Friday, November 07, 2003

From this editorial which I fisked below comes this tidbit:

"Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., have introduced compromise legislation to close the gun-show loophole. heIt will be offered as an amendment to the gun-manufacturers immunity bill expected to come up for a vote this session. In addition, an amendment to renew the automatic weapons bill is expected to be attached."

& this:

"The problem is that the manufacturers immunity bill has the votes - TheRepublican votes are there, as well as and some key Democrats. Sadly, it is likely to pass, and President Bush has already said he'll sign it..."

This is the first i've heard about it. It's common to attempt to attach amendments to bills. But in case you miss the implications, here they are:

If both of these amendments gets attached to the S. 659; The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act then they would pass along with the parent bill. In other words a choice would have to be made between supporting a bill that offered some protection for legitmate firearm manufacturers & sellers, prevent private transactions of firearms at gun shows & extended the assault weapons ban or oppossing all three provisions.

Now what's likely? Who knows. The bills could both be attached to S. 659, or just one of them, or neither. Assuming one of them gets attached then it'd be a question of how many Senators thought the compromise was worth it.

Here is one thing to look for: no matter which bill gets attached, or even if both bills get attached, look for the NRA to still support passage of S. 659. Why? Because it's in the interest of the firearms manufacturers to pass this legislation at almost any cost. The gun show "loophole" attachment wouldn't create much of a stir, as it would actually increase business of dealers as they'd be running the background cheks on private transactions for a feee in most cases. & the industry is used to the assault weapons ban. They're l;aready working around it. They simply stand to profit more by preventing frivilous lawsuits than by manufacturing assault weapons. & the NRA has shown repeatedly that they care not for the Right to Arms, but their own self interests.

The GCA of 68 (two seperate bills that comprised what is known as the GCA of 68) was passed with the support & encouragement of both the NRA & the firearms manufacturers. Among other things the GCA stopped the mail order slae of surplus firearms & prevented the import of firearms without a "sporting use". This benefitted the manufacturers as they were receiving healthy competetion from mail order companies that sold surplus military weapons. The GCA of 68 stopped that competition. It benefitted the gun manufacturers fnancially & they supported its passage even though it interfered with our ability to exercise our Right to Arms.

The NRA will not go against the gun manufacturers without a very compelling reason. & that reason will not likely be found as a desire to protect the Rights of the people.

Also look for the NRA to justify any support of an amended S.659 by saying that either or both attachments would have passed regardless of their efforts & by supporting it they at least got a "partial victory" where they would have only had defeat. This is BS but don't say I didn't warn you.

To sum up, if either attachment gets attached to S.659 look for the NRA to betray us all again by supporting its passage while pretending to have fought the good fight. In fact I would not be surprised if it turns out a deal was struck by the NRA: support for S.659 in exchange for support for the attachments.

But at this point it's all speculation as I have nothing further to go on than the statements quoted above from a Denver Post article written by a gun control supporter. If anyone has info feel free to e mail me.
Now, a fisking...

Angela Cortez of The Denver Post writes about Taking A Stand On Guns

"Gun owners tend to have hardened views on where Democrats stand on gun issues, according to a recent poll.
But the Second Amendment doesn't belong to any political party.
"

I agree. republicans deserve just as much condemnation when they attempt to take away our Rights. But alas they have better PT than the Democrats, so the Democrats take more than their fair share of the blame.

"The poll, released by Americans for Gun Safety, a gun-rights organization that works to build bipartisan support for federal legislation to close the gun-show loophole, enhance background checks and aggressively enforce existing federal gun laws, found gun-owning voters often assume that Democrats, particularly if they are silent on the issue, are anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment and disrespectful of the values held by those who own firearms. In addition, the study shows that a plurality of gun owners define themselves as moderates who would likely flock to Democratic candidates with a moderate position on guns."

First of all, if AGS is a gun rights group then I'd hate to think what Ms. Cortez thinks of the KKK. Perhaps they're actually a civil rights group?

But it is correct to assume that any politician who is silent is anti-gun. After all if you don't speak up for something, then you oppose it , even if you're opposition is only in the form of your silence.

"I identify with the report. I have written about gun control, Many of my readers, and others, say they know I'm a Democrat, or a liberal, out to take their guns away. I guess there are some signs, but I don't think I've ever told anyone what my party affiliation truly is, and I've never threatened to take anyone's gun away (no one who didn't deserve it, anyway)."

Actually I have read some of Ms. Cortez's writing before & here views are left of center IMO. She may not be a Democrat, but she's damn sure not a Republican or Libertarian. However, she has lied already. In her advocacy for gun control she has threatened to take firearms away from thos who do deserve one. All gun control takes away the firearms of those who deserve it. It's a Right, remember? But I do find her statement that she advocates taking away the guns of those who deserve it to be a sign of ignorance or arrogance on her part. Hopefully it's ignorance, cause there's a simple cure for that. If it's arrogance then it's harder to deal with.

"No one really knows where I stand on guns - gun rights or gun control, depending on how one perceives the debate - but they think they do."

Actually I do know where Ms. Cortez stands. She's on the opposite side of the line that I am. What may be perhaps more accurate is that no one knows to what degree she supports gun control, even though her statements give us an idea. But proof of that will come in this fisking.

"In editorial board meetings, I probably come off "anti-gun," but it's my job to argue an additional point of view. I've written what seems like dozens of editorials - some award-winning - on closing the gun-show loophole as well as opposing other measures that would increase the proliferation of guns on the streets and in the wrong hands. But that doesn't mean I'm 'anti-Second Amendment'."

Actually anything she wrote concerning the denial of a person's Rights as acknowledged under the 2nd amendment would seem anti-2nd amendment for a very good reason: it is. Playing the devil's advocate is one thing, but promoting laws that restrict access or hamper access to firearms is what I'd call anti-2nd amendment.

"I do understand that constitutional right and will fight with all my might to protect it."

Ms. Cortez does not understand that Right as Acknowledged by the constitution. Nor does she understand what "hypocrisy" or "contradictory" means. She has admitted in supporting legislation to hamper a person attempting to excercise their rights as acknowledged by the 2nd amendment & then in the very next friggin' sentence claims to support it. I wonder if she'd support a law to close the "blog loophole" while claiming to defend the 1rst amendment?

"Many people who think they know me are taken aback when I tell them my father is a gun collector who taught me to shoot and how to handle and clean a gun in a safe manner. My dad even considered me a crack shoot."

Not suprising at all. I can make no assumptions about her father, but it sounds like she's a left leaning Fuddite. Unfortunately that's not a rare occurence.

"Whether I own one now or not is similar to my party affiliation, it's not something I'm going to reveal here. But I do believe that the public has a right to know if I have a gun in my home, or on my person. Public records should answer that question."

Public records? So this staunch defender of the 2nd amendment wants registration that's available for public review? The public has no Right to know anything concerning the activities of an individual who has caused no harm or attempted to cause no harm. But if she truly believes the public has a Right to know, why does she not come forward with the information?

"The bottom line is: I'm not anti-Second Amendment and neither are most people - Democrat or otherwise. I don't dislike people who own guns. But I don't necessarily like guns."

I can't really think of an inanimate object I like or dislike. There are some that I feel are more useful for certain tasks, & again some who perform those tasks better than others, but I have never for the life of me understood how a person can dislike a whole category of objects.

But again, she lies. She is very anti-2nd amendment. The 2nd amendment she asserts that she is a supporter of is not the 2nd amendment mentioned in the Bill of Rights, but some interpretation that totally miconstrues the clear meaning & intent of that amendemnt, as well as the concept of federlism itself.

"We're law-abiding citizens, and my father has every right to own and collect guns. I don't want to take that right away from him, or anyone else who posseses the legal right to own a firearm."

Really? but that qualifier makes all the difference doesn't it? "Law abiding". I do not presume that Ms. Cortez would shed any tears for a person whose firearms are confiscated because of a law that allows it. Nor do I see her fighting to prevent laws from narrowing the criteria of people who may legally own firearms. In other words, she claims to support legal gun owners to have firearms, while supporting laws that restrict the number & type of people who may own firearms.

"That said, I don't want people to have guns in their homes if they have children or suffer from mental ailments. I don't want people owning guns if they're not hunters. I don't like the idea of people walking around with concealed weapons. I want guns under lock and key. Like motor vehicles, I want them to be licensed."

Huh??? So this staunch defender of the Right to Arms thinks those with children or other dependent conditions should not have the means of defense? She doesn't want non-hunters to be able to protect themselves or particiapte in formal target shooting competitions? She disapproves of people who have the means to protect themselves outside their home? She wants them locked up? She wants them licensed like cars?

Well, many people have made comparisons of motor vehicle & car licensing. I think she doesn't realize what she's saying.

Anyone with the money can buy a car. No license required, no background check. They may only drive the car on public roads after they get a license, which is usually available to those over 16. There are no restrictions on the type of car one may purchase, own, & drive around on their own property. Further there are no prohibitions on one driving a car on their own property or getting a license to drive on public streets even if they are convicted of a violent crime. If they prove themselves negligent or dangerous in driving on public streets, their license to drive on public streets may be suspended or revoked, but they still have no barriers preventing them from buying a car, owning a car, or driving on private property.

If Ms. Cortex thought about that for a few minutes I'm sure she'd change her mind about wanting firearms regulated like vehicles.

"I believe victims should have the right to sue negligent manufacturers or dealers of firearms. I wish people didn't feel they need guns in their homes for protection because I think that during a burglary or a struggle between a homeowner and an intruder, innocent people are likely to end up at the wrong end of the barrel."

Victims do have the ability to sue negligent firearms manufacturers &/or dealers. But considering that firearms accidents are usually caused by negligence of the user & the number of accidents in general is at an all time low, I think Ms. Cortez is ignorant of the situation. I would advise she reads this post from Kevin at The Smallest Minority which deals with accidental firearms deaths & hte misue &/or understanding of the statistics involved.

Here's an excerpt from Kevin:

"Let's look at the facts, as unpleasant as they actually are. In 1999, as the piece says, 824 accidental deaths by gunshot were recorded. But how many of these were children? If you define it as I do as "under the age of 18" then the total number of "children" who died by accidental gunshot wound was 158. If you mean small children, such as the one in the picture - say, under the age of 10? 31. Not 4,000. Not 824. Thirty-one.

Compare that to the number of children under the age of 10 who died by drowning in 1999: 750. The number under the age of 10 who died in bicycle accidents? 81.

But we're told endlessly that they're no longer interested in gun-control any more, but now it's gun-safety they pursue. I'm sorry, but guns are apparently safer than water or bicycles, at least for small children."



Now as to Ms. Cortez' belief that firearms in the home are most likely to hurt their owners rather than protect them, I would suggets she read this. It's a page containing links to some of the self defense stories involving citizens with firearms. I fear that her own occupational bias has mislead her. Just because her paper, or papers in general don't report defensive firearms use does not mean it's a statistically insignificant occurence.

But stats aside, who is she to assert that we should not have a choice? If she feels firearms are more likely to cause problems, then she perhaps shouldn't have one. But it is arrogance that leads her to express the desire to make that choice for others.

"I wish society could evolve at a faster rate into one that is non-violent and has little interest in or need for firearms. But I'm also a realist, and I don't make the rules. Anyone who has the right to own a gun can do so. My thinking on the matter really is neither extreme left or right, but somewhere near the center, like most people."

Every gun owner out there wishes society would be non-violent. However even a non-violent society would still have legitimate interests in firearms. Target shooting is fun. there's a variety of disciplines to involve yourself in & it deserves its place as a sport just as much as baseball, football or hockey. Also hunting is an enjoyable & sometimes necessary activity. It can be accomplished without firearms in some cases, but not as effeciently & not with the same nostalgia that a firearm offers.

But her thinking is not like most people. I would opine that it's like most reporters, or perhaps most leftists. But even if it were like most people it would still not matter to me as long as she stopped attempting to impose her beliefs on others.

"So don't tag me anti-Second Amendment. Tag me a Democrat if you will, but don't tag all Democrats 'anti-Second Amendment,' or 'anti-gun'."

It seems that Ms. Cortez has tagged herself as anti-2nd amendment & anti-Right to Arms. whether she's a Republican, Democrat or third party supporter makes no difference. She wishes to take away part, if not all, of my Right to Arms.

"Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., Jack Reed, D-R.I., Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., have introduced compromise legislation to close the gun-show loophole. heIt will be offered as an amendment to the gun-manufacturers immunity bill expected to come up for a vote this session. In addition, an amendment to renew the automatic weapons bill is expected to be attached."

I'll get to those attached amendments in another post, cause it's very important news.

"This is where my sense of fairness and reality collide, because the immunity bill is rotten. 'This bill (gives) gun manufacturers and dealers total immunity from civil lawsuits,' says Sarah Brady. 'This means the gun business will enjoy a legal freedom that no other industry has ever gained'."

That's another lie. The immunity bill prevents lawsuits caused by the actions of thrid parties. It does not affect standing in cases of faulty or defective manufacturing. It more or less keeps you from suing a gun manufacturer if someone who is legally entitled to buy a gun shoots you or a relative, or if someone steals a gun & shoots you or a relative, or if someone legally owns a gun & shoots you through their own negligence. You can still sue the person who shot you, you just can't sue the manufacturer for the acts of a second or third party unless those acts were the direct result of negligence on the company's part.

But apperently this staunch defender of the 2nd amendment trusts information from the person who is the most visible supporter of removing all firearms from civilian hands.

"The problem is that the manufacturers immunity bill has the votes - TheRepublican votes are there, as well as and some key Democrats. Sadly, it is likely to pass, and President Bush has already said he'll sign it. The best we can hope for is that if it must pass, we get two good pieces of legislation out of it: Closure of the gun-show loophole - the gap that currently allows non-licensed dealers to sell their wares at gun shows without performing background checks - and the renewal of the automatic weapons ban."

Hmm this staunch supprter of the 2nd amendment is hoping that a bill that keeps frivilous lawsuits from bankrupting gun companies will pass with attachments that infringe upon our Right to private transactions involving firearms at certain locations & infringe upon our Right to possess newly manufactured firearms with certain cosmetic features?

She refers to it as a ban on automatic weapons. Either she is ignorant of what the ban she supports entails, or she is purposefully misleading. She is talking about the "assault weapons ban" which only affects certain firearms with certain purely cosmetic features. Automatic weapons have been heavily regulated since 1934. New manufacture of automatic arms was verbotten for civilian use in 1986.

"While we've closed the gun-show loophole in Colorado (thanks to voters, not the legislators), we need a federal mandate to close the loophole throughout the country. This is important legislation and - apologies to to Ms.Mrs. Brady - must be passed."

Again. she's not content that her views have been imposed on those in her own state, but wishes those views to be imposed nationwide. The gun show "loophole" was closed in Colorado by a majority of voters via a referendum. This is why democracy was not chosen as our form of government. I wonder if she would feel as pro-deomcratic as she does if 51% of the voters in Colorado passed a law requiring government approval of every news story & licensing of every reporter, even if they wrote something outside of their papers office? Or perhaps more appropriately a law that prohibited anyone from buying a newspaper at a news stand without a background check?

The gun show "loophole" is not a "loophole" at all. It's merely something that's not illegal. It's the ability of individuals to seel firearms to other individuals at gun shows w/o registration or governmental approval. what Ms. Cortez advocates is a federal intrusion into the private transactions of individuals. She wants Congress to strecth the overly broad definition of interstate commerce yet again & regulate transactions that they have no authority to hamper in the first friggin place.

"Unless, of course, something better can be worked out. But I doubt it."

What would be better in her opinion? I can only speculate but I wouldn't be surprised if it made Great Britain's gun laws look libertarian by contrast.

Ms. Cortez is either ignorant or a liar. Hypocritical is something that would describe this piece of hers despite motivation.

& this person is probably not uncommon in journalism, which would explain their anti-Right to Arms slant & their denying they have a slant in the first place. They're too absorbed in their own circles to realize that they are only moderate or center when compared to those of similar views. further they place too much importance on the majority of biews, as if Rights should subject to majority whim.

But in Ms. Cortez' case it saddens me that she is so ill informed & that through negligence or malice she seeks to spread that ignorance. I would be more than happy to calmly & rationally discuss her views with her & at least attempt to point out the factual erors she makes, if not the philosophical ones.

Ms. Cortez is a member of the Denver Post Editorial Board & may be reached at acortez@denverpost.com
On this thread over at The High Road, a member asks for help:

"A friend of mine voluntarily surrendered his weapons collection to police (why is a VERY long story), with the understanding that they would be returned. The chief of police has decided that they will instead be destroyed "in the interest of public safety". NRA has been notified, but any suggestions as to other things that could be done? Or anyone out in that area that may be able to help?"

He further explains the circumstances:

"A bit more detail might help, I suppose...

My friend had gotten a bit drunk, and was busy being sick in the bathroom after getting disconected from his wife on the phone (she works ren faires all over the country). When she couldn't get him back on the phone, she panicked and called the po-po. They asked on arival if there were any weapons in the house, and he told them where everything was and what condition it was in (loaded/unloaded). They asked if they could remove them temporarily, and he said yes (I know... BIG mistake)...
He was never charged with any crime, and volunteered to go to the hospital. He was told that, upon review, his weapons would be returned. The chief's letter said they would be destroyed "in the interest of public safety", barring an order from a court or the DA...
Is this making anyone else think someone's trying to pull something? Two of the weapons confiscated were a)Type 8 Arasaka and b)NCO's katana, both still possessing their crests..."


& further he states:

"there were no comments made at any point about hurting anybody. his wife called the police because she was afraid he was having a VERY bad reaction to the alchohol (which he was, just not as bad as she thought)..."

& still further:

"There's nothing barring him from owning/possessing a weapon. Zip, nada..."


If any of y'all know a gun friendly attorney in the St. Paul, Mn. area please drop me a line & I'll forward the info to him. Or sign up at The High Road & leave a reply to his thread.

I'll try to find out more details & contact info so we can attempt to use our great powers of inquiry & influence into the matter. Then again, this sounds like a job for Instapundit!

Jeff at Alphecca has a story & link up y'all should check out.

It's about an elderly man named Lester Campbell who was mugged in NYC. He pulled a gun, fired a shot & more or less came away unharmed (except for the cash that was stolen). But being NYC he now faces charges for having two unlicensed firearms. They took the one he used & another one in his home.

Kevin of The Smallest Minority has a more detailed account of what happened.

Dave at Pervasive Light has set up a defense fund for the gentleman in question.

Y'all do what you can.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Bill St. Clair, proprietor of End the War on Freedom, tells us of his experience on the G&A Forum.

Meanwhile on the Gunnyragg Forum, Gunnyragg himself does a little venting about being kicked off the G&A Forum. I should note that Gunnyragg had been a member of the G&A Forum for some time before I found out about it, & that was several months before a moderator was appointed there.

For summaries of what has happened at the G&A Forum, please look here for my account & here for Nicki's take on the matter.

In short it is as I feared: anyone with a dissenting view is banned. Feel free to check it out for yourself. Bill St Clair points to this thread which he started & subsequently was banned after only 6 paragraphs. In that thread you have the moderator himself argue that because of the majority of American’s, we will never have an unlimited Right to Arms, & that's as it should be, because 'Arms" constitutes more than just firearms. More or less he argues that reasonable is the way to go & anything beyond that is delusional.

So for the helluvit, let's explore that idea for a moment.

What would a literal interpretation of the 2nd Amendment mean?

From Merriam-Webster I offer you this definition of Arms:

Main Entry: 3arm
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English armes (plural) weapons, from Old French, from Latin arma
Date: 13th century
1 a : a means (as a weapon) of offense or defense; especially : FIREARM b : a combat branch (as of an army) c : an organized branch of national defense (as the navy)


So any weapons that can be used offensively or defensively are arms.

But what of the word weapon?

Again, from Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: 1weap•on
Pronunciation: 'we-p&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English wepen, from Old English w[AE]pen; akin to Old High German wAffan weapon, Old Norse vApn
Date: before 12th century
1 : something (as a club, knife, or gun) used to injure, defeat, or destroy
2 : a means of contending against another


So it's an object that can be used to injure, defeat or destroy. That is a fairly broad definition.

Just for the heckuvit, I found this definition for man-at-arms & offer it to you:

From Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: man-at-arms
Pronunciation: "man-&t-'ärmz
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural men-at-arms /"men-/
Date: 1581
: SOLDIER; especially : a heavily armed and usually mounted soldier


So what we have defined arms as any object that can be used as a weapon. Now how does that fit in with the 2nd amendment?

Well, the 2nd amendment uses the term 'arms' & I believe there is a very good reason for this choice. Here's the 2nd Article to the Bill of Rights of the U.S. Constitution:

"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

Now at the time of the American Revolutionary War the Brown Bess was standard issue amongst British regular troops (although the name Brown Bess wasn't found in writing until around 1785). The Brown Bess was a musket; a shoulder fired muzzle loading firearm. It was a flintlock with a smooth bore & an average soldier could expect to fire 3 shots a minute. Accuracy was abysmal, with little chance of hitting a specific man-sized target beyond 50 yards.

The Americans were armed in a slightly different fashion. The musket was the most common, but in numbers large enough to note were rifles. Rifles of the period were similar to muskets except for two things; the most notable is that their bores were rifled (or grooved in a curved line to impart a stabilizing spin on the projectile) but often overlooked is that most rifles had no provisions for a bayonet. Rifles were more accurate, enabling a doubling or in some cases a quadrupling of the maximum effective range (the distance at which an individual soldier could hit an individual target) but slower to load at 1 to 2 shots per minute.

Because of the nature of that particular war, where many soldiers supplied their own arms (especially in the beginning) rifles were supplemented with knives, tomahawks, hatchets, swords & just about any other edged weapon that could be carried.

Later in the war, rifles were replaced wherever possible by muskets. Why would the Americans do this when the rifle was more accurate? Because it was slower to load than the musket & it lacked a place to mount a bayonet, which was (& is) a very important weapon.

Pistols also had their place on both sides, as they were much more compact & much more effective at dispatching a charging enemy soldier than a sword.

Of note is the breech loading rifle. It was invented by a British officer named Patrick Ferguson. The Ferguson Rifle was patented in 1776 & tested successfully in battle shortly thereafter. It could be fired accurately at 200 yard distant targets at a rate of 6 shots per minute. Compared with the 50 yard accuracy & 3 rounds a minute of the musket it's obvious to see which weapon would be preferred. Luckily for us, Major Ferguson was mortally wounded at the Battle of King's Mountain, N.C. & with his death the British military abandoned the Ferguson Rifle. (I grew up around 30 miles from Kings Mountain so I learned about Major Ferguson very early in life - he was a great inventor & very clever, but unfortunately he was on the wrong team).

It should also be noted that cannons & especially ships of war were often privately owned & operated. (Speaking of ships, on this day, the 4th of November 1776, Congress authorized 4 vessels & crew for the American Navy - the first 4 vessels & crew for the American Navy). A sailor or captain could simply make more money as a privateer, so naturally private ships of war were more plentiful. In fact, according the link listed earlier in this paragraph:

"In 1777 alone, Colonial privateers took 143 prizes. For this reason, it was always difficult if not impossible, to find able seamen willing to join the American Navy and often navy ships remained tied to docks for months at a time with no crew at all. There was even talk in Congress of placing an embargo on merchant shipping during a critical time to encourage sailors to join the navy, but this was never enacted."

(For more on the weapons & tactics of the American Revolution, look here)

So in the founders’ day private citizens possessed the contemporary version of pistols, assault weapons, sniper rifles, howitzers & Destroyers. The founders saw the coming of the breech loader, which would be like comparing a semi-automatic rifle to a single shot breech loading rifle that used modern cartridge-type ammunition.

So why did they use the word 'arms' instead of flintlocks or muskets? Simple. They recognized that technology was changing, & muskets simply wouldn't encompass all that was necessary. In their time, in their own experience, muskets were the most common, but bayonets, rifles, pistols, swords, cannons, warships, knives, hatchets, grenades, tomahawks & other implements were used to wage war. The word 'muskets' would have been too limiting even then.

The primary purpose of the 2nd amendment was to ensure that the citizenry would never be disarmed & helpless should a government, foreign or domestic, attempt to enslave or kill them. As such it was meant that the average citizen should be able to possess the arms typical of the common soldier that he/she might have to face. In the 1770's that meant, but was not limited to, a musket & bayonet. In the 1870's that would have expanded to include a lever action repeating rifle & in the 1970's that would mean an M16 (although I would argue that any ten rednecks I know armed with Garands could equal 100 regular troops armed with M16's any day of the week & twict on Sund’ys). In 2070 this might mean the phaser rifles of Star Trek fame. But the founders’ intent was clear: the people should be able to be armed equal to or better than the average professional soldier.

Now this would exclude nuclear arms, chemical arms & other such weapons. Why? Aren't they still weapons & arms & therefore fall under the definition of arms in the 2nd amendment? Well, on a day when I have nothing to do, I'll entertain arguments that they could be included. But for our purposes here, no they wouldn't be.

Nuclear arms, chemical & biological weapons aren't the arms issued to a typical soldier. The difference is they are not discriminate weapons. They take out areas of people without distinguishing between friend and foe. Would it bother me if someone on my block had one of these types of weapons? Well, consider there may very well be someone on any of our blocks with these types of weapons, no. If that person has no harmful intent then it doesn't affect me. If that person does have harmful intent then there's not much I can do about it, & odds are I wouldn't be in any condition to do anything about it once I found out.

But what does make sense is for the citizenry to be able to have the same types of weapons that a small military unit, or in some cases a large military unit would possess. This means hand held weapons, shoulder fired weapons, & to some extent even crew served weapons should be privately owned. Grenades? Ayup. Same thing as with the nukes; if they have no harmful intent then why should it bother anyone? If they do, then they may kill a number of people, but no more than they'd be capable of doing now, with either a grenade bought on the black market (& thus illegal), a home-made grenade (& thus illegal), or a car (legal to own in all 50 states) driven on a crowded sidewalk at 30mph.

So while some cringe at the idea of common citizens owning weaponry fit for an infantryman, they do so in ignorance of history. There is little that's illegal to possess that cannot be had or its equivalent manufactured by those who really wish to cause harm.

For example, the shootings at Columbine High School a few years back brought bans of 'assault weapons' in various cities across the country. What they fail to realize is that the same effect could have been had with non-assault weapons - regular firearms. The murderers were walking through a school full of unarmed people unmolested, shooting at will. They didn't do anything that couldn't have been done with manually operated weapons. & to really put it in perspective, they murdered 13 people & wounded 21 others between 11:19a.m. & 11:35 a.m. That's 16 minutes. Assuming they hit each person with just one shot, that would be just over 2 shots per minute total, or just over 1 shot per minute per murderer. A musket from the revolutionary was could have provided that rate of firepower. In the library where they murdered 10 people & wounded 12 others, they did this all in 7 &1/2 minutes or so. That would have equated to almost 3 shots per total or 1.5 shots minute per murderer. Again, well within the capabilities of the Revolutionary War musket.

But of particular interest were the explosives. There were approximately 76 bombs planted in & around the school. Two large bombs were in the cafeteria & it's estimated that had they detonated they would have killed or severely wounded almost everyone in the cafeteria. That would have been over 400 students during the peak lunch break. Those bombs failed to explode, but if the murderers had spent a little more time on their explosives & instead of firearms had solely relied upon bombs, then many, many more people would have been murdered or injured. The bombs they made were illegal. That didn't prevent them from making them & attempting to use at least some of them.

The point of all that is that the weapons that some would be afraid of falling into the hands of those with harmful intent do fall into those hands right now despite laws aimed at preventing this. Fortunately when they're used they're used ineffectively relative to their potential. But more importantly is that they are typically only used where there is no fear of immediate & violent repercussion of their actions. Therefore the danger of the public having access to military weaponry is unfounded, as the criminals have access to them or their equivalents.

In case you still don't see the point, 2 of those bombs could have blown up the cafeteria, possibly causing enough structural damage to collapse it. That's less damage than two hand grenades would have done, or to some extent less than two 40mm grenades launched from an M203.

What matters most is not the weapon, because they can be bought on the black market, made or stolen right now. What matters is intent. Most people would not have harmful or negligent intent merely because they have access to military grade weaponry. The few that do have access to the same weaponry or their equivalents now, so denying access to the general populace is ineffective.

Prohibiting machine guns, grenades, even cannons use the same logic as prohibiting handguns: people will break the laws against murder with these implements so we'll make their possession illegal to stop the murders. Ask anyone in D.C. (a resident, not a politician) how well that's worked so far.

But one thing prohibiting grenades, machine guns & other military grade weaponry does is tilt the balance of power heavily to the military & away from the people.

Let us not forget that while personal self defense & hunting were taken for granted as being protected by the common law & therefore not mentioned, the protection of the use & possession of military grade weapons by the civilian populace was the primary objective of the 2nd amendment.

Firearms are essential, but they're not enough. Any item that could be useful to a soldier should be available for purchase to the civilian without restriction. That would include machine guns, grenades & artillery, but let's not forget the bayonet, knife, pistols & other implements of warfare. For those of you who shudder at the thought of grenades & machine guns being sold at the local hardware store, let me once again remind you that these items are available on the black market &/or their equivalents can easily be made right now. Those with harmful intent already have access to them, so absolutely nothing would change in that regards were the 2nd amendment to be interpreted literally. As far as artillery & other similar implements they are not available currently on the black market, at least not commonly enough to note. This is for two reasons; the price is prohibitive & the use of these weapons is limited. You actually think someone will attempt to wheel a field howitzer in place in order to shoot up a school? They'd be better served using a catapult, as most people would at least think it so quaint that they wouldn't see the danger at first. Although they would make the ultimate drive-by weapon. Tanks? Again, cost prohibitive & not particularly suited to the type of crimes that are most feared. I admit that any & every weapon (or the threat thereof) can be used in a crime, but some are more suited to certain crimes than others.

& considering that piracy is not something limited to old stories or complaints from record companies, I see not reason whatsoever why a pleasure boat should not have at least 1 heavy machine gun & a grenade launcher, doubly so if it's a sea-faring vessel.

So while the moderator at G&A Forums might wince at the thought of being able to walk into the hardware store & buying a belt fed machine gun over the counter, if one thinks about it a little then one will (or at least should) realize that those are precisely the kind of weapons that the founders intended to protect from governmental intrusion.

The 2nd Amendment protects the ability of the individual to own & possess weapons suitable for military use. That encompasses a broad spectrum of weapons & weapon types. It should not frighten anyone if a civilian possesses martial arms.

It should frighten us that martial arms are only freely permitted to the military & police. After all, that idea frightened the founders enough to place the 2nd Amendment in the Constitution.

Monday, November 03, 2003

& y'all please welcome Nicki. I had asked her to join this blog a few months back, but between writing for several pro-Right to Arms groups, raising a family, going to school & working too many jobs, she's been a little pressed for time.

Needless to say that while the opinions of Nicki do not neccesarily reflect those of this blog or any other co-bloggers past, present or future, they probably should as they are well reasoned, articulate & generally correct on most things. Actually I find myself in agreement with her quite frequently & any criticisms of her opinions might as well be addressed to me.

I'll have a bio up of her shortly, & feel free to view her latest piece over at Armed Females of America called It's Time For ACOUNTABILITY when it comes to Firearm Safety

& on the good advice of Jeff at Alphecca, we won't change the name of the blog to PubliPundit or the Publicola Conspiracy as previously contemplated.

David Codrea writes about Arnold & the insinuations by some that he was a "stealth" pro-gun candidate.

In case y'all missed it, some people were urging California voters to abandon Sen. McClintock in favor of Schwarzenegger on the basis of Schwarzenegger really being adamently pro-gun, but downplaying it till he has the election won.

& one of the things that should really tick off people who fell for that would be the reports of Schwarzenegger promising to help Sen. Feinstein in her efforts to renew the "assault weapons" ban.

From the Sacremento Bee:

"Schwarzenegger pledged to 'work together' with Feinstein to reauthorize an assault weapons ban. Boxer pressed the governor-elect for more education funding. He said, 'Sure'. "

From The Marin Independent Journal:

"Schwarzenegger made few policy pronouncements, though he did vow to work with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to reauthorize a federal assault weapons ban. Asked if he would raise taxes to help defray the cost of the fires, he said 'Now is the wrong time to make that decision'. "

I have heard the argument that Schwarzenegger is making political promises which he has no ability or intention of keeping. I have also heard that he is biding his time & that once California's economy is under control then he can start making stands based upon principles.

Personally I think those that make or believe those particular arguments concentrate too much on politics & not enough on principle. They have more or less traded their desire to effect a principled change for the vehicle that is supposed to enable that change. It does absolutely no good if in order to change a wrong in government one must play along & even support that wrong until enough power is accumulated. This is the same trap that so many good people have fallen into. It is the same trap that has bred dictators & tyrants. While our political system tends to discourage this on the whole(tyrants & dictators that is), one should not accept using those same mechanisms just because the ultimate end is restrained to a degree.

In other words, it's BS from the apologists who would rather have victory at any cost than honestly fight a battle on it's merits.

The other argument I've heard is that Schwarzenegger was not quoted directly, therefore the stories about him saying he'd support the "assault weapons" ban is suspect. Now they may have a point, as the mainstream media has proven to be unreliable. Of course if they did misquote Schwarzenegger I'd think he'd have issue a statement on that by now. After all, didn't he go to the trouble of suing a car dealership in the mid-west because they used his image without his permission? I'd think that if he didn't say it & objected to being portrayed in that light, he'd have made some noise about it. So I'm lead to believe that either the paraphrasing was indeed accurate or that he does not object to them portraying him as a supporter of the federal "assault weapons" ban. After all, didn't he make statements to the press that he does in fact support the assault weapons ban previously? I don't have a record of any pro-"assault weapons" ban statements by Schwarzenegger, but I do offer you this excerpt from a previous post on a Sacremento Bee poll of the candidates' views on gun control:

"Mr. Schwarzenegger does approve of:

Forcing Californians to pass a written test before purchasing a firearm

Having records searched for a prior purchase of a firearm by a recently convcited felon

Requiring all pistols to have a loaded chamber indicator & a magazine disconnect feature

Banning/heavily restricting all .50 caliber rifles

The conclusion? Mr. Schwarzenegger seems to be for gun control except in certain instances where the financial impact would possibly be unjustifiable to achieve those ends. Lt. Gov. Bustamante is not concerned with the cost. & Sen. McClintock is against gun control except when he believes it applies only to convicted felons."


So I do not see Schwarzenegger objecting to anyone potraying him as a pro-gun control candidate, since he is in fact a pro-gun control candidate & not the "stealth" pro-gun candidate that his supporters alledged.

One last thing: Some have also alledged that Schwarzenegger has given money to pro-gun groups. Mr. Codrea addresses the factual basis (or lack thereof) of these claims. One thing he does fail to mention though, is that the NRA is the main alledged receipient of Schwarzenegger's donations. That would mean he was not contributing to a pro-gun group at all, since the NRA is not pro-gun.

Read Mr. Codrea's piece & be sure to follow the links.

I have been slack. No excuses, no reasos can justify my failing to point out Alphecca's weekly reports. Luckily he has them archived seperately for those of you who wish to see if you missed anything.

& let the archive not deter you from checking out his current check on the bias at Yahoo, which features Fuz & the results of his antelope hunt.
I'm not new to Internet message boards. I've been an avid participant for quite a few years, and while I do get a bit overzealous on occasion, I'm generally easy to get along with. My normal MO is to lurk for a few days, get a feel for the participants and then dive in head first. Sometimes I hit the bottom with a loud "THUNK!" but for the most part, I fit right in.

Not so with Primedia's G&A forum. Publicola didn't direct me to that nest of fascists, nor did I go there with any preconceived notion about what to expect. I was directed there by Angel Shamaya of KeepAndBearArms.com as a point of interest. Apparently the moderator of that forum Dan Johnson had taken it upon himself to attack Mr. Shamaya, hurl wild accusations and impugn Mr. Shamaya's honesty and integrity. Mr. Shamaya is a well-spoken, intelligent man, who had no problem refuting every one of the moderator's accusations. I chose to stay out of the debate and simply watch him in action...

...Until the childish name-calling and ad hominem attacks began.

I will admit, I wasn't timid about letting these people know that I was appalled at their behavior. I compared the ad hominem insults hurled by one poster to an angry simian hurling excrement. In other words, I wasn't sugar and honey, OK?

But just as I thought I was beginning to settle in and make a few posts, the attacks started pouring in. When I questioned the NRA's wisdom in endorsing a local Republican over a GOA-endorsed Democrat, I was accused of having an anti-NRA "agenda." My words were twisted. I was accused of being a shill, a liar, a traitor to Second Amendment rights, and in a bout of delusional frenzy, one poster actually intimated a sexual relationship between me and Mr. Shamaya by calling me Monica and Mr. Shamaya Bill Clinton.

Instead of getting involved in a urination contest, I opted to leave. I don't take kindly to people whose idea of rational debate is sticking their fingers in their ears when their opponent speaks and yelling, "YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE A MORON! YOU ARE WRONG! YOU ARE A MORON!" at the top of their lungs. It's not my idea of "fun," and quite frankly, I have better things to do than waste my verbal skills on semi-literate hacks, who have trouble understanding simple sentences and words with more than two syllables.

I did, however, watch from the sidelines for a while, just to see what happens next. And that experience is what led me to describe this particular forum as a "nest of fascists."

It began with the moderator publishing a loaded, biased poll for the members of the board. This charming little thread was entitled: KeepandBearArms.com....friend or foe?

It featured such intellectual gems as, "I feel honest criticism is healthy, a tirade of mis-quotes, misrepresentations, half-truths, and twisted logic aimed at any organization or individual engaged in the fight for the Second Amendment is counter-productive to our cause." and...

"...can we afford to have our forum monopolized by hate mongers and doomsayers who have yet to accomplish anything in the fight..."

The thread attracted the usual slew of miscreants, half wits and semi-literates, who literally turned it into a bash-fest, with few facts and a lot of accusations. It reminded me of a gang of hyenas encircling its prey. Mr. Shamaya was once again forced to defend attacks against his character, his integrity and his organization on several threads. He defended himself quite civilly, with facts, not insults, using information from his website. He was promptly accused of trying to promote his organization and siphon money from decent, unsuspecting NRA supporters. His post was deleted. He reposted it with the intention of defending himself against attacks, and was once again deleted and banned.

In the next few days, anyone who stood up for Mr. Shamaya was promptly slapped down. If they continued, they were banned. And then, this morning, I read the following:

If you look around this forum you will notice some locked threads and a number of banned messages. We have had a flood of outside agitators come our way in recent days and I'm not going to tolerate them. I have also banned gunny. He has persistently criticized and undermined this forum for what...two years now..maybe more. I decided it was time to put him out of his misery and give him more time to tend to his own forum and stop worrying about this one.

That's about the gist of it. As always, I'll respond to direct questions from members whose opinion and motives I trust, but I'm not going to continue to argue with fools and agitators
.

Anyone who appeared to be a voice of dissent against the sacred NRA cow was promptly banned. Anyone who disagreed with Herr Johnson's actions was deemed to be an "agitator" and promptly silenced. Anyone exhibiting even the slightest tendency to criticize either the way things are run or the NRA was banned.

No dissenting view is tolerated.

Anyone exhibiting a tendency to question the NRA establishment was silenced.

Anyone tolerant enough to stick around and debate facts on their merits was insulted, attacked and smeared.

Some left willingly, but others were forced out


Now, do you understand why I call them fascist?

It's sad to see how blind, uninformed and completely indoctrinated some people are. There exists a plethora of documentation confirming the NRA's less than stellar record when it comes to the gun rights of Americans. And yet, some would rather vilify, defame and attempt to destroy the voices of dissent - those voices who have the courage to call 'em as they see 'em. It's much easier for them to exist in their little sheltered world, sending their money to the largest gun rights organization in the country and sit back satisfied that they have done their part in defending our Second Amendment rights.

But the largest doesn't always mean the best. And while this little fascist club sits around patting one another on the back, hootin' and hollerin' about the virtues of the NRA, there are smaller gun rights organizations working their rear ends off for their rights and exposing compromises for the sake of political expediency by their sacred cow. For that, they are called "traitors to the Second Amendment."

Now, let me ask you this: Who is the real traitor? Is it the organization that consistently panders for money from its members to the tune of 6 times per month and uses their money to compromise away their rights, while the donors look the other way, or the group that exposes such practices?