Apr 17, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

gun control

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11Bill Maher: California’s Economy Is Booming Because Here NRA Stands For 'Nuts, Racists, And A**holes' (Video)

Bill Maher: California’s Economy Is Booming Because Here NRA Stands For “Nuts, Racists, And *ssholes” (Video)

HBO host Bill Maher says California’s economy is booming because there’s no Tea Party and no GOP “legislative cockblock.” On “On Real Time with Bill Maher” Friday, Maher claimed California will single-handedly drag the rest of America kicking and screaming into the present.

“New rule,” Maher said, “Conservatives who love to brag about American exceptionalism must come here to California and see it in person. And then they should be afraid. Because while right-wingers are taking over places like North Carolina and Texas and even Wisconsin, California is creating the kind of modern, liberal nation the country as a whole can only dream about.”

“And not only can’t the rest of the country stop us, we’re going to drag you with us,” he added.

“Here in California,” he said, “we’re not just gluten-free and peanut-free and soy-free, we’re tea party-free! Yes, we can live in reality!”

Maher said it’s in California’s nature to try new things.

He said places like Texas “like freedom a little too much, like when that unregulated fertilizer plant blew up.”

He said the two things conservative often tout, the free market and states rights, are the two things that will ultimately “bend the country in California’s image as a socialist fagtopia.”

“Maybe our constipated Congress in Washington can’t pass gun control laws.”

He said that’s because California doesn’t care about the NRA. “Out here NRA stands for ‘nuts, racists, and assholes.’”

He said while other states are “working with Jesus to make abortion more miserable,” California is making it easier.

“And while immigrants are demonized in Washington and elsewhere, in California we just ok’d driver’s licenses for undocumented aliens. That’s right,” he said, “we’re letting them drive cars just like white people.”

Maher concluded, “We can’t be worrying about the nonsense that keeps Fox News viewers up at night.”

Warning: The following video contains graphic language and viewer discretion is advised.

Sources: Raw Story, Mediaite

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11Virginia Mom: The Blind Shouldn’t Be Allowed to Carry Concealed Guns

In the state of Virginia, being blind is not a legitimate reason to be denied a firearm. In fact, current law allows blind people to file for a concealed carry permit -- even if they need help filling out the application, let alone finding their target.

But Gena Reeder, Richmond Chapter Lead for Moms Demand Action would like to change that.

“If you are physically not competent to fire that weapon then you're posing a threat to public safety," Reeder says. "It's one thing to have a firearm for your personal safety at home but when you get your concealed carry permit you are presumed to be carrying a loaded weapon out in public."

Common sense may dictate that blind people carrying guns is a recipe for accidents -- and deadly ones at that -- but gun-rights activists have a different take, and don’t understand why anyone’s right to bear arms should be infringed upon, even if they don’t know what they may be shooting at.

Reeder is not even requesting that blind people be denied the right to keep guns in their homes, just that they not be permitted to walk around in public with the weapons. Still, not everyone agrees.

"A blind person that might be under attack could push the gun towards the person, maybe even possibly touch them and then pull the trigger," says Philip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, "That would be a more effective weapon then them trying to fight with a knife."

Both Reeder and Van Cleave will be stating their respective cases at the General Assembly early next year.

The blind may also legally carry concealed weapons in the state of Iowa, thanks to a ruling that nobody can be barred from the “right” due to physical disability.

Sources: WRIC.com, Daily Mirror

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11Second Grader Suspended over Trick Pen

Although few would classify a novelty pen as a dangerous object, the toy earned one 7-year-old a suspension as a “weapons offender.” The parents are now suing the school in federal court.

The boy, named only as G.B., brought the trick pen onto his school bus in Harrisburg, Pa., and showed it to a fellow classmate. The bus driver then confiscated the toy and reported the 7-year-old to school officials.

According to G.B.’s parents, the pen is "similar to a 'clown' type buzzer that one would hold in the palm of one's hand to emit a small buzz when shaking hands," and that the whole incident "arose from his simple act of taking a toy onto a school bus — a toy that neither threatened nor caused harm to any person or property."

The parents are suing Hershey Elementary School, the principal, the acting superintendent and some members of the Derry Township School Board.

They charge that by suspending their son, the school prevented him from getting his needed education, which he should have the right to receive. According to their statement, the school punished the boy "without due process of law based on the basis of nothing but hysterical and overly zealous application of a constitutionally deficient school policy.”

Earlier this year, two grade-school students in Suffolk, Va. were also suspended over writing utensils. The 7-year-olds were holding pencils in their hands while making gun noises and pointing them as though they were weapons.  One of the students was reportedly impersonating his father.

According to the school’s zero-tolerance weapons policy, officials placed both boys on suspension. However, the local school board voted unanimously to revise the policy, and now ordinary objects will not be classified as weapons.

From now on, punishments at the Virginia school will be issued on an individual basis, and will not be dictated by a sweeping policy.  Perhaps after the pending lawsuit, Hershey Elementary School will follow suit.

Sources: Courthouse News, News Net 5

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11Plot to Shoot, Bomb School Was a “Joke,” Says Oklahoma Teen

Despite writing in his journal that he would “be remembered forever” in doing “what he has been planning for so long,” Sammie Eaglebear Chavez stated in court on Tuesday that his plans to shoot and bomb his school in a killing spree were nothing but a joke.

The former student at Bartlesville High School is on trial in Washington County, Oklahoma for planning a mass school shooting.

Chavez reportedly talked about the killing with his friends, describing how such a shooting could be accomplished on their campus. One student reported hearing the defendant discuss drawing his classmates into the school auditorium, chaining the doors closed and opening fire.

In an earlier affidavit, Police Lt. Kevin Ickleberry wrote, “Sammie tried to recruit other students to assist him with carrying out a plan to lure students into the school auditorium where he planned to begin shooting them after chaining the doors shut." 

Any student who didn’t want to help with the murder was threatened with death. Chavez also planned to booby-trap the doors so that bombs would explode when the police showed up.

The teen bought a gun, and wrote about murder in his journal. One entry noted, “These thoughts of hurting and killing others have become comforting.” 

In his testimony, 19-year-old Chavez stated, “It was a joke in the sense that it wasn’t meant seriously.” He claimed to be venting anger with no intention of harming anyone.

In his home, Chavez had what his family called “the murder table,” which was covered with dates and names next to the word “murder.” The table was also adorned with the terms “Peek-A-Boo, I’ll chop you,” and “9-19-12 Murder Barbie,” which may refer to a woman named Barbara who was slain by 13-year-olds with hatchets.

According to Chavez, all of the evidence showed nothing but “an unfortunate coincidence.” The truth of that statement will be determined by the jury, which starts deliberations Tuesday afternoon.

Sources: Tulsa World, Huffington Post

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11Obama Wants To ‘Go Back At’ Gun-Control, But Joe Manchin’s Pessimistic After Navy Yard Shooting

In the wake of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard, President Barack Obama said Saturday that it’s time to “go back at it” in the push for more gun-control measures.

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., co-author of the background check bill that failed in the Senate in April, told CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday that he would not revive his efforts on gun control without the support of other lawmakers.

“Are you gonna try to put some new emphasis on that?” CBS host Bob Schieffer asked Manchin.

"Not unless there’s a movement," he responded. "I’m not gonna go out there and just beat the drum for the sake of beating the drum. There has to be people willing to move off the position they've taken. They’ve gotta come to that conclusion themself, and I’m still talking to everybody and I welcome everyone’s input if they think that we can make some adjustments and make them comfortable."

Twelve people died Monday during a shooting rampage at the Navy Yard. Many suspect the shooter, Aaron Alexis, was suffering from severe mental illness.

Obama told the audience at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation awards dinner that the fight is not over.

"We fought a good fight earlier this year, but we came up short, and that means we've got to get back up and go back at it," Obama said. "As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, then we've got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children ... to do more work to make it harder.”

A gang shooting in Chicago, Obama’s hometown, on Thursday left 13 people wounded including a 3-year-old child.

Sources: Reuters, Politico

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11President Obama Urges Supporters To Pursue Gun-Control Measures

Following mass shootings in Washington, D.C., and Chicago, President Barack Obama told supporters to “go back at it” and pursue gun-control measures during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner on Saturday.

Congress previously rejected Obama’s proposals to restrict sales of certain types of guns and require greater background checks. Gun-rights groups opposed the measures, saying they would infringe on Americans’ constitutional rights, according to Reuters.

“We fought a good fight earlier this year, but we came up short, and that means we’ve got to get back up and go back at it,” Obama said at the awards dinner.

Fox News reports that Obama used the occasion of his keynote speech to make his first public comments about this week's pair of shootings that took place in both of Obama’s hometowns.

“Tomorrow night I’ll be meeting in mourning with families in this city who now know the same unspeakable grief of families in Newtown and Aurora and Tucson and Chicago and New Orleans and all across the country, people whose loved ones were torn from them without headlines sometimes or public outcry,” Obama said.

The White House said after Monday’s shooting that Obama is using his executive authority to tighten access to guns and remains committed to strengthening gun laws, including requiring background checks for sales online and at gun shows.

“As long as there are those who fight to make it as easy as possible for dangerous people to get their hands on guns, then we’ve got to work as hard as possible for the sake of our children ... to do more work to make it harder,” Obama stated.

Sources: Fox News, Reuters

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11Gallup Poll: Most Americans Blame Mental Health System, Not Gun Access, For Mass Shootings

A new Gallup poll released today shows that more Americans blame the country’s mental health system for mass shootings more than any other factor – including ease of access to guns.

The poll was released today in the wake of the Navy Yard shooting. Gallup compared the poll’s results to those of a similar poll taken in 2011 after the Tucson, Arizona shooting which left six people dead and twelve more injured – including Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Gilfords.

In the poll, 48% of respondents placed a “great deal of blame” on the mental health system for failing to identify individuals that pose a risk to others. Only 40% placed a great deal of blame for shootings on easy access to guns – down 6% from the 2011 poll. 37% of Americans said drug use should be blamed for the shootings.

20% of respondents said that easy access to guns was not to blame at all for the shootings. In fact, 13% of respondents—the highest percentage in over a decade -- said laws regulating access to guns should be made even less strict. 49% of respondents said gun purchasing laws should be made more strict – down from 58% earlier this year.

Gallup also analyzed the political identities of respondents in relation to their answers. For Republicans, the greatest factor to blame for the shootings was the failure of the mental health system. 49% of Republicans placed a “great deal of blame” on the mental health system, while 50% of democrats did the same.

Meanwhile, 57% of democrats placed a great deal of blame for the shootings on easy access to guns, while only 20% of Republicans did the same. Republican respondents were more likely than Democrats to blame violent movies and video games for the shootings.

Since the Newtown shooting, many GOP politicians have been quick to fault mental health over gun access as the primary cause for the shootings. But as Think Progress writer Tara Culp-Ressler notes, lawmakers faulting mental health issues for gun violence are often the same ones blocking measures that would strengthen the mental health care system. In addition to blocking new measures, GOP legislators have slashed billions of dollars in funding to mental health care services in recent years. 

Sources: Gallup, Think Progress

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11Flippin, Ark. Mayor Accidentally Shoots Rifle, Taking Out Office Window

Anyone in the City Hall building in Flippin, Ark., last Monday was likely "flippin' out” when Mayor James “J.J.” Hudson fired a rifle in the police chief’s office, shooting a baseball-sized hole through the second-floor window.

According to Hudson, he was handling a firearm seized by police when the weapon accidentally discharged.

Nine days after the incident, Hudson told the Baxter Bulletin, “It’s all been taken care of; it’s all been cleaned up. I’m not going to have any further comment on it.”

Despite the mayor’s words of assurance, the Bulletin reported that the window had not been repaired or replaced, and that shards of glass still decorated the entrance to City Hall.

According to Police Chief Dusty Smith, the incident unfolded as follows:

On 09/09/13 at approximately 9:28 a.m. I was in my office located at 239 East Main St in Flippin speaking with someone on the phone. Mayor Hudson came to my office and picked up a firearm that was in my office.

I heard a loud shot and looked up and observed the southeast corner window of my office broken. Mayor Hudson stated that the firearm had went off. Mayor Hudson advised me that he was attempting to unload the firearm and that the ammunition in it had jammed.

Mayor Hudson is no stranger to controversy; in November 2011, he was arrested and charged with drinking in public, public intoxication and third-degree battery after an altercation with a man outside a local apartment complex. Hudson publicly apologized for the incident, but refused to step down from office, despite pressure from one former councilmember.

Hudson had another brush with the law in November of 2012, when he was involved in a traffic accident and cited for driving under the influence of prescription opiate hydrocodone.

The mayor pled guilty to a misdemeanor DWI charge, but again refused to resign.

Sources: Baxter Bulletin, THV 11, KHOZ Radio

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11Louie Gohmert: Blaming the Navy Yard Shooting On Guns Is Like Blaming Obesity On Spoons

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) claims that calling for stricter gun laws in the wake of the shooting at the Washington Navy Yard is like banning spoons to fight obesity.

In an interview with Newsmax’s John Bachman on Tuesday, Gohmert said Congress should be talking about Americat’s mental health crisis, instead of gun control.

“Mental health seems to be playing into the Newtown shooting, the Colorado shooting,” he told Newsmax. “It obviously has an effect, and it’s interesting that these people seem to have a common tie with extremely violent video games. And if they have mental health issues and play extremely violent video games, they seem to have trouble distinguishing between what is reality and what isn’t.”

Gohmert’s position echoes that of Fox News host Elisabeth Hasselbeck, who said “the left” is trying to use the Navy Yard shooting as an argument for more “gun control” measures, when what we really need is to monitor video game purchases and the amount of time spent playing them.

However, there isn’t a single, scientific study to support such a link. According to data from the Department of Justice, the more violent video games created, the larger the decrease in crime rates.

“I’d be all for everybody keeping their sidearms if they’re in the military and on a military installation,” Gohmert added.

“I see a lot of problems here, and blaming this on guns is like saying the big problem with obesity is we’ve got too many spoons,” he said. “It’s not the spoons, it’s not the guns. It’s the people who have them. There’s a lot of things that need to be done, but one of them is to deal with the mental health of people who have guns.”

Sources: Newsmax, Raw Story

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11Mass Shootings Account For A Small Percentage Of Murders Committed In The U.S.

Although random mass shootings have been the subject of media attention and the cause of political controversy throughout the past few years, they actually comprise a small fraction of the murders committed in the United States, a study from the Congressional Research Service claims.

The Congressional Research Service’s report found that 78 public mass shootings have occurred in the United States throughout the past 30 years. According to Bloomberg, the organization defines a mass shooting as an incident “in which four or more people were killed at random by a gunman killing indiscriminately.” It excludes crimes in which a clear motive is determined, such as gang-related or domestic shootings. According to those guidelines, mass shootings account for less than one tenth of one percent of the 559,347 people murdered in the United States over the past thirty years.

Public shootings may only account for a small percentage of murders committed in the United States, but they still have a significant impact on society. Media coverage of such shootings tends to be extensive, as was the case with the country’s most recent tragedies: the Newtown, CT elementary school shooting, the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting, and the recent mass shooting at the Washington Navy Yard. These high-profile mass killings tend to have a larger effect on societal debate and push for action.

After last year’s shooting in Newton, for instance, President Obama vocalized his support for stricter gun-control laws. Connecticut, New York and Maryland all passed laws limiting access to assault weapons, and similar legislative action began in at least seventeen other states. Many states, on the other hand, have loosened gun-control restrictions since the recent shootings have sparked debate on the issue of 2nd amendment rights.

Mass shootings have also had an effect at the local level. According to Peter Blair, the director of research at the Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training Program at Texas State University in San Marcos, police departments are increasingly trained how to respond to a mass shooting. Officers used to be required to establish a perimeter around areas such as schools and wait for backup when a gunman was inside. That approach has changed. “Police policies around the country now authorize officers to go in solo,” Blair said.

Yesterday’s shooting in the Washington Naval Yard, which resulted in the death of at least 12 people, received similar media attention to previous mass shootings. As details of the incident unfold, so will societal and political debate on the issue of gun-control.

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