Mission statement:

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

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

Saturday, June 30, 2007

County update: more progress

Somehow, I failed to notice until now that Effingham County hitched itself to the freedom train back on the 18th. For those following along, that makes 10 counties that have passed resolutions condemning Chicago-style "gun control." Here, then, is the newest map:
(Click to enlarge)

Additionally, I am told that Massac County will vote on the resolution on Tuesday, July 3rd. Pope County is set to vote on it on the 10th, and confidence is very high that it will pass.

That map gets prettier all the time, doesn't it?

Where the immigration and gun rights debates meet

I have, for the most part, kept this blog out of the debate about illegal immigration, because Armed and Safe is pretty exclusively about gun rights, and how those are violated by gun legislation (this post is about the closest thing to an exception). Generally speaking, I think any connection between the immigration debate and the gun rights debate is fairly tenuous. Today, though, I'll discuss a tragic intersection of the two issues.

This past Monday, Schanna Gayden, a 13-year-old honors student in Chicago, was killed in broad daylight, for the "crime" of being on a playground that marked the battle line between two rival gangs. The shooter proved to be not much of a threat to his enemies in the other gang, but was lethal to the innocent child.

Predictably, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley blamed America's "gun culture." This, of course, is the same Chicago Mayor Richard Daley who over a year ago decreed that Chicago become an immigrant "sanctuary city," in which police and other officials are expressly forbidden from checking into the immigration status of the people with whom they deal (that last link is to an article about the fact that the entire county of Cook may join Chicago in abetting illegal immigration).

What does Daley's (and by extension, Chicago's) contempt for U.S. immigration laws have to do with Schanna Gayden's senseless killing? One of the two suspects, and the leader of the gang responsible, is in the U.S. illegally. Mwenda Murithi, of Kenya, came to the U.S. on a student visa in 1999. That visa expired long ago, but here he remains, only to order the shooting that killed the young girl.

Murithi, who in the eight years he has been in this country has accumulated 28 arrests, including four felonies, has clearly had plenty of dealings with Chicago police, but since they have been ordered to not care about his immigration status, deportation was never in the cards for him (and since our "justice" system allows people with such lengthy crime dossiers to run free, he was not in prison here, either).

Schanna Gayden was not killed by America's "gun culture"--responsibility for her slaying lies at least in part with Daley's mandated contempt for our national borders.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Senate Appropriations Committee displays common sense; Bradys, VPC display hysteria

Mayor (and Aspiring Supreme Being) Bloomberg and his allies were dealt a telling blow yesterday when the Senate Appropriations Committee passed the Shelby Amendment (by a nearly 2 to 1 margin). This amendment is basically the Senate equivalent of the Tiahrt Amendment--the defeat of which seems to be Bloomberg's main purpose in life.

Actually, the Shelby Amendment contains even more protection of sensitive gun trace data than the Tiahrt Amendment does, and thus has the civilian disarmament lobby in an even more apoplectic state. Here, for example, is what Kristen Rand, of the Violence Policy Center has to say:

Adds Rand, “Keeping crime gun trace data secret puts the whims of the gun lobby ahead of the needs of local officials and law enforcement who are desperate for information that will help them fight illegal gun trafficking.
What she fails to mention is that the world's largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, the Fraternal Order of Police, supports the continued protection of this sensitive information, and that when she mentions "the needs of local officials," she is referring to the ability of local officials to wage a campaign of predatory lawsuits against the firearms industry.

The Brady Bunch is, if possible, even more melodramatic:
“Today, the Senate Appropriations Committee chose the gun lobby over America’s police and local officials, making a bad law that has hurt law enforcement even worse.

“The Committee restored a provision that prevents communities from knowing the truth about corrupt gun dealers and illegal guns, and added even greater restrictions on law enforcement access to crucial crime gun information.

“At a time when crime rates are rising, and corrupt gun dealers and traffickers are fueling gun violence in our neighborhoods, this action is a step in the wrong direction.”
In their call to action (accompanied by their standard call for money), we see this:
At a time when violent crime rates are rising, and corrupt gun dealers and traffickers are fueling gun violence, the Senate Appropriations Committee's actions are inconceivable. But not surprising, given the gun lobby's stranglehold on so many House and Senate members.
"The gun lobby's stranglehold on so many House and Senate members," eh? That would seem to be an odd statement for the Bradys to make just one day after crowing about what they had claimed to be a rising tide of restrictive gun legislation:
While common sense gun measures have moved forward, gun lobby proposals to weaken gun laws have foundered. The gun lobby has had very few successes, and a number of high profile failures, including defeats in states like Florida and Georgia where they have traditionally been successful.
Sounds as if Paul (Helmke) might be suffering from rapid mood swings, or something (is that bipolar disorder?). I think that can be treated--he might not be able to buy firearms, but I guess that's no big loss to him.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

New Illinois gun rights blog

I would like to point folks to Gun Owners Against Violence, by a sister in the civil rights struggle against civilian disarmament in Illinois.

Any who doubt that this is indeed a civil rights struggle need only read this excellent history lesson.

With folks like this on our side, I grow more sure every day that We Shall Overcome.

The investigation begins

The alleged death threats against Commissar Senator Kotowski (discussed here and here) are now in the news. The article is titled "Investigation begun of threats to Kotowski"--perhaps that means that the real investigation has finally begun, and that the Illinois State Police are done wasting time and resources with the harassment of people who have given no reason to believe that they threatened anyone.

The following line caught my eye:

Most of the threats referred to his sponsorship of gun safety legislation, Kotowski said this week.
Most of the alleged threats were in reference to his civilian disarmament agenda? Some folks would have us believe that all the alleged threats came from the gun rights movement. I wonder if Rich Miller and friends would have ISRA apologize for and condemn those other threats, as well. I also wonder if the threats unrelated to gun legislation will receive the kind of investigative attention as those supposedly from gun rights advocates, or if instead, they'll be blown off, like the threats issued by "Snuffy" Pfleger, in front of hundreds of witnesses (and which were recorded).

The article then makes a rather odd assertion.
During the current spring session, Kotowski, of Park Ridge, successfully introduced proposals to tighten restrictions on high-capacity gun magazines and .50-caliber rifles. Both bills have received wide support and are awaiting final approval in the House and Senate respectively.
Wide support? The .50 caliber ban bill was never brought up for a vote--presumably because its supporters didn't believe that they had the votes. That was before May 31st, when it would only have needed a simple majority. Now that it needs a 3/5ths majority, its chances of going anywhere during the overtime session are minimal, at most. The magazine ban bill did just barely squeak through the Senate, but again, was never brought up for a vote in the House--presumably for lack of support.

Another of the article's claims that I find a bit dubious is this one:
Kotowski is himself a victim of gun violence and, prior to his election in November 2006 over incumbent Republican Cheryl Axley of Mount Prospect, he was executive director of the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence.
By "victim of gun violence," are they referring to the fact that he was mugged? The fact that a couple thugs (one of whom was armed) took twenty bucks from him bestows upon him the authority to violate the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms?

A bit later, we get to why Kotowski believes that it's ISRA's fault that he has been threatened.
"The ISRA needs to take responsibility for inciting people. They created a climate where this is acceptable to some people by telling their members that my legislation takes guns out of the hands of U.S. troops in Iraq, that I'm 'dancing in the blood' of the Virginia Tech shootings," he said, referring to previous ISRA press releases opposing his efforts to pass new gun control legislation.
Let me make sure I have this right--ISRA's expression of rather unflattering sentiments about Kotowski--without ever endorsing threatening behavior or violence "incites" people to do those things? Does that mean that gun rights advocates should not be allowed to express our abhorrence for those who wish to disarm us? That hardly sounds like the position of "a strong proponent of the 1st Amendment right to free speech," as Kotowski has claimed to be.

I wonder how careful the article's author was in his quoting.
In the days after ISRA's June 18 response hit the Internet, Kotowski said three death threats appeared online, including one stating that, because of what he's trying to do, Kotowski should feel that "his life is in danger."
It is certainly possible that the article is referring to a quote other than the one I know of ("Sounds to me like Sen. Kotowski deserves to be threatened."), but if not, it would be a case of misquoting that would seem calculated to put a much more sinister light on what was said.

I don't believe in threats of violence as part of the political process, but I am proud to express my utter contempt and loathing for elected officials who would use their power to usurp fundamental civil rights.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Deacons for Defenselessness causing hardship to Riverdale

The mayor of Riverdale, IL (home of Chuck's Gun Shop), although a proponent of strict gun laws herself, takes issue with the harassment campaign engineered by Jesse Jackson and "Snuffy" Pfleger against Chuck's Gun Shop.

A suburban mayor is speaking out against a protest in her village last weekend. That demonstration ended with the arrests of Reverend Jesse Jackson and Father Michael Pfleger. They have led two protests at Chuck's Gun Shop in Riverdale. The mayor there says the demonstrations have cost the village thousands of dollars.

The mayor says resources spent on protecting protesters' rights and safety will be better spent elsewhere, in particular, trying to prevent gun violence. This was all sparked by an incident over the weekend, a protest of a gun shop in Riverdale.
I do not contest the right of people to protest whatever they feel compelled to protest. The Constitution protects such speech, and I would not want to live anywhere that such protections were not provided by law.

Still, when the protests are damaging to the very people they're ostensibly intended to protect, perhaps a different approach is indicated.

Mayor Evans has expressed interest in accompanying the Deacons for Defenselessness to Springfield, where the legislating is done (Blagojevich's and Daley's wishes and delusions notwithstanding).

If it's new laws they want, their protests should be where laws are made--not at Chuck's, where they are obeyed.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Latest county pro-2A resolution update for Illinois

Check out this video from a news segment about the introduction to the Champaign County Board of the kind of resolution I have been tracking (most recently here)

That makes nine counties (Shelby, Brown, Pike, Schuyler, Hancock, Johnson, Randolph, White, and Greene) with the resolution on the books, and at least another nine that have it proposed for consideration on the county board agenda. Probably close to two dozen more have an effort underway.

(Click to enlarge)

Daley, Blagojevich, Kotowski, and all the rest of you aspiring tyrants, get off the tracks--a train is coming.

Update on Ohio newspaper publishing concealed carry licensees' identities

Check out the Liberty Sphere blog again today, to see an update to the situation (mentioned yesterday) involving the Sandusky, Ohio newspaper that has decided its anti-defense agenda is more important than privacy and public safety. It seems that some Ohioans are fighting back.

By the way, while we're on the topic of newspapers competing for the Christian Trejbal Award for Irresponsible, Agenda-Driven "Journalism," it seems that a Connecticut newspaper is trying to force municipalities to release the names and addresses of everyone who applies for a concealed carry permit (state law already protects the identities of those who receive the permits--this is an attempt to make an end run around that privacy protection).

Can't they find any--you know--news to print?

UPDATE: Speaking of Christian Trejbal, look who stopped by--

Perhaps Christian was hoping to find that he had some fans.

How to pass "gun control" legislation: stay the hell away from facts and logic

Drew Westen's book, The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in Deciding the Fate of the Nation, is, as far as I can tell, a treatise on the need to stay away from facts and logic in political debate, and to focus instead on emotion. That, anyway, seems to be the gist of this excerpt, focusing on so-called "gun control" (i.e., civilian disarmament). To be honest, I think Westen has the right idea--when pushing an agenda so divorced from reality and rationality (and Constitutionality) as public safety through state-mandated defenselessness, facts and logic would certainly be things to avoid.

He apparently decided a demonstration was in order, waiting only until early in the third paragraph to let rip with a stunningly blatant lie.

They didn't mention that the Republican Congress had let the Brady Act, which banned the sale of semiautomatic weapons, sunset in 2004.
Actually, this is several lies, all in one short statement. First, the "Brady Act" dealt with background checks and waiting periods for handgun sales--not with semi-automatic firearms in general (many semi-automatics are not handguns, and many handguns are not semi-automatics). The criminal background check element of the Brady Act is still in force to this day, and although the five day waiting period is no longer in effect, it expired not in 2004, but in 1998, when the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was implemented.

What sunset in 2004 was the ban on so-called "assault weapons" (a term invented by rabid civilian disarmament advocate and VPC executive director Josh Sugarmann). This law did not "ban the sale of semiautomatic weapons"--many semi-autos were unaffected by the law, and even the "banned" firearms were completely legal for civilian ownership and sale, as long as they were manufactured (or imported) before the effective date (Sept. 13, 1994).

One could argue, I suppose, that Westen was not lying, as I accused him earlier, but simply wrong, but if he is this far off in his understanding of guns and gun laws, I would argue that representing himself as an authority on these issues is rather dishonest in and of itself.

The next lie, although breathtaking in its mendacity, is pretty standard fare for the civilian disarmament advocates.
If ever there was an issue on which Americans are of two minds, it is guns. Most Americans believe in the Second Amendment, but most Americans also support a host of restrictions on gun sales and ownership.
So most Americans support a right of the people that shall not be infringed, but they "also support a host of restrictions" on that right? In other words, apparently, Americans are largely unaware of the plain meanings of common English words.

A bit later, we come to this puzzling sentence:
The notion of being defenseless doesn't sit well with southern and rural males, whose identity as men is strongly associated with the ability to protect their families.
Are we to infer, then, that "the notion of being defenseless" does sit well with northern and urban males (and all women)? If so, that would seem to be an attitude we should seek to change, rather than to exploit.

What civilian disarmament advocacy piece would be complete without a breathless reference to terrorism? Fear not--here it comes.
You can't fight a war against terrorists if you grant them unrestricted access to automatic weapons on your own soil.
Who gets "unrestricted access to automatic weapons" in this country? Since 1934 (and the National Firearms Act), automatic firearms have been extraordinarily heavily regulated, with the regulations becoming even more onerous and draconian with the Gun Control Act of 1968, and still more so with the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986. Perhaps Westen somehow failed to notice the conspicuousness of the absence of terrorist attacks in the U.S. in which automatic weapons (or any other firearms, for that matter) have been used.

He even goes so far as to include kind of a miniature manifesto regarding firearms, that he thinks Democrats should use.
Our moral vision on guns reflects one simple principle: that gun laws should guarantee the freedom and safety of all law-abiding Americans. We stand with the majority of Americans who believe in the right of law-abiding citizens to own guns to hunt and protect their families. And we stand with that same majority of Americans who believe that felons, terrorists, and troubled teenagers don't have the right to bear arms that threaten the safety of our children. We therefore support the right to bear arms, but not to bear arms designed for no other purpose than to take another person's life.
The lies come fast and furious in that little gem. First, more restrictive laws do not "guarantee the freedom"--they actively attack it. Secondly, no law can guarantee safety--even a well-crafted law designed to promote safety can only work when it is not broken. To end the breaking of laws, one would have to eliminate criminals. That seems rather unlikely.

Toward the end, Westen really gets into the emotional symbolism he is promoting, suggesting that the Democrats "put every Republican in Congress on record as caring more about the blood-soaked dollars of the NRA than about the lives of our children."

The very last paragraph is the most stunning, in which Westen actually acknowledges that telling the truth is a losing proposition for civilian disarmament advocates.
If you can't speak the truth and win elections, you need to learn another language. The language that wins elections is the language of the heart.
That just about says it all, doesn't it?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Ohio newspaper publishing names of concealed carry licensees

Rather than typing up the details, I will just point readers to the Liberty Sphere, where I found out about this newest outrage.

The Liberty Sphere, by the way, is worth a daily look just for their Second Amendment News Roundup every weekday. If you haven't bookmarked the site yet, you oughtta.

Yeah--that's the example I want to follow

If the civilian disarmament lobbyists were correct, one would think that in Great Britain, where even Olympic target shooters have to leave the country to practice, one would find an idyllic haven from violence and mayhem. A UK News article titled "Gun and knife murders out of control" paints a grimly different picture.

Local communities were being blighted by run-away violence as gang members who believe they are "untouchable" carry guns and weapons as a matter of routine to carry out crimes and to settle scores.
But that's impossible--gun laws are much too strict there for that to be happening. Everyone knows that the violence in the United States is a direct result of our "loose gun laws," and that guns actually cause violence.

Luckily, there is something that can be done. Not only are British lawmakers unencumbered by anything like our Second Amendment, law enforcement is apparently free of worries about anything like Fourth Amendment rights, as well.
Now as a matter of "urgency," police should carry out random and targeted stop and search to catch weapon wielding thugs backed up with the introduction of a mandatory five year prison sentence for those carrying illegal knives - the same penalty as carrying guns.
It's sounding better and better over there all the time, isn't it? Well, you know, except for little things like this:
Victims of Crime Trust director Norman Brennan said Britain was quickly gaining a reputation as being one of the most violent countries in the Western world, scarring communities and leaving millions in fear of crime.
But don't let that scare you--if you are attacked, you can at least defend yourself by . . . um, let's see . . . screaming for help, or something. Of course, anyone who might otherwise be willing to help will most likely also be unarmed, but I guess he or she could join in with the screaming, or something.

Luckily, most of the murders are committed with something other than guns (it's gun homicides that should really outrage us, of course--if murderers are forced to use some other means, than the good guys must be doing something right)
. . . knife homicides out number gun homicides by three to one. If these measures were introduced it would greatly reduce knife crime and consequently save lives.
I could swear that I keep hearing that if we make guns hard to get, violent death rates would plummet--who could have guessed that violent people would find other ways to wreak their carnage?

Yep, it sounds pretty safe in Jolly ol' England, alright--as safe as Virginia Tech.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Wayne Fincher gets 6 1/2 years for Criminal Patriotism

I just now got the bad news. The link in Mr. Codrea's post is already dead--I guess the media doesn't consider the imprisonment of the citizenry, for the crime of upholding the Constitution, to be particularly newsworthy.

Here is an article that is still available.

Judge Jimm Hendren made the ruling on Fincher's sentencing, opting to impose the minimum recommended sentence according to federal sentencing guidelines, which set his imprisonment at between 78 and 97 months. Hendren also put Fincher on two years' probation once he leaves prison and required him to pay the government $1,000.

Fincher's court-appointed attorney, Shannon Blatt, asked Hendren to consider Fincher's poor health and that of his wife and sentence Fincher to house arrest or probation. Hendren said given the severity of Fincher's crimes he could not allow such a lenient sentence.
How very generous of the judge.

We also learn that Fincher could have lessened the punishment, by licking the hands of those who consider themselves our masters.
Hendren said Fincher would have faced a more lenient sentence had he entered into a plea agreement with the federal government.
So, it would seem that not only is Fincher to be imprisoned for his patriotism, but his imprisonment will be longer because he is unapologetic about it.

I would think that if there are actually people in the world who "hate us for our freedoms," they can start liking us now.

Never a dull moment with the Deacons for Defenselessness

As alluded to (here, here, and here) last week, yesterday saw yet another grandstand performance by the Deacons for Defenselessness and Injustice, Jesse Jackson and Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger. This version of their absurd little circus featured the additional element of the civilian disarmament advocating clergymen getting arrested for criminal trespassing.

Jackson, in turn, has tried to press assault charges against shop owner John Riggio, who Jackson claims shoved him. Apparently, Riverdale police who saw video footage of the incident were unconvinced that evidence of the assault alleged by Jackson was sufficient for an arrest.

The encounter between Riggio and the clergymen who wish to cut off his family's income did not, apparently, start off with so much rancor, and in fact Riggio invited the two inside to discuss what is involved in a firearms sale.

Owner John Riggio said he told Jackson and Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Roman Catholic Church, that they could enter the store but that he would only let the two in.

"I was going to explain to Jackson and Father Pfleger how to get a gun license and explain to them how the laws work, basically go through a regular sale with them," Riggio said.
Jackson and Pfleger declined the invitation, claiming that their lives would be in danger if they entered (the "gun rights supporters are scary" card seems a popular one to play these days).

In another article, oddly enough, Jackson claims to have been "locked out" of the shop.
"The police believe that store has a right to lock us out and that is not offensive to push us physically," Jackson said.
Only this bunch could claim to have been "locked out," by the man whose invitation to come inside they had just declined.

Jackson and Pfleger accomplished what I imagine to have been their goal all along, to get arrested, and thus bully their way onto the national stage with their strange vendetta against Riggio and his family.

They have already announced that their harassment campaign will continue next Friday, June 29th, at noon. Any Bill of Rights supporters in the area who can get off work are encouraged to be there.

As always, check out The Armed School Teacher's take on this.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reminder: Chuck's Gun Shop under siege again--be there

Just a reminder of what I mentioned Monday and Wednesday--"Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger (and most likely Jesse Jackson, as well) will be leading yet another mob of people calling for the demise of Chuck's Gun Shop. Even if Pfleger has learned better than to call for the "snuffing out" of its owner (I wonder when the state police will visit him), he will still be advocating that its owner and employees lose their livelihoods, that their families lose their incomes, and that people who depend on Chuck's for their self-defense needs be rendered defenseless.

On that last point, I propose that Pfleger, Jackson, and other, like-minded clergymen form a new organization. They could call themselves the Deacons for Defenselessness and Injustice (to show their diametrical opposition to these guys).

As a fellow Illinois gun rights blogger points out, it would seem that Jesse has switched sides in the Civil Rights battle. I wonder what price he exacted for the turning of his cloak.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Answering some critics

It seems that some folks have taken exception to some of the statements I have made about everyone's favorite civilian disarmament lobbyist-turned Illinois state senator, Dan Kotowski.

You can see more of this type of vitriol here (Kotowski treating the state police as “his personal goon squad), here (”Commissar” Kotowski) . . .
I'll acknowledge sloppy wording on my part in claiming that Kotowski was using "the state police as his personal goon squad"--a junior senator does not really have the power to make the state police do his bidding, so it would have been more accurate for me to say that the ISP is playing the role of Kotowski's goon squad, entirely of the department's own volition. If it would make anyone would feel better to receive my sincere and humble apologies for the misstatement, please consider them given. I suppose that what I am trying to admit here is that I was wrong to blame Kotowski for the ISP visits and interrogations of people who had clearly issued no threat whatsoever--that blame lies with the ISP. As for the "Commissar" thing--hey, I crossed it out--don't be so sensitive.

I simply do not buy the explanation that a few (very few, I would wager) threatening calls/FAXes from hotheaded idiots justifies an investigation of people who have given exactly zero reason to believe they were behind said threats. As for the "hotheaded idiots" I just mentioned, apparently one of the criticisms leveled at both ISRA and bloggers like me is that we have not done enough to condemn such threats.
Kotowski and his office staff received threats during the first few months of the Spring Legislative Session, most of which specifically referred to his sponsorship of gun safety legislation. “If Illinois State Rifle Association members were as law abiding and anti crime as they claim, then they would be the first to condemn these threats and help to champion the cause for measures designed to get guns away from those with criminal intent.”
This, despite the fact that ISRA's first press release on this matter said:
Of course, the manner in which citizens exercise that right must not include any threats of harm against elected officials.
My first post about this issue included an acknowledgment that such threats "would warrant a police response"--which I had kind of hoped would make clear that I disapprove of such threats. Toward the end of the same post, when I urged readers (I must be up to three or four of them by now) to contact Kotwoski, I made clear (I hope) that it was vital to be careful to keep the messages absolutely, utterly without threats of any kind.

I suppose I was guilty of the overly optimistic assumption that it would go without saying that the vast majority of us do not condone threats of physical violence. Clearly, I presumed too much. So now, to be absolutely clear, I will try to leave no doubt whatsoever that I categorically condemn anyone who would make threats of physical violence against those with whom one disagrees. It is a boneheaded move from a tactical standpoint, and more fundamentally, is not civil behavior. I hope anyone who made such threats is caught, and that the punishment is severe. I would think, by the way, that the likelihood of catching the perpetrators would be increased if police manpower and resources were not wasted on investigations of people whose only known contacts with the senator had not contained threats.

I should also amplify the point that The Armed School Teacher made so well--that if gun rights advocates are being blamed for threats that were either never made, or had been made by agents provocateurs aligned with the other side, with the intention of discrediting the gun rights advocacy movement, it would not be the first time. I am not claiming that this is what is happening here--only that it has happened before.

Finally I will reiterate my disappointment that the very well documented calls to "snuff out" both a legal businessman and state lawmakers are, apparently, considered unworthy of investigation, while alleged threats (the evidence of which we are so far being asked to take on faith) have triggered investigations of people who were never thought to have made them. I simply do not see how anyone could argue that gun rights advocates in this state are frequently on the short end of a profound double standard.

People tend to take that kind of thing personally.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More news from the police state

Looks as if the Illinois State Rifle Association and I are thinking similarly these days (a situation that has definitely not always been the case in the past). In this press release, ISRA makes a point similar to one I made Tuesday--that "equal protection under the law" is anything but--at least in Illinois. Here, in part, is what ISRA had to say:

"The Pfleger situation brings to light an interesting double standard," continued Pearson. "Earlier this week, the ISRA released the results of an investigation into the apparent harassment of gun owners by the Illinois State Police. In these cases, gun owners were treated to visits to their homes by state police detectives because they had sent faxes to Sen. Dan Kotowski expressing opposition to gun control legislation sponsored by the senator. Based on our investigation, there was not even the slightest hint of a threat conveyed in the content of the subject faxes. Nonetheless, these citizens had to bear the embarrassment of having the police show up at their homes with the additional strain of having to answer humiliating questions about their mental health and personal lives. In contrast, when Fr. Pfleger publicly advocated the "snuffing" of state legislators, the Illinois State Police turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. One would think that Sen. Kotowski would be especially sensitive to threats against legislators, yet his anti-gun alliance with Pfleger has left him totally mum on the priest's dangerous remarks."
This, of course, is in reference to what could be interpreted as Kotowski's use of the state police as his personal goon squad. On the NRA's "Cam & Company" show last night, in a telephone interview with Tom Warchol (who was visited by the state police because of his utterly cordial FAX to Commissar Senator Kotowski, about Kotowski's attacks on the Second Amendment), Warchol stated that Senator Pamela Althoff had told him that the state police had visited five-hundred people as part of their "investigation." [UPDATE: Mr. Warchol apparently misspoke (or misunderstood Senator Althoff) when he said that the police had visited 500 people--apparently the 500 is in reference to the number of calls and FAXes received by Kotowski--I still don't have information on the number of people caught up in the ISP's "investigation."]

Are we to believe that everyone who has expressed dismay to Kotowski about his odious, subversive, unconstitutional agenda is a "person of interest," because of what one or two idiots (supposedly) said by FAX or phone, while at the same time, Pfleger, who very publicly, on camera, in front of hundreds of witnesses, called for the "snuffing out" of a businessman and legislators, is of no interest to the police?

And some people wonder why many gun owners are distrustful of the government.

Illinois has too many jobs, too much tax revenue, and . . . the people here are more violent than in other states?

This article refers to the sad reality that the constant threat of ever more draconian firearms legislation in Illinois has already driven one manufacturer of fine pistols and rifles (Les Baer Custom) to relocate out of state, but also has the rest seriously considering similar moves.

Let's not mince words here. Illinois is a mess. With less than a week and a half left in the extended legislative session, agreement on a budget is a distant fantasy. Governor Blagojevich, too good for the taxpayer funded Governor's Mansion in Springfield (to which he insisted be added a heated driveway, costing the taxpayers $720,000--despite the fact that he doesn't live there) , commutes by plane between the capital and his Chicago home several times per week, costing the taxpayers nearly $6000 every time, for his "workdays" (some of which are about three hours long), trying to goad legislators into passing his pipe dream of a budget. Pension funds are raided willy-nilly, schools are grossly under-funded, and yet our wise lawmakers want to force good jobs and tax revenue out of the state.

The most interesting part of the article, though, comes at the end.

T[h]om Mannard, executive director of Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, said he wants to see compromise between legislators and gun manufacturers.

"It's a delicate balance," he said. "You could have a bill that prohibits the sale of assault weapons in Illinois, but allows the manufacturers to continue to manufacture and sell outside of Illinois. The current measures don't allow that."
It's a little surprising to see the head cheerleader for the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence calling for "compromise," but let's analyze what Thom is saying here. Apparently, so-called "assault weapons" are too dangerous for Illinois residents, but not for people who live in other states. Now that is a simply fascinating assertion, and as an Illinois resident, a rather insulting one. It's also an opinion not shared by many other states. By virtue of concealed carry licenses issued by Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, I can legally carry a concealed handgun in twenty-three states. That's right--although my own state mandates that I be unarmed and helpless, twenty-three others, in which I have never paid taxes, trust me to do so. If Illinoisans are so inherently violent and unstable, almost half the country seems unaware of the fact.

Thom would also seem to be undermining the arguments of what I thought would be many of his ideological allies, most of whom claim that restrictive gun laws in one state are rendered much less effective by less restrictive gun laws in other states. Isn't Thom afraid that even with a ban in Illinois, these naughty "assault weapons" could be sold in another state, and work their way back, illegally, to this state?

I plan to ask the ICHV about that, and will be sure to post any response.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Did someone say people aren't buying guns like they used to?

If one were to believe (for some reason) the Violence Policy Center, one would probably come to the conclusion that the gun industry is teetering on its last legs.

JR, at a Keyboard and a 45, has noticed that for at least one major U.S. gun manufacturer, nothing could be further from the truth.

Hmm--misleading statements (if not outright falsehoods) from the civilian disarmament lobby. I'm shocked, I tell you, shocked!

Updated details on newest March of the "Snuffy" Brigade on Chuck's Gun Shop

As mentioned Monday, "Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger will be leading yet another siege of Chuck's Gun Shop, in Riverdale, Illinois this coming Saturday (June 23), apparently at 1 PM.

The Illinois State Rifle Association is once again organizing a counter-protest:

Action Alert for Saturday, June 23, 2007: Counter-Protest at Chuck's Gun Shop, the 3rd Time in 4 Weeks

ISRA has found out that Fr. Michael Pfleger is going to march yet again at Chuck’s Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana, Riverdale, IL on Saturday, June 23rd. This is four weeks after the highly publicized protest at the same location where he called for the "snuffing out" of Chuck's owner, John Riggio. He will probably bring Reverend Jesse Jackson with him.

Many of you have followed the news about Pfleger's threat and wished that you could have been at Chuck's on May 26th to show your solidarity. Some of you took advantage of the short notice to come out to Chuck's last weekend. ISRA 1st Vice President Mike Weisman was there to stand with John Riggio and the counter-protestors at both marches. He's going to be there again, and he's urging all gun owners who can do so, to come to Chuck's this Saturday.

"Chuck's Gun Shop is a part of my own personal history with firearms. I first went there over 25 years ago, when I lived in the city. The staff helped me get my first FOID card." Mike Weisman said, "Chuck's Gun Shop as been part of the community in the south suburbs for decades, it's a vital, family-run business that should stay and serve the community in the decades to come."

"So I'm going back there this Saturday, and I'm calling on my fellow ISRA members and Illinois Gun Owners from all across Chicagoland to join me. I'm also making a special appeal to those who have ties to this part of the metro area. It's important to me personally that we have strong representation there." Weisman concluded.

Background info: The owners of Chuck’s have been long-time defenders of the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, they have paid dearly for supporting your rights. Chucks was the primary target of Mayor Daley’s $433 million lawsuit against the 2nd Amendment. Although the Daley suit failed, Chuck’s was forced to bear huge legal costs to defend their business - and to defend the 2nd Amendment. Chuck’s has also been harassed ceaselessly by anti-gun church groups and the gun-hating media - including “60 Minutes.” Rev. Jackson and Fr. Pfleger have marched twice on Chuck's Gun Shop in the recent weeks, including May 26, when Fr. Pfleger called for John Riggio to be "snuffed out." The ISRA has an audio copy of his turn at the microphone, which you can download and listen to. (550KB mp3 file)

ISRA is calling upon gun owners to make the return trip to Chuck's Gun Shop to take a stand for the right to keep and bear arms. Please do the following:

1. Plan on gathering at Chuck’s Gun Shop & Range, 14310 South Indiana Avenue, Riverdale, IL, at 12:30 PM on June 23rd for a counter protest against Michael Pfleger and Jesse Jackson. Click here for a mapquest map.

2. While at Chuck’s, express your solidarity with the owners and, if you can, make a purchase. No matter how small, your loyalty to Chuck’s will be greatly appreciated.

3. Prepare to peacefully confront anti-gun protesters with the truth. Don’t be shy about defending what you know is rightfully yours.

4. If possible, take photographs of the anti-gun protesters and send copies to webmaster@isra.org.

5. Please post this alert to every Internet blog and bulletin board that you belong to. Encourage all your friends and fellow shooters to join in this counter-protest against the gun grabbers.

Only you can defend your rights from destruction by guys like Fr. Pfleger and Rev. Jackson. The gun grabbers must not attack our rights with impunity. You are the gun owner who will stand up and be counted. Make sure that you are there Saturday, June 23rd at Chuck’s Gun Shop.
Be sure to enjoy some more excellent commentary from the Armed School Teacher.

Keep in mind what we're up against, folks--but never doubt that We Shall Overcome.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

How's that for a double standard?

I can't believe I forgot to make this comparison this morning.

"Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger publicly threatens, on TV, in front of hundreds of witnesses, to "snuff out" not only a lawful businessman, but lawmakers with whom he disagrees, as well. What is the police response?

Riverdale police called the rally “peaceful” and said no investigation was warranted.
In contrast, when people send FAXes containing nary a threatening word to Commissar Senator Dan Kotowski, expressing displeasure with his unconstitutional agenda of civilian disarmament, a state police investigation (and intimidation campaign?) is immediately launched.

Ah--the naive fantasy of "equal protection under the law."

Attacking Second Amendment not enough for Commissar Senator Kotowski; now he wants to suppress the First Amendment, as well

A search of this blog would turn up a great many references to Illinois State Senator Dan Kotowski (and none are likely to be considered flattering). Today, I hope to ratchet the level of contempt I express for him to a brand new level--a level commensurate with the contempt he has expressed for the people of Illinois--you know, the people he ostensibly "represents."

I refer this time to what the Illinois State Rifle Association has discovered, that Kotowski is apparently siccing the state police on people who call or FAX him to express their displeasure with his civilian disarmament agenda.

ISRA Asks Senator Kotowski to Explain State Police Infringements on First Amendment Rights of Illinois Gun Owners

CHICAGO, June 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):

The ISRA is expressing great concern over reports that Illinois State Police (ISP) detectives have been visiting the homes of people who phoned or faxed Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) to express opposition to gun control legislation sponsored by the senator. The ISRA has recently conducted a thorough investigation into one complaint, and is gathering additional information on as many as several dozen other reported incidents of police questioning citizens who have spoken out against gun control legislation.

In the case investigated thus far, the respondent reports that ISP detectives arrived at his home, unannounced, and informed him that their visit was in response to faxes he sent to Sen. Kotowski. The detectives then went on to ask the citizen questions about his mental health and other personal matters. Although the citizen was not arrested, he reports that he feels that the detectives were there to deliver the message that it's not a good idea to criticize Dan Kotowski or the gun control measures Kotowski supports.

"The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right of citizens to petition the government for the redress of grievances," said ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. "Of course, the manner in which citizens exercise that right must not include any threats of harm against elected officials."

"When we first heard about the ISP visits to homes of people who had sent faxes to Sen. Kotowski, we were concerned that some folks may have acted inappropriately," continued Pearson. "However, upon inspection of the faxes in question, we see absolutely no reason for the ISP to visit citizens' homes -- other than to possibly put a damper on the citizen's desire to participate in the legislative process."

"At this time, we are asking Sen. Kotowski to produce any evidence he may have which illustrates threatening behavior on the part of citizens who have received ISP visits," said Pearson. "If Sen. Kotowski cannot produce any such evidence, then we will be asking Attorney General Madigan to conduct an investigation into the apparent use of the ISP to suppress the First Amendment rights of persons who express opposition to gun control legislation."
Note that people are receiving visits from the police not for threatening Kotowski (which I acknowledge would warrant a police response), but for merely expressing unhappiness with his legislative agenda. By the way, for some superb commentary about this from a fellow Illinois gun rights blogger (how did I fail to notice him all this time?), stop in for a lesson with the Armed School Teacher.

Oh, and for those folks who might want to drop our fearless Senator a line (and who don't mind a possible visit from the Illinois State Police), here's some contact information for Commissar Senator Kotowski:

Springfield Office phone: (217) 782-3875
District Office phone: (847) 797-1192
District Office FAX: (847) 797-1195

I'm sure you all know that you need to be absolutely sure that nothing you say could be construed by even the most enuretic of sissies to be even remotely hinting at even the vaguest of physical threats. You should probably keep a copy of the FAX, to be able to prove that no threat was made, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to record any calls you make, for the same reason.

Let's make sure Kotowski isn't lonely.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Illinois Freedom Train still gathering speed

Regular readers (I know I have at least two) are aware that I have been following with interest the trend for Illinois counties to adopt resolutions condemning Chicago-style "gun-control" (my most recent update was here).

Today I have a couple corrections, as well as yet another update. One of the corrections pertains to the fact that this trend started (albeit in a small way) much earlier than I had thought--I had given credit for first in this movement to Brown County, which passed their resolution on April 9th of this year. As it turns out, Shelby County adopted such a resolution way back in 2003 (in response to horrid anti-gun legislation oozing around in the Illinois Politburo legislature then--sound familiar?) A scan of a newspaper article about that resolution can be seen here. That resolution didn't start a chain reaction (as far as I have been able to discover, anyway), the way the Brown and Pike resolutions did, but perhaps it helped set the stage.

The other correction I need to make is to mention the huge part played by Mark Mountain, of the Pike-Adams Sportsman's Alliance, in advancing this year's resolutions--he has provided an enormous part of the driving force behind this movement. Mark will be on the NRA's Cam and Company broadcast tomorrow evening.

The update is that on Friday, June 15th, Greene County passed such a resolution. That brings the total (when Shelby County is included) up to nine counties: Shelby, Brown, Pike, Hancock, Schuyler, Johnson, Randolph, White, and Greene. At least a dozen and a half others have this kind of resolution pending on the county board agenda, or at least a movement underway to build support for such a resolution. Click here for the most recent county map.

One would think that it's going to get difficult for groups like the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence to claim that Illinois residents overwhelmingly support yet more restrictive so-called "gun control" laws. Then again, the fact that such a statement is demonstrably false hardly seems much of an obstacle to these folks.

Latest update: here

Here we go again

Maybe "Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger just realized that last Saturday, he forgot to try to incite his mob to murder, and now wants to correct that oversight. Whatever the reason, St. Sabina "Church" is planning yet another march on Chuck's this coming Saturday, June 23rd.

Saturday, June 23rd

March to Chuck's Gun Shop
Please call the Rectory for more information and to reserve a place on the bus.
Any gun rights activists who can get to Riverdale Saturday, you know what to do.

Do people actually get paid for this kind of "writing"?

After reading (several times) Steve Anderson's blog at the Huff 'n' Puff Post, I still can't figure out why he bothered to write it, or comprehend why anyone would pay to publish it. It seems to consist mainly of a description of his bizarre neuroses regarding firearms.

I hate guns. I recognize their sad neccessity [sic], for law enforcement, and soldiers.
Because only law enforcement officers and soldiers are ever faced with people who would try to kill them, Steve? And if we do bestow a monopoly on force upon law enforcement and the military, do you think that there's not just a teency chance that we will have enabled our own subjugation?
But I have absolutely no comprehension how a human can enjoy killing a creature and call it sport.
Ahh--the old "the only legitimate use for guns is for 'sporting' purposes" argument. I suppose one could make a sport out of self-defense, and the defense of liberty, but I think that such an endeavor would be in rather poor taste. By the way, are you a vegetarian (herbivore, in other words), Steve--or do you hire your killing done, but consider yourself morally superior to those who kill their own meat?
I regularly hear from folks on an email list, many of them conservatives and libertarians, that guns are lovely pieces of engineering and should be appreciated. They prattle on about various loads and calibers. I think they are certifiably insane.
So--an appreciation of firearms is grounds for declaring a person "certifiably insane"? And people wonder why gun rights activists are unhappy about legislation that would expand the role of mental health evaluations in determining whether or not a person may enjoy his Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.
All the arguments by people who want to keep guns in their houses fail even casual scrutiny to me.
So you would have us leave them outside?
Statistics, while open to interpretation, show far more danger from those guns than any perceived benefit.
"Perceived benefit(s)" like the ability to survive, and prevail in, an attack by predatory criminals? "Perceived benefit(s)" such as having the means to rein in an out-of-control government?
To me, it's a bit like any addiction: one will torture logic to support the addiction, no matter how harmful. These people just want to have guns around.

I think that's crazy.
Don't worry, Steve--if we do "torture logic," your writings should be quite safe. If our refusal to surrender the means to defend ourselves, our families, and our liberty is an "addiction," don't bother trying to rehabilitate us--we're going to continue to revel in it.

What's "crazy" is condemning people for insisting on retaining the means to avoid going quietly into oblivion, when your tyranny enablement chickens come home to roost.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reminder: Wayne Fincher's sentencing this coming Friday

To my shame, I have been fairly quiet about the grievous injustice visited upon patriot Hollis Wayne Fincher--a man whose "crime" is believing that the Bill of Rights means what it says. Part of my reasoning was that I figured that anyone who reads Armed and Safe probably also reads War on Guns (if you don't, you should), and would thus already know. When I'm ready to be more honest with myself, I see that maybe another part of it is that I am uncomfortable thinking about Mr. Fincher's courageous, patriotic sacrifice--compared to what little I bring to the table, it's more than a little humbling.

If you hurry, it is not yet too late to write a letter to Judge Hendren, pleading for leniency. Send it in care of Mr. Fincher's attorney:

Shannon L. Blatt
P.O. Box 1825
Fort Smith, Arkansas 72902-1825

For those close enough to make it to the Federal Court House in Fayetteville, Arkansas, to show your support, it will be greatly appreciated. Be there by 10 AM.

He's fighting for our Second Amendment, folks, and doing it nearly alone. He deserves to have some friends to stand behind him--even if it's way behind him.

What--no calls to "snuff out" anyone this time, "Father"?

As mentioned Friday, Jesse Jackson and "Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger yesterday led a mob of complainers again to harass Chuck's Gun Shop, in Riverdale Illinois. Thanks to a timely alert from the Illinois State Rifle Association, there were pro-rights activists there, as well.

One of those can be seen in this video segment (click on "Chicago activists target suburban gun shop," on the right). That would be my fellow Illinois gun rights blogger, who pointed out that the civil rights movement would seem to have lost its way, if it is now advocating the suppression of rights, rather than the protection of them. He apparently also tried to make mention of the fact that Pfleger's St. Sabina "Church" does a great deal of politicking, despite enjoying the tax-free status of a 501(c)(3) corporation. The reporter wasn't interested--sounds a bit like Americans United for Separation of Church and State in that regard, doesn't she?

In another video segment (click on "Chicagoans march for an end to gun violence," on the right), we see coverage of several protests, including both the one at Chuck's and the other one I mentioned Friday (the "LIE-IN"). In this segment, we are also treated to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley screeching about the need to license gun dealers--has someone forgotten to tell him about the endless, unconstitutional, bureaucratic hoops required to get and maintain a Federal Firearms License? Maybe Ryan Horsely would be able to find the time to explain it to him--that is if he can take a minute away from the fight against the BATFE stormtroopers who are bent on destroying his livelihood.

In both video segments, the protesters are forced to acknowledge that there is exactly zero evidence that Chuck's Gun Shop has violated any laws--but that's not good enough for them.

No exhortations, apparently, to "snuff out" anyone--this time--maybe there was enough backlash from that last time to convince even Pfleger to be a bit more circumspect.

As David Codrea and I (just me for the moment--David is going to be busy for the next few weeks) keep pointing out, the way to make Pfleger's attacks on the Second Amendment more difficult is to sic the feds on him for his obvious violations of the provisions governing 501(c)(3) corporations. The stated mission of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is blowing the whistle on just that kind of activity (although they seem to have a marked preference for going after churches on the right side of the political spectrum--going after a church that violates the same laws for the purpose of advocating draconian gun laws would seem to be less attractive to AUSCS). As mentioned here and here, I would like to see AUSCS blitzed with emails (americansunited@au.org) urging them to show some consistency and fairness, and avoid the hypocrisy of applying different rules based on their own political preferences.

Jackson and Pfleger have already announced that they'll keep coming after Chuck's (and other gun shops), and they're just a small part of the threat. There is a War on Guns, and we won't win if we don't fight.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

St. Sabina getting more political, not less

David Codrea (at War on Guns) has been pointing out the anti-gun politicking at "Father" Plfeger's St. Sabina "Church" (said politicking being a clear abuse of the church's tax exempt status as a 501(c)(3) corporation). He has talked a lot about it lately, but he has also mentioned it in the past.

When he first (to my knowledge) brought up the idea of mentioning these clear violations to the IRS, or to separation of church and state watchdog groups, he showed some screenshots (here and here) from St. Sabina's website, showing just how overtly political the "church" is.

Recently, they seem to have gotten even less subtle about it. Check out this page from their website: saintsabina.org/action/stop_guns.htm (sounds very pious, doesn't it?), where they have even added contact information for various legislators:

And a bit farther down:

Maybe now, Americans United for Separation of Church and State will be interested. Yeah--I'm not holding my breath, either.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Jesse and "Snuffy" back at Chuck's for an encore tomorrow

Just got an email alert from ISRA--apparently Jesse and "Father" Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger have decided that the owner of Chuck's Gun Shop has not been adequately threatened yet, so they're planning another siege tomorrow. Let's see if Pfleger tries again to incite murder.

Action Alert for Saturday, June 16, 2007:
Mobilize AGAIN to Protect Your Gun Rights at Chuck's Gun Shop

Late breaking news: We've just received word that Reverend Jesse Jackson & Operation PUSH is going to protest again at Chuck's Gun Shop, 14310 S. Indiana, Riverdale, IL on Saturday, June 16th. This is three weeks after the highly publicized protest at the same location where Jesse's pal, Fr. Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina called for the "snuffing out" of Chuck's owner, John Riggio. It's been predicted that Pfleger will return for a repeat performance.

Many of you have followed the news about Pfleger's threat and wished that you could have been at Chuck's on May 26th to show your solidarity. Tomorrow is your chance. If you're not sure what kind of a threat this is to gun rights, we suggest that you listen to Pfleger's screaming diatribe recorded at Chuck's Gun Shop last time. Here is the link to our copy of the audio. It's a small (550KB) mp3 file.

Background info: The owners of Chuck's have been long-time defenders of the right to keep and bear arms. Unfortunately, they have paid dearly for supporting your rights. Chucks was the primary target of Mayor Daley's $433 million lawsuit against the 2nd Amendment. Although the Daley suit failed, Chuck's was forced to bear huge legal costs to defend their business - and to defend the 2nd Amendment. Chuck's has also been harassed ceaselessly by anti-gun church groups and the gun-hating media - including "60 Minutes."

ISRA is calling upon gun owners to make a return trip to Chuck's Gun Shop to take a stand for the right to keep and bear arms.

As a show of support for Chuck's, and as a rebuke to Jesse Jackson and his liberal gun-grabbers, we are asking all Illinois gun owners to do the following:

1. Plan on gathering at Chuck's Gun Shop & Range, 14310 South Indiana Avenue, Riverdale, IL, at 1:00 PM on June 16th for a counter protest against Jesse Jackson and Michael Pfleger.

2. While at Chuck's, express your solidarity with the owners and, if you can, make a purchase. No matter how small, your loyalty to Chuck's will be greatly appreciated.

3. Prepare to confront anti-gun protesters with the truth. Don't be shy about defending what you know is rightfully yours.

4. If possible, take photographs of the anti-gun protesters and send copies to webmaster@isra.org.

5. Please post this alert to every Internet blog and bulletin board that you belong to. Encourage all your friends and fellow shooters to join in this counter-protest against the gun grabbers.

Only you can defend your rights from destruction by guys like Jesse Jackson. The gun grabbers must not attack our rights with impunity. You are the gun owner who will stand up and be counted. Make sure that you are there tomorrow, June 16th at Chuck's Gun Shop.
By the way, thanks for the plug, David.

While we're on the subject of fringe loonies complaining in the Chicago area about slow progress in the civilian disarmament lobby's agenda, some group called Protest Easy Guns, in conjunction with the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence, is having something they call a "LIE-IN" (wouldn't nearly every utterance of organizations dedicated to denying the existence of a Constitutional right, and claiming that the best way to combat violence is to disarm peaceable people, constitute a "lie-in"?).

Is there a full moon tomorrow?

What's that you say? The Second Amendment means what it says? The horror!

I've mentioned Benjamin Wittes, and his desire to repeal the Second Amendment, once before. In a discussion Monday, he made similar points again.

"The Second Amendment is one of the clearest statements of right in the Constitution," Benjamin Wittes, a guest scholar at the center-left Brookings Institution, acknowledged in a discussion Monday. "We've had decades of sort of intellectual gymnastics to try to make those words not mean what they say."
Mind you, Wittes is not a gun rights advocate--far from it.
Wittes, who said he has "no particular enthusiasm for the idea of a gun culture," said that rather than try to limit gun ownership through regulation that potentially violates the Second Amendment, opponents of gun ownership should set their sights on repealing the amendment altogether.
Not exactly a "cold, dead fingers" type, obviously--but even so, he still acknowledges that the right of individuals to keep and bear arms is explicitly protected by the Constitution.
"Rather than debating the meaning of the Second Amendment, I think the appropriate debate is whether we want a Second Amendment," Wittes said.
Wittes, though no ideological ally of the gun rights movement, possesses intellectual honesty and moral courage lacking in many of his fellow civilian disarmament lobbyists, who continue to cling desperately to the "collective rights" myth (Congressman Moran, for example).

This is not to say that I find all of Wittes' statements unimpeachable.
Wittes said the Second Amendment guarantee of the right to bear arms meant more when it was crafted more than 200 years ago than it does today.
Because tyranny and government sponsored genocide never happen anymore? If you believe that, I can offer you a marvelous bargain on a pair of breeding mules.
Modern society is "much more ambivalent than they [the founders] were about whether gun ownership really is fundamental to liberty," he said.
Try disarming us, Ben, and find out just how "much more ambivalent" we are.
"One of the things that they believed was that the right of states to organize militias, and therefore individuals to be armed, was necessary to protect the liberty of those states against the federal government," Wittes said. "This is something we don't really believe as a society anymore."
I guess it slipped my mind--can someone tell me just when this guy was endowed with the authority to speak for society? As a member of society, I know his statement certainly doesn't represent what I believe.

Of course, there are also dangers associated with removing (rather than simply ignoring) Constitutional rights for which one has little enthusiasm.
But challenging the Second Amendment on the basis that society's circumstances have changed since the drafting would similarly open up to question all other constitutional rights, according to Georgetown University law professor Randy Barnett, who also participated in Monday's discussion.

"The techniques that are used to show that the Second Amendment really doesn't have any contemporary relevance are absolutely available to anybody who wants to show that aspects of the First Amendment and the Fourth Amendment and the Fifth Amendment have no contemporary relevance," he said.
Then again, civilian disarmament advocates would like to be able to get around those rights as well (First Amendment, Fourth Amendment and Fifth Amendment), when it suits their purposes.
Barnett recommended that gun control advocates "not favor methods of interpretation [to criticize the legitimacy of the Second Amendment] that you wouldn't want to put in the hands of political opponents."
The current administration is subject to a great deal of criticism (justifiably so, to my way of thinking) for its propensity for executive power grabs, with little regard to their Constitutionality. Is it not odd that many of the people who object the most loudly to the more sinister provisions of the so-called "Patriot Act," the erosion of Posse Comitatus, etc., are in many cases the same people who would grant the government a monopoly on the use of force?

It would seem that such people hold to a philosophy directly opposed to that of Teddy Roosevelt--they seem to want to speak loudly, and not carry any stick at all. I just don't see that working very well.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Congressman Moran and the Two Minutes Hate

In expressing his support for H.R. 2640, the McCarthy/NRA Gun Control Act (and in expressing his concerns that it doesn't go far enough to reduce freedom), Congressman James Moran (D-VA) managed to cram more anti-Second Amendment foulness into two minutes of speech than I had believed was possible. Say what you want about the man, you can't deny that he's efficient. From this page of yesterday's Congressional record:

U.S. House of Representatives - June 13, 2007

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia is recognized for 2 minutes.

Mr. MORAN of Virginia. I thank the distinguished chairman of the Judiciary Committee for yielding.

I will vote for this. I was a co-sponsor of this. And certainly Mrs. McCarthy deserves credit for bringing it to the floor.

But I do have concerns as the chairman does. That this needs to be very tightly regulated because it is quite liable to allow thousands of people who should not have access to guns to be able to do so by dropping their mental health treatment.

There are 190,000 veterans who because of their experience in combat have had serious mental illness problems. But it appears that if they drop the treatment that they have been in, they can become eligible to purchase guns. Again much of this is going to be in the regulation and the good judgment of states to make it work properly.

It is not a gun control measure as Mrs. McCarthy stated. It does nothing about the fact that we have hundreds of millions of guns in circulation and tens of thousands of people dying of by those guns, the vast majority are innocent victims every year. More so than in any civilized nation.

It doesn't address issues with regard to the Second Amendment where the Supreme Court has made it clear there is really not a right for individuals to own guns but rather for states to have well regulated militias. These are issues that need to be addressed at some point by our country.

But this bill hopefully will address the very egregious situation where a person, a court had determined to be mentally deranged was allowed access to firearms that he never should have gotten. There are other problems in other states that could have allowed such a thing to happen. Hopefully this bill will clean up this record keeping system with the sufficient resources made available.

Again, Mr. Speaker, this Congress ought not be allowing people to buy assault weapons, 50 caliber sniper rifles, and weapons that clearly are used for military purposes not for purposes of recreational hunting.

Mr. Chairman, this bill will pass unanimously and at this point it should. Thank you.
Covered just about everything, didn't he? From his unhappiness with the idea of restoring rights to military veterans, to his (increasingly discredited) view that the Second Amendment exists to protect some mythical "collective right," to his fatuous hysteria about .50 caliber rifles and so-called "assault weapons," I am left wondering if he had been given three minutes, if he would have gotten around to condemning BB guns, as well.

The Two Minutes Hate lives. Big Brother would be proud.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A . . . cartoonist (?) explains why it's OK for Pfleger to call for the "snuffing out" of people

The list of people trying to exploit a brave young man's death as justification for the passage of more draconian gun laws keeps getting longer. This time, it's cartoonist Martha Rosenberg.

It's been a month since 16-year-old Blair Holt, son of a Chicago Police gang investigator and a Chicago fire captain, was shot and killed riding the bus home from high school.

Like Bill Cosby's son, Michael Jordan's father, Serena and Venus Williams' sister, and Chicago-area Congressman Bobby Rush's son, family proved no hedge against gun violence for Holt.
I'm not sure why anyone would have expected a person's family to render him bulletproof, but thanks for clearing that up, Martha. I might point out that Chicago's draconian gun laws also "proved no hedge against 'gun violence.'"
But do the 21 Chicago students killed by guns since September -- two from Blair Holt's school -- mean Chicago's gun ban doesn't work as gun lovers contend?

(And since it doesn't work, should we be allowed to buy 18 guns at once to protect ourselves? Including automatic weapons? And weapons from unlicensed dealers to avoiding background checks?)
Well, since you ask, yes, yes, yes (although you do realize that very little effort is currently being made to lift the extreme restrictions on fully automatic weapons, don't you?), and yes.
Or does it mean that suburban gun shops are arming the city from its borders and stoking and profiteering off the violence?
Gun shops sell guns--the proprietors have neither the ability or the responsibility to read the customers' minds about their intentions, or to divine the future about how a gun will be used.
Father Michael Pfleger, the outspoken pastor of Chicago's St. Sabina Church, known for defacing tobacco and alcohol billboards in his church's neighborhood, believes the latter.
True, he is a known vandal--a criminal in other words--does that lend him some kind of authority that us non-vandals lack?
Pfleger is not alone in seeing the bodies pile up while the gun lobby croons about the Second Amendment.
I have never known gun rights activists to "croon." We do mobilize to defend our rights. There was a time--not so long ago--when standing up for rights was a respected tradition in this country.
The Mayor himself has gotten nowhere with gun legislation thanks to suburban and downstate politicians in thrall to the gun lobby.
The downstate legislators who vote against Daley's efforts to impose Chicago-style "gun control" over the entire state are "in thrall" to their constituents, just as they should be.
Pfleger got few Valentines for his trouble. In fact he got swift boated. The Illinois State Rifle Association issued a press release trumpeting, "Chicago Priest Calls for Murder of Gun Shop Owner" (murder as in "snuff") and launched a media event.
The truth hurts, I suppose. If Pfleger wishes not to be accused of trying to incite murder, he should probably refrain from publicly exhorting mobs to "snuff out" businessmen and legislators.
But unfortunately the tactic does work. Recently, Pfleger's superior, Cardinal Francis George, felt compelled to share his nonsupport for the priest by telling Chicago newspapers that "Publicly delivering a threat against anyone's life betrays the civil order and is morally outrageous, especially if this threat came from a priest."
So the Cardinal is wrong, for (rather mildly) rebuking a priest for making public threats of violence?
Is the world's most powerful religious organization bowing to the gun lobby? Like the world's most powerful legislative body has?
World's most powerful legislative body? Is that what we have? I'm pretty sure that's not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

It could be that the Second Amendment will be needed for its true purpose sooner, rather than later.

McCarthy/NRA Gun Control Act on fast track

H.R. 2640 (mentioned here--although I incorrectly assumed it was H.R. 297 being discussed--and here) passed by voice vote in the House, today--two days after its introduction.

Predictions are that Senate passage will be similarly swift and effortless, and the presidential signature is fairly inevitable. Those predictions seem plausible.

What does not seem so plausible is the NRA's justification for supporting the bill.

The NRA insisted that it was not a "gun control" bill because it does not disqualify anyone currently able to legally purchase a firearm.
So "gun control" isn't really "gun control," if it mandates an enlarged bureaucracy for enforcing old "gun control" laws, rather than imposing new restrictions? I hadn't known that.
The NRA has always supported the NICS, said the organization's executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre.
Yeah--I know you have, Wayne. Care to explain why you've never supported something vastly better, instead?

David Codrea says it best.

Oops--almost forgot to post just one more reason that Ron Paul is one of the only politicians for whom I have vast respect.
The only dissenting vote in the short House debate on the bill was voiced by GOP presidential aspirant Ron Paul of Texas. He described the bill as "a flagrantly unconstitutional expansion of restriction on the exercise of the right to bear arms."
Couldn't have said it any better myself.

A voice of sanity? If liberty is crazy

Tom Teepen apparently believes that being "Enemy No. 1" of rights is something to be cheered, at least when the rights are gun rights. The enemy of rights referred to here (and thus the hero, in Teepen's view) is, of course, none other than New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg built up Mayors Against Illegal Guns from a 15-member outfit into one with 225 municipal leaders.
Which is apparently not enough to make the recruitment of foreign mayors out of the question.
New York has sent test customers to states that shrug at dummy buyers who are plainly stocking up to bootleg trunk-loads of firearms into cities with sterner gun laws, mainly for the criminal trade, and especially for gangs.
"Plainly," eh? Were they wearing T-shirts or windbreakers emblazoned with "New York gun trafficker," or something similar?
The supplier states are concentrated in the South and, embarrassed and thus in high dudgeon over the resulting disclosures, some are starting to enact statutes against the practice.
"Some are"? I know Virginia has passed such a law, but I have not heard that any other states have introduced similar bills. I'm not saying that none have, but I wonder how many this "some" is.

By the way, I wonder if Tom is aware that so-called "straw purchases" are already illegal (and have been for years), by federal law. In other words, if Bloomberg's "test customers" (as Tom refers to them) are making straw purchases, they're already violating federal law--the very kind of law that Bloomberg and his ideological allies claim to be so keen on enforcing. The BATFE apparently knows about these illegal purchases--if there is an enforcement gap, that is where it lies. In other words, the gun shops cannot be committing "straw sales," unless Bloomberg's minions are committing straw purchases, which would include lying on the Form 4473--a federal crime--one to which Bloomberg himself would seem to have been a party, by conspiring to make these purchases.
All this has triggered, so to speak, eruptions of denunciation, often in the gun crowd's usual colorful language . . .
Damn it! No one sent me the memo--all this time I've been posting my blog in a black font, not knowing that as a member of the "gun crowd," I'm supposed to use "colorful" language.
. . . and has sparked mocking protests like the Bloomberg Gun Giveaway raffle in Virginia, ha-ha.
The gun shop owners are not billionaires, like their tormentor, and nor do they have the monetary resources that can only come from the taxes collected from the citizens of the largest city in the U.S.--the raffle provided a much-needed infusion of cash to fight the legal war that Bloomberg has declared on them.

If Bloomberg is the "Voice of Sanity," I guess I'd rather talk to the lunatics who insist on keeping their Constitutional liberties.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Correction: the Carolyn McCarthy/NRA Gun Control Act of 2007 is not H.R. 297 (but that doesn't make it any better)

I'll continue to stand behind most of what I said Sunday, about the new "compromise" between the NRA and the Congressional advocates of civilian disarmament, but I was wrong about the bill being H.R. 297. It's a brand new bill, H.R. 2640, for which the text is not yet available to the public, but which already has 14 cosponsors (it took H.R. 297 almost 4 months to accumulate that many).

Gun Owners of America explains many of the problems with this "compromise." The GOA analysis basically goes into detail in stating pretty much the same thing I did Sunday--that the "significant concessions" supposedly "won" by the NRA are illusory, either in the sense that we already had them, or in that this bill cannot deliver them.

By the way, see what David Codrea had to say about this "compromise," particularly this bit of grim humor.

Rushing to registration

Congressman Bobby Rush's new legislation, (discussed yesterday), has now been introduced. Designated H.R. 2666, "Blair's Bill" would implement a national firearms registry and require licensing (which would in turn require training) for all gun owners.

This bill, I have little doubt, is going nowhere--but let's make enough noise to make sure it gets there quickly.

Study: California has restrictive gun laws (now that's a shocking revelation)

The June Issue of Injury Prevention magazine reports on a "study" by UC Davis physician and director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program, Garen Wintemute (no civilian disarmament advocacy bias there, I'm sure).

According to Dr. Wintemute, his research shows that California's draconian laws regulating gun shows (and most other aspects of firearms ownership and commerce) tend to render the gun shows . . . highly regulated, which is apparently expected to be seen as a good thing.

Professor Barry Pless, editor of Injury Prevention, said he felt compelled to include the paper immediately following the deaths of 32 people in a shooting incident at Virginia Tech University in April.
This, I suppose, is better than the Brady Bunch's immediate reaction, which was to send a mass e-mailing asking for money. Probably even a little better than Carolyn "I don't know what barrel shrouds are, but I want to ban them anyway" McCarthy's introduction of H.R. 1859. Both of these actions were taken before the bodies were even removed from the scene.
He writes: 'This study represents a small but critical step towards truly effective gun control in a country where the culture of guns verges on the incomprehensible.
"A small but critical step"--would that be anything like "a good first step"? You know--every gun law ever passed or proposed is hailed as "a good first step."
'Although there is no evidence that the deranged shooter obtained his guns from a gun show, the implications for prevention seem evident.
Stating that "there is no evidence" that Cho got his guns from a gun show is certainly one way of putting it--another, more instructive, way would be to state that we know conclusively that he did not get either one of his firearms from a gun show, any more than Middle Eastern militants do (also here), the Brady Bunch notwithstanding.
'They reveal the greatly increased risks of deadly weapons being sold at shows in states that lack California's regulations.
Yes, commerce does tend to be more robust when not smothered by regulation--I suppose we are to believe that this is a bad thing?
'Even in the US it seems odd to permit undocumented gun sales while fussing about undocumented immigrants.'
Undocumented immigrants like the gentlemen who planned to attack Fort Dix? Mustn't fuss about them.

Congratulations, Doc, your research proves that California has much more restrictive gun laws than many other states--did you need a big research grant and several months to discover that?

IMPORTANT: If you haven't seen it already, check out what David Codrea says about our "Hero of Medicine."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Another county boards the freedom train

My latest update to the tally of counties in which pro-gun resolutions have been adopted has already become overtaken by events. Today, the county board of White County unanimously voted to adopt such a resolution.

By my count, that brings us to seven counties officially fed up with Chicago-style "gun control": Brown, Pike, Hancock, Schuyler, Randolph, Johnson, and White.

I know of similar efforts underway in the counties of Champaign, Henry, Massac, Madison, Pope, Pulaski, and Union.

Keep 'em coming, folks.

Congressman Rush wants to turn entire country into one big Illinois

As mentioned Thursday, Congressman Bobby Rush (D-IL) will be introducing a national gun registration/licensing bill sometime this week. The proposed legislation will be called "Blair's Bill," after a Chicago teenager, Blair Holt, who on May 10th was shot to death on a Chicago bus, when he placed himself in the line of fire to protect other passengers. Details about the still unreleased bill are of course somewhat sketchy, but we know a bit more about it after yesterday than we did before.

According to a CBS2 Chicago article, the bill would create a requirement for nationwide licensing of gun owners, and a national registry of guns.

The bill, called “Blair’s Bill,” would require licensing of all individuals who own guns, and create a national registry tracking gun sales and ownership. Congressman Bobby Rush, who has also been personally affected by gun violence, plans to introduce it in Washington later this week.
Wonderful--now, Constitutional rights must be licensed, and Big Brother must know where every firearm is.

As is always the case, civilian disarmament advocates blame every shooting on "not enough gun laws."
In Blair’s memory, a mentoring group is going to visit Julian High School to try to encourage young people to resolve conflicts peacefully. But Rush and his supporters say tougher gun laws are the solution to the crisis.
This "solution", of course, ignores the fact that the killing occurred in Chicago, home of some of the most insanely draconian gun laws in the country.

In ABC's article, we learn that the licensing requirements for gun ownership would also include mandatory training.
"Blair's Bill will implement an nationwide program of licensing," Rush said. "Blair's Bill will assist law enforcement in tracking the flow of guns and require those who possess them to be trained in gun safety."
Yeah--that's the problem--gang-banger punks don't know how to murder people safely.
Blair's Bill that would have its critics, notably the gun lobby.
Yeah--that's one way to put it. Personally, I prefer to think of it as the freedom lobby who will criticize this abomination, and fight it with everything we have.

For the gluttons for punishment, here is CBS's video segment.

Actually, my title for this blog post is a bit misleading--what Rush is proposing would actually make national gun laws more restrictive than Illinois state law. If there were a chance in hell of this monstrosity passing, Americans should be afraid, very afraid.