Mission statement:

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

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

Friday, August 29, 2008

Should have done this before

I've written a bit before about the hideous miscarriage of justice that is the BATFE's persecution (and yes--"persecution," and not "prosecution" is the word I want) of David Olofson. Mr. Olofson is now serving a thirty month sentence in federal prison, for the "crime" of owning a malfunctioning rifle, while his family struggles to make ends meet without his income (you can help, by the way).

I've been remiss, though, in keeping readers updated on more recent developments. Specifically, an appeal has been filed, and oh, what an appeal it is.

When American citizens get in the way of the federal government's anti-gun jihad, I've learned not to place a lot of faith in the courts. With this appeal, though, I may be in for a pleasant surprise.

The federal government allegedly suppressed evidence and edited a legal definition in a Wisconsin case against a man who ultimately was convicted of transferring a machine gun, according to an appeal document.
I would like to think that everyone who reads what I write also reads War on Guns (daily), and so my neglect of these developments isn't a major problem. Still, a successful appeal (and the accompanying smack on the BATFE's nose) would be huge news, and for me to ignore the possible lead-up to that is inexcusable.

Besides, I can't very well risk missing the opportunity to approach the supposed "gun rights advocates" who self-righteously spout that Olofson got what he deserved, and pour them a big, steaming cup of STFU.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

National Post writer upset because Democratic candidates aren't talking about Columbine (9 years later)

The National Post is apparently considered (by Canadian standards, at least) to be a "conservative" newspaper, but if so, that apparently doesn't extend to conserving fundamental rights, at least in this article.

The long, low halls of Columbine High School are lined with blue lockers and crimson history, decked with hand-drawn posters for Bible Study and the Knitting Club, cruised by laughing teens in Hollister and Aéropostale, then eerily silent when the classroom doors swing closed. We are nine years removed from the mass murder-suicide that happened here, and 10 miles south of a national political gathering at which the quieting of America's guns has never been mentioned.
I had a brief moment of hope (no--not that kind of hope) that "quieting of America's guns" was a reference to repealing the ridiculously draconian (not to mention unconstitutional) laws regulating suppressors ("silencers," in common parlance), but that was just foolishly excessive optimism on my part.
Ignored entirely in the electoral battlespace, yet unforgettable at Columbine and wherever else innocent life has fallen to a weapon fired in anger or insanity or accident, the issue of America's abundance of guns has made only a brief and semi-comical intrusion into Barack Obama's festival of Hope.
That last bit, of course, refers to the drug-addled, neo-Nazi, would-be assassins whose tiny, reptilian brains had conceived delusions of killing Obama. I have to disagree with the author's assertion that "America's abundance of guns" is being "[i]gnored entirely," though--both halves of the Obama/Biden ticket have made über-draconian gun laws central elements of their platforms. If they play that fact down at the moment, it's because they know that to fail to do so is to fail to get enough votes to win (and what does that say about the will of The People regarding gun rights?).

The author then went on to catalog (even including, bizarrely enough, the serial numbers) the "terrifying arsenal" the clowns had assembled for their "plot." The author, apparently, wants an explanation, or an apology (?!) for the fact that these doofuses had managed to acquire their "arsenal."
But this did not explain - or apologize for - a state or a country in which three stoned stooges with no jobs or fixed addresses can stuff their trunk . . .
Well, Allen, at least some of that (including at least one of the rifles) was stolen--you do realize that people without jobs or fixed addresses do manage to steal things sometimes, don't you? Is that enough of an "apology" for you?

The author then points out that neither candidate's website has much to say about gun legislation (don't worry Allen--they'll get to that after the election), and makes this melancholy observation:
So there is no looking to the candidates to end the carnage.
What kind of idiot even hopes to go "looking to the candidates" to somehow stop psychopathic punk kids from being . . . psychopathic punk kids?

Highlight of the article, hands down:
We were 11 miles from Columbine High when I asked [gun shop owner] Warren Marshall how he would feel if a weapon he sold legally were used by a Klebold or a Harris.

"How would you feel with a stump up your ass?" he replied.
The article ends, unfortunately, on a massive clunker of emotion-based hysteria.
"It's safe here," their principal tells them. In a land of rage and rifles, that may be the most hopeful audacity of all.
"Land of rage and rifles," eh? I'd much rather take my chances here than move to some land of sheep and servility.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

So . . . what does the VPC think of Joe Biden?

When it comes to those involved with either side of the gun rights vs. citizen disarmament debate, what Joe Biden is most known for is his obsession with banning so-called "assault weapons." By boasting of being "the guy who originally wrote the assault weapons ban" of '94, and by introducing (last fall) a S. 2237, with a word for word reprise of the '94 ban language, Biden leaves little doubt that he is bound and determined to ban vast numbers of some of the most popular firearms in the country.

For the VPC, though, that might not be enough. The VPC believes that the reason the "assault weapons" ban accomplished nothing is that it didn't go far enough.

Mr. TOM DIAZ (Violence Policy Center): If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another in terms of our objective, which is reducing death and injury and getting a particularly lethal class of firearms off the streets. So if it doesn't pass, it doesn't pass.
Tough crowd, eh, Joe? You write a ban, get it passed in a bill, get the bill signed into law, getting the hell kicked out of your political party in the process, and people say you're still not doing enough to disarm the citizenry.

By the way, speaking of the VPC, is there some kind of "citizen disarmament writer's strike" going on without my knowledge? Their website is recycling materiel from 1999. Isn't there enough stuff to talk about from this millennium, without resorting to advocating the end of hunting with rifles*?

Maybe Biden will get on that.

* The VPC claims a material difference between hunting rifles and "sniper rifles," but even if there is such a difference, and it can be identified legislatively, they want to ban all ammunition that can penetrate police body armor--all centerfire rifle ammo, in other words. Sounds like the end of hunting with rifles, to me.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Making amends; GunVoter.org

Last Friday, I wrote about my having, earlier that week, become a life member of the NRA, despite my numerous misgivings about the leadership. I explained why I decided against allowing those misgivings to prevent me from becoming--for life--a member of The Enemy's most hated and feared nemesis, the NRA. I mentioned my dream of the NRA returning to the kind of organization it once was, with men like Neal Knox (the kind of "SNBI extremist" I can only aspire to becoming) leading the way.

I also talked about some other gun rights organizations with which I am involved. Most, if not all, of these are considered much more "extremist" than the NRA.

In a comment responding to that blog post, Jeff Knox (son of Neal Knox), gently chastised me for failing to mention another gun rights group--the Firearms Coalition (founded by Neal Knox)--that is just as highly principled and unwilling to accept some new, arbitrary definition of shall not be infringed as an "extremist" like me could ask for. Here's an excerpt of his comment (be sure to read the whole thing--it's worth it):

I appreciate the hat-tip to my father, Neal Knox, but I was a little disappointed that you didn’t mention his organization, The Firearms Coalition, as one of the groups that you support. The Firearms Coalition has been in the trenches lobbying Congress and the NRA for almost 25 years. We have been providing thoughtful, reliable information, without hype, bluster, and manic fund raising pleas, since the 4th of July, 1984.
Aside from the fact it should have been accompanied with a good, swift kick to my rear end, I fully agree with Jeff's message. I honestly don't know why it didn't occur to me to mention the Firearms Coalition--I've been a member (if a rather inactive one) for years, so I can't claim ignorance of the organization. The best I can do is to claim cerebral flatulence--not an excuse I'm proud to use.

The Firearms Coalition is indeed an essential resource for gun rights advocacy, and one that, speaking personally, I have all but ignored for far too long. I haven't yet taken more than a cursory look at their project (mentioned in Jeff's comment), GunVoter.org, but I am definitely going to correct that deficiency.

Maybe if enough of us "SNBIs" do so, we can refute the accusations of being unwilling to do the hard work of real political activism within the system.

Monday, August 25, 2008

News flash: Newsweek still supports forcible citizen disarmament

In a development that should shock no one, Newsweek is pushing a citizen disarmament measure. This time, it's the "Disarm Anyone the Attorney General Designates as a 'Terrorist'" bill (either H.R. 2074 or S. 1237). Specifically, the article takes Senator McCain (himself no friend to private firearm ownership) to task for not specifically endorsing the bill.

But does that extend to gun rights for suspected terrorists? His campaign won't say where he stands on a bill to eliminate a gun-control loophole that even the Bush administration wants closed: a gap in federal law that inhibits the government from stopping people on terrorist watch lists from buying guns.
I love, by the way, that reference to "even the Bush administration"--as if this administration has a proud record of standing against statist power grabs. I've made no secret of what I think of attempts to give the Attorney General--an unelected official--the power to unilaterally voiding an American citizen's Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, without a conviction, without an arrest, without even criminal charges being filed. Then, of course, there's the little fact of the "terrorist watch list" having ballooned to something like a million names by now. Yeah--that sounds like a list that constitutes a reliable grounds for denying fundamental rights.

Frankly, I don't think Newsweek writer Mark Hosenball has much to worry about--I imagine McCain would sign such a bill without much of a second thought. Ah--the "land of the free."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Attempt to satirize 'Only Ones' mentality falls short

I don't usually do "Only Ones" posts, but I spotted something the other day that I found interesting.

I like satire as much as the next guy, and tend to read The Onion regularly. Certainly I've been put off more than once by Onion articles that I found to be in rather poor taste, but for the most part, I find them quite funny. The article in question here, "Cop Vows To Hunt Down Punk Who Successfully Pressed Brutality Charges Against His Partner," isn't offensive, but it still doesn't work very well as satire.

Christopher O'Dell, a 16-year veteran of the Detroit Police Department, told reporters Monday that he will not rest until he exacts revenge on the man who got his long-time partner, Officer Rick Noonan, 38, suspended for using excessive force during an arrest at a peaceful demonstration last March. "That punk is going to get what's coming to him again," O'Dell said. "If it's the last thing I do, I'll make sure that scumbag is taken off the streets, not properly informed of his Miranda rights, chained to a radiator beneath the station, and kept awake for days of interrogation without being formally charged."
This kind of satire works by exaggerating reality to a ridiculous extent, but the problem is that this is no exaggeration, as demonstrated here, here, here, here, and especially here--and these are all from the past week, and I only picked the "best" among those available. I'm not sure that Onion article would even have made the cut in that collection.

I'm not accusing The Onion of being deliberately misleading, to serve some kind of agenda--I think that like most Americans, the writers there are simply unaware of how pervasive is the problem of "a few bad apples" among the government's hired muscle.

And that's why the "Only Ones" posts are needed.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well, I did it. On Tuesday, I paid the final installment on my NRA life membership. That's right--you can now only get my NRA membership card away from me when you pull it from my cold, dead hands.

This was not easy for me--and I'm not referring to the anorexic quality of my finances, after my purchase of the "SNBI Militia CQB Special" ( ;-) ). No, what made it difficult for me to consummate my relationship with the NRA (speaking figuratively here--get your minds out of the gutter) is that I am rarely happy these days with the direction in which the NRA seems to be headed. I won't bore anyone with the details now--I've aired my complaints about the NRA often enough that all three of my regular readers must have the gist by now.

There are more than a couple people for whom I have enormous respect who actually see the NRA (or NRA leadership, anyway) as traitors to the cause of gun rights advocacy. I'm not ready to go that far--I see Cox and LaPierre more as Neville Chamberlain types than Vidkun Quislings. Then again, a Neville Chamberlain or two can do a hell of a lot of damage, too.

And still, I did it. While on the subject of "still," I'm also still not sure if I've done the right thing. In my defense, I'm also a life member of GOA, CCRKBA, and SAF. I'd probably do a life membership to JPFO, if they offered an installment plan (why don't they, anyway?). As mentioned yesterday, I'm also intrigued with the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR), who seem to share my unhappiness with the NRA, and it would probably be more surprising if I don't end up soon joining them, than if I do. I figure my support of those less "polite" groups might help (to some degree) to offset the hypocrisy of becoming a life member of a group that I have a habit of "bashing," according to some people.

The real reason I completed the process (aside from inertia, and the fact that I didn't particularly want the money invested in the membership, before my disillusionment, to be wasted) is that it wasn't that long ago that with guys like Neal Knox at the helm, the NRA was the kind of organization that could warm even the cold, black heart of an "SNBI" zealot like me. I'd like to think that it can be restored to that kind of organization . . . and now I have a vote.

And to think that I've been accused of being unwilling to work within the system.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heller analysis; new (to me, at least) gun rights group

When the Heller decision was announced on June 26th, I confess that I was among those gun rights advocates who saw it as a "victory" for gun rights. Not that I ever saw it as anything like a death knell for citizen disarmament, but it did seem to me that a significant move forward for gun rights had been taken, and I certainly didn't see much in the way of danger in the decision. Some others within the gun rights movement, less susceptible to the siren's song of wishful thinking than I, were far less enthusiastic. As I listened to them, and became less drunk on "victory," I began to perceive the outlines of the minefield of potential new threats to gun rights contained in the decision.

I was never able to articulate those misgivings very well, though, thus perhaps opening myself up to accusations that I was denigrating the decision, "because it wasn't everything, RIGHT NOW!" That was never my position, and I'm still not sure how anyone formed the impression that it was, but I should perhaps accept some responsibility for leaving enough ambiguity in my position to leave room for that mischaracterization. To be clear, my misgivings about Heller are due not at all to the fact that it failed to make the literal meaning of the Second Amendment the recognized law of the land, but to the potential danger of it being used to justify further attacks on gun rights.

I am still not able to articulate that position very well, but stumbled yesterday on an analysis that does. Here's an excerpt:

Or for destroying those rights entirely. For on the theory that firearms that are “highly unusual” and not “in common use at th[is] time” can be banned, rogue public officials could make any type of firearm “highly unusual” simply by banning private possession of it, and then using the effect of the ban as a reason for saying the Second Amendment does not apply! Just as they have removed fully automatic firearms from the possibility of “common use” by the National Firearms Act and other statutes. So, on the basis of the loose language in Heller, Americans can expect, not only that fully automatic firearms such as M-16s will continue to be banned from “common use,” but also that political hucksters will attempt to revive the Clinton-era prohibitions of semiautomatic “assault weapons” that merely resemble M-16s, and of high-capacity magazines; then to enact new restrictions on highly accurate, long-range “sniper rifles” in .338 Lapua, .50 BMG, and other supposedly “unusual” calibers; and even to impose draconian regulations on possession of many types of ammunition, so that the firearms chambered for such rounds will be rendered effectively useless.

Read the whole article--it's not short, but is well worth the time.

Something else I got from the article was a reference to a gun rights group with which I had not been familiar--the National Association for Gun Rights (NAGR). That looks like my kind of group. Know anything about them, anyone?

UPDATE: Upon further reflection, I found a passage from the article that I think would have been a better choice than the one I quoted originally. Hopefully, the author won't object to me quoting another paragraph.
Most importantly, Heller poorly serves the core purpose of the Second Amendment. In isolation, an individual’s right to possess firearms for the purpose of self-defense in his own home can only minimally deter rogue public officials from attempting to impose a police state on this country. Without thoroughgoing organization, sufficient arms, and legal authority for collective action, Americans cannot expect to deter, let alone to resist, large-scale para-militarized police forces and other instruments of oppression. Because the militia are the constitutional institutions that provide all three — and always under control of “the people” — the Second Amendment declares them to be “necessary to the security of a free State.” The most perceptive “gun controllers” — all of whom, in the final analysis, intend to impose something other than “a free State” upon common Americans — know this, and therefore bend their every effort to prevent true constitutional militia from functioning in this country.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Interesting choice of quotes, Mike

I've mentioned Mike Beard before, and the fact that his organization (Coalition to Stop Gun Violence) openly advocates a government monopoly on force. In a way, I had to (grudgingly) respect that--at least, I thought, CSGV wasn't trying to hide it's liberty-suppressing goals behind talk of stopping with "reasonable restrictions."

This week
, however, in exhorting his fellow advocates of forcible citizen disarmament to take a more active role in working to undermine the Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, he seems to borrow heavily from Big Brother's "War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength" slogan.

I refer specifically to Beard's audacity in quoting Frederick Douglass to inspire attacks on freedom. The particular quote at the end is especially bizarre:

Otherwise, our fate has already been written by Douglass: "Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them."
One problem here is that Beard has cut the quote off unfinished. In fact, he didn't even finish the sentence, and a look at the part he omitted makes clear why he felt compelled to pretend that that part was never said.

Let's look at the whole thing, shall we?
Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Obviously, as president of a group that advocates a government monopoly on force, Beard can't very well talk about resisting tyrants with blows--he wants to destroy the people's ability to strike those blows.

At one point in Beard's call for action, he states that to succeed in disarming America, the citizen disarmament advocates "will have to get [their] hands dirty." I would say that if they succeed, nothing will ever remove the stain from their hands.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Guess who likes McCain!

At risk of giving the (badly mistaken) impression that I would not be very unhappy with an Obama presidency, I still can't bring myself to shut up about how little enthusiasm I would have for the alternative.

We know about McCain and the "gun show loophole," McCain and the Lautenberg lifetime gun ban, and I'm doing my best to not allow anyone to forget about McCain's vote to extend the AWB. What I was not aware of (but perhaps should have surmised) is the degree to which everyone's favorite Mayor for Forcible Citizen Disarmament respects McCain.

At a press conference with U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk [him again] on gun-control, Bloomberg spoke positively about Barack Obama's position on guns, but he also praised John McCain.
"I have known John McCain a lot longer than I have known Sen. Obama," he said. "I can say nothing but good things about Sen. McCain."
Obama or McCain. No wonder Bloomberg, Helmke, et al. are so pleased about the upcoming presidential election. It's hard to see how they could lose. Maybe the Kool-Aid guzzler David found can explain how I'm mistaken.

That means, of course, that it's equally hard to see how liberty advocates can win--at least under these rules. Hope everyone has plenty of ammo.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Freudian slip?

I've not been shy about expressing my dislike (most recently here) of programs like Richmond, Virginia's Project Exile, whereby whenever possible, offenders of the myriad draconian gun laws are prosecuted under federal law, in order to maximize the sentence. This article is about a similar program in Pueblo, Colorado.

I don't have much to say about it that I haven't said about such programs before, but one sentence, quoting Troy Eid (U.S. Attorney for Colorado), grabbed my attention:

He said [Pueblo Police Chief Jim] Billings has told him Pueblo criminals now less often take guns to their drug deals. "They've learned you might go to federal prison if they do."
Hmm--"you might go to federal prison if they" conduct illegal drug transactions while armed. I'm familiar with the well established tradition of punishing responsible, peaceable gun owners for the actions of criminals, but I hadn't expected it to be so casually admitted to by one of the practitioners.

I actually realize that it was just a clumsy misstatement, but one could argue that it holds some (accidental) truth.

Maybe we just like making you sick to your stomach, Dwight

Dwight Lewis starts a column titled "Why do we make it easy for killers?" by claiming a very odd medical condition.

Gun advocates can make me sick to my stomach. And not far behind are those who still can't get over the fact that the South lost the Civil War.
He goes on to explain that last Wednesday, he received notice (via an email from Hillary Clinton's press office) about the shooting of Arkansas Democratic Party chairman Bill Gwatney. Then, just over an hour later, he got another email, this one from the Second Amendment Foundation, promoting their book, America Fights Back: Armed Self-Defense in a Violent Age. This offends Dwight. Not, we're apparently expected to believe, because of the message (despite the pretty clear implication that he strongly disagrees with that message), but because of the timing.
Give me a break, please. Just an hour or so earlier, it had been reported that a gunman had burst into the state Democratic Party headquarters in Little Rock, Ark., and shot Gwatney, the party chairman.
Apparently, no one should promote gun rights advocacy literature shortly after someone gets shot. Keep in mind that as far as I know, SAF doesn't send email to people who don't subscribe to their email alerts, so it's not as if they're SPAMming his inbox uninvited.

That incident wasn't the end of Dwight's stomach troubles Wednesday.
It's not only the Second Amendment Foundation that makes me sick when it comes to gun advocates, it's the National Rifle Association, as well.
What did the bad old NRA do to his poor stomach (beyond the mere fact of their existence, which I suspect is nearly enough to put him off his feed by itself)?
Last Wednesday, the NRA claimed Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is trying to mislead voters in Montana about his past support of gun control, calling Obama "a poster child of the extremist, elitist gun control movement.''

America needs more "extremist, elitist gun control'' people to help stop the killing of such people as Bill Gwatney, not laws that will enable more people to own guns and then kill people with them.
The last part of that last sentence is kind of interesting, I thought: " . . . laws that will enable more people to own guns and then kill people with them." I'm having trouble coming up with many laws that "enable more people to own guns," (and especially "and then kill people with them"). You don't need laws to enable gun purchases, you just have to have an absence of laws preventing it (or trying to prevent it, as if prohibition laws ever accomplish their stated goals). Pretty indicative of the statist mindset--they always think in terms of passing more laws, even if the goal is decreased regulation.

Read the column to see his . . . interesting objections to people who wish to wear items commemorating the Confederate States of America. The best part is probably this:
Yes, I'm a free-speech advocate, but for an 18-year-old to claim he is fighting for "my heritage and my rights as a Southerner and an American'' is a bunch of bull.
A "free-speech advocate" who apparently will let you know what you can and cannot freely say. I'm not a big fan of Confederate flag clothing, but people wear lots of things that I find offensive.

I happen to be aware that the right to never be offended is one that I don't have. I can live with that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The dreaded .50 caliber 'assault pistol'

Nearly a year-and-a-half ago, I announced my plans to get an AR pistol chambered for .50 Beowulf. Some day, perhaps, I would come up with a practical application for it, but actually, practical applications aren't the point here. The point is that as a handgun (technically), an "assault weapon" (making it the dreaded "assault pistol"), and a .50 caliber gun, this single firearm constitutes a three-pronged attack on the tender sensibilities of the forcible disarmament advocates. I know, by the way, that the .50 Beowulf is vastly less powerful than the .50 BMG cartridge that so terrifies the other side, but most of them don't--they hear ".50 caliber," and visualize me knocking down jumbo jets at 30,000 feet.

One of my favorite statist civilian disarmers, Commissar . . . er, Illinois State Senator (and former executive director of the rabidly anti-gun Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence) Dan Kotowski, has made going after .50 caliber guns, magazines with capacities of eleven or more rounds, "assault weapons," etc., a signature issue of his. It is he, in fact, who I credit with inspiring me to get such a firearm. There's just something about being told that one must be prevented from owning some item, that makes that item all that much more desirable.

Actually turning my ".50 caliber protest" into reality was a long road, with numerous twists and detours, but the destination has now been reached. I present (drum roll, please) . . . Kotowski's Lament:

Clearly, I'm no photographer.

Here's another shot, with the dreaded "high capacity" magazine (designed to hold 90 rounds of .223/5.56mm, but can be used to hold 34 rounds of .50 Beowulf--although it's not full in the picture).

Well, do you like it, Dan? Come down to this part of the state and go to the range with me--I'll make a shooter out of you yet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Nothing today

No substantive blogging today. Anything I wrote today would be unlikely to be helpful. I realize I don't have much of a history of letting that stop me, but maybe it's time to step back a bit.

Tomorrow is looking kind of busy, so I might not have anything then, either. By Sunday, though, I hope to have some kind of fun stuff (with pics) to post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Methodists for unopposed church massacres

It seems that at the North Georgia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church, a resolution has been adopted to attempt to maintain the state-mandated defenseless victim zone status of Georgia churches.

"Whereas bringing concealed weapons into the church sends a message that is at odds with what the church wants to communicate and violates the religious character of religious property, and;

Whereas the work of the church does not involve or require weapons;

Now be it resolved that the delegates to the 2008 session of the North Georgia Annual Conference oppose any attempts by the state legislature to allow anyone other than law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in houses of worship;

And be it further resolved that we invite members of other churches and faiths in Georgia to join us in this effort."
I'm not sure of the exact date of this conference--it may have been before the butchery of congregants at a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tennessee, late last month. Even if so, though, there are plenty of other examples of what happens when the evil person is the only one armed.

There are, of course, also examples of what happens when evil does not have a monopoly on force. The courageous defense of her fellow parishioners by concealed carry permit holder and private citizen Jeanne Assam comes to mind.

Apparently, though, North Georgia Methodists prefer outcomes like the one in Tennessee to the one in Colorado. It's disgusting, inexplicable, and just plain twisted that they would wish such defenselessness on their own congregants.

What is evil, though, is that they would impose it on every other church in the state, as well.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Time for some fence mending, Senator?

An article in Politico yesterday tells us that while McCain has more support from gun owners than Obama does, the margin is not all that great.

According to a Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation poll to be released Wednesday, John McCain leads Obama by a 45 to 31 percent. That’s only about half the 27-point edge respondents say they gave George W. Bush over Kerry four years ago and far short of the 65-to-15 percent margin gun owners gave to Bush over Gore in 2000.
It could, of course, be convincingly argued that events have shown gun owners' faith in the "Vote Freedom First President" to have been (badly) misplaced.

Still, when the opposition is Obama, with his record of extremist opposition to private ownership of firearms, how can a Republican candidate fail to be anything less than a vastly better alternative? Gee, I don't know--could it be McCain's support for ending private sales at gun shows--a position on which he is in exact agreement with Obama, Bloomberg, and the Brady Campaign? Or is it perhaps his vote to extend the federal ban of so-called "assault weapons"? Has even Obama ever placed such a vote?

People who care about gun rights should be a sure bet for the Republican Party, but the party instead managed to nominate someone who can't even significantly separate himself on the issue from Obama . . . Obama! That's like a hen running for leadership of the hen house, and finding herself barely leading the fox in polls among the hen house population.

If McCain wants enthusiastic gun owner support--and I would think he does--he has a lot of explaining to do. I can't really begin to imagine what kind of explanation would do the trick, but I suggest he come up with something. Sending this back, after having used it for toilet paper, might be a good start.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mayor Daley's kind of law professor

Bernard Bell, a law professor at Rutgers, advocates imposing liability on gun owners--even those who have done nothing wrong.

Perhaps it is time to think about handgun ownership as the type of activity that should give rise to liability without fault. Thus, while those unlawfully threatening gun owners obviously could not recover damages for their injuries, innocent bystanders and others injured by gun owners would be compensated.
When Bell says "injured by gun owners," by the way, he doesn't really mean . . . "injured by gun owners," he means injured by (for example) someone else, who stole the gun from its rightful owner.

We then get to the part Mayor Daley should really like:
A move toward absolute liability would ideally be accompanied by private insurers' willingness to insure gun owners against such liability. Such insurance should be separate from standard homeowners' insurance, so that homeowners who do not own guns are not required to subsidize those who do.

The cost of insurance would reflect the expected cost of compensating gun injuries to innocent people. Individuals would then have the incentive to weigh the cost of injuries to others in deciding whether to purchase or keep firearms.
Daley hinted at something similar (among other things) a few weeks ago.
. . . Do you have to have insurance if you have a gun?
Bell even goes on to acknowledge that his idea may price the poor (who tend, incidentally, to live in the kinds of neighborhoods where self-defense is most necessary) out of the self-defense market. That, apparently, doesn't bother him.

Not very "progressive" of him, is it?

Monday, August 11, 2008

The line needs to be before that

I'm still not quite ready to drop discussion of the rather . . . spirited disagreement around the gun blogosphere about Mike Vangerboegh's letter to the editor. The thrust of the main argument, if I understand correctly, of the side that objects to making overt public reference to violent resistance to government infringement of that which shall not be infringed is that we have not yet reached the point of the infringements becoming intolerable, and thus it is too early to refresh the tree of liberty.

What this ignores is that Mr. Vanderboegh did not advocate crying "Havoc!" and letting slip the dogs of war--yet. The letter made clear that the danger would come only with further attacks on the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. To avert that danger, the government need only do . . . nothing. The shouting down of Mr. Vanderboegh came not in response to his advocacy of civil war--advocacy that never happened--but in response to his merely warning of what would provoke it.

In discussing where to draw the line in the sand, Sebastian quotes Judge Alex Kozinski's Silveria dissent:

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees*. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.
I agree with Sebastian that Kozinski's dissent is indeed eloquent, but I don't know that it makes a very useful guideline as to when fighting back becomes necessary.

For me, the "line in the sand" has to be drawn at citizen disarmament. The horrors outlined by Judge Kozinski are unlikely to occur until the people are disarmed. If we wait that long, we've missed the boat.

I am fully familiar, and in full agreement, with Jeff Snyder's superb Walter Mitty's Second Amendment, by the way. I know that the right to keep and bear arms is no guarantee of liberty, and is in fact useless in preserving freedom without the will to use it. Still, if the right to keep and bear arms is not sufficient to safeguard liberty, it is necessary for that purpose.

To word it one more way, having the right to keep and bear arms does not guarantee freedom, but losing it guarantees tyranny.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bloomberg's Congresspets serving their master well

War on Guns today points out that the reason an op-ed in the Three Village Times newspaper (New York) is so fawningly supportive of another of Carolyn "What's a barrel shroud" McCarthy's attempts to set the Constitution on fire is that it is a word-for-word reprint of her press release. McCarthy's bill (H.R. 6676) would require criminal background checks simply to work in a gun store.

WoG also mentions that one of McCarthy's partners in unconstitutionality is one of my perennial favorite neo-con citizen disarmament advocates, Mark Kirk. He's been a busy little wannabe tyrant this summer, introducing a bill to ban so-called "assault weapons" a couple months ago, and following that up recently with H.R. 6664.

The purpose of H.R. 6664, apparently, is that it gives us more things we can refer to as "loopholes"--the better to scare Suzy Soccer Mom with, my dear. The "loophole" in question this time is--I'm not making this up--the "fire sale loophole." The idea here is that after a gun dealer loses his license (for "willfully" having forms filled out with the letter "Y," instead of the word "Yes," for example), he would, under Kirk's bill, be prohibited from selling his guns as a private seller--even though, without a Federal Firearms License, that's exactly what he would be. Hopefully, this will solve the problem of not enough gun dealers starving to death once the BATFE has wantonly crushed their livelihoods.

Kirk's press release describes it this way:

“If a gun dealer loses its federal firearms license, we should be more vigilant about the connection to criminal activity – not turn a blind eye and open a floodgate of guns on our streets,” said Congressman Mark Kirk, co-chair of the Congressional Task Force on Illegal Guns. “We should not give a pass those who would arm violent gang members and threaten the safety of our communities. In the northern suburbs of Illinois, there are now more than 2,000 documented drug gang members. Through ATF trace data [that would be the ATF trace data you and your puppet masters claim is made unavailable, right?] , we clearly see a relationship between these gangs and certain gun shops. By closing the fire sale loophole, we’ll prevent those gun dealers who flaunt [I believe the word you're looking for is "flout," genius--I don't guess it would be reasonable to ask that those who presume to write laws we must obey know something of the English language] our laws from arming violent drug gangs that threaten the safety of law enforcement and our communities. I’m honored to have the backing of Mayors Bloomberg and Menino and the Mayors Against Illegal Guns coalition for this vitally important common-sense legislation.”
I don't guess I had better complain too loudly to Kirk about this, though--his pal McCarthy has probably taught him how to deal with that.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Must read from Mike Vanderboegh

Go. Read.


What say you now, South Florida Sun-Sentinel?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote about an editorial in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel that praised the decision to equip police officers with AR-15s (so called "assault weapons"), while simultaneously railing against the fact that we lowly private citizens could also obtain them.

People shouldn't be opposed to cops having these weapons.

What people should oppose — strongly — is the guy across the street having one.
I've made pretty clear what I think of that position, and I think that on that (if not on much else), the gun blogging community as a whole is pretty well in agreement.

What I'm curious about now, though, is what the South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board thinks of that position in light of this information:

At the end of July a thief stole an assault rifle like this one from the unmarked SUV of Broward Sheriff's Sergeant Richard Lacerra. According to documents from BSO, it was just one of a number of items stolen from the deputy's car.
And . . .
While that theft may be a concern, CBS4 News has learned that twice in the past month South Florida police officers have lost control of high powered weapons like these.
So let me make sure I have this right--the editors doesn't want peaceable, responsible private citizens to have these firearms, but they do want such firepower in police cars, from which they are promptly removed by people who are by definition criminals--is that about right?

Time to reexamine that "plan," maybe?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Something is indeed 'scary' here

I haven't really been following case of Kenneth Webster, who was arrested in Massachusetts with what the media is (predictably) describing as an "arsenal," or "massive cache" of weapons, in defiance of Massachusetts law. One article breathlessly describes his "massive cache" as including "more than 1,000 live rounds" (should he have stocked up on dud rounds, instead?).

As stated, I haven't really been following the story, but according to the above-linked article, he doesn't sound like any kind of terrorist or mass shooter I've ever heard about. That's not really what I'm writing about today. Instead, I want to look at this column:

When he was arrested on July 1 Webster reportedly told police that he had a constitutional right to own those guns. If that sounds scary, here's something scarier. There are a lot of people out there who agree with him.
I think columnist Joe Burns is talking about "extremists" like me, here. But wait! It gets even better.
Second Amendment literalists have long held that the phrase "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed" means just that.
Imagine! People thinking that the Constitution means what it says, rather than what Joe Burns and Sarah Brady tell us it means--simply terrifying, isn't it?

"Second Amendment literalist"--I kind of like that term, but I don't want to give up my "extremist" creds--"Second Amendment extreme literalist," maybe? Kinda awkward, I guess. I'll keep working on it. I wonder if Burns is a "First Amendment literalist." That, of course, would be perfectly alright--thinking that the First Amendment is just a figure of speech is plainly ridiculous.

I have to wonder--would those who oppose publicly speaking about the purpose of the Second Amendment prefer to be called "Second Amendment figurativists"?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Brady Campaign looking for NRA/Vanderboegh axis? What are they smoking?

I recently pointed out that, gun blogger histrionics notwithstanding, the reaction to Mike Vangerboegh's letter to the editor of the (Madison, WI) Capital Times outside the gun blogosphere had been nil. Until today, that had been the case.

Now, however, the Brady Campaign is making a bizarre attempt to conflate the Vanderboegh letter with the NRA's alleged espionage efforts.

I tend not to be very shy about pointing out when I was right, but in implying that the Bradyites would just ignore Mr. Vanderboegh's letter, I was clearly wrong. Certainly not a new experience for me, and in the end, not something I see as a problem. In fact, I find myself wishing, for perhaps the first time, that the Brady Blog had more readership outside the gun blogging community, to help get Mike V.'s message out there.

Now that would be some Unintended Consequences.

War on Guns has more, as does Snowflakes in Hell, and probably others that I've not spotted yet.


About last night . . .

The podcast debate discussed here went reasonably well, I thought, aside from the fact that I didn't have a very good phone connection. For those who missed it last night, it can be downloaded here.

In the end, though, I doubt it resolved much of anything--and there is at least one thing that I think is very much in need of resolution. The gun bloggers who reacted with such outraged indignation over Mr. Vanderboegh's letter seem to demand that we treat overt enemies of private firearm ownership with vastly more courtesy and respect than some of the more conciliatory gun rights advocates are willing to treat us hard liners. Building bridges is great, but do you have to burn bridges to do it?

Ironically, the vituperative howls of indignation from the "pragmatics"--the calls to silence us less "polite" gun rights advocates (good luck with that, by the way) are what kept this issue on the front burner, and provoked us to dig in our heels. It's "gun rights advocates" volunteering to shoot us, who make us all the more determined.

So--if the pragmatics are convinced that the battle for gun rights is so close to being won that they need a new set of enemies to replace the ostensibly vanquished citizen disarmament advocates, I suppose we of the Merry Band of 3% can fill that role.

I still think it's an odd--and not especially "pragmatic"--choice of battles.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Project Exile: 'keeping an eye on' Richmond

I am not, and have never been, a fan of Project Exile, whereby the entire weight of the federal government is thrown against "gun criminals." I could go into a long explanation of why I oppose enforcement of unconstitutional laws, even against the scum who tend to be the targets of Project Exile, but the arguments are made better than I could do so here.

I bring this up because of a Wall Street Journal article that states that both the NRA and the Brady Campaign support Project Exile and similar efforts (yeah--that makes me feel better about the idea), and that more cities are looking into the idea.

Although the NRA is challenging gun laws in various cities such as San Francisco and Chicago, it supports Richmond's efforts.

"By prosecuting them they prevent the drug dealer, the gang member and the felon from committing the next crime," says NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre. "Leave the good people alone and lock up the bad people and dramatically cut crime."

Although it wants more done to tamp down the supply of guns, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence also supports Richmond's efforts, says Peter Hamm, Brady spokesman. The organization supports any measure that reduces violent crime, which the Richmond effort is doing, he says.
The BATFE is enthusiastically on board with the idea, of course ("Yeah--I guess we'll accept more power and a bigger budget.")
North of downtown, Mr. Swann and fellow ATF agent James Panos cruise in an unmarked car. While the agents conduct investigations, they also patrol like city police, engaging citizens and talking to potential suspects, "just to let them know we're here and keeping an eye on them," Mr. Swann says.
Frankly, I'm more concerned about the need to keep an eye on Mr. Swann. It's interesting, though, that just as more and more police departments are becoming increasingly militarized, we also have federal agents driving around playing street cop. One big, happy, police state family.

Project Exile, the NICS "Improvement" Act--the NRA and the Bradyites (not to mention the BATFE) are getting downright chummy, aren't they?

Monday, August 04, 2008

(Accidentally) making a couple decent points

I've never been one to get caught up in the "liberal" vs. "conservative" debate--mostly because it doesn't make any sense to me, at least the way the two schools of thought are defined these days. Take the "liberal" penchant for forcible citizen disarmament, for example. What's "liberal" about a government monopoly on force? Sounds like a position more to the liking of fascists, to me. On the other hand, we have "conservatives" (or at least neo-conservatives) who seem to want to grow the federal government to a size FDR hadn't dared imagine.

John Norton apparently identifies himself as a "liberal," and has written a sarcastic piece exhorting his fellow "liberals" to embrace the Second Amendment. The funny thing is, he almost certainly unintentionally hit on some valid points.

I had an awesome vision: the well-armed liberal. This vision opened a host of questions resulting in new insights.

Why should conservatives have almost all the guns?

How about history? The Second Amendment itself provided for the arming not of conservatives but, believe it or not, the liberals of their day. The militias and minutemen were more than liberals, they became radical revolutionaries. The Second Amendment says arm them. The conservatives of that time were Tories loyal to a right-wing monarch who sought to suppress these enflamed liberals. So, our very revolutionary origins depended upon well-armed liberals fighting against the forces of conservatism.
Indeed. This goes back to what I've said all along about there being nothing liberal about forcible citizen disarmament. After that, he gets his sarcasm going full steam, and says nothing worthy of even a rebuttal. Follow the link and read it if you're really bored.

I will respond to his last paragraph, though.
So, all you liberals out there get in line at your local gun shop. Load up for the big battle. But hurry. Second Amendment conservatives are sure to see the consequences of armed liberal elitists. A new revelation surely will follow. The merit of gun control will gain unexpected new support. Conservative members of the Supreme Court will rediscover that the Second Amendment does, indeed, allow targeted legislation to control guns.
His assertion, apparently, is that whomever he refers to as "Second Amendment conservatives" will become disenchanted with Constitutional protection for the fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms, if "liberals" start exercising that right en masse.

That, clearly, is either a lie, or sheer stupidity (perhaps both). No one I would refer to as a gun rights advocate would argue that one's right to keep and bear arms should depend in any way on one's political ideology.

So if the "liberals" (whoever they are) wish to embrace the Second Amendment and arm themselves, I say more power to them.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gonna be on the radio

This coming Tuesday evening, at 11 PM Eastern time, I'll be involved in a discussion on Gun Nuts: The Next Generation.

Next week on Gun Nuts: TNG we’re going to be talking to Sebastian of Snowflakes in Hell, as well Kurt from Armed & Safe. While this won’t be a traditional style debate like you’d see from political candidates, we’re going to be having the gentlemen mentioned above discuss both sides of the issue, as they represent relatively opposite ends of the pro-gun movement. Squeaks and I will be neutral, keeping our opinions to ourselves and will really only serve to ask questions and drive the conversation.

The original thread at Sebastian’s had like 200 comments or some ridiculous damn number - a lot of that comes from the fact that we as pro-gun activists are extremely passionate about what we believe, which is why I am really excited about next Tuesday’s show. You can tune in live at www.blogtalkradio.com/gunnuts - Tuesday at 11pm Eastern time!
The issue to which Ahab refers is the (in?)famous letter to the editor written by Mike Vanderboegh, which I discussed here and here, and many other bloggers, including Sebastian, have also discussed (vastly less approvingly than I did).

Sebastian is a sharp guy, and I have exactly ZERO experience with this kind of thing, so I'm just hoping to get through it without embarrassing myself (and my fellow members of the Merry Band of 3%) too badly. I'm still not entirely clear on the format, and don't know if there will be time devoted to audience participation phone calls--at (347)-539-5436--or not. If so, I could really use some backup from folks who believe that there's nothing wrong with public discussion of the true purpose of the Second Amendment--defeating tyranny (by, to put it bluntly, killing would-be tyrants).

Folks who disagree are encouraged to lose that number ;-).


UPDATE: I have been informed that the format will indeed (eventually) include time for listeners to call in with questions and/or comments.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Soon will have my new . . . paperweight?

I've written before about my crazed hankerin' for an AR pistol chambered in .50 Beowulf. Well, as it turns out, apparently I'm not the only lunatic who thinks this would be a cool thing to have--at least judging from the fact that suitable length upper receivers are available. So, I ordered one, along with an AR pistol lower receiver, and it's going to be so cool it will turn Mayors Daley and Bloomberg into gun rights activists. OK, maybe not that cool, but still pretty chilly.

The good news is that it should get to the FFL holder I use for transfers early next week, and I'll probably get a chance to get by there to pick it up a week from today. The bad news is that no one has ammo for it. Some claim to expect to have some within a week or two, but none have it now.

I know, I know--I should load my own, especially given my penchant for unusual (and expensive) calibers, but I'm not really in a position to get set up for that at the moment. Hopefully some day, but not now.

Anyway, if anyone finds some .50 Beowulf ammo for sale, please let me know.

Friday, August 01, 2008

New digs

David Codrea's Google/Blogspot nightmare has convinced me that it's time to protect myself from being similarly afflicted. I am therefore in the process of setting up at Armed and Free, on WordPress. The different name reflects the evolution of my focus on gun rights--from being a protection against common criminals, to the larger issue of protection of liberty from a would-be tyrannical government.

I still intend to post here, and in fact the two sites will be mirrors of one another.

Armed and Free is very bare-bones at the moment--just posts, without the other stuff. It may remain that way for some time, or I may decide to add most of the sidebar stuff from here to that one, as well.

Anyway, don't expect to find anything there that you don't find here, unless Google/Blogspot shuts me down, as well--or if I get sufficiently fed up to abandon this place.

War on Guns temporarily shut down

For the few folks who read Armed and Safe, and who don't first read War on Guns (whaddya', nuts?), Google, in its infinite wisdom, has identified War on Guns as a "spam blog," and has blocked Mr. Codrea from entering any new posts until they determine he's a real person.

Judging from what I'm reading here, there's a real epidemic of this going on at Google/Blogspot, and resolution is apparently often quite slow.

I am starting to think that Blogspot is a sinking ship that I had best abandon, and I think any other bloggers who use Blogspot might be well advised to explore other options themselves.

Update: It looks as if David is already starting the process of moving.

Update II: David is back at the old place (Google/Blogspot), so hold off on changing bookmarks.

I see that although I have been spared the "spam blog" nonsense inflicted on David and many other bloggers, it has been brought to my attention that Internet Explorer was blocking Armed and Safe. That apparently was related to the SiteMeter hit counter I use--removing that fixed the problem.

I'm so glad the internet keeps "improving," aren't you?

Mountains out of molehills

I was planning on writing about something else today, but as often happens, I find myself behind schedule, so I'm just going to make a quick point for now. I wrote about my take on the (in?)famous Mike Vanderboegh letter to the editor just over a week ago.

Mr. Vanderboegh's detractors, you'll remember, were in a state of high dudgeon, with normally temperate people (and some not so temperate) unable to express the depth of their indignation without resorting to obscenities, over concerns that Mike V.'s letter would "make us look bad." I pointed out then that I seriously doubted that the letter would cause anything close to the reaction among the general, non-aligned (in terms of the gun rights/citizen disarmament debate) populace that it did in the "maintain political correctness at all times" wing of the gun blogging community. I'm going to run the risk here of coming across as the kind of smug smartass who says "I told you so," and state that I think events are proving me correct.

A couple quick searches of the newspaper in which Mike V.'s letter appeared fail to turn up any sign of outraged rebuttals (or any other kind of rebuttal). The usual suspects among the forcible citizen disarmament advocates have been silent, as well. We all know that the Brady Campaign reads at least some of the gun blogs that have discussed this (they even read mine from time to time), so they can't be unaware of the letter, but there's been nary a word from the Bradyites.

I submit that if Helmke, et al. believed that this letter presented an opportunity to damage the gun rights advocacy movement, they would be quick to exploit it (look at the injured tone of their manufactured outrage over the Mary McFate/Mary Lou Sapone incident). Instead, there has been nothing.

Being the "radical" that I am, actually, I can't help but wonder if the Brady Campaign is just as eager as some gun rights bloggers are to see this issue go away. What if the advocates of forcible citizen disarmament actually fear the idea of more people thinking about how a handgun can defeat an army?

Isn't that an interesting thought?