Betsy DeVos in the days following the tragic Marjory Stoneman Douglas school shooting was directed by President Donald Trump to create a commission to find ways to end school gun violence, especially massacres like the one in Florida. The Education Secretary took her time assembling the committee and even longer to have the first meeting.
Little, if anything appears to have been accomplished. The only members are four Trump Cabinet Secretaries. There are no Democrats, experts, or students own the committee. And there have been many school shootings since Parkland.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee DeVos Tuesday morning revealed the huge mistake she’s made, thanks to questioning by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.
Sen. Leahy reminded DeVos that “one day after the commission met last month, another ten students and teachers were killed in Santa Fe, Texas.”
“Will your commission look at the role of fire arms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?” Sen. Leahy asked directly.
“Thanks Senator for that question,” DeVos replied, which she tends to do when there’s a question she doesn’t want to answer. Doing so uses up time.
“It is an honor to serve and lead this commission,” DeVos continued, stalling. “We are focused on the 20-some provisions –” DeVos continued, trying to eat up time without actually answering the Vermont Senator’s question.
Interjecting, Leahy said: “I’ve tried to give you a question that could be answered yes or no.”
He asked the question again: “Will your commission look at the role of fire arms as it relates to gun violence in our schools?”
And he finally got his answer.
“That is not part of the commission’s charge, per se,” DeVos replied.
“I see,” Leahy responded. “So, you’re studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns.”
DeVos tried to reframe his remarks.
“We’re actually studying school safety and how we can ensure our students are safe at school,” she claimed, offering a condescending smile, and ignoring the fact that the commission was created in direct response to the Parkland shooting massacre.
Leahy continued his questioning, getting more pushback and refusal to give straight answers.
“Do you believe an 18-year old high school student should be able to walk into a store and minutes later come out with an AR-15 style gun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition?” he asked.
“I believe that’s very much a matter for debate,” DeVos replied, despite being charged with keeping school students safe.
After more back and forth Sen. Leahy summed up.
“So we’ll look at gun violence but not look at guns. An interesting concept,” he concluded.
Sen. Leahy: “I see…So, you’re studying gun violence but not considering the role of guns.” pic.twitter.com/vKMnMaduuf
— CSPAN (@cspan) June 5, 2018
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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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