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Americans forego gun control turkey talk, shatter single-day gun sales record
According to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, more Americans had their backgrounds checked while purchasing guns on Black Friday than any day on record.
The NIC Background Check System processed 185,345 requests on Nov. 27 — a 5 percent increase over the 175,754 received on Black Friday 2014, according to Stephen Fischer, the FBI’s chief of multimedia productions.
The previous high for receipts were the 177,170 received on Dec. 21, 2012, he said.
But since an estimated 40 percent of all gun sales are through unlicensed sellers, Jon Vernick, co-director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, told the Associated Press that the “official” number of transactions doesn’t include those made at large gun shows held on Black Friday in Texas, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and Missouri.
This was probably not the response President Obama was hop[ing for when he lectured the nation about having gun control conversations over the Thanksgiving table.
“Citizens responded by buying enough firearms in one day to field an entire new military the size of the Marine Corps, with guns left over to equip 2-4 Army divisions,” Bob Owens writes at Bearingarms.com on Dec. 2. “Mr. President you have you answer. It was a rousing, ‘Screw you.'”
Previous spikes in background checks occurred after prominent mass shootings, like in December 2012 in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. With the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting and terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., fresh on minds, many expect this Christmas season to be a lucrative one for firearms retailers and manufacturers.
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NEW YORK STATE (NOT CITY) OF MIND
Catskills sheriff asks those licensed to carry to ‘PLEASE DO SO’
A county sheriff in New York’s Catskills is asking residents who are licensed to carry a firearm to “PLEASE DO SO” to protect themselves and others from potential terrorist attacks.
“In light of recent events that have occurred in the United States and around the world, I want to encourage citizens of Ulster County who are licensed to carry a firearm to PLEASE DO SO,” Ulster County Sheriff Paul J. Van Blarcum wrote in a Facebook post published on Dec. 3.
Within seven hours, the post had 14,687 likes, 1,700 comments, 19,829 shares and was drawing attention from media around the globe.
“I urge you to responsibly take advantage of your legal right to carry a firearm,” Van Blarcum wrote in his post. “To ensure the safety of yourself and others, make sure you are comfortable and proficient with your weapon, and knowledgeable of the laws in New York State with regards to carrying a weapon and when it is legal to use it.
I also,” he continued, “want to remind all Police/Peace Officers both active duty and retired to please carry a weapon whenever you leave your house. We are the thin blue line that is entrusted in keeping this country safe, and we must be prepared to act at any given moment.”
Ulster County is about two hours north of New York City. Van Blarcum, a Democrat who’s been sheriff for almost nine years, told the Daily Freeman that his call to arms is to ensure “that if something happens, there is an armed citizen around.”
Van Blarcum’s post came less than 24 hours after 14 people died in a mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., less than two weeks after a gunman killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo., and about three weeks after shootings by terrorists in Paris left 130 people dead.
“I think it’s important to remind everybody with the way things are, you’ve got people coming in with long rifles just slaughtering people,” Van Blarcum said, noting in instances like the recent mass shootings, if people aren’t armed, they are “useless.”
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Christie veto of New Jersey gun control bill survives override attempt
New Jersey Democrats narrowly failed on Dec. 3 to override Gov. Chris Christie’s veto of a gun safety bill that called for police to be consulted when judges are considering whether to expunge mental health records of prospective gun buyers.
Federal law prohibits the purchase of firearms by anyone who has been involuntarily committed to a mental health facility, but that record can be erased by a judge if the person is deemed unlikely to pose a public danger.
According to Joseph Ax of Reuters, Christie vetoed the bill in August after it passed overwhelmingly in both houses, including by a vote of 74-0 in the Assembly. The state Senate had already voted for an override in October, when a handful of Republicans joined Democrats to reach the 27 votes needed in the 40-member chamber.
But when the veto went to the Assembly on Dec. 3, Democrats in the 80-member chamber were three votes short of securing the 54 needed to override Christie’s veto, Ax writes.
The bill was pulled before the vote was formally recorded, which allows Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto to introduce the legislation again at a later date. “I will put this bill back up again and again,” he said in a statement criticizing Republicans.
Christie, a long-shot GOP Presidential candidate, has boasted on the campaign trail that none of his hundreds of vetoes have been overturned by the legislature since he took office in 2010. Ax said a spokesman for the governor’s office declined to comment, and instead referred to the governor’s statements on the issue in November, when he said Democrats should “stop playing politics” and fix the problem.
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Bill gives commanders ability to restore 2nd Amendment on their bases
President Obama on Nov. 25 signed the NRA-backed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which contains a provision that give local commanders the ability to allow base personnel to be armed.
The provision came in response to the national outcry following the July 16 attack on defenseless Marines and sailors in Chattanooga, Tenn., that killed five.
“The brave men and women in our Armed Forces should not be left defenseless against terrorists on American soil,” wrote The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action’s Chris Cox. “Local commanders now have the authority to allow service men and women to be armed while on base. Members of the military should have the same ability to defend themselves as every other law-abiding citizen.”
The annual defense authorization bill calls for Defense Secretary Ashton Carter to establish a process by Dec. 31 in which commanders can authorize a service member at a military installation, reserve center, recruiting location or defense facility in the U.S. to carry a gun on the premises if he or she “determines that carrying such a firearm is necessary as a personal- or force-protection measures.”
The existing policy, which dates to 1992, states that arming service members beyond military police and those who work in law enforcement “shall be limited to missions or threats.”
Obama was under pressure to rescind the 1992 policy following the Chattanooga shooting and a spate of others that targeted service members on their own bases, including the 2009 shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, in which 13 people were killed; the 2013 shooting in the Washington Navy Yard that left 12 dead; the 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, in which four people were killed; and a June 2015 incident at Little Rock Air Force Base, Ark., where an armed man was shot and killed after crashing his SUV while trying to break into the installation.
Another provision in the expands military-to-civilian gun sales, meaning Army “excess” M1911A1 pistols can now be sold to civilians via the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP).
According to the NRA, that program “was long known as being a way for civilians to get the classic M1 Garand military rifle, and will now be a way to get the equally classic and historical .45 auto.”
The third NRA-backed provision in the NDAA prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from banning lead ammo under the auspices of the Toxic Substances Control Act.
“This provision [was] necessary because extreme anti-hunting groups have filed multiple petitions with the EPA to ban the use of lead ammunition,” writes AWR Hawkins on Breitbart.com. “Protecting traditional lead ammo is way to keep ammunition prices at ‘reasonable/ levels for the foreseeable future.”
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