August 7, 2014 |
MAYS LANDING, N.J. - The words common sense were mentioned quite a bit during Shaneen Allen's hearing yesterday in Atlantic County Superior Court. Allen, 27, cried for a moment in the hallway with her son Naiare and his father after a judge denied her motion to dismiss weapons charges filed against her in October and refused to overturn a prosecutor's decision to deny her entry into a first-time-offender diversion program. So Allen walked back into court, turned down a plea deal that would have given her a 3 1/2-year sentence and decided to go to trial in October, hoping a jury would use some common sense and not send a working mother of two to prison for not knowing New Jersey's gun laws.
June 23, 2014
With staccato bursts of horrifying news of mass shootings coming almost weekly, it's hard to fathom how the U.S. Supreme Court came within a vote of upending a cornerstone of federal gun-trafficking laws. Had one more justice joined the court's conservative bloc last week, it would have become possible for a straw buyer to purchase a firearm and hand it over to just about anybody. Thanks to a 5-4 ruling, though, such transactions will remain illegal - and for good reason. Even if everyone involved in a gun sale has the right to own a weapon, federal lawmakers and authorities understand the need to track gun ownership.
April 23, 2014 |
FIREARM FOES from the Philly-based CeaseFire PA have a simple answer for the gun-rights activists who have increasingly targeted them for protest: Bring it! Gun owners have shown up to CeaseFire PA rallies and events in bigger and louder groups, videotaping the goings-on and counterprotesting, said Shira Goodman, the group's executive director. Last month, Pittsburgh-area gun-rights activists visited CeaseFire PA's Center City office, prompting flustered staffers to call police. But CeaseFire is turning the criticism into cash: Goodman started a "Beat Back the Bullies" fund and is using her opponents to drum up support for her cause.
February 21, 2014
I'M PRETTY SURE Michael David Dunn is a racist, but I'm certain he's a dunce who has done me harm. Not the kind of harm he did to 17-year-old Jordan Davis, his friends and family. There is no equivalency between that actual harm and my theoretical harm. The harm Dunn has done to me and other gun owners is to make us look like trigger-happy hot heads, when the opposite is true. How can I say that? With more than 100 million gun owners in America, we'd have thousands of shootings every day if we lacked impulse control, like Dunn.
December 17, 2013
AS THE second World Trade Center fell at 10:28 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, so, too, did the old world order. Almost immediately, a new order arose in its place, in the form of the war on terror, a domestic infrastructure called homeland security, a new kind of military engagement with volatile new enemies, and a heightened surveillance culture in which notions of privacy have also been turned upside down. At least initially, few doubted such actions were necessary to curb terrorism, and even doubters felt the trade-off between, say, civil liberties and government scrutiny was a necessary price.
September 26, 2013
AS WE all know, criminals who use firearms to intimidate, injure, and kill their victims must be held accountable for their actions, as they are truly the terrorists who live among us. We propose tougher gun laws with the hope that they will be the ultimate solution to our problem. Haven't we recognized that more laws upon more laws will not make us safe? The terrorists who live among us don't care about society and the laws that their politicians pass. Maybe the creation of jobs at a living wage might help.
September 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The shootings at the Navy Yard here brought renewed calls on Capitol Hill for tougher gun laws, including the background-check plan cosponsored by Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.). But with the pleas came acknowledgments that the measures still don't have enough votes. With congressional politics against them, neither Toomey nor his cosponsor, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), was eager to bring the bill up, even as other lawmakers urged its passage. "The Senate spoke on this issue and we came up five votes short," Toomey said Tuesday in a statement.
August 16, 2013
For an improvised press conference in his attorney's office last week, Mark Kessler, the suspended police chief of the small coal region town of Gilberton, wore a suit and tie and behaved politely. The video he was suspended for, however, shows him cursing away while firing a gun at what he says is a poster of House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. In another video, which has been viewed 148,000 times, the avowed Second Amendment warrior and founder of "Chief Kessler's Constitutional Security Forces" fires an automatic weapon while scolding Secretary of State John Kerry for announcing that the administration would agree to a U.N. treaty regulating the global arms trade.
July 18, 2013 |
ORLANDO, Fla. - Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned "Stand Your Ground" laws Tuesday, saying the measures "senselessly expand the concept of self-defense" and may encourage "violent situations to escalate. " On the books in more than 30 states, the statutes have become a focal point of a complicated national debate over race, crime, and culpability following the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old, by a neighborhood watch volunteer in Sanford, Fla. The volunteer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted of murder charges on Saturday.
June 27, 2013 |
GETTING hard time in jail for carrying a gun doesn't really happen in Philadelphia. Unless maybe the gun is dripping with the blood of a murder victim. Or your criminal record is packed so full of felonies that cops know the swirls of your fingerprints by heart. There's a raft of reasons why, but it starts with gun laws. In New York, it's illegal to carry a gun without a New York license, even if the owner has a permit elsewhere. Punishment for violators - even those with no criminal record - is swift and harsh: a 3 1/2-year mandatory-minimum prison sentence.