Gun-related crimes rise

Massachusetts passed some of the toughest guns laws in the nation in 1998, but statistics show that since then, the number of gun-related crimes committed in the state has risen.

The Boston Globe reports that in 2011, Massachusetts recorded 122 gun-related homicides, almost double the 65 in 1998.

According to an FBI analysis, there were increases in other crimes involving guns in Massachusetts, too. From 1998 to 2011, aggravated assaults with guns rose almost 27 percent while robberies with firearms increased almost 21 percent.

Gun-rights groups say the statistics are evidence that gun control does not work.

But gun-control advocates point out that many of the gun-related crimes are committed with weapons bought out of state, particularly New Hampshire and Maine, where gun-buying laws are less restrictive.


Amendment advocated

In Alabama, the House Republican Caucus is pushing a proposed constitutional amendment on gun rights as part of its agenda called “We Dare Defend Our Rights.”

It would make it harder to enact gun-control laws by requiring courts to use strict judicial scrutiny when ruling on laws that restrict the right to keep and bear arms.

Two top Democrats, Sen. Roger Bedford of Russellville and Rep. Craig Ford of Gadsden, are pushing a bill that would allow Alabamians to keep a gun locked in their vehicles while at work. It is opposed by some business leaders and by some Republicans, who say it infringes on the property rights of businesses.


Proposal dies in Senate

A Republican proposal barring enforcement of any federal laws affecting semi-automatic weapons or high-capacity ammunition magazines appears dead after it was pulled from consideration in the Arizona Senate over constitutional questions, the proposal’s author said Monday.

Sen. Kelli Ward of Lake Havasu City said Senate lawyers believed her bill was unconstitutional because federal law trumps state law. She said it was pulled after she realized all the Democrats and even some fellow Republicans on the Rules Committee would not vote for it.


Obama named in resolution

A resolution opposing the Obama administration’s executive actions on gun control has been officially introduced to an Alaska Senate panel.

The resolution urges President Obama to refrain from any further actions that would restrict the ownership of firearms. It also asks Congress to make sure that the Second Amendment is protected from any executive actions that might circumvent it.

The resolution refers to the Second Amendment as “our most fundamental right.”

Sen. Fred Dyson, the resolution’s sponsor, told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Monday that he believes the steps taken by the Obama administration are an intrusion on the authority of the state.


Gun show bill rejected

A Virginia Senate committee rejected legislation Monday that would have expanded background checks at gun shows after an attempted compromise between gun-control supporters and opponents pleased neither side.

Under current law, only licensed dealers are required to obtain background checks on buyers at gun shows. Proposals to extend that requirement to private sellers have been rejected several years in a row in the General Assembly. The Senate committee rejected a revised version of the bill last month, but Sen. John Edwards obtained the Senate’s unanimous consent to introduce a new bill that he hoped would satisfy both sides.

This one would have required the Virginia State Police to be available at gun shows to conduct the checks if a private seller wants one — “a true compromise,” said Edwards, D-Roanoke.