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Monday, December 09, 2019

Tag: guns

In Deranged Interview, Alex Jones Says He’s 'Hitler' and Shot Sandy Hook Victims

Alex Jones, the host of the conspiracy theory show InfoWars declared that he himself is Hitler and that he shot kids to death in an interview on Channel 5 with Andrew Callaghan.

When Callaghan asked Jones if he felt responsible for what happened to the Sandy Hook parents, meaning the harassment and death threats they faced after Jones told his millions of viewers that they were “crisis actors” who helped fake a 2012 school shooting in order to help the government confiscate people’s guns.

Jones responded, “I went to that school. I pulled the gun out. I shot every one of myself. I mean, I’m guilty.” Later on, he repeats over and over again, “I killed them. I’ll admit it. I did it. I’m the bad guy…. I murdered those children. I did. I did it myself.”

The December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting left 26 people dead, including 20 children ages 6 and 7. Jones was not the shooter.

“We should bow five times a day to New Haven, Connecticut for the kids that died,” Jones said, before saying that people have been hypnotized into believing that they should give their guns to George Soros, a Jewish billionaire that anti-Semites think controls left-wing politics.

“I was actually Hitler. It wasn’t actually Hitler,” Jones said. “I did it. I was in a time machine in Germany. I did all that.”

Later in the interview, Jones said, “I was being sarcastic earlier. I didn’t kill the children. I’m not Jeffrey Dahmer. I didn’t invent hemorrhoids. I simply questioned things and they’re trying to demonize me to say questioning things is a bad deal.”

That’s a lie though. Jones himself said the shooting was fake, and he has said in court that he believed it was, though he now believes otherwise. He has also claimed that his company is broke, despite raking in millions in online sales.

“Nobody thinks you killed the kids,” Callaghan told Jones during their interview. “Nobody thinks that oh, it’s what you did. What you killed is [the parents’] ability to get over the death of children.”

Jones responded, “Everyone’s like yeah, ‘We’re gonna get him immediately.’ Like, they’ve built me up and like I’m this giant creature like all-powerful, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and none of it’s real. So it’s like it’s funny, actually. It’s actually comical. I mean, it’s, it’s actually hilarious.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Lauren Boebert's Shooters Grill Is Out Of Business

I have to warn you up front: If schadenfreude moves you emotionally, you might want to grab a few boxes of tissues. What were once unconfirmed reports are now confirmed: Colorado gun fetishist and dubious campaign finance garbage fire Lauren Boebert’s Shooters Grill in Rifle, Colorado, is out of business. The congresswoman has been on the forever MAGA campaign trail of late, promoting openly racist gun fetishists who pretend they are pro life.

On the one hand, this is not a surprise, as it was only a couple of weeks ago that Boebert told The Daily Beast that Shooters Grill’s lease had not been renewed. Boebert’s campaign finances have also seemed to have crossed potentially illegal paths with the business after one of her many wild campaign finance reports showed thousands of dollars being sent to the Grill’s address for unclear reasons.

On the other hand, most people not interested in eating around a bunch of crucifixes and guns didn’t enjoy Shooters Grill. And subsequently ratings on Yelp were disabled after “increased public attention” and a slew of reviews you never want to see associated with any place where food is served.

Boebert’s personal finances and her campaign finances have been a big question mark as her Federal Election Commission filings have been filled with pretty wild expenditure claims. One such claim, reported on last year, was that she reimbursed herself on her campaign travel costs to the tune of circumnavigating the earth.

Colorado’s Post Independent reports that while Shooters Grill is gone, Boebert still likes the idea of having a place to launder money plaster the “Shooters” moniker on. “We would just dramatically scale it back, because, obviously, we’re not in our building,” Boebert told the Independent. “It may look like a Shooters coffee shop with pastries and some easy breakfast sandwiches and merchandise.”

Like all things Boebert, the legend of Shooters Grill’s origin story is a lie:

The gun-theme came when someone was allegedly beaten to death in front of Shooters and Boebert’s employees started asking if they could open carry. It later turned out the man ostensibly beaten to death in fact died of methamphetamine overdose.

In fact, the man that Boebert claimed had been beaten to death in front of her establishment wasn’t even found dead anywhere near Shooters.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Right-Wing Pundits Blame Weed, Not Assault Weapons, For Mass Shootings

Amid the ongoing crisis of mass shootings in America, conservative media are trying to deflect blame for mass shootings onto anything but guns. One particularly misleading scapegoat for gun violence is marijuana, with Fox News hosts and other right-wing media denizens falsely claiming that mass shootings are the result of heavy pot use.

The narrative has picked up in the aftermath of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, that left seven dead and 46 injured. The next day, Fox News host Laura Ingraham claimed that marijuana use is a plausible cause of mass shootings, saying regular pot use in young men can trigger “psychosis and other violent personality changes,” and went on to link other mass shooters’ marijuana use with the extreme violence they carried out.

Fox host Tucker Carlson also blamed the shooting in Highland Park partially on a society full of young men “high on government-endorsed weed.”

Right-wing radio host and PragerU founder Dennis Prager said on his July 5 show that “something is different today and it’s not guns,” suggesting, “I think marijuana, maybe other drugs, but excessive use of marijuana” and “recreational use of marijuana, especially in young people,” may be associated with mass shootings.

Right-wing personalities have used research linking heavy marijuana use to psychosis and paranoia in some individuals to draw false conclusions about causality and dig in their heels to dismiss the role of firearms in gun violence, instead attributing mass shooters’ extreme violence to their marijuana use. In reality, a December 2021 literature review on the studies linking marijuana and violent behavior found that the link between violence and cannabis use is “strictly correlational, and the strength of this relationship varies depending on the population.”

Since 2019, accusations of direct causation between marijuana use and mass shootings have spread through conservative media such as Fox News, One America News Network, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Daily Wire. These outlets frequently cite “COVID contrarian” Alex Berenson, whose book on marijuana use, mental health, and violence has been accused of cherry-picking data and “attributing cause to mere associations.”

Berenson appeared on Tucker Carlson Tonight in August 2019 after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, to argue that “we know that mental illness accounts for an appreciable amount of the extreme violence, not just in the United States but all over the world. And we also know that cannabis can produce psychosis.”

“I don't think it's going way out on a limb to draw that connection then between cannabis use, particularly I assume chronic use, and acts of violence,” Carlson responded.

After the Uvalde shooting this past May, Ingraham reignited the idea of a purposefully hidden marijuana-to-mass-shooter pipeline. In reference to The New York Times removing an unproven reference to the Uvalde shooter’s marijuana use, Ingraham asked “was it bad information or is this the pro-marijuana bias that we've become accustomed to that's so powerful because billions are on the line with it nationwide?”

“The American people are hearing a lot about AR-15s and background checks, but they also deserve to hear about this as well,” Ingraham continued. “Respected medical studies for years now have demonstrated that pot use, especially among teens, can trigger psychosis and increase the chance that the young person will develop violent behavior.”

The next day, Ingraham hosted Dr. Eric Voth of the International Academy on the Science and Impact of Cannabis, who said, “The reality of it is, you know, legal AR-15 owners or handgun owners that are not stoned, that are not violent, are not killing people. If you look through the same information that the doctors are pointing out here, and you go case by case by case, you see a very clear pattern.”

Ingraham’s commentary set off a flurry of clickbait on conservative news sites and blogs, including The Daily Wire, The Wall Street Journal, and Newsmax.

The Daily Wire’s Ben Zeisloft also criticized attention given to gun control instead of marijuana and cited Ingraham’s segment, writing that “while the Left blames so-called ‘assault weapons’ and pushes for more gun control,” they “appear to be missing what could be a significant, yet underreported factor — the shooter’s marijuana use.”

The Wall Street Journal’s Allysia Finley cited Berenson to suggest The New York Times had covered up the Uvalde shooter’s marijuana use and claimed that the Tucson, Aurora nightclub, Pulse nightclub, Sutherland Springs, and Parkland shooters all “were reported to be marijuana users. It could be a coincidence, but increasing evidence suggests a connection.”

Writing for Newsmax, conservative author Ron Kessler criticized the attention given to gun control in the wake of mass shootings and pushed the claim that it should be put on marijuana instead. Kessler argued that “virtually everyone ignores the obvious reason for the dramatic increase in these tragedies: Democrats push legalizing marijuana, which has become three to four times more potent than it was only a few years ago,” and even quoted Ingraham directly: “Democrats who push stricter gun control measures as a solution to mass shootings are ‘completely oblivious to what the legalization of marijuana has done and is doing to an entire generation of Americans — with violent consequences,’ Ingraham said.”

Kessler appeared on far-right cable outlet One America News on June 4 and asserted that “pot has become much more potent” and “18 states have legalized pot because of Democratic legislatures, so you have these two forces coming together, and that has led to a lot of these shootings.” Kessler went on to mislead viewers that “the active ingredient THC creates psychosis, it creates paranoia, it creates schizophrenia, and all these things lead to some of these shootings.”

PolitiFact assessed these kinds of claims in 2019 and concluded that there is no clear causal relationship between marijuana use and mass shootings, writing that “for every study that’s declared a link between pot and violence, there are others that say the opposite.”

James Knoll, director of forensic psychiatry at Syracuse University, told PolitiFact that “marijuana use is higher in young men, people with serious adverse childhood experiences, antisocial personality, low income, low education, use of other illicit substances,” which are all “well known risk factors for violence in their own right.” In other words, while research shows that there is a correlation between marijuana use and some forms of mental illness, there are too many other factors linked to potential violence to clearly establish the causal relationship that right-wing media are pushing. .

While it’s “widely accepted that marijuana and psychosis are linked,” it’s unclear “whether the drug unmasks psychotic symptoms in predisposed people or whether it triggers the onset of psychosis entirely.” Further, PolitiFact noted that those with preexisting psychiatric disorders are more likely to use marijuana to self-medicate.

Most importantly, cannabis use is exceedingly common. As PolitiFact points out, overlap is inevitable “between people who commit violent acts and people who smoke marijuana because of how popular marijuana is. According to the United Nations, 192 million people worldwide used marijuana at least once in 2016.” As legalization has spread, this number has likely increased even more.

Blaming mass shootings on marijuana use is not only misleading and stigmatizing, but speaks to a larger effort to blame nearly unavoidable social and psychological phenomena rather than loosely controlled access to high-powered assault weapons in the United States. As these tragedies continue to happen, right-wing media will continue to use any excuse they can find to deflect attention from even the most minimal gun control measures, creating the opportunity for more mass shootings.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Ron Johnson Has Opposed Every Gun Safety Measure

Voters might not know it from Sen. Ron Johnson's congressional or campaign issue webpages, but the Wisconsin Republican has spent his two terms in the Senate opposing virtually every gun safety proposal that has been introduced. Last month, he even opposed the bipartisan compromise gun bill that passed in the wake of the mass shooting in May at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.

Johnson was one of 34 Republican senators who voted against even debating the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a compromise package designed to improve background checks on would-be gun purchasers under age 21, prevent convicted domestic abusers from acquiring firearms, and provide funding for states that opt to adopt red flag laws to temporarily disarm people judged to be a danger to themselves or others. The bill became law over their objections.

It won support from every Democratic senator and even Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But Johnson denounced it as "flawed gun legislation."

"The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is a classic example of Washington dysfunction," he said in a June 23 press release explaining his vote in opposition. "Negotiated by a 'gang' with no committee process and no ability to offer amendments, billions in spending with a phantom pay for, and provisions that ignore constitutional rights."

Despite promising not to seek a third term in the Senate, Johnson is currently doing so anyway. Polls show Johnson faces an uphill battle, with among the lowest approval ratings of any incumbent senator in the country. The Democratic primary will be held Aug. 9 and will determine his general election opponent out of a field of eight candidates.

The issues pages on Johnson's Senate and campaign websites omit any mention of his positions on gun violence. His spokespersons did not respond to an inquiry for this story, but a review of his past comments and votes makes clear he has opposed virtually every proposed measure to curb gun violence.

Johnson has opposed multiple efforts to make sure that everyone goes through a background check before obtaining a firearm.

In a May 5 ABC News interview, he argued that there was no need to have universal background checks because some gun purchases already require them. "We have background checks. What we ought to do is enforce the laws that are on the books," he said, seemingly contradicting his own longstanding efforts to roll back existing state gun restrictions.

In September 2019, he told constituents that background checks could criminalize people who disobey them, and some people might ignore them. "My reluctance is: I don't want to turn into a criminal some guy up in northern Wisconsin who transfers a gun to a friend," Johnson said. "You can pass all the background checks. It's not going to solve this. It probably won't even stop one of these."

"It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to realize if someone is going to break the law and slaughter a fellow human being, they're not going to have a whole lot of problem violating gun laws either. We have 400 million guns. People are going to be able to get them," he added.

He voted against a 2013 proposal by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-PA), which would have required a background check prior to any online or gun show firearms purchases, even though their compromise proposal explicitly exempted transfers between family and friends.

Johnson also voted in 2017 to block a federal rule to stop gun purchases by people adjudicated to be mentally unable to handle their own finances.

In August 2019, Johnson told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that legislation to stop sales of semi-automatic assault weapons was also unnecessary. After questioning whether semi-automatic rifles are even assault weapons, he said he was against banning them because "You can create a lot of carnage with not using a gun. People attack crowds with trucks." (Truck drivers typically are required to obtain a license.)

Johnson voted against proposals in 2013 to ban the sale of those assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

During a 2012 interview, he told Fox News that he believes large ammunition-feeding devices are a constitutional right. According to a HuffPost report at the time, Johnson told the network, "People will talk about unusually lethal weapons, that could be potentially a discussion you could have. But the fact of the matter is there are 30-round magazines that are just common all over the place. You simply can't keep these weapons out of the hands of sick, demented individuals who want to do harm. And when you try and do it, you restrict our freedom."

In 1996, an amendment proposed by then-Rep. Jay Dickey (R-AR) was included in the appropriations bill for the following year that stipulated "none of the funds made available for injury prevention and control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may be used to advocate or promote gun control." A 2012 appropriations law similarly prohibited the National Institutes of Health from researching ways to curb gun violence. In practice, this meant that for years the federal agencies were blocked from studying how to prevent the tens of thousands of gun deaths each year in the United States.

Dickey, who lost his seat in the 2000 election, told NPR in 2015 that he regretted that result of his amendment and that more research was needed.

But when Congress finally lifted the prohibition in December 2019, as part of a broader budget agreement, Johnson was one of just 23 senators to vote no on the bipartisan package. He complained in a press release that "the price for funding necessary programs was simply too high to obtain my overall support."

In April 2019, during a discussion with high school students in Columbus, Wisconsin, Johnson was asked why he did not support modernizing gun laws as other countries have successfully done to curb gun deaths.

"Australia and Japan took away gun rights and gun violence in those countries went way down," a student said.

Johnson responded, "Those are different cultures. I support our rights to have guns and defend ourselves."

During his 2010 and 2016 campaigns, the National Rifle Association endorsed Johnson and gave him its highest ratings. In the later race, the group praised his "proven record of support for our Second Amendment freedoms." Its endorsement release noted his agreement with the group on basically every issue: opposing "anti-gun Supreme Court justices" and "anti-gun bureaucrats," supporting "right-to-carry," and opposing background checks.

With its endorsement, the group also invested heavily in his campaigns. In addition to giving him at least $13,400 in political action committee contributions, the NRA spent more than $1 million in dark money to support him and attack his Democratic opponent.

The anti-gun violence group Giffords filed sued two NRA affiliates and a number of campaign committees in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in November 2021, charging: "Over the past seven years, the National Rifle Association ("the NRA") has engaged in an ongoing scheme to evade campaign finance regulations by using a series of shell corporations to illegally but surreptitiously coordinate advertising with at least seven candidates for federal office." The suit is still working its way through the courts. An NRA spokesperson dismissed the suit, telling NPR it was a "misguided" attack and a "premeditated abuse of the public by our adversaries."

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Lauren Boebert's Gun-Nut Grill Is Getting Evicted

For far-right Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, owning a gun-themed restaurant called Shooters Grill has been a major promotional tool among fellow MAGA Republicans and members of the National Rifle Association (NRA). But according to Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, Boebert’s promotional tool may be in trouble: Sollenberger reports that Boebert’s restaurant is “facing an uncertain” future now that the new landlord of the property she has been renting has announced that he won’t be renewing her lease.

In an article published by the Beast on June 23, Sollenberger describes the property’s new landlord as a “marijuana retailer.”

“As it stands, the landlord has told Boebert he will revoke the restaurant’s lease at the end of August, and send Shooters packing,” Sollenberger reports. “The rest is up in the air. Boebert told The Daily Beast that she and her husband, Jayson Boebert, had been surprised to receive the notice last week announcing that their lease would not be renewed. The building’s ownership changed hands last month, she said, and now, Shooters would either have to find new digs or shut down for good.”

Sollenberger continues, “But the day after that notice arrived, an anti-Boebert political group somehow got word that the timeline was even tighter than that — two weeks, the group said, putting the possible ouster just days before Republicans hit the polls for primary day.”

Boebert’s far-right admirers in the MAGA movement have praised her for owning a restaurant, saying it shows that she isn’t part of the Washington, D.C. “elite.” But these are the same MAGA Republicans who have attacked progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City for having once worked as a bartender — a line of attack that was dumb even by MAGA standards. According to that MAGA logic, or lack thereof, owning a restaurant is respectable but tending bar is not.

Sollenberger notes that as of June 23, the Shooters Grill website is down — and that Boebert “didn’t explain exactly why her business was being kicked out” when interviewed by the Beast. According to Sollenberger, Boebert was undecided on how she would respond to the eviction.

“Boebert told The Daily Beast, at one point, that she and her husband were ‘at peace’ with ending their run, and did not plan to fight the order,” Sollenberger reports. “But as the plot thickened politically, she bought some time. Now, she says she’s entertaining two contradictory options: the original shutdown plan, or buying the building outright from the new owners. She won’t say which she and her husband are choosing until after the primary.”

Boebert’s far-right admirers in the MAGA movement have praised her for owning a restaurant, saying it shows that she isn’t part of the Washington, D.C. “elite.” But these are the same MAGA Republicans who have attacked progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City for having once worked as a bartender — a line of attack that was dumb even by MAGA standards. According to that MAGA logic, or lack thereof, owning a restaurant is respectable but tending bar is not.

Sollenberger notes that as of June 23, the Shooters Grill website is down — and that Boebert “didn’t explain exactly why her business was being kicked out” when interviewed by the Beast. According to Sollenberger, Boebert was undecided on how she would respond to the eviction.

“Boebert told The Daily Beast, at one point, that she and her husband were ‘at peace’ with ending their run, and did not plan to fight the order,” Sollenberger reports. “But as the plot thickened politically, she bought some time. Now, she says she’s entertaining two contradictory options: the original shutdown plan, or buying the building outright from the new owners. She won’t say which she and her husband are choosing until after the primary.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Toddler Troll Margie Rants At British Reporter: 'Go Back To Your Country'

During a press conference Wednesday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) aggressively told a British reporter to "go back to your country" when questioned about gun violence nationwide.

At a press conference, Greene called out the 14 Republican senators — including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell — who had voted on Tuesday to advance the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, a gun safety bill.

"These are the Republican senators that Republican voters do not support anymore," Greene said.

At the press conference, Siobhan Kennedy, a Washington correspondent for British broadcaster Channel 4, noted the disparity in gun violence between the United States and the United Kingdom.

"We don't have guns in the U.K., that is true, but we don't have mass shootings either," Kennedy said. "Children aren't scared to go to school."

"You have mass stabbings, lady," Greene replied. "You have all kinds of murder. And you've got laws against that."

When the reporter attempted to highlight America's higher rates of violence, Greene replied, "Well, you can go back to your country and worry about your no guns. We like ours here."

The Georgia congresswoman later took to Twitter to boast about her xenophobic comments: "When British press wants to argue about our God-given American gun rights, my answer is: 'go back to your own country.'"

In 2020, the homicide rate per 100,000 people in the United States is 5.3, while the U.K. has a rate of just 1.2, according to WorldAtlas.

Moreover, the Washington Post noted that the United States, in fact, has a much higher rate of stabbing homicides at 6.3 per million residents, compared to the United Kingdom's 3.9 per million residents.

This is not the first time Greene has made xenophobic or anti-immigrant comments.

In April, while speaking to a far-right Catholic activist, Greene claimed that Christians who help undocumented migrants are under Satan's control.

In 2020, GOP House leaders condemned Greene's racist, Islamophobic, and antisemitic statements after Facebook videos uncovered by Politico showed the then-candidate saying that Muslims do not belong in government, calling Jewish Democratic megadonor George Soros a Nazi, and suggesting that Black people "are held slaves to the Democratic Party."

A final Senate vote is expected on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act this week.

The compromise bill does not include many measures Democrats have pushed for, such as universal background checks for gun sales, bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, or a national red flag law. However, it would take steps to disarm convicted domestic abusers, enhance background checks for gun buyers under the age of 21, and would expand gun dealer registration rules.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Extremist Supreme Court Nullifies States Authority To Regulate Guns

When Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was confronted over his support for the bipartisan bill addressing elements of gun violence, he defended his Second Amendment record, telling reporters: “I spent my career supporting, defending and expanding” gun rights, and stressing that he had “spent years” confirming conservative judges. McConnell made that statement in full confidence that the Supreme Court he packed with three illegitimate justices would do precisely what it did: ensure that sensible gun regulations anywhere would be eliminated.

The court decided the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen case Thursday in 6-3 decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas, striking down that state’s 108-year-old provision requiring anyone who wants to get a license to carry a concealed handgun outside the home to show “proper cause” before being granted a permit. The Court’s extremists, Thomas writes, find that New York's strict limits on the concealed carry of firearms in public violates the Second Amendment. It essentially throws out the previous restrictions the Court upheld in its last big gun control case, the 2008 District of Columbia v. Heller.

In his concurrence, Alito essentially rubbed salt in the wound, snidely asking “And how does the dissent account for the fact that one of the mass shootings near the top of its list took place in Buffalo? The New York law at issue in this case obviously did not stop that perpetrator.”

Justice Stephen Breyer provides a lengthy dissent, including a comprehensive retelling of the mass deaths in an age when weapons of war are widely available to all citizens. “The primary difference between the Court's view and mine is that I believe the [Second] Amendment allows States to take account of the serious problems posed by gun violence that I have just described,” he writes. “I fear that the Court's interpretation ignores these significant dangers and leaves States without the ability to address them.”

The decision could mean as many as 20,000 more guns on the streets in New York City. The city is working to determine how to craft new rules to meet this outcome, and how to designate certain areas, including public transportation, as “sensitive places” to try to bar firearms.

“It’s gonna be a complete disaster and shows how anti-urban the Supreme Court is at foundation,” Metropolitan Transportation Authority board member Norman Brown predicted. “This is both a practical fear and a marketing fear. How do you market the train if you are assuming the guy with the heavy coat has a gun under his?” Brown said.

That’s exactly the scenario Justice Samuel Alito raised in oral arguments on the case. But he was imagining a subway system teeming with armed criminals against whom the rest of the population was defenseless. “All these people with illegal guns: They’re on the subway, walking around the streets, but ordinary, hard-working, law-abiding people, no,” Alito told New York State Solicitor General Barbara Underwood. “They can’t be armed.” The reality will be closer to Brown’s supposition: Those ordinary, law-abiding people are going to be worried about being surrounded by guns.

The decision also sets up challenges to regulations in every state that has them, including immediate those in six other states: California, New Jersey, Maryland, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. In fact, the decision is so broad that the concealed carry restrictions that protect some 83 million people are going to be wiped out.

“How the court interprets the Second Amendment is far from an abstract exercise,” Eric Tirschwell of Everytown for Gun Safety, an advocacy group, told The Washington Post. “If the court forces New York to allow more people to carry guns in public, the result will be more people shot and more people killed, and that’s what the evidence and social science tells you.”

A belligerent gun rights community is there to make sure that other blue states are forced to buckle and loosen permit rules. “If they don’t do that,” said Matthew Larosiere, with the Firearms Policy Coalition, “we’ll certainly be suing them.” He foresees the states trying to preempt those suits. “Perhaps there will be a state or two on the West Coast that doesn’t want to do this and we will insist that they be dragged to court,” he said. “That’s something we’d rather avoid as it’s better to have people’s rights respected.”

Which sounds an awful lot like a threat, one that has the potential to rile up a lot of gun owners in these states who are feeling increasingly emboldened.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.

Are GOP Senators Preparing To Renege On Gun Safety Deal?

“The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of homicide by 500% percent.”

“An abuser’s access to a firearm increases the risk of femicide by 1,000 percent.”

That’s from data compiled by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV). The NCADV applauded “the bipartisan group of Senators negotiating the gun violence prevention framework for including provisions relating to firearm access by adjudicated abusers.” That was earlier this week, when there was premature news of an agreement on a framework for legislation at least nodding at gun safety.

According to their statistics, “most intimate partner homicides are committed by dating partners.” But they point out current federal law restricting gun ownership by convicted abusers “applies only to current/former spouses, cohabitants, and people who share a child in common: it leaves out people in dating relationships.” Senate Republicans, supposedly negotiating in good faith with Democrats on gun safety, apparently want to keep it that way. As The New York Times puts it, they’re arguing over “What counts as a boyfriend?”

“The surface explanation seems like it would be fairly simple, but I know that as they try to reduce it to legislative text, I think it’s gotten a little bit more uncomfortable,” said Sen. John Thune, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s number two man. Thune is not one of the negotiators, but is clearly speaking for leadership. It really should be that simple, because we are talking about someone who has been convicted of violence against an intimate partner. Being convicted of violence should be enough in any context whatsoever to prevent someone from getting their hands on a gun.

With the prevalence of homicide by intimate partners, not to mention stalkers, it really shouldn’t be hard. After all, senators have been talking on this issue for years: The so-called boyfriend loophole kept the Violence Against Women Act from being reauthorized for over three years. It expired in December 2018 and was finally reauthorized this spring, when Democrats just let the gun loophole issue go.

The current stalemate suggests that the issue is far less about the difficulty of crafting the language than the “Cornyn Con” in action.

Republicans don’t want this provision—which is opposed by the NRA—to pass this time around, either. So they’re using the tactic McConnell and Texas Sen. John Cornyn have relied upon for years: Take an issue that’s extremely popular with the public—comprehensive immigration reform, for example—and put Cornyn in the lead on negotiating because he has credibility with Democrats and traditional media. God knows why.

Then let him slowly whittle away at whatever “agreement” was ostensibly made at the beginning of the negotiations—blaming Democrats all the while for refusing to compromise—until it’s done. And everyone can throw up their hands and blame “partisan gridlock.”

One Republican familiar with the talks is being far less cagey than Cornyn. Take it or leave it, they told a Politico reporter. “[E]ither the [D]emocrats accept what the Republicans are asking for on boyfriend loophole, or it will be dropped entirely.” Another tried to back away from that, saying that it’s still “under discussion.” The ultimatum part of the Cornyn Con doesn’t come quite yet in the negotiating sequence.

It’s worth remembering that 10 Republicans signed onto the agreement that was announced Sunday. They agreed in principle to the inclusion of his provision. Then Cornyn moved the goalposts, saying he wanted at least 20 Republicans on board. He’s moved the goalposts and he’s moved the deadlines—every week since the shooting, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has promised a floor vote by the end of the week.

Now with the Senate gone on a long weekend for the Juneteenth holiday, the Senate would have to work like lightning to get legislative language written and a bill on the floor by next week. Then they would have in essence three days to pass it before heading off for another two-week recess for the Fourth of July holiday. It’s happened before in the Senate, moving with that kind of alacrity. They did it to protect Supreme Court justices because Republicans wanted it. But it won’t happen to protect thousands of innocent lives.

At this point, Democrats should call the negotiations off. Schumer should bring the bill passed by the House to the floor first thing next week. Then he should follow up with votes on an assault-style rifle ban, universal background checks, and high-capacity magazine bans. He should make Republicans vote against every single thing American voters want.

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos.