War on Guns makes an interesting observation about Ceasefire PA's Board of Directors page, and the name that is not on it, over a month after the individual's addition to the board.
Probably has nothing to do with this, and I don't suppose it likely that it has much to do with this, but it is curious.
Perhaps Ceasefire PA should consider an addition by subtraction.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/45super
Monday, December 31, 2007
War on Guns makes an interesting observation about Ceasefire PA's Board of Directors page, and the name that is not on it, over a month after the individual's addition to the board.
A BBC article today, "Deep divisions over US gun control," describes a "clash of cultures" that defines the gun rights vs. "gun-control" debate. The article points out that this debate has gained relevance in light of the District of Columbia v. Heller case pending in the Supreme Court. The specific way the article words the argument used by advocates of restrictive gun laws is a bit different from most I have so far encountered. In describing the debate over the meaning of the Second Amendment:
Some experts say it implies a collective right to defence through gun control while others say it guarantees individual freedom."Defence [using their British spelling] through gun control"? Meaning, basically, defense via a mandate of defenselessness? I cannot help but have some serious doubts about the efficacy of such an approach, although I have to admit that, were the Department of Defense to implement such a methodology, budget deficits would cease rather quickly to be a problem.
Continuing with the "clash of cultures" theme:
"It's a clash of cultures," says constitutional law expert Professor Randy Barnett of the Georgetown University Law Center.Defense brought to us by government police departments? So police do have an obligation to defend us? So the Supreme Court's Gonzales v. Castle Rock decision, and countless similar decisions made by lower courts, are all wrong? Well that's a relief--although of small comfort, I imagine, to the brutally raped and/or beaten survivors of attacks that the police failed to prevent, or to the families of the slain.
"It's the culture of individual self-defence as a protection against crime versus the culture of collective defence brought to you by government police departments.
"On the one hand you have a culture of self-defence in which firearms enable us to protect ourselves. And on the other side, at least since the sixties, there has been a culture of using gun control to address the problem of violent crime.And that approach by "the other side" has worked swimmingly, has it not? Just look at Washington D.C. and Chicago since the sixties.
"People who favour this think it's absolutely essential there be controls on the rights of people to keep and bear arms or that people should be denied that right altogether in the interest of preventing crime."Yep, and if people think a fundamental human right of the individual should be denied, who are those stuffy old Framers of the Constitution to argue?
War on Guns discusses the same article, but focuses on a different aspect. It is, as always, compelling reading.
UPDATE: In a comment, I was (gently) taken to task by DW for coming across as being rather critical of Professor Randy Barnett (who was quoted in the article). That wasn't my intention, but in hindsight, it does kind of look that way. Professor Barnett was quoted in the article summarizing the position of the citizen disarmament advocates. In trying to criticize that position, I did not make it very clear that I was not criticizing Professor Barnett, but the position he summarized (but didn't endorse). My apologies.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I recently wrote about H.R. 4900, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007" (the text for which is now available). As I said then, this looks to be much needed legislation, worthy of our support.
As I also said then, though, one part of it doesn't particularly fill me with joy:
The relevant section of the bill is Sec. 202. I don't really see it as a big enough issue to warrant a lack of support for the bill, and I only bring it up again today because that provision jogged my memory of something I had seen in an article written during the lead-up to the 2006 elections. The part to which I refer is this:Allows transfer and possession of machineguns for use by federal security contractors. Additionally, H.R. 4900 provides for the transfer and possession of machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.That's a relief--I was terrified that Pokey Poke, and
the Hessians. . . er, Blackwater, et al. might have to get by with the same, paltry firepower to which we of the great unwashed are limited.
Both men also said they favored doing away with a 1986-passed cap on the number of fully automatic weapons available for sale. At that time, Congress limited the number of fully automatic guns - guns that will fire as long as the trigger is pressed - to those in circulation in 1986. Since then, the price of these limited weapons has gone up. However, civilian police forces are exempt from the cap, and recently Congress allowed certain military contractors to be exempt from the 1986 cap, too [my emphasis added].So it would seem that private security contractors already had a way around the Hughes Amendment. Try as I might, I have not been able to find any reference to legislation that would have done that, and it's something that interests me--one reason being to find out why there is apparently the perception of a need for more authorization for private military contractors to be exempt from the Hughes Amendment.
I assume, from that excerpt from the article, that the relevant legislation was passed last year (or at least in the 109th Congress). If anyone knows anything about it, I'd really appreciate hearing about it, either via comments, or by email to 45superman.gmail.com.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
As mentioned here and elsewhere, a particularly nasty, hateful, malignant bigot, calling himself "NRAFOUREVER," has been spreading his vile, venomous vitriol all over the internet.
More disturbing still is the apparent possibility that "NRAFOUREVER" may actually be a pseudonym used by Professor Alexander Tristan Riley, who has recently joined the Ceasefire PA board of directors.
Presumably (and certainly hopefully), Ceasefire PA would not wish to be associated with such a loathsome hatemonger as NRAFOUREVER.
I am therefore sending them this email, asking them to look into the situation. Perhaps others would care to join me? The email address is email@example.com.
Dear Ceasefire PA,
In the interests of full disclosure, I should start out by acknowledging that your organization and I stand on opposite sides on the issue of gun legislation. I am not writing to ask you to change your position--such a request would waste your time and mine.
This correspondence is instead intended to bring some civility and honor to a debate that would seem to be in danger of losing both.
It has come to my attention that Professor Alexander Tristan Riley has recently joined your board of directors
While no one would deny that Professor Riley is an outspoken, dedicated advocate of restrictive gun laws, I cannot help but question the wisdom of appointing such a divisive, hyper-partisan individual to such a position. As pointed out here, his "debating" technique would seem to consist largely of screaming insults at whomever has the temerity to disagree with him. He, in fact, recently had a blog, titled, charmingly enough, "Mike S. Adams is Vermin" (from which all the previous text has recently been removed, but the cached version of which can--for now, anyway--still be seen here) devoted almost exclusively to calling Dr. Mike Adams, and anyone who dares support him, stupid (and in rather over-the-top fashion), and referring to them as "vermin."
Still, perhaps you believe his combative style is what you need, and that, of course, is your decision to make.
I would now like to bring your attention to a particularly disgusting individual, who calls himself "NRAFOUREVER." As cataloged here, the comments he posted on YouTube are truly reprehensible. Similarly, particularly vile comments posted by someone calling himself "NRAFOUREVER" have been left on certain gun rights advocacy blogs (here, here, and here, for example). The IP address from which those comments were posted was also the source of other vile comments left anonymously on various other gun rights advocacy blogs--the "Anonymous" commenter here, for example.
Finally, "NRAFOUREVER" briefly administered what was apparently intended to be a parody of gun rights blogs, called "Guns Makes Us Free." That blog, after being up for only a brief time in early to mid-December, is now gone, although a screen capture of one page from it can be seen here.
The reason I mention "NRAFOUREVER" is that the IP address from which he posted traces back to Lewisburg, PA, home of Bucknell University, where Professor Riley teaches--in fact, my fellow bloggers and I received several visits from Bucknell University, following the same visitor pathways favored by "NRAFOUREVER."
Finally, both the "Guns Makes Us Free" blog and the "Mike S. Adams is Vermin" blog were taken down on the same day (which happened to be around the time it was becoming clear that there was a great deal of suspicion of a link between the two).
I realize that any claim that "NRAFOUREVER" is actually a pseudonym for Professor Riley would be based on nothing more than circumstantial evidence. Still, it seems apparent that if Professor Riley is not responsible for the disgusting vitriol posted by "NRAFOUREVER," then someone has gone to some trouble to make it appear that he is.
Either way, someone is engaging in egregious, loathsome conduct, that serves only to make truly toxic the already rancorous debate about gun legislation. Such behavior is harmful not only to Ceasefire PA, which I admit would not particularly bother me, but to everyone earnestly engaged in the debate.
This is a matter for which there is an urgent need for investigation, and I urge Ceasefire PA to make some inquiries.
UPDATE: Come to think of it, that is curious.
Friday, December 28, 2007
This has already been well covered at War on Guns, SayUncle, Days of Our Trailers, Sharp as a Marble, and Snowflakes in Hell (Sharp as a Marble presents some especially compelling evidence), but I'm not willing to be left out of the fun, so here goes. [UPDATE: Walls of the City has more--The Real Gun Guys, as well.]
Several weeks ago, this blog and several others (all gun rights blogs) were plagued by an especially malignant little troll--sometimes using no name at all (prompting me to call him "Mr. Bravely Anonymous," which seemed to annoy him), and sometimes under the name "NRAFOUREVER." Here are the two comments he left here at Armed and Safe (I deleted them, which I would never do just to stifle an argument, but did so because of their extreme, vitriolic offensiveness)--the links only show a deleted post, but I archived them--for "posterity".
Yeah, "not much to add" is right.And exhibit B:
But do scoop your little pile of shit on to the steaming mountain of it your rifle-humping butt buddies have built.
I bet you came in your pants when the Assault Weapons Ban expired, didn't you? Just THINKING about getting a new assault rifle barrel up the poophole had you cream-cream-creaming your 1980s bleached jeans.
Your blog is shit, Bubba.
When are you going on YOUR mall rampage?
Yeah, "public safety" ain't all it's cracked up to be. After all, it's mostly just little dark-skinned kids dying in the inner cities anyway, heh, Herr Himmler?Both of these comments came from the following IP address: 188.8.131.52--which, if you look at what Sharp as a Marble has to say about this, is the same IP address from which "NRAFOUREVER" launched his invective.
You've done went and jammed your rifle too far up your ass, Jethro, and it's punctured that very small bunch of nerve cells in your head that, in later and more advanced primates, became a brain.
That IP address, by the way, traces back to Lewisburg, PA, home of Bucknell University, at which Professor Alexander Tristan Riley (recently appointed Ceasefire PA board member) teaches.
Alexander Tristan Riley recently ran a blog (but does no longer) dedicated solely to libeling Dr. Mike Adams--the blog was called Mike S. Adams is Vermin (catchy, isn't it?). That blog was recently scrubbed clean, but for now can still be found here. Basically, he started that blog on December 20th, and by the end of the day on the 21st, had 10 blog posts, totaling over twenty-two pages of vitriol aimed at Dr. Adams--that's what I mean by obsessive.
Now, back to "NRAFOUREVER." He had a YouTube account (go to the War on Guns link at the beginning of this post to read about that), and also ran a "parody" blog (the last page of which is cached--for now--here), called "Guns Makes Us Free." Interestingly, that blog was shut down on the same day that the "Mike S. Adams is Vermin" blog was. I don't want to say that he's running from the light like a cockroach, in order to maintain the kind of respectability one would hope Ceasefire PA would demand, but . . . (OK, maybe that is what I want to say).
Admittedly, my fellow gun rights bloggers and I have no proof that the disgustingly bigoted sentiments expressed by "NRAFOUREVER" can be traced back to Professor Riley. There's a saying, though: "If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck . . . "
Anyone who thinks Ceasefire PA ought to look more closely at the quackings of their recently acquired board member might drop them a line.
I've written a lot (here, here, here, and here) about S. 1237/H.R. 2074, the "Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2007"--and I've made little secret of my view of such legislation as being evil, and fascist to the core. The insanity of bestowing upon the Attorney General--an unelected official--the power to unilaterally strip a citizen of his Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms; without a conviction, without an indictment, without even criminal charges, is utterly stupefying.
The sponsor of H.R. 2074, by the way, is Representative Peter King (R-NY)--adviser to Rudy "Freedom is about authority" Giuliani, and holder of so much respect for the First Amendment that he thinks part of the danger posed to the U.S. by terrorists stems from the presence of "too many mosques" in the country (whatever one's thoughts are about Islam, that's a chilling thing to hear from a lawmaker).
Today, I'll talk about not just the threat posed by that legislation, but the even more ominous prospect of a combination of H.R. 2074/S. 1237, with H.R. 1955, the "Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007" (or the similar S. 1959, "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007").
Back in October, War on Guns superbly illustrated how easily H.R. 1955 could be used to paint just about anyone who realizes that the Second Amendment is about fighting tyranny as a "terrorist."
Let us think, for a moment, about the tyrannical nexus of H.R. 1955 and S. 1237. H.R. 1955 would seem to have the potential to be twisted into defining any group that holds that the Second Amendment exists as a means of resisting tyranny as a "terrorist organization." That would seem to be bad news for any members of Gun Owners of America, or of Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership (maybe the NRA, as well, if the would-be tyrants are feeling particularly ambitious), and for supporters of Ron Paul. Then, with S. 1237, all these newly minted "terrorists" can be unilaterally disarmed.SEC. 899A. DEFINITIONS.And we all know advocating the so-called "insurrectionary theory" of the Second Amendment, that is, saying We the People should take up arms and resist, meaning shoot and kill tyrants and their agents, is "extremist."
`For purposes of this subtitle:
`(1) COMMISSION- The term `Commission' means the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism established under section 899C.
`(2) VIOLENT RADICALIZATION- The term `violent radicalization' means the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of facilitating ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change.
`(3) HOMEGROWN TERRORISM- The term `homegrown terrorism' means the use, planned use, or threatened use, of force or violence by a group or individual born, raised, or based and operating primarily within the United States or any possession of the United States to intimidate or coerce the United States government, the civilian population of the United States, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
`(4) IDEOLOGICALLY BASED VIOLENCE- The term `ideologically based violence' means the use, planned use, or threatened use of force or violence by a group or individual to promote the group or individual's political, religious, or social beliefs.
So if we react to an outrage by reminding our countrymen of Jefferson's "Tree of Liberty" quote, or cite the Declaration of Independence, or even worse, the Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Their Taking up Arms, what risks will we now assume?
If we ever get to the point that exercising the rights protected by the First Amendment can be used as justification to strip away one's Second Amendment rights, the Bill of Rights will have become a dead letter. By the way, H.R. 1955 passed in the House by a margin of 404 to 6.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I've talked here about contacting the NRA (to ask for their opposition to "Maximum Mike's" appointment as head of the BATFE), and here (about pushing for "gun-free zone liability" laws), and suggested using the NRA's "Contact Us" form.
To my distinct annoyance, I have not been able to cajole a response out of them. Sebastian, at Snowflakes in Hell, rather than sitting and stewing about it like I've been doing, found out why:
I got a response from NRA regarding the member form:Good to know that this was not a case of willfully ignoring membership. So . . . let's get those emails going--that address again is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Per this post: http://www.snowflakesinhell.com/?p=2253, let me both thank you and apologize. In reading this, I went back to double check the functionality of this ILA web form only to find there is a problem with it delivering e-mail to us. We had no reason to suspect a problem as the web form used by the PVF site was functioning fine, and we were receiving a steady stream of direct e-mails to ILA.
Just so you and others who usually contact NRA for legislative and political matters are aware, the direct (and recommended) ILA e-mail address is email@example.com.
Please feel to share with other interested (and aggrieved) parties, and again, my thanks and apologies.
That was from Glen Caroline, Director of NRA-ILA Grassroots, who was kind enough to come talk to us at the Gun Blogger Rendezvous in Reno last October. Hopefully this problem will get fixed shortly.
Yesterday, I wrote about a 1994 article in Reason Magazine, titled "Gunning for Change". The article is about then Chicago Alderman (now Cook County Commissioner) William Beavers' push to end Chicago's de facto ban on handguns. Yesterday, I focused mostly on the enormous change in Beavers' position--from insisting that Chicagoans have a right to defend themselves, to wanting to disarm every law-abiding citizen in Cook County. It should be noted, by the way, that even in 1994, Beavers had a great deal of faith in so-called "gun control"--he wasn't in favor of scrapping Chicago's egregious firearms registry--he simply wanted it to be possible to register handguns.
The Reason Magazine article, though, also discusses another topic--a topic that I think is worthy of a blog post of its own. What I want to discuss today is the inherently racist nature of laws intended to disarm inner city residents--a largely black and Hispanic demographic--who are precisely the people most likely to need the ability defend themselves. The article points out that (at least at that time) there was a significant portion of black political leadership in Chicago that opposed mandated defenselessness for those in our society most vulnerable to violence. For example, it notes David Reed (at that time leader of the Harold Washington Party--named after Chicago's first black mayor) as having "caused a stir at a candidates' forum when he derided gun control as ineffective." Reed is also quoted directly in the article.
"I'd rather be tried by 12 than carried by six," said Reed, a business consultant.In fact, the article describes what seems to have been a concerted effort among some black politicians to fight against the disarmament of their constituents.
That sentiment is common among the residents of Chicago's tougher neighborhoods. It's easy for people with wealth and political power to push stricter and stricter gun control laws, notes Alderman William Beavers, who represents the working-class, mostly black South Shore district. The wealthy, he says, "can afford to pay a detective agency or some kind of police agency to act as security." His constituents, he argues, deserve the right to protect themselves.
Now, for the second time in five years, he [Beavers] has proposed legislation to reopen handgun registration. The idea is endorsed by other prominent black political leaders, including activist Sokoni Karanja of the Center for New Horizons and Aldermen Virgil Jones and Robert Shaw, who feel that gun bans prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.Where has such pro-civil rights leadership--leadership in the fight against the denial of lifesaving firepower--gone in the Chicago area black community? We certainly won't find it in Jesse Jackson. Nor will we find it in Barack Obama, who says:
"So the point is, though, we should be able to do that, and we should be able to enforce laws that keep guns off the streets in inner cities because some unscrupulous gun dealer is, you know, letting somebody load up a van with a bunch of cheap handguns or sawed-off shotguns and dumping them and selling them for a profit in the streets."Nope--those two may as well be pushing for the kinds of post-Civil War "Black Codes" as this one, from a Louisiana parish in 1866:
Sec. 7: No negro who is not in the military service shall be allowed to carry firearms, or any kind of weapons, within the parish without special written permission of his employers, approved and indorsed by the nearest and most convenient chief of patrol.. . . Or perhaps this one, from Mississippi:
Sec.1. Be it enacted, . . . . That no freedman, free negro or mulatto, not in the military service of the United States government, and not licensed so to do by the board of police of his or her county, shall keep or carry fire-arms of any kind, or any ammunition, dirk or bowie knife, and on conviction thereof in the county court shall be punished by fine, not exceeding ten dollars, and pay the costs of such proceedings, and all such arms or ammunition shall be forfeited to the informer; and it shall be the duty of every civil and military officer to arrest any freedman, free negro, or mulatto found with any such arms or ammunition, and cause him or her to be committed to trial in default of bail.The Deacons for Defense and Justice are long gone. It would seem that the Dolores B.'s of Chicago are on their own--easy prey for the likes of Chuck Goudie and the other Chicago thugs.
For a vastly more thorough treatment of this subject, read Clayton Cramer's superb "The Racist Roots of Gun Control."
UPDATE: Days of Our Trailers has more.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
A fellow gun rights activist at Illinois Carry posted an interesting discovery today about what some rabidly anti-rights/anti-self-defense Illinois politicians previously thought about gun rights. This is a 1994 article, and it begins with an account of the burglary of Illinois Senator Rickey Hendon's house, in which a handgun (illegal in Hendon's Chicago home) was stolen.
In February, Illinois State Sen. Rickey Hendon came home to discover that his house on the Westside of Chicago had been robbed. The burglary got more than the usual amount of press attention because the former alderman lost not only money but also an unregistered handgun. It has been illegal since 1983 for even the most law-abiding Chicago residents to own handguns; only guns owned before the ban was passed can be registered, and they must be re-registered every two years. Possession of an unregistered handgun carries a penalty of less than a year in prison or a $500 fine.What, I wonder, would be his response? Remorse, do you suppose? Apparently not.
Hendon was unapologetic. "I have a right to protect myself," the black Democrat told the Chicago Sun-Times.A "right to protect [your]self," eh? Well, I'm with you, Rickey--I really am--but don't all citizens have the same right? It would seem that Rickey doesn't think so (at least anymore)--look, for example at his 2005 gun legislation voting record (Excel file), in which of the thirteen Senate votes on bills relating to firearms, he voted nine times against gun rights, and only three times for them (he abstained on another). Of those three, incidentally, I personally would not categorize two of them as particularly "pro-gun"--one was for a bill that dealt with firearms carry for retired "Only Ones," and another was for a bill that would impose "enhanced" penalties for felons in possession of firearms.
By the way, what's this all about?
The police decided not to charge Hendon with violating the gun law because it wasn't clear who actually owned the gun.Well, if "possession is nine tenths of the law," I guess Rickey must have slipped into that last one tenth--how convenient for him.
I suspect I'll be talking about this article again soon, because it raises some very worthwhile points about the racially discriminatory nature of citizen disarmament laws that are specifically targeted at inner city residents--laws which tend to disproportionately disarm blacks, in just the kinds of high crime areas in which self-defense is most often necessary. To do that topic justice, though, I should devote an entire blog post to it, and today, I have other issues to discuss.
Senator Hendon, and his apparent hypocrisy, is one of those issues--the other is Cook County Commissioner William Beavers. Beavers, you may remember, recently proposed the "Safe Streets/Weapons Registration Ordinance", which would be a near-total, confiscatory ban on firearms in Cook County. Curiously, though, he sang a vastly different tune back in '94, as a Chicago Alderman.
That sentiment is common among the residents of Chicago's tougher neighborhoods. It's easy for people with wealth and political power to push stricter and stricter gun control laws, notes Alderman William Beavers, who represents the working-class, mostly black South Shore district. The wealthy, he says, "can afford to pay a detective agency or some kind of police agency to act as security." His constituents, he argues, deserve the right to protect themselves.Beavers, in fact, repeatedly attempted to reestablish Chicagoans' ability to register handguns.
Now, for the second time in five years, he [Beavers] has proposed legislation to reopen handgun registration. The idea is endorsed by other prominent black political leaders, including activist Sokoni Karanja of the Center for New Horizons and Aldermen Virgil Jones and Robert Shaw, who feel that gun bans prevent law-abiding citizens from protecting themselves.So what happened to change your mind, William? Did the Second Amendment get repealed, and no one told me? Is it no longer a problem to you that citizens are forced to choose between being criminals and being defenseless? Do you no longer think it's a problem that people will decline to report the theft of a gun that they were forbidden to possess?
[ . . . ]
Beavers, however, doesn't emphasize the racial dimension in opposing the gun-registration freeze. Instead, he stresses Second Amendment issues and pragmatic policy concerns.
"The Constitution allows you to bear arms in your home," he says. "But according to our city ordinance, it's illegal to own a firearm that is not registered."
(While he defends a right to ownership, the alderman is no Second Amendment purist. He is, for instance, against the issuing of carry permits.)
Beavers is also disturbed that the registration freeze forces law-abiding citizens into breaking the law if they, like Sen. Hendon, try to protect themselves by keeping a handgun in the house. And the freeze, Beavers thinks, makes the police's job tougher by making it more difficult to track stolen firearms. "Guns are stolen now from people who don't have them registered and won't report the [theft]," says Beavers.
[ . . . ]
For his part, Beavers remains pledged to change Chicago's handgun registration law by hammering home arguments born out of real-world experience. Gun control will always fail, he argues, because criminals are never going to register their guns. And as for ordinary citizens who feel a need to protect themselves: "People are going to own guns. You cannot deny them the right to own a gun."
Or, perhaps, do you simply have a new, anti-rights agenda?
To my shame, I have not been keeping up to date with the latest goings on in the persecution of Hollis Wayne Fincher. David Codrea, however, has not been similarly remiss:
It's easy to forget about this man--out of sight, out of mind--and we're all with families and doing Christmas things...My only (woefully inadequate) excuse for dropping the ball the way I have, and not taking the few minutes necessary to post regular updates on the outrageous injustices perpetrated against this brave patriot is that I assume that anyone who reads Armed and Safe with any regularity also reads War on Guns daily (if not--what's wrong with you?).
He's not with his family. And he probably won't be next year, or the next, unless something happens within the legal system to change his current status. But nothing will happen unless people like us help out.
This page tells you how to do just that, and includes the most recent update from Dec. 24, when the government's brief was posted.
Hollis Wayne Fincher is in prison for having the patriotic courage to exercise his Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. I'm comfortably blogging about him because I lack that patriotic courage.
I'll be adding the link David provided to the sidebar.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Thanks again to Joe's Crabby Shack, this time for pointing us to a story about a spike in the number of applications for handgun permits in Douglas County, Nebraska, in the wake of the Westroads Mall massacre in Omaha.
Applications for permits to buy handguns have more than doubled in Douglas County since the Westroads Mall shootings.Don't even get me started on the Big Brotheresque evil of requiring a permit to exercise the Constitutional right of keeping (I haven't gotten to the "bearing" part yet) arms--you'll never shut me up. Still, it's interesting to note that while citizen disarmament advocates point to these atrocities as evidence that the solution is . . . you guessed it--more citizen disarmament, the people who actually live in the affected areas seem to know better.
More than 100 applications have gone through the sheriff's office since the shootings.
"What we're seeing now is people wanting to defend themselves, be able to defend themselves," said Douglas County Chief Deputy Marty Bilek.Keep in mind that what I've talked about so far is simply permits to own handguns--it takes a separate permit for concealed carry (the "bearing" of arms that I mentioned would be coming later)--interest in those has risen, too.
Bilek said his department issued 43 certifications in the week before the shootings -- in the week following, they issued 105.
"This is the largest spike we've ever seen," Bilek said.
Interest in concealed-carry permits is also up, though not as much, Douglas County reported.Of course, Westroads Mall management has once again decreed that even concerned shoppers with permits would be criminals if they had the audacity to refuse to be helpless while in the mall.
The National Safety Council Omaha Chapter said it had canceled several training courses the last few months, but not in December.
"People are always concerned. They're just sad that it happened in Omaha, and I think they always want to know what they can do to help," said National Safety Council Omaha Chapter President Kay Farrell.
The growing number of permit applicants would seem to indicate that a growing number of Nebraskans view their safety in a much different light than does mall management. Perhaps these safety-minded individuals should drop the mall a line--"No guns=No money."
Sunday, December 23, 2007
I don't often talk much here about the specifics of hardware and tech stuff--my main interest is in fighting against the political forces that would render such discussion moot (who cares about "What's better--AR-15, or AK-47 clone?" if we can't have either?). Also, I can't really afford much of the really cool stuff, anyway. In recent weeks, though, I've gotten a bit less serious about my weekend blogging (when readership tends to be down, anyway), and there's a bit of hardware that has piqued my interest.
I have had, for a while, a Cz-52--a Czech-built and issued service pistol that served from the early 50's to the collapse of the Iron Curtain. It's a neat little gun, it's available cheaply (although I couldn't resist paying for one refinished in hard chrome, and putting walnut grips on it), and being designated among the "Curios and Relics" list, I could get it shipped right to my door. Also, it fires the surprisingly powerful 7.62x25mm Tokarev cartridge (speaking of which, my TT-33 arrived at the door Friday--now my Cz-52 has a "caliber buddy").
That "surprisingly powerful" cartridge leads me to my question. As it happens, a barrel is available for it in a new, arguably more powerful caliber, the .22 Reed Express. If you scroll down and see the velocity figures, it becomes apparent that this is a round at least as capable of penetrating soft body armor as the "dreaded" FN Five-SeveN. The supposed armor-piercing capabilities of the Five-SeveN has prompted statist, pantywaist politicians to call for its ban.
(a) Findings- Congress finds the following:It's not that I have any interest in taking on armored adversaries in a gunfight--if such a situation comes to pass, I suspect I'll not be long for this world, no matter how I'm armed. My main reason for wanting it is to upset the aforementioned statist pantywaists with the knowledge that a five-and-a-half decade old pistol, available for not much more than $100, through the mail, can be modified to be a poor man's version of the high-tech "cop-killer" gun of which we're all supposed to be so terrified.
(1) Law enforcement is facing a new threat from handguns and accompanying ammunition, which are designed to penetrate police body armor, being marketed and sold to civilians.
(2) A Five-seveN Pistol and accompanying ammunition, manufactured by FN Herstal of Belgium as the `5.7 x 28 mm System', has recently been recovered by law enforcement on the streets. The Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS192 cartridges are legally available for purchase by civilians under current law.
(3) The Five-seveN Pistol and 5.7 x 28mm SS192 cartridges are capable of penetrating level IIA armor. The manufacturer advertises that ammunition fired from the Five-seveN will perforate 48 layers of Kevlar up to 200 meters and that the ammunition travels at 2100 feet per second.
(4) The Five-seveN Pistol, and similar handguns designed to use ammunition capable of penetrating body armor, pose a devastating threat to law enforcement.
Anyway, I'd like to get one of these barrels, when they're in stock again, along with some of their 45 grain hollowpoints (when those are in stock again), but before plunking down more money for a barrel than I did for the entire gun (which cost me almost double what I could have gotten it for, had I been willing to eschew the hard chrome), I'd kind of like to hear about other people's experiences with it.
So, if anyone can tell me anything about it, please leave a comment, or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
A couple weeks ago, I wrote about a gun law I could actually support (and with enthusiasm)--HB477/SB044, the "Gun-Free Zone Criminal Conduct Liability Act"--introduced, oddly enough, here in Illinois, a state held hostage by the notoriously anti-rights/anti-defense Chicago area. Predictably, the bills went absolutely nowhere.
In that previous blog post, I suggested that such legislation be introduced in states in which the fundamental right of self-defense is actually given some respect. As it happens, if I had checked with GunLaws.com, I would have discovered that such bills have been introduced in states in which there is real respect for gun rights. Arizona had such a bill introduced in 2002, and again in 2003. A similar bill was also introduced in Georgia in 2003.
None of these efforts bore fruit, obviously, but I have to wonder how serious an effort was made to push them through. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, the NRA has, in the past couple years, spent considerable political capital (in Georgia and Florida--perhaps others) on bills that would prevent property owners from prohibiting guns on their property--and has little to show for it. Frankly, although I might be considered something of an "extremist," even by other gun rights activists, I would have trouble getting behind those NRA-backed bills. In the end, I believe that property owners have the right to set the rules on their property.
A "Gun-free Zone Liability" type law, however, respects that property right, but simply puts the onus of defending people from violence on the property owner who would deny them an effective means to defend themselves. Individual rights and personal responsibility--
libertarianism at its best.
So let Westroads Mall post "No Guns" signs (after taking them down, after such signs helped facilitate a massacre)--that is the right of mall management/ownership. However, the next time those signs allow a psychopath to massacre innocent shoppers without resistance, mall management/ownership should help bear the cost. That is their responsibility.
I think the NRA should make such legislation a major priority. If you agree, give 'em a holler.
UPDATE: Apparently, the NRA's web contact form (the link to which is posted above) has not been functioning correctly, and is now disabled. The preferred way to contact the NRA on matters such as this is by emailing them at this address: email@example.com.
Friday, December 21, 2007
I frankly have serious doubts about whether any amount of "reforming" the BATFE can go far enough--there's certainly no way to "reform" away the fact that the very reason for the agency's existence is to infringe on that which . . . shall not be infringed. Still, I suppose that any effort to rein in our noble and courageous stompers of kitties is worthy of support.
Such an effort is apparently being made now, in the form of H.R. 4900, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007" (text not yet available) [Update: according to this, the actual title of H.R. 4900 is the "Comprehensive Firearms Reform Act of 2007"], introduced by U.S. Representatives Steve King (R-IA) and Zach Space (D-OH). I don't know where Sebastian (Snowflakes in Hell) gets his information, but it must be a pretty good source--he seems to have been on this first (and then here). The NRA has released some information about it--go there to read up about it (by the way, speaking of the NRA and the BATFE, has everyone been asking them to oppose "Maximum Mike's" confirmation?).
Most of it seems like very worthwhile reform, although I question the need for this provision:
Allows transfer and possession of machineguns for use by federal security contractors. Additionally, H.R. 4900 provides for the transfer and possession of machineguns by professional film and theatrical organizations.That's a relief--I was terrified that Pokey Poke, and
Still, the other provisions look to constitute a significant gain for private gun ownership, deserving of our support. And yes--I mean that we need to actively support this. If your Congressional Representative doesn't hear from you that you consider it his Constitutional duty to support this legislation, how can he be blamed for not doing so? They are the public servants, and we are their employers, but we cannot expect them to act in accordance with our will if we fail to make our will known to them.
Ryan Horsley has more.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Hoping against hope, I hadn't quite given up on the possibility that previous reports of the return of the "gun-free zone" signs at the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska were based on some kind of misunderstanding.
Joe's Crabby Shack is apparently unwilling to allow me my delusions, and is now presenting photographic evidence of mall management's continued suppression of self-defense (or in other words, their support of unopposed massacres).
(click to enlarge, and see rule #14)
At least they're making it clear whose side they're on.
I'm certainly not happy about the news Joe has for us, but I would be remiss in not expressing my gratitude for his efforts in providing it to us (and it's not as if he doesn't have other stuff to do)--and if you look at rule 13, you'll see that mall management is trying to suppress such efforts--why would that be? This is stuff that needs to get out, and he's the one who is getting it out.
Joe's Crabby Shack would seem to be a good gun blog to bookmark--I know I'll be keeping an eye on it.
Almost two weeks ago, I announced that Westroads Mall had learned (albeit tragically belatedly) the following fundamental truism:
Today, in a comment left on an earlier post, I received the disturbing news that Westroads Mall has again posted the "Defenseless Victim Zone" signs:
hecate said...In hopes that this was a misunderstanding, I held off posting this news until I could get some confirmation (it's not that I don't trust Hecate, but it's of course rather easy to get burned repeating everything one sees on the internet).
Sorry, but the "Code of Conduct" signs at Westroads are back up with the original verbiage intact. All weapons are prohibited, no exceptions for legal concealed carry or even off-duty LEO's, who are not exempt from such restrictions under Nebraska law.
Definition of insanity: doing the same unsuccessful thing over and over while expecting the outcome to be different.
Gun rights blog Joe's Crabby Shack (coming at you live, from Omaha) provides the unfortunate confirmation.
Oh, they thought they could sneak one by us did they???The mall management would apparently rather arrest the next Jeanne Assam than to have the next psychopathic scum stopped readily.
Freedom Fiends from around the metro have e-mailed me to report that Westroads has replaced their Code of Conduct signs, and the rule prohibiting CCW are still there. No exception for permit holders. No exception for off-duty LEOs.
My favorite line from an e-mail:
"According to the Westroads executives, they have sufficient security guards to keep their customers completely safe, and everything is totally under control."
How's that working out for ya?
I will try to get photographic evidence of this ass-hattery ASAP.
In the meantime, please feel free to write your local media, lawmaker or General Growth Properties to let them know this is an asshat decision made by asshats to make asshats feel warm and fuzzy while doing nothing to protect those who wish to shop at stores owned by asshats.
Being a slow-learner is nothing to be proud of, but it's forgivable. Being a non-learner, on the other hand, especially when the subject is the fundamental, natural right to self-defense, is worthy of the most acrid contempt.
Keith Midgen, of Plano, Texas, knows what makes malls so dangerous--the Bill of Rights. Not just the Second Amendment, mind you, although he clearly doesn't much like it.
There are many Americans who are passionate about the right to own handguns, assault rifles and any kind of semiautomatic weapons in any amount. They cite the "right to bear arms" clause of the Second Amendment, which provides for protection of citizens against oppression by our government.Yeah--well, insisting on protection against oppression by our government is just plain silly, of course.
It doesn't seem to matter that the overwhelming might of a ruthless, determined government could crush any nascent rebellion quite quickly whether the "people" are armed or not.Sounds rather a lot like what I suspect just about every government brought down by revolution thought . . . before the revolution.
He goes on to express disbelief at the number of privately owned handguns in the U.S.
Then, he gets to the Fourth Amendment.
If that happens ["that" being a Supreme Court ruling that the Second Amendment means what it says--something Keith clearly hopes won't happen, but fears will], what should malls do in order to ensure a safer shopping experience for their customers?Where does one even begin to respond to something like that? Random searches? Because, frightened by the "terrorist" bogeyman, we have bent over and accepted the theft of our Fourth Amendment rights in airports, we should do the same at the mall, too? Anything else? Should we, perhaps, be required to apply for permission, in advance, to go to the mall? Should we have to demonstrate a need to go to the mall? By the way, what the hell is "more important" about watching out for people dressed in "camouflage fatigues and Army boots"? Are we to ban "assault clothing" now?
For one, if mall owners decide that the costs of preventing casualties will eat up too much of their profits, they should at least keep open only those entrances that can be adequately safeguarded by security personnel and metal detectors. If large art and natural history museums in America and Europe can do this, why can't malls?
Second, would it be too much to ask if we would be prepared to submit to random searches, just as we do at the airport? Security guards could also focus on teenagers who appear to be bulkily dressed or, more important, those who wear camouflage fatigues and Army boots.
As it turns out, Keith, the solution is much easier and cheaper than that, and it involves restoring Constitutionally protected rights, rather than trampling them. And the Westroads Mall seems (finally) to have figured it out. [UPDATE: Apparently, the Westroads Mall management, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to restore its policy of mandated defenselessness. Brilliant.]
I'm guessing that the aforementioned solution won't appeal to Keith's delicate sensibilities, though.
Let's stop playing out the farce that the Second Amendment represents. Do we really think that America could be a dictatorship or that the Bill of Rights is inherently precarious? If we do, maybe we need to flee to Mexico, like our retirees, while the going is good."The 'farce' that the Second Amendment represents"? And what do you mean by "stop playing [it] out"? Do you plan to go to the trouble of repealing it, or should we just pretend it's not there? The Bill of Rights is certainly "precarious" when the People start bleating for it to be rescinded (or simply ignored). I have a better idea, Keith--why don't you flee to Mexico, and enjoy the combination of Constitutionally protected liberty and low crime you seem to think can be found there?
The Founding Fathers didn't trust everyone to vote directly; they shouldn't have trusted some of us to have guns, either.
Keith J. Midgen of Plano is retired from the hair and beauty business. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.Go back to your teasing brushes, Keith.
In fairness, I guess I should also call this "Defeat for the Josh Sugarmann/Larry Pratt axis."
There's plenty of discussion about this, both from the "Authorized Journalists," and the gun bloggers. No one really needs my take on it--especially since David has already summed it up perfectly.
Bottom line (as I see it) is that the NICS program is unconstitutional (and expensive), and expanding it is a move in exactly the wrong direction. When you add to that the incredible naiveté required to believe in the concept of a "prohibited persons" list (whereby a person deemed too violent to be permitted to openly buy a gun in a shop is permitted to run loose among society with the ability to acquire a gun illegally, make one at home, or simply commit his carnage by some other method), I have trouble believing that anyone actually expects this to save lives.
Maybe I'm just a skeptic.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
This article is not really about gun rights vs. "gun control"--it is about the supposed danger of the internet fostering extremism (but don't worry--the gun issue works its way into the discussion).
Experts in the US are warning that as the internet becomes increasingly sophisticated people are using it to create their own worlds. Using filtering techniques they can block out everything they dislike and hear only what they want to hear and see only what they want to see.The article frequently quotes Professor Cass Sunstein, of the University of Chicago Law School. As an example of the internet fostering "extremism," Sunstein points to that most infamous of "extremist organizations," the NRA:
He also looked at the National Rifle Association (NRA).It is perhaps not surprising that Sunstein is concerned about opponents of draconian gun laws organizing their arguments on the internet--his own leanings with regard to that debate are fairly clear (also read Nicki's superb demolition of that piece).
"A group whose members lean against gun control will, in discussion, provide a wide range of arguments against gun control, and the arguments made for gun control will be both fewer and weaker. The group's members, to the extent that they shift, will shift toward a more extreme position against gun control,” says the professor.
It is in this vein that Sunstein sees the advent of the personalisation of information via the Internet as such a threat.
The problem with that thinking, Cass, is that wherever one goes, "the arguments made for gun control will be both fewer and weaker"--that's simply the nature of a position that lacks grounding in facts and logic.
In fact, I (and many of my like-minded compatriots) actively seek out arguments in favor of more restrictive gun laws (it being rather difficult to debunk what the other side is saying, without knowing what the other side is saying). The very weakness of the arguments advanced by the citizen disarmament advocates has done at least as much to push me into the gun rights advocacy camp as has what I have seen from people on my side.
Besides, is pro-rights "extremism" such a bad thing? Barry Goldwater didn't seem to think so, and I have a sneaky suspicion that the Founding Fathers didn't, either.
Oh--almost forgot about this little gem:
He also says people who set up websites should be encouraged as a matter of course to set up links to sites with differing views and adds that government regulation of such a system is worth considering.Because if defenders of the Second Amendment use the rights protected by the First Amendment too effectively, we'll just have to put a stop to it--right, Cass?
UPDATE: Illspirit has more.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
War on Guns refers us today to this opinion piece in the Salt Lake Tribune, written by Kristen Rand (legislative director of the virulently anti-gun rights Violence Policy Center). In it, Rand tries to make the Second Amendment sound . . . icky, by claiming that its original intended purpose was the protection of slavery.
There is also strong scholarship to support the argument that James Madison wrote the amendment primarily to allay southern fears that Congress would undermine the slave system by disarming the militia - thereby denying the southern states an effective means of slave control. Under this longstanding interpretation of the amendment, the district's handgun ban would survive."Strong scholarship," and "longstanding interpretation," eh? It would seem (based on this) that Rand refers here to the work of Professor Carl T. Bogus (no--I'm not making that name up). I do not claim that no other academic research makes such an assertion (although I am not aware of any that does), but Bogus is the only source I've seen the VPC cite in support of that interpretation.
Perhaps a closer look at what I'll call the "Bogus Theory of the Second Amendment" (catchy, isn't it?) is in order. As it happens, the very work that the VPC refers to above ("The Hidden History of the Second Amendment") is available here. What I could not help but notice right away is that this article (or should I call it, as Bogus does every time he refers to it, as an "Article"--capitalized--ego issues, do you suppose?) repeatedly cites the thoroughly discredited "research" of Michael Bellesiles. Doesn't exactly inspire a great deal of confidence, does it?
The Bogus Theory would seem to have other problems, as well. Alexander Hamilton, for example, was an outspoken critic of slavery, and in fact was the second president of the New York Society for Promoting the Manumission of Slaves. If the Second Amendment actually existed as a means of slave control, one might expect that Hamilton would not have been a supporter of it. How, then, does one explain this?
"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed."Bogus himself points to Thomas Jefferson and George Mason as having "railed against slavery."
-- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers at 184-188
Many in the South also railed against slavery, among them prominent Virginians such as Thomas Jefferson and George Mason.I suppose, then, that they opposed the inclusion of the right to keep and bear arms in the Bill of Rights. Well . . . no, actually.
"The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."And . . .
When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
The beauty of the Second Amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it.
"No Free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms."
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."I can't help but wonder what the Deacons for Defense and Justice would have to say about the Bogus Theory, or how one reconciles such a theory with the Racist Roots of Gun Control.
--George Mason, 3 Elliot, Debates at 425-426
I was running a bit behind today, and failed to notice that both Snowflakes in Hell and Days of Our Trailers have also responded to Rand's opinion piece.
Monday, December 17, 2007
The NRA on Jeanne Assam's demonstration of the superiority of the alternative to gun-free zones: 'Shhh!'
The Argus Leader has an article today about the debate over the mandated defenselessness inherent to "gun-free zones," versus permitting peaceable citizens to provide for their own defense, by not insisting they be without a defensive firearm. This debate, of course, is receiving renewed attention in recent days, in the aftermath of Jeanne Assam's courageous stand against an enraged lunatic--a stand that almost certainly saved countless lives. Ms. Assam, a private citizen who is licensed in the state of Colorado to carry a concealed firearm, is a parishioner at the New Life Church in Colorado where the attack took place, and had volunteered to help provide security. This, clearly, is extremely fortuitous (except for the killer, whose rampage was cut short).
The article did not, unfortunately, point out the contrast between the attack on New Life Church, and the much bloodier one, just days earlier, at the Westroads Mall, in Omaha, Nebraska. This mall had a "No Guns" policy--a policy that carried the force of law. Could an armed citizen have stopped that killer before the death toll had grown so horrifically high? We will never know. What we do know is that the killer's intended victims would at least have had a chance--a chance that was instead denied them by mall policy.
Some gun rights advocacy groups have been quick to notice--and to point out--the value of honoring citizens' right to self-defense.
"Normally when there is a shooting of this nature somebody isn't there armed to shoot back. There are all kinds of calls for gun control. Here, because somebody was able to shoot back, our opponents are silent," Alan Gottlieb says. He founded the Second Amendment Federation in Bellevue, Wash., and helped write "America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age."Notice that I say some gun rights advocacy groups want to enter a serious, national discussion regarding the lethal policies of victim disarmament seen in so many places across the country--the main point of this blog post is that not all of them seem to agree.
He awarded Assam the SAF's third Eleanor Roosevelt Award, named after the former first lady who, Gottlieb said, regularly carried a revolver for personal protection. Gottlieb says "most people have firearms to protect themselves. They will not risk their life to protect anybody else." Assam "is a very courageous woman. She's at the top of the pyramid."
The National Rifle Association is walking a carefully even line on Assam.And why not "politicize this now," Rachel--the other side certainly is (and here, and here, etc.). Then again, considering who it is who issues your marching orders, I suppose I should not be surprised.
"Every time there is a tragedy like this everyone wants to talk about new laws that can protect people better," says NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons.
"What we really need to focus on is that gun control is not the answer. ... Controlling the criminal is the answer to this.
"You have to commend the lady. She did an honorable thing, a brave thing. But politicizing this now is not what we need to do."
It would seem that Mr. Codrea's question--"Is it time yet?"--has been answered. The answer is "no."
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Yesterday, Sebastian (Snowflakes in Hell) pointed out that Paul Helmke's objection to the legality of someone buying "multiple boxes" of ammunition sounds a whole lot like a call for the "arsenal licensing" provision of Brady II.
As it turns out, my topic yesterday dealt with the same Helmke blog post, although my concern was Helmke's apparent wish to outlaw rifles that can fire ammunition that can defeat police soft body armor (which is not designed to hold up to rifle fire).
That sounded like another provision from Brady II, but a look at the actual text of the bill does not seem to bear that out--although the kinds of ammunition that would be banned is certainly worth a look
1 ‘‘(34) The term ‘nonsporting ammunition’ means—Outlaw ammo for my .500 S&W Magnum, would you? Cold. Dead. Fingers.
2 ‘‘(A) any of the ammunition, or types, replicas,
3 or duplicates of the ammunition known as—
4 ‘‘(i) Dragon’s Breath; or
5 ‘‘(ii) .50 caliber BMG;
6 ‘‘(B) any ammunition that contains an incendi-
7 ary or explosive charge;
8 ‘‘(C) any handgun ammunition measuring more
9 than .45 inches in diameter; or
10 ‘‘(D) any handgun ammunition that produces a
11 force at the muzzle in excess of 1,200 foot pounds.
I think I had confused Brady II with Ted Kennedy's attempt to amend the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in such a way that it would ban such low-powered rifle rounds as the .30-30. Really, it would seem that Helmke is advocating that (which is actually worse than the ammo restrictions from Brady II).
Brady II was introduced in 1994, the height (or depth, to my way of thinking) of the citizen disarmament anti-rights movement--and it still went nowhere. We "People of the Gun" are better organized (thanks, in large part to the wake-up call coming from the other side's "successes" of the early '90's) now, and the gun rights movement is doing rather well in most of the country (and District of Columbia v. Heller could dramatically accelerate that progress). It would seem that Helmke needs to buy a ticket for a ride back to reality. But I'm not convinced he wants one.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Paul Helmke's latest "Brady Blog" post consists mostly of a call for the reinstatement of the so-called "ban" of so-called "assault weapons." This legislation, which after ten years of accomplishing nothing (as even the virulently anti-gun Violence Policy Center's Tom Diaz was forced to acknowledge--here for audio), was mercifully allowed to fade into the oblivion it so richly deserved, in September 2004.
To support his "argument" (being generous here) for the renewal of the ban, he pointed to the recent killings in an Omaha, Nebraska mall and a Colorado church--both atrocities committed by punks armed with what Helmke calls "assault weapons." Never mind that the WASR-10 used by the Omaha punk was never classified as an "assault weapon" by the previously mentioned now-defunct federal law. Never mind that the WASR-10 was in fact a product of that law, its design parameters set by the very law Paul wants revived. Never mind that even guns that did fall within the law's definition of "assault weapons" were not banned--they were perfectly legal to own, to buy, to sell, and to shoot, as long as they were manufactured/imported before September 1994. And certainly never mind that the only reason the death toll in the Colorado church wasn't vastly worse was the presence of a courageous, armed private citizen and parishioner (Jeanne Assam) with a concealed carry permit. Ms. Assam's handgun, by the way, used a magazine with a higher capacity than Paul thinks is acceptable--and the killer's use of body armor made that capacity quite necessary.
Speaking of body armor, let's move right along to something else Paul wants banned.
Perhaps even more shocking, the type of bullet many assault weapons fire (7.62mm full metal jacket) can penetrate four categories of police body armor [pdf]. There is no legitimate reason the public should have this kind of access to military-style assault weapons.Paul seems still to be trying to frame this as an "assault weapons" issue, but that, of course, is blatant deception on his part. If there are any centerfire rifle calibers incapable of defeating common police body armor, I am unaware of them. Such rifles would certainly be quite marginal for hunting deer-sized game humanely.
And that brings me to my point about hunters. There are, I realize, many hunters who have no interest in "assault weapons," and who do not consider themselves threatened by calls to ban them. Helmke has very efficiently demonstrated how dangerous such an attitude is. Any armor that can be penetrated by 7.62x39mm will hardly even slow down such overwhelmingly popular deer hunting cartridges as the .270 Winchester or .30-06. And yet Helmke seems to want to include the ability to defeat soft body armor among the features of "assault weapons." Say goodbye to anything more powerful than a .22.
Most citizen disarmament groups claim that interfering with the "sporting" use of firearms is not part of their agenda. Ignoring for the moment the absurdity of the idea of the Constitutional Framers devoting 10% of the Bill of Rights to protecting the right to sport, Helmke's call to ban guns that can defeat body armor shows that banning hunting arms is very much a part of the Brady Bunch agenda.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Ryan Horsley, at Red's Trading Post, has been leading the charge in the effort to block confirmation of Michael "Maximum Mike" Sullivan as the new director of the BATFE. War on Guns has also been near the forefront of that fight. Me? As I generally do, I've been boldly bringing up the rear (hey--someone has to be last, right?).
Apparently, folks are listening to the voices of opposition to the idea of giving "Maximum Mike" the keys to the agency that considers violating the Second Amendment (along with any other parts of the Bill of Rights that get in the way of that endeavor) its sacred calling. Gun Owners of America has publicly announced its opposition to Sullivan's confirmation, as have the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms and Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
These groups seem to be making a difference, as illustrated by the fact that Idaho's Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig are (for the moment, at least) blocking Sullivan's confirmation.
But I should try to be balanced--there are some people who do support Sullivan's confirmation. Who are they? Well, we have such pro-gun stalwarts as Ted "The Hero of Chappaquiddick" Kennedy, who says:
Sullivan has had "the impossible responsibility" of serving in both jobs and he's "done as good a job as one could have hoped at both. We'll miss him in Massachusetts, but he'll be a strong leader at ATF, and I look forward to working with him on key issues on gun control," US Senator Edward M. Kennedy said in a statement.We also have Kennedy's fellow Massachusetts Senator, John "Can I Get Me a Hunting License Here?" Kerry, who praised Sullivan at the confirmation hearing:
Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., introduced Sullivan at the hearing, praising both his professional abilities and his character.More recently, Kerry also chastised Senators Crapo and Craig for blocking Sullivan's confirmation:
"It is a job that he's proven more than qualified and capable of performing," said Kerry.
"Michael Sullivan has spent a lifetime protecting communities from crime," Kerry said in a statement. "I am disappointed that his nomination is now in jeopardy simply because he has responsibly enforced our country's laws. I hope this experienced and capable nominee is confirmed without further delay."And finally, there's the Brady Bunch's Peter "Don't Call Me Petey" Hamm, who said:
Even though "we don't see Michael Sullivan as some sort of conquering hero for our side," Hamm added that the leaders of GOA and the CCRKBA "should give him a chance - even if he is from Massachusetts!"So there you have it--on one side, we have gun rights advocacy groups like CCRKBA, GOA, and JPFO, along with the reliably pro-gun U.S. Senators representing Idaho. On the other, we have Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Peter Hamm. As I asked in the title, whom do you trust?
By the way, I mentioned several pro-gun groups that have taken a public stand against Sullivan as director of the BATFE, but it seems to me that there's another gun rights group out there--one, in fact, that considers itself to be the "800 lb gorilla of gun rights groups"--which has remained silent about Sullivan. Perhaps they should be asked why.
UPDATE: Apparently, the NRA's web contact form (the link to which is posted above) has not been functioning correctly, and is now disabled. The preferred way to contact the NRA on matters such as this is by emailing them at this address: email@example.com.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing in the immediate future--some bizarre internet problem seems to have shut down my access to most of (but not all of) the web. I guess Al Gore is probably too preoccupied with global warming to lend his internet expertise.
Anyway, being, for the most part, cut off from the internet, I am unable to get to the news stories and other sources on which I depend for material, so until that's resolved (and I don't even know whom to ask for help or advice), I probably won't be doing much blogging.
What I can do is point readers to a superb piece of commentary about Chuck Goudie's ABC News piece that aired last night. If you have not yet seen that bit of "news," I recommend doing so, in order to see a real, live "Authorized Journalist" protecting Chicago from elderly black women forced to choose between defenselessness in dangerous neighborhoods on the one hand, and violation of Chicago's draconian gun laws on the other.
Then, hurry over to Chicago Handgun Rights to read "Between a Rock and a Hard Place."
Here's an excerpt:
Simply put, Delores, like no doubt many others in Chicago, have had to choose between survival and violating Chicago's ill-conceived and unconstitutional handgun ban. The last, and most important, of her civil rights are being violated---the right to defend her own life. Where is Jesse Jackson now? He's abetting those that are forcing Delores to the back of the bus.It's a must-read.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
In Parts I, II, and III, I talked about the appalling nature of these two ordinances, especially the "Safe Streets/Weapons Registration Ordinance," introduced by Commissioner Beavers. Part IV is probably the most important of this series, because this one is a call to action. Whether you live in Cook County or not, please keep their phones/FAX lines/email service busy.
By the way, it would seem that they tried to sneak this past without the public's knowledge. At the very bottom of the text of the bill, you'll see the following:
In accordance with Cook County Code Section 2-108(z)(1) Amendment or suspension of rules, Commissioner Suffredin, seconded by Commissioner Collins, moved to suspend Section 2-108(h)(1) Prior notice to public; agendas. The motion carried unanimously.What does that mean? Let's see.
In accordance with Cook County Code Section 2-108(z)(1) Amendment or suspension of rules, Commissioner Suffredin, seconded by Commissioner Collins, moved to suspend Section 2-108(g)(1) Order of business. The motion carried unanimously.
First, a motion was passed to suspend the rule that the public be notified of this ordinance proposal....(h) Prior notice to public; agendas .The only reason to suspend the first section of rules is to avoid the public knowing about what's going on, until it's too late. I'm not as sure about what the other suspension of rules does, but I suspect it's meant to help them fast-track this abomination. Their attempted secrecy indicates that they know full well that what they intend to do is deeply offensive to the public.
(1) No less than three full business days before any meeting of the Board or of a committee or subcommittee, notice and an agenda for such meeting shall be provided to the President, all Commissioners and all news media that have requested notice of meetings, shall be posted in the Office of the County Clerk and at the location where the meeting is to be held, and shall be made available to the public in the office of the Secretary. In addition, notices and agendas of all meetings shall be posted on the County's website.
Second, a motion was passed to suspend the rule that the board meeting proceed on a standard plan of events....
(g) Order of business.
(1) At each regular meeting of the Board, the order of business (unless otherwise directed by the Board) is as follows:
a. Approval and correction of minutes of previous meetings.
b. Old business.
c. New business.
d. Consent calendar.
e. Committee reports:
1. The first section of the committee report as set forth in Section 2-105(h) of this division.
2. The second section of the committee report as set forth in Section 2-105(h) of this division.
It's up to us all to let them know that their perfidious skulking in the shadows has failed. In communicating with the commissioners, tell them of your strong opposition to Commissioner Beavers' "Safe Streets/Weapons Registration Ordinance." If you're feeling ambitious, ask them to oppose Commissioner Suffredin's "Deadly Weapons Ordinance," as well.
Jerry “Iceman” Butler
William M. Beavers
Joan Patricia Murphy
Joseph Mario Moreno
Peter N. Silvestri
John P. Daley
Timothy O. Schneider
Anthony J. Peraica
Elizabeth Ann Doody Gorman
Time for a bit more on the Cook County ordinance proposed by Commissioner "Hog with Big Nuts" Beavers (see Part I and Part II for background).
There is simply too much that his horrible about this bill for me to possibly cover it all. But here are a few more absurdities, in no particular order:
To register a gun, the person registering must have "vision better than or equal to that required to obtain a valid driver's license under the standards established by the Illinois Vehicle Code of the State of Illinois, as amended"--no word on whether or not a vision screening is part of the registration process.Some of this, I have to believe, will not pass muster when (inevitably) challenged in court, and I think the board knows this. I think they're just throwing everything they can think of at us, and seeing what sticks.
The registration application must include "Two photographs of the applicant taken within 30 days immediately prior to the date of filing the application equivalent to passport size showing the full face, head and shoulders of the applicant in a clear and distinguishing manner"
When necessary to establish the identity of any applicant or registrant, such applicant or registrant shall be required to submit to fingerprinting in accordance with procedures and regulations prescribed by the Sheriff. Why do I have the sneaky suspicion that fingerprints will always be considered "necessary"?
The above applies for each firearm, by the way, and the term of the registration is only one year, with the entire process repeated for renewal. Missing renewal once makes the firearm "unregisterable."
Registration fees for firearms shall be as follows:
1 firearm . . . $20.00
2--10 firearms . . . $25.00
More than ten firearms . . . $35.00
It will be illegal to own any ammunition that cannot be used in any gun you have registered.
Laser sights are banned, county-wide.
If caught with an unregisterd gun (or a laser sight) in your car, the car is subject to seizure.
Fighting it, though, will be expensive, and tie up a huge amount of ISRA's resources. And when any one provision of the law is struck down, its loss doesn't affect the rest, because of this:
If any provision or term of this Division, or any application thereof, is held invalid, the invalidity shall not affect other applications of the provisions or terms of this Division which reasonably can be given effect without the invalid provision or term for the application thereof.In the meantime, any confiscated firearms are destroyed, so even if they were confiscated on grounds that are later overturned, that gun is gone forever.
Days of Our Trailers has more--pay special attention to the following:
So, along w/ Commissioner Suffredin's attempt to ban all gun shops, are "authorized journalists" from ABC complicit in this to stir up support?Cook County says there is no Second Amendment. I say it's time they find out how wrong they are.
Oh--almost forgot. Few, if any, of these restrictions apply to police officers--so the only people with guns will be the criminals who ignore the law . . . and Chicago's finest:
$20 million police brutality settlement advances in Chicago City Hall
Sergeant convicted of rape
City settles with family of paralyzed man . . . to name but a few (but all those shootings are justified, right?).