Once again, I'm going to post about something that I learned about on David Codrea's War on Guns. Mr. Codrea has, yet again, posted something I consider too important not to spread as far and wide as possible.
What's being discussed here is the Blind Identification Database System (or Bids), developed by Brian Puckett and Russ Howard. This system would provide a way for licensed gun dealers to check whether or not a prospective purchaser was prohibited from buying firearms. Currently, of course, we have the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (or NICS), designed to do the same thing. The difference is that BIDS, being a "blind" check, would provide much greater privacy protection for the buyer. The NICS system provides the government with all the information it would need to form a de facto gun registration, and with only a small change to the political landscape, could be used by the government to compile a centralized database of every gun purchase from licensed dealers in the country.
The basis of how the system would work is that the government would compile a database of people prohibited from buying firearms--this is the information that would be stored--that way, the government would never need to see information about who is trying to buy firearms. This list would be distributed (in electronic format) to every licensed gun dealer. Then, when making a sale, the dealer would simply check the prospective buyer's identifying information against the list.
Such a system would provide at least as much protection against firearms being sold to people prohibited from buying them as is provided by NICS, but would not be easily used to compile a database of gun purchases. That, obviously, would be an enormous improvement.
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Saturday, December 30, 2006
Once again, I'm going to post about something that I learned about on David Codrea's War on Guns. Mr. Codrea has, yet again, posted something I consider too important not to spread as far and wide as possible.
Friday, December 29, 2006
The Gun Guys love to wax indignant when they're accused of dancing in the blood of good people who are tragically shot and killed or wounded. They claim to be heartbroken by every unnecessary death (and perhaps even by the necessary ones). As they showed Thursday, the reality is vastly different.
Here, they talk about their survey to determine the "favorite" shooting they've discussed over the past year.
And every once in a while, we come across our favorite kinds of stories: stories about gun guys who’ve done one stupid thing too many, and end up shooting themselves or someone else accidentally.Hmm--so they're favorite stories are those about accidental shootings, huh? Perhaps their glee stems from the fact that it's a gun owner being shot (and they apparently don't consider a gun owner's death or wounding to be tragic), but no, that can't be it--they also like the stories of gun owners "shooting themselves or someone else accidentally." That doesn't exactly seem consistent with an ideology of wanting to end shootings.
Actually, it doesn't really surprise me that they're happy to hear about accidental shootings--after all, they like to use such stories to justify further restrictions on the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (despite the fact that such arguments make about as much sense as claiming car accidents demonstrate the need to ban cars). What's surprising is that they would actually come out and admit their hypocrisy.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Just read an article about alcohol related violence in Scotland. According to the article, this is a large and growing problem there.
Predictably, there are calls to reduce availability of alcohol (in this case, by increasing the price--presumably by means of a tax). This is what one Scottish doctor had to say about it:
"And study after study has shown the link between the cost and availability of alcohol and excessive alcohol consumption.As with "gun control," it's the knee-jerk reaction of the nanny state advocates--when some people abuse something, try to make it less available to everyone. Such strategies never work, but that doesn't stop people from advocating them.
"It is no coincidence that the price of alcohol has reduced significantly in recent years and that alcohol-related assaults are now at an alarming level."
It seems to me that strict control of alcohol was once tried here in the U.S.--wasn't that a smashing success?
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Just noticed this article in the Chicago Tribune (registration required), about an Aurora, Illinois ban on toy guns. Apparently, the anti-gun bed-wetters are so frightened of the "gun culture" that they can't even stand the idea of kids pretending to exercise the right to keep and bear arms.
It seems that even some of the city council members who support the law are a bit confused about what it does, as can be seen here:
"This is about the kids and keeping the guns out of kids' hands," said Ald. Stephanie Kifowit (3rd Ward). "This ordinance unequivocally keeps them out of kids' hands."Actually, Stephanie, no--it doesn't. For one thing, it will not stop anyone who chooses to ignore the law (the law which, in any case, does not deal with guns anyway, but with toys).
The police chief, William Powell, thinks the idea is just peachy:
"Still, the ordinance sends 'a strong message that these guns aren't wanted here," he said. "Anytime we're going to outlaw guns, I'm for it, because I've seen what guns have done to our community."Actually, Chief, you mean the ordinance sends a strong message that these toys aren't wanted there. Also, if he's for outlawing guns, I wonder what other Constitutionally guaranteed human rights he'd like to rescind--Fourth Amendment, maybe? It certainly would be easier to find all those nasty toys that have wrought such carnage in Aurora (Aurora should be much safer now) if the police weren't hampered by that awkward "due process" crap. The First Amendment might have to go, too--what if someone draws a picture of a nasty old gun, and frightens these sheep to death?
The anti-gun extremists won't rest while there's a lawfully armed private citizen left in the country--evidently, they can't even allow simulated armed citizens.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Saturday, I belatedly discussed something I should have brought up previously. Today's topic is even more overdue, but better late than never.
I refer to the case of United States vs. Wayne Fincher. David Codrea, at War on Guns has been covering this situation very well, and up-to-date information can also be had here. That being the case, I won't waste time going over the details--those can be found at the two links I just provided.
The basic situation is that Hollis Wayne Fincher, Lt. Commander of the Washington County (Arkansas) Militia, has been arrested for alleged violations of the unconstitutional National Firearms Act of 1934.
This man's arrest sends the message that true, unadulterated patriotism is a crime, that courage and honor will not go unpunished. The BATFE has put the American people on notice that standing up for the fundamental human right guaranteed by the Second Amendment will lead to one's home being invaded by federal storm troopers, and the activist being hauled off to jail. Fincher is in jail because of his courage. I, conversely, am free (by today's standards, anyway), because I lack his courage. That's not how our nation should work.
There is something we can do. It's a lot less than Fincher is doing, but it's a good deal better than doing nothing.
Monday, December 25, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
I have (until now) been remiss in not adding my voice to that of David Codrea's War on Guns blog, condemning the perfidy of the Bush administration.
I refer to the fact that, contrary to the position outlined by former Attorney General John Ashcroft--that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right--(a truth that should go without saying, but that's another discussion), the FAA is now advancing the meritless argument that it protects a "collective right."
This right is not unfettered. Nearly every statute restricting the right to bear arms has been upheld. For example, in 1958, Congress made it a criminal offense to knowingly carry a firearm onto an airplane engaged in air transportation. 49 U.S.C. 46505. Additionally, nearly all courts have also held that the Second Amendment is a collective right, rather than a personal right. Therefore, despite the Second Amendment collective right to bear arms, the FAA has the authority to prohibit firearms on launch and reentry vehicles for safety and security purposes.(This is in reference to rules prohibiting weapons on commercial spaceflights, if and when those become a reality)
Apparently, President Shrub's administration no longer finds it to be politically expedient to stand up for the Constitutionally protected fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. I guess gun owners have served their purpose.
Friday, December 22, 2006
On another gun rights blog I admire, I learned of the sad (but hardly surprising) story of the BATFE's capricious and arbitrary abuse of power in dealing with the makers of the Akins Accelerator. For those unfamiliar with this device, it mechanizes the process of "bump firing" (using recoil to rapidly fire a semi-automatic firearm, by allowing more rapid pulling of the trigger than is normally possible) of a Ruger 10/22. Since the trigger must still be pulled for every round fired, this device in no way converts the firearm to a machine gun (which, by definition, does not require a separate trigger pull for each shot). At first, the BATFE acknowledged that fact, as they explicitly state in this letter.
Unfortunately, when dealing with F-Troop, the rules can change at any time (just ask Richard Caleta, of KT Ordnance). Without warning, they suddenly reversed their position, saying that (contrary to every definition of machine gun) the Akins Accelerator constitutes a machine gun, subject to all the insanely draconian laws (NFA, GCA, Hughes Amendment to FOPA) that real machine guns are subjected to (despite the Constitution).
Just one more reason (if one were needed) to disband the BATFE, and force the F-Troopers to find useful work.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Yesterday, I wrote about the glee with which various anti-gun extremists are pointing out the increase in violent crime. I pointed out the oddity of this, considering the fact that no credible link has been found between the increased violence, and "weakened gun laws." In fact, there are several explanations that make vastly more sense.
Now, Paul Helmke (head cheerleader for the Brady Bunch) has jumped on the bandwagon. He at least makes an effort to link the violence and the changes in gun laws. First, he points to the expiration of the ban on so-called "assault weapons." The problem with that "logic" is that the ban had absolutely zero influence on violence. Even the VPC's own Tom Diaz admits that.
The second "weakening" of gun laws that Helmke refers to is what he calls a weakening of the "Brady Bill" criminal background check. The only change to the background check that I can think of is the replacement of the waiting period with a (supposedly) instant computerized background check, conducted by the FBI. I wonder why Helmke has so little trust in the FBI's ability to do it's job.
We won't stop the violence by disarming those not disposed to commit it--let's fix the social problems instead.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
The Washington Post tells us that according to FBI crime reports, violent crime has picked up for the second year in a row. Both the VPC and the Gun Guys were quick to point this out. I'm not sure why, though. The entire Washington Post (not a paper known for its advocacy of gun rights) article contains not a single mention of "inadequate gun laws" being responsible for the rise.
That makes sense, really--gun laws have been shown time and time again to have not significantly lowered violence. In fact, the vast decline in violence seen throughout the 90's (and apparently ending last year) coincided with a major relaxation of gun legislation (particularly concealed carry).
The article mentions several factors (guns not among them) contributing to the uptick in violent crime.
While no one is certain of the causes, experts cited an increase in the number of young men in their crime-prone years, diminished crime-fighting assistance from the federal government, fewer jobs for people with marginal skills and even the ongoing growth in methamphetamine use in some places.How to reverse this trend? The anti-gun extremists will say we need to implement more restrictive gun laws--as if disarming potential victims makes any sense. No real solution is going to be so easy. It will have to involve improvements in education, better job opportunities, more law enforcement resources, and drug rehabilitation.
There are things our society can and should do to curb the violence. Civilian disarmament is not one of them.
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I was surprised to see that although obtaining a permit to carry a firearm in Canada is difficult (and for women, apparently almost impossible), some are going through the necessary process to obtain non-resident permits in the U.S.
The Utah permit is the one specifically mentioned in the article. Although not valid in Canada, of course, it is recognized in about 30 states in the U.S. Perhaps more importantly, obtaining these permits provides a means of applying some leverage on Canadian politicians, to push for more progressive gun laws there.
"I have sent the prime minister an e-mail to say that I find it curious that, as a woman, I'd be allowed as a visitor into the United States, I'd be allowed to carry a weapon — a concealed firearm to protect myself and my children — but that I don't have that same right in Canada," she said.Perhaps I should not have been surprised--an ever growing number of Americans carry firearms to protect themselves and their families from predatory criminals--why would Canadians be any less proactive about self-defense?
I wish the best of luck to the Canadian gun rights movement--no one should have to live in a state of government mandated defenselessness.
Monday, December 18, 2006
Last Friday, I mentioned the fact that the Gun Guys were apparently upset that muzzle loader bullets could be ordered over the inernet. Well, apparently they finally became aware of how silly that made them look, so they updated the link--now, the "bullets that kill police officers all over the country" are .22 rimfire rounds (at least they've found some complete rounds this time). Now, it's squirrel killer bullets they're upset about.
Again, I ask--these are the people who would presume to have something to say about the right to keep and bear arms? Shouldn't one be expected to have some idea of what one is talking about before entering that debate?
As more and more states pass Stand Your Ground laws, we hear, from those opposed to civilian ownership and use of firearms, more and more strident objections to these laws. The main feature of the various Stand Your Ground (or Castle Doctrine) laws is that they remove the "duty to retreat" from threats (hence Stand Your Ground).
In the standard style of the anti-gun extremists, they couch their "arguments" in the form of hyper-inflated rhetoric, saying that removal of the "duty to retreat" is tantamount to legalizing murder. That's a pretty tough position to defend, though.
Retreating from someone who poses a threat to you requires taking one of two very unwise courses. The first choice is to turn your back on the threat, and run away. It should be fairly obvious that turning your back on someone who has caused you to fear for your life is not a good way to keep yourself alive. Then, you may have to outrun your antagonist--good luck if you're elderly, or (like me) disabled. It's also well established that flight tends to inflame a would-be attacker (precisely the reason we are taught from childhood never to try to run away from hostile dogs). The only other choice is to try to back away. This, obviously, is not very quick. It also exposes you to the danger of tripping over something on the ground behind you--which clearly doesn't help your situation.
In conclusion, the "duty to retreat" is merely a legal mechanism to make thuggery safer for the thug, at the expense of the safety of those he menaces. Lifting that requirement is a long overdue measure that will make society safer. If anyone has a duty to retreat, it is he who is menacing law-abiding citizens in the first place.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
It's funny--it seems like just a month or so ago that the rabid gun rights deprivation lobby was trumpeting the virtual end of gun rights in the U.S. The VPC, the Brady Bunch, and the Gun Guys who I so enjoy making fun of had all been saying that with the gains the Democrats made in November, restrictive gun laws were right around the corner. Apparently, they think that Democrats have not learned that civilian disarmament is a losing proposition.
Well, if gun rights are in trouble, that sure isn't indicated by the events of the past week. First, we had the Ohio Senate complete the override of criminal Governor Taft's veto of the preemption bill. Then we saw the courts overturn Jersey City's unconstitutional gun rationing ordinance. I've already talked about those two much needed developments. Finally, the Michigan legislature has passed (by huge, veto-proof margins, by the way) a pair of bills that will protect the Second Amendment rights of people in Michigan during disasters (exactly the time when they'll most need an effective means of defending themselves). Not a bad week's work.
By the way, about the Ohio preemption bill. When one looks at the hysterical complaints of the anti-gun fearmongers, one of their problems with preemption is that it would do away with laws in some municipalities against gun shops near schools. What exactly is such a law intended to accomplish? Has there been a rash of problems with fourth graders popping into gun shops, putting $700 on the counter, and walking out with a Glock? Hardly. In fact, perhaps it would be instructive to think back to the North Hollywood bank robbery, in which heavily armed and armored robbers were running amok, with the police woefully ill-equipped to stop them. They solved that problem by going into a nearby gun shop, borrowing some more capable firearms (evil, so-called "assault weapons," if I remember correctly), and quickly ending the careers of the robbers. Seen in that light, it would seem that the presence of a gun shop adds an extra layer of safety to the surrounding area. Is it not wrong to deny that safety to our children?
Like I said, this has been a good week for gun rights, which makes it a good week for rights in general, which in turn makes it a good week for America. Let freedom ring.
Friday, December 15, 2006
This is shaping up to be a great week--for the second time, I find myself putting up an extra post, gloating about a victory for the Constitutionally protected fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
This time, it's not in Ohio, but in Jersey City, New Jersey, which (back in June) had taken the draconian, unconstitutional, and utterly ineffectual step of prohibiting law-abiding citizens from buying more than one gun per month. The Gun Guys, of course, thought that was great news (if it's bad for freedom, they like it).
Now, though, the party is over for them, and is just starting for those of us who don't believe that Constitutional rights are to be rationed.
Too bad, Gun Guys--have you considered moving to Britain?
Not content with "merely" imposing draconian restrictions on the sale and possession of guns themselves, the Gun Guys are now advocating similar restrictions on ammunition.
Let me see if I'm following the "logic" correctly. Restrictive gun laws aren't working to reduce violence (I believe that it's been pointed out--here and elsewhere--that no one should find that surprising, but I digress), so the solution is to implement restrictive ammunition laws, in an attempt to make it impossible for criminals to load the firearms that they're not supposed to have. In other words, although the National Firearms Act, the Gun Control Act, the National "Instant" criminal background Check System, and all the other federal gun laws (not to mention all the state--and sometimes county and local--gun laws) haven't made guns as difficult to acquire as these geniuses want (just as drug laws haven't made crack or methamphetamine very scarce), we're supposed to believe that ammunition laws would somehow be different, and capable of doing more than make criminals wealthy, by creating a new black market for them to exploit.
Is anyone so naive as to believe that "reducing violence" is the real goal here, as opposed to simply tightening the screws another notch or two on all gun owners (the vast majority of whom are good, law abiding citizens)? The Gun Guys want the government's nose stuck into the purchase of every round of ammunition:
The same background check and criminal check procedures should apply to ammunition that apply to firearms.That's a stellar idea--a NICS check everytime someone wants to buy a box of .22 rimfire, or trap loads. Maybe we should require blood samples and psych evals, too. Other suggestions include "special identification cards for ammunition buyers" (because requiring people to carry around more ID documentation is always a good idea in a free society), and "equipping vendors with computers to log purchases" (because if you can't have a registry of gun purchases, a registry of ammunition purchases is the next best thing).
Obviously, maintaining this kind of scrutiny over the sales of untold millions (if not billions) of rounds of ammunition every year is going require a pretty sizable increase in manpower and other resources for the controlling agency (the BATFE "F-Troop" folks, I guess)--meaning bigger government and higher taxes for everyone. I suppose that's a small price to pay for the illusion of safety.
Apparently, the part that really has the Gun Guys soiling themselves is the fact that ammunition can be bought over the internet (they don't say why "internet bullets" are so much scarier than ammunition bought in person).
And if you think that’s bad (we do), it gets even worse– you can even buy hollow point bullets without an ID over the Internet.Hollow point bullets?! How awful! It's enough to make them lose their appetite for their kiwi-tofu burgers. Come to think of it, what do they mean by "without an ID"? Almost any internet purchase is conducted with a credit card, which in itself constitutes a form of ID. But the very best part comes next:
Want to buy bullets that kill police officers all over the country? Click here. It couldn’t be easier.What's amusing about that is that clicking on the link provided does indeed lead to bullets, offered by Cabela's--but they're just that--bullets, for black powder muzzle-loading rifles (the overwhelming favorite weapon among those who aspire to kill police officers, I guess--the inner cities are apparently crawling with Daniel Boone type gang bangers), instead of complete cartridges. It seems that the Gun Guys, obsessed as they are with guns (or rather their irrational hatred and terror of them), still have not bothered to learn enough about them even to know the difference between complete centerfire cartridges, and bullets for black powder muzzle loaders. [UPDATE: Someone apparently told them about the muzzle loader bullets, so they changed the link . . . to .22 Rimfire ("squirrel killer" bullets, I guess)--these guys can't buy a clue]
And these guys presume to tell us what guns we can have?
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I often complain about the attacks on gun rights (and rights in general) in this country, but as this article shows, it could be vastly worse, with criminals brutalizing the law-abiding, who then face prosecution should they dare try to defend themselves. This short excerpt shows just how far the "justice" system has fallen in Britain:
Fraser's book says that only half of British crime is actually reported to the police, and that British police refuse to record about half the crime that is reported to them. The police also commonly refuse to investigate the crime that they record, and refuse to arrest criminals even when they know them and have overwhelming evidence. That is apparently because Crown prosecutors commonly refuse to prosecute, and when they do prosecute, the sentence is almost always trivial. Also, a police officer must fill out 19 forms for each arrest. There is little motivation left for British police officers to even try to do their duty.If broad statistics seem a bit dry and academic, try this charming story:
In the year 2000, the Home Office reprimanded the West Midlands Police Force for bringing too many arrested criminals into court. The Home Office constantly recommends issuing "cautions"--police warnings that next time the criminal might be prosecuted. Officially, only minor crimes are supposed to be dealt with by issuing a caution. In 2000, cautions were the only "punishment" imposed for 600 robberies, 4,300 car thefts, 6,600 burglaries, 13,400 offences against public order, 35,400 cases of violence against the person, and 67,600 cases of other kinds of theft. In simple terms, 127,900 offenders were "cautioned"--but not punished. Isn't that a splendid way to deter criminals from committing more crimes?
Take Anthony Rice. He had been raping women since at least 1972, and had been convicted of raping 15 of them. In 1982, he was convicted of raping a woman while holding a knife to her throat. In 1987, out of prison on "home leave," he raped another woman, pushing her into a garden, again at the point of a knife, then raping her for an hour. They gave him a life sentence for that one. He was transferred to an open prison in 2002, and then given the status of "low-risk parolee" two years later--so his "life sentence" was finished in 25 years. He was then housed in a hostel in a small village (the villagers were assured that there were no violent criminals living in the hostel). Five months later, he raped and murdered Naomi Bryant. The judge sentenced him (again!) to, "life" imprisonment, with no possibility of parole for 25 years--so he is likely to be released again, especially if his sentence is again reduced.
Perhaps, though, there is a ray of hope for Britain, with some citizens realizing that it's better to fight off one's assailant, and then face prosecution, than to obey a law that would render one defenseless, although I shudder to think about how badly the deck is stacked against them. Then again, I guess they could just get a pair of assault feet.
The first article I quoted laments the strength of the movement in Canada to lead that country down the same dark path that Britain is descending. Alarmingly, some anti-rights extremists in this country would like to impose the same awful fate on us (hear me, Gun Guys?).
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Well, sort of--but not in the way you might be thinking. In this post, they make the claim that the Second Amendment doesn't grant the right to keep and bear arms. As it happens, that's entirely correct--the Second Amendment, like every other amendment in the Bill of Rights, doesn't grant a right--it articulates a guarantee of that fundamental human right (or God-given right, for those who prefer the religious angle).
Sadly, that's about as far as our agreement goes. The rest of the post is spent (misspent, really) arguing that the fact that the amendment contains the phrase "well regulated militia" means that (somehow) "the right of the people" means the "right of [said] militia." Even worse, the Gun Guys have decided to throw their very own language into the Constitution, and stipulate that the militia has to be "government sponsored." Where the hell they got that idea is left unsaid.
As has been said before (by such people as George Mason and Patrick Henry), the people are the militia, and "well regulated" means that they have effective combat weapons, and skill in using them.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
I usually stick to one post per day, but the news of the override of corrupt Governor Taft's veto of statewide firearm preemption is just too sweet to keep silent. That makes forty-four states in which municipalities cannot pass their own infringements on the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
To make it even better, the Gun Guys were tearing their hair and gnashing their teeth about it some more today. There's just something about the anguished bleating of freedom haters that gladdens the heart of a civil libertarian like myself. If that sounds like smug gloating, that's probably because that's what it is. Well boo hoo--if there's anything that justifies gloating, I would think the advance of Constitutional rights would have to qualify.
I'm told Ohio's next gun rights legislative priority is a Stand Your Ground law. Sounds good to me.
Yesterday, I wrote about the ideas in Philadelphia on how to combat the violence there. Most of these ideas, predictably, focused on trying to disarm the people of Philadelphia, criminal or not. I pointed out that one genius was even quoted advocating a "stop and frisk" policy, whereby police would not even be required to have a probable cause to search people for weapons. Lovely, using the Constitution like Charmin, all in the name of "public safety."
Today, David Codrea's superb War on Guns alerts us to yet another "solution" to the problem of violence in Philadelphia. The idea here is that, apparently, it's too much trouble to obtain a search warrant everytime the police want to check a house for illegal weapons, because, as Philadelphia District Attorney Lynn Abraham says,
"Any gun that we can find that way is one more gun we can get off the street."Actually, Lynn, it would seem that the weapon you're taking would not be coming "off the street," but out of a house. How do they plan to get around that awkward technicality of not having a search warrant (that damned Constitution, with its Fourth Amenmdent rights, inconveniently rearing up its ugly head again)? Simple--they'll just ask the homeowner to waive the right to refuse a warrantless search.
Now, some might ask what good this would do--if someone had an illegal gun in the house, why would he or she consent to having the house searched for it? That's a good question, but perhaps an even better question would be "what happens when the homeowner refuses?" Does this, perhaps, constitute probable cause, thus facilitating getting the warrant they couldn't get in the first place? If that's the case, Philadelphia police would now have an excuse (and a means) to perform fishing expeditions--searching any house they want, on the excuse of "looking for illegal guns."
This program would seem to be worthless at best, and an end run around civil liberties at worst.
Monday, December 11, 2006
This article from the Philadelphia Inquirer follows the usual "blame the guns" formula so beloved of the editors of that paper, but what makes it interesting is the fact that in trying to make the arguments for civilian disarmament, it surprisingly (and perhaps accidentally), actually hits on a couple valid points.
The article is about the fact that four homicides over the past weekend have pushed Philly's homicide total for the year over that of 2005. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson notes that the national focus on terrorism has come at a cost to enforcement of laws against common, garden variety crime.
Johnson said the federal government needs to shift some of its resources from homeland security to "hometown security" and the state needs to enact tougher gun-control laws.So he admits that much of the problem stems from inadequate resources to combat homegrown thuggery, but still says let's ban guns!
The first of the weekend's homicides is, according to the article, suspected to have been drug related--but instead of taking a long, hard look at the "war on drugs," let's ban guns! (UPDATE: According to this article, two of the other murders may very well have been drug-related, as well).
We do get a bit of an admission that the problems go beyond the "easy availability of guns":
Anticrime activists and officials blame the city's high homicide numbers not just on the lack of adequate gun-control laws, but also on the sense of desperation felt by impoverished young African American men, who are responsible for the majority of the shootings and make up the majority of the victims.I guess tackling poverty, inadequate education, drug addiction, and lack of decent jobs is too difficult--so let's ban guns!
A bit further down, we get an idea about who is committing all these murders
Jones [cofounder of Men United for a Better Philadelphia, a nonprofit group that works to stop gun violence] said most homicides in the city were committed by people on parole or probation, and he believed more should be done to help ex-offenders reenter society.But instead of ending the current "justice" system's catch and release strategy, let's ban guns!
One ambitious fellow apparently realizes that before the government can effectively violate the Second Amendment, the Fourth Amendment is going to have to be trampled, as well (or perhaps he would argue that the Fourth Amendment only protects the right of the National Guard to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures).
Lawrence W. Sherman, director of the Jerry Lee Center of Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, said a better solution would be implementing a "stop and frisk" policy to keep people from carrying guns in public places.Philadelphia certainly has some real problems to clean up, but restrictive gun laws will do exactly ZERO toward that end.
"The evidence suggests that 'stop and frisk' is the strategy to which homicide rates respond most immediately," Sherman said.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Gun Guys just love to point out incidents in which people with guns nearby are nevertheless victimized by criminals. Apparently, they figure that such stories constitute "proof" that being armed is of no value in empowering oneself for defense against thugs. Never mind the fact that no one has ever claimed that being armed is a guarantee against criminal attack--the Gun Guys prefer knocking down straw man arguments (that's much easier than addressing what freedom advocates actually say).
Here are a couple examples of what I'm referring to. In the first, some idiot robs a gun store (of cash, not guns), and the staff of the store wisely lets the guy go, but write down his license plate number for the police, who quickly catch the genius. In the second, a man was robbed as he was leaving a gun show, with the robbers taking his truck and a trailer full of guns.
So, if I follow their "logic" correctly, they're saying that a couple incidents of armed people being robbed prove that guns are worthless for protection, so guns ought to be banned. It would be interesting to see what their reaction would be to cases in which criminals' intended victims did use guns to stop the crime (and save their lives in the process). How are such incidents any less valid in a discussion about guns' utility in stopping attacks than the Gun Guys' stories in which the guns did not?
Probably the most despicable of the Gun Guys' use of this type of argument is in this post, where they gleefully point out that a murdered family of seven tried to defend themselves with a gun, but were killed anyway. Apparently, the Gun Guys would argue that the family should have just died without making any effort to defend themselves. Even if one agrees with such a strategy of abject cowardice, it's pretty disgusting to exploit these deaths to sell their civilian disarmament agenda.
Going back to the title of this post, I can find examples where people died in car accidents, despite wearing seat belts. By the Gun Guys' way of looking at things, that means seat belts are worthless.
Friday, December 08, 2006
Washington DC's egregious handgun ban is being challenged, and in its defense, DC's attorneys are trying to argue that the Second Amendment to the United States protects a mythical "collective right." Keep in mind that the amendment explicitly refers to "the right of the people"--not the right of the National Guard (which wouldn't exist for more than a century).
Some other rights that are guaranteed in the Bill of Rights use the same "right of the people" phrase, but I have yet to hear anyone claim that the First, Fourth, Ninth, or Tenth Amendments have anything to do with "collective rights." Still, these geniuses are trying to argue that the Second Amendment is somehow different. Actually, their argument would seem to be that the right it guarantees isn't a right at all, but a power of the government. Rather odd, then, that it's part of the Bill of Rights, isn't it? Yes, the 2nd Amendment says we need a well regulated militia to secure our freedoms, but it doesn't restrict the right to keep and bear arms to said militia--the right is clearly one of the people.
At least one of the judges seems to be aware of that:
"Show me anybody in the 19th century who interprets the Second Amendment the way you do," Judge Laurence Silberman said [in response to DC's Solicitor General's claim that the district would have the right to ban all weapons]. It doesn't appear until much later, the middle of the 20th century."It could be that in the near future, not only will residents of our nation's capital have their rights restored (which would perhaps lift the city out of the cesspool of criminal violence it has been mired in for decades), but the entire "collective rights" argument could get the final dismissal it has so richly deserved from the very beginning.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
At risk of being somewhat tedious in my reporting of events in Ohio (where I haven't been in many years), I'm going to write again today about what happened with Ohio House Bill 347 (concealed carry reform). Governor Taft followed through with his threat to veto this much needed legislation--that's the bad news.
The good news is that the Ohio House wasted no time in overriding the veto, and voted overwhelmingly (71-21) to do so. The bill now goes to the Ohio Senate, where the expectation is that it will be voted on next Tuesday, December 12. That vote is expected to be a bit more difficult than the House vote was. In the initial Senate floor vote, it passed 19-10 (a veto override requires 20 votes in the Senate). Encouragingly, though, those 19 votes came despite the fact that 2 Senators who have been strong supporters of the bill were absent for the vote.
As I mentioned Monday, even if the override fails, this bill is very likely to become law next legislative session. Still, this dramatic improvement to Ohio's laws is long overdue, and the sooner it's implemented, the better. Besides, a resounding veto override would be just the perfect send-off for the gun rights disparagin', multiple criminal conviction havin', under 20% approval rating receivin', miserable excuse for a governor that Taft is.
Any readers in Ohio--please bombard your state Senators with phone calls, snail mail letters, emails, faxes, visits (if practical), carrier pigeons, smoke signals, messages in bottles--whatever you can come up with, to get them the word that if they claim to represent you and your interests, their duty is to override this veto.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Back in September, I wrote about the ATF's attack on Richard Celata (and on freedom in general). The raid, and the confiscation (or theft, if one wants to be honest about it) of Celata's possessions was way back in June, but in all this time, no criminal charges were filed against him. That, apparently, has changed, as is mentioned here and (in more detail) here.
Mr. Celata is almost certainly going to need a great deal of help. The last link contains the template of a letter to send to the NRA, asking them to enlist the extremely capable services of the very pro-gun rights attorney, Stephen Halbrook (the letter says "Holbrook," but I'm positive that Halbrook is the name that was intended).
Please, all NRA members, contact the NRA, and ask them to take this vital action.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
While looking at information for my recent posts about Ohio gun legislation, I saw that another front on which pro-freedom advocates are fighting in that state is for protection of the privacy of those who receive (or at least apply for) concealed carry permits. As the law currently stands, newspapers can obtain lists of licensees and applicants, and print them in the paper. Several have done just that, on a wholesale basis. The Cleveland Plain Dealer has been especially egregiously abusive of its access to that information, and published the identities of license holders in nearly a dozen counties.
Help may be on the way, though--an amendment to Ohio House Bill 9 would make provisions for licensees to opt out of allowing public access to this very private information. The bill passed the Ohio House, but has languished in the Senate. The Plain Dealer, by the way, is in a tizzy about the whole idea of people having privacy.
It should go without saying that this information is none of the general public's business. The argument that people have "a right to know" who is carrying a firearm is hogwash, on several counts. The idea behind carrying a CONCEALED weapon is that the public doesn't know about it--the purpose in concealing the weapon is utterly defeated if that information is made public. Besides, publishing that information would only reveal which people are licensed to carry--it does nothing to tell who is carrying illegally (the people about whom one might have a legitimate reason to be concerned), nor does the fact that someone obtained the permit necessarily mean he or she is actually carrying, or even owns a firearm.
People who live in states where this information is not protected might consider applying for a non-resident permit from another state whose permits are honored in his or her home state (note: some states--Florida, Michigan, and New Hampshire, for example--although they honor some other states' permits, only do so for residents of those states). Even if that state does not protect that information either, it's unlikely that a local paper would go to the trouble of obtaining that information, sorting through it all, and publishing it. Until the law protects your privacy, see what you can do to protect it yourself.
Monday, December 04, 2006
Last week, I wrote about the promising progress of a bill that would do a great deal to advance gun rights in Ohio. I also expressed my hope that Governor Taft would do the right thing and sign it into law (or at least do nothing, and allow it to become law). Well, the bill easily made it through the legislature, but Taft has vowed to veto it. I should have expected that--Taft has demonstrated his untrustworthiness many times.
The Gun Guys, of course, are piteously bleating their anguish about the bill. One of their objections is to the bill's removal of the ridiculous "plain sight" requirement for guns in cars, citing the safety of police officers. What they don't mention is that the Ohio State Police, on whose insistence that requirement had been included in the concealed carry law in the first place, have decided not to object to the bill (perhaps because they realize that anyone who is going to shoot a police officer is unlikely to hesitate to violate a silly "plain sight" requirement).
Luckily, if Taft carries out his threatened veto, it will likely amount to only a delay (and a short one, at that) in implementing this much needed legislation. The bill looks to have enough votes to override Taft's threatened veto--it passed with an overwhelming margin in the state House, and only one vote short of the necessary 3/5ths majority in the Senate (with two strong supporters of the bill absent). Normally, veto overrides can be tough when the governor and both legislative chambers are of the same party (Republican, in this case), but that is probably not such an issue in this case. First, Taft is near the end of his time as governor, so legislators need not fear alienating him. Second, Taft has such a sordid reputation (including criminal convictions while in office, and an approval rating, at one point, of 6.5%) that even members of his own party want to distance themselves from him.
Even if the override fails, prospects for the bill are quite good. The upcoming changes in the legislature's makeup should not pose much of an obstacle to passing the bill again next session, and Governor-elect Strickland has already expressed his support for the reform.
Taft may stand in freedom's way, but he can't stop it.
Saturday, December 02, 2006
Well, after a couple days without power (and thus without internet access), I'm back, and ready, willing, and able to mix it up with the anti-gun extremist pantywaists.
Today's pantywaist is William Saletan, of Slate. In the above mentioned piece, he discusses the NYPD's shooting of three unarmed partygoers, in which one man (due to marry later that day) was killed. By the way, try to ignore the author's annoying insistence on referrring to magazines as "clips," and cartridges as "bullets"--inaccurate terminology is the least of his problems.
While we do not yet know all the details of what actually happened, it does sound as if, at best, the involved officers engaged in some very poor police work. Their "marksmanship," for example, was egregious, with some of the fifty rounds fired hitting houses and parked cars, and shattering a train station's window. Since no one was injured by the stray rounds, though, their inaccuracy is a much smaller problem than the shots that actually did hit their intended targets. Clearly, there needs to be a very close look taken at the justification (or lack thereof) for shooting in the first place.
Saletan, however, wants to concentrate on the magazine capacity (or "clip" capacity, in his vernacular) of the guns used:
How can you control a contagion of police overreaction? By controlling the crucial mechanism: guns. The key number in the Diallo case wasn't 41; it was 16. Two of the four officers accounted for 32 of the 41 bullets, because each of them emptied his weapon. NYPD rules "require that the officers carry nine millimeter semi-automatic pistols with 16 shots in the magazine and the first trigger pull being a conventional trigger pull and all subsequent trigger pulls being a hair trigger pull," one defense lawyer told the jury. That's why the officers fired so many shots so fast: Their guns, loaded with 64 rounds, "were all capable of being emptied in less than four seconds.The reason the NRA makes that argument is that it is absolutely, utterly correct.
Same thing this week. Thirty-one of the 50 bullets reportedly came from one officer's 16-round semiautomatic. One reload, two clips, total mayhem.
This is why Mayor David Dinkins and his police commissioners, including Ray Kelly, originally opposed giving cops semiautomatic weapons. In 1993, when they gave in, they put a 10-round limit on the clips. A year later, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his commissioner lifted the cap. They argued that cops shouldn't be outgunned and would handle the weapons responsibly. It's the same argument the National Rifle Association makes for the freedom to use firearms: Guns don't kill people; people kill people.
Mr. Bell's death resulted from one of the shots fired (the one that hit him in the neck). The shooting appears to have been wrong because it was wrong to shoot at all--not wrong to shoot that much.
The problem, William, isn't that the guns are too capable--it's that the officers responsible for it weren't capable enough.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
A few days ago, I talked about how upset the New York Times is about Senator Allen's bid to make Constitutional rights apply even in national parks (gasp!). This time, it's the Gun Guys who are whining like spoiled 2-year-olds about the idea.
Apparently, the part that really bothers the Gun Guys is that the bill makes no distinction between parks in remote wilderness areas, and those in areas with a more urban character (why that should make a difference, they don't really say).
And if that’s not enough, this particular piece of legislation is just plain badly written. For that reason, we’re guessing the NRA wrote it– they just want to allow their guns anywhere, and didn’t even bother making a distinction between urban and rural national parks. [Ed. note: here, the Gun Guys quote the article linked to in their post]Again, what's the problem? Concealed firearms are legal (for permit holders) right in downtown Philly--why should the situation change at a park in the Philadelphia area?The law does not distinguish between National Park Service properties that are urban in nature (Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia) or remote wilderness (Denali National Park in Alaska).
If it were up to the Gun Guys and their ideological allies, even the police would be disarmed, and only the military would have weapons. Clearly, the Gun Guys hate the principles on which this great nation was founded.
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Once again, I'm going to discuss something that has already been very well covered over at War on Guns, because this clown's editorial (from the Chicago area--of course) is simply too outrageous to leave unchallenged.
A handgun is not some useful tool that offers its owner safety and piece of mind. If it were, a gun-toting old lady in Atlanta would have survived Thanksgiving.So, according to this pompous jackass, it's her fault that the police blew her away, because she had a gun and was prepared to use it. He devotes not a single word to point out that maybe just a teency portion of blame might be laid at the feet of the cops who killed her in a no-knock, plain clothes, kick-in-the-door raid, that was apparently on the wrong house (not to mention that these fine officers may very well have tried to cover up their lethal incompetence with lies).
Either 88 or 92 (depending on whether you believe the autopsy doctors or her family), the woman was armed, ready and apparently a decent shot. She pumped five bullets into the three undercover police officers with a warrant, who broke through her door looking for drugs. But the cops still gunned her down. Had she been without her precious gun, she’d no doubt be alive today.
After two paragraphs of blaming Ms. Johnston's death on her and her gun, instead of the people who killed her, he quickly changes gears and goes into a discussion about Joan Burbick's Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy (which my library does not carry, so I've not yet had a chance to read). Judging from Constable's editorial, the book is apparently about the fact that guns are not a panacea for all of society's problems (I'm not sure who supposedly has argued that they were, but that's another matter).
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
It looks as if Ohio will soon be taking a step in the right direction (maybe a couple steps). At the moment, Ohio is one of the few states in which individual municipalities can arbitarily impose gun laws that are more draconian than those of the state. The preemption bill mentioned in the above link would change that, making gun laws uniform across the state. This, of course, is as it should be. A person driving across the state with a firearm, and in compliance with every state law, should not be subject to legal trouble simply because he unknowingly drives into a town where the right to keep and bear arms is not held sacrosanct.
Such a person, for example, might drive into Columbus with his AR-15 in the trunk, not knowing that Columbus has imposed a ban on so-called "assault weapons." As another example of locally imposed, egregiously restrictive gun laws, some towns have banned license holders from carrying their firearms in public parks. Preemption would end both of these infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.
Another major improvement this law would bring about is the elimination of the requirement for holders of concealed carry permits to either lock their guns away while in the car, or to keep them holstered in plain sight. This is a ridiculous requirement that does nothing for anyone's safety. Eliminating this requirement would be a huge step forward for Ohio.
Every good thing comes with a cost, though. The bill would also apparently include a provision that would prohibit the issuance of a concealed carry permit to a person who decades ago had committed a crime which had since been expunged from his record. Currently, exceptions can be made in such cases. That is as it should be.
Another likely change for the worse is that a licensee who has had too much to drink would no longer be able to hand his gun to someone else (someone who is not impaired). How this change makes anyone safer has not been explained.
Still, preemption would be a net gain for rights in Ohio, and it's good to see that this has a good chance of passing. Let's hope that it does, and that Governor Taft has the good sense to sign it into law.
Monday, November 27, 2006
The New York Times ran a very disapproving editorial last week about Senator Allen's bill to repeal the current prohibition of concealed weapons in national parks. Not surprising, of course, given the NY Times' virulently rabid opposition to armed self-defense, but it's amusing to look at some of their "arguments."
Here's my favorite part:
America’s confusion about the Second Amendment is now nearly total. An amendment that ensures a collective right to bear arms has been misread in one legislature after another — often in the face of strong public disapproval — as a law guaranteeing an individual’s right to carry a weapon in public. And, in a perversion of monumental proportions, the battle to extend that right has largely succeeded in co-opting the language of the Civil Rights movement, so that depriving an American of the right to carry a gun in public sounds, to some, as offensive as stripping him of the right to vote.So there you have it--they acknowledge that most Americans, along with most of our legislators, recognize the Second Amendment as a guarantee of the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms--but we're all wrong (good thing we have the wise editors of the Times to straighten us out). As the NY Times explains, the Second Amendment is a "collective right"--which apparently means it's a right of the government, not the people (they don't explain what the "right of the people" part of the amendment is doing in there). Then, they go on to describe defense of the right to keep and bear arms, as a "perversion of monumental proportions." There's definitely some perverse confusion here, but it doesn't lie with those of us who treasure the Second Amendment along with the rest of our civil rights.
The editorial goes on to call the bill "an assault on public safety." How long will it be before the anti-gun extremists realize that this lie doesn't work? They've been trying that for almost 20 years (Florida started issuing concealed carry permits on a large scale in 1987). Every time concealed carry is introduced somewhere, we're bombarded with doom and gloom predictions of mass carnage and mayhem, and every time, it keeps not happening. Law abiding citizens of almost every state can now carry concealed firearms, and contrary to the anti-gun extremists' hysterical fear mongering, the streets continue to not run with blood as a result. But we're now supposed to believe that national parks are different from the rest of the country, in that concealed carry licensees--with an excellent record of responsibility, safety, and lawfulness everywhere else--will suddenly turn into blood thirsty killers if they are permitted to carry their guns into national parks.
Law abiding citizens with concealed firearms are indeed very dangerous . . . to rapists and muggers, and the like. The NY Times editors have made an interesting choice with regard to whom to protect.
Saturday, November 25, 2006
As soon as I read this article about a program in Alaska to teach 6th graders about gun safety, I knew the Gun Guys would chime in with their standard hysterical indignation. They didn't disappoint me. In fact, they call the idea "almost unthinkable" (if that idea is even close to "unthinkable," perhaps that says more about the Gun Guys' ability to think than it does about the idea):
. . . one Alaska school is doing the almost unthinkable: putting firearms in students’ hands.The idea behind such a program is to teach the kids basic safety principles, such as muzzle discipline, that guns are to always be considered loaded, etc. In a place like Alaska, where guns are an integral part of everyday life, it just makes sense to give kids some training about how to handle a gun safely.
The Gun Guys, of course, love to argue that there is no such thing as gun safety (another term, like gun rights, that they rarely use without quotation marks). To "prove" this point, they usually refer to accounts of trained, experienced gun handlers doing something stupid, and accidentally shooting themselves or someone else. What they don't mention is that by this "logic," everytime an experienced driver crashes, we have proof that cars are a deadly menace. Yes--guns can be unforgiving of carelessness or stupidity, but so can innumerable other things that people use. That is precisely why safety training is so vital.
Fear and ignorance are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is the currency in which the Gun Guys, and all the rest of the anti-gun extremists, conduct their business.
Friday, November 24, 2006
Many of the anti-gun extremists would like to believe that with the recent big gains made by the Democrats in the recent elections, lots of new gun restrictions are right around the corner. Sounds like wishful thinking on their part, to me. It also seems that in more honest moments, even the hardcore anti-gun bigots find themselves forced to acknowledge that reality. For example, Paul Helmke (Brady Bunch president) admits a new "assault weapons" ban is not likely:
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he has seen a list of the top 100 Democratic priorities; reinstating the now-expired ban on military-style assault weapons is "in the 90s." At least, he said, conservatives can't weaken gun-control laws.It looks as if the Democrats are finally starting to learn that restrictive gun laws are a losing proposition.
Many of the victorious Democrats won on decidedly pro-gun platforms. Senator-elect Jon Tester, for example, is about as pro-gun rights as one could ask for:
Tester said he opposed the Brady Bill - a federal law that requires a background check for everyone buying a handgun.The anti-gun thugs don't like to talk about that.
Tester said he would oppose any efforts to bring back bans on assault weapons.
Both men also said they favored doing away with a 1986-passed cap on the number of fully automatic weapons available for sale. At that time, Congress limited the number of fully automatic guns - guns that will fire as long as the trigger is pressed - to those in circulation in 1986. Since then, the price of these limited weapons has gone up. However, civilian police forces are exempt from the cap, and recently Congress allowed certain military contractors to be exempt from the 1986 cap, too.
Even some prominent members of anti-gun rights groups admit that the expired ban on so-called "assault weapons" accomplished nothing along the lines of its ostensible goals. Tom Diaz, of the Violence Policy Center:
"If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another" in "reducing death and injury."Civilian disarmament is moving from the realm of being a pet issue of the Democratic Party, to being the issue of an increasingly isolated radical fringe group of anti-gun extremists. The more stridently they scream, the more they expose how out of touch they are.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Just a short post--this isn't really a day for blogging.
I am pleased to see this good news. This is just a win/win idea--the NRA gets an infusion of new members, many of whom will likely decide to continue their membership after the first (free) year, and the troops get a bit of a token of appreciation for their courage, sacrifice, and back-breaking work.
If this had been offered back in the early 90's, I would have jumped on the offer in a heartbeat.
I bet the anti-gun extremists are going to hate it--that's just icing on the cake. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Frank Melton, Mayor of Jackson Mississippi, is what the anti-gun zealots might refer to as a "gun criminal," after his recent convictions for three gun offenses. My favorite anti-gun moonbats, the Gun Guys, mentioned this recently, as well.
What they don't mention is that Mayor Melton is also a hard core civilian disarmament extremist (who just happens to consider himself above lowly civilians), one of the very first mayors to sign on to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's war on the Bill of Rights. He has even explored the idea of abusing his power to the extent of shutting down gun shops and gun shows within the city limits. Until his little . . . indiscretions with guns came to light, he sounds as if he was just the kind of guy the anti-gun bigots tend to worship. I wonder if Bloomberg has decided to kick Melton off his list of anti-gun jihadist mayors yet.
Of course, the civilian disarmament crusade and hypocrisy have never been strangers. Remember the story of Annette "Flirty" Stevens, president of the Illinois chapter of the Million Mom March (they apparently use some pretty creative counting to get to a million, by the way), arrested for possession of a gun with the serial number filed off (and apparently with drugs, as well)? She also did not have a FOID (Firearm Owner's ID) card, meaning that possession of even an otherwise legal gun is strictly verboten in Illinois. Supposedly, it had belonged to her son (whose death had inspired her involvement in the civilian disarmament movement), and she "forgot" it was in the house. Didn't Steve Martin have a routine about trying to deflect the IRS by saying you simply "forgot" to pay your taxes? It was pretty funny when he did it, but pretty pathetic when "Flirty" actually tried a similar tack.
Then, of course, there's the hypocrisy of people like Senator Diane "turn them all in, Mr. and Mrs. America" Feinstein having a concealed carry permit, and Rosie O'Donell having armed bodyguards. I'm guessing Mayors Bloomberg and Daley don't go much of anywhere without armed escort, either.
This kind of hypocrisy shows that the push to ban guns is driven not by a desire to end violence, but to exert power and control over the populace.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
You just have to love this gem from the Gun Guys. In it, they talk about an incident in a Maryland shopping mall, in which a Secret Service agent tried to break up a fight (more a beating than a fight, really--a bunch of folks had all ganged up on one kid, and were thrashing the hell out of him) involving a bunch of high school aged kids. The agent, who was off duty and shopping with his family, tried to break up the fight.
To this point, the Gun Guys "have no issue" with the agent's attempt to stop the fight (how generous of them to show such forbearance). Then, however, one of the miscreants pulled a gun, and started shooting, wounding the agent. The agent, understandably, drew his own weapon and fired back. Well, I think it's understandable, anyway--the Gun Guys' ability to understand things is apparently somewhat different.
But he [the agent] did the wrong thing in pulling a firearm . . .So . . . let me get this straight--a Secret Service agent, with the superb pistol shooting skills that are a part of his job, is not supposed to fire back when some gangster wannabe clown shoots him (while shooting into a crowd), but is instead supposed to . . . just die, I guess. Keep in mind, according to this article, he didn't even draw until he was shot.
The agent was wounded. After he was shot, he drew his service handgun and returned fire, wounding the gunman.Sounds like pretty superb police work, to me.
The brave agent and the genius of a shooter were both hospitalized with wounds that were described as "not life threatening." A third person was shot in the leg, but the wound was superficial enough that he was treated and released that night. I think it is clear, to anyone but the Gun Guys, (these folks apparently agree with me) that this courageous Secret Service agent--and his gun--saved lives that night. Since he used a gun to do it, the Gun Guys don't like it.
Monday, November 20, 2006
This judicial abomination has already been well covered here, and mentioned here, but it's outrageous enough that I feel compelled to rail against it, as well.
The gist of it is that Brad Hines, a concealed carry licensee, shot a man in self-defense (his assailant survived). In a hearing, the district court judge saw that the case against Mr. Hines was lacking, and found no probable cause for charging him.
However, Peter Strickland,the Senior District Attorney, had other ideas (along with a real problem with citizens defending themselves, apparently), and pressed charges anyway, and managed to get a grand jury to agree that there was enough cause to bring the case to trial.
Upon hearing the "evidence," however, the jury took all of ten minutes to return a verdict of not guilty. Think about how flimsy a case would have to be for an entire jury to throw it out in ten minutes--it generally takes longer than that to get 12 people to agree on what kind of pizza to order.
Still, Mr. Hines' troubles weren't over. First, he had to listen to the pompous ass of a judge (Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons) deliver a disgustingly condescending lecture:
"Take that concealed weapon permit and turn it in to the Sheriff's Office - you don't need it."The incurable optimists among us might be hoping that Ammons meant that carrying the most effective means of self-defense is a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual, and thus not subject to licensing, meaning he objected to the idea of needing a "permit" to carry a firearm. Alas, that is not the case, as we find out with the judge's next line:
"If the gun is returned to you, go sell it. You don't need it."Remember, this is in the wake of an incident that showed exactly why Mr. Hines did need a gun. More importantly (and more alarmingly), what's this "if the gun is returned . . ." crap about--it's an innocent man's personal property--how can there be any question of not returning it?
That's where this story goes from annoying, to teeth-gnashingly outrageous. Apparently, North Carolina law gives the judge discretion regarding the fate of the firearm, despite the fact that its rightful owner was not found to have done anything wrong.
"In a hearing before a judge, the weapon can either be returned to the defendant or I can order the firearm turned over to the sheriff and destroyed," Judge Ammons said.It is probably not difficult to predict which course the judge chose,despite the arguments from Mr. Hines' attorney. The judge was helped to his decision by urging from the estimable Mr. Strickland, who wants the gun to get the death penalty,
"We have heard the evidence and Mr. Hines took a firearm into a situation late at night where he knew it might be used," Mr. Strickland said. "The state is concerned a similar incident might happen again."Imagine, carrying a gun where it might be used (gasp!)--apparently, we are only to carry a gun when and where we know we won't need them (wherever and whenever that is).
And that is what the good judge ordered.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Ammons ruled the firearm be turned over to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins and destroyed.So that's justice, Peter Strickland and Judge Jim Ammons style--the kangaroo court is now in session.
"If the sheriff decides, he may sell, trade or exchange the gun with a firearms dealer as allowed by North Carolina statutes," Judge Ammons said. "If there is no appeal within 30 days, the order will be carried out."
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Greenleaf, Idaho has gotten more national attention lately than one might expect of a sleepy little town. The attention is due to the fact that residents will be asked to keep firearms and ammunition in their homes as part of a new ordinance (an ordnance ordinance, so to speak). It's not mandatory, so those with religious or philosophical objections to being well equipped for self-defense will not be forced to abandon their defenselessness. Furthermore, gun ownership in Greenleaf is apparently already something around 80%, so even if gun ownership were mandatory, this ordinance would change little.
Still, the Gun Guys were scandalized when the ordinance was proposed, and they're whining even louder now that it has passed. They go so far as to quote a local pastor, who had initially opposed the idea, but I guess they "forgot" to mention that he eventually changed his position and voted for it (the pastor is himself a gun owner, hunter, and shooter).
In true anti-gun bigot tradition, the Gun Guys couldn't resist delivering one of their petty, immature little insults to the people of the town:
. . . or will probably just leave Greenleaf (as there are probably many more reasons than this law not to live there).
A rant from the gun rights deprivation lobby just wouldn't be complete without some pompous, contemptuous urban elitism, would it? I wonder how close they've been to Greenleaf, to have decided that they know enough about the place to be in a position to judge the quality of life there. Ah, well--sticks and stones . . . , as the saying goes.
I don't know how useful such a law will be, but if it upsets the gun haters, it sounds good to me.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Many times, when someone advocates infringing on gun rights, he or she claims to "support the Second Amendment" (which he or she always seems to equate to hunting--as if the framers of the Constitution would decide to devote 10% of the Bill of Rights to sport). Not Dan Carpenter, author of this column. In the very first sentence, he blames gun rights for the violence in the U.S. In fact, just like the Gun Guys, he puts gun rights in quotes, as if to imply that the entire concept is just some figment of freedom lovers' imaginations, and not one of the mighty pillars on which our liberty stands.
I wonder if Mr. Carpenter would be so quick to disparage other Constitutional rights. The First Amendment, perhaps? Probably not--he, after all, makes his living off that particular right. Then again, many enemies of gun rights seem to advocate silencing the NRA, the GOA, and other gun rights groups, so maybe the First Amendment is part of the problem, too. The Fourth? Maybe he'd be willing to give up that one, too--after all, to get rid of all those nasty, evil guns, the government is going to have to be able to search people and their homes without dealing with cumbersome details like "due process."
Really, maybe the entire Bill of Rights, and these outdated concepts like "liberty," and "privacy," and "personal freedom" all need to be given a long, hard look. So let's all give up our rights--it's for the children.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
I normally try to stick with issues of nationwide interest, but today I'm going to indulge my frustrations as a gun rights activist who lives in Illinois. Things are already bad enough here, being one of only two states with no provision for concealed carry; a state that requires a state issued permit for every gun purchase, and even every ammo purchase; a state with "home rule," allowing municipalities to impose even more insanely draconian restrictions than the state does; a state that, contrary to federal law, records every gun purchase in a permanent database (I still don't know how they get away with that); etc.
Now, to the glee of the Brady Bunch and the Gun Guys, Cook County is presuming to tell the entire state that it must ban so-called "assault weapons," along with .50 caliber rifles (presumably because .50 caliber rifles may, some day, actually be used to kill someone in the United States).
I live a long way from Cook County (thankfully--a more corrupt, crime ridden sewer of a county does not exist in Illinois), so I'm really not affected by what they do there, but the arrogance of their telling the entire state to accomodate their irrational phobias is unconscionable.
Keep your civilian disarmament laws to yourself, Cook County--let the rest of the state keep what's left in Illinois of the Bill of Rights.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Today's discussion will be only tangentially related to guns. Still, there is a relationship--Mayor Bloomberg doesn't like armed civilians, so he wants to ban guns; he doesn't like trans fats, so he wants to ban those; he hates cell phones ("Bloomberg, a former CEO who detests cell phone interruptions, once said he fantasizes about stomping repeatedly on the disruptive devices."), so now he's defending a ban on students having those in schools. When the point is brought up that it's very useful for kids to have a way to communicate with their parents on their way to and from school, his response is a shrug (why should he care?).
Notice a common thread? If he doesn't like something, his solution is to ban it. This is a guy who likes power. I guess he had to settle for the lowly office of mayor because the office of God-like Dictator for All of Eternity was unavailable.
There has been some discussion of the possibility of him attempting to expand his power, by leaving the mayor's office, and exchanging it for the White House. If that happens, and if he wins, this country is in for a world of hurt.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
The latest bleating from the Gun Guys refers to the fact that the U.S. is the world's biggest supplier of weapons. I have no reason to doubt that particular assertion, and whether or not that is a bad thing is beyond the scope of this blog. What is worthy of comment here is the fact that the Gun Guys are trying to paint a story of the U.S. selling handguns and rifles in enormous quantities all over the world:
A full half of the guns in the world, including all the weapons used in countries in conflict, came directly from the gun industry’s playground: the United States of America.
"All the weapons in countries in conflict" come from the U.S.? Bull--that's not only a lie, it's a stupid lie. Anyway, they go on to say that this is because the firearms industry has such a hold over the U.S. legislature that they force these foreign policy decisions. However, if one actually looks at the article to which the Gun Guys refer, it becomes apparent that the article is mostly about high tech weapons--fighter jets, missiles, helicopters, etc.--not firearms, which are decidedly low-tech, and made all over the world.
The United States, for instance, also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments . . .
The article mentions F-16's, warships, and the other weapons systems mentioned above, but never once mentions personal firearms.
The article does contend that economic concerns are part of what drives the U.S. to approve these deals, but not because of the "gun lobby's influence." The concern is that lawmakers whose districts are the homes of various high-tech weapons companies don't want the negative economic impact of major industries folding, and people losing their jobs. My guess is that their constituents don't want that either.
If the Gun Guys want to argue with U.S. foreign policy, that's fine--there are no doubt some good arguments to be made. Just don't go blaming our foreign policy on Colt, Ruger, or Smith & Wesson (and all the rest)--foreign policy ain't their gig.
Monday, November 13, 2006
It seems the British fall to pieces over a single round of .22 short ammunition. Some of the things said in the article are priceless:
The bullet, of Swiss origin, was still in its brass casing, complete with enough gunpowder for it to fire itself.So, the ammo (apparently, they're referring to more than just the "bullet") can fire itself? I guess that does sound kind of dangerous. Maybe it's just that sneaky Swiss ammo that does that--all the holes in the cheese had to come from somewhere, you know.
Even more bafflingly, this next part comes from a member of a gun club, and holder of one of Britain's rare firearms licenses:
Mr Khan said that if it had been struck hard enough or exposed to heat it could have gone off.I wonder if he has any idea how little potential there is for danger in the event of a round (particularly one as feeble as a .22 short) going off while not contained by a firearm's chamber and barrel.
"This sort of thing should not be lying around. It was live, primed and active," he said. "But rather me pick it up than a little kid.
"How can you feel safe when you are finding things like this on the street?"
The good news is that, apparently, the police intend to get to the bottom of this horrible danger:
The bullet has been examined at a Metropolitan Police laboratory and details about it kept for future reference.For all this lethality, the police response time doesn't seem all that impressive, though:
A police spokesman said: "Recovering firearms and ammunition is a priority for the police. We take the same view of ammunition as we do of a gun.
"If it goes bang, it is still lethal." [ed. note: that would explain all the firecracker deaths, I guess]
Police are treating the unattended ammunition as a crime. Mr Khan alerted them at 10.16am, and they arrived at his shop to pick up the bullet at 11.32am.An hour and sixteen minutes to respond to a "potentially lethal crime"? Sound a little like the Chicago PD, don't they?
By the way, National Ammo Week has started--let's try to get as many gun owners as possible to buy at least 100 rounds by Sunday--and really scare the Brits (Are these really the same people who personified the idea of the "stiff upper lip," while enduring the most brutal and relentless aerial bombardment ever seen up to that point? How can a society become so thoroughly wussified in 65 years?).
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Yesterday, I mentioned the hissy fit the Gun Guys were throwing over the idea of letting National Guard soldiers train with real ammo (I guess they figure that the troops should figure out how to shoot in the middle of battle).
Well, they're still throwing hissy fits--this time it's over a legally protected shoot on an established private shooting range. Apparently, all this anguish is over the noise (the sound of freedom, as I like to call it) of four hours of shooting on a Saturday late morning and early afternoon.
They quote a township official:
Township officials said they can’t stop the shooting.
"Our hands are tied by the law," Supervisor A.J. Boni said Wednesday.
Hands tied by the law, eh? Well boo hoo--the horrid injustice of requiring even mighty township officials to obey the laws. Perhaps I can be forgiven for my lack of sympathy--I imagine I'm just as sympathetic about their "problem" as they would be about my anger at the endless number of infringements that have been accumulating in our federal codes since 1934, on the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
By the way--if people are so worried about the gunfire sounds, perhaps lifting the ridiculous restrictions on suppressors (popularly referred to as "silencers") would be a good idea.
Friday, November 10, 2006
Taking a look at this piece by the Gun Guys, it seems they now fancy themselves protectors of the environment. Of course, they don't make a peep about global warming, or deforestation, or over fishing, or depleted ozone, or any of a vast number of other threats to the environment, real or imagined. They're only worry is lead from shooting ranges. I particularly like this sentence:
Say what you will about how "safe" the practice of shooting firearms is (not at all, if you ask us), but it’s clear that constantly inserting metal into the ground in that fashion is just plain trouble for the environment.So the problem is the lead going into the ground? Where do these geniuses think the lead came from in the first place? Apparently, lead in the ground is fine when it's already there, but pushing it out of the barrel of a gun transforms a heretofore harmless metal into a deadly toxin.
I acknowledge that precautions need to be taken to keep lead out of groundwater, but there are steps that can protect against that. To use the environmental argument as a diversion in an anti-gun agenda is contemptible. To deny troops the ability to train with real ammunition is to needlessly cost the lives of many of these brave men and women. That's unconscionable.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
Since Tuesday's elections, the anti-gun extremists have been fairly swooning with glee (at least that's the appearance they're putting up for public consumption). It seems that they would have us believe that Republicans have been the only thing standing between this country and insanely draconian gun laws. From the Brady Bunch to the VPC (Victim Producing Center, as I like to call them), to the Gun Guys, they seem to think Senator Feinstein's daydream of "Turn them all in, Mr. and Mrs. America," is right around the corner.
The Gun Guys have even gone so far as to imply that the (supposedly) impending departure of John Bolton (to whom they refer as "the NRA thug"--I get the feeling they don't like him) is a major blow to the NRA, and thus a major boon to the gun rights deprivation lobby. They base this...interesting idea on the fact that the U.S. opposed a U.N. resolution to violate gun rights worldwide. This, they seem to think, was the work of the NRA (because Bolton apparently consults with them, instead of the President, the Secretary of State, etc.). Definitely some odd ideas in those heads of theirs.
As I said yesterday, while the Republicans certainly lost big--I just don't see gun rights as having been set back much at all. Dave Kopel has an excellent article detailing why that is the case.
I'd like to propose a wager with the (currently giddy) anti-gun bigots--I'll bet enough cash for a Barrett .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle, that 2, 4, or more years down the line, I'll not only have all the guns I do now, but a few more, as well.
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
I realize that a significant majority of gun rights advocates are Republicans, and are probably somewhat dispirited now. Granted, last night was a rough night for the Republican Party. That does not mean that last night marks the beginning of the end of gun rights. One large reason the Democrats were able to make such large inroads into what had been Republican hegemony is that they have adopted a more moderate tone. One major component of that moderation is an abadonment of the extremist civilian disarmament policies that were a hallmark of the Clinton era (not that there aren't some powerful Democrats who are out to ban guns--I simply doubt there will be enough of them to ram really heinous legislation--like bans on so-called "assault weapons" through the House and Senate). "Gun control" is simply not the issue it was ten or fifteen years ago, even among most Democrats.
This could actually be the beginning of a more powerful pro-gun bloc within the Democratic legislature--that can only help gun rights, and this nation.
In other good news, Ron Paul kept his seat, so I will not have to burn my NRA card (I'm keeping the NRA on probation, though).
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Monday, November 06, 2006
When a concerned citizen approached Texas Ranger Charlie Miller about the cocked-and-locked 1911 Miller carried on his hip, asking "Isn't that dangerous?" Miller replied, "I wouldn't carry the son-of-a-bitch if it wasn't dangerous." I love that line--not because it's good for a chuckle (although it is that), but because it's right. A sidearm incapable of inflicting fairly significant damage (up to and including quickly fatal damage) would not be worth carrying.
Oddly, though, the fact that guns can wound or kill, and are thus "dangerous" (as are chainsaws, welding torches, and many other useful implements), is what upsets the anti-gun pantywaists so much. Their solution (when they lack the ambition to come out and lobby for what they really want--a complete ban on privately owned firearms) is to mandate various "safety features." Of course the "safety" to be had by building in these "features" comes at the direct expense of the gun's utility at what it's designed to do (quickly expel a projectile in exactly the direction the shooter intends it to go when he pulls the trigger), but this is fine with the anti-gun bigots--to them, a useless gun is the next best thing to no gun.
Hence we have proposals to require that guns be built with triggers too heavy to be pulled by small children (and thus much too heavy for any kind of accuracy--making guns more dangerous in many situations, because of the increased chance of stray rounds hitting people who don't need shootin'). Other proposals incude integrated trigger locks (thus adding more mechanical complexity for Murphy's Law to act on at the worst possible time). Probably the worst of these ideas is the proposed plan to develop so-called "smart gun" technology, that will use biometrics and/or other electronic means to render guns absolutely impossible to fire by anyone the gun isn't "progammed" for (the unreliability inherent to something like that should go without saying). There are also proposals (and beyond proposals, actual laws, in some jurisdictions) to limit the power of guns, to limit the number of cartridges they can hold, to limit how small they can be, etc.--all because we are to believe it is too dangerous to leave these things unregulated. Chicago has actually outlawed laser sighting devices--apparenly on the grounds that accuaracy is dangerous.
A gun that can't wound or kill is as useful as a car that can't move, a telephone on which calls can't be made, or an umbrella that cannot be exposed to moisture without being ruined. When the only way to save your life is to shoot the person who would end it, you'd better hope you have a gun, and that gun had better be "dangerous."
Saturday, November 04, 2006
I imagine I've made it pretty clear that I am a big believer in the NRA, and that I appreciate what the organization does to protect the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (the sad fact is that despite this right's Constitutionally guaranteed status, it still needs this protection). However, being an organization of human beings, the NRA is no more immune from making human errors than any other. My attention has recently been brought to just such a mistake on the NRA's part, and this one is a whopper.
In rating candidates for political office on their stances on gun rights, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) was given a "B" grade. His opponent, Shane Sklar (D) was given an "A" grade (neither candidate received the NRA's endorsement). On Sklar's website, he says some fairly encouraging things about his stance on gun rights, but without a record as a legislator (he has never been one), it's hard to know how his promises today would translate to lawmaking actions tomorrow. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has a long and glorious record of being an absolute lion in the fight for gun rights. In addition, contrast Sklar's statement,
I will not support any new laws that restrict the rights of law abiding gun owners. We need to enforce the laws on the books which already restrict gun sales and ownership to criminals and law-breakers,. . . with this one from Paul:
"I rise today as a firm believer in the Second Amendment and an opponent of all federal gun laws," Paul told lawmakers. "In fact, I have introduced legislation, the Second Amendment Restoration Act (H.R. 153), which repeals misguided federal gun-control laws such as the Brady Bill and the assault-weapons ban. I believe the Second Amendment is one of the foundations of our constitutional liberties."Sklar promises to oppose any new laws, and to push for enforcement of existing ones, while Paul has shown himself through his actions over a period of years to be a leader in the fight to actually repeal federal gun legislation. There's a real difference in the positions of the two, and it does not favor Sklar.
So why would the NRA spurn gun owners' best ally in Congress for a far lesser candidate? Because Paul voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. He did this despite his condemnation of the lawsuits this legislation is intended to stop. His reasoning is that Congress lacks the Constitutional authority to write tort laws. I think his reasoning could be debated, but there can be no doubt that his position is based on conviction, and on his reverence for the Constitution. Pretty tough to condemn a person who has that kind of moral courage.
The NRA has done so, though. This smacks of breathtaking pettiness. I urge all NRA members to let the NRA know this is unacceptable. Additionally, a donation to Paul's campaign would be money well spent.
We cannot afford to shove aside our best friend in Congress because he offended the pride of some people high in the NRA hierarchy.