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Name: Sean
Gender: Male
Hometown: Asheville NC
Home country: USA
Current location: Arlington VA
Member since: Sat Jun 27, 2015, 01:01 PM
Number of posts: 2,493

Journal Archives

This is a slate article from last week titled "Bullet Points"

That discusses the fact that the media are a bunch of idiots when it comes to gun control. Thought it made some interesting points.

But you already know how this will play out. Gun-control advocates and their allies in the media will attack the gun-rights crowd as cold-hearted, stubborn, and out of touch. They will complain that no new legislation will result from the tragedy, and they will be right.

There are many reasons that this cycle repeats as it does. We live in a divided society where people cocoon with like-minded allies, and we’ve stopped listening to the other side. The NRA is powerful. We get distracted and move on to the next shiny thing. But one important point: The mainstream media lobbies hard for gun control, but it is very, very bad at gun journalism. It might be impossible ever to bridge the divide between the gun-control and gun-rights movements. But it’s impossible to start a dialogue when you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

Linky - http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/politics/2016/06/the_media_keeps_misfiring_when_it_writes_about_guns.html

"Forget new gun control: Citing Orlando, House may roll back existing D.C. gun laws"

The mayor of the District of Columbia argued last week that assault rifles are “only meant to devastate humans,” and that following the massacre in Orlando, Congress must “finally do something” about guns.

However, it’s safe to say that this is not what Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, a Democrat, had in mind:

As the Senate voted down several gun-control measures Monday evening, House Republicans introduced measures that would effectively wipe out existing gun-control laws in the District, which are among the country’s most restrictive.

So this raises a lot of issues other than just gun control, like the fact that DC's citizens don't get to decide their own laws. Another nugget in bold that I wasn't aware of from the article:

The measures, known as “riders,” are a frequent tool that conservative federal lawmakers use to dictate spending on social and criminal justice programs in the District, where most voters are Democrats. In recent years, the House has voted to keep the area from using its local revenue to fully implement a successful ballot measure to legalize marijuana. The House also perennially uses a rider to block the District from using its tax dollars to subsidize abortions for low-income residents.

The rest is here - https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/forget-new-gun-control-citing-orlando-house-may-roll-back-existing-dc-gun-laws/2016/06/21/c25f8286-3792-11e6-8f7c-d4c723a2becb_story.html

"America's gun problem is so much bigger than mass shootings"

The US could end all mass shootings today and its rates of gun violence would still be many times higher than other rich countries.

There is a stark racial disparity in gun violence.

Much of America’s day-to-day gun violence is concentrated in America’s poorest, most racially segregated neighborhoods – places with high rates of unemployment, struggling school systems, and high levels of mistrust between police officers and community members.

African Americans, who represent 13% of the total population, make up more than half of overall gun murder victims. Roughly 15 of the 30 Americans murdered with guns each day are black men.

This is the second part of a series of Guardian stories regarding gun violence in America. Yesterday's story discussed mass shootings and noted that for the Obama administration and a group of Sandy Hook parents the AWB wasn't a priority because it wouldn't make much difference. Today's story makes the point (among many) that the vast majority of firearm murders in the US disproportionately impact African American males. Link - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/21/gun-control-debate-mass-shootings-gun-violence

Can the US break its cycle of gun control failure?

That’s the work Hockley has been doing for more than three years. The first weeks after her son’s death, still shocked and grieving, Hockley and some of the other parents of children murdered at Sandy Hook began a “crash course” in the history of American gun laws and gun politics.

They learned that while assault weapons played a prominent part in many mass shootings, they play only a tiny role in America’s overall gun violence problem. The loophole-ridden 1994 federal assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004, produced no clear evidence of reducing gun violence. An in-depth evaluation of the law concluded that the impact of even a more comprehensive ban would be “small at best and perhaps too small for reliable measurement”.

That was not a surprise to anyone who had been paying attention. In the early 1990s, even some gun control advocates criticized the push for an assault weapon ban as a “distraction” with little crime-fighting benefit. But the ban generated intense, visceral reactions from the public. A former Democratic staffer who helped craft the assault weapon ban said he had hoped passing it would give Democrats the political momentum they needed to pass the drier, more technical gun laws that might actually save more lives.

Instead, the push for a political victory backfired. President Bill Clinton later blamed the assault weapon ban for the 1994 midterm victories that allowed Republicans to take over both houses of Congress. Many prominent gun control groups have since moved away from an assault ban – “through hard, bitter experience”, said Matt Bennett, a gun policy expert who advised Sandy Hook Promise.

Democrats know the research behind the ban. While a ban on high-capacity magazines could help some, the assault weapons ban “does nothing”, a former senior Obama administration official said last year.

This is the first in a series of stories from the Guardian discussing gun violence/control. This story focuses primarily on the assault weapons ban. The rest can be found here - https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jun/20/gun-control-orlando-attack-newtown-mass-shooting

"Why the Supreme Court Won't Impact Gun Rights"

This article probably gets it right on Second Amendment jurisprudence - Heller didn't really change that much and the Supreme Court isn't going to overturn Heller, especially since it permits many types of gun control. Although the author doesn't state as much, another take away is that the controllers' dream of some sort of handgun ban is simple fantasy that is never going to occur.

In any event, Heller is unlikely to be overturned. There are several high-profile cases that are likely to be reversed by a liberal Supreme Court, such as Citizens United and Shelby County. Heller, however, is not one of them. While there is no doubt that several of the justices believe Heller was wrongly decided, they have little reason to overturn the decision and every reason to maintain it.

Heller was a narrow decision that did not fundamentally reshape America’s regime of gun laws. The Court held that individuals have a right to have handguns in their homes. But only two cities, Washington and Chicago, and no states, had laws prohibiting handgun possession. (Chicago allowed residents to have long guns for self-defense.) In the eight years since Heller, there have been several hundred lawsuits challenging nearly every type of gun law on the books. Only a few laws, however, have been invalidated.

Even the justices who dissented in Heller now understand that the decision has not proved to be a roadblock to effective gun laws. All the laws at the top of the gun-control agenda—universal background checks, assault-weapons bans, and restrictions on high-capacity magazines—have all survived judicial scrutiny since Heller. Why would justices favorable to gun control vote to overturn a case that doesn’t actually stop lawmakers from regulating guns?

Plus, there is one really strong reason not to overturn Heller: It would spark a backlash that would make the political movement to reverse Roe seem like a schoolyard kerfuffle. The NRA would push for a constitutional amendment to enshrine gun rights and would likely include language, like it has in a series of recent amendments to state constitutions, making it much harder to restrict guns. Although most proposals to amend the Constitution are quixotic, gun politics are such that 38 states might well pass a new, stronger Second Amendment in a heartbeat.


According to the WaPo - "Hillary Clinton’s email problems just got much worse"

One of the two big dominoes in the Hillary Clinton email controversy toppled today: The State Department's inspector general released its report on the email practices of Clinton and a number of other past secretaries of state. (The other major domino is, of course, the FBI investigation into Clinton's decision to exclusively use a private email server while serving as the nation's top diplomat.)

The report, which you can read in its entirety here, badly complicates Clinton's past explanations about the server and whether she complied fully with the laws in place governing electronic communication. And it virtually ensures that Clinton's email practices will be front and center in Donald Trump's fusillade of attacks against her credibility and honesty between now and Nov. 8.


Clinton used an inappropriate method of preserving her documents. Her approach would not have been approved if it had been requested by a more junior member of the State Department staff. The report also suggests that despite a Clinton aide's insistence that the method of preserving her emails had been submitted to a legal review back in 2010, there is no evidence that such a review took place. And, here's the kicker: Clinton refused to sit for a formal interview.

Oomph. Double oomph. Heck, that might merit a triple oomph.


From Chris Cillizza at the WaPo, which has largely promoted Hills' candidacy.

Good guys with guns: Former Interpol chief Ron Noble on the Westgate Mall mass shooting

One of the differences between moderate advocates of gun control and prohibitionists is in their attitudes toward self-defense. The former are willing to recognize that defensive arms in the right hands can be socially beneficial. The latter deny that firearms do in fact save lives. A good example is Katie Couric’s new TV special “Under the Gun.” In that program, Matt Lauer states: “There is a very common expression out there that ‘The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have a good guy with a gun.’ ” Couric answers, “Most public health experts and gun safety experts say that it is just a specious argument.”

The unnamed “experts” on whom Couric relies are apparently not expert at reading newspapers. Literally, a good guy with a gun is not the “only” way that armed criminals are stopped. But it is an important way, including in mass shootings.


Now, Ronald K. Noble, former secretary-general of Interpol, is weighing in on the issue. During the first Clinton administration, from 1993 to 1996, Noble served as assistant secretary and then undersecretary for enforcement at the Treasury Department. This made him the direct supervisor of the main federal gun control agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. As such, he played a major role in the Clinton administration’s very aggressive gun control program. This included changing BATF licensing practices for Federal Firearms Licensees to deny the majority of them license renewal.

As Noble explains, his 14 years of close involvement in global counterterrorism changed his perspective on gun control. This week, he has published a video about the 2013 mass shootings at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi. The video, “Armed Citizens Can Help Stop Terrorist Massacres Like Nairobi and Paris,” shows graphic footage of the attack and of the response of armed citizens. During the lengthy and well-planned attack, more than 60 innocent people were murdered. As Noble explains, the death count would have been hundreds more if not for the armed citizens who intervened. As Noble puts it, “This is not an American argument, nor a political argument. In these horrific situations, law-abiding armed citizens have helped protect others and literally saved lives, and the world should be made aware of this reality. . . . In the hands of law-abiding citizens, guns can and do save lives.”

The rest is here - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/17/good-guys-with-guns-former-interpol-chief-ron-noble-on-the-westgate-mall-mass-shooting/

U.S. judge strikes down D.C. concealed-carry gun law as likely unconstitutional

For the second time in as many years, a federal judge in Washington ordered the city to halt enforcement of its new, concealed-carry law that requires applicants to state “good reason” to carry a weapon in order to obtain a permit from police.

The preliminary injunction was contained in a 46-page ruling Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon that will be in force pending further litigation. Leon declared the District’s gun-permitting system is likely unconstitutional. The system was adapted by the District after its long-standing ban on carrying firearms in public was overturned at court order in 2014.

[Read the judge’s full opinion here]

The city’s law, among the strictest in the nation, matches those in Maryland, New Jersey and New York that have been upheld by federal appeals courts elsewhere.

The case was brought by plaintiff Matthew Grace and the libertarian gun-rights group Pink Pistols.

Here's the link but not much more there - https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/us-judge-strikes-down-dc-concealed-carry-gun-law-as-likely-unconstitutional/2016/05/17/d36d35dc-1c49-11e6-8c7b-6931e66333e7_story.html?hpid=hp_local-news_dcgunban1255pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

Second Amendment may invalidate ban on opening new gun stores in a California county

This is a piece from the Volokh Conspiracy at the WaPo on the 9th Circuit's decision in Texeira v. County of Alameda.

May a county in effect bar all new gun stores in its unincorporated areas? (The incorporated areas would be governed by city zoning rules.) This morning’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit decision in Teixeira v. County of Alameda [Calif.] suggests that the answer is probably “no.” Here’s a rough summary of the reasoning of the majority (written by Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain and joined by Judge Carlos Bea):

1. The Second Amendment, in protecting a right to have guns for self-defense, also protects the “right to acquire weapons for self-defense.” Both history and logic supports this:

If “the right of the people to keep and bear arms” is to have any force, the people must have a right to acquire the very firearms they are entitled to keep and to bear. Indeed, where a right depends on subsidiary activity, it would make little sense if the right did not extend, at least partly, to such activity as well. The Supreme Court recognized this principle in very different contexts [citing cases involving the right to use contraceptives and the First Amendment].

Though D.C. v. Heller stated that “nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on … laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms,” there is no “categorical exception from Second Amendment scrutiny for the regulation of gun stores. If such were the case, the County could enact a total prohibition on the commercial sale of firearms. There is no question that ‘[s]uch a result would be untenable under Heller.’” “Conditions and qualifications” do not include broad prohibitions.

The rest can be found here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2016/05/16/second-amendment-may-invalidate-ban-on-opening-new-gun-stores-in-a-california-county/.

Certainly worth a read.

‘He started crying like a little baby’: 11-year-old brags about shooting suspected home invader

Chris Gaither was home alone “petting the dogs” on Wednesday morning when he heard a noise upstairs.

The 11-year-old boy from Talladega, Ala., told NBC affiliate WVTM-TV that he was scared, so he grabbed a knife and steadied himself.

Chris said that a man appeared on the stairwell, but when confronted, he ran back up upstairs. When the man reappeared moments later, the boy told WVTM-TV, the individual was holding a gun.

“When he was coming down the stairs, that’s when he told me he was going to kill me, f-you and all that,” Chris said.

Instead of running, Chris told the station, he upgraded his weaponry, picking up a 9mm handgun that was in the home.


Once the man made it outside, Chris fired a warning shot. The man, who was carrying a stolen laundry hamper, began running. Chris emptied the clip, firing off 12 shots by the time the intruder neared a fence in the family’s front yard, the 11-year-old told the station.

The final shot hit the man in the leg as he was hopping the fence, the boy said.

“I shot through the hamper he was carrying,” Chris said. “It was a full metal jacket bullet. It went straight through the back of his leg. He started crying like a little baby.”

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