by Sabrina Siddiqui, The Guardian, 19 December 2015
Senator’s voting record on guns a rare breach with progressive base while Democratic frontrunner steps up calls to close ‘loopholes’ with stricter laws
Bernie Sanders often boasts of a D-minus rating from the National Rifle Association. And yet, as the candidates take the stage on Saturday for the third Democratic presidential debate, the Vermont senator finds himself on the defensive over gun control.
The issue has risen to prominence amid a series of high-profile shootings, from Charleston to Roseburg and San Bernardino. At the debate in Manchester, New Hampshire, the question is likely to rise again: faced with an epidemic of gun violence, what more can America do?
There are few policy areas in which Sanders’s opponents have attacked him from the left. But on gun control, frontrunner Hillary Clinton has drawn a contrast between her long-held progressive views and Sanders’s somewhat mixed record.
A key area of disagreement was laid bare in the first debate in October, when Sanders struggled to explain his support for a bill in 2005 that granted legal protections to gun manufacturers. Attacked by Clinton and former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, Sanders said he voted for “a large and complicated bill”. Clinton countered by pointing out that she had voted against the same measure and had not found it “that complicated”….
read more at The Guardian
by Lee Fang, The Intercept, 12/3/15
Behind closed doors, speaking with investors and Wall Street analysts, the gun industry views mass shootings as an opportunity to make lots of money.
Ordinary people are despairing about the frequency of tragic events like the murderous rampage in San Bernardino on Wednesday, or the Planned Parenthood massacre last week. And the cycle of mass killing, media frenzy, and political stalemate starts anew each time.
But meanwhile, gun sales continue to break records, a fact that has not gone ignored by financial analysts.
The Intercept reviewed investor transcripts for gun companies, ammunition manufacturers, and sporting stores, and found many instances of industry executives discussing mass shooting incidents and the resulting political dynamics as lucrative.
Here’s how it works. Following a mass shooting, there is talk of gun control, which the National Rifle Association and other gun advocates attack as an assault on the Second Amendment. Notably, gun and ammunition manufacturers often donate, either directly or as a portion of each sale, to the NRA. The fear of losing gun rights leads to panic buying, which brings greater profits to gun retailers, gun companies and their investors….
read more at The Intercept
by Igor Volsky, ThinkProgress, 12/4/15
Federal investigators now believe that at least one of the perpetrators behind the San Bernardino attack may have pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. According to three law enforcement officials who spoke to CNN, female attacker Tashfeen Malik touted her support for the terrorist organization on Facebook after initiating the Wednesday attack, which left 14 people dead and 21 wounded.
The news comes just hours after lawmakers defeated an amendment, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), that would have required suspected terrorists seeking a gun to undergo a background check.
During floor debate over the amendment, supporters pointed to a Government Accountability Office report that found suspected terrorists bought firearms and explosives from licensed dealers 1,300 times between 2004 and 2014, and that in 90 percent of cases, potential terrorists passed a background check allowing them to legally purchase guns. Feinstein’s amendment would have also given the U.S. attorney general the discretion to block gun sales to terror suspects and provided a process for people erroneously denied a gun to have their rights restored.
Indeed, radical Islamic terror leaders have previously urged American sympathizers to exploit the nation’s lax gun laws in order to perpetrate domestic terror and lone-wolf and homegrown terrorists have increasingly relied on high-powered guns to carry out their attacks.
“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms. You can go down to a gun show at the local convention center and come away with a fully automatic assault rifle, without a background check, and most likely without having to show an identification card. So what are you waiting for?” American-born al-Qaeda spokesmen Adam Yahiye Gadahn said in a message to followers in 2011….
Letter to the Editor, Daily Local News, 11/17/15 [not on Daily Local web site]
After the horrific Paris terrorist massacre, the world again turns its attention to how to respond.
We will hear lots of talk about closing the borders, stepping up military action in Syria and Iraq, stepping up intelligence gathering and whether to contain or destroy ISIS. All of these reactions are understandable, as the people of France are emotionally dealing with their version of 911.
Terrorism has become a reality of contemporary life.
Another constant is homegrown gun violence, which every day takes the lives of 90 people in the United States. While the tragedy of Paris is truly shocking and horrible, it is a sobering reminder that it just takes two days of ‘normal’ gun violence in American to have more deaths than what happened in Paris last week.
One of the main functions of government is to keep its citizens safe — especially when they feel vulnerable.
One way is to do everything we can to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people–including terrorists. If we really want to protect Americans, we need to make it as difficult for terrorists to get their hands on firearms as possible. What to do?
1. Pass Universal background checks for gun purchases — no private sales without one
2. Pass Lost or stolen gun reporting — to reduce the amount of illegal guns
3. Crack down on ‘Bad Apple Gun Dealers’ — who do not follow safe procedures when selling guns.
There are 3 good bills in PA that deal with just these issues, and 2 bills in the US House that would strengthen background checks. I applaud State rep. Dan Truitt, State rep. Warren Kampf and State rep. Chris Ross for cosigning some of these bills. I call on Senator Dinniman and US Rep Costello to step up to the plate and Cosponsor these good bills.
Let’s hope that a reaction to the latest shocking act of violence in Paris can light a fire under our legislators to get serious about reducing gun violence- as a tactic to combat global and domestic terrorism.
Tom Buglio, West Chester
Chester County Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence