Archives for category: Guns

After a massacre that took 22 lives, Justin Trudeau announced a complete ban on all military-grade weapons in Canada.

Assault-style weapons are banned in Canada effective immediately, the country’s prime minister said Friday.

The move comes less than two weeks after Canada’s deadliest rampage in modern history, when a gunman in Nova Scotia killed 22 people after a 12-hour reign of terror.

“You don’t need an AR-15 to bring down a deer,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference in Ottawa. “So, effective immediately, it is no longer permitted to buy, sell, transport, import or use military-grade assault weapons in this country.”

Police said the gunman had several semi-automatic handguns and at least two semi-automatic rifles, one of which was described by witnesses as a military-style assault weapon.

“These weapons were designed for one purpose, and one purpose only, to kill the largest number of people in the shortest amount of time. There is no use and no place for such weapons in Canada,” Trudeau said.

So this is what America has come to.

The chairman of a local Republican party in Virginia threatened a Democratic legislator leading the campaign to restrict access to assault weapons. He threatened to kill him and marched outside his home with weapons.

A Democratic lawmaker who is leading an effort to ban assault weapons in Virginia has asked local prosecutors to consider pressing charges against a gun-toting Republican Party chair who protested outside his home on Saturday.

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) said Brandon Howard, chair of the Hopewell Republican Party and head of the gun group Right to Bear Arms Virginia, may have violated Virginia statutes related to intimidation and harassment.

Levine referred the case to Alexandria City Commonwealth Attorney Bryan Porter, who did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Howard posted Levine’s home address to a Facebook event prior to his protest, and read it again in a video he posted to the platform on Saturday.

“I hope you kissed your wife,” Howard said in the video. “I hope you kissed your husband. I hope you kiss your children goodbye before you come and take mine [firearm], because that’s the last time you’d have ever kissed them in your life.”

Levine, who got wind of the protest through the Facebook event, called the police. A third protestor decided to sit it out after seeing the police presence, according to Howard.

Levine told VPM News that he watched Howard patrol the perimeter of his home wielding a military-style semi-automatic shotgun and pistol.

“I just don’t think decisions in America should be made at the point of a gun,” Levine said. “I think that happens in Syria and Somalia and Russia, North Korea, but I think in our country, politicians shouldn’t make up their mind because they’re afraid of being shot.”

Levine’s proposed assault weapons ban cleared the House of Delegates last week; it would allow existing assault weapons owners to keep their guns.

Howard sparked controversy by leading a group carrying assault weapons through the Alexandria Farmers Market. He also launched a run for Hopewell City Council by saying he would give away firearms, according to NBC-12.

The bill to limit access to assault weapons, supported by Governor Ralph Northam, was defeated when four moderate Democrats joined with the Republicans to vote it down. 


A headline from the  Boston Globe, just posted (I don’t have a link because, although I am a subscriber, the Globe website does not permit me to log in.)


The Supreme Court is letting a lawsuit proceed against the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting.

The justices rejected an appeal Tuesday from Remington Arms that argued a 2005 federal law shields firearms manufacturers from most lawsuits when their products are used in crimes.

The court’s order allows a survivor and relatives of nine victims who died at the Newtown, Connecticut, school in 2012 to pursue their claims.

Fruitport, Michigan, will open a new high school designed to offer safe spaces in the event that an active shooter appears on campus.

It is quite a commentary on the state of our society.

The design of the new sections includes subtle safe spaces that can be used to protect students in the event of a shooting, and long curved hallways that would offer protection too.

“To cut down on the sight lines if we have an active shooter in the building,” Szymoniak said.

By reducing the sight lines anyone with malicious intent would be unable to see the entire length of the hallway.

Cement block bump outs are also placed in the curved hallways.

“To cut down on sight lines further, it also gives an opportunity for students to hide back behind and hopefully get help from within the classroom,” Szymoniak said.

Inside the classrooms students can hide in one corner that can’t be seen from the hallway. Access controlled locks on all of the doors in our school district give school leaders the ability to lock down the entire district with the push of one button. And impact resistant film will go on all classroom windows in the new high school.

Szymoniak says by adding layers of safety it will buy students, teachers and staff time and it will protect lives as police respond to the scene.

“These are going to be design elements that are just naturally part of buildings going into the future,” he said.

The new normal?

Two first-grade children found a gun in an unlocked case in South Bloomfield Township last spring.

Highland Local Schools officials were alarmed to learn that a gun used as part of a concealed carry program to protect students was found by two first-grade students who removed it from its unlocked case.

The incident played out in mid-March in an administrative office beside Highland Elementary School in South Bloomfield Township near Sparta, but only recently came to light. It has reignited in this Morrow County district — located about 40 miles north of Columbus — a debate over whether teachers and school staff should be armed to protect students from active shooters.

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“My feeling is that (guns) don’t belong in schools,” said Wayne Hinkle, board president of Highland Local Schools, who was the lone opponent of the concealed carry policy enacted by the five-member board a year ago. “You don’t need them.”

Highland Elementary is a short walk to the district’s transportation office, where Vicky Nelson, transportation director, had left her pistol in a small unlocked plastic case near her desk when she left to go to the restroom.

Nelson was trained as part of the district’s concealed carry program and allowed to have a gun on school property.

Someone thought it was a good idea to have guns in schools.

Superintendent Freund, a teacher and administrator for 50 years, said he “became physically sick” when he learned of the March incident. “People were horrified,” he said.

As the district reviews its program, which includes several administrators and “select teachers,” he reminds people that critical incident medical response is 20 minutes away from his district of 1,800 students.

“If someone were to get in with an AR (assault-style rifle capable of firing dozens of rounds in seconds), we’re talking devastation,” he said. “Is it worth the risk to carry and prevent that?”

Can a handgun stop an AR-15?

Ben Jackson, anti-NRA activist, writes that Trump and the NRA are lying when they say that mental illness is the primary cause of mass shootings. Easy access to deadly weapons is the main cause of mass shootings.

He writes in the Boston Globe that Trump is just echoing the NRA line, at the same time that he is restricting access to treatment for mental illness!

Depending on your definition of “mass shooting,” there have been between 250 and 300 mass shootings in the United States in 2019. We know some of their names: El Paso, Gilroy, Dayton, Virginia Beach. Others pass in relative silence, part of the susurrus of gunfire, sirens, and funeral bells of the American soundscape. They disappear, and government moves on to its next failure.

And once again the National Rifle Association and the politicians it supports are trying to drive the narrative that mental health is the root cause of these shootings. On Aug. 9, in a typically breathtaking spray of self-aggrandizement on the White House lawn, Donald Trump said, “A gun doesn’t pull the trigger — a sick mind pulls the trigger” and “I don’t want crazy people to have guns.” But mental health isn’t an issue in most mass shootings, and this tired trope is the pinnacle of deadly hypocrisy from those intent on avoiding the true causes of preventable gun violence in America.

Studies of mass shooters tell the true story: Only between 20 and 25 percent of mass shooters have a diagnosed mental illness. The data simply do not back up the new twist on the NRA’s old cliché: “Guns don’t kill people; crazy people kill people.” And falling for this narrative is deadly.

While it’s true that people with severe mental illness are slightly more likely to have violent tendencies, they are far, far more likely to be the victims of violent attacks . And the rhetoric from the president, his NRA masters, and those who do not want to address the core cause of gun violence — namely the easy availability of guns in America — further stigmatizes and victimizes those with these terrible diseases.

But let’s try, for a moment, to think like the president and disregard the overwhelming evidence disproving his basic thesis. Instead, let’s incorrectly presume that mental health problems are the cause of mass shootings and that the mentally ill are a danger to those of us lucky enough not to be afflicted with serious mental illness.

Why then would you work so hard to remove access to effective, affordable mental health?

ON TAP Today from the American Prospect
AUGUST 8, 2019

Meyerson on TAP

Walmart and Guns, Part II. In my Tuesday On Tap, I noted that a number of Walmart employees, in the wake of the mass murder at an El Paso mega-store, had begun expressing concern about the company’s policy of selling guns (Walmart is the nation’s leading gun retailer) and allowing open carry in stores in the states that permit it.


That discontent is now ballooning.


In Walmart’s Silicon Valley e-commerce office, 40 white-collar employees walked off the jobyesterday to urge their employer to stop selling guns. Actions were also held at e-commerce offices in Portland, Oregon, and Brooklyn, and organizers also initiated a petition calling on Walmart to cease selling firearms. By Wednesday night, 38,000 people had signed it.


Ever eager to stomp on any workers voicing discontent, Walmart suspended the email and Slack accounts of the two Silicon Valley employees who initiated the action, but then thought better of it and reinstated those accounts. Perhaps Bentonville calculated that it had to deal with its tech workers a bit less brutally than it customarily does with its blue- and pink-collar employees.

The Walmart rising comes on the heels of mass employee walkouts at Google, Amazon, and other tech giants over such issues as the sale of facial recognition technology to China and the failure to clamp down on sexual harassment. Considered alongside the strike wave of teachers and hotel workers that began last year, we’re clearly entering the Era of Worker Walkouts, most of which pose demands about the employees’ own situations but also about the greater social good. Our dysfunctional labor law makes it nearly impossible for non-union workers to gain a legally recognized collective voice, but that doesn’t seem to be deterring actual American workers, who for all manner of good reasons are plain fed up. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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Copyright (C) 2019 The American Prospect. All rights reserved.



I was driving home from a friend’s memorial service held in Salisbury, Connecticut, and I tuned in to CNN, where I heard the live broadcast of a speech by Joe Biden. He was in Burlington, Iowa.

It was about American values, what we stand for, what our ideals are, and how Trump has betrayed those ideals and appealed to the darkest forces in our society. Trump is a propagandist and apologist for racism and White Supremacy, he said. The biggest applause line was when he said that Trump was like George Wallace, not George Washington.

He spoke of the stain of racism that runs through our history. And he spoke of the constant struggle to extend our ideals and overcome our history of slavery and racism.

He tore into Trump with passion and vigor. He described as clearly as possible why this accidental president is unfit for the office he holds, Why he is a threat to our democracy, and why he must not be re-elected.

The link from NBC.


Did you know that Walmart is the single biggest seller of guns in America? Did you know that Walmart allows customers who are carrying guns to walk through the stores without hindrance? Of course you know that Walmart does not allow unions. See how all these issues converge in this short article by Harold Meyerson of The American Prospect.

The Walton Family, which owns Walmart, is the richest family in the world. Their family foundation is the single biggest supporter of charter schools. They say they funded one of every four charters in the nation.

ON TAP Today from the American Prospect
AUGUST 6, 2019

Meyerson on TAP

Walmart and Guns. In the wake of the assault-weapon murders at El Paso’s mega Walmart, America’s number-one gun seller and largest private-sector employer has come under justifiable criticism for its gun policies. Roughly half of Walmart’s 4,750 stores sell guns, and the company announced on Monday that that policy would not change. It also announced that it wouldn’t adopt a no-open-carry policy for its stores, which means that anyone in a state that permits the open carry of firearms—like Texas—can sashay through a Walmart brandishing a gun.


Not surprisingly, some Walmart employees have voiced apprehensions about that policy in the aftermath of Monday’s mass murders. “I’m looking around the store, thinking, where can I hide if something happens,” a customer-service employee at a Los Angeles-area Walmart toldThe Washington Post. “We’re all afraid we’re going to die.”


Getting their employer to prohibit open carry in its stores would be just the sort of proposal Walmart workers could present to their bosses if they had a union. But Walmart’s position on unions was made clear when the butchers in one Texas store endeavored to form a union some years back. The company responded by shuttering its meat department in that store, in every store in Texas, and in every store in the states surrounding Texas.

The grievances that lead workers to seek a union have never been only economic; sometimes, they’re about their concern for life and limb. Such would likely be the case at Walmart today if our labor law actually allowed workers to organize. A timely reminder that American business’s rabid opposition to worker power not only has given us four decades of wage stagnation but that sometimes, it kills. ~ HAROLD MEYERSON

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Copyright (C) 2019 The American Prospect. All rights reserved.


This post originally appeared on March 3, 2018.

The United States has minimal requirements for buying a gun. Although some cities restrict gun ownership, guns are readily available in most states and at gun shows and on the Internet. A purchaser might buy a gun in less than an hour.

Other countries have established high barriers to gun ownership. It is possible to buy a gun but not easy.


1. Join a hunting or shooting club.

2. Take a firearm class and pass a written exam, which is held up to three times a year.

3. Get a doctor’s note saying you are mentally fit and do not have a history of drug abuse.

4. Apply for a permit to take firing training, which may take up to a month.

5. Describe in a police interview why you need a gun.

6. Pass a review of your criminal history, gun possession record, employment, involvement with organized crime groups, personal debt and relationships with friends, family and neighbors.

7. Apply for a gunpowder permit.

8. Take a one-day training class and pass a firing test.

9. Obtain a certificate from a gun dealer describing the gun you want.

10. Buy a gun safe and an ammunition locker that meet safety regulations.

11. Allow the police to inspect your gun storage.

12. Pass an additional background review.

13. Buy a gun.

Japan has the lowest rate of gun homicides in the world.


After the Port Arthur Massacre in 1996, where a man methodically killed 35 random people and injured many more at a popular tourist site, Australia made it more difficult to get a gun. Gun ownership is a privilege, not a right.

1. Join and regularly attend a hunting or shooting club, or document that you’re a collector.

2. Complete a course on firearm safety and operation, and pass a written test and practical assessment.

3. Arrange firearm storage that meets safety regulations.

4. Pass a review that considers criminal history, domestic violence, restraining orders and arrest history. Authorities may also interview your family and community members.

5. Apply for a permit to acquire a specific type of weapon.

6. Wait at least 28 days.

7. Buy the specific type of gun you received a permit for.

The article in the New York Times describes the gun laws in 13 other countries.

Those who mistakenly claim that the Second Amendment protects their unlimited right to buy any kind of gun ignore the fact that Congress banned assault weapons from 1994-2004. Before the ban was passed, it was endorsed by former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Gerald Ford, and Jimmy Carter.