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.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Anyone know any good recipes for crow?

. . . Because it seems that I'll be eating a big dish of it. Back on Oct. 2nd, I wrote very critically about a firearms demonstration given for the benefit of the jury in the case of a shooting that killed two people and wounded another.

The idea of busing the jurors to a gun range for a ninety second demonstration of someone shooting a semi-automatic AK-47 clone seemed utterly unnecessary to me for determining someone's guilt or innocence in the shooting. It seemed to me that the real purpose of such a demonstration was some kind of politically motivated crusade against so-called "assault weapons."

As it turns out, though, I was operating on incomplete information and (my own) incorrect assumptions. I became aware of that today, when Gary Eastridge, the Investigator who conducted the demonstration, was kind enough to send me an email explaining some facets of the case of which I was unaware. Here is an excerpt:

The demonstration was done to give the jury, most of which had no firearms experience, some way of relating to the testimony of the chaos involved in the shooting. The defendant had claimed that he suffered post traumatic stress syndrome and that he just accidentally fired 13 rounds into the victims vehicle. The demonstration showed the jury the steps involved to load and fire 13 rounds.
I had not realized that Simpson's (the defendant's) defense was that he had "accidentally" fired the thirteen shots that killed two people and wounded a third. I had assumed that he was claiming that it was not he who had fired the shots. A demonstration of the weapon itself, therefore, seemed superfluous (and struck my possibly overly suspicious mind as just a ploy to spread the irrational fear of "assault weapons"). On the other hand, a demonstration could be quite valuable in demonstrating the ridiculousness of a claim that the shooting was "accidental."

The bottom line is that I unfairly jumped all over the people behind the demonstration, without having taken the time to find out enough to be qualified to make such criticisms. Had I known more, I would have found little to quarrel with.

I was wrong, and I apologize.

NRA not willing to rule out supporting the enemy?

The Pistolero points out something that should be disturbing to all gun rights activists, about what the NRA is not saying about the 2008 presidential candidates. He notes that in the October issue of the NRA's America's First Freedom magazine, LaPierre warns of the undeniable threat to gun rights posed by a Clinton or Obama presidency. I doubt anyone on our side would dispute that, but what is troubling is that LaPierre seems to think the only threats worth guarding against are Democrats.

Now, all of those are certainly viable threats, of which we all should be ever mindful. But reading LaPierre's column, I noticed no mention of anyone on the Republican side. Which to me was a little bit off, because as you know, at least one candidate on the GOP side supports at least licensing and registration, and this candidate was one of the big-city mayors -- in fact, the ONLY Republican mayor -- to file suit against several firearm manufacturers for allegedly "flooding the streets with guns."
Folks, I'm not trying to deny that most of the avid advocates of citizen disarmament are Democrats, and I realize that all fifty-nine cosponsors of Carolyn "What's a barrel shroud" McCarthy's H.R. 1022 ("assault weapons" ban) are members of that party, but does that mean that all Republicans get a free pass? Are we to assume that any enemy of our enemy is an ally?

I certainly hope not, and I don't seem to be the only one. Jeff Knox makes a compelling case for "un-picking" some candidates--some of whom are Republicans.
Weeding out the Democrat side of the political garden is easy; all of the candidates are unrepentant gun-blamers and believers in limiting liberty except New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson who has a pretty good record on gun issues.

Weeding out noxious Republicans should be just as easy because the records are clear; Giuliani was an ardent gun control supporter as Mayor of New York; Romney advanced and signed harsh anti-gun legislation as Governor of Massachusetts; and McCain stabbed gunowners in the back by lending his name to anti-gun advertisements and pushing for restrictions on gun shows.
As Mr. Knox says, there is nothing wrong with the idea of withholding judgment, for the moment, on whom to support in the 2008 presidential race, but it's certainly not too early to eliminate some choices--designating some candidates as historical enemies of gun rights, and publicly stating that they will never be acceptable.

Also, if the message we send the Democrats is that nothing they do will ever get the pro-gun vote, then we have removed any incentive for them to be on our side. In fact, we are actually telling them that they might as well pander to the (far from insignificant) portion of their base that advocates citizen disarmament. Likewise, if the Republicans learn that all they need to do to get our vote is be less anti-freedom than the opposition (who, you remember, we are actively encouraging to be as anti-gun as possible), we have taken away their incentive to be any more than the most tepid of "allies."

If I were the suspicious type, I might suspect the NRA of deliberately leaving open the option of supporting Giuliani, or Romney, or McCain. I might see the NRA as being willing to set the bar for worthiness of its support no higher than "not as bad as Hillary" with regard to gun rights. Alright, alright--I'll be honest--I am the suspicious type, and that's exactly what I suspect the NRA is doing.

If the NRA fails to understand that "not as bad as Hillary" isn't going to cut it, and supports a Republican who is only marginally less bad, the NRA will be supporting the enemy. That's the kind of thing the Founding Fathers frowned on.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

And another thing . . .

When I blogged Sunday about Dennis Henigan's blatant re-writing of the Second Amendment (at least he didn't say "the right of the National Guard . . . "), I missed part of his hypocrisy. Luckily, David Codrea spotted it:

My favorite hypocritical quote:
It is not appropriate for the courts to edit the Constitution
...he says, after editing the Constitution.
Today, though, the hypocrisy and irony of something else from the website of Mr. Henigan's employers caught my attention.



Not a very flattering picture of Dennis, is it?

By the way, I just noticed that the Brady Bunch has helpfully provided a transcript of Henigan's edit of the Constitution (and his pompous admonishment of the illegitimacy of . . . editing the Constitution) [Update 11-29-2007: The Bradys have done a bit more editing, and removed that page from their website. For now, the cached version (courtesy of Days of Our Trailers) is available here. When that goes (I don't think cached web pages stick around forever), I have a screen capture of it here.]:
The Second Amendment is the only provision in our Bill of Rights that actually states its own purpose. It says a well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. And the Court has held, the Supreme Court has held, that that statement of purpose must be taken seriously and the right must be evaluated and interpreted in light of that purpose. And by ignoring that purpose the D.C. Circuit not only contradicted the Supreme Court but also years of precedent which establishes that it is not legitimate for courts to edit the Constitution. The courts must interpret the Constitution as it was written by the framers. That is what the D.C. Circuit did not do.
Hope you fix your combustible trousers problem soon, Dennis.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back door gun registry?

The plight of Red's Trading Post (under relentless assault from the BATFE, despite being "guilty" of nothing worse than occasional, trivial clerical errors), and many other gun dealers suffering the same fate (but few fighting back as courageously) may mean more to gun owners than simply the inconvenience of finding a gun shop nearby when so many are being forced to close. It certainly should mean something to any gun owner who believes that "registration leads to confiscation" (which has proved true far too often to be ignored).

As Ryan Horsley (who managaes Red's, and whose family opened it more than seventy years ago), points out, nearly 80% of the FFL holders in this country were closed in the period from 1994 to 2005.

What does that have to do with gun registration? The BATFE Form 4473 that must be filled out for every gun purchase from a licensed dealer must be kept on file (for twenty years) by the dealer. The dealer must also record all the information from every Form 4473 in his "bound book." This book must be kept for the entire time the dealer is in business (in other words, there is no twenty-year "shelf life" for this information). No government agency may keep the 4473's, or even copies of them--this is what is intended to protect gun owners from a gun registry (the BATFE can of course inspect the forms as part of an investigation, but cannot demand them en masse).

However, once a dealer closes, for any reason, he must surrender his "bound book" to the BATFE, giving them the records of every sale made by that dealer. That, obviously, is just the information that prohibition against a gun registry was intended to keep out of the government's grasping claws.

So, from 1994 to 2005, that's almost 200,000 bound books, and untold millions of transactions, that the BATFE stormtroopers have gotten their hands on. That in itself might be much of the motivation behind the BATFE's jihad against gun dealers.

Still think it's not really your problem when the BATFE goes after a gun shop?

Must-read at War on Guns

David Codrea's dismantling of Stanley Crouch's pusillanimous call for more "gun-control" should be considered required reading for anyone concerned with the attacks on the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

In it, David includes a link to his "Rights Watch" column from the May issue of Guns Magazine, in response to an earlier anti-rights piece by Crouch. If that's not enough, he also includes a letter he wrote to former Cleveland, OH mayor Michael White.

It's all inspired (and inspiring) writing. I am definitely glad David is one of the good guys--I wouldn't want to face him as opposition.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fifty-sixth county rejects 'gun supervision'

Once again, I have fallen behind the good news about the pro-rights movement sweeping the state of Illinois, county by county. Last time I talked about this, there were fifty-five counties that had adopted the resolution affirming the commitment to the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and condemning the Chicago-style attacks on it.

As of of last Wednesday, Tazewell County made it fifty-six (by a not-too-shabby 20-1 vote). As mentioned before, Jackson County will have a committee vote on it a week from Tuesday (Nov. 6th).

Our map, therefore, looks like this:
(click to enlarge)

Don't forget to check in with the Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution website for the most current updates.

It seems that our "gun supervision activists" are pursuing an agenda that lacks popular support (to put it mildly) over most of the state.

Forget something, Dennis?

A few weeks ago, I made a passing reference to a video clip of Brady Bunch legal director Dennis Henigan whining about the Parker v. DC decision, and something he did not say while reciting the Second Amendment. I have decided that it's worth a post of its own.

It happens about one minute into the following clip:



[Update 11-29-2007: In a bit of revisionist history, the Brady Bunch has pulled the page on which Henigan recites his version of the Second Amendment. The YouTube video is also no longer available. No problem--I suspected such tactics from them]:
video
Notice something missing? Yeah--me too.

Or, if you're in a hurry, you can click here for the short version.

Can't say I really blame him, though--if I were arguing for the interpretation of the Second Amendment as protecting some mythical "collective right," I'd try to gloss over that pesky "of the people" part, too.

Still, it seems a rather less than honorable way to debate.

Does anyone else smell burning pants?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

'Petey' pulls a 'Snuffy'

Those citizen disarmament advocates sure hate violence, don't they?

In comments at Snowflakes in Hell, Peter Hamm (Brady Bunch cheerleader) threatened to shoot SayUncle.

Father "Snuffy" Pfleger must be proud.

Some day, I hope to be a big enough thorn in the side of the citizen disarmament advocates that they consider me worthy of a death threat. It's good to have goals.

I don't care if Giuliani is 'conservative'--he sure as hell isn't for gun rights

Best laid plans--with a blog post about this WaPo silliness all planned out, I discovered that Nicki had beaten me to it--I think she takes unfair advantage of time zones ;-) . To add insult to injury, she ripped it much more thoroughly than my meager capabilities allow. Still, I'm going to toss my two cents (probably overpriced, at that) in.

Anyway, the WaPo writer, David Greenberg, argues that the popular perception that Giuliani leans rather to the left of the Republican base is incorrect.

What's left of the case for Rudy's liberalism relies on three prongs: guns, gay rights and abortion. But even those positions, seen in context, don't render Giuliani a liberal or a moderate so much as an occasional and tepid dissenter from the GOP line -- which, over the past quarter-century, has become increasingly right-wing.
Obviously, I don't write about gay rights or abortion. It's not that I don't have an opinion on those issues, just that in a blog about gun rights, I don't need to touch either of those powder kegs--so why bother?

So let's see what Greenberg has to say about Giuliani and guns.
Take gun control first. Some people demand that their candidate endorse the right to plunk down a wad of cash anywhere, anytime, for a submachine gun. But for most conservative voters, what matters is a "tough on crime" stance, and if any issue has defined Giuliani's career -- from his years as a prosecutor frog-marching corrupt bankers down Wall Street to his staunch support as mayor for trigger-happy cops -- it's his conservative posture on criminal justice. While liberals such as Michael S. Dukakis were thought to embrace gun control to conceal their distaste for tougher measures, Giuliani has always been known as an avenger.
I consider myself a pretty hardcore advocate for gun rights, but I have never demanded that a candidate "endorse the right to plunk down a wad of cash anywhere, anytime, for a submachine gun." I don't think it's reasonable to demand that a clothing store, for example, sell firearms (so much for "anywhere"). I would also not expect even a gun shop to sell me a gun except during business hours (so forget "anytime"). Actually, if we're dreaming here, I'd kind of like to dispense with the "wad of cash" requirement.

(Lame) jokes aside, though, Greenberg seems to be arguing that all a candidate needs to do in order to mollify gun rights advocates is to take a "tough on crime" stance. Where he got that idea is something of a mystery. Gun rights activism has very little to do with crime. If the crime rate were zero, the Second Amendment would continue to be absolutely vital in protecting our freedom. In other words, I'm not holding onto my guns because I fear criminals--I'm keeping them because I want the government to fear me. My guess is that Greenberg will never get that.

Moving away from Greenberg's opinion piece (but staying on Giuliani and guns), a fair amount of ink has been spilled recently in reference to Rudy's vow not to deny blind (and otherwise disabled) people the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. I've never pretended to hold any affection or admiration for Rudy, but I'll never call him stupid--this claim to support gun rights for blind people is a prime example of his cunning. If I were him, and trying to pander to gun rights activists, I, too, would concentrate on the ones who couldn't see the following picture:



But guess what, Rudy--we're not all blind.

Friday, October 26, 2007

More about Biden's 'Crime Control and Prevention Act of 2007'

I talked briefly yesterday about Senator Biden's attempt to resurrect the expired ban on "assault weapons." Information is still lacking, but there's a bit more now.

It will apparently be S. 2237 (text not yet available). According to this pdf file (on page 16), the "assault weapons" component of it will be a straight-up reprise of the '94 version:

TITLE VI—PREVENTING ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING OF FIREARMS
Subtitle A—Firearms Background Check Enhancement Act of 2007:
• Amends the Brady Act to require all firearm sellers at gun shows to perform their sales through a
federal firearm licensee so that all firearms purchasers must submit to federal background checks.
Also requires that the gun show organizer alert the Attorney General of the location of the gun
show at least 15 days in advance.
• No authorization.

Subtitle B—Assault Weapons Ban Renewal Act of 2007:
• In September 2004, the assault weapons ban on the manufacture and sale of 19 specific militarystyle
semi-automatic assault rifles and copycats expired. This bill simply renews that ban with a
straight reauthorization in order to keep military-style assault weapons and high capacity
ammunition clips off the street.
• No authorization.
By the way, I have no idea what "No authorization" means in this context--I'm guessing that it's not a reference to the fact that the Constitution grants the federal government absolutely no authority for such legislation--purveyors of this kind of filth tend to try to keep that sort of thing quiet.

One thing that might be worth keeping an eye on is what the Violence Policy Center will have to say about a word-for-word repeat of the old ban. It was VPC senior policy analyst Tom Diaz, you'll remember, who had this to say in an interview on National Public Radio (March 11, 2004--listen here):
If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another in terms of our objective, which is reducing death and injury and getting a particularly lethal class of firearms off the streets. So if it doesn't pass, it doesn't pass.
I dunno, Tom--maybe there has been a dramatic upsurge in bayonet crime since September, 1994.

Illinois State Police Department breaks the law to advance agenda

As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the Illinois State Police are trying to impose an arbitrary minimum age requirement for the issuance of a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card. A FOID, you may remember, is required in Illinois for purchasing, possessing, transporting, or using firearms or ammunition (the draconian tyranny of requiring the FOID in the first place is a discussion in itself). My post of a couple weeks ago included links to contact information for the legislative committee that has jurisdiction over these matters--Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR). The idea was to let JCAR know that this rule change does nothing to make Illinois safer, but only to subject Illinois residents to yet more regulation. I even expressed my gratitude that the ISP cannot implement this rule change unilaterally. I should have known . . .

It turns out that the Illinois State Police have decided to make an end-run around the entire legislative process, and do exactly what I thought they could not do (and which is illegal for them to do), and have stopped issuing FOID cards to qualified kids, because the law might change in the near future. Yep--the Illinois State Police Department is enforcing a law that is not on the books, but that the director ("Dirty Larry" Trent) wants to have passed.

Although adoption of such regulations is strictly within the purview of JCAR, an investigation conducted by the ISRA has revealed that Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent unilaterally established a minimum age for FOID applicants and began denying FOID cards to citizens less than 10 years of age as early as May 2007.

“Director Trent has taken it upon himself to nullify the authority of JCAR,” commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. “Last May, he issued a declaration to the FOID division staff that directed the denial of FOID cards to applicants less than 10 years of age. Since that time, the State Police have used this bogus age limit as justification to deny over 200 applications. Of course, Trent’s edict has not stopped the State Police from cashing application fee checks.”
I wish I could say that I was surprised, but this being Illinois, it's par for the course.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Senator Biden gets tough on . . . freedom

Although details aren't yet available (or at least I've not been able to find them), Biden's "2007 Biden Crime Bill" has been introduced. It includes both a reauthorization of the now-defunct (thankfully) 1994 "assault weapons" ban, and closure of the mythical "gun show loophole."

Stop Senseless Gun Violence: Renewing the Assault Weapons Ban and Closing the Gun Show Loophole. The Biden Crime Bill provides for a straight-forward reauthorization of the assault weapons ban that became law in 1994 and it closes the so-called gun show loophole by requiring all gun show sales submit to federal background checks, just like any store-based firearm sale.
Predictably, the Brady Bunch thinks it's a marvelous idea.
"Our country can't be tough on crime without being tough on guns. Many of our communities are under attack by thugs with assault weapons, and we must get these killing machines off our streets," Helmke said. "We are very grateful for Senator Biden's leadership in cracking down on crime and gun violence. The proposals should be welcome news to police leaders and families who are facing an onslaught of violent gun crimes."
If, by "killing machines," you mean the thugs, I agree with you completely, Paul. If, on the other hand, you mean the so-called "assault weapons," I suppose I agree that they shouldn't be left lying around on the streets--it can't be good for them to be run over by cars all the time. Somebody needs to pick up those guns and give them a good home--I'd be happy to, but I can't seem to find any on the streets around here.

Update: Forgot to mention the following part. Not sure about what it will mean for gun laws.
Update Current Law to Keep Up with Changing Technologies: The 2007 Biden Crime Bill also updates federal laws relating to child exploitation and violence against children, drug possession and trafficking, firearms, computer crimes and intellectual property and victims rights.
"Smart guns," maybe, or microstamping? No telling, at this point.

Due process? We don't need no steenking due process!

Louis Klarevas is worried--worried that people who might (or might not) be terrorists can buy guns. In his NY Daily News opinion piece, "Crack down on handguns--they're a tool of terror, too," he bleats that handguns are "one of the biggest terrorist threats to ordinary New Yorkers."

Yet America's strategy for keeping firearms out of the hands of terrorists is lax beyond belief. It's so lax, in fact, that today, people on the federal terrorist watch list are not prohibited from purchasing guns. Just think - a person on the watch list can be barred from getting on a plane, but he or she cannot be prevented from buying some weapons.
The gist of his message is that America needs to pass the Lautenberg/King S. 1237/H.R. 2074, which would give the Attorney General the power to arbitrarily bar anyone on the (grotesquely bloated) terrorist watch list (and no, by "grotesquely bloated," I don't mean everyone's favorite occupant of the list, Sen. Ted "Hero of Chappaquiddick" Kennedy) from buying firearms.

I have made no secret of my loathing for this bill (also here, here, and here ). To grant an official (who is not even elected by the people) the power to unilaterally deny an American citizen his Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, without a trial, without an indictment, without even an arrest, is to voluntarily surrender our liberties to the police state.

In making his case for the "danger" posed what by he sees as "inadequate" laws regulating handguns, Klarevas makes the following observation:
But as the Virginia Tech case illustrates, all one needs is an abundant amount of reload ammunition, a densely populated soft target, and the will to kill to produce dozens of deaths in just minutes.
What he neglects to mention is what makes a "soft target"--state mandated victim disarmament. Cho's murderous rampage faced no effective opposition because university policy prohibited his victims the means to resist. Terrorists bent on committing the atrocity of a small-arms massacre (if they choose such an inefficient method of killing in large numbers) will no doubt choose their targets with an eye for similarly helpless victims.

So I guess I do agree after all with Klarevas' assertion that our gun laws make us vulnerable to terrorists, but not in the way he argues. Klarevas claims to be concerned about terrorists with guns, but seems not to be bothered by the idea of the potential victims being disarmed.

We are frequently told that the terrorists "hate us for our freedoms." It seems that some would adopt a strategy of trying to appease them by surrendering those freedoms.

Update: War on Guns has more.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More hysteria from our 'gun supervision activist'

Nicki, at the Liberty Zone, has found the latest attempt by Illinois to become the most pathetically bed-wetting nanny state in the union. This most recent mewling comes from an individual who is apparently now to be referred to as a "gun supervision activist"--a term chosen because, I suppose, "shrieking, sniveling, enuretic, wanna-be tyrant" is a bit too awkward.

What has Illinois' aspiring nanny, Thom Mannard, of the Illinois Council to Render Citizens Defenseless Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence off his feed (and thus unable to enjoy his tofu-kiwi burgers) is the fact that (gasp!) Illinois has apparently failed to impose an arbitrary limit on the number of firearms that can be kept in a home.

However, I am concerned that it is legal, as Mr. Sonka correctly asserts, to own 600 guns and keep them in your house, without any recourse afforded to neighbors who might object.
Not true, Thom--the neighbors could move away to a place even less free than Illinois--I hear Myanmar (Burma) has "strong, effective 'gun-control' laws." Alternatively, the frightened neighbors could grow up, get a life, and mind their own damned business.
Clearly, no reasonable concerned citizen should argue about the right to hoard 600 guns when weighed against the issue of public safety posed by such firepower sitting in the middle of residential community. Not only are such a large number of firearms a burglar's dream; they pose multiple potential scenarios under which harm could come to local residents.
So now he presumes to tell us what we should or should not argue about--apparently attacking the Second Amendment isn't enough for him, and he wants to go after the First, as well.

Nicki's reply to him is vastly better than I could ever manage, so I'll turn it over to her:
Guess what, you panty wetting douchebag! If he's not likely to kill anyone with one gun, he's certainy not likely to kill anyone with 600 of them. A "concerned" citizen should ask himself if someone's private property is any of his business. Frankly, if paranoid losers like you didn't continuously work to "out" gun owners in the press, showing criminals exactly where they live, the "burglar's dream" would probably not turn into a nightmare for anyone. But in your selfish zeal to cuddle yourself in a cocoon of perceived safety, you are just out to screw anyone who is actually willing to take responsibility for theirs.
You want to ban the keeping of six hundred guns--fine. Mobilize your political power (you're going to have to expand it nationwide, I'm afraid), and get the Second Amendment changed:
"A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear up to five hundred ninety-nine arms shall not be infringed."
That should take care of it.

I'm sure we'll all be much safer, Thom.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Once again, VPC angry at Washington Redskins--for helping area youth

I didn't get around to this before the event actually happened, but I don't want to let it pass entirely uncommented--I might as well make it an annual tradition.

As was the case last year (and the year before), the VPC is upset about the Redskins' fund raising drive for the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation. Hmm--now why would that be? Does this charity organization raise money for nefarious purposes?

The mission of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation is to utilize the assets of the Washington Redskins and its corporate and community partners to make a positive and measurable impact on youth in the greater Washington, D.C. region in the areas of literacy, youth development, education, community service and health and wellness.
Yep--that sounds pretty evil, alright.

Just kidding--the VPC's problem isn't with the charity itself, but with the Redskins' choice of partners for the event. You see, this event is sponsored by the NRA, whom the VPC's Josh Sugarmann considers to be the embodiment of all evil.
If it's October, then it's time again for the annual spectacle of the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation cozying up to the organization leading the charge* to overturn the District of Columbia's gun laws: the National Rifle Association. On Oct. 16, the Redskins' foundation will hold its third annual Redskins Sporting Clays Challenge sponsored by NRA Sports. Since 2005, the Redskins have held the event -- despite organized protests by D.C. youth, negative media coverage and the event's obvious conflict with the stated goal of the foundation to "make a positive and measurable impact on youth in the greater Washington, D.C. region," including their "health and wellness."
Keep in mind that this will not raise money for the NRA, and in fact I would imagine the NRA is spending a considerable sum of money on this. In other words, the Redskins are not, as Sugarmann whines, "giving aid and comfort to an organization with political goals that would place D.C. youth at greater risk" (that "greater risk" being increased exposure to the Bill of Rights)--they are receiving the NRA's assistance.

What kind of contributions to charity has the VPC made for underprivileged D.C. youth? I haven't been able to find any. Of course, I'm not trying to be judgmental--the VPC (and other major citizen disarmament groups) seems to have fallen on hard times these days--charity starts at home--right, Josh?. Citizen disarmament agenda advancement not paying like it used to, Josh?

That's just too darned bad--it can't be easy to accept that people are no longer buying what you're selling.

*I wonder what the CATO Institute would have to say about Josh's claim that the NRA is "leading the charge" in bringing a bit of the Second Amendment to Washington D.C. Seems to me that the NRA has, at most, been bringing up the rear.

UPDATE: Look who stopped by:

(click to enlarge)

Don't be shy, Josh--stick around and chat!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Hmm . . .

I wonder why the Washington DC government would be interested in Fr. Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger.

(click to enlarge)

Curiouser and curiouser.

Now here's a new term for citizen disarmament advocate

New to me, anyway--and it's a subject on which I try to stay current. Anyway, the term is "gun supervision activist." "Gun supervision" sounds a bit less threatening (to those who don't feel threatened by having nanny state policies forced on them, anyway) than "gun control"--a term that Sarah Brady, Dianne Feinstein, Josh Sugarmann, et al. have made synonymous with outright bans (remember "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them -- Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in -- I would have done it"?).

To give credit where it's due, the inventor of the new term is Rob Nesvacil at Illinois Reason, and he applied it to Thom Mannard, current head cheerleader for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Rob and I have crossed (rhetorical) swords occasionally before. He doesn't specialize in gun issues, as I do, and there are probably some issues on which I would agree with him, but when he does talk about guns, it's always in favor of more draconian restrictions on . . . er, reasonable supervision of the right of the people that shall not be infringed.

Along with another pro-rights activist in Illinois, DWLawson, I have been debating with Mr. Nesvacil about both the value and the Constitutionality of gun legislation--the debate taking place in the comments section of the Illinois Reason post linked to above. As always, we have made zero progress in changing his views (and cannot even really get him to respond to many of our points), but the debate was more entertaining for me than, say, watching my poor, overmatched St. Louis Rams' courageous bid to outrace the Dolphins for the honor of Most Pathetic Team in the NFL.

Rob also refers to "Second Amendment literalists" (actually, it was "hyper 2A literalists")--that would be folks like me, I guess--but Rob apparently can't take credit for that expression (and DW gets the nod for "Second Amendment figurativists"--of which, I suppose, "gun supervision activists" would be a subset).

Anyway, this "gun supervision" thing sounds really great--maybe censorship advocates should start referring to themselves as "speech supervision activists"--that sounds much more innocuous, doesn't it? Don't worry, folks--we don't want to abridge your Constitutional rights--we just want to supervise them. Let freedom ring (from a well supervised bell, of course).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Every once in a while, justice is served

Way back in January, I wrote about Michael Mah, a resident of Oklahoma, and possessor of an Oklahoma-issued concealed carry permit. What prompted me to write about him was that while in Kansas he was present at an attempted armed robbery, and shot one of the suspects. Even this isn't especially earth-shattering, of course--that's the sort of bad-news-for-the-bad-guys/good-news-
for-the-good-guys thing that happens when the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is respected (well, sort of respected--the fact that any kind of permit was required indicates that the level of respect is still woefully inadequate).

What made it especially interesting to me was the fact that Mr. Mah's defensive shooting occurred on the very first day that Kansas started honoring Oklahoma concealed carry permits. I also worried that despite the fact that his permit was honored by Kansas at the time of the shooting, and despite the obvious fact that this was a clear-cut case of legitimate self-defense, that he still might face legal problems manufactured by the obviously anti-self-defense district attorney of the county in which the shooting occurred, Robert Hecht.

Why do I bring all this up again now? Because Mr. Mah was kind enough to get in touch with me recently, and provide me with some updates. First, the good news is that even Mr. Hecht was apparently unable to come up with grounds for prosecuting Mr. Mah. He did get some rather intimidating official visits and phone calls, but in the end, the obviously defensive nature of the shooting was enough to protect him from prosecution (or persecution, perhaps), and his firearm, hoster, and ammunition have been returned to him.

Interestingly, young Mr. Thug (whom Mr. Mah had shot, and who, Mr. Mah tells me, had been on the lam at the time of the robbery attempt) apparently (after healing up and escaping custody) came to Mr. Mah's house, looking for revenge. Mr. Mah was not home at the time, and Mr. Thug was caught and is now back in jail.

That might have been the best thing for Mr. Thug (his real name wasn't released, because he is a juvenile), as Mr. Mah is a personal safety/self-defense instructor (and Marine combat veteran)--although perhaps not the best thing for the gene pool.

Anyway, being a sucker for happy endings, I thought this update was worth a blog post.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Unpopularity of Chicago-style 'gun control' becoming increasingly obvious

Only a bit more than a week since my last update on the pro-freedom movement sweeping across Illinois, county by county, I have some more good news to report.

Actually, some of that good news had already happened by the time of that last update, but I hadn't heard about it--Putnam County adopted the resolution back on Oct. 9th.

This past Thursday, Clark County joined with the fifty-four counties that had already publicly affirmed their commitment to the Constitution.

Tazewell County has put the resolution on the board agenda for a vote on October 31st. As mentioned previously, Jackson County will take a committee vote in early November (the 6th).

For those keeping score, of the 102 counties in Illinois, fifty-five have already adopted the resolution, two plan to vote on it soon, forty-four still need work . . . and then there's Cook County, which still wants to impose its failed, draconian "gun-control" (citizen disarmament) policies on the rest of the state.

The updated map thus looks like this:
(click to enlarge)

As always, the Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution website is an excellent resource for keeping up to date on this grassroots movement.

The citizen disarmament advocates stand on the wrong side of a fundamental civil rights issue, but we shall overcome.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Possession of dangerous knowledge?

A charter school student in Lakeland, Florida sparked quite a reaction when he wore body armor to school.

Newberry was arrested Oct. 6 after he went to school wearing a bulletproof vest over a T-shirt Oct. 3. An officer questioned him about the vest at the charter school, Life Skills Center, 407 E. Memorial Blvd.

Life Skills administrator Curtis Thomas said Newberry walked into a class of about two dozen students wearing the vest. A teacher told Thomas, who in turn told a school resource officer about the student's unusual attire.
OK--granted, that's a bit odd, but it's not a crime, and not dangerous in itself.

Still, the police were called, and apparently did not like what Newberry had to say.
"Newberry displayed a great knowledge of assault weapons, police body armor, and knowledge of defeating body armor for the purpose of killing human beings," an officer said in a police report.
Are we to understand that merely knowing about firearms and body armor is enough to cast suspicion on us? Perhaps the authorities should subpoena the Guns and Ammo subscription list--any regular reader of such literature must be up to no good.
The officer wrote that he "... believes Newberry is training and arming himself for some future illegal event."
Well that explains the arrest--if an officer believes that someone is acquiring skills, knowledge, and equipment that may be used "for some future illegal event," he needs to be locked up--and don't bother me with talk of "Bill of Rights" crap.

The actual arrest (and suspension from school) was apparently triggered by the fact that when searching his car, the police found an empty canister of a "tear gas-like" substance.
When Shawn Newberry consented to a search of his car, police charged him after they found a can of Clear Out, a nonlethal tear gas-like spray. Newberry was suspended from school.

Jessie Newberry explained that the Clear Out bottle was empty and his son kept it for protection during his delivery job at Pizza Hut on routes in bad neighborhoods.
I am not familiar with Florida law regarding tear gas (and the like), but mere possession of it (or in this case, possession of a canister that no longer contains it) seems rather non-threatening.

It was then that Newberry revealed his possession of "assault knowledge."
After the search, more red flags were raised when Newberry talked about bulletproof vests with officers questioning him, police records state.

"Newberry explained ... that the only way to defeat the body armor is with a head shot or shooting someone's legs hitting the arterial vein so that they would 'bleed out.'"

Officers said in documents they thought it was unusual that Newberry would talk about killing people "in such a calculated way" with three officers present.
The car apparently also contained a piece of paper with "10-19" written on it. Scary stuff (I guess).

The arrest led to a search of his home that turned up firearms, ammunition (both of which were acquired legally, apparently), a small amount of marijuana, and a video camera with footage of Newberry and others doing some target practice. Obviously, the marijuana is illegal, and the target practice included a newspaper box (which apparently wasn't his), so it does seem that Newberry has broken some laws (he has been charged with "armed trespassing, grand theft for stealing the box and criminal mischief for damaging the box."). Not particularly monstrous crimes, it would seem.
He is in the Polk County Jail in lieu of $605,000 bail.
Rather a lot, don't you think?

The owner of the shop where Newberry bought his first AK-47 clone was also interviewed for the article.
An LPD officer in the store when Newberry purchased the gun asked him why he was buying it. Newberry could not provide a good reason, Dunn [the shop owner] said.

"Right about that time interest peaked in him," Dunn said.
Well of course interest peaked in him--if you can't provide a curious "only one" with a good reason for buying a gun (especially a politically incorrect one like a semi-auto copy of an AK-47), you need to be watched.

Luckily, Big Brother seems to be on top of it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Vietnam veteran subjected to outrageous injustice

First, although this is about a veteran being denied, for psychological reasons, his Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, it is not about H.R. 2640. I am passionately, vehemently opposed to the so-called NICS "Improvement" Act, but this brave man faces the same egregious treatment whether H.R. 2640 passes, or not.

You see, this man, who fought for our nation, who watched innumerable friends die for it, who suffered for it in ways that lesser men (myself, for example) will never comprehend, shares the disability from which I suffer. No--he's not paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair (as far as I know), but he is an Illinois resident. As anyone familiar with Illinois gun laws should know, this is a horrid affliction.

One of the symptoms of this condition is the state mandated requirement for a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card to purchase or possess firearms and/or ammunition. The application for the FOID contains the following question:

In the past 5 years, have you been a patient in any medical facility or part of any medical facility used primarily for the care or treatment of persons for mental illness?
When his FOID next comes up for renewal, he will have to answer "Yes" to that question (on pain of prison time). This is because he has sought treatment at a Veteran's Administration hospital for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He has no record of violence (or even threatening violence), and has not shown indications of suicidal tendencies. He sought medical help from the VA because he does suffer from nightmares, insomnia, and some depression.

That is enough to deny him a FOID. Because the horrors he witnessed still trouble him, he will be denied the means to defend his life. Because he sought treatment for suffering he endured (and still endures) on behalf of this country, Illinois law mandates that he be thrown upon the tender mercies of any thug who means him harm.

What message does this send to war veterans in Illinois whose souls are scarred by the horrors they have witnessed? Deal with it yourself, or be disarmed. It says that the Veteran's Administration is in league with the Illinois State Police to either deny you the care you are owed, or to rob you of your Constitutional rights.

This is an outrage. This is disgusting. This is evil. This is Illinois.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Why this citizen disarmament advocating, tyranny enabling, bed-wetting hysteria is a good thing

Oldsmoblogger does an excellent job of dismantling Elizabeth Sullivan's (Cleveland Plain Dealer) column, "Want safer schools? Update gun laws; it's been 800 years." (also see War on Guns, for a quicker, but equally biting, treatment).

Sullivan's argument, as best I can decipher, is that the Second Amendment's guarantee of the right to keep and bear arms is based on 12th century English common law . . . and is therefore silly in our enlightened age. Apparently (who knew?), fundamental human rights go bad after a certain length of time. Evidently, modernity has rendered liberty obsolete. My, ain't progress wonderful?

Rather than trying to repeat the work that Oldsmoblogger and War on Guns have already done--better than I'll ever manage--in rebutting Sullivan's call to join our more enlightened, modern cousins in disarming the citizenry, I'll urge folks to check out WoG and Oldsmoblogger--it's definitely worth the time. In the meantime, I submit that Sullivan's attack on the Second Amendment is a good thing for us.

Why? Because she attacks the Second Amendment, instead of trying to twist it into what it clearly isn't--a meaningless affirmation of a mythical "collective right." The "collective right" interpretation has been a staple of the citizen disarmament movement for years now, and is starting to show some severe cracks. Those cracks have been there all along, of course, but until fairly recently, the citizen disarmament lobby has managed to ignore them.

In the "collective right" interpretation of the Second Amendment, the "well regulated militia" part of the amendment reigns supreme (conveniently ignoring that it's "the right of the people that "shall not be infringed," not "the right of the militia"--as a prime example, check out this Brady Bunch video clip, in which Brady Bunch legal director Dennis Henigan recites the Second Amendment--except that he forgets, I guess, the part about "of the people"). In this interpretation, the Second Amendment protects a right of the states (and only the states) to maintain arms, for defense against an overreaching federal government. Furthermore, the function of the state militia is now served by the National Guard (meaning, apparently, that the Second Amendment exists to protect the right to arm soldiers--something that would seem to not need such explicit Constitutional protection).

Over a year ago, I talked about what I see as one of the biggest problems with that argument. In the 1990 Supreme Court case Perpich v. Department of Defense, Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich sued the Department of Defense for mobilizing the Minnesota National Guard without his consent (or that of the state legislature) for operations outside the state. Perpich lost his case, because the Supreme Court ruled that the National Guard is not a "state militia," and is instead part of the U.S. Army Reserve system--in other words, part of the federally controlled military. If the Second Amendment is intended to provide the means for states to protect themselves from the federal government, to argue that it serves this function by arming troops under federal authority is clearly not going to work.

I do not claim that it was the above that convinced Sullivan (and others) to admit that the Second Amendment means what it says, rather than what the citizen disarmers wish it said (a fair amount of recent legal scholarship has been building that case, and Parker/Heller v. DC has brought a lot of attention to the Second Amendment's meaning). Whatever the reason for this change in strategy, if it signals that the rhetorical gymnastics of arguing the "collective right" myth have become too exhausing to sustain, our position has gotten considerably stronger.

Don't like that the Second Amendment provides Constitutional protection for the right to keep and bear arms--then remove it, if you can (by the way, the fundamental human right that it protects will still be there--and there's nothing that will remove it). We'll be waiting, armed and free--and safe ;-) .

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

In the end, even this guy gets it right

I didn't really know what I would be seeing when I started reading Oregon Daily Emerald columnist Matt Petryni's "Protect gun rights... but not for the reasons you expect." He starts by saying that his politics have a distinct leftward tilt (and names some examples), but that he parts ways with many of his liberal brethren on the issue of "gun control" (citizen disarmament).

Perhaps many would find this to be a contradiction, but I do not. For the life of me, I cannot figure out what is "liberal" about a government monopoly on force. Does anyone think of Myanmar (Burma) as liberal?

The next sentence might surprise some:

Now don't get me wrong. While I'm a member of the NRA, I'm not "pro-gun."
Considering some of what we hear from the NRA these days, though, I don't find it to be particularly contradictory.
I think guns are stupid, and that they can and do kill people.
"Guns are stupid"? Certainly they don't perform very impressively on IQ tests, but I cannot imagine that they do any worse than any other inanimate objects (by the way, don't get me started again on "smart guns"). "Can and do kill people"? Why yes, they do--as do baseball bats, swimming pools, automobiles, bikini tops, and an infinite array of other things.

Then, he seems to reverse course again, and advocate against citizen disarmament.
But I do think the Second Amendment should be interpreted to mean normal people should carry guns.
I might quibble with some particulars--how am I to guess who would fit his definition of "normal people"--but he does seem to be generally on the side of an armed citizenry, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

And then, he loses me again.
The only positions less sensible, in my view, than those of the gun control left are those of the "pro-gun" right. The argument some supporters espouse regards the right to hunt and to protect our home from burglars, both of which, to me, are somewhat crazy. There aren't many good arguments out there for gun rights.
OK, I'm with him on his assertion that the Second Amendment was not included in the Bill of Rights to protect hunting (although I believe hunting does provide yet another--albeit subordinate--argument against gun bans). As to his assertion that guns are not a smart choice for dealing with home invaders, a great number of people who have defended their lives with guns in the home would disagree--strongly, I suspect. He doesn't bother to even touch on the possibility of using a gun defensively outside the home--a rather conspicuous omission.

He then devotes a paragraph each to expanding on why hunting does not constitute an adequate justification for the Second Amendment (a position with which I agree), and to why a gun for home defense is not a good idea (a position I find quite odd). Read those paragraphs if you wish--I don't really have much of anything more to say about them.

Then, he hits the jackpot.
So why keep them? If we look to our constitutional history, the answer is much more obvious than hunting, tradition and domestic protection. Like everything in the Bill of Rights, it is a safeguard against only one entity: the government. For me, this is the only even remotely logical reason to keep deadly weapons on the streets. It is important, to protect us from tyranny, that the politicians know their citizens are armed. Can we, the people, stop a professional army? Can we actually overthrow the government in some doomsday scenario? It's hard to say. But one thing's for certain: We stand a much better chance if we have guns. I think the founders realized this, and so, when they drafted the Second Amendment, they made sure to include the words "free state." In this, there's one other worthwhile benefit: protection. My guess is that it's harder to invade an armed country than an unarmed one, and national security is a reasonable justification for the right to be armed.
Now you're talking, Matt. Disparage hunting if you must, call guns "stupid" if you wish--and I'll even let you slide on your apparent assertion that it's wrong to keep guns in the house to provide defense against common thugs--the fact that you realize what the Second Amendment is about, and value it for that reason, is good enough for me. Hell, I'm even willing to forgive the endorsement in the last paragraph of mandated trigger locks and background checks--you got the important part--we can work on the rest.

By the way, once one acknowledges that the Second Amendment is essential to protect the ability to resist a tyrannical government, can one see strict, draconian regulation of machine guns and "non-sporting," large-bore firearms as anything less than tyranny enablement?

So Matt gets it--maybe he can help explain it to Ladd Everitt.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

So much statist mewling, so little time

Fisking something like this steaming pile of . . . "journalism" isn't difficult, but it's rather a lot of work, by virtue of the sheer volume of idiocy to debunk. Being lazy, I was not particularly looking forward to the endeavor. It was, therefore, with great appreciation that I saw that Nicki had already done the work, and done so vastly more effectively than I would have managed.

Just as I was thinking I was off the hook, though, I encountered another pro-tyranny screed, perhaps more abjectly, more contemptibly, more boot-lickingly in favor of the surrender of the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms than even the one that Nicki so efficiently dismantled. I realize, by the way, that "boot-lickingly" is not a real adverb, but consider that fact to be more an example of the limitations of the English language than an indication of my admittedly weak writing skills.

Since I hadn't noticed any other pro-rights bloggers dealing with it (they probably don't stoop to reading such things--I, however, have no such standards), I guess the task falls on my inadequate (and lazy) shoulders. This will be quick and dirty, and will lack the eloquence of the work of my betters, but what's a pro-gun rights Neanderthal to do?

When authorities thwarted 14-year-old Dillon Cossey’s planned massacre at Plymouth-Whitemarsh High School, the community of Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania—a forgettable Philadelphia suburb best known for its mall—shivered in terror upon realizing its own mortality.
"Shivered in terror," over a potential tragedy that had already been averted? I, for some reason, cannot stop thinking about Brave Sir Robin--it sounds as if he would have fit in fine in Plymouth Meeting, PA.
But now it seems that unspeakable tragedy was imminent.
"Unspeakable," eh? As evidenced by the utter silence about it, I suppose.
Along with a cache of pellet guns, swords, and grenades, the kid had a handgun, a rifle, and an assault rifle, all of which were bought for him by his mother
The kid did not have an "assault rifle," which is a rifle capable of fully-automatic fire, and which is thus extremely heavily regulated under a federal law that is over seventy years old. His other rifle (called simply a "rifle" by Mr. Manfred, apparently in order to distinguish it from the "assault rifle"--which, as just mentioned, is not an assault rifle) was a .22--capable of killing, certainly, but of more utility in a massacre of squirrels than in producing the kind of carnage from which the Brady Campaign tries to profit. As for the pellet guns and swords, are we "shivering in terror" over those, too?

Tony now gets to the heart of the matter:
Though the mother is obviously at fault for being crazy enough to buy her son these weapons, the larger issue is whether or not anyone should be able to buy guns in this country.
Ah--now I understand, since a parental skills-challenged woman bought her messed-up kid some weapons, including a few firearms, with which he planned to go on a rampage, the entire nation should be rendered defenseless (unable, I suppose, even to buy swords and pellet guns).
I can go to a store right now and buy an AK-47; is there not something incredibly disturbing about that?
Frankly, I would be more disturbed to think that you might reproduce, but that's probably just me.
Allowing people to run around with machine guns in order to maintain the integrity of the Bill of Rights is a sickening display of blind faith.
Again with the machine guns? What machine guns? The ones that since 1934 have been illegal for civilians to obtain without jumping through a draconian array of bureaucratic hoops? The ones that if built within the last twenty-one years, are unavailable to private citizens no matter what hoops they're willing to jump through?
The Second Amendment was drafted in the infancy of our nation and is not just inapplicable to our contemporary nation but detrimental to our contemporary nation.
I don't know if you've noticed, Tony, but quite a lot of the Constitution was drafted "in the infancy of our nation"--tyranny, and the threat of tyranny, existed then, requiring a free people to have at their disposal the means to resist it, and it exists now.
People aren’t keeping muskets in their cupboards in case the government comes and tries to take their land; they are stockpiling assault rifles so they can go out and murder dozens of little kids before anyone can even reach for their cell phone to call 911.
"Muskets in their cupboards"? Those must have been mighty big cupboards. I'm getting a little tired of pointing out that "assault rifles" are the almost exclusive province of the government, which I imagine is just how you like it, Tony (Ladd Everitt would be so proud). If you insist on using emotionally charged sensationalist terms to describe the firearms that so frighten you, at least be (nominally) accurate, and call them "assault weapons." I know quite a few people who own such guns, by the way, and own one myself. Oddly enough, I've never known anyone who has displayed any propensity for murdering little kids.
Our loyalty to the Constitution is killing thousands of Americans a year.
Our loyalty to the Constitution is what separates us from dictatorships, genius.

To Tony's credit, he at least does not try to divide gun owners against each other, pitting Second Amendment activists against those who would throw the meaningful part of the right to keep and bear arms under the bus, if only they could keep their hunting rifles and shotguns--he has decided to take the hunters on, as well.
And for those who want to keep guns legal so that they can fulfill some twisted fetish by murdering defenseless animals, I’m deeply sorry. I know that hunting is a popular hobby in this country but allowing people the pleasure of slaughtering animals at the expense of human lives is unacceptable.
I suppose the deer populations will limit themselves to sustainable levels (in the absence of useful numbers of predators) by a program of condom distribution, or something.

What would an attack on gun ownership be without an ad hominem attack? Fear not, here it is.
The delusional Neanderthals at the National Rifle Association should be charged as accomplices in every gun-related murder since 1871.
Tell me, is there an Somalian equivalent to the NRA, or is our own NRA somehow responsible for the killings in Darfour? By the way, the NRA didn't get seriously involved with gun politics until the 1970's.

I'm running out of time here, but you get the idea. For irony's sake, I do have to include one more particularly priceless line:
I’m all for individual liberty, but giving 300 million people the option to murder each other is not an inalienable right.
I guess it's only the police that should have "the option to murder," right, Tony? Police officers like Tyler Peterson, right, Tony? Certainly sounds like the position of someone who is "all for individual liberty."

I think Tony has earned the right to be recognized as a Hero of the Police State. Maybe Ladd Everitt will come up with an appropriately gaudy medal for him.

Ray of hope for an end to victim disarmament in Oregon?

A bit of good news--the Oregon school district that wants to continue to mandate that its schools be victim disarmament zones was rebuffed in its attempt to deny Shirley Katz her day in court.

After a day-long hearing, a judge said he would not dismiss her lawsuit against the school district.

Jackson County Circuit Judge G. Philip Arnold said he would issue a written opinion on Ms Katz's claim that Medford School District policy prohibiting teachers from carrying weapons on school grounds violated state law.
I find the opening of the article rather interesting.
As America reeled from a series of shootings and school massacre plots, Ms Katz won the first round of her legal bout for the right to carry her 9mm Glock pistol on to school grounds.
Personally, I find this demonstration of the reality of the threat of psychopaths in schools to be the best illustration of the utter evil of mandating helplessness, but why do I have the sneaky suspicion that the author of the article was trying to make an entirely different point?

I am pleased to see that the Second Amendment Foundation is supporting Ms. Katz. Interestingly enough, though, I cannot find any indication that the NRA is. Oh, never mind--that would apparently violate the NRA's principles:
First, we believe in absolutely gun-free, zero-tolerance, totally safe schools. That means no guns in America's schools, period ... with the rare exception of law enforcement officers or trained security personnel.
Yeah--that has been working beautifully--now if only you could get the psychos on board with the plan, Wayne.

Maybe the NRA can file a legal brief in support of the school district's position. Heck, maybe Wayne and Paul Helmke can write it together.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Light blogging today

Picking up a new gun (WAHOO!) and going to the range, then spending most of the day and evening with my sister and her family, so this is probably about it for today.

I should remind folks of something I mentioned awhile back--that the International Association of Chiefs of Police foundation dinner, featuring Rudy "Have I mentioned 9/11, recently?" Giuliani as the keynote speaker, is tomorrow.

I would dearly love to hear what he has to say to those passionate advocates of civilian disarmament, and compare it to what he said to the NRA, but I seriously doubt that speech will be made available to the public. If, by chance, someone does find it, please give me a shout, either through a comment here, or at 45superman@gmail.com.

Second Amendment Carnival XIII

As I mentioned a couple days ago, Free Constitution is having Second Amendment Carnival XIII today. As always, there's lots of great stuff there (plus a few things I wrote). Also as always, it is a great honor to be included among such company (but humbling, as well).

Ron Paul on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Not strictly gun politics, I realize, but since Paul is by far the most outspoken advocate of gun rights (and Constitutional rights in general) in the race, I figure it's not too much of a departure.

Anyway, I saw him tonight (last night, I guess) on the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," and he was superb (not that I'm surprised). The interview itself (by Judy Woodruff) was pretty well done, too, I thought. Definitely worth a read (or a listen, if you prefer).

He could always use a little help.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Have to shut down the blog . . .

. . . Because I don't have a license to express my views. What's that you say? I don't need a license to express myself? The Constitution guarantees my right to do so, thereby precluding the need for a license, and indeed, prohibiting the requirement for one?

But wait a minute--I was thinking that there was something else the Constitution guaranteed, some other fundamental human right. Something, in fact, that shall not be infringed--what could it be? Oh, yes--I think I have it. Something called the right to keep and bear arms--no, not bare arms, although I reserve the right to wear short sleeves when I want to.

But wait another minute--are there not myriad laws in this country that apply to the manufacture, sale, purchase, possession, storage, and bearing of arms? Do we not, as gun rights activists, call it a "victory" every time we manage to successfully persuade another state to allow us the privilege of paying for a license to bear arms (a rather conditional license, at that--subject to further restrictions)? Do we not pat ourselves on the back every time a state throws us a bone and loosens the restrictions on the exercise of this fundamental right?

It seems that we do all of those things, oddly enough. When you think about it, we have no room to complain about the civilian disarmament advocates' refusal to acknowledge our Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, when we ourselves insist on treating it as a privilege. Some of us bemoan the Wayne Finchers of the world, for "making us look bad," by not being "law-abiding gun owners." Some of us criticize those who would carry a firearm illegally, for the same reason. Some of us opine that gun shops under siege by the BATFE "have nothing to worry about," if they follow the BATFE's rules (all of them, despite their self-contradictory and ever-changing nature).

I am, despite my disdain for the idea of going to the bureaucrats, hat in hand, hoping for the privilege of carrying the means to defend myself, involved (to the extent my extremely limited abilities allow) with the fight to bring concealed carry to Illinois (I can talk the talk, but I still don't want to go to jail--I'm a hypocrite, but at least I can admit it). In arguing for concealed carry laws, it is common to point out that concealed carry licensees can be counted on to be responsible citizens, because the people who would pose a threat to society are unlikely to jump through the regulatory hoops required for such a license. While no doubt true, that's an argument for which I have little affection. I reject the idea that any unit of government is justified in putting up such hoops in the first place. I reject the idea that my right to bear arms (whether concealed or not) is in any way contingent on my somehow demonstrating, in advance, that I will never use them improperly. I utterly reject, in the final analysis, the notion that a fundamental human right can be subject to licensing.

I'll continue to fight to make gun laws less strict, but I may never shake the nagging feeling that in doing so, I am granting legitimacy to the existence of any gun laws--in effect, assisting in my own oppression (and in everyone else's).

So I guess the blog will stick around after all, because that right is not subject to licensing . . . yet.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Good news! Second Amendment Carnival is back (but you gotta hurry)

It's great to see that Stan is back to blogging regularly again, at Free Constitution. In fact, the next Second Amendment Carnival will be Saturday, Oct. 13 (two days from now).

So, gun politics bloggers, get your submissions in.

Support for civillian disarmament dwindling

Well, take a look at this (you sure as heck won't hear it from the Brady Bunch and their ilk). The results of a Gallup poll, released today, show that the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence position, that "the government must have a monopoly on force," is far from mainstream.

PRINCETON, NJ -- The gap between the proportion of Americans advocating stricter gun laws and those in favor of maintaining or weakening existing gun laws -- once nearly 60 points in favor of stronger gun control, and registering 14 points a year ago -- is just four points in Gallup's latest poll. According to the Oct. 4-7, 2007, survey, 51% of Americans believe the laws governing the sale of firearms should be more strict. When combined, the percentages saying the laws should either be kept as they are or made less strict is nearly as high (47%).
By the way, even if there were overwhelming popular support for civilian disarmament, that would not make it right--you do not subject civil rights to a popular vote. Doing so is to subject society to the tyranny of the majority, whereby 51% of the population can vote to oppress the other 49%.

Still, the next time someone echoes one of the Brady Bunch's talking points, that "an overwhelming majority of Americans support more 'gun control,'" you can tell them where to stick it.

Illinois Pro-Second Amendment county resolution movement has HUGE couple of days

Wow--I turn my back for two days, and six counties adopt resolutions to reaffirm their support for the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (and condemn the Chicago area based attempts to quash that right). It's not easy to keep up, but I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, the resolution passed in in Montgomery, Coles, Jo Daviess, Washington, and Cumberland Counties (bringing the total number to fifty-one--half the counties in the state). Yesterday, Edgar and Williamson Counties got on board. In addition, Clark County has scheduled a full county board vote on the resolution for next Thursday (Oct. 18th), and Jackson County board committee will take a look at it in early November. As always, for the most current information, go to the Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution website.

Here is the current map:
(click to enlarge)

As I said Tuesday, despite the season, it's starting to look like springtime for gun rights in Illinois (and the winter of discontent for the civilian disarmament advocates?).

I guess expressing 'outrage' over this mass shooting doesn't fit with the agenda

David Hardy's Of Arms and the Law and Sebastian's Snowflakes in Hell have pointed out something interesting about what is not happening in the wake of the massacre in Crandon, Wisconsin. The country's major civilian disarmament (aka "gun control") groups have not had a word to say about our country's most recent shooting massacre.

This seems, at first glance, rather surprising. As Mr. Hardy points out, the Brady Campaign, for example, has been quick to jump on shootings in which the death toll was significantly smaller. The fact that the killings in Wisconsin were committed with an AR-15 (the dreaded, so-called "assault weapon") makes the silence all the more deafening--the push to ban "assault weapons" is the Violence Policy Center's bread and butter, I thought (didn't their founder and executive director, Josh Sugarmann, invent the "assault weapon" terminology?).

Immediately after the Virginia Tech killings, and lasting for months afterward, the Brady Campaign website prominently featured this expression of "outrage":

(click to enlarge)

Now, a rampage ends with seven dead, most of them teenagers (one as young as fourteen), and they can't even muster a bit of annoyance? They're not even a trifle miffed? What is different about this mass shooting that makes it so much more tolerable?

Could the reason for their apparent willingness to tolerate this shooting be that the killer was a law enforcement officer? Could it be that murders committed by agents of the government are less outrageous than those committed by private citizens? Could it be that bringing attention to the carnage wrought by an armed police officer is incompatible with an agenda of citizen disarmament?

With at least one of the so-called "gun control" groups, the silence should not be surprising--the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has already gone on record as saying that "the government must have a monopoly on force" (more here).

Dictators throughout the world, and throughout history, would certainly agree with the CSGV about that. Interesting choice of ideological allies, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Educating an 'Only One'

Yesterday, I wrote (somewhat intemperately, one could argue) about Marion County, Illinois Sheriff Wolenhaupt, and his opposition to the idea of "average Joes" being permitted to carry concealed firearms.

Today I would like to present (with permission) a letter written to him by a hard-working Illinois gun rights activist, in response to the sheriff's statements.

Dear Sheriff Wolenhaupt,

You are quoted in your local newspaper as saying, "The right to carry concealed weapons by the 'average Joe' - I'm not ready for that,". Well Sheriff, get ready for this; you had better not vacation outside of the state of Illinois any longer, because the “average joes” in 48 other states do in fact carry concealed weapons. I for one, am offended by your remarks. I am an “average joe” and I have an out-of-state permit to carry. Now fear not, it is absolutely worthless here in my home state, but I do use it while traveling out of state. Let me tell you about my cats. We had them declawed when they were kittens, but they are “house cats” and we provide continuous 24 hour protection for them and do not allow them outside where they may encounter trouble. Are you willing to provide ’round the clock security for us “average joes” that have been declawed by the state? I am assuming your answer would be no. I suppose you have not thought about the “average jane” who could have prevented the rape and murder, would she have been permitted to carry. I don’t think anyone’s life should be put at risk because of how some other individual might “feel” about it. Furthermore, in the article, you speak as if only police are worthy of having the means to defend themselves. This smacks of elitism. As sheriff, you above everyone else should want the best means of protection available to your constituents should they choose to implement it. They entrusted you enough to elect you as sheriff, I think it only fitting that you trust them and stand up and demand that their right to self defense be restored! In closing, I ask that you think about this quote from Thomas Jefferson, one of our most notable Founding Fathers…"Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man."


Sincerely,


xxxxxxxxx
Could not have said it better myself.

The sheriff, quite simply, is wrong in not trusting "average Joes" with the means to defend themselves. Being wrong is no disgrace--if it were, there would be no one more disgraced than I. The disgrace comes from being unable to retreat from a wrongheaded position, even in the face of irrefutable evidence that one's original position is, indeed, wrong. Letters like the one above provide the kind of irrefutable evidence to which I refer. I hope Sheriff Wolenhaupt gets enough such letters to improve his understanding.

He can be contacted, by the way, here:

Marion County
Sheriff's Office
204 N Washington St
Salem, Illinois 62881
(618)548-2141

UPDATE: According to the Marion County Clerk, Sheriff Wolenhaupt has submitted a letter to the county board stating that he has reconsidered his position, and asking that the resolution be placed back on the agenda. I commend the sheriff for his willingness to see reason, and now have some hope that he will reexamine the issue of concealed carry for us "regular Joes," with the same openness of mind.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

'Only One' blocks progress of pro-Second Amendment resolution in Illinois

Although the Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution website is the best place to go for updates on the resolution that more and more Illinois counties have adopted in support of the right to keep and bear arms (and in condemnation of the Chicago area based attempts to quash that right), I have tried to keep Armed and Safe fairly current with new developments (most recently here).

Today's news is about a set-back. Marion County, at the request of the sheriff, took consideration of the resolution off the agenda for October. It seems the sheriff (Sheriff Wolenhaupt), in the finest tradition of "Only Ones," is not comfortable with the idea of committing to a public resolution for support of the Constitution.

Wolenhaupt also informed the board he recently received a letter from an organization called the "Illinois Pro Second Amendment," asking for the county to pass a resolution acknowledging the right to bear arms.

"I don't think it's necessary to bolster what's already in the constitution. I don't think it can be said any stronger than the constitution," said Wolenhaupt.
Hmm--have you mentioned that to Governor Blagojevich, and various members of the Illinois Politburo legislature, who seem to think the Second Amendment is null and void in Illinois? It gets worse from there.
Wolenhaupt added he has been reluctant to get involved with the weapon activist groups because he feels many of them are asking for too much.
Standing up for the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is "asking for too much," eh? You had better hope we don't get tired of asking, Sheriff.
He feels that supporting such a resolution may be just a step away from allowing concealed weapons.
Allowing concealed weapons? The horror! That would threaten to make us as free as the residents of forty-eight other states. Obviously, Illinoisans are not to be trusted with that much freedom.
"The right to carry concealed weapons by the 'average Joe' - I'm not ready for that," said Wolenhaupt.

Though he does not support allowing average citizens to carry concealed weapons, he is in favor of allowing retired police officers the option to carry a concealed weapon.

"Retired police officers have to qualify with their gun. They also deal with the elements necessary to carry one," he said.
Spoken like a true "Only One"--and one, apparently, who intends to remain an "Only One" even after leaving office (speaking of which, does anyone know when the office of Marion County Sheriff next comes up for election?).

In other (and better) news regarding the resolution, I never got around earlier to posting that Perry County has joined forty-five other Illinois counties in adopting the resolution, and Edgar County will consider it at the county board meeting tomorrow (Oct. 10th).

That brings the most current map to this:

(click to enlarge)

The leaves may be getting ready to change colors, but the map of Illinois just gets greener and greener--springtime for freedom?

UPDATE: Within minutes of putting this post up, I found out that Montgomery County has adopted the resolution, making forty-seven (and counting) pro-rights counties in the state--the map has been updated.

UPDATE 2: Also, I forgot to mention that by sometime tonight, three of the four counties shown in yellow (Coles, Jo Daviess, and Washington) are expected to vote on the resolution, with the fourth (Edgar) voting tomorrow. In other words, by sometime tomorrow, exactly half the counties in Illinois may have drawn a line in the sand (thanks, Days of Our Trailers).

Monday, October 08, 2007

Question for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial staff

So, folks, would you refer to Tyler Peterson's gun as an "assault weapon," or a "patrol rifle"?

An off-duty sheriff's deputy used a police-style AR-15 rifle to kill six people at an early-morning party in a small Wisconsin town, officials said Monday.
By the way, I have no idea what distinguishes a "police-style" AR-15 rifle from other AR-15's.

UPDATE: I notice that the South Florida Sun-Sentinel seems to have removed the op-ed piece that refers to "patrol rifles" from the archive, despite their usual practice being to keep articles freely available for thirty days (the article in question appeared on Sept. 22). Didn't like the attention, you suppose? But, for those who would like to see the article, all is not lost--for the moment it's available in Google's cache. If that goes (I'm not sure if it's kept around forever), I did a screen capture:

(click to enlarge)


I should mention that I sent the editorial board an email asking this question (and also why the original editorial was removed from the website so quickly). I have a hunch that if my email is the only one they get, it will be ignored--perhaps some folks will join me in this inquiry. Click on the title of this blog post for contact information.

Since gun 'buybacks' work so well . . .

I've made no secret of my contempt for gun "buybacks." I see them as worthless "feel good" measures, wasting money that could otherwise be used to ameliorate the root causes of crime. But, at least they provide a murderer with a chance to ditch the evidence of his crime, and make him a few bucks on the side.

It is therefore with much rolling of eyes that I read of a proposal to institute such a program on a national scale ("Norton Gun Buyback Bill Responds to National Rise in Gun Killings"--a bit less than halfway down the page).

As the District's handgun ban goes before the Supreme Court this month and gun control opponents and supporters are lining up on both sides, Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) introduced a bill to launch a nationwide gun buyback program that "offers a common sense, bi-partisan attempt to find a solution to gun violence that does not conflict with most stances on the controversial issue of gun control." The Nationwide Gun Buyback Act (NGBA) would provide $50 million in federal funds for local jurisdictions to run gun buyback programs like the successful programs that have been conducted by the District of Columbia and other big cities during periods of increasing gun violence. This program would allow people who desire to remove guns, including illegal weapons, from their homes to do so voluntarily without incurring criminal penalties for possession.
There are, obviously, a few problems in the above. The first being that, unless the staff of the Redding News Review has information to which the rest of us are not privy, there is no guarantee that the Supreme Court will choose to become involved with DC v. Heller. Another problem lies in the "common sense" part--these "buybacks" might be common, but there's nothing sensible about them. "Bi-partisan"? I suppose--if the two parties are the Democrats and the Socialists. "Attempt to find a solution . . . "? Well, I suppose it would be a solution to the problem of how to get rid of $50 million. I particularly enjoyed seeing " . . . progams like the successful programs that have been conducted by the District of Columbia and other big cities during periods of increasing gun violence." "Successful"? I suppose that depends on how "success" is defined. Maybe further reading will turn up a clue. . . . Ah--whaddya' know? I think I've found it:
Several years ago the District conducted a pilot buyback program using funds from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Long lines of residents desiring to turn in their guns prompted police to expand the program citywide. The city used almost $300,000, but later ran out of money, but did not run out of guns that could have been collected.
So that's what is meant by "success"--all the money being used. And people wonder how we've managed to accumulate $10 trillion in national debt.

I sincerely hope this silly legislation goes nowhere, but if it does somehow pass, I trust that some pro-rights groups will follow this example.