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Archive for April, 2013

National Academy Of Sciences

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

In March of 1863, President Lincoln and Congress established the National Academy of Sciences as an independent and nonprofit institution charged with providing the government with the scientific advice that it needed. Today President Obama joined the current members of that body to celebrate the advances in science, engineering, infrastructure, innovation, education and environmental protection that can be attributed to the 150 years of work by the brilliant and committed scientists who have been elected and volunteered to serve their country.

While the National Academy of Sciences was created during the Civil War to help the Union understand the challenges new iron-clad battleships would create for the Navy, President Obama praised President Lincoln’s wisdom in looking forward and recognizing that finding a way to harness the highest caliber scientific advice for the government would serve a whole range of long-term goals for the nation. And he highlighted the Academy’s legacy of answering big questions and solving tough problems for the benefit of the nation:

When you look at our history, you’ve stepped up at times of enormous need and, in some cases, great peril.

When Woodrow Wilson needed help understanding the science of military preparedness, he asked the Academy’s eminent scientists to lay it out for him. When George W. Bush, more recently, wanted to study the long-term health effects of traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, he set your scholars to the task. Today, my administration relies on your expertise to answer critical questions like: How do we set our priorities for research? How can we get the most out of the nanotechnology revolution? What are the underlying causes of gun violence?

And more important than any single study or report, the members of this institution embody what is so necessary for us to continue our scientific advance and to maintain our cutting-edge, and that’s restless curiosity and boundless hope, but also a fidelity to facts and truth, and a willingness to follow where the evidence leads.

Firearms And Gun Control

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

More on gun control: “Gun Control? We Need Bomb Control

According to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the US government controls firearms in the following ways:

Q: Does the ATF regulate the sale and possession of air guns? Is an air gun classified as a “firearm” under Federal law?
The term “firearm” is defined in the Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Section 921(a)(3), to include (A) any weapon (including a starter gun), which will, or is designed to or may readily be converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive; (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon…. Based on Section 921(a)(3), air guns, because they use compressed air and not an explosive to expel a projectile, do not constitute firearms under Federal law — unless they are manufactured with the frames or receivers of an actual firearm. Accordingly, the domestic sale and possession of air guns is normally unregulated under the Federal firearms laws enforced by ATF.We caution that ATF is not charged with enforcement or oversight of the firearms laws of States or localities. To determine possible restrictions on air guns where you reside, we recommend that you contact the office of your state Attorney General, the State Police, or other State/local law enforcement authorities for further guidance.

Q: Does my weapon qualify as a curio or relic (C&R)?
For your information, a regulation implementing Federal firearms laws, 27 CFR Section 478.11, defines C&R firearms as thosewhich are of special interest to collectors by reason of some quality other than is associated with firearms intended for sporting use or as offensive or defensive weapons.To be recognized as C&R items, 478.11 specifies that firearms must fall within one of the following categories:

  1. Firearms which were manufactured at least 50 years prior to the current date, but not including replicas of such firearms;
  2. Firearms which are certified by the curator of a municipal, State, or Federal museum which exhibits firearms to be curios or relics of museum interest; and
  3. Any other firearms which derive a substantial part of their monetary value from the fact that they are novel, rare, bizarre, or because of their association with some historical figure, period, or event.

Firearms automatically attain C&R status when they are 50 years old. Any firearm that is at least 50 years old, and in its original configuration, would qualify as a C&R firearm. It is not necessary for such firearms to be listed in ATF’s C&R list. Therefore, ATF does not generally list firearms in the C&R publication by virtue of their age. However, if you wish for a classification of your particular firearm under categories (b) or (c) above and wish your item to be listed, you may submit the weapon to the Firearms Technology Branch (FTB) for a formal classification.

If you desire an evaluation, ship the firearm to FTB via FedEx, UPS, or other common carrier. You must also include your carrier’s account information or a return postage label for the return of the item. Please submit any supplemental documentation such as value appraisals or curator letters that may denote the firearm as a collector’s item. The weapon would be returned with a letter detailing our examination and stating FTB’s findings concerning the weapon’s classification as a C&R firearm.

Address the parcel to:

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives
Chief, Firearms Technology Branch
244 Needy Road

West Virginia

Please note that firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act (NFA) may be classified as C&R items, but still may be subject to the provisions of the NFA. If your C&R item is an NFA firearm and you desire removal from the NFA status (e.g., Winchester Trappers), you must submit it to FTB for evaluation and a formal classification.

Q: Is it legal to attach a vertical fore grip to a handgun?
“Handgun” is defined under Federal law to mean, in part, a firearm which has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand… Gun Control Act of 1968, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(29).Under an implementing regulation of the National Firearms Act (NFA), 27 C.F.R. § 479.11, “pistol” is defined as:

… a weapon originally designed, made, and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one or more barrels when held in one hand, and having (a) a chamber(s) as an integral part(s) of, or permanently aligned with, the bore(s); and (b) a short stock designed to be gripped by one hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

The NFA further defines the term “any other weapon” (AOW) in 26 U.S.C. § 5845(e) as:

… any weapon or device capable of being concealed on the person from which a shot can be discharged through the energy of an explosive, a pistol or revolver having a barrel with a smooth bore designed or redesigned to fire a fixed shotgun shell, weapons with combination shotgun and rifle barrels 12 inches or more, less than 18 inches in length, from which only a single discharge can be made from either barrel without manual reloading, and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire. Such term shall not include a pistol or revolver having a rifled bore, or rifled bores, or weapons designed, made, or intended to be fired from the shoulder and not capable of firing fixed ammunition.

ATF has long held that by installing a vertical fore grip on a handgun, the handgun is no longer designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand. Therefore, if individuals install a vertical fore grip on a handgun, they are “making” a firearm requiring registration with ATF’s NFA Branch. Making an unregistered “AOW” is punishable by a fine and 10 years’ imprisonment. Additionally, possession of an unregistered “AOW” is also punishable by fine and 10 years’ imprisonment.

To lawfully add a vertical fore grip to a handgun, a person must make an appropriate application on ATF Form 1 (5320.1), “Application to Make and Register a Firearm.” The applicant must submit the completed form, along with a fingerprint card bearing the applicant’s fingerprints; a photograph; and $200.00. The application will be reviewed by the NFA Branch. If the applicant is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under Federal, State, or local law, and possession of an “AOW” is not prohibited in the applicant’s State of residence, the form will be approved. Only then may the person add a vertical fore grip to the designated handgun.

A person may also send the handgun to a person licensed to manufacture NFA weapons. The manufacturer will install the fore grip on the firearm and register the firearm on an ATF Form 2 (5320.2). The manufacturer can then transfer the firearm back to the individual on an ATF Form 4 (5320.4), which results in a $5.00 transfer tax. If the manufacturer is out of State, the NFA Branch will need a clarification letter submitted with the ATF Form 4 so that the NFA Branch Examiner will know the circumstances of the transfer. Questions can be directed to the NFA Branch or the Firearms Technology Branch.

Q: Is it legal to assemble a firearm from commercially available parts kits that can be purchased via internet or shotgun news?
For your information, per provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCA for his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.The GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(3), defines the term “firearm” to include the following:

… (A) any weapon (including a starter gun) which will or is designed to or may be readily converted to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive: (B) the frame or receiver of any such weapon; (C) any firearm muffler or silencer; or (D) any destructive device. Such term does not include an antique firearm.

In addition, the National Firearms Act (NFA), 26 U.S.C. § 5845(b), defines the term “machinegun” as:

… any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger. This term shall also include the frame or receiver of any such weapon, any part designed and intended solely and exclusively, or combination of parts designed and intended, for use in converting a weapon into a machinegun, and any combination of parts from which a machinegun can be assembled if such parts are in the possession or under the control of a person.

Finally, the GCA, 18 U.S.C. § 922(r), specifically states the following:

It shall be unlawful for any person to assemble from imported parts any semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun which is identical to any rifle or shotgun prohibited from importation under the…[GCA]…Section 925(d)(3).as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes ….

Also, 27 C.F.R. § 478.39 states:

  1. (a) No person shall assemble a semiautomatic rifle or any shotgun using more than 10 of the imported parts listed in paragraph (c) of this section if the assembled firearm is prohibited from importation under section 925(d)(3) as not being particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes ….
  2. (b) The provisions of this section shall not apply to:
    1. (1) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for sale or distribution by a licensed manufacturer to the United States or any department or agency thereof or to any State or any department, agency, or political subdivision thereof; or (2) The assembly of such rifle or shotgun for the purposes of testing or experimentation authorized by the Director under the provisions of [§478.151(formerly 178.151)]; or (3) The repair of any rifle or shotgun which had been imported into or assembled in the United States prior to November 30, 1990, or the replacement of any part of such firearm.
  3. (c) For purposes of this section, the term imported parts [tabulated below] are:
    1. (1) Frames, receivers, receiver castings, forgings, or castings.
    2. (2) Barrels.
    3. (3) Barrel extensions.
    4. (4) Mounting blocks (trunnions).
    5. (5) Muzzle attachments.
    6. (6) Bolts.
    7. (7) Bolt carriers.
    8. (8) Operating rods.
    9. (9) Gas pistons.
    10. (10) Trigger housings.
    11. (11) Triggers.
    12. (12) Hammers.
    13. (13) Sears.
    14. (14) Disconnectors.
    15. (15) Buttstocks.
    16. (16) Pistol grips.
    17. (17) Forearms, handguards.
    18. (18) Magazine bodies.
    19. (19) Followers.
    20. (20) Floor plates.

As a result of a 1989 study by the U.S. Treasury Department regarding the importability of certain firearms, an import ban was placed on military-style firearms. This ban included not only military-type firearms, but also extended to firearms with certain features that were considered to be “nonsporting.”

Among such nonsporting features were the ability to accept a detachable magazine; folding/telescoping stocks; separate pistol grips; and the ability to accept a bayonet, flash suppressors, bipods, grenade launchers, and night sights.

Please note that the foreign parts kits that are sold through commercial means are usually cut up machineguns, such as Russian AK-47 types, British Sten types, etc. Generally, an acceptable semiautomatic copy of a machinegun is one that has been significantly redesigned. The receiver must be incapable of accepting the original fire-control components that are designed to permit full automatic fire. The method of operation should employ a closed-bolt firing design that incorporates an inertia-type firing pin within the bolt assembly.

Further, an acceptably redesigned semiautomatic copy of nonsporting firearm must be limited to using less than 10 of the imported parts listed in 27 CFR § 478.39(c). Otherwise, it is considered to be assembled into a nonsporting configuration per the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 925(d)(3) and is thus a violation of § 922(r).

Individuals manufacturing sporting-type firearms for their own use need not hold Federal Firearms Licenses (FFLs). However, we suggest that the manufacturer at least identify the firearm with a serial number as a safeguard in the event that the firearm is lost or stolen. Also, the firearm should be identified as required in 27 CFR 478.92 if it is sold or otherwise lawfully transferred in the future.

Q: Are Glock conversion devices legal?
A Glock conversion switch is a part designed and intended for use in converting a semiautomatic Glock pistol into a machinegun; therefore, it is a “machinegun” as defined in 26 U.S.C. 5845(b). Glock conversion devices are considered post-May 19, 1986 machineguns and may only be lawfully possessed by properly licensed Federal Firearms Licensees who have paid the appropriate Special Occupational Tax (SOT) required of those manufacturing, importing, or dealing in National Firearms Act (NFA) firearms.Conversion is fast and simple requiring no technical expertise. Conversion requires removal of the original polymer slide cover plate and replacing it with the conversion device, typically made of metal. By switching these plates, which takes less than 60 seconds, the conversion is complete. Conversion of a Glock pistol will result in a rate of fire of approximately 1200 rounds per minute.

Glock conversion deviceGlock conversion device being installed

We are aware of other variations of this conversion device. We are also aware that these devices are available from certain internet sources.

Second variation of Glock conversion deviceSecond variation of Glock conversion device being installedThird variation of Glock conversion deviceThird variation of Glock conversion device being installed

Fiscal Year 2014 Budget

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

In his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama said that we must invest in the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising and thriving middle class. He said that every day, we must ask ourselves these three questions: “How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

This morning the President sent Congress his Budget for Fiscal Year 2014, which presents his plan to address each of these questions. He also spoke to the press about his proposal in the Rose Garden, and said that while our economy is poised for progress, we need to get smarter about our priorities as a nation. And that’s what his 2014 Budget represents — a fiscally-responsible blueprint for middle-class jobs and growth:

To make America a magnet for good jobs, this budget invests in new manufacturing hubs to help turn regions left behind by globalization into global centers of high-tech jobs. We’ll spark new American innovation and industry with cutting-edge research like the initiative I announced to map the human brain and cure disease. We’ll continue our march towards energy independence and address the threat of climate change. And our Rebuild America Partnership will attract private investment to put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our roads, our bridges and our schools, in turn attracting even more new business to communities across the country.

To help workers earn the skills they need to fill those jobs, we’ll work with states to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America. And we’re going to pay for it by raising taxes on tobacco products that harm our young people. It’s the right thing to do.

We’ll reform our high schools and job training programs to equip more Americans with the skills they need to compete in the 21st century economy. And we’ll help more middle-class families afford the rising cost of college.

To make sure hard work is rewarded, we’ll build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for anybody who is willing to work hard to climb them. So we’ll partner with 20 of our communities hit hardest by the recession to help them improve housing, and education, and business investment. And we should make the minimum wage a wage you can live on — because no one who works full-time should have to raise his or her family in poverty.

President Obama’s budget also replaces the across-the-board spending cuts known as the sequester with smarter ones, making long-term reforms, eliminating actual waste and programs that are no longer needed.

And finally, because he is willing to make tough choices and serious about finding common ground to further reduce the deficit, President Obama’s budget incorporates his compromise offer he made to House Speaker Boehner that achieves another $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction in a balanced way. When combined with the deficit reduction already achieved, this will exceed the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, while growing the economy and strengthening the middle class.

Occupy Philadelphia Events

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Thursday, April 11, 4:00pm, Say No to U.S. Intervention in Venezuela Elections! in front of the Federal Building (6 & Market), to march to the Clothespin at 15 & Market

The people of Venezuela will honor the last will of President Chavez by overwhelmingly voting this coming April 14 for Nicolas Maduro for President. The Venezuelan people clearly remain committed to the process of fundamental change in their country, no matter what. We are confident that the roots of the Bolivarian Revolution will remain strong and grow.

But the death of our dear President Hugo Chavez will be used by US imperialism and the elite oligarchy in Venezuela to carry out aggressive plans to destabilize the revolutionary process in Venezuela. We must send a strong message to Washington right away: we are organizing our voices of solidarity with the Venezuelan people and demand no intervention during this coming election in Venezuela.

Thursday, April 11, 7:00pm, COMMUNITY FORUM: “Being White in Philly – In Solidarity With African Resistance! Uhuru Solidarity Center 3733 Lancaster Ave, West Phila – #10 Trolley

Not in Philly? Can’t make the event? Tune in LIVE via “Reparations in Action” Livestream!

White people can take a stand in solidarity with the right of African people to overturn the conditions in their community and have control over their lives & resources!

Featuring Diop Olugbala, President of the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement, Danita Bates, School District of Phila parent and community activist, and speakers from the Uhuru Solidarity Movement and the African People’s Education & Defense Fund.

Also, join us for the “African Resistance Now” community meetings every Sunday at 4 pm at the Uhuru Solidarity Center 3733 Lancaster Ave, West Phila – #10 Trolley.

Uhuru Solidarity Movement is an organization of white people and other allies working under the leadership of the African People’s Socialist Party, organizing in our communities to support the African liberation movement. We unite that reparations are due and participate in “Reparations in Action” work. Learn more about how you can be part of this growing movement in support of genuine solidarity – not charity!

uhurusolidarity.org • 215-387-0919 • philly@uhurusolidarity.org

Thursday, April 11, 10am Let’s Demand Tin Man Tom Propose a Fair Tax System!, the bus leaves from 846 N. Broad St.

Join Fight for Philly on Thursday, April 11th to protest Governor Corbett’s new tax proposal. Like all his policies, the governor’s proposal will only benefit his big business friends and corporate fat cats. Meanwhile, regular folks are seeing cuts to education, health care, general assistance, and other crucial services. We need to bring this fight straight to the state capitol and demand Tin Man Tom propose a tax system that is fair for all Pennsylvanians.

Unfortunately, the governor won’t be there himself. Why not? He’ll be on a South American trip with his big business cronies. Seems obvious whose voices he values, huh?

The bus is leaving from the Fight for Philly office at 10 am sharp. RSVP at (267)850-0891! Seats are going fast!

Saturday, April 13, 1:00PM-4:30PM, First Community Conversation: Protecting Temporary Workers’ Rights, United Communities in SE Philadelphia, 2029 S 8th St in Philly. Lunch will be provided.

We are looking for a diverse group of participants, temp agency workers to service providers and activists. While we will be inviting those in the immigrant and refugee world, we are also hoping to attract American born workers and their supports. We see this as a chance to bridge ethnic and cultural divisions to come together over a shared concern. Please share this invitation!!

A few different organizations (Philaposh, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Dept of Labor) are putting together an event this weekend: Temp Agency Workers Rights dialogue. It will be a community conversation, meaning that at the event we will form small groups and create an environment in which temp workers are able to exchange their personal experiences to raise awareness about their working conditions, and eventually take measures to improve them.

Saturday, April 13, 7:00pm, Writer’s Read, A-Space Anarchist Community Center 4722 Baltimore Avenue.

We will be having our second Writers Read spoken word event in our monthly series. This month’s theme is “Healing”. During the first part of the event, we will have April’s Featured Readers: Kate Soule, Elijah Pryor, Lora & Jeanine, Clarissa Rogers, Jo-Ann Rogan, G. Ragovin, and Erika Bell. After the featured readers, we will hold an Open Mic. We welcome readers of poetry, essays, fiction, theory, politics, journalism, synopsis’ of PhD thesis’…. If you’d like to sign up on facebook, please let us know and we’ll sign you up.

There will be refreshments but feel free to bring something to share, BYOB is OK

Sunday, April 14, 2013, 11:00am Work Party at the Peace Park, 24th and Bolton.

Hey all! Philly Food Forests will be out at the Peace Park the 14th of April enriching the soil and getting seedlings in the ground! If we have enough helpers we can even get some potato towers started.

Bring grub and your fork/bowl/spoon, Bring something for the free store, Bring gloves and your big hearts and minds. Never played in the dirt before? No worries! There’s lots of people of different levels of experience, and everyone can do this.

Sunday, April 14, 4:30p.m. Brandywine Peace Community Monthly Potluck Supper*/Program, 2nd Sunday of the month, University Lutheran Church 3637 Chestnut St., Phila., PA

*bring main dish, salad, or dessert to share 4:30 p.m. Potluck Supper; 5:30 p.m. Program

American Autumn (rescheduled showing). Area public premier of the first feature-length documentary on the Occupy movement. Fast-paced, fact-filled. Filmed during the earliest days of the phenomenon that was Occupy. New York, Boston, Wash., D.C. American Autumn features footage of numerous actions, confrontations, and comments by Medea Benjamin, Naomi Klein, Michael Moore, and Cornel West. Directed by Dennis Trainer, Jr. 2012, 78 mins.

Mon., April 15, 7:30a.m. – 9am, Protest Military Spending! THIS Tax Day, , 69th Street Terminal, Upper Darby, PA 19082

Join us on Tax Day, Monday, April 15 at SEPTA’s 69th Terminal 7:30-9:00 am, as we remind Monday morning commuters about the enormity of U.S. military (Pentagon) spending and the price our communities pay for militarism and war. On Tax Day, join with people around the country and the world in the Global Day Against Military Spending, http://demilitarize.org/

Sponsored by: Brandywine Peace Community, Main Line Peace Action, PA Progressive Democrats of America, and the Peace Center of Delaware County.

For more information visit: Events at www.brandywinepeace.com or http://mainlinepeaceaction.blogspot.com/ or call (610) 544-1818 or 484-380-2222

April 17th, 6 pm (Dinner served at 5:30pm), Stand Up for Our Schools PCAPS General Assembly, SEIU District 1201 Hall, 455 N. 5th Street, Philadelphia (Near Spring Garden Station).

Come to the PCAPS General Assembly… We are calling on all parents, students, teachers and community activists committed to fighting for our public schools to come together to think, plan, and help decide our next steps.

Events listed here include Occupy Philly related events as well as other social justice events. For more updates be sure to check the Occupy Philadelphia Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/OccupyPhiladelphia. Your support is greatly appreciated!