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.

Friday, October 31, 2008

David Codrea to be on the radio Sunday

David Codrea (War on Guns) will be on Tom Gresham's Gun Talk show Sunday at 2:00 EST.

You can find radio stations throughout the Republic here. If there’s nothing local, you can also listen over the Internet via Live Feed.

I hope you can join us, and I hope some of you call in and get through. The number is 866-TALK GUNS (866-825-5486).
If you miss it, don't say you weren't told.

Breaking my own rule again

Once again, I'm going to break my self-imposed rule against linking to Mark Karlin's rabidly anti-gun "Gun Guys." It's a rule I had managed to obey for quite a while, but broke a week ago, prompted by a statement too ridiculous to pass up. This time, I have a different reason--it's not so much the ridiculousness of what the "Gun Guys" are saying, but the fact that the geniuses are actually making my own point for me.

The point to which I refer is that, the horrible tragedy of the death of 8-year-old Chrisopher Bizilj at a machine gun shoot notwithstanding, such events have an impressive safety record. Helping to make that point are my favorite panty-wetters, who point out that it is not at all unusual for children to fire fully automatic firearms at such events.

In light of the recent tragic death of an 8-year-old boy, Christopher Bizilj, who unintentionally killed himself while shooting an Uzi at the Westfield Sportsmen's Club Machine Gun Shoot in western, Massachusetts, we decided to check out YouTube to see what other examples we could find of young children blasting away with machine guns and other weapons at similar shoots.

Sadly, it took us no longer than 5 minutes to find a broad range of videos, showing what could be considered in some cases to be blatant child endangerment.

There is no telling how many more of these videos exist on the internet or how many other children have participated in or been exposed to these kinds of events-- but no doubt it's expansive if you have the time to do the research.
That's followed with links to several video clips of kids firing various types of fully automatic firearms (with the only possible injuries to the kids being sore facial muscles from all the grinning they invariably do).

The point here is that despite there being nothing especially unusual about kids firing full-auto firearms at machine gun shoots, this is the first time anything like this has happened--only now have these events caught up to Ted Kennedy in the number of tragic deaths caused. This is in no way meant to minimize the tragedy of what happened to the Bizilj family, but to regain some perspective about the supposed "dangers" of these events.

The blood dancers have wasted no time in exploiting this horror for the advancement of their forcible citizen disarmament agenda, and we cannot afford to waste any time in fighting back against that agenda.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

He might need the luck of the Irish--and I hope he has it

Rooting for someone in New Jersey politics is an unusual experience for me, and Irish-born Paul Duggan seems an unusual politician (which is, come to think of it, probably a good thing). He would definitely seem unusual for New Jersey (which must certainly be a good thing). He is running for the office of Bergen County freeholder. If you don't know what a freeholder is, don't feel bad--I had to look it up, too. Apparently, that's what county board members are called in New Jersey.

Evidently, the Bergen County Democrats--who do seem typical of NJ politicians, in that they're fighting for their political lives against corruption charges--are sufficiently worried about him to have unlimbered their smear machine. One area on which they think they can score points on him is his opposition to banning .50 caliber rifles.

Duggan's protest of a proposed ban of .50-caliber, fixed-ammunition rifles, puts him in the cross hairs of the latest attack.
Actually, one bill pushed by the advocates in New Jersey of forcible citizen disarmament would ban not only fixed-ammunition rifles, but even many muzzleloaders.
Gun-rights groups say these rifles have been linked to very few criminal incidents in U.S history . . .
"Very few criminal incidents" is one way to put it--ZERO deaths (if I'm not mistaken--please correct me if I'm wrong) would be another.
. . . but opponents fear that they serve no legitimate purpose . . .
And these "opponents" are, of course, naturally the final arbiters of what purposes are "legitimate."
. . . and that the large guns could fall into the hands of home-grown terrorists.
"Home-grown terrorists" would, of course, refer to you and me.
The call for a ban gathered steam after the arrests of six men accused of plotting to attack Fort Dix.
Ah, well that makes sense--just because the would-be terrorists neither had .50 caliber rifles, or seemed to have been seeking them, doesn't mean that the planned attack has . . . nothing to do with .50 caliber rifles.
Duggan, who sold his rifle last year, outlined a vigorous defense in a letter to The Record last year, arguing that the rifles have "never been abused by lawful owners in New Jersey," and that purchases must undergo extensive background checks. He called the proposed ban (which stalled in committee) "another attempt to legislate to the lowest common denominator led by those who are totally unqualified to comment on the subject."
You're using logic, Paul--that will never work.
The Democrats offered their own commentary in the form of a toxic campaign flier featuring a long-barreled military assault rifle on the cover and text accusing Duggan of allowing "dangerous guns in our neighborhoods and our schools."
Yeah--that makes sense. Keep in mind, by the way, that since New Jersey has preemption (as upheld in defeating Jersey City's gun rationing law), a county board member (or freeholder, if you prefer) doesn't really have any say in whether or not large rifles are banned, but why should that stop the hysteria-mongers.

Anyway, I hope this feisty Irishman not only wins, but eventually goes on to enter the state legislature, and becomes one of the few voices of reason there.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

And this is an attempt to reassure gun owners? Texas gun owners?

This letter to the editor, written by Barbara Hudson, Blanco County (Texas) Democratic Party Chairperson, certainly takes an . . . interesting approach to courting the gun owner vote.

Democrats will protect Americans’ Second Amendment right to own firearms, and will keep guns out of the hands of criminals and terrorists by fighting gun crime, reauthorizing the assault weapons ban, and closing the gun show loophole, as President Bush proposed and failed to do. Democrats passed the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Ban. We increased federal, state and local gun crime prosecution by 22 percent since 1992. Now gun crime is down 35 percent. Now we must do even more. We need mandatory child safety locks, especially for hand guns. Requirements should be a photo license I. D., a background check, and a gun safety test to buy a handgun.
I suppose one might say that Barbara is promising a Democratic "Blanket of Protection" for gun rights.

That's one raggedy blanket.

JR has it covered in detail here, as does The Pistolero, here--he doesn't seem inclined to pull any punches.

Sleeping 'under the blanket of protection'

Over a year ago, inspired by one of my more insightful commenters, who pointed out perhaps the most egregious example yet of police being viewed as somehow more trustworthy with firearms than the general populace, I wrote one of my better posts--"'Assault weapons' vs. 'Patrol rifles.'"

Then, in May, that post generated a bravely anonymous comment of its own. This comment, though vastly less insightful than Straightarrow's, does pack a great deal of amusement value.

Anonymous said...

Hey LibertyPlease, you sleep at night under the blanket of protection the police provide you then you question how it is provided. I suggest you strap on a gun and do it yourself or just say thank you, either way I don't give a damn what you think. Maby you should give out your home address so all the evil in this country can come to where you and your family live and you can hold their hands and sing kum bi ya with them. Of course the occupiers as you call them won't be there to stand selflessly between you and them!
I had planned to talk about that "blanket of protection," but somehow forgot about it, until a recent comment made fun of it.

It occurs to me that one of (the many) things I like about David Codrea's War on Guns is his use of recurring themes--"Only Ones," "Authorized Journalists," etc. to illustrate his points. I've always thought I should adopt a similar technique, but never came up with anything I really liked--until now. Please join me under the "Blanket of Protection" (the link won't point to much yet, obviously).

David's "Only Ones" references have drawn criticism (unjustified, in my view) that he is "anti-cop," when his point is simply that the badge is no guarantee of either competence or nobility of purpose, and to attempt to deny people--to any degree--the right to defend their lives, their homes, their families, and their freedom, simply because they lack such a badge, is well beyond misguided--it's evil.

With my "Blanket of Protection" posts, I may well start drawing similar criticisms, despite having a goal far different from "cop-bashing." My point is that I never asked for the "Blanket of Protection," and ask only not to be interfered with in my efforts to protect myself.

Actually, come to think of it, I'm not asking.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

So, Senator--define 'family-oriented spaces'

It will come as no surprise, I hope, to all except those who buy into Ray Schoenke's and AHSA's rhetoric (a group that would . . . probably not be described as "teeming masses") that an Obama/Biden presidency would be bad news for gun rights. Therefore, yet another post on my part noting Obama's citizen disarmament agenda might be considered superfluous. Maybe so, but I haven't seen anyone else approach that issue from this particular angle before.

Anyway, this L.A. Times article discusses Obama's and McCain's candidacies from the perspective of hikers (and why not--voters with the wherewithal to make it to the polls, even if some kind of catastrophe shuts down vehicular traffic, are not to be dismissed lightly).

Little in the article is likely to surprise anyone, but one point did catch my eye. Both candidates were asked their positions on lifting the victim disarmament zone status of national parks. McCain expressed support for the idea:

I believe the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service should remove their prohibitions against law-abiding citizens transporting and carrying firearms to lands managed by those agencies.
Good for him (something I don't often say about McCain).

Obama, on the other hand . . .
Obama, who is against assault weapons and a gun show loophole that allows trading of weapons between private individuals, stated: "I believe in Second Amendment rights and the rights of hunters and sportsmen to bear arms and use them in a responsible way. But I am concerned about allowing loaded firearms into family-oriented spaces."
And that brings us to the title of my post.

One might wish to ask the Senator why state-mandated defenselessness is a good thing when the parties rendered defenseless are likely to be families. First, though, I have another question--what is a "family-oriented space"? It's easy enough to come up with a couple examples of places that most would agree would not qualify--strip clubs, massage parlors, etc., but what would be a good rule of thumb for what does qualify?

I don't know, but I would hope that most would agree that the home of a married couple and their five children, aged seven to fourteen, is a "family-oriented space." Take, for example, the home of John and Tephanie Carpenter.
On the morning of August 23, 2000, Jonathon David Bruce was high on drugs. He slipped inside a home when the parents were away and began attacking the children inside.

Armed only with a pitchfork, and without a stitch of clothing on his body, Bruce proceeded to chase the children through the house -- stabbing them repeatedly.

The oldest of the children, Jessica Carpenter (14), was babysitting at the time. Having been trained by her father, Jessica knew how to use a firearm. There was just one problem: the household gun was locked up in compliance with California state law.

Because of California's "lock up your safety" law, Jessica had few options. She could not call 911 because the intruder had cut the phone lines to the house. She could not protect herself, for state officials had effectively removed that possibility. Her only option was to flee the house and leave her siblings behind.

Thankfully, Mr. Bruce's murderous rampage was finally cut short when police officers arrived at the house. They shot and killed Bruce, but not before two children had already been murdered.
A more detailed account of the story can be found here. Anyone who agrees that a family's home is a "family-oriented space" must acknowledge that Senator Obama favors laws that would prohibit quickly and easily gaining access to the most effective means of defending that space.

By the way, since legislating such a rule change in national parks isn't happening in this Congressional session, it's only going to happen by Department of the Interior edict. Such an edict may still happen before the next president takes office, but it's hard to believe that it would last long under any Secretary of the Interior appointed by an Obama/Biden administration.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My thirteenth year as an '"assault weapons" violence survivor'

Today marks the thirteenth anniversary of my becoming an "'assault weapons' violence survivor." That's right--citizen disarmament advocates don't have a monopoly on people who were at the scene when some mentally unhinged loser decides to look for self-esteem in the act of mass murder.

It was thirteen years ago today that at Ft. Bragg, just such a loser opened fire on us early in the morning as we were beginning what was to be a four mile run. As mass shootings go, this one could have been a lot worse, with one man, Captain (posthumously promoted to Major) Stephen Mark Badger, killed. Another was paralyzed, while sixteen others sustained wounds of varying (but lesser, at least in the long term) severity. Armed with an AR-15 (and a couple other firearms), and with such a "target rich environment," our loser could potentially have done far more damage than he did.

Actually, I was pretty slow to figure out what was going on. That morning's event was our "Brigade Readiness Run"--a ritual of the 82nd Airborne Division in which the brigade taking over as the "alert" brigade (the one on the highest alert status) runs together as a unit, rather than the more usual practice of conducting the physical training (PT) on the company level. Such events are generally accompanied by lots of "Rah, rah" motivational silliness. At the time, things were tense in Bosnia, and at the back of everyone's minds was the possibility that we could be sent there. When the shooting started, just as we had begun running, I thought at first that it was some kind of mock "attack" (with blanks), to get us into a "tactical" frame of mind. That would have been rather stupid, but my experience with the Army wasn't such as to eliminate the possibility of stupid motivational stunts.

The sight of a guy on the ground, with a lot of blood on his PT uniform, is what convinced me that something quite different was going on. It was right around then that the general exodus up the hill and away from the area started, and we all did our best Brave Sir Robin impression.

In the final analysis, the physical risk to me, personally, was very slight. I was in more danger of falling and being trampled than of being shot--it was, after all, one guy shooting at around thirteen hundred, and we had plenty of room to run.

I bring this up to point out that being a "survivor of gun violence" does not grant any particular insight about liberty and gun laws. The Brady Campaign and other such organizations never fail to jump at the chance to parade survivors of mass shootings out in front of the cameras, to bolster their credibility in calling for yet more restrictive gun laws, but there's nothing about such an experience that gives someone any additional qualification to infringe on the liberties of others.

I like my chances of surviving large numbers of so-called "assault weapons" in private hands. It's the potential of the government trying to take them away that I fear.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Coming soon to Illinois towns that have dropped their handgun bans?

In line with my policy of keeping a close eye on the enemy, I was taking a look around on the website of the Illinois Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (ICPGV) last night. For those not familiar with them, they're the Illinois chapter of the rabidly anti-gun Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV).

It turns out they've written what they're calling a "model" gun law for Illinois jurisdictions.

10/24/08 – New Model Gun Law from LCAV for Illinois

The Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) has developed LCAV Model Gun Owner’s Safety and Responsibility Act for Illinois jurisdictions to require firearm owners’ safety certificates, registration, safe storage of firearms, and reporting of lost and stolen firearms. Visit www.lcav.org to read the model law.
My first thought was that the plan here was to push this law (we'll look at it in a minute) in the state legislature. That puzzled me, because even in Illinois, nothing that draconian is going to pass any time soon.

After some discussion at IllinoisCarry.com, I (belatedly) came to realize that the real idea is to pass this kind of thing in Illinois municipalities (like Evanston, Wilmette, Oak Park, and Morton Grove) that have dropped their handgun bans in the wake of the Heller decision, and others (Winnetka and Chicago) that have not done so yet, but may eventually be forced to.

Sort of like the "emergency legislation" enacted by the Washington D.C. city council immediately after Heller, the idea of this law would be to implement gun laws just as draconian as they could possibly be without an outright ban.

So let's take a quick look at the details (starting on page 20--and running 14 pages--here).
1) Gun owner licensing (with safety training--5 hours of classroom instruction and 2 hours of live-fire training) for each gun, with the license requiring renewal every 2 years (I think the instruction is waived for renewal, but the written test is still required);

2) Registration for every gun, renewal required annually;

3) "Safe storage" (either trigger lock or gun safe) required--having the gun on one's person is no exception;

4) "Lost or stolen" reporting requirements;

. . . and probably stuff I missed or am forgetting. No mention was made of any limit on fees that would be required for the safety instruction, licensing, and registration.

"Only Ones" would, of course, be exempt
Now that's shall not be infringed in action, isn't it?

By the way, LCAV has several other "model gun laws" in mind. Some are standard citizen disarmament fare--"assault weapons" bans, .50 caliber bans, etc., but for anyone who doubts that they want to inflict U.K.-style forcible citizen disarmament on us, note that they apparently want to ban air rifles.
Personalized Handguns
Requires the personalization of handguns – equipping handguns with technology that prevents them from firing when operated by an unauthorized user. Provides testing standards and certification procedures for personalized handguns. Prohibits the manufacture, importation, purchase and transfer of non-personalized handguns.

Assault Weapons
Bans assault weapons using provisions that are more comprehensive than federal law. Also bans large capacity ammunition magazines.

Fifty Caliber Rifles
Prohibits the sale of 50 caliber rifles and cartridges.

Air Rifles
Bans the sale and possession of air rifles, defined to include B-B, air and pellet guns.

Universal Background Checks
Requires background checks on all prospective firearm purchasers, closing a loophole in federal law allowing private firearm sellers (i.e., unlicensed persons) to sell guns without conducting background checks.

Regulating Gun Dealers
Regulates firearms dealers. Supplements federal law by requiring, among other things, that dealers obtain a local permit, conduct employee background checks and obtain liability insurance. Also prohibits dealers from operating in residential neighborhoods and near other “sensitive” areas, such as schools, playgrounds and places of worship. LCAV created models for Illinois and California, both of which can be tailored to other jurisdictions.
Expect to see more and more of this kind of thing in the aftermath of Heller.

More at Days of Our Trailers.

Friday, October 24, 2008

'Clamps down'?!

Rather a long while back, I imposed a rule on myself to not link to Mark Karlin's "Gun Guys" website, because I came to think of that site as one best ignored. It's a rule I've been able, for the most part, to obey. This time, though, I have to commend Karlin--he's managed to outdo even his own usual stupidity, and has posted something idiotic enough that I simply can't resist pointing it out.

Today, he notes the increasing incidence of "gun crime" in China.

The Wall Street Journal posted a story on Oct. 14th about the rise of illegal guns in China.

We can only hope that China, for its own sake and domestic security, clamps down on private gun ownership.
And hence the title of my post. From an utter ban on private gun ownership, how does one "clamp down"? Should even thinking about guns be a thoughtcrime now?

Actually--and I find this especially interesting--the "Gun Guys" claim not to advocate total, outright bans:
We, gun violence prevention advocates, do not and have never sought "banning" all firearms, especially hunting rifles, or completely disarming the populace.
This, from the same site suggesting that China "clamps down on private gun ownership"--when China already has in place the kinds of total bans the "Gun Guys" claim not to seek.

As if lying were not contemptible enough, the "Gun Guys" insist on telling the kinds of stupid lies that show how little respect they have for the intelligence of their target audience.

Finally, the same post also links to this article, with a quote that helps illustrate the lie that the violence in Mexico is due to "weak gun laws" in the U.S.
Recent reports are now suggesting that some of the illegals [sic] guns originating from China are now making their way overseas to places like Mexico.
Obama's old friends don't seem to be getting much for their money.

'Strong gun laws'--the making of the murder capital of the U.S.

It would seem that the "gun-free paradise" of Chicago is . . . anything but.

As police Supt. Jody Weis returns to the hot seat during a City Council budget hearing today, Chicago is outpacing New York and Los Angeles in 2008 murders.

Chicago, whose population is dwarfed by those cities, posted 426 killings through Tuesday, compared with 417 in New York and 302 in L.A.
But how can this be? The gun laws in Chicago--most of which have been on the books for decades--are (in the aftermath of the Heller decision) the most draconian in the U.S., and we're told so often that "easy access to firearms" is the biggest causative factor in violent crime.
Weis, a career FBI agent, took office this year with a mandate to clean up the department in the wake of several scandals. But murders have risen, and arrests have fallen, on his watch. (Murder is also up, at a lower rate, in New York.)

Under tough questioning at a Council hearing in July, Weis suggested there was a "degree of timidness" among officers afraid of having lawsuits and citizen complaints filed against them.
Yeah--that's the problem, Jody--all those nasty complainers are making Chicago "Only Ones" too "timid" to prevent the murders.

This sounds like the actions of an "intimidated" cop, for example.

. . . and this

. . . and this

. . . and . . . you get the idea.

The article goes on to say that Jody also offers yet another possible explanation--that police are too busy inventorying arrestees'property (as they had agreed to do). In other words, they're too busy doing their jobs to . . . do their jobs.

Gee, I wonder if it would help if the cops' workload could be reduced somehow.

Nah--Forget it Jake, it's Chi-Town*.

UPDATE: Days of Our Trailers has more.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Foreign Policy Out Of Focus

Yawn. Frida Berrigan, yet another "think tank" denizen, is pushing forcible citizen disarmament in the U.S., because of violence in Mexico. She wastes no time making her position clear--the title is "Too Many Guns."

The violence is fueled in part by the high-tech, high-quality weapons bought at gun shows and shops in the United States. According to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, more than 90% of guns seized after shootings or police raids in Mexico or at the border can be traced back to the United States. Last year alone, 2,455 weapons traces concluded that the guns had been purchased in the United States.

Where do they come from? There are more than 6,700 licensed gun dealers across four states within a short drive of the United States' 2,000-mile border with Mexico — three dealers for every mile of border territory. Each state has its own set of laws for gun sales. California has instituted a 30-day waiting period and banned the sale of assault rifles; neighboring Nevada and Arizona have not. The ease with which huge numbers of deadly weapons are bought and smuggled has led law-enforcement officials to dub the region an "iron river of guns."
The author doesn't bother to mention that much of the killing is committed with machine guns, grenades and RPGs (unless that's what she means by "high-tech, high-quality weapons"), weapons that are extremely heavily regulated in the U.S.
This is our right to bear arms in practice. And it's not saving lives or guarding liberties.
Hmm--I thought this was "our right to bear arms in practice," and it's doing both.
Shouldn't a global treaty against guns be next?
With what do you intend to enforce the terms of that treaty, Frida--strong language?

Good luck with that.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Josh Horwitz's suggested response to tyranny: sit there and take it

I've already written more than once about the contention of Josh Horwitz and his Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV) that government should have a monopoly on force. Apparently, this theme is an important one to Josh, as evidenced by the fact that he's at it again.

In discussing the Heller decision, he really gets his knickers in a twist.

Upon closer reading, however, the majority opinion drafted by Justice Scalia goes far beyond simply asserting an individual right to own a firearm in the home for self defense against common criminals. Incredibly, he also endorsed an individual right to commit acts of violence against a "tyrannical" federal government which, if history is any lesson, most Americans would find appalling.
Yep--he finds it "incredible" that anyone would suggest that tyranny should be forcefully resisted. Left unsaid, of course, is the fact that the alternatives to fighting back with force (or "violence," as Josh puts it) would be politely asking for an end to the tyranny (yeah--that usually works), or . . . sitting there and taking it.

He then falls back to his standard of attacking the straw man argument that the Second Amendment is an endorsement of revolution. He quite correctly points out that no government can legitimately enshrine its own destruction.

The problem with his carefully crafted position is that it attacks an argument that no one is making. Those of us he describes as "insurrectionists" have never argued that the Second Amendment enshrines the right to rebel against the government--it protects our right to possess the tools we would need to fight back against a government that had lost its legitimacy, a government that by virtue of having violated its own Constitutional mandates had surrendered any claim it once had to the citizens' loyalty.

There may not remain in America many who will refuse to ask for liberty, and will instead seize it by whatever means necessary, but can you be sure, Josh, that the numbers are small enough that the tyranny you would enable will prevail?


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

More opportunity to read David Codrea (of War on Guns)

Starting this past Sunday, David Codrea (of War on Guns) has a column called the Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner.

As one might infer from the title, the column's focus is the Cleveland/Northern Ohio region, but despite my not living very close to there, it will definitely be high on my list of daily must-reads.

If my understanding of Mr. Codrea's intentions is correct, he would like gun rights activists in the area to use the comments section to communicate information that would be of interest to the gun rights community in that area.

This is a very positive development.

Doctors for Defenselessness, revisited

That organizations purported to represent the medical profession tend to be outspoken advocates of forcible citizen disarmament is nothing new (I've talked about it several times, as have many others), although the trend seems to have accelerated in the wake of the Heller decision. "Nothing new," or not, having found yet another example, I thought it would be worth mentioning, particularly because I find this one particularly troubling.

I refer to this video I stumbled onto on WebMD, from the American College of Preventive Medicine (for whatever reason, I couldn't get the video to play on Firefox, and was forced--ugghh--to use Internet Explorer).

Starting about forty eight seconds into the short (one minute, forty second) video clip, we're told that physicians should, as a matter of course, ask their patients whether or not they own firearms. Tell you what, Doc--why don't you break into my house at 3:00 AM, and find out?

Physicians asking about gun ownership is old news, though, and the least of my problems with what's being suggested here. That comes next--here's my quick and dirty transcript:

Narrator: The ACPM [American College of Preventive Medicine] is also pushing a licensing system.

Jud Richland, MPH (Executive Director ACPM): We'd like to see, uh, people get licenses before they can purchase guns, so that would require them to demonstrate that they know how to use a weapon safely, maybe by taking just a very short safety course.
So, before, "uh, people," can exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (the one that shall not be infringed), they should have to "demonstrate" to some bureaucrat that they know which end of a gun is best avoided. I don't suppose that the fact that accidental shootings count for well under 3% of shooting deaths is relevant.

Personally, I'm more inclined to look to the Constitution for diagnosis and treatment of any health problems I have than I am to ask these physicians about the extent of my rights.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Much more polite than I am

Thirdpower is. A thoughtful, honorable man, Thirdpower is quite capable of genteel civility. Me? Not so much. Where he says that "Ray Schoenke Flip Flops," I am happy to be the kind of jerk who will come out and say that Schoenke is a flat-out liar.

Specifically, this is in reference to Schoenke's audacious (the Obamatrons are, of course, real big on "Audacity") claim that AHSA opposes a renewed AWB

We're opposed to reinstating the semi-auto assault weapons ban.
Third goes on to catalog some of the ways in which AHSA's "opposition" has manifested itself.
Yet in 2006 he claimed:
"No one needs an assault weapon," Schoenke said.
and their "Who We Are" page got changed from:
According to a 2003 Field & Stream National Hunting Survey, sportsmen overwhelmingly support reasonable gun safety proposals. Moreover, an overwhelming majority of hunters support proposals like background checks to purchase guns, keeping military style assault weapons off our streets and the elimination of cop killer bullets."
That's right--a "pro-gun" group that not only defended banning so-called "assault weapons," but helped perpetuate the myth of the "cop killer bullet."

Perhaps I am being unfair, though. Organizations change positions, after all, just as people change their minds. So let's see what evidence we can find of AHSA "opposing" renewal of the ban. If you go to their website, and under "Issues," click on "Gun Rights," you see . . . not a word about so-called "assault weapons." A renewed AWB is, I would argue, probably the most immediate threat to gun rights on the national level, and this "gun rights group" says nothing about it? On that page of their website, by the way, you can find a link to their page advocating banning .50 caliber rifles--certainly an . . . interesting approach to gun rights advocacy.

AHSA is also heavily involved in trying to seduce gullible gun owners into voting for Obama. Obama is, of course, very openly in favor of a new AWB, and his running mate boasts of having written the last one inflicted on the U.S. I dunno--maybe I'm not bright enough to see how touting the pro-gun rights credentials of leading proponents of a renewed AWB can be seen as opposition to . . . a renewed AWB.

This is the group that presumes to advise gun owners on how best to vote in defense of gun rights. And they're liars.

Delayed blogging today

Hectic morning--hope to have some time (and to come up with something to write about) this afternoon.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Inexorable, creeping statism (WARNING: Not really gun related)

I've pretty much gotten out of the habit of weekend blogging (when readership is way down anyway), but there's something I want to talk about. Since it isn't really directly connected to the main point of this blog (gun rights), I figured the weekend would be a good time to bring it up.

I am, as far as I know, the only member of my immediate family (a fairly large family--I have four siblings, all married, with children) who is not a Democrat. If we spread the net a bit beyond immediate family, I have an uncle (my father's brother) whom I believe to be a pretty staunch Republican, but for the most part, even my extended family is almost exclusively Democrat, and range from fairly enthusiastic about Obama to quite enthusiastic.

This doesn't lead to a great deal of tension between me and the rest of the family, perhaps in part because I am, although not a Democrat, also not a Republican, and do not support McCain.

After the last presidential debate, my mother disdainfully pointed out something McCain said (which was indeed pretty wacky--something about turning returned combat soldiers into schoolteachers, without the cumbersome process of first certifying them as educators). My response (referring to the entire debate not very politely, as a "Clash of the As . . . [a term that could be interpreted as 'donkey orifices']") displeased her, and she asked what, specifically, I objected to about Obama.

While the issue of gun rights would be enough all by itself to earn Obama (and McCain, for that matter) my contempt, there's a whole lot more to it than that (and she doesn't care about gun rights, anyway). I soon discovered that actually articulating my general opposition to both candidates was an exercise I probably needed.

I decided that my main objection to both of them, as it is to the vast majority of politicians, is that they keep trying to offer governmental "solutions," and refuse to acknowledge that government is, in fact, generally the problem. It occurred to me then that legislators see it as their primary job to, well . . . legislate--that is, write and pass laws. Laws, though, are almost by definition limitations on personal freedom (you must do x; or you mustn't do y). Some such limitations are clearly necessary--the "freedom" to rape or murder, for example, is one that quite obviously needs limiting (right out of existence).

The problem is that our Constitutional government is two-hundred twenty years old--there simply aren't very many freedoms in need of limiting anymore. Society evolves; technology expands--I get that, and realize there will always be a need for some new laws, to deal with changing realities. Still, Congress sees thousands of bills every year, many of which become laws. The result of this can only be a reduction of freedom.

I wish I had a solution. I'd love to see H.R. 1359/S. 3159, the "Enumerated Powers Act," pass, along with some version of the "Read the Bills Act," but am not so gullible as to either believe I'll ever see that happen, or that even with both bills signed into law, a determined Congress won't find a way to ignore them.

Still, that would be some "Change We Can Believe In."

Friday, October 17, 2008

The case for 'erosion'

When I read this recent USA Today article, "FBI: Justifiable homicides at highest in more than a decade," I was unsurprised to find a disapproving tone in the article. Although one might think that violent felons being decisively--and permanently--stopped is not such a bad thing, some clearly disagree.

Northeastern University criminal justice professor James Alan Fox describes an emerging "shoot-first" mentality by police and private citizens.
Well, Professor, with your academic background and obvious intellectual gifts, perhaps you'd care to explain the tactical advantages of a "shoot-second" approach to self-defense, because I'm clearly not bright enough to see them.

Another academician suspects changing laws might have something to do with the trend.
Alfred Blumstein, a Carnegie Mellon University criminologist, says the gun "legalization movement" also may have helped create a "greater willingness" among citizens to act in self-defense.
By "gun 'legalization movement,'" I assume Dr. Blumstein refers to the growth in the number of states that are now willing to license the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. If true, that would mean, of course, that people who would otherwise have been in a state of government mandated defenselessness are instead prevailing over their assailants--hardly a negative outcome.

Perhaps my biggest problem with the article, though, comes in the next sentence:
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court in June carved out a right to individual gun ownership, ruling that the Second Amendment allows citizens to keep guns in their homes for self-defense.
No "carv[ing] out" is necessary for a right that has been guaranteed by the Constitution for two-hundred seventeen years, and that preceded even that document as a logical extension of the natural right of self-defense.

Still, although I take issue with some of the wording in the article, USA Today was positively balanced, compared to the way the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence words it.

"US Gun Lobby Erodes Law"?

You know what? If peaceable citizens killing their felonious would-be predators is a result of the "Gun Lobby Erod[ing] Law," then put me on record as being fully supportive of "erosion."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Snuffy watch

It has been a long time since I've written about Father Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger (he of the death threats against a gun shop owner and legislators who don't support his citizen disarmament agenda), and I would hate for him to think that he's been forgotten by gun rights activists, so I figured this would be as good a time as any for another look. As it turns out, he has a page about the "gun issue" that's good for a couple laughs.

There is a great amount of confusion regarding the issue of gun legislation. The National Rifle Association and Illinois National Rifle Association like to paint the picture with a very broad and untrue brush.
The "Illinois National Rifle Association"? Fighting for gun rights in the Nation of Illinois, presumably? Has Illinois seceded from the Union, without anyone telling me, or is that just something Snuffy wants to happen? I seem to remember recent attempts to get people all worked up about Governor Palin's supposed links to the Alaskan Independence Party--how is this any different?
The Supreme Court in its recent decision made it clear, individuals have a right to bear arms. Like it or not, that was their interpretation.
Yep--"like it or not," the Second Amendment means what it says.
All we are saying is fine, but let us regulate the sale of guns and stop the flow of guns.
Ah--the old "Just because you have a Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms doesn't mean the government shouldn't have the power to regulate that right out of existence" argument. What, by the way, does it mean to "stop the flow of guns"? If guns stop "flowing" from the manufacturers to the gun shops, and from the shops to the people who buy them to defend their homes, families, lives, and liberty, how are we to exercise the right to keep and bear arms?
We have asked for “common sense” gun laws.
Interesting that he put "common sense" in quotes--looks almost like an acknowledgment that such laws are not really all that commonly sensible.
One gun per month, reinstate the assault weapon ban, require universal background checks and make crime data public. These are not complicated, just common sense!
The objection to such laws isn't based on their being "complicated"--it's about how such laws are to be reconciled with shall not be infringed (not to mention the extreme unlikelihood of such laws saving lives).

There's more, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Brady Campaign still going after Rep. Dennis Reboletti, this time with the help of one of our favorite aldermen

The Brady Campaign really wants to punish State Representative Dennis Reboletti (R-46th District) for having the audacity to thwart their forcible citizen disarmament agenda. I've written about this before, but am bringing it up again because the Brady Campaign is once again touting their campaign against him.

Brian Malte of the Brady Campaign was joined by Chicago 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti, 33rd Ward Alderman Richard F. Mell, gun violence survivor Willie Williams and Cook County State's Attorney Richard A. Devine at Crane High School in Chicago to announce plans for holding Illinois state legislators accountable on the gun issue in this year's elections.
Alderman Richard F. Mell . . . where have I encountered that name before? Ah--now I remember--the advocate of restrictive gun laws who also uses his clout to push additional laws to help out when he finds himself afoul of such laws. But hey--what's the point of being an alderman if you can't tailor the laws to your own benefit?

Days of Our Trailers and Snowflakes in Hell both have more, and both make the observation that for the Brady Bunch to work this hard in a part of the country (Chicago 'burbs) where one would expect them to effortlessly reign supreme says something about where the BC's political relevance has gone.

A win for Reboletti would be not just a defeat for the Brady Bunch, but a rather embarrassing defeat. Any readers who live in (or even near) his district are encouraged to do what they can to help him out.

UPDATE: I somehow missed Nicki's take on this (delivered in her standard, inimitable style).

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Got a bad case of forcible citizen disarmament (a.k.a. 'gun control')? Massive non-compliance is just what the doctor ordered

When I saw a piece of commentary titled "President Obama won't take your guns (even if he wants to)," I figured it would be more AHSA-like propaganda telling gun owners not to worry about Obama's rabidly anti-gun rights voting record (in fact, don't even think about that voting record). After all, Obama himself said much the same thing:

So he tried again. “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’
As it turns out, I had not given J.D. Tuccille (the author) nearly enough credit. His argument is not that Obama won't try to push his citizen disarmament agenda, or even that such an endeavor on Obama's part would fail for lack of legislative support. Instead, he argues that bans are one thing, and reality is quite another.

In support of this argument, Tuccille offered some statistics. For example, in reference to New York's Sullivan Act:
In fact, the gun laws are so byzantine and arbitrary that many New Yorkers have stopped trying to comply.

The result? Nobody knows how many illegal guns are in the city, but the most common estimate is two million shared among a population of about eight million. That's far more illegal guns than legal guns.
He also quotes an estimate of 20 million illegal firearms (in addition to the legal ones) in Germany (population 82 million). Compliance with Australia's semi-automatic rifle and shotgun ban, Canada's "military-style" rifle ban, and Austria's pump-action shotgun ban is, in every case, similarly estimated to be extremely low.

He then quotes James B. Jacobs' Can Gun Control Work?
In Boston and Cleveland, the rate of compliance with bans on assault rifles is estimated at 1%. Out of the 100,000 to 300,000 assault rifles estimated to be in private hands in New Jersey, 947 were registered, an additional 888 rendered inoperable, and 4 turned over to the authorities. In California, nearly 90% of the approximately 300,000 assault weapons owners did not register their weapons.
This is not to argue, of course, that restrictive gun laws should not be opposed with every bit of political power we can muster. Being made a "criminal," for exercising one's Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms is not, has never been, and will never be acceptable.

The point is that passing draconian gun laws will be the easy part of the enemy's agenda. If we don't make our actual disarmament utterly impossible, laws notwithstanding, we have already surrendered the courageous legacy of freedom secured by the Founding Fathers.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Brady Campaign playing fast and loose with the truth? I'm SHOCKED, I tell you, SHOCKED!

The Brady Campaign really wants a new ban on so-called "assault weapons," and since the case for implementing such a ban is utterly incompatible with the truth, Helmke and friends are staying as far away from the truth as possible. Their latest "argument" (pdf file) has, for example, been brilliantly described this way:

I read the whole thing last night and took a sip of vodka every time I spotted a lie. This morning, I woke up in my neighbor's yard naked and covered in what appeared to be a mixture of brake fluid and BBQ sauce.

The police said they would send me a video after they put it on youtube.
I would wear out my keyboard before I managed any kind of comprehensive listing of the mendacities, so today I'm going to concentrate on one point made in the Brady Campaign's press release announcing their "report." In the title line of the press release ("Since Assault Weapons Ban Lifted, At Least 163 Dead, 185 Wounded, 15 Police Officers Dead, 23 Wounded"), we are obviously expected to believe that had the ban been extended, those lives would not have been lost.

Oddly, though, the press release goes on to list four examples, at least half of which do nothing to support the claim that the expiration of the ban contributed in any way to the killings. Take this one, for example:
Stephen Liczbinski, a 12-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department, executed in May by bank robbery suspects just days short of his 40th birthday. He left a wife, Michelle, and three children, Matt, Stephen and Amber.
Sergeant Lizbinski's murderer, however, used an SKS rifle. These rifles were never banned by the expired federal law, and were just as available from 1994 to 2004 as they are now.

Here's another example:
Janet Jorgensen, 68, mother of three and grandmother of eight, who had just celebrated her 50th wedding anniversary when she was gunned down in the Westroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska during the Christmas shopping season in December 2007. At St. James Catholic Church, the crowd for her funeral was standing room only. Robert Hawkins, 19, killed eight before committing suicide.
In this case, the firearm was a WASR-10 (here, I incorrectly called it a WASR-90, probably confusing it with the MAK-90), a semi-automatic knock-off of the AK-47, that was specifically designed to comply with the 1994 ban. The firearm used by the Westroads Mall killer, in other words, could be fairly described as a creation of the ban.

I thought about going through the Brady report and trying to catalog the number of killings committed with weapons not actually affected by the ban. I immediately realized that I would have some problems doing so, because in almost every instance, the report describes the firearm used as either an "assault rifle," or an "AK-47." Now we get into an entirely new problem with the BC's claims. "Assault rifles" (as distinguished from the fabricated term, "assault weapons") are defined as selective fire weapons, meaning that they can be set to fire in either semi-automatic or fully automatic modes (for purposes of this discussion, I am treating burst mode the same as fully automatic mode, just as federal law does). Such firearms have been extremely heavily regulated since 1934, with the passage of the National Firearms Act. The passage, and subsequent expiration, of the 1994 ban affected the legality of such guns not one iota. Similarly, a real AK-47 is an assault rifle, capable of fully automatic fire, and subject to the same draconian laws that regulate any other fully automatic weapon.

Of course, the enemy counts on the public not knowing the difference between machine guns and so-called "assault weapons"--as the VPC says:
The weapons' menacing looks, coupled with the public's confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons—anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun—can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.
Perhaps the Brady Campaign and friends would be well advised to wait on their efforts to ban guns, and first concentrate on banning the truth. That would make their agenda much easier.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Principles for sale--cheap!

Sorry for the hiatus without warning. It started with some family stuff that kept me too busy, and then, once out of the habit of daily blogging, it often takes me awhile to get back into it.

So . . . the NRA has endorsed McCain/Palin. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, but when we had gotten to within a month of the election without such an endorsement being announced, I had begun to hold out hope that maybe this time, principles would trump expediency. Foolish of me.

Look--I'm not denying that Obama has proven himself to be a committed enemy of private gun ownership--he clearly has, at nearly every opportunity. I'll also acknowledge that "committed enemy of private gun ownership" doesn't really characterize McCain--he'll only toss us under the bus if he sees a real benefit for him in doing so. Finally, I acknowledge that Governor Palin truly does give me the impression that she is committed to protecting the right of Americans to arm themselves for the defense of themselves and their liberty.

Sorry, but that's not enough to justify endorsing a man who voted to extend the ban on so-called "assault weapons," and who still supports closing the mythical "gun show loophole." Oh--need I mention McCain-Feingold?

With this endorsement, the NRA has sent the message (in case anyone missed it before) that all one has to do to receive the NRA's blessing is to be somewhat less hostile to gun ownership than the opposition is. That means, of course, that the more rabidly in favor of forcible citizen disarmament one candidate is, the more hostile to gun rights the other candidate can afford to be, and still get the NRA's endorsement.

That's a perfect strategy . . . if the intention is to render gun rights irrelevant as a political issue.

We're being told that we need to forget about all that, and realize that an Obama presidency would be such a catastrophe for gun rights as to trump all the above objections to endorsing McCain.

My answer to that is that Obama is not getting my guns while I live--and McCain isn't getting my principles--at any price.