Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Guardian on GunGate

When even the far left Guardian shows you as being deceptive and unethical about one of their favorite left win causes... you are done.

When news anchor Katie Couric debuted her documentary Under the Gun earlier this month, she billed it as a balanced look at the gun control debate.

There was a “huge silent majority” of gun owners, she said, who supported moderate gun control measures, and that many National Rifle Association members did not agree with the group’s political positions.

Just two weeks later, Couric and director Stephanie Soechtig are under pressure over what many observers are calling deceptive editing of a key moment in their film. The leader of a gun rights group featured in the documentary says the film edited out gun owners’ responses to one of Couric’s questions – and instead has them sitting in silence, looking “stupid”.

In the press, criticism has been fierce. National Public Radio’s David Folkenflik said the “manipulation – and that’s what it was – would not pass muster at NPR under its principles for fairness”. At the Washington Post, Erik Wemple called Soechtig’s initial response to the criticism “weaselly” and wrote: “An apology, retraction, re-editing, whatever it is that film-makers do to make amends – all of it needs to happen here.”

On Twitter, gun rights advocates dubbed the incident #Gungate, and the NRA is asking members to sign a petition demanding Couric be fired from her job as a global news anchor at Yahoo.

More Here

GunGate – Katie Couric Alters VCDL Responses in “Documentary”

Katie Couric has been exposed as a fraud over the current GunGate debacle, and since Gadsden Guns owner Pat Webb was one of the parties whose answers were altered in the so-called documentary, we feel it’s our duty to speak out and share the truth about what really happened.

GunGate – How it Happened

Under the guise of documentary journalism, pro-gun activists were interviewed by Katie Couric in order to “provide varied viewpoints.”

In fact, those are some of the exact words that were included in the email sent to VCDL’s president asking the organization to contribute to Couric’s interviews. You can read the whole story in President Philip Van Cleave’s own words in the recent VA-ALERT, but for the sake of convenience, here’s what he says about being invited to participate:
I received an email in March of 2015 from Kristin Lazure, a producer for Atlas Films, asking if VCDL would be part of “a documentary about the gun violence prevention movement in America.”
In the email, Kristin said, “Some of the storylines we’re exploring include the legislative process on the federal and state level, how the Second Amendment has been interpreted in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Heller ruling, and what impact mass shootings like Aurora and Sandy Hook have on gun reform legislation.” She continued, “In order to fully understand the complexities of this hot button topic and speak to an audience with varied viewpoints, Ms. Couric is very eager to include all perspectives in this discussion."
As is VCDL’s general policy with the media, we do our best to accommodate their requests, as it gives us a chance to get our message out to the public. It is a policy that has worked well for as long as VCDL has been around, with the exception of four times, and this was to be one of those exceptions.
Luckily, Van Cleave had the foresight to record the interview in its entirety, just in case something like this happened. We in the firearms world have all too much experience with dishonest and manipulative politicians and supposed journalists.

The Interview

Here’s the deal:

Out of a 2 hour interview with Philip and another 1 hour and 50 minute interview with a group of VCDL members, including Gadsden Guns owner Pat Webb, can you guess how much footage made it into the actual documentary?
About 4 minutes.

And that’s not the worst part.

Look, this was obviously not going to be a fair and balanced presentation of the issues. It was Katie Couric, after all, so nobody on the pro-rights side expected to be presented in a flattering light or to get equal screentime with the groups and people that furthered the agenda being pushed.

But we did have a certain level of trust.

We trusted that even though we’d definitely get less screentime, and our most articulate and compelling points would probably be excluded, we’d still be presented more or less honestly.

Nobody expected the editorial team to do a hack job on our interview footage to intentionally make us look like uncomfortable, inarticulate mutes.
Here’s what we mean.

More Here (includes the actual audio and video clips)

Katie Couric And The Anti-Gun Documentary: Not Just Vanishing Journalism Ethics, But Vanishing Consensus That Journalism Has Any Obligation To Be Ethical

Fortunately, one of the gun owners in the sequence, VCDL President Philip Van Cleave, recorded the actual event before it was edited to make gun owners look like mutes. There was no pause. The members offered several answers. They were omitted from the documentary, with a pause inserted instead to bolster an anti-gun agenda.

Couric was aware of the deceptive editing, apparently questioned it, but allowed it to remain in the documentary. This is signature significance: no ethical journalist—if there even is such a thing any more—does this, ever, even once. While various media reporters on the left have expressed their disapproval, they have also muted their criticism to try to minimize the damage to their own profession. Here is NPR’s David Folkenflik, for example:

More Here

Monday, May 30, 2016

NY: Home Defender Charged with Illeagal weaopn Possession

The .38 revolver was obtained illegally.  Quinones may have been involved in illegal activities.

While Quinones struggled with one man the other fired two shots in his direction. He "disengaged from the struggle" and the men ran around the east side of the building toward Ash Street, police said.

Quinones quickly grabbed a loaded revolver that he had hidden nearby under a row of bushes along the back side of 208 Ash St., police said. Quinones ran around the west side of the building toward Ash Street. When he got to Ash Street Quinones again encountered the two robbers.

It was then that one of the robbers fired several shots toward Quinones, police said.

Quinones returned fire, hitting the man in the head and causing his death, police said.
More Here

OH: Misloaded Gun Dooms Bank Robber in Dramatic Video

.380 has a maximum diameter of .374.  A .38 Special has a case diameter of .380.  Thus a .380 does not have a way to head space in a .38 Special chamber.  For the uninformed, a box of ammunition labled .380 may appear to be correct for a firearm labled .38 Special. 

If Terry Frost did try to fire his gun, he was unsuccessful because he had the wrong type of ammunition in his gun. Police confirmed to FOX 45 sister station Local 12 in Cincinnati that Frost was carrying a .38 Special but had loaded .380 ammo.

Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac said there had been an attempt to fire the gun but they can't be sure it was during that robbery at the Fifth Third Bank on Madison Road.

More Here with video 

Washington Post: The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act: Facts and policy

Hillary Clinton has castigated Bernie Sanders for voting for a federal statute that she says provides “absolute immunity” to firearms manufacturers. According to Westlaw’s news database, she made the claim on May 15 (reported in the Guardian on May 16); shortly before the April 5 Wisconsin primary (reported in the Guardian on March 29); at the March 6 debate in Flint, Mich.; on “Face the Nation” on Jan. 10; and at the ABC debate in New Hampshire on Dec. 19, 2015.

Her claims must be a surprise to the handgun manufacturer Taurus, which has agreed to pay up to $30 million (plus $9 million in attorneys’ fees) to settle a class action involving allegedly defective Taurus handguns. The class action Carter v. Forjas Taurus, S.A. alleges that some Taurus models fire when they are accidentally dropped. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida has scheduled a July 18 hearing on the proposed class action final settlement; in the proposal, Taurus does not admit the plaintiffs’ factual claims. Further information about the case, including the firearms models and the various procedures for class members, is available here.

As a Yale Law School graduate who served in the Senate and who voted against the proposed statute, Clinton would presumably know the statute’s content. It is difficult to understand why she continues to make inaccurate claims about “absolute immunity.” In this post, I will describe what the statute actually does and the concerns that led to its enactment.

More Here

NH: Maggie Hassan Vetos Constitutional Carry, Again

Vermont has had concealed carry since statehood.  It is right next door to New Hampshire, with similar demographics.  Vermont's crime rate is slightly lower than New Hampshire's.

CONCORD — As expected, Gov. Maggie Hassan Friday vetoed House Bill 582, which would do away with the requirement to have a concealed weapon permit.

She vetoed a similar bill last year, and like last year, the House and Senate lack the necessary two-thirds majority to override the veto.

“As I said when I vetoed nearly identical legislation last year, New Hampshire’s current concealed carry permitting law has worked well for nearly a century — safeguarding the Second Amendment rights of our citizens while helping to keep the Granite State one of the safest states in the nation,” Hassan wrote in her veto message. “It is a permitting system that gives an important oversight role to local law enforcement while ensuring that an appeal process is in place if a permit is denied, a law that Republican Governor Mel Thomson said was ‘a sensible handgun law.’”

More Here

D.C.: Appeals Panel Grants Temporary stay for Ruling that Struck Down D.C. Gun Law

A federal appeals court has halted a ruling by a lower court that declared unconstitutional part of the current concealed carry law in Washington, D.C.

Under current law in D.C., the police only issue concealed carry permits to individuals who demonstrate a ‘need’ to carry a weapon. D.C.’s “good reason” clause has restricted concealed carry permits from being issued for almost any reason in D.C.

A gay rights group, the Pink Pistols, is leading the effort to overturn the restrictive gun law. The group joined a resident in the case which overturned D.C.’s strict law before the stay.

More Here

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Basketball Player Breaks into Apartment, Bedroom, is Shot, Dies

Bryce Dejean-Jones was shot after he broke into an apartment, then broke down the bedroom door, all without attempting to identify himself.  The young and talented basketball player may have believed that he was breaking into the apartment of the estranged mother of his 1-year-old child, which has been reported to be a floor above in the same apartment complex. Having visited the woman recently, he may have known that she was unarmed.

 From reuters.com:
Dejean-Jones, a 23-year-old shooting guard with the National Basketball Association team, kicked in the front door of an apartment, police said in a statement. The noise woke up the resident in his bedroom, they said, and Dejean-Jones failed to respond when the man called out.

When Dejean-Jones kicked the bedroom door, the man shot him with a handgun, the statement said.

Dejean-Jones collapsed in the apartment's breezeway and died at a hospital. The shooting is under investigation, police said.

Dejean-Jones was "believed to be breaking into the apartment of an estranged acquaintance" but entered the wrong one, the apartment complex manager said in an email to residents obtained by Dallas NBC television station KXAS.
Dejean-Jones was shot once in the abdoment with a handgun.  No toxicology reports are available at this time.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

DE: Knife Wielding Burglar Shot, Killed - in 2005

This story appears to be circulating on the internet without a date:

The incident occurred at a home on Cathleen Drive in Burtonwood Village. At approximately 11:30 p.m., a male suspect identified as Porter, was observed inside of the victim's shed by a neighbor. The neighbor, 58-years-old, armed himself with a .38 caliber revolver and responded to the victim’s house to notify him.

Once the victim, 43, was contacted, he went to his shed and was confronted by the suspect who was armed with a knife. The suspect allegedly came towards the victim with the knife, so the victim attempted to close the shed door to protect himself.

The suspect was halfway out of the shed jabbing the knife towards the victim and neighbor, when the neighbor told him to drop the knife several times. The suspect refused to drop the knife, so fearing for the safety of the victim and himself, the neighbor shot the suspect one time in the face.

I have found it listed along with stories for May 28 2016 It seems to have actually happened on February 15, 2005. Here is the story from that date, captured by wagc.com:
A 58-year-old man saw a stranger inside the shed next door and armed
himself with a .38-caliber revolver before going to alert his neighbor,
said state police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham.

The neighbor and the resident, who is 43, went to the shed and were
confronted by the intruder, who was armed with a knife, Oldham said.

As the suspect lunged toward the men, the resident tried to close the
shed door to protect himself, but caught the suspect in the doorway,
Oldham said.

With his upper body outside the door, the intruder kept jabbing the
knife at the men, Oldham said. They told the man repeatedly to drop the
knife, but he kept trying to stab them, Oldham said.

The neighbor then fired his gun once, hitting the intruder in the face,
Oldham said. The resident and neighbor both stayed with the suspect
until state police and medical personnel arrived, he said. They were not injured.
 Be wary of stories without dates in the story itself.

Dean Weingarten

NY: Man Disarms and Shoots Burglar

THE BRONX - A 22-year-old Olinville man called 911 Tuesday and told the operator that he shot a burglar in his home with the intruder's own gun, police say.

More Here

More on NC: Intruder Shot Through Door

Officers were dispatched to a home in the 1900 block of Winoca Road just after 1:15 a.m. regarding a burglary in progress call. When officers arrived on scene, they located an adult male suffering from gunshot wounds outside the house, officials said.

The owner of the home told officers that he heard the man trying to kick the door down and then told the man to stop.

“I got my gun and went to the door there and went there to the hall and told him to hold it, hold it, and they kept right on kicking it. Hold it, hold it, hold it,” said Paul Morgan, who fired the shots and lives at the house.

When the man didn’t stop, he fired shots through the door.

More Here

Followup LA: Video of Open Carrier Mandeville Shooting of Shawn Breland

Shawn Breland, center; Open carrier, center right; Clerk, center bottom

On Monday, April 4th, about 11:00 a.m., a firearms instructor who was openly carrying a .40 caliber semi-automatic pistol, shot and killed Shawn Breland at a gasoline station and convenience store. Twelve days later, I wrote about the incident and published the article on Gun Watch and The Truth About Guns. There was some disagreement about the incident as described, and people at the Truth About Guns (TTAG) forum were of varied opinions.
From TTAG 
From askandyoumayknow

This is a case of a bystander getting involved in a common argument between an employee and customer. How many of you have gotten mad at an employee somewhere due to the way you were being treated? This man threatened an unarmed man with a firearm, and when he couldn’t handle the man, he shot and killed a husband, father, and honorable veteran. He should have not gotten involved. The police were already on the way. If he wanted to be in law enforcement, then he should have joined the Mandeville police dept. The man was getting in his car to leave when this wanna-be cop came out telling him he was getting his license plate. He is not a trained law enforcement officer and his mishandling of the situation caused a good man having a bad day to lose his life.
 JR_in_NC says:
“The shooter followed Breland outside to get the license plate from Breland’s white minivan. Breland got out of the minivan and physically attacked the shooter, Ruple said.” If you are going to make claims that contradict what is published, please provide a source for your information.

I am commenting specifically on the information I have available which is: He (the shooter) went outside to get the plate number and Breland RETURNED to the continue the confrontation.

Did the shooter contribute to the escalation? I don’t know, and I am not commenting on that.

What I am commenting on is the completely idiotic, Statist notion that we all have to be “trained law enforcement officers” to act in any situation.

Dean Weingarten says:
April 20, 2016 at 02:34 (Edit)

There was video of the event. I wonder if it will be released. 
The video has been released, so you can look at it and determine which version of events was closer to the video. One thing was not mentioned in the written description of the events.  Shawn Breland had a passenger in the mini-van.  It may be the man in a white T-shirt that came into the store after him. That man takes a drink from the counter that Breland pays for.  It might have had an impact on his mind-set.  It is clear from the video that Shawn Breland was an exceptionally large man. From nola.com:
A legally-armed citizen who fatally shot an attacker at a Mandeville convenience store in April will not be prosecuted, St. Tammany Parish District Attorney Warren Montgomry said Friday (May 27). Mandeville police investigators concluded Shawn Breland, 42, of Folsom, was the aggressor at the Shell gasoline station and convenience store at 3959 Louisiana 22.

"Although Mr. Breland's death is a tragedy, this office agrees that the shooting was legally justified under the circumstances and will not pursue criminal changes based on the evidence submitted to date," Montgomery said in a news release that included surveillance camera video of the incident. (See video above. Warning: graphic content).

Link to Video 

Here is another claim that was made during the TTAG discussion. From askandyoumayknow:
 I personally spoke to a man that was there during the entire situation. The shooter did not walk quietly out to get the license plate. He confronted him stating that he was going to get his license plate, in turn escalating the situation. THE MAN WAS LEAVING. If the shooter would have minded his own damn business, a good man would be alive today. Armed citizens trying to play cop have far too often lately found themselves in situations that end in them shooting and killing UNARMED people.
As you watch the video, much that happened becomes clearer.  Pictures convey so much information that multiple replays may be necessary to catch relevant details.  Digital recording is making "he said" "she said" controversies less common.

The video greatly increased my understanding of this case of an open carrier defending himself and others.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

David Codrea: Donald Trump Promised Terry Brother Answers on Fast and Furious

The brother of a slain Border Patrol agent says Donald Trump has promised answers about the Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” program leading to Brian Terry’s death. Kent Terry met with Trump, and says the presumptive Republican nominee will use his authority to act if he’s elected president, Terry said in a Twitter post Tuesday.

“Mr. Trump said ‘It’s a shame Fast and Furious started and shame on them for what they are doing about it,” Terry explained to this column, referring to an event at a community college in Michigan (see photo). “When I become president I will open the books on Fast and Furious and Brian. God bless your family Kent.’

“Then at end of campaign speech when he got off stage he remembered me again,” Terry elaborated. “First time in Brian’s death I honestly believe Mr. Trump will get answers.”

This is not only newsworthy, it could prove explosive. It could provide the necessary authority to break the logjam and allow the complete truth about Operation Fast and Furious “gunwalking” to come to light. It’s not unfair to speculate that could put the fear of God into some of those who have tried their best to keep the truth buried, and would up the stakes for involved Democrats to keep Trump from getting elected. It would also be tremendously beneficial to his campaign, and to rallying Americans sick of the cover-up and demanding of justice. But only if that pledge is publicly acknowledged.
More Here

Followup AZ: Charges Dismissed in Barry Todd case, 2 Years later

During the course of the matter, the case against Todd had been ordered back to the grand jury three times by Haws.

In his most recent remand order on Dec. 17, 2015, Haws found that the prosecutor did not read grand jurors a statute that would have properly advised them that the defensive display of a weapon is justified when and to the extent a reasonable person would believe that physical force is immediately necessary to protect oneself against the use or attempted use of unlawful physical force or deadly physical force.

As such, Haws determined that the state's failure to advise grand jurors of the statute deprived Todd of a substantial procedural right.

Instead of the case being returned to the grand jury a fourth time for a determination of probable cause, the prosecution chose to hold a preliminary hearing on the matter.

 More Here

Followup FL: More on Penland Shooting Self Defense Verdict

The fatal shooting of 53-year-old Mark Penland during a disturbance at an Ocala residence two months ago was justified, prosecutors have determined.

The State Attorney's Office memorandum states that his wife, Michelle Dinkins-Penland, had a right to protect her family and therefore no charges would be filed against her.
More Here

Saturday, May 28, 2016

FL: Teens Attempt Robbery, Victim uses Knife in Self Defense

Police said they were unable to find a crime scene, or a blood trail, or witnesses who saw a large group attacking the teens. After further questioning the teens in the hospital, the truth finally came out. “They actually had planned to meet an individual, at least one other individual, around the corner from here to conduct some type of illegal transaction,” said McKeone. “At that point they decided, instead of doing the transaction, they were maybe going to try and rob that individual.”

Investigators said that man apparently pulled out a knife and acted in self-defense. “It appears that would-be now potential suspect, who we were looking for, is actually a victim of the robbery, and in self-defense, he stabbed two kids as they attempted to do this robbery,” McKeone said.
More Here

IN: Ex Husband's Rage ends with Shootingends

HENDRICKS COUNTY, Ind (WISH) – A man becomes his wife’s hero, after fighting off an intruder. That intruder, police say, was her ex-husband who was wielding nunchucks.

It happened Tuesday night in the 2000 block of State Road 267 near Avon.

The suspect and victim divorced almost 10 years ago. Since then, the victim said she’s had to have a restraining order against her ex-husband and there has been a history of violence. But, since they have two children together, she calls the shooting bittersweet.

More Here

UK: Weapons Cache, Table Knives, Tweezers and Hammer?

Here is the headline from the standard.co.uk:

A haul of weapons and more than £30,000 in cash were seized by police in a major drugs bust this morning.

I thought the U.S. was being converted to a bunch of wimps.  This is pathetic.  Any normal 15 year old could come up with better weapons than this collection from the kitchen drawer and utility closet.  A golf club or Cricket bat would be more formidable.

 A tip of the hat to Just an Earth-Bound Misfit, I.

The Metropolitan Police must be hard pressed to justify their jobs.  No wonder the Muslims think that they can easily conquer and convert Europe.

  ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

OK: Strong Right to Keep and Bear Arms Amendment Killed by Republicans

A strong right to keep and bear arms amendment to the Oklahoma state constitution was killed by the Republican leadership at the last minute. They did this by running out the clock in the conference committee, by not voting on HJR 1009.  The clock ran out on May 19th.

The tactics were similar to what was done in 2014.  This year the measure was passed with overwhelming votes in both the House and the Senate. It passed the House 66-7.  It passed the Senate 39 to 7.  That is by 90% and 85% respectively.  Obviously, the measure was wildly popular.  Then some lobbying by special interests seems to have gotten involved. Backroom deals may have been struck.

According to okta-action.org, several members of the conference committee have decided to oppose the measure, after voting for it twice.  From ok2a-action.org:
Several Republican members of the House Rules Committee (which is the House side of the Conference Committee for HJR1009) that previously voted for HJR1009 - most of them twice - and have even signed on as co-authors of the measure, have suddenly flip-flopped on the issue.  One of them even seemed to get a kick out of the possibility of killing it.  Are you angry yet?  Republicans laughing about trampling on your right to keep and bear arms while following marching orders from a liberal, New York, gun-grabber lobbying against your natural right to protect yourself - that should make every pro-gun Oklahoman livid!
Oklahoma's current right to keep and bear arms amendment was weak to begin with and has been rendered toothless by Oklahoma Supreme Court decisions. Here is the current version:

The right of a citizen to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, or property, or in aid of the civil power, when thereunto legally summoned, shall never be prohibited; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons.
You can see the problem "; but nothing herein contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying of weapons."  With that clause, the court has ruled that the "bear arms" part of Section 26 is a legal nullity.

Here is the reform.  Underlined words are new; lined through words are removed: 

From the Oklahoma Legislature (pdf):

Section 26.
The fundamental right of a each individual
4 citizen to keep and to bear arms in defense of his home, person, or
5 property, or, including handguns, rifles, shotguns, knives,
6 nonlethal defensive weapons and other arms in common use, as well as
7 ammunition and the components of arms and ammunition, for security,
8 self-defense, lawful hunting and recreation, in aid of the civil
9 power, when thereunto legally lawfully summoned, or for any other
10 legitimate purpose shall never not be prohibited; but nothing herein
11 contained shall prevent the Legislature from regulating the carrying
12 of weapons infringed. Any regulation of this right shall be subject
13 to strict scrutiny.
This section shall not prevent the Legislature from
15 prohibiting the possession of arms by convicted felons, those
16 adjudicated as mentally incompetent or those who have been
17 involuntarily committed in any mental institution.
No law shall impose registration or special taxation upon
19 the keeping of arms, including the acquisition, ownership,
20 possession or the transfer of arms, ammunition or the components of
21 arms or ammunition

Reformed Constitutional amendments protecting the right to keep and bear arms have been wildly popular with voters.  The difficulty is getting them on the ballot.  In 2014, the Oklahoma amendment passed both houses in slightly different versions. It was scuttled in the conference committee between the House and the Senate.

Alabama passed a similar amendment in 2014 with 72% of the vote; Missouri had strengthened its Constitution just months before with 61%; Louisiana in 2012 with 74% of the vote; and  Kansas in 2010 with 88%. Wisconsin voters protected their rights with a strong amendment in 1998 with 74% of the vote.

Wisconsin had one of the most difficult paths.  Constitutional amendments there must pass the legislature twice, with an election in between.  Then they are put before the people in a referendum.

 The legislature has not yet learned that playing these games is no longer a safe way to kill measures that you vocally support, but secretly conspire to kill.

Perhaps ok2A-action.org will determine just who the responsible parties are, and find a way to hold them accountable.  I believe this amendment will eventually make it to the voters for their decision, but it will depend on grass roots support to make it happen.

 ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

Audio Shows Katie Couric Documentary Deceptively Edited Interview with Pro-Gun Activists

The makers of a new Katie Couric documentary on gun violence deceptively edited an interview between Couric and a group of gun rights activists in an apparent attempt to embarrass the activists, an audio recording of the full interview shows.

At the 21:48 mark of Under the Gun a scene of Katie Couric interviewing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, a gun rights organization, is shown.

Couric can be heard in the interview asking activists from the group, “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?”

The documentary then shows the activists sitting silently for nine awkward seconds, unable to provide an answer. It then cuts to the next scene. The moment can be watched here:

More Here

Noah Feldman Admits that First and Second Amendments are Fundamental Rights

Noah Feldman is a Harvard law professor and a prolific author.

In an op-ed in The Post and Courier, Noah Feldman has penned an article that grudgingly admits that the Second Amendment is a fundamental right deserving as much respect as the First Amendment.  Feldman gets much wrong.  For example, he declares that the Supreme Court found that the Second Amendment is an individual right for the first time in 2008.  From bloomberg.com:
The evolution of gun rights has an internal legal logic to it. The contemporary story starts in 2008 with the case of D.C. v. Heller, a 5-to-4 decision in which the Supreme Court declared for the first time that gun ownership was an individual right, not a collective right of “the people” to organize into militias.
That characterization of the Heller decision is a favorite of disarmists, but it is false.  The Supreme Court never found that the Second Amendment was a "collective right".  The "collective right" theory was created out of whole cloth by the Kansas Supreme Court in 1905.  The muddy Miller decision in 1934 did not say that the right was a collective one, even though that test case was heavily manipulated by the Franklin Roosevelt administration.  There are plenty of previous Supreme Court decisions that declare the Second Amendment to be an individual right, though they do not strike down laws.

In the Post and Courier article, Feldman is having an difficult time explaining why the Second Amendment should *not* be a fundamental right.  From the postandcourier.com:  
With that, the court embraced the old slogan that if you outlaw gun ownership, only criminals will have guns. The court then held that the regulation wasn’t narrowly tailored because the city would have to prove that its scheme made people safer than any less restrictive alternative. And it said it was “skeptical” that such proof could ever be possible. The regulation would only be narrowly tailored, he said, if it were “targeted at keeping guns away from people who are likely to misuse them or situations where they are likely to be misused.”
  Then Feldman writes this bombshell statement, for a person on the left:
City lawyers tried to argue that the regulation simply restricted the time, place and manner of bearing arms, limitations that are permissible even when applied to the free-speech protections of the First Amendment. But the court replied that the analogy was flawed — which of course it is. A law that prohibited you from speaking while on the street but let me speak while at home wouldn’t be permissible. The analogy to free speech is one that belongs to advocates of gun rights, not to the other side.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will have to review this decision. But it’s worth noting that, astonishing as the reasoning sounds, it makes logical legal sense once the right to bear arms is treated as a fundamental right comparable to free speech.
Feldman clearly comes at the issue from a "progressive" lens, with the idea that "rights" are what the government decides, not originating in natural law.  In a previous article, he proclaims that rifles such as the AR-15 are not useful for self-defense, without a shred of  evidence to back such a claim.  He does so out of pure subjective personal preference. From bloomberg.com:
That leaves the view that there’s something special about weapons that can be used both for self-defense and for militias. According to Scalia, those are the weapons that the people who ratified the Second Amendment had in mind.

Today, that includes handguns. But it doesn’t include assault rifles. They’re great for military purposes, and no doubt fun to shoot on the range. But they aren’t useful for self-defense, almost by definition.
But that view is nonsense.  First, AR-15s are not "assault weapons".  They are the civilian version of the M-16, having been altered to make them semi-automatic.  That makes them specifically designed for civilian use and useful both for self defense and militia use. Second, many firearms experts extol the virtues of AR-15 and similar rifles as being especially suitable for home defense, for all the reasons that they would be useful in military operations.

They are light, easily used firearms.  They give a defender a fighting chance against superior numbers.  There appearance has become so well known that they provide superior deterrence for a home or self defender.  They are precisely the firearms that are most useful for spontaneously organized militias to use to assert order after a natural or manmade disaster.

Feldman asserts that the Court will not accept this view, because then they would have to accept rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons as well.  But that is a false assumption.  The Court has already accepted a limit by allowing more regulation on fully automatic weapons.  Feldman does not appear well schooled in weaponry.  He makes the novice error of assuming that because AR-15 type rifles are included in legal definitions of "assault weapons" that they are "assault rifles".  It is an easy error for a lawyer to make.

Rocket propelled grenades are already in a separate federal legal category from semi-automatic rifles.  That line is likely where the current court will hold on Heller and Heller generated challenges to the Second Amendment.

It may be that Noah Feldman will come around to this view.  He seems to value intellectual honesty, in spite of his errors.

If he comes to understand that disarming the population does not confer any real advantages to society, he may switch sides.  He seems to be moving in that direction.

Definition of  disarmist

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

AR: Poll: Should the University of Arkansas Allow Concealed Carry?

Image from arkansasonlin.comPoll at the this link 

An online poll arkansasonline is showing the strong support for allowing people who can legally carry concealed weapons to carry on campus in Arkansas, just as they can in the rest of the state.

The question is:

Should the UA System allow concealed-carry at its schools?

Currently the poll is at 92% for restoring the right to bear arms to public property that is part of the University of Arkansas system.

Link to the poll

On line polls  measure the ratio of those who are interested enough to answer an online poll. The results here are typical.  Second Amendment supporters typically outnumber those who push for more restrictions by 3-10 to 1. In this case the ratio is now over the 10-1 ratio. This poll is asking a fairly clear question about the desirability of allowing the exercise of a basic Constitutional right on  public property.

People in Arkansas tend to be strong Second Amendment supporters.  It is not surprising that they would support this small, incremental step to restoring a right that many believe they have always had.

The poll in Arkansas is topical because legislators around the country are debating whether to restore Second Amendment rights to institutes of higher education.  Last year, a campus carry bill passed the Arkansas House 66 - 25.  It was killed in committee.  Campus carry was supported by Governor Hutchinson.

An associate dean of an Arkansas graduate school, and a history professor wrote an article debunking the fears of the higher education lobby.  From arktimes.com:
If you work at a Texas college and are worried by the prospect of having guns in your classroom, relax. The new campus-carry law changes your risk of gun violence very little. I can almost guarantee that if you have a few semesters of teaching under your belt, at some point there have been students with guns in your classroom. If those illegally armed students were not moved to violence by the content of your course or the statements of their fellow students, it seems highly improbable that a new group of legally armed students will prove to be more volatile or violence-prone than their scofflaw peers.
 Texas public universities are in the process of constructing rules for campus carry that comply with the Texas law passed last year.  From the star-telegram.com:
Texas A&M University’s proposed new campus carry rules include few major restrictions for handguns and will allow the weapons in classrooms and dormitories.

The proposed rules have been approved by Chancellor John Sharp and A&M System legal staff. They will be reviewed by regents later this month. State law doesn’t require board approval of campus carry rules, but does allow regents to amend the rules if they disagree with them.
Institutes of higher education have become centers of "progressive power".  Legislation that insists that they respect rights guaranteed by the Constitution, threatens the basic assumption of that power; that experts know what is best and that the government should not be limited.

Campus carry will likely come to Arkansas, sooner or later.

Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/state/texas/article71653807.html#storylink=cpy

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.  Link to Gun Watch

ATF gets Black Eye for Abusive Conduct on Alaskan Highway

On 19 May, 2016, a member of the ATF, or at least someone driving one of their vehicles at a time that it was supposed to be in service, may have engaged in abusive behavior on the Glenn Highway in Alaska.  From ktuu.com:
Police say that at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, a driver on the Glenn Highway said he pulled over for an unmarked white Ford SUV. The SUV flashed red and blue interior dash lights.

When the motorist stopped, police wrote that the driver, “sped past him, laughed, and flipped him the middle finger.”

The man called 911, and told police that he watched as the SUV did the same thing three other times with other drivers.
At the time that the incident was reported, the police checked the license plate of the vehicle, but could not find a match.  Four days later, investigation revealed that the vehicle was an unmarked  vehicle registered with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, (ATF).  The vehicle was not in the Department of Motor Vehicles data base.  It was an unmarked ATF vehicle whose official existence is shielded from ordinary police view.  This was discovered by a computer search though thousands of police reports. It happened that the ATF vehicle was at the scene of another investigation, and an investigating officer had noted the vehicle plate number in their report.

The person in the ATF vehicle had good reason to believe that they were immune from accountability in this case.  A few years ago, they would have escaped without consequences. From adn.com:
Police contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco and Explosives, a U.S. Justice Department agency, which confirmed that the SUV was theirs, Castro said.
The person driving the ATF owned Ford SUV has not been identified.  Initial reports describe the driver as a white male in their 30s with short hair.  ATF has a policy not to "comment on personnel matters".

This is not a mere "personnel matter".  If the allegations are true, this is an abuse of authority.  It is a blatant violation of law. It is a deprivation of rights under color of law. If it occured as alleged, it should be easy to ascertain the truth, and the ATF official should not be allowed to be shielded by the agency. 

Using police lights to pull someone over without cause is depriving them of their constitutional rights under the Fourth Amendment. It is hard to believe, given the description of events, that the person in the vehicle had a legitimate reason to pull the vehicles over.  The abusive finger salute adds to the impression that this was a simple abuse of authority under the color of law

It was a minor abuse. Damages under 42 U.S.C.  § 1983 would likely be small. It is roughly the equivalent of the abuse of police officers using lights and sirens to go on a pizza run; or using their police identification to push to the head of a line for personal reasons. But it is exactly these sort of abuses that are very damaging to the rule of law. Citizens see the abuses. They see that nothing is done to correct them, and they conclude that officers consider themselves a special class, above the ordinary rules of society and the law. 

Such abuses make the allegations in more serious cases, such a the Fast and Furious gun running case, all the more believable. In that case, it is alleged that the Department of Justice conspired with the ATF to facilitate the illegal transfer of firearms to Mexican drug cartels, for the purpose of pushing the Obama Administration's policies on gun control.

Digital recording devices make these abuses of authority under color of law much easier to prove. At least two appellate courts have ruled that it is a First Amendment right to video/audio record public officials in the course of the public execution of their duties.  A U.S. District Court in Pennsylvania has refused to recognize recording as a First Amendment right, when there is no intention of criticising the police; that case is being appealed to the Third Circuit.

The case would not apply to those who record police with an intention to criticise their actions.

Criticism of police is at an all time high under the Obama administration. Many of the criticisms have not been justified by later investigations, such as in the Trevon Martin case or the Ferguson shooting case of Michael Brown.

That does not mean that abuses do not occur. It makes the case that recordings of altercations can help to absolve the innocent as well as convict the guilty.

The ubiquity of digital recording devises is helping to make all authorities more accountable for their actions. 

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

Friday, May 27, 2016

MI: Armed, Wounded Homeowner Wins Gunfight, Kills 1 of 2 Invaders

WESTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) - A 24-year-old Westland man was shot and killed after he allegedly took part in a home invasion at a house on Glenwood Thursday morning.

The 23-year-old man who lives in the house was shot in the leg.
More Here

Townhall: Katie Couric Busted for Anti-Second Amendment Propaganda

Yesterday, Pavlich wrote about Katie Couric being busted for deceptively editing her group interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League. Couric has a new anti-gun documentary, Under the Gun, and it seems the folks behind this piece of propaganda were doing everything they can to make pro-gun activists look like idiots. In the clip, Couric asking “if there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons, or terrorists, from walking into a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?” The feature shows seconds of silence as to insinuate that Couric has stumped them. It’s pure unadulterated crap, as Stephen Gutowski of the Free Beacon pointed out with the unexpurgated audio clip that took place.

Yet, have no fear, folks. The makers of this documentary didn’t mean to make them look like thoughtless troglodytes. In fact, The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple noted that the statement that sought to clarify the editing seemed to a) admit to it as such and b) was probably one of the most pathetic excuses ever to give for engaging in such behavior. This is how director Stephanie Soechtig explained the omission of the VCDL audio [emphasis mine]:

More Here

Thursday, May 26, 2016

OK: Man Attacks Armeed 70-Year-Old, Is Shot

When police got to the home they saw the homeowner applying pressure to a gunshot to Claunch's neck. The homeowner, who is in his 70s, told police the man approached while he was doing yard work and punched him in the back of the head.

The homeowner said the man continued to beat him and even "mounted" him to hit him.

Officers said the homeowner was carrying a gun and fired a warning shot then fired another shot in the man's neck. Doctors performed emergency surgery on Claunch, and at last check, it's not clear if he is going to survive.
More Here

OK: Armed Woman Shoot 1 of 2 Home Invaders

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Police say a Tulsa woman shot at two men who broke into her house near I-44 and Garnett. One suspect is in the hospital and the other is still on the run.
More Here

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

MA: Brockton Gun Turn In "buy back" a Bust

Image from enterprisenews.com

Brockton Massachusetts held their first gun turn in or "buy back" in 22 years on 21 May, 2016. "Buy Back" is a propaganda term; the guns were never owned by the people who are buying them.

The event was advertised as accepting guns anonymously, no questions asked. This seems to violate Massachusetts law. There may be an exemption for police.  Police will be present; it is unlikely that they would enforce the law against themselves, even if there is no exemption.  From wcvb.com:
In exchange for each gun turned in, a $200 gift card to Vicente’s grocery store will be given. The gift cards were paid for using forfeiture money that has been seized by the police from drug arrests and raids that led to convictions.
The event seems to have had 9 pistols turned in, two shotguns, a rifle, and a couple of BB guns.

Gun turn in events have dwindled in most states, but most states have not infringed on private sales.  Private buyers have become common at gun "buy back" events in other states. Private buyers destroy the propaganda message that "guns are bad, and should be turned in to the police". In Massachusetts, it would be risky to attempt a private sale with a heavy police presence at the site. From state.ma.us:
  1. It is unlawful to conduct a personal sale or transfer of a weapon to anyone other than an individual lawfully licensed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. It is strongly recommended that you require the buyer/transferee to produce a valid FID/LTC License Validation Certificate (obtained by the buyer/transferee using this system) prior to conducting a personal sale or transfer.
  2. You may need your PIN number to complete a transaction. You may obtain your PIN number at your licensing authority.
IMPORTANT NOTICE: Massachusetts law requires all gun owners to report ALL private sales, transfers, and surrenders of firearms to the Massachusetts Firearms Records Bureau via the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal. Paper FA-10 forms are no longer accepted for these transaction types.
It is too bad that private purchasers were unable to participate in the Brockton Turn In event.  There were some very nice revolvers turned in for the $200 gift cards.  The three Colt revolvers were likely worth about $600 each on the open market.  They are not made any more.  The Smith & Wesson model 15 would be worth about $600 or more.  The center revolver is likely a Rossi or a Taurus, probably about a $250 pistol.  The other four pistols are inexpensive, and would bring about $50 to $100 on the open market.  $200 was generous compensation for them.
A criminal justice professor and former police officer admits the program is primarily a propaganda measure.
“They’re mostly publicity stunts. It’s not going to affect the crime rate. But it may prevent an individual crime,” said Mitch Librett, a criminal justice professor at Bridgewater State University. “I’ve done a few of these and you’d get 100-year-old revolvers, you’d get shotguns that were rusted so badly that you couldn’t even open them up. They’re people who are usually elderly, who are hurting for money and they bring back a Luger from WWII.”
The professor does not mention that a WWII Luger is likely worth 5 to 10 times the value of the gift card offered.

Those who brought the cheap handguns did well.  Those who brought the Colts and Smith were taken advantage of.

In nearby Pennsylvania, a  City Councilperson is using public resources more effectively.  The guns that are collected with his program are sold on the legal market to fund further "buy backs".  From cincinnati.com:

Deer Park City Councilperson Charles Tassell, who is pro-gun and holds a concealed-carry permit, didn't think that was the best way to run “Street Rescue,” his gun buyback program.

Instead, he turns in the collected guns to federally licensed firearms dealers to be sold to the right hands.

"It’s not my determination of the 'right hands,'" Tassell said. "It’s the federal government's decision."
Gun turn in events, or "buy backs" are dwindling as Second Amendment supporters have learned to negate their propaganda value with private buyers.

The events will linger on in states such as Massachusetts, where private sales suffer under many infringements, or in programs such as Street Rescue, where the emphasis is on efficacy instead of propaganda.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

Should Criminals be Encouraged to Use Fake Guns?

Criminals tend to be optimists, at least when it comes to carrying out crimes.  They often envision only one scenario, and assume that everything will go as planned. It is one of the reasons that many criminals depend on imitation, toy, or replica firearms.  A number of  states treat the use of a replica or imitation gun the same as the use of a real gun in a crime.

No state requires a defender to determine if a gun pointed at them is real or imitation. There is no controversey in the law about that.  If the defender reasonably believes that they are under deadly threat, it does not matter if the perpetrator was using an imitation gun.

Imitation guns are less expensive and a bit easier to obtain than real guns. 

Some Texas police officers believe that the use of imitation guns for criminal purposes is on the rise. From cbslocal.com:
DALLAS (AP) -- Police in Texas say more crimes are being committed with imitation weapons such as BB guns, likely because they're cheap, easy to obtain and criminals may believe -- mistakenly -- that if they're caught, they'll avoid the severe punishment that can come with illegally possessing a real one.

California law differentiates between real and imitation guns in their laws on brandishing. From shouselaw.com:
    1. Brandishing  a  pistol, revolver, or other firearm capable of being concealed upon the person... in a rude, angry, or threatening manner... in a public place:
      • a minimum three (3) month, to a maximum one (1) year, jail sentence, and/or
      • a maximum $1,000 fine.92
  1. Brandishing any other firearm... or brandishing a firearm in other than a public place... in the same manner:  not less than three (3) months in county jail.93
  2. Brandishing an imitation firearm: not less than 30 days in county jail.94
Should the use of imitation firearms in crime be subject to the same penalties as real firearms?

I submit that penalties for the use of imitation firearms in crime should be less.  The criminal is putting the victim(s) at lower risk, and is putting themselves at higher risk. This is behavior that should be encouraged.

It is good public policy to reward this behavior with lower penalties, just as non-confrontational crime has lower penaties than crimes that occur in direct confrontation, such as robbery. 

I would prefer to confront a robber armed with an imitation gun instead of a real one.  I would prefer to confront a robber with an imitation gun instead of a knife or club.

Many criminals are ignorant of the law, so incentives do not always have a significant effect.  In this case, the law would reinforce an existing belief, so the chance of success is greater.

Replace criminals guns with imitation guns?  We should encourage this trend.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

Canadian Officer Says Gun Registry is an Important Symbol of Government Power

Canada passed its long gun registration scheme in 1995.  The bureaucratic attempt to require state knowledge and tracking of all legal guns in Canada was a disaster from the beginning.  It was plagued with non-compliance, sabotage, corruption, crony-ism and cost overruns.  Advertised as costing only 110 million, the costs ballooned into billions, as the ruling party used the program to reward favorites, and paid consultants to lobby to increase registry funds.

The registry was discontinued on April 5, 2012.  Quebec fought to keep the registry in courts, but was ruled against in the Canadian Supreme Court a year ago.

There never was any data showing that the registry had any effect on crime.  It appears the RCMP, at the minimum, assured that no data was kept that would indicate if the registry was of any use as a crime fighting tool.  No instances could be found where the registry was useful in solving crimes.  New Zealand had eliminated its long gun registry in 1983. Police had determined that the registry was ineffective in reducing crime.
Background to the Introduction of Firearms User Licensing Instead of Rifle and Shotgun Registration Under the Arms Act 1983 (Wellington, New Zealand: n.p., 1983) 
Now, as the Quebec government fights to create its own, separate, long gun registry, a new, perhaps clearer and more honest reason for the registry has been put forward by a long retired police officer. From news1130.com:
But Brisebois believes the registry is more than just a tool for law enforcement — that it’s a symbol of how a society treats firearms and that it reinforces Canada’s cultural differences from those of the United States.

“Seeing what the registry did for me — spend the money,” Brisebois said.

“The important thing is to show people you are doing something (about guns),” he said. “The American way is that guns represent liberty and rights — do we want this? I don’t. So am I ready to spend that money? Yes.”
Brisebois does not want symbols of liberty and rights.  It does not matter that the registry is expensive and ineffective in fighting crime.

The Canadian Supreme Court even refused to hear a case put forward by leftist feminists, claiming that doing away with the registry violated their rights.  The reason the court did this? Because there was no evidence that the registry had reduced crime one iota.

Interestingly, this is a very similar reason given for the great forced Australian gun "buy back". Prime Minister Howard said that he hated guns and did not want Australia to go "the American way".

The long gun registry was never popular in Canada.  It was put forward as a way to punish cultural conservatives, to show rural and western Canadians who was in charge, and it was not them.

Canadians educated themselves.  They lobbied.  They voted.  They rid themselves of the registry.  Similar situations are occurring in many American states.  The compliance with long gun registration schemes in New York, Connecticut, and California are at 4-10%.  Whether that resistance will result in political changes is uncertain.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.
Link to Gun Watch

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

NC: Man Says He Shot Intruder Attempting Break-In

Sgt. Steve Stroud says the homeowner told police he heard someone trying to kick in the door to his house. He told police he warned the intruder to stop before firing shots through the door.

The victim was taken to Wilson Medical Center, where he died.
More Here

MI: Homeowner Retrieves Gun in Hostage Situation, Drives off Intruders

Daniel McNamara and his wife were being held at gunpoint.  He had a gun stashed in the area where he was being held.  He accessed the gun and fired two shots, driving off the intruders.  He was worried that the intruders were going to kill them because they had seen the intruders faces.  The link is to the video report.

More Here

Donald Trump Supports The Second Amendment more Strongly than Any Previous Republican Nominee

Many people have said or written that while Donald Trump supports the Second Amendment, talk is cheap, and we do not have actions to back up the talk.

There is some truth in that. Donald Trump does not have a legislative record to show actions to back up his words. But words have meanings. If a nominee is unwilling to give us words in support of the Second Amendment, why should we believe that he will go to bat for us in the legislature, in the executive branch, or in the courts? If the nominee is too concerned with being politically correct when running for office, even in the primary, why should we believe that they will be willing to take more heat while in office, facing re-election, or under media pressure?

If a nominee will not specifically defend the Second Amendment verbally and in writing before being elected, why would we expect them to do so afterwards?

Here is the record of Republican nominees over the last hundred years to see how they compared with Donald Trump.

The Second Amendment was not an issue before 1968. In 1932 Franklin Roosevelt had pushed through the first serious federal gun control law.  It impacted few people at first.  It only had an effect on machine guns, short barreled shotguns and rifles, and silencers that crossed state lines in interstate commerce.  Most people paid little attention to the onerous regulations and taxes that were imposed.  There were few prosecutions.

Even as late as 1964 Barry Goldwater, when he spoke of the Second Amendment, spoke of it in the context of hunting.  From scribd.com:
At a young age, Barry Goldwater was taught by his mother how to shoot rifles and shotguns.
He believed that gun control was “impossible,” and served as an NRA spokesman, appearing incommercials for the group. He was also an avid gun collector, devoting an entire room of his houseto a variety of guns that he had both made and purchased over the years.
Goldwater was, however, opposed to the sale of automatic firearms:”I’m completely opposed to selling automatic rifles. I don’t see any reason why they ever madesemi-automatics. I’ve been a member of the NRA, I collect, make and shoot guns. I’ve never usedan automatic or semiautomatic for hunting. There’s no need to. They have no place in anybody’sarsenal. If any S.O.B. can’t hit a deer with one shot, then he ought to quit shooting.”
Richard Nixon personally hated guns.  He likely approved of GCA 1968.  From ontheissues.org:
Twenty years ago, I asked Richard Nixon what he thought of gun control. His on-the-record reply: "Guns are an abomination." Free from fear of gun owners' retaliation at the polls, he favored making handguns illegal and requiring licenses for hunting rifles.
Gerald Ford was considerably better:  From ontheissues.org:
FORD: The record of gun control, whether it's in one city or another or in some States does not show that the registration of a gun, handgun, or the registration of the gun owner has in any way whatsoever decreased the crime rate or the use of that gun in the committing of a crime. The record just doesn't prove that such legislation or action by a local city council is effective. What we have to do--and this is the crux of the matter--is to make it very difficult for a person who uses a gun in the commission of a crime to stay out of jail. I don't believe in the registration of handguns or the registration of the handgun owner. That has not proven to be effective. And, therefore, the better way is to go after the criminal, the individual who commits a crime in the possession of a gun and uses that gun for a part of his criminal activity.
But, Gerald Ford proposed a ban on a whole class of guns:
I had always opposed federal registration of guns or the licensing of gun owners, and as President, I hadn't changed my views. At the same time, I recognized that handguns had played a key role in the increase of violent crime. Not all handguns-just those that hadn't been designed for sporting purposes. I asked Congress to ban the manufacture and sale of these "Saturday night specials."
Ronald Reagan was not a firm supporter of the Second Amendment in his words.  From ontheissues.org:
[In a 1991 speech, Reagan said]: "I'm a member of the NRA. And my position on the right to bear arms is well known. But I support the Brady bill and I urge the Congress to enact it without delay. It's just plain common sense that there be a waiting period [7 days] to allow local law enforcement officials to conduct background checks on those who wish to buy a handgun."
The Brady bill was opposed by the current President, George H.W. Bush. "I don't think it would be proper for me or any other ex-president to stand and tell an acting president what he should or shouldn't do," Reagan said. But then he added: "I happen to believe in the Brady Bill because we have the same thing in California right now."
He was asked why he had opposed all gun-control measures while he was President. He shook his head. "I was against a lot of the ridiculous things that were proposed with regard to gun control.
George Bush Sr. was at best a lukewarm supporter of the Second Amendment.
Bush exacted his revenge in May 1995, when he read about an NRA fund-raising letter that described federal agents as "jack-booted thugs". Ripping up his NRA membership card, Bush wrote a letter of resignation, which his office made public. He accused the NRA of slandering dedicated officials "who are out there day and night laying their lives on the line for all of us."
Robert Dole was lukewarm on the Second Amendment.

George Dubya Bush was lukewarm at best. He promised to sign the extension of the "assault weapon" ban if it reached his desk:
BUSH: I did think we ought to extend the assault weapons ban and was told the bill was never going to move. I believe law-abiding citizens ought to be able to own a gun. I believe in background checks. The best way to protect our citizens from guns is to prosecute those who commit crimes with guns.
John McCain was somewhat pro-Second Amendment in his 2008 campaign.   From ontheissues.com:
  • McCain opposes restrictions on so-called “assault rifles” and voted consistently against such bans.
  • McCain opposes bans on the importation of certain types of ammunition magazines and has voted against such limitations.
  • McCain believes that banning ammunition is just another way to undermine Second Amendment rights. He voted against an amendment that would have banned many of the most commonly used hunting cartridges on the spurious grounds that they were “armor-piercing.”
I was surprised to see that Senator McCain had some positive positions on Second Amendment issues.  His actions were far less supportive.

Mitch Romney was lukewarm on the Second Amendment at best.  From ontheissues.org:
ROMNEY: Yeah, I'm not in favor of new pieces of legislation on guns and taking guns away or making certain guns illegal. We of course don't want to have automatic weapons, and that's already illegal in this country, to have automatic weapons. What I believe is we have to do is to make enormous efforts to enforce the gun laws that we have and to change the culture of violence we have. And you ask, how are we going to do that? Good schools, to give people the hope and opportunity they deserve, and perhaps less violence from that. But let me mention another thing. And that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids.

Let us compare these remarks to Donald Trump's on the Second Amendment. From ammoland.com:
“The Trump family will stay vigilant in our support of right to keep and bear arms.  And given today’s threats across the United States it is as important now as ever.  National Security begins in our homes.  All citizens must have the ability to protect themselves, their families, and their property.  The Second Amendment is a right, not a privilege. Our safety and defense is embodied in the Second Amendment and I will always protect this most important right.
Not only does Donald Trump support the Second Amendment with stronger and clearer language, he goes into specifics of what he is going to do to help restore the Second Amendment.  He often talks about how the Second Amendment is needed for self defense, a topic no other Republican Nominee would touch. From cnn.com:

TRUMP: -- I promise there wouldn't have been 130 people killed and hundreds of people lying in the hospital to this day. It might not have happened. Because if they knew there were guns in the room, it might not have happened. But if it did, you would have had bullets going in the opposite direction. And believe me, the carnage would not have been the same by any stretch of the imagination.
Trump supports the carry of concealed weapons all over the country with national reciprocity: From the Washington Times:
 Mr. Trumpmade the arguments in a “position paper” on the Second Amendment in which he makes the case that people who don’t break the law should be able to obtain a concealed carry permit allowing them to carry in every state, and that members of the military should be able to carry their arms on military bases and at recruitment centers.
 Donald Trump support doing away with federal gun free zones: from cnn.com:
And this whack-job walks in and starts shooting and killed all five of them. Gun-free zones. We are getting rid of gun-free zones. OK? I can tell you.
 Donald Trump says no to Universal Background Checks.  From ammoland.com:
“I do not support expanding background checks. The current background checks do not work.”

“They make it more difficult for law abiding citizens to acquire firearms while consistently failing to stop criminals from getting guns. We should re-examine our policy to make sure that these prohibitions do not impede law abiding citizens from exercising their Second Amendment rights.”
 Donald Trump compares his position to Hillary Clinton's.  From cnn.com:
But Hillary Clinton wants to abolish the Second Amendment. We are not talking about change it. She wants to abolish the Second Amendment. We're not going to let that happen. I can tell you. That we're going to preserve it. We're going to cherish it. We're going to take care of it. OK? They keep chipping away. They talk about the magazines, they talk about the bullets. We're going to take care of it.
This is another major difference from previous Republican nominees.  None of them talked about the incremental attacks on the Second Amendment.

Donald Trump has supported the Second Amendment more forcefully and more specifically than any Republican nominee to date.  He has not been in office, so we cannot measure his support with his actions.  If he puts into practice even 20% of his proposals to restore Second Amendment rights, he will have done more for the Second Amendment than the last four Republican presidents altogether.

His proposals are strongly supported in Congress.  The Congress voted down Universal Background Checks.  They voted for national reciprocity.  They showed support for an end to many gun free zones, such as in the Post Office and on Army Corps of Engineers managed lands. As Commander in Chief, Trump would not need Congress to end gun free zones in the military.

Donald Trump could enact many of his proposals.  And why wouldn't he?  He would have been elected because of them.

 ©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch 

Michigan Police Choose to Destroy $500,000 of Legal Firearms Annually

Under Michigan law, the State Police are required to publish a list of the firearms that they intend to dispose of each month.  All the agencies in Michigan are required to turn over to the State Police firearms that have been forfeited or confiscated from prohibited possessors.

The firearms are checked to see if they have been reported stolen.  If they have not been reported stolen, the State Police are required to dispose of them.  Before they are disposed of, the list of firearms has to be published each month.  Owners of the firearms are given 30 days to contact the police to recover their property.

I doubt if many do so; if they have not been listed as stolen, the chances of the owner checking the State Police list each month to determine if their firearm shows up seems vanishingly small.

The State Police have the choice to dispose of the firearms by sale or to destroy them.  They have been choosing to destroy them, likely for political reasons. It is hard to see why they would avoid selling them at auction. 

There are 298 firearms listed to be destroyed after June 1, 2016 (pdf).  Many are inexpensive.  Many are not.  They run the gamut from a Webley and Scott 12 gauge shotgun to a Butler .22.  The Webley and Scott Shotgun is potentially worth thousands; the Butler .22, maybe $50.  Most of them are pistols, 225 of them. There are 39 shotguns and 34 rifles.

At auction, confiscated firearms average between $100 and $200 to dealers.  It is likely that the Michigan public treasury would gain about $150 per firearm, or about $44,700 for the firearms to be destroyed in the month of July.  It is unknown how much the police have to pay to have the firearms destroyed; no doubt they require a paper trail to be sure that none are diverted prior to destruction.  That cost would roughly cancel out the cost of having the firearms auctioned.

The police do not have to have the firearms destroyed.  They run no risk of liability if they auction off the firearms. Under Michigan law, they are immune from liability for the disposal of the firearms. From the relevant Michigan code 750.239:

 750.239 Forfeiture of weapons; disposal; immunity from civil liability.
Sec. 239.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) and subject to section 239a, all pistols, weapons, or devices carried, possessed, or used contrary to this chapter are forfeited to the state and shall be turned over to the department of state police for disposition as determined appropriate by the director of the department of state police or his or her designated representative.

(2) The director of the department of state police shall dispose of firearms under this section by 1 of the following methods:

(a) By conducting a public auction in which firearms received under this section may be purchased at a sale conducted in compliance with section 4708 of the revised judicature act of 1961, 1961 PA 236, MCL 600.4708, by individuals authorized by law to possess those firearms.

(b) By destroying them.

(c) By any other lawful manner prescribed by the director of the department of state police.

(3) Before disposing of a firearm under this section, the director of the department of state police shall do both of the following:

(a) Determine through the law enforcement information network whether the firearm has been reported lost or stolen. If the firearm has been reported lost or stolen and the name and address of the owner can be determined, the director of the department of state police shall provide 30 days' written notice of his or her intent to dispose of the firearm under this section to the owner, and allow the owner to claim the firearm within that 30-day period if he or she is authorized to possess the firearm.

(b) Provide 30 days' notice to the public on the department of state police website of his or her intent to dispose of the firearm under this section. The notice shall include a description of the firearm and shall state the firearm's serial number, if the serial number can be determined. The department of state police shall allow the owner of the firearm to claim the firearm within that 30-day period if he or she is authorized to possess the firearm. The 30-day period required under this subdivision is in addition to the 30-day period required under subdivision (a).

(4) The department of state police is immune from civil liability for disposing of a firearm in compliance with this section.

The laws were originally written during the progressive era, at about the same time that registration of pistols was required and short barreled shotguns and rifles were made illegal.  The laws were modified in 2010.  Disposal requirements are essentially the same under 750.239  (1931) and 28.434  (1927).

So why do the Michigan State Police willfully throw away about 40 - 50 thousand dollars each and every month?  It adds up to a half million dollars a year.  Only the State Police know for sure.

A few phone calls did not connect with anyone at the State Police with an answer by the time this was published. 

If I get an answer, I will add it.

©2016 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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