Sunday, March 28, 2004

There's been some bad news from the courts this week.

For starters Mark Lancaster had a sentencing hearing on Friday (for some background on Mr. Lancaster's circumstances I refer you to this previous post). The blog Nashville Files provides an account of what happened at the hearing. Bottom line is Mr. Lancaster is facing 30 to 33 months in jail & that will be decided after a ten day wait so the respective attorneys can file arguments for or against a shorter sentence. All this because he didn't have the correct paperwork for the machineguns found in his home. Chief District Judge Robert L. Echols wouldn't allow Mr. Lancaster to change his plea from guilty to not guilty despite the recent 9th Circuit decision where they held that home made firearm were not subject to the NFA.

Another name y'all should remember is that of ATF Special Agent in Charge James Cavanaugh. He was the statist bastard who organized the raid & arrest of Mr. Lancaster. Ditto for BATF Agent Hand who, according to the Nashville Files account, was sitting with the statist bastards persecutor prosecutor during the trial.

What is not mentioned are the names of the "informants" who ratted Mr. Lancaster out to the ATF. All I can tell you is to be careful of whom you trust. The ATF has a long history of "recruiting" informants who are actively looking to save their own hides from a federal weapons charge.

No Quarters tells us that Francis Warin was sentenced to 33 months earlier this week. Mr. Warin is a U.S. citizen that emigrated from France & started challenging federal firearms laws in the 1970's. His latest conviction is for mailing & possessing NFA firearms w/o having the proper permission slips, as well as being a felon in possession of a firearm (his felony conviction came from earlier attempts to challenge the NFA). For more details on Mr. Warin's history please look at this previous post as well as this post from Say Uncle which links to his previous posts on Mr. Warin.

Of note is that Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas Weldon thought it was a just sentence according to this article. U.S. District Judge David Katz sentenced Mr. Warin to much less than the maximum he could have, but he also fined Mr. Warin $2,500 & 2 years of supervised probation after he's released. ATF Agent Dennis Bennett testified against Mr. Warin according to this article.

Ravenwood tells us of a raid where the cops confiscated a person's firearms & involuntarily committed him to a mental institution for observation. When he was released (as his sanity wasn't questionable & he'd committed no crime) they refused to return his firearms because he had been involuntarily committed! This was the work of a special "firearms unit" set up to handle the tips from the D.C. Sniper incident in 2002. Yep, the bastards got so many tips they decided to keep the special unit that focused on firearms. Lt. Michael Mancuso and Sgt. Kenneth Berger are two of the thugs & are pictured in this article.

FreedomSight has a post up about the 10th circuit's collective right interpretation of the 2nd amendment as handed down earlier in the week. The case was U.S. v Parker. Paul M. Warner and Diana Hagen were the U.S. Attorneys who argued against an individual interpretation & Kelly, McWilliams and Briscoe were the presiding circuit judges. Judge Kelly dissented in part to their reasoning regarding the 2nd amendment but concurred with them in their decision. It was decided that no oral arguments were necessary & the case was decided purely on the briefs. Mr. Parker accidentally carried a pistol onto a military base & it was found under the seat of his truck. This was an offense under the Assimilative Crimes Act which allows federal prosecution for violating state firearms laws on federal property. It was a misdemeanor & he was fined around $100. He appealed on 2nd & 10th amendment grounds. While they agreed he had standing to bring a 2nd amendment claim they denied his having 10th amendment grounds to argue his case. they then explained why the 2nd amendment confers only a collective right to arms & repeated a 4 part test (originally used in U.S. v Haney) that must be met to have a successful 2nd amendment case. More or less it'd take a note from the governor to have a valid 2nd amendment Right according to those bastards.

I'll try to examine the court decisions more in depth in a later post.

What I do want to stress is this: gun owners don't have many friends apart from other gun owners. There are a few who are on our side on general principles but don't own guns themselves, but the majority of people you will see that believe in an individual having the Right to Arms are gun owners. & hell, even some gun owners aren't our friends. We do have a lot of enemies, both in ideology & fact.
So what I would recommend is if you know anyone who advocates civilian disarmament or who actively advances it (such as those people named above) then politely try to change their minds. Convince them that what they're doing or encouraging hurts not only themselves but everyone in our society. If you honestly attempt to sway them & they still persist in their encouragement of civilian disarmament then politely but firmly tell them that you've got no choice but to take it personally & as such you'll be disassociating yourself from them. Don't do business with them; don't go to social events with them; don't invite them to dinner, etc. Leave an invitation open to discuss their views on civilian disarmament but make it clear that that's it.

A little harsh you might think? No. After all if you're neighbor was actively lobbying for your taxes to be jacked up by 20% more than you're paying now & he was behind organizing special audit teams in the IRSS to check on people like you then you wouldn't think snubbing them socially or professional was too harsh at all, now would ya? If you're neighbor was advocating a Nazi-like "solution" to a minority group that you were a member of then ostracizing them wouldn't even be a question would it?

& I don't see why it should be any different for gun owners. Gun control proponents are in favor of disarming you; they wish to make it illegal for you to have the means to defend yourself & your family. I'd say that is pretty harsh - far harsher than making them find a new golf partner or buying their groceries from another store. & remember that this is a practical decision as well: if a law was passed banning a certain type of firearm & your anti-gun neighbor/co-worker knew you had one of those banned weapons it'd be more consistent for him to rat you out than someone who thought the law was unjust (well, except for those ATF "informants" who are usually given the choice between facing criminal charges or "informing" on someone else to be prosecuted in their place).

So try to convince people that civilian disarmament is a bad thing. But if they still persist then cut them out of your professional & personal life. It's sad that it might be necessary to do this but I'm afraid it is necessary.

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