July 31, 2018

Bill Nelson wants to ban 3D printer-made plastic guns that can evade metal detectors

Plastic Guns

@alextdaugherty

In less than 24 hours, it could be possible to legally download blueprints that allow anyone with access to a 3D printer to make guns out of plastic.

Bill Nelson wants to ban it.

The Florida Democrat introduced a bill on Tuesday that would block the online publication of gun blueprints after the Trump administration decided to settle a lawsuit by a Texas anarchist who built a gun out of plastic in 2013 and posted the instructions online.

The Obama administration ordered the instructions to come down at the time, and the Department of Justice defended the government’s action in court after the anarchist sued for the right to publish until the Department of Justice reversed course in June.

“It just defies common sense and yet this is what the Trump administration has done,” Nelson said. “Just think of the billions of dollars we spend trying to protect national security. And now, suddenly there is going to be published on the internet the plans for making a gun that can evade the detection systems in airports and seaports and all of these governmental buildings as well as some sports stadiums.”

The blueprints could go online by midnight Wednesday unless Trump reverses course. On Tuesday morning Trump tweeted, “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Read more here.

July 30, 2018

Parkland’s ‘most hated pro-gun advocate’ thrills conservatives

US NEWS FLA-SCHOOLSHOOTING-OPENHOUSE 7 MI

@alextdaugherty

A crowd of 800 teenagers, caffeinated on colorful Starbucks drinks that did not appear to contain coffee, sprang to their feet as Kyle Kashuv, the 17-year-old conservative Parkland student who gained a national following as a counterweight to the March For Our Lives, emerged on stage.

“Guys, we have a surprise for you,” Kashuv said as the riff from AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” played in the background. “You know what that means?”

David Hogg?” one student shouted back.

“We have shirts. We have shirts! We. Have. Shirts!” Kashuv replied, flinging T-shirts into the frenzied crowd like Frisbees.

Kashuv was in Washington last week for the culmination of months of work with the pro-Trump group Turning Point USA, where he now serves as the director of high school outreach. The teenagers in attendance at the group’s high school leadership conference at George Washington University had already been treated to a host of big-name conservative speakers invited by Kashuv, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.

Instead of giving a talk to the students, Kashuv took questions.

One student who described herself as being from a “deep blue” part of Connecticut asked Kashuv what it was like dealing with liberal teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

“A teacher tried to give me like an 89.4 and purposely gave me one point lower on a quiz to an 89.4 so I couldn’t get an ‘A’ in the class,” Kashuv replied. “But I power-moved her. I went to the administration and we made it happen.”

The crowd went wild.

Another asked him, what is his favorite dinosaur?

“T-Rex,” Kashuv said, before pausing and declaring his affinity for triceratops instead, prompting a smattering of jeers and cheers.

Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk, a 24-year-old conservative who gained fame for protesting what he sees as liberal bias on college campuses and who was barred from speaking on Stoneman Douglas’ campus after the shooting, said Kashuv’s involvement with his group has given it more prominence within the conservative community, and it has benefited massively from Kashuv’s work to get dozens of Trump administration officials, members of Congress and celebrities like Mark Cuban to attend the conference.

“All the credit goes to Kyle,” Kirk said. “We’re nothing but an infrastructure that’s helped make this possible. We are a movement, don’t get me wrong, we were doing this before, but Kyle comes in and brings it to the next level. The energy, the enthusiasm, the speakers. He put his time, his talents behind this, and that’s a great partnership because we both benefit from this.”

Kashuv continues to talk about school safety and his support for the Second Amendment six months after the nation’s deadliest high school shooting and has appeared on TV dozens of times, but he’s branched out politically after successfully lobbying for a school safety bill in Congress earlier this year.

“He’s done an amazing job,” Scaramucci said, also emphasizing that his short term as White House communications director that ended after a vulgar rant recorded by a reporter was 11 days, not 10. “I think Kyle’s voice frankly is a much needed voice because it fits into a narrative of school safety, but recognizing that the founding fathers of our country wanted people to have the right to bear arms. I applaud all of these kids though.”

Read more here.

July 20, 2018

Youth voter registration went up 41 percent in Florida after Parkland

Student Gun Protests(2)

@alextdaugherty

A significant number of young people are registering to vote in Florida, and they could tilt this year’s midterm elections in the nation’s largest swing state, according to a new analysis of voter registration patterns.

The analysis by TargetSmart, a data firm that works on behalf of Democrats, shows that the share of newly registered Florida voters between the ages of 18-29 increased by eight percentage points in the two and a half months after the Valentine’s Day mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

Voters between the ages of 18-29 made up 26.23 percent of all new voter registrations in Florida in the two and a half months before Feb. 14, 2018. In the two and a half months after the shooting, young voters made up 34.22 percent of all new voter registrations in Florida.

The eight percentage point gain also shows that young voters are now a bigger share of all new voters. The percentage of new voter registrations from all other age groups in Florida decreased to compensate for the eight-point jump among 18- 29-year-olds.

The total number of young people registering to vote also went up. From Dec. 1, 2017, to Feb. 14, 2018, 27,789 18- 29-year-olds registered in Florida, and between Feb. 14 and April 30, 39,218 young people registered, according to TargetSmart. The 11,429 more voters that registered represent a 41 percent increase.

The total number of new voters from ages 30 to 49 increased slightly after the shooting, while the total number of new voters from ages 49 and up decreased by 4,240 votes in the three months after the shooting.

“A new generation of political leaders emerged in the aftermath of the Parkland tragedy,” TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier said in a statement. “We witnessed their ability to organize in Florida and across the country as massive crowds took to the streets for the March for Our Lives, and now we’re seeing a quantifiable impact from that organizing. It remains to be seen how many of these younger registrants will cast a ballot in November, but they are poised to have a louder voice than ever in these critical midterm elections.”

The increase in young-voter registration among Florida voters as a percentage of the entire electorate ranks seventh among the 40 states where voter registration has been tracked since February, trailing Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, Indiana and Arizona.

Read more here.

June 13, 2018

Rubio hasn't made a decision on limiting gun magazine size

Marco Rubio 3

@alextdaugherty @learyreports

In the week after the nation's deadliest high school shooting in Parkland, Sen. Marco Rubio said he was open to limiting the size of magazines, the spring-loaded devices that feed bullet cartridges into guns.

Four months later, Rubio hasn't decided whether he will back or offer any legislation to limit magazine size, or if he's decided that current law is sufficient. 

"I'm trying not to just find an idea but an idea that can pass," Rubio said Wednesday. "We've talked to a lot of different people involved in the industry on both sides of the debate and we're not prepared to offer any law right now because there's a lot of debate and dispute about what the right number would be and whether it would even make a difference but it's something we'll continue to explore." 

Any potential bill to limit magazine size would need 60 votes in the U.S. Senate to pass.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, a Democrat who has led gun control efforts in Congress since the 2012 Sandy Hook shooting in his state, said he's "disappointed" that Rubio hasn't taken more public positions against the majority of his party on guns over the past four months, though he credited him for introducing a bill that makes it easier for law enforcement to keep guns out of the hands of people who are suspected of being threats to themselves or others. 

"I certainly got a sign from Marco that he was in a little different space than he was prior to the shooting," Murphy said on Tuesday. "I'm disappointed that hasn't (happened). He did introduce red flag legislation."

Rubio's red flag bill, which he co-introduced with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson in March, has four additional cosponsors. 

"That's the one I do believe can pass and we're looking for an opportunity to do it," Rubio said. 

But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not included gun-related legislation among his priorities in the U.S. Senate before the 2018 elections. 

"I think his (GOP) leadership has made it clear they don't want to do anything on guns but I'm hopeful that if the moment changes, he might be willing to take a look at some commonsense measures," Murphy said. "When I think of the handful of Republicans we can ultimately work with if we have a bill on the floor, Rubio is on that list."

Similar legislation to Rubio's red flag bill became law in Florida after the Parkland shooting, but the effort in Washington would enact red flag protections in all 50 states.  

"Any Republican is swimming violently upstream if they are trying to move anti-gun violence legislation with this leadership," Murphy said. "I think we've got to live to fight another day and preserve some potential relationships. Hopefully we can work with Rubio."

May 09, 2018

Parkland families urge House to pass bill that lets law enforcement confiscate guns

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@alextdaugherty

The parents and families of victims killed in the Parkland shooting are urging the House of Representatives to pass a law that gives law enforcement the ability to seize firearms, at least temporarily, from individuals who could be a threat to themselves and others. 

The group of families, who have already secured passage of similar legislation in the Florida Legislature and spurred a bill sponsored by Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate, are trying to get a nationwide law passed in Congress. 

The House proposal is called the "Jake Laird Act" in honor of an Indiana police officer who was killed in 2004 after responding to a call of a man walking in a neighborhood street with a rifle. Indiana Rep. Susan Brooks and Florida Rep. Ted Detuch, who represents Parkland in Congress, announced a federal version of Indiana's existing "red flag" law on Wednesday. 

"We based it on that because there's a track record of it working," Deutch said. "It passed into law in a Republican state signed into law by a Republican governor, it's clearly bipartisan, its worked and its helped to save lives in Indiana." 

"We must be the last families to suffer the loss of a loved one due to a mass shooting at school," the families wrote in a letter to members of Congress. "We demand more action to keep our schools safe, and legislation like the Jake Laird Act is a critical piece of the puzzle." 

May 04, 2018

Rick Scott was a featured speaker at the 2017 NRA leadership forum. This year, he’s not going.

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via @kirbywtweets

What a difference a year makes.

In 2017, Rick Scott gave a fiery speech at the National Rifle Association Leadership Forum in which he appeared to lay the foundation for a 2018 U.S. Senate run.

"We need a larger majority in the U.S. Senate. We need a majority that has the intellectual capacity to comprehend these three words in the Constitution: 'shall not infringe,'" Scott said then, emphasizing each word of that last phrase.

A year later, Scott's Senate campaign is in full swing. And it's time for the 2018 NRA Annual Meetings in Dallas.

The Florida governor won't be there, Scott spokeswoman Lauren Schenone told the Times. She didn't elaborate.

It's no secret that Scott and the NRA have grown more distant since that 2017 speech. The NRA appeared to remove Scott's picture from its website the same day the governor unveiled a post-Parkland legislative package that included modest gun restrictions.

The gun group is currently suing Scott's administration over the post-Parkland gun bill the governor signed into law in March.

Read more: Here's what's in Scott's gun bill.

And Florida NRA lobbyist Marion Hammer wrote a scathing op-ed in April directed at lawmakers who supported that bill.

The event Scott's missing will feature an array of national conservatives, including President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas and NRA Spokeswoman Dana Loesch. The Trump-supporting social media personalities Diamond & Silk will even address the crowd.

Watch Scott's entire 2017 speech here. And dare to dream of a simpler time.

 

April 30, 2018

Dinesh D'Souza mocked Parkland survivors. Now he's speaking at a Florida GOP event.

1agkuc.So.79

@alextdaugherty

When Parkland students traveled to Tallahassee a week after the nation's deadliest high school shooting to demand a ban on assault weapons, lawmakers from both parties listened to them.

Conservative commentator and author Dinesh D'Souza chose to make fun of them.

"Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs," D'Souza tweeted in response to a photo of emotional students when an assault weapons ban failed in the Florida House. "Adults 1, kids 0," he added. 

On Monday the Republican Party of Florida announced that D'Souza, who apologized for his comments, will speak at the 2018 Sunshine Summit in Orlando on June 28 and 29.

D'Souza, a conservative lightning rod who spent eight months in a halfway house for making $20,000 in illegal campaign contributions, said the grief of Parkland students inside the Florida Capitol was staged for media coverage.

"Genuine grief I can empathize with," he tweeted. "But grief organized for the cameras—politically orchestrated grief—strikes me as phony & inauthentic."

The Florida Democratic Party called on the Florida Republican Party to cancel D'Souza's appearance.

"Today, the Republican Party of Florida announced Dinesh D’Souza, Dan Bongino and Kayleigh McEnany as the first three speakers confirmed for the 2018 Sunshine Summit, June 28 and June 29 in Orlando," an email from Florida GOP chairman Blaise Ingoglia said. "We look forward to hearing their message of liberty, opportunity and limited government."

Read more here.

April 23, 2018

The NRA just broke a 15-year fundraising record

Trump NRA

@alextdaugherty

As the student-led March for Our Lives movement captured the nation's attention in the weeks after the Parkland shooting, the other side of the gun control debate enjoyed a banner month of its own.

The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund raised $2.4 million from March 1 to March 31st, the group's first full month of political fundraising since the nation's deadliest high school shooting on Valentine's Day, according to filings submitted to the Federal Elections Commission. The total is $1.5 million more than the organization raised during the same time period in 2017, when it took in $884,000 in donations, and $1.6 million more than it raised in February 2018.

The $2.4 million haul is the most money raised by the NRA's political arm in one month since June 2003, the last month when electronic federal records were readily available. It surpasses the $1.1 million and $1.5 million raised in January and February 2013, the two months after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most of the donations, $1.9 million of the $2.4 million total, came from small donors who gave less than $200. The NRA doles out money to political campaigns from the victory fund, but most of its spending is on activity that isn't directly linked with a lawmakers' campaign where the group is not bound by state and federal campaign finance limits. For example, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio received only $9,900 in direct contributions from the NRA during his 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, but his campaign benefited from $3.3 million in outside spending from the NRA to help him defeat Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy.

Read more here.

April 20, 2018

Parkland parents say public officials need to be fired soon for failing their children

Guttenberg

@alextdaugherty

Fred Guttenberg, the Parkland parent who confronted Marco Rubio on national television about the senator’s opposition to an assault weapons ban, had a very different conversation with the Florida Republican on Capitol Hill this week.

“Senator, see you tomorrow?” Guttenberg asked.

“I’m around all day, flying out Thursday night,” Rubio replied.

The pair disagree on gun-control policy, but Guttenberg and the Parkland families are united with Rubio and Sen. Bill Nelson behind an effort to make the authorities who failed their children accountable.

History suggests they may be successful.

The families of the 17 victims in the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School persuaded the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott to sign a gun bill over the objections of the National Rifle Association. They successfully got the slow-moving U.S. Senate to fast-track limited school safety legislation into a must-pass spending bill last month.

And the voices that no lawmaker can ignore are pushing for agencies like the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Broward School Board and FBI to be held responsible, and soon.

“We all think we know, but we need to know with certainty, we need to find out why they made the mistakes and we need to fire people for their mistakes,” Guttenberg said. “Do any of the mistakes cross over to a criminal activity? I don’t know the law, but I do know at a minimum people need to be fired and they need to be fired soon.”

Three Parkland parents are serving on a state commission established by Scott and granted subpoena powers. The commission is set to meet next week. One parent recently met with FBI Director Christopher Wray to discuss how the agency can learn from its mistakes. And the parents are confident something will happen, even if it takes a lot longer than they would want.

Read more here.

April 12, 2018

Parkland's congressman wants federal probe into Russian-linked gunmaker

925595684

via @learyreports

Rep. Ted Deutch, who represents Parkland in Congress, is asking the Treasury to investigate whether a Florida-based gun maker with Russian ties has violated sanctions.

"Kalashnikov USA is a firearms manufacturer and seller located in my congressional district," the Boca Raton Democrat wrote in a letter to a Treasury official. "Recent media reports have raised questions as to whether Kalashnikov USA, or its parent company RWC Group LLC, may have violated federal sanctions law through illicit business relations with the Russian-owned Kalashnikov Concern JSC ("Kalashnikov Russia").

"According to a statement released by Kalashnikov USA, it relocated to South Florida in 2015. Reports indicate that Kalashnikov USA may have been offered tax incentives as part of Florida Governor Rick Scott's push to lure weapons manufacturers to Florida. According to Kalashnikov USA's own 2015 application for $162,000 in tax incentives, which was approved by Governor Scott's administration, the company planned to assemble its weapons with parts and components imported from Kalashnikov Russia's factory located in Russia.

"As you know, Kalashnikov Russia was sanctioned in 2014 as part of the U.S. response to Vladimir Putin's illegal actions in Ukraine. Given reports of Russia's attempts to illegally fund the National Rifle Association, connections between a US weapons manufacturer and a sanctioned Russian company are even more alarming."

Democrats, including Sen. Bill Nelson, have been angling to make this an issue against Scott, whose administration acknowledges the incentives but says none was given because the contract was terminated.