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“The Continued Tragedy Of Gun-Free Zones”: Clearly, This “Christianity” Stuff Is A Threat To The Second Amendment

You knew this argument would emerge the moment the news broke of a terrorist gun massacre in Charleston. Wonkette is all over it:

That was fast! It only took a few hours for Fox to toss up an editorial explaining that the best explanation of why six women and three men were shot to death in their church Wednesday night is that nobody in the church was packing heat like they should have been.

Professional gunhumper and FoxNews.com columnist John R. Lott explains:

The horrible tragedy last night that left nine people dead at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., probably could have been avoided. Like so many other attacks, the massacre took place in a gun-free zone, a place where the general public was banned from having guns. The gun-free zone obviously didn’t stop the killer from bringing a gun into the church.

It has the look of a ready-made editorial that, like a prewritten obituary for an aging celebrity, was just waiting for the next mass shooting — because in U.S. America, there’s always a “next mass shooting” on the way. The Charleston massacre is mentioned only in the first and last paragraphs, and the rest is boilerplate about how Bad Guys always choose “soft targets” where they know no one will be shooting back at them. There’s not a single word about the fact that it was allegedly a white racist murdering people in a black church. If the shooting had taken place at a school or a mall, everything else in the editorial would be identical, explaining that until it’s legal for everyone to carry a gun everywhere, we can look forward to more mass killings, and also the liberal media never covers the brave heroes with concealed weapons who do stop mass shootings all the time. (Since he could only find a few examples, he had to link to the same incident in at least two different spots in the editorial.)

Now the idea that we need to encourage people to bring instruments of deadly force into churches consecrated to the worship of the Prince of Peace, who taught loving one’s enemies and turning the other cheek to the hateful, is one that used to be considered a mite strange. Not any more. Next door to South Carolina, in Georgia, a law was recently passed that our friends in the gun lobby considered a bit of an impure compromise, stipulating that churches and bars could choose to permit concealed weapons on their properties. The gun lobby has been thwarted, even in Georgia, in extending this “right” to schools. But I’m reasonably sure if Republican rule in the South continues, eventually a ban on “gun-free zones” will be made universal. Because guns don’t kill, it’s their absence that is lethal. And clearly, any lilly-livered Christian minister who doesn’t keep a roscoe close at hand during services needs to be discharged. After all, you never know when some Christian-hater like Dylann Roof will show up seeking to deny worshipers their religious liberty.

Clearly, this “Christianity” stuff is a threat to the Second Amendment.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Contributing Writer, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 20, 2015

June 20, 2015 Posted by | Charleston SC Shootings, Christianity, Emanuel AME Church | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Advancing An NRA Agenda”: Guns On Campus; Not An Agenda For Women’s Safety

Two years ago, Republican leaders released a post-mortem analysis of the 2012 election in an effort to better understand how they lost the single women’s vote by 36 percent. The 100-page report recommended that GOP lawmakers do a better job listening to female voters, remind them of the party’s “historical role in advancing the women’s rights movement,” and fight against the “so-called War on Women.” Look no further than recent GOP-led efforts to expand gun rights on college campuses under the guise of preventing campus sexual assault for evidence that conservative lawmakers have failed to take their own advice.

Today, lawmakers in at least 14 states are pushing forward measures that would loosen gun regulations on college campuses. In the last few days, a number of them have seized upon the growing public outcry over campus sexual assault to argue that carrying a gun would prevent women from being raped. (So far they’ve been silent on how we might prevent young men – who, of course, would also be allowed to carry a gun – from attempting to rape women in the first place.)

Republican assemblywoman Michele Fiore of Nevada recently told The New York Times: “If these young, hot little girls on campus have a firearm, I wonder how many men will want to assault them? The sexual assaults that are occurring would go down once these sexual predators get a bullet in their head.” (Really? Hot little girls?) And as the Times highlighted, Florida representative Dennis Baxley jumped on the “stop campus rape” bandwagon recently when he successfully lobbied for a bill that would allow students to carry loaded, concealed weapons. “If you’ve got a person that’s raped because you wouldn’t let them carry a firearm to defend themselves, I think you’re responsible,” he said.

Let’s be clear. People aren’t raped because they aren’t carrying firearms. They are raped because someone rapes them. What a sinister new twist on victim blaming. As if anything positive could come from adding loaded weapons to the already toxic mix of drugs, alcohol, masculine groupthink, and the rape culture endemic in college sports and Greek life on campuses around the country.

These lawmakers have appropriated the battle cry of students who are demanding more accountability from academic institutions to prevent and respond to campus sexual assault. It’s a vain attempt to advance their own conservative agenda of liberalizing gun laws. This is an NRA agenda, not a women’s rights agenda. According to Everytown for Gun Safety, each of the lawmakers who have supported such legislation has received an “A” rating from the National Rifle Association (NRA). They have enjoyed endorsements from the NRA during election years and some – including Fiore and Baxley – received campaign contributions from the organization.

These lawmakers are pointing to the demands of a handful of women who have survived sexual assault and are advocating for liberalized campus gun laws. The experiences of these students are real and deserve to be heard and considered as we debate how to make campuses safer. We must also recognize that these students are outliers. Surveys have shown that nearly 80 percent of college students say they would not feel safe if guns were allowed on campus, and according to the Times, 86 percent of women said they were opposed to having weapons on campus. And for good reason.

Research shows that guns do not make women safer. In fact, just the opposite is true. Over the past 25 years, guns have accounted for more intimate partner homicides than all other weapons combined. In states that that require a background check for every handgun sale, 38 percent fewer women are shot to death by intimate partners. The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide for women by 500 percent. And women in the United States are 11 times more likely than women from other high-income countries to be murdered with a gun. Guns on college campuses would only make these statistics worse.

If the GOP wants to show they care about women – or at the very least care about their votes – this is just one of the realities they need to acknowledge. And they need to listen to the experiences of all women who have experienced sexual assault – like those who have created the powerful Know Your IX campaign – not just those who will help advance their NRA-sponsored agenda.

 

By: Andrea Flynn, a Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute; The National Memo, February 25, 2015

February 26, 2015 Posted by | Guns, Sexual Asault, Womens Rights | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Shoot-Me State”: New Missouri Law Will Allow Teachers To Carry Guns, Defying Statistics And Common Sense

Nobody really knows how Missouri got the nickname the “show me state,” but what we do know is that under a new gun law passed last week, Missouri residents will be able to walk around openly showing their guns. And what we further know is that this law drops the concealed carry (CCW) age requirement from 21 to 19 and allows local school districts to grant CCW privileges to teachers whose job will be to protect everyone else in the school from all those bad guys carrying guns.

The intent of this new law obviously is to make Missourians more safe because lowering the CCW age to 19 will qualify more people to walk around armed and letting teachers bring concealed weapons into schools will also protect the children and other teachers when a bad guy with a gun comes into the school. In other words, the new law supports a favorite theory of the NRA which can be summed up as “more guns equals fewer guns.” Oops, what we mean is more guns carried around by the “good guys” means fewer guns carried around by the “bad guys.”

The last time Missouri made it easier for its citizens to arm themselves was in 2007 when the legislature abolished a law which required that people wishing to buy handguns first had to go to the police department and get a permit-to-purchase (PTP) in order to take possession of the gun. To show you how successful this measure was in helping good-guy Missourians use guns to protect themselves from bad-guy Missourians, the gun homicide rate over the next three years jumped by almost 25 percent, even though the non-gun homicide rate remained about the same.

Of all 50 states, only Louisiana currently has a higher gun homicide rate than Missouri, and while the overall violent crime rate in Missouri has declined by about 20 percent between 2007 and 2012, the homicide rate has remained remarkably stable and remarkably high, a testament no doubt to the legislature’s uncanny ability to understand how making it easier for everyone to acquire handguns would lead to a safer and more secure place to live. Having seen the positive impact of easier handgun access on gun homicide rates, the legislature in its wisdom now believes that it will move the gospel of “good guys with guns protecting us from bad guys with guns” into the schools.

But what are the facts about the utility of using guns to protect kids (and teachers) in schools? Actually, the number of homicides that take place in schools each year has shown the same gradual decline over the last twenty years that has characterized violent crime rates in the United States as a whole. From 1994 to 2013, violent crime dropped roughly 50 percent, with most of the decline taking place prior to 2004. As for school homicides, according to a Justice Department study, they have dropped by about the same amount over the period 1992 to 2010, and serious victimizations, including robberies and assaults, have declined by as much as two-thirds.

Most of this decline in school criminality seems to have been the result of increased attention paid to people entering school buildings and increased surveillance within the buildings. By 2011, nearly 90 percent of all public schools had some kind of security measures to monitor access and the same percentage reported requiring visitor sign-ins. On the other hand, less than one-third of all schools had armed security patrolling on a full-time or part-time basis. And while I don’t have specific numbers on school security in Missouri, I can tell you that the last school shooting in the ‘show me’ state occurred in 1993.

Do you think there was any connection between the passage of the new Missouri gun law and the racial strife in Ferguson after the shooting of Michael Brown? It’s as good a theory as any about what really motivated legislators to let guns into schools, because there sure isn’t any violence problem in Missouri schools that this law will solve.

 

By: Mike Weisser, The Hufington Post Blog, September 15, 2014

September 16, 2014 Posted by | Guns, Missouri, Schools | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Standing Our Ground”: Stand Your Ground Laws Are Not Making Us Safer, They’re Making Us More Barbaric

This is not the time for evanescent anger, which is America’s wont.

This is not the time for a few marches that soon dissipate as we drift back into the fog of faineance — watching fake reality television as our actual realities become ever more grim, gawking at the sexting life of Carlos Danger as our own lives become more dangerous, fawning over royal British babies as our own children are gunned down.

This is yet another moment when America should take stock of where the power structures are leading us, how they play on our fears — fan our fears — to feed their fortunes.

On no subject is this more clear than on the subject of guns.

While it is proper and necessary to analyze the case in which George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin for what it says about profiling and police practices, it is possibly more important to analyze what it says about our increasingly vigilante-oriented gun culture.

The industry and its lobby have successfully pushed two fallacies: that the Second Amendment is under siege and so are law-abiding citizens.

They endlessly preach that more guns make us safer and any attempt at regulation is an injury to freedom. And while the rest of us have arguments about Constitutional intent and gun-use statistics, the streets run red with the blood of the slain, and the gun industry laughs all the way to the bank.

Gun sales have surged. And our laws are quickly being adjusted to allow people to carry those guns everywhere they go and to give legal cover to use lethal force when nonlethal options are available.

This is our America in a most frightful time.

When Illinois — which has experienced extraordinary carnage in its largest city — enacted legislation this month allowing the concealed carrying of firearms, it lost its place as the lone holdout. Now “concealed carry” is the law in all 50 states.

And as The Wall Street Journal reported this month, “concealed carry” permit applications are also surging while restrictions are being loosened. Do we really need to have our guns with us in church, or at the bar? More states are answering that question in the affirmative.

And now that more people are walking around with weapons dangling from their bodies, states have moved to make the use of those guns more justifiable.

Florida passed the first Stand Your Ground law (or “shoot first” law, as some have called it) in 2005. It allows a person to use deadly force if he or she is afraid of being killed or seriously injured. In Florida, that right to kill even extends to an initial aggressor.

After Florida’s law, other states quickly followed with the help and support of the N.R.A. and the American Legislative Exchange Council.

Ironically, the N.R.A. and other advocates pushed the laws in part as protection for women, those who were victims of domestic violence and those who might be victimized away from home.

The N.R.A.’s former president, Marion Hammer, argued in support of the bill in 2005 when she was an N.R.A. lobbyist: “You can’t expect a victim to wait and ask, ‘Excuse me, Mr. Criminal, are you going to rape me and kill me, or are you just going to beat me up and steal my television?’ ”

But, of course, the law is rarely used by women in those circumstances. The Tampa Bay Times looked at 235 cases in Florida, spanning 2005 to 2013, in which Stand Your Ground was invoked and found that only 33 of them were domestic disputes or arguments, and that in most of those cases men invoked the law, not women.

In fact, nearly as many people claimed Stand Your Ground in the “fight at bar/party” category as in domestic disputes.

And not only is the law rarely being invoked by battered women, it’s often invoked by hardened criminals. According to an article published last year by The Tampa Bay Times:

“All told, 119 people are known to have killed someone and invoked stand your ground. Those people have been arrested 327 times in incidents involving violence, property crimes, drugs, weapons or probation violations.”

And, as the paper pointed out, “more than a third of the defendants had previously been in trouble for threatening someone with a gun or illegally carrying a weapon.”

In fact, after Marissa Alexander, a battered Jacksonville wife, fired a warning shot at her abusive husband (to make him get out of the house, she said), her Stand Your Ground motion was denied. She is now facing a 20-year sentence.

Something is wrong here. We are not being made more secure, we are being made more barbaric. These laws are an abomination and an affront to morality and common sense. We can’t allow ourselves to be pawns in the gun industry’s profiteering. We are real people, and people have power.

Attorney General Eric Holder told the N.A.A.C.P. last week: “It’s time to question laws that senselessly expand the concept of self-defense and sow dangerous conflict in our neighborhoods. These laws try to fix something that was never broken.”

We must all stress this point, and fight and not get weary. We must stop thinking of politics as sport and spectacle and remember that it bends in response to pressure. These laws must be reviewed and adjusted. On this issue we, as Americans of good conscience, must stand our ground.

 

By: Charles M. Blow, Op-Ed Columnist, The New York Times, July 24, 2013

July 26, 2013 Posted by | Gun Violence, Guns | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

   

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