by Hannah McCartney
Bill would remove language monitoring sizes of magazines
Six months ago today, 26 children and adults were slaughtered at the hands of Adam Lanza and a semi-automatic Bushmaster XM12 E2S rifle inside Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., one of the deadliest school shooting massacres in U.S. history. As parents, friends, family and gun control advocates around the country mourn and commemorate the loss of life, Ohio gun rights advocates are worried about something else. Their concern: how to make it easier for Ohio citizens to obtain high-round magazines for their semi-automatic weapons.A new Ohio House Bill introduced by State Rep. John Becker (R-Union Township) could, if passed, allow people to purchase high-round magazines for semi-automatic weapons, removing language from the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) that currently restricts use of magazines exceeding 31 rounds for semi-automatic weapons. Specifically, the proposed bill would remove the definition of "automatic firearm" from section 2923.11 from the ORC that currently qualifies a weapon traditionally defined as a semi-automatic firearm (which operated by firing only once for each pull of the trigger) as an automatic firearm under Ohio law when used with a magazine holding greater than 31 rounds of ammunition. Gun rights advocates are in favor of deleting the line because qualifying a semi-automatic as an automatic weapon under Ohio law (dependent on magazine size) subjects gun owners to greater background checks and stricter purchasing restrictions, which they consider an unlawful hassle and burden. Jim Irvine, Chairman of the Buckeye Firearms Association, says that the sentence Becker has proposed to remove is one that inherently conflicts the actual definition of an automatic weapon; he says it doesn't make sense to qualify a semi-automatic weapon under the same umbrella as an automatic weapon when the two are entirely different types of firearms. He says that the issue is one of convenience for most semi-automatic gun owners, including himself. "Loading up magazines can take time," he says. "When I go to the shooting range I want to use my time up shooting, not reloading." That extra time, though, is exactly the point of the wording in the ORC, explains Toby Hoover, executive director for the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence. Limited magazines were what eventually stopped the Arizona gunman who shot former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords because a bystander was able to attack the shooter when he dropped a magazine while trying to reload. Hoover asserts that gun rights advocates like Irvine are being subversive in their reasons for wanting to change the changed law. She says the legal issue is not that the ORC is trying to directly equate semi-automatic weapons to automatic weapons — they clearly operate differently — but that grouping them together using that magazine restriction is a common-sense way to define them both as dangerous, unnecessary forms of firearms that simply shouldn't be readily accessible to the average gun owner. Semi-automatic weapons are extremely easy to purchase in Ohio, she says, while purchasing automatic weapons involves many more complicated restrictions and regulations. "I'm just really upset with the way they [Ohio Republicans and gun lobbyists] are ignoring the fact that people in Ohio want gun restrictions. They're just going the opposite direction," she says. "If they're really concerned about the wording of the law, just have them maybe separate the definitions but keep the restrictions the same." Ohio is one of several states monitor magazine limits on semi-automatic weapons, she explains, so it's not unusual at all that the ORC does so. Adam Lanza, Sandy Hook's shooter, had several 30-round magazines on him and was also carrying two handguns. It's estimated he used somewhere between four and 10 magazines during the shootings, which took place over a matter of minutes. The bill has been assigned to the House's Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security committee, where it currently awaits hearing
by Bill Sloat
Massie's first bill would repeal federal safety buffer enacted in 1990
U.S. Rep. Tom Massie, the congressman who represents the Kentucky side of the Cincinnati metropolitan area, used his first day in Congress to file a bill that would erase a 23-year-old federal ban that makes it a crime to carry guns near schools.At the moment, Massie does not have any co-sponsors signed up. Details are sparse because the government printing office says it does not yet have the full text of the measure to put online. The existing Gun-Free School Act of 1990, which was adopted when former president George H.W. Bush, a Republican, was in the White House is viewable here. The bill was amended in 1995. As late as 1999, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was testifying in support of the measure, a position it seems to have dropped after the Sandy Hook massacre.Under the existing law, so-called “school zones” include but are not
limited to parks, sidewalks, roads and highways within 1,000 feet of the
property line of a public or private elementary, middle or high school.
The law makes it practically impossible to travel in populated areas
without entering a "gun-free school zone." People with state-issued
licenses or permits to carry guns are exempted by the federal law, but
the exemption is only good in the state that issued the permit.The law doesn’t exempt out-of-state travelers who have permits, nor does
it allow off-duty police officers to pack a weapon in a school. And it
is a violation for anyone other than an on-duty police officer or a
school security guard to discharge a firearm in a school zone for any
reason. A state permit does not exempt a person from the discharge
is a copy of the bill that retired U.S. Rep. Ron Paul introduced while
the Texan was campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. He called
his repeal measure the Citizen Protection Act, and he got no support from
co-sponsors. Paul’s bill died when the new Congress was sworn in
yesterday, but Massie is now resurrecting it.Massie is a tea party adherent — elected last fall to
replace Geoff Davis — who largely shares the political philosophies of Paul and his son, Sen. Rand Paul, who is also from Kentucky. Massie voted
against John Boehner for speaker on the opening day of the 113th
Congress, an act of open defiance against the Republican House leadership.
1 Comment · Thursday, December 27, 2012
Shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School once again demonstrate a troubling paradox: A news story can be accurate and wrong. The aftermath of the massacre quickly
provided reporters with opportunities to put out stories that accurately
reported wildly incorrect but seemingly authoritative information.
by Ben L. Kaufman
Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond
a small weekly responds to an unimaginable disaster and scores a world
scoop is a lesson in the best of journalism. Poynter online’s Julie Moos
described what happened after Newtown Bee associate editor Shannon
Hicks heard the initial call over her police scanner.
drove the mile and a quarter and arrived behind the first dozen police
officers. She started taking photographs through her windshield and
captured her image of a line of children being led away from the
slaughter. “I’m conflicted,” Hicks
said about her photo. “I don’t want people to be upset with me, and I do
appreciate the journalists, especially, who have commented, saying
‘We’re just documenting the news.’ It’s harder when it’s in your
hometown and these are children we’re gonna watch grow up, the ones who
made it. I know people are gonna be upset, but at the same time I felt I
was doing something important.”
editor John Voket explained what was behind that image. “Police and
school system have a protocol” for evacuation. “Children get into a
conga line, shoulder to shoulder, and the only person that’s allowed to
keep their eyes open is the locomotive at the front of the line, usually
an adult. And every other kid has to keep their eyes closed from the
minute they were exiting the classroom to when they got about a couple
hundred yards into the parking lot.”
arrived about 20 minutes later and colleague Hicks “passed the baton”
to him. Hicks also is a volunteer firefighter. The firehouse is next to
the school. “I literally put on my firefighter gear . . . I was there as
a firefighter probably for not even more than 20 minutes before my
editor said he wanted me back in the office to work with him to
coordinate coverage from there.”
continued reporting, but “We operate a little differently because our
job is to take care of the community so we were inside helping to
comfort victims and trying to provide human support without necessarily
making reporting the No. 1 priority. The publisher came down to
comfort some of the families a little later in the day.” R. Scudder
Smith has been Bee publisher since 1973; he is the fourth member of his family to run The Bee
since they founded it in 1877. The paper, which has a full-time
editorial staff of eight, circulates to about two-thirds of the
community of about 29,000.
was Friday and the weekly Bee front page was ready to print. It couldn’t
be changed. “We’ve been putting everything on our website,” publisher
Smith told AP.
added that the traffic surge repeatedly crashed the website until the
Bee acquired “an intermediary service to supersize our bandwidth . . .
We got back up and running this (Saturday) morning.” The staff used
social media to spread information about school lockdowns, re-routed traffic, and grief counseling.
“Facebook and Twitter accounts have been a lifeline to our community
and it shows because 20 percent of the community are following us.” The
Bee also was “looking at doing a special extra to be on the newsstands
those of us outside Newtown, Conn., we can turn to the renewed duel over
gun control. If it were a song, tired and familiar gun control lyrics
would be among “Worst Hits Ever.” It didn’t take long for gun control
advocates to embrace the Sandy Hook massacre and the bellicose NRA to
opt for rare silence. Obama renewed his unredeemed calls for gun
control although he and Mitt Romney dodged the issue in the just-ended
campaign. It was a hornets’ nest neither man opted to kick and reporters
apparently were unable to raise with the candidates.
the Sandy Hook slaughter, fair and balanced Fox News banned discussion
of gun control from the cable network. Maybe Fox News feared we really
would decide if they really reported. New York magazine said the ban spotlights
the “growing chasm between Rupert Murdoch and [Fox News president]
Roger Ailes.” Ailes reportedly is a gun enthusiast. Murdoch, CEO of News
Corp., which owns Fox News, had tweeted a call for stricter gun
control, imploring for “some bold leadership action” from Obama.
me be churlish when everyone else is sympathizing with families,
survivors and first responders. Slaughtering 20 children is awful, but
reporters and editors are familiar with how badly Americans treat urban,
suburban, small town and rural children every day. In Obama’s Chicago
and many other urban areas, gunfire is an omnipresent fact of childhood.
Possibly one-fourth of all American children live in poverty as defined
by federal guidelines. For these kids, federally funded school meals
might be more than a complement to home meals. Health care for poor and
malnourished children isn’t much better than their educations. Medicaid
is among the anti-poverty programs high on the GOP priorities for
absolute cuts and/or reduced annual increases. And let’s not even get
into continuing coverage of physical and sexual child abuse, trafficking
minors and lifelong handicaps from poor or nonexistent prenatal care or
maternal drug and alcohol abuse.
foolish or ignorant reporters credit pious assertions that legislation
can prevent disturbed individuals from obtaining guns and killing as
many people as they can. There are more than 310 million people in this
country. Some are or will become seriously mentally disturbed and obtain
one or more of the hundreds of millions of firearms Americans own. A
Columbine or Sandy Hook could happen again any day.
on the shooting victims rather than shooters might reduce any copycat
effect. Stories and photos elevating killers to celebrity have been
blamed for further rampages. Even though the killer never was
identified, that was the inference drawn from Tylenol poisonings 30
years ago; copycats tried to poison Tylenol capsules. When coverage
began to fade, so did copycat crimes.
leaders realized years ago that traditional (and valuable) Eddie Eagle
gun safety comics and courses were insufficient to motivate and keep
members and their dues. Fear and anger would be more effective. Real and
imagined government controls became NRA’s cause. Few modern American
movements have been as durable and effective as the NRA.
is powerful because we are a democracy. It can mobilize more than 4
million members and fellow travelers as voters, donors and voices in the
news media. Elected representatives who want to keep their jobs quite
reasonably try to avoid the NRA’s opposition. Gun control advocates
evince nothing like this single-minded devotion to their cause.
1994, the Clinton administration won a10-year limit on the sale of
assault-style weapons and large capacity magazines for their ammunition.
I went to a gun store in Hamilton to cover a rush to beat the ban.
Chinese assault-style rifles and curved high-capacity magazines were
selling as fast as staff could pry open crates. As I watched, the price
rose $10 with each new crate: demand and supply. Men who talked to me
said they were buying because of the imminent controls on assault-style
rifles and high-capacity magazines. A few admitted fear of civil unrest
or some undefined federal assault. Most said they wanted a
military-style rifle for shooting targets or empty beer cans and this
might be their last chance.That 10-year ban died in 2004 when
Republicans owned all three branches of federal government and didn’t
seek renewal. However, recent killings that required assault-style
weapons with large-capacity magazines might prompt reconsideration of
the ban. Adam Lanza reportedly carried hundreds of rounds of ammunition
in high-capacity magazines. No one knows why he didn’t use them.
gun control measure that’s not DOA will have to respect millions of
long guns — rifles and shotguns — used by hunters, farmers and others.
That distinction is an important part of this story already handicapped
by the paucity of journalists who hunt or otherwise own firearms.
addition to an unfamiliarity with firearms, partisan hyperbole also
handicaps writing about guns and gun control. It can be hard to find
neutral sources who share reporters’ interest in accurate coverage.
Stenographic reporting giving “both sides” isn’t good enough;
journalists must know enough to challenge obvious partisan
misstatements. We are not obligated to report what we know to be untrue
or to label it as such.
with gun control cropped up in a recent Enquirer story about a failed
armed robbery attempt inside a suburban Sunoco station. Employees with a
handgun and a shotgun fatally wounded the would-be bandit. The Enquirer
story said it was unclear whether the employees had conceal-carry
licenses for those firearms. Unless someone somehow cloaked a shotgun’s
18-28” barrel, no conceal/carry permit is required. Unless the other
Sunoco clerk carried the pistol under his clothes, he didn’t need a
permit. Wearing it openly or storing it under the counter does not
require a conceal/carry permit. So what was the point of that line in
the story? Just because a cop might have said it doesn’t mean the
reporter had to share it. That’s what I’m talking about.
in much gun control coverage is Congress’ inability to craft sensible,
workable bipartisan gun control specifics that can survive NRA
opposition and Supreme Court scrutiny. Firearm confiscation is out of
the question. So is universal registration which raises NRA-orchestrated
fear of confiscation — by ATF, the UN or some other demon de jour — to hysteria. Moreover, the court affirmed an individual Second
Amendment right to own guns in 2010 but it did not rule out federal,
state or local regulations governing firearm use.
faced with new rage over shootings should remind partisans that we have
gun control already. Forty nine states issue conceal/carry permits but
specify where those handguns may not be carried. Illinois — State No.
50 — is under court order to replace its ban with a conceal/carry
permit system. Many if not most municipalities bar gun owners from
firing their weapons within city limits with the exception of
self-defense. States commonly limit when hunters can use rifles and/or
shotguns and they can require a certain size bullet for large-game
hunting. Landowners may bar hunters from their property during
state-sanctioned hunting seasons.
are federal limits on how short a “sawed off” shotgun or rifle barrel
may be. There are laws limiting ownership of silencers and fully
automatic machine guns and submachine guns. Federally licensed firearms
dealers must run background checks on prospective buyers and turn away
those who fail or won’t comply. Dealers can deny convicted felons a gun
under federal and many state laws. A legal purchaser may not buy a
firearm for someone who would fail a federal background check.
Mentally-ill customers can be turned away by dealers.
of the roughly 12,000 Americans shot to death annually are killed with
shot with shotguns or rifles. They’re shot with pistols. So when gun
control is promoted, reporters should press advocates to say what they
• Before reporters share the lunacy of arming
teachers, ask local cops how many rounds typically are fired from their
handguns in an armed encounter . . . and how many of those bullets hit
their target. Not many. It's very, very difficult for someone trained
even at the level of police to accurately fire when adrenaline is
pumping. The teacher might end up shooting more students than the
intruder. Better to count on the low probability of an armed intrusion.
Think about how rare this is. Awful when it happens, but very, very
rare, even in communities where other shootings are far more frequent.
by German Lopez
Posted In: News
, Gun Violence
at 12:13 PM | Permalink
Considerable research suggests it wouldn’t help
In the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre,
Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters suggested to WCPO TV that teachers “trained to
handle a weapon” should be armed.
The idea isn’t surprising coming from the Republican
county prosecutor. In the onset of tragedies like the one in Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., conservatives tend to counter
liberal cries for more gun control by saying the United States actually
needs more guns. They argue an armed society deters and is more
effective in stopping criminals.
The problem is the idea contradicts broader scientific
research. Following the attack at Tucson, Ariz., that nearly killed
former U.S. representative Gabrielle Giffords, economist Richard Florida
looked state-by-state into what factors correlate with gun violence.
He found no correlation between gun violence and mental illness, higher
stress levels, neurotic personalities, higher unemployment or
inequality. However, his research did find that the places with the most
gun control tend to have less gun violence.
Researchers at Harvard Injury Control Research Center found another correlation:
Whether looking at countries or states, more guns means more homicides.
More specifically, men and women in places with more firearms are at a
larger risk for gun-related homicide.
The University of Pennsylvania tackled the issue from a different angle
in 2009: The researchers looked at gun assault cases to see if gun
owners were more or less likely to be shot. They found people with guns
were 4.46 times more likely to be shot and people who had a chance to
resist were 5.45 times more likely to be shot.
In 2009, ABC News ran a 20/20 special
that used a simulation to gauge whether armed civilians can stop
attacks. The simulation placed trained and armed students into a
classroom, where they thought they would be getting additional
firearms training. In the middle of the lecture, an armed gunman broke
into the classroom and began shooting the teacher and students with fake
rounds. In all the examples shown, none of the students were able to
stop the gunman before taking shots that would have been deadly in a
real scenario. Essentially, being trained in the use of a firearm was
not enough to prepare someone for the high levels of distorting stress
experienced in a real crisis.
In their defense, conservatives typically point to a few stories, including one in which a gun-toting Florida senior stopped an armed robbery at an Internet cafe.
But are a few feel-good stories enough to trump scientific research?
After all, one of the main purposes of the social sciences is to sort
through outliers and find real tends with strong evidence.
Looking at the facts and research available, perhaps it’s better
to focus on mental health services and gun control than it is to arm
school teachers and staff, as suggested in CityBeat’s Dec. 19 news commentary.
CityBeat could not immediately reach the
prosecutor’s office for comments through phone or email. This story will
be updated if comments become available.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
On Dec. 14, the United States was hit by
another mass shooting. This time, a gunman forced himself into an
elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults.
by German Lopez
More on Newtown massacre, City Council passes budget, Dillingham to run for council
By now, most of you have heard there was another horrible
mass shooting, this time in Newtown, Conn., that resulted in the death
of 20 children and six adults. While everyone is hoping this is the last
time the nation has to deal with an event of unspeakable horror, it is
only a possibility if we agree to do something about it. That means
remembering the heroes
who risked their lives and, in some cases, died that day. That means
not letting the media and public drop the issue, as has been the case in the past. That means looking at more than just gun control, including mental health services. The Washington Post analyzed what “meaningful” action on gun control would look like, and the newspaper also disproved
the idea Switzerland and Israel are “gun-toting utopias.” President
Barack Obama also spoke on the issue at a vigil Sunday, calling for the
nation to do more to protect people, particularly children, from
violence. The full speech can be watched here.
City Council approved
its 2013 budget plan Friday. The budget relies on the privatization of
city parking assets to help plug a $34 million deficit and avoid 344 layoffs.
The budget also nixed the elimination of a tax reciprocity for people
who lived in Cincinnati but worked elsewhere and paid income tax in both
cities, and it continued funding the police department’s mounted unit.
As a separate issue, City Council voted to increase the property
tax by about 24 percent, reversing a move from conservatives in 2011. CityBeat wrote about budgets at all levels of government and how they affect jobs here.Michelle Dillingham, who was an aide to former city councilman David Crowley, will seek Democratic support in a run for City Council.
Dillingham promises to tackle “industry issues of mutual interest" to
business and labor and “transportation funding, family-supporting wages
and workforce development.”
At a recent public hearing, mayoral candidate John Cranley proposed a “very easy” plan for the city budget. Only problem: His plan doesn’t work.
In an email, Cranley said he stands by his ideas, but he added he was
working with limited information and his statements were part of a
two-minute speech, which “requires brevity.” He also claimed there are
cost-cutting measures that can be sought out without privatizing the
city’s parking assets and gave modified versions of his ideas regarding
casino and parking meter revenue.
Judge Robert Lyons, the Butler County judge who sealed the Miami rape flyer case, is standing by his decision.
The Greater Cincinnati area is near the top for private-sector growth.
Jedson Engineering is moving
from Clermont County to downtown Cincinnati, thanks in part to an
incentive package from City Council that includes a 45 percent tax
credit based on employees earnings taxes over the next five years and a
$300,000 grant for capital improvements. The company was a Business
Courier Fast 55 finalist in 2008 and 2009 due to its high revenue
Gov. John Kasich’s Ohio Turnpike plan is getting some support from Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, but others are weary.
They fear the plan, which leverages the turnpike through bonds for
state infrastructure projects, will move turnpike revenues out of
northern Ohio. But Kasich vows to keep more than 90 percent of projects
in northern Ohio.
Gas prices are still falling in Ohio.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is making some concessions in fiscal talks. In his latest budget, he proposed raising taxes on those who make more than $1 million a year.One beagle can diagnose diseases by sniffing stool samples.