Gun Legislation

Title: James Brady
Date: February 28, 1994
Source: Wikipedia

James Scott "Jim" Brady is a former Assistant to the President and White House Press Secretary under U.S. President Ronald Reagan. After nearly being killed and becoming permanently disabled as a result of an assassination attempt on Reagan in 1981, Brady became an ardent supporter of gun control.

Brady championed the Brady Bill, legally known as the "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act" (Pub.L. 103-159, 107 Stat. 1536) which was ian Act of the United States Congress that, for the first time, instituted federal background checks on firearm purchasers in the United States. The Brady Bill was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on November 30, 1993, and went into effect on February 28, 1994.

The "Brady Bill" prohibits guns to any American who: 

1. Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
2. Is a fugitive from justice;
3. Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance;
4. Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or committed to a mental institution;
5. Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
6. Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
7. Having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced U.S. citizenship;
8. Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner, or;
9. Has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, or
10. Has a record of being a felon (Wikipedia, 2011).

Title: Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic And Political Climate Fueling Resurgence In Radicalization and Recruitment
Date: April 7, 2009
Source: U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Abstract: Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government.

The high volume of purchases an stockpiling of weapons and ammunition by rightwing extremists in anticipation of restrictions and bans in some parts of the country continue to be a primary concern to law enforcement (U.S. Department of Homeland Security, 2009).

Title: Tucson Shooting Survivors Lobby Lawmakers For Stricter Gun Laws
Date: November 16, 2011
Fox News

Abstract: A dozen survivors of the January shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that severely wounded Rep.
Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) lobbied federal lawmakers Tuesday to broaden federal background checks on potential gun owners.

The effort marked the first time since the shooting, which killed six and wounded 13, including Giffords, that a large group of Tucson survivors have banded together to weigh in on the politically charged issue.

"Tucson is yet another extreme tragic example of what is at stake each and every time a gun is placed into the wrong hands," said Patricia Maisch, who witnessed the shooting and wrested a magazine of ammunition from the accused shooter, Jared Loughner. Maisch urged lawmakers to "fix the broken system" of background checks.

The lobbying effort, which included private meetings with lawmakers and an appearance before a Senate subcommittee, was organized by a coalition of mayors pushing for tighter gun control. The mayors -- led by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino -- and the Tucson survivors are lobbying for a bill that would require states to supply more complete mental health and criminal records to a federal database used for background checks on gun buyers.

The bill would also require federal background checks for those seeking to buy guns from private dealers, who often sell at gun shows. Now, purchases from private dealers are not subject to background checks.

Loughner legally purchased a gun from a licensed dealer even after college officials removed him from the school because of mental health issues. Loughner is in custody amid efforts to restore him to competency so he can stand trial.

"It's entirely possible Jared Loughner might not have bought the Glock" if his admission of drug use to the army or mental health problems were known, said New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, a Democrat, who led the subcommittee hearing. "I don't want there to be any more what-ifs."

Some mental health advocates worry the bill would unfairly punish those seeking mental treatment or discourage people from seeking treatment. A National Rifle Association spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gun control is a complex issue for the Tucson victims, some of whom own firearms and live in a conservative state that expanded gun rights after the January shooting. Giffords, a moderate Democrat, is known for her support of gun rights.

"I'm really distraught and pretty angry," Tucson shooting survivor Roger Salzgeber told Rep. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona, in a meeting in Flake's office Tuesday afternoon.

Salzgeber helped subdue Loughner. His wife, Faith, wrapped a nine-year-old victim, Christina Taylor Green, in a tablecloth to keep her warm and comforted her as she lay on the ground dying from her wounds.

"I'm a gun owner. I've had my check done," Salzgeber told Flake. "I'm not here advocating to take anyone's guns away. I'm here to advocate that people who shouldn't have guns don't get guns."

Flake said he would look at the proposed bill.

The group of 12 survivors and their family members met with lawmakers the day after Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, appeared on national television for their first extended interview since the shooting (Fox News, 2011).

Title: Bring Out The Guns: Oklahoma Governor Signs Open Carry Law
Date: May 20, 2012

Abstract: Oklahoma 
Gov. Mary Fallin, who is known for her pro-gun stance and continues to push for pro-gun legislation, has recently signed a bill into law that will allow citizens to open carry a firearm.

The law will let Oklahoma citizens who have a permit under the 
Oklahoma Self Defense Act carry their weapons openly or concealed. Previously, all personal firearms had to be tucked away out of sight, but this new bill will let people choose depending on their preference.

Fallin seemed almost cheerful about this momentous event, as 
she said, "As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment and a gun owner myself, I'm happy to sign this bill into law and grant law-abiding citizens the ability to openly carry firearms." 

The only downside is that people itching to openly carry their weapons will have to wait until Nov. 1, when the law goes into effect. There are also a few spots where all firearms are banned, such as in jails, college campuses, and liquor stores. 

Oklahoma police are a bit nervous about this new development, but they're ready to meet the challenge head-on. Oklahoma Highway Patrol Capt. Chris West has been studying the new law and promises to "train our troops about the law after this process is completed." After all, what good is the right to carry a firearm legally when 
law enforcement unjustly takes your weapons? (, 2012).

Title: After Obama Win, U.S. Backs New U.N. Arms Treaty Talks
Date: November 7, 2012

Abstract:  Hours after U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected, the United States backed a U.N. committee's call on Wednesday to renew debate over a draft international treaty to regulate the $70 billion global conventional arms trade.

U.N. delegates and gun control activists have complained that talks collapsed in July largely because Obama feared attacks from Republican rival Mitt Romney if his administration was seen as supporting the pact, a charge Washington denies.

The month-long talks at U.N. headquarters broke off after the United States - along with Russia and other major arms producers - said it had problems with the draft treaty and asked for more time.

But the U.N. General Assembly's disarmament committee moved quickly after Obama's win to approve a resolution calling for a new round of talks March 18-28. It passed with 157 votes in favor, none against and 18 abstentions.

U.N. diplomats said the vote had been expected before Tuesday's U.S. presidential election but was delayed due to Superstorm Sandy, which caused a three-day closure of the United Nations last week.

An official at the U.S. mission said Washington's objectives have not changed.

"We seek a treaty that contributes to international security by fighting illicit arms trafficking and proliferation, protects the sovereign right of states to conduct legitimate arms trade, and meets the concerns that we have been articulating throughout," the official said.

"We will not accept any treaty that infringes on the constitutional rights of our citizens to bear arms," he said.

U.S. officials have acknowledged privately that the treaty under discussion would have no effect on domestic gun sales and ownership because it would apply only to exports.

The main reason the arms trade talks are taking place at all is that the United States - the world's biggest arms trader accounting for more than 40 percent of global conventional arms transfers - reversed U.S. policy on the issue after Obama was first elected and decided in 2009 to support a treaty.

'Months Away’  from Deal?
Countries that abstained included
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Sudan, Belarus, Cuba and Iran. China, a major arms producer that has traditionally abstained, voted in favor.

Among the top six arms-exporting nations, Russia cast the only abstention. Britain, France and Germany joined China and the United States in support of the resolution.

The measure now goes to the 193-nation General Assembly for a formal vote. It is expected to pass.

The resolution said countries are "determined to build on the progress made to date towards the adoption of a strong, balanced and effective Arms Trade Treaty."

Jeff Abramson, director of Control Arms, a coalition of advocacy groups, urged states to agree on stringent provisions.

"In Syria, we have seen the death toll rise well over 30,000, with weapons and ammunition pouring in the country for months now," he said. "We need a treaty that will set tough rules to control the arms trade, that will save lives and truly make the world a better place."

Brian Wood of Amnesty International said: "After today's resounding vote, if the larger arms trading countries show real political will in the negotiations, we're only months away from securing a new global deal that has the potential to stop weapons reaching those who seriously abuse human rights."

The treaty would require states to make respecting human rights a criterion for allowing arms exports.

Britain's U.N. mission said on its Twitter feed it hoped that the March negotiations would yield the final text of a treaty. Such a pact would then need to be ratified by the individual signatories before it could enter into force.

The National Rifle Association, the powerful U.S. interest group, strongly opposes the arms treaty and had endorsed Romney.

The United States has denied it sought to delay negotiations for political reasons, saying it had genuine problems with the draft as written (Reuters, 2012).