Thursday, January 31, 2013

Republicans Oppose 'Common Sense' Gun Control Laws in Senate Hearing

Republicans want no changes to gun control laws. WHY?

Yesterday I watched the hearing on Gun Violence before the Senate Judiciary Committee and almost wore out my mute button.  I have discovered that I don't get as irritated with closed caption as I do listening live.  Republicans should be ashamed for doing the bidding of the NRA in yesterday's hearings - they looked like fools who could care less about the shootings in the country.  Their heads are buried in the sand with NRA money when they are not willing to even discuss any changes to gun laws including background checks.  Thought Senator Durbin (D-IL) was outstanding in his questions in not allowing NRA's LaPierre to steer the conversation.

Until today, I didn't realize how dangerous hand guns were to our police with their upgrades:
Furthermore, changes in design have increased the lethality of assault weapons, even in the last decade. A recent report on assault pistols issued by the Violence Policy Center documented the recent surge in popularity of these weapons. According to VPC, because assault pistols can accept ammunition designed for assault rifles that can more easily penetrate police body armor, these weapons, "have the penetrating power of an assault rifle in the concealable format of a pistol." As such, it is no surprise that a VPC analysis of drug cartel firearms trafficking cases uncovered numerous instances of assault pistol trafficking.
When I saw that, I have to wonder what is the matter with today's Republicans on Senate Judiciary who came off very arrogant and unwilling to change.  Looks like you can put Governor McDonnell of VA in that same category after an undercover investigative reporter went with a Virginia Tech victim to a gun show in Roanoke, VA, to show how easy it is to obtain guns from private sellers without even providing your name.  The guns from VA have been traced to crime in New York City yet some GOP Senators and Governors see no need for the background checks or to even close the loophole for gun shows.  Easier to walk in and buy any gun you want with not even giving your name then it is to register to vote or even vote where an ID is required.

Something is inherently wrong with the Republican way of thinking on guns if they think this is what the 2nd amendment is all about.  IMHO, I do not have the right to own a military style weapon - it is that simple.  Those guns do not belong on the street or in houses when a handgun that can be easily hidden can take a 50 round clip.  That is not for hunting.

I also call Bravo Sierra on Lindsey Graham's comments yesterday about the budget forcing police off the street by cutting their jobs so inferring individuals need the right to protect themselves.

GRAHAM: The point is, we have different perspectives on this. The reason I will oppose the legislation, Chief Johnston, is because i respect what your do as a lot — what you do as a law-enforcement officer. Has your budget been cut? 
GRAHAM: Do you think it be cut in the future? 
JOHNSON: I am optimistic that it is not. 
GRAHAM: Well I hope your right, but I can tell people throughout this land, because of the fiscal state of affairs we have, there will be less [SIC] police officers, not more, over the next decade. Response time are gonna be less, not more. So, Captain Kelly, I really do want to get guns out of the hands of the wrong people. I honest to god believe that if we arbitrarily “say nobody in this country can own a 10-round magazine in the future, the people who own them are the kind of people we’re trying to combat to begin with.” There can be a situation where a mother runs out of bullets because of something we do here. 

Is he saying he going to vote for a budget that takes away money from law enforcement.  Republicans already have neutered ATF with their budget cuts, refusing to name a new head of ATF, and gutting  enforcement capability at ATF for their friends at the NRA who are gun/ammo lobbyist for manufacturers.  Are federal law enforcement budget cut next for the FBI and Customs after Graham's statement?   This lends credibility to the GOP being in the hip pocket of the NRA:
President Obama has proposed expanding the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), which helps local governments hire police officers, but Republicans have opposed the effort.
Joe Scarbough (R-FL) who was part of the conservative group with Lindsey Graham and Tom Coburn in the House after the 1994 takeover by Republicans had this to say on Morning Joe:

Scarborough jumped back in to praise the president’s gun announcement speech:
One of the president’s strongest moments is when he said if you have a congressman or congresswoman that supports assault weapons, ask them why. See, that’s where the extremists, that’s where the survivalists lose this argument. Why do you need an assault weapon? Why do you need a high-capacity magazine? You start talking to them, and it always goes back to the same thing. Always. It’s either one, ‘I like target practice. It’s fun.’ That’s certainly not a reason to protect that right. Or number two, they say, after much prodding, ‘Because I’m afraid one day the government may come after me, and I will need to use my assault weapon on U.S. soldiers that are coming to my house.’ They don’t say it exactly that way, but that’s what it always boils down to. And Republicans need to understand that at the end of the day, that’s just a losing argument.
While searching for an article I could use on Republicans neutering the ATF, I discovered this little gem which should make every stop and think:
Consider, for example, this irony: Toy guns are among the 15,000 or so products whose manufacture and sale is regulated by the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission, but real firearms are not. The 1972 law creating the commission did not cover guns, but just to be sure the agency wouldn’t wander there, in 1976, pro-gun lawmakers amended its enabling legislation to prohibit any action regarding guns or ammunition. 
Let me get this straight -- toy guns are regulated but semi-automatic guns that can kill are not?  Yet, the GOP wonders why Americans are disgusted with their stance on gun control.  In that article about toy guns, it gives the background of what some in the Republican Party have been doing for the NRA to loosen the laws:

We might have a better sense of how to reduce gun deaths and injuries, except that the pro-gun absolutists have successfully put an end to federally funded gun research. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention once regularly sponsored such research. But when one careful study concluded that people in gun-owning households faced a far greater risk of homicide and suicide, the NRA swung into action. 
First the gun lobby and its allies tried to cut the CDC’s budget by $2.6 million — the same amount CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention had spent on gun-related research the previous year. That money was ultimately restored. But the pro-gun forces succeeded in inserting this line into the CDC’s 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.” Worries about running afoul of that restriction — and fear of further retribution — took CDC out of the gun-research arena. One of Obama’s executive orders is aimed at restarting such research. 
Then there are the so-called Tiahrt Amendments, named after former Republican Representative Todd Tiahrt of Kansas, long the gun lobby’s go-to guy in its attempt to neuter the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. ATF regularly traces crime guns back to their point of sale. But after the agency issued a report saying that a tiny percentage of licensed gun dealers had sold a majority of guns used in crimes, Tiahrt launched a multi-year effort to keep that kind of edifying information under a tight lid. 
Over the next few years, he attached budget riders to prevent ATF from complying with Freedom of Information Act requests or otherwise releasing gun-trace data to the public. He and other gun-lobby allies next managed to forbid ATF from sharing gun-trace data with prosecutors or law-enforcement agencies for any purpose other than investigating or prosecuting specific crimes. That meant ATF data could not be used to identify, and crack down on, gun-trafficking. 
Under intense counter-pressure from law enforcement, the Tiahrt restrictions have been loosened significantly in the last few years. Yet Tiahrt or Tiahrt-like restrictions still require the FBI to destroy background-check information and firearms-sales data within 24 hours after such a purchase is okayed. That renders it more difficult to investigate possible “straw” purchasers, who buy guns for others. Further, gun-trace data still can’t be used in civil proceedings against gun dealers.
I am not naive enough to think the GOP is doing this just for campaign contributions because there has to be more involved.  Most of the funding for the NRA comes from the manufacturers of guns and ammo so it cannot be there is a huge war chest from members who pay $35 in dues each year.  How much money is given to NRA members of Congress that are never accounted for is what I want to know?  Do we have another Enron and Abramhoff scandal this time from the NRA?  It would hit both sides of the aisle just not Republicans.  It is the only thing that makes sense.  Is that why Issa was so intent on Fast and Furious to damage the administration so they would not look into the NRA's relationship with their puppets in Congress?  Why did Fast and Furious investigation all of a sudden go silent?  What did Issa actually find?  Good questions with no answers.

You are supposed to get a perjury charge if you lie during your testimony to a committee of Congress because you are sworn in before you testify.  Obviously that was not enforced from yesterday's hearing.  Misleading testimony is an understatement:

What The Media Should Know About The NRA's Misleading Testimony At The Senate's Gun Violence Hearing 
Ahead of tomorrow's hearing on gun violence before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the National Rifle Association released the testimony of its representative, executive vice president Wayne LaPierre. When reporting on LaPierre's remarks, the media have a responsibility to provide context for his frequently inaccurate statements. 
In his remarks, LaPierre dismissed the idea of requiring a criminal background check on every gun sale while unwittingly demonstrating how these checks keep guns out of the hands of criminals, falsely suggested that assault weapons are no more dangerous than firearms available to civilians 100 years ago, and exaggerated the effectiveness of armed guards in schools.
Background Checks Have Prevented Hundreds Of Thousands Of Firearms Sales To Prohibited Purchasers 
In his testimony, LaPierre attacked the proposal to require criminal background checks on nearly all gun sales "because criminals will never submit to them." According to LaPierre's rigid reasoning, because background checks will not stop every dangerous person from acquiring a gun, there is no point in strengthening the system. 
But even under our current set of laws that allow a significant proportion of firearms transactions occur without a background check, evidence has shown that over 1.5 million individuals have been prevented from acquiring a firearm after failing a background check.
LaPierre even acknowledged earlier in his testimony that over 76,000 firearms purchases in 2011 were denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). It should be noted that LaPierre is either referring to FBI denials only or understating the figure, as over 150,000 purchases a year are typically denied through the background check system, with about half of denials being processed by the FBI. 
According to the FBI, less than five percent of denials are reversed upon appeal. The primary reasons for denial were a felony conviction or indictment (47.4 percent) or status as a fugitive (19.1 percent). 
Crimes Committed With Assault Weapons Usually Result In More Victims
In his remarks, LaPierre lumped in assault weapons with all semi-automatic firearms to claim that they "have been around for over 100 years" and that "[t]hey are the most popular guns made for hunting, target shooting and self-defense." In doing so, LaPierre invoked a common argument that assault weapons are no more dangerous than other firearms. 
In fact, an examination of mass shootings between January 2009 and January 2013 by Mayors Against Illegal Guns determined that shootings where the perpetrator used an assault weapon resulted in 54 percent more deaths than other incidents and 123 percent more combined wounded and killed. A previous study by the Urban Institute comparing shootings involving assault weapons to other firearms reached the same conclusion.    
Read More at Media Matters
What's the bottom line?  Republicans are fighting against any change in gun laws.  They don't event want to close the gun show loophole that allows felons or even terrorist to walk in and buy a gun with no information required which should frighten everyone.  Probably why over 80% of Americans want background checks tightened up including at gun shows.  For Republicans to say that the Government is going to come take their guns is beyond ludicrous.  They know it or are in a bigger conservative media bubble then I think.

NRA used to be about gun safety but now it is a lobbying arm for gun/ammo manufacturers as they get paid huge bucks to lobby and curtail any hint of gun control so manufacturers of automatic weapons/ammo can continue to make big bucks.  They don't care if a person buying a gun is a felon, a terrorist, or mentally ill.  They are more than happy to see private gun owners sell huge amounts of guns to one person as it helps their bottom line.  It is greed of the wealthy to get even wealthier if more guns/ammo are sold.

The gun/ammo manufacturers don't seem to care what happened at Sandy Hook to those 20 first graders, to the people in a movie theater in Aurora, CO, to a US Congressman in Tuscon, AZ, where if the shooter had to reload a clip because he had smaller clips a little girl would still be alive, or in Columbine, CO.  The list goes on and on with shootings that kill people daily like one in Phoenix during the Congressional hearing that killed someone in an office.

How many more children have to die before we get sensible gun control legislation that regulates the size of clips and stops the selling of handguns that can take the same clips as the military style assault rifles.  Military style weapons don't belong on our streets period.  Military members don't keep their assault weapons in their homes but in armories on base so why should individuals have military style weapons in their homes. Have an intruder?  Use a shotgun! This is not playing toy soldier but playing with people's inherit Right to Life as guaranteed by our Constitution.

The second amendment is now more important to some gun owners then any other amendment which should scare all of us if any of our neighbors believe that and have military style weapons.  Call/write your Congressman and Senators to tell them to at least get behind stronger Background Checks and closing the gun show loophole.  At least it would be a start.

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