Apr 18, 2014 fbook icon twitter icon rss icon

gun control

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11Pennsylvania Town Moves to Regulate Private Gun Ownership

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.

Sources: Philly, Daily Local

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11Ted Nugent’s Wife Arrested For Bringing Gun to Dallas Airport

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.

Sources: Dallas News, Newser

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11Obama’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.

Sources: ABC News, Fox News

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11Virginia Man Brandon Howard Detained After Protesting Obama With Loaded Weapons

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.

Sources: CBS News, The Huffington Post

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11Missouri Gun Bill Would Nullify All Federal Gun Laws

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.”

Sources: NY Times, Huffington Post

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11Obama Releases Statement Addressing Christopher Lane Shooting

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.

Sources: The Huffington Post, The Herald Sun

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1156 Black Faith Leaders Ask Congress to Pass Tougher Gun Laws

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.

The open letter from leaders across the country coincided with the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s march on Washington, the Washington Post reported.

“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

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11Convicted Killer Joshua Cooke Speaks Out Against Assault Weapons

A Virginia man who shot and killed his adopted parents when he was 19 is now calling for assault weapons to be banned. Joshua Cooke said that he felt “like a zombie” on the night of the murders. He is currently serving a 40-year prison sentence.

“If I had an assault weapon, things would have been much worse,” Cooke said during an interview with “Piers Morgan Live.”

“I thank God I didn't have an AR-15 or some other type of assault weapon because the way I was back then mentally, I would have gone to the mall that night or to one of my old high schools the next morning and killed as many people as I possibly could,” he said.

Prior to the shooting, Cooke was playing violent video games in his bedroom. He then picked up a shotgun he had purchased a few days before and decided: “That was it, there was nothing left in my life.” He walked downstairs and shot his mother in the chest before turning the gun on his father, Fox News reported.

“I had no emotion at all. I was basically like a zombie. I went down the steps and I shot my mother. I was numb. There had been so many years of hurt from mother's abuse and bullying, rejection from girls, all types of things like that, I just - I didn't care about anything anymore.”

His mother asked: “What are you doing Joshua? Why did you do this?”

Cooke said: “I loaded the gun, I pointed it at her face and I shot her in the face. I walked down the steps, I stepped over her body and I shot my father in the head one more time.”

He is now urging other people who are having dark thoughts to seek help before hurting anyone. “I've been where you are ... you don't know the pain you'll cause,” he said.

Sources: Fox News, The Collegiate Times

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11Louisiana 8-Year-Old Boy Suspected of Intentionally Shooting Elderly Relative In Head

An 8-year-old Louisiana boy shot and killed his elderly caregiver Thursday evening, an act which investigators now believe was intentional.

Marie Smothers, 87, was shot in the back of the head by the 8-year-old boy and died shortly after suffering the wound. The boy, who was back with his parents Thursday night, told East Feliciana Parish investigators that the incident was an accident, according to The Advocate.

The child said that he was playing with the gun, and did not intend to fire it and kill his caregiver.

But after further investigation, police say they think the boy purposefully shot Smothers in the back of the head while she was watching television. However, officials have not determined a motive for the crime.

Relatives of Smothers and the boy said the two had a “normal” and “loving” relationship. Smothers and the child reportedly even slept in the same bedroom.

Investigators said the boy was playing a violent videogame right before he killed Smothers. The game, “Grand Theft Auto IV,” rewards players for killing people.

Police have not yet completed their investigation.

Sources: The Advocate

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11 Rep. Steve Pearce Falsely Claims No Guns Used in Rwanda Genocide

Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) made the extraordinary false claim that no guns were used in the 1994 Rwanda genocide, which he claims was done only with machetes.

Rep. Pierce made the comment during a Las Cruces, New Mexico town hall on Thursday when a voter asked about gun control, which the congressman opposes.

According to the Las Cruces Sun-News, Rep. Pierce told the voter: “They don’t have guns in Rwanda, yet (more than 500,000) people died by machetes.”

Contrary to Rep. Pierce's claim, Rwanda's officials bought guns, mortar bombs, rocket launchers, grenades and ammunition from Egypt in 1990. The Hutu regime in Rwanda used  the weapons in their genocide against the Tutsis in 1994.

According to the book "In A People Betrayed: The Role of the West in Rwanda's Genocide" by Linda Melvern, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations,  even admitted helping Egypt sell the weapons to Rwanda, notes The Guardian.

Boutros-Ghali was the Minister of Foreign Affairs in Egypt and said he approved the weapons sale because it was his job.

Also, according to the Journal of Peace Research:

Human Rights Watch has documented how, in 1992–93, burgomasters (the head of the communal authority) ordered quantities of arms and ammunition that far exceeded the needs of their local police forces (Des Forges, 1999: 97–99). They ordered guns, Kalashnikovs, machine guns, grenades and large quantities of ammunition. The report also documents the purchase of arms by the rebels, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). Goose & Smith (1994: 86–96) describe and criticize the arms sales to Rwanda in detail.

In another study posted on SmallArmsSurvey.org:

Soldiers, national police (gendarmes), former soldiers, and communal police played a larger part in the slaughter than is generally realized... Although usually few in number at sites of massive killing, their tactical knowledge and their use of weapons of war, including grenades, machine guns, and even mortars, contributed significantly to the death tolls in these massacres.

Sources: The Guardian, Journal of Peace Research, Las Cruces Sun-News, SmallArmsSurvey.org

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