Thursday, October 23, 2003

On a thread at G&A's Second Amendment Issues Forum someone asked why some people such as myself are always bad mouthing the NRA.

This will be an attempt to define the issues we have with them.

To start off the work the NRA has done in promoting the shooting sports is admirable. As a sporting organization they're very decent. Where the problems come into play is in their political stances, or more accurately in the actions they take that conflicts with their reputation.

For starters, they supported at the time or currently support every federal gun control law that was ever passed.
The NFA of 34, the GCA of '68, The FOPA of 86 (which was a relatively decent law until the Hughes Amendment was added), The Assault Weapons Ban, & The Brady Bill.

They will contend or most people will assume that they simply could not fight these bills, but the truth is they put up a very small struggle if any & ended up conceding to these bills if not openly supporting them.
Anecdotal evidence of this can be found simply by looking at their stance on current gun laws: enforce them. They want strict enforcement of existing gun control laws. Sounds odd if they oppose them doesn't it?

But more in depth, the GCA of 68 (which was actually two seperately passed laws condensed into one) was supported by the NRA & the firearms manufacturers. A key provision of the bill stopped mail order sales of surplus rifles, which was a beneficial move for the firearms industry.

I refer you to this portion of David T Hardy's rather extensive treatment of the FOPA

"...the early forms of the Gun Control Act were drafted with the assistance and encouragement of firearms manufacturers..."

The NRA oppossed this early form of the GCA as evidenced by a May 1958 NRA Bulletin.

But between 1958 & 1962 they changed their tune.

"66] 109 Cong. Rec. 13,945 (1963). Dodd said the bill "has been thoroughly discussed with the gun industry and the gun clubs, [and] they have approved and endorsed the provisions of our proposal." Id. at 13,946-47. He added that NRA had "worked closely with the Committee throughout its investigation and [had] participated willingly in the development of the bill." Id. at 13,947."

& in 68 we have the NRA fully supporting the GCA

"1968 General Franklin Orth, Executive Vice President of NRA, testifies before Congress in favor of the Gun Control Act (GCA'68) that "[NRA does] not think that any sane American, who calls himself an American, can object to placing into this bill the instrument which killed the president of the United States," /2/ (a ban on the mail-order sale of firearms). His statement of NRA support generates heated opposition from the (presumably insane) portion of the NRA membership, creating split between "sportsmen" and "hardliners."

BTW, the preceeding was taken from an anti-gun site. Starnge how anti-gunners realize the NRA supports gun control but NRA members & apologists don't.

For the NRA's support of the Brady bill, i refer you to this

"Starting in 1989, the NRA, under Warren Cassidy, has chosen to fight gun control with . . . national computerized gun control. Jim Baker of the NRA was quoted by USA Today on October 26, 1993 (P. 7A) as saying: ' We already support 65% of the Brady bill, because it moves to an instant check, which is what we want."

Here's an excerpt regarding the gun control bills on the table in 1994

"To the astonishment of most experts, Senator Dole and his
fellow Republicans agreed to hurry up procedures for
considering all the gun control bills. Opportunities to
filibuster the legislation were mostly avoided. A number of
killer amendments could have been added to make the filibuster
work. For example, anti-gunners could have been forced to
vote first on imposing the death penalty in the District of
Columbia before they could vote for the Brady bill. It is
entirely possible that the Senate would still be stalemated
at that point, given such a choice.
This strategy had worked well in past years so GOA asked a
few Senate offices to have their Senators filibuster the bill.
But GOA was told by one Senate staffer, who wishes to
remain anonymous, that "The NRA asked us not to filibuster."
We were told that Senator Dole's vote count was the basis
for this decision."

Read the entire thing, as it gives some insights into other issues I & others have with the NRA.

One of those issues is the NRA's support for questionable candidates.
Russ Howard makes the case that, among other things the NRA's rating system isn't an accurate measure of pro-gun candidates.

Then we have the opposition to pro-second amendment lawsuits. Most recent of which is the NRA's opposition to the CATO lawyers challenge of the D.C. gun ban through judicial as well as legislative means & the NRA's opposition to the Silveira v. Lockyer case which is being considered for hearing by the Supreme Court. Also look here & here for responses to Dave Kopel's opposition to the Silveira case. Look here for info on the NRA attorney arguing for gun registration & restricted access in their D.C. gun ban challenge.

The NRA consistently backs inferior pro-gun bills, such as the recent CCW bill passed into law in Colorado.

And of course there's the anecdotal stuff, such as the NRA having an NRA member arrested for passing out pro-gun literature at an NRA event.

Add to that the NRA's current support for a strengthening of a gun control law.

So what do we have?

1. The NRA supports gun control laws.

2. The NRA supports questionable candidates &/or does not support solidly pro-gun candidates.

3. The NRA opposes pro-second amendment lawsuits, favoring challenges based on peripheral issues such as regulatory application of laws.

4. The NRA does not support pro-gun CCW laws, instead supporting inferior bills.

5. The NRA is currently supporting rigid enforcement of existing gun control laws as well as a strengthening of said laws.

Like I said, as a shooting sports organization I have no problems with them. But politically they're not helping us at all & in fact I believe they're hurting us.

I don't support the NRA because of their political stance. The NRA-ILA is a seperate wing of the NRA & it has been argued that joining the NRA & not giving money to the NRA-ILA is acceptable. I disagree. The NRA-ILA gets it's clout from having a large NRA membership. The NRA-ILA's ability to lobby is directly affected by the overall NRA membership. So under the current circumstances helping one is helping the other & that is unacceptable to me.

As an aside I do find the NRA's membership numbers to be artifically high. I'm sure they have the 4+million members they boast, but I know that severl gun clubs in my area require NRA membership in order to join. Also many shooting competitions require NRA membership for particiaption. If the NRA removed these requirements I think their membership would shrink considerably, since many members of gun clubs & many shooting competitors that I know disagree strongly with the NRA & are only members out of necessity.

So while the NRA has very good PR with most pro-gun people, the reality is that they're practicing some very shakey, if not contradictary policies.
California has filed a brief in oppossition to Silveira being heard by the Supreme Court.

It's 70 pages long so don't expect a two minute read.

I'm reading it as I type this. All the usual arguments you'd expect from a VPC or Brady Center press release is not just contained, but wholeheartedly embraced within. & yes, the obligatory 'for the children' is implied strongly.

I offer for your consideration what is found on Page 9:

"Statement Of The Case
At issue in this case is a State's regulation of the possession & sale of assault weapons, rapid-fire rifles & pistols that have been used on California's school grounds to kill children..."

In short the brief states that the second amendment applies only to the states & it only restrains congress. No individual Right. It brings up other issues, such as the court shouldn't hear the case because it doesn't have to (The Court had said that it should refrain from tackling complex constitutional questions until there is a direct & immediate need to do so) & the plantiffs lack standing since they are only contemplating the purchase of 'assault weapons' & aren't specific about possessing any currently.

So Lockyer gave what we'd expect - a VPC press release dressed up as a legal brief.

Now the question is whether or not the Supreme Court will hear the case. I'm not making any bets, but I wouldn't be shocked if they declined to hear it.
Neal Knox has some info on the latest string of BATF abuses. It involves a very hazy area of current gun control laws which makes it a felony to deal in firearms without a license & 8 collectors in the St. Louis area.

"Vaguely defined 'unlicensed dealing' carries more severe punishment than some willful violations by licensed dealers – plus the potential forfeiture of every gun in a collection, and the loss of gun ownership rights, firearms hunting rights, and often even voting rights – for life.
In addition to the ruinous legal costs of fighting a felony offense punishable by up to five years imprisonment and $250,000 fine, the St. Louis collectors – five of them 60 to 79 years old – have had 572 firearms seized.
Their guns were already the subjects of civil forfeiture suits. And the criminal indictments also demand their forfeiture – including antiques which are not subject to the Gun Control Act."

& you might be wondering why the individuals in question didn't just get a license to deal in firearms? Well, they can't.

"The eight collectors are in a Catch-22. They do not qualify for an FFL under the laws and regulations imposed during the Clinton Administration, which upped the $10 annual license to $500 and required licensees to have a locally sanctioned business with special security systems and regular hours.
Those changes succeeded in meeting President Clinton’s stated goal of reducing the number of dealers – which dropped from about 260,000 to less than 60,000."

This is nothing new to those who have been keeping up with the BATF's criminal antics. & to those who thought this kind of thing would change since the BATF made the move from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department - nope. Business as usual.

Read Neal Knox's article. But remove any breakable objects from your immediate area. Twice your immediate area if your last name is du Toit.
Next time you get a call asking for donations for the local police union, remember this.

"Police chiefs from major U.S. cities including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and Philadelphia urged Congress on Wednesday to renew the federal ban on assault weapons, which is set to expire next year.
Standing behind a table laden with semi-automatic rifles and other firearms seized from the streets of Philadelphia, the law enforcement leaders told a news conference that failure to extend the ban would cause a new surge in multiple killings and subject police officers to a greater risk of armed attacks."

The chiefs care more about their political influence than a person's Rights. The only increased risk of attack should come from the rank & file cops who demand the resignation of such fools.

"The idea that 10 years later we are even debating this is insanity,' Los Angeles Police Chief William Bratton said."

I agree. The ban should have been declared unconstitutional the day it took effect. The only debate should be how to punish those who voted for the ban & those who enforced it.

"As an illustration of the destructive firepower of assault weapons, which incorporate military features, the police chiefs cited a 1993 attack in California where they said a man with an assault weapon killed eight people and wounded six others in 11 minutes."

Hmmm... 14 people shot in 11 minutes. Yep. Musta been one ah dem dare scary looking A-salt rifles. Why heck, it'd take a single shot to equal that rate o' fire.

To illustrate how absurd that statement is, in High Power Rifle matches the last stage is 20 shots fired in 20 minutes at a target 600 yards away. Semi-auto's, such as M1 Garands & M1A's must be loaded 1 cartridge at a time, so in effect they're used as single shot bolt actions. Now depending upon your technique It's not that uncommon to be finished in 11 minutes or so. That's 20 shots fired at a target 600 yards away, loaded one at a time, & it can be done in 11 minutes.That's about 33 second per shot.
The murderer in question shot 14 people in 11 minutes which equates to 47 seconds per shot. Not exactly a compelling argument about the banned weapons high rate of fire now is it?

But I wonder if these statist bastards would feel differently about any & all gun control laws if they applied to police as well as us mere peasants?

Update: Seems like prohibiting police officers from having 'assault weapons' might make it harder for criminals to get them.

"A handcuffed man arrested for crashing a stolen car Tuesday morning surprised a California Highway Patrol officer by climbing into his squad car and driving away...
The squad car had been left running with the keys in the ignition. A shotgun and AR-15 rifle were also in the car."

So the cops can't keep a car thief they arrested from stealing their car with a shotgun & an 'assault weapon' inside, yet the chiefs say that 'assault weapons' are too dangerous for us mere peasants to possess?
Rick Stanley is being held on two felony counts of attempting to influence a public servant.

His bail is set at $50,000 but he won't be eligible for release until he's served a 90 day sentence which was handed down in his absence last week.

At the sentencing hearing last week, he didn't appear but instead sent a "Notice & Order" that directed the judges in question to dismiss the case & return his $1,500 bond money, his S&W .357 Magnum revolver & the 6 cartridges that were in said revolver. The document also included a threat of issuing warrants for the judges arrest based on charges of treason.

As I keep saying I don't necessarily agree with the way Mr. Stanely has gone about things. But in prinicple he's correct. Any judge that would convict someone for exercising a Right acknowledged by two constitutions is being less than intellectually honest, to say the least.
Unfortunately our legal system is such that there is little action that can be taken through more appropriate channels, unless the judge is in an elected office.

So while I would have perhaps done things a bit different I totally understand the frustration that led Mr. Stanley to his actions, & while those actions may be questionable the base of his argument is sound. Judges who enforce laws that infronge upon constitutionally guaranteed Rights are not judges, they're merely enforcers for the jurisdiction they serve.

So I do find it a bit hypocritical that judges who would sentence people to jail for exercising Rights acknowledged by two constitutions would take offense at a person who threatens to issue warrants for their arrest over such actions. It's very much like a robber calling the cops on another robber who just happened to rob him.

What I would recommend is as complete a social & economic ostracisation as possible with the judges, or any public officals who would infringe upon our Rights.

As usual, more on this when I see it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Rick Stanley has a blog. There's two audio posts on it which update the situation a bit. These posts were made by a fellow named Doug Kenline, who appears to be a friend of Mr. Stanley's & was more or less interviewing Mrs. Stanley in those posts.

For your convenience you can find the audio posts in which Mrs. Stanley discusses her husband's plight here & here.

The gist of it is around 12 P.M. on Saturday the 18th, the police executed a bench warrant for failure to appear in court. He's being held without bail. His wife is planning to go see him. She had tried to see him earlier but she was told there was a problem with the elevators at the jail & no visitations were being allowed until the elevators were fixed.

End The War On Freedom has even more details, most interesting is this item (scroll down to the 10.18.03 entry) from The Sierra Times:

"In case you haven't heard yet, a large SWAT team captured Rick today. He had left his compound to travel to Boulder to eat with friends that had come up from Austin Tx. to visit. They were in the car with him. He managed to get back to his compound when they crashed into his vehicle two separate times. Dozens of officers surrounded their vehicle with guns drawn. He chose to give up, out of concern over the three other passengers in the vehicle. A statement will be posted on his web-site and go out in the SCOOP alerts soon. As far as I know right now, they aren't calling for an armed Pact Alert, but rather for legal counsel from within the Pact."

& here is a Vin Suprynowicz column that discusses Mr. Stanley's original trial, just to remind you of what the main issue is all about.
& this is the Rick Stanley web page that details Mr. Stanley's original arrest & trial for carrying a weapon openly.

Hmmmm. Even more details can be found at Rick Stanley's web page. If you scroll down just a bit you can find a press release in the right hand margin that deals with a notice of Mr. Stanely's warrant for not appearing in court & his promise to issue warrants for two judges. That could explain the FBI presence during his arrest.

There's more on Mr. Stanley's site. Quite a bit involves his call to arms against the powers that be. A prosecutor would only need to submit Mr. Stanley's URL for a conviction on just about any conspiracy charge involving violence against the government you can think of.

Now personally I haven't hearf many good things about Mr. Stanley. Since those things are mainly unsubstantiated opinions I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I've seen some of his legal, political & philosophical arguments & I think he's on the correct path, just a little detoured. I definitely don't agree with everything he says.
However that is beside the point. With all his faults Mr. Stanley was arrested for carrying a weapon openly. That's a Right acknowledged by the U.S. & Colorado Constitution. He was arrested purposely because he wanted to challenge the denver law in court. He did so but under very suspicious circumstances.
So in the end whether you agree with his approach or not (I assume you at least understand his frustration) at least concede that he is one of the too many whom have been jailed for merely exercising a constitutionally acknowledged Right.

Of course, more on this as I find out.

Monday, October 20, 2003

U.S. V. Miller & Short Barreled Shotguns, the book by Brian Puckett, is now available online.

This has been both your public service announcement & reading assignment.
Rick Stanley was arrested at gunpoint on Saturday.

This is the press release from Mrs. Stanley:

"This is a notification that Rick Stanley was arrested today, at gunpoint, by at least 30 Denver police, SWAT, and FBI agents. This occurred at approximately 12 pm Saturday 10/18/03. He is currently being held at Denver County Jail without bond and will probably be transferred to Thornton or AdamsCounty Jail within the next 24 hours.

This is not a militia alert, because it does not meet the criteria for a militia action. Any supporters that feel they can help in Rick's case in some way should proceed on an individual basis, guided by their own conscience. I will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.

Information and application to join the Pact is at Rick Stanley's Constitutional Activism website at We are 746 strong now. Rick's email address is, and can be reached by phone at 303-329-0481 or by fax at 303-329-0498.
Long live the fighters.
Pam Stanley"

I just did a quick check of the local papers but didn't find a story on this. I'll give y'all the details as I find them out.