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Member since: Sun Jan 14, 2007, 02:51 PM
Number of posts: 7,981

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US Gun Lobby On The Defensive As UN Arms Trade Treaty Negotiations Approach

United Nations (TRNS) – Members of the American gun lobby, led by the National Riffle Association, were quick to celebrate last summer when the United States unexpectedly withdrew from negotiations at the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty conference.

Despite weeks of talks with U.N. countries, the Obama administration decided to leave the conference in late July 2012, as the American gun lobby’s campaign against the Arms Trade Treaty intensified. Just a few days before the White House’s withdrawal, 51 Senators endorsed a letter citing NRA concerns the treaty somehow threatened the Second Amendment.

Supporters of the ATT denounced the administration’s decision as a transparent political maneuver ahead of the election and criticized the gun lobby for promoting false allegations about the treaty’s impact on American gun laws.

Gun groups and lobbyists meanwhile welcomed the turn of events as proof of their far-reaching power and ability to mobilize effective campaigns.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:06 PM (3 replies)

Let’s Show the Gun Lobby the True “Connecticut Effect”

A lobbyist for a Wisconsin gun owners’ association reportedly told supporters at a local NRA meeting that they have a strong upcoming lobbying agenda, but that progress might be delayed due to the “Connecticut effect.” In other words, this lobbyist views revitalized national interest in stronger gun laws as a temporary blip in response to the December 14, 2012 massacre of schoolchildren and teachers in Newtown, Conn.—an inconvenience that will delay but not damage the gun lobby’s efforts.

The Sandy Hook massacre has indeed energized support for stronger gun laws. And those of us who support such legislation have a duty to make sure this energy is not a temporary blip, but the spark for true and lasting change. Statistical analysis suggests that deadly mass shootings, like the one at Sandy Hook, are indeed on the rise. Most mass shootings have involved the very weapons that advocates believe ought to be banned—assault-type weapons and/or high-capacity ammunition clips. And mass shootings are not the only concern. Since December 14, more than 1,700 Americans have died as the result of gun violence.

We owe it to the Sandy Hook victims and to the loved ones of those 1,700 dead Americans to redeem the term “Connecticut effect” from the gun lobby’s crass and calculated use.

Yeah, there’s a “Connecticut effect,” and it is this: Those of us who believe that it is possible to both uphold the Second Amendment and prevent some criminal gun use by passing common-sense gun laws, such as universal background checks and the banning of assault-style weapons and ammunition, will not give up. We will not forget the victims of Sandy Hook (or Aurora or Tucson or Virginia Tech….). We will not forget the thousands of people who have died and will likely die in less sensational but equally deadly shootings on our city streets or in back bedrooms or in domestic disputes gone terribly wrong.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 02:05 PM (11 replies)

Wayne LaPierre's State of the Union Response Brings Back Same Old Crazy

A day after signaling that the National Rifle Association's messaging on gun legislation might go wide and wild, Wayne LaPierre stuck it straight to President Obama during the lobbying group's official response to the State of the Union, calling the President a master of "deception" on more than one occasion — and accusing Obama, falsely, of doing "nothing... [to protect] one child in any school in this country."

During a 14-minute address at a convention in Nashville, the NRA executive vice president said that Obama had "displayed a level of public deception that simply cannot be ignored." Later in the speech, LaPierre dug in even more deceptively himself: "The President has taken the art of public deception and manipulation to a whole new level."

LaPierre took Obama to task for not mentioning the words "school safety" — a classic NRA turn of phrase — during the most memorable (if politically impossible) moment of the State of the Union, when Obama said that legislation on universal background checks, high-capacity magazine limits, trafficking restrictions, and an assault-weapons ban "deserve a vote," whether the Republican-majority House (no doubt heavily lobbied by the NRA) passes them or not. Failing to use an NRA talking point, apparently, revealed the President's true agenda. "It's not about keeping kids safe at school," LaPierre intoned. "That wasn't even mentioned in the President's speech."

Which, of course, isn't true: According to the official transcript of the State of the Union, president Obama opened the section on guns by talking about just that. "Of course," Obama said, "what I've said tonight matters little if we don’t come together to protect our most precious resource, our children."

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:05 AM (1 replies)

New NRA Talking Point: Banning Assault Weapons Is Just Like Racial Discrimination

Former National Rifle Association president Marion Hammer compared a proposal by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) to ban assault weapons to racial discrimination. According to Hammer, "banning people and things because of the way they look went out a long time ago. But here they are again. The color of a gun. The way it looks. It's just bad politics."

Hammer's comparison came during a discussion on NRA News about Sen. Feinstein's plans to introduce legislation to ban assault weapons during the new Congress. Hammer warned that the United States government could engage in firearm confiscation "in order to control the masses."

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 11:02 AM (12 replies)

Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti mayors support assault weapons ban, stricter gun laws

Stricter gun laws and an assault weapons ban would make the nation —including Washtenaw County— much safer, according to Ypsilanti Mayor Paul Schreiber and Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje.

Schreiber, Hieftje, and more than 850 mayors across the country, have signed two letters drafted by the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition in support of stricter gun regulation.

Schreiber and Hieftje said neither of them are against citizens having guns, but assault weapons are not needed.

"I grew up in a shooting family and was hunting deer with my father when I was 14," Hieftje said. " I continue to shoot clay pigeons and enjoy it. I'm not anti-gun, but I certainly do not understand why anyone needs an assault weapon."

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:49 AM (67 replies)

College leaders push gun laws

Three area college presidents have joined an effort urging U.S. policy leaders to take steps designed to reduce gun violence.

"I signed it because I philosophically oppose any legislation that allows gun possession on a campus," said Brother John Paige, president of Holy Cross College in South Bend.

A bill has been introduced in the Indiana General Assembly that would make it legal for students at Indiana's public colleges and universities to carry guns on campus for their personal protection.

"As private (colleges), we may have a little more leeway," Paige said. He said he considered the topic from the point of view of colleagues at both public and private institutions. "I would oppose legislation that would allow guns on campus or in classrooms, no matter what," he said.

Posted by SecularMotion | Mon Feb 18, 2013, 08:48 AM (8 replies)

Dangerous Gun Myths & NRA Lies

The debate over what to do to reduce gun violence in America hit an absurd low point on Wednesday when a Senate witness tried to portray a proposed new ban on assault rifles and high-capacity magazines as some sort of sexist plot that would disproportionately hurt vulnerable women and their children.

The witness was Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum, a right-wing public policy group that provides pseudofeminist support for extreme positions that are in fact dangerous to women. She told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the limits on firepower proposed by Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat, would harm women because an assault weapon “in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon.” She spoke of the “peace of mind” and “courage” a woman derives from “knowing she has a scary-looking gun” when she’s fighting violent criminals.

It is not at all clear where Ms. Trotter gained her insight into confrontations between women and heavily armed intruders, since it is not at all clear that sort of thing happens often. It is tempting to dismiss her notion that an AR-15 is a woman’s best friend as the kooky reflex response of someone ideologically opposed to gun control laws and who, in her case, has also been a vociferous opponent of the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law that assists women facing domestic violence.

But it is important to note that Ms. Trotter was chosen to testify by the committee’s Republican members, who will have a big say on what, if anything, Congress does on guns; and that her appearance before the committee was to give voice to the premise, however insupportable and dangerous it may be, that guns make women and children safer — and the more powerful the guns the better.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:25 PM (4 replies)

The NRA And The Myth Of The 20-Minute Police Response Time At Sandy Hook

In the wake of the Newtown shooting, LaPierre bemoaned the fact kids aren't safe at school, in part because it takes police 15 to 20 minutes to respond to a deadly shooting like the one in Connecticut.

But that's not true and it's time the news media start calling out anti-gun control extremists like LaPierre and Larry Pratt, the executive director of Gun Owners of America, among others, who keep peddling the obvious falsehood in the press.

Fact: The Newtown police station is located approximately two miles from the Sandy Hook Elementary School. There's no way it would have taken law enforcement 20 minutes to respond to the first 911 calls reporting gunfire at the school. (Local cops could have run from the station and been at the school in less than 20 minutes.)

Fast-acting Newtown officers "made it in under three minutes, arriving in the parking lot while gunfire could still be heard," according to New York Times interviews with the first responders that day.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sun Feb 17, 2013, 03:23 PM (13 replies)

Heckling the Bereaved, Threatening Civilians -- Should These People Really Be Armed in Public?

The same people who heckled relatives of slain gun victims at a January town hall meeting in Illinois will soon have guns on their hips as the ban against concealed weapons is repealed.

Anti-gun control activists "laughed and joked about the terminology used by Linda Jenkins as she described the cold-blooded murder of her pregnant sister," at the Guns and Public Safety meeting recently held in the Chicago suburb of Glenview, reported Marjorie Fujara, a participant. Anti-gun control activists turned the event into a "raucous afternoon of... heckling and jeering at panelists," photographing the crowd and speakers with phones and cameras and yelling about abortion, reported the Chicago Sun-Times. They booed and screamed "liar" and "loser" at speakers from the Stop Concealed Carry Coalition and other anti-gun violence groups, reported the Glenview Patch. Let's arm these people!

A mass email from the Illinois State Rifle Association urged anti-gun control activists to pack the event to "ensure that there are more of OUR people there than THEIR people," reported the Patch. "Remember, this is our Lexington, this is our Concord," cajoled the email. "Be prepared to teach the gun controllers a lesson in liberty."

When asked to move from front row seats reserved for the elderly at the event, activist Steven Zahareas posted that he replied, "My name is not Rosa Parks and I am not going to the back of the bus," according to the Guns Save Life website. (See: the NRA's self-characterization as the "oldest civil rights organization in the United States."

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Feb 16, 2013, 11:36 AM (10 replies)

Ad agency is the NRA's hired gun

WASHINGTON — “Are the president’s kids more important than yours?” the deep and dramatic-sounding voice intoned. “Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?”

When the National Rifle Association aired its 35-second TV spot last month, suggesting that President Barack Obama has a double standard on school security and seemingly using his daughters as props, the White House quickly labeled it “repugnant and cowardly.” But the commercial was another in a long line of bare-knuckled NRA advertisements, many of them controversial but also compelling attacks that have come to define the organization.

Decade after decade, these provocative broadsides have been the product of one of the longest collaborations in the history of advertising, and they have all originated from the same advertising and public relations agency, Oklahoma City-based Ackerman McQueen, and its Alexandria, Va. subsidiary, the Mercury Group.

Ackerman McQueen has managed the NRA’s image and helped fight its political wars for more than 30 years. The ad agency played a pivotal role in its transformation from a sportsman’s group to one of Washington’s most powerful lobbying organizations, shaping a message rooted in uncompromising combativeness, securing its influence inside the NRA and reaping millions of dollars in contracts.

Posted by SecularMotion | Sat Feb 16, 2013, 09:01 AM (3 replies)
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