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

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The National Rifle Association's Mass Shooting Hypocrisy

After a gunman killed nine people in a historically African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, gun safety advocates responded with calls to expand the national background check system. Just as quickly, the National Rifle Association (NRA) reacted to those calls, slamming gun safety groups for "exploiting" the tragedy for "political purposes."

One month later, another gunman killed five members of the military at a naval facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The NRA was again quick to respond, but this time claimed the incident provided proof that firearm policies on military bases must be changed to loosen the rules about service members carrying guns.

So which is it? The NRA apparently thinks it is exploitative to discuss gun violence following mass shootings -- unless, of course, the discussion is about why we should loosen gun laws. Their stance on the issue changes based on how to best advance the organization's interests.

Following the mass murder at Mother Emanuel AME in Charleston, the NRA went into its post-mass shooting standard operating procedure -- shutting down its social media accounts and refusing to speak to the press. Two days later, the NRA's media arm addressed the shooting, with NRA News host Cam Edwards opining that it was "completely inappropriate" to discuss gun policies the day after the incident, adding, "I did not receive a single email communication chastising me or complaining that we should have been talking about policy and politics as opposed to remembering the victims in Charleston."

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 08:05 PM (20 replies)

Several big U.S. cities see homicide rates surge

After years of declining violent crime, several major American cities experienced a dramatic surge in homicides during the first half of this year.

Milwaukee, which last year had one of its lowest annual homicide totals in city history, recorded 84 murders so far this year, more than double the 41 it tallied at the same point last year.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said the mounting homicide toll in his city of 600,000 is driven by Wisconsin's "absurdly weak" gun laws – carrying a concealed weapon without a state-issued concealed carry is a misdemeanor in the Badger State – as well a subculture within the city that affirms the use of deadly violence to achieve status and growing distrust of police in some parts of the city.

Milwaukee is not alone.

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 05:34 PM (13 replies)

Criminal charges in accidental shootings nonexistent

If it’s called an accident when a Louisiana child shoots himself with a parent’s gun, that parent won’t face criminal charges.

Even some states most often associated with pro-gun citizens and government — such as Texas and Florida — call those parents criminals. Louisiana does not have CAP laws, shorthand for child access prevention.

CAP laws have been implemented in 27 states and the District of Columbia. There’s no federal CAP law.

“Legislatures must ask whether they want to guide behavior in their states by imposing additional civil and criminal liability,” said Raymond Diamond, LSU Law Center professor.

Posted by SecularMotion | Wed Jul 22, 2015, 05:44 AM (3 replies)

The Mystery of Milwaukee’s ‘Human Holster’

Darrail Smith may have been a public relations nightmare for gun-rights advocates, but he was also a bizarrely loyal friend.

Last August, the state of Wisconsin granted Smith a concealed-carry license. It had to: Wisconsin is a “shall issue” state, meaning that because the 23-year-old had no felony convictions, provided evidence of training, and paid $40, he was entitled to a 5-year license. But starting in October, Smith began showing up at crime scenes at the same time as shootings went down — though he never appeared to be committing them.

In the early hours of a Friday morning, two brothers, Carrington and Marquis Smith — apparently unrelated to Darrail despite the shared last name — left a nightclub where they’d been drinking champagne and chatting up women. Darrail and two other friends, who also had been at the club, followed in another car, and the caravan stopped for late-night takeout. A short time later, a silver minivan pulled alongside Carrington and Marquis’s car at a stoplight. Its passenger door slid open, and someone inside opened fire.

Marquis returned fire and tried to drive away but crashed in front of a public library. He’d been shot in the stomach. Carrington had been hit in the leg, but told police that when he saw the Glock pistol on his wounded brother’s lap, he had to get rid of it. Carrington had been convicted of a second-degree gun felony in 2007. Knowing Darrail was licensed, Carrington grabbed the Glock from Marquis and took it to Darrail, who later told police that Carrington said, “Here’s your gun.”

Posted by SecularMotion | Tue Jul 21, 2015, 06:24 AM (15 replies)

Why Military Security Experts Know That Arming All Troops Is Not the Answer

The argument that all military service members should be armed with guns to protect themselves — proffered by GOP presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Donald Trump in the wake of the shooting deaths of four Marines and a sailor last week in Chattanooga, Tennessee — is so basic that there’s not much argument to it at all. Railing against “gun-free zones” last Friday, Trump summed the case up in this way: “This sick guy had guns and shot them down. These are decorated people. These are people who could have handled guns very easily. They would have had a good chance if they had a gun.” In making their cases, the presidential hopefuls echoed a Connecticut car repairman whose shop is near a military recruiting office, who told the Associated Press that arming its occupants made perfect sense to him. “Most of them are trained infantrymen,” the repairman asserted. “That definitely would make it a lot more safe.” They’re military, they know how to use guns, how could we not have every one of them be armed all the time, just in case?

The argument is intuitive enough for a political sound bite — and, like many sound bites, does not hold up well under fact-checking. It reflects a basic misconception about the average military member’s proficiency with guns, and it flat-out misses the reality that armed-forces installations are not “gun-free zones” by any stretch of the imagination. Indeed, the military has fairly liberal guidelines empowering its commanders to arm members to defend themselves. It’s just that those guidelines prioritize personal safety and the high likelihood of gun mishaps over statistically rare tragedies like the Chattanooga shooting.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 08:11 PM (29 replies)

Lax Gun Laws Are Becoming a National-Security Issue

Another shooting spree; another debate about American gun laws.

This time, though, it’s slightly different. Hours after Mohammod Youssuf Abdulazeez, a suspected homegrown Islamist terrorist, shot and killed four U.S. Marines at a Naval Reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Donald Trump, who is now leading the polls in the Republican Presidential primary, seized upon the tragedy, claiming that the problem isn’t the proliferation of deadly firearms, but a lack of them in certain locales, such as the so-called “gun-free zones” at military sites.

According to news reports, Abdulazeez, a twenty-four-year-old Kuwaiti-born U.S. citizen, was armed with at least three guns, including an AK-47 assault rifle. How he got hold of these weapons wasn’t what concerned Trump, however. “Get rid of gun free zones,” he tweeted on Friday morning. “The four great marines who were just shot never had a chance. They were highly trained but helpless without guns.”

Trump was evidently referring to a Pentagon regulation, dating back to 1993, that prohibits some members of the military from carrying firearms while on base. His comments echoed those of gun enthusiasts, who highlighted, on social media, a picture of a sign prohibiting firearms that was on the door of the Chattanooga military-recruitment office where Abdulazeez reportedly opened fire before moving onto the Naval Reserve center, less than ten miles away.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Jul 20, 2015, 06:17 AM (12 replies)

Police seize guns, 40,000 bullets from hidden room in Ringwood home

RINGWOOD — Numerous guns and 40,000 bullets were recovered from a hidden room inside the Skyline Drive residence of a 35-year-old man who was arrested Friday on assault-weapon and ammunition charges, authorities said.

Ringwood police went to Mariusz Cebula’s home on Friday evening to seize his firearms — a provision of a domestic-violence restraining order issued by a judge.

Authorities characterized Cebula as a collector of military-issue firearms, with a particular affinity for weapons utilized during the Second World War. Among the items collected by Cebula were what police described as ordnance, which officials determined to be inactive.

As authorities combed through the home, they unearthed a hidden “bunker” under the basement floor of Cebula’s home.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 01:14 PM (9 replies)

Guns in America: For every criminal killed in self-defense, 34 innocent people die

"The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun." says Wayne LaPierre, the vice president of the National Rifle Association.

That's become the kernel of the NRA's response to recent mass shooting tragedies -- if only more people carried guns for protection, the thinking goes, then they would be less likely to be victimized by gun-wielding criminals.

“The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is with a good guy with a gun,” LaPierre said

The challenge to that argument is that, data show, guns are rarely used in self-defense -- especially relative to the rate at which they're used in criminal homicides or suicides. A recent report from the Violence Policy Center, a gun control advocacy group, put those numbers in some perspective, and I dug up the raw numbers from the FBI's homicide data. Take a look:

Posted by SecularMotion | Sun Jul 19, 2015, 11:16 AM (89 replies)

Obama pushes to extend gun background checks to Social Security

Seeking tighter controls over firearm purchases, the Obama administration is pushing to ban Social Security beneficiaries from owning guns if they lack the mental capacity to manage their own affairs, a move that could affect millions whose monthly disability payments are handled by others.

The push is intended to bring the Social Security Administration in line with laws regulating who gets reported to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, or NICS, which is used to prevent gun sales to felons, drug addicts, immigrants in the country illegally and others.

A potentially large group within Social Security are people who, in the language of federal gun laws, are unable to manage their own affairs due to "marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease."

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Jul 18, 2015, 03:19 PM (9 replies)

One Man is Crowdfunding an End to Gun Violence

When Ian Johnstone was just 10 years old, his father was shot during a random robbery attempt in San Francisco. The perpetrators were a group of teenagers who had been using drugs; the 16-year-old shooter fired once into the elder Johnstone's back, instantly paralyzing him. A week later, his dad died in the hospital from complications

"You can't help but feel frustrated and jaded and powerless about the issue," says Johnstone.

From this conversation, Gun By Gun was born. In less than two years, the organization has crowdsourced more than $80,000, using the money to collect more than 750 guns in four cities over the course of five campaigns.


Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Jul 18, 2015, 06:13 AM (10 replies)
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