FROM Gerald Vernon
American History and the Politics of Gun Control A mystery to people from other countries, America's gun culture is as old as the Revolution, enshrined in the Bill of Rights, perpetuated by the Civil War and mythologized as "how the West was won." But, since the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, even gun owners are joining the movement for gun regulation — at the same time supporting the 2nd Amendment. The NRA is still warning about a plot for gun confiscation, but it's hunkering down for a major battle in Washington. We hear from gun owners on both sides and go to the inner cities, where gun violence is epidemic despite tough gun restrictions. If city kids can get around local controls, is that an argument for cracking down at the state and federal level?
'Stand Your Ground' in the Spotlight It used to be that people threatened with violence had a duty to flee, unless they were defending their own homes. Now 25 states have extended the right to "defend the castle" to any place it's legal to be, and anyone who claims to "perceive" a threat has the right to use equal force for protection. Florida adopted the first so-called "stand your ground" law in 2005. The Trayvon Marin case has brought attention to the laws that give people with no law enforcement authority the right to make instant decisions about life or death — with immunity from prosecution. Is that really what the Second Amendment is all about?
Is it 'Stand Your Ground' or 'Make My Day?' It used to be that people threatened with violence had a duty to flee, unless they were defending their own homes. The recent Trayvon Martin killing has focused attention on so-called "stand-your-ground" laws, which began in Florida and have spread to 24 other states. Under such laws, anyone who claims to "perceive" a threat has the right to use equal force for protection. New York's Mayor Michael Bloomberg says they're creating a nation of vigilantes. Many cops and prosecutors agree. The National Rifle Association supports "stand-your-ground" laws and gun control advocates are losing ground. Despite real dangers in some neighborhoods, is the right to carry a gun being given more value than the right to life? NOTE: The NRA declined our invitation to participate in this discussion.
Is America turning its back on the world? President Trump has made no secret of his contempt for the United Nations — and he's not alone. But, will proposed cuts in US contributions be counterproductive to America's role in the world and to national security?
Cover-up or witch hunt?: The latest on the WH ties to Russia Less than two months into his Presidency, Donald Trump is struggling to get his agenda under way, making it harder himself with tweets that dominate public attention. Meanwhile, important questions are going unanswered: why have staff members and the Attorney General lied about contacts with Russian officials?
'Do-or-die' time on healthcare bill President Trump has demanded a House vote today on replacing Obamacare…whatever the details might be. Despite his campaign promise that nobody would lose health insurance, that's possible for 24 million people if he were finally to sign this bill into law.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."