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Maine town voters overwhelmingly reject mandatory gun ownership

Voters in a small Maine town unanimously rejected a proposal on Monday that would have required every household to own a firearm and ammunition. More than 60 residents of Byron, Maine, packed into the tiny Coos Canyon Schoolhouse and quickly voted to make the symbolic measure the first order of business during the town’s annual meeting. After a brief discussion, residents elected to skip debate and vote. Not even Bruce Simmons, the resident who originally came up with the proposal, voted to support it. Backers said the point of the measure, which was considered unenforceable, was to send a message
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New gun control laws pass Colorado Senate

A gun control package pushed by Colorado Democrats cleared the state Senate on Monday, as sponsors described it as a needed response to Colorado’s blood-soaked history of mass shootings. One Democrat after another rose Monday to talk about restricting gun rights after last July’s shooting at a suburban Denver movie theater. The vote came on the eve of an expected plea by the alleged gunman, James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and injuring dozens more. The measures approved by the Senate included a limit on the kinds of high-capacity ammunition magazines Holmes is accused of using in
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Senate panel ready to OK background checks, other gun control measures

  Democrats are ready to muscle expanded background checks and other gun curbs through a Senate committee, giving President Barack Obama an initial if temporary victory on one of his top priorities. The Senate Judiciary Committee was to debate a bill Tuesday that would broaden the requirement for federal background checks to nearly all firearms purchasers. It was also considering a ban on assault weapons and an increase in federal aid for school security, though senators may not consider the assault weapons measure until later in the week. Requiring background checks for private gun transactions between individuals — they’re currently
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Republicans once again target Obamacare, Medicaid, etc.

House Republicans are sticking to their guns on the federal budget, promising to try to repeal so-called Obamacare, cut domestic programs from Medicaid to college grants and require future Medicare patients to bear more of the program’s cost. The point is to prove it’s possible to balance the budget within 10 years by simply cutting spending and avoiding further tax hikes, even as the fiscal blueprint to be released Tuesday by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will be dead on arrival with the White House and Democrats controlling the Senate. Senate Democrats promise to offer a counterproposal on Wednesday
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Hagel’s Afghan trip: A disaster that went way off script

It was a harrowing international debut for Chuck Hagel, whose first trip to Afghanistan as U.S. defense secretary went dramatically off-script and challenged the American narrative about the 11-year-old war. His first full day in Afghanistan began with the sound of suicide bomb attack about a kilometer away from his morning meetings at a NATO facility. But the real damage came the next day when Washington’s mercurial ally in the war, Afghan President Hamid Karzai, accused the United States of colluding with the Taliban hours before the two met. Put in an awkward position, Hagel appeared cautious and at pains
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Military finds widespread combat stress, some far from front lines

The gritty combat in Afghanistan is thousands of miles away. But the analysts in the cavernous room at Langley Air Force Base in Virginia relive the explosions, the carnage and the vivid after-battle assessments of the bombings over and over again. The repeated exposure to death and destruction rolling across their computer screens is taking its own special toll on their lives. The military has begun to grapple with the mental and emotional strains endured by personnel who may never come face to face with a Taliban insurgent, never dodge a roadside bomb or take fire, but who nevertheless may
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Maine town set for symbolic vote on mandatory gun ownership

Residents of a Maine town are expected to vote on Monday on whether each household should be required to own a firearm, a decision that has thrust the tiny town of Byron into the heated national debate on gun control. The vote is scheduled to take place on Monday evening in a potentially rancorous annual town meeting for the rural western Maine town’s 140 residents, and will be largely symbolic. The town’s head selectman says the vast majority of households in Byron already have at least one gun, and a requirement to possess guns and ammunition would be unenforceable because
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Jeb Bush calls political reporters ‘crack addicts’

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush on Sunday likened political reporters to “crack addicts” and “heroin addicts” during a tour of morning talk shows that drew repeated questions about the still-distant 2016 presidential election. Bush, capping a media-heavy week that sparked chatter about a presidential campaign for a third member of his family, tried to keep the conversation focused on his book “Immigration Wars.” But as Bush wrapped up a conversation with NBC’s David Gregory,” he likened journalists and their questions about the 2016 campaign to drug addicts. “Who’s the hottest Florida politician right now? Is it you or Marco Rubio?”
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Obama set to name Perez to head Dept. of Labor

President Barack Obama is close to naming Thomas Perez, a civil rights official in the Justice Department, as his choice to head the Department of Labor, two people familiar with the process say. His nomination could come as early as Monday, the people familiar with the process said Saturday. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak prior to the official announcement. If confirmed, Perez would replace Hilda Solis, who resigned in January. White House spokesman Matt Lehrich declined to comment. Perez, 51, has led the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division since 2009 and previously
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Air Force now hiding data on drone strikes

With debate intensifying in the United States over the use of drone aircraft, the U.S. military said on Sunday that it had removed data about air strikes carried out by unmanned planes in Afghanistan from its monthly air power summaries. U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Afghanistan war, said in a statement the data had been removed because it was “disproportionately focused” on the use of weapons by the remotely piloted aircraft as it was published only when strikes were carried out – which happened during only 3 percent of sorties. Most missions were for reconnaissance, it said. U.S. President
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