Category Archives: Gun control

Supreme Court Refuses to Block ‘Bump Stock’ Ban Over Thomas and Gorsuch’s Dissent

Repost from Reuters

U.S. Supreme Court rebuffs bid to block Trump’s gun ‘bump stock’ ban

By Lawrence Hurley, MARCH 28, 2019 / 9:15 AM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday handed President Donald Trump a victory by rejecting for the second time in three days a bid by gun rights activists to block his new ban on “bump stock” attachments that enable semi-automatic weapons to fire rapidly.

FILE PHOTO: A bump fire stock, (R), that attaches to a semi-automatic rifle to increase the firing rate is seen at Good Guys Gun Shop in Orem, Utah, U.S., October 4, 2017. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

The policy, embraced by Trump in the wake of an October 2017 massacre in Las Vegas in which bump stocks were used, went into effect on Tuesday. The ban is a rare recent instance of gun control at the federal level in a country that has experienced a succession of mass shootings.

The court in a brief order refused to grant a temporary stay sought by the group Gun Owners of America and others in a lawsuit filed in Michigan challenging the ban while litigation continues. Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday rejected a similar bid to block the policy in a separate legal challenge brought in Washington by individual gun owners and gun rights groups including the Firearms Policy Foundation and Florida Carry Inc.

Michael Hammond, Gun Owners of America’s legislative counsel, said many owners of the estimated 500,000 bump stocks in the United States would refuse to turn them in despite the ban and related criminal penalties. People caught in possession of bump stocks could face up to 10 years in prison under the policy.

“GOA will continue to fight the issue in the court system, as the case now returns to the lower courts. We remain convinced that the courts will consign this unlawful, unconstitutional ban to the trash bin of history, where it belongs,” Hammond said in a statement, using the group’s acronym.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the administration was pleased with the high court’s action.

Bump stocks use a gun’s recoil to bump its trigger, enabling a semiautomatic weapon to fire hundreds of rounds per minute, which can transform it into a machine gun. The Justice Department’s regulation followed the lead of many states and retailers that imposed stricter limits on sales of guns and accessories after a deadly shooting at a Florida high school in February 2018.

LAS VEGAS SHOOTING

Trump pledged to ban bump stocks soon after a gunman used them in a spree that killed 58 people at a country music festival in Las Vegas. The Justice Department on Dec. 18 announced plans to implement the policy on March 26.

The FBI said in January it had found no clear motive for the 64-year-old Las Vegas gunman, Stephen Paddock, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

In the Michigan case, a federal judge already has ruled in favor of the administration. The Cincinnati, Ohio-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to put the ban on hold pending appeal. Other plaintiffs in that case include the Gun Owners Foundation, the Virginia Citizens Defense League and three individual gun owners.

In the Washington case, a federal judge also upheld the ban, prompting the gun rights advocates to appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. That court has heard oral arguments but has not yet ruled.

Those challenging the policy have argued that the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) lacks the authority to equate bump stocks with machine guns. One of the laws at the center of the legal dispute was written more than 80 years ago, when Congress restricted access to machine guns during the heyday of American gangsters’ use of “tommy guns.”

Trump’s fellow Republicans typically oppose gun control measures and favor of a broad interpretation of the right to bear arms promised in the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment. In 2017, there were 39,773 gun deaths in the United States, according to the most recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures released in December.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham
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    Bump Stock Ban now official nationwide – Supreme Court

    Repost from NPR News
    [See also the New York Times report.]

    Bump Stock Ban Proceeds After Supreme Court Denies Gun Makers’ Request To Halt It

    By Laurel Wamsley, March 28, 201912:54 PM ET
    A bump stock, left, is a device that can be added to a gun to increase its firing speed. The devices were banned by the federal government his week. George Frey/Getty Images

    The U.S. Supreme Court officially denied an appeal from gun makers seeking to stop a Trump administration ban on bump stocks, the gun add-ons that can dramatically increase their rate of fire. The ban went into effect on Tuesday.

    Gun makers had filed separate appeals to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor, requesting a temporary hold on the ban. Roberts denied one appeal earlier this week; Sotomayor referred hers to the full court, which denied it on Thursday, allowing the ban to proceed while challenges to it move through the courts.

    Bump stocks gained national attention after they were used in the October 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a gunman used bump-stock outfitted rifles to kill 58 people at an outdoor concert.

    The ban requires bump stocks to be destroyed — such as by melting, shredding or crushing — or handed over at an office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The ATF recommends making an appointment with the ATF office beforehand.

    As NPR’s Bill Chappell reported on Wednesday, the anticipation of a ban spurred sales of the devices:

    RW Arms, a prominent bump stock retailer based in Fort Worth, Texas, says its entire remaining inventory of 60,000 bump stocks has now been turned over to the ATF’s custody. The items will be “shredded and recycled under the supervision of ATF agents,” the company said.

    In the run-up to the total ban, RW Arms had rushed to sell as many bump stocks as it could, posting a countdown clock on its website to warn customers of the impending change. Its bump stocks were priced at between $179 and $199; the website now says they’re out of stock.

    The ATF isn’t saying exactly how many bump stocks have been turned in so far — in large part because there are many ways for gun owners to comply with the law. But the agency’s chief of public affairs, April Langwell, says bump stock owners have turned the accessories in at ATF field offices “all across the country.”

    Some states and cities banned the devices more than a year ago.

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      Parkland mourns 2 student suicides a year after Stoneman Douglas shooting. Now parents are urged to be alert

      Repost from CNN

      By Kaylee Hartung, Susannah Cullinane and Holly Yan, March 25, 2019 10:37 AM ET

      The grief that still envelops Parkland after last year’s school massacre is now compounded by the recent suicides of current or former students.

      Community leaders are urging parents everywhere to be vigilant and proactive in talking to their kids about trauma.

      Parkland school shooting survivior dies by suicideSydney Aiello, a 2018 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, died by suicide last week. She survived the attack on Valentine’s Day 2018 that killed 17 people at the Florida school — including 14 students and three staff members.

      Aiello, a Florida Atlantic University student, suffered from survivor’s guilt and had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mom told CNN affiliate WFOR.
      Then on Saturday, more tragedy struck Parkland when a second student died in what police describe as “an apparent suicide.”
      The student, who has not been publicly identified, was a student at Stoneman Douglas High. It’s not clear under what circumstances the student died, or whether the apparent suicide was related to last year’s massacre.

      Parents: ‘We have to take this seriously’

      “Unfortunately, what we’ve learned is that the survivors of a traumatic event like a school shooting carry with them a lot of guilt, anxiety, pressures, depression even,” said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina Petty was killed in last year’s shooting.

      Study: More US school-age children die from guns than on-duty US police or global military deaths

      Petty, who has another child who survived the attack, established the WalkUp Foundation after the shooting with a focus on preventing suicide.
      “We just have to assume as a parent that your child is not immune for that. Your child is at risk, and you need to take that seriously,” he said.
      Petty said the school district, community leaders, law enforcement and concerned parents met Sunday to discuss how to address the trauma survivors are facing.
      “Even if everything appears to be OK, you need to take that seriously,” he said. “You need to ask them the questions. Have you thought about killing yourself? Have you thought about ways you might do that?”
      How to get help for someone who might be suicidal
      Petty said students had been offered resources after the shooting, including counseling options. But he said sometimes there are stigmas associated with getting help, or that students just pretended that they were OK.
      “So unfortunately some students are not availing themselves of those opportunities, and some parents are not understanding that the risks of anxiety and depression in a post-traumatic environment like a school shooting,” Petty said.
      “So our message is parents we have to take this seriously. We have to take this into our own hands. … Regardless of your proximity to the building and whether or not you saw the horrific events of that day that took 17 lives and injured 17 others, you’re part of a school community and that community is suffering.”

      The power of peer-to-peer communication

      Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, the president of Children’s Services Council of Broward County, also attended Sunday’s meeting.
      1 year after Parkland, parents and teachers are still grieving. These are their stories
      “One of the things that I have heard parents and children say is that nobody cares, and they just want us to get on with our lives. And I really want them to know that that’s not true,” she said.
      “I just left a room full of 60 people who came on a moment’s notice on a Sunday afternoon to show how much they care.”
      She said that peer-to-peer communication could be a powerful tool, as teenagers might not turn to their parents as a first resource.
      “We want to harness the power of the young people to speak to each other,” she said. That may include using Instagram, Snapchat or any other method that could “yield huge benefits.”

      MSD students use their experience to help others

      In an example of such networking, MSD students have themselves been reaching out beyond their own community to help other people experiencing trauma.
      Parkland students comfort families in Nwe Zealand
      Survivors began a letter-writing campaign last week to help heal families and communities affected by the March 15 shootings at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.
      The Parkland students grew connected to the Christchurch community when they visited New Zealand last July on a learning and healing trip.
      “We got letters after our tragedy. That was something that really surprised us,” said Kai Koerber, a Stoneman Douglas senior who went on last year’s trip.
      “It’s something that really warmed the hearts of people in my community. I think it will warm the hearts of people in Christchurch as well.”

      If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, here’s how to get help: In the US, call theNational Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide also can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.
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