A debate over gun control is raging in Colorado, and a Democratic state representative is stoking the fire with her claim that guns as a means of self-defense is unnecessary. Instead, she’s putting her faith in the state legislature to protect her.
Colorado House Majority Leader Dickey Lee Hullinghorst said in an interview on the YouTube-based “Tim Caffrey Show” last week that firearms ownership is redundant because the government keeps citizens safe and sound.
“As a woman, I have the right not to carry a gun and to feel safe on the streets, and that’s what we provide for in the state legislature is for all of us in the state of Colorado — to feel safe on the streets without having to carry a gun,” said Hullinghorst
She added, “The thought that the only way we can protect ourselves is to wield our own weapon is completely absurd and an argument that I absolutely discount as frivolous,” Hullinghorst said.
Democrats across the state are facing strong backlash against the Colorado legislature’s sweeping gun control passed in March. State Sens. Angela Giron and John Morse, both Democrats, are facing recall elections in Sept. 10 for their votes in March in favor of the bills.
State Sen. Greg Brophy, a 2014 republican gubernatorial candidate, said Ms. Hullinghorst’s stance “speaks volumes about the Democratic agenda on guns.”
“Unbelievably naive from a citizen. Absolutely dangerous from an elected official and leader of the Democratic Party in Colorado,” Brophy told Colorado Peak Politics.
Earlier this year, democratic State Sen. Evie Hudak touched off an outcry of her own when she told a rape victim that it was unrealistic to expect that she could have repeled her attacker with a gun, saying, “Statistics are not on your side.”
“Chances are that if you had had a gun, then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you,” she said in a committee meeting.
With the Autumnal Equinox a few weeks away, Labor Day weekend is often seen as the unofficial end of summer in America. Children take to the streets to have some final adventures before school begins and winter descends. Families have cookouts and enjoy the summer sun, which sets noticeably earlier. Only the streets of Chicago seemed more like a warzone than a town bidding farewell to the sunny season because of gun violence that claimed eight lives and wounded at least 25 others.
A string of shootings—the report does not suggest that they are connected—beginning on Saturday morning shortly after 11 am and ending around 8 pm Monday evening has left a number of Chicago residents in shock and afraid of their own neighborhoods.
The victims were mostly in their early 20s, although the eldest victim was Carl Pate, 56, and the youngest was Maurice Knowles, only 16 years-old. He was shot in the chest while sitting on his porch Monday evening, succumbing to his injuries at a nearby hospital.
“I just moved here,” said David Westin, a resident of one of the affected neighborhoods, “and I’m about to move again. It’s scary. Thank goodness there were no kids playing outside.”
According to The Red Line Project, a news and entertainment site local to Chicago, the city has seen a recent increase in the numbers of homicides per year since2004. In the early and mid-1990s, Chicago had over 800 homicides per year, but those numbers decreased. 2011 saw the lowest homicide-rate since 1990, but that number jumped up significantly in 2012 and it seems as if it is on-pace to increase this year. Despite these murders, Chicago has some of the most stringent gun laws in the country which are currently facing multiple legal challenges by gun-rights advocates.
Despite what many would think, less guns does not equal less deaths.
At least, according to a new study released by Harvard.
The university recently published a study that looked at the relationship between gun ownership, gun laws, violent crimes and suicide rates across the world and concluded that less guns does not equal less deaths and more guns does not equal more deaths.
The study, conducted by Don B. Kates, an American criminologist and lawyer, and Gary Mauser, Canadian criminologist and professor, also found that while the United States has a higher gun ownership than other countries and also has high murder rates, it is not an accurate depiction of what is going on in the rest of the world.
In fact, this is quite the opposite with other countries.
The study compares other developed countries with high gun ownership rates, including Norway, Finland, Germany, France and Denmark. These countries all have significantly lower murder rates than the U.S.
“In other words,” states Guns.com, “the high murder rate of the U,S. is the exception, not the rule, when comparing homicide rates to gun ownership rates.”
In a comparison between Russia and the U.S. shows that while Russia has a very low gun ownership in the 1990s, murder rates in that country were almost triple of those in the U.S.
As for previous studies that brought up evidence of high gun ownership resulting in high murder rates, Kates and Mauser say that such evidence was acquired through incorrect or misleading information.
For example, one study that looked at England’s strict gun control in the 1990s and low murder rates failed to see that the country already had low murder rates prior to the strict gun control, according to Guns.com.
The study remains that while there is a correlation between higher gun control and crime rates, there are other factors to be considered. Violent crimes still occur, even with lower gun ownership as other weapons are used in the killings as substitutions.
This study is not the first to refute claims of stricter gun control leads to less violent crimes. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences also released studies in 2003 and 2004 respectively, with similar conclusions.
Sources: Guns.com, Harvard Law
Residents of Kennett Township in Pennsylvania, where gunshots can be regularly heard from target practicing neighbors, has moved to regulate gun usage over concern of stray bullets and the intrusive noise.
The township began discussing the issue in June, when a number of residents attended a Board of Supervisors meeting to complain about a neighbor who shot his gun “at all hours of the day”.
Lee Fulton, one of the residents who filed a complaint, said that while it’s important for people to use their property the way they want, a degree of safety must be enforced.
Neighbors called police several times and told the board that homebuyers would shy away from Kennett because of the gunshots.
While Pennsylvania restricts local government from regulating lawful ownership, possession, transfer or transportation of guns, the board found that several state municipalities enforced laws restricting gun ownership on private property, many of which had not been struck down.
The board also argued that they were charged with protecting the health and safety of residents.
The proposed restriction would prohibit residents from firing within 150 yards of an occupied residence and within 100 yards of a property line.
Gun owners would also be required to have a backstop that falls within the National Rifle Association guidelines and would be prohibited from shooting between sunset and 8 a.m.
Ted Nugent’s wife was arrested at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday when security found a gun in her carry-on bag.
Shemane Ann Nugent, 51, was taken into custody by the airport’s Department of Public Safety, Dallas News reported.
Nugent’s attorney, David Finn, called the incident an “honest mistake.”
Finn said Nugent worked late the night before and “completely forgot or never knew the weapon was in her bag.”
She has a concealed-carry license and has no criminal records, according to Finn.
“She is very embarrassed,” Finn told the Dallas News. “She’s never been in this situation before. She has expressed remorse for any inconvenience for any public safety officials.”
According to the Transporation Security Administration, there has been a rise in the number of guns seized at the airport. More than 1,000 have been confiscated this year.
Shemane Nugent married Ted Nugent, 64, in 1989. Her husband has been on outspoken critic of President Barack Obama’s gun control measures.
Obama’s New Gun Measures: Curb The Import of Military Surplus Weapons, Close Background Check Loophole
Vice President Joe Biden announced Thursday that the administration would add two measures to the list of 23 gun control steps President Barack Obama can take on his own, without the approval of Congress.
The first measure closes a loophole that allows felons to register guns to corporations or trusts, which allows them to circumvent background checks. This measure means people associated with those corporations or trusts will have to undergo finger printing and background checks just like an individual buying a gun.
In 2012, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives received 39,000 requests to register guns to corporations or trusts.
The other gun measure, sure to anger some gun collectors, would curb the import of military surplus weapons. Under current policy, military weapons donated by the U.S. to allies can be reimported to the U.S. by private entities. Since 2005, the White House said, 250,000 guns have been reimported.
Now only museums and other entities like the government will able to reimport military-grade firearms.
The National Rifle Associated was critical of both measures.
"Requiring background checks for corporations and trusts does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals,” the NRA said in a statement. “Prohibiting the re-importation of firearms into the U.S. that were manufactured 50 or more years ago does not keep firearms out of the hands of criminals. This administration should get serious about prosecuting violent criminals who misuse guns and stop focusing its efforts on law-abiding gun owners.”
Congress has not passed any control legislation in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last December.
Virginia Tea Party member Brandon Howard protested above busy overpasses with an assault rifle and semi-automatic handgun in sight, claiming to express his Second Amendment right to protest the “tyrant in office” President Obama.
Howard said his guns were loaded during his protest with a group seeking to impeach Obama, though he doesn't think the loaded weapons scared anyone.
“We’re a nation of laws,” Howard said. “The law of Virginia is that I can carry my weapon openly.”
However, the Hopewell police seemed to disagree with Howard when six of them surrounded the Tea-partier with guns pointed in his direction.
Howard reported that the officers had illegally searched him, illegally confiscated his weapons and illegally detained him.
The Hopewell police chief said Howard will not be charged and that the department is investigating into the police officers’ actions.
Had Howard caused a notable disruption or been the cause of injury, charges could then have been filed, according to Hopewell Commonwealth’s Attorney.
Missouri’s GOP-controlled legislature is expected to pass a bill in September that would nullify all federal gun laws, thus making it illegal for federal agents to enforce those laws in the state.
The statute would allow any Missourian arrested under federal firearm laws to sue their arresting officer, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
“It’s probably one of the best states’ rights issues that the country’s got going right now,” said Matt Wills, director of communications for the Missouri GOP.
The law makes it a misdemeanor for a journalist to publish any identifying information about gun owners. It also makes it misdemeanor for a federal agent to enforce federal gun laws that "infringe on the people's right to keep and bear arms."
Those charges could be punishable with up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The bill was vetoed this year by Gov. Jay Nixon (D), who said the bill infringes on the U.S. Constitution, stating that state law cannot take precedence over federal law and also limiting the First Amendment right of journalists.
A dozen Democrats are on board with Missouri Republicans and plan to help them override Nixon’s veto when the legislature meets again on Sept. 11. Many of them claim that voting no on the legislation, even though they don’t believe it would survive a court challenge, would be career ending, according to the Huffington Post.
The legislature is expected to go through with a push to defy federal power.
Richard G. Callahan, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, is worried that the legislature would go through with a push to defy federal power. Callahan told the Times that federal, state and local law enforcement officials worked together recently to seize 267 weapons and make 159 arrests.
He said the new law “would have outlawed such operations, and would have made criminals out of the law enforcement officers.”
Nixon was praised in the past by the National Rifle Association for supporting pro-gun legislation. The NRA has not weighed in the new bill. Possibly because, as Nixon put it in his veto, the supremacy of the federal government “is as logically sound as it is legally well established.”
“Our Constitution is not some cheap Chinese buffet where we get to pick the parts we like and ignore the rest,” said Rep. Jay Barnes, the only Republican against the bill in the House. “Two centuries of constitutional jurisprudence shows that this bill is plainly unconstitutional, and I’m not going to violate my oath of office.”
Minority floor leader and State Rep. Jacob Hummel, D-St. Louis, said using time to vote on unconstitutional bills that won’t hold up in court is “a waste of taxpayers’ money.”
“We’re elected to serve the citizens of the state of Missouri, at the state level,” he said. “We were not elected to tell the federal government what to do — that’s why we have Congressional elections.”
President Barack Obama issued a statement 11 days after the shooting of 22-year-old Australian college baseball player Christopher Lane, saying his thoughts and prayers were with Lane’s family during these “trying” times.
“As the president has expressed on too many tragic occasions, there is an extra measure of evil in an act of violence that cuts a young life short,” the statement read.
Conservative media outlets had pushed Obama to make a statement, though press secretary Josh Earnest admitted that he had not originally been familiar with the case.
Lane was shot in the back while on a training run in Duncan, Okla. on Aug. 16, after 16-year-old Chancey Luna and 15-year-old James Edwards Jr. decided to kill somebody out of boredom.
The two will be tried as adults on first-degree murder charges. An accomplice, 17-year-old Michael Dewayne Jones, drove the getaway car and will be tried as a minor with an accessory to murder charge.
More than 300 residents in the Duncan community held a community service on Friday night to honor Lane, and the Essendon Baseball Club members have decided to dedicate their next match to Lane’s memory.
The tribute will include a minute’s silence.
Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has recommended that tourists boycott America because of its problem with gun violence.
More than 50 black faith leaders wrote to Congress asking lawmakers to pass tougher gun legislation requiring background checks for all gun sales, including private sales.
“Together, we will honor the awe-inspiring demonstration of over 250,000 men, women and children who gathered on Aug. 28 in the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial and the concerted efforts of everyday citizens compelled by their belief in equality and dignity of all human life,” the letter says.
The leaders estimate 270 million guns are in circulation in the United States, and as members of the clergy they meet victims of gun violence every day. The letter says that Congress’ failure to pass Manchin-Toomey, which would require background checks on gun purchases at gun shows and on the Internet, was a failure of lawmakers’ “obligation to humanity.”
“On this national anniversary, we must not only herald the progress we have made as a country, but we must take stock of the detrimental decisions and policies of indifference that turn a blind eye to the alarming magnitude of lives cut short too soon,” the letter says. “Each generation has an opportunity and an obligation. Our past and future generations command that we sound the clarion call to end gun violence in our communities.”
The letter says African-American children and teens are more than twice as likely to be killed by a gun than by a car accident. The number of black children and teens were killed by guns between 1963 to 2010 is more than 17 times the recorded lynchings of African-Americans from 1882-1968.
“In 2012 alone, 6.6 million guns were sold without a background check for the buyer," the leaders wrote. "As a result, persons who are mentally ill, those with criminal records and even domestic abusers are able to purchase guns without a background check. Past and future generations require that we act on the opportunity and obligation to achieve common sense gun reform.”
The letter is signed by 56 pastors from coast-to-coast.
President Barack Obama made gun reform a key goal for his administration in the wake of the December school shooting at Newtown, Conn., that resulted in the death of 20 children and six adults. Expansion of background checks for gun sales failed in the Senate in April.
“We do not want the public’s attention to this issue to be forgotten,” said Rev. Delman Coates, president of the Black Church Center for Justice and Equality, who helped organize the group letter told the Washington Post. “We are not anti-guns. There are several pastors in this coalition who are proud gun owners. We’re for responsible gun ownership.”
Source: Washington Post