• GunsGermany Tightens Gun Control Laws

    The Bundestag has on Friday approved new firearm regulations, requiring gun owners to undergo a security check-up every five years, and justify their need to own a firearm. Hunters, collectors, and sportsmen will be exempted. Critics from the left said the law does not go far enough to deal with homemade weapons, while the far-right Alternative for Germany said the law would deprive thousands of Germans of their rights.

  • Printed gunsDespite His Criminal Record, Cody Wilson Is Back in the 3D-Printed Gun Business

    By Alain Stephens and Andrew Weber

    After an international manhunt, Wilson pleaded guilty to a felony in Texas court. But the particulars of his deal left him in a legal gray area that allows him to own and work with firearms.

  • Argument: Stop-and-frisk‘Stop-and-Frisk’ Can Work, under Careful Supervision

    In mid-November, speaking in a black church in Brooklyn, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is now running for the Democratic nomination for president, apologized publicly for supporting stop-and-frisk, a police practice intended to reduce violent crime, which had been criticized as racially biased (the NYPD called the policy “Stop, Question, and Frisk”). Henry Fradella and Michael White write His apology was confusing because that phrase “stop and frisk” is used to describe two different things.

  • Perspective: Ghost gunsOfficials Confirm Santa Clarita Shooter Used a Ghost Gun

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department last week confirmed that the weapon used in the Santa Clarita, California, school shooting was a homemade, unserialized pistol, otherwise known as a ghost gun. more and more homemade, unserialized weapons are popping up at crime scenes across California. Ghost guns provide a host of challenges for law enforcement. Chief among them is that they enable minors or those with criminal records to acquire firearms without having to go through a background check or create a trail of paperwork surrounding a gun purchase.

  • CybersecurityWho's Responsible When Your Car Gets Hacked?

    By Doug Irving

    In the future, when cars can drive themselves, grand theft auto might involve a few keystrokes and a well-placed patch of bad computer code. At that point, who will be liable for the damages caused by a hacker with remote control of a 3,000-pound vehicle?

  • ArgumentsVictory: Pennsylvania Supreme Court Rules Police Can’t Force You to Tell Them Your Password

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a forceful opinion on Wednesday holding that the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects individuals from being forced to disclose the passcode to their devices to the police. The court found that disclosing a password is “testimony” protected by the Fifth Amendment’s privilege against self-incrimination.

  • RefugeesLinking Formation of International Laws to Refugee Crisis

    Geographers are linking the political and human rights issues at borders today to the legacies of foreign and domestic policy across the globe since the First World War. A new study examines more than 100 years of international laws that have led, perhaps unintentionally, to the existing hostile climate for refugees.

  • Perspective: DisinformationOnline Disinformation and Political Discourse: Applying a Human Rights Framework

    The framers of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) saw human rights as a fundamental safeguard for all individuals against the power of authority. Although some digital platforms now have an impact on more people’s lives than does any one state authority, the international community has been slow to measure and hold to account these platforms’ activities by reference to human rights law. Kate Jones writes that “Although international human rights law does not impose binding obligations on digital platforms, it offers a normative structure of appropriate standards by which digital platforms should be held to account. Because of the impact that social media can have, a failure to hold digital platforms to human rights standards is a failure to provide individuals with the safeguards against the power of authority that human rights law was created to provide.”

  • ArgumentsAre Facebook and Google State Actors?

    In 1924, concerned about monopolization in the radio industry, the secretary of commerce said something prescient: “It cannot be thought that any single person or group shall ever have the right to determine what communication may be made to the American people. … We cannot allow any single person or group to place themselves in a position where they can censor the material which shall be broadcasted to the public.” Jed Rubenfeld writes that what Secretary Herbert Hoover warned against has now come to pass:

  • PerspectiveWhy the Guillotine May Be Less Cruel than Execution by Slow Poisoning

    Concerns about the drugs used for executions are being raised again after the federal government announced it will once again execute inmates convicted of capital crimes almost 16 years after the last execution was carried out. while the death penalty is the ultimate punishment meted out by the state, it is not meant to be torture. The guillotine remains a quick method of execution – it takes about half a second for the blade to drop and sever a prisoner’s head from his body. Although the guillotine may be the bloodiest of deaths, it does not cause the prolonged physical torment increasingly delivered by lethal injections. Should the U.S. consider using the guillotine to administer capital punishment?

  • PerspectiveDistrust of Media Doesn't Give Government Permission to Harass Journalists

    In an unsettling, patently ridiculous exchange at Dulles International Airport Thursday, Ben Watson, a news editor at Defense One was held by a passport screening official and repeatedly questioned whether he wrote “propaganda.” The CBP officer refused to return the passport to Ben Watson until Watson responded, “For the purposes of expediting this conversation, yes,” to the question of whether he was writing “propaganda.” Watson had to repeat that answer several times before he was waved through.

  • Perspective: ClassificationI Helped Classify Calls for Two Presidents. The White House Abuse of the System Is Alarming

    The whistleblower at the heart of the Ukraine controversy said White House officials ordered information about President Trump’s phone call with President Volodymyr Zelensky to be removed from the classified server typically used to store such information and placed on a hyper-secure “code word” server. Such special protections are typically reserved for material of the gravest sensitivity: detailed information about covert operations, for example, where exposure can get people killed. Kelly Magsamen, who staffed presidential meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders while she was an NSC staffer during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, writes that “It is difficult to overstate just how abnormal and suspicious treating the call in that manner would be. It strongly suggests White House staff knew of serious wrongdoing by the president and attempted to bury it — a profound abuse of classified systems for political, and possibly criminal, purposes.”

  • PerspectiveNew Domestic Terrorism Laws Are Unnecessary for Fighting White Nationalists

    In the past, incidents of white nationalist violence haven’t garnered the attention they deserve from Congress or federal law enforcement. But after the August 2019 El Paso shooting by a young white supremacist, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Randy K. Weber Sr. (R-TX) introduced two separate bills that would create a new crime of domestic terrorism, citing lethal white nationalist crimes as the justification. Faiza Patel writes for the Brennan Center that while it’s reassuring, and long overdue, for members of Congress to take the threat of white nationalist violence seriously, such legislation is both unnecessary and creates serious risks of abuse.

  • Perspective: Mass shootingsInside a Deadly American Summer

    They were octogenarians shopping at a Texas Walmart. They were family members watching TV in California. They were late-night revelers standing on a crowded Ohio sidewalk. They were casualties of a violent summer. Mitch Smith writes in the New York Times that during the unofficial summer season, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, America endured 26 mass shootings in 18 states. One massacre followed the next, sometimes on the very same day. In sudden bursts of misery, they played out in big cities, along rural roads, inside trim suburbs. They left behind shaken neighborhoods, tearful memorials and calls for change, but little concrete action. “And the summer ended much as it had begun, with a new round of panicky 911 calls, another set of wrenching vigils, a new wave of pleas for change,” Mitch Smith writes.

  • Perspective: Business & paramilitariesWPB Judge Tosses Suits Accusing Chiquita of Helping Terrorists Kill Colombians

    About 220,000 Colombians were killed in the civil war which raged in Colombia between 1964 and 2016. Most of the victims were killed by two Marxist insurgency groups, the FARC and the ELN. Many, however, were killed by various right-wing paramilitary groups which often coordinated their activities with government forces. A number of Colombians whose relatives were killed by paramilitary violence sued Chiquita Brands International in a Florida court for providing financial assistance to the paramilitary groups. Their hopes for success faded this month when U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra threw out their claims.