"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."
In August, Seattle’s city council unanimously passed the “gun violence tax” that would charge an extra $25 for every gun purchase, and five cents for every bullet.
Reuters reports that several pro-Second Amendment groups filed an injunction, alleging the tax violated Washington state’s “law that bars municipalities from creating their own gun regulations.”
But Judge Palmer Robinson ruled against the injunction on Tuesday, saying the “gun violence tax” was a “lawful exercise of Seattle’s taxing authority.”
According to The Blaze, Tim Burgess, Seattle city council president, said:
“Judge Robinson saw through the NRA’s distorted efforts to put gun industry profits ahead of public safety.”
Aaron Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation countered:
“We are going to fight this vigorously in defense of a state preemption law that has served Washington citizens well for more than three decades.”
Speaking about the tax on Fox News, Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson, made a salient comparison:
“Even from an epidemiological standpoint, it doesn’t make sense. Consider car accidents, which kill about three times more people than gun murders do. Would it make sense to increase the tax on car sales?… of course not. You look at the populations that are most likely to cause car accidents.”
Carlson then pointedly said what he believes this is all about:
“This is not actually an answer to gun violence. It’s a way of disarming law-abiding citizens.”
In April 2012, Cook County, Illinois, which contains the city of Chicago, enacted a similar tax on firearms.
According to City-Data, between 2009 – 2012, homicides in Chicago averaged 455 annually. In 2013, when the tax went into effect, there were 414 homicides in Chicago, a relatively significant decrease.
In 2014 and 2015, however, there were 435 and 465 murders respectively, averaging 450, according to The Chicago Tribune.
As of the end of 2015, Cook County’s gun violence tax seems to have had little effect on violence prevention.
Let’s put aside that the “gun violence tax” may be unconstitutional, since, as famously argued by Justice Marshall, “the power to tax is the power to destroy.”
An NRO chart makes one thing clear: While the gun homicide rate is down 49% since 1993, the number of guns in private hands has increased by 62%.
Perhaps if a citizen gets shot in a “gun-free zone,” the city of Seattle should be sued for false advertising********************
A law in Georgia is allowing for hundreds of people who were barred from buying firearms to slip around background checks, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. According to Georgia law, people who are involuntarily committed for mental health treatment are required to have their records of commitment erased from the National Instant Background Check System after five years. This includes patients who were committed for inpatient treatment, found incompetent to handle their own affairs, or found guilty of a crime but mentally ill; under federal law, however, such people are technically not supposed to possess firearms.
"We're pulling them back after five years," said GBI Director Vernon Keenan, whose agency provides the commitment records to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System. "That's a legal dilemma [because] that person is still prohibited from possession or buying firearms."
The names come off the national list without any review by a doctor or a court. Although these are federal records, participation in the program by each state is voluntary and subject to conditions the state may impose. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Georgia is the only state that automatically deletes involuntary commitment records.
However, others see the five-year expiration date as appropriate. “It's a tenuous position for someone to have had a mental illness. Your mental health when you're 25 years old is different from when you're 55 years old," State Sen. Renee Unterman said. "Why should you carry the baggage and stigma of mental illness?" Jeva Lange
For the fifth time since 2010, California took the top spot of all 50 U.S. states for enacting the strongest gun laws in a year, according to the most recent annual scorecard released by the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.
The center, which tracks every state’s gun legislation, published its scorecard Wednesday, near the end of a violent year that has seen more mass shootings than the number of days on its calendar. Among the more high-profile mass shootings this year were the massacres at a social services center in San Bernardino, California; a community college in Roseburg, Oregon; a movie theater in Lafayette, Louisiana; and a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina.
On the digital scorecard, the organization ranks all 50 states based on 30 policy approaches regulating guns and ammunition, including strengthening background checks, limiting the purchase of multiple firearms per month and reporting lost or stolen firearms. States receive points for executing effective laws in each policy area. Universal background checks, for example, take priority because laws that prohibit who can possess and purchase firearms can’t be enforced without them, says Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the center.
Each year, the center’s scorecard continues to show a strong correlation between gun laws and fewer gun deaths. States with the weakest laws, such as 48th-ranking Wyoming and 49th-ranking Mississippi, have the fifth and third highest gun death rates nationwide, respectively. States with strong laws, such as California and fifth-ranking Massachusetts, have the 42nd and 49th lowest gun death rates.
California has previously enacted some unique laws, including the Gun Violence Restraining Order law, which allows authorities to suspend temporarily individuals’ access to guns if they are viewed as posing a significant threat to public safety. This year, the state passed a measure requiring residents with concealed carry licenses to obtain written permission from school officials before carrying firearms or ammunition onto the grounds of K-12 schools or university campuses.
Kansas, which has fallen nine points since 2014 and now ranks dead last, this year repealed its requirement for residents to have a license to carry a concealed firearm in public.
The center named the biggest legislative success this year as the new universal background check law in Oregon, enacted in May. Federal law requires background checks only on purchases at licensed firearms dealers, not at gun shows and on the Internet. But seven other states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Rhode Island and Washington—also have laws requiring universal background checks.
In 2015, nine states passed laws preventing domestic abusers from accessing firearms.
The worst trends of 2015, according to the center, were the law passed in Kansas to allow people to carry a loaded, hidden gun in public without a permit—which also was enacted in Maine—and Mississippi’s measure allowing concealed firearms in a purse, bag or case without a permit.
“Our hope is that legislators and activists will look at their grades in their states and look at the data we’ve provided about what they can do to raise their grade,” Cutilletta tells Newsweek. “Every state has more that it can do.”
On Monday, Americans marked the three-year anniversary of the fatal shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, where 26 people died in December 2012. Since the massacre, 41 states and Washington, D.C., have passed 125 stronger gun laws, according to the center.
California has taken the No. 1 slot every year since the center first published its rankings in 2010. The group skipped 2011 because it didn’t anticipate publishing a scorecard each year. However, since the center’s legal experts analyze and collect information about gun measures throughout the year, they have proceeded to publish a scorecard each year since 2012.
The center was established in 1993 in the wake of a fatal shooting at a San Francisco law firm in July of that year. It aims to provide ideas and different approaches to activists dealing with the issue of gun violence in each state.
“We want people to understand the correlation between gun deaths in their state and the strengths of their gun laws to take action and improve their grade,” Cutilletta says.
A small Texas school district voted Wednesday night to allow some teachers to carry guns in the classroom.
School board members in the Keene Independent School District approved the policy, according to KDFW. The Keene district, located in Johnson County south of Fort Worth, has four campuses.
The station reported that the teachers who carry guns would be selected by the district and would only carry a firearm if they wanted to. The weapons would be provided by the district. Other Texas school districts have approved similar measures.
Keene ISD Superintendent Ricky Stephens initially opposed teachers carrying firearms in the classroom when he was hired three years ago. Stephens now said the world has changed, and so has his mind.
Stephens told KDFW that the fear a student might overpower a teacher and get a gun will not be an issue. Teachers who are involved with kids in higher level grades will not be selected to carry a gun.
“It could still turn into a gun fight no matter who has the gun, or children could get the gun,” Tanya Manuel, a parent of a child in the Keene ISD, told KDFW. “I mean, it doesn’t matter. It just scares me still.”
The policy will go into effect at some point next year, possibly as early as February or March.