Tag Archives: gun issues

Nevada Legislature and Gun Club: SJR 11

Deer with Gun The Nevada Assembled Wisdom and Gun Club is considering  SJR 11, the proposed “right to hunt” amendment to the Nevada Constitution; it’s on the agenda for today’s session of the Senate Natural Resources Committee.  So, here we have yet another piece of legislation beloved and promoted by the NRA and the “firearms industry trade association” the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

“To most people, these amendments probably sound like a solution without a problem. But the NRA has been warning voters and state legislators that “radical” animal rights groups could come for their guns and traps any day now. As the NRA’s legislative arm, the NRA-ILA, wrote on its blog, it’s working to “protect the citizens’ hunting heritage from attacks initiated by well-funded anti-hunting extremists who have assailed sportsmen throughout the country in recent years.” [Salon]

Those “radical” animal rights groups include the Humane Society of the United States.   First, no one is “assailing sportsmen.” This image is part of the well known NRA/NSSF campaign to convince gun enthusiasts (ammosexuals) they are the “victims,” of something… anything… everything.

Secondly, the language is a bit dangerous. “This resolution proposes to amend the Nevada Constitution by adding a new section to Article 1 to preserve the right to hunt, trap and fish for residents of this State. This resolution provides that hunting, trapping and fishing are the preferred means of managing wildlife in this State.”

The language as presented incorporates the assumption that all forms of ‘wildlife’ are over populated and therefore the preferred management option is killing them.  Thus, the constitution would be amended to ‘prefer’ killing off a population of beasts, as opposed to protecting a population of those classified as endangered, or even considered at risk, as a form of ‘management.’

We could, therefore, risk ‘managing’ our wildlife on their way to joining the Pinta Island Tortoise, the Vietnamese Rhino, the Yangtze River Dolphin, the Western Black Rhino, the Zanzibar Leopard, the  Javan Tiger, the Blue Pike, the Caribbean Monk Seal, the Passenger Pigeon, and the Dodo.

The problem with SJR 11 isn’t that hunters, trappers, and fishing folk are somehow deprived of any rights, it’s that the NRA/NSSF want to promote the “management” of some wildlife to possible extinction – if it makes the shooters happy.

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Think of the Children?

AB 167 The current convention of the Nevada Assembled Wisdom seems to have Guns on the Brain – now it’s a couple in Las Vegas who want to pistol-pack while fostering children.  AB 167, sponsored by our own Baking Soda Solution Pistol Packing Mama (Assemblywoman Fiore, R-NRA), would allow such behavior.

This is wrong on several levels.  First Floorchildren and guns are not a good combination. A nationwide review of statistics suggest that we are seriously under-counting the number of gun fatalities involving children. [NYT]  More specifically,

“In 2007, there were 122 unintentional firearm deaths in children, and an additional 3,060 nonfatal gun and shooting accidents, which resulted in an estimated 1,375 children needing to be hospitalized for their injuries. Unintentional firearm deaths in children have remained at about the same levels since, with 114 deaths in children and teens less than age 18 in 2010.” [Ped]

NRA arguments that swimming pools, poisoning, and falls may also be deadly is fallacious.  Yes, these do present dangers to infants and children.  However, that argument is distractive and beside the point – we have made significant efforts to prevent poisoning (think about the caps you can barely remove from the top of the container); we have made great strides with child safety seats; and, we’ve enacted regulations about pool safety measures in local communities.  We also know that “unintentional injury” is the leading cause of death for youngsters aged 1 to 14. [CDC pdf]  (*See also: Comedy Central Daily Show’s takedown of a Florida law preventing pediatricians from discussing guns with clients.)

Too many of these “unintentional injuries” are related to firearms:

“The United States accounts for nearly 75 percent of all children murdered in the developed world. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 in the United States are 17 times more likely to be murdered by firearms than children in other industrialized nations.

Children from states where firearms are prevalent suffer from significantly higher rates of homicide, even after accounting for poverty, education, and urbanization. A study focusing on youth in North Carolina found that most of these deaths were caused by legally purchased handguns. A recent meta-analysis revealed that easy access to firearms doubled the risk of homicide and tripled the risk for suicide among all household members. Family violence is also much more likely to be lethal in homes where a firearm is present, placing children especially in danger. Murder-suicides are another major risk to children and are most likely to be committed with a gun.” [Slate]

Second FloorNevada lacks gun storage laws which assist in the prevention of incidental access to guns by children, and which encourage gun owners to safely store their firearms. [DB 10/23/13]  IF Nevada had safe storage requirements, and IF Nevada reformed its laws on liability of parents who allow access to firearms by children, or who don’t take common sense measures to restrict such access – then we might re-visit this topic.

Third FloorThere are structural differences with foster children in family dynamics.   By definition, a foster placement is temporary.  The contention that “my child would NEVER mishandle my gun,” doesn’t necessarily apply to a youngster who (1) has not been raised in the family since birth, and (2) may or may not have come from a family in which gun safety was a priority, and (3) may or may not have enough familiarity with firearms to overcome parental attempts at restraint.  If the answer to any of these issues is “I don’t know,” then the obvious answer is not to place a foster child in a situation in which firearms and ammunition are present.

Perhaps it’s time for some people to decide – which is more important, having a gun, or having a foster child?

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The NRA race to the bottom: Reciprocity

 Guns ab 175 Here’s an important point: “Nevada now has reciprocity with only 16 states that have requirements equal to or greater than those required in Nevada, including live-fire training.” [LVRJ]

Here’s another: “The proposal is contained in SB175 and Senate Bill 171, which was also heard by the Senate panel. It was also the focus of Assembly Bill 139 heard in the Assembly Judiciary Committee earlier in the day. […] All three measures would require Nevada to recognize concealed carry permits issued by all states.” [LVRJ]

Now, here’s something to consider from one of those ‘other’ states: “SB 347 (West Virginia) “this permitless carry legislation, introduced by state Senator Dave Sypolt (R-14), would recognize your right to legally carry a concealed firearm without the burdensome requirement of having to obtain a costly and time-restrictive Concealed Handgun License (CHL).” [NRA]

Under the provisions suggested by Republicans in the Nevada Legislature, if West Virginia enacts “permitless carry” legislation then Nevada would be obligated to grant reciprocity?

In Kansas, the GOP controlled State Senate has just approved SB 45, also a “permitless carry” bill. [Kan.Com]  Should this legislation be finalized does Nevada have to grant reciprocity under the terms of the revisions suggested as “reforms?”

There are reasons for those “burdensome requirements.”  One of which is that some time is necessary to determine if a person is a convicted felon before issuing a concealed carry permit.  Under Nevada Statutes a person must not be an undocumented foreigner, a convicted felon, a juvenile without parental supervision, or an adjudged mentally ill individual in order to purchase a firearm.  Wouldn’t it make sense to allow local authorities and responsible gun dealers to have some time to make the necessary checks?

Yes, it’s “inconvenient” to have to follow state and local regulations concerning firearms and how they might be concealed – but does Nevada need to stoop to the lowest common denominator in terms of reciprocity?

Another common sense reason to restrict concealed carry permits is that some states, Arizona for example, do not require live fire training.  Just buy the gun, stash it in your pocket or purse, and off you go.  Somehow, the explanation, “Well, the clerk at the hardware store showed me how to shoot it,” doesn’t leave me feeling all that safe in terms of the capacity of my fellow human beings to know how such a firearm should be handled.  The recent tragic story of the Michigan lady who killed herself while adjusting her bra holster comes to mind. [NYDN]

Nevada doesn’t need to produce any more stories like that one.  We also don’t need to add to the grim statistics which report at least 722 non-self defense gunshot fatalities in the U.S. since 2007.

“More gravely, the study found that the fatalities included 17 law enforcement officers shot by people with legal permits along with 705 slain civilians. […] In studying the 544 shootings, the center found 177 cases where people with gun licenses were ultimately convicted of crimes, including homicides, and 218 cases where the permit holder used the gun to commit suicide. There were 44 total lives taken by licensed individuals who first murdered others, then committed suicide.” [NYT]

If we are speaking of “public safety” then we ought to consider how to better protect our law enforcement officers and prevent suicides. As with any legislation, AB 171 and AB 175 should be heard – but as with suggestions that we’d all be safer if more people – no matter how ill trained – should be wandering about in public places with concealed firearms once heard should be enough.

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Pistol Packing Mama’s Baking Soda Solution

Fiore 2

The Wisdom of Michele Fiore (R-NV Assembly 4) might be amusing if (1) it stayed within the boundaries of the Silver State as an inside joke, or (2) if much of it was within the realm of reality.  Neither appears to be the case.

Think Progress has picked up the latest Fiore Story, as has MSNBC.  Thus much for keeping the story to ourselves.

However, there’s more to this adventure into an alternate reality.  First, the suggestion that campus rape might be prevented if the “hot little girls” were packing pistols in their purses ignores some valid questions.

First question, if all the girls are allowed to carry firearms on campus, would that not also apply to the men – the potential predators stalking the “hot little girls?” And, if this is the case then what we have is a formula for escalating violence not necessarily prevention.  Secondly, the incidence of rape among college women is far below that for non-college females. Ergo, while any rape isn’t acceptable the fact that college women aren’t carrying firearms doesn’t put them at necessarily greater risk.  Third, there’s the incapacitation factor.  Campus rapes tend to be associated with physical restraint, and/or voluntary or involuntary intoxication.  The gun in the purse under these circumstances probably wouldn’t be an option. [USAT]

Secondly, there’s the long debunked cancer treatment advice.  “If you have cancer, which I believe is a fungus, and we can put a pic line into your body and we’re flushing with, say, salt water, sodium cardonate through that line and flushing out the fungus. These are some procedures that are not FDA-approved in America that are very inexpensive, cost-effective.” [Ralston]

The American Cancer Society’s position is crystal clear on this matter:

“No peer-reviewed articles in medical journals were found to support the theory that cancer is caused by a fungus infection or a yeast infection. Available peer-reviewed medical journals do not support claims that sodium bicarbonate works as a cancer treatment in humans.”

So, where did the baking soda idea come from? Assuming Fiore meant “sodium bicarbonate.”

“The main proponent of sodium bicarbonate as an alternative cancer treatment is Tullio Simoncini, MD. Information on the Internet describes how Dr. Simoncini concluded that cancer is caused by Candida albicans and can be cured with baking soda. The sequence of events and timeline are not described in detail.

According to the Cancer Treatment Watch website, “[Dr. Simoncini] has been using unsubstantiated cancer treatments for 15 years… in 2003, his [Italian] license to practice medicine was withdrawn, and in 2006 he was convicted by an Italian judge for wrongful death and swindling… [ACS]

Now we have the specter of a bill introduced into our Assembled Wisdom promoting “alternative” treatments such as one practiced by a defrocked Italian doctor who’s been convicted of wrongful death and swindling.

Perhaps we can only hope (1) that Assemblywoman Fiore manages to stay out of the media spotlight long enough for us to catch our breath before the next foray into insanity, and (2) her health and welfare advice is ignored long enough to prevent escalating violence on campuses, and to prevent cancer patients from suffering the fraudulent attentions of defrocked quacks.

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Nevada AB 121: Promote Your Gun in School

NVLeg Gun Promotion

Nevada Assembly members Wheeler, Ellison, Jones, Dickman, Moore, O’Neill, and Oscarson would like to help those kiddies who are disciplined for simulating a firearm during art or play activities, or who are wearing Pro-Gun Apparel in Assembly Bill 121.

There are a couple of levels at which this is ill advised. First, it seems to be one of those solutions in search of a problem. Someone’s kid gets disciplined in some school somewhere for simulating a lethal weapon, gets sent home, and the incident seems to instantly hit the Internet – to be endlessly forwarded and all too often enhanced by the Great E-Mail Telegraph. 

Secondly, this isn’t all about ‘free-dumb.’ It’s about marketing. It’s about the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association promoting its products to a younger generation – since the older ones don’t seem all that interested in arming themselves to the gunwales.   There are reactive increases in gun sales, but generally speaking there are fewer US households purchasing more guns while the majority eschew such shopping.

It’s about the continuing efforts of the National Rifle (Manufacturers) Association to re-interpret the 2nd Amendment to disallow any common sense restraints and limitations, as are applied to every other portion of the Splendid Document.  

It’s also a way to launch a thousand ships of controversy. Does Johnny’s t-shirt with the scantily clad voluptuous young woman waving a 2nd Amendment banner constitute a “disruption,” or because it’s advertising the NRA agenda is it OK? After all, under the provisions of AB 121 a child can’t be disciplined for  “Wearing clothing or accessories that depict a firearm or dangerous weapon or express an opinion regarding a constitutional right to keep and bear arms. “

We might ask – are some of the people who are advocating in favor of this bill possibly be  the same folks who decried the wearing of “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” shirts worn by some professional, amateur, and school team members? Have they agreed with the Oklahoma legislator who wanted to ban hoodies?  Would an NRA hoodie, as seen above, be acceptable?

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Want Something To Be Afraid Of? Here are a few really scary things

Something Afraid Of

Remember the time honored line from childhood, “If you don’t stop crying I’ll give you something to cry about?”  Combine that with the line from the Republicans – We can’t spend any money – Federal Spending is Out of Control—Think of the Children!  Okay, let’s think about the children and what we’re leaving them. That’s scary.

What’s NOT Scary?

First, let’s take on the Republican mantra about spending our grandchildren’s money – it’s hokum, and always has been.  The GOP had, as we remember, no problems conducting the war in Iraq on the national credit card, nor did they have any problems when they put the Medicare Part D into effect without any funding.  Hypocrisy aside,  there are these  inconvenient facts for the GOP:

“Federal outlays over the past three years grew at their slowest pace since 1953-56, when Dwight D. Eisenhower was president. Expenditures as a share of the economy sank last year to 22.8 percent, their lowest level since 2008, according to Congressional Budget Office data. That’s down from 24.1 percent in 2011 and a 64-year high of 25.2 percent in 2009, when Obama pushed through an $831 billion stimulus package.” [BloombergNews]

And then there’s this:

“The deficit probably will fall to $500 billion, or just below 3 percent of GDP, by 2015, as businesses and consumers step up their spending after bringing their own debts down, said Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. The improving economy will increase tax receipts while lowering government expenditures for benefits including food stamps and unemployment compensation.” [BloombergNews]

So, thus much for the GOP and Faux News talking point, endlessly repeated for effect if not edification.

What IS Scary?

The Infrastructure Nightmare. We are leaving our children and grandchildren one horrific bill for the maintenance and improvement of our national infrastructure.  We keep getting report cards from the ASCE and we keep ignoring them.

“Over two hundred million trips are taken daily across deficient bridges in the nation’s 102 largest metropolitan regions. In total, one in nine of the nation’s bridges are rated as structurally deficient, while the average age of the nation’s 607,380 bridges is currently 42 years. The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) estimates that to eliminate the nation’s bridge deficient backlog by 2028, we would need to invest $20.5 billion annually, while only $12.8 billion is being spent currently. The challenge for federal, state, and local governments is to increase bridge investments by $8 billion annually to address the identified $76 billion in needs for deficient bridges across the United States.”  [ASCE]

We’re currently spending only a bit more than half of what we need to spend to eliminate the backlog – note that’s not speaking to NEW construction.  Congratulations kids! We’re saving you from the practically non-existent “National Debt” problem – while we are leaving you with the bill for a deteriorating bridge system.  You know, those bridges that are used by commuters, travelers, and truckers…. What could possibly go wrong? Can anyone say I-35 Minneapolis bridge collapse?  Bridges are scary… so are airports:

“Despite the effects of the recent recession, commercial enplanements were about 33 million higher in number in 2011 than in 2000, stretching the system’s ability to meet the needs of the nation’s economy. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) estimates that the national cost of airport congestion and delays was almost $22 billion in 2012. If current federal funding levels are maintained, the FAA anticipates that the cost of congestion and delays to the economy will rise from $34 billion in 2020 to $63 billion by 2040.”  [ASCE]

That’s right kids, while we’re saving you from that horrible nasty national debt that is neither horrible, nor nasty, we are leaving you holding the tab for an airline transportation system the cost of which will balloon up to $63 billion, billion with a big B, by 2040.   But, but, but, we’ve saved your “inheritance?” What inheritance? You’ll be spending your tax dollars on things we should have taken care of 25 years earlier.

In case this is giving our children and grandchildren headaches – there’s the problem of real headaches and other medical issues.

The Medical Research Issue.    The Republicans were only too pleased to launch one of their patented panic attacks about the Ebola infections, but that subsided with the election, and we still don’t have a Surgeon General, nor do we have any significant increases in funding for medical research. Remember kids – we’re saving your “inheritance.” Research America tracks funding for medical and pharmaceutical research and reports:

“Federal spending also contributed to the overall increase in the R&D spending reported for FY12, but the apparent increase in this category is misleading. The increase is largely due to changes in the classification of existing spending within the National Science Foundation and the Food and Drug Administration ($315 million at NSF and $152 million at FDA) rather than to an actual increase in dollars.”

So, while we’re skimping on funding medical research in this country, we still have mortality rates which differentiate by ethnicity – the average life expectancy of a white male is 76.5 years, a black male 71.8 years, and a Hispanic male 78.7 years.   While the elders march along, on different paths, we could spend a few moments thinking about those infants who are going to be footing our bills.  We have NOT succeeded in bringing down the number of fetal deaths since 2005, and those fetal mortality rates are higher for African American, Native American, and Alaskan Native women than they are for non-Hispanic white women. [CDC]  If the infant makes it into the world there are still problems, for every 1,000 infants born in this country 6 of them will die during their first year of life from a serious birth defect, or being low birth weight, or from being a victim of Sudden Infant Death syndrome, or from the effects of maternal complications of surgery. [CDC]

We do have a Healthy Start program, launched in 2007, to address some of these issues, and then we cut the funding!  So, we still have differentiated life expectancies, a serious problem with fetal mortality among ethnic minorities, a continuing problem with sustaining infants beyond their first year – and we cut the funding – Dear Grandchild, if you are fortunate enough to be alive to read this, please know we love you and hope you don’t mind that we “saved” you from the Nasty National Debt…. You can pay for the research to keep your own children alive, we could have helped but you know how it is.

Oh, and that Ebola thing?  We’d have made more progress on the vaccine but we didn’t want to spend “your inheritance.” [Time] And, the nasal version of the vaccine – that might not happen either because of funding cuts. [Pharma]  Even better – there is a proposal from the Republican to cut funding for the CDC budget – the one that in conjunction with the NIH will be working on drug resistant virus strains.  If the kids want more research on new bacterial and virus related illnesses, they can pay for it themselves?

Gun Violence.  While we were busy protecting your right to bear arms, and we clung to the notion that having a gun in the home will make those little future taxpayers safer.  We did all this while still knowing that a gun in the home makes it 22 times more likely to kill or injure someone (maybe you) in the house than that it will ever be used for self defense.  And, we knew that 60% of all children (0-9) killed  by guns occurred in an apartment or single family dwelling.  We also knew that two-thirds of all school shootings were done with a gun acquired in the home. [Brady]  What did we do about this?

We made it impossible for a gun manufacturer or dealer to be sued for negligence or malfeasance. We refused to enact legislation to require background checks on gun buyers.  We refused to even take an official count of gun deaths and would not allow pediatricians to ask if firearms were in the house.   Because? Maybe you’ll want a gun… if you can still afford one… and you too can be at greater risk for a homicide, suicide, or unintentional shooting. Oh, and by the way, we’re leaving the increasing costs of medical care, emergency room treatment, rehabilitation treatment, lost productivity, and judicial proceedings to you.  Because you’re “free.”

So, if you want some things to truly be afraid of these are just three areas in which we have decided that our children and grandchildren can shoulder the bills because we were too deluded, too ideological, or perhaps too ignorant to do so ourselves.

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News and Notes

Jig Saw Puzzle It’s been some time since there’s been a good old fashioned aggregation post and today seems as good a time as any.  So, here goes —

In the MUST Read Department, there’s “Nevada’s Bundy Caucus” over at Crooks and Liars.  Nothing so brightens a Wednesday morning like being reminded that a soul-mate of the nefarious Cliven Bundy has been elected to the Congress of the United States.  Whack-a-doodle Doo!  To make life even more interesting – Bundy-Lovin’ Assemblywoman Michele Fiore, the Gun Totin’ Moll of the Tea Party, wants to be the Majority Leader, according to the very credible Jon Ralston.

Also in the MUST Department, The Center for American Progress has an excellent statistical piece about Veterans in America.  Did you know that there are 22 million veterans in America, and that 2.6 million are from the post 9/11 Era?  Or, that 49,933 of them are homeless?  Read On! There’s more from the Ramirez Group on homeless veterans.  One out of every three homeless men is a Vet. Unconscionable.

Take a look at Steve Sebelius’s Fun with Numbers, concerning the 2014 election in Nevada.   Notice: Nevada Progressive is shutting shop and moving to Let’s Talk Nevada. There’s a very informative post about the campaigns and elections therein.  NRDC posts an article from Common Dreams concerning the interesting voting pattern in which progressive initiatives tended to pass while progressive/Democratic candidates tended to fail.

If you’re following the debate on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, then “GOP already in lame excuse mode,” is highly recommended reading.  Wondering what happened to the bill from the Senate?  AZCentral provides a timeline, including the fact that the Senate passed the bill on June 27, 2013 – and Speaker John Boehner has not brought the bill, or any House version thereof, to the floor since.

Even if the Republicans won’t admit it, gun violence in this country is a public health issue.   However, that doesn’t mean that the GOP will stop blocking the nomination for Surgeon General, a man who believes that bullets do serious damage to human bodies – after all the Ebola ‘crisis’ was over as soon as the election returns came in from Hawaii on November 4th. If we could see the violence issue in public health terms we’d remember that on average 32 people are killed by guns every day, and another 140 are treated in the ER for gunshot wounds.  So, if the averages hold,  approximately 1,376 people have died from gunshots since October 1, 2014. From Ebola infections? 1.

Yes, the Supreme Court will take up a conservative challenge to the Affordable Care Act.  Think Progress provides a succinct summation of the challenge.   There’s obviously some more work to be done to convince the public that (1) Obamacare isn’t a Thing, it’s a collection of reforms to the way health insurance corporations do business, and (2) repealing it means serious hardships to middle income Americans, the elderly, and continued struggles of 215,000 veterans who would be greatly assisted by the expansion of Medicaid.  Someone really should pose the question to the newly elected Congressional Representatives: Do you support the troops or the health insurance corporations?  The second question ought to be: Do you want to cost those corporations all the new customers they got under the ACA provisions?

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