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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/

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.

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

The following is from the website Dictionary.com:

par·a·noi·a [par-uh-noi-uh], noun
1. Psychiatry. a mental disorder characterized by systematized delusions and the projection of personal conflicts, which are ascribed to the supposed hostility of others, sometimes progressing to disturbances of consciousness and aggressive acts believed to be performed in self-defense or as a mission. 2.baseless or excessive suspicion of the motives of others. Also, par·a·noe·a [par-uh-nee-uh]. Origin:  1805–15;  < Neo-Latin  < Greek paránoia  madness. See para-, nous, -ia

Here’s something else that the editors  might have added to the above definition:

3. The characteristic of being so absurdly and maniacally obsessed with a single public policy issue that one deludes oneself into believing that every other policy matter pales in importance and, indeed, that advocacy surrounding all other matters is really part of a conspiracy to target one’s issue. 4. The belief that millions of good people should suffer in the shadows so that it can be assured that a few thousand souls can purchase and own mass killing machines without meaningful regulation.  See for example: The American gun lobby.

If you think this is an exaggeration, check out the following news item:

The national pro-gun advocacy group Gun Owners of America issued an alert last week Read More

Gun violenceSchool “lockdowns” in response to gun violence: It’s become almost a daily occurrence in the U.S. Indeed, school gun violence incidents have gotten so absurdly commonplace that many of us don’t even blink an eye as the latest red-letter alert crawls across our computer or TV screens. As I write this, two more such lockdowns are underway — at Yale University in Connecticut and here in North Carolina at Vance-Granville Community College.  Talk about evidence that this madness is an equal opportunity plague.

It’s gotten so bad that it probably won’t be long before we see a news story like the following:

NRA calls for universal lockdown to combat school shootings

In response to the 750th American school shooting in the last six months, the National Rifle Association announced today that it is calling for an immediate, national and permanent lockdown of all schools, businesses and places of worship in the country. Under the NRA proposal, only individuals carrying firearms will be allowed to enter or exit any of the specified facilities. The proposal would make an exception for children under 12 entering and exiting under the protection of an armed parent or guardian.

“We’re just plain tired of people saying the NRA doesn’t care Read More