Firearms, gun control and politics /2018 – 2019

Written by  //  June 30, 2019  //  Justice & Law, Public Policy  //  No comments

Bloomberg Topics: Gun Control
The Guardian: US gun control
Mother Jones: Guns
The NRA vs. America
How the country’s biggest gun-rights group thwarts regulation
and helps put military-grade weapons in the hands of killers

Firearms, gun control and politics
Firearms, gun control and politics – 2018 student movement
Guns with a History – should be shown before a sale to every gun purchaser!
How much do you know about the Second Amendment? A quiz.
Firearms, gun control and politics /2015-2017
The Parody Project: Hallelujah Parody
Letter to the NRA | Don Caron

Mexico’s only gun store sells 38 firearms a day. Hundreds more are smuggled from United States
Each day the army gun store sells on average just 38 firearms to civilians, while an estimated 580 weapons are smuggled into Mexico from the United States
The only gun shop in all of Mexico is behind a fortress-like wall on a heavily guarded military base.
Last year was Mexico’s deadliest since the government began releasing homicide statistics in 1997. This year, it is on track to surpass that record.
American firearms are directly driving the violence, although US appetites for drugs and rampant corruption among Mexican officials also play a role
Most trafficked guns are bought in the US from one of the country’s more than 67,000 licensed gun dealers or at gun shows, which unlike stores often do not require buyers to present identification or submit to background checks.
By contrast, would-be gun owners in Mexico must offer a birth certificate and proof that they are employed, and have no criminal record. (27 May 2018)

Embattled NRA Loses Its Political Power Broker on Eve of 2020
(Bloomberg) As the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox pumped more money into Trump’s unlikely election than anyone. As Polly MosendzNeil Weinberg and David Voreacos explain, Cox’s resignation on Wednesday comes as the NRA is entering the 2020 race with the president lagging in polls and without the marketing or lobbying power that made it such an effective force for Trump in 2016.

6 June
More Americans were shot to death by March 6 this year than died on D-Day
On Thursday, Americans remembered those killed on D-Day, 75 years back. It was a day of enormous heroism that was critical in turning back Nazi Germany’s attempt to conquer Europe. Thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians and soldiers from other countries were part of the largest amphibious invasion force in history.
Some 2,501 Americans gave their lives that day, according to historic estimates. Another 1,913 soldiers from other Allied countries also died, bringing the total death toll from the immediate invasion to 4,414.
It took until late April before the number of people killed by guns in the United States in 2019 topped that number, according to data collected by the Gun Violence Archive.

6 May
New NRA president says Georgia congresswoman was elected because she’s ‘a minority female’
(CNN) New National Rifle Association President Carolyn Meadows said Rep. Lucy McBath was elected not because of her support of stricter gun laws, but because she is “a minority female,” according to the Marietta Daily Journal.
Meadows, who was recently elected NRA president after Oliver North was pushed out, told the Marietta Daily Journal, “We’ll get that seat back,” speaking of the congressional seat that McBath — a Georgia Democrat and a freshman lawmaker whose 17-year-old son was fatally shot in 2012 — won last year.
“There will be more than one person in the race, but we’ll get that seat back,” Meadows told the paper, according to the story published on Sunday. “But it is wrong to say like McBath said, that the reason she won was because of her anti-gun stance. That didn’t have anything to do with it — it had to do with being a minority female.”

27 April
The N.R.A. Ousts Oliver North and Stifles Debate on Financial Wrongdoing
(The New Yorker) The National Rifle Association’s annual convention was consumed by infighting on Saturday, after its president, Oliver North, was ousted by its board and its longtime chief executive, Wayne LaPierre, a week after a joint investigation by The New Yorker and The Trace [see below 17 April]  exposed hundreds of millions of dollars in questionable payments to N.R.A. executives, contractors, and venders. Adding to the scrutiny on the gun-rights group, the Times reported on Saturday that the New York attorney general, Letitia James, has opened a formal investigation into the group’s financial practices, including whether it should retain its nonprofit status. Politico: NRA announces North’s resignation on-stage as ‘crisis’ hits gun lobby

26 April
In N.R.A. Power Struggle, Insurgents Seek to Oust Wayne LaPierre
(NYT) Even as the leadership tussled behind the scenes, President Trump addressed the N.R.A. faithful at the convention on Friday and proclaimed himself a champion of gun rights. In a speech that was part political rally and part pep talk, he said his administration would not ratify an arms treaty designed to regulate the international sale of conventional weapons.

17 April
A long, detailed, read
Secrecy, Self-Dealing, and Greed at the NRA
The organization’s leadership is focused on external threats, but the real crisis is of its own making.

21 March
New Zealand just banned military-style firearms. Here’s why the U.S. can’t.
(WaPo) When New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced last Saturday that the country’s gun laws would change, less than 24 hours had passed since a right-wing terrorist attack killed at least 50 in Christchurch. On Thursday, she confirmed that her government had banned military-style semiautomatic weapons and assault rifles and a buyback program was being set up. The changes were supported both by the coalition government and the center-right main opposition party.
On the surface, New Zealand and the United States appeared to have a relatively similar approach to guns until Friday morning. Both are among the only nations without universal gun registration rules, and both have strong gun lobbies that have stalled previous attempts to rein in gun owners’ liberties.
“In New Zealand, the gun lobby dictates policy to the government,” Philip Alpers, founding director of gun legislation research tool, told Australia’s ABC last week. … New Zealand’s gun lobby shares many of its goals with the United States’ National Rifle Association, the world’s biggest gun lobby organization, which supports aligned politicians financially and uses social media to attack its opponents. Some of the NRA’s frequent arguments may also apply in New Zealand, with an estimated quarter of a million gun owners in a country of only 5 million people.
… The country’s lobby mainly represents a core of rural supporters, whereas more than 86 percent of New Zealanders now live in urban areas and form a largely liberal majority. In the United States, the ratio of citizens living in urban areas is slightly lower. More important, however, the U.S. system of representation and the way congressional districts are drawn increase the significance of rural Republican voters disproportionately.

10 January
Get Ready for a Financial Assault on the Second Amendment
(National Review) California Democrat Maxine Waters is the new chairwoman of the House Financial Services Committee. To judge from the party’s past behavior and the various proposals emanating from the left, Waters’s Democrats are going to pressure banks, credit unions, and payment companies to severely curtail and even terminate their relationships with firearm manufacturers, licensed gun retailers, and law-abiding citizens exercising their right to purchase and own firearms. In other words, they will use political pressure to force private institutions into creating social policy that threatens constitutional rights.
In 2013, senior banking officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, with support from the Department of Justice, forced banks to dissolve their relationship with “high-risk” businesses the Obama administration found objectionable or face federal investigations, despite the legality of the businesses. Known as Operation Choke Point, the effort targeted industries including “firearms and ammunition sales, adult entertainment, check cashing, and short-term lending,” according to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Without a complicit administration, Democrats in Congress will likely assume the role of pressuring financial institutions to cease transactions with businesses they deem unsavory, with the firearms community at the top of their list. Senate Democrats have already made this pressure explicit. Last year, Senator Brian Schatz penned a series of nine letters addressed to global payment companies, insisting they play a role in policing firearms and related products their customers are legally eligible to purchase. Seven additional Senate Democrats joined him.


1 December
Robert Landori: Guns
(Blog post) … the Second Amendment to the US Constitution which reads as follows: “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.” To stop gun-killings in the US requires draconian measures but, and this is the rub, they must be such that that they do not run afoul of the principles outlined in the Constitution.
Here is one way how:
Define “Arms” as any semi-automatic handgun with the characteristics equal to or less powerful than the Colt Junior 25 acp (short barrel, small bore, magazine limited to seven rounds or less.) Note that such a weapon’s fire-power is superior to the front-loading muskets’ with which the Founding Father’s militiamen were equipped.
Establish a Central Weapons Licensing Bureau (CWLB) in Washington serving the entire country and run by the Federal Government. (No more licensing by States).
Revoke existing gun licenses for all handguns and assault rifles.
Authorize the CWLB to issue, but only on request, one lifetime license to “bear Arms” (to wit: one only handgun with characteristics as described above) to each legal resident of the US twenty-one years of age or over, but only after such a person has passed a compulsory background check. This should satisfy those enamoured with the Second Amendment.
Authorize the CWLB to issue licenses, on request, for recreational and hunting weapons, to those who have passed a compulsory background check and have completed a compulsory eight-hour firearms course.
Prohibit the licensing and/or sale of any and all types of assault rifles. (Zero tolerance).
Legislate that any person found in possession of an unlicensed firearm is automatically imprisoned for five years with no right to bail, or time off for good behaviour while in custody.

10 November
After Thousand Oaks Shooting, International Readers Question America’s Gun Laws and Culture
Our international readers ask Americans to explain gun violence and share their own theories on why it is so common in the United States.
(NYT) The gunman whose rampage killed 12 people Wednesday at a country music bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., brought the United States again to a period of mourning, hand-wringing and resignation over gun violence.
It also made headlines around the world, coming less than two weeks after a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue where 11 were killed. In our comments section this week, dozens of readers outside the United States said they were struggling to understand why Americans let gun violence persist.
Here is a selection of their comments. They have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

9 November
Remembering the 12 lives cut short in the Thousand Oaks shooting
(PBS Newshour) A sheriff’s deputy about to retire, an aspiring soldier, a Marine Corps veteran, a survivor of the Las Vegas massacre and a Pepperdine University freshman were among the dead in Wednesday night’s mass shooting at a bar in Thousands Oaks, California. In all, 12 people were killed, and communities in California and across the country mourned the dead today.

27 October
David Frum: America’s Fatal Shame
There’s no politician to blame for the ideas in the synagogue murderer’s head. There are plenty to blame for the weapons in his hands.
At least 10 people were killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting Saturday morning. Must this nation worship only behind bars and guards?
Whereas Sayoc is a recognizable member of the pro-Trump internet subculture, the Tree of Life murderer will likely prove someone too extreme even for that underworld. But if no important voice in any way encouraged this shooter, there are a great many important voices who ensured that he had easy access to the guns with which he committed the shooting.
Post-Newtown, post–Las Vegas, it remains a supreme priority of American politics to protect access to instruments of death by the potentially violent. The gunman who killed two at a Kentucky supermarket on October 25 reportedly had a long history of mental illness. Orders had been entered against him to prevent him from obtaining firearms. He carried one with him at all times anyway—because in a country where guns are ubiquitous, guns will be everywhere.
And where guns are everywhere, death by guns can strike anywhere.  Synagogues, churches—we have not yet even reached the first anniversary of the mass slaughter in the Sutherlands Spring church in Texas—and of course schools. Everywhere.

1 August
A Push for 3-D Weapons by One of the World’s ‘Most Dangerous People’
(NYT) For Cody Wilson, this week had long been in the making. For more than five years, the professed gun-rights and free-speech advocate had sought to publish online his blueprints for a downloadable gun, but had repeatedly been blocked by the federal government.
Until Tuesday evening, it looked like he finally would get his way. But hours before the schematics for a 3-D gun called the Liberator were expected to be posted — so-called for the single-shot handguns that the Allies designed as an insurgency weapon in World War II — a federal judge granted a temporary nationwide injunction blocking Mr. Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed.
No stranger to controversy, Mr. Wilson was listed by Wired magazine as one of the 15 Most Dangerous People in the World in 2012, the year he began Defense Distributed.
(Wired) A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box for DIY Guns
Cody Wilson makes digital files that let anyone 3-D print untraceable guns. The government tried to stop him. He sued—and won.

24-26 July
Federal government taking serious look at handgun ban in wake of Toronto shooting
(Globe & Mail) A proposal to ban handguns is under serious consideration, according to a senior official, who was not authorized to speak on the record. Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and senior civil servants have been tasked with examining the idea of a ban, which Toronto City Council endorsed after a mass shooting this week that killed two and injured 13.
Opinion: Would a ban on guns save lives? Look at places where it did
Explainer: A primer on this summer’s shootings in Toronto and how politicians are responding
Toronto Votes For A Total Ban On Handgun Sales After Mass Shooting
“Why does anyone in this city need to have a gun at all?” Mayor John Tory asked at a city council meeting on Monday (HuffPost)
Globe editorial: Rethinking Canada’s outdated gun-control laws
Danforth shootings leave some Torontonians wondering whether city is ‘unravelling’

Bullets and bills: The cost of getting shot in America (video)
(BBC) Megan Hobson still cannot walk properly since being caught in a crossfire of bullets in Florida six years ago. But for her and many other shooting victims, the price of survival is not just months of rehabilitation and operations. It is tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills with no end in sight.

7 May
Oliver North Is Named N.R.A. President
Oliver L. North, who became a household name in the 1980s for his role in the Iran-contra scandal, will become the next president of the National Rifle Association, the gun rights organization said Monday.
“Oliver North is a legendary warrior for American freedom, a gifted communicator and skilled leader,” Wayne LaPierre, the organization’s chief executive, said in a statement. “In these times, I can think of no one better suited to serve as our President.”

More than 40 “active shooter” episodes in schools have been recorded in the United States since 2000, according to F.B.I. and news reports. Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured last month in a school in rural Benton, Ky. The shootings have become common enough that many schools, including Stoneman Douglas High, run annual drills in which students practice huddling in classrooms behind locked (NYT 14 Feb 2018)

We keep seeing this In 1996, Australia Enacted Strict Gun Laws. It Hasn’t Had a Mass Shooting Since and similar stories from other countries, why can’t the U.S. follow suit? Oh, those other countries did not have to cope with the NRA and/or 2nd Amendment.

A must read: Five types of gun laws the Founding Fathers loved
By Professor Saul Cornell
(The Conversation) I have been researching and writing about the history of gun regulation and the Second Amendment for the past two decades. When I began this research, most people assumed that regulation was a relatively recent phenomenon, something associated with the rise of big government in the modern era. Actually, while the founding generation certainly esteemed the idea of an armed population, they were also ardent supporters of gun regulations. (Updated 20 February 2018)

28 February
Trump rejects years of GOP dogma on guns as he scolds Republicans for being ‘petrified’ of NRA
(Globe & Mail) In a little over an hour on Wednesday, Donald Trump threw years of Republican dogma on guns out the window.
He pushed for comprehensive background checks for gun purchasers and supported instituting a minimum age to buy a rifle. He torpedoed a measure under consideration to make concealed weapons easier to carry nationwide. And he castigated his fellow Republicans for being “petrified” of the National Rifle Association.
To be sure, Mr. Trump does seem to want Congress to take action in response to the Florida shooting. However, it is not clear what steps he truly supports – and whether he is willing to do the heavy lifting that will be required to enact them.
Meanwhile, public pressure on elected officials and companies remains high: On Wednesday, both Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart said they would stop selling guns and ammunition to anyone under 21

22 February
Assault Weapons Not Protected by Second Amendment, Federal Appeals Court Rules
Dear America, here’s how other countries stop mass shootings
(Quartz) … as 18-year-old Parkland survivor Sam Zeif pointed out, one well-known idea has already been consistently proven to stop mass shootings: Stricter gun laws.
Research shows that countries with fewer guns have lower homicide rates. Even US states with fewer guns have fewer homicides; in a landmark 2002 study, analysis of data from 1988 to 1997 showed that states with “high” gun ownership had three times the rate of homicide than states with few guns. A decade later, a 2013 study found that every percentage point increase in gun ownership corresponded to a 0.9% higher risk of gun homicide. Countries and states that legally limit overall gun ownership simply have fewer gun deaths.

21 February
(LATimes) Tuesday’s announcement on the proposed bump stock ban came on the heels of a new poll showing more than 6 in 10 Americans fault Congress and Trump for not doing enough to prevent mass shootings. But there’s less consensus on which path forward lawmakers should take.

20 February
Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks
(The Hill) It does not appear that a bump stock device was used in the Florida shooting, nor does it appear a prohibition on the devices would have stopped that shooter.
Still, Trump’s remarks illustrate a desire on the part of the White House to show action on the issue of guns as students from the school and around the country demand change.

17 February
Prominent Republican Donor Issues Ultimatum on Assault Weapons
(NYT) A prominent Republican political donor demanded on Saturday that the party pass legislation to restrict access to guns, and vowed not to contribute to any candidates or electioneering groups that did not support a ban on the sale of military-style firearms to civilians.
In Florida, Extraordinary Obstacles for Changes to Gun Laws

16 February
This pretty much says it all.
(Daily Beast) “Several senior Trump aides expressed concern to The Daily Beast that Trump could potentially find himself in a situation in Parkland where he is trapped with grieving parents or students who harangue him about his administration’s position on guns, creating horrible optics and more negative press for the president.

15 February
A well argued piece against public ownership of AR-15
I understand that people want to be able to own guns. That’s ok. We just need to really think about how we’re managing this. Yes, we have to manage it, just as we manage car ownership. People have to get a license to operate a car, and if you operate a car without a license, you’re going to get in trouble for that. We manage all things in society that can pose a danger to other people by their misuse. In addition to cars, we manage drugs, alcohol, exotic animals (there are certain zip codes where you can’t own Serval cats, for example), and fireworks, among other things. We restrict what types of businesses can operate in which zones of the city or county. We have a whole system of permitting for just about any activity a person wants to conduct since those activities could affect others, and we realize, as a society, that we need to try to minimize the risk to other people that comes from the chosen activities of those around them in which they have no say. Gun ownership is the one thing our country collectively refuses to manage, and the result is a lot of dead people.
Voters, pay attention: On guns and ‘dreamers,’ Republicans reveal who they are
By Jennifer Rubin
The last 24 hours demonstrate, unless anyone had any doubt, that Republicans are unwilling to consider any reasonable gun measures, even reconsidering the bill they passed last year making it easier for mentally ill Social Security disability-benefits recipients to get guns. Nothing to be done. Now is not the time, House Speaker Paul Ryan intoned, sounding like a parody that frustrated critics of the National Rifle Association would use to mock him.

14 February
Death Toll Is at 17 and Could Rise in Shooting
(NYT) More than 40 “active shooter” episodes in schools have been recorded in the United States since 2000, according to F.B.I. and news reports. Two 15-year-old students were killed and 18 more people were injured last month in a school in rural Benton, Ky. The shootings have become common enough that many schools, including Stoneman Douglas High, run annual drills in which students practice huddling in classrooms behind locked

13 February
‘The Trump slump’: Remington files for bankruptcy as gun sales tumble
With Trump in the White House, America’s gun manufacturers are in trouble after a golden era under Barack Obama
(The Guardian) “They call it the Trump slump,” said Robert Spitzer, a professor at the State University of New York at Cortland and the author of five books on guns.
“Gun sales have become politicized to a great degree,” he said. “Gun purchases recently have been made not just because someone wants a new product but to make a statement; not just because of fears that there might be tighter regulation but also to make a statement against Obama.”
With Trump in the White House, said Spitzer, gun sales had sharply defaulted to their long-term trend of declining ownership rates.
“Gun ownership has been declining since the 1970s and there are now fewer gun owners than ever,” said Spitzer. Fewer people are hunting, younger people are less interested in gun ownership and the gun industry has had little success in its attempts to appeal to women and minorities.
The US has the highest rate of gun ownership in the world with 88 guns for every 100 people. But just 3% of the population owns an average of 17 guns each, with an estimated 7.7 million super-owners in possession of between eight and 140 guns apiece.

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