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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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3D Printed Guns Face New Legal Challenges

After Cody Wilson settled a lawsuit with the government which allowed him to post blueprints online of how to print 3D guns, other states have retaliated in response. A plethora of states have begun attempting to make these blueprints illegal to post, and one judge from Seattle delayed the posting of the plans until the end of August. With the overwhelming flow of information and accessibility on the internet, however, it will be difficult to monitor these blueprints from appearing online.

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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

3D Printed Guns Face New Legal Challenges

3D Printed Guns Face New Legal Challenges

Brief #11—Gun Control

Policy Summary
After Cody Wilson settled a lawsuit with the government which allowed him to post blueprints online of how to print 3D guns, other states have retaliated in response. A plethora of states have begun attempting to make these blueprints illegal to post, and one judge from Seattle delayed the posting of the plans until the end of August. With the overwhelming flow of information and accessibility on the internet, however, it will be difficult to monitor these blueprints from appearing online.

Analysis
In the ongoing debate and legal battle between free speech and gun safety, a US District Judge in Seattle, Robert Lasnik, has halted the plans for 3D printed guns to be posted until August 28th. This ensued after 8 states and the District of Columbia filed to block the settlement with Cody Wilson who had received $40,000 and free disbursement of the 3D printed gun blueprints.

Now, 19 states and the District of Columbia are pushing to make the sharing of these blueprints illegal altogether. On August 21st Judge Lasnik scheduled a hearing for the states who are looking to reverse the U.S. State Department’s ruling.

President Trump weighed in on Twitter on Tuesday saying, “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”. These comments come as no surprise given the current administration’s stance on guns – Wilson was initially sued by the State Department in 2013 under the Obama administration and only after Trump’s pro-gun administration took office did the Justice Department decide to settle with Wilson.

Even if the temporary court order becomes permanent, ensuring the blueprints are not posted or distributed on the internet will be extremely difficult to monitor. Before Wilson’s blueprints were asked to be removed, they were downloaded countless times and will be easy to disburse once more.

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 rawpixel

How 3D Printed Guns Has Become a Threat to Public Safety

How 3D Printed Guns Has Become a Threat to Public Safety

Brief #46—Gun Policy

Policy Summary
Cody Wilson produced blueprints online that gave instructions on how to produce a gun using only a 3D printer. Shortly after the blueprints were posted, the State Department requested Wilson take them down. This prompted a lawsuit by Wilson in which he claimed the demand for the removal of the blueprints was an infringement on free speech. The case was settled by the administration on June 29th which included free disbursement of the instructions and awarded Wilson $40,000 for legal fees.
In the age of rapidly advancing technology, the Trump administration’s recent settlement foreshadows a lack of modernization to policies that have been in effect since Reagan that could be disastrous for the future of gun control. The increasing commonality of 3D printers provides the opportunity for anyone who owns one to produce their own gun comprised of plastic. Not only does this give potential to almost unlimited access to firearms, it also presents a security problem as they can be virtually undetectable in X-rays and metal detectors.

Analysis
This ruling in the Wilson case seems to be undermining The Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 which aimed to eliminate firearms with certain features that cause them to be undetectable by restricting their production, possession, and transportation. While the bill has been renewed until 2023, NRA lobbyists blocked more technologically advanced provisions to be added.
The ruling in the Wilson case indicates the Trump administration will do very little to update the bill to modern technological threats such as requiring metal components in 3D printed guns or restrict the printing of guns at all. By ruling in favor of Wilson, the administration signaled its allegiance with gun ownership, rather than a commitment to prohibiting the possible mass distribution of downloadable guns. Wilson said he will release the blueprints available to download to produce guns, including the AR-15, August 1st. With little to no regulation, this era of ever-evolving technologies proves to be a new threat to public safety.

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 rawpixel

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