All Articles Tagged "gun laws"
Gun sales, background check approvals, and requests for concealed-weapons training have spiked in the days following the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, CO that left 12 people dead and 58 injured. The primary reason is fear; fear that this could happen again, and fear that politicians will tighten gun laws.
According to the Associated Press, summer months are usually a slow time for gun sales. However, in Colorado alone, nearly 3,000 background checks were approved by the state in the three days after the massacre. The same can be said for other states as well, including Connecticut and Florida.
Apparently, this follows a pattern established by prior mass shootings, like the one in Tucson, AZ that left six dead and a number of people injured, including former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
“Gun dealers, in fact, owe a lot to Mr. Obama,” writes the Christian Science Monitor. “Before his election in 2008, gun sales spiked in anticipation that he would promote a gun-control agenda – even though he did not campaign on the issue and the Supreme Court had just handed down its landmark Heller ruling, which asserted an individual right to keep and bear arms.”
The shooting in Aurora has reignited the gun law debate among politicians and pundits. Mitt Romney has said that more restrictive gun laws “won’t make all bad things go away.” Fox News has the following headline: “Colorado shooting a reminder that psychiatry, not gun laws, needs fixing.” New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has called on both candidates to address the issue. And Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ) is preparing legislation that will curtail the number rounds in a gun’s magazine.
Meanwhile, even as the number of gun owners has declined in the U.S., there are still somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 million to 300 million of them in the hands of citizens, nearly one for every person in the country. It appears that even though there are fewer individuals buying guns, the ones who are buying are purchasing more of them.
(Washington Post) — A federal appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld the District’s authority to impose a system of handgun registration and rejected a challenge to the city’s ban on semiautomatic assault rifles and large-capacity ammunition clips. The 2-to-1 decision by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District leaves in place the gun-ownership regulations passed by the D.C. Council after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2008 ended the city’s decades-old handgun ban. Calling the ruling “an important victory for the District of Columbia,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) said it “upholds our government’s authority to pass reasonable gun laws.” “It supports the registration requirements as well as the bans on assault weapons and large magazines — each of which are key components of the District’s battle against violent crime,” the mayor said in a statement.
(Washington Examiner) — D.C. Mayor Vince Gray’s administration is asking for a zoning change that would allow a gun dealer to set up shop in police headquarters and other police facilities. Zoning rules and a small gun market have left the city without a licensed federal arms dealers since April, making it impossible for District residents to legally buy guns. Earlier this week, D.C. Councilman.
(Washington Examiner) – The prospect of the District dabbling in gun sales was sidestepped for now after the D.C. Council dropped a bill Tuesday that would have made the city a federal firearms licensee. The bill called on the mayor to appoint an agency to act as the middleman for residents attempting to bring legally purchased handguns into the district. The only federal firearms licensee in the District, Charles Sykes, closed shop in April, creating a de facto ban on handguns. D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson pulled the bill off the table in the afternoon, citing the mayor’s new efforts to find a home for Sykes’ business.
(Washington Examiner) — D.C. Councilman Phil Mendelson released the text of his emergency legislation to make the District a federal firearms licensee, able to sell and transfer guns to citizens. The resolution calls on Mayor Vince Gray to appoint an agency to act as the FFL for the city, which currently has none and therefore no way to legally transfer handguns into the city since proprietor Charles Sykes closed the sole gun shop in D.C. in April.
(Washington Examiner) — D.C. government may soon be a licensed handgun dealer — apparently the first state or municipality in the nation to do so. In a twist for the District, which once banned the weapons before its rules were struck down by the Supreme Court, Councilman Phil Mendelson is sponsoring emergency legislation that would make D.C. a licensed firearms dealer. Under the legislation, gun owners who want to bring handguns into the District would have their guns shipped to government offices to get the stamp of approval to carry them within D.C. borders. D.C. needs the law, Mendelson said, because the only licensed firearms dealer in the District is temporarily closed for business as of April. That amounts to a de facto ban on handguns, since no one can now legally bring a gun into the District.
(Chicago Sun Times) — As state after state voted to let residents carry concealed guns, Illinois has held out, for a long list of reasons: A strong gun control movement. A dynasty of powerful Chicago mayors. A line-up of state leaders who oppose expanding access to guns. With Wisconsin now on the verge of adopting concealed carry, Illinois soon will be all alone, the last state with a complete ban on carrying concealed weapons. That makes it the next big prize in the fierce national contest over gun control, with the National Rifle Association and its allies targeting the 50th state.
Finally somebody is getting in trouble for playing the race card and this time, it ain’t a black person.
Garry McCarthy, former chief of police of Newark, NJ and current Chicago top cop, has ruffled the feathers of the NRA and other pro-gun advocates with some comments he made recently at St. Sabina, a liberal black church in the heart of Chicago’s South Side. McCarthy, hand-picked by newly elected mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was speaking at a church pastored by the infamous Father Michael Pfleger, an outspoken supporter of limited gun rights. Well McCarthy must have been caught up in the spirit because he started spouting off about the peculiar nature of gun laws and “government sponsored racism”.
Said McCarthy, “So here’s what I want to tell you. See, let’s see if we can make a connection here. Slavery. Segregation. Black Codes. Jim Crow. What did they all have in common? Anybody getting’ scared? Government sponsored racism. I told you I wasn’t afraid [of race]. I told you I wasn’t afraid. Now I want you to connect one more dot on that chain of the African American history in this country, and tell me if I’m crazy: Federal gun laws that facilitate the flow of illegal firearms into our urban centers across this country, that are killing our black and brown children.”
McCarthy sure has a lot to say about guns and gun laws. It’s just not clear what exactly it is that he was trying to say. Is he promoting gun control or does he believe that gun control, in itself, is racist? If it’s the latter, I happen to agree with him.
Since the days of slavery blacks in one way or another have been the subjects of restrictive gun laws. Both enslaved and free blacks were prohibited from possessing firearms, except under very restrictive conditions. Gun restrictions for blacks gained traction after Nat Turner’s Rebellion in 1831, a revolt that caused the south to become increasingly irrational in its fears. Even after slavery various black codes adopted throughout the country required blacks to obtain a license before carrying or possessing firearms.
Historically blacks have been one of the major vocal oppositions to gun control, including the Deacons for Defense and Justice as well as the Black Panthers, who infamously marched on the California capitol to protest the Mulford Act of 1967, a bill inspired by the Panthers Police Patrols that prohibited the public carrying of loaded firearms. Even Clarence Thomas, writing in response to a recent Supreme Court decision to expend gun control, cited his opposition to gun restrictions, suggesting that “…when the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups proliferated, the use of firearms for self-defense was often the only way black citizens could protect themselves against mob violence.” It may seem like ancient history now but remember that after Obama was elected there was a reported run on gun and ammo supply shops, and just last year some members of the Tea Party staged several armed demonstrations around the capital as a “symbol” of their freedom.
But back to McCarthy and his misguided attempt at code talking to “the people.” If you listen to the whole segment, it is clear that McCarthy is trying to make an impression during his first weeks on his new job. But giving him the benefit of the doubt, that his intentions are genuine, he does have a point. Maybe we should begin to insert some common sense back into this debate about gun control. A couple of weeks prior to his controversial appearance McCarthy made similarly controversial yet not wildly publicized statements about what he felt about a Chicago rally to end the war on drugs: “If we just lock up a drug dealer, we may be actually causing violence. Because there’s an established market were somebody is going to go, seeking drugs. That’s demand. As long as that demand exists at a location, that supply will show back up.”
Many urban areas are awash in gun violence, most of which is the result of the black market sale of drugs. If we end this losing battle in the war on drugs, we end street violence. Yet few leaders are prepared to confront this reality and even fewer are willing to acknowledge that gun-control is not about protecting the honest working person. Stricter gun laws just mean more men without the presumption of violence are incarcerated just for the simple act of carrying an “unlicensed” gun.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
(Chicago Sun Times) — Giving gun-control advocates a major win, the House Thursday rejected a bid by Downstate gun-rights advocates to permit Illinoisans to carry concealed weapons. The measure pushed by Rep. Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) failed by a 65-32 vote, with one voting present. Seventy-one votes were necessary for passage. “Folks, 49 other states have some kind of carry permit process, and how can they be wrong? And it has not been the Wild West there,” Phelps said before the vote. “Everywhere this has been allowed to become law, crime has gone down considerably,” Phelps said. The outcome represented a victory for Gov. Quinn, who earlier this week threatened to veto the legislation. Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel also lobbied lawmakers against the measure.
(Chicago Tribune) – Gov. Pat Quinn sought to stall a push to allow concealed carry in Illinois, saying Tuesday that he would veto any measure lawmakers sent him that would allow citizens to walk around with loaded guns in public. ”I don’t think we’re in the business of trying to increase danger to the people of Illinois. We want to work with our law enforcement and prevent bad things from happening,” the governor said at a morning news conference. The threat of a veto from Quinn did little to deter supporters who have been emboldened by last summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that tossed out Chicago’s long-standing gun ban. Hours after Quinn announced his opposition in Chicago, a House committee recommended approval of the latest version of a concealed-carry measure. Illinois and Wisconsin are the only states without some form of such a law.