friday news dumps
Vice President Joe Biden participated in a Google+ “hangout” this afternoon to discuss President Barack Obama’s gun control plan. Mr. Biden stressed his belief the plan, which includes an assault weapons ban, would help prevent law enforcement personnel from being “outgunned.” He also addressed concerns the ban would infringe on peoples’ ability to protect themselves by suggesting a shotgun is far more useful than any assault weapon for self-defense in the event of a situation such as a major natural disaster.
“You know, guess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barrelled shotgun, than the assault weapon in somebody’s hands who doesn’t know how to use it, even one who does know how to use it,” Mr. Biden explained while using his hands to mimic the gesture of holding a shotgun for added effect. “You know, it’s harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than it is a shotgun OK? So, you want to keep people away in an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells.”
At the end of December, the Journal News published a detailed map cataloging all of the handgun permit owners in Westchester and Rockland counties, a move that caused much controversy among both gun rights and privacy advocates who felt the map placed figurative targets on the highlighted households. This evening, the publication announced it was was pulling the map, but claimed it was due to New York State’s new gun control law, passed at the start of the week, rather than a response to criticism.
“Today The Journal News has removed the permit data from lohud.com. Our decision to do so is not a concession to critics that no value was served by the posting of the map in the first place,” Journal News publisher Janet Hasson explained. “On the contrary, we’ve heard from too many grateful community members to consider our decision to post information contained in the public record to have been a mistake. Nor is our decision made because we were intimidated by those who threatened the safety of our staffers. We know our business is a controversial one, and we do not cower.”
Earlier today, President Barack Obama unveiled a broad set of gun control proposals prompted by the wave of anti-gun sentiment generated by last month’s massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a prominent gun control advocate, scheduled a press conference this afternoon to praise the White House for what he described as “a bold and comprehensive plan to tackle gun violence” that matches much of his own vision.
“Today it’s clear that the president and the vice president heard us and they heard the American people,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The vast majority of Americans support common-sense gun regulations, and clearly, the White House was listening.”
James L. Miller is many things, a motorcycle enthusiast, accused online scammer, doomsday prepper, gunmaker and cat lover. Christian Kerodin also wears a number of hats; he is an air conditioning repairman, blogger, author, self-styled security consultant and convicted extortionist. Both men also seem to be the masterminds behind a plan to build a massive, armed survivalist compound in Idaho that has been making national headlines.
In his interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening, NRA President David Keene was asked about the controversial articles on Gawker and in the Journal News that contained lists of gun owners. Mr. Keene blamed the stories on cultural differences that he said exist between “elite media” and the rest of American society.
“The whole battle over the Second Amendment has little to do with crime or any of these things” Mr. Keene said. “It has to do with culture and the view that different people have about what kind of a country this ought to be.”
Mr. Keene explained that he believes the media has adopted an anti-gun perspective because liberal reporters see gun ownership as antithetical to their values.
National Rifle Association President David Keene gave a rare post-Newtown interview on the Brooklyn GOP Radio podcast this evening in which he responded to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s vow to bring New York some of the “toughest” gun control laws in the country. Mr. Keene began by taking issue with Governor Cuomo’s prediction that other states would follow New York’s example and pass similar laws.
“I was amazed that he said other states will follow New York,” Mr. Keene said. “They haven’t done that in the past, there’s no reason to believe that they will in the future.”
Mr. Keene continued by noting “New York already has very tough gun laws” and predicting Governor Cuomo’s gun control plan would not “make any difference one way or the other in terms of violence of any kind in the state.”
Putnam County doesn’t want to help the Journal News newspaper with its map of gun owner’s home addresses. To make the controversial map, the newspaper used addresses obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request for pistol permit records from Westchester and Rockland Counties. They made a similar request in Putnam, but County Executive MaryEllen Odell and County Clerk Denis Sant plan to announce their decision not to release the records at a press conference this afternoon.
Over the weekend, The Journal News newspaper published maps with the addresses and names of pistol permit holders in Westchester and Rockland Counties. The information for the map was legally obtained by the paper through a Freedom of Information Act request, but it sparked a nationwide controversy among those who considered the map a privacy violation. This morning, State Senator Greg Ball weighed in by proposing legislation to keep gun records private and prevent the publication of similar stories in the future. He also blasted “the asinine editors at The Journal News” who published the map.
“The asinine editors at The Journal News have once again gone out of their way to place a virtual scarlet letter on law-abiding firearm owners throughout the region. The immediate elimination of the information posted on the Journal News website is the only way we can ensure the safety and liberty of these New Yorkers,” said Mr. Ball in a statement. “This is clearly a violation of privacy, and needs to be corrected immediately. The same elitist eggheads who use their editorial page to coddle terrorists and criminals are now treating law-abiding citizens like level three sexual predators.”
After a week in which the debate over gun control dominated the political world, two first responders in Western New York were killed in a shooting. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced New York State Police and the State Office of Emergency Management are working with local officials in Webster New York after the shooting, which left two volunteer firefighters dead and two others injured after they were shot while responding to a blaze in the town this morning. In a statement, the governor called the shooting “horrific” and offered his sympathies to the families of those who died and were hurt.
“All of our thoughts and prayers go to the families and friends of those who were killed in this senseless act of violence,” said Governor Cuomo. “New York’s first responders are true heroes as they time and again selflessly rush toward danger in order to keep our families and communities safe. Volunteer firefighters and police officers were injured and two were taken from us as they once again answered the call of duty. We as the community of New York mourn their loss as now two more families must spend the holidays without their loved ones.”
Earlier today, National Rifle Association C.E.O. Wayne LaPierre and other leaders from the gun group held a much-anticipated press conference to react to the ongoing controversy surrounding the shootings at a Sandy Hook elementary school one week ago. For those hoping for a grand speech, Mr. LaPierre certainly didn’t disappoint. In the address, Mr. LaPierre pushed back hard against those calling for additional gun control measures while accusing the media of being “silent enablers, if not complicit co-conspirators” in the violence. He also seemed to hold a host of other entities and events responsible, such as Hurricane Sandy.
“Violent crime is increasing again for the first time in 19 years,” Mr. LaPierre said. “Add another hurricane, terrorist attack or some other natural or man-made disaster, and you’ve got a recipe for a national nightmare of violence and victimization. And here’s another dirty little truth that the media try their best to conceal. There exists in this country, sadly, a callous, corrupt and corrupting shadow industry that sells and stows violence against its own people. Through vicious, violent video games with names like ‘Bulletstorm,’ ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Mortal Kombat,’ and ‘Splatterhouse.’…A thousand music videos, and you all know this, portray life as a joke and portray murder, portray murder, as a way of life. And then they all have the nerve to call it ‘entertainment.’ But is that what it really is? Isn’t fantasizing about killing people as a way to get your kicks really the filthiest form of pornography?”