Mission statement:

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

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

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Guess I'm not the only one with a low opinion of Snuffy Pfleger

I should perhaps be above such things, but I can't help but be amused by this--check out the search terms:

(click to enlarge)

He he.

The site traffic generated over the last two days from folks searching for news about Pfleger has gone a long way to making this the busiest month in my little blog's history.

Thanks, Snuffy!

Illinois 'Lost or Stolen' bill goes down in flames

If this sort of thing keeps up, I might have to stop referring to the Illinois General Assembly as the Illinois "Politburo." The bill I have been railing against for the last two days, HB 2760, the ridiculous "lost or stolen" reporting requirement bill, which would require reporting the loss or theft of a gun to not one, but two police agencies, went down in flames a few minutes ago, receiving only forty-seven of the required fifty-nine votes (to sixty-four "No" votes).

Common sense, notoriously uncommon in Illinois politics, prevails (for once). All I need to make my satisfaction complete is to hear the anguished bleating of the citizen disarmament herbivores.

So are New Yorkers criminals, or mentally ill?

I don't mean to be rude, but when I see a (sort of) presidential candidate make the following statement, I have to wonder.

"What I came out for was the New York law," Clinton said in a noon conference call with Montana press Friday. "I don’t think there is any contradiction between defending Second Amendment rights and trying to keep guns out of the hands of" criminals and the mentally ill.
Clinton said that as part of an assurance to Montana residents that she does not advocate a national system of handgun registration and licensing. So she only favors making acquisition of firearms more difficult in New York as part of her plan to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally ill? Is there a greater concentration of such people there (a fair question, perhaps, considering the kinds of people they seem to prefer to elect for public office there)?

By the way, she certainly has advocated a national system of licensing and registration.
Hillary Clinton renews call for gun licensing and registration

NEW YORK (CNN) -- U.S. Senate candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton renewed her call for tougher gun control legislation on Tuesday before an audience of newspaper publishers.

"We have to do more to stand up to those who refuse to believe the reality that guns do kill and that common-sense gun measures can make a difference," Mrs. Clinton said during a speech to the Newspaper Association of America's annual convention in New York.

"I believe we need a comprehensive plan to stop gun violence, and it is one of the reasons I am running for the Senate," the first lady said.

Mrs. Clinton, who is running for the seat of retiring Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-New York), added that she supports proposals that would require the licensing and registering of all new handguns purchased in the United States.
She was, obviously, running for the United States Senate, rather than the New York state Senate, and the U.S. Senate tends not to pass laws specific to New York. Of course, that was back in 2000, and attitudes can change in 8 years.

So how about something more recent (the Democratic presidential debate in Nevada early this year recent enough)?
MODERATOR TIM RUSSERT: Sen. Clinton, when you ran for the Senate in 2000, you said that everyone who wishes to purchase a gun should have a license, and that every handgun sale or transfer should be registered in a national registry. Will you try to implement such a plan?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I am against illegal guns, and illegal guns are the cause of so much death and injury in our country. I also am a political realist and I understand that the political winds are very powerful against doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people.
Is it just me, or does that seem to imply that not implementing a national licensing and registration system would not be "doing enough to try to get guns off the street, get them out of the hands of young people"?

So how about it, Hillary--whom are you trying to disarm, criminals and the mentally ill, New Yorkers--or all of us?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Proud member of the Unorganized Militia Propaganda Corps

I'm a few days late with this, but I want to thank Thirdower for inviting me into the Unorganized Militia Propaganda Corps. This was his idea, and the logo is a product of his creativity.

Robb Allen and Linoge put their computer skills to good use in getting all of us wired in, and now we're officially in action.

It's a real honor to be a part of this group.

A ridiculous new twist on 'lost or stolen' reporting requirements

Well, the Illinois Politburo . . . er, legislature is so determined to impose legal obligations on crime victims (as discussed yesterday) that the House adopted not one "lost or stolen" amendment to HB 2760, but two of them. House Amendment 1 would require the rightful owner of the lost or stolen gun to report the loss or theft to the state police, and House Amendment 2 would require that such a report be made to local police. Since the intent, apparently, is to tell as many people as possible, perhaps we should require the owner to take out a full page ad in the local paper, to announce the loss or theft.

The good news is that at least Alderman Mell won't have to worry about this law if it passes, even if his Chicago Alderman Loophole ordinance doesn't pass. The Fifth Amendment protects him from self-incrimination, so he cannot be compelled to report his illegal guns, if they're stolen. It sure must be nice being an alderman.

I fully expect HB 2760 to come up for a vote today, with the idea of getting it to the Senate tomorrow. If you're an Illinois gun owner, I hope you're making your calls to Springfield.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Another fire to put out in Illinois

Yesterday, an amendment containing "lost or stolen" language was introduced to HB 2760. The amendment has already been approved by committee, and will be up for a floor vote very soon, probably today. If the amendment is adopted (an almost automatic process), the floor vote on the entire bill will probably take place immediately.

My objections to this "reasonable" legislation are numerous, and I've talked about them too many times before for it to make sense to rehash my objections yet again, so today I'm just going to urge folks to call the representatives to express the need to defeat this nitwittery.

Here's the contact information to use:

Representative Suzanne Bassi (R-47th District)
(217) 782-8026
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative Patricia Bellock (R-54th District)
(217)-782-1448
(217) 782-2289 FAX;

Representative Bob Biggins (R-41st District)
(217) 782-6578
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative Sandy Cole (R-62nd District)
(217) 782-7320
(217) 782-1275 FAX;

Representative Joe Dunn (R-96th District)
(217) 782-6507
(217) 782-5257 FAX

Representative Mike Fortner (R-95th District)
(217) 782-1653
(no Springfield FAX listed);

Representative Paul Froelich (D-56th District)
(217) 782-3725
(217) 557-6271 FAX;

Representative Charles Jefferson (D-67th District)
(217) 782-3167
(217) 557-7654 FAX;

Representative Michael Madigan (D-22nd District; Speaker of the House)
(217) 782-5350
(217) 524-1794 FAX;

Representative Sidney Mathias (R-53rd District)
(217) 782-1664
(217) 782-1275 FAX;

Representative James H. Meyer (R-48th District)
(217) 782-8028
(217) 557-0571 FAX;

Representative Ruth Munson (R-43rd District)
(217) 782-8020
(no Springfield FAX listed);

Representative Sandra Pihos (R-42nd District)
(217) 782-8037
(217) 558-1072 FAX;

Representative Harry Ramey (R-55th District)
(217) 558-1037
(217) 782-5257 FAX;

Representative Dennis Reboletti (R-46th District)
(217) 782-4014
(no Springfield FAX listed);

Representative Ed Sullivan Jr. (R-51st District)
(217) 782-3696
(217) 782-1275 FAX
After Saturday, legislation will require a 3/5ths super-majority, rather than a simple majority, to pass, and the state will be relatively safe (for the moment) from the epidemic of gun laws. Until then, we have to hold the line with grassroots. Let's do it.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Still think mandated defenselessness in bars is a good idea?

Most states, even those considered to have relatively permissive concealed carry laws, tend to prohibit concealed carry in bars. As will be discussed below, it's fortunate that not all states are so shortsighted. While the idea of drunks with guns is understandably not one with which many people are comfortable, the fact remains that not everyone in a bar is intoxicated. There is no law against driving home from a bar, despite the obvious fact that drunk driving endangers everyone on the road (or even near it), because not everyone leaving a bar is intoxicated. I submit that prohibitions on the carrying of defensive firearms should, similarly, be based on not whether or not the person in question is in a bar, but whether or not he or she is intoxicated.

A prime example of why I believe that can be found in Nevada, and in how a man who killed two brothers, and wounded two more people, was eventually stopped.

"I saw (Villagomez) shoot one guy, come back around and shoot the other guy," Hayes said.

Villagomez then started walking toward the middle of the bar before suddenly collapsing to the floor. Hayes later found out that Villagomez was shot by a 48-year-old customer from Reno who was carrying a concealed handgun. Authorities declined to release the Reno man's name, only saying that the man had a valid permit to carry a concealed weapon. The man was released after authorities ruled the death a justifiable homicide.

"He was just some random guy in jeans and a shirt who happened to be there," Hayes said. "I was just glad that there was somebody there who was able to help us out."
Incidentally, the title of the article "Three shootings leave small town shaken," is a bit misleading--not only because there were apparently five people shot, rather than three, but because it seems to imply that the defensive shooting is just as alarming as the murders (and woundings).

If the unalienable right to self-defense doesn't apply in some places, it has become rather alienable, has it not?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tarrant County College vs. the First Amendment (and the Second)

Days of Our Trailers wrote last week about Tarrant County College's suppression of an "Empty Holster Protest" planned by Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC).

In a dramatic blow to freedom of expression, Tarrant County College (TCC) has prohibited its students from wearing empty gun holsters to protest policies that forbid students with concealed carry licenses from carrying concealed handguns on campus.
I've said it before: why should we be surprised that any entity willing to trample the Second Amendment would feel little obligation to respect the First? It gets better.
A TCC administrator told interested students that they could not wear the holsters and could only conduct a protest in the school's tiny and restrictive free speech zone.
W-w-wait a second here; "free speech zone"? Wasn't it kind of an important point with the Founding Fathers that the entire nation be a "free speech zone" (not to mention "citizen militia zone")?

Even if one were to accept the evil of restricting Constitutionally guaranteed rights to designated "zones," TCC's definition of what constitutes "free speech" is a bit difficult to fathom (from an email "granting permission" for the protest):
This is to notify you that your request to stage an "Empty Holster Protest" on the South Campus is granted. Your protest will be limited to the Free Speech Zone designated on the South Campus, and you and other protestors may not wear empty gun holsters on campus, including the Free Speech Zone during the protest, or at any other time. [emphasis from original document]
So even in the "free speech zone," students are not to speak in ways that offend the administration.

All hail Big Brother.

Anyone care to drop the folks at TCC a line?
Ernest L. Thomas, South Campus President, Tarrant County College: 817-515-4501; el.thomas@tccd.edu
Juan Garcia, Vice President for Student Development, Tarrant County College: 817-515-4504; juan.garcia@tccd.edu

Friday, May 23, 2008

What's the point of a right that we're not supposed to use?

Other gun bloggers (War on Guns and Snowflakes in Hell, to name a couple), have covered the outrageous (and criminal) police harassment of open carry activists in Dickson City, PA. The police thuggery eventually led to the arrest of a man who had broken no laws, and the confiscation of his entirely legal firearm.

As I said, this has already been well covered. The reason I am writing about it today is to respond to this editorial piece, "Big difference in right v. smart."

Police detained one of the armed diners and temporarily confiscated his weapon when he declined to answer their questions. So, the point was made. The Second Amendment provides the right to bear arms, and Pennsylvania has no law precluding citizens from openly brandishing the hardware. Moreover, the police were not quite sure about how to respond.

Yet having a right does not mean that it’s always smart to exercise it. Americans have broad free-speech rights, but it’s often smarter to hold one’s tongue for the sake of civil society — broadly, the accommodation of others. The gun-toters don’t seem to understand that not brandishing their weapons in public would not diminish their right while also not intimidating other diners.
First, and although I might be flogging a dead horse here, the dead S.O.B. has it comin': the Second Amendment does NOT "provide" the right to bear arms--that is a preexisting, fundamental, human right that does not depend on the Constitution (or any other document) for its existence. I'm not just being picky here; if things go our way, and the other side finally finds itself unable to sustain the rhetorical gymnastics required to sustain the bizarre assertion that right of the people to keep and bear arms isn't really . . . the right of the people, to keep and bear arms, their next line of attack will be to "repeal the damn thing" altogether. We need to lay the groundwork for making that repeal an empty gesture, even if and when it succeeds.

Secondly, the writer seems to be asserting that "sure, you have the right to keep and bear arms (whether openly or concealed--it makes no difference), but you oughtn't do it, because it upsets people." Are we to believe that the exercise of a right is . . . wrong, if said exercise makes people uncomfortable? This editor would have been a big help in the desegregation movement in the 60's, eh?

The exercise of rights always upsets people who would deny those rights. I submit that protecting the sensibilities of those who would deny others their rights should be rather low on anyone's list of priorities.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

You mean we're not the 'Only Ones'?

Days of Our Trailers notes an amusing new development in the Chicago Alderman Loophole saga.

Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue today decried the "double standard" that prompted Mayor Daley to endorse the idea of temporarily re-opening gun registration in Chicago after a request from Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).

"We have retired police officers who have a right to carry concealed weapons across the country, and they're being barred from registering their weapons in Chicago. We've taken one of these cases to Circuit Court. Dick Mell has taken his case to the City Council," the union president said.
Grating, isn't it, that retired "Only Ones" be treated as less worthy of consideration than an alderman--you know--just as the rest of us are?
On Wednesday, Donahue questioned the mayor's motives for endorsing the change. If the goal is truly what Daley says it is, then the amnesty window should be permanently re-opened for existing gun owners, the union president said.

"If they're looking to find out how many guns are in the city, leave it open. Why set a window on it? Do it for everyone who has an existing gun," Donahue said.
Yeah--I noticed that, too.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chicago Alderman Loophole--additional thoughts

In an update to yesterday's post about the Chicago Alderman Loophole, I noted that Mayor Daley, in what might seem at fist glance to be a surprising departure from his rabidly anti-freedom, anti-self-defense stance, welcomes Alderman Mell's proposed ordinance. The reason for his support, supposedly, is "to get a realistic handle on the number of guns in Chicago." Like Mr. Codrea, I am more than a little skeptical.

For one thing, the only guns that this ordinance would open up for registration are those that someone attempted to register between May 1, 2007, and April 1 (April Fool's Day--how appropriate), 2008. Even among those, the only ones this ordinance would make eligible for registration are those that were denied because the registration application was submitted too late. In other words, only a minuscule fraction of the unregistered (and thus illegal) guns in Chicago would become "registerable," and that doesn't count the vast number of guns in Chicago owned by people who, by virtue of their criminal records, cannot legally own firearms under state or federal law.

Sounds to me as if Daley is on a fishing expedition. Could an attempt to register a firearm that would be, even under this proposed ordinance, be impossible to register (and thus illegal to own in Chicago) constitute probable cause for a search warrant? I would hope not, but I wouldn't bet against it in Chicago.

I would suggest that anyone who wants to "take advantage" (Ha!) of this ordinance (assuming it passes) be extremely careful.

'When the kid in your town gets killed'

That's what the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament wait and pray for.

The article I linked to above, "Gun control backers not bold on 2009," is mostly about making an assertion that I don't really buy--that the gun ban extremists don't have big plans for the post election future. I believe they do, and if I'm right, what does the fact that they fear to move on their agenda until after the election say about what the people want?

Still, that's not the issue I'm writing about today. Today, I want to talk about what the gun ban extremists so eagerly await.

House Democrats have not championed major gun control legislation this Congress. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), a gun control advocate, noted that many freshman Democrats — as well as next year’s prospective freshman Democrats — favor gun rights.

He doesn’t expect many more co-sponsors to McCarthy’s bill. “We probably have all the support we’re going to get,” Nadler said of the measure’s 66 backers.

“The national climate has to change,” he said.

Asked when it will, Nadler responded, “When the kid in your town gets killed.”
Good people, healthy people, normal people, with their humanity intact, look at a murder with a mixture of outrage and sorrow. Advocates of forcible citizen disarmament, on the other hand, look at it as an opportunity.

When an evil, twisted sociopath murdered thirty-two people at Virginia Tech, Representative Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY) introduced H.R. 1859 (to mandate low-capacity magazines) before the bodies had been removed from the scene (a ten round magazine capacity limit, by the way, would have done nothing to reduce the carnage that awful day).

Similarly, the Brady Campaign issued a plea for money ($32, no less) immediately on the heels of that atrocity.

Then there's the VPC:
. . . and the fact that until someone famous is shot, or something truly horrible happens, handgun restriction is simply not viewed as a priority.
I have a tendency to compare the gun ban extremists to various docile, hoofed herbivores, but perhaps vultures are a more appropriate metaphor.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Chicago Alderman loophole

Days of Our Trailers already has this covered, so I'll just urge readers to give it a look. Must be nice to have the power to write yourself an exception to any draconian gun laws of which you happen to run afoul.

For those who appreciate irony, Richard Mell is, by the way, the father-in-law of rabidly anti-gun Public Official A . . . er, Governor Rod Blagojevich. Maybe the good Guv should borrow a page out of his father-in-law's book, and have some of his legislative allies draft some kind of exception to ethics laws--oops, never mind--I forgot that Rod has alienated most of the legislature.

UPDATE: And the hypocrisy spreads: now frothing-at-the-mouth-anti-gun Mayor Daley supports the idea:

Mayor Daley said today he's all for the idea of temporarily re-opening gun registration in Chicago -- not as a favor to Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), but to get a realistic handle on the number of guns in Chicago.
I was about to say "unbelievable," but, sadly, it is all too believable.

Defense of Philadelphia gun 'laws' based on hilariously shaky argument

Yesterday was supposed to have been the day for the hearing to determine the legality (or lack thereof) of what I like to call the "Nutter Package"--the restrictive gun "laws" passed last month by the Philadelphia City Council and signed by Mayor Nutter. I said "supposed to have been the day," because that's not how it turned out.

A Philadelphia Common Pleas judge this morning ordered attorneys for the city and the National Rifle Association to condense into writing by tomorrow morning what might have been testimony for a two- or three-day evidentiary hearing this week in the battle over five local gun control laws enacted last month.
The judge apparently isn't interested in sitting through Philadelphia's "dog and pony show" (as NRA attorney C. Scott Shields referred to it) designed to advance the argument that "state constitution be damned--we need more gun laws!"

What I hadn't realized until reading the second link was just what argument Philadelphia planned to use to get around the indisputable fact that the Pennsylvania state constitution explicitly preempts the power to enact gun laws to the state, rather than cities. The argument is even more ridiculous than I had thought.
The city concedes that the state regulates lawful firearm ownership, but says the local laws are meant to control the illegal possession of firearms by criminals.
This clearly makes no sense whatsoever--hell, one of the "laws," the ban of so-called "assault weapons," bans a class of firearms that is perfectly legal to own under state law. How is that not "regulat(ing) lawful firearm ownership"? In fact, all five of the "laws" criminalize aspects of what under state law is lawful firearm ownership.

If that's the best argument they can come up with, they should be laughed out of court.

Monday, May 19, 2008

'Fairness in Firearm Testing' (or 'Shining a Spotlight on the Cockroaches')

I have been writing a bit of late about H.R. 4900, the number of co-sponsors it has been drawing, and the possibility that it might at least somewhat blunt the BATFE's attacks on Americans and the Constitution. As I pointed out Friday, though, I don't expect this legislation to be of much help in preventing another David Olofson outrage.

From War on Guns today, we learn of a bill that perhaps would go a long way toward reining in at least one of the BATFE's favorite methods of persecuting citizens (a method they used to telling effect against Mr. Olofson). H.R. 1791, the Fairness in Firing Testing Act of 2007, would outlaw the BATFE's practice of submitting heavily edited (and quite questionable) video footage of the firearm testing as "evidence" of a violation.

As War on Guns points, out, though, this bill has languished in committee since April of last year, and will presumably die there. That's more than unfortunate--the lack of action on this bill is a tacit endorsement of the BATFE's use of perjury to imprison American citizens.

Assuming H.R. 1791 goes nowhere, if H.R. 4900 passes in the House, I hope a pro-rights Senator introduces an amendment containing the language of H.R. 1791.

Again, I'm not so naive as to think that the BATFE can be "reformed" sufficiently (there's no "reforming" one's way around the fact that the agency's very mission is blatantly unconstitutional). Also, as has been pointed out to me, even outright disbandment of the BATFE would amount only to the cutting off of one of the hydra's heads--the only real solution is to get the entire federal government out of the business of infringing that which shall not be infringed.

Still, the epidemic of gun laws we now face was inflicted on us, for the most part, one law at a time--perhaps the cure will have to be approached with similar patience.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

What the hell is a 'semi-assault weapon'?

In a bizarre new twist on the "assault weapon" vs. "patrol rifles" idiocy of last October, we're now being told that Chicago police officers will soon be carrying "semi-assault weapons" ("high-powered semi-assault weapons," no less).

In addition to the battle dress, police will soon add high powered semi-assault weapons to their arsenal. Weis says it's in reaction to a shooting last month where police encountered a man with an AK-47.
So what is a "semi-assault weapon"? My first thought was that it is a semi-automatic "assault weapon," but that can't be right--the AR-15's, the semi-automatic AK-47 copies (and now, apparently, the SKS rifles) that we're supposed to fear, as scary "assault weapons," are all semi-automatic, so this apparently new category of weapon must be something else. It's only partially useful in an assault, maybe? Only sort of a weapon, perhaps? I simply don't know.

Superintendent Weis continues:
"They were outgunned. I don't want officers going up against an AK-47 with a Smith and Wesson," Weis said. "They would lose every time."
Actually, it seems that the above is only a partial quote of what Weis actually said:
video
. . . and they have a Smith and Wesson revolver.
How long has it been since the standard duty weapon of the Chicago PD was a revolver, I wonder?

Not everyone is thrilled with this militarization of the Chicago Police, however.
But in Chicago's South Shore neighborhood, the idea of police with assault weapons is a concern.

"If they're going to carry assault rifles like that that's just going to be an all out war with citizens criminals because they're going to defend themselves," said area resident Kevine Green.

Pat Hill, a former police officer and the president of the African American Police League, questions the message police are sending to the black and Hispanic communities where the battle-ready officers are expected to be deployed.

"This is the stuff you use in war," Hill said. "This is what you use in Iraq and Afghanistan. So are they telling the community now that they've declared us as the enemy?"
Better get accustomed to the idea of many "Only Ones" thinking of the rest of us as the enemy, Pat.

But at least they'll only "semi-assault" us.

Friday, May 16, 2008

197

One hundred ninety-seven. That's the number of United States Representatives who have signed on as co-sponsors to H.R. 4900, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007. Just a week and a half ago, I was pleased that the number had reached one hundred sixty-five. Another thirty-two, in ten days, is quite encouraging. Assuming the sponsor and all the co-sponsors vote for it, the bill would need only twenty more votes to pass in the House.

Would "Modernizing and Improving" the BATFE prevent another David Olofson outrage? In all honesty, I don't really believe it could. The culture of institutional arrogance and power lust is probably too deeply ingrained in that agency for some additional legislative oversight to overcome, which is why I think the JPFO has the right idea for the only real way to "improve" the BATFE.

Still, any measure that forces the bastards to work harder in order to be able to impose their evil will on the people is a step in the right direction. If your United States Representative is not on the list, keep badgering him/her--he or she works for you--a concept too many politicians (and voters, for that matter) seem to forget.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Gun owners: one malfunction away from prison

For some, it was perhaps easy to dismiss the persecution of Wayne Fincher as "someone else's problem." Not a position for which I have much respect, but it doesn't shock me that many--including some who consider themselves "gun rights activists"--take that view. Most of us, after all, don't train with a non-government-sanctioned militia, or own machine guns without a government permission slip--or do we?

The case of David Olofson shows us that, given enough BATFE elbow grease, just about any firearm can be found to be a "machine gun."

What mattered was the government’s position that none of the above was relevant because “[T]here’s no indication it makes any difference under the statute. If you pull the trigger once and it fires more than one round, no matter what the cause it’s a machine gun.”
In the Olofson case, when the BATFE couldn't, at first, recreate the malfunction that initially brought the firearm to their attention, they laboriously manipulated the variables until they made the gun fire (nominally) automatically. No one who owns a semi-automatic firearm can afford to sit on the sidelines for this one.

Next time, it may not be "someone else's problem."

Mr. Olofson has been convicted, and sentenced to thirty months in prison, followed by probation.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Why I'll never again buy a Dell computer

Not only am I many hours later than usual to post today, this post will have nothing to do with guns--it's just an angry (outraged, really) rant about the "customer service" I have received from Dell.

I have had been a satisfied Dell customer for a number of years, and have bought four computers from them. Therefore, when my father (who doesn't touch computers) asked me to do the ordering for him, to get a laptop for my mother's 75th birthday, while she was in the hospital, I didn't hesitate to order from Dell.

I submitted the order on April 23rd--plenty of time, I thought, to get it here in time for her birthday (May 5th). I was annoyed that every time I checked the order status, I saw that tracking information was "temporarily" unavailable, but since I was told that it had shipped on April 26th (my father's credit card was charged on the 23rd, by the way), and that the estimated delivery time ranged from April 30th to May 2nd, I wasn't particularly concerned. Finally, though, as May 2nd drew to a close with no computer, and still no tracking information, I decided to call. After the long delay to finally get to a human to talk to (I'm not picky--I don't demand that English be the person's primary language), I was given the tracking number. Using that, I discovered that they had shipped the computer to Maryland (rather than Illinois, where it was to be delivered).

Upon informing Dell of this little problem, I got an email suggesting I pop over to the DHL facility and pick it up myself--in Maryland (over 800 miles away). I politely let them know that I was not receptive to this idea ("Are you insane?" I asked--politely).

Since then, we have been exchanging emails, with mine getting progressively less polite ("you idiotic criminals" might have been mentioned in a recent email), and I still don't know that we're any closer to getting a computer here (nor has my father's credit card charge been canceled).

Anyone who reads this, and still orders from Dell--don't say I didn't warn you. Colossal incompetence, compounded by utter indifference to resolving the problem, is what you can expect.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

More Philadelphia 'assault weapon' hysteria

Annette John-Hall, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, asks "Why do we buy the NRA's line?"

Mayor Nutter and Gov. Rendell are taking aim and don't plan to let up.

In the aftermath of the cold-blooded killing of Philadelphia Police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski with a semiautomatic weapon, they made a written appeal to lawmakers in Harrisburg last week.

Man up - now.

Stand up for the state's law enforcement officers and ban the possession, manufacture, use and importation of assault weapons.
One of the problems with that idea is that most of those Pennsylvania legislators would like to be reelected some day, and voting to ban so-called "assault weapons" is a good way to make sure that doesn't happen in much of the country, most of Pennsylvania included.
This latest action comes on the heels of the mayor, no doubt sick and tired of being sick and tired of Harrisburg's failure to get any traction on gun control, signing five new gun laws that were to take effect immediately.

He had to realize that his defiant stroke of the pen would amount to nothing more than shooting blanks.

Especially since District Attorney Lynne M. Abraham had already advised him that the laws were unconstitutional.

And most especially since one of the perps oh so willing to fire back was the all-powerful National Rifle Association.

Talk about hostage-takers who refuse to negotiate.
So now NRA members are "perps" and hostage takers. As for "refus[ing] to negotiate"--puh-lease--their willingness to negotiate away gun owners' rights (you do remember the NICS "Improvement" Act, don't you, Annette?) is my biggest problem with them.
Sure enough, the NRA wasted no time suing and winning a restraining order against the mayor's regulations, which included a ban on assault weapons.
An effort that was successful precisely because the mayor's "laws" were so clearly in violation of the Pennsylvania constitution (as well as the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, but, hey--everyone else violates that--why not Philadelphia?).
As expected, the NRA continues to cling to the age-old argument that guns are the least of the problem.

"It's the same song-and-dance out of Ramsey, focusing on the firearm and not at the root of the problem," NRA spokesman John Hohenwarter said. "The problem is the revolving door of the courtroom and the lack of intervention for these kids who grow up to be criminals."

But none of those things killed Liczbinski. A criminal armed with a body-armor-penetrating weapon did.
Never mind for the moment that any hunting rifle will penetrate soft body armor--what the hell does body armor penetration have to do with the killing of an officer who wasn't wearing body armor?

Annette then goes on to talk about people whom I refer to as "Gun Owners Against the Second Amendment"--including "Judas Bob" Ricker.
But the good news is that there are citizens who love their guns and respect the Second Amendment [Ha!], and who also strongly support reasonable gun-control laws.

Roy Vernick, a small businessman who lives in Warrington, bought his first gun in 1976 for safety. Today he owns three handguns. They're all registered and kept under lock and key in his home.

But when he and his wife go into Center City, chances are he's packing.

"Guns to me are like fire extinguishers," Vernick, 57, says. "You don't expect to use them, but you'd better have them if you need them."
So far so good, but . . .
He believes he represents the typical law-abiding gun owner who supports gun regulation.

And he wouldn't join the NRA if you paid him.

"I'll probably get shot for saying this, but I think they're a bunch of terrorists," Vernick says. "We don't have the right to own an AK-47 and we don't necessarily have the right to own a Glock with a 15-round magazine."
Yeah--the NRA has a long history of shooting people with whom they disagree. As to the right to own an AK-47 (has the NRA started standing up for private ownership of select-fire weapons, and I've not been giving them credit, or does he mean semi-automatic copies of AK-47s?), or Glocks with magazines that can hold more than fourteen rounds, perhaps you could explain your take on shall not be infringed.
Vernick's opinion is shared by the 25,000 members of the American Hunters and Shooters Association, a new organization created to bring reason back to the gun issue.

"We believe in the right to bear arms, and hunting and shooting. But we also believe there needs to be reasonable restrictions," says AHSA executive director Bob Ricker, a former NRA attorney. "There's a place for military rifles, in competitions and other things. But they pose a danger to our city streets."
"Competitions and other things," Bob? "Other things" like self-defense, perhaps? And how do certain firearms, being inanimate objects, "pose a danger to our city streets"? Would you say that "danger" is greater or less than the danger posed by violent felons with long criminal histories being set loose on society?

Annette ends her little whine-fest with this:
Why do we continue to listen to the NRA?
I don't know, Annette--would you prefer to listen to the Violence Policy Center?
If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another in 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.--Tom Diaz, Violence Policy Center senior policy analyst

Monday, May 12, 2008

Illinois gun prohibitionists' next target: standard capacity magazines

Folks, I realize that Armed and Safe has been rather Illinois-centric of late--springtime in Illinois tends to keep me pretty busy with the state level fight to hold on to what's left here of the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. That, in turn, tends to leave me little time for less parochial gun issues. I hope readers will bear with me for just over a couple more weeks--then the spring session ends here, which should allow me to broaden my focus some.

Anyway, Friday I talked about the Brady Campaign's (what has happened to their website, anyway--can't they afford the web hosting fees?) contemptible attempt to bully Chicago area representatives who voted against the citizen disarmament party line on HB 758 (virtual ban of private handgun sales). At that time, I speculated that their motive (apart from the joy they apparently take in being loathsome and contemptible) might be to try to exert leverage against the targeted representatives, by generating (they hoped) a wave of outrage from the (fictitious) throngs of Illinois voters who want still more oppressive gun laws--in hopes of pressuring the recalcitrant lawmakers into voting for SB 1007 (more on that abomination at Days of Our Trailers--and I've written about it too many times to list).

That does indeed seem to be the plan:

5/10/08 – Senate Bill 1007 which bans the sale, manufacture and possession of any large capacity ammunition magazine is scheduled to be debated in the Illinois House of Representatives in the next several weeks. Now is the time to call your State Representative and urge them to support this common sense legislation to reduce gun violence in Illinois. To learn how, click here
The Brady Campaign, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, and the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence have all identified the private handgun sales ban and the standard capacity magazine ban as their top Illinois priorities. We stopped them on the private handgun sales front, but they'll settle for batting .500, and coming back next year for what they couldn't get this time. SB 1007 already passed in the Senate (last year), so it will take only sixty anti-freedom, anti-self-defense representatives to send it to Governor Rod "Public Official A" Blagojevich's desk for his gleeful signature. The private sales ban bill fell two short of that sixty--and now they're trying to exert pressure on--you guessed it--two representatives.

Quite a coincidence, eh?

War on Gun interviews Second Amendment scholar David E. Young

This will be a must-read. For those unfamiliar with the format of interviews at War on Guns, Mr. Codrea will get the ball rolling, and then readers can submit additional questions via comment, which the subject (David E. Young, in this case) will answer.

Don't miss it.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Brady Bunch bullying--and backfiring

As mentioned at Days of Our Trailers, the Brady Bunch is sending hideous postcards and making contemptible robocalls to "punish" Illinois State Representative Sandy Cole for her "No" vote on HB 758 (which would have outlawed private handgun sales in Illinois).

I'm not sure that was such a good idea on their part--it doesn't seem to be working out as they had hoped.

Just hung up from conversation with Sandy Cole's office. The office mgr said calls have been running probably 5-1, favor our side!
Keep it up Brady Bunch--you're doing our work for us.

We need to call and/or FAX Rep. Cole (and also Rep. Dennis Reboletti, who is also a target of Brady wrath), to express our appreciation for their "No" vote on HB 758.
Rep. Sandra Cole (R-62nd district)
Springfield Office:
(217) 782-7320
(217) 782-1275 FAX
District Office:
(847) 543-0062
(847) 543-8862 FAX

Rep. Dennis Reboletti (R-46th district)
Springfield Office:
(217) 782-4014
(no Springfield FAX listed)
District Office:
(630) 530-2730
(630) 530-2792 FAX
With the House not in session until Tuesday, if you can only hit one office, rather than both, it might make sense to concentrate on the district offices. A five to one pro-rights ratio is good, but we should be able to get at least ten to one.

Concealed carry coming to an Illinois county?

The idea is a bit difficult to imagine, but a bipartisan coalition of Winnebago County board members is giving it a try.

At least two Winnebago County Board members would like to see that changed in Illinois, starting in Winnebago County.

Randy Olson, R-1, and Doug Aurand, D-3, plan to present a resolution to the County Board this month authorizing concealed carry within the boundaries of the county.

“I put it together a couple years ago,” Olson said of the resolution. “I had a few members ask me if I would revive it, and I just tweaked it.”

The resolution is a 10-page document that outlines applicant guidelines and procedures before the sheriff issues a permit such as: being at least 21 years of age, a resident of the county for at least six months, passing a criminal-background check, completing a firearm safety training course and not having a history of mental illness or violent behavior.
Does a county government have the legal authority to do this? I don't know--I hadn't thought so, but I certainly wouldn't mind finding out that I'm wrong. Another issue is the whole idea of going, hat in hand, to a public official (the sheriff, in this case), and asking, "Please sir, if I promise to be good, may I please, please, please exercise my Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms?" If I understand the concept of rights (and I believe I do), that doesn't make any sense.

Still, many people who desire an effective means of self-defense, but are unwilling to break even unjust laws to have that means at hand, will want to avail themselves of a legal means of doing so, and it's not my place to tell them that they're wrong to do so.

Yet another issue is the rather restrictive nature of the proposed permit. The list of requirements, restrictions, and qualifications is long--too long to post here--but those interested can see them here. A couple examples: if you walk into an establishment that serves alcohol, no self-defense for you; the names and addresses of permit holders will be a matter of public record. Perhaps the drafters of the resolution decided that making such concessions was the only way for the resolution to have a decent chance of passage, and again, there will be folks who believe that any ability to legally carry a defensive firearm is better than no such ability.

The resolution was apparently to be brought up as part of county board business at last evening's board meeting, and assigned to a committee. Below is more news coverage of the issue, from a Rockford, IL TV station.

video

Speaking of resolutions in Illinois counties to combat the epidemic of gun laws, it has been quite awhile since I've talked about the other pro-gun rights resolution sweeping across the state, county by county.

I'm not going to correct that deficiency quite yet, but hope to before the day is over. Suffice it to say that progress has been good on that front, as well.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Lies from the BATFE? Say it ain't so

I haven't covered the murder of Philadelphia Police Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, committed by a career violent criminal (whom the "justice" system had unleashed on society), because there has been plenty of good coverage available elsewhere. Something in this article, however, caught my eye, and I can't let it go.

BATFE Assistant Special Agent in Charge Tony Robbins (presumably not that Tony Robbins) had something to say about the rifle used in Liczbinski's murder.

"They are very cheap, selling for $100 to $300," said Tony Robbins, assistant special agent in charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives here. "There's a ton of them out there.
It's hardly surprising that a rifle made in the millions, sixty years ago, can be had not very expensively, but now the fact that "they are very cheap" is apparently intended to convey an additional degree of menace.
They can lay some heavy firepower. We see them periodically being used by street gangs and drug organizations. It's a pretty menacing gun."
And we also see them used by hunters, collectors, homeowners, and huge numbers of other folks who have no inclination to use them to cause carnage on the streets. By the way, the "heavy firepower" was five rounds (before the gun jammed) of 7.62 x39mm--a round less powerful than what many deer hunters typically use.

But it's what Robbins says next that I find particularly interesting.
What's more, Robbins noted that the ATF was able to trace the SKS rifle used to gun down Liczbinski to a gun show in Fayettville, N.C. He said that because it had been bought at a gun show, the owner did not have to undergo a background check - another proposal that's been blocked by the gun lobby.

"In Southern states, you can buy and sell guns like a table lamp if you go to a gun show," Robbins added. "I don't think this gun was sold illegally. It was passed down and sold many times."
Now wait a second here--if there had been no background check at the point of purchase (the gun show), how did the BATFE trace the sale to said gun show? Unless I'm missing something, they could not have, and there must have been a background check and a Form 4473 filled out. What those who call for closure of the mythical "gun show loophole" would like folks to forget is that background checks are required at gun shows when the sale is conducted by a dealer--the only sales that do not require the checks are those conducted by private collectors disposing of parts of their collections. I can only conclude that this sale must have been conducted by a dealer, with the all the attendant paperwork. What this has to do with "Southern states" is another mystery.

Still, far be it from the BATFE to let the truth get in the way.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The NFL opposed to defense?

In light of the NFL's rather disapproving position on armed self-defense (and I thought "defense wins championships"), I thought it might make sense to try to gauge the position of the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association)--so this morning, I decided to ask:

I am writing to inquire about the NFLPA's position, if any, on the NFL's firearms policy, which I will quote below:
Guns and Weapons Policy
This policy applies to all employees of the NFL and its member clubs, including players.

Prohibitions. Whether possessed legally or illegally, guns and other weapons of any kind are dangerous. You and your family can easily be the losers if you carry or keep these items in your home. You must not possess these weapons while traveling on League-related business or whenever you are on the premises of the following:

• A facility owned, operated or being used by an NFL club (for example, training camp, dormitory, locker room, workout site, parking area, team bus, team plane, team hotel/motel);

• A stadium or any other venue being used for an NFL event (for example, a game, practice or promotion);

• A facility owned or operated by the NFL or any League company.

Put simply, the League, the Players Association and law enforcement authorities urge you to recognize that you must not possess a gun or other weapon at any time you are performing any service for your team or the NFL.

Legal Possession. In some circumstances, such as for sport or protection, you may legally possess a firearm or other weapon. However, we strongly recommend that you not do so. Any weapon, particularly a firearm, is dangerous -- especially so when it is in a vehicle or within reach of children and others not properly trained in its use.

Understanding the Law. If you legally possess a weapon, you must understand the local, state and federal laws that apply. The NFL Security Representative in your area will help you get information about these laws. You should be aware that if you take a weapon from one place to another -- for example, across state lines -- a different set of laws may apply in the new place.

Discipline. If you violate this policy on guns and other weapons, you are subject to discipline, including suspension from playing. And if you violate a public law covering weapons -- for example, possession of an unlicensed firearm -- you are not only subject to discipline, including suspension from playing, but also subject to criminal prosecution.

Remember, be careful and understand the risks.
I see that the NFL counts the Players Association among the groups that "urge [players] to recognize that [they] must not possess a gun or other weapon at any time [they] are performing any service for [their] team or the NFL." Did the NFL accurately portray the NFLPA's stance on this issue?

If so, and in light of the murders of Darrent Williams and Sean Taylor, how do you justify supporting a policy whereby players are rendered defenseless much of the time?

Another question is how passage in Florida of CS/HB 503, the Preservation & Protection of the Right to Keep & Bear Arms in Motor Vehicles Act of 2008, will affect the NFL's policy (specifically with regard to the prohibition of firearms in NFL facility parking lots) in Florida. If the league attempted, despite this law, to discipline a player who kept a firearm in his vehicle in an NFL-controlled parking lot in Florida, could that player count on the NFLPA's support?

Finally, if players in Florida are indeed recognized as having every right to keep firearms in their vehicles, even when parked at NFL facilities, without being subject to league discipline, is this not somewhat unfair to players who are not members of the Miami Dolphins or Jacksonville Jaguars?

Thank you,
Kurt Hofmann
I'll post any reply I get, but I don't recommend holding one's breath.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Picking up steam

Back in December, I wrote about H.R. 4900, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007. Now, before anyone gets worried, I haven't become so divorced from reality as to believe that passage of a law will rein in "Maximum Mike's" stormtroopers (it's not as if they've shown any compunction about breaking laws--including the supreme law of the land--before), but it does sound as if it could be a useful weapon to use against them in the courtroom.

Anyway, the purpose of today's post is to point out that H.R. 4900 has 165 co-sponsors now, including six more who signed on just yesterday. That means that (assuming the sponsor and co-sponsors all vote for it), it would need only fifty-two additional votes to pass in the House. If your representative isn't one of those 165, maybe it's time he or she hears from you (hears from you again, I would hope).

The Senate, of course, might be a tougher nut to crack, with Dianne Feinstein, or one of the other "Coastal Commies" likely to use the same parliamentary maneuvers to kill it that she used in 2006 to stop the similar H.R. 5092.

Still, let's worry about blowing up . . . er, crossing that bridge when we get to it--the House is where the action is now.

UPDATE: Wow--five more co-sponsors signed on yesterday--you guys are FAST ;-).

Monday, May 05, 2008

The Second Amendment: America's original monopoly-buster

I'm probably wading in over my head here, but I simply cannot allow Josh Horwitz's latest pro-tyranny screed to go unchallenged. Horwitz, as readers are probably aware, is Maximum Leader . . . er, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence CSGV. I've written before about the CSGV's remarkable candor, in proclaiming that the government should (actually, it was "must") have a monopoly on force, but I remember thinking that Ladd Everitt (CSGV's Minister of Propaganda . . . er Director of Communications) must have spoken out of turn in coming out and publicly making that statement. It's not that I doubt that these tyrant wannabes believe that--I just didn't think they had really intended to come out and say it. Clearly, I was wrong, as evidenced by the title Josh used: "The Game of Monopoly."

If this insurrectionist logic were to be embraced by the Supreme Court, however, our democracy would be severely degraded.
Josh, the United States is not, and has never been, a "democracy," and for the very good reason of avoiding the tyranny of the majority, whereby 50.1% of the population can vote to trample the rights of the other 49.9%.
Such an interpretation of the Second Amendment would make even the most modest gun control legislation unconstitutional.
Um--yeah--"even the most modest" tyranny is tyranny.
If the purpose of the Second Amendment is to allow individuals to stockpile firearms to protect against government "tyranny," then laws like owner licensing or firearm registration (and maybe even the Brady background check) could be found unconstitutional because they allow the government to monitor and regulate gun ownership.
The horror!
If every American armed up to vindicate their private grievances (the Court of Appeals gave absolutely no guidance on how to tell, or who should decide, what constitutes government "tyranny"), the government's monopoly on force would be infringed and our society would gradually slide toward anarchy.
Again with the "government's monopoly on force," but this time with a hideous new twist--somehow, in a discussion about the Constitutional amendment that guarantees that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, we've suddenly turned that amendment on its head and are now expected to be disturbed that "government's monopoly on force would be infringed." "Infringing" on that monopoly is the whole idea, Josh.
The concept of a "monopoly on force" might sound foreign or even frightening to Americans that take great pride in our revolutionary beginnings . . .
Gee--ya' think?
. . . but it is the fundamental organizing principle of any political entity . . .
Any dictatorship, anyway--but perhaps a dictatorship is the only "political entity" for which you have any respect, Josh.

Josh then tries to backpedal:
This doesn't mean that Saddam Hussein's regime, or other totalitarian states, should be accepted. These regimes lack legitimacy, which is the key to Weber's definition of the monopoly on force.
So it's OK to fight against an "illegitimate" government, but not a "legitimate" one. Fine--that makes sense. But wait a second, one cannot effectively fight an illegitimate government without arms, and one thing I've noticed about illegitimate governments is that they tend to make the citizenry's acquisition of effective arms rather difficult--a pretty compelling reason, it would seem, to acquire the arms before the government slides into illegitimacy.

Josh's arguments become even more difficult to fathom when one looks at them in light of the opening sentence of the article:
With the Bush administration casting aside the Constitution to eavesdrop on telephone conversations and hold suspected terrorists for years without access to lawyers, it's easy to see why civil libertarians on the left are finding a lot to like about the right-wing critique of expansive government power.
Is a government that refuses to abide by the national constitution not, by definition, illegitimate? If not, how do you define an illegitimate government, Josh?

Speaking personally, I would say that a government that reserves the right to kill the people with impunity is a good place to start in looking for such a definition.

I see, by the way, that a book of Josh's will be published this year--Freedom Under Fire, "examining the relationship between guns and democracy." Good title, Josh--that's much catchier than Mein Kampf.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Think your right to self-defense ends when you enter a national park? If not, make yourself heard

I probably won't get around to much blogging today, but I do need to correct my failure, so far, to urge readers to contact the Department of the Interior to put national parks on the same footing (with regard to the carrying of defensive firearms) as the states in which the parks lie. CCRKBA has more:

To comment on-line, simply click here and follow the instructions for making public comment.

You can mail comments to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: 1024-AD70; Division of Policy and Directives Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222; Arlington, VA 22203.
Basically, the Department of the Interior is now requesting public opinion on this issue--so let's give them plenty of it. I just noticed, by the way, that the link is down (temporarily, one would hope)--apparently for planned maintenance--so keep trying. UPDATE: The link is back up now.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Utah gun dealer's persecution not over

Back in January, I wrote about the legal ordeals inflicted on Wesley Wayne Hill, a Utah gun dealer who sold the shotgun used in the Trolley Square mall killings in Salt Lake City last year. As I stated in the earlier post, the minor paperwork errors (or "crimes," according to the BATFE) committed by Mr. Hill played no meaningful role in that atrocity, but Mr. Hill has nonetheless been sentenced to a year of probation.

Today, we learn that the probation is not the extent of the suffering to be inflicted on Mr. Hill--he is also being sued.

Stacy Hanson is suing Nevada-based Rocky Mountain Enterprises and a pawn shop chain it owns, Sportsman's Fastcash, [and Mr. Hill is also named in the suit] for emotional and physical damages he and his wife incurred after the Feb. 12, 2007, shootings, according to documents filed in 3rd District Court today.

"I think that people who sell firearms need to be held to a higher level of responsibility. Guns do one thing: They're made to kill things," said Hanson, reached at his home on this evening.
Guns are "made to kill things"? That's funny--I have several that have never killed anything--are they defective? In fact, there are tens of millions of guns in the United States that have never killed anything--you'd think that if that's what they're made to do, they'd do a better job of it.

We live in a litigious society, of course, and I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that when something horrible happens, someone will decide that the horrible event entitles him to demand money from someone else. What I find less pardonable, though, is trying to wrap the money-grubbing in a cloak of nobility:
"I think I owe something to the people who died," he said of pursuing legal action against the gun sellers.

"I made it out of there. I think this is one of those things that I can do to help their memories."
Yeah, pal--your newfound wealth will be just the way to honor the people who died.

It's not that I don't sympathize with a man who has been paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair--being in the same boat myself (although not due to gunshot wounds), I am intimately familiar with how unpleasant it is. My objection is to the fact that he has decided to transfer the blame for his suffering to a man who did nothing to cause it.
The suit claims the pistol-grip shotgun doesn't serve a purpose other than for "military, law enforcement or criminal activities," and the gun dealer should have known Talovic would use the gun for murder.
Apparently, self-defense is a criminal activity now.
"It's the right thing to do whether it succeeds or whether it fails," said Hanson of the lawsuit.

"I'm doing it for here and for Omaha, Virginia Tech and every place else."
And for your bottom line, and your lawyer's.

Does anyone know if there's a legal defense fund for Mr. Hill?

Thursday, May 01, 2008

They passed what?

Regular readers (both of you) will have noticed by now that a perennial topic on this blog is the endless folly of the Illinois Politburo General Assembly, in pursuing its citizen disarmament agenda. I had come to believe that I had become more or less immune to surprise at the depth of that folly. Shows what I know.

Enter HB 5191, passed in the House yesterday, by a margin of seventy-four to thirty-six. The intent of this bill, presumably, is to spur parents and guardians to keep their firearms away from their offspring who have shown themselves to be dangerously mentally ill or inclined to violent crime. A laudable goal, certainly, but how to go about it? Well, Illinois--where shall not be infringed doesn't mean, apparently, what an understanding of the English language would lead one to expect it to mean--requires a Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card to legally possess a firearm (or even to touch a firearm at a gun shop or gun show), or a single round of ammunition. This card is issued (or not) by the state police, and by revoking it (or refusing to issue it) a person is barred from owning firearms.

HB 5191 would take advantage of the FOID system, by revoking the FOID cards of parents or guardians who fail to secure their firearms from their dangerous offspring. OK so far--at least if one is willing to overlook the blatant contradiction of requiring government permission to exercise a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right. The real problem comes in the wording of the bill--here's an excerpt, regarding whom would be subject to FOID card revocation:

(b-5) A parent or guardian of a person under 21 years of age who is unable to prevent his or her child under 21 years of
age from gaining access to a firearm or ammunition, or both,
when (1) the child upon 2 occasions has had possession of his
or her parent or guardian's firearm or ammunition, or both,
without the parent or guardian's permission as evidenced
through documentation in any arrest record, Department of
Children and Family Services investigation, school record,
juvenile court record, or other public record, and (2) the
child met the criteria for severe or major mood disorder or
severe conduct disorder (evidenced by behavior such as forced
sex, physical cruelty, use of a weapon, stealing while
confronting a victim, breaking and entering), or both, as
defined in the DSM-IV-TR published by the American Psychiatric
Association, or the child is an adjudicated delinquent minor
for acts involving aggressive or violent behavior; (emphasis mine)
Now wait a second--you mean if the parent does not give the "child" (who might be twenty years old) permission to get the gun, and the kid does so anyway, the parent loses his ability to legally own guns, but if he or she had given permission, there are no consequences? Setting aside the issue of holding the owner of a gun responsible for what someone else does with the gun, isn't that kind of, um . . . backward? Would such a law not provide the parent or guardian an incentive to give his or her dangerous offspring permission to handle the gun, and is that not directly in opposition to the ostensible intent of the bill? By the way, how does one prove that the parent denied permission?

I also notice that no provision is made for considering how much effort was made to prevent access. As the bill is written, the gun (or as little as a single round of ammunition) could have been in a safe so stout that the young troublemaker had to use explosives to get into it, but the parent would still be held liable.

This bill goes to the Senate next. Illinois gun owners might suggest to their senators that it would be a good idea to avoid whatever it is that seventy-four members of the House were smoking yesterday.