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Joe Biden: White House eying 19 executive actions on guns

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Postby blackvault » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:36 am

Politico wrote:By REID J. EPSTEIN | 1/14/13 6:49 PM EST Updated: 1/15/13 9:46 AM EST

The White House has identified 19 executive actions for President Barack Obama to move unilaterally on gun control, Vice President Joe Biden told a group of House Democrats on Monday, the administration’s first definitive statements about its response to last month’s mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Later this week, Obama will formally announce his proposals to reduce gun violence, which are expected to include renewal of the assault weapons ban, universal background checks and prohibition of high-capacity magazine clips. But Biden, who has been leading Obama’s task force on the response, spent two hours briefing a small group of sympathetic House Democrats on the road ahead in the latest White House outreach to invested groups.

The focus on executive orders is the result of the White House and other Democrats acknowledging the political difficulty of enacting any new gun legislation, a topic Biden did not address in Monday’s meeting.

The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said.

“It was all focusing on enforcing existing law, administering things like improving the background database, things like that that do not involve a change in the law but enforcing and making sure that the present law is administered as well as possible,” said Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.).

The White House declined to comment on the details of what Obama will propose.

But Biden did indicate that the remains of the Obama campaign apparatus may be activated in the effort.

“He said that this has been a real focus on the policy and that the politics of this issue, that a strategy on the politics of the issue hasn’t been undertaken yet,” Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) told POLITICO. “He did remind us that the campaign infrastructure is still accessible.”

Biden did not address two of the more significant issues in the gun debate: the appointment of a permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the role violent images in the entertainment industry play in the nation’s gun violence.

Obama touched on his expected legislative guns agenda at his own news conference in the East Room on Monday, while stressing the power he has via executive order.

“How we are gathering data, for example, on guns that fall into the hands of criminals, and how we track that more effectively — there may be some steps that we can take administratively as opposed through legislation,” Obama said.

Even Democrats who back gun control concede that reinstating an assault weapons ban — the 1994 law expired in 2004 — will be a heavy lift for the White House. During his meeting with gun-rights groups last week, Biden mentioned only an assault weapons ban when telling the NRA and other organizations that Obama has “made up his mind” to support it.

“I think everybody acknowledges that the assault weapons ban is a challenge, but other things — like the size of the magazines, the background checks, straw purchases — are all things that have a good chance of passing,” Scott said.

Speier said she told Biden the White House should do as much as it can on its own.

“I urged him to do as much by executive order as possible,” she said. “Frankly, I don’t have a lot of confidence that this Congress is going to do anything significant.”

And Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Democrats’ Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said the magazine ban and universal background checks would be far more effective than an assault weapons ban without the political cost.

“Probably the most recognizable thing you can say in this debate is ban assault weapons,” Thompson said. “But the other two issues” — forbidding high-capacity ammunition magazines and requiring universal background checks for gun purchases — “those two things have more impact on making our neighborhoods safe than everything else combined. Anytime you try and prohibit what kind of gun people has it generates some concern.”

Biden’s personal gun violence outreach now includes the families of the 26 victims of the Dec. 14 school massacre in Newtown, Conn. Biden told the Monday meeting that he’s been reaching out to the families. A White House official confirmed the vice president has been in touch directly with some of the families.

“The vice president mentioned that he has called every one of the families that has lost children in Connecticut, and that the conversations have lasted no less than 45 minutes,” Speier said.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article misidentified one of the gun violence reduction measures supported by Rep. Thompson.

Source: ... ml?hp=t1_3
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Postby En-Lugal » Tue Jan 15, 2013 4:45 pm

So basically, the Left are going to stand on the graves of those children like Piers Morgan does and convict legal gun owning Americans in the court of public opinion. That way, if you object, you're just as guilty of those murders as the gunman. That's always the Left's narrative when they want legislation passed that meets resistance. :roll:
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Postby at1with0 » Tue Jan 15, 2013 8:20 pm

Something I think is lacking is whether or not the proposed legislation would have stopped that massacre.
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Postby En-Lugal » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:01 pm

It's done wonders for Chicago, even Newt Gingrich pointed that out. :lol:
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Postby Wing-Zero » Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:21 pm

at1with0 wrote:Something I think is lacking is whether or not the proposed legislation would have stopped that massacre.

We had a magazine size limit (ten rounds) in the "Assault Weapons Ban" of 1994. That didn't stop the kids in Columbine then, I doubt that it would've stopped the guy in CT.
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Postby rath » Wed Jan 16, 2013 12:12 am

It's good to see the likes of John Howard & Philip Alpers have not gone unheard in Washington. ... ain%2Cnrhl

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Postby rath » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:05 am

Australians Urge U.S. To Look At Their Gun Laws

After a 1996 mass killing, Australia tightened its gun laws. Here, graffiti covers the wall of the hospital holding the suspect of the massacre that left 35 people dead. Enlarge image

After a 1996 mass killing, Australia tightened its gun laws. Here, graffiti covers the wall of the hospital holding the suspect of the massacre that left 35 people dead.

As the U.S. wages a debate on its gun laws, some Australians are urging Americans to consider their experience.

For Australia, the turning point came on April 28, 1996, when a lone gunman opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle in Port Arthur, a popular tourist destination in the state of Tasmania.

Cathy Gordon was there that day, escorting six visiting musicians as part of her job with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra. They were leaving a cafe just as the shooter, Martin Bryant, pulled out an AR-15 assault rifle.

"As soon as I came out and rejoined the group, it was just like boom, boom, boom, boom ... and I just thought, 'Oh, we're in a lot of trouble here,'" she recalled.

Just minutes later, Gordon had another close call as she tried to shepherd her group to safety.

"I could see a lady with 2 children on the road. And this yellow car drove up the road and I thought, 'Oh good, whoever's driving up will pick them up,'" she said. "Martin Bryant got out, looked at them, looked across at me, shot at me, missed, and then proceeded to kill Nanette Mikac and her two children."

Thirty-five people died and another 23 were wounded in the killing spree that became known as the Port Arthur massacre, Australia's worst mass shooting.

Conservative Prime Minister Advocates Gun Control

In its wake, the country's newly elected, and staunchly conservative prime minister, John Howard, championed sweeping changes to the country's gun laws.

"I think if anything, it helped that John Howard was a conservative prime minister," says Dr. Erin O'brien, a professor of criminology at the Queensland University of Technology. "It really showed that there was bipartisan support for this."

O'Brien says the massacre had a galvanizing effect on the public's attitudes toward guns, with polls showing up to 90 percent in favor of some type of new restriction.

"One of the reforms that was introduced was to say that people needed to demonstrate a justifiable need to have a weapon," O'Brien says. "And the need, in Australia, means that you are a farmer who needs to use a rifle or a shotgun to control animal populations. Or you're a sport shooter. It's never been seen as a justifiable need to own a handgun to protect yourself from home invasion."

Strict Rules

The new laws prohibited all automatic and semi-automatic weapons, and imposed strict licensing rules. Even paintball guns need a permit. There are also background checks and lengthy waiting periods for all purchases.

Tim Fischer was deputy prime minister at the time and head of the country's conservative National Party. He was given the task of selling the plan to his rural, pro-gun constituents.

"There was no doubt it was going to be a very rough road to hoe," he said. "But, at the end of the day, I could see that Australia could drain the suburbs of semi-automatics and automatics."

Fischer says he sees no contradiction with being both conservative and in favor of strict gun ownership laws.

"We too value freedom. But that's not the freedom to own machine guns in the main streets of the U.S. of A.," he says. "The facts are you are 15 times more likely to be shot dead per capita in the U.S.A. than here in Australia."

At the heart of the reform was a gun buy-back program. More than 600,000 newly prohibited weapons, around a fifth of all firearms in Australia, were destroyed at a cost of nearly half-a-billion dollars.

Roland Browne of Gun Control Australia says it's an example the U.S. can follow.

"It doesn't really matter to what extent you might recognize or even support rights to own firearms," he says. "Our governments have the pre-eminent responsibility of ensuring public safety."

Australia's leading gun owners groups declined to be interviewed for this story.

But privately, they acknowledge there was little they could do to stop the new legislation and now that it's the law of the land, they're willing to live with it.

Gun violence hasn't been completely eliminated in Australia. But gun-control advocates are quick to point out that there hasn't been a single mass shooting in the 16 years since the laws came into effect.
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Postby rath » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:15 am

It's now or never for US on guns, says John Howard

THERE is no better time for US President Barack Obama to tackle the red-hot issue of gun control, according to Australia's former prime minister John Howard.

"It will be difficult but it can be done," said Mr Howard, who banned rapid-fire rifles and shotguns in Australia after the 1996 Port Arthur massacre, in which 35 people were murdered.

Mr Obama yesterday directed his cabinet to formulate gun control proposals, including a possible ban on military assault rifles. Gun control will be a test of his presidency, said Mr Howard, and if he is successful it will become his legacy. As a newly elected president he is in the optimum position.

Mr Howard said the National Firearms Agreement was one of his proudest achievements. But he also has acknowledged the "huge cultural divide" between the US and Australia on the "free availability of firearms".

The initial hostility to his gun laws was so strong he wore a bulletproof vest under his suit to face a crowd in Victoria in 1996.

Earlier this year he said: "Port Arthur was such a horrific thing I felt instinctively I had to do something about it and I used the authority of a newly-elected PM.

"I felt if I didn't take the opportunity we'd be headed down the American path and I was determined that it wouldn't happen."
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Postby rath » Wed Jan 16, 2013 1:44 am

Brothers in arms, yes, but the US needs to get rid of its guns

Australia was right to take a different path to the US and opt for gun control.

By John Howard

EARLY in 2008 Janette and I were guests of the former president, George H. W. Bush or ''41'', as he is affectionately known, at his Presidential Library in College Station, Texas. I spoke to a warm and friendly audience of more than 300 who enthusiastically reacted until, in answer to a request to nominate the proudest actions of the Australian government I had led for almost 12 years, I included the national gun control laws enacted after the Port Arthur massacre in April 1996.

Having applauded my references to the liberation of East Timor, leaving Australia debt free, presiding over a large reduction in unemployment and standing beside the US in the global fight against terrorism, there was an audible gasp of amazement at my expressing pride in what Australia had done to limit the use of guns.

I had been given a sharp reminder that, despite the many things we have in common with our American friends, there is a huge cultural divide when it comes to the free availability of firearms.

Just under two weeks ago, my wife and I were in Dallas, Texas, when the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, took place. The responses of President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, his presumed Republican opponent, were as predictable as they were disappointing. While expressing sorrow at such a loss of life, both quickly said that they supported the Second Amendment to the US constitution: long regarded as providing an extensive right for Americans to bear arms.

The Second Amendment, crafted in the immediate post-revolutionary years, is more than 200 years old and was designed to protect the right of local communities to raise and maintain militia for use against external threats (including the newly formed national government!). It bears no relationship at all to the circumstances of everyday life in America today. Yet there is a near religious fervour about protecting the right of Americans to have their guns - and plenty of them.

In this respect it is worth noting that the local police claim that James Holmes, the man now formally charged over the Aurora shootings, had in his possession an AR15 assault rifle (similar to one used by Martin Bryant at Port Arthur), a shotgun and two Glock handguns and 6000 rounds of ammunition. All had been legally obtained.

Obama and Romney are both highly intelligent, decent men who care deeply about the safety of Americans. Yet such is the strength of the pro-gun culture in their country that neither felt able to use the Aurora tragedy as a reason to start a serious debate on gun control.

There is more to this than merely the lobbying strength of the National Rifle Association and the proximity of the November presidential election. It is hard to believe that their reaction would have been any different if the murders in Aurora had taken place immediately after the election of either Obama or Romney. So deeply embedded is the gun culture of the US, that millions of law-abiding, Americans truly believe that it is safer to own a gun, based on the chilling logic that because there are so many guns in circulation, one's own weapon is needed for self-protection. To put it another way, the situation is so far gone there can be no turning back.

The murder rate in the US is roughly four times that in each of Australia, New Zealand, and Britain. Even the most diehard supporter of guns must concede that America's lax firearms laws are a major part of the explanation for such a disparity.

On April 28, 1996, Bryant, using two weapons, killed 35 people in Tasmania. It was, at that time, the largest number of people who had died in a single series of incidents at the hands of one person.

The national gun control laws delivered by the Howard government, following this tragedy received bipartisan support. They, nonetheless, caused internal difficulties for some of my then National Party colleagues. Tim Fischer and John Anderson, then leader and deputy leader of the National Party federally, as well as Rob Borbidge, then National Party premier of Queensland, courageously faced down opponents in their own ranks to support a measure they knew to be in the national interest. Many believed, in the months that followed, that hostility towards these gun laws played a role in the emergence of Pauline Hanson's One Nation cause.

These national gun laws have proven beneficial. Research published in 2010 in the American Journal of Law and Economics found that firearm homicides, in Australia, dropped 59 per cent between 1995 and 2006. There was no offsetting increase in non-firearm-related murders. Researchers at Harvard University in 2011 revealed that in the 18 years prior to the 1996 Australian laws, there were 13 gun massacres (four or more fatalities) in Australia, resulting in 102 deaths. There have been none in that category since the Port Arthur laws.

A key component of the 1996 measure, which banned the sale, importation and possession of all automatic and semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, was a national buy-back scheme involving the compulsory forfeiture of newly illegal weapons. Between 1996 and 1998 more than 700,000 guns were removed and destroyed. This was one-fifth of Australia's estimated stock of firearms. The equivalent in the US would have been 40 million guns. Australia's action remains one of the largest destructions of civilian firearms.

Australia is a safer country as a result of what was done in 1996. It will be the continuing responsibility of current and future federal and state governments to ensure the effectiveness of those anti-gun laws is never weakened. The US is a country for which I have much affection. There are many American traits which we Australians could well emulate to our great benefit. But when it comes to guns we have been right to take a radically different path.

John Howard was prime minister from 1996 to 2007.
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Postby Kybasser » Wed Jan 16, 2013 9:48 am

Hey, Wasn't Australia started as a penal colony? I am sure the indigenous peoples were all treated fairly when all the prisoners were moved there, and I am sure this is why Australia needs gun control. Here in the U.S. of A., as the Aussies put it, find the areas that have the most gun violence, Chicago, NY, and Washington DC, and you find the metro areas that have the most restrictive gun laws. Add to that the fact that Norway has some of the very most restrictive gun laws, and explain how they stopped the guy who killed all those kids on that island?

Look at Sweden, they have very little gun violence. They have a law that states every man, maybe every person, over 18 must own a gun and be instructed on its use. So, why is that important? Consider the guy who went into the Oregon mall a few months ago. It was supposed to be a gun free zone, the places where the most horrific killings always take place. he pulled out his weapon, despite the law saying he wasn't allowed to have it, killed two people then he killed himself. Why did he kill himself? Because he saw a guy who had a concealed carry permit pull his weapon out. The shooter got scared and killed himself. So in essence, that one guy having a gun stopped what was very potentially a much more horrific incident.

Consider the lady in Atlanta that recently saved herself and her children when a home invader broke into her home. She called 911, but the cops could not get there quickly enough. She locked her bedroom door, then what I think was her bathroom door, trying to keep the guy from her children. But he broke through those locks, and she shot him three times. He escaped, but only a little way down the street where police arrested him and took him to the hospital.

Our liberal press do not publicize this side of the gun control discussion, or in the case of Obama his monarchy of actions. But that is a little understandable, you see, when a person uses a weapon to stop a mass killing, it generally ends with only one person getting killed. That is not as sensational as a story about a lot of people getting killed, and let's face it, the news has become about two things... making money and pushing a liberal agenda.

If we want to curb violence, all violence, then we should try to return to a more puritan lifestyle. Impose restrictions on people, make them go to church, impose the religious lifestyle, and make sure that religion does not teach violence. We need to return to the life of the "golden rule" we need to control people the way religions try to do, and we need the gov't in turn to push that religious effort.

Of course that is all illegal isn't it? I'm not religious at all, but I am very spiritual. I don't want to see us return to that time, like it was in early America with little religious enclaves and I definitely don't want to see Christianity return to its violent past, like the Christian Crusades, or like the extremist Islamist are doing now.

The point is, it is not the gun laws that need to be added, but the culture that needs changing. Hey, why don't we all mimic hollywood? We can create our own "Gangster Squad" and we can create a vigilante group of citizens armed to the teeth to go out and exact vengeance and justice on those we deem to be criminals? That should stop some of the crime, right? Or, how about we just embrace the movies like "natural born killers", "pulp fiction" and other insanely violent movies? Oh that's right, even though violence has increased as the rise of these movies, and the rise of the violent video games (gave no examples because I don't play video games-but the NRA pointed out there is an online video gamed called "killing kindergartners" that has been out there for 10 yrs), but that doesn't matter. Instead, let's punish the Americans who obey the law. After all, only law abiding citizens will turn in weapons or not buy black market assault rifles. The criminals will keep right on buying them, after all, they already have proven they don't care if they break the laws.

Now I agree that there are measures that should be taken, like closing the gun show loophole, and adding mental health screening.... but where to we draw the line on that? It is those diagnosed with depression? They can get better, or do we draw the line at sociopaths and psychopaths? Someone much smarter than I must make that decision.

This all boils down to one thing... our culture. We must change our culture. We have a lot of gun laws, some are enforced, while many are not... just look at the DOJ that let a lot of illegal guns get lost into Mexico, and at least one was used to kill an American border agent. I don't see the liberal left crying FOUL on that? If anything, they tried to shield Obama and Holder from any responsibilities. Back to changing the culture, we have got to quit making it cool to kill people and instead make it "uncool" to kill people, but then Hollywood may have a hard time selling their movies and video game manufacturers may lose some money too. Can't have those who support the liberal left losing money... just conservatives ... right?
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