Posts Tagged With: gun violence


(Yahoo News Photo Illustration/AP/Getty)

A leading national gun safety group, joined by members of Congress, is calling for investigations of the National Rifle Association’s fundraising practices and finances in response to a Yahoo News investigation published last week.

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) has launched a nationwide petition campaign asking the Federal Election Commission and the Internal Revenue Service to investigate “violations of federal law” by the National Rifle Association. The CSGV is made up of 48 organizations, among them religious, social justice, political and child welfare groups.

The Yahoo News report which disclosed that the NRA had violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act, failed to report its political expenditures to the IRS for six consecutive years, and appears to have avoided paying federal taxes.

Yahoo News reported that the NRA misled prospective donors by telling them that money was being raised to support the tax-exempt operations of the organization when the money was, in fact, deposited to the account of its political action committee. Federal law — as well as multiple state laws — requires that fundraisers explicitly inform donors who the beneficiary of a contribution will be.

“Donations used to support candidates or causes with deception to the donors,  is a  violation of law,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a former Connecticut attorney general. “NRA donors deserve to know where their donations are going without any misinformation, and the solicitations described by Yahoo News merit scrutiny.”

Federal law also bars organizations like the NRA from raising funds for their political action committees (PACs) from the general public, and from using publicly accessible websites to finance their PACs. Tax-exempt corporations like the NRA are only allowed to solicit from their members. The NRA violated all of these provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act in soliciting contributions during the 2014 elections.

Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said, “Everyone needs to play by the same set of rules.  Thompson, the chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, said, “Many Second Amendment supporters and responsible gun owners contribute to the NRA because of the work it does to promote gun safety and support the hunting community. They have a right to know whether their money is going to these causes or to Beltway-NRA political efforts that undermine common-sense laws designed to keep criminals, domestic abusers and the dangerously mentally ill from getting guns.”

Thompson was referring indirectly to the NRA’s support for candidates who backed its successful 2013 campaign to thwart expanded background checks for gun purchases. The measure died in the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Elizabeth Esty, D-Conn., whose district includes the Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 children and adults were shot to death in 2012, said her office had heard from advocacy groups about the issues raised in the Yahoo News report.  She said. “The NRA is not above the law.”

The NRA has twice been challenged by the FEC for illegally moving corporate funds to its PAC. In 1983, again in 1991, and again in 2014. They signed a consent form not to violate campaign laws but continue to do so.

If you’d like to sign the petition, click on the link below.

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USA TODAY did an investigative piece on what we pay, that’s WE pay, for gun violence. I am not against guns, I own guns but our country has gone whacko for guns and it is out of control. People I talk to agree, some think my calling the NRA the Mafia is out of line. Good friends defend their gun practices to me but they don’t own AK47s. And, they are not walking around department stores or coffee shops swinging guns around like they were toys.

Here is a brief rundown of the cost of gun violence in 2010 from USA TODAY
(Keep in mind that it has only gotten worse in 2014.)

Government statistics were analyzed by Ted Miller for the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

Total cost for 2010 was $174.1 BILLION Try and think about BILLIONS of dollars here. From a medical standpoint:
$153.3 billion was from fatalities.
$16.6 billion from hospital admissions.
$4.2 billion& from emergency room visits.

Costs were broken down this way for 2010:

$5.4 billion in tax revenue lost because of lost work
$4.7 billion in court costs (Current statistics for 2014 court costs, 12 billion.)
$1.4 billion in Medicare and Medicaid costs for firearm injuries and deaths
$180 million in mental health care costs for gunshot victims
$224 million in insurance claims processing
$133 million for responding to shooting injuries

Miller also found that Medicaid covers 28% of hospital admissions for firearm injuries, 37% of hospital days and 42% of medical costs. But in another study, he found that even if people weren’t on Medicaid when they were injured, about 8% ultimately enroll in Medicaid after their injuries. “So about half of the medical costs borne by Medicaid may be the best estimate,” he said. (BB gun injuries were not included in the statistics.)

Manish Sethi, a trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University and a researcher for the study, said his team decided to look at the numbers after seeing “a bunch of African-American kids with gunshot wounds” coming through the emergency room. “We have to do something.”

So why isn’t anything being done?

A federal appeals court in Cincinnati has ruled unanimously that a federal law barring people who have been committed to mental institutions from owning guns is unconstitutional.
Decisions like this make one think about the wisdom of our courts. Yes, in THIS case, the person was mentally incapacitated for a short period of time.

And today we have white supremacists, anarchists challenging the cops on their turf in Texas. They create roadblocks on their own and stop people and warn them of a DUI roadblock ahead, for instance. They follow cops around and aggressively approach cops when they make a stop or an arrest in the name of COP WATCHING. Cop watchers sometimes wear pig ears and brag about making 12 to 20 confrontations per night. Life is getting pretty scary with so many guns, and so many mass shootings.

My friend Domenic Torchia has an answer:

Do you want affordable health care – put a $5 surcharge on every bullet and $100 tax per gun sold and we could use that;our insurance premiums for health care. (Anyone caughtselling bullets or guns on the black market – $1,000 fine for first;offense and $5,000 for each subsequent transgression.

The gun activists would find a way around that just as they always have.I don’t have answers but tonight, on PBS, FRONTLINE, I hope to understand why change doesn’t happen when most people are against the wild proliferation of guns and gun use in public. Stay tuned:

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