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Assault Weapons Revisited: Policy Options for Regulating Rifles, Shotguns, and Other Firearms 20 Years After the Passage of the Assault Weapons Ban

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Assault Weapons Revisited: Policy Options for Regulating Rifles, Shotguns, and Other Firearms 20 Years After the Passage of the Assault Weapons Ban
Source: Center for American Progress

This report considers how gun laws have evolved to address different classes of firearms and looks more broadly at how federal and state laws treat rifles and shotguns differently than handguns and whether all of those distinctions continue to make sense. It also examines data on the changing nature of gun violence and the increasing use of long guns and assault rifles by criminals, with a focus on Pennsylvania as a case study.
Additionally, this report offers a new framework for regulating assault weapons and other special categories of guns that balances the desire of law-abiding gun owners to possess these guns with the need to protect public safety from their misuse in dangerous hands. These policies include:

  • Require background checks for all gun sales
  • Require dealers to report multiple sales of long guns
  • Equalize interstate sales of long guns and handguns
  • Require federal firearms licenses for individuals that manufacture guns using 3D printers
  • Bar possession and use of machine guns by individuals under the age of 16
  • Require a permit for possession of assault weapons
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Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2014

September 17, 2014 Comments off

Gender Indicators, Australia, August 2014
Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics

This issue of Gender Indicators, Australia, includes new data on a range of indicators of social interest to men and women. The Economic security, Education, Health, Safety and justice, and Democracy, governance and citizenship domains have been updated with data that has become available since the product was last released in February 2014.

  • Unpublished 2013-14 data from the ABS Labour Force Survey and 2013 data from the Forms of Employment Survey (FoES) have been used to update 14 tables in the Economic security domain, including labour force participation rate, average hours worked per week and the proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements.
  • Six tables in the Education domain have been updated with data from the ABS Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS), 2012-13; ABS Schools, Australia, 2013; and Graduate Careers Australia, ‘Graduate Salaries’, Melbourne 2014 (GradStats). Tables updated include attainment of Year 12 or a formal qualification at Certificate II or above, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and median starting salary of Bachelor Degree graduates.
  • The Health domain has been updated to include data from the ABS Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS), 2012-13, and Causes of Death, Australia, 2012. Tables updated include long-term health conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and leading causes of death.
  • Unpublished data from the ABS Crime Victimisation, Australia, 2012-13; Recorded Crime – Victims, Australia, 2013; and Recorded Crime – Offenders, Australia, 2012-13, has been used to update five tables in the Safety and Justice domain including victims and victimisation rates for robbery by age, recorded victims and victimisation rates by selected offences, and offender rates by age and by principal offence.
  • The Democracy, governance and citizenship domain has been updated with unpublished data from the Australasian Institute of Judicial Administration and the Australian Honours and Awards Secretariat. Tables updated include Judges and magistrates (High Court, Federal Court, Family Court, Federal Magistrates Service) and State Supreme Court judges, and Recipients and nominations considered for the Order of Australia, General Division, by category.

The ‘Living with a Disability’ commentary has also been updated with data from the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, 2012 (cat. no. 4430.0).

CRS — The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): An Explanation (August 27, 2014)

September 16, 2014 Comments off

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA): An Explanation (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

Recognizing the special burdens that members of the military may encounter trying to meet their financial obligations while serving their country, in 1940 Congress passed the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Civil Relief Act (SSCRA). The law was amended from time to time, ordinarily in response to military operations that required the activation of the Reserves. P.L. 108-189, the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), was enacted on December 19, 2003, as a modernization and restatement of the protections contained in the SSCRA. Much like with the SSCRA, the SCRA has been amended since its initial passage and proposed changes continue to be introduced in Congress. This report summarizes the rights granted to persons serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces, and in some instances, to their dependents, under the SCRA.

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Federal Strategic Action Plan on Services for Victims of Human Trafficking in the United States 2013-2017 (PDF)
Source: Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

This report was developed by the Departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, and Homeland Security, in partnership with the member agencies of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and other federal agencies. The plan discusses goals and objectives and the actions that federal agencies will take to ensure that all victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are identified and have access to the services they need to recover.

Measuring the Costs of Crime

September 16, 2014 Comments off

Measuring the Costs of Crime (PDF)
Source: National Criminal Justice Reference Service
From NCJRS abstract:

The discussion first notes the importance of approximating the cost of crime in order to determine the cost-effectiveness of efforts to reduce crime. In this calculation, the authors reject an assumption often made about crime-reduction expenditures in relation to reduction in crime costs; for example, if the costs of social condition X were $100 billion and an intervention would cut the condition’s prevalence by 10 percent, the value of that intervention is estimated to be about $20 billion. The authors argue against this assumption, noting that a 10-percent reduction in the risk for criminal victimization will not generally lead to a 10-percent reduction in completed crime. This is because it will tend to reduce precaution, increasing the “supply” of criminal opportunity as “demand” falls. A 10-percent reduction in completed crime might occasion a reduction in total crime costs either greater or less than 10 percent, because of the gains from reduced precaution. Similarly, reduced criminality might lead to reduced criminal justice expenditure. The point being made in this paper is that expenditures on crime control and crime rates are not tightly bound, and a reduction in crime will not directly mitigate all the factors that result from crime. Thus, in making effective criminal justice policy, analysis of victimization costs must be supplemented by an analysis of primary and secondary avoidance costs and residual fear that affect people’s well-being. 22 references

The Impact of Unaccompanied Children on Local Communities – Frequently Asked Questions

September 16, 2014 Comments off

The Impact of Unaccompanied Children on Local Communities – Frequently Asked Questions
Source: Catholic Legal Immigration Network

There are three primary ways in which unaccompanied children may come to live in a particular community. Central American children who enter the United States alone and are apprehended by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are transferred into the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Initially, the children are cared for in one of approximately 100 short-term ORR shelters, located mostly along the border with Mexico but also in New York, Florida, Illinois, Washington, and other states. On average, children only stay in an ORR shelter for up to 35 days. The majority (85% to 90%) of them are then released to reside with a family member or other sponsor living in the United States while they await the resolution of their immigration cases. Those children who cannot be reunited with a family member may be placed in a state-licensed foster care program, also funded by ORR, until their immigration cases are completed. All children are placed into deportation proceedings upon arrival and will be ordered deported if an immigration judge finds they do not qualify for a remedy under current immigration law.

CRS — Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (September 4, 2014)

September 15, 2014 Comments off

Same-Sex Marriage: A Legal Background After United States v. Windsor (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

The issue of same-sex marriage generates debate on both the federal and state levels. Either legislatively or judicially, same-sex marriage is legal in more than a dozen states. Conversely, many states have statutes and/or constitutional amendments limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. These state-level variations raise questions about the validity of such unions outside the contracted jurisdiction and have bearing on the distribution of state and/or federal benefits. As federal agencies grappled with the interplay of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the distribution of federal marriage-based benefits, questions arose regarding DOMA’s constitutionality and the appropriate standard (strict, intermediate, or rational basis) of review to apply to the statute.

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