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Posts tagged ‘National Rifle Association’

NRA Joins Lawsuit Over Snowden Phone Data.


In a continuing effort to protect the privacy interests of gun owners, the National Rifle Association filed a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on Friday in the National Security Agency spying case.

The brief  supports the American Civil Liberties Union’s request for reversal of a decision by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York that deemed lawful all of the domestic telephone data gathered by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

In December, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III issued a 53-page decision that upheld that the NSA’s data collection program, which accumulates virtually all Americans’ phone records, did not violate the Fourth Amendment prohibition against unlawful search and seizure.

In its friend of the court brief, the NRA continued to argue that NSA data collection violates freedom of association protection guaranteed under the First Amendment.

“The mass surveillance program could allow identification of NRA members, supporters, potential members, and other persons with whom the NRA communicates, potentially chilling their willingness to communicate with the NRA,” the brief states.

In his original ruling, Pauley found that the claimed chilling effect of the NSA programs was too speculative to be deemed a substantial intrusion on First Amendment rights.

“There is no evidence that the Government has used any of the bulk [telephone] metadata it collected for any purpose other than investigating and disrupting terrorist attacks,” he wrote.

The NRA’s second point of contention centers on its belief that the data collection programs could undermine the privacy protection of gun owners. Current federal law prohibits the creation of a registry of firearms or firearm owners.

According to the NRA, the government maintains that its surveillance program collects only metadata, and the content of communications remains private.

The NRA counters that argument with a recent study in which two graduate students at Stanford University collected telephone metadata on volunteers over a few months and discovered exactly how much private information they were able to glean.

“We found that phone metadata is unambiguously sensitive, even in a small population and over a short time window,” Jonathan Mayer and Patrick Mutchler wrote in their study.  “We were able to infer medical conditions, firearm ownership, and more, using solely phone metadata.”

On the specific issue of firearm ownership, the authors of the study determined that one of the volunteers likely was interested in firearms and specifically in AR-15 pattern rifles. The volunteer later confirmed that information to be true.

“This type of information is particularly sensitive at a time when some government officials at both the state and federal levels are showing increasing hostility toward individual gun ownership, and when interest in a particular type of firearm may bring an individual under close governmental scrutiny because of that firearm’s disfavored status,” the NRA wrote in a statement.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Joe Battaglia

Obama Uses IRS to Eliminate His Enemies.


President Obama
President Obama

“The power to tax involves the power to destroy,” the Supreme Court wrote in 1819, shortly after America began.

Now in 2013, President Barack Obama is launching a frightening attack on free speech, using one of the most-feared agencies in all the federal government: the Internal Revenue Service.

One of the most roundly condemned aspects of Richard Nixon’s malfeasance in office was his use of the IRS to target his political enemies with audits. If people shudder at Nixon’s abuses with the IRS, what Obama is doing should drive them to convulsions.

Obama seeks to silence dissenting voices with unprecedented new regulations to curtail political speech by nonprofit organizations. These new rules would help silence conservative organizations and Obama’s critics and raise serious First Amendment concerns, as these rules look like the federal provisions struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in its famous Citizens United case.

Congress allows for various types of organizations to organize as nonprofit, revenue from which is not subject to corporate federal income tax. For example, fundamentally charitable or educational nonprofits—such as churches—are 501(c)(3) organizations, contributions to which are also tax-deductible by the donors.

Some groups are 501(c)(5) organizations. These are political action committees (PACs), which endorse candidates for office and devote their resources to advancing or defeating certain candidates.

Then there are 501(c)(4) organizations. These are social welfare organizations, dedicated to advancing certain issues or viewpoints they believe promote “the common good and general welfare.” These nonprofits can devote much of their resources to political activity, so long as politics is not the group’s “primary purpose.”

It’s always been assumed that less than 50 percent would be devoted to pure politicking, but no one knows because the law does not specify. Also—conveniently—the tax code fails to define the term “political activity.”

On Nov. 26, the Treasury Department and IRS announced new regulations “regarding qualification requirements for tax-exemption as a social welfare organization,” that is, 501(c)(4) organizations. TheIRS then goes on to specify what sorts of activities will henceforth be regarded as political activity, including but not limited to:

  • Any message expressing approval/support or disapproval/opposition to any candidate for public office. For example, an ad saying, “Thank Senator Smith for supporting our troops.”
  • Within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary election, any mention by name of any candidate or showing his picture, even without expressing approval or disapproval.
  • Any money given by a 501(c)(4) to a 527 organization, which citizens may give, however much of their personal money they want to promote public issues they personally support.
  • Voter registration drives.
  • Voter guides that inform citizens of where politicians stand on various issues.
  • Any event within 60 days of an election at which a candidate makes an appearance.

The impact of such regulations would be far-reaching. Groups such as the National Rifle Association and its political affiliate, NRA-ILA, are 501(c)(4) organizations. Imagine if NRA-ILA could not spend much of its resources discussing issues and legislation or informing voters of where candidates stand on gun rights issues. Now imagine those restrictions imposed on the major organizations of every public issue in America.

Less than four years ago, in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law that made it a crime for organizations to speak about candidates within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary. The Obama administration claimed the authority to ban even books, if a 600-page book mentioned a candidate even once on its pages.

The Court held that these restrictions violated the First Amendment. Yet these new IRS rules closely track those invalidated provisions.

In some respects, these restrictions go even further than the ones struck down by the court. Previous restrictions only applied to candidates for federal office. The new IRS rules would also apply to every candidate for state and local elections. Thus, criticizing your county dog catcher could land your organization in hot water with the IRS, even if the dog catcher election is vitally relevant to the social welfare interests of your nonprofit group, such as a group called Citizens for Safe Dog Catching.

In our 2010 book, The Blueprint, we discussed how free speech is the essential lifeblood of public debate, empowering voters to make a thoughtful and well-considered choice at the ballot box. We also warned that Obama might create laws to silence his political opponents, using the same Chicago-style political tactics he knew from his days as an Illinois politician, like a couple rough-looking thugs built like brick walls who muscle their way around your storefront to send you a message that you’d better quiet down if you know what’s good for you and your business.

The Supreme Court restored free speech for average citizens in Citizens United. Shortly thereafter, President Obama demeaned his high office by denouncing the Supreme Court to the justices’ faces during the 2010 State of the Union address on national television before a joint session of Congress. Obama later promised to find ways to get around the Citizens United decision.

That is what the IRS is doing here—limiting how much groups can speak about Obama’s policies or promote alternative policies about health care, free markets, traditional values or national defense. Obama and his supporters can use the enormous platform of their public offices to promote whatever they want without limit. If the president gives a speech, the media will cover it.

But if a group of citizens wants to pool their resources to express an opposing viewpoint before an election, that group can lose its tax-exempt status. Unlike the law struck down in 2010, it will not be a federal felony.

But while its bite isn’t as deep, the reach is much broader. It serves to choke off funding and impair the ability of those groups to participate in the democratic process.

The solution to political speech you don’t like is to offer opposing speech; the cure for bad speech or wrong speech is more speech, not less. That free exchange of ideas is the blood flowing through the veins of a free society, so that voters can fully hear both sides. When you stop that flow, you stop the beating heart of democracy.

Source: CHARISMA NEWS.

KEN BLACKWELL AND KEN KLUKOWSKI

Ken Blackwell is senior fellow of family empowerment, and Ken Klukowski is director of the Center for Religious Liberty at Family Research Council. This article appeared on Breitbart.com on Dec. 2, 2013.

House Votes to Extend Ban on Undetectable Firearms.


Image: House Votes to Extend Ban on Undetectable Firearms

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill on Tuesday to extend for 10 years a ban against firearms that cannot be detected with metal detectors or X-ray scanners.

On a voice vote, the Republican-led House sent the measure to the Democratic-led Senate, which is expected to consider a tougher alternative before likely approving it.U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urged Congress last month to extend the ban, citing a proliferation of plastic guns made with 3-D printers.

While the House has agreed on little this year, contributing to one of the most unproductive and unpopular Congresses ever, it passed the bill with bipartisan support despite reservations by a number of Democrats that it does not go far enough.

Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York has proposed plugging “a loophole” in the ban by requiring that all firearms include at least four ounces of metal that cannot be removed.

Without such a provision, Schumer and others warn, the metal could be taken off the firearm, allowing it to avoid detection and be carried into a supposedly secure area.

Schumer does not have much time to make his case. The ban expires on Monday, the day the Senate returns from a two-week recess.

On that day, Democrats may try to quickly approve Schumer’s proposal with the unanimous consent of the Senate.

If that fails, as anticipated, the Senate is expected to give final approval to the House passed bill, clearing the way for President Barack Obama to sign it into law.

Democratic Representative Steve Israel of New York joined Republican Representative Howard Coble of North Carolina in drafting the House bill. Like Schumer, Israel prefers a stricter measure, but said at a minimum wants an extension of the ban.

“We now have enough momentum to pass an extension of the ban before December 9. But we don’t have enough momentum to pass a modernization of the ban before December 9,” Israel said.

“But once we pass this bill, we need to make sure bad guys can’t skirt the law,” said Israel, voicing confidence that the law will be strengthened. “It’s common sense.”

Representative Hal Rogers of Kentucky, a leading Republican, expressed concerns of his own, and said, “I’ll be looking to tighten up the process.”

Israel has proposed requiring that two major components for a handgun and three major components for a rifle be made of unremovable metal.

Earlier this year, the U.S. gun lobby helped defeat tougher gun control sought by Obama in wake of a massacre at an elementary school in Newtown, Conn.

Overall, the gun industry has not said much about the drive to extend the ban on undetectable guns, but backers believe fear of the industry is a reason why the House bill was not tougher.

Winnie Stachelberg, an executive director of the Center for American Politics, a liberal advocacy group, denounced the House bill as inadequate.

“We urge Congress to put public safety ahead of craven politics by enacting comprehensive legislation,” Stachelberg said.

Israel said the National Rifle Association, one of the most influential lobbying groups in Washington, had been essentially silent on the effort to renew the ban.

But the National Shooting Sports Foundation, a trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry, backed the extension in a letter to Congress.

“The current law has proven effective,” wrote Lawrence Keane, the foundation’s senior vice president and general counsel.

Keane said on Tuesday, however, that his group opposes proposals to toughen the ban, dismissing them as excessive and potentially harmful to the legal manufacturing of firearms.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

US Mulls Limits on Homemade Plastic Guns.


Lawmakers, divided over how to regulate home-made firearms, moved Tuesday to extend restrictions on guns that can slip past metal detectors into secure areas like passenger planes.

Some Republicans opposed to new gun-control measures nevertheless want to extend a decades-old law in order to prevent a lapse in a ban on weapons that can evade detection and pose nightmares for law enforcement.

But many Democrats want to go further to address the increasing concern of homemade plastic guns, whose production has been made possible by 3-D printing technology.

Debate about home-made guns took off earlier this year when a Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, posted its blueprints for a fully functional, 3D-printed firearm, a single-shot pistol made almost entirely out of hard polymer plastic.

The existing law, which bans firearms that have no metal, expires next week, and the House of Representatives on Tuesday approved by voice vote a 10-year extension.

“In 1988, when we passed the Undetectable Firearms Act, the notion of a 3-D printed plastic firearm slipped through metal detectors onto our planes and secure environments was a matter of science fiction,” said Democrat Steve Israel.

“The problem is that today it is a reality,” added the congressman, who has introduced legislation that expands the law to prohibit removing metal components of a firearm even if they are not essential to the weapon’s use.

Some Republicans have expressed concern that any tweaking of the law could be used to tighten other gun legislation down the road.

“The House bill is better than nothing, but it’s not good enough,” said Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer on Monday as he called for closing a loophole that allows “anyone to legally make a gun that could be rendered invisible by the easy removal of its metal part.”

Lawmakers will need to act quickly, something a divided Congress has difficulty doing. While the House is in session this week, the Senate does not return until December 9, the day the law expires.

The National Rifle Association has not taken a public position on the issue.

A smaller group, Gun Owners of America, argues against extending or updating the law, arguing that the blueprints have already been downloaded by hundreds of thousands of potential makers.

“That genie is out of the bottle,” Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the group, told AFP.

He said people who intend to wreak havoc with a firearm likely would not turn to such weapons or care about violating the plastic gun ban.

He also noted that existing law already makes it a crime to build a gun that is not in the traditional shape of a firearm, which means airport security will be able to see and recognize guns even if made of plastic.

The House move comes days before the one-year anniversary of the massacre at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults with a semi-automatic rifle.

© AFP 2013
Source: Newsmax.com

Survey: Virginians Back NRA, Except in D.C. Metro Area.


Most Virginians view the National Rifle Association favorably, according to a poll conducted for the gun lobby. But the opinions are radically different in the various parts of the state holding the only competitive gubernatorial race this year.

The poll of 800 voters likely to cast ballots in the upcoming race between Republican Ken Cuccinelli and Democrat Terry McAuliffe shows that overall, 30 percent “strongly favor” and 21 percent “somewhat favor” the NRA’s agenda, reports Politico.

McAuliffe and Cuccinelli have widely differing views on the gun issue, with Cuccinelli often touting his “A” rating from the NRA and McAuliffe speaking out against the NRA and in favor of gun control legislation.

The political action committee of the National Rifle Association has spent $466,000 on television and Internet ads highlighting McAuliffe-backed gun control measures, reports Roll Call.

Though Virginians generally favor the NRA, the poll shows a significant divide according to region, and in Northern Virginia — the Washington D.C. media market — the NRA survey showed that 46 percent of voters do not favor the NRA, while 43 percent do.

New York City Mayaor Michael Bloomberg‘s PAC has earmarked $1.1 million for attack ads that link Cuccinelli to the NRA. But they will only air in the D.C. area, not elsewhere in the state, where NRA support runs high.

On Saturday, during a forum in Richmond, McAuliffe mentioned his opposition to the NRA, saying he supports an assault weapons ban and expanding background checks.

Cuccinelli said he  opposes background checks at gun shows. “No one has ever brought in a single crime that would have been stopped in Virginia based on closing this so-called loophole,” said Cuccinelli.

The survey was performed by Republican pollsters InMessage.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Piers Morgan: Press ‘Quite Soft’ on Obama.


CNN’s Piers Morgan, who as a top tabloid newspaper editor in Britain for years had his reporters ask tough questions and write hard-hitting exposes, thinks the U.S. press has been too easy on the Obama administration.

“I would say actually they’ve been probably quite soft and could have gone harder. The financial crisis was inherited by the president, but he’s been there long enough to try to work it out himself. Unemployment’s still comfortably over 7 percent — really completely unacceptable,” said Morgan, 48.

Morgan — host of “Piers Morgan Live” — is the author of the just-released book “Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney,” published by Gallery Books.

Story continues below video.

“Issues like Benghazi have exposed some of the limitations of his leading from behind on foreign policy and a lack of attention to detail in protecting the American ambassadors and serviceman around the world. There needs to be more clarity from the president about what he really stands for, what he really wants to achieve.”

Morgan also says the United States is positioned to remain the great superpower it has been for years — but must now share the title and the responsibilities that come with it with other, fast-growing nations.

“I would never bet against America. America has been a great superpower and will continue to be a great superpower and one of the key players in the world. But unlike, say, 20 years ago, it’s not the only superpower in town,” Morgan told Newsmax TV.

“We have the emerging powers of China and India, Brazil — countries like this will get stronger economically and militarily, so America won’t be the only superpower out there.

“And with that comes a shared responsibility, which is good that America won’t have to be the sole global policeman that it’s had to be before. I’m sure that Americans will be relieved about that,” Morgan said.

“You’ve got to have a better-functioning political system. You can’t have this dysfunction in Washington that means that nothing ever gets done,” he said.

‘Ever since I’ve been on air at CNN in three years, it’s been one catastrophe and crisis after another down in D.C. and nothing ever seems to get resolved. Meanwhile, the national debt is $17 trillion, a third of which is owned by the Chinese.”

Morgan’s advice to lawmakers is to “stop the squabbling, come together and sort it out.”

He said the same solution applies to the gun debate, which has pitted gun advocates and the National Rifle Association against the Obama administration and lawmakers who want further firearms restrictions.

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“You have such incendiary, extreme positions on both sides but nothing ever gets resolved, and what you need is consensus,” he said.

“You need old-fashioned politicians that can get in a room and start pump-thumping each other and get stuff done that actually suits the American national interest.”

Morgan’s book — a memoir about his career as a newsman and interviewer of some of the world’s most powerful leaders, compelling newsmakers, and top celebrities — came about thanks to a detailed journal he kept after his start at CNN, where he replaced Larry King.

“[I wanted] to put people into my shoes, really, of anchoring a cable news show in America — and indeed around the world — on some of the biggest breaking-news nights that America’s seen in a very long time, whether it was the death of Osama bin Laden, the Arab Spring, the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, right up to the financial crisis and of course the horrendous mass shootings that America’s had.”

One of the more defining moments of Morgan’s time at CNN was his anti-gun stance in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.

But Morgan says he is not opposed to law-abiding citizens who carry firearms.

“There are already numerous restrictions on the kind of guns that Americans can have. My argument has not been against law-abiding Americans who want to have a handgun at home to protect themselves,” he said.

“My main issue has been with the proliferation of mass shootings in America in the last six, seven years. There are many more than there used to be, the scale of them is much higher than it used to be, the ferocity is much worse.

“Sandy Hook and Aurora were two of the worst mass shootings in American history and came within a few months, and to me, it’s unconscionable the way that America, this great superpower, a country that I love, full of people that I love, just turns a blind eye to this kind of atrocity, and the politicians in Washington simply do nothing about it to try to stop it from happening again.”

Morgan said former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stands a good chance of capturing the White House should she become the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

“She can be a very formidable candidate if she runs. I’m sure that she will. She’s very impressive,” he said.

“But, at the same time, if she runs on a ticket of eight years of Democratic rule where you still have unemployment at very high levels, many people suffering extreme financial hardship in America, a dysfunctional Washington, a confused foreign policy, then you’ve got an opportunity on the Republican side to win an election.”

If Republicans want to have a shot at the presidency, they must be able to stem the burgeoning civil war between the tea party and the moderates.

“Can they work out a consensus within themselves driving forward to take on the Democrats and actually win an election?” he said.

“Because, if they can’t, and they’re still split come the next election, and we’ll get a taste of this in the midterms, then I see no hope of success for Republicans. They’ve got to be united.”

Morgan said his book will give people a taste of the world’s most well-known names, both on- and off-camera.

As far as his favorite interview, it would be the Dalai Lama.

“There’s a man who’s 75, he looks 50, and one of the reasons may be he’s never taken drugs, never smoked a cigarette, never had an alcoholic drink, never had sex, doesn’t watch television, doesn’t watch movies, doesn’t listen to music,” Morgan said.

“He just meditates and prays and that’s about it, and he looks damn well on it. So, maybe the rest of us should take a lesson from the Dalai Lama: less self-abuse, more meditation.”

Morgan said he has a slightly off-kilter question he enjoys throwing at his nightly guests: How many times have they properly been in love?

“It often engenders a really good reaction. Oprah Winfrey revealed that she’d been properly in love twice . . . two people had broken her heart. And one of them, she actually kept his love letters in a safe to this very day, which was fascinating,” he said.

“But also, you can get a most surprising, if not ridiculous, response. So when I asked Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, when he was still ruling Iran, I said, how many times have you been properly in love, Mr. President? He looked at me and said, after a few seconds of contemplation, I am properly in love with the whole of humanity.”

But when the question of love is turned on him by Newsmax, the twice-married Morgan isn’t quite as forthright.

“Everyone asks me that question, and like a good British gentleman, I always tap-dance the answer away,” he demurred.

“They know who they are, but I don’t really want to embarrass, perhaps, some of the ladies in my past who maybe thought they were one, but weren’t.”

Editor’s Note: Get Piers Morgan’s “Shooting Straight: Guns, Gays, God, and George Clooney” from Amazon — Click Here.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann and Kathleen Walter

Kerry Signs UN Arms Trade Treaty, Says Won’t Harm US Rights.


The United States signed a U.N. Arms Trade Treaty regulating the $70 billion global trade in conventional arms on Wednesday, and the Obama administration sought to allay fears of the powerful U.S. gun lobby, which says the pact would violate the constitutional rights of Americans.

The treaty, which relates only to cross-border trade and aims to keep weapons out of the hands of human-rights abusers and criminals, still requires ratification by the U.S. Senate, and has been attacked by the influential gun rights group the National Rifle Association.

Among the NRA’s arguments against the treaty are that it undermines U.S. sovereignty and that it disregards the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to bear arms.

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The United States, the world’s No. 1 arms exporter, became the 91st country to sign when Secretary of State John Kerry put pen to paper on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations.

“It’s significant that the United States, which accounts for about 80 percent of the world’s export in arms, has signed,” Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told a news conference.

Another 16 nations signed on Wednesday, raising the total to 107, and two more countries ratified the treaty, raising that number to six, Bishop said. Fifty countries need to ratify the treaty for it to enter into force.

“This treaty will not diminish anyone’s freedom. In fact, the treaty recognizes the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes,” Kerry said after signing it.

“Make no mistake, we would never think about supporting a treaty that is inconsistent with the rights of Americans, the rights of American citizens to be able to exercise their guaranteed rights under our constitution,” he said.

Arms control activists and rights groups say one person dies every minute as a result of armed violence, and that the treaty is needed to halt the uncontrolled flow of arms and ammunition that they say fuels wars, atrocities and rights abuses.

The Arms Trade Treaty aims to set standards for all cross-border transfers of conventional weapons, ranging from small firearms to tanks and attack helicopters. It would create binding requirements for states to review cross-border contracts to ensure that weapons will not be used in human-rights abuses, terrorism, violations of humanitarian law or organized crime.

The NRA vowed to oppose ratification in the Senate, calling the treaty a threat to individual firearm ownership.

“These are blatant attacks on the constitutional rights and liberties of every law-abiding American. The NRA will continue to fight this assault on our fundamental freedom,” said Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action.

The U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs says the treaty does not “interfere with the domestic arms trade and the way a country regulates civilian possession.”

The 193-nation U.N. General Assembly approved the treaty on April 2 by a vote of 154-3. Russia, China, India and 20 other countries abstained.

Rights group Amnesty International USA said it hoped the decision by the United States to sign the treaty would send a signal to Moscow, Beijing and the NRA on the commitment of President Barack Obama’s administration to the issue.

“The Obama administration is politically committed to ending the unscrupulous trade in deadly weapons used by dictators, war lords and criminal gangs to commit atrocities,” said Amnesty International USA deputy executive director, Frank Jannuzi.

Aid group Oxfam welcomed the U.S. signing and called on Washington to live up to the spirit of the treaty by not transferring weapons to countries where there is a risk of rights abuses, such as in the Syrian civil war.

The White House pledged in June to provide military aid to rebels in Syria. The Syrian Coalition of opposition groups said this month that lethal assistance had been received from the United States.

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Kerry has said “many items” are reaching the rebels, but declined to say what military items were sent.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Secretary of State Kerry to Sign Arms Trade Treaty.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a move that puts the Obama administration at odds with the powerful American gun lobby, will sign the U.N. Arms Trade Treaty regulating the $70 billion international conventional arms business, diplomats said on Tuesday.

A senior State Department official said President Barack Obama’s administration would notify the U.S. Senate on Tuesday and Kerry would sign the treaty on Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Obama gave a speech to the assembly on Tuesday that focused on Syria, Iran and other Middle East hot spots.

The arms treaty, which requires ratification by the Senate and has been attacked by America’s pro-gun National Rifle Association, would help Western countries press to curtail Russian arms sales to Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad‘s government has been accused of widespread abuses in more than two years of civil war.

Amnesty International Secretary General Salil Shetty called Kerry’s decision “a milestone towards ending the flow of conventional arms that fuel atrocities and abuse.”

The United States and 86 other signatory nations “must implement the treaty and bring to an end the supply of weapons to countries where they would be used to commit or facilitate genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or other serious human rights violations,” Shetty said in a statement.

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria, whose country has been repeatedly attacked by a cross-border Islamic jihadist militant group called Boko Haram, told the United Nations such rebellions are “sustained by unfettered access by non-state actors to illicit smart arms and light weapons.”

“For us in Africa these are the weapons of mass destruction,” he said.

The U.N. General Assembly adopted the treaty on April 2 by a vote of 154 for, including the United States, three against, and 23 abstentions. The no votes were cast by Iran, North Korea and Syria, U.N. records showed.

 

WAY TO PRESSURE RUSSIA ON SYRIA

The NRA, which has opposed the treaty from the start, called the April vote a sad day for the United States, the world’s No. 1 arms exporter.

Among the NRA’s arguments against the treaty are that it undermines American sovereignty and disregards the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees citizens the right to bear arms.

The senior State Department official rejected the NRA’s characterization of the treaty, saying the pact’s target is “illicit trade in conventional weapons that benefits terrorists and rogue agents.”

“The treaty recognizes and protects the freedom of both individuals and states to obtain, possess and use arms for legitimate purposes,” said the official.

“It merely helps other countries create and enforce the kind of strict national export controls the United States has had in place for decades, which haven’t diminished one iota the ability of Americans to enjoy their rights under our Constitution.”

The U.N. Office for Disarmament Affairs has said the treaty would not “interfere with the domestic arms trade and the way a country regulates civilian possession.”

“It will prevent human rights abusers and violators of the law of war from being supplied with arms. And it will help keep warlords, pirates, and gangs from acquiring these deadly tools,” the U.N. office said on its website.

Frank Januzzi, deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA, called the move “a very significant win for 20 years of human rights activism” by his organization and by Oxfam International, a confederation of groups focused on poverty and injustice.

Januzzi said the treaty could be applied to the conflict in Syria, making arm sales to the government illegal under international law. Russia, Syria’s main arms supplier, and China abstained in the April U.N. vote and have not signed the pact.

“This will increase the pressure on Russia to sign. It will increase the pressure on China as well,” he said in a telephone interview.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com

NRA Holding Raffle for Guns That Obama Wants to Ban.


The National Rifle Association is giving its supporters a chance to win a host of pricey firearms through a month-long online “banned-guns” raffle.

The group says it is raffling off “fantastic guns that Obama, Biden, Feinstein and Bloomberg want to ban.”

The guns currently are on the market, but likely would be unavailable if any of the gun-control laws proposed by lawmakers in Washington are passed.

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The NRA has held raffles before, spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told Newmax.

This was the “first time that it has been branded a ‘banned-guns raffle,’ but definitely not the first time we have given away these types of rifles,” he said.

“This is something our members look forward to,” Arulanandam said, noting that millions of people have participated in the past. “I think there are people outside of the NRA family who also will be interested.”

Arulanandam said sweepstakes and raffles are conducted on an ad hoc basis, not necessarily annually.

The raffle’s timing is challenging in the wake of last week’s mass shooting at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. — which left 12 victims dead and has given renewed attention to the national debate over gun violence — but the event has been planned for months and is featured in the current issue of the NRA’s magazine.

Proceeds go “to support the ongoing efforts to promote gun-safety education and preserve our Second Amendment freedom and hunting heritage,” Arunlanandam said.

Among the firearms being raffled:

Entrants may register online for up to 12 raffle tickets per person, per day. A suggested contribution is $5 per ticket, although no contribution is required for entry.

Entry deadline is 11:59 p.m. Oct. 21. Contact the NRA for more information.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Andrea Billups

Wayne LaPierre: Navy Yard Shooting Result of Not Enough Security.


Image: Wayne LaPierre: Navy Yard Shooting Result of Not Enough Security

By Greg Richter

The Navy Yard shooting this past week that left 12 victims dead is the result of inadequate security and doesn’t point to a need for tougher gun laws, says the National Rifle Association‘s Wayne LaPierre.

“In a post 9/11 world, a naval base within miles of Congress, the White House” was left largely left unprotected, even though it is a “high-value terrorist target,” LaPierre said on NBC’sMeet the Press” on Sunday.

LaPierre said his organization is calling for layers of security around U.S. military bases. Though military personnel are trained in firearms, “they’re largely disarmed on our military bases,” he said.
“When the good guys with guns got there, it stopped,” LaPierre said.

People with mental problems, such as Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis, need to be committed to mental health facilities rather than be allowed to walk the streets, he said.

“I’ve been into this whole [background] check business for 20-some years,” LaPierre said. “I’ve said the system is broken for 20 years and nobody listens.”

The NRA supported gun-check laws because it thought mental records and criminal records would be in the national instant check system, he said.

“If we leave these homicidal maniacs on the street, they don’t obey the law, they could care less about it, they’re going to kill,” LaPierre said. “It’s practically like a plane going down the beach with a sign behind it saying, ‘I’m dangerous.’ And we leave them on the streets.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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