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For a while this morning on WRAL.com, the following three headlines appeared consecutively near the top of the website:

One shot at Stanly County high school
Police in Albemarle report one student has been hurt and another person is in custody after a shooting at Albemarle High School.

Despite clarion call, youth violence continues in Fayetteville
In July, city and county leaders called for an end to youth violence in Fayetteville, but violent incidents involving youth have since continued in the city, including the shooting death of a 16-year-old Saturday night.

Indoor ‘mega’ shooting range coming to Raleigh
When it’s complete, an indoor shooting range in northwest Raleigh will be one of the largest in the nation and will offer more than target practice and guns for sale, the facility’s founder and owner says.

Meanwhile, the rate of fire arm-related deaths in countries like the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany and Japan (where tougher gun laws generally keep deadly firearms better regulated) remain a small fraction of the U.S. rate.

Commentary

The good people at Everytown for Gun Safety have launched a powerful new campaign to convince the giant Kroger grocery chain to prohibit customers from openly carrying weapons in its stores. The campaign features three powerful photographs that highlight the absurdity of Kroger’s current policies — which prohibit customers from bringing in outside food, skateboards or shopping shirtless, but that do not prohibit openly carrying, for instance, assault rifles.

Below is one of the powerful images featured in the campaign — click here to see the other photos and to lend your name to the petition:

Kroger gun policy

Photo credit: Everytown for Gun Safety – everytown.org

 

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Target assault weapons

Photo credit: Everytown for Gun Safety (everytown.org)

(Updated: As the comment below notes, Target has responded positively to the concerns expressed by people across the county and issued a statement requesting customers not to bring firearms to their stores.)

The good people at Everytown for Gun Safety have launched petition drive to demand that Target stores join the growing list of responsible companies that ban customers from openly toting weapons in their businesses.

This is from a recent appeal by a concerned mom in San Antonio, Texas named Jamie Addams:

“Which seems more threatening to you? A group of moms openly carrying babies and petitions, or a rally of men and women openly carrying loaded semiautomatic rifles? According to Target, it’s the moms.

Our volunteers in San Antonio were supposedly asked to leave because Target provides a ‘distraction free’ shopping environment. I don’t know about you, but I think the open carry of loaded semiautomatic rifles in Target stores and parking lots is pretty distracting when I’m out shopping with my kids.

Sign the petition to Target today and tell them that welcoming gun extremists and kicking out moms and kids is completely #OffTarget: http://act.everytown.org/sign/target-petition/

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Gun violenceBuying a gun for someone else while claiming on federal forms to be the intended owner is a crime, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today in a 5-4 decision.

“We hold that such a misrepresentation is punishable under the statute, whether or not the true buyer could have purchased the gun without the straw,” Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the majority in Abramski v. U.S., joined by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

The case before the court involved a purchase by a former police officer who, when buying  a Glock 19 handgun for his uncle, falsely claimed that he would be the actual owner of the gun.

In a challenge to his subsequent indictment and conviction, the officer claimed that his misrepresentation was immaterial because his uncle met the legal requirements to own a gun and that in any event, a false response about the gun buyer is never a violation of the law, regardless of whether the intended true owner is or is not eligible to buy a gun.

The majority on the court rejected those arguments, affirming the Fourth Circuit. Justice Kagan wrote:

Contrary to his contention, the information [the question] requests —“[a]re you the actual transferee/buyer[?]” or, put conversely, “are [you] acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person[?]”— is relevant to the lawfulness of a gun sale. That is because, for all the reasons we have given, the firearms law contemplates that the dealer will check not the fictitious purchaser’s but instead the true purchaser’s identity and eligibility for gun ownership. By concealing that [the uncle] was the actual buyer, [the straw purchaser] prevented the dealer from transacting with [the uncle] face-to-face, recording his name, age, and residence, inspecting his photo ID, submitting his identifying information to the background check system, and determining whether he was prohibited from receiving a firearm. In sum, [the straw] thwarted application of essentially all of the firearms law’s requirements. We can hardly think of a misrepresentation any more material to a sale’s legality.

For more on the decision, read the analysis by Scotusblog’s  Lyle Denniston here.

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GunsReporter Ana Marie Cox attended this past weekend’s National Rifle Association annual meeting and came away with some interesting insights — most notably that the organization’s noxious overall objectives often differ from those of the rank and file. As she notes:

NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre exhorted the crowd to a morally obligated vigilantism. He drew a vivid picture of a United States in utter decay and fragmented beyond repair, Mad Max-meets-Hunger Games, divided by Soylent Green:

‘We know, in the world that surrounds us, there are terrorists and home invaders and drug cartels and car-jackers and knock-out gamers and rapers, haters, campus killers, airport killers, shopping-mall killers, road-rage killers, and killers who scheme to destroy our country with massive storms of violence against our power grids, or vicious waves of chemicals or disease that could collapse the society that sustains us all.’

LaPierre’s bleak vision is exaggerated dystopianism in service of sedition, a wide-ranging survey of targets that put justice against the intrusions of the IRS on a continuum with (as an advertisement he ran during his speech put it) workplace ‘bullies and liars.’

Talk about mission creep. Read More