Tag Archives: NRA

Ducey’s plan: essentially the NRA plan, but with a twist

Our Koch-bot Governor Ducey announced his long-awaited plan for gun safety in our schools yesterday. It is essentially to “harden” schools with more people armed with guns on campus — exactly the opposite of what student activists are calling for — and to throw a little bit more money at school counselors. This is essentially the NRA plan, short of arming classroom teachers, which Ducey says he opposes.

Ducey’s plan does include a twist, likely to be opposed by gun rights absolutists like the Arizona Citizens Defense League and the NRA: Ducey is supporting a version of the severe threat order of protection to remove guns from individuals who pose a danger to themselves and to others. This is a much needed change in the law, and I applaud him for finally coming around to see the light on this issue.

But the question remains, however, how much influence will the governor have with extremist Tea-Publicans in the Arizona legislature to actually pass this STOP order provision? He will have Democratic votes for this provision and needs to bring along enough Tea-Publicans to form a majority in each chamber.

The Arizona Capitol Times reports, Ducey school-shooter proposal adds cops, mental-health services to campuses:

Gov. Doug Ducey proposed boosts to mental health services at schools, a greater law enforcement presence on school campuses and fixing some, but not all, loopholes in background checks on gun sales in response to a mass shooting a month ago in Florida.

Ducey’s plan, which he’ll need to convince the state Legislature to approve, focuses on school safety following the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. It includes some new dollars to help pay for school psychiatrists, a program that would allow former cops to act as armed, volunteer security guards at schools, and an unspecified amount of state funding to help more schools hire school resource officers.

So far, this is in line with the NRA plan. But here is a twist:

It also provides an opportunity to have guns seized from people deemed to be a danger to themselves or others, a legal process Democrats in Arizona have been calling for all legislative session.

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A closer look at Russian cultivation of the NRA

NPR reports on the Depth Of Russian Politician’s Cultivation Of NRA Ties:

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics, NPR has learned.

Russian politician Alexander Torshin said his ties to the NRA provided him access to Donald Trump — and the opportunity to serve as a foreign election observer in the United States during the 2012 election.

Torshin is a prolific Twitter user, logging nearly 150,000 tweets, mostly in Russian, since his account was created in 2011. Previously obscured by language and sheer volume of tweets, Torshin has written numerous times about his connections with the NRA, of which he is a known paid lifetime member. NPR has translated a selection of those posts that document Torshin’s relationship to the group.

These revelations come amid news that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin, the deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, illegally funneled money to the NRA to assist the Trump campaign in 2016, McClatchy reported in January.

In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., a member of the Senate intelligence committee, the NRA denied any wrongdoing and suggested the FBI is investigating Torshin, not the NRA. Neither the NRA nor Torshin responded to inquiries from NPR.

Investigations by Congress and the Department of Justice have revealed that the Russian government has sought to sharpen political divisions among American citizens by amplifying controversial social issues. Investigators have expressed concern about Russian links to the NRA, one of the most politically polarizing organizations in the U.S.

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Trump’s damn fool idea to arm teachers is no solution

On Wednesday, President Trump hosted a listening session with school shooting survivors and families of victims at the White House. Rather than announce his support for legislative solutions already pending before Congress for quick action, the answer to unprecedented gun violence in our schools that he has settled upon is, you guessed it, the NRA’s position – even more guns in our schools!— let’s arm 20 percent of our teachers and make them part-time police officers authorized to use deadly force, an extra job that no one has suggested they be paid for!

Today, Trump doubled down on arming some teachers, defends NRA:

President Trump on Thursday doubled down on his idea of arming some teachers as a deterrent for school shootings and praised the top leadership of the National Rifle Association as “Great American Patriots.”

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This is a damn fool idea. The best explanation I have seen, so far, as to why this is so obviously a damn fool idea is from Lawrence O’Donnell in this segment of his The Last Word program on Wednesday evening. Lawrence: Why arming teachers is a fantasy war game (you may have to click on the video’s sound bar to get audio). UPDATE: Trump vowed during the 2016 campaign to end “gun free zones” at schools.

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I cannot explain it any more clearly and succinctly than Lawrence O’Donnell does. Why can’t we have this kind of sound, informed, reasoned and rational analysis from our elected leaders? Instead of ridiculous bumper sticker slogans like “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun“? Because they are beholden to special interests like the gun lobby for their campaign financing.

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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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