Monday, March 31, 2008
With school violence on the rise and campus shootings becoming increasingly more common, some states are rethinking their gun laws. Instead of putting more useless restrictions on guns, many of these states are looking into the possibility of allowing people with valid permits to carry concealed weapons on school grounds.
Arizona State Senate Bill 1214, for example, would allow permit-holders of at least 21 years of age to carry concealed firearms at K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Idaho, and Washington all have similar concealed-carry legislation pending.
Currently, Utah is the only state that allows guns at all public institutions of higher learning. In fact, state law makes it illegal for public colleges and universities to create their own restrictions regarding concealed carry. At least 11 institutions, including all nine public colleges in Utah and Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia, permit concealed carry on their premises. The University of Utah in Salt Lake City had banned firearms on campus until the state's supreme court struck down the ban in late 2006. Undaunted, the university is currently fighting in federal courts to reinstate the ban.
State law in Colorado leaves the decision up to institutions whether to allow concealed carry on their campuses. So far, the University of Colorado is the only public institution in the state to allow properly registered individuals to carry concealed weapons.
W. Scott Lewis, the media spokesperson for the non-profit organization Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, reported that since allowing concealed carry on campus, the aforementioned universities have not reported a single gun theft, incident of gun violence, or gun accident. "There is no evidence to suggest that allowing concealed carry on college campuses will lead to more violence," said Lewis.
CRITICS WORRY THAT loosening restrictions on concealed carry on campuses would put guns in the hands of "just any college student," but this is not the case. Many students already own guns and use them responsibly but aren't allowed to bring them on campus.
In the 40 states that currently allow citizens to carry concealed weapons, individuals can take their handguns to shopping malls, grocery stores, office buildings, cinemas, banks, churches, and most public places. None of these states have experienced an increase in crimes or accidents involving guns since concealed carry became legal.
Obtaining a concealed carry permit isn't an easy process. Most states require individuals to go through extensive background checks, take and pass a concealed carry safety course and pay a steep permit fee. To obtain a concealed carry permit in Utah, one must be at least 21 years of age, have no criminal record -- everything from violent crime to the abuse of illegal substances is disqualifying -- and be mentally competent.
Most states require an individual to be at least 21 years of age to obtain a concealed carry permit. But in Indiana, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, and the Dakotas, the age requirement is only 18. What is most interesting about these states is that, according to FBI and DOJ crime stats for 2006, they all have very low crime rates. In fact, Maine, North and South Dakota, and New Hampshire are four out of the five low crime U.S. states, and Montana has the 10th lowest recorded crime rate in the country.
It is clear in the case of these states that more lenient concealed carry laws are not contributing to higher crime rates and more violence. Numerous studies conducted by the Journal of Legal Studies, Florida Department of Justice Statistics, Florida Department of State, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the U.S. Census Bureau have reconfirmed this. Several sources report that concealed handgun license holders are about five times less likely than non-license holders to commit violent crimes.
California: Cigar-store clerk foils robbers by taking away gun: "A cigar store clerk foiled an armed robbery attempt by two men and a woman Saturday, San Diego police said. The three entered a cigar store on Balboa Avenue near Genesee Avenue in Clairemont about 1 p.m., and the woman pulled out a gun and demanded money, police said. The clerk managed to take the gun away, and the three left empty-handed. The woman was described as white, 30 to 35 years old, heavy-set with long blond hair. She wore a blue jacket and blue jeans. The men were described as white, 30 to 35 years old, with medium builds and average height. They wore blue shirts and blue jeans."
OK: 'Stand Your Ground' law faces legal test: "Defense attorneys are seeking immunity from prosecution for a man charged with manslaughter while defending himself from what police say began as an incident of road rage. At a preliminary hearing in October, there was testimony that Gumm was driving north on Riverside Drive when tailgated by Turney. Some obscene gestures were made and both vehicles pulled into a parking area along Riverside Park, where both men got out of their cars... Gumm's parked car was blocked by Turney's. Gumm wasn't arrested after the June 10 shooting in a Riverside Park parking lot. The court filing said Gumm used "lawful force as determined by the Tulsa Police Department after its investigation.” Gumm, a certified armed security guard, had a permit to carry a concealed weapon, the attorneys said. Among the facts eliminated were: Gumm waived his Miranda rights and admitted to the shooting; that Turney was angry, aggressive and pushed Gumm; and a toxicology report showed that Turney had an alcohol content of 0.08 percent. Other excluded details include: Gumm kept backing away as Turney kept approaching, at one time telling Gumm, "You're history,” Gumm did not believe he could escape because of his physical condition and was shoved by Turney who was "younger and more robust,” the court filing states. The appeals court also is being asked to consider that Turney was legally intoxicated and had methamphetamine in his system at the time."
SD: Truckstop intruder shot: "An unexpected intruder at a truck stop off Interstate 29 startled the business owner early Wednesday morning, but he fought back. The owner of Larry's truck stop was doing paperwork around 1:15 in the morning when he heard a noise. When he went to check on it, a door flew open and he found himself face-to-face with a man wearing a mask and carrying a pry bar. The owner fired a shot from his pistol and hit the suspect, 22 year old Austin Yesda, in the backside. Yesda was taken to Avera McKennan hospital and released Wednesday afternoon, the Sioux Falls man is in the Minnehaha county jail, accused of burglary. The truck stop owner has not been charged for shooting the intruder, but the Lincoln County States Attorney is reviewing the case to see if he will press charges. The truck stop owner did have a concealed weapons permit."
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Florida: Security Guard Fires Shots At Attempted Robber: "Police said a Marion security guard was having lunch in front of the Foot Locker at 3194 South University Drive Friday afternoon, when he saw a man covering his face with a bandana and taking out a gun. That's when the guard fired his gun striking the suspect four times, said police. Investigators said the injured suspect fled in a waiting white Nissan, but was later found in Miami Gardens at 889 NW 214th Street. The suspect was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Detectives are still looking for the Nissan driven and another passenger they believe was in the car."
Gunman Caught After Taking A Hostage At Walgreens: "Miami-Dade police say a gunman who took a manager at a Miami Shores Walgreens store hostage in a botched robbery has been shot and is undergoing surgery. Police say 26-year old Adler Dupuy, tried to rob a Walgreens store located at 89th Street and Biscayne Blvd. around 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Investigators said Dupuy hid overnight in the store. When the store opened up early morning, Dupuy pointed a gun at employees, told them to get on the floor and put their cell phones in a bag. Police said the suspect also demanded all the money and when the bag became too heavy, Dupuy asked the employees to take the coins out. An employee told CBS4's Tiffani Helberg one of his co-workers was able to get away and hide inside of a room where he called police. When police arrived and entered the store, they saw the man collecting money from the safe. That's when an employee says the gunman noticed police on a monitor, and took their manager hostage out the back door. The suspect fought with the man he held at gunpoint, and fled in his vehicle. It was then that authorities say officers from the Miami-Dade and Miami Shores police departments opened fire. Police followed the gunman to 82 North Miami Avenue, where he jumped and ran. Officials searched with dogs, helicopters, and caught the man about three hours later at a nearby trailer park. Dupuy was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital where he was undergoing surgery Saturday afternoon. The manager was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries."
Man confesses to 17-year-old Oregon killing, claims self-defense: "For nearly two decades David Lee Patterson hid a terrible secret about a night in Oregon in 1991. Last week, unable to live with the guilt anymore, the 60-year-old man walked into a suburban Dallas police station and admitted killing a man.... Ordinarily, Patterson said he would been in a homeless shelter. But because it was a warm, clear night, he decided to sleep outdoors and save the few dollars it would have cost to stay at a mission. He hunkered down with his bedroll on a funeral homes' porch, a place he had stayed safely before. Beneath his head was a .22 automatic pistol he found on the streets while searching for discarded aluminum cans and bottles, he said. "I woke up to people screaming n----- and kicking me on the head and shoulders," said Patterson. "When I got the gun, he fell off me and started to run. I just started firing." In the darkness, he heard a man yell "ouch, ouch, ouch" so he figured a bullet struck his assailant. He didn't know the man died until he read about it in the newspaper the next day. "I chose to sleep. They chose to attack me," he said, reacting as he'd been trained in the military. "I recovered my weapon and fired," he said... Patterson said a mistrust of police kept him from coming forward sooner. "When you're a black person and you kill a white person, you have this inborn feeling that they're not going to believe you regardless of what happened," said Patterson, who grew up in Alabama during racial strife . The younger brother of the man he shot believes Patterson acted in self-defense and has suffered enough. "I wish the guy was free," said Andy Lamon, 37, of Portland. "I had to dig down really deep in my heart to come up with that ... My anger is long passed." Lamon said his brother was caught up in some "bad things"
Minnesota: Car crash leads to shooting: "Tyeric Lessley believed it was life or death. In town to celebrate his fiancee's birthday, the 22-year-old and his two cousins were leaving a downtown Minneapolis club early March 17 when they crashed into a pickup on Washington Avenue S. Lessley got out and started to walk away, but Darby Claar went after him. Lessley's family claims racial epithets were shouted and punches thrown. As Lessley stumbled to the ground, he pulled out a .44 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun and fatally shot Claar in the chest. Within minutes, a random twist of fate shattered two families. "He knew he would have had to pay the consequences if he killed that man on purpose," the aunt, Bessie Rodgers, said of Lessley. "If he didn't defend himself, he would have been the one in a body bag. Tyeric isn't a cold-blooded killer." Lessley is the father of three children. He recently received an Applebee's employee of the month award because of his rapport with customers. He was charged with intentional second-degree murder. Lt. Amelia Huffman, head of the Minneapolis Police Department's homicide unit, said she's not surprised he would argue self-defense. "But in this scenario, we had only one person who was armed with a weapon of any kind," she said. "There are no other aggravating factors that I believe would lead a reasonable person to feel they were in a situation in which they would be likely to lose their life." Rodgers said her nephew doesn't have a criminal history. Neither she nor his fiancee, Justina Owens, knows where he bought the handgun. The car in which Lessley was riding hit Claar's pickup about 2:30 a.m. Monday near Washington and Chicago Avenues S. Claar wasn't driving. Rodgers said the pickup then rammed Lessley's car, four white men stepped out and one allegedly said, "We're gonna get us some [racial epithet] tonight." Lessley and his cousins are black."
Saturday, March 29, 2008
California: Neighbor apprehends burglar after pursuit: "At about 2:45 p.m. a woman reported to the Sheriff's Office that she saw a man enter her next-door neighbor's residence on the 400 block of Chartin Way. The woman told the Sheriff's Emergency Dispatchers that her son, Steven Wilson, 49, armed with a handgun, had attempted to apprehend the suspect inside the residence and was now chasing him toward Rancheria Road. Deputies arrived a few minutes later and found Wilson detaining Ryan Bush, 21 of Eureka. Further investigation revealed that the suspect had allegedly forcibly entered the locked residence on Chartin Way and removed several items. There was also significant vandalism inside the residence, including broken doors, light fixtures, furniture, and scratched wood floors. When Wilson confronted him, the suspect fled from the house. Wilson fired a single "warning shot" and told the suspect to freeze, but he continued to run. The suspect ran through backyards and private driveways until Wilson was able to catch and detain him near Rancheria Road. Bush was treated at a local hospital for a laceration he sustained either during the burglary or the pursuit. He also had a previous injury that required medical attention. Bush was then transported to the Humboldt County jail and booked for burglary. His bail was set at $50,000 and he is expected to be arraigned Friday."
Michigan: No Charges For Gas Station Shooter: "Kent Co. prosecutors have announced that there will be no charges for the man who shot and killed another man in Grand Rapids. It all happened last month at the Shell Gas Station at the corner of Kalamazoo Ave. and Boston Street. Gabriel Rodriguez was filling up his car when he got into an argument with a man named Glenn Tett, who is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. Surveillance video shows Rodriguez picking up a trash can lid seemingly to hit Tett, when Tett takes out a gun and shoots Rodriguez, killing him. Tett told police that the reason he fired his gun was because he feared for his life, and after watching the surveillance video and investigating the case, Kent Co. Prosecutors agreed that Rodriguez' actions could have been interpreted as life-threatening. "As you're watching (the surveillance video), this happens in an instant," said Kent Co. Prosecutor Bill Forsyth. "We could sit here and Monday-morning-quarterback this, and say well, 'He could have closed the door to his truck and gotten in and driven away. (Tett) could have stepped back, he could have waited to see what it was he was swinging at him, it might have changed things,' but that's not the way the law is written."
Ohio: Older guy fatally shot as he tried to 'jump on' his son: "A South Side man fatally shot his father Monday after the father "went to jump on" him during a fight in the family home, according to a 911 call to police. In a weary, subdued voice, Janice Carson detailed in the tape-recorded call the moments that led up to the killing of Steven J. Carson about 3:40 p.m. inside her home at 1348 Oakwood Ave. Steven Carson, 51, no longer lived there, Janice Carson said, but she didn't explain why he was in the house. "My ex-husband came in and went to jump on my son, and my son has shot his father," she told the call-taker. Steven Carson was shot once, according to police. In an inventory of items police said they took during a search of the home were a .45-caliber Ruger handgun, a shell casing and a pillowcase. Homicide detectives have not charged the son, identified in various police and court documents as Derick W. Carson, 23. They said the younger Carson might have acted in self-defense, and the case will be presented to a grand jury. In 2000, Steven Carson was charged with aggravated menacing and domestic violence, according to Franklin County Municipal Court records. Arrest documents accused him of threatening to kill Janice Carson, and he ultimately was given a 180-day suspended jail sentence and placed on probation for two years."
Oregon man says he killed co-worker in self-defense: "An Oregon man accused of killing a co-worker in Missouri claimed self-defense in his interview with police, according to court documents. Alan J. Schaedler, 41, of Eugene has been charged with second-degree murder in the March 8 shooting of Timothy Thornsberry, 36, of Coos Bay, according to a story in the Eugene Register-Guard. The men were part of a construction crew building barns for farmers in Missouri. They had been sharing a room at the USA Inn in the town of Mount Vernon since January. In a sworn police statement, Schaedler described his version of the shooting this way: Thornsberry was drunk on rum and upset about a telephone conversation he'd had with his girlfriend. Schaedler said he decided to leave the room when Thornsberry started directing his anger at him. Thornsberry then walked toward him in an aggressive way, describing his fists as "deadly weapons." Schaedler grabbed his .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol from the night stand and pointed it at Thornsberry, ordering him to back off. Thornsberry complied and Schaedler put the pistol back in its holster. But Thornsberry resumed his aggressiveness, prompting Schaedler to redraw the gun. Schaedler flipped the safety off, and then fired when Thornsberry took another step toward him. Schaedler told officers he left the room, placed the gun in his truck, called 9-1-1 on his cell phone and had a soda while waiting for police. Schaedler remains in the Lawrence County Jail. He has been assigned a lawyer and is scheduled to appear in court Monday for a bond-reduction hearing."
Friday, March 28, 2008
Stupid "Hacker" gets his deserts
A computer hacker was sentenced to three years in prison for placing a phony emergency call that led police to storm a family home at gunpoint. It marked the first prosecution in Orange County, in South California, for a prank known as "swatting" that involves sending SWAT teams - special weapons and tactics units - on fruitless chases, said county district attorney's spokeswoman Farrah Emami today.
Randal Ellis, 19, pleaded guilty yesterday in Orange County Superior Court to five felony counts, including computer access and fraud, false imprisonment by violence and falsely reporting a crime. He was given prison time and ordered to pay $US14,765 in restitution, most of which will go to the county Sheriff's Department.
Ellis, of Mukilteo, Washington, placed a call to the emergency line 911 last March, at first claiming to report a drug overdose and then alleging a possible murder, investigators said. Prosecutors said he hacked the 911 system and transmitted phony information that appeared to show he was calling from a Lake Forest home.
A sheriff's SWAT team accompanied by police dogs and a helicopter descended on the home, where a couple and their two toddlers were sleeping, Emami said. Doug Bates, awakened by a noise, thought there were prowlers outside and grabbed a kitchen knife. When he checked the backyard, he found SWAT team deputies pointing assault rifles at him. Bates and his wife were handcuffed until authorities determined the call was a hoax.
"That very easily could have turned deadly," Emami said. Ellis was arrested last October and had remained jailed since then.
Ohio: 85-year-old opens fire on thugs: "Raleigh Hensley's trip to "town" Tuesday ended with men taking his wallet with $5,500 and roughing him up, but the 85-year-old didn't give up his money without a fight and even shot at the fleeing car. Butler County Sheriff's detectives announced today, March 27, they have the culprits, both of Hamilton, behind bars who allegedly robbed Hensley. They are Timothy Alfred, 44, of Millville Ave., charged with robbery and Mark Collins, 45, of Sunset Drive, charged with complicity to robbery. Hensley, who has lived on Darrtown Road more than 50 years, said he went to Hamilton Tuesday afternoon, March 26, and stopped by a west side liquor store to purchase a "jug of wine." "There were three or four guys around there," Hensley said. "They saw me pay with the money in my billfold. "I didn't notice them following me home," Hensley said. "When I got out to get the mail, the red car sort of blocked me and they shoved me, trying to get my billfold. Eventually, the men were able to swipe the wallet and jumped back in the car speeding away toward McGonigle, Hensley said "I got my gun and shot a couple times at the tires," Hensley said. He added he has been told him today he may have hit his mark. Butler County Detective Jason Rosser said a car believed to have been driven by the culprits has been located and is being processed."
Texas Woman Shoots Robber, Husband During Home Invasion: "A woman shot and killed an intruder and accidentally wounded her husband in a northeast Harris County home invasion, investigators told KPRC Local 2 Thursday. According to deputies, a couple found themselves staring down the barrel of a gun in their apartment in the Northshore Meadows complex in the 300 block of Audrey Lane shortly before midnight. A man had just broken into their apartment and was making demands. "The husband got into a physical altercation with the suspect," Harris County Deputy A.J. Kelly said. "The wife was able to retrieve a handgun that they had up in the room and she fired shots, striking and killing the suspect." The husband was also shot. Deputies said he was hit in the arm. They believe he may have been hit by friendly fire from his wife. The couple told investigators that they did not know the man or why they were the targets of a home invasion."
Israeli police guard their patch: "The Israel Police opposes a bill that would grant additional legal protection to homeowners, businessmen and farmers who shoot at intruders, because of concern it would encourage people to take the law into their own hands. "I would not like to put such power in the hands of private individuals," police Supt. Liat Lav told the Knesset Law Committee on Wednesday. "Policemen themselves do not like to shoot. There are many stages along the way before they can open fire." The panel is preparing the bill for second and final readings in the plenum. The bill is known as the "Shai Dromi Law" because it was inspired by an incident in January 2007 in which Dromi was indicted for murder for killing a Beduin who had trespassed on his Negev ranch to steal sheep. The incident led to a public outcry justifying Dromi's actions, especially because of the increasing number of thefts in the agricultural sector."
Thursday, March 27, 2008
New York druggist wrestles shotgun away from would be robber: "A gunman who tried to rob a Carmel pharmacy Tuesday afternoon was subdued by the pharmacist after a violent struggle. The robber, armed with a sawed-off shotgun, attempted to rob the store of narcotics. The suspect, identified as David Both, 49, of Kent, allegedly walked up to the pharmacy counter, pulled the shotgun and demanded narcotics from the pharmacy staff. Both then walked around behind the counter as the pharmacist, Mark Gallagher, complied with his demands by placing drugs into a bag. When the suspect pointed the shotgun toward two female employees, Gallagher, who later told police he feared the suspect was going to shoot the women, grabbed the weapon. After a struggle, the pharmacist was able to wrest control of the gun from Both and fought him off. Someone in the store called 911 and patrols from the Putnam, Sheriff’s Office, Carmel and Ken Police and the State Police rushed to the store. Both was taken into custody. As a deputy was unloading the shotgun, police said it accidentally discharged and fired a slug into a rear wall of the store. No one was injured. Police think the gun may have gone off because it was damaged during the struggle. Gallagher was not injured in the altercation. Both was charged with attempted robbery in the first degree."
NJ: 35 weapons seized from gun collector’s home: “Police seized a cache of 35 weapons on Tuesday, including illegally modified assault rifles and machine guns from the … apartment of a gun collector …The State Police Street Gang Unit North and borough detectives found an armory of loaded guns and 3,000 rounds of ammunition in the apartment of Joseph Leone, 57. …. Ryan said police turned their attention to Leone, who had no criminal record, when questions were raised about ‘whether he’s in the right frame of mind to be in possession of weapons.’Ryan would not specify who raised the questions, or how police were alerted…. Leone has a curios and relics license, which permits him to possess certain rare and novel weapons.”
NY: Move to Ban painted guns : "Owning or selling brightly colored guns may soon be illegal in Nassau County under a proposed ban because the painted weapons could pass as toys, police and county officials said yesterday.Suffolk County officials are considering a similar ban. The proposal in Nassau County was spurred by a Wisconsin company’s introduction last week of a line of bright gun paints called the “Bloomberg Collection,” which taunts Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s 2006 ban of colored guns in New York City, said Nassau police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey.Along with County Executive Thomas Suozzi and Legis. Joseph Scannell (D-Baldwin), Mulvey said he intends to support Bloomberg by outlawing the possession of painted guns in Nassau County, even if they were legally purchased and licensed elsewhere.”
Colorado Democrat walking on both sides of the street: "When the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments last week about the Washington, D.C., ban on handgun ownership, U.S. Rep. Mark Udall of Colorado issued a news release saying he hoped the court would affirm the right of citizens to "keep and bear arms." But on four occasions when Udall, a Democrat running for an open U.S. Senate seat, could have voted in Congress to repeal all or sections of the gun ban, he did not. Udall campaign spokesman Taylor West said the congressman did not support the 32-year-old ban but also didn't think Congress was justified in overriding the district while the issue was before the courts. "He believes in self-rule and the rights of local government," West said. "The people should be able to set their own laws." Udall's GOP opponent, Bob Schaffer, quickly seized upon the statement, turning it into a campaign issue. Colorado voters have historically supported gun-ownership rights, said Dick Wadhams, Schaffer's campaign manager. Just recently, for example, applications for concealed-weapon permits have skyrocketed in Colorado. "Mark Udall had an opportunity to say where he was on gun laws, and he did — he's on the Boulder liberal side," Wadhams said."
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
D.C. Gun Crackdown Meets Community Resistance
A crackdown on guns is meeting some resistance in the District. Police are asking residents to submit to voluntary searches in exchange for amnesty under the District's gun ban. They passed out fliers requesting cooperation on Monday.
The program will begin in a couple of weeks in the Washington Highlands neighborhood of southeast Washington and will later expand to other neighborhoods. Officers will go door to door asking residents for permission to search their homes.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said the "safe homes initiative" is aimed at residents who want to cooperate with police. She gave the example of parents or grandparents who know or suspect their children have guns in the home.
Community leaders went door to door in Ward 8 Monday to advise residents not to invite police into their homes to search for weapons. "Bad idea," said D.C. School Board member William Lockridge. "I think the people should not open your doors under any circumstances, don't even crack your door, unless someone has a warrant for your arrest."
Ron Hampton, of the Black Police Officers Association, said he doesn't expect many in the community to comply. "This is one of those communities where the police even have problems getting information about crimes that are going on in the community, so to suggest, now, that the police have enough community capital in their hand that the community is going to cooperate with them, I'm not so sure that's a good idea," Hampton said.
If weapons are recovered, they will be tested and destroyed if they are not found to be linked to any other crimes. A police spokeswoman said that if evidence of other crimes is found during voluntary searches, amnesty will be granted for that crime as well.
Defining the right of self-defense by gun
First, the robber hit Willie Lee Hill more than fifty times with a can of soda, knocking him unconscious. Later, the 93-year-old victim awakened, covered with blood, to find his 24-year-old assailant ransacking the bedroom. When Hill pulled out a .38-caliber handgun from near his bed, the robber lunged at him. Hill stopped his attacker with a single bullet to the throat. "I got what I deserved," the robber told police afterward.
That episode happened in Arkansas last July, but similar acts of self-defense occur by the thousands all across America every year. Overwhelming historical evidence and common sense demonstrate that guns--often called the "great equalizer," for obvious reasons--are a powerful method of self-defense in the precious minutes before police can arrive.
In the District of Columbia, however, citizens may not lawfully possess a handgun for self-defense, even in the home. The Supreme Court will soon hear oral argument in D.C. v. Heller, which is expected to determine whether such a blanket ban violates the Second Amendment. But regardless of how the Court may interpret the Constitution, citizens deserve a legal right to own a handgun for self-defense.
As the Declaration of Independence recognizes, governments are created to protect our individual rights to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The right of self-defense is included and implied in the right to life. In forming a government, citizens delegate the task of defending themselves to the police. But to delegate is not to surrender. Each citizen retains the ultimate right to defend himself in emergencies when his appointed agents, the police, are not available to help.
But what constitutes an emergency? What acts of self-defense are permissible in such a situation? And what tools may private citizens own for emergency self-defense? The law's task is to furnish objective answers to such questions, so that citizens may defend their lives without taking the law into their own hands.
An emergency, properly defined, arises from an objective threat of imminent bodily harm. The victim must summon police, if possible. An emergency ends when the threat ends, or as soon as police arrive and take charge. During that narrow emergency interval, a victim may defend himself, but only with the least degree of force necessary under the circumstances to repel his attacker. A victim who explodes in vengeance, using excessive force, exposes himself to criminal liability along with his assailant.
Many objects commonly owned for peaceful purposes can be pressed into service for emergency self-defense. But unlike kitchen knives or baseball bats, handguns have no peaceful purpose-- they are designed to kill people. The same lethal power that makes handguns the most practical means of self-defense against robbers, rapists, and murderers, also makes handguns an essential tool of government force. Handguns are deadly force and nothing but --a fact that gives rise to legitimate concerns over their private ownership in a civilized society.
These concerns can be resolved only by laws carefully drawn to confine private use of handguns to emergency self-defense, as defined by objective law. Such laws must also prohibit all conduct by which handguns might present an objective threat to others, whether by intent or negligence.
Contrary to an often expressed worry, therefore, a right to keep and bear arms in no way implies that citizens may stockpile weaponry according to their arbitrary preferences. Cannons, tanks, and nuclear weapons have no legitimate use in a private emergency, and their very presence is a threat to peaceful neighbors.
If handguns are confined to emergency self-defense, no legitimate purpose is served by an outright ban such as the District of Columbia enacted. Even if such laws actually deprived criminals of guns (which they don't), they would infringe upon a law-abiding citizen's right in emergencies to repel attackers who are wielding knives, clubs, fists --or cans of soda.
With the aid of his handgun, Willie Lee Hill survived that violent home invasion last July. Self-defense was his right, as it is ours. A proper legal system recognizes and protects that right, by permitting private ownership of handguns under appropriate limits.
Alabama: Man Shoots, Kills Cousin Stealing Gas: "Authorities in Russell County have not filed charges against a homeowner who said today he shot and killed a man who was siphoning gasoline from his truck in the middle of the night, only to discover the victim was a cousin. Robert Lee Warren of Hatchechubee said the man identified by the coroner as 40-year-old Henry Moses made a threatening move toward him after being confronted, so he pulled the trigger in self-defense. Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. said Moses died of a single gunshot to the chest about 2 a.m. CDT on Easter Sunday. The body was found near a blue pickup truck under an awning that Warren used as a carport. He said its unclear how much, if any, gasoline was taken. Prosecutor Buster Landreau said it was too early to say whether an indictment could result when a grand jury considers the case. Alabama law allows residents to use deadly force if they feel their life is in danger. With the average price for regular, self-serve gasoline hitting $3.26 a gallon in the United States, gasoline thefts are being reported across the country.
Florida: Intruder Shot, Killed In Break-In: "An intruder who tried to break into a southwest Miami-Dade County home was shot and killed early Tuesday morning, police said. When Miami-Dade police arrived, they found the security chain on the fence that borders the property broken and the body of a 38-year-old man. Police said it appeared two men tried to burglarize the home when the resident fought with them outside and fatally shot one of them. The second intruder fled the scene but was later in the area, police said. He was detained and is being questioned by police. The resident's family and friends said he had a gun because he had been burglarized as many as 10 times in the past six months. Neighbors said the resident, who runs a landscaping business out of the home, had already had thousands of dollars in lawn equipment stolen. Police said they were investigating to determine exactly what occurred."
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Philadelphia wants candidates to give stance on gun laws
Philadelphia's Democratic leaders say they'll press Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama to back stricter gun laws, despite the risk of angering voters throughout the rest of Pennsylvania and possibly damaging the party's nominee in the general election.
Gun violence in Philadelphia - 331 homicides from gunfire in 2007 - thrust firearms laws to the top of the agenda for city voters, and they don't care about the potential political pitfalls for the presidential candidates, said Carol Campbell, a Democratic ward leader in the city. "If you can't deal with it, then you've got a problem," said Mrs. Campbell, who supports Mr. Obama and heads an alliance of black ward leaders. "That's what's on the minds of most Philadelphians," she said.
Democratic ward leader Ralph Wynder, who is supporting Mr. Obama, said the candidates should address the pressing issues, but conceded that backing Philadelphia's push for tougher gun laws would be "political suicide." "You are probably going to be damaged goods in the state," Mr. Wynder said. "There are just some questions you can't win with an answer. I guess that's why politicians double-talk so much," he said.
Students Make a Case for Carrying Guns to School
After deadly shootings at schools in Illinois and Virginia, 12 states are considering legislation to allow guns on college campuses. Stephen Feltoon, a director for Students for Concealed Carry on Campus (SCCC), is part of a movement that says college students should have the same gun ownership rights as others. Feltoon says he purchased his first gun for recreation. "Now I own it for defense," he says. "I can take a firearm anywhere that's not a college campus, a liquor establishment, or any business that posts a 'no gun' sign. When am I carrying it? That's the beauty of conceal and carry. You'll never know until I need it."
He says SCCC started a day after the Virginia Tech shootings and that when he first learned of the group, he signed on immediately. "I believed that my right to self-defense was being infringed on college campuses," he says. "College campuses are vulnerable and I didn't want to be defenseless." Feltoon says Virginia Tech is home to the SCCC's largest group of conceal and carry advocates. As for the SCCC's total enrollment, Feltoon says it has doubled in the last month, bringing the total to 22,000 members just one year after its founding. "The Illinois shooting made people realize college campuses aren't as safe as administrators would have them believe," Feltoon says, explaining the recent jump in members.
Feltoon says the group's core mission is simple: "We're pushing universities to allow law-abiding citizen to carry guns on college campuses, just as you would into malls and movie theaters." Feltoon says most SCCC members are men and women over 21 years old who already have licenses to carry a gun. "We're just asking for them to carry guns to one more location," he says.
Beginning on April 21, Feltoon says, 3,000 SCCC members have pledged to visit college campuses wearing an empty holster to indicate that, because of state or school policy, when they reach campus, they're obliged - for now - to leave their guns behind.
NY: Resident shoots at burglars in his home: "Gunfire was exchanged between a Ridge homeowner and two burglars yesterday after he discovered them in his home at 4 a.m., police said. No one was believed injured at the Kastal Court house, and the burglars escaped, Suffolk police said. The men, one armed with a rifle, climbed through a front window, confronted the homeowner and chased him down a hallway into a bedroom, police said. The homeowner shut the bedroom door, but the barrel of the suspects' rifle was wedged between the door and the door frame, police said, and the gunman fired the weapon. The homeowner was able to get to his own rifle and fired through the closed door, police said, and the intruders fled."
Arizona: Woman shoots at persistent intruder: "A 74-year-old woman twice shot at a man after he made repeated attempts to break into her home, extort money from her and threatened to set fire to her garage. Hugh Turner, 52, was arrested by Scottsdale police about 2 p.m. Friday on suspicion of threatening and intimidation and other offenses at a residence in the 27800 block of North 94th Street. Turner allegedly threatened to burn the woman's house down after pouring gasoline in her garage about midnight on Thursday if she refused to give him money, police said. After the woman complied with his demands, Turner fled but later returned to the home about 4 a.m. Saturday and tried to break into an upstairs door using a ladder. The woman fired two shots from a handgun, but the man was able to get away unharmed, police said. Officer's from the parks and preserve unit on All-Terrain Vehicles found Turner in a desert area near the home and arrested him. Turner also was arrested on suspicion of attempted arson on an occupied structure, theft by extortion, endangerment and disorderly conduct. Turner was treated at Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak hospital for an ankle injury he sustained after he jumped from the ladder at the woman's home. He was booked into the Scottsdale City Jail. Police said the woman and man knew each other."
Monday, March 24, 2008
DC backpedalling under court scrutiny
Defending the Washington, D.C., gun ban before the Supreme Court yesterday, Walter Dellinger insisted it was never the city's intent to prohibit residents from using rifles and shotguns for self-defense in the home. All it wanted to do, Dellinger said, was ban handguns, because they are highly portable, readily concealable, easily stolen, and uniquely suited to urban crime. Even if (as seems likely) the Supreme Court rules that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to arms, he said, it should uphold the handgun ban as a "reasonable regulation":
Chief Justice John Roberts: What is reasonable about a total ban on possession?
Dellinger: What is reasonable about a total ban on possession is that it's a ban only on the possession of one kind of weapon, of handguns, that's been considered especially dangerous....There is no showing in this case that rifles and [shotguns] are not fully satisfactory to carry out the purposes [of self-defense].
But as Roberts, Justice Samuel Alito, and Justice Antonin Scalia noted, D.C. requires that all firearms, including long guns, be kept "unloaded and disassembled or bound by a trigger lock or similar device." The statute does not include an exception for self-defense. It thus seems to rule out unlocking and loading a gun even while under attack, let alone keeping one loaded and unlocked in case of an attack. Dellinger nevertheless maintained that the law does not prohibit the possession of functional firearms in the home, contrary to the interpretation the city has offered in previous cases and the one it implicitly endorsed at the U.S. District Court level in this case.
The District, which initially was openly contemptuous of the argument that D.C. residents should be allowed to defend themselves with guns, apparently has warmed to the idea. "It is a universal or near universal rule of criminal law that there is a self-defense exception," Dellinger said. "We have no argument whatsoever with the notion that you may load and have a weapon ready when you need to use it for self- defense." He added that "there ought to be an opportunity for the District of Columbia to urge its construction, which would allow for a relatively robust self-defense exception to the trigger lock provision." To which Scalia replied:
I don't understand that. What would that be-that you can, if you have time, when you hear somebody crawling in your bedroom window, you can run to your gun, unlock it, load it, and then fire? Is that going to be the exception?
Dellinger said he reads the storage requirement as permitting two options: "unloaded and disassembled" or "bound by a trigger lock" (as opposed to "unloaded and disassembled" or "unloaded and bound by a trigger lock"). In other words, it's OK to keep a gun loaded as long as it's locked, which Dellinger said can be accomplished with a combination lock that can be removed in three seconds. Two justices wondered if the operation would be that fast in an actual emergency:
Right to self-defense extends to national parks
Anti-gun Democrats on Capitol Hill, led by Rep. Norm Dicks of Washington and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, are livid about a common-sense effort to allow legally licensed citizens to carry concealed sidearms inside national parks. It's as though they think the proposal was tantamount to condoning genocide.
Despite once insisting that a photo of himself with a dead pheasant be published on the cover of Fishing & Hunting News, Dicks has hardly been a friend to gun owners and Feinstein's record speaks for itself. Both are "F" rated by the National Rifle Association. Dicks and Feinstein have threatened to block a sensible move by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne to change national park rules to allow concealed carry in the parks. Opponents claim this change will open the parks to rifle-toting poachers. It's not true and they know it.
This change would allow citizens who have gone through state licensing procedures, including background checks, to carry firearms for personal protection only. Such people rarely commit crimes.
So far, only the Colorado Springs Gazette correctly framed this as an issue of self-defense, for good reason. In the years between 2002 and 2007, there were 63 homicides in national parks, 240 rapes or attempted rapes, 309 robberies, 37 kidnappings and 1,277 aggravated assaults, according to National Park Service statistics.
Why are many national park rangers now carrying sidearms and wearing soft body armor? They didn't used to find that necessary. Changing park rules makes sense because visitors do not leave their right of self-defense at the gate. When you are in remote campgrounds, and in the backcountry, there is no 911 and help isn't coming.
Pennsylvania: Suspect Shot In Tattoo Parlor Robbery: "A tattoo parlor on the corner of Fourth Street and Euclid Avenue in Dravosburg was robbed at 9:15 p.m. Saturday night. The suspect, who is described as a 6-foot-5-inch 250-pound male of unknown race, escaped on foot with $200. But that's not all the robber left with. The owner of the business told police that he believes he may have shot the suspect in the back. Shortly afterwards, police responded to a call from a man who said he was shot in the back at an address 1/2 of a mile away from the scene of the robbery. It is unknown whether these two incidents are related.
MO shooting self defense? "Vernon County deputies looking into a fatal shooting this week in the Dederick area were awaiting results Friday of an autopsy to help them determine whether any charges should be filed against the shooter. Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman said the shooter, a man in his 50s, claims he was being assaulted by the man he is believed to have shot three times with a .32-caliber handgun. The man killed was identified as Jimmy Dale Duncan, 47, whose last known address was in Neosho, the sheriff said. Peckman said Duncan apparently had been staying in recent days at the home where his body was found, near the intersection of Katy Track and 2900 Road in eastern Vernon County.... Peckman said the man claims he was being assaulted by Duncan and shot him in self-defense. The sheriff said the shooter was on oxygen for medical reasons and was sitting in a chair inside the home when Duncan reportedly began slapping his face. He said the man told investigators he reached for his gun beside the chair and shot Duncan. Duncan had been seeing the woman who lives at the address, the sheriff said. He said the woman and the shooter lived together as friends and may have been related. He said their exact relationship had yet to be determined by investigators. All three had been drinking together, Peckman said. "They admitted they had been drinking beer and whiskey all afternoon and evening," he said. "It makes for a bad combination."
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Pennsylvania store owner pins would-be robber: "Al Handza did a small favor Thursday afternoon for a young man in Braddock, a few minutes before the man put a gun to his head and tried to rob him. Handza, owner of Al's Market on Braddock Avenue, refused to be bullied and grabbed the robber's hands, wrestling him to the ground. During the struggle, the gun discharged twice and the wounded thief tried to run, only to be stopped by Handza and detained for police. The robber, whose identity and age are not known because he gave a phony name to police, was taken to UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Oakland with gunshot wounds in the arm and back, said Braddock police Sgt. Frank Barreiro. The extent of the injuries is not known.... The .22-caliber handgun the robber was pointing at Handza's head was no laughing matter, and the store owner acted to defend himself. "I threw him and we went down together," said Handza, who was alone at the time. As the two wrestled, the gun discharged twice and the robber said, "I'm shot!" The thief got up without the gun, ran out the door and around the corner between two buildings, where he was stopped by a 12-foot fence. Handza grabbed the gun off the floor, called 911 and ran outside after the robber. "He couldn't get over the fence. I held his own gun on him and told him to hit the ground, face first. He laid there, and the cops were here in less than a minute."
Virginia: Landscaper shoots rabid fox: "A rabid fox was shot Friday in the Pine Mill Subdivision off of Pinetta Road, making it the second confirmed animal with rabies in the county this year. The fox was seen acting strangely in the neighborhood last Thursday, prompting residents to call Gloucester Animal Control, said M.B. Sheppard, the county's Environmental Health Supervisor. But deputies were unable to find the fox and advised residents that if the fox was spotted again and acting similarly to shoot it. On Friday, the fox first attacked two adult dogs that were penned up and then two puppies playing in a ditch and exposed the two puppies to rabies, Sheppard said. A landscaper working in the subdivision saw the fox and borrowed a homeowner's shotgun before killing the animal. Tests later confirmed the fox was rabid."
Widespread support for gun rights: "If courts made their decisions based on public opinion, the case that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear today on the District of Columbia's handgun ban would seem to be easy to decide. The polls and the sheer number of those filing amicus briefs support an individual right to owning guns. Yet, the Justice Department's brief, while technically also supporting an individual right, has made this debate much more complicated and, for the first time in American history, even compelled a vice president to file his own brief. A Gallup poll in February found that 73 percent of Americans believe that Second Amendment protects an individual right. On top of that, 305 members of Congress, 31 states, and the Department of Justice all make the same claim. Support is bipartisan. On the other side, only a minority of Democrats - 18 members of congress and attorney generals from five states - signed briefs arguing that it isn't an individual right
The right kind of gun rights: "Yesterday, unbeknownst to itself, the Supreme Court heard arguments in a gay-rights case. To most people, admittedly, District of Columbia v. Heller is a gun-rights case. In fact, it's the most important gun-rights case in decades, one that may cast a shadow for decades to come. But to gay Americans, and other minorities often targeted with violence, Heller is about civil rights, not shooting clubs."
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Georgia man's killing of intruder justified: "Eighty-one-year-old Robert Jenkins said he loaded his wife's handgun and tried to scare off a burglar in his Tucker home, but he fired when the intruder rushed him, according to a family friend. DeKalb police said the shooting was justified, and Jenkins will not be charged in the death of the suspect, a man possibly in his 20s who had not been identified Wednesday. "He defended his home, defended his wife," police spokesman J.T. Ware said. "He did what everybody would hope to do in a situation like that." Jenkins was being treated at a hospital Wednesday for a minor gunshot wound. His 78-year-old wife was unharmed. About 11 p.m. Tuesday, Jenkins was roused from bed by noises in his red brick home on Zemory Drive near the I-285 interchange at Lawrenceville Highway. He got his wife's gun and confronted a man in the kitchen. The intruder lunged at him. Police said the two men struggled before Jenkins fired."
NC: Home invasion victim shoots, kills suspects: " Police say two [black] suspects are dead after an attempted home invasion. Catawba County sheriff’s deputies say two men dressed in black and carrying pistols forced their way into a home on 33rd Avenue in Hickory around 11:00 last night. According to a sheriff’s official, the homeowner was armed with his own gun, and shot the suspects. Both suspects were pronounced dead at the scene. Major Coy Reid with the sheriff’s office said both men were wearing masks and latex gloves."
Empty holster rallies planned on campuses: "A number of so-called empty holster rallies are being planned next month at college campuses around the country. The gatherings are planned to protest licensed and trained gun holders not being able to carry guns on campuses. Some of those holsters are to be collected and-or donated by a Green Bay company. It is T-G-S-Com Incorporated, which runs more than 100 gun and sporting goods Web sites. That's the same firm that sold a gun to the campus shooter at Virginia Tech and some accessories to the Northern Illinois shooter. Eric Thompson of T-G-S-COM says -- and we quote -- 'These killers are going into their classrooms and lecture halls with the full intention to kill as many people as possible and the full intention of killing themselves before the police can get there. And they're doing it in minutes. And no matter how good the law enforcement is, they're still late.'"
Heller Case Goes Better Than Expected: "The bottom line is, I think we're going to be OK. When Justice Kennedy flat out said he believes in an individual right under the Second Amendment, there were no gasps in the hush of the High Court, but you could tell the greatest stellar array of gun-rights experts ever assembled, all there in that one room, breathed a sigh of relief -- we had five votes to affirm the human and civil right to arms. The transcript will be a key for analysis going forward until June, when the decision is expected, and I'm working without the benefit of that at the moment. Digesting the fleeting and immensely complex speech that took place for one hour and thirty-eight minutes a few hours ago, it's hard to see how any line of thought could be strung together to support the idea that the D.C. total ban on operable firearms at home can be seen as reasonable regulation, even though Mr. Dellinger, the city's attorney, tried to suggest it was. He was shot down on this repeatedly, found no quarter from any of the Justices, though several found room to move on what amounts to reasonable restrictions."
Friday, March 21, 2008
Arizona Homeowner Shoots Intruder: "A Peoria homeowner shot an intruder Thursday morning. Peoria Police Public Information Officer Mike Tellef said the 62-year-old man heard someone breaking into his house near 85th and Olive avenues. Armed with a handgun, he went to investigate. "He told us that he told the subject to stop," Tellef said. "The subject kept approaching on him, he felt in fear of his life, that's why he fired the single shot that he fired." The 18-year-old suspect, Jason Rodriguez, a Glendale resident, was shot in the shoulder, and transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries where he was treated and released to police. Rodriquez was booked into 4th Avenue Jail and charged with burglary and aggravated assault.
Texas: Shotgun fire chases off intruder: "A Frisco man received minor injuries after being shot in the arm by an intruder after arriving home from work Thursday afternoon. Steven Geddie, 24, told police that he grabbed a 12 gauge shotgun when he heard someone breaking into the rear door of his home after arriving home from work in the 8400 block of Hickory Street shortly after 6 p.m. "Initial reports show that he and another subject exchanged gunshots," Frisco police Sgt. Gerald Meadors said. Police said that the intruder used a small caliber pistol to fire two rounds at Geddie, who then fired one round at the intruder. Geddie suffered a minor injury to the left arm but refused to be transported to the hospital. Police said Geddie described the suspect as a Hispanic or Oriental male wearing a blue Dallas Cowboys cap, grey and white jacket, jeans, and a red bandana over his face."
CA: Off duty cop shoots attackers: "After an off-duty Costa Mesa police officer shot and killed a Temecula man during a fight in Old Town earlier this month, he told homicide investigators he believed his life was in danger and was acting in self-defense. Homicide investigators say that witnesses who were not involved in the March 8 fight in Old Town told them the off-duty officer was sitting in a chair on Main Street when, unprovoked, he was suddenly hit from behind with a metal chair and then attacked. According to investigators, witnesses also said the off-duty officer identified himself as a police officer, but the attack continued. It was then that he pulled his weapon and fired five shots. Shaun Adam Vilan, 30, died after being shot in the chest and arm. A man with Vilan that night, Taylor Willis, 22, of Temecula, was shot in the thigh and survived. The off-duty officer, whose identity has not been released by Costa Mesa police, was hospitalized and received about a half-dozen staples in his head, authorities said." While the investigation by the Riverside County sheriff's Central Homicide Unit is still under way, statements from uninvolved witnesses at this point appear to support the officer's self-defense contention."
Tyranny of a "reasonable" gun ban: "Do Americans really have a right to bear arms? That's the central question at the heart of District of Columbia v. Heller, the biggest gun-control case before the Supreme Court in decades. When justices hear oral arguments Tuesday, you might expect lots of technical debate over specific gun-restriction measures and the Second Amendment's text. Yet when it's all said and done, the court's ruling is likely to hinge on a much more philosophical point: the 'reasonable person' standard. In constitutional law, a reasonable person is a judge or legislator who, as a legal fiction, pretends to see through the eyes of another and, in view of the facts of a particular situation, endeavors to remove every unnecessary human trait and unworkable idea, as a balancing test."
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Indiana: Two trespassers wounded : "Two Scott County men are recovering from gunshot wounds at University Hospital in Louisville after they were wounded last night on the property of a modular home dealership in Austin. Malcolm Abner, 28, and Michael West, 33, are listed in fair condition today. Scott County Sheriff John Lizenby said 32-year-old Chester Stacey told officers that he shot the men when they came at him as he investigated what he thought were people stealing things at Countryside Mobile Homes at 2771 E Ind. 256 in Austin. Stacey is the son of Countryside owner Grover Stacey. Lizenby said a Scott County officer who had been called to the scene to investigate possible trespassers was talking to the elder Stacey when they heard voices and then heard gunshots in a field on the property. Officer Joe Johnson found the younger Stacey holding a 9-mm automatic handgun with Abner down in front of him. West later came out of the field and told an Indiana state trooper that he’d been shot. Lizenby said this morning that no one has been charged but the investigation is continuing. He said officers are searching for two other men that Chester Stacey said were also in the field."
New York Resident Shoots at Suspects: "A resident of Elmont shot at two suspects who broke into his residence in an attempted burglary. According to police, at approximately 1:25 a.m. on Feb. 28, two male suspects kicked open the side door of a Post Avenue home and ordered the 36-year-old male resident not to move. Police said the suspects then removed cash that was on a piece of furniture in the living room. Police said the resident was a licensed pistol permit holder and produced a handgun. The resident then chased after the suspects, firing one shot, police said. It is not known whether one of the suspects was struck. One of the suspects is described as a black male, wearing a black, puffy jacket and a dark skullcap."
SAF: DC gun search exercise in "police state demagoguery": "A plan to conduct 'consent searches' for guns in District of Columbia residences is 'an outrageous exercise of police state demagoguery,' the Second Amendment Foundation said today. SAF founder Alan Gottlieb condemned the plan as 'a public relations effort designed to influence, through crass dramatics, Tuesday's scheduled oral arguments on the constitutionality of the District's handgun ban before the Supreme Court.'"
KY: Judge says non-citizens can have guns: "A federal judge has stopped enforcement of a Kentucky law barring non-citizens from carrying concealed deadly weapons. U.S. District Judge Thomas Russell said the law is written too broadly and violates the rights of attorney Alexander M. Say, a British national who has lived in Kentucky for 15 years. ... The [ACLU] sued the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department and Kentucky State Police on behalf of Say. The ACLU challenged the citizenship requirement, saying Kentucky lawmakers should not have passed the law. ... Say argued that no federal law requires U.S. citizenship for people to be licensed to purchase, carry, transport or carry a concealed deadly weapon, and neither should state law."
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Supreme court update
I watched/listened to the oral arguments in DC vs. Heller this morning, and in my view (solely based on my knowledge of the justices, and the questions and arguments raised today; which is always iffy) we're looking at a mixed bag.
Well, first the good news. It seems clear that the entirety of the court, even Souter, Breyer, and Ginsburg, agree that the second amendment protects a pre-existing individual right right to keep and bear arms. The rest of the question gets a bit thornier however.
Clearly, the position of the courts is, and has always been; that all rights protected by the constitution are, under some circumstances, subject to regulation or restriction. I can for example say whatever I want in the privacy of my home, or make any criticism of the government that I want, but I cannot publish malicious lies about someone. Preventing libel, is a reasonable restriction on the first amendment, and is a compelling interest of the state. Given this historical and legal basis, folks who say "What part of `Shall not be infringed' don't you understand" are just being silly (and often offensive, threatening, etc. etc.).
At this point, it seems clear that all of the justices believe that some regulation is reasonably allowed under the second amendment. The question then devolves down to "what is a reasonable restriction". therein lies the rub. DC presented the position that not only was there not an individual right; but that even if there were, that local legislatures had nearly unlimited power to regulate such rights (in fact, their lawyer suggest that they had plenary authority, a position flatly rejected by the court). Walter Dellenger, who argued the case for DC, was absolutely DESTROYED by all the justices during questioning. Even the liberal justices tore him to pieces. It was clear he was disingenuous in his arguments, and presented no clear or coherent logic, justification, or defense of their positions. Even Ginsburg and Breyer, who nominally support strict regulation of firearms, seemed unswayed and unimpressed.
Paul Clement, the Solicitor general of the U.S., argued a "middle road" standard; presenting very strong arguments for the individual right position, which seemed to impress the justices. He was much weaker on his other contention however that reasonable restriction and a broad standard of review were necessary to protect the public interest in regulating firearms; specifically citing machine guns and "plastic guns designed to get through metal detectors" (a fantasy commonly used by gun banners to scare people into agreeing to bans in principle).
Alan Gura, the chief council for Heller, was very strong on presenting the individual rights position; but was very weak and unfocused in his arguments on the position of what constitutes reasonable regulation, and why. I think he was expecting most of the challenge to come from the "individual rights" argument, and not as much from the `reasonable regulation" argument. Though he was certainly prepared with facts and citations (his knowledge of 300+ year old statutes and precedent in both American and English common law was impressive), his arguments lacked coherent structure or flow.
For example, Justice Breyer repeatedly asked questions to the effect of "do the 80,000 deaths per year by handguns in the united states constitute a basis for reasonable regulation, or can they be considered in crafting such regulation?". Were Gura prepared to argue the basis of reasonable regulation, his response should have been something along the lines of "We contend that crime rates are neither affected by, nor relevant to, the lawful possession and use of arms; and that regulation and restriction of the use of arms by law abiding citizens does not serve the compelling interest of the state in preserving public safety". Instead he made vague arguments about reasonable standards of review etc. etc.
Dellenger in fact seized on this waffling about standards, to suggest during his rebuttal that if the court specified a strict standard of review (something they seemed inclined towards), that it would result in hundreds of judges around the country determining what was and was not protected by the second amendment, on an individual case by case basis. So, as I said, a mixed bag.
Kennedy, Scalia, Roberts, Alito, and Thomas all clearly believe (both from questioning in this case, and in previous opinions and writing) in a strongly protected INDIVIDUAL right to self defense, and to keep and bear arms. It also seems clear that they support a strict standard of review for legislation; and a very limited scope for legitimate regulation.
Surprisingly, it also seems that Souter and Ginsburg agree that there is a right to self defense, AND that there should be a strict standard of review; however it seems they believe in a broader scope for legitimate regulation. Stevens and Breyer, although they both seem to believe there IS an individual right, also seem to believe that very strong regulations or perhaps bans, are acceptable.
My prediction. that's a tough one. I think that we will see an absolute affirmation of the individual right to keep and bear arms, and that this right includes explicitly the right to self defense. In fact I think we may see some language to the effect of "for all lawful purposes, including hunting, sporting uses, and self defense". I also think we will see a strict standard for review, and application of that standard to the entire United States, including the states individually (under the 14th amendment and equal protection clause), rather than limiting the scope to D.C. or to the federal government only.
What I really have no prediction on, is what standard of "reasonable regulation" they might promote. What seems clear, is that the entire court believes that US V. Miller (one of the few cases directly addressing the second amendment), and the standards it presents, are deficient. Scalia, Alito, Breyer, and Ginsburg all made comments to that effect. What that means for the future though. I think its anyones guess really.
I think we have a good shot at striking down all total bans on any gun, or even any class of gun, excepting perhaps machine guns and destructive devices. I believe they may explicitly approve of some licensing provisions provided that the licensing standard is non discriminatory. I believe that they would explicitly approve of regulations that restricted the rights of felons and minors.
I have no real read though on what their take is on the legitimacy of state and local regulations, such as trigger lock requirements, ammo bans, safe storage requirements, etc. I'm sure they will rule that state and local regulation are acceptable, but what standard of "reasonable regulation" will apply. who knows? As it is though, under any possible construal of "reasonable regulation"; I would expect that the majority of the gun laws in California, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, and Hawaii; would be in whole or in part, struck down.
Missouri man thwarts three would-be burglars: "The pounding of feet against his front door awoke a 56-year-old Kansas City man early Tuesday. "Was that you?" Les Daniel called to his 10-year-old grandson in another bedroom. "No," the boy replied. Daniel climbed from bed, grabbed two handguns and prepared for a showdown. When he peered into his darkened dining room, fish tank lights illuminated a hooded stranger slinking across the room to inspect a home computer. "Who is it?" Daniel asked. "KCP," the stranger replied, an apparent reference to Kansas City police. Daniel saw a second stranger and heard a third. He wondered whether to confront them or just kill them. "I was behind two of them, and they didn't even know it. I could have killed them really quick," he recalled. "But they looked young. And if I start shooting, they're gonna shoot back." Not wanting to endanger his wife and grandson, Daniel called out: "Whatever you think I got, you're wrong! There ain't anything in here! You're about ready to die over $8!" He chambered a round in his .357-caliber Glock with a loud click. The intruders fled. Unable to secure his splintered front door, he stayed up the rest of the night in case the intruders returned. Later, he bought a new door with a strike plate, and a new wrought-iron screen door."
Michigan homeowner shoots housemate: "The city's first homicide of the year occurred Saturday morning when police said a 72-year-old man shot his 37-year-old housemate in the stomach. Police were called to the scene about 7 a.m. and found Jonathon Joseph Stevens dead on the sidewalk next door to the home where he'd been living. Police have not released the name of the accused shooter. Flint police Sgt. Roderick LeGardye said Stevens and the older man got into an argument early Saturday morning inside the home at 2518 Bagley St. During the fight, Stevens allegedly hit the elderly man with a large wooden stick. The 72-year-old then pulled out a gun and shot the victim at least once in the stomach, LeGardye said. Stevens tried to run away but collapsed on the sidewalk. The suspect was taken to Hurley Medical Center with head injuries. He is not expected to be taken into police custody pending further investigation, LeGardye said. "Right now, we're unsure what they were fighting about," LeGardye said. LeGardye said Stevens was living in the older man's home but did not know their relationship. Stevens' wife had recently moved in and was at the home when the shooting occurred."
Delaware man shot in home invasion: "A 29-year-old man was shot in the leg during a home invasion early Monday south of Hartly, state police said. The victim was not seriously injured and refused to be taken to the hospital, state police spokesman Cpl. John W. Barnett Jr. said. According to investigators, two or three men entered the home in the 3000 block of Hourglass Road by an unsecured ground-floor door about 2 a.m. When the intruders were confronted by the homeowner, one of the intruders fired a gun at him. The homeowner returned fire at the suspects using a handgun, Barnett said. After several shots were fired, the intruders fled without taking anything. The homeowner was struck once in the left leg, Barnett said. The gunshot wound was minor and he was treated at the scene."
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the case of Heller v. District of Columbia, a suit brought by several D.C. citizens contending that the ban on the possession of operable firearms inside one's home violates the Second Amendment. The Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. agreed and held the ban to be unconstitutional. However it is decided, Heller is already historic. For the first time in recent memory, the Supreme Court will consider the original meaning of a significant passage of the Constitution unencumbered by its own prior decisions. The majority and dissenting opinions in this case will be taught in law schools for years to come. Here's a layman's guide to the significance of the case:
- Heller will be decided on originalist grounds. Among law professors, enforcing the original meaning of the Constitution is highly controversial. Critics of originalism deny that we should be ruled by the "dead hand of the past." They prefer following Supreme Court precedents that may or may not be consistent with original meaning. Any justice who today professes a commitment to originalism is branded a radical; and all Supreme Court nominees are now grilled on their commitment to the doctrine of stare decisis. But what are old precedents if not the "dead hand" of dead justices?
Significantly, then, both sides in Heller are making only originalist arguments. The challengers of the law contend that the original meaning of the Second Amendment protects an individual "right to keep and bear arms" that "shall not be infringed." In response, the District does not contend that this right is outmoded and that the Second Amendment should now be reinterpreted in light of changing social conditions. Not at all. It contends instead that, because the original intention of the Framers of the Second Amendment was to protect the continued existence of "a well regulated militia," the right it protects was limited to the militia context.
So one thing is certain. Whoever prevails, Heller will be an originalist decision. This shows that originalism remains the proper method of identifying the meaning of the Constitution.
- The Second Amendment protects an individual right. In the 1960s, gun control advocates dismissed the Second Amendment as protecting the so-called "collective right" of states to preserve their militias -- notwithstanding that, everywhere else in the Constitution, a "right" of "the people" refers to an individual right of persons, and the 10th Amendment expressly distinguishes between "the people" and "the states." Now even the District asserts the new theory that, while this right is individual, it is "conditioned" on a citizen being an active participant in an organized militia. Therefore, whoever wins, Heller won't be based on a "collective" right of the states.
Still, a ruling upholding an unconditioned individual right to arms and invalidating the ban is unlikely to have much effect on current gun laws. Here's why:
- Heller is a federal case. Because the District of Columbia is a federal entity, Heller provides a clean application of the Second Amendment which, like the rest of the Bill of Rights, originally applied only to the federal government. Before a state or municipal gun law can be challenged, the Supreme Court will have to decide that the right to keep and bear arms is also protected by the 14th Amendment, which limits state powers.
Nowadays, the Court asks whether a particular right is "incorporated" into the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, an unpopular doctrine among some conservatives. Of course, after recognizing an unconditioned individual right in Heller, affording it less protection from states than other enumerated rights now receive would be awkward -- especially given the overwhelming evidence that the right to keep and bear arms was among the "privileges or immunities of citizens" to which the 14th Amendment refers. Those who wrote the amendment were concerned about enabling black freeman and white Republicans in the South to protect themselves from violence, including terrorism by local militias.
Finally, Heller involves a complete ban on operable firearms in the home. No state has a comparable law. And under current Supreme Court doctrine, even the First Amendment rights of speech and assembly are subject to reasonable time, place, and manner regulations. So too would be gun rights.
But although the implications of striking down the D.C. gun ban are limited, a decision upholding an unqualified individual right in Heller would still be a significant victory for individual rights and constitutionalism. To shrink from enforcing a clear mandate of the Constitution -- as, sadly, the Supreme Court has often done in the past -- would create a new precedent that would be far more dangerous to liberty than any weapon in the hands of a citizen.
Kentucky: Burglar Shot By Homeowner, Arrested: "An alleged burglar who was shot by a homeowner in Harrison County Sunday night is now behind bars. The incident happened at about 9:30 p.m. at a home on Old Lair Road. Police say Thomas Perysian, 25, of Cynthiana was discovered by homeowner Kevin Landrum, who shot Perysian in his right hand and forearm with a shotgun. Police say Landrum called them from a cell phone while holding the gun on Perysian. Police say Perysian was treated and released from UK Hospital. He is now being held in the Grant County Detention Center on first-degree burglary charges."
SD: Accused Killer Claims Self-Defense: "Accused killer Titus Dansby claims he only shot in self-defense. Dansby is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated assault in the death of 24-year-old Cedric Hall. At his first court appearance today, lawyers revealed Dansby called 911 himself after shooting Hall. And the defense claims he only shot after he saw Hall reach for a shotgun in his car. Titus Dansby has a license to carry a firearm. His friends and family say he had it to protect himself, and that he was afraid of Cedric Hall. Dansby claims he'd called police several times in the last week. He even met with them Thursday to talk about Hall carrying a gun and that he threatened him. Dansby's friends and family say he had no choice but to shoot. Several people who live at the Somerset apartments witnessed the last two shots that took the life of 24-year-old Cedric Hall. But the events that led to the shooting are known first-hand only by the four people involved in the parking lot fight."
Alabama bill still not enough: "The problem with Hank Erwin's bill seeking to arm academics and ROTC students on Alabama campuses isn't that it goes too far. It doesn't go far enough, and it fails to ask the fundamental question: Why do we allow boards of trustees in state-funded institutions to violate the constitutional rights of its students? Every eligible student who can obtain a concealed carry permit in the state of Alabama should be able to carry on campus, without exception, and without harassment by their educational institution. The presumption that a permit holder is qualified to make life and death decisions isn't modulated by the fact that they are enrolled in school. Any permit-holder has the responsibility for knowing the rules of engagement the same way driver's license holders learn the rules of the road, and students are no exception. In fact, educated people are substantially less likely to commit violent crimes, and research shows that a concealed carry permit holder is 37 times less likely to use a gun in a violent crime than a non-permit holder.... The problem with Hank Erwin's bill is that it falls victim to the pervasive liberal notion we should somehow have to justify our desire to carry a firearm... "
Monday, March 17, 2008
Ark: Self-defense Found in Son's Killing of Father: "A prosecutor has concluded that a 16-year-old boy was acting in self-defense when fatally shot his father. Officials say Roy Minniefield Jr. of Eudora shot 50-year-old Roy Minniefield Sr. after the father threatened his son's life and that of his son's friend. The January incident occurred when the father questioned his son and the son's friend, Quentarious Green, about a missing firearm. Prosecutors say the father menaced his son and the friend with a firearm and that the son fired his own gun, striking his father with four bullets. Prosecutor Thomas Deen says the killing was unfortunate but that there was "abundant" cause for Minniefield Jr. to have feared for his life."
AZ: Man with ax shot to death: "At about 1108 AM Officers of the Cottonwood Police Department responded to the parking lot of the Safeway Store, 1635 E Cottonwood Street, on the report of shots fired. They found one subject down with apparent gunshot wounds and a second subject nearby. The gunshot victim was deceased at the scene. At the time of this report he has not been positively identified. The other party involved is identified as James Sherman King, 59 years old, of Cottonwood. Preliminary investigation revealed that the incident started on the roadway and both subjects pulled into the store parking lot. Witnesses state that the deceased subject approached Mr. King with a raised axe. They heard two shots and the man with the axe fell to the ground.. Update: The deceased person is identified as James Keith Orsini, 47, of Cottonwood. Mr. Orsini died at the scene."
WY Governor signs "castle doctrine" bill : "Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal on Thursday signed into law the contentious "castle doctrine" bill, although he expressed concern that it could limit the legal defenses for Wyoming residents who kill others in self defense. The new law specifies that citizens have a right to assume that anyone who enters their homes illegally is there to do them harm. It also says that homeowners who kill intruders justifiably can't be sued for it. "We've sort of done away with all of the common law, and I don't know whether all of the common law defenses are actually codified here," Freudenthal said. Supporters of the bill said they wanted to spell out exactly what citizens' self-defense rights are".
MN: Pols reject self-defense bill: "A bill that supporters say would have broadened citizens' rights to defend themselves -- and opponents say would have encouraged a Wild West mentality -- failed in its first test in the Legislature on Thursday. ... Although state law already allows people to kill an intruder in their home, Cornish's self-defense bill would have authorized deadly force against an intruder entering a porch, garage or occupied car. On a street or in a bar, there would be no duty to retreat before using deadly force against someone believed to be threatening 'substantial' harm, lessening the standard of 'great' bodily harm in current law. ... Supporters, many wearing badges saying 'Self Defense is a Human Right,' packed the room, but groups that included the Minnesota Police and Peace Officers Association and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association testified against it."
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Guns On Campus: Sue Everybody
It's time to forget about writing more gun bans, time to quit profiling (it's a stalling tactic for political reasons) and time to litigate. The first order of business for any damaged plaintiff is to sue everybody. This would be all colleges who ban weapons, including those who have seen their students murdered and those who have yet to see students killed thanks to the gun bans which are now ringing the dinner bell for campus shooters in increasing numbers.
This would include suing for administration interference with self-defense by way of policy in cases of both gun and non-gun killings such as knifings, beatings and missing persons.
It could be found that a college has no duty to protect its student body - it cannot - but does a college have an obligation NOT to INTERFERE with adults who take their own reasonable and legal measures in self-defense? Interference would then be an issue as unreasonable and with damages. What if students carried their handguns, were then disciplined, and sued the college? With all the activity about concealed carry on campus, you can't say campuses weren't on notice that they could be interfering.
At this time, FOX News and only a few others are examining concealed carry on campus. They are going in the wrong direction when they consider arming the Teachers. It's more centralization of power than really solving the problem, and, in fact is another stalling tactic that won't work. Too much independence, I guess, ruining their picnic.
First, any shooter can too easily identify the armed professors by their `Tell' or the way they carry unless they are experienced gun owners. If the Profs are carrying for the first time, they will probably have a Tell. Either way, if the shooter identifies them at all, the idea fails. Shooters can easily approach from another corner of campus or wait for the Profs to put their weapon away or leave campus. They can simply kill fast and then commit suicide. It is the equivalent of uniformed officers: All the shooter need do is identify them and avoid them. Undercover cops won't change much, since they don't attend classes. This is at the heart of the Liberty Movement: over-reliance on assets to the exclusion of the citizen, in this case, adult students.
The more effective deterrent is in not knowing who is armed and in what numbers, and in supporting this policy nationwide. In short, ARMED STUDENTS AND VISITORS.
In objecting to armed students, the idea that students are themselves eventual killers or somehow stupid, hot-headed and hasty is not only insulting, but it betrays a neurotic notion in the minds of administrators against all liberty in America and betrays how they view the people they serve.
But when parents, adult college students and visitors are armed when on campus, a shooter has a much, much tougher time identifying who is armed and possibly right next to him. Trustees need to understand that they have no authority to allow or disallow guns.
The genius of concealed carry is that you just don't know who is armed and who isn't, and that alone changes the entire complexion of the problem. Changing faces of who is armed and in large numbers will serve the purpose it was intended to serve - someone close by who will stop the shooter by holding them for police or in using lethal force - if necessary - which is backed by their citizen authority - a concept administrations hope you won't discover. Armed students would also be in larger numbers than officers and likely much closer when needed. Response time hasn't been impressive; they've all been too late. Way too late.
In the news reports of the NIU shooting, officials said they took steps to protect the rest of the students. Oh? How? The shooter was dead, and police hadn't gone 10-97 yet. This reflects a very poor understanding of the problem and its solution - shooters who move fast and citizen authority frustrated and vexed. Brilliant. Interference.
Administrations have ignored and vexed CITIZEN AUTHORITY and its role. Gun Ban policy forgets that adults in America have all legal authority to stop a crime in progress, including their own murder or a crime against another. This is something a gun ban policy cannot override and may not discourage under threat of punishment, counseling or expulsion. This is where litigation comes in for provable interference and demonstrable damages.
The best way to handle the campus, workplace, airport, public buildings or anywhere threat is not to profile shooters nor to arm the faculty, but to lift all gun bans from students, employees, parents and visitors. Citizen authority trumps stubborn tortious interference by trustees. They don't want you to know your own authority. So much for Education.
With the Virginia Tech attitude that they await a mandate before allowing guns on campus in an already right-to-carry statewide law, perhaps they are ignorant of the law. Perhaps it's time to compel them to learn the law and to recognize citizen authority as a matter of education as much as personal safety.
All gun control obfuscates citizen authority to act. In the absence of first responders, it is an interference. It's time to litigate this. I say go for it.
That good ol' Canadian gun control: "Six males were shot on a Toronto street Friday night in the Lawrence Heights neighbourhood, police said. Shots rang about 9:45 p.m. on Amaranth Court in the city's north end. Police said six people were taken to hospital. One victim, who was shot in the head and multiple times in the torso, has since died. News media are identifying the deceased as 18-year-old Abdikarim Ahmed Abdikarim. The rest of victims, who have varying wounds of lesser degree, were being treated in three different hospitals. A suspect, believed to be male, was seen fleeing the area on foot wearing a dark jacket and carrying a silver handgun. Asked about previous violence in the neighbourhood, one resident simply shrugged her shoulders "It's everywhere," she said. "But it's been a long time, I haven't heard nothing around here."
Intruder Shot During A Frightening Home Invasion: "A man shot an intruder in the stomach after the suspect attacked his girlfriend in her South Salt Lake home. The woman was sleeping in her home in Mountain Shadows Apartments on 3900 South and 700 West, when around 5:45 a.m. she was awakened by a loud bang. A man, who police have identified as 18-year-old, Daniel Glen Larson, allegedly kicked in the apartment door and shattered the door frame. The woman immediately alerted her boyfriend, who was also in the apartment and began calling 911. Just as she was dialing the numbers into her phone, Larson allegedly grabbed the woman and began attacking her. Seconds later, the woman’s boyfriend retrieved his loaded handgun and shot the Larson in the abdomen. Wounded, Larson ran to the living room where both victims attempted to restrain him until police arrived. Larson broke free from the man and woman and jumped through a plate glass window, dramatically exiting the apartment. Larson then attempted to run across 3900 south, where he was almost hit by motorists. After a minor struggle with the arriving South Salt Lake officers, Larson was taken into custody." As the saying goes, "When seconds count, the cops are only minutes away."
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Texas homeowner shoots intruder: "A homeowner shot an intruder early Friday morning, and North Richland Hills police were investigating whether criminal charges would be filed. The incident occurred about 12:30 a.m. in the 7900 block of Laura Street, said North Richland Hills police Sgt. Greg Trickey. The 30-year-old homeowner heard some noises outside and confronted a person in his backyard. The homeowner told the person to stay put, but the man advanced, police said. Samuel Thomas Ford, 27, was shot in the shoulder and taken to John Peter Smith Hospital with a non-life threatening injury, police said."
Texas gunmen sent off by wife with shotgun: "Two gunmen involved in a home invasion were chased away by the victim's wife. She tells us her husband is extremely careful on who he lets on his property. But last night's incident started when the homeowner went outside to close the gate. According to "Michelle," two masked men pulled into the driveway with guns in hand, demanding drugs and money. She tells us, "He said, 'I don't have anything. I don't know what you're talking about. I just have children and my wife inside. Y'all need to leave.'" The men reportedly tried to force "Michelle's" husband to open the door to his home. But the former security guard fought back. "Michelle" says she was watching it all from inside her home. She tells us, "I reached for the gun. It was up here. Then I got some shells from in here." She says, "I keep telling him, 'Duck and I'll shoot! Duck and I'll shoot.' And he said, 'No, don't! Don't!' And I was debating whether to shoot or not." "Then I just shot that way. The truck was right there." The shots spooked the intruders and forced them to flee. The shotgun was taken by deputies for the investigation. But the couple says they'll be buying another gun."
Girls, guys and Glocks?: "A national push is on to allow guns on college campuses; Maine administrators say it could just make matters worse. On Valentine's Day a man walked into a Northern Illinois University lecture hall and began shooting students, one at a time, while some ran and others cowered under seats. By the time he was done, he'd killed five people and wounded 18 more. Last April, a man went from classroom to classroom at Virginia Tech, shooting people as they barricaded doors, hid under desks and ran toward open windows. In the nearly 10-minute stretch before police reached him, the shooter had fired over 174 rounds, killed 32 people and injured 17 more. Those horrifying and graphic details - not just the death but the utter helplessness of those who were killed - have galvanized more than 19,000 students and professors across the nation to fight for the right to carry concealed weapons on campus. They say the victims in nearly every school shooting in the past decade have been unarmed and completely helpless in the 2 to 10 minutes before armed police or security guards arrived. "They're like fish in a barrel," said Tennessee state Rep. Stacey Campfield"
Reason, not emotion, should rule the day: "There are a few subjects some people can't discuss without becoming emotional. Firearms in the hands of citizens is one of those subjects. The most recent example of this phenomenon is occurring now as Secretary of the Interior Dick Kempthorne is considering changing the law that bans possession of loaded firearms in national parks. Kempthorne wrote a letter to 51 senators who had contacted him last year about relaxing the decades-old ban that puts park visitors at risk from criminals and wild animals, saying he favors relaxing the ban. That's a good thing; in 2006, national parks were the scenes of 11 killings, 35 rapes or attempted rapes, 61 robberies and hundreds of other violent crimes."