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Arkansas lawmakers approve bill that allows concealed carrying without a permit

A permit would not be required to carry a concealed handgun in Arkansas under a bill lawmakers sent Thursday to Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, which supporters say is meant to clear up a decade-old disagreement about the state’s gun laws. Sanders’ office said she plans to sign the measure approved by the majority-Republican House on a 81-11 vote. “The governor strongly supports the Second Amendment,” spokeswoman Alexa Henning said in a statement. “This bill further clarifies that Arkansas is a constitutional carry state.” Both gun rights and gun control advocates already widely considered Arkansas to be one of more than two dozen states that doesn’t require a concealed carry permit. That’s followed a 2013 change to the state’s gun laws that’s prompted differing interpretations on how it’s affected the state’s concealed carry requirements. PROPOSED AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BAN DIES IN ARKANSAS HOUSE The bill was approved Thursday with no debate in the House, but opponents have questioned the impact the legislation would have on a 2017 law that allows concealed handguns in certain locations, including the state Capitol. That law allows guns in the previously-barred locations if someone undergoes additional training and gets an “enhanced” permit. “This is going to cause huge amounts of confusion with respect to the enhanced concealed carry,” Democratic Rep. Nicole Clowney told members of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this week, referring to the 2017 law. But supporters of the bill said it wouldn’t have any impact on that part of the law and the enhanced carry requirements would still exist. AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BAN PASSES ARKANSAS SENATE “I believe we need this bill to pass to provide that clarification out there so we don’t have citizens basically being harassed because there’s a misunderstanding of what you can or cannot do,” Republican Rep. Marcus Richmond, the bill’s co-sponsor, told the House before Thursday’s vote. There are more than 190,000 active concealed handgun licenses in Arkansas, and about 30,000 of them are enhanced licenses, according to the state Department of Public Safety. The bill heads to Sanders’ desk as Republicans in other states have been loosening gun laws, despite mass shootings in recent years, including the fatal shooting of three children and three adults at a Nashville, Tennessee, Christian school last month. Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis this week signed a new law that will allow concealed handguns to be carried without a permit. That law takes effect in July. When Sanders signs Arkansas’ legislation, it won’t take effect until 90 days after the Legislature adjourns its session, meaning the measure wouldn’t be enforced until this summer.
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Nevada Democrats rally around bills calling for gun-control regulations

Nevada Democrats and gun control advocates rallied around a trio of bills on Thursday that amplified calls for gun regulation while recalling the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting that became the deadliest in U.S. history. More than five years after a shooter killed scores of people at a country music concert, the recent rise in mass shootings across the U.S. was repeatedly cited in debates over a bill to solidify language meant to ban homemade “ghost guns” and raise the eligible age to possess semi automatic shotguns and assault weapons from 18 to 21. Another bill would bar possession of a gun within 100 yards of an election site entrance, with narrow exceptions. A third bill would prohibit owning a firearm within a decade of a gross misdemeanor or felony hate crime conviction. An increasing number of mass shootings across the U.S. have widened the political divide on gun ownership, with Democratic-led states pushing restrictions on gun ownership. In many states with Republican-led legislatures, shootings appear unlikely to prompt new restrictions this year, reflecting a belief that violent people, not their possession of weapons, are the problem. NEVADA FAR-LEFT FUMES AFTER DEMOCRATIC REPS VOTE TO CONDEMN ‘HORRORS OF SOCIALISM’ With Democrats firmly in control of both branches of the Nevada Legislature, the fate of the bills may fall to Republican Gov. Joe Lombardo, who was the Clark County sheriff during the Las Vegas mass shooting. Ahead of a hearing lasting more than five hours in Carson City, bill sponsor and Assembly Majority Leader Sandra Jauregui said the package would “protect second graders and the second amendment at the same time.” But the proposal encountered heavy opposition from Republicans and pro-gun groups, including the National Rifle Association and the Nevada Republican Party. Jauregui, a Democrat, was among the 22,000 concertgoers who in October 2017 fled 10 minutes of gunfire raining into a country music festival crowd from the windows of a high-rise hotel on the Las Vegas Strip. The attack killed 60 people and injured hundreds more. “I never want a Nevadan to experience the trauma that I and so many have endured,” she said in a quivering voice while presenting the bill, flanked by more than a dozen attendees in the red shirts of gun control advocacy group Moms Demand Action. Jauregui called the legislation “common sense” during a press conference earlier in the day. She was joined by several other advocates and lawmakers including Democratic State Sen. Dallas Harris of Las Vegas, who brought forth the decade-long firearm ban for those convicted of hate crimes. “This is something we should not try and wheel and deal on,” Harris said. “The lives of Nevadans are not a bargaining chip.” The Nevada Assembly Republican Caucus released a statement Wednesday calling the two Jauregui-backed bills unconstitutional and ineffective at stopping violent people from getting weapons. Lombardo has previously bucked other Republicans by supporting universal background checks, though he still positions himself as firmly pro-Second Amendment while touting his NRA membership. While campaigning in 2022, he vowed to veto any legislation curtailing ghost gun access. Spokesperson Elizabeth Ray said in a statement that the governor would monitor the bills through the legislative process and “engage when we feel necessary.” Harris and Jauregui said they had not been in contact with the governor’s office. NEVADA DEMOCRAT CATHERINE CORTEZ MASTO DEFEATS REPUBLICAN ADAM LAXALT IN SENATE RACE The gun proposal hearings were at times emotional and contentious. Several speakers and lawmakers recounted connections to the Las Vegas mass shooting. One recalled throwing her body over her younger sister and her friends to protect them from a “madman with a gun.” Republican state Senator Jeff Stone noted several friends who are “still traumatized” by the 2017 shooting, while Democratic Assemblywoman Shannon Bilbray-Axelrod recalled texting her daughter, who was in lockdown, “telling her it was going to be ok, and not knowing if it would be ok.” Several gun control advocates mentioned a provision allowing an exemption for the age restriction for active or honorably discharged military members under the age of 21. They also said raising the age to 21 for possession of semi-automatic shotguns and assault weapons would be on par with the eligible age to own a handgun. The NRA, the Nevada Republican Party and a host of residents called the bills unconstitutional and discriminatory. Some said taking away guns, particularly in public areas where elections are held, could make those areas more dangerous. “People who are going to use guns illegally don’t check the rulebook to determine what they can and cannot do,” Jacob Paiva of Lyon County said. NRA lobbyist Daniel Reid argued raising the age was unconstitutional and would qualify as age discrimination. He referenced a California court ruling last year deeming a law unconstitutional that banned the sale of semiautomatic weapons to those under 21. Olivia Li, counsel with Every for Gun Safety, countered with a similar law in Florida that was ruled constitutional.
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Biden green energy policy strengthening China, endangering national security, report finds

President Biden’s push for Americans to stop using fossil fuels and fuel-powered cars is empowering China and hurting U.S. national security, according to a new report. The Institute for Energy Research (IER) released a paper outlining how the ongoing effort by the Biden administration to get Americans to use renewable energy and buy electric vehicles is making the U.S. more dependent on China, thereby endangering America’s national security. “Due in large part to government intervention, the United States is becoming progressively more reliant on electric vehicles (EVs) and nonnuclear renewable energy sources for its transportation and energy needs,” writes Thomas Wackman, a fellow at IER. “These technologies rely on a large input of rare earth metals and other mined elements, particularly lithium and cobalt, the supply of which is dominated almost entirely by the People’s Republic of China.” The Biden administration’s “ongoing war” against domestic U.S. oil and gas production, the report continues, puts America’s energy security, and its national security, in real jeopardy.” BIDEN DOUBLES DOWN ON GREEN ENERGY AS OPEC CUTS PRODUCTION, PRICES SOAR President Biden controversially vowed to “end” and “get rid of” fossil fuels while campaigning for president. Since entering the White House, he has said his goal is to create a “carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035 and net-zero emissions economy by no later than 2050.” Biden has also committed by 2030 to cut U.S. fossil fuel emissions by 52% in favor of renewable energy such as wind and solar power and for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric. In 2021, renewables comprised about 12% of America’s primary energy consumption, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), and many politicians appear intent on getting that number much higher. “However, renewables need far higher mineral inputs than their hydrocarbon counterparts,” the IER report states. “An electric vehicle, for example, requires six times the mineral resources than does a similar gasoline-powered car. While some of this demand can be filled by familiar metals like nickel, copper, and aluminum, less common minerals like lithium and cobalt play a key role, as do many so-called ‘rare earth” elements.’” WHITE HOUSE WANTS TO BOOST GREEN ENERGY IN COMMUNITIES REELING FROM COAL PLANT SHUTDOWNS According to the EIA, the process of trying to eliminate carbon will cause the demand for these materials to skyrocket. “Therein lies the danger: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) controls almost the entire global supply chain for all these minerals and other strategic metals,” the paper warns. “In fact, the United States is far more dependent on Chinese imports for an increasingly important part of its energy portfolio than it ever was on the Middle East for oil supplies.” China is a major producer of many of the dozens of minerals identified by the U.S. Department of the Interior as critical to national security and either owns or indirectly controls most of the world’s mines that produce them. For example, China has been involved in projects in Sub-Saharan Africa in search of cobalt and lithium deposits to maintain its influence over the mineral supply chain. In contrast, “what rare earth and strategic metal extraction capacity the United States does possess is limited,” according to the Institute for Energy Research. “Political interests have restricted mineral exploration within the United States, leaving potentially vast reserves of strategic metals and rare earths untouched. As of this writing, only one mine in the entire country, California’s Mountain Pass mine, can produce rare earth elements.” JOE MANCHIN BLASTS BIDEN ADMIN FOR CEDING CONTROL TO CCP ON GREEN ENERGY: ‘PATHETIC’ U.S. leaders in both Congress and the executive branch have increasingly spoken of China as America’s chief rival across a range of domains, from industrial power to military might, arguing for a tougher approach toward Beijing. “The more that the United States transitions its energy portfolio over to renewables at the expense of other sources — something for which the Biden administration and its environmentalist allies are outwardly committed to doing — the more dependent it becomes on its primary adversary for its energy supply,” the report argues. “To make matters worse, alternative energy is far from the only technology that relies on critical minerals to function. Almost every aspect of the digital economy, from smartphones to computers to internet cables, can only be manufactured with metals largely imported from China. So do a vast array of military weapons systems, including guided missiles, radar arrays, and even night vision goggles.” As a result, according to the IER, if China were to cut off or even just restrict the flow of rare earths and strategic metals, U.S. military power would be crippled. “More than that,” the report states, “economic activity could grind to a halt, as it becomes near impossible to repair old or produce new digital products. Regions that are key to the American economy, like Silicon Valley and Florida’s Space Coast, would virtually cease to function. Energy shortages, too, could become common, especially in those states which have transitioned a substantial part of their energy portfolio over to renewable sources and their automobile fleet to EVs.” GREEN GROUP INFLUENCING BIDEN ADMIN HAS DEEP TIES TO CHINESE GOVERNMENT However, renewables now comprise a relatively small portion of U.S. energy production, and nuclear reactors are also running, seemingly lessening such a risk — for the time being. The IER report calls on the Biden administration to stop “targeting the [oil and gas] industry with burdensome regulations and rhetorical assaults” so domestic producers don’t scale-down their operations, thereby driving up prices and possibly causing the U.S. to seek more foreign energy. But it also says the U.S will inevitably include a growing share of EVs and renewable energy, meaning other action is required. “It should therefore be considered a national security imperative for the United States to wean itself off Chinese strategic metals and rare earths and to develop its own extraction and refining capacity,” the paper concludes. “The government must support new mines, new processors and new refiners, while removing the roadblocks to industrial development and capital investment that created this situation in the first place.” CCP-BACKED TECH COMPANIES ARE POISED TO CASH IN ON BIDEN’S CLIMATE BILL, NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERTS WARN Such processing facilities can be expensive and must navigate environmental restrictions placed on mineral extraction in the U.S. and allied Western countries that China doesn’t have. The U.S. is endowed with the critical minerals needed for EVs, wind turbines, solar panels, and even military equipment, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. However, according to a separate IER report published this week, the Biden administration “is revoking leases, delaying permits, and listing plants as endangered species to hinder critical mineral mine development to please its environmental friends, who do not want mining to occur in the United States while calling for the use of technologies requiring multiples of additional minerals consumption.” In order to address the critical minerals issue, the administration is currently pursuing trade agreements focused on such minerals with allies in Europe, Japan, and elsewhere, both to allow them to qualify for EV tax benefits and to begin shifting energy supply chains away from China. Fox News Digital has reached out to the White House and the Energy Department for comment for this story.
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Biden considering cracking down on gas cars after stripping EVs of tax credits

The Biden administration is weighing an aggressive proposal to implement the tightest-ever federal regulations governing tailpipe emissions in an effort to boost electric vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to announce the new standards, which will impact cars manufactured between 2027-2032, next week during a ceremony in Detroit, Bloomberg reported on Thursday, citing officials briefed on the proposal. In a statement, the EPA confirmed the standards are designed to incentivize consumers to purchase electric vehicles (EV). “Already, President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is powering a domestic clean energy manufacturing boom, lowering costs for American families, and creating good-paying union jobs,” the EPA told Fox News Digital. “As directed by the President in an executive order, the EPA is developing new standards that will build on this historic progress and support the transition to a zero-emissions transportation future, lowering costs for consumers, and protecting people and the planet,” the agency’s statement continued. “Because they are currently under interagency review, EPA cannot comment further on the rules.” JOE MANCHIN BLASTS BIDEN ADMIN FOR CEDING CONTROL TO CCP ON GREEN ENERGY: ‘PATHETIC’ In August 2021, President Biden signed an executive order, requiring the EPA to introduce fuel efficiency and emissions standards to “tackle the climate crisis.” Months later, in a move reversing a Trump administration rule, the EPA finalized greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles made between 2023 and 2026, regulations the agency billed at the time as the “most ambitious” rules of their kind. The proposal expected next week is set to be introduced as the Biden administration continues its aggressive push for more Americans to switch to EVs and to electrify home appliances in an effort to combat global warming. Biden set a goal shortly after taking office for half of all cars sold in the U.S. to be zero emissions by 2030 and has repeatedly visited EV manufacturing facilities. “The future of the auto industry is electric,” Biden remarked during a visit to a Ford EV center in Michigan early in his presidency. “There’s no turning back.” BIDEN NOMINEE COORDINATED DARK MONEY CLIMATE NUISANCE LAWSUITS INVOLVING LEONARDO DICAPRIO Despite the massive push from Biden and Democratic-led states for Americans to more quickly adopt EVs, traditional gas-powered cars represented 93% of all new car sales in 2022, according to a recent report from the Alliance for Automotive Innovation. And EVs remain far more expensive and less efficient than alternatives. Overall, the average cost of an EV was $64,338 while the average cost of a compact gas-powered car was $26,101 as of last year, according to Kelley Blue Book. In addition, the Department of Energy reported that the average range of model year 2021 gasoline vehicles was 403 miles compared to the median 234-mile range of model year 2021 EVs. Last year, meanwhile, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) unveiled new fuel economy standards that it said would boost fuel efficiency, but acknowledged it would cost automakers about $236.5 billion and eventually make cars $1,000 more expensive. The standards are projected to increase fuel efficiency 8% annually for model years 2024-2025 and 10% annually for model year 2026. BIDEN NOMINEE WANTS TO HIJACK LITTLE-KNOWN AGENCY TO RAM THROUGH CLIMATE AGENDA Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said at the time that the regulations would “protect communities by reducing carbon emissions.” However, critics blasted the rule for increasing consumer costs amid high inflation. “NHTSA’s new fuel economy standards will only add to the cost of new cars, depriving people of safe, affordable vehicles, at a time when they are already struggling,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., the current chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee. “It also enforces burdensome penalties on manufacturers—who are finding it difficult to keep up with high demand and inventory shortages as it is—which will only increase prices further as these ’penalties’ are passed along to the consumers.” In addition, the EPA’s ambitious standards are set to come shortly after the Biden administration proposed a series of rules on how it would implement EV tax credit provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act. Under the provisions, consumers will only be able to receive tax credits for EVs that are manufactured with a certain amount of critical minerals and components from the U.S. or nations the U.S. is in a free trade agreement with. However, because the U.S. supply chain currently sources an outsized share of its critical minerals and EV battery components from China and other foreign nations, the rules will greatly restrict which EVs will ultimately be eligible for the tax credits. China currently boasts 78% of the world’s cell manufacturing capacity for EV batteries, according to a Brookings Institution analysis released in July. A Biden administration official told reporters during a call on March 31 that they were unsure how many vehicles would actually be eligible for tax credits under its proposed rules.
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Riley Gaines ‘ambushed and physically hit’ after Saving Women’s Sports speech at San Francisco State

Former NCAA swimmer Riley Gaines was barricaded in a room at San Francisco State University Thursday night after she was physically assaulted during a speech to students about saving women’s sports at a Turning Point USA and Leadership Institute event on the campus. Louis Barker, Riley’s husband, said he had brief conversations with her while she was barricaded in the room for nearly three hours. “She told me she was hit multiple times by a guy in a dress. I was shaking. It made me that mad. It makes me sick to feel so helpless about it,” Barker said. “She was under police protection and was still hit by a man wearing a dress.” On Twitter, Gaines shared footage she took showing her being rushed out of the venue by police officers amid an onslaught of verbal attacks from the detractors who surrounded her.  ATHLETE RILEY GAINES PROTESTED AT UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH: ‘I’M DOING SOMETHING RIGHT’ “The prisoners are running the asylum at SFSU…I was ambushed and physically hit twice by a man,” Gaines wrote in the tweet. “This is proof that women need sex-protected spaces. Still only further assures me I’m doing something right. When they want you silent, speak louder.” While Gaines spoke to the students, many of whom expressed opposition to her viewpoints, other footage from the event showed the swimmer’s remarks being drowned out by a group of pro-trans protesters who had become increasingly loud outside the room. “Tonight, Riley Gaines spoke at San Francisco State University to share her personal story of competing against a biological male athlete, Lia Thomas, at the Women’s NCAA Swimming Championships last year,” Eli Bremer, Gaines’ agent, said to Fox News Digital in a lengthy statement. “In the past year, her goal in speaking at universities has been to educate her peers about her experience and what the impact of the growing number of biological males in women’s sports will do to the integrity of Title IX. She has been questioned in civil and somewhat uncivil manners about her views many times, and she thoroughly encourages diverse viewpoints and debate on this issue. “Instead of a thoughtful discussion tonight at SFSU, Riley was violently accosted, shouted at, physically assaulted, and barricaded in a room by protestors. It is stunning that in America in 2023, it is acceptable for biological male students to violently assault a woman for standing up for women’s rights. This will not stop Riley from boldly educating people of the dangers of biological males in women’s sports. She will continue to speak the truth against the radical left that no longer understands the difference between men and women.” SWIMMER RILEY GAINES SLAMS ESPN FOR LIA THOMAS WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH SEGMENT Footage shared to social media by Golden Gate Xpress, the school’s student-run newspaper, showed a small protest emerge ahead of Gaines’ arrival at the school Thursday evening.  Other pieces of footage from the outlet showed the protest growing in size – eventually becoming so chaotic that Gaines was escorted out of the room and down a hallway by police and barricaded in a separate room. While she was being moved to a safer location, protesters were captured on video chanting various phrases along the lines of “go the f–k home” and “trans women are women” while placing transgender flags on the school’s walls. The outlet also shared images showing some members of the TPUSA staff being held up and escorted out of the venue amid the protests. Chris Trudell, the assistant dean of students, was reportedly seen trying to deescalate the situation. In a statement to Fox, a TPUSA spokesperson said the counter-protest to Gaines’ speech was “organized by SFSU’s Queer and Trans Resource Center.” The spokesperson said the rowdy protesters outside the room “rushed in when the event was over.” Gaines, a 12-time All-American swimmer, became a national figure when she objected to trans swimmer Lia Thomas participating in women’s sports. Many athletes, such as former Olympian Nancy Hogshead-Makar, have warned that biological males have a clear advantage over biological women when they compete. The San Francisco Police Department and SFSU did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment on the situation. This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
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