Monday, February 28, 2005
California: Safe shooting can be a stress-reliever: "Most people would agree, guns can be a topic that can generate strident legal arguments. But for a steadily growing segment of the population, the ownership of firearms isn't about staking out part of a vociferous Constitution argument. Shooting guns, some folks say, is an act that's just plain fun -- maybe even therapeutic. 'It's hard to explain, really,' said Sherie Smalley, a Fairfield pathologist who took up target and sport shooting seriously just last year. 'There's something about shooting that allows me to release tension after a long day and re-center myself,' Smalley said during an interview at The Shooting Gallery in Vacaville."
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Is "stoush" understood in America or is it just Australian slang? At its most literal, it means a punchup, a fight
As the gun lobby flooded the Statehouse with supporters Wednesday, a major showdown began shaping up in the House between members who back Mayor Richard Daley's anti-gun package and those who want to loosen weapons restrictions already on the books. Gun-rights supporters flexed their muscle by winning approval in a House committee packed with Downstate lawmakers for a series of pro-gun measures, including bills aimed at watering down Chicago's ban on handguns.
Meanwhile, anti-gun lawmakers on Thursday are queued up to move their own proposals--including measures to limit handgun purchases and ban many assault weapons--through a committee more sympathetic to their position.
That sets the stage for a major confrontation over gun control in the full House in the coming weeks that will pit urban and Downstate lawmakers against each other. It also could pressure Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich to take sides in a politically sensitive battle of which he has tried to steer clear. "Basically, it's going to be a bare-knuckled fistfight on the floor," said Todd Vandermyde, a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
India: This ace shooter aiming high: "Ameeta Rani, a participant at the Kila Raipur Games, is not somebody you are likely to miss in a crowd. An avid shooter, Ameeta is pursuing the sport even after recently getting married. Sporting a bright red chura, Anita beat her rivals to come out tops in two of the three shooting events. Sports experts opine that if her talent and skill are nurtured, Punjab too can boast of a sportswoman of high ranking. And what does this young sportswoman wish for? 'Bull's Eye, a rifle, loads of targets and please, please, just one good shooting range.' The 23-year-old shooter won a bronze at the National Shooting Championship at Chennai last year. She has dreams aplenty, but what upsets her is the lack of a world-class shooting range in the state, no rifles and no sponsors either."
The Brady Law doesn't apply to Mrs. Brady?: "In the end, Mrs. Brady can get away with all this, because she knows full well that she will never be prosecuted for breaking her own namesake law. She knows full well that she will be held to different standard than rest of the common herd. In this case, she appears to be right too. However, it begs this question: if Sarah Brady, Sen. Feinstein, Rosie O�Donnell, and all the other hypocrites out there hate guns so much then why would they wish to possess them?"
Saturday, February 26, 2005
Indonesia: Freed skipper sticking to his guns: "Chris Packer says it is still too early to know if three months locked in a cell has made any lasting changes to him, but the experience has done nothing to alter his view that guns are essential on a boat like his. 'They were more trouble than they were worth on this trip,' the champion sailer agreed on completing his prison sentence for failing to declare six weapons. 'But I will always take guns. If I had not had guns on this boat I'd be dead.' His firearms are due to be returned to his 55-metre converted Baltic grain carrier, Lissa, today, and soon after Mr Packer will head south to Australia. ... He was determined yesterday to keep saying nice things about his captors and tried to say nothing critical of them or the Indonesian legal system. But he hinted he might say more once he was safely out of the country."
Maryland: Student accused of having gun in school: "A 14-year-old student was in the custody of the Department of Juvenile Services on Thursday for allegedly possessing a BB gun, suspected marijuana and tobacco products at James M. Bennett High School. Early Tuesday morning the Fruitland boy went to school, showed the gun to his peers, became scared and fled the building, said Allen Brown, an assistant superintendent of Wicomico County public schools. Officers took him into custody later that day when he returned to meet his ride, Brown said. According to the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office, the ninth-grader was being detained Thursday at the Department of Juvenile Services on Naylor Mill Road. ... The student will appear before a Wicomico County Circuit Court judge who will then decide if he should be released to his parents or continue to be detained, said Lt. Mike Elliot of the Wicomico County Sheriff's Office."
Friday, February 25, 2005
Montana: Wells seeks greater self-defense protection: "Wells' House Bill 693 would make it legal for a person to display a weapon in self-defense, as long as the weapon is pointing away from the other person. It also orders law-enforcement officers to thoroughly investigate a crime to turn up evidence of self-defense if that is used as a plea, and it forces employers who prohibit employees from defending themselves with guns to provide a level of security they would have otherwise enjoyed. ... Under Wells' bill, law-enforcement officers would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the person wasn't engaged in self-defense.'
Illinois: Protesters often have ulterior motives: "Chicagoans are protesting the Second Amendment rights of neighboring communities again. About 90 protesters staged a rally at Bell's Gun and Sport Shop in northwest suburban Franklin Park recently. They represented Chicago-based United Power for Action and Justice. I asked Dowling what they hoped to accomplish by protesting the two gun shops. He said he wanted state licensing and a limit of one firearm per 30-day period per person. ... The Illinois State Police already licenses and regulates firearm owners through the issuance of firearm owners identification cards. ... Dowling also wanted government oversight and inspection of gun shop records. Both stores have already been investigated and received a clean stamp of approval. The protesters have already accomplished their wish list. What do you think would really make them happy?"
Thursday, February 24, 2005
An employee's car parked at Abraham Lincoln Elementary School lot has sparked fury among some parents ushering their children inside the school each morning. The car -- a red, late-model Ford Mustang with a novelty plate on its front end reading "Fight crime, shoot first" -- irritated one parent so much that she complained to her son's pre-kindergarten teacher. The parent, who asked to remain anonymous, also took the issue up with school Principal Sandra Dunning earlier this week, as well as Superintendent of Schools Karla Brooks Baehr. "Being a member of the staff, well, you have to be an example to the kids," the mother insisted. "You don't just do whatever."
"I can listen to parents and listen to their concerns," Dunning said. "But we do live in America. That's part of our democracy, free speech."
The parent, however, says the school's responsibility to provide positive role models to children supersedes the right to free speech, and that the offending license plate is a breech of the public trust placed in school employees. "I don't think it's just a question of freedom of speech," the mother said, noting that while her son is still learning to read, the school's older students have full reading ability. "You don't leave it for the kids to see every day."
The First Amendment of the Constitution, which protects freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition and was added in 1791, stipulates that Congress shall not "(abridge) the freedom of speech." According to Taylor Flynn, a Northeastern University professor and expert in Constitutional law, the school employee with the plate might actually find favor if the case found its way into court, particularly because, in her view, the evidence that students' education is being disrupted by the plate is on the lean side. "However, I think there is a fairly strong possibility that a court would find that the staff person's First Amendment rights are being violated if the employee feels (directly or indirectly) coerced into covering the plate or is doing so over her objection."
Principal Dunning, who admitted she was "a little surprised" by the plate, initially echoed Flynn's concerns, saying that such a message might be considered inappropriate if it entered the building. But outside? Dunning said that's a different matter entirely. "If anything disrupts the educational process, we do have the right to ask staff and teachers to maintain a code of conduct," she said. "What is parked in a lot or on a street is a different matter, however. Whatever happens in the building we have control over. I think it's inappropriate," she said. "I think we all take responsibility to model appropriate language and behavior. Yes, they see all sorts of things on TV, in ads, that lots of people would find inappropriate as a model for a 5- or 6-year-old. But having (the license plate) there in the lot suggests we condone it."
The solution? Dunning and Baehr plan to mandate that the staff member somehow cover the plate upon arrival each morning, possibly with magnets and a cloth. The plate will be covered by the first day of school after February break, Feb. 28, Behr said. "I expect cooperation on the part of the staff members to cover it up or obscure it in some way," Baehr said. And when the staff member is not on school property -- and by that, Baehr means either in the building or in the parking lot -- "she's free to do as she pleases."
The parent who initially complained said she was happy with that solution, though put off that "going public" with the story was the route to compromise. "I'm aggravated because they only did something when I said I was going to talk to The Sun," the mother said. "I feel that I had to go outside the school to solve a little problem, because this could have been solved within the school."
Michigan: Overreaction to BB gun: "School officials continue to investigate a third-grader who brought a BB gun to Summerfield Elementary School on Tuesday. The boy, 8, is not allowed to attend school for three days while officials investigate. A suspension or an expulsion could be issued, said Larry Watkins, the district's director of school safety. 'The school principal is doing an investigation, but it does not appear he brought it to do any harm,' Watkins said. The gun wasn't loaded.
Louisiana: Woman kills attacker inside her home: "An East Feliciana Parish woman fired a bullet into the chest of a man who had broken into her farmhouse, then fought off his beating until the man died from the gunshot wound. Georgia Belle Sullivan says she was sleeping before dawn yesterday when her dogs' barking woke her up. She retrieved her gun, then saw a shadow move behind a line of chairs. She told authorities that's when a man lunged at her. She fired once at close range ... In the beating after the shooting, Sullivan suffered bruises to her face and elsewhere, and lacerations on her arms. Sullivan says the gun discharged several more times during the struggle. She says when Sanford realized he was hit, he told her his name, asked her not to shoot him again and he let her go."
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
California Assemblyman Paul Koretz introduced legislation this past week requiring all center-fire semi-automatic handguns sold in California starting in 2007 to stamp serial numbers in the brass cases when fired.
The bill says that a "microscopic array of characters" must be located in the inner-workings of the handgun, presumably the chamber or on the firing pin, that would imprint the make, model and serial number of the handgun onto the brass case or primer. It's not specific but it does mention the case, so the firing pin may not qualify with a primer marking.
The bill makes no mention of what happens when a gun owner needs to have work done to their firearm and if it is obliterated or no longer visible after the work is complete. It makes no mention of what a gun owner needs to do if the "microscopic array" just flat wears down over time and no longer imprints the information on the case. It makes no mention of whether modifying a firearm to remove the "microscopic array" is illegal, nor, if worn down over time whether the gun owner is subject to penalties for owning a firearm that can no longer imprints the information on the case.
But, what the bill also doesn't say, but screams out loud, is that Koretz could care less about any of these issues. What Koretz cares about is pricing firearms out of reach so the average Joe can't afford to purchase a gun. Already hundreds of firearms are no longer available to Californians due to state regulatory requirements requiring certain features, indicators and state mandated testing requirements that some manufacturers refuse or simply can't comply with financially. Bills passed last year for certain chamber-loaded indicators and disconnects that render the firearm inoperable with the magazine removed, go into effect January 1 2006 which will eliminate another round of guns for sale here. Now there could be another hoop for firearm manufacturers to jump through starting January 1, 2007 that ends up driving the price of all firearms through the roof, not only in California, but nationally as well. And, who knows how many firearms will not be sold in California due to the cost to implement this across all product lines. Another pile of firearms will disappear from California. In another couple or three more years of ingenious legislation like this, no one will be able to buy a gun in California which has been the plan of the left all along.
Don't mess with rural folk with guns: "Barbara Gesell, 83, had just pulled into her garage when a man ran inside her garage and grabbed her purse, which has hanging across her shoulder. A suspect, Robert Campbell, was arrested shortly afterward on suspicion of attempted robbery. Police said the story might have ended differently if Gesell's daughter, Theresa Gesell, had not taken action. According to police, Theresa Gesell ran behind Campbell and tried to catch him when he ran from the scene. While she was chasing the suspect, she called 911. "A man has attacked us in our house, and we are fighting him in the yard," Theresa Gesell said to the 911 dispatcher. As the struggle moved down the street, a neighbor -- whom Theresa Gesell identified as "Hershall" -- stopped to help. Theresa then grabbed her .45-caliber pistol and continued running after Campbell -- despite the dispatcher's plea for her to drop the handgun. "I am going to go get my .45 ... you all are too slow," she said. As the call continues, the dispatcher asks Theresa to get rid of the weapon. However, after the suspect tried to escape along a creek bed, Theresa and Hershall used the pistol to make sure he didn't leave. "You can go put that gun up now," the dispatcher said. "No sir," Theresa replied. "We have the gun pointed at him ... he must have been a city fellow because he didn't know anything about the woods." Seconds later, police arrived and arrested Campbell. With Hershall's help, the Gesells retrieved Barbara's purse. Campbell is currently housed in the Oklahoma County Jail. He is expected to be charged with assault and attempted robbery."
Determined crook dies: "A Wyandanch man fatally shot a 20-year-old man who tried to enter his home through a window early yesterday, police said. Tyrell Rudolph, of Wyandanch, was discovered in front of a home on Parkway Boulevard with gunshot wounds to his chest and left arm at 3:05 a.m. The alleged shooter, Sanjay Broomfield, 22, was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, a felony. Broomfield, a baker at Entenmann's in Bay Shore, told police he fell asleep Friday night, after working a double-shift, said Det. Sgt. Vincent Posillico, of the county's homicide squad. He said he was awoken at 9 p.m. by someone vigorously knocking and ringing the bell at the front door of his residence at 246 Parkway Blvd. Posillico said Broomfield told police he looked out the window and saw two men leaving his yard. He then fell back asleep only to be awoken again at 2:30 a.m. by similar noises. "He hears motion and people talking," Posillico said. "He steps into the kitchen, where he has an illegal handgun ... and shortly after that a person is seen coming in through the window." Broomfield fired three times, Posillico said. Posillico said detectives are unsure if the man fell or jumped from the window but Broomfield told police he didn't see anything when he looked outside. Worried the intruders might return, Broomfield called police about 3:05 a.m. to report two suspicious persons in the area, but not the fired shots. When police arrived, they discovered Rudolph's body. Broomfield then explained his version of what happened".
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
More watchful, probably not safer: "Are you safer now than you were four years ago? That was the question politicians posed to voters last year during the presidential campaign. Voters who opted to give the administration four more years presumably would answer in the affirmative. But according to a new book, that optimism would be misplaced. Safe: The Race to Protect Ourselves in a Newly Dangerous World, written by three contributing writers to Wired magazine and a former editor of that publication, asks why, if our society is one of the most technologically advanced in the world, we can't protect ourselves from threats to our safety."
Monday, February 21, 2005
The endless gun-control brouhaha, which on the surface appears to be a bitter battle between liberal and conservative whites, also features a cryptic racial angle. What blue-region white liberals actually want is for the government to disarm the dangerous urban minorities that threaten their children�s safety. Red-region white conservatives, insulated by distance from the Crips and the Bloods, don�t care that white liberals� kids are in peril. Besides, in sparsely populated Republican areas, where police response times are slow and the chances of drilling an innocent bystander are slim, guns make more sense for self-defense than in the cities and suburbs.
White liberals, angered by white conservatives� lack of racial solidarity with them, yet bereft of any vocabulary for expressing such a verboten concept, pretend that they need gun control to protect them from gun-crazy rural rednecks, such as the ones Michael Moore demonized in �Bowling for Columbine,� thus further enraging red-region Republicans.
A judgment call: "Folksinger Peter Yarrow of Peter Paul & Mary believes we need more gun laws. Performing at the 2004 Million Morn March rally urging Congress to renew the federal 'assault weapon' ban, Yarrow's main emphasis in the gun control movement has been to protect children. It's too bad he wasn't thinking about protecting them when he was convicted of a sex offense for molesting a 14-year-old girl -- but perhaps it explains why he wouldn't want to make it easy for parents to own a gun."
Proposed bar law gives new meaning to "shot and a beer": "We should be the smartest people in the United States when it comes to firearms, but whenever the word 'guns' gets spoken in a public forum, we turn into the babbling cast of Blazing Saddles, wildly shooting off our mouths but firing blanks. That's how it has been for days with the hysterical hand-wringing over the 'guns in bars' law being considered by those slapstick gunslingers at the state Legislature. The truth is that the proposed law, Senate Bill 1363, is not about guns in bars. It's about signs on doors. Current law states that guns don't belong in bars or restaurants that serve liquor. That law is based on common sense, which makes it incomprehensible to today's elected officials. Some of them therefore would like to rewrite the law to say that a bar or restaurant owner must post a sign specifically prohibiting firearms or it would be presumed that guns are welcome."
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Montana: Anti-federal bills move forward in House: "Lawmakers in the Montana House of Representatives collectively thumbed their noses at the federal government Monday by approving two bills exempting guns from federal regulations and driver's licenses from national standardization requirements. The bills by Reps. Diane Rice, R-Harrison, and Roger Koopman, R-Bozeman, do different things but are driven by the same concern: the erosion of personal liberties by the federal government."
South Dakota: Bill would end gun show waiting period: "The 48-hour waiting period for pistols should not apply to sales by those who are not federally licensed firearms dealers, a Senate panel decided Monday. The bill would clarify language in an existing law that requires any gun dealer to wait 48 hours after a sale before delivering a pistol. Supporters of the bill have said the waiting period places an undue burden on private sales between gun owners. The measure would mean people who are not licensed dealers could sell guns, even at gun shows, and not have to wait 48 hours before delivering the weapons to buyers. The Judiciary Committee unanimously sent HB1189 to the full Senate."
Saturday, February 19, 2005
New York: Store owner shoots would-be robber: "'They came in with guns and pointed a gun to my head. They wanted to rob my store. It is as simple as that. I defended myself,' says Barry Fixler, the would-be robbery victim. ... With not one but two assault rifles pointed at his head, Fixler says he was able to lunge away grabbing hold of his personal handgun firing off several rounds. Once the smoke cleared, one suspect was hit and the second man got away."
Minnesota Bill Seeks To Obstruct Law-Abiding Hunters: "A new bill in Minnesota would require all hunters to undergo a background check when purchasing a hunting license. SF 781 would require a background check to determine if the purchaser was ineligible to posses a firearm. Obviously, criminals who are going to violate the law by possessing a gun aren`t going to bother to buy a hunting license, only law abiding citizens would be impacted by this legislation. Call your Senator and respectfully urge him/her to oppose this attempt to scare and obstruct law-abiding hunters."
Friday, February 18, 2005
Crime is getting worse, oddly enough
While the US is the murder capital of the world, Australia still has the worst prevalence of crime among 17 industrialised countries, according to a UN-sponsored survey. Federal Government statistics show increases in crimes against people, rather than property. "That's the basic picture in Australia at the moment - we're getting more violent," said Dr Tim Prenzler, head of the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University. "It's not a pretty picture."
The 2000 International Crime Victims Survey used a telephone survey to assess the prevalence and incidence of crime in industrialised countries. About 30 per cent of Australians told researchers they had been victimised one or more times in 1999, compared with 26 per cent in England and Wales, 21 per cent in the US and 15 per cent in Japan. England and Wales had the highest incidence of crime, the survey showed.
Property crimes such as breaking and entering and vehicle theft traditionally accounted for much of Australian crime, but that is changing. There were 145,420 violent crimes in 1996. By 2002, the figure had grown to 198,722 - and 80 per cent were assaults......
Recent crime research has tended to focus on property crime, which has decreased because of more sophisticated alarm and surveillance systems. Researchers have no way of telling whether the recent spate of violent crime in Brisbane is a trend or a spike, because good data takes time to collect and study. "We might need another year or two to see if it's a trend," Dr Bond said. "That's the problem with all this trend analysis - you need time, and that's no good for policy-making." ....
Surveys are considered a better way to gauge crime victimisation because many victims do not make reports to police, and the statistics of those who do, vary, because jurisdictions apply different rules and definitions. The ICVS is conducted by Leiden University in Holland.
Stop suicides, close Golden Gate Bridge: "The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) today called upon the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to 'take an important step for public safety' and close the Golden Gate Bridge, which has been a popular suicide platform for more than 65 years. 'Several city supervisors want to ban handguns in San Francisco on the mere presumption that such a law would prevent crimes, accidents and suicides,' said SAF Founder Alan M. Gottlieb. 'Well, it is an absolute certainty that closing the bridge would prevent suicides, and perhaps many accidents, as well.'"
California: Appeals Court dismisses frivolous gun suit: "Late yesterday a San Francisco appellate court unanimously upheld a lower court's decision, dismissing a lawsuit against gun manufacturers. Several California cities and counties, including Sacramento, alleged that gun manufacturers violated the state's unfair business practices law in the way they marketed, distributed, promoted and designed handguns. The plaintiffs claimed the gun makers sold the firearms in a manner 'that facilitates the weapon to be used in violent crimes.' The appeals court ruled that the cities and counties failed to make a connection between the firearms manufacturers' business practices and the use of guns by criminals."
Thursday, February 17, 2005
More than a decade has passed since Sen. Jim King woke up to find a man pointing a gun at his head. It's been 15 years since Sen. Evelyn Lynn woke up - twice - to find intruders in her home. But both remember the events as if they were yesterday, prompting both to vote Wednesday for a bill expanding the rights of Floridians to use deadly force when threatened in their homes and cars. The bill (SB436) passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice unanimously. It must pass one more committee before heading to the full Senate. An identical bill is working its way through the House.
Under current law, homeowners cannot use deadly force unless they believe an intruder intends to kill them or a loved one, or severely harm them. Although criminal case law tends to favor homeowners, anyone who kills an intruder can be arrested. Under the bill, anyone who breaks into an occupied house or car would be presumed to have deadly intent. Victims would no longer have to determine the intruder's intent. "You can't expect a victim to wait and ask, "Excuse me, Mr. Criminal, are you going to rape me and kill me, or are you just going to beat me up and steal my television?' " said Marion Hammer, lobbyist for the National Rifle Association.
The bill has law enforcement support because it does not allow homeowners to shoot law officers who legally break into homes, such as when they believe someone is in harm or evidence is being destroyed. "I think if you talked to the average Joe or Jane Citizen they would say, "There ought to be a law.' This is your chance to make a law," said David Murrell, lobbyist for the Florida Police Benevolent Association.
The bill does not allow people to shoot intruders outside the home. "If someone was standing over you and you had a gun under your pillow, you could go ahead and shoot him, no questions asked," said Sen. Durell Peadon, the Crestview Republican who is sponsoring the bill. Lynn said police told her she should not keep a weapon near her bed. "They said, "No, you don't want to do that because you will be liable,' " she said.
Virginia: Gun lobbyists to sue over ban at Capitol: "Gun rights lobbyists said yesterday that they will sue the state for its ban on weapons at the state Capitol. 'They've given us no choice, we're preparing to file a lawsuit,' said Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. The new ban, implemented last year by a handful of powerful lawmakers without a public hearing, forbids anyone without a concealed-weapons permit to openly carry weapons into the Capitol or the General Assembly building nearby."
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
If there�s a gun in a scene, an old writer�s adage says, it had better go off. As that bit of advice suggests, there are few symbols more powerful than guns. They can represent liberation from oppression or serve as a weighty physical reminder of a lurking existential threat. No matter the association, the powerful emotional responses that guns elicit are largely responsible for the stagnant and vitriolic nature of the current gun control debate.
In Shooters, anthropologist Abigail Kohn argues that both sides of the debate have become so alienated from one another that they effectively form subcultures, and she studies them accordingly. Kohn calls Shooters an ethnography, an anthropological study conducted from within a culture to gain the �natives� point of view.� Rather than studying gun enthusiasts though literature and statistics, or from behind a duck blind to ensure �objectivity,� Kohn spent time with enthusiasts, interviewing them, taking classes with them, and shooting with them.
Her research methods appear to be scrupulous. She confined her survey to a particular area (the San Francisco Bay area) rather than glossing the gun culture as a whole. She published her standard questionnaire as an appendix to the book, and the citations she offers to support her claims seem to come from both sides of the gun control debate. The result is a fascinating look into the world(s) of gun enthusiasm that puts real, human faces on a gun debate dominated by antiseptic statistics and abstract principles. After reading Shooters, you�ll wonder why no one has done such a study before.
The omission may stem from the typical attitude toward guns among academics, which Kohn addresses in her preface. From �public health� articles proposing gun control as a cure for the �epidemic� of gun violence to highly regarded sociologists who argue that gun research should be informed by �moral principles� rather than hard facts, she confesses her surprise at the ill-informed and often tendentious research conducted by academics. Kohn�s own research for Shooters, some of which appeared in this magazine (�Their Aim Is True,� May 2001), elicited predictable responses. One colleague said she was performing a �social service by researching �such disgusting people.�� Another said that unless Kohn acknowledged the �inherent pathology� of gun enthusiasm, she was disrespecting victims of gun violence.
The characters that emerge from Kohn�s interviews and observations are far more complex and interesting than the �gun nut� stereotypes that such comments suggest. The shooters in Shooters are diverse, including doctors, lawyers, artists, and men and women of various ages and races. Even their political persuasions are not as predictable as you might expect. While most of the people in Kohn�s book describe themselves as conservative, a few are politically liberal and say they regularly vote Democrat.
More (much more) here
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
A bill recently proposed in the Georgia Legislature will allow people with permits to carry their gun into restaurants. The bill hasn�t moved too far at the Capitol yet, but it has started a lot of table talk. In nearly half a century, Manuel's Tavern has seen many political arguments, but managers and regulars said it never gets to the point where they would feel safer with guns in the place. �If there was a problem, you could always call the police to come out and, you know, handle things for you,� said Marilyn Huggins, a restaurant regular. �Just pointing and aiming a gun doesn't mean that you are capable of making rational decisions in an environment such as a pub or a restaurant,� added Curtis Echols, another regular.
But even some uncommitted lawmakers said armed criminals could hurt or kill a lot of diners, unless those diners could arm themselves. �Why do we want to discriminate against those who simply want the right to protect their own family?� said Republican Rep. Jan Jones of Alpharetta. The bill's supporters say a lot of patrons also need protection once they leave the restaurant. Without a weapon, they argue, customers cannot defend themselves from an attacker on the street.
The bill would let customers carry a gun into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but weapons would still be banned at bars that make more money from alcohol than from food.
Armed homes are safe homes : "Recently, three young criminals in Omaha were looking for a home to rob. Their criteria included an interesting condition. Pointing to a particular target, a townhouse in the northwest part of town, one person told them, 'That house has no guns.' And since Nebraska has no concealed carry law, they could be fairly certain that none of the residents would have one on their person, either. Shortly before noon last November 11, the three punks (all of whom did have guns, of course) broke into the townhouse, demanded money and order[ed] residents to the floor. During a struggle in the hallway, all three intruders fired their guns, killing Trevor Lee, a 23-year-old aspiring stock market analyst."
Monday, February 14, 2005
Michigan: Elderly homeowner had enough of robber: "The robber showed up at the victims' house about 7 p.m. Friday asking to use their phone, said Sheriff's Detective Lt. Mark McClellan. The victims, who are in their 60s, allowed the man to use their cordless phone outside. The culprit then asked to use the couple's bathroom, McClellan said. While in the bathroom, deputies said, the man took the couple's prescription medication out of a medicine cabinet. The same man returned to the victims' home on West Rock about 12:40 p.m. Saturday, again asking to use the phone, McClellan said. When the couple refused, the robber shoved them back into the house and went in. While the intruder searched the victims' bathroom and bedroom, the male resident got his pistol and ordered the man to leave, the lieutenant said. A scuffle ensued and the robber ran off, but not before the homeowner fired a shot at him."
Sunday, February 13, 2005
Post lifted from Astute Blogger
From the BBC - in the heart of TOTALLY GUN-CONTROLLED UK:
(these are BBC HEADLINES ONLY for the last month)
1 Knifeman grabs money in robbery - A robber wielding a knife threatens shop staff and grabs money from the till.
2 A man who murdered his partner in front of her two daughters has been jailed for life at Cardiff Crown Court. Paul Viner, 45, stabbed Donna Brough, 39, to death with a sheath knife at her home in Tylorstown, Rhondda, after she returned home late from a night out.
3 Fresh efforts to cut knife crime - Proposals aimed at helping Scottish police reduce knife crime are setout by ministers at Holyrood.
4 Men held after house knife raid - Police in Grimsby arrest two men in connection with an raid at a house in Nunsthorpe.
5 Knife held to customer's throat - A man holds a knife to a customer's throat during a robbery at a Tyneside petrol station.
6 Armed robbery at service station - Police hunt two men who robbed a petrol service station armed with a handgun and knife.
7 Armed robber holds up nightclub - A hooded robber armed with a knife holds up a nightclub in Derby.
8 Man has knife held to his throat - Two men hold a knife to a man's throat during an assault in a street in Cumbria.
9 Knife-crime battle is stepped up - Police patrols aim to crack down on knife crime in a north London borough.
10 Diamond robber photofit released - Police release an image of a suspected jewellery robber who threatened a couple with a knife.
11 Man with knife robs betting shop - Police are hunting a man armed with a knife who robbed a betting shop in County Durham.
12 Men's sex attack on woman in car - A woman was sexually assaulted by two men carrying a knife who got into her car in central London.
13 Knife gang assaults man in park - A man is punched and threatened by a gang of four as he walks home through a Northampton park.
14 Man still in custody over knifing - Police continue to question a 24-year-old Grimsby man over the stabbing of a New Year's Eve partygoer.
15 Knife attack on video shop staff - A member of staff at a video shop in Rushden is threatened with a knife during a robbery.
16 Man in court over knife rampage - A man appears in court charged with murder and five counts of attempted murder following knife attacks in London.
An armed citizenry is a bulwark against thuggery.
As the song asks: "When will they ever learn when will they ever learn?"
And check what T.A.T. editor Thomas Lifson has to say about gun control.
FLASH!!!! UPDATE!!!!! THIS JUST IN: FOXNEWS reports that there's been another stabbing in London - at a stampede near a midnight grand opening for a new IKEA! FOX: "The stabbing victim, a man in his 20s, was attacked at around 1:30 a.m. near the IKEA store, a spokeswoman for London's Metropolitan Police said, adding that his condition did not appear life-threatening."
Saturday, February 12, 2005
As the Texas Legislature gears up for the biennial legislative push, the issue of concealed weapons has become just another routine program in need of tweaking. "When it passed, there was a big hue and cry about blood in the streets," concealed handgun permit holder Harold Shirley said of Texas' decade-old experience with letting residents carry hidden firearms. "Obviously, that hasn't happened." Shirley is a retired sergeant major who settled in El Paso for the climate, recreational opportunities and low crime rate. And he is one of about 2,500 El Pasoans who have earned concealed handgun licenses since September 1995. Statewide, more than 225,000 Texans have concealed handgun licenses, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety, which issues the licenses....
But some feel that licensees are not getting the full privileges afforded by state law. Jaime Guillen, who teaches concealed handgun classes on the West Side, said a 2003 change to the law meant to give gun carriers access to government buildings, has been wrongfully applied by municipalities,! includi ng El Paso. "That sign was not meant for government entities," Guillen said of the sign prohibiting concealed weapons in City Hall. "That was made for private businesses." Guillen and others thought the fight over carrying weapons into nonexempt government buildings had ended in 2003 when the Legislature approved a "defense from prosecution" for permit carriers wearing their weapons in noncourt buildings. Cities across the state, however, have fought the exemption, including El Paso.
Assistant City Attorney Elaine Hengen said, however, that the city was within the law because a Municipal Court appeal clerk has an office inside City Hall. Concealed weapons are prohibited in courts and buildings where they have offices, Hengen said. Guillen said the fight could be resolved by a Houston case involving the same types of signs. A victory there, he said, could lead to changes statewide.
John Hubert, who teaches concealed handgun classes on the East Side, said the Texas effort has been successful because of the class time, range time and background checks required. However, a license is not the end of one's responsibility, he said. "Just because you carry a gun doesn't make you proficient," he said. "Walking down the street carrying a guitar wouldn't make me a musician."
Background checks go through the Texas Department of Public Safety and include searches for felonies and misdemeanors, delinquent child-support payments, owed back taxes, and defaults on Texas education loans. License holders must remain "clean," Guillen said, or they lose their privileges. Ken Watters, general manager of Bassett Place, said concerns about the concealed handgun law have faded. "I don't think it's been a huge issue in any way, shape or form," Waters said. "There was some concern initially, but it's a nonissue now." .....
In fact, Guillen's class agreed, the process of getting a concealed handgun license teaches a lot about how to avoid confrontation. Because they carry weapons, any criminal charges could bring substantially more punishment with a conviction.
With the success of the program -- 15 states have reciprocity agreements with Texas, but that does not include New Mexico -- the handgun lobby has a modest agenda for this legislative season. A five-year, instead of four-year, renewal period is being sought, as well as ability to pay fees ($140) with a personal check, Hubert said. License holders say they are treated well by area law enforcement. Indeed, they said, area law officers are usually the only ones who can spot the subtle signs of a hidden firearm. But the biggest reason the program is a success, Guillen said, is that the program prevents crime from happening.
Shirley, who has had his license since 1996, agreed. "I've had to show (my weapon) three times," he said. "But I didn't have to use it. And that's the way it is in almost all cases."
Rising gun crime fears in Australia
Fat lot of good the gun control laws have done
"The daylight robbery of a man at gunpoint near a busy train station has renewed fears of a rise in gun crime in Sydney. The 34-year-old man, who asked to be known only as Paul, said he was walking to Harris Park railway station on his way to work about 6.45am on January 11 when another man approached him and asked for a light. However, when Paul said he did not smoke, the man pressed a gun to his neck and demanded money, escaping with his watch.
Paul said he thought the mugger was joking at first. "I thought maybe it was a finger or something on my neck, but not actually a pistol," he said today. "When I indicated 'Look mate I don't have any money', he said 'Look, I'm not joking, this is a real gun'. "When I realised he had a gun, I guess I was more scared than anything."
The victim was speaking on the day New South Wales Police Commissioner Ken Moroney said more than 40,000 weapons were seized in major crackdowns across the state last year. Mr Moroney said a major audit and compliance check of all firearms in NSW, combined with the State Government's gun buyback, had seized and destroyed 43,000 weapons. In total, 185,000 licensed firearm holders were identified, holding about 600,000 registered firearms between them. As part of the blitz, thousands of weapons were destroyed because police were not satisfied the firearms were being kept securely, or that "possession of that firearm was necessarily further warranted". "Some 43,000 weapons were seized and subsequently destroyed by NSW Police during (20)03-04," Mr Moroney said.
Opposition leader John Brogden said gun crime was surging in Sydney and the Carr Government was trying to spin its way around the problem. "Sydney will end up like New York or Los Angeles if we keep going the way we're going," he said.
Friday, February 11, 2005
Oregon: Anti-gun shenanigans: "Well our Old Whacko in Salem, the anti-gun Senator Genny Burdick, pulled off her meeting on the anti-gun bill SB 335. I guess it was a real dog and pony show from what I have been reading. First she held the committee meeting in Portland instead of in Salem. It appears now that there was only about 40 seats in that location. She reserved most of them for anti-gun people and had them seated while making those who were against her bill stand outside. ... Isn't it funny that even our most liberal anti-gun paper in the state, 'The Oregonian,' came out against this bill. I also understand that her bill was improperly amended prior to the meeting, which is an apparent violation of committee rules. ... Anyway, it shows that Burdick and all the anti-gun Democrats will stoop to any shenanigans to stack the deck in their favor when it comes to getting their own way on these bills."
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Packed, stacked and ready to whack: "One of the basic human rights that constantly has to be defended is the right to keep and bear arms. Why did the original founders of this great American experiment toss this given, no-duh, entitlement into the Constitution? Well, it wasn't so that we would be guaranteed that we could hunt squirrels and woodchucks without serving time, as great as that is. It was for the purpose of defending ourselves against perps when the cops are running a little late, and for the purpose of protecting ourselves against the government should the system go south."
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
A police spokeswoman called it "unusual" that a 19-year-old almost smuggled a loaded pistol tucked between his buttocks into a county jail this week. Clifton Alexander Carter was transported to the Gwinnett County Jail on Tuesday after a school resource office at Central Gwinnett High School recognized him as a suspect wanted in Barrow County. Upon searching him, officers found a loaded .25-caliber handgun hidden in the man's buttocks. There was a bullet in the chamber, sheriff's spokeswoman Stacey Kelley said. "I don't now how he was able to conceal the weapon in that area. It is very unusual," she said.
The resource officer called Lawrenceville police and Carter was arrested near the campus. He is not a student at the school. Deputies felt something was amiss during their routine search and performed a strip search, Kelley said. "We are proud that our deputy was diligent in his job and was able to locate the weapon," she said. Carter was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, carrying a weapon on a school campus and possession of a weapon by a jail inmate, among other charges. He is being held without bond.
Gun gets the right guy: "A man authorities allege participated in a home invasion was shot in the upper torso early this morning by one of the residents he was trying to rob, police report. About 1:30 a.m., Burlington police responded to a reported burglary in progress at 1109 Rosenwald St. Officers found a man later identified as Tele Richmond, 22, of 231 Kerr Chapel Road in Burlington, lying in the front yard suffering a gunshot wound to his torso. Richmond was one of four men who entered the Rosenwald Street home and tried to rob the residents at gunpoint, police said. One of the residents, apparently acting in self defense, fired at the suspects with a handgun, striking Richmond, police said. The other suspects were last seen running north toward Sharpe Road. None of the residents was injured, police said."
8 February, 2005
Study raises alarm on 1st Amendment, but what about 2nd?: "Schools don't do enough to teach the Second Amendment. In many cases, they don't do anything at all. That's a problem the Second Amendment Foundation has been addressing for more than three decades, and it has been an uphill battle. In today's politically correct classroom environment, it's virtually taboo to talk about firearms, and showing an interest in guns can get your photo banned from the high school yearbook, as happened this year to a New Hampshire student who wanted to appear with his skeet gun and shooting vest in his official senior class portrait."
The last refuge of hate: "People who are terrified of and hate guns -- hoplophobes -- don't care about anything rational, and we waste our time on such arguments. They want guns to go away. They don't trust guns. They don't trust people who have guns, and especially people who like guns. The only exception is 'official' people with guns, meaning, they're from the government, a source of relief. I know, I know, that's irrational. But that's the nature of the disease, and it will not be fixed by DOJ reports. The more intelligent of the hoplophobes may give up their you-have-no-rights argument due to the DOJ report, but it won't stop them one bit."
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
The last refuge of hate: "People who are terrified of and hate guns -- hoplophobes -- don't care about anything rational, and we waste our time on such arguments. They want guns to go away. They don't trust guns. They don't trust people who have guns, and especially people who like guns. The only exception is 'official' people with guns, meaning, they're from the government, a source of relief. I know, I know, that's irrational. But that's the nature of the disease, and it will not be fixed by DOJ reports. The more intelligent of the hoplophobes may give up their you-have-no-rights argument due to the DOJ report, but it won't stop them one bit."
Monday, February 07, 2005
Don't be fooled by the stereotype, said Aaron Thomas, a 30-year-old gay man with ruddy cheeks, an open manner and a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. Gay, gun-loving San Franciscans exist, he said shortly before hunching his back, steadying himself and firing at a target. Not only do they exist, they are steamed up about the proposed law -- supported by five San Francisco supervisors and set to go before voters next fall -- that would ban the ownership of handguns.
The right to own guns may be even more important than the right to marry, Thomas said during the monthly shooting practice organized by the gay gun group the Pink Pistols. "I want to be liberated as a gay man, but I'm not willing to give up the rights I have," he said. "If they can take that away from you, what more can they do?" ....
Gay men and lesbians are at risk of becoming hate crime victims, the group's philosophy goes, and therefore community members should learn how to protect themselves -- with firearms.
One more innocent American entrapped by BATFE : "Danny Peterson is a lot like you and me. Father. Young grandfather. American. Never in trouble with the law. But Danny Peterson holds a federal license to sell guns and in January 2004 he made the 'mistake' of exhibiting at the Las Vegas Gun Show. Eight BATFE agents roamed the aisles at that show that weekend, itching to find somebody to bust. They picked Danny, who had done absolutely nothing wrong. They decided he was their target for the weekend -- even after he refused to go along with their repeated attempts to talk him into breaking the law! Thus one more innocent American gun owner ended up fighting for his very life against corrupt, lying BATFE agents."
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Ballistic fingerprinting was all the rage just a couple of years ago. Maryland and New York were leading the way where a computer database would record the markings made on the bullets from all new guns. The days of criminals using guns were numbered. Yet, a recent report by the Maryland State Police's forensic-sciences division shows that the systems in both states have been expensive failures. New York is spending $4 million per year. Maryland has spent a total of $2.6 million, about $60 per gun sold. But in the over four years that the systems have been in effect neither has solved a single crime. To put it bluntly, the program "does not aid in the mission statement of the Department of State Police."
The systems have drained so many resources from other police activities that ballistic fingerprinting could end up actually increasing crime. In New York, how many crimes could 50 additional police officers help solve? ....
Precisely because friction causes wear, a gun's ballistic fingerprint changes over time � making it drastically different from such forensic evidence as human fingerprints or DNA. The recording of a child's fingerprints or DNA still allows for identification much later in life; the same is not true of the bullet markings. A ballistic fingerprint is less like a human fingerprint than it is like the tread on a car tire.
Brand-new tires are essentially identical, so new-tire tracks at crime scenes leave investigators with pretty limited information. Unless there happens to be a particular imperfection, only the brand and model of the tire can be identified. Imprints on bullets are similar. When a bullet is fired from a new gun, investigators can typically identify only the type of ammunition and the type of gun. Over time, though, friction causes the tread on tires to wear. It would be easy to take the tire tracks left at a crime scene and match them with a suspected criminal's car; but the more the car is driven after the crime, the harder it is to match the tire tracks left at the scene to the tires when they are eventually found. Similarly, the greatest friction on a gun occurs when the gun is first fired � and that dramatically reduces the usefulness of recording the gun's ballistic fingerprint when it is purchased.
Moreover, ballistic fingerprinting can be thwarted by replacing the gun's barrel � just as criminals can foil tire matching by simply replacing their tires. In general, the markings on bullets can be altered even more quickly and easily than the tread marks on tires: Scratching part of the inside of a barrel with a nail file would alter the bullet's path down the barrel and thus change the markings. So would putting toothpaste on a bullet before firing it.....
While registering guns by their ballistic fingerprints is a relatively new concept, we have had plenty of experience using gun registration in general, and it has come up woefully short. A few years ago, I testified before the Hawaii state legislature on a bill to change registration requirements. Hawaii has had both registration and licensing of guns for several decades.
In theory, if a gun is left at the crime scene, licensing and registration will allow the gun to be traced back to its owner. Police have probably spent hundreds of thousands of man-hours administering these laws in Hawaii. But despite this massive effort, there has not been a single case in which police claimed that licensing and registration have been instrumental in identifying a criminal.
From John Lott
Utah: Bill to "allow" loaded guns in cars: "Gun owners -- even those without a concealed weapons permit -- would be allowed to carry their loaded weapons in cars under a bill being prepared for the Utah Senate. Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, said he is drafting a bill, SB175, that would give gun owners the same access to weapons in their cars that they have in their homes. 'It's called the 'home-castle' principle,' Madsen said. 'If you're in your car, the same right you have in your home extends to your car. It's pretty simple.'"
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Fresh off its success at poking holes in a Wilmette handgun ban, the National Rifle Association has launched a new legislative drive to dismantle strong gun prohibitions in Chicago and test Gov. Rod Blagojevich's wavering commitment to broader gun control. Taking direct aim at Mayor Richard Daley's hard-line stance against the proliferation of guns, the NRA package of state legislation would allow residents of Chicago and other communities that ban handgun ownership to legally keep the weapons in their homes for self-defense purposes. It also would hold Chicago and other places with bans liable for injuries that residents claimed could have been avoided had they been allowed to carry handguns....
The gun-rights group was emboldened by last year's passage in the Democrat-controlled legislature of the so-called Wilmette bill, inspired by the case of a resident of the North Shore suburb who shot an intruder in his home and was then charged with violating a local handgun ban. The legislation created a loophole in handgun bans by allowing someone like the Wilmette man to claim self-defense as they fight such charges in court. Blagojevich vetoed the bill, but lawmakers overrode that action this year and the measure became law "With the situation in Wilmette last year, there was a change in the tone of the debate," said Todd Vandermyde, an NRA lobbyist. "Look at the votes we put on those bills. There were huge majorities."
This year's NRA package would punch a big hole in local handgun bans by creating an exception for residents who say they are keeping the weapons in their homes for self-defense. It would also allow people to sue municipalities with gun bans for injuries suffered as a result of a crime that they say could have been prevented had they been allowed to carry a gun. Another NRA measure would strip Chicago aldermen of the right to carry guns as long as the city continues to ban gun ownership by everyone else.
Wyoming the land of the free: "A House committee on Wednesday recommended a bill that would liberalize Wyoming's concealed weapons law. The measure, sent to the House floor 7-2 by the House Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee, would essentially allow any non-felon to carry a concealed gun without a permit. "You can carry -- simple as that," said the sponsor, Rep. Becket Hinckley, R-Cheyenne. Wyoming would join Alaska and Vermont in not requiring permits for concealed weapons, he said. Hinckley, a deputy prosecuting attorney, was joined in support by Richard Bohling, Albany County's prosecutor, who said law-abiding citizens sometimes have been convicted of illegally carrying a concealed weapon when they had no intent of breaking the law. Bohling, holding a notebook bearing a sticker reading, "I'm the NRA and I vote," cited the case of an elderly Missouri man who was found to have had a loaded pistol in his glove box after a rollover. Bohling said he was forced to prosecute the individual, who was later convicted. The bill would prevent prosecution of people in similar situations who have no ill intent, he said".
Friday, February 04, 2005
Along with abortion and a few other issues, guns galvanize public passion to an unusual degree. Outside the armed camps of gun-control advocates and gun-rights groups, a largely sensible center supports the right to keep and bear arms within reason. The constant question is just what right reason requires. This newspaper supports gun rights within limits, such as Virginia's one-gun-a-month restriction, which has helped reduce "straw purchases" and gun-running along the East Coast. It also supports laws limiting true assault weapons to police and military forces.
The General Assembly has been considering a proposal to close the "gun-show loophole." The other day the Senate shot the measure down, but count on its reappearance -- either during this session or a future one.
The proposal would require private sellers of firearms -- gun hobbyists, collectors, and so on -- to conduct background checks on potential buyers, as existing licensed gun dealers must do. As in any question involving the infringement of individual liberties, the burden of proof lies on those supporting greater restrictions. Do they meet it? Herewith, some pertinent points to consider:
* The National Shooting Sports Foundation reports that total sales of all guns exceed $2 billion a year. Of all guns sold, only a fraction are purchased at gun shows.
* Of the fraction of weapons bought at gun shows, most are purchased through licensed dealers who must perform background checks.
* Thus individual firearm sales at gun shows account for only a minuscule percentage of all weapons purchases.
The question, of course, is whether that minuscule fraction of weapons purchases accounts for an inordinate percentage of weapons used in crimes. The answer appears to be a resounding no.
* A report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics based on interviews with 18,000 prison inmates shows less than 1 percent of criminals obtain weapons from gun shows. Similar studies -- such as one from the National Institute of Justice -- show similar results.
* Indeed, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence does not stress individual sales at gun shows as a significant source of guns used in crime. Asked about the statistics cited above, a spokesman for the Brady Campaign noted a report from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives claiming gun shows are "a major trafficking channel" but said 60 percent of guns used in crimes come from just 1 percent of licensed dealers -- i.e., those dealers already expected to abide by background-check requirements. "The federal government is not going after the crooked dealers upstream," the spokesman said. "In fact, [it is] working to protect them." He noted that Congress rejected a request by the Bush administration to fund a system tracking the source of illegal guns.
* The Brady Campaign does cite other data, such as the fact that "only 50 to 75 percent of the vendors at most gun shows" are licensed firearms dealers. It does not mention that many of the other vendors do not sell guns at all -- but rather books, pepper sprays, swords and knives, storage safes, bumper stickers, clothing, hand-made leather goods, and vintage military paraphernalia such as WWII uniforms and (empty) ammunition boxes.
* The Brady Campaign cites another BATFE report to the effect that 10 percent of the guns used in crimes committed by juveniles were sold "at gun shows and flea markets." Roughly 9 percent of all gun crimes are committed by juveniles. Thus gun shows -- and flea markets -- account for about 1 percent of all gun crimes involving juveniles.
* But -- again -- the "gun-show loophole" applies only to those hobbyists and collectors who might be interested in selling granddad's WWII service sidearm, not to the majority of licensed dealers who, according to the Brady Campaign, constitute the bulk of the gun-crime problem. In short, private sellers of firearms constitute a vanishingly small share of the gun-crime problem in contrast to corrupt gun dealers, theft, and the black market.
Advocates of gun rights still must admit closing the "gun-show loophole" might produce a marginal reduction in the criminal use of guns though such a reduction could be wiped out by one large-scale theft such as the recent incident in Chesterfield. The Assembly must weigh this marginal reduction against the infringement of the right of law-abiding citizens -- what the Brady Campaign disdainfully calls "so-called private sellers" peacefully to exercise their right to keep and bear, and trade in, firearms.
Let's be clear: Most gun-show sales in Virginia occur through licensed dealers who already conduct background checks. Closing the gun-show loophole would place a serious encumbrance on individual rights, with little or no benefit to public safety. The Assembly is welcome to pass a bill anyway, if it is interested in making an empty gesture. If it is interested in reducing violence, it should turn its attention elsewhere.
California: Home intruder shot by occupant: "Greg Collins kept watch in his garage Wednesday night, two loaded shotguns by his side. He was on guard for thieves who had burglarized his Modesto home on Hackberry Avenue six times in three weeks. Collins fell asleep but was awakened about 5:26 a.m. by a loud crash when someone opened the garage door and a large box he had laid against it scraped across the floor. The intruder turned on the lights and walked into the garage, toward a large piece of plywood that covered tools. Still groggy from sleep, Collins grabbed a shotgun and told the intruder to freeze. 'He lunged at me,' explained Collins. 'I was very scared and I was panicky. He took about one step. I aimed low and shot him.'"
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Which is pretty weird in the light of its vast incompetence
Talk of arming pilots can't help but lead to thoughts of 9/11, an evocative anecdote of its own. And that can't help but remind us that, in a cold, dangerous, and often horrifically cruel world, government is not an efficient, or sufficient, protector, the occasional on-the-ball heroic Columbus cop notwithstanding.
In an America where most of the big minds on the progressive end of the Democratic Party are arguing passionately that the only way for the party to revive its seemingly waning fortunes is to vow even more ferociously and tenaciously that they shall be the covering blanket, the succor, the provider, for all Americans' needs great and small�from prenatal care at the start to education and health care throughout to pension provision in our dying days�it is dangerous to acknowledge the inherent limits of government's ability to make everything OK. This doubtless has something to do with Democrats' fervent belief in gun control (even as some of them argue the Republicans are actively creating a theocratic dictatorship, in which guns in citizens hands could be quite helpful, as those who gave us the Second Amendment in the first place understood so well).
It's undeniable down the line: Guns add enormous tragedy and regret to the world�as well as a fair amount of protection from the tragedies and regrets others might impose. They also provide, for many, opportunities to try out an interesting and rewarding skill�and for many others an opportunity for political posturing and sociological pigeonholing and rhetorical policy warfare.
The debate over how and to what extent, and based on what arguments, the state may interfere with its citizens' rights to self-defense�or to hunt for food with efficient tools, or even just to pursue sheer fun and games with explosive projectiles�will never end until we come to a settled decision on whether, and to what extent, our lives are our own property and our own responsibility. The empirical case as to whether in fact the police power of the state can efficiently protect our lives and property is settled pretty much every day in the favor of gun rights...for individuals, regardless of the overall result of studies like the National Research Council's. It's to individuals that guns are often necessary sources of protection and pleasure. Thus, the Justice Department was right, both historically and politically, to note publicly that the right to own guns�and the responsibilities that naturally arise therefrom�belong to individuals, not collectives, and are not to be blithely abridged.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Complex issue requires complex solutions: "The ideal is to control your own self-defense, which often devolves into an issue of skill. In some circumstances, self-defense could mean a gun in the hands of a trained and conscientious owner. Of course, gun ownership may not be an appropriate solution for domestic violence, which may be better answered by assertiveness training or other forms of self-defense, including the act of leaving. Neverless, the point remains: a willingness to defend yourself and acquiring that ability is the responsibility of every individual."
Tuesday, February 01, 2005
Canadian readers of this blog will probably be interested in this site -- a site dedicated to repealing Canada's generally ludicrous gun laws. One excerpt from the current front page: "Dr. Hudson and Jack Wilson, from Saskatchewan attended a Gordon Hitchen Memorial Skeet Shoot at Rock Creek, B.C. on the 31st of October. Many others booked in from other localities in B.C. and Alberta. This shoot featured Conservative MP Jim Gouk, representing the Southern Interior Riding, who took an unregistered shotgun in hand and shot the first bird. The local police declined to attend and compete with us. The shoot was recorded by CHBC and shown on Global TV the next day. Twenty five persons attended and eighteen of them shot with unregistered shotguns.
13 REASONS WHY A HANDGUN IS BETTER THAN A WOMAN:
1) You can buy a silencer for a handgun.
2) You can trade a .44 for two .22's.
3) You can have a handgun at home and another for the road.
4) If you admire a friend's handgun and tell him so, he will be impressed and let you try a few rounds with it.
5) Your primary handgun doesn't mind if you have a backup.
6) Your handgun will stay with you even if you are out of ammo.
7) A handgun doesn't take up a lot of closet space.
8) Handguns function normally every day of the month.
9) A handgun won't ask, "Do these grips make me look fat?"
10) A handgun does not mind if you go to sleep after you're done using it.
11) You can have more than one handgun living in the same house without having problems.
12) A handgun doesn't care how big your trigger finger is.
13) A handgun won't tell all of its friends if you are a "little fast on the trigger".