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GunsICYMI, New York Times contributor, Prof. Gary Gutting of Notre Dame University has a thought-provoking piece that’s worth your time. In it, he suggests that an important key to fighting gun violence involves convincing people they don’t need guns rather than trying to regulate them:

“It’s one thing to be horrified at gun violence. It’s something else to see it as a meaningful threat to your own existence. Our periodic shock at mass shootings and gang wars has little effect on our gun culture because most people don’t see guns as a particular threat to them. This is why opposition to gun violence has lacked the intense personal commitment of those who see guns as essential to their safety — or even their self-identity. Read More

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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

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The good people at Think Progress have made the President’s gun proposal and all of its common sense components easilty digestible with this handy 13-point explanation.

“The initiatives cover everything from mental heath, to gun safety, to blocking the most deadly firearms from making it to market. Here are some of the most important efforts the President introduced today:

1. Making background checks universal. Obama wants every single gun owner to go through a proper background check, so it can be determined whether they have a criminal history or diagnosed mental illness. He wants Congress to close the gun show loophole that allows people at gun shows, and private buyers of used weapons, to avoid getting checked. He will also, through executive action, urge private sellers to conduct background checks, even if they aren’t mandatory. Read More

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You may recall a short while back, after the tragedy in Newtown, how the California State Teachers Retirement System learned that its $500 million investment commitment to private equity group Cerberus Capital Management was headed to a company with a controlling interest in North Carolina-based Freedom Group, maker of the Bushmaster assault rifle used in the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Needless to say, the group of current and retired teachers were none too happy to learn that their hard-earned dollars were funding assault weapons and quickly announced that they were reviewing that commitment. The group’s response to its very public discovery, coinciding with national outrage over the shootings and renewed calls for gun control legislation, caused Cerberus to announce just days later that it was selling its interest in Freedom Group.

Now comes another pension group, the New York State Common Retirement Fund, that is likewise seeking to exercise its shareholders rights to dictate the behavior of companies in which it invests — this time taking aim at the corporate political spending unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision. Read More

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The New York Times gives voice to an appropriately pessimistic set of expectations about what the National Rifle Association will have to say when its leaders speak out today on the Newtown tragedy. Let’s hope the paper is wrong, but this part of the editorial seems almost sure to be on the money:

“We would like to believe that the N.R.A., the most influential opponent of sensible gun-control policies, will do as it says, but we have little faith that it will offer any substantial reforms. The association presents itself as a grass-roots organization, but it has become increasingly clear in recent years that it represents gun makers. Its chief aim has been to help their businesses by increasing the spread of firearms throughout American society.