1/26/2013

More on that 5th grade girl who was brutalized by the public school for taking a paper "gun" to school


It is a real tragedy to have this young girl carrying a piece of paper (see below) is being taunted as "murderer" by her fellow students.  Is it necessary to do a search of the girl in front of her class because they want to see if she were carrying real weapons?  Seriously?  Here is a picture of the dangerous piece of paper that young 5th grade student Melody Valentin brought to school.

From FoxNews.com:
The School District of Philadelphia is defending its decision to scold and search an elementary school student who pulled out a paper gun in class.
A district spokesman said the school acted swiftly and appropriately when 5th grade student Melody Valentin allegedly told classmates she had a handgun on her, MyFoxPhilly.com reported.
Melody and her mother, Dianna Kelly, deny she ever used the word “handgun.”
According to Kelly, Melody realized she had the paper gun with her and put it on her desk while preparing to throw it away. Melody’s grandfather, a marine specializing in firearms reportedly gave it to her the day before.
A classmate spotted the piece of paper and contacted administrators.
"He yelled at me and said I shouldn't have brought the gun to school and I kept telling him it was a paper gun but he wouldn't listen," Melody told MyFoxPhilly.com. . . .

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Did government pressure cause Boeing to use a lower quality company to make batteries?

Did government corruption force Boeing to use a component that was not as high of a quality product as it would want in the new 787?  This quote from 2008 seems pretty old to imply anything about a newly released plane, but the NY Times still sees a link.
A former Boeing executive confirmed this when we spoke this week. After asking not to be named because of the diplomatic fragility of the topic, he said: “Let me put it this way: we knew the Japanese market would be Boeing’s in return for our selecting these Japanese partners. It was a silent understanding, and there was nothing in writing.” He added that Boeing’s Japanese suppliers had received low-interest loans from the Japanese government repayable only out of future profits. 
Although the Japanese airlines and suppliers are independent companies, “in Japan there’s a unique relationship between the airlines, the suppliers and the government,” according to the former Boeing official. “It’s cultural. The officials all went to the same schools and have close personal relationships. The government supported the airlines and the industries and they developed together. The government has enormous influence. They all work together.” 
As a Boeing vice president and former Boeing Japan president, Nicole Piasecki, told the company magazine in 2008: “These aren’t just relationships with people in business. The Japanese government is a powerful and important part of all economic activity and industrial development. So part of relationship building is negotiating these two important spheres of influence in Japan and understanding it’s all tied together.” 
Mr. Aboulafia agreed that Japan was unique. “This is the way things used to be in the days before free trade,” he said. “Japan is the last unreconstructed believer in industrial policy writ large.” . . . .

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False media claims that Fox News was trying to hide discussions on gun control

Gabe Sherman at New York magazine created quite a stir when he wrote that Fox News said that "it is too soon to talk the politics of gun control" the day of the Newtown elementary school attack.  
Much was being made online Monday about a decision by Fox News Channel to avoid discussion of gun control in the wake of multiple killings at a Connecticut elementary school. An e-mail “edict,” as some have put it, from a Fox News executive who didn’t want the topic discussed over the weekend has even been making the rounds. 
One problem with that narrative, though: Fox News insiders say it isn’t true and that, in fact, both sides of the gun-control debate were represented many times throughout the weekend’s programming. . . .

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Amazon is asking if people are interested in an audio version of my forthcoming book

If you might be interested in an audio version of my forthcoming book on the impact of the Obama administration (everything from health care, the economy, gun control, regulation, taxes), please let them know.  I often get requests for an audio version of my book, but here is your chance to help make sure that you get it.  If you are interested, please go here and click where it says: Looking for the Audiobook Edition?


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Background checks have "no impact," "zero" costs on law-abiding?

No costs?  Seriously? There are delays for the even the checks that aren't eventually denied, simply because many take up to three days to process.  Virtually all the background check denials are also mistakes and thus add weeks or months before people are able to obtain guns for self defense.  For most people this delay will simply be an inconvenience, but for some it will make the crucial difference over their safety.  Vice President Joe Biden has this claim:
“There should be universal background checks, universal background checks,” Biden said. “It in no way impacts upon someone’s ability under the Constitution to own a gun. Zero, zero. It’s enforcing a law – some folks say, ‘Look, just enforce the laws that are on the books.’ Well, the first step to do that is put a law on the books that says all those folks that have adjudicated incapable of owning a gun under the law, make sure we have access to their names. That’s why there is a need for universal background checks.” . . .

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Wisconsin sheriff urges citizens to arm themselves

It is difficult for me to understand how recognizing that police won't immediately be there when a victim is facing a criminal is controversial.  Nor is it clear why advising that the most effective way to defend themselves when they face a criminal is with a gun is also controversial.  But surely there is a huge difference between self-defense a criminal who is attacking a person and vigilantism?  From Fox News:
A sheriff who released a radio ad urging Milwaukee-area residents to learn to handle firearms so they can defend themselves while waiting for police said Friday that law enforcement cutbacks have changed the way police can respond to crime. 
In the 30-second commercial, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. says personal safety is no longer a spectator sport. 
"I need you in the game," he says. 
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," he adds. "You can beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back. ... Consider taking a certified safety course in handling a firearm so you can defend yourself until we get there." 
The ad has generated sharp criticism from other area officials and anti-violence advocates. The president of the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriffs' Association, Roy Felber, said it sounds like a call to vigilantism. . . .

A video of his appearance on Fox is available here.
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has this discussion:
Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr. set off alarm bells Friday with a radio spot some view as a call for citizens to arm themselves.
In the radio ad, Clarke tells residents personal safety isn't a spectator sport anymore, and that "I need you in the game."
"With officers laid off and furloughed, simply calling 911 and waiting is no longer your best option," Clarke intones.
"You could beg for mercy from a violent criminal, hide under the bed, or you can fight back."
Clarke urges listeners to take a firearm safety course and handle a firearm "so you can defend yourself until we get there."
"You have a duty to protect yourself and your family. We're partners now. Can I count on you?"
The spot aired at least once - during the last hour of the Mark Belling show on WISN-AM (1130) on Thursday. Clarke spokeswoman Fran McLaughlin posted it to the department website on Friday. She said she did not know where else or how often the spot would be broadcast, or how much the department spent to air it.
Clarke has served as lightning rod before, most recently when he called for schools to arm teachers after the Newtown, Conn., massacre of 20 children and six adults at an elementary school. News of the sheriff's gun ad quickly generated feedback. . . . .

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Obama will focus on push for Background checks

As I have predicted, Obama is focusing on the so-called "universal" background checks.  Obama may have decided on this strategy because of polls, but I think that the polls on expanding background checks are essentially worthless because they are based on the false information being put out by the Obama administration.  The question is whether correct information can be provided on this issue to correct this misinformation.
President Barack Obama unveiled a broad array of new gun control proposals last week, but already his administration has narrowed the main force of their effort behind just one: universal background checks. 
That was the message Vice President Joe Biden effectively delivered here Friday as he launched the administration’s road campaign in support of the new restrictions developed in the wake of the school massacre at Newtown, Conn. . . . 

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1/25/2013

Democrats put political pressure on banks to sever ties with gun makers

Democrats are trying to drive gun makers out of business by making it financially more costly for them to do business.  This strikes me as pretty lawless.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, moving to take a lead role in the gun control debate, is turning up the pressure on banks that do business with firearms manufacturers. 
Emanuel is sending letters to two major financial institutions, TD Bank and Bank of America, which offer lines of credit to gun makers suggesting that they stop lending money to the manufacturers if they don’t come out for new gun restrictions. . . . .

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Gun smuggling in Australia, apparently the criminals are still obtaining guns

Before I had posted a note that legal guns in Australia had returned to pre-buyback levels.  Well, it turns out that the types of guns that were banned are also arriving in significant quantities. From the Sydney Morning Herald.
. . . About 12 to 14 months ago, police noticed it had become much easier to obtain an illegal handgun in Sydney than it had in the past. 
The Commander of the Firearms and Organised Crime Squad, Ken Finch, says, at one stage, there was even a ''glut'' in illegal arms driving down prices on the black market.
Hard work by his squad, including a state-wide audit of every licensed firearm owner and significant busts of importation syndicates, helped to push the price back up to about $15,000, yet he says there are still far too many illegal handguns available. 
''Our intel, particularly during last year … indicated there are a lot of handguns out there,'' Detective Superintendent Finch says. ''There seemed to be an inordinate number come on to the market very quickly.'' 
An analysis carried out by police found handguns were used in 88 per cent of gun crimes in the past 12 months. For public-place shootings, that increased to 94 per cent. 
At the same time, of the 632 firearms stolen from legal gun owners in NSW over the past year, only 10 per cent were handguns, indicating the guns are coming onto the market by other means. 
Last March, three people were charged after Australian and German detectives smashed an international gun-smuggling syndicate that was being run, in part, from a suburban southern Sydney post office. 
It is alleged up to 300 Glock pistols were imported over 12 months through the postal system. 
A German gun dealer had been duped by the trio, who purported to be authorised gun buyers and ordered individual parts in separate packages and assembled them using instructions found on the internet. 
While most of the guns were recovered by police, at least seven have been used in drive-by incidents in Sydney. . . .
Thanks to William Blake for the link.

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Geithner facing renewed corruption charges from 2007

Banks would have been willing to pay a huge amount of money for this information.
In the summer of 2007, as storm clouds gathered over the world's financial system, then-New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner allegedly informed the Bank of America and other banks about the possibility the U.S. central bank would lower one of its critical interest rates, according to a senior Fed official. 
Jeffrey Lacker, the head of the Richmond Fed, originally raised the allegation during a Fed conference call in August 2007, and he stuck to his 5-year-old claim against the current U.S. treasury secretary in a statement provided to Reuters on Friday. 
"From conversations I had prior to the video conference call on August 16, 2007, I was aware of discussions among a few large banks about borrowing from their discount windows to support the asset backed commercial paper market," Lacker said in the statement. "My understanding was that (New York Fed) President Geithner had discussed a reduction in the discount rate with these banks in connection with these initiatives." 
According to transcripts of the call released by the Fed on Friday, Geithner at the time denied that banks knew the Fed was considering cutting the discount rate. The Fed regularly releases transcripts of its policy meetings with a five-year lag. . . . 

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Interview this morning on WMAL to discuss the various gun control measures being pushed through congress

Biden gives his expert advice on what weapons to use for protection after an earthquake

Do semi-automatic rifles have advantages over shotguns for self protection?  Sure, for example, that you can fire more shots before you have to reload.  They are also better at longer ranges than shotguns.  AR-15s also don't have that much of recoil, which might be particularly important for smaller women.  But do shotguns also have their advantages?  Sure.  It just seems foolish to categorically say that one is clearly better than the other for self defense.
"[G]uess what? A shotgun will keep you a lot safer, a double-barrel shotgun, than an assault weapon in someone's hands, who doesn't know how to used it, even one who does know how to use it. You know. It's harder to use an assault weapon to hit something than a shotgun, OK. So you want to keep people away during an earthquake, buy some shotgun shells," Biden was responding to a question that was raised during a Google Plus Hangout about reducing gun violence. . . .
The remarkable point here is that the media reports Biden's advice without asking critics whether it makes any sense.



Cops have been less safe after the assault weapon ban ended?  Biden claims that there was a large benefit from these laws for police officer safety.  Yet, it is pretty hard to look at this chart and see any evidence that police officer deaths from rifles were impacted beneficially by the assault weapon ban.  Certainly not a large benefit as Biden claims.  Deaths from handguns seems to have fallen after 1994, but there was no increase in that either after 2004.  



Data sources
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/2011/tables/table-27
http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2007/data/table_27.html
http://www2.fbi.gov/ucr/killed/2004/table28.htm
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/leoka/1998

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Despite not nominating many judges, Obama will soon give Democrats large majorities among judges

With four years of Democratic nominees still to come, the courts are evenly divided.
the percentage of Republican-appointed circuit court judges only dropped from 61.3 percent to 51.8 percent, and the percentage of Republican-appointed district court judges only dropped from 58.6 percent to 53.6 percent . . . .
The news article that this is from emphasizes that Republicans still control a majority of judges on the courts, though they have a minority of the much more important Appeals Court judges.  Obama could easily appoint more than 200 more of the 865 district and appeals court judges over the next four years.  The information from the left wing Alliance for Justice that the above article in the Washington Times relied on is available here.

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Assertions by gun control advocates on what their proposals will do

Democratic Congressman Mike Thompson from North Carolina has some claims in the Wall Street Journal this week.
Many people on both sides also agree that everyone who buys a firearm should go through a comprehensive background check. No one wants convicted criminals or people with a history of dangerous mental illness to have access to guns. Yet our laws allow people to buy firearms privately or at some gun shows without going through a background check, and many states remain deficient in transferring important records to the federal database used to conduct background checks on gun buyers. This needs to change. . . .
The problems with background check claims is available here.
A majority of Americans also agree (according to a Pew poll released this month) that assault magazines have no place in our society. These magazines hold more than 10 rounds and allow a shooter to inflict mass damage in a short period of time without reloading. Banning them will save lives. . . .
We tried the ban during the 1994 to 2004 Assault Weapon Ban and yet there didn't seem to be any beneficial effect from the ban nor was their a great benefit the longer the ban was in effected.  Even the research that Feinstein cites doesn't support her conclusion.

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Wheelchair bound veteran uses gun to stop home invasion

From Athens, Georgia:
Authorities say a U.S. Army veteran who uses a wheelchair wielded a pistol to run off a man who broke into his home near Athens. 
The Athens Banner-Herald reports (http://bit.ly/11Wcnjg) that 53-year-old Mark Sikes was in bed at his home in western Clarke County around 1 p.m. Wednesday, when someone kicked in his front door. 
Sikes said he reached into his night stand and grabbed his pistol. He said he then pointed the gun at the intruder and and told him he "better get the hell out." 
Sikes said the young man "flew like a bat" and is lucky that he wasn't killed by the veteran. . . .

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Something to consider in the new federal push for gun registration

Presumably there are other crimes in DC that could have been stopped if it wasn't so difficult to legally obtain a gun.  This might be one person who wasn't stopped by the law and because he still got a gun he was able to save a young boy's life.  I would like to know this good samaritan's income. I have pointed out how registration doesn't help reduce crime, but, with the push for federal gun registration, just something to consider.
. . . The incident unfolded Sunday afternoon, after three pit bulls attacked an 11-year-old boy as he rode his bicycle through the Brightwood neighborhood of Northwest, according to a police report. 
When the man, a neighbor, saw the boy being mauled by the dogs, he went inside his home and got a gun. The man killed one of the dogs. The gunfire attracted the attention of a police officer in the area near Eighth and Sheridan streets, where the attack occurred. The officer responded and shot the other two pit bulls as they continued to attack the boy. 
The police report, which did not identify any of the people involved, said the boy suffered severe lacerations. The Washington Post, which first reported the details of the shooting, quoted the boy’s uncle as saying the boy was also shot in the foot. . . . 
While public opinion might be supportive of the man’s actions, he could still face significant charges depending on the outcome of the investigation, criminal defense attorney Daniel Gross said. . . . 
The man could face a host of charges depending on the specifics of the case, including whether the gun used is a registered firearm that the man was legally permitted to own, Mr. Gross said. Possession of an unregistered firearm or ammunition is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine, and determining whether the man legally possessed the gun used will likely have greater bearing on the way the case is handled, Mr. Gross said. . . . .

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1/24/2013

New Piece at National Review Online: "The ‘40 Percent’ Myth: The figure gun-control advocates are throwing around is false."

My new piece starts this way:
Gun-control advocates have recently been throwing around an impressive new number. President Obama used it last Wednesday, claiming: “as many as 40 percent of guns are purchased without a background check.” Vice President Biden and everyone from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal to USA Today repeatedly use it. That “fact” provided the principal support for his first announced gun-control proposal, “universal background checks.” But unless you include family inheritances and gifts as “purchases,” it is simply false. 
The Brady Act background checks currently prevent someone who buys from a federally licensed dealer from buying a gun if he has a felony, or in many cases a misdemeanor conviction, or has been involuntarily committed for mental illness. Prior to Brady, federal law merely required that people sign a statement stating that they did not have a criminal record or a history of mental problems under threat of perjury. Obama’s 40 percent claim makes it look like a lot of gun buyers are avoiding these checks. . . .

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"Breaking down assault weapon misconceptions"



Very useful discussion here that explains aspects of so-called assault weapons.

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1/23/2013

More nutty zero tolerance at schools, the case of the paper gun

The public school officials don't feel that it is necessary to explain their actions to the public and refuse to return calls from the media, but somehow they think that it is OK to publicly humiliate this young girl.  The picture of the very sad girl in the story tells it all.
A Philadelphia elementary school student was scolded and searched by administrators in front of her entire class after she pulled out a paper gun in class last week, according to her mother. 
Melody Valentin's mother, Dianna Kelly, tells Fox 29 that school officials went too far when they reportedly punished her daughter for pulling out the gun, which she says looks like a folded sheet of paper. 
Fox 29 reports that one of the fifth grader's classmates reportedly saw the paper gun and notified administrators as she was going to throw it away. 
"He yelled at me and said I shouldn't have brought the gun to school and I kept telling him it was a paper gun but he wouldn't listen," Melody tells Fox 29. 
Kelly says school staff searched her daughter while other students watched. 
The gun was made by Melody's grandfather, according to Kelly, who says her daughter has suffered nightmares as a result of the incident. . . .

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Suzanna Hupp on Piers Morgan



Just as an aside, there are two OECD countries that have higher murder rates than the US does.  I would also not have conceded that we have more guns per capita than other countries.  Finally, it is wrong to think of there being some representative US murder rate.  78 percent of US counties have zero murders in any given year.

Piers' claims about Australia are simply false.

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1/22/2013

The CBS "News" political director summarizes Obama's "go for the throat" against GOP strategy

1/21/2013

Jacob Sullum on "The Threat Posed by Gun Magazine Limits"

Jacob has an interesting piece here on the constitutionality of the new New York State gun laws.
as Gov. Andrew Cuomo put it last week, "Nobody needs 10 bullets to kill a deer."  
That might count as an argument if the right to keep and bear arms were all about killing deer. But as the Supreme Court has recognized, the Second Amendment is also about defense against individual aggressors, foreign invaders, and tyrannical government.  
Toward those ends, the Court said, the Second Amendment guarantees the right to own weapons "in common use for lawful purposes," which clearly include guns capable of firing more than 10 rounds (and certainly more than seven) without reloading. The Glock 17, one of the most popular handguns in America, comes with a 17-round magazine. One of the most popular rifles, the AR-15 (a style made by several manufacturers), comes with a 30-round magazine.  
Measured by what people actually buy and use, magazines that hold more than 10 rounds are hardly outliers. In fact, there are tens (if not hundreds) of millions already in circulation, which is one reason new limits cannot reasonably be expected to have much of an impact on people determined to commit mass murder. . . .

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Obama very happy "men with guns" are protecting his daughters

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Wait a second here. Weren't benefits such as benefits such as preventive care supposed to lower health insurance costs?

So much for Obamacare controlling health care costs.
While the most sweeping provisions of the health care overhaul have not yet gone into effect, plenty of Americans will still be paying higher insurance premiums this year -- as insurance companies try to preemptively cover the cost of a tax increase included in President Obama's Affordable Care Act. 
That tax doesn't take effect until next year, when other major provisions like the so-called "individual mandate" and insurance subsidies also kick in. But that hasn't stopped insurance companies from charging higher premiums this year to cover the hike, as well as the cost of ObamaCare benefits such as free birth control and preventive care. 
Premiums for individuals and small businesses are projected to increase due to the tax by roughly 2 percent this year and by as much as 3.7 percent in 2023, according to a widely cited analysis by the insurance industry. 
Officials will argue about who is to blame for the hike -- insurance companies for sticking customers with the cost, or the government for imposing the industry tax hike in the first place. But the projected increases are the latest sign that Americans, in exchange for expanding and strengthening insurance coverage, will in many cases be paying more.  . . .

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NPR misses major point on "Mental Health Gun Laws Unlikely To Reduce Shootings"

NPR has this to say about the ability to predict the likelihood of violence by the mentally ill.
Researchers say that one issue with mental health laws like New York's is that they compel mental health professionals to report thousands of people who aren't at all likely to shot someone. 
Barry Rosenfeld is psychology professor at Fordham University in The Bronx: "With these laws we are destined to cast a very large net that will probably restrict a lot of people's behavior unnecessarily, and may be we will prevent and incident or two, I hope." . . .
"an accurate assessment of the likelihood of future violence is virtually impossible." 
"The biggest risk for gun violence is possession of a gun," says Hoge. "And there's no evidence that the mentally ill possess guns or commit gun violence at any greater rate than the normal population." 
So you would think that the conclusion of the piece would be that we shouldn't be taking away people's guns unless it is somewhat clear that someone will engage in violence, right?  No, NPR concludes that the safe way to stop these attacks is to take away guns. The problem is that taking away people's guns seems unlikely to solve the problem even if the violent people could be identified.  The reason?  These killers often are planning their attacks months or even more than a year in advance and it is very hard to stop someone who is willing to plan that far in advance from getting a gun.  So should we just lock up people who we think are might be violent?  Apparently, not according to NPR, but gun control is still considered a good option.

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1/20/2013

Number of Concealed Handgun Permits in New Mexico Increases

With its very high fee for the permits and the 15-hour training requirement, New Mexico is one of the most difficult right-to-carry states to get a concealed handgun permit.  Still, while the total number of permits is low, there has been a substantial increase in the number of permits.  Just since 2009, there has been a 50 percent increase in permits statewide.  From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
New Mexico
2007: 7,000
2009: 16,708
2012: 25,109
— Source: New Mexico Department of Public Safety

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My appearance on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss Obama's gun control proposals

Gun control group cuts out key parts of Democratic Congressman's video to create false impression

First please watch this campaign video by Democratic Congressman John Barrow (Georgia).


Now see how the "Coalition to Stop Gun Violence" doctored his video and cut out very important parts of it to create a quite different impression.


Fox News has a discussion of the editing.
But the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence on Friday defended the video, which includes the message "Shame on you, Congressman John Barrow" and urges him to stop taking "NRA blood money."  
"We're not here to run campaign ads for John Barrow. We're not his PR team," group spokesman Ladd Everitt told FoxNews.com.  
Asked about the omission of the line about stopping a lynching, Everitt said he was "unable to confirm" Barrow's claim about his grandfather. . . .

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