Gun Stories of the Week: ​Christie Pardons Victim of New Jersey’s Draconian Gun Laws

TOP STORY
Study: ‘Salient’ shootings could spur attitude change, new era of gun control

Americans tell pollsters they don't want more gun control, but if mass shootings become more “salient,” they could foster “a re-examination” of laws and regulations that could usher in a new age of gun control, a University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business study predicts.

In "Traders, Guns, and Money," Anand Gopal, an associate professor at the Smith School, and Brad N. Greenwood, an assistant professor at Temple University's Fox School of Business, acknowledge that surveys show little change in American attitudes toward gun control after mass shootings and gun sales are going up. In fact, 2013, was a record year for the number of guns manufactured and background checks conducted.

But an examination of publicly traded firearms manufacturers’ performance in the stock market may tell a different tale, they say, because investors appear skeptical of the long-term prospects of the gun industry's business model, despite the recent trend of record sales.

According to Gopal and Greenwood, if investors believe that society will eventually enforce stricter gun rules, then that belief will surface in the value of publicly traded firearms manufacturers’ stocks. “Our analysis appears to be picking up some of these dynamics,” they write.

Gopal and Greenwood examined the performance of two prominent publicly traded gunmakers after 93 mass shootings involving at least four victims, from January 2009 to September 2013. They found that the two companies’ stock declined at every interval they measured following shootings: at two days, five days, 10 days and 30 days.

If mass shootings become more “salient”—prominently noticeable in media reports–they could foster a change in attitudes that current firearm laws and regulations are “unsustainable,” they write.

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POLITICS
Christie pardons victim of New Jersey's draconian gun laws

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on April 16 formally pardoned a Philadelphia woman who was facing gun charges and a prison sentence after she was arrested in a 2013 traffic stop after telling a state trooper she had a handgun and a concealed-carry permit.

New Jersey does not recognize Pennsylvania concealed carry permits–or any other state’s, for that matter—and Shaneen Allen, a single mother from Philadelphia, was arrested and charged under the state’s strict draconian gun laws.

Christie’s decision, announced Thursday, won quick praise from the National Rifle Association, which said he did the right thing.

Christie, a potential 2016 presidential candidate, has said recently that he would consider changing the state’s gun laws, but the Democratic Legislature has no appetite for that. He said he’d do what he is legally allowed to do, such as pardons when he thinks they’re warranted.

In 2010, Christie commuted the seven-year sentence of a man who was found with guns he had legally bought in Colorado.

Allen was charged in 2013 with unlawful possession of a weapon and armor-penetrating bullets. She eventually was accepted into a pretrial program for nonviolent offenders. On April 16, Christie wrote that Allen applied for clemency and, after the state parole board investigated the facts surrounding the case, “a full and free” pardon was granted.

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STATE ROUNDUP
Oregon background checks bill passes Senate, heads to House

A proposed bill that would require criminal background checks for private gun transfers in Oregon passed the Senate on a 17-13 vote on April 14 and will soon be presented to the House.

Democrats used their majority to push the bill through the Senate, which had blocked action on similar measures in 2013 and 2014. Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) joined all 12 Republicans in voting against the measure.

Under Senate Bill 941, Oregon would become the 12th state to require background checks on firearms sales and transfers between private individuals. Those purchasing guns from licensed dealers and at gun shows in Oregon are already required to submit to background checks to see if they are legally prohibited from owning a gun. Felons, domestic abuse offenders and those committed for mental health treatment are among those legally barred from holding guns.

Before the Senate approved the measure, Josephine County Sheriff Dave Daniel announced his deputies would not enforce the law if the House adopts it. Daniel told reporters on April 13 that believes this latest gun control law goes against his county’s charter. He also said his department doesn't have a sufficient number of deputies to pursue lawbreakers who are committing a frivolous misdemeanor.

After the Senate approved SB 941, a gun shop owner in Junction City filed a recall petition against House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, a Eugene Democrat, in response to her support for the bill. In his filing, Jason Thiesfeld said Hoyle “has consistently prioritized the needs of special interest groups and big campaign donors,” citing her support for SB 941, and a 2013 measure that would have granted short-term drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants.

Thiesfeld, who co-owns Gunrunner Arms and is chairman of the Junction City planning commission, said Hoyle's co-sponsorship of SB 941 was "the final straw."
"I've been in Oregon for 35 years, and (state lawmakers) keep cramming their agenda down our throats and going after our rights little by little," he told the Associated Press.

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IN THE COURTS
Court considers Pittsburgh lawsuit against new Pennsylvania gun law

Seven Commonwealth Court of Appeals judges on April 14 heard arguments over a lawsuit challenging a controversial 2014 Pennsylvania measure that allows constituents and groups to sue local governments that don’t adhere to state firearms laws.

The city of Pittsburgh is objecting to Act 192 of 2014, portions of which allow gun owners and groups, including the NRA, to sue municipalities over local gun ordinances that go beyond state law. In November, Pittsburgh and other municipalities joined a lawsuit challenging the measure led by state Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery County).

Judge Mary Hannah Leavitt told Chis Potter of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that the seven-judge panel is wary about interfering in the legislative process. “You’re really limiting the power of the Legislature to amend,” she said. “What’s the next step? Do we have a judge in the Legislature?”

Judge Anne E. Covey told Potter that the judges are concerned about making “a habit of second-guessing the legislative process."

Similar lawsuits have met with varying outcomes over the years, and both sides sounded optimistic after the morning’s hearing.

“I think the argument went well,” countered Drew Crompton, the general counsel for Senate Republicans. He noted that when concerns were raised about whether the legislation met the single-subject rule, a majority of the Republican-led House voted that it did. That demonstration of legislative intent, he said, “should count for something,”

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