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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sessions Promotes Project Exile To Fight Violent Crime

Attorney General Jeff Sessions encouraged cities to utilize decades-old strategies to fight violent crime, focusing on the aggressive prosecution of gun offenses under federal laws, instead of weaker state statutes. 

Sessions credited the 1990s program, known as Project Exile, for decreasing violent crime by slapping felons caught illegally carrying guns with a mandatory five-year sentences to be served in prisons far away from their homes. During his first month in office, Sessions has frequently pushed for increased federal involvement in fighting street crime, citing the need for harsher sentences for the violent criminals.

“I am determined that this country will not go backwards,” he said. “President Trump gave us a clear directive. It’s the policy of this administration to reduce crime in America, not preside over an increase in crime, but reduce crime.”


Everytown’s Feinblatt Blames Virginia For New York Gun Trafficking

In a guest column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Everytown For Gun Safety’s John Feinblatt blamed the alleged activities of a gun trafficking ring on what he called Virginia’s “weak laws” regarding such things as straw purchases. Along the way, he allowed that two of those arrested in the caper are convicted felons. 

News flash for Mr. Feinblatt: Purchasing a firearm for a known prohibited person—a straw purchase—is a federal felony. Lying on Form 4473 is a federal crime, as is causing a federally licensed gun dealer to submit a false form. Burglarizing, or robbing, a gun store (an activity that is on the rise) is against the law. And selling a gun to a person that you should know is prohibited is a felony whether the seller is required to conduct a background check or not—no matter if the sale takes place in a parking lot or a gun show. 

In addition, Feinblatt’s total knowledge of the path taken by those guns is comes from a wiretap of one of those arrested bragging about buying 20 guns from a Virginia gun store. Perhaps he should fact-check his sources—or wait for the results of an investigation—before writing his next column.


House Passes Bill To Restore Veterans’ Second Amendment Rights

By a vote of 240-175, the U.S. House passed the Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act (H.R. 1181) that will restore the due process rights of recipients of government benefits to veterans. 

Currently, the Veterans Administration effectively bars veterans receiving benefits, who appoint a “representative payee” to help them manage their affairs, from buying or possessing a firearm, bypassing their right to due process. An unintended consequence of the VA policy has been to keep many veterans, for whom hunting and shooting is a way of life, from seeking needed help for fear that the VA would deny their 2A rights. As of December 2015, the VA had stripped a staggering 260,000 veterans of their gun rights. 

President Trump signed legislation rolling back a similar Social Security Administration policy in February. At the time, media headlines misled readers, saying that it allowed the “severely mentally ill” to buy guns. On Friday, NPR began the same misleading drumbeat with the headline, “House Oks Bill Allowing ‘Mentally Incapacitated’ Veterans To Buy Guns.”


Giffords’ New Coalition Set To Tighten Gun Control Measures In Arizona

This week, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband formed a coalition to “create public policy to prevent gun tragedies.” The group—Arizona Coalition for Common Sense—includes backing from multiple public officials, as well as nonprofit and business leaders. 

Their stated goal is to “urge their elected officials to advance policies that help keep guns out of the wrong hands and prevent gun tragedies while protecting the rights of law-abiding Americans to own firearms.” Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, also founded “Americans for Responsible Solutions,” a national political action committee aimed at gun control measures they say will reduce gun violence through increased legislation and anti-Second Amendment policies. 

Giffords told constituents she will fight any state politician standing in the way. “Stopping gun violence takes courage, the courage to do what’s right, the courage of new ideas. Fight, fight, fight,” she continued. “Be bold, be courageous, the nation’s counting on you.”


House Passes Bill Allowing “Ill” Veterans Their Right To Buy A Firearm

“Veterans who fought to defend the Constitution should also be allowed the rights to protect it.”

Those words are those of Representative and chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs Phil Roe, who sponsored a bill to overturn legislation stating veterans deemed “mentally incompetent” by the VA can be denied weapons permits. On the chamber floor Thursday, Roe stated that current law “deprives veterans of their constitutional rights without due process of law.” Florida Democrat Alcee Hastings disagreed, and was “disgusted” by the bill: “I don’t support crazy people having guns, whether they’re veterans or not.”

Evidently Roe’s words were persuasive. Twelve Democrats along with Republican collaborators voted in favor of the new legislation, stating a judge must first rule if veterans are a danger to themselves or others before the Department of Veteran Affairs can deny them any purchase of a firearm. The NRA-backed ‘Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act’ passed the house 240-175.


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