WBEZ | NRA http://www.wbez.org/tags/nra Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en In Illinois, what has and hasn't changed since Newtown http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/illinois-what-has-and-hasnt-changed-newtown-109368 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP655650698147.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December sparked national debates about guns, mental health, and school safety.</p><p>In the year since 20-year-old Adam Lanza murdered 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School before killing himself, Illinois has seen its share of legal and policy changes.</p><p>The parents of some Sandy Hook victims traveled across the nation to meet with politicians, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/law-proposes-ban-gun-magazines-holding-more-10-rounds-107265">including some in Illinois</a> this past May.</p><p>Mark Barden spoke in support of a proposed ban on high-capacity ammunition magazines, such as those Lanza used in the murder of Barden&rsquo;s 7-year-old son Daniel.</p><p>&ldquo;All of those lives were taken with less than four minutes by a single gunman armed with an assault weapon and 10 30-round high-capacity magazines,&rdquo; Barden told lawmakers then.</p><p>A ban on high-capacity magazines ultimately did not happen.</p><p>In fact, it has been a year of defeats for gun control advocates in Illinois. A proposed statewide ban on so-called assault weapons <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-lawmakers-abandon-attempts-ban-assault-weapons-104733">also failed</a>, and most recently, a push for mandatory minimum prison sentences for certain gun crimes has stalled.</p><p>Barden, in an interview this week, still sounded optimistic -- and determined.</p><p>&ldquo;And when I hear my son James say, &lsquo;I hope no other family has to go through this,&rsquo; I take that seriously, and I take that on as my responsibility to honor my surviving children and to honor my little Daniel,&rdquo; Barden said.</p><p>But the one big change in Illinois gun laws since Newtown was this: Lawmakers passed a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons.</p><p>Rich Pearson heads up the Illinois State Rifle Association, which fought against tougher gun laws after Sandy Hook. Just three days before the shooting, a federal judge ordered the legalization of concealed-carry in the state.</p><p>Pearson argued that this measure could prevent mass shootings as occurred at Sandy Hook, even though the new Illinois law says people are not allowed to carry guns in schools.</p><p>&ldquo;Taking the tack that it should not happen because I&rsquo;m an innocent person or those were innocent children really doesn&rsquo;t matter in the world,&rdquo; Pearson said. &ldquo;You have to be aware, you have to be ready, and you have to have a plan. And if you don&rsquo;t, you wind up with things like Sandy Hook.&rdquo;</p><p>The concealed carry law also funds mental health background checks with $20 out of each concealed carry permit fee. And it requires physicians and psychologists to report people who pose a &ldquo;clear and present danger&rdquo; to the state.</p><p>That&rsquo;s all about prevention. But since Sandy Hook, some Illinois schools have also focused on preparation.</p><p>Just a couple of months after the shootings in Connecticut, the Woodland School District in Lake County north of Chicago shot a professional-quality training video for its staff. Film students at Chicago&rsquo;s Columbia College produced it, and it starred real students from the district, real teachers, and real cops from the Gurnee Police Department.</p><p>Woodland administrator Lori Casey said the video has been distributed to more than 1,300 jurisdictions in the U.S. and Canada, including to the police department in Newtown, Conn.</p><p>&ldquo;This is something that you never, ever thought in your lifetime you would have to do,&rdquo; Casey said. &ldquo;Our teachers went to school to be teachers. And now things have changed where they wear so many hats and one of those hats is making sure their students are safe.&rdquo;</p><p>Schools across Illinois have held school shooting drills with police for years, though they were mandated by state law only after Sandy Hook.</p><p>Retired Gurnee police officer Tom Agos, who now advises the department, said the district went further than that.</p><p>Before Newtown, the department posted two part-time plain-clothes officers in local schools. Now, the department has four full-time uniformed officers in marked squad cars.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, it tells people very clearly, there&rsquo;s a policeman on the grounds here. And that&rsquo;s exactly the message that we wanna give,&rdquo; Agos said.</p><p>A lot of the changes made in Illinois since Sandy Hook are steps in the right direction, says Shane Jimerson, a University of California at Santa Barbara professor who studies school shootings.</p><p>But Jimerson says a sense of community is also crucial -- both to make kids feel included, and to spot trouble early.</p><p>&ldquo;Those students that are most at risk for delinquency and acts of violence are often those that are the most alienated from the school, from the community,&rdquo; Jimerson said.</p><p>To that end, some Sandy Hook parents such as Mark Barden are now launching a new initiative, called <a href="http://www2.sandyhookpromise.org/parent_together">Parent Together.</a></p><p>Barden said the basic idea is to create dialogue and that sense of community.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;d like to see people of all different political backgrounds &hellip; just gun culture, non-gun culture, just have the conversation on, &lsquo;Well, what can we agree on to address this issue to protect our children?&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Barden says he&rsquo;ll spend the first anniversary of Daniel&rsquo;s murder with his family, &nbsp;privately, in &ldquo;quiet reflection.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 13 Dec 2013 12:27:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/illinois-what-has-and-hasnt-changed-newtown-109368 Highland Park bans assault weapons http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP040908020437.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>HIGHLAND PARK, Ill.&nbsp; &mdash; The northern Chicago suburb of Highland Park has banned assault weapons.</p><p>The Highland Park City Council enacted the ban Monday night after nearly two hours of public comments in a standing-room only chamber. One councilman, David Naftzger, voted against the ban. He said it could cost Highland Park thousands of dollars in litigation. Councilman Paul Frank voted for the ban, <a href="http://bit.ly/1477z9K" target="_blank">telling The News-Sun</a> he&#39;s &quot;proud we will not permit assault weapons.&quot;</p><p>Illinois Rifle Association second vice president Mike Weisman promised a lawsuit, saying one would &quot;be filed without a doubt.&quot;</p></p> Tue, 25 Jun 2013 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/highland-park-bans-assault-weapons-107838 But ... but ... Mr. Mayor, you shook my hand and promised ... http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/mr-mayor-you-shook-my-hand-and-promised-105549 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen shot 2013-02-15 at 12.14.20 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" scrolling="no" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/p9YKHzAiKMs?start=216" width="400"></iframe><strong>WILL RAHM RUN?</strong> Two &quot;well-connected sources&quot; tell <em>The Daily Beast</em> <a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/14/rahm-emanuel-toying-with-2016-presidential-run-sources-say.html" target="_blank">Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been discussing a White House run</a> if Hillary Clinton takes a pass.<br />* But he shook my hand on-camera last May and said, &quot;<strong><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9YKHzAiKMs&amp;feature=youtu.be&amp;t=3m36s" target="_blank">I&#39;m not doin&#39; it</a></strong>.&quot;<br />* And before that, he issued&nbsp;<a href="http://soundcloud.com/meyerson/mayor-emanuel-weirdly-denies" target="_blank">this kinda weird denial</a>&nbsp;in September 2011.<br />* On the other hand: &quot;<a href="http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/hillary-clinton-running-president-ok/62143/" target="_blank">Hillary Clinton Is Running for President, OK?</a>&quot; (<em>The Atlantic</em>)</p><p><strong>TURKEY TALK.&nbsp;</strong><em>The Hill</em> recounts NRA chief Wayne LaPierre&#39;s insistence in Nashville, before the <a href="http://National Wild Turkey Federation" target="_blank">National Wild Turkey Federation</a> (hey, they have rights, too), that <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/283351-nra-chief-obama-revealed-gun-push-is-a-charade" target="_blank">President Obama&#39;s gun legislation has been revealed as a &quot;charade.&quot;</a><br />* <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2013/02/14/the-speech-obama-should-give-in-chicago" target="_blank">The speech Obama should have planned for Chicago</a>, according to the <em>Chicago Reader</em>&#39;s Steve Bogira.<br />*&nbsp;<em>The Onion:</em>&nbsp;&quot;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/66yearold-washington-post-reporter-hopes-he-livebl,31288/" target="_blank">66-Year-Old&nbsp;<em>Washington Post</em>&nbsp;Reporter Hopes He Liveblogged State Of The Union Right</a>.&quot;</p><p><strong>SAY IT AIN&#39;T SO, NATE.&nbsp;</strong>Nate Silver, the statistically savvy anti-pundit, considers ending his predictions: &quot;<a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/02/nate-silver-id-stop-blogging-if-it-influenced-election-157049.html" target="_blank">If it gets really weird in 2014, in 2016, then maybe I&rsquo;ll stop doing it</a>.&quot;<br />* Sen. Marco Rubio&#39;s mind is &quot;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/opinion/krugman-rubio-and-the-zombies.html?_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">zombie-infested</a>,&quot; according to Nobel winner Paul Krugman.</p><p><iframe align="right" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="225" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="http://www.hulu.com/embed.html?eid=xwshrmnmiv6qzhz-49lrsa&amp;it=i4273" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="400"></iframe><strong>FREE MOVIES.&nbsp;</strong>Fill in the gaps in your classic movie education with free access to the Criterion collection of films,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/movies/criterion" target="_blank">available all weekend on Hulu.com</a>. Where to start? &quot;<strong><a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/215922?playlist_id=1335&amp;asset_scope=movies" target="_blank">Lord of the Flies</a></strong>,&quot; &quot;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/215918" target="_blank">The Seventh Seal</a>&quot; or &quot;<a href="http://www.hulu.com/watch/215923?playlist_id=1327&amp;asset_scope=movies" target="_blank">The Blob</a>&quot;? So ... many ... choices ...</p><p><strong>DOES &#39;GO MAKE BABIES&#39; DISCRIMINATE?</strong>&nbsp;WBEZ blogger Nico Lang gives the station a chance to defend its new marketing campaign against suggestions&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-02/wbez-responds-criticism-%E2%80%9Cgo-make-babies%E2%80%9D-ads-leave-lgbt-people-out-105484" target="_blank">it discriminates against gays, lesbians and others unlikely to make children</a>.<br />* Five reasons&nbsp;<a href="http://blogs.kqed.org/pop/2013/02/14/5-reasons-why-npr-should-start-a-dating-site/" target="_blank">NPR should launch a dating site</a>.</p><p><strong>AND YOU THOUGHT THE MAPS APP SUCKED.</strong>&nbsp;If your iPhone&#39;s running the latest version of Apple&#39;s operating system, iOS 6.1, clever hackers can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.jailbreaknation.com/how-to-bypass-ios-6.1-passcode-lock-and-view-iphone" target="_blank">slip past your passcode to access your contacts, voicemail and photos</a>.<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://allthingsd.com/20130214/new-iphone-vulnerability-lets-anyone-bypass-passcode/" target="_blank">Apple promises fix soon</a>.</p><p><strong>QUIZ TIME AGAIN.</strong> <a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/new-quiz-1" target="_blank"><em>Go for it.</em></a></p><script type="text/javascript" src="http://i0.poll.fm/survey.js" charset="UTF-8"></script><noscript><a href="http://cpm.polldaddy.com/s/new-quiz-1">Take Our Survey!</a></noscript><script type="text/javascript"> polldaddy.add( { type: 'iframe', auto: true, domain: 'cpm.polldaddy.com/s/', id: 'new-quiz-1' } ); </script><br /><hr /><p><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 15 Feb 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-02/mr-mayor-you-shook-my-hand-and-promised-105549 Senators seek deal on gun-sale background checks http://www.wbez.org/news/senators-seek-deal-gun-sale-background-checks-105428 <p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; A cornerstone of President Barack Obama&#39;s drive to check gun violence is gathering bipartisan steam as four senators, including two of the National Rifle Association&#39;s congressional champions, privately seek compromise on requiring far more firearms purchasers to undergo background checks.</p><p>The talks are being held even as Obama&#39;s call to ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, the two other major pillars of his plan, are hitting rough waters on Capitol Hill. An agreement among the four senators to expand background checks would add significant impetus to that high-profile proposal by getting the endorsement of a group that ranges from one of the Senate&#39;s most liberal Democrats to one of its most conservative Republicans.</p><p>&quot;We&#39;ll get something, I hope. I&#39;m praying for it,&quot; said Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., one of the participants.</p><p>Manchin, a moderate Democrat, is an NRA member who aired a 2010 campaign ad in which he literally shot a hole through Democratic environmental legislation that he pledged to oppose.</p><p>Also involved is Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., another NRA member with a strong conservative record but occasional maverick impulses; No. 3 Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer of New York, a liberal; and moderate GOP Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois.</p><p>Background checks are required only for sales by the nation&#39;s 55,000 federally licensed gun dealers, but not for private purchases like those at gun shows, online or in person. There are few indisputable, up-to-date statistics on how many guns change hands without background checks, but a respected study using 1990s data estimated that 30 percent to 40 percent of gun transactions fit into that category.</p><p>The senators&#39; talks have included discussions about how to encourage states to make more mental health data available to the federal system for checking gun buyers&#39; records, according to people who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to describe the private negotiations. They are also considering potential exemptions to expanded background check requirements, including transactions involving relatives or people with licenses to carry concealed weapons</p><p>People involved in the talks would share little about their substance. In one of the few public remarks about the talks by participants, Schumer said last week that the talks have been productive and said the package they were seeking &quot;will not limit your ability to borrow your Uncle Willie&#39;s hunting rifle or share a gun with your friend at a shooting range.&quot;</p><p>Congress has been focusing on guns since the December massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults at a school in Newtown, Conn. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., wants his panel to approve gun control legislation in the next few weeks and has voiced strong support for universal background checks for firearms purchases.</p><p>While an expansion of background checks is expected to be a key part of any gun control bill Leahy produces, a version of that provision with bipartisan support could give the entire package a boost.</p><p>It is likely that any gun-control bill will need 60 votes to pass the 100-member Senate. Democrats have 55 votes, including two Democratic-leaning independents.</p><p>Leaders of the GOP-run House are planning to see what, if anything, the Senate passes before moving on gun legislation. Strategists believe that a measure that passes the Senate with clear bipartisan support could pressure the House to act.</p><p>The political impact that the four senators could have by reaching agreement stems largely from who they are.</p><p>If Coburn embraces an agreement, that could help win over other conservative Republicans at a time when the GOP is responding to its White House and congressional election losses of last November by trying to broaden its national appeal.</p><p>In an Associated Press-GfK Poll last month, requiring more background checks got overwhelming public support, compared to just over half who backed bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines.</p><p>&quot;The whole goal is to keep guns out of the hands of the mentally ill and criminals,&quot; Coburn said in a brief interview.</p><p>Manchin&#39;s support could make it easier to win backing from other Democratic senators from GOP-leaning states, many of whom face re-election next year and who have been leery of embracing Obama&#39;s proposals.</p><p>&quot;If the language is meaningful, it would be obviously a huge step,&quot; said Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which represents child welfare, religious and other groups favoring gun curbs. &quot;To have someone like Coburn, who&#39;s voted consistently with the gun lobby, to come out and endorse a meaningful background check would be very helpful.&quot;</p><p>Schumer and Kirk each have &quot;F&#39;&#39; scores from the NRA for their voting records in Congress, while Coburn and Manchin have &quot;A&#39;&#39; ratings.</p><p>Though widened background checks is given the strongest chance for enactment of Obama&#39;s major proposals, it is opposed by the NRA and many congressional Republicans, who consider it intrusive and unworkable for a system they say already has flaws.</p><p>&quot;My problem with background checks is you&#39;re never going to get criminals to go through background checks,&quot; Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, told the Senate Judiciary Committee at its gun control hearing last week.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s the way reductions in liberty occur, when you start saying people have to sign up for something and they have a database where they know exactly who&#39;s who,&quot; Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said in an interview.</p><p>Gun control supporters note that federal laws specifically forbid the national background check system from being used as a registry of gun owners. Much of the information the system collects must be destroyed within a day.</p><p>NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam declined to comment on the senators&#39; discussions.</p><p>According to Justice Department estimates, the federal and state governments ran 108 million background checks of firearms sales between 1994 when the requirement became law and 2009. Of those, 1.9 million &mdash; almost 2 percent &mdash; were denied, usually because would-be purchasers had criminal records.</p><p>People legally judged to be &quot;mentally defective&quot; are among those blocked by federal law from firearms purchases. States are supposed to make mental health records available to the federal background check system and receive more generous Justice Department grants if they do, but many provide little or no such data because of privacy concerns or antiquated record-keeping systems.</p><p>People following the discussions say the talks have touched on:</p><p>&mdash;The types of family relatives who would be allowed to give guns to each other without a background check.</p><p>&mdash;Possibly exempting sales in remote areas.</p><p>&mdash;Whether to help some veterans who sought treatment for traumatic stress disorder &mdash; now often barred from getting firearms &mdash; become eligible to do so.</p></p> Fri, 08 Feb 2013 09:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/senators-seek-deal-gun-sale-background-checks-105428 Facebook's new thing, Obama's gun plan http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/facebooks-new-thing-obamas-gun-plan-104946 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/FB.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/thos003/5986220278/" title="Facebook at Mozcon - Alex by Thos003, on Flickr"><img align="right" alt="Facebook at Mozcon - Alex" height="212" src="http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6148/5986220278_9635614fc2_n.jpg" width="320" /></a></p><p><strong>FACEBOOK&#39;S NEW THING.</strong>&nbsp;Its search box, until now mostly useless, is about to become&nbsp;<a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/200731/finally-a-real-search-function-for-facebook/">a lot more useful</a>&nbsp;as Facebook tries a new way to&nbsp;<a href="http://allthingsd.com/20130115/graph-search-facebooks-way-of-keeping-you-inside-of-facebook/">keep you from ever leaving Facebook</a>.<br />* And it&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wired.com/business/2013/01/the-inside-story-of-graph-search-facebooks-weapon-to-challenge-google">a little scary</a>.<br />* But&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ubergizmo.com/2013/01/facebook-graph-search-in-limited-beta-heres-how-to-sign-up-for-it/">you can&#39;t have it yet</a>.</p><p><strong>OBAMA&#39;S GUN PLAN.&nbsp;</strong>The president&#39;s unholstering <a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2013/01/obama-guns-plan-to-include-trafficking-law-86260.html?hp=t1_3">some wide-ranging gun-violence proposals</a> -- from universal background checks for all new gun owners to anti-bullying measures in the nation&#39;s schools.<br />* Axelrod: President won&#39;t get everything he wants, but <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/17598309-761/axelrod-despite-nra-congress-will-take-some-action-on-gun-issues.html">will get some things</a> despite NRA objections.<br />* New York state passes <a href="http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gitItf1eSFhVNcRkSUlZzXnnESxg?docId=a0f1e93e28ed4514919737f2a76c0a05">first gun-control law since Connecticut massacre</a>.<br />* <em>Salon:</em> Man who helped save six kids in Newtown now <a href="http://www.salon.com/2013/01/15/this_man_helped_save_six_children_is_now_getting_harassed_for_it/">getting harassed for it</a>.</p><p><strong>&#39;I AM DRAINED FROM CRYING.&#39;</strong>&nbsp;After attending the funeral for celebrated computer hacker Aaron Swartz,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/after-aaron-104940">WBEZ&#39;s Robin Amer files a first-person report</a>: &quot;I am thinking about what it means to be a suicide survivor.&quot;<br />*&nbsp;<a href="https://soundcloud.com/wbez/from-the-archives-aaron-swartz">Swartz in 2001 WBEZ interview</a>, when he was 14: &quot;Computers and humans will be working together.&quot;<br />* Father: Swartz was &quot;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/business/17594002-420/aaron-swartz-memorialized-at-service.html">killed by the government</a>.&quot;<br />* Swartz case <a href="http://news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-57564212-38/prosecutor-in-aaron-swartz-hacking-case-comes-under-fire/">prosecutor now under investigation herself</a>.</p><p>&#39;<strong>WE SCREWED UP.&#39;&nbsp;</strong><em>The Atlantic</em> <a href="http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/15/the-atlantic-apologizes-for-scientology-ad/">apologizes for running a Scientology ad</a> that looked like a normal online article. It says it&#39;s &quot;<a href="https://www.magnetmail.net/actions/email_web_version.cfm?recipient_id=699462885&amp;message_id=2459857&amp;user_id=NJG_Atlan&amp;group_id=0&amp;jobid=12656579">working very hard to put things right</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>The Onion:</em> &quot;<a href="http://www.theonion.com/articles/sponsored-the-taliban-is-a-vibrant-and-thriving-po,30910/">SPONSORED: The Taliban Is A Vibrant And Thriving Political Movement</a>.&quot;</p><p><strong>&#39;HE&#39;D HAVE HATED ... ANYONE TALKING ABOUT HIM IN MOURNFUL TONES.&#39;&nbsp;</strong><em>Tribune</em>&nbsp;columnist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-met-kass-0116-20130116,0,3300856.column">John Kass marks the death of his radio partner</a>, Jim Edwards, known on the air as Jake Hartford.</p><p><strong>NOT BUYING WHAT ARMSTRONG&#39;S PEDALING.&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57564168/cbs-news-government-rejects-armstrongs-$5m-restitution-offer/">CBS News reports</a>&nbsp;the U.S. government is rejecting Lance Armstrong&#39;s offer to pay $5 million in reparations to the federal government for doping while his team took $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service under a sponsorship deal that banned doping.<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/wireStory/winfrey-armstrong-interview-intense-18222607">Tougher confession</a>&nbsp;may be yet to come.</p><p><strong>DREAM OFF. </strong>Another technical glitch for another 787 passenger jet has prompted <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/japan-787-makes-emergency-landing-due-battery-012759722--finance.html">an emergency landing in Japan</a>&nbsp;and a decision by two Japanese airlines to <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-boeing-anabre90f018-20130115,0,4513844.story">ground all their Dreamliners</a> -- another bad omen for Chicago-based Boeing.</p><hr /><p><em>How&#39;s this blog working for you? Your comments welcome. <a href="mailto:Meyerson+WBEZ@gmail.com?subject=How%20you're%20doin'"><strong>Email us</strong></a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-01/facebooks-new-thing-obamas-gun-plan-104946 The NRA has a say even in your health care http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/nra-has-say-even-your-health-care-104566 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS2581_AP05031408767-guns%20Nam%20Y.%20Huh-scr.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 300px;" title="AP file" />Did you think the National Rifle Association had reached its nadir when it suggested that, no matter the costs, we should put an armed guard in every school in the nation? Did you think it was a bit much that the group thought to inject itself in education policy by providing a whole gun training regimen for schools?</div><p><br />Here&rsquo;s another NRA policy that&rsquo;s right there with that flash of genius, that&#39;s far more intrusive, and one with which the group has had some success: The Firearm Owners Privacy Act -- <a href="http://www.myfloridahouse.gov/sections/Bills/billsdetail.aspx?BillId=44993">already passed in 2011 in Florida</a>, the nation&rsquo;s loony bin -- would seek to ban physicians from asking patients about gun ownership and possession.<br /><br />The act basically says that doctors can ask about smoking, drinking, drugs, physical abuse, caloric intake and any other health risk factor they can come up with, but not about firearm possession. Never mind that study after study shows that even <a href="http://www.bradycampaign.org/facts/gunviolence/gunsinthehome/">law-abiding gun owners have a higher risk of death by gunshot</a> if they keep their weapons at home.<br /><br />The idea behind it is so impractical that even the version signed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott comes with exemptions for EMTs and other emergency personnel.<br /><br />And want to know what&rsquo;s even scarier? There&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/12/19/1171950/-Guns-mental-health-and-Obamacare#">a section in the Affordable Care Act</a>, AKA Obamacare, that mirrors the Firearm Owners Act. The ACA provision doesn&rsquo;t out-and-out prohibit doctors from asking about guns -- a useful question when dealing with minors, or potentially homicidal or suicidal patients -- but it discourages them from doing so. The provision, under the ACA&rsquo;s Title X, even goes so far as to forbid doctors from collecting any data that concerns gun ownership.<br /><br />A judge issued <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/02/2879089/miami-federal-judge-sides-with.html">a permanent injunction against Florida&#39;s bill</a> last July, saying, among other things, that the law was so vague it violated doctor&rsquo;s First Amendment rights to free speech.<br /><br />But the Obamacare provision -- which was <a href="http://www.redstate.com/briansikma/2012/06/28/how-the-nra-helped-obamacare/">written with the NRA&rsquo;s blessing</a> -- stands. In other words, even when the NRA loses a state statute in the courts, it has something to build on down the road based on federal law.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s why <a href="http://smartgunlaws.org/">six other states</a> -- Alabama, Minnesota (c&rsquo;mon!), North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia -- have tried to pass their own versions of the Firearm Owners Privacy Act.<br /><br />Supporters of Firearm Owners Privacy Act argue that the law basically <a href="http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/florida-appeal-flawed-decision-overturning-docs-vs-glocks-law">allows doctors to drop patients who are gun owners </a>-- as if doctors had a particular prejudice rather than a concern about the health consequences of gun ownership.<br /><br />&quot;What is curious about this law &mdash; and what makes it different from so many other laws involving practitioners&rsquo; speech &mdash; is that it aims to restrict a practitioner&rsquo;s ability to provide truthful, non-misleading information to a patient, whether relevant or not at the time of the consult with the patient,&rdquo; wrote U.S. District Judge Marcia Cooke in her ruling on the Florida version.<br /><br />In other words, Judge Cooke put a stop to a law that would have kept physicians from asking questions about guns and how it might impact the health -- perhaps even <em>life</em> -- of their patients.<br /><br />But the NRA would like doctors to let that info be.</p><p>And by working with the NRA on the ACA to keep gun nuts from upending the entire law, the White House has provided the very platform for this nasty bit of murderous legalese to keep popping up, like varmints in a midway shooting game.</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 12:21:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2012-12/nra-has-say-even-your-health-care-104566 NRA calls for armed police officer in every school http://www.wbez.org/news/nra-calls-armed-police-officer-every-school-104532 <p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; The nation&#39;s largest gun-rights lobby is calling for armed police officers to be posted in every American school to stop the next killer &quot;waiting in the wings.&quot;</p><p>The National Rifle Association broke its silence Friday on last week&#39;s shooting rampage at a Connecticut elementary school that left 26 children and staff dead.</p><p>The group&#39;s top lobbyist, Wayne LaPierre, said at a Washington news conference that, quote, &quot;The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.&quot;</p></p> Fri, 21 Dec 2012 10:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/nra-calls-armed-police-officer-every-school-104532 Under the gun: Why the NRA's political tactics don't work in Canada http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-why-nras-political-tactics-dont-work-canada-90162 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/archives/images/cityroom/cityroom_20090930_cr_923751_Supr_large.png" alt="" /><p><p>The National Rifle Association is good at what it does. Good at mobilizing its members and good at lobbying Congress. Canadian groups trying to do the same thing are largely stymied in their efforts.</p><p>The NRA's political tactics just don't work in Canada, and it’s largely because of the way the governments of Canada and U.S. are structured.</p><p>Most don't think of the NRA as the “little guy,” but in Canada they are.</p><p>“This is the nerve center and this is where all our political work and grassroots activism stuff all happens from here,” said Tony Bernardo, the director of the Canadian Institute for Legislative Action, a gun-rights lobbying group fashioned in the mold of the NRA.</p><p>The NRA's political arm in the U.S. is also called the Institute for Legislative Action.</p><p>Bernardo says he coordinates with the NRA, relying on their expertise or supplying them with expertise when he can, in the same way that gun control advocates coordinate efforts across the border.</p><p>"Lobbying is not a deep dark mysterious exercise,” Bernardo said. “It's educative.&nbsp; A lobbyist is a teacher.”</p><p>Bernardo's group works out of a sparsely furnished six-room office in a one-story brick office park just north of Toronto.</p><p> <style type="text/css"> div .inline { width: 285px; float: left; margin-right: 19px; margin-left: 3px; clear: left; } div .inlineContent { border-top: 1px dotted #aa211d; border-top-width: 1px; border-top-style: dotted; border-top-color: #aa211d; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-top: 2px; } ul { margin-left: 15px; } li { font-family: Arial,Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: 1em; background-repeat: no-repeat; background-repeat-x: no-repeat; background-repeat-y: no-repeat; background-position: 0 5px; background-position-x: 0px; background-position-y: 5px; padding-left: 3px; margin-bottom: 0.5em; }</style> </p><div class="inline"><div class="inlineContent"><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-01/gun-promo.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 74px;" title=""></a></p><p><strong>Sixth in a series</strong></p><p>The cities of Chicago and Toronto are the same size. Chicago has about 450 murders a year. Toronto? About 60. In the series, Under the Gun: Murder in Chicago and Toronto, WBEZ’s criminal and legal affairs reporter Robert Wildeboer asks: Why?</p><p><strong>Previously</strong></p><ul><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-murder-chicago-and-toronto-89879">Murder in Toronto</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-everyday-murder-89952">An everyday murder</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-getting-gun-canada-90018">Getting a gun in Canada</a></strong></li><li><strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-burden-being-gun-owner-canada-90096">The Burden of being a gun owner in Canada</a></strong></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-keeping-us-guns-torontos-streets-90106"><strong>Keeping U.S. guns off the streets of Toronto</strong></a></li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p></div></div><p>As a gun-rights advocate, he's got an uphill battle in Canada. For starters, he has a hard time getting his own base excited. “The problem we have in Canada is that of Pavlov's dogs.&nbsp; We've had restrictive handgun regulations in Canada since 1935 so all the shooters that are out there right now have never known anything different,” Bernardo said.</p><p>Then there's the fact that Canada's got a parliamentary form of government. In the U.S. the NRA can focus its attention on individual legislators, winning them over one by one.</p><p>In Canada, representatives have to vote with their party, or else they get kicked out of the party and can't run in the next election. For Bernardo, that means instead of exerting all his power on one legislator at a time, he has to convince a whole party that his policies make sense.</p><p>“It takes longer for things to happen.&nbsp; You educate a member of parliament, and that member of parliament passes that information to other members of parliament until basically you've got the party,” he said.</p><p>Convincing a whole political party is hard, and Bernardo is further hampered by federal spending limits. In a national election, advocacy groups, like a gun-rights group for example, can spend only C$150, 000.</p><p><img alt="Michael Bryant (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-05/Michael Bryant-280.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 362px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Michael Bryant (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)">Michael Bryant, the former attorney general of Ontario, made a name for himself by clamping down on gun violence. “Third parties, lobbyists, lobbies, in a Canadian election?&nbsp; Not a pivotal role at all.”<br> <br> He says the Canadian version of the NRA is limited in what it can spend on elections, plus they can't really buy influence with legislators because Canadian politicians don't raise that much money.<br> <br> Canadian law limits their spending to about a hundred thousand dollars per election, and that's for a seat in the federal parliament, the Canadian counterpart to Congress.</p><p>“Somebody supports me in my campaign by making a donation to my campaign of a thousand dollars which would be about the maximum that they could donate and they want to meet with me about an issue, obviously there's a pressure to meet with them because they supported me financially,” Bryant said.&nbsp; “Well there just aren't that many people in that category and there can't be that many people in that category because of the spending limits that are in place.&nbsp; In the United States, I can't imagine how many meetings have to be taken by congressman and senators by their donors because they have to spend so much time raising money.”<br> <br> Bryant says the Canadian spending limits mean there's not enough money for candidates to get on TV. “The level of debate that takes place is driven by information that's been filtered through the media as opposed to commercials with what I would say is misleading information,” Bryant said.<br> <br> Mike Quigley, a Democratic congressman representing the 5<sup>th</sup> district of Illinois on Chicago's North Side, said people are deathly afraid of the NRA.&nbsp; “I think the American public would like to see reasonable gun control legislation, middle ground but the NRA has this headlock on Congress that they have like no other lobbying group, put a stranglehold on thoughts about gun.”<br> <br> Quigley been pushing gun legislation and speaking out against the NRA.</p><p>“If anyone wonders that we occasionally have victories, no.&nbsp; This is total defeat, running from the battlefield.&nbsp; Republicans make no pretense of this.&nbsp; They're pro-gun but the democrats have run from the battlefield,” he said.<br> <br> Quigley says the NRA doesn't let politicians take the middle ground in the gun debate in this country. “They warn people, you're either with us a hundred percent or we're gonna tell people to be against you.”<br> <br> He says most races are so close that legislators don't want to risk losing a couple percentage points because they were targeted by the NRA, so they stay mum on even seemingly sensible gun control measures.<br> <br> Under the parliamentary system in Canada, members have to vote with their party so they're not vulnerable to this individualized pressure from lobbying groups, one of the reasons Bernardo has such a hard time getting political traction.<br> <br> Quigley can criticize the NRA because his urban liberal district isn't exactly the bread and butter of NRA membership.<br> <br> And he says the NRA has given up on him, but the director of the Illinois State Rifle Association, Richard Pearson, has set his sights on the congressman. “There's some people that just simply don't like firearms and they want to get rid of all of them and he's one of ’em, and we're after him.&nbsp; We're gonna go after ’em right in their own home district and we're gonna make it as difficult as possible for them.”<br> <br> Pearson says they don't want to give up any middle ground because gun control advocates want more and more middle ground and they never stop. “There is no compromising with these people because they always want to compromise on the compromise and pretty soon you have nothing left so we're not going to compromise,” he said.<br> <br> <img alt="Tony Bernardo (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-05/Tony Bernardo-280.jpg" style="width: 280px; height: 406px; margin: 5px; float: right;" title="Tony Bernardo (WBEZ/Rob Wildeboer)">The political fight is inextricably linked in Pearson's mind with freedom. Firearms protect the people from tyranny, and while there are downsides to firearms ownership, it's worth the price to ensure our freedom.<br> <br> Trying to counter the assertion that the NRA is eliminating the middle ground in the debate over guns, Pearson was asked if there was some sensible legislation to improve public safety that they could support.<br> <br> “See I think everybody in Quigley's district should have a 9-millimeter in their pockets.&nbsp; Now, why doesn't he meet us on the middle ground there.&nbsp; I want to meet on our middle ground, not his middle ground.”<br> <br> Back in Toronto, in his somewhat vacant office space, Tony Bernardo looks on the American gun debate with pleasure. “I'm really delighted to see that our American friends have seen through the lies that have been purported by the anti-gun groups.&nbsp; States are loosening firearms laws.&nbsp; They've recognized the fact that the two things, crime and firearms are not related to each other.”<br> <br> Bernardo says he'll keep pushing for gun rights, within the parliamentary system, with the spending limits. He's focused on the debate over rifles right now and will deal with Canadian handgun rights another day.<br> <br> He says you have to eat the elephant one bite at a time.</p></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 11:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/under-gun-why-nras-political-tactics-dont-work-canada-90162