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Trump Must Not Break His Promises to Gun-Rights Supporters

Trump Must Not Break His Promises to Gun-Rights SupportersFollowing the model of George H. W. Bush, Donald Trump is taking a major step toward becoming a one-term president. Bush thought he could become more popular by betraying his promises to defend the Second Amendment. Trump now feels the same; according to the New York Times, he has ordered his staff to work with Senate Republicans to pass a major gun-control package that would set the stage for gun confiscation. Bush’s Good Talk and Hostile Action Let’s remember how gun control worked out for George H. W. Bush. Like Trump, Bush had a long record of supporting some gun control; that record was part of the reason he lost the Texas Senate race in 1970 and the presidential primaries in 1980. Also as with Trump, the campaign that won Bush the presidency was strongly pro–Second Amendment: Shortly before running for president in 1988, Bush joined the NRA. His acceptance speech at the Republican Convention touted his devotion to gun rights. In a September 1988 public letter to the NRA, he promised to oppose gun bans and other forms of gun control.Bush won the general election in a landslide against the inept Democratic nominee, Michael Dukakis, who as governor of Massachusetts had declared that only the police and military should have guns. Bush’s victory margin was so large that the pro–Second Amendment vote was not essential. Gun voters did, however, amplify Bush’s win by carrying him to victory in states such as Pennsylvania, Montana, and Maryland.Bush’s campaign promises apparently meant little to him. A few weeks into the Bush presidency, the administration was set back on its heels by the Senate’s rejection of Secretary of Defense John Tower. Some conservative activists had raised concerns that Tower had a drinking problem, and that was the end of the nomination. So the White House cast about for what they thought would be a popular issue, and they chose gun control.In Stockton, Calif., a seriously mentally ill career criminal had murdered elementary-school children in a schoolyard. If California had had a functional criminal-justice system, the criminal would have been behind bars and receiving mental-health treatment.Bush denounced what he called "automated attack weapons” — that is, guns with a military appearance. Although the guns looked like machine guns, they functioned differently, with a much slower rate of fire — the same rate as common handguns. But Bush couldn’t be bothered to know the difference between reality and appearance, and neither could many other politicians and the media. The same is true today.Using administrative authority, Bush banned the import of so-called “assault weapons” — almost all of which actually had well-established use in hunting and target shooting. In the courts, the Bush administration’s lawyers insisted that individuals had no Second Amendment rights. Bush’s Department of Housing and Urban Development urged local public-housing authorities to prohibit tenants from owning firearms in their homes. Bush promoted an early version of what would later become the 1994 Clinton-Biden crime bill, including a ban on many ordinary firearms. The leading Republican supporter was South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond, the longtime segregationist and opponent of civil liberties.In 1991, Bush soared to 89 percent popularity after winning the First Gulf War against Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. (At the time, few people realized that Bush’s decision to let the tyrant stay in power would set the stage for more terrorism and another war.) Yet Bush had few accomplishments on the domestic side. He had already violated his “read my lips: no new taxes” pledge — and was perhaps surprised to find that the people who hated him before he broke his promise hated him just as much afterwards.In search of a domestic accomplishment, Bush again proposed a grand bargain: He would sign a crime bill with gun control if the bill would also eliminate the exclusionary rule for firearms seized as evidence. That rule, created by Supreme Court decisions starting in 1914, prevents the courtroom use of evidence that is obtained through illegal police conduct. The Bush proposal would have allowed government agents to break into someone’s home with no warrant, no probable cause, and no exigent circumstances, ransack the home to look for a gun, and then use evidence of the seizure in court against the individual. Too bad for the Fourth Amendment.Perhaps Bush’s opposition to judicial controls on law-enforcement misconduct was not surprising. Under his administration, federal law-enforcement agencies — including the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms — had become notorious for legally unjustifiable and excessive violence, often with deadly consequences for the victims. Then as now, most federal agents were decent people, but the Bush administration from the top down encouraged the recklessly violent ones.In September 1992, the National Rifle Association declined to endorse Bush for reelection. Instead, the association concentrated its resources on candidates in other races who had kept their promises. Bush lost handily to Arkansas governor Bill Clinton, in part because Bush’s conservative base had realized that while Bush talked like a Texan, he governed like a northeastern aristocrat.The Clinton administration did everything it could to promote gun control, including winning enactment of a gun ban as part of its 1994 crime bill. (The one that most Democratic presidential candidates today accurately denounce as a disaster for civil rights.)Clinton’s overreach on guns played a major role in flipping control of the House and Senate in the 1994 elections, electing the most pro-gun Congress since the early 1920s. As this experience showed, it’s better to be under frontal attack from an overt enemy than to be stabbed in the back by a purported ally. Trump’s Good Talk and Planned Actions Trump’s embrace of the Bush model is reported to include support of the Toomey-Manchin bill from 2013. The bill would forbid individuals to sell firearms to each other if the sales took place at a gun show or were advertised publicly; instead, the sellers would have to use gun stores as middlemen. As federally licensed retailers, gun stores must keep records on firearms transactions, and they contact the FBI or its state counterpart for a background check on buyers. All this has nothing to do with reducing mass shootings. From the Aurora theater to Newtown to Las Vegas, the guns used by mass shooters are overwhelmingly acquired by persons who passed background checks, or who could have passed any proposed system of checks. In a few cases, such as the shooting at Sutherland Springs, Texas, the criminal should have been stopped by the existing background-check system but wasn’t, because the relevant conviction had not been reported to the FBI’s National Instant Check System. Since 2008, Congress has enacted a variety of laws to address the problem of incomplete data.Like Bush and Clinton, Trump is determined to “do something” — even if that something is useless when it comes to preventing mass shootings. A RAND Corporation study evaluated different gun-control laws. According to RAND, which can hardly be accused of being “pro-gun,” the social-science evidence does not provide even “limited” support for background checks, “assault weapon” bans, or other gun control having any effect on mass shootings.The Toomey-Manchin bill was promoted with the sweetener that it would toughen the existing ban on a federal gun registry and would improve the laws protecting the interstate transportation of firearms. In fact, close reading of the bill showed that it expressly authorized a vast amount of new gun registration and gutted the existing protections for interstate transport for persons who travel to the most restrictive states, such as New York, New Jersey, and Massaschusetts. It would have vastly increased data collection and retention on law-abiding gun owners.As the Obama administration’s Department of Justice admitted in a 2013 memo, “universal background check” laws are unenforceable without gun registration. Retail gun sales are already registered via record-keeping by the retailer. When a dealer retires, all of his registration records must be delivered to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, where they are digitized. (ATF is currently not supposed to make its database searchable by the purchaser’s name.) The purpose of the background-check laws being pushed in Congress and the states is to expand registration by requiring the use of gun stores as intermediaries for transfers between private individuals — even loaning your shotgun to your cousin for a week.Centralizing registration will be a future demand of the gun-prohibition lobby after Trump surrenders to the current demands. That is what has been enacted in California, where the government now has a comprehensive list of almost all gun owners and their particular firearms — thanks to records created for “universal background checks.”Once there is registration, the next step is confiscation. Since 1967, all firearms in New York City have been centrally registered. Starting with mayor David Dinkins in the 1980s and continuing ever since, including under the regime of Michael Bloomberg, the registration lists have been used for confiscation, as more and more once-legal guns have been outlawed by the city council or the legislature.The New York City Administrative Code explains the process in section 10-303.1. When the city council decides that something is an “assault weapon” (a definition that has repeatedly expanded), the police are supposed to mail a notice to the licensed owner of the registered gun. The owner has two choices: 1. “peaceably surrender his or her assault weapon” to the police commissioner, who may destroy it or keep it for police-department use; 2. “lawfully remove such assault weapon from the city of New York.”After the confiscation process for “assault weapons” was established, a slow-motion confiscation was introduced for more firearms. According to section 10-306, it is illegal in New York to acquire a rifle of shotgun with an ammunition capacity of more than five. Existing registered owners may keep theirs, but may not pass them on to heirs. The only dispositions allowed are surrender to the police, removal from the city, or sale to a licensed firearms dealer.Central registration lists have likewise been used for confiscation in Australia and the United Kingdom, both touted as models by American gun-control advocates. Laws to Reduce Mass Shootings Red-flag laws could stop mass shootings at least occasionally, which is why I testified in favor of such laws before the Senate Judiciary Committee last March. But unless the laws have very strong due-process protections (which the bills being pushed by the gun-control lobbies do not), these laws are easy to abuse. Trump himself demonstrated the problem by claiming that CNN host Christopher Cuomo should be prohibited from owning guns because Cuomo lost his temper and yelled at a lout who was harassing him and his family at a restaurant.Donald Trump did once propose something that would greatly reduce mass shootings. “I will get rid of gun-free zones,” he promised over and over when addressing the NRA annual meeting in 2016. During the campaign he also promised, “I will get rid of gun-free zones in schools, and — you have to — and on military bases. My first day, it gets signed, okay? My first day. There’s no more gun-free zones.”Actually, he did nothing on the first day, and very little since then — not even on federal property, where many of the gun-free zones could be ended by executive-branch regulatory changes.The Army Corps of Engineers owns millions of acres of recreational land, and the corps’ regulations ban Americans from possessing defensive arms while visiting or camping on that land. Just before the Ninth Circuit was slated to hear oral arguments in a constitutional challenge to that ban, the Trump administration told the court that the administration was considering changing the regulation. But the regulation was never changed. Instead, the Trump administration issued guidance to citizens to request written individual permission from a district commander to possess a defensive arm.The gap between Trump’s promises and actions is unfortunate, because the vast majority of mass shootings take place in so-called gun-free zones. As studies of active-shooter incidents show beyond doubt, killing sprees almost always end when the people starting shooting back at the criminal. If law enforcement or security guards are already there, that’s good. But the police cannot be everywhere at once, and the minutes that it takes for the police to arrive are the criminals’ window of time for murder.Unlike Trump, President Obama actually did get rid of some gun-free zones. In 2009, Obama signed legislation to allow persons to carry arms on the lands (though not buildings) of national parks, national monuments, and national wildlife refuges when in compliance with the host state’s laws for lawful carry. The carry reform was attached to a bill on credit-card reform that Obama favored. Additionally, Obama signed defense-appropriations bills that ended gun registration for military personnel in off-base housing and that allowed licensed handgun carry on-base by some personnel.Ever since 2015, Trump has always talked big about this support for gun rights. He has one major accomplishment: unsigning the U.N. gun-control treaty that Obama had signed in 2013. He also signed a bill in early 2017 that blocked proposed Obama gun-control regulations.Gun-rights activists might tolerate Trump's very high ratio of talk to action. But they won’t tolerate him switching sides. Arrogance and Ignorance Donald Trump has flirted with the Bush model before, endorsing gun control in a February 2018 meeting with Senators Feinstein and Schumer. But Trump quickly pulled back. Now he seems more determined, apparently believing that the NRA, which is embroiled in internal conflicts and lawsuits over management issues, is too weak to stop him. Like many New Yorkers, Trump does not realize that the NRA itself is a consequence of American gun culture. If the NRA disappeared tomorrow, American gun owners would spontaneously self-organize in defense of their rights. The same is true for the pro-life movement, the environmental movement, and many others. Strike down their national organizations, and thousands of grassroots organizations will arise to take their place.The same is not true for the anti-gun movement. There has always been a hard core of anti-gun extremists, exemplified by the 20 percent of persons in opinion polls who want to ban all handguns. But the anti-gun grassroots never did spontaneously self-organize to any significant degree. Today, that doesn’t matter, since anti-gunners are now organized by the best professional organizers that money can buy, thanks to Michael Bloomberg and other malefactors of great wealth. This creates the impression among some politicians that the anti-gun movement is larger than ever before, in terms of voting support. This is not true, but the anti-gunners are now much more visible.Trump imagines that he will win reelection because the other party’s nominee will be so extreme. He should ask Jimmy Carter about that one. In 1980, Ronald Reagan’s ideas were indeed far from the center of gravity of American politics. But the American people were tired of Carter’s weakness, indecisiveness, and incompetence, and by a landslide they decided to give the opposing candidate a chance.Trump’s personal flaws are different from Carter’s, but more visible. In childish and unpresidential public behavior he far exceeds the previous record-holder, Bill Clinton.For over three decades I have been in close contact with grassroots gun-rights activists. In 2016 there were a few such activists who genuinely liked Trump; the vast majority viewed him with disgust, based on his character. Yet these same activists worked relentlessly to get gun owners to the polls and thereby carried Trump to narrow victories in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. If Trump follows through on his plans to betray them, they won’t forgive and they won’t forget.



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Judges rule migrant children must get soap and bedding, reject govt appeal

Judges rule migrant children must get soap and bedding, reject govt appealDetained migrant children must be given soap, dry clothes and clean bedding, US federal judges ruled Thursday, dismissing an appeal by the Trump administration. The ruling by three judges at San Francisco’s federal appeals court follows reports of severe overcrowding and disease-ridden cells at US detention centers. A surge of Central American migrants has overwhelmed US immigration services, leading to multi-pronged controversial efforts by US President Donald Trump’s administration to stem the flow, resulting in court challenges.



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Climbers must be trained to tackle Everest, panel says after deaths

Climbers must be trained to tackle Everest, panel says after deathsNepal must make training and experience in high altitude climbing mandatory for all climbers on Mount Everest and other high peaks, a government panel said on Wednesday, following the deadliest climbing season in four years. Eleven climbers were killed or went missing on the 8,850 metre (29,035 feet) mountain in May – nine on the Nepali side and two on the Tibetan side. The Nepali panel – made up of government officials, climbing experts and agencies representing the climbing community – was set up after climbers and guides criticised officials after the deaths for allowing anyone who paid $ 11,000 to climb Everest.



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Jeffrey Epstein is 'gone, but justice still must be served': Accusers say they feel robbed

Jeffrey Epstein is 'gone, but justice still must be served': Accusers say they feel robbedAfter the apparent suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, women who say he raped them are angry and want authorities to continue the investigation.



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'Justice must still be served': Epstein accusers express anger over his death

'Justice must still be served': Epstein accusers express anger over his deathVictims of his alleged sex trafficking operation say they wanted to see him held accountable and call for investigations to continue‘I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,’ Jennifer Araoz said. Photograph: APVictims of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex trafficking operation have reacted with anger that his apparent suicide in jail will prevent the disgraced financier from facing justice.As they detailed the traumas they still deal with, they also called for investigations to continue in the hope that anyone who aided and abetted Epstein’s alleged actions would still face potential charges.Jennifer Araoz, who accused Epstein of raping her when she was 15, said his death would do little to heal the deep scars left by his actions.“I am angry Jeffrey Epstein won’t have to face his survivors of his abuse in court,” she said in a statement to NBC News.“We have to live with the scars of his actions for the rest of our lives, while he will never face the consequences of the crimes he committed, the pain and trauma he caused so many people. Epstein is gone, but justice must still be served. I hope the authorities will pursue and prosecute his accomplices and enablers, and ensure redress for his victims.”Lawyer Brad Edwards, who has represented other Epstein accusers, said Epstein’s death had seen him avoid being held responsible.“While we engaged in contentious legal battles for more than a decade, this is not the ending anyone was looking for,” he said in a statement. “The victims deserved to see Epstein held accountable, and he owed it to everyone he hurt to accept responsibility for all of the pain he caused.”Others involved in the effort to bring Epstein to justice said his death would not end their efforts to secure financial damages.Sigrid McCawley, lawyer to Virginia Giuffre and other victims, said in a statement that Epstein’s suicide was “no coincidence”.“We are hopeful that the government will continue to investigate and will focus on those who participated and facilitated Epstein’s horrifying sex trafficking scheme that damaged so many. The victims await the true justice they have sought and deserve,” she said.Civil rights lawyer Lisa Bloom, who represents several alleged victims, called for Epstein’s estate to be held for his accusers. She tweeted: “I am calling today for the administrators of Jeffrey Epstein’s estate to freeze all his assets and hold them for his victims who are filing civil cases. Their lives have been shattered by his sexual assaults, their careers derailed. They deserve full and fair compensation NOW.”



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Five years after Brown's death and Ferguson protests, America must commit to doing better

Five years after Brown's death and Ferguson protests, America must commit to doing betterMore than 1,000 blacks have died at the hands of police since 2014. Protests, push for accountability show a nation still striving for change.



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Obama: Americans must not let racist views become normalized

Obama: Americans must not let racist views become normalizedThe statement , which did not mention President Donald Trump directly, also reminded Americans that “we are not helpless” in the face of the nation’s high frequency of mass shootings compared to other countries. “And until all of us stand up and insist on holding public officials accountable for changing our gun laws, these tragedies will keep happening,” Obama wrote. A shooting at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday killed 22 people, and a second shooting outside a crowded bar in Dayton, Ohio, early Sunday killed nine people.



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EU must change its negotiating terms for Brexit, says Britain's Barclay

EU must change its negotiating terms for Brexit, says Britain's BarclayThe European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, must go back to the bloc’s leaders to change the terms of the talks because Britain’s parliament will not accept the current deal, British Brexit minister Stephen Barclay said on Sunday. Writing in the Mail on Sunday newspaper, Barclay said the “political realities” had changed since Barnier’s instructions were set after Britain voted to leave the EU more than three years and that his mandate should reflect those differences. Britain’s new prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged to leave the EU on Oct. 31 with or without a deal, and has told the bloc there is no point in new talks unless negotiators are willing to drop the so-called Northern Irish backstop agreed with his predecessor Theresa May.



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Why Canada Must Protect its 5G Networks from Huawei

Why Canada Must Protect its 5G Networks from HuaweiThe introduction of 5G technology, along with its promise and challenges, has led to a transformational debate in Canada—as it has amongst many of Ottawa’s partners and allies around the world. Front and centre for Canada is the potential role of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei in such a next generation network. In order to address this question, the government of Canada has been conducting an intensive security review—which remains ongoing—on the implications of potentially including Huawei in its 5G networks.Magnifying the stakes of the looming verdict on Huawei, is an increasingly troubled relationship between China and Canada. Two Canadian citizens—Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor—remain arbitrarily detained in China since last December. Beijing accuses the two of stealing state secrets and guilty of espionage, but fails to produce any evidence to support such a claim. Kovrig and Spavor were arrested nine days after Canada’s arrest, on extradition request from the United States, of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou. Despite China’s attempts to downplay any linkage, it is clear that this was no coincidence and unfortunately the fates of Kovrig and Spavor have been unfairly tied to the extradition case of Meng. They have also rebuffed high-level Canadian efforts to have a dialogue on the matter.



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Mississippi Republican says gay female journalist covering his campaign must have male chaperone

Mississippi Republican says gay female journalist covering his campaign must have male chaperoneA Republican candidate for governor in Mississippi has banned a female reporter from riding along on a campaign trip unless she brought a male colleague to accompany her, citing concerns that the journalist could be used in a smear campaign alleging an extramarital affair.The reporter, Mississippi Today’s Larrison Campbell, wrote about the incident with state representative and candidate Robert Foster on Tuesday, noting that two other candidates in the state’s Republican primary agreed to “ride alongs” with a fellow male reporter from her news organisation.In her post, Ms Campbell noted that she had been the first to report several important stories related to the campaign, including Mr Foster’s original entrance into the race. She has also said she made several efforts to satisfy the campaign's concern, including offering to prominently wear a press badge on the trip or to produce her story quickly so that Mr Foster would be able to quickly stop any rumours."I was frustrated. I felt like I was banging my head against the wall, and then I was angry because there was no reason other than my gender that I wasn't getting to write this story that I felt needed to be written," Ms Campbell, who is openly gay, told The Independent.Ms Campbell said that, since going public with the story, she has heard from women in Mississippi and all across the country, saying that they have experienced different versions of that same sexism in traditionally male-dominated fields."I think politics is traditionally a male arena, and for some people out there they're not used to seeing women working in that arena," she said. She continued, noting the women who have reached out to her since publishing her story: "It's political reporters, but it's also campaign staff. It's people who have just been women in predominantly male areas who say they're tired of being treated differently. It is sexist, and it is something that we need to be talking about."In her post, Ms Campbell says that Mr Foster’s campaign director, Colton Robison, had told her that she would need a male colleague with her for an upcoming 15-hour campaign trip. That man was necessary, Mr Robinson reportedly said, because the campaign “can’t risk” the possibility that photos or videos would be taken of the reporter and candidate together, and used in a smear campaign insinuating the two are having an extramarital affair.“The only reason you think that people will think I’m having an (improper) relationship with your candidate is because I am a woman,” Ms Campbell said she told Mr Robison.We “can’t risk it,” he replied.Ms Campbell has reported for Mississippi Today for the past three and a half years, a time in which she both broke the story about Mr Foster’s campaign announcement, but also the story about him being offered $ 1m to drop out and pursue a different position.Mr Foster is a far right candidate, and his candidacy is considered to be a long shot bid to become the state party’s standard bearer.Ms Campbell wrote that she declined the request from the campaign.“My editor and I agreed the request was sexist and an unnecessary use of resources given this reporter’s experience covering Mississippi politics; Tuesday, Robinson was informed that this reporter would participate in the ride-along story alone,” she wrote.The campaign then reiterated the refusal. In response to a request for clarification, Mr Foster said that he would welcome an interview with Ms Campbell provided the circumstances were "appropriate", and said that his decision regarding the ride along was in accordance with an agreement he made with his wife."Before our decision to run, my wife and I made a commitment to follow the 'Billy Graham Rule', which is to avoid any situation that may evoke suspicion or compromise of our marriage. I am sorry Ms Campbell doesn’t share these same views, but my decision was out of respect of my wife, character, and our Christian faith," Mr Foster told The Independent in an email. He continued: "We don’t mind granting Ms Campbell an interview. We just want it to be in an appropriate and professional setting that wouldn’t provide opportunities for us to be alone."Ms Campbell said that, while this isn't the first time she has experienced sexism working as a political reporter, it was the first time it has actually stopped her from doing her job. Recalling a time when a politician grabbed her waist in the middle of an interview, or of times when fellow women reporters have been slipped notes by male sources after hours when out on the town, Ms Campbell said the issue can be found everywhere."It's gross. This stuff happens all the time, and it doesn't just happen in Mississippi. It happens everywhere," she said. "The difference here is it hasn't yet stopped me from doing my job, and this time it stopped me from doing my job. It's the straw that broke the camel's back. It isn't fair, and it isn't right [that these other incidents repeatedly occur], but this is the first time it has really stopped me from doing my job."



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