Saturday, February 21, 2004

Apparently it's not unanimous that the treatment of David Codrea for his letter was wrong.

We have Bob who relayed this in the comments box:

"well send a letter to an official threatening to show up at their door with a loaded rifle and (oh my) they arent going to investigate? The letter had merit in its content however until it reached that point."

Eugene Volokh takes a similar view:

"I generally have a hard time getting particularly outraged about stories like this...

The police might strongly suspect that the letter is rhetorical, but it's hard to tell that for sure. And if it isn't rhetorical -- if the writer does want to show up with those guns -- and the writer also wants to do something with those guns when he shows up, then we could have a bad scene.

If you were a responsible, freedom-loving police officer, would you just say 'Nah, sounds like nothing to me'? Or might you think it's worth some more investigation? The letter-writer writes, as a follow-up, 'I do find it bizarre that civil authority is so fearful of an armed citizenry that if they feel there is any chance of it happening, their response is to send armed men.' Why is it so bizarre? Armed citizens have at times done quite a bit of damage, including to a past Mayor of San Francisco. That's not reason to disarm them or throw them in jail for writing letters -- but it is reason to look closely at people who say they want to carry an arsenal to city hall.

But freedom of speech can't mean freedom from even disquieting investigations based on your speech. You can't be convicted for that letter; you can't be fined for it; but the police are entitled to talk to you to see whether you seem like an upstanding citizen (which by all accounts the author is) or someone who seems like a John Hinckley, and who therefore bears closer watching. Extremist groups are entitled to express their views; but I certainly hope that the police are investigating them more closely to see whether there might be extremist action, and not just extremist speech, in the offing. Likewise even for perfectly reasonable people who make statements that are also of the sort sometimes made by unreasonable people. It's part of the police department's job to investigate a bit more closely to see whether the speaker seems reasonable or unreasonable."

I would be remiss in not pointing out that Prof. Volokh does say this kind of thing could be troubling (if for instance Mr. Codrea received any sort of punishment) it's just that he feels the level of intrusion &/or the chilling effect in this instance is more or less outweighed by the need to protect the public safety.

& over at SayUncle there's been a similar disagreement about the appropriateness of the response:

"I like it. However, I do feel compelled to point out that it would awfully difficult for somebody to kill me with their homosexuality, so it's not exactly a valid comparison..." - Tom aka Tqirsch

"That guy made the classic apples & oranges mistake, so no wonder someone cried foul fruit.
(heh)." - Peggy from A Movable Beast

Tom/Tqirsch then adds this:

"Let me clarify. My comment was not based on the legality of the actions described. My comment, rather, concerned the justifications for banning those activities. Constitutionality and current law aside, it's very difficult to argue that homosexuality poses anywhere near the sort of public safety risk that guns potentially could. And whether or not they do a good job of it, protecting public safety is a valid function of government. That, to me, is where the comparison falls flat."

So let's start with a review of the relevant paragraphs from the letter that started all of this.

"You have shown progressive thinking and tolerance for that which the majority condemns. So I was thinking of coming up to San Francisco and exercising my right to keep and bear arms, maybe showing up at City Hall with a state-banned AR-15 and a couple 30-round magazines, and also carrying several pistols concealed without a permit.
Yes, I know, it will be a violation of California laws, but you've shown that you're willing to disregard those when it serves your goals. And because I am a peaceable citizen, I should easily meet Judge Warren's criterion that no immediate damage would be done by allowing this.
So what do you think, if I visit your city and proudly display my lifestyle choices, can I count on your support? As a private citizen, don't I have as much right to disregard laws I find reprehensible as you public officials? Isn't that what equality is supposed to be all about, where no class of citizen enjoys privileges and immunities not extended to all?
How about it? You wouldn't have me arrested, would you?
Please let me know if I have your support."

Now to Bob's concerns -

"well send a letter to an official threatening to show up at their door with a loaded rifle and (oh my) they arent going to investigate? The letter had merit in its content however until it reached that point."

I fail to see where he said the rifle would be loaded. He mentioned magazines but never said whether or not they'd be holding ammo. & keep in mind the rifle (if you really want to call an AR-15 a rifle - shudder), the magazines, & the manner of carry he described for the pistols are all illegal under California law (to the best of my knowledge at least). However there is no additional penalty for the rifle (shudder) or pistols or magazines being loaded or unloaded (again according to my admittedly limited knowledge of California firearms law). So the illegal acts could have been performed without any ammunition at all (unless for good measure you wanted to bring some ammo that Cali has banned for some hoplophobic reason or another, in which case they could be in your pocket or in the firearm & the point would be made)

Now I bring this up because he also mentions that he's "...a peaceable citizen..." & therefore "...should easily meet Judge Warren's criterion that no immediate damage would be done by allowing this."

Given the general nature of the paragraphs in question where he is asking for an answer (although I'm sure expecting none) & the information I pointed out above, it's perfectly reasonable to conclude that A; he wasn't actually planning on doing those things B; He was seeking advice on the nature of the reception he'd receive if he were serious & C; he had no harmful intent.

That does qualify as "...threatening to show up at their door with a loaded rifle..."

Prof. Volokh thinks that under the circumstances this was a reasonable action: investigating someone who made remarks that could be the indication of a threat to public safety.

However what Prof. Volokh views as a potential threat is simply no more than a person threatening to exercise their Right to Arms. Now I don't doubt that many people in a city would feel a bit uneasy about seeing someone with an AR-15 on their shoulder walking down the main street (I would too: imagine taking an AR-15 to town carrying it like it was a real rifle & you were proud of it - shudder). But then again many people might feel uneasy if they saw two men kissing on the main street in town, or a person passing out religious &/or political literature. All have the potential to create harm: the guy with the AR-15 might attempt to shoot someone, the men kissing could be exchanging mononucleouses, & the people passing out literature could start a riot by the material contained therein. But potential is not something we should view as grounds to condemn, or even intrusively investigate people for.

For example, if Kim du Toit was investigated everytime he mentioned that he'd like to kick Sen. Schumer in the genitals, do you really think they're be anything left in the SS Secret Service budget for anything else?

& take me for instance. If Prof. Volokh is comfortable with calling an AR-15 & "several" handguns an arsenal then I suppose my modest collection would be akin to an armory. & I guarantee that my potential for causing damage is much greater than anyone whom merely has an AR-15 & a few pistols. Yet I have no harmful intent & the actuality of it is that I am as dangerous to the public at large as someone with no weapons, no arms, no legs & is unable to communicate.

Now I don't think it unreasonable for cops to look into something. & if they'd have simply ran a google search, found out that Mr. Codrea was a big name in the pro-2nd amendment community & possibly even looked up his criminal records to see if he had done anything rash in the past then I don't think the level of attention would have been inappropriate - well if you get over the fact that all Mr. Codrea talked about doing is illegal because of laws that are violative of his Rights & conflict with the U.S. Constitution (& I'd be more than happy to discuss at great length the flaws of the incorporation theory). But keep in mind to me & quite a few others that Mr. codrea's actions would have been no more shocking than a person going hunting in a National Forest, or a person saying he/she might attend a particular church this Sunday. So even the unintrusive investigation would be questionable if you accept the fact that the laws in California regarding firearms are quite unconstitutional & violative of the people's Rights.

However let me point out again that Mr. Codrea did mention that he was a peaceable person & that in his view his actions, were he to undertake them, would meet a judge's standard for not creating any immediate danger. So the phone call asking potentially incriminating questions (such as whether or not he has a firearm verbotten under California law) & sending two armed agents to his residence was completely unwarranted (bad puns are always intended).

& keep in mind that the police department in question had told that this was an ongoing investigation. That would seem to indicate that this may not be over for Mr. Codrea.

So while not equal to the crushing of dissent in the old Soviet Union (or present day Boulder, Co.) I think it should trouble us all that a man is being investigated because of his letter objecting to the disregard of some laws because the official in question views them as unconstitutional yet upholding other laws which are blatantly unconstitutional.

& it does beg the question, "What action would have been taken if Mr. Codrea had refused to talk with the cops?" (as is prudent for anyone to do - that ol' 5th Amendment was in there for a reason ya know). Would they have simply left him alone, or would they have thought his words constituted probable cause or suspicion sufficient for an arrest? & don't tell me you don't know of any judges in Cali who wouldn't have signed an arrest warrant because someone spoke of carrying prohibited firearms contrary to state law. The BATF has a whole string of "conspiracy" convictions based on much less than that in much more firearm tolerant states & I have no doubt that the mention of "firearm" by any other than the police is close to an arrestable offense in the minds of some judges out there.

Now for Tom/Tqirsch:

"I like it. However, I do feel compelled to point out that it would awfully difficult for somebody to kill me with their homosexuality, so it's not exactly a valid comparison..." - Tom aka Tqirsch

"Let me clarify. My comment was not based on the legality of the actions described. My comment, rather, concerned the justifications for banning those activities. Constitutionality and current law aside, it's very difficult to argue that homosexuality poses anywhere near the sort of public safety risk that guns potentially could. And whether or not they do a good job of it, protecting public safety is a valid function of government. That, to me, is where the comparison falls flat."

It is entirely possible to kill someone else with their homosexuality. It's possible to kill someone else with their heterosexuality as well. It's not unreasonable to admit the possibility of spreading a fatal disease through a sexual act. Now it's not all that likely, but it is very well possible.

& let me point you to this admittedly dated study that blames Aids for more deaths in 1994 than homicides.

Now keep in mind that I am not saying that we should regulate homosexuals or others who may potential carry fatal communicable diseases. I'm simply pointing out that the comparison between gun owners & homosexuals is valid because only the potential for harm exists, not necessarily the actuality.

& while protecting public safety is a legitimate endeavor of government, doing so at the expense of the public's freedom is certainly not within that realm. Restraining actions that cause direct & immediate harm would be acceptable, but limiting behavior because of only the potential (& a slim potential at that) is not. If we accepted Tom/Tqirsch's reasoning then it would be viewed as a legitimate action of government to make men & women wear chastity belts because men have the potential to become rapists & women the potential to become prostitutes.

One last thing about the justification for both laws in question (outlawing homosexual marriage & carrying firearms) - it's possible that two people being married may have saved one or the other (or possibly both) of their lives. However the estimates of defensive firearms use in this country range from 80,000 on the low end to 2,000,000 on the high end. Considering there are only about 28,000 firearms related deaths per year, of which about 16,000 are suicides, under 1,000 are accidental shootings & the rest are intentional (with no valid break down of justifiable v. unjustifiable shootings known to me at this time) I'd say the justification for prohibiting arms is very weak.

& now for Peggy -

"That guy made the classic apples & oranges mistake, so no wonder someone cried foul fruit.
(heh)." - Peggy from A Movable Beast

Hmm, let's see... one person is defying state law because he feels that said law conflicts with a constitutionally protected Right. The other person ask if it'd be okay to violate a state law because such law conflicts with a constitutionally protected Right. Both actions if allowed have the potential to create harm but do not actually cause any harm in & of themselves (marriage leads to emotional & financial problems on occasion, & firearms could be used to shoot innocent people). The only difference I see (in theory at least) is that one is implied to be a constitutional Right & the other is specifically enumerated as a constitutionally protected Right.
You could get into the obvious differences - one is between two adults & the state while the other is just between an adult & his/her conscience; one is being done by an elected official & the other is merely asking that official if he'd be supportive if a citizen done the thing in question.

But in theory they're the same: an act of civil disobedience that hopefully will either assert what is considered to be a Right by the inaction of the government or by action of the government (through the courts). They vary in details but not in principle.

Well I think that's everyone for now. If anyone else wishes to argue that Mr. Codrea should have been investigated, or that his point was not the same in principle as the one being made by SF Mayor Newsom feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, February 20, 2004

Freedom of speech in Cali? Not if it's about firearms.

David Codrea wrote this piece in which he asks if SF is willing to allow people to exercise their Right to Arms since they are willing to make a stand on homosexual marraige.

Now Mr. Codrea is being investigated for questioning the civil authority.

"Did you know that writing a rhetorical letter to the civil authorities in California challenging their hypocrisy results in a police investigation that includes not only calls from detectives but two black and white police cruisers coming to your home?"

I'll leave it to you to hit the links & get the details.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

The South Dakota Gun Owners are in disagreement with the NRA on another issue; carrying a firearm in your vehicle without permission.

From SDGO's alert on HB 1247:

"Current South Dakota law denies your right to arms by severely limiting your ability to carry a handgun for self-defense in any vehicle.
Only by securing a government permit can you legally defend yourself while in your car. If you carry a loaded, accessible handgun in any vehicle without a concealed pistol permit, you may be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by a year in jail and a $1000 fine. "

Of note is that they list the home phone numbers of the legislators so you can actually speak to them if their mailbox is turned off full. I doubt the NRA would approve, but I see nothing wrong with that approach.

So HB 1247 would have made carry in a vehicle permissable w/o a permit. You'd think that any pro-gun group would support it right?

Enter the NRA.

"But surprisingly, David Conway, lobbyist for NRA affiliated South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, opposed this pro-gun bill in committee, stating that he had a problem with repealing the permit requirement.

"If you’re going to carry in an enclosed motor vehicle, you better have a permit,' Mr. Conway stated. He then brought an amendment, supported by the NRA, which completely wiped out the pro-gun language of HB 1247 and replaced it with a minor adjustment to current law.
The only change the Conway amendment makes is to allow a handgun carried in a closed compartment to be loaded. Current law (SDCL 22-14-10) allows a person without a permit to carry only an unloaded handgun in a closed compartment or container too large to be concealed."

Now will someone please try to explain to me why the NRA is thought of as a pro-gun org?

Yet another example of the NRA arguing against a pro-gun position in favor of an anti-gun position. This isn't the first time the NRA has argued for registration & I doubt it will be the last.

If you're an NRA member, don't delude yourself into thinking that your helping gun owners.
I will be severely dissappointed in donations to the NRA from South Dakota residents do not decline after this.

"NRA distances itself from South Dakota Guns Owners group"

That's usually a good sign that the group in question is on the right track.

"RAPID CITY -- The National Rifle Association wants no part of a Rapid-City-based pro-gun group that charged Gov. Mike Rounds with supporting the confiscation of private firearms and drew an angry rebuke from state legislators for its aggressive lobbying tactics."

lmao. Of course the NRA doesn't want any part of aggressive lobbying tactics - after all, that might lead to a pro-gun victory.

"David Conway of Black Hawk, legislative affairs director for the NRA-affiliated South Dakota Shooting Sports Association, said Monday that the NRA had no connection to the group South Dakota Gun Owners and doesn't approve of its lobbying style. 'Their methods at the Capitol are not our methods,' Conway said. 'We choose to have a working relationship with state officials, whereas they choose to attack'. "

Working relationship usually means they'll stab gun owners in the back if it'll get them a little more clout in the capitol.

But let me get this starigh: in situations where state legislators are attacking a persons' Right to Arms the NRA would rather sit down & have a few drinks with them than call them for the treasonous bastards they are? The situation may be different, but the philosophy is not different than Chamberlin's diplomatic strategy with Hitler.

"Conway said he was concerned that people were associating the NRA with South Dakota Gun Owners and the organization's extremist rhetoric. Conway said South Dakota Gun Owners' spokesmen Ray Lautenschlager and his son, Zachary, have distorted the facts about legislative proposals and the positions of Rounds and some legislators on gun rights."

Extremist rhetoric? What? Were they quoting some constitution again? But in all fairness, the NRA has done much more distorting of 'facts' concerning gun laws than any other group that claims to be pro-gun. But I really wonder about the charge that SDGO is distorting the position of politicians on gun Rights; this is simply because I feel the NRA doesn't mean gun Rights, but rather refers to their willingness to cut deals with the NRA. It'd be interesting to see exactly what's going on.

"They come from a radical standpoint. They're on a perpetual fund-raising mission, too," Conway said. "They were out misinforming people in the state. The governor isn't out to grab anyone's guns."

Hold up!. Now wait a damn minute. The NRA...the N friggin R friggin A is accusing someone of being on a perpetual fund raising mission? That's like a convicted rapist accusing an octogenerian with erectile dysfunction of being a threat to women! Hell, even those I know who agree (for one reason or another) with the NRA get tired of getting calls & letters urging them to become members - especially after they've joined.

& again, the NRA shouldn't accuse anyone of misniforming poeple on gun related issues. Consequently their reassurances about the governor are not comforting.

"The Lautenschlagers maintain that their criticisms of Rounds and some legislators are based on their support for anti-gun legislation that threatens Second Amendment freedoms. They deny distorting any facts or trying to intimidate legislators, beyond expressing their views and holding lawmakers accountable for their votes."

Ya see, the legislation only threatens a gun owners Rights. It doesn't threaten the NRA's clout so therefore it's not really anti-gun.

"Let those who are making allegations of misinformation produce the evidence,' Zachary Lautenschlager said. 'We stand behind the truth of our information."

Ah, truth. Oddly enough it almsot rhymes with proof. I wonder if the NRA has either one?

"Some lawmakers complained about the manner in which they told their version of the truth. Republican Rep. Joni Cutler of Sioux Falls considered one e-mail from a member to be a threat and turned it over to authorities. Lautenschlager questions that because Cutler has declined to reveal what was said in the e-mail."

I have very little sympathy for a lawmaker who feels threatened because of holding a position contrary to the Rights of the people. That being said if it was threatening it should be investigated. But it is suspicious that claims of a threat are made but the details are withheld.

"Republican Rep. Larry Rhoden of Union Center, a hunter and longtime gun-rights supporter, said his family was disturbed at home by rude telephone calls from South Dakota Gun Owners supporters. Conway said that kind of lobbying reflects poorly on the entire pro-gun movement."

Hunter or Fuddite? In any case a legislator should be disturbed by rude calls if he supports legislation that would curtail a citizens' Rights. Again, I have no sympathy for the legislator.

I wonder if he would complain if he got angry calls because he was supporting a measure to make black people drink from seperate water fountains? would he then also claim it reflected badly on the civil rights movement?

"They were nailing and going after people who, for many, many years, had been my strongest supporters in the Capitol,' Conway said. 'I've never had even the slightest anti-gun legislation from these people they've been condemning."

So he's upset about his "...stongest supporters..." being heatedly questioned as to their stance on a bill that would infringe upn the Rights of the people. Does he not have a clue as to why people may feel so passionate about a law that would infringe upon their Rights?

& it is one thing to "...never [have]...anti-gun legislation..." from a legislator, but taken that at face value it simply means that his "supporters" have never sponsoered anti-gun legislation. It does not mean they never voted for it once it was introduced. & still we are left with the definition of "anti-gun". I'm quite sure the NRA's explanation would be markedly different from mine.

"Zachary Lautenschlager said he and his father couldn't control every contact a member of the organization made with legislators. But he believes most were done with 'polite phone calls and signed postcards."

That's a good point. Exactly how many rude &/or threatening calls were made as oppossed to polite &/or non-threatening calls?

"As for the implication that he and his dad are stirring emotions to raise funds, Lautenschlager said they are both volunteers. They run the organization out of an office in Ray Lautenschlager's business in Rapid City, Zachary said.
As for fund-raising, he said 'every organization raises money, including the NRA."

Especially the NRA. Lapiere's 6 figure salary doesn't grow on trees ya know.

"Lautenschlager said South Dakota Gun Owners is an unincorporated, nonprofit organization. A proclamation on its Web site,, says it is 'South Dakota's only no-compromise gun-rights organization."

No wonder the NRA is trying to distance itself.

"Before the legislative session, the group sent a letter to gun owners criticizing Rounds for defending a 'tyrannical law' previously approved by the state Legislature and former Gov. Bill Janklow to allow the state to confiscate private property during situations deemed emergencies.
The revision of state law came in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and was promoted as a way to strengthen state authority to act in such situations. Rounds, a hunter and gun owner himself, said it was a never a threat to private gun owners, even though some guns might be seized, at least temporarily, under extreme situations."

Some guns might be seized temporaily? Wait a sec - I thought the NRA said the gov. wasn't going to seize anyone's guns?

The law in question seems similar to laws in other states that provide for confiscation of firearms during an emergency.

But this is a threrat to private gun owners. Anytime the state says they may seize your firearms that's a threat. A very serious threat & one that should not be ignored.

"The South Dakota Gun Owners letter called the law a 'blatant trampling of the Bill of Rights' and asked for financial contributions to help 'stop this outrageous denial of property and gun rights."

& the NRA distances itself from that?

"The Lautenschlagers worked with Rep. Tim Begalka, R-Clear Lake to introduce HB1287, which would have prohibited seizures of any property, including firearms."

Don't they know that only the NRA is suppossed to work to get legislation introduced?

"Rounds pushed his bill to clarify that firearms would not be among the items that could be seized in such situations"

Of course the flaw with Rounds bill is that while the people can't have their firearms stolen from them by the state, then they have the means to prevent theft of other property. Bet he didn't think of that did he?

Sounds to me though that the bill protecting firearms specifically as well as other property would be more desirable.

"Legislators killed HB1287 in a House committee. Rounds' proposal, SB212, passed the House and a Senate committee and has action pending on the Senate floor."

Killing a non-NRA pro-gun bill in committee. Hmm, where have I heard that before?

"Begalka said he knows the existing law would never threaten firearms while Rounds was governor.
'The main focus was for the future,' he said. 'Thirty or 50 years from now, we don't know who the governor will be."

Well he makes a good point, but personally I wouldn't want anyone having that kind of power, whether he's a decent person or not. I think the trust in the current governor is misplaced.

"Begalka said he believes the Lautenshlagers are sincere in their work to protect the private ownership of guns. But he also understands why some legislators are upset with their tactics.
'The Lautenschlagers have been a little too loose with words on some of their mailings, a little bit too far out there,' he said. 'I believe they are very sincere and genuine. They're just a little too extreme for something in the Legislature."

I take this to mean they spoke the truth, politicians got uncomfy & the NRA got pissed.

"Zachary Lautenschlager said he and his dad are representing gun owners who need a strong, uncompromising voice. And they won't be run out of the Capitol by criticism, he said.
'We are not done,' he said. 'South Dakota Gun Owners is not finished."

That means there's still hope for South Dakota.

Here's the link to South Dakota Gun Owners

Here's SDGO's alert on Rep. Tim Begalka's HB1287. Outside of the bogus quote often attributed to Washington I don't see anything extreme in the language. Sure, they suggest contacting the reps at home on the week ends, but until the laws they pass onyl apply 9 to 5 while we're at work I don't see this as unreasonable.

Here's SDGO's alert on Gov. Rounds' SB212. Again other than the bogus quote attributed to Washington I don't see what's so bad.

Here's the SDGO's after action report on the bill they supported being killed in committee.

& thanks to Say Uncle who was again faster on the draw than I was.

Kids don't know their Rights according to this story in the Arizona Daily wildcat.

"Todd said the right that is being most threatened in today's world is the right to freedom of expression."

James Todd is senior lecturer for the political science department, & apparently clueless as to what state the 2nd amendment is currently in.

But the gist of it is that college kids simply don't know what cops can & can't do. There are a few appeals by students & cops for the kids to learn what their Right are.

& this is the correct way to go about it; a person should be entirely responsible for finding out what their Rights are & how far the government can go. But most kids are victims of government schools where basic Rights are denied while they attend & more or less they simply get accustomed to not having those Rights. You don't usually miss what you're never had & that tactic has been working well for government for some time.

But what happens when a person does know his Rights? Well, in this example he gets arrested & his daughter gets roughed up during the arrest.

Short version is this: a man was parked on the side of the road while arguing with his 17 year old daughter. Cops show up to investigate a domestic violence call (apparently some motorist claims they saw the man hitting the woman) & ends up arresting the man because he refuses to produce I.D. When his daughter steps out of the truck the cops throw her down & sit on her while they cuff her. It's only at this point do they ask her what happened.

He's appealing his conviction for "delaying a peace officer" to SCOTUS. Hopefully they'll hear the case & decide that a person's papers not being in order is not enough to justify an arrest, but I'm not holding my breath.

Thanks to Say Uncle for both of the stories.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

As part of the conditions of the 5 questions meme, I was obligated to ask 5 questions of any blogger who requested it.

Here are links to those who have answered the question so far:

Yellowdog of Yellowblog

Dave at Pervasivelight

Geek with a .45 from the aptly named Geekwitha.45

Go read them.
Okay, since no one offered to, I'll fisk the Denver Post article myself...

"Kill the Wild West gun bill"

Nice title. But for me it conjures up visions of making Colt 1873 Single Action Army revolvers illegal.

"Rep. Greg Brophy's attempt to turn Colorado streets into the gun-slinging Old West will only jeopardize the rights of responsible gun owners."

Now let's examine this for a second. What the Denver Post is saying is that if you assert your Rights you'll jeopardize them. Huh? I wonder if they'd say that if a bill passes to allow newspapers to speak ill of incumbents that it would jeopardize the 1rst amendment?

The "wild west" is partially a myth. True, it was a bit less regulated than most of the periods in american history that followed it, but not any worse than the periods which proceeded it. The mythical wild west was a creation of dime store novels, traveling shows & finally motion pictures. For further reading on he origins of the mythical wild west I recommend Cowboy: How Hollywood Invented the Wild West by Holly George-Warren.

But it's not surprising that the Denver Post would make such an assertion. After all, if they saw it in a picture it must be true right?

I will point out that in the wild west - both mythical & actual - open carry of firearms was not uncommon. The Denver Post has been against any citizen carrying openly & against people carrying concealed, so I suppose their paranoia about one mode of carry gets confused with the other.

So it's an inaccurate analogy in that the mythical wild west to which they refer was a place where people carried openly as opposed to concealed (although I'm sure small revolvers & derringers were carried concealed, the majority of arms were carried openly).

& don't get me wrong - if a person wants to carry openly or concealed that's their business - not that of the state or county or city or any other construct aside from an owner of private (i.e. non-government) property. My point is merely that the Post doesn't seem to know what the hell it's talking about.

"Lawmakers should promptly shoot down Brophy's House Bill 1281 when it's heard in committee next week."

I bet the writer patted him/herself on the back for 2 or 3 minutes over the "cleverness" of that sentence.

"The proposal allows anyone who can legally possess a handgun to conceal it in public. Brophy says it allows law- abiding citizens to conceal firearms 'without going through the burdensome and expensive process of acquiring a permit."

& the problem is...?

"In reality, it's a giant leap backward from the responsible concealed-carry law approved last spring."

Ah, they refer to the "shall issue" law that is more restrictive than the "may issue" law that it replaced.

But note the use of the word "responsible". In the context of the sentence another word such as "restrictive" or burdensome" would have been a better more concise. But that would have alerted readers to their true intent.

"For nearly a decade, The Post has prodded lawmakers to approve a reasonable concealed-carry proposal that respected the government-protected rights of gun owners while balancing the need for public safety."

note the keywords: "reasonable", "balance" & "safety". We've seen "reasonable" before & we'll see it again. It's the politically correct way to rebuke any attempts to retain something you have as selfish. By "reasonable" they really mean "more restrictive".

"Balance" is inappropriate, as they assume that there must be an equal share for something to be correct. This simply isn't reality. In this case however, they mean "imbalance". What they want to do is balance their feelings of public safety with your Right to carry the means to defend yourself. Balancing an actuality with a potentiality seldom accomplishes anything other than restricting the actuality. I wonder if they've ever contepmlated Aristotle's answer to the question of which came first; the chicken or the egg? Didn't he say that actuality trumped potentiality?

In any case the "balance" they desire is an unfair one as it seeks to make the exercise of a Right more burdensome so they can "feel" safer without being safer.

In reality the public safety is much better served by not interfering with a person's Right to arm his/herself. That's because in reality the cops cannot be everywhere at once & the vast majority of the time they show up after a crime has been committed. People with harmful intent do not obey laws about carrying weapons in a certain manner & those laws tend to put the people without harmful intent on unequal footing. The public safety is much better served when a person with harmful intent has to face the possibility that his victim may be able to fight back successfully.

"For too long, the state was a patchwork of inconsistent laws that varied from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. It was confusing and, in some cases, responsible gun owners were denied concealed- carry permits based solely on their residence."

I somehow doubt the sincerity of the Post being troubled by people not being able to get permits based solely upon where they live. & also the troubling aspect to the Post is not that the laws were varied & confusing (as they are big proponents of local control trumping individual Rights) but that some sheriffs were giving permits to people that weren't residents of their respective counties.

"But lawmakers continually closed their eyes to the problem."

Ah, not really. There were a few attempts at passing a more lenient concealed carry law than the may issue system that was in place. But to the Post this was not addressing the problem. The problem wasn't that the laws were too confusing or burdensome, but too lenient.

"Finally, the legislature last spring approved Sen. Ken Chlouber's proposal that required a criminal background check and fingerprinting of those wanting to carry concealed weapons. The applicants also must successfully complete a certified firearms-safety course and pay $100 for the license. The National Rifle Association joined The Denver Post in backing this responsible bill."

Don't get me started on the constant betrayal of gun owners by the NRA. But may I point out that fingerprinting & criminal background checks were present in the may issue system that this new law replaced. The training classes are new as is the permit fee, making the process more expensive as well as burdensome on the applicant. But I assume that the Post feels that the economically challenged don't need to defend themselves since they have raised no objections to this or any other firearms related fees imposed by the government. In fact they were upset when a bill was withdrawn that would have charged gun purchasers for the redundant background check performed by Colorado.

"Chlouber's bill also included a "naked man" exception to allow denial of a permit to those who have no criminal records but are demonstrably unstable. His bill was essentially the same one the legislature passed in the spring of 1999 but which was prudently withdrawn right after the Columbine massacre."

Ah yes - the "naked man" exception, which makes the "shall issue" concealed carry law no different in principle than the may issue law it replaced.

But now if their Post had really been upset by the may issue system's unfair & disproportionate treatment of gun owners & had backed it being replaced for a decade, & further approved of the law which replace dit, then why was it "prudent" to withdraw a proposal to change the old law with which they disagreed? Feelings trump reality for most anti-freedom people. I see the Post as no exception. I simply see no reason whatsoever that would justify withdrawing a bill they claim to support because of the Columbine murders.

"Unfortunately, the legislature didn't stop there. It also passed Senate Bill 25 - an offensive intrusion on local affairs. It strikes down local rules on where and how firearms can be carried, including the ban in Denver and other cities on carrying a gun openly."

As I said earlier, the Post openly supports a city or county impeding &/or prohibiting your Right to Arms as an individual. Don't believe that they find one manner of carry preferable to another - they detest the idea of a mere peasant being able to defend his/herself. Contrasting one method with another is just a subtle tactic in their overall desire to have us all defenseless.

"It also voids Denver's ban on certain assault-rifle 'look-alikes,' a law already upheld by the Colorado Supreme Court."

Since Dred Scott v. Sanford upheld that a black man wasn't entitled to individual rights that slavery was morally justifiable? Or that since courts convicted people in the 20's of drinking or possessing alcohol that Prohibition was a good thing?

The Denver Post was correct in referring to the ban on "...assault rifle 'look alikes'..."

Assault rifle is a phrase coined by Hitler to describe what had been called the Machinenpistole 43. Hitler thought that this was inaccurate & christened it the SturmGewehr 44 which translates into Assault Rifle 44. Since then the practical definition of assault rifle has been a compact rifle or carbine that fires a cartridge of intermediate power & is capable of fully automatic fire. The ban Denver had was like the federal ban in that it only affected rifles with cosmetic similarities to assault rifles, but it erroneously called them assault rifles just as the federal ban does. Denver (& the feds) view certain aesthetic features as constituting an assault rifle despite the fact that the mechanism employed by these alledged assault rifles is no different than the mechanism employed by countless rifles that have been used for hunting for the last 100 years.

For instance the Remington Model 740 is not considered an assault weapon by most assault weapon bans, even though it is semi-automatic & feeds from a magazine. (From the factory it comes with a 4 round magazine, but I've seen after market magazines available with up to a 10 round capacity. It wouldn't surprise me if there were some after market magazines that had a capacity higher than that.)The Olympic Arms GI-20 Model would be considered an assault weapon by most bans because it has the politically incorrect pistol grip as well as a 20 round magazine. This despite the fact that it functions with a similar mechanism & is capable of only firing in the semi-automatic mode. & what is seldom brought up is that most of those alledged assault rifles &/or look alikes are chambered in cartridges less powerful than the cartridges available in lever action rifles in the 1890's. But if you have a pistol grip, telescoping or folding stock, flash hider (which doesn't actually "hide" the flash but rather diverts it to the side so it won't interfere with the shooter's vision) &/or can accept a magazine that holds more than 10 cartridges, it's feared as an assault rifle by most firearms ignorant politicians & the media.

Another example is the lowly Ruger 10/22. From the factory it is not usually considered an assault rifle, but if you add this stock (& take out the weld so it folds as it was designed to) then it's an assault weapon. The rifle would function the same regardless of which stock it was in; it just looks scarier to some people in a folding stock with a pistol grip.

But what the Post is advocating is that a city or county should have the authority to prohibit possession or ownership of a certain type of firearm based solely on arbitrary aesthetic standards - this despite the Colorado Constitution's prohibition on interfering with the Right to keep & bear arms.

"Colorado Constitution Article 2 Section 13. Right to bear arms.
The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons"

Aside from the last part (about concealed weapons) I'd say Colorado's Constitution is spot on. Clearly it prevents any interference with an individual's exercise of said Right. But the Post would rather assert the idea that a city or county can negate the Rights of an individual.

"Senate Bill 25 is being challenged in court."

& that means the tax dollars of the good people of Denver are going towards a lawsuit designed to take away their Rights.

"The Post supports Coloradans' right to protect themselves, but Brophy's proposal removes the valuable safeguards now built into Colorado law."

That's a lie; the Post does not support a Right - rather it argues in favor fo a privilege. Anytime you have to ask (or in this case beg & bribe) permission it's not viewed as a Right, but rather as a privilege graciously granted by government. Rep. Brophy's proposal would actually make Colorado treat individual Rights with the proper respect. So to oppose it but yet claim you support an individual's Right is contradictory.

& those safeguards that are currently in place now? What safeguards? The concealed carry law here merely erects hurdles for those who have no harmful intent while doing nothing - I repeat nothing - to prevent someone with harmful intent from carrying. In fact since it's a bit of a chore & expense in getting a permit to begin with, most with harmful intent can be reasonably sure that their victim will be unarmed.

Has anyone ever not broken a serious law because to do so would entail breaking a minor one? Does the Post really expect us to believe that someone who wants to rob a liquor store or shoot up a school is going to change his/her mind because he/she couldn't get a concealed carry permit???

The only safeguard society will have is that every person has the unfettered Right to carry the means of self defense. It won't decrease crime but it will cause a shift from confrontational crimes to non-confrontational crimes. It's basic logic; a person who wishes to steal will try to find the path of least resistance. Now that path is someone whom they're reasonably sure isn't carrying. If Rep. Brophy's bill hadn't been killed by the cowards in the Committee of State, Military & Veteran's Affairs at the urging of the hypocrites who claim to be gun Rights groups (NRA, CSSA) then the person intent on stealing would be more tempted to wait until your car was unattended before trying to steal it, rather than slapping you around until they got the keys from you.

"We have always opposed Vermont-style 'warm body' concealed-carry bills. In that state, anyone who can legally own a firearm can conceal their weapon."

Which means they have never supported the Right to Arms. By the way, what problems has it created for Vermont or Alaska for that matter? Granted, the cultures of those two respective states differs somewhat from Colorado, as does the population & economy, but I have seen nothing to indicate that no-permit-required carry laws have affected Vermont or Alaska adversely.

"This bill should be killed in committee. It doesn't meet the standards Gov. Bill Owens has set for gun laws, so it's likely to be vetoed if approved, anyway."

So because an anti-Rights governor with a pro-gun image won't approve it then it's a bad law? I've seen weaker reasoning, but not since elementary school. The "standards" our governor has set for gun laws are atrocious. One of his standards for a concealed carry bill was that no carry would be allowed in schools. That means instead of a parent or teacher being able to nip a Columbine-like incident in the bud, the school would be locked down while waiting on the sheriff's department & then further waiting would ensue as the sheriff's department would discuss how best to approach the situation for a few hours. I'd trust the governor's judgment on anything "gun" right after I took singing lessons from Yoko Ono.

"Lawmakers should save Gov. Owens the extra work and put an end to this bill now."

The Denver Post should save it's almost irreparably shattered reputation (along with trees & ink) by not writing anonymous editorials that attempt to justify why I should continue to be a criminal should I exercise a most basic, fundamental Right.

The Post contradicts itself in its own article. It either hasn't clearly thought out the issue, or it's dealing from feelings & other abstract motivations rather than facts & sound logic.

The Post got its wish as the bill was killed in committee, but rather than rejoice they should mourn. I guess they still fail to realize that an assault on one Right is an assault on all. I wonder if they'd have felt differently if the bill was trying to correct a law that made the carrying of a newspaper concealed in a briefcase a crime?

& as usual here are the names of those on the editorial staff:

"The members of The Post editorial board are William Dean Singleton, chairman and publisher; Bob Ewegen, deputy editorial page editor; Todd Engdahl, assistant editorial page editor; Peter G. Chronis, Dan Haley and Penelope Purdy , editorial writers; Mike Keefe, cartoonist; Barbara Ellis, news editors; and Fred Brown and Barrie Hartman, associate members."

Since it was not a signed editorial I assume that all those named agree with the opinions expressed in the editorial. So as usual I encourage anyone who has business dealings with these people to refuse to trade with them as long as they hold such a disrespectful view of your Rights.