person described in subsection (a) is notice submitted by the Secretary that notifies the person of the following:
“(1) The determination made by the Secretary.
“(2) A description of the implications of being considered adjudicated as a mental defective under subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18.
“(3) The person’s right to request a review under subsection (c)(1).
“(c) Administrative Review.-(1) Not later than 30 days after the date on which a person described in subsection (a) receives notice submitted under subsection (b), such person may request a review by the board designed or established under paragraph (2) or a court of competent jurisdiction to assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency. In such assessment, the board may consider the person’s honorable discharge or decoration.
“(2) Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall designate or establish a board that shall, upon request of a person under paragraph (1), assess whether a person cannot safely use, carry, possess, or store a firearm due to mental incompetency.
“(d) Judicial Review.-Not later than 30 days after the date of an assessment of a person under subsection (c) by the board designated or established under paragraph (2) of such subsection, such person may file a petition for judicial review of such assessment with a Federal court of competent jurisdiction.
“(e) Protecting Rights of Veterans With Existing Records.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall provide written notice of the opportunity for administrative review and appeal under subsection (c) to all persons who, on the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, are considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18 as a result of having been found by the Department of Veterans Affairs to be mentally incompetent.
“(f) Future Determinations.-
“(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than 180 days after the enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Secretary shall review the policies and procedures by which individuals are determined to be mentally incompetent, and shall revise such policies and procedures as necessary to ensure that any individual who is competent to manage his own financial affairs, including his receipt of Federal benefits, but who voluntarily turns over the management thereof to a fiduciary is not considered adjudicated pursuant to subsection (d)(4) or (g)(4) of section 922 of title 18.
“(2) REPORT.-Not later than 30 days after the Secretary has made the review and changes required under paragraph (1), the Secretary shall submit to Congress a report detailing the results of the review and any resulting policy and procedural changes.”.
(b) Clerical Amendment.-The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 55 of such title is amended by adding at the end the following new item:
“5511. Conditions for treatment of certain persons as adjudicated mentally incompetent for certain purposes.”.
(c) Applicability.-Section 5511 of title 38, United States Code (as added by this section), shall apply only with respect to persons who are determined by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, on or after the date of the enactment of this Act, to be mentally incompetent, except that those persons who are provided notice pursuant to section 5511(e) shall be entitled to use the administrative review under section 5511(c) and, as necessary, the subsequent judicial review under section 5511(d).
SEC. 116. CLARIFICATION THAT FEDERAL COURT INFORMATION IS TO BE MADE AVAILABLE TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM.
Section 103(e)(1) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note), is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(F) APPLICATION TO FEDERAL COURTS.-In this subsection-
“(i) the terms ‘department or agency of the United States’ and ‘Federal department or agency’ include a Federal court; and
“(ii) for purposes of any request, submission, or notification, the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts shall perform the functions of the head of the department or agency.”.
SEC. 117. CLARIFICATION THAT SUBMISSION OF MENTAL HEALTH RECORDS TO THE NATIONAL INSTANT CRIMINAL BACKGROUND
CHECK SYSTEM IS NOT PROHIBITED BY THE HEALTH INSURANCE PORTABILITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY ACT.
Information collected under section 102(c)(3) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) to assist the Attorney General in enforcing section 922(g)(4) of title 18, United States Code, shall not be subject to the regulations promulgated under section 264(c) of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (42 U.S.C. 1320d-2 note).
SEC. 118. PUBLICATION OF NICS INDEX STATISTICS.
Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, and biannually thereafter, the Attorney General shall make the National Instant Criminal Background Check System index statistics available on a publically accessible Internet website.
SEC. 119. EFFECTIVE DATE.
The amendments made by this subtitle shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
Subtitle B-Providing a Responsible and Consistent Background Check Process
SEC. 121. PURPOSE.
The purpose of this subtitle is to enhance the current background check process in the United States to ensure criminals and the mentally ill are not able to purchase firearms.
SEC. 122. FIREARMS TRANSFERS.
(a) In General.-Section 922 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-
(1) by repealing subsection (s);
(2) by redesignating subsection (t) as subsection (s);
(3) in subsection (s), as redesignated-
(A) in paragraph (1)(B)-
(i) in clause (i), by striking “or”;
(ii) in clause (ii), by striking “and” at the end; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following:
“(iii) in the case of an instant background check conducted at a gun show or event during the 4-year period beginning on the effective date under section 130(a) of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, 48 hours have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section; or
“(iv) in the case of an instant background check conducted at a gun show or event after the 4-year period described in clause (iii), 24 hours have elapsed since the licensee contacted the system, and the system has not notified the licensee that the receipt of a firearm by such other person would violate subsection (g) or (n) of this section; and”;
(B) in paragraph (3)(C)(ii), by striking “(as defined in subsection (s)(8))”; and
(C) by adding at the end the following:
“(7) In this subsection-
“(A) the term ‘chief law enforcement officer’ means the chief of police, the sheriff, or an equivalent officer or the designee of any such individual; and
“(B) the term ‘gun show or event’ has the meaning given the term in subsection (t)(7).
“(8) The Federal Bureau of Investigation shall not charge a user fee for a background check conducted pursuant to this subsection.
“(9) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, upon receiving a request for an instant background check that originates from a gun show or event, the system shall complete the instant background check before completing any pending instant background check that did not originate from a gun show or event.”; and
(4) by inserting after subsection (s), as redesignated, the following:
“(t)(1) Beginning on the date that is 180 days after the date of enactment of this subsection and except as provided in paragraph (2), it shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed dealer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed importer to complete the transfer of a firearm to any other person who is not licensed under this chapter, if such transfer occurs-
“(A) at a gun show or event, on the curtilage thereof; or
“(B) pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of his intent to transfer, or the transferee of his intent to acquire, the firearm.
“(2) Paragraph (1) shall not apply if-
“(A) the transfer is made after a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer has first taken possession of the firearm for the purpose of complying with subsection (s), and upon taking possession of the firearm, the licensee-
“(i) complies with all requirements of this chapter as if the licensee were transferring the firearm from the licensee’s business inventory to the unlicensed transferee, except that when processing a transfer under this chapter the licensee may accept in lieu of conducting a background check a valid permit issued within the previous 5 years by a State, or a political subdivision of a State, that allows the transferee to possess, acquire, or carry a firearm, if the law of the State, or political subdivision of a State, that issued the permit requires that such permit is issued only after an authorized government official has verified that the information available to such official does not indicate that possession of a firearm by the unlicensed transferee would be in violation of Federal, State, or local law;
“(B) the transfer is made between an unlicensed transferor and an unlicensed transferee residing in the same State, which takes place in such State, if-
“(i) the Attorney General certifies that State in which the transfer takes place has in effect requirements under law that are generally equivalent to the requirements of this section; and
“(ii) the transfer was conducted in compliance with the laws of the State;
“(C) the transfer is made between spouses, between parents or spouses of parents and their children or spouses of their children, between siblings or spouses of siblings, or between grandparents or spouses of grandparents and their grandchildren or spouses of their grandchildren, or between aunts or uncles or their spouses and their nieces or nephews or their spouses, or between first cousins, if the transferor does not know or have reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law; or
“(D) the Attorney General has approved the transfer under section 5812 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
“(3) A licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer who processes a transfer of a firearm authorized under paragraph (2)(A) shall not be subject to a license revocation or license denial based solely upon a violation of those paragraphs, or a violation of the rules or regulations promulgated under this paragraph, unless the licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer-
“(A) knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the information provided for purposes of identifying the transferor, transferee, or the firearm is false;
“(B) knows or has reasonable cause to believe that the transferee is prohibited from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm by Federal or State law, or published ordinance; or
“(C) knowingly violates any other provision of this chapter, or the rules or regulations promulgated thereunder.
“(4)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, except for section 923(m), the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.
“(B) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring licensees to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).
“(C) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision requiring persons not licensed under this chapter to keep records of background checks or firearms transfers.
“(D) Regulations promulgated under this paragraph may not include any provision placing a cap on the fee licensees may charge to facilitate transfers in accordance with paragraph (2)(A).
“(5)(A) A person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer, who makes a transfer of a firearm in accordance with this section, or who is the organizer of a gun show or event at which such transfer occurs, shall be immune from a qualified civil liability action relating to the transfer of the firearm as if the person were a seller of a qualified product.
“(B) A provider of an interactive computer service shall be immune from a qualified civil liability action relating to the transfer of a firearm as if the provider of an interactive computer service were a seller of a qualified product.
“(C) In this paragraph-
“(i) the term ‘interactive computer service’ shall have the meaning given the term in section 230(f) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230(f)); and
“(ii) the terms ‘qualified civil liability action’, ‘qualified product’, and ‘seller’ shall have the meanings given the terms in section 4 of theProtection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (15 U.S.C. 7903).
“(D) Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed to affect the immunity of a provider of an interactive computer service under section 230 of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 230).
“(6) In any civil liability action in any State or Federal court arising from the criminal or unlawful use of a firearm following a transfer of such firearm for which no background check was required under this section, this section shall not be construed-
“(A) as creating a cause of action for any civil liability; or
“(B) as establishing any standard of care.
“(7) For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘gun show or event’-
“(A) means any event at which 75 or more firearms are offered or exhibited for sale, exchange, or transfer, if 1 or more of the firearms has been shipped or transported in, or otherwise affects, interstate or foreign commerce; and
“(B) does not include an offer or exhibit of firearms for sale, exchange, or transfer by an individual from the personal collection of that individual, at the private residence of that individual, if the individual is not required to be licensed under section 923.”.
(b) Prohibiting the Seizure of Records or Documents.-Section 923(g)(1)(D) is amended by striking, “The inspection and examination authorized by this paragraph shall not be construed as authorizing the Attorney General to seize any records or other documents other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law,” and inserting the following: “The Attorney General shall be prohibited from seizing any records or other documents in the course of an inspection or examination authorized by this paragraph other than those records or documents constituting material evidence of a violation of law.”.
(c) Prohibition of National Gun Registry.-Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
“(m) The Attorney General may not consolidate or centralize the records of the-
“(1) acquisition or disposition of firearms, or any portion thereof, maintained by-
“(A) a person with a valid, current license under this chapter;
“(B) an unlicensed transferor under section 922(t); or
“(2) possession or ownership of a firearm, maintained by any medical or health insurance entity.”.
(d) Technical and Conforming Amendments.-
(1) SECTION 922.-Section 922(y)(2) of title 18, United States Code, is amended, in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking “,
(g)(5)(B), and (s)(3)(B)(v)(II)” and inserting “and (g)(5)(B)”.
(2) CONSOLIDATED AND FURTHER CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2012.-Section 511 of title V of division B of the Consolidated and
Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) is amended by striking “subsection 922(t)” and inserting “subsection (s) or (t) of section 922″ each place it appears.
SEC. 123. PENALTIES.
Section 924 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-
(1) in subsection (a), by adding at the end the following:
“(8) Whoever makes or attempts to make a transfer of a firearm in violation of section 922(t) to a person not licensed under this chapter who is prohibited from receiving a firearm under subsection (g) or (n) of section 922 or State law, to a law enforcement officer, or to a person acting at the direction of, or with the approval of, a law enforcement officer authorized to investigate or prosecute violations of section 922(t), shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
“(q) Improper Use of Storage of Records.-Any person who knowingly violates section 923(m) shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.”.
SEC. 124. FIREARMS DISPOSITIONS.
Section 922(b)(3) of title 18, United States Code, is amended-
(1) in the matter preceding subparagraph (A), by striking “located” and inserting “located or temporarily located”; and
(2) in subparagraph (A)-
(A) by striking “rifle or shotgun” and inserting “firearm”;
(B) by striking “located” and inserting “located or temporarily located”; and
(C) by striking “both such States” and inserting “the State in which the transfer is conducted and the State of residence of the transferee”.
SEC. 125. FIREARM DEALER ACCESS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT INFORMATION.
Section 103(b) of Public Law 103-159 (18 U.S.C. 922 note), is amended-
(1) by striking “Not later than” and inserting the following:
“(1) IN GENERAL.-Not later than”; and
(2) by adding at the end the following:
“(2) VOLUNTARY BACKGROUND CHECKS.-Not later than 90 days after the date of enactment of the Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act of 2013, the Attorney General shall promulgate regulations allowing licensees to use the National Instant Criminal Background Check System established under this section for purposes of conducting voluntary preemployment background checks on prospective employees.”.
SEC. 126. DEALER LOCATION.
Section 923 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-
(1) in subsection (j)-
(A) in the first sentence, by striking “, and such location is in the State which is specified on the license”; and
(B) in the last sentence-
(i) by inserting “transfer,” after “sell,”; and
(ii) by striking “Act,” and all that follows and inserting “Act.”; and
(2) by adding after subsection (m), as added by section 122(c), the following:
“(n) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prohibit the sale, transfer, delivery, or other disposition of a firearm or ammunition not otherwise prohibited under this chapter-
“(1) by a person licensed under this chapter to another person so licensed, at any location in any State; or
“(2) by a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, or licensed dealer to a person not licensed under this chapter, at a temporary location described in subsection (j) in any State.”.
SEC. 127. RESIDENCE OF UNITED STATES OFFICERS.
Section 921 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking subsection (b) and inserting the following:
“(b) For purposes of this chapter:
“(1) A member of the Armed Forces on active duty, or a spouse of such a member, is a resident of-
“(A) the State in which the member or spouse maintains legal residence;
“(B) the State in which the permanent duty station of the member is located; and
“(C) the State in which the member maintains a place of abode from which the member commutes each day to the permanent duty station of the member.
“(2) An officer or employee of the United States (other than a member of the Armed Forces) who is stationed outside the United States for a period of more than 1 year, and a spouse of such an officer or employee, is a resident of the State in which the person maintains legal residence.”.
SEC. 128. INTERSTATE TRANSPORTATION OF FIREARMS OR AMMUNITION.
(a) In General.-Section 926A of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:
“926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition
“(a) Definition.-In this section, the term ‘transport’-
“(1) includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, fuel, vehicle maintenance, an emergency, medical treatment, and any other activity incidental to the transport; and
“(2) does not include transportation-
“(A) with the intent to commit a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding 1 year that involves a firearm; or
“(B) with knowledge, or reasonable cause to believe, that a crime described in subparagraph (A) is to be committed in the course of, or arising from, the transportation.
“(b) Authorization.-Notwithstanding any provision of any law (including a rule or regulation) of a State or any political subdivision thereof, a person who is not prohibited by this chapter from possessing, transporting, shipping, or receiving a firearm or ammunition shall be entitled to-
“(1) transport a firearm for any lawful purpose from any place where the person may lawfully possess, carry, or transport the firearm to any other such place if, during the transportation-
“(A) the firearm is unloaded; and
“(B)(i) if the transportation is by motor vehicle-
“(I) the firearm is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle; or
“(II) if the motor vehicle is without a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the firearm is-
“(aa) in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console; or
“(bb) secured by a secure gun storage or safety device; or
“(ii) if the transportation is by other means, the firearm is in a locked container or secured by a secure gun storage or safety device; and
“(2) transport ammunition for any lawful purpose from any place where the person may lawfully possess, carry, or transport the ammunition, to any other such place if, during the transportation-
“(A) the ammunition is not loaded into a firearm; and
“(B)(i) if the transportation is by motor vehicle-
“(I) the ammunition is not directly accessible from the passenger compartment of the motor vehicle; or
“(II) if the motor vehicle is without a compartment separate from the passenger compartment, the ammunition is in a locked container other than the glove compartment or console; or
“(ii) if the transportation is by other means, the ammunition is in a locked container.
“(c) Limitation on Arrest Authority.-A person who is transporting a firearm or ammunition may not be-
“(1) arrested for violation of any law or any rule or regulation of a State, or any political subdivision thereof, relating to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms or ammunition, unless there is probable cause that the transportation is not in accordance with subsection (b); or
“(2) detained for violation of any law or any rule or regulation of a State, or any political subdivision thereof, relating to the possession, transportation, or carrying of firearms or ammunition, unless there is reasonable suspicion that the transportation is not in accordance with subsection (b).”.
(b) Technical and Conforming Amendment.-The table of sections for chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking the item relating to section 926A and inserting the following:
“926A. Interstate transportation of firearms or ammunition.”.
SEC. 129. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.
Nothing in this subtitle, or an amendment made by this subtitle, shall be construed-
(1) to extend background check requirements to transfers other than those made at gun shows or on the curtilage thereof, or pursuant to an advertisement, posting, display, or other listing on the Internet or in a publication by the transferor of the intent of the transferor to transfer, or the transferee of the intent of the transferee to acquire, the firearm; or
(2) to extend background check requirements to temporary transfers for purposes including lawful hunting or sporting or to temporary possession of a firearm for purposes of examination or evaluation by a prospective transferee.
SEC. 130. EFFECTIVE DATE.
(a) In General.-Except as provided in subsection (b), this subtitle and the amendments made by this subtitle shall take effect 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Firearm Dealer Access to Law Enforcement Information.-Section 125 and the amendments made by section 125 shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act.
Subtitle C-National Commission on Mass Violence
SEC. 141. SHORT TITLE.
This subtitle may be cited as the “National Commission on Mass Violence Act of 2013″.
SEC. 142. NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MASS VIOLENCE.
(a) Establishment of Commission.-There is established a commission to be known as the National Commission on Mass Violence (in this subtitle referred to as the “Commission”) to study the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring firearms, issues relating to mental health, and all positive and negative impacts of the availability and nature of firearms on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence.
(1) APPOINTMENTS.-The Commission shall be composed of 12 members, of whom-
(A) 6 members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Senate, in consultation with the Democratic leadership of the House of Representatives, 1 of whom shall serve as Chairman of the Commission; and
(B) 6 members of the Commission shall be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, in consultation with the Republican leadership of the Senate, 1 of whom shall serve as Vice Chairman of the Commission.
(2) PERSONS ELIGIBLE.-
(A) IN GENERAL.-The members appointed to the Commission shall include-
(i) well-known and respected individuals among their peers in their respective fields of expertise; and
(ii) not less than 1 non-elected individual from each of the following categories, who has expertise in the category, by both experience and training:
(II) Mental health.
(III) School safety.
(IV) Mass media.
(B) EXPERTS.-In identifying the individuals to serve on the Commission, the appointing authorities shall take special care to identify experts in the fields described in section 143(a)(2).
(C) PARTY AFFILIATION.-Not more than 6 members of the Commission shall be from the same political party.
(3) COMPLETION OF APPOINTMENTS; VACANCIES.-Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the appointing authorities under paragraph (1) shall each make their respective appointments. Any vacancy that occurs during the life of the Commission shall not affect the powers of the Commission, and shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment not later than 30 days after the vacancy occurs.
(4) OPERATION OF THE COMMISSION.-
(i) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman.
(ii) INITIAL MEETING.-The initial meeting of the Commission shall be conducted not later than 30 days after the later of-
(I) the date of the appointment of the last member of the Commission; or
(II) the date on which appropriated funds are available for the Commission.
(B) QUORUM; VACANCIES; VOTING; RULES.-A majority of the members of the Commission shall constitute a quorum to conduct business, but the Commission may establish a lesser quorum for conducting hearings scheduled by the Commission. Each member of the Commission shall have 1 vote, and the vote of each member shall be accorded the same weight. The Commission may establish by majority vote any other rules for the conduct of the Commission’s business, if such rules are not inconsistent with this subtitle or other applicable law.
SEC. 143. DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION.
(1) IN GENERAL.-It shall be the duty of the Commission to conduct a comprehensive factual study of incidents of mass violence, including incidents of mass violence not involving firearms, in the context of the many acts of senseless mass violence that occur in the United States each year, in order to determine the root causes of such mass violence.
(2) MATTERS TO BE STUDIED.-In determining the root causes of these recurring and tragic acts of mass violence, the Commission shall study any matter that the Commission determines relevant to meeting the requirements of paragraph (1), including at a minimum-
(A) the role of schools, including the level of involvement and awareness of teachers and school administrators in the lives of their students and the availability of mental health and other resources and strategies to help detect and counter tendencies of students towards mass violence;
(B) the effectiveness of and resources available for school security strategies to prevent incidents of mass violence;
(C) the role of families and the availability of mental health and other resources and strategies to help families detect and counter tendencies toward mass violence;
(D) the effectiveness and use of, and resources available to, the mental health system in understanding, detecting, and countering tendencies toward mass violence, as well as the effects of treatments and therapies;
(E) whether medical doctors and other mental health professionals have the ability, without negative legal or professional consequences, to notify law enforcement officials when a patient is a danger to himself or others;
(F) the nature and impact of the alienation of the perpetrators of such incidents of mass violence from their schools, families, peer groups, and places of work;
(G) the role that domestic violence plays in causing incidents of mass violence;
(H) the effect of depictions of mass violence in the media, and any impact of such depictions on incidents of mass violence;
(I) the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring such firearms, and all positive and negative impacts of such availability and nature on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence;
(J) the role of current prosecution rates in contributing to the availability of weapons that are used in mass violence;
(K) the availability of information regarding the construction of weapons, including explosive devices, and any impact of such information on such incidents of mass violence;
(L) the views of law enforcement officials, religious leaders, mental health experts, and other relevant officials on the root causes and prevention of mass violence;
(M) incidents in which firearms were used to stop mass violence; and
(N) any other area that the Commission determines contributes to the causes of mass violence.
(3) TESTIMONY OF VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS.-In determining the root causes of these recurring and tragic incidents of mass violence, the Commission shall, in accordance with section 144(a), take the testimony of victims and survivors to learn and memorialize their views and experiences regarding such incidents of mass violence.
(b) Recommendations.-Based on the findings of the study required under subsection (a), the Commission shall make recommendations to the President and Congress to address the causes of these recurring and tragic incidents of mass violence and to reduce such incidents of mass violence.
(1) INTERIM REPORT.-Not later than 3 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress an interim report describing any initial recommendations of the Commission.
(2) FINAL REPORT.-Not later than 6 months after the date on which the Commission first meets, the Commission shall submit to the President and Congress a comprehensive report of the findings and conclusions of the Commission, together with the recommendations of the Commission.
(3) SUMMARIES.-The report under paragraph (2) shall include a summary of-
(A) the reports submitted to the Commission by any entity under contract for research under section 144(e); and
(B) any other material relied on by the Commission in the preparation of the report.
SEC. 144. POWERS OF THE COMMISSION.
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission may hold such hearings, sit and act at such times and places, administer such oaths, take such testimony, and receive such evidence as the Commission considers advisable to carry out its duties under section 143.
(2) WITNESS EXPENSES.-Witnesses requested to appear before the Commission shall be paid the same fees as are paid to witnesses under section 1821 of title 28, United States Code.
(b) Information From Federal Agencies.-The Commission may secure directly from any Federal agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under section 143. Upon the request of the Commission, the head of such agency may furnish such information to the Commission.
(c) Information to Be Kept Confidential.-
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Commission shall be considered an agency of the Federal Government for purposes of section 1905 of title 18, United States Code, and any individual employed by any individual or entity under contract with the Commission under subsection (d) shall be considered an employee of the Commission for the purposes of section 1905 of title 18, United States Code.
(2) DISCLOSURE.-Information obtained by the Commission or the Attorney General under this subtitle and shared with the Commission, other than information available to the public, shall not be disclosed to any person in any manner, except-
(A) to Commission employees or employees of any individual or entity under contract to the Commission under subsection (d) for the purpose of receiving, reviewing, or processing such information;
(B) upon court order; or
(C) when publicly released by the Commission in an aggregate or summary form that does not directly or indirectly disclose-
(i) the identity of any person or business entity; or
(ii) any information which could not be released under section 1905 of title 18, United States Code.
(d) Contracting for Research.-The Commission may enter into contracts with any entity for research necessary to carry out the duties of the Commission under section 143.
SEC. 145. COMMISSION PERSONNEL MATTERS.
(a) Compensation of Members.-Each member of the Commission who is not an officer or employee of the Federal Government shall be compensated at a rate equal to the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5, United States Code, for each day (including travel time) during which such member is engaged in the performance of the duties of the Commission. All members of the Commission who are officers or employees of the United States shall serve without compensation in addition to that received for their services as officers or employees of the United States.
(b) Travel Expenses.-The members of the Commission shall be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, at rates authorized for employees of agencies under subchapter I of chapter 57 of title 5, United States Code, while away from their homes or regular places of business in the performance of service for the Commission.
(1) IN GENERAL.-The Chairman of the Commission may, without regard to the civil service laws and regulations, appoint and terminate an executive director and such other additional employees as may be necessary to enable the Commission to perform its duties. The employment and termination of an executive director shall be subject to confirmation by a majority of the members of the Commission.
(2) COMPENSATION.-The executive director shall be compensated at a rate not to exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code. The Chairman may fix the compensation of other employees without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates, except that the rate of pay for such employees may not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
(3) DETAIL OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES.-Any Federal Government employee, with the approval of the head of the appropriate Federal agency, may be detailed to the Commission without reimbursement, and such detail shall be without interruption or loss of civil service status, benefits, or privilege.
(d) Procurement of Temporary and Intermittent Services.-The Chairman of the Commission may procure temporary and intermittent services under section 3109(b) of title 5, United States Code, at rates for individuals not to exceed the daily equivalent of the annual rate of basic pay prescribed for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of such title.
SEC. 146. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
There are authorized to be appropriated to the Commission and any agency of the Federal Government assisting the Commission in carrying out its duties under this subtitle such sums as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of this subtitle. Any sums appropriated shall remain available, without fiscal year limitation, until expended.
SEC. 147. TERMINATION OF THE COMMISSION.
The Commission shall terminate 30 days after the Commission submits the final report under section 143(c)(2).
HELP SAVE AMERICA FROM TYRANNY BY OPPOSING S. 649
by: J. D. Heyes
APRIL 10, 2013
(NaturalNews) The progressive Left isn’t interested in compromise – ever – and nowhere is that more evident than the gun issue, as evidenced by their non-stop effort (which is really just a continuation of earlier efforts) to ban certain guns and limit magazines.
As such, political Lefties in the U.S. Senate have recently introduced S. 649, an anti-Second Amendment bill that Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada has positioned for quick action, according to Gun Owners of America, one of the nation’s leading gun-rights organizations. What’s more, the measure is even worse than the bad one GOA was expecting.
Reid is positioning the legislation to more easily pass the Senate
“We expected it to contain the Veterans Gun Ban, which would mean that you would sell, gift, or raffle a gun in America at the risk of a 15-year prison sentence because of something you didn’t know about the veteran/buyer,” said the group in a press release dated March 25.
“But, surprisingly to us, the Far Left has convinced Reid to include the original Schumer version of the Universal Registry Bill. This would ban private sales of firearms, unless purchasers first get the permission from the government,” the group said. “If Senators can pass this de facto registration bill, they will be well on the way to confiscation (see, for example, Governor Andrew Cuomo in New York, who has a gun owner registry and has called for gun confiscation). If this bill is passed, Senators will claim that they ‘broke the back’ of gun owners in America.”
Another thing GOA has learned in recent days that concerns GOA is the way Reid is fashioning Senate rules for better chances of passing the most far-reaching portions of the legislation. Remember, this is Harry Reid and gun-banning Senate Democrats we’re talking about.
…[A]s predicted, anti-gun zealots have begun to use the “ObamaCare Paradigm” to threaten, bribe, and coerce senators into submission on the most far-reaching aspects of gun control, including Feinstein’s proposal to ban shotguns, rifles and handguns that millions of Americans legally own.
Take action – do it now
Show up at their offices with a delegation during the congressional recess. Rally and conduct demonstrations and call-a-thons and writing campaigns. Know that the anti-gun Left will be doing the same.
DOUG HAGMANN: THE PLIGHT OF THE U.S. GUN OWNER
DEPARTMNENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY COORDINATING GUN CONFISCATIONS
DHS collaborating with NY state officials to target Second Amendment rights
Paul Joseph Watson
April 15, 2013
The Department of Homeland Security is collaborating with New York State government officials to confiscate guns belonging to people who are deemed, often erroneously, to have a mental condition, according to radio host Tom Bauerle.
“NY State Talk Radio Host Tom Bauerle discussed on his program that several sources inside NY State Govt have told him that the Dept of Homeland Security played an active role in meeting and collaborating with NY State Officials to develop and implement the confiscation scheme that targeted David Lewis and an as yet unknown number of others,” reports Ammoland.com.
Bauerle is a daily host on WBEN, based in Buffalo, New York.
Back in March it also emerged that the DHS was working with the Department of Revenue to collect information on gun owners in Missouri.
The fact that the DHS is coordinating with state government officials on gun confiscations is particularly unnerving given recent developments.
As we reported last week, the federal agency is testing a number of different drones at a scientific research facility in Oklahoma that have sensors capable of detecting whether a person is armed, stoking concerns that the federal agency is planning on using UAVs to harass gun owners.
The DHS has committed to purchasing more than 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition over the course of the last year, along with thousands of armored vehicles. While Americans are having their gun rights eviscerated, the government is seemingly arming itself to the teeth.
Under the NY SAFE Act, anyone considered as having a mental condition can have their firearms seized by police and their Second Amendment rights suspended. The law encourages therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to report patients they determine may engage in conduct that may result in harm to self or others.
Last week, State police in Erie County, New York admitted they had wrongly confiscated the guns of 35-year-old college librarian David Lewis, who was prescribed anti-anxiety medication by his doctor yet was targeted after being falsely labeled as having a mental condition that could lead to violence.
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs admitted that police called him to clarify that they had wrongly enforced a pistol permit suspension on Lewis, highlighting the fundamental flaws in the newly passed law.
“I think that first and foremost, it stems from a flawed law that was passed so quickly without forethought on how something would be implemented,” said Jacobs, adding, “Until the mental health provisions are fixed, these mistakes will continue to happen.”
Lewis is now taking legal action, with his attorneys noting that protections should have been in force under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule, which establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
As we also highlighted recently, numerous veterans are being forced to undergo “psychiatric evaluations” before having their guns confiscated, in another example of how the Veterans Administration is accelerating a purge of armed ex-servicemembers in accordance with a federal government demonization campaign that has labeled vets domestic terrorists.
The NY Safe act is just one stepping stone to total firearms confiscation, an end goal that gun control advocates have openly admitted.
As we reported last week, Democratic Austin City Council member and potential next mayor Mike Martinez admitted during a speech last weekend that the Obama administration’s long term gun control agenda is focused on banning firearms altogether.
DEMOCRAT OFFICIAL ADMITS PLAN TO CONFISCATE GUNS
April 9, 2013
Mike Martinez, the current Place 2 Austin City Council member who may become the next mayor, has publicly demonstrated his contempt for the Second Amendment and the Bill of Rights.
In the video below, he promises to make gun confiscation – the ultimate and invariable result of registering and outlawing guns – a reality in Austin.
Emboldened by their authoritarian leaders in Washington and the White House, Democrats all over the country are coming out to denounce the right of Americans to own firearms.
Now that Mr. Martinez has shown his true colors and has proudly announced he is an avowed enemy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Austinites need to make sure his plan to rob citizens of their birthright is not realized.
Mike Martinez needs to be run out of office. Austin needs to make sure he never sits in the Mayor’s Office on 4th Avenue.
FULL INTERVIEW: VETRANS ADMINISTRATION DOCTOR (PSYCHIATRIST) EXPOSES NATIONAL GUN CONFISCATION PLAN
VETERAN’S GUNS CONFISCATED AFTER FORCED ‘PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION’
Purge against armed ex-service members accelerates
Paul Joseph Watson
April 2, 2013
A US Navy veteran had his guns confiscated by police following a forced “psychiatric evaluation” in another example of how the Veterans Administration is accelerating a purge of armed ex-servicemembers in accordance with a federal government demonization campaign that has labeled vets domestic terrorists.
50-year-old David A Schmecker is an honorably discharged disabled US Navy veteran from Connecticut with no criminal record and no psychiatric history.
On February 5, Schmecker’s hospital primary care doctor called and heard a message on Schmecker’s answer machine that “sounded peculiar,” prompting him to contact the local police and urge them to visit Schmecker to perform a “wellness check”.
“The police came to my home, and, without any justification whatsoever, hauled me away for a psychiatric evaluation at a local hospital. I submitted to their forceful insistence under duress and fear of arrest or worse. I wasn’t arrested, no crime was committed nor any threats were made to myself or others,” Schmecker told Survive and Thrive’s George Hemminger.
“They confiscated my guns and pistol permit. I was released two days later from the evaluation on my on recognizance. I have since attempted to use the courts and attorneys to fight the revocation of my pistol permit. Then on top of everything else, the bills from the short stay at the hospital and EMS bills that they billed me, along with what I had to pay the attorney adds up to a large amount of money,” he adds.
Schmecker warns that the harassment he suffered is part of “a campaign orchestrated to disarm law abiding citizens,” adding that he is “concerned about where this country is headed.”
As with all contemporary authoritarian governments, the psychiatric system is being used to circumvent courts and bypass normal legal due process.
In August 2012, we reported on how a veteran in Ohio had his guns taken because he was adjudged to be mentally incompetent, despite the fact that his previous VA psychiatric evaluations were all clear, he was not on medication, and he had no criminal record.
As we reported last year, David Sarti, one of the stars of National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers show, visited his doctor complaining of chest pains, only to have the doctor later commit him to a psychiatric ward and alert authorities, before Sarti was declared “mentally defective” and put on an FBI list that strips him of his second amendment rights.
Veterans are increasingly being targeted by authorities as part of a broader move to demonize them as domestic extremists and even potential terrorists.
The FBI has repeatedly characterized returning veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan as a major domestic terrorist threat. In addition, Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano said she stood by an April 2009 DHS intelligence assessment that listed returning vets as likely domestic terrorists.
Just a month later, the New York Times reported on how Boy Scout Explorers were being trained by the DHS to kill “disgruntled Iraq war veterans” as part of anti-terror drills.
Back in February, constitutional attorney Michael Connelly warned that the government is now moving to strip veterans it determines to be mentally incompetent of their Second Amendment right to own a firearm. Connelly cites a letter “sent by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of America’s heroes.”
“A determination of incompetency will prohibit you from purchasing, possessing, receiving, or transporting a firearm or ammunition,” the VA letter states. “If you knowingly violate any of these prohibitions, you may be fined, imprisoned, or both pursuant to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, Pub.L.No. 103-159, as implemented at 18, United States Code 924(a)(2).”
“This must be Barack Obama’s way of thanking our veterans for serving,” writes the Gateway Pundit. “US veterans are receiving letters from the government informing them that they are disabled and not allowed to own, purchase or possess a firearm. If the veteran does decide to purchase a firearm he will by fined, imprisoned or both… This comes on page 2 of the VA letter.”
‘EVANGELICALS COULD BE PUT ON WATCH LIST AND DENIED GUNS’
Tony Perkins ties Army rhetoric with proposed background checks
by World Net Daily
Citing recent “inflammatory rhetoric” by Army officials, the head of the Family Research Council is warning supporters that President Obama could put evangelical Christians and Catholics on a “watch list” to prevent them from purchasing guns.
FRC President Tony Perkins said on his “Washington Watch” radio broadcast Wednesday that the Senate’s bipartisan proposal requiring background checks for Internet gun sales is “very concerning given the fact that the United States military has been increasingly showing hostility toward evangelicals and Catholics as being somehow threats to national security and people that need to be watched.”
In an email today to FRC supporters, Perkins explained that a recent Army briefing on “religious extremism” declared evangelical Christians and Catholics are among the biggest threats to America, along with Islamic supremacist groups such as al-Qaida and Hamas.
Perkins said it was also discovered that, in an email, Army Lt. Col. Jack Rich highlighted FRC and the American Family Association as groups that do not share “our Army Values.”
In his broadcast Wednesday, Perkins tied together the Army rhetoric with the proposed Senate legislation.
“Well, what does that have to do with gun control?” he continued. “Well, what happens if all the sudden you are identified as an evangelical, Bible-believing fundamentalist and the government decides you’ve got to be put on a watch list?”
Perkins explained that under the legislation, if “a caution comes up when they put your name in, you don’t get a chance to buy a gun.”
The controversial Army briefing, titled “Extremism and Extremist Organizations,” was given to an reserve unit in Pennsylvania.
A slide titled “Religious Extremism” listed organizations and movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida, Hamas, the Nation of Islam, the Ku Klux Klan and Christian Identity as examples.
However, the first group on the list is “evangelical Christianity.” Catholicism and ultra-orthodox Judaism are also on the list of religious extremist organizations.
Perkins, in his email dispatch today, noted that Lt. Col. Rich warned his subordinates: “When we see behaviors that are inconsistent with Army Values –don’t just walk by. Do the right thing and address the concern before it becomes a problem.”
The 14-page email puts FRC and AFA together with the Ku Klux Klan, Black Panthers and neo-Nazis, citing the Southern Poverty Law Center, which, according to a judge, inspired the shooting at Family Research Council’s headquarters last August.
Perkins cited Fox News correspondent Todd Starnes’ list of “recent military missteps”:
- A Fort Leavenworth War Games scenario identified Christian and evangelical groups as potential threats;
- A 2009 Department of Homeland Security memo identified evangelicals and pro-life groups as potential threats to national security;
- The U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center released a study linking pro-lifers to terrorism;
- Evangelical leader Franklin Graham was uninvited from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service;
- At the National Cemetery in Houston, Christian prayers were prohibited at the funeral services for military veterans;
- Distribution of Bibles was banned for a time at Walter Reed Army Medical Center
- Christian crosses and a steeple were removed from a chapel in Afghanistan because the military said the icons disrespected other religions;
- Catholic chaplains were prohibited from reading a letter to parishioners from their archbishop regarding the Obama HHS mandate.
Perkins noted members of Congress, led by Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., have sent a letter to the secretary of the Army calling on the Army to apologize for attacking Christians and labeling them as extremists.
CALIFORNIA SIGNS PETITION TO REPEAL THE SECOND AMENDMENT AND CONFISCATE GUNS
April 12, 2013
The following video is stunning. Media critic and social analyst Mark Dice shows how people are literally in a trance as he asks them to sign a petition to repeal the Second Amendment. As they are signing the petition, Dice, begins to talk about how only the military and police should have guns, and how after the second amendment is repealed door-to-door gun confiscation will begin. It is this absolute zombie-like state of the American public that Obama will use to get his gun ban through.
SENATE VOTES 68-31, TO END REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER AND BEGIN DEBATE ON GUN CONTROL BILL
Thursday, April 11, 2013
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted 68-31 to overcome a Republican filibuster effort by Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and 10 other Senators and will now begin debate on a gun control package.
Senators voted to take up the bill put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that would expand background checks to more gun buyers, form a national commission on mass violence, create a federal gun trafficking statute and enhance school safety measures.
There were some notable party splits. In addition to Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.) and Mark Begich (Alaska) joining the Republican-led filibuster attempt, more than a dozen Republican senators voted to begin debate on the bill. Among them: Sens. Kelly Ayotte (N.H.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Susan Collins (Maine), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), John McCain (Ariz.), Richard Burr (N.C.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Lamar Alexander (Tenn.), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Dean Heller (Nev.).
The vote comes during an intense week in the debate over how to stem gun violence. Families of Newtown, Conn., shooting victims have been on Capitol Hill meeting with senators to urge them to support the bill. During the vote, they sat in the balcony watching lawmakers cast their votes.
While the outcome was clearly a win for gun control advocates, the bill still faces major challenges. Its opponents are expected to use the full 30 hours allotted before debate can actually begin on the bill, which means senators can’t begin offering amendments until next week. Once the process does begin, Republicans are expected to put forward several amendments. Beyond that, 60 votes will again be needed in order to end debate on the bill and move to final passage.
A Senate Democratic leadership aide said to expect about 10 amendments to the bill. Republicans do not want to take up the amendments all at once, which means it could take 3-4 days for each amendment vote.
Still, the fact that the bill has now cleared the first procedural motion means it will receive a debate.
“As of this very moment, not a single senator has been provided the legislative language” of the background checks piece of the bill, said Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), referring to a bipartisan deal cut on Wednesday on that provision. “That is the centerpiece of this measure. It is critical that we all know what’s in the bill before we vote on it … That’s why I ask my colleagues to vote against cloture.”
The gun bill “remains controversial” and “has little chance, if any, of going anywhere,” argued Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas). “I’m not going to vote to proceed to a bill that has not yet been written, no matter how well-intentioned it may be. We need to make sure that what we do will address the cause of this violence and to not come up with symbolic gestures.”
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) chided lawmakers for trying to block even a debate on the gun bill.
“We are the 100 senators elected to represent more than 314 million Americans. We are accountable to them, not to special interests lobbies on the left or the right. They should not dictate what we do,” he said. “I urge all senators to be less concerned with special interest score cards and more focused on fulfilling our oath to faithfully discharge the duties of our offices as United States senators.”
HOW YOUR SENATOR VOTED TO END THE REPUBLICAN FILIBUSTER AND BEGIN DEBATE ON THE GUN CONTROL BILL
Grouped By Vote Position
|Not Voting – 1|
FILIBUSTER FALLS SHORT, SENATE TO BEGIN DEBATE ON GUN BILL
Published April 11, 2013
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL’S STATEMENT ON GUN BILL CLOTURE VOTE
Published on Apr 11, 2013
U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Thursday regarding S. 649, a bill that is a clear overreach and would punish law-abiding gun owners.
MCCONNELL STATEMENT ON GUN BILL CLOTURE VOTE
APRIL 11, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding S. 649, a bill that is a clear overreach and would punish law-abiding gun owners:
“Today the Senate will vote on whether to invoke cloture on proceeding to S. 649. I will vote against invoking cloture, and I’d like to explain why.
“I believe the government should focus on keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and those with mental issues that could cause them to be a threat to society. The government should not punish or harass law-abiding citizens in the exercise of their Second Amendment rights.
“Unfortunately, S. 649 has that focus backwards.
“For example, the background check portion of S. 649 is Senator Schumer’s bill that the Judiciary Committee reported on a party-line basis. The aim of that bill, from its plain terms, could not be clearer.
“Section 121, the Purpose Section, provides that the aim of the bill is to require Americans to undergo background checks for ‘all sales and transfers of firearms.’ If they don’t, it’s a federal crime. Again, the requirement applies to all sales—and even all transfers—of all firearms. And, with very few exceptions, that is exactly what S. 649 does. The next section of the bill makes plain why that overly broad language is so problematic.
“That section, Section 122, provides that it is ‘unlawful’ for any private party to ‘transfer a firearm to any other person’ without first turning over that firearm to a commercial firearms dealer and having that dealer perform a background check.
“There are a few limited exceptions, such as for gifts between immediate family members and inheriting a firearm. But that’s it. In fact, the bill makes clear that transfer means not just sale but a ‘gift, loan’ or any ‘other disposition’ of that firearms.
“So under the Schumer legislation the following offenses would now be federal crimes absent surrendering the firearms and conducting a background check:
“An uncle giving his nephew a hunting rifle for Christmas.
“A niece giving her aunt a handgun for protection.
“A cousin loaning another cousin his hunting rifle if the loan occurs just one day before the beginning of hunting season.
“Or one neighbor loaning another a firearm so his wife can protect herself while her husband is away.
“The people I am describing are not criminals—they are neighbors, friends and family—and the scenarios I am describing are not fanciful. They happen countless times in this country. But the Schumer bill would outlaw these transfers, and it would make people like these, criminals.
“But there are other problems with the legislation from the Senator from New York.
“Under his legislation, it is a crime for someone who ‘lawfully possesses’ a firearm not to report a lost or stolen firearm to both the ‘appropriate local authorities’—whoever they are—and the Attorney General with 24 hours.
“Now, people should report firearms that are lost or stolen. But are we really going to make their failure to do so within 24 hours a federal crime that is punishable by up to five years in prison?
“What if the person thinks the firearm is misplaced, not lost or stolen, but the person is wrong?
“And what if the person comes to this realization after two days instead of one?
“And if they report the lost or stolen firearm to their sheriff—assuming he’s one of the undefined ‘appropriate local authorities’—why is it a crime if they don’t also report it to the Attorney General?
“And why would the provision target only those who ‘lawfully possess’ firearms, rather than criminals who don’t lawfully possess them?
“I could go on and list other problems with S. 649. But I think I’ve made my point.
“This bill is a clear overreach that will predominantly punish and harass our neighbors, friends, and family. So to protect the rights of the law-abiding citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and of other states, I will oppose invoking cloture on S. 649.
“I yield the floor.”
SENATOR HARRY REID: EVERY IDEA TO CURB GUN VIOLENCE SHOULD GET A VOTE
Nevada Senator Harry Reid tells the Senate he is deeply troubled by Senate Republicans, threatening to block debate on gun violence. “There is simply no reason for this blatant obstruction except for the fear of considering anti-violence proposals in full view,” he explained.
HARRY REID’S 100-CLIP MAGAZINE
Remark demonstrates manifest arrogance of establishment political class moving to legislate away our natural rights
April 12, 2013
On Thursday, as the Senate voted to begin work on dismantling the Second Amendment, Harry Reid took to the floor and demonstrated just how clueless he is about the firearms he wants to criminalize.
“The events of the last few months has been very tragic,” Reid said. “People going to a movie theater to watch a movie and they’re gunned down? And more would have been gunned down but for the fact that the man’s 100-clip magazine jammed.”
Reid is the Senate Majority Leader. You’d think he would have schooled himself at least minimally in the technology he plans to eliminate. Instead, he insisted on looking like a fool.
His comment follows a similar flub by Democrat Rep. Diana DeGette. “I will tell you these are ammunition — bullets — so the people who have those now they are going to shoot them, and so if you ban — if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she said during a Denver Post forum earlier this week.
Reid’s ignorant and absurd comment once again reveals the manifest arrogance of the political careerists in the district of criminals who think they can legislate away our natural rights.
Until they are convinced to leave – or do so tar and feathered on a rail, at least metaphorically – they will continue to trample our liberty and reduce the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to a quaint anachronism.
OBAMACARE REPEAT: SENATORS NOT ALLOWED TO READ GUN BILL PRIOR TO CLOTURE
April 12, 2013
Like the disastrous and unconstitutional Obamacare bill rammed down the throats of the American people, the unconstitutional S. 649 gun bill aimed at the heart of the Second Amendment passed cloture earlier today in the Senate with 68 votes despite the fact senators have not had a chance to read it.
Andrew Johnson wrote for the National Review earlier today:
Speaking on the Senate floor minutes before the vote to move gun-control legislation forward, Mike Lee (R., Utah) urged postponing the cloture vote because none of his Senate colleagues has yet had a chance to read the entire bill. “We’re trying to prevent the ability of members to push through legislation before anyone has had the time to read and evaluate the language,” Lee said. “As of this morning, as of this very moment, not a single senator has been provided the legislative text of” the background-check provision proposed yesterday by senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey, which Lee said was the “centerpiece of this legislation.”
Regardless of the enthusiasm to proceed, most senators, including ardent supporters, have not read the bill. “Well, I haven’t seen the bill, so I’m going to reserve my concerns,” California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein told Morning Joe. “I only know what people have told me.”
If passed, universal background checks will establish a national registry that will be used to confiscate firearms.
SENATORS JOE MANCHIN AND PAT TOOMEY ROLL OUT BACKGROUND-CHECK COMPROMISE ON GUNS
By David Sherfinski | The Washington Times
APRIL 10, 2013
Sen. Joe Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, unveiled a measure Wednesday that would require criminal background checks for firearms sales conducted over the Internet and at gun shows — a compromise intended to boost the prospects of gun legislation advancing in the chamber.
The measure brokered by the two senators, both of whom have “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association, is less far-reaching than language originally introduced by Sen. Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, that would expand background checks to virtually all gun sales.
“This is a start, and it’s not the end to our work,” Mr. Manchin said.
Mr. Toomey said he does not consider background checks to be “gun control,” describing the measure as “common sense” that would not infringe upon Americans’ Second Amendment rights.
The bill bars the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, a consistent worry among many gun rights advocates, and exempts temporary gun transfers, transfers between family members and some private sales between friends and neighbors.
Federally licensed firearms dealers are required to conduct background checks, but private sellers and dealers at gun shows are exempt.
Mr. Manchin said the National Rifle Association has been involved in talks on the measure. Shortly after the announcement, the NRA blasted the bill, saying in a statement that expanding background checks will not prevent the next shooting, solve violent crime or keep kids safe.
“While the overwhelming rejection of President Obama and Mayor [Michael] Bloomberg’s ‘universal’ background check agenda is a positive development, we have a broken mental health system that is not going to be fixed with more background checks at gun shows,” the statement reads.
Ladd Everitt, a spokesman for the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, commended the two senators for taking the issue seriously, but said the group needs to carefully examine the actual language of the proposal to see how it addresses issues such as record-keeping on gun sales, for example.
“If you don’t have records, the law is unenforceable and toothless,” Mr. Everitt said.
Unanswered questions aside, he said it clearly was a serious effort and cited the fallout the two are likely to receive from gun rights advocates.
“We certainly can express our sincere thanks to them for working hard to move this process forward,” he said.
Reps. Mike Thompson, California Democrat, and Peter King, New York Republican, are planning to introduce similar legislation in the House.
“This agreement is a big step forward, and we commend Senators Manchin and Toomey for working across the aisle on legislation that will expand our current background check system,” the two said in a joint statement. “Background checks on firearm purchases are the first line of defense against criminals and the dangerously mentally ill getting guns. This legislation is enforceable, it will save lives, and it respects the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.”
“It’s one thing for two members to come to some agreement. That doesn’t substitute the will for the other 98 members,” Mr. Boehner said. “One of the issues that we have today is that if there is a background check required that they don’t actually check all the background … what I was suggesting [was] that we’re not enforcing the laws that we have on the books today. And so if we’re going to have a background check that’s in the law, let’s make sure we do our real background check, which, in not all cases, actually happens.”
Mr. Toomey said he’s talked to Republican members in both chambers about the measure, but admitted he didn’t know if it could clear the Senate. But he said he doesn’t know anyone who disagrees with the notion that guns should be kept out of the hands of criminals and the dangerously mentally ill.
In addition to expanding background checks, the measure contains a number of other provisions, such as incentives for states to comply with the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).
It also creates a commission to study mass violence in the country, allow active duty military to buy guns in their home states and permits interstate handgun sales from dealers.
Mr. Manchin said the amendment would be the first one to be offered to a bill that will come to the floor Thursday, should the broader bill overcome its first procedural hurdle.
The bill that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, is bringing to the floor expands background checks to encompass almost all private transfers, imposes new penalties on gun traffickers and “straw purchasers,” and allocates $40 million to bolster school safety.
President Obama has stepped up pressure for Congress to pass a broad set of gun controls, including banning military-style semi-automatic weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and universal background checks for all gun purchases.
Mr. Reid said he will allow the gun and magazine bans to be brought to the floor as amendments, where they will likely need 60 votes to pass — something neither is likely to achieve.
SENATOR PAT TOOMEY AND JOE MANCHIN ON FACE THE NATION
SENATOR PAT TOOMEY AND JOE MANCHIN ON CNN
BACKGROUND CHECKS BROKERED: SENATORS PAT TOOMEY AND JOE MANCHIN REACH GUN DEAL, REPORT SAYS
By Ben Wolfgang | The Washington Times
APRIL 10, 2013
Mr. Manchin, West Virginia Democrat, and Mr. Toomey, Pennsylvania Republican, both have “A” ratings from the National Rifle Association, potentially giving the the deal the kind of political weight needed to achieve a bipartisan vote capable of overcoming a filibuster.
The details of the package aren’t yet clear and will be announced later on Wednesday, according to NBC.
The agreement comes as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid sets a Senate vote on gun-control measures for Thursday. It will be first such vote in either chamber of Congress since the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
While Mr. Toomey, a first-term senator and former Club For Growth president, has reached across the aisle on guns, other Republicans are plotting a different course. A number of senators, including Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, may filibuster any gun-control measures. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has also indicated he may be join the filibuster.
Democrats and some Republicans oppose such a strategy.
“I think it’s disgraceful for anyone to say we’re going to filibuster a gun bill,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat, said during an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning.
At least nine Republican senators have signaled they’ll vote with Democrats to bring the bill to the floor, though it’s unclear whether all Democrats will support the package.
SENATORS CRACK IMPASSE ON GUN BACKGROUND CHECK
By Jeff Zeleny and Sunlen Miller | ABC News
Sens. Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey announced a bipartisan compromise today seeking to expand background checks for the sale of guns – both at gun shows and online – that could help break the impasse in the gun-control debate in Congress.
The deal would be added as an amendment to existing gun legislation in the Senate. It opens the door to the biggest potential change in U.S. gun laws in nearly two decades, but still faces deep questions and lingering opposition when the Senate begins voting Thursday on whether to proceed with the gun debate.
The compromise is not expected to be debated until next week.
“Today is the start of a healthy debate that must end with the Senate and House, hopefully, passing these commonsense measures and the president signing it into law,” Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, said.
“The event of Newtown, truly the events at Newton, changed us all. It changes our country, our communities, our town and it changed our hearts and minds.”
The agreement is intended to make the legislation on guns more palatable to Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who have voiced skepticism about some provisions. The proposal calls for exempting background checks for guns sold among between family members, which was a key sticking point for many supporters of gun rights, including hunters and sportsmen.
When asked by ABC News whether he was worried about risking his “A” ranking with the National Rifle Association, Toomey said: “What matters to me is doing the right thing. And I think it’s the right thing.”
The agreement was also forged with Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Mark Kirk, an Illinois Republican. Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania, said today he was uncertain whether any other Republicans would support the bill.
“I’ve got to tell you candidly, I don’t consider background checks to be gun control. I think it’s just commonsense,” Toomey said. “If you pass a criminal background check, you get to buy a gun, no problem. It’s the people who fail a criminal or a mental health background check that we don’t want to have a gun.”
The name of the agreement underscores its goal to try to appeal to both sides of the gun debate: The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act. The bill would not require record-keeping of guns for private citizens, which is a key sticking point for critics.
The NRA was advised of the compromise and has been a part of the discussions. It remained an open question how forcefully the group would oppose the measure. A statement from the organization called it “a positive development” that the universal background checks that were part of President Obama’s gun bill would be replaced.
In an interview with ABC News, Manchin that he did not believe his compromise on background checks should be opposed by the NRA. But he said that it was worth risking a lower grade from the NRA.
“We’re here for a purpose to do things. This is the right thing to do,” Manchin said. “I would hope that just having a score or a rating they would look at it and say, ‘Did we do the right thing? Did we use common sense? Did we do the right thing to protect lives, protect our children?’ I would hope we would get credit for that. I can’t help the scoring system.”
He added: “I would think the NRA would have to say these are good things from sensible, reasonable gun owners.”
Several advocates of stronger gun control measures announced their support for the plan, including Americans for Responsible Solutions, which is the organization led by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the victim of an attempted assassination in 2011.
“With enactment of this proposal, criminals and the dangerously mentally ill will no longer be able to get weapons at gun shows and in the shadows of the Internet without passing the kind of sensible background check that responsible gun owners undergo,” the group said.
“Gun violence isn’t a partisan issue, and we hope that all senators listen to the over 90 percent of Americans who know it will have a measurable effect on keeping our communities safer and want to see this legislation passed.”
PRO-GUN CONTROL SENATOR JOE MANCHIN TO CNN ANCHOR: ‘WE APPRECIATE YOUR SUPPORT’
None of this is should come as a surprise. Tuesday, CNN came out of the closet with an open declaration that “The Most Trusted Name In News” would use two full days of programming as a propaganda push for legislation tightening background checks. CNN has been so good about keeping that promise that, this morning, a pro-gun control Senator thanked a CNN anchor for his support.
Wednesday morning on “Starting Point,” anchors John Berman and Christine Roman hosted Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), one of the two senators responsible for the compromise legislation on background checks.
The segment was disgraceful.
Neither anchor challenged the Senator about a single concern Second Amendment activists have with the legislation. Instead we saw clips of Newtown families (on Piers Morgan, naturally) pleading for gun control and Roman using the old “some say” ploy to claim the legislation wasn’t tough enough. The only mention of the NRA was their opposition to the bill.
And then, appropriately enough, the segment ended with Manchin thanking Berman for his support:
Berman: Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia, you’ve been working around the clock for a compromise deal. I think you have a very busy few weeks ahead of you still.
Manchin: We appreciate your support, too, this is very, very important.
Or maybe Manchin was thanking the CNN network as a whole?
What an indictment of “The Most Trusted Name in News” that we will never know.
How shameful that an entity that describes itself as a “news” network would create the kind of environment where a Senator involved in controversial legislation would feel so much love and support he felt the need to say thank you.
By the way, Berman didn’t even flinch after being thanked for taking a side.
SUMMARY OF THE PUBLIC SAFETY AND SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS PROTECTION ACT
Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey
Apr 10, 2013
Bottom Line: The Public Safety and Second Amendment Rights Protection Act would require states and the federal government to send all necessary records on criminals and the violently mentally ill to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill extends the existing background check system to gun shows and online sales.
The bill explicitly bans the federal government from creating a national firearms registry, and imposes serious criminal penalties (a felony with up to 15 years in prison) on any person who misuses or illegally retains firearms records.
TITLE ONE: GETTING ALL THE NAMES OF PROHIBITED PURCHASERS INTO THE BACKGROUND CHECK SYSTEM
Summary of Title I: This section improves background checks for firearms by strengthening the instant check system.
- Encourage states to provide all their available records to NICS by restricting federal funds to states who do not comply.
- Allow dealers to voluntarily use the NICS database to run background checks on their prospective employees.
- Clarifies that submissions of mental health records into the NICS system are not prohibited by federal privacy laws (HIPAA).
- Provides a legal process for a veteran to contest his/her placement in NICS when there is no basis for barring the right to own a firearm.
TITLE TWO: REQUIRING BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR FIREARM SALES
Summary of Title II: This section of the bill requires background checks for sales at gun shows and online while securing certain aspects of 2nd Amendment rights for law abiding citizens.
- Closes the gun show and other loopholes while exempting temporary transfers and transfers between family members.
- Fixes interstate travel laws for sportsmen who transport their firearms across state lines in a responsible manner. The term “transport” includes staying in temporary lodging overnight, stopping for food, buying fuel, vehicle maintenance, and medical treatment.
- Protects sellers from lawsuits if the weapon cleared through the expanded background checks and is subsequently used in a crime. This is the same treatment gun dealers receive now.
- Allows dealers to complete transactions at gun shows that take place in a state for which they are not a resident.
- Requires that if a background check at a gun show does not result in a definitive response from NICS within 48 hours, the sale may proceed. After four years, when the NICS improvements are completed, the background check would clear in 24 hours. Current law is three business days.
- Requires the FBI to give priority to finalizing background checks at gun shows over checks at store front dealerships.
- Authorizes use of a state concealed carry permit instead of a background check when purchasing a firearm from a dealer.
- Permits interstate handgun sales from dealers.
- Allows active military to buy firearms in their home states.
- Family transfers and some private sales (friends, neighbors, other individuals) are exempt from background checks
TITLE THREE: NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MASS VIOLENCE
Summary of Title III: : This section of the bill creates a commission to study the causes of mass violence in the United States, looking at all aspects of the problem, including guns, school safety, mental health, and violent media or video games.
The Commission would consist of six experts appointed by the Senate Majority Leader and six experts appointed by the Speaker of the House. They would be required to submit an interim report in three months and a completed report in six months.
WHAT THE BILL WILL NOT DO
The bill will not take away anyone’s guns.
The bill will not ban any type of firearm.
The bill will not ban or restrict the use of any kind of bullet or any size clip or magazine.
The bill will not create a national registry; in fact, it specifically makes it illegal to establish any such registry.
The bill will not, in any way at all, infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens.
TEN REALLY IMPORTANT PROBLEMS WITH THE TOOMEY-SCHUMER SELL-OUT
Although Toomey, Schumer, and Manchin have understandably tried to conceal their legislative language until it was too late to respond, the following addresses what was represented to us to be the Toomey-Schumer-Manchin sell-out.
(1) First of all, it’s pretty clear by now that the goal of Obama and Schumer is, in the words of the Brady Campaign, to put “points on the board” so they can maintain their momentum for more gun control demands. Mark Glaze of Mayors Against Illegal Guns said on MSNBC that they would be back with new demands “the day after” background checks are signed into law. So, now that we are on the verge of winning, why, in heaven’s name, would Pat Toomey snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory, hand a “win” to Barack Obama so he can credibly say he “broke the back of the gun lobby,” invigorate fundraising for anti-gun groups in 2014, let red state Democrats who are up in 2014 off the hook, and create a platform for unending gun control demands that will resume the day his bill is signed into law?
(2) Section 107: “Information collected under section 102(c)(3) of the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 (18 U.S.C. 922 note) to assist the Attorney General in enforcing [prohibited persons provisions of Chapter 44] shall not be subject to the regulations promulgated under … [HIPAA]…”
COMMENT: Section 102(c)(3) of the 2007-8 statute provides that the “State SHALL make available to [NICS] the name and other relevant identifying information of persons adjudicated as a mental defective or those committed to a mental institution.” [Emphasis added] But, under the 2007-8 statute, “adjudicated as a mental defective” was redefined to include an individual who was found, in connection with a government program, to represent “a danger [however miniscule] to himself or others” or a person who is “unable to manage his own affairs…” (The “however miniscule” embellishment was added by an ATF interpretive letter issued under Bill Clinton.) Furthermore, under the 2007-8 statute, these determinations do not have to be made by a court, magistrate, or even an executive branch administrative court, but, rather, may be made by a government-affiliated psychiatrist who, in the case of the Department of Veterans Affairs, almost always accomplishes this by appointing a fiduciary over the veteran’s financial affairs. Note also that the psychiatrist is almost never a government employee, but rather a doctor who provides the diagnosis in connection with a government-financed program. In addition to Medicare, Medicaid, IDEA (in relation to which 15% of high school boys have now been diagnosed with ADHD, and recent articles have suggested that that diagnosis never evaporates, even as they get older), the DVA, the armed services, social security disability, a very substantial amount of private health care will be funded, in whole or in part, or regulated by the federal government under ObamaCare. Thus, since the HIPAA privacy regulations are being waived by Toomey-Schumer-Manchin, it’s probably not much of an overstatement to say that, under Toomey-Schumer-Manchin, “see a shrink; lose your guns.”
(3) “SEC. 104. RELIEF FROM DISABILITIES PROGRAM.”
COMMENT: There are already a lot of “relief from disabilities” programs in the NICS Improvement Act of 2007, because GOA insisted on it. The problem is that most veterans cannot afford the $30,000 in attorneys’ fees it takes to pursue these remedies in some places. Every week, we hear from veterans who have lost rights WITHOUT DUE PROCESS under Schumer-Coburn, and don’t have the $30,000 necessary to get those rights back. Perhaps someone should ask Chuck Schumer to remove his amendment which continuously defunds the more expansive program under McClure-Volkmer whereby a prohibited person can petition ATF for relief from disabilities. But, again, the problem is not that veterans can’t get their rights back if they have $30,000 to spend; the problem is that their rights were taken away in the first place without any court order or other due process.
(4) SECTION 105. “…a person who is determined by the Secretary [of Veterans Affairs] to be mentally incapacitated, mentally incompetent, or experiencing an extended loss of consciousness shall not be considered adjudicated as a mental defective … [unless he fails to request a review of an order taking his Second Amendment constitutional rights away]…”
COMMENT: Note all of the things I said about point #2. But note also that a veteran (or, by inference, any other person in a coma) can have all of his guns seized because he doesn’t respond to an order taking his guns away (again, because he’s in a coma). Is the criminal misuse of firearms by persons in a coma really a big problem?
(5) REVISED 18 U.S.C. 922(t)(1): “…it shall be unlawful for a [non-licensee] to complete the transfer of a firearm to any other person … if the transfer occurs … pursuant to … [a] posting … on the Internet…”
COMMENT: No one should assume this requirement applies only to Amazon-type sales on Armslist. If you ever talked about the gun on the Internet, you have arguably lost your right to make a private firearm transfer. You have certainly done so if you put an ad in the church bulletin and it were distributed to shut-in parishioners over the Internet. The bottom line: Unless the buyer approaches the seller face to face and conducts the sale in cash on the spot, you can assume it’s covered.
(6) SECTION 202(c): “The Attorney General shall be prohibited from seizing any records or other documents in the course of an inspection or examination…”
COMMENT: First of all, if your private gun transaction is covered by Toomey-Manchin (and virtually all will be), you will have a 4473, and, if you have a 4473, you can assume you will be part of a national gun registry. Schumer’s staff, in drafting this section, might have benefited from talking with pro-gun advocates in connection with the real nature of the problem. First of all, although taking a storeful of 4473’s to an ATF agent’s home is not unheard-of, the real problem is when ATF agents go into an FFL with a laptop and copy all of the information on the 4473’s. This language would not stop that. Second, whatever ATF thinks it’s compiling with the 4473’s it does not regard it as a “national gun registry,” even though we regard it as such. I drafted the language in McClure-Volkmer prohibiting national gun registries. I also drafted the first draft of the Smith/Tiarht amendment doing the same. ATF does not regard itself as violating these. Third, with respect to making unauthorized copying a crime, the person who will determine whether the Department of Justice is prosecuted is Attorney General Eric Holder (who, by the way, is the head of the Department of Justice).
(7) Revised 18 U.S.C. 926A: “…(c)(1) A person who is transporting a firearm or ammunition may not be arrested or otherwise detained … unless the person is unable to demonstrate that he or she is [complying with McClure-Volkmer...”
COMMENT: Currently, McClure-Volkmer, which I managed, allows you to take a gun from a state where it’s lawful for you to possess it to another such state, if it’s unloaded and inaccessible to you, even if you travel through states like New York and Connecticut. This language would require you to “demonstrate,” to the satisfaction of New York police, that you came from a state where you lawfully possessed the gun, that you could lawfully possess it there, that you were traveling to a particular state, and that you could lawfully possess it there. If you could not demonstrate all of these, you would be arrested by New York police.
(8) SECTION 202(a): “(4)(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Attorney General may implement this subsection with regulations.”
COMMENT: The “chapter” referred to is Chapter 44. So this means that any limitations on federal action built into federal gun law by McClure-Volkmer or any other pro-gun legislation automatically disappear as impediments to Eric Holder in implementing the massively expanded background checks. Incidentally, the provisions in “this chapter” he can ignore could include the prohibitions on demanding information from dealers and creating a national gun registry.
(9) “TITLE III – NATIONAL COMMISSION ON MASS VIOLENCE.”
(a) "There is established a commission to be known as the National Commission on Mass Violence..."
COMMENT: Half of the members (including the chairman) are appointed by Harry Reid, in consultation with Nancy Pelosi. It is hard to imagine that this is anything other than a platform for continuing agitation for more gun control.
(b) "The members [of the commission] shall include … individuals who have expertise, by both experience and training, in — (I) firearms…”
COMMENT: Tacked onto a bill which ignores any remedy for violence except gun control, we now have a commission which has, as priority number one, guns. We’ve seen this movie before. Media efforts to exploit Newtown in order to achieve gun control will inexorably lead to more copycat shootings. And, when they do, this commission will be there to serve as an engine for advocacy for anti-gun legislation.
(c) ”[The issues which the Commission shall study include] whether medical doctors and other mental health professionals have the ability, without negative legal or professional consequences, to notify law enforcement officials when a patient is a danger to himself or others…”
COMMENT: It’s not a huge thing, compared with the other problems in the bill. But it’s probably an indication of something that the draft looks not into whether turning in your patients to police or, possibly, the NICS system is ethical or ultimately efficacious, but, rather, whether it’s legal.
(d) ”[The issues which the Commission shall study include] the availability and nature of firearms, including the means of acquiring such firearms, and all positive and negative impacts of such availability and nature on incidents of mass violence or in preventing mass violence…”
(e) ”[The issues which the Commission shall study include] the role of current prosecution rates in contributing to the availability of weapons that are used in mass violence…”
COMMENT: Many of us don’t share the notion that harassing veterans and other potential gun owners for violating the inexplicable myriad of gun laws is a good thing. I can say from having negotiated with the highest officials in ATF in 1984 that even ATF doesn’t understand our gun laws, and sending otherwise law-abiding citizens to prison for petty violations is not a good thing.
(f) [The issues which the Commission shall study include] the availability of information regarding the construction of weapons, including explosive devices, and any impact of such information on such incidents of mass violence…”
COMMENT: Huh? This “purpose” probably wins the prize for threatening the most constitutional rights in a single agenda item.
(g) COMMENT: For all of the Orwellian purposes of the commission, there is one which is noticeably absent: The role of the broadcast media in generating copycat shootings through saturation coverage intended to serve as an engine for gun control.
(h) COMMENT: Also missing from the politically correct platitudes which will serve as the purpose for this commission is one factor which appears to have been present in many school shootings: The removal of school discipline and replacement with a “mental health” system which turns perhaps 15% of high school boys into “Ritalin junkies.”
(10) “SEC. 102. IMPROVEMENT OF METRICS AND INCENTIVES.”
COMMENT: This section pretty well gives Eric Holder unfettered discretion to demand any information from the states which he, in his unilateral discretion, chooses to demand. And he would do this, not by threatening to take away funds under this act, but by threatening to withhold already-existing 505 funds. For anyone who thinks this is innocuous, consider this: Under section 922(g)(3)’s prohibition of guns for any “user of … any controlled substance,” the AG could demand medical marijuana records, diversion records, and arrest records. Under 922(g)(4), he could demand Medicaid, Medicare, and IDEA records of persons with PTSD, ADHD, and post partem depression.
Those who favor “universal” background checks on gun buyers make some ridiculous arguments. For example, opponents correctly point out that gun buyers with criminal intent will always find channels that require no background check. Gunrunning is among the oldest professions, and the black market will always be with us. Thus the promise of universal background checks — even if that were a legitimate government activity — is a fraud, because universality can’t possibly be achieved.
Supporters, however, challenge this argument by contending that it proves too much: If requiring background checks is futile as a crime-fighting measure, they ask, why should we have laws against murder, rape, battery, and robbery? Those laws will never stop everyone from committing a crime, so what’s the point?
This argument is flawed. Let’s remember that the background-check requirement is intended, prophylactically, to keep guns out of the hands of those who would do harm to others. In contrast, the prohibition against murder and other forms of aggression is intended, retrospectively, to legitimate the apprehension and prosecution of people who have committed offenses against person and property. Yes, deterrence is also intended, but the main objective is to permit action after the fact.
Supporters of background checks may respond that a “universal” requirement would permit the government to go after those who have used guns aggressively. But this argument has no force whatever, simply because if someone commits aggression with a gun, the government already has grounds to apprehend and prosecute the perpetrator. What value is there in being able to charge a suspected mass murderer with illegal possession of a gun as well?
The practical argument for mandated background checks depends solely on its potential for keeping guns out of the hands of those who would use them to commit crimes. (However, it would not have stopped Adam Lanza in Newtown or other mass murderers.) On that ground the argument fails, because people with criminal intent will find ways to buy guns that do not require a check. Proponents of background checks seem to think that a government decree will dry up the black market. But why would it? Sales will go on beyond the government’s ability to monitor them. Out of sight, out of government control.
Proponents also mock those who predict that so-called universal background checks will lead to gun registration and confiscation. But this is not an outlandish fear. (The ACLU shares it.) Since guns will continue to be bought and sold without background checks, a national registry is the likely next step in the crusade to deter such transfers. The civil-liberties implications are harrowing.
Thus the case against mandating “universal” background checks withstands scrutiny. This measure would not keep criminally minded people from acquiring guns, but it would give a false sense of security to the public by promising something they cannot deliver. What will the public, which favors background checks, call for after the next atrocity? A total prohibition on guns and confiscation?
While it wouldn’t prevent crime, a background-check law could impede persons without criminal intent from obtaining firearms for self-defense. Many law-abiding people don’t buy a gun until they’ve been threatened — a woman by her estranged husband, for example — and they will be reluctant to buy one outside the law. (Someone with a conviction for a felony drug charge or other victimless crime cannot legally possess a gun. Why such people should be barred from an effective means of self-defense is a mystery that ought to be explained.)
This criticism of so-called universal background checks demonstrates the futility of the proposal. A more specifically moral (and libertarian) criticism is that mere possession of a firearm entails no aggression whatever, regardless of a person’s background, and therefore should not be prohibited. Government may not properly interfere with someone because he might commit a crime. (Of course businesses owners have a right to deny entry to people with guns — just as gun owners have a right to patronize other businesses.)
But, some will say, isn’t a requirement for background checks worthwhile if it might save one innocent life? And what if the requirement might cost one innocent life? Is one innocent life more valuable than another?
SENATOR TOOMEY BETRAYS GUN OWNERS
Urgent action required. It is urgent that every gun owner call their Senators today and demand that they oppose the “See a Shrink, Lose your Guns” sell-out bill that is being authored by Senators Pat Toomey (R) and Joe Manchin (D) – but which also has Chuck Schumer’s fingerprints all over it. Call immediately at 202-224-3121.
See a Shrink, Lose your Guns. The anti-gun “ranters” have spent the last week telling us that Republican Senators can’t filibuster Harry Reid’s gun control bill; that they can’t cut off debate to a bill they haven’t seen yet. “Let the bill come up,” they say. “We need to see the bill” before Senators can vote against cloture to proceed to it.
Well, we’ve seen the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer sell-out, and it’s worse than the Feinstein gun ban, which will reportedly be tied to it and offered simultaneously in a Senate procedure known as an “amendment tree.”
Toomey and Manchin will claim that their bill only covers “gun show sales” and Internet sales. But if you’ve ever talked about your gun and /or let it be known you’d like to sell or buy a gun on the Internet, this language covers you. If you advertise your gun in the church bulletin and the bulletin is put on the Internet, you’re covered.
The only exemption is for sales that are sold exclusively by word of mouth. The increased number of background checks would likely exacerbate the system breakdowns (inherent to NICS) which have shut down gun shows over and over again. It would mean that Americans who were illegally denied firearms because their names were similar to other people’s would effectively be barred from owning a gun. (We would never tolerate such delays for voting rights or other freedoms that we are guaranteed.)
And for those Republicans who think they’re going to be able to offer their useless amendments, guess what? Reid is reportedly going to use a procedure to block out all amendments (called an “amendment tree”). And there are plenty of Senators standing in line to make sure that the Senate doesn’t give “unanimous consent” to let those Republicans offer their amendments.
So if you live in a rural area, you’re effectively barred from selling or buying a gun – or it at least becomes very, very difficult.
Incidentally, the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer “national registry” language is full of holes. There will be a national gun registry as a result of this sell-out.
But that’s not the worst part. Under an amendment in the bill to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), you could have your guns taken away because your private shrink thinks you’re “dangerous” and could send your name directly to the FBI Instant Check system.
Did you think it was terrible that 150,000 military veterans had been added into the NICS system because they’d seen a VA shrink about their PTSD? Well guess what? Now it’s going to happen to the rest of the population … by the millions!
And the next step, of course, will be to begin to sue psychiatrists that don’t send every single patient’s name to the Instant Check system, and to make sure that their lives are ruined if they don’t send a patient to NICS and anything goes wrong.
The bottom line: “See a shrink; lose your guns.”
All of this will reportedly be on an amendment tree with the Feinstein gun ban and magazine bans.
Repeal of gun owner protections. In addition, Toomey no doubt unintentionally agreed to repeal one of the most important protections for gun owners that was included in the 1986 McClure-Volkmer Act – the provision that would allow you to take an unloaded, locked-up gun through states like New York without being stopped. Under a new subsection (c), the Toomey-Manchin-Schumer bill would require you to “demonstrate” to the satisfaction of New York police where you were coming from and where you are going to. And, if you don’t do that to their satisfaction, they can arrest you.
Please keep in mind, nothing in this bill would have stopped Newtown dirtbag from killing his mother and taking the firearms that she owned and perpetrating the horrible crimes that he committed.
Nothing is this bill would actually make children safer at schools. There is nothing that will actually keep bad guys from stealing or illegally acquiring guns, but there’s plenty that will threaten our gun rights!
ACTION: Contact your two senators immediately. Tell them the “see a shrink; lose your guns” sellout is even worse than the Feinstein gun ban which will reportedly be on the same amendment tree with it. Distribute this alert far and wide.
Time is short, so if you call – at 202-224-3121 – you may click below to see the pre-written letter and use the contents to help direct your comments.
65% SEE GUN RIGHTS AS PROTECTION AGAINST TYRANNY
January 18, 2013
Two-out-of-three Americans recognize that their constitutional right to own a gun was intended to ensure their freedom.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 65% of American Adults think the purpose of the Second Amendment is to make sure that people are able to protect themselves from tyranny. Only 17% disagree, while another 18% are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Not surprisingly, 72% of those with a gun in their family regard the Second Amendment as a protection against tyranny. However, even a majority (57%) of those without a gun in their home hold that view.
Many gun control advocates talk of the right to gun ownership as relating to hunting and recreational uses only.
While there are often wide partisan differences of opinion on gun-related issues, even 54% of Democrats agree with 75% of Republicans and 68% of those not affiliated with either major party that the right to own a gun is to ensure such freedom.
As Americans search for answers to the Newtown shooting, attitudes on gun ownership are “not likely to change in a nation where six out of 10 adults would rather live in a neighborhood where they can own a gun and most would feel safer if their children attended a school with an armed security guard.” Scott Rasmussen explains in his latest weekly newspaper column that if Congress is “not willing to go as far as the president wants on gun control, perhaps they… might take stronger action on mental health issues or increase the penalties for crimes committed with a gun.”
In the wake of the horrific elementary school massacre in Connecticut, 51% favor stricter gun control laws. There is strong support for background checks of gun owners, but a plurality believes dealing with mental health issues will lead to more effective results. Fifty-nine percent (59%) think Congress and President Obama are likely to create stricter gun control laws.
44% THINK GOVERNMENT EFFORT TO CONFISCATE ALL GUNS LIKELY
Thursday, April 04, 2013
A sizable number of Americans think the federal government is coming after their guns.
Forty-four percent (44%) of Likely U.S. Voters believe it is at least somewhat likely that the government will try to confiscate all privately owned guns over the next generation or so, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Fifty percent (50%) feel gun confiscation is unlikely. This includes 20% who think the government is Very Likely to make this move and 23% who say it’s Not At All Likely.
51% THINK BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR GUN BUYERS WILL NOT REDUCE VIOLENT CRIME
Tuesday, April 02, 2013
Support for requiring a strict background check to buy a gun remains high, but most voters believe these checks will not reduce the level of violent crime in America. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Likely U.S. voters believe a strict background check should be required for anyone to buy a gun in the United States. Only 16% disagree.
SENATE MOVES CLOSER TO VOTING ON GUN CONTROL BILL
Republican and Democrat team up to outlaw private gun sales and register all gun owners.
April 10, 2013
ABC News reported earlier today that senators Joe Mancin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Republican Pat Toomey from Pennsylvania have reached a deal to impose universal gun registration on all Americans practicing their right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Mancin and Toomey announced the deal imperiling the free exercise of the Second Amendment during a news conference on Wednesday.
“This amendment is a genuine compromise,” Toomey said. “This is common sense. This is gun sense,” Mancin added, according to Fox News.
Outlawing Private Gun Sales Between Individuals
“Gun show sales will be conditioned on same background checks and paper record keeping requirements currently applied to retail sales,” ABC News reported.
Since the Sandy Hook massacre in December, Democrats have pushed to close to the so-called “Gun Show Loophole,” in other words they are working to outlaw private gun sales between individuals.
“Expanding background checks at gun shows will not prevent the next shooting, will not solve violent crime and will not keep our kids safe in schools,” the NRA said in a statement following the news conference. “We need a serious and meaningful solution that addresses crime in cities like Chicago, addresses mental health deficiencies, while at the same time protecting the rights of those of us who are not a danger to anyone.”
Gun Registration and Confiscation
Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley warned on Tuesday that the anti-gun bill about to be introduced in the Senate will be a “step toward gun registration” by requiring record-keeping for private sales. Toomey countered by saying the legislation does not require records to be kept on the sale of firearms.
Grassley and other senators have warned that the current language of the bill will likely change once it is released from committee and makes its way to the Senate floor.
Americans Believe Gun Registration Will Result in Confiscation
A plurality of Americans believe universal registration will ultimately lead to the confiscation of firearms. A Quinnipiac survey released last week shows that 48 percent said they think the government will use background check records to seize legal guns, while 38 said the government would not.
Following the passage of a historic and draconian anti-gun bill in New York, the state has moved to confiscate firearms.
California has also moved to seize guns from citizens.
Earlier this week in Austin, Texas, a Democrat official admitted the real purpose of gun legislation is registration.
In February, a Canadian news anchor, Brian Lilley, warned Americans that gun registration will lead to confiscation.
“I’ve got a warning to my American friends: Registration will lead to confiscation. And if you don’t believe me, just look at what’s happened here,” Lilley said.
The Canadian Firearms Act, introduced in 1995, imposes severe restrictions of gun owners in Canada. In addition to erecting a mechanism for confiscation, the Canadian legislation is ideological. “The motivation for the Firearms Act was both ideological and political,” writes Donald Blake Webster. “It was emotionally inspired and politically-motivated social-engineering legislation pure and simple, a feel-good law to please urban left-liberal voters, but without any practical necessity or credible rationales.”
SENATOR LEE: BACKGROUND CHECKS COULD ALLOW ERIC HOLDER TO CREATE GUN REGISTRY USING REGULATIONS
By Joe Schoffstall | CNS News
April 10, 2013
On Wednesday, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) took to the Senate floor and warned that universal background checks could lead to a national registry system for guns.
“Some of the proposals, like for example- universal background checks- would allow the federal government to surveil law-abiding citizens who exercise their Constitutional rights. One of the provisions we expect to see in the bill based on what we saw in the Judiciary Committee- on which I sit- would allow the Attorney General of the United States (Eric Holder) to promulgate regulations that could lead to a national registry system for guns. Something my constituents in Utah are very concerned about, and understandably so,” said Sen. Lee.
Lee also said that the government has place monitoring the legal exercise of any Constitutional right a citizen chooses to exercise:
“You see, the federal government has no business monitoring when or how often you go to church; what books and newspapers you read; who you vote for; your health conditions; what you eat for breakfast; and the details of your private life– including your lawful exercise of your rights protected by the Second Amendment and other provisions of the Bill of Rights.”
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON GUN SAFETY IN THE EAST ROOM OF THE WHITE HOUSE
Published on Mar 28, 2013
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Thank you, Katerina, for sharing your story. Reema was lucky to have you as a teacher, and all of us are fortunate to have you here today. And I’m glad we had a chance to remember her.
Katerina, as you just heard, lost one of her most promising students in Virginia Tech, the shootings there that took place six years ago. And she and dozens of other moms and dads, all victims of gun violence, have come here today from across the country — united not only in grief and loss, but also in resolve, and in courage, and in a deep determination to do whatever they can, as parents and as citizens to protect other kids and spare other families from the awful pain that they have endured.
As any of the families and friends who are here today can tell you, the grief doesn’t ever go away. That loss, that pain sticks with you. It lingers on in places like Blacksburg and Tucson and Aurora. That anguish is still fresh in Newtown. It’s been barely 100 days since 20 innocent children and six brave educators were taken from us by gun violence — including Grace McDonnell and Lauren Rousseau and Jesse Lewis, whose families are here today.
That agony burns deep in the families of thousands — thousands of Americans who have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun over these last 100 days — including Hadiya Pendleton, who was killed on her way to school less than two months ago, and whose mom is also here today. Everything they lived for and hoped for, taken away in an instant. We have moms on this stage whose children were killed as recently as 35 days ago.
I don’t think any of us who are parents can hear their stories and not think about our own daughters and our own sons and our own grandchildren. We all feel that it is our first impulse, as parents, to do everything we can to protect our children from harm; to make any sacrifice to keep them safe; to do what we have to do to give them a future where they can grow up and learn and explore, and become the amazing people they’re destined to be.
That’s why, in January, Joe Biden, leading a task force, came up with, and I put forward, a series of common-sense proposals to reduce the epidemic of gun violence and keep our kids safe. In my State of the Union address, I called on Congress to give these proposals a vote. And in just a couple of weeks, they will.
Earlier this month, the Senate advanced some of the most important reforms designed to reduce gun violence. All of them are consistent with the Second Amendment. None of them will infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners. What they will do is keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people who put others at risk. And this is our best chance in more than a decade to take common-sense steps that will save lives.
As I said when I visited Newtown just over three months ago, if there is a step we can take that will save just one child, just one parent, just another town from experiencing the same grief that some of the moms and dads who are here have endured, then we should be doing it. We have an obligation to try.
Now, in the coming weeks, members of Congress will vote on whether we should require universal background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that criminals or people with severe mental illnesses can’t get their hands on one. They’ll vote on tough new penalties for anyone who buys guns only to turn around and sell them to criminals. They’ll vote on a measure that would keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate these mass killings off our streets. They’ll get to vote on legislation that would help schools become safer and help people struggling with mental health problems to get the treatment that they need.
None of these ideas should be controversial. Why wouldn’t we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun? Why wouldn’t we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check? Why wouldn’t we do that?
And if you ask most Americans outside of Washington — including many gun owners — some of these ideas, they don’t consider them controversial. Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun. More than 80 percent of Republicans agree. More than 80 percent of gun owners agree. Think about that. How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything? (Laughter.) It never happens.
Many other reforms are supported by clear majorities of Americans. And I ask every American to find out where your member of Congress stands on these ideas. If they’re not part of that 90 percent who agree that we should make it harder for a criminal or somebody with a severe mental illness to buy a gun, then you should ask them, why not? Why are you part of the 10 percent?
There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get this done. But the reason we’re talking about here today is because it’s not done until it’s done. And there are some powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all. They’re doing everything they can to make all our progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, or their assumption is that people will just forget about it.
I read an article in the news just the other day wondering is Washington — has Washington missed its opportunity, because as time goes on after Newtown, somehow people start moving on and forgetting. Let me tell you, the people here, they don’t forget. Grace’s dad is not forgetting. Hadiya’s mom hasn’t forgotten. The notion that two months or three months after something as horrific as what happened in Newtown happens and we’ve moved on to other things, that’s not who we are. That’s not who we are.
And I want to make sure every American is listening today. Less than 100 days ago that happened, and the entire country was shocked. And the entire country pledged we would do something about it and that this time would be different. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten. I haven’t forgotten those kids. Shame on us if we’ve forgotten.
If there’s one thing I’ve said consistently since I first ran for this office: Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. And that’s why it’s so important that all these moms and dads are here today. But that’s also why it’s important that we’ve got grassroots groups out there that got started and are out there mobilizing and organizing and keeping up the fight. That’s what it’s going to take to make this country safer. It’s going to take moms and dads, and hunters and sportsmen, and clergy and local officials like the mayors who are here today standing up and saying, this time really is different — that we’re not just going to sit back and wait until the next Newtown or the next Blacksburg or the next innocent, beautiful child who is gunned down in a playground in Chicago or Philadelphia or Los Angeles before we summon the will to act.
Right now, members of Congress are back home in their districts, and many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents. So I want everybody who is listening to make yourself heard right now.
If you think that checking someone’s criminal record before he can check out a gun show is common sense, you’ve got to make yourself heard. If you’re a responsible, law-abiding gun owner who wants to keep irresponsible, law-breaking individuals from abusing the right to bear arms by inflicting harm on a massive scale, speak up. We need your voices in this debate. If you’re a mom like Katerina who wants to make this country safer, a stronger place for our children to learn and grow up, get together with other moms like the ones here today and raise your voices and make yourselves unmistakably heard.
We need everybody to remember how we felt 100 days ago and make sure that what we said at that time wasn’t just a bunch of platitudes — that we meant it.
The desire to make a difference is what brought Corey Thornblad here today. Corey grew up in Oklahoma, where her dad sold firearms at gun shows. And today, she’s a mom and a teacher. And Corey said that after Newtown, she cried for days — for the students who could have been her students; for the parents she could have known; for the teachers like her who go to work every single day and love their kids and want them to succeed. And Corey says, “My heart was broken. And I decided now was the time to act, to march, the time to petition, the time to make phone calls, because tears were no longer enough.” And that’s my attitude.
Tears aren’t enough. Expressions of sympathy aren’t enough. Speeches aren’t enough. We’ve cried enough. We’ve known enough heartbreak. What we’re proposing is not radical, it’s not taking away anybody’s gun rights. It’s something that if we are serious, we will do.
Now is the time to turn that heartbreak into something real. It won’t solve every problem. There will still be gun deaths. There will still be tragedies. There will still be violence. There will still be evil. But we can make a difference if not just the activists here on this stage but the general public — including responsible gun owners — say, you know what, we can do better than this. We can do better to make sure that fewer parents have to endure the pain of losing a child to an act of violence.
That’s what this is about. And if enough people like Katerina and Corey and the rest of the parents who are here today get involved, and if enough members of Congress take a stand for cooperation and common sense, and lead, and don’t get squishy because time has passed and maybe it’s not on the news every single day — if that’s who we are, if that’s our character that we’re willing to follow through on commitments that we say are important — commitments to each other and to our kids — then I’m confident we can make this country a safer place for all of them.
So thank you very much, everybody. God bless you. God bless America. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: WE HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN WHAT HAPPENED IN NEWTOWN
By Megan Slack | The White House
Today, President Obama promised the American people that he had not forgotten the 20 innocent chidlren and six brave educators who lost their lives at Sandy Hook Elementary more than 100 days ago. Standing with parents and teachers of gun violence victims, he urged Congress to take action that will protect other children and families from the pain and grief these families have experienced.
“As I said when I visited Newtown just over three months ago, if there is a step we can take that will save just one child, just one parent, just another town from experiencing the same grief that some of the moms and dads who are here have endured, then we should be doing it,” President Obama said. “We have an obligation to try.”
In January, the President put forward a series of common-sense proposals to reduce the epidemic of gun violence and keep our kids safe, and in his State of the Union address, the President called on Congress to give these proposals a vote. “And in just a couple of weeks, they will,” he said.
In the coming weeks, members of Congress will vote on whether we should require universal background checks for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that criminals or people with severe mental illnesses can’t get their hands on one. They’ll vote on tough new penalties for anyone who buys guns only to turn around and sell them to criminals. They’ll vote on a measure that would keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate these mass killings off our streets. They’ll get to vote on legislation that would help schools become safer and help people struggling with mental health problems to get the treatment that they need.
“None of these ideas are controversial,” the President said. “Why wouldn’t we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun?”
And if you ask most Americans outside of Washington — including many gun owners — some of these ideas, they don’t consider them controversial. Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun. More than 80 percent of Republicans agree. More than 80 percent of gun owners agree.
“There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get this done,” President Obama said. But “there are some powerful voices on the other side that are interested in running out the clock or changing the subject or drowning out the majority of the American people to prevent any of these reforms from happening at all.”
The President called on everyone to make sure their members of Congress were listening, that we hadn’t forgotten what happened in Newtown or Aurora or Blacksburg or our pledge to do whatever we can as a nation to prevent future violence.
Nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. And that’s why it’s so important that all these moms and dads are here today. But that’s also why it’s important that we’ve got grassroots groups out there that got started and are out there mobilizing and organizing and keeping up the fight. That’s what it’s going to take to make this country safer. It’s going to take moms and dads, and hunters and sportsmen, and clergy and local officials like the mayors who are here today standing up and saying, this time really is different — that we’re not just going to sit back and wait until the next Newtown or the next Blacksburg or the next innocent, beautiful child who is gunned down in a playground in Chicago or Philadelphia or Los Angeles before we summon the will to act.
OBAMA: NEWTOWN CHILDREN KILLED WITH ‘FULLY AUTOMATIC WEAPON’
By Vince Coglianese | The Daily Caller
President Obama told a group of Democratic donors Wednesday night that the children killed in the Newtown, Conn. attack last December were shot with a “fully automatic weapon.”
Speaking to donors at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in San Francisco, Obama urged the need for “gun control,” and referred for the first time to an alleged “fully automatic weapon” involved in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, which took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults.
From the White House transcript (emphasis added):
“Now, over the next couple of months, we’ve got a couple of issues: gun control. (Applause.) I just came from Denver, where the issue of gun violence is something that has haunted families for way too long, and it is possible for us to create common-sense gun safety measures that respect the traditions of gun ownership in this country and hunters and sportsmen, but also make sure that we don’t have another 20 children in a classroom gunned down by a semiautomatic weapon – by a fully automatic weapon in that case, sadly.“
ABC News reported that the shooter, Adam Lanza, “killed all 26 victims inside Sandy Hook Elementary School with a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle before taking his own life with a Glock 10 mm handgun.”
Neither weapon is an automatic weapon, which would continuously fire bullets with a single pull of the trigger.
With Obama’s help, the DCCC raised $3.2 million during the fundraising events in San Francisco.
FLASHBACK: OBAMA: “I WILL NOT TAKE YOUR GUNS AWAY”
By Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr. | CNS News
December 28, 2013
At a campaign event in Lebanon, Virginia in 2008, then-Senator Barack Obama said that he will not take Americans’ guns away.
“When you all go home and you’re talking to your buddies and you say, ah ‘He wants to take my gun away.’ You’ve heard it here, I’m on television so everybody knows it. I believe in the Second Amendment. I believe in people’s lawful right to bear arms. I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won’t take your handgun away.”
Since that statement, it has become clear that Obama simply and with devious charisma, lies to the American public in order to achieve his agendas.
WHITE HOUSE RELEASES PHOTO OF OBAMA SHOOTING A GUN
By DANIEL HALPER | The Weekly Standard
February 2, 2013
“President Barack Obama shoots clay targets on the range at Camp David, Md., Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza),” the caption reads.
“This official White House photograph is being made available only for publication by news organizations and/or for personal use printing by the subject(s) of the photograph. The photograph may not be manipulated in any way and may not be used in commercial or political materials, advertisements, emails, products, promotions that in any way suggests approval or endorsement of the President, the First Family, or the White House.”
BARACK OBAMA: ‘I GO SHOOTING ALL THE TIME’
By Jon Swaine, Washington | telegraph.co.uk
Amid conservative anger over Mr Obama’s proposals to ban assault weapons as part of a drastic overhaul of US gun control laws, the president said that he was a keen clay-pigeon shooter.
Asked in a magazine interview whether he had ever fired a gun, Mr Obama said he did so with guests at the president’s rural retreat.
“Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,” he said. “And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations.
“And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake”.
Mr Obama’s plans for tighter firearms regulations were drawn up by Joe Biden, his vice-president, following the massacre of 26 people, including 20 young pupils at a primary school in Connecticut last month.
Mr Biden – whose proposals also include a background check system on all Americans trying to buy guns and a 10-shot limit for ammunition clips – has been quick to note that he owns a shotgun.
The president, however, rarely speaks personally about firearms, and is dismissed by many enthusiasts as an elite urban law professor who does not appreciate America’s heritage of gun ownership.
He accepted in his interview that gun culture in rural areas was “very different” to that in urban areas, such as his home town of Chicago, where it is more frequently linked to serious crime.
“If you grew up and your dad gave you a hunting rifle when you were 10, and you went out and spent the day with him and your uncles, and that became part of your family’s traditions, you can see why you’d be pretty protective of that,” Mr Obama told The New Republic.
He made clear, however, that his daughters Sasha, 11, and Malia, 14, did not join the clay-pigeon shooting parties at Camp David, in rural Maryland.
A week before the Super Bowl, the most keenly-awaited event in the US sporting calendar, the president risked further angering the heartland by expressing concern about the safety of American football.
Several high-profile professional players have in recent years developed brain damage, which has been linked to the frequent heavy impacts on their skulls caused by the sport.
“I’m a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I’d have to think long and hard before I let him play football,” said Mr Obama.
OBAMA CRITICIZED FOR USING DATED, DISPUTED GUN STAT TO SELL BACKGROUND CHECKS
APRIL 3, 2013
As President Obama prepares to head to Colorado on Wednesday to push gun control legislation, some are calling into question the validity of a key statistic he’s using to tout his message on near-universal background checks.
During several speeches, Obama has said 40 percent of all gun purchases were made without a background check.
But that number is nearly two decades old and comes from a poll with a relatively tiny sample size. Gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association, as well as The Washington Post’s “Fact Checker,” are calling out the president’s stat, saying his numbers on background checks need a background check of their own.
During a speech last week, Obama asked, “Why wouldn’t we want to make it more difficult for a dangerous person to get his or her hand on a gun? Why wouldn’t we want to close the loophole that allows as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases to take place without a background check? Why wouldn’t we do that?”
The oft-cited figure, it turns out, was pulled from a 1997 study done by the National Institute of Justice. In the study, researchers estimated about 40 percent of all firearm sales took place through people other than licensed gun dealers. The conclusion was based on data from a 1994 survey of 2,568 households. Of those, only 251 people answered the question about where they got their guns.
PolitiFact tracked down the co-author of the study, Duke University professor Philip Cook, and asked him if he thought the 40 percent estimate is accurate.
“The answer is I have no idea,” Cook reportedly told PolitiFact. “This survey was done almost 20 years ago.”
The National Rifle Association has questioned the 40 percent claim and says it’s a misrepresentation by gun control advocates to trump up support for universal background checks.
Another problem with the study is the sample size, 251 people, which is relatively small, and the data is open to interpretation.
“With this sample size, the 95 percent confidence interval will be plus or minus six percentage points,” The Washington Post fact-checker wrote on Tuesday. “Moreover, when asked whether the respondent brought from a licensed firearms dealer, the possible answers included ‘probably was/think so’ and ‘probably not,’ leaving open the possibility the purchaser was mistaken.”
When all of the “yes” and “probably was” answers were added together, 35.7 percent of those asked said they did not receive a gun from a licensed firearms dealer. If you round the number up, it becomes 40 percent but because the sample size is so small, rounding the number down to 30 percent could also be accurate, the paper noted.
But not everyone agrees with The Post’s fact checker.
“While slagging the president may be good for business, the effect of (the newspaper’s) false ruling is to undermine legitimate efforts to keep the public safe, and to obscure the real enemy of reliable data on gun violence,” Tommy Christopher of Mediaite wrote in a rebuttal Tuesday.
“It is possible to conclude that as few as 26.4% of gun owners in that study ‘purchased’ their gun without a background check, 20.4% if you factor in the margin of error,” he said.
The administration has not responded to questions surrounding the number and why they continue to use it to promote their gun control measures.
The president isn’t the only one who’s used the 40 percent figure to make a point. Many others stumping for the cause have pulled from the same info pile.
On Jan. 24, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand stated the importance of background checks during a television interview.
“The background checks bill is vitally important. It’s going to basically say you can’t buy guns without getting a background check. Today, about 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check.”
Seven months earlier, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg used the same statistic to skewer the National Rifle Association following the Colorado movie theatre massacre.
“There’s a loophole where you can sell guns without a background check,” he said last year, on July 22. “Forty percent of guns are sold that way.”
For months, both sides of the debate on gun control – from the local level all the way up to the national level — have accused the other of inflating figures and manipulating data.
Obama, in using an array of stats and studies and polls, has tried to make the case that the Senate is considering common-sense proposals that most Americans support. Amid resistance from some lawmakers, the president is ramping up his campaign for the legislation. He plans to visit Denver on Wednesday, followed by a stop next Monday in Hartford, Conn., the state that was the site of the deadly mass shooting in Newtown in December.
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE IN COLORADO
Denver Police Academy
3:19 P.M. MDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you! (Applause.) Thank you so much. Everybody, please have a seat. Thank you. Well, it is wonderful to be back in Colorado. It is wonderful to be back in Denver. I want to thank Chief White for that introduction. You’ve got some outstanding elected officials who are here today, and I want to acknowledge them. First of all, a wonderful governor — John Hickenlooper is here. (Applause.) He’s here somewhere. I know, because I just talked to him. There he is. Next to him an outstanding lieutenant governor, Joe Garcia. (Applause.) One of the finest young senators in the country — Michael Bennet is here. (Applause.) Terrific members of the House of Representatives — Ed Perlmutter — (applause) — and Dianna Degette. (Applause.) And your own mayor, Michael Hancock, is here. (Applause.)
I want to say thank you to the Denver Police for having me here, and more importantly, for the outstanding work that all of you do each and every day to serve your communities and protect your citizens.
Before I came out here, I had a chance to sit down with some local law enforcement, Attorney General Holder, and some of the leaders I just mentioned, the wonderful mayor of Aurora who’s here, sportsmen, parents, loved ones of the victims of the shootings in Columbine and Aurora. And we talked about what we can do to protect more of our citizens from gun violence.
And from the beginning of this effort, we’ve wanted law enforcement front and center in shaping this discussion and the reforms that emerge from it — because law enforcement lives this every day. Law enforcement are the first to see the terrible consequences of any kind of violence, certainly gun violence — lives lost, families broken, communities that are changed forever. They’re very often in the line of fire. The law enforcement knows what works and what doesn’t, and so we wanted that experience and that advice.
And it was also important for us to hear from mayors like Steve Hogan, because he’s been on the front lines having to deal with these issues under incredibly sad circumstances. And I’ve come to Denver today in particular because Colorado is proving a model of what’s possible.
It’s now been just over 100 days since the murder of 20 innocent children and six brave educators in Newtown, Connecticut — an event that shocked this country and I think galvanized parents all across the country to say, we’ve got to do something more to protect our kids. But consider this: Over those 100 days or so, more than 100 times as many Americans have fallen victim to gun violence. More than 2,000 of our fellow citizens, struck down, often because they were just going about their daily round. They weren’t doing anything special. Just doing what folks do every day — shopping, going to school. Every day that we wait to do something about it, even more of our fellow citizens are stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun.
Now, the good news is Colorado has already chosen to do something about it. (Applause.) Look, this is a state that has suffered the tragedy of two of the worst mass shootings in our history — 14 years ago this month in Columbine, and just last year in Aurora. But this is also a state that treasures its Second Amendment rights — the state of proud hunters and sportsmen. And, by the way, the Governor wanted me to remind everybody that there is outstanding elk hunting here in Colorado. (Laughter.) There’s a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s handed down from generation to generation, and it’s part of the fabric of people’s lives. And they treat gun ownership with reverence and respect.
And so I’m here because I believe there doesn’t have to be a conflict in reconciling these realities. There doesn’t have to be a conflict between protecting our citizens and protecting our Second Amendment rights. I’ve got stacks of letters in my office from proud gun owners, whether they’re for sport, or protection, or collection, who tell me how deeply they cherish their rights, don’t want them infringed upon, but they still want us to do something to stop the epidemic of gun violence. And I appreciate every one of those letters. And I’ve learned from them.
And I think that Colorado has shown that practical progress is possible thanks to the leadership of Governor Hickenlooper and some of the state legislators who are here today. When I was talking to Steve, he mentioned that Aurora is very much a purple city. It’s got a majority Republican city council; a majority of the state legislators are Democrat. But they came together understanding that out of this tragedy there had to be something that made sense. And so we’ve seen enacted tougher background checks that won’t infringe on the rights of responsible gun owners, but will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. (Applause.)
Now, in January, just a few weeks after Newtown, I put forward a series of common-sense proposals along the same lines as what’s passed here in Colorado, to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe. In my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to give these proposals a vote. And, by the way, before we even asked for a vote, I had already signed numerous executive orders doing what we could administratively to make sure that guns don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people.
But what I said then is still true: If we’re really going to tackle this problem seriously, then we’ve got to get Congress to take the next step. And as soon as next week, they will be voting. As soon as next week, every senator will get to vote on whether or not we should require background checks for anyone who wants to purchase a gun.
Now, some say, well, we already have background checks. And they’re right. Over the past 20 years, those background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from buying a gun. But the loopholes that currently exist in the law have allowed way too many criminals and folks who shouldn’t be getting guns — it has allowed them to avoid background checks entirely. That makes it harder for law enforcement to do its job. It’s not safe. It’s not smart. And, by the way, it’s not fair to responsible gun owners who are playing by the rules.
Now, understand, nobody is talking about creating an entirely new system. We are simply talking about plugging holes, sealing a porous system that isn’t working as well as it should. If you want to buy a gun, whether it’s from a licensed dealer or a private seller, you should at least have to pass a background check to show you’re not a criminal or someone legally prohibited from buying on. And that’s just common sense. (Applause.)
During our roundtable discussion with Governor Hickenlooper, who I know was in the midst of this passionate debate about the legislation here in Colorado, and some people said, well, background checks aren’t going to stop everybody. And the Governor was the first one to acknowledge, yes, they won’t stop everybody, but as he pointed out, statistically, there are a whole bunch of folks who have been stopped.
As a consequence of background checks, law enforcement has been able to stop people who have been convicted of murder from getting a gun, people who are under restraining orders for having committed violent domestic abuse from getting a gun. In a couple of cases the governor mentioned to me, law enforcement has actually been able to arrest people who came to pick up their gun — (laughter) — because they were criminals, wanted.
So this does work. And, by the way, if you’re selling a gun, wouldn’t you want to know who you’re selling it to? Wouldn’t you want to know? Wouldn’t you want in your conscience to know that the person you’re selling to isn’t going to commit a crime? (Applause.)
So these enhanced background checks won’t stop all gun crimes, but they will certainly help prevent some. This is common sense. And, by the way, most gun owners — more than 80 percent — agree this makes sense. More than 70 percent of NRA members agree. Ninety percent of the American people agree. So there’s no reason we can’t do this unless politics is getting in the way. There’s no reason we can’t do this.
As soon as next week, every senator will get a chance to vote on a proposal to help strengthen school safety and help people struggling with mental health problems get the treatment that they need.
As soon as next week, every senator will get to vote on whether or not we should crack down on folks who buy guns as part of a scheme to arm criminals. That would keep more guns off the streets and out of the hands of people who are intent on doing harm. And it would make life a whole lot easier and safer for the people behind me — police officers.
Every senator will get a say on whether or not we should keep weapons of war and high-capacity ammunition magazines that facilitate mass killings off our streets. The type of assault rifle used in Aurora, for example, when paired with a high-capacity magazine, has one purpose: to pump out as many bullets as possible, as fast as possible. It’s what allowed that gunman to shoot 70 people and kill 12 in a matter of a few minutes. I don’t believe that weapons designed for theaters of war have a place in movie theaters. Most Americans agree with that. (Applause.)
Most of these ideas are not controversial. Right now, 90 percent of Americans — 90 percent — support background checks that will keep criminals and people who have been found to be a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun. More than 80 percent of Republicans agree. Most gun owners agree. Think about it: How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything? (Laughter.)
And yet, there are already some senators back in Washington floating the idea that they might use obscure procedural stunts to prevent or delay any of these votes on reform. Think about that. They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on the proposal that most Americans support. They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to avoid even allowing a vote on a proposal that the overwhelming majority of the American people support. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter.
We knew from the beginning that change wouldn’t be easy. And we knew that there would be powerful voices that would do everything they could to run out the clock, change the subject, ignore the majority of the American people. We knew they’d try to make any progress collapse under the weight of fear and frustration, or maybe people would just stop paying attention.
The only way this time will be different is if the American people demand that this time it must be different — that this time, we must do something to protect our communities and our kids. (Applause.) We need parents, we need teachers, we need police officers, we need pastors, we need hunters and sportsmen, Americans of every background to say, we’ve suffered too much pain and care too much about our children to allow this to continue. We’re not going to just wait for the next Newtown or the next Aurora before we act. And I genuinely believe that’s what the overwhelming majority of Americans — I don’t care what party they belong to — that’s what they want. They just want to see some progress.
It was interesting, during the conversation, a number of people talked about the trust issue. Part of the reason it’s so hard to get this done is because both sides of the debate sometimes don’t listen to each other. The people who take absolute positions on these issues, on both sides, sometimes aren’t willing to concede even an inch of ground.
And so one of the questions we talked about was, how do you build trust? How do you rebuild some trust? And I told the story about two conversations I had. The first conversation was when Michelle came back from doing some campaigning out in rural Iowa. And we were sitting at dinner, and she had been to like a big county, a lot of driving out there, a lot of farmland. And she said, if I was living out in a farm in Iowa, I’d probably want a gun, too. If somebody just drives up into your driveway and you’re not home — you don’t know who these people are and you don’t know how long it’s going to take for the sheriffs to respond. I can see why you’d want some guns for protection. That’s one conversation.
I had another conversation just a couple of months ago with a mom from Chicago — actually, Evanston, Illinois — whose son had been killed in a random shooting. And she said, you know, I hate it when people tell me that my son was shot because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was in the right place. He was on his way to school. He wasn’t in the wrong place. He was exactly where he was supposed to be.
Now, both those things are true. And sometimes we’re so divided between rural and urban, and folks whose hunting is part of their lives and folks whose only experience with guns is street crime. And the two sides just talk past one another. And more than anything, what I want to just emphasize is there are good people on both sides of this thing, but we have to be able to put ourselves in the other person’s shoes. If you’re a hunter, if you’re a sportsman — if you have a gun in your house for protection — you’ve got to understand what it feels like for that mom whose son was randomly shot.
And if you live in an urban area and you’re worried about street crime, you’ve got to understand what it might be like if you grew out on a ranch and your dad had been taking you hunting all your life. And we had a couple of sportsmen in our conversation today, and I thought one of them said something very important. He said, all my experiences with guns have been positive, but I realize that for others, all their experiences about guns have been negative. Well, that’s a start, right? If we start listening to each other, then we should be able to get something done that’s constructive. We should be able to get that done. (Applause.)
One last thing I’m going to mention is that during this conversation — I hope you don’t mind me quoting you, Joe. Joe Garcia, I thought, also made an important point, and that is that the opponents of some of these common-sense laws have ginned up fears among responsible gun owners that have nothing to do with what’s being proposed and nothing to do with the facts, but feeds into this suspicion about government.
You hear some of these quotes: “I need a gun to protect myself from the government.” “We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.”
Well, the government is us. These officials are elected by you. (Applause.) They are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place. It’s a government of and by and for the people.
And so, surely, we can have a debate that’s not based on the notion somehow that your elected representatives are trying to do something to you other than potentially prevent another group of families from grieving the way the families of Aurora or Newtown or Columbine have grieved. We’ve got to get past some of the rhetoric that gets perpetuated that breaks down trust and is so over the top that it just shuts down all discussion. And it’s important for all of us when we hear that kind of talk to say, hold on a second. If there are any folks who are out there right now who are gun owners, and you’ve been hearing that somehow somebody is taking away your guns, get the facts. We’re not proposing a gun registration system, we’re proposing background checks for criminals. (Applause.)
Don’t just listen to what some advocates or folks who have an interest in this thing are saying. Look at the actual legislation. That’s what happened here in Colorado. And hopefully, if we know the facts and we’re listening to each other, then we can actually move forward.
And that’s what members of Congress need to hear from you. Right now, members of Congress are at home in their districts. Many of them are holding events where they can hear from their constituents. So I’m asking anyone out there who is listening today, find out where your member of Congress stands on these issues. If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them why not. Why wouldn’t you want to make it more difficult for a dangerous criminal to get his or her hands on a gun? Why wouldn’t you want to close the loophole that allows too many criminals to buy a gun without even the simplest of background checks? Why on Earth wouldn’t you want to make it easier rather than harder for law enforcement to do their job?
I know that some of the officers here today know what it’s like to look into the eyes of a parent or a grandparent, a brother or a sister, or a spouse who has just lost a loved one to an act of violence. Some of those families, by the way, are here today. And as police officers, you know as well as anybody, there is no magic solution to prevent every bad thing from happening in the world. You still suit up, you put on your badge, put yourself at risk every single day. Every single day, you go to work and you try to do the best you can to protect the people you’re sworn to protect and serve. Well, how can the rest of us as citizens do anything less?
If there is just one step we can take to prevent more Americans from knowing the pain that some of the families who are here have known, don’t we have an obligation to try? Don’t we have an obligation to try? (Applause.) If these reforms keep one person from murdering dozens of innocent children or worshippers or moviegoers in a span of minutes, isn’t it worth fighting for? (Applause.) I believe it is. That’s why I’m going to keep on working. I’m going to keep on giving it my best efforts. But I’m going to need your help.
This is not easy. And I’ll be blunt — a lot of members of Congress, this is tough for them. Because those who are opposed to any form of legislation affecting guns, they’re very well-organized and they’re very well-financed. But it can be done if enough voices are heard.
So I want to thank all the police officers who are here for giving their best efforts every single day. (Applause.) I want to thank Governor Hickenlooper for his outstanding leadership. (Applause.) I want to thank all the families who are here for your courage in being willing to take out of this tragedy something positive. I want to thank the people of Colorado for coming together in sensible ways. (Applause.) Let’s see if we can get the whole country to do so.
Thank you, Denver. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
COLORADO SHERIFF SAVAGES OBAMA ‘FEAR AND GRANDSTANDING’ TO PUSH GUN CONTROL
Accuses President of “legislatively carpet bomb law-abiding citizens”
Paul Joseph Watson
April 4, 2013
Responding to Barack Obama’s visit to Colorado yesterday, during which he pushed for new gun control laws, Elbert County Sheriff Shayne Heap slammed the President for politically exploiting recent tragedies by using “fear” and “grandstanding”.
FOUR MORE WAYS OBAMA’S GUN CONTROL SPEECH SOWS MISTRUST
By Jacob Sullum| Reason.com
April 4, 2013
As I noted earlier today, President Obama professes to be worried about a lack of trust and empathy in the gun control debate, even as he accuses his opponents of blocking life-saving legislation out of sheer partisan perversity. Here are a few other ways in which Obama’s speech in Denver sows mistrust:
He conflates a failed background check with stopping a criminal from obtaining a gun. ”Over the past 20 years,” Obama says, “background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from buying a gun.” That claim is based on two faulty assumptions: 1) that everyone who fails a background check is dangerous, which plainly is not true, given the ridiculously broad categories of people who are legally barred from buying firearms, and 2) that a criminal intent on obtaining a weapon will give up if he cannot get it over the counter at a gun store, rather than enlisting a straw buyer or turning to the gray or black market.
He falsely equates “assault weapons” with military guns. Obama inaccurately calls one of the guns used in the 2012 Aurora, Colorado, massacre an “assault rifle,” which is a military weapon capable of firing automatically. He calls the guns he wants to ban “weapons of war,” again implying that they fire continuously, when in fact they fire once per trigger pull, like any other semi-automatic firearm.
He says there is no logical connection between “universal background checks” and gun registration. “We’re not proposing a gun registration system,” Obama insists. “We’re proposing background checks for criminals.” But there is no way to enforce a background-check requirement for every gun transfer unless the government knows where the guns are. Federally licensed gun dealers are readily identified and can be required to keep sale records. Individual gun owners who might dare to sell their property without clearance from the government cannot be identified unless the government compiles a list of them. Hence Obama’s assurances amount to saying, “Don’t worry. We will make a big show of passing this new background-check mandate, but we won’t really enforce it.”
He pooh-poohs the idea that there could ever be anything adversarial about the relationship between Americans and their government:
You hear some of these quotes: “I need a gun to protect myself from the government.” “We can’t do background checks because the government is going to come take my guns away.”
Well, the government is us. These officials are elected by you. (Applause.) They are elected by you. I am elected by you. I am constrained, as they are constrained, by a system that our Founders put in place. It’s a government of and by and for the people.
One of the constraints on the federal government is the doctrine of enmuerated powers, which says every act of Congress must be justified by a specific constitutional grant of authority. Where is the clause that empowers Congress to say how many rounds you can put in a magazine or whether your rifle can have a barrel shroud? Furthermore, as Obama surely has heard by now, there is this thing called the Second Amendment, and it is hardly frivolous to argue than an arbitrary and capricious piece of legislation like the “assault weapon” ban Obama supports would violate the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. Yet to Obama’s mind, anyone who makes such an argument is one of those “people who take absolute positions” and therefore can be safely ignored. After all, the government is us.
PRESIDENT OBAMA SPEAKS ON REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE IN CONNECTICUT
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON REDUCING GUN VIOLENCE – HARTFORD, CT
University of Hartford
5:45 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Connecticut. (Applause.) Thank you. Well, thank you so much, everybody. Let me begin by thanking Nicole, and Ian, for your brave words. (Applause.) I want to thank them and all the Newtown families who have come here today, including your First Selectman, Pat Llodra. (Applause.) Nobody could be more eloquent than Nicole and the other families on this issue. And we are so grateful for their courage and willingness to share their stories again and again, understanding that nothing is going to be more important in making sure the Congress moves forward this week than hearing from them.
I want to thank all the educators from Sandy Hook Elementary who have come here as well — (applause) — the survivors –
AUDIENCE MEMBERS: We love you, Obama!
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. I do. (Applause.)
– the survivors who still mourn and grieve, but are still going to work every day to love and raise those precious children in their care as fiercely as ever.
I want to thank Governor Malloy for his leadership. (Applause.) Very proud of him. I want to thank the University of Hartford for hosting us this afternoon. (Applause.) Thank you, Hawks. (Applause.) And I want to thank the people of Connecticut for everything you’ve done to honor the memories of the victims — (applause) — because you’re part of their family as well.
One of your recent alumni, Rachel D’Avino, was a behavioral therapist at Sandy Hook. Two alumni of your performing arts school, Jimmy Greene and Nelba Marquez-Greene, lost their daughter, Ana — an incredible, vibrant young girl who looked up to them, and learned from them, and inherited their talents by singing before she could talk.
So every family in this state was shaken by the tragedy of that morning. Every family in this country was shaken. We hugged our kids more tightly. We asked what could we do, as a society, to help prevent a tragedy like that from happening again.
And as a society, we decided that we have to change. We must. We must change. (Applause.)
I noticed that Nicole and others refer to that day as “12/14.” For these families, it was a day that changed everything. And I know many of you in Newtown wondered if the rest of us would live up to the promise we made in those dark days — if we’d change, too; or if once the television trucks left, once the candles flickered out, once the teddy bears were carefully gathered up, that the country would somehow move on to other things.
Over the weekend, I heard Francine Wheeler, who lost her son Ben that day, say that the four months since the tragedy might feel like a brief moment for some, but for her, it feels like it’s been years since she saw Ben. And she’s determined not to let what happened that day just fade away. “We’re not going anywhere,” she said. “We are here. And we are going to be here.” And I know that she speaks for everybody in Newtown, everybody who was impacted.
And, Newtown, we want you to know that we’re here with you. We will not walk away from the promises we’ve made. (Applause.) We are as determined as ever to do what must be done. In fact, I’m here to ask you to help me show that we can get it done. We’re not forgetting. (Applause.)
We can’t forget. Your families still grieve in ways most of us can’t comprehend. But so many of you have used that grief to make a difference — not just to honor your own children, but to protect the lives of all of our children. So many of you have mobilized, and organized, and petitioned your elected officials “with love and logic,” as Nicole put it — as citizens determined to right something gone wrong.
And last week, here in Connecticut, your elected leaders responded. The Connecticut legislature, led by many of the legislators here today, passed new measures to protect more of our children and our communities from gun violence. And Governor Malloy signed that legislation into law. (Applause.)
So I want to be clear. You, the families of Newtown, people across Connecticut, you helped make that happen. Your voices, your determination made that happen. Obviously, the elected leaders did an extraordinary job moving it forward, but it couldn’t have happened if they weren’t hearing from people in their respective districts, people all across the state. That’s the power of your voice.
And, by the way, Connecticut is not alone. In the past few months, New York, Colorado, Maryland have all passed new, common-sense gun safety reforms as well. (Applause.)
These are all states that share an awful familiarity with gun violence, whether it’s the horror of mass killings, or the street crime that’s too common in too many neighborhoods. All of these states also share a strong tradition of hunting, and sport shooting, and gun ownership. It’s been a part of the fabric of people’s lives for generations. And every single one of those states — including here in Connecticut — decided that, yes, we can protect more of our citizens from gun violence while still protecting our Second Amendment rights. Those two things don’t contradict each other. (Applause.) We can pass common-sense laws that protect our kids and protect our rights.
So Connecticut has shown the way. And now is the time for Congress to do the same. (Applause.) Now is the time for Congress to do the same. This week is the time for Congress to do the same. (Applause.)
Now, back in January, just a few months after the tragedy in Newtown, I announced a series of executive actions to reduce gun violence and keep our kids safe. And I put forward common-sense proposals — much like those that passed here in Connecticut — for Congress to consider. And you’ll remember in my State of the Union address, I urged Congress to give those proposals a vote. And that moment is now.
As soon as this week, Congress will begin debating these common-sense proposals to reduce gun violence. Your senators, Dick Blumenthal and Chris Murphy — they’re here — (applause) — your Representatives, John Larson, Rosa DeLauro, Elizabeth Esty, Jim Hines, Joe Courtney, they are all pushing to pass this legislation. (Applause.) But much of Congress is going to only act if they hear from you, the American people. So here’s what we have to do.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. (Laughter.) Here’s what we’ve got to do. We have to tell Congress it’s time to require a background check for anyone who wants to buy a gun so that people who are dangerous to themselves and others cannot get their hands on a gun. Let’s make that happen. (Applause.)
We have to tell Congress it’s time to crack down on gun trafficking so that folks will think twice before buying a gun as part of a scheme to arm someone who won’t pass a background check. Let’s get that done. (Applause.)
We have to tell Congress it’s time to restore the ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines, to make it harder for a gunman to fire 154 bullets into his victims in less than five minutes. Let’s put that to a vote. (Applause.)
We have to tell Congress it’s time to strengthen school safety and help people struggling with mental health problems get the treatment they need before it’s too late. Let’s do that for our kids and for our communities. (Applause.)
Now, I know that some of these proposals inspire more debate than others, but each of them has the support of the majority of the American people. All of them are common sense. All of them deserve a vote. All of them deserve a vote. (Applause.)
Consider background checks. Over the past 20 years, background checks have kept more than 2 million dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun. A group of police officers in Colorado told me last week that, thanks to background checks, they’ve been able to stop convicted murderers, folks under restraining orders for committing violent domestic abuse from buying a gun. In some cases, they’ve actually arrested the person as they were coming to purchase the gun.
So we know that background checks can work. But the problem is loopholes in the current law let so many people avoid background checks altogether. That’s not safe. It doesn’t make sense. If you’re a law-abiding citizen and you go through a background check to buy a gun, wouldn’t you expect other people to play by the same rules? (Applause.)
If you’re a law-abiding gun seller, wouldn’t you want to know you’re not selling your gun to someone who’s likely to commit a crime? (Applause.) Shouldn’t we make it harder, not easier for somebody who is convicted of domestic abuse to get his hands on a gun? (Applause.)
It turns out 90 percent of Americans think so. Ninety percent of Americans support universal background checks. Think about that. How often do 90 percent of Americans agree on anything? (Laughter.) And yet, 90 percent agree on this — Republicans, Democrats, folks who own guns, folks who don’t own guns; 80 percent of Republicans, more than 80 percent of gun owners, more than 70 percent of NRA households. It is common sense.
And yet, there is only one thing that can stand in the way of change that just about everybody agrees on, and that’s politics in Washington. You would think that with those numbers Congress would rush to make this happen. That’s what you would think. (Applause.) If our democracy is working the way it’s supposed to, and 90 percent of the American people agree on something, in the wake of a tragedy you’d think this would not be a heavy lift.
And yet, some folks back in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms. Think about that. They’re not just saying they’ll vote “no” on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions. They’re saying your opinion doesn’t matter. And that’s not right.
AUDIENCE: Booo –
THE PRESIDENT: That is not right.
AUDIENCE: We want a vote!
THE PRESIDENT: We need a vote.
AUDIENCE: We want a vote! We want a vote!
THE PRESIDENT: We need a vote.
AUDIENCE: We want a vote!
THE PRESIDENT: Now, I’ve also heard some in the Washington press suggest that what happens to gun violence legislation in Congress this week will either be a political victory or defeat for me. Connecticut, this is not about me. This is not about politics. This is about doing the right thing for all the families who are here that have been torn apart by gun violence. (Applause.) It’s about them and all the families going forward, so we can prevent this from happening again. That’s what it’s about. It’s about the law enforcement officials putting their lives at risk. That’s what this is about. This is not about politics. (Applause.) This is not about politics.
This is about these families and families all across the country who are saying let’s make it a little harder for our kids to get gunned down.
When I said in my State of the Union address that these proposals deserve a vote — that families of Newtown, and Aurora, and Tucson, and a former member of Congress, Gabby Giffords, that they all deserved a vote -– virtually every member of that chamber stood up and applauded. And now they’re going to start denying your families a vote when the cameras are off and when the lobbyists have worked what they do? You deserve better than that. You deserve a vote.
Now, look, we knew from the beginning of this debate that change would not be easy. We knew that there would be powerful interests that are very good at confusing the subject, that are good at amplifying conflict and extremes, that are good at drowning out rational debate, good at ginning up irrational fears, all of which stands in the way of progress.
But if our history teaches us anything, then it’s up to us –- the people -– to stand up to those who say we can’t, or we won’t; stand up for the change that we need. And I believe that that’s what the American people are looking for.
When I first ran for this office, I said that I did not believe the country was as divided as our politics would suggest, and I still believe that. (Applause.) I know sometimes, when you watch cable news or talk radio, or you browse the Internet, you’d think, man, everybody just hates each other, everybody is just at each other’s throats. But that’s not how most Americans think about these issues. There are good people on both sides of every issue.
So if we’re going to move forward, we can’t just talk past one another. We’ve got to listen to one another. That’s what Governor Malloy and all these legislative leaders did. That’s why they were able to pass bipartisan legislation. (Applause.)
I’ve got stacks of letters from gun owners who want me to know that they care passionately about their right to bear arms, don’t want them infringed upon, and I appreciate every one of those letters. I’ve learned from them. But a lot of those letters, what they’ve also said is they’re not just gun owners; they’re also parents or police officers or veterans, and they agree that we can’t stand by and keep letting these tragedies happen; that with our rights come some responsibilities and obligations to our communities and ourselves, and most of all to our children. We can’t just think about “us” –- we’ve got to think about “we, the people.”
I was in Colorado. I told a story about Michelle. She came back from a trip to rural Iowa; we were out there campaigning. Sometimes it would be miles between farms, let alone towns. And she said, you know, coming back, I can understand why somebody would want a gun for protection. If somebody drove up into the driveway and, Barack, you weren’t home, the sheriff lived miles away, I might want that security. So she can understand what it might be like in terms of somebody wanting that kind of security.
On the other hand, I also talked to a hunter last week who said, all my experiences with guns have been positive, but I also realize that for others, all their experiences with guns have been negative.
And when he said that, I thought about the mom I met from suburban Chicago whose son was killed in a random shooting. And this mom told me, I hate it when people tell me that my son was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was on his way to school. He was exactly where he was supposed to be. He was in the right place at the right time, and he still got shot. (Applause.)
The kids at Sandy Hook were where they were supposed to be. So were those moviegoers in Aurora. So were those worshippers in Oak Creek. So was Gabby Giffords. She was at a supermarket, listening to the concerns of her constituents. (Applause.) They were exactly where they were supposed to be. They were also exercising their rights — to assemble peaceably; to worship freely and safely. They were exercising the rights of life and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. So surely, we can reconcile those two things. Surely, America doesn’t have to be divided between rural and urban, and Democrat and Republican when it comes to something like this.
If you’re an American who wants to do something to prevent more families from knowing the immeasurable anguish that these families here have known, then we have to act. Now is the time to get engaged. Now is the time to get involved. Now is the time to push back on fear, and frustration, and misinformation. Now is the time for everybody to make their voices heard from every state house to the corridors of Congress.
And I’m asking everyone listening today, find out where your member of Congress stands on this. If they’re not part of the 90 percent of Americans who agree on background checks, then ask them, why not? Why wouldn’t you want to make it easier for law enforcement to do their job? Why wouldn’t you want to make it harder for a dangerous person to get his or her hands on a gun? What’s more important to you: our children, or an A-grade from the gun lobby? (Applause.)
I’ve heard Nicole talk about what her life has been like since Dylan was taken from her in December. And one thing she said struck me. She said, “Every night, I beg for him to come to me in my dreams so that I can see him again. And during the day, I just focus on what I need to do to honor him and make change.” Now, if Nicole can summon the courage to do that, how can the rest of us do any less? (Applause.) How can we do any less?
If there is even one thing we can do to protect our kids, don’t we have an obligation to try? If there is even one step we can take to keep somebody from murdering dozens of innocents in the span of minutes, shouldn’t we be taking that step? (Applause.) If there is just one thing we can do to keep one father from having to bury his child, isn’t that worth fighting for?
I’ve got to tell you, I’ve had tough days in the presidency — I’ve said this before. The day Newtown happened was the toughest day of my presidency. But I’ve got to tell you, if we don’t respond to this, that will be a tough day for me, too. (Applause.) Because we’ve got to expect more from ourselves, and we’ve got to expect more from Congress. We’ve got to believe that every once in a while, we set politics aside and we just do what’s right. (Applause.) We’ve got to believe that.
And if you believe that, I’m asking you to stand up. (Applause.) If you believe in the right to bears arms, like I do, but think we should prevent an irresponsible few from inflicting harm — stand up. Stand up. (Applause.)
If you believe that the families of Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Virginia Tech and the thousands of Americans who have been gunned down in the last four months deserve a vote, we all have to stand up. (Applause.)
If you want the people you send to Washington to have just an iota of the courage that the educators at Sandy Hook showed when danger arrived on their doorstep, then we’re all going to have to stand up.
And if we do, if we come together and raise our voices together and demand this change together, I’m convinced cooperation and common sense will prevail. We will find sensible, intelligent ways to make this country stronger and safer for our children. (Applause.)
So let’s do the right thing. Let’s do right by our kids. Let’s do right by these families. Let’s get this done. Connecticut, thank you. God bless you. God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
OBAMA DEMANDS VOTE ON SECOND AMENDMENT DURING HARTFORD SPEECH
April 9, 2013
President Barack Obama traveled to Hartford, Connecticut on Monday and delivered a speech calling for a vote on the Second Amendment. He lashed out at Republicans who plan to resist attempts by Congress to destroy the right to bear firearms.
“Some folks in Washington are already floating the idea that they may use political stunts to prevent votes on any of these reforms,” Obama said. “They’re not just saying they’ll vote no on ideas that almost all Americans support. They’re saying they’ll do everything they can to even prevent any votes on these provisions.”
Obama’s use of the phrase “political stunts” is a reference to the possibility of a Senate filibuster to stop legislation.
On March 22, Republican senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Ted Cruz sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stating their intention to oppose any legislation threatening to destroy the constitutional right to bear arms.
“We, the undersigned, intend to oppose any legislation that would oppose on the American people’s constitutional right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to government surveillance,” the letter states. “The Second Amendment to the Constitution protects citizens’ right to self-defense. It speaks to history’s lesson that government cannot be in all places at all times, and history’s warning about the oppression of a government that tries.”
The establishment media, led by the New York Times, has launched a campaign to portray Paul and more than a dozen other senators concerned about the future of the Constitution as obstructionists.
“The gun lobby is spreading the pernicious falsehood that a background check will lead to a gun registry, and a registry will lead to a knock on the front door by a government SWAT team intent on confiscating the nation’s weapons. Mr. Paul and the other signatories who share this belief have promised to filibuster that bill. And given his newfound interest in the dramatic arts, he is probably planning to perform in another C-Span marathon in the weeks to come,” the Time editorialized as Obama gave his speech in Hartford.
Chris Matthews and Rev. Al Sharpton told MSNBC’s diminished audience that most Americans want universal background checks – and hence registration and ultimately firearm confiscation – and demanded Republicans put aside their “partisanship” and allow Democrats in Congress to vote on a bill that will strike a blow to the cornerstone of the Constitution.
Matthews admitted MSNBC has consistently waged a war against the Second Amendment. “I think MSNBC and you and I and a bunch of other people on this network have been keeping up the fight for gun safety” since the Sandy Hook massacre, “not just a few times but consistently every night,” he said.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN MOCKS GUN SKEPTICS: ‘WE’RE GOING TO SWOOP DOWN WITH SPECIAL FORCES FOLKS AND GATHER UP EVERY GUN IN AMERICA’
April 9, 2013
During a gun control speech Tuesday at the White House, Vice President Biden mocked the “black helicopter crowd” for opposing the idea of universal background checks for Americans purchasing guns.
“Kinda scary man, the black helicopter crowd is really upset,” Biden said, criticizing the National Rifle Association for promoting a “misinformation campaign” on background checks.
Biden insisted that there would be no central registry for background checks allowing government to keep records on gun owners.
“No way that Uncle Sam can go find out whether you own a gun because we’re about to really take away all your rights and you’re not going to be able to defend yourself and we’re going to swoop down with Special Forces folks and gather up every gun in America,” Biden added mockingly. “It’s bizarre. But that’s what’s being sold out there.”
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: ‘THE BLACK HELICOPTER CROWD IS REALLY UPSET’
Vice President Joe Biden blasted the NRA for engaging in a “disinformation” campaign meant to “scare people” from supporting background checks.
“Kinda scary man, the black helicopter crowd is really upset,” Biden said about the NRA’s concern with the possible creation of a federal government gun registry.
Biden was speaking at the White House with Attorney General Eric Holder on reducing gun violence and was joined by law enforcement officials from across the country.
CHRISTOPHER GREENE: VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ASSAULTS ‘BLACK HELICOPTER CROWD’
WERE THESE MEN CONSPIRACY THEORISTS AND PART OF THE BLACK HELICOPTER CROWD? SUPPORTERS OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT ARE FOLLOWING THE FOOTSTEPS OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: ‘I GUARANTEE YOU, BARACK OBAMA AIN’T TAKING MY SHOTGUNS…IF HE TRIES TO FOOL WITH MY BARETTA HE’S GOT A PROBLEM…’
JOE BIDEN ADMITS GUN CONTROL WILL NOT STOP MASS SHOOTINGS OR SAVE LIVES
“Nothing we’re going to do is going to fundamentally alter or eliminate the possibility of another mass shooting or guarantee that we will bring gun deaths down to a thousand a year from what it is now.”
SENATE AIDE: GUN LAW WOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED NEWTOWN MASSACRE
By DANIEL HALPER | The Weekly Standard
April 10, 2013
Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Manchin announced a gun bill compromise to expand background checks earlier today. The legislation is in direct response to the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December.
“This amendment won’t ease the pain … but nobody here, not one of us in this great capital of ours in good conscious could sit by and not try to prevent a day like that from happening again,” Manchin told the press at today’s announcement.
But aides on Capitol Hill admit that there is not a thing in the bill that would have prevented the killer, Adam Lanza, from killing 26 at the school in Newtown, Connecticut.
“There’s nothing in this legislation that addresses the fact pattern at Sandy Hook,” a senior Senate aide told me on the phone.
The aide explains that the bill expands on the background-check system already in place, but that the system doesn’t work properly.
“They are expanding on a broken system that we know will fail,” says the aide.
Under this law, I’m told, Adam Lanza would still have been able to steal the so-called assault weapon that his mother legally owned—and use it to shoot up the school.
But what about a similar sort of massacre, I ask. Is there anything in the bill that would prevent that?
“No,” said the aide, who has reviewed all the details released of the bill (but not the bill itself—since it has not yet been released). “Nothing in the bill.”
So how does one explain the legislation? “It’s clearly—Congress wanted to do something after what happened at Sandy Hook,” the aide explains. “They wanted to do something.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: MSNBC HOST DESERVES AN AWARD
Vice President Joe Biden gave an interview to MSNBC’s Morning Joe on gun control and heaped praise on host Joe Scarborough saying that he and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg deserved rewards for changing the gun debate in America.
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: ‘GIVE IT UP’
By Mary Bruce | ABC News
April 11, 2013
Vice President Joe Biden this morning said that the “cultural norm” about gun ownership has changed, arguing that many people buy guns, not for protection or hunting, but because “it’s like driving a Ferrari.”
“It used to be we were dealing almost exclusively with hunters,” Biden said on MSNBC. “There’s a whole new sort of group of individuals now who, I don’t know what the numbers are, that never hunt at all but they own guns for one of two reasons: self protection or they just like the feel of that AR-15 at the range.”
“They like the way it feels. You know, it’s like driving a Ferrari,” he said, raising his arms as if shooting a gun.
As Congress prepares to vote today on whether to proceed to debate a gun control bill, Biden said the issue is one where the people have been “far ahead” of the politicians.
“I mean so far ahead,” he said of public support for gun control proposals, including expanded background checks. “You saw it in immigration, you saw it in marriage issues. You’re seeing it now, the public has moved to a different place.”
The vice president spoke passionately about the need to continue to push for a ban on assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazine clips, saying “certain weapons of war just don’t belong on the street.”
He argued that smaller clips would have saved lives in the December massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“If there had only been ten bullets in each clip, [the shooter] would have had to change the clip an additional three to five times. One of those kids would be alive. Somebody would be alive,” he said.
“What is the inconvenience? What are we doing? What are we doing to impact on a gun owners’ right if he only has a clip with ten rounds in it instead of 30 rounds in it?” he asked.
MICHELLE OBAMA ON GUN CONTROL: ‘THESE REFORMS DESERVE A VOTE!’
By Philip Rucker, | The Washington Post
April 10, 2013
CHICAGO — First lady Michelle Obama, with tears in her eyes and her voice cracking, spoke out for the first time here Wednesday about the gun violence afflicting young people in cities across the nation.
She took a rare step for any first lady into the legislative fight of the hour, saying her husband, President Obama, is “fighting as hard as he can, and engaging as many people as he can, to pass common-sense reforms to protect our children from gun violence.”
“These reforms deserve a vote in Congress,” she said, drawing loud applause from hundreds of Chicago’s business executives and civic leaders who were gathered at a luncheon to raise money for a new anti-violence initiative.
Obama spoke emotionally about attending the funeral in February of Hadiya Pendleton, a 15-year-old majorette who was shot in a city park not far from the Obamas’ Chicago house and just days after visiting Washington for President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies.
“As I visited with the Pendleton family at Hadiya’s funeral, I couldn’t get over how familiar they felt to me, because what I realized was Hadiya’s family was just like my family,” the first lady said. “Hadiya Pendleton was me, and I was her. But I got to grow up and go to Princeton and Harvard Law School and have a career and a family, and the most blessed life I could ever imagine. And Hadiya — well, we know that story.”
The first lady described how Pendleton was an honors student and had two devoted parents who were “hardworking people” and “churchgoing folks.” She said the Pendletons enrolled Hadiya in cheerleading and dance classes, as well as the majorette troop, to keep her active and out of harm’s way.
Obama drew parallels to her own childhood in the 1970s on the South Side of Chicago, where, she said, she had just a few more advantages than her peers — including opportunities and adult mentors who pushed her to succeed.
“In the end, that was the difference between growing up and becoming a lawyer, a mother and first lady of the United States and being shot dead at the age of 15,” Obama said.
The first lady described a tale of two Chicagos, lamenting that many children who live in the impoverished South Side have never visited the Art Institute, walked around Millennium Park, strolled Navy Pier or seen Lake Michigan.
“Many of them don’t even know that the University of Chicago exists, let alone dream of attending that university, or any university for that matter,” she said. “Instead of spending their days enjoying the abundance of riches this city has to offer, they are consumed with watching their backs. They are afraid to walk alone because they might be jumped. They are afraid to walk in groups because that might identify them as part of a gang.”
After her speech, Obama visited with students and counselors at Harper High School, one of Chicago’s most dangerous schools. Last year, 29 current or recent Harper students were shot, eight of them fatally.
“I grew up in South Shore,” Obama told the students. “My parents were working-class folks. There isn’t much distance between me and you. . . . In this world today, if you stay focused, you can make it happen. The best thing you can do in life is really be serious about education.”
In the days following Pendleton’s funeral, Michelle Obama decided she wanted to step outside her narrow focus on military families and childhood nutrition to confront the reality of gun violence, aides said.
She decided that Wednesday’s luncheon for a new $50 million public-private initiative to combat youth violence in Chicago would be the right setting to speak out. The event brought together a diverse cross section of the city’s most powerful residents — chief executives and pastors and financiers, Democrats as well as Republicans.
Obama was introduced by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D), former White House chief of staff in the Obama administration, who is spearheading the fundraising effort. So far, they have raised $33 million, officials said.
Michelle Obama pitched the audience on investing in the program, saying she hopes other cities can replicate it. “This is going to take a serious and sustained investment over a very long period of time, people,” she said. “This is forever.”
The first lady’s aides described her new focus as part of a broader agenda on youth opportunity and empowerment. With her remarks coming amid a contentious debate on Capitol Hill over stricter gun laws, however, Michelle Obama risks being seen as leveraging her widespread popularity and nonpartisan appeal to advance her husband’s legislative agenda.
In advance of Wednesday’s speech, aides said, Obama did not plan to specifically mention gun-control legislation or call on Congress to do anything. In the end, however, the first lady decided to engage fully in the political debate.
After calling on Congress to vote on gun bills, she echoed the president, saying, “We can’t stop all of the violence in the world, but if there is even one thing we can do, even one step we can take to save another child or another parent from the grief that’s visited families like Hadiya’s, and so many others here today, then don’t we have an obligation to try?”
AARON DYKES: WHAT IS THE SECOND AMENDMENT?
Second Amendment — The right to keep and bear arms. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS WANTED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARMED
January 22, 2012
The Founding Fathers agree: an armed population makes good government. Numerous quotes from the revolutionary era make their intent extremely clear — that individuals were meant to keep and bear arms for the protection of the country and the defense of its Constitution and Bill of Rights.
“One death is a tragedy; one million is a statistic.” - Joseph Stalin
“If guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” - Anonymous American adage
“The Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms.” – Samuel Adams
“Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man gainst his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American…” – Tench Coxe 1788
“The Constitution preserves “the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” - James Madison, The Federalist, No. 46
“Ideas are more powerful than guns. We would not let our enemies have guns, why should we let them have ideas.” - Joseph Stalin
“In earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people.” - Zbigniew Brzezinski
“Death solves all problems – no man, no problem.” - Joseph Stalin
“Education is a weapon whose effects depend on who holds it in his hands and at whom it is aimed.” - Joseph Stalin
“The only real power comes out of a long rifle.” - Joseph Stalin
“The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed.” – Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers
“Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority. Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew’s possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation. Whoever willfully or negligently violates the provisions will be punished with imprisonment and a fine.” - Nazi Law (Regulations Against Jews’ Possession of Weapons), 1938
“Arms discourage and keep the invader and plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property… Horrid mischief would ensue were the law-abiding deprived of the use of them. ” –Thomas Paine
“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” - Thomas Paine
“When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.” - Thomas Jefferson
“Those who beat their swords into plowshares usually end up plowing for those who didn’t. ” – Ben Franklin
“If the opposition disarms, well and good. If it refuses to disarm, we shall disarm it ourselves.” - Joseph Stalin
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson
“A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government.” – George Washington
“Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are ruined…The great object is that every man be armed. Everyone who is able might have a gun.” – Patrick Henry
“Are we at last brought to such an humiliating and debasing degradation that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defense?” – Patrick Henry
“The right of the people to keep and bear…arms shall not be infringed. A well regulated militia, composed of the people, trained to arms, is the best and most natural defense of a free country…” –James Madison, I Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789)
“(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation…(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.” –James Madison
“If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government…” – Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (#28)
“To disarm the people is the best and most effective way to enslave them.” – George Mason
“The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed, and constitute a force superior to any bands of regular troops that can be, on any pretense, raised in the United States.” – Noah Webster, “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution (1787)
“A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.” –Thomas Jefferson, Rights of British America, 1774
“The balance of power is the scale of peace. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside. And while a single nation refuses to lay them down, it is proper that all should keep them up. Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them; for while avarice and ambition have a place in the heart of man, the weak will become a prey to the strong.” - Thomas Paine, “Thoughts on Defensive War”, July, 1775
“Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” - Mao Zedong, “Problems of War and Strategy”, 1938
“To preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike, especially when young, how to use them.” - Richard Henry Lee, 1778
“The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible.” - Hubert Humphrey, “Know Your Lawmakers”, Guns magazine, February 1960
“The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms. History shows that all conquerors who have allowed their subject races to carry arms have prepared their own downfall by so doing.” - Adolf Hitler, April 1942
“If gun laws in fact worked, the sponsors of this type of legislation should have no difficulty drawing upon long lists of examples of crime rates reduced by such legislation. That they cannot do so after a century and a half of trying — that they must sweep under the rug the southern attempts at gun control in the 1870-1910 period, the northeastern attempts in the 1920-1939 period, the attempts at both Federal and State levels in 1965-1976 — establishes the repeated, complete and inevitable failure of gun laws to control serious crime.” - Orrin Hatch, “The Right to Keep and Bear Arms”
“After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.” – William S. Burroughs, 1991
“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good.”
- George Washington
MAYORS AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS DIRECTOR: NO ONE IN CALIFORNIA HAS HAD THEIR GUNS CONFISCATED
April 8, 2013
No one in California has had their guns confiscated and the government destroys any record of a firearm background check within 24 hours, the Director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Mark Glaze, told Erin Burnett’s CNN audience last night.
Arguing that fears of a background check system leading to a national gun registry are “outmoded,” Glaze stated, “But the truth is it’s illegal to create a national gun registry, nobody wants to create a national gun registry, and a lot of states already require background checks for all gun purchases and effectively keep lists of people who have passed those background checks and nobody in California has come to take anyone’s guns, in fact they had record gun sales this year.”
Glaze’s claim that no one in California has had their guns confiscated is a ridiculously bold lie and is easily refuted by simply reviewing recent mainstream articles written on the subject.
As Bloomberg writers Michael B. Marois and James Nash pointed out in two separate articles, California is actively confiscating firearms from citizens deemed “illegal.”
“California is the only state that tracks and disarms people with legally registered guns who have lost the right to own them, according to Attorney General Kamala Harris,” an article titled, “California Seizes Guns as Owners Lose Right to Keep Arms,” states.
Another article by the same two Bloomberg authors, titled, “California’s Gun Repo Men Have a Nerve-Racking Job,” also refutes Glaze’s assertion:
California’s been going after guns since 2007. Last year agents seized about 2,000 weapons, 117,000 rounds of ammunition, and 11,000 high-capacity magazines, according to state data. The list of those no longer eligible to keep weapons is compiled by matching files on almost 1 million gun owners with databases of new criminal records and involuntary mental health commitments. About 15 to 20 names are added each day, the attorney general’s office says.
But of course, facts don’t matter when you’re arguing for the sake of arguing, as Mark Glaze demonstrably was.
Later on in the segment, he went on to ludicrously claim that the government destroys any record of a firearm background check within 24 hours of purchase, another disingenuous statement easily negated by looking back at recent articles.
Last week, we reported on 50-year-old David A Schmecker, an honorably discharged disabled US Navy veteran having his guns and pistol permit confiscated after his primary care doctor called him and heard a message on his answering machine that “sounded peculiar.” Police were sent to his home and hauled him to a local hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
Last year, we reported that David Sarti, one of the “preppers” in the National Geographic show Doomsday Preppers, also had his guns confiscated after visiting his doctor complaining of chest pains. After Sarti refused to have tubes inserted to alleviate breathing difficulties, the doctor insinuated that he was suicidal and alerted authorities. Sarti was committed to a psychiatric ward, after which he was labelled “mentally defective” and put on an FBI “no-gun” list.
And just reported today, a New York man had $6,500 worth of his handguns and rifles confiscated after his son allegedly threatened to use a water pistol against bullies that taunted his friends at school.
If a gun registry of sorts wasn’t already in place, how else would so-called authorities pinpoint whether or not any of these people actually possessed firearms?
Fortunately, Second Amendment proponents had a strong defender of liberty in their corner to duke it out with the smug Constitutional traitors. Gun Owners of America Director Larry Pratt responded to Glaze’s pathetic arguments stating the government in fact warns gun dealers online that their data will become centralized:
“… I think it’s stunning that a government that is complicit in the murder of at least 400 Mexicans through the Fast and Furious program, designed to get guns into the hands of the Mexican cartel, is now hiding behind the parents of those at Newtown and telling that somehow they are the people to be trusted with our names and addresses. We’re not buying that. We don’t trust it.
“In fact the Justice Department tells dealers that when you go for a background check online… that data becomes the permanent data of the federal government.”
It’s clear anti-gun lobbyists intentionally misconstrue or deny actual facts, and are working just as hard to eviscerate the cornerstone of the US Constitution as Second Amendment advocates are to save it.
By continually waving the bloody shirts of the Newtown children, the Obama administration and cohorts have demonstrated they’re pulling out all the stops in their daring, gradual and piecemeal deconstruction of Americans’ gun rights.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Police called for a city-wide door-to-door gun confiscation to be carried out by local police, U.S. Army National Guard soldiers, and Deputy U.S. Marshals. Weeks later, a U.S. District Court issued an order barring unconstitutional gun confiscation.
NRA: THE UNTOLD STORY OF GUN CONFISCATION AFTER KATRINA
FBI CONDUCTING 32 GUN PURCHASE BACKGROUND CHECKS PER MINUTE UNDER OBAMA
By Gregory Gwyn-Williams, Jr. | CNS News
April 9, 2013
During Barack Obama’s presidency there have been 32 background checks for gun purchases every minute.
Since February of 2009, the first full month of Obama’s presidency, there have been 70,291,049 background checks for gun purchases, according to data released by the FBI.
Using February 1, 2009 as our starting date, and March 31, 2013 as our end date, (the latest data from the FBI) Obama has been president for 1,520 days.
That equates to 36,480 hours, or 2,188,800 minutes.
Divide the 70,291,049 background checks by 2,188,800 minutes and you get approximately 32 checks for gun purchases every minute!
U.S. AMMO MANUFACTURERS ARE RUNNING FULL TILT, WITH NO END IN SIGHT FOR HEIGHTENED CONSUMER DEMAND
by: J. D. Heyes
April 10, 2013
(NaturalNews) Gun owners, shooting enthusiasts or just anyone seeking to hoard ammunition like the Department of Homeland Security is having a rough time finding any to buy, let alone stockpile. The recent rhetoric out of the White House and from many members of Congress about the imposition of new gun control laws has the public scrambling to purchase what they can as long as they can – and that rush is causing a severe shortage in the marketplace, especially with more popular calibers.
To be sure, it is the dramatic surge in consumer (and government) demand, not ammunition manufacturers’ lack of production, which has created systemic shortages of .223, 9 mm, .40 cal., .45 cal. and other calibers.
Better buy what you can, when you can
The situation is summed up well by ammo maker Hornady. From the company website:
The current political climate has caused extremely high demand on all shooting industry products, including ours. Empty retail shelves, long backorders, and exaggerated price increases on online auction sites – all fueled by rumors and conjecture – have amplified concerns about the availability of ammunition and firearms-related items. … We are producing as much as we can; much more than last year, which was a lot more than the year before, etc. No one wants to ship more during this time than we do.
We’re not sure what “rumors” and “conjecture” Hornady execs are referring to, as we have documented here at Natural News several developments that are prompting American gun owners to rush out and buy up as much ammunition as they can get their hands on. Some of those developments include the government’s own order of 2 billion rounds of ammo, as well as DHS’ purchase of 7,000 true assault rifles and thousands of heavily armored MRAP (mine resistant ambush protected) vehicles originally built to withstand IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan. Washington’s anti-gun political push is also fueling the run on ammo.
Ammo shortages are not just limited to certain geographic regions or retail outlets. Numerous reports over the past week or so have noted that there are shortages everywhere. And what’s more, gun store owners and industry analysts note that the shortages are going to last into the foreseeable future. Also, prices are going to remain high.
California gun store owner Josh Deaser summed it up when he told a local ABC affiliate “there’s just more people wanting to buy ammo then there is ammunition.”
“Especially this state, they want to ban everything, so it’s like ok, people are afraid they’re not gonna be able to get it again, so they’re buying it,” he said.
Shortages are pervasive
The same scenario is being repeated elsewhere, however – not just heavy gun-control states.
“I was in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. Their Walmarts don’t have anything. Texas doesn’t have anything,” Deaser customer Ron Holden said.
Gun sales are skyrocketing too, say owners. In fact, Deaser notes that a number of his customers have not previously owned guns.
As our editor, Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, was among the first to report, the ammunition shortage is also hitting local police departments, who are having trouble keeping enough ammunition on hand to both satisfactorily arm officers and to keep trained and proficient with their weapons.
STUDENT SAYS GUN FREE ZONE LAWS LEFT HIM AND OTHERS DEFENSELESS DURING LONE STAR CAMPUS MASS STABBING
“We wish that the law would let us carry guns because we’re legal adults.”
April 10, 2013
One of the students who hid in a classroom with about 50 others during a mass stabbing at the Lone Star Community College in northwest Houston yesterday told reporters he wished “that the law would let us carry guns,” slamming the unconstitutional laws that prevented students from being able to defend themselves.
“I was in the classroom right next to it,” the unidentified man told a Fox News reporter.
Recalling the chaos inside the college as frightened students were forced to cower in fear and pack an overcrowded classroom, the second year student stated, “It was just kinda crazy… it sounded like a rock concert, or something… [we] heard somebody scream with pain or something, and we all went back in our room and took everybody that was in the hallways with us. So we put about 50 people in a classroom built for about 20.”
As campuses across the nation are designated “gun-free zones,” the young man expressed they had no one to rely on but God: “God protected us in our classroom, and we wish we could protect ourselves with guns and stuff. We wish that the law would let us carry guns because we’re legal adults, and carry guns on campus to protect ourselves. But so far all we have to rely on is God, but we’d love to have God and the law on our side.”
“Proponents of gun free zones and the 1990 law mandating them never mention the fact that mass murderers specifically target defenseless schools, theaters and malls because they know there will be little resistance to their rampages if a defense-free rule is in effect,” Kurt Nimmo wrote in December.
Even though no one on campus was fatally injured, a statement from Carla Howell, executive director of the Libertarian Party, made in the aftermath of Sandy Hook school massacre still rings true: “We must stop blinding ourselves to the obvious: Most of these mass killings are happening at schools where self-defense is prohibited. Gun prohibition sets the stage for the slaughter of innocent children. We must repeal these anti-self-defense laws now to minimize the likelihood they will occur in the future and to the limit the damage done when they do.”
As the NRA and others have highlighted, the Obama administration and his gun grabbing cohorts work feverishly to wither the gun rights of law-abiding citizens and do everything in their power to prevent armed guards at public schools, while they themselves rest comfortably knowing they have armed security detail and knowing their children are safe attending private schools protected by armed guards.
The Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, Larry Pratt, has also gone on record calling gun-free zones “murder magnets.”
LARRY PRATT: GUN FREE ZONES ARE “MURDER MAGNETS”
WARNING TO GUN GRABBERS: IF GUN RIGHTS ARE LOST, YOU WILL SOON LOSE YOUR RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH, PUBLIC PROTESTS, ART, BLOGS, AND THE RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL
by Mike Adams
April 08, 2013
(NaturalNews) All those who value free speech, art, public protests, internet blogs and due process should be waging an all-out information war right now to defend the Second Amendment. Why? Because if the Second Amendment is lost due to unconstitutional legislative and executive actions pursued by the government, then there are no limits to what civil liberties and individual freedoms the government can declare null and void.
All those who are arguing for infringements of Second Amendment liberties (universal registration, banning AR-15s, criminalizing high-capacity magazines, etc.) are effectively arguing to hand the federal government the precedent it needs to criminalize free speech, religion, public protests, internet blogs, Youtube videos and more.
In effect, gun grabbers are arguing for the government to have the power to overturn the Bill of Rights when it is popular to do so. But such power will inevitably end up being used in circumstances never envisioned by the gun grabbers… and often in the hands of someone they hoped would never hold the office of President such as a third member of the Bush regime.
The Bill of Rights isn’t optional
You can’t have a half-way Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights either means what it says and strictly limits the reach of the federal government, or it means nothing and all the individual rights and liberties enumerated in the Bill of Rights are null and void.
Those include the right to exercise whatever religion you choose and not have the state mandate what church you must attend; the right to speak your mind and even criticize the government without fear of being prosecuted for your opinions; the right to due process and a trial of your peers if charged with a crime; and the right to be safe in your person and effects (your home) without being subjected to illegal searches and seizures.
If the Second Amendment is nullified, then so is your right to remain silent. Without the Fifth Amendment, the government can (and will) torture you until you “admit guilt” for whatever crimes they claim you have committed. This is already being planned for Aurora Colorado shooter James Holmes, who prosecutors now say will be subjected to injections of a “truth serum” so that he will confess to his crimes.
Folks, there is no such thing as a truth serum. It’s a science fiction fantasy. What Holmes is being subjected to is torture until he “confesses” to the crime. This is precisely what awaits all Americans if the government is not held to the limits of the Bill of Rights.
If the Second Amendment goes, the First Amendment will soon follow
Once the dismantling of the Bill of Rights is tolerated, there will be no stopping the government’s planned destruction of all its provisions, including the First Amendment. With freedom of speech destroyed, all websites, blogs and online videos will be deleted or shut down unless they are approved by the government. All art must be government approved before being published or publicly displayed (First Amendment). Anyone charged with a crime can be held indefinitely, without charge, while the government waits for them to “rot in prison” for the rest of their lives (Sixth Amendment).
Gun control advocates are, almost by definition, ignorant of history. They foolishly believe that the more power government is granted, the more compassionate, fair and just that government will behave. History has shown exactly the opposite: power corrupts, and when power is centralized in the hands of the few, it is almost always exploited in a manner that brings great harm to the People.
America’s founders understood this, which is why the Bill of Rights was written and ratified. Power must necessarily be distributed (decentralized) for freedom to flourish, and the primary purpose of the Bill of Rights was to enumerate lines in the sand that the government cannot cross.
Those who are arguing for gun restrictions today are hopeless fools who seem oblivious to the tyranny they are bringing down upon themselves. In order to achieve one limited political goal, they will surrender all rights and freedoms to a government that will then recognize no limits whatsoever to its power. When gun control laws pass, they think they are “winning,” but what they’re actually doing is constructing unintentional prisons that will enslave their children and grandchildren.
Fortunately, many of us do understand history, and we will not allow the ignorant masses to destroy our fundamental rights and freedoms. We will fight these efforts with every means available, beginning with information and judicial strategies, but progressing to fighting enemies of America with physical force if necessary to defend the Republic.
Curiously, every U.S. Senator, Congressperson, President, police officer, district attorney and other “official” takes a sworn oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Yet in their actions, many of these people prove that they are themselves the very enemies cited in that oath of office. It is the job of the People to force our representatives to keep their oaths of office, first at the ballot box if effective, but then using incrementally more forceful means as necessary to keep government in check. The People are the commanders of their government, but if they refuse to remind government who is in charge, it is they who are soon commanded by government tyrants.
All laws that violate the Bill of Rights are null and void
Any law passed by either state government or the federal government is immediately null and void if it violates the Bill of Rights. This is why the U.S. Supreme Court declared in its landmark 1803 decision of Marbury vs. Madison:
“All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void.”
But this truth does not require a Supreme Court to make it so… it is self-evident under common law. Thus, any member of government who attempts to enforce an unconstitutional law is acting in violation of civil rights and the legal protections guaranteed under the Bill of Rights. Importantly, no citizen is obliged to follow unlawful orders even if directed by an apparent “law enforcement” authority.
If a police officer, for example, tells you to “go murder that woman standing on the street corner,” you have no obligation to follow such an order because it describes a criminal act. Similarly, a police officer or lawmaker commanding you to surrender your rifle is also an unlawful request, and no citizen has any obligation to follow it.
This is even true if local laws have been passed that violate the Bill of Rights. For example, if the police chief of New York City says you must surrender your rifle because New York has passed a law criminalizing the possession of such a rifle, you are under no legitimate legal obligation to do so because such laws are unconstitutional and illegal. That doesn’t mean you still won’t be arrested and thrown in prison while your case eventually makes its way to the Supreme Court, of course. Tyrants do not abide by laws unless they are forced to do so by the People… which is precisely the point of having a Second Amendment in the first place. No government can be trusted to remain honest and representative of the People unless the People possess the means of force to overthrow a corrupt, criminal government and replace it with legitimate, constitutional government.
Why gun grabbers are the true “anti-government” extremists
The mainstream media and the White House attempt to twist these ideas by branding anyone who disagrees with the government as an “anti-government” extremist. But that’s not the case at all: Most patriots aren’t anti-government at all. They are simply anti-corrupt government while being pro Constitutional government.
People who advocate gun control today are actually “anti-constitutional government” extremists because their ideas extremely diverge from the laws of the land (the Constitution and Bill of Rights). What could be more extreme than suggesting the People have no rights and that the government has total power to decide which rights in the Bill of Rights it wishes to recognize?
Gun grabbers are the true anti-government people because they are enemies of the legitimate and lawful government of America. Rather than constitutional government, they wish to see an illegitimate, unlawful government usurp power and run the country as a police state that respects no limits to its power. That’s the type of government desired by foolishly dangerous people like Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, Michael Bloomberg, Joe Biden and others.
Imagine if Bloomberg were given the power to rewrite the Constitution…
Think about it: If people like Bloomberg had their way, there would be no Constitution, no Bill of Rights, no due process, no trial by jury and no free market choices whatsoever. The people would have no rights and freedoms, and the government would simply dictate to them what they could buy, eat, drink, think, speak, write and more. All forms of expression would be tightly regulated by the government, and anyone who was labeled “guilty” by the government would be immediately sentenced without trial or even a requirement of any evidence being presented.
This is the world being created by gun control advocates. Yet, in the end, they owe gun owners a huge debt because it is gun owners who will halt the march of tyranny in America. We will protect the rights and liberties of all Americans — including those who are seeking to take away our rights. The purpose of the Second Amendment has always been to protect the integrity of all the other amendments, including the First. The only reason people like Jim Carrey can attack gun rights in America is because the Second Amendment has put enough guns in the hands of enough Americans to dissuade the government from destroying the First Amendment.
Finally, I know there are a few readers, mostly younger people, who cannot imagine government ever becoming “evil” or “tyrannical,” and they think this talk of the Second Amendment being needed to protect the rights and freedoms of Americans sounds outlandish. To those people I say you are uninformed. You are ignorant of history, and you would be wise to learn history now, lest you inadvertently become part of it in the very near future.
CIVIL WAR BATTLE LINES ARE BEING DRAWN AS MAGPUL, COLT, BERETTA AND OTHER GUN MANUFACTURERS RELOCATE TO PRO-CONSTITUTIONAL STATES
by Mike Adams | Natural News
April 13, 2013
A civil war looks likely to break out in America, and it will pit gun rights advocates (people who love liberty) against gun control zealots (people who hate freedom and love tyranny). The battle lines are being drawn right now as gun manufacturers are leaving anti-Constitution states like Connecticut and Colorado and relocating to pro-Constitution states like Texas and Arizona.
Why does this matter? Because in effect, the anti-Constitution states are disarming themselves by expatriating weapons manufacturers. Thus, they are eliminating their own weapons infrastructure and leaving themselves relatively defenseless should a civil war occur.
States like Texas and Wyoming, where gun manufacturers are increasingly moving and setting up shop, are simultaneously building up a massive arms infrastructure that may ultimately spell the difference between victory and defeat in a civil war.
This is the tragic truth of the current anti-America, anti-Constitution, criminal government takeover happening in multiple states across our Republic right now: those who hate liberty are disarming themselves.
Colt moving to Texas, others likely to follow
If the majority of people in states like New York, Connecticut and Colorado wish to be disarmed slaves living as subjects to a tyrannical government, then they are also going to see more gun owners leaving those states and seeking new lives in gun-friendly states like Texas, Montana, Arizona and Idaho. I can tell you firsthand that here in Texas, we shoot big, heavy firearms on the weekend (.50 BMG), and if the local sheriff shows up, it’s only because they want some trigger time, too! (You gotta pick the right county, though. Stay away from Travis County at all costs…)
Because Texas is a state that upholds the Second Amendment rights of its citizens, Texas is already attracting both gun manufacturers and gun-friendly citizens who are relocating there. For example, firearms maker Colt is leaving Connecticut and moving to Texas, bringing valuable skills, hardware, manufacturing equipment and jobs to Texas.
Magpul industries, makers of 30-round rifle magazines, also says it’s leaving Colorado and looking for a destination more aligned with the Constitutional rights of American citizens.
Such moves are not only valuable for the Texas economy; it also means that once the Civil War is unleashed in America and the collectivist anti-American, anti-Constitution leftist gun grabbers try to force national disarmament at gunpoint, states like Texas will be cranking out Colt rifles and putting them into the hands of freedom fighters who will send as much lead down range as is necessary to reinforce the point that the Bill of Rights is not negotiable.
Texas also controls much of the national energy supply
If leftists living in treasonous states try to push their criminal agenda onto the entire nation, let ‘em figure out how to live without energy, too. Texas not only has the guns, you see… it’s also got the energy. Over one-third of America’s oil and natural gas flows through Texas-based refineries and ports. Any attempt to mess with Texas means the rest of the country won’t get its energy needs met.
Texas can defend its resources with — guess what? — citizens armed with rifles made in Texas, loaded with high-capacity magazines made in Texas, shooting bullets loaded in Texas in full alignment with the Bill of Rights that’s defended in Texas.
That’s why every time another criminal state government (like that of Connecticut) passes another unconstitutional law stripping its own citizens of the right to own firearms, I cheer when the gun manufacturers in that state announce they’re moving out. If Boulder, Colorado wants to fulfill its socialist dreams of total government tyranny, then we all welcome MagPul exiting Boulder and setting up shop in a pro-Constitution zone where the company’s many talents will be fully appreciated.
Traitorous states are disarming themselves
I love the idea that all these companies are moving out of wannabe communist cities like Boulder, or traitorous anti-Constitution states like Connecticut. Because in truth, we want the anti-Constitution states to have no weapons manufacturing infrastructure. It will make them easier to defeat in a military campaign designed to free the enslaved citizens living in those states from tyranny rule.
This fact is multiplied even further by the fact that many U.S. gun and ammo manufacturers are REFUSING to sell equipment to anti-Constitution governments, including the state government of Connecticut. The full list is posted at The Police Loophole.
It’s a huge list of weapons manufacturers and retailers, including Barrett, Midway USA, Cheaper Than Dirt, Larue Tactical, Rock River Arms, Bravo Company USA and more.
What this means is that if the traitorous, criminal federal government attempts to overrun the People with the 2 billion rounds of ammo DHS has been stockpiling, they’re going to find themselves outgunned and out-supplied by the private gun and ammo manufacturing and distribution industry which will absolutely NOT sell any equipment to the federal government.
By the way, private individuals are buying up hundreds of millions of rounds of ammo each week, vastly out-pacing DHS stockpiling. On top of that, there’s also the fact that brain-dead DHS employees are too stupid to know how to use firearms effectively in the first place. If DHS hands all their stockpiled guns to TSA agents, for example, they’re far more likely to shoot off their own toes than wage anything resembling a tactical war. They would be almost instantly out-maneuvered and out-gunned by veterans, hunters, sheriff’s deputies and privately-trained citizens.
It is important to bring all collaborators to justice
It’s going to be hilarious seeing all the governors and state representatives of the traitorous anti-gun states trying to defend themselves against armed arrest squads when they have no weapons.
I’m just curious how all these traitorous lawmakers think they’re going to defend themselves against real justice once the shooting begins. Are they so delusional that they think nobody is recording their names and votes? To be on the record voting to destroy the Second Amendment is nothing less than treason. To cast such a vote in a nation founded on armed resistance to tyranny is nothing less than suicide.
Because the anti-Constitution criminals have disarmed themselves, the pro-Constitution justice teams will be able to march right in, arrest these traitors for sedition and round them up for a mass trial where they can join their fellow traitors from Colorado, New York and California (among other states).
For the purposes of law and justice, it will be very important to make sure that all those who have actively violated the Bill of Rights be arrested, charged and brought to trial for their crimes. Historically, the typical punishment for those found guilty of acts of treason against their own nation has been the death penalty (i.e. firing squad). (I’m not calling for that, nor condoning that. I’m merely pointing out actual history.) Even further, those who have actively conspired to destroy America’s Constitution and Bill of Rights are, by the government’s own definition, “enemy combatants,” meaning they may be held and imprisoned under the rules of war.
It’s time we all began to understand that lawmakers who vote for unconstitutional gun control measures in America are, by definition, “enemy combatants” who are engaged in actual warfare against America. They have moved the nation far past the era of polite debate. These traitors now have put guns to all our heads, demanding we comply or be arrested. In New York and elsewhere, many innocent citizens have already been thrown in jail for the “crime” of exercising their constitutional rights. The war against liberty has begun, and the battle lines are being drawn as gun and ammo manufacturers relocate to states that choose to side with the Constitution rather than outright tyranny.
You would be wise to make a similar choice. If you are a person who believe in anything resembling liberty — owning a gun, growing your own food, homeschooling your children — you will be arrested and imprisoned during the civil war if you stay in the criminal anti-Constitution states.
On the other hand, those very same activities will be openly welcomed in pro-Constitution states that actually abide by the law of the land. And it is those states that will have the hardware advantage once the fighting starts.
For your convenience, here’s a list of criminal, traitorous anti-Constitution states vs. relatively pro-Constitution states: (some states are not listed because they do not neatly fit into either category)
List of criminally run, anti-Constitution states
Get OUT of these states if you value liberty!
List of (relatively) pro-Constitution states
MOVE to these states if you value liberty!
BOYCOTT CONNECTICUT. PERIOD.
by Karl Denninger | Market-ticker.org
Why do we, the people, who understand that there is a 2nd Amendment for a reason, and that plain English is easy to understand, put up with states like New York and Connecticut?
The rights of the citizens of CT have been trampled upon. The safety of its children is at best questionably improved from the day of the tragedy that triggered the events that lead us here. Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the State of CT has been effectively outlawed. With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut – the former Constitution state.
Furthermore, we feel that our industry as a whole will continue to be threatened so long as it remains in a state where its elected leaders have no regard for the rights of those who produce and manufacture its wealth. We are making a call to all involved in our industry to leave this state, close your doors and show our politicians the true consequences of their hasty and uninformed actions. We encourage those in our industry to abandon this state as its leaders have abandoned the proud heritage that forged our freedom.
I will make a wider call.
We should all boycott everyone and everything in Connecticut.
You got CT plates on your car? Tough crap — no hotel room for you, no gas, no food, no nothing. Go back where you came from. Return to your socialist utopia.
You claim you “didn’t do it”? Yes you did — you sat still for it. You haven’t removed the clowns who did it. You have not done your duty as a citizen, and until you do so I will not do business with you.
Will I act on this?
In fact, I already did.
I’ve scrubbed my system’s records. If you’re a donor and live in Connecticut, you can’t donate any more to my system. I won’t allow it. I’m done. I don’t want your money and I don’t want to provide you service.
I won’t come to CT, I won’t knowingly buy things from people in CT and I won’t do business with you.
**** off Connecticut.
To those who say “you can’t do that!” oh yes I can. I have the right to refuse to do business with anyone for any reason, with a few notable exceptions such as race, religion and national origin. Your willingness to support and tolerance of jackbooted jackasses does not constitute a protected class.
If you’re a state resident and don’t like this then do what has to be done in order to stop trampling on the rights of the people.
I’ll drop my boycott when your government repeals all restrictions on the 2nd Amendment rights of its citizens. This isn’t a negotiation, it’s a statement of fact and if you don’t like it, tough crap.
Yes, this will cost me some money.
I don’t care.
I don’t want your money.
If you move from CT and can document that with a mailing address in a 2nd Amendment respecting state, let me know and I’ll take you off “the list” should you wish to be able to donate once again.
My patience for this crap has expired, effective right here and now.
KANSAS LEGISLATURE SENDS GOVERNOR STRONGEST PRO-GUN BILL IN THE UNITED STATES
by Bob Adelmann | The New American
Late last Friday, as both houses of the Kansas legislature were winding up its current session, Senate Bill 102 and House Bill 2199 were passed overwhelmingly, putting the matter firmly on the desk of pro-gun Governor Sam Brownback (shown) for signing. The House passed its measure 96-24 while the Senate’s bill was voted through 35-4. As both pieces of legislation are identical, no conference was necessary and the final bill will be on Brownback’s desk this week for signing.
As the votes were being counted in the Senate, one senator exclaimed: “Passage of SB 102 means that the Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment are alive and well in Kansas!”
Indeed. Not only does the bill declare that “any act, treaty, order, rule or regulation of the government of the United States which violates the second amendment of the constitution of the United States is null, void and unenforceable in the state of Kansas,” it bases its legality on the Second, Ninth, and 10th Amendments:
The second amendment to the Constitution of the United States reserves to the people, individually, the right to keep and bear arms as that right was understood at the time that Kansas was admitted to statehood in 1861, and the guaranty of that right is a matter of contract between the state and people of Kansas and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861.
The ninth [and tenth] amendment[s] to the constitution of the United States guarantee to the people rights not granted in the constitution and reserve to the people of Kansas certain rights as they were understood at the time that Kansas was admitted to statehood in 1861.
The guaranty of those rights is a matter of contract between the state and people of Kansas and the United States as of the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861.
The bill is based on the state constitution of Kansas as well:
Section 4 of the bill of rights of the constitution of the state of Kansas clearly secures to Kansas citizens, and prohibits government interference with, the right of individual Kansas citizens to keep and bear arms.
This constitutional protection is unchanged from the constitution of the state of Kansas, which was approved by congress and the people of Kansas, and the right exists as it was understood at the time that the compact with the United States was agreed upon and adopted by Kansas in 1859 and the United States in 1861.
The bill has real teeth, as it expands on its declarations that any of these federal government intrusions is null and void. It prohibits any employee of Kansas from helping the federal government to enforce these intrusions and declares as unlawful any attempts by any federal government employee to enforce such intrusions, making such efforts a felony in the state.
WHY NEARLY ALL STATE GUN CONTROL LAWS BEING PASSED TODAY WILL SOON BE NULL AND VOID
by Mike Adams | Natural News
(NaturalNews) Gun control zealots currently think they are winning. Connecticut has just passed a wildly unconstitutional new gun control law, and it was preceded by New York’s similarly-outrageous assault on private gun ownership liberties. Colorado, Maryland and California are all either working on gun control bills or have already passed various measures that are blatantly illegal in America.
What gun grabbers do not yet realize is that there are three powerful reasons why their gun control laws will soon be null and void:
Reason #1) Many laws will be struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court already has a track record of striking down the several key gun control laws that have been put in place by cities or states.
For example, in District of Columbia v Heller, the Supreme Court struck down a D.C. law that criminalized the possession of guns in the home for the purpose of self defense.
In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the Supreme Court further confirmed that the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” is guaranteed to individuals under the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In other words, any law that denies a citizen the right to keep and bear arms is simultaneously a denial of their Fourteenth Amendment rights… and is therefore unconstitutional and illegal in America.
These two landmark decisions, if correctly interpreted by the Supreme Court when challenges rise from recent gun restrictions in New York, Connecticut and elsewhere, will cause those laws to also be struck down as unconstitutional.
Reason #2) A Supreme Court decision would expose the illegitimacy of the court and reveal the outright criminality of the federal government
If, somehow, the U.S. Supreme Court finds these new state gun restrictions laws to be “constitutional,” such a decision would be equivalent to a declaration that the court has openly abandoned its only real duty, which is to halt overreaching laws that violate the individual rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and its Bill of Rights.
At this point, there would be widespread realization that the judiciary is an occupying enemy force acting in violation of their sworn oaths of office. If such a scenario unfolds, I theoretically predict, but do not condone, the likelihood that disgruntled individuals, having been stripped of their freedoms by a clearly illegal and unconstitutional judiciary, would take it upon themselves to assassinate U.S. Supreme Court justices who violated the Constitution as well as key high-level members of the federal government. Again, I’m not condoning this nor advocating it, because I do not believe violence is the appropriate path to a long-term solution in all this. However, I cannot deny the possibility of a decentralized, spontaneous armed response to the “long train of abuses” that liberty-loving Americans continue to suffer under today.
Any decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify the Second Amendment would be seen by millions of Americans as nothing less than an outright declaration of war… and may spark an armed revolt against the tyranny. This may be precisely why DHS has purchased over 2 billion rounds of ammunition, many of which are hollow point rounds intended solely to cause maximum tissue damage against human targets on the streets of America.
Reason #3) A civil war may be underway before any of this makes it to the courts
At some point, the law-abiding citizens of America, when repeatedly oppressed, provoked and denied justice under law, will reluctantly decide that “following the law” is irrelevant. They will take up arms and begin to physically fight for the liberties that are being incrementally stolen from them by tyrants at both the state and federal level.
Globalists appear to be attempting to trigger precisely this reaction. The gambit is to see if a small reactionary group of “terrorists” (i.e. anyone with a gun who fights against oppression) can be cajoled into committing acts of violence that would justify the declaration of Martial Law and a nationwide gun confiscation domestic military action. If such an act of resistance cannot be provoked, it can always be engineered and pulled off by the FBI which is already well-practiced at staging terrorists attacks in the USA, then recruiting hapless stooges to frame as “terrorist masterminds” to be arrested.
This is where the “stuff” really hits the fan, because we’ll see all-out war between various factions of gun grabbers vs. gun defenders. Big-city police will attempt to shoot and murder sheriffs. Patriot groups within the U.S. military will mutiny and take over entire units to protect and defend the Constitution. A military coup might target top administration officials in Washington D.C. Regional wars might break out between urban (gun control) and rural (gun rights) communities. And the big kicker? Obama might call in the United Nations to aid in “halting the terrorists,” setting off an international war against America and the Constitution. (This may be Obama’s ultimate end game.)
During war, you are not bound by laws
During all of this, gun laws are irrelevant. If things degrade to a point where otherwise law-abiding citizens feel no choice but to pick up a rifle and start killing tyrants, then they are way past the point of politely following laws written on paper.
Furthermore, once the state declares you a “terrorist” — which the federal government has seemingly already done with veterans and gun owners — there is really no point in attempting to abide by any laws whatsoever because the government already claims to right to murder you without due process thanks to the NDAA and Obama’s “kill lists” of Americans to assassinate.
DHS specifically defines “terrorists” in America as: (SOURCE)
- Americans who believe their “way of life” is under attack
- Americans who are “fiercely nationalistic”
- People who consider themselves “anti-global”
- Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”
- Americans who are “reverent of individual liberty”
- People who “believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”
Thus, at least half the U.S. population has already been deemed “terrorists.” According to the White House, this means they have no right to due process.
In a scenario when resistance fighters realize they will not be offered anything resembling due process, they will only fight harder and become even more aggressive in their tactics and stance. After all, if you are cornered but offered a fair trial that you can genuinely trust to be fair, you might simply surrender and avoid the risk of death. But if you are cornered by a regime that has already announced it’s going to call you an “enemy combatant” and claims to right to secretly kill you without any due process whatsoever, there is no additional risk in fighting to the death. You are dead anyway, logically speaking.
Even more, there is no moral hesitation against people in such a position resorting to tactics that would otherwise be scorned such as targeting family members of specific enemy targets. Even, imaginably, mass public suicide bombings would be an inevitable behavior of people who exist under extreme oppression with seemingly no recourse. This is the logic behind the mass bombings in Israel, of course. Whether right or wrong, the suicide bombers feel they have no recourse and have already been placed on government murder lists anyway.
By signing the NDAA and creating kill lists of Americans to murder with drones, Obama has actually radicalized whatever resistance might someday rise up in America if government oppression worsens. He has put laws and executive orders in place that have essentially pre-announced to gun owners and veterans, “You will not be given a fair trial. You will be named an enemy combatant and murdered by your own government.” This action by Obama is extremely irresponsible, arrogant and dangerous. It is precisely the kind of stance that could provoke a violent response that’s wildly multiplied far beyond what might have otherwise been attempted.
“If you make peaceful revolution impossible you make violent revolution inevitable.” – John F. Kennedy
Keep in mind that in the recent Rand Paul filibuster in the U.S. Senate which sought answers to whether the President believed he had the power to kill Americans on U.S. soil using military drones, the official answer that was eventually received still claimed Americans who were “actively engaged” in anti-government activities could be killed without due process.
“Actively engaged” could mean anything, including blogging on the web or taking photographs of government buildings. Thus, the White House already claims the power to kill practically any American at any time, without due process or even producing a single shred of evidence against the person.
War is the absence of civility
War is, philosophically, the complete absence of civil law. Although the UN has tried to set “rules of war,” the U.S. government routinely and habitually violates those rules in numerous ways… torture, for example, as well as the use of weapons of mass destruction (depleted uranium).
A breakout of war means all attempts at civility have failed and one or both parties believes they are left with no other option but attempted violence to achieve their goals.
That’s how America was born, by the way: by the desperate actions of a determined minority of colonists deciding they had endured enough suffering and oppression. They made a joint decision to flat out start killing (British) tyrants, realizing this was their last remaining option for achieving liberty.
Due to this application of strategic violence for a noble cause, the British empire was eventually forced to withdraw because it could not physically commit a sufficient level of violence to achieve lasting control over the colonies. Importantly, even though the British won most of the military battles, they still lost the war for numerous tactical and sociological reasons. This is important because it indicates that military might does not equal military victory when people are defending their lives, their liberties and their core beliefs. (Just ask the Afghans.)
Delusional members of the radical left think they can suppress freedom by writing words on paper
The reason all this really matters is because the radical left is wildly delusional on all this, believing that if certain gun control words and phrases can be written on paper and ratified by members of government, then those words become a reality and all the privately-held guns, ammo and freedoms simply vanish from existence.
This is precisely the same sort of delusional thinking offered up by the left’s advocacy of signs that say things like “gun free zone,” ridiculously believing that words on a sign will magically alter reality.
They think the same thing about words on paper held at the state capitol. But history has shown that words are fleeting, but liberty lives forever. While gun control zealots may temporarily succeed in creating artificial constructs of their favorite words (i.e. “laws”), all that’s really happening in the physical world is that gun owners are burying their guns and ammo while mentally preparing to retrieve them when necessary to defend the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Gun prohibition will fail just like marijuana prohibition
Guns do not disappear simply because they are banned. They go underground. Everyone on the left should easily understand this point because most of them smoke illegal pot from time to time, and they know how easy it is to purchase marijuana even though the substance is criminalized according to federal law. Once guns are added to the list of banned objects, they will only become even easier to acquire through off-the-books networks of distributors and resellers, none of whom will pay taxes or report any purchases through government “background checks” systems.
The best way to drive guns into the hands of criminals is to criminalize guns. Gun grabbers on the left are almost mentally retarded when it comes to anticipating the real-world impacts of their laws. Their intention is to eliminate guns, but intentions do not drive reality: economics does. Economics is the study of human decision making and behavior, by the way, not the study of money.
Driving guns into the underground economy will effectively construct a huge infrastructure of underground gun production, distribution and delivery, allowing anyone who can buy pot right now to be able to buy guns in the near future. Gun shops that presently follow federal laws for background checks will be put out of business and replaced by underground gun smugglers who follow no laws whatsoever.
In response, the federal government will multiply the budget of the ATF and declare a “war on guns” that will be roughly as successful as today’s miserable “war on drugs” — a police state fiasco that has done nothing more than fill the prisons with innocent victims while justifying the outrageous growth of police state agencies like the DEA.
Leftists who advocate gun control are really advocating a massive expansion of the police state while invoking the organic, spontaneous economics of underground trade. The state cannot stop people from getting what they really want. The failed war on drugs proves that. It’s far smarter for the state to decriminalize the trade, regulate it and tax it — and that’s where gun sales are right now, before any new gun control laws are put in place.
My conclusion in all this is straightforward: The best “gun control” (from the perspective of those wanting more gun control) is to keep guns legal and readily available through legal retail shops that abide by government background checks and are licensed by the ATF. In this manner, gun sales are taxed and tracked, and it avoids the rise of underground gun-running gangs.
The worst form of gun control is to criminalize guns and drive the entire gun economy into the underground, where no sales are tracked or taxed and consumer demand will inevitably drive the spontaneous creation of a massive underground “gun gang” distribution network. This will have the effect of making guns far easier for criminals to acquire, and the net effect of that will be more violent crimes committed with guns, which is exactly what the gun control zealots claim they wish to prevent.
Thus, the outcome that is desired by gun control advocates will be the exact opposite of what actually unfolds. Such is the nature of “unforeseen consequences.”
The road to Hell is paved with good intentions, my friends. Try to make sure you are not blindly running down it.
SURVEY OF LAW ENFORCEMENT SAYS GUN RESTRICTIONS ARE INEFFECTIVE
By Andrea Noble | The Washington Times
A national survey of law enforcement shows officers believe many proposed gun control measures — including bans on assault weapons — will be ineffective at reducing violent crime and that legal gun ownership by private citizens would prove a better safeguard.
Among the findings of a survey by the industry website PoliceOne, which tallied responses from 15,000 verified active and retired law enforcement professionals, police overwhelmingly favor an armed citizenry and are skeptical of any greater restrictions placed on gun purchase, ownership or accessibility, editor Doug Wyllie said.
The survey found that 91.5 percent of respondents believe a federal ban on the manufacture or sale of semi-automatic weapons would have no effect or a negative effect on the reduction of violent crime. Though a national assault weapons ban is dead in the water, numerous states — including Maryland, Connecticut and New York — have adopted or enhanced their own bans.
The vast majority of officers also believe legally armed citizens are important in the reduction of crime rates.
“It’s my analysis that by and large law enforcement officers favor enforcement of current laws and enforcement against illegal guns,” Mr. Wyllie said. “They also favor responsible, armed citizens in the midst of other civilians out there to help protect innocents from harm.”
Release of the survey, conducted March 4-13, comes at a time politicians in Congress and around the country are pushing for stricter gun restrictions in the name of public safety. The Senate is scheduled Thursday to take up gun legislation that would expand the types of gun sales subject to background checks, and impose new penalties on gun traffickers and straw purchasers — those who buy guns to transfer them to people who can’t legally own them.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. addressed an audience of law enforcement officers from around the country at the White House in support of the administration’s gun control measures. But the survey results, issued Monday, indicate a strong undercurrent in the public safety community that is critical of additional gun restrictions.
When asked what would help most in preventing a large-scale public shooting, the majority of respondents, 28.8 percent, favor more permissive concealed-carry policies for civilians. The second most popular answer, with 19.6 percent, was that more aggressive institutionalization for mentally ill persons would prevent a large-scale shooting, followed by 15.8 percent who believed more armed security would prevent such a tragedy.
Less than 1 percent of respondents believed that further restrictions on assault weapons and ammunition magazines would prevent a large-scale shooting.
When asked what impact a legally armed citizen could have had in a mass shooting such as the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. or movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colo., a whopping 80 percent believed casualties would have been reduced while another 6.2 percent thought casualties would have been avoided altogether.
As long as civilians were deemed psychologically and medically capable and did not have any felony convictions, 91.3 percent favored allowing civilians to carry concealed firearms.
The survey was publicized to more than 400,000 registered PoliceOne members and vetted to ensure responders worked in law enforcement, Mr. Wyllie said. While not scientifically conducted, the poll was an opportunity to give rank-and-file officers who Mr. Wyllie said might be dissuaded from speaking publicly on the gun control debate a way to “be seen on the issue.”
“There hasn’t been a venue from which everyday patrol officers and sergeants can chime in,” Mr. Wyllie said. More than half of respondents identified themselves as officers or sergeants, while two-thirds came from departments with 500 or fewer personnel and three-quarters said they were currently on the job.
The survey also revealed divergent thoughts on gun buyback programs, which gained renewed attention in the wake of the Newtown shooting. While police departments around the county have hosted gun buybacks, touted as a way to get dangerous weapons off the streets, 81.5 percent of respondents did not believe gun buybacks were effective in reducing gun violence.
The opinions expressed in the survey clearly don’t represent all of law enforcement.
After a recent White House gathering of police chiefs and sheriffs, Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger told The Associated Press that police chiefs are “very supportive of the assault weapons ban.” Maryland passed legislation last week that prohibits 45 guns under such a ban, limits handgun magazines to no more than 10 rounds and requires residents to obtain a license for a gun.
In Colorado, where gun control legislation was passed last month that prohibits the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds and requires background checks for all private gun sales, elected sheriffs and the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police are on different sides of the issue. The association spoke out in support of the legislation before its passage, while The Denver Post reported Tuesday that 37 of the state’s 62 elected sheriffs are preparing to sue in order to overturn the law.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association, a professional association of police executives representing the largest U.S. and Canadian cities, adopted a platform in January that supports an assault weapons ban and bills that prevent gun trafficking and record keeping of ammunition purchases.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, president of the Major Cities Chiefs Association and the former chief of the District’s Metropolitan Police Department, recently acknowledged in an interview with the Associated Press that not all law enforcement personnel agree on gun control priorities.
“You’re not going to get 100 percent of people to agree on anything as it relates to gun control, and we’re no different, but a majority of people in the room recognize that something needs to be done,” he said.
LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS SAY GUN RESTRICTIONS ARE INEFFECTIVE
If our major media were not fully committed propagandists, they would report the findings of a large scale survey of law enforcement personnel on the subject of further gun legislation. After all, they are currently following the President’s strategy of distracting the public from the awful state of the economy by exploiting the victims of Newtown to push for further erosion of Second Amendment rights. So the views of law enforcement personnel ought ot be of some interest.
But of course the results are dramatic, and show that the people who deal with gun crime (and all other crime) understand that guns in the hands of law abiding citizens are a very good idea.
Police One, the leading website for law enforcement professionals, received over 15,000 responses to its survey on gun policy and law enforcement. They constitute a strong refutation of the liberal program, and so must be suppressed at all costs. See the Police One summary here. For example:
1.) Virtually all respondents (95 percent) say that a federal ban on manufacture and sale of ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds would not reduce violent crime.
2.) The majority of respondents – 71 percent – say a federal ban on the manufacture and sale of some semi-automatics would have no effect on reducing violent crime. However, more than 20 percent say any ban would actually have a negative effect on reducing violent crime. Just over 7 percent took the opposite stance, saying they believe a ban would have a moderate to significant effect.
OBAMA ADMINISTRATION AIMING TO ARREST LOCAL SHERIFFS WHO BACK SECOND AMENDMENT
by: Lance Johnson
April 09, 2013
(NaturalNews) With new gun laws popping up all over the country, from Connecticut to Colorado, one cannot deny the country is dividing – some places trashing their rights and bowing to new orders, and other states standing up for personal liberty and responsibility. A civil war is brewing in the United States, and has reached a new boiling point with a new Colorado law that’s on its way to Governor John Hickenlooper’s desk.
This bill would give Obama’s Secret Service vast new powers to arrest sheriffs and other law enforcement that defend the republic’s Second Amendment rights. This is definitely an arrogant move by controlling globalists in the Obama administration.
Obama’s policies attract unforeseen violence
As the Obama administration continues campaigning against violence, new laws are being signed that actually perpetuate crime. To some, all the gun grabbing laws seem like conspiracy, but maybe the Obama administration is really just ignorant of the facts. Obama continues to welcome several gun laws that actually promote violence in the end. As seen in the Sandy Hook shooting, a gun-free zone attracts violence. As seen in Aurora, Colorado, a helpless defenseless crowd is a target. This is why the president and other high ranking officials have armed body guards at their side.
The Colorado bill grants Secret Service power over local sheriffs
The Colorado bill, SB-13-013, has quickly passed, giving Secret Service agents arrest powers by granting them the title of peace officer. This places them on the same level with state law enforcement officials, granting them power over local sheriffs.
As the bill was debated, no one could explain why it was even brought up.
“I was told it was so we can exercise 72-hour mental holds on our own citizens,” Sen. Kevin Lundberg said. “I found it curious…Currently a police officer, doctor, psychiatrist, registered nurse and other professionals just on the strength of their word can say they want a person taken against their will and put in a mental institution for up to three business days.”
Rep. Jared Wright was told that the law could be needed in case something happened during a motorcade procession.
Rep. Saine was told that the bill would help local law enforcement with check and wire fraud.
As the federal government covertly injects its power into new state laws, framework is being set up to begin a purge of Constitution-abiding sheriffs. It seems the federal government is secretly planning to expand its powers unchecked, and rule over the states, bypassing the Tenth Amendment.
As confusion mounts with this sweeping new power grab in Colorado, one can only wonder, “Is my state next?” “What might happen to my local sheriff?” “Is the federal government really this capable?”
28 of 29 Utah sheriffs write to Obama, in rebellion
Law enforcement officers across the country are fighting back, standing against the Obama administration. The Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association is compiling a list of sheriffs, associations, and police chiefs who have vowed to uphold the Second Amendment in the wake of any unconstitutional action by President Obama.
In January, 28 of Utah’s 29 sheriffs signed a letter to Obama stating,
“We respect the office of the President of the United States. But make no mistake, as the duly elected sheriffs of our respective counties; we will enforce the rights guaranteed to our citizens by the Constitution. No federal officials will be permitted to descend upon our constituents and take from them what the Bill of Rights – in particular Amendment II – has given them. We, like you, swore a solemn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, and we are prepared to trade our lives for the preservation of its traditional interpretation.”
So is the federal government capable of arresting our local sheriffs?
Yes, with laws like these on the books, they can obviously affect and manipulate the legal system, but as real law is destroyed in America, more free people are going to grow wary and dismiss the law altogether, standing together with fellow sheriffs, oath keepers, and constitutionalists in defense of a free America.
SHERIFFS SUING OWN STATE OVER GUNS
Contend Democrat-led gun-control package unconstitutional
Revealing the disconnect between Colorado politicians and the law enforcement officers who are charged with making sure the state’s laws are followed, more than half of the sheriffs in the state are planning to file a lawsuit against recent gun control laws passed by Democratic lawmakers.
The lawsuit was announced by Weld County Sheriff John Cooke on Tuesday. Cooke has previously publicly said he will not be enforcing the new gun control laws because he believes they are unconstitutional.
While politicians may pass the laws, law-enforcement officials are the ones who have to deal with the real-world implications of putting the new laws into effect. Because of this, 37 of the state’s 62 sheriffs have announced their plans to file a lawsuit against the new laws, saying they are unconstitutional and unenforceable.
David Kopel, an attorney with the Independence Institute, which will be handling the case, said the brief is still being prepared but he expects to file it in the next few weeks.
“We are still working out the details, but there is a very solid case here. We are still working on some of the specifics, however we do feel we have a variety of strong legal claims that are worth bringing to court,” he said.
As part of the current legislative session, Democratic lawmakers, who hold the majority in both houses, rammed through a series of gun-control measures pushed by the Obama administration.
Among the measures are requirements for universal background checks for gun transfers and a ban on magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. Additionally, residents now wishing to exercise their Second Amendment right must now pay a fee in order to exercise that right. The laws are among some of the toughest in the nation passed since the Sandy Hook massacre.
During the legislative process leading to the passage of the bills – all signed by Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper – the state’s sheriffs have been at the forefront of the opposition, drawing even a veiled threat from Democrats in the statehouse that a proposed raise for the law enforcement officers was at risk.
The sheriffs have frequently said the laws are unconstitutional and unenforceable. To minimize that message, Democrats allowed only one sheriff to testify on each bill as they came through the legislature.
State officials admitted they were doing the bidding of the White House. In February, Vice President Joe Biden flew into the state to strong-arm Democratic lawmakers who were feeling pressure from their constituents to vote against the bills.
“He (Biden) said it would send a strong message to the rest of the country that a western state had passed gun-control bills,” Tony Exhum, a Democratic lawmaker from Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post.
House Majority Leader Mark Ferrandino, an open homosexual who also pursued a “civil unions” agenda this year, admitted the gun-control bills introduced by fellow Democrats had national implications.
“I was shocked that he called. He said he thought the bills could help them on a national level,” Ferrandino said.
Following Hickenlooper’s signature, Barack Obama came to the state last week for what some have criticized as a “victory lap.”
While in the state, Obama said the federal government should follow Colorado’s example and pass similar gun control laws.
While the president used cadets at the Denver Police Academy as props during his speech, the sheriffs let the president know they were not happy with the passage of his proposals. Illustrating the problem with the transfer ban, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa handed an ammunition magazine to another sheriff and noted during a news conference that this act would soon be illegal when the law takes effect on July 1.
The legislation banning some magazines does not simply ban the sale of large capacity magazines, it also bans their transfer, meaning the simple act of handing the magazine to a spouse or friend to borrow or assist in clearing a jam would be a violation of the law.
Feeling that their concerns have been ignored and that the gun control measures have gone too far, the sheriffs are in the process of filing a lawsuit against the legislation.
Kopel said others are joining the sheriffs in the lawsuit, too.
Cooke has publicly gone on record as saying the laws are not only unconstitutional, but as written they are unenforceable and as such, he will not enforce them.
“Those who currently own magazines that hold over 10 rounds are grandfathered in,” Cooke said. “However, if a resident goes to another state and buys an illegal magazine after the law takes effect, we have no way of way of knowing when he purchased it unless he admits it to us. Remember, the burden of proof is on us to prove he broke the law, not for him to prove he didn’t.”
Regarding the background checks, Cooke said that is easily worked around by simply crossing the border to a neighboring state.
“All a person has to do legally is go across the border to Wyoming and conduct a private sale,” he explained. “There is no background check required up there and again, there is no way for us to prove where the sale took place. How will we know if the sale or transfer occurred illegally or not?”
The Colorado gun battle also created a number of opportunities for Democrat gaffes. One was when U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette praised the magazine restriction for soon reducing the weaponry that would be available in America.
“I will tell you these are ammunition, they’re bullets, so the people who have those now they’re going to shoot them, so if you ban them in the future, the number of these high capacity magazines is going to decrease dramatically over time because the bullets will have been shot and there won’t be any more available,” she said.
The Denver Post said DeGette “didn’t appear to understand” that a firearm magazine “can be reloaded with more bullets.”
Another memorable comment came from state Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, who scolded a witness who was opposing one of the gun limits.
Amanda Collins, 27, of Reno, Nev., was telling her story about being assaulted and explained that had she been carrying a concealed weapon, the incident might have ended differently.
“I just want to say that, actually statistics are not on your side even if you had a gun,” Hudak scolded. “And, chances are that if you would have had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.”
Hudak continued, speaking over the committee witness, “The Colorado Coalition Against Gun Violence says that every one woman who used a handgun in self-defense, 83 here are killed by them.”
Finally able to resume her testimony, Collins said, “Senator, you weren’t there. I know without a doubt [the outcome would have been different with a gun].
“He already had a weapon,” she told the meeting of the Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee. “He didn’t need mine.”
Then there was the comment from state Rep. Joe Salazar.
He said that a woman who feels threatened by rape on a college campus doesn’t need to be armed because she can use a call box to get help.
Salazar’s statement came in a debate over a proposal to ban citizens possessing a concealed-carry permit from being armed on university campuses.
“It’s why we have call boxes,” said Salazar, “it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at.
“And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around, or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.”
HIGHWAY PATROL GAVE FEDS MISSOURI WEAPON PERMITS DATA
By Rudi Keller | Columbia Daily Tribune
APRIL 11, 2013
JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri’s database of concealed weapon permits was twice given to federal authorities investigating Social Security disability fraud in a move that has enraged lawmakers already angry over potential abuses in a new driver’s licensing system.
Missouri State Highway Patrol Col. Ron Replogle was questioned for nearly an hour this morning by the Senate Appropriations Committee after he revealed to Chairman Kurt Schaefer yesterday that his agency had turned over the data.
The delivery of the information to federal authorities has become a huge issue for lawmakers since they began raising questions about new driver’s licensing procedures. A lawsuit from Stoddard County challenged the procedures that require all supporting documents — including certificates granting concealed weapon privileges — to be scanned and retained.
In November 2011 and again in January, Replogle said, an agent of the Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General received discs with the data. Each time, the agent was unable to read the encryption format and destroyed the discs, Replogle said.
“They said no names were retrieved,” Replogle told the committee this morning. “They do not have those names. They did not disseminate that information, and all that information has been destroyed. We have asked for that documentation of what has happened.”
The data was turned over because the Office of Inspector General is a law enforcement agency, Replogle said. It was done by a mid-level supervisor at the patrol. Replogle said he was not informed of the transfer until four weeks ago.
The intention was to cross-check the names on the concealed carry list with the agency’s list of those with disabilities attributed to mental illness to find possible evidence of fraud in the system.
New procedures are being put in place to make sure a similar release of data does not happen again without his approval, Replogle said.
Lawmakers also have been frustrated by what they view as an attempt by department officials to obscure the facts as much as possible. Replogle promised he would be open, and he answered each question directly.
“I am here to give you full disclosure, and I know a lot more than I did at 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon,” he said.
The frustration level rose again when Andrea Spillars, deputy director of the Department of Public Safety, arrived to explain why she thought what the patrol did was legal and could be done again for federal law enforcement officials.
“Under state statutes the legislature passed, it is a lawful, permissible disclosure,” she said.
State law bars the Department of Revenue from implementing the federal Real ID Act. The procedures adopted for Missouri licenses mirror Real ID Act requirements. State law also mandates that concealed weapons permit data is confidential.
Gov. Jay Nixon has denied that concealed weapons permits were turned over to a “magical database” for federal agents to “mess with” Missourians. The requests from Social Security were revealed yesterday in an appropriations committee hearing, and Replogle gave incomplete information to Schaefer yesterday.
“There is nothing magical about the name Real ID,” Schaefer said after this morning’s hearing. “It is the things that go along with it, the giving up of personal data, the subjecting yourself to identity theft without any due process of law before that information is given up.”
For weeks, he said, the department has denied it was implementing Real ID or turning over concealed weapons permit information.
“What we now know is we were lied to about the process, how it is implemented, how it is funded, and we were lied to about the fact that the Department of Motor Vehicles or the state of Missouri did or did not give out a list of concealed carry holders to the federal government,” Schaefer said.
The delay for several weeks between Replogle being informed and him revealing the information and investigating how it happened also angered the committee. “How are we supposed to know to ask if no one indicates you are involved?” Sen. Ryan Silvey, R-Kansas City, asked. “For four weeks you knew this was going on, and you let us chase the rabbit trails at the Department of Revenue.”
Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, asked the questions during a hearing yesterday that revealed that federal requests for data on concealed weapons had been honored. When he was told today that no one in particular was a target of the federal investigation of potential disability fraud, he said it was difficult to believe. “I am stunned by that,” Schaaf said.
NEW YORK POLICE CONFISCATING FIREARMS FROM PEOPLE TAKING ANTI-ANXIETY MEDICATION
Government increases “onerous activity” to confiscate legal firearms.
April 9, 2013
The New York State Police are suspending the handgun permits of people in the state who are prescribed anti-anxiety medication, according to Jim Tresmond of the Tresmond Law Firm in Hamburg, New York. Tresmond Law specializes in firearm litigation.
“We are representing a client right now who is impacted by this onerous activity of the government,” Tresmond told WBEN, a news talk radio station in Buffalo, New York.
“We were flummoxed by this whole matter,” the attorney said. “The HIPPA act is supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening. It’s a gross invasion of our privacy rights.”
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
Tresmond said the New York State Police are responsible for taking action against legal firearms owners. “Based on information the county received from the New York State Police, they’ve suspended the permits. The State Police instigates the proceedings.”
Section 9.46 of the NY SAFE Act of 2013 authorizes therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to report patients they determine may engage in conduct that may result in harm to self or others. If a determination is made that the person in question poses a threat, the provision permits the government to confiscate firearms. The provision is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the legal standard of probable cause.
Experts said many mental health providers will likely ignore the provision.
NY SAFE was passed by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo the same day.
NEW YORK STATE POLICE ADMIT WRONGLY CONFISCATING GUNS UNDER NEW LAWS
Clerk’s office suggests legislation has serious flaws
April 11, 2013
State police in Erie County, New York have admitted a huge mistake in confiscating a man’s guns under newly passed gun control laws, saying they identified the wrong person.
Erie County Clerk Chris Jacobs has said that police called him to clarify that they had wrongly enforced a pistol permit suspension on a local gun owner under the NY SAFE Act. The confiscation order came following a warning suggesting the man was using anti-anxiety medication prescribed by his doctor
Under provisions in the new legislation, anyone identified as suffering from a mental health condition can have their firearms seized by police.
Jacobs said that during the phone call he was told troopers had forwarded incorrect information, and that police had made an error.
Jacobs also indicated that this case highlighted serious flaws in the new legislation.
“I think that first and foremost, it stems from a flawed law that was passed so quickly without forethought on how something would be implemented.” Jacobs told WGRZ News. “Certainly, I am disappointed on the fact that we were given information from State Police that this was an individual that we needed to act immediately on,”
“Previously we received correspondence from the State Police that a pistol permit holder in our County had a mental health condition that made them a potential harm to themselves or others, a provision in the NY SAFE Act that requires suspension of their pistol permit license,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs said that he had referred the item and all supporting documentation to the State Supreme Court Judge in charge of issuing pistol permits. After reviewing the information from State Police, the judge issued a suspension of the permit pending a hearing.
“When the State Police called to tell us they made a mistake and had the wrong person…it became clear that the State did not do their job here, and now we all look foolish.”
“Until the mental health provisions are fixed, these mistakes will continue to happen,” says Jacobs.
The gun owner in this case, David Lewis, a 35-year-old college librarian who owns seven pistols and is a regular target shooter, is said to be taking legal action. His attorneys have noted that protections should have been in force under The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Privacy Rule, which establishes national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“We were flummoxed by this whole matter,” Jim Tresmond of the Tresmond Law Firm in Hamburg, New York said. “The HIPPA act is supposed to prevent this kind of thing from happening. It’s a gross invasion of our privacy rights.”
Mr Lewis still has not had his guns returned and will be required to attend a hearing in front of a judge in order to get them back, according to his attorney, who stated “It’s negligence on either the State Police or Erie County Clerk’s Office. Someone was negligent if my client has been put through this ringer.”
New York State Police have refused to answer questions from local reporters or to conduct an interview.
Section 9.46 of the NY SAFE Act of 2013 authorizes therapists, doctors, nurses and social workers to report patients they determine may engage in conduct that may result in harm to self or others. If a determination is made that the person in question poses a threat, the provision permits the government to confiscate firearms. The provision is a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment and the legal standard of probable cause.
Legal experts believe many mental health providers will likely ignore the provision.
NY SAFE was passed by the New York State Legislature on January 15, 2013, and was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo the same day.
YORK ARMS CANCELS ALL ORDERS TO NEW YORK LAW ENFORCEMENT AND OFFERS ALTERNATIVES TO RESIDENTS
The following press release was posted by AmmoLand.com, Based on the recent legislation in New York, we are prohibited from selling rifles and receivers to residents of New York.
We have chosen to extend that prohibition to all governmental agencies associated with or located within New York.
As a result we have halted sales of rifles, short barreled rifles, short barreled shotguns, machine guns, and silencers to New York governmental agencies.
For “civilian” customers residing in New York: At your choice, we will:
- Complete your order and ship to a dealer of your choice outside of NY.
- Refund your payment in full.
- Hold your items here for up to 6 months, at no charge – if you are in the process of leaving NY and taking residence in another state.
For LE/Govt customers in New York: Your orders have been cancelled.
Kudos to York Arms. Not only suspending future sales, but outright canceling pending orders with the NY state government and law enforcement agencies.
Please note, we support all law enforcement personnel and wish you to have the best tools to do your job. Please speak out to your elected officials and let them know that your department/office sides with the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.
York Arms is a manufacturer of AR15 style firearms, machine guns, short barreled rifles and provider of suppressors.
You can tell York Arms how you feel about their decision on their Facebook Page.
NEW YORK’S ASSAULT WEAPON REGISTRATION BEGINS
By MICHAEL VIRTANEN
Key measures of New York’s tough new gun law kicked in Monday, with owners of firearms now reclassified as assault weapons required to start registering the firearms and new limits on the number of bullets allowed in magazines.
As the new provisions took effect, New York’s affiliate of the National Rifle Association planned to file a court request for a federal injunction to immediate halt to the magazine limit.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo calls those and other provisions in the state’s new gun law common sense while dismissing criticisms he says come from “extreme fringe conservatives” who claim the government has no right to regulate guns.
“Yes, they are against it, but they are the extremists and the extremists shouldn’t win, especially on this issue when it is so important to the majority,” Cuomo said in a radio interview last week. “In politics, we have to be willing to take on the extremists, otherwise you will see paralysis.”
New York’s new gun restrictions, the first in the nation passed following December’s massacre at a Connecticut elementary school, limit state gun owners to no more than seven bullets in magazines, except at competitions or firing ranges.
The new regulations in New York commence as the U.S. Senate prepares to debate expanded gun legislation and weeks after Connecticut joined Colorado in signing into law tougher new gun restrictions.
The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, the state’s NRA affiliate, has a pending federal lawsuit against the new provisions. Attorney Brian Stapleton said the request for an immediate halt to the magazine limit would be filed electronically, probably late Monday or possibly early Tuesday.
The law violates the constitutional rights of law-abiding citizens “to keep commonly possessed firearms” at home for self-defense and for other lawful purposes, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association said in court papers. It is advising members to obey the law in the meantime.
“We are lawful and legal citizens of New York state and we always obey the law,” association President Tom King said. “It’s as simple as that.”
The new registrations, required over the next year, will be the group’s focus later, King said.
State Police posted forms Monday on their website for registration, which can be filed electronically. Owners of those guns, now banned from in-state sales, are required within a year to register them. Alternatively, they can legally sell them to a licensed dealer or out of state by next Jan. 15.
Rich Davenport, recording secretary of the Erie County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, said their nearly 11,000 members are united in opposition to the law, which he considers a hasty, illogical and emotional response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. He also questioned likely compliance with the registration requirement.
“I’m guessing it’ll be pretty low,” said Davenport, a longtime hunter. He said that even though he’s not personally affected by the registration provision, “I’m offended as an American.”
The toughest part of the new statute _ banning in-state sales of those guns newly classified as “assault weapons” _ immediately took effect Jan. 15. The new classification related to a single military-style feature, such as a pistol grip on semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines. Other listed features include a folding or thumbhole stock, bayonet mount, flash suppressor, or second protruding grip held by the non-trigger hand.
It requires owners to register an estimated 1 million guns previously not classified as assault weapons by April 15, 2014, though law enforcement officials acknowledge they don’t know exactly how many such guns New Yorkers have.
The assault weapon definition also applies to some shotguns and handguns. They include shotguns that are semi-automatic, or self-loading, and have another feature, such as a folding stock, a second handgrip held by the non-shooting hand or the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
Also covered are semi-automatic pistols that can take detachable magazines and have another feature, such as a folding or thumbhole stock, a second handgrip and a threaded barrel that can accept a silencer.
Many county boards in New York have passed resolutions urging at least partial repeal of the law while warning that new registration requirements would be a costly burden on them.
Herkimer County Clerk Sylvia Rowan said Thursday she had received no registration forms for those guns. “There’s a lot of confusion on this,” she said.
Rowan noted that she had received few formal requests filed from the holders of the county’s 12,000 pistol permits to exempt their information from public disclosure, something else authorized under the new law.
Passed Jan. 15, a month after the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., the statute originally banned magazines with more than seven bullets effective April 15. Connecticut officials said that shooter Adam Lanza used a semi-automatic Bushmaster AR-15 and five 30-round magazines to kill 20 children and six adults in minutes.
However, acknowledging that manufacturers don’t make seven-bullet magazines, the Cuomo administration and New York lawmakers amended their law on March 29, keeping 10-bullet magazines legal but generally illegal to load them with more than seven bullets.
The statute restates the ban on magazines with capacity to hold more than 10 bullets, while adding also banning those that were grandfathered in under the old law.
The new Colorado bill, signed into law last month, bans ammunition magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.
MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: IF YOU SELL A GUN TO YOUR SON, ‘THERE’S SOMETHING WRONG IN YOUR FAMILY’
In a radio appearance on Friday, Bloomberg, a gun control activist and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, praised the legislation that is now moving forward in the Senate. The bill would require universal background checks for most sales of firearms, including those online and at gun shows.
“The only thing it would not cover is if you sold a gun to your son, for example,” Bloomberg told radio host John Gambling. “Number one, I don’t know how we would ever enforce that if it were the law. So to make a big deal about that’s carved out, so what? It doesn’t change anything.”
“Number two, I would argue if you want to sell your gun to your son, maybe you have a problem in your family,” he said. “Why don’t you just give—I don’t know if you should have a gun or not, but if you have a commercial transaction of $100 with your son, there’s something wrong in your family.
“It’s just not something where everybody’s pulling together in the same direction,” Bloomberg said. “So that’s the only thing it leaves out.”
Bloomberg said he would be satisfied with the Senate bill, which includes initiatives for school safety and stricter penalties for gun trafficking, although he wishes it also had included a ban on so-called ‘assault weapons.’
“It would be great if we could get rid of assault weapons, but that’s just not going to happen at the moment,” he said. “So let’s do this.”
On Thursday, the Senate voted 68-31 to open debate on the gun control package, as an attempted filibuster by a group of Republicans led by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) failed to muster enough Republican support to succeed.
Bloomberg said those who ultimately vote for the legislation (S.649) are voting to “save your life.”
“I don’t know that you want to have a victory lap, but those Senators—and House members if we get to that—that voted for this should have a big smile on their face,” he said. “They did something to save your life and your kids’ lives, and make this country a lot better.”
“And I will be out there, you can rest assured next November a year from now, saying look these are the people that voted…that’s when you say this person voted to save your life, this person voted to let people with criminal records and mental problems have a gun and potentially take your life,” Bloomberg said.
PROFESSOR AT PUBLIC UNIVERSITY UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR ALLEGEDLY FORCING STUDENTS TO MAKE ANTI-GUN POSTERS
By Oliver Darcy | Campus Reform
A professor at a public university in Texas is under investigation from school administrators for allegedly forcing students in her graphic design class to create anti-gun posters for a personal anti-gun campaign she had launched.
Midwestern State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Betty Stewart confirmed to Campus Reform Friday the school has launched an investigation into professor Jennifer Yucus’ conduct after a student filed an official complaint on Thursday.
According to the complaint, obtained by Campus Reform, the professor compelled students in her graphic design class to create artwork opposing firearms on campus and opposing pro-gun legislation currently pending before the Texas state legislature.
The professor then used the artwork students created online to publicize an anti-gun petition entitled “MSU is anti-Concealed Carry on Campus” and on a now deleted Facebook page opposing firearms, says the complaint.
“On Monday, April 1, around 7 PM (class was 5:30 – 8:20), Jennifer Yucus, Assistant Professor of Graphic Art/Design, compelled students from her Computers For Artists class to advocate in favor of a political petition opposing firearms on campus, in opposition to a pair of bills currently before the Texas legislature, using personal art materials and MSU resources,” reads the complaint.
“Several of my classmates were uncomfortable with the assignment and either quietly or openly expressed this,” it continues. “Professor Yucus asked students to rationalize objections by thinking of it as a job from an employer (or words to that effect).”
The complaint adds that Yucus “did require all works to include the URL to the petition” she had created and adds that students were photographed while crafting the posters to give the illusion of youth support.
“Professor Yucus took photos of her students in the process of drafting and creating the posters, but did not say how these would be used,” says the complaint. “The posters were then hung in the hallways of the Fain Arts building, giving the impression of student support.”
Some of the photos later appeared on an anti-gun Facebook page that appeared to have been created by Yucus. The page appeared to have been deleted after the complaint was filed, but Campus Reform was able to capture the posted images before they were removed.
According to the complaint, Yucus used her official university-issued e-mail address to later forward a URL to her petition to the entire class.
State law in Texas appears to forbid professors at public universities from using their authority to compel others to advocate for political causes.
“A state officer or employee may not use official authority… to interfere with or affect the result of an election or nomination of a candidate or to achieve any other political purpose,” reads subsection C of 556.004 of Government Code, Title 5, entitled “Open Government, Ethics.”
Stewart, told Campus Reform the university is taking the allegations very seriously.
“It is a serious offense,” she said. “My first step is to speak with student directly after reading the report that I received. Then I will speak with the professor.”
However, Stewart noted that throughout the duration of the investigation, professor Yucus will continue to remain on active duty and teach her classes.
“Yes, she will still be allowed to teach her students,” she said.