By Matt Vasilobambro
The HuffPo (3/2/18)
In the two weeks since the Florida school massacre, state lawmakers around the country have introduced bills to ban bump stocks, ban assault weapons, and expand background checks — and also to arm teachers, lighten penalties for carrying without a permit, and waive handgun permit fees.
If history foretells, the gun-rights bills will have a better chance at success. In the years since Sandy Hook, when 26 were slain in 2012, states have enacted nearly 600 new gun laws, according to data compiled separately by the National Rifle Association and the Giffords Law Center to Reduce Gun Violence.
Nearly two-thirds of those were backed by the NRA.
It is “indisputably true” that there have been far more new laws that loosen gun restrictions than tighten them, said Michael Hammond, the legislative counsel at Gun Owners of America, a Virginia-based “no compromise” gun lobbying organization. The way a state reacts to mass shootings depends on who controls its legislature, he said. And in the case of the states that expanded access to firearms, most were controlled by Republicans.
Two-thirds of Americans now support stricter gun control laws, polls have found. Further, nearly 90 percent of Americans support background checks for gun purchases.
“If you are in favor of the Second Amendment, grow up with guns, are comfortable with guns, don’t want to see kids turned into sitting ducks, you’re more likely to say the solution is more guns,” Hammond said.
By the NRA’s count, governors since 2013 have enacted 382 “pro-gun” bills — many widely expanding access to firearms.
Governors in Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas and Texas, signed bills that would allow people with concealed carry licenses to bring guns onto college campuses, joining seven other states with similar laws.
New laws in at least five states — Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia — allow gun owners to carry loaded firearms without a permit or training. So-called permitless carry laws now are in effect in more than 10 states.
After the latest massacre in Florida, Indiana lawmakers are close to making their state the next that allows people to carry guns on church grounds, even if there is a school on church property. Jack Sandlin, the Republican state senator who wrote the bill, said it’s “common sense” to want to pass this kind of legislation after mass shootings.
“People want to know how to protect themselves and protect their families,” Sandlin said. Before being elected to public office, he spent 35 years in law enforcement.
Successes in Gun Control
Also in the past five years, 210 “gun safety laws” were enacted in 45 states, according to the Giffords Law Center, a nonprofit named after former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat who survived an assassination attempt in 2011.
That’s far fewer than the number backed by the NRA, but advocates for restricting access to firearms don’t see things that way. Comparing the number of laws that expanded gun access to the number of laws that tightened restrictions on guns is “a false paradigm,” said Dan Gross, the former president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. …
‘Change Is Coming,’ Parkland Student-Turned-Activist Says
By Brian Amaral
On Point/WBUR (2/26/18)
Students at Marjory Douglas Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida are set to return to school after a gunman killed 17 of their classmates and staff.
Nothing will be the same again for the survivors of America’s latest school shooting.
“I will never be satisfied until every single person that is supported by the NRA or the gun lobby or any lobby that promotes the endangerment of the American public and our democracy, until those elected officials are out of office,” David Hogg, a 17-year-old senior and survivor of the shooting, told On Point Monday on our latest show about the shooting.
Hogg and Michelle Lapidot, a 15-year-old freshman, joined us to talk about how they’re continuing to push for change after the shooting.
“It’s almost like Marco Rubio is a professional dancer because he’s amazing at sidestepping questions. If you noticed when we asked him about the NRA and whether or not he would take donations… he would not give us a simple yes or no answer, even though we asked him multiple times.
Gun politics in the past few years have seemed to hit the same impasse: After every massacre, calls for change on gun control, and then resistance from those who argue that cracking down on law-abiding gun owners will do nothing to stop criminals and madmen.
Change is coming
Students like Hogg and Lapidot are trying to break that pattern.
“I want people to know that change is coming and you can either be on the right side or the wrong side of history,” Hogg said. “But if the past is any given as to what the right side of history is, it’s the side that agrees with people, and the side that makes people come together and learn to love each other, not the side that hates.”
Here are some more highlights from our conversation, hosted by Jane Clayson:
During the shooting, David interviewed some of his classmates:
David: “It was absolutely horrifying to have to interview my friends, but I knew that if I died there and our souls were left behind spattered across their classroom in our own blood, hopefully some of these congressmen would see, essentially, the writing on the wall. You look back at history and realize what what really happened here, and realize maybe if we died hope their voices unlike our souls would carry on and hopefully echoed through the halls of Congress and across the nation.
The Hate Report: Gaming App Has 173 Groups That Glorify School Shooters
By Will Carless & Aaron Sankin
Reveal?Hate Report (3/2/18)
In this week’s roundup: A prominent gaming community is filled with groups glorifying school shooters and neo-Nazis.
One of the world’s largest online gaming platforms has a thriving community dedicated to glorifying and discussing school shootings. That’s despite clear rules barring “inappropriate or offensive content” on the platform, Steam.
As of Wednesday morning, we counted 173 Steam groups that blatantly venerate past school shooters.
For example, this group paints a sympathetic picture of school shooters as victims of bullying. …