Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., appeared on Fox News Monday and accidentally made the case for gun violence being treated by the Surgeon General as a public health threat.
Despite blasting President Barack Obama for his Surgeon General nominee, Dr. Vivek Murthy, who believes guns are a threat to public health, Barrasso accidently ended up making the same case to “On The Record” with Greta Van Susteren.
Anti-gun control legislators in Congress have opposed Murthy’s nomination. The New England physician has advocated for doctors asking patients about gun safety and universal background checks for gun sales.
“Surgeon General is the nation’s doctor,” Barrasso told Fox News. “You want somebody who has a long history of experience in taking care of patients, and this nominee seems much more committed to politics than to patients. His claim-to-fame is farming organizations to help promote the healthcare law and to go after second amendment rights.”
“The job is sort of a peculiar one,” said Van Susteren. “Maybe that’s an inside word. There have been instances like the Surgeon General in the 60′s was political about cigarettes. That somehow different in your mind?”
“Cigarettes dealt with one of the three major causes if not all three major causes of death in the United States — heart disease, cancer, and stroke,” Barrasso responded. “It’s [an] education process … There is a role for education, not trampling on the constitution.”
Gun violence causes as many death as automobile accidents in the U.S. and twice as many deaths as AIDS, according to ThinkProgress.
Reagan-appointed Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop launched a major campaign against smoking and also believed gun violence is a threat to public health.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., kicked off the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday morning by walking on stage carrying a rifle.
McConnell waved it around and handed it over to Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla. This moment was the only time the audience cheered for McConnell during his five minutes on stage, according to the National Journal.
The gun was reportedly a parting gift from the GOP to Coburn, who will be leaving the Senate due to health issues at the end of his term.
"Liberals absolutely hate it when Tom Coburn steps onto the Senate floor," McConnell told the crowd. "He’s one of the smartest, most principled, most decent men I’ve ever served with. He reminds all of us every day of why it is we decided to run for office in the first place."
The Senate Minority Leader and five-term senator is facing a Tea Party challenger in his home state later this year.
"If I'm given an opportunity to lead the U.S. Senate next year, I will not let you down," he said.
The Democrat challenging McConnell’s seat, Alison Lundergan Grimes, blasted the move on Twitter.
— Alison L. Grimes (@AlisonForKY) March 6, 2014
The move may not have gone over with voters the way McConnell might have hoped.
What, does he think he's Chuck Heston? I want to hear him say, "Get your hands off me, you damn dirty apes!" http://t.co/l0dR4X4b9u
— Canarius Domesticus (@CDomesticus) March 6, 2014
Is he threatening Americans?:Mitch McConnell Tries To Save His Senate Seat By Waving a Rifle Around at CPAC http://t.co/E3rF3KoAzj
— Ashley Barnett Smith (@Ashlybsmith) March 6, 2014
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., placed a hold on surgeon general nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy Wednesday morning, claiming he’s too close to the Obama administration to be impartial.
“I have serious concerns about Dr. Murthy’s ability to impartially serve as ‘the Nation’s Doctor,’” Paul wrote in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “The majority of Dr. Murthy’s non-clinical experience is in political advocacy.”
“In his efforts to curtail Second Amendment rights, Dr. Murthy has continually referred to guns as a public health issue on par with heart disease and has diminished the role of mental health in gun violence,” Paul wrote.
“Dr. Murthy has disqualified himself from being Surgeon General because of his intent to use that position to launch an attack on Americans’ right to own a firearm under the guise of a public health and safety campaign,” he added.
Murthy, who works at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, founded Doctors For America, which has advocated for both gun control and the Affordable Care Act.
Paul argues that focusing on mental health is a better way to curb gun deaths in America.
The vast majority of gun violence in America is committed by people with no mental illness, ThinkProgress reports.
Despite the delay, Murthy is still expected to be confirmed.
A spokesman for Reid, Adam Jentleson, said in an email that revised Senate procedures allow filibusters to be stopped with a simple majority vote. Jentleson noted that Paul also put a hold on confirming Janet Yellen, who was confirmed as leader of the Federal Reserve in January.
CNN is removing “Piers Morgan Live” from its channel after only three years.
“CNN confirms that ‘Piers Morgan Live’ is ending,” a statement from the network read. “The date of the final program is still to be determined.”
Morgan replaced Larry King's show, who in contrast remained on air for 25 years. Morgan's 9 p.m. program struggled to attract viewers and was regularly beaten out by competitors like Fox News.
In an interview with The New York Times, Morgan said his audience may have grown tired of his focus on gun control, considering it was a main topic on the show.
"I am a British guy debating American cultural issues, including guns,” he said. "There is no doubt that there are many in the audience who are tired of me banging on about it."
CNN has yet to comment on Morgan’s future role with the channel.
Remington Arms announced Monday it will open an Alabama plant, sparking rumors that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strict gun law is pushing the gunmaker out of New York state.
Remington has operated in New York for 200 years. The gunmaker hasn’t publicly stated any plans to move out of Ilion, where it employs 1,300 people.
The Huntsville, Ala., plant will create 2,000 full-time jobs.
“This additional capacity is essential to fulfill demand and introduce new products,” Remington CEO George Kollitides said in a statement.
A union official blamed the move on New York’s SAFE Act, which bans assault weapons like Remington’s AR-15.
Passed in January 2013, shortly after the massacre in Newtown, the SAFE Act created universal background checks in New York.
"The SAFE Act stops criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun by requiring universal background checks on gun purchases, increases penalties for people who use illegal guns, mandates life in prison without parole for anyone who murders a first responder, and imposes the toughest assault weapons ban in the country," Cuomo said. "For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns."
Remington continues to manufacture assault rifles in the state of New York, but they have to be shipped out and sold elsewhere.
The $110 million Huntsville factory won’t be operational for about 12 to 15 months, but the state is already looking to open a recruitment and training center this month.
State Sen. Bernie Herpin, R-Colorado Springs, says he sponsored a bill to repeal limits on high-capacity ammunition magazines because it "was maybe a good thing [Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes] had a 100-round magazine because it jammed.”
Holmes is accused of opening fire at a Century movie theater in July 2012, leaving 12 dead and injuring 70 others.
“Perhaps James Holmes would not have been able to purchase a 100-round magazine. As it turns out, that was maybe a good thing, that he had a 100-round magazine, because it jammed. If he had instead had four, five, six 15-round magazines, there’s no telling how much damage he could’ve done until a good guy with a gun showed up,” Herpin said in his testimony to a Senate Judiciary committee on a bill to repeal a 15-round limit on magazines.
Tom Sullivan, the father of 27-year-old Alex Sullivan, who was killed at the theater, was enraged by the offensive remarks.
“I’ve had a lot of thoughts since July 20 of 2012, and I can tell you that I never had once thought that it was better that that man walked into that theater with a 100-round drum and opened fire on the over 200 people that were in that theater,” Sullivan said.
Herpin defended his remarks, saying that the high-capacity magazine “saved lives.”
“I was trying to make a point that the high-capacity magazine that he was using was unreliable, jammed, and that saved lives,” Herpin said.
The bill was later rejected on Wednesday night.
The magazine restriction was passed by Democrats in 2013 in response to mass shootings in Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut.
Colorado Democratic Sen. Jessie Ulibarri said he was concerned by Herpin’s comments.
“Twelve lives were lost, 70 were injured. That wasn’t a good thing in any sense,” Ulibarri said.
South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley says she’d like to see the state senate pass a proposal that would allow people to carry guns – concealed or in the open – without a permit.
The Republican governor signed a bill into law Tuesday that allows anyone with a concealed carry permit to bring a gun into a bar or any other establishment that serves alcohol.
“The idea of going into a restaurant and having to leave [your gun] in your car causes concern on whether it will be stolen ... because as a CWP [concealed weapons permit] holder you are responsible for your gun,” Haley said. “When it is not with you, you are concerned about who else it could be with or if somebody else could get it.”
But Haley wants to see the law taken a step further. Open carry is currently prohibited in the state, but the Constitutional Carry Act would change that. It would eliminate the permitting and training requirement for carrying a gun in public.
“Criminals are dangerous, and I think that every resident should be allowed to protect themselves from criminals,” she said during the bill signing.
The measure, sponsored by State Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, who is running for U.S. Senate, says businesses can opt out by posting signs prohibiting guns on their property.
The group Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense fought the bar and restaurant bill, stating that alcohol and concealed weapons don’t mix.
“I agree that alcohol and guns don’t mix,” Haley responded. “They never will. And that is why it’s illegal.”
A gun death occurs in South Carolina every 14 hours, according to ThinkProgress.
A bill introduced into the Florida House of Representatives aims to penalize property and auto insurance companies who refuse coverage or charge higher rates because an individual legally owns a gun.
Sponsored by Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz, the measure would allow individuals to directly sue insurance companies for discrimination.
The law makes it illegal to “charge an unfairly discriminatory rate in this state based on the lawful use, possession, or ownership of a firearm by the insurance applicant, insured, or a household member of the applicant or insured.”
“It just gives greater access to courts,” Gaetz told Jacksonville Daily Record.
Pro-gun groups believe the bill, HB255, addresses a Second Amendment violation.
“We would strongly oppose any effort by insurance companies to discriminate against the lawful exercise of a fundamental civil liberty protected by the Second Amendment. One can easily imagine the loud protest if carriers charged different premiums based on what you read or watched,” Lawrence G. Keane, senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told Guns.com in a statement.
“Discrimination is alive and well and is addressed in this bill,” National Rifle Association lobbyist Marion Hammer told Guns.com.
“It’s a very simple issue when insurance companies start questioning policy holders about firearms that they may or may not own,” Hammer said. “You can be sure that it’s for the purpose of some kind of screening that leads to discrimination.”
Insurance rates are determined by risk and based on industry experience.
Property insurance companies reserve the right to refuse coverage for safety factors like owning a dog breed the company considers dangerous. They charge higher rates for older, non-updated buildings. They often make safety stipulations, like putting at least one railing on steps of a certain height or repairing a dilapidated sidewalk. If the company’s demands are not met, the policy can be cancelled.
Because insurance companies are private corporations, measures like HB255 have been largely unsuccessful and can lead to companies pulling out of states entirely.
An 11-year-old boy, Caden Cook, was suspended from school for voluntarily turning in a non-firing plastic toy gun to school personnel.
Fredrick Funston Elementary School in Chicago instituted a random pat-down screening procedure as part of its security at the beginning of the school year, reports The Rutherford Institute, which has come to Cook's defense in the matter.
All students are physically separated from their bags and randomly chosen for pat-downs before going through metal detectors. Bags are also searched at random.
Caden Cook, a sixth-grader, had forgotten he held a plastic toy gun he had played with the previous night in his sweater pocket while waiting in line at school security. He alerted school security personnel, explained he accidentally brought the toy gun to school and relinquished it to security.
Cook was doing the right thing, but the school did not see it that way.
School officials allegedly subjected Cook to intimidation tactics, interrogation, accusations of lying, and threats. His mother was not present, nor had she been informed of the incident. When she did arrive, she was allegedly berated and criticized for allowing her son to play with toy guns, reports The Examiner.
"This case speaks volumes about what's wrong with our public schools and public officials: Rather than school officials showing they are capable of exercising good judgment, distinguishing between what is and is not a true threat, and preserving safety while steering clear of a lockdown mindset better suited to a prison environment, they instead opted to exhibit poor judgment, embrace heavy-handed tactics, and treat a toy gun like a dangerous weapon," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "In the process, school officials sent a strong, chilling message to this child and his classmates that they have no rights in the American police state."
Cook was suspended from school for violating the school's weapons policy against dangerous objects. He has also been ordered to undergo counseling.
The Rutherford Institute attorneys have called for the suspension to be rescinded and the incident be removed from Cook's record.
One U.S. military veteran recently found out the hard way that Canada does not mess around when it comes to guns.
Louis DiNatale, 46, and his wife were on their way to Vermont when they made a wrong turn. DiNatale says a faulty GPS caused him to take a wrong turn, and before he knew it he was at the New York-Canada border. With no way of turning back, DiNatale and his wife were forced to speak with Canadian customs agents.
DiNatale told an agent that he’d made a wrong turn and didn’t wish to enter Canada. His request to turn around was denied. The agent then asked him if he had any firearms in his car.
“No,” DiNatale replied.
Next, the agent asked if he owned any weapons. DiNatale said he did.
“I told him I was retired military, I had respect for weapons, and I had a concealed carry license to do so," he said in a statement published by the LA Times. "He asked me when was the last time I had a weapon on me. I told him, 'Earlier that week.' He asked me again, 'Why?' I told him it was my right as an American citizen to do so."
But something slipped DiNatale’s mind while he was talking with the agent. Several days earlier, he’d placed his wife’s .380 handgun in his car's center console. The gun was found in a cabin search by the agents. In no time, DiNatale was in handcuffs being interrogated by Canadian officials. He was arrested for attempting to smuggle a loaded handgun into the country and lying about. He served four days in jail before being released on bail.
DiNatale now faces a June trial for the charges. If convicted, he could spend up to three years in prison.
His Canadian attorney Bruce Engel says that although Canada has a zero tolerance policy towards undeclared firearms, he believes agents overreacted in this situation.
“They could have done their homework and looked at his background and seen he's a professional," Engel said. "They could have accepted the word of his wife and released him on his own recognizance.
“They're trying to make a general blanket statement to American citizens: Don't mess with our borders,” he added.
If you need any more proof of just how seriously Canada takes their firearm laws, get this: prosecutors wanted to keep DiNatale imprisoned until his June court date. Engel was able to convince officials otherwise, but DiNatale had to pay $5,000 bail and sign a $5,000 bond before being set free.