Connecticut Set To Pass Major Gun Control Bill

The Democrat-controlled Connecticut Legislature is likely to approve a series of gun-control measures that, if approved by Governor Dannel P. Malloy this week, would give the State broad and comprehensive power over individuals’ acquiring, owning and keeping track of firearms.

Members of both political parties are backing the measure in the State Legislature. Malloy, who has been outspoken in his push for the State to adopt tougher laws against gun ownership, had not gone on record Tuesday indicating whether he would approve the agreement, but State lawmakers said they expect him to sign the bill into law.

In an agreement Republican Senate Minority Leader John McKinney described as “a package that the majority of the people of Connecticut I know will be proud of,” lawmakers portrayed the deal, in part, as an admonition to Congress that “bipartisan” support for a gun control bill at the Federal level is both possible and desirable.

“In Connecticut, we’ve broken the mold,” Democratic Senator Donald Williams Jr. boasted. “Democrats and Republicans were able to come to an agreement on a strong, comprehensive bill. That is a message that should resound in 49 other states and in Washington, D.C. And the message is: We can get it done here and they should get it done in their respective states and nationally in Congress.”

Among other measures, the new legislation would do the following:

  • Ban the sale of “high-capacity” magazines.
  • Require immediate background checks for all gun sales.
  • Require background checks for even private gun sales.
  • Create a new database for mandatory registration of existing magazines that hold 10 or more rounds.
  • Create a statewide “dangerous weapon offender” registry — the first of its kind in the United States.
  • Expand the State’s assault weapons ban to include more than 100 models of firearms.
  • Set the minimum age for buying a semiautomatic weapon at 21.
  • Increase penalties for “firearms trafficking” and “illegal possession” offenses.

Connecticut has remained a ground-zero talking point for gun-grabbing legislators, governors, mayors, Congressmen and President Barack Obama since last December’s mass shooting at an elementary school in Newtown.

A legislative vote is expected to pass the bill on to the Governor today.

AP Stylebook Dropping ‘Illegal Immigrant’

The Associate Press, which for 60 years has published the de facto style reference for newsprint journalism, announced Tuesday its venerable Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law would no longer recommend using the term “illegal Immigrant.”

AP director of media relations Paul Colford attempted an explanation, of sorts, on the agency’s website, beginning with a most paradoxical salvo: “The AP Stylebook is making some changes today in how we describe people living in a country illegally.”

The goal, he continues, is to abolish “labels” that describe actions — in other words, an act can be “illegal,” but an individual cannot be.

The post goes on to offer a number of examples offering alternatives that can be used to refer to someone who’s illegally immigrated somewhere without calling such a person an “illegal immigrant.”

Those include things like referring to a person “living in” or “entering a country illegally” or “without legal permission,” but refraining from using terms like “illegal alien,” “undocumented” or “an illegal.”

Good luck, MSM newswriters.

Dallas Communities Eye Free Guns For Protection Via Armed Citizen Project

Last week, we told you about the expansion into Tucson, Ariz., of the Armed Citizen Project (ACP), a private, Houston-based gun distribution and training program for residents living in high-crime areas.

Now the program is set to launch in North Texas, where receptive residents in and around Dallas can qualify to receive a free shotgun for personal protection after they’ve completed a safety course and demonstrated they’ve lived at the same address for at least a year.

In addition to providing a free shotgun for qualifying citizens, ACP also hopes to keep track of crime statistics in areas where the free guns have been in use — and then use those numbers to compare crime in gun-rich areas with crime in areas where gun-control restrictions prevail.

ACP has gained in popularity as news of its mission has gotten out, and the organization’s website states the free gun program is establishing a footprint in other cities — ones where the outcomes could make for some very interesting comparative studies. In addition to Houston, Tucson, Dallas and Indianapolis, ACP is also working to deploy in Detroit, New York and — perhaps most interestingly — Chicago.

Democrats Want To Force Gun Insurance, Saudi Women On Bikes, Texas Governor Digs In Over Obamacare, L.A. Wages War On Gridlock, There’s Gold In Them Thar Hills: Tuesday Morning News Roundup 4-2-2013

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • Texas Governor Rick Perry is still holding out on his State’s anticipated acceptance of nearly $100 billion in Federal health insurance funds, sticking to his long-standing pledge not to make Texas a “hostage” of the Federal government by accepting the terms of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

 

  • Some Congressional Democrats are pushing to make a Federal gun-control law that would force any gun owner who doesn’t take out liability insurance pay the government a $10,000 fine. You’ll know it as the “Firearm Risk Protection Act” when the TV talking heads start chattering.

 

  • Women are being allowed to ride bikes openly under a kinder, gentler interpretation of Saudi Islamic law. They can do it only for fun — not to actually go anywhere — and they have to be covered from head to toe. And they have to have a male relative with them at all times while pedaling about. (How does that work?) And they still can’t drive.

 

  • City life: Los Angeles has somehow managed to synchronize every single one of its traffic signals in an effort to reduce the city’s legendary gridlock.

 

  • A New Mexico man has left treasure in the ground in the mountains north of Santa Fe. If it actually contains gold, maybe it’s worth looking for right about now.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook. And follow our improved Twitter feed.

No Fooling: President Declares April ‘Financial Capability’ Month

President Barack Obama has issued a proclamation declaring April “National Financial Capability Month,” urging individuals and families to become more conscientious about how they manage their personal budgets.

The proclamation states the Administration’s conviction that there’s “no economic engine more powerful than the middle class,” and refers would-be home economists to two government websites, mymoney.gov and consumerfinance.gov, to help them attain greater “financial literacy.”

The apparent lack of ironic intent on the part of the Administration for selecting April, of all months, as a time to encourage Americans to do not as the President does, but as he says, was quickly seized upon by one Internet site after another, after another.

Some snippets from the President’s proclamation:

During National Financial Capability Month, we recommit to empowering individuals and families with the knowledge and tools they need to get ahead in today’s economy.

My Administration is dedicated to helping people make sound decisions in the marketplace…

…Together, we can prepare young people to tackle financial challenges — from learning how to budget responsibly to saving for college, starting a business, or opening a retirement account.

Of course, there’s no point in the President issuing a proclamation on personal finance without throwing in a little regressive economics:

We also know that too many families are living paycheck-to-paycheck, unable to take advantage of tools that would help them plan for a middle class life. That is why we must build ladders of opportunity for everyone willing to climb them – from a fair minimum wage that lifts working Americans out of poverty to high-quality preschool and early education that gets every child on the right track early. These reforms would encourage the kind of broad-based economic growth that gives everyone a better chance to secure their financial future.

CNS News nicely parsed the absurd irony of this President entreating Americans to live by the basic financial principles that no one in the White House (and few in Congress) have managed to apply toward government borrowing and spending. The national debt has increased by $53,377 per household. It’s increased more than $6 trillion, up from $10 trillion in 2009 to $16 trillion today. And the President still hasn’t submitted a fiscal year 2014 budget.

Poll Finds Most Religious U.S. Cities Vote With GOP, Least Religious With Democrats

A poll released last week links Americans’ measure of religious devotion with geography, noting a clear pattern shared among the Nation’s most-religious (and least-religious) cities.

The Gallup poll, which ranks residents of America’s metropolitan areas from most religious to least, noted the majority of areas where people strongly identify with religion lie predominantly in the South, as well as in Mormon-dominated Utah.

The Provo-Orem, Utah, metro area topped the list, with more than 77 percent of residents who responded identifying themselves as “highly religious” and only 12 percent claiming they are “not religious.” Following Provo as “highly religious” cities are Montgomery, Ala. (64 percent); Jackson, Miss. (63 percent); Birmingham-Hoover, Ala. (56 percent); and Huntsville, Ala. (55 percent).

Other Southern cities also approached the top of the list, including metro areas in South Carolina, Georgia, Arkansas, Louisiana and North Carolina. Only one Northern metro — Holland-Grand Haven, Mich. — was listed among the top 10.

For purposes of the survey, “highly religious” means respondents attend worship services weekly or almost weekly.

By contrast, Northern and Western cities abound on the bottom of the chart, with Burlington-South Burlington, Vt., claiming the fewest respondent — 17 percent — who identify themselves as “highly religious,” followed closely by Boulder, Colo. (17 percent); Manchester-Nashua, N.H. (21 percent); Portland-South Portland-Biddeford, Maine (21 percent); and Santa Rosa-Petaluma, Calif. (23 percent). The metro areas of San Francisco; Eugene, Ore.; Boston; Bremerton, Wash.; and Albany, N.Y., rounded out the bottom 10.

Using the poll’s numbers, it’s simple to relate so-called “religious” areas with residents’ mainstream political leanings, as CNS News has done:

The poll results show that the states with the 10 least religious metro-areas went to Barack Obama in the 2012 presidential election, while nine of the 10 most religious metro-areas were in states that went to Republican Mitt Romney.

In the bottom five cities on the list — plus San Francisco; Bremerton; Springfield, Mass.; and Bellingham, Wash. — more than 50 percent of those surveyed indicated they were “not religious” at all.

Taken in the context of another Gallup survey done in late 2012, it’s apparent that more Americans identify culturally with religion — primarily Catholicism or Protestant Christianity — than actually practice it in their daily lives. However, the survey does seem to indicate that such a strong cultural connection to Christianity is closely linked with conservative voting patterns in mainstream national politics.

Another Country Jumps Ship On U.S. Dollar For Chinese Bilateral Trade

China and Australia have entered into an agreement that will allow for the direct converting of the Australian dollar to the Chinese Yuan, in the process cutting the U.S. Dollar’s present status as a reserve currency out of the conversion process.

The move makes Australia, already a major consumer of Chinese goods, the first non-BRICS Nation to agree to buy and sell directly with China in its native currency. It differs from previous bilateral economic agreements between China and other countries, which thus far have provided for currency swaps, but never a direct conversion from a trading partner’s currency to the Yuan.

Instead, the U.S. Dollar has stood as the reserve currency for Chinese trading relationships with other countries – although China’s push to supplant the Dollar with its own currency in bilateral trade agreements is gradually marginalizing the Dollar’s status, as this Zero Hedge article details.

Study Reveals U.S. Schools Used To Do More With Less

Since the 1950s, public schools in the United States have seen their administrative rosters swell more than sevenfold, while their success at educating students has proportionately declined.

That fact, likely intuited by many who remember an era when American education was a lot more personal and a lot less bureaucratic, was revealed last month in Part Two of an ongoing study by the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice.

Entitled “The School Staffing Surge,” the report notes that faculty employment numbers have so greatly exceeded the growth in public schools’ overall student population that schools seem now as equally obligated to cater to teacher demands as they are required to educate students.

Between 1950 and 2009, the number of public school children attending grades K-12 grew by 96 percent, while the number of full-time employees at public schools grew by 386 percent.

Amazingly, the study learned that “administrators and other non-teaching staff experienced growth of 702 percent, more than seven times the increase in students” during that same time period.

At the same time, the study found that kids haven’t benefited in proportion with that kind of increase in teachers and administrators:

[T]he increases in public school employment since 1992 do not appear to have had any positive returns to students as measured by test scores and graduation rates. Some likely will try to cherry-pick an individual state and point out that a particular measure of student achievement increased at the same time that public school employment grew dramatically; however, such an approach is misleading because, across all states, public school employment surged, while student achievement did not measurably increase. If student achievement increased in a certain state, why did it not increase—or why did it decrease—in other states when public school employment increased?

…One should ask whether the significant resources used to finance employment increases could have been spent better elsewhere.

Friedman Institute fellow Benjamin Scafidi, who authored the report, called for a new approach (or, perhaps, a return to old ones) in revising the inefficient and still-accelerating administrative bloat in public education, noting the “burden of proof is now on those who still want to maintain or even increase the dramatically larger staffing levels in public schools.”

Rand Calls Gun-Hating Celebs’ Use Of Armed Security ‘Hypocrisy’

Famous people who back gun control are being hypocritical when they retain the services of security guards who carry handguns and other firearms, said Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) last week.

Speaking on the “Hannity” show on FOX News, Paul said gun control devotees like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, as well as famous Hollywood types, are right to hire security to protect their famous selves from personal harm; they’re just wrong to oppose the rights of other Americans to own firearms so they can accomplish the same thing.

I don’t begrudge any famous person like Mayor Bloomberg, or the President or the President’s family for having protection — I think they all should; there’s enough crazy people out there who would attack on the right or the left. But I think when you are being protected by people who have weapons, or responsible people, I can’t see why you would be opposed to that for other people.

So yes, many rich Hollywood celebrities have armed guards with them at all times and many regular people who live in a poor neighborhood, who have a business in a poor neighborhood and a neighborhood that may have higher crime — those people have to suffer the vicissitudes of violent crime without protection sometimes, because of gun control laws. So, yes, I think there is a certain amount of hypocrisy.

Paul and other colleagues in the Senate have pledged to filibuster gun-control legislation ahead of an expected vote next month.

Lone Star State Wants Federal Reserve To Hand Back Its Gold

Texas Governor Rick Perry is supporting legislation that would create a bullion depository in the State and bring home $1 billion in gold, currently housed by the Federal Reserve in a New York vault, for State-level protection under the aegis of a new bank that would be created for the purpose.

If the idea sounds like something former Congressman Ron Paul of Texas would have come up with, that’s because he did. Although not officially involved in the current legislation, Paul told the Texas Tribune last week it’s a sound idea:

“If you think gold is a hedge, or a protection, you always want it as close to the individual and the entity as possible,” he said. “Texas is better served is it knows exactly where its gold is, rather than depending on the security of the Federal Reserve.”

Perry also sounded very much like a leader who doesn’t think the United States is immune from a banking debacle similar to the ongoing crisis in Cyprus. Perhaps in mind of Cypriots who can’t get their own money out of failing, thieving banks, Perry went on national radio last week to drive the point home, saying: “If we own it, I will suggest to you that that’s not someone else’s determination — whether we can take possession of it; bring it back or not.”

The idea behind the bill, sponsored by Republican legislator Giovanni Capriglione, isn’t to put the State into a secessionist position by stockpiling a new State bank with bullion and creating its own monetary standard.

Rather, he explained, it’s to ensure Texas is viewed by residents, businesses and anyone considering any type of investment in the State as the kind of place where leaders are serious about fiscal responsibility as they prepare to weather a broader financial crisis.

There’s more than a little concern that the Federal Reserve wouldn’t easily part with Texas’ 6,000-plus gold bars, mainly because of its practice of rehypothecation, in which gold collateral held in a depository is used as collateral yet again by the Feds on leases it makes to bullion banks. In other words, Texas’ gold may be spoken for because the Federal Reserve has encumbered it to make a speculative profit. Until that encumbrance clears, the Feds could tell Texas, “IOU.”

“We don’t want just the certificates,” Capriglione told the Tribune. “We want our gold. And if you’re in the State of Texas, you should be able to get your gold.”