Tag Archives: Gun Control

I’LL SEE YOUR GUNS AND RAISE YOU $50 MILLION

attribution: Huffington Post

I’m not sure if his plan will work against this powerful (deep pockets) organization, but I admire his efforts…

The New York Times

Bloomberg Plans a $50 Million Challenge to the N.R.A.

Michael R. Bloomberg, making his first major political investment since leaving office, plans to spend $50 million this year building a nationwide grass-roots network to motivate voters who feel strongly about curbing gun violence, an organization he hopes can eventually outmuscle the National Rifle Association.

Mr. Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, said gun control advocates need to learn from the N.R.A. and punish those politicians who fail to support their agenda — even Democrats whose positions otherwise align with his own.

“They say, ‘We don’t care. We’re going to go after you,’ ” he said of the N.R.A. “ ‘If you don’t vote with us we’re going to go after your kids and your grandkids and your great-grandkids. And we’re never going to stop.’ ”

He added: “We’ve got to make them afraid of us.”

The considerable advantages that gun rights advocates enjoy — in intensity, organization and political clout — will not be easy to overcome. Indeed, Mr. Bloomberg has already spent millions of dollars trying to persuade members of Congress to support enhanced background check laws with virtually nothing to show for it.

What is more, for many gun owners, the issue is a deeply personal one that energizes them politically, said Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who dismissed the mayor’s plans.

“He’s got the money to waste,” Mr. Pratt said. “So I guess he’s free to do so. But frankly, I think he’s going to find out why his side keeps losing.”

The N.R.A. had no comment.

Mr. Bloomberg’s blueprint reimagines the way gun control advocates have traditionally confronted the issue. Rather than relying so heavily on television ad campaigns, Mr. Bloomberg will put a large portion of his resources into the often-unseen field operations that have been effective for groups like the N.R.A. in driving single-issue, like-minded voters to the polls.

Women, and mothers in particular, will be the focus of the organizing and outreach, a path that he and his advisers have modeled after groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

The plans call for a restructuring of the gun control groups he funds, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. They will be brought under one new umbrella group called Everytown for Gun Safety.

The strategy will focus not on sweeping federal restrictions to ban certain weapons, but instead will seek to expand the background check system for gun buyers both at the state and national levels.

The $50 million could be significant: In recent years, the N.R.A. has spent only $20 million annually on political activities. The political groups affiliated with the billionaire Koch brothers, who are seeking to help Republicans take over the Senate, have spent about $30 million in the last six months.

The group will zero in on 15 target states, from places like Colorado and Washington State, where gun control initiatives have advanced recently, to territory that is likely to be more hostile like Texas, Montana and Indiana. They have set a goal of signing up one million new supporters this year on top of the 1.5 million they already have.

Previous efforts by Mr. Bloomberg to push gun control have touched off tensions with national Democratic leaders, because he has run negative ads against incumbent Democrats whom he views as insufficiently supportive of gun control. The Democratic leaders argue that Mr. Bloomberg threatens to hand control of the Senate to Republicans, which they say would doom any hope of passing gun control legislation.

Mr. Bloomberg dismissed those fears, saying he was concerned only with the long term.

“You can tell me all you want that the Republicans would be worse in the Senate than the Democrats,” he said. “Maybe they would. But that’s not what we’re talking about here.”

Underscoring his desire to work with both parties, Mr. Bloomberg is bringing on a new advisory board with prominent Republican and Democratic figures. Tom Ridge, the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security secretary under President George W. Bush; Eli Broad, the philanthropist; Warren Buffett, the investor; and Michael G. Mullen, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under both Mr. Bush and President Obama, will all be board members.

Mr. Bloomberg acknowledged that his new efforts would require a dedication not just of money but also of time — two things he now has in abundance.

“You’ve got to work at it piece by piece,” he added. “One mom and another mom. You’ve got to wear them down until they finally say, ‘Enough.’ ”

Continue reading here…

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Shame On DC: Americans Speak Out Against Washington’s Inaction On Gun Control

The Gun Caucus

The Huffington Post

One year has passed since 20 children and six teachers were shot and killed in Newtown, Conn., and yet, Washington, D.C. has still failed to enact major legislation on gun control. Using #ShameOnDC, Americans throughout the country wrote in to HuffPost Live to express their frustration, advocate for change, and make their voices heard.

“I am a mother endowed with old-fashioned common sense and respect for the sanctity of human life. And I am here on behalf of my two children unafraid to say that the gun lobby emperor has no clothes.”
– Jennifer Mendelsohn, mother of two children

“I know longer think of gun violence as something that happens to somebody else. Those meaningless numbers are real people to me now.”
– Pam Simon, 2011 Tuscon shooting survivor

“It’s such a magical age… A six-year-old may want to be a veterinarian one day, a ninja the next, and a banker after that.”
– Kimberly Wilkins, mother of seven-year-old son

“The instant he drew his last breath was when I decided that too many [children] have died.”
– Mary Leigh Blek, lost son to gun shooting in 1994

“The service we ask of you is one that demands you imagine what isn’t yet, what appears to be beyond what you can accomplish and then make it happen.”
– Rabbi Aaron Alexander

“It’s a terrible thing to know that your government would rather cave to gun lobbyists and their money than to stand up for innocent children, students, employees, and citizens.”
– Ariana Henderson, student at Penn State University

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Has the death of federal gun legislation been greatly exaggerated?

Crosses symbolizing grave markers sit on the National Mall in April as part of a 24-hour vigil to "remind Congress action is needed on gun violence prevention." 

Crosses symbolizing grave markers sit on the National Mall in April as part of a 24-hour vigil to “remind Congress action is needed on gun violence prevention.”

In a word…yes.

The Week

Six months after the Newtown mass shooting, Democrats are starting to quietly restart the gun-control engines

Six months have passed since a lone gunman walked in to Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., and shot 20 small children and six adults. The big push for legislation to curb gun violence that followed Newtown peaked in April, in a Senate showdown where supporters of the bill were unable to get 60 votes to break a Republican-led filibuster.

The Week‘s Jon Terbush noted earlier this week that this defeat took the wind out of the sails of the gun-control movement — and now, he says, “the prospect of gun control legislation getting a second wind seems unlikely.”

Senate Democrats, apparently, disagree. “The fight is not over, it has just begun,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) on Thursday, flanked by families of the Newtown victims. “We may have lost the first vote, but we’re going to win the last one,” added Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

They aren’t just blowing hot air, says Jonathan Weisman in The New York Times. Congressional Democrats and the White House are quietly renewing their effort to pass gun safety legislation “amid delicate talks on a new background-check measure that advocates hope could change enough votes from no to yes.” The number of votes needed is daunting, and Reid warned that any new measure can’t be weaker than the one stymied in April, but this does provide supporters a concrete glimmer of hope.

The quiet talks between two senators who voted against the bill, Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) “officially do not exist,” Weisman adds. Both lawmakers “deny the existence of negotiations or legislation.” At the same time, “other senators are openly acknowledging and encouraging the effort and say the talks are building momentum.” And if Begich and Ayotte switch their votes, supporters need at least three more nay-to-aye conversions. (Stand-in Sen. Jeffrey Chiesa [R-N.J.] is a wild card.)

Supporters of the gun measures say that if Begich and Ayotte can reach a deal on background checks that’s robust enough for Democrats and different enough to make vote-switching look credible, four other senators may join them. That would be enough to pass at least that part of the gun safety package.

But none of the potential switchers are encouraging talk of a renewed push, and Democratic leaders are increasingly urging New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) to put down one of his financial weapons, his threat to spend heavily to defeat Democrats who voted against the bill. A Republican-led Senate would spell the death of gun control, Reid says he told Bloomberg, to unknown effect: “He’s kind of a free spirit, and a very rich one.”

Just because the “recalcitrant Senate succumbed to pressure from gun manufacturers and the NRA’s leadership and failed to pass even the most modest measure” doesn’t mean the post-Newtown gun control push has failed, say Robyn Thomas and Juliet Leftwich in the Los Angeles Times.

Since the Newtown tragedy, gun regulation has made enormous gains in states across the country, with more on the horizon. In fact, an unprecedented number of gun control laws have been introduced, debated, voted on and enacted this year. What a difference Sandy Hook and six months have made…. In all, we’ve seen a year-to-year increase of 231 percent in the introduction of common sense gun-safety legislation nationwide. [Los Angeles Times]

Even the Senate bill’s defeat “was, in its way, a victory,” say Thomas and Leftwich, who work for the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

The fact that it was introduced, that hearings were held, and that it got 55 votes represents progress. After the vote, several senators felt real repercussions from their decision to vote against the bill, including Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), whose approval rating dropped by more than 15 percent immediately after the background check vote. There are now real consequences for legislators who choose not to represent the will of their constituents on this issue. [Los Angeles Times]

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Ten injured in shotgun blast at gun show

 

Shotgun barrels and shooter via Shutterstock

The Raw Story

Ten people were hurt Tuesday night when a gun show worker fired a shotgun into the floor, thinking the weapon had been loaded with dummy ammunition.According to Elgin, Illinois Courier-News, the gun was accidentally fired during a gun show at the St. Charles Sportsman’s Club, the area Country Club.

The Kane County Sheriff’s Department reported to the Courier that officers responded to the club, located in Blackberry township, after reports of gunfire.

Seven people were treated at the scene for minor injuries. Three men, ages 81, 60 and 14 were transported by ambulance to a local hospital for treatment.

A 69-year-old St. Charles man was reportedly handling the shotgun when it went off. The man believed he had placed a “snap cap” in the barrel, a device used to protect the gun’s firing pin when it is in storage. Pointing the barrel of the gun at the floor, the man pulled the trigger, only realizing that he had placed a live shell into the weapon’s chamber when the gun went off, spraying lead shot into the floor, which ricocheted upward, injuring bystanders and the shooter.

Police, sheriff and fire units rushed to the scene, but fortunately, none of the injuries suffered are believed to be life-threatening.

 

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Connecticut gun rights group smears father of boy killed at Sandy Hook

Neil Heslin screenshot

More despicable “gun rights” smear campaigning.

This man lost a son to gun violence and what they do is smear him to shut him up.  Something tells me that Neil Heslin will not be silenced or deterred by this group of low-life idiots.  In fact I hope the blow-back from their actions is swift and fierce.

The Raw Story

A small Connecticut gun rights group gained attention on Wednesday after issuing a press release that smeared the father of a boy killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Connecticut Carry released a “rap sheet” of Neil Heslin, listing his multiple arrests for driving under the influence and conviction for felony narcotics possession. The group also published a document entitled “Neil Heslin’s Troubled Past,” which included lawsuits related to foreclosure, collection efforts, and child support.

“So often we find that the strongest critics of the right to bear arms are those people who cannot be trusted with firearms themselves,” the nonprofit group wrote it its statement. “A felon within arm’s reach of the president of the administration so dead set on background checks. No better testimony to how ineffective background checks are needs to be presented.”

Heslin has spoken out in support of stronger gun laws, including expanding criminal background checks and restricting high-capacity magazines. His appearances on TV and at legislative hearings have made him one of the more well-known relatives of the victims of the tragic school shooting, which left 20 young children and 6 adults dead.

“While we all, as humans, share in the sorrow and outrage of Mr. Heslin’s tragic loss, as well as everyone who lost someone on that terrible day; we don’t all have to feel ok with Mr. Heslin profiting off of the tragedy and hurting the gun owning, law abiding citizens who did nothing wrong that day,” Connecticut Carry said.

How Heslin is profiting from his advocacy is unclear. The Huffington Post contacted several prominent gun control groups, but none of them said they ever employed Heslin.

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Filed under Gun Advocates, Gun Lobby

Democratic Underground’s Pic Of The Moment: Five Heartwarming Headlines From NRA Convention Weekend

Democratic Underground

 

NRA ‘Home Defense’ Course Instructs Audience To Store Guns In Kids’ Room

NRA hides bleeding Obama-look-alike target from convention

NRA lobbyist, arms dealer played key role in growth of civilian market for military-style guns

NRA chief: ‘How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?’

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

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Kelly Ayotte’s Approval Rating Plunges After Vote Against Gun Background Checks

Kelly Ayotte Approval

I’d call this revelation an excellent example of just desserts

The Huffington Post

A new poll has New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte down a total of 15 points from her previous approval rating in a survey that followed her vote against requiring background checks for firearms purchases.

Ayotte’s plunge underscores the changing politics around gun control and gun safety. In years past, lawmakers worried that a vote for gun control would bring the anger of the National Rifle Association. In the new reality, votes against gun control also carry a political risk, as the Ayotte (R) poll indicates.

A full three-quarters of New Hampshire voters support such background checks, along with 56 percent of Republicans, according to Public Policy Polling. A WMUR Granite State Poll taken in January and February found that more than 9 in 10 state residents supported implementing background checks at gun shows.

It’s not entirely clear yet how opposition to background checks will play out at the polls, but there are signs Ayotte’s vote may have taken a toll.

In October, the last time that PPP surveyed voters about Ayotte, she had a 48-35 approval rating. She has now tumbled underwater, with 46 percent disapproving and 44 percent approving. The 11-point surge in disapproval threatens Ayotte’s 2016 reelection, when she could face popular Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan. Ayotte won her 2010 race by 23 points, but in a hypothetical matchup against Hassan trails 46-44.

Forty-five percent of independents in the state disapproved of Ayotte, up 13 points since October. Half of voters said her vote on background checks made them less inclined to vote for her, with only a quarter saying it made them more likely to support her.

Among the critical third of voters who described themselves as moderates, disapproval of Ayotte increased by 21 points, with two-thirds saying her vote against background checks made them less likely to vote for her. Only 13 percent said it made them more likely to back her, an overwhelming 5-1 margin.

Local coverage has not been friendly to Ayotte. Sunday’s Portsmouth Herald headlined its editorial: “If you want gun control, vote Ayotte out of office.”

“New Hampshire voters who care passionately about sensible gun legislation can contribute to the effort by defeating U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, the only senator in New England to vote against the Toomey-Manchin bill. Ayotte justified her vote by parroting the NRA, saying the measure would ‘place unnecessary burdens on law-abiding gun owners and allow for potential overreach by the federal government into private gun sales.’”

The Concord Monitor was flooded with angry letters and ran a rough cartoon of her. The editorial page called it a “double abomination.” She was hit by a tough ad paid for by Gabby Giffords’ group — the kind of on-the-ground spending that is helping to alter the political dynamic.

Dean Debnam, president of PPP, sees it as trouble for Ayotte. “New Hampshire is a good bellwether for fallout from the gun vote,” he said. “There’s serious backlash from voters toward Kelly Ayotte for how she handled this issue.”

The PPP poll surveyed 933 New Hampshire voters using automated phone calls between April 19 and 21.

 

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Huckabee Stokes Fear With Nazi Gun Control Comparison

512px-Gov-Huckabee-001

This story is a few days old, but in light of the persistent fear tactics from the Right to crash and burn any and all attempts at gun safety legislation, it’s still relevant…

The National Memo

Pastor-politician Mike Huckabee continues to stoke fear and paranoia regarding the sensible gun safety measures proposed in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School mass shooting that killed 20 children and six adults, the latest gun-related massacre that occurred because of what many consider to be lax gun laws in America, compared to other developed nations.

On his radio show Wednesday afternoon, Huckabee responded to a caller who repeated the lie that Adolf Hitler and the Nazis turned Germany from a democracy into a dictatorship by registering and collecting guns, by saying:

“When you bring that up there are people that get crazy on us. They’ll start saying, ‘oh there you go, comparing to the Nazis.’ And I understand the reaction. But it’s the truth. You cannot take people’s rights away if they are resisting and have the means to resist. But once they’re disarmed and the people who are trying to take over have all the power — not just political, not just financial — but they have the physical power to domesticate us and to subjugate us to their will, there’s not a whole lot we can do about it, other than just plan to die in the course of resistance…in every society and culture where dictators take over, one of the things they have to do is get control of the military and police and ultimately all the citizens and make sure the citizens are disarmed and can’t fight in the streets. Gosh I hope it doesn’t come to that.”

Besides making a slippery-slope argument that modest gun reform will somehow lead to weapon confiscation and a Nazi-style dictatorship, Huckabee and the caller display a dangerously ignorant reading of history regarding gun laws in Nazi Germany. Mother JonesSalon, and other publications have refuted the oft-repeated assertion among gun rights absolutists that gun control allowed Hitler’s rise to power and made the Holocaust possible.

First, it is worth noting that other developed, democratic nations with stronger gun laws, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia and others, did not see a dictator rise to power and “domesticate” and “subjugate” their people when they enacted new gun measures. In fact, their democracies are still intact with the people still deciding important issues peacefully through the ballot box. What these countries have done is made their societies safer by decreasing gun violence.

Now back to the right wing’s seemingly favorite comparison when discussing anything President Obama has proposed to help the American people — Nazis.

There he goes again.  Mike Huckabee is just one of many politicians playing the fear card against President Obama and gun control in general…

The National Memo

The reality is that the Weimar Republic following World War I actually had tougher gun laws than the Nazi regime, in part to disarm the violent extremists causing havoc, like the paramilitary SA brownshirts. The Nazi Weapon Law of 1938 actually loosened gun restrictions, except for Jews and other persecuted minorities.

But there were only 214,000 Jews living in Germany when World War II started and between 160,000 and 180,000 were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators. That is a small fraction of the six million Jews from other countries who were murdered and who wouldn’t have been subject to the Nazi gun laws. The mighty Russian army lost more than 10 million soldiers fighting the Wermacht on the Eastern Front, so it is unrealistic to think that a Jewish armed uprising in Eastern Europe would have beaten back the German military machine. That is why many say a strong Israeli army is so important to preventing another holocaust, the reasoning being that a Jewish state with a modern military is the only match for a genocidal force like the Nazis.

In reality, it is the Tea Party “patriots” intimidating people with loaded assault rifles, Republican efforts to suppress the vote, and right-wing radio hosts like Huckabee stoking fear and paranoia that more closely resemble the tactics used by Hitler’s Nazis to gain power.

Gun control and Second Amendment-analysis website GunCite concludes the following in a story titled “The Myth of Nazi Gun Control”: “There are no lessons about the efficacy of gun control to be learned from the Germany of the first half of [the 20th] century. It is all too easy to forget the seductive allure that fascism presented to all the West, bogged down in economic and social morass. What must be remembered is that the Nazis were master manipulators of popular emotion and sentiment, and were disdainful of people thinking for themselves. There is the danger to which we should pay great heed. Not fanciful stories about Nazis seizing guns.”

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Four-Year-Old Shoots, Kills Deputy’s Wife At Tennessee Cookout

Four-Year-Old Shoots, Kills Deputy’s Wife At Tennessee Cookout

Set aside gun control laws for a second.  The gun owner, a sheriff’s deputy was undoubtedly trained on the proper use and possession of a firearm.  How could this have happened?  What was the gun owner thinking?

TPM

Authorities say a 4-year-old boy grabbed a loaded gun at a family cookout and accidentally shot and killed the wife of a Tennessee sheriff’s deputy.

Investigators say Wilson County Deputy Daniel Fanning on Saturday was showing his weapons to a relative in a bedroom of his Lebanon home when the toddler came in and picked up a gun off the bed. Sheriff Robert Bryan says the weapon discharged, hitting 48-year-old Josephine Fanning.

She was pronounced dead at the scene. The child is not related to her or her husband.

Bryan says the shooting was a terrible accident and that within seconds of Fanning placing the gun on the bed, the toddler picked it up.

The gun was not Fanning’s service weapon and the sheriff says the deputy’s weapons are normally stored in a safe.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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