Mandatory Background Check, Ban Assault Weapons & ATF Director


The second amendment of the US Constitution is:

“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.

bradycenter.org

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.

For more: http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/no-check-no-gun-report.pdf

Firearm Background Checks Stats

Recent US Mass Shootings2012 Aurora shootingColumbine High School massacreFort Hood shootingOikos University shootingSandy Hook Elementary School shooting2011 Seal Beach shooting,  2011 Tucson shootingVirginia Tech massacreWisconsin Sikh temple shooting

List of US School Shootings
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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.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Alcohol,_Tobacco,_Firearms_and_Explosives#Senate_approval_controvers

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UPDATE:  7/31/13 Senate Dems approves Obama’s ATF nominee

 

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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.

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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

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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.”

ABC OTUS News - Kids Write Letters to Obama on Gun Control (ABC News)

ABC OTUS News – Kids Write Letters to Obama on Gun Control (ABC News)

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:

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• 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

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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

Presidential Memorandum — Tracing of Firearms in Connection with Criminal Investigations

January 16, 2013

Presidential Memorandum — Engaging in Public Health Research on the Causes and Prevention of Gun Violence

January 16, 2013

Presidential Memorandum — Improving Availability of Relevant Executive Branch Records to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System

January 16, 2013

Presidential Memorandum — Engaging in Public Health Research on the Causes and Prevention of Gun Violence

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4/9 - Gun vote set for Thursday as Democrats beat back GOP-led filibuster

Contact your legislator Call your US Congressional Representative  and tell them to vote YES on sensible gun reforms.

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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.

 

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-rules-straw-purchaser-law-140713053–finance.html 

 

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70 Responses to Mandatory Background Check, Ban Assault Weapons & ATF Director

  1. CR says:

    WH

    Wednesday, January 16, 2013

    All Times Eastern

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    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

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    President Obama and Vice President Biden Unveil Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence
    The White House

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  2. CR says:

    What I believe:

    1) That any adult deemed mentally stable should undergo a mandatory background check prior to possesion of a firearm.

    2) That there should be a national firearm database so as to aid in accessing the selling, purchasing and distruction information of every firearm.

    3) A ban on assault weapons and high capacity magazines

    4) That Congress should quickly confirm a director for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. (The agency has been without a director since 2006 & Congress has avoided a vote on PBO’s 2010 nomination)

  3. CR says:

    President Obama Highlights Need for Improvements to Background Check System

    Posted on Friday, July 27th, 2012 smartgunlaws.org

    On Wednesday, July 25, in a speech to the Urban League in New Orleans, President Obama broke his silence on America’s gun violence epidemic and the need for significant improvements to our nation’s firearms laws. In his remarks, the president highlighted the severe dangers posed by gaps in the federal background check system and easy access to assault rifles.

    We agree with the president, that a person’s criminal record should checked before every gun purchase. Right now, however, that simply isn’t happening. As the graphic below indicates, the federal background check requirement does not apply to private sales of firearms, which account for about 40% of all gun sales in America every year. That means that it is far too easy for convicted criminals, the mentally ill, and other dangerous people to gain access to firearms.

    For more: http://smartgunlaws.org/president-obama-highlights-need-for-improvements-to-background-check-system/

    • CR says:

      NO CHECK. NO GUN.

      bradycenter.org

      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.

      For more: http://www.bradycenter.org/xshare/pdf/reports/no-check-no-gun-report.pdf

    • CR says:

      Preventing Gun Violence in Our Nation

      January 13, 2013 By Neera Tanden, Winnie Stachelberg, Arkadi Gerney, and Danielle Baussan – americanprogress.org’

      After last month’s senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut—in which 20 children and 6 adults were shot and killed—we need to immediately address the gaps in our current law that enable mass shootings, as well as the everyday shootings that on average claim the lives of 33 Americans each day.

      In this issue brief we recommend 13 legislative proposals and executive actions to prevent gun violence in our nation. These actions are targeted in the following three key areas:

      * Better background checks
      * Taking military-grade weapons off the streets and out of criminals’ hands
      * Better data, better coordination, and better enforcement

      For more: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/civil-liberties/report/2013/01/13/49510/preventing-gun-violence-in-our-nation/

    • CR says:

      Polls show strong support for new gun laws

      Jan 15, 2013 7:59 AM ESTBy Steve Benen – maddowblog

      The White House is set to release a series of recommendations from Vice President Biden’s task force on gun violence, which will no doubt face intense criticism from groups like the NRA and their allies. But two new polls suggest that a month after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, there’s a growing public appetite for meaningful gun reform.

      A Pew Research Center report released late yesterday found a majority of Americans support a wide variety of new measures, some by enormous margins. For example, 85% of Americans favor making private gun sales and sales at gun shows subject to background checks, while 80% support laws to prevent mentally ill people from purchasing guns.

      It’s worth emphasizing that in our current political climate, 80% of Americans don’t agree on much, but they at least agree on measures like these.

      What’s more, two-thirds of Americans (67%) favor creating a federal database to track gun sales. In a bit of a surprise, nearly as many people (64%) support having more armed security in schools, boosted by large numbers of self-identified Republicans backing the idea.

      Indeed, there are, not surprisingly, significant partisan divides on most of the proposals, with Democrats and Republicans more likely to back new measures than Republicans. That said, looking through the results, it’s hard not to notice that GOP voters are not reflexively opposed to new gun laws — among Republicans, 49% support a federal database, 49% support a ban on semi-automatic weapons, and 46% support a ban on high-capacity ammunition clips.

      Obviously, those are short of majorities, but the point is, nearly a majority of Republicans support new limits that are likely to be proposed in Washington, suggesting a mainstream consensus is coalescing around a set of sensible new restrictions.

      For more: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/01/15/16523822-polls-show-strong-support-for-new-gun-laws

    • CR says:

      Michael Bloomberg group’s gun-control scorecard will give lawmakers letter grades

      April 8, 2013 By Philip Rucker, washingtonpost

      New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, one of the nation’s most committed and deep-pocketed gun-control proponents, is ratcheting up pressure on lawmakers by launching a new system to grade them based on their votes and statements on gun issues.

      Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the nonprofit group financed by Bloomberg (I), will unveil a scoring system Tuesday to award lawmakers grades of A through F, much like the National Rifle Association, which has derived much of its power by deploying letter rankings against politicians at election time. The group’s strategists briefed The Washington Post on the plans ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.

      “For decades, the NRA has done an admirable job of tracking to minute detail how members of Congress stand on gun bills. We’ve simply decided to do the same,” said Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which is chaired by Bloomberg and is made up of more than 900 mayors from across the country.

      This is Bloomberg’s latest move to establish his organization as a counterweight to the influential NRA and to create legislative momentum on Capitol Hill around President Obama’s proposals to toughen the nation’s gun laws.

      Mayors Against Illegal Guns will start airing a 60-second ad on Tuesday featuring Neil Heslin, whose son, Jesse Lewis, was killed in December’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. The group is spending more than $1 million to air the ad on cable news in Washington and on television stations in 10 targeted states, officials said.

      The group is targeting Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Daniel Coats (R-Ind.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Kay Hagan (D-N.C.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) and Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.).

      For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/michael-bloomberg-groups-gun-control-scorecard-will-give-lawmakers-letter-grades/2013/04/08/a1ab3c0c-a09f-11e2-82bc-511538ae90a4_story.html

      • CR says:

        More Senators Vote To Loosen Gun Laws Than Tighten Them

        APRIL 18, 2013, 11:10 AM 4654  SAHIL KAPUR - tpmFifty-seven senators voted Wednesday to dramatically expand gun rights after the background check legislation was scuttled, a sign that even amid the most concerted gun control push in two decades, there remains more Senate support for loosening gun laws than tightening them.

        The National Rifle Association-backed measure, brought by Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) as an amendment to gun legislation, would have made a concealed carry permit in one state valid in other states. In other words, if it passed, California would be forced to let someone carry a concealed weapon in public if they were permitted to do so, say, by the state of Kansas.

        The bill failed as it was subject to a filibuster-proof 60 vote threshold, like all amendments. But thirteen Democrats joined all but one Republican (Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk) in voting for it. It received more votes than background check legislation, which would have modestly tightened the nation’s gun laws and managed to find 55 supporters.

        “This amendment would wreak havoc in large portions of America — suburban and urban areas,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said just before the vote on Cornyn’s amendment. “Because there are no residency requirements, criminals from all states could go to states, Florida is one, get a concealed carry permit and legally — criminals, felons — concealed carry in other states.”

        “Let Wyoming do what they want to do on concealed carry, but don’t impose that on New York, and vice versa,” he said.

        Cornyn said his legislation was “designed to protect the fundamental Second Amendment rights of American citizens who are traveling or temporarily away from home while they hold a concealed handgun license.” He called it “background checks on steroids.”

        Pro-gun proponents love the measure. Similar legislation was brought in 2009 by Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and received 58 votes. Democratic leaders worked hard to ensure its defeat this time around, worrying that its inclusion could poison and likely scuttle the final legislation.

        Along with the Cornyn measure Wednesday, well over a majority of senators also voted for amendments offered by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) that contained provisions gun control advocates feared would weaken gun safety laws. By contrast, fewer than a majority of senators to ban assault weapons or restrict high-capacity ammunition clips.

        The votes reveal that the filibuster, shortly after killing expanded background checks supported by 90 percent of the public, worked to protect a priority of the gun control side.

        Fifty-five senators supported the background check bill. The final tally was 54-46 because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), switched his vote to no in the last minute to reserve the right to bring up the bill again, which he later pledged to keep fighting for.

      • CR says:

        April 17, 2013

        Statement by the President

        Rose Garden

        5:35 P.M. EDT

        MR. BARDEN: Hello. My name is Mark Barden. Just four months ago, my wife Jackie and I lost our son, and our children, James and Natalie, they lost their little brother Daniel. Daniel was a first-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our sweet, 7-year-old Daniel was one of 20 children, six adults lost on December 14th. I have to say it feels like it was just yesterday.

        In our deepest grief, we were supported by the love of our families and comforted by the love and prayers we received from millions of America, from every corner of the country.

        What happened in Newtown can happen anywhere. In any instant, any dad in America could be in my shoes. No one should feel the pain. No one should feel our pain or the pain felt by the tens of thousands of people who’ve lost loved ones to senseless gun violence.

        And that’s why we’re here. Two weeks ago, 12 of us from Newtown came to meet with U.S. senators and have a conversation about how to bring common-sense solutions to the issues of gun violence. We came with a sense of hope, optimistic that real conversation could begin that would ultimately save the lives of so many Americans. We met with dozens of Democrats and Republicans and shared with them pictures of our children, our spouses, our parents who lost their lives on December 14th.

        Expanded background checks wouldn’t have saved our loved ones, but still we came to support the bipartisan proposal from two senators, both with “A” ratings from the NRA — a common-sense proposal supported by 90 percent of Americans. It‘s a proposal that will save lives without interfering with the rights of responsible, law-abiding gun owners.

        We’ll return home now, disappointed but not defeated. We return home with the determination that change will happen — maybe not today, but it will happen. It will happen soon. We’ve always known this would be a long road, and we don’t have the luxury of turning back. We will keep moving forward and build public support for common-sense solutions in the areas of mental health, school safety, and gun safety.

        We take strength from the children and loved ones that we lost, and we carry a great faith in the American people.

        On behalf of the Sandy Hook Promise, I would like to thank President Obama, Vice President Biden for their leadership and for standing strong and continuing to fight for a safer America. I would like to thank Senators Toomey, Manchin, Schumer and Kirk on coming together to seek common ground on legislation that would keep guns out of the hands of criminals and save lives.

        And I would like to thank Connecticut’s Senators Blumenthal and Murphy. They’ve been right with us. They stood by us right from the very beginning. From the first few hours after this tragedy they were with us.

        We will not be defeated. We are not defeated, and we will not be defeated. We are here now; we will always be here because we have no other choice. We are not going away. And every day, as more people are killed in this country because of gun violence, our determination grows stronger.

        We leave Washington hoping that others, both here and across the country, will join us in making the Sandy Hook Promise, a pledge that we’d had great hope that more U.S. senators would take literally. I’d like to end by repeating the words with which the Sandy Hook Promise begins: Our hearts are broken. Our spirit is not.

        For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/04/17/statement-president

        • CR says:

          Obama taking action on gun background check system

          4/19/13 By NEDRA PICKLER | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago

          WASHINGTON (AP) — Blocked by Congress from expanding gun sale background checks, President Barack Obama is turning to actions within his own power to keep people from buying a gun who are prohibited for mental health reasons.

          Federal law bans certain mentally ill people from purchasing firearms, but not all states are providing data to stop the prohibited sales to the FBI’s background check system. A federal review last year found 17 states contributed fewer than 10 mental health records to the database, meaning many deemed by a judge to be a danger still could have access to guns.

          The Obama administration was starting a process Friday aimed at removing barriers in health privacy laws that prevent some states from reporting information to the background check system. The action comes two days after the Senate rejected a measure that would have required buyers of firearms online and at gun shows to pass a background check. That’s already required for shoppers at licensed gun dealers.

          For more: http://news.yahoo.com/obama-taking-action-gun-background-check-system-100127550–politics.html

    • CR says:

      April 13, 2013

      Weekly Address: Sandy Hook Victim’s Mother Calls for Commonsense Gun Responsibility Reforms

      The White House

      Remarks of Francine Wheeler
      The President’s Weekly Address

      Hi. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m not the President. I’m just a citizen. And as a citizen, I’m here at the White House today because I want to make a difference and I hope you will join me.

      My name is Francine Wheeler. My husband David is with me. We live in Sandy Hook, Connecticut.

      David and I have two sons. Our older son Nate, soon to be 10 years old, is a fourth grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Our younger son, Ben, age six, was murdered in his first-grade classroom on December 14th, exactly 4 months ago this weekend.

      David and I lost our beloved son, but Nate lost his best friend. On what turned out to be the last morning of his life, Ben told me, quite out of the blue, “ I still want to be an architect, Mama, but I also want to be a paleontologist, because that’s what Nate is going to be and I want to do everything Nate does.”

      Ben’s love of fun and his excitement at the wonders of life were unmatched His boundless energy kept him running across the soccer field long after the game was over. He couldn’t wait to get to school every morning. He sang with perfect pitch and had just played at his third piano recital. Irrepressibly bright and spirited, Ben experienced life at full tilt.

      Until that morning. 20 of our children, and 6 of our educators – gone. Out of the blue.

      I’ve heard people say that the tidal wave of anguish our country felt on 12/14 has receded. But not for us. To us, it feels as if it happened just yesterday. And in the four months since we lost our loved ones, thousands of other Americans have died at the end of a gun. Thousands of other families across the United States are also drowning in our grief.

      Please help us do something before our tragedy becomes your tragedy.

      Sometimes, I close my eyes and all I can remember is that awful day waiting at the Sandy Hook Volunteer Firehouse for the boy who would never come home – the same firehouse that was home to Ben’s Tiger Scout Den 6. But other times, I feel Ben’s presence filling me with courage for what I have to do – for him and all the others taken from us so violently and too soon.

      We have to convince the Senate to come together and pass commonsense gun responsibility reforms that will make our communities safer and prevent more tragedies like the one we never thought would happen to us.

      When I packed for Washington on Monday, it looked like the Senate might not act at all. Then, after the President spoke in Hartford, and a dozen of us met with Senators to share our stories, more than two-thirds of the Senate voted to move forward.

      But that’s only the start. They haven’t yet passed any bills that will help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people. And a lot of people are fighting to make sure they never do.

      Now is the time to act. Please join us. You can talk to your Senator, too. Or visit WhiteHouse.gov to find out how you can join the President and get involved.

      Help this be the moment when real change begins. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    • CR says:

      August 29, 2013

      FACT SHEET: New Executive Actions to Reduce Gun Violence

      Today, the Obama administration announced two new common-sense executive actions to keep the most dangerous firearms out of the wrong hands and ban almost all re-imports of military surplus firearms to private entities. These executive actions build on the 23 executive actions that the Vice President recommended as part of the comprehensive gun violence reduction plan and the President unveiled on January 16, 2013.

      Even as Congress fails to act on common-sense proposals, like expanding criminal background checks and making gun trafficking a federal crime, the President and Vice President remain committed to using all the tools in their power to make progress toward reducing gun violence.

      Building on the 23 Executive Actions the President and Vice President Unveiled Last January

      * Last December, the President asked the Vice President to develop a series of recommendations to reduce gun violence. On January 16, 2013, they released these proposals, including 23 executive actions. With the first Senate confirmation of an ATF Director on July 31, 2013, the Administration has completed or made significant progress on 22 of the 23 executive actions. The new executive actions unveiled today build on this successful effort.

      Closing a Loophole to Keep Some of the Most Dangerous Guns Out of the Wrong Hands

      * Current law places special restrictions on many of the most dangerous weapons, such as machine guns and short-barreled shotguns. These weapons must be registered, and in order to lawfully possess them, a prospective buyer must undergo a fingerprint-based background check.

      * However, felons, domestic abusers, and others prohibited from having guns can easily evade the required background check and gain access to machine guns or other particularly dangerous weapons by registering the weapon to a trust or corporation. At present, when the weapon is registered to a trust or corporation, no background check is run. ATF reports that last year alone, it received more than 39,000 requests for transfers of these restricted firearms to trusts or corporations.

      * Today, ATF is issuing a new proposed regulation to close this loophole. The proposed rule requires individuals associated with trusts or corporations that acquire these types of weapons to undergo background checks, just as these individuals would if the weapons were registered to them individually. By closing this loophole, the regulation will ensure that machine guns and other particularly dangerous weapons do not end up in the wrong hands.

      Keeping Surplus Military Weapons Off Our Streets

      * When the United States provides military firearms to its allies, either as direct commercial sales or through the foreign military sales or military assistance programs, those firearms may not be imported back into the United States without U.S. government approval. Since 2005, the U.S. Government has authorized requests to reimport more than 250,000 of these firearms.

      * Today, the Administration is announcing a new policy of denying requests to bring military-grade firearms back into the United States to private entities, with only a few exceptions such as for museums. This new policy will help keep military-grade firearms off our streets.

    • CR says:

      Mother Of Mass Shooting Victim Becomes Gun-Control Advocate

      September 19, 2013 4:00 AM NPR

      Summary: After her daughter was killed in the theater shooting in Aurora, Colo, last year, Sandy Phillips became a full-time advocate for universal background checks for gun buyers. Phillips was on her way to Washington, D.C. to lobby for gun legislation when the Navy Yard shooting happened. She tells Steve Inskeep she’s been meeting with members of Congress.

      For the entire audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/09/19/223965801/mother-of-colo-mass-shooting-victim-becomes-gun-control-advocate

  4. CR says:

    Gun Control Advocates Say ATF’s Hands Have Been Tied

    January 08, 2013 4:52 PM by BRIAN NAYLOR – NPR

    After the school shooting in Newtown, Conn., President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead a group tasked with drafting policies to reduce gun violence. One of the issues sure to come up in the Biden group’s discussions is the role of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

    The ATF is the primary enforcer of the nation’s gun laws, but advocates and former ATF officials say the agency has been underfunded, understaffed and handcuffed in its abilities to go after gun crimes.

    In an ad campaign launched Tuesday by the group Mayors Against Illegal Guns, Roxanna Green, whose child was killed two years ago, appeals directly to the camera: “My 9-year-old daughter was murdered in the Tucson shooting. I have one question for our political leaders: When will you find the courage to stand up to the gun lobby?”

    Standing up to the gun lobby is seen by gun control advocates to mean not only banning assault-style weapons and high-capacity magazines, but restoring some teeth to the ATF.

    “The restrictions on ATF are absurd,” says Jon Lowy of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “They’re not allowed to use computers in doing their trace work. They’re not allowed to do more than one spot inspection on a gun dealer.”

    When looking at the problems facing the ATF, it’s instructive to start at the top. The current acting director of the Washington agency is B. Todd Jones, who is juggling the ATF post with his other job, that of U.S. attorney in Minneapolis.

    There hasn’t been a permanent ATF director for six years, since back in the Bush administration.

    Michael Bouchard, a former ATF assistant director, says that lack of leadership has handicapped the agency.

    “You need somebody there who has ownership and is going to be there for the long haul and can start projecting a couple years out, versus people who are just brought in for a temporary fix,” Bouchard says.

    Obama has nominated a permanent director, but there hasn’t even been a hearing on the nomination because of opposition from the gun lobby.

    There are other administrative issues: Funding has been relatively flat, and the agency has roughly the same number of agents today as it did a decade ago.

    Then there are the issues ATF agents face with gun laws. Congress refuses to allow a centralized gun database, so tracing a weapon used in a crime means a lot of legwork, says former ATF agent William Vizzard.

    “They have to contact the manufacturer or importer, who tells them, ‘Oh, on July 14, 2009, we shipped that gun to Buckeye Sporting Goods, a wholesaler.’ Then you contact Buckeye Sporting Goods, and they say, ‘Oh, yeah, we received that gun four days later and we shipped it out to Billy Bob’s Bait and Tackle Shop.’ Then you go to Billy Bob and you say, ‘OK, what do your records say?’ ”

    For the entire article and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/2013/01/08/168889491/gun-control-advocates-say-atfs-hands-have-been-tied

    • CR says:

      Past time for an ATF director

      January 8, 2013 progress-index

      Each time someone responds to a mass murder with a call for tougher laws and regulations regarding weapons, the gun lobby contends that the laws are tough enough but not adequately enforced.

      The argument would carry more weight if the National Rifle Association, early this year, would endorse the appointment of a permanent director for the agency that is primarily responsible for enforcing federal gun laws. The Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives has been without a permanent director for six years.

      Over that period several acting directors have resigned amid controversy and withering congressional criticism, most recently over the failed “Fast and Furious” operation that attempted to track, but lost track, of guns sold in the United but ultimately transferred to Mexican drug gangs.

      In 2010 President Obama nominated Andrew Traver, head of the ATF’s Chicago office, but the nomination has languished in the Senate.

      Meanwhile, current and former ATF staffers have complained about the agency’s lack of consistent leadership and under-funding by Congress.

      Enforcing gun laws is a fine idea. Gun advocates should make it happen by joining Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of 750 mayors from across the country who are trying to make their cities’ streets safer, in calling on the Senate to confirm a leader for ATF and fully fund its operations.

      For more: http://progress-index.com/news/op-ed/past-time-for-an-atf-director-1.1426166

    • CR says:

      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.

      Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bureau_of_Alcohol,_Tobacco,_Firearms_and_Explosives#Senate_approval_controvers

    • CR says:

      July 12, 2013

      Statement by the Press Secretary on the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Vote on the Nomination of Todd Jones

      We are pleased that the Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced the nomination of Todd Jones to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Despite its crucial role in protecting our communities from dangerous criminals, gun violence, and terrorism, ATF has been without a confirmed director for seven years because Senate Republicans have blocked every nominee regardless of their qualifications. Todd Jones is a uniquely qualified nominee – a former Marine, and current U.S. Attorney, with a proven record of successful leadership at ATF. The Senate has already unanimously confirmed him for the important law enforcement post in which he currently serves, so there’s no reason they should hold up his nomination to this post. We urge the full Senate to act swiftly to confirm him and give this vital law enforcement agency all the tools it needs to help keep Americans safe.

    • CR says:

      Reid files cloture on Obama’s nominees to ATF, United Nations

      7/29/13 04:10 PM ET By Ramsey Cox – TheHill

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed cloture Monday on President Obama’s nominee to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).

      Earlier this month, the Senate Judiciary Committee cleared the nomination of B. Todd Jones to head the ATF on a party-line 10-8 vote.

      The bureau hasn’t had a leader for seven years.

      “Enough is enough,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said on the Senate floor Monday. “I’m very glad we’re moving forward on this nomination. … They deserve a full-time leader.”

      Jones currently serves as the Minnesota U.S. attorney. Democrats have complained that Republicans have opposed a leader of the ATF because of the National Riffle Association’s powerful gun-lobby.

      Democrats will need at least six Republicans to join with them to end debate on Jones’s nomination. The cloture vote hasn’t been scheduled yet, but if cloture is invoked there would then be eight hours of debate before a final vote.

      Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/senate/314139-reid-files-cloture-on-obamas-nominees-to-atf-united-nations

    • CR says:

      Senate Dems approves Obama’s ATF nominee, thanks to a switch and a long, long delay

      July 31, 2013 – 6:50 PM ALAN FRAM , Associated Press

      WASHINGTON — The Senate voted in dramatic fashion Wednesday to approve one of President Barack Obama’s nominees. For Democrats to prevail, all it took was a last-ditch vote switch by one senator, a flight back from North Dakota by another and an afternoon roll call that stretched into the evening.

      Five hours after the balloting started, the Senate voted to end Republican delaying tactics against B. Todd Jones, Obama’s pick to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It then voted in a comparatively instantaneous 29 minutes for his final confirmation, 53-42.

      A defeat would have been a setback for Obama, who is trying to plug gaps in his second-term administration’s lineup, and dealt a blow to the recent cooperation between the two parties over allowing votes on the president’s nominees.

      The lengthy roll call and the theatrics accompanying it nearly obscured that Jones’ approval marked a rare congressional victory for gun-control forces. His confirmation came three months after the Senate rejected Obama’s drive to expand background checks for firearms buyers.

      Obama nominated Jones weeks after the December massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., that killed 20 first-graders and six staffers. Jones, a former Marine, has been acting ATF director since 2011.

      Gun control advocates backed Jones’ nomination, saying he would strengthen an agency long weakened by congressionally imposed restraints. With a national registry of gun owners forbidden by federal law, authorities face constraints when they want to trace firearms used in crimes.

      For most of Wednesday afternoon, the Senate idled in neutral waiting for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., to fly back from her home state, where aides said she had taken ill. She then cast the 60th vote needed to end a GOP procedural blockade aimed at derailing Jones’ nomination.

      But to get the 59th vote, Democrats earlier had to persuade Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to switch her initial vote.

      For more: http://www.startribune.com/politics/national/217709231.html

      • CR says:

        July 31, 2013

        Statement by the President on the Confirmation of Todd Jones as the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

        Todd Jones is a tough and tested law-enforcement professional with decades of experience, and his confirmation to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is both welcome and long overdue. For nearly seven years, Senate Republicans had refused to confirm an ATF director – not because they thought the nominees weren’t qualified, but because they put politics ahead of the agency’s law enforcement mission.

        I applaud Senator Reid, Senator Leahy, Senator Klobuchar, and the bipartisan group of senators who broke through that gridlock to give Todd Jones the up or down vote he deserved. But while Todd’s confirmation will help ATF apply the tools it needs to protect our communities from dangerous criminals and reduce gun violence, we can’t stop there. I will continue to stand with the majority of Americans who support common-sense reforms to keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of criminals. And I will continue to do everything in my power to keep our children and our communities safe.

  5. CR says:

    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.

    • CR says:

      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

  6. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and our Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  7. Kat 4 Obama says:

    Can’t wait to see PBO tomorrow make his announcement accompanied by children who have written to him asking for an end to gun violence!

    >^..^<

    • CR says:

      Hi Kat! Yes, it would be great!

    • CR says:

      Obama, Biden to unveil gun proposals

      1/15/13 9:41 PM EST POLITICO44

      President Obama and Vice President Biden are scheduled to unveil a package of proposals designed to reduce gun violence. They will make the announcement at an event in the South Court Auditorium at 11:55 a.m. Wednesday.

      “They will be joined by children from around the country who wrote the President letters in the wake of the Newtown tragedy expressing their concerns about gun violence and school safety, along with their parents,” the White House said.

  8. CR says:

    N.Y. Gov. Cuomo signs tough new gun bill into law

    1/15/13 By Liz Goodwin, Yahoo! News | The Lookout – 5 hrs ago

    New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is signing a tough and sweeping new gun control bill into law late Tuesday.

    The bill limits magazines to seven bullets; increases penalties for gun crimes; gives the state more power to take away guns from mentally ill people; and bans semi-automatic rifles and handguns that have a “military-style feature,” such as a bayonet lug. The ban goes into effect immediately. People who already own such guns are grandfathered in but must register them with the state.

    New York is the first state to pass a gun law since the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn., sparked a national debate on gun violence.

    “I am proud to be governor, not just because New York has the first bill, but because New York has the best bill,” Cuomo said before signing it. “I’m proud to be a New Yorker because New York is doing something, we are fighting back.”

    The Republican-controlled Senate approved the bill on Monday night, with the Democratic Assembly approving it Tuesday afternoon. Blue state governors in several other states—including Connecticut, Maryland and Delaware—are also pushing for new gun laws.

  9. CR says:

    GOP WRONG WAY

    NRA chief calls for armed cops in schools, blasts media and Hollywood in bizarre rant

    December 22, 2012 By S.A. MILLER – newyorkpost

    WASHINGTON — The chief of the nation’s powerful gun lobby yesterday broke his weeklong silence since the Newtown school massacre in a bizarre rant that called for armed guards in every school and suggested that more guns in citizens’ hands is the solution to mass murder.

    “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” a defiant National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre declared in a 30-minute press conference where he declined to take questions from the press.

    “With all the money in the federal budget, can’t we afford to put a police officer in every single school?” LaPierre said, as he pinned the blame for the school shooting on “blood-soaked” films and video games.

    It was the NRA’s first response to last week’s Connecticut bloodbath that prompted President Obama to call for sweeping new gun-control laws.

    For more: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/nra_goes_off_half_cocked_oxTZv5q1rEmt1KQQ3BQuzI?utm_medium=rss&utm_content=National

    • CR says:

      A stumbles in fight with Obama over gun-control proposals

      1/19/13 12:05 PM ET By Mike Lillis – TheHill

      Facing its toughest fight over gun reform in decades, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has stumbled out of the gate.

      The powerful gun-lobby group responded to last month’s Newtown, Conn., massacre with a defiant press conference calling for more guns in schools, then doubled down this week with an in-your-face web ad that drew President Obama’s young daughters into the fray.

      To be sure, the NRA — which did not respond to a request to comment for this story — remains an enormous influence on Capitol Hill, and there’s no evidence its actions have increased the likelihood that Obama’s ambitious gun-reform agenda can move this year, even through the Democratically controlled Senate.
      Yet the public relations missteps have given Obama an opening in the difficult fight by making him look like the more reasonable party, even as it has made the NRA look out of touch with mainstream thinking.

      The NRA’s web ad in particular – which called President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” because he’s pushing tougher gun laws while his daughters receive armed protection – led Republicans to lash out at the group.

      “Are the president’s kids more important than yours? Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school?” the ads asks.

      “To talk about the president’s children, or any public officer’s children, who have –not by their own choice, but by requirement – to have protection, and to use that somehow to try to make a political point is reprehensible,” said New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who is seen as a 2016 White House contender.

      “Get to the real issues. Don’t be dragging people’s children into this,” the Republican added in comments Thursday. “It’s wrong, and I think it demeans them [the NRA] and it makes them less of a valid, trusted source of information on the real issues.”

      Television commentator Joe Scarborough, a former GOP member of the House, hammered the group’s leaders for creating a “fringe organization.”

      “Their children have targets on their backs and the NRA is putting something out like [this]? What’s wrong with these people?” Scarborough said Wednesday on his “Morning Joe” program on MSNBC.

      “They need new leadership is what they need. Their leadership has dragged them over the cliff, they are now a fringe organization,” added Scarborough, who routinely mentions he maintained an A-rating from the NRA through his tenure in the House. “What the NRA once was, it no longer is. This extremism is so frightening, and just over, over, over the line.”

      For more: http://thehill.com/homenews/news/278157-nra-stumbles-in-fight-with-obama-over-guns

  10. CR says:

    Interior Secretary Salazar to step down

    1/16/13 05:05 AM ET By Ben Geman – TheHill

    Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who overhauled the federal government’s troubled offshore drilling agency after the BP oil spill and locked horns with Republicans over energy policy, plans to step down at the end of March.

    Salazar, a former senator, will return to his ranch and family in Colorado, according to the Interior Department.

    His tenure has included a heavy focus on developing solar power, wind and other green energy sources on federal lands.
    He battled frequently with Republicans who say the Interior Department should allow faster oil-and-gas development on federal lands, and make more offshore areas available to drilling.
    Salazar’s departure is part of a wider turnover of President Obama’s energy and environment team.

    Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/e2-wire/277417-interior-secretary-salazar-to-step-down

  11. CR says:

    MBA Purchase Applications

    Released On 1/16/2013 7:00:00 AM For wk1/11, 2013

    Prior Actual
    Composite Index – W/W Change 11.7 % 15.2 %
    Purchase Index – W/W Change 10.0 % 12.9 %
    Refinance Index – W/W Change 12.0 % 15.3 %

    Highlights
    Mortgage bankers are very busy so far this year judging by application data that show a 15.2 percent jump in the January 11 week following an 11.7 percent jump in the prior week. Showing strength are both purchase applications, up 12.9 percent in the latest week, and refnancing applications, up 15.3 percent. The gain in purchase applications points to strength for home sales. The gains come despite a jump in rates with the average 30-year mortgage up nine basis points in the week to 3.61 percent. Later this morning at 10:00 a.m. ET, home builders will post their housing market index which showed exceptional improvement last year.

    Source: http://bloomberg.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=455666&cust=bloomberg-us&year=2013&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

  12. CR says:

    Consumer Prices in U.S. Little Changed as Inflation Recedes

    Jan 16, 2013 5:36 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    The cost of living was little changed in December, capping the third-smallest annual gain in the past decade, indicating U.S. inflation remains at bay.

    The unchanged reading in the consumer-price index matched the median estimate of 83 economists surveyed by Bloomberg and followed a 0.3 percent drop the prior month, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. Costs rose 1.7 percent in 2012, down from a 3 percent increase in 2011.

    Price increases will probably remain restrained as retailers like Target Corp. (TGT) use discounts to attract customers and budget battles in Washington hurt confidence. Federal Reserve policymakers are unlikely to maintain unprecedented easing measures while inflation holds below their target level and absent further progress on reducing joblessness.

    Price gauges “are all sending a pretty consistent message of contained inflation pressures,” Daniel Silver, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, said before the report. The Fed’s accommodative monetary policy is “on track, definitely from the inflation front,” he said.

    Stock-index futures held earlier losses after the report. The contract on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index maturing in March declined 0.2 percent at 8:31 a.m. in New York as the World Bank trimmed its forecasts for global growth.

    Bloomberg survey estimates for the consumer-price index ranged from a drop of 0.2 percent to an increase of 0.3 percent.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-16/consumer-prices-in-u-s-little-changed-as-inflation-recedes.html

  13. CR says:

    U.S. Industrial Production Rises 0.3% on Equipment Demand

    Jan 16, 2013 6:15 AM PT By Shobhana Chandra – bloomberg

    Industrial production in the U.S. climbed for a second month in December as demand picked up for business equipment, showing factories expanded even as lawmakers battled over the federal budget.

    Output at factories, mines and utilities rose 0.3 percent, matching the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey, after a revised 1 percent gain in November, data from the Federal Reserve showed today in Washington. The December figure was restrained by the biggest plunge in utility output in almost six years, reflecting warmer weather. Manufacturing, which makes up 75 percent of total production, grew 0.8 percent, more than forecast.

    Sustained U.S. demand and steadying overseas markets led by China are poised to help keep assembly lines humming, contributing to the expansion this year. A stronger pickup in sales and a resolution on the debt-limit debate would help propel bigger gains in business investment.

    “It was a pretty good end to the year for manufacturing,” Josh Dennerlein, an economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, said before the report. “We saw stabilization in Europe, and Asia picked up. There is strong underlying demand in this sector. Its contribution to the economy should continue.”

    Estimates of the 85 economists surveyed by Bloomberg ranged from a drop of 0.2 percent to an increase of 0.6 percent. The prior month was previously reported as a gain of 1.1 percent.

    Manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the economy, increased after a 1.3 percent surge in November. Economists projected a 0.5 percent gain, according to the Bloomberg survey median.

    Output of business equipment in December rose 1.3 percent after a 2 percent gain. Production of construction supplies advanced 1 percent.

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-16/u-s-industrial-production-rises-0-3-on-equipment-demand.html

  14. CR says:

    Whole Foods Founder John Mackey On
    Fascism
    and ‘Conscious Capitalism’

    January 16, 2013 3:04 AM by APRIL FULTON – NPR

    (Excerpts)

    ….Whole Foods has played a key role in propelling organic foods into the mainstream. The specialty supermarket chain has more than 300 stores and plans to continue expanding. But outspoken founder and co-CEO John Mackey is not the crunchy granola liberal one might conjure while perusing aisles of earnestly labeled blue corn chips and gently misted red peppers.

    In fact, he’s a self-styled libertarian: a vegan who sells sustainably raised meat, a man who compares the government’s health care overhaul to “fascism” but wants to improve American diets…..

    What he doesn’t think is right is President Obama’s health overhaul and the new costs that coverage requirements will place on businesses.

    When Inskeep asks him if he still thinks the health law is a form of socialism, as he’s said before, Mackey responds:

    Technically speaking, it’s more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn’t own the means of production, but they do control it — and that’s what’s happening with our health care programs and these reforms.”…

    For the entire aritcle and audio interview: http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2013/01/16/169413848/whole-foods-founder-john-mackey-on-fascism-and-conscious-capitalism

  15. CR says:

    Housing Market Index

    Released On 1/16/2013 10:00:00 AM For Jan, 2013

    Prior Consensus Consensus Range Actual
    Housing Market Index 47 48 46 to 50 47

    Market Consensus before announcement
    NAHB housing market index made a two point gain in December to 47. This index is up now for eight months in a row and is approaching the breakeven 50 level. A reading over 50 would indicate that more builders describe conditions as good than bad. Two components are now actually over 50 with present sales and six-month sales both at 51. The lagging component is traffic which is still on the sub-50 side at 36. But the report notes a positive about traffic, saying “more serious buyers” are coming forward.

    Source: http://bloomberg.econoday.com/byshoweventfull.asp?fid=456076&cust=bloomberg-us&year=2013&lid=0&prev=/byweek.asp#top

  16. CR says:

    Kids Write Letters to Obama on Gun Control

    1/16/13By Jonathan Karl | ABC OTUS News – 29 mins ago

    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.”

    Kids Write Letters to Obama on Gun Control

  17. CR says:

    Next Up…

    11:55 AM ET
    President Obama and Vice President Biden Unveil Proposals to Reduce Gun Violence
    The White House

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/Pres-Obama-to-Announce-Steps-to-Reduce-Gun-Violence/10737437289/

    • CR says:

      January 16, 2013

      Remarks by the President and the Vice President on Gun Violence

      South Court Auditorium

      11:52 A.M. EST

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Before I begin today, let me say to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days ago, our heart goes out to you. And you show incredible courage — incredible courage — being here. And the President and I are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today.

      It’s been 33 days since the nation’s heart was broken by the horrific, senseless violence that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School — 20 — 20 beautiful first-graders gunned down in a place that’s supposed to be their second sanctuary. Six members of the staff killed trying to save those children. It’s literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom.

      And I know for the families who are here that time is not measured in days, but it’s measured in minutes, in seconds, since you received that news. Another minute without your daughter. Another minute without your son. Another minute without your wife. Another minute without your mom.

      I want to personally thank Chris and Lynn McDonald, who lost their beautiful daughter, Grace, and the other parents who I had a chance to speak to, for their suggestions and for — again, just for the courage of all of you to be here today. I admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing. And I must say I’ve been deeply affected by your faith, as well. And the President and I are going to do everything to try to match the resolve you’ve demonstrated.

      No one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation — a moral obligation — to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again.

      As the President knows, I’ve worked in this field a long time — in the United States Senate, having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues of guns and crime, and having drafted the first gun violence legislation — the last gun violence legislation, I should say. And I have no illusions about what we’re up against or how hard the task is in front of us. But I also have never seen the nation’s conscience so shaken by what happened at Sandy Hook. The world has changed, and it’s demanding action.

      It’s in this context that the President asked me to put together, along with Cabinet members, a set of recommendations about how we should proceed to meet that moral obligation we have. And toward that end, the Cabinet members and I sat down with 229 groups — not just individuals, representing groups — 229 groups from law enforcement agencies to public health officials, to gun officials, to gun advocacy groups, to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. And I’ve spoken with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, had extensive conversations with mayors and governors and county officials.

      And the recommendations we provided to the President on Monday call for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for, and long-term research that should be undertaken. They’re based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups with whom we spoke, including some of you who are victims of this god-awful occurrence — ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands, as well as ways to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/16/remarks-president-and-vice-president-gun-violence

    • CR says:

      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.

      SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/preventing-gun-violence

    • CR says:

      THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary

      January 16, 2013

      Gun Violence Reduction Executive Actions
      Today, the President is announcing that he and the Administration will:

      1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
      2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
      3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
      4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
      5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
      6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
      7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
      8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety
      Commission).
      9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns
      recovered in criminal investigations.
      10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it
      widely available to law enforcement.
      11. Nominate an ATF director.
      12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper
      training for active shooter situations.
      13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
      14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to
      research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
      15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective
      use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop
      innovative technologies.
      16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients
      about guns in their homes.
      17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits
      them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
      18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.

      EMBARGOED
      19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
      20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
      21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
      22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
      23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental
      health.

      • CR says:

        Gun experts grade Obama’s proposals

        January 16, 2013 at 3:58 pm Posted by Brad Plumer – washingtonpost

        There’s a fair bit to digest in President Obama’s new proposals for reducing gun violence. They include everything from renewing the assault-weapons ban to more mental-health funding for schools, as well as 23 different executive orders.

        So which of his proposals might have the most meaningful impact on gun violence? And which policy ideas could prove ineffective? We asked a number of gun and crime experts for their thoughts on different aspects of Obama’s proposals today. Here are five points that stuck out (although note that this is hardly a comprehensive list):

        1) Universal background checks could, potentially, have a large impact on gun crime.

        2) Giving federal law enforcement more power to trace guns could also matter a lot.

        3) Few of the proposals would do much to help with the problem of stolen guns.

        4) Experts tend to be more skeptical about the assault-weapons ban.

        5) Obama wants to lift a restriction on federal funding for gun research, but that might be only partially effective

        For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/16/obamas-gun-proposals-what-will-work-and-what-wont/

  18. Kat 4 Obama says:
    • CR says:

      Brady Campaign: White House showing ‘tremendous leadership

      By DONOVAN SLACK | 1/16/13 12:26 PM EST

      The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said it supports the White House’s actions on guns and it will work with the administration in the coming days to “give voice to the American public who so strongly support common sense legislative policies that can immediately prevent gun violence.”

      “The White House has shown tremendous leadership in convening stakeholders and engaging the country in a conversation that the Brady Campaign and so many Americans have been calling for in the wake of Aurora, Newtown, and the 32 gun murders that happen every day in our country,” said Brady president Dan Gross said in a statement. “We, at the Brady Campaign, are proud to have had the opportunity to share a comprehensive set of policy solutions with the White House Task Force and we are pleased to see our ideas reflected in the final recommendations.

      “We will work with the Administration over the coming days to give voice to the American public who so strongly support common sense legislative policies that can immediately prevent gun violence, such as universal background checks. We also re-affirm the Brady Campaign’s commitment to lead the way toward better public health and safety education programs regarding the almost 300 million guns already in the hands of mostly law-abiding citizens. I strong believe that now it’s up to us to make real change happen.”

    • CR says:

      Now is the time – A letter from Julia

      Published on Jan 17, 2013

      When President Obama announced the concrete plan he was putting forward to reduce gun violence, he shared the stage with four of the young people who wrote him letters on the issue. Watch Julia read the letter she wrote to President Obama. Then, learn more about his plan to reduce gun violence and join the conversation at WhiteHouse.Gov/NowIsTheTime

  19. Kat 4 Obama says:
    • CR says:

      Thank you Kat!

    • CR says:

      President Barack Obama: Now is the time

      Wednesday, January 16, 2013 ctpost

      As a society, our first task must be to care for our children — to shield them from harm and give them the tools they need not only to pursue their dreams, but to help build this country. That is how we will be judged. And in the wake of the tragedy in Newtown, it’s clear we have a long way to go.

      That’s why, last month, I asked Vice President Biden to lead an effort to come up with concrete steps we can take right now to keep our kids safe, help prevent mass shootings, and reduce the broader epidemic of gun violence in this country. And on Wednesday, I put forward a specific set of proposals based on Joe’s recommendations. Because while there is no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence completely, if there is even one thing we can do to reduce this violence — if even one life can be saved — we have an obligation to try.

      As President, I’m committed to doing my part. That’s why I signed 23 executive actions giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals, and the public health community the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.

      These actions ranged from strengthening our background check system, to helping schools hire more resource officers and counselors if they want them, to directing the Centers for Disease Control to study the best ways to reduce gun violence.

      But as important as these steps are, making a real and lasting difference also requires Congress to act, and act soon.

      First: it’s time for Congress to require a universal background check for anyone trying to buy a gun. Right now, as many as 40 percent of all gun purchases are conducted without a background check. That’s not safe, it’s not smart, and it’s not fair to responsible gun buyers or sellers. An overwhelming majority of Americans agree with me on the need for universal background checks. There’s no reason we can’t get it done.

      Second: Congress should restore a ban on military-style assault weapons, and a 10-round limit for magazines. Many assault rifles, when paired with high-capacity magazines, have one purpose: to pump out as many bullets as possible, as quickly as possible. Weapons designed for theaters of war have no place in movie theaters. And a majority of Americans agree.

      Finally, Congress needs to help, rather than hinder, law enforcement as it does its job. They should get tougher on people who buy guns with the express purpose of turning around and selling them to criminals. And at a time when budget cuts are forcing many communities to reduce their police force, we should put more cops back on the job and back on our streets.

      Read more: http://www.ctpost.com/opinion/article/President-Barack-Obama-Now-is-the-time-4200101.php

  20. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for our President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  21. CR says:

    PBO’s presidency just amazes me; he has survived all the third rail subjects from everything from race, religion, guns, supporting LGBT rights, immigration, wars, foreign regime changes, terrorism, economic and climate challenges. I would say that he is the greatest president that the US has ever had.

  22. CR says:

    As “Roe v. Wade” turns 40, most oppose reversing abortion ruling

    1/16/13 By Mary Wisniewski | Reuters – 12 mins ago

    (Reuters) – Most Americans remain opposed to overturning the controversial Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, which 40 years ago legalized abortion at least in the first three months of pregnancy, according to a poll released Wednesday.

    The poll by the Pew Research Center found that 63 percent of Americans believe that Roe v. Wade should not be overturned, compared to 29 percent who believe it should be. These opinions have changed little from surveys conducted in 2003 and 1992, Pew reported.

    Michael Dimock, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, said it is uncommon to see so little change in attitudes on a controversial issue.

    “They really haven’t changed a lot over the years which is kind of interesting because a lot of other social issues have changed a lot, gay marriage being the most notable example,” said Dimock.

    He noted that opinions on issues such as gay marriage sometimes have a sharp generational divide, with younger people more likely to favor it, so national feelings change over time.

    But the abortion issue shows only modest generational differences.

    Those most likely to favor upholding Roe v. Wade at 69 percent are the “baby boomers” aged 50-64, who were children or young adults when the case was decided on January 22, 1973. This group was followed by those 18-29 years old, who favored upholding the decision by 68 percent.

    Those 65 and older were most likely to favor overturning the decision, at 36 percent.

    For more: http://news.yahoo.com/roe-v-wade-turns-40-most-oppose-reversing-171445029.html

  23. CR says:

    Fed’s Beige Book Sees Economic Expansion as ‘Modest or Moderate’

    Jan 16, 2013 11:00 AM PT By Joshua Zumbrun & Aki Ito – bloomberg

    The U.S. economy picked up across much of the country last month, boosted by auto and home sales, even as the outlook for unemployment showed few signs of improvement, the Federal Reserve said.

    “Economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report, with all 12 districts characterizing the pace of growth as either modest or moderate,” the central bank said today in its Beige Book business survey, which is based on reports from the Fed’s district banks.

    The report, prepared for discussion at the Federal Open Market Committee’s Jan. 29-30 meeting, may strengthen the resolve of policy makers who want to press on with the Fed’s $85 billion in monthly bond purchases until the labor market improves substantially.

    The New York and Philadelphia districts “rebounded from the immediate impacts of Hurricane Sandy” while Boston, Richmond and Atlanta reported that growth increased slightly in their districts. Yet, the report said that “labor market conditions remained mostly unchanged in all districts.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-16/fed-s-beige-book-sees-economic-expansion-as-modest-or-moderate-.html

  24. CR says:

    WH

    Thursday, January 17, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama attends meetings
    White House

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    11:00 AM
    11:45 AM
    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney briefs the press

    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    1:30 PM
    Vice President Biden Delivers Remarks at U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 81st Winter Meeting
    Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.

    2:00 PM
    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
    8:00 PM
    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  25. CR says:

    Happy Birthday

    Happy Birthday First Lady Michelle!

    • CR says:

      For First Lady Michelle Obama’s 49th Birthday, A New White House Twitter Account

      Follow @FLOTUS; East Wing asks for RTs to send birthday greetings…

      THURSDAY, JANUARY 17, 2013 obamafoodorama

      First Lady Michelle Obama marks her 49th birthday today, and to celebrate the East Wing unveiled its own new Twitter account, @FLOTUS, a first account for the First Lady’s Office. The background on the Twitter page is a photo of Mrs. Obama working in her Kitchen Garden, and her avatar is a portrait in the Kitchen Garden with First Dog Bo. Mrs. Obama will be signing her own tweets with her initials “-mo” when she offers personal messages.

      In the first and only tweet so far, staff asked for a RT to send Mrs. Obama birthday greetings:

      “The @FLOTUS Office is now on @twitter & will post updates & pics. When it’s her, she’ll sign -mo. PS: RT to wish Mrs. Obama a #HappyBirthday,” was the first and so far only tweet.

      For more: http://obamafoodorama.blogspot.com/2013/01/for-first-lady-michelle-obamas-49th.html

  26. CR says:

    Housing Starts in U.S. Jumped in December to Four-Year High

    Jan 17, 2013 5:46 AM PT By Michelle Jamrisko – bloomberg

    Builders broke ground on more houses than forecast in December, capping the best year for the industry since 2008, another sign residential real estate is boosting the U.S. economic expansion.

    Starts climbed 12.1 percent last month to a 954,000 annual rate, exceeding all forecasts in a Bloomberg survey of economists and the most since June 2008, the Commerce Department reported today in Washington. For all of last year, construction began on 780,000 homes, up from 608,800 in 2011 and also the most since 2008.

    Low borrowing costs and rising property values are spurring homebuyer traffic for the market that triggered the latest recession. Confidence among homebuilders such as Lennar Corp. (LEN) is improving, even as tight credit remains an obstacle to further progress in residential real estate’s healing.

    “The housing market’s in a decent recovery,” said David Sloan, a New York-based senior economist at 4Cast Inc., who projected a rise in starts to a 920,000 rate. “There is momentum continuing in the housing market recovery.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-17/housing-starts-in-u-s-jump-more-than-forecast-to-four-year-high.html

  27. CR says:

    Jobless Claims in U.S. Fell to Lowest Level in Five Years

    Jan 17, 2013 5:55 AM PT By Alex Kowalski – bloomberg

    The number of Americans filing first-time claims for unemployment insurance payments fell more than forecast last week to the lowest level in five years, pointing to further improvement in the labor market.

    Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 19, 2008, Labor Department figures showed today.

    Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A spokesman for the agency said the drop may reflect the difficulty the government has in adjusting the data after the holidays when seasonal workers are let go.

    Fewer claims indicate businesses have grown comfortable with their current headcounts, a necessary development before hiring starts to pick up. At the same time, higher payroll taxes that shrink paychecks may prompt companies to hold the line on expanding headcount should Americans cut back on discretionary spending.

    “The labor market is certainly getting better,” said Brian Jones, senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York, who projected 345,000 claims. Even with the seasonal adjustment issues, “this is still a good report. Chances are claims remain at a fairly low level.”

    For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-01-17/initial-jobless-claims-in-u-s-fell-37-000-last-week-to-335-000.html

  28. CR says:

    Now Streaming..

    1:30 PM ET
    U.S. Conference of Mayors
    Vice President Biden Remarks at U.S. Conference of Mayors

    WhiteHouse.gov http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

    ABC News http://abcnews.go.com/Live/

    CSPAN http://www.c-span.org/Events/Vice-President-Biden-Addresses-US-Conference-of-Mayors/10737437338/

    • CR says:

      January 16, 2013

      Remarks by the President and the Vice President on Gun Violence

      South Court Auditorium

      11:52 A.M. EST

      THE VICE PRESIDENT: Before I begin today, let me say to the families of the innocents who were murdered 33 days ago, our heart goes out to you. And you show incredible courage — incredible courage — being here. And the President and I are going to do everything in our power to honor the memory of your children and your wives with the work we take up here today.

      It’s been 33 days since the nation’s heart was broken by the horrific, senseless violence that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School — 20 — 20 beautiful first-graders gunned down in a place that’s supposed to be their second sanctuary. Six members of the staff killed trying to save those children. It’s literally been hard for the nation to comprehend, hard for the nation to fathom.

      And I know for the families who are here that time is not measured in days, but it’s measured in minutes, in seconds, since you received that news. Another minute without your daughter. Another minute without your son. Another minute without your wife. Another minute without your mom.

      I want to personally thank Chris and Lynn McDonald, who lost their beautiful daughter, Grace, and the other parents who I had a chance to speak to, for their suggestions and for — again, just for the courage of all of you to be here today. I admire the grace and the resolve that you all are showing. And I must say I’ve been deeply affected by your faith, as well. And the President and I are going to do everything to try to match the resolve you’ve demonstrated.

      No one can know for certain if this senseless act could have been prevented, but we all know we have a moral obligation — a moral obligation — to do everything in our power to diminish the prospect that something like this could happen again.

      As the President knows, I’ve worked in this field a long time — in the United States Senate, having chaired a committee that had jurisdiction over these issues of guns and crime, and having drafted the first gun violence legislation — the last gun violence legislation, I should say. And I have no illusions about what we’re up against or how hard the task is in front of us. But I also have never seen the nation’s conscience so shaken by what happened at Sandy Hook. The world has changed, and it’s demanding action.

      It’s in this context that the President asked me to put together, along with Cabinet members, a set of recommendations about how we should proceed to meet that moral obligation we have. And toward that end, the Cabinet members and I sat down with 229 groups — not just individuals, representing groups — 229 groups from law enforcement agencies to public health officials, to gun officials, to gun advocacy groups, to sportsmen and hunters and religious leaders. And I’ve spoken with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, had extensive conversations with mayors and governors and county officials.

      And the recommendations we provided to the President on Monday call for executive actions he could sign, legislation he could call for, and long-term research that should be undertaken. They’re based on the emerging consensus we heard from all the groups with whom we spoke, including some of you who are victims of this god-awful occurrence — ways to keep guns out of the wrong hands, as well as ways to take comprehensive action to prevent violence in the first place.

      We should do as much as we can, as quickly as we can. And we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good. So some of what you will hear from the President will happen immediately; some will take some time. But we have begun. And we are starting here today and we’re going to resolve to continue this fight.

      For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/01/16/remarks-president-and-vice-president-gun-violence

      —————

      “We Can No Longer Continue To Define Deviancy Down! We Can’t Wait Any Longer To Take Action”

      Published on Jan 18, 2013 MOXNews.com
      C-SPAN

  29. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting a candle for the President, First Family and the Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  30. CR says:

    West Wing Week: 01/18/13 or “#NowIsTheTime”

    Published on Jan 17, 2013

    This week, President Hamid Karzai came to the White House, as did nine newly posted foreign ambassadors and the President held the final news conference of his first term before initiating 23 separate executive actions to prevent gun violence.

  31. CR says:

    WH

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    All Times Eastern

    President Obama attends meetings at the White House

    Vice President Biden meets with Governor Dannel Malloy of Connecticut at the White House.

    7:00 AM
    8:00 AM
    9:00 AM
    10:00 AM
    10:15 AM
    President Obama and Vice President Biden receive the presidential daily briefing

    10:30 AM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle attend a Presidential Inaugural Committee Benefactors’ Brunch

    11:00 AM
    12:00 PM
    1:00 PM
    2:00 PM
    2:30 PM
    President Obama and First Lady Michelle attend a Presidential Inaugural Committee Reception

    3:00 PM
    4:00 PM
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
    7:00 PM
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    9:00 PM
    10:00 PM

  32. CR says:

    December U.S. Job Gains led by New York, New Jersey After Sandy

    By Shobhana Chandra – Jan 18, 2013 7:24 AM PT

    December’s increase in U.S. payrolls was paced by New York and New Jersey as the states rebounded from the damage caused by superstorm Sandy.

    Of the 27 states showing a boost in employment last month, New York led the pack with a 35,100 gain in hiring, followed by New Jersey with 30,200, according to figures from the Labor Department today in Washington. The jobless rate fell in 22 states and rose in 16.

    “It’s modest, slow growth in hiring,” Josh Dennerlein, an economist at Bank of America Corp. in New York, said before the report. Overall, “the labor market is continuing to improve.”

    The dominance of New York and New Jersey indicates the rebound from the storm that crippled the Northeast in late October and early November had some effect on December employment, taking some of the shine off last month’s 155,000 total increase. Sustained gains in hiring are needed to help propel consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.

  33. CR says:

    Please join me in lighting candles for our President, First Family and our Nation.

    http://www.gratefulness.org/candles/candles.cfm?l=eng&gi=PBO

  34. CR says:

    ********************
    THIS POST IS NOW CLOSED NBLB

    Come on over to my newest post titled: ”
    US Presidential Inauguration Day 2013″

    ********************

    To get to the newest post click on “HOME” at the top of the thread

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