Sen. Dianne Feinstein along with several fellow Democrats and a group of police officers and gun victims unveiled legislation Thursday that would restrict access to firearms, presenting an organized front in the face of opposition from the gun lobby. The California lawmaker and her co-sponsors said that a ban on certain semiautomatic weapons would help stop gun massacres. Many of bill’s sponsors are longtime gun-control advocates, and have become more determined to reinstate a ban on semiautomatic weapons deemed assault weapons after the December shootings in Newtown, Conn., that left 20 schoolchildren and six school staff members dead, as well as the alleged shooter and his mother. The ban would target an estimated 158 specific weapons. The prohibition would also apply to other semiautomatic weapons with certain features, such as compatibility with detachable, large-capacity magazines. Under the measure, it also would be illegal to make, import or sell magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds.
A collection of sheriffs across the country have sent Congress and the Obama administration a message: If we don’t like your gun laws, we aren’t going to help enforce them. As of Thursday, 90 sheriffs, many from rural counties, had pledged not to enforce laws they deem unconstitutional, according to a list compiled by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, a Texas-based group that has “vowed to uphold and defend the Constitution against Obama’s unlawful gun control measures.” The sheriffs began their campaign of letters and media interviews earlier this month, shortly after President Barack Obama signed 23 executive orders addressing gun violence, and outlined a broad framework of new gun-control measures for Congress to consider.
A Republican state lawmaker in New Mexico has proposed a bill outlawing abortion in cases of rape, arguing that to conduct a termination would amount to “tampering with evidence” of a crime. The draft legislation proposed by Cathrynn Brown would legally require victims of rape to carry their pregnancies to term so that the baby could be used as evidence during a sexual assault trial. And a woman who terminated her pregnancy following an alleged rape would face being charged with a third-degree felony. The woman could be jailed for up to three years if found guilty, according to the draft law, proposed on Wednesday. The New Mexico bill has little chance of becoming law because Democrats control both houses of the southwestern US state’s legislature, but it will nevertheless have to be considered by elected representatives.
Students with disabilities must be given a fair shot to play on a traditional sports team or have their own leagues, the Education Department says. Disabled students who want to play for their school could join traditional teams if officials can make “reasonable modifications” to accommodate them. If those adjustments would fundamentally alter a sport or give the student an advantage, the department is directing the school to create parallel athletic programs that have comparable standing to traditional programs. The groundbreaking order is reminiscent of the Title IX expansion of athletic opportunities for girls and women four decades ago and could bring sweeping changes to school budgets and locker rooms for years to come. Education Department officials emphasized they did not intend to change sports traditions dramatically or guarantee students with disabilities a spot on competitive teams. Instead, they insisted schools may not exclude students based on their disabilities if they can keep up with their classmates.
An Australian teenager’s picture of a Subway ”Footlong” sandwich next to a tape measure has gone viral and inspired three lawsuits in the United States. Yahoo news reports the lawsuits, one filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, a second in New Jersey Superior Court, Burlington County, and the third in the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia, each claims restaurant franchise sells sandwiches that are an inch short of a foot. Given the millions of subs sold each year in the United States, damages could be more than $5 million, said Thomas Zimmerman, an attorney for the plaintiffs in the Chicago case. The lawsuits, which are seeking class-action status, are also suing for compensatory damages and injunctive relief for deceptive advertising against Subway sandwich shops and Subway’s parent company, Doctor’s Associates Inc.