Category Archives: Guns

There Has Been An Average Of One School Shooting Every Other School Day So Far This Year

Purdue Shooting | CREDIT: AP

When will the gun lobby understand that this is not about taking their guns away, it’s about lives being taken…

Think Progress

Last year was supposed to be a year of action to curb gun violence in our schools. But three weeks into the new year, statistics suggest that the problem could actually be worsening.

Though the sample size is far too small to draw any definitive conclusions, 2014 is off to a deadly start: in the first 14 school days of the year, there have been at least 7 school shootings. For sake of comparison, there were 28 school shootings in all of 2013, according to gun violence prevention group Moms Demand Action.

Purdue University is the most recent, when a 23 year old teaching assistant fired four shots inside a campus building on Tuesday, killing a 21 year old senior. One day earlier, a student was hospitalized after being shot near the athletic center on the campus of Widener University in Pennsylvania. And last week, there were at least three other school shootings, resulting in the hospitalization of five students between the ages of 12 and 18.

2014_School_Shootings-01

That number could have been even higher were it not for several near-misses. An eighth grader was arrested in Georgia last week after he brought a gun to school on consecutive days and robbed a classmate. On Tuesday, Portland police rushed to an area high school after a student was reportedly showing off his gun to a fellow classmate during lunch. And early on Wednesday four teenagers were arrested after they were seen pointing a gun at a school bus in Norfolk, Virginia.

Gun advocates at the National Rifle Association and elsewhere spent months after the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT calling for even more guns to be placed inside of schools in the form of armed security officials. And while many schools have indeed introduced so-called “school resource officers” in the last year, there is little evidence they are doing any good at all. Just about the only discernible impact of adding security officials into schools is adramatic increase in the number of students arrested, sometimes for transgressions such asforgetting to wear a belt. More alarmingly, there have been instances of officers forgetting their guns inside bathrooms used by students or accidentally firing their guns inside of crowded high schools.

UPDATE 

Two more school days have passed since this post was first published, and the deadly trend has continued: on Friday, one student was shot on the campus of South Carolina State University. The university confirmed the shooting shortly after 3:00pm, and say that they have identified the suspect, though police have yet to apprehend him or her. The lone victim was transported to an area hospital, but the individual’s condition is unknown.

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Gun rights advocates freak out over ‘No Guns’ sign at singer Toby Keith’s restaurant

Toby Keith via Shutterstock

Wait til they find out he voted for Obama…

The Raw Story

Conservatives and gun activists are in high dudgeon over a sign outside country singer Toby Keith’s new Virginia bar and grill that says “No Guns Permitted.”

According to Washington, DC’s WTOP, the sign has provoked an explosion of outrage online. Many gun rights advocates took to Twitter and other social media to denounce Keith as a “gun hating liberal,” a “fake,” and a “Republican In Name Only” or “RINO.”

“So if ‘no guns are allowed’ I guess that means that police officers that are ‘on duty’ aren’t allowed in for lunch or dinner??” asked Facebook user Connie Hollar Wright on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “Who are you guys callin [sic] when you need help???? Good luck with that!”

“Toby is a gun hating liberal. What a fake,” wrote another.

“Won’t go into a Killing zone,” said another commenter with a “Duck Dynasty” avatar, “which is what gun free zones are.”

The restaurant — called I Love This Bar and Grill — opened in Woodbridge, Virginia this week. The state has an open carry law, which allows citizens to openly carry firearms without a license. Businesses, however, reserve the right to ask patrons not to bring their guns inside.

Not everyone disagrees with the rule.

“I think it’s a good thing no guns are permitted in a restaurant,” said Jean Sutts of Woodbridge to WTOP.

Mike Miskin of Suffolk agreed that “alcohol and guns do not mix. I believe that you should be allowed to carry your gun with you but not into a bar.”

A post at right-wing website Breitbart.com protested that, “(o)ne of Toby Keith’s biggest country video hits is ‘Bullets in the Gun.’ It romanticizes carrying a gun.”

Keith has been politically outspoken on a number of topics, but in fact bills himself as a conservative Democrat. He supported President George W. Bush when rival act the Dixie Chicks criticized Bush at the outset of the War in Iraq.

However, in 2008, Keith donated to then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for president and spoke out in favor of Obama’s policies in the Middle East.

Watch video about this story, embedded here

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Homeowner Who Shot Girl Seeking Help At His Door Charged With Murder

man gun

Think Progress

A Detroit-area homeowner who shot in the face a 19-year-old girl at his door will be charged with murder, Wayne County prosecutors announced Thursday. The charges include murder in the second degree, which carries a term of up to life in prison; a manslaughter charge with a maximum term of 15 years in prison; and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony or attempted commission, which carries a term of two years in prison.

In the two weeks since Renisha McBride was shot dead outside the Dearborn Heights home, protests have escalated around the country to charge the homeowner, suggesting comparisons to the killing of Trayvon Martin. The shooter was white and McBride is African American. While the homeowner, now identified as Theodore P. Wafer, age 54, initially told police he discharged the gun by accident, his lawyer since told the press the shooting was “justified”and “reasonable,” invoking language from Michigan’s “Shoot First” laws that allow immunity for some self-defense shootings. At a press conference Friday, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said her office determined that Wafer “did not act in lawful self-defense.”

It is now clear that Michigan’s Stand Your Ground-like laws did not stop prosecutors from charging Wafer. Wafer may, however, still seek immunity from charges at trial.

Here’s what we know:

  • Police believe McBride was in a car accident and knocked on the door of the home for help. Worthy reported Friday that McBride, was bloodied, confused, and disoriented. Toxicology reports also show that her blood alcohol level was above the legal limit.
  • The shooter didn’t know McBride. In audio released by the police, the homeowner told the dispatcher he shot someone he didn’t know.
  • The homeowner’s lawyer is calling the shooting “justified.” The homeowner initially said he accidentally discharged the gun, but when his lawyer, Cheryl Carpenter, spoke to the press, she said the shooting was “justified” and invoked the language of Michigan’s “Shoot First” laws that could immunize the homeowner from prosecution if he was acting in self-defense. Carpenter also told NPR that the knocking sounded like a lot of banging, rather than a knock.
  • There were no signs forced entry into the home. Prosecutor Worthy said during the press conference Friday that McBride had not attempted to forcibly enter the home. For Wafer to successfully invoke immunity under what is known as the “Castle Doctrine,” which authorizes deadly force without a duty to retreat in one’s home, he would have to show that McBride was “in the process of breaking and entering a dwelling.” He could also use the state’s Stand Your Ground law to show that he reasonably believed force was necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm.

 

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NEWS THAT’S TRENDING TODAY

Posts by gun sellers and buyers (below) on Instagram show that the photo-sharing website has become a hot market for weapons — often without background checks, which feds don’t require for private gun sales.

Posts by gun sellers and buyers (below) on Instagram show that the photo-sharing website has become a hot market for weapons —often without background checks, which feds don’t require for private gun sales.

From my Google-Plus email this morning:

PolicyMic

Instagram? More like Insta-guns. Gun buyers and sellers across the country are now using the popular photo-sharing site to bypass state and federal laws and purchase weapons freely. Thousands of firearms, including assault rifles, are up for grabs on the site.

Pope Francis suspends German “luxury bishop.” Pope Francis suspended German bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst on Wednesday for spending $43m on lavish renovations to his residence (including $20,000 for his bathtub alone). The move is a signal of the Pope’s commitment to a more austere Church that sides with the poor.

NSA monitoring Germany’s leader? President Obama is in hot water with Angela Merkel after new reports that the NSA spied on her mobile phone. The German Chancellor called Obama on Wednesday to demand an explanation, and President Obama flatly denied the rumors. But the incident comes just days after French President François Hollande also called Obama after reports the NSA targeted the phone calls of millions of French people.

73 will be the retirement norm for millennials. A new study shows most of today’s college grads won’t be able to retire until age 73 due to high student debt – 12 years later than the current retirement age. To put it in perspective, here are the numbers:

+ Median debt for a student upon graduation: $23,300
+ Percentage of students who are unemployed at graduation: 18%
+ The median starting salary for those who do have jobs: $45,327
+ Standard loan repayment plan: 10 years
+ Average yearly loan repayment: $2,858
+ Number of college graduates currently estimated to be in default: Over 7 million

FROM THE CULTURE DESK

If you thought Banksy was cool, check out Natalia Rak, a millennial street artist bringing life-sized murals to the buildings of Poland (Instagram).

Arcade Fire has a new song “Afterlife” that will take every indie kid back to high school (PolicyMic).

A 20-year-old photographer’s Instagram account got revoked for posting a picture of her lower half in a bikini bottom that revealed some pubic hair (PolicyMic).

Kendrick Lamar vs. Drake is the most compelling rap rivalry since 2Pac and Notorious B.I.G. (PolicyMic).

CHARTS AND MAPS

HealthCare.gov’s lines of code, compared to other popular websites and operating systems (Alex Merchant).

America’s mood map: An interactive guide to the United States of attitude (TIME).

A breakdown of the valuations of every Major League Baseball franchise (Bloomberg).

DESSERT

Powerful life lessons from a six-time Jeopardy champion who lost it all (PolicyMic).

24 inspirational quotes from Gordon Ramsay to get you through the day (BuzzFeed).

An Uber for your teeth, with a dentist’s office on wheels that comes to you (Fast Company).

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Gun-[Advocate] Threatens Author Tom Diaz; Here’s His ‘Response To A Coward’s Threat’ (VIDEO)

The anonymous G. Wright did not just threaten Tom Diaz. He threatened 'every face of every person' who wants to make the world safer by ending gun violence. Image @ Vimeo

Addicting Info

Author Tom Diaz doesn’t take threats from right-wing gun nuts lightly, but he certainly doesn’t back down from them either. After appearing on a CNBC documentary titled America’s Gun, The Rise of the AR 15, Diaz received a threatening comment from a viewer calling himself G. Wright on his blog “Fairly Civil.” The comment, submitted July 18, reads in part (all grammar and punctuation as-is):

 Mr. Diaz,

On CNBC’s program “American Gun, Rise of AR-15” you posed a chest thumping, angry question to those who view our government as tyrannical. You asked ”Who’s face is it we would shoot?” It is your face Mr. Diaz. It is every face of every person that seeks to deny us our rights under the constitution. It is the face of politicians that moved to chisel our rights to the point where we can be provoked no more.”

This is just a segment of the quote, which goes on to talk about God, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the tyrannical government and then winds down, to end with the words:

Look around Mr. Diaz. The people grow angry at un-American liberals. They will come for you someday, and you will not escape their justice.

Tom Diaz served two terms in two different branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. He worked as a reporter for the Washington Post, where he saw first-hand the reality of gun violence, as it was enacted on battlefields and in war zones around the world. He’s authored two books about America’s gun problem, including his most recent, titled The Last Gun; How Changes In The Gun Industry Are Killing Americans And What It Will Take To Stop It. He also wrote Lightening Out of Lebanon; Hezbollah Terrorists On American Soil.

Given his history and personal experience, it’s really no surprise he doesn’t back down from bullies like the anonymous G. Wright:

“You don’t frighten me,” he says in the video “Of course you can kill me, but you can’t kill the voice I represent. You can’t kill the voice of reason. Now crawl back in your hole, G. Wright, whoever you are.”

I had the chance to speak with Diaz briefly, just before writing this piece. As one can imagine, his blog posts attracts comments from right-wing fanatics on a regular basis. I asked, what was it about this particular comment that compelled you to respond?

“This is not really about me. I think it’s really about the thousands of people–mothers, college kids, local politicians–who were so repelled by Sandy Hook that they decided to become active in their communities and online. I know that many of them have been threatened, some directly and some implicitly. Not to mention the threats that the President and other politicians get over this issue. I think it is crucial, not just on this issue, that we stand up to this kind of terrorism, which is what it really is.”

Reading the threat, it’s clear the anonymous G. Wright did not just threaten Tom Diaz. Instead he threatened “every face of every person” who wants to make the world safer by ending gun violence. Tom Diaz published this video, his very straightforward “Response To A Coward’s Threat” on July 24th. Watch the video to see what happens when you threaten someone who just won’t be intimidated by these kinds of right-wing terrorists.

Here’s the video:

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Gun Protesters Plan March On Washington With Loaded Rifles To ‘Put The Government On Notice’

This is absurd.  From where I stand, this proposed demonstration sounds like it will be a veiled threat  to scare pr0-gun safety advocates from supporting any sort of gun reform.

I truly abhor bullies…

Think Progress

Almost 900 people are RSVPed for a July 4th march on Washington, D.C. where protesters plan to carry loaded rifles. In D.C., openly carrying guns is against the law. But the organizer of the event, libertarian radio host Adam Kokesh, says the march is an act of “civil disobedience” that attempts to prove gun advocates’ point in the “SUBTLEST way possible.”

The event’s Facebook invitation describes the march as a nonviolent demonstration, “unless the government chooses to make it violent”:

This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.

There’s a remote chance that there will be violence as there has been from government before, and I think it should be clear that if anyone involved in this event is approached respectfully by agents of the state, they will submit to arrest without resisting. We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.

It is not exactly clear whether Kokesh will carry through with the event, since he says it needs to reach a critical mass of 10,000 RSVPs first. However, the National Rifle Association is newly reenergized after the Senate filibuster of background check legislation.

Salon’s Alex Seitz-Wald notes that Kokesh has expressed increasingly radical views on his show and on Twitter. Just this week, he called for the abolishment of the U.S. government.

Generally, open carry demonstrations have occurred in places with weaker gun laws, as well as a litmus test for how far gun violence laws can be challenged. Most recently, a group of menbrought their rifles to intimidate moms who rallied for action on gun violence. “Another group brought guns into a Virginia public library full of children, while demonstrators in Oregonbrandished assault rifles in the State Capitol.

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Nutty New NRA president Jim Porter still fighting war against ‘Northern Aggression’

JIm Porter, who was named NRA President on March 2, 2013, spoke at The New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Annual Meeting hosted by the Wallkill Rod and Gun Club on June 9, 2012 when he was the NRA Vice-President.

Did someone forget to tell the old fella that the Civil War ended in 1865?

Daily News

An Alabama lawyer, Porter calls U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ‘un-American’ and intends to fight in court to repeal tough new gun-control laws passed after Newtown.

The new president of the NRA is a good ol’ Southern boy, who sounds even crazier than the group’s gun-nut mouthpiece Wayne LaPierre.

Alabama lawyer Jim Porter has called U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “rabidly un-American” and proudly spews the Confederate line on the Civil War.

In a June speech, Porter noted the NRA was “started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’ ”

“Now y’all might call it the Civil War, but we call it the ‘War of Northern Aggression’ down South,” Porter said to the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association.

He also advocates training all U.S. civilians to use standard military firearms so “they’re ready to fight tyranny.”

“Every time you take your nephew out to the gun club, every time you take your daughter skeet shooting, every time you take your grandchildren out, we’re passing on the legacy of freedom,” Porter said in the June speech.

Jim Porter says the NRA was ‘started by some Yankee generals who didn’t like the way my Southern boys had the ability to shoot in what we call the ‘War of Northern Aggression.’

He went on to say that fighting for the Second Amendment was “vital to the very fabric of this country.”

“We got the pads put on, we got our helmets strapped on, we’re cinched up, we’re ready to fight, we’re out there fighting every day,” he said to loud applause.

Nearly a year later, Porter — currently vice president of the NRA and chairman of its Legal Affairs Committee — is bent on overturning recently tightened gun laws that states, including New York, adopted after the Newtown massacre.

“At this stage in the NRA’s history, Jim Porter will be the perfect match for president,” said outgoing President David Keene.

“We will have to move to courts to undo the restrictions placed on gun owners’ rights in New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Colorado,” Keene told The Washington Times.

Porter, son of former National Rifle Association President Irvine Porter, will be in Houston on Friday to kick off the organization’s national convention.

On the eve of the three-day event, the country’s latest shooting in a public place occurred just a few miles from where the group is meeting.

Cops said a man opened fire inside Houston’s Bush International Airport on Wednesday afternoon and died in a confrontation with law enforcement officials. Police believe the man shot himself.

Porter, a former Alabama assistant attorney general, is set to begin his two-year term on Monday.

“I am honored to be able to continue their work to ensure that the inalienable rights to keep and bear firearms for the defense of one’s country, family and self is protected for future generations,” he said in a statement.

NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre will remain the public face of the group.

The outspoken LaPierre has bashed all government efforts to curb gun violence through legislation.

Following the Dec. 14 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, LaPierre proposed putting armed guards in every school in America.

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” he said.

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Two-year-old gets shot and killed and, yawn, it’s just another day in America

USA Gun Map : http://mariopiperni.com/

More on the shooting of a two-year old child by her five-year old brother from Piperni

Mario Piperni

America’s gun culture takes another life.

Authorities in southern Kentucky say a 2-year-old girl has been accidentally shot and killed by her 5-year-old brother, who was playing with a .22-caliber rifle he received as a gift.

…the boy received the rifle made for youths last year and is used to shooting it. He said the gun was kept in a corner and the family didn’t realize a shell was left inside it.

It’s difficult to say anything meaningful any longer that adds to the conversation on guns. It’s all been said a thousand times…but I’ll say this anyway. Yes, there are no gun laws that one could put in place that would prevent parents from acting irresponsibly. No amount of legislation can overcome stupidity. Got it.

But is there not something seriously wrong with a gun culture where this statement,

In rural southern Kentucky, far removed from the national debate over gun control, where some children get their first guns even before they start first grade.

…is true? Under what set of rules is it acceptable to place in the hands of a 4-year-old a weapon that could blow off another person’s head with a twitch of a finger?

For anyone who doesn’t find that argument convincing, just know that another 86 Americans will be killed by guns today – 30 by murder, 53 by suicide, 2 accidentally and 1 by police intervention. Add to that the 86 Americans who were killed by guns yesterday…and the 86 who will be killed by guns tomorrow…and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that…

For a little perspective on the matter, you might recall that in 2010, drop-side cribs were outlawed because over the previous 10 years, an average of 3 children a year were killed by moving side rails in cribs. Three deaths a year was enough to move the government to act. Fortunately, there was no powerful crib lobby in Washington pushing to have drop-side cribs left in place because, “cribs don’t kill babies, people do.” Also, there was no 240-year-old constitutional amendment stating that, “A well regulated Baby’s Room, being necessary to the freedoms of a Happy Family, the right of the people to purchase drop-side cribs, shall not be infringed.”

There was none of that. There was only data that 3 children a year were dying and something could be done to stop it.

We know that 58 children, including 2, 3, 4 and 5-year-olds, have been killed since the Newtown school shooting…and yet, not a damn thing is being done to stop it or to attempt to reduce the number of preventable deaths. Nothing.

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Tea Party Congressman Exploits Manhunt For Suspected Boston Bomber To Advance Weaker Gun Laws

In my humble opinion, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) generally has some serious issues

Think Progress

A Tea Party Congressman has joined a growing listof conservatives are seizing on the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspect to argue for looser gun laws. Appearing on The Blaze Thursday afternoon, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) suggested that the Bostonians on lock down need high capacity magazines to protect themselves from violence. Via Kyle Mantyla at Right Wing Watch:

What hit me this morning when I heard the residents there around Boston and in the area where they thought someone might be were ordered to stay in their homes, businesses were ordered closed, public transportation was ordered closed. Let me ask you, if you’re sitting in your home and you know there are only two possibilities for people coming, one is law enforcement and the other is somebody who has already killed Americans and continues to do so, how many rounds do you want to be limited to in your magazine as you sit in your chair and wait?

Watch it:

Earlier this week, Gohmert claimed that the Boston tragedy should give pause to immigration reform advocates who seek to reform the system, an argument that several Republican leaders are now advancing.

 

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Filed under Boston Marathon Bombings, Guns, Rep. Louie Gohmert

Gun Violence Victims Detained, Put Through Background Check For Yelling ‘Shame On You’ At Senators

Shameful…

Think Progress

“Shame on you!” Patricia Maisch and Lori Haas yelled in rapid succession at the 46 senators who had just voted to kill a compromise amendment to expand background checks for gun purchases at gun shows or online. The women were sitting in the gallery with a large group of gun violence victims as the Senate responded to the massacre in Newtown, Connecticut by defeating the measure advocates and law enforcement officials consider crucial to keeping firearms out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill.

The pair has first-hand experience with the consequences of the broken system. In 2011, Maisch was hailed as a hero for disarming Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by preventing him from reloading a fresh magazine. Haas’ daughter Emily was shot twice during the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and survived, leading her to become a proponent of stronger gun regulations. But on Wednesday afternoon, the two women faced tighter scrutiny for interrupting a Senate proceeding than many individuals seeking to purchase guns.

As they left the Senate gallery, a police officer approached and asked them to follow him. The three walked downstairs to a public hallway, where they were peppered with questions: “What’s your name?” “Where are you from?” “What are your Social Security numbers?” The officer left to run a background check on the women, who were instructed to sit on a bench. Another uniformed officer watched over them, even escorted Haas to the bathroom and told her she couldn’t lock the stall door.

Sitting there, waiting for the officer to return, Haas stewed over the failed vote. “I just can’t fathom that these people don’t have a heart,” she told ThinkProgress in a phone interview. “If they had seen, just one miniscule of the pain I’ve seen from the Virginia Tech families and so many other families that I’ve worked with in the last 6 years, they couldn’t help but want to do something about stoping gun violence.”

An hour and a half later, another law enforcement official approached and quizzed the the two women further. He asked them about their intentions and where they were from, why they were in D.C., how long they planned to stay and when they were leaving.

The entire ordeal stretched for almost two hours — approximately 115 minutes longer than a background check at a federal gun dealer. Haas noted the irony of undergoing hours of questioning while permitting gun purchases without any screening at gun shows or online.

“The irony is not lost on me and it’s not lost on the American public,” Haas said. “Very ironic that an hour and a half investigation into two women shouting in the Senate gallery takes place and yet real criminals and other prohibited purchasers get willy nilly access to fire arms.”

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