As former vice president Joe Biden prepares to launch his 2020 presidential campaign on Thursday, his long public record working for gun control has been consistently in line with the values of today’s Democratic Party, but potential political danger lurks for him even on this issue, NBC News reported on Wednesday.
As a Delaware senator and ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Biden voted in favor of the Firearm Owners Protection Act in 1986, which the NRA has called “the law that saved gun rights.”
Reflecting a vastly different era decades ago, when compromise was common in the Senate and guns were less of a partisan and emotional issue, the act passed by a wide margin.
It overturned six Supreme Court rulings and various regulations, leaving a legacy as one of the most important gun laws of the past century and a major political boost for the growing gun rights movement.
The act allowed dealers to sell rifles, shotguns and ammunition through the mail and limited federal inspections of firearms dealers while allowing them to sell at gun shows.
Biden praised it at the time as a “balanced piece of legislation that protects the rights of private gun owners while not infringing on law enforcement’s ability to deal with those who misuse guns or violate laws,” adding that “I have never believed that additional gun control or Federal registration of guns would reduce crime.”
Biden spokesman Bill Russo said “Cherry-picking an out of context quote from 1986 doesn’t even begin to address Joe Biden’s unparalleled record on gun safety. Let’s be clear on the facts: Joe Biden took on the NRA and won – twice.”
Source: NewsMax Politics
U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton is the latest Democrat to jump in the race for the White House.
The Massachusetts lawmaker and Iraq War veteran made the announcement on his website Monday.
Moulton first came to prominence in 2014 when he unseated long-term incumbent Rep. John Tierney in a Democrat primary and went on to represent the state’s 6th Congressional District, a swath of communities north of Boston including Salem, home of the infamous colonial-era witch trials.
Speculation about a possible Moulton run has been simmering as far back as 2017 when he spoke at a Democrat political rally in Iowa, home of the first-the-the-nation presidential caucuses. At the time he brushed aside talk of a presidential run.
Talk of possible run ramped up during last year’s election when the former U.S. Marine helped lead an effort to get other Democrat military veterans to run for Congress — a cause he continues to push.
“16 years ago today, leaders in Washington sent me and my friends to fight in a war based on lies. It’s still going on today,” Moulton said in a recent tweet. “It’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq to take over for the generation that sent us there.”
The 40-year-old Moulton also gained national attention for helping lead an effort within the party to reject Nancy Pelosi as House speaker after Democrats regained control of the chamber. Moulton said it was time for new leadership.
Moulton has also been a frequent critic of President Donald Trump — from foreign policy, including Trump’s recent veto of a resolution to end U.S. military assistance in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, to his push for a wall at the southern border.
And when Trump claimed to be the target of the “single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history,” Moulton responded that “as the Representative of Salem, MA, I can confirm that this is false.”
Despite occasionally differing with some on the most liberal wing of the party, Moulton has staked out familiar policy positions for those seeking the Democrat presidential nomination.
He’s called health care “a right every American must be guaranteed,” pushed to toughen gun laws, was a co-sponsor of the Green New Deal, has championed a federal “Green Corps” modeled after the Civilian Conservation Corps of the 1930s, and has called for an end to the Electoral College.
Money could prove a challenge to Moulton, who has raised $255,000 so far this year and had about $723,000 in his campaign account as of the end of March.
Moulton is now the third political figure from Massachusetts to take a stab at a White House run. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren — a Democrat — and former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld — a Republican — are also running.
Source: NewsMax Politics
U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
April 22, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran and Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, entered the 2020 presidential nomination contest on Monday, swelling the ranks of declared contenders to almost 20, according to an NBC news report.
He enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some of his opponents who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.
But Moulton, 40, has already built a political career driven by challenging the party’s establishment.
First elected to Congress in 2014, he won the seat after mounting a primary challenge against John Tierney, a fellow Democrat who had held the seat for 18 years.
After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton led an unsuccessful effort to remove Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader in the chamber.
“Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people,” Moulton said in a statement announcing the end of his opposition to Pelosi.
Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.
He also has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.
Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.
He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.
(For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC)
(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., revealed Thursday she is a gun owner – but said she still wants stricter gun laws.
“I am a gun owner – and I own a gun for probably the reason that a lot of people do, for personal safety,” the 2020 presidential primary contender told reporters in Iowa, the New York Post reported. “I was a former prosecutor.”
A Harris campaign aide said the weapon she owns is a handgun, which she keeps locked up, CNN reported. The aide told the news outlet that Harris bought the gun years ago.
Harris discussed her gun history after meeting supporters at a house party in Des Moines — including members of Moms Demand Action For Gun Sense in America, the grassroots movement that is part of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun control advocacy group in the country, CNN reported.
“For too long, and still today, we are being offered a false choice which suggests you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s gun away,” Harris said, attributing the problem to a “lack of courage” from leaders.
Harris called gun violence a “clear problem in our country” and pushed for “smart gun safety laws — which include universal background checks and a renewal of the assault weapons ban. Period,” she said, the Post reported.
At a January CNN town hall, shortly after declaring her candidacy, Harris said Congress would have acted after 20 children and six adults were murdered Dec. 14, 2012, at Newtown’s Sandy Hook Elementary School if lawmakers had been placed in a locked room without press and required to examine “the autopsy photographs of those babies,” CNN reported.
“And then you can vote your conscience. This has become a political issue,” she said.
Source: NewsMax America
FILE PHOTO: An AR-15 semi-automatic rifle is seen in the garage of a home outside Christchurch, New Zealand, March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo
April 11, 2019
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union’s top court should dismiss a Czech challenge to tighter EU controls on firearms introduced after the 2015 Paris attacks, the court’s legal adviser said on Thursday.
The Czech Republic maintains that the tougher European Commission rules, which make it harder for EU citizens to obtain semi-automatic rifles, were unduly restrictive for law-abiding gun-owners such as hunters.
It also says the Commission rules encroached on crime prevention policy, a matter for the national governments of EU member states.
“The court should dismiss the Czech Republic’s action in its entirety,” Advocate General Eleanor Sharpston said in a statement.
She said the EU directive mainly concerned the free movement of firearms and that this had an impact on crime prevention, but did not harmonize national crime prevention policies.
She added that the Commission did look into the impact of its planned rules and that its actions, notably reclassifying certain firearms as prohibited goods, were in line with the principle of proportionality.
Judges at the European Court of Justice follow the advice of their advocate generals in the majority of cases although they are not bound to do so. The ECJ generally issues rulings within 2-4 months of an advocate general’s opinion.
In 2017, the EU toughened laws against purchasing certain semi-automatic rifles like those used by Islamic State militants in the Paris attacks, and also made it easier to track weapons in national databases.
The Czech Republic filed a lawsuit arguing that the directive would just shift weapons to the black market and do nothing to increase security in the country, where hunting is a popular pastime and gun attacks are rare.
After 50 people were killed in a shooting at a New Zealand mosque on March 15, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern banned the sale of all military-style, semi-automatic and assault rifles. The New Zealand parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday for tough new firearms laws.
(This story has been refiled to fix typo to “for” in last paragraph)
(Reporting by Clare Roth; Editing by Philip Blenkinsop and Mark Heinrich)
FILE PHOTO: Firearms and accessories are displayed at Gun City gunshop in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo
April 11, 2019
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – New Zealand police expect tens of thousands of firearms to be surrendered in a guns buy-back scheme after parliament passed tough new firearm laws in the wake of the country’s worst peacetime mass shooting.
Lawmakers in New Zealand voted almost unanimously on Wednesday to change gun laws, less than a month after a lone gunman killed 50 people in attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.
The new legislation bars the circulation and use of most semi-automatic firearms, parts that convert firearms into semi-automatic firearms, magazines over a certain capacity, and some shotguns. This includes the gun used by the suspect in the Christchurch shooting.
It granted an amnesty until Sept. 30 for people to surrender prohibited items. More than 300 weapons had already been handed in, police minister Stuart Nash told parliament.
Police Deputy Police Commissioner Michael Clement told a news conference on Thursday that they are not sure how many guns they would receive as New Zealand has no law requiring people to register firearms.
“Its a great unknown question…everybody appreciates that there is no register of firearms with regards to the type of firearms we are talking about,” Clement said.
“So It could be in the tens of thousands, it could be more,” he added.
There are about 1.2-1.5 million firearms in New Zealand, according to gunpolicy.org. Of these, the government has said that a record of licenses show 13,500 firearms are military style semi-automatics (MSSAs). But the number could be higher.
Clement said details are being worked out of the gun buy-back scheme and he urged gun owners in possession of the prohibited firearms to register online.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has estimated that the gun buy-backs would cost the government between NZ$100-200 million but other government ministers have warned that the costs could be higher depending on how many guns are handed to the police.
Authorities have charged Australian Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, with 50 counts of murder following the Christchurch attacks on March 15.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Michael Perry)
Flowers and a New Zealand national flag are seen at a memorial as tributes to victims of the mosque attacks near Linwood mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, March 16, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
April 10, 2019
WELLINGTON (Reuters) – All but one member of New Zealand’s parliament voted on Wednesday to change gun laws, less than a month after deadly shooting attacks on two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people.
The gun reform bill, which passed 119-1 after its final reading in parliament, must now receive royal assent from the governor general before it becomes law.
Brenton Tarrant, 28, a suspected white supremacist, was charged with 50 murder charges after the attack on two mosques on March 15.
(Reporting by Praveen Menon; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)
A flower tribute is seen outside Al Noor mosque where more than 40 people were killed by a suspected white supremacist during Friday prayers on March 15, in Christchurch, New Zealand March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Edgar Su
April 8, 2019
By Edgar Su and Charlotte Greenfield
CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand (Reuters) – On a small farm on the outskirts of Christchurch in New Zealand, Omar Nabi digs a small hole and sharpens a knife as he prepares to slaughter a sheep as a blessing to his father – a victim of the mass killings at the Al Noor mosque.
Hunched between his father’s collection of rusted cars, Nabi softly said a prayer and slit the animal’s neck, facing it towards Mecca. He removed the pelt and prepared the meat for cooking. Blood was pooled in a hole where he plans to plant a tree. No part of the animal was wasted, he said.
Nabi first slaughtered a sheep when he was 11, each step supervised by his father. Nabi is now 43.
“My father was my whole life… I give thanks for my father, he’s done a lot,” he said. His father, Haji Daoud Nabi, had hoped to build a small mosque on the property, a plan his son intends to complete. “This means a lot to me, Dad put a piece of heaven in Christchurch.”
Several weeks after an attack on Muslim worshippers that killed fifty people and left dozens wounded, the lives of survivors and the families of victims have changed irrevocably. Some survivors feel emboldened, others are haunted by memories of the attack and haven’t been able to return to the mosque.
Burying loved ones brought relief to many families, but reminders of their losses are never far away, from an empty seat at a dinner table to the prospect of Ramadan celebrations in a few weeks.
The shootings on March 15 shook New Zealand and prompted the government to tighten gun laws and launch a powerful national inquiry into the country’s worst peacetime massacre. An Australian man, a suspected white supremacist, has been charged with 50 murders and 39 attempted murders.
(For a photo essay of survivors of the attack and victim’s families, please click this link: https://reut.rs/2WSIG1M)
Survivor Mark Rangi, 59, feels his future is in limbo following wounds to both legs. The New Zealander, who lives in Sydney, had never been to Al Noor Mosque before the attack.
After visiting relatives in a nearby town, he had attended the mosque before his return flight to Sydney so he could seek spiritual guidance on the direction of his life.
Instead, he ended up running for his life, bleeding heavily from shrapnel wounds in his legs. After surgery, he is able to walk slowly but Rangi is doubtful he can return to work as a baggage handler in Sydney.
“I wouldn’t have a clue (what to do now). I want to be independent,” he said from a youth hostel where he is staying, overlooking piles of flowers placed in a makeshift memorial. “I’m very lucky that I didn’t get injured worse, so I’m grateful for that.”
In a one-storey house a short drive from Al Noor mosque, Zahra Fathy turned pages in a photo album compiled by her husband Hussein Moustafa, who died in the massacre. As part of the customary four-month and 10 day-mourning period, she wears simple, unadorned clothing and spends most of her time at home.
“It’s hard to stay thinking about what happened, so I have to escape this and think about what’s next,” she said.
Her husband had spent time at the mosque on most days, organizing its library of religious texts and tending to a vegetable garden, which provided the community with pumpkins, rocket and broccoli.
She is now considering visiting her extended family in Alexandria, Egypt, where she and her husband both grew up, for Ramadan.
“Being all on your own during Ramadan is tough,” said her son, Mohammed, who flew home from a new job in Saudi Arabia on learning of his father’s death.
After some trepidation, Mohammed worshipped last Friday at the Al Noor mosque for the first time since his father’s death.
“I’m praying in the same area, the same corner that my dad used to pray. I wanted to do that,” he said. “It was a bit emotional at first, I got a few tears, it was quite tough. I kept imagining him next to me, I kept looking around, looking for the bullet holes.”
Before Ramadan, Zahra and her family plan to mark the graduation of her youngest son, Zeyad, 22, who also returned to Christchurch from a new job, in Canberra. “He was very, very proud of you,” Zahra told her son.
The family had an active WhatsApp messaging group to stay in touch. Zeyad had shared a recent trip to Europe, where his father had also traveled as a young man, and to Egypt. His father had provided long history lessons on the places Zeyad visited and was overjoyed his son was meeting his Egyptian relatives. Now, the WhatsApp group is not so active.
“It feels like something’s missing… It’s hard to explain, I think it just feels weird if we use it,” Zeyad said.
SENSE OF MISSION
In a sleepy Christchurch suburb where he owns a homeopathy business, Farid Ahmed has worked to bring his community and his country together. Farid, a wheelchair user, survived the shooting but his wife Husna was killed.
He spent one recent Sunday going door-to-door to thank his neighbors for their support.
When his neighbors heard of his wife’s death, “they came running… they were in tears,” he said. “That was wonderful support and expression of love.”
His message of forgiveness and peace to avoid “a heart that is boiling like a volcano” has made headlines around the world and was broadcast in a heartfelt speech at a national memorial service.
“I admire him. I couldn’t do that,” said a neighbor, a Christian who lives four doors down. “We’ve learnt a lot about Islam over the last few days… (it’s) crazy how similar our two faiths are.”
Across the city, survivor Sardar Faisal has thrown himself with vigor into helping co-ordinate dozens of volunteers who prepare meals and run errands for the widows of victims of the attack. As a result, he realized he was not spending much time with his own wife and young children.
“Maybe it’s survivor’s guilt, maybe it’s empathy because whenever I visit the affected families, the only thing I think about is that when I was in that area, they were being shot, the bullets that I heard,” he said over tea at a friend’s house.
On the day of the shootings, Faisal was late to the mosque, an uncharacteristic trait that possibly spared his life. When the gunman burst in and started shooting worshippers at prayer, Faisal was in the bathroom, just about to wash in preparation for prayer and so was able to hide from the gunman.
What he saw and heard that day haunts him, he said. He struggles to focus at work and suffers nightmares as deadly scenarios, almost like a video game, run on repeat through his sleep.
Alongside sorrow and pain, others feel the close call has reinvigorated their lives.
“It gave me courage,” said Hazem Mohammed, originally from Baghdad, who played dead in Al Noor mosque as the gunman stood over him, wounded and surrounded by the bodies of fellow worshippers.
“I cry for two reasons. The first half because I lost friends, they are gone,” he said. “And the other tears… these tears are for joy, because I was reborn again on Friday the 15th of March 2019.”
(Reporting by Charlotte Greenfield and Edgar Su in Christchurch; additional reporting by Jill Gralow, Natasha Howitt and Tom Westbrook; Editing by Neil Fullick)
Legislation lowering from 21 to 18 the age limit for carrying a concealed handgun within city limits in Idaho without a permit or training has been signed into law by Republican Gov. Brad Little.
Little signed the law Tuesday backers say is needed to align gun laws in urban areas with rural areas where those 18 and older can already carry a concealed handgun.
Backers say the change will protect law-abiding citizens from accidentally breaking the law when they travel across a county and enter city limits.
Opponents say there’s a big difference between rural Idaho and urban Idaho and not allowing persons age 18 to 20 to carry a concealed handgun is reasonable to prevent accidental shootings and shootings resulting from altercations.
Source: NewsMax America
Noel Womersley, from Canterbury Homekill butchery, lies down to shoot a cow with his Tikka T3 rifle before butchering it outside Christchurch, New Zealand March 27, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
April 3, 2019
By Jorge Silva
CHRISTCHURCH (Reuters) – The pre-dawn quiet of New Zealand’s South Island is shattered by the crack of a bullet from Noel Womersley’s Finnish Tikka T3 rifle, followed by the shot thudding into the skull of a cow he is targeting, one of three.
For 14 years Womersley has worked at “home kill,” shooting beasts for small farmers and cutting them up, but tough new gun laws to be adopted after the nation’s worst mass murder by a lone gunman will require him to surrender another of his guns.
“Guns are a way of life for me, really,” says Womersley, 48, who received his first firearm, a .22-calibre rifle, for his 12th birthday, and now hunts with his 15-year-old daughter.
“It’s pretty much what I live and breathe. I (shoot) on the weekends for fun and then I do it during the week for a job.”
As the first beast slumps, he rapidly draws back and pushes forward his riflebolt, firing again and then a third time. In seconds, three cattle are dead on the damp ground. He gathers his knives and begins to cut them up.
“I shoot animals, I don’t shoot targets. I shoot food,” says Womersley.
Wearing black overalls and gumboots for protection against the gore, he pushes the cattle on their sides, removes heads and hide and uses a hoist to load the carcasses on his refrigerated truck.
Womersley was on a similar job in the hinterland beyond Christchurch on March 15, when a man in combat gear entered the city’s Al Noor mosque, and then another, and turned his high-powered military-style weapons on unarmed worshippers.
“I didn’t really comprehend it was real. I thought it was like a movie, or something that’s happened overseas,” Womersley says, adding that he had been shocked to discover after work what had unfolded just a few kilometers away.
Fifty people were killed and scores wounded, prompting an outpouring of support for the nation’s bereaved Muslim community, and a swift crackdown on guns.
The semi-automatics used in the attack will be banned, with exemptions for working hunters, and tougher licensing rules are on the drawing board.
A wide swathe of New Zealand’s quarter-million gun owners, who account for about 1.5 million weapons, say they accept there must be change after the tragedy.
“I think the gun laws were too slack…the laws gave this bad man a gun,” says Womersley, who owns eight or nine guns, stored in a safe in the garage of a home decorated with game heads. “He ruined it for everyone. Not everyone is like that.”As part of a new national firearm buyback scheme, he expects to hand in one military-style AR-15 assault rifle, a type of weapon used in the Christchurch massacre.
“I don’t think we need military-style weapons in our society. I definitely don’t need them in my job,” he says. “It’s like driving around in a Ferrari, you don’t need it.”
(Reporting by Jorge Silva in Christchurch; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)