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.
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.
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.
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.
Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan Gottlieb appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Live to promote his organization’s pro-gun rally named “Guns Save Lives Day” to be held on Dec. 14, the anniversary of the Newtown, Conn., school shooting.
Morgan argued that it’s not gun control activists hurt by the Second Amendment Foundation rally, it’s the families of the 26 victims who died at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
When Morgan quoted a reaction from a family member of a Newtown victim, Gottleib laughed.
“Erica Lafferty, the daughter of murdered Newtown principal Dawn Hochsprung said, ‘Dec. 14th is a sacred day for Newtown families. It should be about our loved ones, not this disgusting political stunt. These people will be trampling over the graves of the innocent children and educators who were murdered that day’,” Morgan read. “Why are you laughing?”
“Because that’s totally over the top,” Gottleib responded. “That’s not what our intent was, that’s not what anything we were going to do was.”
“You planned a campaign to promote the good side of guns on the first anniversary of the worst mass shooting at a school in American history, and you have the gall to laugh when I read out a quote from one of the victim’s families?” Morgan asked. “How dare you?”
“Piers, how dare the anti-gun movement have been [sic] using this tragedy all year long to ...”
Morgan cut him off.
“This is a family member,” Morgan shouted. “How dare you laugh?”
“Hey, my heart goes out to them,” Gottleib said. “I have children, grandchildren myself. But that doesn’t allow them to use that day, either, to attack my rights.”
Gottleib quoted the number of times Morgan has “attacked gun rights” on his show this year.
“Oh, I won’t back off [of] people like you, Mister Gottlieb, trust me,” Morgan said.
“I bet you’ll use December 14th to push your anti-gun agenda,” Gottlieb said.
“You’re damn right I’ll use that day to promote gun safety, Mister Gottlieb,” Morgan responded. “And I’ll do it on behalf of these families.”
The massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, CT took place on December 14th, 2012. The shooting, in which 26 people — including several children — were killed by a lone gunman, was a tragic event that ultimately sparked a nation-wide debate about the country’s gun laws.
Gun control advocates, including President Obama, used the tragedy as an example for the unnecessary violence that can occur when individuals have easy access to firearms, framing the event as a way to push gun control legislature.
Second amendment supporters, on the other hand, used the opportunity to claim that if any of the teachers or administrators in the school had been armed, they could’ve stopped the gunman more quickly than the police that eventually arrived on the scene.
In order to further that argument, several gun rights advocates have organized a “Guns Save Lives Day” on December 14th, the one-year anniversary of the events in Newtown. “No one at Newtown should have been a victim and no one in the future should be victimized by laws that do not allow people to defend themselves,” the homepage of the event’s official site reads.
The common pro-gun argument is that those seeking to commit acts of murder will find access to a gun somehow, even if the weapons are banned. The only way to be properly prepared to counteract a gunman, then, is to be armed yourself. By this Old-West-style logic, if everyone in the country is armed with a gun for protection, not as many will actually be harmed.
Which side of the gun control debate is correct is impossible to determine. Armed teachers definitely could have stopped the attack more quickly than police forces, but more armed people might eventually lead to more unlawful or accidental use of weapons (especially in an elementary school).
Regardless, gun rights advocates will be speaking their minds on the anniversary of the tragedy, and gun control advocates will likely have a response. Although the exact events of the day have not yet been released, they will not, thankfully, include “anything that’s insensitive whatsoever,” according to Gawker.
New York City Mayor Bloomberg has his sights set beyond the five boroughs in his quest to enact stricter gun control laws. In a Time Magazine article aptly titled “Michael Bloomberg Wants To Be Mayor Of The World,” Mayor Bloomberg spoke about the recall of two Colorado state senators in response to their support for gun control.
Bloomberg spoke bluntly on the issue, claiming that the only thing that mattered was that Colorado still has its gun laws intact. “What do you mean we lost? I’m sorry for those two people. But we won in Colorado. On to the next state,” Bloomberg said.
Democratic state senators John Morse (D-Colorado Springs) and Angela Giron (D-Pueblo) were recalled by their constituents last month for their support of a new gun control signed into law by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D). Several counties throughout the state (specifically in Eastern Colorado) also recently claimed that they would support cession from Colorado due to the state’s increased liberalization.
The new gun control law requires “background checks on private and online gun sales, as well as restrictions that ban magazines with higher than 15 rounds of ammunition,” according to the Huffington Post.
NYC Mayor Bloomberg is one of the richest men in the world, with a wealth estimated at $31 billion. According to his new Time Magazine interview, he plans to use that money in order to spread his agenda — which has led to drastic changes throughout New York City, including a ban on smoking in public areas as well as the failed yet comedic “ban on large, sugary drinks” — throughout the world.
According to his article, the mayor “is spending millions ... to back candidates who would further gun control and education reform and defeat those who oppose them.”
“A lot of elected officials are afraid to back controversial things. I’m not afraid of that. You’re not going to hurt my business, and if you are, I don’t care. I take great pride in being willing to stand up,” Bloomberg told Time.
Bloomberg’s controversial third-term (city council voted to extend term limits while Bloomberg was in his second, and then-to-be-last term) is scheduled to end next month, when he will be replaced by either Republican Candidate Joe Lhota or Democratic Candidate Bill de Blasio, with de Blasio as the frontrunner.
Indiana’s felony murder statute allows participants in some felonies to be convicted of murder if anyone is murdered as the felony is being carried out. That’s the law that led to the conviction of Blake Layman (16), Jose Quiroz (16) and Levi Sparks (17) and Anthony Sharp (18).
The three, along with 21-year-old Danzele Johnson, had broken into a house in October 2012 in Elkhart, Ind., a Northern Indiana city located 15 miles east of South Bend. Although the burglars believed the house to be vacant, the homeowner was inside and ultimately shot and killed Danzele Johnson. Blake Layman was also shot, although he survived his injuries.
All of the young thieves were unarmed.
Those accompanying Johnson, the “Elkhart Four,” as they are now known, have been convicted of their friend’s murder and sentenced to harsh prison terms. Layman and Sharp were sentenced to 55 years in prison. Sparks, who never actually entered the house, received the slightly-reduced sentence of 50 years. Quiroz received 45 years after pleading guilty to the charges.
In a new op-ed posted on the Huffington Post, Northwestern University Law Professor Steve Drizin argues that the law that led to the conviction of the Elkhart Four should be revised. Drizin points to a report by the Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, which claims that “approximately 26 percent of the 2,500 juveniles in the U.S. sentenced to life without parole received these sentences based on felony murder conviction.”
According to Drizin’s viewpoint, children and young adults are being unjustifiably punished with long prison sentences for crimes that they either did carry out or did not intend to happen.
Many others agree that the conviction of the Elkhart Four was too harsh, especially considering the teenagers were unarmed and did not carry out a murder. There’s even a website — FreeTheElkhart4.com — dedicated to the cause.
That website points to a strikingly similar case that took place in Davenport, Florida, which also has legislation linking felonies and murder charges. Until these laws are changed in order to punish the suspects for the crimes that they actually committed, teens may be continued to be convicted of tragically long prison sentences.
Study Conducted By NYC Mayor Bloomberg Finds Gun Marketplace Armslist Connects Criminals With Firearms Salesmen
Online black market Silk Road has been in the news lately because the FBI finally busted the site’s leader, who went by the pseudonym Dred Pirate Roberts. While you could find firearms and other weapons on the site for a while, Silk Road ultimately stopped its arms-selling practice to focus on drugs and other illicit activities, switching the weapon sales over to a site called The Armory. Those sites were only accessible through the Tor Browser, difficult to reach by ordinary computer users and unable to be detected by search engines.
Anyone, however, can go to Armslist.com, a website that allows people to post ads marketing their weapons, and users to purchase those arms with few questions asked.
A study conducted by New York City Mayor Bloomberg has discovered instances in which firearms purchased through Armslist have been used to carry out murders. Salon points to the example of Radcliffe Haughton, a Wisconsin native that used Armslist to buy a “Glock handgun that he used the next day to kill [his wife Zina Daniel] and two co-workers before committing suicide.” The study also discovered that those unable to legally purchase weapons due to FBI background checks or other restrictions have used the site in order to more easily obtain a weapon.
“Convicted felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous people who are legally barred from buying guns can do so online with little more than a phone number or email. As our investigation shows, thousands of criminals and other prohibited purchasers are doing just that,” Mayor Bloomberg said.
The study claims that those unable to obtain weapons are using Armslist as a loophole, and the legality of the transactions is unclear. “One in 30 would-be buyers on Armslist have criminal records that bar them from owning guns. Our findings suggest that tens of thousands of criminals now use the online private sale loophole to acquire illegal guns,” the study reports.
A new poll by Public Policy Polling reveals that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to believe that the government wants to round up all guns, or that the President is trying to sneak in a third term.
According to poll results, 62 percent of Republicans think the president is "secretly trying to take everyone's guns away." Only 14 percent of Democrats share this view, and 36 percent of the nation as a whole agrees.
A shockingly high number of Republicans — 42 percent — think that Muslims are covertly incorporating Sharia laws into the American justice system. It is unclear what evidence provides the basis for such a belief, but just 12 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of the general population think this is true.
Interestingly, one-fourth of all Americans think that President Obama is plotting to discover a way to remain in office past the end of his second term.
It’s important to note that Public Policy Polling is a liberal-leaning organization, so there is a possibility of bias. Nonetheless, the nonfactual spoutings of right-wing extremists (i.e., Ted Cruz and friends) have led to rampant misinformation about the government — and plenty of fear.
The president has been accused of being an illegal immigrant and a Muslim, and fears of the government knocking doors to confiscate everybody’s guns have spurred record firearm sales in the naïve believe that a few store-bought weapons could possibly compete with the government’s own arsenal.
Government aside, a fair portion of those polled demonstrated deep mistrust of the financial industry. The survey asked, “Do you think that a group of world bankers is slowly eliminating paper currency until most banking is done electronically, and then will cut the power grid so that most citizens will not have access to any money and will be forced into worldwide slavery, or not?”
Seventeen percent of the population answered “yes.”