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Obama Announces Proposed Rule Changes for Gun Background Checks

The White House today announced two actions pertaining to gun purchases. One is a rule change that expands the definition of a mentally defective person prohibited from possessing a gun. The second is an HHS regulation that expands the information HIPPA-covered entities can provide to NICS, the federal background checking system.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is proposing a regulation to clarify who is prohibited from possessing a firearm under federal law for reasons related to mental health, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is issuing a proposed regulation to address barriers preventing states from submitting limited information on those persons to the federal background check system.

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DOJ Report: Gun Murders Down 39% From 1993-2011

The Department of Justice's latest report on gun violence by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows a 39% drop in gun murders from 1993 to 2011. Non-fatal gun crimes are down 69%.

In 2011, homicides made up about 2% of all firearm-related crimes. During the same period, gun sales increased. Also, 60% of state inmates charged with gun crimes obtained their guns legally. Only 2% got their guns at a gun show:

60 percent of state prison inmates arrested for a gun-related crime obtained their guns legally: 37 percent from family or friends, 10 percent from a retail or pawn shop and just 2 percent from a gun show or flea market.

The full report is here.

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Gun Control Bill Defeated in Senate

The Senate today rejected new gun control measures.

Among the measures that failed: One that banned high-capacity magazines with more than ten rounds, one that banned rapid-firing "assault" weapons and one calling for expanded background checks.

The vote was 54-46 vote, and 60 votes were needed.

While I'm glad the bills failed, I think it was a mistake by Obama to keep bringing out the Sandy Hook survivors in support of his plan.

It's also clear from Boston that gun laws won't stop horrific acts of violence or terrorism. If guns aren't available, anyone bent on mayhem will find another way to commit it. Bombs have a greater destructive potential than guns. [More....]

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A 15 Year Old's Testimony on Gun Control Laws

Gun control legislation is on the agenda for the Senate tomorrow. Here's an opposing view from a 15 year old.

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CO Sheriffs Hold Gun Rights Rally Before Obama's Visit

Hours before President Obama arrives to give a speech advocating gun control, more than a dozen Colorado sheriffs held a rally supporting gun rights.

"While these dedicated county sheriffs stand here publicly for the rights of their citizens, the president later today will be hiding behind the walls at the Denver Police Academy, surrounding with a handpicked audience of gun-control supporters and police employees coerced (into attending) his political rally as he declares victory for the Denver Gov. John Hickenlooper," Smith added.

Smith accused Obama and fellow Democrats of exploiting the tragedies of deadly shooting rampages at an Aurora movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He said a package of Colorado gun control legislation recently passed by Democratic lawmakers and signed by Hickenlooper would not have prevented those mass shootings.

Colorado just passed new gun control laws last week. Obama is trying to drum up support for changes to federal laws. I doubt he'll get it from Republicans here.

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Colorado's New Gun Control Laws Effective July 1

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper's spokesman said today he will sign the new gun control laws passed by the legislature into law. Colorado will now have among the most restrictive laws in the country.

The Colorado laws include a ban on ammunition magazines that can carry more than 15 rounds, and eight shotgun shells. The bill on background checks expands the requirement to sales and transfers between private parties and online purchases.

Two laws that didn't make it: "a new liability standard for gun owners and sellers, and a ban on concealed weapons on public college campuses."

A few more are still under consideration: [More...]

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Colorado House Passes Four Gun Control Bills

After hours of debate yesterday, the Democrat- controlled House in Colorado passed four gun control bills on a voice vote:

  • House Bill 1224: Limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds.
  • House Bill 1229: Requires universal background checks for gun sales or transfers.
  • House Bill 1228: Requires gun customers to pay the costs of their criminal background checks by the Bureau of Investigation.
  • House Bill 1226: Outlaws concealed-carry permit holders to pack heat in campus buildings.

The official vote will be Monday. The bills then move to the Senate. [More...]

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Senate Hearing on Gun Issues

The Senate is holding a hearing on guns today. Here's a recap from The Atlantic.

Here's who is speaking and their positions.

David Koppel of Colorado is one of the speakers. He is the Research Director for the Independence Institute in Golden, Colorado, an Associate Policy Analyst for the Cato Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Advanced Constitutional Law at the Univ. of Denver Law School. I recommend his prepared testimony, available here. (All of the prepared statements are accessible here.

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Colo. Sheriffs Oppose Obama's Gun Control Measures

The Colorado Sheriff's Association, which represents Colorado's 62 elected County Sheriffs, has come out swinging against President Obama's executive orders on gun control. The Sheriffs also oppose assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazine bans. Their position paper is here.

The Sheriff's say (and I agree) the tragedies of Sandy Hook and Aurora, Colorado should not be used as a "backdrop" for gun control laws.

CSOC will not waver on our defense of the Constitution, and will stand to preserve every constituent's right to possess a firearm. We believe the Second Amendment is no less important than the other nine Amendments contained in the Bill of Rights.[More...]

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Obama Releases Gun Control Plan

President Obama today released his gun control plan.

Obama's plan calls on Congress to renew a prohibition on assault weapons sales that expired in 2004, a requirement for criminal background checks on all gun purchases, including closing a loophole for gun show sales, and a new federal gun trafficking law - long sought by big-city mayors to keep out-of-state guns off their streets.

He also announced 23 steps he intends to take immediately without congressional approval. These include improvements in the existing system for background checks, lifting the ban on federal research into gun violence, putting more counselors and "resource officers" in schools and better access to mental health services.

Obama also named Todd Jones will be the chief of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, "quietly abandoning Andrew Traver." The cost of Obama's plan: $500 million.

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Biden Thinks Executive Orders Can Effect Gun Control

Joe Biden today:

"There are executive orders, executive action that can be taken. We haven't decided what that is yet," Biden said, adding that Obama is conferring with Attorney General Eric Holder on potential action.

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Gun Sales Continue to Surge, Fears of New Gun Laws Cited

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Paper Criticized for Publishing Home Addresses of Gun Owners

The Journal News, a Westchester County, NY paper, has stirred a lot of outrage over its publication this week of a map with the names and home addresses of those with permits for handguns. The story's headline was "Where are the Guns in Your Neighborhood?" Here is the interactive map.

Since that's where I grew up, I went right to my old neighborhood and clicked on all the dots. While it brought a sense of nostalgia, it also felt like a complete privacy intrusion.

Are gun owners now going to be stigmatized like sex offenders?

The Journal News defends its publication decision here. [More...]

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David Gregory Investigated for Possessing Ammunition Magazine

The top news story of the day seems to be that DC police are investigating NBC's David Gregory for a show and tell of a high capacity ammunition clip magazine on Meet the Press. Apparently, NBC asked for permission to show the magazine and was denied. Under DC law, such magazines are illegal to possess.

On a related topic, this November, 2012 Congressional Research Service Report explains our current federal gun laws and recent legislative efforts to change them.

USA Today has released the results of a new poll conducted with Gallup on Americans' views on gun control.

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Obama Names Task Force for Gun Law Changes

President Obama has named Joe Biden to lead a new task force on gun violence.

Obama said Wednesday that he supports the Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms, and highlighted the nation’s strong tradition of gun ownership. Yet, he said, the country’s leaders need to find ways to keep “weapons of war” out of the hands of the irresponsible few.

“There is a big chunk of space between what the Second Amendment means and having no rules at all, and that space is what Joe’s going to be working on to try to identify where we’ll find some common ground,” Obama said.

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