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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Gun Guys--bravely fighting the spread of freedom

A few days ago, I talked about how upset the New York Times is about Senator Allen's bid to make Constitutional rights apply even in national parks (gasp!). This time, it's the Gun Guys who are whining like spoiled 2-year-olds about the idea.

Apparently, the part that really bothers the Gun Guys is that the bill makes no distinction between parks in remote wilderness areas, and those in areas with a more urban character (why that should make a difference, they don't really say).

And if that’s not enough, this particular piece of legislation is just plain badly written. For that reason, we’re guessing the NRA wrote it– they just want to allow their guns anywhere, and didn’t even bother making a distinction between urban and rural national parks. [Ed. note: here, the Gun Guys quote the article linked to in their post]
The law does not distinguish between National Park Service properties that are urban in nature (Independence National Historic Park in Philadelphia) or remote wilderness (Denali National Park in Alaska).
Again, what's the problem? Concealed firearms are legal (for permit holders) right in downtown Philly--why should the situation change at a park in the Philadelphia area?

If it were up to the Gun Guys and their ideological allies, even the police would be disarmed, and only the military would have weapons. Clearly, the Gun Guys hate the principles on which this great nation was founded.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cops gun down old lady trying to defend her home--and this genius blames her and her gun

Once again, I'm going to discuss something that has already been very well covered over at War on Guns, because this clown's editorial (from the Chicago area--of course) is simply too outrageous to leave unchallenged.

A handgun is not some useful tool that offers its owner safety and piece of mind. If it were, a gun-toting old lady in Atlanta would have survived Thanksgiving.

Either 88 or 92 (depending on whether you believe the autopsy doctors or her family), the woman was armed, ready and apparently a decent shot. She pumped five bullets into the three undercover police officers with a warrant, who broke through her door looking for drugs. But the cops still gunned her down. Had she been without her precious gun, she’d no doubt be alive today.
So, according to this pompous jackass, it's her fault that the police blew her away, because she had a gun and was prepared to use it. He devotes not a single word to point out that maybe just a teency portion of blame might be laid at the feet of the cops who killed her in a no-knock, plain clothes, kick-in-the-door raid, that was apparently on the wrong house (not to mention that these fine officers may very well have tried to cover up their lethal incompetence with lies).

After two paragraphs of blaming Ms. Johnston's death on her and her gun, instead of the people who killed her, he quickly changes gears and goes into a discussion about Joan Burbick's Gun Show Nation: Gun Culture and American Democracy (which my library does not carry, so I've not yet had a chance to read). Judging from Constable's editorial, the book is apparently about the fact that guns are not a panacea for all of society's problems (I'm not sure who supposedly has argued that they were, but that's another matter).

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Ohio gun rights making progress

It looks as if Ohio will soon be taking a step in the right direction (maybe a couple steps). At the moment, Ohio is one of the few states in which individual municipalities can arbitarily impose gun laws that are more draconian than those of the state. The preemption bill mentioned in the above link would change that, making gun laws uniform across the state. This, of course, is as it should be. A person driving across the state with a firearm, and in compliance with every state law, should not be subject to legal trouble simply because he unknowingly drives into a town where the right to keep and bear arms is not held sacrosanct.

Such a person, for example, might drive into Columbus with his AR-15 in the trunk, not knowing that Columbus has imposed a ban on so-called "assault weapons." As another example of locally imposed, egregiously restrictive gun laws, some towns have banned license holders from carrying their firearms in public parks. Preemption would end both of these infringements on the right to keep and bear arms.

Another major improvement this law would bring about is the elimination of the requirement for holders of concealed carry permits to either lock their guns away while in the car, or to keep them holstered in plain sight. This is a ridiculous requirement that does nothing for anyone's safety. Eliminating this requirement would be a huge step forward for Ohio.

Every good thing comes with a cost, though. The bill would also apparently include a provision that would prohibit the issuance of a concealed carry permit to a person who decades ago had committed a crime which had since been expunged from his record. Currently, exceptions can be made in such cases. That is as it should be.

Another likely change for the worse is that a licensee who has had too much to drink would no longer be able to hand his gun to someone else (someone who is not impaired). How this change makes anyone safer has not been explained.

Still, preemption would be a net gain for rights in Ohio, and it's good to see that this has a good chance of passing. Let's hope that it does, and that Governor Taft has the good sense to sign it into law.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Live, from New York, it's time for some more anti-gun hysteria!

The New York Times ran a very disapproving editorial last week about Senator Allen's bill to repeal the current prohibition of concealed weapons in national parks. Not surprising, of course, given the NY Times' virulently rabid opposition to armed self-defense, but it's amusing to look at some of their "arguments."

Here's my favorite part:

America’s confusion about the Second Amendment is now nearly total. An amendment that ensures a collective right to bear arms has been misread in one legislature after another — often in the face of strong public disapproval — as a law guaranteeing an individual’s right to carry a weapon in public. And, in a perversion of monumental proportions, the battle to extend that right has largely succeeded in co-opting the language of the Civil Rights movement, so that depriving an American of the right to carry a gun in public sounds, to some, as offensive as stripping him of the right to vote.
So there you have it--they acknowledge that most Americans, along with most of our legislators, recognize the Second Amendment as a guarantee of the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms--but we're all wrong (good thing we have the wise editors of the Times to straighten us out). As the NY Times explains, the Second Amendment is a "collective right"--which apparently means it's a right of the government, not the people (they don't explain what the "right of the people" part of the amendment is doing in there). Then, they go on to describe defense of the right to keep and bear arms, as a "perversion of monumental proportions." There's definitely some perverse confusion here, but it doesn't lie with those of us who treasure the Second Amendment along with the rest of our civil rights.

The editorial goes on to call the bill "an assault on public safety." How long will it be before the anti-gun extremists realize that this lie doesn't work? They've been trying that for almost 20 years (Florida started issuing concealed carry permits on a large scale in 1987). Every time concealed carry is introduced somewhere, we're bombarded with doom and gloom predictions of mass carnage and mayhem, and every time, it keeps not happening. Law abiding citizens of almost every state can now carry concealed firearms, and contrary to the anti-gun extremists' hysterical fear mongering, the streets continue to not run with blood as a result. But we're now supposed to believe that national parks are different from the rest of the country, in that concealed carry licensees--with an excellent record of responsibility, safety, and lawfulness everywhere else--will suddenly turn into blood thirsty killers if they are permitted to carry their guns into national parks.

Law abiding citizens with concealed firearms are indeed very dangerous . . . to rapists and muggers, and the like. The NY Times editors have made an interesting choice with regard to whom to protect.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Teaching safety to kids--very upsetting to the Gun Guys

As soon as I read this article about a program in Alaska to teach 6th graders about gun safety, I knew the Gun Guys would chime in with their standard hysterical indignation. They didn't disappoint me. In fact, they call the idea "almost unthinkable" (if that idea is even close to "unthinkable," perhaps that says more about the Gun Guys' ability to think than it does about the idea):

. . . one Alaska school is doing the almost unthinkable: putting firearms in students’ hands.
The idea behind such a program is to teach the kids basic safety principles, such as muzzle discipline, that guns are to always be considered loaded, etc. In a place like Alaska, where guns are an integral part of everyday life, it just makes sense to give kids some training about how to handle a gun safely.

The Gun Guys, of course, love to argue that there is no such thing as gun safety (another term, like gun rights, that they rarely use without quotation marks). To "prove" this point, they usually refer to accounts of trained, experienced gun handlers doing something stupid, and accidentally shooting themselves or someone else. What they don't mention is that by this "logic," everytime an experienced driver crashes, we have proof that cars are a deadly menace. Yes--guns can be unforgiving of carelessness or stupidity, but so can innumerable other things that people use. That is precisely why safety training is so vital.

Fear and ignorance are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is the currency in which the Gun Guys, and all the rest of the anti-gun extremists, conduct their business.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Another federal ban on so-called "assault weapons?"--I seriously doubt it

Many of the anti-gun extremists would like to believe that with the recent big gains made by the Democrats in the recent elections, lots of new gun restrictions are right around the corner. Sounds like wishful thinking on their part, to me. It also seems that in more honest moments, even the hardcore anti-gun bigots find themselves forced to acknowledge that reality. For example, Paul Helmke (Brady Bunch president) admits a new "assault weapons" ban is not likely:

Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, said he has seen a list of the top 100 Democratic priorities; reinstating the now-expired ban on military-style assault weapons is "in the 90s." At least, he said, conservatives can't weaken gun-control laws.
It looks as if the Democrats are finally starting to learn that restrictive gun laws are a losing proposition.

Many of the victorious Democrats won on decidedly pro-gun platforms. Senator-elect Jon Tester, for example, is about as pro-gun rights as one could ask for:
Tester said he opposed the Brady Bill - a federal law that requires a background check for everyone buying a handgun.

Tester said he would oppose any efforts to bring back bans on assault weapons.

Both men also said they favored doing away with a 1986-passed cap on the number of fully automatic weapons available for sale. At that time, Congress limited the number of fully automatic guns - guns that will fire as long as the trigger is pressed - to those in circulation in 1986. Since then, the price of these limited weapons has gone up. However, civilian police forces are exempt from the cap, and recently Congress allowed certain military contractors to be exempt from the 1986 cap, too.
The anti-gun thugs don't like to talk about that.

Even some prominent members of anti-gun rights groups admit that the expired ban on so-called "assault weapons" accomplished nothing along the lines of its ostensible goals. Tom Diaz, of the Violence Policy Center:
"If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another" in "reducing death and injury."
Civilian disarmament is moving from the realm of being a pet issue of the Democratic Party, to being the issue of an increasingly isolated radical fringe group of anti-gun extremists. The more stridently they scream, the more they expose how out of touch they are.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

NRA offering free 1 year memberships to all active-duty military personnel

Just a short post--this isn't really a day for blogging.

I am pleased to see this good news. This is just a win/win idea--the NRA gets an infusion of new members, many of whom will likely decide to continue their membership after the first (free) year, and the troops get a bit of a token of appreciation for their courage, sacrifice, and back-breaking work.

If this had been offered back in the early 90's, I would have jumped on the offer in a heartbeat.

I bet the anti-gun extremists are going to hate it--that's just icing on the cake. Happy Thanksgiving, folks.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

More hypocrisy from the anti-gun camp--surprise, surprise

Frank Melton, Mayor of Jackson Mississippi, is what the anti-gun zealots might refer to as a "gun criminal," after his recent convictions for three gun offenses. My favorite anti-gun moonbats, the Gun Guys, mentioned this recently, as well.

What they don't mention is that Mayor Melton is also a hard core civilian disarmament extremist (who just happens to consider himself above lowly civilians), one of the very first mayors to sign on to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's war on the Bill of Rights. He has even explored the idea of abusing his power to the extent of shutting down gun shops and gun shows within the city limits. Until his little . . . indiscretions with guns came to light, he sounds as if he was just the kind of guy the anti-gun bigots tend to worship. I wonder if Bloomberg has decided to kick Melton off his list of anti-gun jihadist mayors yet.

Of course, the civilian disarmament crusade and hypocrisy have never been strangers. Remember the story of Annette "Flirty" Stevens, president of the Illinois chapter of the Million Mom March (they apparently use some pretty creative counting to get to a million, by the way), arrested for possession of a gun with the serial number filed off (and apparently with drugs, as well)? She also did not have a FOID (Firearm Owner's ID) card, meaning that possession of even an otherwise legal gun is strictly verboten in Illinois. Supposedly, it had belonged to her son (whose death had inspired her involvement in the civilian disarmament movement), and she "forgot" it was in the house. Didn't Steve Martin have a routine about trying to deflect the IRS by saying you simply "forgot" to pay your taxes? It was pretty funny when he did it, but pretty pathetic when "Flirty" actually tried a similar tack.

Then, of course, there's the hypocrisy of people like Senator Diane "turn them all in, Mr. and Mrs. America" Feinstein having a concealed carry permit, and Rosie O'Donell having armed bodyguards. I'm guessing Mayors Bloomberg and Daley don't go much of anywhere without armed escort, either.

This kind of hypocrisy shows that the push to ban guns is driven not by a desire to end violence, but to exert power and control over the populace.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Gun Guys criticize wounded, heroic Secret Service agent for shooting back

You just have to love this gem from the Gun Guys. In it, they talk about an incident in a Maryland shopping mall, in which a Secret Service agent tried to break up a fight (more a beating than a fight, really--a bunch of folks had all ganged up on one kid, and were thrashing the hell out of him) involving a bunch of high school aged kids. The agent, who was off duty and shopping with his family, tried to break up the fight.

To this point, the Gun Guys "have no issue" with the agent's attempt to stop the fight (how generous of them to show such forbearance). Then, however, one of the miscreants pulled a gun, and started shooting, wounding the agent. The agent, understandably, drew his own weapon and fired back. Well, I think it's understandable, anyway--the Gun Guys' ability to understand things is apparently somewhat different.

But he [the agent] did the wrong thing in pulling a firearm . . .
So . . . let me get this straight--a Secret Service agent, with the superb pistol shooting skills that are a part of his job, is not supposed to fire back when some gangster wannabe clown shoots him (while shooting into a crowd), but is instead supposed to . . . just die, I guess. Keep in mind, according to this article, he didn't even draw until he was shot.
The agent was wounded. After he was shot, he drew his service handgun and returned fire, wounding the gunman.
Sounds like pretty superb police work, to me.

The brave agent and the genius of a shooter were both hospitalized with wounds that were described as "not life threatening." A third person was shot in the leg, but the wound was superficial enough that he was treated and released that night. I think it is clear, to anyone but the Gun Guys, (these folks apparently agree with me) that this courageous Secret Service agent--and his gun--saved lives that night. Since he used a gun to do it, the Gun Guys don't like it.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Law abiding citizen's gun stolen--by judge

This judicial abomination has already been well covered here, and mentioned here, but it's outrageous enough that I feel compelled to rail against it, as well.

The gist of it is that Brad Hines, a concealed carry licensee, shot a man in self-defense (his assailant survived). In a hearing, the district court judge saw that the case against Mr. Hines was lacking, and found no probable cause for charging him.

However, Peter Strickland,the Senior District Attorney, had other ideas (along with a real problem with citizens defending themselves, apparently), and pressed charges anyway, and managed to get a grand jury to agree that there was enough cause to bring the case to trial.

Upon hearing the "evidence," however, the jury took all of ten minutes to return a verdict of not guilty. Think about how flimsy a case would have to be for an entire jury to throw it out in ten minutes--it generally takes longer than that to get 12 people to agree on what kind of pizza to order.

Still, Mr. Hines' troubles weren't over. First, he had to listen to the pompous ass of a judge (Superior Court Judge Jim Ammons) deliver a disgustingly condescending lecture:

"Take that concealed weapon permit and turn it in to the Sheriff's Office - you don't need it."
The incurable optimists among us might be hoping that Ammons meant that carrying the most effective means of self-defense is a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual, and thus not subject to licensing, meaning he objected to the idea of needing a "permit" to carry a firearm. Alas, that is not the case, as we find out with the judge's next line:
"If the gun is returned to you, go sell it. You don't need it."
Remember, this is in the wake of an incident that showed exactly why Mr. Hines did need a gun. More importantly (and more alarmingly), what's this "if the gun is returned . . ." crap about--it's an innocent man's personal property--how can there be any question of not returning it?

That's where this story goes from annoying, to teeth-gnashingly outrageous. Apparently, North Carolina law gives the judge discretion regarding the fate of the firearm, despite the fact that its rightful owner was not found to have done anything wrong.
"In a hearing before a judge, the weapon can either be returned to the defendant or I can order the firearm turned over to the sheriff and destroyed," Judge Ammons said.
It is probably not difficult to predict which course the judge chose,despite the arguments from Mr. Hines' attorney. The judge was helped to his decision by urging from the estimable Mr. Strickland, who wants the gun to get the death penalty,
"We have heard the evidence and Mr. Hines took a firearm into a situation late at night where he knew it might be used," Mr. Strickland said. "The state is concerned a similar incident might happen again."
Imagine, carrying a gun where it might be used (gasp!)--apparently, we are only to carry a gun when and where we know we won't need them (wherever and whenever that is).

And that is what the good judge ordered.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Judge Ammons ruled the firearm be turned over to Harnett County Sheriff Larry Rollins and destroyed.

"If the sheriff decides, he may sell, trade or exchange the gun with a firearms dealer as allowed by North Carolina statutes," Judge Ammons said. "If there is no appeal within 30 days, the order will be carried out."
So that's justice, Peter Strickland and Judge Jim Ammons style--the kangaroo court is now in session.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Keeping the peace in Idaho--and sending the Gun Guys into yet another hissy fit

Greenleaf, Idaho has gotten more national attention lately than one might expect of a sleepy little town. The attention is due to the fact that residents will be asked to keep firearms and ammunition in their homes as part of a new ordinance (an ordnance ordinance, so to speak). It's not mandatory, so those with religious or philosophical objections to being well equipped for self-defense will not be forced to abandon their defenselessness. Furthermore, gun ownership in Greenleaf is apparently already something around 80%, so even if gun ownership were mandatory, this ordinance would change little.

Still, the Gun Guys were scandalized when the ordinance was proposed, and they're whining even louder now that it has passed. They go so far as to quote a local pastor, who had initially opposed the idea, but I guess they "forgot" to mention that he eventually changed his position and voted for it (the pastor is himself a gun owner, hunter, and shooter).

In true anti-gun bigot tradition, the Gun Guys couldn't resist delivering one of their petty, immature little insults to the people of the town:

. . . or will probably just leave Greenleaf (as there are probably many more reasons than this law not to live there).

A rant from the gun rights deprivation lobby just wouldn't be complete without some pompous, contemptuous urban elitism, would it? I wonder how close they've been to Greenleaf, to have decided that they know enough about the place to be in a position to judge the quality of life there. Ah, well--sticks and stones . . . , as the saying goes.

I don't know how useful such a law will be, but if it upsets the gun haters, it sounds good to me.

Friday, November 17, 2006

At least this guy doesn't try to sugar coat his disdain for rights

Many times, when someone advocates infringing on gun rights, he or she claims to "support the Second Amendment" (which he or she always seems to equate to hunting--as if the framers of the Constitution would decide to devote 10% of the Bill of Rights to sport). Not Dan Carpenter, author of this column. In the very first sentence, he blames gun rights for the violence in the U.S. In fact, just like the Gun Guys, he puts gun rights in quotes, as if to imply that the entire concept is just some figment of freedom lovers' imaginations, and not one of the mighty pillars on which our liberty stands.

I wonder if Mr. Carpenter would be so quick to disparage other Constitutional rights. The First Amendment, perhaps? Probably not--he, after all, makes his living off that particular right. Then again, many enemies of gun rights seem to advocate silencing the NRA, the GOA, and other gun rights groups, so maybe the First Amendment is part of the problem, too. The Fourth? Maybe he'd be willing to give up that one, too--after all, to get rid of all those nasty, evil guns, the government is going to have to be able to search people and their homes without dealing with cumbersome details like "due process."

Really, maybe the entire Bill of Rights, and these outdated concepts like "liberty," and "privacy," and "personal freedom" all need to be given a long, hard look. So let's all give up our rights--it's for the children.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Cook County attempts to impose its corrupt will upon the entire state of Illinois

I normally try to stick with issues of nationwide interest, but today I'm going to indulge my frustrations as a gun rights activist who lives in Illinois. Things are already bad enough here, being one of only two states with no provision for concealed carry; a state that requires a state issued permit for every gun purchase, and even every ammo purchase; a state with "home rule," allowing municipalities to impose even more insanely draconian restrictions than the state does; a state that, contrary to federal law, records every gun purchase in a permanent database (I still don't know how they get away with that); etc.

Now, to the glee of the Brady Bunch and the Gun Guys, Cook County is presuming to tell the entire state that it must ban so-called "assault weapons," along with .50 caliber rifles (presumably because .50 caliber rifles may, some day, actually be used to kill someone in the United States).

I live a long way from Cook County (thankfully--a more corrupt, crime ridden sewer of a county does not exist in Illinois), so I'm really not affected by what they do there, but the arrogance of their telling the entire state to accomodate their irrational phobias is unconscionable.

Keep your civilian disarmament laws to yourself, Cook County--let the rest of the state keep what's left in Illinois of the Bill of Rights.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Mayor Bloomberg's war on guns...and trans fats...and cell phones

Today's discussion will be only tangentially related to guns. Still, there is a relationship--Mayor Bloomberg doesn't like armed civilians, so he wants to ban guns; he doesn't like trans fats, so he wants to ban those; he hates cell phones ("Bloomberg, a former CEO who detests cell phone interruptions, once said he fantasizes about stomping repeatedly on the disruptive devices."), so now he's defending a ban on students having those in schools. When the point is brought up that it's very useful for kids to have a way to communicate with their parents on their way to and from school, his response is a shrug (why should he care?).

Notice a common thread? If he doesn't like something, his solution is to ban it. This is a guy who likes power. I guess he had to settle for the lowly office of mayor because the office of God-like Dictator for All of Eternity was unavailable.

There has been some discussion of the possibility of him attempting to expand his power, by leaving the mayor's office, and exchanging it for the White House. If that happens, and if he wins, this country is in for a world of hurt.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gun Guys--twisting the story . . . again

The latest bleating from the Gun Guys refers to the fact that the U.S. is the world's biggest supplier of weapons. I have no reason to doubt that particular assertion, and whether or not that is a bad thing is beyond the scope of this blog. What is worthy of comment here is the fact that the Gun Guys are trying to paint a story of the U.S. selling handguns and rifles in enormous quantities all over the world:

A full half of the guns in the world, including all the weapons used in countries in conflict, came directly from the gun industry’s playground: the United States of America.

"All the weapons in countries in conflict" come from the U.S.? Bull--that's not only a lie, it's a stupid lie. Anyway, they go on to say that this is because the firearms industry has such a hold over the U.S. legislature that they force these foreign policy decisions. However, if one actually looks at the article to which the Gun Guys refer, it becomes apparent that the article is mostly about high tech weapons--fighter jets, missiles, helicopters, etc.--not firearms, which are decidedly low-tech, and made all over the world.
For example:
The United States, for instance, also signed an estimated $6.2 billion worth of new deals last year to sell attack helicopters, missiles, and other armaments . . .

The article mentions F-16's, warships, and the other weapons systems mentioned above, but never once mentions personal firearms.

The article does contend that economic concerns are part of what drives the U.S. to approve these deals, but not because of the "gun lobby's influence." The concern is that lawmakers whose districts are the homes of various high-tech weapons companies don't want the negative economic impact of major industries folding, and people losing their jobs. My guess is that their constituents don't want that either.

If the Gun Guys want to argue with U.S. foreign policy, that's fine--there are no doubt some good arguments to be made. Just don't go blaming our foreign policy on Colt, Ruger, or Smith & Wesson (and all the rest)--foreign policy ain't their gig.

Monday, November 13, 2006

And these guys once held the most powerful empire on Earth?

It seems the British fall to pieces over a single round of .22 short ammunition. Some of the things said in the article are priceless:

The bullet, of Swiss origin, was still in its brass casing, complete with enough gunpowder for it to fire itself.
So, the ammo (apparently, they're referring to more than just the "bullet") can fire itself? I guess that does sound kind of dangerous. Maybe it's just that sneaky Swiss ammo that does that--all the holes in the cheese had to come from somewhere, you know.

Even more bafflingly, this next part comes from a member of a gun club, and holder of one of Britain's rare firearms licenses:
Mr Khan said that if it had been struck hard enough or exposed to heat it could have gone off.

"This sort of thing should not be lying around. It was live, primed and active," he said. "But rather me pick it up than a little kid.

"How can you feel safe when you are finding things like this on the street?"

I wonder if he has any idea how little potential there is for danger in the event of a round (particularly one as feeble as a .22 short) going off while not contained by a firearm's chamber and barrel.

The good news is that, apparently, the police intend to get to the bottom of this horrible danger:
The bullet has been examined at a Metropolitan Police laboratory and details about it kept for future reference.

A police spokesman said: "Recovering firearms and ammunition is a priority for the police. We take the same view of ammunition as we do of a gun.

"If it goes bang, it is still lethal." [ed. note: that would explain all the firecracker deaths, I guess]
For all this lethality, the police response time doesn't seem all that impressive, though:
Police are treating the unattended ammunition as a crime. Mr Khan alerted them at 10.16am, and they arrived at his shop to pick up the bullet at 11.32am.
An hour and sixteen minutes to respond to a "potentially lethal crime"? Sound a little like the Chicago PD, don't they?

By the way, National Ammo Week has started--let's try to get as many gun owners as possible to buy at least 100 rounds by Sunday--and really scare the Brits (Are these really the same people who personified the idea of the "stiff upper lip," while enduring the most brutal and relentless aerial bombardment ever seen up to that point? How can a society become so thoroughly wussified in 65 years?).

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Gun Guys' continuing war on gun...ranges?

Yesterday, I mentioned the hissy fit the Gun Guys were throwing over the idea of letting National Guard soldiers train with real ammo (I guess they figure that the troops should figure out how to shoot in the middle of battle).

Well, they're still throwing hissy fits--this time it's over a legally protected shoot on an established private shooting range. Apparently, all this anguish is over the noise (the sound of freedom, as I like to call it) of four hours of shooting on a Saturday late morning and early afternoon.

They quote a township official:

Township officials said they can’t stop the shooting.

"Our hands are tied by the law," Supervisor A.J. Boni said Wednesday.

Hands tied by the law, eh? Well boo hoo--the horrid injustice of requiring even mighty township officials to obey the laws. Perhaps I can be forgiven for my lack of sympathy--I imagine I'm just as sympathetic about their "problem" as they would be about my anger at the endless number of infringements that have been accumulating in our federal codes since 1934, on the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

By the way--if people are so worried about the gunfire sounds, perhaps lifting the ridiculous restrictions on suppressors (popularly referred to as "silencers") would be a good idea.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Now the Gun Guys are environmentalists--when it suits them

Taking a look at this piece by the Gun Guys, it seems they now fancy themselves protectors of the environment. Of course, they don't make a peep about global warming, or deforestation, or over fishing, or depleted ozone, or any of a vast number of other threats to the environment, real or imagined. They're only worry is lead from shooting ranges. I particularly like this sentence:

Say what you will about how "safe" the practice of shooting firearms is (not at all, if you ask us), but it’s clear that constantly inserting metal into the ground in that fashion is just plain trouble for the environment.
So the problem is the lead going into the ground? Where do these geniuses think the lead came from in the first place? Apparently, lead in the ground is fine when it's already there, but pushing it out of the barrel of a gun transforms a heretofore harmless metal into a deadly toxin.

I acknowledge that precautions need to be taken to keep lead out of groundwater, but there are steps that can protect against that. To use the environmental argument as a diversion in an anti-gun agenda is contemptible. To deny troops the ability to train with real ammunition is to needlessly cost the lives of many of these brave men and women. That's unconscionable.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Gloating from the other side--me thinks it's rather premature

Since Tuesday's elections, the anti-gun extremists have been fairly swooning with glee (at least that's the appearance they're putting up for public consumption). It seems that they would have us believe that Republicans have been the only thing standing between this country and insanely draconian gun laws. From the Brady Bunch to the VPC (Victim Producing Center, as I like to call them), to the Gun Guys, they seem to think Senator Feinstein's daydream of "Turn them all in, Mr. and Mrs. America," is right around the corner.

The Gun Guys have even gone so far as to imply that the (supposedly) impending departure of John Bolton (to whom they refer as "the NRA thug"--I get the feeling they don't like him) is a major blow to the NRA, and thus a major boon to the gun rights deprivation lobby. They base this...interesting idea on the fact that the U.S. opposed a U.N. resolution to violate gun rights worldwide. This, they seem to think, was the work of the NRA (because Bolton apparently consults with them, instead of the President, the Secretary of State, etc.). Definitely some odd ideas in those heads of theirs.

As I said yesterday, while the Republicans certainly lost big--I just don't see gun rights as having been set back much at all. Dave Kopel has an excellent article detailing why that is the case.

I'd like to propose a wager with the (currently giddy) anti-gun bigots--I'll bet enough cash for a Barrett .50 caliber semi-automatic rifle, that 2, 4, or more years down the line, I'll not only have all the guns I do now, but a few more, as well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Gun rights in a Democrat controlled Congress

I realize that a significant majority of gun rights advocates are Republicans, and are probably somewhat dispirited now. Granted, last night was a rough night for the Republican Party. That does not mean that last night marks the beginning of the end of gun rights. One large reason the Democrats were able to make such large inroads into what had been Republican hegemony is that they have adopted a more moderate tone. One major component of that moderation is an abadonment of the extremist civilian disarmament policies that were a hallmark of the Clinton era (not that there aren't some powerful Democrats who are out to ban guns--I simply doubt there will be enough of them to ram really heinous legislation--like bans on so-called "assault weapons" through the House and Senate). "Gun control" is simply not the issue it was ten or fifteen years ago, even among most Democrats.

This could actually be the beginning of a more powerful pro-gun bloc within the Democratic legislature--that can only help gun rights, and this nation.

In other good news, Ron Paul kept his seat, so I will not have to burn my NRA card (I'm keeping the NRA on probation, though).

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Whichever party you vote for, vote for gun rights

Not much to say--except vote for your gun rights today, so you don't have to fight for them tomorrow.

Monday, November 06, 2006

They're supposed to be dangerous

When a concerned citizen approached Texas Ranger Charlie Miller about the cocked-and-locked 1911 Miller carried on his hip, asking "Isn't that dangerous?" Miller replied, "I wouldn't carry the son-of-a-bitch if it wasn't dangerous." I love that line--not because it's good for a chuckle (although it is that), but because it's right. A sidearm incapable of inflicting fairly significant damage (up to and including quickly fatal damage) would not be worth carrying.

Oddly, though, the fact that guns can wound or kill, and are thus "dangerous" (as are chainsaws, welding torches, and many other useful implements), is what upsets the anti-gun pantywaists so much. Their solution (when they lack the ambition to come out and lobby for what they really want--a complete ban on privately owned firearms) is to mandate various "safety features." Of course the "safety" to be had by building in these "features" comes at the direct expense of the gun's utility at what it's designed to do (quickly expel a projectile in exactly the direction the shooter intends it to go when he pulls the trigger), but this is fine with the anti-gun bigots--to them, a useless gun is the next best thing to no gun.

Hence we have proposals to require that guns be built with triggers too heavy to be pulled by small children (and thus much too heavy for any kind of accuracy--making guns more dangerous in many situations, because of the increased chance of stray rounds hitting people who don't need shootin'). Other proposals incude integrated trigger locks (thus adding more mechanical complexity for Murphy's Law to act on at the worst possible time). Probably the worst of these ideas is the proposed plan to develop so-called "smart gun" technology, that will use biometrics and/or other electronic means to render guns absolutely impossible to fire by anyone the gun isn't "progammed" for (the unreliability inherent to something like that should go without saying). There are also proposals (and beyond proposals, actual laws, in some jurisdictions) to limit the power of guns, to limit the number of cartridges they can hold, to limit how small they can be, etc.--all because we are to believe it is too dangerous to leave these things unregulated. Chicago has actually outlawed laser sighting devices--apparenly on the grounds that accuaracy is dangerous.

A gun that can't wound or kill is as useful as a car that can't move, a telephone on which calls can't be made, or an umbrella that cannot be exposed to moisture without being ruined. When the only way to save your life is to shoot the person who would end it, you'd better hope you have a gun, and that gun had better be "dangerous."

Saturday, November 04, 2006

This time, the NRA is dead wrong

I imagine I've made it pretty clear that I am a big believer in the NRA, and that I appreciate what the organization does to protect the fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms (the sad fact is that despite this right's Constitutionally guaranteed status, it still needs this protection). However, being an organization of human beings, the NRA is no more immune from making human errors than any other. My attention has recently been brought to just such a mistake on the NRA's part, and this one is a whopper.

In rating candidates for political office on their stances on gun rights, Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) was given a "B" grade. His opponent, Shane Sklar (D) was given an "A" grade (neither candidate received the NRA's endorsement). On Sklar's website, he says some fairly encouraging things about his stance on gun rights, but without a record as a legislator (he has never been one), it's hard to know how his promises today would translate to lawmaking actions tomorrow. Ron Paul, on the other hand, has a long and glorious record of being an absolute lion in the fight for gun rights. In addition, contrast Sklar's statement,

I will not support any new laws that restrict the rights of law abiding gun owners. We need to enforce the laws on the books which already restrict gun sales and ownership to criminals and law-breakers,
. . . with this one from Paul:
"I rise today as a firm believer in the Second Amendment and an opponent of all federal gun laws," Paul told lawmakers. "In fact, I have introduced legislation, the Second Amendment Restoration Act (H.R. 153), which repeals misguided federal gun-control laws such as the Brady Bill and the assault-weapons ban. I believe the Second Amendment is one of the foundations of our constitutional liberties."
Sklar promises to oppose any new laws, and to push for enforcement of existing ones, while Paul has shown himself through his actions over a period of years to be a leader in the fight to actually repeal federal gun legislation. There's a real difference in the positions of the two, and it does not favor Sklar.

So why would the NRA spurn gun owners' best ally in Congress for a far lesser candidate? Because Paul voted against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act. He did this despite his condemnation of the lawsuits this legislation is intended to stop. His reasoning is that Congress lacks the Constitutional authority to write tort laws. I think his reasoning could be debated, but there can be no doubt that his position is based on conviction, and on his reverence for the Constitution. Pretty tough to condemn a person who has that kind of moral courage.

The NRA has done so, though. This smacks of breathtaking pettiness. I urge all NRA members to let the NRA know this is unacceptable. Additionally, a donation to Paul's campaign would be money well spent.

We cannot afford to shove aside our best friend in Congress because he offended the pride of some people high in the NRA hierarchy.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Fight restrictive gun laws--for the CHILDREN!

Almost every time a push is made for yet another draconian restriction on firearms, the "arguments" will include an emotional plea to pass the law "for the children." It makes a fairly effective rhetorical device--after all, arguing against protecting children tends to look rather bad. The gun rights deprivation lobby has fallen so deeply in love with the tactic that they often cite statistics that include the deaths of 20-year-old gangbangers as "children killed by gun violence."

Of course, they never talk about incidents like this one, in which a 14-year-old and his mother may very well have saved their lives with a handgun. They also would prefer not to talk about incidents in which denying children access to firearms has caused the deaths of children.

The Gun Guys like to go so far as to argue that no house that ever has children in it should also have a gun--and no precautions (such as trigger locks, gun safes, etc.) are good enough. I suppose it's a sensible stance for them to take--if they can discourage gun owners from reproducing, our society might eventually consist only of anti-gun pantywaists who would hold the warped views that would produce the "gun-free utopia" the Brady Bunch, et al dream of. The anti-gun bigots are silent about what one is supposed to do to protect his or her children when a predatory psychopath kicks down the door--I suppose the plan is to call 911, so at least the police can get there soon after the children have been killed.

Fight to protect your Second Amendment rights--do it for the children.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Self-defense gaining ground in the public consciousness

I only today learned of the (fairly) new TV show, Personal Defense TV, on The Outdoor Channel. Apparently, this show is the work of Guns & Ammo magazine. I have not yet had a chance to see it, but I am definitely pleased with the development. Considering some of the names involved (like Massad Ayoob, Clint Smith, and others), there is certainly a great deal of knowledge to be gleaned from the program.

The larger issue, as far as I am concerned, is that the existence of such a program shows how far our society has come in realizing that each of us is responsible for our own safety, as is clearly illustrated by the fact that the courts have ruled over and over again that the police are under no obligation to protect individual citizens.

People in ever growing numbers are waking up to the fact that in a dangerous world, having a firearm handy for protection, and being proficient in its use and knowledgeable about the applicable laws just makes good common sense. This can only make our society safer.

With Ayoob's presence on the show, I have little doubt that along with the nuts and bolts of self-defense, a great deal of attention will be paid to how to avoid ever needing to shoot in the first place. It is perhaps unrealistic to hope that this program will be seen by some of those who are adamantly opposed to legally armed law-abiding citizens. That's too bad, because I imagine seeing the program could go a long way toward making clear the fact that those of us who arm ourselves against trouble do not do so out of a desire to kill, but out of a desire to live.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

U.N. says the Bill of Rights is a human rights violation

Recently, I mentioned the U.N.'s interesting assertion that there is no human right to self-defense. Not being as sharp or knowledeable as Dave Kopel, it escaped my notice that the U.N.'s position is even more extreme than that--they're actually claiming that a lack of gun laws even more insanely draconian than those in Washington DC constitutes a violation of human rights.

The U.N. report contains the following passage, showing the degree to which they believe nations should be compelled (by international law) to restrict private ownership and use of firearms:

It is reasonable for international human rights bodies to require States to enforce a minimum licensing requirement designed to keep small arms and light weapons out of the hands of persons who are likely to misuse them. … The criteria for licensing may vary from State to State, but most licensing procedures consider the following: (a) minimum age of applicant; (b) past criminal record including any history of interfamilial violence; (c) proof of a legitimate purpose for obtaining a weapon; and (d) mental fitness. Other proposed criteria include knowledge of laws related to small arms, proof of training on the proper use of a firearm and proof of proper storage. Licences should be renewed regularly to prevent transfer to unauthorized persons.
Here's an excerpt from Kopel's excellent article, explaining how the U.N. Human Rights Council (which is horribly misnamed) and their designated "expert" on the subject (University of Minnesota Law Professor Barbara Frey) came to the remarkable conclusion that anything less than a virtual ban on private ownership of firearms constitutes a human rights violation:
BY THE FREY/HRC standards, every American jurisdiction is a human rights violator because its gun laws are not severe enough. Even in New York City or Washington, D.C., the government does not require a gun license applicant to prove that he or she has "a legitimate purpose." Once New York City or D.C. finally let you buy a shotgun, you can use it for any legitimate purpose—sporting clays, gunsmithing practice, collecting or even self-defense (assuming that you somehow can retrieve the locked gun in time to use it against a home invader).

At every gun store in the United States, buyers must pass a background check under the National Instant Check System (or a state equivalent). Most states do not require a separate license for handgun purchases and even fewer require a license for long gun purchases. Only a few states mandate that a person who simply wants to continue owning the guns he already has must renew a license from the government every few years. The absence of mandatory, periodic licensing for continued possession of one’s own guns is another human rights violation, according to Frey.
It seems the U.N. would insist that we nullify the Second Amendment to the Constitution, and virtually outlaw self-defense, or be labeled as a nation that violates human rights. So be it. We'll keep our Bill of Rights, and they can call us what they want. "Sticks and stones . . . " as they say.