WASHINGTON –The politics of guns leapt to the top of the presidential race with President Barack Obama embracing some degree of control of weapons sales and Republican Mitt Romney seeming to suggest an alleged mass killer in Colorado had obtained his weapons illegally – even though he hadn’t.
Speaking Wednesday night in New Orleans, Obama said he would seek a consensus on combating violence. He said some responsibility also rests with parents, neighbors and teachers to ensure that young people “do not have that void inside them.”
The president called for stepped-up background checks for people who want to buy guns and restrictions to keep mentally unbalanced individuals from buying weapons. He said those steps “shouldn’t be controversial, they should be common sense.”
Romney told NBC News that many of the weapons deployed by the shooting suspect in the Colorado theater massacre were possessed illegally and that changing laws wouldn’t prevent gun-related tragedies. Authorities say the firearms were obtained legally.
Senate committee backs security bill
WASHINGTON – The Senate Intelligence committee has approved legislation designed to clamp down on national security leaks as Republicans accuse the administration of intentionally disclosing classified information to burnish President Barack Obama’s image in an election year.
In a closed session late Tuesday, the panel voted 14-1 for the bill, which also authorizes funds for the nation’s spy agencies.
The committee released a general description of the measure on Wednesday but did not disclose the overall amount of spending. That number is classified. The Associated Press has reported that the budget is around $80 billion. The committee said only that its bill for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 reduces spending from current levels without harming national security.
Leaks about U.S. involvement in cyberattacks on Iran and an al-Qaida plot to place an explosive device aboard a U.S.-bound airliner have prompted an outcry from some in Congress. The bill would restrict the number of employees in the intelligence community authorized to talk to reporters and prohibit current and former intelligence officials from doing contract work with the news media. The measure, which needs the full Senate’s vote, also would require the executive branch to notify Congress when it authorizes disclosure of certain intelligence information. It would give new authority to the Director of National Intelligence to proactively identify leaks.
‘Sister Wives’ stars fight bigamy law
SALT LAKE CITY – Kody Brown and his four wives want what any family wants: To live in the privacy of their own home free from government intrusion.
The polygamous stars of the TLC show “Sister Wives” have sued Utah and the county they fled from, hoping to persuade a federal judge to overturn the state’s bigamy law as unconstitutional.
The judge heard arguments Wednesday on a motion to dismiss the case.
The case could potentially decriminalize a way of life for tens of thousands of Mormon fundamentalists, most of whom live in Utah where bigamy is a third-degree felony punishable by up to five years in prison. While the state has said it won’t prosecute consenting adult polygamists, authorities insist the law doesn’t overreach.