States' rights are one of the greatest impediments to reducing gun violence in the United States.
This was something I noticed when I chronicled the journey of getting my gun license in Boston. It's also all-but-confirmed by the recent release of the ATF's gun tracking data. From The Trace:
According to the most recent ATF statistics, released in August, the bureau traced 332,101 guns in 2018. The average time-to-crime of those weapons was 8.8 years. That’s why a particularly short time-to-crime raises red flags for law enforcement, since it often suggests the weapon was acquired for criminal purposes.
In California, for example, 12 percent of the guns recovered in the state had a time-to-crime of less than one year. When you isolate only those guns that originated in Nevada and were recovered in California, the figure jumps to 23 percent — almost one in four. (Nationally, 10 percent of all guns had a time-to-crime of less than one year.)
For the pro-gun NRA crowd, this essentially proves that gun regulation doesn't work; that's a reason they love to talk about Chicago so much, even though most of the illegal guns there come from Indiana. But I don't actually buy that at all. The issue is and always been about ease of access. Most people aren't going to go out of their way to navigate the black market, trading Bitcoin over Silk Road just to get a gun. If you live in California, and have a cousin in Nevada (or even just know a guy who knows a guy), it becomes less of a "black market" trade, and more of a favor. Read the rest
Kaleb J. Cole (aka "Khimaere") is the 24-year-old leader of the Washington State cell of the Atomwaffen Division, an international network of violent Neo-Nazis. Aside from generally spewing hateful rhetoric, Cole had also been seen participating in Atomwaffen's "Hate Camps," sharpening his rifle skills for more extremist violence.
Fortunately, he no longer has access to any guns. From The Daily Beast:
[Cole] had his guns seized on Oct. 1st, according to King County Court records. The move came after the Seattle Police Department filed a 62-page “Extreme Risk Protection Order” petition against Cole on Sept. 26, according to electronic court records. Among the weapons that had been in Cole's possession were a pistol and an AK-47 variant with a high-capacity drum magazine.
To be clear, Cole has not been charged on any specific crimes. As far as anyone's aware, he hasn't killed anyone—at least not yet, although there is arguably reason to believe that he plans to. In addition to the target-practice videos where he can be seen chanting "Race war now" with the rest of his buddies, Cole has openly admitted to his fascist beliefs, and support for armed insurrection.
Again: not technically crimes. But valids cause for concern. That's where the "Red Flag" or "Extreme Risk" laws come in. They're basically restraining orders, but for guns.
One of the biggest struggles with reducing gun violence in America is that a lot of the proposed legislation also infringes on civil liberties. For example: the various "No-Fly Lists" that the government maintains have no clear criteria or due process, which ends up punishing people innocent Muslims, government employees, and literal fucking babies. Read the rest
Retired professor James Fetzer co-authored the book "Nobody Died at Sandy Hook." He was found guilty in June of defaming Leonard Pozner. Now, a jury says he must pay nearly half a million dollars in damages. Read the rest
The House Judiciary Committee actually held a hearing about gun violence in late September. But you probably didn't hear about it—either because the rest of US politics are so overwhelmingly terrible right now, or because it lacked the dramatic oomph of mass shootings or the inevitable gun ban proposals that always seem to follow.
Mass shootings only comprise about one percent of all gun deaths; we just hear about them more, because they're so damn horrific (though whether they're more frequent now is up for debate). Far more lives lost to suicides and gang-related violence every year. Overall, firearm injuries are the second leading cause of death for people under the age of 18. In other words, gun violence isn't a problem—it's (at least) 5 different problems, with different solutions.
What makes this House Judiciary Committee hearing even more remarkable is that for once they actually spoke with people from communities that are directly affected by these problems. Community-based solutions like this have the potential to save even more lives if you include the right people in the conversations (which unfortunately doesn't happen very often). They also have greater potential to gain bipartisan support. No one's talking about taking guns away, and no one's talking about empowering a disciplinarian police state using fear to keep the local systems in line. They just need funding and support for resources like social work. And that might actually make a difference.
(Thumbnail image via Flickr) Read the rest
The Arizona Republican Party's chairman said in a fundraising email today the GOP will stop astronaut and Democratic Senate candidate Mark Kelly “dead in his tracks.” Read the rest
Glad no one was hurt, but seriously? $250? Read the rest
I'm pretty sure that we can all agree that shit has been well out-of-hand in the United States of America for some time now. Children are being taken from their parents and held in deplorable conditions. Folks are murdered for the color of their skin. Gun violence... yeah. It's bullshit. So, it should come as no surprise that a number of nations including New Zealand, The Bahamas, Germany and Japan have all issued travel advisories to their citizens, warning them that traveling to the U.S.A. could result in very bad things. One could argue this away as politics. Amnesty International, however, hasn't got a nationalistic horse in this race. Today, they came out swinging with a statement as well, chatting up the fact that maybe visiting the 'States ain't such a great idea.
From Amnesty International:
Let's be honest: there's not a damn thing in there that isn't true.
Images via Amnesty International Read the rest
A woman at a Kansas City, MO Department of Motor Vehicles office said “the president’s security was in danger,” and pulled out a gun and started shooting because she felt the line was moving too slowly, according to news reports citing witnesses and local police. Read the rest
How messed up is America? This messed up. Schoolteachers are being encouraged to use an app to alert police and school employees about an active shooting incident in real time, as the mass shooting happens. Read the rest
“Nothing has been confirmed,” an LAPD officer told LA Times. “We’re trying to resolve the situation.”
On January 1st, 2019, Washington State will be rolling out some of the toughest gun laws in the United States. If you want to buy a semi automatic rifle in Washington next year, you'll have to be 21 years of age, instead of 18. You'll have to store that puppy safely, too: According to the Seattle Times, in some circumstances, gun owners will be criminally liable if an unauthorized individual uses their boom-stick to commit a crime. It's a move that should make everyone in the state feel just a little bit safer, what with all of the gun violence of late.
Provided the cops are willing to enforce the new laws.
From The Root:
Republic, Washington, Police Chief Loren Culp, whose name makes him sound like a placeholder villain in a crime procedural, has announced that his police force, comprising all of him and his deputy, will not enforce the law when it goes into effect in January 2019.
Culp has proposed an ordinance to his city council—supposedly based on the Second Amendment—essentially saying that gun regulation laws like Initiative 1639, the one in question, infringe on citizens’ constitutional right to bear arms and through the ordinance would be “hereby declared to be invalid in the City of Republic,” per the Times.
In an interview with the Seattle Times, Culp made it clear that he thinks that having to be accountable for your firearm by reporting it stolen within five days of the theft is unreasonable bullshit. Making sure that folks under 21 years of age aren't allowed to bop around with a semi-automatic weapon? Read the rest
On October 24, Gregory Bush was said to have opened fire at a Kroger grocery store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky on 69-year-old Maurice Stallard, shooting him in the back of the head. 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones? She was shot by Bush as well. Both victims were black. According to NPR, it was announced this week that the racist shit stain has been justly indicted on hate crimes and fire arms charges by a federal grand jury.
The 51-year-old is charged with "shooting and killing two victims because of their race and color; and for shooting at a third man because of his race and color," according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney Russell Coleman in the Western District of Kentucky.
Minutes before the ambush Bush was also captured on surveillance video trying to enter the First Baptist Church — a predominantly African-American congregation — during a service but locked doors prevented him from entering.
So, in addition to being a bigot, Bush was also a coward: he decided to take out his hate on a group of unsuspecting congregants who'd come together to worship their God. Locked doors? Better go and shoot an old man in the back of the head and an unsuspecting, unarmed woman as she walks across a parking lot. But, you know, not a white dude, because "whites don't shoot whites."
I'm so sick of reading and writing about this sort of shit. Justice cannot come swiftly enough.
Image: by Blogtrepreneur - Legal Gavel, CC BY 2.0, Link Read the rest
Someone opened fire at a Madden tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., killing two other attendees and hurting 10 more more. The shooter is also dead, said police, naming a 24-year-old Baltimore man as the only suspect. Horrific audio of the shooting (WARNING: it may autoplay at link) was captured on an internet stream of the tournament. At least twelve shots can be heard as panic spreads and victims shout for help. The video switches to gameplay footage before shots are fired, but a laser dot can clearly be seen moving across one of the two players moments beforehand.
The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said authorities are responding to the Jacksonville Landing marketplace in the city's downtown area, where an esports video game tournament was being held. Officials are warning residents to avoid the area. "We can't stress enough to stay away. Many blocks away," the sheriff's office tweeted.
GLHF Game Bar in the Jacksonville Landing was hosting a regional esports tournament for players of EA's Madden 19 on Sunday, according to a schedule posted two days ago on the EA Sports website.
One of the competitors, Drini Gjoka, wrote on Twitter that they received a minor injury.
UPDATE (6 p.m.): Citing another survivor, Steven Javarusky, the Los Angeles Times reports that the shooter was "a gamer who was competing in the tournament and lost", killing themselves after killing "two or three" others.
UPDATE (8 p.m.): Police identified the shooter and said two victims were dead. Earlier revisions of this post reflected reports with a higher death toll. Read the rest
None of the mass shootings in America have been committed by shooters using 3-D Guns, but that's not stopping Donald Trump and a bunch of NRA-backed lawmakers from freaking out about the threat DIY weapons pose, before doing anything about how readily available regular old guns are to regular old bad guys. Read the rest
Artist Robert Longo has created Death Star II, a stunning sphere made with a bullet for each gun death in the US. It premiered at Art Basel this week (photos below). Read the rest
America will be marching to end gun violence on Saturday, March 24. #MarchForOurLives. “Have you registered to vote? RSVP’d for the march? Signed the petition? You can do it all at marchforourlives.com.”
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A shooting took place in a classroom at North Park elementary school in San Bernardino today, around 10:30am local time. The shooter has been 'taken down,' local TV news is reporting in Southern California. The shooting is reported to have been planned as a murder-suicide. Two fatalities reported as of 11:15am PT. The shooter is said to have been related to the teacher who was shot dead. Two children injured in the shooting incident were airlifted to a nearby hospital. 600 children from North Park are being evacuated to Cal. State Univ. San Bernardino.
Read the rest