With Barack Obama poised to impose new gun restrictions via executive orders, discussion continues regarding the president’s desire to deny those on terrorism watch lists their Second Amendment rights—and not all federal officials agree with him.
“I believe it would be apples and oranges,” said Department of Homeland Security’s Assistant Secretary for International Affairs Alan Bersin, in testimony Wednesday before the House Oversight Committee. He was responding to a question from Rep. Blake Farenthold on whether it was appropriate that these lists be used outside of what they were designed for.
On Friday, however, Bersin walked back his remarks, likely after a dressing down from superiors. "To be clear, it is the administration's position that Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun," he said. "This is a matter of national security and common sense, and it is a position I and the department support."
House Legislator Introduces National “Buyback” Bill
Given the less-than-stellar effectiveness of most so-called gun “buyback” programs, it’s difficult to fathom why anyone would want to implement one on a federal level. But that’s exactly what U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr., D-N.J., is attempting to do. The Safer Neighborhoods Gun Buyback Act, which has 22 co-sponsors, would set up a program to pay gun owners a premium of 25 percent over market value to turn in their firearms.
The program is estimated to cost $360 million; participants would receive a debit card that could be used to buy anything—except more guns or ammo. We don’t see how this could possibly save any lives, but it will surely allow enterprising criminals several possibilities for gaming the system.
Georgia Bill Would Prohibit Gun Sales To Divorcing Spouses
A Georgia state senator has introduced a bill that would make residents ineligible to buy a gun while going through a divorce. The legislation was written at the behest of Fulton County Assistant District Attorney April Ross, who was shot and paralyzed by her estranged husband. Georgia Carry opposed the bill, explaining that, “Many times emotions run high during divorce proceedings, but prohibiting any disarmed person from their Second Amendment right is not the proper method to attack the issue.”
While the case of Ross is tragic, we have an additional cause for alarm about this bill: It aims to target abusive or vindictive spouses, but would also disarm their potential victims. Someone divorcing a violent spouse may have an especially urgent need for a firearm. Let’s not forget the fate that Carol Bowne met at the hands of a former boyfriend because the state didn’t allow her to defend herself.
West Virginia May Move To Deregulate Concealed Carry
Lawmakers in West Virginia are once again moving to join states such as Maine that have recognized concealed carry of firearms without a permit. A similar bill passed early this year but was vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. The new legislation being drafted includes some extra measures intended to reassure law enforcement, including increasing penalties for gun-related offenses and limiting the deregulation to state residents.
Sen. Bill Cole, the president of West Virginia’s Senate, explained that the measure would only affect law-abiding citizens. “The crooks, the drug dealers, they already have a gun under their coat, and they don’t have a concealed carry permit,” he said. The low crime rate in Vermont, which has always recognized permitless open and concealed carry, indicates that such a policy certainly can’t hurt.
Beretta Making Move To More Gun-Friendly State
Early 2016 will find a historic firearm company residing in a different state than before—and with good reason.
Beretta USA is moving its factory from Accokeek, Md., where it has operated since the 1970s, to more gun-friendly Gallatin, Tenn. Company officials decided to make the move after Maryland politicians three years ago passed a package of restrictive gun-control measures that were punitive to law-abiding citizens. The laws, championed by former Maryland governor and Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley, banned many semi-automatic rifles and limited magazines to 10 rounds.
James Fenton, executive director of Gallatin’s Economic Development Agency, said O’Malley greatly helped his city by pushing the restrictive anti-gun measures. “I would like to mention that the [former] governor of Maryland is my best friend for passing that legislation, even though we've never met,” Fenton told Money.com.
Illinois Resident Defends Self And Son From Robber
A 68-year-old resident of Calumet City, Ill., was allegedly approached by a man who attempted to rob him and his 9-year-old son. The victim, who has a concealed carry permit, responded by drawing his firearm and shooting at the would-be robber.
The suspect fled and was seen by witnesses running through neighboring back yards. He was eventually caught by police.