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, October 31, 2009

Illinois releasing criminals early; law-abiding citizens' ability to defend themselves still not supported

With Illinois in dire financial states (double digit billion dollar dire), I certainly won't complain about the state looking for ways to cut expenses. Still . . .

By releasing those inmates from prison in the next few weeks, Gov. Pat Quinn's administration hopes to save millions of dollars and usher in other alternatives to incarceration. But the cost-cutting early releases are opposed by police, prosecutors and some crime victims.
The idea is that about a thousand inmates will be released, up to a year early, in order to save money.
State officials contend they will release only nonviolent drug and property crime offenders with no previous parole violations and no outstanding warrants or orders of protection taken out against them.
That's somewhat reassuring--I certainly would be more upset if the plan was for early release on violent crime convictions. Also, as an opponent of the "War on (Some) Drugs," I don't believe there should be "drug crimes" (aside from things like drugging people without their knowledge and consent).

On the other hand, because of this long "war," much of the drug culture is intertwined with the gang culture, and the probability that some of these "nonviolent" drug offenders actually have some violent crime in their past has to be, in my estimation, a fair amount above zero. Additionally, the way I read the above, the claim isn't that the convicts have no record of violent crime--only that this incarceration is not for a violent crime. Finally, the Illinois "justice" system is infamously of the revolving-door, "catch-and-release" type, whereby even when there is not an early release, the time spent in prison is rather brief.

I'm not the only one (no--not that kind of "Only One") with concerns:
It is a politically charged issue. Even supporters recognize the potential pitfalls, pointing to the occasional high-profile cases of convicts committing heinous crimes while on electronic monitoring.

Julius Anderson, a sex offender released from prison, was suspected in two brutal rapes last summer while on electronic monitoring. The attorney general's office says Anderson disappeared Aug. 7, but a special agent was not assigned by corrections to find him until Aug. 19.

"They've done their best to eliminate violent offenders, but someone is bound to commit murder, armed robbery or rape," said David Olson, a professor of criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago, who serves on an advisory board to the state Department of Corrections. "It won't do the victim any good to say this was bound to happen even if the person got out one year later."
What especially caught my eye was this:
Most of the inmates will return to Cook County.
And, I'd wager most of those are returning to Chicago, which along with Oak Park (also in Cook County), still bans handguns. Cook County also bans so-called "assault weapons" (not that such a ban make any difference to murderous thugs like Carail Weeks.

Finally, nowhere in Illinois is the right to carry a loaded defensive handgun available to the law-abiding citizen.

In other words, more thugs will be on the streets, unleashed on citizens whose ability to defend themselves from them remains evilly hamstrung. That's Illinois.

NRA 'pragmatism' takes a hit in New York

The NRA enthusiastically endorsed Republican Dede Scozzafava for the vacant Congressional seat in New York's 23rd Congressional district (excerpt).

Please the read the letter sent to Dede by NRA Chairman Chris Cox:

Dear Assemblywoman Scozzafava: On behalf of our four million members, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund is proud to endorse your candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in the special election in New York's 23rd congressional district.

During your tenure in the New York Assembly, you have been a strong and consistent supporter of the Second Amendment. You are the only candidate in this special congressional election with a solid pro-gun legislative record.
As David Codrea points out, that enthusiasm seems a bit misplaced.
This set off no small amount of criticism from gun owners who view Scozzafava as a "liberal" on a host of other issues. And that has been used by her Conservative Party opponent, Doug Hoffman, who makes sure we know he's an NRA member in his campaign ads (which begin with the Gadsden flag held high).
Now, like David, I have some reservations about Hoffman, as well, based on his refusal to answer the questionnaire, despite GOA's enthusiastic endorsement--although GOA does provide a nice summary of gun rights advocates' reasons to be weary of Scozzafava:
Mr. Hoffman’s other opponent, Dede Scozzafava, voted in 1999 for the kind of “study” of gun “safety” [ed. note--sound familiar?]that is so often used by the gun prohibitionists as a backdoor to greater and more intrusive regulation. Attacking gun owners’ rights under the cover of “safety” is a favorite tactic of the anti-Second Amendment crowd and she voted for it.

She also voted in 1999 to stick gun owners with a burdensome reporting requirement when a gun is stolen. Under that law, the victim of a gun theft can be criminally prosecuted if the theft is not reported quickly enough to suit the authorities. This type of law turns the victim into a criminal.

These are not the votes of a 100% defender of the Second Amendment.

In addition, this candidate has close ties to the radical anti-gun group ACORN. The current leader of ACORN, Bertha Lewis, also co-founded New York’s Working Families Party — a party that supported Scozzafava in past elections.
Well now, Scozzafava is out, after polls showed here in third place, in our (basically) two party system.
Republican state Assemblywoman Dierdre Scozzafava has suspended her campaign for upstate New York's 23rd Congressional District seat, giving a possible boost to Conservative Party nominee Doug Hoffman against Democrat Bill Owens, Fox News has confirmed.

The move comes on the heels of a new poll that showed Scozzafava had fallen behind her two competitors in a close race.
Has "pragmatism" workin' for ya', Republican Party and NRA?

Update: David has more.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sonora, Mexico governor demands we drop some of our laws, pass others (care to guess?)

An article in the Arizona Republic is mostly about Gov. Guillermo Padrés Elías, governor of the state of Sonora, Mexico, and his contention that would-be tourists need not fear rumors of violence in Sonora.

Media coverage has sensationalized the drug violence that has gripped parts of Mexico, new Sonora Gov. Guillermo Padrés Elías said Monday as he pledged that his state remains safe to tourists.

Sonora is home to Puerto Peñasco, commonly known as Rocky Point. Tourism at the popular, beachside resort town has slipped as many Arizonans have stayed away amid accounts of warring drug cartels south of the border. Cartel-related violence resulted in more than 6,000 deaths in Mexico last year alone, according to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

But Padres said the bulk of the violence has occurred elsewhere in Mexico, and called Sonora his country's safest border state.

"We have a lot safer state than a lot of the cities here in the United States," Padres insisted during a meeting with The Arizona Republic. "Nobody that visits us is in harm's way."
Fair enough--I haven't done any research on that topic, and am not in a position to refute those assertions. Since I'm not planning any trips to the area anytime soon, I'm willing to, in theory at least, take his word for it.

It's later in the article that I run into some problems with his positions.
Thorny issues remain, however. Padrés suggested that some immigration-related laws passed in Arizona "are hard for my people." When pressed, he pointed to the state's 2007 employer-sanctions law, which allows law enforcement to target employers who knowingly hire undocumented immigrants.

"That hit a lot of people," said Padrés, who served as a lawmaker at both a state and federal level in Mexico prior to becoming governor. "I'm not going to be in agreement with bills that are going to hurt the people that are living here (in Arizona) from Mexico."
In other words, he is unhappy that U.S. businesses that illegally, knowingly facilitate the violation of our national borders can be punished by our government for doing so. As for whether he is "in agreement" with such laws, or not--I'm having some trouble coming up anything that concerns me less than that.

And now for new laws he thinks we should pass--I don't think anyone is going to be surprised.
Padrés and Brewer also appear to be at odds regarding the supply of assault weapons in the United States, some of which have found their way into the fight between drug cartels and the Mexican government. U.S. officials say roughly 90 percent of the guns traced in Mexico originated in the U.S, but the figure is widely disputed because most guns confiscated in Mexico cannot be traced.

"We don't make them," Padrés said. "We don't have them. It's weapons that are coming from the United States."
"Coming from the United States," eh? Well, that's debatable (and a debate we'd win). More importantly, wherever the guns are coming from, legal "assault weapons" aren't causing carnage in the U.S., so if they're being used to do so in Mexico, that's not because of their availability here.

Arizona's Governor Brewer, by the way, sounds like quite an improvement over her predecessor, Janet Napolitano (now Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security).
But in May, Brewer told attendees at a National Rifle Association conference in Phoenix that she opposed additional federal regulations on the sale of guns, including the return of a U.S. ban on semiautomatic, military-style rifles. That ban, which expired in 2004,has been advocated by Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

"New gun laws are not the answer to increasing gun violence in Mexico," Brewer told NRA members this spring. "The answer is to secure the border and leave the freedoms of the United States citizen alone. Don't mess with the Second Amendment."
That's not the first time I've made that observation about Governor Brewer, as compared to Napolitano.

Citizen disarmament lobby wants to expand 'prohibited persons' list

In other words, it would seem that Dr. Webster advocates adding a whole laundry list of misdemeanors to the already long list of crimes--littering in a cave is a felony in Texas; so is selling marital aids (presumably, even when not in a cave)--that can render a person disarmed for life.

Then, of course, there are the efforts to disarm "suspected terrorists"--without a conviction, without an indictment, without an arrest, without even the accusation being made known to the "suspect"--all that would be needed is a determination by the United States Attorney General (Eric Holder--doesn't that reasssure you?) that you're too "dangerous" to buy a gun. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope y'all like it.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Still think national parks are no place for guns?

Sad news from Canada:

Two coyotes attacked a Canadian woman while she was hiking alone in a national park in eastern Canada, and authorities said she died Wednesday of her injuries.

The victim was identified as Taylor Mitchell, 19, a singer-songwriter from Toronto.
Now that's odd--when legislation repealing the Reagan-era prohibition against the carrying of firearms in U.S. national parks passed this spring, we were told that parks were too safe for that to make any sense:
There is simply no need for it, given the extremely low risks that visitors face in national parks compared with everywhere else.
I shudder to think about what that young lady suffered.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokeswoman Brigdit Leger said other hikers heard Mitchell's screams for help on Tuesday and called emergency police dispatchers.
They valiantly reached for phones, of course, because they were no more permitted to have something a little more effective at fighting off predators than she was.

Granted, coyote attacks on humans are extremely rare, as are wild animal attacks in general. I'm sure that's a comforting thought to hold onto, while bleeding one's last, after becoming one of the unlucky ones.

One more observation I thought I'd mention: there sure are a lot of coyotes in the U.S.

Man preying on St. Louis women

The good news is that he seems--so far--to be willing to satisfy himself with robbery, rather than committing other, even more heinous, attacks. The other good news is that Missouri is, and has been since 2003, a "shall issue" state--citizens who meet the requirements for issuance of a permit to carry a defensive handgun cannot be denied that permit, by some arbitrary, capricious whim of the issuing authority. St. Louis tried to defy the 2003 law, and refuse to issue the permits, but in 2005, was forced to comply with the law. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brady Campaign notices same article I did, also notices David's 'Only Ones' files

I wrote yesterday about the guy who apparently thinks it's a good idea to paint advocates of defensive firearm carry as paranoid "vigilantes" (his words). The Brady Campaign noticed, as well, and was quick to jump on the opening.

Yet this student also honestly describes the logical extension of the gun lobby’s attacks on police, and the argument for more guns in more places:

Paranoia. Vigilantism. Taking the law into your own hands.
Interestingly enough, they managed (via gross distortion) to tie Mr. Paranoid's attitude in with David Codrea's "Only Ones" files.
While this student’s comments don’t appear to be a malicious attack against the police, many in the gun blogosphere make it a point to denigrate law enforcement.
The distortion, of course, is the claim that David's intent is to "denigrate law enforcement"--the refutation of which he makes clear in the War on Guns sidebar:
About "The Only Ones"
The purpose of this feature has never been to bash cops. The only reason I do this is to amass a credible body of evidence to present when those who would deny our right to keep and bear arms use the argument that only government enforcers are professional and trained enough to do so safely and responsibly. And it's also used to illustrate when those of official status, rank or privilege, both in law enforcement and in some other government position, get special breaks not available to we commoners, particularly (but not exclusively) when they're involved in gun-related incidents.
Compared to some Brady Campaign lies, though--that's a fairly minor one, I suppose.

Update: David eviscerates 'em.

Hunters feeding the poor--if the gun haters don't stop them

Fear of lead poisoning is one of the cudgels that the anti-gun crowd will use to bludgeon gun rights, and for the people who go hungry as a result--that's apparently just too bad. Now, junk "science" is being used to portray all game meat as being potentially toxic, despite the centuries of such meat being eaten with no ill effect for the consumers. As National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea says, "Study Shows Hunters Should All Be Dead."

Restrictive gun laws are generally considered a priority of those who think of themselves as "progressive." Has pro-hunger become part of the "progressive" platform? [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Be there, or be . . . elsewhere, wishing you were there.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I'm not much of one for 'political correctness,' but . . .

. . . This guy really needs to learn a bit about "messaging."

Luong’s personal experience with robbery and crime in the U-District led him to create the Facebook group “University of Washington Campus Vigilantes,” with the intent to patrol the Ave with other students who had also obtained concealed-pistol permits.
Now I realize that the word "vigilante" can mean simply "one who is vigilant," but the more common perception in modern times is that the word refers to people who act as judge, jury, and all too often executioner.

Unfortunately, he's not done.
“After something like that happens to you, you get really paranoid … and having a gun helps you move on,” Luong said. “You feel safer … like you’re in control of the situation or have some control if something happens.”
Since paranoia is a psychotic disorder, characterized by irrational fear and distrust, that's really not the way to explain one's reason for carrying a firearm. Paranoia certainly doesn't factor into my possession and use of firearms, nor, I'd wager, does it have anything to do with the reasons the vast majority of peaceable, responsible gun owners possess them.

Then, he goes back to the "vigilante" theme:
“The police will never be there,” Luong said. “It will take them at least, like, three or four minutes before they can get there, and by that time, the robbers are gone. It’s all about taking the law into your own hands and doing the things the police aren’t doing.”
Wrong--it's not "all about taking the law into your own hands"--it's all about taking responsibility for your security into your own hands--big difference.

Luong thus gives a local "Only One" the perfect opening.
“I would not advocate the student utilizing a weapon without allowing law enforcement to respond to the situation,” Vinson said. “The response time should be relatively quickly [sic]; I would not advocate them taking the law into their own hands.”
Hmm--why am I not especially comforted by the thought that the "response time should be relatively" quick? What "should" happen, after all, often doesn't (see below), and you can be killed a lot more than "relatively" quickly. Finally, I repeat, this isn't about people "taking the law into their own hands."

Want an example of the "should be" quick response not being even "relatively" quick? Look no further than the article I'm discussing here.
Senior Luis Garcia, a concealed-pistol-permit holder and member of the former Facebook group, said that he contacted authorities after being robbed on Greek Row in August 2008 and waited 20 minutes for an officer to respond.

“I ended up getting the run around over the phone,” Garcia said. “There [seemed] to be a communication issue between the UWPD and the SPD as to whose jurisdiction the Greek system [was] in.”
If Garcia's assailants had wanted more than just his money and possessions, he would likely be dead now.

I'm with Luong on this, but he needs some guidance from Students for Concealed Carry on Campus about how to get his message out.

Armed robbery and government mandated defenselessness in St. Louis

The mail carrier may be considered "lucky," because this predator "only" wanted his possessions (including his dignity), rather than his life. That, unfortunately, is not something one can count on when preyed upon by a thug.

Robberies, of course, are commonplace, and aside from the fact that this one was local, my particular interest in it may seem peculiar. The reason I bring it up was brought to my attention by National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea, who tells us of a court finding that a total ban of firearms, in post office parking lots, is not an infringement. Here's the "reasoning": [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Monday, October 26, 2009

'Pragmatism,' New Jersey style

The New Jersey governor's race comes down to the longtime gun-hating incumbent, John Corzine (D), former U.S. Attorney Chris Christie (R), and Independent Chris Daggett, who is also clearly no prize for those who think gun rights go beyond sport.

Second Amendment rights must be upheld, because American citizens have the right to bear arms. However, there is a limit when firearms endanger public safety. We support New Jersey’s aggressive gun control laws. The sport of hunting has a long tradition in our state; we support the rights of hunters in New Jersey.
In other words, unless Christie has something going for him, it's a choice between bad and worse. A short National Review Online article sums it up (excerpt):
As discussed on Cam's show, the NRA has not endorsed a candidate in New Jersey. Corzine is rated "F" by the organization (mostly because "Z" isn't an option), while Christie is rated a question mark — usually a sign that a candidate declined to answer the questionnaire.
I don't often say this, but good for the NRA, for not endorsing a candidate who declines to take an unequivocal stance on gun rights.

Then again . . .
Having said that, the NRA has been contributing heavily to the Republican Governors Association, which has been running ads on behalf of both Virginian Bob McDonnell and Christie.
Kinda sounds like "plausibly deniable" contributions to Christie, doesn't it?

But is that so bad--isn't a question mark better than two candidates--the better of whom "support[s] New Jersey's aggressive gun control laws [ranked by the Brady Campaign as second only to California in the tyranny of its gun laws]"? I dunno--you tell me:
If a gun owner in New Jersey is a little wary of Christie, it's understandable; Christie hasn't talked about the issue very much, says he supports the assault-weapons ban and all current gun laws, and opposes attempts to permit conceal-and-carry laws in New Jersey.
And waddya know--someone is apparently trying to "out-prag" the NRA:

The New Jersey Outdoor Alliance has endorsed Chris Christie.
Maybe they should change their name to New Jersey Fudd-Prag Alliance.

Brady Campaign hypocrisy

Quite aside from the very legitimate concern of tax payer's hard-earned money being spent on projects of questionable (to put it kindly) value, there's also the concern that rather than a study, this will be more akin to a witch-hunt, toward a predetermined and desired (by those behind this project) end of advancing an agenda of restrictive gun laws. Gun laws are already so restrictive that teenagers carrying handguns in public is already illegal, meaning that those who do so are criminals, and quite likely to be involved with criminal gang activity. That alone would tend to tilt the results toward a determination that "guns are bad."

What amuses me most about Henigan's accusation of a "gun lobby" attempt to suppress the truth is Henigan's own record (and that of the Brady Campaign in general) of trying to sweep "inconvenient truths" under the rug. Back in February, I posted a video clip of Henigan, filmed before Heller had gone to the Supreme Court, and the case was called the Parker case (after Shelly Parker, who was eventually dropped from the case for lack of standing, and Dick Heller became the sole plaintiff). At that time, the Brady Campaign was still claiming that the Second Amendment protected only a "collective right" to firearms--meaning, basically, that it could simply be ignored. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope to see you there.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Interesting statement from a BATFE flunky

David Codrea's Gun Rights Examiner column yesterday prompted me to take another look at the Southern Preposterous Lie Center's "The Second Wave: Return of the Militias" report (pdf file). In doing so, I came across a quote I had somehow missed before, that I find kinda interesting (my emphasis added).

“You’re seeing the bubbling [of antigovernment sentiment] right now,” says Bart McEntire, who has infiltrated racist hate groups and now is the supervisory special agent for the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Roanoke, Va. “You see people buying into what they’re saying. It’s primed to grow. The only thing you don’t have to set it on fire is a Waco or Ruby Ridge.
The eternal optimist in me looks at that and wants to believe that the string-pullers at the Department of "Justice" have read and heeded Mike Vanderboegh's "No more free Wacos" letter to AG Eric Holder, and thus are aware of the danger of "set[ting] it on fire" (a rather unfortunate choice of words in reference to Waco), and will behave with at least a modicum of self-restraint.

My more realistic side wonders, on the other hand, if the federal thugs want to "set it on fire," and thus provoke something akin to the 1995 Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing, and thus guaranteeing a huge boon to agencies like the BATFE, in terms of power and funding. That power and funding would then, the fed thugs might be thinking, be used in the War on Patriots (the SPLC perversely uses the word "patriot" as a pejorative).

As with that bombing, no actual evidence linking Constitutional militias to any new attacks would be necessary. The SPLC report, for example, describes OKC bomber Timothy McVeigh as being "steeped in the ideology of both militias and hate groups." What the report does not mention is that whatever McVeigh was "steeped" in, he was not in a militia.
Yet Dees and Stern build their books around the claim that the militia/patriot movements are unindicted co-conspirators in the Oklahoma City murders. The link between accused bomber Timothy McVeigh and the militia movement is based mainly on two pieces of information: First, he and his friend Terry Nichols attended two Militia of Michigan meetings--which, significantly, they were told to leave because they were advocating violence. Second, allegedly Mark Koernke, a short-wave radio personality who runs a mail-order business that sells militia gear, was seen with someone who looks like McVeigh. In addition, a Michigan talk show host supposedly said (he denies it) that the host's Rolodex listed McVeigh as a contact for Koernke. This evidence does not come remotely close to showing that militia members encouraged McVeigh to do anything illegal, let alone to perpetrate one of the most vicious mass murders in history.
The SPLC, with its talk of McVeigh's supposed militia "steep[ing]," implies a connection between militias and McVeigh, but even they have backed away from openly asserting something as demonstrably false as a claim that McVeigh was a militia member.

Here's the thing, though--as Mike said, there will be "no more free Wacos." The question for the feds won't be how to exploit the backlash from the next Waco or Ruby Ridge--it will be how far they have to run, how deeply they have to bury themselves, to survive that backlash.

Here's a tip, feds: the answer is "farther than you can run, and deeper than you can bury yourselves."

Friday, October 23, 2009

A quick observation . . .

After my post earlier today, correspondent Tangalor left this comment (excerpt):

Ha! I love that f-16 and nuke comment. Hysterical.
That was in response to a passage I had quoted from Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Ha!) columnist Cynthia Tucker's "They've been watching Red Dawn again":
Hey, people believe what they want. That’s what makes this a great country. But, really, folk, the government has nuclear weapons and F-16s. If by some convoluted Manchurian takeover, the feds wanted a dictatorship, would your hunting rifles stop them?
The train of thought set in motion by Tangalor's comment led me to the realization that whenever it suits the collectivists' agenda to strike fear of gun owners in the hearts of their audience, they talk breathlessly about the "lethality" and "power" of our "weapons of war" ("weapons of war" is the term they use when "assault weapons"--itself an invented term, contrived to frighten the public--isn't scary enough). But when, as was the case this time, the idea is to disparage our ability to resist tyranny, suddenly our "weapons of war" turn back into "hunting rifles."

Funny how that works.

The statists' fear and loathing of the Oath Keepers

We have seen, within just the last week or so, a growing media awareness of the Oath Keepers, a group--consisting mostly of police officers and military service members--who have vowed to disobey any illegal, unconstitutional orders they may be given. With this growing awareness, we are also seeing growing consternation among those who, apparently, find the idea of troops and police officers who refuse to take part in crimes against the American people alarming.

David Codrea noticed the media's discovery of the Oath Keepers, and discussed some of the anti-Oath Keeper (pro-Oath Breaker?) hysteria (I put in my two cents, as well).

The next day, David talked about MSNBC's "Hardball," with Chris "Furrowing Up His Leg" Matthews, and Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman Mark Potok ganging up on Oath Keeper founder Stewart Rhodes. You can watch the whole (10 minute) show here, but if you're in a hurry, at least take eleven seconds to watch Rhodes deliver a beautiful zinger on Matthews:

More media hysteria: the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Cynthia Tucker characterizes the Oath Keeper movement as being "Red Dawn"-inspired fantasy.

On the other hand, there are moments when the paranoia of the wingnuts is almost comical. A new group called Oath Keepers has pledged to keep the feds from violating the Second Amendment by confiscating weapons.

[ . . . ]

Hey, people believe what they want. That’s what makes this a great country. But, really, folk, the government has nuclear weapons and F-16s. If by some convoluted Manchurian takeover, the feds wanted a dictatorship, would your hunting rifles stop them?
David also alerts us to a supposed "Conservative Republican," and "career infantry officer" who despises the Oath Keeper movement (to the point of describing the Oath Keepers as "malignant").

Mike Vanderboegh directs our attention to the Southern Poverty Law Center's (or, as Mike much more honestly calls them, Southern Preposterous Lie Center's) latest collection of libels against the Oath Keepers (and militias, and patriots). Here, they lament a seeming lack of authority within the military to suppress the Oath Keepers:
[Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col Les] Melnyk provided the specific Defense Department regulation regarding prohibited extremist groups, and it clearly is aimed more at groups that discriminate based on such things as race, ethnicity or religion. Simple conspiracy theorists, for now, might get a free pass. The regulation reads as follows:

“Prohibited Activities. Military personnel must reject participation in organizations that espouse supremacist causes; attempt to create illegal discrimination based on race, creed, color, sex, religion, or national origin; advocate the use of force or violence; or otherwise engage in efforts to deprive individuals of their civil rights. Active participation, such as publicly demonstrating or rallying, fund raising, recruiting and training members, organizing or leading such organizations, or otherwise engaging in activities in relation to such organizations or in furtherance of the objectives of such organizations that are viewed by command to be detrimental to the good order, discipline, or mission accomplishment of the unit, is incompatible with Military Service, and is, therefore, prohibited.”
I think my "favorite" pro-Oath Breaker piece, though, was found by Thirdpower. In this one, written by someone named Jeff Mushall, we're told of the "alarming" intersection of Oath Keepers and Three Percenters.
But on to their veiled threats against the current leadership. There is a photo posted here that shows a soldier in Iraq wearing what appear to be uniform patches saying "OATHKEEPER"
AND "THREE PERCENT" as though they were military issue. Of course, they are not. Read some of the comments and understand what some of these "Oathkeepers" are really about.

The person who sent the photo references the so-called "Sipsey Street Irregulars" which boasts to be "the gathering place for a merry band of Three Percenters" Apparently, "Three Percenters" are people who pledge to take up arms against any attempt at gun control.

Read about the Sipsey Street Irregulars here and learn what right wing paramilitary activity looks like when it in formative stages. One quote on the page says "All politics in this country now is just dress rehearsal for civil war." - Billy Beck, August 2009.
Mushall is, of course, referring to this picture. Mushall takes the rhetoric to a new level, saying, in the blurb describing his piece:
The "Oathkeepers" Need to Be Put in Check - Now

It's not that far of a leap to go from vigilante Constitution enforcer to right wing death squad.
Mushall is serious about wanting the Oath Keepers "put in check":
Already, the group plans on mass mailing kits to active duty military outlining what they are about and seeking recruits. It's not a violation of free speech to suggest military commanders do not allow that. Just because a person is in the military or on a police force doesn't give them the right to arbitrarily interpret laws and act according to what they perceive as threat.
Despite the hideous, libelous lies, I see this as a positive development. I want the statists to realize that the combination of Three Percenters and Oath Keepers is a serious threat to any agenda of subverting the Constitution. I want them to fear the patriotic resolve of a resurgent Constitutional Militia movement. I want, basically, for them to realize that there will be no "Green Zones" for them, if they push too far.

Below is possibly the worst photoshop job ever done, featuring, from left to right--my versions of the Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, Dorothy, and the Tin Man--played by Jeff Mushall, Cynthia Tucker, Chris Matthews, and Mark Potok, respectively.

Oath Keepers and Threepers and militias, oh my!

Yeah--I know the "Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!" thing came right before the Cowardly Lion joined them--sue me.

UPDATE: David has another must-read

Is California AB 962 a precursor to 'ammunition accountability' laws?

A military concept that has some applicability here is "softening the battlefield"--shelling or bombing the enemy heavily before sending in the ground troops, in order to (hopefully) destroy much of the opposition, and make the ground campaign that much easier. That, I submit, is what AB 962 is all about--"softening the battlefield" for the "ground offensive," i.e., "ammunition accountability," which will be the next "one more law," that will make AB 962 really work, and as a bonus, some of the required infrastructure for "ammunition accountability" will already have been put in place by AB 962, so "for God's sake, pass this lifesaving, commonsense law, for the children." [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Please give it a look, and tell a friend.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

News on the War on Pocketknives

Back in June, I wrote about a proposed "rule change" (in other words, an end-run around the legislative process) at the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP) that would have banned the importation of most folding knives (a whopping 80%, by one estimate), as "switchblades." I'll repeat here a quote from an email I received then from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA):

U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) on May 21st proposed revoking earlier rulings that assisted opening knives are not switchblades. The proposed new rule would not only outlaw assisted opening knives, its new broad definition of a switchblade could also include one-handed opening knives and could be easily interpreted to cover most other pocket knives, even simple old-fashioned slip-joints.

At this point, one-hand opening and assisted opening knives are 80% of U.S. knife sales. For most knife companies, they represent all or the majority of their product lines. These are the knives Americans take with them to work and to play everyday.
This, obviously, would have been an egregious "solution" to the plague of "pocket knife violence". What? You didn't know that our society is in the grip of such an epidemic? Don't feel bad--I didn't either--good thing CBP was on the case! In fact, according to World Net Daily, this new proposed rule may have stemmed from some HopeandChange™ at CBP:
He said the change came after the incoming administration of President Barack Obama reassigned some managers at the agency.

"What we do know is when the incoming administration reshuffled assignments at Customs, it moved the responsibility for knives and switchblades from one organization with Customs to a new organization," he said. "That group has, as far we can tell, virtually no experiences, background or anything with knives."
Anyway, that's all background. The reason I'm bringing this up again is that legislation has just passed both houses of Congress, as part of a Department of Homeland Security (of which CBP is a sub-agency) appropriations bill, meaning it should be fairly safe from veto, that protects assisted opening knives from being classified as "switchblades."
Last week, the House of Representatives approved the conference report setting appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security. This final bill included language preventing spring-assisted knives from being classified by the Department as switchblades. The language was first championed by Rep. Walt Minnick (D-Idaho) and Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio.)
It's ridiculous that this even came up (and what's wrong with switchblades, anyway--does anyone really think that "knife violence" is being kept at bay by banning them?), but at least the threat seems to have been neutralized.

If gun laws are 'inadequate,' why were would-be terrorists unable to get what they wanted?

The answer, obviously, is that a would-be terrorist could do exactly that, if our supposedly "inadequate gun laws" were really the boon for terrorists we are constantly told they are. In reality, though, the American public is being lied to, repeatedly, relentlessly, and in furtherance of the agenda of forcible citizen disarmament. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope to see you there.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Medical marijuana and guns: The Obama administration's split personality on state sovereignty

The federal government is, presumably, planning to contest this lawsuit, and the BATFE has declared its intention to enforce the federal laws, regardless of their inapplicability under the new state laws. Is it just me, or does that sound an awful lot like using federal resources "to circumvent state laws"?

I thought this administration had just made up its mind to not do that, and that's without even getting into the Obama campaign position that "what works in Chicago may not work in Cheyenne."

Whatever one's position on drug laws, if state law trumps federal law (in the absence of any "interstate commerce" interests) regarding marijuana, how can it not do so when the subject is intrastate commerce in guns? [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope you find it worth your time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Balanced journalism, Contra Costa Times-style

Columnist Tom Barnidge makes some . . . interesting assertions in his "According to the NRA, we need guns to keep us safe" screed.

NOT EVERY member of the National Rifle Association is a gun-toting survivalist with an ammo belt slung over his shoulder.
Thank goodness for Tom clearing that up--I'm sure many readers were confused, and under the impression that "EVERY" one of the NRA's approximately 4 million (and growing) members are "survivalists" (what's wrong with putting some effort into survival, anyway?), who apparently own belt-fed firearms.

At this point, though, Tom hasn't really even gotten warmed up. Now he gets down to business:
The Second Amendment, which protects Americans' right "to keep and bear arms," has been dissected, parsed and mulched so many times that no one knows for certain what it really means.
Is that so, Tom? David E. Young certainly seems to have a good idea (good enough to be cited six times in the Heller decision)--good enough for 838 pages of exhaustively researched scholarship. And that's not all of his work on the subject. David Hardy seems to have a pretty good idea of the meaning, as do Dave Kopel, Stephen Halbrook, and quite a few others.
Was it intended to protect states' rights to arm a "well regulated militia" against an overbearing national government as the wording suggests . . .
The wording somehow "suggests" that, without mentioning the word "states" (it does mention the right of the people, but perhaps Tom was thinking of Dennis Henigan's version of the Second Amendment, in which "the people" go unmentioned).
. . . or does it mean that every American has the right to strap on a shoulder holster in the morning and keep an Uzi under his pillow at night?
No histrionics there, eh? I of course, can't imagine what the problem would be with people "strap[ing] on a shoulder holster in the morning," and I fully support their Constitutionally guaranteed right to do so. As for the "Uzi under the pillow," it sounds rather uncomfortable, but it's not my place--or anyone else's--to forbid it.
Because the amendment dates to 1791, the authors are unavailable for comment, leaving the matter to advocates such as [former NRA president Sandy] Froman to provide enthusiastic, if decidedly partisan interpretation.
As opposed to Tom's evenhanded, impartial interpretation.

I'm not quite sure what to make of this part:
And the organization's stance against an assault-weapons ban was a matter of definition: Assault weapons, as described by proponents of the law, would have included even semiautomatic weapons used for deer hunting.
If she really said that, I have one more reason to castigate the NRA--because however so called "assault weapons" are defined, and however little use they have for "sporting purposes," any gun rights advocacy group that doesn't fight such a ban tooth and nail isn't worth a glass of spit. In Froman's and the NRA's defense, though, it is extremely plausible that Tom paraphrased her very poorly.

The next part surprised me a bit (my emphasis added)
That explains the NRA's stance against gun registration. When a government sets out to disarm its citizenry, she said the task is too easy if gun owners' names are stored on a database.

For those of us not yet convinced the feds' grand plan is to strip us of our inalienable rights, the visions of doom seem a bit over the top.
So is Tom acknowledging that private gun ownership is an inalienable right? Sure sounds that way, but it's not very consistent with anything else he says--especially when he ends the piece with what sounds like an endorsement of a government monopoly on force.
Besides, we've seen what happens when a well-regulated militia takes up arms against the government.

You might know it as the Civil War.
We also know what happens when there isn't an effective citizen militia to take up arms against the government.

It's called the Armenian Genocide, the Holocaust, Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, the Khmer Rouge killing fields, etc.

Oath Keepers: How is a vow to uphold the Constitution a 'threat'?

My biggest question to the people who are alarmed by the Oath Keepers is this: if our men and women in uniform reaffirming their oath to refuse unconstitutional orders so bothers you, what unconstitutional orders do you expect them to receive, and want them to obey? Yesterday, I discussed the "cold, dead hands" promise--could the alarm about the Oath Keepers be linked to fear that there will not be enough troops and police officers to render those hands cold and dead? [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Be sure to read David's two National Gun Rights Examiner articles today about the Oath Keepers, and you might want to watch Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes on MSNBC's "Hardball," tonight.

Update: here is the "Hardball" segment. Chris Matthews came across as just the kind of guy who would get "a furrow up [his] leg" at an Obama speech.

Monday, October 19, 2009

'Cold, dead hands': A promise, not a slogan

When Charlton Heston held up a replica Revolutionary War musket, and said "From my cold, dead hands," at the NRA Convention in 2000, he was not the first to use those words in that context, but his use is certainly the most famous. It was a powerful speech that Heston gave, delivered with both the solemnity and the fire one would expect from one of the few actors capable of pulling off the role of Moses.

I have little doubt that Heston meant every word of it. By then, he had been a staunch defender of civil rights for at least 40 years, having marched with Martin Luther King in 1963, and participated in demonstrations for desegregation earlier than that. No civil right is more vital than the right to self-defense, or the means of resisting tyranny, and Heston left little room for doubt about the depth of his commitment to those rights. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. NRA apologists may find it insufficiently "pragmatic." Boo-bleepin'-hoo.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Not a bright dog, but somewhat amusing

My father being a rabbit hunter, I grew up in a house that always had beagles (or sometimes, beagle/basset mixes). Charming dogs, for the most part, but to call them "not the intellectual powerhouses of the canine universe" would be to do them a very generous kindness. And yet . . .

I daresay that even they had rather a lot more going on in the ol' cerebral cortex than the author of the "Laci the Dog" blog. This (nominally) literate pooch seems to find the spewing of anti-liberty vitriol as enjoyable as a normal dog would find munching on a rib-eye.

Today, for example she "wrote" a piece that consisted of copy/pasting--in toto*--an LA Times (anti-gun, of course) op-ed ("Fair Use" apparently being a bit above the comprehension ability of this bitch . . . er, female dog), with her only addition being her title, "NRA Has Yet to Explain Why It Wants to Help Killers, Criminals, and Lunatics Get Guns," followed by a bit of libel, for good measure:

Because that's its membership base?
At least she doesn't bark the lie that her forcible citizen disarmament advocacy is based on a desire to end violence--violence against gun owners amuses her:
Unless the death is Meleanie Hain, then it's funny as hell.
. . . followed by:
Other than a few annoying assholes, what's to stop them. Can I shoot a few who want me to pry their guns from their cold, dead fingers?

I think armed civilians make great targets!
Oh, please, please, PLEASE target me first, Laci--because I suspect that any planned targets after your first are going to miss the fun.

Don't feel obligated to follow the links--there's no real need to give her the traffic, and besides, like the vast majority of forcible citizen disarmament advocates, she's too cowardly to allow comments--afraid to be sent yelping with her tail between her legs.

*Amusingly enough, she even copied this part: "Copyright © 2009, The Los Angeles Times"

Members of Congress move to expand available shooting opportunities

The bill introduced by U.S. Representative Markey is H.R. 3781, the "Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act," and is co-sponsored not only by U.S. Reps. Coffman and Minnick, as mentioned above, but also by Representatvie Harry Teague (D-NM). It was introduced last week, and actually follows its Senate companion bill, S. 1702, which was introduced by Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) in late September, and is co-sponsored by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and James Risch (R-ID). [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Please give it a look.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

California AB 962: Much more than ammo?

That is taken directly from the text of the legislation--I omitted subsection (b) for the sake of brevity--and seems to indicate that magazines (whether "high capacity," or not), revolver speedloaders, unloaded bullets (not whole cartridges--just the projectiles themselves), etc., will fall under the scope of this insane law.

I don't claim to be proficient enough in legalese to be sure that this law will do what I think it does, but if so, the only possible intent of this is to find a way to end, for all practical purposes, possession and use of firearms, without an outright ban--thus nullifying the "victory" of Heller. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Thanks, Thirdpower.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

'Gun criminals' for draconian gun laws

Regular readers (both of you) know that I'm not much of one for terms like "gun crime," or "gun criminal." I advocate the repeal of all gun laws, and believe that any crime worthy of the name should be punished the same, whether or not a gun was involved.

That said, I reserve a special measure of contempt for a violator of gun laws, who is also an outspoken, passionate, relentless advocate of gun laws. Who preaches from the lofty altitude of the saddle of his high horse about the evils of the gun culture*. Who incessantly demands that peaceable, responsible gun owners "share the responsibility" for the violence committed by lawless, predatory thugs. Who demands that, for the good of society, lawful gun owners are simply going to have to accept being "inconvenienced," and vilifies them for resisting those demands. Who has not, as far as I can tell, ever found a gun law (either on the books somewhere, or proposed) that he does not support.

I suppose I can kinda see such a person's point of view--why not advocate draconian gun laws? They're no skin off his nose--they only affect the poor, dumb saps who actually obey them--not him.

Such a person is Mikeb302000.

I could go on and on, with examples and explanations, but a) I have already spent far too much time on him, and b) others have superbly documented his dishonor, and my duplication of their efforts would be silly.

For those interested, read:
From Weer'd Beard--Liar, or Criminal Liar?, and Criminal Mindset

From Bob S.--Does Honesty Matter, Part 2

From Linoge (and anyone who knows the history between Linoge and me knows that it takes rather a lot for either one of us to link to the other, except in a throwing-down-the-gauntlet kinda way)--mikeb302000, lying criminal

If I've missed anyone, feel free to let me know.

Actually, in the interest of fairness, I should probably not exclude the response from our favorite "Gun criminal" for draconian gun laws, himself--Mikeb and the Illegal Guns

Hopefully, I am more or less done with this entire dishonorable business.

*To the point of admitting that increased gun education would save lives, but opposing it anyway, because he fears it will lend support to the gun culture he so despises

'Zero tolerance' and the wussification of America's youth

I realize, of course, that "wussification" is not a word, although I dare say it should be. Today's discussion is about "zero tolerance" policies in schools, whereby possession of a "weapon"--the definition of which is both insane, and insanely arbitrary--is not only grounds for severe disciplinary action (up to and including expulsion), but is mandatory, with school officials barred from making exceptions, even when common sense demands them. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Later today, I hope to have assembled contact information for the Lansingburgh School board--they need to hear from us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Hmm . . . I wonder what could have interested them, in what I had to say about this

Browsing through my site traffic data (which tends not to involve much browsing), I spotted a visitor that surprised me a little:

(Click to enlarge)

Visits from the DoJ (one of whose agencies is a "favorite" topic of mine) aren't especially unusual, but it puzzles me that they would want to see what I had to say about this--"this" being the outrageous prosecution (or, more accurately, persecution) of Harold Fish, the retired schoolteacher who, while hiking in Arizona, was set upon by a crazed homeless man and three dogs, and who shot and killed the man.

This being before Arizona had adopted its version of Stand Your Ground legislation, the burden of proof that it was self-defense was placed on him (so much for the presumption of innocence pending proof of guilt), and without any witnesses, he was unable to do so (the prosecution managed to convince the jury that Fish's choice of the relatively powerful 10mm cartridge, coupled with hollowpoint ammo, indicated "bloodthirstiness" on Fish's part, and also managed to suppress evidence about the "victim's" history of mental instability, anger issues, and aggression).

Even more oddly, my fans in the government looked not at the current version of the page, but at Google's cached version. I tend not to remember changes I might have made in a post more than two years old, but the only change I can find is correction of a typo.

Anyway, the whole thing puzzles me, since nothing in Mr. Fish's case has anything to do with federal law, or, to my knowledge, any federal agency.

While I'm talking about Mr. Fish, though, it is long past time that I update the story. The post that interested our fed friends was my last word on the subject, and much has happened since then. Sadly, the "new hope" for Mr. Fish to which I referred in that post never materialized. Then Arizona Governor (now Secretary of Homeland Security) Janet Napolitano vetoed the bill that would have made the Stand Your Ground law retroactive, which would have hugely bolstered Mr. Fish's self-defense argument. This was the second time she vetoed such a bill, even though this one had been specifically crafted to address her objections with the first version.

Since then, though, the news has been better. As my Seattle Gun Rights Examiner colleague, Dave Workman, tells us, Mr. Fish will finally get a new trial, with Arizona's new (and much improved) understanding of self-defense in a position to play a major role (because yet another version of the bill to make it retroactive was passed, and signed this year by the new governor).

Fish was prosecuted and convicted, and sentenced to 10 years in prison, but last week, the now-incarcerated 62-year-old ex-teacher was granted a new trial by the Arizona Court of Appeals, which reversed the verdict [pdf file] and remanded the case back to the trial court.
Even better, he has been released (as of July 21st this year) from prison, pending the decision about where to proceed from here.

How this will end up is impossible to tell, but the situation is vastly better than it was before this summer.

Keep current on the case at HaroldFishDefense.org, and consider helping out a bit.

SCOTUS refuses to hear Olofson appeal

This has been well covered by David and by Mike Vanderboegh, but it's important enough that I can't not mention it, as well. As Dr. Martin Luther King said, after all, "A time comes when silence is betrayal."

As Mike V. points out, if, as has been made manifestly apparent, justice is to be systematically denied, free citizens are rapidly running out of incentive to submit to government "justice." The alternative, of course, to submitting to government justice, is likely to be rather messy, but the mess will not be of our making.

Meanwhile, the Olofson family is trying to hold things together while David Olofson is in prison. Please consider helping out.

America has not yet, I believe, passed Claire Wolf's "awkward stage," but that stage cannot last forever. Mind your ammo supply, and perhaps it's time for some reading?

Attacking the First and Second Amendments at the same time

You read that correctly--a woman was threatened with arrest or with being shot, for wearing an empty holster.

Some among those who wish the citizenry to be disarmed would prefer that we not utilize the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment in defense of the rights guaranteed by the Second. They should draw comfort from the fact that we have not--yet--been forced to do the reverse. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Hope it's worth your time.

Monday, October 12, 2009

California tries novel tactic to 'stimulate the economy'--create a new black market

Over at Days of Our Trailers, we learn that the Governator signed California Assembly Bill 962. This draconian new law, when it goes into effect, will require registering of all buyers of handgun ammunition* (with a thumbprint required), outlaw mail order of ammunition, greatly add to the overhead costs for dealing in ammo, etc.

The inevitable end result--the more or less brand new black market "industry" of ammunition smuggling. Arizona and Nevada ammunition vendors should be pleased, at least.

*Lots of calibers are generally considered rifle calibers (and in the case of the .410, and the Taurus "Judge," even some shotgun cartridges), but handguns have been made that chamber them--including the .50 BMG. It is, in other words, not especially clear that much of any ammo will not fall under this insane law.

UPDATE: David has much more.

Is Bloomberg a 'gun crime' conspirator?

If, on the other hand, it was a straw sale, then Bloomberg's "investigators" made a straw purchase--it takes two to tango, after all. That would make Bloomberg the head conspirator in a conspiracy to commit a federal felony (multiple federal felonies, it would seem).

[ . . . ]

Still, I hope SAF urges a federal investigation into Bloomberg's activities this time, as well, and I don't think SAF should be alone in doing so. I think the feds should hear from all of us.

You can email them at ATFMail@atf.gov, or call them at 1-800-ATF-GUNS (their "Report Illegal Firearms Activity" number). It's not that I expect any investigation into Bloomberg's possible crimes to go any further than it did the first time, but it would be interesting to see how the BATFE justifies going after "straw sellers," and not "straw buyers." Please report any response in comments. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Please read it, and let's see if we can make some noise at Jack-Booted-Thug headquarters.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More about Badger Guns, new (to me) blogger

I've written a couple times recently about Badger Guns in Milwaukee (or West Milwaukee, to be more precise, apparently). The very short story is that Badger Guns has a reputation as a major source of "crime guns," and is under heavy, relentless pressure by the mayor and police chief of Milwaukee, along with various anti-gun groups, to go well beyond the requirements of the law, and implement a policy of imposing all kinds of draconian, impractical intrusions on customers--brilliant business model, eh?

Anyway, the Badger-Baiters try to paint Badger as being the criminals' friend, and the enemy of law and order, and thus of society as a whole.

Upon my discovery of the Between Two Rivers blog, I learned of further evidence that folks are being misled on that score.

Badger Guns in West Milwaukee (earlier posts: Badger Guns update 10/6/09) gives an assist to local police and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel doesn't bother to report about it. No they'd rather castigate the owners.

A local radio station gives kudos to the guns store. Controversial Gun Store Helps Police
Go check out the details.

Think I can get some Joyce Foundation grant money?

Yesterday, I discussed Joyce Foundation president Ellen Alberding's op-ed piece that, strangely, tried to exploit the savage beating death of Derrion Albert as justification for more restrictive gun laws.

On the other hand . . . with all that money the Joyce Foundation has to throw around at just about any anti-gun group that pops up and asks nicely, it sure is tempting to change sides.

That's why I am starting my new "gun violence prevention group": WithOut Really Terrible Handguns, Let's Enjoy a Safer Society (WORTHLESS). This will be right up the Joyce Foundation's alley--another WORTHLESS group, with all kinds of WORTHLESS ideas, proposing all kinds of WORTHLESS laws.

Brilliant, isn't it?

Friday, October 09, 2009

More about Derrion Albert's murder, and the response

In yesterday's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column, I wrote about the savage murder of 16-year-old honors student Derrion Albert. I focused primarily on cynical (and bizarre) efforts by the citizen disarmament lobby to try to turn a bludgeoning murder into a call for more restrictive gun laws--the ICHV's Thom Mannard was the star of that discussion.

Today, I have a bit of follow-up.

First, we have Ellen Alberding, president of the Joyce Foundation (you remember the Joyce Foundation--major source of funding for just about every citizen disarmament effort in the U.S., whose board of directors Barack Obama sat on for eight years), and her reaction.

We welcome the opportunity to talk about a comprehensive strategy to combat youth violence. But let's remember that the beating death of Derrion is in some ways unusual.

Every week young people here and in other cities are slain. Some are beaten like Derrion but in the great majority of cases the weapon of choice is a gun.
Alberding was certainly far less offensive than Mannard, but she, too, hopes to exploit a beating death as justification for more restrictive gun laws (in the city with the most restrictive gun laws in the nation).

Another, somewhat surprising response, was from Snuffy Pfleger. Back in May, you might remember, Snuffy ordered the U.S. flag at Saint Sabina to be hung upside-down. The intent, evidently, was to draw national attention to the violence (particularly youth violence) taking place in Chicago. Snuffy is, of course, yet another who acts as if the problem in Chicago is not the violent, predatory, gangbanger thugs who commit the violence, but the guns (which are already outlawed in Chicago) they often use to commit that violence.

That's why it surprised me that Snuffy is apparently pleased by what he heard from Duncan and Holder (who never mentioned guns), and now plans to turn the flag right side-up again.
St. Sabina Catholic Church's Fr. Mike Pfleger, says new efforts to stem violence among young people in Chicago have given him reason for hope and so, Sunday, he plans to turn right-side up the American flag he turned upside down months ago.

In early May, the activist priest turned the flag upside down to signal "distress" over the gun violence that was taking the lives of so many young people.
What has him so happy, when so many other citizen disarmament advocates are fuming?

Yesterday, he was part of a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in which the federal government promised $500-thousand in extra help to try to reduce the amount of teen violence around Fenger High School on the South Side. At the meeting were Obama cabinet members, Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan, as well as Mayor Daley and other community and religious leaders.
Ah--question answered--a cool half-million can buy a fair amount of cheerfulness. As Snuffy himself says, "it's all about the Benjamins."

Finally, it seems that Snuffy's usual joined-at-the-hip buddy, Jesse Jackson, is not nearly as happy:
Some were community activists and faith-based groups offended that they had not been invited to the meetings with Holder and Duncan.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson was among them.

"They're not talking to the people," Jackson said. "They're talking to each other. This is top-down."
It's enough to make you want to "cut [somebody's] nuts out," isn't it, Jesse?

What Supreme Court 'victories' really mean for gun rights

This provides the forcible citizen disarmament lobby with a blueprint for exactly what they can get away with, and still be ruled to be in compliance with the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Second Amendment. Even when they are defeated on a given point, they merely have to back up an inch, and say, "well, we can still do that," after which they have to be challenged all over again--with no guarantee of victory at any step of the way.

This, in turn, affords politicians and candidates with Second Amendment "cover"--they can say "I support the Second Amendment," and even mean it, at least in terms of supporting whatever SCOTUS deigns to allow it to mean--while pushing for everything short of an outright gun ban. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Thanks for looking.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Illinois Supreme Court knows what a 'case' is--Illinois gun-haters get 'case' of indigestion

My Chicago Gun Rights Examiner colleague Don Gwinn wrote yesterday about the expectation that the Illinois Supreme Court would rule today on whether or not the center console of a car fits the definition of a "case," for the purpose of legally transporting an unloaded firearm.

Go read the article. I'll wait--it's not long.

OK--got the background now?

Good news: today, the Supreme Court ruled that the center console is indeed a "case," for purposes of this discussion.

Section 24-1.6(c)(iii) of the Criminal Code of 1961 provides that a person is not guilty of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon if that weapon is "unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying box, shipping box, or other container by a person who has been issued a currently valid Firearm Owner's Identification Card." 720 ILCS 5/24-1.6(c)(iii)(West 2006). In the case at bar, we are asked to determine whether the center console of a vehicle is a "case" within the meaning of this provision. For the reasons that follow, we conclude that it is.
Not exactly a "knockout blow" for freedom in Illinois, but in this state, we madly celebrate the little victories.

It's certainly a significant victory for the defendant, Michael Diggins, who will now not be spending two-and-a-half years in prison, for carrying unloaded, fully enclosed firearms, while having a valid FOID card.

This would also seem to provide some clarity on the legality of "fanny pack carry" in Illinois.

Chicago GRE Don Gwinn now has much more.

Honor student Derrion Albert's brutal beating death 'wrong' kind of violence to talk about?

In other words, if a murder is not committed with a gun, and is thus not easily exploitable for the advancement of the forcible citizen disarmament agenda, ICHV would prefer it not be discussed.

The Brady Campaign was also apparently hoping to turn this into a discussion about further infringements on that which shall not be infringed, as Brady Campaign president Paul Helmke illustrated with this remarkable statement.
The youth violence problem in Chicago is a gun violence problem.
I call Helmke's statement "remarkable," because we have just seen that the violence in Chicago is not simply a "gun violence" problem. When the gangbanger thugs in Chicago cannot get guns (which, if gun laws actually worked as advertised, would be always, since handguns are virtually banned in Chicago, and since the vast majority of criminal shootings are committed by people who cannot legally own any firearm, anywhere), they use knives, fists, feet, and yes--railroad ties. [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column is unlikely to make me any friends at the Illinois Council Against Handgun Violence. Isn't that alone worth giving it a look?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Good news from Sipsey Street

Take a stroll down Sipsey Street, and see one reason the Three Percenters are not only not planning to ever back down--we also aren't planning to go down in a blaze of glory, either.

If the gangster government wants to play hardball, they'd better realize that the teams aren't distributed as favorably for their side as they've been thinking.

'Mayors Against Illegal Guns' scrambles for relevance

"Mayors Against Illegal Guns," an extremist anti-gun group started, headed, and bankrolled by NYC's fanatically anti-gun Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has petitioned the White House to crack down on private gun ownership. [More]
That's today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner. Hope ya' like.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Anti-gun RINO for U.S. Senate!

U.S. Representative Mike Castle (RINO-DE) wants to move up to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Vice President Joe "I am the guy who originally wrote the assault weapons ban" Biden.

One would think that just about anyone would be an improvement over Biden. In Delaware, unfortunately, that's clearly not the case.

Castle is a big fan of legislation to close the mythical "gun show loophole," and in fact regularly sponsors such legislation, including this year's H.R. 2324.

That's not all

* Voted NO on prohibiting product misuse lawsuits on gun manufacturers. (Oct 2005)
* Voted NO on prohibiting suing gunmakers & sellers for gun misuse. (Apr 2003)
* Voted NO on decreasing gun waiting period from 3 days to 1. (Jun 1999)
* Rated F by the NRA, indicating a pro-gun control voting record. (Dec 2003)
I don't have much faith in high grades given by the NRA, but I've never accused them of giving an "F" unfairly.

I would argue that a win for Castle would be more damaging than the election of another anti-gun Democrat. At this point, the Republican Party can at least keep a straight face when claiming to support gun rights. The more Republicans who get away with betraying that part of the platform, the less important that part will become.

Praying for peace, but prepared for violence

The Colorado incident is particularly instructive. After killing two people at the mission center, the deranged killer hoped to commit a real massacre at the mega church. Fortunately, for all but the killer, this church's staff included some armed citizens who provided security. Among those was Jeanne Assam, who, though armed only with a handgun, against a lunatic with a rifle and over a thousand rounds of ammunition, stopped him before he could begin the slaughter in earnest.

By Michigan law, the church can permit, or not, congregants to carry firearms (if licensed to do so by the state).

It seems that a growing number are realizing that "God helps those who help themselves" applies also to defense against maniacs. [More]
Please take a look at today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Goldilocks 'gun control,' revisited

Way back in March of 2008, I did a post about "The Goldilocks approach to 'gun control.'" At the time, I foolishly thought I had invented that idea, until Thirdpower pointed me to Mr. Bieser's cartoon. Damn it, Third--you just can't let me enjoy my thinking that I'm smarter than I actually am, can you?

Alright, so it's not a new idea--it's still a good one. In that post, I was referring to hardware--the Swiss Mini Gun being "too small," and .50 caliber rifles being "too big." There are plenty of other hardware possibilities: we hear so-called "assault weapons" demonized because they're too inaccurate (but can be fired quickly), and precision tactical rifles ("sniper rifles," in gun grabber parlance) condemned for being too accurate. That was, by the way, the VPC complaining about both the "too inaccurate" guns and "too accurate" guns. Even more amusing, the VPC refers to the Bushmaster XM-15 (pdf file) used by Malvo and Muhammad in Washington D.C. in 2002 as both an "assault weapon" and a "sniper rifle."

Today, though, it occurs to me that the Goldilocks school of forcible citizen disarmament is not limited to calls for banning (or at least restricting) hardware. Remember what the anti-rights people said about guns in national parks? Here's one example:
Passage of this legislation that would allow firearms of all kinds in national parks is an absolute travesty. There is simply no need for it, given the extremely low risks that visitors face in national parks compared with everywhere else. Legislators who voted for this Amendment now have to live with the fact that they have, in fact, increased the risk to visitors and employees, as well as the risk to wildlife and some cultural resources.
Get that? Guns shouldn't be allowed in national parks, because national parks aren't violent enough to justify being "allowed" to carry an effective means of self-defense. Aaalllriiighty, then.

On the other hand, Congressman Mike Quigley (D-IL) argues that efforts to overturn Chicago's draconian gun laws are misguided because Chicago is too violent for people to be trusted with an effective means of self-defense:
But the threat of gun violence has by no means dissipated. Chicago communities are still reeling from losses of neighbors, children and friends -- innocent bystanders caught by a stray bullet, someone in the wrong place at the wrong time. The last thing our city needs is more guns on the street and more children fearing for their safety.
So . . . is there anywhere that's just right for citizens to exercise their Constitutionally guaranteed, fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms?

To honor Marek Edelman, help put teeth into 'never again'

Mr. Edelman and his compatriots were horribly handicapped in their nearly doomed-from-the-beginning resistance, by the simple fact of their almost total lack of weapons, and training in their use.

If genocidal tyranny ever raises its hideous head in the U.S., we will have no such excuse. For the moment, at least, and in theory, at least, we have a Constitutional guarantee of our fundamental human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. If we lose that, through apathy, short sightedness ("that could never happen here, and now"), and lack of use, we will have only ourselves to blame. [More]
Today's St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner--please give it a read.