Mission statement:

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

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

Friday, November 30, 2007

A bit of good news regarding the proposed Cook County ordinance?

I considered posting this update as an edit to today's earlier post, but such updates can get kind of lost in the shuffle, so I decided a new post was in order. What this is about is what looks like some good news for Chuck's Gun Shop, and bad news for Cook County's aspiring tyrant, Larry Suffredin.

Remember what Suffredin smugly and pompously stated (also remember that the lack of spaces between many of the words isn't my fault):

"As a home rule unit, Cook Countyhas the legal right to regulate where these establishments are allowed tooperate. Chuck's Gun Shop is within one mile of a school which will not beallowed once this ordinance passes."
Fellow Illinois gun rights activist GarandFan discovered the following in the Illinois state constitution (in SECTION 6. POWERS OF HOME RULE UNITS).
(c) If a home rule county ordinance conflicts with an
ordinance of a municipality, the municipal ordinance shall
prevail within its jurisdiction.
So now the question is whether or not Riverdale has an ordinance that conflicts with Suffredin's new pet tyranny. Let's take a look. I couldn't find anything about proximity to schools in Riverdale's municipal gun laws, which might spell bad news for Chuck's after all, but I did find this (click to enlarge):

So it would seem that Riverdale intends to be protected from Cook's draconian gun laws (Riverdale has some fairly draconian laws of its own, but that's another matter), but I wouldn't be surprised if Cook County took Riverdale to court in order to impose Chicago-style tyranny on Riverdale (arguing that Riverdale has no ordinance that directly conflicts with the provision that imposes a minimum distance from schools), and not much more surprised if Cook won. Just to be safe, I think Riverdale ought to pass a new ordinance, specifying that gun shops must be a minimum of one inch (maybe one angstrom) from a school--now that would indisputably put their ordinance in direct conflict with Suffredin's proposal, giving Riverdale the upper hand.

I realize, of course, that this proposed ordinance goes well beyond Chuck's, and needs to be fought tooth and nail regardless, but a chance to defeat this portion of it is still good news--especially given my sneaky suspicion that Chuck's was to a large degree the target of this abomination. I would certainly like to see "Snuffy" Pfleger's face if it does turn out that Chuck's is safe after all.

Cook County (Illinois) slides a little further into decay

David Codrea (and others) got to this story well ahead of me, but since it's in my state (not that I'm happy to claim it), and since my old pal "Snuffy" Pfleger is involved, I feel kind of compelled to take a look at Cook County's latest outrage. Cook County (for those with the good fortune of living far enough away to be unaware) is the county in which Chicago festers in its combination of anti-gun tyranny and rampant violence (a combination that probably strikes many Chicago residents as incongruous, but is actually par for the course, and fairly predictable). By the way, the Reuters article in the link not only uses the wrong spelling of "reign" (for this usage, they mean "rein"), but apparently putting spaces between words was something the authors could only be bothered with when it suited them.

Anyway, it seems that Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin (author of Cook County's ban on so-called "assault weapons") has now decided to go after gun shops--shops that are not even accused of breaking any laws.

Citing the senseless loss of liferesulting from random gun violence, Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredintook a giant step today toward reducing the number of handguns on the streetsof Chicago and Cook County by introducing an ordinance that would restrict thelocation where gun shops in suburban Cook County can operate.
(See what I mean about spaces between words?) Anyway, let's take a look at this "giant step," shall we? How would placing more restrictions on Cook County gun shops keep guns out of Cook County? Does anyone really believe that someone who wants a gun will decide to do without, simply because he can't get it without leaving the county? Anyone who does believe that, perhaps I could interest you in a great deal on a pair of breeding mules.
"I am tired of business as usual. I am tired of picking up the paper orturning on the news to see reports about innocent children gunned down in coldblood, because some gang member bought a gun at their local gun shop,"Suffredin said.
Letting slide, for the moment, Suffredin's rather . . . interesting assertion that gang members are buying many of their guns in gun shops, are we to understand that it's the fact that the guns are bought (according to Larry) at local gun shops that offends him? I guess now we know why he thinks getting the shops out of Cook will help--it's apparently not the fact that armed thugs are killing people that bothers him--it's the fact that they're acquiring the guns locally (again, according to Larry).
"For nearly thirty years, I have fought for sensible gunlaws. Whether it was against the NRA or legislative leaders, I fought to passlaws to keep guns off our streets."
And a marvelous job you've done, Larry--which is why Chicago is so admired as an oasis of peace and domestic tranquility.

Here are the particulars of the proposed ordinance.
The proposed ordinance would amend the Cook County Deadly Weapons DealerControl Ordinance and would:

-- Remove the exemptions for municipalities, like Riverdale, that passed

less restrictive ordinances in order to avoid the provisions of the

existing Weapons Ordinance;

-- Extend the restriction on gun shops within one mile of a school or park

to all municipalities within Cook County.

-- Increase the distance required between licensed weapons dealers from

five to ten miles

-- Ban gun shows completely in Cook County.
By the way, does Cook County even have gun shows (I honestly don't know)?

Father "Snuffy" will be especially pleased, I'm sure, that Chuck's Gun Shop's location within a mile of a school makes it one of the shops threatened by this latest attack on freedom (has anyone ever explained why a gun shop near a school is so terrifying--is there a lot of shooting near gun shops?). According to another article, along with Chuck's, three other gun shops (of the twenty or so in the county) are on the chopping block.

I'm fascinated by the provision of the ordinance that overrides municipal ordinances less strict than the proposed county ordinance. Every time statewide firearms preemption laws are discussed, the citizen disarmament zealots launch themselves into hysterics because local control is being usurped (interestingly, though--these same people seem very keen on the idea of restrictive federal gun legislation). Now, though, we see Cook County proposes to attack the local laws of municipalities like Riverdale (where Chuck's is located).

In talking about the resolutions supporting the Second Amendment (most recently here), that are sweeping the state, county by county (and I'm overdue for another update on that--maybe later today), I have mentioned Cook County's growing isolation from the rest of the state. Judging by Suffredin's proposal, maybe that's how Cook likes it (as long as downstate taxpayers continue sending tribute up north).

UPDATE: More at Days of Our Trailers

Thursday, November 29, 2007

And Helmke accuses us of revisionist history

Back in late October, I posted a YouTube video clip, which at that time (more on that later) had been on the Brady Bunch website. In the clip, the Brady Bunch legal director, Dennis Henigan, waxes hysterical about the Parker v. District of Columbia decision. My interest in the clip stemmed from the fact that when (about one minute into it) Henigan recites the Second Amendment, he leaves out the phrase "of the people." As we all know, the Brady Bunch doesn't like for the right to keep and bear arms to be a right of the people, so they apparently decided to simply omit the Second Amendment's reference to the people.

As David Codrea points out, one of the especially amusing parts (if you like irony, anyway, and I certainly do) of the clip is when Henigan pompously spews the hypocritical admonishment that "It is not appropriate for the courts to edit the Constitution." Along the same lines, the hypocrisy of the Brady Bunch's little cartoon also amused me.

Fast forward to yesterday, when on Helmke's blog, he (or whoever it is who actually does do "his" writing) once again accuses us (gun rights advocates) of leaving out the part of the text of the Second Amendment that he believes makes us uncomfortable.

There is the “Militia purpose” clause, with 13 words. Then there is the “keep and bear Arms” clause, with 14 words. Two clauses and 27 words. This is an uncomfortable fact to those accustomed to reading only half of the Amendment, reciting the last 14 words over and over again as if the first 13 didn’t exist.

The Constitution says they do exist, and so we must read the whole Second Amendment. We must give effect to all of its words – not just the ones we like – to understand what the Amendment means.
Perhaps if Helmke actually still permitted comments on his blog, he would find that we gun rights advocates are perfectly happy to discuss the militia clause with him all day--probably a lot more willing than he would be to discuss the "of the people" part.

But it gets even better. I found out today, via Snowflakes in Hell and Days of Our Trailers, that not only does the Brady Bunch have no compunction about trying to cover up what the Constitution says, when they get called on it, they even try to cover up what they themselves once said--they have disabled the link on their website that leads to the page with Henigan's version of the Second Amendment--and even the video clip is gone from YouTube.

No problem--I suspected they might try something like that, and took precautions:

Considering the funding problems at the Brady Bunch, I wonder if they'll be able to afford all the erasers they'll need to rewrite history to their liking.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Help for KABA

Keep and Bear Arms is a vital resource for keeping the gun rights community current with the latest threats to our Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. To keep up their vital work, KABA needs help:

Dear Friend of KeepAndBearArms.com:

Our website is experiencing a critical cash flow problem RIGHT NOW.

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We are also trying to expand the number of gun owners that visit our site before Congress and many state legislatures go into session. To do so requires us to place banner ads on other sites and ads in search engines like Google, Yahoo and MSN.

We plan on hitting the ground running in 2008 with more news, information, and grassroots action projects to expose and defeat the enemies of freedom.

Help us send a loud and clear message to the Brady Center, Million Mom March, Violence Policy Center, and the entire anti-gun rights movement.

BUT, at this time, we need funds. SO, if you can make a year end ontribution RIGHT NOW, it will help us immensely. We still need to raise $27,290.80 from generous donors to meet obligations by year end.

Click here now to donate securely online by credit card.

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For those of you who can help, thanks a million!

Thanks so much from all of us here at KeepAndBearArms.com

Yours for Freedom,

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It's a cliché, and one that I think is quite often used inappropriately these days, but freedom is indeed not free. The cost of not paying that price, however, is one that simply cannot be borne by those who cherish liberty. The price of a box of ammo, to help pay for the fight against those who would leave us with nothing with which to shoot that ammo--is that too much to ask?

So . . . how do they intend to ban this?

In a comment responding to my post from yesterday, fellow gun rights blogger Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble) exposed yet another point of absurdity in regard to the VPC's apparent contention that Washington DC's handgun ban is all that stands between DC residents and mass suicide. To illustrate his point, Robb gives us this story, about a man who, over the course of a weekend, built a homemade firearm (using steel pipe) with which he committed suicide. Maybe the VPC should lobby for an aggressive policy of pipe control.

Checking out the comments posted in response to Robb's post about that incident, I found other references to building firearms at home (and not crude "zip guns," either--in many cases we're talking about the kinds of "military grade assault weapons" that so terrify the anti-gun herbivores).

For example, this YouTube video shows old men in Pakistan making fully functional (and fully-automatic) AK-47 copies (and many other guns) in "factories" that looked like mud brick hovels.

Perhaps my favorite link, though, was to The Home Gunsmith, a site run by a British citizen who, in a counter-strike against that country's draconian firearms laws, has dedicated himself to spreading knowledge of how citizens, with little in the way of mechanical skills or expensive tools, can build effective fighting firearms with which to defend their lives and liberty. The following line is prominently displayed on the site, and I assume it came from the site's owner (P.A. Luty). I really like it, and will most likely end up stealing it before too long:

There are over 550 million firearms
in worldwide circulation; that's one
firearm for every twelve people.
The only question is;
how do I arm the other eleven?
The site sells manuals on constructing 9mm submachineguns (and other guns) from materials that can be cheaply had at any hardware store. I assume these would have smoothbore barrels (as I don't know how one could easily or cheaply rifle a barrel). Accuracy would suffer, but at short range, and with a full-auto, that's probably a small concern. Still, I assume he did it that way because British law treats gun barrels as controlled items. If one were doing such a project here in the States, where a mere barrel is considered to be an inert hunk of metal, I would think it might make more sense to acquire a factory-made, rifled barrel, which can be had without any paperwork, and build the rest of the gun around it.

Even here at Armed and Safe, I've discussed home manufacture of guns as a way of defeating gun registration (which could also be referred to as gun pre-confiscation) and other so-called "gun-control" laws, although I was looking at the "80% frame" market (by the way, Rick Celata could use some help).

With the insane murder rates in "gun-controlled" urban sewers like Washington DC and Chicago, it would seem that citizen disarmament advocates have developed a very impressive immunity to logic in regard to discussions about violence reduction strategies. Still, if it can be shown that the more they prohibit guns, the more ways freedom loving people will find to defeat their prohibitions, they'll be forced to acknowledge that where there is a will there is a way, and that those who would fight for liberty have no shortage of will.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

VPC claims Washington DC's gun laws necessary to prevent epidemic of suicides

It hasn't been long since I discussed the latest silliness from the VPC, but the more I think about it, the more I feel compelled to point out the utter absence of logic in the VPC press release. The fact that nothing in DC's homicide stats provides much reason for faith in the efficacy of gun bans in reducing violence, thus forcing the VPC to instead concentrate on suicides, is rather telling.

I utterly reject the contemptible scare tactics used by citizen disarmament advocates--"Only 'gun-control' will save you from crackheads and gangbangers," or, "Only 'gun-control' will save you from angry, white 'gun nuts,'" or, "Only 'gun-control' will save you from terrorists," etc., but at least such Chicken Little fear mongering tacitly acknowledges that part of the problem is evil people, who commit evil acts, with guns.

But with this, we are apparently being told that only "gun-control" will save Washington DC residents from . . . themselves. If I were a DC resident, I would have trouble not taking that as a rather harsh insult, implying that only through the noble efforts of the benign DC officials am I being prevented from offing myself. How blessed DC residents must feel to have such paragons of wisdom watching over them.

While the VPC defends DC for supposedly protecting residents from themselves, we are apparently expected to ignore the fact DC's laws prevent citizens from protecting themselves (despite the well-known fact that police are under no obligation to provide the protection that citizens are denied from providing themselves).

That's a fool's bargain--which, perhaps, makes DC as good a place as any for it.

Light 'em up, folks

In my typical last-minute fashion, I am joining War on Guns in asking readers to contact CNN. The idea is to get lots of emails lobbying for a certain question to be asked in tomorrow's Republican CNN/YouTube debate (in which viewers submit questions, via YouTube video segments, to be asked of Republican presidential candidates at tomorrow's debate in St. Petersburg, Florida).

The question in, well . . . question? Tom Gresham and Clint Smith ask the candidates what three gun laws they (the candidates) would repeal first.

As Gresham points out, just about all the candidates claim to support the Second Amendment. We, of course, know better, but since Second Amendment issues are so far off the radar screens of so many potential voters, candidates are unlikely to be seriously challenged on this claim.

Since, as Gresham also points out, numerous studies have not been able to determine that any benefit (in terms of violence reduction) has been derived from any gun legislation, it would seem that a candidate who "supports the Second Amendment" could find three gun laws (of the well over 20,000 on the books) that could be safely dispensed with. Certainly, a politician who really "supports the Second Amendment" would be able to do so (the trick would narrowing the choices down to three).

CNN needs to hear from us--it wouldn't hurt to remind them that with SCOTUS agreeing to hear District of Columbia v. Heller, the issue of gun rights is gaining prominence in the presidential race.

Maybe we can help it gain a little more.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Second Amendment a wedge issue? Not if both parties' nominees say the same thing about it

Jeff Soyer, at Alphecca, and Sebastian, at Snowflakes in Hell, have written intelligently about Jed Babbin's article in Human Events, called "The Second Amendment Wedge." Babbin's article is about District of Columbia v. Heller going to the Supreme Court as the biggest Second Amendment case in modern history, and doing so in the midst of a presidential election.

Babbin's point is that this is an issue which many Democrats have good reason to fear, and the issue's rising prominence has to be a cause for concern for them.

The Heller appeal will be argued next spring and unless something very odd happens, it will be decided before the election. This is very bad news for the Democrats who -- like Hillary -- don’t believe that the Second Amendment grants to private citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
If Hillary was scorched by the heat she took for her flip-flopping on the issue of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, it would seem that she would have an even narrower line to walk (impossibly narrow, perhaps) in trying to reconcile her "common sense [gun] legislation," with an individual right of the people, that shall not be infringed.

However, as Jeff and Sebastian both point out, exploiting Clinton's weakness on gun rights issues will be impossible for the Republicans, if the best they can do for gun rights is Giuliani or Romney. From Alphecca:
Besides, if Giuliani or Romney win the nomination, their lack of credibility would make it a moot point in the national debate. Is there really a difference between their positions and that of Hillary’s or Obama’s? Nope. Gun control can only be a spot of contention if the two parties’ candidates disagree about it.
Some, of course, will dispute the assertion that Romney and Giuliani are largely indistinguishable from Clinton and Obama on Second Amendment rights issues. Babbin's article does a bit of that here:
One Republican -- Mitt Romney -- has spoken on this precise point. In his interview with HUMAN EVENTS, Romney said his personal view was that the Second Amendment granted the right to keep and bear arms to individuals.
The problem is that I (and, I suspect, quite a few others among the gun rights community) ain't buying it--Red's Trading Post does a good job of explaining why (also here). As for Rudy, I figure I've already made my opinion known (and don't forget this!). Romney and Giuliani might have managed to rewrite history enough to make their hostility to the Second Amendment less obvious than Obama's or Clinton's, but it still hardly takes a mind reader to know that gun owners cannot count on any help from those two.

District of Columbia v. Heller can help keep the Socialists out of the White House, but only if the Republican Party is smart enough to nominate a candidate who does not seem as enamored with Big Brother style total control as is the opposition.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Philadelphians scared of toys?

If, as Sigmund Freud is often said to have stated, "a fear of weapons is a sign of retarded sexual and emotional maturity," then what are we to think of people who fear toy weapons? The Philadelphia Daily News article in that link is about the Thanksgiving Parade in Philly, which honored Philadelphia Officer Chuck Cassidy, who was recently shot and killed in the line of duty. At the parade, toy vendors caused some parade goers to wrinkle their delicate noses in disapproval of the fact that toy guns were displayed for sale.

In a city gripped by gun violence and patrolled by on-edge cops who just lost one of their own to a bullet, many parade-goers yesterday said they were surprised and disturbed to see vendors selling toy assault weapons on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

"It just wasn't a good thing," said Gail Reide, who sat on a bench with her two cousins, ages 4 and 2. "It just lacks wisdom in today's environment."
Apparently, "wisdom," to Ms. Reide's way of thinking, is raising another generation of helpless herbivores.

According to the article several officers at the parade were among those offended, but thankfully, apparently not quite all of them have such tender sensibilities.
While some officers seemed upset to see toy guns being sold, others shrugged it off.

"What can I tell you?" one officer said. "Boys will be boys. Let's hope their parents teach them the right thing."
Imagine that--hoping that parents go to the effort of actually raising their children, rather than trying to emasculate them.

One of the toy vendors was evidently quite surprised about the amount of heat he took for his toy selection.
Roberts, 28, who owns Roberts Novelty, of Easton, said he was unaware of Philly's gun problem. He said he's used to working small towns with a pro-gun culture.

"We go down South a lot and that stuff sells real good," he said.
If I were you, Mr. Roberts, I'd seriously consider going back to the "small towns with a pro-gun culture"--not only are sales apparently better, but such places tend to be vastly safer than urban sewers like Philly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Supreme Court to hear DC v. Heller--send me $50,000

What? The Brady Bunch did it--why can't I? Actually, though, today's post isn't dedicated to making fun of the Bradys as much as it is about making fun of their perhaps even sillier comrades at the Violence Policy Center.

The VPC has of course also noticed that the Second Amendment case is going to the Supreme Court, but apparently have found themselves no longer up to the task of arguing that DC's handgun ban has been an effective bar to homicides. Now, they claim that it is suicides that will balloon out of control if the ban is struck down.

"Washington, DC's ban on handguns in the home has long protected DC's residents as measured by the District of Columbia's firearm suicide and overall suicide rate. The District’s handgun ban provides compelling evidence of how strict gun laws save lives by keeping handguns out of homes. The District of Columbia ranks 51st (last) in the country for firearms suicide for 2004, the most recent year for which statistics are available. The District also ranks last for overall suicide. Maintaining the ban will ensure the health and safety of DC residents. [See http://www.vpc.org/dcsuicide.htm for data on DC suicide rates compared to the 10 states with the highest suicide, gun suicide, and gun ownership rates, as well as a full ranking of all 50 states by their firearm suicide rates and overall suicide rates for the year 2004.]
So let me see if I'm following them correctly here--the reason Washington DC needs to have the ability to ban handguns is that doing so is necessary to stop DC residents from committing suicide? Doesn't that sound just a teensy bit . . . ludicrous?

At risk of being accused of callous disregard for my fellow man, I have to wonder how much I should mourn the potential loss of people who would commit suicide over the revocation of restrictive citizen disarmament laws. Seems to me that people who view liberty with such fear and loathing are unlikely to be people the country needs. I think Darwin would agree.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Today is the day in PA

This probably won't come as news to any regular readers of gun blogs, but today, the Pennsylvania House Judiciary Committee meets, with several restrictive gun laws on the agenda. Virulently anti-gun Governor Ed Rendell will speak to the committee in support of the bills.

Here are the bills
of which I speak:

The package includes legislation, House Bill 22, for a one-gun-a-month policy. Rep. John Myers (D-Philadelphia) is sponsoring the bill, which would disallow a law-abiding Pennsylvanian to purchase more than one handgun in 30 days.

"To some extent, we need to create a public policy saying we want to cut down on the availability of guns," Rep. Myers told The Bulletin. "I really can't even imagine where I would store 12 guns in my house in a year."
"Cut down the availability of" a legal product? So basically, you mean make it an illegal product, right (not that such an approach works for reducing availability--see "War on Drugs"). By the way, notice that the article says that such a law "would disallow a law-abiding Pennsylvanian to purchase more than one handgun in 30 days." Whether intentional or not, I applaud the article's author, Bradley Vasoli, for his perception--such legislation prevents the law-abiding citizens (exactly the ones we don't need to worry about) from buying multiple handguns in a month, but will have no effect on the felons who buy their guns on the street.
House Bill 18, sponsored by Rep. Dwight Evans (D-Philadelphia), would strengthen the ability of municipalities to enact gun-control measures that could supersede state law. Gun-rights supporters, who tend to regard Pennsylvania law as tolerant of firearms ownership, believe this would weaken residents' ability to protect themselves and confuse gun owners who travel from one jurisdiction to another.
Yeah--some folks just can't seem to see the wisdom in allowing communities to pass laws that make mockery of fundamental human liberties.
A third measure, House Bill 29, would criminalize the failure to report a handgun missing or stolen within 24 hours of its disappearance. The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates believe this measure will only harm Pennsylvania residents who have not acted maliciously.

"My bill would tell people that they must be responsible to report their guns lost or stolen," the bill's sponsor Rep. Jewell Williams (D-Philadelphia) said. Gun owners "should be thankful" for it, he said, because it will extricate them from liability for paying a victim's medical bills or punitive damages if their gun was used by another individual.
Yep--that's my favorite part--"Gun owners 'should be thankful' for" being held responsible for what criminals do with the guns they steal from peaceable gun owners.

The Philly Daily News editorial board seems to take a view somewhat different from mine.
WHAT WILL it take to bring our Harrisburg lawmakers to their senses, to break them out of the National Rifle Association's hypnotic trance and pass the handgun laws we so desperately need?

A splash of cold water to their faces? A sustained high-decibel scream? A sharp snap of the fingers?
You could try those things, I guess--seems a bit puerile to me, but I suppose it's about par for course.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just gotta like this guy

Readers of Armed and Safe are, if they know what's good for 'em, also readers of War on Guns, and should thus be familiar with Bradford Wiles. For those who need a reminder, Mr. Wiles is a graduate student at Virginia Tech, and also a holder of a concealed carry permit. Even before Cho's evil atrocity last April, Mr. Wiles had argued strongly for a campus policy that does not claim to foster safety by mandating helplessness.

The VA Tech associate vice president for university relations, Larry Hincker, loudly ridiculed Mr. Wiles for his position. Hincker is, of course, the one who trumpeted in triumphant glee over the death of a bill that would have compelled universities in Virginia to allow licensed individuals to carry on campus.

As it turns out, Mr. Wiles is still fighting against state-mandated defenselessness.

Larry Hincker believed that Virginia Tech had a sound policy preventing students from bringing guns to campus. However, there is an important distinction that needs to be addressed. What Hincker really meant is that Virginia Tech had a policy prohibiting people from bringing guns to campus, but it did nothing to prevent someone with no regard for the law or policy from bringing a gun to campus and killing.
Don't you get it, Mr. Wiles? It's not about what the policy will actually do--Hincker just wanted a policy that will help people "feel safe." If illusion matters more than reality, gun bans are fabulous.

Hincker ridiculed students like Mr. Wiles, for having the audacity to believe themselves capable of participating in their own defense, rather than depending on "the professionals." Mr. Wiles, apparently, has no more patience for such arguments than do I.
But put the emotions aside again and reflect on the logic of what happened here. When the perpetrator was shooting and killing students, the police were called. Why are the police called to stop a gunman? Are they superhuman? No. They have guns and can shoot back.

I am not a policeman, but I am able to defend myself immediately when I have my gun. When properly armed, I don't need to wait nine minutes for the police to come to save me. When seconds count, the police are still minutes away. While I am not interested in chasing down a criminal, or policing my campus for petty crimes, I am very interested in assuring my own safety, which the police both cannot, and are not obligated, to do.
Mr. Wiles' parting words sum this up at least as well as I could, so here's one more quote.
The university's policymakers would rather we all just die defenseless, because someone could get hurt with a gun. That's the reasonable, common-sense gun-control policy for the children that is currently in place.

Prohibitions only influence law- and policy-abiding citizens and do nothing to stop people bent on violence from harming others. Prevention is a different story. Properly armed, we can prevent someone from killing or seriously harming us or our friends, families and classmates.

It is time that those of us who wish to be responsible for our own safety be allowed to prevent violence against us. Prohibitions do not prevent violent crimes; people with guns do.
I sometimes fear that the next generation of citizens is going to consist mainly of empty-headed, "American Idol" watching, utterly useless Eloi--Mr. Wiles gives me hope that I have perhaps judged hastily.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Illinois counties pass Pro-Second Amendment resolution

In the barely over two weeks since I last visited this topic, four more Illinois counties have passed resolutions reaffirming the counties' commitment to the Second Amendment, and condemning Chicago-style attacks on the right to keep and bear arms.

On Monday (Nov. 12th), it was Ford County, passing the resolution unanimously. The next day, Vermillion, Grundy, and Marion Counties followed suit (Marion County, you might remember, is where the resolution ran into some problems, at one point).

Bond and Jackson Counties have the resolution on the agenda for the near future (full board vote in Bond County set for next Tuesday). The updated map thus looks like this:
(click to enlarge)

That's an amazing sixty out of one hundred-two counties that have embraced liberty, and rejected citizen disarmament. The good folks at Illinois Pro Second Amendment Resolution show us real grassroots in action.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Help put the brakes on Sullivan confirmation.

Ryan Horsley, over at Red's Trading Post, has given plenty of reasons for gun owners to oppose the appointment of Michael Sullivan as head of the BATFE, so I'm not going to try to repeat them all. War on Guns has also been a big part of the endeavor to warn gun owners of what to expect from a Sullivan-led BATFE, and even I have had a bit to say on the matter.

Hey, I'm not trying to claim that the "right" choice to head the BATFE would suddenly give the agency the Constitutional legitimacy it lacks, but it does seem possible that someone could be found who does not derive personal satisfaction from the exercise of crushing bureaucratic power over one's fellow citizens. If we are looking for such a person, it would seem that we have not found him in Michael Sullivan.

Red's Trading Post and War on Guns are urging readers to contact their U.S. senators (as soon as possible--now that he has been approved by the Senate committee, the confirmation vote by the whole Senate could come any day), asking them to vote "No" on Sullivan's confirmation. As David points out, even anti-gun Senators should be able to find plenty to not like about this character.

Find a reason besides guns (see this link) if you think it will help: He's attacked health care companies; A dozen US attorneys quit on his watch; He's done patronage hires with his buddies; He's alienated federal judges with his heavy-handedness; Ah, here's one--his policies single out minorities for the most extreme punishment. You get the idea.
If our Senators don't hear from their constituents that Sullivan is unacceptable, we have only ourselves to blame.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Florida sheriff takes heat for defending Second Amendment

This editorial in Florida Today breathlessly warns us that violent crime is on the upswing.

Watch your back, because Brevard County's streets are getting more dangerous.

How bad is it?

Really bad.

The local crime rate spiked 9 percent during the first six months of 2007, as compared to the same period a year ago.
Scary stuff, indeed. What's the solution? (Re-)banning so-called "assault weapons," of course.
However, a federal anti-crime bill proposed by Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., could bring timely help and deserves strong, bipartisan support.

It would invest $18.6 billion over six years to hire more police, FBI agents and prosecutors, buy crime-tracking technology, reduce recidivism and fight drug abuse.

It would also renew a ban on assault weapons Congress let lapse in 2004.
The bill referred to here is, of course, Biden's "Crime Bill", or S. 2237, which (as mentioned here) would both close the mythical "gun show loophole," and re-establish the 1994 ban on so-called "assault weapons."
The International Association of Police Chiefs backs the reauthorization, including past-president andcurrent Palm Bay Police Chief William Berger.
And we all know how impartial the IACP is about private gun ownership.

In fact, it seems that everyone supports re-implementing the ban (the one that the Violence Policy Center's own Tom Diaz described as not making "one whit of difference").
"It's turning into an arms race out there," says Berger.

He echoes the words of Miami Police Chief John Timoney, who armed his officers with more firepower in September after one officer was slain and three others wounded by an assailant with an AK-47.

Timoney also supports a renewed ban on assault weapons. So does the National Association of Police Organizations, which lobbies in Washington for the Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association, representing some 1,100 officers in Brevard.

State Attorney Norm Wolfinger says an assault weapons ban isn't a silver bullet, but state agencies crippled by budget cuts need all the help they can gather.
Well, almost everyone.
We agree, and it's why we're deeply troubled by Sheriff Jack Parker's opposition to the renewed ban, which he claims wouldn't be effective and could erode citizens' right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.
Ooh--that's the problem, Sheriff--they just don't like hearing about the Second Amendment.
But 63 police officers nationwide have been fatally shot this year, up more than 37 percent from the same period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund in Washington, D.C.

If an assault weapons ban saves the life of just one officer next year, it's worth it.
And I suppose that any officer killed with an "assault weapon" will be touted as "proof" that such a ban would have saved lives.
Too many elected officials like Parker -- who faces reelection next year -- cower before the National Rifle Association and refuse to support sensible laws for stricter gun control, even when it means a potential death sentence to cops on the street.
Hmm--before an upcoming election, he makes a strong, unambiguous stand on an important issue--doesn't sound like "cowering" to me, unless he is "cowering" to the will of his constituents. Kind of what one would hope for in an elected official, isn't it?

I have to wonder if the writers of that editorial have a lot of room to talk about "cowering."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Virginia Tech panel chairman: End gun 'proliferation'

W. Gerald Massengill, the chairman of the panel that investigated the Virginia Tech murder spree, blames Cho's atrocity on the "proliferation" of guns.

The former Virginia State Police superintendent focused on gun control laws and the gun purchase and campus policy recommendations set forth by the eight-member review panel.

"There just has to be some reasonable processes and procedures out there to address these issues," Massengill said, predicting that gun control will be debated "to a new height" in the upcoming Virginia General Assembly session.
Well, there you have it--"there just has to be some reasonable processes and procedures"--Massengill says so. If he says there "just has to be" a way to reconcile "reasonable processes and procedures" (what--the word "restrictions" is a bit too honest for you, Massengill?) with "shall not be infringed," who am I to argue?
"The thought ... of people losing their firearms is just something that Americans can't tolerate and quite honestly shouldn't. But on the other hand, we cannot allow the proliferation of guns to continue like they're continuing," Massengill said.
Now, suddenly, he shifts this to a debate about confiscation, and assures us not to worry--he certainly doesn't advocate that. By the way, " . . . cannot allow the proliferation of guns to continue like they're continuing"? That's some . . . interesting grammar.

The article then goes on to say that Massengill and his panel support legislation requiring background checks for all firearm sales (with a possible exception for transfers between family members--gee, thanks, buddy).
"The instant background check for everyone, maybe except family, to me is just a reasonable approach," Massengill said. "There's just a lot of good reasons in today's society to tighten up these restrictions on buying guns."
At least now he's admitting that his "processes and procedures" are really "restrictions." Anyway, we have "just a lot of good reasons in today's society to tighten up" these very same restrictions--enough reasons (good reasons, no less), I'm sure, to far outweigh some pesky, old-fashioned Bill of Rights, and the rantings of the paranoid, homegrown terrorist types who insist on reading it literally.

Wanna hear Massengill's idea of the "perfect system"?
Massengill said the perfect system would have everyone undergo a mental health screening before being able to get a gun, but said "that's not going to happen."
Don't be modest, Massengill--it's not the "perfect system"--it's the Final Solution.

What, no mention of lifting policies of victim disarmament? Actually, there was, right at the end:
Audience members also brought up the discussion of people being able to carry guns in college campuses, which some argued could have lessened the casualties during the massacre. The panel recommended banning guns on campus grounds and in buildings unless mandated by law.
"Unless mandated by law," eh? Does mandated by the Constitution count?
"When you analyze it in totality, it's just not a good idea," Massengill said of guns on campus.
Well, as long as Massengill says so, and states his reasoning so clearly (and with a four syllable word!), I guess it must be true. Apparently, the best way to keep students safe is to ensure that the only armed person in the building is the sick bastard who wants to kill everybody. Sounds counterintuitive to me, but I've never been a high-ranking "Only One," so I'm obviously not going to know this stuff unless wise masters like Massengill tell me what to believe.

The proliferation I would like to see the end of is the proliferation of statist herbivores who would trade liberty for . . . not even safety, but for the illusion of safety--I guess that's not going to happen, either.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Miami-Dade County Commission pushes citizen defenselessness

The Miami-Dade County Commission has voted to lobby for the reinstatement of the ban of so-called "assault weapons."

Miami-Dade County commissioners on Tuesday joined a growing chorus to reinstate the assault weapons ban that President Bush let expire in 2004.

The commission ordered their lobbyists to pressure Congress to renew the law, and urged the Florida Legislature to institute a ban on assault weapons, and to lift a preemption in place that keeps local governments from imposing the ban.
The Miami Herald then enlightens readers with the following tidbit:
Murders with the high-powered, quick-shot weapons have been on a steady rise throughout most big cities in the nation since 2004.
And murders without the "high-powered, quick-shot weapons" have also been on a similarly steady rise.

By the way, the following really annoys me:
Miami-Dade lobbyists will urge Congress to renew an assault weapons ban the president let expire three years ago
Bush did nothing to bring about the demise of the "assault weapons" ban, and I'm tired of him getting credit for it. He promised to sign a reauthorization, were one to reach his desk. The fact that no such bill did reach his desk is not due to anything special he did, I'll wager.

A Florida state senator seems not to be impressed with this endeavor.
''I doubt the Legislature will do either one,'' said Eustis Republican Sen. Carey Baker, a gun-shop owner. ``This type of gun control probably isn't constitutional, it doesn't keep criminals from committing crimes, and it's really unpopular.''
Just drop the "probably," (in front of "isn't constitutional") and I'm on board 110%, Senator.

Another Florida legislator takes a different view.
Republican House Rep. Julio Robaina of South Miami supports a ban, but said ``it will be a war in Tallahassee with the NRA [National Rifle Association] to pass legislation to ban any type of weapon.''
So, the NRA doesn't like legislation "to ban any type of weapon," eh? You don't suppose they're hung up on that "shall not be infringed" silliness, do you?
The assault weapons have become so easily found in South Florida, and are so affordable, that Miami Police Detective Delrish Moss said he's heard they're being sold from the trunks of cars for as little as $200 or $300.
Well, if Miami Police Detective Delrish Moss hears that, it must be true, right?

The chief of the police union claims to "support the Second Amendment"--unfortunately, he doesn't seem to understand it.
Also joining the call to reinstate the ban was Miami-Dade's police union chief John Rivera, who said that while he supports the right to bear arms, ``I do not believe there's a place in society for certain assault weapons, an AK-47 is one of them. It was blue-printed for war.''
Just let us know which guns aren't protected by a Constitutional amdendment that enshrines a right that shall not be infringed, John.

Miami Police Chief John Timoney shows off the eloquence that no doubt got him his current high position, while the Second Amendment gets some more false "support."
Timoney called the sunsetting of the ban 'a friggin' disgrace.'' Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez also supports a ban. The former county police director said he's noticed an increase in assault weapons on the black market. He also said ``while I strongly support the Second Amendment, we must get illegal guns off the streets.''
With this kind of "support," the Second Amendment hardly needs detractors.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Biden's 'Crime Bill' gets a cosponsor

Any guesses as to who might support a bill that both closes the mythical "gun show loophole," and re-establishes the old ban on "assault weapons"?

Here's a hint:

Friday, November 09, 2007

New AG Mukasey says Second Amendment secures individual right?

Breaking news from War on Guns. The first part is probably fairly well known by now--late last night, Mukasey was confirmed by the Senate as Attorney General.

Of concern, as already voiced by both Robert Levy and War on Guns (and undoubtedly others), has always been the question of Mukasey's position on the Second Amendment. As Levy points out, the Attorney General's opinion will probably be sought by the Supreme Court, if the Supremes take up DC v. Heller, as expected, and that opinion will probably be given some weight.

Given some of Mukasey's shady associations, there was some cause for doubt.

Supposedly, there is reason for hope on that front, but from an odd source--my own virulently anti-gun United States Senator (one of them--the one that isn't Obama) Dick Durbin, in explaining his opposition to Mukasey's appointment:

Take another unsettled legal question: whether the Second Amendment secures an individual right to bear arms. Here is what Judge Mukasey told me: “Based on my own study, I believe that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms.”

In other words, Judge Mukasey agrees with the Bush Administration when it comes to retroactive immunity and the Second Amendment.
If true, this is certainly encouraging news. I'll echo WoG here, and state that I'm not trying to evaluate Mukasey on other issues, or what kind of AG he would be, but that's certainly the answer I would hope the prospective AG would give to that particular question.

Forgot to mention: By the way, I suppose it goes without saying (but I'm going to say it anyway)--another major reason that Mukasey's position on the Second Amdendment is hugely significant for us is that with the BATFE now being part of the Justice Department, and thus under the command of the Attorney General, another Attorney General like Alberto Gonzales is not what we want. With Sullivan looking to be the next Director of the BATFE, and considering this, and this, it would seem imperative that we get an AG who will keep him on a short leash. If Mukasey is such an AG, that's also good news for us.

This just in--Governor Rendell is still anti-gun rights

I notice that Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell is supporting more restrictive gun legislation (that's news?). The murder of Philadelphia Police Officer Chuck Cassidy apparently inspired Rendell to
advocate . . . the same kinds of things he has advocated all along.

Visibly moved by the funeral Wednesday for slain Philadelphia Police Officer Chuck Cassidy, Gov. Rendell yesterday called for tougher penalties for shooting at a police officers and pledged to renew his fight for three gun-control laws stalled in the Legislature.
Alright, I have a big problem with this, even before we get to the "fight for three 'gun-control' laws" part. Whenever I see calls for "tougher penalties for shooting at a police officers [sic]," I get the impression that we are expected to believe that the lives of police officers are implicitly more valuable than the lives of us "Average Joes." That's a concept I utterly reject.

I am not at all "anti-cop," and I would be 100% behind a drive for stiffer penalties for assault with lethal force (on anyone, cops included), but to say that such assaults are less offensive when perpetrated against school teachers, carpenters, or blues harmonica players, than they are when perpetrated against police officers is to epitomize the "Only Ones" mentality.
Rendell proposed raising the sentence to 20 years for anyone who shoots at a police officer, and said he'd raise money for an intensive public information campaign so criminals know the rules have changed.

"We want to get out onto the street a clear message," Rendell said. "Even if you shoot at [a police officer] and miss, you are going to jail for 20 years, no ifs, ands or buts. No guilty pleas can save you, no judge can save you. . . . You do not shoot at police officers."

O'Brien backed the idea, saying, "We ask our men and women in blue to take these risks. When they walk into a Dunkin' Donuts and someone shoots them, it's because they're wearing that uniform. We can't tolerate that in this society."
The fantasy of a "no ifs, ands or buts" approach to criminal justice, in the (in)famously porous Philadelphia "justice" system would be laughable, were the reality not so disgusting.

Pennsylvania House Speaker O'Brien, in saying that cops are being shot because they are cops, might be trying to argue that the enhanced penalties for shooting at cops is not because he thinks that their lives are inherently more valuable than everyone else's, but because they are at greater risk. If that is his argument, it's a weak one. The fact that more people might see a benefit in shooting an officer than in shooting a truck driver does not make shooting the truck driver any less evil.

The three "gun control" laws mentioned earlier are the usual suspects:
The proposed laws would require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons, limit handgun sales to one per person per month, and enable municipalities to enact their own gun laws.
So, we have the "criminalize the crime victim" law, the gun rationing law, and the "allow us to be as brilliantly successful in combating violent crime as Chicago and Washington DC have" law.

Oh--look who else supports these laws:
One NRA member, influential Philadelphia Democratic state Sen. Vince Fumo, said through a spokesman yesterday that he'd support Rendell's bills if they reached the Senate.
I'd call Fumo a traitor, but if LaPierre himself advocates maintaining schools as victim disarmament zones, and actively helps write a massive expansion of the NICS program, I suppose the NRA has little room to fault Fumo.

About that proposed law to require a gun owner to report the loss or theft of a gun--I'm no attorney, and am in no position to give legal advice, but if such a law ever passes here in Illinois (it has been proposed, by the way), I know what I'm going to do. The very day it goes into effect, I am going to tell the police that I went canoeing on the Mississippi river, with all my guns in the boat, and that the canoe capsized, and all my guns were lost.

None of the "report lost or stolen gun" laws I've seen required the gun owner to report finding the guns again, so as long as I don't file an insurance claim, I don't see how I can be charged with anything, even if it is eventually discovered that I have the guns. Never mind that I'm paraplegic, and can't really imagine how I'd get in and out of a canoe, and never mind that in the event of a capsizing, I would most likely drown--I'm still clinging to the naive idea that one is innocent until proven guilty. If, by then, I have one hundred guns (a man can dream, can't he?), I'll say I took twenty trips, and capsized every time.

If they insist on passing freedom-destroying laws for no purpose other than to . . . destroy freedom, they'll have to deal with said laws being treated with the contempt they deserve.

Here's a headline you don't see everyday

Plumber admits having assault rifle and alligator

EAST COUNTY COURTS: An El Cajon plumber accused of keeping deadly snakes, an alligator and illegal firearms in his home has pleaded guilty to one felony weapons charge and a misdemeanor violation of state wildlife laws.
I didn't even read the whole article--I just liked the title.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Maybe I should change sides . . .

I see that the VPC is recycling a 4 1/2 year old press release on their main page. What's wrong, guys--can't afford to hire someone to write something more current? Ain't that a shame--citizen disarmament advocacy used to pay so well, too.

The funny thing is that if they wanted a pro-rights piece, they could have chosen from among scores--probably hundreds--of eloquent, compelling writers, who would have been happy to write something for free. I am not, by the way, trying to claim that I belong among such company--I'll never write with the skill of the gun rights bloggers I admire. My point is that the myth of the money-laden "gun lobby" notwithstanding, we in the gun rights blogging community aren't doing this for monetary compensation (at least I hope we're not, since none is coming our way); we do it because when rights need defending, we see ourselves as duty-bound to provide that defense. Being peaceable people, we would prefer to fight that battle with words.

The citizen disarmament lobby, by contrast, owes almost its entire internet presence to paid shills, whose advocacy is bought and paid for by money from organizations like the Joyce Foundation. I am not claiming that the internet is entirely free of people who attack the Second Amendment simply out of deeply held principles (muddled and twisted as those principles are), rather than for money, but the ratio of (unpaid) pro-rights bloggers to those who advocate citizen disarmament must be overwhelming. Not that there isn't interest on the other side to change that, but it almost certainly ain't gonna work.

So, with my limited writing skills, perhaps I could feed my ego better by trying to break into a vastly less crowded field--the whole ""big fish in a small pond" thing. I'd have to change the name of the blog, of course, and "Disarmed and Dependant on the State for my Defense--Who Needs a Silly Old Bill of Rights, Anyway?" is a bit awkward.

Hmm . . . after giving it some thought, this anti-rights blogging thing is harder than I'd thought--it takes a certain kind of genius to defend positions that are so . . . indefensible. Guess I'll have to stick with being a little fish in the big pond of gun rights advocacy.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Call to arms (so to speak)

Ryan Horsley (of Red's Trading Post) has designated tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 8th) as National Report ATF Abuse Day.

I am declaring tomorrow, November 8th, NATIONAL REPORT ATF ABUSE DAY. I am encouraging everyone to contact the US Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (who has been very critical of the ATF in past reports) and your Congressional Delegates.

The BATFE has done more than any other Government Agency to destroy our rights in order to justify their own existence. We need to begin reporting these abuses and there are quite a number of them. Whether it is their agenda of shutting down the firearms industry, the continued waste of tax money, or their development of a gun registration system.
United States Department of Justice Inspector General Glenn Fine can be reached here: oig.hotline@usdoj.gov.

Let's do it, folks.

The media's assault on truth

I hesitate to write this, because the issue has already gotten so much superb coverage recently at War on Guns, Say Uncle, Snowflakes in Hell, Call me Ahab, Illspirit, Dustin's Gun Blog, Carnaby Fudge, The Real Gun Guys, Days of Our Trailers, and undoubtedly others. Those are some sharp folks, and I don't have such a high opinion of myself that I think I have much to add.

Still, KX Blogs and Talk takes us back to another instance of media (CNN, once again) distortion about so-called "assault weapons" that is so grotesque that even though it's several years old, deserves another look. I refer here to the time they tried to claim that a round of ammunition fired from an "assault weapon" is much more powerful than an identical round shot from a more politically correct rifle.

First, a deputy fired what Jenne described as "a AK-47, the Chinese version," which is "currently banned." [this was before the 2004 sunset of the AWB]

Viewers saw bullets fired into a pile of cinder blocks and chunks of the cinder block flying off, leaving a big hole in one block. Then, the deputy fired into a bullet-proof vest. Zarrella observed that the bullets "clearly fired right through" the vest.

Second, Jenne set up the next model to be tested: "This is an AK-47 also, but a civilian model. It has some differences and right now this only has a clip of 10 in the magazine -- or 10 rounds in the magazine. So this is a big difference than the 30 rounds in the previous magazine."

Viewers then saw the deputy fire four shots toward the cinder blocks, but nothing happened, not even a speck of the cinder block flew off, never mind any hole being created.

The very clear implication: The illegal model punches right through cinder block with devastating and deadly force, but the legal model can't even cause a speck to fall off.

That, of course, is so far from the truth as to be laughable, were it not for the fact that this kind of distortion is part of a campaign to render American citizens disarmed.

The real reason for the cinder block's seeming imperviousness to bullets fired from politically correct firearms, is that the bullets were being shot elsewhere, as CNN was eventually forced to admit, when called on it:
"When a BSO employee fired a banned weapon, the camera showed bullets ripping through a cinderblock target. When a legal semi-automatic weapon was fired, the camera showed another cinderblock seemingly unharmed.
"In fact, the bullets from the legal gun never hit the cinderblock. CNN spokesman Matthew Furman said the camera operator didn't realize the sheriff's employee had switched targets and was firing into the ground....
"The comparison seemed to imply the banned weapon packed more punch than its legal counterpart. In fact, the two are the same in terms of firepower."
Whether CNN was a willing participant in the deception, or if the Broward County (Florida) Sheriff's Office hoodwinked them, in addition to their viewers, the obvious conclusion is that a campaign of disinformation (a nice way of saying "lies") was waged in order to try to rally public support for continued banning of so-called "assault weapons."

As my fellow bloggers have demonstrated, that campaign of lies is still in full force.

As an aside, if we go to the CNN article that inspired the recent storm of retorts from my fellow bloggers, we come to this . . . interesting tidbit:
Across the country, at least 62 police officers have been gunned down this year -- a record pace, said Robert Tessaro, the associate director for law enforcement relations for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

As a result, the Brady organization supports police officers arming themselves with high-powered weapons "to protect themselves and their communities," he said.
"High-powered weapons," of course, being the Bradys' term for what they would call "assault weapons" when owned by private citizens (or criminals, or terrorists--the Bradys apparently don't see three distinct groups there--only one). I guess someone forgot to tell the Bradys that the preferred term for police-owned "assault weapons" is "patrol rifles," but they and the media do seem united on the idea that police need these weapons that "are useful only for killing large numbers of people," and the rest of us must not have them. I guess we know why, now, the Brady Bunch never expressed "outrage" over this mass killing with an assault weapon . . . er, high-powered rife/patrol rifle.

The Bradys call for private citizens to have their most effective arms removed, while at the same time supporting equipping agents of the government with those same arms. Maybe it's just me, but I find that just a teensy bit sinister. Ladd Everitt and the CSGV approve, I'm sure.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

'Second Amendment allows limited gun control'

That's what Rudy says, anyway:

From there, Giuliani went on to explain that while the Second Amendment allows limited gun control, it also guarantees the right to keep and bear arms.
Hmm--my copy of the Bill of Rights must be defective. I can't find anything about "limited gun control." I do find " . . . shall not be infringed," but I don't see " . . . shall only be infringed in a limited fashion."

By the way, what exactly is Rudy pinning himself down to, by supporting the idea of "limited gun control"? It would seem to me that the only thing that he is clearly saying is out of bounds is "infinite" gun control--which, I suppose, would be an outright ban on every kind of firearm. Good to know that he acknowledges the Second Amendment will not permit that, but then again, that can be said of even those who claim that the Second Amendment guarantees only the right to keep and bear 18th century firearms.

I don't know--maybe I'm overly skeptical--Rudy seems to be winning over some gun owners:
Just that easily, Micola was sold. “I was undecided, but now I’m voting for him,” said

Micola, who is from nearby Nashua. “I like everything he stands for. The only thing I was concerned about what his stance on gun control, and now he’s answered that.”
Glad to see that gun owners are asking the tough questions, and not falling for any kind of evasive "answers." By the way, Mr. Micola, when you say that you "like everything he stands for," are you saying you like his definition of freedom?

Speaking of what Rudy says (these days) about gun rights/"gun control," I'm still burning with curiosity about what he said to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

I wonder if he even bothered with the word "limited." If anyone can find the text or a recording of that speech, please let me know, either by comment, or by emailing me at 45superman@gmail.com.

Don't these people know 'he can't win'?

I dunno (I'm no political guru), but if enough people refuse to buy into the "can't win" line, what's to stop him?

Meanwhile, the supposed GOP front-runner (and aspiring tyrant) apparently hopes to emulate the "success" of his potentially prison-bound New York City police commissioner.

Shouldn't we, as a country, set the bar just a teensy bit higher than that?

Monday, November 05, 2007

' . . . but in a manner to be prescribed by law.'

Friday, I discussed an excellent point made by a fellow gun rights blogger and oppressed Illinoisan. His point (very briefly) was that if one compares the language of the First and Second Amendments, a stronger case could seemingly be made for applying the Second Amendment to not only the federal government, but to the states as well, than could be made for doing so with the First. That, of course, is not how things currently stand, as aspects of the First Amendment are incorporated, but the Second Amendment (to the extent that it's recognized at all) is applied only to the federal government.

Now, DW has made an equally astute observation regarding a comparison between the Second and Third Amendments.

What I find terribly interesting about this Amendment are the words "but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

It seems that this oft-forgotten Amendment carries in its text a provision specifying that limitations can be applied to the right by lawmakers.

The First and Second Amendments, in contrast, carry no such provision. I think this is an embarrassment to those that would like to pass laws infringing upon our rights.
The point here is that the citizen disarmament advocates (those who have finally found themselves unable to maintain the fiction that the Second Amendment does not guarantee the right of the individual to keep and bear arms, but instead relates only to some mythical "collective right") claim that the Second Amendment does not bar the government from imposing "reasonable restrictions" on that right--said restrictions always understood to be a matter of public safety ("For the children!" of course).

The problem with such "logic" is that the Third Amendment would seem to demonstrate that when the Founding Fathers wished to allow "reasonable restrictions," they damned well said so. They wanted to make a provision that would permit the government to, in time of need, mandate that private citizens quarter troops in their homes, so they put that provision right in the amendment (". . . but in a manner to be prescribed by law.").

The Second Amendment, on the other hand, contains no such caveat. Quite the opposite, in fact--as illustrated by the unequivocal statement that the right in question " . . . shall not be infringed."

The only reasonable conclusion is that "reasonable restrictions" on the Second Amendment are just as much a myth as the "collective rights" interpretation. "Reasonable restrictions" make exactly as much sense as "reasonable tyranny"--which might make sense to Giuliani, but would, I hope, be seen as an offensive oxymoron by those of us who consider ourselves the custodians of a nation borne of a resolve that demanded "give me liberty or give me death!" "Reasonable restrictions" are no more sensible than "reasonable government usurpation of citizen authority," and no more acceptable.

Stick your "reasonable restrictions" where the sun don't shine, or give me death! Alright--I'm clearly no Patrick Henry, but you get the idea.

Be sure to read DW's piece (here's the link, again)--I'm basically just repeating it, but less eloquently (and more verbosely--how did I manage that combination?).

Sunday, November 04, 2007

'Freedom,' Giuliani style

In case anyone still wonders why I'll never vote for Rudy:

"We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do," - Rudy Giuliani, March 1994.
No matter one's thoughts about "gun control"/gun rights, I don't see how anyone can look at that and not see that Giuliani is a two-bit aspiring Big Brother--one who claims that freedom is about submitting to authority.

I won't vote for that--not to save my life will I vote for that.

Are they trying (incompetently) to play a shell game, or are they really this logic impaired?

Most of this article simply reinforces the notion that this is a dangerous world, with evil, brutal people who think nothing of ending the lives of those who get in their way (as if that notion needed reinforcing). It's the story of Miami-Dade police officer Keenya Hubert, who was recently on the witness stand to testify against just such a man, who is finally on trial for shooting her.

The shooting occurred in 2004, when Hubert, after hearing gunshots, saw a car moving at high speed. She gave chase, after which the fleeing driver stopped and fired at her with what the Miami Herald refers to as an "AK-47." That may be the firearm he used, although I'd be willing to bet a box of .500 S&W ammo that it was actually some semi-automatic copy of the AK-47 type rifle. That's not really important, at least for now (perhaps later). Whichever, she was hit twice, including a shot to the forehead.

Fortunately, she not only survived, but has recovered fully, and is back on the job. Apparently, being shot with a "high-powered assault weapon" (or even a "souped-up, body-shredding death machine," right Chris?) isn't the automatic death sentence some would lead us to believe.

This is when we get to the part that makes me wonder if the citizen disarmament advocates are trying to prove the theory of evolution wrong by demonstrating that they, at least, haven't improved on the cognitive abilities of australopithecus.

The shooting occurred just days before the federal assault weapons ban expired in September 2004, leading some in South Florida to question [the wisdom] of letting the ban expire.
Get that? The shooting occurred before the end of the ban, which might be an indication to those with an IQ larger than their shoe size that the ban was doing little in the way of its stated purpose of protecting law enforcement officers from "deadly assault weapons." Nope--not to these Mensa candidates--they are somehow using an instance of the failure of the legislation to accomplish its ostensible purpose, as evidence that it should have been renewed. What did Einstein say about the definition of insanity?

There is, I suppose, another possibility. As I mentioned earlier, it is possible that the firearm that Holt (the would-be killer) used really was an AK-47. The problem is that since real AK-47s were not regulated by the AWB, the expiration of that law would have exactly zero relevance.

So . . . again I ask, are they trying to fool the public into believing that an instance of a policy's utter failure constitutes evidence that the policy should be continued, or do they actually believe that themselves?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

More from the genius who thinks liberty is a 'cult'

Sebastian (Snowflakes in Hell) dealt with Chris Floyd's first installment of anti-NRA hate speech quite well, and I thus didn't see a need to add my own take (which would have been pretty much along the lines of "Yeah--what he said"). I see now that Chris has decided to expand on his position. I guess I'll take this one.

However, I am somewhat dubious of the "gun ownership is an indispensable bulwark against The Man" argument. You can have a house crammed full of AK-47s, but if they send a SWAT team – or the 101st Airborne – against you, you are still going down
If they don't know who has "a house crammed full of AK-47s," how will they know where to send their stormtroopers? Getting a clue yet about our utter rejection of gun registration schemes?
Having some guns around the house might let you take a few with you, but they are not going to stop the gargantuan armed might of a modern superpower.
Have you mentioned that to the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, Chris? It would probably save a lot of lives if they realized that their lack of fighter jets, tanks, heavy artillery, helicopter gunships, and submarines (or any navy at all) dooms their insurgency. But I think you know that's wrong. Insurgencies are devilishly difficult to fight, even for superpowers.
Or even a backwater tyranny: as we've learned in recent years, almost every household in Iraq traditionally packs heat, and did so throughout Saddam's reign, and that didn't stop him and the Baath Party from imposing a ruthless dictatorship.
The Baath Party dictatorship rendered privately possessed weapons largely irrelevant by crushing the will to resist, by creating an atmosphere of fear and paranoia in which secret policemen would destroy any nascent rebellion before it ever began.
They won't march, they won't strike, they won't boycott, they won't put spikes under the Black Maria's tires; they won't do anything except carp to a pollster every now and then. It doesn't matter if such a quiescent populace has weapons at home or not; they're not going to stand up against "The Man" in any case.
Don't be so sure. The sleeping giant of Americans' love of liberty might be maddeningly difficult to wake, but I do not believe it to be dead. Those in power seem hell bent on exploring the limits of the people's patience with the state's innumerable usurpations of power that belongs, rightfully, to the people. If those limits are reached, today's "gun violence" that has the gun restriction advocates in such a bed-wetting uproar will be looked back on with nostalgia.
As for the lapse in the assault ban fueling the Mexican drug war, this was a statement by a law enforcement official involved in the situation. I didn't just pull the idea out of my hat. If he's wrong, well, he's wrong, and I was wrong to quote him. Send me stats or evidence to counter the notion, and I'll be happy to see it.
Sebastian already addressed that, and I quote:
It was allowed to expire because it was worthless. Machine guns are already, for all practical purposes, illegal. The assault weapons ban covered things like pistol groups, flash suppressors, and bayonet lugs. Can you explain how any of these impacts the function of the rifle?
Not to mention that the "ban" on "assault weapons" didn't even actually ban even the ones that did have two or more of the "evil" features that put them on the "assault weapon" list--if they had been in the country before the effective date of the "ban," they were perfectly legal to own, to buy, and to sell. There were thus many hundreds of thousands of "assault weapons" in the country, perfectly legally.
As for the NRA, it is the organization's national leadership itself that boasts of its political pull, its intimate connection with the White House, etc. I didn't make that up either.
So you don't think advocacy groups should try to cultivate political pull? What, exactly, do you suppose is the point of advocacy groups?
Nor did I make up the fact that the NRA has pushed laws restricting the rights of communities to exercise their freedom to take issues to the courts. Of course, every case that a city might file against gun corporations might not be legitimate and well-grounded; some will be, some won't – but that's for a jury to decide. (And if the case is truly specious, it will be thrown out anyway.) But I do think that it is heinous and dangerous to dictate by legislation what issues a community or individual can or cannot take to court.
I suppose this is a reference to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, which, contrary to your objections, leaves plenty of room for legitimate lawsuits (and, with the help of activist judges, apparently still leaves enough even for the illegitimate ones)
I got into the NRA angle in the post because I was upset at the treatment doled out to my AFP colleague Jayne Stahl after she wrote an article stating her beliefs on America's gun culture. For this expression of her ideas, she was subjected to death threats, and ugly behavior exacerbated by an official NRA website.
Have any evidence that the NRA made, or even endorsed, death threats? By the way, have any arrests been made in conjunction with those threats? If I understand correctly, the capability exists to track such threats to their source--if the threats were truly made, one would think action would be taken. Stahl's screed was offensive and inaccurate--she has the right to be both of those things, but she ought not be surprised that there will be a backlash.

Chris wrote more, but I have already spent enough of my time on this vacuous bed-wetter. Chris takes issue with much of what the government does (I can hardly hold that against him), but he seems to want to minimize the force the people can use to stop it. Kind of odd, don't you think?

Friday, November 02, 2007

A case for incorporation

My fellow blogger and oppressed Illinois gun rights activist at We Are the Militia made a point way back in March that I think needs to be repeated. In his post, he explores the language of both the First and Second Amendments, and makes a pretty compelling case for the argument that the Constitutional grounds for incorporating the Second Amendment--that is, applying it not only to the federal government, but to the states as well--is actually stronger than the argument for incorporating the First Amendment.

Currently, aspects of the 1st Amendment are applied to the States by the 14th Amendment, whereas the 2nd Amendment is not considered to be applied to the States.

I find this odd, given that if you read the text of the two amendments, a case can be made for a stricter adherence to the right of the 2nd Amendment over the 1st.
He then points out that the 1st Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law . . . ." In other words, the only entity of government prohibited by the First Amendment from suppressing freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc., is Congress, the makers of our federal laws. Nothing is said in the First Amendment about other units of government (the states, for example) making such laws.

I am not trying to argue that states (or counties, or municipalities) should have the power to control what people say, or compel them to worship in a manner dictated by the state. I am quite grateful for the incorporation of aspects of the First Amendment, under the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

However, if the First Amendment can be said to apply to the states, how can it be argued that the Second Amendment does not? The Second Amendment, after all, describes a right that "shall not be infringed"--with no limits placed on by whom it shall not be infringed. In other words, the Second Amendment does not state that "Congress shall not infringe" the right to keep and bear arms--if anyone infringes on a right, it cannot properly be claimed that said right "shall not be infringed."

The right to self-defense is a fundamental, natural, human right. Any unit of government that tries to deny citizens any means of exercising that right is, by extension, denying--and thus violating--that fundamental right. Any such violation is therefore illegitimate.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Suffering succotash! I actually agree with Sylvester

That's Philadelphia Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson, and agreement with him is not something I really expected. Sylvester, after all, has a long history of blaming guns, gun owners, and "lax gun laws" for Philadelphia's violent crime problem. An example of that would be his (wildly inaccurate) lament about Pennsylvania's "lax gun laws":

"We have the most lax handgun law in the entire nation."
Another example would be his explanation for the double murder perpetrated as part of a recent armored car robbery in Philly:
Johnson blamed the loss of life on the availability of handguns in Philadelphia and around the country.
As I said, Sylvester is no friend to the Second Amendment, which makes him no friend to the Bill of Rights, which makes him no friend of liberty, which finally makes him no friend of mine. On what, then, do I agree with him?

His stance against the proposal by an even greater enemy of freedom, Michael Nutter (is that a great name, or what?), who wants to trample the Fourth Amendment, along with the Second.
The city's top law-enforcement officer says Michael Nutter's proposed "stop-and-frisk" policy would be a "disaster."

Departing Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson said the presumptive mayor's promise to invoke the more aggressive law enforcement strategy would undermine the community rapport that Johnson feels he has developed in six years on the job. He said the next commissioner "is going to have a problem" with discontent - or worse, civil unrest - if that goodwill is undermined.

"What Nutter is saying - this stop-and-frisk is going to be a disaster," Johnson said in an interview with The Inquirer. "What he's saying, too, is that he wants a police commissioner to be harder. Well, harder on what? . . . Do you think locking people up is making a difference?
Nutter's advocacy of a "stop and frisk" policy has been discussed before. Of course, some might not refer to such proposals as advocating Fourth Amendment violations--maybe we should think of it as "persons, houses, papers, and effects supervision," lest we be accused of being "Fourth Amendment literalists," right Rob?

Nutter, by the way, does seem to agree with Johnson about guns being the cause of Philly's violence.

I should qualify my agreement with Sylvester's objection to the Nutter Plan--he doesn't seem to be talking about it as a Fourth Amendment issue, but as one about the police department's community rapport. I would think there is a legitimate cause for concern there, but to me, the greater issue is the utter unconstitutionality of a "stop and frisk" campaign. I should also point out that Nutter is apparently not alone (see the part about Lawrence G. Sherman, near the end of the post) in supporting suspension of the Fourth Amendment in Philadelphia (also see WoG)

Maybe Philadelphia should stop treating the Constitution as the problem, and do something about its revolving door "justice" system.