Gun Policy

Bush's 'Security': Flood the Streets with Assault Weapons
Gun Policy

Bush's failure to demand the extension of the ban on assault weapons has NOT gone unnoticed anywhere - even in Europe - because of the blatant hypocrisy and laughable flipflopping it reveals. Bush claimed to be for the ban, now to please the NRA, he's apparently against it. Worse, here is a man who claims he is making America safer - yet assault weapons will absolutely increase the murder rate, as statistics have shown. The UK Guardian observes: "This is a made-to-measure opportunity for Kerry to reassert himself around a popular wedge issue. The assault weapons ban is widely credited as one of the reasons violent crime rates took a dive in the 90s and is supported by two thirds of voters." The Guardian calls on Kerry to assert himself and make the ban the issue it needs to be, thereby proving that HE, not Bush, will do what it takes for REAL national security.

Assault Weapons Coming Back To Your Town -- How Many of these Guns will Kill Cops? Kids?
Gun Policy

Since President Clinton signed the assault weapons ban, the crime rate and murder rate went down every year for 10 years. But that time has ended. Bradycapaign.org writes, "First Lady Laura Bush said that her husband, George W. Bush, will 'always tell you what he really thinks.' The ban on military-style semiautomatic assault weapons expires at midnight on September 13. The parents of the children who have died at the hands of killers armed with these weapons remember candidate George W. Bush telling them that he really thought the ban should be renewed. Police all over America, who face a new wave of killers outfitted with 30, 50 or even 100-round ammunition clips, remember what he said, too. About 50 officers have died from assault weapons fire in the past six years alone."

Marchers in D.C. Demand Extension on Assault Weapons Ban
Gun Policy

Reuters: "Several thousand protesters, organized by the same group that put together the Million Mom March in 2000, walked from the U.S. Capitol to the Washington Monument chanting 'Halt the assault.' At the head of the march, protesters held a banner depicting an AK-47 assault rifle, saying the president would be to blame for more violence unless he fulfilled a previous promise to sign an extension of the 1994 ban before it expires in September. Gun control advocates said it would become easier for militant groups like al Qaeda to launch another attack inside the United States once the assault weapons ban expires. 'It is inconceivable at a time we have high terrorist alerts and homeland security that you would make available to the enemies of life and peace these high-powered rifles,' civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson told the crowd in a speech immediately before the march."

Gun Purchase Rules Shield Some Terrorism Suspects
Gun Policy

Washington Post writes, "The FBI has launched a new background-check system that notifies counterterrorism agents when suspects on its terrorist watch list attempt to purchase guns, but regulations prohibit them from getting details if the transaction actually occurs, according to federal officials familiar with the system... The result... is an awkward situation in which terrorism suspects who do not complete gun purchases may be located, while those toting lawfully purchased weapons may not be. The law bars authorities from sharing information with investigators about legal gun buyers and does not forbid terrorism suspects from purchasing firearms, officials said. 'Being a suspected member of a terrorist organization doesn't disqualify a person from owning a gun any more than being under investigation for a nonterrorism felony would,' a Justice Department official said in a written statement."

Democrats to Try Gun Control in Immunity Bill
Gun Policy

From Reuters: "Senators opposed to a congressional measure granting gun manufacturers and dealers immunity from some civil liability lawsuits said Tuesday that they would try to use the coming debate on the bill to strengthen gun control laws in other areas. The bill, strongly favored by the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups, is expected to arrive on the Senate floor for a vote within the next few weeks. It seeks to prevent victims of violent gun crimes from suing gun manufacturers or dealers whom they accuse of negligently selling or distributing firearms to the perpetrators. The bill has the support of at least 55 senators, making it likely that it will pass when it comes up for a vote. Democrats said Tuesday that they will try to use the bill's wide support to enact gun-safety measures and restrictions favored by gun-control groups... 'We are preparing for the possibility of a filibuster," said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I.'"

Two-Faced Bush Publicly Supports Assault Weapon Ban, While Privately Working Against It
Gun Policy

Cox News reports: "Democratic lawmakers and gun control advocates urged Resident Bush Wednesday to call for a House vote on extending a ban on semi-automatic weapons, despite opposition from a key GOP lawmaker. 'Everyone knows that if the president [sic] wants this bill to come to his desk, it will,' said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. 'The House does everything the president [sic] wants.' The comments came one day after Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, indicated that he would not bring the assault weapons ban up for a vote in the House, effectively letting it expire next year... DeLay angered supporters of the ban who had recently been buoyed by Resident Bush's renewed support of the 1994 legislation, hailed by gun control groups as a landmark federal law that needs to be strengthened. The law bans the sale and possession of 19 types of semi-automatic guns. Schumer accused the resident of publicly supporting the ban while privately working against it."

Senate Democrats Vow to Stop Gun Bill
Gun Policy

AP reports: "Senate Democrats said Tuesday they would filibuster legislation, backed by the White House and the National Rifle Association, that would protect gun manufacturers and sellers from lawsuits arising from the criminal or unlawful use of their products. Opponents 'will do everything we can to stop this shameful piece of legislation from becoming law,' said Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I. The legislation passed the House last month on a 285-140 vote with nearly one-third of Democrats supporting it."

DC-Area Sniper Victims Sue Gun Shop and Gun Maker for Negligence in Sale of 'Bushmaster'
Gun Policy

"The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced today that its Legal Action Project is filing a civil lawsuit on behalf of the families of several victims of the D.C.-area sniper against the gun dealer and manufacturer who made it possible for the snipers to terrorize the Washington, D.C. region last fall. The suit charges Bull's Eye Shooter Supply with operating its gun shop in such a grossly negligent manner that scores of guns, including the high-power Bushmaster XM-15 E2S used by the snipers, inexplicably 'disappeared' from the store. It alleges that John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo, who were both legally prohibited from buying guns, could not have obtained the Bushmaster absent the gun shop's negligence... 'The snipers were aided and abetted by the reckless conduct of a gun shop that mysteriously 'lost' scores of deadly weapons and the manufacturer that supplied high-firepower combat guns to that dealer with no questions asked.'"

'Strict Constructionism' on the Second Amendment
Gun Policy

A federal appeals court has upheld California's assault weapons control act, ruling there is no constitutional right for individuals to keep and bear arms. The judges explained that the Second Amendment protects only the right of states to organize and maintain militias. The 3-0 decision quoted at length from the debates among our Founding Fathers during the writing and ratification of the Constitution. Will this one to go to the Supreme Court? If it does, will they also recognize the significance of the phrase "a well regulated militia", or will they do the bidding of the NRA and John Ashcroft?

The 'Sleeper Case of the Year'? Second Amendment Test Case Goes Before Supremes During Week of Maximum Media Distraction
Gun Policy

What alarms us most of all about Bush's constant game of uproar (there's ALWAYS some major media alarm being sounded by him or his operatives) is that it is being used to shove through piece after piece of his agenda. Women's rights, workers' rights, safety nets for the elderly and/or poor, environmental protections... all are being stripped away as the public has war and terrorism shoved in their faces by the media 24 hours a day. Now we find that one of the biggest gun nut cases yet is being heard this week by the Supreme Court - a case that may well redefine (as Ashcroft hopes) the Second Amendment in favor of the NRA, so that a convicted felon can demand his gun. Yet the Supreme Court won't restore convicted felons' right to vote, resulting in the deliberate disenfranchisement of millions of poor, minority voters. Stay tuned for some fireworks if the Supreme Court rules gun rights are more important than voting rights.

Will Charlton Heston Have to Give Up His Guns?
Gun Policy

Writes Bryan Curtis for Slate: "Actor Charlton Heston announced today that he has symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Heston is the president of the National Rifle Association and owns firearms. If he is diagnosed with full-blown Alzheimer's, will he have to give up his guns? Yes. This section of California state law requires that anyone who represents a threat to others because of a mental disorder or illness can't own a firearm. The state also denies gun ownership to those suffering from any kind of grave illness. For Heston to lose his Second Amendment rights, a court would have to find that he has a grave illness or represents such a threat."

Following Ashcroft's Lead, Bush Asserts Individual's Right to Possess Firearms
Gun Policy

"Reversing decades of Justice Department policy, the Bush administration has told the Supreme Court for the first time that it believes the Constitution protects an individual's right to possess firearms. At the same time, the administration's top Supreme Court lawyer said the high court need not test that principle now." Solicitor General Ted "Olson...was reflecting the view of Attorney General John Ashcroft that the Second Amendment confers the right to 'keep and bear arms' to private citizens and not merely to the 'well-regulated militia' mentioned in the amendment's text. Ashcroft caused a stir when he expressed a similar sentiment a year ago in a letter to the National Rifle Association...'This action is proof positive that the worst fears about Attorney General Ashcroft have come true: his extreme ideology on guns has now become government policy,' said Michael Barnes, president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence." (Anne Gearan, AP)

Gunmakers Urge That Children As Young As Four Years Old Get 'A .22 For Christmas'
Gun Policy

And now a candidate for the "stupid is as stupid does" category - this nefarious tidbit: " 'The gun industry has unleashed a new wave of smaller, lighter versions of adult firearms and is marketing them as youth models for use by children as young as four years old,' according to a 21-page study released [12/18/01] by the Violence Policy Center (VPC). The study, 'A .22 For Christmas - How the Gun Industry Designs and Markets Firearms for Children and Youth,' reveals how the gun industry - working hand-in-hand with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun industry trade group the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) - is targeting children to ensure its fiscal and political future. As 'Handguns' magazine stated this summer regarding children and guns: 'they are our salvation in the fight for liberty and the preservation of the shooting sports.' " On the whole, one could say that this marketing strategy certainly obviates the need for child-proof locks... 'nuff said.

Deadly Lessons: School Shooters tell Why
Gun Policy

"In their own words, the boys who have killed in America's schools offer a simple suggestion to prevent it from happening again: Listen to us. "I told everyone what I was going to do," said Evan Ramsey, 16, who killed his principal and a student in remote Bethel, Alaska, in 1997... Kids at school usually knew what would happen because the shooters had told them, but the bystanders didn't warn anyone. That disturbing pattern gives hope: If kids plan, there is time to intervene. If kids tell, teachers or parents might be able to learn what a student is planning--if they take time to ask." So reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Terrorists Can STILL Buy Weapons Using the Gun Show Loophole
Gun Policy

"The day before the United States was attacked this month, there was a revealing jury verdict in Detroit that demonstrates not only how porous this country is for terrorists but also what a genuinely bipartisan response to the serious threat should look like. On Sept. 10, in what was as close to an open-and-shut case as you can get, two brothers were convicted on a variety of federal weapons law violations plus conspiracy to ship stuff to the terrorist organization Hezbollah in Lebanon. The weapons and ammunition they almost succeeded in smuggling abroad included numerous items purchased at gun shows - the ideal shopping mall for criminals in general and terrorists in particular and one that has been used repeatedly for a decade." So writes Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant.

Johns Hopkins Study Exposes Gun Rights Propaganda for What It Is: Pure Fantasy
Gun Policy

Gun rights extremists (who, despite their nonstop griping, account for a but a small percentage of gun owners) have a standard pitch, repeated over and over like aggressive parrots. "Guns don't kill people, people do," etc., ad nauseum. Now a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University shows that in states where some controls are exerted, criminals and juveniles have a tougher time getting guns. In cities where both licensing and registration were required, only 33.7% of guns used in crimes were originally sold by in-state dealers, while in cities were only licensing or only registration were required, 72.7% of crime guns were first sold by in-state dealers. In cities where NEITHER licensing nor registration were required, a whopping 84.2% of crime guns came from in-state gun shops. The response of gun lobbyists to the study is bizarre, if not irrational. "The issue really is crime, not the supply of firearms," says Greg Costa of the NRA. Huh???

Think Military-Style Weapons Should be Legal? Meet Abdullah Islam, Proud AK-47 Owner
Gun Policy

Abdullah Islam of Syracuse owns a Chinese SKS semiautomatic rifle, an AK-47 semiautomatic rifle, and a Remington .270-caliber rifle, among other "toys." Luckily for America, he doesn't know how to fix a leaky pipe, so plumbers paid him a visit, noticed his arsenal, and called the police. Even luckier, he made a video threatening to kill Shrub and Laura - so the Secret Service got a call. Hopefully, Abdullah Islam will never get his hands on a weapon again. But don't count on it - no doubt the NRA will make him their poster boy for the poor oppressed assault-weapon "hobbyist."

Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence Seeks to Block Ashcroft's Bid to Redefine the Second Amendment According to the NRA
Gun Policy

It's a pretty sorry day in U.S. history when the supposed top law enforcement official in the land wants to make up his own laws to suit himself and his cronies. But that's just what John Ashcroft is hoping to do by allowing a personal letter written on the letterhead of the Office of the Attorney General of the U.S. to be submitted in a federal gun rights case as a "legal opinion." The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence has taken steps to bar this outrageous maneuver. Guess who Ashcroft is trying to help out? Timothy Emerson, who threatened his estranged wife and child with a gun while under a restraining order which prohibited him from possessing a firearm. Doesn't it make you feel safer to know that your Attorney General wants to make sure folks like this retain their "right to bear arms?"

Bush Supports Parent-Child Communication - but Only when What's Being Said Matches His Personal Philosophy and Political Agenda
Gun Policy

Shrub has stalled the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) parent-child communication program for businesses because it didn't jive with his religious and political schemes. From 1998-2000, Advocates for Youth coordinated the CDC's Business and Labor Response to AIDS (BLRA) family component, developing a workplace program to help parents talk to their children about HIV/AIDS and other issues of sexuality - an approach that has been proven to WORK and is favored by an estimated 80% of parents. According to Advocates, in the seven months Bush has delayed the project, nearly 12,000 young Americans have contracted HIV. "The administration must stop using public health as a political football. When they continue to put politics before research and science, young people get hurt."

Bush Move Will Leave Thousands of Handguns into Public Housing to Kill Poor Children
Gun Policy

The gun buyback program sponsored by HUD removed 21,000 guns from the nation's public housing projects, where many families are under stress, and most homes have children present. Responsible gun owners would be the first to agree that this is just the type of program we need, because it targets "hot spots" where guns have a high rate of misuse (death and injury through accidents, domestic disputes, suicides, etc.). The gun lobbyists who urged the program be scrapped are NOT representative of the 60-75% of all gun owners who advocate controls just such as the buyback program. Once again, Bush is letting industry - this time gun sellers - ride roughshod over the majority.

Bush and NRA Committed to Supporting Annual Slaughter of over 250,000 Women and Children
Gun Policy

Since 1990, FOUR MILLION people worldwide - 80% of them women and children - have been killed by small arms. America is perhaps the largest source of the contraband small arms that find their way into the hands of terrorists and warring factions. Yet, given these appalling statistics, Bush has once more shamed America. Most recently, Bush refused to cooperate with our global neighbors at a UN conference aimed at reducing the traffic in small arms worldwide. Just as with Kyoto, we, the biggest part of the problem, refuse to contribute anything to the solution. Guess who Bush counts as allies in retaining arms sales: Africa and Latin America, where bloody faction fighting has become a way of life in some areas.

Schumer (D-NY) Battles Lifetime NRA Member Ashcroft's All-Out Assault on Brady Bill
Gun Policy

To reverse the serious damage to the cause of gun control inflicted by lifetime NRA membership holder John Ashcroft this week, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) has proposed a bill that will require the Justice Department to keep records on approved gun purchases for at least 90 days. This way, the chances of a slick felon or ruthless gun peddler slithering through the cracks will be reduced. Ashcroft has attempted to gut the Brady Law by wiping FBI gun purchase records out after JUST TWO DAYS! The FBI has repeatedly stressed how critical an audit log is for tracking shady dealers and criminals. Ashcroft's pro-gun stance is seen as such a threat to citizen safety that the VPC has initiated www.ashcroftgunwatch.org to track his activities.

New Poll Shows Overwhelming Majority of Americans Favor Stricter Gun Control
Gun Policy

Charlton "Moses" Heston may think "Thou shalt not regulate guns" was one of the commandments chiseled in stone. But a new nationwide survey shows that 92% of all Americans favor criminal background checks for ALL handgun purchases, while 85% favor requiring prospective gun owners to obtain a license before buying a handgun. A total of 70% of respondents thought that a system of licensing and registration already exists. It doesn't - it only seems that way because of the harping by the NRA on "enforcing existing laws better." What existing laws? Most surprising of all, nearly 3/4 of all GUN OWNERS favored stricter regulations. So, in essence, roughly 80% of us are being pushed around by a very small but scarily aggressive minority - and at the risk of our lives.

Utah Study Shows Guns and PreTeen Boys an Unpredictable, Deadly Combination
Gun Policy

A study involving 64 preteen boys has shown that even boys whose parents thought they could be trusted around guns fail to behave safely when presented with a weapon. When the boys (in small groups) were left alone in a room with a hidden .38-caliber handgun equipped with a trigger sensor, nearly 3/4 of all the boys found the gun within 15 minutes. 75% of these boys pulled the trigger with enough force to fire the gun. Even boys who supposedly had a low interest in guns were just as likely to handle the gun and pull the trigger as those with a high interest. Yet Shrub's buddies in the NRA condemn efforts to require mandatory trigger locks!

Ashcroft Makes A 'Monumental And Dangerous' Statement About Guns
Gun Policy

"Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has told the National Rifle Association that he 'unequivocally' believes the Constitution protects the right of individuals to own guns, a position that runs counter to most federal court rulings over the past half-century that the right is collective instead. Advocates on both sides of the gun control issue said Ashcroft's two-page letter marks a dramatic turnaround in the federal government's stance on firearms. Gun control advocates said they feared it would open the door to broad challenges of federal gun regulations, including the Brady Law." Declared Kirsten Rand, legislative director of the Violence Policy Center, "The practical effect of what he's done with this letter is to produce a 180-degree shift in policy on the Second Amendment. If Ashcroft's view prevails, the NRA will go back and challenge every gun law on the books. It would be a massive shift in how federal gun laws might be implemented and enforced."

One of NRA Convention's Big Events: Taunting Moms Marching against Gun Violence
Gun Policy

What a classy crowd! The tough talkin', hard shootin', non-thinkin', attendees at this past weekend's NRA convention in Kansas City (what's wrong with that town, anyway?) entertained themselves by bashing the mothers who turned out on Saturday to protest gun violence. Derisively calling these women (many of whom have lost loved ones to gun violence) "mommies," the NRA bragged in their self-righteous rag "The Free Republic" that they managed to "counter" the anti-violence protest. Gotta keep the right to blow folks away, ya' know! (And we bet every last NRA member is a pro-lifer, too!) Oh, by the way - the Bush administration was well-represented at the convention, with Gale Norton the keynote speaker.

Bush Gun Control Plan is a Plastic Carrot - Looks Good from Distance but Hollow Inside
Gun Policy

Bush's anti-gun violence proposal is just like the rest of his "postive" efforts: half-arsed or empty. He promises tax breaks for hybrids cars, with few such cars yet available. He promises more aid to veterans, then tacks on lots of strings and extra processing months for claims. Now, he offers to prosecute gun violations more vigorously without the federal agency resources or laws to do so. Who are you fooling, Shrub? You may as well have just gone to the NRA convention and whooped it up honestly with all the other rednecks!

Bush Deceptively Packages Gun Law Enforcement-Only Package That Does Nothing For Prevention And Safety
Gun Policy

"Monday morning, President [sic] George W. Bush flew into the city where he was officially crowned GOP nominee to announce 'Operation Safe Neighborhoods,' a new two-year, $550 million program to ramp up the prosecution of those who break gun laws. The program was as uncontroversial as it is possible for a gun-related law-and-order measure to be, supported by both the National Rifle Association and gun control groups like Handgun Control Inc...Some in the gun control community noted, however, that Bush -- ever the master of appearance, if not substance -- packaged the announcement as if he were introducing the Brady Bill."

The Difference Between Guns and Penises
Gun Policy

It took Democrats.com member Linda Hilton over three years to get her letter published in her conservative local paper, the West Valley View. But it was worth the wait!

Bang Bang You're Dead (Almost)
Gun Policy

A policeman's 3-year-old son shot a gas station attendant in the face with his father's pistol. James Collins, 43, was in critical condition Friday. Off-duty Patrolman Randy Tomlinson had brought his truck into the gas station, leaving his gun in the back seat and his son in the front. The boy crawled into the back seat, pointed the pistol at Collins, and shot him.

Boy, 5, Finds Gun, Shoots Siblings
Gun Policy

A 5-year-old boy shot and wounded his brother and sister with his father's revolver, which the children found in a drawer in their Southwest Side home, Chicago police said today. The wounded boy and girl were reported in serious condition.

Handgun Control Focuses on State Laws
Gun Policy

Faced with a less-sympathetic ear in the White House, Handgun Control Inc. announced a new initiative to persuade states to impose safety standards on the gun industry. Using Massachusetts as an example, HGI announced a new push to get states to regulate the gun control industry by using consumer protection laws already in place in at least 20 other states. Massachusetts regulations force gun manufacturers to install gunlocks and built-in child safety devices on all guns. In addition, the state has strict registration and licensing requirements and bans assault weapons.

We Can't Do Away With Parents, But We Can Do Away With Guns
Gun Policy

"We will always have troubled kids. That's a given. What's not a given is that they can have easy access to handguns. The United States has some 65 million handguns. It has nearly 40 million teenagers. If you don't think some of those kids are going to use some of those guns to kill themselves or others, you have never been a kid or been to high school. Bush never set out to kill anyone. Williams allegedly did. Driving a car is not the same as shooting a gun. All this is true. But as George W. Bush must know, it is also true that good parents can have bad kids. In these school shootings, there's only one variable that can be controlled. We can't do away with kids. But we can do away with guns."

Guns Destroy Families, According to Drkoop.com
Gun Policy

The risk of owning guns, especially handguns, far exceeds the protective benefits. "Friends, relatives and neighbors are unintentionally killed by guns 43 times more frequently than for protection against an intruder." So says Drkoop.com.