Posts Tagged ‘Gun Control’

The traffic success of my last guns story led the bureau chief to assign me to the guns beat, so this is likely to be the second in a series of posts about wackos with weapons.

With legislation to close the gun-show loophole stalled in Congress, Virginia Tech shooting survivor Collin Goddard teamed up with the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence to show just how easy it is for anyone to legally buy firearms—even individuals who would otherwise be barred from gun ownership, such as convicted felons or domestic abusers.

While most gun purchases require prospective buyers to submit to a National Instant Check System background check by the FBI, in 33 states proof of residency is all that’s needed to buy firearms from unlicensed private dealers at gun shows. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives estimated that each year some 2,000 to 5,000 gun-shows take place nationwide.

In the video below, Goddard, who was shot four times in the Virgina Tech massacre that left 32 dead, buys firearms in his native Virginia and at gun-shows in Ohio, Minnesota, and Texas with the help of local activists in those states. Wearing a hidden camera, he records the purchase of a weapons cache that includes cheap handgun, a pistol with a silencer, and yes, an AK-47. Goddard and an Ohio resident were even able to obtain the Maadi Egyptian assault rifle without showing any form of ID, as federal law requires.

Click here to watch the video on the MoJo blog.

Photo credit: K’s Photo’s (via Flickr)

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This post was assigned by DC Bureau Chief David Corn, who is very good at passing on newsworthy, underreported stories for me to flesh out. While I’m a journalist not a gun control activist, after having examined what is by all appearances a tremendously misguided policy proposal I wouldn’t mind if my piece stirred up a bit of righteous indignation.

UPDATE: My story is featured on The Huffington Post home page and the top story on its politics page. It is featured on SodaHead, Signs of the Times, linked to in a Raw Story report on the bill and, um, reposted on a Howard Stern fan site. It is also my second Top Story for Mother Jones.

gun-corbin-hiarMajor Nidal Hasan, accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood Army base, has been described by former colleagues as “psychotic.” As more details emerge about Hasan’s troubled state, gun safety advocates are launching fresh attacks on a Senate bill they say would make it easier for mentally unstable veterans to buy firearms.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) says his “Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act” will protect veterans’ gun rights. But the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence calls it a “dangerous” proposal that could allow “over 100,000 mentally incapacitated or incompetent persons” to buy guns—people who would previously have been barred from doing so by the Veterans Administration (VA).

With debate over Fort Hood still raging on cable news, one might think that Burr might try to quietly shelve the measure, whose co-sponsors include Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.). Instead, Burr fired back at the Brady Campaign in an interview with Fox News, accusing its president, Paul Helmke, of using the tragedy to “exploit the senseless murder of American soldiers in the quest to secure personal triumph.”

Responding to Burr Thursday in an open letter, Helmke wrote, “it is hardly ‘exploitative’ to have an honest debate” about the proposal, which would cancel out key provisions of the Gun Control Act of 1968 and override standards used by the VA for nearly four decades.

Click here to read the rest of the MoJo blog post or make a comment.

Photo credit: Hoggheff (via Flickr)

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In case the post doesn’t make it totally clear, for the record, I love the Rock. And the insightful use of profanity. And funny shit.

Chris-Rock-Corbin-HiarChris Rock may have been wrong about AIDS—but only slightly. In his second blockbuster comedy special for HBO, “Bigger and Blacker” (1999), Rock emphatically suggested that:

They ain’t never curing AIDS. Don’t even think about that shit. There ain’t no money in the cure. The money’s in the medicine. That’s how you get paid. On the comeback. That’s how a drug dealer makes his money. On the comeback. That’s all the government is. A bunch of motherfucking drug dealers. On the comeback. They ain’t curing no AIDS.

It seems Rock may have been right to suspect that a cure would not come from the pharmaceutical industry. A new AIDS vaccine has recently shown promising experimental results, owing to the efforts of a California non-profit called Global Solutions for Infectious Disease.

Rock has had an impressive track record in speaking foul-mouthed truth to power.

Click here to read the rest of the MIL post or to make a comment.

Photo credit: modomatic (via Flickr)

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3450901789_a7219ac82fThis bit of Nation-approved activism was a lot of fun to write up because, as I mention later in the blog post, there is not much in the way of organized progressive support for improved gun control regulation.

UPDATE: This post was featured on Yahoo! New‘s Buzz.

In a joint press conference with Mexico’s president Philippe Calderon, President Obama recently threw his support behind the Inter-American Convention Against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and other Related Items, a long-stalled treaty often referred to by its Spanish acronym CIFTA.

“As President Calderon and I discussed, I am urging the Senate in the United States to ratify an inter-American treaty known as CIFTA to curb small arms trafficking that is a source of so many of the weapons used in this drug war,” said President Obama in Mexico City on the eve of the Summit of the Americas.

Thirty of the thirty-five members of the Organization of American States have ratified CIFTA since it was agreed upon in 1997. In an interview with Reuters Jonathan Winer, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State who was the main negotiator of the treaty during the Clinton administration, said the treaty “is designed to help US law enforcement track abuses of firearms of criminals back to the last lawful sale so they can determine what went wrong. It is completely consistent with all US laws and does not ever impose a foreign law on a US person who has abided by US law.”

Although this treaty would do little to reform the domestic loopholes which allow countless guns onto our streets, CIFTA would at least signal to our allies in the OAS that we are serious about combating the drug violence that the US market both feeds and fuels.

Click here to read the rest of the blog post or here to send a Take Action letter.

Picture credit: Mike Licht (via Flickr)

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116547748_22a352f500Barack Obama was voted into the White House by promising “change” at every campaign stop. Since entering the Oval Office however, much of the change Obama has been delivering on has from that of his campaign promises. Although Obama had previously expressed his opposition to “conceal and carry” laws, his Department of Justice (DOJ) is defending a last-minute Bush Administration rule change that has dramatically extended the reach of loaded handguns into national parks.

Lawsuits from the Brady Campaign and one from the National Parks Conservation Association and the Coalition of National Park Service Retirees contend that the changes to the Interior Department’s Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) were rushed into force without adequate environmental or public safety review. The CFR revision came into force on the 9th of January and eliminated gun control regulations that had been in effect for a quarter century. In an interview in today’s Washington Post, the president of the Brady Campaign questioned why the Obama administration is defending a rule that embodies “bad policy and bad procedure.”


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