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Archive for the ‘gun issues’ Category

When they come for your guns, they’ll have the make, model, and address from the NRA

Posted by Charles II on August 21, 2013

Via Atrios, Buzzfeed’s Steve Friess:

WASHINGTON — The National Rifle Association has rallied gun-owners — and raised tens of millions of dollars — campaigning against the threat of a national database of firearms or their owners.

But in fact, the sort of vast, secret database the NRA often warns of already exists, despite having been assembled largely without the knowledge or consent of gun owners. It is housed in the Virginia offices of the NRA itself.

The NRA won’t say how many names and what other personal information is in its database, but former NRA lobbyist Richard Feldman estimates they keep tabs on “tens of millions of people.”

It’s not just the government that has too much information about the American people. Corporations and non-profits, too.

Posted in gun issues, privacy | 1 Comment »

A good deed from an unexpected corner

Posted by Charles II on April 24, 2013

Jim Jelter, Marketwatch:

SAN FRANCISO (MarketWatch) — General Electric Co(GE)’ financial unit, GE Capital, is cutting off lending to guns shops, according to a report Wednesday in the Wall Street Journal that cited letters sent by the company to several gun shop owners. “Industry changes, new legislation and tragic events” led GE Capital to reexamine its policies on financing firearms, spokesman Russell Wilkerson told the Journal.

Things are changing, and this change is good.

Posted in gun issues | 1 Comment »

How the gun industry funds the NRA

Posted by Charles II on February 18, 2013

Kos linked an important Business Insider article by Walter Hickey that explains the mechanism by which the gun industry funds the NRA. This is a very important distinction to get. As long as public anger is focused on the NRA, it is not focused on the manufacturers. As I think it was Rachel pointed out, Wayne LaPierre is the rodeo clown who keeps the heat off The People Who Matter:

Since 2005, the gun industry and its corporate allies have given between $20 million and $52.6 million to it through the NRA Ring of Freedom sponsor program. Donors include firearm companies like Midway USA, Springfield Armory Inc, Pierce Bullet Seal Target Systems, and Beretta USA Corporation. Other supporters from the gun industry include Cabala’s, Sturm Rugar & Co, and Smith & Wesson.

The NRA also made $20.9 million — about 10 percent of its revenue — from selling advertising to industry companies marketing products in its many publications in 2010, according to the IRS Form 990.

Additionally, some companies donate portions of sales directly to the NRA. Crimson Trace, which makes laser sights, donates 10 percent of each sale to the NRA. Taurus buys an NRA membership for everyone who buys one of their guns. Sturm Rugar gives $1 to the NRA for each gun sold, which amounts to millions. The NRA’s revenues are intrinsically linked to the success of the gun business.

The NRA Foundation also collects hundreds of thousands of dollars from the industry, which it then gives to local-level organizations for training and equipment purchases.

The chief trade association for gun manufacturers is the National Shooting Sports Federation, which is, incidentally, located in Newtown, Conn. But the NRA takes front and center after each and every shooting.

“Today’s NRA is a virtual subsidiary of the gun industry,” said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center.

It’s possible that without the NRA, people would be protesting outside of Glock, SIG Sauer and Freedom Group — the makers of the guns used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre — and dragging the CEOs in front of cameras and Congress. That is certainly what happened to tobacco executives when their products continued killing people.

This is what the gun industry is protecting:

The photos show an arsenal of weapons the reader just legally bought including a Russian made Saiga-12 shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle, a huge cache of ammo, and several accessories.

The reader bought the shotgun at a gun show where there was no wait or background check. He left with the Saiga, a 30-round drum, a 10-round magazine, and an additional 5-round magazine. On top of that he added night vision, three laser sights, and a tactical light.

the reader has been in plenty of legal trouble.

In addition to a restraining order, and time in jail for violating it, the reader was tried for conspiracy to commit murder against his wife.

Yeah, yeah, innocent until proven guilty.

Start the dragging.

Posted in corruption, evil, gun issues | Comments Off

Problem: not liking the truth. Solution: silence the people telling it.

Posted by Charles II on December 24, 2012

Via Barry Ritholtz, Arthur Kellerman and Frederick Rivara describe how the Republicans in Congress shut down research on the nature of gun violence:

The nation might be in a better position to act if medical and public health researchers had continued to study these issues as diligently as some of us did between 1985 and 1997. But in 1996, pro-gun members of Congress mounted an all-out effort to eliminate the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Although they failed to defund the center, the House of Representatives removed $2.6 million from the CDC’s budget—precisely the amount the agency had spent on firearm injury research the previous year. Funding was restored in joint conference committee, but the money was earmarked for traumatic brain injury. The effect was sharply reduced support for firearm injury research.

To ensure that the CDC and its grantees got the message, the following language was added to the final appropriation: “none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control.”

When other agencies funded high-quality research, similar action was taken….Congress extended the restrictive language it had previously applied to the CDC to all Department of Health and Human Services agencies, including the National Institutes of Health

These are not the only efforts to keep important health information from the public and patients.

For example,
* Florida and Washington State have sealed their records against the dangers of research.
* The National Defense Authorization Act forbids commanders from discussing private weapons with the servicemembers under their command, even if they fear suicide.

It’s very important that we not discuss the bodies piling up in shopping malls and schools. It’s very important that we silence any questioning of activities that lead to profits by the manufacturers of firearms.

Posted in gun issues | Comments Off

I liked this solution

Posted by Charles II on December 23, 2012


(via Mark Karlin. I do think Karlin is wrong when he thinks that all gun owners have anger management problems, but he certainly did illustrate his point)

Posted in gun issues | 1 Comment »

Guns don’t kill people.

Posted by Charles II on December 14, 2012

Gun manufacturers do.

It’s difficult to know exactly what the role of the manufacturers is in the current witches brew around the right to bear arms. There are so many paranoid people who fund organizations like Gun Owners of America and the NRA that the manufacturers probably find the work of stirring fear to be easy. But there is no doubt that they made their thirty pieces of silver off the sale of the weapons that killed 20 kids in Connecticut.. and that every time there is a mass murder, someone spreads fear that Obama is going to take your guns away–and the manufacturers make more money than ever.

I support the right of mentally-stable, non-violent people to own guns. I do not support the right of corporations to whip up mass fear or to buy legislation and elections. This country has a problem with young men who think that the way to resolve issues is through violence. We need to deal with it.
Update2: Ezra Klein has an article worth reading.

Update: We have a worst person nominee:

On Friday some pro-gun groups took to Twitter urging people to buy guns: Conservative pundit Ann Coulter tweeted “more guns, less mass shootings” in the wake of the event.

and Stormcrow adds a second:


And another:

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee attributed the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in part to restrictions on school prayer and religious materials in the classroom.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee said on Fox News, discussing the murder spree that took the lives of 20 children and 6 adults in Newtown, CT that morning. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

and of course there’s famed author Travis McGee at Free Republic:

My guess is that the next phase is going to come and shockingly fast. Today already we have Obama weeping and choking up, and all flags at half-mast.

Next week will be 20 tiny tot coffins with precious teddy bears on top, and photos and home videos galore. It will be the most heart-wrenching show ever produced by the White House-Hollywood-MSM alliance.

A bill will be proposed. If it’s not this one, it may be worse. But this at least. A total ban on magazines capable of holding more than ten cartridges. (Or, ten may be one over the limit, with ten-rounders banned.)

No buyback, no compensation, no grandfather, no sunset. Instant felon if you’re found with an eleven-round “massacre magazine.” This is how Hollywood/MSM will produce this episode over the next two weeks.

Christmas Eve, with all of the tiny tot funerals. The tears will pour like Niagara.

Only a few weak-kneed RINOs in the House need to roll over, and they will. This bill will pass like lightning, we may be shocked how fast.

I thought it would pass in the year after Gabby Giffords, but I was wrong. Let’s see what happens now.

Posted in gun issues | 12 Comments »

Fast and Furious: now barely even a pseudoscandal

Posted by Charles II on June 28, 2012

I heard about this on Rachel last night, but truthout found the link for me. Katherine Eban, Fortune mag:

Customers can legally buy as many weapons as they want in Arizona as long as they’re 18 or older and pass a criminal background check. There are no waiting periods and no need for permits, and buyers are allowed to resell the guns. “In Arizona,” says [ATF team leader Dave] Voth, “someone buying three guns is like someone buying a sandwich.”

The agents faced numerous obstacles in what they dubbed the Fast and Furious case. …Their greatest difficulty by far, however, was convincing prosecutors that they had sufficient grounds to seize guns and arrest straw purchasers. By June 2010 the agents had sent the U.S. Attorney’s office a list of 31 suspects they wanted to arrest, with 46 pages outlining their illegal acts. But for the next seven months prosecutors did not indict a single suspect.

Ten weeks [after the murder of a Border Patrol agent], an ATF agent named John Dodson…claimed that supervisors repeatedly ordered him not to seize weapons because they wanted to track the guns into the hands of criminal ringleaders.

Nobody disputes that suspected straw purchasers under surveillance by the ATF repeatedly bought guns that eventually fell into criminal hands. … But five law-enforcement agents directly involved in Fast and Furious tell Fortune that the ATF … seized weapons whenever they could but were hamstrung by prosecutors and weak laws, which stymied them at every turn.

Indeed, a six-month Fortune investigation reveals that the public case alleging that Voth and his colleagues walked guns [i.e., deliberately allowed them to end up in the hands of criminals] is replete with distortions, errors, partial truths, and even some outright lies.

Bottom line: Arizona’s gun laws and prosecutors who were less than eager to pursue prosecutions allowed guns to get into the hands of violent criminals. The Obama Administration is then blamed. And in true underwear gnome form: GOP Profit!!!!

Sixty Minutes, which hyped Agent Dodson’s adolescent complaints into a pseudoscandal. has become no more than a bad joke, prostituting itself for ratings. The use of “the Sipsey Street Irregulars, run by a former militia member, Mike Vanderboegh, who has advocated armed insurrection against the U.S. government” as a “desert telegraph” to come up with angles to attack the ATF, is a cancer on the American Republic. Thanks, Republicans, for keeping us safe from non-existent threats while Mexico dissolves into chaos.

Posted in gun issues, Republicans as cancer | 1 Comment »

It’s all just a misunderstanding!

Posted by Charles II on May 10, 2012

Nick Wing, HuffPo:

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is lending his name and political clout to a gun group’s email campaign that features an image of a rifle pointed at the head of President Barack Obama.

And if Rand Paul weren’t such a lying, flaming idiot the the other 364 days, we’d be sure that it was just a mistake.

Posted in gun issues, Republicans acting badly | 4 Comments »

Maybe if she’d had a gun: Minneapolis denies the right of self-defense against hate crimes/corrected

Posted by Charles II on April 27, 2012


A transgendered African-American woman is set to go on trial next week on charges of second-degree murder for an altercation after she was reportedly physically attacked and called racist and homophobic slurs outside a Minneapolis bar last year. Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald received 11 stitches to her cheek, and was reportedly interrogated without counsel and placed in solitary confinement following her arrest. There were reports that the dead victim, Dean Schmitz, had a swastika tattooed on his chest.

So McDonald’s face was slashed open and then she killed the person who did that.

These are facts similar to those asserted in the Trayvon Martin case, but with some important differences. Compare McDonald to Zimmerman and the deceased Dean Schmitz with the deceased Trayvon Martin:

1) Schmitz did have a deadly weapon, while Trayvon did not have a deadly weapon, while McDonald had been assaulted and seriously wounded.
2) Schmitz pursued her, while Zimmerman alleges that he was assaulted by Trayvon, who Zimmerman was following.
3) Schmitz was allegedly tattoed with a hate symbol, while Trayvon had none.
4) Schmitz allegedly had a history of harassing McDonald, while Trayvon was unknown to Zimmerman.

Now, there’s one more similarity and one more difference. McDonald used a knife, scissors while Zimmerman used a gun. And both of the dead people, one an assailant, one allegedly a victim, were black.

One is reminded of an ancient (50 years ago) Dick Gregory joke: “You complain about us cutting people. Well, hell, you won’t sell us any guns!”

This appears to be a stark illustration of why we need to confront hate crimes and demand an end to the stirring of racial hatred by TV news. Every person, black or white, gay or straight, has an absolute right to mind his or her own business in safety. For Minneapolis to charge someone in fear of her life with second degree murder, while it took a national campaign and intervention by the Governor to get Zimmerman charged with the same crime is clear evidence that the scales of justice are not balanced in this oh-so-free-and-fair country.
Note on the corrections: apparently one of Schmitz’s female companions opened up the wound on McDonald by throwing a glass at her. So Schmitz was not carrying a deadly weapon. Also, Schmitz was apparently stabbed with fabric scissors. Sorry about the mistakes. Like Stormcrow (see comments) I was completely disgusted by this. I got careless in writing it up.

Posted in abuse of power, gay rights, gun issues, race in America, racism | 3 Comments »

Comments on the Trayvon Martin case

Posted by Charles II on March 31, 2012

I’ve tried to be careful in judging this case, because so much of what we think we know is based on selective leaks, statements by people who do not have any independent knowledge of the case, and judgments reached on the basis of emotion. For example, it is certainly possible, as the right wing claims, that Martin doubled back on Zimmerman and confronted him. (to see the full range of right-wing claims about the case, one can consult the threads I selected to document the role of racialist hatred in the national, um, dialogue about this case)

So, let’s dispassionately consider some of these points. Here are my comments, which are based on a layman’s–not a lawyer’s– understanding of law.

1. How would the legal implications change if Trayvon Martin did confront George Zimmerman, or even physically assault him?

There would be no change. Martin correctly believed that he was being stalked by an unknown male. The stalker was probably not behaving unlawfully in simply following Martin, but neither did he enjoy the protections given to officers of the law. He was acting as a vigilante. Since there was no objective reason to believe that Martin had committed any crime, Zimmerman had no right to confront Martin. However, Martin did have a reason to fear that his stalker might be about to harm him. Therefore, under Florida’s poorly-written Stand Your Ground law, Martin did have justification to confront Zimmerman with force. If Martin even suspected that Zimmerman had a gun, he would have been justified in killing him. This is what the statute says:

(3) A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a forcible felony.

2. What if Martin was involved in drugs, petty crime, loitering with intent (or whatever)?

None of these allegations, which originate from unlawfully released and/or fabricated school records, have any bearing on the case. George Zimmerman did not know Trayvon Martin, had not witnessed who was responsible for crime in his area, and had no other reason to suspect that Martin was anyone but a kid walking back home from the convenience store. The Miami Herald did not serve the public by releasing those records. It defamed a dead kid.

Indeed, those allegation have fed directly into a white supremacist smear campaign. According to CJR’s Ryan Chittum, Stormfront published photos of someone, not Trayvon Martin, and these found their way onto Business Insider (thereby demonstrating the close connectivity of white supremacists and the country clubbers in the Republican machine) and thence onto ABC’s Good Morning America (showing the close linkage of the media to the Republican machine).

Separately, an anonymous person calling himself Klanklannon apparently hacked the dead boy’s accounts to find material to defame him with. How much of what he released is fact and how much is fabrication is anyone’s guess. But, just to add injury to homicide, people began sending e-mails from the deceased’s accounts. Our mainstream media took part in this ghoulishness [added: to be clear, the media didn't send e-mail from Martin's account. They defamed him in other ways].

When Joe Scarborough comes off as the only good guy in the mainstream media, you know that we’re in trouble.

3. In principle, could there be circumstances which would justify not charging George Zimmerman?

One can’t entirely rule it out. A judge has ruled that a person whose car radio has been stolen was entirely justified in pursuing the thief and stabbing him to death, then taking the other stolen radios (and selling them), all apparently on the say-so of the killer. With a law that poorly written, one can’t absolutely rule out the possibility that there was some legal reason why George Zimmerman was released.

However, it’s difficult to understand why Zimmerman would have been in fear of his life. He was the pursuer, not the pursued. He had no reason to believe that the boy he was pursuing had committed or was about to commit a crime. He was in contact with police. He shrugged off advice from police not to continue following Martin (I would not characterize “We don’t need you to do that” as an order, even in the south). He was not so afraid of Martin that he stayed in his truck. And, of course, Zimmerman had his own past which, unlike Trayvon Martin’s alleged tattoos and spraypainting a locker with “WTF” and having a baggy with residues of marijuana, included commission of actual crimes of violence. And, finally, photos of Zimmerman after the incident do not show serious wounds.

Returning to the statute, Zimmerman claims he was attacked while he was engaged in a lawful activity. If Martin attacked him, then he could certainly claim that he’s covered by the statute. But that’s something for the courts, not right-wing radio, to decide.

4. Is it possible that both Martin and Zimmerman were acting lawfully according to the statute?

I think it is possible. By saying that a person who is in a public place engaged in lawful behavior has no duty to retreat, it leaves open the possibility that two people, engaged in lawful behavior, could come to blows in such a manner that both were protected by the statute.

Finally, my guess is that Zimmerman confronted Martin with a weapon in order to menace and intimidate Martin, that Martin–justly fearing for his life–jumped Zimmerman, and Zimmerman panicked. If that guess is correct, Zimmerman is not protected by the statute. But it’s just a guess. From the evidence that has emerged, nothing can be proven except that one more kid is dead thanks to Republican encouragement of vigilantism.

Posted in crimes, Florida (where magical things happen), gun issues | 3 Comments »

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