Tag Archives: NRA

FBI investigating the NRA for Russian collusion

The lobbyist organization for the merchants of death, the National Rifle Association, is under investigation by the FBI to determine whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the NRA to help Donald Trump win the presidency. McClatchy News reports, FBI investigating whether Russian money went to NRA to help Trump:

The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency, two sources familiar with the matter have told McClatchy.

FBI counterintelligence investigators have focused on the activities of Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA, the sources said.

It is illegal to use foreign money to influence federal elections.

It’s unclear how long the Torshin inquiry has been ongoing, but the news comes as Justice Department Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sweeping investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including whether the Kremlin colluded with Trump’s campaign, has been heating up.

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Disclosure of the Torshin investigation signals a new dimension in the 18-month-old FBI probe of Russia’s interference. McClatchy reported a year ago that a multi-agency U.S. law enforcement and counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s intervention, begun even before the start of the 2016 general election campaign, initially included a focus on whether the Kremlin secretly helped fund efforts to boost Trump, but little has been said about that possibility in recent months.

The extent to which the FBI has evidence of money flowing from Torshin to the NRA, or of the NRA’s participation in the transfer of funds, could not be learned.

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Las Vegas now the deadliest mass shooting in American history

Sunday night, a lone gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip opened fire on a country music festival, killing at least 58 people and injuring at least 500 others in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.

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The Washington Post reports, Gunman in Las Vegas kills at least 58, injures 500 more in shooting rampage:

The gunman, identified by police as Stephen Paddock, age 64, was later found dead by officers on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said during a news briefing Monday.

The massacre marked the nation’s latest outbreak of gunfire and bloodshed to erupt in a public place, again spreading terror in an American city transformed into a war zone. The carnage in Las Vegas surpassed the 49 people slain in June 2016 when a gunman in Orlando, who later said he was inspired by the Islamic State, opened fire inside a crowded nightclub.

Lombardo said investigators could not immediately identify a motive, leaving no clear answer as to why a gunman killed at least 58 people and possibly more. He also said an additional 515 people were injured, though he did not specify how many were wounded by gunfire or injured in the chaos that followed.

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Arizona Attorney General tests state preemption law against the City of Tucson

Last week, Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Arizona Supreme Court to cut off the City of Tucson’s $170 million a year in state aid, claiming Tucson is violating Arizona ridiculous state preemption law prohibiting local governments from destroying seized handguns. Brnovich sues Tucson over firearms destruction:

False IdolsIn his legal filing, Brnovich contends the 2005 city ordinance runs afoul of a series of state laws that sharply restrict the right of local governments to make their own gun laws. And he told the justices that a newly enacted state statute specifically gives him the right to intercede and ask the high court to punish offenders.

Officially, the lawsuit asks the high court to give Tucson a deadline by which they have to repeal the ordinance. That is unlikely to occur: Just hours earlier, council members voted unanimously to fight Brnovich in court, though they did agree to voluntarily stop the gun destruction until the Supreme Court rules.

The 2016 law that gives Brnovich the right to take cities to court spells out that any community that wants to fight him must first post a bond equal to half of its annual state aid. Attorneys for the city are expected to ask the justices to declare that requirement illegal or, at the very least, waive it.

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Doug MacEachern is being icky again

Crossposted from DemocraticDiva.com and retweeted by Mr. MacEachern himself.

maceachernSeriously, just eww!

So the other day I hauled out a Costco-sized jug of brain bleach and proceeded to read this Doug MacEachern column.

In terms of fundraising tactics, there is not a wit [sic] of difference between the National Rifle Association and, say, America’s premier abortion industry complex, Planned Parenthood.

Now, MacEachern would like everyone to think he’s a world-weary scribe, merely pursuing objective truth on the subject of abortion. He recently sniffed that people shouldn’t describe him as “anti-choice” since he hasn’t stated his position on abortion. However (and protip to Doug), using the phrase “America’s premier abortion industry complex” about Planned Parenthood without even sparing, say, a concomitant “America’s top gun shilling edifice” about the NRA, kind of gives his game away. Continue reading

How many gun shows is too many?


AZ-pl-2-nolayers-sm72by Pamela Powers Hannley

Gun Show Trader boasts the "largest gun show list" in the US. According to this website, there are 1137 gun shows currently scheduled. 

Given the recent Tucson City Council decision to require background checks of any gun show conducted on city property, I looked up the number of gun shows coming up in Arizona. As of today, February 6, 2013, Gun Show Trader shows 30 gun shows scheduled for Arizona in 2013 and 2 so far for 2014.

For 2013, there are 7 gun shows scheduled for Tucson, 6 for Mesa, 5 for Phoenix, 3 for Glendale, and the other 9 are everywhere else in Arizona. To put this into perspective, one must compare the number of gun shows scheduled for Arizona with other states. Which state has the most upcoming gun shows? Texas, of course, with 103. (That was too easy.) The spread of scheduled gun shows nationwide is 0 to 103. Check out the data by state after the jump.

The data (below) are quite surprising. There doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to the number of shows scheduled. Five states have no gun shows scheduled at all. You'd expect pantywaist East Coast states like Connecticut and Delaware not to have any gun shows, but no gun shows in New Jersey, South Dakota, and North Dakota? On the other end of the spectrum, 6 states have 60 or more gun shows scheduled– more than one per week. Of course, Texas would have the most at 103, but #2 is Florida with 86, followed by Indiana (71), Pennsylvania (70), Washington (65), and California (60). 

Common sense would tell you that that population, politics, and/or existing regulations could be factors in the number of gun shows per state. In order, California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois are the 5 most populace states in the US; respectively they have 60, 103, 18, 86, and 29 scheduled gun shows. Indiana has less than 100,000 fewer citizens than Arizona and has more than twice as many gun shows that Arizona (71 vs 32). 

Thinking stereotypically, red neck states in the South and the Plains should have more gun shows than other states, but Alaska (think: Sarah Palin), Hawaii (think: public pot smoking), Idaho, Maine, Minnisota, Nebraska, and New Hampshire (think: "live free or die") all have 2-4 shows. Except for Florida, Southern states have a modest number of gun shows– fewer shows over all than hippie dippy states like California (60), Oregon (40) or Washington (65). States like Mississippi, Kentucky, and West Virginia, which are often the brunt of red neck jokes, have 6, 18, and 17 shows scheduled respectively. (Mississippi has fewer scheduled shows than Massachusetts– or Tucson!)

So, if population and red/blue mix don't help predict the number of gun shows, existing regulations are a likely reason for the differences. At the Tucson City Council meeting regarding background checks at gun shows, a gun show promoter said she conducts shows in California and that state requires background checks on all show sales. With 60 shows scheduled for that state in 2013 alone, the background checks don't seem to be much of a deterrent to gun commerce. The National Rifle Association tracks gun laws at the state and federal level, but the patchwork of current and proposed legislation is a quagmire. 

With 1122 gun shows scheduled (to date) for 2013 and 15 already scheduled for 2014, I wonder how many guns will be sold at shows this year, what percentage will be sold without background checks, and how much money will be exchanged at gun shows. Don't kid yourself. This issue isn't about the second amendment; it's about unfettered arms and ammunition commerce.

I also wonder how many more people will die from gun shots in the coming year. In the month and a half since the Sandy Hook school massacre, 1280 Americans have been killed by guns— a little more than 26 mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters per day. You can read some of their stories here. When will Americans stop this senseless violence?

Related articles:

Tucson Cracks Down On Gun Shows, Requires Background Checks

Tucson City Council advances gun background check resolution: Voice your opinion at Feb 5 meeting (video)  

Gun Appreciation Day: Did it backfire? (video)

Ward 6 Roast: From immigration reform to potholes, politicians answer voter questions (videos)

Image credit: Pamela Powers Hannley. Gun show data compiled from Gun Show Trader nationwide show list on Feb. 6, 2013. This is descriptive data and most likely not all inclusive.

Gun shows

Tucson City Council advances gun background check resolution: Voice your opinion at Feb 5 meeting (video)

Gun-buttonby Pamela Powers Hannley

During today's study session, Tucson's City Council voted unanimously to advance a resolution which would require background checks on every gun purchase that occurs on city-owned or city-managed property. The resolution further states that there will be "no permits for gun shows on City owned or managed property until the provisions of the above are enacted." 

City attornies said that since this is a resolution and not an ordinance it does not conflict with state law.

Today's vote paves the way for a council vote on the resolution on February 20, but citizens can use the February 5 (tonight) City Council meeting call to the audience to voice their opinions on this matter. Here is the link to the proposal brought forward by Council members Steve Kozachik and Karin Uhlich. More background and a video of local leaders talking about gun control after the jump.

Since the Sandy Hook massacre, Kozachik has been a vocal proponent for gun reform. He suffered immense criticism from fellow Republicans for talking about the need for sensible gun control reforms and for spearheading a gun buy-back program earlier this month. In fact, the Republicans' over-the-top negative response to his actions were a factor in Kozachik's high-profile defection from the Republican Party a few weeks ago. Some background from Kozachik's CNN Op-Ed…

In defiance of Newton's law that every action has an equal and opposite reaction, any discussion of legitimate controls on the use, handling and sale of firearms routinely yields an explosive overreaction of opposition. I learned that firsthand when I organized a voluntary gun buyback program for January 8 in Tucson, Arizona.

It was the tipping point for me to change my party affiliation from Republican to Democratic.

On January 8 in 2011, a seriously deranged young man murdered six people, including a 9-year-old girl, and wounded 13, including Rep. Gabby Giffords, during a 45-second shooting rampage in Tucson. He was finally subdued when he stopped to change clips in his semiautomatic weapon, after firing 31 rounds.

In the immediate aftermath, our community came together as one in our grieving over the deaths and in our resolve to do what we could to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

But the irrational fears of the gun lobby succeeded in shouting down the debate, and in the intervening two years not a single piece of meaningful legislation has been adopted that would even begin to solve the problem.

I was the target of some of that violent overreaction in the two weeks leading up to the buyback. Thinly veiled threats were leveled at me. I was referred to as "Hitler." The response made it clear the event I was planning hit a nerve among a group who evidently believe the proper disposal of a firearm is tantamount to the desecration of a holy icon.

Guns are not fetish objects. The buyback was simply an offer to people who were uncomfortable with having a weapon in their homes to trade those weapons into the Tucson Police Department in exchange for a $50 grocery gift card. More than $10,000 in gift cards were distributed during the event.

The money I used to buy those cards was donated in just under two weeks by Tucson residents, who still cling to the hope we will re-engage on the topic of rational gun control. They showed that the loud voices are not going to shout down the discussion this time around.

But on the periphery of my buyback, and on the periphery of rational discourse, was a group of gun and NRA enthusiasts holding a "cash for guns" firearms flea market. They held it on the boundary of the police department parking lot in which my buyback was taking place.

In Arizona, it is legal for a person to walk up to another on a street corner, hand him cash for a firearm and simply walk off with it, with no need for a background check into his psychological or criminal history. That was exactly what happened with those who came to my buyback to "score some deals" on weapons by outbidding the gift cards I was offering.

I was a Republican at the time, but less than one week after the buyback, I chose to switch parties. I believe there is a centrist element among the rank and file in the GOP, but the leadership is led by the far right and openly beholden to the NRA and the gun lobby. It is that rigid ideology that is driving the party into irrelevancy. The overreaction to the gun buyback made it clear that, in Tucson at least, the Republican Party is out of touch with the values of the community. [Emphasis added. Go here for the rest of the story.]

Related Stories:

Tucson Cracks Down On Gun Shows, Requires Background Checks

How many gun shows is too many?

Tucson Ward 6 Political Forum & Roast: Gun Violence

Gun Appreciation Day: Did it backfire? (video)