Senate Majority Leader Harry. M Reid is preparing the debate on a series of proposed bills about gun violence. Reid says these debates will start after easter break. He claims that one of the most controversial proposal backed by President Obama, the ban of a variety of different assault weapons, is not holding up well in the Senate. Final passage of this proposal would need 60 votes and Reid claims, "using the most optimistic numbers, has less than 40 votes. That's not 60." They claim to debate about three other proposed bills. One about making gun trafficking a federal crime, the second about expanding a Justice Department grant program that provides security to schools and the third to expand gun background checks. Reid claims that he is debating whether or not to have each of these bills separate or include them in a package. He says we will most likely have each bill go through the individual voting process, and if each one passes, he will include them all in a package. A bill proposal that aims to limit the size of ammunition clips was merged with the proposal to ban a number of assault weapons, originally introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein claims to be disappointed about the direction her proposed bill is coming along in the senate and even claims that "The enemies on this are very powerful, i've known that all my life." referring to the NRA.
va gov meets with state congressional delegation to inquire about federal highway funding (the washington post)
Governor Bob McDonnell talked to Virginia's delegation to congress due to federal spending cuts and money needed for transportation. Governor Bob McDonnell's legislation calls for federal funding of new highways. Governor McDonnell also talked about the rights of the state government to collect taxes of out-of-state and catalog sales, in order to provide some funding for the transportation legislation imposed by the governor. He also asked about the rights to off-shore oil and gas drilling, as well as talk about federal waivers to put into effect Medicaid reforms imposed to save money before he expands the
The Coast Guard is suspending a search of a sailboat off the coast of California after a series of distress signals. The man who radioed The Coast Guard stated that there were a couple and two children on board. The search has costed a few hundreds of thousands of dollars. The possibility of a hoax is being brought into question. The Coast Guard has claimed that they receive many hoax calls and they take it very seriously. In 2011 they had 54 probably hoaxes out of 7,247 mayday cases. On Sunday afternoon, they received another distress signal from the same source that stated "This is the Charm Blow, we are abandoning ship." The Coast Guard has looked into several data bases and still can not find any boat with that name. The search area for the boat is about the size of West Virginia.
Christopher Dorner, a former Los-Angeles police officer is accused of three murders and is currently in hiding. Christopher Dorner posted an 11,000 word facebook rant about the apparent corruption in the police department and other agencies. He believed he was cheated out of the police force. an investigation is also ongoing about the details of Dorner's discharge from the police force. For the time being, Dorner has declared "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare." He has sworn revenge on his old colleagues who are now being placed under protection. A massive manhunt for Dorner failed when they found his torched truck. The LAPD has had controversial incidents as a result in this manhunt, accidentally shooting at civilians suspected to be Dorner. LAPD shot at two different trucks that was thought to be Dorner's, injuring a 71 year old woman and her daughter and another man in the other truck. Due to the incidents and the failed manhunt, authorities in California has offered a one-million dollar reward bounty for Christopher Dorner, thought to be one of the largest in California state history. Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of Los-Angeles, has warned the public that he should not be engaged because he is most likely armed and extremely dangerous.
The NRA released a mobile game on monday where players shoot stationary paper targets. As you can imagine, many people are up in arms about this. People are questioning the timing of the release of the game, however, people are also debating if it was intentional by the NRA due to the rise in membership after the Sandy Hook shootings or if it was an accident due to the time it takes apple to review and release apps onto the market. Although the article claims people aren't questioning the content of the game, it is still being raised as an issue. Supporters of the NRA claim that it is only paper targets that the player is shooting and that it practices the safe use of guns. The app also comes with rules for gun safety. Many opposers of the NRA are also claiming the association to by hypocritical, due to the fact that the executive vice president claimed that gun violence can be blamed on violent video games. The NRA now argues that this game released is not violent and in fact is intended to educate and promote safe gun use.
The shootings that occurred friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School have people asking the question how it will affect opinion on gun control. In the 1990's people felt the need to have gun control laws, but today, the view has changed. In recent polls conducted after a number of shootings including the Colorado movie theater shooting, the majority still feel like little to no gun control laws need to be implemented. Statistics have shown that after most shootings, people tend to be unfazed in their opinion on gun control. However, in a poll conducted right after the shootings, public opinion has changed. Even though before this event, the numbers were roughly 50/50 for those who opposed and supported gun control laws. According to this survey 44% of people believe in strict gun control laws while only 32% are opposed. Also after the shooting, only 24% of people believe the shooting had more to do with other problems in American society like mental illness, while the majority feel it was an isolated case of an unstab
On December 2nd, the Supreme Court Judges held a conference to decide wether or not to hear 3 cases involving same-sex marriage. They delayed their decision and held a conference on Friday December 7th, which confirmed the hearing of two of the three cases. One case comes from California and the other from New York. President Obama has already declared that his administration will not defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which says that marriage is strictly between a man and a women, and the benefits such as health insurance, medical leave and taxes that go along with it are concealed to that kind of marriage. Along with this, four district courts and two courts of appeal have declared DOMA unconstitutional, stating that it violates the guarantee of equality. The California case has to deal with the State Supreme Court case overruling of Proposition 8, which was a referendum in California to ban same-sex marriage after the State Supreme Court made it legal. Speculations can be drawn that the Supreme Court will review the right to marry and the benefits that go along with it. So far, 31 states have laws protecting the traditional marriage between a man and a women.
The Justices of the Supreme court held a closed-door conference Friday to consider changes in the issue of same-sex marriage. There are three issues that the Justices were considering, although, they did not report on anything after the conference. This may either be because they need more time to consider the legal questions. Some of which include federal tax, Social Security, pension, and bankruptcy benifits which do not apply to same-sex couples. The decision to review these three cases are highly anticipated by same-sex marriage activist groups. Another theory why they did not report on their decision is simply because they are delaying their decision. Another conference will be held on December 7th.