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, January 29, 2010

The 'easily converted to machine guns' myth makes a comeback

Contrary to popular misconception, fully automatic firearms--"machine guns," in common parlance--are not illegal in many states. The National Firearms Act of 1934 imposed extremely draconian federal restrictions on them, but anyone willing to jump through all the hoops, and pay the $200 tax stamp, could own one (or a hundred). Then, in 1986, the so-called "Hughes Amendment," named after its author, Congressman William Hughes (D-NJ), was passed (albeit questionably), banning private ownership of any fully automatic firearm not manufactured or imported before May 19 , 1986. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Violence Policy Center espouses 'no guns for negroes'

Such laws were, of course, quite a boon to the KKK, who could have more confidence in their victims' inability to fight back effectively. Conversely, of course, this kind of law was very bad news for blacks in the South, which is why the Reconstruction Era Fourteenth Amendment was intended to protect Second Amendment rights against restrictive state and local laws, as demonstrated by Senator Jacob Howard's 1866 speech introducing the 14th Amendment (my emphasis added): [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner stole shamelessly from Days of Our Trailers--thanks, Thirdpower.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Republican Senate gains that would be bad for gun rights

Frankly, without even knowing the "gun control" positions of any Democrats either Kirk or Castle might face in a general election, I submit that no Democrat could do any more damage to gun rights than either of them. I would, in fact, take that further, and argue that Democrat victories for those seats, no matter how extreme their anti-gun positions might be, would be preferrable to expanding the ranks of anti-gun extremist Republicans in the U.S. Senate. The Republican Party, currently at least pays lip service to respecting gun rights--rewarding the anti-gun Quislings would serve only to send the message to the GOP that gun rights can be safely ignored, or even trampled. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. I hope to get back soon to posting more at Armed and Safe than just teasers to the GRE articles--please bear with me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Indiana moves closer to protecting workers' right to keep firearms in parking lot

The failure of last year's similar legislation notwithstanding, supporters might have more grounds for optimism this year, as the House version, HB 1065, seems to have some momentum behind it, having passed a committee vote by a 10-1 margin. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner (better late than never). Take a gander, why doncha?

Monday, January 25, 2010

San Mateo County (CA) 'Only One' threatens to kill people for exercising rights

The open carry movement is gaining ground in, of all places, California.

The Hayward resident is a member of an organization slowly gaining membership in the Bay Area. Open Carry aims to make it possible for Americans in every state to legally carry loaded guns in public. The loosely organized Bay Area chapter is igniting powerful feelings among law enforcement agencies, gun control advocates and ordinary residents
To be California-legal, those openly carrying have to carry their firearms unloaded, with the ammunition (presumably) within easy reach. Sorta like "six seconds from safety" carry in Illinois (six seconds, when under attack, can be a very long way from safety), it is, at least, better than nothing.

Some would disagree. San Mateo County Sheriff's Lt. Ray Lunny, for example, puts it this way:
"Open carry advocates create a potentially very dangerous situation," he said. "When police are called to a 'man with a gun' call, they typically are responding to a situation about which they have few details other than that one or more people are present at a location and are armed. Officers have no idea that these people may simply be 'exercising their rights.'

"Should the gun-carrying person "... move in a way that could be construed as threatening, the police are forced to respond in kind for their own protection. It's well and good in hindsight to say the gun carrier was simply 'exercising their rights,' but the result could be deadly," Lunny said.
Lunny didn't bother to elaborate on what he meant by "mov[ing] in a way that could be construed as threatening," but I can't help but note that "could be construed as threatening" covers a great deal more ground than "is threatening."

The article, for example, quotes several frightened herbivores who seem to consider any movement (and, presumably, standing stock still) by those wearing a fiream, but not wearing the trappings of government-sanctioned power (badge, uniform) to be "threatening."

Threatening enough for Lunny to justify killing the peaceable armed citizen? Kinda sounds that way.

Now, who's being "threatening."

'Gun show loophole' laws--a ridiculous new twist

What HB 2477 would do instead is, if a private seller sells a gun without a background check, not knowing that the purchaser is a "prohibited person," and thus incapable of passing the NICS check, the seller will be on the hook for whatever crime is ever commtted with that gun, by anyone. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

More about voting rights for felons

In other words, restrictive gun laws, while doing little or nothing to disarm criminals, do make it more difficult for the rest of us to arm ourselves against them--just as criminals want. It would make sense, then, that they would vote in that self-interest, in favor of every gun law (or, more accurately, in favor of every candidate who pushes gun laws) they can.

And that plays right into the hands of the forcible citizen disarmament lobby. [More]
A rare Saturday St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Ain't ya' lucky?

Friday, January 22, 2010

Yeah--this is the guy who should set gun policy

Where does the Huffington Post find these people?

Click goes the hammer under your thumb. A clammy forefinger starts to pull back on the trigger. You suck in a deep breath and...Ka-WHAM! Everything from your belly button to your scalp shudders with the recoil. Organs jostle. Eyelids involuntarily blink. Your brain sloshes around in your skull, convinced an F-16 just broke the sound barrier inches from your face. A dragon's breath of muzzle-flash momentarily blinds you through your goggles. Endorphins flood every capillary in your being. Your nostrils fill with the smell of cordite. You gasp, finally letting the air escape your lungs. Then laughter bubbles up through your throat - giddy, uncontrollable laughter. Your arms slacken. The laughter subsides, replaced by a plummeting jaw, an overwhelming sense of wonder at the sheer power and violence of it all.
Granted, he's apparently talking about firing the .454 Casull (although he calls it the ".454 Magnum"), which is rather a lot of gun for one's first time shooting since a .22 at Scout Camp--but still, if he's that freaked out, I would probably not want to be at the same range he was.

Actually, though, we soon find out that if Beau had his way, I wouldn't need to worry--because there probably wouldn't be any shooting ranges for the public.
Now let me come right off the bat and say that I'm a strong advocate of gun-control. In fact, I'm the NRA's worst nightmare. I don't merely advocate heavy gun regulation; I'm for outright prohibition. I think all handguns and assault weapons should be outlawed, reserved exclusively for the military and police. As for rifles and shotguns, I think they should only be allowed for purposes of hunting and self-protection from wild animals in rural areas. Any argument along the lines of "Guns don't kill, people do," is bogus as far as I'm concerned. People couldn't kill other people with guns if they didn't have guns to begin with. And the 2nd Amendment is an anachronistic relic of a bygone agrarian society that feared Native-Americans and invasion from larger countries - it simply doesn't apply to 21st century America.
Hmm--"the NRA's worst nightmere," Beau? Mighty impressed with yourself, aren't you? My guess is that very few NRA members--probably very few NRA board members--have even heard of you, let alone had any "nightmares" about you. Anyway, I give him points--a few--for being honest enough to come out and admit his agenda of all out bans, rather than trying to hide it behind "common sense gun control" doublespeak.

He drones on and on (the things I read, so you, dear reader, don't have to--you're welcome), but there were a couple "highlights."
With a little time to reflect, I must say that despite the visceral pleasure I enjoyed at the gun range, the experience only strengthened my anti-gun beliefs. The damn things are just way too deadly and powerful...and way too fun. The closest thing I can describe it to is smoking crack, of which I have first-hand knowledge (don't worry - I've been sober for nine years).
I don't think I really even need to comment on that little revelation.

Maybe the funniest part for me came when he talked about having flown back home to Bloomberg's New York City, and getting curious about repeating his L.A. gun range experience (emphasis mine):
It's slightly less rigid outside the city limits, but not by much. I looked up the gun laws in neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut and found them rigid too. If I wanted to repeat my experience in LA closer to home, I'd have to head to Pennsylvania, which has some of the more lax gun laws in the country, even more lax than California.
"Even more lax than California"--funny guy, that Beau Willimon.

Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling loosens the gag on gun rights groups

"One gun per month laws" are often described, by those of us on the gun rights advocacy side, as "rationing Constitutional rights." Such a concept is, obviously, repugnant to those of us who believe that fundamental rights cannot legitimately be rationed out in dribs and drabs at government whim. Limitations on how much of one's own money can be spent for political advocacy-and when it can be spent--constitute just that kind of rationing. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope you find it worth your while.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

AR-15s have a 'sporting purpose'--but don't need one

Still, I can summon little enthusiasm for the idea that we should retreat on the "sporting purposes" front. The Second Amendment--10% of the Bill of Rights--was not bestowed on us to protect our right to engage in sport. Thwarting would-be tyrants is hardly likely to be a fun or relaxing activity--just one that would be utterly necessary to keep our way of life.

By referring to militia-appropriate arms as "modern sporting rifles," are we not, to some degree, acquiescing to the idea of civilian ownership of firerams being limited to those that have a "sporting purpose"? [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Spread it around?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A reminder from Haiti: Are you prepared for social breakdown?

"Preying on survivors"--if the quake itself, the lack of medicine, the disease fostered by the unsanitary conditions, the thirst, the hunger, and the weather don't kill you, other survivors may--and the likelihood of the police preventing that is vanishingly small. There is, however, one kind of survivor that would-be predators tend to quickly lose interest in--the well armed kind.

Keep in mind that looters don't have to wish to visit violence directly on you to be a threat to your survival, or your family's. When every quart of potable water, every can of beans, and every first aid kit can mean the difference between life and death, you can die simply by virtue of not being able to defend what is yours. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner (better late than never).

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Guns save lives--sometimes in unusual ways

Sometimes, you don't have to use it to shoot, or even scare, a bad guy:

Authorities said the 28-year-old man was driving in his station wagon on Industrial Avenue on the bridge over Pleasant Grove Creek when a hands-free cell phone device activated, startling him and causing the vehicle to veer into the chilly waters just before 9:00 a.m. Sunday.

The man, employed as an armed security officer at Thunder Valley Casino, found himself trapped inside his car about six to eight feet below the surface in the 50-degree water.

The Roseville Fire Department said the man used his handgun to shoot out his vehicle window, giving himself an opportunity to escape and swim to safety.
The anti-self-defense crowd wants to keep handguns out of cars. Maybe I should start referring to such types as the "pro-drowning lobby."

Brady Campaign unhappy with Obama, but that doesn't make him our friend

If Obama has backed away from actively pursuing those goals for now, it is only because he perceives the time as not being right. TImes change, though, as Sen. Dianne Feistein made chillingly clear with her "I'll pick the time and place . . . " to aggressively pursue the forcible citizen disarmament agenda.

I would be extremely surprised if Obama has no "time and place" in mind for a full frontal assault on private gun ownership. To ignore that threat is to enable it. [More]
That's today's St, Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Tell a friend?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Would this boy and his mother survived 'safe storage' laws?

Oleg Volk photo

David pointed out yesterday an incident in which an 11-year-old defended his life and his mother's from armed home invaders who had already wounded the boy.
The child and his mother were hiding in a bedroom when the gunmen tried to force their way in. One of the men shot through the door, striking the boy in the groin area.

The child, who was carrying a .22-caliber rifle, shot back, hitting one of the criminals in the neck. The men fled the scene shortly thereafter, investigators said.
All three suspects have been arrested, and the boy is expected to make a full recovery. This story, by the way, describes the boy's wound as being to his hip, rather than groin--I don't know if that was just euphemism, but it certainly sounds better than the other story.

Either way, the young man is a hero, and I can't help but wonder how different the outcome would have been had this family heeded this advice:
Most kids know if their parents have guns - and they typically know where they're kept.

Where should that be?

In a secure gunsafe or lockbox - unloaded, preferably with ammunition kept in a separate lockbox.

Any other storage arrangement is foolish and dangerous.

And irresponsible.

An accident waiting to happen.
Apparently, the authors of that advice would be willing to accept this outcome.

Is 'law abiding gun owner' what we should strive to be?

That's why I dislike the term "law abiding gun owner," and much prefer my colleague David Codrea's "peaceable armed citizen." A peaceable armed citizen is no more inclined to violence than a peaceable unarmed citizen, but he will not submit to aggression, and he will not meekly shuffle to the back of the bus when told that "the law" requires him to.

What will the "law abiding gun owner" do if a law banning so-called "assault weapons" is passed, or one calling for registration of all firearms, or any of the other restrictions that the Heller ruling considers "presumptively lawful"? Well, if he intends to keep his "law abiding gun owner" status, he'll obey them. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. I hope you find it worth a look.

Friday, January 15, 2010

What would Col. Cooper call these people?

Most of us in the gun rights advocacy community are familiar with the late, great Lt. Col Jeff Cooper's term "hoplophobia," defined as an irrational fear of and/or aversion to weapons (generally firearms). The term is derived from hoplon, a Greek word for arms and armor. Fear of weapons is ridiculous enough, but how much more absurd is a fear of . . . holsters?

Nearly two years ago, Thirdpower brought my attention to a small college in Texas that had banned a Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC) empty holster protest, and I expanded on his post a bit here.

Both Thirdpower's post and mine are quite short--take a minute to familiarize yourself with the situation, and I'll be waiting here.

SCCC filed a lawsuit (with, perhaps surprisingly, help from the ACLU), and as it happens, that case just now finally went to court--and the school's justification for banning empty holsters is just plain silly.

When Tarrant County College denied a student the right to stage an empty holster protest in April 2008 at the South Campus, officials feared someone would use the event to bring a weapon on campus.

"There was certainly the expectation that someone was going to show up with a gun in a holster," TCC interim Chancellor Erma Johnson Hadley said under cross examination during a trial in federal court Thursday.
Alrighty, then--let me make sure I'm following along here: you ban the open carry of empty holsters, out of fear that someone will break school rules, risking expulsion (and maybe legal action), by bringing a full holster instead. It didn't occur to you, I guess, that someone could wear a concealed (and full) holster, and you wouldn't know anything about it--and that's most likely what they would do, if they were inclined to bring a gun?

The judge apparently finds that as puzzling as I do:
School officials had the concern even though they had no evidence that anyone would, and U.S. District Court Judge Terry Means told her — when she couldn’t provide any proof of why she thought someone planned to do so — that free speech cannot be limited on the basis of an "undifferentiated fear."

"I can’t see any tangible basis for this fear," Means said.
That's because you're apparently not insane, Judge--that's a bit of a handicap in trying to understand people like that school's administrators.

Note that I'm not even trying to address the irrationality of fearing peaceable armed citizens on campus--that's a whole 'nuther discussion.

A Mayors Against Illegal Guns 'success' story

Regardless of the outcome (which seems pretty much pre-determined), Mr. Baez will apparently now and forever be a "gun felon," incapable of ever so much as touching a gun legally. Seem harsh? To Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns, it's an "illegal gun," and a "gun felon," off the street. To anti-gun extremists, that's all that matters. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a read.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

U of Penn 'study' authors admit glaring flaw

Just about anyone interested in gun rights has probably heard about the "study," appearing in the American Journal of Public Health, claiming that possessing a gun increases the likelihood (somehow) of being shot, by a factor of 4.46. Led by Charles Branas (who, as David points out, is a beneficiary of Joyce Foundation anti-gun largesse), the study looked at gun ownership in Philadelphia over a period of a few years, and came to the above . . . remarkable conclusion.

Others, like Clayton Cramer, have done a good job of pointing out numerous problems with the study, such as the fact that it made no distinction between peaceable gun owners who have no inclination toward nefarious behavior, and gangbanger thugs who can't wait to show how tough they are by shooting it out with other gangbanger thugs, or with the police.

Like I said, the above is kinda old news--I just included it as background, and a refresher. The new part is something I picked up from the National Center for Policy Analysis (NCPA), which in turn quotes an article by Ronald Bailey, of Reason Magazine. It's a February article, and not available online yet, but NCPA provides a tantalizing quote.

According to Reason magazine, however, the one explanation the researchers do not mention is that people who anticipate violent confrontations -- such as drug dealers, frequently robbed bodega owners, and women with angry ex-boyfriends -- might be especially likely to possess guns, just as people likely who jump out of airplanes are especially likely to possess parachutes.

The authors acknowledge that they did not account for the potential of reverse causation between gun possession and gun assault -- that is, the possibility that a high risk of being shot causes gun ownership, as opposed to the other way around.
In other words, the authors admit that an extremely obvious weakness in their theory of a causal relationship between gun ownership and being shot is left completely unaddressed.

That would seem, pretty much, to be an admission that the entire "study" is a worthless, steaming heap of . . . propaganda.

'Terror gap' laws would 'protect' us from Cub Scouts

An New York Times article from yesterday gives us another reason (if one were needed) to look askance at proposals to use the terrorist "watch list" as grounds for denial of the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. What reason would that be? The list is so bloated that it includes an 8-year-old Cub Scout, who has been on the list since he was 2. [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

'Licensed' defensive handgun carry: Are we doing it wrong?

It seems to me that similarly, in our willingness to enter into negotiations about what conditions are to be imposed on the granting of liberties that already belong to a free people, we have, in the words of the man in the joke, "already established" what kind of people we are--not free citizens, who command their public servants, but supplicants, who ask the government for a few crumbs of freedom when it suits them to give us a bit more leash. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and it might ruffle a feather or two.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

NRA helping the "Only Ones"

Some gun rights advocates were at least a little pleased back in 2004, with passage of the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA). LEOSA established a system whereby active, and even retired, law enforcement officers could be licensed to carry a concealed firearm anywhere in the U.S.--a national reciprocity carry law for "Only Ones," basically. Those in the gun rights advocacy camp who supported it, despite the fact that it doesn't do most of us any good, did so, apparently, thinking of it as a "foot in the door" for national reciprocity for everyone.

That seems a rather overly optimistic belief, but my main objection was the perpetuation of the two-tiered society, when it comes to armed self-defense--you have "Only Ones," whose right to carry a gun for self-defense would not depend on state borders--and then you have the rest of us. Besides, it seems to me that it would be easier to get cops (both active and retired) to join in advocacy of national right to carry, if they were in the same boat as the rest of us.

Apparently, though, "Only Ones" are annoyed that many jurisdictions place too many bureaucratic obstacles in the way of obtaining this elite status, necessitating, we're told, a "Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act Improvement Act."

Under current law, retired law enforcement officers are subject to complicated and duplicative document certification procedures to carry concealed weapons. Differing interpretations of the implementation of the law often leads some states to refuse to issue the required documentation. H.R. 3752 would establish measures of uniformity and cut through the bureaucratic red tape by enabling a firearms instructor to certify that retired law enforcement officers meet the active duty standard for firearms training. This would allow law enforcement officers who are retired or who separated in good standing after at least ten years of service to carry a concealed weapon.
You know what? Things are tough all over. If cops are upset about the state-mandated hoops they're made to jump through, perhaps they ought to join in the fight to get rid of some of those hoops for all of us.

The NRA disagrees, and supports H.R. 3752. Surprise, surprise.

David has more.

ABB shooting aftermath: The call to ban guns

The implication is, of course, that the only people who should have access to guns are those who have . . . no problems--ever. That would be, well--no one (well, except for those who work for the government, and carry a gun as part of their job description--apparently such folks are magically immune to problems).

That's the forcible citizen disarmament lobby's desired end game. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The campaign to discredit defensive handgun carry

Another reason I rarely approach gun rights advocacy from this angle is that I don't believe in licensing the carrying of a firearm. In submitting to a licensing requirement to carry a firearm, we undermine our own case--that the keeping and bearing of arms is a Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right. Still, Vermont and Alaska seem unlikely to annex the rest of the states any time soon, and few states seem on the verge of joining those two in their Constitutional enlightenment, so licensed carry is apparently what we're stuck with for the time being. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Give it a look.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Look where support for gun rights is coming from now

This is one of the things that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling about the future, and has to be driving Helmke, Henigan, Sugarmann, Horwitz, and (you get the idea) to drink. In seeing what the denizens of the Democratic Underground had to say about the ABB rampage, I saw that most of the commenters sounded as if they could be NRA spokespeople (regular readers know that, coming from me, that's somewhat faint praise, but this is the Democratic Underground, after all). A few examples might be in order.

Very first comment (sanitized a bit, for the sake of family-friendliness):

I agree, we should be allowed to carry at work. No amount of laws will prevent someone intent on crime from getting a firearm. That's the problem with criminals, they don't give a f**k [darn] about the law.
Followed shortly thereafter by:
Important point.
"Rules or laws against bringing firearms to work will do nothing to stop people like Timothy Hendron from bringing a gun to work and killing people. But they do stop anyone from being able to resist people like him."

That's the truth.
Actually, that comment was quoting the starter of the entire thread, who submitted the article about the rampage in the first place.

Then . . .
Even after the police get there, you're on your own.
The shooting occurred just before 6:30 a.m. Arriving officers were told that a man had entered the building with a rifle and a handgun, and that several people had been shot, police said.

"Police made a perimeter around the business and located those victims who needed medical attention," the statement said.
"But, but... the police will protect you."

For those of us who don't believe in Santa or the Tooth Fairy, reality is a little different. You can usually count on them trying to figure out who killed, raped, murdered, tortured...., etc., you, or in this case, they may try to figure out why. That's about as much as you're kinda, sorta guaranteed.

Then there's:
that's not the point
the point isn't "we need to carry weapons at all times". the issue is " we should be ALLOWED to make the CHOICE to carry"

choice. it's what's for dinner
That's not to say that there wan't any anti-gun hysteria in the thread--there were, in fact a several comments, quoting nearly every hysterical anti-gunner talking point--"I guess you think nuclear weapons should be legal," "you want everyone armed," "you're compensating for small (or maybe no) penises," etc.--but they all came from the same guy (whose avatar is a picture of Obama, coincidentally), and the rest of the commenters took turns making fun of him.

Obama fanboy anti-gunner:
How about the CHOICE to have common sense gun control like
civilized countries where they don't have nearly as many shootings as gun-crazy USA
Met with:
Yah, we need the choice to not have choice!
Did you actually read what you typed before hitting 'post message'?
Anti-gunner again:
I don't think people have the "choice" to have nuclear weapons do you?
So why do we need military assault weapons on our streets? Just to make paranoid people feel "safe?"
Only to get smacked down:
Possession of a "military assault weapon" outside of police/military is a 10-year Federal felony.
The only ones that can be possessed legally outside those parameters are a few rare and hyper-expensive pre-1986 collectibles, and you have to obtain Federal authorization (BATFE Form 4) to own one. They're more tightly controlled than howitzers and bombs. The relevant law is the National Firearms Act of 1934, as amended by the Hughes Amendment to the McClure-Volkmer Act of 1986.

If you're talking about NON-automatic CIVILIAN rifles that "look modern", like AR-15's, civilian AK derivatives, Kel-Tecs, and whatnot, those aren't military weapons; they're the most popular civilian rifles in the United States. And they're not "on the street"; they're almost exclusively in the closets and gun safes of the law-abiding.


Check out the "Rifle" column in that chart, and compare it to total murders. Rifles, with or without handgrips that stick out, aren't a significant crime problem in this country and never have been.
Well, it goes on like that, with our anti-gun Obama fanboy getting more and more agitated, and causing more and more amusement among the other commenters.

Pretty funny stuff.

Congresswoman from WI jumps on the Badger-bashing bandwagon

Hmm--the title ended up being a bit more alliterative than I'd planned, but no matter.

Wednesday, we talked about yet another hit piece in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Badger Guns, and the fact that the former owner (never proven to have committed any crimes) is now the landlord for the store, whose current ownership has still not been demonstrated to have committed any crimes. This, of course, greatly offends the Journal Sentinel.

Between Two Rivers has also been following the Badger Guns persecution, and has more.

Now, it seems, Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-WI) has written a letter to the BATFE, apparently out of frustration that nothing Badger's ownership is doing is actionable (since, inconveniently, they can't be demonstrated--much less proven--to have broken any laws). Here's an excerpt:

It is obvious that Badger Guns continues to willfully break the law --- local police departments know it, citizens of my district know it, and most importantly, ATF seems to know it. Yet, for some inconceivable reason, these individuals have been able to evade federal and local officials in plain sight by simply shuffling management titles and property ownership papers. It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that gun dealers abide by the law, both in my district and states across the country. If it is a matter of having sufficient authority to revoke irresponsible licenses or impose fines please detail what additional authority ATF needs to close bad actors. I want to ensure that the ATF has the statutory and regulatory resources to accomplish this goal.
"It is obvious," Ms. Moore? It's not even "obvious" to me what law Badger has supposedly broken, much less that they actually have broken any such laws (and that's before we even get into the Constitutional justification and need for such laws).

So now, Moore apparently wants to write the BATFE a big check, and pass laws giving them yet more power, to make their gun store harassment operations more effective.

I believe that much can be learned about someone by observing the quality of the enemies he makes. From what I've seen of the folks going after Badger Guns owner Adam Allan, he's OK in my book.

Was St. Louis shooting spree perpetrated in a 'gun free' zone?

As is always the case in the aftermath of something like this, details are still coming in, some of them contradicting earlier reports. Efforts on my part to obtain information about any company policy regarding employee possession of firearms and/.or other weapons at work have so far been unsuccessful. We do know that the shooter had no need to care about such rules, as the consequences of breaking them would have been irrelevant. Regardless, it seems clear that there was no serious resistance to his rampage. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a read, and meet the newest GRE.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Is everyone in Chicago an 'extremist bigot'?

The amicus briefs from the anti-rights side in the McDonald v. City of Chicago Second Amendment incorporation case are now appearing online, right at the deadline for filing. That's a whole lot of reading, and I have yet to make significant progress in getting through all of it. Still, a story about the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) brief caught my eye.

ADL's "friend of the court" brief in McDonald v. City of Chicago points to the long history of gun violence by anti-government and racist extremists. The brief describes three such examples in detail: the June 2009 shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, by avowed anti-Semite and white supremacist James Von Brunn (an incident which left a security guard dead); the April 2000 shooting spree in Pittsburgh by white supremacist Richard Baumhammers (which left five dead); and the deadly standoffs in Waco, Texas in 1993 and Ruby Ridge, Idaho in 1992.
Whether or not it is legitimate for any unit of government to disarm "extremists" (who would, presumably, get their "extremist" designation from that very government--which would seem to be a bit of a problem) is a topic worthy of discussion (and I've discussed it in the past), but there's a narrower issue here.

That issue is the fact that Chicago's handgun ban applies to everyone (except aldermen and the like)--not just the "extremists." In fact, although I don't have stats on hand, I'd be willing to bet that a disproportionate percentage of those prosecuted (or persecuted, perhaps) for violation of Chicago's gun laws are themselves members of ethnic minorities--just the folks whose protection the ADL claims to stand for.

Whose side is the ADL really on?

Update: An anonymous comment reminded me of something I should have mentioned myself. The plaintiffs in McDonald v. City of Chicago are themselves racially diverse, with Chris Otis (thanks for the correction, Anon) McDonald himself being black (McDonald is on the right):

I'll bet he's thinking "Gee--thanks, ADL!"

Federal court recognizes felons' right to vote--what about self-defense?

If, for example, Washington's (and other states'?) justice system unfairly targets minorities, in that non-whites are convicted of felonies at a higher rate than equally criminal white offenders, minorities are unfairly penalized not only in electoral power, but in legal self-defense. I am not, of course, arguing that inmates should be permitted to possess weapons in prison (the whole idea of incarceration, after all, is denial of freedom, so while locked up, they must of necessity be denied the palladium of liberty). [More]
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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Now, they want to make it harder to sell a gun store

We've talked a few times about Badger Guns, in West Milwaukee, WI, and the campaign to demonize the store, and even force it out of business (despite no compelling evidence of illegal behavior on the part of the owner). This campaign has been waged by the mayor and police chief of Milwaukee, with a big assist from local papers like the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It's that paper that recently ran a long story about the transfer of ownership, in early 2007, from former owner Mick Beatovic, to current owner Adam Allan (with Allan obtaining a Federal Firearms License for that address, and Beatovic giving up his).

At the time of the change in ownership, Allan was an employee of the store, and his father, Walter Allan, was co-owner and president of the company. The store was also under a cloud of BATFE suspicion (harassment?), making it a good time for Beatovic to retire, although he claims to have had no idea that the BATFE had designs on shutting the store down.

Beatovic still owns the building, and is therefore the landlord for Badger Guns. The thrust of the article is that there is something sinister and wrong here--that Beatovic is still connected in some way to the gun commerce business, despite a pending effort on the BATFE's part to revoke his license, and that he, through Badger, is "still" involved in shady dealings (remember--no one has proved that he ever did anything to justify license revocation).

[Deputy assistant director for field operations at BATFE headquarters Jim] Zammillo said a federal law, which pertains only to gun dealers, doesn't allow ATF to look behind the person applying when considering granting a new license.

"You could have the same players involved and it is a new corporation because the statute doesn't get to the principals behind the corporate name. It only looks at the corporation, and the corporation is the applicant," Zammillo said.

That is different than licensing for other businesses, including liquor wholesalers, where inspectors investigate all the people behind the business and deny a license if one of those people is barred or is likely to break the law, he said.

"It gave you access to the character and the record of the people behind the corporate name," Zammillo said of alcohol business regulation, which is now handled by the Treasury Department. "This (gun dealer) statute, the way it is worded, does not give us that authority."

Using its limited authority, ATF investigated whether Beatovic and Walter Allan were "secret owners," Zammillo said. Investigators couldn't prove it, he said.
If the idea behind all this licensing and red tape is the reduction of "gun violence," why the hell does it matter if there's a "secret owner" profiting from the business? If the current owner of record (and current license holder) is complying with all relevant laws (and there's no compelling evidence that Allan is not), then the level of "gun violence" is unaffected by who is profiting behind the scenes. The fact that liquor licenses are handled differently is not an indictment of the FFL system (to which the real objection is the requirement for "licensing" in the first place), but of the liquor licensing system (which, again, shouldn't exist in the first place).

The "best" part was a line by former West Milwaukee Police Chief Eugene Oldenberg, in which he actually brought up the "straw purchase" theme:
As a local police chief, he had no say in the sale of a gun store. Told about the violations at Badger Outdoors and the license change, Oldenburg said it raises more questions.

"So this looks like the straw sale of a gun store," he said.
Between Two Rivers has more.

California police chiefs now question value of 'microstamping'

Unfortunately, the chiefs are a bit late in coming to this realization. The legislation was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2007, and was supposed to go into effect several days ago (New Years Day). The only reason it has not is that the relevant technology is still encumbered by patents (the holder of the patents is expected to relax the restrictions in the near future). Studying the value of the technology after the mandate for it has been signed into law (and after, indeed, the law was scheduled to go into effect) is a bit like closing the barn door after the horse has already bolted. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The experiment has been tried, and it failed (miserably)

Damon Root has a couple excellent recent articles in Reason Magazine and the Wall Street Journal about the upcoming McDonald v. City of Chicago Second Amendment incorporation case to be heard in the Supreme Court on March 2nd. Read both of them, if you haven't already, but the Wall Street Journal article strikes closer to the point I'm trying to make here, so let's take a look at it.

In it, he quotes former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who in 1932, argued in favor of state and local governments' power to rule without federal interference.

"It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system," Brandeis wrote in his dissent in New State Ice Co. v. Liebmann, "that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory, and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
Obviously, that's just the kind of argument that would appeal to anyone opposed to incorporation of the Second Amendment, and Chicago has not failed to notice:
That's where Brandeis comes in. In Chicago's view, the Second Amendment should have no impact on its vast gun control regime. As the city has argued to the Court [ed. note: in their brief in opposition to the granting of Certioriae (pdf file)], "Firearms regulation is a quintessential issue on which state and local governments can 'serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.'" Thus, Chicago claims it should enjoy "the greatest flexibility to create and enforce firearms policy."
Anyway, Root does a good job of pointing out why deprivation of Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human rights of the individual is not a legitimate area of "experimentation," so I'll leave that to him.

What I want to talk about instead is the perceived need for this "experiment." Chicago's near-total ban of handguns dates back to 1982. Twenty-eight years would seem adequate time to judge the effectiveness of the experiment, would it not? In making such a judgment, one should probably be aware that Chicago has spent much of that time duelling with Washington D.C. (which until recently had its own, similar ban) for "murder capital of the U.S." Violence in Chicago is so bad that Chicago hospitals have trouble keeping enough blood on hand.

You've tried your little "experiment," Chicago. It failed.

California 'authorities' continue to push for body armor ban

Are we to believe that police rely on the "vital, and frankly basic, protection" of being able to count on anyone they shoot dying, and that such reliance is consistent with the term "peace officer"? [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope it's worth your time.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Now this should upset the SPLC

(Click to enlarge)

Mike V. informs us of the Three Percent flag proudly flown by our troops in Afghanistan.

This, of course, is not the first we've seen of military service members serving in harm's way overseas who support the mission of the Three Percent--we also saw it in Iraq:

(Click to enlarge)

That prompted some hysterical reactions from the Southern Poverty Law Center (or Southern Preposterous Lie Center, as Mike V. more honestly refers to them).

I eagerly await SPLC's handwringing fearmongering in response to this development.

Humane Society workers now armed for safety

The article does point out that Humane Society workers, whose duties sometimes require them to confiscate animals in order to remove them from conditions of cruelty or neglect, sometimes find themselves in tense situations, dealing with angry, possibly unstable members of the public. Still, is there any business where one can guarantee not having to deal with such people? Everyone from convenience store clerks, to librarians, to restaurant workers sometimes have to deal with angry, potentially violent people. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

The Brady Campaign apparently disagrees with the Chicago Board of Education, et al.

In the upcoming McDonald v. City of Chicago case, in which the Supreme Court will rule on whether or not the Second Amendment is to be incorporated against state and local governments, numerous amicus curiae ("friend of the court") briefs have been filed by both sides.

The Brady Campaign's brief (pdf file) comes close to conceding defeat. Rather than arguing that the Second Amendment should not be incorporated, it merely pleads the Supreme Court to allow "reasonable" regulation. This should serve the Brady Campaign well--most observers believe that arguing against incorporation is a losing proposition. On the other hand, in Heller, we saw that SCOTUS is more than willing to uphold nearly every regulation short of an outright ban (with "reasonable" not even entering the picture)--so at the end, Helmke will be able to claim "victory." For those without the time--or patience--for the entire brief, here's the press release.

The forcible citizen disarmament advocates' other briefs are more ambitious, and actually are intended to convince SCOTUS not to incorporate the Second Amendment. Let's look at one of those briefs (pdf file), filed by the Chicago Board of Education and a whole crowd of other nanny-statists (Institute of Medicine of Chicago, Wayman African Methodist Episcopal Church of Chicago, Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, Legal Community Against Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence/Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, Violence Policy Center, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and the Freedom States Alliance).

At the end of that brief, they attempt to contrast the right to keep and bear arms from what they argue is the far more fundamental right of free speech.

The right to arms, even for self-defense, is fundamentally different from all other liberties retained by individuals in society because of the inherent lethality of firearms. We tolerate few restrictions on the right to free speech because of its salutary effects, and because, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me,” as the nursery rhyme goes. Guns, on the other hand, will kill you.
I guess they didn't consult with the Brady Campaign in making that argument, because Brady president Paul Helmke paints a far darker picture of what free speech can do, in his "The Gun Lobby's Rhetoric Has Consequences":
In Pittsburgh on Saturday, three police officers were murdered, reportedly by an assault-weapon wielding man shooting 'hundreds of shots' who apparently believed the gun lobby propaganda that an 'Obama gun ban' would lead to his 'rights being infringed upon.'
Or maybe it's only pro-gun rights free speech that's the problem.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Speaking of state sovereignty . . .

A couple hours ago, I wrote about a bill introduced in New Hampshire that would not only exempt firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories manufactured in New Hampshire for in-state consumption from federal regulation, but would also make it a felony for agents of the federal government to try to enforce federal laws in defiance of the NH law (the NH law would, by the way, seemingly even apply even to machine guns and other NFA weapons, unlike any of the state sovereignty legislation I've seen introduced in other states).

That reminded me that the New England Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, although not having reacted yet to the NH bill, is upset about Montana and Tennessee having passed their own state sovereignty legislation.

The article further reports that Tennessee and Montana have passed laws that exempt weapons made and owned in-state from federal restrictions.

These laws say that guns manufactured in-state and sold to people who intend to keep them in-state are exempt from federal gun laws and regulations. Both Tennessee and Montana only have state laws prohibiting felons from possessing guns. This means, under this new law, the other federal categories of persons prohibited from owning guns would not apply. This includes those who have been committed to a mental institution, dishonorably discharged from the military, are a fugitive from justice, an illegal alien, have been convicted of a domestic violence offense, or are currently subject to a restraining order.
Nothing surprising there--typical nanny-statist hysteria. The best part comes next.
In addition to opening up firearm possession to people who should clearly not have a gun, it should be noted that Tennessee is home to Barrett Firearms Manufacturing, the maker of the .50-caliber sniper rifle. .50-caliber guns are designed for battlefield use to attack armored vehicles and are used to destroy targets from long distances. California considers these guns so dangerous they have banned them. Yet Tennessee has just made a move to make these weapons easier to obtain.
Oohh--state sovereignty and evil, all-powerful .50 caliber rifles. The horror!


New Hampshire proposes state sovereignty law--with a twist

Don't call the Live Free or Die state a copycat, though--the New Hampshire bill contains a very interesting provision not (to my knowledge) seen in any of the other states' legislation.
Any official, agent, or employee of the government of the United States, or employee of a corporation providing services to the government of the United States that enforces or attempts to enforce a act, order, law, statute, rule or regulation of the government of the United States upon a personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in New Hampshire and that remains within the State of New Hampshire shall be guilty of a class B felony. (emphasis added)

That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.