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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 01:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

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With gun nuts hoarding bullets, will cops be disarmed?

Dayne Pryor is the chief of police in Rollingwood, Texas, a small suburb of Austin. “I’ve been in law enforcement for 31 years and I’ve been a chief for eight years,” he sighs. “And it’s just one of those things that I never thought I’d have a problem with, especially being in Texas.”

Pryor’s problem, he explains to Salon, is that he’s having trouble finding ammunition and firearms for his officers, thanks to a national shortage. The cause? A run on supply from gun lovers afraid that Congress or state legislatures will impose new gun control laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting.

“Everyone is thinking, they’re going to stop manufacturing, or they’re going to be taxing and all this, so it’s just this mentality of, let’s all buy up everything now just in case. And it hurts us,” Pryor said. “This is ridiculous. This shouldn’t be happening to law enforcement.”

But he’s hardly alone. Rommel Dionisio, a New York-based firearms industry analyst at Wedbush Inc., confirms the trend is a national phenomenon. “Most certainly, ammunition is in very tight supply in addition to firearms,” thanks to “consumer fears of possible bans,” he told Salon in an email.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Mar 30, 2013, 06:50 AM (18 replies)

Made in the U.S.A.: The Role of American Guns in Mexican Violence

As many as 120,000 people in Mexico have been murdered since 2006, many from a bullet to the back of the head. Most of these killings are committed not with assault rifles, but rather pistols and revolvers. Many are perpetrated by hit-men tied to narco-cartels, but some occur in confrontations with soldiers and police. What's more, the majority of guns causing mayhem on Mexico's streets are made in the United States. And for all their destructive power, no one seems to know just how many firearms are flowing into the country.

Mexico can hardly be described as a heavily armed society. With around 2.5 million registered gun owners and at least 13 million more illegal arms in circulation, the country has a ratio of just 15 guns for every 100 people, well below the global average. Unlike in the U.S., civilian possession in Mexico is considered a privilege, not a right and is tightly regulated under federal law since the 1970s. Extensive background checks are required of all purchasers, and there are heavy penalties and even imprisonment for non-compliance. Astonishingly, there is just one legal gun shop in the country, compared to more than 54,000 federally licensed firearm dealers and thousands of pawnshops and gun shows scattered across the U.S.

Yet in spite of tough gun laws in Mexico, the proportion of killings committed with firearms skyrocketed from around 20 percent in the mid-1990s to 50 percent in the past few years. What explains the sudden rise in gun violence?

A big part of the problem resides not in Mexico, but in the U.S. In an economic study conducted by the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute and the Brazil-based Igarapé Institute, we estimated the volume of firearms annually trafficked across the US-Mexico border. Drawing on data from the Bureau for Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, we hypothesized that if the volume of the trade was significant, it would contribute to the total demand for firearms (and retailers) near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Mar 18, 2013, 02:32 PM (17 replies)

Ruled a Threat to Family, but Allowed to Keep Guns

Early last year, after a series of frightening encounters with her former husband, Stephanie Holten went to court in Spokane, Wash., to obtain a temporary order for protection.

Her former husband, Corey Holten, threatened to put a gun in her mouth and pull the trigger, she wrote in her petition. He also said he would “put a cap” in her if her new boyfriend “gets near my kids.” In neat block letters she wrote, “ He owns guns, I am scared.”

The judge’s order prohibited Mr. Holten from going within two blocks of his former wife’s home and imposed a number of other restrictions. What it did not require him to do was surrender his guns.

About 12 hours after he was served with the order, Mr. Holten was lying in wait when his former wife returned home from a date with their two children in tow. Armed with a small semiautomatic rifle bought several months before, he stepped out of his car and thrust the muzzle into her chest. He directed her inside the house, yelling that he was going to kill her.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Mar 18, 2013, 05:06 AM (4 replies)

Partisan Politics and Gun Violence

Three months after the Newtown, Conn., school massacre, the Senate Judiciary Committee has finally produced three major bills that could each make a significant difference in lowering the number and firepower of guns on the street and keeping them out of the wrong hands. But they have a deeply uncertain future as they head to the Senate floor, underscored by the utterly partisan split in the committee votes.

A bill to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines: 10 Democrats voted yes, eight Republicans voted no. A bill to require background checks on buyers in all gun sales, including from private sellers: 10 Democrats voted yes, eight Republicans voted no. A bill to stop illegal trafficking of firearms: 10 Democrats and one Republican voted yes, seven Republicans voted no.

Many Republicans claim to share the national concern over unabated violence, but, as the committee hearings showed, whenever there is an opportunity to do something about it, they find a way to object.

During Thursday’s committee discussion of the assault weapons ban, Senator John Cornyn of Texas tried to get an exception for anyone living along the border with Mexico, or anyone living in a rural area, or victims of sexual assault. These amendments — all of which were rejected — were just for show, since he had no intention of voting for the overall bill even if one had been accepted.

Posted by SecularMotion | Fri Mar 15, 2013, 07:56 AM (29 replies)

Senate Panel Votes for Ban on Assault Weapons

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a measure to reinstate a ban on assault weapons, the first major Congressional vote on the issue since the ban expired in 2004.

The vote to approve the measure — now ostensibly headed for the full Senate — went firmly along party lines; the 10 Democrats on the committee voted aye, and the 8 Republicans of the committee rejected it. The legislation would also limit the size of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds.

In debating the measure — as well as amendments offered by Senator John Cornyn of Texas designed to chip away its provisions — the committee laid bare the essence and emotions of the debate over how to prevent gun violence and the meaning of the Second Amendment, a fight that is likely to continue on the Senate floor.

The measure, the fourth and most controversial passed by the committee, is almost certain to fail if brought before the entire Senate and has almost zero chance of even receiving a hearing in the House.


After a Sting by New York, Gun Shows Move to Tighten Checks

ALBANY — The overwhelming majority of New York state gun show operators have agreed to new rules to ensure that criminal and mental health background checks are conducted on buyers.

The agreement was reached after undercover agents from the state attorney general’s office were able to purchase weapons, including three AR-15 rifles, without any screening at half a dozen gun shows around the state.

The operators, with shows from White Plains to Cheektowaga, have also agreed to a broader system to track firearms at their shows and to guard against illegal sales in parking lots.

The agreement was negotiated by the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, who had brought criminal charges against the sellers identified in the sting.

Posted by SecularMotion | Thu Mar 14, 2013, 12:21 PM (2 replies)

Regents, 'Moms' oppose bill allowing guns at campuses, churches

ATLANTA – The Board of Regents released a statement Tuesday opposing legislation that would allow guns on Georgia’s college campuses, and a separate group is planning a rally to object to them in churches, bars and schools.

The groups are trying to stop House Bill 512, which passed the state House last week just hours before the Legislature’s internal deadline. Now the matter is pending in the Senate.

The House Public Safety & Homeland Security Committee rolled into one several separate bills to relax various gun-control measures. Then the House passed it largely on a party-line vote.

“We firmly believe the current law promotes a safe learning environment for our students and working environment for our faculty and staff,” notes the four-sentence statement signed by Chancellor Hank Huckaby, the regents of the University System of Georgia and the presidents of the state’s 31 public colleges.

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Mar 13, 2013, 06:15 AM (1 replies)

Concealed Carry Law Shields Law Breakers

More than 4,000 applicants were denied a Wisconsin concealed carry license and more than 400 had their licenses revoked or suspended in the program’s first 14 months, records show. These included dozens of felons, domestic abusers, illegal drug users and “fugitives from justice.”

Who were these lawbreakers?

The state’s lips are sealed.

“The Department of Justice is not able to provide the records that you have requested because they are not accessible under law,” wrote Assistant Attorney General Kevin Potter, in response to a request for the applications from felons, fugitives and others who were denied licenses.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 02:40 PM (6 replies)

Court upholds Biglerville business owner's federal firearms license revocation

The U.S. Middle District Court has upheld the revocation of a Biglerville business owner’s federal firearms license for failing to record the sale of thousands of firearms, a process that law enforcement officials rely on to apprehend criminals who use firearms to commit crimes, and to ensure firearms are not being sold to those unauthorized to possess them.

Peter J. Smith, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania and Donald Robinson, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Philadelphia Field Division jointly announced Friday that U.S. Middle District Court Judge John E. Jones III, has adopted the revocation of the Federal Firearms License (FFL) of Scott W. Taylor of Taylor’s Trading Post in Biglerville.

Compliance inspection

In early 2010, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) conducted a compliance inspection of Taylor’s business, which was operated out of his Adams County home. ATF discovered that over a three-year period of time, Taylor had committed more than 10,000 violations of the Gun Control Act, which requires firearm dealers to keep detailed and timely records of the purchase and sale of firearms.

Despite buying and selling thousands of guns over that three-year period, Taylor failed to record the purchase of 5,715 firearms, the sale of 2,856 firearms, and keep records of the disposition of 1,618 additional firearms. About 160 of the firearms remain unaccounted for. Taylor also admitted to possessing a firearm with an obliterated serial number, which he knew was illegal and failing to report it to law enforcement.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 02:36 PM (30 replies)

Police must report psych patients to gun bureau

On the day of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14, 2012, Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) had been visiting her daughter's kindergarten class, celebrating Hope's birthday.

Having just read to a group of adorable and enthusiastic 5- and 6-year-olds, Hahn recalled, "When I left and heard about the tragedy, obviously being an elected official, I thought about what can I do."

What she did was meet with the Legislature's counsel and the head of the county Pistol Licensing Bureau. Together they wrote a bill, which the Legislature passed unanimously on Tuesday, requiring police officers in Suffolk to notify the Pistol Licensing Bureau of all patients taken involuntarily to a hospital emergency room for psychiatric reasons. The patients will be reported to the bureau whether they are brought to Stony Brook University Hospital's Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program, which is usually the case, said Hahn, or to other area hospitals in the county.

If there is a match between the patient's name or home address and the gun registry, she said, the Pistol Licensing Bureau could then investigate whether the gun license should be revoked or suspended. Since shotguns and rifles are not registered in the county, only pistols or handguns are covered by the law.

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Mar 12, 2013, 02:33 PM (23 replies)
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