Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. Last summer he logged 22,000 miles while blogging about his cross-country road trip for Mother Jones. His writing has been featured in Slate and the Washington Monthly. Email him with tips and insights at tmurphy [at] motherjones [dot] com.

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Utah: Mass Shootings Caused a Surge in Gun Permit Applications

| Thu Oct. 24, 2013 6:00 AM EDT

Getting a concealed-carry permit for a firearm from the state of Utah is pretty easy. As I reported in our September/October issue, you don't have to know how to fire a gun—or even set foot in Utah—to obtain one. That's why more than 60 percent of the Beehive State's 473,476 concealed-carry permits belong to non-residents, who take advantage of Utah's reciprocity with 35 other states.

And they're doing so in rising numbers: Over the last year, the Deseret News reports, the state has seen a boom in permit requests. The cause? Fear of mass shootings, as well as new gun restrictions, according to a Utah official:

[Bureau of Criminal Investigations] chief Alice Moffatt said the agency had "bins and bins" of applications in February, March and April when the numbers swelled to more than 18,000 per month. She attributed the surge to last year's shootings in Connecticut and Colorado and gun control legislation.

"That seems to spur people getting their concealed weapons permits," she told the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Interim Committee on Wednesday.

Permit renewals will exceed 40,000 this year, a 42 percent increase, Moffat said.

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GOP Rep Compares Obamacare Rollout to Hurricane Katrina

| Wed Oct. 16, 2013 5:05 PM EDT

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) has come up with a historical parallel to the first two weeks of the Affordable Care Act's healthcare exchanges: FEMA's handling of Hurricane Katrina, the storm that cost 2,000 lives in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005.

"We're back at the same place we were before, which is that Obamacare's unworkable," Huelskamp told reporters after exiting the House Republican conference meeting on Wednesday. "The president's statements in support of [Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen] Sebelius seem awfully, eerily similar to George W. Bush saying [ to then-FEMA director Mike Brown] 'Brownie, you're doing a heckuva job' during Katrina. And to say this is rollout is much different than Hurricane Katrina, they're very similar."

Republicans have previously compared Hurricane Katrina to Superstorm Sandy, the IRS scandal, the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Fort Hood shootings, the Haiti earthquake, the GM bailout, and the underwear bomber. Huelskamp, a second-term tea party Republican, has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act exchanges, posting regular updates on Twitter and his House website on his failure to create his own HealthCare.gov account. But he suggested that the road ahead would become more difficult for Obamacare opponents once the law's Medicaid expansion takes into effect in certain states on January 1 and complicate future defunding efforts: "I don't think it's too late, but I'll have to think about what the implication is. January 1 is a big date." 

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