Residents of Washington D.C. are the first in the United States to be required to renew gun registrations, including fingerprinting and background checks, as of Jan. 2.
Anyone in D.C. who has registered a firearm since 1976, must pay a $13 renewal fee and a $35 background check fee at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters, where they will also be photographed and fingerprinted.
Failing to renew before April, means the registration will expire. Unlicensed gun owners could face a maximum fine of $1,000 and up to a year in jail, WJLA reported.
Gun owners will be required to renew the registration every three years, much like a driver’s license. Advocates of the law say it will help remove guns from the hands of people who become a danger to society. Anyone who committed a felony, becomes a drug addict or is involuntarily committed to a mental hospital could not renew.
The MPD estimates there are at least 30,000 registrations that must be renewed. Unlicensed guns will be confiscated and will never be able to be registered again.
Police are in possession of registrant’s home address so confiscations or arrests could be put in place in April, Washington Times reported.
A federal judge struck down a key element of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) new gun law that would have made it illegal to load a magazine with more than seven bullets.
The law prohibits magazines that carry more than 10 bullets, but also prohibited loading that magazine with more than seven bullets.
District Judge William M. Skretny of Buffalo called the seven-round limit “tenuous, strained and unsupported.”
He said it was arbitrary and not “substantially related” to protecting public safety.
Skretny ruled the rest of the bill is constitutional and will remain in effect.
The law, a response to the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, creates universal background checks on all gun purchases.
"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,” says Gov. Cuomo. “For hunters, sportsmen, and law abiding gun owners, this new law preserves and protects your right to buy, sell, keep or use your guns."
“The majority of the challenged provisions withstand constitutional scrutiny,” Skretny said in his decision.
“Accordingly, the act does not violate the Second Amendment.”
Gun advocates were outraged Saturday after learning that guns are banned at Toby Keith’s Virginia restaurant, I Love This Bar & Grill.
The Woodbridge restaurant explained via its Facebook page that the decision to ban guns has nothing to do with their stance on gun rights.
“While we understand and respect every person’s right to own and bear arms, we at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, with guidance from the State of Virginia and based on insurance regulations, have adopted a no weapons policy,” the restaurant wrote. “It is our desire to provided [sic] a safe, enjoyable and entertaining experience for our patrons and staff.”
Many gun advocates were not satisfied with that response.
“Because there has been so many shootings in bars in Va since the law was changed to allow people to carry in them?” one man commented.
“Anyone who has an irrational fear of an inanimate object is the prime definition of ‘paranoid.’ My gun has never hurt anyone, and hopefully never will,” wrote another.
The restaurant includes “whiskey girls” in short-shorts and cowboy boots as well as beers served in mason jars. A sign on the front door reads, “No Guns Permitted.”
Gun advocates took to Twitter and Facebook to criticize the ban Saturday. One man wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page that “anyone leaving your establishment is likely completely defenseless and easy pickin's for a robbery.”
Another wrote on Keith’s page, “no guns in your new restaurant... no Keith for me... I’m gone.”
“I will no longer support you or buy your products,” wrote another. “I have a policy to not support businesses that do not allow me to conceal carry. You have done nothing to protect your patrons and now you endanger them. Where do most mass shootings occur? Gun free zones.”
State Trooper Michael L. Keyes can carry a gun while on duty. When off duty, however, he is barred by law from possessing any firearms.
Keyes being banned from firearms off duty stems from a decision by the state of Pennsylvania's Superior Court, based on events from seven years ago.
Keyes suffered from deep depression, tried to kill himself repeatedly by taking drugs, and was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment, reports The Patriot News. These factors weighed in to the decision made by the court on whether to allow Keyes to carry a firearm off duty.
The court's ruling states that Keyes' involuntary mental health commitment constitutes an unsurmountable legal barrier to his ability to possess a gun.
The federal Gun Control Act is at play in this decision. It bars anyone who has been subjected to involuntary mental health commitments from possessing guns. Expungement is not possible for Keyes' involuntary mental health commitment record and so he cannot surmount the federal ban.
Infowars comments on the situation, stating an implication here that public officials have special status over private citizens, since Keyes can carry a firearm when he is serving the state.
President Judge Emeritus Kate Ford Elliott wrote that it is rational for Keyes to still be allowed a gun on duty because he is under supervision and observation of superior officers and his fellow troopers.
The Patriot News attempted to reach Keyes' attorney, Joshua Prince, for comment on the case, but was unsuccessful.
New photos of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza's home have been released, including one of a toddler boy gnawing on a handgun.
The Daily Mail reports that photographs showed multiple rounds of ammunition, gun magazines, shot paper targets, gun cases and a safe with a rifle stored inside. There was also a check written by Adam's mother, Nancy, for him to purchase another gun.
The most disturbing find may be the photograph of a toddler boy in camouflage gear sitting on the floor with ammunition across his legs gnawing on a handgun, as reported by WBLX.
Another item recovered in the home was a birthday card from Adam's father, Peter Lanza, offering to take his son shooting.
Nancy Lanza found guns to be a hobby, and handwritten notes were found around the house with addresses of local gun shops and NRA shooting certificates. She and Adam regularly went to target practice together.
In the new book "Newtown: An American Tragedy," family friend Marvin LaFontaine reveals how he used to invite Nancy and Adam to his property for shooting sessions. LaFontaine states in the book that Adam was comfortable with a firearm at four years old, and Nancy preferred the Ruger for Adam as a young child.
Nancy Lanza was shot dead by Adam before he went on a rampage at Sandy Hook Elementary School where he shot and killed 20 first graders and six educators on December 14, 2012. Adam turned a handgun on himself when police arrived at the school.
Gun Control Groups Spent More Money On Advertisements Than Gun Rights Groups In Year Since Sandy Hook
The December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn. immediately ignited a debate about gun control and Second Amendment issues in the United States. According to Advertising Age, the amount of money spent on gun control television advertisements since the tragedy occurred has surged, with gun control groups advertising spendings surpassing $14 million. Gun-rights organizations, on the other hand, spent $1.9 million on advertising throughout the previous year. The study also notes that Second Amendment rights groups spent $6.2 million on lobbying politicians as opposed to advertising.
Despite all of the money being spend on both sides of the agenda, a new CNN poll reported that support for stricter gun control has decreased in the year following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. According to the media outlet’s survey, 55% of Americans supported stricter laws in the weeks immediately following the shooting, compared to 49% now.
Support for gun control seems to be fading even as school shootings appear to be more commonplace. The recent school shooting in Colorado was little but a blip on the media radar. A new gun control ad, released in conjunction with the anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and the relative lack of discussion surrounding the issue, consists of a mostly silent soundtrack and images of the shooting before displaying text that reads “But with 26 more school shootings since that day, ask yourself: is silence what America needs right now?”
It appears as if silence on both sides of the issue is what is continuing to happen, at least on the advertising side of the debate. With New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s term ending at the end of the year, he has pledged to dump millions into pro-gun control causes and advertisements nationwide. As is the case with any hotly-debated issue, a similarly wealthy individual or group on the other side of the equation is likely to dump their own money towards influencing legislation and public opinion.
A volunteer firefighter in Maryland filed a federal lawsuit after he says he was wrongfully terminated for a writing a pro-gun comment on Facebook.
Mark Grutzmacher is suing Howard County and its fire chief for violating his first amendment rights.
Grutzmacher was not a paid employee, but he says the position provided “valuable benefits,” including a state tax credit of $3,500 each year and a pension after 25 years, according to Courthouse News Service.
He had been a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician for 18 years when he was terminated.
The sarcastic comment Grutzmacher made wasn’t even on his own Facebook page. It was a comment he made on a friend’s post.
"On Sunday, January 20, 2013, Mr. Buker 'posted' a satirical comment concerning assault weapons legislation that was pending in several jurisdictions in the United States on his Facebook page,” the claim states. “The post could only be viewed by Mr. Buker's Facebook 'friends,' including Mr. Grutzmacher, not members of the general public.”
Kevin Buker, a former battalion chief who also lost his job, wrote: “My aide had an outstanding idea ... Let's kill someone with a liberal ... then maybe we can get them outlawed too! Think of the satisfaction of beating a liberal with another liberal ... it's almost poetic. ...”
The Grutzmacher commented: "But ... was it an '[assault] liberal'? Gotta pick a fat one, those are the 'high capacity' ones. Oh pick a black one, those are more 'scary.' Sorry had to perfect on a cool idea!'"
Grutzmacher says he was fired by the county on Mar. 6.
His claim seeks reinstatement, with benefits, an injunction, damages for mental anguish and distress, and attorney's fees and costs.
Buker was also fired by the county and is seeking reinstatement. He is not a party to Grutzmacher’s lawsuit.
The sister of Newtown victim Victoria Leigh Soto, a 27-year-old first grade teacher, expressed her frustration that Congress has not passed any new gun control measures since the school shooting on “Fox News Sunday.”
Carlee Soto, 21, told host Chris Wallace that she is dedicated to gun control advocacy.
“It was extremely hard to watch these members of Congress come in and vote no on something so sensible,” Soto said of the failure of the Manchin-Toomey background check expansion.
Soto was in the Senate gallery when the bill was voted down in April.
“It’s a background check, and it only takes 90 seconds,” she added. “It’s not preventing anyone that should not have a gun. It was hard for that to happen, and to see it happen. But like President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden told me that no one ever thought slavery would be abolished, no one ever women thought women would have rights. I believe that we will have sensible gun laws in the future.”
“You recently joined the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” Wallace said, “and I’ve know you’ve gone out around the country to argue for more gun controls. I got to think that’s a tough thing for you because I’ve got to think at least that you would like to get as far away from this as possible.”
“It is hard," she responded. "There is definitely days where I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to speak on camera, I don’t want to speak in front of a group of people. But my sister can’t do that. And there are so many people that can’t be advocates for this, and I know I can.”
On Dec. 14, 2012, Adam Lanza forced his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School. He killed fifteen children and two teachers before he forced his way into Soto’s classroom.
She hid students in a closet and told the shooter that the children were in the auditorium. Several students ran from their hiding place and Lanza fired at them. She threw herself into the line of fire.
“I am so proud to say I am Victoria Soto’s sister,” her younger sister said Sunday.
Fox News guest Larry Pratt argued Sunday that mass murder will not stop in the U.S. “until we get rid of the laws that prohibit” guns.
Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace asked Pratt, the head of Gun Owners of America, if Congress’ failure to pass new gun control legislation since the massacre at Newtown is a success for the gun lobby.
"We're not really going to be able to talk about a victory until we get rid of the laws that prohibit people from having guns to protect themselves in schools and in other places," Pratt said. "Every one of our mass murders in our country has occurred in places where guns were prohibited."
“So you want to see the legislation that’s out there rolled back?” Wallace asked.
"That is correct, Chris,” Pratt said. “The legislation that is on the books is lethal. It is killing people. All of these gun free zones are murder magnets. We've simply got to get rid of them. It's an illusion that somehow we're going to be safer in a particular area because you can't have a gun, because the bad guy is going to have a gun.”
Pratt previously entertained theories that the Dec. 14, 2012, shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School was a “programmed event” created by the government, according to Media Matters
As the bells tolled 26 times in Newtown, Conn., to honor the 20 children and six adults who were killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School one year ago today, President Barack Obama gave a tearful address asking the nation for stricter gun measures to put an end to these tragedies.
“Newtown is a town like so many of our hometowns,” Obama said. “The victims were educators and kids that could have been any of our own.”
“Beneath the sadness, we also felt a sense of resolve – that these tragedies must end, and that to end them, we must change,” the president said.
“We have to do more to keep dangerous people from getting their hands on a gun so easily,” he continued. “We have to do more to heal troubled minds. We have to do everything we can to protect our children from harm and make them feel loved, and valued, and cared for.”
He thanked the parents of Sandy Hook victims for bravely stepping forward to guide gun reform. Earlir this year, many of the families came forward to support the Manchin-Toomey background check expansion, a bill that failed in April.
“We can’t lose sight of the fact that real change won’t come from Washington,” he cautioned. “It’ll come the way it’s always come – from you, from the American people. As a nation we can’t stop every act of violence, we can’t heal every troubled mind, but if we want to live in a country where we can go to work, send our kids to school, and walk our streets free from fear, we have to keep trying. We have to keep caring. We have to treat every children like they’re ours.”