Democrats willing to appear willing to take brave, bold non-action
Congressional Democrats announced on Oct. 8 that they will launch gas bags of rhetorical flatulence in a Quixote-like campaign for new legislation to combat gun violence, even though it has no chance of passing in the Republican-controlled Senate, never mind the Tea Party-paralyzed House.
The reason? Democrats are eager to show that they’re willing to appear willing to take action, especially if no real action can possibly result other than a brave windmill charge to trumpets of glory orchestrated by their image consultants.
“We want to solve the problem and not just talk,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said with a straight face. “So we’re putting forward something that’s solid and is supported by 90 percent of the American people. The critics of the Congress are right: We’re not doing enough to protect against gun violence, so we’re stepping up to show that we can do it.”
Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Debbie Stabenow outlined the plan in a letter to their colleagues: strengthening background checks by closing the so-called “gun show loophole”—eliminating loopholes for firearms purchased online and at gun shows, and providing more funding for the existing federal background-check system.
The proposal also calls for new restrictions on gun trafficking, domestic abusers who attempt to purchase weapons, and straw purchasing, or buying a gun for someone who legally can’t purchase one themselves.
Ultimately, of course, it’s pandering, grandstanding, and gratuitous guppy-guilting to play on an angry nation’s emotions—but not intellect. Many of the same proposals appeared in the bipartisan bill introduced by Senators Joe Manchin and Pat Toomey in 2013, which failed by five votes.
Rather than reach some type of agreement with Republicans, Democratic leaders want the same gun-control bill to fail so they can be seen as uncompromising stalwarts of stalemate, taking a page from the Tea Party’s book, ‘The Art of The No Deal and Getting Nothing Done, Ever.’
Meanwhile, in an effort to actually accomplish something, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn’s (R-Texas) proposed bill would expand mental-health treatment and encourage states to provide mental-health records to the federal background-check database.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) said he would “be taking a look” at Cornyn’s bill — which would be a good thing to do since it was proposed months ago — but it’s unclear if Democrats would add its mental heath proposals to their package.
Of course, doing so would be heresy for these Democrats. It would not only foster unwelcome momentum for solving a “problem” they perpetuate for self-serving political inexpediency, but by actually including mental health provisions in their bills, they’d be implying, indirectly acknowledging, that maybe, just maybe, guns don’t kill people, criminals and lunatics do.
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White House: Obama pondering gun-control executive actions
According to Charlie Spiering of Breitbart News, the White House has confirmed that President Obama is preparing a series of executive gun-control actions in response to the Oregon school shooting.
“It’s a high priority and will continue to be until we start to see more progress on this issue in this town,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters on Oct. 5.
Earnest said he would “quibble” with anyone who criticized the president for not voicing any specific gun control proposals, promising the White House was working to actually present something specific other than saying guns and, by extension, gun owners, are bad.
“They’re continuing to review the law that’s on the books and continuing to consult with legal authorities but also others who may have ideas about what steps that can be taken to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” Earnest said with all the earnestness necessary for a good, solid 10-second TV soundbite.
Despite having no details — details being the devil! — Earnest said that the process was “ongoing” and a “scrub,” which is apparently a new marketing buzzword for massaging the moment until something else comes along and a whole new “scrub” can begin.
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Open-carry gun bill has ‘steeper climb’ in Florida Senate
Florida may soon join 44 other states that “allow” open carry in one form or another if a measure that would “permit” licensed concealed weapon owners to carry loaded firearms openly is adopted by the state’s House and Senate.
The bill was approved in committee on Oct. 6. “I think the odds of passage in the House are very good, I think it has a steeper climb in the Senate,” Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) said.
However, Gaetz, the sponsor of the Senate version, said there has been no movement in his chamber and no guarantees. Senate Bill 300 has been referred to three committees, and it’s first stop will be the Criminal Justice panel.
According to the Associated Press, that committee has a history of approving pro-gun legislation along party lines, and there is still plenty of time for the bill to get a hearing there. But the “open carry” legislation could have an even tougher time getting approved in the Senate’s Judiciary and Rules committees, where moderate Republicans could join Democrats in killing the measure.
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TECHNOLOGY vs. REGULATION
3D printed gun lawsuit to be heard by 5th Circuit Court Of Appeals
Defense Distributed v. the United States State Department — 3D-gun designer Cody Wilson’s First Amendment lawsuit — will be heard before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, most likely in early 2016.
Wilson was granted his day in court on Aug. 25 in a bad news-good news ruling by District Judge Robert Pitman, who denied his request for an injunction against an order stopping him from distributing plans for his 3D-printed Liberator pistol online, but agreeing that his lawsuit had merit and warranted a hearing before the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Wilson introduced the plans for the working pistol, which can be molded using a 3D printer, on the Internet two years ago. The United States State Department then stepped in and cited two regulations designed to prevent unapproved firearms from being exported internationally and ordered that he remove the files from the Internet.
He did so, but he hired attorneys and filed a lawsuit. His lawyers, which include Alan Gura of the Second Amendment Foundation, pressed the First and Second Amendment cases, asserting that the government’s reasoning that CAD files for a working gun constituted a firearm was overly broad and opened up questionable legal ground.
Their argument: “And, even if Plaintiffs (Defense Distributed) were somehow able to always limit access to domestic IP addresses, there is no way to stop a foreign person from looking at (or using) a U.S. person’s internet connection. Every embassy in Washington is steps away from free, domestic IP WiFi. And the State Department has never before, including in its latest proposed notice for rule-making, offered IP filtering as an acceptable method to publish files to the Internet (much less a safe harbor). In sum, (the government) have effectively declared the Internet a forbidden ground for collaboration if a CAD file might fall within their overbroad definition of “technical data.”
Wilson’s attorneys also argued that “plans and instructions for building much more easily concealable (though equally capable of firing projectiles) devices such as pen guns or “zip” guns are widely available in books and on Internet forums.”
Along with creating technology such as the Liberator pistol and the Ghost Gunner CNC mill, Defense Distributed identifies itself as “anti-monopolist” and dedicated to “defend[ing] the human and civil right to keep and bear arms.
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