Daily Archives: Dec. 17, 2012

Would ban on assault weapons help prevent killings?

The National Rifle Association has argued that banning assault weapons is ineffective in curbing crime. However, Australia’s ban has significantly reduced murders and mass killings. Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times wrote: “In Australia in 1996, a mass killing of 35 people galvanized the nation’s conservative prime minister to ban certain rapid-fire long guns. The ‘national firearms agreement,’ as it was known, led to the buyback of 650,000 guns and to tighter rules for licensing and safe storage of those remaining in public hands.… In the 18 years before the law, Australia suffered 13 mass shootings – but not one in the 14 years after the law took full effect. The murder rate with firearms has dropped by more than 40 percent, according to data compiled by the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, and the suicide rate with firearms has dropped by more than half.”

Kobach says 532 Kansans ‘chose not to’ have their votes count

In the general election in Kansas, 838 voters failed to bring photo IDs to the polls and, because of that, filled out provisional ballots, with only 306 following up after the election to ensure their votes counted. Responding to an editorial in the Hays Daily News, Secretary of State Kris Kobach rejected the argument that the 532 remaining voters were “disenfranchised.” Those voters “could have presented their photo IDs to the county clerk or election office to make their ballots count, but they chose not to,” he wrote, noting that it’s common for thousands of provisional ballots not to be counted because the would-be voters weren’t registered or failed to sign their advance-ballot envelopes. “But of course, you don’t hear liberal editorial writers complaining that voter registration requirements or signature requirements disenfranchise people,” Kobach wrote. He concluded that the Secure and Fair Elections Act “gives confidence to voters and candidates alike that the system is fair. And that confidence strengthens our republic.”

Hayden’s grim postcard from Wichita

Liberal activist Tom Hayden wrote up his recent visit to Wichita for the Huffington Post, observing that “in Kansas most people do not seem to accept the November election of Barack Obama” and that “as ‘bleeding Kansas’ was pivotal in launching the American Civil War over slavery, this Kansas will be central to the plans of the Christian right and tea party to stop the emerging new majority of people of color and women, which threatens their supremacist dreams.” Hayden concluded: “The activists of Wichita may not be isolated dissidents in a state mired forever in the past, but among the ‘first responders’ against the coming wave of right-wing extremism, in dire need of attention and support from national progressives.” Hayden spoke at the Peace and Social Justice Center of South Central Kansas’ 20th-anniversary meeting.