Mission statement:

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

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

Thursday, July 31, 2008

A question of goals

OK, I'm back (for what that's worth)--had a few days worth of family obligations that made stepping away from blogging for a few days the easiest course. So, back to our scheduled programming . . .

War on Guns has been, to my knowledge, pretty well leading the charge in exposing the outrages of the prosecutions persecutions of Wayne Fincher and David Olofson. I've followed along, but am not really in a position to argue with anyone who might assert that I am, at best, bringing up the rear.

Anyway, there are some in the gun rights advocacy movement who take a different view. They point out that in both cases, the defendants were doomed for certain defeat (I should add that this was being pointed out before the verdict was reached--I'm not trying to imply that they were pointing out the doomed nature of the defense only after gaining the benefit of hindsight). That's a difficult position with which to disagree--it was pretty clear in both cases that the defense had very steep hills to climb.

What bothers me is the position that since these were "bad" cases, gun rights advocates (and advocacy groups) should not publicly get behind them, because to do so "makes us look bad." I don't know, maybe it comes from being the kind of guy who in my youth was forced seek out "blind dates," because blind girls were about the only ones with whom I had a chance--but "looking bad" is something I've learned to live with.

While it may be true that from a perspective of pure gun rights advocacy, it makes sense to put as much distance as possible between us and the Finchers and Olofsons of the world, I think that misses the point that grave, outrageous injustice is being done to these men and their families. In other words, the point of clamoring for justice for Fincher and Olofson isn't to advance gun rights, but to right some of the horrid wrong of their imprisonment.

Frankly, I'd feel a bit selfish if I were unwilling to take a minute or two out of my time spent arguing for my right to own a fully-automatic firearm, and spend it on arguing for the right of these men to breathe free air with their families.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Light blogging ahead

Have some stuff going on for the next few days, and it might be Thursday before I get back in the blogging swing of things.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

(Chicago) Mayor Daley's response to Heller: explore yet more draconian gun laws (is that even possible in Chicago?)

Mayor Daley, never one to let himself be limited to . . . being sane, is responding to the Heller-inspired lawsuits aimed at overturning Chicago's handgun ban by looking at passing more gun laws.

In fact, Daley is talking about drafting yet another ordinance to spell out the responsibilities and liabilities of homeowners in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark decision to overturn Washington D.C.'s handgun ban.
Daley's chief concern at the moment, supposedly, is the safety of emergency service personnel (police, firefighters, etc.).
"You have to look at a new ordinance in order to protect firemen and policemen going to the scenes of people who have armed themselves in their home. ... We serve and protect. We're not supposed to lose our lives [who is this "we"?]... Morton Grove can do anything they want. What I'm saying is you have to look at the first- responders and how it's gonna jeopardize their lives."
So what, specifically, kinds of restrictions does he have in "mind" (being generous here)?
"It's just not allowing people to arm themselves. How many guns do you have -- 50, 60? Can they have a .357 Magnum? Can they have ammunition that will go through a wall? What is the liability of the owners? ... Do you have to have insurance if you have a gun? How much ammunition can you have if there's a fire? If a fireman is going to your home and you have 40 weapons and 1,000 rounds, do we have a responsibility to notify all the neighbors?" Daley said.
Hmm--hopefully, he makes more sense in his native language. Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a translator from whatever planet inflicted this spluttering nitwit on us. It might make sense to work with him on ammunition limits during fires--if you return from a trip to stock up on ammo, only to find your house on fire, I can see insisting that the fire be gotten under control before you're allowed to move more than a few thousand rounds inside.

I'll be sure to keep an eye out for this "ammunition limit during house-fire" ordinance.

Friday, July 25, 2008

McCain and Romney sittin' in a tree . . .

A Boston Globe article refers to "backlash" at the idea of a McCain/Romney ticket--apparently because Romney won't appeal to McCain's "base." Eh? What base? The base that supports pouring blood and billions into war--any war--in the Middle East, to "promote democracy," while simultaneously choking off freedom in the U.S.?

For me, though, this part was the best:

And Romney lacks the common touch on the campaign trail, as well, [Philip] Klein argues: "All but the most ardent Romney backers would have to admit that it's hard to see Romney -- who signed an assault weapons ban as governor of Massachusetts -- going into those gun-clinging small towns of Ohio and Pennsylvania and connecting with locals any better than Barack Obama."
Well, Phil, you may be right that Romney's position on so-called "assault weapons" won't go down too well with voters McCain needs, but it fits in swimmingly with McCain's own voting record.

In the end, I don't think we need to worry too much about whom McCain picks as a running mate--about all that's left to be decided now is what kind of genuflection will be appropriate for expressing our worshipful reverence of the "Lightworker."

Did someone say we're "winning"?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Legally owned (but illegally held) firearms to be destroyed

Back in June, I posted about the Oak Forest Illinois Police Department's refusal to return guns belonging to the Bouril family, but that the police had agreed to temporarily hold for safekeeping. The police, however, had other ideas, and refused to return the guns without a court order (you read that right--they claim they need a court order to return property to its rightful owner).

The legal fees that would attend the process of obtaining that court order are out of the Bouril family's reach, leaving the situation at something of an impasse.

I received an email from Mr. Bouril today, telling me that the impasse is apparently to be broken soon--but not in a good way.

A citizen voluntarily stored some firearms at a police station for safekeeping.

The citizen was told they could be left there as long as desired.

The citizen holds a valid Illinois Firearms Possession (FOID) card.

The citizen has proof of ownership of the firearms.

The citizen retains the storage inventory receipt for the firearms.

The firearms are not evidence in any case.

This citizen has requested to recover her firearms several times over the past four months, but was refused, the City stating that it requires a judge’s court order to release them, citing liability concerns in regards to her husband’s mental health.

When the citizen asked the city’s attorney to put into writing the specific laws/codes/statutes they have to override state and federal firearms property rights, they only responded with a declaration stating that they will now destroy the firearms if they are not picked up with a judge’s court order within 30 days.

(Here is a fact that shows that the city is violating this citizen’s gun and property rights): it is perfectly legal for this citizen to buy guns today and bring them home after state authorization and the waiting period. The firearms merchant is not required, and will not, question her about the mental condition or criminal convictions of her family and friends. Federal and state laws protect the dealer and the business transaction from direct liability. So….why doesn’t the city recognize those same procedural laws and liability protections?

(Excerpts from the certified letter of 17 July 08 to “the citizen” from the Ancel Glink law firm of Chicago on behalf of the City of Oak Forest, Illinois.)
…..The City has advised you on multiple occasions that it requires a court order signed by a judge prior to releasing said guns…..

……Your refusal to abide by the administrative procedures presented for the release of the aforementioned firearms is deemed evidence of abandonment of this property....

……Accordingly, we hereby advise you that if no court order to release the guns is presented to the Oak Forest Police Department within thirty (30) days of the date of this letter, the City will commence procedures to have the aforementioned six (6) weapons destroyed according to proper law enforcement procedures for the destruction of firearms as set forth by statute….
The citizen is tired from the dispute, and also, cannot afford an attorney. Can anyone give advice, or references to someone who could help?
I highlighted the last sentence, because I have no ideas of my own. Anybody with some constructive thoughts on the matter is asked to comment, or to contact me at 45superman@gmail.com.

Fair warning

I have, of late, gotten in the habit of scouring the internet for anything I can find of the writings of Mike Vanderboegh. For those unfamiliar with him, that link will lead you to much compelling material. In reading that material, it should not take at all long to realize that Mr. Vanderboegh is not the least bit shy in making clear that he believes that there is a very serious threat to not "just" gun rights, but to our very Republic--and that he is not alone in being utterly unwilling to give said Republic up without a fight. When I say "fight," I'm not writing metaphorically--I mean civil war.

I tend not to give up on my wishful thinking easily, and am still holding out hope that the storm he sees on the horizon might somehow pass us by--but I'm not counting on it. Speaking personally, if the storm does hit, I don't expect, as a paraplegic of no real means, to see much more than the beginning of it. Frankly, as a man of no particular courage, I should probably be grateful for that fact. My personal stake in how it all turns out in the end is thus somewhat limited, but I still desperately want a free America to emerge from what I fear will be the ashes.

The point to which I'm making my slow, tortuous way is that Mr. Vanderboegh has submitted a letter to the editor of the Capital Times (Madison, WI). The letter is a somewhat "in-your-face" challenge to advocates of measures like mandatory gun registration. Here's an excerpt:

Joe Bialek from Cleveland proposes the licensing and registration of all weapons currently in civilian hands. My question is, how exactly do you propose to do that, Joe?

There are some of us "cold dead hands" types, perhaps 3 percent of gun owners, who would kill anyone who tried to further restrict our God-given liberty. Don't extrapolate from your own cowardice and assume that just because you would do anything the government told you to do that we would.
This letter, as one might imagine, doesn't sit well with the entire gun blogging community.

I have to ask those who object to his letter, though--what would they prefer he do, rather than issue a fair warning of the consequences of pursuing an agenda of more and more oppressive gun regulation? Should he go straight to killing the JBTs without making the attempt to warn them back from the precipice? If there is any hope of deterring the Enemy, is that not better than simply going straight to the killing?

To my way of thinking, Mr. Vanderboegh's voice is one of the sanest in this discussion. Then again, I'm not sure my endorsement does him any favors.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Turning the tables II: I really mean it this time

Yesterday, I posted a call to action regarding a donation by Clear Channel Outdoors of billboard space to a citizen disarmament group in Pennsylvania, called Moms Against Guns. The thrust of yesterday's post was that at that time, I and several other gun bloggers were under the impression that MAG was a non-profit organization, which would probably make that kind of politicking illegal.

As it turns out, though, we were wrong about MAG's supposed non-profit status, which means that there is nothing to be gained by trying to sic the IRS on them. I posted as much in an update, and suggested that we need to stand down.

David Codrea (War on Guns), however, reminds me that I was (sort of) right the first time, at least in the sense that there is action that we need to take--I was simply wrong about what kind of action.

Not a false alaerm and no time to stand down--it means ClearChannel and affiliates thought they were donating to a 501c3, and are now finding out it is a private LLC--which means they can't write it off and it violates their own policies about donations.

Now is the time to pile on them and get them to rescind the donation--that would be news.
What we need to do now is leave Clear Channel with absolutely no room to misunderstand what an unwise course of action they've embarked on.

Let's give 'em the word.

Guns as a 'public health' issue doesn't sell--maybe people are smarter than I'd thought

A popular tactic these days among advocates of forcible citizen disarmament is to frame the debate about gun rights vs. citizen disarmament as a "public health" issue. In other words, we are to ignore the fact that the Constitution guarantees a fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, and instead try to determine whether or not forcibly disarming the citizenry will save lives. From that determination, we are to set public policy--the Constitution be damned, apparently. Shockingly (ha!), proponents of this approach tend overwhelmingly to conclude that disarming the citizenry is just what the doctor ordered.

The New England Journal of Medicine has been particularly vociferous in the "Doctors for Defenselessness" movement--a few examples being here, here, and here. That last editorial, by the way, bases much of its argument on a study that has since been soundly debunked.

To be honest, I've never been one to take much interest in the statistical analysis of whether draconian gun laws would save more lives than they would cost, or not. I believe such quibbling to be irrelevant in a discussion about fundamental rights. I believe, in other words, that one's right to defend oneself with deadly force is utterly independent of, and handily trumps, any question of whether or not the "greater good" is served by depriving the individual of that right (see Jeff Snyder's seminal Nation of Cowards: Essays on the Ethics of Gun Control, specifically the "Utility, Destroyer of Rights" chapter; I think there's also an Ayn Rand quote that would be particularly relevant here, but I can't find it at the moment).

Anyway, all of this is background information--what I want to discuss is the overwhelming rejection, in a poll conducted by MedPage Today, of the notion that gun regulation is a public health issue.

When the editors of the New England Journal of Medicine decried the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the District of Columbia's handgun law, they did so claiming the issue is a matter of public health. Now doctors in the trenches have weighed in with their own views.

The responses from physicians who are registered members of the site was remarkbly evenly divided. Just over half (52%) said Yes, that gun control is a public health issue.

But for readers as a whole, it was another story -- with 83% of the 2,023 respondents saying No. And as a further measure of interest in gun control, there were 36 comments posted with the poll. Some posters weighed in more than once to further the conversation.
I guess the Enemy's attempt to use the medical community to further the citizen disarmament agenda isn't working quite as well as I'd feared.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Turning the tables

Sebastian, over at Snowflakes in Hell, notes that a Pennsylvania anti-rights group seems to be involved in activities that may well cause it to run afoul of IRS regulations pertaining to non-profit organizations.

Yesterday we reviewed the very large donation by Clear Channel Outdoors and Interstate Advertising to Moms Against Guns. MAG is incorporated as a non-profit under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS tax code. This essentially means that MAG is limited in the amount of lobbying activity it may do. Typically these may not exceed 15% of donations. Electioneering on the part of a (c)(3) is completely forbidden by the IRS tax codes.
Go over there, read the whole thing, and find out how you can report Moms Against Guns to the IRS.

Some might have principle-based objections to using the feds to limit free speech. I can understand that, but as David Codrea says, "Any chair in a bar fight." The enemy won't hesitate to sic the feds on pro-rights groups.

It's time they get a taste of their own medicine.

UPDATE: Or possibly not.
UPDATE: Hold on Folks. We may have all been mislead here. MAG seems to be incorporated as a business entity rather than a non-profit charity.

UPDATE: Yes, Moms Against Guns is a corporation, not a non-profit.
So stand down--false alarm.

David Olofson defense/relief fund

As War on Guns notes, Gun Owners of America has established a fund to help the Olofson family through their time of persecution.

Olofson Defense Fund
Bob Unruh of WorldNetDaily has the story.

You can contribute by going here.

I wonder how many will?

I also have the donation link set up on my sidebar.

A 'Thank you' would be nice, Brady Bunch

Had a visit early last evening:

(click to enlarge)

You might notice that they haven't bothered updating their IP address name since the days when Pete Shields said:

The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal.
But there's no slippery slope--right, Brady Bunch?

But I digress--the point I'm getting at is that shortly after that visit looking at this post of mine, they posted this:
In 2004, as part of the final Senate bill S. 1805 as amended, Sen. McCain also once voted to extend the assault weapons ban for 10 years (though he has since said he is against such a ban).
You're welcome--but I guess I shouldn't count on getting a few bucks from George Soros or the Joyce Foundation for my research, eh?

I'll be interested in seeing if anyone in the gun rights movement (or "gun lobby," as we're often referred to) decides to accuse me of treason, for helping to destroy the myth of McCain's pro-Second Amendment credentials. Interested, but not terribly concerned--I've been accused of worse things than helping one statist gas-bag get defeated by another. In truth, I seriously doubt McCain will need my help to lose to the Lightworker--he seems to have that task well in hand.

Still, if anyone wants to grossly overestimate (ridiculously grossly overestimate, really) my influence, and "blame" me for McCain getting his backside handed to him in November, I'll take it. I would definitely be able to live with the idea of being thought of as even a tiny part of the reason the Republican Party finally learns to stop inflicting candidates like McCain (and Mark Kirk) on us.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Is that the game they want to play?

Back in May, War on Guns brought my attention to a point made by Kent McManigal regarding the persecution of David Olofson.

If "they" can now punish us for owning a machine gun that isn't a machine gun until they tamper with it, why would "theoretical gun owner" worry about getting caught with a real machine gun? Is there a worse penalty? There seems to be an unintended consequence lurking there somewhere.
That's a very astute observation, in my view, and constitutes what I see as a highly condensed version of what Mike Vanderboegh might describe as one of the unintended consequences of "Waco Rules."
The Olofson case confirms that we are still living in the time of Waco Rules, so let's not kid ourselves over the maybes of Heller. Supreme Court decisions don't count for spit in the wind to these people. But if the law no longer protects us, it no longer protects them either. Which is something they probably haven't considered, but should, given the Law of Unintended Consequences.
If possession of a malfunctioning semi-automatic rifle can lead to us being persecuted . . . er, prosecuted for illegal possession of an unregistered machine gun, what have we to lose by owning a real machine gun?

If our elected servants wish to consider us "homegrown terrorists" for merely pointing out that the Second Amendment exists to protect our ability (to put it bluntly) to kill tyrants, why should we not introduce them to real terror?

If those same elected servants will imprison us as terrorists, merely for exercising our right to free speech, why should we not disseminate information useful for tyranny-busting to people who are likely to make effective use of it?

Finally, and hopefully I'll be forgiven for mangling one of the best ever quotes related to American liberty, in order to put it in a form consistent with the above: if this be treason, why should we not make the most of it?

Clearly, I am no Patrick Henry, but you get the idea.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

'Scare white people'? Don't mind if I do

Many (perhaps most) gun bloggers advise walking softly, in order to avoid making it easy for the Enemy to cast the entire gun rights advocacy movement in the light of a wild-eyed fringe of lunatics--the kind of people whom some of our elected servants would like to sweep up in the net of "domestic terrorists." An expression sometimes seen in regard to this is "Don't scare white people."

It's not an expression I ever particularly liked, because it seemed to me to be injecting a racial element into a discussion that had little to do with race. However, after reading Lance Hill's excellent Deacons for Defense: Armed Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement, I gained a better understanding of the reference. According to Hill, much of the motivation for the pacifistic nature of the civil rights movement in the 60's stemmed from the perceived need to avoid frightening off the support of wealthy, liberal, white Northerners. Another way to put that, of course, is "Don't scare white people"--white people who may not have been so free of prejudice as a "yankee" like me would like to believe, and who indeed would be frightened at the idea of blacks arming en masse to fight their oppressors.

Hence the Deacons, and other, similar groups, were marginalized, treated almost as an embarrassment, and largely forgotten by history. Ironically, though, militancy--that is, scaring white people--did at least as much for black rights as peaceful protest did. White fear of another Watts riot did as much to force federal enforcement of the Voting Rights Act as any number of peaceful marches did. In July of 1965, it was white fear of retaliation against the Klan, on the part of the Deacons, that prompted Louisiana Governor John McKeithen to request federal assistance to keep the peace. That federal assistance came in the form of the head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, John Doar, who came to Louisiana with a presidential mandate to enforce the Civil Rights Act and gut the Klan.

So today, "Don't scare white people" is again the admonishment--not for opponents of segregation, but for opponents of forcible citizen disarmament. My question, though, is what white people? Who is providing this support that we fear losing? No one, as far as I can tell--a point we often make ourselves, when we explain that the "gun lobby" is no more (and no less) than the body of Americans who refuse to be disarmed. So whom do we fear alienating--whose support do we fear losing--when all we have ever been able to count on is "Ourselves Alone"?

The way I see it, any American, of any color, who fears the idea of a citizenry prepared to use "[t]heir swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier . . . " against a tyrannical government deserves to live in fear.

So I say, go ahead and scare them. Let them know that you work hard to maintain proficiency with your "assault weapons," and have a good deal of ammo on hand. Let them know that you've downloaded the Army's Improvised Munitions Handbook. Let them know you have the information you would need to make RDX, and from that, C-4, from materials you can obtain easily. If you can find it, buy and read Improvised Rifle Grenades and/or Improvised Shaped Charges.

That information may not be openly available much longer. We can thank Senator Feinstein for 18 U.S.C. 842(p)(2):

(p) Distribution of Information Relating to Explosives, Destructive Devices, and Weapons of Mass Destruction.—
(2) Prohibition.— It shall be unlawful for any person—
(A) to teach or demonstrate the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute by any means information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, with the intent that the teaching, demonstration, or information be used for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence; or
(B) to teach or demonstrate to any person the making or use of an explosive, a destructive device, or a weapon of mass destruction, or to distribute to any person, by any means, information pertaining to, in whole or in part, the manufacture or use of an explosive, destructive device, or weapon of mass destruction, knowing that such person intends to use the teaching, demonstration, or information for, or in furtherance of, an activity that constitutes a Federal crime of violence.
Enforcement of this "Unfreedom" of Speech law is spotty, so far, as illustrated by the fact that the information is still available to some extent, but Sherman Austin can tell you that the Enemy enforces it when it suits them.

Scare white people? It's about damned time.

UPDATE: I didn't credit the originator of the "Don't scare white people" line, because I wasn't exactly sure who it was. I have now been informed that it's Say Uncle. Both he and Sebastian (Snowflakes in Hell) have responded. Their points are not without merit, but I stand by my position.

Friday, July 18, 2008

What if DC threw a registration party, and no one came?

It seems that on the first day of Washington DC's acceptance of applications to register handguns (revolvers only, of course), only one application was submitted.

The only application received yesterday was from a woman who brought a revolver to the registration office under the amnesty program, officials said.
Hmm--I guess there was only one unregistered handgun in Washington DC--who knew? Since we're told that lethal violence is directly correlated to the number of guns around, I guess DC must be a tranquil sanctuary from all the violent crime normally associated with large American cities. Heck--it was two long years ago that a "crime emergency" was declared in DC.

Sarcasm aside, we of course know that handguns are quite common in DC. I guess that not many folks in DC want to, as War on Guns puts it, "Line Right Up and Stick [Their] Neck[s] on This Block."

Good for them. The proper response to a gun registration program--especially one that goes out of its way to be as draconian as possible--is massive non-compliance. Like most peaceable, conscientious people, I'm in no hurry to refresh the tree of liberty, despite its rather dire need for some serious freshening up. The only middle ground between docile, herbivore-like acquiescence on the one hand, and overt rebellion--with all the blood and misery that entails on the other--is quiet refusal to play their statist game.

By the way, I wonder what the lone applicant thinks of this:
By law, she must keep the gun in her home, unloaded and either disassembled or fitted with a trigger lock, and she is not allowed to use it, even for self-defense, unless her application is approved.
In other words, if someone breaks into her house in the meantime, intent on raping and killing her, she is required by law to submit to it. Hopefully, if it comes to that, she'll realize that her Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms trumps the "law."

I wonder if they gave her patch to her yet.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Using the enemy's tools against him

Like most gun rights activists, I make it a point to keep an eye on what the other side is up to. To think of the efforts of the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament as anything less than a culture war against freedom would be the gravest of mistakes, and, when one acknowledges that this is indeed a war, the second gravest mistake would be to go into any kind of war without as much information about the other side's actions as can be discovered.

Prominent among those enemies, particularly here in the Midwest, is the cynically, insultingly named "Freedom States Alliance" (discussed in a bit more detail here, as a favored beneficiary of Joyce Foundation millions).

So, I was doing a bit of reconnaissance, and discovered a somewhat handy-dandy little tool, which they intend be used to "Help Stop the Proliferation of Guns in America." A discussion about that goal--and what it says about their idea of "reasonable regulations," and their contention that the Heller decision nullifies the slippery slope argument--is a discussion for another day, but it's a discussion that needs to be held soon, as I have been one of the people who has probably been guilty of whistling past the graveyard in regard to the dangers we face stemming from the rather weak endorsement Heller bestowed on the Constitutional guarantee of the fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms.

Anyway, the tool I refer to is this neato little mechanism for finding contact information for submitting letters to the editors of area newspapers. I tend to crank out a lot of words about gun rights, but I realize that even if I were a great deal more persuasive than I am, I'm writing almost overwhelmingly to people who already agree with me (about objectives, if not strategies). I need to work harder at getting the message out to the public at large, and I imagine I'm not alone in that.

The "Freedom States Alliance" is offering a way to make that a little easier, and we'd be fools to pass up that offer.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Snuffy puts out a contract

Snuffy Pfleger is now offering a $5000 bounty on "gun-runners."

The church's outspoken leader - Father Michael Pfleger - led a Loop rally for stiffer gun control laws Tuesday morning. The group says it hopes the reward money can help expose those who sell or distribute guns on the streets.
I happen to be one of those "extremists" who believe that the government should have no more ability to control the sale of firearms than they control the sale of screwdrivers (in other words, no ability to infringe on that which shall not be infringed). That means that I believe there should be no such thing as a "gun-runner," anymore than there is such a thing as a "screwdriver runner," but even if one does believe in "prohibited purchaser" lists, and in requiring background checks, etc., one has to wonder how Snuffy defines "gun-runner."

Snuffy, you'll remember, is the same demagogue who called for the "snuff[ing] out" of a gun dealer who by all indications obeys every applicable draconian law in selling firearms. It would seem to me that anyone who considers gun dealers legitimate targets for murder must consider all gun dealers "gun runners."

And now he has set a price on their heads.

Days of Our Trailers has more.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Washington DC handgun owner's patch

I mentioned earlier that only my utter lack of even the most rudimentary of graphical skills prevented me from helping DC come up with the last element of their gun laws.

Less came to my rescue, and now I have this (click on image to see it larger):

Nice guy that I am, I'll let DC have the rights to the design. Now, all they have to do is make a bunch of these up, and require that handgun owners wear them on their outermost layer of clothing at all times, and they'll be able to keep track of all the Juden . . . er, handgun owners.

DC forgot something

Washington DC is scrambling to put in place the most draconian handgun laws they think they can get away with post-Heller, in other words, to find out just how much infringement of that which shall not be infringed will be permitted. They seem to think that the level of "permissible infringement" will be sufficiently high to very nearly nullify the palladium of liberties, and based on what we've seen from the Supreme Court, I would not wager that they're far wrong.

The new DC law would:

--As has been mentioned before, ban semi-automatic pistols--they might have trouble upholding this one, since the majority decision refers to the "common use" test as a criterion for judging gun laws;

--Allow the registration of only one handgun per person;

--Require that guns be unloaded and locked up--this is another provision that might have some trouble holding up, as it seems to fly directly in the face of what small protection of gun rights is provided by Heller;

--Require fingerprints, photographs, written test, and vision test;

--Require that firearm undergo ballistic identification testing--which could take "weeks or months"--I wonder if they'll find that as useful as Maryland has in terms of fighting crime;

--Prohibit taking the gun outside--even as far as the porch;

And I'm undoubtedly missing some
Getting back to the title of this blog post, though, I think they've forgotten something--requiring handgun owners to at all times wear on their clothing a yellow badge in the shape of a revolver (if I had a single iota of Photoshop skills, I'd put something up here--but I don't).

I bet the Washington Post editorial board would think it's a splendid idea.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Has anyone asked McCain about this?

I'm sure this has been talked about in the gun blogosphere already, but I haven't seen it--and I sure as hell doubt it was mentioned in Louisville. The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act passed, you'll remember, in 2005. That wasn't, however, the first attempt to secure that kind of protection for gun manufacturers (and retailers, and ammo manufacturers, etc.) from predatory lawsuits. In 2004, there was S. 1805, introduced by Senator Larry Craig (R-ID), for the same purpose.

McCain's well known desire to close the mythical "gun show loophole" is far from new, and in fact he introduced Senate Amendment 2636 to S. 1805 to do just that. The Senate approved McCain's amendment with a 53-46 vote, with McCain one of only eight Republicans voting for it.

As I mentioned, though, McCain's support for the poking of Big Brother's nose into gun shows is well known. But then another amendment was introduced, Senator Feinstein's Senate Amendment 2637, to extend by ten years the soon-to-expire ban on so-called "assault weapons." This amendment was also approved (with a 52-47 vote).

McCain did vote against that amendment. However, with the amendment having been approved anyway, S. 1805 had become much more of an attack on gun rights than a protection of them. A vote for this bill had now become a vote for the "assault weapons" ban (not to mention the fact that it would also be a vote for a federal law against private sales at gun shows)--something only a rabid advocate of forcible citizen disarmament could love. As such, only three Republicans voted for it.

McCain was one of them--I guess he was just being a "maverick" again.

I'm not denying that Obama is an enemy of private gun ownership--his recent expression of support for an individual right to own firearms notwithstanding. I'm just pointing out that the "pragmatists" who urge gun owners to vote for McCain are trying to give the White House to one of only three Republicans in the Senate to vote for the extension of the ban on so-called "assault weapons."

Screw pragmatism--I'll stick to tilting at windmills.

Suing the wrong people

I often refer to the "Only Ones," but I don't generally do posts that deal specifically with the "Only One" phenomenon--in large part because War on Guns covers the subject well enough without my help. I would, however, like to make a point about this "Only One."

We're the Only Ones Shifting the Blame Enough
A retired Los Angeles police officer paralyzed when his 3-year-old son fired his father's handgun while riding in the family pickup in Anaheim two years ago filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the gun's manufacturer.
...and the holster maker, and the stores that sold him both. I think he forgot the ammo maker and the people who authorized him to be an "Only One" and carry a gun, as that option is not available to mere citizens in LA County.
The Armed Schoolteacher, by the way, also has some good commentary about this situation:
The lawsuit alleges the defendants knew the safety device was defective and that 5.5 pounds of pressure on the trigger frequently results in accidental discharges.
That is to say, if you pull the trigger on this Glock pistol, it discharges one shot. I'd never really thought much about it, but my own Glock 30 has the same design flaw! I can't think of one time over the years when I've pulled the trigger on that Glock with a round chambered and not been rewarded with a loud bang. I think I've just gotten in the habit of thinking that if you pull the trigger of a gun, it fires, and if you don't pull the trigger, it doesn't. Probably dangerous to rely on a crutch like that, but there you go.
Most mammals, I would hope, have enough going on in the ol' cerebral cortex to realize that this is a lawsuit that doesn't make a lot of sense, because holsters are supposed to allow guns to be removed from them, and guns are supposed to fire when the trigger is pulled.

Sadly, Officer Chavez apparently does not have quite the mental equipment necessary to figure that out, but ironically, that might be where he can make a real case. David, you'll remember, said:
I think he forgot the ammo maker and the people who authorized him to be an "Only One" and carry a gun, as that option is not available to mere citizens in LA County.
My point is that I think Officer Chavez's attorney should try to determine whether or not the L.A.P.D. has hiring standards similar to those of the New London (Connecticut) police department.
A Federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a man who was barred from the New London police force because he scored too high on an intelligence test.
(h/t yet another WoG post) If the L.A.P.D. does have a similar policy in place, and thus intelligence is a disqualifying factor for a job that requires the carrying of a lethal weapon (such work being, indeed, about the only way someone living in that part of the country can legally carry a loaded firearm), then I would think that the fact that Officer Chavez wasn't bright enough to keep his loaded gun away from his 3-year-old would indicate that there are some serious problems with such a policy. Problems, indeed, serious enough to warrant a lawsuit.

The Brady Campaign has recently taken to pointing out every anecdote they can find of private citizens doing stupid things with guns, with the intended lesson being that normal, private citizens aren't qualified to handle guns (as if their trickle of anecdotes amounts to a significant percentage of the scores of millions of gun owners in the U.S.). Are we expected, then, to leave our protection to big-brained Officer Chavez (and his 3-year-old)?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ya' know what? Hell with it

I've been complaining lately (here and here) about the BATFE's insistence on treating the attachment of a handle to a pistol--absent scads of paperwork and a not insignificant loss of privacy--as an offense worthy of ten years in federal prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine.

I made the mistake of exploring ways to appease them--I had hoped to find the easiest way to earn a diligence award from them. It's tempting--I want my crazy (perhaps goofy, even) .50 Beowulf AR pistol with a vertical foregrip, and I don't want to incur the wrath of the feds.

However, a funny thing happened as I was on my way to my jackboot-licking session--I discovered that some of the people I most admire seem to think I'm better than that. It's not that David or anyone else took me to task for my intended Neville Chamberlainesque approach to exercising that which shall not be infringed--it's that I cannot in good conscience accept accolades from this kind of man while simultaneously saying, "My--that's some especially tasty jackboot polish you're wearing today, Acting Director Sullivan."

So, as I said in the title--hell with it. Maybe I'll attach a foregrip, or maybe I won't--I'm not going to confess to a federal "crime" in public. More importantly, though, I'm not going to confess to being a good little subject, either.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Massachusetts gun owners are invited for tea

Living in Illinois, there are very few states that I can point to as being even worse for gun owners than Illinois, but Massachusetts could arguably be considered to be on that short list. However, just as it would be a mistake to look at Illinois' draconian gun laws and conclude that no one is fighting back here (have I mentioned that SAFR is tomorrow?), it would be equally erroneous to believe that no one is fighting for gun rights in Massachusetts.

The Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) notes that July 23rd of this year will mark the ten year anniversary of MA's draconian 1998 Gun Control Act (Chapter 180). GOAL also notes some interesting figures:

Before the 1998 law was passed, there were approximately 1.5 million licensed gun owners in the state, but because of the persecution and the expense ($100 for a gun license), the number has been reduced to about 240,000 and the armed criminals are having a field day.

GOAL cited a 2007 report from the Mass. Dept. of Public Health showing that firearm-related assaults have increased 78 percent since 1998. And Injury Surveillance Program reports showed: a 67 percent increase in firearm-related homicide from 1998-2006; a 236 percent increase in assault-related firearm hospital discharges since 1998; a 331 percent increase in assault-related emergency room visits since 1999, and a 590 percent increase in assault outpatient observations since 2001 (the most recent report available).
GOAL urges Massachusetts gun owners to not allow this unfortunate anniversary to go unmarked.
The erosion of our rights and the increasing violence on our streets are proof that change is needed. To mark the anniversary of the disastrous gun law, GOAL is planning The Boston Tea Party of 2008 and urging citizens to send the message to our elected officials that we are still waiting for reform — if not outright repeal — of Chapter 180.

Gun owners are asked to take a symbolic step by sending a letter of protest to their legislators, along with a tea bag, to arrive at the State House on July 23.

Jim Wallace, executive director of GOAL, said, "Our forefathers dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest unfair taxes. You, too, will be protesting the unfair treatment we all receive as lawful gun owners. Let's send the message that these laws — like the tea in 1773 — need to get dumped!"

A sample letter is available at GOAL.org.
An organization with a laudable GOAL, it would seem.

Days of Our Trailers has more.

'Freedom vs. Responsibility'--CSGV's false choice

Mike Beard, president of the Coalition for a Government Monopoly on Force . . . er, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV), has an . . . interesting idea.

I have long believed that as an extension of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor, the U.S. needs to build a Statue of Responsibility in San Francisco harbor.
Hmm--a Statue of Responsibility, in San Francisco, of all places

Actually, though, looking at the mayors of the two cities, there is a perverse kind of symmetry to the idea. Linking New York, under Mayor Bloomberg (or Giuliani, for that matter), to liberty; and linking San Francisco, under Mayor Newsom, to responsibility, are equally ludicrous propositions.

The bigger problem with Beard's screed is made manifest in its title--"Freedom vs. Responsibility." He apparently believes that freedom and responsibility are competing interests; that when one is increased, the other suffers. Furthermore, he equates responsibility to regulation (specifically, gun regulation).
This dichotomy has always fascinated me in regards to the gun safety debate. On the one hand we have zealots who proclaim that there are no acceptable restraints on their freedom to possess firearms. On the other hand we have zealots who believe that no one should be able to own firearms in any circumstance.
The problem with his thesis, of course, is that freedom and personal responsibility go hand in hand, as do tyranny and lack of personal responsibility. Making good (responsible) choices is a learned skill--a person denied the right to make choices, to reap the rewards of making good ones, and to suffer the consequences of the bad ones, will never learn that skill.

By conceding to the government the power to regulate their actions, the citizenry abdicates responsibility for those actions. Thus freedom and responsibility are both lost.

That is what Mike Beard advocates.

Days of Our Trailers has more.

Also, I want to point out something The Pistolero mentioned in a comment:
EXACTLY. As I said in a post a few months ago, I recall very clearly in November 2005, after Arlington, Texas grandmother Susan Buxton made national headlines for being recorded on tape shooting an intruder in her home, Beard went on Hannity and Colmes and said, "The privatization of public safety is a dangerous issue in our society. And I've always seen that as the beginning of the loss of liberty." And what is the "privatization of public safety"? Apparently it's each individual taking responsibility for his or her own safety.
As The Pistolero states, that's precisely what I'm talking about here. Self-defense is both a fundamental right and a fundamental responsibility. Mike Beard would strip us of both.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Details of Chicago Alderman Loophole ordinance

I've been following this situation for quite a while now (most recently here)--probably well beyond the point that it ceased to be interesting--but as a wise man once said, "anything worth doing is worth doing until everyone is absolutely sick of it." OK--maybe no wise man ever said that, but I'm not one to limit myself to listening to wise people.

Anyway, as I mentioned in the above-linked blog post, the ordinance passed on June 11th, but I hadn't been able to find details of the final version as passed--until now. Here are the details:

SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any provision in the Municipal Code to the contrary, if all of the following conditions are met:

1. A person possesses a firearm that was at one time validly registered to that person in the city of Chicago pursuant to Article II of Chapter 8-20 of the Municipal Code; and

2. The registration for that firearm lapsed; and

3. As of the effective date of this ordinance, such firearm is unregistrable solely because of such lapse in registration and for no other reason, then that person may submit a renewal application accompanied by a renewal fee of Sixty and no/100 Dollars ($60.00) for each such firearm to the Superintendent of Police ("Superintendent") within one hundred twenty (120) days after the effective date of this ordinance, and the Superintendent shall accept such submission if received by him within said one hundred twenty (120) day period, and shall process it as if it had been timely submitted.

The burden of demonstrating compliance with condition Number 1 of this section shall be on the applicant, through submission of proof acceptable to the Superintendent.

The Superintendent is authorized to promulgate rules to implement this ordinance.

SECTION 2. This ordinance shall be in force and effect upon passage and approval
I assume that means it went into effect on June 11th, meaning that the "amnesty" (such as it is) ends after October 9th.

By the way, Mayor Daley's support for it, on the grounds that it would help "to get a realistic handle on the number of guns in Chicago," is clearly bunk (being polite here), because this ordinance changes nothing with regard to guns that have never been registered in Chicago.

I'm not a gambling man, but I'd be willing to wager whatever I could borrow that an overwhelming majority of the unregistered guns in Chicago have never been registered. Hell, I would even bet that nearly the same overwhelming majority of unregistered guns are owned by people who don't have valid Firearm Owner ID (FOID) cards (which might make them smarter, in the end, than those of us who do).

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Does anyone think they would see things my way on this?

By "they," I mean the BATFE, and I'm referring to their rather . . . peculiar position that a handgun with a vertical foregrip is not a handgun, but an "AOW," requiring the navigation of a ridiculously convoluted series of federal hoops.

On the other hand (and still more oddly), bipods apparently are permissible on handguns--or at least Smith and Wesson seems to think so.

My question is this: if bipods are allowed (without the bureaucratic nightmare), what about bipod/grips?

So anyway, as I asked in the title, does anyone think that the BATFE would agree that attaching the above accessory to my next project would not cause it to cease to be a pistol?

I don't think so either, although if I ask them in advance, they might tell me it's OK, only to change their minds and send me up the river once I try it.

More about SAFR

A bit of media coverage of this Friday's Second Amendment Freedom Rally (SAFR), in Chicago:

Chicago Rally to Launch Renewed Effort to Pass Concealed Carry Legislation in Illinois

CHICAGO, July 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Illinois State Rifle Association (ISRA):

In light of the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring gun ownership to be a constitutionally-protected individual right, the ISRA and other gun rights organizations are renewing the effort to pass concealed carry legislation in Illinois. The official kick-off of the campaign will occur during a July 11, 2008 rally outside the Thompson State Building, located in the heart of Chicagos Loop.

The keynote speaker will be the Honorable Suzanna Hupp, D.C., former member of the Texas House of Representatives. Dr. Hupp is best known as the driving force behind passage of concealed carry legislation not only in her home state of Texas, but in many other states across the nation as well.

Dr. Hupp began her crusade for concealed carry after watching an armed madman murder her parents and twenty other people after crashing his vehicle into a crowded Lubys Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas. Although Dr. Hupp was a gun owner, she stood helpless throughout the mayhem because Texas forbade her from bringing her handgun into the eating establishment. Later, after being elected to the Texas House, Dr. Hupp focused her energies on passage of a law guaranteeing the average citizen the right to defend self and family from harm with the most effective means of self defense - the handgun.

The horror that occurred that day in Lubys steeled Suzannas resolve to empower the people of Texas to defend themselves, commented ISRA Executive Director, Richard Pearson. Suzannas tireless efforts in Texas sparked a concealed-carry Tsunami that swept the nation. As it stands, only Wisconsin and Illinois continue to forbid their citizens from carrying defensive firearms. Her appearance at Fridays rally is designed to get Illinois on the road to joining the 48 other states whose legislatures have resolved that good, law-abiding citizens can be trusted to defend themselves.

RALLY INFO: The rally will take place on Friday, July 11th at 11:00 AM, sharp, in front of the Thompson State Building, Clark and Randolph Streets, Chicago. In addition to Dr. Hupp, representatives from organizations including Illinois Concealed Carry [it's actually Illinois Carry], The Second Amendment Sisters, Pink Pistols, and the ISRA are scheduled to speak.

The ISRA is the states leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. Since 1903, the ISRA has represented the interests of over 1.5 million law-abiding Illinois firearm owners. http://www.isra.org/

The militia lives

Don Rose, of the Chicago Daily Observer, believes that the Democratic Party has "surrendered" its forcible citizen disarmament agenda (popularly, but inaccurately, referred to as "gun control"). I disagree, despite--as he points out--the fact that the 2004 party platform promised to " . . . protect Americans’ Second Amendment right to own firearms . . . ." Claiming "support" for the Second Amendment while simultaneously advocating all manner of infringements on that which shall not be infringed is obviously not a new trick.

That's not what I intend to discuss today, though. Nor do I plan to address his . . . interesting version of history . . .

Those 27 words—the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution—probably caused more violent argument and political polarization through the years than any sentence since the Emancipation Proclamation.
. . . in which the Second Amendment was apparently adopted after Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

What I do want to discuss (now that I've spent two paragraphs explaining what I don't plan to discuss) is this increasingly popular assertion:
. . . while a substantial majority of Americans, strongly encouraged by the National Rifle Association, took the other side, tossing out the initial qualifying phrase.

[ . . . ]

One might find it odd that the founders just tossed in a meaningless phrase relating to militias—but that’s not the battle I want to revive right here.
Stubborn adherents of the now officially discredited "collective rights" interpretation of the Second Amendment criticize the majority opinion in Heller for "tossing out" the militia clause, as if the need for militias is somehow incompatible with the need to guarantee that the citizenry cannot be disarmed by the government.

In truth, not only are the two needs compatible, they're inextricably linked. Freedom's last line of defense is an effective militia, and for the people to form such a militia, they must have effective fighting arms.
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials."
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on
Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788
I can find much to criticize in Heller, but one thing I will not claim is that the decision "tossed out" the militia clause of the Second Amendment.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Forcible citizen disarmament lobby's new motto

I wasn't planning on any more blogging today, but something in a Washington Post article demands notice. The article itself speculates on what effect, if any, the Heller ruling will have on Chicago's draconian gun laws.

The article breaks little new ground, and my intention here isn't to analyze the whole thing. What caught my eye was a quote of an 18-year-old Chicagoan who clearly disapproves of the Supreme Court's decision, and who may have stumbled on the perfect new motto for the gun ban lobby (emphasis mine):

"All these people I am close to have been killed by something that should have been stopped a long time ago," Littlejohn, 18, said as she prepared for a cultural exchange in Rwanda. "Just because it's constitutional doesn't mean it should be allowed. The Constitution was based in the 1700s. This is 2008."
Get that? Constitutional protection of rights should be meaningless.

How 'bout that Chicago school system?

By the way, I just noticed that Ms. Littlejohn is headed for Rwanda for a cultural exchange program. Perhaps while there, she'll learn a bit about the history of citizen disarmament.

KT Ordnance back in business?

I had kind of gotten away from keeping track of goings on regarding KT Ordnance, who seem to be back in action again. For those unfamiliar with the background, I've discussed it before, but will give the story a very shallow going-over here.

KT Ordnance, in Dillon, Montana, is owned by freedom lover and patriot Richard Celata. KT served what is sometimes referred to as the "80% market." The idea here is that legally speaking, the receiver (or frame) is the gun--everything else is just parts, and is no more subject to draconian gun laws than any other chunks of inert material. KT offered 80% completed frames, in which some machining (about 20%, logically enough) would still be required before they could be made into functional firearms. This being the case, an 80% frame was not considered a gun, and could be sold without any draconian legal hoops. The buyer could then complete the machining, assemble the gun, and as long as he never sold it (and never gave it to anyone other than an heir), could do so completely legally.

Observant readers may have noticed that I used the past tense in the above paragraph. That's because in June of 2006, the BATFE raided KT Ordnance and confiscated the inventory and records. Mr. Celata was not arrested at the time, and as far as I know, was never arrested--but his livelihood was shut down.

As I mentioned in the first paragraph, I had kind of let this story get away from me, but happened this weekend to see that not only is the KT Ordnance website active--they're offering partially completed firearm kits again.

The inventory is a bit different--rather than 80% completed frames, they seem to be offering 60% completed firearms. That .50 caliber 1911-type gun sounds like a firebreather--I don't know what the cartridge is--275 grains at 1400 to 1700 fps sounds much too hot for .50 GI).

I lack the skills to ever make use of KT Ordnance's products, but I am glad to see them back in action.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A (sorta) call to arms in Chicago

It's been a few days since I've mentioned the Second Amendment Freedom Rally (SAFR) in Chicago this coming Friday (July 11). While "merely" being there (or donating to help cover expenses) would do a great deal to advance rights in Chicago, and by extension in Illinois, and indeed the entire nation--The Armed Schoolteacher (the event's Head Marshal) is looking for volunteers to do still more:

Would YOU like to be a Marshal? Shoot me an email at DonGwinn@TheFiringLine.com and let me know. Marshals will be required to help attendees find their way, pass out literature, make sure aisles and doors are kept clear, keep people from carrying or posting signs inside the building, and smile a lot. Those who can stay after the rally ends will be asked to help us clean up and de-litter the place so it looks better after we're done than it did when we arrived.

Pay is one free hat for the first 72 volunteers, with the possibility of homemade chocolate-chip cookies.
Being a part of history, getting a free hat and a shot at homemade cookies--you'd be nuts if you didn't jump on this offer.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Defense of rights 'misses the point,' according to citizen disarmament advocate

Robert C. Koehler apparently believes that the reason for the rancor between gun rights advocates on the one hand, and advocates of forcible citizen disarmament on the other, is that gun rights advocates won't . . . shut up and stop advocating for gun rights. First, though, presumably in the interests of fostering a less divisive atmosphere, he generously "conceded" a couple points.

I’m willing to concede two points to the gun owners: One, the bureaucracy of gun control stirs up the same resentment and defiance that Prohibition did and such legislation applied too broadly and indiscriminately is likely unworkable; and two, the key to safety is empowerment, both collective and individual.
Nice of him, eh? If you're interested in seeing how he thinks people are "empowered," by being forcibly disarmed, you'll have to follow the link--his "argument" isn't worth my time. As to this part--" . . . such legislation applied too broadly and indiscriminately is likely unworkable"--how does one apply restrictions on a right that shall not be infringed without doing so "too broadly and indiscriminately"? I might also point out that as unworkable and flat out immorally repressive as Prohibition was, at least it wasn't a direct attack on the palladium of liberty.
And here we get at the essence of the clog. America’s gun subculture affects to be participating in the dialogue, but is in fact merely advancing an agenda.
When two opposing sides engage in debate over the issue of contention, how can they do so and not "advance an agenda"? Here's one of his examples of gun rights advocates insensitively "advancing their agenda":
This is not a serious comment on crime or violence, but it’s a hell of a distraction — on the order of the “vigil” held by gun-rights advocates outside Columbine High School shortly after the massacre there, while President Clinton was inside meeting with students. According to news reports at the time, they held up bright yellow signs reading “Gun Control Kills Kids” and “We Will Never Give Up Our Guns,” seemingly oblivious to the deep inappropriateness of such a political intrusion on the process of mourning and healing.
Gee, Bob--remember when Representative Carolyn "What's a barrel shroud?" McCarthy introduced H.R. 1859 (to mandate reduced capacity magazines), before the last body was hauled out of Virginia Tech? Tell me, Bob--was that "participating in the dialogue," or "advancing an agenda"?
All this said, I return to the crying need in this country for a dialogue and soul-searching about who we are. The “debate” over gun control really has only one side, those who are against it. Their passionate faith in guns to protect them is not matched by opponents who just as passionately despise guns and want them all confiscated.
The fact that we care more about defending our Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, more than advocates of forcible citizen disarmament care about violating that right should tell you something, Bob. It should tell you that America--even the dumbed down, American Idol watching, fat, lazy America of today--is still a land where there is greater passion for defending liberty than there is for crushing it.

If that ever changes, may we be swept from the Earth and replaced by something better, nobler, braver, and more honorable.

Happy Independence Day.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Why can't they all be like this?

Charles A. Williams III wastes little time before stating his abhorrence for guns, and describing his efforts to convince others to share that abhorrence.

I'M A CARD-carrying Democrat. Moreover, as a former co-chairman of Philadelphia Against Drugs, Guns and Violence, I abhor guns and the carnage they create.

While working with Operation Ceasefire, I helped to promote a program that promises a mandatory five years tacked onto a defendant's sentence when the defendant uses a gun in the commission of a crime.
I take some issues with his assertion that guns "create" carnage, and I'm puzzled by anyone who is a "card-carrying" member of any political party. Furthermore, the idea of mandatory increased penalties for a crime, based on the fact that a gun was used, rather than on the degree and heinousness of the violence committed, makes no sense to me.

On the other hand . . .
Rally after rally and march after march, we would talk about the need to put down guns and "stop the violence" - but let me be clear, at no point did I believe that restricting an individual's rights to own a gun would improve the situation in the communities hardest hit by drug-related gun violence.
You mean that the decision about whether to exercise the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms should be left . . . to the individual? Blasphemy! At least to the Bryan Miller and Josh Sugarmann types.
The court's conservative majority decided to ignore the liberals who believe that the only way to make our communities safer is to impose further gun restrictions on law-abiding Americans.

Essentially, the court upheld the Second Amendment, which is contained within the U.S.

Constitution, as . . . well . . .

Watch out, Charles--the Party might revoke your card.
At some point, liberals and anti-gun folks will have to realize that it is failing families, schools and communities that lead to drug-related gun violence, not guns purchased by law-abiding citizens.

Even if you examine straw purchases, the impact is infinitesimal when compared with the impact of poor education, absentee fathers and a community lacking a moral focus and appropriate priorities. All of these things lead a young person to make the wrong choices, which is at the heart of our gun violence problem in urban America.

By the way, the same can be said for this silly public-relations hoax that we call gun "buyback" programs. What a waste of time, energy and effort. There is no research to demonstrate that such programs lead to even a slight decrease in gun violence.
Those are the kinds of things I might say--actually I have said some of those things.

He continues in a similar vein, with some superb points, and a bit of rather scathing commentary, but I've already fairly shredded the Fair Use rules, so rather than posting any more quotes, I'll urge readers to follow the link and read the entire op-ed.

If only Mayor Nutter would listen to this guy.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A (slightly) different perspective

Trying something a little different here, and presenting guest blogger Nancy Loring, from the Gun Values Board. She has a bit more faith in both McCain and the NRA than I do, but there's no doubt of her commitment to the issue of gun rights. I appreciate her offer to lend her perspective to Armed and Safe.

Taking things to the next level

1. Campaigning to keep Obama out of the White House.
"The National Rifle Association, long feared by Democrats as the most powerful lobby group in US politics, announced that it will spend $40 million during the campaign, $15 million to specifically persuade gun owners to vote against the Democratic Party candidate."

2. Winning lawsuits in Chicago, San Francisco and New York which shouldn't be too hard after the Supreme Court decision on DC vs. Heller

3. Gaining popular support – much more effort should be given to educate people on the street that what we are fighting for is the really reasonable expectation to be able to carry weapon for self defense and not turning their streets into battlefield. A lot was done in this issue but there is still a lot to be done.

4. Regardless of who wins the elections (let's hope it would be McCain but let's prepare for Obama's victory as well) we need a strong NRA-ILA. All financial and other support counts. Working together we can change the realities that we are here to change.

Written by Nancy Loring from the Gun Values Board Blog
As Nancy indicates, Heller in no way ends the fight against the scourge of forcible citizen disarmament. It opens up some new avenues of attack for our side to exploit, but also opens up new vulnerabilities. The "collective rights" myth may be dead, but the other side is newly motivated to find creative new "reasonable restrictions" to impose on the right that shall not be infringed.

Belly up to the Barr tonight

I wrote yesterday about the contest at War on Guns to design the best poster commemorating supposed "Libertarian" Bob Barr's support of the Lauternberg gun ban.

Today, War on Guns tells us that there will be another opportunity to ask Barr about his Lautenberg connection.

Tonight at 6:30 (I assume EST since the blog appears to originate in VA), Bob Barr's son and campaign spokesman, Derek Barr, will be "liveblogging" at Good Sense. As you can see from the "Comments," I've already set the stage for the reason I'm holding this poster contest:
Why is the Barr campaign and Libertarian Party not replying to email inquiries about his support for the Lautenberg gun ban?
Some backup during the live blog will be appreciated, especially if the response needs to be expanded or clarified. I understand from the "Reader Information" link that it's not a chat room and a moderator must decide on passing on all questions.
Let's be too many voices to ignore.

10 years and a quarter million dollars--for a handle

I talked about this once before, and Say Uncle and Snowflakes in Hell have done so more recently, but the issue has gained new relevance for me, and made me newly angry.

The issue is that according to the BATFE, if one attaches a vertical foregrip to a pistol, the pistol magically ceases to be a pistol, and is now an "Any Other Weapon" (AOW), which must be registered with the BATFE (with all the headaches that entails), if one does not wish the risk of being charged with possession of an unregistered AOW, which can carry a penalty of ten years in federal prison, and a $250,000 fine. For a handle.

The reason I have chosen to get angry all over again about this is that my bizarre project is back on track, as I have discovered that there is still a way, after all, to make a .50 Beowulf AR pistol, and I have what I need on order (although it will take a while). The problem is that being paraplegic, with very little lower torso strength, I could, I think, really benefit from anything that helps me establish a solid grip up front with my off hand--especially when dealing with .50 Beowulf recoil.

Apparently, though, rendering a hard-kicking gun more easily controllable by a disabled person, without paying a $200 tax to the BATFE, getting fingerprinted, getting the local chief of police on board, etc., makes America a more dangerous place. I am aware that if I could get someone already licensed to manufacture NFA firearms to install the foregrip for me, the tax stamp would be only $5, but I don't know if I'll find such a manufacturer willing to deal with this, and I would still have to jump through all the other hoops.

Perhaps "Maximum Mike" can be reasoned with, and made to see that this insane BATFE policy does nothing to make America safer. What--did I say something funny?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Design the best poster--Barr none

For those who hold my views, the upcoming presidential election has had very little to offer since the dissolution of the Ron Paul campaign. There's John "Close the 'gun show loophole'" McCain on the one hand, and Barack "please don't talk about guns until after the election" Obama on the other. Oh, yeah--there's also Bob Barr. Bob "Cleaner-upper of the Lautenberg Amendment" Barr.

I've made no secret of my admiration for David Codrea's War on Guns blog, but just once, I wish he would have left my illusions intact, and allowed me to believe that in voting for Barr, I would be voting for a candidate to whom liberty meant everything (I was willing to forgive Barr's "Patriot Act" vote, since he publicly recanted it). OK--I don't really wish David hadn't shattered my illusions, but it does leave me with precious little in the way of choices in November.

To make matters worse, Barr is apparently uninterested in answering questions about his stance regarding the Lautenberg ban, and in fact continues to ignore such questions, along with the Libertarian Party.

That's why War on Guns is hosting a poster contest (follow the title link):

Let's have a contest.

Design a Barr/Lautenberg poster of your own. If you have a blog, post it and send me a link so I can send traffic your way. If you don't, just send me your graphic as a .jpg file.

I'll post them as I get them, and will pick a time--maybe two weeks from now--to present them together. I still have to figure out how to select a "winner" and what prize I can come up with, but what the heck--let's have some fun.
I'm about as artistic and creative as I am skilled at bullfighting, so I don't imagine I'll be entering, but I would like to encourage anyone who does have such skills (poster designing--not bullfighting) to join the fun.