April 11, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - In a lopsided vote, the Senate launched a debate Thursday over the most significant gun legislation in more than a decade, setting up a contest that could last weeks between reinvigorated advocates for stricter laws and conservatives who oppose them as a violation of the 2nd Amendment. The bipartisan 68-31 vote, which saw 16 Republicans join 52 Democrats and independents to begin consideration of gun legislation, was a setback for gun rights advocates who had threatened to block it. The bill includes provisions to spend more on school security and to increase penalties for selling guns to felons and others banned from ownership.
April 9, 2013
Re "Packing and preaching," Column One, April 5 So pistol-packing preacher James McAbee - whose law enforcement mother shot herself (twice), eventually leading to her death - proudly carries weapons without safeties, with a round chambered, in public and around his minor children. And he teaches gun safety? And of course he's right when he says it's wrong to blame the tool for a shooting. Indeed, guns don't kill people; carelessness does. Terry Snyder Los Angeles ALSO: Letters: Nukes and Iran's leaders Letters: Rat poison and human health Letters: Parents who care, gay or straight
March 31, 2013
Re "The power to lift and heal," Column One, March 25 Thanks to Randy Lewis for sharing his experience singing Mozart. Having sung in church choirs since 1972, and having more than once sung both Mozart's Requiem and "Ave Verum Corpus," I can say to Lewis, "Welcome to the club. " Here's an obscure quote regarding "Ave Verum Corpus" from a textbook that belonged to my great-grandmother: "We now give, as a last model example, a perfect masterwork of harmonic composition, chosen from among many as best adapted for this purpose on account of its pregnant character within small compass.
March 31, 2013
Re "Voice of sense in gun debate," Column, March 28 I enjoyed George Skelton's piece on Republican Rep. Mike Thompson, a pro-gun legislator from Northern California who, as Skelton notes, proves you can be "both a gun lover and a gun controller. " FOR THE RECORD: Legislator: A March 31 letter to the editor on gun control misidentified Rep. Mike Thompson, a Democrat from Northern California, as a Republican. - As a member of the National Rifle Assn., I was disappointed that the organization didn't take a more reasonable stance on current gun issues.
March 21, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The gun legislation set to hit the Senate floor next month will include universal background checks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Thursday. Reid (D-Nev.) plans to introduce a bill Thursday evening that will include provisions on background checks, school safety and gun trafficking. He had said earlier this week that he hoped the full Senate would begin deliberation on the gun control package in early April. The expansion of background checks has been the focal point of President Obama's gun violence prevention initiative.
March 19, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - An assault weapons ban will not be included in a package of gun safety legislation that will come to the Senate floor, the measure's champion, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, said Tuesday. The California Democrat said her party's leaders told her that her legislation, approved last week in the Senate Judiciary Committee in a party-line vote, could be offered as an amendment to the larger bill. Feinstein expressed disappointment that her attempt to revive the 1994 ban was dropped to clear the way for other measures.
March 7, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - The Senate will take up its first firearms measure since the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, after the Judiciary Committee approved a bill Thursday to combat gun trafficking. The proposal, steered by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the committee chairman, would impose strict penalties for buying a firearm for someone who cannot legally do so, an act known as a straw purchase. The bill would also toughen punishment for selling a gun to a person prohibited from owning one. "Law enforcement officials have consistently called for a firearms trafficking statute that can be effective to go after straw purchasers," Leahy said.
February 16, 2013 |
We've all heard the saw about California being hostile to industry. Here's an industry that indisputably has grounds for complaint: the gun industry. Finally, the Legislature is getting something right. According to many experts, California's firearms regulations are the toughest in the nation. (New York's recently enacted rules may be tougher, but they're still being rolled out.) California may soon get even tougher: a slate of proposals outlined this month by legislative leaders in Sacramento would add new regulations and close a few loopholes in the old. "There's a lot for folks here to be proud of," Ben Van Houten, managing attorney at the San Francisco-based Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told me. "But there's still a lot of work to do. Federal law is astonishingly weak, so it's incumbent on the states to do as much as they can. " Taken together, the state's firearms laws are a model for regulating sales and possession of a dangerous product without banning it entirely - or even necessarily cutting much into the commercial market.
February 14, 2013 |
WASHINGTON -- Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, the last of the World War II veterans in the Senate, is retiring at the end of this term, he said Thursday. Lautenberg, who turned 89 last month, had been planning to run for reelection in 2014. This year, however, Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, indicated interest in the job and began forming a campaign committee to explore the option. Booker is not the only potential candidate, and the prospect of an open Senate seat could set up a scramble among Democrats.
February 5, 2013 |
Boy, the National Rifle Assn. sure is thorough. And thin-skinned. Richard Nixon's renowned enemies list had 823 names of people and organizations, but as president, Nixon had scores of issues to grapple with and an entire world to be mad about or suspicious of. SLIDESHOW: The 10 trigger-happiest states in America The NRA deals with only one issue, guns. And yet the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action has got its own list of more than 300 people and groups and companies that have, as the list notes, expressed some anti-gun sentiments at one point or another.