Mission statement:

Armed and Safe is a gun rights advocacy blog, with the mission of debunking the "logic" of the enemies of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

I can be reached at 45superman@gmail.com.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45superman.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

A much better alternative to NICS

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.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Gun Guys show their true (hypocratic) colors

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

Maybe we should try alcohol control

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.

"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."
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 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

Fighting the scourge of . . . toy gun "violence"?

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

United States (and the BATFE) vs. Fincher (and the Constitution)

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

Merry Christmas

This isn't a day for blogging. Merry Christmas, and here's hoping you have something under the tree that has a trigger and a barrel.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A stab in the back from the Bush administration

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

Our favorite thugs do a little more stomping with their jackboots

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

The Brady Bunch joins the parade

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

There are more violent criminals out there---and some people want us to disarm

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

Some Canadian women learning the value of being armed

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

Still clueless

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?

Duty to die

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

A big week for gun rights

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

No more "one-gun-a-month" law in Jersey City!

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?

Now it's ammunition they're after (or at least bullets)

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 guess the Gun Guys probably admire gun laws in Britain

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.

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?
If broad statistics seem a bit dry and academic, try this charming story:

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

The Gun Guys and I agree about something!

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

Let freedom ring in Ohio!

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.

More insanity in Philadelphia

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

Philadelphia--still trying to treat sociological problems as a "gun problem"

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.

"The evidence suggests that 'stop and frisk' is the strategy to which homicide rates respond most immediately," Sherman said.
Philadelphia certainly has some real problems to clean up, but restrictive gun laws will do exactly ZERO toward that end.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

While we're at it, why don't we ban seat belts, too?

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

The tired old "collective right" argument is back again

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

More good news from Ohio

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

New activity in KT Ordnance case

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

Defending yourself and protecting your privacy

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

Ohio governor standing in the way of progress

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

Once again, blame the shooter(s), not the gun(s)

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.

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.
The reason the NRA makes that argument is that it is absolutely, utterly correct.

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.