After Espionage Charges, Edward Snowden Petition Reaches Critical Mass

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Illustration by Fernando Alfonso III

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President Obama will now be forced to weigh in on the public’s desire to pardon PRISM whistleblower Edward Snowden, despite a carefully crafted effort to neither praise nor condemn him.

We the People petition titled “Pardon Edward Snowden” reached the requisite 100,000 signatures Saturday morning. By the Obama administration’s own rules, any petition that reaches that threshold will receive a formal response from the White House, though there’s no formal timetable for the official comment.

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Did Adolf Hitler Really Take Away Guns?

Yes, Hitler Really Did Take the Guns Before Throwing Jews into Concentration Camps (or Gas Chambers)

J. D. Heyes
Natural News
March 26, 2013

They say those who learn nothing from history are doomed to repeat it, but then again, sometimes repeating history is exactly the point, as longtime anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s new “assault weapons ban” planned legislation for early next year proves.

Parade of SA troops pass Hitler, September 1935, via Wikimedia Commons

Feinstein, a California Democrat, was instrumental in enacting a similar piece of legislation in 1994; with the help of President Clinton and Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress, that ban lasted a decade before being allowed to expire by a Republican-controlled Congress in 2004.

But her current measure would go much further and, in many ways, actually mirrors anti-gun measures enacted nearly 75 years ago by Nazi leader Adolph Hitler, in a bid to disarm a particular ethnic group he loathed.

This is gun control redux

Prior to 1938, when Hitler’s new restrictions were put in place, the earlier Weimar Republic government had already enacted gun registration. “The laws adopted by the Weimar Republic intended to disarm Nazis and Communists were sufficiently discretionary that the Nazis managed to use them against their enemies once they were in power,” says Clayton Cramer, author of the book Firing Back, as told to the website The Straight Dope. So what Hitler essentially did was strengthen existing German law (which was aimed primarily at preventing Jews from being armed).

And that is the all-important difference. Bernard E. Harcourt, writing for the University of Chicago Law School and Political Science Department, notes:

If you read the 1938 Nazi gun laws closely and compare them to earlier 1928 Weimar gun legislation – as a straightforward exercise of statutory interpretation – several conclusions become clear. First, with regard to possession and carrying of firearms, the Nazi regime relaxed the gun laws that were in place in Germany at the time the Nazis seized power. Second, the Nazi gun laws of 1938 specifically banned Jewish persons from obtaining a license to manufacture firearms or ammunition. Third, approximately eight months after enacting the 1938 Nazi gun laws, Hitler imposed regulations prohibiting Jewish persons from possessing any dangerous weapons, including firearms.

The point was, Hitler had it in for the Jews, so he first disarmed them before carrying out his murderous campaign against them. And, unable to resist, millions died.

“In Germany, firearm registration helped lead to the holocaust,” National Rifle Association executive vice president Wayne LaPierre wrote in his book, “Gun, Crimes and Freedom.”

Nothing new under the sun

Here are some key aspects of the 1938 law:

– Police permission was required to own a handgun;

– All firearms had to be registered;

– Any Germans who enjoyed shooting bolt-action rifles were told to join the army “if they wished to shoot ‘military’ rifles,” writes LaPierre, in his book;

– The Nazi regime “also enacted the “Regulations against Jews’ possession of weapons” within the days of Kristallnacht – the ‘night of broken glass’ – when stormtroopers attacked synagogues and Jews throughout Germany,” he wrote;

– Firearms registration lists were used to identify (and persecute) gun owners (bear in mind that a New York newspaper just published the names and addresses of legal handgun permit holders after obtaining them via a Freedom of Information Act request, because permit holders by the very nature of obtaining the permit had to be registered [http://www.naturalnews.com/038479_gun_owners_New_York_newspaper.html]).

Let’s compare these Nazi-era gun control requirements to what Feinstein is proposing. As posted on her Senate website, her legislation would:

– Ban the sale, transfer, importation or manufacture of 120 specifically-named firearms;

– “Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one or more military characteristics;”

– “Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds;”

– Require that currently owned weapons that would be grandfathered in nevertheless be registered under the National Firearms Act;

– Require a background check of any owner and/or transferee;

– Provide the government with the type and serial number of the weapon;

– Require a photograph and fingerprint to be on file with the government;

– “Dedicated funding for [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] to implement registration” of firearms (keep in mind the BATF is the federal agency responsible for launching “Operation Fast and Furious,” in which federal agents supplied thousands of weapons Feinstein wants to ban to Mexican drug gangs, several of which have since been tied to the murders of Mexican citizens and U.S. federal agents [http://www.naturalnews.com]).

What we’ve seen before, we may see again

It doesn’t take a genius (or conspiracy theorist) to figure out the parallels between Nazi gun control laws and some of the same provisions being pushed by Feinstein. Understanding that our country is not a totalitarian state (yet), Feinstein and other gun-controllers like President Obama, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others all know they have to take a longer, more measured approach to disarming the U.S. public, that they can’t just mandate it overnight.

But make no mistake, new gun control laws like those being proposed are nothing more than rehashed mandates dredged up from the past, with similar intentions: To make political opponents and the masses less powerful and less able to resist.

This article was posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 11:50 am

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Dems push assault weapons ban through Senate panel

Photo -   FILE - This March 3, 2013, file photo shows handguns displayed in Sandy, Utah. Democrats pushed an assault weapons ban through a Senate committee on Thursday, March 14, 2013, and toward its likely doom on the Senate floor, after an emotion-laden debate that underscored the deep feelings the issue stokes on both sides (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
FILE – This March 3, 2013, file photo shows handguns displayed in Sandy, Utah. Democrats pushed an assault weapons ban through a Senate committee on Thursday, March 14, 2013, and toward its likely doom on the Senate floor, after an emotion-laden debate that underscored the deep feelings the issue stokes on both sides (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats pushed an assault weapons ban through a Senate committee on Thursday and toward its likely doom on the Senate floor, after an emotion-laden debate that underscored the deep feelings the issue stokes on both sides.

Exactly three months after 26 children and educators were gunned down in Newtown, Conn., the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure on a party-line 10-8 vote. The bill would also bar ammunition magazines carrying more than 10 rounds.

Thursday’s vote marked the fourth gun control measure the committee has approved in a week and shifted the spotlight to the full Senate. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he will decide soon how to bring the measures to the chamber, where debate is expected next month.

“Americans are looking to us for solutions and for action,” said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. He said that despite gun-rights advocates’ claims, the Second Amendment’s right to bear arms is not at risk, but “lives are at risk” unless lawmakers can figure out how to keep firearms away from dangerous people.

The other bills would require federal background checks to more would-be gun buyers, make it easier for authorities to prosecute illegal gun traffickers and boost school safety aid.

In a written statement, President Barack Obama thanked senators “for taking another step forward in our common effort to help reduce gun violence” and said Congress should vote on all the proposals. He said assault weapons “are designed for the battlefield, and they have no place on our streets, in our schools, or threatening our law enforcement officers.”

Barring assault weapons was part of Obama’s plan for reducing gun violence. But banning the high-powered weapons has encountered strong opposition from congressional Republicans and elicited little enthusiasm among moderate Democratic senators up for re-election next year in GOP-leaning states in the West and South.

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and her supporters say the ban would help eliminate the type of firearms and magazines that have been used with deadly effect at Newtown and several other recent mass shootings. Opponents say barring the guns would violate the right to bear arms and have little overall impact because assault weapons are involved in small percentages of gun crimes.

At one point Thursday, Feinstein responded angrily after Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, asked if she would also support limiting the First Amendment’s freedom of speech by denying its protection to some books.

“I’m not a sixth grader. Senator, I’ve been on this committee for 20 years” and studied the issue for a long time, she told Cruz. She later added: “It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here a long time.”

Cruz, an outspoken conservative freshman, answered, “Nobody doubts her sincerity and her passion and yet at the same time, I’d note she chose not to answer the question.”

“The answer is obvious — no,” Feinstein said later.

She and other Democrats also argued that there are limits on many constitutional rights. Leahy said the state Board of Education in Cruz’s home state “has told people what books they should or shouldn’t read” — a reference to that conservative-led board that controls the state’s school curriculum standards.

Cruz said lawmakers should make decisions about gun legislation using “facts and data and by the Constitution, not by passion.”

Before the ban was approved, Democrats defeated Republican amendments seeking to exempt groups including sexual abuse victims and people who live near the Southwest border.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Feinstein’s measure wouldn’t stop criminals from obtaining assault weapons and complained, “We’re going to give the American citizens a pea-shooter to defend themselves with.”

Feinstein said there was no evidence that people can’t defend themselves just as well with a handgun.

At one point, Leahy, an avid gun owner, said some of the debate reminded him of movies depicting “zombie takeovers,” adding, “I’ve always been perfectly satisfied with my .45 that I have at home.”

Feinstein’s bill would ban semi-automatic weapons — guns that fire one round and automatically reload — that can take a detachable magazine and have at least one military feature like a pistol grip.

It specifically bans 157 named weapons. In an effort to avoid antagonizing those who use them for sports, the measure allows 2,258 rifles and shotguns that are frequently used by hunters.

It also exempts any weapons that are lawfully owned whenever the bill is enacted.

Many expect the assault weapons ban won’t be included in the basic bill the Senate debates next month, but will be offered as an amendment. That would mean it would likely need 60 votes to prevail in the 100-member chamber — a difficult margin for Feinstein since there are only 53 Democratic senators plus two independents who usually side with them.

“The vote is uphill. I truly understand it,” she said.

Separating the ban from more popular measures would also make it easier for red-state Democrats to vote against the ban but still leave them available to back the rest of the legislation. Several senators said they thought the ban on high-capacity magazines could pass.

The House’s Republican leaders have said they’ll wait for the Senate to act before moving on legislation. They’ve not expressed support for an assault weapons ban.

They have discussed improving how states report data on people with serious mental health and drug abuse problems to the federal background check system. Both parties see that as a major flaw that needs to be fixed.

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Lawmakers unveil new assault weapons ban

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) stands next to a display of assault weapons during a news conference January 24, 2013 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Feinstein announced that she will introduce a bill to ban assault weapons and high-capacity magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds to help to stop gun violence (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) stands next to a display of assault weapons during a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

www.washingtonpost.com  – by Ed O’Keefe

Democratic lawmakers formally reintroduced a bill Thursday that would ban military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, the most ambitious — and politically risky — element of proposals unveiled by President Obama to limit gun violence.

The “Assault Weapons Ban of 2013″ is a much more far-reaching proposal than the federal ban that expired in 2004. The proposal would ban the sale, transfer, manufacturing or importation of more than 150 specific firearms, including semiautomatic rifles or pistols that can be used with a detachable or fixed ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds and have specific military-style features, including pistol grips, grenade launchers or rocket launchers.

It excludes more than 2,250 firearms used for hunting or other sport, and assault weapons lawfully owned before the law’s enactment. But it would require background checks for the sale or transfer of grandfathered weapons and would bar the sale or transfer of large-capacity feeding devices owned before the bill’s enactment. Current assault weapon owners also would need to safely store their firearms. Unlike the original federal ban passed in 1994, the new ban would be permanent.

The measure was unveiled Thursday morning by a slate of Democratic co-sponsors, led by longtime gun control advocates Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.), who have pushed for the ban before in part because of their personal histories with gun violence.

“This is a tough battle,” Feinstein said at the start of an elaborately-staged event on Capitol Hill to unveil the bill.

Feinstein and McCarthy were joined at the event by House and Senate Democrats cosponsoring the measure, representatives of gun control groups, survivors of mass shootings in Arizona, Colorado and at Virginia Tech, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter and Charles H. Ramsey, Philadelphia Police Commissioner.

Ramsey, the former police chief of Washington, D.C., also discussed the details of 10 assault weapons displayed at the event, similar to those used in some of the most recent mass shootings.

“If the slaughter of 20 babies does not capture and hold your attention, then I give up, because I don’t know what else will,” Ramsey told the crowd. “We have to pass legislation, we can’t allow the legislation to get so watered down and filled with loopholes that it is meaningless and won’t do anything.”

Then, turning to the weapons, Ramsey said: “Look at this and tell me why any of this needs to be on the streets of our cities. … How are you going to go hunting with something like that? If you kill something, there’s nothing left to eat.”

Feinstein later explained that the weapons displayed were in the lawful possession of unnamed law enforcement agencies as evidence.

Supporters face an uphill climb in a Congress filled with Republicans and moderate Democrats who support Second Amendment rights and rely on political support from the National Rifle Association and other gun groups to win reelection.

The NRA responded with a statement:

Senator Feinstein has been trying to ban guns from law-abiding citizens for decades. It’s disappointing but not surprising that she is once again focused on curtailing the Constitution instead of prosecuting criminals or fixing our broken mental health system. The American people know gun bans do not work and we are confident Congress will reject Senator Feinstein’s wrong-headed approach.

Regardless, Feinstein and McCarthy plan to press ahead.

 

Most Americans support tough new measures to counter gun violence, including banning assault weapons, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll. In the poll, 58 percent of Americans support the ban, which expired in 2004 after 10 years; 39 percent oppose it. Some 45 percent of gun-owning households also support the ban.

McCarthy, whose husband was killed and son wounded in the 1993 Long Island Railroad shooting, has reintroduced the weapons ban every year since it expired. She said her office has received much more support for her efforts since the deadly shooting  in Newtown.

“The American people are on our side this time, and we do outnumber some of the people who are fighting against us this time,” McCarthy said Wednesday, citing new support from parents, medical professionals and labor unions that she declined to name.

“This is different this time, people are more open to it,” she added. “What we keep hearing [from voters] is [go for] the assault weapons ban, so we’ll go for it.”

Feinstein, who became San Francisco mayor in 1978 after the assassinations of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk, said she has voiced her displeasure with Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) after he recently told a Nevada television station that, given the current political environment, it might be futile to move an assault weapons ban through Congress.

Since then, Reid has sounded more open to gun control measures. “This is an issue that we’re not going to run from,” he told reporters Tuesday. “It’s an issue we need to talk about. . . . It may not be everything everyone wants. But I hope it has some stuff in there that’s really important.”

House Republican leaders say they won’t consider any gun-related legislation until the Senate takes action. This week, Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) unveiled plans to make gun trafficking and straw purchases a federal crime, and Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) relaunched plans to close a loophole in federal law that permits gun buyers to purchase weapons without a federal background check from private gun dealers and to ban high-capacity magazines holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The proposals will be considered next Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun control. Leahy, who chairs the panel, has said he’s eager to consider a wide range of proposals before moving legislation through the Senate.

The last time Congress approved the federal ban on assault weapons was 1994, when Feinstein faced her toughest reelection race and McCarthy was a nurse — and registered Republican — grieving the death of her husband and helping her son recover from his wounds.

In addition to growing support for stricter gun laws, McCarthy noted that President Obama’s campaign operation, recently renamed Organizing for Action, is planning to help mobilize supporters.

“I would love his e-mail list,” McCarthy said of Obama’s support network.

“Each of us can work as hard as we can, but unless [Obama is] out there selling it,” the bill won’t advance, McCarthy said. “Hopefully they learned their lessons from the health-care bill.”

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Feinstein unveils sweeping gun-control agenda

Democrat legislation includes ban on scores of firearms, database of owners

www.wnd.com

diane

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., plans to introduce sweeping gun-control legislation at the beginning of the congressional session in January.

“It [the bill] will ban the sale, the transfer, the transportation and the possession” of certain weapons, the California senator said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “Not retroactively, but prospectively. And it will ban the same for big clips, drums or strips of more than 10 bullets.”

 The senator describes the proposal as a version of the assault-weapons ban that expired in 2004.

Feinstein’s legislation ban scores of firearms, including military-style “assault” weapons and high-capacity ammunition feeding devices. It also calls for the creation of a federal register that would require millions of gun owners to be fingerprinted and photographed.

Keep your gun rights: Sign new petition

The following is a summary of the legislation posted on Feinstein’s official senatorial website:

Bans the sale, transfer, importation, or manufacturing of:

  • 120 specifically-named firearms
  • Certain other semiautomatic rifles, handguns, shotguns that can accept a detachable magazine and have one military characteristic
  • Semiautomatic rifles and handguns with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds

Strengthens the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban and various state bans by:

  • Moving from a 2-characteristic test to a 1-characteristic test
  • Eliminating the easy-to-remove bayonet mounts and flash suppressors from the characteristics test
  • Banning firearms with “thumbhole stocks” and “bullet buttons” to address attempts to “work around” prior bans

Bans large-capacity ammunition feeding devices capable of accepting more than 10 rounds.
Protects legitimate hunters and the rights of existing gun owners by:

  • Grandfathering weapons legally possessed on the date of enactment
  • Exempting over 900 specifically-named weapons used for hunting or sporting purposes and
  • Exempting antique, manually-operated, and permanently disabled weapons

Requires that grandfathered weapons be registered under the National Firearms Act, to include:

  • Background check of owner and any transferee;
  • Type and serial number of the firearm;
  • Positive identification, including photograph and fingerprint;
  • Certification from local law enforcement of identity and that possession would not violate State or local law; and dedicated funding for ATF to implement registration

A pdf of the bill summary is available here.

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