Friday, January 8, 2016

Promises of Advance "Executive Orders" (Cruz, Trump, et al): Yet GOP is Mum

On Day-One He Would Axe Gun-Free Zones
(Psst: both are Federal law)

NRA and Gun Lover Approach
(Nice touch guys -  yeah, right)

The Tradeoff for Rational Thinker
(which are in short supply these days)

This short introduction and update before the jump to the original article that follows: The GOP and others these days are beating Mr. Obama for his proposed Executive Order speech and 3-step plan for guns, yet Trump says he will do the same thing on day one; Cruz says his pen has an eraser for his dastardly deeds, the same for many others who make such rash statements.

Topic: GUN FREE ZONES and latest from Trump on the subject, and the National Journal here.

Background on Gun-Free Zone Law(s) in the U.S. from here in part:

1.  The Gun-Free School Zones Act (GFSZA) is a federal United States law that prohibits any unauthorized individual from knowingly possessing a firearm at a place that the individual knows, or has reasonable cause to believe, is a school zone as defined here and here.  It was introduced in the U.S. Senate in October 1990 by Senator Joseph R. Biden and signed into law in November 1990 by President George H. W. Bush.

2.  That law should not be confused with the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 (GFSA). That law was part of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA). The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 also amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.  In 1994, Congress introduced the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994, which encouraged each state receiving federal funds for education to follow suit and introduce their own laws, now known as zero tolerance laws. 

President Clinton signed the Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 into law on March 31, 1994. The Gun-Free Schools Act of 1994 requires each state receiving federal funds to have a state law in effect requiring local educational agencies to expel, for at least one year, any student who is determined to have brought a weapon to school. The one-year expulsion is mandatory, except when a chief administering officer of such local education agency may modify it on a case-by-case basis. In addition, schools are directed to develop policies requiring referral to the criminal justice or juvenile delinquency system for any student who brings a firearm or weapon to school.

Are “gun-free” zones (public or school) common sense or not; and do they work as intended, or not? If not, should they be repealed, or not? Some views both ways follow (full details at the National Journal link and certainly other sites). Like these:

Interpol’s secretary general, Ron Noble, noted there are two ways to protect people from such mass shootings: (1) “To say we want an armed citizenry; you can see the reason for that, (2) the other is to say the enclaves should be so secure that in order to get into the soft target you’re going to have to pass through extraordinary security.”  Noble sees a real problem: “How do you protect soft targets? That’s really the challenge. You can’t have armed police forces everywhere. It makes citizens question their views on gun control. You have to ask yourself, ‘Is an armed citizenry more necessary now than it was in the past, with an evolving threat of terrorism?’”

The vast majority of mass shootings in the U.S. have been extensively planned beforehand — often many months or even years in advance, allowing the perpetrators to find unprotected targets and obtain weapons.

Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School (in CT) killer, spent over two years studying everything about previous mass shootings: the weapons used, the number of people killed, and even how much media coverage each shooting received. Police described the 7-by-4-foot spreadsheet as sickeningly thorough, even likening his careful study to a doctoral dissertation.

James Holmes, the Aurora, CO theater killer, was another careful planner. He started buying items two and a half months in advance. He visited neighboring theaters, and bought his ticket almost two weeks before his attack. To help prepare, he photographed the layout of the theater where he’d commit his heinous crimes.

This is surely a compelling topic for debate, but not to be used as a stunt or attention getter for votes like Trump with his radical statement that appears to fit that bill and not based on common sense and rational thinking which he seems to be incapable of doing.

Original post starts from here:

Extracts from Newsweek that I find enlightening, but gun nuts will not.

Justice Scalia clearly stated in Heller that the right to bear arms had boundaries writing in part: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose.” Scalia cited laws that prohibit the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or that forbid them in places such as schools and government buildings, or impose conditions on their sale.

He also wrote that his decision did not overrule the holding in the 1939 Miller case ruling that the sorts of weapons protected are those in common use at the time, and that the “historical tradition of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons” was still permissible. In other words, even one of the modern era’s most conservative justices says gun enthusiasts are wrong when they claim that any limitation on firearms is unconstitutional. Government can place restrictions on firearms with the intent of protecting society.

Re: Gun accessories:

Nowhere in Supreme Court precedent, or in the words of the founders, or in the Second Amendment (either of them) is there a right to attach stuff to a gun, including the add-ons that serve no purpose other than to kill as many people as possible as fast as possible.

Some of these accessories are largely unknown outside of the gun crowd, including such nonsensical devices as magazine drums that allow popular weapons such as the AR-15 rifle to fire up to 100 rounds without reloading. Why would any gun enthusiast need 100 rounds?

Let’s ask James Holmes – he would tell you why.

Until July 20, 2012, Holmes was what the NRA would describe as a responsible gun owner. He legally owned a couple of Glock 22 pistols, a Smith & Wesson M&P15 semi-automatic rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, a Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, 350 shotgun shells and 6,000 rounds of ammunition. Given all those purchases, his local gun club invited him to join.

On a night in July, Holmes walked into an Aurora, Colorado movie theater and started firing. He killed 12 people and injured 70 more. He got off 76 shots — 65 from the semi-automatic rifle with the 100-round drum. He could have shot more if the drum hadn’t jammed. In fact, Holmes told a court psychiatrist that he chose his weaponry in hopes that he would kill all 400 people in the theater.

High-capacity magazines have been the accessory of choice for most mass killers lately:

Adam Lanza, the shooter at Sandy Hook Elementary School who killed 20 children and six adults in 2012, used 30-round magazines.
The same accessory was also used in mass shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado 1999.

Also, in action at the military base clinic at Fort Hood, Texas in 2011.

Let’s take a look at this from a Newsweek article: The NRA has been working for years to make sure lunatics and felons can obtain guns as easily as possible.
After the deadliest shooting in American history took place at Virginia Tech (32 dead), Congress passed the NICS Improvement Amendments Act of 2007. When introduced, the legislation called on states to submit mental-health records to national databases maintained by the FBI.

The NRA declared this violated the Second Amendment and, through intense lobbying, limited the definition of mental illness only to people institutionalized or found by a court to be a danger.

Even if a psychiatrist believed a patient posed a threat, nothing could be done to keep a gun out of that person’s hand.

Related: Interesting synopsis - a bit dated but applicable nevertheless (from 2009 here): Oh, right GOPers don't believe scientific reports, crap – oh well, here it is anyway. Packing heat may backfire. People who carry guns are far likelier to get shot – and killed – than those who are unarmed, a study of shooting victims in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has found.

It would be impractical – not to say unethical – to randomly assign volunteers to carry a gun or not and see what happens. So 
Charles Branas team at the University of Pennsylvania analyzed 677 shootings over two-and-a-half years to discover whether victims were carrying at the time, and compared them to other Philly residents of similar age, sex and ethnicity. The team also accounted for other potentially confounding differences, such as the socioeconomic status of their neighborhoods.

Despite the US having the highest rate of firearms-related homicide in the industrialized world, the relationship between gun culture and violence is poorly understood. A study found that treating violence like an infectious disease led to a dramatic fall in shootings and killings.

Overall, Branas’s study found that people who carried guns were 4.5 times as likely to be shot and 4.2 times as likely to get killed compared with unarmed citizens. When the team looked at shootings in which victims had a chance to defend themselves, their odds of getting shot were even higher. 

While it may be that the type of people who carry firearms are simply more likely to get shot, it may be that guns give a sense of empowerment that causes carriers to overreact in tense situations, or encourages them to visit neighborhoods they probably shouldn’t, Branas speculates saying supporters of the Second Amendment shouldn’t worry that the right to bear arms is under threat, however. “We don’t have an answer as to whether guns are protective or perilous. This study is a beginning.”

Daniel Webster, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research in Baltimore, Maryland, thinks it is near-sighted to consider only the safety of gun owners and not their communities. “It affects others a heck of a lot more,” he says.

I hope you enjoyed your stay here today. Thanks from coming by. The post is long, but I wanted to make my position perfectly clear on the overall topic of guns.

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