Tag Archive: Newtown


Firearms Trade Association, Manufacturers’ Institute Seek to Invalidate Unworkable Microstamping Law

NEWTOWN, Conn. — The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI) today filed a lawsuit on behalf of their members against the State of California in Fresno Superior Court challenging the state’s microstamping law. NSSF and SAAMI seek to invalidate and enjoin enforcement of provisions of state law enacted in 2007, but not made effective until May 2013, requiring that all semiautomatic pistols sold in the state not already on the California approved handgun roster contain unproven and unreliable microstamping technology.

Under this law, firearms manufacturers would have to micro laser-engrave a gun’s make, model and serial number on two distinct parts of each gun, including the firing pin so that, in theory, this information would be imprinted on the cartridge casing when the pistol is fired.

“There is no existing microstamping technology that will reliably, consistently and legibly imprint the required identifying information by a semiautomatic handgun on the ammunition it fires. The holder of the patent for this technology himself has written that there are problems with it and that further study is warranted before it is mandated. A National Academy of Science review, forensic firearms examiners and a University of California at Davis study reached the same conclusion and the technical experts in the firearms industry agree,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel. “Manufacturers can not comply with a law the provisions of which are invalid, that cannot be enforced and that will not contribute to improving public safety. As a result, we are seeking both declaratory and injunctive relief against this back-door attempt to prevent the sale of new semiautomatic handguns to law-abiding citizens in California.”

In 2007, California Assembly Bill 1471 was passed and signed into law requiring microstamping on internal parts of new semiautomatic pistols. The legislation provided that this requirement would only became effective if the California Department of Justice certified that the microstamping technology is available to more than one manufacturer unencumbered by patent restrictions. The California legislature subsequently reorganized certain statutes concerning the regulation of firearms, including the microstamping law in 2010. On May 17, 2013, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris provided such certification.

See additional Fast Facts backgrounder on Microstamping from NSSF.

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Published December 15, 2013gun-control-giffords-kelly.jpg

FILE: Oct. 13, 2013: former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, center, and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, at the New EastCoast Arms Collectors Associates arms fair in Saratoga Springs.

Gun control advocates acknowledged Sunday that they were disappointed with efforts this year to tighten firearm laws across the country but vowed to continue their fight, including spending millions on their candidates in next year’s elections.

Their comments came one year after the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in which 20 students and six adults were fatally shot in Newtown, Conn. However, Congress failed to pass no major gun-control legislation in the aftermath.

“We get disappointed,” said Mark Kelly, who co-founded the gun-control group Americans for Responsible Solutions with wife Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot on the campaign trail in 2011.

The retired astronaut and Navy captain told “Fox News Sunday” the defeat of the so-called, bipartisan Manchin-Toomey Senate gun bill was “not a good day” but that his group plans to spend $25 million in the next election cycle.

Though the focus of America’s gun debate appears to be shifting from weapons bans to keeping firearms away from criminals and the mentally ill, gun-rights advocates seem steadfast in their efforts to limit background checks and repeal laws that prevent people from defending themselves against attackers.

“There’s no victory until we get guns in school and elsewhere to protect ourselves,” Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, told Fox News. “The legislation that is on the books is lethal … and we simply have to get rid of them.”

Kelly said that anti-gun groups were able to spend about as much as pro-gun groups in the recent Virginia gubernatorial race in which Democrat Terry McAuliffe defeated Republican Ken Cuccinelli — a sign that the balance of power is shifting after his side got outspent in the Capitol Hill gun debates.

Carlee Soto, whose sister was killed in the Dec. 14, 2012, attack at Sandy Hook elementary, in Newtown, Conn., also acknowledged the effort to tighten gun laws has been difficult, but she remains optimistic.

“Some days I don’t want to speak in front of the camera … but my sister can’t do that,” she told Fox News. “I believe we will have sensible gun laws in the future.”

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December 12, 2013

It’s against state law to try to regulate guns in the Green Mountain State, but city officials here are looking at what may be a loophole.

Burlington wants to be able to confiscate and secure weapons for up to five days following a domestic dispute, and enact other restrictions.

City Councilman Norm Blais told Vermont Watchdog the council has the authority to pass new city gun regulations because of a single clause — “except as otherwise provided by law” — that proceeds the state law making the firearms regulations illegal in Vermont.

Blais was the first in the city to push for new gun laws after the December 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., left 26 people dead, 20 of them children.

“To those people who say we don’t need this legislation in Burlington because nothing like this has ever happened here before, well the people of Newtown, Conn. could have said that before Dec. (14),” Blais said during a City Council meeting earlier this year.

During that meeting, Blais proposed an amendment to Burlington’s charter that would have banned semi-automatic weapons and magazine clips capable of holding multiple rounds. But with that proposal, the Ward 6 councilman unleashed a furious debate that is far from settled.

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BY BRENDAN O’BRIEN AND IAN SIMPSON

Wed Dec 11, 2013 7:02am EST

A Bushmaster rifle belonging to Sandy Hook Elementary school gunman Adam Lanza in Newtown, Connecticut is seen after its recovery at the school in this police evidence photo released by the state's attorney's office November 25, 2013. REUTERS/Connecticut Department of Justice/Handout via Reuters
A year after a gunman massacred 26 first-graders and adults in a Connecticut elementary school, educational officials across the United States continue to face the longstanding question of how to best protect their students.

Principals and administrators across the country in many cases are choosing between technologies such as electronically controlled doors and the addition of security staff.

For one district, the Richmond School District outside Milwaukee, that has meant spending $24,000 to protect its one building with buzzer-entry doors and better lighting but choosing to skip bullet-proof glass.

“Our goal was to delay or deter intruders until the police could respond. Bullet-proof glass didn’t fit that criteria for us,” Superintendent Jeff Weiss said in an interview.

The school opted for stronger door frames and made improvements to lighting in its parking lot. The school also placed metal security screens over windows and doors so if the glass is broken, an intruder is still kept out.

The district joined hundreds in the United States that in the last year have wrestled with how to prevent a shooting.

The solution has been a mix: more and better-trained guards, and billions of dollars of security technology.

Schools are aiming to stop gun scares and killings, such as the shooting deaths of three students at an Ohio high school in February 2012, the wounding of two students at a California high school in January 2013 and a potential mass shooting at a Georgia elementary school in August that was averted when a school bookkeeper talked the gunman into laying down his AK-47 assault rifle.

The number of school resource officers or law enforcement officers assigned to schools has risen to levels not seen since the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School “massacre” in Colorado, in which 13 people were shot to death, said Maurice Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers.

MORE TRAINING

NASRO said it has trained slightly more than 1,800 officers in 2013, a figure that Canady said is twice that of last year. The training includes how to deal with a gunman, as well as day-to-day security issues like drugs and gangs.

“Let’s face it, most officers are never going to face an active shooter,” Canady said.

A survey of 600 school districts published this month by Campus Safety, an industry magazine, showed that 88 percent of schools from kindergarten through 12th grade made changes in security after Sandy Hook.

Pointing to a booming market for school security systems, the IHS Inc business consultancy forecast in July that U.S. schools would spend $4.9 billion on buzzer doors, security lights and other hardware by 2017, compared with the $2.7 billion they spent on similar equipment in 2012.

In Alaska, the 48,000-student Anchorage School District used a $6.4 million state grant to improve communications systems, as well as add surveillance cameras and gear to lock down schools in case of an emergency.

“They are not perfect measures and they will not deter or prevent every potential type of an attack that could be conceived of, but they will make the schools safer,” said Michael Abbott, the district’s chief operating officer.

Anchorage is one of many U.S. school districts benefiting from a flood of federal and state money for school security, much of it given out since Newtown.

The Department of Justice said in September it was spending almost $45 million for 356 new school officer positions. The single largest grant was $2.25 million for 10 officers in Bridgeport, Connecticut, about 20 miles southeast of Newtown.

COP ON CAMPUS

“It used to be if you had a cop on the campus, people would see it as something wrong with the school. Now, it’s seen as an advantage,” said Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, a California non-profit that provides training and advice on school security.

Congress is weighing President Barack Obama’s request for $150 million in the fiscal year that started on October 1 for school safety under the Community Oriented Police Services program.

Individual states have also stepped up spending. Connecticut in November paid out $16 million in school-safety grants, following $5 million two months before. Virginia has awarded $6 million for school security.

Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the powerful National Rifle Association gun lobby, has advocated putting a police officer in each of the 99,000 U.S. public schools.

In 2007, the last year for which U.S. Justice Department figures are available, there were 18,000 to 19,000 school resource officers. The Congressional Research Service estimated in a June report that it would cost at least $2.6 billion to put a police officer in each school.

After Newtown, seven states passed laws letting employees and, in some cases, average citizens to carry firearms in K-12 schools, according to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in San Francisco.

Alabama also authorized the formation of volunteer emergency security forces at public schools, it said.

Despite the shootings at Newtown and other cities, data shows that schools are relatively safe places.

On average, 23 children aged 5 to 18 were murdered each year while at school between the 1992-93 and 2010-11 school years, according to U.S. Education Department data. That represented less than 2 percent of total homicides for that age group, the department said.

That still leaves room for improvement, security advocates said.

“When you’re talking about young lives, one is too many,” said Larry Johnson, president-elect of the National Association of School Safety and Law Enforcement Officials, which oversee school security programs.

(Editing by Scott Malone and nSteve Orlofsky)

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/165563/remains-divided-passing-stricter-gun-laws.aspx

U.S. Remains Divided Over Passing Stricter Gun Laws

Opposition to banning handgun ownership remains at record-high 74%

PRINCETON, NJ — Nearly a year after the Newtown, Conn., school shootings spawned considerable U.S. debate about passing stricter gun control laws, almost half of Americans believe the laws covering the sale of firearms should be strengthened and half say they should stay the same or be less strict.

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