Tag Archives: Laws

Facebook criticised for promoting 'legal loophole' in US gun ownership laws

Facebook criticised for promoting 'legal loophole' in US gun ownership lawsFacebook has been criticised by a gun safety group for taking millions of dollars in advertising money to promote a legal “loophole” that allows Americans to obtain "concealed carry" weapon permits without any physical training. The social network's own records show at least $ 3.7 million has been spent since May advertising the so-called "Virginia loophole". It enables would-be gun carriers to get permits in a few minutes by answering 10 simple questions on their mobile phone, without ever actually touching a firearm, or meeting an instructor. A company promoting the controversial scheme has been designated a "political advertiser" by Facebook, and has become the third biggest spender, after Donald Trump and Beto O’Rourke. They are far ahead of other big political advertisers, including Democrat 2020 front-runner Kamala Harris, and the oil giant ExxonMobil. David Chipman, senior policy adviser at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said: "A company has choices to make, to look if it's in the interests of their company to support people carrying guns that haven't been trained to use them. "I would just want them [Facebook] to make that decision with eyes wide open. You don't get that training by answering multiple guess questions on the internet." Mr Chipman, a former SWAT team officer, and a concealed carry permit holder, added: "I would not be surprised if they [Facebook] had no idea what is happening. Their lawyers were probably satisfied nothing illegal was occurring." The situation grew out of the gun-friendly state of Virginia, where it is legal for non-residents to obtain a concealed carry licence by taking a test online. Due to reciprocity agreements with other states those licences can be obtained by people sitting at computers, or on their smartphones, in 30 other states, around 70 per cent of America. The rules in their home state may be much more stringent. For example, thousands of people in Texas alone have obtained non-resident Virginia licences, which are then valid in their home state. Had they sought a Texas licence they would have needed to spend four hours being trained in a classroom, and demonstrate proficiency loading and shooting on a firing range. Travis Bond, a firearms instructor in Dallas, told local television there: "It's not smart at all. It's crazy in my view." The adverts on Facebook, thousands of them, urge users to "Jump on the LEGAL LOOPHOLE" which is "STILL IN EFFECT FOR NOW!". They tell people to "BEAT THE BAN!  before "GUN-GRABBING DEMOCRATS" change the law.  With little background gun knowledge The Telegraph passed the test, consisting of 10 multiple choice questions, in a few minutes without even watching the accompanying instruction video. Facebook lobbyist, and former UK deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg Credit: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE One of the questions was: "True or false – you should not use drugs or alcohol before or while shooting". A qualification certificate can then be downloaded for a charge of $ 65 and sent off to Virginia State Police. The adverts appear to have contributed to a surge in people getting the permits online. Virginia State Police records show 8,760 were issued in 2017, 25 per cent up from the year before. The $ 3.7 million has been spent, on more than 16,000 adverts, by Concealed Online, a California-based company which put together the online test and profits from the fees paid by those getting permits. It has an 'F' rating, the lowest, with the Better Business Bureau, which said it had "failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints". On its website the company says would-be concealed carry permit holders can "do the whole thing on your cell phone or computer, its that easy". It says the test is "beyond simple" and "you never need to fire a gun, much less touch one. All you need is an internet connection". The website also warns that "secret factions in the US government are making it harder for you to enjoy your Second Amendment rights". The company did not immediately return a request for comment. It has previously pointed out that it follows the law and has done nothing wrong. Facebook's guidelines allow adverts for "safety courses for firearm training or licences". They ban "adverts promoting the brandishing of firearms" and the sale of weapons. The social network said it had reviewed the "Virginia loophole" adverts and they did not violate its policies. They were classed as "political advertising" because they included "advocacy" related to an issue of national importance, specifically guns. A Facebook spokesperson said it was "transparent" about adverts it accepts. That was shown by the fact it had opened its "Ad Archive" to the public. The archive includes records of spending by all political advertisers, along with copies of their adverts. The transparency push followed Russia's attempts to use Facebook to influence the 2016 election. Facebook said it has a "high standard" for political adverts and they have to be authorised. The spokesperson added: "Our goal is to increase transparency on Facebook and prevent foreign interference in elections. This is why we have implemented the authorisation process, including requiring a 'paid for by' disclosure, and released a searchable Ad Archive. "Separately, we do not allow weapon sales in ads on Facebook, which is outlined in our advertising policies."



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House Democrats take first step toward tighter gun laws

House Democrats take first step toward tighter gun lawsThe U.S. House of Representatives began moving toward tighter gun regulations on Wednesday, holding the first congressional hearing in years on how to stem the epidemic of gun violence that claimed the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans in 2017. The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee focused on a bipartisan bill called the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, which would require background checks for all firearm sales and most firearm transfers. “Despite the obvious need to address the source of gun violence, Congress, for too long, has done virtually nothing.



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Requests to bring in child brides OK'd; legal under US laws

Requests to bring in child brides OK'd; legal under US lawsWASHINGTON (AP) — Thousands of requests by men to bring in child and adolescent brides to live in the United States were approved over the past decade, according to government data obtained by The Associated Press. In one case, a 49-year-old man applied for admission for a 15-year-old girl.



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Saudis blast 'guardianship' laws after woman's escape

Saudis blast 'guardianship' laws after woman's escapeA Saudi teen’s live-tweeted asylum plea has cast a renewed spotlight on women’s rights just months after women won the right to drive, and sparked rare criticism of restrictive “guardianship” laws — from men. Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, 18, arrived in Thailand at the weekend after fleeing what she called an abusive family in the deeply conservative kingdom and staved off deportation after her tweets drew global attention. Qunun’s impassioned cry for help set off a media frenzy, prompting angry denunciations and death threats from many in a kingdom where guardianship laws are still widely supported.



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Exiting US governor signs laws limiting power of his successor

Exiting US governor signs laws limiting power of his successorThe Republican governor of Wisconsin signed into law Friday a package of bills that limit the powers of his Democratic successor, who promised a court challenge. The measures were passed by Republicans during a lame-duck session of the Midwestern US state’s legislature last week, in what they said was an effort to level the power balance with the Democrat who will take over the governor’s office in January. Tony Evers defeated incumbent Governor Scott Walker in the November midterm elections — a stinging loss for the GOP in a key swing state that helped Donald Trump win the presidency in 2016.



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Hillary Clinton: Europe Needs Tougher Immigration Laws To Stave Off Nationalism

Hillary Clinton: Europe Needs Tougher Immigration Laws To Stave Off NationalismHillary Clinton said she thinks Europe needs to "get a handle" on reforming



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Apple's Cook set to back strong privacy laws in Europe, U.S. at Brussels event

Apple's Cook set to back strong privacy laws in Europe, U.S. at Brussels eventBRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is expected to praise new European privacy rules and to voice the company’s support for strong laws in Europe and the United States to protect the use of data, according to prepared remarks for delivery at a Brussels event. Cook will describe Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, as an example of how “good policy and political will can come together to protect the rights of us all,” according to the remarks, seen by Reuters ahead of a gathering of international privacy regulators on Wednesday.



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Dazed and confused: Canada cannabis legalization brings complex new laws

Dazed and confused: Canada cannabis legalization brings complex new lawsCanada will become the second country in the world to legalise recreational marijuana. Canada will this week become the second country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana, but as they negotiate a patchwork of new legislation and inconsistent enforcement, smokers may soon find that their enjoyment of weed is still blunted. “There will be more laws around the cannabis plant after legalization than there were before,” said Akwasi Owusu-Bempah, a professor at the University of Toronto.



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Trump Attacks Immigration Laws, Calls For Deportations Without Trials

Trump Attacks Immigration Laws, Calls For Deportations Without TrialsPresident Donald Trump ramped up his attacks on the United States' immigration



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Ireland votes to liberalize abortion laws with 66 percent in favor

Ireland votes to liberalize abortion laws with 66 percent in favorDUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland voted by a landslide to liberalize its highly restrictive abortion laws as 66 percent of the electorate backed a referendum, official results showed on Saturday. Voters in the once deeply Catholic nation were asked if they wished to scrap a prohibition that was enshrined in the constitution by referendum 35 years ago, and partly lifted in 2013 only for cases where the mother's life was in danger. Over 64 percent of eligible voters cast their ballot, one of the highest ever for a referendum. (Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Toby Chopra)



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