Saturday, May 03, 2003

Michael Marks writes about his recent experience with the California legislature when it considered a proposal to ban .50 caliber rifles & ammunition.

"Climbing aboard a plane headed back to reality, I could not but pity the citizens of California who find themselves hurtling towards the cliff of bankruptcy while their driver is asleep at the wheel. What will soon follow will make the closing scene of Thelma & Louise look like a minor fender-bender. Hospitals won’t have beds, criminals won’t have to worry about courts or jails, unemployment will soar and Californians will be left to warm themselves by the dying embers of a once-thriving economy. But hey, at least they won’t have to worry about a crazed terrorist shooting at their armored limousines from four miles away.
The brush with California legislation was revealing and truly saddening. Californians are hard working and creative -- they deserve legislators with the same traits. In spite of thoughtful and realistic efforts by true leaders like Mr. La Suer and Mr. Spitzer, business-as-usual prevailed in the Democratic majority. With people like Gray Davis, Koretz, Goldberg, and Longville running the show, Californians are well-advised to become acquainted with the motto of the U.S. Navy SEALS: the only easy day was yesterday."

Barbara Renner relates how she & her friend were 'Targeted by the TSA'

"So, in the meantime, unless there is a serious emergency like a death in the family, my travel will be conducted on the nation’s highways.
And my advice to gun owners is that if you need to take a weapon with you, don’t fly!"

for related reading check out Keep & Bear's Airplanes & Guns page.

A new poll is up over at Keep & Bear

Should firearm manufacturers pledge that if the ban on ammunition feeding devices holding more than 10 rounds is renewed, they will only market and sell limited-capacity feeding devices to all Government entities as well as civilians -- in effect making the government abide by its own laws?

Yes. 97.3% 1312 votes
No. 2.7% 36 votes
Total Votes: 1348
JPFO Alert on the bipartisan nature of the Assault Weapons Ban & the 'High' Capacity Magazine ban

"Two facts to consider:
[1] Clilnton, Schumer, Feinstein, and their gun-prohitibionist allies in Congress weren't the first to ban useful semi-auto rifles and pistols. They were inspired by George Bush, Sr., who earlier (mis)used his executive order power to ban importation of many similar weapons.
[2] The ban on high-capacity magazines that was part of the 1994 crime bill (the bill that gave us the "assault weapons" ban) was also not originated by Democrats. It was the brainchild of firearms manufacturer Bill Ruger and was first supported by -- yes, President George Bush, Sr. "
RMGO condemns Project Gestapo otherwise known as Project Exile.

"Project Gestapo is a private/public partnership designed to do one thing: prosecute ANY firearms violations at the highest level possible and with the most resources at the prosecutor's disposal...Some gun owners have bought into the Project Gestapo trap, banging the "don't pass new laws, just enforce those we have now." Much of Project Exile is an attitude about gun laws -- that violating these laws cannot be tolerated in any form. But banging that gong is dangerous, since it empowers bureaucrats to launch a witch hunt for gun owners."

They also aren't happy with the NRA's involement:

"The most alarming sources of Project Gestapo's funding are the NRA and Sarah Brady's gun-grabbing organization. In February of 2000 the NRA's Wayne LaPierre joined James Brady and a bevy of lawmakers at a Denver news conference to unveil the launching of Project Gestapo in Colorado. They showed TV advertisements, billboards and other tools used to get citizens to turn in their neighbors for "illegal guns."

Friday, May 02, 2003

Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tx) is not happy about Bush's support of renewing the Assault weapon/Magazine Capacity ban. In fact he's circulating a letter among Congressmen to express his feelings on the matter.

"We are sure we need not remind you that a large and active part of our constituency supports the right to keep and bear arms. It will be a slap in the face to these millions of law-abiding gun owners if this White House and Congress support renewal of the semi-auto ban.
Mr. President, we are asking that you listen to the will of the people, that you keep your oath to defend the Constitution and do what is right. Support the sunset clause and let the American citizens buy and use what was rightfully theirs."

This is the man the NRA is considering withdrawing its support from? This is the same man whom the NRA feels may not be worthy of support because he disagrees with them on a constitutional matter? That says more about the NRA's lack of character than they realize.
There's a new tactic to watch out for as I fear it will become a popular & effective one: when restricting firearms proves too difficult restrict the ammunition.

"The city bill, which has gained support from a handful of co-sponsors, including Councilmen Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans) and Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), would require ammunition dealers to collect more information from buyers, including proof of permit, caliber, make and model of the weapon. The bill would also amend the city code to raise the minimum age limit for purchasing a rifle or shotgun from 18 to 21."

"This is something that we'd like to see replicated around the state," he said. "New York City can be a model for the rest of the state."

Keep your eyes open for this in your neck of the woods.

The NAACP has rested its case against the firearms industry. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the trade association for the firearms industry feels the case as presented was very weak, but is concerned that the bias of the Judge will play the most important role.

"Despite the stunningly poor case the NAACP offered, Keane remained pessimistic about the trial's outcome. 'We are not under any delusions. Due to Ms. Barnes and the NAACP's blatant judge shopping, the verdict is almost certainly preordained. The NAACP is offering the same evidence from the same expert witnesses in front of the same judge as the 1999 Hamilton trial. The NAACP case is Judge Weinstein's mulligan,' Keane said. Weinstein's Hamilton decision was reversed on appeal. 'Judge Weinstein, not the 'advisory' jury will decide this case,' Keane added."

For some background on the case including the Klu Klux Klans friend of the court brief filed in support of the NAACP's position, look here & scroll down a little.
Lautenburg's proposal to add new restrictions to the Brady laws is pronounced dead on arrival by the Washington Times.

"Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg, New Jersey Democrat, said yesterday that "chances are slim" for success of his bill, which would extend the time allowed for background checks on gun buyers during periods of heightened security alerts."

It goes on to paint a picture of the NRA that is not entirely accurate. It does this mainly through comments from gun control advocates.

"Some critics have called Republicans 'the handmaidens of the NRA,' but even gun-control activists see little evidence that defending firearms ownership has hurt the Republican Party at the ballot box.
'There is some truth to that,' AGS' Mr. Bennett said. 'But this comes in cycles, and Republicans would be foolish to think they have found the answer in the NRA's extreme position on this issue."

AGS is Americans for Gun Safety, a group that claims to respect the Rights of gun owners while calling for more stringent licensing & registration. They are more or less an organization comprised of Fuddites & gun control advocates in the guise of responsible gun owners. Anything other than Sarah Brady's idea of reasonable gun control (i.e. no one can own guns except her & the government) is viewed as an extremist fringe ideaology by them. So it's natural they they would try to give the NRA too much credit, when in fact the NRA does their side more good than ours.

It would be nice to see the Gun Owners of America included in articles such as these.
The State Police will be armed with suppressed submachine guns at Massachussets' airports.

"The Massachusetts Port Authority, which oversees Logan, has purchased 30 of the guns for $2,500 each. The MP-5's have 30-round clips and a two-round burst capacity, which allows two shots to be fired automatically with one push of the trigger...Massport Chief Executive Officer Craig Coy said the new weaponry, which will be deployed in June, will act as a deterrent to terrorism...The MP-5's are outfitted with a noise suppressor units so they'll create less alarm among travelers if they're used. The guns are also designed for accuracy in indoor environments"

Let me point something out:

"the new weaponry...will act as a deterrent to terrorism"

So let me get this straight, a suppressed weapon capable of two shot bursts in the hands of 30 people will deter a specific kind of crime (terrorism) yet those weapons are prohibited to the average citizens who vastly outnumber the State Police & may face many types of crime including terrorism more often than the State Police?

Massachussets is in effect saying "firearms are tools & can be used effectively to deter crime but we do not want the average citizen to directly benefit from their availability because we do not trust them with their own lives".

Ironic isn't it? This country started its War for Independence because the government was sending troops to disarm the citizens of Massachussets. Now the government in Massachussets sees fit to only arm itself.

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Dudley Brown of Rocky Mountain Gun Owners has a summary of Colorado's new concealed carry law.

Also look here for a previous post about Colorado's New CCW law comapred with the old law & a proposed law.
Alphecca's weekly anti-gun bias table is up. Go give it a look & browse the rest of his blog while you're there.
Kansas is about to begin Project SafeNeighborhoods. This is a federal program which strictly enforces any & all gun laws. For more on Project Safe Neighborhoods which is a minor variant of Project Exile, please look here.

"Melgren said television announcements and 16 billboards, including four in Spanish, would inform convicted criminals in Topeka that they would face a minimum of five years in federal prison for possessing a gun."

I wonder what would happen if billboards that said " Federal firearms laws are constitutionally prohibited" were placed beside each one of these Project Safe Neighborhood billboards?

We have something similar in Colorado, only the 'convicted criminal" part is left out & in most cases it merely states that if you carry a gun you will go to jail.

There is some question of the accuracy of the evidence against McVeigh.

Clayton Cramer also weighs in on this.
Sen. Lautenburg (D-NJ) of the Lautenburg Amendment fame is at it again. This time he wants to alter the Brady law so that no sales can be made without direct governmental approval while we are at a heightened state of alert. Current law allows a sale to got through if no word from the government has been given after 3 days. Lautenburg wants that 3 day cut-off to be eliminated unless we are at the lowest level of national security for 180 days straight. Since the attacks on the world trade center we have not fallen below the midpoint on the national security alert system, not even for one day. Lautenburg's proposed bill would also add restrictions & penalties for licensed gun sellers.

In a CNS article Jeff Johnson compares Lautenburg's proposal to Nazi gun laws.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Disturbing news from Portland, Oregon:

"Portland police may soon be asking for more than a license when making a traffic stop, but also requesting a motorist to stick out a thumb and forefinger.
Next month, more than a dozen officers will carry handheld devices on the street that will allow them to instantly verify a person's identity by analyzing their fingerprints.
The Portland Police Bureau was awarded a $250,000 federal COPS grant to equip each of its five precincts with a device and distribute another 10 to investigative officers in the detective, gang enforcement, drugs and vice, and tactical operations divisions."

It seems since there is federal money involved that this idea could catch on quickly. I have a few religious friends who with or without justification would view this as a "mark of the beast" type move by the government. Religious objections aside, it definitely has an Orwellian flair to it. Perhaps not strictly Orwellian, but it definitely seems reminiscent of Big Brother. Not quite as intrusive as a Television monitor watching your every move, but not as harmless as having Andy Taylor welcome you into town.

The courts have long held that taking fingerprints is not a violation of teh 4th amendment, as you leave your fingerprints everywhere & thus have no reasonable expectation of privacy concerning them. I disagree. When you go out in public you show your body to everyone, but this in no way would be seen as justification for the government collecting nude photos of you against your will.

In any event this technological advance bears watching.
Nicki Fellenzer is disgusted by most gun owners.

"Let me break this down for you, fellow gun owners and gun rights advocates: A national campaign dedicated to protecting you, your families and your freedoms was unable to get one tenth of you to shell out ten lousy bucks per year!"

"Oh, but you already support the NRA, and if you supported every gun group out there you’d be broke? Then I would suggest to you: be a little more discriminating. Do some research. Find out who out there is really fighting for your rights and then dole out your support accordingly"

I understand how she feels.
We have a new Fuddite of the Week: from Farmington, Minnesota I give you Bob Johnson.

"It's time for gun owners to disassociate ourselves from the extremists who argue that any attempt to sensibly regulate firearms takes us down the slippery slope toward confiscation. There is no threat to losing our right to own guns for sport.
The real threat to gun owners is the same threat hanging over the rest of the population -- that the safety of our families will be jeopardized if the rhetoric of the gun-rights groups prevails."

Mr. Johnson is the owner of a national investment banking firm. I believe he would rather not do any business with gun owners who are willing to be called extremists in order to protect certain Rights, even if they're his. So please inform him that you'll be taking your business elsewhere.

Nicki Fellenzer writes of a man in Oklahoma who was harrassed, persecuted & prosecuted by local government. It seems the man in question, Mr. Dennis Maly was approached by local police because they suspected the conversation he was having with his daughter was actually solicitation of a prostitute. when it was discovered that his daughter was not a prostitute they arrested him anyway.

"The charges? Carrying a concealed weapon (the knife Dennis Maly still had in his pocket), not notifying the arresting officer that he was armed (even though the arresting officer screamed at Maly to "SHUT UP!" every time Maly tried to inform him that he had a gun) and not following a police officer's instructions (attempting to inform Officer Jason Skaggs he was armed, as required by the law, even after being told to shut up)."

Mr. Maly was aquitted of all charges, but only after a long & costly court battle. The D.A. simply wouldn't drop the charges & admit that the police officers had done wrong. All in all it was a terrible ordeal for him to go through & an example that the police can be just as bad, if not worse than criminals. After all, criminals rely strictly on force or the threat thereof: police have the weight of the government behind them. While Mr. Maly was aquitted, no monetary compensation can undo the wrongs which were done to him. It is unlikely that the officers in question will receive anything more than a reprimand & it's doubtful they'll receive that.

& remember that gun control advocates maintain that the police will protect us therefore it's unecessary for the citizen to have arms.

Ms. Fellenzer sums it up best:

"Remember Dennis Maly next time an impotent oppressor in a three-piece suit tries to place limits on your right to keep and bear arms. Because next time it could be you in fighting to keep your dignity, maintaining your innocence and defending yourself against trumped up charges meant to cover up incompetence and paranoia on the part of those who want power over you. The more you allow the government to erode your rights, the closer we will all be to a society where the case of Dennis Maly is the status quo."

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

The Denver Post has an op-ed supporting the extension of the Assault Weapons Ban.

"...millions of other people support reasonable federal gun control and believe law-abiding citizens can exercise their Second Amendment rights without keeping and trading assault weapons designed for nothing more than killing a lot of people in a short amount of time."

They seem to fail to understand that the second amendment prohibits federal gun laws. Also they fail to realize that many people use "assault weapons" for purely recreational purposes such as target shooting & competitive shooting.

"An AK-47 rifle was used in the recent killing of a 15-year-old boy and wounding of three teenage girls when gunmen opened fire on a packed New Orleans school gym. A TEC-9 was used in the Columbine High School massacre"

They fail to understand that murder is illegal, as is taking a firearm onto school property, as is possession of a firearm by a minor. Since these murders happened after the passage of the assault weapons ban I think it undermines their point to mention them, as the ban did nothing to prevent these crimes. Then again no gun control law that I'm aware of has ever prevented someone who was determined to commit a crime, such a murder. & the murderer in Louisiana that was mentioned was in fact a member of a gang who was retaliating against a member of a rival gang, the 15 year old victim.

"Many Second Amendment defenders argue that, while our country is under the threat of terrorist attacks and engaged in war, American citizens should be able to arm themselves with assault weapons. This logic escapes us."

Of course it escapes them: they disagree with the idea that citizens should not be prohibited from protecting themselves against criminals so obviously protection against foreign invasion or tyrannical government is beyond their comprehension.

"The weapons ban was put into place to save us from ourselves, if you will. It is designed to keep weapons with unusual firepower off the streets so that police won't be outgunned and to help reduce the number of innocent victims in the line of fire when someone decides to shoot up a school or a workplace."

That's not entirely true: the school shootings that they mentioned earlier happened after the Assault Weapons Ban was passed. 'Assault weapons' have been used in fewer than 1% of all crimes so the threat to public safety was negligible at the time of passing. The Assault Weapons Ban mainly deals with cosmetic features on certain arms. It does not deal with the design or function, so many firearms are still available which are functionally & mechanically identical to those banned . The only real difference is aesthetics. There is no unusual firepower that these prohibited arms possess. They simply 'look scarier'.
They fail to understand that if schools & workplaces were not places where most arms are prohibitied then their appeal for mass murderers would be diminished as their victims would not be defensless. Most of these shootings happen where there are no firearms available for defense, therefore they can do what they wish with impunity. There have been two school shootings which were stopped thanks to individuals running to their cars (which were parked off campus to comply with the law) & retrieving their firearms to use them in order to subdue the shooters.

"As for fighting terrorism, several branches of the military and law enforcement are assigned to do that. Police also have enhanced firepower to protect the masses. There is no reason to now arm citizens with assault weapons to fight this enemy."

They fail to understand that the police & military cannot protect the individuals. They also fail to understand that the police & military's record of fighting terrorism is not something that inspires confidence. In fact the police have been more likely to commit violence against the citizen ( i.e. Waco, Ruby Ridge, Omayra Soberal) than to prevent it. As far as terrorism is concerned, the police could not do anything ot prevent the attacks of September the 11th, 2001. I do not think that we should simply sit back & rely on the police to protect us, especially based upon their record.

They fail to comprehend that the reason the federal government is prohibited from making gun control laws by the second amendment is that the citizens should always be able to protect themselves against the government, which includes but is not limited to the police & military. It is unlikely that the police &/or military will ever go door to door in an effort to round up certain citizens for extermintaion such as happened in 1940's Germany, but it is not an impossible circumstance.

"Let's be reasonable. An assault-weapons ban is not an attack on the right to bear arms. It's a reasonable gun-control measure that deserves renewal because there is no good reason for the average citizen to possess such firepower."

They fail to understand that a ban on military style weapons is an attack on the Right to own & possess arms. They also fail to understand that there is a good reason for the average citizen to possess such weapons: it is necessary for the security of the other Rights they enjoy.

Let me point out something that seems to be the source of much confusion especially in the press: the 'assault weapons' that are banned are merely cosmetically different, not functionally than other firearms which are not banned. The Assault Weapons Ban does not deal with fully automatic firearms, which continually shoot as long as you hold the trigger down & there's ammo in the gun. Those are still regulated by the NFA of '34 (Temptations sing: Federal Firearms laws are constitutionally prohibited!). The arms that are the subject of the ban are semi-automatic. They fire one shot each time you pull the trigger. If you pulled the trigger & held it back you would still fire only one shot. You must release the trigger in order to fire another shot. This is the same functioning as many non-prohibited arms, some of which are used for hunting.
The press sometimes gets the banned weapons confused with fully automatic weapons. Sometimes this is simply due to the reporters ignorance concerning the function of the respective types of weapons, other times it is intentional.

Here are the members of the Denver Post's editorial board:

"The members of The Post editorial board are William Dean Singleton, chairman and publisher; Gregory L. Moore, editor; Sue O'Brien, editorial page editor; Bob Ewegen, deputy editorial page editor; Peter G. Chronis, Angela Cortez, Dan Haley, Al Knight and Penelope Purdy , editorial writers; Mike Keefe, cartoonist; and Barbara Ellis and Susan Clotfelter, news editors."

Here is the contact information page for the Denver Post.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Carl F. Worden has an essay on the JPFO's Unpopular Speech Page entitled Is It The NRA Vs. The GOA In Texas All Over Again?.

It deals with the NRA's threat of withdrawing its support of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tx.) over his opposition to the bill that would prevent frivilous lawsuits against gun manufacturers. He recounts a similar confrontation between the NRA & the GOA over the Assault Weapons Ban & a politician who supported it.
According to a story in the USA Today dated March 25th, the FBI's database no longer has to be accurate.

"The Justice Department lifted a requirement Monday that the FBI ensure the accuracy and timeliness of information about criminals and crime victims before adding it to the country's most comprehensive law enforcement database. The system, run by the FBI's National Crime Information Center, includes data about terrorists, fugitives, warrants, people missing, gang members and stolen vehicles, guns or boats.
Records are queried increasingly by the nation's law enforcement agencies to help decide whether to monitor, detain or arrest someone. The records are inaccessible to the public...Officials said the change, which immediately drew criticism from civil-liberties advocates, is necessary to ensure investigators have access to information that can't be confirmed but could take on new significance later, FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said.
The system 'is replete with inaccurate, untimely information, but everybody does their best to keep it up to date,' said Beryl Howell, former general counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee. 'That's a goal we shouldn't just throw out.'...because the system collects its data from so many other organizations, [the Justice Department said] 'it is administratively impossible to ensure compliance."

More or less the FBI realized that it was impossible to keep the level of information they prefer to have in their files accurate, so instead of downsizing their files to include only accurate information they had the accuracy requirements lifted.

Keep in mind that the NICS checks which are required for every firearm purchase from a licensed dealer use this same FBI database. I have never been delayed myself, but know of a few people with spotless records who had to wait the full 3 days before making a purchase. I do not know the exact cause of the delays & it is certainly possible that their info was confused with someone else's & required a little sorting out, but if the FBI's information is no longer required to be accurate then I can foresee an increase in the delays & denials of firearms purchases even for those with no criminal history whatsoever.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Ted Lang has a piece entitled "Gun Control: Racist & Anti-Semitic Gun Ban Origins over at the Etherzone. It's short but worth a read.
The Fifty Caliber Shooters' Policy Institute has an alert on their website that claims Sen. Feinstein has again proposed a ban on .50 caliber rifles.

Here is Sen. Feinstein's press release about her proposed ban of .50 caliber rifles.

"Despite their deadly power, these weapons are widely available to civilians and subject to less regulation than shotguns, machine guns, and handguns."

Actually shotguns & rifles, including .50 caliber rifles are subject to the same regulations provided they are not capable of automatic fire & their barrels are not below a certain minimum length.

it goes on to claim certain capabilities of a .50 caliber rifle, including "Piercing a manhole cover, a 600-pound safe, or an armored car". Well, last time I checked, a man hole cover was approximately 3 inches thick. I'm sure a .50 BMG cartridge could dent it, but piercing it is a stretch, as is piercing a 600 pound safe, althought that would depend upon how the safe is constructed. As for piercing an armored car, I hope she doesn't realize that, again depending upon the armor, a lot of very old cartidges can pierce very light armor. The .30-30 Winchester of lever action fame comes to mind, as does the .30-06 Springfield.

I could go on pointing out the errors in fact but then you'd have no excuse to read the statement. I will point out that she did neglect to mention the number of times a .50 caliber rifle has been used in a crime here in the U.S. This is probably due to that number being zero which would not really help her position.

On Sen. Feinstein's website there's an offer to have breakfast with her when you're in D.C. If you can stand to go to D.C. , the 'criminal safety' capitol of the U.S. then perhaps you can try to talk some sense into her.
An Arizona man has some advice for police officers about enforcing laws: make sure they exist first.
WorldNetDaily has an article on the coalition of pro-gun organizations who are uniting to opposs an extension of the assault weapons ban & more importantly any politician who votes for it.

"The coalition is not going to target politicians whose vote we have no chance of changing,' he said. 'We're going to use grass-roots pressure against vulnerable politicians who really should be voting pro-gun but have had no pressure by the institutional gun lobbies...Our message to them is simple as well: Vote for this ban, or a compromise on it, and you lose gun owners' votes forever. There will be no 'kissing and making up,' [Dudley] Brown said."

For more information read this statement by the coalition.