Join the NRA, fly with your Congress-scum to Alaska and kill bear cubs in wildlife refuges – from an airplane

You, too, can call yourself a true Republican-style hunter.

❝ The U.S. House of Representatives voted Thursday to legalize the killing of black bear cubs and their mothers at their dens in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

The controversial measure, backed by the National Rifle Association, overturns a ‘Fair Chase’ rule, promulgated by the Obama administration, that also limited baiting, trapping, and the use of airplanes to track and shoot bears and wolves on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lands in Alaska.

❝ The vote was met with an outpouring of criticism from wildlife and conservation groups.

❝ “Alaska’s extreme predator control policies lack scientific support, contravene conservation mandates on national wildlife refuges and defy traditional wildlife management principles,” said Jenny Keatinge, federal lands policy analyst with Defenders of Wildlife. “H.J. Res. 69 would cede federal management of iconic wildlife to the state’s misguided program on over 76 million acres of national wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans.”

❝ Safari Club International, a group that has been criticized by both sportsmen and animals rights groups for advocating canned or captive “hunting” and elite trophy hunting, joined the NRA in pushing Congress to overturn the Fair Chase rule.

As a lifelong hunter, I oppose any hunting of predators under damned near all conditions. Destroying nature’s own checks and balances to satisfy the ego of trophy hunters ain’t my idea of how we evolved as hunter-gatherers.

Add in the demented profiteering of gun lobbyists like the NRA and you have so-called hunting that fits the mold of ruling-class creeps in 19th Century English hunt clubs.

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Experts and the public agree on how to prevent gun deaths

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❝ Our expert survey asked dozens of social scientists, lawyers and public health officials how effective each of 29 policies would be in reducing firearm homicide deaths, regardless of their political feasibility or cost. Policies deemed both effective and popular appear in the upper-right corner of the matrix. Less popular, less effective measures fall lower down and to the left.

The two policies ranked most effective were those requiring all sellers to run background checks on anyone who buys a gun, and barring gun sales to people convicted of violent misdemeanors, including domestic assaults. The experts were more skeptical of other much-debated proposals, including a national gun registry and an assault weapons ban. The idea of requiring states to honor out-of-state concealed weapon permits was ranked low.

❝ The academics in our panel — many of the country’s best empirical researchers on gun policy — were far more likely than the general public to support gun control. But nearly all of the policies that experts think could work have widespread support from the general public.

❝ While Americans remain sharply divided in their overall view of the tension between gun control and gun rights, individual proposals are widely favored. The most popular measures in our survey — policies like universal background checks and keeping guns from convicted stalkers — were supported by more than 85 percent of registered voters. Even the least popular idea, a law that would limit gun sales to people who had to demonstrate a “genuine need” for the weapon, was favored by nearly 50 percent.

RTFA for more comparisons, more detail on what is favored by experts and us ordinary American citizens. Minus Congressional conservatives of course. Still too candyass to do a damned thing.

Gun control laws actually work – both ways, unfortunately

In this week’s obvious news, laws that allow people to kill other people with guns have led to more people killing other people with guns. According to two new research papers, stricter firearm laws are associated with fewer firearm homicides, and the implementation of Florida’s stand-your-ground law was associated with increased firearm homicides.

These findings, released today by the JAMA Internal Medicine, may sound obvious. But since Congress has essentially withheld all funding for gun violence research for the last 20 years, large-scale studies of this sort have been few and far between. As The Atlantic reported, “In the mid-1990s, Congress declared that funding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shouldn’t be used to advocate for gun control, and it effectively blocked funding for the study of gun violence at the agency.” Despite studies showing that gun violence is a threat to human health and safety, the CDC, a federally funded public health agency with a seven billion dollar annual budget, still withholds support from gun research. Perhaps these new findings will bolster the case for federal funding.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for chickenshit Congress-critters to act.

One paper released today, first-authored by Lois K. Lee of Harvard Medical School, examined five types of gun laws: “those that (1) curb gun trafficking, (2) strengthen background checks, (3) improve child safety, (4) ban military-style assault weapons, and (5) restrict firearms in public places and leniency in firearm carrying.” The researchers found strong evidence that laws strengthening background checks and purchase permits helped decrease gun homicide rates. Interestingly, the researchers did not find strong evidence that laws focusing on trafficking, child safety and assault weapons decreased firearm homicides. The evidence for the effects of laws regarding guns in public places was not conclusive either way. On the whole, though, they found that, “stronger gun policies were associated with decreased rates of firearm homicide, even after adjusting for demographic and sociologic factors.”

Another paper released today, also in JAMA Internal Medicine, tracked the effects of Florida’s stand-your-ground law since its implementation in 2005. This law allows a person to use deadly force instead of retreating from what they believe to be a life-threatening encounter. To conduct this research, David K. Humphreys of University of Oxford and his colleagues examined gun death data for the years leading up to 2005 and the years after, then compared them to other states’ data for the same years. They found that gun homicides increased in the years following 2005, while prior to 2005 they had remained relatively stable. The comparison states (New York, New Jersey, Ohio, and Virginia) which don’t have stand-your-ground laws, did not have similar increases, strengthening the evidence that this is a Florida trend associated with stand-your-ground laws, not part of a national trend…

Informed discussion requires sound data. When public bodies, from the Republican Party and Blue Dog Democrats to the NRA oppose the collection of any data at all they only illuminate their cowardice, their fear of law and public practice reflecting conclusions about best practices. Ideology trumps evidence quite easily when evidence collection is forbidden.

House Democrats sit-in against Republican pimps for the NRA

house dems sit-in

Rebellious Democrats shut down the House’s legislative work on Wednesday, staging a sit-in on the House floor and refusing to leave until they secured a vote on gun control measures before lawmakers’ weeklong break.

Exasperated Republicans were forced to recess while cutting off cameras that showed the protest. But in an unprecedented step, C-SPAN used live video feeds from one lawmaker’s Periscope account and another’s Facebook page to transmit words and images from the House chamber.

More than 200 Democrats led by Georgia Rep. John Lewis demanded a vote on measures to expand background checks and block gun purchases by some suspected terrorists in the aftermath of last week’s massacre in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people in a gay nightclub.

“No bill, no break,” shouted Democrats, who demanded that Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., keep the House in session through its planned break next week to vote on gun legislation.

Democrats accused Republicans of political cowardice by failing to schedule a vote.

“Are they more afraid than the children at Sandy Hook?” asked Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., referring to the 2012 shooting that killed 26 people, including 20 elementary school children, in Newtown, Connecticut. “What is so scary about having a vote?”…

❝ Paul Ryan said blah, blah, blah.

Even though Republican pimps for the NRA are assured of funding and wardheeler support, they know the overwhelming majority of Americans – whether they belong to one of the two old parties or not – support modern legislation on weapons of war on our streets, background checks, up-to-date record-keeping. If they’re forced to record a vote, their constituents will literally have a chance to see their cowardice.

C-SPAN, a cable and satellite network that provides continual coverage of House and Senate floor proceedings, does not control the cameras. They’re run on authorization by legislative leaders.

Although the cameras were turned off Wednesday, lawmakers relied on social media to transmit video, using Facebook, Twitter and Periscope. C-SPAN broadcast live video streamed on Periscope and Facebook from lawmakers’ accounts. Democrats posted the Capitol’s main telephone number, which was overwhelmed, and urged constituents to call and request a vote. They also encouraged tweeting under the hashtag #NoBillNoBreak.

Joining the protest were more than a dozen Democratic senators, including Minority Leader Harry Reid, and Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., who had waged a nearly 15-hour filibuster last week to force votes in the Senate on gun legislation.