Apr 16, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

gun control

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11California Department of Justice Agents Search Homes for Illegal Guns

California Department of Justice's Armed Prohibited Persons System (APPS) is a state program that confiscates guns from people who are banned from owning the weapons, such as ex-felons and mentally unstable people.

The APPS cross references five databases to find people who purchased guns since 1996 with people who are banned from owning or possessing guns.

Last Thursday night in Fresno, an APPS team arrived at an unidentified woman's house to seize her Smith & Wesson semi-automatic pistol, reports the Fresno Bee.

The woman had been psychologically analyzed and classified to be a danger to herself and others. She had been ordered to turn over her gun to the state, but had not done so.

Even though the handgun was not in her home, but was with her father-in-law in Bakersfield, the APPS agents must still seize it.

"There's no such thing as safe-keeping [by another family member]," said APPS special agent Kisu Yo. "It really is a dangerous job. Every time we make a contact, it's a very dangerous situation."

APPS agents normally ask the person in question if they can search the home or see paperwork that proves the gun was sold.

If APPS agents are denied a search or believe they are being lied to, then they will get a warrant from a court

Michelle Gregory, of the Department of Justice, says that legal process "can make for a long night."

According to The Huffington Post, California passed the confiscation law back in April and approved a $24 million budget to fund the APPS teams, who are supposed to remove about 40,000 handguns and assault weapons illegally owned by Californians.

“We are fortunate in California to have the first and only system in the nation that tracks and identifies individuals who at one time made legal purchases of firearms but are now barred from possessing them,” said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), who wrote the law. “However, due to a lack of resources, only a few of these illegally possessed weapons have been confiscated, and the mountain of firearms continues to grow each day."

Sources: The Huffington Post and Fresno Bee

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11Mentally Ill Californians are Buying Guns

In the state of California, people with a history of mental illness are supposed to have a very hard time buying guns. But with poor enforcement of gun regulations, many can still stroll into a firearms shop and purchase a weapon. As seen in the Navy Yard tragedy and other recent mass shootings, guns in the hands of the mentally disturbed can cause serious problems.

According to CBS San Francisco Bay, tens of thousands of mentally ill people have guns. CBS interviewed Barbara Alexander, the mother of one man with deep psychological issues who got a gun and wound up in a standoff with police officers. At the age of 40, her son had been hospitalized multiple times for mental problems.

“He was in a parking lot, in a public place,” she said. “They sent the swat team, helicopters came up, it was quite horrifying.”

Despite his record, Barbara’s son was able to buy a semi-automatic rifle, among other firearms.

According to state law, courts and mental health facilities are supposed to report the names of mentally unstable people so that they are placed on a “no gun” list. But according to an audit, at least 34 courts in California did not make needed notifications, resulting in at least 2,300 unreported incidents. Some courts have not reported any cases at all.

“The Santa Clara Superior Court did not notify Justice about any of its determinations that an individual was to be committed to a mental health facility for an extended period or that an individual's conservatorship was to be terminated early," said the report.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, more than 20,800 people in California who are banned from owning guns had firearms as of July 2013. This includes felons as well as the mentally ill.

According to CBS, the Department of Justice is scheduled to have the Armed Prohibited Persons database up to date by the year 2016. However, the state auditor reports that given the current backlog and slow progress, the list will probably not be complete until 2019.

Sources: CBS, San Jose Mercury News

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11Guns & Ammo Editor Resigns For Running Controversial Pro-Gun Control Op-Ed

The editor of Guns & Ammo resigned Thursday after publishing a pro-gun control column that infuriated many readers.

Jim Bequette apologized to readers for publishing a piece from contributing editor Dick Metcalf supporting gun regulations in the December issue of the magazine. Metcalf argued in favor of a Illinois state law which requires gun owners to submit to training in order to obtain a concealed-carry permit.

“The fact is, all constitutional rights are regulated, always have been, and need to be,” Metcalf wrote.

Bequette fired Metcalf, who wrote the piece for the magazine’s sister publication, Shooting Times.

Bequette said he had hoped to “generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights” by publishing the piece, but instead the column “aroused unprecedented controversy.”

The backlash from readers resulted in numerous complaints against Metcalf’s column. Many said they would cancel their subscription to the magazine.

Bequette admitted he failed to follow Guns & Ammo’s “unwavering” commitment to the Second Amendment.

“In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize,” he wrote in a column on Wednesday.

“I made a mistake by publishing the column,” he added. “I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights. I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.”

Bequette fired Metcalf, who wrote the piece for the magazine’s sister publication, Shooting Times.

“It takes more than one Elmer Fudd to get a pro-gun control agenda editorial in the pages of a formerly-relevant national firearms industry publication: your apology rings false, and smacks of having been cobbled together as a reaction to an unexpected deluge of negative sentiment,” wrote Trace Simek on the magazine’s Facebook page.

Others defended Bequette and were sorry to see Bequette go.

“It is sad to see that G&A will bend so easily and that their readers are so blind and fail to understand that some regulation is necessary,” Kevin Smith wrote.

Eric R. Poole, who ran Guns & Ammo's special interest publications, is expected to take over Bequette’s role immediately.

Sources: CNN, New York Daily News

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11Florida Man Shoots Up Car for Cutting in Line at Chick-Fil-A

Sure, cutting in line is rude. But one Florida man took his retaliation a bit too far Monday morning when he opened fire on another vehicle for cutting ahead of him at a Chick-Fil-A drive thru.

According to investigators, the victim was in line at the fast-food restaurant, waiting for a brown, older-model Buick Regal to move. After some waiting, the victim assumed that the car had broken down and went around it to place his order.

After this maneuver, the Buick driver reportedly pulled up to the victim’s car, and a man got out of the passenger side, cursing and wielding a gun. He proceeded to fire at least one round at the victim, hitting the back window at last one time.

After firing his shot(s), the suspect took off on foot. The Buick driver, who was female, drove away to follow the shooter.

The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrived on the scene at about 9:25 a.m., but did not find the suspect. They are currently offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information that leads to an arrest.

The shooter is described as an African-American male about 5’10 and 150 pounds. He was wearing denim pants and a purple jacket at the time of the crime.

This is not the only recent example of a drive-thru shooting; on October 25, a man was shot to death at a bank drive-thru in Detroit. In this case, the shooter fired multiple shots through the passenger side window, then came around the car and dragged the 61-year-old victim from his seat to rob him.

Although the motives are not entirely clear, the Detroit case appeared to be a robbery rather than a crime fueled by anger.

Sources: Raw Story, First Coast News, MyFoxDC

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11Study Links Racism In American Whites To Gun Ownership And Resistance To Gun Control

White households in the U.S. are more likely to own guns and resist new gun control laws if they exhibit a higher level of racism towards black people, according to a new study published in the scientific journal PLOS ONE.

The study found that for each point a person scored in symbolic racism (anti-black sentiment), there was a 50 percent increase in the odd that they had a gun at home. For every one point in symbol racism, the odds that the person supported permits to carry concealed handguns went up 28 percent.

Researchers at Australia’s Monash University and Britain’s Manchester University say they weren’t surprised by the results.

“There had already been research showing that ... blacks are more likely to be shot, so we thought there must be something happening between the concept of being black and some whites wanting guns,” Monash researcher Kerry O’Brien said in an email to the New York Daily News.

The study defined “racism”: “Racism is related to policies preferences and behaviors that adversely affect blacks and appear related to a fear of blacks (e.g., increased policing, death penalty).”

Because judging another person as racist is subjective, researchers asked a series of questions and used an implicit association test to see if participants black or white people with positive or negative words.

The study found that people who scored high in symbolic racism also favored policies they viewed as punitive to blacks, like stop-and-frisk and longer prison terms.

“According to a Pew Research Center report the majority of white Americans support stricter gun control,” said O’Brien, “but the results of our study suggest that those who oppose gun reform tend to have a stronger racial bias, tend to be politically and ideologically conservative and from southern states, and have higher anti-government sentiment.”

The majority of the participants did own a gun.

“Just over half, 52 percent, of the sample had a gun in the home, 66 percent opposed bans on handguns in the home, and 52 percent reported support for permits to carry a concealed handgun,” the study said. “Participants reported being slightly more conservative than liberal, and more Republican than Democratic leaning.”

“Conservative ideology was also significantly related to stronger support for permits to carry concealed handguns after adjusting for other explanatory variables,” the study said. “Similarly, stronger Republican identification, being from a southern state, and anti-government sentiment were associated with opposition to gun-control policies, but not with having a gun in the home.”

Higher education levels were associated with lower odds of having a gun in the home, but had no bearing on whether they support gun control legislation.

“We were initially surprised that no one had studied this issue before,” said co-author Dr. Dermot Lynott of Lancaster University, “however, the US government cut research funding for gun-related research over decade and a half ago, so research in this area has been somewhat suppressed.”

Sources: New York Daily News, Raw Story

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11Eddie Vedder Remembers Newtown Shooting, Calls for Gun Control (Video)

Rock singer Eddie Vedder recently stopped a Pearl Jam concert at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. to remember the 20 victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting last year.

Vedder said during the Oct. 26 concert that he met with three fathers of children who were killed in Newtown (video below).

"It's okay, it's not just okay, it’s necessary that we continue a discussion to figure out how to unravel the situation where something like that can happen and make sure the odds of it happening again are very slim,” said Vedder.

After the audience applauded, Vedder said, "They want to defame you and take away your right to speak."

“If we were louder, it can happen, we just have to be louder and we have to let the politicians know that they will be reelected if they do what we ask, and we are asking for them to do it now," stated Vedder. "Because what we don’t want is for any of those children’s lives to be wasted.”

While some fans called the concert "epic" and "awesome," the pro-gun conspiracy website Infowars.com falsely accused the singer of turning "a blind eye to the deaths of innocents caused by the U.S.’s own covert drone program."

Sources: Jpsmusicblog.blogspot.com, Waitingonaword.wordpress.com, Infowars.com, YouTube.com

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11Florida Man Accidentally Shoots His 82-Year-Old Mother

A man from Ocala, Florida accidentally shot his elderly mother in the stomach region while retrieving his gun from its storage place late Wednesday afternoon.

Fifty-five-year-old Attila Frank “Sonny” Kerekes told police officers that his mother, 82-year-old Edith Kerekes, had asked him to show her his gun. He went to get the weapon, and accidentally fired it while removing it from the bag that housed it.

Although Edith was in the kitchen and Sonny was a different room, Sonny said that the bullet hit her in the abdomen after blasting through a wall.

According to police reports, the gun once belonged to Sonny’s father, who died in the early ‘80s. He used the weapon, a .38 revolver, to shoot sharks in Miami, where he worked in the fishing industry.

Sonny claimed that he did not realize that the bullet had hurt his mother until she began complaining about pain in the stomach region. He said that he called 911 as soon as he realized what had happened.

Edith was admitted to the hospital for surgery, and the Ocala Star Banner reports that her condition is stable.

Sonny moved in with his mother several months before the incident.

Although many people purchase guns to help ensure their own safety, firearms are 22 times more likely to be used in accidental shootings than in self-defense, according to Scientific American.

About 31,672 people were killed by guns in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available. Roughly 61 percent of those deaths were suicides, and most of the rest were homicides.

Beyond deaths, 72,505 people went to the emergency room for non-lethal shootings in 2010.

While accidental shootings are often caused by children who find their parent’s weapons, even trained adults may accidentally discharge guns.

Sources: Ocala Star Banner, Scientific American

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11Cuccinelli Tells Virginia Tech Gun Control Wouldn’t Have Stopped Massacre

The Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli, argued at a debate at Virginia Tech, where a mass shooting killed 32 people in 2007, that stricter gun regulation would not have prevented the massacre.

The Virginia Attorney General is falling behind in the polls against Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe.

The final debate ahead of the election was held at the Blacksburg campus on Thursday. The moderator asked candidates about their stance on background checks for private and commercial sales and high-capacity magazines.

Wearing a pin to commemorate the 32 people who died and the 17 others who were wounded when senior Seung-Hui Cho opened fire at the campus on Apr. 16, 2007, McAuliffe told the audience that while he is a gun owner and strong believer in the Second Amendment, he believes “some people should not own guns.”

“I think it’s important to understand that when we drop our children off at school or we drop loved ones off at work, we want to make sure that our children, our loved ones are safe,” McAuliffe said.

Cuccinelli, who is backed by the National Rifle Association, responded that backgrounds checks are useless.

“You know what happened here at Virginia Tech was a tragedy that still affects everyone in Virginia,” Cuccinelli said. “But none of what you’ve asked about would have affected that tragedy.”

“I’m an A-rated NRA candidate,” he added. “I’m running against the only — the only — F-rated candidate running statewide. And that’s Terry McAuliffe. And his allies are running an ad right now in Northern Virginia that falsely claims that we can get safety from some of these restrictions on law abiding citizens.”

Cuccinelli believes mass shootings are a mental healthcare issue. He argued that he’s been “one of the leading experts on mental health” – not a mental health advocate – throughout his career in Virginia, “long before I ran for office.”

Cuccinelli has a Bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Virginia and a J.D. and a Masters in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University.

Sources: NBC 4 WashingtonThinkProgress

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11Gunshot Wound Most Serious, Expensive Injury A Child Can Sustain, Study Says

While the majority of child shooting studies focus on the mortality rate, what often goes ignored is the toll a nonfatal gunshot wound takes on a child.

Death from a gun-related injury is ranked second only to motor vehicle crashes for cause of death in children ages 15 to 19. A new study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics takes “a broader look” at the negative effects beyond death.

Children who are shot are more likely to require major surgery and incur higher medical bills than if they were to suffer from any other childhood injury.

From 2001 to 2010, 29,331 children ages zero to 19 died from gun-related injuries. Another 155,000 had nonfatal injuries requiring treatment in emergency facilities.

“Gunshot-related injury is a major public health issue for children,” said Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University. “The low incidence and high burden of pediatric gunshot injuries suggests that more effective means to reduce such injuries must be strategic to have an impact.”

The majority, 82 percent, of children shot are older adolescent males ages 15 to 19.

"If we focus on just fatalities, we're only looking at the tip of the iceberg," said lead author Craig Newgard, associate professor and director of the Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University in Portland.

Researchers compared gunshots to six other fatal injuries and found gun-related injuries have a dramatically higher adverse outcome. Children shot have the highest proportion of major surgey, serious injury, death in hospitals, and cost of acute care.

The average treatment cost for a shooting victim is $28,510. The average cost for a person run over by a car is $15,566.

"In every metric that we looked at, the front-runner far and away for worst outcome and greatest impact was gunshot-related injuries," says Newgard.

While researchers only analyzed five areas in the Western U.S., Newgard says the national picture is probably higher than their estimate.

In New Orleans alone 16 children under the age of 19 have died from a gun-related injury this year, according to the Times-Picayune.

Sources: USA Today, Times-Picayune

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11Louisiana Supreme Court to Rule on Felons with Guns

The 2012 Election was noteworthy for a number of reasons, but for the residents of Louisiana it saw a slew of new constitutional amendments passed by voter referendum. One amendment stripped public officials convicted of felonies of their pensions. However, an amendment requiring “strict scrutiny” of gun laws, could allow those felonious officials to keep their right to bear arms

The amendment switches the burden of proof, with respect to the constitutionality of gun laws, to the state from citizens. Now, it is up to the state to prove that the laws restricting gun rights, such as the right to regulate concealed-carry permits, are constitutional, instead of the other way around. According to The Times-Picayune, “regulations must be narrowly tailored to fit a public purpose and it would be up to the government to prove that regulations were constitutional, rather than requiring opponents of a measure to prove that the law violates the constitution.”

Since the amendment passed, many felons who have since been convicted of possessing a firearm (illegal under a law passed in 1975), are seeking to have those convictions overturned because gun ownership is now a “fundamental” right.

The state argues that restricting firearms from convicted felons is in the best interest of public safety. So far, a number of convictions have been overturned, even in the case of violent offenders like Chris Coleman who killed one drug dealer and wounded another, although his conviction for these crimes still stands.  

Although for a juvenile defendant, identified only as “J.M.,” his conviction of possessing a firearm was upheld by a Juvenile Court judge, leading his defense attorneys to challenge that ruling as well.

Still, those against this worry that given the high recidivism rate of felons, that arming them could lead to more gun violence in the state.

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