Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why New Laws Could Miss America's Bigger Gun Problem

Why new laws could miss America's bigger gun problem
By Mallory Simon, CNN

Can there be a solution to America's gun problems? Anderson Cooper looks at both sides of the debate in "Guns Under Fire: an AC360ยบ Town Hall Special" Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNN.

(CNN) -- Trent Brewer drove to a parking lot, planning to sell some weed. The transaction never happened.

Police in Springfield, Missouri, found Brewer, 23, face-down in a pool of his own blood with no pulse on December 12. He was declared dead at a nearby hospital.

Police say Darian Earl Hall, 18, pulled out a chrome semi-automatic handgun before the sale could happen, and opened fire on Brewer as he began to run away.

Hall has denied shooting Brewer, blaming another teen who was with him at the time. What exactly happened will eventually be settled in court.

Brewer's story follows a familiar pattern: drugs, an escalating confrontation and the presence of a gun leading to a death.


Beatriz Cintora-Silva took refuge at her sister's home immediately after telling police in Longmont, Colorado, that her ex-boyfriend had kidnapped her, threatened her and threw her into a car dashboard. It was Saturday, December 16.

The next day, police arrested Daniel Sanchez, 31, who spent Sunday night in jail.

Six hours after Sanchez left the Boulder County jail, a call came into 911:

"No, no, no, please, no," Cintora-Silva said on the call.

Gunfire rang out and the phone went silent.

Then, Sanchez picked up the phone.

"I just shot everyone right now," he said, according to a recording of the 911 call.

"You just shot everybody?" the dispatcher asked. Sanchez calmly replied "Yeah."

She asked for his name, but he didn't answer.

"I'm going to shoot myself right now," Sanchez said on the recording. The dispatcher pleaded with him.

It didn't matter. The line went dead.

Sanchez had shot and killed Cintora-Silva, her sister and her sister's husband before killing himself with one of the most deadly weapons in the United States.

It wasn't an AR-15, or an assault rifle -- it was a Glock .45-caliber handgun.


America's most deadly firearm

Trent Brewer and Beatriz Cintora-Silva are among the more than 6,000 people killed each year by handguns.

The graph below details gun-related homicides in 2011 by weapon type. This breakdown has remained consistent across the most recent five years of data made available by the FBI.

That's like having a massacre on the scale of Newtown 239 times during one year.

Yet, as the Obama administration moves forward with legislation to stem the toll of gun violence in America, the focus has been on curbing access to high-powered rifles and large-capacity magazines, not the common handguns that account for the majority of gun deaths in America.

Last week, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, stood in front of an array of assault rifles and semi-automatic weapons and outlined her proposed legislation to reinstitute an assault weapons ban, as well as outlaw ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds.

But even if these proposals make it through to legislation, what impact will they have on stemming the deaths by America's most deadly firearm?

Despite the National Rifle Association's assertion that Feinstein and other Democrats are taking steps toward outlawing all guns, no lawmaker is calling for a ban on the legal purchase of handguns. These common firearms, which account for the majority of gun-related violence in America but are also used for self-defense, are fully protected by the Second Amendment, according to a 2008 Supreme Court ruling.

Speaking Monday before a meeting with police chiefs and sheriffs from across the country, Obama said he understands that America's gun violence problem runs deeper than the mass shootings that trigger international headlines.

"I welcome this opportunity to work with (law enforcement), to hear their views in terms of what will make the biggest difference to prevent something like Newtown or Oak Creek from happening again," the president said. "But many of them also recognize that it's not only the high-profile mass shootings that are of concern here, it's also what happens on a day-in-day-out basis in places like Chicago or Philadelphia, where young people are victims of gun violence every single day."

 To read more of the article, please click on the link below


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Entitlement America: Who Benefits by Tami Luhby

Entitlement America: Who benefits?

By Tami Luhby @CNNMoneyJanuary 15, 2013: 6:01 AM ET

The middle class may have been spared the worst of the tax increases, but they may not be so lucky in the coming entitlement reform battle over deficit reduction.

Entitlements -- including Social Security, Medicare and safety net programs such as Medicaid and food stamps -- don't just benefit the poor and unemployed. More than 90% of the benefits go toward working families, the disabled and the elderly. And more than half of all entitlement spending helps middle class Americans.

In 2010, those age 65 and older collected 53% of the dollars, while the non-elderly disabled received 20%, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a left-leaning group. And folks in working families collected 18%.

As for income levels, those in the middle -- earning between $30,000 and $120,000 -- received 58% of all entitlement dollars in 2010.

One reason so many middle income Americans are using the safety net is the recession. Workers nearing retirement age have found themselves without work in recent years and were forced to go on Social Security and Medicare earlier than planned.

In 2007, the middle class received 52% of entitlement benefits, but three years later, that figure rose by 6 percentage points, largely because more older workers were flooding into Social Security and Medicare after losing their jobs.

The share of middle-income American households receiving Social Security benefits jumped to 69%, up from 63%. Likewise, the share of Medicare recipients in that group rose to 64%, up from 58%.

"These are programs that are of great concern to the middle class and greatly affect their well being," said Arloc Sherman, senior researcher at the center. "Social Security has the large effect of keeping people in the middle class."

Another reason why Social Security skews toward middle-income folks is in part because it is a progressive program, so higher income workers receive proportionately less of their incomes in benefits.

Disability benefits, meanwhile, have become increasingly popular as the nation ages and the economic downturn makes it harder for the disabled to find jobs. Those with health issues who would prefer to keep working, are forced to go on disability instead. Applications for the Social Security disability program reached an historic high in the wake of the Great Recession, exceeding 2.9 million in 2010, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Once people start receiving benefits, few leave the program. The average monthly benefit was $1,068 in 2010.

Working families are the main recipients of the earned income tax credit and the child tax credit, which are designed to encourage employment. About half of food stamp and Medicaid spending also go to individuals in working families, Sherman said. And unemployment benefits are counted as going to working families if the spouse continued to hold down a job or if the recipient worked at least 1,000 hours in the year.

On the other side of the political aisle, the worry is not who is getting the benefits but how many people. The Heritage Foundation just released a study showing that 70 million people are in at least one of 47 government programs.

"Our concern is that entitlements and safety net programs have been growing so rapidly over time, regardless of the economy," said William Beach, who just stepped down as Heritage's director of the Center for Data Analysis. "The numbers are becoming unsustainable or already are."

The largest of the programs, including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, are not financially viable over the long run so they need to be addressed to ensure they survive.

"The programs need to be reformed so they'll be there in 10 years," he said.



DJango: Black Jesus Unchained by Joseph Boston

Django: Black Jesus Unchained

Django: Black Jesus Unchained

R3 Contributor


There has been much critique and controversy surrounding the new Quentin Tarantino movie “Django Unchained”. In particular I keep coming across a consistent critique on the depictions of violence throughout the movie. While cinematic violence is a topic worthy of debate within American cinema I find a certain sense of irony that this critique is being levied on this movie when there are innumerable movies in the cinematic landscape also worthy of such criticism. There are numerous reasons for this of course, of which I can’t possibly get into here. However, I have been mulling over the ones that pertain to religion for the last few days.

The consistent portrayal of white males in American action films speak to cultural religious beliefs within American culture.

White males in the role of the “action hero” appropriate messianic propensities that are consistent with right wing evangelical conservative beliefs in a raptured white jesus returning to save his beloved believers while exacting vengeful punishment on fallen sinners.

Django challenges this imagery more so than any other black protagonist by placing Django in the role of messianic deliverer, a black jesus, in the most controversiveryal period of American history, chattel slavery, exacting punishment on a culture of white supremacy that has neither come to terms with their sins or acknowledged them but instead misappropriated their sins on the very people and person (in the form of Django) who has come back to punish them.

This is unheard of in American cinematic history. This is a response to the mythology and utter fabrication of D.W. Griffith’s “Birth Of A Nation” that posits the “christian” Klansmen as the heroic protagonists saving ‘innocent whites’ from the dark evil of the African negro. One could argue that every narrative since the screening of that movie in the White House in 1915 has been the archetype for American cinematic hero narratives in some way shape or form up to present times.


President Obama's Gun Control Measures

This afternoon, President Obama announced a package of proposals to reduce gun violence. These are executive actions, not legislation, and will—among other things—strengthen law enforcement efforts against gun crime, encourage more stringent background checks, and provide resources for gun safety. Here is the full list:
  1. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal agencies to make relevant data available to the federal background check system.
  2. Address unnecessary legal barriers, particularly relating to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, that may prevent states from making information available to the background check system.
  3. Improve incentives for states to share information with the background check system.
  4. Direct the Attorney General to review categories of individuals prohibited from having a gun to make sure dangerous people are not slipping through the cracks.
  5. Propose rulemaking to give law enforcement the ability to run a full background check on an individual before returning a seized gun.
  6. Publish a letter from ATF to federally licensed gun dealers providing guidance on how to run background checks for private sellers.
  7. Launch a national safe and responsible gun ownership campaign.
  8. Review safety standards for gun locks and gun safes (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
  9. Issue a Presidential Memorandum to require federal law enforcement to trace guns recovered in criminal investigations.
  10. Release a DOJ report analyzing information on lost and stolen guns and make it widely available to law enforcement.
  11. Nominate an ATF director.
  12. Provide law enforcement, first responders, and school officials with proper training for active shooter situations.
  13. Maximize enforcement efforts to prevent gun violence and prosecute gun crime.
  14. Issue a Presidential Memorandum directing the Centers for Disease Control to research the causes and prevention of gun violence.
  15. Direct the Attorney General to issue a report on the availability and most effective use of new gun safety technologies and challenge the private sector to develop innovative technologies.
  16. Clarify that the Affordable Care Act does not prohibit doctors asking their patients about guns in their homes.
  17. Release a letter to health care providers clarifying that no federal law prohibits them from reporting threats of violence to law enforcement authorities.
  18. Provide incentives for schools to hire school resource officers.
  19. Develop model emergency response plans for schools, houses of worship and institutions of higher education.
  20. Release a letter to state health officials clarifying the scope of mental health services that Medicaid plans must cover.
  21. Finalize regulations clarifying essential health benefits and parity requirements within ACA exchanges.
  22. Commit to finalizing mental health parity regulations.
  23. Launch a national dialogue led by Secretaries Sebelius and Duncan on mental health.
This is a mix of classic gun control measures, and policies that bring a public-health approach to gun safety. The goal is both to reduce the number of assault weapons and illegal guns in circulation, and to reduce the lethality of the guns that already exist, with gun-safety education and research.
It’s a smart approach, although it’s limited by the lack of congressional action. As such, Obama has also called for Congress to pass several gun-control measures: Universal background checks for anyone buying a gun, a new assault-weapons ban, and tougher penalties on people who buy guns with the “express purpose” of illegal sales. What’s more, Obama has also called on Congress to confirm his nominee to direct the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency.
Obama has devoted a good amount of political capital to new gun laws, and the public supports him. Whether Congress will do anything is, of course, an open question.

NRA airs ad criicizing President Obama

NRA airs new TV ad criticizing Obama on eve of White House gun announcement

Posted by

Washington (CNN) - The National Rifle Association released a new television commercial Tuesday night charging President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for being "skeptical" about placing armed guards at schools, while his own two daughters are protected by the U.S. Secret Service.

"Are the president's kids more important than yours?" a narrator says in the 30 second ad. "Then why is he skeptical about putting armed security in our schools, when his kids are protected by armed guards at their school."

The commercial is running on the Sportsman Channel, a cable network focused on outdoors programming such as hunting and fishing. It is also posted on a dedicated web site "Stand and Fight."

On Wednesday, Obama is set to unveil a new set of proposals that would place very tough restrictions on the ownership and sale of firearms.

In the ad, the narrator only mentions Obama by name, but it also features images of Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NBC anchor David Gregory. Bloomberg is an influential voice in favor of stricter gun laws and has dipped into his personal fortune to help fund a lobby campaign, and Feinstein, a California Democrat, is helping spearhead a congressional effort to enforce tougher gun laws.

Gregory questioned NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre in a December interview about the effectiveness of the organization's proposal to put armed guards in schools. After the interview, the NRA and conservative media outlets noted that Gregory's children attended the same school as Obama's daughters and the school has a security department.

"Mr. Obama demands the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes," the narrator says. "But he is just another elitist hypocrite when it comes to a fair share of security. Protection for their kids and gun-free zones for ours."

The introduction of Obama's children into the gun debate further demonstrates the high stakes in this very complicated and emotional issue about how to weigh Second Amendment rights with the safety of citizens following several high profile killings, including the recent massacre of 20 children and six educators at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school.

As advocates for new gun restrictions pledge to pressure Congress to pass new laws, the NRA and other like-minded gun rights groups and conservative organizations have said they will fight any changes to the current gun laws.

"Stand and fight sums up what Americans need to do to preserve our Second Amendment freedom," NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam told CNN.

The NRA is not ruling out expanding the buy to air the commercial elsewhere.

The group, which had an existing partnership with the Sportsman Channel, has added an NRA hosted daily weekday program to the network's lineup.


More and more American want pot legal

More and more Americans want pot legal

By David Nathan, Special to CNN


This by far is the most controversial topic that I have decided to place on my blog thus far.  There are many issues that are occurring in American society today that warrant attention.  I feel that this is one of them.  I want to state for the record that I do not condone the use of any drug and I feel that this is a topic that needs to be discussed in an open and frank manner.  People leave comments! What are your thoughts?


Editor's note: David L. Nathan, a clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, was recently elected as a distinguished fellow in the American Psychiatric Association. He teaches and practices general adult psychiatry in Princeton, New Jersey.

(CNN) -- Last week, my op-ed in favor of cannabis legalization ran on CNN.com. This week marks three years since I first wrote that marijuana should be legal. I'm amazed at how the debate has changed in just a few years.

I was inundated with messages from readers, and was humbled by some of them.

Here's one from a Southern Baptist church pastor: "I have seen firsthand the heartache caused by America's prohibition against marijuana. I have visited young men in prison, who I knew in my heart should not be there ... It is time for us to speak out and tell the truth about marijuana ...

But so many are afraid to speak out because they fear being labeled 'pro-drugs'... I pray daily that God will end this dreadful 'war.'"

The overwhelmingly positive comments posted on CNN.com, especially from those who don't use marijuana, show that more mainstream Americans are willing to voice their pro-legalization opinions. Informed adults are challenging old dogmas, and they worry less about the folly of "Reefer Madness" than refined sugar's role in shortening their children's lives.

Given the thousands of thoughtful comments in the past week, I'd like to address several of the most important themes readers have discussed:

Agreed. I believe that the coming of the information age has played a major role in the widely recognized shift in public opinion on legalization. Today's readers are increasingly able to judge facts for themselves by consulting readily available and well-referenced scientific sources.

Vertical1 is in favor of "decriminalizing [pot] and taxing it."

There is often confusion between the terms decriminalization and legalization, though the distinction is critical. Full legalization would empower federal, state and local governments to regulate and tax the cannabis trade. Regulation facilitates control and safety, and government debt can be reduced with taxes raised from marijuana sales.

But if we merely decriminalize marijuana, then it continues to be at least nominally illegal. Possession could get you the equivalent of a parking ticket, and those involved in the drug trade might still receive more severe punishment. Not only would this burden law enforcement, but the cannabis economy would remain unregulated and untaxed.

Anon Ymous, who declares himself to be "pro-legalization, but anti-use," writes: "My life experiences growing up taught me that my friends who smoked pot in grade school, high school and/or college suffered for it."

Make no mistake: marijuana is bad for kids, although pot's potential harm to children is rather more subtle than that of alcohol, which can cause life-threatening physical addiction or fatal poisoning.

Studies suggest that repeated marijuana use in adolescents can cause cognitive impairment and chronically low motivation, setting teens on a path of underachievement. But if cannabis is legalized, the tax revenues it brings in can be used to fund better drug education in schools.

We must start teaching our children early, highlighting the nuanced but significant risks to underage users and avoiding the typical hyperbole that teens know they can safely ignore.

Even with the legalization of marijuana, anyone over 21 should be prosecuted for providing cannabis to anyone under 21. And remember: Drug dealers don't check IDs, but liquor store cashiers do. Given that drug dealers aren't going away, who would you rather have as the retailer of marijuana?

DedTV, who is also explicitly pro-legalization, asserts: "Pot CAN cause hallucinations."

When it comes to marijuana's role in psychiatric disorders, the medical literature and my clinical experience are ambiguous. There's a kind of chicken and egg problem with scientific studies, and they often contradict one another. Cannabis use does correlate with mental illness, but so does poor hygiene.

Some users experience transient, mild paranoia when ingesting pot, which generally leads them to simply stop using it. Many of my patients with anxiety and depression have found that frequent use of cannabis makes their condition worse. A few report that it helps them, at least subjectively. Regardless, alcohol is a much stronger depressant than pot.

As for thought disorders like schizophrenia, evidence suggests that a very large dose of pot can make a healthy person briefly lose touch with reality, and even modest doses may trigger a more serious psychotic episode in some people who are already ill or likely to become ill. While infrequent among pot users, this is of little consolation if you are the unlucky person for whom cannabis is a match to the fuel of underlying mental illness.

On the other hand, it hardly warrants universal pot prohibition any more than the existence of peanut allergies would justify a ban on legumes.

Postmasteratfingers asks: "Is there any evidence regarding the effect on driving while stoned from pot?"

Studies have shown that moderate to severe intoxication with marijuana does indeed increase a driver's accident risk. But look deeper and you'll find that this risk is similar to that of drivers with a blood alcohol level of 0.05%, which happens to be well below the federally mandated legal limit of 0.08%. So once again, pot may not be good, but alcohol is worse.

Stephen Lang requests: "Please don't call it 'weed.' It has lots of uses."

Baby boomers call it "pot," and their kids call it "weed." The most common and controversial term is derived from the Spanish vernacular "marihuana." Until the 1930s, English speakers preferred the scientifically accurate name "cannabis."

But those Americans who sought to ban the drug in the 1930s favored the previously little known and foreign-sounding term "marijuana," which might and apparently did stir racial passions among whites.

Cohara1103 asserts: "The main reason it should be legal is... as a 38-year- old white man in a white collar job I will never be stopped, questioned or arrested for marijuana possession EVER!"

After 75 years, haven't our laws against marijuana shed their racist past? Apparently not. Although African-Americans are 25% more likely to use marijuana than white Americans, they are 300% more likely to be arrested for it. A criminal record greatly limits one's opportunities for success in life. The racial divide widens, and racial tensions grow. This, dear readers, is the enduring legacy of pot prohibition.

And finally, Roland Gyallay-Pap comments that "cannabis [is] the correct term for marijuana."

I'm afraid we may be stuck with the contentious word "marijuana," but it provides a useful reminder of one way in which American society was long ago manipulated into the prohibition of a plant that caused a mild euphoria in most people who tried it and a severe paranoia in many who didn't.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Republic at Risk

Posted by Matthew Di Carlo on December 12, 2011

Hardly a week goes by when some newspaper or television network doesn’t feature where the U.S. ranks among the nations participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). This test, administered to 15-year olds every three years, serves as a benchmark for “how we’re doing” in terms of education outcomes relative to our international competitors.

Because the results get so much attention, millions of Americans are aware that our students’ average scores rank relatively low on all three tests (though, when you account for error margins, U.S. scores are actually roughly average). Such awareness has stirred up remarkable urgency to improve our education system – we are told this is a “Sputnik moment,” and that the very future of our nation’s economy is at risk.

Yet, for all the attention we pay to our rankings on standardized tests, how many Americans are aware that, in terms of voter turnout (voters as a proportion of voting-age population) between 1945 and 2001, the U.S. ranked 138th out of the world’s 169 democracies? To whatever degree electoral participation is an indicator of the health of a republic, ours is a sick one indeed. And it’s about to get even sicker.

This year, 17 states have enacted legislation making it harder to register and vote. Many of these laws pertain to identification requirements – put simply, those who do not have government-issued ID cannot register or vote.

To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with considering some sort of voter identification program, if it’s done correctly – with gradual phase-in and extensive outreach. But the manner in which these new laws are being implemented is transparently political and undemocratic.

It will, as discussed before, effectively disenfranchise many millions of Americans, and it’s no accident that the same sub-groups who are least likely to have ID – less educated, younger and poorer Americans – are also the most likely to vote for Democrats.

It’s nothing short of a national shame for the U.S., with such low turnout, to actually take steps to make it harder to vote.

Making things even worse, the Citizens United Supreme Court decision permits unlimited, anonymous spending on election-related communications (e.g., advertisements). It is difficult to predict how this ruling will play out - funding does not guarantee victory – but it’s safe to say that we are about to see (and have already seen) a further explosion in the influence of money in our money-saturated political system.

What do elections really mean when barely half of eligible voters actually show up (even fewer in midterms), and anonymous donors have unlimited capacity to try and influence the outcomes? Do the people who occupy elected offices really reflect or represent the will of the people?

Put simply, the primary democratic mechanism of our republic is failing, and may very well be getting worse. And that too, like our students’ scores on standardized tests, is a national crisis.

- Matt Di Carlo


NRA clear on gun debate stance: arm schools

NRA clear on gun debate stance: arm schools
By Mariano Castillo, CNN
updated 7:12 PM EST, Fri December 21, 2012
(CNN) -- The National Rifle Association responded Friday to a chorus of voices calling for gun control in the wake of last week's horrific mass shooting in Connecticut by doubling down on its own position: more guns, not fewer, provide true security.
After one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history -- 20 children and seven adults killed, not including the gunman -- polls show that a slight majority of Americans favor restrictions on guns. Conservative Democrats and even some Republicans who have supported gun rights have said they are open to discussing gun control.
But the NRA made its position clear: The prominent gun rights organization will not budge an inch toward discussion of gun control. To the contrary, the group announced it will fund a team that will design a program to get armed security personnel on school grounds across the country.
"You know, five years ago, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy," NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said.
But what if the gunman, Adam Lanza, had been confronted by a trained security guard?
"Will you at least admit it's possible that 26 innocent lives might have been spared?" LaPierre asked.
"The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun," he said.
LaPierre's position sets the stage for a contentious battle between the NRA, one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, and the Obama administration, which has promised quick action on "real reforms" to gun laws.
This week, President Barack Obama tapped Vice President Joe Biden to lead a task force to start formulating those reforms and, with the White House's support, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, said she will introduce legislation to reinstate the assault weapons ban that expired in 2004.
The NRA had remained silent in the wake of last week's school massacre as the debate on gun control was shaped by these moves in Washington. That changed Friday when it drew a line in the sand, providing its alternative vision for protecting American children through armed security personnel at all schools.
"Why is the idea of a gun good when it's used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it's used to protect our children in our schools?" LaPierre asked.
"We need to have every single school in America immediately deploy a protection program proven to work -- and by that I mean armed security," he said, reading from a prepared statement.
The NRA executive appeared aware that he was staking a bold position in front of a divided public that recent polls suggest is leaning toward tightening gun laws. In case he wasn't, protesters interrupted his address twice, shouting anti-NRA slogans and bearing banners in front of his podium, including one that said "NRA killing our kids."
LaPierre spoke exactly one week after the deadly shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. Across the nation, church bells rang in remembrance of the victims. The NRA was among those groups that observed a moment of silence at 9:30 a.m., the same time as last week's massacre.
Residents in Newtown and across the country paused for a moment of silence in memory of the victims. Many websites went dark momentarily to mark the moment.
Funerals for five of the victims -- school psychologist Mary Sherlach, behavioral therapist Rachel Marie D'Avino and students Grace Audrey McDonnell, Olivia Rose Engel and Dylan Christopher Jack Hockley -- also took place Friday.
A slight majority of Americans favor major restrictions on guns: 52%, up 5 points from a survey taken in August after the July shooting inside a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, where 12 people died, according to a CNN/ORC International poll released Wednesday.
More than 195,000 people have signed an online White House petition supporting new gun control legislation.
Yet the NRA has support among many Americans who believe that taking steps to limit access to guns is not the answer.
One CNN reader summed up the pro-gun argument this way: "We ... put undercover, plain clothed air marshals on our planes to protect us when we fly. I fully support the same in our schools to protect my children. Every school should have one," Ali wrote.
"A cop in every school is a much better solution than a holster on every teacher's belt. But it doesn't go far enough. This is an attempt to contain the problem to schools and avoid the broader discussion," another CNN commenter wrote.
Others pointed to the apparent contradiction among conservatives who want to reduce public spending but also support the NRA's idea to arm schools. Who will pay for the thousands of armed guards? several CNN readers asked.
Many suggested taxes on guns that could fund such a program.
The NRA envisions a "National School Shield Emergency Response Program" where qualified police, military, security personnel and others organize to protect schools.
Schools remain a target for criminal gunmen because they are not protected by armed security the way other important institutions are, LaPierre said.
Policies banning guns at schools create a place that "insane killers" consider "the safest place to inflict maximum mayhem with minimum risk," he said.
Former congressman Asa Hutchinson will lead the school security project.
Armed personnel will be part of the security model but not the only component, Hutchinson said.
"School safety is a complex issue with no simple, single solution," he said. "But I believe trained, qualified, armed security is one key component among many that can provide the first line of deterrence as well as the last line of defense."
The NRA, with its roughly 4.3 million members, is the standard bearer for protecting the Second Amendment. It is also the source of hefty campaign donations.
During the 2012 election cycle, the NRA donated $719,596 to candidates. Republicans received $634,146 of that, according to the Center for Responsive Politics' analysis of federal campaign data.
Some $85,450 went to Democrats, many of them in states that are considered more conservative when it comes to gun control laws.
The NRA's point man on its school security study, Hutchinson, received $7,000 from the organization for his 2000 congressional campaign, and $7,450 in 1998.

Gun rights groups say Georgia home invasion proves their point

Gun rights groups say Georgia home invasion proves their point

By Rich Phillips, CNN

updated 9:37 AM EST, Fri January 11, 2013


Loganville, Georgia (CNN) -- This is not a movie. There's no dramatic music in the background. A happy ending, far from a guarantee.

The concern in Donnie Herman's voice was clear as day. So was his stress. With two telephones to his ear, he listened to his wife, Melinda, as she fled into an attic of their Loganville home. With her: Her two 9-year-old children and a loaded .38 revolver.

In the house: An intruder with a crowbar.

On another line was the 911 operator Donnie Herman had called for help. Herman's words to his wife, as he sat helplessly, an hour away from the home, were recorded.

"Stay in the attic," he instructed her, calmly.

"He's in the bedroom," she told him. He repeated the words to the 911 operator.

"Shh. Relax," Herman said, trying to calm his wife.

Then he instructed her to do what was fast becoming a realistic possibility.

Melinda -- if he opens up the door, you shoot him! You understand?"

What happened next has made the Hermans the new faces of the right to bear arms.

Melinda Herman fired a six-shot revolver at the intruder, hitting him five times, in his torso and in his face. Surprisingly, he managed to flee.

Gun rights groups say this shows that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to buy their weapon of choice and as big a magazine or ammunition clip as they like.

They remind people that Melinda Herman had only a six-shot revolver.

"It's a good thing she wasn't facing more attackers. Otherwise she would have been in trouble and she would have run out of ammunition," said Erich Pratt, director of communications for the Gun Owners of America.

"She shot him five times and he still didn't drop. This is going to endanger people's safety."

The right of self-protection has been thrust into the forefront in a national debate after last month's Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy.

This week, a federal task force led by Vice President Joe Biden is holding talks with private industry groups, the NRA, and legislators -- all to determine the correct balance between the right to self-protection and preventing further mass shootings.

Meanwhile, Americans are flocking to gun shops to buy guns and ammunition in record numbers -- partly due to Newtown and partly due to their fears that the rules are about to change on what they can legally own.

The FBI said it conducted almost 2.8 million checks for gun purchases in December, a record high for a month.
Click on the link below to read the remainder of the article

KTH: Exposing Newtown conspiracy theory


Some people are actually claiming the Newtown school shooting was staged by the government and media who are in support of stricter gun control laws. One of those individuals is James Tracy, a tenured associate professor at a Florida university. Anderson Cooper is Keeping Them Honest

I found this on Anderson Cooper's blog.  What people will do for attention!