State Official in Charge Now Running for Governor
Florida’s GOP agriculture commissioner failed to conduct background checks for concealed carry permits for over a year because his staff was unable to log into the required database.
The Tampa Bay Times reported Friday that a report from the Florida inspector general found that the office of Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam — a self-described “Proud NRA sellout” — did not conduct the background checks from February 2016 to March 2017. As the report noted, that time period coincided with both an “historic spike” in concealed carry permits and the Orlando Pulse massacre of June 2016.
“The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system,” the Times‘ report noted based on the IG report. “The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.”
“There were 134,000 requests for permits in the fiscal year ending in June 2015,” the report continued. “The next 12 months broke a record, 245,000 applications, which was topped again in 2017 when the department received 275,000 applications.”
The previously-undisclosed IG report noted that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System — a nationwide database that cross-references applicants’ records in other states — is “extremely important” because it ensures that people applying for concealed carry permits are legally qualified to own concealed weapons. Concealed carry licenses “may have been issued to potentially ineligible individuals” during the 13 months the problem went undetected, and the report noted the information “could cause an embarrassment to the agency” if it were ever revealed.
The Times noted that Commissioner Putnam “has made it a priority to streamline the system for requesting concealed weapons permits since he was elected in 2010.” He celebrated the state’s millionth concealed weapon permit in 2012 and bragged that the length of the process went down from 35 days to a mere 12 days during his tenure.
In July 2017, just a few months after the database login issue was reportedly fixed, Putnam tweeted in response to accusations that he was a pawn of the NRA, claiming he was “proud” of the hashtagged #NRASellout moniker and inviting his supporters to join him in labeling themselves as such.
Putnam is currently in the running to be Florida’s next governor.
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4 Dead and 4 Injured With 2 ‘Shot in the Back of the Head’ in Second Chicago Mass Shooting in Four Days
Four people were shot to death and another four people were injured in the second mass shooting in Chicago in four days. Two of the injured were “shot in the back of the head,” according to WTTW.
Citing police, the report says “shots were fired following an argument. The shooting occurred at roughly 5:42 a.m. and four victims were pronounced dead at the scene.”
“This is the second mass shooting Chicago has seen in the last four days” ABC affiliate WLS adds. “A 29-year-old mother of three was killed in a Chatham shooting that left nine others hurt on Saturday morning.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot “blamed illegal guns for the mass shooting, and said the city needs federal help to help stem the flow of violence. Lightfoot said the White House reached out early Tuesday to offer assistance.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive there have been 275 mass shootings this year. 19,920 people have been killed by guns this year, including by suicide.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
‘Guns Apocalypse’: Legal Experts Deliver Warnings After Supreme Court Decides to Take Up Big Second Amendment Case
Could Make It ‘Easier to Have a Gun Than a Car’
Legal experts are issuing warnings after the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will take up a major Second Amendment case, its first in a decade – and warning of a “guns apocalypse” given the extremely conservative makeup of the Court.
“This case is likely to pave the way to the Supreme Court declaring a constitutional right to concealed public carry, overriding many state and local restrictions on the ability to bear concealed arms in public,” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes.
In theory what that might mean is not only an explosion of people carrying guns, but people carrying guns that you cannot see – until it’s too late. It quite literally is the Republican Party’s dream.
Vox’s Ian Millhiser warns “The Supreme Court guns apocalypse is now upon us.”
The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett. Millhiser says the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case, which would come in about a year from now, “could transform the judiciary’s understanding of the Second Amendment and lay waste to many of the nation’s gun laws.”
In short, he says, it “could make the NRA’s dreams come true.”
The case, as Millhiser describes it, focuses on a 108-year old New York State law that requires anyone who wants a gun to obtain a permit, and to show “proper cause,” in other words, to prove they have a need for it. Someone “who merely wants to carry a gun, because of a general belief that it would be useful if they are ever the victim of a violent crime, cannot obtain a license.”
The Second Amendment has just 27 words: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The 6-3 “Trump Court” is more than likely to strike down the New York law.
“Indeed,” Millhiser writes, “Corlett could potentially dismantle more than a decade of judicial decisions interpreting the Second Amendment, imposing prohibitive limits on lawmakers’ ability to reduce gun violence.”
To paraphrase Oprah, “And you get a gun, and you get a gun, and you get a gun.”
Here’s what some other legal experts are saying:
Former DOJ prosecutor:
Get ready to see exactly what a 6-3 Republican stacked supreme court means in this case that will decide whether or not people have a personal right to carry a concealed weapon in the city while walking around.https://t.co/dHqdA4rWDY
— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) April 26, 2021
Law professor, Georgia State Law:
I have a bad feeling there’s going to be some truly atrocious 14th Amendment originalism about gun ownership and Reconstruction that will irk me for the next year.
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) April 26, 2021
Former US Attorney, now MSNBC/NBC Legal analyst and Law Professor:
Given the views of Trump’s justices, this case likely furthers the jurisprudence of making it easier to have a gun than a car, with no training, in an environment where mass shootings frequently take lives. So, not exactly the well regulated militia the 2nd Amendment envisions. https://t.co/4cpPJ286xp
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 26, 2021
Slate’s Stern (quoted above), author of “American Justice 2019: The Roberts Court Arrives”:
Just last month, the conservative Judge Jay Bybee penned an extraordinary 127-page opinion canvassing the history of firearm laws and concluding that there is plainly no constitutional rights to public carry. Do not expect his view to prevail at SCOTUS. https://t.co/SuPl6w2tj3
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 26, 2021
Attorney, politics and law reporter at NY’s Fox5:
Next SCOTUS term could very well include major guns, abortion, and affirmative action cases that will end with decisions revealing the true legacy of Trump’s four years in office https://t.co/yPH4FvjEKR
— Mike Sacks (@MikeSacksEsq) April 26, 2021
NRA Snuffs Out Background Checks Bill as a ‘Non-Starter’ – and Falsely Claims Its ‘5 Million’ Members Agree
On the same day a group dedicated to protecting children from gun violence released a difficult-to-watch viral video, the top gun lobby group issued a statement insisting universal background checks legislation is a “non-starter.” The NRA also falsely claimed its “5 million members” oppose background checks too.
“This missive is a non-starter with the NRA and our 5 million members because it burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals,” Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA’s activist arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, said, according to Politico.
The “missive” is a draft of a gun background check proposal the White House has begun circulating among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
While House Democrats have sent several gun control and background check bills to the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has totally deferred to President Trump, as if he were the Senate Majority Leader. In fact, McConnell says he will not even consider any legislation until President Trump gives it his blessing.
Despite that President Trump more than a month ago promised America he would sign a background check bill, as usual he caved when the NRA came calling. He then started claiming – falsely – that mental health, not easy access to guns, is the real problem.
The NRA has the exact same position, as they noted today.
Meanwhile, polls show that “83 percent of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of all firearms, including 72 percent of all NRA members.”
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