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Mary S Papenfuss   |   January 14, 2017    1:00 AM ET

A year-old boy was accidentally killed by his young sister, who found his mother’s loaded gun in their northern California home, officials say.

Paramedics responding to a frantic call for help on Wednesday found the baby on the floor of a bedroom in his Chowchilla home with a bullet wound to the head. He didn’t survive the ambulance trip to the hospital, police said in a statement. Police did not provide the names of the children. Local media said the girl was under the age of 6.

The mother, Erica Bautista, a corrections officer, was home at the time of the accident, according to officials. The gun was registered to her but was not a duty weapon, reported ABC30-TV. Authorities were investigating whether the gun was stored improperly. If that is the case, they may file criminal charges against the mother, who has worked as a corrections officer for 16 years.

Investigators said they couldn’t remember another similar case in at least 20 years in the town of 20,000, which is home to two state prisons.

“Anytime a child gets hold of firearm, and there’s some sort of a negligent discharge it’s a criminal matter,” said Lt. Jeff Palmer of the Chowchilla Police Department. Firearms are not something to be taken for granted, he warned. “Don’t leave them loaded, and absolutely don’t leave them in an area where a child can get its hands on it,” Palmer added.

Town police provide free gun locks.

Officials still are investigating the tragedy. Results of the probe will be turned over to the Madera County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether or not to file charges, according to the Merced Sun-Star.

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Mike Weisser   |   January 10, 2017    9:05 AM ET

Read More: gun violence, guns, chicago

It’s a little too early for final figures to be published, but when it comes to how many Americans are killed or injured by other Americans using guns, 2016 will have been a banner year.  Mid-year gun violence reports from Chicago, Memphis, Philadelphia and San Antonio show sharp increases there and elsewhere, experts predict that these trends may continue going up over the next couple of years.

Most of the research on the how and why of gun violence is based on identifying the demographic and geographic characteristics of the victim populations: age, race, location and so forth, which produces a basic profile about intentional gun injury as being overwhelmingly associated with young Black men who live in disadvantaged, inner-city neighborhoods where all sorts of social dislocation occurs. But, as Andrew Papachristos and his research associates point out in new research, the demographic-spatial method for understanding gun violence paints with such a broad brush that it offers little guidance for predicting exactly who might become subjects of gun violence, particularly since most individuals living in such neighborhoods do not engage in this type of violent behavior.

The predictive model created by Papachristos combines demographic data with what is called a ‘social contagion’ model in which it is assumed that individuals who are socially connected a victim of gun violence will themselves run a higher risk of becoming victims of gun violence. Identifying these social connections or networks was done by looking at all 16,399 gunshot injuries in Chicago from 2006 to 2014 within the 1,189,225 arrests made during the same period, then looking at the identity of individuals who were arrested at the same time for the same offense and then connecting this data to everyone who was shot.

Incidentally, for all the hullabaloo about the lack of government funding for gun research, I note that part of the funding for this substantial project came from the National Science Foundation, which also happens to be a government agency.  Obviously, the lack of CDC support for gun research has created real gaps in the evidence about gun violence; perhaps there are other ways to skin the proverbial research cat.

When Papachristos combines this social contagion model with the traditional demographic approach, the predictive strength of this method rises above 70 percent; in other words, seven out of ten of the individuals who were later subjects of gun violence could be identified before the actual gun violence event took place.  If this model can be replicated in other locations, what we might have here is the emergence of a new way to target gun violence interventions at a more specified population than just young, minority men in a particular location – a profile that fits many more individuals than the ones who are at highest risk for getting shot.

Which brings us to the unanswered problem which the authors of this important study admit, namely, that they were unable ”to assess why some individuals in the social network (indeed, the vast majority) never became gunshot subjects.”  In fact, we could widen this lack of understanding to the whole question of violence itself.  Because while intentional gun injuries, according to the CDC, annually amount to somewhere around 75,000, the number of intentional assaults that require medical attention each year is twenty times that number, while aggravated assault arrests run 750,000 each year.  

The authors of this study choose to use a medical analogy – epidemic – to frame their approach to understanding gun violence.  But the networks they have uncovered that spread gun violence are linked to an initial shooting, which means that someone is already dead or injured before any ‘social contagion’ connections can be made.  To quote the brilliant Lester Adelson, “With its peculiar lethality, a gun converts a spat into a slaying and a quarrel into a killing.” How do we identify the individual who, unlike most of us, can’t engage in a disagreement or dispute without pulling out a gun?  The question remains unanswered.

Melissa Jeltsen   |   January 4, 2017    1:06 PM ET

During the last week of her life, Cynthia Villegas spoke up.

She told a relative that she was afraid of her husband, and that if anything ever happened to her, he would be to blame. She told her brother that she had recently asked for a divorce “because of the abuse” (a conversation her brother later recalled to police).

That was Thursday, June 9, 2016. By Saturday, she was dead, another victim of a mass shooting in America. According to police, her husband Juan Villegas-Hernandez shot and killed her inside their home in Roswell, New Mexico, along with their four young daughters ― Yamilen, 14; Cynthia Janeth, 11; Abby, 7; and Ida, 3.

Mere hours later, their tragic story would be eclipsed by an even more extreme outburst of violence, when Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, killing 49 people and wounding 53 others.

It was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, inconceivable in its scope. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the public struck up heated conversations about homophobia, Islamist terrorism and gun control, scrambling to answer the most baffling question of all: Why?

Yet, most of the mass shootings of 2016 ― defined as shootings in which at least four people were fatally shot, not including the perpetrator ― did not resemble the Pulse massacre. Instead, many of them shared striking similarities to the events that unfolded inside that New Mexico home, an angry man picking off his family members one by one.

According to data collected by Everytown for Gun Safety, of the 16 mass shooting incidents last year, seven ― 43 percent ― involved a male shooter targeting a family member or intimate partner. In those shootings, women and children made up 81 percent of the victims.

Sarah Tofte, research director for Everytown for Gun Safety, said those findings align with previous research on the connection between mass shootings and domestic violence.

“When people think about mass shootings, they typically think about a shooting that takes place in public, a stranger shooting at innocent bystanders,” Tofte said. “But we know that in the majority of these cases, they occur within the context of a relationship or family dynamic plagued by domestic violence.”

An earlier Everytown report examining five years of mass shooting data found an even higher percentage of incidents ― 57 percent ― in which the shooter targeted either a family member or an intimate partner. 

“The number is relatively small year to year, and that’s why we need to look at at least a 5-year period to get an average,” Tofte said. “It’s clear that domestic violence continues to be a driver when it comes to mass shootings.” 

In four of the seven cases in 2016 in which shooters targeted family members or intimate partners, a woman was attempting to leave the relationship at the time of the massacre.

While the public may wonder why women don’t simply leave their abusers, Ruth Glenn, the executive director of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, cautioned that victims are at the highest risk of danger when exiting a violent relationship, and should seek assistance from a local domestic violence organization before attempting to do so. 

“It may take days, weeks, or months of planning, so that when you do go, you are as safe as possible,” she said, noting that the situation is especially dangerous if the abuser has access to a gun. 

“If someone uses a gun to kill their partner, they have used that gun before to control their partner,” she said. 

Phoukeo Dej-Oudom, 35, knew her husband had a gun. 

A licensed cosmetologist living in Las Vegas, she filed for divorce last spring from her husband Jason Dej-Oudom, and for full custody of their children. 

In an application for a temporary protection order, which was denied because it did not meet statutory requirements, she detailed the alleged abuse that she and her children were experiencing.

“Throughout the marriage, the children’s lives as well as mine have been threatened,” she wrote. “Guns have been pulled out and pointed to our heads multiple times.”

She quit her job at a hair salon in June, fearing that her husband would stalk her there.

“I cannot work,” she texted her manager. “He’ll know I am where I am.”

A few weeks later, police say, her husband chased and gunned her down outside a Walgreens, then fatally shot their three children ― Anhurak Jason, 9; Xonajuk J.J., 14; and Dalavanh Ariel, 15 ― inside their apartment. He killed himself afterward, authorities said.

In a quarter of last year’s mass shootings, a male perpetrator killed his children along with his estranged wife. 

That was true in the case of Megan Short.

Aug. 6, 2016, was supposed to be the beginning of her new life. It was the day she planned to move out of the house she shared with her husband in Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania.

Her husband, she told her Facebook friends a few weeks before her death, was emotionally abusive. 

“It really does a number on your mental health for sure,” she wrote in a comment on an article on emotional abuse, posted on her friend’s Facebook wall. Later, she added: “This is why I am leaving my marriage ... 16 years.” 

But on the day she was due to move out, police say, her husband fatally shot her and her three young children ― Liana, 8; Mark Jr., 5; and Willow, 2. The kids were in their pajamas. 

Killing family members, especially children, is the ultimate form of power and control exerted by abusers, explained Maureen Curtis, vice president for Safe Horizon’s criminal justice and court programs.  

“Domestic violence is about coercive control ... controlling that person in every way,” she said. “What could be more controlling than killing the people they love as well as them.”

She noted that other people in the community also become victims of domestic violence mass shootings, simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Neighbors, family friends and grandparents numbered among the dead in 2016. 

In Appling, Georgia, officials said Wayne Hawes went on a shooting spree after his wife left him. He killed her 85-year-old mother, her 75-year-old uncle, her 31-year-old niece, Kelia Clark, and two family friends. 

In Shelton, Washington, authorities said David Campbell murdered his wife, two children and a neighbor before turning the gun on himself.

The best way to prevent mass shootings by abusers is to hold them accountable for their actions long before they strike out with fatal violence, Curtis said. That accountability can come through the criminal justice system, or by other family members and friends communicating to the abuser that what he is doing is not OK.

“If that’s not happening and this person is let off the hook ― sometimes a lot and sometimes a little ― it can escalate to violence that in some cases can become lethal,” she said. “People aren’t invested in intimate partner violence or family violence but if they see the connections to how it affects the community, maybe we will have more people paying attention to it.”


Melissa Jeltsen covers domestic violence and other issues related to women’s health, safety and security. Tips? Feedback? Send an email or follow her on Twitter.


Related stories:

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline .

SAM and BOZZY | Australian Gangster Movie | New Action Film 2017

Vincenzo Prosperi   |   December 28, 2016    8:29 PM ET


On the run after a failed mob hit, a grizzled hitman and an incompetent rookie must work together to escape the the clutches of their ruthless former employer.

In this short film, Bozzy (played by Corey Neville) has been captured by mob boss Saretti (Vincenzo Prosperi) and Sam (Ernie Crowther) raids the mansion to save his friend.

Director: Nathan Bender from 6 Brothers Pictures
Bozzy (Corey Neville )
Sam (Ernie Crowther)
and Mob Boss Saretti (Vincenzo Prosperi)

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Mary S Papenfuss   |   December 12, 2016   12:26 AM ET

Read More: guns, washington

Republican legislators in Washington state have introduced a bill that would allow licensed firearms inside sports stadiums. 

Known for its generally progressive politics, the Washington State Legislature is unlikely to pass the bill ― but it could give ideas to other states, especially red ones that might have a greater chance of passing something similar.

If it does become law, the measure would have a major effect on Seattle’s Safeco Field for the Mariners baseball team and the Seahawks’ CenturyLink Field, notes Sports Illustrated. Both facilities are on public land but are privately operated. Major League Baseball and the National Football League have strict bans on guns in stadiums.

“We haven’t seen the proposed legislation but we have a policy forbidding carrying a weapon into NFL stadiums,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Washington Post. The Seahawks stadium has an extensive list of prohibited items, including air horns, laptop computers and even specialty coffees

As for firearms, House Bill 1015 would eliminate the stadiums’ ability to “prohibit persons with a valid concealed pistol license from carrying a concealed pistol in any facility or on any grounds of a facility.”

Current stadium restrictions on weapons are intended in part to eliminate an arsenal for heated fans to use, and in part to guard against possible terror attacks.

The biggest threat could come from drunken, rowdy fans as stadium security grapples with a recent increase in violence. Sports executives are already worried that unruly fans are keeping other people away — and guns won’t help that mix.

“If you are concerned about bringing your family to a game, then that [fan danger] is an issue,” Amy Trask, a former Raiders executive who has served on the NFL’s security committee, told the Post. “It’s not just an issue for one team; it’s an issue for all 32 teams. The teams know this. The league knows this.”

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Mike Weisser   |   December 11, 2016   10:48 PM ET

Read More: guns, nra

When all is really said and done, there’s one basic point of disagreement between Gun-sense Nation on the one hand, and Gun-nut Nation on the other. And the difference goes like this: Gun-sense Nation believes that 120,000+ or more gun deaths and gun injuries each year is a public health crisis which needs to be addressed the way we deal with all threats to public health, namely, through a combination of research, education, and enforced legislation. Gun-nut Nation, on the other hand, does not believe that guns cause any kind of threat to public health; to the contrary, legal gun ownership protects the public from threats to its welfare both from within the country and without.

I think that the gun violence prevention (GVP) community needs to stop worrying about what the other side says or what the other side thinks. To be honest, I’m not sure that anyone who truly believes that the 2nd Amendment keeps us ‘free’ or protects us from an invasion by ISIS has actually thought about the issue at all. And let’s not forget that we now have a real bully in the bully pulpit who appears to share Gun-nut Nation’s point of view. Nevertheless, the folks who want to do something about gun violence still need to figure out what to do.

I’m not sure that anyone who truly believes that the 2nd Amendment keeps us ‘free’ or protects us from an invasion by ISIS has actually thought about the issue at all.

Or more specifically, what to say.  Because the argument between the two sides resembles a similar argument that made a brief appearance during the 2016 Republican primary campaign, when Ben Carson, a pediatric neurosurgeon, made a remarkable statement during the 2nd debate when he said there were many vaccines that aren’t really necessary, a claim that medical science has long ago decided is simply not true.

Carson was responding to a slimy attempt by Trump-o to thrill his supporters with yet another conspiracy theory, in this case the idea that childhood vaccines lead to autism, a loony and completely disproven idea that’s been floating around on the fringes of the mentally-challenged population for years. Unfortunately, what’s scientific fact to one person may be fiction to someone else, and if you don’t believe me, just spend some time perusing websites which claim that global warming is a complete and total hoax.

In essence, the GVP community faces the same issue every time they talk about gun violence as a public health problem, because they run smack up against a response from Gun-nut Nation which has nothing to do with science, or research, or facts at all. How many peer-reviewed articles have appeared in scientific/medical journals over the last 50 years which provide substantive data showing that access to guns increases the risk of getting shot or shooting yourself with a gun? Probably somewhere around 1,000 articles, give or take a few. How many articles have appeared in scientific/medical journals over the same time period which provide data supporting the idea that access to guns protects us from harm? None. That’s another way of saying ‘zero,’ in case you didn’t know.

So when it comes to figuring out whether guns are a good thing or a bad thing, or what I call the ‘social utility’ of guns, the scientific evidence goes in only one direction, the research uniformly says one thing: i.e., the social costs of free access to firearms outweighs the social benefits – period, done.

There’s only one little problem. The people who promote free access to guns, who want everyone to walk around with a gun couldn’t care less about what the scientific evidence shows. And didn’t they just help elect a president who could also care less about the difference between fiction and fact? So Gun-sense Nation better figure out some messaging which can respond to how Gun-nut Nation feels about their guns. Because talking about gun violence by citing this or that scientific study works fine when you’re talking to someone who believes in science and facts. But what happens when you find yourself in a discussion about gun violence with someone who believes that Martins really did land in Area 51?

Travis Waldron   |   December 2, 2016   12:26 PM ET

When the NFL told players this season that they could dedicate a piece of their uniforms to a cause or charity they wanted to highlight, Bilal Powell knew right away what he wanted to do.

So on Monday night, the soft-spoken New York Jets running back plans to use his cleats to send a loud message to the world: It’s time to put an end to the gun violence plaguing American communities. 

Gun violence is an issue that hits close to home for Powell, whether that’s in his native Lakeland, Florida; in Louisville, Kentucky, where he went to college and still has a home; or in New Jersey, where he lives during the NFL season. 

“I lost a lot of friends and a family member to gun violence,” Powell told The Huffington Post by phone Saturday. “My best friend lost a bunch of family members to gun violence in the city of Louisville, and it’s pretty bad up here in New Jersey too. ... You just want to do something about it.”

The NFL has long fined players, like Powell’s teammate Brandon Marshall, for using their cleats as a billboard for issues that aren’t league-sanctioned. But after years of criticism, it announced earlier this year that it would relax the policy for Week 13 of the 2016 season. As it happens, the Jets will play the Indianapolis Colts during Monday Night Football, giving Powell’s message against gun violence a national audience. 

“It being a Monday night game, it was a chance to bring awareness,” he said. “We have to see what we can do to, one day, get everybody at peace and live together.”

Once he landed on gun violence prevention as the issue he wanted to highlight, Powell still had to figure out the best way to do it. For that, he turned to Scedric Moss, his former University of Louisville teammate who is now an artist based in the city. Moss was busy with his own projects. But he had also lost friends to gun violence, and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to design Powell’s cleats.

Moss went to work, fast. The result was a pair of tricolor cleats that will be impossible to miss under the stadium’s bright lights. Each of the three colors Moss selected ― green, neon yellow and red ― symbolizes gun violence. The green, Powell said, stands for money, often a source of conflict that leads to fatal gun disputes. The yellow is for police caution tape. And the red speckles represent the blood shed in each of America’s thousands of annual gun deaths.

“He lost friends and family to the same thing, so it meant that much more to him to be a part of this,” Powell said of choosing Moss to design the shoes. “It was good timing and the right thing to do.”

On the side of each shoe, Moss also painted the outlines of two raised hands. They represent the charity Hands Across Louisville, an anti-gun violence organization in Powell’s adopted hometown. The shoes will go to auction after the game, and the proceeds will be put toward the group’s work to address the root causes of gun violence. Among other priorities, the organization wants to train local citizens in anger management and social interaction, and bolster job creation and career-training efforts, 

Powell chose the Louisville charity because of the time he spent there in college. He was a standout running back for the Cardinals, amassing more than 2,600 total yards and 22 touchdowns during his four years at the university. To get there, he’d left behind a past that included, he said, a stint in a gang in Florida.

But even in in Kentucky, gun violence remained close to his life. During Powell’s sophomore year in 2008, Louisville wide receiver Trent Guy was injured in a shooting in the city. Two years later, another one of Powell’s teammates ― former Cardinals linebacker Daniel Covington ― was shot and killed in a dispute downtown.

The city where Powell now lives in the offseason and plans to retire once his career is over is still struggling with gun violence: a double homicide shooting in Louisville’s Shawnee Park on Thanksgiving Day made national news ― and pushed the city’s total number of homicides for the year to a five-decade high.

Hopefully this is something that will wake a lot of people up. What I’m trying to do Monday night is get people to open their eyes, man, and try to bring peace. Bilal Powell

“The city of Louisville will always be in my heart,” Powell said. “You have people losing innocent lives in this. This hit home for me. I wanted to choose something that I had a connection to.”

And although he already had the cleats in the works, the issue of gun violence touched Powell’s life again this week. Former Jets running back Joe McKnight was shot and killed during an apparent traffic altercation outside of New Orleans on Thursday afternoon. Powell and McKnight were teammates for two years in New York, and the two had kept in touch, even though McKnight left the NFL and spent this past season in the Canadian Football League.

Powell’s call for an end to gun violence, then, will carry a particularly poignant and timely message Monday night. 

“Joe was an amazing person. A great teammate, and an even better person,” Powell said. “That right there, it’s sad to say, that another person’s life is gone over something that probably could have been prevented. ... It puts a lot of things in perspective.”

The cleats aren’t Powell’s only form of action on gun violence. After he made it to the NFL, he started The Bilal Powell Foundation to help keep children out of trouble and away from the type of violence has has experienced up close too often. It’s geared toward expanding community and education opportunities for at-risk children in the cities he’s called home.

But for a running back who usually prefers to let his performance on the field speak for him, this week, and this pair of cleats, offers a chance to broadcast his message publicly in a way he hasn’t necessarily before. Powell is excited about that opportunity, so much so that he’s even planning to make his teammates wait to see the final product in person.

“Hopefully this is something that will wake a lot of people up,” Powell said. “What I’m trying to do Monday night is get people to open their eyes, man, and try to bring peace.” 

Mike Weisser   |   November 23, 2016    1:12 PM ET

Read More: gun violence, guns

One of Gun-sense Nation’s primary concerns that will now linger in an unfinished state is the question of funding public health research into guns.  The major funding sourceCDC – was shut down in the 1990s, but while private sources stepped in to try and close the gap, much important work remains undone. And analyzing both this unfinished agenda and its implications for gun violence prevention (GVP) advocacy and policy are the subjects of a commentary by Everytown’s innovation director, Ted Alcorn, that recently appeared in a JAMA issue published online.

Before I go further into Alcorn’s discussion, I need to make my own thoughts and biases about gun-violence research clear.  As someone who holds a Ph.D. in Economic History and published several university monographs on same before getting into writing about guns, I would never, ever suggest or imply that serious research on any topic is anything other than a good thing.  But I am occasionally dismayed by what I perceive to be a desire on the part of gun-violence researchers to present themselves as being ‘neutral’ or ‘unbiased’ when it comes to the reason they study violence caused by guns.  I don’t think that a researcher should feel at all reluctant to state the obvious, which is that without guns there would be no gun violence. And if the political powers-that-be feel that 120,000 gun deaths and injuries each year are a price worth paying for a cynically-invented fiction known as 2nd-Amendment ‘rights,’ there’s no reason why any serious researcher should pay respectful homage to all that Constitutional crap. Because it’s not as if Gun-nut Nation would ever believe that any research into gun violence could be free of bias anyway since they don’t believe there’s really anything called ‘gun violence’ at all.

But let’s get back to what Ted Alcorn has to say.  He and his research group looked at 2,207 scholarly articles published between 1960 and 2014, and discovered that the number of yearly articles doubled between 1984 and 1990, then doubled again between 1990 and 1994-95, then doubled again by the early 2000s, and then plateaued until they increased again noticeably in 2013-14.  In other words, the volume of gun research as measured by the number of published articles has not specifically increased since the mid-’90s, except for what has recently happened, no doubt due to the fallout from Sandy Hook.

More problematic than the fact that the number of scholarly resources has been essentially unchanged for the last twenty years is that the general interest in gun violence research, as measured by the number of times that scholarly articles are cited in a general scholarly database, reached a high-watermark in 1988 and then declined more than 60 percent through 2012.  This corresponds with the fact that the number of active gun-violence researchers also plateaued in the late 1990s and has not increased ever since.

The problem facing gun research is not the absence of research funding per se. It’s that the absence of research dollars tends to discourage new researchers from entering the field.  And when all is said and done, advances in science have a funny way of growing because more people not only conduct that research in a particular field, but also share their research, critique each other’s research and, most of all, conduct more research.

I think the idea that manna from heaven will ever again appear for government-sponsored gun violence research is a non-starter at best, a pipe dream at worst. But I have an idea that I want to run up the flagpole about where to find money for this kind of research.  There’s a little foundation out there which happens to be sitting on $400 million bucks. They refer to what they do as ‘life-changing work.’ What could be more life-changing than saving the lives of 120,000 Americans each year who are killed and injured by guns? The outfit is run by Donna Shalala who gave out plenty of gun-violence research money when she headed HHS from 1993 to 2001. Shouldn’t Gun-sense Nation give her a call?

Obama Wants To Be A 'Private Sector Gun Grabber' When He Leaves Office

James Schlarmann   |   November 23, 2016   10:08 AM ET

More fake news can be found every day on The Political Garbage Chute.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The days in President Barack Hussein Obama's (D-Kenya) presidency are dwindling, and aides close to the first black president are saying he's been thinking long and hard about what he'll do once he leaves the White House. Some staffers this week told media outlets that one idea Obama has is to continue one of his most ambitious efforts as president but in the private sector. At an early morning press conference Wednesday morning, Obama made those intentions known to the public.


"You know," Obama told reporters in the White House press briefing room, "once you get a taste for disarming the public; it's really hard to quit."

Obama told the media he is mulling over whether or not he should become a "private sector gun grabber" once he leaves and alleged billionaire Donald J. Trump is sworn-in next January. The move, he said, would fit "right in line" with his "obvious and apparent" presidential goals. He said that "every right-winger and Sean Hannity viewer knows" he's been out to take away everyone's guns as president, and at first he was "deeply saddened" by the prospect of not being able to do so anymore.

"What's an anti-American puppet of George Soros supposed to do," Obama asked, "if he can't destroy America from within or at the very least confiscate every good, God-fearing, ammo-hoarding patriot's weapons cache?"

Feeling a heavy malaise, Obama says he confided in outgoing Vice President Joe Biden that he was feeling "a lot of ennui" over not being able to confiscate Americans' guns. That's when Biden told him to consider making a transition to the private sector. After thinking about it over a long weekend golfing, which one right-wing news site estimated cost taxpayers approximate $2.3 trillion dollars a hole, Obama decided Biden was "dead on" and he's begun putting together a non-government organization, or NGO, to do just that.

"I've seen what being a gun grabbing Kenyan socialist Sharia lover is like in the public sector," Obama said, "and now I want to see if I can bring those same traits to the private sector."

Obama's group will be called Organizing For Confiscation, and it will be lead by Obama, George Soros, Hillary Clinton, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg, former NBA player Mookie Blaylock, Beelzebub, and the ghost of Saul Alinsky. It will focus first, Obama said, on training Obama in the ways of the ninja. That way, the president said, he can "more easily sneak into people's homes and grab those guns."

"Let's be very clear here," Obama told reporters, "despite my best efforts, I was not successful in confiscating nearly as many guns as I had hoped. Frankly, I don't think I grabbed very many at all. I was just never able to get away with it, but I would have it if weren't for those darned, snooping right-wing conspiracy theorists. OFC will take my mission to disarm America so that the commie invasion can begin and run with it full steam, or I'll hand in my Sharia Socialism card."

The NRA could not be reached for comment.

What The NRA Wants (And What To Do About It)

  |   November 22, 2016    4:05 PM ET

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Shannon Watts   |   November 15, 2016    3:17 PM ET

Disappointed. Sad. Angry. Outraged. I have been pinned to the floor by a panoply of negative emotions after the shocking results of this year’s elections. So many women and activists had hoped to elect the first female president – a gun sense champion – to the White House.

But after two days of wallowing in disappointment, my husband pointed out to me that being despondent is a luxury too many Americans don’t have – including those who have been shot and killed. He reminded me that the gun violence prevention movement does not, and never will, hinge on the outcome of a single election.

He’s right. When I founded Moms Demand Action almost four years ago it was not because I thought we would soon elect a gun sense champion to the White House, but because 20 first graders and six educators had been gunned down in the sanctity of an elementary school. That day, I – along with millions of other moms and Americans – made a solemn vow to never again be silent on gun violence. And we won’t break that vow just because Donald Trump won an election.

Facing adversity is nothing new to anyone involved in this tough work. We face vitriol on a daily basis from gun extremists who have bought into the gun lobby’s lies that stronger gun laws somehow violate the Second Amendment.

That’s nonsense; the Supreme Court has already weighed in and said that gun rights come with responsibilities. And researchers have shown that common-sense laws like requiring background checks work: In states that have closed the loophole allowing private gun sales without a background check, we see significantly fewer gun-related deaths.

What’s more, nearly 90 percent of all Americans—including gun owners – support common-sense gun safety laws. That’s why, on Election Day, our movement scored significant victories: Voters in Nevada, Washington and California voted YES on life-saving gun safety initiatives. We paved the way for new gun safety laws in New Mexico by electing gun sense champions to the state legislature. We fired U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte for repeatedly voting against gun safety laws. And, we protected previous victories in Colorado and Oregon, helping gun sense champions win re-election.

Our grassroots movement has learned how to be the David to the National Rifle Association’s Goliath.

Thanks to our success at the state level, nearly half of all Americans now live in states that have closed loopholes in the criminal background check system. These are victories we can capitalize on and take to other states, despite a Trump administration.

Over the past several years, our grassroots movement has learned how to be the David to the National Rifle Association’s Goliath. The Trump administration’s relationship with NRA leaders will enable us to shine an even brighter spotlight on what the gun lobby stands for in front of all Americans—and what they see won’t be pretty. 

Now is the time to dig in and stand united against any attempt to dismantle life-saving gun laws. Together with Everytown for Gun Safety, Moms Demand Action has more than three million supporters and chapters in all 50 states.  We will ensure the president-elect and the extremist leadership of the NRA do not undermine our safety. 

With their champion newly elected to the White House, the NRA will almost certainly push to quickly enact its reckless agenda in Washington and in our statehouses. Moms Demand Action volunteers will not shrink from that challenge – we will keep fighting until our country truly is safe from gun violence in everyday life.

We will reach out to our friends and neighbors – from the suburbs to the cities to the countryside – and stand firm against  the new president’s (and the NRA’s) dangerous “guns everywhere” agenda.

Our movement has never been about one election—it’s about saving lives.

This fight is just beginning, and an army of angry mothers will be there every step of the way to fight the extremist and dangerous “guns everywhere” agenda of the NRA and president-elect Trump. 

The last few days have been tough, but we are tougher. Because nothing less than our children’s lives are at stake.

Mike Weisser   |   November 15, 2016    9:11 AM ET

Read More: gun violence, guns

Now that the dust has settled and the smoke cleared, Gun-sense Nation has to figure out how to move forward during the presidency of Donald Trump. Back when nobody realized how much Nate Silver’s predictions were nothing more than hot air on toast, there was almost a giddy-like atmosphere among gun violence prevention (GVP) advocates imagining an unthinkable political alignment of Hillary in the White House and a Chuck Schumer-led Senate on Capitol Hill.  Expanded background checks, banning assault rifles, scrapping PLCAA, anything was possible. No wonder Smith & Wesson lost nearly $300 million in market value over the last three days. Who needs to buy another gun now that the gun-grabbers have been banished for good?

Except they haven’t been banished at all.  Just because the 2nd Amendment gives Americans the Constitutional right to own a gun, doesn’t mean there’s any Constitutional requirement to buy a gun. So it’s back to the drawing board, this time with a sharpened understanding that social change, serious social change, profoundly serious social change is never a process that takes place overnight. The task is long, arduous and rife with unanticipated twists and turns of all kinds.  So if you came into this process because someone promised you a rose garden, you should have stayed home.

After all, what are we talking about when we use the term ‘gun violence?’  Most people define it by the number of victims killed (35,000+) or injured (75,000+) each year with guns. But it’s much more than that. Guns, owning guns and using guns represents a national culture in this country, one of the most powerful and deep-rooted cultural traditions that this country ever had. And I’m not just thinking about Kit Carson and Daniel Boone using their Kentucky long rifles to open the frontier, or General Patton saying that the M-1 Garand was the “greatest battle implement of all time,” or Clint sticking his 44-magnum in the bad guy’s face and saying, “Go ahead, make my day.” No other country celebrates Christmas by sticking a b-b gun under the Yule tree, no other country spends upwards of $6 billion each year on video games that let someone shoot someone else with a Glock. And of course this is the only country in the entire world which gives just about all its citizens free access to real guns.

And that’s exactly the point. Because there would be no gun violence, not a single death or injury, if there were no guns. So we can argue amongst ourselves about which regulation or which law will reduce gun violence a bit here or there. And I’m not trying to say or imply that new regulations are no better than no regulations at all. What I am saying is that really reducing gun violence will require a massive cultural change, and it’s not the kind of cultural change which GVP advocates blithely refer to when, for example, they throw up the ‘success’ of something like MADD.  

Because nobody in their right mind would ever argue that getting into a car drunk is a good thing. But plenty of Americans, probably a majority of Americans, now believe that owning a gun makes you safe. So changing this culture is not just changing how we think about guns, it’s changing how we think about why we need to have guns, and you don’t change culture by citing this statistic or that.

A solid piece of new research shows that 10 million gun owners have entered the gun market over the last 20 years. These people, and the folks who may be thinking about coming into the gun market perhaps represent a population whose views on gun culture are not yet firmly fixed. Gun-sense Nation needs to reach this audience and help create an alternate culture in which guns are neither necessary or even relevant to the real issues faced by people in their daily lives. And this task lies ahead.

America Is F**ked!

Rana Florida   |   November 14, 2016   11:14 AM ET


A week after the shocking election that brought Donald J. Trump to the White House and the pinnacle of world power, I am still getting messages from colleagues and friends asking when they will feel better. Or saying how surprised they are that they still feel this rotten. Many of my international friends are telling me how sorry they are for us Americans, and how worried. I too still feel that awful pit in my stomach.

For the first time in its history, America is on the wrong side of it. Instead of moving forward and growing as a nation, we are moving backwards and becoming smaller. Constitutional rights that were extended to women, such as the right to make their own reproductive decisions, will be in jeopardy when Trump begins appointing judges, and the NRA's narrow and retrograde interpretation of the Second Amendment will be etched in stone. America's greatness rested on its hospitality to immigrants, its diversity and openness to new people and new ideas. Trump's promise to build a wall around our borders turns back the clock 200 years.

Thanks to the nearly 50% of Americans who decided not to exercise their vote, the 1/4 of Americans who voted for Trump will now rein over the 75% of American's who didn't. I understand that those voters were mad at the "establishment"; I understand that many of them had had it with watching the 1% take home Christmas bonuses that were bigger than all that they'd earned in a lifetime of hard work, but in accepting Trump's rhetoric of resentment, they have shot themselves in the foot. Backwards-looking countries don't prosper. Misogyny and xenophobia and racism tamp down possibility; inclusion and openness invites growth.

Yes, both candidates were flawed. Rightly or wrongly, Hillary seemed like an entitled elitist to one set of voters; Trump like an intolerant, corrupt, prevaricating bigot. Some might say we got what we deserved.

But here's why those of us who didn't vote for Trump are still sick over it.

1. Wrong has become the new right. Americans have chosen a leader who openly express sexist, racist, and Islamophobic views. Children now think it's acceptable to spread that hate--just look at all the swastikas that have been painted on public walls, and the spate of attacks on hijab-wearing women. If the new first lady really does want to make the fight against bullying her cause, she needs to start by convincing her husband to apologize for his own many lapses.

2. Women. He calls them fat and nasty, he calls them "pieces of ass," says you have to "treat them like shit" and brags that his celebrity entitles him to "grab them by the pussy." How is this okay for the 52% of white women who voted for him? How is this okay for the 63% of white men who voted for him, 100% of whom had mothers, and most of whom have wives, daughters, sisters, and female friends. Ivanka, who is striving so hard to get a seat in the administration, claims her go-to issues are equal pay for equal work for women and paid maternity leave for working moms, both of which are great if she can make any progress. Perhaps she should start by protecting the most basic rights that women have already won, such as the right to make her own reproductive decisions, instead of leaving them up to a government and a court that is dominated by white men.

3. Immigration. America was and still is a land of immigrants. 43 percent of Silicon Valley companies founded in the last seven years had at least one immigrant founder. The C-suites of technology companies are full of them: Google's Sundar Pichai and Sergey Brin, Oracle's Safra Catz, Microsoft's Satya Nadella, to name just a few. Now our leadership threatens to deport 3 million immigrants immediately. International talent will still flow, but it will flow to other countries.

4. Health care. President Obama, was the first president to make affordable health insurance available to everyone. Trump vowed to repeal Obamacare and replace it, without any disruptions and while lowering prices for everyone. He hasn't explained how he proposes to do that, which makes everyone skeptical. In the meantime, Paul Ryan promises to abolish Medicare, by as early as 2017.

5. Right wing appointees. Trump promised to "drain the swamp" of Washington, but his core team is full of lobbyists, Wall Street insiders, fringe military types, and even the publisher of a notorious white nationalist publication. Stephen Bannon's Breitbart Report features a column by an avowed ethno-nationalist and a page chronicling "black crimes." The Supreme Court justices he has vowed to appoint, all of them pre-vetted by the right wing Heritage Foundation - will be appointed for life.

6. Duped on Taxes. A system which allowed Trump to forego paying millions of dollars in taxes desperately needs to be changed, but the working class voters that expected him to change it for their benefit were duped. The tax relief he promised will all go to the investment class, not wage earners like them.

7. Guns. The biggest threat to American safety isn't immigrants or ISIS, it's our easy access to guns. Trump has vowed to make it easier for anyone to own and carry military grade weapons.

No wonder my friends and I have been feeling so sick. The world's great beacon of liberty, tolerance, and discovery, has been dimmed. America is truly on a downward trajectory.

Mike Weisser   |   November 9, 2016    2:38 PM ET

As an unrepentant, yellow-dog Democrat, I wasn’t enamored of the election results from last night.  But the first thing that caught my eyes as the returns started to roll in was the drop-off in vote totals from four years’ before. Trump is going to end up with about the same number of votes as Romney got in 2012; Hillary’s total will probably be somewhere around 3.5 million less than what Barack pulled that same year. Trump will end up getting something around 59 million votes this year; he won because lots of Democratic voters didn’t show up, not because he was so strong at the polls.

The decline in both red and blue vote totals at the statewide levels was also evident in the two really surprise states, namely, Wisconsin and Michigan which, had they gone for Hillary, she still would not have awakened this morning with a larger Secret Service detail guarding her house, but the results in those two states probably would have been reflected in the count from Pennsylvania and other states as well. Trump’s totals from Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania will end up somewhere south of 7 million; Hillary won’t be far behind. Trump will end up pulling about 300,000 more in PA than came out and voted red in 2012, but in Michigan and Wisconsin the 2012-2016 totals will be the same.

Where I am going with these numbers is to try and judge the impact of the “gun vote” on the outcome as a whole.  Because from the very beginning of this campaign, guns and gun violence played a central role in how these two candidates presented themselves both to those who ended up voting as well as to the substantial numbers who didn’t bother to vote. Hillary kickstarted her primary battle against Bernie in a take-no-prisoners statement after the shooting at Umpqua Community College.  And Trump never stopped reminding his audiences that he was the NRA’s official candidate almost before his campaign began.  

Now the fact that the NRA ran television spots in gun-rich states like Georgia, Texas and Tennessee probably didn’t affect the results in those states at all.  A majority of residents in these states, wishful thinking to the contrary, will always vote for the GOP, and they don’t need the NRA to remind them that no matter who sits atop the national Democratic ticket, that individual represents a ‘threat’ to their guns.

But it’s in states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania where the value of the gun issue needs to be understood.  Because all three states have large, urban populations who are generally resistant to any appeal about guns, but they also have many rural residents, almost all of whom are gun owners and, in theory, might come out in force to protect their Second-Amendment ‘rights.’  

The NRA is already taking credit for getting their man into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but the overall and most statewide numbers belie their claim. What cooked the Clinton goose was not the turnout for Trump; it was the fact that she was unable to retain the voting strength that the Bomber demonstrated in 2008 and 2012.

Which brings me, of course, to the obvious question: given the fact that all three branches of the federal government are now or will shortly be red, what will be the future for GVP?  First of all, three states passed significant ballot initiatives: banning hi-cap mags in California, extending background checks to private sales in Nevada and temporarily blocking hi-risk individuals from access to firearms in Washington State.  

There are now 19 states that require background checks beyond the initial point of sale. There were six states that granted unrestricted concealed-carry licenses in the mid-80s; it took the NRA 25 years to extend shall-issue to just about all 50 states. So the issue is not where GVP stands today; it’s where it was ten years ago and where it will be ten years from now.  Remember ― if reducing gun violence was so easy, there wouldn’t have been anything that needed to be reduced.