• GunsSupreme Court: Domestic violence perpetrators can be banned from buying, owning guns

    The supreme court has ruled that individuals convicted of a domestic violence “misdemeanor” can be prohibited from owning or purchasing a gun. Previous law stated that only those convicted of intentional abuse would be barred from owning weapons, but a “reckless” assault could be pardoned. In the United States, around five women a day are shot to death by current or former intimate partners. At least 52 percent of American women murdered with guns every year are killed by intimate partners or family members.

  • VeilsVeils, headscarves may improve observers' ability to judge truthfulness

    Judges in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada have ruled that witnesses may not wear the niqab, which covers everything but the eyes, when testifying, in part because they believe that it is necessary to see a person’s face to detect deception. Contrary to the opinions of these courts, it is easier to determine the truthfulness of a woman wearing a headscarf or even a veil that leaves only her eyes exposed than a woman wearing no head covering at all, according to new research.

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  • GunsHawaii becomes first state to place gun owners – both residents and visitors -- in a federal database

    Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to place its gun owners on a federally managed database — the FBI’s “Rap Back” criminal monitoring system — and monitor them for criminal activity. The new law would permit Hawaii police to determine whether gun owners ought to be allowed to keep possession of a firearm following an arrest.

  • GunsLicense and registration, please: how regulating guns like cars could improve safety

    By Keith Guzik and Gary T. Marx

    In the midst of the Senate’s failure to agree on measures designed to tighten controls around the sales of firearms, a new idea is emerging: Regulating guns like cars. In some regards, we are already there. Operating a firearm, like operating a motor vehicle, requires a license in many jurisdictions. Certain types of criminal offenses – domestic violence in the case of firearms, drinking and driving in the case of automobiles – can result in a suspension or revocation of that license. These rules focus on the competency of users. Regulating guns like cars is a more tried and true approach to managing dangerous technologies than the simplistic prohibitionist logic of simply keeping guns away from those we categorize as “the bad and the mad.”

  • Immigration4-4 Supreme Court tie keeps Obama's sweeping immigration reforms blocked

    A 4:4 tie at the Supreme Court has dealt Barack Obama’s immigration program – and his legacy — a major setback. The president took his executive action to shield about four millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation after House Republicans refused to bring to the floor for a vote a 2013 bipartisan Senate legislation which provided a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Twenty-six states with Republican governors challenged Obama’s executive action, arguing that Obama had exceeded his authority by granting a blanket deportation deferment to millions of undocumented immigrants. A federal judge in Texas ruled in favor of the twenty-six governors, and the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of appeals upheld that Texas court’s decision last November.

  • Mass shootingSix things Americans should know about mass shootings

    By Frederic Lemieux

    The United States had 78 mass shootings during that 30-year period. The highest number of mass shootings experienced outside the United States was in Germany – where seven shootings occurred. In the other twenty-four industrialized countries taken together, 41 mass shootings took place. In other words, the United States had nearly double the number of mass shootings than all other twenty-four industrialized countries combined in the same 30-year period.

  • SurveillanceSnowden performed “public service” but should be punished: Eric Holder

    Eric Holder, the former U.S. Attorney General, has said Edward Snowden performed a “public service” by triggering a debate over surveillance techniques. Holder added, however, that he believed Snowden should be punished for leaking classified intelligence information which threatened U.S. national security.

  • SurveillanceFour questions Belgians should ask about the Patriot Act

    By Lacey Wallace

    The Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks added a sense of urgency to calls for Belgium to enact its own counterterrorism bill. It is a call the French government has already answered. Increased use of surveillance is a worldwide trend. There is no guarantee, however, that even with the most sophisticated surveillance technology out there today, passing a bill or law to collect private information on citizens will protect us from terrorist threats and violence. Even more vexing: the nature of intelligence gathering means we may never know exactly how many attacks have been prevented by the Patriot Act, the French surveillance law — or a similar law that Belgium may soon pass.

  • ISISISIS has changed international law

    By Michael Scharf

    Two years ago, virtually no one had heard of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). In a January 2014 New Yorker interview, President Obama dismissed the group as “Junior Varsity.” Since then, ISIS has emerged as one of the most wealthy, powerful, and dangerous terrorist organizations that ever existed. UN Security Council Resolution 2249, adopted in November 2015, will likely be viewed as confirming that use of force in self-defense is now permissible against “nonstate actors” such as terrorists when the territorial state is unable to suppress the threat that they pose. The implication of this newly accepted change in the international law of self-defense is that any nation can now lawfully use force against deadly nonstate actors in another country if the government of that country is unable or unwilling to suppress the threat within its borders. With so many potential targets in so many countries – the U.S. terrorist organizations list, for example, includes fifty-eight terrorist groups headquartered in thirty-five different countries (in addition to ISIS in Syria/Iraq) — one must ask whether the possibility of abuse will ultimately outweigh the benefits of weakening ISIS.

  • War on terrorTrump’s campaign rhetoric, ISIS and the law of war

    By Charles J. Dunlap Jr.

    Presidential candidate Donald Trump said that one reason the U.S. war against ISIS is “ineffective” is that “We’re fighting a very politically correct war.” Exactly what Trump is suggesting doing is not clear, but it is significant that Trump recently acknowledged that the U.S.“is bound by laws and treaties” and that as president he would “not order a military officer to disobey the law.” Instead, he said he would “seek [the] advice” of military and other officials. This is good news, and something all the candidates – and their critics – ought to embrace, as applying the law of war in the twenty-first century is much more complicated than many think. Words do matter, and where the nation’s security is concerned, no words can be more important..

  • EncryptionApple versus FBI: All Writs Act’s age should not bar its use

    By Ronald Sievert

    A federal magistrate judge in California has issued a warrant ordering Apple to assist the FBI in accessing data on an iPhone used by a suspect in the December 2015 San Bernardino mass shooting. Apple’s public refusal to comply with the order – and its motion asking a judge to reverse the order – have set up a legal showdown that has captivated the technology world. It’s hard not to think that marketing and economics are at least somewhat behind Apple’s actions. But my guess is most people understand that the FBI would not be getting into their phones without a probable cause search warrant. In addition, I would think Apple would not want to have a market composed of people who want to use iPhones for dangerous and illegal activity. The company might actually lose more future customers because of its uncooperative attitude than it would ever lose by helping the government by complying with a court order.

  • DronesNearly 300,000 UAV owners register with the FAA

    Nearly 300,000 owners have registered their small unmanned aircraft in the first thirty days after the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) online registration system went live. Owners who registered in the first month received a refund for the $5 application fee.

  • GunsObama to end background-checks exemptions of gun shows, online gun sales

    President Barack Obama will today announce a series of executive actions aiming to close loopholes in the current system of background checks of gun buyers. The executive actions say it will focus on tightening the definition of those “engaged in the business” of selling weapons. Such tightening would deny online vendors and gun shows – where about 40 percent of all gun are purchased — exemptions from conducting background checks for gun buyers. Criminals and mentally ill people can now purchase guns through gun sellers who exploit the “engaged in business” loophole which was originally designed for hobbyists and personal sales.

  • Security & freedomMajority of Americans believe it is sometimes necessary for govt. to sacrifice freedoms

    Survey conducted after the Paris and San Bernardino attacks finds a majority of respondents from both parties think it is acceptable for the government to analyze the Internet activities and communications of American citizens without a warrant.

  • WarfareBetter understanding of hybrid warfare needed: Experts

    In recent years, armed conflicts have increasingly been fought in a “hybrid” way, in which adversaries rely on a combination of conventional and non-conventional tactics to achieve their military and political objectives. Legal experts say it is essential that the MATO member nations gain a better understanding of the legal challenges posed by new methods of warfare.