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Nevada’s Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval, has vetoed SB 221 with the following rationale. (pdf)
(Oh, by the way — please be assured that the Governor really really does support expanded background checks — just not this form of expanded background checks…but notice that for all his generalized agreement in principle, his rationale for the veto is also quite generalized.) Here goes:
(1) The bill is an “erosion” of 2nd Amendment rights, and “may subject otherwise law-abiding citizens to criminal prosecution.” Sound familiar? Of course, the problem with the “law-abiding citizen” argument is that everyone without an existing criminal background becomes a criminal when he or she first violates the law. The first time a person robs a bank, the first time a person assaults another person, the first time a person embezzles, and so forth. Or, the first time a person sells a firearm to a felon, a fugitive, a dangerously mentally unstable person, a child without parental supervision, or an undocumented person, or a person against whom there are outstanding restrictive orders pertaining to domestic abuse.
(2) The example cited by the Governor asserts that a “law-abiding” family member must request a background check for a gun sale to another family member, and a sale to a person who has a concealed carry permit must also be supervised by a licensed gun dealer. The response to this so-called erosion is a resounding So What? There is NO prohibition of the sale, and there is NO prohibition of ownership — there is only the insertion of a federally licensed gun dealer who can provide a background check into the process.
(3) The Governor finds it burdensome that the test for the prosecution for an unlawful transfer of a gun moves from “actual knowledge” that the buyer falls into a prohibited category to a “reasonable cause to believe” a person is included in the restrictions. In short, what the Governor is saying is that it is perfectly OK by him if the seller only “suspects” the purchaser of being a felon, a fugitive, an undocumented person, a serious unstable individual, or a person on whom there are restrictions because of domestic abuse. Go ahead, make the transaction even if the individual buyer is in the gun show parking lot wanting to purchase a crate of inexpensive hand guns — unless the seller has “actual knowledge” these are intended to arm local or regional drug gangs what the heck?
(4) The Governor calls the penalties for violations of the background check law “severe.” A first offense would be a gross misdemeanor, and brings with it a restriction on firearms ownership for 2 years. That’s it. No felony record, and 24 months later the miscreant seller can happily re-arm. A second offense would be a Class E Felony and the “gun rights” will be lost. Note that the bill in question, SB 221, does not prohibit firearms restrictions until after conviction for the second offense. Another thing we might note before calling this penalty severe is that Class E is as low as you can go in this state and still be in the felony category. NRS 193.130 defines a Class E felony as follows:
A category E felony is a felony for which a court shall sentence a convicted person to imprisonment in the state prison for a minimum term of not less than 1 year and a maximum term of not more than 4 years. Except as otherwise provided in paragraph (b) of subsection 1 of NRS 176A.100, upon sentencing a person who is found guilty of a category E felony, the court shall suspend the execution of the sentence and grant probation to the person upon such conditions as the court deems appropriate. Such conditions of probation may include, but are not limited to, requiring the person to serve a term of confinement of not more than 1 year in the county jail. In addition to any other penalty, the court may impose a fine of not more than $5,000, unless a greater penalty is authorized or required by statute.
A Class E felony maximum is four years, which can be suspended and the person granted probation “as the court deems appropriate,” and the maximum fine is $5,000. This is hardly anywhere near the “severe” punishment level in terms of Nevada’s classifications of felonies.
(5) The Governor is hinting in his last verbiage at what might be called the Efficacy Argument. The bill is unenforceable and won’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals, at the expense of potentially making those law-abiding citizens criminals themselves. Again, every law has the potential to make a citizen a criminal if the individual engages in proscribed acts. Secondly, no one said the intent of the law was to prevent all criminals from getting firearms — the law already prohibits criminals from obtaining weapons — all the bill said was that we should CHECK TO MAKE SURE we aren’t selling guns to those to whom firearm ownership is already restricted.
The Governor’s veto is, indeed, a craven sop to the NRA and the gun enthusiasts who blindly believe that Everyone Everywhere should be armed, and that even requiring a quick background check to insure that guns aren’t sold to those who are already felons, fugitives, undocumented persons, juveniles, spousal abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill is unendurable.
What is unendurable is the list of shootings which since the beginning of 2012 includes Norcross GA, Jackson TN, Chardon HS OH, Pittsburgh PA, North Miami FL, Okios U Oakland CA, Tulsa OK, Seattle WA, Minneapolis MN, Oak Creek WI, Aurora CO, Newtown CT, and most recently Santa Monica CA.
If we remember back to September 6, 2011 there were four people, law abiding citizens, killed in the Carson City IHOP by a person with a history of serious mental health issues who had modified an assault style rifle to make it fully automatic. [MAIG]
What is unendurable is a veto message which regurgitates NRA talking points without taking even a small step toward ameliorating this situation.
Here we go again. This time in Nevada, and this time in regard to the expansion of background checks for private gun sales. The “gun enthusiasts” are pummeling the Governor’s office with vehement Veto It messages — what else is new? [LasVegasSun] The Nevada Progressive has been following the course of SB 221 and reports that Governor Sandoval has categorized the bill as “overly broad.”
What might “overly broad” mean? Here’s yet another reminder that we have only a few classes of individuals who are prohibited from gun ownership in this state — felons, fugitives, dangerously mentally ill, children, undocumented aliens, and a few who are temporarily restricted as a result of spousal abuse incidents. Is the Governor contending that restricting individuals in these classes constitutes an “overly broad” definition of prohibited purchasers in private sales over the Internet or at gun shows?
Senator Heller (R-American Bankers Association) has started to file his amendments to the Senate version of the Immigration Reform bill — The Ralston Report has his initial venture. Senator Rand “Aqua Buddha” Paul (R-Tea Party Patio) has his own idea about amendments to the bill, such as one to make it all but impossible to declare the borders secure enough to allow immigration reform measures. [WaPo] It seems as though immigration reform opponents won’t be satisfied until the U.S. Border Patrol adopts the infrastructure and personnel policies of the old East German regime?
Meanwhile, Senator Schumer (D-NY) has declared an amendment to the bill by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) a “non-starter” and declines any suggestion that the majority would want to negotiate with the Texas Senator. [TPM]
Another Republican Ladies Day Moment: Pregnancy as the result of rape shouldn’t be a consideration because it’s really rare… Or, in the words of Arizona Representative Trent Franks:
“Before, when my friends on the left side of the aisle here tried to make rape and incest the subject — because, you know, the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” Franks said.
Franks continued: “But when you make that exception, there’s usually a requirement to report the rape within 48 hours. And in this case that’s impossible because this is in the sixth month of gestation. And that’s what completely negates and vitiates the purpose for such an amendment.” [WaPo]
What should be negated and vitiated is the troglodyte perspective of throwbacks like Representative Franks? A bit more at Think Progress. Another day, another splendid example of Republican Outreach to women and ethnic minorities. Click over to Perrspectives for a lively column on how “Arrested Development” explains today’s GOP.
Representative Franks isn’t the only one channeling his Inner Akin, the Governor of Wisconsin would like to enact requirements for transvaginal ultrasounds and to shut down Wisconsin’s health providers who offer abortion services. [Think Progress] The link back includes this bit of information about the progress of the Wisconsin bill:
Senate debate of the ultrasound proposal came a week after Sen. Mary Lazich, R-New Berlin, introduced it.
“Sara Finger, executive director of the Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health, said that gave her less than 24 hours to analyze the bill and prepare her testimony for hearings.
“This speed of passage sends a clear signal that these legislators want to deny any efforts to ensure due process and are refusing to allow sufficient time for medical providers, advocates, women and their partners to truly weigh in on the anticipated damaging effects of this legislation.” Finger said in a statement.” [Twin Cities]
Yes, most anti-abortion bills do tend to move quickly in GOP controlled legislatures. See also: Ed Kilgore’s post “Back to the Poisoned Well.”
Under-reported: With all the press attending to the “surprise” revelation that the NSA collects phone numbers, duration of calls, and destinations … is Anyone Really Surprised? — an unheralded report from HUD is receiving scant attention:
Earlier this year, we highlighted how the racial wealth gap tripled from 1984-2009, mainly due to structural barriers to wealth accumulation for households of color, including rampant housing discrimination that constrained where African-American families could live and restricted access to affordable home loans. A new report from HUD shows the extent of housing discrimination against people of color. The report found that people of color looking for homes are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than their white counterparts. This type of discrimination raises the costs of the housing search for people of color and restricts their housing options. [Demos Policy]
This wasn’t really all that surprising either.
Why DB hasn’t discussed the NSA flap? I will when I stop yawning. Congress approved the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, and the Protect America Act of 2007 — Mr. Snowden’s scenery chewing performance notwithstanding, he simply “revealed” the authorized programs exist. Did anyone think they wouldn’t?
“For most of her life Anna Ledesma has been afraid. She was a model student at Centennial High School in Las Vegas – an artist and a member of Key Club. As one of the top academics at her large high school, she received the Millennium Scholarship to study nursing at the College of Southern Nevada. Now she’s studying hard for her nursing exams. But 23-year-old Anna has lived for a long time with the constant fear that she will be deported.
Anna is an undocumented immigrant. She was born in the Philippines and brought here by her parents when she was 7 years old. She was in the second grade.” [Reid Senate]
Individuals like Anna Ledesma are the reason for the Morton Memo directives. And, as noted yesterday, on June 6th Representatives Heck and Amodei voted in favor of the King Amendment to H.R. 2217 which would prohibit implementation of those directives.
Yeah but: She’s still an “illegal immigrant.” Coming here illegally is a crime. Not so fast. Note that Anna came here at age 7. Nevada law is specific on the subject of who can be punished for a criminal act — and who can’t.
“NRS 194.010 Persons capable of committing crimes. All persons are liable to punishment except those belonging to the following classes: 1. Children under the age of 8 years. 2. Children between the ages of 8 years and 14 years, in the absence of clear proof that at the time of committing the act charged against them they knew its wrongfulness. 3. Persons who committed the act charged or made the omission charged in a state of insanity.”
You don’t have to get any further than item one to determine that she was not old enough to be legally capable of committing a criminal act in the state of Nevada.
The Infancy Defense is slightly different in the federal courts. In terms of Common Law, persons under the age of seven are presumed incapable of forming the requisite intent to commit a criminal act; a person between the ages of 7 and 13 “a child is rebuttably presumed incapable of forming a culpable mental state. ” [C&D] U.S. law presumes the applicability of the infancy defense for children under the age of 11.
Yeah but: “Dreamers” will crowd into our institutions of higher education and place an unconscionable burden on our already cash strapped institutions. [CIS] We could fix that by adequately financing our public colleges and universities — but that would require someone to pay some … taxes. Most radical right arguments assume a high number of enrollees, and further presume that no one — under any circumstances — should ever pay more … taxes. Conveniently omitted from the conservative assertions is the fact that immigrant families DO pay taxes, and they also tend not to take into consideration the fact that individuals, like the Dreamers, who complete college degrees add to the U.S. economy.
As of May 2013 the unemployment rate for persons with less than a high school diploma was 11. 1%. The unemployment rate for high school graduates was 7.4%. Those with some college experience or an associates degree are looking at an unemployment rate of 6.5%, while those with a college degree (or more) are experiencing an unemployment rate of 3.8%. [BLS Table A4]
The logic is relatively simple — since those with more education are less likely to be unemployed they must be in the work force. If they are in the work force they are earning money, with which they will make consumer purchases and pay taxes. Why wouldn’t a government at any level want more individuals enrolled in post secondary education? It pays off in the long run.
Meanwhile back at Senator Reid’s exemplar — I thought we needed nurses? The median age of a nurse in this country is 46 and some 50% of our nurses are nearing retirement. [ANA] Those who argue that there is no current nursing shortage (WSJ) seem to be assuming the recession is going to last forever. Those nurses who put off retirement during the downturn are going to be looking at the prospect again as the overall economy improves. And it does look to be improving for those in the “education and health care” sector, which saw a 5.3% unemployment rate in May 2012 and a 4.8% rate as of May 2013. [BLS Table A 14] The Occupational Outlook for registered nurses is a “faster than average” rate of +26% during the 2010-2012 decade.
Median pay for a registered nurse is about $65,000 annually. [OOH] So, if we perhaps had a few more individuals who would like to complete the training necessary to enter a field with optimistic prospects for employment, and to earn $65,000 per year which in turn flows into the economy with some of that amount paid in taxes — What’s the problem?
Yeah but: This is sending a “horrible message.” [Atl] All those “illegal” people will clamor to send their children to American schools…. Kids the world over will leave their friends, their families, and their homes to come …. Whoa. Some few might leave their families, but anyone who’s ever been accompanied by an adolescent offspring on vacation knows full well that removing the said adolescent from the peer group — even temporarily – is the social equivalent of multiple root canal surgeries. So, if the extrapolation of Immigration Nightmares is patently irrational, what explains the opposition?
If the message that we want ambitious, education oriented, civic minded, enterprising, and industrious individuals to come to this country is “horrible,” what would be the reverse position? Not to put too fine a point to it, but for some opponents of immigration reform the answer is “Nobody.” No one would be welcome, and they’d be even less welcome should the persons in question be non-WASPs.
This has been an all too common refrain, a chorus repeated as The Nation Was Being Changed From What We Were by — Germans, Irish, Italians, Poles, Slovaks, Russians — OK we’d have missed out on John Jacob Astor (born Heidelberg), the ancestors of Bill O’Reilly and Danica Patrick, Domingo Ghirardelli (Who doesn’t love chocolate? Born in Rapallo, Italy), Max Factor, Sr. (born in Lodz), the fourth son of Slovakian immigrant Andrej Varhola, known to us as Andy Warhol, and Yuliy Borisovich Briner (born Vladivostok, AKA Yul Brynner). With no apologies to any of the Nativists — if they can indeed figure out who besides the Native Americans actually ARE natives — the Astors, the Patricks, the Ghirardellis, the Factors, the Warhols, the Brynners, the Longorias, the Musials, the Goldwyns, the Warners, the Sikorskys, the Sanchezes, the Trevinos, the Hinojosas — ARE who we ARE.
Maybe we were sending the right message all along?
If this is part of the Republican Party plan to win the hearts of Hispanic heritage voters in Nevada… I’m baffled. On June 6, 2013 two members of the Nevada Congressional delegation — Reps. Joe Heck and Mark Amodei — voted in favor of Rep. Steve King’s (R-IA) amendment to H.R. 2217, [roll call 208] which passed the GOP controlled House with a 224-201 margin.
Rep. King’s amendment explicitly prohibit the use of funds to finalize, implement, administer, or enforce the “Morton Memos”. And, what are Morton Memos? The reference is to ICE Director Morton’s memorandum of June 17, 2011 which directs agencies involved in the prosecution of individuals alleged to be in violation of immigration laws to use discretion and to consider factors like age and educational attainment and aspirations — i.e. Dreamers. [memo pdf]
Nevada’s Democratic Representatives Titus and Horsford voted “no” on the amendment. We might want to ask Representatives Amodei and Heck how that GOP outreachy plan is working for them?
We’re all happy to see housing prices increase in Nevada, especially in the hard hit Las Vegas metropolitan area. Before putting on the party hats and dancing to the old ’45s there’s a reason for the increase which might initiate a few nagging doubts in the back of the cranium. Read: “Behind the Rise in House Prices,” from the NYT to see how Wall Street is cashing in on the chaos it helped to create.
The story has been around for a while, but few in what passes for national news have picked up on it. Forbes Magazine does have the presence of mind to ask if we’re looking at the beginning of the next bubble. The Wall Street Journal published a piece on this subject on March 25th, regarding investors as landlords. The downside of this new lure for investors is that regular buyers are finding themselves out of luck in this new market.
In the “real” economy buyers and sellers exchange bids and enter into transactions, in contrast to the financialist economy in which investors pour cash into what they hope will be profitable investments. Wall Street can securitize the rental revenues, hedge its investments in real estate with derivatives, and engage in all manner of market manipulation to secure revenues.
The only “real” pieces of this ever burgeoning pie are the houses the investment firms bought up on the cheap after their last adventure in Derivatives Land went south. Beware, that what we may be looking at in terms of the housing market is a very stale cake iced over with a lovely gloss of investment house cash. Or, given the stagnant level of wages and salaries in this country, pretty much what we were looking at a few years back, when people were encouraged to take out exotic mortgages for properties they really couldn’t afford at the time. The difference now may only be that the excess inventory in housing is now being siphoned off by the investment firms.
What we’d all really rather not see is a repeat of (1) debt financed consumption, supported by (2) inflated asset prices, while (3) large banks and lending institutions are attracted to asset based securitized mortgages (too often subprime) because Treasury bond yields remain low. We’ve seen this movie before, and Katherine Rushton explains in the Telegraph, why we don’t want to see it again.