Friday, April 25, 2003

Interordnance of America LP has a notice that warns the BATF may contact some of its customers concerning parts the company has sold. Interordnance sells firearms as well as accessories & parts. They are a distributor but they sell parts & accessories directly to the public via mail orders. Firearms they sell must be transferred to a federally licensed dealer.
It does not say how the BATF obtained their customers contact info, but I assume it was because the company turned it over to them. A company is not required to keep information on customers unless they purchase a registered firearm & since Interordnance sells arms only to licensed dealers I cannot see any justification for them keeping any information that they would have to turn over to the BATF.
The BATF occassionaly contacts individuals & claims that a particular firearm or part is now illegal for them to possess & they must turn it in. They have never, to my knowledge have offered any compensation for the items that they demand be turned over to them. The last time I remember this happenning involved certain shotguns, particularly the Street Sweeper, a shotgun with a 12 shot rotary cylinder manufactured originally by Armscor of South Africa. These shotguns that were reclassified as 'destructive devices' are no different in function than revolvers. They are now subject to prio BATF approval & a $200 tax before a person can own one.
What is also worth mentioning is that the BATF has no jurisdiction over parts, except for firearms receivers, silencer parts & parts that will convert a semi-automatic arm into a fully automatic arm.

So I find it odd that Interordnance would hand over information on its customers when its not required to do so & that the BATF would again be engaging in seizing lawfully obtained property.
The Denver City Council is trying to find ways around the recently passed Colorado laws that prevent cities from prohibiting arms.

"Denver officials are drafting ordinances and considering a lawsuit in an effort to retain the city's gun controls, even though two recently passed state laws largely take control out of municipalities' hands. Members of the City Council, the city attorney's office, the district attorney's office and the Police Department met Wednesday at the council's weekly safety committee meeting. They discussed what could be done to preserve Denver's ability to regulates guns within its boundaries, something Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell said the city has done since the 1860s. The group then went into a closed-door session to further discuss strategies."

What the article doesn't say, or doesn't say plainly at least, is that Denver's City Council is upset that they may not be able to violate the Rights of its citizens in the name of public safety. They're upset at the loss of power & are attempting to use a very assinine argument which can be summed up as 'Denver has a constitutional Right to infringe upon its citizens constitutional Rights & we're going to use every political & legal trick we can to prevent the state from preventing us from preventing the exercise of the Right to Self Defense'.

Of course, the Denver Post would not consider printing that assesment as they are one of the most anti-gun papers I've seen to date.

In the post below I mention that Ron Paul did not vote for a bill to prevent frivilous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Here is a statement from Rep. Paul explaining why he voted against it.

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today as a firm believer in the Second amendment and an opponent of all federal gun laws. In fact, I have introduced legislation, the Second Amendment Restoration Act (HR 153), which repeals misguided federal gun control laws such as the Brady Bill and the assault weapons ban. I believe the Second amendment is one of the foundations of our constitutional liberties. However, Mr. Speaker, another foundation of those liberties is the oath all of us took to respect constitutional limits on federal power. While I understand and sympathize with the goals of the proponents of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (HR 1036), this bill exceeds those constitutional limitations, and so I must oppose it."

He more or less argues that while he supports the Right to Arms he does not think protecting it should involve federal intervention at the expense of the constitution. He goes on to say:

"Finally, Mr. Speaker, I would remind my fellow supporters of gun rights that using unconstitutional federal powers to restrict state gun lawsuits makes it more likely those same powers will be used to restrict our gun rights. Despite these lawsuits, the number one threat to gun ownership remains a federal government freed of its constitutional restraints. Expanding that government in any way, no matter how just the cause may seem, is not in the interests of gun owners or lovers of liberty."

For that The NRA would withdraw its support of Rep. Paul? While supporting compromising politicians such as Colorado's Go.v Owens, Colorado's Sen. Allard, NC's Sen. Dole?

As I've said before, Gun Owners of America & the Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership are much more deserving of your donations & your membership.

Thursday, April 24, 2003

The NRA vs. Ron Paul. It's the last story on the page. It seems that the NRA is contemplating opposing Rep. Paul in the Texas Republican primary next year. The source of their contention is that Rep. Paul voted against the bill designed to stop frivilous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. Rep. Paul's objection to the bill was that the federal government had no authority to interfere with state matters.

What is ironic is that Rep. Paul, who has constantly introduced legislation to repeal various federal gun control laws is being frowned upon by the NRA. The NRA constantly supports candidates who vote for & occassionally introduce gun control laws, yet they are thinking of withdrawing their support for one of the most steadfast supporters of the Right to Arms because they disagree with his views on Constitutional authority?

Gun Owners of America still supports Rep. Paul. If you were thinking of joining or renewing your NRA membership might I recommend sending the money to GOA instead?

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

A person attempts to unload a pistol. In the process they pull the trigger, the gun fires & a 7 year old is hit, causing injuries which render the child a quadriplegic. It would be fairly obvious that while accidental, the person who unloaded the gun in an unsafe manner was at fault for the child's injury. That person was clearly negligent & as such should shoulder 100% of any blame.
Not in Oakland.

"The jury found that Bryco Arms, the maker of the .38-caliber semiautomatic used in the shooting; Bruce Jennings, the gun's designer and the company's founder; and the company's main distributor, B. L. Jennings Inc. 35 percent liable for the injury to the boy, Brandon Maxfield, who was shot in the chin by a baby sitter in 1994. In addition, the jury found two other gun distributors that shipped the gun and the pawnshop in Willits, Calif., where it was bought 13 percent liable. The jury assessed the remaining responsibility to Larry Moreford, the 20-year-old baby sitter who accidentally pulled the trigger while trying to unload the gun, and to Brandon Maxfield's parents, who had bought it."

Huh? If you wonder how they arrived at that verdict, here's a partial explanation:

"In Brandon's case, Ms. [Victoria] Ni, [a staff lawyer with Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, a public interest law firm that had been advising Brandon] said, the crucial issue was that the .38-caliber Bryco semiautomatic was designed in such a way that it could be unloaded only when the safety was turned to the "off" position. 'You have to disengage the safety and put the gun in a dangerous position to unload it,' Ms. Ni said. 'That is a defect in the design."

Huh? I don't have the statistics available, but it's safe to say that at least half if not a significant majority of all firearms are designed in such a way that unloading them requires disengaging the safety. Revolvers do not require the safety be disengaged to load or unload, but that's primarily due to revolvers not having safety's at all.

But I am still puzzled by the partial fault found with the distributor, the retailer & the child's parents. Even if it were a legitimate design fault, then wouldn't the manufacturer alone bear the burden? I suppose it could be argued that they were all engaged in the traffic of a faulty product but the premise seems weak, especially when one takes into account that the pistol functioned as it was suppossed to: with the safety disengaged pulling the trigger will cause the pistol to discharge if a cartridge is in the chamber.

I feel sympathy for the child. A terrible thing happenned to him & he will suffer its consequences for the rest of his life. But the fault clearly lies with the person who shot him, even if it was accidental. Actually it was negligent. He violated at leats two of the primary rules of gun safety: never point a weapon at anything you are not intending to shoot & never put your finger on the trigger until you intend to shoot.

I wonder if a jury in Oakland would find Jack Daniel's liabel for someone's DUI? After all there is no device attached to the bottle that prevents you from turning it up & accidentally getting drunk.

This is clearly an attempt to legislate via civil trials. The target they chose was the maker of an inexpensive pistol. The article itself refers to them as "saturday night specials". This phrase is a derivative of "niggertown saturday night special", but most gun control advocates don't like to mention the racist heritage of one of their more common phrases. It is broadly inclusive of any handguns that are inexpensive. The usual argument is that cheaply made handguns are inherantly unsafe & are used frquently in crime. While there is an obvious benefit to criminals that can't afford higher priced arms in obtaining inexpensive handguns, the majority of guns used in crime are sold on the black market or are stolen, thus negating the argument that economically priced arms supply criminals. Economically priced guns do make it possible for people of low income to have arms. Coincidentally people with low incomes tend to live in areas with a higher risk of crime than those who can afford more expensive weapons, so the benefit to the poor is obvious: the poor may be in the most need of having arms for self defense & inexpensive arms make that possible.
But are they unsafe? Not in my experience. The cheapest ( both quality & price wise) arms I have ever been around have functioned as designed. When the safety was engaged they did not fire, when the safety was disengaged they did. Some with more accuracy & reliablity than others, but I don't thik the question of safety involves being jam-free. When loaded with the correct ammunition they didn't blow up & they didn't discharge unless a deliberate pressure was exerted upon the trigger with the safety disengaged.

I do wonder if any of this was brought up during the trial. I assume it was. I also wonder what the judges instructions were to the jury. Also I wonder what the reasoning was behind the judges decision to let this proceed to trial in the first place.

Whatever the answers are to the above questions one thing is clear: this is a blow to all gun owners or would be gun owners, especially the ones in the lower income brackets.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Just a reminder: the .50 caliber/machine gun shoot takes place this weekend in Cheyenne Wells, Colorado. If you can I highly recommend attending.
The Federal Government has been targeting 'domestic terrorists' & with some success.

"The federal government has had remarkable success in (the past year) getting rid of many of the most vocal leadership' of homegrown extremist groups, said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism in San Bernardino, Calif.
Last week, David Duke started serving a 15-month prison stint for fraud. Last July, William Pierce, whose book The Turner Diaries is believed to have inspired Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, died of a heart attack. In January, World Church of the Creator leader Matt Hale was charged with soliciting a federal judge's murder."

Let me point out something:

"The federal government has had remarkable success in (the past year) getting rid of many of the most vocal leadership' of homegrown extremist groups...William Pierce...died of a heart attack..."

Are they insinuating that Mr. Pierce's heart attack was part of their success? I'm hoping that was just a poor choice of editing, but as it is written it either proclaims joy over someones fatal heart attack or it implies that the heart attack was caused by the Government.

"The old guard has collapsed; there is a void in (extreme right) movement,' Levin said. Law enforcement has targeted leaders on tangential criminal charges to damage those groups.'The idea is that any time we can nail someone who is potentially dangerous, we do it,' he said. 'It's now a prevention, however you can do it. The heightened response to international terrorism has ensnared domestic terrorists in their net. It's one of the byproducts of 9/11."

It is clear that Mr. Levin believes the ends justify the means. However this is troubling for two reasons: the first being that an abuse of power even against those who deserve it can threaten us all, & the second being that the Feds have been known to view people who merely have strong beliefs about the Constitution generally & the Right to Arms specifically as 'right-wing extremists', which means I'm potentially a target even though I have never committed any crimes.

I'm not a racial supremacist nor do I believe in any separatist ideaology, but because of my beliefs about the Right to Arms, some people would group me in with the previously mentioned groups. That's aggrevating enough when it's just a person at a resteraunt, but when that person carries a badge it becomes a whole 'nother level of inconvenience. This should be a concern to all, but probably won't be noticed by most unless they are the targets of the anti-rightwing extremist efforts.

A Tennessee man was arrested for running into a burnign building to save his dog. The police claim he was endangering the lives of firefighters when he bravely rescued his pet/companion from his buring apartment.

"[Assistant Chief Kim Lawson, spokeswoman for the Nashville Fire Department] Lawson said it's the Fire Department's responsibility, not that of citizens, to rescue animals and people from burning buildings."

Ms. Lawson could not be more incorrect. It is every citizens' responsibility to do what he/she can in defense of other citizens. That would include attempting to rescue people from being burned to death, as well as stopping criminals. While no one should be faulted for not risking ones life to save anothers, neither should they be told it's not their place.
Firefighters are professionals & deserve respect, but to delegate to them alone the safety of our loved ones & even pets is to place an unfair burden on them.

The main crime was not that he risked his life, but he disobeyed a direct command from a government official ( yes, firefighters are government agents, albeit usually agents of local governments). So instead of being honored for bravery, he is being punished. Shameful.
The Denver City Council will meet Wednesday to decide how the new gun laws will affect them. It's reported that at least part of the meeting will be held in a closed session.

"I personally believe that as a home-rule city, we have a responsibility to our citizens and our residents to say, 'Hey, I'm not a gun advocate, and we don't want weapons in our city,"' [Councilwoman Elbra] Wedgeworth said.

I assume she has never thought about the responsibility she has to the Rights of those same citizens to be able to defend themselves. I hope the voters won't be as forgetful when she's running for office again, although Denver is a major bastion of liberal/communal/socialist ideaologies so I fear she will probably gain support for such foolishness.

Weapons are not the problem, it is people who use weapons to intimidate or harm others without provocation. what she is advocating is not a weapon & crime free city, but a safe zone for criminals with a bunch of defenseless citizens to prey upon.

The law she wishes to ignore is the Colorado pre-emption law which prohibits cities & counties from enacting bans on firearms. Denver has a ban on assault weapons as well as possession of any weapons even by residents in their own vehicles. State law recognizes the Right to defend yourself, even while traveling. Of course the councilwoman fails to mention that there have been several car jackings in the last few months with a few fatalities. The fatalities occurred before the pre-emption law was passed. I would hold her & every other Denver City Councilperson partly responsible for those deaths if they had any part in infringing upon the victims Right to Arms that they could have defended themselves with.
Sad news: Citizens of America has ceased operations.

Monday, April 21, 2003

"NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim September 11, 2002, as Patriot Day."

Funny, I thought Patriot Day was more appropriately April 19th. You remember that day don't ya? When in 1775 a group of citizens who had formed a militia took up arms to stop the British soldiers from disarming them. The battles that ensued at Lexington & Concord Massachusetts gave the American Revolution a kick start.

But I guess that Bush wouldn't want you to associate armed resistance to government troops with a day of celebration & rememberance. He would rather have you remember a day when citizens who were disarmed by their own government were taken hostage & killed by men armed only with knives.

Also of note on April 19th, 1943 the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising started in earnest. Also look here & here. On that day the Jews who were confined to the ghetto in Warsaw to await their deportation to the extermination camps decided it was better to fight & take a few Nazi's with them than to comply with their own murders. Not exactly an American holiday but it's worthy of mention nontheless.

What is really sad is that in Massachusetts Patriot Day is a state holiday, yet outside Massachusetts it takes second place to the Boston Marathon. Add to that Massachusetts' dismal gun control laws & I conclude that somebody has missed the point.

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Jon Dougherty has an article on about Bush's support of the assault weapons ban. More accurately it's about Bush losing the votes of gun owners over his support for an extension of the ban.

"There is no such thing as gun control, only incremental gun prohibition," said Brian Puckett, co-founder of national gun-rights organization Citizens of America, of the ban itself. "Gun owners must grasp another political reality, which is: Allowing the government to get away with dictating the features of some guns sets the judicial, legislative and psychological precedent for allowing them to dictate the features of all guns."

"Our gun-rights organization, along with many others, took a stand for Bush in and after the 2000 election," [Angel] Shamaya [, founder and executive director of the website] told WorldNetDaily. "From urging even Libertarians and third-party voters to support him to helping account for 'lost' military votes in case it came down to that, we fought to turn the Texas governor into a president. If supporting a semi-automatic rifle ban – the Feinstein/Clinton gun ban, no less – is how he intends to repay us, he's lost his marbles."

"I was surprised and disappointed to learn of the report of the president's support for continuing the ban on homeland-security rifles, aka semi-auto rifles," said Larry Pratt, executive director of Virginia-based Gun Owners of America, a group with 300,000 members nationwide. "I am also puzzled. Why would George Bush want to help Democrats? The issue, when it was opposed by most Republicans, cost Democrats the House in 1994 and the White House in 2000," Pratt said. "Banning the homeland-security rifle is pure Washington, but anti-Constitution and anti-homeland security."

"Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, also decried the current ban and does not support the president's position to renew it"

As a side note there is a mention about a group who is fighting a campaign against the NAACP's lawsuit against gun makers:

"One retailer/activist, Concealed Carry Inc., of Oak Brook, Ill., has even begun a campaign to "cooperate with the NAACP" and is refusing to sell firearms to blacks. "I am going to use the broad authority granted me as a federally licensed gun dealer to prevent straw purchases by denying sales to African-Americans. To insure fairness, there will be no exceptions," said John Birch, president of Concealed Carry Inc. He said he'll continue to ban sales to African-Americans "until the NAACP asks us to, at which point we will be pleased to resume sales."

On the surface this may seem a bit racist, but I believe the point is that the NAACP's main argument in the lawsuit centers on gun manufacturers selling arms to black people which are used in crimes. So they want the NAACP to either condone their refusal to sell arms to black people in which case the NAACP would more or less admit prejudice against black people, or they want the NAACP to condemn their refusal to sell arms to black people, in which case the NAACP would have contradicted their main argument in their lawsuit. A risky strategy but possibly effective. Of course I highly doubt the NAACP will address the issue one way or the other. That'd be as foolish as suing a manufacturer for the illegal use of its product!

Getting back to Bush: I am not surprised by his decision to support a renewal of the assualt weapons ban. If I remember correctly it was something he mentioned during his campaign. But this is not hte only thing Bush has done to betray gun owners who believed he was the answer to their prayers. So far he has asked the Supreme Court to not hear two potentially important firearms cases where the seceond amendment was a key part of the defense ( Emerson, involving owning arms despite a restraining order & the other's name I forget but it involved a challenge to the NFA of 1934, which is so easy to prove violative of the Constitution most 6th graders could do it). Bush has promoted & expanded Project Exile, a program which mandates strict enforcement of all federal gun laws ( in the back, lemme hear ya,"all federal firearms laws are constitutionally prohibited") & the Attorney General, through his subordinates have been active in defending any challenges to federal firearms laws they have encountered. That includes the current challenge to Washington D.C.'s gun ban & the Bean case, in which a man convicted as a felon in Mexico for possessing shotgun shells in his car ( not a shotgun, just ammunition) not only did time in the U.S. but lost his federal Firearms License. Unfortunately Ashcroft's employee was succesful in convincing the Supre Court that Mr. Bean did not have grounds for seeking relief, & they unanimously decided that they could not undo what federal & mexican law had done. BTW, in the opinion, they opined that the BATF, not a court was in a better position to determine whether or not a person was fit to have his Right to Arms restored. & yes, Bush is partly responsible for that, as Ashcroft is subordinate to him & Bush raised no objections to any of Ashcroft's actions. & let's not forget Ashcroft's comments about the second amendment: he stated that the second amendment confers an individual Right, subject to reaonable governmental restrictions. The problem with that is a definition of 'reasonable'. Not only do I not see the 'reasonable restriction' language anywhere in the constitution, but if we were to concede that point then it comes down to bartering over which guns they will prohibit last. After all, sarah Brady thinks she's being 'reasonable'. Nope, some Rights are Absolute. Any concessions at all concerning our Right to own &/or possess arms is a slope that will lead to a complete prohibition. (for an interesting read, look at Eugene Volokh's The Mechanisms Of The Slippery Slope)

Bush is not a friend of gun owners. Perhaps though it can be said that he is much more gun-friendly than Gore would have been. But there is a flaw in that conclusion. Gore would have been viewed closely on anything he did that was gun related. & rightly so. But chances are he wouldn't have been able to get away with much. Bush on the other hand was generally viewed as a pro-gun president & a lot of gun owners relaxed. They either haven't been paying attention to Bush or they have been justifying his actions but still believing deep down he was pro-gun. These are the people that were surprised by Bush's support of extending the assault weapons ban. Would they have been caught off guard by Gore doing the same thing? Probably not. & there is the chance that Gore wouldn't have done something that would alienate so many potential voters, especially considering those same voters would not be naturally inclined to vote for him anyway. So I feel that through the vigilance of the voters & political pressure Gore might not have made a statement of support for the assault weapons ban. Even if he did it would've been much easier to counter politically. It would have possible drawn oppossition from congressmen who would vote for extending the assault weapons ban under a republican president who also supported it.

Theoretics aside I would urge people not to vote for Bush. With few exceptions I've found that Democrats & Republicans are both willing to support existing gun control laws & even create new gun control laws. The main difference is that re[ublicans are better at covering this up. Ron Paul is an exception. Marilyn Musgrave is another. Alan Keyes is yet another. There are others that I'm sure I've left out, however Bush is not one of them.

So if you decide to not vote for Bush, don't vote Democrat (unless the candidate seems very different than the stereotypical Democrat) & don't stay at home. Vote Libertarian, or some other thrid party whose candidate has his priorities straight. Actually if you want to change the Republican party, nothing will do it quicker than having a Libertarian walk away with 20% or 30% of votes that would have went to Bush. It might just scare them into line. If not it might give the Libertarians enough exposure to win next time around.
Personally I don't think any Libertarian, or any third party candidate for that matter, has much of a chance of winning any major office. But I would much rather 'waste' my vote on someone whom I agree with, than vote for a winner that will sell me out at the first oppurtunity.