Sunday, January 31, 2010

Open Carry Event This Weekend

As planned, East Bay Open Carry held an event at a Starbucks coffee shop in Antioch on Saturday. KGO 7 TV covered the story and video may be viewed here.

There is the usual puling from Brady Campaign representatives quotes in the story:
The Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence does not buy it. They do not see why anyone except police should be bearing arms in public, even if they have the right to.
This really sends me off: if I have a right to carry firearms, then I don;t need to give a reason.  I think that the Brady Campaign is also trying to set the narrative for future challenges to California gun laws, such as this case currently in San Diego.

We should all stay tuned.  If the SCOTUS rules in favor of the plaintiffs in McDonald v. Chicago, then several pending lawsuits in California could result in some big changes in the law.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Open Carry in The News This Week

Open Carry of firearms was in the news this week in the Bay Area, and more events are planned.

This article describes the reaction to an man open carrying his handgun in an East Palo Alto supermarket, provoking a police response of four officers, who verified that the firearm was unload. The man was evidently inspired by recent open carry events he saw in TV:
The man, who lives in Redwood City, later apologized to police and said "he didn't really think it out," Norris added.
Another article ,  from the SF Examiner, serves as an introductory piece describing the open carry movement, recent events, and legal status of open carry.  They make a point: most Bay Area residents are pretty surprised to find that open carry of handguns is legal.  How can they not be surprised, when law enforcement agencies are caught off-guard:
The truth is that many law enforcers and prosecutors had not even heard of the phrase “open carry” until late 2009, when the growing movement gained footing on the Peninsula, said Steve Wagstaffe, chief deputy district attorney of San Mateo County. It’s been legal in California to openly carry unloaded firearms since 1999 as long as you are not within 1,000 feet of K-12 schools.
I will fault what is an otherwise informative article for this mistake: as far as I know it has always been legal to open carry in California, not just since 1999 as mentioned above.

Recent open carry activity in the Bay Area has attracted the notice of newspapers in other parts of the country, like West Virginia, and Bay Area gun control groups like the local chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, which has prevailed upon local Peet's Coffee & Tea and California Pizza Kitchen restaurants to refuse to serve open carrying customers, as related in this KPIX television report.  It is unclear if this is a company wide policy, or the decision of the local store owner: neither company mentions an open carry prohibition on their web sites.

Open Carry advocates reacted by planning another open carry event for this weekend at a Starbucks Coffee shop in Antioch, reported to be open carry friendly.  Brady Campaign members promise to protest that event as well.

I guess the drama will only escalate from here.

UPDATE: I guess KGO was just slow out of the gate, but they finally did cover this story here. This one quotes a CPK spokesperson, implying that the open carry policy is official and company-wide.

UPDATE: SFGate also covers this story, and quotes the official policies of Peet's and CPK.  One comment from the above article expresses my own concern about open carry events gaining more publicity:
If you really want to draw attention to yourself AND prompt our over zealous legislators to make yet another new law - this one banning you from open carrying - my advice is to keep on wasting police time running backwards and forwards to the coffee shop with an empty gun strapped to your thigh. Please stop - our cops have got better things to do than stopping losers and checking thier weapons every 10 mins. Time to grow the fark up.
In this state where AB 962 was passed without any real opposition, I could well imagine several legislative responses from Sacramento:  banning open carry, or even scrapping the CCW permit system altogether.  The Democratic legislators in this state are pretty uniformly anti-gun and will use any excuse to narrow gun rights.

Remember, there is no right to bear arms in the California Constitution.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Update on The California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale

In this post I took a look at the California DOJ Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale and tried to determine if the DOJ Roster was a creeping handgun ban. While I did not conclude that the DOJ Roster was the same as an outright ban, I did identify several limitations to my analysis:
And nothing on this chart indicates the number of handguns offered for sale in the United States, but that have not been approved by the DOJ, or the number of guns introduced in any given year that are available for sale outside of California that have not yet been approved, or that have never been submitted for approval.
 The Sacramento Bee published this article on December 30, 2009.  It describes how the new firearm microstamping law has gone into effect, and how the law will  discourage gun makers from introducing new semi-automatic pistols into the California market.  Since microstamping will be a newly required "safety feature", it is required on all new pistols sold in the state, but since the technology is not free of patent encumbrances, the law is deferred.

Some statistics about new handgun approvals in the state are cited in the article that would have been useful in my previous post bout the DOJ Roster:
The Department of Justice's Bureau of Firearms is charged with approving weapons for sale in California each year. From 2002 to 2006, the bureau approved 72 new semi-automatic pistols on average each year.
In 2007, a law took full effect mandating that new center-fire semi-automatic pistols include both a mechanism that prevents firing when the magazine is removed, as well as an indicator showing when a live round is in the gun chamber. Rim-fire semi-automatics must have the magazine disconnect device.
In three years, the Bureau of Firearms has approved only nine new semi-automatic weapons, including only one in 2008.
 I know from talking to pistol shooters that magazine disconnect devices are very unpopular.  Most people consider them a dangerous "feature" that could get you killed if you ever use a handgun in self-defense.  But it is the numbers of new pistols approved that I wish could have included in my previous article that I am interested in most.  An I know that there were more than one model of semi-automatic pistols introduced in the U.S. in 2008.

I wish I could find out how many.

But with so few pistols being approved, then I think that the Roster is indeed going to resemble a handgun ban, but one that will take years to develop.

Why I'm Glad I did Not Vote for Obama

Today Real Clear Politics has a great article by Jill Dorson, "Why I Regret Voting for President Obama".  A great read that succinctly summarizes the reasons I am glad I did not vote for Obama.  My regret is that this country needs a President who can lead, but we got a man who, in my opinion, is overwhelmed by the job.

And to make things worse, I do not see at this time any Republican who could do any better.  It seems to me that the lack of talent on the Republican side is an issue because Obama is on track to be a one term President.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Fontano Charged with a Misdemeanor

I have previously written on this story. Sherman Fontano foolishly openly carried his unloaded .357 magnum revolver into a school property and was arrested by San Jose police.

As reported today in the San Jose Mercury News, Fontano has been charged with a misdemeanor charge of possessing a firearm in a school zone. He will appear in court again on February 22.

As I wrote in my previous post, Mr. Fontano acted in ignorance of California firearms laws, and got himself in trouble as a result. All gun owners in California must follow our sometimes nonsensical gun laws closely to stay out of trouble.

Anti-Gun Article on Feministing

I learned about this condescending article on Feministing from Learn About Guns. Granted that this is a really old article, I thought I would reply in the hopes that my contribution might help. Here is my reply, as posted on that site:


Perhaps you should read this article. Go ahead, I'll wait...

So, what do you think now about a woman defending herself in suburbia? My point, and Dr. Hupps as well, is that violence can find you whether you are prepared for it or not. While you don't actually advocate that guns should be banned, your condescending tone to those who choose to arm themselves is revolting. Other people who replied to this article have noted the condescension as well. hippychik7:
It is true that maybe I am not in great danger of violence at any one time, but if a woman can be trusted to determine and CHOOSE to have an abortion, then I think she should be able to choose when to carry a gun.

Absolutely! To us gun owners, and advocates of armed self-defense, it is all about responsibility. Taking responsibility to protect ourselves, and taking responsibility to not harm others while we carry guns. Charlton Heston, past president of the NRA, that group you despise so much, said this well:
... There's no such thing as a good gun. There's no such thing as a bad gun. A gun in the hands of a bad man is a very dangerous thing. A gun in the hands of a good person is no danger to anyone except the bad guys. ...

Another Open Carry Event in Bay Area

This article reports that another Open Carry event was held in the Bay Area recently. The tone of the article is pretty neutral, with coverage from both the pro-gun rights and anti-gun rights side.
Open Carry aims to make it possible for Americans in every state to legally carry loaded guns in public. The loosely organized Bay Area chapter is igniting powerful feelings among law enforcement agencies, gun control advocates and ordinary residents.

I won't argue with the goal, but I am still skeptical of the methods used to attain it. This article shows that too many people are fearful of seeing guns in public, especially in suburban California, where they are never seen. Perhaps the Open Carry movement is right: if enough people see others carrying guns without causing problems, peoples opinions might change.

UPDATE: I just viewed the video associated with the source article, and I recommend anyone reading the article to view the video as well. It is very interesting to see the range of reactions to people open carrying: supportive to negative, the reactions of the public are worth seeing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Constitutional Challenge to California CCW Law

A very interesting lawsuit was filed in October challenging the constitutionality of the Carry Concealed Weapon law in California. Hat tip to Of Arms and the Law for posting the decision of the Judge Gonzales denying the defendants motion to dismiss.

Reading the original complaint, the plaintiff was denied issue of a CCW permit primarily because the Sheriff determined that the plaintiff did not have "good cause" and was not a permanent resident of San Diego County. The really interesting part is the reasoning that since other forms of carrying a weapon are illegal in California, i.e. loaded open carry, then the "good cause" and "good moral character" requirements of the CCW law used to deny a applicant are unconstitutional because a person has no other means to excercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.
37. Defendants has deprived Plaintiff of his right to carry a handgun for self defense purposes, which is guaranteed by the Second Amendment, because there is a general ban on the exposed carrying of loaded handguns, and because of subjective "good cause" policy
All of the plaintiffs complaint has survived the defendants motion to dismiss, and Judge Gonzalez's decision makes interesting reading. The constitutionality of the CCW law is challenged by the following logic. From decision on the motion to dismiss:

The Supreme Court’s decision in Heller made it clear–for the first time–that the Second Amendment guarantees “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.” 128 S. Ct. at 2797. It also made clear that this right is not unlimited. Id. at 2816-17.
So, while citizens have a right to carry arms, that right may be subject to regulation. But Judge Gonzalez denies that the California CCW law is presumptively constitutional because in other states where concealed weapons prohibitions have been determined to be constitutional, open carrying of weapons allowed the exercise of one's Second Amendment rights:

Thus, just like in Chandler and Nunn, but unlike California, there is a ready alternative available to the affected individuals–the ability to carry weapons openly if they cannot obtain a concealed weapon’s permit.
In the context of California gun laws, this kind of legal reasoning has the potential to effect real change. The CCW law may be found to be unconstitutional since there is no provision for loaded open carry in the state. Or, the state may have to change the loaded open carry law in order to preserve their CCW law and policies commonly applied in urban counties.

I am not a lawyer, and I do not know if this case is at all similar to the 14th Amendment cases filed for plaintiffs is the assistance of Team Billy Jack, but if this case goes to trial and the court finds for the plaintiff, California's CCW law may be struck down.

My prediction: San Diego County Sheriffs Department will settle the case and issue the permit in order to make this case go away.

UPDATE: corrected typo in title.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Where can one carry a gun on one's property?

California law places many restrictions on where one may carry a loaded gun, but it is clear that inside one's home or on one's private property, a person can carry a loaded weapon. Does this mean that i can carry a gun in my front yard? It is assuredly private property, but is it also a public place?

I have recently learned of case law cited in "Heller, High Water(mark)? Lower Courts and the New Right to Keep and Bear Arms" that indicates that this may not be allowed:
...the conclusion of a California court that a private drive was a “sensitive place,” thus bringing a conviction for carrying a concealed weapon under the Heller safe harbor,49 seems a stretch.

49. People v. Yarbrough, 86 Cal. Rptr. 3d 674, 682–83 (Cal. Ct. App. 2008) (rejecting challenge to conviction for carrying concealed weapon, and stating that “[t]reating as criminal defendant’s concealment of a firearm under his clothing on a residential driveway that was not closed off from the public and was populated with temporary occupants falls within the ‘historical tradition’ of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous weapons in publicly sensitive places”).

So, while the author of the paper seems to think that the California courts may be carrying the prohibition a little too far, it is valid case law, and it makes me cautious about carrying a weapon in my front yard, my driveway, or even inside my garage when the garage door is open. I don't know about my backyard, but this is California after all.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

San Francisco - Death by Progressivism

This article succinctly describes the modern liberal progressive doctrine using San Francisco as an example. It also describes why my wife and I never, or hardly ever, go into the City. While I have done business in the City, I actually try to avoid it because it is far away (90 road miles, one way) from San Jose, and because the parking problems are even worse than described in the article.

Problems with homeless people and illegal immigrants are not tolerated in San Jose like they are in San Francisco, so you don't see these people on the streets, except in front of Home Depot stores.

Look out America, San Francisco is what progressives want to foist onto the rest of America.

Hat tip Right on The Left Coast.

UPDATE: 1/21/10. Added the title and corrected typos and some phrasing in the post.  I still thank that the original article was dynamite.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Case for Profiling

In the wake of the Christmas Day bombing attempt, we see the bankruptcy of our airline security system in this country. In this RCP story we learn that our system focused on the wrong thing:

As Bob Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, recently wrote, this failure reflects the flawed thinking of aviation security policy, namely a fixation "on keeping bad things -- as opposed to bad people -- off of airplanes."

It is an unavoidable fact that these "bad people" tend to come from certain places and subscribe to a certain religious affiliation. Focus on them.

And in the case of the bomber, this was certainly true: young Muslim man, recently in Yemen, paid cash for a one-way ticket, no luggage checked in for his international flight. These should have immediately indicated that the bomber be screened further.

Some people would call this "racial profiling", and object on moral grounds. I would call it common sense. The people attacking us are not Lutherans, but Muslims, and we need to face up to the fact that while not all Muslims are terrorists, every terrorist that we have captured or encountered in the last 20 years has been a Muslim.

Political correctness on this issue is going to kill a lot of Americans.