“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”
NO CHECK. NO GUN.
For forty years we have prohibited felons and other dangerous people from buying or possessing guns. In 1994, we passed the Brady Law, putting an end to the days when criminals could “lie and buy” guns from dealers without a background check. The Brady Law requires that every person who wishes to buy a gun from a licensed gun seller undergo a background check to make sure that the buyer is not a criminal or other prohibited person. Brady background checks have been a resounding success. Background checks prevent dangerous people from arming themselves with guns from licensed dealers, without preventing law-abiding citizens from buying firearms, and they generally take only minutes.
However, the Brady background check system has a major gap. Because it requires background checks only for gun sales by licensed dealers, criminals can obtain guns with no questions asked from unlicensed sellers, as they are allowed to sell guns without conducting a check in most states. About 40% of gun sales are made without a background check to see if the purchaser is a criminal or otherwise prohibited from buying guns. In effect, we have two gun markets: A regulated one, where buyers are checked to see if they can legally buy guns, and an unregulated one, where they are not.
Why do we allow this unregulated system of no-check gun sales to flourish in this country? By requiring background checks on only about 60% of gun sales, with the rest almost completely unregulated, we make it too easy for dangerous people to obtain dangerous weapons. This leads to senseless gun violence harming tens of thousands of people, year after year. Imagine if we applied this same irrational policy to the sale of controlled drugs, where prescriptions were required for purchasing drugs from pharmacies, but drugs also could be legally sold by “unlicensed sellers” without a prescription, no questions asked. Or if airports only screened 60% of airline passengers and allowed anyone who wanted to pass through unscreened. Such loopholes would not be tolerated. Indeed, when gaps in those systems have been identified, the government has taken swift steps to close them.
The no-check loophole only helps criminals and other prohibited purchasers, and those who supply them with guns. We are long overdue for instituting the rational policy of requiring a background check before any gun is sold.
Not surprisingly, the no-check loophole has been exploited as a major supply source for criminals who want guns. Criminals purchase guns directly from private no-check sellers at gun shows and elsewhere with no questions asked. Also, gun traffickers buy
No Check. No Gun.
Recent US Mass Shootings: 2012 Aurora shooting, Columbine High School massacre, Fort Hood shooting, Oikos University shooting, Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, 2011 Seal Beach shooting, 2011 Tucson shooting, Virginia Tech massacre, Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting
List of US School Shootings
Senate approval controversy
The job of ATF director has required Senate confirmation only since 2006, but that has never happened, leaving the agency in the hands of acting directors.
The National Rifle Association of America strongly opposes President Obama’s nomination of Andrew Traver as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE). Traver has been deeply aligned with gun control advocates and anti-gun activities. This makes him the wrong choice to lead an enforcement agency that has almost exclusive oversight and control over the firearms industry, its retailers and consumers. Further, an important nomination such as BATFE director should not be made as a ‘recess appointment,’ in order to circumvent consent by the American people through their duly-elected U.S. Senators. Traver served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police’s (IACP) ‘Gun Violence Reduction Project,’ a ‘partnership’ with the Joyce Foundation. Both IACP and the Joyce Foundation are names synonymous with promoting a variety of gun control schemes at the federal and state levels. Most of the individuals involved in this project were prominent gun control activists and lobbyists.
“The bottom line is the gun lobby will oppose any nominee who promises to be a strong and effective director of the ATF,” said Dennis Henigan, vice president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Indeed, it was persistent lobbying by the NRA. that helped to get the confirmation requirement instated. In 2007, Bush nominated Mike Sullivan for the position, a U.S. Attorney from Boston with a good reputation, but Republican Sens. Larry Craig and Michael D. Crapo, both from Idaho, blocked his confirmation after complaints from an Idaho gun dealer. In 2010, Obama nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Denver division, to fill the top spot, but the Senate is yet to hold his confirmation hearings as of December 26, 2012.
UPDATE: 7/31/13 Senate Dems approves Obama’s ATF nominee
FLASHBACK: Obama: I Have Expanded Rights of Gun Owners
Dec 17, 2012 1:38pm Devin Dwyer – abcnews
Two months after the January 2011 Tucson shooting, President Obama put into writing the same pledge he made last night in Newtown, Conn. “We have a responsibility to do everything we can to put a stop to” tragedies from gun violence, he said in an op-ed in the Arizona Star.
But in the next sentence, Obama adds this caveat, shedding light on his approach to guns:
“Like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms,” he wrote. “And, in fact, my administration has not curtailed the rights of gun owners — it has expanded them.”
In his first month in office, Obama overturned a 20-year ban on loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.
Licensed gun owners from any state can now carry concealed, loaded weapons on federal land.
Ten months later, as part of an omnibus spending bill, Obama reversed a decade-long ban on transporting firearms by train. Amtrak travelers can now carry unloaded, locked weapons in their checked baggage.
These actions, and others, are what earned Obama an “F” from the Brady Center for Gun Violence in 2010 for “extraordinary silence and passivity” on gun control. But Obama saw the moves differently.
“The fact is, almost all gun owners in America are highly responsible,” Obama wrote in the Star. “They’re our friends and neighbors. They buy their guns legally and use them safely, whether for hunting or target shooting, collection or protection. And that’s something that gun-safety advocates need to accept.”
This outlook offers insight into how the administration will approach what Obama described as the need for “meaningful action” in the aftermath of the Newtown massacre last week.
As president, Obama has always emphasized the need to keep guns out of the wrong hands, rather than restrict the availability of guns or gun parts themselves. In his few public comments on the issue as president, Obama has called for enforcement of existing laws and improvements to the national background check system.
The background check system “hasn’t been properly implemented. It relies on data supplied by states – but that data is often incomplete and inadequate,” Obama wrote in his March 2011 op-ed. “We should in fact reward the states that provide the best data – and therefore do the most to protect our citizens… we should make the system faster and nimbler.
“We should provide an instant, accurate, comprehensive and consistent system for background checks to sellers who want to do the right thing, and make sure that criminals can’t escape it,” he wrote.
Experts say that beefing up the system — and improving its ability to catch mental illness among potential gun buyers — is something that Obama could do right away via executive order. One proposal includes directing more state or federal agencies with knowledge of a person’s mental competency or drug use to funnel that information into one, central background check system.
Other gun control proposals that Obama has endorsed, such as requiring background checks for gun sales at trade shows or banning the sale of assault weapons, would require Congressional approval. In spite of six major shootings on his watch, Obama has not publicly pushed for a renewal of an assault weapons ban or new restrictions on high-capacity magazines.
Gun Violence Reduction Task Force
* Last week President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.
* On January 9th and 10th Vice President Biden’s meets with 229 groups that include victims groups, gun safety organizations, advocates for sportsmen and women, gun ownership groups and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries on how to prevent shooting massacres, and limit gun violence.
..Other White House representatives also held meetings:
..Secretary Duncan meets with representatives from parent, teacher, and education groups.
..Secretary Sebelius meets with mental health and disability advocates.
..Senior White House staff meets with a variety of stakeholders, including medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, faith leaders, and others.
* On January 16th President Obama will hold a news conference on gun violence reduction proposals.
Kids Write Letters to Obama on Gun Control
1/16/13 By Jonathan Karl | ABC OTUS News –
This morning the White House released handwritten letters to the President from some of the children who will be at the White House when President Obama unveils his plan to prevent gun violence. The kids offer their own ideas on gun control – ideas that go significantly further than the President’s plan.
Eight-year-old Grant from Maryland, writes the President, “there should be some changes in the law with guns. It’s a free country, but I recommend there needs be [sic] a limit with guns.”
Grant’s ideas: “Please don’t let people own machine guns or other powerful guns like that. I think there should be a good reason to get a gun. There should be a limit about [sic] how many guns a person can own.”
“Even though I am not scared for my own safety, I am scared for others,” writes Eleven-year-old Julia from Washington, DC. “My opinion is it should be very hard for people to buy guns.”
Julia continues: “I beg you to work very hard to make guns not allowed, not just for me, but for the whole United States.”
Ten year-old Taejah is less specific. “I am very sad about the children who lost their lives in Conn.,” he writes. “So I thought I would write to you to STOP gun violence. Thank you, Mr. President.”
The President’s Plan to Reduce Gun Violence
On January 15, 2013, Vice President Biden delivered his policy proposals to President Obama. The package of recommendations, released publicly January 16, 2013, details ways we can help keep guns out of the wrong hands, make our schools safer, and increase access to mental health services.
On January 16, 2013 President Obama spoke on his policies to reduce gun violence. Here are some key points of his speech:
• Require background checks for all gun sales
• Strengthen the background check system for gun sales
• Pass a new, stronger ban on assault weapons
• Limit ammunition magazines to 10 rounds
• Finish the job of getting armor-piercing bullets off the streets
• Give law enforcement additional tools to prevent and prosecute gun crime
• End the freeze on gun violence research
• Make our schools safer with new resource officers and counselors, better emergency response plans, and more nurturing school climates
• Ensure quality coverage of mental health treatment, particularly for young people
No single law – or even set of laws – can prevent every act of violence in our country. But the fact that this problem is complex can not be an excuse for inaction.
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013
Call your US Congressional Representative and tell them to vote YES on sensible gun reforms.
Supreme Court rules on ‘straw purchaser’ law
6/16/14 10 minutes ago By SAM HANANEL – Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal ban on “straw” purchases of guns can be enforced even if the ultimate buyer is legally allowed to own a gun.
The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to a relative in Pennsylvania who was not prohibited from owning firearms.
The ruling settles a split among appeals courts over federal gun laws intended to prevent sham buyers from obtaining guns for the sole purpose of giving them to another person. The laws were part of Congress’ effort to make sure firearms did not get into the hands of unlawful recipients.
Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. Those provisions would mean little, she said, if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun and fill out the paperwork.
Kagan’s opinion was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often considered the court’s swing vote, as well as liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.
In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the language of the law does not support making it a crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner. He was joined by the court’s other conservatives — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.
The case began after Bruce James Abramski, Jr. bought a Glock 19 handgun in Collinsville, Virginia, in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Easton, Pennsylvania. Abramski, a former police officer, had assured the Virginia dealer he was the “actual buyer” of the weapon even though he had already offered to buy the gun for his uncle using a police discount.
Abramski purchased the gun three days after his uncle had written him a check for $400 with “Glock 19 handgun” written in the memo line. During the transaction, he answered “yes” on a federal form asking “Are you the actual transferee buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”
Police later arrested Abramski after they thought he was involved in a bank robbery in Rocky Mount, Virginia. No charges were ever filed on the bank robbery, but officials charged him with making false statements about the purchase of the gun.
A federal district judge rejected Abramski’s argument that he was not a straw purchaser because his uncle was eligible to buy firearms and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.
The Obama administration had argued that accepting Abramski’s defense would impair the ability of law enforcement officials to trace firearms involved in crimes and keep weapons away from people who are not eligible to buy them. The administration said that even if the purchase is made on behalf of someone eligible to buy a firearm, the purpose of the law is frustrated since Congress requires the gun dealers — not purchasers — to run federal background checks on people buying guns.
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