Saturday, May 17, 2003

The U.S. imposes gun control in Iraq.

"US troops will be given orders to arrest any Iraqis who carry or sell guns, it was announced today.
The commander of US ground forces, Lieutenant General David McKiernan, today said that the new administrators of Iraq will soon establish laws aimed at restoring law and order on the streets.
'We'll focus our effort on eliminating so-called gun markets, and will arrest anyone who possesses or sells guns,' he said in an announcement, which was read in Arabic on the coalition-run Voice of New Iraq radio station.
'Coalition forces will hunt down these people who, through their irresponsible acts, are threatening the lives of every man, woman and child,' the statement said. Lt Gen McKiernan urged citizens to report anyone possessing a weapon to coalition forces."

So in the aftermath of war, when Hussein loyalists & criminals are roaming relatively free, the U.S. decides the best thing to do is to disarm the populace??? I see Lt. General McKiernan used the obligatory line about 'the children'.
That's a fine way to start a new government - instilling from the very onset that weapons are bad & the ordniary citizen cannot possess them.

What should be in the back of our minds, despite the urge to brush it off as rampant paranoia is that these are U.S. troops disarming a civilian populace. If they will follow orders to enforce civilian disarmament in a foreign country then what guarantee is there that they wouldn't follow orders to do it here?

Friday, May 16, 2003

House Speaker Dennis Hastert has opened the door to a vote on the assault weapons ban.

"Speaker Dennis Hastert opened the door Thursday to a vote on extending an assault weapons ban that expires next year, and the leader of House Democrats prodded President Bush to urge the Republican leadership to bring the bill to the floor.
Hastert, R-Ill., said he hadn't yet decided whether the GOP-controlled House would vote on renewing the ban, which was approved in 1994 on 19 military-style automatic weapons. 'I need to have some discussions with the president and (Republican) leadership before I make that decision,' he said.
Hastert made his comments after a statement earlier this week by Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, that the votes "are not there" in the House to extend the ban. DeLay's spokesman, Stuart Roy, later said Republicans have no intention of calling the bill up for a vote."

So it appears that Rep. Hastert is awaiting direction from the White House as to bring up the assault weapons ban renewal in the House.
I think that Bush, giving his past record on the Right to Arms, sincerely wants the Assault Weapons Ban renewed & possibly expanded upon. However he would either be a fool or have something very very significant up his sleeve to risk alienating gun owners who would account for a lot of votes in 2004.

"The issue cuts across party lines. While Democrats generally lead the campaign for such measures, some suburban Republicans favor gun control, while Democrats from rural areas or those with active hunting populations oppose it, and the issue has worked to the detriment of Democrats nationally in recent elections."

Again, judging votes by party doesn't work when it comes to gun control. In fact every federal gun control law enacted has had Republican support in some form.

as I said in a previous post:

Yes, I know we have a Republican controlled Congress. Yes I know there are more anti-gun Democrats than there are anti-gun Republicans. But there are more anti-gun Republicans than there are pro-gun Democrats & Republicans combined. Look here for the House of Representatives. Look here for the Senate. Anything less than a "B" rating means they are not oppossed to voting for gun control if it suits them. According to my calculations there's 18 pro-gun Senators & 176 pro-gun Representatives. That's counting the B minus among the pro-gun. !8 out of 100 & 176 out of 434.
There are 64 anti-gun senators & 205 anti-gun Representatives. That's counting D, F & Not Rated. 64 out of 100 & 205 out of 434.
In the Senate it would merely take the F,D & Not Rated Senators to vote for the McCarthy-Conyers assault weapons bill for it to pass. In the House it would take 13 C rated Representatives in addition to the F, D & Not Rated Representatives for it to pass. The Senate would have enough votes to negate a presidential veto, but it'd take 261 or so from the Senate, which would mean 56 C rated voters in addition to the F,D & Not Rated.

This is from a article about the vote on the Assault Weapons Ban renewal:

"The bill hasn't been discussed by the leadership yet, and I haven't had a discussion with the president yet so I'm not ready to make that decision,' about scheduling the bill, Hastert, R-Illinois, said."

The following refers to the earlier comments that DeLay made about not having the votes to pass it & it wouldn't be voted on in the House:

"But Hastert said DeLay was "caught off guard" when he made that comment. The House speaker, however, would not commit to a vote and refused to say whether he supported a renewal of the ban. He voted against it in 1994."

Now this I find most interesting:

Asked about Hastert's comments, DeLay said he still didn't believe there were enough votes to reauthorize the ban. 'We don't like to bring up legislation we don't think can pass,' DeLay said.
He said there is no bill on the issue and suggested it was premature to talk about the issue.
'Who brought this up? Who introduced it? There have been no motions,' he said. 'I think, quite frankly, that this is a media driven issue."

The last part either shows rep. DeLays dishonesty or his ignorance. Rep. McCarthy & Rep. Conyers along with almost 70 co-sponsors have introduced legislation to not only renew but vastly expand the Assault Weapons Ban.

There is an increasing possibility that the Assault weapons Ban will be renewed & possibly expanded. It all depends upon whether or not Bush wants to push the issue. I would like to say I have faith in Bush to do the right thing but considering his past I cannot. The only thing that could keep him from actively attempting to renew the assault weapons ban is political pressure from voters. I don't think he would risk the election over this, but then again I could be wrong. So perhaps if we all e-mailed, faxed, wrote letters & called to inform him that our vote depends on his respecting our Rights it might provide enough incentive for him to reconsider renewing unpopular & unconstitutional laws.

President George Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Fax: 202-456-2461 or 202-456-1907
Phone: 202-456-1414

President George W. Bush:
Vice President Richard Cheney:

The Brady Campaign to prevent Gun Violence & the Million Mom March are demanding Bush to actively support the Assault Weapons Ban's renewal.
It is amusing to see their justification for continuing the ban. Of course they mention having the support of major police organization, which are typically anti-gun, as well as throwing in the obligatory phrases such as "police will be outgunned" & "our children will be at further risk".

But let's move on to what they are citing as truths.

"The facts:
Assault weapon bans work. In 1989, when President Bush stopped the import of certain assault rifles, the number of imported assault rifles traced to crime dropped by 45 percent in one year. After the 1994 ban, there were 18 percent fewer assault weapons traced to crime in the first eight months of 1995 than were traced in the same period in 1994."

Hmmm, I wonder if that had anything at all to do with the overall crime rates dropping? & I wonder why they only mention the first 8 months of 1995 instead of the whole year? Perhaps the whole year, like the whole truth would be harmful to their position. Odds are it is a direct comparison to the one year before & after the ban's enactment, but still it's misleading as the ban only affected weapons manufactured after the date of enactment & there were & still are plenty of post ban guns available, albeit at higher prices.

"Assault weapons are not just "ugly guns." Semi-automatic assault weapons are designed to maximize death and injury from a very rapid rate of fire. Assault weapons are designed to accommodate silencers and with military features such as grenade launchers, folding stocks, flash suppressors, barrel shrouds and bayonets which are all ludicrously unsuited for civilian use. In contrast, semi-automatic hunting rifles are designed to be fired from the shoulder and depend on the accurate shooting of one bullet at a time."

Then why does the Assault Weapons Ban deal mainly with cosmetic features? Flash suppressors don't come in handy unless you're firing at night in an otherwise dark (i.e. non-urban) area. Sound suppressors are already illegal to own without a federal permit & in any event they do absolutely no good for projectiles that travel over the speed of sound (around 1100 fett per second) which is the ammunition used in virtually every 'assault rifle' & most pistols. barrel shrouds are a totally cosmetic feature, unless you have just fired all your ammunition & intend to use your bayonet, then it keeps the hot barrel from burning your hands. But bayonettings have never been a problem in this country so I still fail to see why they are concerned by them. They've never, ever to my knowledge been used in a crime in this country. Ditto for grenade launchers. They're useful for firing flares but grenades for them are heavily regulated & have never to my knowledge been used in a crime in this country. Folding stocks are a great assett for storing a rifle or carbine in a small space. But except in emergencies firing one with the folding stock folded is not a good idea. First of all accuracy is difficult to non-existant when firing in such a manner, second recoil is much more pronounced & in some cases painful. So the last statement is false as 'assault weapons', or at least those defined as such by the '94 ban are designed to be fired from the shoulder & depend on accurately firing one shot at a time. Then again .50 BMG rifles are designed to be fired from the shoulder ( if your prone) & depend on accurately firing one shot at a time. That doesn't seem to keep them from being the targets of proposed bans though.

"Assault weapons were used…
To kill five children and wound 29 others in a Stockton, California schoolyard in 1989. The AK-47 held 75 - that's right, 75 - bullets.
To kill eight people and wound six others at a San Francisco law firm in 1993. Two TEC-9's with 50-round magazines were used in the massacre.
To kill two CIA employees and wound three others outside the CIA's Langley, Virginia headquarters in 1993.
To kill four ATF special agents and wound 16 others at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, when the officers were attempting to serve warrants on the cult in 1993.

Hmmm, what do the all of these have in common? 'assault rifles'? nope - they were acts committed in violation of the law. Murder is illegal, as is enforcing an unconstitutional law via a questionable search warrant & instigating a ifrefight to serve said warrant but even setting aside the BATF's actions against the Davidians there is something else misleading here: 2 of the 4 BATF agents at Waco were killed by friendly fire, as was the wounding of several BATF agents. They didn't have 'assault weapons' though, they had submachine guns.
But the BATF & Waco aside, a ban on 'assault weapons' would not have deterred any of these crimes. In fact Columbine High School was shot up by two kids & at least one of the weapons used by these deranged punks was a TEC-9 if memory serves. & the shootings at Columbine occured several years after the ban's enactment.

In short they use flawed but emotionally appealing arguments to justify their position. You would think that they would increase their knowledge of firearms a little seeing as how they try to explain why one is more dangerous than the other. Perhaps they do know more than they let on, or perhaps they just never bothered to look past the appearances of certain weapons. Deceit from these people is nothing new, nor is ignorance.
The Justice Department plans to increase prosecutions for gun crimes. This is due in part to a report from Americans for Gun Safety which criticizes the Justice Department for being lax about enforcing federal gun laws. In case you're not familiar with Americans for Gun Safety, they claim to be a group that supports an individuals Right to own arms but does it via a sensible approach. I am sure there are some who do see their way as sensible, Sarah Brady for example. To the rest of us they appear to be Fuddites. Don't be fooled by their talk of Rights. What they advocate are privileges, not Rights. But I digress.

"The department plans to commit $900 million to the initiative over three years and has added more than 600 prosecutors and agents to aid in the effort, officials said."

Which coupled with the BATF's switch to the Justice Department means more woes for gun owners. the BATFE is the new kid on the block & very eager to prove it performs a valuable service, so I suspect that they will do everything they can to increase their numbers of arrests. Usually they'd go on an arrest binge such as this to increase the numbers of arrests they made (hence an increase in job security) but with many of the cases thrown out of court. Now with a lot of dollars & new prosecutors looking to justify their jobs I suspect that more arrests will lead to trials.

"The officials said Mr. Ashcroft had also sought to step up prosecutions of would-be owners who lied on background checks, and the number of prosecutions for false statements rose 8 percent last year, officials said."

So technical & paperwork violations are becoming more of a reason for prosecution. Of course this would cover a convicted felon who tries to purchase a gun & lies about his felony when he fills out the form, but it also would cover the law abiding person who mistakenly puts the wrong address on the form.

"Jens Ludwig, an associate professor of public policy at Georgetown University, said although advocates pointed to a pilot program in Virginia as a model, that program "has not been as successful as is widely believed." Although his comment drew a rebuke from Mr. McNulty, the professor said his own research did not support the idea that a push to remove illegal guns from the street had contributed greatly to a significant drop in firearms murders in the late 1990's in the Richmond, Va., metropolitan region."

In effect Prof. Ludwig is saying that Project Exile, which is the unnamed program from Richmond, Va. that he makes reference to, isn't an effective means of reducing unjustified gun violence. So more or less the program is a feel good measure that potentially does more harm than good.

"The new study, which analyzed information from the Justice Department from 2000 to 2002, found that illegal possession and use during a crime accounted for 85 percent of the more than 25,000 federal firearms cases in that period."

What bothers me is the 15%. I feel that use of a gun during a crime should be the only reason to prosecute a person who owns or possesses a gun, but even allowing the convicted felon/illegal possession charges to be seen as legitimate, then what the hell is the other 15% about?

According to the AGS study:

"In The Enforcement Gap: Federal Gun Laws Ignored, AGSF found that just two statutes, both related to street criminals in possession of firearms, account for 85% of federal gun prosecutions. The rest - laws intended to punish illegal gun trafficking, firearm theft, corrupt gun dealers, lying on a criminal background check form, obliterating firearm serial numbers, selling guns to minors and possessing a gun in a school zone - are woefully under-enforced."

illegal gun traffickers - people who operate outside an unconstitutional prohibition on their liveleyhood.
firearm theft - a legitimate cause for prosecution.
corrupt gun dealers - gun dealers who do not 100% respect the governments authority to enforce unconstitutional gun laws
lying on a criminal background check form - anything from a serial killer claiming he never broke any laws to a person writing in the wrong zip code by mistake.
obliterating firearm serial numbers - a person who decides to alter his own property w/o the permission of the government
selling guns to minors - a 21 year old sells a pistol to his 20 year old brother.
possessing gun in a school zone - prosecuted for being prepared to prevent another Columbine High School massacre?

Meanwhile Maine catches criticism from the AGS study because only 10% of prosecutions involve guns.

"U.S. Attorney Paula Silsby responds that the statistics don't show how many of those crimes were pursued at the state level, or how few gun crimes Maine has to begin with.

"Maine's problem, unlike other states, is not a lot of violent crime committed with firearms. The number one violent crime problem in this state, according to every law enforcement official that you talk to, is domestic violence," Silsby said."

Facts should never get in the way of a good 'study'. But if it's any consolation Silsby "plans to creatively apply gun laws to reducing domestic violence, by reminding would-be abusers in an ad campaign that people convicted of domestic assaults lose the right to own a gun. "

Of course if Silsby actively promoted the idea of women defending themselves & proclaimed an amnesty from prosecution for defense against domestic violence then perhaps it would actually reduce the domestic violence cases.

In Louisiana they plan on increasing the number of gun law prosecutions.

"...acting U.S. Attorney James Letten...[said] 'I've met with the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms) and said our office would gladly prosecute anyone who committed a provable lie on a federal form, whether they were successful in getting firearms or not,"

Again, I foresee a bunch of 60 year old veterans on trial for putting the wrong zip code or drivers' license number on the federal form.

"Justice Department spokeswoman Barbara Comstock said the agency is increasing prosecution of gun law violators, with substantial increases last year in cases brought for illegal gun trafficking, obliterating the serial number of weapons and making false statements on background checks.
'Our message is clear: Gun crime means hard time,' Comstock said. 'The forces of law and justice will take down and prosecute offenders, and they will face the consequences of their actions."

The forces of law & justice? One of them will surely prevail, it's unfortunate that they're not on the same side though.

So being extra careful is good advice to avoid legal hassles. Speaking of advice, this article gives some do's & don'ts for aquiring weapons with minimal government hassle. It covers both the legal & illegal methods. It is not legal advice & in fact it describes ways in which the law can be broken. I include it here because it is useful knowledge to have.

"I realize that some people might worry about professional freelance thugs using the information here to obtain guns to rob or assault with. But hell, they already have guns, don't they? And if not, they have no qualms about simply stealing one. My suggestion to any such persons is that they find a more ethical line of work, before they get ventilated by someone they thought would be an easy victim."

If the above intrigues you then read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

There's some good news, but not as good as it would first appear.

The jury in the NAACP lawsuit against the gun manufacturers has found that the gun manufacturers were not at fault.

"While the jury cleared 45 firearms manufacturers and distributors, the panel could not reach a verdict relating to 23 other defendants, according to the Associated Press. The lawsuit was filed by the NAACP against 68 defendants, claiming that the industry knew corrupt dealers were supplying guns to criminals in minority communities, and took no steps to stop them. Judge Weinstein will allow NAACP and industry attorneys to submit written arguments interpreting the verdict. Gottlieb said there should be no reason for Weinstein to labor over a final ruling."

However before we start the celebrating I must regretfully remind ya'll that the jury in this case had only an advisory role, which means the judge could still decide in favor of the NAACP.

The following is from the Associated Press via Yahoo:

"NAACP attorney Elisa Barnes said the verdict showed the case was too complicated for a jury to decide. The judge could still rule in favor of the NAACP based on 'the facts and the record,' she said."

So it is still entirely possible that the judge could in fact disregard the jury's decision & side with the NAACP. Given the judge in question this is far from unlikely.

The Washington Post has an article about the House not having the votes to renew the assault weapons ban.

"House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) said most House members are willing to let the ban expire next year. "The votes in the House are not there" to continue the ban, DeLay told reporters.
His spokesman, Stuart Roy, said, "We have no intention of bringing it up" for a vote."

That's basically the same thingDeLay & his Aide saia few days ago.

"...several Republicans close to the White House said Bush has no plans to lobby lawmakers aggressively to extend the ban. That would allow him to officially oppose the NRA without completely turning against the powerful gun lobby by fighting hard to maintain a ban on semiautomatic weapons."

That would confirm the theories of many including Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) who opine that Bush is statting support for the Assault Weapons Ban to appease potential voters who are in favor of the ban while being confident that the House will not pass any renewals of the ban therefore not forcing him to alienate a core constituency ( gun owners) by signing it into law. While politically this makes for good strategy I still find it dishonest.

Here's where the danger comes in:

"...several Republicans, who requested anonymity, said some pro-gun GOP leaders worry that if members are forced into a rollcall vote, they might switch under pressure from gun control advocates.
'If the president demands we pass it, that would change the dynamics considerably,'said a House GOP leadership aide. 'the White House does not want us' to vote...Most congressional Democratic leaders and presidential candidates strongly support the assault weapons ban and appear ready to wage a public fight over an issue they believe may pack a political punch with independents and women, in particular."

So while it would seem Bush may in fact be counting on the House rejecting any renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban, if he is pressured into pressuring Congress then there may indeed be enough votes to pass it.

According to Rueters, Democrats are in fact pressuring Bush to push for a renewal of the Assault Weapons Ban.

"The president's position is clear," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters. "If Congress passes it, he will sign it. The president thinks that the current assault weapons ban should be reauthorized."

That still falls in with the theory that this is more or less a political bluff. However the big question is what will Bush do if that bluff is called.

"Asked if Bush would pressure House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a fellow Texan, to reverse course and hold a House vote, Fleischer said, 'It's a matter the House has to work out, of course, by listening to the will of its members ... I think when the president states his position like this it helps get the message to the Congress."

Again it could be just part of the political bluff, but then again it could be ( & more likely) that Bush does in fact support the Assault Weapons Ban. In previous posts I have explained that Bush does not have a great record of defending the Second Amendment. It could simply be that while he wants the ban renewed he realizes that any active campaigning on his part to accomplish this will make him a less than sure thing for the Oval Office in 2004.

"This little game of footsie ought to stop,' Schumer told reporters, adding that if Bush doesn't follow through, voters would ask 'is the president being a straight shooter with the American people.'
'The House does everything the president wants,' Schumer said. 'If the House says we're not doing it, you know something is going on.'
Schumer said the president was trying to have it both ways, saying he supported the ban while having aides whisper to the NRA not to worry."

CNN has a story on Bush & the Assault Weapons Ban.

"White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer said the president's position 'is clear.'
'The president said in the 2000 campaign that he supported the assault weapons ban because he thought it was reasonable,' Fleischer said. 'He stated then that he would support the reauthorization of it, and he states that again today."

So again this could fall within the 'political bluff' theory of Bush's support, but in any event it is still disturbing that he finds the Assualt Weapons Ban, or any other federal gun control 'reasonable'. ( Everyone in the back - Federal firearms laws are constitutionally prohibited!")

"Asked whether the assault weapons ban was a lower priority for Bush, Fleischer said that was not the case.
'No, the president has many priorities, and he judges each one as it comes up,' Fleischer said. 'Right now he is clearly focused on job creation, given the fact that the important decisions are getting made on Capitol Hill now about the package in the Senate and as it approaches the conference."

So this could be stalling if you believe the 'political bluff' theory, or it could simply be that Bush hasn't gotten around to dealing with the Assault Weapons Ban. Yet.

However if Bush's priorities change, or if Schumer & other Democrats bring enough pressure to bear on Bush over this, thereby providing a political excuse I think there's a chance that he would activley campaign for the ban's renewal, which could potentially change the dynamics in the House enough to pass it. By my earlier estimates, the House would only need 13 or so votes to pass a renewal. Assuming they will vote according to the ratings determined by GOA, they have about 50 or so Representatives that could go either way.

So it seems unlikely that the House will renew the Assault Weapons Ban, but not improbable, especially if Bush starts directly asking them to.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

This is from a story in The Washington Times about the dissent of 6 judges in the recent 9th Circuit decision to deny hearing en banc a challenge to the california assault weapons ban.

"Mathew Nosanchuk, a leading opponent of individual gun ownership, said the dissenters' "individual policy preferences dressed up as a legal opinion" have no legal basis and thought it would be unlikely the Supreme Court would take such a case.
'I'm Jewish. I find [Judge Kozinski´s reasoning] very offensive, and it does history a discredit,' said Mr. Nosanchuk, litigation director for the Washington-based Violence Policy Center. 'In these times we defend ourselves with freedom of expression and a free press. The idea that we have to be armed to fend off another Warsaw Ghetto uprising is completely contorted."

Mathew Nosanchuk is the Litigation Director & Legislative Counsel for the Violence Policy Center, a very anti-gun organization. He apperently is not a student of history. Or perhaps he is actually on the opposing side of things.

Lemme point this out for ya:
"'I'm Jewish. I find [Judge Kozinski´s reasoning] very offensive, and it does history a discredit...The idea that we have to be armed to fend off another Warsaw Ghetto uprising is completely contorted."

He's Jewish. He doesn't want to do history any dis-service. He doesn't think we need arms to fend off another Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The people who were trying to fend off the first Warsaw Ghetto Uprising were Nazi's!!!!!!! The Jews were the ones who initiated the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, unfortunately too late to do much real good, except take some of the bastards with them.
So if we take his words at face value, he's arguing against gun ownership being necessary to put down another Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. That would mean he assumes that guns won't be necessary to contain the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto until their turn comes to ride the cattle cars into the death camps. It would also mean that he is taking the side of the Nazi's, but merely arguing that guns won't be necessary to accomplish their ends.

Of course, what is more probable is that Mr. Nosanchuk is not familiar enough with the history of the Holocaust, especially the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, to keep from tripping over his own words.

Of course his main point about arms not being necessary for defense against tyranny is equally flawed, but pointing out that freedom of expression & a free press can't stop a platoon of stormtoopers like accurate fire can would probably be too much for him to take.
The jury in the NAACP lawsuit against gun manufacturers is in its third day of deliberations. (It's the second story down)

"Jurors said they were at an impasse over whether the industry's marketing and distribution practices were specifically harmful to the N.A.A.C.P.'s members. The judge will make the final ruling, but the jury was empaneled to advise the judge in the suit, which claims that the industry could do much more to keep guns from being sold to criminals."

Of course if (or more likely when) the (very biased) judge decides against the gun manufacturers I hope every gun owning member of the NAACP cancels their membership & stops payment on any uncashed checks they've sent to them. Further I'd like to see them demand a full refund of any donations paid since the lawsuit was filed. Finally I want to see the NAACP's reaction if &/or when a gun store refuses to sell a firearm to a black person because of their race. It would obviously be a case of discrimination & therefore wrong, but isn't this what the NAACP is suing the gun manufacturers over? Selling guns to black people?

There are many many legitimate areas where the NAACP could be useful. In the past they have been very useful in promoting equality for black people. Now it seems they want black people equally disarmed & defenseless. The Klan never feared the NAACP or any other (unarmed) group more than a black man with a shotgun. It's a shame the NAACp has forgotten this.
The Consumer Federation of America has announce its support for the "Assault Weapons Ban & Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003" according to Join Together, an anti-gun organization.

"Susan Peschin, CFA's Firearms Project Director, states, "It's no secret that the current assault weapons ban does not meet its stated objective. Reauthorization of the ban under the McCarthy-Conyers bill includes substantial improvements to prevent the gun industry from continuing to flood America's streets with these deadly weapons."

"CFA is a non-profit association of more than 285 groups, which, since 1968, has sought to advance the consumer interest through advocacy and education."

The CFA is comprised mainly of non-profit 'pro-consumer' organizations. They have a page on their website about their bias against firearms. They claim they are first & foremost an 'advocacy' group & work to influence the White House, Congress, various agencies & the Judiciary.

Menawhile House Majority Leader Tom DeLay says that there are not enough votes to keep the assault weapons ban from sunsetting.

"A group of mostly Democratic senators last week opened a drive to get the extension passed in the Senate, and called on Bush to help.
They said they were optimistic it would clear the Senate but that it would need active help to win in the House, where pro-gun sentiments are stronger and Delay has considerable control over the agenda.
'The votes in the House are not there to reauthorize it,' said DeLay, a Texas Republican and staunch foe of gun control."

While this may seem like good news I wouldn't get confortable just yet. Politics are unpredictable. Politicians even more so. Kim duToit is skeptical about the McCarthy-Conyers bill (the assault weapons ban & law enforcement protection act of 2003) having enough support to pass. While I agree that it may be unlikely, I do believe there is enough of a possibility of it passing to warrant concern. There are simply too many elected officials who are 'flexible' on the second amendment.

Yes, I know we have a Republican controlled Congress. Yes I know there are more anti-gun Democrats than there are anti-gun Republicans. But there are more anti-gun Republicans than there are pro-gun Democrats & Republicans combined. Look here for the House of Representatives. Look here for the Senate. Anything less than a "B" rating means they are not oppossed to voting for gun control if it suits them. According to my calculations there's 18 pro-gun Senators & 176 pro-gun Representatives. That's counting the B minus among the pro-gun. !8 out of 100 & 176 out of 434.
There are 64 anti-gun senators & 201 anti-gun Representatives. That's counting D, F & Not Rated. 64 out of 100 & 201 out of 434.
In the Senate it would merely take the F,D & Not Rated Senators to vote for the McCarthy-Conyers assault weapons bill for it to pass. In the House it would take 17 C rated Representatives in addition to the F, D & Not Rated Representatives for it to pass. The Senate would have enough votes to negate a presidential veto, but it'd take 261 or so from the House, which would mean 60 C rated voters in addition to the F,D & Not Rated.

As for Bush? It could go either way, but considering his past record on gun rights I doubt he would veto it if it came across his desk.

So if we go by GOA's rating system, which I find to be much more honest than the NRA's recomendations we find there is a very clear anti-gun majority in both houses of Congress. & if the elected officials vote according to their GOA rating, then it is possible that the McCarthy-Conyers Assault Weapons Ban would become a reality.

Now another possibility that Kim duToit brought up is that the McCarthy-Conyers bill could be a negotiating tool. They could use this as a starting point to negotiate a 'reasonable compromise'. For more on the definition of 'reasonable compromise', see the NRA. ( yes, that was a cheap shot, but a deserved one). Simplisticly this means they have nothing, but we have something, so unless we give them half they'll take it all. Childish? Yes. What's worse is we (gun-owners) usually fall for it, or at least our elected officials fall for it on our behalf.

I don't discount that it could pass or it could be used to gain support for a less restrictive measure. Either is feasible. Of course it'd be wondeful if Mr. duToit & Rep. DeLay were correct & it wouldn't have the votes to come out of the House, but I'm not that optimistic.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Think they just wanted to stop at 'assault weapons' as defined in the 94 ban? Think again.
Here's the text of the 'Assault Weapons Ban and Law Enforcement Protection Act of 2003'. Here's a summary of the proposed law.

What they have put together is the most sweeping gun control law to come down the pike in quite a while. It would not only continue the ban on assault weapons as defined by the 1994 ban, it would expand the definition to include virtually every semi-autmoatic rifle, shotgun, & quite a few pistols. Think your duck gun is safe? Not if it's a semi-auto that can take 6 shells. The limit is 5 & since it does not define the dimensions of the 'rounds' used by shotguns, you can go ahead & assume that they'll use the Aguila Mini-shell to test your capacity. The Aguila Mini-shell is 1 & 3/4 inches long, compared to the traditional 2 & 3/4 & 3 inch shotgun shells. Needless to say 6 Mini-shells could fit into the space of most shotgun magazines. They couldn't cycle the action of most semi-autmoatic shotguns but they would fit in the magazine & fire in the chamber. In any event hunting shotguns are not excluded from the ban.

My personal preference has never been geared towards the newer semi-automatic rifles. I think some of them are neat, but they're nothing I particularly cared to own as my sense of aesthetics & utility are better served by a design from the first part of the 20th century. I'm sure some of you may feel that way as well. So the 1994 assault weapons ban never affected me personally, except for the magazine provision & the fact that congress decided it has the authority to tell me what I can & cannot buy despite the Constitution. But even though I was infuriated by their interference with our Rights I simply didn't want any of the weapons affected by the ban.
But this one is different. They thoughtfully guaranteed that any body who might be able to rationalize that they didn't want one of the banned weapons anyway would have to be a bolt action or single shot only kind of guy. Like hunting with a semi-auto shotgun? It's probably banned. Like having a pistol caliber semi-auto carbine at the cabin? It's banned. Enjoy your grandfather's M-1 Carbine that he brought back from WW2? It's banned. But what got me the most, what hit closest to home is that those bastards are trying to ban the M-1 Garand!!!!!

Here's the relevant part:

" `(L) A semiautomatic rifle or shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General. In making the determination, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any Federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event.'. "

Lemme point something out in case you missed it:

"...and a firearm shall not be determined to be particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event" -Emphasis mine. Idiocy theirs.

Lemme sum it up for ya: M-1 Garands, M-1 Carbines, M-1A's, Ar-15's. Banned. Doesn't matter if you just made High-Master ( a prestigious rating in certain target matches) with one, it's banned according to this new proposal.

In addition it would ban the import of all magazines with a capacity of more than ten rounds, ban the sale of parts for the prohibited weapons & establish severe penalties on the transfer of any weapons defined as assault weapons by this bill.

In other words, this is not the top of the slippery slope, it's half-way down it!

Here are the co-sponsors:


May 8, 2003
Mrs. MCCARTHY of New York (for herself, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. CONYERS, Mr. SMITH of New Jersey, Mr. NADLER, Ms. LOFGREN, Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas, Ms. WATERS, Mr. MEEHAN, Mr. DELAHUNT, Mr. WEXLER, Mr. WEINER, Ms. LINDA T. SANCHEZ of California, Mr. EMANUEL, Mr. CASE, Mrs. MALONEY, Ms. CORRINE BROWN of Florida, Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island, Mr. RANGEL, Ms. WOOLSEY, Mr. ACKERMAN, Ms. SCHAKOWSKY, Mr. HONDA, Mr. STARK, Ms. SOLIS, Ms. LEE, Mr. VAN HOLLEN, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. TOWNS, Ms. ROYBAL-ALLARD, Mr. GRIJALVA, Ms. CARSON of Indiana, Ms. NORTON, Mr. LIPINSKI, Mr. RUSH, Ms. WATSON, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. JACKSON of Illinois, Mr. GUTIERREZ, Mr. OWENS, Mr. BLUMENAUER, Mr. CUMMINGS, Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas, Mr. FARR, Ms. LORETTA SANCHEZ of California, Mr. MORAN of Virginia, Mr. MARKEY, Mr. ANDREWS, Mr. HOLT, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. MCGOVERN, Mr. PASCRELL, Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts, Mrs. TAUSCHER, Ms. DELAURO, Mr. ENGEL, Mr. CAPUANO, Mr. HOEFFEL, Mrs. LOWEY, Mr. MENENDEZ, Ms. VELAZQUEZ, Mr. TIERNEY, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. ROTHMAN, Mr. FATTAH, Ms. HARMAN, Mr. BISHOP of New York, and Mr. LANGEVIN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary "

Please call them or e-mail them & inform them that they will not only lose your vote but their opponent, even if it's a third party opponent, will gain an active & vocal supporter if they don't immediatley withdraw their names from this proposed law. & if your elected official hasn't signed, make him or her aware of the poltiical repercussions that will accompany any & all support for gun control in any form.

& please do not think this ban won't pass. I hope it won't but there is only a minority of pro-gun Representatives & Senators in Congress & frankly they don't have the votes to stop it without our making our feelings known.

Remember the words of Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them, Mr. and Mrs. America, turn them all in, I would have done it."

& remember the reason the assault weapons ban of 1994 was so important in the first place:

"In 1996 Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer, who favors banning gun possession by civilians, conceded that the arguments advanced by supporters of the "assault weapon" ban were "laughable." The "only real justification" for the law, he said, "is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation." (the preceeding was from Jacob Sullum's article Ban Aid.)

So take this seriously. Tell your Representative & your Senator that you've had enough of them deciding how you may exercise your Rights.

Here's the GOA link to help you find your elected officials.

Here's some additional contact info:

House Majority Leader, Republican Tom DeLay
Office: 202-225-5951
Fax: 202-225-5241

Senate Majority Leader, Republican Bill Frist
Office: (202) 224-3344
Fax: 202-228-1264

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
Fax: 202 456-2461

Speaker of the House, Republican Dennis Hastert — (202) 225-2976

Offices: 202-863-8500
Fax: 202-863-8820

Monday, May 12, 2003

In Indiana a teacher is suspended for bringing a gun to school.

"Indianapolis, May 9 - Students from Broad Ripple High School's yearbook staff spent their Friday morning outside, snapping photos around the school. At noon, they noticed a car trunk ajar. When they looked inside they noticed, in a pouch, sitting in the trunk, a 38-caliber handgun.
The car belonged to a substitute teacher. The students told the principal what they found and school police escorted Eric Harris off the property. "

Apparently armed adults who wish to defend themselves are not positive role-models for our kids. While I am sure that the kids who did such a good job of ratting out the teacher will be held up so others can follow their example.
The only way school shootings are going to stop, or at least be severely limited is if teachers, administrators & other adults are not prohibitied from having arms on school property. Gun Free School Zones mean 1 thing: everyone is defenseless. At Columbine High School in Colorado it took the police several hours before they entered the school. I believe it took about twice as long for the police to enter the Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland last Friday after a man started shooting. In Virginia & Mississippi school shootings were stopped when teachers &/or students retrieved their weapons from their cars & stopped the shooter by force or threat of force. It would have been over much quicker & with even less casualties had they been allowed to have their weapons on them instead of in their cars.
But apparently in Indiana, as in most other places, the state thinks it's better to be an unarmed victim waiting to happen than to be an individual capable of defending yourself & others.
Updating an earlier post - The latest results (as of 7:00 a.m. M.D.T.) from the current Keep & Bear poll:

Should firearm manufacturers pledge that if the ban on ammunition feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds is renewed, they will only market and sell limited-capacity feeding devices to all Government entities as well as civilians -- in effect making the government abide by its own laws?

Yes. 95.6% 2753 votes
No. 4.4% 127 votes
Total Votes: 2880
Larry Pratt of GOA thinks the White House has poked gun owners in the eye. He also cautions that it is not certain that we have enough votes to defeat an extension of the assault weapons ban.

"No one should assume for a second that there are a majority of pro-gun legislators in the Congress that will join to kill this bill. It may be that Democrats in Congress will call the President's bluff and attach the Feinstein reauthorization bill as an amendment to some "must pass" bill.
With all the "horse trading" that goes on behind closed doors, don't be surprised if some fence-sitters in the Senate trade their votes in favor of the ban to gain the support of certain Democrats for tax cuts."

Mr. Pratt may in fact be correct.It seems that the Republican Party of late doesn’t have a very good record when it comes to opposing gun control. The following is from an article at Strike The by Michael Powers:

"N.R.A. members staunchly supported Bush in the 2000 election, and they are justified in their incredulity regarding his vow to renew the ban. But his sudden about-face should come as no surprise. Recent anti-gun legislation confirms that Republicans are just as eager to deprive peaceful Americans of their ability to defend themselves as Democrats.
Consider the following legislation, all of which occurred within the last six years: ..."

& finally, David Codrea writes that the NRA is more interested in asking about a senator’s views on sports than it is in finding out if he truly supports the Right to arms. Chris Cox, the NRA-Institute for Legislative Action’s executive director recently interviewed Senate majority leader Bill Frist (R-Tennessee)

"But then I forget—a big part of NRA management’s new fundraising strategy is their emphasis on “NRA Sports”. And while Cox has displayed a passing knowledge of football, this “interview” demonstrates his true area of expertise.

Sen. Frist received a “D” rating on gun issues from GOA. It would seem that a pro-gun organization would want to get some clarity on exactly where Sen. Frist stands, especailly on the assault weapons bill. Unfortunately the NRA is not a pro-gun organization.

Here is a search engine to find your Representative & Senator in the 108th Congress, courtesy of Gun Owners of America. Unless your Representative is Ron Paul (R-Texas) I urge you to write & demand they vote against any bills extending the assault weapons ban. Don't assume they will. & remind them that your vote will depend on theirs.

An Ohio man who stopped a violent felony is rewarded by being arrested, charged & having to come up with $25,000 bail.

"The neighborhood watch activist who critically injured an armed robber inside a Northside bar returned to jail Saturday after an appearance in Hamilton County Municipal Court.
Judge Karla Grady set Harold McKinney's bond at $25,000 even though his attorney, Mark Naegel, vouched that his client should be released because of his outstanding character.
McKinney, 54, of Northside, served in the Army and attended the University of Cincinnati and Western Hills High School, Naegel said."

It seems that in Ohio they would rather have had a bar robbed &/or shot up. This man did what all of us are supposed to do: he acted according to his ability to protect the life & property of himself & others. Because he was not on the government payroll they are trying to make an example out of him. In fact they are charging him with a more severe crime than the men who were trying to rob the place.

"McKinney, a member of Cincinnati's Citizens on Patrol Program (COPP), remained in the Hamilton County jail on Saturday, facing charges of felonious assault and carrying a weapon in a tavern.
Joseph Person, 18, was taken to University Hospital in critical condition. He faces two counts of aggravated robbery.
His alleged partner, DeMeico Hester, 18, was discovered at a nearby coin laundry, police said. He remained at the Hamilton County jail on charges of aggravated robbery."

If you are in the Cincinnati area contact McKinney’s attorney Mark Naegel as I’m sure any & all help would be appreciated.