Pistols, rifles, ammunition on display at Miami gun show

Gun enthusiasts attend the South Florida Gun Show at Dade County Youth Fairgrounds in Miami, Florida, on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2018
0

Pistols, rifles, ammunition on display at Miami gun show

MIAMI: Pistols, rifles and ammunition are on display at a gun show in Miami, where Mike Vallone is buying an AR-15, a firearm at the center of debate on gun control as the weapon of choice of several mass shooters.
Why would the 55-year-old, who already owns about 50 guns, want another one?
“Because I choose to own them. I have the constitutional right to own them and I choose to exercise that right,” he told AFP on Saturday.
Vallone was visiting the gun show three days after a 19-year-old massacred 17 people at his former high school with an AR-15 in Parkland, about an hour north of Miami.
The semi-automatic rifle was also used to carry out mass shootings in Las Vegas (58 dead), Sutherland Springs, Texas (26 dead) and Newtown, Connecticut (26 dead).
The media “makes it look like it’s evil,” Vallone said, holding the $600 gun he is about to buy. “This does nothing by itself. This takes a human being to take the rifle, point it and shoot someone.”
Every mass shooting reveals the deep fissures in American society between those who favor fewer restrictions on guns and gun ownership, and those who demand greater controls. The “right of the people to keep and bear arms” is guaranteed under the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, which was adopted in 1791.
“The focus on gun control is an error and it won’t stop someone determined to commit crimes,” said Vallone, raising a common argument among pro-gun advocates.
“I own guns, I choose to own guns, I choose to carry guns. That’s my choice. It’s not for everyone, I absolutely agree with that. Everybody needs a background check, I’m having a background check right now,” he said, pointing at the gun vendor who was looking at a laptop.
In the US, adults with a clean criminal record can generally buy a gun, as was the case with Nikolas Cruz in Parkland. Regulatory loopholes also allow for certain gun sales without background checks.
The issue is deeply political — on one side, the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) aggressively lobbies lawmakers to maintain the status quo.
On the other side, advocates for stricter gun controls say a criminal record check is not sufficiently thorough and often misses red flags that don’t rise to the level of criminal charges, such a mental health problems.
The FBI admitted Friday it received a chilling warning in January from a tipster who said Cruz could be planning a mass shooting, but that agents failed to follow up.
Florida Gun Shows, which holds events in major cities throughout the state every week, opened its Miami show on Saturday.
“Legislation is great to talk about, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon your rights,” said George Fernandez, a spokesman for the gun show, defending the Second Amendment.
Some 140 exhibitors had their wares on display in booths, many decorated with alligator heads.
One vendor displayed knives made from giraffe bones. Another seller highlighted the advantages of tasers and stun guns: “You don’t need to go through the paperwork to carry it, you can just take it.”
The line to enter the exhibition hall was long and made up mostly of men, with some holding small children by the hand.
Meanwhile, student survivors of the school shooting in Parkland rallied in the nearby city of Fort Lauderdale. Brandishing posters with messages like “Never again” and “Gun control now,” they demanded that politicians tackle the issue that surfaces after every mass shooting.
“If the president wants to come up to me and tell me to my face that it was a terrible tragedy and... how nothing is going to be done about it, I’m going to happily ask him how much money he received from the National Rifle Association,” 18-year-old student Emma Gonzalez said in a fiery address to several thousand people.


Floods close airport in Indian tourist hotspot of Kerala

Updated 15 August 2018
0

Floods close airport in Indian tourist hotspot of Kerala

KOCHI: Flights in and out of the Indian tourist hotspot of Kerala were canceled for three days Wednesday as severe monsoon flooding ravaged the region.
At least 39 people have been killed in the past three weeks and more than 50,000 displaced in an area famed for its palm-lined beaches and tea plantations.
Authorities have opened the gates of 34 reservoirs as water reached dangerous levels.
Hundreds of villages have been flooded and the military has been called in to help with rescues.
More than 10,000 kilometers (6,000 miles) of roads and hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged across the state, officials said.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office announced on Twitter that Kochi International Airport — the main gateway to the region — would be closed until Saturday “due to heavy rains and resultant flooding.”
A Kerala State Disaster Management Authority official said that the death toll was expected to rise.
A heavy rainfall “red-alert” has been issued across much of the state, which is home to around 33 million people, the official added.
“Our state is in the midst of an unprecedented flood havoc,” Vijayan said earlier this week. “The calamity has caused immeasurable misery and devastation.”
The US embassy last week advised Americans to avoid Kerala, which drew more than one million foreign tourists last year, according to official data.