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GUN CONTROL

USRESIST NEWS Gun Control Briefs cover emerging gun control policies at the federal and state level, as well as efforts made by corporations, students and other third parties to address gun violence.

Latest Gun Control Posts

 

Trump Administration Bans Bump Stocks

Brief #15—Gun Control Policy Summary While the Trump Administration has typically echoed the NRA’s platforms, the acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, signed a regulation on December 18th that banned bump stocks, a device that has the capability to turn...

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As Gun Violence Peaks, the 116th Congress Must Act Fast

Brief #14---Gun Control Policy Summary A Saturday turned from a morning of worship and celebration to one of tragedy and grief as a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle and at least three hand guns in the Pittsburg synagogue Tree of Life. Police say this act of...

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An Unconventional Approach to Gun Control

Brief #13---Gun Control Policy Summary While virtually all focus in the gun control debate revolves around the use, distribution, and availability of guns, California is now taking an unconventional approach to reduce gun violence. Instead of focusing on guns and...

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Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15:” Gun Control Ideas for 2020

Hell yes we are going to take your AR-15:” Gun Control Ideas for 2020

Policy Summary
Looking at the gun control ideas of the current presidential candidates is important to ensure that those fit what you believe as an informed citizen. Since Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Beto O’Rourke are some of the leading candidates, an analysis of their positions on gun control is vital to determine who can best serve the country and prevent future mass shootings. All candidates, for example, support a universal background check. On the other hand, the views on assault weapon bans and how to handle them are different. They all believe an assault weapon ban is important, but Biden would not apply this ban to previously owned weapons, nor force a buyback – though he does support a voluntary buyback. Sanders is unclear in his position on whether the buyback he supports would be mandatory or voluntary, so that point is still in question. Warren does not seem to have a plan for a buyback, which is an interesting fact given how many plans she has released. O’Rourke has the most intensive buyback plan, indicating an interest in a mandatory return of assault weapons. A deeper look, though, will assist in informing and allowing for easier analysis of which candidates have the strongest views and ideas.

Biden
Joe Biden does not have a direct gun control plan available on his campaign website, though the basics are visible. He supports universal background checks, and banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines. He claims he wishes to defeat the NRA, though there is little supporting evidence on how he wants to do that and some of his comments (like stating the NRA is not the enemy, the gun manufacturers are) bring up questions about his stance. While he is not entirely wrong, since even some members of the NRA do support some level of gun control, targeting the entirety of the organization is important to ensure that their lobbying cannot continue to influence gun laws.

Sanders
Bernie Sanders presents a relatively minimalist plan for what he wants with regard to gun control on his website. Banning assault weapons and making it harder for criminals to get guns is a big goal, as is lowering the influence of the NRA. Previously he did vote on occasion in support of guns, but his current NRA rating is D-minus, indicating that the lobbying group feels that he would threaten their goals- which is excellent for prospects regarding gun bans and limitations.

Warren
Elizabeth Warren has an intensive plan for gun control, as she does for most things. She wants to eliminate corruption in order to prevent the NRA from continuing to have control in the government as her first priority. After that, federal licenses, a universal background check, purchase caps and prevention of illicit transfer of firearms are all focuses. The waiting period is another aspect of control that she addresses. Supposedly one exists, but Warren wants to ensure that it is followed and enforced. As with everyone, an assault weapons ban is on the table as well, along with a ban on things like trigger cranks that can cause even more death by making semi-automatic weapons fully automatic. The access to firearms that many domestic abusers and others at high risk for violence (either to themselves or others) is another limit that Warren sees as important – both with a higher age limit and stricter rules for who can obtain a gun. Along with these rules, Warren wants to strike back against the NRA and other gun lobbies. She believes that accountability and the elimination of corruption will help lower the amount of gun violence. When the manufacturers see that they are losing money with every mass shooting( since they can be sued for the deaths and injuries to people)  they are more likely to enforce safety rules.

O’Rourke
Beto O’Rourke was originally somewhat moderate on the gun control issue, at least vocally. Now, however, with the shooting in El Paso directly influencing his home, he has shown much less restraint. In fact, he supports a mandatory assault weapon buyback now, stating that Americans should not have weapons of war. Taking down the influence of the NRA, enforcing gun licensing, and limits on stockpiles are other ideas he has. A very large one that is not commonly seen is the idea of declaring gun violence a public health emergency. Beto believes that the massive number of deaths needs to be addressed, since over a hundred people die daily due to gun violence. Moving forward on this is vital, Beto knows, and he is now becoming much more vocal on the point.

Policy Analysis
Unfortunately, there are no perfect solutions when it comes to gun control. All of the candidates, however, have much better positions than we currently see with Republicans and their placating views toward the gun manufacturers and NRA. No matter who finds their way to the Democratic nomination, the idea of universal background checks, assault weapons bans, and support for more regulation with regard to guns is forthcoming. Perfection is hard to find, but anything is better than the mass shootings and constant fear the country deals with every day, unsure if they will get a call that their children have been killed by firearms, or if they will find themselves trapped in a mass shooting and in danger of becoming a statistic.

Resistance Links

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Struggle to Pass Gun Control Policies Even in the Wake of New Mass Shootings

Struggle to Pass Gun Control Policies Even in the Wake of New Mass Shootings

Policy
Trump has professed a desire for stronger gun control. A talk with the NRA changed that position very quickly, however, and instead there is now a focus on locking the mentally ill in institutions instead of stronger background checks. Mass shootings have led to the deaths of at least 62 this year alone, and yet there is no change in the gun control restrictions in place. The survivors of the Parkland School shooting have been campaigning for something they call a Green New Deal, but for guns. Their proposal includes a national standard for gun control, a national gun buyback, halving the rate of gun deaths within 10 years, instituting a higher standard for gun ownership including increased age limits and more intensive background checks, a 10 day waiting period for gun purchase, reexamining the Second Amendment rulings in the Supreme Court, initiating investigations into the NRA, naming a director for gun violence prevention, creating community solutions, and showing the younger generation they have power to bring change. (March for Our Lives)

While gun control is a popular idea, with many on both sides supporting stricter conditions for gun ownership, the Republicans in government still refuse to accept the idea of gun control measures to make people safer. Gun violence continues to increase with no end in sight, given that more than two dozen arrests for threats of mass shootings have been made since the shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH.

Analysis
Gun violence continues to be a huge threat in America. The Second Amendment continues to be a focus, even though the Founding Fathers likely never expected assault rifles that could kill or wound dozens in less than a minute. The Second Amendment also encourages the people to rise against tyrannical governments, and yet no one seems to remember that part of it.

The Founding Fathers, as they developed the Constitution, encouraged alterations and amendments as the country changed. Some freedoms should not be changed, but at the same time, consideration should be given to those that infringe on things like the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” that they stated were the rights of all individuals. Can we trust the flip-flopping of someone who calls himself “the Chosen One” when that so-called chosen is controlled by the NRA and similar interest groups?

Resources

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12 Dead in Virginia Beach Shooting

12 Dead in Virginia Beach Shooting

Policy Summary
A city engineer in Virginia Beach opened fire on his colleagues at the city’s municipal building on May 31st. The attack resulted in twelve deaths and at least four others have been injured. Police are still searching for a motive, as the employee who opened fire had worked for the city’s government for years and sent a nondescript letter of resignation via email hours before the shooting.

Analysis
Law enforcement officials were clear to the media after the attack had occurred that they were going to speak the gunman’s name only once, solely for identification, so as not to glorify his actions. Virginia Beach police disclosed that the suspect opened fire Friday and was shooting “indiscriminately”, without any clear targets.

Some were describing the suspect as a ‘disgruntled employee’ but he had voluntarily resigned from his position before the attack, and many employees described him as  quiet and well-liked in the office. He was able to carry out these attacks with the aid of extended magazines and a sound suppressor. Both guns used in the attacks were purchased legally in 2016 and 2018.

Another mass shooting adds to the increasingly common acts of gun violence. It becomes less of a question of ‘if’ and more of a question of ‘when’ the next attack will occur. Each shooting calls upon Congress with greater urgency to tighten current regulations and restrictions on firearms in America. In the coming days there will be eyes on Congress’ next move in the ongoing battle for gun regulation.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • Vote.gov – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by Marshall Williams

Kamala Harris Promises Action on Gun Legislation in Town Hall

Kamala Harris Promises Action on Gun Legislation in Town Hall

Policy Summary
Frustrated by a lack of action by lawmakers, presidential candidate Kamala Harris vowed swift action if elected president during a town hall in April. Her proposed action would give Congress just 100 days to pass sweeping reforms of gun legislation before signing her own an executive order.

Analysis
In her April town hall , Senator Harris reiterated the importance of tightening gun laws in light of the many recent tragedies where no substantial legislation has ensued Harris’ plan would mandate obligatory background checks for customers of any dealer that sells more than five firearms in a year. Additionally, she aims to enforce stricter regulations on gun manufacturers. Her proposed plan would require Congress to act within 100 days of being in office or Harris would use executive authority to pass updated gun restrictions.

She also questioned why the mass shooting epidemic has gotten so bad in the United States that children are required to hide in closets at their schools for safety. She further criticized “supposed leaders in Washington” who have repeatedly failed to act and created a false choice between being in favor of the Second Amendment and taking all guns away.

Democratic presidential campaigns in the past, such as Hillary Clinton in 2016, gave very little mention to gun reformation. Harris’s proposed plan could be the beginning of a needed shift for future Democratic hopefuls.

  • Engagement Resources
  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • Vote.gov – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.

Contact

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by unsplash-logoAlejo Reinoso

Remington Arms Under Fire After Recent Supreme Court Ruling

Remington Arms Under Fire After Recent Supreme Court Ruling

Policy Summary
The Connecticut Supreme Court recently ruled 4-3 that the families of nine victims from the Sandy Hook shooting can sue Remington Arms for its marketing practices. The gun manufacturer has been accused of specific marketing of their assault rifles targeting the exact demographic of the Sandy Hook shooter (young men).

Analysis
In 2005, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA) was passed to protect gun manufacturers from being sued by victims of gun violence. This ruling in favor of the victims from Sandy Hook may provide the opportunity to establish a new precedent in gun violence lawsuits by getting around the PLCAA.

Previous to this ruling, gun manufacturers have fought hard to keep secret the way they market their AR-15s, which have gained national attention, as they are commonly used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. The families of Sandy Hook victims are suing Remington to further understand the goals and objectives of their marketing techniques.

Some are comparing the secretive nature of gun manufacturers’ marketing to tobacco companies who were fully aware of the health risks of their product or to big pharma companies who knew the addictive nature of their products. While it may not be as obvious as the tobacco companies who had hundreds of health documents outlining the risks of smoking, the families of the Sandy Hook victims believe Remington is fully cognizant of who they are marketing their assault rifles to and the dangers that possesses.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.

Contact

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by unsplash-logoRux Centea

Trump Administration Bans Bump Stocks

Trump Administration Bans Bump Stocks

Brief #15—Gun Control

Policy Summary
While the Trump Administration has typically echoed the NRA’s platforms, the acting Attorney General, Matthew Whitaker, signed a regulation on December 18th that banned bump stocks, a device that has the capability to turn semiautomatics into machine guns. The idea was first proposed by President Trump after the Parkland school shooting last February.

Analysis
Although President Trump first proposed the ban of bump stocks after the Parkland shooting last year, the debate over the legality of these devices took center stage in October of 2017 after the Las Vegas shooting occurred. Bump stocks aided the shooter by turning his gun into an automatic weapon which resulted in the deadliest shooting in United States’ history.

The regulation is expected to go into effect 90 days after it is published in the National Regiser and requires anyone owning a bump stock to turn it into an Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms office or destroy it. Owners have 90 days to turn in or destroy their devices and instructions will be posted on how to properly destroy the devices.

The ban may come as a surprise to some, as President Trump has been a strong supporter of both the Second Amendment and the NRA. Republican lawmakers, many of who receive campaign funds from the NRA, are outwardly opposed to any type of gun regulation. Trump’s action to ban bump stocks was not only progress towards sensible gun laws, but was also a symbolic step towards common sense gun control.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • Vote.gov – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.

Contact

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by annie bolin

As Gun Violence Peaks, the 116th Congress Must Act Fast

As Gun Violence Peaks, the 116th Congress Must Act Fast

Brief #14—Gun Control

Policy Summary
A Saturday turned from a morning of worship and celebration to one of tragedy and grief as a gunman opened fire with an assault rifle and at least three hand guns in the Pittsburg synagogue Tree of Life. Police say this act of terror is classified as a hate crime that resulted in 11 deaths. Two more tragedies – at a local bar in Thousand Oaks, California and at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida – claimed the lives of innocent victims, one of whom was a survivor of the Las Vegas Shooting. These gun violence incidents are beginning to mount, and may have been avoided if proper, basic gun legislation would have been in place.

Analysis
In the Tree of Life Shooting, the perpetrator, 46 year old Robert Bowers, opened fire at the synagogue on Saturday morning, October 27, fatally shooting 11. When apprehended, he allegedly told police that his intentions were to kill Jews and had been targeting Jews on social media. This is the largest attack on the Jewish community in the United States’ history.

President Trump visited Pittsburg, with his first stop being at the Tree of Life synagogue where he and the families lit candles. In a statement, President Trump blamed the media’s divisiveness and called for armed security at the synagogue in the future rather than calling for tighter gun legislation. As is repeated after every deadly act of gun violence, the continued ability of the government to do nothing is baffling.

Since the synagogue shooting in Pittsburg, a gunman opened fired on a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida that resulted in 2 dead and 5 injured before he turned the gun on himself. Aside from this, on Wednesday in Thousand Oaks, California a man killed 12 at the Borderline Bar and Grill. Among those who were killed was Telemachus Orfanos, who had previously survived the Las Vegas shooting in 2017.

Imagine living in a country where you can survive a tragedy caused by gun violence and die in another one year later. Imagine living in a country where you can’t feel relieved by surviving an act of terror, because another may take your life at any moment. Imagine living in a country where the people who have the power to stop these tragedies from happening extend thoughts and prayers, but no action.

Continued inaction by both President Trump and Congress has done nothing to alleviate the devastation from gun violence. The solutions proposed by pro-gun legislators has proven time and time again to have no impact. As one of the only developed countries in the world that has continued gun violence, the answer cannot continue to be inaction. While 27 NRA backed candidates lost their races in the midterm elections, there is still more that needs to be done to ensure safety of the citizens in America. According to Mother Jones, gun control advocates are now the majority in Congress. On Wednesday, a five point plan for the next Congress was unveiled, including universal background checks proposed by Everytown. The aforementioned tragedies and newfound hope in Congress will hopefully be enough to reverse the devastatingly rapid growth in gun violence.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the Road to Change tour on their website.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.

Contact

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by: unsplash-logoHeather Mount

An Unconventional Approach to Gun Control

An Unconventional Approach to Gun Control

Brief #13—Gun Control

Policy Summary
While virtually all focus in the gun control debate revolves around the use, distribution, and availability of guns, California is now taking an unconventional approach to reduce gun violence. Instead of focusing on guns and their accessories, gun control advocates are looking to more closely regulate ammunition in hopes of chipping away at the growing gun epidemic in the United States.

Analysis
Although guns are the central narrative in the conversation to control gun violence, ammunition is widely available and faces virtually no regulation. Gun control advocates argue that without ammunition, guns are harmless.  In some states, they can even be sold in vending machines, at pharmacies, and in jewelry stores, according to The New York Times.

This lack of regulation is part of the problem and gives gun owners free range once a gun is obtained. Technically, federal law prohibits individuals who are banned from buying guns also from buying ammunition, but there are no efficient systems in place to uphold the regulations. Controlling access to ammunition is not a new idea, but one that has not been heavily enforced, giving lawmakers a chance to tighten regulation in hopes of reducing gun violence.

California is trying to change these lax practices by exploring the prohibition of online sales that allow unlicensed dealers to  ship bullets directly to the buyer and instead requiring that all ammunition  be shipped by licensed gun dealers. In addition, starting next July, California will require all ammunition sales to include purchaser point-of-purchase background checks.

Politicians in California hope that the tightened regulations on obtaining bullets will make guns less harmful and keep ammunition out of the hands of those who shouldn’t have access to a firearm. Critics of the policies say that these new regulations will make it more difficult and expensive for hunters, shooters, and lawful gun owners to obtain bullets. However, no set penalty  laws have been put in place, so burdens on these individuals are still hypothetical.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • Vote.gov – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.


Contact This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by DxL

A Surprising Endorsement in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District

A Surprising Endorsement in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District

Brief #12—Gun Control

Policy Summary
As endorsements begin to roll out for candidates in the 2018 midterms, the gun advocacy PAC, Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence, raised eyebrows for two of their endorsements. Specifically, their endorsements of Republican Representatives Leonard Lance and Chris Smith in New Jersey came as a surprise to many as Lance’s reelection is now being contended by Democrats, who haven’t held the seat since 1978. The endorsement highlights Lance’s ideological shift and willingness to work across the aisle.

Analysis
The PAC was founded by Gabby Giffords after she was left wounded by gun violence in 2011 meeting with her constituents. Since 2013, Giffords has been able to enact more than 200 new pieces of gun legislation in 45 states and Washington, D.C. Their main mission is to promote bipartisan solutions to the gun epidemic in America. Here you can find the full list of candidates Giffords endorses.

Their political goal to work towards a bipartisan solution has caused some surprise in New Jersey as Republican incumbent Rep. Lance has been endorsed by Giffords in a race that many are calling a tossup. This endorsement may be enough to give Lance a slight edge over the democratic candidate, Tom Malinowski come November.

Looking at Lance’s record, he has deviated from his party by working on 6 different bills for the advancement of gun control, including banning bump stocks and voting ‘no’ on the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act which would allow concealed carry in any state. In 2012 Rep. Lance campaigned on his high approval rating by the NRA, showing his evolution on common sense gun control in just six years.

Although there is still work to be done to reach bipartisan solutions to America’s ever-growing gun violence epidemic, Giffords works to endorse candidates on both sides of the aisle which in turn can encourage more efficient gun legislation and less inaction by Congress.

Engagement Resources

  • March For Our Lives – an organization started after the Parkland school shooting which aims to unify advocates for gun control around relevant issues. You can also find more information about the  Road to Change tour on their website. Consider donating or canvassing during the midterm elections on these issues with this organization.
  • Everytown – A movement of Americans working to end gun violence and build safer communities.
  • Vote.gov – A resource to utilize if you need to register, are unfamiliar with voter ID requirements, or election processes so you can be ready by November.

Contact

This Brief was written by USRESIST NEWS Analyst Sarah Barton: Sarah@usresistnews.org

Photo by annie bolin

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