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.

Monday, June 30, 2008

How will the other side justify banning so-called 'assault weapons' now?

I thought I remembered reading once that more people were murdered with fists and feet than with all long guns put together--let alone the much smaller subset of so-called "assault weapons". I decided to look into that, and checked the FBI Uniform Crime Report. Looking at the figures from 2002 to 2006, the numbers don't quite bear out the idea that more people are murdered without weapons than with long guns, but it's pretty close.

In that five-year span, there were 4614 murders committed with rifles and shotguns. Over the same time period, there were 4597 murders committed with "personal weapons" (hands, fists, feet, etc.) There's a caveat--there were 6095 murders committed with "Firearms, type not specified." Still, if the ratio of murders known to have been committed with handguns (37685) to those known to have been committed with long guns (4614) holds true in the "Firearms, type not specified" category--a fair assumption, I would think--that would only add 665 murders committed with long guns. That would give us a total of 5279. There were also 513 murders committed with "other guns," whatever that means. Let's be (extremely) generous, and say all 513 were committed with long guns--that's 5792 (and remember that a great many long guns have never been designated as "assault weapons").

Now, if one were to add strangulation (603) and asphyxiation (543) to the "fists and feet" category, one gets 5743. Add in blunt objects, like hammers, clubs, etc. (3213), we're up to 8956 non-firearm murders. Add in knives and other cutting/stabbing implements (9212), we're up to 18168 murders committed with body parts and various objects that no one outside the UK would seriously consider regulating--more than triple all the long gun murders put together.

Another caveat: not all "assault weapons" are long guns--there are a few "pistols" based on the AR-15 platform or psuedo-AK's, etc. (I plan to get not just an AR pistol within the next few months, but a dreaded .50 caliber AR "assault pistol"--saints preserve us all!). Still, despite efforts by the other side to drum up "assault pistol" hysteria, they are not particularly common, and not even particularly suited to the desires of criminals.

Justice Scalia has managed to interpret shall not be infringed in such a way that it doesn't conflict with bans of "dangerous and unusual" weapons. With the AR platform now apparently the biggest selling centerfire rifle in the country, it can hardly be said to be unusual, and statistically speaking, is clearly not one of the more dangerous weapons available.

Is a federal ban of "assault weapons" off the table now (and I'm not even talking yet about the very distinct possibility of incorporation against the states)?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Is this even possible?

Suffering a bit from "Heller fatigue," I'm going to skip gun rights politics today, and ask for some help from someone less mechanically clueless than I am--that should be about all of you.

I've talked before (here and here) about my only slightly sane (at best) hankerin' for an AR pistol chambered for the .50 Beowulf (a pistol, rather than a rifle, because being paraplegic, rifles are too cumbersome for me--an SBR might work, except that my other handicap is the fact that I live in Illinois, so even if I were willing to jump through the federal hoops, I couldn't have one). Unfortunately, the only company (to my knowledge) that ever made pistol length AR upper receivers in .50 Beowulf was Bohica Tool, which is apparently out of business (the second post linked to above has a picture of an AR pistol built with one of Bohica's .50 Beowulf uppers).

Anyway, it's still something I'd like to do, and I'm hoping someone could tell me if it would be possible to have someone take a .50 Beowulf Alexander Arms upper receiver like this one, lop something like 6" off the barrel (and shorten the gas tube to the correct length), and put that on an AR pistol lower receiver. I know that work would be well beyond my abilities, but is there someone out there who is both knowledgeable enough to be able to do something like that, and crazy enough to be willing to?

Any help would be appreciated.

By the way, assuming I can get something like this done, could handguards like these be used on it?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another avenue of attack?

Although the Heller decision dealt mostly with the "keeping" part of the right to keep and bear arms, one must assume that if the keeping of arms is an individual right, so must be the bearing of arms. This, predictably, has not stopped Washington DC Mayor Fenty from pretending that "keep and bear arms" means "keep and . . . keep arms."

Third, the Supreme Court’s ruling is limited to handguns in the home and does not entitle anyone to carry firearms outside his or her own home.
Granted, the majority opinion states that one of the permissible limits on that which shall not be infringed ("permissible limits on that which shall not be infringed"--why is that so hard for me to comprehend?) is the banning of concealed carry. Although I cannot really grasp the justification (either Constitutional or moral) for such a restriction, I do acknowledge the historical precedent for such bans, as far back as the 18th century, so I suppose the argument could be made that the Framers were not averse to prohibitions of concealed carry.

Regardless, Fenty appears intent on banning open carry, and in so doing would seem to be opening DC to another legal challenge. Actually, another legal challenge may already be in the works, as the NRA appears to be moving in the direction of a challenge of DC's ban of semi-automatic firearms, based on a rather bizarre definition of "machine guns."
The D.C. semiautomatic weapon ban applies to any firearm capable of carrying 12 rounds or more. In effect, that restricts purchasers of modern handguns to revolvers -- such as the .38 Special or its powerful successor, the .357 Magnum -- which typically carry five or six rounds at a time and cannot be modified to hold more.

Most other handguns are outlawed, even though most are designed for magazines that carry 10 rounds or less, because they could carry more rounds with modified magazines. Weapons capable of holding such magazines are illegal "machine guns" under D.C. law.
While they're at it, I would hope the NRA challenges the ban on carrying firearms outside one's home.

Living in Illinois, which might (I'd have to check) be the only state to utterly ban both concealed and open carry (although open carry is permitted outside incorporated areas), that's a challenge I would certainly like to see. Such an effort could be made here, of course, but it seems to me that there might be a couple reasons that DC would be a better place for it. First, of course, is the fact that there would be no need to first settle the question of incorporation--it is now settled law that the Second Amendment is applicable against DC gun laws. Secondly, the DC Appellate Court has shown itself to be at least somewhat inclined to protect gun rights--I am not so sure that this is the case in the 7th Judicial Circuit (in which Illinois lies).

This looks like an area on which we could gain some ground. I would hope we do not fail to do so.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Heller's impact on Illinois, a (non-comprehensive) roundup

Yesterday, I talked about Chicago Mayor Daley's Heller-induced media meltdown and the apparent call by the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) to do away with our three branch system of government.

Days of Our Trailers spotted what is perhaps the biggest news--the lawsuit, filed by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF), against Chicago's draconian handgun ban. One of the attorneys in the case is Alan Gura, lead attorney in the Heller case. That probably won't improve Daley's mood.

Advocates of forcible citizen disarmament in the Illinois legislature are also apparently not happy, over concerns that their agenda is going to be a harder sell in the post-Heller reality. Armed and Safe favorite tyranny enabler, Commissar . . . er, Senator Dan Kotowski, in adjusting to Heller, seems to have forgotten about the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005:

"This ruling has clarified the debate," said. Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), a former gun control lobbyist. "If you are going to allow access, like most of the country does already, what are we going to do to make our society safer? The gun industry is basically the last unregulated industry in our country. They should abide by same sort of health and safety regulations that apply when any other consumer product is sold, whether that’s teddy bears ... or a bottle of aspirin."
The same article indicates that Senator Benedict Arnold . . . er, John Millner would apparently have us believe that he is turning his cloak again, and is now opposed to forcible citizen disarmament.
Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream), a former police chief in Elmhurst, predicted the ruling will produce a record number of gun bills in the next legislative session.

"People are going to try and figure out what they can do to go after the gun industry, and I think that’s a mistake," said Millner, who believes the Chicago ordinance has been a colossal failure. "They are dealing with emotions and you can't draft public policy on emotion alone."
You'll have to do a lot better than that, traitor.

Here's some good news--two Chicago suburbs with handgun bans, Wilmette and Morton Grove, are apparently suspending their bans, while they try to determine what kind of legal footing they're on. This, presumably, is in response to NRA plans to file their own suits against suburbs with such bans.
Wilmette will suspend enforcement of the ban while attorneys decide whether the ruling applies to them, said Village President Chris Canning.

[ . . . ]

Morton Grove Mayor Richard Krier said the village would comply with the law.

"We are a small suburban town," he said of the north suburb, which banned the possession or sale of handguns 27 years ago. "We've never had any real handgun violence before then or since then."
Now, War on Guns tells us that "Snuffy" Pfleger is "sad" about the Heller ruling.

That was at an event with Governor Rod Blagojevich, who called the ruling "very scary."

Finally, and this isn't really directly related to Heller, but while I'm talking about Illinois, I can't in good conscience neglect to remind readers of the Second Amendment Freedom Rally (SAFR), in Chicago on July 11th. Even if you can't make it, perhaps you could help defray the very considerable costs.

ICHV opposes the Constitution

It is of course no surprise that the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence (ICHV) has issues with the Second Amendment, but I didn't expect them to publicly state their opposition to the entire U.S. system of government. That, however, is exactly what they did here, in questioning our Constitutional separation of powers, as laid out in our three branch system of government (specifically, the vital role of the judiciary).

Like many, we believe that the United States has the best judicial system in the world. But to think that five people can overturn a policy supported by hundreds of thousands in the D.C. area and every member of the City Council -- well, that decision needs to be questioned. With all due respect, the fact that five people have this opinion does not mean it is something we should accept.
Yep--you read that correctly--if the Supreme Court protects the rights of 49% of the populace, in disregard of the 51% that wants to trample those rights, we need to fundamentally alter the Constitution and the structure of our government.

Never mind that the lifetime terms of Supreme Court Justices is intended specifically to insulate them from the necessity of securing their positions by appealing to the will of mob rule, thus freeing them to protect the rights of minorities--this decision protected the "wrong right."

By the way; " . . . the fact that five people have this opinion does not mean it is something we should accept"? Well, what are you going to do--rebel (with your "Army of the Voluntarily Disarmed")?

And these tyranny enablers call us "extremists." At least when we talk about insurrection, we talk about maintaining the means for insurrection.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mayor Daley reads the writing on the wall--and doesn't like what it says

As Days of Our Trailers points out, the Illinois State Rifle Associaton (ISRA) has wasted no time in moving to get Chicago's draconian gun ban overturned.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, and the ruling will likely invalidate the 26-year-old ban on handguns in the City of Chicago.

In fact, the Illinois State Rifle Association has already filed a lawsuit challenging the Chicago ban. They filed the suit within 15 minutes of the high court's ruling.
Days of Our Trailers also points out that Mayor Daley is none too happy about the Heller ruling. This quote (from the Chicago Tribune) is the part that has Thirdpower (at Days of Our Trailers) especially amused:
"This decision really places those who are rich and those who are in power [to] always feel safe," Daley said. "Those who do not have the power do not feel safe, and that's what they're saying."
Personally, I like this quote (from CBS2 Chicago, linked to earlier in this blog post):
Speaking during a morning event at Navy Pier, Daley said any effort to strike down Chicago's handgun ban would likely increase taxes because of the increased need for police presence.
So how do you explain Chicago's insane taxes now, Mayor?

The CBS2 story also has a video clip of Daley's rant, for those with vast tolerance for foolishness.

In yet another article, this one in the Chicago Sun-Times, Daley rages over cities losing the ability to " . . . protect [them]selves from people who want guns in our society."
Why should we as a city not be able to protect ourselves from those who want guns in our society?
Not "protect themselves from" criminals, but from gun rights advocates. "Homegrown terrorists" like me, I guess.

By the way, Mayor, I bet you'll really love this.

Brady Campaign response to Heller ruling: 'Send money!'

A bit after the Heller ruling was handed down (which I haven't had time to analyze yet, but seems to be about what I expected--a good first step to restoring the Second Amendment), I decided to see what the Brady Campaign had to say about it.

I should have guessed that it would be a plea for money:

(click on image to enlarge).

Well, there's one thing that this ruling hasn't changed.

UPDATE: The VPC, on the other hand, isn't bothering with begging for cash--Josh jumped straight into calling Scalia the root of all evil.

Don't count your Heller chickens before they hatch

As just about anyone following the citizen disarmament/gun rights debate knows, the Supreme Court District of Columbia v. Heller decision will almost certainly be announced today. I can't help but notice that many of my fellow gun rights advocates are treating the actual announcement of the decision almost as a formality, as the cue to start the official celebration. I worry that these people are setting themselves up for disappointment.

Anyone who expects the epidemic of gun laws to be halted today is deluded. The battleground will most likely shift, hopefully in our favor, but there will be plenty of fighting left to do. Incorporation of the Second Amendment, for example, is almost certainly not going to be dealt with directly, although it might be hinted at, and if the individual rights interpretation wins the day (as it should, being the only interpretation that makes a lick of sense), the prospects for eventual incorporation are probably pretty good.

The level of scrutiny is another matter. Constitutionally speaking, I have trouble imagining how shall not be infringed can be squared with anything less than strict scrutiny (actually, I'm not sure that's enough--but there isn't a "double secret strict" scrutiny, is there?), but since the National Firearms Act of '34, the Gun Control Act of '68, and the Hughes Amendment to the Firearm Owners Protection Act of '86 would all be very hard to reconcile with strict scrutiny, and since very few (if any) of the justices seem inclined to overturn those abominations, I have serious doubts that we'll get strict scrutiny, even if Scalia writes the opinion.

If the Justices decide that the only standard a gun law must face is one of "reasonableness," then we are, in many ways, back where we started, reduced to arguing about which infringements on that which shall not be infringed are "reasonable" infringements. The Brady Campaign and various other dimwits are now actually claiming they'll welcome an individual rights interpretation, if they can move the scrutiny battle into the realm of what's "reasonable." It kind of makes one wonder why they have fought so desperately for their mythical "collective rights" interpretation in the past, but I digress.

In the end, I believe that killing the "collective rights" interpretation once and for all would be a very significant victory for rights, and would strip the other side of one of its favorite weapons of the last few decades. Still, if we allow ourselves to become complacent, convinced that our guns are now secure, we might wake up to find that it has been deemed "reasonable" to ban so-called "assault weapons," to require so-called "smart guns" and micro-stamped ammo--to, in other words, regulate to death the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

The other side may be forced to change tactics, but change them they will, and only hard, activist work on our part will stand between us and "reasonable tyranny."

By the way, a good analysis of the implications of Scalia writing the Heller decision can be found here. In the comments, the following excellent point is made about protecting the right to own a firearm on the basis of said firearm being in "common use": machine guns are not in very common (civilian) use, because laws have ensured their uncommonness for almost seventy five years. A pretty slick way for the other side to simply duck the debate about full-auto. Hmm--I wonder if enough people have .50 caliber rifles for those to be considered to be in "common use."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Speaking of the Deacons for Defense . . .

In my last post, I highlighted the contrast between the approach of the Deacons, on the one hand, and that taken by Jesse Jackson, on the other. I've made no secret of my disdain for Jackson and his RainbowPUSHers, but I clearly can't accuse him of being a flip-flopper. In the book I cited earlier, it is made clear that Jackson was opposed to the Deacons' methods even in the 60's.

The Chicago [Deacons] chapter's relationship with [Dr. Martin Luther] King was cloaked in mystery. Beginning in July 1966, the Chicago Deacons, led by John Harris and Fats Crawford, provided security for King at speaking events in Chicago and when King traveled in the South. Harris later said that King's lieutenants were divided over the role of the Deacons, with Jesse Jackson adamantly opposed to any contact between King and the Deacons.
Jackson, apparently, would have been happier if the only guns near Dr. King were held by Klan members and racist cops.

It's enough to make one wonder which side Jackson was really on, and which side he's on now.

The civil rights march most have never heard about--and that some would prefer to keep under wraps

Not long ago, I read Professor Lance Hill's excellent Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement. I had already been familiar with the Deacons, of course, but only on a fairly rudimentary level--without much more knowledge than one could glean from the Wikipedia entry. I eventually realized that this is a subject on which I needed more information, and Hill's book proved to be a superb source.

I found one event described in the book particularly compelling, but first, a bit of background information is in order.

In the summer of 1965, the conflict in the South between the civil rights movement and the bigots was coming to a head. In Louisiana and elsewhere, the Klan terrorized the black community with little or no fear of prosecution, and in fact could often count on police complicity, or even outright participation. The Deacons, knowing that they were on their own in protecting their community from the Klan's terror campaign, were prepared to do just that.

In fact, on July 8th, when a white mob attacked a civil rights march in Bogalusa, Louisisana, one of the Deacons, Henry Austin, shot and wounded one of the attackers, Alton Crowe (who survived). With this shooting, an all out war between the Klan and the Deacons appeared imminent, and Louisiana Governor John McKeithen felt compelled to intervene. He chose an unfortunate approach.

Later in Baton Rouge McKeithen publicly lashed out at the Deacons, announcing that he had ordered state police to confiscate all weapons found in cars or on persons in Bogalusa. The confiscation order would apply to both blacks and whites, explained McKeithen, but he left little doubt about who his target was. "We're going to run the Deacons out of business and anybody else that's got pistols and rifles and shotguns," he declared. Charlie Sims [one of the Deacons] had, in the past, made clear how he would respond to such an order. "I would rather be caught in Bogalusa with concealed weapons," he would snort, "than without them."

On 14 July [Bogalusa] Mayor [Jesse] Cutrer announced that the city had drafted an ordinance to confiscate guns in the event of an emergency. The Voters League responded to the challenge by promptly organizing a march on Wednesday, 14 July, to protest the threatened confiscation. It was a protest that Martin Luther King or any other civil rights leader would have found unimaginable: a nonviolent march demanding the right to armed self-defense. The march ended with a spirited, defiant rally defending the Deacons. "If it weren't for the Deacons not many of us would be in the church tonight," A.Z. Young reminded his audience. "They would have run us all out of town. . . . We got the lowdowndest white people in Bogalusa than anywhere."

Louis Lomax assailed McKeithen's duplicity in threatening to disarm the Deacons while the Klan used guns with impunity. "They talk about picking up guns," Lomax told the crowd. "They didn't talk about it 100 years ago. They only talk about it when Charlie Sims has guns. Why didn't they pick up guns when two Negro deputies were shot?" Bob Hicks waxed indignant at the governor's charge that Lomax had swayed the Voters League to reject the moratorium. "We are in command. We run this campaign. This is our town. When the hard fight is over, we have to live in Bogalusa." Hicks charged that state leaders had created the conditions that called the Deacons into existence. "Guns are the only protection you have if laws are no good," he maintained. "I don't know if I'd be here today unless I had a gun." It was McKeithen and Cutrer who had created the crisis by abdicating leadership to the Klan, continued Hicks. "The Governor has no power, the mayor has no power and if no one has any power everyone should run around wild." Young summed up the tense, apocalyoptic mood of the rally: "We are on the verge of civil war."
Now, of course, we have Jesse Jackson protesting in favor of citizen disarmament, and some idiots claiming that gun rights advocacy is racist.

Perhaps it's time for the Deacons to march again. Have I mentioned Chicago?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chicago Alderman loophole passed

For those following the strange, sordid saga of the "Chicago Alderman loophole" (my last update is here), the ordinance proposed by Alderman Richard Mell (enthusiastic supporter of so-called "gun control," and father-in-law of rabidly anti-gun Governor Blagojevich) to allow him to skirt the very laws of which he is so supportive--it passed on June 11th. I was actually watching the live video feed at the time, but it happened so quickly, I couldn't be absolutely positive that it had in fact passed.

Oddly, although there was decent coverage of the issue in the Chicago papers up until June 4th, after that (and I checked daily), there has been nothing. Well, yesterday, the City Clerk's office finally updated the website to include the "Substantive Adopted Legislation" for June 11th, and the ordinance is listed there as passed (top of the last page):

Page 8
O2008-2626 Mell (33) Police and Fire
Establishment of provision allowing for re-submission of firearm registration certificate renewal application.
What I can't find so far is the actual text of the ordinance. Rumor has it that the "amnesty" (for those who can speak of "allowing" someone to register his Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms as an "amnesty," without vomiting) has been extended to six months in the final version--perhaps at Mayor Daley's behest.

When I find the text, I'll post it.

Speaking of Chicago and gun laws, don't forget SAFR (Second Amendment Freedom Rally) on July 11th.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Speaking of open carry . . .

Anyone who has been harassed for legal open carry in Wisconsin is asked to read this:

...and have been harrassed by police, you need to contact Samantha Hernandez on OpenCarry.org. She writes for Milwaukee Magazine and is doing a piece on extra-legal harrassment of open carry by police.
Advocates of forcible citizen disarmament know that if seeing good, responsible, peaceable people carrying handguns becomes commonplace, we win. That's why they're so desperate to shut down the open carry movement. That desperation is, in some cases, driving them to openly persecute people who have complied with every pertinent law.

Let's not let them get away with that.

Just call me an 'inconsiderate boor'*

Salt Lake Tribune columnist Rebecca Walsh says that people who openly carry defensive firearms are "gun-crazy," and that their refusal to be defenseless (or to hide that refusal) is somehow indicative of extreme immaturity.

He also has started making explosion and gunfire noises.

I get the inevitability of little boys' fascination for guns.

What I can't figure out are the men and sometimes women who don't grow out of the gun-crazy stage of childhood, who need to have a handgun on their hips at all times, who need their neighbors to notice.
I suppose that even a person who refuses to be defenseless doesn't need to have a gun available at all times--when in a place where one can be absolutely positive that no evil psychopath bent on murder and fifteen minutes of (posthumous) "fame" will be present, I suppose a firearm is superfluous. Let's see--what kinds of places would that be? Schools? Shopping malls? Hmm--finding a place where defenselessness seems like a good idea is starting to look a bit difficult.

Walsh goes on to say that she understands why people might be drawn to shooting for sport (target shooting and hunting), and she even claims to understand why some people might carry a concealed defensive firearm--it's carrying one openly that she doesn't understand (or approve of).
But the OpenCarry movement is a mystery to me. What kind of psychology - overcompensation, paranoia, antisocial personality - is behind that thinking?
I've talked about the reason before, Rebecca, and it's pretty simple. Much of society views firearms--particularly handguns--as tools of the government (military, law enforcement, etc.) or crime. For people to realize that many folks just like them also carry the means to survive an encounter with evil, a bit of public education is in order. Open carry is an excellent way of providing that education--which, I suspect, is the reason some folks find it so objectionable. Case in point:
Steven Gunn, an attorney and board member of the Gun Violence Prevention Center of Utah, believes it's pure ego.

"We have inconsiderate boors walking around on the street carrying firearms openly," says Gunn. "I don't think they are truly afraid for their safety. Most of them are trying to make a statement about the 2nd Amendment."
As we all know, making a statement about one's Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human rights is just . . . tacky. That Martin Luther King guy? What a prima donna.

Rebecca actually has something to say about rights:
Police are struggling to strike a balance between gun owners' rights and those of the rest of us.
Unfortunately, what she says about rights doesn't make any sense. There's no "balance" to be struck here--the rights of "the rest of us" are in no way violated by the fact of peaceable, responsible citizens openly carrying firearms.

The "best" line came from a professor at a university in (where else?) Illinois:
"Second Amendment questions aside," says Springwood, a professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, "the real debate seems to me a cultural and social one: Do we want a society in which it is an unconscious emblem of everyday life that folks move about with 'portable killing machines' strapped to their bodies?
First, if you plan to stop open carry with more gun laws there is no setting "Second Amendment questions aside"--if you want to infringe on that which shall not be infringed, you're going to have to square that with the Bill of Rights. Good luck with that. As to people "with 'portable killing machines' [sigh] strapped to their bodies"--you don't expect people to move about with non-portable ones, do you? But to answer your question, Professor, yes--we do want the carrying of firearms to become an utterly unremarkable exercise of the right to keep and bear arms.

As good a place as any for this picture of teenage girls buying ice cream in Israel.

* Not really--since Illinois mandates defenselessness, if I carry a loaded firearm, it had better be concealed--still, I'm an "inconsiderate boor" in spirit (as well as being a whiney hag).

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's here!

Back in April, there was a flurry of disapproving (to put it mildly) media coverage of the fact that Eric Thompson, owner of TGSCOM was promoting self-defense, especially for college students, by offering guns at his cost. The critics got especially indignant over the fact that Thompson, lacking the mystical mind-reading powers to divine the intentions of the (technically) human pieces of garbage who shot up Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, sold them some of the hardware used in those atrocities--fully in accordance with every pertinent law.

Like anyone else in the gun rights advocacy community, I tend to take umbrage at the vilification of someone who followed all the draconian rules regulating the gun trade, but is still blamed for the evil acts of others. That his audacious willingness to, instead of retreating, come out and actively (and articulately) confront the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament, simply deepened my respect for Mr. Thompson.

So, I ordered a gun from him. OK--that sounds a bit more noble than it actually was. I wanted this ├╝bercool gun, and his price (with the "at cost" deal) was too good to pass up.

I had to wait for it (as I would have no matter where I'd ordered it--the magnum version of "The Judge," that accepts 3" magnum .410 shells, wasn't to be had from anyone), but it's here now. Enjoy my bloody awful photography:

(click to enlarge)

I have it loaded with Winchester 3" magnum .410 000 buckshot (5 pellets of .36 caliber) in the first two chambers, and Buffalo Bore 255 grain flat points in the last three.

Thank you, Mr. Thompson!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Speaking of Mark Kirk . . .

I'm a very easygoing guy, but when someone does manage to annoy me (and few things annoy me like attacks on my Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human rights), I tend to have difficulty letting it go in a hurry. That being the case, it should probably surprise no one that even after expressing my contempt for Congressman Mark Kirk (R-IL) twice in the last week, I'm still not done with the little aspiring overseer.

I've also talked more than once about H.R. 2074, Congressman Peter King's (R-NY) bill to allow the attorney general to unilaterally block gun sales to anyone he or she wants to disarm, by the simple mechanism of placing the would-be gun purchaser on the "terrorist watch list"--a list that is already well over half a million names long. The attorney general, of course, is not an elected official, but under H.R. 2074, would have the power to block gun sales to someone without a conviction, without an indictment, without so much as an arrest--so much for "innocent until proven guilty."

I bring this up again because, although it comes as no surprise, I hadn't realized until just now that Kirk is a co-sponsor of H.R. 2074. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only who has noticed how easy it has become to be categorized as a "Homegrown Terrorist."

Under H.R. 2074, pushed by "Republicans" King and Kirk, that's how easy it would be to be denied the ability to legally arm oneself. I don't think that's an accident.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The sad state of the 'Republican' Party in the 10th Illinois Congressional District

I've made no effort to hide my contempt for U.S. Congressleech Mark Kirk (R-IL), of the 10th Illinois Congressional District. A tail-wagging lap-dog of Mayor Bloomberg's, he introduced a bill to ban so-called "assault weapons" last week. Actually, one does not even have to be a gun rights advocate to see that he's a freedom-hating, wannabe petty tyrant--he also wants to turn Social Security cards into Real IDs.

Basically, he's your standard neo-con authoritarian, in the mold of Giuliani, or Congressman Peter King (R-NY), hoping to parlay hysterical fear of "Islamic Terrorists" into the willing surrender of Constitutionally guaranteed, absolute, fundamental human rights. As such, I consider him a loathsome, contemptible slug, but not someone worthy of even enough respect to justify outright enmity. Imagine my surprise, then, when I noticed that a Mark Kirk fanboy blog linked to my last post about Kirk, referring to me as an example of one of Kirk's "mortal enemies."

Kirk also has made mortal enemies of the gun advocates.
This, you have to understand, was an expression of pride in (Brady Campaign-endorsed) Kirk's gun banning extremism, in a post indignantly (and correctly) refuting Kirk's Democratic challenger's (Dan Seals) apparent assertion that Kirk has only recently gotten on board with the forcible citizen disarmament agenda.

Probably foolishly, I decided to leave a comment, in order to try to clear the air a bit. The comment turned into a bit of an argument, and if what I have seen from most of the folks who comment on that site is at all indicative of Illinois 10th Congressional District "Republicans," Kirk might be just the guy for them (although I can't really see how Seals wouldn't be just as good, to their way of thinking)--they just love the comforting embrace of big government.

If this is what the Republican Party is coming to, let's get the Whig-like outright extinction of the party out of the way now, so we can get on with the business of replacing it with something, you know . . . American. While we're waiting for that to happen, 10th District voters who value liberty aren't going to do any better than Allan Stevo.

War on Guns has much more.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Second Amendment rally in the belly of the beast

If you can get to Chicago (and even if you normally make a point of avoiding Chicago--an easily understandable policy) on July 11th, you need to do so. The Illinois gun rights movement, with the help of ISRA and Illinois Carry, has a little surprise for the purveyors of the forcible citizen disarmament agenda in Illinois.

(Click on image for larger view, or click here for the pdf version).

That's right--a Second Amendment rally in downtown Chicago, featuring Suzanna Hupp (if you don't know who she is, or how compelling she is as a speaker, see this).

IGOLD was a big success last year, and a bigger one this year, but the heart of Illinois' anti-gun tyranny is in Chicago. It's time to take the fight to them.

UPDATE: I am told that the map on the flyer is incorrect. Will post anew when a corrected map is available. Sorry about that.

UPDATE 2: The map is now corrected, both in the image, and in the pdf version. Again, sorry for the confusion.

Banning the .50 in New Jersey

In New Jersey, where Constitutional rights go to die, an effort is (as usual) afoot to ban .50 caliber rifles. The bill, A-2116 would (for whatever baffling reason) even ban modern, inline muzzleloaders of .50 caliber or more (in other words, the most popular hunting muzzleloaders). The primary sponsor is New Jersey Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-15th district), and he justifies it rather . . . oddly.

Gusciora said his measure (A-2116) gained increased significance after six men were charged in May 2007 with planning an assault on Fort Dix with the goal of "killing as many soldiers as possible," using military-grade weapons, like mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and AK-47s.
Let me get this straight--their plan was to use weapons "like mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and AK-47s," so we need to ban an utterly unrelated type of firearm? Never mind--I think I get it--mortars, rocket-propelled grenades, and true (fully-automatic) AK-47s are already illegal (or so heavily regulated as makes no difference), but .50 caliber rifles, like this muzzleloader:

(looks scary, doesn't it?) haven't been banned yet, so what are we waiting for?
"In a post-9/11 society, there is simply no reason for .50-caliber weapons to be available for civilian use," said Gusciora (D-Mercer). "With the continued rise in gang violence across the state and the fact that New Jersey possesses numerous chemical plants and rail yards vulnerable to attack by .50-caliber weapons, we have a serious responsibility to stop these inherently deadly weapons from falling into the wrong hands."

According to Gusciora, .50-caliber assault rifles are prized for their long-range accuracy capacity to disable or destroy parked aircraft, armored personnel carriers, rail tank cars, bulk fuel storage, and concrete bunkers in war zones.
Keep in mind, rifles chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge have been available on the civilian market in the U.S. for over twenty years now. Care to guess how many aircraft have been destroyed by people using them in this country? How many rail tank cars? Bulk fuel or dangerous chemical storage tanks? How many people killed? As it turns out, the number in every case is the same, and I'll give you a hint: it starts with a "z," and ends with an "ero."

That number also happens to describe the amount of merit in legislation like A-2116.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gun rights advocacy is pornographic?

I was taking a look at my site traffic (what there is of it) this afternoon, and noticed a couple referrals (both in Phoenix, AZ) from the settings page of a site called Covenant Eyes. This, apparently, is a site intended to offer the service of blocking access to pornographic websites. Oddly, Armed and Safe was apparently judged to be among those.

Evidently, some people get turned on by the darndest of things.

That should do it

Friday, I posted an update about H.R. 4900, the "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007." At that time, this potentially very helpful bill (in terms of reining in some of the BATFE's rampant abuses) had two hundred sixteen co-sponsors, in addition to the original sponsor.

Assuming all of them vote in favor (a fair--although not guaranteed--assumption, if they're present), that would provide all but one vote needed for a majority in the House. Generally, of course, it can be assumed that some who would not co-sponsor a bill would still be willing to vote for it, but it's definitely encouraging for a bill to have enough co-sponsors to form the majority all by themselves.

As of now, we have that (and more), with three more Congresspeople having signed on yesterday.

Let's get it voted on, passed, and sent on to the (admittedly much more difficult) effort in the Senate.

What do you have to do to get locked up for a long time in Philadelphia?

The title of this Philadelphia Daily News article, "A gun dealer's history of violence," might understandably lead one to believe that the article is about . . . well, a gun dealer. A bit of reading quickly reveals, though, that Rodney Phath is no more a "gun dealer" than a gang banger selling crack is a pharmacist, and that Phath is about as likely to obtain a Federal Firearms License (FFL), as he is to win the Nobel Peace Prize. To the Philly Daily News, though, the fact that he sold some guns on the Philadelphia streets makes him a "gun dealer."

In February, 24-year-old Rodney Phath was allegedly peddling assault rifles and the drug Ecstasy on Mifflin Street near 19th in South Philadelphia.

One of the rifles was an SKS, the same type of high-powered gun that killed police Sgt. Stephen Liczbinski on May 3.
Note the obligatory mention of the "high-powered assault rifle" of the type used to kill Sgt. Liczbinski. That's not what I plan to focus on today, though--this is:
After Phath was arrested for weapons offenses, conspiracy and possession on Feb. 11, Bail Commissioner James O'Brien set bail at $25,000. Phath posted bail the next day and was free to go.
And this.
In September 2006, he was arrested again for attempted murder, simple assault, aggravated assault and related offenses for allegedly shooting a former roommate after an argument, according to court records.

When police arrested Phath, they confiscated a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, a .380 pistol, a .22-caliber semiautomatic rifle and a .25-caliber rifle from his home.

The charges were withdrawn or dismissed, court records show.
Beginning to notice a pattern here? Oh, and let's not forget this:
A month later, Phath was re-arrested on the aggravated-assault and weapons charges. The charges were eventually once again dismissed, according to court records, which didn't indicate the reason.
I won't count his 2004 arrest, for carrying a loaded BB gun in his car (you can get arrested for having a loaded BB gun?).

After Phath's posting of bail in February, he was still free to commit more crimes--a situation of which he, of course, took advantage. He was recently arrested again, after an armed home invasion/robbery. Philly's penchant for refusing to lock up violent criminals, allowing those experienced thugs to go on to commit more mayhem, has been discussed before, and as far as I'm concerned, makes the "justice" system an accomplice to every murder committed in Philly by violent, uncontrolled beasts who should have been locked up for their previous acts of savagery.

Mayor Nutter is so bent on "getting guns off the streets" that he is willing to break the law to do it--would it be inappropriate to suggest that perhaps he instead focus on getting the criminals off the streets?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

By Illinois standards, this is kind of a big deal

In most parts of the country, formal endorsement on the part of the state Republican Party of the right to carry a defensive firearm would hardly be cause for celebration--it's something one would expect. This is Illinois, though, where the Republican Party sends statist, gun banning dolts like Mark Kirk to Washington. In other words, standards are quite a lot lower here. That's why we're forced to count as progress even as backhanded an endorsement of self-defense (more on that in a minute) as this (pdf file).

Specifically, we endorse:

Continued use of the Firearm Owners Identification system and use of criminal and mental background checks by licensed firearms dealers;

State pre-emption of local ordinances which impede the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms (see the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution);

We strongly endorse and support the 2nd Amendment to the Bill of Rights to the U. S. Constitution. We believe every citizen (American) has the right to keep and bear arms. No state city or local law should be allowed to infringe upon this right;

Enactment of “Concealed Carry” legislation offering permits to properly trained, law-abiding citizens to bear concealed weapons for personal protection
It starts off pretty badly, obviously, with an endorsement of the continuation of the egregious FOID program. That was almost enough to make me stop reading, right from the beginning.

It gets better, though. Illinois is one of the few states without state preemption of firearms laws, and as a result, places like Chicago (and to a lesser extent, all of Cook County) are subject to gun laws even more draconian than those imposed on the rest of the state. It's therefore encouraging to see the state GOP finally going on record as being committed to changing that.

The claim to "strongly endorse and support the 2nd Amendment . . . " is hard to take very seriously, considering the first point of endorsement, but this being Illinois, I doubt they even see the paradox.

Then, the (sort of) big one--concealed carry. Not all that long ago, bringing concealed carry to Illinois was what I lived and breathed for. Over time, I have come to realize that getting the government to license a fundamental, human right is hardly the enormous victory I once thought it would be. Still, as I keep saying, this is Illinois, where merely slowing down the pace of new infringements is something of a victory.

The Illinois GOP is in tatters, with Democratic majorities in both legislative houses and in the governor's mansion (if he actually lived there, but that's another story), so their endorsement isn't exactly likely to carry the day, but perhaps this means that Republicans--Illinois Republicans--are finally starting to take gun rights seriously. This could be good for both gun rights and the Republican Party.

Yet another bill to ban so-called 'assault weapons'

Back in April, I mentioned one of Bloomberg's pet Congressleeches, Brady-endorsed Mark Kirk (R-IL). He's a hardcore freedom-hater, and that's without even getting into his support for a Real ID-like revamping of the Social Security Card.

Last week, he introduced another bill to ban so-called "assault weapons," H.R. 6257, which I believe to be a word-for-word reprise of the ban that expired in 2004. That makes it somewhat less broad than H.R. 1022, and thus presumably more easily passed. It only has three co-sponsors so far, but it's one we need to watch.

More importantly, Illinois 10th Congressional district voters need to get Kirk out of Congress this November. His Democratic opponent, Dan Seals, is probably no better for gun rights (although I can't find specific mention of his positions on gun issues), but a vote for him would help remove a hardcore anti-gun Republican from Congress. For those who share my inclination to tilt at windmills, there's Allan Stevo (independent), running on a pro-Constitution, pro-gun platform.

It's time to start campaigning for one of those two (in other words, campaigning against Kirk), to get one of the most anti-gun Republicans out of Congress.

Monday, June 16, 2008

The 'shame' of liberty

I have never given much thought to open carry (as opposed to concealed), because A) I live in a state in which both concealed and open carry are illegal under most circumstances, and B) from a tactical standpoint, I would prefer not to surrender the element of surprise. Still, in the sense that open carry helps educate the public that criminals and the police don't have a monopoly on the means to use force, open carry has a real place in the gun rights activist's toolbox, as discussed in a recent LA Times article.

That is exactly why Boston Globe columnist James Carroll is so vehemently opposed to it.

"Open carry" aims to remove such visceral negativity, though the taboo amounts, in fact, to last ditch gun control. The "normalizing" of guns will inevitably normalize their use. From movies to legislation to political rhetoric - and now to "accessory" fashion: guns galore. And who, pray tell, will bear, not the arms, but the consequences?
Carroll, intentionally or not, makes the same point that many proponents of open carry make--that it helps to advertise the gun culture, and make it more mainstream. This clearly terrifies him.
In the great American gun debate, some would forgo the primordial shame the weapon still generates. Hence the "open carry" movement. But given the gun-deaths of children, and the sponsoring gun-paralysis of politics, Americans should have more shame, not less. A gun is no iPod. Shame is the children's last protection.
The anguished bleating of a sniveling herbivore like Carroll is the best argument yet in favor of open carry.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Celebrate Independence Day by planting a seed

For a while now, War on Guns has been covering a very worthwhile program, the Appleseed Project.

What the RWVA (Revolutionary War Veterans Association) is all about:
The Appleseed Program is designed to take you from being a simple rifle owner to being a true rifleman. All throughout American history, the rifleman has been defined as a marksman capable of hitting a man-sized target from 500 yards away — no ifs, ands or buts about it. This 500-yard range is traditionally known as "the rifleman's quarter-mile;" a rifleman can hit just about any target he can see. This skill was particulary evident in the birth of our country, and was the difference in winning the Revolutionary War.
Last night some more information was left in a comment:

Patriots Sought For Independence Day Instruction Opportunity

July 4th-6th, 2008

Proctor, VT
Piru, CA
Ottawa, IL
Ramseur, NC
Canon City, CO

The Revolutionary War Veteran’s Assoc. intends to ride the momentum of their April 19th Appleseed Training events into the Independence Day Weekend. On April 19th, 2008, 527 Citizens across the Nation, gathered at 14 different rifle ranges to simultaneously learn firearms safety, marksmanship, and some Revolutionary War History.

What is Appleseed? The Appleseed Project is a grassroots effort, by a 501.c.3, Non-profit, all volunteer organization, to preserve and pass on traditional rifle marksmanship skills, to Americans across this Nation. This is the third year that the RWVA has been hosting Appleseed Shoots, with the intention of rekindling the American Spirit that gave birth to this wonderful Nation. The Goals of the RWVA, have been high since the very beginning, doubling National attendance every year!

This year marks the 3rd year, and that goal translates to 4000 attendees over the course of the year. At first that may seem like a lot, but on 4/19/1775, 14,000 Volunteers showed up with only six hours notice! To aid us in our goals, Independence Day Weekend Appleseed Shoots are being scheduled across the Country.

Three days of Marksmanship Instruction and Revolutionary War History lessons will undoubtedly leave an impression on all of the attendees. That impression, the RVWA hopes, will be a freshly instilled appreciation of the Founding of this Country and the confidence instilled by newly developed marksmanship skills and knowledge of the safe use of firearms.

Appleseed Shoots are family friendly, and by far, the most cost effective marksmanship instruction available. Attendees under the age of 21 and all members of the Military can attend FREE! This special July 4th presentation of the Appleseed Shoot offers a third day FREE to all who attend. The standard fee (with pre-registration) for an Appleseed is $70 for two days (plus range fees, if any), however, this July 4th will have 3 days of Appleseed for the price of 2! Attendee’s are responsible for their own rifles and ammunition (expect to use 250 rounds of ammunition per day), and eye and ear protection. For further information, please visit us online at: www.appleseedinfo.org

Or you can contact us at:

PO Box 756
Ramseur, NC 27316

For specific Proctor, VT information go here;

For specific Piru, CA information go here;

For specific Ottawa, IL information go here;

For specific Ramseur, NC information go here;

For specific Canon City, CO information go here;
It's hard to imagine a better or more appropriate way to spend one's Independence Day holiday.

Missed something--Dennis Henigan's version of the Second Amendment returns

Thursday, I wrote about concerns held by Willard G. Jones, that the Supreme Court might issue a ruling in Heller that would protect individuals, rather than only government-approved militias, from the epidemic of gun laws.

Somehow, though, I managed to miss something in his quote of the Second Amendment (or, more accurately, something that's not in his quote).

The Supreme Court, for the first time, is about to render a decision regarding the Second Amendment, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state (our nation), the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."
Aside from his helpful interjection that "free state" refers to our nation (thanks for clearing that up, Willard), he seems to prefer the Dennis Henigan version of the Second Amendment to the one that's actually in the Constitution:

That preference, I suppose, is shared by a great many advocates of forcible citizen disarmament. It would be so much easier to justify disarming the people if the amendment didn't explicitly specify that the right it guarantees is a right of the people.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A fresh coat of paint on the 'patrol rifles' vs. 'assault weapons' fiction

Last fall, I wrote about an editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel (the editorial has long since been removed from the Sun-Sentinel's website, but I have a screen capture of it) about the acquisition by several Florida police agencies of what advocates of forcible citizen disarmament refer to as "assault weapons." The Sun-Sentinel's editorial board was quite supportive of this measure:

People shouldn't be opposed to cops having these weapons.
It's the idea of anyone else having such firearms that we're supposed to oppose, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
What people should oppose — strongly — is the guy across the street having one.
In itself, of course, this was nothing new--the media has long championed the idea of restricting the people to less effective arms than are available to the "Only Ones." What made this editorial special was the editorial board's verbal sleight of hand when referring to the weapons in question.
Understandably, officers in more South Florida police agencies have been arming themselves — at their own expense — with patrol rifles to be on more even footing with criminals — particularly gangs — they encounter.
How did that happen? A minute ago, they were "assault weapons"--now they're "patrol rifles"? Pretty nifty transformation, and you apparently don't even need any gunsmithing skills whatsoever to bring it about--it depends simply on whose hands are holding the weapon.

I don't want to come across as self-aggrandizing, and I really have no idea if my blog post back then had anything to do with this, or not, but that blog post got a fair amount of attention (at least for a little, insignificant blogger like me) on the gun blogosphere, and the Sun-Sentinel pulled that editorial from their archives much more quickly than is their typical practice. They also, as far as I am aware, have never used the term "patrol rifle" since.

My point today is that they still haven't quite gotten out of the mindset that arms that are a horrid menace to society when in the hands of the public magically transform into noble tools for society's protection, when in the hands of the police. From another South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial, about the Fort Lauderdale Police Department's acquisition of rifles, in yesterday's paper:
At least we are getting assault-style weapons into the hands of people who actually should have them.
Not "assault weapons," but "assault style weapons." Not as blatant as the "patrol rifles" reference, but we're still expected to believe that an AR-15 in the hands of a private citizen is a scary "assault weapon," but the very same firearm is merely in the "style" of an "assault weapon" when a cop is holding it.

These are the same editors, remember, who claimed that "assault weapons"
. . . have one purpose — to hurt or kill people, namely cops. And the assault weapons ban needs to be reinstated by Congress.
So police need a weapon for which the only purpose is "to hurt or kill people, namely cops"?

Oops--silly me--that just applies to bona fide "assault weapons," not "assault style weapons," or (to nostalgically resurrect an old term) "patrol rifles."

Friday, June 13, 2008

One more?

I've been (intermittently) keeping track of how many co-sponsors have signed onto H.R. 4900, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2007, for some time now (most recently here)

I happened to notice today that with the latest flurry of new co-sponsors, the total comes to two hundred sixteen. One sponsor, plus two hundred sixteen co-sponsors, equals, if my math is correct, two hundred seventeen likely yes votes. That, I believe, is one short of the number necessary to pass it in the House.

Let's git-r-done, folks--and give Bloomberg a big poke in the eye.

Maybe Helmke can tell him how to spin it as a victory.

Written, Constitutional guarantee of rights is a bad idea, according to British subject

It's certainly not news that there is widespread disdain in the UK for the Second Amendment's Constitutional guarantee of the absolute, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. What is surprising, to me at any rate, is seeing it argued that enshrining the protection of any right in a written constitution is a silly, outmoded idea. That, however, is apparently the position of George Robinson, a member of The Guardian's editorial staff.

He starts out with the typical (in the UK) contempt for the Second Amendment, specifically:

The so called 'right to bear arms'. The Second Amendment.
It's not "so-called 'right to bear arms'"--it's a genuine, bona fide, fundamental, human right.
The untouchable written clause in the American way that gives anyone - from a yeehaa Texan President to a yahoo Detroit drug dealer - the God-given right to wield a weapon capable of causing death.
For an Englishman, George's grasp of English seems a bit . . . less than impressive, when he refers to the right to keep and bear arms as being "given" to the people by the Second Amendment (a fallacy that is a real pet peeve of mine), and then, in the same sentence, refers to it as "God-given." It can't be both, George.
How? Why? I don't get it.
You certainly don't, George--finally, something on which we can agree. I suppose we have found common ground, after all.

So, far, of course, he has said nothing that should surprise anyone familiar with how the right to keep and bear arms is viewed in the UK--or among the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament here, for that matter. It's the next bit that floors me.
For anyone who doesn't know, America is governed by a written constitution. A series of amendments cast in stone - like the Commandments handed to Moses.

The UK is governed by an unwritten constitution. The UK's laws are not easily changed, but if a law becomes archaic, out-dated or unworkable, it can be changed. You've got more chance of hell freezing over than you have of changing the US constitution.
First, even if one discounts the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights, hell has apparently frozen over seventeen times, most recently in 1992, when the Twenty-Seventh Amendment was ratified.

That blatant mischaracterization of the U.S Constitution is not what has me worked up, though--it's his apparent contention that an "unwritten constitution" (which sounds about as useful to me as an unloaded gun) is somehow superior to a codified set of limits on governmental power.
These laws were adopted in 1789, a time when a police force per se did not exist. The reason people kept arms was because the people WERE the police. They were asked to keep watch on the community and confront any suspicious persons.

So let me get this straight. The most powerful and developed country in the world is being run in accordance with rules set when people still thought the Earth was flat?

Well, not quite, but you can see my point through the hyperbole.
The "Earth is flat" idea had obviously been pretty soundly discredited about three hundred years before the late 18th century ratification of the Bill of Rights, and although Robinson acknowledges the use of "hyperbole" in that reference, he liked it enough to use it both in the quoted text and in the title of his little editorial.

If ever there is a Tyranny's Best Friend Award for which to compete, Josh Horwitz probably has it locked up on the U.S. level, but Robinson's opposition to written constitutions will make him tough competition on the global level.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

An excellent point

This is directly related to my earlier post about the Brady Campaign's apparent surrender on the issue of whether or not the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms, rather than a "collective" one, but the point is one I believe worthy of its own post.

Indefatigable gun rights advocate and Constitutional scholar David Hardy pointed out in a comment responding to my earlier post that this retreat on the Brady Campaign's part isn't likely to do much to rally support for forcible citizen disarmament.

Wonder how Brady is going to fundraise now. I doubt anyone gave to them in hopes of getting, oh, one gun a month or private sale background checks, and then going home. The draw for contributors was that after those things they'd move on to more, and more, and more.
I hadn't considered that, but it's a compelling argument. It's also not as if they're in a very good spot to weather a cash flow bottleneck.

Mr. Hardy goes into more detail here.
Leaving aside whether those would pass muster ... how does the Brady Campaign hope to survive on them? I'd wager that a LOT of its contributors give only because they believe those are stepping stones to things more significant, a "good start" rather than an end. If they faced a reality in which everything would stop with background checks, an AW ban, and one gun a month -- that they'd never get beyond that -- they might well bail out.
I would love to see what the VPC has to say about Helmke's new position--I certainly don't think Tom Diaz would like it.
Diaz is known for his public policy stances that eschew the incremental political approach taken by others in the gun control community, such as Americans for Gun Safety and the American Hunters and Shooters Association.
Potential trouble in gun banner paradise?

Does the truth hurt, Paul?

"We've lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means," campaign president Paul Helmke told ABC News. "Seventy-five percent of the public thinks it's an individual right. Why are we arguing a theory anymore?
With the Heller ruling not even announced, the Brady Bunch appears to be unhappy with where they expect it to go. Oh, and Paul? That the Second Amendment is a Constitutional guarantee of the fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms isn't a "theory"--that's the fact of the plain text in the Bill of Rights. Get used to it.

Even with a favorable (for us) Heller ruling (which I refuse to see as anything close to a foregone conclusion, as much as I'd like to), the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament have no intention of giving up and moving to the UK, however.
While the Brady Campaign is waving the white flag in the long-running debate on whether the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms or merely a state's right to assemble a militia, it is hoping that losing the "legal battle" will eventually lead to gun control advocates winning the "political war."

"We're expecting D.C. to lose the case," Helmke said. "But this could be good from the standpoint of the political-legislative side."
You bet, Paul--I figure Lee probably wanted to lose at Gettysburg, too. By the way, if you think losing Heller is your strategic master stroke, what was the thinking behind the amicus brief? What's with your statement expressing the hope that the "ruling will uphold the right of people in communities like the District to enact common sense gun measures they feel are needed to protect themselves and their families"? Why did you publish novellas calling the DC Appellate Court ruling "judicial activism at its worst"?

That was the old strategy, apparently. The new strategy, evidently, is to try to take the slippery slope argument away with assurances that "see--we can't ban guns (not all of them, anyway), even if we wanted to."
If the Supreme Court strikes down the D.C. gun ban, the Brady Campaign is hoping that it will reorient gun control groups around more limited measures that will be harder to cast as infringements of the Second Amendment.

"The NRA [National Rifle Association] won't have this fear factor," Helmke said.

Brady Campaign Attorney Dennis Henigan said there are multiple gun control measures that would not run afoul of a Supreme Court decision striking down the D.C. gun ban.

"Universal background checks don't affect the right of self-defense in the home. Banning a super dangerous class of weapons, like assault weapons, also would not adversely affect the right of self-defense in the home," said Henigan. "Curbing large volume sales doesn't affect self-defense in the home."
Guess you didn't notice, Dennis, that "self-defense in the home" is not the only purpose, or even the main purpose, of the Second Amendment, which exists as "the palladium of liberty"--the last bulwark against tyranny. Then again, what can we expect from the man who (in speaking about the Second Amendment and the Heller case) "forgot" about the people in the Second Amendment?

Besides, if the Supreme Court nullifies a ban on handguns, how would one justify a ban on so-called "assault weapons," which are used in a tiny minority of murders and assaults?

Helmke acknowledges that the Brady Campaign has "lost the battle on what the Second Amendment means." That's a pretty damned big battle, and any battle that the Brady Campaign loses is a battle that America wins.

See also: Days of Our Trailers, Snowflakes in Hell, and undoubtedly others that I haven't noticed yet--I have a feeling that this is going to be a popular subject among the Unorganized Militia Propaganda Corps blogs.

So the Supreme Court should listen to this guy?

Willard G. Jones is concerned that the Supreme Court is going to get it wrong when ruling on District of Columbia v. Heller. Wrong in what way, you ask? Could be any of a range of things--from ruling that the right protected by the Second Amendment is actually a right, or that "of the people" means--you know . . . the people, or that "shall not be infringed" somehow means that the right . . . shall not be infringed. He apparently doesn't want SCOTUS to come to any of those conclusions.

His grasp of history (and facts, and logic) seems a bit slippery:

The Supreme Court, for the first time, is about to render a decision regarding the Second Amendment, "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state (our nation), the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed," Certainly during and after the Revolutionary War an armed militia was critical to achieve and maintain independence since no armed forces existed.
"No armed forces existed"? There was no Continental Army, to which the militia was considered an adjunct? Boy--a whole lot of historians got that wrong.
Many citizens believe that the first part of the amendment, forming a "militia," establishes the justification for the second part, "the right to keep and bear arms."
If the first part (or any part) of the Second Amendment exists for the purpose of "forming a militia," it's a bit surprising that nothing in the language of the amendment actually does that. Silly me--here I was thinking that it was Article 1, Section 8 that did that.

Yes--the security of a free state requires that the people have the ability to form militias; and for those militias to fulfill their function, the people must have access to effective combat arms.
The first half of the amendment is independent, and the second part depends on the first for its meaning.
Not a grammarian, are you, Willard? Here's a little experiment for you: Take the first part of the amendment (the "independent" part), and have it stand alone--you get "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state." Hmm--I sense a problem. That doesn't even form a meaningful sentence. By contrast, the part that Willard claims is "dependent" on the first--"the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed," does just fine as a sentence--all by its lonesome. I just love having the Constitution explained to me by someone who gets the meaning of independence exactly wrong.
Some argue that the Constitution is a static document not to be influenced by evolving history.
Anyone who argues that "the Constitution is a static document" is apparently unaware that a mechanism exists for amending it (which would seem a rather difficult detail to miss). Or, by "static document," did you mean that some reject the notion that the text takes on new meanings, as if by magic, with the passage of time? Yeah--I fear I'm one of those people who believe it means what it says, until it says something different.
However, it is hard to imagine the need to form a militia to defend our nation when we have a well-armed military and National Guard.
And who is to defend our nation from our "well-armed military and National Guard"?
Had our forefathers envisioned the proliferation of automatic and assault weapons, one wonders what impact it might have had on the Second Amendment.
Perhaps "one wonders" about that--a great many of the rest of us, on the other hand, are confident that the Founding Fathers would realize that today's militias should be able to equip themselves with the most effective light infantry weapons available.

Jones titles his screed "Supreme Court must shun outside view on Second Amendment." If he fancies himself an "insider," I'd say it's the inside view that must be shunned.
Willard G. Jones is a longtime resident of Greeley and former administrator of the University of Northern Colorado.
Let us all thank goodness that he wasn't an instructor.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taking a gander at Horwitz's latest attempt to cook liberty's goose

Josh Horwitz, of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, is once again arguing that the people of the United States have no right to resist tyranny (this is far from the first time he has made such an argument)--this time, oddly enough, using Mexico to illustrate his "point."

Here in America we often hear the gun lobby spout off about how freedom is best preserved by unfettered access to firearms, but the current situation in Mexico demonstrates that reality can sometimes get in the way of public relations slogans.

[ . . . ]

Additionally, Vice President Dick Cheney and a majority of Members of Congress recently endorsed an "insurrectionist" reading of the Second Amendment in an amicus brief in the landmark Supreme Court case of District of Columbia v. Heller.* The Court is reviewing a decision by a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals which held--without precedent--that the Second Amendment, among other things, protects an individual right to possess arms to defend against the "depredations of a tyrannical government." Practically, this would mean that individuals would have the constitutional right to arm themselves and violently overthrow our government once they decided it had become oppressive (not unlike the unilateral action that Timothy McVeigh took in bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995).
Unfortunately for Josh, the argument he never tires of knocking down is a straw man, and is not, as far as I am aware, made by any gun rights advocates. No one, to my knowledge, claims that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to revolt against the government. Such a right does not even make sense--revolution waged with the permission of government isn't revolution.

The Second Amendment exists not to safeguard the right to revolt against the Constitutional government, but to protect the people's means to resist a government that refuses to be bound by the Constitution. While the government adheres to the Constitution, the people are obligated to obey the laws written and passed by their elected representatives. If and when the government ceases that adherence, all bets are off. The Second Amendment is the mechanism by which those "bets" will be rescinded.

I was planning to write more, but other matters intrude. Perhaps later.

P.S. ThirdPower and I seem to be on similar wavelengths again--Days of Our Trailers covered this, too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Illinois taxpayers footing the bill for Illinois' War on Guns

Back in April, I wrote about the Chicago Public Schools system's taxpayer-funded program of using Chicago public high school students (a whopping 51% of whom graduate) as lobbyists for yet more draconian gun legislation in the state. The legislative session has ended, and the forcible citizen disarmament lobby's highest priority goals remain unmet.

Undeterred, there will apparently be a Chicago Public Schools-organized rally at Soldier Field today.

Chicago Public Schools is planning a large student rally in Soldier Field Tuesday morning. The goal is to persuade state lawmakers to boost funding for public education.

Over the last few weeks, the district has been e-mailing all its principals to recruit students for the event. Though it's not required, one district spokesperson says it could become, quote, "the largest civics class in history." Officials say they expect tens of thousands of students at the stadium.
So, with fuel costs at record levels, they're busing tens of thousands of students (I'm told that 1,200 buses will be used)--to lobby for more money. I would guess that they'll need to shake the legislators down for quite a lot of money, just to break even.

The relevance to guns? Glad you asked.
The rally's organizers also say they'll be addressing the state's gun laws and how they relate to the violence surrounding schools.
As I pointed out back in April, it's a pretty slick scam. Gun owners from all over the state, through their tax dollars, help fund efforts to put laws in place that would make their guns illegal.

Clearly, one does not need to be stupid to be an advocate of forcible citizen disarmament--being devoid of scruples is enough.

Days of Our Trailers is also on this.

Monday, June 09, 2008

New York City's War on Freedom

This has already been covered by Days of Our Trailers, War on Guns, and undoubtedly others, but what Jay Wallace (of Adventure Outdoors) is enduring at the hands of Mayor Bloomberg and his minions (a group that includes the Judge, Jack Weinstein) needs as much exposure as it can get.

As mentioned last week, Commissar . . . er, Judge Weinstein decided not to risk something as fair as a jury trial for Mr. Wallace, and decreed that the jury would serve only in an advisory capacity. Seeing the futility of trying to play the game with such an impossibly stacked deck, Mr. Wallace and his attorney backed out of the case, with the idea of skipping directly to the appeals stage.

That brings us to the latest development.

But Taber [an attorney for the city] said in a telephone interview Wednesday, “We have serious doubts about the appealability of any of the issues arising from these proceedings. There is some case authority … for the proposition that when you default in a case this late in the game, you don't have any further appellate rights. The default terminates the action.”
Not being an attorney myself, I have no way of judging the legal merits of Taber's argument. Whether or not there is a legal basis for his contention, there certainly is no moral or Constitutional justification for A) denying a trial by jury, and B) denying the right to appeal. I should also point out that Taber seems to base his assertion that Wallace lost his right to appeal by withdrawing "this late in the game," but Taber apparently sees no problem with Weinstein changing the rules and denying a jury trial less than a week before the proceedings were to begin.

Jay Wallace is doing his part (much more than his part, really) to defend the Constitution against a jihad waged with the combined resources of a billionaire mayor and New York City's vast tax revenues. We cannot ask Wallace to fight that battle alone.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Snuffy returns

It seems that when I posted last Tuesday that Snuffy Pfleger might be gone for good, I was a bit overly optimistic.

Father Michael Pfleger will return to the pulpit at St. Sabina Catholic Church on June 16, after Cardinal Francis George forced him to take a leave of absence over controversial comments about U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton.
I notice, with considerable bemusement, that Snuffy has apparently received the following admonishment:
Parishioners said Sunday morning that they have been told Pfleger will return to the church on June 16 on the grounds that he can not discuss politics.
If Snuffy considers himself to be above federal law, it's a bit difficult for me to imagine him being very frightened of Cardinal George's authority.

Mass killing in Japan--but at least no one was shot

It occurs to me that if a man were to kill seven people and wound ten more with a gun, the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament would hail the atrocity as a reason to support their agenda. When the sick thug instead uses a truck and a knife for his evil, though, we hear nothing.

Are the deaths of innocent people murdered by means other than firearms somehow less appalling, less tragic, than shooting deaths?

I submit that they are not.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Police require court order to return property

Days of Our Trailers tells of yet another case of a police agency in Illinois simply making rules up as they go along. As is typical in Illinois, those rules tend to be stacked against gun owners.

Oak Forest police received an unusual request last summer, when they were asked to store guns for a man being released from a mental institution.

Joe Bouril and his wife, Janice, gave the six guns to police voluntarily and planned to get them back once Bouril showed that he was no longer a threat to himself or others.

Now, Bouril says he's better and wants his guns back.

But police have balked at relinquishing them, saying they need a court order before they do so.
Janice Bouril has a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card, and has every right to own firearms (and Joe Bouril has transferred ownership of the firearms to her), but the police refuse to return them to her without a court order.

In anything resembling a free society, a court order is one of the requirements to revoke a right. Here in Illinois, though, you have to get one to have your rights honored.

The Bouril family is unable to afford the grotesque legal fees involved with obtaining the required court order, and thus appear, for the moment at least, to be out of luck.

I don't know how I continue to manage to be surprised by this kind of outrage.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Chicago Alderman Loophole update

When I posted the latest information I had on Alderman Mell's Chicago Alderman Loophole Ordinance yesterday, I was apparently operating on incomplete information. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the version of the ordinance approved by the Chicago City Council's Committee on Police and Fire Wednesday is significantly broader than Mell's version.

What started as a month-long amnesty tailor-made for a powerful alderman who forgot to register his guns has turned into a 120-day grace period for every Chicagoan who ever owned a registered gun here.

The City Council's Police Committee agreed today to re-open gun registration in Chicago -- and not in the narrow manner proposed by Ald. Richard Mell (33rd).

[ . . . ]

It would have applied, only to gun owners who attempted to re-register their guns between May 1, 2007 and April 1, 2008 only to be rejected on grounds the registrations had lapsed.

The ordinance approved today quadruples the amnesty period. If approved by the full Council, it would apply to everybody who "possesses a firearm that was at one time validly registered to that person in the city of Chicago."
That would certainly apply to a great many more people than Mell's original version would have.
Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers (29th) said the prior wording appeared to be tailor-made "for an individual."
That's because it was specifically tailor-made for an individual, Isaac--someone give the man a cigar.

The specific wording of the revised version of the ordinance is not yet available, but I think it will eventually be, here, by scrolling down to the line marked June 4, 2008, 11:00 AM, Committee on Police and Fire. When "Summary" becomes an active link, there will hopefully be some more information.

By the way, War on Guns has an excellent suggestion:

If I were an Illinois gun owner, I would be pressing organizations claiming to represent me to file a freedom of information demand for copies of all correspondence from Chicago gun owners who told the city they were in the same predicament as Richard Mell. Conveniently I notice he mentioned he was called, so perhaps phone logs could be included at as well. You could do it in a way to protect their identities, and use it to validate that the city has been "inundated" and the new law will benefit "thousands."

Hell, I'd think a quick audit of police records for how many have not renewed during the designated time period ought to give a good quick 'n dirty snapshot, once you factor in people who moved or died--but then again, maybe not, because who in their right mind would play along with this evil game?
Good question.

The (distorted) view from Canada

Toronto lawyer Tom O'Driscoll, not being a politician in the U.S., doesn't have to even pretend to have any respect for the Second Amendment. So, he doesn't.

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Twenty-seven ill-chosen words, three badly-placed commas, one unrivaled legislative botch-up.
And that's just the first sentence.
Opponents in the gun-control debate ascribe very different interpretations to the amendment. To gun-control advocates, it is nothing more than the protection of a state's right to maintain a militia; to the pro-gun gang, it is nothing less than confirmation of an individual's constitutional right to own a gun.
So those who advocate forcible citizen disarmament are "advocates," while those of us who oppose it are a "gang." And here I am not even knowing what colors I'm supposed to wear (I suppose it would be camo, but which camouflage pattern?).
While we admittedly have our fair share of gun-control issues and controversy in Canada [you don't say!], at least our law-makers aren't faced with an arguable gun-ownership right being inscribed in our constitution in all-but-indelible ink.
What the HELL does he mean by "all-but-indelible"? Maybe he should just try erasing the Bill of Rights (he wouldn't be the first to try), and see where that gets him. Oh, by the way, the gun-ownership right might be "arguable," but I'd hate to be one of the poor saps arguing for the other side.
Incredibly, if the questions and comments from the Court during the D.C. vs. Heller hearing last March are any tip-off, that is about to change: The Court appears ready, by a five-to-four margin, to rule that the amendment gives individuals the right to own a gun.
If SCOTUS does rule that the Second Amendment "gives" individuals the right to keep and bear arms, the justices need to demand a refund on their law school tuitions. Preexisting, fundamental human rights aren't given--they're honored.
Isn't the amendment's thirteen-word preamble a clear-cut indication of a militia-related purpose?
And doesn't "the people" mean the people (I don't remember seeing anything about "the right of militias to keep and bear arms")?
Shouldn't the social context in which it was passed -- a fledgling nation, having spit the bit of imperial oppression and wary of replacement tyranny -- be examined in interpreting its meaning?
Has tyranny, and the possibility of its return, ceased to exist since the 18th century?
Needn't notice be taken that firearms were already blazing away in 1789, thus the "fire" prefix -- if intended to apply to "arms" -- could have easily been inserted?
As arguments go, that one (as tough as the competition is) might take first place, in terms of stupidity. We are to believe that because the Founding Fathers didn't limit the protected arms to firearms, firearms were thus not included?
If the intent of the amendment was to confirm the right to own a gun, why didn't it simply state that?
It did, you sniveling dolt.
Sadly, only this is quite clear about the Second Amendment: Whoever drafted it shoulda been shot.
Ah--the last refuge of "non-violence" advocates.