Friday, April 11, 2003

The NRA has decided to file a seperate lawsuit challenging the D.C. gun ban. For some background on the lawsuit filed by The Cato Institute look here & here.

It seems though that the NRA has made things more difficult for Cato's lawsuit.

"First, the suit is simply unnecessary, a waste of time and resources. Only the NRA lawyers with meters running stand to benefit. This is an NRA-Holbrook ego case, an effort to get involved when in the past the NRA has been slow, retrogressive, a do-nothing in the litigation field, aside from occasional amicus briefs...Second, the redundant suit will delay the outcome in DC by months. This will enable anti-gun forces to become involved, to intervene, to file briefs, to push to uphold DC's ban on firearms...Halbrook-NRA also sued Attorney General John Ashcroft as a defendant, the powerful US Dept of Justice. That was unnecessary and counterproductive. That means from now on the case will be defended by the highly competent lawyers of the DOJ, with unlimited resources...Write Halbrook and the NRA directors exposing this colossal mistake. Ask them to withdraw the suit. Ask them to butt out altogether of test cases in the Second Amendment field. They have no winning strategy or track record in this area."

Of course the NRA won't withdraw their suit: they would lose too much face if they did. They'd also lose too much face if anyone other than the NRA won in a challenge to a gun law. I could be mistaken but it seems to me like they purposely muddied the water to keep anyone from showing them up.

If you were thinking of joining or renewing an NRA membership you'd be better served by just turning your guns in to the cops. By doing it yourself you'd cut out the middle man (theNRA) & save a bit of cash.
If you're wanting to join an org who will defend your Rights as best they can, then look into GOA, JPFO, SAF, & any local no-compromise groups in your area that aren't NRA-affiliated.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

I was browsing over at WeckUpToThees & found a discussion of an article from Assymetrical Information which was discussing an article by Tim Noah that appeared on The article was entitled Iraq & the NRA: Reader Response. Why you can by guns in Sadam's police state.

So, assumming that the press didn't jump to a conclusion that's not accurate & the Iraqi's did have access to arms, then why didn't the people of Iraq resist Hussein?

I am admittedly no expert in middle eastern culture generally or Iraqi culture specifically but i do have a few observations which I believe are consistent with humans in general.

Arms are necessary for resistance to a numerically superior or technologically superior force, but they are not the only thing necessary.

The means to resist. This does not mean having a single barrel shotgun. It means having weapons comparable to the small arms of the military. Although having any weapon provides the means of obtaining another, perhaps better weapon if you're up to it, all things being equal it's much better to start of with a suitable weapon than having to aquire one.

The knowledge to resist. A person or people has to be aware of what is happening & what is likely to happen.
There is a natural tendency to believe your government is benevolent. Jefferson stated this in the Decleration of Independence.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

When you add effective PR on behalf of a tyrannical government, then it becomes much much harder to realize that there is danger & it's time to act. The U.S. government could move into a small to medium size city & do anything it pleased by force. All that would be necessary would be to cut off all communications into & out of that city, convince the military that this action served some greater national security interest & then tell the rest of the populace that it was necessary for a specific reason to do something in that city. The plausibility of the cover story could be questionable to some degree & it would not have to include any precise details about what's going on. Untill the people in that city realized the military was going to harm them they would go along with most dictates that seemed plausible even if questionable. By the time they realized they were in danger it would be too late to offer anything other than a token resistance. The rest of the U.S. would not get involved unless it had direct knowledge of wrongdoing & if the PR campaign is done correctly then there'd be little danger of that.
Luckily for us the British did not realize how effective that particular strategy was in the 1770's. & again luckily for us the press was on our side back then.

There is no set guideline for knowing when to resist. It's a question that's been debated for some time: when do you start fighting back? The only definitive answer is sometime between the last election & when they come to put you into the cattle car. I wish I could be more precise than that but I honestly don't know the answer. We can all understand that fighting back is not desireable when peaceful solutions are possible. Similarly we can understand that by the time they come for you then it may be too late to do anything more than take a few of them with ya'. At best it is a decision that is subject to many variables & only history will prove or disprove any errors in timing.

In colonial America in 1775 the people of Massachusetts knew that when the Redcoats (we were British too back then) were marching to disarm the colonists that this did not bode well. Further the colonists had some experience with what a free society should be like. Their example was England. Same government, but the people were treated vastly different. They understood that they were not being treated fairly & they understood that should they be disarmed then nothing would prevent their enslavement but the whims of the same government that had been mistreating them. They also understood, at least some of them did, that now was the time to fight back because delay would remove their ability to fight back.
The German Jews perhaps did not see this as clearly in the 1930's. They were used to a certain amount of persecution, although from what I understand Germany was exceptionally tolerant of Jews in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Some did flee but many were reluctant to give up their homes, businesses, communities, etc... untill there was no other choice. They could not, or chose not to see the implications of what was happening untill it was too late. In 1938 hitler passed a law disarming Jews specifically. If they could have known what awaited them in the next few years I doubt they would have heeded the law & possibly could have initiated enough resistance to keep many millions of Jews alive, or at worst taken many millions of Germans with them. As it stands though they did not see the danger therefore the means to resist would have done them little good.

The will to resist. If you have the knowledge & means it avails you little if you have no conviction to fight. Take a woman that's 5'2" & weighs 110 lbs. armed with a sharp nail file who has the knowledge & will to resist. Put her up against a heavily armed 190 lb. man that stands 6'1". Let's assume he has the means & the knowledge but lacks the will to resist. He just is not emotionally or psycholigically capable of harming anyone even in his own defense. Even though she's outgunned & outsized the woman will win. & decisively. When I was growing up a friend of mine who had gotten into a lot of scraps told me once that "size don't matter in a fight, it's who's meaner". Clarifying that it means that the person who wants to win badly enough usually will. Not always but more often than not.
There is another example from WW2 that is relevant here. In 1943 a group of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto decided that it was time to do something. They realized they were being exterminated & they had the desire to fight instead of passively submitting to their fate. They had gained the knowledge & the will, but they had very little means to resist. They procured a small quantity of weapons & used those weapons to gain more weapons. Namely they took weapons off of soldiers that they killed. They organized into small seperate cells & started fighting back in earnest. It took Hitler roughly 3 weeks to roll through all of Poland. They Warsaw Ghetto Fighters lasted for 28 days. The Nazi's eventually burned them out. Many were killed, but a few escaped. One might say that's not a very positive example of armed resistance. But one must remember they were being exterminated. Their resistance at least allowed them to die on their own terms & with the satisfaction that there'd be a few less Nazi's to operate the gas chambers. It's unfortunate that they didn't possess the means, knowledge & will to resist sooner as that might have made the difference between life & death for not only them but millions of their kinsman.

So the means to resist is vital. But it is insufficient without both the knowledge of when, how & why to resist coupled with the will or desire to resist. In the case of the Iraqi's a persuasive argument could be made that they lacked the knowledge &/or the will to resist even if they did have the means. Again I am no expert in the affairs that occur in the middle east, but if my understanding of human nature is as consistent as I believe it is, then the Iraqi's being armed was only one ingredient necessary in the equation.
Not only is the L.A. city council contemplating a ban on .50 caliber handguns, but S&W seems to be regressing into their former self. Instead of refuting the idea of a ban on any weapon, they seem to prefer differentiating their weapons from those that were the original objects of the proposed ban.

You'd think one boycott due to anti-gun policies would be enough for any gun company. If this continues then I hope they have a lot of LEO sales lined up, 'cause their civilian market will crash.

Read more about it here.
For all you die-hard Republicans who just can't embrace a third party such as the Libertarians, would you at least vote for this man in your primary?
Another kids with guns story, but this one offers hope for the future.
I sincerely wish Montana had more representation in Congress. This is their idea of an anti-terrorism bill.

" (1) The people of these United States are exhorted to participate individually in the war on terrorism.

(2) The participation of individual people in interdicting acts of terrorism should be both passive, such as being observant, and active, such as individual acts of contention and interdiction against any terrorists attempting to commit a terrorist act.

(3) Individual people participating in the prevention of acts of terrorism must not be prevented from having at hand the tools necessary for such prevention, especially firearms, by the federal government, any state or local government, or any subdivision of these governments.

(4) Individual people assisting in prevention of terrorist acts must be exempted from criminal and civil liability arising out of such preventative acts, according to established and standard doctrine for allowable uses of lethal force.

(5) Medals and citations of award should be created to honor and reward individuals who materially serve their country by preventing any act of terrorism on United States soil. "

Has the Patriot Act beat all to hell & back now don't it?
"I'd rather err on the side of civil rights," Werner said.

You'd think that was a prelude to a good story, but you'd be wrong.

"The councilman proposed an amendment that would of struck the following misdemeanors from the list, but it did not pass: obstructing government operations; resisting arrest; obstructing a peace officer; and interfering with an officer making an arrest... Still, Werner voted for the full ordinance, as did council Chairman Jonathan Cook. Cook at one point said he was "uncomfortable" with the 10-year time frame."

What's this about? The Lincoln, Nebraska city council passed a crime package that prohibits the carry or possession of guns by people who committed certain misdemeanors. There are about 20 misdemeanors that would disqualify someone from their Right if it occurred within the past ten years.
Some of them seem like they're appropriate. But they're misdemeanors. Felonies have typically been the standard for a revocation of Rights & personally I think that's going to far. But misdemeanors are less than felonies. They imply a less serious crime was committed & therefore less harmful intent on the part of the convicted.

This is a textbook example of what incrementalism can accomplish. You needn't outlaw guns, you just keep restricting the people who may possess them. By the time you're left with a perfectly clean criminal & traffic court record then 99.95% of the population would be ineligible to possess, own or buy arms.
Another key point: pass it in small towns to test it out before moving on to county, state or national levels.

For further reading may I suggest All the Way Down the Slippery Slope: Gun Control in England & Some Lessons for Civil Liberties in America by Joseph E. Olsen & David B. Kopel

Think Blair was helping the U.S. with Iraq because he's a good friend? Perhaps because he has sympathy for the Iraqi people? Think again. He just cannot turn down any oppurtunity to disarm people.

Captain Cliff Dare, of 3 Commando Brigade Engineer Group, said: "An amnesty is essential. Iraq has a culture of weapons. There are a lot of them around, most held quite legally. If we want to give the new Iraq a chance these weapons have to be taken out of circulation."

I wonder if he remembers when his grandfather was begging my grandfather for his hunting guns, his single shot pest rifles so he wouldn't have to face a German invasion of England with a shovel or maybe a spear if he was lucky? Yet he thinks that by disaming people he's doing them a favor.
The only favor he's doing is ensuring the safety of criminals &/or die-hard Hussein supporters who want to steal from or retaliate on the citizens of Iraq.
I cannot say that American troops would not do this if they were ordered, but I'd tremble for them if they do considering God is Just.

Ronald Dixon turns down the plea bargain offered by the Brooklyn D.A.

"Last month, Hynes reduced the charges to misdemeanor attempted weapon possession, which carries a maximum 90-day jail term. Hynes said he would only ask Dixon to serve four weekends in jail in exchange for a guilty plea.
Criminal Court Judge Alvin Yearwood changed that deal to a year's probation...But the Jamaican immigrant declined the deal and left the courtroom without comment yesterday."

For some background on the case look here.

I'm very proud that Mr. Dixon is standing up for his Rights. Shame is not an adequate word to describe what the D.A. should be feeling.

GOA has a press release condemning the NAACP for its lawsuit against gun manufacturers.

"The NAACP lawsuit is not only completely frivolous, it could ultimately prove harmful to our country," Pratt said. "Our military depends upon these gun makers, as do millions of law-abiding Americans who use these quality firearms for their own self-protection."

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

If you have the chance check out Alphecca's weekly gun control debate table. He updates it every Wednesday. It's a comparison of the pro vs. anti gun articles on the Yahoo gun control debate page. While you're there check out the rest of his blog.
Just a reminder,
The Silveira vs. Lockyer appeal could make it to the Supreme Court, but only if you can help.
The mayor of Elkhart, Indiana asks neighborhood watch members to stop carrying arms.

"...But after September 11th, he changed the name to Woodlawn Homeland Security. That's when he, along with two of the three neighborhood volunteers, began to patrol with guns.
Woodlawn Homeland Security volunteer Michael Carretti says, "People used to walk into these houses and rob people and we got sick and tired of it, so we took into our own hands." The chief of the association, Jack Sanders, says, 'There are bad guys out there but not in here, and it's not because of the police department. It's because of us'.
Elkhart Mayor David Miller says there were 45 crimes, two years ago, reported in the Woodlawn neighborhood. But last year there were only four. 'I applaud all of those types of efforts to make our neighborhood more of a safer city.' But he doesn't applaud that Woodlawn volunteers carry guns even though they have permits and are trained. 'I can't force them not to. I can simply set the standards and hope people follow'."

Here's another story about the mayor's request.

So even though their armed neighborhood watch program has been successful in reducing crime the mayor feels they should disarm. I suppose there's a logic to it: the crime rate probably will go back up, but if they keep carrying guns someone could get hurt!

In case one of my 3 daily readers lives in Elkhart Indiana, may I suggest running for office? Your city needs you.
Pros & Cons of Project Exile from the Democrat & Chronicle. Seems they even consider that it's ineffective. Too bad they didn't mention it's unconstitutional, immoral & violative of our Rights.

For related reading please look here.
Ohioans for Concealed Carry has this story about a woman who was shot by her estranged husband six times in the parking lot of an AA meeting. Apparently the two restraining orders she had on him weren't effective.

The Cincinnati Post carries the full story.

If judges who give out restraining orders would advise people to take responsibility for their own safety, & to be armed then perhaps this kind of thing will stop. But so long as judges & cops & counselors continue to advocate the paper solution as the only one then stories like this one will be too frequent.

GOA properly fisks Washington D.C's immoral gun control/victim disarmement laws that haven't reduced crime.

"How bad is crime in our Nation's capital? It's so bad that even the far-left Washington Post has repeatedly complained about it. In a recent editorial (1/11/03), the Post says: 'The District of Columbia closed out 2002 with a record of violence that should have city leaders and residents worried sick... the District racked up 262 killings last year, the highest death toll in five years'."

"The plain, obvious truth is that the Washington DC anti-self defense laws have been a dangerous flop as far as curbing crimes committed by people with guns."
GOA warns that Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's gun control bills are still being considered.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

A few days ago Colorado state senator Ron Teck had second thoughts about a proposed fee for buying arms in Colorado. It seems that voters swamped him with complaints about being charged a fee for a state imposed background check that duplicates a federally imposed background check in order to purchase a constitutionally protected item.
Enter the Denver Post.

"Ten bucks is a small price to pay for a right so many Coloradans hold so dear."

Of course if it was a measley $10 fee to publish an article in a paper that nets the author several times that I'm sure their attitude would be different. I will refrain from ranting about the immorality involved in charging a fee in order to exercise a Right.

"After all, it's 10 bucks. Why should everyone else in the state bear gun-owners' burden?"

Perhaps because the state imposed the background check in the first place. But aside from that, it seems that everyone in the state enjoys some amount of the benefits caused by citizens who own & possess arms. For every burglar that's shot, apprehended or merely scared away by a gun owning citizen there's at least 2 non-gun owning citizens who benefit. How you may ask? Well, assuming the criminal is not apprehended or killed thereby taking away his/her particular threat to society, it tends to make the criminal community in general more apprehensive about committing confrontational crimes. It doesn't eliminate it, but it does hinder it. If a criminal gets shot in a certain neighborhood while committing a confrontational crime, then not only is that criminal less likely to be able to come back & commit a crime but the criminal community in general is less likely to pick a house or a person in that neighborhood. Would you want to rob a house in a neighborhood where the homeowners are known to have arms especially when they're also willing to use them?
So even if only 3 residents out of 100 have arms in a neighborhood the other 97 benefit.
Colorado's population is roughly 4.5 million. The cost of the background checks are roughly 1.3 million per year, depending on the amount of people who purchase arms. That equates to roughly $.29 per person. The Denver Post is complaining about .29 cents per person per year to cover a redundant background check that is mandated by the state. Considering the societal benefits of civilian gun ownership I think the non-gun owners are getting off pretty cheap. I'm sure that sensible people in England would jump at paying .29 cents a year to have the protection from crime that civilian gun ownership affords.

"Sen. Ron Teck, a Grand Junction Republican, normally is one of the legislature's saner denizens. But on this one, he caved to pressure from the gun lobby, which no doubt blanketed his e-mail, filled his voice-mail and threatened his pocketbook."

What they really mean is citizens who own guns or are thinking of purchasing one called the mentioned senator & informed him of their oppossition. I believe 'gun lobby' can also be used to describe any person or group that opposses any gun control law that the Denver Post supports.

"Some gun owners argue that since the state requires the background check, it should pick up the tab.
Using that theory, shouldn't the state also then cover the $15.60 it requires us to pay for our drivers' licenses? What about the hundreds it can cost to register a vehicle? Those fees also are government mandates."

That's a damned fine point. Hopefully someone in the legislature will introduce a bill to eliminate those aforementioned fees. But for the purpose of our discussion driving is not recognized as a Right. Legally it falls under the category of Privilege.While I think there are good arguments for driving being a Right rather than a Privilege the state does not wish to view it as such since it would hurt their revenue potential. A fee may be imposed on a Privilege, but not a Right. Now owning & possessing arms is a constituionally acknowledged Right. It's mentioned in the U.S constitution as well as the Colorado constitution. & as we must purchase our arms then the state has no legal authority to charge a fee, nor should it.It can be taxed at the same rate as other items are taxed (i.e. a percentage of the retail price) but a special fee or tax may not be imposed upon it.

"A lawmaker prepared to challenge the gun lobby should run a late bill resurrecting the fee - and then disconnect his or her voice-mail."

So the Denver Post feels a legislator should sever all ties with his/her constituency in order to pass laws they feel are appropriate. How democratic of them.

The Denver Post cares much more about furthering their political agenda than it does in seeing that the Rights of the people are not stepped upon by the legislature. If you subscribe to them I urge you to cancel your subscription. In any event I urge you contact them.

Here is the page that lists contact info for the Denver Post.
For your convenience below are the contacts for the editorial dept.

Editorial Page
- Sue O'Brien, editor of the editorial page, (303) 820-1935

- (Letters to the editor - to be considered, letters must include full name, home town and daytime phone number)
- Phone: (303) 820-1331
- Fax: (303) 820-1502

Monday, April 07, 2003

A story has appeared in the Sun which tells of two Royal Marines who each made an incredible one shot kill against an Iraqi soldier.

"A ROYAL Marines sniper told yesterday how he felled an Iraqi gunman in a strong wind from more than half a mile with an astonishing shot in a million."

A half mile would be approximately 886 yards. It's a ways out but you must remember that Hi-Power matches are shot at 200, 300 & 600 yard targets. There are also a number of people who shoot 1,000 yard competetions & I believe the current record is under 4 inches for a 3 shot group. So the distance is not that unbelievable although it is not as easy as say a 300 yard shot.

Also my external ballistics program tells me that for a 150 grain BTSP bullet with a ballistic co-efficient of .423 traveling at 2800 fps the amount of drop is roughly 20 feet at 850 yards assuming a 100 yard zero. With a 300 yard zero the drop is 17 feet.

So the following quote seems unreasonable:

"The 7.62 calibre round from Matt’s L96 sniper rifle was aimed 56ft to the left to allow for the wind, and 35ft high to allow for the distance."

In short this was decent, not exceptional marksmanship. There is not excuse for a soldier with a .30 claiber rifle not to be able to hit a man sized target at 600 yards with open sites. Add a scope & I'd say 1,000 yards would not be unreasonable. The two Royal Marines should be commended for their service. But unless the distance mentioned was considerably longer than stated then this should not be seen as an amazing feat of marksmanship. It should mean these two Royal Marines are a little better than average shots.

Of course there is the strong possibility that the article contained more errors of fact than I caught, but I attribute this sensationalized article to a profound lack of knowledge when it comes to firearms. After all, in the country where these two Royal Marines come from, firearms are not to be possessed unless you're in the military or police. I can see how an ignorant person would view a hit on a man sized target at 850 yards as incredible, even miraculous. That just makes it all the more sad to me.

A mistrial is declared because of Richmond police attempts to intimidate a jury.

"...the last two days of the trial - crunch time - saw half of the South Richmond courtroom packed by Richmond police officers, including top brass, in full uniform.

The night before, the jury foreman had been upset by her contact outside her home with Richmond police officers who questioned her nephews on the street as possible suspects in a robbery. (They apparently weren't involved in the crime.)"

An article from the Sagamore Online about Geraldo Rivera's unethical reporting practices.

While I agree that Mr. Rivera should not have done anything to give specifics about the location of troops I do take issue with this critique:

"Indeed, it was not the content of Rivera's reporting, but his questionable journalistic methods that gained the most attention with regards to his coverage in Afghanistan. He carried a gun for the duration of his stay in the occupied country. Geraldo's response to criticism of his carrying a firearm? He told Fox News in an interview: 'It's been blown way out of proportion. It makes me sound like a tabloid talk show host goes to war'."

I would think that being in the middle of a war zone would be an acceptable justification for being armed even to the most die-hard liberals.

An article from The Gazzette deals with a woman who has been stalked by her ex-husband.

"I just need to get a gun and shoot myself," she told her parents one night. "Because that’s the only way this is going to end. Because I am the target, and you guys are victims because of it. That’s how it ends because without me, there is no problem."

Of course no mention was made of her or her parents aquiring arms & learning about self defense. The article & sadly this young woman seem to be content with her role as the helpless victim.

Looks like prisons are a booming business. A new record of 2,000,000 incarcerated in the U.S. was announced by the government. Of note is that 1 out of every 142 U.S. residents currently resides in a jail or prison, & the federal government has almost 162,000 inmates which is more than any single state has. While some states had a prison population growth of as little as 1%, the federal prisons experienced a population growth of about 5.7%.

Why we may never regain the liberties that we've lost written by Dan Gillmor. An interesting if short read.
In DC the gun control seems to be working. 3 people were found in the freezer of the resteraunt they worked at, apparently victims of a robbery turned murder. Because of DC's strict gun laws no murderers were actually in danger during the commision of this crime.
Texas law enforcement officials are being accussed of violating the Rights of a man they arrested for alledgedly abusing an illegal alien he caught on private property. A previous blog on this mans circumstances may be found here.

Deleware state troopers raid the wrong house. While serving a series of no-knock search warrants the troopers broke into a house occupied by an octogenarian & two septegenarians. The elderly man & women were scared to death by the incident. The troopers apologized profusely over their error but here's the interesting part:

"Walter Taplin, 83, his wife Patricia, 74, and guest Nancy Powers, 72, were awakened at 9:45 p.m. by the sounds of banging against the door. Moments later, troopers dressed in black came through the entrance and detained the residents before acknowledging their error and leaving the house shortly before midnight."

They violated these peoples' privacy at 9:45 p.m. & detained them untill shortly before 12:a.m.?!?!?! They broke into an elderly couples' home & didn't leave for two hours?

I have long been oppossed to no-knock warrants. They seem to cause more harm than good & the potential for violence is great. Officers are nervous & a little scared & have no qualms about using deadly force. Residents are scared & some have no qualms about using deadly force on unidentified intruders, & rightfully so. So the no-knock warrant creates a situation in which both parties feel justified in using deadly force. Back home we called that particular condition war. There are situations where a no-knock warrant is necessary but those situations always involve a hostage.

Neglecting the abysmal practice of no-knock warrants we still have a situation which should enrage us all: elderly people were detained in their own home by agents of the state for 2 hours while they tried to figure out if they had the right address. The only justification for the troopers staying around that long would be if they replaced the door they broke down & stationed troopers outside the door untill the replacement was functional. If that was not the reason the troopers stayed (& the use of the word "detained", along with the lack of accountability the police typically have while conducting such raids makes me believe that wasn't the case) then the elderly people should have a nice settlement coming from the taxpayers of Deleware. Personally I would have preferred one of the elderly people went back into the bedroom, retrieved a shotgun & escorted the troopers off their property. But given the old "An attack on the kings soldiers is an attack on the king!" mentality of most police departments that scenario would have ended in even worse tragedy for the residents.

So how long does it take to realize that the 72 & 74 year old women & the 83 year old man weren't the bank robbers/drug smugglers/terrorists they were looking for? Apparantly too long.