I read a clever piece on the Cato blog about the futility of "common sense gun regulation."
But that doesn't mean we need new laws to limit firearm ownership. In an interview with ProPublica, Jeffrey Swanson of Duke University School of Medicine suggested that mental health professionals "can do a lot without invoking law, by talking to people about harm reduction and locking up guns." Other programs such as voluntary buybacks may reduce the number of household firearms.
But neither suicides nor gun deaths are "epidemics" in any real sense of the term. Overstating their frequency with inflated rhetoric creates an impetus for government action to do something -- even if that something is not effective at addressing the problem it's meant to solve.
Hear, hear. The author of that piece? Jonathan Blanks.
I post these as a bookmark as much as a sermon to the choir.
My lefty facebook friends (I don't know whether I have ever mentioned it before, but yes, some of my feed skews left) have posted several versions of memes asserting that it has NEVER happened that a civilian, carry-permit holder has stopped a shooting.
Never? I remember a couple in Colorado off the top of my head, and hear of them from time to time. Eugene Volokh publishes a better list
A while back I posted about a few examples, but since then there have been some more, so I thought I'd note them. Naturally, such examples will be rare. Even in states which allow concealed carry, there often aren't people near a shooting who have a gun on them at the time. Many mass shootings happen in supposedly "gun-free" zones (such as schools, universities, bars, or private property posted with a no-guns sign), in which gun carrying isn't allowed in many states. And there is no central database of such examples, many of which don’t hit the national media, especially if a gunman is stopped before he shoots many victims. Moreover, at least some examples are ambiguous, because it might be unclear -- as you’ll see below -- whether the shooter had been planning to kill more people when he was stopped.
I like that he is deliberately cautious. The Swift-boat phenomenon dictates that if your most outlandish claim is discredited -- all your claims are thusly falsified. His list is careful and well documented.
The cavernous divide between Americans on Guns is startling. On many contentious issues, I suggest people understand the other side's position. They certainly do not accept it, and may likely not admit it, but in disagreements over gay rights and even abortion, down very deep, most interlocutors know the other side's arguments on some level.
On guns, I am startled that this is not the case. As a late-life convert to Second Amendment rights, maybe I can look across the divide one way. Guns are scary, and wishing a world without them is illogical but understandable. (My elevator talk on that aspect is "Yeah, we tried that. It's called the Middle Ages. The biggest meanest guy gets everything he wants.")
But on #commonsensegunregulation which 90% of Americans want if only the #meanoldNRA would let them have it, I have a new spiel. It's consequentialist and may not go over well here, but here's tryin'. Plus I'm certain my more knowledgeable peers can tighten the technical arguments as well.
Despite what the "do something" politicians say there's no low hanging fruity on gun legislation.
"Assault Weapons" are distinguished by cosmetic features. Standard hunting rifles are frequently much more lethal than the scary looking guns that are to be regulated. The AR-15 is wildly popular because it is comfortable, lightweight, and customizable. There have been 30 million guns sold on that platform -- not to 30 million serial killers, but 30 million sportsmen, hunters and self defense enthusiasts. I surmise that a lot of Toyotas are used in crimes. It's not a "criminal's car" but a popular car full stop.
Almost all legal sales are subject to background checks. The idea that multiple loopholes can be quickly plugged is simply not true. Private sales are still allowed. In a true story, I sold one and gave one away when I moved. It was to an ex-cop who was a good friend of mine. Trust me, those will not be employed in crime. Should I really have been forced to go to a dealer and pay money to run a background check?
If you want to discuss radially reducing gun owners' rights and access to weapons, fine that is a conversation to have. But do not accept this idea that "commonsense" measures will stop criminals' access and not affect lawful users. Everything that fits that bill has been done.
I have been talking about acquiring a Colorado Concealed Carry Permit for some time. My cousin is also interested. I got a nice compact Sig Sauer .380 for my birthday, ran into my cousin, and it is all systems go after a year of talking about it (I was the limiting reagent).
But I read about the most admirable surge in Gays' arming themselves. My grooming is clearly not up to par for me to be mistaken, but my cousin, I dunno...
Dudley Brown and his Rocky Mountain Gun Owners, not highly regarded by Three Sourcers, made news again last week, albeit under the radar of the "Great Rocky Mountain Delegate Heist for #NeverTrump." What went unmentioned in reports of Darryl Glenn's upset thumping of Tim Neville was that Neville was strongly promoted by Brown's RMGO group. Another Colorado lightning rod, former congressman Tom Tancredo, says the defeat marks the "end of an era" in Colorado politics.
But Brown has chosen to fight against the Convention of States. And in doing so, he has tipped his hand as to where he really stands on our rights. In fighting against the Convention of States Project, a campaign he wages in hysterical emails full of misinformation and straw men arguments, he has raked in millions in donations, especially to NAGR: $12.5 million in 2014 (the most recent information available), and $16.5 million in 2013.
Worse, Brown has threatened to primary any legislator who supports a resolution applying for a Convention for Proposing Amendments. But it is precisely this kind of arrogance, this deal-making, this pressuring in order to advance his own agenda for his organization – in other words, this cronyism – that the voters are overwhelmingly rejecting this cycle. He asked for this with his actions, and he got it.
Those legislators and candidates in Brown's camp would do well to note the toxicity that extended to Neville and how the voters made their distaste for Brown and RMGO plain by rejecting his candidate. If they wish to remain in office, they should consider distancing themselves from him and his insider politics.
I have a hard and fast rule against responding to direct mail fundraising. You support something, you get more of it.
But Jon Caldera has sent a brilliant eight page letter warning of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's continued intrusion into Colorado politics. It begins with "Heeeeeee's back" and closes with this clever appeal:
The widespread public ownership of guns has apparently claimed two more victims, late-night workers in a convenience store who were shot to death in a crime described by the local police chief as "over-the-top violence, absolutely unnecessary, gratuitous -- evil."
Except that this crime wasn't commited in America. It was in gun-phobic Canada. Edmonton, to be precise.
Knecht said investigators have made a possible link between the suspects and other recent robberies. It's unclear why the crimes escalated. Surveillance video shows the two victims were passive and co-operative.
"I would suggest they did not expect to be executed," he said.
Fear not, for the authorities are eager to "better protect vulnerable, night-shift retail workers, who are often young people and immigrants." Through legislation.
He wants to see Alberta follow regulations in place in British Columbia, where employers must have more than one night person on duty or keep lone staffers in locked areas and behind barriers. Manitoba also has similar legislation.
"Behind bars. Err, barriers." Um, weren't there two people on duty in this case?
Ignore my flippant headline and read the insanely cool gun stats that Mises.org has assembled, comparing US States to Canadian provinces and territories.
Indeed, the northern United States in general tends to have quite low homicide rates in a global context. (There are problems with comparing across national boundaries. For more on that see below.)
Within North America, the jurisdictions with the lowest homicide rates include all of New England, the northern plains states of the US, and the Pacific Northwest. Most of Canada reports low rates as well, with the exception of the rural north, where Nunavut territory has the worst homicide rate in both the US and Canada.
Hell, even I buy into the "crazed gun culture" / "this doesn't happen anywhere else" arguments. But the chart effectively destroys any dreams of correlation between gun laws and homicides.
Reacting to this argument, we often hear advocates of gun control propose that the Founders' observations are irrelevant because they could "not have imagined the modern world." I agree with the latter assertion: They couldn't have. As well-read in world history as they were, there is no way that they could have foreseen just how prescient they were in insisting on harsh limitations of government power. In their time, "tyranny" was comparatively soft -- their complaints focused on under-representation and the capricious restriction of ancient rights. In the past century, by contrast, tyranny involved the systematic execution of entire groups and the enslavement of whole countries. The notion that if James Madison had foreseen the 20th century he would have concluded that the Bill of Rights was too generous is laughable.
It's the day after what might be the first major Al-Qaeda attack on American soil since 9/11, and FoxNews is giving people news. MSNBC and CNN are giving people sermons on gun control. And that's why FoxNews is winning.
Here's the piece that got me into trouble today. I'm not a Rothbard fan in toto, but I thought that this piece exhibited a great balance of rights-based and consequentialist libertarianism.
If, as libertarians believe, every individual has the right to own his person and property, it then follows that he has the right to employ violence to defend himself against the violence of criminal aggressors.
In a notable article attacking control of handguns (the type of gun liberals most want to restrict), St. Louis University law professor Don B. Kates, Jr., chides his fellow liberals for not applying the same logic to guns that they use for marijuana laws. Thus, he points out that there are over fifty million handgun owners in America today, and that, based on polls and past experience, from two-thirds to over eighty percent of Americans would fail to comply with a ban on handguns.
Professor Kates gets a bit harsher:
Gun prohibition is the brainchild of white middle-class liberals who are oblivious to the situation of poor and minority people living in areas where the police have given up on crime control. Such liberals weren't upset about marijuana laws, either, in the fifties when the busts were confined to the ghettos. Secure in well-policed suburbs or high-security apartments guarded by Pinkertons (whom no one proposes to disarm), the oblivious liberal derides gun ownership as "an anachronism from the Old West."
Okay, so I knew my friend would not say "Oh boy, a Murray Rothbard piece on Gun rights!" But I have endured a tsunami of lefty sites and memes and suggested that this piece summed up my feelings pretty well. I posted it on his timeline to ensure that he saw and to write a special message. Oops. That was -- I am emphatically told -- a social media faux pas.
I don't have a parochial attitude about my FB page, but I guess I can see it. Being "all about property rights," I swore to never do it again. He swore some too.
WELD COUNTY, Colo. -- Two burglary suspects in Weld County were arrested late Friday morning after hitting several spots in a couple of towns in the area, and it was all thanks to two locals who used their pistols to scae them into surrendering.
As Bill Whittle says (~4:40) about Plano, TX: "They have a virtual arsenal of AR-15 assault rifles, semi-automatic shotguns, 30.06 hunting rifles, they've got .45s, they have .357s, they have .38s, they have 9mms, they have an assortment of .22s for the kids to practice with . . . they have pointy rocks and sharp sticks!" This can be applied to most of Weld County, though I fear for my little corner, which features the ever green problem of people fleeing Boulder and bringing it all with them.
Most ThreeSourcers are aware of the dynamics that cause politicians to resist actually solving problems that they claim to champion, and that those factors cause the same to happen with social activist groups - think Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. But what never occurred to me until now is that, sometimes, the same thing can happen in gun rights advocacy.
JK dubbed the National Association for Gun Rights the "People's Gun Rights of Judea two weeks ago. He directed ire at the NRA for blacklisting pols who associate with the competing group. Without any opining on the NRA in its own right, it is becoming painfully clear that the NAGR and it's Colorado predecessor, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are not gun owners' friends.
A full-blown public war of words has developed between RMGO and Colorado liberty groups and the Independence Institute. Independence's president, Jon Caldera, held a radio telethon of sorts to lay out the depth and breadth of RMGO malfeasance. In short, it is opposing state legislation that would EXPAND gun rights, in the form of increasing magazine capacity limits, for the express reason that ANY limitation is an infringement on gun rights and gun owners should hold out for full repeal of the law.
"Shut your pie hole and go buy one [magazine of 16 round capacity or more] and ignore the law," said Dudley Brown, president of RMGO. But ignoring the law doesn't make it go away, and the law's existence helps RMGO raise money through political donations by citizens who fear that the law will be expanded, not rolled back. Okay Dudley, will YOU ignore the law? Will you stop fundraising on it?
And the Internet Segue Machine® is bangin' on all eight!
Democracy? Gun Rights? Sec. Clinton for President? Reason is on it.
June 2014: "I believe that we need a more thoughtful conversation," Clinton says while promoting her memoir on CNN. "We cannot let a minority of people--and that's what it is, it is a minority of people--hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people." She says she favors "background checks that work" and twice refers erroneously to mass shooters with "automatic" weapons.
We cannot let a few escaped agricultural partners terrorize the effective enforcement of the Runaway Slave Act...
Senator Paul a no-show at the NRA convention? What, did he have a fundraiser at PETA?
Sen. Rand Paul wasn't invited to speak at this weekend’s National Rifle Association annual convention because the Kentucky Republican is caught in the crossfire between competing gun-rights organizations.
Top NRA officials are unhappy that Mr. Paul has for years lent his name to fundraising solicitations for the National Association for Gun Rights, a group that fashions itself a more conservative alternative to NRA. Mr. Paul's aides have been told by the NRA he will be unwelcome to participate at NRA events as long as he remains affiliated with NAGR, according to people familiar with the conversation.
As I beg the Libertarian Party to remake itself in the image of the NRA, I have to check out the Judean Peoples' Gun Rights group -- some of the NRA's underlying principles seem to lack principle on occasion.
Talking with a friend today I observed what a large percentage of US shootings involve gang activity. "What is the root cause of gang violence," I asked? "Gangs." "What is the root cause of gangs," I replied? "Drugs."
This lead to a bold and controversial assertion on my part: "Kids should be able to sell drugs at a corner stand, just like they were lemonade."
Suppose that were true? All illicit drugs are decriminalized overnight. What would happen?
I predict that some people would engage in public drug trade. And communities would drive them to the fringes of society. Parents would take a more active role in discussing and dissuading and punishing their kids. Would gangs disappear? Perhaps not right away. But being permitted to operate in the light of day their nemesis would become self-interested citizens rather than self-dealing police departments and the courts that enable them. Tell me how this would be undesirable?
Or is that not the "logic" behind this nonsensical PSA?
First doctors are instructed to ask kids if their parents have guns. Then someone can believe this is a good idea. If the madness continues apace we'll soon need a signed permission slip from our kids to buy a gun. Or a non-electric car. Or a cigarette.
I like the old-fashioned ways of politics better, where they actually got creative in their prevarication. The lies we're told today are so phony, so obviously transparent, it takes all the fun out of exposing them. But I will say we rarely get to see the unvarnished gut reaction when a politician is caught red handed in an outright lie. Full stop period. Like this:
Whining is a good time, but we need to celebrate when the NINTH CIRCUIT FER CRYIN' OUT LOUD affirms 2nd Amendment rights.
The Ninth Circuit's decision in Peruta v. San Diego, released minutes ago, affirms the right of law-abiding citizens to carry handguns for lawful protection in public.
California law has a process for applying for a permit to carry a handgun for protection in public, with requirements for safety training, a background check, and so on. These requirements were not challenged. The statute also requires that the applicant have "good cause," which was interpreted by San Diego County to mean that the applicant is faced with current specific threats. (Not all California counties have this narrow interpretation.) The Ninth Circuit, in a 2-1 opinion written by Judge O'Scannlain, ruled that Peruta was entitled to Summary Judgement, because the "good cause" provision violates the Second Amendment.
All Hail Taranto! I agreed to abandon my 2.4% attraction to guaranteed minimum income on brother jg's evidence that it would not sate the insatiable.
Soon after, James Taranto adds this to the gun-rights debate:
Further, this column generally agrees with Venola's give-no-ground position, though on pragmatic grounds rather than principled ones. If we thought the antigun side of the debate were interested in good-faith compromise, we'd be all for it. The dishonesty of their debating tactics, their ghoulish and opportunistic use of horrific crimes like the Newtown massacre to advance their agenda, and the onerous (and likely unconstitutional) regulations that exist in places where they hold political sway--such as New York City, where we live--persuade us otherwise.
Detroit has a new police chief. James Craig, according to the AP, is "a former chief of police in Cincinnati and Portland, Maine, has made sweeping changes to the way crime is tackled in Detroit." To wit:
- Stop closing some neighborhood police stations at night.
- Use crime stats to identify trouble spots.
- Move detectives back into precincts.
- Clean house in the command structure.
Good ideas all, and no surprise that crime might decline after such measures. But there's more. The news piece seemed complete when I read this tacked on the end:
"A recently rolled out tactical response unit confiscated about 17 guns in its first two days of operation."
"We know definitively - when you look at the level of violence in Detroit - when we stop someone who has illegal possession of a gun we've probably stopped a robbery," Craig said. "We've probably stopped a shooting, and more likely a homicide."
Ho hum, another big city police chief blaming guns for crime. Well, not exactly. According to The Detroit News, he also said this:
"Coming from California (Craig was on the Los Angeles police force for 28 years), where it takes an act of Congress to get a concealed weapon permit, I got to Maine, where they give out lots of CCWs (carrying concealed weapon permits), and I had a stack of CCW permits I was denying; that was my orientation."
"I changed my orientation real quick. Maine is one of the safest places in America. Clearly, suspects knew that good Americans were armed."
Craig's statements Thursday echoed those he made Dec. 19 on "The Paul W. Smith Show" on WJR (760 AM), when he said: "There's a number of CPL (concealed pistol license) holders running around the city of Detroit. I think it acts as a deterrent. Good Americans with CPLs translates into crime reduction. I learned that real quick in the state of Maine."
Shazam! Maybe things really can get bad enough that authorities are forced to do things that really work, instead of things that merely sound like they might. Same article:
"It's a huge, radical departure for the police chief to say good people should have access to firearms," said [Detroit gun safety instructor Rick] Ector. "I'm not ready to say he's pro-gun just yet, but it's vastly different from what police chiefs have said in the past."
Yes, absolutely. Unfortunately, the way AP reported his Thursday press conference is not at all different from how they have done so in the past.
All the issues are simply the battles of the day in a much larger struggle. What is ultimately at stake is the same question that precipitated the American Revolution: whether the American people are the sovereigns in their own country or whether they should be ruled from above, for their own good, according to the supposedly benevolent commands of the elitist rulers of a top-down, European-style society.
Around these parts, he has been associated with Health Care because of his Constitutional opposition to ObamaCare. He spoke at LOTR--Flatirons on NFIB v. Sebelius and played important roles as documented last week. But Kopel is best known for his scholarship on guns and gun rights.
And "Truth" is the principled and well reasoned stance one would expect from Kopel. He ties gun rights to both history and philosophy, always drawing a bigger and more vivid picture than the shorter-sighted confiscators.
The right and duty of self-defense applied to a householder protecting her children and to militiamen protecting their communities from foreign enemies or from tyranny. Self-defense was a seamless web; the difference between self-defense against a criminal invader in the home, against a gang of highway robbers, or against a criminal tyrant with his standing army was only one of scale. The tyrant's gang was just bigger than the other ones.
Second Amendment guarantees that all persons can possess arms, no person in the United States, therefore, can be a slave. "The right of a man 'to keep and bear arms,' is a right palpably inconsistent with the idea of his being a slave," [Lysander] Spooner wrote.
Kopel is a regular panelist on "Colorado Inside Out" Friday night on PBS Channel 12 right before Independence Institute colleague's Jon Caldera's "Devil's Advocate." The panelists -- respectful but never on the same page as Kopel -- bow to his superior knowledge of history. Last week Eric Soderman said "I'd expect David to know the Louisiana Governor 100 years ago," when Kopel alone on the panel came up with Kathleen Blanco as the governor during Katrina.
The ties to history are the magic of this work. There is a bit on stats and crime. But the historical use of guns against British occupation, genocide, and Jim Crow is well documented --as are the historical roots of the NRA
National alcohol prohibition, enacted in 1920, spurred national violence, which resulted in the conservative Eastern business establishment -- along with some religious pacifists -- demanding handgun prohibition. In their view, the solution to the failure of alcohol prohibition was more prohibition.
The handgun-prohibition campaign of the 1920s drew the National Rifle Association into the political arena, where it has remained ever since.The NRA had been founded by Union Army officers in 1871 to promote citizen marksmanship and civic virtue. Among its early presidents were Ulysses S. Grant (former president of the United States) and (“ the hero of Gettysburg” and the 1880 Democratic presidential nominee).
In the 1920s, as today, the NRA’s main political strength was its ability to mobilize its ever growing membership to contact government officials and express opposition to constricting the rights of law-abiding citizens.
[If you read nothing else today, follow that link and read about Winfield Scott Hancock.]
Kopel slices the gun rights crowd from their opposition more precisely than most. It is not so cleanly left-right:
The great Democratic Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey embodied liberalism's optimistic faith in the federal government and the federal Constitution. He believed that "one of the chief guarantees of freedom under any government, no matter how popular and respected, is the right of citizens to keep and bear arms. ... The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
You can rightly say that HHH was an "old liberal" or "old Democrat" and that that species is extinct. But I'm always troubled by my eastern-elitist peeps like Larry Kudlow or the WSJ Ed Page staff, NR, Weekly Standard, &c. who don't really get it. They should read Kopel:
While some nations consider law to be the vehicle of the state, the American tradition views the law as the servant of the people. As a federal district court put it, "the people, not the government, possess the sovereignty" (Mandel v. Mitchell, 1971).
In the present formulation I equate "suspenders" with laws restricting gun ownership in an "all of the above" school safety and security program.
Colorado's contentious new gun restriction laws were promoted as necessary to prevent tragedies like the Newtown school shooting. Gun rights advocates said the laws would be worthless for that purpose, and that the best way to stop school shooters was to put an armed officer in the school.
What stopped the terrifying incident from turning into a full-blown massacre was the rapid response of law enforcement, particularly the sheriff’s deputy assigned to the school, said Hickenlooper.
You, as have I, may be wondering why you haven't seen more news and opinion about the Colorado school shooting at Arapahoe High School last week. Maybe it's because only the shooter was killed? Unlikely. More likely it's because, as John Hayward at Human Events blog writes, "There is absolutely nothing in the Arapahoe High School shooting for gun control zealots to work with."
On the contrary, the incident demolishes some of their cherished beliefs, most obviously their talismanic faith in the power of regulations to suppress this type of violence. Given his political activism, it seems likely that Karl Pierson was well aware of the local gun laws, but those laws did not dissuade him from going on a rampage. According to CNN, what ended his rampage in just 80 seconds, preventing him from dealing far more injury and death, was one of the measures strongly endorsed by the National Rifle Association: an armed adult on school grounds.
Many more interesting tidbits in the linked article, like the killer's political beliefs, desire to attend the Air Force Academy, opinions about Republicans, etc.
Even if you do not live in Colorado, be thankful that Evie Hudak has resigned!
The rape survivors who testified against a bill that would ban concealed carry on college campuses and who were disrespected by Hudak in the process reacted to the news that Hudak had resigned:
"I am pleased that the people of Senate District 19 put enough pressure on Senator Hudak to cause her to resign her Senate seat. Her treatment of me and other women in March demonstrated Senator Hudak's belief that she knows better than the women of Colorado how they should best defend themselves. My sincere hope is that the Democrats consider, in their replacement choice, that the women of Colorado can make self-defense decisions on their own." -- Amanda Collins
"At Women for Concealed Carry, we are happy to hear of Senator Hudak's resignation. Although she says her votes on gun control bills make women safer, the facts do not support that. We told her that these bills would make us less safe. She refused to listen to us during testimony, but today’s resignation indicates her constituents expect their representative to listen. Colorado deserves better. " -- Kim Weeks
After each shooting, we hear pundits and columnists declare, "it's time for a national conversation on guns." But we actually have had national conversations on guns after each one of these awful events; the conversation usually ends with lawmakers rejecting new restrictions on gun ownership. The pundits and columnists pretend the national conversation hasn't occurred because they keep losing the argument. -- Jim Geraghty
Part of a long and thoughtful response to an NPR correspondent who made an honest inquiry to understand the other side. I can't link, but you oughtta [Subscribe].
"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids -- She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. -- She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. -- As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: -- Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her. -- Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?" -American Guesser, aka Benjamin Franklin December, 1775
Like Jim Geraghty, I went to bed last night (before my blog brother it appears) thinking the recall elections had been split. I saw Morse's grouchy concession speech, but the attempted fraud vote counting in Pueblo was slow and the CW was that the heavily-D district would not out Giron.
None of it worked. This was the recall that was never supposed to happen -- let alone be successful. The nine men who set the ball rolling weren't supposed to be capable of organizing a town hall, let alone taking down the state-senate president. And yet they did it. Victor Head, a 29-year-old plumber who had never been politically active, took down a senator in a district that went Democratic in 2012 by ten points; a group of six concerned men from the AR15.com chat room removed the state's top-ranking legislator. "We are a quiet people," recall founder Tim Knight told his victorious friends when the results became known at the Stargazers Theater. "You may be tempted to ignore us. Clearly, that would be a mistake."
Perhaps Dave Kopel said it best:
Happy days are here again. The skies above are clear again. Let us sing a song of cheer again. Happy days are here again. #COrecall
In a historic recall election Senate President John Morse was booted from office, capping the end of a long and passionate fight over gun rights in Colorado. It marks a wake-up call for Colorado Democrats, who are suddenly coming to the realization that they're not invincible after all.
In a legislative session this spring dubbed "one of the most liberal ever" by the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel, Democrats sprinted to the left on gun control, and virtually every other policy in the left-wing agenda.
The Morse recall results are a swift kick in their proverbial nuts. A reminder to legislators that getting elected office doesn't give you a free pass to do whatever your progressive paymasters demand of you.
A hearty congratulations to my compatriots to the south. It wasn't my fight but I cheered loudly and rooted you on.
Oh and by the way, the headline says "total" recall, alluding to the other senator facing a no-confidence vote, Pueblo Democrat Angela Giron. She's toast too, by a 20-point margin.
Second Amendment advocates aim to replace Democratic senators John Morse of Colorado Springs and Angela Giron of Pueblo. (They also tried to recall Senator Evie Hudak of Westminster and Representative Mike McLachlan of Durango, but failed to collect enough signatures.) Back in 2010, Morse won, 48.1 percent to 47.2 percent, with about 250 votes separating him from his opponent (and Libertarian Douglas Randall collected 1,258 votes).
If the Libertarians had any sense (hahahaha I do crack myself up sometimes), they would fold the party, stop running candidates, and become a powerful interest group along the lines of the NRA. They could direct large amounts of money to the best liberty candidates in both parties and publicize lesser known but philosophically kindred candidates in primaries.
Instead they act as spoiler to elect Jon Tester in Montana, the 60th vote for ObamaCare® and Rep Morse in Colorado, a majority voice for gun confiscation. Way to go.
Responding to President Obama's attorney general using the legally just ruling in The Florida Case as another excuse to take guns from law abiding citizens, Jeffrey T. Brown tells us to 'Stand Your Ground' Against the Left.
To Holder and the president, the isolated events involving Trayvon Martin, which have not been publicly replicated anywhere else in America on any regular or reported basis, serve as yet another excuse to launch sweeping radical attacks on the rights of all Americans. They loathe the ability of citizens to protect themselves against the left's predators, whether social or political.
There's an angle I hadn't given enough thought. It's commonly understood that welfare statists deplore citizens who can protect themselves against government, but don't the same voices tell us that criminals are the "real victims" and deserve our "understanding?" The latest Rolling Stone cover fits in that niche. If so, the fight to protect individual gun rights is both political and social.
Segue to a post-Newtown story about mass murders, also from American Thinker, which claims Psychiatric Community Not Stepping Up. I touched on this aspect of the Newtown case when I cited widespead use of anti-depressants like Ritalin ("Ritalin is not just like methamphetamine, Ritalin is methamphetamine.") in the comments here. Author Bernie Reeves is more specific, laying blame at the feet of those social professionals whose reason for being is to detect and treat the mentally ill - psychiatrists.
It is now time to remove guns from the top position in media coverage and implore the psychiatric community to coalesce and present a formula to identify and deal with potentially psychotic patients. As it stands now, the only method to remove dangerous patients is to have them arrested, which requires a process often too difficult and wrenching to contemplate.
The Sandy Hook shootings have affected parents more deeply than any of the dozens of previous massacres since the 1980s. Discussing the event with young children is difficult, and creates anxiety that saying the wrong thing could be permanently damaging. It is indeed a national trauma that requires national therapy. There is a gnawing helplessness that 'there is nothing we can do'.
Yet there is, but the professionals who can construct a solution are the ones who abandoned their duty, leaving 20 little children and six adults dead. You would think they would step up.
Today the Independence Institute's federal civil rights lawsuit achieved its first major success, eliminating the problems that were caused by two vague phrases in House Bill 1224, the magazine ban.
The Independence Institute's David Kopel is representing 55 elected Sheriffs and one retired police officer in lawsuit against the new anti-gun laws signed by Governor Hickenlooper last March.
Tuesday night, on the eve of a federal court hearing, the plaintiffs and the Colorado Attorney General agreed on proposal to fix two problems the magazine ban.
Two completely foolish provisions of the bill were fixed: the "readily convertible" clips and "continuous possession."
Better. Better. Part of me likes the stupidity of those provisions because they highlight the lack of thought and foresight that went onto this legislation. But a win is a win. The lawsuit now proceeds to whether these laws pass Heller and McDonald.
Rapists don’t disarm women, lawmakers disarm women. I work out five days a week. I studied krav maga. I can out-lift the majority of male hipsters. I can try to be as much like Lara Croft as I want to be but the bottom line is that nature has given me a different muscular structure, bone density, and stature. I will never be able to outfight the majority of men. Most women can’t take a solid punch from a man. This isn’t admitting a weakness, it’s admitting science. Weakness is when we try to deny science and refuse to give ourselves a fighting chance like the chance we have with firearms. A firearm is an equalizer for a woman. Your state legislator, Joe Salazar, told women that we were too stupid to carry firearms because we might “pop off at somebody.” His view was shared by his Democrat colleagues, as we later learned from remarks by the likes of Hudak, Rosenthal, and others. We believe in female empowerment in every aspect of life, apparently, but the power to buy our own birth control and carry a gun. These lawmakers are making sitting ducks out of the female sex and I’ve had enough. --Dana Loesch at the "Farewell to Arms" Freedom Rally near Denver yesterday
The founder/proprietor of Pri-Paird.com is a Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons regular, ex-military, ex-cop, friend of freedom.
They're having a little do to ring out the last day of Second Amendment rights in Colorado:
Please come join us for Midnight Magazine Madness.
Sunday, June 30th we will be staying open to sell magazines up through midnight.
The Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches will be flowing.
Make sure you put your name in at the hat for the magazine and ammo give away.
Be the last person to receive a mag, the give away mags will be handed out at 11:59.
There may be special guest.............come see!
Tell all your friends and family.
I got to thinking . . . once we split off and instantiate "North Colorado," we will need some firearms regulations. I am thinking "no magazine under ten rounds allowed." If you have one manufactured and purchased before the law goes into effect, you may keep it as long as it stays "in your continuous possession." Sorry, but we take safety very seriously in NC.
Do guns in "the hands of criminals and dangerous people" in the United States lead to gun violence in Mexico? President Obama seems to think so:
"Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," President Obama said during a speech at Mexico's Anthropology Museum. "I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will."
"But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do," Obama added.
But the single greatest source of American guns in Mexico appears to be the U.S. Government. No, not via Fast and Furious, but via legal "direct commercial sales" authorized by the State Department.
Here's how it works: A foreign government fills out an application to buy weapons from private gun manufacturers in the U.S. Then the State Department decides whether to approve.
And it did approve 2,476 guns to be sold to Mexico in 2006. In 2009, that number was up nearly 10 times, to 18,709. The State Department has since stopped disclosing numbers of guns it approves, and wouldn't give CBS News figures for 2010 or 2011.
But the real outrage is Obama suggesting that the US Constitution has anything to do with Mexican gun "incompetence and corruption." The reason for this strawman is patently obvious.
Insty links to a poll: Less than half of Americans upset about Senate gun vote
But a new Washington Post/Pew Research Center poll suggests that post-vote attitudes stray from the wide support for the background check measure before the debate, which hovered around 85 percent in multiple polls.
A plurality of Americans -- 47 percent -- say they are either "angry" or "disappointed" with the Senate's action on gun legislation, far different from the amount of people who strongly approved the proposal before the vote. Meanwhile, 39 percent say they are "relieved" or "happy" about the vote.
Interesting, but I was captivated by the accompanying photo: a big bucket of guns. No doubt it disturbs those who are unnerved by seeing guns, but it probably disturbs gun lovers more by their maltreatment.
But what instituted a new category was the img title tag: if you hold your mouse over the photo of 100 guns, it says "Guns." I dig understatement in media.
Not even for a joke this time. Hail James for a serious look at the 90% [Heart] Background-checks versus the failure of the Manchin-Toomey Amendment:
Take the "1%." This refers not to an identifiable group of people but to a statistical artifact: the 99th percentile of income distribution in any given year. Some people, like George Soros (long may he live), can assume they have a permanent place in the 1%. Others fall in briefly because of a sudden windfall or the one-time sale of an asset. Simple probability dictates that most people will be in the 98th percentile or below their whole lives, but that isn't part of their identity. Not everyone resents great wealth; many admire or aspire to it. And even those who identify as "the 99%" have an ideological kinship with superrich lefties like Soros.
"The 90%" who supposedly support gun background checks is an even more evanescent construct--the result of a poll, which presumably questioned a few hundred randomly called people, few of whom likely had thought deeply about the subject. And while there are certainly Americans who define their identity in part by their aversion to guns, many others define it by their affinity for them. We'd guess that overall the latter outnumber the former, and we're fairly certain the latter tend to be more intense with respect to this aspect of their identity.
The senators who voted down the gun-control measures did so on the basis of a deeper understanding of the constituents they represent than can be conveyed by a single number from an opinion poll. They're professional politicians, and they managed to get elected, in most cases from states Barack Obama never managed to carry. If they misjudged popular opinion, they can be voted out of office. It's an example of representative democracy at its best.
The Senate delivered a devastating blow to President Obama's agenda to regulate guns Wednesday by defeating a bipartisan proposal to expand background checks.
It failed by a vote of 54 to 46, with five Democrats voting against it. Only 4 Republicans supported it.
Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor (Ark.), Max Baucus (Mont.), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Mark Begich (Alaska) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) voted against it. Reid supported the measure but voted against it to preserve his ability to bring the measure up again.
GOP Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Susan Collins (Maine), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.) voted yes.
"We haven't voted on it because supporters don't have the votes to pass it," said Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa, an opponent of the proposal, who argued that it would not have stopped the massacre of 20 school children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut, in December, or other mass shootings.
a) Can I give a rare ThreeSources "Yaay Chuck Grassley!"
b) I enjoyed this paragraph, presented un-ironically in the Reuters-Yahoo piece:
The NRA has warned lawmakers it will include their vote in the ratings it compiles on them and sends to its 4 million members. Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a gun-control group backed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has also said it will rate members of Congress based on their votes.
We've agonized at the NRA's endorsement of Leader Reid and other Democrats. But the NRA retains a powerful tool in rating Red-State Democrats. It's a big deal for an incumbent in Arkansas or North Dakota to get or not get a favorable NRA rating.
I'm amused because I cannot believe that is true for anyone anywhere with "Mayors Against Illegal Guns." Senator Feinstein is not going to not get that endorsement, nor would she be imperiled without. Mutatis Mutandis for Sen. Barrasso in Wyoming.
This illustrates the left's problem on guns. It can only succeed in advancing their agenda on guns so long as the bloody shirt of Newtown is being waved. When the tears subside and we catch our collective breath, allowing us to look clearly at what the president has proposed, what more and more Americans are seeing is that proposals about so-called assault weapons and ammunition magazines would do little or nothing to lower the volume of gun violence, let alone avoid another Newtown.
The point about the exploitation of the families of the victims in the gun debate is not that there is anything wrong about their statements, even if they were to inject themselves in an even more direct manner in the controversy. Rather, it is that ours is a system of laws not individuals or sentiment. The checks and balances inherent in the system serve to slow down the pace of legislation, which is something that, as Dowd writes, frustrates the Newtown families. But the genius of our constitutional system is that it is designed specifically to mute the voice of the crowd, especially when it is driven by by emotion such as that which liberals and the Newtown families are seeking to harness. -- Jonathan Tobin (HT: Jim Geraghty)
WOW! The President loves to get officers to serve as blue serge wallpaper for his expensive photo-ops gun control conferences. And I confess that I have encountered (in print) many municipal officers who favor firearms laws which I do not.
But PoliceOne.com did a study, and [Spoiler Alert!] I think the results would make a similar study of NRA members look moderate and casual.
In March, PoliceOne conducted the most comprehensive survey ever of American law enforcement officers’ opinions on the topic gripping the nation's attention in recent weeks: gun control.
More than 15,000 verified law enforcement professionals took part in the survey, which aimed to bring together the thoughts and opinions of the only professional group devoted to limiting and defeating gun violence as part of their sworn responsibility.
ThreeSources poll: is the NRA completely batshit crazy?
I made sure my membership was up to date recently. Our rights are under assault and I wanted to support the most effective lobbying organization to protect them. Unsolicitedly, I even got a hat:
UPDATE III: Clearly, if I ever do anything anti-social, this photo will be worth a lot of money. Best to download a copy just in case -- The Weekly World News will pay big $$$. Just right-click and choose "Save as..."
All well and good. But this idea of armed guards in every school, expounded ably on FOX News Sunday by male Clinton Impeacher Asa Hutchison (Prude - AK) is bad on every level I've observed, and I have missed a few.
@jbarro: NRA not coming under nearly enough criticism on right for proposing huge untested new federal program for school safety.”
It is outside of the NRA's purview to "protect our children;" they exist to protect our children's rights. As Josh Barro points out it is a massive expansion of government. And, as Chris Wallace poked holes in 14 seconds, does nothing for gun violence anywhere else.
I'd add that it damages the NRA position: the only way we can protect ourselves from wacko mass-murderers is to put paid professional, armed guards everywhere people gather????
Um, how about we allow law abiding citizens to defend themselves and their families -- thereby raising the opportunity costs for said whackos? I understand that -- aside for the shooting where Rep. Gabby Giffords (D AZ) was wounded -- every shooting of three or more has occurred where firearms are banned. This is the heart, mind, and soul of the NRA position and it is disturbing to see them abandon it for an ill-conceived and anti-liberty gimmick.
Should Sen. Chuck Schumer (Evil Incarnate - NY)'s "Fix Gun Checks Act," bill become law, there is a long list of normal and ethical behavior that will become felonious (not to be confused with "Thelonous")
[C]onsider a woman who buys a rifle when she is 25 years old. She keeps the rifle her entire life. Yet over her lifetime, she -- like most gun owners -- engages in dozens of firearms "transfers." She brings the unloaded rifle to a friend's house, for instance, because the friend is thinking of buying a gun and wants to learn more about guns. The friend handles the rifle for a few minutes before handing it back. Another time, the woman lends the gun to her niece, who takes it on a camping trip for the weekend.
While the woman is out of town on a business trip for two weeks, she gives the gun to her husband or her sister. If the woman lives on a farm, she allows all her relatives to take the rifle into the fields for pest and predator control -- and sometimes, when friends are visiting, she takes them to a safe place on the farm where they spend an hour or two target shooting, passing her gun back and forth. At other times, she and her friends go target shooting in open spaces of land owned by the National Forest Service or the Bureau of Land Management.
Or perhaps the woman is in a same-sex civil union, and she allows her partner to take her gun to a target range one afternoon. Another time, she allows her cousin to borrow the gun for an afternoon of target shooting. If the woman is in the Army Reserve and she is called up for an overseas deployment, she gives the gun to her sister for temporary safekeeping.
One time, she learns that her neighbor is being threatened by an abusive ex-boyfriend, and she lets this woman borrow a gun for several days until she can buy her own gun. And if the woman becomes a firearms-safety instructor, she regularly teaches classes at office parks, in school buildings at nights and on weekends, at gun stores, and so on.
Not sure any of these consequences are unintended or not. It strikes me reading this list that most all of those items are completely outside the experience of the non-gun crowd. Shooting on a farm? Lending somebody a rifle? Camping? Join the National Guard? Firearms safety course?
Other than camping, that is put on all your L.L. Bean clothes on and drive the Subaru to the campground with a $30 bottle of Pinot, I don't think those activities are in the aegis of the average voter. Yet it does exacerbate a rural-urban split in the Democrat party.
Colorado Republicans have developed a reputation -- largely earned -- for being the anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-women party, and then Republicans stand around after getting their asses kicked, election after election, scratching their heads and wondering what happened.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California wants us to know that she is "not a sixth-grader."
Anyone who saw the recent exchange before the Senate Judiciary Committee between Feinstein and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas over guns and the Constitution might speculate that the reason she said this is because she couldn't pass the entrance exam. -- Ruben Navarrette Jr. SFGate
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has artfully crafted an image as a reasonable, moderate, modern western politician - until now. Today he signed "landmark new gun laws" in the "traditionally firearm-friendly state" of Colorado. Why?
It has been clear from the beginning that Obama plans to use gun control, not merely as a diversion from governing, but as a battering-ram issue to achieve his major 2nd-term objective: regaining the House of Representatives for the Democrats. To do that, he believes he must isolate the Republican House as being an obstruction to common-sense, practical gun control measures that most of the country agrees on. To do that, he must persuade enough Senate Democrats - especially Western Democrats - to back proposals that they really, really don't want to even vote on, much less support.
Colorado becomes the key to providing them cover. The proposals - poorly-written, full of absurd outcomes - will have to be portrayed as practical compromises. The debate on the national level will mirror the deceptive line taken here: confusing sales with temporary transfers, or even loans to friends; outlawing magazines of more than 15 rounds, but forgetting to mention that inheriting such a magazine from a deceased parent is a criminal act, a felony, even. Colorado's reputation as a western, freedom-loving state works in their favor.
So when Hickenlooper said, after the Aurora shooting, "Well, I mean I'm not sure there's any way in a free society, to be able to do that ..." it was a ploy to keep the gun debate out of the pending election.
This suited Hick just fine, since any suggestion that he was seriously looking at the sort of laws passed last week might have complicated the Dems' narrative about te Republican "War on Women" and civil unions.
But there is hope:
Ultimately, it makes the recalls of Sen. Hudak and Rep. McLachlan - along with whatever other vulnerable Dems can be included - even more important. Those recalls, like the recalls in Wisconsin, take on a national significance and urgency, not merely because of the issues involved, but because of the political implications at the national level. The promise of protection, of resources and money, to vulnerable Dems who backed him on this legislation, is the application of national resources to state races, just as the Blueprint was the application of state resources to local races. It is the Blueprint raised to a national scale. If Obama is able to implement that, then he will indeed have locked in substantial political changes that can change the society for the worse, for the long run.
On the other hand, if those promises can be shown to be empty - before the House of Representatives comes up for election, or has to vote on the national bills - then the entire narrative is turned on its head. Not only does Obama look like an unreliable friend, but the power of the issue dissipates. (That's one reason why an initiative is more useful in the event that we fail to take back both the legislature and the governor's mansion: only fiscal issues can be on the ballot in odd-numbered years.)
Hickenlooper, in 2012, specifically avoided charging voters up over this issue. Even in 2010, he didn't really mention it at all. Colorado has not had a vigorous debate on these bills or these issues. This was not something done by us. It was something done to us.
It's our move, Colorado.
UPDATE: This Denver Post story contemplates the Governor's political future:
Only a few months ago, Hickenlooper was mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential candidate. In poll after poll, his favorability ratings were higher than President Obama's and most governors.
But now Hickenlooper is attracting national attention as the Western governor backing gun control.
Asked whether the debate had hurt his image as a "quirky, lovable governor." Hickenlooper smiled.
"I'm still quirky," he said. "I'm not sure I was that lovable. And I am still relentlessly pro business."
Dear Governor - Magpul Industries, Alfred Manufacturing, other suppliers - they are BUSINESSES. With friends like you...
Please, jk. Can we ppppleeeeeaaaaseeee fire up the Internet Segue Machine®?
Why, sure! We start the day with this dreary business found by blog friend Terri at Ruminants. This is hard to watch. How. Dare. That. Little. Freshman. Senator. Turd. Question. The. Great. Feinstein?????
That about ruined my day until I saw this: Savor the Richly Deserved Defeat of Feinstein's "Assault Weapon" Ban
But this time around it was not enough to obscure the absurdity of Feinstein's attempt to distinguish between good and evil guns by reference to irrelevant features such as barrel shrouds and adjustable stocks. With no evidence or arguments to offer, Feinstein despicably invoked dead, "dismembered" children in a transparent bid to short-circuit logical thought.
As Jacob Sullum says "At the risk of reading too much into this delightful development, I count it as a victory not just for the Second Amendment but for rationality in lawmaking."
Still unclear is whether Kroenke will become involved with the Outdoor Channel’s battle with Colorado Democrats. Executive producer Michael Bane said in a letter to state Sen. Steve King (R-Colorado Springs) that the channel had already cancelled a filming session scheduled for late March in reaction to the gun-control bills.
“The message we will take to our viewers and listeners is that these proposed laws are so dangerous to hunters and any other person, be she a fisherman or a skier who brings a handgun into the state for self-defense, that we cannot recommend hunting, fishing or visiting Colorado,” said Bane in the letter dated March 5.
“We reach millions of people, and quite frankly, we have a credibility that the Colorado government officials can no longer match,” he said.
So far the sale to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment hasn’t muted Bane’s views. He posted a message on his website Wednesday saying, “Urge Governor Hickenlooper to veto the mag ban!”
The Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, Terry Maketa, told constituents yesterday that he would prevent gun confiscation in his jurisdiction if a "lawfully signed warrant" were not in play.
"I would step in the way if federal law enforcement was acting under some directive and seizing weapons without a lawfully signed warrant," he said, adding that he's not worried about that because he's received emails of support from federal law enforcement agencies.
"I think they would turn first, quit and join me before following something as ludicrous as that," he said.
This is welcome reassurance to the majority of Coloradoans who oppose big-city mayors' politically motivated gun control railroad job in the Democrat-controlled Colorado state government. Speaking of which,
"I don't have any plan to run for governor, for senate, for house," he said. "I say that knowing full well things can change."
I pumped my fist when he said, "And yet at the same time I would note that she chose not to answer the question that I asked."
Robert Laurie explains the "child porn" canard here:
It's a false premise, since the very act of creating underage porn represents a felony. This is not true of manufacturing or owning a gun. Firearms can be used for perfectly legal, ethical, reasons. No crime takes place until someone uses the weapon for a specific criminal purpose. There is no non-criminal purpose behind the manufacture or ownership of child porn, thus its illegality.
One more of several great videos/radio spots from Colorado's Laura Carno, proprietor of I Am Created Equal dot com. This one looks like it was filmed outdoors and her lighter colored hair makes her look more ... friendly?
She also explains her new "political crush" on my fanboy fave Ted Cruz.
A state that was once friendly to gun rights has now become a hotbed of leftwing political activism that directly challenges citizen rights -- unless that citizen wishes to smoke pot legally.
This scenario only further enrages gun rights activists who view such things as the height of hypocrisy -- touting citizen rights to smoke pot while at the same time attacking citizen rights when it comes to guns.
If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.
I just left the following comment on Senator Giron's FB page after reading her (linked) blog entry, which states that she plans to vote yes on the five gun restriction bills in the Colorado senate today. I do hope that she reads it, and that she is willing to look into her heart and find a sense of consistency.
"For what little it may be worth, Senator Giron, I apologize for the classless behavior of some on the other side of this Constitutional issue from you. I can only guess that they feel powerless as a basic human right - the right to self defense - is being ever further questioned and eroded in the Colorado legislature. In these deeply contentious issues I, like Governor Hickenlooper, find it helpful to examine the issue from both sides. A good way to do that in this case is to imagine the reactions of you and your supporters if a Republican legislature and Republican governor were railroading seven (or even five) "common sense" abortion restriction bills. On the basis of Constitutional protections and the basic human rights of every individual, they would be just as wrong in doing so as the Democrats are in what they may choose to do today. Please reconsider whether the remainder of your legislative agenda is worth risking over this one issue that so many of your constituents will never forgive you for. Please tell the single-issue anti-gun lobbyists that you have more important things to do than to (politically) live or die on their hill. Please work to unite us around individual rights, not divide us along ideological lines."
"Can the governor call in question the right of a non-felon to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property?"
This is my starting formulation for a #StandWithRand type filibuster question, to be asked during Monday's third and final vote on numerous gun control bills in the Colorado legislature on Monday. Bills that quite clearly, I would argue, call this right into question.
HB1226- Calls into question the individual right to bear arms to defend one's person.
HB1229- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
SB197- Calls into question the right of a defendant to keep arms.
HB1228- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
HB1224- Calls into question the individual right to keep arms.
SB196- Calls into question the individual right to keep and to bear arms.
Those usurpations are not written into the bills of course, and their sponsors would certainly argue they do no such thing. That is a valid debate, and one which should transpire on the floor of Colorado's highest deliberative body, but until the governor answers in the affirmative the opening question, derived from Article 2, Section 14 of the Colorado Constitution, any other discussion is moot.
For all of their fervor, Hickenlooper sees the demonstrators a small minority.
"Not only do they not represent the middle, I don't think they represent the Republican party. I don't think they represent a large number of people," Gov. Hickenlooper said.
The governor may be right, particularly since he says the bills are being watered down "to fix certain issues, like not having to run background checks on family members when giving them your gun." But even if the measures are "reasonable" the state legislators have sat through hours of testimony by witness after witness, both in favor and opposed to the laws, who say the laws would not reduce crime or accidents, nor even have prevented any particular incident. The only valid justification for passing these new laws was offered by state Senator Ted Harvey who said, "What we are trying to do here tonight is to protect students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself. Every witness that has come up here tonight has said they want to feel unintimidated and feel free to debate on a college campus, and having you have the right to defend yourself against a violent attacker weighs more for them than for you and the right to self-defense." Or, to paraphrase, your right to defend yourself is, in the opinion of the majority, junior to "students and teachers" right to "feel unintimidated."
Governor Hickenlooper was, he says, troubled by the prospect of losing gun accessory and magazine manufacturer Magpul Industries, Inc and its 200 local jobs, plus several suppliers. But in true pull-peddler fashion he said he intends to make up for any lost business to the company by "trying to win Magpul more government business through his Washington connections."
Some refer to the city of Denver as a "victim disarmament zone." My new term is Sheeple Reservation. The video below was made by a woman from El Paso County, Colorado, addressing the Rulers of the Reservation as they attempt to impose their beliefs on the rest of our great state. Laura Carno represents the principles we are teaching to our daughters.
Don't know if this will get much play outside of Colorado.
I'm not going to add anything to this powerful clip, but when did the phrase "Don't be a statistic" drop out of our lexicon? Rep. Evie Hudak (D - Arvada) tells a rape victim -- to her face -- that "statistics are not on her side." If there is a better example of the collectivist mindset, I have yet to see it.
It cannot be a mere coincidence that this senseless and outrageous assault with a deadly weapon was perpetrated on the eve of the Colorado State Legislature's hearings into seven new proposed gun control laws. There can be no doubt that this incident was staged by bill opponents to cast doubt on the ability of commonsense gun laws to fully and completely protect the public from assault with a deadly weapon. I can hear them now: "After you criminalize gun ownership, next you'll want to criminalize brooms as well." @$% extremists.
During this period of high demand, and with the possibility of pending state legislation, we at Magpul are taking steps to ensure that responsible Colorado residents who want to own standard capacity magazines have the opportunity to do so. To meet this need, we have set up a process for CO residents to purchase limited quantities of magazines from our website.
In order to participate in this program, go to: http://store.magpul.com/member_register
Create your login account and click the “Register” button to submit. Once you receive a “Membership Confirmation” e-mail, forward it to ColoradoPMAGS@magpul.com with your name, the email used to sign up for the account, and your CO address.
BOTH YOUR BILLING AND SHIPPING ADDRESSES MUST BE IN COLORADO!
Once we verify your CO residency (this process can take up to a week due to the large quantities of emails we receive) you will be added to an authorized Special Purchase group, which will allow you to purchase select magazines from a limited access section of our website. You will then receive a notification e-mail stating that you have been added to this group, and instructions for placing your order will be included.
If you already have a login account at Magpul.com, please just send an e-mail to ColoradoPMAGS@magpul.com including your name, the email used to sign up for the account, and your CO address, then the process will proceed as above.
NOTE: WE CANNOT SHIP 30 ROUND MAGAZINES TO ADDRESSES WITHIN DENVER DUE TO THE EXISTING CITY BAN.
All sales are subject to our normal compliance checks.
One of the many advantages of my participation in Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons [sorry, I'm snowed in tonight!] was to meet former Colorado House Rep. Shawn Mitchell. He matches intelligence, insight, and humor. My conservative buddies who favor term limits need to explain why we are better without this man in the House.
But I digress, twice. Mitchell has a superb guest editorial in Complete Colorado. I've ridiculed the Famous Facebook Friends. It seems 100 jokes about Richard Murdock or Cloddd Akin were too few, but one mention of Rep. Joe Salazar is too many. They can find a transgression from the most remote Republican: "The Deputy Assistant Dog Catcher of Dalhart Texas said..." Yet, there is little interest in a current legislator in their home (most of them) state.
Rep. Mitchell details how this includes Colorado media and how it is actually worse than the lameness of Akin or Murdock:
So there. Akin misstated a biological consequence of rape, and unforgivably disrespected a right the Supreme Court discovered in 1973 by a 5-4 vote. It had been a moot, contrived question in any event, since Akin's particular view is in the distinct minority in the Senate and was a nonstarter as long as the court upholds Roe v. Wade.
In contrast, Salazar mocked the idea of self defense embodied in actual constitutional text, and called women potential hysterical killers. He and Colorado Democrats are pushing hard to codify this view.
By many measures, Salazar's words are more offensive and consequential than Akin's. The Post's decree otherwise was both arrogant and unnecessary. If Salazar's words merit criticism, as the Post conceded, then criticize!
I voted for Democrat John Hickenlooper in the last Colorado Gubernatorial race, and he has only been slightly more disappointing than most of the Republicans for whom I pulled the lever (darkened the oval).
A trained geologist, he came out for fracking. A trained politician, he toned it down at his party's urging. A professional brewer, he cut taxes on craft beers. A professional politician, he did not extend tax cuts to other industries...
Insty brings word that he may rescue us from our new Democrat Legislature on gun rights:
Now, as Colorado jobs are on the line and Democratic lawmakers continue to humiliate themselves (and their state) at a national level, it's unsure if any new gun control laws will pass in CO. Which is fine by us.
Professor Reynolds adds "If I were in Colorado, I'd be trying to encourage him to come out in favor of civil rights, not gun control."
The Refugee is pleased to report that he successfully passed the test to become an NRA Certified Basic Pistol instructor this past weekend. A basic pistol class is a pre-requisite to a concealed carry class in Colorado. The eight hour class (six in the classroom and two on the range) is suitable for both newbies as well as more experienced shooters wishing to pursue concealed carry. The Refugee will volunteer to teach the class to any Colorado-based Three Sourcer for the cost of materials ($15) and range fee ($5). It is available to anyone 13 or older.
Did I mention that Democrats took over the Colorado State House and Senate?
Denver Post: "The four bills are: limiting magazines to 15 rounds, requiring universal background checks, requiring purchasers to pay for those checks, and banning concealed weapons on college campuses."
Concealed weapons on college campuses would be banned under a bill passed Monday in the Colorado House, legislation part of a Democratic gun control package that cleared the House the same day.
House Bill 1226, which bans concealed weapons on public college campuses, passed the House on a 34-31 vote, with three Democrats voting no.
Democrats argued guns and college students don't mix and that campuses are some of the safest places in America.
"There are a lot of students who simply are not ready to be in the presence of firearms," said Rep. Claire Levy, D-Boulder, the sponsor of the bill. "It;s a dangerous mix."
"Democrats argued guns and college students don't mix and that campuses are some of the safest places in America." Non-sequitor much?
It is tempting to dismiss her notion that an AR-15 is a woman's best friend as the kooky reflex response of someone ideologically opposed to gun control laws...
Hmm, it is tempting to dismiss this editorial as the kooky reflex response of someone who thinks banning scary looking guns will make scary things go away. VERY tempting... Just One Minute -- h/t Blog Friend Terri
I certainly will not claim the United Kingdom has more than twice the rape rate because American women are allowed to own guns while British women for practical purposes are not, but it does make you wonder, doesn't it? -- Clayton Cramer
The County Sheriffs of Colorado released a position paper [PDF] on possible gun regulation.
It is a thoughtful and serious look at many provisions being discussed to limit bulk ammunition purchases, magazine size, &c. They take each suggestion and quickly suggest real world examples in which it would impede law-abiding people.
Okay, not all the goofballs on Facebook are lefties. A popular picture makes fun of the President by quoting an anti-gun line, and pointing out all the armed secret service near him. Bwa haw ha and all, but the other guys are very very -- okay too -- comfortable with government sanctioned professionals having guns. Who is going to defend us from the right wing militia kooks if the government doesn't have guns?
But fear not -- I bring you gun hypocrisy of great joy! Anti-gun activist Media Matters bought illegal guns out of state to protect founder David Brock:
Brock, whose struggles with mental health have seen him hospitalized in the past, became increasingly concerned by late 2010 that he was being targeted by right-wing assassins.
TheDC has learned that by that time, Brock had armed his assistant -- who had no permit to carry a concealed firearm -- with a Glock handgun.
According to an internal email exchange obtained by TheDC, the gun was purchased with cash in Maryland, likely to diminish the chances such a purchase would appear on the tax-exempt group's books.
Well, right wing assassins after him and all, it seems all right to me...
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On the one hand, it is great to see any solution to our so called grisly national gun violence epidemic that does not involve contravention of our Second Amendment rights. But, sadly, it is often at the expense of our First. Here's Melissa Henson in Politico, linked by Insty:
Entertainment industry has blood on its hands.
But in Hollywood, talk is cheap and there is a fortune to be made by producing and distributing ever-more graphic, ever-more gruesome and ever-more grotesque violence. As the nation's focus shifted beyond Columbine, Hollywood got back to business and the violence came creeping back -- this time in greater quantity and degree than ever before. "Not our fault" was its response. "Blame the parents."
"Mental Health" is play #3 and there are certainly opportunities for improvement. But it will not be improved by hastily-penned, post-Sandy Hook responses to do something. I love Megan McArdle: "This is something. We must do something. Therefore, we must do this!"
I don't want Senator Feinstein writing our movies or designing our firearms.
Under pressure from gun-control advocates, Groupon abruptly canceled all gun-related deals in North America on Friday. -- HuffPo
I inquired as to how to cancel my subscription.
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If the world is sufficiently dangerous that the police require semi-automatic rifles with large-capacity magazines, then do not the free citizens who are sovereign over the police and who also live in the same dangerous world deserve to similarly protect themselves from it? In fact, are not the citizens -- not the police -- always the first ones who are forced to face those dangers? -- Milton Wolf MD
Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Satan's Minions - CT) was on FOX News Sunday yesterday to display how he earned his 'F' rating from the NRA. He called for registration of ammunition. This put me in mind of an email my (biological) brother forwarded from a friend of his:
There was a bit of confusion yesterday when I went to the sporting goods store to pick up some items for a hunting trip I was planning. When I was ready to pay for my purchase of ammunition, the cashier said, "Strip down, facing me."
I was more than a little surprised! I quickly made a mental note to complain to my congressmen about the gun registry people running amok. But, I did just as she had instructed.
When the hysterical shrieking and alarms finally subsided I discovered that she was referring to my credit card.
I think my betters in punditry and journalism, and my Facebook friends are all missing the battlefield topology. Yes it will be Democrats who lead on gun control. Yes Republicans will oppose.
But legislative pluralities happen or fail at the margins, and that battle looks far different than ObamaCare® or The Fiscal Cliff™. Pointy-Headed East Coast Elite Kim Strassel is mostly on it (thanks to her Oregon roots, no doubt):
Montana's Jon Tester and Max Baucus, Alaska's Mark Begich, Arkansas's Mark Pryor, South Dakota's Tim Johnson, Louisiana's Mary Landrieu--all are quiet on that red-state Democratic front. North Dakota's brand new senator, Heidi Heitkamp, declared proposals mulled by the Biden task force as "way in the extreme" and "not gonna pass." Unlike Mr. Obama, all of these members still face elections.
Before you pop the champagne corks, these red-state defections are offset on some level by the wobbliest bunch of blue-state Republicans you've seen since "West Wing" was on Tuesday nights.
It's unbearable to watch my pal, Larry Kudlow. Love the man but he does not get it. He lives in a Park Avenue apartment with a doorman and the Second Amendment is most notably about duck hunting to him:
Now, look, I have said i am totally against the jack lew nomination for treasury secretary. but regarding these gun issues, jen, so far, i haven't heard anything that's so bad. in fact, from what i gather, they're going to reinstitute the ban on assault weapons that was law for ten years. what's wrong with that? (~3:23)
Talk show host Lars Larson is the first guest since Sandy Hook who pushes back at all, and I am not sure he is effective. Überpartisan Jennifer Rubin of the WaPo points out inefficacy but -- like every pointy-headed East Coast guest -- concedes the philosophical foundation:
i don't have any problem, larry like you, with either one of these provisions. i'm a second amendment supporter and i don't think these go to that level.
You hear the same concessions on the FOX News Sunday panel and probably on MSNBC: a Republican PHECE (Pointy-Headed-East-Coast-Elite) arguing vociferously with a Democrat PHECE about some fringe piece of legislation.
But nobody says what I read on blogs all day (cocoon much?): that we have an inalienable right to self-defense, that the good guys should have as many rounds in a magazine (umm, they're not really "clips"), and that more guns in the good guys' hands means less crime and less violence. That view is not to be found on cable news.
Make that 100,002. We've traded barbs about the NRA's support for Harry Reid and lack of philosophical footing. I'll confess that armed guards in schools is the gorramnest stupidest idea I ever heard. (If it's needed, let a local district do it, but the real solution is letting the shop teacher who served in the National Guard and has a carry permit not leave hers at home.)
I'm happy to renew and add to that statistic, but they are an imperfect vessel at best. Discuss?
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How perfect can you get? Mr. Gregory interrogates Mr. LaPierre on the subject of whether to ban a magazine that it is illegal for Mr. Gregory to display but apparently easy enough to acquire in time for a Sunday morning broadcast. So here we have a possible indictment that would be entirely nonsensical of a journalist who was trying to embarrass an NRA official over an ammunition ban whose impact would be entirely symbolic. -- WSJ Ed Page
Suzanna Gratia Hupp, DC, (born September 28, 1959) is a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives, who represented traditionally Democratic District 54 (Bell, Burnet, and Lampasas counties) for ten years from 1997-2007. After surviving the Luby's massacre in 1991, Hupp became a leading advocate of an individual's right to carry a concealed weapon. She was elected to her first term in 1996, but did not seek a sixth two-year term in 2006. She has also written a book called From Luby's to the Legislature: One Woman's Fight Against Gun Control, published by Privateer Publications, San Antonio, Texas.
Facebook is calming a bit, but one locution is going to drive me mad <groucho_voice>...and I could walk!</groucho_voice>
I think ThreeSourcers might get a kick out of this Coffee Party USA piece in its entirety, but I wanted to discuss:
Dear friends who think we need more guns in the classroom to protect our children: Why stop at arming teachers? Why not arm children? How far will you go in thinking that easy access to guns is the solution to the problem of gun violence in our society? Do you want any regulation at all? Do you want buying assault rifles to be as easy as getting a Slurpee from 7-11? Would you allow children to purchase guns? Do you really think easy access to combat weapons is about personal freedom? Do you really think that's what founding fathers had in mind when they made enormous sacrifices to build America? I can't understand how you're thinking about this.
Yeah! Huh? What about it? Knuckle-draggers! What say you?
I just wanted to share that -- but the phrase which is used elsewhere less aggressively is "arming teachers." As if we are going to make it mandatory: Israeli boot camp, them a county-issued AK-47. A $100 fine if you forget to bring it to work.
I know I am asking a lot of decency from the opposition, but I really want them to admit that the idea is to allow those who legally carry and feel comfortable to behave at work as they would behave at home or at the mall. This brings the percentage of armed teachers from zero to > 0 -- pari passu the potential risk of return fire to weenie adolescents. Same as the Mall, same as the street. Uncertainty protects those not packin'.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- President Barack Obama will announce on Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an effort to come up with policies to address gun violence amid calls for action following the massacre of 26 people including 20 children in a Connecticut elementary school last week.
For a moment, I was afraid they might do something. Now I feel better.
"I guarantee you Barack Obama ain't taking my shotguns, so don't buy that malarkey," Biden said to voters during a campaign stop in Castlewood, Virginia on September 20. "Don't buy that malarkey. They're going to start peddling that to you."
"I'm alive today because of the Second Amendment and the natural right to keep and bear arms," declared John R. Salter Jr., one of the organizers of the famous non-violent sit-ins against segregated lunch counters in Jackson, Mississippi. Writing in 1994, Salter noted that he always "traveled armed" while working as a civil rights organizer in the Deep South. "Like a martyred friend of mine, NAACP staffer Medgar W. Evers, I, too, was on many Klan death lists and I, too, traveled armed: a .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver and a 44/40 Winchester carbine," Salter wrote. "The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay."
I was thinking of Secretary Rice's eloquent defenses of the Second Amendment watching her father defend their family in Jim Crow Birmingham. There is a default fallback position of "wouldn't it be wonderful if there were no guns, but because there are we must deal with it" even from some gun rights supporters. Minority protection is worth a reminder, as is the fact that Senator Feinstein would not want them to have the most effective hardware.
Democratic Senator Calls for Gun Control on MSNBC!
STOP THE PRESSES! This isn't just any Democratic Senator -- this is Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia. He waffled in his support for the President so he could get elected! He's a member of the NRA! Did I mention the West Virginia part? It's Joe Freaking Manchin!
Why he is practically a Republican. If Republicans had a D after their name and voted for Harry Reid for Majority Leader and ran against the person that won the Republican primary.
The call for some form of new gun limits got a boost Monday when Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a strong defenders of gun rights in Congress, said it was "time to move beyond rhetoric" and suggested he would be open to restrictions on assault rifles.
The comments by the Democratic senator and former governor, made on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," suggest even strong proponents of gun rights in Congress may begin to shift in their views after the deadly shooting rampage last week in Newtown, Conn.
Well, then. What is that Constitution-thingy against a Senator who senses a change in public opinion?
"I don't know anyone who in the hunting or sporting arena that goes out with an assault rifle. I don't know anybody that needs 30 rounds in the clip to go hunting," he said, adding that he had just returned from deer hunting with his family.
Deer hunting! He's a sportsman! The world's greatest bumper sticker said "The 2nd Amendment ain't about duck hunting." I saw it a long time ago and I had no idea what it meant. A decade or two later, I figured it out. If only the US Senate were educable...
Let's do this thing. I can't get away with this on Facebook, but I wish to try it here.
Governor Huckabee wants religion in the public schools to stop shootings; fake Morgan Freeman wants to muzzle media. Those both run afoul of the First Amendment.
Mayor Bloomberg and Sen. Feinstein are not hewing too closely to the spirit or letter of the Second.
Clearly, the real problem is the Third. Were we to quarter soldiers in these children's homes they could protect their charges from the bad guys. Problem solved.
Maybe routine, random searches of boys from 12-27 (once they're off Mommy's health insurance, they're adults). See if they've got too much ammunition.
Hell, we could lock up those with Asperger's.
Jury trials, cruel and unusual punishment, unenumerated rights and enumerated powers are left as an exercise to the reader. But clearly THE BILL OF RIGHTS IS CAUSING SCHOOL SHOOTINGS! We must abolish it.
Bob Costas's little diatribe has stirred up all the right people. I'm not sure the faculty at West Connecticut State College was tuned into Sunday Night Football. I talk about my lefty pals, but the 2nd Amendment supporters seem charged up.
Insty links to an Examiner editorial today by Brian Hughes titled "Obama expected to push gun control in second term"
"I expect President Obama to take the lead on closing the gaping hole in our 'system' for keeping guns from criminals, underage youth and other prohibited persons," Daniel Webster, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Policy and Research, said. "The federal government's failure to require all gun sellers to verify that prospective gun owners have passed a background check before transferring a firearm is the single biggest flaw in the current system."
Yeah, you always see the gangbangers at the gun shows, lined up for a chance at a vintage remanufactured 1911 with no background checks.
But the GOP is on the wrong side of many "wedge" issues. If you don't agree with me philosophically, at least admit that reproductive rights and gay rights are popular. And they are popular not only in a "Gallup says 63% of registered voters..." sense. We saw with Sandra Fluke in 2012 and the stunning opposition to Ken Buck for Colorado Senate in 2010 that reproductive rights powerfully define "membership." A candidate who can be painted in opposition (Paul Ryan? really?) can be immediate discredited. A group of voters has zero interest in hearing anything from a candidate that is not unabashedly supportive of contraception, abortion, gay marriage -- irrespective of funding or regulation or other picayune details.
The GOP's weapon of choice is gun rights, and I salivate -- not directly on the Ruger P95, but I salivate -- that the Democrats might overstep. Like contraception, you can discount its importance in a big world of $16T debt. And yet, the GOP stands proudly on the side of individual liberty, personal responsibility, and respect for Constitutional principles.
I don't say "bring it on" very frequently, as I am used to being in political minority. But I fear the progressives might be bringing a strongly-worded letter to a gun fight.
But I don't blame Bob Costas. I blame the microphone. I blame the microphone. If that microphone hadn't been on, nobody would know what Costas said. If you stop and think about it, it's the microphone's fault. Costas, he's up there, he's in the broadcast booth at halftime. -- Rush Limbaugh via Ed Driscoll
"When I had the gun, I didn't think I was actually going to have to shoot somebody," the 6th grader recalled. "I think it's going to change me a whole lot, knowing that I can hold my head up high and nothing can hurt me anymore."
Twelve year-old Kendra St. Clair after shooting an intruder with her mother's .40 cal Glock during a burglary of her Oklahoma home.
UPDATE: A local TV news report at embedded here ends with the additional information that the suspect was arrested last year in connection with the kidnapping of a 17 year-old girl with "diminished mental capacity." This was quite possibly more than a burglary attempt.
I don't remember everything from 1985 - Ronald Reagan was president and I was graduating from college - but another vivid memory is the US Defense Department's decision to replace the venerable John Browning designed Colt 1911 pistol as the standard duty issue firearm for all armed forces. It was the height of a nascent competitive bid movement in government procurement and not enough attention was paid to quality or to a host of other issues. The Pentagon seemed to hope that making a change to a cheaper, foreign-made, smaller caliber pistol would deliver the same excellent service as its predecessor while also showing that they were a modern, non-discriminatory, progressive organization willing to take the "smarter" path. They selected the Beretta M9, a 9mm pistol made in Italy, to replace the seventy-four year old Colt. Now, some twenty seven years later, at least one branch of the U.S. armed forces is willing to admit a mistake. Fox News: Sticking to their guns: Marines place $22.5M order for the Colt .45 M1911
Some reports suggest Marines are not happy with their main Beretta M9s for their lack of accuracy and stopping power. With M1911's now supplying Special Ops, growing interest may lead to a better solution.
"To have the 1911 selected again for U. S. Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911," Dinkel said. "This is truly a gratifying contract award."
Now, more than any time I can remember, it is reassuring to know that some Americans are willing to admit when they make a mistake - and act quickly to fix the problem the best way they know how.
But I will happily don the term "gun lobbyist" if the Denver Post editorial board will concede to being part of "the gun-restriction lobby"--or to state it more negatively, "the victim disarmament lobby." -- Ari Armstrong
I pulled the snarkiest quote from a serious and balanced piece on DP reporting.
An understandable and prevalent misconception of self defense with firearms is that the cinema shooting would have been far worse with return fire. People educated on TV Westerns no doubt envision a dozen cowboys firing at will. Stray fire everywhere. Scary.
In fact the first gun control I heard was on Facebook. A normally apolitical musician buddy said "Stop the Politics! (Facebook code for "listen to me and then shut up!") Had they fired back, 50 or 100 would have died!"
I have heard this echoed by more responsible commentators including some on the right. Firearm self defense clearly breaks down more among regional lines and elitism than left/right. I have been watching Bill Kristol and Larry Kudlow acquiesce to all kinds of restrictions that they'd never accept on speech or taxes. The NRA clearly has a point being non-partisan.
The ban against nonpolice carrying guns usually rests on the false notion that almost anyone can suddenly go crazy and start misusing their weapon or that any crossfire with a killer would be worse than the crime itself. But in state after state, permit holders are extremely law-abiding. They can lose their permits for any type of firearms-related violation.
Nor have I found a single example on record of a multiple-victim public shooting in which a permit holder accidentally shot a bystander.
And I haven't even touched upon the pure deterrent effect of a potential mass murderer having to worry that one of his targets might be armed.
Not a single example of a permit-holding defender... ThreeSourcers have a very different picture of a responsible citizen's capacity to interrupt such an event than my drummer friend.
Even Lott's piece specifies that "And it’s true that the gunman, wearing protective body armor, would have been tough for a civilian to stop." I think this is more bad media coverage from the people who told us he was a tea partier and that his Mom thought he was a likely mass murderer (oops).
The sterling record of self defense provides a superb consequentialist argument to the rights argument. Believers should promote the truth.
I have been thinking of this quote for a few days. It's time I can say it and apologize if I offend. I found it in an old post of mine. (I hope my Google searches for "penn jillette terrorist" and similar variants don't cause my hero too much consternation...)
Life, my friends, is both tenuous and tenacious. I think we owe it to the world to live it bravely. I bring you Christopher Beam ridiculing Penn & Teller's soi disant rigid libertarianism:
When I was in high school, I owned a book by Penn & Teller called How to Play in Traffic. It's mainly a series of jokes, gags, and madcap yarns by the magic-comedy duo. But it also channels the libertarian id of Penn Jillette. "I sincerely don't want to offend any of our readers, but I've got something to say," he writes. "It's very simple, but a bit controversial: The United States of America does not have a problem with terrorism. We just don't." Airport security is not worth the hassle, he continues: "Hey, we're alive, there's risk. Some planes are going to go down like falling twisted burning human cattle cars and there's no stopping it. No one can make any form of travel 100 percent safe. We'll take our chances. As for the victims of a security-free transportation system? Let's consider those terrorism victims heroes," he writes. Let's say they died for freedom. They didn't die for us to have our phones tapped and have our time wasted at airports." He then describes a prank where you create a screensaver for your laptop that looks like a countdown to detonation.
This, I'll confess, was about my first thought after the Aurora movie shooting. Let us live freely and act courageously. And when our brave companions die in the sky, at the cinema, or in the hospital, let us cheer the valiant heroics of a life lived freely.
A Tweet from Doug Giles alerted me to this story posted yesterday at a blog called Freedom Outpost. It includes the original text of a written notice from Google Shopping (Mountain View, CA) to weapon’s parts and accessories vendor Hamlund Tactical.
We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.
So glad I'm already practicing a "boycott Google" policy. For those inclined to join me, just say no to:
I don't hold the Norman Lear oeuvre in the esteem some people do. But I did an "Archie Bunker Call your Office" last week on the item at 2:08. I remembered this from my youth and have grown to suspect that Meathead’s father-in-law and Glenn Reynolds are correct.
[Prof. Glenn] Reynolds, a gun rights advocate, said that with a reported $32 billion total package of proposed airport fees and cuts, "for that kind of money, they could give every frequent flier a gun, which would do more to stop hijackings than the TSA clown show." -- Boston Herald
I have a date on Valentine's Day. The lovely bride has agreed to sip a latte (rather an Atkins-friendlier super-dry-breve-cappuccino) with me to support our Second Amendment Rights.
No one put it better than Mike Crenshaw at the respected firearms forum found at www.thehighroad.org. A moderator who posts there as "hso," Mike sent the following message to Starbucks headquarters: "I've just heard that there's a planned boycott on Feb. 14 by anti-Second Amendment groups attempting to punish Starbucks for their decision to follow state and local law instead of changing company policy on law abiding customers carrying firearms legally. While I'm an occasional customer I'll make a point of doing my share to offset any business Starbucks may lose due to this proposed boycott. I'll see to it that my family and I are in Starbucks at least once on Feb. 14.Thank you for not caving in to the radical beliefs of a small vocal group of marginalized extremists."
It won't be easy, mind you, but my rights are sacrosanct and I'll step up when their defense is required!
Brother jg's beloved Denver Post was caught publishing phony numbers on children's firearm accidents. Centennial State freedom lover Ari Armstrong is on the case:
In their article for today's Denver Post, Joey Bunch and Kieran Nicholson claim, "More than 500 children in the United States die in gun accidents each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a 2007 report, which estimated 1.7 million children live in homes where guns are kept." However, there seems to be no factual basis for that claim.
The email exchange between Armstrong and the Post's Joey Bunch is a good read.
In related news, my equally beloved FOX31 Good Day Colorado peeps actually let a bit of free market capitalism spill out in today's show. The new guy (possible holiday substitute) on traffic reports suggested that on snowy days, drivers might consider using E-470 (toll road) as "they have more plows because they need to take care of their 'customers.'" MURRAY ROTHBARD, CALL YOUR OFFICE!!!
ATF's group supervisor on Fast and Furious David Voth assures the gun dealer there's nothing to worry about. "We (ATF) are continually monitoring these suspects using a variety of investigative techniques which I cannot go into detail."
Two months later, the same gun dealer grew more agitated.
"I wanted to make sure that none of the firearms that were sold per our conversation with you and various ATF agents could or would ever end up south of the border or in the hands of the bad guys. I guess I am looking for a bit of reassurance that the guns are not getting south or in the wrong hands...I want to help ATF with its investigation but not at the risk of agents (sic) safety because I have some very close friends that are US Border Patrol agents in southern AZ as well as my concern for all the agents (sic) safety that protect our country."
"It's like ATF created or added to the problem so they could be the solution to it and pat themselves on the back," says one law enforcement source familiar with the facts. "It's a circular way of thinking."
For his part, Attorney General Holder says, "We do not know who the particular person was" who decided that "this flawed operation should be conducted."
I will not provide a thorough review of Stephen King's 11/22/63. I spoke a bit about my trajectory with Mr. King and his works. But a coupl'a things.
First, Thomas Wolfe was right. You can never go home to an author after seven years away. It was fun and it was well written and I would not dissuade anybody from reading it. Yet I found myself ready for it to end. It takes a very important piece of fiction to capture my heart these days. (e.g., The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein) and the fun in this one did not last until the end. I gave it three stars.
Second, I must resolve my philosophical concerns without spoilers. Umbrage remained quiet for most of the rest of the book for me, but I will share something from the Afterword with all my Dear Readers. Devotees of King come to enjoy the Afterwords, usually addressing "Dear Readers" as much as the books. They are heartfelt and sweet. This one pissed me off.
King defends his harsh treatment of 1963 Dallas. I wasn't there. But he continues:
It's better today, but one still sees signs on Main Street saying HANDGUNS NOT ALLOWED IN THE BAR. This is an afterword, not an editorial, but I hold strong opinions on this subject, particularly given the current political climate of my country. If you want to know what political extremism can lead to, look at the Zapruder film. Take particular note of frame 313, where Kennedy's head explodes.
A legal carry in the state of Texas equals Lee Harvey Oswald assassinating the President. Got it.
Admitting that getting shot can "ruin your whole day," I would not stop going to the range with women in a low cut tops:
A Bristol police officer was shot by his girlfriend at an indoor shooting range in Piney Flats on Monday, and the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office is investigating whether the shooting was caused by "hot brass" falling down the woman’s shirt.
Sure, President Polk can start an expansionist war with a weak neighbor and steal their land and harbors. But he didn't have the cojones to take on Great Britain over the land that is rightfully ours! And now, look what's happened:
Canada recently rolled up some American citizens traveling to America on "gun smuggling" charges. Given the whole Gunrunner thing I guess it is reasonable for the Canucks to be concerned about American gun smuggling, but then again, the individuals involved were past retirement age so I doubt they were working for the ATF.
The two alleged smugglers -- both senior citizens with clean previous records -- had about a half dozen firearms. Now, I totally understand why one might want to bring guns through Canada in such a manner. Canada's procedure for legally declaring firearms other than certain hunting-type long arms in incredibly onerous. It takes literally months of previous preparation, and there is no guarantee that you'll get permission at all. Even declaring a firearm at the border -- while totally legit, say, a hunting shotgun -- is risky because it may increase the risk that you'll suffer the inconvenience of having your vehicle torn apart in a search for something.
Coulda driven right through "North Washington" with your full Second Amendment rights, but no...
"Only Democrats can protect you from GOP extremists"
...or so the press would have us believe.
The internets are buzzing over the bombing and mass shooting in Norway that has now been confessed to by suspect Anders Behring Breivik. In a hysteria that surpasses that which surrounded the Jared Loughner murders, establishment media and left-wing bloggers are pouncing on the "facts" of this case for they appear to finally "prove" that TEA Partiers and other "right-wing extremists" are a threat to polite society.
The first print report I read was from MSNBC.com. "...police say suspect was right-wing Christian fundamentalist" reads the sub-head.
Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.
A 1,500-page manifesto emerged that carried detailed planning for and direct references to an attack on the summer camp where most of the deaths occurred.
The warning to mistrust and beware of peaceful bloggers or anyone else who criticize illegal immigration, identity politics and any aspect of muslim political belief wears no veil whatsoever. Extra credit if said advocate happens to be Christian, or "right-wing."
Think I'm making this up? Think I'm overly sensitive or pointing out bogeymen? The same MSNBC article ends with a one-sentence paragraph:
Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the United States, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995. [Boldface in original.]
So, you may be wondering, how do the press conclude that this nutjob is a "right-winger?" Partially from deputy police chief Roger Andresen's heavily modified quote:
"We have no more information than ... what has been found on (his) own websites, which is that is goes toward the right (wing) and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist." [Emphasis mine.]
But there is other evidence. The original MSNBC story hyperlinks a companion piece under the words "A 1,500-page manifesto emerged" wherein further detail is provided on the killer's "right-wing" and "anti-immigration" identity. The "right-wing zealot" "who liked guns and weight-lifting" was reportedly a member of Norway's Progress Party for a short time. While there's nothing cut-and-dry about European multi-party government the Progress Party is clearly not "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" as is being reported. The second largest party in Norway, it is a "conservative liberal" party, not to be confused with a liberal conservative party. My head spun with the various contradictory explanations and descriptions, but the most persuasive evidence to me about what ideas the European "Progress Party" holds came from the list of current conservative liberal parties around the world:
Andorra: Liberal Party of Andorra
Argentina: Recreate for Growth
Austria: Alliance for the Future of Austria
Belgium: Libertarian, Direct, Democratic
Bulgaria: National Movement for Stability and Progress
Colombia: Radical Change Party
Croatia: Croatian Social Liberal Party
Czech Republic: Public Affairs
Denmark: Liberal Party of Denmark
Estonia: Estonian Reform Party
Faroe Islands: Union Party
France: Civic Alliance for Democracy in Europe
Greenland: Feeling of Community
Iceland: Liberal Party
Japan: Your Party
Lithuania: Liberal and Centre Union, Liberals' Movement
Moldova: Liberal Party
Mongolia: Civil Will Party
Netherlands: People's Party for Freedom and Democracy
Peru: Popular Action
Poland: Real Politics Union, Congress of the New Right
Romania: National Liberal Party
Slovakia: Freedom and Solidarity
Spain: Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, Majorcan Union
Thailand: Democrat Party
Uruguay: Liberal Party
While not completely judging these folks by their titles they certainly don't carry any suggestion of individual rights or a limited, Republican form of government. Like Loughner and McVeigh before him, Breivik's anti-social extremism appears to emanate not from a profound respect for individual rights and limited government, but from the very cultural-identity politics, pitting the supposed interests of various groups against the others, so masterfully practiced on the left. But then the establishment media in the United States (and elsewhere) has indisputedly become quite cavalier when it comes to factual content in its journalistic product.
The logic here may be even harder to follow than the reasoning that links the Tucson murders to Sarah Palin. A man bent on assassinating a member of Congress, a man who thinks nothing of gunning down a 9-year-old girl, is not likely to have compunctions about carrying a firearm without a permit.-- Jacob Sullum
It was predictable that frustrated gun-grabbers would leap at the opportunity to villify handguns provided by the tragic shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and numerous bystanders yesterday. But they're making it a two-fer by blaming the TEA Party movement at the same time. The first such conclusive leap I saw was posted on the same day as the shooting - 'Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What's the Matter with My Arizona?' Wherin Jeff Biggers cites Gregory McNamee-
"What is clear to me, at this chaotic moment, is that no one should be surprised by this turn of events. The bullets that were fired in Tucson this morning are the logical extension of every bit of partisan hatred that came spewing out during the last election, in which Gabrielle Giffords---a centrist, representing well and faithfully a centrist district---was vilified and demonized as a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a job-killer, a traitor, and more.
Anyone who uttered such words or paid for them to be uttered has his or her name etched on those bullets."
And Biggers himself-
Now in Arizona--and the nation--do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun?
"While we are all still learning details about this shooting, and particularly the 22-year old responsible for this horrendous act, we should find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence."
"America's gun culture claims its latest victims."
"If the attempted murder of one of their colleagues does not force Congress and President Obama to face the gun issue, what will?"
Perhaps worst of all is this, from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart who I have to believe truly knows better: 'Words Have Consequences'-
"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. (...) We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.
So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric (...) so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.
That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this."
Remember this? Now there's more, but this time it hits closer to home. NRA casts in for Frazier, Markey, Salazar. Markey and Salazar, incumbent Democrats who voted for Obamacare and/or Stimulapalooza, signed on to a token pro-gun measure or two and are suddenly, in the NRA's view, pure as the wind-driven snow. But just how valuable is an NRA endorsement now, in post-TARP America?
The NRA also backs John Salazar in his bid to retain his 3rd Congressional District seat over state Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez. Salazar earned an "A" rating from the organization.
But Tipton shrugged off the endorsement, adding that the group almost always backs an incumbent unless the lawmaker is blatantly anti-gun.
"I am an NRA member and I've gotten an 'A' rating from them before," said Tipton, "so this is not a surprise."
So is the gun-control issue now firmly in the "safe" category as brother BR suggests, or is the NRA merely another member of the power elite cabal?
The easy part is that in either case they don't deserve my donations, or membership.
Former CO state senate majority leader Mark Hillman adds some details about the NRA Markey endorsement.
The NRA’s flim-flam press release touts her co-sponsorship — that’s Beltway speak for “honorary cheerleader” — of a bill that she knows will never come to a vote in a Democrat-controlled Congress.
On the Second Amendment, Markey is no profile in courage. Her two actual “pro-gun” votes were meaningless throwaways, cast to gain political cover (which the NRA is now slavishly providing) after the outcome of the vote was no longer in doubt.
He also shares my conclusion, at least in part:
When I cast my vote for Congress, it will be for the candidate I know I can count on. When I donate to groups that support my Second Amendment rights, it won’t be to the NRA.
Foxnew.com carries a interesting piece today about the politics of the Second Amendment and its impact on Democrats. In an earlier post, The Refugee had pointed out that many union members own guns; this article puts some numbers to that claim.
The whole articles is worth the read and excerpting it is difficult. Nevertheless:
"Gun ownership in the country amid labor unions folks runs from a low of 48% in California to a high of 60, 70, 80% in states like Missouri, Tennessee, West Virginia. In the 2000 election, half of those union members had a firearm in their home voted for George Bush over Al Gore based on the gun issue and that cost Al Gore the presidency." [according to Wayle LaPierre, CEO of the NRA]
According to the center for responsive politics, a non-partisan group that tracks political spending, during the 2002 election cycle the NRA put 8% of their federal campaign contributions toward Democrats. This election cycle, they've received 26% percent.
This is no reason for most of us to vote for a Dem. However, to the extent that Democrats embrace the Second Amendment and we can put it into the - ahem - "safe" category, it is to the unalloyed good. The NRA's job is get pro-gun politicians elected. If both the Republican and the Democrat in a race are pro-gun, then they can't lose. After that, it allows the rest of us to focus our energy on fighting for other liberty-related issues.
Conservative Examiner reported previously that Wayne LaPierre's endorsement of Reid is a signal that the NRA as an organization is on the same page. And unless NRA members inundate the central offices of the organization to protest the pending endorsement, then the thing is a done deal.
Here's the text of my letter to the NRA this morning:
I have been an NRA member for at least 10 years. I have donated to NRA-ILA instead of to individual candidates. I have, several times, considered Life Membership. I heard a report today that the NRA is considering a "calculated" endorsement of Harry Reid over Sharron Angle in Nevada. I am vehmently opposed to such a calculation. The American people are tired of "holding their nose" to support candidates they don't like for some Machiavellian purpose. Sharron Angle stands for freedom and the Constitution, while Harry Reid is the opposite. If the NRA endorses Harry Reid then I will not renew my overdue membership. Respectfully, Eric Rinard.
John Stossel had Otis McDonald and Alan Gura on his show last week. Today he celebrates their victory.
UPDATE, 2:30 pm: A lawyer who argued the case, Alan Gura, tells me, “This is a fantastic day for freedom in America. This is going to save lives. This decision is good nationwide... People will be able to rest easily knowing they can access firearms if they need to defend themselves.”
Otis McDonald tells me he plans to have a handgun in his home as soon as he can: “I have a handgun, but it’s out-of-state. As soon as I get the paperwork straightened out, I’ll bring it in.”
I'd've loved to see a Privileges and Immunities victory as much as the next guy, But a win is a win. And 14th Amendment incorporation, while voodoo to me, might be valuable against different types of political districts claiming special jurisdiction.
Kim Strassel comes out tough on the NRA's capitulation in the DISCLOSE act.
As for the bill itself, even some Democrats have admitted it is likely unconstitutional. But the goal here isn't lasting legislation. The goal is to have this in place for this midterm election, when Democrats are at a low point, and when an empowered union base and a silenced corporate presence could make the difference between keeping the House and losing it. If the Supreme Court strikes it down after that, so be it. Cynicism at its finest.
The NRA's worst nightmare is that the courts strike down its blatant carveout and leave other parts of the bill intact. The group would then get to live under the same restrictions it helped imposed on the rest of the country. Until then, the organization can wake up each morning knowing it handed a bazooka to the unions that exist to elect Democrats who oppose everything it believes in. Some deal.
I added a comment to our previous discussion: word is, the Speaker is pulling the bill. While that is certainly the best outcome for those who love liberty, I remain disturbed by the NRA's actions. According to Gene Healy and Ilya Somin, the organization was a hindrance to the lawyers' pushing for certiorari on DC v Heller and have likewise not been onboard for McDonald v Chicago. My first thoughts were "fair enough, they thought the timing was wrong and we all miss one now and then." (I saw a Tweet yesterday of a guy who published a buy recommendation for BP on April 20 -- oopsie.)
But now I am becoming more concerned that the NRA is more concerned about preserving the NRA than our Second Amendment rights. Harsh words from a guy who wants to disband the Libertarian Party and remodel it after the NRA. Their model is correct but their institutionalism frightens. And how much junk mail can you send? (Okay, that's piling on...)
Now it is my conservative buddies on Facebook (yes, I have two or three), beating up on The NRA.
In shades of blog friend TG's "instrument versus institution" I am disappointed to see this fine and important organization choose self-preservation and aggrandizement over liberty. It's statement does little to assuage.
On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech. As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.
The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment from the attacks we face in the local, state, federal, international and judicial arenas without the ability to speak. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced while the national news media, politicians and others are allowed to attack us freely.
The NRA will continue to fight for its right to speak out in defense of the Second Amendment. Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.
I know the NRA has some staunch defenders around these parts and I am all ears to contrasting opinions. But they folded on the DISCLOSE Act because they got a special exemption.
This will make them, not only the premier but really the only 2nd Amendment defense organization of consequence. As we've seen in their missteps in the McDonald and Heller cases, that will not do.
I've been struggling with a private, personal issue, which I feel makes me an outcast in polite society. I long for the day when I can freely express my true nature in public without fear of recrimination or ridicule. Unfortunately, it looks like that day has not yet arrived.
Words fail even worse, NBA edition. Washington Wizards (formerly Bullets) player Gilbert Arenas reportedly could lose a $100 million contract as the result of bringing guns (plural) into the locker room in a city where possession of them is as illegal as it is here in NYC -- and then deciding to threaten teammate Javaris Crittenton with one, rather than pay off on a bet ... only to have Crittenton draw his own gun in return!
This is post-Plaxico, no less. When members of a local NBA team were asked for comment, "Nets say 3 out of 4 players pack heat"..
I was in a band where the guys would threaten each other with guns at rehearsals. That probably set back my appreciation for the Second Amendment by ten years.
UPDATES: Taranto adds: "This is almost as embarrassing to the Wizards as their record, although perhaps they'll make a virtue of necessity and embrace the tough-guy image. They could even change the team name to something firearm-related--say, the Washington Bullets."
Americans are still out there eight months later buying firearms like mad - and I think this can be nothing but good in the longer term. Let me count the ways:
1. More firearms in civilian hands means a larger constituency to oppose restrictive firearms laws and regulations.
2. More firearms in civilian hands means more people carrying concealed, depressing crime rates.
3. More firearms in civilian hands means the balance of coercive power shifts in favor of the people and against government, making some of our nastier potential futures just that much less likely.
4. Higher demand means more firearms-manufacturing capacity in the future, leading to lower prices and a likelihood that the previous three virtuous effects will be sustained.
My most serious concern about this situation is that the manufacturers might overinvest themselves into a capacity glut and get badly hammered when and if the market saturates. But that’s a worry for another day.
Thank you, Barack Obama. You didn’t intend this good result, but then I suspect that pretty much all of whatever little good you end up doing will have been unintentional. I’m grateful for it anyway.
Blog Brother TG has quoted the statistic that 90% of guns used by Mexican gangs come from the US. The Refugee has expressed strong reservations about the validitiy of these statistics. The truth is now out. A recent report that analyzed the source of these statistics found that of the guns that were traced, 90% came from the US. Since the US can trace guns by serial number and Mexico cannot (or does not), it's not surprising that the number is 90%. In fact, it is surprising that it's not 100% given the selective sample. The full truth is that when you consider all guns recovered by the Mexican government, only 17% can be traced to a US source.
In 2007-2008, according to ATF Special Agent William Newell, Mexico submitted 11,000 guns to the ATF for tracing. Close to 6,000 were successfully traced -- and of those, 90 percent -- 5,114 to be exact, according to testimony in Congress by William Hoover -- were found to have come from the U.S.
But in those same two years, according to the Mexican government, 29,000 guns were recovered at crime scenes.
In other words, 68 percent of the guns that were recovered were never submitted for tracing. And when you weed out the roughly 6,000 guns that could not be traced from the remaining 32 percent, it means 83 percent of the guns found at crime scenes in Mexico could not be traced to the U.S.
The Refugee had further speculated that most arms came from South America or China. Here are the facts:
So, if not from the U.S., where do they come from? There are a variety of sources:
-- The Black Market. Mexico is a virtual arms bazaar, with fragmentation grenades from South Korea, AK-47s from China, and shoulder-fired rocket launchers from Spain, Israel and former Soviet bloc manufacturers.
-- Russian crime organizations. Interpol says Russian Mafia groups such as Poldolskaya and Moscow-based Solntsevskaya are actively trafficking drugs and arms in Mexico.
- South America. During the late 1990s, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) established a clandestine arms smuggling and drug trafficking partnership with the Tijuana cartel, according to the Federal Research Division report from the Library of Congress.
-- Asia. According to a 2006 Amnesty International Report, China has provided arms to countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Chinese assault weapons and Korean explosives have been recovered in Mexico.
-- The Mexican Army. More than 150,000 soldiers deserted in the last six years, according to Mexican Congressman Robert Badillo. Many took their weapons with them, including the standard issue M-16 assault rifle made in Belgium.
-- Guatemala. U.S. intelligence agencies say traffickers move immigrants, stolen cars, guns and drugs, including most of Americas cocaine, along the porous Mexican-Guatemalan border. On March 27, La Hora, a Guatemalan newspaper, reported that police seized 500 grenades and a load of AK-47s on the border. Police say the cache was transported by a Mexican drug cartel operating out of Ixcan, a border town.
If past history is an indication of future political performance, The Left will continue to quote this statistic even though it has now been exposed as a partial truth. It will continue to be their justification for gutting the Second Amendment.
Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:
"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.
And they were dead serious."
I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.
A family member (uh-oh) sends a link to a short New Yorker piece on Senator Obama's "Flip Flops." The Flop of the Flip has been the buzz in my family. I wondered whether the far lefties who share my parents (maybe they're adopted...) were disturbed by the Senator’s move to the center, "At this rate," I told my brother, "by election day he will be calling Phil Gramm a Communist and calling for privatizing the Post Office."
A niece caught up on the thread and asked what I thought of Hertzberg's New Yorker piece. It's a pretty sympathetic scoring of Senator Obama's post-primary changes As I said in the thread, the flip flop accusation is overblown and overused. But it is curious that an unknown quantity like the Junior Senator from Illinois cannot define himself more forcefully on his signature issues. But I am not going to not vote for him because he changes positions -- I will not vote for him because most of his positions are so bad.
The article enumerated each supposed flip flop and scored it. I was interested in his views on NAFTA (which did not merit a mention) and on DC v. Heller. Here is Hertzberg, writing to the New Yorker faithful, on SOF2 (Senator Obama's Flip Flop) on the District of Columbia gun ban:
For twenty years, nominal support for the death penalty and its partner in crime, “gun rights,” has apparently been mandatory for any Democrat wishing to have a serious chance to be elected President.
I’ve never seen anything quite like it. Had he worked in support for child labor, and maybe blood-libel, I think we'd be talking Pulitzer! I'm working on my response. It happens that even the Republicans in my family are pretty squeamish on guns. I have to be careful not to overstep. I'm thinking of:
I know you don’t get to hang out with a lot of liberty minded people, but let me say one thing – and I bet about all the 9% that make up the liberty voters will agree. To lump in capital punishment with "gun rights" -- scare quoted or not -- is inappropriate and sloppy.
1. The right to bear arms is stated explicitly in the Constitution and it exists as a protector to all of our other rights. I will steal a great line I read last week: "I will use my Second Amendment rights to defend Mr. Hertzberg's First Amendment rights, even though he will not use his First Amendment rights to defend my Second Amendment rights."
2. Support for capital punishment is individual and subjective. Most libertarians do not trust the government to wield such power. I personally feel that there are sufficient protections and appeal opportunities afforded to defendants that it should continue in states that choose to allow it. I'm not an enthusiastic supporter of capital punishment by any means, and the people I know cover the whole spectrum. I have no serious opinion on Kennedy v. Louisiana.
I could not consider anybody to be liberty minded who did not support gun rights, yet even my squishy support of capital punishment pushes me toward the conservative and populist regions of the right, and would get me kicked out of any good libertarian gathering.
A free person does not look to the state to be the ultimate protector of his life, property, and liberty. Societies that do not trust a citizen with force are societies that operate in loco partentis. Government is not my mommy, and I like the idea that -- should they try to take away any of the rights we possess -- they will have to take them from millions of armed citizens. I am extremely cool with that. I saw a great bumper sticker many moons ago that said "The 2nd Amendment Ain't About Duck Hunting." I had to grow into an understanding of that.
DC v. Heller was the first substantive reading of the Second Amendment since the bill of rights was passed. The decision was of extreme interest to the liberty minded, and the opinion of a man who calls himself a law professor, who may well nominate several people to the Supreme Court is not Briefs vs. Boxers. A guy I blog with would vote for the Devil to head up a health care panel if he could demonstrate sufficient support for gun rights.
Senator Obama's changing and conflicting answers betray that this is an issue he'd like to see go away. He is not willing to take a stand on an important civil rights issue. That's a "substantive tweak" to Herzberg, but that's a flip flop to me.
The WSJ Ed Page channels blog brother JohnGalt today. The lead editorial on Heller highlights that the decision was 5-4, and the editorial pummels the (il)logic of the minority.
Which makes it all the more troubling that no less than four Justices were willing to explain this right away. These are the same four liberal Justices who routinely invoke the "right to privacy" – which is nowhere in the text of the Constitution – as a justification for asserting various social rights. Yet in his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens argues that a right to bear arms that is plainly in the text adheres to an individual only if he is sanctioned by government.
Yeah, President Obama may appoint three justices, and it is unlikely he'll extend his candidate search to the NRA legal team.
But as a guy who has lost a lot of 5-4 decisions of late, I invite my friends to enjoy a few days of celebration. A 5-4 decision is still a decision, it is still precedent. Overturning it will require the composition of the court changing and a new case getting Certiorari. The current rate of Second Amendment cases is one every 217 years.
The Democrats have seen electoral success with pro-gun (and silently anti-gun) candidates. Most are glad that Heller takes the issue off the table this season and I don't know that many Democrats will want to bring it back.
I'd have loved a 7-2 (like Dred Scott v Sandford) that eviscerated gun laws. But it looks to these untrained legal eyes that we got a good precedent that asserted an individual right to bear arms. Don't cancel your NRA membership or vote Democratic or anything stupid, kids -- but don't search for the dark cloud.
Jonathan Pearce at Samizdata suggests "If the NRA wants a replacement for its former figurehead, Charlton Heston, they could do a lot worse than Ms Jolie." After he links to this:
The pregnant mother of four told the U.K.'s Daily Mail that she owns guns similar to the ones she used in "Tomb Raider." Jolie and partner Brad Pitt are not against having weapons in their house for security reasons, she says.
"If anybody comes into my home and tries to hurt my kids, I've no problem shooting them," she said.
Charlton Heston was a president; he was MY President. As figurehead of the NRA he said what members of America's gun culture wanted to say to those who blamed them for the crimes of others:
“Mr. Clinton, sir, America didn’t trust you with our health care system. America didn’t trust you with gays in the military. America doesn’t trust you with our 21-year-old daughters, and we sure, Lord, don’t trust you with our guns.”
Last night this American icon passed away. Rest in peace, and give my best to John Wayne and Ronald Reagan. May there be new cowboys born today to replace you.
My UK friends love to tease me about America's wicked gun culture. They'll be up on the latest Michael Moore stats. A friend who worked there for several years has a daughter who is afraid to visit the states.
I love Britain, cradle of liberty and all, but they, and my friends, and my friend's daughter purposefully miss one important crime statistic: the slope of the curve. In the UK, crime is escalating. While they lack the dramatic gang drive-bys, the risk of being beat up for your mobile phone climbs higher each year.
They have effectively disarmed the populace and convinced Britons that their personal safety and property rights will be attended to by the state. The state lacks the resources and the will to provide it. So the advice is to "not go out." I'm a big fan of Theodore Dalrymple and recommend his "Life at the Bottom." I was prepared to think that he was a little over the top in his storytelling, and that he was reporting from the worst areas in Britain.
The 40-year-old heads his own company advising on mergers and acquisitions, and usually strides through life like a Master of the Universe. This evening, though, he looks shaken. Two days earlier, he was accosted outside his central London home by eight kids — the youngest was 11 — who punched him to the ground, hustled him to the nearest cash machine and forced him to reveal his PIN number. After a series of attacks in the area, local residents have gathered in Steen's apartment to talk to the policeman handling the case. His advice: "Don't go out unless you have to."
This is the land of Churchill. "We will hide in the fields, we will hide in the beaches!"
Pardon my ghoulish flippancy. This story really does sadden me, but it also points out the first stop on the road to gun control.
I missed the Dem debate last night. If they did not have one every three days...
Here is the Biden clip that everybody is talking about.
I don't know, that will play to his base well enough and I don't think it hurts his chances of becoming our next president in a statistically meaningful way. I was more intrigued by Gov. Richardson: It's not about gun rights, it's really about free child care!
It's a short piece and every paragraph is superb, but here's one I'd like to highlight:
What's more, she would have been safer. That's how I feel about my student as well (one of a few I know who have gun-carry permits). She's a responsible adult; I trust her not to use her gun improperly, and if something bad happened, I'd want her to be armed because I trust her to respond appropriately, making the rest of us safer. [emphasis mine]
It isn't often one reads a distinction between reality and perception - between "being" and "feeling" - in a newspaper. It's no surprise, when it happens, that it comes from the pen of a blogger.
Hat Tip: My dad, who brought me Friday's Rocky Mountain News "RockyTalk Live" column with reader comments on the VT murders, including one by "KW" that mentioned the 2002 incident.
"Gun culture" has been the theme of several recent postings, precipitated by the derogotory use of that term by media imbeciles opining on last week's Virginia Tech mass murder. I now offer an authoritative definition of the term in 800 pages: The 1996 John Ross historical novel, 'Unintended Consequences.' [Sorry, hardcover only.]
Here's a concise reader comment on the work from Amazon.com:
127 of 135 people found the following review helpful:
It Changed My Thinking, April 27, 2003
Reviewer: Beau Thurnauer "Beau" (Coventry, CT USA) - See all my reviews
I'm a pretty conservative guy. I follow rules because I find it comfortable to do so. I stop at stop lights and do a lot of things I would rather not do as well as not doing things I would like to do because I find this an orderly and secure way to live.
I do recognize that there are many stupid poorly conceived laws and rules but I still comply. I have never thought about starting a revolution because the trivial moronic little rules and regulations that we are requested to comply with are unreasonable in a free society. But that is the topic of this book.
Few books in my life have changed my thinking over the long term. Unintended Consequences did this. This book is about the gun culture. How it began and where it is today. I never never never thought about how not only many of the Federal firearms regulations are but in a more global sense how many of our regulations are ridiculous.
This may sound like a vague description of a 800+ page book. But this book is so global. It talks specifically about Henry Bowman who grows up shooting guns as a hobby like many others collect stamps or ride motorcycles. Yet he explains very slowly and methodically how his life experiences with his hobby are hampered unreasonably by Federal regulations. You do not have to be a gun lover or hater to appreciate this book. You only have to have a hobby or passion; any hobby or passion. You will see how our Constitution and Bill of Rights have been beaten and changed, how we are losing our individual rights and how dangerous the repurcussions.
Please read this book for the message, it will change you.
It didn't change me, but it did reinforce my opinions.
Liberal "Rep. Jim Moran who, less than '24 hours after the deadliest shooting spree in U.S. history' took to the airwaves to launch a political attack against President Bush, congressional Republicans and the National Rifle Association.... Moran suggested Republicans were to blame for Monday's tragedy at Virginia Tech, which left 33 dead and injured another 30.
"The anti-gun congressman said Republican policies made it easy for the shooter to obtain a gun." The serial numbers were filed off of these two guns, were they not? Well, now, I'm going to tell you: if you file the serial numbers off your gun, it means you have evil intent in your mind and your heart, and there is no gun control law, period, that is going to stop you. Grab audio sound bite 18 again. If you're just joining us, I want you to go back and listen to Ed Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, talking about the Amish tragedy, the shooting there in Pennsylvania last fall. This is from October of last year. The reporter said, "Governor Rendell, do you see any need for any changes in state public schools in terms of security?"
RENDELL: You can make all the changes you want, but you can never stop a random act of violence by a person who is intent on killing themselves. It's the same thing as protecting the president of the United States. You can have 50 Secret Service agents there, but if someone is willing to swap their life for the president's, they're going to get a point-blank shot at the president.
A tragedy, to be sure....
But it's a little depressing to see everyone pointing fingers at each other over gun issues immediately. Shouldn't we first get that place back in order first?
So if this decision is upheld, it will not change our treatment of guns very much. Complete bans would be off-limits, but they are already rarer than white buffaloes. Most other gun-control laws would remain on the books, and anti-gun groups would be free to press for additional ones.
The only obstacle would be the one that has stymied them in the past: insufficient public support. It wasn't the constitutional right to keep and bear arms that induced Congress to let the federal ban on "assault weapons" expire, or that persuaded 40 states to allow the carrying of concealed handguns. Those choices were the product of sentiment among citizens and legislators who see most restrictions on firearms as futile at best and dangerous at worst.
The bad news for gun-control advocates is that the Supreme Court may adopt an expansive view of the Second Amendment. The worse news is this may represent the will of the people.
The conventional wisdom is that gun-control issues cost Algore the 2000 election. Democrats know it's a loser. It's about time.
What's that? Did Bill Gates promise to buy Apple Computer and divide all of its stock amongst all the AIDS patients in Africa? Did Mahmood I'mInAJihad just convert to Christianity? Did Hillary divorce Bill? No.
Owning guns in D.C. may soon become legal, as federal appeals court ruled that the right to bear arms applies not only to militias.
Three years ago, a lower-court judge had told six D.C. residents of high-crime neighborhoods who wanted the guns for protection that they don't have a constitutional right to own handguns.
City argued that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals.
Today judge held that the Second Amendment doesn't just apply to militia service, or to people with "intermittent enrollment in the militia."
Just what was this D.C. gun ban? From the Cato Institute via P.R. Newswire:"Under existing law, no handgun could be registered in the District, and even pistols registered prior to D.C.'s 1976 ban could not be carried from room to room within a home without a license."
Well, what's wrong with that CNSnews? If that is the "democratically-expressed will of the people of the District of Columbia" then who cares that, "Even though the nation's capital had one of the strictest gun bans in the country, it also suffers from one of the five-highest murders rates of major cities nationwide?" I guess two out of three federal appeals judges care:
In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia."
The court also ruled the D.C. requirement that registered firearms be kept unloaded, disassembled and under trigger lock was unconstitutional.
"The district's definition of the militia is just too narrow," Judge Laurence Silberman wrote for the majority Friday. "There are too many instances of 'bear arms' indicating private use to conclude that the drafters intended only a military sense."
The opinion of the lone dissenting judge is telling. Her foundation for supporting the 30-year old law was not that individuals are not militia members, or that handguns are not hunting tools. Instead she wrote, "the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a state."
Can I believe my eyes? I'm still not sure I believe a sitting federal judge actually wrote this. The reporter must have misrepresented, right? I wonder if she would also argue that the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth (take a breath), twenty first, twenty second, twenty third (oh really?), twenty fourth, twenty fifth, twenty sixth and twenty seventh amendments don't apply to D.C. because "it is not a state?"
For some time now I've been considering creation of a "Slave-o-Meter" that reflects the global movement toward collectivism and away from individual liberty modeled after the Union of Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock." I was dissuaded by the notion that the "Slave-o-Meter" would only ever move in one direction: toward collectivization of humankind. (And because I still haven't thought of a better name than Slave-o-Meter.) This development in D.C. is one rare, delicious, possibly temporary case where it moved noticeably in the other direction.
UPDATE: [13 March] I am eternally grateful to JK for his comment link to the WaPo editorial on this. It allows me to share this remarkable quote:
"While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights."
The answer of course is no. But in the case of the Colorado shooting, within an hour's drive of Littleton's Columbine High School where the nation's worst ever school shooting occurred, one might well wonder if Colorado's "shall issue" concealed carry law has anything to do with it. Not because any of the killers involved had carry permits, but because the law specifically excludes guns from a number of "safe zones" that include, yes, school property. A debate has broken out on Colorado talk radio whether school teachers should be armed, and whether that would be safer or more dangerous. But this is the wrong question. What should be debated is whether school teachers should continue to be DIS-armed.
The answer is not to place guns in the hands of every teacher, but when criminals know that theirs will be the only gun on a school campus it gives them a warm fuzzy feeling about terrorizing, traumatizing and even slaughtering our children. The time has clearly come to eliminate schools from the so-called "safe zone" list (if not abolish it altogether) - for the children.
Fooled me. I read this article in TNR about the American Hunters and Shooters Association. TNR portrayed the group as serious hinters and shooters who thought that the NRA was too absolutist in defending gun rights, and that the GOP was not protective enough of conservation and habitat for hunters.
It didn't sit right with me, but folks who disagree with me frequently perplex.
Cam Edwards comes up with the goods on this group: "AHSA bills itself as a 'moderate alternative to the NRA', but in reality it’s an organization founded by leaders in the anti-gun movement who have strong ties to the Brady Campaign."
More interesting still, they have 150 members. Three digits!
I realize that for Blanding, AHSA represents a new and exciting attempt to mislead gun owners (we’re talking about a writer who once penned a “Culture of Life Top Ten” wish list for the ultra-lefty Alternet, in which he expressed his desire that Congress would pass Massachusetts-style gun control laws). New or not, AHSA is trying to deceive gun owners into buying into an anti-gun movement and to give anti-gun politicians a bit of pro-gun cover. From the tens of thousands of dollars its leaders have donated to candidates like Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Nancy Pelosi to the fact that the press contact for this supposedly non-partisan organization is also the head of the Fairfax City (Virginia) Democratic Committee, American Hunters and Shooters Association isn’t out to protect your rights. They’re out to deceive you, and Michael Blanding appears happy to help.
I might start a Republican alternative to NARAL and a GOP Teachers Union -- I bet I could get more than 150.
He's right to position self-defense as an international human right; he's right to suggest that it would cure genocides a lot better than U.N. brunches and petitions; and I'd even agree that he is right to ask the Bush administration to push this as an international right -- especially as our Secretary of State is a known believer in the importance of America's Second Amendment
It's a great article but he closes with a device that personally disturbs me:
I wonder if the Bush administration’s diplomatic corps will have the nerve and the integrity to push this argument at the U.N. and elsewhere, not merely as an argument in opposition to global gun control, which they have been making already, but an argument in favor of a positive right to be armed as part of international human rights law? Perhaps they will, if enough Americans encourage them to.
Sorry, perfesser, if the President of the United States does not drop what he is doing and push your personal agenda, it is because he lacks courage? That is the Bill O'Reilly argument leaders don't do what I say because they're chicken or corrupt, not because my idea of nuclear hair-trigger land mines on the border is imperfect.
A small nit in an important and well presented piece, but that's what you guys pay me for.
According to UPI,"a man broke into a New Smyrna Beach, Fla., home and killed a couple he believed had turned him in on drug charges and then killed himself." The story goes on, "The Hernlens had nothing to do with Johnson's arrest, the deputies said." In addition, "The couple had asked for an injunction against Johnson in January, but a judge denied it. The couple said Johnson was stalking them by driving by their house and making threats."
Now, here's the rest of the story. Last night, the father of 29 year-old Aeneas Hernlen, the man of the house that was invaded and in which he and his wife were murdered, was interviewed on the O'Reilly Factor. The elder Hernlen, Tracy, told Bill that his son had sought a restraining order against the suspect three times. He also said that a couple of weeks before their murder, Aeneas had called him and asked him for a gun. Tracy Hernlen happens to be a retired police officer. He told his son, "No. You need to let the police protect you." Stiffling tears, Tracy then said, "They let him down. The system failed them."
Knowing all of this you have to ask yourself, whose hands do you want YOUR safety in? Your own, or the cops? I'm no cop basher but they just can't be counted on unless they happen to be there at the time. As my father-in-law puts it (and his son happens to be a cop), "When it comes to self-defense, the only thing the police are good for is to draw the chalk outline around your dead body."
Remember this every time you get to vote on a gun rights issue.