Gun Stories of the Week: Fringe Anti-Gun Group Sets Up Fake Gun Store

TOP STORY
Fake store ‘shames’ gun buyers for exercising Constitutional right

A fringe group called States United to Prevent Gun Violence set up a fake gun store on Manhattan's Lower East Side in early March in a strange and bizarre attempt to "shame" fellow citizens from exercising a Constitutional right.

The fake store was set up a matter of hours and part of a PSA campaign called “Guns with History.” The "pop-up" store was outfitted with cameras and stocked with mock-ups of weapons used in prominent shootings "for a social experiment to discourage the idea that a gun means protection."

“From Newtown to tragic murder suicides to other children shooting children, those kinds of events … which people need to think about when you bring a gun into your home," Leah Gunn Barrett, executive director of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, told The Daily News.

The store only offered models of guns for sale that had been used in high-profile crimes -- some of which are illegal in New York.

According to NY1.com, when a prospective first-time female buyer asked to the see a gun that was easy to operate the clerk grabbed a .22 revolver and said it "is the easiest gun we have to use. It’s our most popular one. It’s also a gun that 5-year-old found in his parents bedroom, went down and shot his 9-month-old baby brother with it.”

For another customer, NY1.com reported, the clerk showed a 9mm semiautomatic, describing it as “a very handy gun” that’s “easy to use.” “It’s a great gun to carry in your purse, like that gal from the Wal-Mart, her two-year-old son reaches into her pocketbook, pulls it out, shoots her," he said.

For Adam Lanza’s horrible acts at Sandy Hook Elementary the clerk lays down an AR-15—illegal in New York—and, according to NY1.com, snaps his fingers, and says, “20 little kids, gone like that.”

"The clerk did not mention that Lanza could have used a well-worn revolver or a single shot shotgun to the same effect, as Sandy Hook was a gun free zone in which he had over 9 minutes to walk room to room and commit his atrocities without any armed resistance," writes AWR Hawkins on Breitbart.com on March 18. "Nor did the clerk mention that guns are used approximately 2,082 times every day in America for defensive purposes."

Those 2,082 times includes instances where women stop sexual attackers, Hawkins writes, "where parents prevent crimes against their children, where homeowners stop home invaders, where business owners stop burglars, etc. But these are all inconvenient truths when one’s goal is to dissuade first-time gun buyers from following through.

"It's appalling that the gun control lobby exploits tragedy to further a political agenda," the NRA said in a statement. "If gun safety was their main concern they would use their resources to educate people about the safe and responsible use of firearms instead of producing expensive videos to scare people and spread lies.”

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**STATE ROUNDUP
Senate Republicans pass open carry bill for handguns in Texas
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Texans with concealed handgun permits would be allowed to openly carry in a shoulder or belt under legislation tentatively approved by the Texas Senate on March 16 in a partisan 20-11 vote effective on Jan. 1, 2016.

Currently, about 826,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses, nearly 3 percent of the state’s population. Texans can already carry long guns, such as rifles, openly.

Bill sponsor State Sen. Craig L. Estes (R-Wichita Falls) told Terrence Stutz of the Dallas News on March 16 that the change in law “is the way to go” for those who believe in freedom. Further, he said, the handgun license holders “have been vetted and trained, and can decide what is best for them. I have great confidence in our license holders that they will do the right thing.”

Estes said his legislation is similar to what Oklahoma enacted a few years ago. “If it becomes an issue later on [in Texas], we will deal with it,” he said.

An amendment sponsored by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) exempts college campuses from the open carry measure. Huffman told the Dallas News’ Stutz that her constituents strongly opposed allowing the open display of guns at colleges and universities across the state.

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CLOSED CASE FOR OPEN CARRY
Rape survivor demands Maryland lawmakers stop making her a victim

A rape survivor told a state Senate committee that Maryland’s “may issue” concealed carry laws create victims rather than disarm criminals, making it “incredibly difficult” for women to defend themselves.

“I need you to know this is so incredibly difficult for me, but I feel like if I don’t humanize this, if I don’t make it clear how this legislation actually affects your daughters, your mothers, the women of this state, then it’s all just a bunch of numbers,” Jacqueline Kahn told Maryland lawmakers in mid-March.

Maryland lawmakers are pondering a bill that would add “self defense” as an acceptable reason to need a concealed handgun permit. Right now, local jurisdictions can reject a concealed carry permit application for virtually any reason at any time, and self-defense is not considered a “legitimate” reason to issue a permit.

Many legal scholars and all Second Amendment advocates question the Constitutionality of requiring a citizen to request permission to exercise a Constitutional right.

According to Jason Howerton of The Blaze, Kahn recounted her encounter with a stalker-rapist armed with duct tape and scissors in her backyard. “I wish I could tell you that’s the only time I’ve been stalked, or that’s the only man who has stalked anyone in the state of Maryland. But there’s a huge number of women, who like me have been raped, who like me have been sexually assaulted—and we want the right to be able to do what we would be allowed to do throughout the majority of the rest of the United States,” she said.

Howerton writes in a March 17 story in The Blaze that Kahn then pulled out a map of the United States showing which states allow concealed carry without restrictive “may issue” provisions, provisions which state that self-defense is not a good enough reason to receive a permit. “See all the green states? They actually follow this thing called the Second Amendment,” she added.

Kahn said she enjoys going to “secluded places” in the wilderness and mountains, and feels defenseless being unarmed because of the law. She recalled a different incident where she woke up to a man entering the tent she was sleeping in.

“Why can’t I have a firearm to protect myself?” she said, slamming her hand on the podium. “Are you going to be in my neighborhood the next time this guy follows me home? When I’m in my house, I’m allowed to protect myself. But walking along the sidewalk, I’m not. So you make me into a criminal. You force me to decide, do I want to be judged by 12 or carried by six.”

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‘GUN JUDGES’
Missouri ponders establishing ‘armed offender docket’ for local courts

Missouri lawmakers are considering establishing a special court—the "armed offender docket”—in the Kansas City area to speed up prosecution of violent criminals who often end up back on the street awaiting a trial that could be months or years away.

Such specialized dockets are not unusual in responding to violent crime. They've been established in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Providence, R.I., and Suffolk County, N.Y. Two years ago, Sen. Eric Schmitt, a St. Louis County Republican, proposed creating such a docket for the St. Louis area but opposition from city judges defeated the measure.

The proposal now being pondered by state legislators is to create a specialized court docket in Jackson County, including Kansas City, dedicated solely to crimes committed with guns.

“The focus of this isn’t on the gun,” Rep. Kevin Corlew (R-Kansas City) told the Associated Press on March 19. “The focus is on the offender, the person using a weapon unlawfully. This in no way goes after lawful users of guns. It’s meant for people who are breaking the law with a gun, who are involved in crimes involving guns.”

The bill would require Jackson County Circuit Court to dedicate judges and manpower to a special docket that would handle all matters related to weapons offenses and robbery in the first degree. To defray the costs, offenders would pay an extra $30 fee.

Other cities, including Philadelphia and Birmingham, Ala., have seen positive results after they’ve created specialized gun dockets, Corlew said. “It also sends a clear message to the community,” he said, “that the prosecution of violent crimes is a high priority.”

NRA lobbyist Whitney O’Daniel said Corlew’s bill still needed tweaking. “I’m not here in opposition to the bill,” O’Daniel said. “But it still needs a lot of work.”

He said his major concern is that the bill leaves too much open to interpretation by judges and prosecutors. The bill simply refers to the state law defining gun-related crimes, which O’Daniel said could mean even a small offense could land a person in the armed offender docket.

“Something as simple as having your firearm exposed by accident could land you in this court,” O’Daniel said. “You’re at the will of a prosecutor.”

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