Lots of relief for the residents of Watertown, MA after finally getting the news that the Boston Marathon bombing suspect, Dzokhar Tsarnaev had been arrested and taken into custody. After what they experienced on their streets this Friday, this is nice to see.
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Longtime NY1 news anchor Pat Kiernan took the time this morning in his "In The Papers" segment to read Gabby Gifford's op-ed (A Senate in the Gun Lobby's Grip) for the NY Times in it's entirety.
A Senate in the Gun Lobby’s Grip
SENATORS say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets. The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.
Democratic Connecticut Gov. Dan Malloy on Sunday lashed out at National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre and other gun control opponents as "clowns at the circus" who were just trying to sell more guns.
After Connecticut responded to the December mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School by enacting some of the toughest gun laws in the nation last week, LaPierre had appeared on Fox News to say that the new measures make "law books thicker for the law-abiding people."
"From the very start, my thought has been about how little this had to do with keeping kids safe and how much it has to do with this decades-long agenda against firearms that some in the political class and the media have had," the NRA chief opined.
On Sunday, CNN host Candy Crowley asked Malloy if LaPierre had been correct that the Connecticut laws had made it harder for law-abiding citizens to arm themselves.
"Wayne reminds me of the clowns at the circus," Malloy quipped. "They get the most attention and that's what he's paid to do. But the reality is, is that the gun that was used to kill 26 people on Dec. 14 was legally purchased in these state of Connecticut, even though we had an assault weapons ban. But there were loopholes in it that you could drive a truck through."
"I mean, this guy is so out of whack, it's unbelievable. Ninety-two percent of the American people want universal background checks," the governor added. "Candy, I don't want to tell you your business, but bring them back to reality."
"What this is about is the ability of the gun industry to sell as many guns to as many people as possible, even if they're deranged, even if they're mentally ill, even if they have a criminal background. They don't care, they want to sell guns."
Local Connecticut Fox affiliate WTIC in Hartford had a rather unique way of celebrating Women's History Month, with long panning shots of women's breasts. At least 51% of their viewers were not amused and complained loudly as the segment ran twice. WTIC for their part tweeted this today
A pastor in Connecticut has apologized for taking part in a vigil for the victims of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School because his church does not allow worshiping with other faiths.
Rev. Rob Morris of Newtown's Christ the King Lutheran Church offered a letter of apology after he was reprimanded by church president Matthew Harrison for "joint worship with other religions," according to the Religion News Service.
King Lutheran Church is a member of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, which bans ministers from praying alongside Muslims, Jews or even other Christians.
Morris had provided the closing benediction at the Dec. 16 vigil in Newtown.
"There is sometimes a real tension between wanting to bear witness to Christ and at the same time avoiding situations which may give the impression that our differences with respect to who God is, who Jesus is, how he deals with us, and how we get to heaven, really don't matter in the end," Harrison wrote in his letter of reprimand. "There will be times in this crazy world when, for what we believe are all the right reasons, we may step over the scriptural line."
Harrison argued that “the presence of prayers and religious readings” meant that Morris should have not participated in the Newtown vigil.
In his apology letter, Morris explained that he had spoken to his supervisor before participating in the vigil but "I made my own decision."
“I believed my participation to be, not an act of joint worship, but an act of community chaplaincy," he said.
Missouri Synod's Rev. David H. Benke was also suspended for about two years after he participated in an interfaith service with a Muslim imam, a rabbi, a Catholic cardinal and others 12 days after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
A senior fellow from the conservative Independent Women's Forum (IWF) on Wednesday told a Senate committee that assault weapons should not be outlawed because they were the "weapon of choice" for young mothers who need a "scary-looking gun."
At Senate Judiciary Hearing on gun violence, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked IWF's Gayle Trotter, who also writes for The Daily Caller, if it would "disproportionately burden women" to ban assault rifles like the Bushmaster AR-15 used to slaughter 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut.
"Young women are speaking out as to why AR-15 weapons are their weapon of choice," Trotter explained. "The guns are accurate. They have good handling. They're light. They're easy for women to hold."
She added: "And most importantly, their appearance. An assault weapon in the hands of a young woman defending her babies in her home becomes a defense weapon, and the peace of mind that a woman has as she's facing three, four, five violent attackers, intruders in her home, with her children screaming in the background, the peace of mind that she has knowing that she has a scary-looking gun gives her more courage when she's fighting hardened, violent criminals."
"And if we ban these types of assault weapons, you are putting women at a great disadvantage, more so than men, because they do not have the same type of physical strength and opportunity to defend themselves in a hand-to-hand struggle. They're not criminals, they're moms, they're young women. And they're not used to violent confrontations."
Dick Cheney may have accidentally shot a man in the face while he was vice president, but that didn't stop Fox News from flying to Nevada to get his advice on recently-proposed gun control laws.
Fox News correspondent Griff Jenkins caught up with Cheney over the week at the Safari Club International convention for gun owners and manufacturers, where the former vice president and his daughter, Liz, participated in a discussion about gun rights and the realism of torture in the film "Zero Dark Thirty."
Cheney told Jenkins he was "worried" about President Barack Obama's efforts to increase gun safety.
"We may end up in a situation where you get a proposal or a proposition that does, in fact, threaten the rights of law-abiding Americans, and at the same time, doesn't do anything with respect to the problem everybody's concerned about, such as the shooting that happened in Connecticut," the Wyoming Republican said.
"I find especially in groups like the group here and an awful lot of my folks in Wyoming who supported me all those years in Congress are very, very concerned that there isn't adequate regard for the rights of law-abiding citizens," he added. "We understand that there's clearly an effort underway, but one of the things we've done in Wyoming -- with respect to Jackson Hole, where I live, with respect to safety of schools -- we have a deputy sheriff, armed deputy sheriff at the schools in the city. And that's probably a more effective deterrent than anything that Congress seems to be debating at the present time."
"How worried are you the President Obama's gun control plan threatens the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American?" Jenkins asked.
Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) has an A rating from the National Rifle Association but he says that Democrats are at fault for not passing more gun control legislation.
During a Tuesday interview on MSNBC, host Thomas Roberts asked Kingston if he looked at the recent massacre of 20 school children in Connecticut and felt "a sense of guilt" over his tough stance against gun control.
"Where I think we have the guilt is we see a huge problem like this -- and it's a problem that's happening in other countries as well -- and we look for something that, okay, what can prevent it?" Kingston explained. "And I think that's where we need to go with this discussion is, yes, put gun control -- more gun control -- on the table. But, also, don't forget the mental health element. Don't forget, is there a home situation that we need to learn more about? Was this young man addicted to violent video games? Was there a Hollywood influence? I think that we can't just stop at guns."
Roberts observed that many pro-gun Democrats had recently changed their tune and that the Republicans were in danger of being the party of "the people that defend Glocks" if they continued to oppose meaningful gun restrictions.
"What also is disturbing though is people would say, do the Republicans -- I mean, here we have a town, which was controlled in the House by Democrats, in the Senate by Democrats and the White House by Democrats for two years and nothing took place for stricter gun control laws," Kingston insisted. "So, for the partisans in our country to already start injecting politics in here, that saddens me further."
"Now, we have to remember that Connecticut has the the fifth toughest gun control laws in the country, including an assault weapon ban that bans 35 different weapons," he added. "The weapon that was used was not an assault weapon, therefore it wasn't banned."
The MSNBC host pointed out that Kingston had gotten an A rating from the NRA because he had voted against gun regulations for years -- including opposing the Brady Handgun Bill, supporting a partial repeal of the D.C. firearm ban, opposing restrictions on semi-automatic assault weapons and voting to decrease waiting periods.
"None of the policy issues which you just ticked off would have prevented [Connecticut shooter] Adam Lanza from doing this," the Georgia Republican opined. "And it's very sad that we want to cloud the issue by making NRA the policy as opposed to Adam Lanza and what triggers this off."
"We need to just be complacent in the fact that we can send our children to school to be assassinated?" Roberts wondered.
"I think if we want to have a reasonable discussion, we have to look at what happened in Germany with all the gun control laws, it didn't prevent anything," Kingston asserted. "What happened in Connecticut, the fifth toughest gun control law in the country? It did not prevent anything. So, what I'm saying, you can't just stop at guns. You have to look at mental health. What about having a toll-free number for people who have somebody like an Adam Lanza in the house, where there may be some red flags that they could say, 'I'm concerned that my son may have a tendency towards violence or insane acts. What do I do?'"
"I think at this point we need to come together as a nation instead of start pulling off in separate camps."
From this week's Fox News Sunday, Bloody Bill Kristol tells host Chris Wallace that "everything should be on the table" and we need some "serious hearings" on gun control in the United States after this tragic shooting at the elementary school in Connecticut this week, as long as that doesn't include anything different than what the Republicans support already. He's right there with the more guns will keep us safer crowd here, no matter how he's trying to spin this.
They can have all the hearings they want, but if our politicians are going to continue to be beholden to the nut job running the NRA right now, nothing's going to change and Kristol knows it. That didn't stop him from trying to pretend like he thinks the Republicans should make some meaningful compromises on the issue of gun control as he did here:
WALLACE: Bill, let’s look at this from the Republican point of view. Will Republicans -- should Republicans change or modify their strong opposition to gun control, especially -- not the right to bear arms but, especially on the question of these weapons of mass destruction? You know, as I say, the handgun that could fire five bullets in a second, the magazines 100 rounds. Should Republicans consider giving on that issue?
KRISTOL: I think Republicans and everyone else should take a serious look at what might work. And I think the speaker could well ask the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee to hold hearings, but hold serious hearings, about what would work. Don’t do something symbolic like the assault weapons ban, which did no good and made everyone feel good and ended up evaporating and couldn’t be sustained even in a Democratic -- wasn’t restored when the Democrats controlled everything in 2009, 2010.
So I’m totally open to having serious -- and there’s a lot of social science research on gun control. I don’t think it’s very favorable to most efforts of gun control, and I think -- but everything has to be on the table, too. Is it sensible to have gun- free zones? Maybe elementary -- maybe the money would be better spent having security guards than having, you know, new background checks in a case where this -- the purchase of the guns in this case passed background checks.
Connecticut’s a pretty liberal state. I believe the Democratic Party controls all the branches of government in Connecticut. They chose not to ban the things we’re talking about, I guess, right? They could have, couldn’t they?
EASTON: State laws are useless. I mean, you can order things online now. I mean, it’s, sort of...
WALLACE: He did buy them in the state...
KRISTOL: I’m just saying, let’s have an honest debate. Let’s have a debate about privacy laws and mental health. But I do think the Republican Party shouldn’t be in the position of saying you can’t even discuss this, and I think the speaker could easily ask, since they control one house of Congress -- Senator Reid could do this on the other side, and so they’d have serious hearings about the legal issues and the public policy issues.
In the wake of the elementary school shooting in Newton, CT, Sen. Dianne Feinstein told Meet the Press host David Gregory that she plans to introduce a bill that would ban military style assault weapons on the first day of the new Congress.
FEINSTEIN: I can tell you that he is going to have a bill to lead on, because of this first day bill I'm going to introduce in the Senate and the same bill will be introduced in the House – a bill to ban assault weapons. It will ban the sale, transfer, the importation and the possession, not retroactively, but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than ten bullets. So there will be a bill. We've been working on it now for a year.
We tried to take my bill from '94-2004 and perfect it. We believe we have. We exempt over 900 specific weapons that will not fall under the bill. But the purpose of this bill is to get just what Mayor Bloomberg said, weapons of war off the streets of our cities.
Feinstein brushed off the notion that it would not be possible to get the legislation through the Congress, noting that it had been done before in the face of stiff opposition and that she expected President Obama lend his support to the bill.
I guess time will tell. If having a member of Congress who is one of their own shot in the head wasn't enough to make the lot of them get over their fear of the NRA, I'm not sure if this shooting will finally be the straw that broke the camel's back or not. We're about to find out.