By Kate Clark
Last Tuesday, Virginia took a step towards gun safety. Attorney General Mark Herring announced that as of February 1, Virginia would no longer recognize concealed carry permits from 25 states with which it formerly had reciprocity agreements.
Mr. Herring’s office said he made the decision after months of investigation and audits of each state’s requirements for concealed carry permits. Virginia formerly had reciprocity agreements with 30 states, which allowed people with concealed carry permits from those states to legally conceal their guns in Virginia. According to the Attorney General’s statement, the 25 states’ gun laws did not meet Virginia’s requirement “to prevent someone who is disqualified under Virginia law from receiving a concealed handgun permit.” For example, Virginia law disqualifies anyone with a history of stalking, inpatient treatment for mental illness, or anyone who uses or distributes illegal drugs. Now, only five states’ licenses are recognized in Virginia: Texas, West Virginia, Utah, Michigan, and Oklahoma. Non-Virginia residents can still carry guns openly or obtain a non-resident permit, given that they meet all requirements set out in Virginia’s gun laws.
By Madeline Merrill
The United States Presidency has long been a string of Caucasian, male lawyers educated at some of the top higher educational institutions (namely, Ivy League schools) in the country. Most bring a wealth of political experience, time served in the military, and major governmental titles, as they were groomed to be in the political spotlight.
But along comes Dr. Ben Carson--retired pediatric neurosurgeon--a gentleman who knows admittedly little of foreign policy and the tangled nuances of governmental administration. Dr. Carson’s greatest professional achievements are in the hospital, not on PBS Newshour or CNN, but voters still see him as a viable candidate. Dr. Carson had been surging to second in national primary polls last month, with as high as 24 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters supporting him.
By Samantha Guthrie
In September, President Obama launched a plan to resettle 10,000 of the 4.3 million Syrian refugees registered with the UNHCR. Over the past few weeks, in the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks, more than two dozen American governors have spoken out in favor of policies to bar Syrian refugees from their states.
However, this proposed policy is politically unpopular in the majority of the country– 55 percent of Americans agree the US should take in more refugees– and unapologetically inequitable, but any policy banning Syrian refugees runs counter to the truth that they are a net benefit to the domestic economy. In Cleveland, for example, local refugee service agencies reported initial resettlement costs of approximately $4.8 million in 2012, but the refugees’ economic impact on the community was measured at nearly 10 times that- around $48 million according to Chmura Economics & Analytics. These outcries tear at the social fabric woven between Muslims and Christians, black, white, and brown, native born and naturalized. Furthermore- it’s not even a legal possibility. Governors do not have the power to bar refugees from their states.
By Madeline Merrill
For such a small strip of land, the Israeli-Palestinian border spawns exponential conflict and violence.
In 1967, Israel contentiously adopted the East Jerusalem quarter and the West Bank. Since this annexation, Palestinians along these political borders have lived under military administration--in an existence of instability and increasing tension. As Israelis move into the area, build homes, and lay the groundwork for permanent infrastructure, Palestinians are further and further vexed that their rightful religious lands are being taken from them.
The United Nations shares in its Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs report, “In the Gaza Strip, 1.8 million Palestinians endured the worst escalation of hostilities since 1967: over 1,500 Palestinian civilians were killed, more than 11,000 injured and some 100,000 remain displaced [in 2014].”