By Brian Bethune - Monday, February 4, 2013 - 0 Comments
In conversation with Brian Bethune
Tom Diaz, 72, is one of the most prominent gun control advocates in the United States. A former senior policy analyst at Washington’s Violence Policy Center—which considers firearms violence to be a public health issue rather than criminal issue—Diaz wrote Making a Killing: The Business of Guns in America in 1999. It explored the links between political lobbying by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun manufacturers. Last year, dismayed by a decade of increasing gun violence and what he considers political indifference to it, Diaz wrote—before the Newtown, Conn., school murders—The Last Gun: How Changes in the Gun Industry are Killing Americans and What It Will Take to Stop It.
Q: You were an NRA man years ago, someone who grew up with guns and was comfortable around them. What changed your thinking?
A: I ended up on the staff of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Crime and Criminal Justice, and I was the only staffer, literally, on that committee who knew anything at all about guns, so they said, “Okay, now you’re going to do the gun legislation.” And a couple of things then snapped me out of my comfortable gun world, especially a hearing about the impact of firearms on children. I interviewed kids and it shocked me what 10-, 11-, 12-year-old kids were talking about—one had actually seen her best friend shot down in the street. And, you know, we thought it was bad then, but it was really only the beginning of the trend in the U.S. The kids’ testimony rolled me back; I thought, “This is not the gun world I grew up in. This isn’t target shooting. It’s not even hunting, it’s just killing machines.” And so, like Saul on the way to Damascus, I suddenly became a convert to gun control. Continue…
By Emma Teitel - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 12:30 PM - 0 Comments
Emma Teitel on who needs military assault weapons
In place of a Second Amendment, Canadians have collective head-scratching about why it isn’t obvious that an assault rifle doesn’t belong in the hands of an ordinary citizen. “Who needs that?” is the typical Canadian question. “Nobody,” is the typical refrain. And yet it seems that a lot of people do “need that,” or claim to. This month—in the wake of the Newtown, Conn., massacre, and which saw another school shooting, this time at Lone Star College in Houston—the National Rifle Association added more than 200,000 Obama-wary members to its four-million-plus ranks. And last weekend, Guns Across America—an online community of American gun enthusiasts—drew thousands of people in state capitals to protest President Obama’s new gun-control proposal. Obama’s inauguration this week followed a series of proposed congressional actions that would, among other things, reinstate the Clinton-era ban on assault weapons and limit legal ammunition magazines to 10 rounds. According to a new poll by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 41 per cent of Americans are fond of the NRA—loony Wayne LaPierre and all—meaning 41 per cent of Americans are also fond of military assault weapons. Who needs that? Apparently, they do. Continue…
By The Canadian Press - Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at 5:31 PM - 0 Comments
OTTAWA – Just one day before last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn.,…
OTTAWA – Just one day before last month’s elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., Canada offered its gun merchants “new market opportunities” to export banned assault weapons to Colombia, one of the world’s most violent countries.
Canada quietly eased its ban on the export of assault-style weapons to Colombia after Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recommended an order amending the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL).
That opened the door for Canadian gun merchants to sell fully automatic weapons with high-capacity magazines — banned in Canada — to Colombia.
“Colombia’s addition to the AFCCL opens new market opportunities by providing residents of Canada with the opportunity to explore and compete for contracts in Colombia for items controlled under the AFCCL,” says a government notice, posted Tuesday.
The amended order places restrictions on the permits required for the weapons exports, including a case-by-case review by Ottawa.
The notice says that Canadian weapons exporters will face “very strict controls” under the Export and Import Permits Act before they will be allowed to export “prohibited weapons and prohibited devices (as defined in the Criminal Code of Canada), examples of which include fully automatic firearms, electric stun guns and large-capacity magazines.”
The change went into effect on Dec. 13, one day before a gunman walked into Sandy Hook Elementary School and killed 20 first-graders and six school employees, sparking fresh debate about gun control in the United States.
Canada recently completed a controversial free trade deal with Colombia, which has been plagued by a half century-long guerilla insurgency, serious human rights abuses and its emergence as a world leading cocaine producer.
Must-reads: …Jeffrey Simpson on rebuilding the Mulroney coalition; John Ivison on Harper’s performance; Lorne
The Montreal Gazette‘s Don MacPherson attends the Liberal nomination meeting in Jeanne-Le Ber and finds very little enthusiasm for the eventual winner, Christian Feuillette, or for the party in general—despite what appeared to be an impressive turnout. “An attempt by a supporter to lead a cheer for the new candidate was soon abandoned, as the hall quickly emptied,” he reports. “Senior Liberals” tapped for optimistic sound bytes delivered hopeful noises about Justin Trudeau in Papineau, but little else. Meanwhile, MacPherson notes, Gilles Duceppe isn’t even bothering to mention the Liberals in his campaign appearances.
Abandon hope, all ye who yearn for an intelligent, issues-based election, Sun Media’s Greg Weston advises, based on Stéphane Dion’s performance yesterday. Calling the Prime Minister a liar is, apparently, the very height of election mudslinging regardless of whether he was lying or not, and doing it twice in a day the equivalent of a thousand GOP attack ads. The better evidence that the whole thing will soon become a “pissing match,” in our opinion, was Dion’s vulturine scavenging off the Dawson College shooting to declare that “Stephen Harper is soft on crime because he’s soft on assault weapons.”