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Brady Campaign: DOJ Meeting Shows Obama Is ‘Serious’ About Combatting Gun Violence

TPMMuckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | March 16, 2011, 3:20PM

A coalition of pro gun-control groups met with Obama administration officials at the Justice Department Tuesday to discuss ways to prevent gun violence.

The meeting at DOJ headquarters, the first in a series of meetings the administration is trying to schedule to address the issue, was led by Christopher H. Schroeder, Assistant Attorney General for DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy. Representatives of the White House, the Vice President’s office, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) were also in attendance.

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign on Gun Violence, told TPM that the government representatives didn’t tip their cap for what direction they planned on taking to combat gun violence.

“We asked a lot of questions, and they indicated they don’t have any particular policies that they’re pushing or any particular legislation that they’re pushing, right now they’re basically out gathering pieces of information,” Helmke said.

The White House had invited the National Rifle Association (NRA) to the meeting, but NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre told the New York Times that he didn’t see a reason to “go sit down with a group of people that have spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment in the United States.”

In a letter to President Barack Obama, LaPierre and NRA Executive Director Chris Cox wrote that for Obama “to focus a national dialogue on guns – and not criminals or mental health issues – misses the point entirely”. The said gun laws aren’t the problem.

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Gun Rights Battle Heads To Bars, Churches, Doctors’ Offices And Day Care

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly and Melissa Jeltsen | January 28, 2011, 9:40AM

After ignoring the issue of gun control for his entire presidency to date, aides to President Barack Obama said Wednesday he’d take up the issue within the next few weeks. Even former Vice President Dick Cheney has said he’d be okay with banning high-capacity clips in the wake of the mass shooting that nearly killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and left six others dead.

But there’s a whole other lot of Second Amendment supporters who, instead of discussing middle-of-the-road measures to curb gun violence, are advocating to rescind or roll back even current restrictions.

In state legislatures around the country, conservatives lawmakers are introducing some of the most enthusiastic right-to-bear-arms bills to date. Here’s TPM’s round up.

Florida

Physicians often ask patients about risky behaviors, like drinking, smoking and even if they dutifully wear a seat belt. But asking about gun ownership? That topic should be off-limits, says freshman state Rep. Jason Brodeur (R) who wants to make it a felony for physicians to ask patients or their families if they own or store guns at home.

Brodeur says he’s worried that doctors might report gun ownership information to a patient’s insurance company. “What we don’t want to do is have law-abiding firearm owners worried that the information is going to be recorded and then sent to their insurance company,” Brodeur said, as reported by the News-Press. “If the overreaching federal government actually takes over health care, they’re worried that Washington, D.C., is going to know whether or not they own a gun and so this is really just a privacy protection.”

Doctors who fail to obey the proposed law could face up to $5 million in fines — or prison time.

Michigan

State Sen. Mike Green (R-Mayville) doesn’t believe there should be anywhere in Michigan where you can’t carry your gun. On Tuesday, he introduced legislation to repeal the state’s no-carry zones — places where concealed weapons are banned. Under the new proposal, which has been sent to the state Senate’s judiciary committee, it would be legal to carry concealed weapons into day care centers, stadiums, schools, churches, bars and hospitals.

Green told The Detroit News he introduced the bill to prove “there are no places that should be gun-free.”

According to his website, Green was one of the authors of Michigan’s 2000 “shall issue” concealed pistol license law, which drastically changed the state’s gun regulation. State and local authorities in states with “shall issue” laws must issue gun licenses to people as long as they meet specific criteria set by the state. This differs from “may-issue” states, where individuals need to show a compelling need to carry a concealed weapon and the ultimate decision is left up to the granting authority.

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Dispatch From Guntopia

Cliff Schecter

Best-selling author, public-relations consultant, pundit, bon vivant

Posted: April 19, 2010 03:31 PM

This morning, on the 15th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City mass murder, I drove from Washington, D.C. across the 14th Street Bridge to get on the George Washington Memorial Parkway and attended an “open carry” gun rally at Fort Hunt, Virginia.

On my way, I passed the Holocaust Museum, where a deluded Neo-Nazi, in a final act of vengeance for having been born, chose to spray bullets into the flesh and bone of a security guard whose only crime was trying to earn a paycheck. Off in the distance, you could almost see the Pentagon, where John Patrick Bedell wreaked havoc after being declared mentally unfit to possess a firearm by the state of California — because he simply bought one with no questions asked at a Nevada gun show. Bedell took advantage of the gun-show loophole to shoot those serving our country at the Pentagon, because of his hatred for it.

Finally, we arrived at Fort Hunt, to see a bevy of mostly middle-aged white men compare the United States of America to Nazi Germany, the Ku Klux Klan and a slave-state (among other niceties) while carrying assault weapons and dressing like they were auditioning for the remake of Red Dawn. A highlighted speaker was Mike Vanderboegh (seen in the video just below), an Alabama militia leader who most infamously encouraged his followers to throw bricks through the windows of local Democratic Parties.

In a very different reality, Tom Mauser, whose son was gunned down in the Columbine massacre, and families of those murdered at Virginia Tech, today called on our leaders to lead on an issue where 86% of gun owners (including 69% of NRA members) agree with the rest of us, according to known liberal Frank Luntz: That we MUST close the gun show loophole. We must do more to stop criminals, terrorists and the mentally unfit from getting their hands on weapons that kill.

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Courting Another Oklahoma City

Huff Post- Cliff Schecter

Posted: March 30, 2010 01:08 PM

It was almost exactly a year ago at this time that a “controversial” report was released by the Department of Homeland Security. This finding, labeled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” explained that the lunatic fringe might use the recession and ascension of the first African-American president to recruit members and then plan violent attacks on the homeland.

Although this effort was initiated under the administration of George W. Bush, the usual bed-wetters on the Right–especially a large Oxycontin-laced, self-indulgent buffoon with the ever-appropriate name Rush–whined and hissed about how it was a political jihad.

Here we are a year later, and it is starting to feel very 1995 out there right now. While the Obama Administration and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle genuflect before the NRA, we are not only doing not nearly enough to keep high-power weaponry out of the hands of, for lack of a better word, “evil-doers,” but the NRA is leading state legislatures around by the nose in attempts to actually weaken gun laws we do have on the books. As it was aptly put in in an editorial in the Charleston, WV Gazette:

Almost any criminal, psycho, drunk, wife-basher, drug addict or other prohibited person can buy a pistol illegally at a gun show – no questions asked. Test after test has found that many gun show dealers, licensed or unlicensed, sell deadly weapons to practically anyone with money, evading federal laws that forbid sales to the unfit.

In fact, once the practices of these gun shows were exposed by undercover investigations, such as those planned by Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York and his organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (Disclosure: I consult for MAIG; I am speaking for me, and only me, in this piece, however), the response was not to make it harder for criminals, terrorists and the mentally unstable to get guns at gun shows. It was to try and pass legislation to make such investigations illegal. Brilliant plan! Sweep it under the rug, and it is sure to go away.

It is no matter, that as my friend Brian Rothenberg, Executive Director of Progress Ohio, has said, it is easier to get a gun at a gun show than cold medicine. Or that the recent shooting at the Pentagon, by an anti-government radical and mentally disturbed man named John Patrick Bedell, was able to occur because even after the state of California deemed him mentally unfit to have buy a gun, he just went to Nevada and bought em through the infamous gun show loophole.

No background check. No questions asked. And then off to shoot innocent people at the Pentagon.

But if you think this is bad, it is only going to get worse. Tea baggers are showing up to rallies brandishing signs with Brownings and the obvious implication. You know, the gun founded by the guy who the state of Utah would like to honor instead of Martin Luther King, Jr. Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Michelle Bachmann and the rest of the itsy-bitsy IQ brigade now like to put targets on legislators, encourage their supporters to “reload,” and are using other violence-infused imagery. Meanwhile, Christian Militia groups are putting together videos worthy of Al Qaeda while planning to murder Michigan police officers with guns and IEDS.

Seriously, stop and watch this spooky video for a second (they even got the German music right!).

What has been the response to the crescendo of incidents like these over the past few months? The Obama Administration is missing in action. Meanwhile, Republican legislators, like Senator Tom Coburn, are actively trying to put guns in the hands of the mentally unbalanced. That’s right, Coburn tried to attach an amendment to the health care bill to restore gun rights to veterans declared “mentally incompetent.” Seriously, does the man, and the 45 who voted with him, remember Ft. Hood?

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