On October 29th, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing chaired by Sen. Dick Durbin titled, "'Stand Your Ground Laws': Civil Rights and Public Safety Implications of the Expanded Use of Deadly Force." Present were several witnesses who attacked not only SYG laws, but also the Right-to-Carry, and even the American jury system. An overarching theme of the testimony alluded that Americans are too prejudiced to be trusted to exercise their right to self-defense. Thankfully, there were some witnesses who stood on the side of freedom and defended the right to self-defense against the divisive and inaccurate attacks, and made the case that laws protecting this right are sound public policy.
The first witness, Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-Ohio), offered a full-throated attack on the right, decrying SYG laws as "unjust and inherently biased." Fudge also accused law enforcement of racial bias in administering such laws, stating, "[t]he enforcement of stand your ground laws too often rely on the decisions of those with cultural biases on when a person's life is in danger." Rep. Luis Guitierrez (D-Ill.) followed Fudge's lead, claiming that, SYG laws, "exacerbate the mistrust of police of a minority community." Guitierrez went on to mischaracterize SYG laws as "shoot first" laws and criticized "the gun lobby" for trying to make gun ownership for self-defense "socially and legally acceptable."
Firearm-related deaths among children have decreased since the mid-1990s, but new research heralded by gun control supporters claims the opposite. A research abstract entitled United States Childhood Gun-Violence – Disturbing Trends, presented during the American Academy of Pediatrics National Conference & Exhibitions by physicians Arin L. Madenci and Christopher B. Weldon, claims that from 1997 to 2009, in-hospital deaths of children resulting from gunshot wounds increased nearly 60 percent, and hospitalizations of children for gunshot wounds increased 80 percent.
Predictably, gun control advocates and their allies in the media have taken the researchers' claims as the gospel. With its usual degree of precision, MSNBC reported that the "[n]umber of American children who have died from guns has spiked 60% in a decade."
The study in question uses data from several editions of the Kids' Inpatient Database (KID), which contains information on only pediatric hospitalizations. However, data reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that firearm-related deaths among persons aged 0-14 years actually decreased 39 percent from 1997 to 2009, and decreased 45 percent if the trend is carried through 2010, the most recent year for which data are available.
Voters' opinions of the NRA may partially explain why the race for governor of Virginia is tightening. A poll conducted for the NRA by ONMessage Inc., found that those Virginians who favor the NRA outnumber its opponents by 51% to 38%. A slight majority (46% to 43%) oppose NRA in Virginia's Washington, D.C., suburbs, but "outside the D.C. media market," NRA's supporters outnumber its opponents by 19 percentage points.
The poll's findings may be significant, because the two leading candidates in the race--Ken Cuccinelli, the state's Republican Attorney General, and Terry McAuliffe, a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee and campaign operative for President Bill Clinton and then-Senator Hillary Clinton--have radically different views on gun control.
McAuliffe, rated an "F" by NRA-PVF, supports: making it a crime to transfer privately-owned firearms between many family and friends; a ban on commonly owned firearms, including the nation's most commonly purchased firearm, the AR-15; and a ban on standard-capacity magazines for handguns and rifles most commonly owned for defensive purposes.
Jennifer Fearing is the California state director for The Humane Society of the United States. She is very well educated, having received a master's degree in public policy from Harvard and a bachelor's degree in economics and political science from the University of California, Davis. She serves as a lobbyist for HSUS and has an impressive résumé, with years of experience in her field. She's a busy woman.
As governor of California, Jerry Brown is the state's highest-ranking elected official. Obviously, he has a very long list of duties and obligations to fulfill. He signs bills into law. He's a busy man. As such, one might assume that he has precious little time for the necessary, but pedestrian task of walking his corgi, "Sutter Brown." And, that assumption would be correct. Not to worry, though, because Jennifer Fearing does have time--or, more precisely, has made time--to regularly perform this doggie-duty for the presumably grateful governor. Furthermore, she does so for "free."
The cozy arrangement--combined with the fact that, during this year's legislative session, Fearing has managed the enviable feat of getting six-out-of-six bills signed by the governor, including a bill to outlaw lead ammunition for hunting--has many wondering if "the tail is wagging the dog."
Thanks to your efforts, Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.) and Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), sent a letter to President Obama opposing the ratification of the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty. This letter joins the bipartisan efforts of 50 senators and 181 members of the House of Representatives. The U.N. Arms Trade Treaty poses a clear threat to Second Amendment rights because of the inclusion of "small arms and light weapons," which includes firearms owned by law-abiding American citizens. This treaty also sets the stage for a national gun registry which could be made available to other nations.
Please continue to voice your support for our constitutional freedoms by letting your Senators know that the international gun grabbing United Nations will not be allowed to infringe on our Sovereignty and Second Amendment. You can find contact information for your U.S. Senators by using the "Write Your Representatives" tool at www.NRAILA.org. You may also contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.