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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

HopeandChange™: coming to a school near you!

One recent development I failed to cover during my last hiatus is the announcement of the "Lightworker's" choice for Secretary of Education--you know--to oversee the federal government's Constitutionally enumerated power to regulate education (what's that you say--nowhere in the Constitution is the federal government granted that power? An issue for another day). Obama's choice is the CEO of the Chicago Public School system, Arne Duncan.

Readers can be forgiven for wondering why, in a blog ostensibly dedicated to gun rights, I am talking about the next Secretary of Education. It's actually not as off-topic as it may seem. This is, in fact, not the first appearance of Arne Duncan's name on this blog. Duncan has a pretty extensive history of using his position as head of the CPS to push for ever more draconian forcible citizen disarmament laws. This, despite the fact that his area of operations has been Chicago, where private citizens are outright prohibited from purchasing handguns and most semi-automatic rifles.

Back in October, in fact, Illinois' chief citizen disarmament group, the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence presented him with an award for his efforts to disarm peaceable Illinoisans, although he theatrically declined the award, because Illinoisans are not yet disarmed enough for him to think his work on this task is finished.

In refusing the Lincoln Award -- a statue of a hand holding a gun broken into pieces -- Duncan asked the crowd of dignitaries to renew their commitment to reducing gun violence.

"I won't accept this award today, but I will accept your hand in partnership -- and our commitment to keep on fighting to end the violence,'' said Duncan, who had been selected for his anti-violence efforts at CPS, including encouraging kids to text-message police with tips, and his lobbying against handguns in Springfield.
About that "lobbying against handguns in Springfield"--Duncan refused to content himself with doing his own lobbying--he also repeatedly bused CPS students down to Springfield to do that.

I imagine busing all those students all the way from Chicago to Springfield and back was pretty expensive--I'm glad the CPS is apparently rich enough to afford that--with state and federal budgets in such disarray, it's encouraging that Chicago will apparently not need help on the monetary front.

I guess it's not a concern that all these field trips to Springfield eat into classroom time--and why should it be a concern? After all, the CPS boasts a whopping 51% graduation rate.

That's the kind of leadership I want brought to the entire nation's education system.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Freedom--the Founding Fathers' greatest 'mistake'

Well whaddya know--the day I finally decide to end my sudden disappearance from the blogosphere, but am kind of hard pressed to find material, I stumble (pretty much by accident) on this little gem, by Robert Smith, Jr. (titled, simply enough, "Ban All Guns"):

The Founding Fathers of our country made a mistake when they said we had the right to bear arms. They did not know we would be allies with the British and no longer have to worry about them coming over to oppress and colonize us. The British found greater spoils in Africa and India and never looked back on the United States after the Revolutionary War.
Never heard of the War of 1812, eh Robert (and why should he have heard of it--it's not as if it inspired our national anthem or anything)? There's also the little issue of the fact that the Constitutional guarantee of the fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms exists not only for fighting off British imperialistic ambitions--actually, that was never even the primary reason for the Second Amendment.
The right to bear arms is killing all of us.
Setting aside for the moment the fact that rights don't kill, I'm a little puzzled about how, with a national population that grows every year, anything can be said to be "killing all of us."
In 2005 the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 3,006 children and teens killed by gunfire, most of them young, black men in inner-city neighborhoods.
Most of these "children and teens" are men? Apparently, Robert defines either "children" or "men" (perhaps both) in a rather . . . unusual manner (unusual, at least, outside forcible citizen disarmament circles).

Robert then lays some numbers on us.
The Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois gun killings took 32 lives, and the world was upset and every day 128 young people are shot to death in hard-pressed, poor communities across America and there is no outcry to change it, just report it on the local news.
Punctuation, evidently, is no more a strong suit of Robert's than history is. Looking at those numbers, I'm afraid I can't vouch for his mathematics skills either. I refer to his claim that "every day 128 young people are shot to death in hard-pressed, poor communities across America." That would come out to over forty-six thousand shooting deaths per year. The number of shooting deaths in the U.S. (all U.S. shooting deaths--more than half of which are suicides--with no filtering for age or economic status) has hovered around or a bit above thirty thousand per year for the last several years, but Robert somehow finds over one and a half times that number of deaths, just among young people in poor communities.

And this is the guy who would lecture the Founding Fathers about their "mistake."

Easing back into things, with an exciting announcement that's probably not news to anyone here

I've kinda developed a bad habit of burning out on blogging for weeks at a time, without warning or explanation. I really need to stop doing that. If I still have any readers, I apologize.

Anyway, I'm feeling motivated to write again, but after a month of being out of touch, I'm going to set the bar for myself kinda low, and instead of trying to come up with any deep insights, point to an exciting new development relating to one of my (many) betters (a much better, in fact).

Back in October, I mentioned that David Codrea (War on Guns) had a new gig (yet another one--this is a guy who knows how to work through the kind of burnout that shuts me down so often). I refer to the Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner column.

The exciting news is that the Cleveland Gun Rights Examiner column will soon be known as simply the Gun Rights Examiner--it's going national.

Coming in early January, the "Cleveland" is going away.

The column has done well both regionally and in the "Politics" category. So the powers that be have decided they'll be better served if it goes national--meaning it will now show up on the national page as well as be accessible from 59 separate city pages.
This is big news, folks. This is one of the best gun bloggers (and I would make the case for dropping the "one of the") gaining a national audience that's not limited to the gun blogosphere.

Congratulations, David, and go get 'em.

Monday, December 01, 2008

This could have been the GOP's response to Obama

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving weekend.

I see that "Iron" Mike Ditka wants to disarm the entire NFL.

"This is all about priorities. When you get stature in life, you get the kind of contract, you have an obligation and responsibility to your teammates, to the organization, to the National Football League and to the fans. He just flaunted this money in their face. He has no respect for anybody but himself. I feel sorry for him, in the sense that, I don't understand the league, why can anybody have a gun? I will have a policy, no guns, any NFL players we find out, period, you're suspended."
This, of course, was in response to New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress negligently shooting himself in the thigh in a Manhattan nightclub. Seems a bit drastic as a reaction to one knucklehead doing what knuckleheads do.

As for the Sean Taylors and Darrent Williamses
produced by such an edict, I suppose that's just their tough luck.

My point isn't that this could happen to the NFL--those guys can find a way to take care of themselves. My point is that Ditka--the guy whose "solution" to an ignoramus negligently shooting himself is to treat everyone as an ignoramus--was once pursued by the Illinois GOP to run against Obama for the U.S. Senate in 2004. Iron Mike declined, after some consideration.

I don't think he would have won, and I'm certainly not arguing that he would not only win, but go on to win the presidency four years later--my point is more about the state of the GOP in Illinois.

Even someone courted by the party as the next tough guy hero ends up being a nanny-stater.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

No blogging today--just going to enjoy the family time.

Hope everyone has a great one, and that everyone remembers that we still have a great deal for which to be thankful.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Victim of 'gun violence' says to blame the 'stupid person,' not the gun

From KABA, we learn the latest about Seattle Mayor Greg Nickles' plan to (illegally) ban firearms on city owned property.

That's already been pretty well covered on other sites, and after some internet trouble early today, I'm running behind, so I'm just going to take a brief look at one aspect of Nickels' little flirtation with despotism. The push for this executive order (or the excusefor it, to be more accurate) was an incident at the Northwest Folklife Festival, back in May. Basically, some idiot (and drug addict, apparently) started shooting into the crowd, over what had heretofore been, at most, a pushing and shoving kind of confrontation. Thankfully, there were no life-threatening injuries.

What is interesting is that one of the two people shot (and the boyfriend of the other), has shown no inclination to blame the gun for what he has gone through.

Penaluna, for his part, doesn't think a gun ban would have made him any more safe.

"I was hurt by a stupid person who happened to make a stupid decision with a gun," he said.

"There are thousands of people all over Seattle, I know, who walk strapped. And they're not gang-bangers. They're responsible adults who are afraid of gang-bangers," he said.

"I think this ordinance is nothing more than a classic governmental way of trying to put a Band-Aid over a problem instead of finding a solution.
Sshh, Joshua--that's not how victims of "gun violence" are supposed to talk!

The article covers some incidents of senseless violence in Seattle, and quotes Seattle residents who carry defensive firearms to defend themselves.

It's actually a better article than one might expect from the L.A. Times.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'Who really cares about it being unconstitutional?'

Sebastian, at Snowflakes in Hell, has found the Quote of the Day--if not the Quote of the Month.

“Who really cares about it being unconstitutional?” said Councilwoman Tonya Payne. “This is what’s right to do, and if this means that we have to go out and have a court battle, then that’s fine … We have plenty of dead bodies coming up in our streets every single day, and that is unacceptable.”
Councilwoman Tonya Payne was referring to Pittsburgh, PA's adoption of "lost or stolen" reporting requirements for gun owners.

Ignore, for now, the uselessness of such an ordinance.

Ignore, for now, the wrong-headed evil of "blame the victim" legislation.

Ignore, for now, the fact that felons and other people prohibited by law from possessing firearms are the ones who cannot be prosecuted under a law like this, because of the Fifth Amendment's protection against self-incrimination.

I assume Ms. Payne was referring not to the U.S. Constitution, and the Second Amendment, but to the Pennsylvania state constitution, and its mandate for state preemption of firearms regulation. [Correction: the Pennsylvania mandate for state preemption of firearm regulation is apparently not part of the state constitution, but was instead a statutory measure. Sorry for my misunderstanding.] In the end, though, that doesn't really matter--her attitude is a classic example of the mindset of the forcible citizen disarmament crowd--the mindset that believes the agenda is more important than protections against a government drunk on power.

It is, in fact, government officials with that kind of mindset who are the reason that the Second Amendment is so necessary.

Obama, executive orders, and the 'Gephardt Doctrine'

I've talked before about the possibility of Obama not even bothering to wait for Congressional approval of his citizen disarmament agenda, and I wasn't the first. Walls of the City also covered the subject well, as undoubtedly did others.

Obama's selection of Eric Holder for Attorney General would indicate to me that he is unlikely to get much advice about the blatant unconstitutionality, on many levels, of citizen disarmament by executive order--I expect Holder will think it's a splendid idea.

Some might argue that "The Lightworker" will not be interested in picking that kind of fight (and looking at the Congress he'll have, he may not need to make an end-run around the legislative process). Some might point out--quite correctly--that executive orders have no legal power to overturn the Supreme Court's rulings on Constitutional questions.

Then again, though, perhaps Obama is a believer in what I'll call the "Gephardt Doctrine."

"When I'm president, we'll do executive orders to overcome any wrong thing the Supreme Court does tomorrow or any other day," Gephardt said.
Gephardt, then a Democratic congressman from Missouri, said that in 2003, back when he hoped to be the Democratic nominee for the 2004 presidential election.

Frankly, I don't believe the majority decision in Heller will prove much of an obstacle to Obama's citizen disarmament agenda. Still, it's pretty clear that he would like Justice Stevens' dissenting opinion even better.

Under the Gephardt Doctrine, Obama could "overcome" the "wrong thing" of the majority decision's statement that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to own firearms, unconnected to service in a government sanctioned militia.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Police reaction in New Mexico to spike in sales of so-called 'assault weapons': shrug

Advocates of forcible citizen disarmament never tire of pointing to police support for bans of politically incorrect firearms, as "evidence" that such bans are necessary. Typically, the quoted support comes not from the actual beat cops, but from an "Only One in Chief", who is appointed by, and answerable to, the mayor and/or city council--which tend to have their own citizen disarmament agendas.

Apparently, though, the memo hasn't reached at least part of New Mexico, where the Farmington, NM police chief and San Juan County Sheriff have noted the run on so-called "assault weapons," but are not concerned.

A recent spike in demand for assault weapons is putting hundreds of additional high-powered weapons into San Juan County homes, but law enforcement agencies say that won't cause an increased threat to officers.

"Most of these assault-type weapons that everyone is talking about are being bought by home owners. Those people who are buying those kind of weapons aren't the ones we're usually dealing with on a day-to-day basis," Farmington Police Chief Jim Runnels said.

[ . . . ]

"There isn't a higher threat," San Juan County Sheriff's Lt. Tyler Truby said. "Although there are being more firearms lawfully purchased right now, that doesn't necessarily mean there's going to be an increase in the hands of people who are going to be using them for any unlawful purpose."
What's that you say? More firepower in the hands of people disinclined to use it for evil isn't a problem? Blasphemy! The International Association of Chiefs of Police won't like that.

I should acknowledge that Farmington Police Chief Runnels did parrot one of the statists' talking points:
But with rising numbers of the high-powered weapons in residences and rising numbers of home burglaries in the area, assault rifles might find their way into criminal hands.

"A significant portion of these weapons could turn up as stolen property and then they're on the street," Runnels said.
Then again, "assault rifle" ammo "might find" it's "way into criminal[s']" bodies.

The article does make one interesting point I hadn't considered.
"This has been a concern long before what's going on now, as more and more weapons were made available," Runnels said. "By and large, law enforcement has kept up with the types of weapons, as far as not being outgunned."

But the dramatically increased demand for firearms in recent weeks hasn't left local law enforcement agencies unscathed. Police report ammunition costs have risen by as much as 30 percent.

Although many have attributed the increasing ammunition costs to American wars in the Middle East, Runnels said suppliers have reported a dramatic increase in demand from civilian gun owners.

"The ammunition is still available, there's just been a price increase," Truby said. "It definitely does impact our budget.
Guess you can thank "The Lightworker," his policies, and his ideological allies for that.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gun rights: safe and sound, now and forever

Yep, you read that right. I am categorically declaring that an Obama/Biden presidency (with the HopeadChange™ Anti-Gun Dream Team cabinet and staff), combined with Democratic hegemony in Congress, is no threat to gun rights--and I'm not being sarcastic.

I have also not taken leave of my senses. Before you dispute that assertion, you need to understand what I am not saying. I don't, for example, deny that the Obammuist and his acolytes want to implement every restrictive gun law they can--they have left no doubt that they do. Nor am I claiming that they'll necessarily be prevented from putting in place the most draconian gun restrictions in our nation's history--I think there's a good chance they'll have the power to do just that.

What I am saying is that, their wishes notwithstanding, our gun rights are beyond their filthy reach. That's why, after all, they're called rights--if they could be taken away at the whim of the government, they would be privileges. Whatever executive orders Obama signs (and are upheld), whatever laws Congress passes, whatever decisions the Supreme Court hands down, whatever U.N. treaties are signed and ratified, our Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms will remain.

Granted, the "Constitutionally guaranteed" part isn't necessarily forever (although I don't see it going anywhere anytime soon)--any Constitutional amendment, even one that is part of the Bill of Rights, can be repealed. As I said, I don't find that very likely, but in terms of what rights we have, even the repeal of the Second Amendment wouldn't matter. As the Supreme Court said in the United States v. Cruikshank decision:

The right to bear arms is not granted by the Constitution; neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence.
Many refer to the right to keep and bear arms as "God given," although those of a less religious persuasion might prefer to call it a "natural" right. In practical terms, the distinction doesn't really matter--the upshot is that the right is not the government's to either grant or rescind.

Obama and his minions can perhaps turn us into "criminals" (or even "homegrown terrorists"), but they cannot take our rights, and if we are to be worthy of those rights, nor can they take our guns--not, at any rate, while our hands are warm and living.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Paul Helmke's 'bridge to nowhere'

The Brady Bunch's Paul Helmke advises President-elect Obama to "'Build a Bridge to Nowhere Moderates,' with Common Sense on Guns." Helmke quotes Robert Green as saying (emphasis Helmke's):

These findings suggest that sensible gun legislation provides a unique opportunity for the new Administration to build a bridge to moderate voters in both parties. It is no longer plausible for opponents of gun legislation to assert that gun laws will somehow lead to a total gun ban.
Left unsaid is any acknowledgment of the fact that Helmke and friends are the ones defining both "moderate," and "common sense." That little trick in the collectivists' arsenal has been expertly noted by others.

Mr. Green's mention of "[t]hese findings" is in reference to the Brady Bunch's loudly touted poll, supposedly illustrating widespread support for the Brady Backed "common sense" . . . infringements on that which shall not be infringed. Also left unexamined is the question of the credibility of the poll--a question rather worthy of examination, it would seem.

Then again, perhaps not--after all, even if a majority (or even a large majority) of the public does support more draconian gun laws, our Republic is not supposed to be subject to the tyranny of the majority. In other words, 51% of the populace is not supposed to be able to vote away the rights of the other 49%--nor indeed, is 99% supposed to be able to vote away the rights of the other 1%. Another way to say that is that 97% of the population will not succeed in trampling the rights of the other 3%--and they would be well advised not to try.

Finally, in reference to the "bridge to moderates" claim--I thought that according to the Brady Bunch, Ray Schoenke and the rest of the AHSAholes (I can't claim credit for that term), and His HopeandChangedness™ himself, the position on guns Obama campaigned on (when he dared mention it) was the moderate position.

If that's the case, why would he need to "build a bridge" to moderates--wouldn't that be a "bridge to nowhere"?

In other news--add this link to your bookmarks, and check it at least daily--you'll be glad you did. Mike Vanderboegh is finally blogging.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Alert: Cook County, IL needs help

Almost a year ago, I discussed here and in subsequent posts a campaign on the part of the most rabidly pro-citizen disarmament Cook County Commissioners (which is rather a lot of them) to make Cook County's gun laws even more insanely draconian than they are now (it actually takes some imagination to even come up with ways for that to be possible--but they're creative when it comes to disarming the law abiding).

That endeavor didn't go anywhere, thanks in large part, I have to believe, to the resistance of concerned citizens.

Now, however, the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) reports that they're trying again, but on a different tack:

ISRA Alert: County County Phone Poll For Gun Control Ordinance Is Still Active

Larry Suffredin and his cohorts on the Cook County Board are up to their old tricks again.

In order to justify passage of gun control ordinances designed to close all gun shops and ban and confiscate most guns owned by citizens of the county, the Cook County Board is conducting a telephone poll where callers can vote for or against the gun control ordinances.

Like everything else in Cook County, this poll is probably rigged. So, it’s very important that you do the following:

1. Call 1-312 -603-6400 and select Option #1 when prompted. At the next prompt, select Option #1 again. Then, when prompted to vote on the gun control ordinance, press #2.

2. You should also forward this alert on to all your gun owning friends and have them vote too.

3. You should also post this alert to any and all Internet bulletin boards or blogs to which you belong.


Let’s beat Suffredin at his own game! And, save your guns.
Your help would be much appreciated.

A caveat

For going on three weeks now, there has been a great deal of talk about the HopeandChange™-inspired spike in sales of firearms (particularly so-called "assault weapons"), ammunition, and standard capacity magazines. I see this as a good thing, on several levels.

For one thing, it's one segment, at least, of the economy that is ticking along nicely--what's not to like about that?

For another, it simply makes sense to stock up on useful items that the people coming into power have made no secret of their plans to make unavailable.

Third, it's always fun to see the citizen disarmament advocates wailing around their cud that people shouldn't be buying these "weapons of war," or alternatively, simply denying that any such sales spike is really happening--forget what the FBI says about a dramatic increase in NICS background checks.

Finally, all these purchases are something of a "show of force" to the citizen disarmament advocates in the government--a message that Americans do still treasure their Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. Perhaps most importantly, it reminds them that we're keeping and bearing rather a lot of arms--many of which are effective fighting arms (effective for fighting, as a hypothetical example, the forces of a tyrannical government).

Still, I think it needs to be said that this message could be misinterpreted, perhaps deliberately. Some who see themselves as having been elected our masters might get the idea in their reptilian, predatory brains that because of the "surge" at gun shops across the country, the majority of people who really want so-called "assault weapons,"--those who, in other words, would fight hardest for their continued availability--already have one (or more), thus somewhat blunting the resentment of an impending ban.

That, clearly, is not the message that we need to send. We need to make clear that we're not buying up black rifles just because they look good in the gun safe--we're buying them for a rainy day.

Are those thunderheads on the horizon?


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Securing the Homeland with HopeandChange™

The HopeandChange™ Anti-Gun Dream Team keeps getting bigger and "better," with the newest addition being Arizona's Governor Janet Napolitano as the next Secretary of Homeland Security. What's her stance on guns?

Well, in 2007, she vetoed Arizona SB 1302, which would have made Arizona's "Stand Your Ground" law retroactive. This could have made the difference for Harold Fish, who is serving a prison sentence for second degree murder, despite the fact that a strong case was made for the argument that he fired in self-defense. Napolitano said that her veto came out of concerns that reopening all the cases that could be affected by the change in law would overburden the court system. That makes sense--we certainly wouldn't want to give innocent people a chance to get out of prison if doing so would be inconvenient.

Early this year, she got the veto pen out again, and killed a bill that would have made carrying a concealed firearm without a permit a petty offense, rather than a Class 3 felony. It would also have prohibited the confiscation of the firearm. While even a "petty offense" for the exercise of one's Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms without first having become "licensed" to do so is offensive, it beats the hell out of a felony and confiscation of one's property.

So, what can the Homeland Security Secretary do to affect gun ownership? We've already had rumblings about some rather . . . startling definitions of what constitutes a "homegrown terrorist," and Napolitano might be tempted to make them more "startling" still. Dare to utter a quote of Jefferson's "tree of liberty" line, and you could find yourself characterized as the next Timothy McVeigh.

If it comes to that, some may decide that if they're going to prison, it won't be for merely talking about refreshing the tree of liberty.

If this be treason . . .


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Opposition to deer hunting with handguns can't agree on why it's wrong

A change in deer hunting laws in Delaware, providing more opportunities for the use of handguns, has (predictably) drawn some criticism. Amusingly, though, not only does the criticism not agree with facts and logic, it doesn't even agree with itself.

On the one hand, we have Scott Vogel, of the outrageously misnamed "Freedom States Alliance," who argues that handguns used for deer hunting are "too powerful."

The Freedom States Alliance is a national nonprofit organization that is dedicated to reducing gun-related deaths and injuries through public awareness campaigns. According to the FSA Web site, .50 caliber guns have effective ranges up to 2,000 yards, or 20 football fields laid end to end. Deer hunters typically shoot at ranges of 150-200 yards.
.50 caliber rifles can be effective at that range (in the hands of an extremely skilled shooter), but a .50 caliber handgun (like the .500 S&W Magnum) could be fired all day (assuming the shooter's ability to sustain that kind of recoil, and his wallet's ability to sustain the ammo costs, permitted it) without the intended target ever noticing he was being fired at. By the way, Delaware law does not require that deer-hunting handguns be of .50 caliber--and most hunters who choose to take the opportunities offered by this rule change will probably not go out and buy one.
"We don't support this change," said Scott Vogel, communications director of FSA. "A .50-caliber handgun can easily puncture a police officer's vest."
Probably--but no more easily than any deer rifle (and probably less easily than most deer rifle cartridges). Besides, do Delaware police have a habit of disguising themselves as deer during hunting season--why is a hunting gun's ability to defeat body armor even an issue?

On the other hand, we get the argument that handguns are not powerful enough to hunt deer.
The Humane Society of the United States worries not only about the safety of the hunter but of the deer. The group worries that deer shot by handguns would suffer needlessly.

"If the hunters were truly interested in a quick and painless death for the deer, they would not use a handgun," said Casey Pheiffer, campaign manager of the Wildlife Abuse Campaign for the Humane Society.
Granted, the range at which a deer can be humanely taken is probably less, in most cases, with a handgun than with a rifle. Within that range, though, with adequate care on the part of the hunter, a powerful handgun is quite up to the task of ethical deer hunting, and will probably in most cases kill a deer more quickly than can generally be done with bow and arrow. Besides, my guess is that being torn apart by wolves or a mountain lion is probably less than pleasant, too--that's one of the downsides of being helpless prey.

"Helpless prey," by the way, is exactly what citizen disarmament advocacy groups like the Freedom States Alliance would like to make us.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Oh yeah--this is the guy who will rein in the BATFE

Pending passage through the vetting process, our next Attorney General will be Eric Holder. What effect can the Attorney General have on gun rights? Quite a large one.

One of the responsibilities of the Attorney General, of course, is leadership of the Department of Justice, of which the BATFE is now a part. It's also the Attorney General who is empowered to determine whether or not a firearm is suitable for "sporting purposes" (don't even get me started on the perversity of having that as a criterion for which arms are suitable to be kept and borne); and who would, under the abomination of S. 1237/H.R. 2074 have the power to unilaterally deny a person's ability to buy a firearm, on the basis of a suspicion that he's a terrorist.

So what do we know about Eric Holder's stance on the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms? A fair amount, and it's not encouraging.

For example, as Deputy Attorney General in the Clinton administration, he was big on closing the mythical "gun show loophole."

Today Individual Members of Congress have a clear-cut choice to make. Either they can cave in to the narrow, special interests that value the cold, hard steel of guns more than the lives of children, neighbors and police officers, or they can fulfill the mandate of the broad majority of the American public by supporting a reasonable, common sense bill that would make all of us safer from armed criminals. The choice for each House Member is just that stark.
He goes on a lot farther, but you get the idea.

Not that our last two Attorneys General, appointed by the "Vote Freedom First" President, have been real coups for the gun rights movement. Alberto Gonzales differed from Holder's former boss, Janet Reno, mainly in being not quite as masculine. Mukasey showed some early potential, but didn't take long to show his true colors.

Still, the choice of Holder would be the continuation of an unbroken trend on the part of the incoming Obama administration of assembling a group of anti-gun jihadists.

Keep your powder dry.

More at War on Guns, Snowflakes in Hell, Say Uncle, and probably others.

.50 caliber rifles still not used by terrorists in the U.S.--New Jersey must act!

Apparently, Bryan Miller has some competition for "Most Hysterically Anti-Gun Rights Writer at NJ.com." I refer here to George Amick, who apparently views the banning of large rifles as a choice of "sanity vs. paranoia." Actually, I suppose I agree with that--I just happen to have different ideas about which is which.

Many years have passed since the New Jersey Legislature last dared to cross the gun lobby by passing a piece of legislation that the lobby didn't like
That statement surprises me, but not being a close follower of New Jersey politics, I suppose it might be true (although New Jersey's "smart gun" law--one that I certainly hope would "cross 'the gun lobby,'" passed in 2002--is six years "many years"?). If so, I submit that the reason is that NJ's gun laws are already so draconian that there simply isn't much room for more restrictions.
It soon may have a chance to redeem itself.
Ah--the redemptive power of tyranny.
A2116, sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Princeton Borough, would ban private sale and possession of .50-caliber sniper rifles and ammunition. Here's what you should know about .50-caliber rifles:

They are military firearms . . .
Let's assume for the moment that Scott Bach is wrong, and that A2116 will not ban all kinds of hunting guns and historic black powder arms, or that the amendment passed yesterday adequately addresses that problem--let's assume, in other words, that only modern .50 caliber rifles (and handguns like the .500 S&W) would be affected. That would mean that this is a "military firearm" (I am not conceding, by the way, that there's anything wrong with The People keeping and bearing "military firearm(s)"--that is, after all, the point of the Second Amendment--just pointing out the ridiculousness of Amick's assertions):

Speaking of "military firearms," the Colt Single Action Army, the M1903 Springfield, and a great many other guns owned by large numbers of civilians for a hundred years or more have served the military with distinction--should we ban all those, too (on second thought, don't answer that, George and Bryan)?
. . . designed to fire armor-piercing incendiary or explosive rounds . . .
And also designed to fire the lead and copper rounds generally available to civilians, as opposed to being restricted to governments.
Terrorists armed with these guns and posted more than a mile away could find choice targets in what Ceasefire NJ, an organization that works for sensible gun laws, calls "New Jersey's soft civilian infrastructure": airports and planes, rail cars carrying hazardous materials, and refineries and chemical plants where highly flammable, explosive and toxic items are stored.
Funny that with Ronnie Barrett having begun marketing rifles chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge over 20 years ago, not one such attack has occurred in the U.S. It's almost as if terrorists don't really see these rifles as being all that useful for attacking the U.S.
Amazingly, though, .50-caliber sniper rifles are less strictly regulated than handguns.
Easily fixed--just stop regulating handguns (don't thank me--I'm happy to help).
Bryan Miller, head of Ceasefire NJ, and his organization will use the month's delay to tour the state, displaying .50-caliber rifles and demonstrating their destructive power to the public.
Oohh--the Bryan Miller .50 Caliber Hysteria '08 Tour! As for "demonstrating their destructive power," is Bryan going to fire one (it seemingly being rather difficult to demonstrate a gun's "destructive power" without doing so)? Now that would be something to see.

Modern .50 caliber rifles are used so rarely in crimes that it's national news when they are, and have never, to my knowledge, been used to kill anyone in the U.S. Make it impossible to use them legally, though, and the only thing left to do with them is to use them illegally. Is that what you want, New Jersey?

Days of Our Trailers has more on the latest goings-on with A2116.

Monday, November 17, 2008

What Bill Schneider has learned from Gun Nuts

Bill Schneider claims to have "learned" something from "gun nuts." Schneider has been no friend to the those of us who are utterly unwilling to give an inch in defending our Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, once referring to those whose outrage led to the demise of Jim Zumbo's career as the "black rifle Gestapo."

Still, learning is a good thing, and if he has learned that uncompromising defense of gun rights is in no way akin to Nazism, I suppose I would have to consider that progress. Let's see what he has learned.

I consider my right to bear arms one of my basic freedoms, but not the only one, so buckle up, gun nuts.
Apparently one thing he has not yet learned is that we agree on the "not the only" basic freedom thing.
Shoot, I wonder if the gun nuts have asked themselves this question. Would the Second Amendment even pass today?
At this point, I'm not sure any of the Bill of Rights would pass today. How does that relate to my rights?
They’re terrified about our new president sending out a flock of black helicopters to confiscate their guns--or at least make it harder to buy them.
The black helicopters and confiscations thing does seem rather far-fetched, which might explain why few of us seriously argue that's in the works. As to "harder to buy them"--well the HopeandChange™ "Urban Policy" agenda is back up, and still says (excerpt):
They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.
If banning private sales, requiring guns to be sold with technology that doesn't even exist, and banning the most effective militia-capable firearms doesn't qualify as "mak[ing] it harder to buy them," I'm not sure what would qualify.

But perhaps Schneider is counting on Obama not having the votes for gun bans. With the large Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress, perhaps a look at the Democratic Party's 2008 platform would be instructive.
We can work together to enact and enforce common-sense laws and improvements, like closing the gun show loophole, improving our background check system and reinstating the assault weapons ban, so that guns do not fall into the hands of terrorists or criminals.
Seems as if the President-elect and much of the Congress we'll have for at least the next two years are in agreement about the need to "make it harder to buy them."
I could go on, but the point is. Losing some of my gun rights doesn’t make my top twenty concerns.
It seems another thing Schneider hasn't learned--perhaps a trip to Canada, Great Britain, or Australia would help--is that the "slippery slope" is real, and The Enemy works tirelessly to add more grease and increase the incline.
They’ve closed their minds to compromise.
He says that as if compromising one's rights (one, specifically, that shall not be infringed) is a good thing.
To them, there’s no such thing as a common sense gun law.
Good for you, Bill--I guess you really did learn something.

He goes on some more, but this post is already getting pretty long. The gist of it seems to be that hard, grassroots work and a refusal to compromise are effective, but somehow morally dubious.

Somehow, my conscience is clear.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Brady Campaign's Peter Hamm: using illegal gun is 'correct'

In yet another article documenting the HopeandChange™ brought to gun dealers by the election of Barack Obama (just a sales ploy--right, Bryan?), the authors take a look at some of Obama's voting history, in order to weigh the plausibility of fears that U.S. gun laws will become still more draconian than they already are.

Specifically, the article mentioned (then Illinois State Senator) Obama's repeated votes against the "Wilmette Bill," which came up after a resident of Wilmette, IL (which had a city ordinance banning handguns) used a handgun to successfully defend himself, his home, and his children from a burglar home invader and career criminal (thanks, Sheepdoggy). Under the terms of the bill, which eventually passed over Governor Blagojevich's veto (and Obama's repeated votes), self-defense is an affirmative defense to violations of municipal firearms ordinances.

Newsweek dismissively points out that even without the law Obama tried to defeat, the violation would be no more than a "petty offense."

What Obama voted for was not any general repeal of the right of self-defense, but to uphold enforcement of the local gun ban, a "petty offense" that carried a maximum penalty of a $750 fine.
At risk of exposing my low-class, peasant, white trashiness, I have to say that $750 is a not insignificant sum for me, particularly when one considers the court costs, etc. that would probably be tacked on--not to mention the likelihood that the gun would be confiscated and never returned.

Going back to the article from the first link above, the Brady Campaign's Peter "Don't call me Petey" Hamm makes an interesting statement about what he thinks of breaking laws such as Wilmette's (now repealed) handgun ban.
“If you have an illegal gun in a community that bans them and use it in self defense and all you have to do is to pay a fine — I would pay the fine and believe what I did was correct,” Hamm said.
So breaking the kind of gun law that your organization has fought so hard to preserve is "correct"? Alright--I agree with that much--breaking an evil law is indeed correct (as Petey and I are far from the first to have noticed). The problem is, if breaking the law is "correct," then the law itself must be "incorrect."

Pick a side, Petey.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Are you going to tell them, John, or should I?

Rabid advocate of citizen disarmament John Rosenthal--founder of Stop Handgun Violence, and one-time founding member of the supposedly "pro-gun" (Ha!) American Hunters and Shooters Association (which Paul Helmke himself has said the Brady Bunch sees as an ally)--has some advice to the "Lightworker" for reducing "gun violence."

None of the seven ideas are new--they're the kinds of things the citizen disarmament zealots have been pushing for years. I did notice, however, something interesting about the last one (emphasis mine):

#7 Create incentives for the gun industry to make "personalized guns"

According to gun maker Smith and Wesson, guns could be made with personal recognition technology such that only the intended user could fire the gun. This practical technological solution would save the lives of countless victims of gun violence, accidents and suicides each year. It could also help save the lives of the 17% of police officers killed in the line of duty by a criminal accessing the officer's gun. In fact, in an agreement with the Clinton administration, Smith and Wesson promised to invest a portion of net profits into "personalized gun technology".
Funny you should bring that up, John. Funny, because the one state (to my knowledge) that has passed such a law, pending availability of the technology, is New Jersey--and guess who will be exempt from the requirement to use the "smart guns." Yep--New Jersey's finest will be the "Only Ones" exempt from being required to use the technology that Rosenthal touts as being desirable because it will make police work safer.

Why is that, do you suppose? I don't follow New Jersey politics very closely (I have enough headaches here at home in Illinois, thank you very much), but my guess is that to ensure passage of the legislation, those pushing it sought the endorsement of police groups, and said groups would only provide that endorsement on the condition of the exemption. Well, why is that, one might ask?

Because police officers are unwilling to needlessly trust their lives to complex, failure-prone technology (not to mention the added failure point of batteries). The folks in charge of police department budgets might also have been less than enthusiastic about the certainty of dramatically more expensive service firearms.

Rather than point out that those of us who are not "Only Ones" have exactly the same concerns, I'm curious about whether or not Rosenthal has run this idea past the usual police allies of the citizen disarmament movement--the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), for example.

Normally, whenever The Enemy perceives a need to illustrate how they're "on the side of the police," while "the gun lobby" (that would be you and me) isn't, they drag out groups like the two mentioned above, who dutifully chirp their agreement. My guess is that this time, it might be a harder sell.

Maybe those groups should become the "Only Ones" switching sides enough.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Actually, we're protecting ourselves from the Reds

Yesterday, I put up a rather angry post responding to Sociology Professor Ben Agger's assertion that the recent spike in sales of so-called "assault weapons" is rooted in racism. Here it is again:

One expert sees a darker motive driving some post-election gun purchasers.

"Why are white people buying assault weapons?" said Ben Agger, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who wrote a book about the Virginia Tech slayings. "I almost hate to say it, but there is a deep-seated fear of the armed black man, because Obama now commands the military and other instruments of the justice system. They are afraid Obama will exact retribution for the very deep-seated legacy of slavery."
By the way, I missed this line in the article yesterday.
A few say they are preparing to protect themselves in the event of a race war.
"A few" are saying that? So few, apparently, that the author of the article and his source, Professor Agger (oh--and Lewis Farrakhan--but charges of racism from him are a classic case of the pot calling the kettle . . . er, racist), seem to have a virtual monopoly on the claim.

There are very few classes of people I despise more than bigots. Question my sexual alignment, my ancestry, or my mother's and sisters' virtue, and I'll just laugh you off as a puerile blowhard. Refer to me (with my middle name of "John-Martin," after John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr.) as a bigot, though, and we're going to have problems.

There's also the little issue of the fact that citizen disarmament policies are themselves rooted in racial oppression.

David Codrea
took a rather calmer (and more productive) approach than my blind anger, and did a bit of research into Prof. Agger's background, and was kind enough to email me with some of his findings. Consider, for example, this little gem:
This is not to suggest that socialism is, or should be, dropped as a political aim, to be hoped for and fought for.
Socialism is to be "fought for"? I imagine that if the bourgeois have no access to effective militia arms, that fight for socialism will go a lot more easily, won't it? That wouldn't have anything to do with your position, would it, Professor?

As the title of this post says, color has something to do with the reasoning behind arming oneself, but the color that concerns us isn't black.

By the way, I'm sure Professor Agger and "Authorized Journalist" Witt would love to hear what folks think:

Professor Ben Agger: agger@uta.edu
Howard Witt: hwitt@tribune.com

One more thing--I learned of Witt's Chicago Tribune article through "Chicagoist: Gun Nuts Stock Up After Obama Win." A look at the comments should provide a good idea of the kind of "post-partisan reconciliation" we can expect from the Obammunists.

War on Guns has much more.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

'Why are white people buying "assault weapons"?'

I rarely post twice in a day, so this will be a short one. I just spotted this, which contains a statement too disgusting to leave unchallenged. Most of the article is about the Obama/Biden-inspired spike in firearm (particularly so-called "assault weapons") and ammunition sales. That's been covered (and is still being covered) to death, and isn't what I'm focused on. For that, go to the last paragraph.

One expert sees a darker motive driving some post-election gun purchasers.

"Why are white people buying assault weapons?" said Ben Agger, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Arlington who wrote a book about the Virginia Tech slayings. "I almost hate to say it, but there is a deep-seated fear of the armed black man, because Obama now commands the military and other instruments of the justice system. They are afraid Obama will exact retribution for the very deep-seated legacy of slavery."
So now it's racist to buy an AR-15. I suppose if Senators Chucky Schumer or Diane Feinstein had been elected, spurring exactly the same kind of spike in sales, it would be a manifestation of antisemitism among gun owners (JPFO notwithstanding)

I wonder what the explanation would have been had the presidency gone to Paul Helmke, or Carolyn "What's a Barrel Shroud" McCarthy.

Another point I'd like to bring up relates to this:
. . . Obama now commands the military and other instruments of the justice system.
What does he mean by "military and other instruments of the justice system"? When did the military become part of the justice system? Have we been put under marital martial (thanks, Timmeehh) law, with no one having told me?

I'll have more tomorrow, and Snowflakes in Hell, Days of Our Trailers, and The Iron Whirlygig have more now.

That sounds familiar

The Tyler Morning Telegraph (Tyler, Texas) has been seeking reader reactions to the spike in firearms sales spurred by the the impending HopeandChange™. One respondent didn't seem to think it was a good idea.

"I think people are completely overreacting," Chad King wrote in a reader comment he submitted. "It's funny to me that people are buying guns that they fear are going to be taken away from them. That makes absolutely no sense. ... Republican or Democrat, we all have to agree somewhere in the middle that certain guns only belong on the battlefield and serve no purpose in the hands of children and criminals."
"Only belong on the battlefield," eh? That sounds an awful lot like the (now vanished) urban policy we've been promised:
They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent, as such weapons belong on foreign battlefields and not on our streets.
Ignoring for the moment the fact that there's no guarantee that the only battlefields over the next few years will be "foreign battlefields," and that the "Only Ones" are presumably not being equipped with "patrol rifles" for use on foreign battlefields, the assumption here seems to be that making something illegal will make it go away. By such "logic," that "War on Drugs" must be just about won by now, eh? I suppose it might bother some if I point out that a ban on militia-capable firearms is rather difficult to reconcile with shall not be infringed--I guess they'll just have to deal with being bothered.

Another aspect of what Chad King says (in reference to so-called "assault weapons") comes at the end of the sentence. To repeat:
. . . serve no purpose in the hands of children and criminals.
That also sounds quite a lot like something straight from the mouth of the Obamessiah (this time his Democratic Convention speech).
. . . but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
And that takes me to what I see as the main point of this post (yeah, I know--it takes me a while to get there). I'm assuming that by "AK-47s," he refers not to real AK-47s, which are already extremely tightly controlled, but to the semi-automatic copies commonly available to private citizens in most states.

I have a problem with the ambiguity of that position. Presumably, the "Lightworker" is well aware of the fact that criminals are already barred by law from possessing any firearms. That would seem to mean that by "keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals," he means keeping them out of our hands--the hands of peaceable armed citizens.

Obviously, keeping such firearms out of the hands of such citizens will do nothing, in and of itself, to prevent violence--the idea is that to keep them out of the hands of criminals, you have to keep them out of everyone's hands (never mind that that is impossible, also). Once you acknowledge that, it seems to me that you acknowledge that the laws against criminals possessing firearms don't work--if they did, you wouldn't need another law, keeping AK-47s out of their hands.

In other words, the response to the ineffectiveness of gun laws is . . . to pass more gun laws. That oughta work.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Taking back the Second Amendment? From whom? 'Great' Britain?

I need to thank Keep and Bear Arms for finding this "progressive" strategy (pdf) for "taking back the Second Amendment." The strategy was put together by Third Way, who seem to want to present themselves as "moderately progressive" (or maybe "progressively moderate") Democrats.

The Policy: Supporting Second Amendment rights, closing gun law loopholes that terrorists and criminals can exploit, fixing the broken background check system, and reversing the Bush gun crime policy by vigorously enforcing the major federal gun laws on the books.
Hmm--I'm not finding much difference (hell--any difference) between that policy, and what the Brady Bunch advocates.

A major part of the gist of the strategy seems to be a single word substitution:
Step 3: Redefine the Issue from Gun Control to Gun Safety

Gun control has become a loaded term that leads voters to believe that the candidate supports the most restrictive laws, including a ban on handguns. Voters don’t define enforcement of existing gun laws or closing the gun show loophole as gun control — neither should candidates.

“By a margin of 70-20% (77-13% among gun owners), voters prefer a Democratic candidate who supports gun safety over a candidate who supports gun control.”
Don't get me wrong--I'm 100% in favor of "gun safety," myself. The problem is that there is exactly ZERO difference between mandating "gun safety" legislatively, and imposing "gun control" (which I prefer to call by its much more accurate description: citizen disarmament).

There's more, such as "enforce existing gun laws" (hey, where else have I heard that?), but you get the idea. I don't suppose I should be surprised by "Third Way's" positions--they refer to Obama as--get this--"a moderate in moderate's clothing" ("Obamism?").

The strategy's last point is "Implement Your Gun Plan and Watch the Gun Votes Roll In."

I'd like to be able to say that I know that gun owners aren't nearly that gullible.

I'd like to.

Monday, November 10, 2008

HopeandChange™, express style

Even with a stacked Congress to help him ramrod his agenda, it seems the "Lightworker" may not want to wait for that pesky legislative process to work.

President-elect Obama plans to use his executive powers to make an immediate impact when he takes office, perhaps reversing Bush administration policies on stem cell research and domestic drilling for oil and natural gas.
Anything else? Maybe some kind of policy that might be hard to get through even an increasingly statist Congress? Something like . . . oh, I don't know--a federal ban on concealed carry; a ban on the importation, manufacture, and possession of semi-automatic firearms and all handguns; a five mile gun shop exclusion zone around schools, parks, churches (and maybe car washes, just to be safe); a ban on almost all centerfire rifle ammunition--that kind of HopeandChange™? The kind of HopeandChange™ that someone has apparently decided that we're not supposed to know about yet?

Back to the article:
Podesta also said Obama is working to build a diverse Cabinet.
Oh, good. A cabinet full of the same kind of statist toadies would be boring--it'll be nice to have two or three flavors.
Obama was elected on a promise of change, but the nature of the job makes it difficult for presidents to do much that has an immediate impact on the lives of average people.
That darned, antiquated separation of powers--that's what makes executive orders so cool!
"Obama's advantage of course is he'll have the House and the Senate working with him, and that makes it easier," said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond. "But even then, having an immediate impact is very difficult to do because the machinery of government doesn't move that quickly."
I want my HopeandChange™, and I want it now!

Here comes the money line (emphasis mine):
Executive orders "have the power of law and they can cover just about anything," Tobias said in a telephone interview.
"[J]ust about anything," eh? That would seem to cover quite a lot of HopeandChange™.

I have to point out that the article gives the impression that the Obama administration will not be shy about pointing out "The Decider's" . . . enthusiastic use of executive orders, to justify his own use of them.

That's a pretty good demonstration of why abuses of power, even by "our" side, in pursuit of an agenda some of us might approve of, aren't such a good thing.

Note: I'm not the first to have speculated about this.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Holding the line

After having drifted away from a gun forum on which I was once quite active (1911 forum), I've recently started hanging around again. That's a good thing, because otherwise I would have missed some words of wisdom that I think need more exposure. The author occasionally leaves comments on this blog, and has given me permission to reprint his advice to gun owners concerned about the hostile political climate we are now entering.

Attitude and Action

I have seen a seemingly defeatist attitude on a number of pro-2A sites in light of the recent elections. We are giving the gungrabbers the wrong impression. Here are some thoughts I have on the issue—feel free to post these ideas on other sites (e.g., AR-15.com, APS, THR, TFL, etc.).

1. Appropriate Attitude

We should not embolden the enemy by seemingly accepting the inevitability of more 2A infringements, like a new AWB or ammo taxes. Our enemies need to know that our resolve is strong and that infringements will be met at every chokepoint (legislative and judicial). Drawing the line at attempted house-to-house confiscation is simply not acceptable—the “tooth and nail” fight begins now.

2. Individuals Have Standing

Heller makes it clear that individuals, not organizations, have a right to keep and bear arms. This gives individuals standing to challenge infringement of that right—we do not need to wait for criminal charges to ensure that this right is not infringed. It would appear that courts are now forced to recognize that individuals can seek various forms of relief, including injunctive relief preventing the enforcement of laws, if there is a substantial likelihood of success on the claim that their individual right to keep/bear arms is being infringed. These cases can no longer be thrown out under the “collective theory” of rights (e.g., only the militia has rights under the 2A). I realize that incorporation still needs to occur, but the dicta in Heller all but insures incorporation.

3. “Arms” Include Semi-Auto Weapons

The only categorical restriction that Heller allows with respect to firearm type is that “dangerous and unusual” weapons may be regulated; even then, there is language in the Heller case that seems to suggest that these types of weapons are only subject to limitation in the “bearing” (e.g, carrying) context. Some relevant text in Heller states:
It may be objected that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached from the prefatory clause. But as we have said, the conception of the militia at the time of the Second Amendment’s ratification was the body of all citizens capable of military service, who would bring the sorts of lawful weapons that they possessed at home to militia duty. It may well be true today that a militia, to be as effective as militias in the 18th century, would require sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society at large. Indeed, it may be true that no amount of small arms could be useful against modern-day bombers and tanks. But the fact that modern developments have limited the degree of fit between the prefatory clause and the protected right cannot change our interpretation of the right.
Heller at pp. 55-56.

Strong arguments exist that semi-auto battle rifles (not full autos) are the “sorts of lawful weapons that [we] possess[] at home” and are therefore exactly the type of weapons protected by the 2A. The argument that full autos (“M-16 rifles and the like”) were made less-than-commonplace by infringing laws (a circularity not addressed in Heller) is probably an argument for another day—MGs seem to scare people too much. Indeed, the semi-auto platform (rifle and pistol) is likely the most popular firearms type available today (just look at all the recent purchases ).

4. The Government Now Needs Much More Than Just a “Rational Basis”

While the Supreme Court did not come out and say it in Heller, strict scrutiny applies to the analysis of pretty much every individual freedom enumerated in the Bill of Rights. If the government wants to propose limitations on the 2A, “because we say so” is no longer enough—the government must show that a compelling interest is served by the proposed regulation. The 1994 AWB already shows that AWBs do nothing to protect the public or in any way impact crime rates. Same concept applies to standard capacity magazines—limitations have no beneficial effect. Indeed choir, only the law-abiding abide by the law. They will try to use statistics to “prove” their point, but a tie goes to the runner here (increased scrutiny requires the court to “err” on the side of non-infringement).

5. Indirect Attacks

I have seen many people lamenting high ammo taxes and the like. There is an old adage in the law—“you cannot do indirectly that which you are prohibited from doing directly.” How long would people stand for prohibitive federal taxes on internet access, or printer cartridges, or paper before 1A challenges were waged? Without ammunition, a gun is just an unwieldy club (or a paperweight). Ammunition is an essential component of a functioning firearm—it cannot be separated from the firearm itself—to enact restrictions on ammo (either directly or via taxation) is no different than directly imposing restrictions on the arms themselves. People with at least 2 functioning synapses will understand this—educate them.

6. We Need Friends

Get out and educate people when you have the opportunity. Let them know that the 2A has nothing to do with hunting or sporting purposes—it is, at its core, a tyranny deterrent. I would love to see more people in the law enforcement community be vocal on these points. If you have taken an oath to defend the Constitution, step up and let people know that you will not tolerate (or enforce) direct or indirect infringements of the 2A.
To that, I'd like to add one more point of my own. We often hear (and I have been guilty of saying) things like "Our gun rights are in danger." That's playing right into the other side's hands. Our unalienable rights can't be taken away--else they would be "alienable." Recognition of our rights is in danger--if we are less than steadfast in demanding it--but the rights themselves are forever.

If we don't force the government--by whatever means necessary--to honor them, those rights are wasted on us.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Of 'Fairness' and the slippery slope

This will be another post that has only a tangential relationship to gun rights. Gun bloggers are sometimes accused of focusing so intently on the right to keep and bear arms that other rights are ignored. In my case, I suppose there's something to that--I very rarely talk much about other rights here. For that, I make no apologies. I consider gun rights advocacy my specialty--a cancer researcher isn't condemned for not doing enough to cure AIDS, and the gun rights issue is where I think I have some competency.

Still, today's post will deal primarily with the First Amendment. We've been hearing rather a lot in the last few days about a push to revive the so-called "Fairness Doctrine." Indeed on election day, Senator Chucky Schumer (in)famously compared conservative talk radio to pornography.

Here's a transcript of that particular segment:

“The very same people who don’t want the Fairness Doctrine want the FCC [Federal Communications Commission] to limit pornography on the air. I am for that… But you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent.”
As offensive as the comparison of certain political opinions to pornography is, my point is not so much the offensiveness of it, but what this says about the statist mindset.

Specifically, I would like to point to " . . . you can’t say government hands off in one area to a commercial enterprise but you are allowed to intervene in another. That’s not consistent."

The only way I can interpret that is that it means that regulation of one aspect of communications media is being used to justify regulation of every other aspect. That seems the very definition of the "slippery slope" argument. When the existence of one law is used as justification--for the sake of "consistency"--for more laws (which themselves can then be used to justify still more laws), the police state has indeed arrived.

Senator Chucky could just as easily have said that because the government prohibits felons from possessing guns, it would be "inconsistent" to say that it cannot prohibit anyone else from owning them.

Hmm . . . maybe this post had more to do with gun rights than I'd thought.

Friday, November 07, 2008

'Safe storage' struck down, Heller cited

I've expressed some doubts in the past about what kind of "victory" gun rights won in Heller, and those doubts haven't gone away. It does appear, though, that some good has already come of it (from the New York State Rifle and Pistol Association).

Got an e-mail this afternoon from James Murtha from Murtha & Murtha, PLLC regarding a suit they brought in Suffolk Co. on behalf of a pistol license holder who had his license revoked after his wife committed suicide with the gun. The license was ordered revoked, then somehow converted from carry to premesis, on the grounds that the gun was not stored unloaded and locked up. From James’ email:
… In a landmark decision and order issued on October 30, 2008, Acting Justice Gary J. Weber wrote, In Heller the Court held that there is a personal right to bear arms protected by the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution. The Court further held that requirements that a handgun be rendered inoperable, or locked in such a manner so that it is not immediately accessible when possessed in the owner’s dwelling also transgresses upon this right to bear arms, because the 2nd Amendment recognizes that the right to bear arms includes a corollary right to self defense … Justice Weber went on to write that, “Simply put, the State of New York and its agencies are no longer in a position to require that a handgun be stored in an inoperable condition or otherwise locked up if it is otherwise legally present in the owner’s dwelling.”
The finding itself (pdf file, and just two pages) can be found here.

So Heller was cited as invalidating "safe storage" requirements, and this was in New York state. That doesn't mean incorporation has been decided, of course, but if it stands it sets a nice precedent.

This one will be worth watching.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A bit of good news from Tuesday--the culling

Gun rights advocates didn't get a lot to celebrate out of the November 4th elections, but the news isn't all bad.

For example, Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT), the only Republican U.S. Representative in New England, is gone. Why is that a good thing? Shays was one of the four co-sponsors (all of whom call themselves "Republican") of Congressman Mark Kirk's (R-IL) "Assault Weapons" ban bill, H.R. 6257. Another co-sponsor, Congressman Mike Ferguson (R-NJ) did not seek reelection.

For all I know, their replacements might be just as bad as, or conceivably even worse than, those two on gun rights issues. I think that's beside the point. The point is that the Republican Party needs occasional reminders from those whom they're supposedly representing (you know--working for), about the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, and that right's place in the Republican Party platform. Shays is one such reminder.

As for Christopher Shays--he's presumably not happy about being made an example. Cheer up, Chris--the first Quisling got the firing squad.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

We're not going away

I wasn't really planning to write about the election today, because A) I imagine most readers know as much about what happened as I do (at least); and B) as far as I'm concerned, the issue of gun rights lost months ago, in the primary season. Still, I'm writing about the election anyway--in large part because I can't come up with anything else to write at the moment.

The first thing I want to say is a repetition of something I've said elsewhere: ALL IS NOT LOST. This nation has survived bigger crises than this--the British aren't currently burning Washington and marching on Baltimore, the Japanese aren't bombing Pearl Harbor, and Khruschev isn't deploying nukes in Cuba. Also, there appears not to be a crown on Obama's sacred head.

Finally, my favorite Senator, Sen. Phil E. Buster, seems to have narrowly retained a seat. We may need for him to be busy for at least a couple years.

That's not to minimize the gravity of the situation--I don't agree with Dave Kopel's assessment of "No net loss for the Second Amendment." As recently as 2006, I was reassured by the idea of "pro-gun Democrats," like Jon Tester, only to be sorely disappointed.

Still, they haven't passed their "reasonable gun laws" yet, and when they try, we'll see just what kind of grassroots activism we can put together. If they do pass such laws, they'll find that to have been the easy part. If they're counting on having more JBT's than we have live cartridges, I think they'll be very unpleasantly surprised.

I think I'll close on that note, except to point out someone's wiser words about the current situation.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Snuffy's tax exempt political pulpit in action

Michael "Snuffy" Pfleger's hostility to gun rights--up to and including making threats to "snuff out" a gun shop owner and legislators who don't go along with the citizen disarmament agenda, is well known. Perhaps less well known is his habit of using the pulpit as a platform for his political agenda, in utter defiance of laws pertaining to the tax exempt status of churches.

David Codrea (War on Guns) has tried to mobilize efforts to report Snuffy's illegal activities to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

Maybe folks can't be bothered to take a few minutes to send in the report. Alternatively, perhaps people did contact Americans United, but that group is more interested in blocking right wing politicking from the pulpit. Either way, the end result has not been a reduction of Pfleger's illegal activities. Quite the contrary.

Take, for example, this page from Pfleger's "Faith Community of Saint Sabina," with a list of Illinois State Representatives and Senators "who consistently stand with the NRA and who block Common Sense Gun laws in the state of Illinois."

Or this one:

Be informed when you vote. The following are pro gun and endorsed by the National Rifle Association.

ISRA - PVF, (The Illinois State Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, a PAC affiliated with ISRA) released this list of candidates who support firearms ownership. If you want to keep guns off our streets don't vote for them!
War on Guns has much more.

UPDATE: Actually, Rustmeister has already talked some about this, including (via Thirdpower) a link for filing a report directly to the IRS.

Monday, November 03, 2008

How better gun laws could have saved the life of Christopher Bizilj

Bet no one expected that title here. Let me explain. I refer to the tragic death of 8-year-old Christopher Bizilj at a machine gun shoot in Massachusetts (also discussed here). This tragedy has, of course, spurred plenty of calls for changes in the law--from more age restrictions, to even more draconian regulation of fully automatic firearms than is already on the books.

Well, I also have an idea for a change in the law. My idea probably won't appeal to folks like John Rosenthal and the New England Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, but then again, I've never really expected to find any common ground with the forcible citizen disarmament advocates.

My idea? Repeal the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act (FOPA). The Hughes Amendment, of course, is that bit of legislative genius that makes fully automatic firearms manufactured or imported after 1986 ineligible for private ownership. Because of that, innovative fully automatic firearms like the KRISS, with its impressive ability to mitigate recoil and muzzle-climb, are unavailable to the general public.

I am not, of course, claiming that such a change in the law would necessarily have prevented Christopher Bizilj's death--the people in charge of the event would still have been free to exercise the very poor judgment that led to that tragic outcome.

Still, citizen disarmament advocates call guns "the only unregulated product in the United States" (a demonstrably, laughably false claim--but that's another discussion). Now, however, a safer submachine gun is developed . . . and the law makes it unobtainable.

Feel safer?

A tale of two cities (with apologies to Charles Dickens)

About a week and a half ago, I wrote about Chicago's proud reclamation of the "Murder Capital of the U.S." title. This is despite having a population much smaller than those of New York City or Los Angeles. That's a distinction Chicago also held in 1998. The Cubs may not be able be champions twice in a hundred years, but clearly there's something at which Chicago excels.

In contrast, we see that Miami, Florida made it through the entire month of October (and then some) without a single homicide. I wonder when was the last time Chicago got through a weekend without a homicide. Granted, Miami's population is only about 1/7th that of Chicago, but the population densities are comparable.

Some other differences between the two cities? Hmm . . . Oohh--I thought of one! Let's look at gun laws. At the state level, we can compare Illinois' "grade" from the Brady Campaign to Florida's. Let's see--28 points out of 100 for Illinois, putting it in 9th place for "best" (by Brady standards) gun laws, to 8 points for Florida, for a tie for 32nd place.

Well that's odd, isn't it? Remember a few years ago, when the Brady Campaign handed out fliers to tourists visiting Florida, warning of the danger of being shot? Looks to me as if they need to get to Kinko's, crank out a bunch of new fliers, and get busy at O'Hare airport in Chicago.

Of course, if you compare gun laws at the local level, rather than by state (which would make sense, since we're comparing murder rates at the local level), the differences become even more stark. While Illinois has some of the most draconian gun laws of any state in the Union, Chicago is by far the most restrictive part of the state, with an outright ban on privately owned handguns that weren't registered by 1983, mandatory (annual) registration for every gun that is permitted, etc., etc.

Miami, on the other hand, imposes very few additional restrictions on gun ownership beyond those stipulated by state and federal law.

How's that Olympic bid coming along, Daley?

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Doing my part for the Obama economic stimulus plan

There's been a lot of discussion lately about a recent impressive spike in firearms sales, driven by concerns about an impending Obama presidency (and growing Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress) ushering in a spate of draconian gun laws. Even with a tanking economy reducing disposable income (which, incidentally, is in turn driving declines in sales of traditional hunting rifles and shotguns), surging sales of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" are more than taking up the slack.

In a way, one could say that Obama--even before the election--has helped at least one segment of the economy.

I've made no secret of the fact that I am not at all eager for the kind of "change" Obama promises. Still, we're all in this together, and if he is doing something to help the economy, I feel somewhat obligated to hold up my end.

Not being exactly made out of money, rather than getting an entire new "assault weapon," I decided to add some additional capability to one I already have. The order for an additional upper receiver (chambered in 6.5mm Grendel) has been placed, and soon I will have a Beowulf/Grendel (who says I have no appreciation for classic literature?) switch-top AR pistol.

When finances allow, I'll be adding optics (of type to be determined--suggestions welcome), and maybe a bipod.

I guess we could call this the long range plan.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

'Gun violence'--a bad thing?

I'd like to see citizen disarmament advocates make the case for their agenda to this woman:

Cops: Cape Girardeau woman kills man who returned to rape her second time

An intended rape victim shot and killed her attacker this morning in Cape Girardeau when he broke into her home to rape her a second time, police said.

The 57-year-old woman shot Ronnie W. Preyer, 47, a registered sex offender, in the chest with a shotgun when he broke through her locked basement door. The woman told police he was the same man who raped her several days earlier. Officials do not intend to seek charges against her.

In the first incident, the woman heard glass breaking in her basement about midnight on Saturday. She went to leave the house, and the man attacked when she opened the front door. He punched her in the face and then forced her into a bedroom, where he raped her, said H. Morley Swingle, prosecuting attorney in Cape Girardeau County.

The victim reported the crime to police, and her landlord repaired the broken window.

She was home alone again Friday about 2:15 a.m. when Preyer broke the same basement window. The victim was awake watching television, when Preyer switched off the electricity to her house.
There's more, and it's worth reading.

This was in Missouri, but if it had been in, say, Chicago, and the firearm she used had not been registered (a cumbersome process that must be repeated annually, and the fee for which Mayor Daley wants to increase to $60 per year--basically pricing poor people out of the self-defense market), a certain U.S. Senator and Presidential candidate who claims to "support the Second Amendment" has argued that Chicago should retain the right to prosecute her.

I hope that the knowledge that she has ensured that this scum can never hurt her--or anyone else--again will help with this brave woman's healing process.

Friday, October 31, 2008

David Codrea to be on the radio Sunday

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

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

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

Breaking my own rule again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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