Tag Archives: guns

Will Congress Act on Bloomberg Gun Sting?

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will stand for re-election early next month. No matter what you think of him, or whether he should serve another four years as mayor, he provided a public service to the nation with his four month probe showing how easy it is to buy guns in this country.

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If you want to know why so many people die by the gun in America, consider the results of his investigation. In nearly three our of four cases, undercover investigators were able to purchase guns illegally.

This is interesting on several levels. First, Bloomberg didn’t just talk about the probe. He showed video after video of gun sellers more than willing in many cases to skirt the law. In one, a man tells a dealer at an Ohio gun show that he couldn’t pass the required background check. The dealer smiles, and tells him it doesn’t matter “Because I wouldn’t pass either, bud.”

In another video, at a gun show in Nashville, a man asks a female friend to buy a Glock for him. That would seem to be a violation of federal law. The seller, who apparently knows what’s going on, asks the woman for identification, then sells her the gun. It seems the explosion of gun and ammunition purchases since the election of President Barack Obama has led more than a few folks to ignore even the lax restrictions now in place.

The purpose of the sting, according to Mayor Bloomberg, is to get Congress to act on a bill sponsored by New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg. That bill would require background checks for all sales by private sellers at gun shows. Maybe that would change the city’s tabulation that out of 47 purchases at seven gun shows in three states, 35 were illegal.

It would seem as though Congress has little wiggle room here. After all, they moved with extraordinary speed to defund ACORN after a video sting operation. In that instance, no actual illegality has been alleged. Can our lawmakers be so hypocritical (or frightened by the NRA) that they’d reject video footage of actual criminality while calling for the heads of every present and former ACORN employee?

I hate to say it, but they probably can. When it came to ACORN, the acted as judge, jury, and executioner based on videos provided by a pair of conservative hustlers. That may have been in violation of the Constitution, but what the heck! In this case, Mayor Bloomberg was making a point about illegals guns that are purchased elsewhere and end up taking lives here in New York. The fact that his police commissioner joined him in exposing the results of this sting also points out the fact that some of the lives lost to illegal gun sales are those of police officers. Despite this, it’s likely no one will be prosecuted for those illegal gun sales captured on video. Wanna bet?

But you tell me. Will Congress finally act to curb the kind of illegal gun sales captured in Mike Bloomberg’s sting?

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Guns are Good? Concealed Weapons Across State Lines- You're Kidding, Right?

Apparently not.

There’s an amendment to a Senate defense planning bill that would allow people licensed to carry concealed weapons in one state to carry them into others. The architect of this foolishness is Sen. John Thune, Republican of South Dakota.

The defense bill is scheduled to be voted on Wednesday. Thune argues the amendment would have the effect of reducing crime.

There are 21 co-sponsors, meaning just over one fifth of the Upper House agrees with him.

To people living in urban areas, the meaning of this amendment should be clear. Gun rights advocates are pressing their agenda at the expense of innocent men, woman and children who will die if it passes. Thune and his NRA- financed cronies use the same tired argument that the amendment will not open the door to more handgun violence. They don’t say what’s to stop a person bent on revenge, for example, from crossing state lines, buying a gun where state laws are lax, coming back into their home state, and using it.

Then there’s the question of why this amendment is part of a defense bill in the first place. Yeah, I know Congress does this all the time, that is, insert amendments having little to do with the actual legislation in an effort to either sneak it by or kill the bill. Whatever the reason, cooler heads in the Senate need to defeat this amendment once and for all. Congressional Republicans think they smell blood. They think there are certain issues they can press or beat down, depending on how much damage it will do to President Obama.

Health care reform is one. This guns across state lines amendment is another. Make no  mistake. This plays into the fears that have been expressed  since Obama became president that he would “take everyone’s guns away”. Maybe that explains why the White House hasn’t said too much about it, at least not yet. Senators representing states with tough gun control laws, like Lautenberg of New Jersey and Schumer of New York are speaking out. Lautenberg correctly pointed out that this is on one level a state’s rights issue.

President Obama threatened to veto this same defense bill in its entirety if spending for F-22 fighter jets were included.

The Senate blinked and voted to strip the spending. He needs to do the same thing with this bone to the gun lobby. And the senators who are pushing the amendment ought to explain to police officers in their home states how and why they would sponsor a piece of legislation that puts their lives in jeopardy. Don’t think it does? Ask a cop.

So, in the end, will this amendment to let people carry concealed weapons across state lines pass or fail? You tell me.

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Guns. Would You Pack Heat to Church?

I know the short answer to the above question for me. It’s no, not ever, no way. Yet in Louisville, Kentucky, an alleged man of the cloth, Pastor Ken Pagano of the New Bethel Church, invited parishoners to bring guns to a special service this past weekend. It was billed as an “open carry celebration”, and it’s tough to figure out if this guy is simply publicity hungry or something much worse. How a God-fearing Christian can seriously advocate  such foolishness is beyond me.

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Ken Pagano has, of course, become a media sensation since word of his “bring your gun to church” celebration spread. To be fair, he didn’t allow loaded guns into New Bethel. It was, according to this theologian, a means to promote responsible gun ownership and firearms safety. Gee, I thought that’s what the NRA was supposed to be about. I guess I’m wrong on both counts. I also thought church was supposed to be about a lof of things other than packing heat to show you support the Second Amendment.

Pagano, for his part, has a ready explanation for this. “As a Christian, I believe, and as an American this country was founded on the deep-seated belief in God and firearms — without which we wouldn’t be here today.”

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This he said to (who else?) Fox News. At least 200 people agreed with him. That’s how many showed up to his “open carry celebration”. One would think the recent murder of Dr. George Tiller in a church might have given Pagano pause. Apparently not.

Now maybe New Bethel Church does some of the things I have come to believe are actions responsible Christians take. That would include feeding the hungry, looking after teen mothers, helping immigrants learn English, promoting racial and religious tolerance among all people, things like that. I know my church, imperfect though it may be, works at doing these things, and not just on Sunday. It just seems like promoting gun ownership would be pretty far down the list of priorities for most Christian institutions.

Like many other folks, Pagano cites a fear among his parishioners that President Obama will send the feds to their door, and confiscate their weapons. What shred of actual evidence they have of his intention to do that is between them and their Creator. So afraid are Pastor Pagano and his flock that he wants to see his “open carry celebration” become an annual national event.

Can I get a “God Forbid?” But seriously, would you every carry a weapon to your church, or mosque, or synagogue?

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