By Doug Porter
Today’s column is all about guns and the people that enable their abuse. A few corporations fund a ‘grassroots’ lobbying group. Data is suppressed by law. Thousands of people die every year and the only solution is supposedly prayer.
Or we’re supposed to chant the words Radical Islamic Terrorism three times, click our heels, and everything will be right in the world.
Once again the nation finds itself in the middle of a ‘debate’ over guns following a mass shooting. It’s a very one-sided debate. Vast majorities of people believe that common-sense measures are needed. The will of the people is likely to be ignored.
California: ‘Thou Shall Not Speak Ill of the NRA’
A dozen measures are moving through the California legislature associated with what typically gets called ‘gun control.’ Perhaps another term is needed; something along the lines of ‘death by violence prevention.’
From the Los Angeles Times:
The bills originally were introduced in response to a mass shooting in San Bernardino in December, but the killing of 49 people in an Orlando nightclub Sunday was invoked over and over Tuesday by Democrats as state legislative committees heard testimony before voting to send bills to the floor for votes.
At one hearing, Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell) angrily confronted National Rifle Assn. lobbyist Dan Reid, accusing his organization of being responsible for the Orlando shooting because of its lobbying against gun control.
“Less than 72 hours ago, 49 people were slain in a nightclub in Orlando,” Low said during the hearing. “It’s very difficult for me to sit here and look you in the eye and have respect for you, Dan.”
Low later added, “The reason they were murdered was because of your organization.”
For the crime of besmirching the honor of a Major Campaign Contributor, Lowe may find himself before the Senate ethics committee.
Legislation requiring law enforcement officials and those with concealed weapon permits who keep handguns in their vehicles to keep them in a locked box or the trunk, gun owners to report the loss or theft of firearms within five days of discovering they are gone, or allowing co-workers, employers and mental health workers to petition courts to issue restraining orders to have authorities confiscate firearms for one year from persons judged to be a danger to themselves or others are, according to the NRA and its supporters, a danger to the citizens who might need to protect themselves.
The Fetish of Silence
Democrats in the House of Representatives have been showing signs of growing a spine in recent days. One can only hope.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, a favorite son of the National Rifle Association, tried to walk members through the usual ‘moment of silence’ routine earlier this week. Some freshmen Representatives walked out. Others chanted “Where’s the bill?”—demanding a debate on gun legislation.
From The Nation:
Their protest came after Ryan tried to begin and end discussion of the mass shooting with his moment of silence. Assistant Democratic Leader Jim Clyburn, D–South Carolina, stepped to a floor microphone and asked Ryan when bills addressing gun violence would be taken up by the House. “I am really concerned that we have just today had a moment of silence and later this week the 17th…,” Clyburn began.
Ryan interrupted him and asked if the Democratic leader was a making a parliamentary inquiry. “Yes, Mr. Speaker,” Clyburn continued. “I am particularly interested [in talking] about three pieces of legislation that have been filed in response to Charleston.”
Ryan dismissed the inquiry as the South Carolina congressman was referring to the killing of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church a year ago this week (on June 17, 2015). The speaker’s office said that Ryan had determined that veteran civil-rights activist’s question was out of order.
Ryan’s spokeswoman said, remarkably, “It’s shameful that anyone would try to use a moment of silence honoring victims of a brutal terrorist attack to advance their own political agenda.”
Gays Left Out
Meanwhile, House Republicans were busy advancing their own political agendas.
House Republicans scraped together enough votes to reject an amendment protecting LGBT individuals from discrimination…
“Shame!” Democrats chanted in response, according to Politico. The bill would have barred federal contractors from getting government work if they have a record of discriminating against the LGBT community. It was voted down 212-213.
Asked Rules Chair Sessions if Orlando shooting changes calculation on LGBT Maloney amdmt. He argued Pulse was not a gay club.
— Daniel Newhauser (@dnewhauser) June 14, 2016
Guns at the Disco
President Obama and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton have both renewed their calls for a ban on assault weapons.
From The Hill:
Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump argued the Orlando shooter could have been stopped if partygoers had brought guns themselves to the nightclub, but didn’t specifically address the ban.
On his website, Trump says “the government has no business dictating what types of firearms good, honest people are allowed to own.”
A Public Health Crisis (((Finally)))
Republicans in Congress have successfully blocked funding for research into gun violence as a public health issue for decades.
Meeting in Chicago this week, the American Medical Association (AMA) voted for the first time to declare gun violence a “public health crisis” and to “actively lobby” to allow federal research on guns.
From The Hill:
The AMA said the growing number of gun-related deaths in the U.S. requires a “comprehensive public health response and solution.” It called the nation’s gun crisis “unrivaled in any other developed country.”
The AMA will push to allow federally funded research to study gun violence like any other public health issue. The group will now renew its campaign against the 20-year-old government policy that has effectively banned research on guns — pitting itself against the group behind the provision, the National Rifle Association.
The so-called Dickey amendment, named for former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), has had a chilling effect on nearly all federally funded gun research, though it does not technically outlaw it. Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is only banned from using federal funding “to advocate or promote gun control.”
A Fifth Amendment Issue
Unfortunately, Democrats in DC (And Donald Trump, if his press releases are to be believed) have chosen a really crappy place to take a stand on gun control– banning persons on the No Fly List from buying guns.
It sounds like a great idea as a sound bite, but the reality is more complicated. And it gives the National Rifle Association credibility.
From the Huffington Post:
…to understand its argument, one must look beyond the Second Amendment the group loves so dear to another part of the Constitution: the one that guarantees due process of law for anyone whose rights the government intends to target.
On this front, the NRA has forcefully and successfully argued government watch lists are constitutionally problematic because they’re bloated and sweep far too broadly, ensnaring innocent Americans that otherwise pose no threat to national security — including one prominent U.S. senator, media pundits, executives, even babies and the late Nelson Mandela.
When anti-gun furor following the Paris terrorist attacks reached fever pitch last year, the NRA pointed to our own coverage here in The Huffington Post to underscore the myriad problems with terror watch lists, and sought to dispel the public misperception that the organization was somehow interested in arming homegrown jihadists.
The Sickos Continue
Homegrown wanna jihadists on the right are having a field day in the wake of the Orlando shootings.
A Sacramento pastor is making the news, thanks to a sermon asserting that the killings were justified.
“There’s no tragedy,” Roger Jimenez responded after the shootings. “I wish the government would round them all up, put them up against a wall, put a firing squad in front of them and blow their brains out.”
Jimenez was referring to gay men.
“The tragedy is that more of them didn’t die,” he said during a 45-minute sermon the morning after 49 people were killed inside Pulse nightclub.
Here in San Diego, police are investigating an ad placed on Craigslist calling for another massacre.
SDPD Lt. Scott Wahl said the department will investigate the post. Wahl emphasized that police have had extra officers on patrol in places where people gather in the wake of the Orlando shooting.
FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth told 10News the FBI will assist the SDPD with the investigation if need be. Foxworth added that, as of Tuesday night, there were no known specific and credible threats against San Diego.
On This Day: 1752 – Benjamin Franklin experimented by flying a kite during a thunderstorm. The result was a little spark that showed the relationship between lightning and electricity. 1877 – Henry O. Flipper became the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. 1990 – The Battle of Century City, as police in Los Angeles attacked some 500 janitors and their supporters during a peaceful Service Employees Int’l Union demonstration against cleaning contractor ISS. The event generated public outrage that resulted in recognition of the workers’ union and spurred the creation of an annual June 15 Justice for Janitors Day.
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