Tim Murphy

Tim Murphy

Reporter

Tim Murphy is a senior reporter in MoJo's DC bureau. 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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GOP Rep.'s Gold Standard for Gun Stores Was Sued for Negligence

| Fri Jan. 11, 2013 2:47 PM EST

On Thursday, Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-Ga.) stopped by the Cobb County chamber of commerce to explain his views on gun control. But it wasn't just any gun store—Gingrey, the Marietta Daily Journal reported, "took the time to praise Adventure Outdoors owner Jay Wallace as the gold standard for running a responsible gun retail business."

The problem: Adventure Outdoors is anything but. In 2006, New York City sued the firm for negligence in preventing its guns from falling into the hands of criminals. Between 1996 and 2000 alone, 256 guns sold at Adventure Outdoors were connected to crimes—21 in New York City alone. "ATF has established that a very small percentage of retail gun dealers—about 1%—are responsible for approximately 57% of the illegally-possessed guns nationwide," the city explained in its lawsuit. "The Defendants are among this small group of gun dealers who arm illegal gun possessors. As such, the Defendants cause, contribute to and maintain a public nuisance within the City of New York."

The city specifically singled out Adventure Outdoors for selling guns to what are known as "straw purchasers." Based in part on the work of two investigators the city hired, the complaint charged that "upon information and belief, Defendants intentionally or negligently sell handguns to prohibited persons through 'strawman' purchases, in which an individual legally able to buy a handgun purchases the gun from a licensed gun dealer, intending to transfer it immediately to a prohibited person."

Here's the lawsuit:

 

 

A default judgment was issued against Adventure Outdoors in 2008, and in 2011, a federal court ordered that an independent outside expert be appointed to oversee the company's sales practices and ensure it didn't sell guns to straw purchasers (a federal appeals court later struck a portion of the "special master" mandate, but still subjected the company to an outside monitor*).

Gingrey's comments came at the same chamber of commerce breakfast in which he defended his former colleague Todd Akin's suggestion that women who have been raped have special mechanism to prevent a pregnancy, citing his own experience as an OBGYN. Gingrey is chair of the GOP Doctors Caucus.

h/t James Carter IV

*I've clarified the language here.

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NRA's Armed Security Guard Proposal Kind Of Popular

| Thu Jan. 10, 2013 11:23 AM EST

The National Rifle Association's proposal to eliminate school shootings by putting an armed guard in every public school was greeted with ridicule when it was unveiled last month. (MoJo was no exception.) After all, armed guards hadn't prevented massacres at Columbine and Virginia Tech, and as I reported on Monday, the push seemed all the more dubious given that the NRA's point man on the issue was on the board of a private security company.

But the NRA may have been on to something—at least insofar as public opinion is concerned. According to a new poll released by Quinnipiac on Thursday, Virginians favor putting armed police officers in schools by a more than two to one margin. The proposal has bipartisan support, with 79 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Democrats backing it.

The most revealing finding in the poll may be this: Although voters broadly favor many forms of gun control—59 percent support banning high-capacity magazines; 62 percent think assault weapons "make the country more dangerous"—most Virginians aren't necessarily prepared to do anything about it. Just 24 percent of those surveyed said that a candidate's position on gun control would be a deal-breaker come election time.

Donald Berwick: The Next Elizabeth Warren?

| Wed Jan. 9, 2013 11:36 AM EST
Donald Berwick.

Stop me if you've heard this one: Harvard professor goes to Washington and becomes a policy wonk. Harvard professor is nominated for a top agency position. Harvard professor becomes conservative bogeyman. Harvard professor returns to Massachusetts and runs for office.

Elizabeth Warren? Nope, Donald Berwick. The Boston Globe reported on Wednesday that the former head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is mulling a run for governor when term-limited Democrat Deval Patrick retires in 2014:

Berwick ran the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and is one of the nation’s leading ­experts on health cost and quality. Obama installed him using a ­recess appointment in 2010, but Berwick resigned in late 2011 when Republicans made clear they would strongly oppose his confirmation. At the time, the height of the national debate over Obama’s health care overhaul, Republicans accused ­Berwick of wanting to ration services, a charge he called a mischaracterization.

Berwick, a Newton pediatrician and longtime Harvard faculty member whose wife is the chairwoman of the department of public utilities in the administration of Governor Deval ­Patrick, said he has been contemplating a run for the past two or three months, meeting with 40 or 50 people, including political veterans and consultants. He did not give a time frame for a final decision, but said it would be soon, after he meets with more people.

If Republicans thought blocking their appointments would keep Berwick and Warren out of public policy, they may have miscalculated.

Allen West's Crazy "Nuts" Letter Is Now on eBay

| Tue Jan. 8, 2013 3:00 PM EST

In November of 2011, the South Florida chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations wrote to Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) to ask him to denounce Pamela Geller, a blogger and friend of West's whose writing on Islam has been classified as "hate speech" by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Instead, West, a notorious critic of Islam, wrote back with the one-word response you see above: "Nuts!"—a reference to Americans General Anthony McAuliffe's message to the Germans at Bastogne.

The Miami New-Times called the letter "the dumbest thing ever written on congressional stationery," which is something we can debate, but it's almost certainly the most Allen West thing ever written on congressional stationary.

So now that CAIR's biggest antagonist has been forced into early retirement (effective last week), how is the organization coping? By putting the letter on eBay, apparently:

Up for Auction is one of the shortest Congressional Letters ever written in US History! This is the ORIGINAL LETTER on Official US Congressional Stationary signed by Allen West himself!This item has something for everyone. It doesn't matter if you are a die-hard member of the Tea Party, Democratic Party, or protect the Civil Rights of Americans; this item is perfect for your collection.

Tea Party- This letter is signed by your fearless Rock Star! If you win this auction you will have signed documented proof that Allen West stood up in the face of your “EVIL” to protect the US (A "Judeo-Christian" Nation) from the Muslims. Your collection can’t go without this item.

Members of the Democratic Party- This letter represents the accomplishment of Democratic Party’s victory over Allen West. Allen West’s firebrand of politics often came with blanket insults towards Democrats with no regard of Congressional Fellowship or Respect. Vice-President Biden recently thanked Murphy at a rooftop party for running and defeating Allen West...

Protectors of Civil Rights- As you are well aware Allen West represented the antithesis of equality and fair treatment of ALL AMERICANS. If you were not part of his narrative or didn't agree with him you were a threat to our “Gene Pool”. J Bid on this letter today as a sign of your commitment to protect ALL Americans Civil Rights. If you win this Auction you will have a little piece of US History and proof that Equality is not negotiable !

The letter is currently going for $1,575. Bidding ends January 17. Steadfast and Loyal.

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