California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, signed legislation Wednesday that will boost funding for state efforts to confiscate firearms from those prohibited by law from owning them, the governor's office announced.
The bill gives $24 million from the Dealers' Record of Sale fund – fees paid by gun owners at the time of purchase – to the state's Department of Justice to help clear the backlog of individuals who once purchased a gun but are now barred from possessing firearms.
The state's Bureau of Firearms has identified about 20,000 Californians who illegally hold an estimated 40,000 handguns and assault weapons, with the list growing by 15 to 20 every day.
Heading into last week's gun control vote, polls showed that nearly nine in 10 Americans favored background checks not currently required by law for gun sales–a rarely seen, overwhelming amount of support for a piece of legislation in Washington.
Now that the Senate actually failed to pass such a measure, a new poll indicates Americans aren't as upset about the unsuccessful bill.
The Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll suggests that post-vote attitudes stray from the wide support for the background check measure before the debate, which hovered around 85% in multiple polls.
A plurality of Americans – 47% – say they are either "angry" or "disappointed" with the Senate's action on gun legislation, far different from the amount of people who strongly approved the proposal before the vote. Meanwhile, 39% say they are "relieved" or "happy" about the vote.
It's been said that Roman Catholic cardinals are reluctant to ever choose an American pope, because the Vatican would then be too closely tied to Washington. President Barack Obama would beg to differ.
As cardinals participated in a conclave Wednesday to elect a new pope, Obama told ABC's "Good Morning America" that an "American pope would preside just as effectively as a Polish pope or an Italian pope or a Guatemalan pope."
"I don't know if you've checked lately but the Conference of Catholic Bishops here in the U.S. don't seem to be taking orders from me," he said, chuckling, after being asked if an American pope would take orders from the president.
The U.S. Senate approved John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency Thursday after a Republican senator ended his delay of the vote earlier in the day.
Brennan (pictured) was confirmed by a 63-34 vote that crossed party lines. His elevation to the post was widely expected, though he faced vocal opposition from critics like Sen. Rand Paul, who filibustered the vote and demanded more answers from President Barack Obama's administration on when they might use unmanned drones to target Americans suspected of being terrorists.
Political risk shouldn't matter when it comes to combating gun violence, Vice President Joe Biden argued Thursday at a conference in Danbury, Connecticut.
Danbury is just west of Newtown, where a gunman massacred 20 children and seven adults, including his mother, in December.
As the National Rifle Association continues to beef up its campaign and rhetoric against the Obama administration's gun proposals, Biden warned his colleagues on Capitol Hill not to succumb to the group's power and money.
"If you're concerned about your political survival, you should be concerned about the survival of our children," Biden said, arguing that those who "refuse to act" are the ones who should pay politically. "Because America has changed on this issue. You should all know the American people are with us."
Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey skewered the National Rifle Association Thursday for referencing the president's children in a political attack commercial.
Speaking in a press conference, the outspoken governor decried the move as "reprehensible" and argued the group lost some credibility by making the ad.
The president of the National Rifle Association is standing by the group's new controversial ad that has drawn fire for referencing the president's children, a rare move in a political attack.
David Keene told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Wednesday that the ad is "not about them specifically," arguing the television commercial was more than just about President Barack Obama's children.
Facing a close election and Republican attacks that they have made things worse while in power, President Barack Obama and Democrats seek to emphasize what has been achieved and additional steps to bolster the middle class at their three-day national convention that begins Tuesday.
The political conclave that will formally nominate Obama for a second term serves as a response to last week's Republican convention that nominated Mitt Romney as the GOP challenger in November.
Democrats offered a glimpse of issues expected to play a prominent role in this week's events, releasing their party platform late Monday. It focuses on improving the economic situation for middle-class Americans, a central theme of Obama's campaign and an issue the party hopes will win votes come November. It also contains language endorsing same-sex marriage for the first time, a move that brings the party's official stance in line with that of the president, who said for the first time in May that he supports marriage rights for gays and lesbians.
"Over the course of the week, you'll hear a very different tone than the one that you heard last week in Tampa, which was really essentially one nonstop series of attacks on President Obama," Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN on Tuesday.
"We're going to lay out the case for moving the economy forward. President Obama and speakers throughout the week will talk about and have an honest conversation about where we were when he first took office and where we are now after four years of his policies and 29 straight months of job growth in the private sector. And that we need to continue to move forward and we've got a ways to go."
First lady Michelle Obama will address the convention Tuesday night, and former President Bill Clinton headlines the second night before Obama concludes it with his nationally televised address Thursday night.
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