Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Are background checks for guns purchased at gun shows required in your state?

How Many People Have Been Killed by Guns Since The Newtown School Shooting on Dec. 14, 2012?

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Are background checks for guns purchased at gun shows or from private sellers required in your state? An estimated 40 percent of gun sales in America take place without a required background check. Seventy-four percent of NRA members support mandatory background checks for all gun purchases, a position the NRA has stridently opposed.

NRA, every gun is sacred, and no price in life is too high to pay for protecting guns and the profits that can be made in making and selling them. Notice here how the NRA is attempting to keep in circulation the guns that were turned in and bought back in Tucson, Arizona. "But what's key is Rathner's next quote, where he basically says that if the law doesn't work in the NRA's favor, the NRA will get lawmakers to make it work:

Rathner says the NRA will ask for an accounting of every weapon turned in and then go to court to stop the firearms from being destroyed. If that doesn't work, Rathner says they'll change the law.

"We just go back and we tweak it and tune it up, and we work with our friends in the Legislature and fix it so they can't do it," Rathner adds. NRA Plans to Sue Tucson Police Department Over Destroying Bought-Back Guns  

Read how the NRA made absolutely sure in Ct in 2011 that Nancy and Adam Lanza could get all the high capacity magazines they wanted which Adam Lanza used to massacre the first-graders in Newton on 12.14 2012.

In 2011, NRA Shot Down CT Law To Limit 30-Shot Magazines "proposal in March 2011 would have made it a felony to possess magazines with more than 10 bullets and required owners to surrender them to law enforcement or remove them from the state. Opponents sent more than 30,000 e-mails and letters to state lawmakers as part of a campaign organized by the NRA and other gun advocates, said Robert Crook, head of the Hartford- based Coalition of Connecticut Sportsmen, which opposed the legislation."
Credit: Yamiche Alcindor, USA TODAY
Art teacher Eric Mueller sets up 27 wooden angel cut-outs in memory of the victims of the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Thanks to NRA policy that was maintained in CT in the 00's, this child's death was ensured. 

"A lone state trooper stood at attention beside the closed, white coffin in the sanctuary as Monsignor Robert Weiss returned to Olivia's last moments. He recalled that a Newtown police officer bent down to the dying girl, held her in his arms and said "I love you.""

Same-sex wife of Army officer banned from joining Fort Bragg spouses club

Credit Ashley Broadway
Ashley Broadway, left, married her 15-year companion, Lt. Col. Heather Mack, in November — their first chance to hold a formal ceremony after the 2011 repeal of "Don't Ask Don't Tell."

The newlywed wife of a female lieutenant colonel stationed at Fort Bragg, the largest Army installation in the country, has been denied membership in a base club for officers’ spouses, igniting accusations from a national military spouses organization that the woman was blackballed only because she is a lesbian.

Ashley Broadway married her 15-year companion, Lt. Col. Heather Mack, in November — their first chance to hold a formal ceremony after the 2011 repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” the policy that kept gays from openly serving in the military. The couple has a 2-year-old son and Mack is 8-months-pregnant with their second child.

“I was really hurt by the denial. Living for years under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I couldn’t be a part of the military family,” Broadway said, breaking into tears. “After ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I thought, wow, I can finally be part of something, finally give back to the military community in ways other than just writing a check. So it was a blow. A real blow. Here, I thought things were progressing. I was knocked back down.”

But that rule was added only after Broadway asked to join several weeks ago, according to Babette Maxwell, founder and executive director of both Military Spouse Magazine and the annual Military Spouse of the Year Awards. Maxwell and others advocating for Broadway said they have been monitoring and chronologically noting changes in the website for the Bragg spouses club.

Several weeks ago, Broadway repeatedly asked the club for a copy of its bylaws so she could read its membership rules. The club did not send them to her, she said, so Broadway obtained the bylaws from Fort Bragg's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office, where they were on file — and those pages later were shared with NBC News. Under the membership requirements, the bylaws state that the club accepts "spouses of all commissioned and warrant officers" who are on active duty and who reside "in the Fort Bragg area" or live on base. In those bylaws, which also say the group "will not seek to deprive individuals of their civil rights," there is no mention of a requirement that members must posses a military spouse identification card.

On Thursday, the spouse club noted on its website that: "Our constitution and Bylaws are currently being reviewed. Thank you for your patience during this process. We will have them posted as soon as possible."

In recent days, Maxwell said, the club deleted from its website its phone number — a number that is now disconnected — as well as the last names of its board members. On Thursday, those first names were still publicly listed on the site.

On Friday morning, every link beyond the website's welcome page was password protected.

The U.S. military does not recognize same-sex marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act and does not offer benefits — or ID cards — to same-sex spouses.

The club, in a statement emailed to NBC news, said: “In response to recent interest in the membership requirements of our organization, we will review the issue at our next board meeting.” The letter cites a “busy holiday season” and notes the club’s board has been “extremely busy” with a pair of recent fundraisers.

“Too busy with the holidays? Really? Since when has equality taken a back seat to Christmas?” asked Maxwell, whose mother once served as president of the Fort Bragg officers wives’ club when Maxwell’s father was stationed at the North Carolina base.

“My mother would say: It didn’t matter if a spouse was black, or was a he, and it most certainly wouldn’t matter if she loved a woman,” Maxwell said.

“Back in the day, I never once recall having to present my military ID at any spouse club event, ever. We regularly had the girlfriends and fiancés of officers participate in the club. They didn’t have military IDs. So I find their explanation that Ashley’s membership requires a military ID a bit weak.”

The Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses is a nonprofit, according to its website, meaning it is not directly associated with the Department of Defense.

“That does give them a little bit more legal latitude with their abilities to discriminate, which would be sad,” Maxwell said. “But their decision is certainly not in keeping with the military’s directive and they do have Fort Bragg in their name.”

While investigating the matter on Broadway's behalf, Maxwell also has been placing calls to the Fort Bragg public affairs office and to the Fort Bragg garrison commander’s office.

“When I called the garrison office (Wednesday), asking when we could expect some type of response from that office about Ashley Broadway, I got hung up on,” Maxwell said. “Meanwhile, (the club) has made course correction after course correction on its website to cover their butts.

“They are part of and affiliated, by definition, with Fort Bragg. They need to understand the Army and the military’s directive on this by the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’ They need to step in line with that. If it comes down to the president (Mary Ring) of the spouses club imposing her personal beliefs on an organization, I would ask her to step aside and she may found her own nonprofit. But the Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouses club belongs to Fort Bragg."

A voicemail message left by NBC News with the Fort Bragg public affairs office was not returned. But on Friday, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) — a support network for spouses or partners of LGBT service members - released a statement, revealing that Fort Bragg's commander will meet with Broadway on Dec. 20 to discuss her application.

According to both the AMPA and OutServe-SLDN, the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel, Fort Bragg Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, the Garrison commander, will meet with Broadway "to address the discrimination she is facing with the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses."
"By agreeing to this meeting, the post leadership is affirming that, indeed, it does have a role to play when a family in its community is treated unfairly by a group that holds itself out as representative of all military families," the AMPA's statement read. "Ashley looks forward to discussing not only the challenges her family has faced, but those faced by other same-sex military families in the Fort Bragg community.”

AMPA earlier had said it was “disappointed to see such exclusion.” (AMPA also has been monitoring the Bragg spouses club website and shared the recently removed bylaws with NBC News).
“The Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouse Club would not need to review the membership requirements if they had not changed the membership qualifications after Ms. Broadway requested to join their association,” the AMPA added in a statement Thursday emailed to NBC News. “The bylaws on which the FBOSC board has voted and approved are sufficient to allow all spouses of any military officer to become a member, ID or not."

Said Maxwell: “We expect them to do the right thing. We are looking for them to be the model for other organizations that are going to face this issue in the near future. This is going to come up again. This is an opportunity for Fort Bragg — their spouses club — to step out and be the leader we know they can be. They need to be the template by which others follow.”

At their home near Fort Bragg, Broadway and Mack are preparing for the arrival of their second child. But next year, Mack expects to head to Afghanistan to serve with her unit, Broadway said.

“My wife puts on the uniform like every other soldier,”

Broadway said. “She knows she’s probably going to have to deploy as soon as she comes off her six-month maternity (leave). She’s prepared to give her life for the country that she loves. She’s prepared to save one of her soldiers in a time of attack. (Due to benefit inequalities for same-sex spouses in the military), she shouldn’t have to worry if her family is going to be taken care if, God forbid, something happens to her."

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Winfrey says Armstrong interview 'intense'

Associated Press
Jan 15, 2013 14:41

"Emotional" doesn't come close to describing Lance Armstrong's conversation with Oprah Winfrey -- an interview that included his confession about using performance-enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles, Winfrey said Tuesday.

She recounted her session with Armstrong on "CBS This Morning" and promoted what has become a two-part special on her OWN network, even while international doping officials said it wouldn't be enough to save the disgraced cyclist's career.

"I don't think 'emotional' begins to describe the intensity or the difficulty he experienced in talking about some of these things," Winfrey said.

Armstrong admitted during the interview at an Austin hotel that he used drugs to help him win the titles.

This Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 photo provided by Harpo Studios Inc., shows talk-show host Oprah Winfrey interviewing cyclist Lance Armstrong during taping for the show "Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive" in Austin, Texas. The two-part episode of "Oprah's Next Chapter" will air nationally Thursday and Friday, Jan. 17-18, 2013. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc., George Burns)

"It was surprising to me," she said. "I would say that for myself, my team, all of us in the room, we were mesmerized and riveted by some of his answers."

Winfrey said she went right at Armstrong with tough questions and, during a break, he asked if they would lighten up at some point. Still, Winfrey said she did not have to dig and that he was "pretty forthcoming."

"I felt that he was thoughtful. I thought that he was serious," she said. "I thought that he certainly had prepared for this moment. I would say that he met the moment."

The session was to be broadcast in a single special Thursday but Winfrey said it will now run in two parts on consecutive nights -- Thursday and Friday -- because there is so much material. Winfrey would not characterize whether Armstrong seemed contrite, saying she'll leave that to viewers.

As stunning as Armstrong's confession was for someone who relentlessly denied using PEDs, the World Anti-Doping Agency said he must confess under oath if he wants to reduce his lifetime ban from sports.

The cyclist was stripped of his Tour titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave his cancer charity, Livestrong, last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.

WADA's statement said: "Only when Mr. Armstrong makes a full confession under oath -- and tells the anti-doping authorities all he knows about doping activities -- can any legal and proper process for him to seek any reopening or reconsideration of his lifetime ban commence."

The International Cycling Union, or UCI, also issued a statement, urging Armstrong to tell his story to an independent commission it has set up to examine claims that cycling's governing body hid suspicious samples from the cyclist, accepted financial donations from him and helped him avoid detection in doping tests.

Before the Winfrey interview, Armstrong visited the headquarters of Livestrong, the charity he founded in 1997 and turned into a global force on the strength of his athletic dominance and personal story of surviving testicular cancer that had spread to his lungs and brain.

FILE - This combination image made of file photos shows Lance Armstrong, left, on Oct. 7, 2012, and Oprah Winfrey, right, on March 9, 2012. After more than a decade of denying that he doped to win the Tour de France seven times, Armstrong was scheduled to sit down Monday, Jan. 14, 2013 for what has been trumpeted as a "no-holds barred," 90-minute, question-and-answer session with Winfrey. (AP Photos/File)

"I'm sorry," Armstrong told about 100 staff members gathered in a conference. He choked up during the 20-minute talk, expressed regret for the long-running controversy tied to performance-enhancers, but stopped short of admitting he used them.

"Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokeswoman Katherine McLane described his speech.

Winfrey has promoted her interview, one of the biggest for OWN since she launched the network in 2011, as a "no-holds barred" session and said she was ready to go with 112 questions. Not all of them were asked, she said, but many were.

USADA chief executive Travis Tygart, a longtime critic of Armstrong's, called the drug regimen practiced while Armstrong led the U.S. Postal Service team "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen." USADA did not respond to requests for comment about Armstrong's confession.

Armstrong often went after his critics during his long reign as cycling champion. He scolded some in public and didn't hesitate to punish outspoken riders during the race itself. He waged legal battles against still others in court.

At least one of his opponents, the London-based Sunday Times, has already filed a lawsuit to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel case, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million awarded by an arbitration panel.

In Australia, the government of South Australia state said it will seek the repayment of several million dollars in appearance fees paid to Armstrong for competing in the Tour Down Under in 2009, 2010 and 2011.

"We'd be more than happy for Mr. Armstrong to make any repayment of monies to us," South Australia Premier Jay Weatherill said.

Betsy Andreu, the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. She called news of Armstrong's confession "very emotional and very sad," and choked up when asked to comment.

"He used to be one of my husband's best friends and because he wouldn't go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side," she said. "Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He's got to be completely honest."

Betsy Andreu testified in SCA's arbitration case challenging the bonus in 2005, saying Armstrong admitted in an Indiana hospital room in 1996 that he had taken many performance-enhancing drugs, a claim Armstrong vehemently denied.

"It would be nice if he would come out and say the hospital room happened," Andreu said. "That's where it all started."

Former teammate Floyd Landis, who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. An attorney familiar with Armstrong's legal problems told the AP that the Justice Department is highly likely to join the lawsuit. The False Claims Act lawsuit could result in Armstrong paying a substantial amount of money to the U.S. government. The deadline for the department to join the case is Thursday, though the department could seek an extension if necessary.

According to the attorney, who works outside the government, the lawsuit alleges that Armstrong defrauded the U.S. government based on his years of denying use of performance-enhancing drugs. The attorney spoke on condition of anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak on the record about the matter.

The lawsuit most likely to be influenced by a confession might be the Sunday Times case. Potential perjury charges stemming from Armstrong's sworn testimony in the 2005 arbitration fight would not apply because of the statute of limitations. Armstrong was not deposed during the federal investigation that was closed last year.

Armstrong is said to be worth around $100 million. But most sponsors dropped him after USADA's scathing report -- at the cost of tens of millions of dollars -- and soon after, he left the board of Livestrong.
FILE - In this July 5, 2005, file photo, Lance Armstrong, right, lets his Discovery Channel teammates take over after taking the lead during the fourth stage of the Tour de France cycling race, a 67.5-kilometer (41.95-mile) team time trial between Tours and Blois, western France. After a decade of denial and being stripped of his titles, Armstrong has finally come clean_ During an interview with Oprah Winfrey taped Monday, Jan. 14, 2013, Armstrong said he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)  

FILE - In this July 22, 2004, file photo, Lance Armstrong reacts as he crosses the finish line to win the 17th stage of the Tour de France cycling race between Bourd-d'Oisans and Le Grand Bornand, French Alps. In 2004, Armstrong was also named Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year and ESPN's ESPY Award for Best Male Athlete. (AP Photo/Laurent Rebours, File)

After the USADA findings, he was also barred from competing in the elite triathlon or running events he participated in after his cycling career. WADA Code rules state his lifetime ban cannot be reduced to less than eight years. WADA and U.S. Anti-Doping officials could agree to reduce the ban further depending on what information Armstrong provides and his level of cooperation.

Armstrong lets emotions flow

Before confessing to Oprah, he apologizes to Livestrong staff Armstrong lets emotions flow

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Lance Armstrong ended a decade of denial by confessing to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press.

The admission Monday came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity that he founded and turned into a global institution on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network.

The confession was a stunning reversal for Armstrong after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

The cyclist was stripped of his Tour de France titles, lost most of his endorsements and was forced to leave the foundation last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency issued a damning, 1,000-page report that accused him of masterminding a long-running doping scheme.

About 100 staff members of the charity Armstrong founded in 1997 gathered in a conference room as Armstrong arrived with a simple message: "I'm sorry." He choked up during a 20-minute talk, expressing regret for the long-running controversy over performance-enhancers had caused, but stopped short of admitting he used them.

Before he was done, several members were in tears when he urged them to continue the charity's mission of helping cancer patients and their families.

"Heartfelt and sincere," is how Livestrong spokesman Katherine McLane described his speech.

Armstrong later huddled with almost a dozen people before stepping into a room set up at a downtown Austin hotel.

The group included close friends and advisers, two of his lawyers and Bill Stapleton, his agent, manager and business partner. They exchanged handshakes and smiles, but declined comment when approached by a reporter. Most members of that group left the hotel through the front entrance around 5 p.m., although Armstrong was not with them.

No further details about the interview were available immediately because of confidentiality agreements signed by both camps. But Winfrey promoted it as a "no-holds barred" session, and after the voluminous USADA report -- which included testimony from 11 former teammates -- she had plenty of material for questions.

USADA Chief Executive Travis Tygart, a longtime critic of Armstrong's, called the drug regimen practiced while Armstrong led the U.S. Postal Service team, "The most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."

Betsy Andreu, the wife of former Armstrong teammate Frankie Andreu, was one of the first to publicly accuse Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs. She called news of Armstrong's confession "very emotional and very sad," and got choked up when asked to comment.

"He used to be one of my husband's best friends and because he wouldn't go along with the doping, he got kicked to the side. Lance could have a positive impact if he tells the truth on everything. He's got to be completely honest," she said.

At least one of his opponents, the London-based Sunday Times, has already filed a lawsuit to recover about $500,000 it paid him to settle a libel lawsuit, and Dallas-based SCA Promotions, which tried to deny Armstrong a promised bonus for a Tour de France win, has threatened to bring yet another lawsuit seeking to recover more than $7.5 million an arbitration panel awarded the cyclist in that dispute.

In addition, former teammate Floyd Landis, the Farmersville native who was stripped of the 2006 Tour de France title for doping, has filed a federal whistle-blower lawsuit that accused Armstrong of defrauding the U.S. Postal Service. The Justice Department has yet to decide whether it will join the suit as a plaintiff.

Sandy Hook Parents Discuss New Violence Prevention Initiative

Some of the victims' families launched the Sandy Hook Promise to protect families from violence.
02:57 | 01/14/2013

Parents Of Slain Children Deliver The Sandy Hook Promise: ‘Things Must Change’


Exactly one month after the tragic mass shooting that claimed the lives of 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the parents of those lost children held a press conference to deliver a poem, “The Sandy Hook Promise,” and a plan to move forward. Along with the press conference, the parents launched Sandy Hook Promise, a non-profit dedicated to fulfilling the promise contained in the poem they read Monday morning, “To do everything in our power to be remembered, not as the town filled with grief and victims; but as the place where real change began.”
Nicole Hockley, mother of the late Dylan Hockley, who was six years old at the time of his death, began the press conference speaking about the heartbreaking grief she continues to deal with. “At times, it feels like only yesterday, and at other times it feels as if many years have passed,” she said, adding “I still find myself reaching for Dylan’s hand to walk through a car parking lot.”
Mrs. Hockley spoke of the ways in which the Newtown community pulled together in the aftermath of the tragedy, along with the wider community of families who have been touched by this kind of horror, from places like Aurora, Columbine, and Virginia Tech. “I do not want to be someone sharing my experience and consoling another parent next time,” she said. “I do not want there to be a next time.”
Nelba Márquez-Greene, mother of Ana Márquez-Greene, who was taken from her mother at the age of six, also spoke, summing up the unimaginable shock and grief of that day in a sentence. “On Friday, December 14, I put two children on the bus,” she said, “and only one came home.”
Mrs. Hockley and Mrs. Márquez-Greene each pledged to honor their children by fulfilling The Sandy Hook Promise:

Our hearts are broken;
Our spirit is not.

And it is with this knowledge
that we are able to move forward
with purpose…and strength…

This is a Promise

To support our own
our families, our neighbors, our teachers, our community
with dedication and love
as well as the material and financial needs they will require
in the days ahead.

This is a Promise

To truly honor the lives lost
by turning our tragedy into a moment of transformation.

This is a Promise

To be open to all possibilities.
There is no agenda other than to make
our community and our nation a safer, better place.

This is a Promise

To have the conversations on ALL the issues
Conversations where listening is as important as speaking.
Conversations where even those with the most opposing views
can debate in good will.

This is a Promise

To turn the conversation into actions.
Things must change.
This is the time.

This is a Promise

We make to our precious children.
Because each child, every human life is filled with promise,
and though we continue to be filled with unbearable pain
we choose love, belief, and hope
instead of anger.

This is a Promise

To do everything in our power to be remembered
not as the town filled with grief and victims;
but as the place where
real change began.

Our hearts are broken;
Our spirit is not.

This is our promise.

The Sandy Hook


You can find out more about The Sandy Hook Promise, and how to help, by clicking here.
Here’s video of the press conference, from CNN:


NRA President David Keene Rejects Outline Of White House Gun Control Recommendations (VIDEO)

Updated: 01/13/2013 11:20 am EST

Nra Gun Control
Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with representatives from the video game industry in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Friday, Jan. 11, 2013. Biden is holding a series of meetings this week as part of the effort he is leading to develop policy proposals in response to the Newtown, Conn., school shooting. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON -- Just two days before Vice President Joe Biden delivers a comprehensive set of recommendations on gun policy, National Rifle Association President David Keene rejected the reported outline of suggestions Sunday and dismissed any ban on assault weapons or
high-capacity magazines as a non-starter.

"We don't think any of those things work," he said in appearance on CNN's "State of the Union." "You should absolutely be able to compromise on things that accomplish the purpose. Our objection to those things is that they interfere with people's rights without doing anything to solve the problem."

Biden on Tuesday is expected to issue a series of proposals to address gun violence, in response to last month's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Based on initial reports, the White House will make more comprehensive background checks a priority and continue to push for the reinstatement of an assault weapons ban.

But despite having an NRA representative present for a meeting with the vice president last week, Keene doesn't foresee his organization and the White House reaching an agreement on how to proceed.

On Sunday, he called for a greater focus on mental health and said those who are mentally ill and potentially dangerous should be placed on a list of people prohibited from purchasing firearms. He did not raise the NRA's initial suggestion to place armed guards in schools across the country, which was not only met with widespread criticism but has also proven to be ineffective in prior mass shootings.

The NRA president predicted a difficult road ahead for those pursuing a ban on assault weapons and said he believed he had enough support to prevent such legislation from passing.

"They are not going to be able to get an assault weapons ban through Congress," Keene said, adding that even outlawing high-capacity magazines would be difficult. "The fact is that we live in a society where first of all, we have constitutional rights, and secondly, there are millions upon millions of Americans who value the rights that they have under the Second 
Amendment and who are involved in the shooting sports or use firearms for self-defense, and we think that they will be heard."

But while an assault weapons ban remains a divisive issue on Capitol Hill, several of its opponents have said they could get behind action on high-capacity magazines. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) called high-capacity magazines "a whole different issue," while Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.), who has enjoyed a lifetime "A" rating from the NRA, said he would be "willing to listen to the possibility of the capacity of a magazine."

NRA says Congress won't ban assault weapons

David Keene
NRA President David Keene says new measures on assault weapons, as well as on high-volume magazines, would be ineffective in preventing gun violence.

WASHINGTON -- The head of the National Rifle Assn. expressed confidence Sunday that the current Congress will not pass a new ban on assault weapons, a major aim of gun-control proponents in the wake of last month’s killing of 20 schoolchildren in Connecticut.

“I would say that the likelihood is that they are not going to be able to get assault weapons ban through this Congress,” NRA President David Keene said on CNN’s “State Of The Union.”

Keene’s comments come two days before Vice President Joe Biden is expected to issue a series of recommendations to President Obama on reducing gun violence, and as gun stores in many areas report a dramatic spike in sales.

Biden’s focus has been on requiring universal background checks for gun sales and on limiting sales of high-capacity ammunition clips, two areas that appear to have widespread public support.

But administration officials have indicated that a ban on assault weapons could be included in an overall package of proposals. Obama has endorsed renewing such a ban, which was passed by Congress in 1994 but expired a decade later.

Congress is exhibiting new energy to restrict production and sales of certain firearms, with some pro-gun members speaking out for the first time against the spread of assault weapons.

But it’s far from clear if there’s enough support, particularly among Republicans, to approve a broad ban on such type of military-style guns.

“I think we have the possibility, but it’s going to be difficult,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on CNN. He said prospects were better for Congress to push through restrictions on high-capacity magazines and expanded background checks.

Biden met with NRA officials last week as part of his efforts to reach out to all sides on the issue, but Keene described the meeting as disingenuous, saying that the administration had already made up its mind.

Keene insisted that new measures on assault weapons, as well as on high-volume magazines, would be ineffective in preventing gun violence, arguing instead that the focus should be on mentally ill people and curbing their ability to acquire guns.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Sunday sharply disagreed with Keene’s assessment that the current Congress would not take action on assault weapons.

“No, I think he’s wrong,” Murphy said on CNN. Saying that he believed such a ban would have prevented the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., Murphy said: “Newtown fundamentally changed things. The NRA doesn’t get this.”

New Elizabethtown meat shop inspired by trip to Paris

Couple liked butcher shop on Seine River so much they decided to open one like it here


 Orginally Published Jan 13, 2013 19:19
Staff Writer

Tony and Kristina Page fell in love a couple years ago in Paris.

Kristina and Tony Page are the owners of Rooster Street Provisions, a specialty butcher shop in Elizabethtown. (Blaine Shahan / Staff)

The object of their desire: a butcher shop on Île Saint-Louis, a small island on the Seine River.

Having walked to the island for ice cream, the Pages were astounded by the assortment of meats on display at the open-air shop — a veritable hanging garden of salamis, sausages and other morsels.

"It was the coolest thing we ever saw," Tony said. "After that, we were always like, 'Let's open a shop like that.'"

Yet, they can never remember the shop's name.

"It was on that street on that island with the roosters in the window," Tony says, trying once again to recall it.

The Paris meat shop with the nearly remembered name is the inspiration for Rooster Street Provisions, a specialty butcher shop the couple opened in October at 17 W. High St. in Elizabethtown.

At their shop, the Pages make and sell a variety of pork products, including salami, ham and bacon as well as specialty meats that are collectively known as charcuterie, derived from a French term for "cooker of meat."

Tony Page butchers a pig at Rooster Street Provisions, a specialty butcher shop in Elizabethtown.(Blaine Shahan / Staff)

These meats are prepared with flavors derived from the traditional preservation processes, including curing and aging with a variety of herbs and spices.

"It's about enjoying the product in its purest form which is why we choose local hogs that are raised humanely and sustainably because the meat itself is so amazing," Kristina says. "So, treating it minimally, allows it to show through."

At the shop, the Pages do butchering, grinding, fabricating and curing in a production area on one side of the shop and then sell out of retail space Wednesday through Saturday on the other.

This month, Rooster Street Provisions will expand its retail outlet with a stand in Lancaster's Central Market.

Rooster Street Provisions typically carries some 15 to 20 meat products, including mustard brown sugar bacon, bratwurst and pork pate as well as less recognizable offerings such as osso bucco, lomo cotto and terrine.

"It's a little different," Tony says, before Kristina adds: "A lot of our products are actually really familiar to local people. We have head cheese, and that's huge in Lancaster County."

At Rooster Street, a large walk-in aging room where the temperature and humidity is monitored stores salamis and meats age as they age, including proscuitto, which must wait there for about a year until it is ready.

In what is essentially a large refrigerator, the firmness and water loss of meats is monitored, with an air compressor periodically blowing air meant to mimic "an old Italian grandmother's basement," where Tony says such meats were traditionally made.

"It is something that we both experienced in Europe and have really loved it. And we're trying to bring it to Lancaster County," Tony says.

Tony earned a culinary degree and worked in a variety of restaurants for 13 years.

He says he learned about charcuterie at his most recent restaurant job at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem.

Earlier this year, when Tony was looking for another job, he interviewed and got accepted at some restaurants in New York and South Carolina.

Yet, Tony says that as he considered taking another restaurant job with long hours, the idea of opening the dream butcher shop resurfaced.

"We had just been married for three or four years and we never saw each other. We were kind of on that cusp: 'Where do we go from here? What do we do next?'" Tony recalls thinking.

Since Kristina, 31, is from Washington Boro and Tony, 29, is from York, the idea of moving closer to their families appealed to them.

"I said, you know what, we've been talking about doing this butcher shop/charcuterie concept for a long time now, we just need to do it," Tony says.

The Pages said they looked at some 40 different potential locations in Lancaster County, finding a home in Elizabethtown where they have also found a good market for their products.

Tony Page shows a piece of pork belly that will become bacon at Rooster Street Provisions, a specialty butcher shop in Elizabethtown. (Blaine Shahan / Staff)

"The community in E-town has been great. We wanted to be back close to family," Kristina says.

In addition to the meats, Rooster Street Provisions carries some specialty food items, such as mustard, tomato preserves, honey and olive oil.

On a recent Tuesday, Tony, whose phone ringer is a snorting pig, had just finished "fabricating" the last of the week's quartet of hogs, which had arrived from Sweet Stem Farm in Lititz, enough for 1,000 pounds of meat.

"For our purposes, we need to be able to pull certain cuts out of it that are typically done in a normal butcher shop," Tony says.

Taking the flank of the last hog, Tony sliced off a pork loin and spare ribs while also isolating the pork belly: the source of bacon.

He also pointed out the hanger steak, which is next to the kidney and is normally not used.

"We work with local farmers, we bring in happily and humanely raised pigs and we buy the whole animal because we feel it it is right," Tony says, while adding — without exaggeration "We utilize it from head to tail here."

With the head, Tony debones it, pulls out the glands, salts it, cures it for three days, ages it and then slices it thin to make porchetta di testa, which looks like a mosaic of meat with herbs and seasonings.

As for the tails, Tony is saving them all for a special occasion.

"Braised pork tails are fantastic," he says, describing how they can be sautéed with a sweet and sour glaze.

"We don't like to waste stuff," he says.