Monthly Archives: March 2013

Tucson Tea Party Forces Smaller Police Force, Whines that Crime Is Up.

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Dystopia is not a condition that appears overnight. Its groundwork is laid by people who make decisions and foster policies which, by their consequences sow the seeds of dystopia. This week Tucson began to enter that world when the Armed Citizen Project declared that they wanted to “Take back our city, and it needs to come back to the citizens and not the criminals.” That was the battle cry of Shawn McClusky, realtor, failed politician and Tea Party darling.

McClusky’s cunning plan is to spend $12,000 giving shotguns away in neighborhoods with high violence, an effort to curb crime. That comes out to about 25-30 shotguns introduced into high crime neighborhoods. What could possibly go wrong?

On the surface McClusky’s plan appears to be just a knee-jerk reaction to crime. But it is not. For the past number of years, as Tucson has tried to raise taxes to fund their fire and police departments, McClusky has been front and center to shout the Tea Party mantra of anti-government, anti-spending, and anti-tax; apparently clueless that those economic demands have very serious consequences. And in Tucson, those consequences, since 2009 have included layoffs within the police department, cutting its strength from a recommended 1113 sworn officers in 2009 to 968 in 2013 while the population has increased from 517.000 in 2009 to approximately 600,000 in 2013. Tucson Police Chief Roberto Villaseñor states they are understaffed by 150 officers out of over 1000.
According to Tucson Police Public Affairs Sgt Marie Hawke, there are nearly 100 officers funded under COPS grants, a federal grant program funded through the Stimulus Package of 2009 and now closed to new grant application. This program was strongly opposed by the Tea Party.

With his high profile opposition to Proposition 200 in 2009 and Proposition 400 in 2010, Shawn McClusky has directly contributed to the higher crime problems which he now tries to solve by arming citizens to do police work. The irrational decisions to starve government while, at the same time complain that the police can’t do their jobs defies logic. Yet this is the path Shawn McClusky has chosen, and in helping to build that underfunded public service, he helped create the dystopia which causes irrational, fearful decisions.

More Guns More Crime Circle

This brings us to two things…just how bad is crime in Tucson and what are the consequences of these Tea Party/Armed Citizen Project decisions?

The Armed Citizen Project website says that “Tucson currently has a ranking of 5 out of 100 (100 being safest)” in terms of crime safety, though it fails to name the survey. Looking at the FBI Crime Statistics for 2011, Tucson ranks pretty much in the middle of the cities that have over 200,000 populations. With 652 violent crimes per 100,000 population, it is 35/72, with Detroit being 72/72 with a rate of 2,137 violent crimes per 100,000 population. Like most cities, crime in Tucson is concentrated in several neighborhoods. In most cities this is where the police channel their resources, unless of course they have been constrained from doing so by low-tax, small government zealots who block the revenue streams that fund police departments.

But instead of allowing a city to manage its crime problems in established, proven ways, McClusky wants to arm citizens, using the NRA mantra of “only way to stop a bad guy is a good guy with a gun” even though Arizona has one of the higher gun ownerships rates in the nation, a condition that should mean that there is less crime because of more guns…but apparently panic and fear driven thought are trying to suggest otherwise.

And it brings us to the goal, or perceived goal of an armed citizenry to fight crime in an area where the same folks have fought to defund and underfund the very agency that is tasked with fighting crime. Are we heading back to the Wild, Wild West? Back to a time where every man was armed to fight off marauding hordes of bad guys riding into town. Back to a time when the solution was the Gunfight at the OK Corral rather than a solution involving the rule of law.

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In dystopia, and in the paranoia of many of today’s doomsday preppers, one of the most common scenarios is WROL…Without Rule of Law. And in Tucson, one group is beginning the slide to that future, both by defunding the public servants who enforce rule of law and by arming the citizens with shotguns and fear to tear at its very fabric.
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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Ashley Judd Scratched from Senate Race

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The tweets started just after 5:00 EDT. Within minutes I was receiving tweets and texts from the local newspaper, television stations and friends, and within the hour the major political blogs in Kentucky were beginning to light up with the news. Ashley Judd had made her decision…she is not starting a run against Mitch McConnell in 2014.

The decision leaves one group of Kentuckians and many liberals throughout the country disappointed while, at the same time it gives the rising stars of the Democratic Party of Kentucky a bit of a breather as they assess their own decisions.

Kentucky is a red state…extremely red and it is going to take a Kentuckian with experience working with often conflicting goals to make any run against Mitch McConnell successful. Addressing the issue of Mountain Top Removal, which to much of the country is environmental is also a big jobs question in Kentucky where thousands of miners in our Eastern Kentucky coal fields have seen their jobs taken away. Also, religion plays a big role in Kentucky politics, where just last night the Kentucky legislature overturned the Governor’s veto of the Religious Freedom bill in Kentucky. Add in the pervasive gun culture in a state where as many liberals own guns as conservatives and you have three nearly un-scalable walls for a “Hollywood Liberal” to conquer.

Was she the best person for the job…most likely. She is extremely smart, passionate about Kentucky and its issues, a world famous Kentuckian and most obvious…just about as opposite of the leader of the Party of No, Mitch McConnell as could be. But that might not be enough in a state that has voted for obstructionist McConnell for a quarter of a century and Rand Paul, who rode onto the national stage on his daddy’s coattails.

There has, so far not been comment from Alison Lundergan Grimes or any other potential candidates.

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There will be more on this breaking story as it unfolds.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.


Coalition of Groups Demanding Laws to Stop Gun Violence

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The conversation about solutions to gun violence have the side effect of a large swelling of the American people who, prior to Sandy Hook, prior to Aurora, prior to Tucson were part of the middle of America in which many had no strong opinion about guns one way or the other. But after Sandy Hook, they started finding their voice, and as their voice has grown, are starting to get together, to counter the drone of the NRA’s lobbying for the gun industry.

Grassroots…a movement driven by the politics of a community. It is not heavily funded; it is not a top down organization. It is the essence of the philosophy of Kentuckian Abraham Lincoln: “Of the People, by the People, for the People.”

The gun violence that came to a head with the massacre of so many kids in their safe zone, their elementary school where their main goal should have been learning to color between the lines started a national conversation with many voices. Many voices who want to define the debate, not let it be defined by lobbyists and Congressional election fund raising.

Here are some of the players…and they all deserve having their voice heard as they demand that our government do something about gun violence. And that our government leaders not cower to lobbyists with their open checkbooks.

From Facebook…

Addicting Info

Americans for Responsible Solutions

Being Liberal

Brady Campaign

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence

Enough Gun Violence

Gun Owners for Gun Laws

Kentuckians For Responsible Gun Laws

Liberal Gun Club

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America

Newtown Action Alliance

Protest Easy Guns

Preventing Newtown

Occupy the NRA

One Million Moms and Dads Against Gun Violence

Sandy Hook Promise

20 Sundays

Women Against Gun Violence

From Blogs…

Gun Control Now USA

Shoot From the Left Hip

Moms Rising

Ammo Artists in Support of Gun Control

Children’s Defense Fund

Protest Easy Guns

Newtown Action Alliance

End Gun Violence Now

Moms Demand Action

This will be an active blog, rather than a static one, the list will continue to grow and information disseminated based on both events and the rising voices.

The goal of this is to bring the voices together, to give continuity to the fight to bring to bear regulations that will lessen gun violence that will slow the numbers of murders and accidental deaths that permeate our society.
We have on our side logic, statistics and the reality that we have a 21st Century problem that is not being solved because of a fringe group of people who believe that the 2nd Amendment, written in the 18th Century should demand intransigence in finding a solution.

NOTE: please help by sending recommendations of other voices to be included in this list…and propagate it so everyone will know that there is a growing voice that is looking for responsible solutions.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resides in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.


Bloomberg vs LaPierre on Meet the Press

MTP

Today’s Meet the Press on the subject of gun violence [transcript] marked the first public meeting between Wayne LaPierre, VP of the 4.5 million member National Rifle Association and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, mayor of the 8.3 million citizens of New York City since the multiple mass killings in 2012 ending with the Sandy Hook massacre. Mayor Bloomberg is also the co-founder of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of over 900 mayors in the United States which has the mission of targeting illegal gun sales, a problem which directly impacts crime in their cities.

In the past decade both men have seen the fruits of their opposing labor. Wayne LaPierre has seen, through his lobbying efforts a weakening of Federal and State regulations that govern gun sales – from neutering the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ ability to track stolen guns, inventory the 60,000 licensed gun dealers, or even computerizing their files; to Louisiana’s current dilemma to re-arm felons, based on NRA sponsored legislation in that state last year.

At the same time, Mayor Bloomberg has, through the NYPD seen a reduction in the number of murders from 673 in 2000 to 414 in 2012 a 40% reduction. New York City’s violent crimes and major felonies in that same period dropped 46%.

In today’s confrontation, 100 days and 3,000 gun related deaths since Sandy Hook, David Gregory asked if the momentum from Sandy Hook had been lost.

Mayor Bloomberg responded “I think when you have an issue where 90% of the public, 80% of N.R.A. members even, say that they think we should have reasonable checks before people are allowed to buy guns — they all support the Second Amendment, as do I. But there are an awful lot of people that think that this is one of the great issues of our times. We have to stop the carnage –“

Later in the program David Gregory revisited the question of background checks with guest Wayne LaPierre.

Gregory: “All right, but let me ask you about background checks, because the mayor referred to the polling. 90% of Americans want universal background checks. Here is this survey from Quinnipiac this week. Among those people who own guns, 85% support. Are you thwarting the will of the American people by standing in opposition to universal background checks?”

LaPierre: “No, not at all because here’s the thing: The whole thing, universal checks, is a dishonest premise. There’s not a bill on the Hill that provides a universal check. Criminals aren’t going to be checked. They’re not going to do this.”
While in 1999 Wayne LaPierre said in no uncertain terms “We think it’s reasonable to provide mandatory instant background checks for every sale at every gun show. No loopholes anywhere, for anyone,” Today he did a 180° flip-flop, disparaging background checks.

Put simply Wayne LaPierre believes that since criminals don’t obey laws, we should not have them. So, out with laws against robbery, murder, rape, fraud, and embezzlement after all, criminals don’t obey laws. What is the point in them?

Next, Gregory turned to influence and lobbying…

Gregory: “Will you target people, Republicans and Democrats, who do not support a weapons ban, an assault weapons ban, who do not vote for background checks — will you spend money, lots of money, to target them in 2014, in the midterm race?”

Bloomberg: “I think I have a responsibility, and I think you and all of your viewers have responsibilities, to try to make this country safer for our families and for each other. And if I can do that by spending some money and taking the N.R.A. from being the only voice to being one of the voices, so the public can really understand the issues, then I think my money would be well spent, and I think I have an obligation to do that.”

Gregory: “So you’ll spend money on ads?”

Bloomberg: “We’re starting to run ads today, or tomorrow — I think I’ve spent $12 million on running ads in ten states around the country explaining to the public what the issues are, and how the — and– urging them to call their senators if they believe that we should have gun checks that stop criminals and people with mental illnesses from getting guns. They should call their senators.”

Later in the interview LaPierre responded…

LaPierre: “Well, I mean, you just heard Mayor Bloomberg, but he’s going to find out this is a country of the people, by the people, and for the people. And he can’t spend enough of his $27 billion to try to impose his will on the American public…And he can’t buy America. He’s so reckless in terms of his comments on this whole gun issue.”

And that brings us to “imposing his will on the American people” In the 2012 election, the NRA spent $24,002,608 to “impose their will on the American people.” In 2010 they spent $13,698,359 to “impose their will on the American people.” Campaign spending sources through Open Secrets [link].

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Whining about Mayor Bloomberg spending $12Million while, at the same time spending over $37Million defies logic…then again, so does the 180° flip-flop regarding background checks, and the 180° flip-flop regarding guns in schools [link].

Today’s Meet the Press provided a very good view of the two diametrically opposed philosophies. Mayor Bloomberg laid out specific goals and has shown; through historical trending that he is achieving those specific goals. Mr. LaPierre, on the other hand showed only that he is “against”…it really doesn’t matter what. And with his flip-flopping on core issues, his reliability is deeply in question. You can read the entire transcript of today’s exchange at Meet the Press.

What seems painfully clear, Mayor Bloomberg wants to see a reduction in gun violence, Wayne LaPierre want to see continued profits for the gun industry for whom he lobbies.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


NRA Has Congress by the Balls… America Pays with Blood

NRA-Grip-on-Congress

The NRA has repeated, time and again that “we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws that are currently on the books. Prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works.” That was Wayne LaPierre’s demand at the January 30 Senate hearing on gun violence. To understand just how disingenuous that simple statement is, all you have to do is look at the efforts that the NRA have taken to stop enforcement of “gun laws that are currently on the books.”.

Put simply…Wayne LaPierre doesn’t give a damn about enforcement of old laws or introducing new laws to stop slaughter…he and the NRA are too busy passing out checks to Congress that support his lobbying efforts for the gun industry.

Besides their current battle plan to stop each and every new regulation before it even has time to see the floor of Congress [see Assault Weapons Ban legislation], the much more insidious plan has been taking place for years, little earmarks tucked into other bills that neuter government’s ability to enforce current gun laws. It directly enforces the NRA’s singular mission…to help the gun industry sell as many guns as possible with as little interference from pesky “laws” as possible. And Congress plays along, awaiting their check or fearing the “wrath” of an easily duped NRA membership.

So how does the NRA do it? As the Center for American Progress shows, they buy favored legislation without it ever, even once having a hearing, being heard in committee or on the floor of the House or Senate? Earmarks or at least the legislative version of them. But instead of being a rider to pave a donor’s marina parking lot under the guise of Homeland Security requirements [as Hal Rogers [R-KY] did…it is a little bill attached to an important bill such as a “must pass” appropriations bill.

ATF Stopped from Collecting Strawman Data

And that is just what happened in May of 2012 when the Appropriations bill for Commerce and Justice for FY2013 came through. Included in it was an section that prohibited the ATF from requiring firearms dealers in states on the Mexican border to report the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to a single individual, a noted strawman purchase. This ATF policy that was being targeted was a new policy to assist law enforcement fighting illegal gun trafficking along the border with Mexico. This happened at the same time Republicans and the NRA were pillorying the Obama administration for Fast and Furious.
HR5326, SEC. 219. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to require a person licensed [gun shop]under section 923 of title 18, United States Code, to report information to the Department of Justice regarding the sale of multiple rifles or shotguns to the same person.

Bringing ATF Data Into the 21st Century

One of the requirements for any systematic analysis tools that allow the ATF to manage the tracking of stolen weapons, straw buyers and illegal purchases is a sound database of information. It seems simple…but the NRA has spent years stopping the ATF from enforcing laws that require record keeping, bringing what records the ATF does have into 21st Century technology and having an ability for law enforcement to use the data to catch the very criminals that the NRA says are the ones that should be held accountable.

The NRA handcuffs the ATF and law enforcement with riders in Appropriations bills that keep ATF from computerizing their files…leading to warehouses full of paper documents. [For the fiscally conservative right…this is how your tax dollars are being spent…long man hours to investigate files on paper that should be on-line]. Since 1979 the ATF has not had the legal ability to consolidate information into a database for law enforcement.

Department of Justice Halted from Sharing Gun Trace Data

In 2004 a rider was tucked into the Justice Appropriations bill that prohibits the Department of Justice from disclosing “trace” data, that all important information that can link criminal to gun to dealer to manufacture. And the NRA complains loudly that the Administration is not prosecuting criminals for gun crimes…now you know why.

ATF Can’t Demand Inventory Control

One of the primary functions of the ATF is inspecting the 60,000 federally licensed gun dealers in the United States. They are hampered from doing this by funding restraints and by riders in the Appropriations bills. Note the recurring theme.

Again in 2004 [when the White House and both houses of Congress were Republican] a rider was placed into the funding bill that restricted the ATF’s ability to conduct inventories of gun dealers. Put simply the ATF was handcuffed from performing a core function to insure that guns that came in the door of gun shops when out the door with proper paperwork.

In 2011 inspections found 18,500 guns were missing in the limited inventory inspections of just 13,000 dealers that the ATF is able to accomplish. One of the guns used by John Allen Mohammed in the 2003 Beltway Sniper attacks that killed 10 was such a “stolen” weapon from a gun shop…a Bushmaster XM-15. Sound familiar?

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When it comes to gun violence, and determining appropriate solutions to reduce its impact on American society is good, sound research into all the variables that go into the violence so that resources can be called to bear on those factors that are the most significant. But yet another rider…this one over several years explicitly defunded the Centers for Disease Control as they tried to study gun violence, tried to define the important links. This may have backfired on the NRA this year as detailed studies may have shown that there is not a link between assault rifles and significant gun violence. But we won’t know because unbiased research was halted.

All of these boil down to a couple of very significant facts. The NRA has, for 30 years attempted to neuter all attempts by government to solve gun violence, they have attempted to neuter the “thousands of laws already on the books” that they insist should be fully enforced before any new laws are considered. They have stopped inspections, stopped enforcement and they have stopped research…all for the very simple reason of profit for the gun manufacturers that give them millions of dollars each year to do their bidding.

When the subject comes up that there is “a price for freedom”…that price is measured by monies spent by the NRA to enhance the profits of their clients and by the number of bodies that pile up year after year while the NRA shamelessly looks away.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Kentucky Senate Run Will Be A Horse Race

Judd Grimes

Alison Lundergan Grimes and Ashley Judd

Kentucky politics are going to be really busy in the next 36 months. A Senate race in 2014 which has incumbent Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell facing a cadre of candidates wanting a piece of him. The “off” year of 2015 has the Kentucky Governor’s race and in 2016 freshman firebrand, and Tea Party darling Rand Paul is up for re-election.

And it all starts in just over a month. Each state has its own unofficial starting gate for the next election…Kentucky is no different and it has real starting gates intertwined into the process…The Kentucky Derby, first Saturday in May. And yes, the horse racing metaphor will be prevalent as we begin to look at the starters, their odds, their breeding and most important, their chances to be first across the line. Unlike horse racing, however there is only Winning, no Place or Show. In the next 36 months, however we will provide one electric Trifecta. See…don’t say I didn’t warn y’all.

The good news for Kentuckians, and by extension the rest of the nation…there are plenty of good people on the Democratic side of the aisle who are both interested and capable. It is helped further by a Republican Party which not only lost the previous Governor’s race in 2011 but the “future” of the party, Kentucky basketball star Richie Farmer has just been handed 42 ethics violations by the Executive Branch Ethics Commission.

The first out of the gate is Ashley Judd…well, that’s not exactly true, a paddock full of supporters have been, since the 2012 election trying to draft her to run against McConnell but, to date she has not announced anything publicly. Judd brings much to the table on a race that is going to be as hard, expensive and bare knuckled as the run to Ditch Mitch. She brings name recognition, no negatives [excepting the nude scenes she has done in movies], intelligence, and the potential for national money. She is also thirty years younger than the 71 year old leader of the Party of No, Mitch McConnell and importantly, she is not an angry, old, establishment white guy.

Bill Clinton weighed in with the recommendation that Alison Lundergan Grimes step up. She is currently the Secretary of State in Kentucky and the daughter of long time politico Jerry Lundergan, former chair of the Kentucky Democratic Party. Clinton met with Grimes earlier this year and discussed her options for Senate, Governor and the 6th District Congressional seat which Ben Chandler lost last fall. All opinions suggest she would make a very good, strong candidate.

Former State Auditor of Public Accounts Crit Luallen is also considered a potential candidate to face McConnell but publicly states that she has her eyes on the Governor’s race in 2015. Luallen was a very popular and was considered the front runner to face McConnell in 2008 but chose to remain Auditor.

There are other players in the state Democratic Party. Former Louisville Mayor and current Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson and current Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer are also considered “interested”, though many suggest they are more likely to step up in the 2015 Governor’s race.

Two men who have spent time in Washington, former Sixth District Congressman Ben Chandler and current Third District Congressman John Yarmuth are also in play in one of the three upcoming races.

The two potential candidates who are odds on favorites right now are Judd and Grimes. In the next six weeks those who are making the odds will have a better picture of who will enter the race and who has the most support. Right now Ashley Judd has social media on her side but the establishment Democratic Party is looking at a more experienced, connected Alison Grimes. This is the race to watch.

Mitch McConnell has problems. He is the least liked Senator in the Senate. His popularity in his home state of Kentucky is just 37%. 55% of Kentucky voters disapprove of him according to PPP. And all of the disapproval is not coming from Democrats. It looks like, for the first time in a quarter of a century McConnell will likely face a challenger in the Republican primary from the Tea Party. United Kentucky Tea Party spokesman John T. Kemper III of Lexington says “we are working on a battle plan with the ultimate goal to retire him next year.”

Texas SuperPAC Liberty for All, which spend $700,000 to influence the Fourth Congressional District race in 2012. “Should the right candidate emerge — be they Republican, Democrat, or Independent — Liberty For All will remain committed to electing those dedicated to more civil liberties, more economic freedom, and freeing America from corporate influence,” said spokesman Preston Bates. Liberty For All is funded by John Ramsey, a Texas college student with a large inheritance.

And speaking of SuperPACs, rightwing favorite Karl Rove and his American Crossroads has already spent money in the Kentucky race, 18 months before a single voter gets to the booth…targeting an ad against Ashley Judd…who isn’t even announced yet.

So, watch as the candidates cinch up their girth, get a firm hold on the whip and tighten up on the reigns…this is going to be one exciting horse race.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Assault Weapons Ban Pulled from Main Congressional Gun Violence Package

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The Assault Weapons Ban, the most prominent and contentious element of the comprehensive collection of bills to address gun violence will not be a part of the larger, consolidated bill that works its way through Congress over the next few weeks.

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid informed Senator Feinstein that the AWB would not be a part of the body of the bill taking shape in Congress this week but instead would be included as an amendment…a sure sign that it has little chances to pass. It will either become a negotiating point in the overall bill or will just be voted down as it has no support from the Republican side of the Senate as well as no support in the house. If included in the overall bill it would likely kill the entire thing.

As of today the comprehensive bill has not been posted to Thomas.LOC.GOV. A followup will come from Addicting Info as soon as the bill is assembled and put forward.

The comprehensive bill is expected to address more stringent, broad background checks for gun buyers, a school safety measure and to make gun trafficking and straw purchasing a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison. The bill will likely incorporate many of the 40 initial bills that were submitted to Congress in January and February of this year.

The bill is also likely to address magazine capacity of both rifles and pistols and to beef up the flawed NICS Firearms Background Check System. It is unknown if provisions will include coordination with states to include some level of mental health reporting. Psychologists with whom I have spoken on the subject suggest that including mental health records will be an uphill battle on many levels including the very important element of psychologists expected to predict degrees of lethality.

The Assault Weapons Ban is the most prominent of the many bills introduced, addressing the future of high capacity semi automatic rifles, with the most common being the variants of the AR-15. While assault weapons [real or semi automatic versions] are a real danger for mass murder, the more important issues are to address getting guns out of the hands of those who should not have them through closing loopholes eliminating as many of the backdoor sales, gun show sales and person to person sales that are so common and to enhancing background checks by both beefing up the current system to include domestic violence orders and mental health records and including that background check in ALL purchases, not just at licensed gun shops. The comprehensive bill, sans Assault Weapons Ban will have a chance to impact the 98% of deaths by firearms each year that are not mass murder, that are not perpetrated by assault weapons.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

 


Rand Paul Floats to the Top at 2013 CPAP Straw Poll

Senate Republicans Present Alternative 2013 Budget Proposal

With 25% of the vote, Rand Paul won the 23 person field straw poll predicting the 2016 presidential race at Conservative conclave CPAC today. It is 36 months until the 2016 primary season begins.

Paul beat out other 2016 contenders Marco Rubino who received 23%…two percent below Paul. The favor dropped off considerably the further down the list, with Santorum receiving 8%, the uninvited Chris Christie receiving 7% and Paul Ryan fifth with 6% of the vote as they rounded out the top five.

The CPAC ballot consisted of the usual suspects of conservative thought. Reviewing the list from a liberal eye one could not help noting that only two or three of the 23 candidates stray from hard right conservatism, shut down in the 2012 election cycle.

The runners

NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie
Texas U.S. Senator Ted Cruz
Former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal
Ohio Governor John Kasich
New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Kentucky U.S. Senator Rand Paul
Indiana Governor Mike Pence
Texas Governor Rick Perry
Ohio Senator Rob Portman
Florida U.S. Senator Marco Rubio
Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan
Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum
South Carolina Senator Tim Scott
South Dakota U.S. Senator John Thune
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Sarah Palin came in 10th, with 3% of the vote with the remaining 13 contenders getting a combined 14% of the vote.

The five women in the field brought in a cumulative 7% percent of the total vote.

Let’s look at 2010, the same 36 months before the 2012 election and Ron Paul was the winner. George Allen won in 2006 and Steve Forbes 36 months before the 2000 election in 1998. Other conservative winners in the past 20 years have been Jack Kemp, Phil Gramm and Gary Bauer, proving that who is in the lead 36 months before primary season historically stands no chance of staying strong in the front stretch run at the nomination.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.

 

 


90 Days Since Sandy Hook – 2680+ Gun Deaths – Congress: ZIP

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It has been exactly ninety days since the Massacre of Sandy Hook. Ninety days for the country to look at solutions to stop, or at least slow down gun violence. Instead, we have been distracted by partisan polarization to the point that when a decorated Navy Captain, astronaut and husband of gunned down Congressperson Gabby Giffords supports an opinion that differs from the fringe gun community they explode with vitriol, hate and immature rhetoric, directed at an American hero. They exhibit that which is worst in this country, irrational outrage that is the 21st Century equivalent of tar and pitchforks, hate filled mob rule. Except that they do not rule.

But to the good, both state and federal legislatures have introduced scores of bills intended to improve public health that is impacted by gun violence. On the federal level, over 40 bills have been introduced, though none have made it out of committee. While many of them will fail, they have opened up the national conversation and as a by-product have finely defined politicians’ priorities and their stance on issues important to Americans’ safety.

Sandy Hook

I have been saying since December that Sandy Hook was a tipping point, an event so tragic that it woke up the very large “middle” of America. It got the attention of the folks who, until December 14th had not given much consideration one way or the other about the effects of gun violence in this country, about whether the 18th Century Second Amendment really does give people the right to own any weapon whatsoever. That large group in the middle found, in 2012 that they are no longer safe going to the cafes, bars, shopping malls, churches, theaters and even workplaces and schools where they expected a modicum of safety.

They are paying attention now, and it will be that group, not the pro-gun side or the pro-gun regulation side that defines the debate, that defines the tolerance of America to violence and that will decide the solutions and outcomes.

The ninety day marker gives us time to pause to see what has happened, what is happening now and what we can expect to happen as the subject of gun violence is on the table. Since the Sandy Hook tragedy, over 2680 Americans have been killed by gun violence. At least 181 of them were under 20 years old…46 of them under 12 years old. There have been over 2050 deaths in 2013 alone insuring that, yet again we will have over 10,000 Americans killed by gun violence. And that does not include the near 20,000 that will die by suicide with firearms.

Also, in the past ninety days the country has seen states like New York, Colorado and Maryland define what a state is willing to do. In all three states there have been boycotts and threats by their gun manufacturing industry to “pull out”. Legislators have proven in these states that the public health and public safety outweigh economic threats.

But there is another comparison that is not as favorable. The US Congress, post 9/11 acted within six weeks to implement the Patriot Act. No matter your opinion of the Act, it was implemented to address the massacre of 2996 Americans – just ONE THIRD as many that are killed each and every year by gun violence in this country. And as a snarky aside, not a single one of the millions of AR-15 owners in this country was able to defend again the horrible violence of just 19 men.

Yesterday Michael Moore reminded Americans that that these watershed events; tipping points define change in America.

In 1955 photographs of Emmett Till’s shot, mutilated, barbed wire tied body were shown to the world by a mother that wanted everyone to see what bigotry and hatred did to her 14 year old boy. From that event the Civil Rights movement began.

In 1965 we saw photographs of African American men in Selma, Alabama being brutally beaten, hosed and sprayed with tear gas for marching across a bridge. Five months later the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed and signed by a very pissed off Lyndon Johnson.

In 1968 and 1969 the world saw photographs of three severe acts of terror, 500 civilians at My Lai in Vietnam who were killed by US soldiers, a prisoner shot in the head by a South Vietnamese general and in June 1968, Robert Kennedy lay dead from an assassin’s bullet. The first two events turned the tide of support for the Viet Nam war. The third, Senator Kennedy’s death brought, just four months later the passage and signing of the Gun Control Act of 1968, a bill that had been languishing in Congress prior to the deaths of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Congress and statehouses across the country have the opportunity to address the problems of gun violence NOW. They have the obligation to do what is within their power to make this country a safer place; a safer place to go shopping, to go to church, to go out to dinner, to go to the movies, to go to work, to take our nation’s children to school.

We have the ability to change, to evolve as we look at the necessary solutions to end gun violence in this country. The roadblocks are many, from paranoia that a tyrannical government will need stopped, that hordes of undefined marauders will come over the hill to pillage the homestead, that regulations are the first step of confiscation and a [yet again] undefined New World Order…and we know who liked confiscation and a New World Order…so it must be true.

Nobody is talking about confiscation of guns, of gutting the Second Amendment, of eliminating the 300 million guns that are privately owned in this country. What is being proposed is simply regulating processes that occur with gun ownership, to get stolen guns off the streets, to keep folks who can’t legally buy guns from running down to the nearest gun show and diving into the copious gun buffets to get all they want.

It will happen when folks look at that which is proposed, not abstract hypotheticals and paranoid mental exercises of the many gun blogs which conveniently make money off of the angst and turmoil that they help propagate. It will happen when all sides of the conversation focus on reality rather than hyperbola.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.


Gunnuts Swarm Mark Kelly, American Hero

Mark Kelly

Here is what we know about Navy Captain Mark Kelly…He spent a 24 year career serving his country as a Naval Aviator. He flew 39 combat missions in Desert Storm. He has flown four missions piloting the Space Shuttle while racking up over 38 days in space. He stood by his wife as she nearly died, her career cut short by an assassin’s bullet and has supported her in her efforts to end gun violence which they know all too personally.

We also know he is a lifelong gun owner…one who also understands that there are flaws in the system, loopholes that make it entirely too easy for people who should not have firearms to have the ability to get them…unfettered by rules, by regulation, by the common sense safeguards that should address the purchase of a deadly weapon.

March 8th, while in a Tucson gun shop to buy a 45 pistol Mark Kelly saw a used AR-15 semi automatic assault type weapon.

“As I was leaving, I noticed a used AR-15. Bought that too. Even to buy an assault weapon, the background check only takes a matter of minutes.” Captain Mark Kelly

He says it was to show just how easy, with no extra steps it is to buy an assault rifle. It was a simple exercise, an object lesson in highlighting the gaps in our system. His word should have been enough. But it was not.

What happened next was an embarrassment to this country, an embarrassment to the millions of gun owners who are not frothing fools on the internet. The gun enthusiast community, in this case they have earned the name Gun Nuts unleashed their hate. Their outrage, fueled by lies and spin in the echo chambers that make up gun fora was whipped into a frothy, irrational, intractable defense against everything and everyone that does not march in lockstep with their narrow fringe views.
They saw nefarious intent. And they unloaded the entire magazine…all without knowing the man, without knowing his motives…but since his views differed from theirs…they turn like rabid dogs, albeit toothless rabid dogs. They didn’t respond to say that while they respected his opinion they disagreed. What they did was call him hypocrite [in an interesting variety of spellings], jackass, commie [always a favorite], libtard, political Pharisee, douchebag [again with multiple, creative spellings], piece of shit and many more names in that common juvenile theme.

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One comment stuck out from reviewing guns.com, glocktalk.com, smith-wessonforum.com and rugerforum.net

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Facebook pages lit up after a couple of the gun fora pushed the original breitbart.com article to pages at Facebook. Guns.com had one of the more hate filled screeds, populated by folks calling Captain Kelly’s purchase and statement everything from felonious to traitorous to, of course communist.

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And the vitriol did not contain itself to gun fora…over 4,000 people made comments on Captain Kelly’s Facebook page…and while I cannot imagine it was intentional, it has proven to be the best gun nut troll ever. If it were not for the froth spewing vitriol, outrage, and embarrassingly poor behavior it would be funny.

This boils down to one thing. A lifelong gun owner, after watching his wife struggle through two years of painful, frustrating recuperation, nearly losing her to a would be assassin’s gun decided to make a stand against gun violence…not to ban guns, not to deprive anyone of their Second Amendment rights, but to stand for the reasoned principles of insuring that everyone who buys a gun is legally allowed to do so. And from that stand he brought out the very worst in the gun community…he brought out the gun nuts, the haters, the irrational, the irresponsible…all the character traits that the gun owner community swear they do not have. But they do. They do out loud. And those who post hate, who post vitriol, will share the responsibility for new gun regulations because the rest of America has seen how you think, how you act and they do not trust you.

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McAllister is a life long liberal, environmentalist, Eagle Scout, and even gun owner – born in Harlan, Kentucky and has lived in Southern California, New York City and now resided in Lexington, Kentucky as a Systems Analyst.

You can read more of McAllister’s observations and opinions at Shoot From the Left Hip.