Gun Stories of the Week: Gun Control Laws are a Jihadi's Best Friend

TOP STORY
Gun control laws: A Jihadi ’s best friend

Since the Paris attacks, a lot of Americans—as they commute on mass transit, as they stroll a shopping mall, as they stand in stadium crowds—are taking a moment to wonder, “Could that happen here?”

Economist and gun rights commentator John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, says you can calculate your odds of being a terrorist target not only by where you live, but by how strict gun control is where you live.

By this calculation, he says, your risk of being a terrorist target is greater in places with tight gun control: places like Paris, like New York, and like Washington, D.C.

After all, Lott said, a terrorist would be using the same criteria a criminal or lunatic would use in targeting defenseless victims, always seeking “soft” populations legally unarmed and easily ambushed for their slaughtering pleasure.

“Some places, like Washington, D.C., or New York or Los Angeles would be more attractive [targets] than places like Dallas or parts of Florida,” Lott told Brendan Kirby of Polizette.

Of course, Chicago would be ideal if it weren’t for the city’s heavily armed army of criminals, who don’t obey the city’s strict gun control laws because, you know, they’re criminals.

Folks in Texas and Alabama aren’t taking any chances, where Americans have flooded into gun stores to purchase new guns and sign up for concealed carry permit classes in record numbers since the Paris attacks.

According to Fox News San Antonio, individuals recently buying those guns include many who have never owned a gun before. Texas Guns store owner Jerry McCall says he is seeing “people … in their 70s and 80s who say they have never owned a firearm before but think [they] need one in the house now.”

Mary Hernandez told Fox News San Antonio that she and her husband bought their first gun last year and are shopping for their second in the wake of the Paris attacks. She and her husband “feel they can never be too protected.”

Hernandez observed, “I don’t want to be with my kids and my family hiding under a table; I want to be protecting us and get out of there and if I had to, try to stop somebody.”

Meanwhile, in Alabama, WSFA reports that gun stores are seeing the same kind of run. Russell Durling, who owns Last Resort Guns in Madison County, told WSFA , “We were busy right out of the box” following the attacks.

“The truth of it is,” he added, “When America is scared, America buys guns.”

In addition to the gun sales, Alabama store owners told WSFA that they are seeing a surge in concealed carry permit applications/course attendance, as well. Concealed classes at Texas Guns "have doubled in the last week," and the Limestone, Alabama, Sheriff's Office reports witnessing its "biggest spike in permits" after the attacks on Friday, according to AWR Hawkins at breitbart.com.

None of this stopped the gun control lobby from capitalizing on the terrorist attack by using the event to push their agenda. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) is warning that the ISIS is encouraging sympathizers to purchase weapons in the U.S.

“Obviously it is frightening for every Western country, but I do want to remind you, before we killed a jihadist named [Anwar al-] Awlaki, he did a video that said to Americans, ‘Join the Jihad and get guns, because it’s so easy in the United States of America to get a weapon,'” Schakowsky told Sirius XM radio this week, as first reported by BuzzFeed News.

“And that ought to be a chilling reminder because, aside from blowing themselves up, which is, of course, not about small weapons, these people used the kinds of weapons that are still available in the United States of America,” she continued. “I think it ought to cause us to have another consideration of sensible gun-safety laws.”

According to reports, terrorists in the Paris attack used fully automatic weapons. Schakowsky was pressed on how the terrorists had guns in France, which has much tougher restrictions on firearms.

She said it “was not clear" how they acquired guns. “Well, you know, we traffic in some small weapons around the world and so it’s not clear actually where those came from, but you’re right. ... People get them,” Schakowsky said. “But they’re so available was the message that was sent to possible recruits for the terrorist organizations.”

Some Republicans have pointed to the attack in Paris as an argument against strict gun laws, suggesting that the victims could have defended themselves.

Donald Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, said the attack would have been “different” — not “terrific!”? —if civilians were armed.

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MURPHY'S BILL
Address mental illness or go insane perpetuating policies that don't work

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wisc.) is reportedly pushing Rep. Tim Murphy’s (R-Pa.) ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act’ as a Congressional response to gun violence.

During an interview with CBS’s "60 Minutes," Ryan was asked if he’d propose any gun legislation. “I haven’t thought of proposing gun legislation, I think the big problem we have is enforcing the law as we have on the books right now,” Ryan said, before pointing the conversation to mental health.

“The other issue that I think we need to take a look at, and I’m pushing this in the Commerce committee, is Congressman Murphy’s legislation on mental health,” he said. “I think we need to improve our mental health laws so we can address these problems before they get out of control, because mental health is a component to a lot of these shootings that, I think, we have not looked at seriously enough.”

Murphy’s bill, which was recently advanced by the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee, would overhaul the system for treating mentally ill people, reports Washington Examiner.

In a Nov. 19 column in the Washington Examiner, Murphy said his ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act’ (H.R. 2646) addresses two stark facts uncovered by decades of documentation and analysis: Since 1982, an estimated 58 percent of 72 mass shootings were by someone with mental illness and, of an average of 41,000 suicides a year, more than 90 percent have a mental illness.

Murphy, House Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair, said that despite 112 federal and state programs spending $130 billion annually on mental health, at least 164,000 of the most seriously mentally ill Americans are homeless, 365,000 are incarcerated, 770,000 are on probation or parole and 95,000 are regularly denied a hospital bed because of the bed shortage.

“When we looked at why there are so many problems, all roads led to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA),” Murphy wrote. “It's a small, relatively obscure federal agency but it develops most of the nation's mental health policy. Rather than focusing on reducing homelessness, hospitalization, or incarceration in people with serious mental illness, SAMHSA focused federal and state efforts on delivering 'behavioral wellness' to everyone else.”

Murphy’s bill proposes to “fix this obscenity” by “redeploying federal assets to where they can do the most good” and getting rid of SAMHSA, replacing the agency with an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders position that will focus resources on the mission —“getting treatments that reduce homelessness, arrest, incarceration, hospitalization, suicide and violence to people with untreated serious mental illness. That will keep patients, the police and the public safer.”

The bill has 142 bipartisan co-sponsors, the support of the House leadership, the support of families of the seriously ill, the Treatment Advocacy Center, Mental Illness Policy Org, International Association of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriff's Association and others, but has not been brought up for a vote. T

Meanwhile, on Nov. 17, two House Republicans filed legislation to force the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to accept gun licenses as passenger identification at airport security checkpoints.

"Handgun licenses are a government-issued form of identification and no one has given me a valid reason why they cannot be accepted at TSA checkpoints," said Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), one of the sponsors of the legislation.

Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas), the other co-sponsor, said gun licenses contain similar information as the other forms of identification the TSA considers acceptable. "The requirements to obtain a concealed license are similar and often times stricter than that of obtaining a standard ID card," Flores said in a statement.

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STATE ROUNDUP
Ohio expanded conceal carry bill to go before Senate

A proposed Ohio bill that would make concealed carry legal in day-care centers, airport terminals, government buildings and police stations awaits a vote in the state’s senate. On Nov. 17, the Ohio House approved it in a highly partisan vote.

House Bill 48 is the latest effort to roll back restrictions on where hidden handguns can be legally carried that were put into place more than a decade ago when Ohio first legalized concealed carry. The bill would allow drivers to enter school safety zones with guns, but they could not carry them into schools.

The measure passed 68-29 with most of the chamber’s Democrats opposing the bill and all Republicans supporting it.

Rep. Ron Maag (R., Lebanon), the bill’s sponsor, stressed that the changes apply only to those with permits to carry.

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IN THE COURTS
Disabled senior faces eviction for using firearm to stop robbery

Harvey Lembo, 67, is a disabled, wheelchair-bound former lobsterman with degenerative heart disease who has survived three heart attacks and five burglaries in the six years he has lived in Park Place Apartments in Rockland, Maine.

And so, on Aug. 31 he legally purchased a handgun to protect himself because his physical disabilities make it difficult to deter criminals, he said.

The next night, Sept. 1, Lembo shot and wounded Christopher Wildhaber, 45, in his living room after the intruder told Lembo he was robbing him of prescription medications “like everybody else.”

Wildhaber was treated for his wounds and charged with burglary, criminal trespass, stealing drugs and refusing to submit to arrest. He remains at the Knox County Jail on $25,000 cash bail.

Lembo, who was not charged by local police, faces eviction for violating the apartment complex’s policy against firearms on the premises. He is challenging the eviction in a lawsuit claiming he is being punished for exercising his Constitutional right to defend himself.

Lembo names Park Place Associates and Stanford Management LLC as plaintiffs, and is seeking a permanent injunction prohibiting the complex from evicting him on the grounds that he owns a firearm. In the action filed on Nov. 16, he is also asking that his attorney fees be covered.

"We're interested in ensuring that people in Mr. Lembo's position are able to enjoy their full constitution rights, including their right to lawfully possess a firearm in self-defense," said Patrick Strawbridge, his Boston-based attorney.

The National Rifle Association applauded the lawsuit, which contends the landlord interfered with Lembo’s constitutional right to bear arms and violated the Maine Civil Rights Act, the Associated Press reported.

“Threatening to evict Mr. Lembo for defending himself clearly violates his constitutional rights,” said John Hohenwarter, an NRA Maine state liaison. “Self-defense is a fundamental, God-given right that belongs to every law-abiding American – no matter their tax bracket, ZIP code or street address.”

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