U.S. attorney general vows to ‘institutionalize’ Obama executive actions into laws

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch has told New York Magazine that her goal is “to position the (Department of Justice) where it will carry on in all of these issues long after myself and my team have moved on.”

Lynch was speaking specifically about the executive actions on gun control President Barack Obama announced on Jan. 5. She said she plans to prosecute gun sellers under the new executive actions.

While Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Ben Carson have all vowed to overturn the Obama orders if elected, if Lynch gets her way, that will be easier said than done, according to Leo Hohmann on

“And Lynch is not the first Obama appointee to make such a comment,” Hohmann writes, noting Obama’s top domestic adviser, Cecilia Muñoz, said last April that she was also working to institutionalize Obama’s policies.

Ben Shapiro, author of “The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against The Obama Administration,” writes in Breitbart that these efforts “by Obama bureaucrats across the board offer a sobering backdrop for the next president, even if it should be Trump, Cruz or some other leading conservative.”

“For all those who revel in the fact that there are 374 days until President Obama finally gets the hell out of the White House, a cautionary note: Obama and his colleagues are rigging the bureaucracy so that their unique brand of ‘hope and change’ extends far beyond their tenure,” Shapiro writes.

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States quietly expanding gun rights

With so much media emphasis on President Barack Obama’s Jan. 5 executive actions, the fact that gun rights are actually expanding nationwide is being overlooked. The open-carry movement, for instance, is gaining ground as lawmakers propose bills to pass new, even broader laws in state legislatures.

In Florida, state lawmakers will consider bills to allow residents to carry their firearms openly and to allow guns on college campuses. Only Florida and four other states – California, Illinois, New York and South Carolina – prohibit open carry. The other 45 allow it to varying degrees, writes Matthew Teague in The Guardian on Jan 15.

The biggest treat to the open carry movement — or Constitution Carry movement — could be other gun owners. A two-bill package introduced by Republicans in the Michigan State Senate would allow people with the proper permits to carry concealed weapons at schools but ban open carry, pitting gun rights advocates against each.

While those who support concealed carry agree with the proposed bill, open carry proponents are against it.

“This is a very unusual bill in that it’s being attacked by the usual suspects — all the Bloomberg groups — and it’s also being attacked by some of the open carry groups,” Steve Dylan, a board member for the Michigan Coalition for Responsible Gun Owners, told the New York Times.

Michigan bans concealed guns at schools, libraries, sports arenas and other public places. State Sen. Arlan Meekhof, a Republican with a concealed pistol license, has sponsored a bill to prohibit open carry on school campuses, but require schools to allow concealed carry with the proper permitting.

“Someone exercising their right (to open carry) causes a disruption in education of our kids,” Meekhof said. ”I’m trying to find a way where people can still exercise their constitutional rights and not have the sight of a gun cause the school to lock everybody down.”

On Jan. 1, Texas’ new open carry went into effect. But the change has opened an unexpected schism between the two types of gun owners, Teague writes.

The law affects guns on public property, but private property holders can make their own rules, Teague writes. Businesses like restaurants and hotels don’t want their customers to feel threatened by local gunslingers, he notes, so they have started putting up signs: “No guns allowed.”

“So suddenly the concealed-carry gun owners enjoy less freedom than before. And they’re angry,” Teague writes.

UCLA law professor Adam Winkler told Teague this sort of “internecine frustration” will fade as the population grows more accustomed to guns.

“Once people stop feeling afraid, the ‘no guns’ signs will come down,” he said. “This is about normalizing guns.”

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South Carolina: Senate proposes new gun legislation

Georgia bill ‘requires seize’ of ‘assault weapons, large-capacity magazines

Six Georgia House Democrats proposed a bill on Jan. 11 that would “require seizure” of “certain weaponry and ammunition” that is deemed as contraband, effectively banning “assault weapons” and “large-capacity magazines.”

HB 731, sponsored by Mary Margaret Oliver, Carolyn Hugley, Pat Gardiner, Stacey Abrams, Dar’shun Kendrick and Dee Dawkins-Haigler, would amend current law to “prohibit the possession, sale, transport, distribution or use of certain ‘assault weapons,’ large-capacity magazines, armor-piercing bullets, and incendiary .50 caliber bullets.”

According the the Associated Press, the bill goes on to say that certain weapons would be required to be seized by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, with increased penalties for use and possession of machine guns, among other related regulations.

HB 731, which was introduced on the first day of the 2016 session, would “ban ‘assault weapons’ and high-capacity magazines.”

“Georgia needs debate about these weapons which are only used for rapidly killing people,” Oliver said in a statement. “Assault weapons are not necessary for deer hunting.”

The text of HB 731 proclaims that the sale, possession or distribution of “any assault weapon” will come at a profound cost.

“No person shall possess, distribute, transport, transfer, or sell any assault weapon,” Oliver’s statement continues. “Any person who distributes, transports, or imports an assault weapon into this state shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two nor more than 10 years.”

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Gallup Poll finds 62 percent of Americans are unhappy with gun laws

A Jan. 6-10 Gallup ‘Mood of the Nation’ poll finds 62 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s gun laws, the highest percentage of dissatisfaction since Gallup’s first such poll in 2001.

Dissatisfaction jumped 11 percentage points since last January’s ‘Mood of the Nation’ poll.

According to Gallup, those who are dissatisfied with gun laws are much more likely to say they want these laws to be stricter. Overall, 38 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the nation’s gun laws and want them made stricter, 15 percent are dissatisfied and want the laws made less strict, and 9 percent are dissatisfied but say laws should remain as they are.

Overall, according to Gallup, more than twice as many Americans are dissatisfied with current guns laws because they want them stricter than are dissatisfied because they want those laws loosened, 38 percent vs. 15 percent, respectively. However, as a sign of increasing polarization on that issue, both of those figures are at or near their 16-year highs.

Republicans are the least dissatisfied with gun laws across political party groups, with 54 percent saying they are not happy with the nation’s gun laws. Independents’ dissatisfaction is at 59 percent while Democrats are the most dissatisfied, at 75 percent.

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