Category Archives: guns

Students nationwide stage walkouts for stricter gun laws after last month’s deadly school shooting in Florida

Students across the country — from middle school to college — began planned walkouts Wednesday, calling on state and federal legislators to enact stricter gun laws one month after the mass shooting at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

Seventeen students and staff members were killed at the school in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14. On Wednesday, 3,000 schools across the nation planned to leave class at 10 a.m. local time for 17 minutes — one minute for each victim.

At Marjory Stoneman Douglas, two walkouts took place. Citing safety concerns, student government officials and administrators urged students not to leave campus, but to walk to the football field with teachers. Some students balked at the idea of a chaperoned walkout, saying they wanted to get off campus and spread their message to the broader public.

As students made their way to the football field, past a sculpture of the school Eagle mascot, they walked hand in hand or with their arms around each other. Only a few carried placards. There were no chants. Helicopters buzzed overhead.

David Hogg, 17, one of several students at the school who’ve gained national prominence for advocating gun control, live streamed the walkout on his YouTube channel.

“We have to stand up now and take action,” Hogg said. He interviewed several of his classmates.

“This is about the need for change,” another student told Hogg.

Organized by the youth branch of the Women’s March, called Empower, the National School Walkout is urging Congress to take meaningful action on gun violence and pass federal legislation that would ban assault weapons and require universal background checks for gun sales.

In Massachusetts and Ohio, students said they would head to the statehouse to lobby for new gun regulations. In Washington, D.C., hundreds of students gathered outside the White House, holding signs and marching quietly.

In Maryland, students at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute poured out the back doors of the school and onto the football field. Many of them laid down on the football field. Hundreds of Baltimore students left school to march to City Hall, calling for an end to gun violence in schools and on the city’s streets.

In Illinois, high school students from Barrington to Plainfield to Naperville to Chicago have worked with peers and school administrators and prepared signs and speeches as part of the national movement designed to prevent mass shootings and gun violence that have devastated their schools and communities for decades.

With nearly 3,000 walkouts planned across the country — at elementary schools, high schools and universities — organizers published a “tool kit” online that offered students tips on how to organize, get support from parents and guardians and share information on social media.

Earlier this week, Robert W. Runcie, superintendent of Broward County schools in Florida, notified parents he had instructed staff not to interfere with peaceful student-led protests.

“Such occasions are teachable moments, during which students can demonstrate their 1st Amendment right to be heard,” Runcie wrote in a letter to parents. “In the event students walk out or gather, school principals and assigned staff will remain with students in a designated walkout area, so that supervision is in place.”

Over the last month, students across Florida and the nation have staged spontaneous walkouts, with some leading to disciplinary action. Two weeks after the Parkland shooting, dozens of students at Ingleside Middle School in the Phoenix area were given one-day suspensions after they walked off campus.

In Needville, Texas, 20 miles southwest of Houston, Superintendent Curtis Rhodes warned students that anyone who left class would be suspended for three days, even if they had permission from their parents.

“Life is all about choices and every choice has a consequence whether it be positive or negative,” Rhodes wrote in a letter to parents posted on social media. “We will discipline no matter if it is one, fifty, or five hundred students involved.”

On Wednesday, the American Civil Liberties Union issued advice for students who walk out, saying schools can’t legally punish them more harshly because of the political nature of their message. In Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Texas, some lawyers said they will provide free legal help to students who are punished.

In Parkland, school officials urged students not to leave campus.

“We’re just trying to protect the students,” said Jaclyn Corin, 17, the high school’s junior class president. “We’re telling everyone not to leave campus, but we can’t stop them.”

Hogg said he worried students would be “a group of soft targets” if they left campus.

Yet some students balked at the idea of a chaperoned walkout, saying they wanted to get off campus and spread their message to the broader public.

When the first bell rang Wednesday at the high school, Susana Matta Valdivieso was not sitting in Spanish class. Instead, the 17-year-old junior was hauling a stack of handwritten placards across a community park in the hope that her classmates would eventually come outside and join her.

“I’m nervous and excited because I’ve never spoken in front of a crowd of people before,” Valdivieso said with laughter as she leafed through the speech she had typed up the night before.

While student government leaders and administrators were urging Parkland students to remain on campus and walk with teachers to the school football field, Valdivieso was hoping to coax students off school grounds to take part in a public rally at the nearby North Community Park.

“This is a student-led movement,” Valdivieso said after dispatching two close friends into the school with a plan to lead their classmates outside. “We want to communicate our message to the press and the public.”

In Florida, the Parkland students’ protests in recent weeks have seen some results.

Last week, Gov. Rick Scott, in a rebuke of the National Rifle Assn., signed into law a measure that, among other things, raises the minimum age to purchase a firearm from 18 to 21 and bans the sale or possession of “bump stocks,” which allow semiautomatic rifles to mimic machine guns.

The walkouts on Wednesday are among several protests planned for coming weeks. The March for Our Lives rally for school safety is expected to draw hundreds of thousands to the nation’s capital on March 24, its organizers said. And another round of school walkouts is planned for April 20, the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting in Colorado.

By Jenny Jarvie and Kurtis Lee/LaTimes


posted by The NON-Conformist


Baltimore Mayor Pugh and Laura Ingraham Go At It Over Gun Protest

More on this story from Mediate

Posted by Libergirl

Black Woman Defends the NRA, Claims Organization Was Founded to Arm Blacks Against the KKK

The NRA was founded as a civil rights organization intended to help Black Americans arm themselves against the KKK, according to writer and conservative commentator Candace Owens.

Owens, who’s also the director of urban engagement for right-wing student movement  Turning Point USA, made an appearance on “Fox & Friends” his week to defend the NRA amid fallout from the organization’s refusal to back sensible gun reform in the wake of the deadly Florida school shooting.

Owens said she recently became a member of the NRA and touted herself as a “Black American who knows her history” in regards to the organization’s legacy with Black folks.

“I happen to fall into the window of people who knows my history,” she said. “I’m a Black American and I know that the NRA was started as a civil rights organization training Black Americas to arm themselves and defend themselves against the KKK. So it’s incredulous to me that they stand on that formula.”

Owens went on to accuse Democrats of “wiping away history and rewriting it.”

“So it’s very important Black Americans take a stand and defend the NRA in the same way that they’ve defended us,” she said.

Owens isn’t the first African-American to make his claim, however. In 2013, Harry Alford, then-president and CEO of the D.C.-based National Black Chamber of Commerce made the same assertion, thanking God for the “Constitution and the NRA for its legacy.”

“The National Rifle Association was started, founded by religious leaders who wanted to protect freed slaves from the Ku Klux Klan,” Alford said a news conference were several Black leaders also spoke out against proposals for gun reform, according to Politifact.

 The news site, which researches and debunks political claims, never found any evidence supporting Owens’ and Alford’s suggestion. His platform cited an excerpt from the NRA’s website about its founding, which explains the organization was started due to the poor marksmanship of union soldiers.

“Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871,” i reads. “The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis.”

Though the NRA does tout itself as he nation’s oldest civil rights organization, there’s  no mention of helping freed Blacks fight the KKK in its history.

“The claim is not only inaccurate but ridiculous — Pants on Fire,” Politifact wrote

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Georgia Lawmakers Punish Delta Air Lines Over NRA Feud

Republican lawmakers in Georgia made good on a threat to eliminate a proposed tax break for Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines, after the carrier declined to reverse a decision to cut ties with the National Rifle Association.

Earlier this week, Delta — the state’s largest private employer, with 33,000 workers statewide — was among numerous companies to announce that it would end discounts for NRA members in the wake of the mass shooting that killed 17 people at a Parkland, Fla., high school.

Ignoring warnings that taking on Delta could harm the state’s pro-business image, the GOP-controlled House, which had earlier approved a larger tax bill containing the exemption, voted 135-24 on Thursday for a new version stripped of the provision. Meanwhile, some experts have raised First Amendment concerns over the legislature’s punitive move.

More from NPR

Posted by Libergirl


The NRA, Gun Control and Black People: A Complicated History

The latest school mass shooting in Florida, and the unfolding debate over gun control and gun violence is a reminder of the complicated, contradictory history of the NRA and gun control as they relate to Black people. Black people own guns and are the victims of gun and white vigilante violence, and while they have used guns for self-defense, neither the laws nor the NRA have had Black people, their rights and their lives in mind.

“America’s gun policies do not make sense until you consider race,” Ajenai Clemmons, a research associate at the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University, told Atlanta Black Star. “America’s conflicted self-identity as a democracy that promotes life, liberty, and the right to bear arms mirrors the contradictions in a self-identified democracy based on colonization and slavery.”

Looking at the history of guns and Black people in America, the founding of the nation was based on violence against people of African descent. American gun culture is rooted in settler colonialism, the taking of Native American land and the enslavement of African people as memorialized in the Second Amendment, according to author Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz’s account in “Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment.” The militias institutionalized the violence against Black and indigenous peoples. As professor Carl T. Bogus of the Roger Williams University School of Law argues, the slave patrols — the plantation police force in which most Southern white men were obligated to serve — protected white society against Black insurrection. This, in a region where Blacks outnumbered whites and servile insurrections, were a reality. The Second Amendment assured the slaveholding states that Congress would not disarm their slave patrols, thereby protecting the slavery police state.

“When the 2nd Amendment was written, it was done so specifically for a militia that functions both as a Confederate defense and a Slave-owner’s offense. Despite current rhetoric, the right to bear arms was not given to everyone everywhere at all times for all purposes. It was granted to white citizens of a certain age that were subject to strict regulations and oversight,” Dr. GS Potter, founder of the Strategic Institute of Intersectional Policy — which designs and implements strategies to counter the political obstacles faced by the most brutally targeted communities in the United States — told Atlanta Black Star. She said the Second Amendment served to consolidate white power and arm white men to protect them from the federal government and Black people. Dr. Potter added that Black men were specifically barred from gun ownership, with additional restrictions through the Black Codes and Jim Crow Laws, which allowed the former slave patrols to disarm Black Civil War veterans.

During the civil rights movement, armed Black folks sprang up in places to protect nonviolent protesters and Freedom Riders from Ku Klux Klan violence and domestic terrorism. Groups such as the Deacons for Defense and Justice and the Black Armed Guard — which received a charter from the NRA in the 1950s — are the unsung heroes of the civil rights struggles of the 1950s and 1960s. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the pioneers of the modern-day gun rights movement and the original proponents of open carry, faced opposition from the NRA. When the Black nationalist group, which formed to protect their community from police violence, invaded the California capitol building in Sacramento in 1967, then-Governor Ronald Reagan signed the Mulford Act in response, prohibiting open carry of guns in public places. The following year, President Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968, which prohibited “Saturday night specials” and was designed to target handguns and crime in communities of color.

According to Dr. Potter, the NRA has a long history of supporting gun control laws, advocating for a deterioration of gun rights for nonwhite people and an expansion of gun rights for law enforcement — as a leading proponent of the 1938 Gun Control Act, and gun control measures amid the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Sen. Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King in the 1960s. “What speaks volumes here is that in response to the murder of MLK, the NRA chose to advocate for gun control. They did not choose to highlight the fact that MLK had attempted to become an owner of firearms after his home was bombed in 1956 — but he was denied,” she said. “After being denied a firearm for self-defense in his own home, community members began an armed watch outside of his residence. This set the stage for the modern battle between white rights and black rights under the Second Amendment.”

The NRA of today is quite a different animal from what it once was. The organization began to change in 1975, according to Dr. Potter, when it established its Institute for Legislative Action and placed Harlon Carter under its leadership. Carter, the man responsible for the modern-day NRA, shot a Latino teen to death before becoming a border agent and the first head of the U.S. Border Patrol. Under his leadership, the NRA shifted from hunting and sportsmanship to vigilantism, self-protection and opposition to gun control — including a revisionist perspective on unregulated gun ownership, and a focus on lobbying for gun manufacturers, and donating to congressional campaigns.

“Far from its original form, the NRA now serves as a hard-lined lobbying firm that functions to block gun control and advance the manufacture and distribution of weapons designed for hunting, self-defense and military operations,” Potter said. “The radicalization of the NRA can be seen in the same light as the radicalization of today’s Republican Party,” she added, noting that under Carter’s leadership, the NRA “politically weaponized itself” and the Second Amendment to fight liberalism and people of color, and “weaponized hypocrisy” by coining the phrase, “Guns don’t kill people, people do.” The NRA made its first political endorsement in 1980 when it supported Ronald Reagan for president

Gun ownership in America has become a political identity, and the NRA has emerged as a part of the Republican Party coalition. This political identity is intertwined with race and the criminalization of Black people, creating a disaster for the African-American community. One of the noteworthy policies the NRA has promoted are “stand your ground” laws, which allows armed people to use deadly force when they believe someone poses an imminent threat. White men have invoked the laws of self-defense to justify the killing of unarmed Black people.

Clemmons said, “Historically, laws have deputized White citizens relative to Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and African Americans.The state has been an extension of the general White population, and the general White population has been an extension of the state. Stand Your Ground Laws continue that tradition. Statistically, Black folks who use these laws when they feel threatened are not afforded the same protections and liberties as their White counterparts. They go to prison at a far higher rate. So, when you see how the law is enforced, implicitly you know who the law is meant for and whom the law protects.”

A victim of America’s gun culture and vigilante violence, Jordan Davis, was killed in 2012 by Michael Dunn, a white man, at a gas station in Jacksonville, Florida. Dunn fired ten shots into the car in which Jordan and his three friends were seated. His mother, Lucy McBath, has since become active in the movement against gun violence, as faith outreach leader of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and now a candidate for the Georgia House of Representatives. “As a Black woman, I understood we were disproportionately affected by gun violence … and we have been dealing with this silently, and I wanted to challenge the system where guns were used against young Black men,” McBath told Atlanta Black Star. “How are the laws that let this happen again and again, and why were representatives not representing our interests? Why weren’t clergy speaking out?” she added.

“I know a lot of people didn’t hear about stand your ground until Trayvon [Martin] was killed, and then Jordan. I decided we have to talk about the NRA — profit over safety — and I wanted to show that [not] only poor Black people die, but, no, all demographics are suffering from this extremist culture,” McBath said, pointing to the prevalence of gun violence in suicides among white men, the killing of women by intimate partners, and the fact that Black people are not committing the school mass shootings.

McBath said the deaths of her own son and Trayvon Martin were the catalysts that made her decide to run for office. Following the 2016 election, she asked God for direction to expand the movement. Trump was making his presence felt in Georgia among pro-NRA lawmakers, and even progressives were voting for dangerous gun legislation, she noted. “I was angry. Who was going to stand up to the legislators that are being pandered to by the NRA?” she asked.

McBath believes the Parkland shooting has become the catalyst for change against an extremist gun culture and the NRA, because of those who are demanding change — young people. “I absolutely do, because of the demographic under assault who are children and millennials, and they are demanding to the White House that they protect them,” she said. “In the civil rights movement, who were on the front lines? The college students and the high school students. It is no different today. This is the whole demographic we needed to stand up, because their bodies had been missing. They have to be engaged they have to be on the front lines.

“Our gun culture is immoral and unethical. We are no longer trusting in God. People are placing far more trust in their gun. We are already self-destructing,” McBath added.

It is because of the racism in the NRA that groups such as the National African Americans Gun Association (NAAGA) have emerged as an alternative, to take a holistic approach to gun rights in the African-American community. “In every way, the NRA should be considered a terrorist organization and the military arm of the far-right. They are organized. They are armed. They are legally and politically protected,” Dr. Potter said. An NRA ad featuring spokeswoman Dana Loesch captures Potter’s sentiment:

Meanwhile, the police continue to murder Black people, and, as Dr. Potter argues, the courts continue to support deadly force against them, reinforcing the notion that there are laws protecting white gun ownership and preventing Black ownership.

“These laws are pushed and supported by the National Fraternal Order of Police and the Republican Party — especially the most conservative gun-toting factions. These standards, though, not only allow for, but direct the use of force against citizens not only for exercising their Second Amendment rights — but for giving the perception that they are exercising their Second Amendment rights,” she said. “In this way, Tamir Rice could be legally gunned down for playing with a toy. In this way a caregiver for an autistic man playing with a toy truck could be shot for posing a ‘reasonable’ threat even though no gun was present. And in the most blatant acts of murder driven hypocrisy, Philando Castile — a teacher legally armed with a weapon — could be shot dead on camera in front of his fiancée and her small child without fear of any legal consequence whatsoever.” Potter believes that if individual gun ownership was a nonpartisan, race-neutral proposition, the NRA would have defended Castile.

Valerie Castile, Philando Castile’s mother, called out NRA head Wayne LaPierre for not standing up for her son, a so-called “good guy with a gun” the group always touts. “If he really cared about the good guys out here, he would have stood up for my son. It’s about money,” Valerie Castile said of LaPierre. “He didn’t say anything because my son was Black,” Valerie Castile argued. “My son went through the same programs as every gun owner. But they started nitpicking, ‘He should have done this, he should have done that.’ The bottom line is that he told the officer he had a weapon, and the officer became a selfish man, only thinking about his own life and family. He chose to shoot my son several times. One of the bullets was 16 inches from that baby in the backseat.”

Gun control, the NRA and Black people make for a complicated history, in a nation where issues of race, guns, violence, money and power are thrown in the mix.

By David Love/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Supreme Court’s Silence Clouds Gun Control Debate The justices have passed up one opportunity after another to clarify the boundaries of the constitutional right to arms.

This month’s mass shooting at a high school in Florida has predictably provoked demands for new restrictions on guns, most of which are dubious on practical grounds, constitutional grounds, or both. But while logic and experience can help us figure out which measures are likely to be effective, the debate about which ones are consistent with the Second Amendment occurs in a shadowland only partly illuminated by the Supreme Court.

In the decade since the Court officially recognized the individual right to armed self-defense, it has passed up one opportunity after another to clarify the boundaries of that right. “The right to keep and bear arms is apparently this Court’s constitutional orphan,” Justice Clarence Thomas observed last week as the Court declined to hear yet another Second Amendment case.

That case involved California’s 10-day waiting period for buying firearms, which applies even when state and federal background checks take less time and even when the buyer has previously been cleared and already owns a gun. In 2014 a federal judge ruled that the waiting period violates the Second Amendment rights of people who are buying additional firearms or who hold concealed-carry licenses.

When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned that decision in 2016, Thomas noted, “it did so without requiring California to submit relevant evidence, without addressing petitioners’ arguments to the contrary, and without ac­knowledging the District Court’s factual findings.” That highly deferential approach, he said, was clearly inappropriate for an enumerated constitutional right and inconsistent with the Court’s Second Amendment precedents.

Thomas suggested that his colleagues would have been keen to correct such a blatant error if the case had implicated a different amendment. “Our continued refusal to hear Second Amendment cases only enables this kind of defiance,” he wrote.

It was not the first time Thomas had complained about the Court’s neglect of the Second Amendment. Last year he and Justice Neil Gorsuch strenuously objected when the Court declined to review a 9th Circuit decision upholding California’s requirement that concealed-carry licenses be issued only for “good cause,” which gives local officials broad discretion to reject applicants.

Thomas called the 9th Circuit’s focus on concealed guns, as opposed to the more general right to armed self-defense outside the home, “untenable” and “indefensible.” He noted that the Second Amendment protects the right to “bear” as well as “keep” weapons, adding, “I find it extremely improbable that the Framers understood the Second Amendment to protect little more than carrying a gun from the bedroom to the kitchen.”

In 2015 Thomas was similarly skeptical of the idea that guns arbitrarily identified as “assault weapons” are beyond the scope of the Second Amendment. He wrote that the Court should have reviewed a decision in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit upheld an “assault weapon” ban imposed by the city of Highland Park, Illinois, which covered “many of the most commonly owned semiautomatic firearms.”

The Supreme Court’s 2008 decision overturning the District of Columbia’s handgun ban made it clear, Thomas said, that the Second Amendment encompasses “firearms that millions of Americans commonly own for lawful purposes.” Yet the 7th Circuit upheld Highland Park’s ban based on little more than “speculation about the law’s potential policy benefits,” including the possibility that it “may increase the public’s sense of safety.”

The illusion of safety is the main thing such laws have to offer, since they target features that make guns look scarier without making them more lethal. “If a broad ban on firearms can be upheld based on conjecture that the public might feel safer (while being no safer at all),” Thomas observed, “then the Second Amendment guar­antees nothing.”

Given the recent agitation for a new federal ban on so-called assault weapons, Thomas’s warning is as relevant as ever. But the courts will not be compelled to act on it until his colleagues stop treating the right to arms as a constitutional orphan.

By Jacob Sullum/reason

Posted by The NON-Conformist

5 Places Hypocritical Republicans Ban Guns for Their Own Personal Safety Do as they say, not as they do.

After every mass shooting, a portion of this country insists the real problem is that there aren’t enough guns. The group that pushes this absurd lie includes Republican politicians, many of whom fear that admitting otherwise would drive away NRA donor funds. There’s been a lot of recent discussion about how GOP legislators do nothing in response to gun massacres, but a 2016 Harvard Business School study proves that’s not quite true. In states with overwhelmingly Republican legislative bodies, after mass shootings, “the number of laws passed to loosen gun restrictions [increases] by 75 percent.” Despite being counterintuitive and demonstrably dangerous, more firepower is the GOP’s go-to solution because “something something don’t tread on me.”

It’s a bad-faith proposition. A party that truly believes guns are the way out of this thing, and that an even more heavily armed populace will ensure American safety, would make different personal choices. In fact, we can gauge GOP disingenuousness on the gun issue just by noting all the places Republican politicians frequent where weapons are banned. Pointing out their hypocrisy has never helped to shame the GOP into decency, but it’s worth a review nonetheless.

Here are five places hypocritical Republicans ban guns in order to ensure their own personal safety.

1. The White House

Along with making Mexico pay billions for a wall it opposed and never taking a golfing vacation, Trump promised on the campaign trail to legislate a future in which guns could legally be brought into every kindergarten classroom and nursery. “My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day,” Trump told supporters in Vermont in 2016. “There’s no more gun-free zones.”

While it’s true no president could unilaterally scrap federal law, it’s also true that Trump’s complicit Republican Congress would probably greenlight any pro-gun horrorshow he could dream up. Yet, in the year since he took office, Trump has not spoken out once—even via his digital bullhorn at Twitter—against the anti-freedom gun ban at the White House. What better way for this president to signify his wholehearted support for gun-based lifestyles than by letting White House visitors from around the world—especially those who live under the tyranny of gun control abroad—bring all the guns they want into the People’s House?

Or maybe Trump hasn’t brought up the matter because he doesn’t actually want strangers bringing guns into the White House, seeing as they can and do kill people at the squeeze of a trigger.

2. The Republican National Convention

The quadrennial gathering of this country’s most dedicated Republicans should be a place where GOPers can briefly escape oppressive gun-free “safe spaces” and live on their own gun-riddled terms. Attendees should be permitted—nay, required—to come armed to the teeth. Downtime convention activities should be strictly gun-focused. (Think ball pits, only filled with guns. Cocktail hours, only the drinks are all guns.) At the very end, instead of confetti, the audience should be showered in loose ammo.

But instead of a three-day orgy of gun lust and ammosexuality, the Republican National Convention is a gun-free zone. Guns were banned at the RNC in 20082012 and 2016, and that’s not for lack of trying by those who bothered to petition for bringing guns to the party. For some strange reason, the RNC keeps choosing venues that explicitly ban guns, almost as if it was looking for a convenient excuse. The Secret Service keeps banning guns from the events, almost as if it knows the whole “good guy with a gun” claim is a just a myth. And not a single Republican politician has raised their voice to demand guns be allowed on the convention floor, almost like they’re tacitly admitting to being iffy on the whole “responsible gun owners” thing.

3. Mar-a-Lago

A staffer told ABC News back in 2016 that guns were banned from Trump’s Palm Beach golf property, where the president spends so much time it’s hard to know when he’s doing the actual job of presidenting. That policy appears to still be in place, according to a Politico report from late last year. “Pocket knives, laser pointers, pepper spray, and any other items deemed to be a safety hazard are not permitted on property,” a letter the club sent to members cautioned. “Any items surrendered will not be returned.”

4. The U.S. Capitol Building

Surely, a Congress that has steadfastly refused to pass gun legislation is cool with guns in the Capitol building, if only to make a patriotic point. Why not let the Senate and House galleries double as shooting galleries, since guns are such a national point of pride? When are the gun-loving legislators of Congress, who believe that murdered 6-year-olds are just the price of freedom, going to change the rules so the U.S. Capitol building can become the guntopia it’s meant to be?

The short answer is never. Guns are banned on the Capitol grounds and inside the building itself, which includes the House and Senate galleries. Visitors are also warned against bringing “black jacks, slingshots, sand clubs, sandbags, knuckles, electric stun guns, knives (longer than 3”), martial arts weapons or devices…razors, box cutters, knives, knitting needles, letter openers…mace and pepper spray.”

Which all raises the question: what kind of heartless, cruel and immoral people consistently vote against gun control for most Americans’ work lives, but cynically keep guns far away from their own place of business?

5. Republican Town Halls

In early 2017, when Republican legislators realized that angry crowds were showing up in town halls to speak against repeals of the Affordable Care Act, they found two ways to avoid those meetings. The first was to label their own constituents “paid protesters.” The second was to demonize civically engaged voters as violent mobs. It was all for show, of course. In fact, as Talking Points Memo notes, “guns are frequently prohibited at GOP congressional town hall meetings, especially after the shooting of former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in 2011. Even stalwart conservatives like Rep. Paul Ryan and former Rep. Allen West opted to ban firearms at their town halls.”

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert even went so far as to invoke Giffords as a political prop to get out of being berated by the people he supposedly serves.

“At this time there are groups from the more violent strains of the leftist ideology, some even being paid, who are preying on public town halls to wreak havoc and threaten public safety,” Gohmert claimed in a statement. “The House Sergeant at Arms advised us after former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a public appearance, that civilian attendees at Congressional public events stand the most chance of being harmed or killed—just as happened there.”

Giffords, incredibly, had to release a statement encouraging Republicans to do their damn jobs.

“To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage,” Giffords’ message said. “Many of the members of Congress who are refusing to hold town halls and listen to their constituents’ concerns are the very same politicians that have opposed common-sense gun violence prevention policies and have allowed the Washington gun lobby to threaten the safety of law enforcement and everyday citizens in our schools, businesses, places of worship, airports, and movie theaters.”

In an interview later, Giffords stated, “If you don’t have the guts to face your constituents, then you shouldn’t be in the United States Congress.”

And maybe, if you don’t have the guts to deal with the laws you force the rest of us to live under, you for sure shouldn’t be involved in making them.

By Kali Holloway / AlterNet

Posted by The NON-Conformist