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.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weekend fun with the Brady Bunch

Remember "Obama Administration Agrees To Halt Rule Allowing Guns In National Parks"?

In response to lawsuits filed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and conservation groups, the Obama Administration today agreed to halt a rule implemented days before President Bush left office that allowed loaded, concealed guns in national parks and wildlife refuges. The Obama administration had initially defended the rule in court, before the Brady Campaign prevailed in its motion for a preliminary injunction of the rule.

[ . . . ]

“We are pleased that loaded, concealed guns will continue to be prohibited in our national parks,” stated Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke. “Semiautomatic weapons have no place in the valleys of Yellowstone, on the cliffs of Yosemite, or under the torch of the Statue of Liberty. While the government should be spending its resources attempting to reduce gun violence, rather than wasting resources analyzing this ill-conceived rule, we hope and expect that the Obama administration will conclude that the rule can only make our parks more dangerous and should not be implemented.”

The Brady Campaign is represented by attorneys from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence’s Legal Action Project and the law firm of Ropes & Gray LLP. Ropes & Gray attorney Bruce S. Manheim, Jr. said, “The government apparently recognized that it must fully consider the dangers posed by concealed weapons before deciding whether to allow them in the parks.”

The Brady Campaign filed suit on December 30, 2008, to block the rule. The Bush rule went into effect on January 9, 2009, but Judge Kollar-Kotelly granted an injunction on March 19th, finding that the Bush Administration’s last-minute guns in parks rule was a product of an “astoundingly flawed process,” and that the Brady Campaign was “highly likely to prevail” in showing that the rule was illegal.

[ . . . ]

The government announced its action today in response to the Brady Campaign’s case and a related case brought by the National Parks Conservation Association, the Coalition of National Park Services Retirees, and Association of National Park Rangers filed January 6, 2009.
I can't help but wonder how proud of themselves they feel now. Without that lawsuit, and activist, gun-hating judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Senator Coburn (R-OK) may still have filed his amendment, but I seriously doubt he would have succeeded in getting it attached to something the Democrat majority thought of as "must-pass," like the credit card industry bill.

The Bush administration rule that the Brady Bunch credited themselves with having blocked was considerably more strict (and thus considerably more acceptable to the B.C.), because it did not permit open carry, and would thus not allow situations in which "[f]amilies [would] have to stare down loaded AK-47s on nature hikes."

On the other hand, it's not all ignominious defeats for the Brady Bunch, as Helmke triumphantly trumpeted yesterday:
Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, issued the following statement about yesterday's 86-18 vote defeating HB 27 in the Louisiana State Legislature to force loaded, concealed handguns on the state's college campuses:

"I applaud the Louisiana House of Representatives for rejecting the gun lobby's attempts to force loaded, concealed handguns onto their college and university campuses. They have joined nine other states so far this year that have reached the same conclusion, including Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Virginia. The Louisiana House couldn't have offered a more stern rebuke of this dangerous policy than defeating it by a vote of 86-18.
Hmm--you mean an 87-17 vote wouldn't have been a "more stern rebuke," Paul?

Fine--you won another guns on campus battle--good for you. No one thought this would be easy, or that it would happen quickly, anywhere.

We'll be back . . .

Friday, May 29, 2009

ICPGV's imagination runs wild about IL HB 182

These people are truly deranged.

A week ago today, I wrote about the ICPGV's continuing shrill opposition to Illinois House Bill 182 (which I first mentioned here), which if passed, will make the very minimal change of protecting one's right to possess a firearm not only at one's own residence, but at the residence of a friend, as well. They continued in this opposition despite a Senate amendment that explicitly clarifies the fact that nothing changes with regard to the current illegality of carrying a firearm in public.

As it turns out, they weren't done with the hysteria last week:

5/28/09 –House Floor Vote on HB 182 Anticipated

Urge Your State Representative to Oppose HB 182 – Dangerous Bill Would Allow Concealed Handguns into People’s Homes and Threaten Public Safety

HB 182 would change Illinois law governing the concealed carrying of handguns and threaten public safety. Since 1961, Illinois has prohibited the carrying of concealed firearms outside of an individual’s land, abode, or fixed place of business. HB 182 will allow a person to carry a concealed handgun into another person's home.

Bottom line - this is a bad law. Guns in the home increase the chances of homicide, suicide and accidents. Just imagine:
  • A domestic violence offender, who is a prohibited purchaser and not allowed to have a gun, calls his friend to come over to his house with his gun to intimidate his partner.

  • A drug dealer selling drugs out of his home has armed bodyguards to avoid being charged with unlawful possession.

  • A young adult throws a house party, friends come over carrying guns, and it quickly gets out of control.
We urge you to call or email your Representative and ask them to oppose HB 182. Click here to take action. Click here for the “Oppose HB 182” fact sheet.
Never mind that in all three cases, the scenarios described above would still be illegal--using a friend's gun "to intimidate [one's] partner" would still be illegal; using guns to facilitate illicit drug trade would still be illegal; and minors getting "out of control" with guns (and drugs and/or alcohol?) would still be illegal. All three happen all the time in Illinois now, despite those activities being illegal (and despite the fact that currently, just bringing the guns over is additionally illegal).

The ICHV is also upset about this, but marginally less insanely so:
This bill focuses on where people can possess a firearm. Originally, the measure said it would not be a violation to carry a firearm in someone else’s home even if the homeowner did not approve of you having a firearm in their home.

An amendment added to the bill has made it more acceptable. Now, the bill says that you can only bring a firearm onto another person's property if you have that person's permission. The authority, then, rests in the hands of the property owner.

This bill passed the Senate with the amendment and will go back to the House for concurrence.

While the new amendment made the bill better, we still do not support the measure. In our view the bill increases the risk of unintended gun death and injury since research has shown that a loaded gun in the home is more likely to kill or injure a person in that home than to be used in self-defense.
The first paragraph is a straight-up lie--the bill, even before the Senate amendment, did nothing to require a host to allow armed guests (who wouldn't, after all, be guests--they'd be home invaders).

Time is running out on this minuscule advancement for Illinois gun rights. If you live in the state--how 'bout giving your state representative a call about supporting it in the concurrence vote? Call Governor Quinn's office, too, urging him to sign it, if and when it does pass.

Update: The House concurrence vote passed easily today (90-28), so the bill goes to Governor Quinn's desk for his signature. He's not exactly a friend of gun owners, but he wouldn't really have to be in order to sign this. If he does veto, it would seem to have plenty of support for an override, but it's hard to predict who will flip-flop rather than vote against a governor of their own party. In the meantime--don't let him get lonely.

Washington D.C. can survive restoration of gun rights

Meanwhile, since the Heller decision last June (slightly) eased D.C.'s draconian gun laws, violent crime has gone down.

The bottom line is that D.C. would be made a better place, rather than a worse one, if the basic human right of armed self-defense were recognized there. There are plenty of reasons to fight the voting bill, but if it cannot be stopped, the Ensign Amendment must be kept in. [More]
Running way behind today, but that's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Give it a look, and encourage others to do so, too.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

CheyTac no longer discriminating against non-'Only Ones'?

Almost two years ago, I expressed my unhappiness with CheyTac, a maker of "precision rifles"* who at that time offered one version of their M200 Intervention rifle for government purchasers, and a less accurate version for civilians--actually, they acted as if they were doing civilians a favor, because until then, they hadn't offered any version of the M200 to us lowly non-"Only Ones":

Until now, the CheyTac Intervention M-200 was restricted to Military and Law Enforcement sales only due to its impressive capabilities and a desire by the CheyTac ownership to maintain every advantage with our Operators in the field. Now, CheyTac engineers have developed a mildly de-rated version of the M-200 named the CIV ( Civilian Intervention Version) to offer the long range competitor the outstanding capability of the M-200 while limiting its effective range to significantly less than that of the current Military versions.

CheyTac believes that in these times all responsible companies should first consider the American and allied troops in the field when offering long range precision rifle systems to the public at large.
In other words, you would be paying (apparently) well over $10k for a rifle that had been deliberately rendered less accurate than it's potential, because the grown-up version was "too accurate" for civilians. What a deal!

I stumbled on that blog post when digging up background for my GRE article for today, and out of curiosity, clicked on the link about the CheyTac's civilian model rifle, only to find that the link was dead. Looking at CheyTac's main site, the M200 is still apparently their top of the line rifle, but what I don't see is any mention of a "civilian version."

Knesek Guns carries the M200
, without any government-agency-sales-only policy I could see anywhere.

It looks to me as if CheyTac (belatedly) realized that voluntarily being the Dianne Feinsteins of the gun industry was bad business. If so, better late than never, I guess.

The difference between 'sniper rifles' and 'precision rifles'

I would say that Mr. Woodward's assessment is spot-on, and the parallel between referring to a firearm as a "sniper rifle," when owned by a private citizen, and a "precision rifle," when in the hands of a police tactical unit member, should be obvious.

"Sniper rifles, " of course, have not yet received nearly the volume of demonizing press that has been inflicted on so-called "assault weapons," but as I've mentioned before, groups like the Violence Policy Center (VPC) have been laying the ground work (pdf file). [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column is something of a follow-up to Monday's. Hope ya' like.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

'Reasoned Discourse™,' CSGV style

For those unfamiliar with the term "reasoned discourse," particularly in the context of the gun rights debate, some background information can be found here. The short version is that shortly after the Brady Bunch's Paul Helmke complained on the "Brady Blog," about the lack of "reasoned discourse" about further restrictions of that which shall not be infringed, the Brady Blog disabled comments, casting some doubt on whether or not he wants any discourse at all.

The disabling of comments tends to be par for course with citizen disarmament advocates. There is no way to leave comments responding to Violence Policy Center pieces, the "Gun Guys" don't allow comments, and of the very few blogs devoted to gun rights suppression, even fewer of those allow comments.

One partial exception has been the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence (CSGV). I say "partial" exception, because although a reader could leave a comment, comments were "moderated," and would only appear after being approved.

I left numerous comments there that were on topic, cordial, and in no way abusive, but expressed my disagreement with CSGV's positions, and provided the reasons for that disagreement. I never kept stats, but my guess is that fewer than half of those comments ever saw the light of day. I know that my experience in that regard was in no way unique.

Now, though, apparently even that concession to "reasoned discourse" is a thing of the past. On both of CSGV's blogs, "Bullet Counter Points," and "Mondays With Mike," one now has to be a "team member" in order to leave a comment.

Not a lot of confidence in their ability to hold up their position in debate, apparently.

Another one bites the dust.

Suppressors (aka 'silencers') are for safety

And why should they? Why would anyone object to a device that protects one's hearing?

Why, also, would anyone object to devices that make shooting ranges better neighbors? People who live near such ranges often find the noise annoying enough that they try to litigate the ranges out of existence--despite, in many cases, having moved into the area after the range had been in operation for years. These disputes have led many states (even Illinois, shockingly) to pass legislation that provides some protection to shooting ranges from such litigation. Devices that could dramatically ameliorate the problem have existed for more than a century, but have been largely regulated out of existence. For that reason alone, this is an issue that people with no interest in gun rights, or in shooting in general, should be able to get behind.

In the end, it's difficult to trust a government that views shooters with undamaged hearing as a threat. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope you consider it worth your time.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

D.C. voting bill and Ensign Amendment not dead yet?

The possibility that Washington D.C. might, via the Ensign Amendment, be forced to recognize the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment (to the degree that those rights are recognized in most other parts of the country, anyway) has the shrieking hysterics going at full volume.

Attorney General Peter Nickles said presidential and other motorcades will be exposed to high-powered arms fire if the District’s gun laws are stripped out by Congress.

“The proposed Ensign Amendment, which among other things, would prohibit the District of Columbia from enacting legislation on firearms, would have a serious public safety impact for the entire region,” Nickles wrote in a recent letter to D.C.’s nonvoting congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton.
David, as usual, gets straight to the heart of the matter.
Because apparently the Heller decision made shooting politicians legal or something. And the only thing that's held the snipers back so far has been the DC gun ban.
We're hearing rumblings again about the Ensign Amendment, after weeks of it being off the radar screen, because the D.C. voting bill to which it was attached was stalled (precisely because of the Ensign Amendment).

Now, though, there's talk that the anti-gun wing of the Democratic Party is on the retreat, leaving the party willing to trade D.C.'s still draconian gun laws for a voting representative for D.C. in the U.S. House.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer admits that Democrats are conceding the gun issue to Republicans for now.

Republicans have been increasingly using pro-gun amendments to throw a wrench into Democratic legislation, attaching amendments to seemingly unrelated bills allowing for expanded gun carrying privileges in national parks.

[ . . . ]

Republicans have slowed down a D.C. voting rights bill using the tactic, though a credit card bill with an amendment allowing for expanded ability to carry guns in national parks is widely expected to pass both houses.

Hoyer vowed Tuesday that the D.C. voting rights bill would pass "one way or another."

"It's gonna happen," he said.
That article was mostly about the Coburn Amendment to the credit card industry reform bill, but the clear implication is that Democratic Party leadership has become willing to swallow advances in gun rights, in order to get what they want.

I won't go deeply into the question of whether or not gun rights advocates should be happy about the Constitution being abused, when that abuse is the vehicle that leads to a window dressing "victory" for gun rights, but it's a serious question. Personally, I believe we (gun rights advocates) hold the Constitutional high ground, and I see it as reckless to voluntarily surrender so much as a square millimeter of that ground.

Regardless of where one stands on that question, this will be something to watch.

This is how the BATFE keeps us safe

To sum up, then, we are to believe that--Constitutional questions aside (even forgetting shall not be infringed, what Constitutionally enumerated power of the federal government justifies federal regulation of attaching handles to firearms?)--the American public is made safer by the impositions of these bizarre, arbitrary restrictions. We are, in fact, apparently expected to believe that a firearm configured in such a way that a paraplegic can fire it more accurately poses an unreasonable threat to public safety.

Anyone who wants to remind me that there is a way to do it legally should save their breath. Paying $200, or $5, or 5 cents, for that matter--not to mention the fingerprints, photographs, and all the other privacy-crushing hoops, for the "privelege" of attaching a handle to a gun--is not for libertly-loving, patriotic Americans. I might be reduced to biting at the BATFE's ankles, but I'll be damned if I ever lick their boots. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Some might notice that complaining about the BATFE's bizarre insistence on imposing rules on the attachment of a handle to a gun is territory I've covered before. Not, in other words, groundbreaking stuff--deal with it--I'm pissed off all over again.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Damn it feels good to be a (politically connected) gangsta'

The BATFE and the federal prosecutors with whom they work to "protect" us from "gun criminals" like David Olofson and Wayne Fincher are not known for being particularly merciful with people who have broken (or can be portrayed as having broken) the myriad, byzantine gun laws on the books. Very often, the same can be said for the federal judges who preside over the cases.

In light of that, a man caught by the feds in the act of trying to buy machine guns and suppressors ("silencers," in popular, but inaccurate, parlance) on the black market, and who has several other illegally procured machine guns in his car with him at the time, and who is a convicted felon, and thus prohibited from possessing any firearms, would normally be expected to do a l-o-n-g time in federal prison.

That is, apparently, unless the man in question is a pro-Obama gangsta' rapper.

He is also a convicted criminal who under normal circumstances would be starting a 30-year stretch in a federal "Supermax" prison this week, following his prosecution for multiple illegal gun charges.

But in the age of Barack Obama, T.I., aka Clifford Harris Jr, will serve less than a year behind bars, thanks in no small measure to the bad boy rapper's political connections.

Provided he surrenders at a prison in Alabama by noon on Tuesday, and remains on good behaviour, he should be rapping again about "gangstas, pimps and ho's" by next April.
Just what are these political connections?
When T.I., 29, from Atlanta, Georgia, is released in 10 months' time, there will be a quiet celebration at the Hip Hop Caucus, a lobby group that is unlike any other in Washington.

Led by a retired air force chaplain, Rev Lennox Yearwood Jr, the Caucus is situated a few blocks from the White House and it unites high-profile rappers with activists in ways not seen before.

Its staff are becoming familiar faces in the West Wing and on Capitol Hill, lobbying on behalf of deprived inner city communities and deploying stars like T.I. to prise open doors to the corridors of power, where politicians fall over themselves to be photographed alongside a celebrity. Even a rapper with a felony hanging over him commands attention and gets access.

T.I., respectably dressed in a black Armani tuxedo, was recently presented with a Get Out the Vote award for his efforts during the election on behalf of the Hip Hop Caucus.

His colleagues said his work for the Caucus helped persuade the court to be lenient after he pleaded guilty to possessing enough heavy weapons to start a small war - and to attempting to purchase illegally a further three machine guns, complete with silencers.
Don't get me wrong--I stand by my belief that all gun laws are unconstitutional, counterproductive, and immoral, so "T.I.'s" light sentence offends me only in light of the contrast between it and sentences handed down to people like Fincher and Olofson.

Oh--this tempts me to want a large, heavy book thrown at him, as well:
"Where I come from, having a gun is just part of everyday life," he wrote in a blog.

"I hope that through my mistakes, young people can begin to learn, as I did, that we have to put our guns down and start to give our guns back."
Lovely--now he's a citizen disarmament evangelist and a gangsta' rapper--and some hope he will "challenge the gun lobby."
The real question is what happens to him afterwards? Will he still be able challenge the gun lobby and remain part of the hip hop mainstream?
As a dedicated "gun lobbyist," I hope that's the kind of "challenge" the other side comes up with.

The difference between 'assault weapons' and 'patrol rifles'

Get that? An AR-15, for example, that in the hands of "the guy across the street" is an "assault weapon," magically morphs into the much more benign-sounding "patrol rifle" when in the hands of a cop.

I mentioned Tyler Peterson a bit earlier. The firearm he used was, I believe, an AR-15. Here's the tricky question: was it a "patrol rifle," or an "assault weapon"? [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Longtime regular readers, assuming I have a couple, might find it familiar. That's not laziness (not exclusively, anyway)--it's just something I want a wider audience to see.

Help me get it to 'em?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New (to me) blog of interest

Last night, my attention was brought to the NFA Gun Trust Lawyer Blog. Published by Jacksonville, FL attorney David M. Goldman, it has loads of information on how to comply with the byzantine NFA laws (except, of course, when the BATFE decides to simply ignore the law, as if you were David Olofson or Len Savage, or some other "gun criminal").

If you're at all into NFA stuff, you owe it to yourself to give that site a look.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

More disappointment for the Brady Campaign

As I said Thursday, the Brady Campaign was reduced to hoping not for blocking of the restoration of gun rights to national park visitors, but for Obama to at least complain about it.

It seems, though, that even that request fell on deaf ears. [More]
A rare (first ever, actually) Saturday St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner--having a bit more fun at Helmke's expense. Join me for some derisive laughter?

Friday, May 22, 2009

ICPGV's panties still in a bunch

As I mentioned just over a week ago, even the extremely modest protection to gun owners offered by Illinois HB 182 was enough to push the state's citizen disarmament lobby groups into hysteria.

As Representative John Bradley's HB 182 was originally drafted, all it did was amend the places where one could legally carry a firearm (or taser) from one's own "abode or fixed place of business," to "abode or dwelling or fixed place of business." In other words, under the terms of the bill as introduced, it added one's "dwelling" to the mix. What's the difference between an "abode" and a "dwelling"? Apparently, case law brings up some question as to whether one's hotel room, or tent, etc. is an "abode," so adding "dwelling" to the permitted places was intended to clarify that. That's all the originally introduced bill would do.

In March, Rep. Bradley introduced House Amendment 1, which minutely (but importantly) expanded on the original language of the bill, by adding "or a legal dwelling or place where he or she is an invitee therein." Yep--currently in Illinois, one could, technically, be arrested for having a gun at a firearm aficionado friend's house, when invited over to compare guns. The amendment (which was adopted, with the bill then easily passing in the House) was intended to fix that glaring problem. That, apparently, was what got the ICHV and ICPGV choking on their kiwi-tofu burgers. I quoted ICHV last week; here is what ICPGV said:

5/14/09 – Gun Lobby Attempt to Pass Bill Allowing Open and Concealed Carry in Illinois Amended and Held in Committee

ICPGV is closely following HB 182, a bill which, as previously amended in the House, would have allowed a person to carry or possess a firearm on or about his or her person in any legal dwelling or any place where he or she is an “invitee.” A person is an invitee in any place that he or she enters for a purpose connected to the property owner’s business or other activity permitted on the premises. For example, Illinois courts have decided that customers of businesses and restaurants, spectators at sporting events, job applicants, and babysitters are invitees. In short, this version of the bill would have allowed concealed carry in Illinois without any permitting system or law enforcement discretion. Only two other states, Alaska and Vermont, have laws that are as lax as what this version of HB 182 proposed.

Last Tuesday, Senator Don Harmon amended this dangerous and extreme bill, removing the language that would allow “invitees” to carry firearms. The bill is currently being held in Executive Committee.
"Dangerous and extreme"--good grief. Apparently, their concern (ostensibly, anyway) is that it could allow carry in public places. Ignoring for the moment, the question of "what the hell is wrong with that?" I think their interpretation is quite a stretch. I am, however, the farthest thing in the world from an authority on law and the analysis of the arcane niceties of legalese, so I am willing to concede that their interpretation might be correct (but not their fear of that interpretation).

Senator Don Harmon--no friend to Illinois gun owners--introduced a Senate amendment (actually two of them, but the second was just intended to cover something he forgot with the first) that would basically cancel out Bradley's amendment--meaning you could still be arrested for having a gun at a friend's house.

Apparently, though, Harmon's reason for filing that amendment was that he had bought into ICPGV's interpretation--that the House version would allow carrying in public businesses, etc. Even as unfriendly to gun rights as Sen. Harmon is, he apparently doesn't really object to people carrying at a friend's house, with the friend's permission. He therefore introduced a third Senate amendment. Now permitted places would be one's "abode, legal dwelling, or fixed place of business, or on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an invitee with that person's permission."

That should make everyone happy, right? Um . . . nope.
This week, HB 182 was amended again to allow a person to carry or possess a firearm, concealed or openly, on the land or in the legal dwelling of another person as an “invitee” with that person's “permission.” The bill passed out of the Senate and will now go back to the House Floor for a vote on the new amendment.

Bottom line, as amended, HB 182 would remove an important tool law enforcement currently has to protect the public from a threatening or suspicious person who is armed. Under HB 182, before arresting a person for unlawful possession, law enforcement would have to make a complex determination based on a vague standard. Law enforcement would have to determine whether the armed person is an "invitee", determine who owns the land or dwelling, discover the whereabouts of the owner, and decide whether the owner gave permission for the suspicious person to carry a concealed weapon on the premises.
Here's the lunatics' "fact" sheet (pdf file).

They urge their fellow pantywaists to call their Representatives urging opposition to the bill. I suggest Illinoisans call urging for support. Since the House already passed (by a commanding 72-45 margin) an arguably more permissive version, I think it should pass easily, ICPGV's hysteria mongering notwithstanding, but this being Illinois, it's best not to make any assumptions.

NYC synagogue bomb plot: interesting choice of weapons

When reading about this terrorist plot, what struck me right away was the would-be jihadists' choice of weapons. For the attacks on the synagogues, they eschewed so-called "assault weapons," despite the Brady Campaign's strident labeling of such firearms as "mass produced mayhem" (pdf file), "designed to slaughter people." Sounds like just the ticket for aspiring jihadists who believe that their status in the next life is enhanced by killing as many Jews as possible.

New York, of course, has an "assault weapons" ban similar to the expired federal ban, but apparently, that doesn't matter. We have been told for years, after all, that the reason New York City Mayor Bloomberg has crusaded for stricter federal gun laws, has spent his own money campaigning for stricter state gun laws in Virginia, and has even initiated "sting" operations (to the annoyance of even the BATFE) designed to entrap gun dealers in states hundreds of miles away from New York--is that "weak gun laws" in other states were supposedly undermining New York's "strong" (a polite way of saying tyrannical) ones, and flooding New York with guns. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. If you follow the link (you do, don't you--please?), you'll see that in addition to the "Digg" button I've always included, there's a "Reddit" button and a "Retweet This" button. Digg is getting more and more hostile to Gun Rights Examiners (although I had a bit of success yesterday), so I'm expanding my efforts to Reddit and Twitter. Any help in those endeavors would be hugely appreciated.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A chance for campus carry in TX?

JR tells us that the Texas campus carry bill, SB 1164, has passed in the Senate, and now goes to the House, where it faces both an uphill battle and a race against time.

This bill is off to the House. As mentioned previously, this bill's first stop will be in the Public Safety Committee. We should be able to move through this committee quickly and without further amendments.

Once through the Public Safety Committee, the bill goes to Calendars. The Chair of the Calendars Committee, Representative Brian McCall, pretty much killed the House version of this bill and is working to kill the Employer Parking Lot bill, another bill that has passed the Senate.

If this bill is to see debate on the House floor, we will need to focus our efforts on contacting the members of the Calendars Committee and the House leadership to let them know that we want to see this bill on the Calendar early enough that will receive a fair debate and a vote by the full House.
If we could just combine the Texas State Senate with the Missouri State House, we could get a bill through (we would probably want the Texas Governor, as well).

Anyway, SB 1164 needs help, so if you live in Texas, make the calls JR suggests (of course if you live in TX, you ought to be reading A Keyboard and a .45, anyway).

Brady Campaign rhetoric then and now: what a difference six months makes

I will probably be accused (with, perhaps, some justification), of the same kind of gloating the forcible citizen disarmament advocates so recently enjoyed so thoroughly. The difference is that I am ever mindful of how quickly politicians' loyalties (is that an oxymoron?) can shift. Given a sufficiently horrid tragedy to exploit (what did White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel say about wasting a "serious crisis"?), the War on Guns will get the kind of "surge" General Petraeus could only envy.

I also agree with National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea's concerns about tying gun rights to a bill that is itself blatantly unconstitutional. Gun rights advocates hold the Constitutional high ground, and in "danc[ing] with the devil," as David aptly describes it, we're voluntarily surrendering a piece of that high ground. What that will cost us in the long run may not be known right away, but rest assured it will cost us something. [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner gleefully rubs some salt into the wounds suffered by the Brady Campaign's collective psyche. Not very noble behavior, I suppose, but one takes one's opportunities for fun as they present themselves. Join me in a laugh at Helmke's expense.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Gun rights on the march in Congress?

Expanding on (and updating) yesterday's post about the possibility of a "guns and national parks" bill being signed into law--things are moving quickly. Last evening, the House decided to split the gun amendment off from the credit card bill, in a bill of its own.

The House Rules Committee decided by voice vote Tuesday evening to split apart the credit card bill passed by the Senate Tuesday, slicing out an amendment added by Senate Republicans that would allow possession of firearms in National Parks.

That gun amendment will be voted on separately and then will be recombined with the bill before it goes to the White House. Both votes are scheduled for Wednesday.

By splitting the bill in two, Democrats can vote for the credit card reform portion without also voting for the gun language. The gun amendment is still likely to pass, backed by Republicans and swing-district Democrats.
That kinda sounds to me like bad news for the gun bill, since Democrats could now vote against it, and still vote for the credit card reform bill, but it seems that the gun rights bill is expected to pass.
The tactic seems to be working, with Democrats acknowledging that pro-gun members rule in both chambers.

"There clearly is a majority in both houses that the Second Amendment rights ... that relate to the national parks are too restricted," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday. "The reality is that a majority in both houses agree with that position."
There's apparently even some reason to believe that the DC gun rights bill could get back on track.
Hoyer vowed Tuesday that the D.C. voting rights bill would pass "one way or another."

"It's gonna happen," he said.
Of course, whether gun rights for DC residents are worth raping the Constitution to give DC a voting representative in Congress is a different question, and I'm inclined to think that going along with an unconstitutional action, because it's tied to something that is laudable, is a dangerous strategy. Still, without the gun rights amendment, the DC voting bill would already have passed, so I guess it can be seen as turning lemons into lemonade (with just a small shot of arsenic mixed in).

I'm still a bit skeptical about the chances of either of these gun rights advances happening, but we'll see.

Update: apparently, Obama would sign the credit card reform bill, even with the guns in parks provision included.

Update II: the guns in parks measure passed 279 to 147. Is it worth it?

Due process: it's for veterans, too

Exactly, Paul--nothing says "shall not be infringed" like subjecting oneself, hat in hand, to an appeals process. Success in negotiating such a process will most likely require the assistance of an attorney, I imagine. Just what "veterans who are unable to manage their finances" need.

The Politico article I quoted seems to imply that "pro-gun Democrats" will find it difficult to not support this bill. That, perhaps, is true. It seems to me, though, that support for the bill has less to do with being "pro-gun," than lack of support has to do with being anti-veteran. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope you find it to be worth your time.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

House vote on guns in national parks could come at any time

As many readers know, the Senate added an amendment, introduced by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), to the House's credit card reform bill, that would lift the draconian gun laws that currently apply in national parks. This became necessary when an activist federal judge blocked the rule change made late in Bush's last term.

The Brady Bunch is predictably apoplectic.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence called on President Obama to demand a clean credit card reform bill, without the dangerous and extraneous Coburn amendment that could allow concealed handguns and openly carried AK-47s in national parks.

“The country needs President Obama to show leadership and demand a clean bill that will not force loaded guns into our national parks and bypass a Federal court ruling and an environmental review. Families should not have to stare down loaded AK-47s on nature hikes,” Brady Campaign President Paul Helmke said. “The President should not remain silent while Congress inserts reckless gun policies that he strongly opposes into a bill that has nothing whatsoever to do with guns. He should urge that this provision be removed from the bill.”

Late Tuesday, the U.S. Senate voted 67-29 for the Coburn amendment, attached to an unrelated credit card reform bill, which allows loaded guns in national parks. The Coburn amendment allows open carrying of loaded firearms, including semiautomatic assault rifles, in most national parks and refuges.
Ditto the New York Times:
The gun lobby and its all-too-willing political accomplices have struck again. The Senate’s version of urgently needed legislation to protect credit card users has been saddled with a dangerous and utterly nongermane amendment allowing visitors to openly carry loaded firearms into national parks and wildlife refuges.

A disappointing 27 Senate Democrats, whose party once led the fight for gun control, eagerly signed on with 39 Republicans — fawning together before the lobby’s lethal diktat.
The Coburn Amendment passed last week, and the Senate passed the bill itself today. The House version of the credit card legislation--without the gun amendment--has already passed. Frankly, I've been quite skeptical that the guns in parks language would survive the reconciliation process.

GOA seems to think otherwise.
The problem for anti-gun House leaders is that their priority bill, H.R. 627, now contains a pro-gun amendment. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is forced to either delay the entire bill in order to try to strip the popular pro-gun amendment out later in the year, or allow the underlying bill to move through the House before Memorial Day with the Coburn amendment intact.

Sources close to the situation tell GOA that the Democrat leadership, which has opposed the NPS gun ban repeal at every turn, may have finally run out of options. The enormous outpouring of grassroots activism from GOA supporters may have at last convinced congressional leaders that if they bury this measure yet again, the repercussions will reverberate into the next election.

President Obama wants to sign this credit card legislation before Memorial Day. So it is possible that there will be just one more vote on this issue in the House this week. As of today, it appears the leadership plans to bring the underlying bill to the floor in two pieces for two separate votes -- one on the main bill and one on the Coburn amendment.

If both pieces pass the House, then they can be combined together as one bill and sent directly to the President without going to a House-Senate conference committee. (There would be no need to iron out differences in conference committee since the Senate would have already passed the exact same version of the bill.)
Talk to your Congressman. There's a letter you can use in the GOA link above.

'Gun violence': why are other forms of violence preferable?

The implication is that Mayor Bloomberg's anti-gun jihad has been successful, despite an increase in murders, simply because fewer of those murders were committed with guns. Somehow, we are to believe that murders committed with knives are less tragic than those committed with guns. That's something in which to take comfort in your last seconds of consciousness, as you bleed out from your slashed carotid artery. [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner argues that sometimes, "gun violence" is exactly what is needed. Please give it a look, and help spread the word.

Monday, May 18, 2009

NRA convention: presumably, a couple of the speakers have been consistent advocates for gun rights

At least I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, by making that assumption.

But let's look at a few of the speakers we know were there.

While many old-school beat reporters stayed in New York or Washington this weekend to write about conventional political and social events, the pseudonymous “Sebastian” live-blogged GOP head Michael Steele’s fiery speech from the press box at the National Rifle Association convention in Phoenix.
If Steele's speech about gun rights was "fiery," I can only assume it was because his pants were on fire.
Q: Should people have access to buy assault weapons?

A: Society should draw lines. What do you need an assault weapon for, if you're going hunting? That's overkill. But I don't think that means you go to a total ban for those who want to use gun for skeet shooting or hunting or things like that But what's the point of passing gun laws if we're not going to enforce them? If you want to talk about gun control, that's where you need to start. We've got 300 gun laws on the books right now. At the end of the day, it's about how we enforce the law.
Changed your mind, Michael? If so, have you owned up to your former (presumably) position? Have you explained what changed your mind, to help deflect the citizen disarmament advocates' inevitable (and rather justified) accusations that your new position is simply one of political expediency?

Also there was Senator John McCain, or as I like to call him, Senator John "I was so eager to pass a bill with my amendment to close the mythical 'gun show loophole,' that I voted for a bill that would extend the ban on so-called 'assault weapons' in an attempt to do so" McCain--it's not the catchiest name for him, but it's very accurate.

The apparent headliner, though, was none other than Mitt Romney (H/T War on Guns).:
Former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the final speaker and gave what may be a prelude to his stump speech for 2012. By appearing before the convention for a second straight year there is no doubt that he is currently the favorite son of the NRA going forward.
You know--this Mitt Romney:
Governor Mitt Romney has signed into law a permanent assault weapons ban that he says will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on these guns.

“Deadly assault weapons have no place in Massachusetts,” Romney said, at a bill signing ceremony on July 1 with legislators, sportsmen’s groups and gun safety advocates. “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
I can kinda understand the argument that "the perfect is the enemy of the good," but if that's true, can't we agree that "the mediocre is the enemy of the truly abysmal," as well?

Montana throws down the federal gun-control gauntlet

I am pleased to report that my misgivings were groundless--Governor Schweitzer did indeed sign HB 246 into law on April 15th. That's the good news. On the less positive side of the ledger is the fact that the real fight--the one with the federal government, is still ahead.

The feds, of course, tend to look with strong disfavor on attempts to take away from them powers that they are accustomed to exercising--including those powers for which they have no Constitutionally justified authority. Gun legislation is one such power. That's right--this is not a Second Amendment issue--nor primarily one, anyway. What is at issue here is the Tenth Amendment. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope y'all like it.

I've gotten two or three emails from folks troubled by excruciatingly slow page loads. The only possible culprit I can think of is the digg links I've included to each of my GRE columns. Since I hope my readers go to the GRE page anyway (where I also have the digg links), I suppose I don't really need those links here, so I'm phasing those out, in hopes that page loads will start going a bit faster. My apologies to those who have experienced problems.

Friday, May 15, 2009

How to disarm the citizenry in 3 easy steps

It's brilliant, really:

Step 1) Form a rabidly anti-gun administration, and have at least one prominent official float the idea of a draconian new gun law. Check.

Step 2) Imply that those who most vehemently oppose such legislation are potential terrorists. Check.

Step 3) Point to those potential terrorists as justification for the very laws that supposedly provoked the would-be "terrorists." Checkmate. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look, and encourage others to do so, as well.