Thursday, February 06, 2003

D.C. cabbies will not be allowed to carry guns for their protection. In a meeting of the city's Taxicab Commission a proposal to arm the cabbies was discussed. "In the "it's about time" category were some drivers who say they need something more to fight back against the occasional armed passenger. On the "not in this lifetime" side was virtually everyone associated with city government."
So those at the city government, who have access to police bodyguards, are against the idea of the cabbies excercising their right to self defense. I wonder if their minds would change if they had to drive a cab in the rough parts of D.C.?

Over at the Volokh Conspiracy there was a blog by Jacob Levy concerning a government displaying symbols that some find inappropriate. The conclusion is that it is not censorship to restrain a government from displaying symbols that are improper in some peoples' views.
Now I can agree that to a point a state can be constrained from displaying certain symbols or honoring certain people. But the most obvious recent example that comes to mind is the Confederate flag being flown at the capitol of South Carolina. I think we all know the story - the flag had been flow for a number of years & the NAACP organized a boycott of SC because they felt it to be a symbol of racism.
Well, here's the other perspective:
The flag of the confederacy was not about racism. or slavery, or anything but a flag that represented a new nation that was trying to break off & form properly from an older one. Without going into much detail the War between the States was fought not because the South was trying to keep the black man down, but because the Southern states did not think that the constitution was being honored by the union generally & specifically by the boys in Washington. A few states seceded, the Union army refused to vacate, shots were fired, The North then decided to use force to compel the Southern states that had declared independence & a few more states joined the Confederacy. Now slavery was a part of it, but not the main factor, & certainly not the main reason for the war on either side. If the Union fought to free the slaves, then why did it not do so untill 1863? If the South fought to preserve slavery, then why did it suceed at all as slavery was not in danger of being voted away at the time? A prime example: Gen. Robert E. Lee freed his slaves in 1858. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant freed his in 1866. The war between the States was more complex than the single issue of slavery. Likewise the flag of the Confederacy was not meant to be a symbol of racism. It was a symbol of a new country that never had the chance to prove or disprove itself. It was also the last war that was truly fought for independence on american soil. Every war since then has had some measure of our national interest involved, & by no means am I saying that all were unjustified. But the War between the States was the last war where a people challenged the power & authority of the Federal government en masse & under arms. Yes, slavery would have existed for a while longer if the South had won it's independence, but there is nothing conclusive that shows it would have ended any sooner if the South wouldn't have seceded. In my opinion, due to a number of socio-economic factors, slavery would have ended by the 1880's or 1890's if the War between the States didn't happen for one reason or another. Now I agree that would have been 20 years too long for the slaves. It is with shame that I think of that practice being endorsed in my home state, but it was also endorsed by the constitution itself through various concessions given to slave holding states, so i cannot place the entire blame on the Southern states. But the war in question was not about slavery, not untill the Union started composing the text books that is.
As you see there are some, myself for example, that see no legitimate reason why a state should remove a symbol of it's history because of later negative connotations ascribed to it by a group of people, especially those belonging to another state. As a matter of fact, Lincolns' practices during the war were more of an affront to civil liberties than anything done personally by Pres. Jeff Davis or Gen. Lee respectively. If memory serves he not only suspended Habeus Corpus, as was constitutionally allowed, but interfered with a state legislature (Maryland if i remember), escalated a tense political situation into a war by refusing to remove federal troops from a state at that states' request, freed slaves in the southern states (who at the time were a seperate country), suppressed crtics unlawfully, suppressed newspapers who didn't support him, was an overall tyrant, & finally, though this was common during that time, he was a racist. Look here for more info on Lincoln, as well as here. In fact, a rather interesting comparison between Pres. Lincoln & Supreme Chancellor Palpatine (later to become Emperor Palpatine of Star Wars fame) has been made by David Dieteman.
So for it to be fair to prevent a state from flying the Confederate flag because some think it is a symbol of racism, then I would submit it would also be fair to remove any statue of Lincoln that sits upon public grounds. I would not have either happen. Instead I would prefer an honest debate about the the Confederacy & about Lincoln. To remove a symbol because some think it is inappropriate can be justifiable only if it can be convincing that the object in question does come from a source of real & provable objection, not merely the opinion of a few people, or even a lot of people. I would submit that fact rather than emotion should have the last say on matters such as this, but emotions are powerful & I do not expect to seem them controlled by a mere thing such as truth. Nor do I expect to see perceptions replaced by logic.
There are certain instances where a government can & should be compelled to remove a symbol, but these cases are very very rare & as I reflect I cannot think of one instance where the removal of a statue or a flag would be preferable to honest & well reasoned debate over the true nature of the requests for removal of an object.

As an aside, Mr. Levy says in a paper he authored that he linked to in the aforementioned blog from The Volokh Conspiracy,

"There is a difference between celebrating figures for the war they fought to defend slavery (Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis) and celebrating figures who owned slaves but
who are being celebrated for other reasons (George Washington)."

I would respectfully submit to Mr. Levy that Gen. Lee & Pres. Davis did not fight a war to preserve slavery. They fought a war because they sought freedom from a federal government that they viewed as rapidly becoming oppresive. I again point out that Gen. Lee freed his slaves before the start of the war in question, while Gen. Grant did not free his untill after. There were many reasons for the war, but neither side fought solely over the question of slavery. Yes, slavery was a part of it but only a part, & not the largest part. The two Confederates you alluded to being in favor of the institution of slavery were in fact two of the most upstanding men this nation has ever seen. Lee had his faults, but a love or attachment to slavery did not seem to be one of them. Davis did defend slavery as an institution prior to the war, but it seems his view was formed from the point of it being a states' place to decide what occurs in ones' own state & not a matter for other states to meddle in. I am sure they had the prejudices that most white people had at the time, but I have never read anything from either of them that would cause me to believe that they fought a war solely to preserve slavery.

I refer you to this letter written by Robert E. Lee in 1856.
& this letter to Franklin Pierce written by Jeff Davis in 1861.

If you have any sources to back up your assertions that either one did in deed fight for the sake of continuing slavery due to a personal approval of said practice, then I would appreciate it if you documented it for me. Otherwise I would insist that you make a correction to your paper that includes your statement that I quoted above.

From the pen of Ron Paul. Read it when you can, or should I say while you can.
The Cato Institute claims that Bush's new budget isn't al that it seems. The Libertarian Party press release sums it up as $10 in new spending for every $1 in tax cuts.

“It seems there really is a difference between Democrats and Republicans: Democrats brag about their big-government instincts, while Republicans lie about theirs.”

Ya know, there's still a bill in the House to replace the IRSS & the income tax with a national sales tax. We should probably jump on that before anyone in Washington tries to save us more money!

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Bush's budget increases include extra money for finding "tax cheats". The libertarian in me has a little trouble with the concept of a "tax cheat". If the money belongs to the individual, then how can one be accused of cheating by trying to keep as much of that money as possible. However if the money belongs to the government then it makes more sense to accuse someone of cheating.

"The administration identified five areas to which more resources would be devoted to stem tax cheating: abusive corporate tax shelters, unreported income among higher-income taxpayers, failure by employers to turn over taxes withheld from paychecks or even to withhold them, misuse of trusts and offshore accounts to hide income, and "tax denial" schemes that are based on claims that the tax code does not apply to most Americans."

Now the "...failure by employers to turn over taxes withheld from paychecks or even to withhold them..." seems improperly lumped together. Naturally most people, even the "tax protestors" would find fault with an employer who witholds money for the sake of taxes & then keeps it for himself. But failing to withold taxes from an employees paycheck does not seem to be in that same category of morally wrong. It is perhaps not even legally wrong, but that depends solely upon who you ask. If I am not mistaken, the employee is responsible for any & all taxes if the employer fails to withhold them from his weekly or monthly check. Yes, there is the chance that the employee will not pay his taxes, but as pointed out in the first half of the sentence, there is also a chance that the employer will not pay the employees share of the taxes even when he withholds. I would assume that the danger in allowing employees to receive their full pay & settling up with the IRSS later is not that they wouldn't pay, but that they would realize exactly how much they're paying.

The "tax denial schemes" being referred to are a growing but very under-reported movement that claims that not only are income taxes immoral, but not legal or constitutional. They are not all people who claim aliens instituted the income tax to prepare us for being intergalactic slaves, however there are some fringe elements who stand on shaky ground when they insist of a conspiracy by a small group of people to control the whole world, with the u.s. income tax being part of their plan. Still, there are a lot of very well reasoned arguements. For a more in depth explanation, visit The Boston Tea Party, which if their info is correct a majority of congressmen have voted for one bill or another that would abolish the income tax, Irwinn Schiff, We The People, & Fairtax. I assume that most people would agree on the Fairtax proposals being sound even if they wouldn't agree with any of the other sites listed.

The article does mention some of the reasons behind some of the "tax protestors" actions, but only in a very superficial way & only those things that seem like a bad conspiracy theory. It goes on to mention that no judge has held any of the cited arguements against the income tax as valid. It would be pleasant to have a reporter talk to someone who has valid arguements against the income tax instead of relying on haphazard reasons that some fringe elements assert.

But the media of late seems to be more interested in doing PR for the government on issues like these than in reporting both sides of an issue without bias. Why is it though, that most people who realize that the media is biased in one area, such as gun control, fail to question what they report on another issue, like taxes?
Many people can see the leanings of the press towards the government on some issues & away on others. This could be the cause for confusion if one sees this as an inconsistency. Personally I feel that it can be explained by socialistic goals: most of the times the press seems bias towards the government it is because the government is leaning in the direction of socialism generally. On the occassions when the bias seems against the government, it is because that particular issue being proposed by the government leans towards a capitalistic idea, or at least away from a socilist one. Now this is just a theory & it is a crass generalization at that, but it does seem to explain things rather neatly.
For example:
Gun control - a prominent idea in socialist countries. The government seems for it to some degree, so the press is behind them.
Income tax - a program absolutely neccesary for socialism to exist. The government generally is for it, so again the press seem pro- government.
Welfare programs - again, absolutely neccesary in a socialist country. It seems popular in the government, so the press seems pro government.
Tax cuts - a bad idea, since socialism depends on collecting as much revenue as possible from the people. When the government seems for it, the press seem anti-government.
The U.N. - a group of governments who seem to espouse ideas that are in some ways fundamental to the growth of socialism. Think of it as global socialism.When the government opposes or rejects a U.N. idea, the press seems anti-government, just as when the government supports a U.N. idea, the press seem pro government.

Now granted, these points can be argued & i am no way saying that this is an absolutely definitive rule, but it does seem on the surface to be worth considering.

But on the subject of the income tax system we currently have, it was a bad idea from the start & doesn't seem to be getting any better. I'd suggest writing your reps & senators & telling them you want the income tax abolished. Fairtax has the idea that would seem to be met with the most acceptence: replacing the income tax with a national sales tax. My only problem with this idea is the rate itself of 23%. Not that I am opposed to paying that if the only other option is to continue with the income tax system, I just feel that 1; a 23% tax rate will support the government at it's current level: I want government to decrease, not increase or even stay at the same size. & 2; Doesn't it seem a bit arrogant for a government to ask for a tax rate higher than what most churhces ask for from their members? The traditional tithe for a christian church is 10% of your profits. It could be argued, although only those of a religious leaning would be in agreement, that for a government made up of men to ask more money than what God ask for is a little bit insulting.
A Dave Limbaugh article on the current trend towards suing gun makers for criminal misuse or negligence on the part of consumers, both legal & illegal.

"But the case was about much more than Mrs. Grunow's loss, as shown by the participation in the suit by the Brady Center to Prevent Handgun Violence, the nation's largest gun-control group. Mrs. Grunow's attorney, Bob Montgomery, made no secret of his agenda. Montgomery, who gained recognition by winning an $11.3 billion settlement against the tobacco industry, said, 'The purpose of this case was to bring to the public and the legislature that the Saturday night specials have no legitimate purpose whatsoever.' Montgomery's partner and co-counsel Rebecca Larson added, (Mrs. Grunow's) primary objective was to make a difference in the gun industry, and she's done that."

Neal Boortz has an interesting article on taxes.
Maryland's Gov. Ehrlich is asking lawmakers to pass a Project Exile bill which would institute that program in Maryland. For more info on why this is not a good idea, look here, here & here.
I came across this CNS story about both pro & anti gun groups being concerned over the move of the BATF to the Justice Department. I would suggest that since neither side is happy we disband the BATF alltogether, but that's just me.
I did notice the following:
"Since its inception over 200 years ago, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) has been responsible for regulating and collecting revenue for the U.S. Department of the Treasury."
"The ATTTB will continue to operate within Treasury in nearly the same revenue enforcement role it has maintained since it collected the first excise tax on distilled spirits in 1791."

Now if memory serves the BATF was first created in 1972. Perhaps they mistyped. Perhaps they meant that the U.S. government has been performing this tax collecting function through one agency or another since 1791. But no matter the cause, they are factually in error about the age of the BATF.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

The NY Times has this article entitled Gun Industry Ex-Official Describes Bond of Silence.
This is a big blow to attempts to slow down gun control. Not because it's true. Not because it reveals new & credible information. Simply because it's a catchy headline with a story underneath that can be fluffed up to no end.
This ex-official was fired after trying to broker a deal with Bill Clinton. Considering Mr. Clintons' anti gun leanings & the alledgedly moderate positions of Mr. Ricker I can see several legitimate circumstances that may have called for his dismissal.
Mr. Ricker is actually providing no new factual information. His value is that he is attempting to place blame on the manufacturers. He seems credible because of his resume as an industry insider.
But consider this: he was privy to the information he claims to have that incriminates the major manufacturers for some time, but he only speaks up when asked to by a lawyer for an anti gun organization on behalf of cities who have multi-million dollar lawsuits pending & legislation to stop these kinds of lawsuits is being discussed in congress. So why would you believe someone who tells you the gun industry is covering up information that implicates them in criminal wrongdoing when if that proves to be factual that person is as guilty as the rest. If he's telling the truth, then he's admitting to covering this information up for a number of years & has no credibility.
I would assume though that he is lying for political or monetary gain. Actually most of what he said is more akin to an opinion than fact. Some of the statements he made, concerning straw purchases & the BATF being underpowered are misrepresentations.
In fact, there are about 1/3 the licensed gun dealers there were 10 years ago, thanks to Mr. Clinton & a cooperative congress. the BATF's budget has not, to my knowledge decreased in those ten years. In fact I would assume it has grown every year since about 1990. So why wouldn't the BATF have enough manpower to administer 33% of the dealers it was administering 13 years ago?
& the only way for a dealer to catch someone making a straw purchase is to read their mind. Ocassionally someone will act extremely nervous or admit they're buying the gun for someone else. Barring that however there is simply no way to tell that a person is buying guns for another. Want an example? Ask someone who can legally purchase a firearm to purchase a firearm for you. Explain to them it's a violation of law, but there's no way to catch them if they don't admit it. If they have any compsure, they go to the store, fill out the paperwork, lay down their cash, & when the background check clears they walk out of the store, drive to your house & give you the gun. There is simply no way the dealers can be faulted for someone making a straw purchase under most circumstances. To say they are aware of this is something very difficult to prove.

But he is right - left on their own most manufacturers would negotiate a settlement: they simply do not have the resources to fight a legal battle with a city which has unlimited resources. Most people who don't have lawyers will accept a plea bargain. Most soldiers who are seperated from their unit will surrender when surrounded by a platoon of enemy troops. That does not mean any of the above want to work out deals or give up, it means they have to work out deals or give up in order to survive.

& I have been a critic of the NRA's for sometime. I think they compromise too easily with our rights for the sake of their political esteem. I often joke that they're almost as anti-gun as the VPC. So from where I sit, the only way the NRA could be viewed as being run by "right wing wackos' is if you are sitting far to the left of Barbara Boxer. Actually most would call them center right, but I see them as much closer to being on the right side of left.

Regardless of the particulars, this I'm afraid has done serious damage to the gun industry as well as the movement for the right to self defense. It's put us back on the defensive & the media is going to be all over this one for as long as they can.
I would like to see the affidavit for myself, but I'm afraid the truth would not make as good a headline as the lies that the media prefers to cover.
I'm not exactly pro-government. I have mixed feelings on this whole Iraq-war business. Don't get me wrong: I have no love for Hussein. I just feel that U.S. foreign policy for the last 100 years or so has been miserably handled & erroneously thought out. I'm more of an isolationist. I think that Washington, Jefferson & others of their day were serious when they warned about getting mixed up in foreign affairs. But at the same time I don't think we should turn a blind eye to injustice - hence we should trade with nations we can get along with, but immedietely cut off any trade with a country that is oppressive of it's own people. Like China. & in certain cases I wouldn't be opposed to offering indirect help to the people of a country if they sought to overthrow their government & create a new one. Like China. & again, I'm a sucker for the guys who started this country. They spoke extensively about the evils & perils of a large standing army. So while i believe strongly in national defense, I would like the military downsized significantly. Say cut loose 75% of the non technical soldiers ( i.e. ground troops ) & hang onto the soldiers who specialize in a certain skill that could not be practiced sufficiently as civilians & keep just enough ground troops to fill in the gap should an emergency arise.

Where would we get our ground troops from if war broke out you ask?

Ever heard of the militia? A rather novel concept where each & every able bodied person becomes a soldier when necessary. That also has the plus of the U.S. not being too hasty to jump into a foriegn affair. I don't hold any of this against the troops. they are actually trying to do what they think is right & I respect them for that. I just think their boss is guilty of mismanagement.

Having said all of that, this really disgusts me. If you'll notice though, the same doublespeak & denial that the lawyer for the property owners use is not unfamiliar: politicians use it often. Yet another reason to avoid New York in general, & to avoid doing business with David Zucker or any of his companies.
I just came across this on Clayton Cramer's blog. Barrett Firearms Manufacturing (maker of .50 caliber rifles) has sent a letter to the LAPD. I wish the other firearms makers were as principled. I would imagine that if all of this country's arms makers were to boycott cities, counties, states, & the feds when they used deceptive practices to gain support for laws that infringe upon our rights that perhaps the gain in respect & revenue from the civilians would outweigh any lost due to the boycott. I arrive at this because I am a fan of the .30-06 Springfield & generally don't need any other rifle cartridge. But reading this letter & reading the 'news' section of their site makes me give serious thought to buying a Barrett & seeing what I can do on the 1,200 yard target circuit. If only they made a .50 in a Garand-style action....
The F.B.I.'s chemical analysis of bullets used in crimes has come into question. I am no scientist & certainly am not in the ammunition making business, but even I see something wrong with the idea that bullets are produced in lots of under 10,000. I know people who cast their own lead bullets who melt 10 to 20 pounds of lead at a time, so the idea that a professional bullet maker would only use 70 lbs of lead at a time is a little far fetched. I suspect they have only gotten away with it because loading your own ammunition is nowhere near as commonplace as it was, & to the average person on a jury 70 lbs. or 10,000 bullets seem like a lot.
One thing that i found disappointing about the article was that it didn't mention the flaws with the F.B.I's other form of bullet analysis:what has been recently called ballistic fingerprinting. Without getting into too much detail a firearms rifling undergoes changes every time an object passes through, thereby changing the marks left on a bullet. Low powered rounds take longer than higher powered rounds, & the material used to make a bullet has it's effects, but basically after so many rounds pass through a rifled barrel the pattern cannot 100% be matched to a previous bullet fired from the same gun. In fact passing a steel brush or even steel wool down the barrel a few times will change enough of the riflings features to preclude an exact match. The only way to get a conclusive match is to compare bullets fired shortly after each other - & the bullets must have the same material construction, velocity, etc... to produce a 100% match. The more shots fired in between means the less likely a match will be. But the F.B.I's reputation quells a lot of doubts & much what the Bureau claims is taken for granted as fact. Luckily I grew up in a very skeptical part of the country. In fact back home the F.B.I. & BATF & most other government law enforcement agencies are still referred to as 'revenuers'.
I am not certain if the article doesn't deal with the credibility questions of ballistic fingerprinting because of ignorance or because they assume it's unquestionable, but with all the calls for legislation in this area it would be a good topic of media attention. That is if the media weren't in favor of gun control generally.
In any event it seems like a lot of cases could be up for review & quite a few sentences reversed if word of this gets out.
For more on ballistic fingerprinting & it's shortcomings look here, here & here
An interesting article on progressive taxation. Jason A. Junge takes two ideas from Rousseau's The Social Contract & applies them to our taxation system.
An interesting if somewhat undeveloped read on the cons of a jury in a civil case by Jacob Sullum. It would be interesting to see a proposal that would attempt to eliminate the kind of jurist manipulation so often heard of, as it would be to have substantitive proof that such manipulation is commonplace & has no immediate remedy.
One thing that was not mentioned but which could possibly help our system of jurisprudence would be a revival of the old, but still legally valid concept of jury nullification. The idea that juries should judge the law as well as the facts of a case before them is a very old one & is one of the safeguards against governmental misconduct. Most of the recent cases I have heard of where this was mentioned resulted in the judge objecting & re-issuing his instructions to the jury stating that the are only to judge facts in the case & only specific conclusions which the judge explains can be reached.
On a similar note it seems a layperson has brought questions before a Grand Jury in Texas & they have indicted a local police officer for filing a false report as a result. It is not commonly known among those outside of the legal profession of the power a Grand Jury wields when it sits, & those on Grand Jury's are not usually aware of what they can do. It's probably even lesser known that in some jurisdictions a citizen can bring a matter directly before a Grand Jury. As a result of those two omissions a D.A. usually leads a Grand Jury around to whatever agenda he has. I feel that this too is an area of jurisprudence that if restored to the publics knowledge could prevent a lot of the harm that has been caused by our respective governments.
I've come across this NY Daily News article entitled Cops take aim at guns which shows that the Brooklyn D.A. mentioned earlier is unfortunately not among a minority.
I would think that in the state where a constitutional amendment protecting the right of the people to own & possess weapons was not only demanded by it's ratifying convention, but who's proposed langauge became that very amendment, that the persecution, er... prosecution of a man simply protecting his home & family would be unthinkable. I guess New York's changed quite a bit since then.

Monday, February 03, 2003

Income taxes are deducted off the top of your pay. On April 15th, you're supposed to file the tax forms & pay the remainder. We all know this right?
The tax is taken out incrementally week by week, or month by month, depending upon how you get paid, & the bulk of taxes are usually taken out by this method, often leaving a small sum, or in some cases a small refund, to be settled in April.
April 15th is just a few days shy of being an exact 6 months away from Election Day. think that's coincidence?
Have you ever wondered how proposals for or against tax increases would be effected if taxes were taken out in one lump sum on, say October 20th?
I could be wrong, but I would imagine that if more people saw the tax being demanded as one lump sum rather than an aggregate of smaller payments, they would be more apt to elect representation who would not raise taxes, & possibly even elect those who would lower them.
I base this assumption on my observation of people who are self employed versus those who work for someone else. I hear everyone complaining about taxes & what is done with the money by government, but usually the self employed complain just a bit louder & just a bit longer. This is probably due to the fact that they usually pay a higher rate since they have no employer to cover half of the tax, & they are usually required to pay quarterly estimates of the tax against the projected tax itself.
I am no fan of the income tax for several reasons & i strongly support dropping it in it's entirety. There's a link to Fairtax on this page that should be worth checking out. It basically proposes to replace the income tax with a national sales tax & discusses in some depth the details of such a system.
In the meantime, I say we move the tax filing deadline to October 20th, if for no other reason than to watch those up for re-election sweat a little.
BTW, if by glancing at the quotes below you get the idea that permits of any kind, even for concealed carry, are an infringement of your right to own & possess arms, you're on to something.
Concealed Carry permits, or CCW permits, impose several conditions that you must comply with prior to carrying a weapon. Most include conditions you must comply with while carrying.They include but are not limited to:
Paying a fee.
Passing a background check.
Taking state mandated classes.
Being fingerprinted.
Keeping the permit on your person while carrying.
Informing any police officer you contact that you have a CCW permit.
Turning over your weapon & permit to any police officer who asks for it.
Giving personal information to the issuing authority that will be used to create a registration of CCW holders.

Now these vary a bit state by state. Some are more lenient, some are very strict. But out of all 50 states only 1 has it right. & that state would be Vermont. They're law concerning the carry of weapons states that you must have obtained the arm legally & not use it to commit a crime of violence. That's it. Anyone in Vermont, even non-Vermonters, can carry in any manner they wish at any time they wish w/o being registered, paying a fee, or having to have a permission slip on them.

But let's examine what's wrong with the other carry laws:

Paying a fee.
By imposing a fee for the license you are in essence charging someone for excercising their right. The only way they can get away with this is to regulate the carrying of concealed weapons to the status of a privilage, rather than a right.

Passing a background check.
They imply that guilt is presumed untill innocence is proven, thus reversing several hundred years of common law. Also the standards which must be met vary greatly: in some states non-violent misdemeanors can cause you to fail the background check.

Taking state mandated classes.
By requiring classes they are again imposing artificial standards upon a right which they can only get away with if they convince us that it a privilage.

Being fingerprinted.
Some people have a religious objection to the use of biometric information & it forces them to make a choice : excecise my religious freedom or be able to defend my life. Also it again implies that you have done something wrong. the usual use for fingerprinting is in the processing of criminals or those accused of a crime. It implies that because you wish to carry a gun you are suspect.

Keeping the permit on your person while carrying.
This means you are a criminal if you don't have a permission slip to carry a weapon for self defense.

Informing any police officer you contact that you have a CCW permit.
Imposing a contractual forfeiture of your 4th & 5th amendment protections.

Turning over your weapon & permit to any police officer who asks for it.
Again, imposing a contractual forfeiture of your 4th & 5th amendment protections.

Giving personal information to the issuing authority that will be used to create a registration of CCW holders.
Registrations are bad. Most CCW permits are enetered into the states' DMV database so that every time a cop runs your license he knows you may have a gun. Not only does this make a routine traffic stop more tense, considering the attitude of most cops towards gun owners these days, but it is also the perfect vehicle for confiscation.

Not to mention that once you concede authority to the government to regulate or prohibit concealed carry, there's no guarantee that they won't use the same authority in other areas, like open carry or carrying in your vehicle or even merely possesing a gun in your house.

I was telling a friend of mine the other day that her stance on smoking laws was flawed. She was in favor of a law that prohibited any smoking in any business, even if the owners of the business wanted to smoke. She is a non smoker & liked the idea of never having to put up with a smokey nightclub again. I informed her that by telling the goverment they have the authority to step in & prohibit smoking on private property, they could just as easily turn around & require it. Once you give them say in one area, there's no guarantee that they're going to do as you like.
We currently have an excellent example of the effect licensing has on society. Few people would argue that you need a license to drive from Colorado to Oklahoma. But how many people 150 years ago would have thought it permissible to set up check points to make sure you had permission to use the public roads? Cars are different than horses you say? yes, they are but only in the technical aspects. the basics are the same. You board the car or horse. you then direct it to where you wish to go & at what speed. The difference is in speed & weight. & again. 150 years ago I am sure there were people charged with crimes who were negligent or dangerous in the way they rode a horse. The difference is that today people are stopped to verify that they have permission to drive. 150 years ago they were only stopped if they showed some reason that they should be stopped.
But the point is that through a process of conditioning most would never even assume that driving is a right or that a license should not be required. The state has told us it's a privilage from the time we could hear & most people have bought it without question. & despite the merits of any arguement to the contrary ( & I have heard some good arguements that driving is a right rather than a privilage) most people dismiss them out of hand & often with a few choice expletives for the person who poses the arguement.
That is one of the dangers of any firearms licensing laws: that one day they will be so unquestionable as to have people believe owning & carrying arms is merely another privilage bestowed upon us by our gracious government.
& let us not foget confiscation. NYC required registration of all guns a while back. Then they used the lists to make sure people turned them in when they were told. Same thing happened in D.C. In California something similar happened with assault rifles. In fact in nearly every country where the government decided to murder a segment of it's population, registration, followed by confiscation made it much easier to kill of it's own people.
In the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943, a very small number of Jews held of the Nazi's for almost 4 weeks. They had a handfull of weapons when they started & lasted longer in their resistance than the entire country of Poland did. Granted, the Nazi's killed most of them by buring the ghetto down. But since they were destined for the death camps anyway i don't think this detracts from their accomplishments.
Now, think of how the holocaust would have happened if every Jew in Nazi occupied territory had a rifle & a pistol & 100 rounds of ammo. But unfortuantely a 1928 german law, followed by a March 18, 1938 Nazi law ( very similar to our own GCA of 1968 ) required registration & licensing of most guns. A November 11th Nazi law order the surrender of all arms held by Jews. The rest is history.

Any laws that impose any conditions or requirements on the possesion or carrying of arms are a direct infringement upon our rights. It should be the actions of a person that are judged, not his mere possession of arms. Carrying a weapon should not be a crime. Using a weapon in a certain manner may be a crime, but not the mere carrying.

Untill we stop backing laws that compromise our rights, then we can expect to see more & more examples of people being charged for these victimless crimes as discussed below. Sadly, it is not the anti gunners we need to convince of this, but the gun owners themselves. Most don't care what happens as long as they can carry or as long as they're favorite type of gun is not banned. This is what we have to deal with before any meaningful reforms can happen within our laws.

Again, concealed carry is as much of a right as open carry or ownership of arms. Mention this to a friend & ask them to pass it on.

Rachel Lucas has a short piece on a man in Brooklyn who is being prosecuted for not having a gun permit. This came to light after the Navy vet shot & killed an intruder at his little girls' bedroom door. The D.A. insists that the prosecution go forward as part of a zero tolerence for guns camapign.
I could write for days on the morally reprehensible practices of not just the D.A. in question, but the courts & the city of NY as well. But i will defer to others whose statements should hold some weight. Some are even New Yorkers.

Gun control? It's the best thing you can do for crooks and gangsters. I want you to have nothing. If I'm a bad guy, I'm always gonna have a gun. Safety locks? You will pull the trigger with a lock on, and I'll pull the trigger. We'll see who wins. — Sammy "The Bull" Gravano, whose testimony convicted John Gotti.

The purpose of the Bill of Rights being to limit government, I suggest that it be given teeth. The Eleventh Amendment to the Bill of Rights should provide for the preservation of the Bill of Rights by imposing a non-commutable death sentence upon any politician, at any level, who votes for legislation that would limit or infringe upon the practice of the first ten Amendments. — Tom Kozan, Greeley, Colorado, LP News, June, 1998

If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self defense which is paramount to all positive forms of government. — Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist (#28)

The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws. — Tacitus (A.D. 55?-130?)

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law', because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual. —Thomas Jefferson

A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the federal constitution... The power to impose a license tax on the exercise of these freedoms is indeed as potent as the power of censorship which this Court has repeatedly struck down... a person cannot be compelled 'to purchase, through a license fee or a license tax, the privilege freely granted by the constitution.' —MURDOCK V. PENNSYLVANIA 319 US 105 (1942)

The said Constitution be never construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms. — Samuel Adams, during Massachusetts's Convention to Ratify the Constitution (1788).

All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void. — Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. (2 Cranch) 137 (1803)

If we advert to the nature of republican government, we shall find that the censorial power is in the people over the government, and not in the government over the people. — James Madison

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. But it does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods, or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg. — THOMAS JEFFERSON (1781)

It is reported that the Governor has said, that he has Three Things in Command from the Ministry, more grievous to the People, than any Thing hitherto made known. It is conjectured 1st, that the Inhabitants of this Province are to be disarmed. — "ABC" (PSEUD., SAMUEL ADAMS)

The NRA has a point about the inadvisability of simply taking guns away from the populace. If that were possible, it would not disarm that small percentage of the population willing to break the law.... Punishing people who obey the law is backward thinking. — Hugh Downs, Veteran ABC newsman

Can our form of government, our system of justice, survive if one can be denied a freedom because he might abuse it? — HARLON CARTER

The right of a citizen to bear arms, in lawful defense of himself or the State, is absolute. He does not derive it from the State government. It is one of the high powers" delegated directly to the citizen, and `is excepted out of the general powers of government.' A law cannot be passed to infringe upon or impair it, because it is above the law, and independent of the lawmaking power." [Cockrum v. State, 24 Tex. 394, at 401-402 (1859)]

The supposed quietude of a good mans allures the ruffian; while on the other hand, arms like laws discourage and keep the invader and the plunderer in awe, and preserve order in the world as well as property. The same balance would be preserved were all the world destitute of arms, for all would be alike; but since some will not, others dare not lay them aside...Horrid mischief would ensue were one half the world deprived of the use of them... — Thomas Paine, I Writings of Thomas Paine at 56 (1894).

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crime. — Cesare Beccaria, quoted by Thomas Jefferson

A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. — Edward Abbey

Arms are the only true badges of liberty. The possession of arms is the distinction of a free man from a slave. — Andrew Fletcher 1698

I don't know what all the fuss is about. Every state in America already has a concealed weapons permit. It's called the 2nd Amendment. — Jim Houck, Creative Director, Citizens of America

No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him. — Thomas Jefferson

The maintenance of the right to bear arms is a most essential one to every free people and should not be whittled down by technical constructions. [State vs. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574, 107 S.E. 222, at 224 (1921)]

The rights of man come not from the generosity of the state but from the hand of God. — JOHN F. KENNEDY

The Brady Bill's only effect will be to desensitize the public to regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation. — Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post, April 5, 1996

Laws that forbid the carrying of arms disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man. — Thomas Jefferson, quoting Cesare Beccaria in On Crimes and punishment (1764).

Corrupt politicians inspire assassins. Of course they don't want people to have guns. Politicians never trust the people to whom they give reason to lock and load. — Angel Shamaya

A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie. — VLADIMIR ILYICH LENIN

If you have to obtain a government license or permit to exercise a right, the government doesn't view it as a right at all. — Angel Shamaya

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.' The right of the whole people, old and young, men, women and boys, and not militia only, to keep and bear arms of every description, and not such merely as are used by the militia, shall not be infringed, curtailed, or broken in upon, in the smallest degree; and all this for the important end to be attained: the rearing up and qualifying a well-regulated militia, so vitally necessary to the security of a free State. Our opinion is that any law, State or Federal, is repugnant to the Constitution, and void, which contravenes this right. [Nunn vs. State, 1 Ga. (1 Kel.) 243, at 251 (1846)]

How a politician stands on the Second Amendment tells you how he or she views you as an individual... as a trustworthy and productive citizen, or as part of an unruly crowd that needs to be lorded over, controlled, supervised, and taken care of. — Representative Suzanna Gratia Hupp (TX)

One of the ordinary modes, by which tyrants accomplish their purpose without resistance is,
by disarming the people, and making it an offense to keep arms ..."
Joseph Story, U.S. Supreme Court Justice

To disarm the people [is] the best and most effectual way to enslave them.
George Mason, American Statesman
and Author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776
I just received this & thought I'd pass it on.

I Miss Your Help Son...
An old man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato
garden, but it was very hard work. His only son, Bubba, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

Dear Bubba,
I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.
Love Dad

A few days later he received a letter from his son:

Dear Dad,
For heaven's sake, dad, don't dig up that garden, that's where I
buried the BODIES!

Love Bubba

At 4A.M. the next morning, F.B.I. agents and local police showed up
and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son:

Dear Dad,
Go ahead and plant the potatoes now. That's the best I could do under the circumstances.

Love Bubba.
This one really got my attention. It seems that the American BAR association would like to have a law passed that would not only prohibit any non lawyers from giving advice on the law, but assign civil & criminal penalties for it as well.
Now i am as guilty of the occassional lawyer joke as anyone, & have in anger done my fair share of lawyer bashing. So with that admitted I will say that I do not blame the lawyers of the BAR who want this law enacted. Who I blame is the american people, especially myself, for letting things get so out of hand.
A very basic premise, one that was perhaps better understood in the early days of this country's independence, was that the law ought to be simple enough & direct enough for the common person to understand it. With laws that stated in plain language their scope & intended objects then it could honestly be argued that ignorance of the law was not a valid excuse.
Have you ever seen the U.S. Code? You know, the laws made up by our supposedly limited federal government? If i remember correctly, they comprise close to thirty volumes & a decent set will cost well over $1000. This is just an estimation but it would seem like a month or two should be set aside if one plans to read them straight through. & the language is less than straight forward. Now add the state & local laws on top of those for every place you live or have business or property interests.
But hell, the IRS code is so confusing by itself, most IRS agents don't know the law. & note the great restraint I showed in not using IRSS to describe that particular perverter of all that is right & good.

So what should be the case is having a very concisely stated set of laws, written in english that the average high school student can understand.
What is the case is a set of laws so complex that we not only commonly require the aid of a lawyer to sort out what's what, but a lawyer that specializes in that particular field.

I am not a very big fan of the author of the following quote. I feel there were many more of his contemporaries that were closer to my beliefs than him. But he does put it rather nicely:

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood . . .
James Madison
This oughta get your attention. Rick Stanley, a Colorado Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in 2002 , has been convicted not once but twice of carrying a firearm openly even though the Colorado & U.S. Constitution protect this practice. Here's details of the first conviction from Rick Stanleys site. Yes, it appears a bit biased, but not dishonest.
The gist of it all is this - Rick Stanley wore a pistol on his belt in a holster in Denver, Co. where a city law prohibits the carrying of arms, openly or concealed. Rick got himself arrested in order to challenge this law in court. The trial was shameful, from the jury selection ( 5 of 6 were employees of the city of Denver ) To the judge forbidding the mention of the constitutions, state or federal. The judge claimed that the home rule status of Denver made the aforementioned documents inapplicable.
I cannot say I agree with all the of the things that Rick believes. But i do admire his courage in getting himself arrested in order to challenge this law.
Some stats about Ashcrofts focus on prosecuting gun crimes. (lemme hear ya in da back now - federal gun laws are constitutionally prohibited! )

Course I wonder what would happen if they stopped prosecuting non violent offenders, or at least stopped imprisoning them, & gave lengthy sentences to the violent criminals? 800,000 pot smokers doing community service in exchange for 800,000 violent felons doing the whole sentence. Nah, they'd prosecute themselves out of a job.
A statement from Bushmaster about the lawsuit filed against them. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence filed the suit on "behalf of the families of the D.C. sniper's victims". It probably had nothing to do with their agenda to Prevent Gun Ownership.
Bushmaster sums it up nicely.