Friday, September 30, 2011

Violence Policy Center Admits Most Gun Control Laws Don't Work

I came across this page on the Violence Policy Center web site and was surpised to read the following:

"Whether at the local, state or federal level, the principal flaw that has plagued legislative efforts has been an almost exclusive focus on over-the-counter sales standards and a mistaken belief that it's possible to separate "good" handguns (those in our hands for self-defense) from "bad" handguns (those in the hands of criminals). Yet as noted earlier, most gun deaths are not crime related. And as the NRA correctly notes, criminals will be the last to obey any gun-control law.

The limitations of such an approach are illustrated by the recently enacted Brady bill. Waiting periods create a cooling-off period between the time a customer buys a gun and the time it may be possessed. In theory, this delay helps stop crimes of passion, and although anecdotal evidence suggests this happens occasionally, most suicides and shootings between friends and family occur with weapons already available.

In theory, background checks increase the chance of identifying those in proscribed categories who attempt to purchase firearms through legal channels. Such laws define the proscribed group as those with a prior felony conviction or deemed mentally unfit, yet such individuals rarely even attempt to buy guns personally from retail outlets.

A second conceptual flaw is the implicit assumption that anyone without a felony record is by definition "law-abiding." Under such systems individuals with arrest records and convictions for serious crimes are able to acquire guns legally because they have never been convicted of a felony. Patrick Purdy, the Stockton schoolyard killer, had a nine-year criminal history replete with weapons violations but could legally purchase a handgun under California law.

Recently, in the wake of the Brady bill's passage, attention has focused on the licensing of handgun owners. Licensing does offer some benefits: The information is useful in tracing weapons; identification of those in proscribed categories attempting to purchase firearms through legal channels is increased; and the application process itself may discourage sales to casual buyers. The limitations of licensing are that such systems are expensive to administer; it would have little effect on most gun violence, such as suicide or shootings between people who know each other; and anyone in a proscribed category desiring a gun could easily find one in the alternative, nonretail marketplace.

And although the most common argument heard in favor of licensing is "We license cars, why not license handguns?" public-health experts note that the licensing of cars had little effect on the death rate associated with autos. It was not until changes were made to the product itself--such as seat belts, air bags and improved structural design--that the number of deaths began to decline."
 Wow.  Let me summarize this:
  1. No such thing as a "good" or a "bad" handgun.  Assigning moral values to objects is a mistake.
  2. Waiting periods do not perform their intended task.
  3. Prohibited persons rarely make gun purchases from retail dealers, so background checks are useless.
  4. People with arrest records and violent misdemeanors should be prohibited from purchasing.
  5. Licensing schemes will not have a large effect on firearms violence.
  6. Only changes to the dangerous product itself can have an effect on the resultant violence.
Points 1, 2, 3, and 5 seem to show that VPC as of 1998, the copyright date of this document, have given up on the staples of gun control: licensing, and other purchase limitations.  Points 4, and 6 seem to telegraph what has happened since that time: more and more misdemeanor violent convictions result in prohibited status of individuals, and we have seen increasing ploys to dictate changes in gun manufacture, such as owner authorized handgun technology, micro-stamping, and ammunition serialization.

We also see the same old trend in the gun control side: the idea that controlling an object will have an effect on the actions of people: gun violence.  They do not seem to understand that if guns disappeared, gun violence would simply be converted into "knife violence", or "fist violence" or "bludgeon violence".

We have more guns, handgun and long guns, in this country than ever, but violent crime has been dropping every year. If VPC's logic was correct, we should be seeing an epidemic of gun violence, but despite the preaching of Joan Peterson, this is not happening.  

What is VPC trying to eliminate now?  Public carry of firearms by law abiding citizens.  They have clumsily telegraphed their intentions, but we need to stay vigilant. I think that the gun-rights community is on the offensive, and the sheer numbers of us will be telling in any election.  If I take the VPC claim that the 160 persons are actually valid carry permit holders convicted of gun crimes, then that means 6,140,646 carry permit holders have not committed any crimes.

That kind of makes the Violence Policy Center look pretty pathetic, doesn't it?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Joan Peterson Gets One Right

I have to admit, that when she's right, she's right:
"It's simple, or maybe not so simple. Things are not always as simple as the NRA and its minions would have us believe. What the gun guys really want is to quash the intent of May Issue states and open up the possibility of residents in those states suing for equal protection by saying “If they get to, why not us?” See the Indiana case mentioned in my previous post. This bill is part of a legal strategy to overturn all permitting processes in the states. The fact that some states have no permitting requirements at all provides them with an excuse to sue under the "equal protection" clause in the constitution - a favorite strategy of the NRA. That way, they get what they really want through the courts. Unfortunately for them, they don't win many of these challenges. So May Issue states would be California, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Maryland and Hawaii. The permit holders in other states would just love to carry their guns into these states but they can't now. Thus we have H.R. 822. H.R. 822 will also allow concealed carry permit holders to carry in any state with a licensing system.  In other words, all states except Illinois."
Yes, that is pretty much the strategy,  but she does go on to mislead things a bit:
"So one could assume that all the dangerous people in Florida who can get permits there can carry wherever they want. "
"all those dangerous people" are still required to go through a background check, submit fingerprints, and a photograph, attend a training course, and the Florida permit is accepted in 30 states, so it must be a pretty good system, at least as good as in the 30 states that extend reciprocity.

The real problem with may-issue states is that issuing authorities, at least in urban California, interpret this to mean "no-issue", except to privileged people. In this way Illinois is actually more fair than California: they are at least when they deny a right they deny it to everyone.  H.R. 822 is indeed a political tactic, because the goal of the gun-rights movement is to ensure that law-abiding citizens who wish to carry arms in public for self-defense have the ability to do so.

H.R. 822 is perhaps premature, since the courts have not yet confirmed carry as a right covered by the 2nd Amendment, but once that right is affirmed, H.R. 822 will be ripe for implementation.  H.R. 822 really scares Joan and people like her.  They are losing, and they know it.  Their ability to limit gun-rights is slipping away day by day, and passage of H.R. 822 would be a significant defeat for them.  And once it is demonstrated that carry license holders do not cause problems in the states they visit, the Joan Peterson's will lose that much more or their dwindling credibility.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

This is Why People Like Joan Peterson Are Not the Majority

Joan Peterson, and people like her, claim that the majority of Americans want reasonable gun laws, and that the NRA is the sole obstacle to that aim.  Of course, laws establishing shall-issue carry permit systems are not reasonable.  Nor is the desire of many people to carry arms for self defense.  People "strutting" around in public frightens Joan and people like her, so they want to stop it.

Pesky NRA!

The NRA is powerful because millions of people think that the laws advocated by the NRA, and the Second Amendment Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, the California Rifle and Pistol Association, among others, are the truly reasonable ones.

Well, here is something else that I am sure will frighten Joan Peterson: Chicks with Guns, by Lindsay McCrum, which is discussed in this MSNBC article.  From the article:
“I learned two main lessons while working on this book,” said McCrum, who divides her time between New York City and California when she isn’t traveling for work. “One is that on the subject of guns, nobody is neutral. And the other is that when you get outside of the blue-state cities, everybody has a gun.”
 The 4 million dues-paying members of the NRA are only the tip of the iceberg.  The rest of it is the millions of non-member gun owners, many of them like the women portrayed in Chicks with Guns, who are none the less supporters of all of these unreasonable gun laws.  This large silent majority is the reason why Joan Peterson and her ilk are losing the gun control debate politically.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Explosive Gunwalker Development

As reported at the Sipsey Street Irregulars, U.S. government funds were by ATF agents used to purchase firearms which were then "walked" to cartel smugglers.

If this does not open up the scandal, I don't know what would.  This is a clear violation of ITAR regulations, unless the ATF received clearance from the U.S. State Department.  So now the question to as might be "Did the ATF request or receive export authorization from the State Department?"

Joan Peterson's Positions

I have been reading Joan Peterson's blog Common Gunsense for a few months, and like many pro-rights people I have wondered where she stands on particular issues.  Others have tried to explain what Joan believes, as well. This is sometimes hard to discern from her rather preachy articles, but her replies to comments are often very illuminating.  I have to mention that she is quite articulate in her beliefs, and despite the comments of people on her blog, has been consistent and uncompromising. In the following paragraphs I paraphrase her positions as I have come to understand them from reading her blog, and then include my comments. Let us begin:
  1. Joan Peterson supports a ban on standard capacity magazines, and wants to limit magazine capacity.
  2. Joan Peterson supports restriction of firearms ownership rights of felons and mentally ill.
  3. Joan Peterson supports a ban on certain types of assault weapon, particularly the AK-47, the weapon in question in this URL.
  4. She seems to support a ban on new purchases, with non-transferable ownership right for owners of newly banned weapons upon a new law going into effect.
These positions are supported by this post:
"More importantly here is that we should be restricing high capacity magazines and we should also restrict access to guns for people like this in any and all ways we can. We should also reconsider a ban on certain types of assault weapons. It would take a while to get them off the streets, but eventually, we may be able to have some sanity in our country regarding guns."
I fully support point number 2, and it is the law today that felons and mentally ill individuals cannot buy firearms.  But with so many firearms in circulation, and private party sales not requiring background checks, prohibited people can still legitimately purchase firearms. 
  1. Joan Peterson believes that more guns necessarily result in more guns deaths.
  2. Joan Peterson believes that guns should be properly and safely secured against theft and accidental use.
  3. Joan Peterson does not believe that a gun ban is legally possible.
  4. Joan Peterson believes that gun confiscation was never an option.
These positions are supported by this post, emphasis added:
"I believe that more guns = more gun deaths. That is my personal belief and that of a lot of folks who work to prevent gun violence. We want guns out of the hands of those who should not have them. We want those of you who have them to make sure they are safe and strored so they are not stolen which is where most of the crime guns come from. Our belief does not translate into what is a possible or probable action. Banning guns is off the table after the 2 Supreme Court rulings. Confiscating guns was never on the table. Life is what it is. There are a lot of guns out there- too many in my estimation. I know I can't do much about that except to raise awareness and get you guys to admit that there a few simple and common sense things we can do together to stem the tide of gun violence. You guys know perfectly well what I propose and you keep asking as if I have never answered the question. I call that harassment. It won't work. Ask me something you don't know the answer to and maybe you will get an answer. But please do not keep asking what I propose and please do not keep saying I want your guns. That is folly on your part. It is a useless line of argument and discussion."
And by this post, emphasis added:
"Keep observing as I know you will. You will not see me suggesting a national plan to disarm citizens. Again- take it easy out there. Your life will be a lot less stressful. "
I do not believe that point 1 is true, but I would be hard pressed to find definitive statistics to prove it.  No responsible gun owner could possible disagree with point 2, in my opinion, if for no other reason than guns are valuable property.  Point 3 assures us that Joan Peterson understands the legal reality in the post-Heller United States, no matter what her personal feelings on the matter are, but I'd bet she thinks that a renewed Assault Weapon Ban would be constitutional.  I think there is a solid argument to the contrary, but that issue will only be taken up if such a law is passed. On point 4, however, that might have been true for the people Joan Peterson knows in the anti-rights community, but it is not true of all:
Feinstein said on CBS-TV's 60 Minutes, February 5, 1995, "If I could have gotten 51 votes in the Senate of the United States for an outright ban, picking up every one of them . . . Mr. and Mrs. America, turn 'em all in, I would have done it. I could not do that. The votes weren't here."[22]
So Joan Peterson is incorrect claiming that gun confiscation was never an objective of the anti-gun political community.  They simply lost that argument years ago.
  1. Joan Peterson wants to limit guns that allowed to be used in self defense,  and believes that she and her allied organizations are best suited to determine those limits.
  2. Joan Peterson does not understand "gun culture", and is frightened by people who live within the gun culture.
These points are supported by this post, emphasis added:
"I was, and still am, in favor of banning certain types of assault weapons similar to those banned in the previous AWB. When you guys talk about banning guns, you appear to be saying that we would ban ALL guns. I'm sure you know that is not true. My desire to have zero gun deaths is an aspirational goal. One must have goals. My goal is not to ban all of your guns. Some guns, to me and those with whom I work, are guns that should not be available to the average citizen. They were not meant to be used for hunting or self defense. Those are the ones we think should not be in the market place. But given that that is unlikely to happen, if you MUST have those guns because you perceive them to be necessary for whatever reason that would be, having fewer rounds to shoot from them is only sensible. You just plain do not need to shoot off a lot of rounds for self defense. On the face of it, it makes no sense to most people. Many who are gun owners are hunters who only own hunting guns and they are not interested in the least in the type of military style weapons some of you collect or claim to need. These folks would never consider large capacity magazines. It is a minority of you who feel this way. Gun owners are a diverse group. Many of them happen to agree with me and that has been shown in most polling over many years so it is not a one time response. So, I do want to ban magazines of greater than 10 or 11 rounds. That is true. I support the McCarthy bill. You knew that, though. I have never said I would try to ban guns other than those that I have mentioned above. It will never happen plain and simply. Even if I did believe that, it would just never happen, so why try? I don't like all of the guns out there and don't find them to be necessary personally except for hunting and some for self defense. I'm just not into guns like you guys are. We live in 2 distinct cultures. We are trying to understand this but it sure is difficult, right? I see the enthusiasm at gun shows. I see all the people who like to look at and buy guns there. That is just a culture so foreign to me that it makes me uncomfortable. Truly, I do not know anyone who feels as you guys do and I know a lot of people from many walks of life. I know a lot of gun owners, by the way, and I have written their views. They represent the views of the majority of gun owners."
 I  think Joan Peterson's desire to limit the defensive capabilities of firearms allowed to citizens stems from her fear of the "gun guys".  It is natural to fear what one does not understand, as it is to mistrust those whom you fear.  But excuse me, I will not acquiesce to limits on my self defense weapon choices based on Joan Peterson's fears, and the actions of felons who can't be trusted outside of prison, let alone in possession of firearms.

I will agree that in society that some kind of compromise must be made.  Here is my suggestion: Non-law enforcement citizens should be allowed to possess and carry in public any weapon a law enforcement officer is allowed to carry, and law enforcement officers should be limited to weapons that citizens are allowed to possess.

Police are not the military, and I am disturbed by the apparent militarization of police agencies and the increasing use of tactical squads to serve no-knock warrants in circumstances that do not seem to justify such force.  Police are not a special class of individuals in society: they are citizens with special duties and responsibilities, but the citizen is, or should be, sovereign.
  1. Joan Peterson thinks that public schools should have no role in teaching about firearm safety.
This  point is supported by this post, emphasis added:
"You guys have talked about this before. It's just not going to happen. As you know, our schools are having lots of budget cuts and teachers have a heck of time getting in the required subject matter as it is. To think a teacher would now teach gun safety is a non starter. I think you all should abandon that idea since it just isn't going to happen. Not to mention that people like me would show up at School Board meetings and lobby heavily against it. And I would get a lot of people to that meeting. Since I used to be on the School Board, I know how those things work."
But schools are used to teach about safety all the time, especially driving safety, but I guess automobiles are non-threatening enough to not scare folks.  Granted, her point about teacher work loads and budget cuts are spot-on, but I think it is telling that she could muster a LOT of opposition from parents opposing firearms safety training because most parents are ignorant, and therefore fearful, about guns.

However, this is an issue that is being discussed in some school districts in the U.S.  Virginia has passed legislation that requires the state board of education to design course materials to teach firearm safety in elementary schools.  Arizona has designed a high school course that actually requires students to fire one shot safely at a target.  This law was signed by then-Governor Janet Napolitano, currently the the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security in the Obama Administration.  Ironic.
  1. Joan Peterson is most definitely against carrying guns in public for self defense. 
  2. Joan Peterson opposes shall-issue carry permit laws.
This post supports the previous point, emphasis added:
This is the problem with many of our state's permit to carry laws. There was a reason that permits used to be "may issue". Sheriffs and local Police Chiefs understood that there were some people in their communities who would put themselves or others at risks if they were allowed to get a permit to carry or purchase. They screened applicants more carefully and had the good judgement to deny some folks permits. Now most states have "shall issue" permit laws making it more difficult to deny permits.
And this post:
"Yes, indeed, to err is human. We try as a society to make sure those errors don't result in death. We can't stop them all but we sure should try. But when more deadly weapons are owned and carried by gun owners, making an error can result in tragedy. That is why there shouldn't be so many guns in so many public places where errors can happen. "
This is practically the theme of Joan's blog, every article, and every comment she writes.  She knows that she cannot do anything about guns in private homes, but she does not believe that guns in public have any social utility.

I will grant  her one point, however.  She posts many examples of people acting stupidly with firearms, with deadly results.  To me, this is a good argument for training, perhaps government mandated training, but that is a thorny constitutional issue still to be worked out. And I can cite just as many cases of firearms used successfully in self defense as Joan can cite of firearms stupidly mishandled.

But that is not really her argument.  She is adamant that her goal is to reduce gun deaths, and obviously eliminating guns from some aspect of society, guns deaths would be eliminated.  No guns, no gun deaths.  So any citation of the many studies that have been published enumerating the social utility of firearms falls of deaf ears.

And she overlooks, or agrees with, the abuse “may-issue” permit laws perpetrated by law enforcement agencies that deny all people carry permits, except those that are somehow “special”, like well connected celebrities, businessmen, and “friends of the sheriff” who have recently made large campaign contributions. These practices, rampant in urban California, make a mockery of “screened applicants” and “good judgement”. Hence the nationwide wave of shall-issue carry permit laws, taking the power of discretion away from the authorities who abused the trust or the citizens.
  1. Joan Peterson makes no distinction between acts of violence and the object used to commit the act.
  2. Joan Peterson is not really interested in thoughtful discussion of 2nd Amendment rights.
This point is supported this post, emphasis added:
"Good for you, Paul. Knives and guns do actually kill people- the wounds from a knife and the injuries from the bullets coming from the gun kill. I know because 3 bullets killed my sister. It's a matter of semantics but it makes absolutely no difference to the outcome whether or not a gun or the person with the gun killed someone. To me it didn't matter. I just knew that a gun took my sister's life."
This is Joan's ultimate motivation. All of her positions stem from the murder of her sister, and this also explains her absolutely uncompromising stand on her beliefs. It should be no surprise that she ultimately wrote this:

After careful thought and reflection about the direction my blog has taken since I asked questions and got answers from the "gun guys", I have changed the purpose of my blog. As stated in my last post, I have found that most of the comments were just not getting the two sides of this volatile issue to a place where a thoughtful discussion could take place. Though the title of my blog indicates that I would like to have a discussion, I am not sure that is possible “

which displays her fundamental ignorance and intolerance. Joan Peterson is not really interested in “thoughtful discussion” when that discussion does not agree with her views. She cannot get over her sisters death, will not compromise her view that the availability of guns in public should be curtailed, and can be no more swayed by the counter arguments of those who post on her blog then we can be by her articles. The disagreement is one of fundamental world views, and cannot be bridged.
  1. Joan Peterson sometimes writes really stupid stuff.
This point is supported by this post, emphasis added:
"The "bust" pictures? Hand grenades and RPGs are sold at gun shows all over the country. They could be sold by private sellers who may or may not require background checks. "
which sounds as if she is claiming that military grade weapons are routinely sold a gun shows, but then she adds this:
"It looks like some hand grenades are for sale on-line:"
Her readers jump all over that, of course, causing her to backpedal a bit:
"Thanks for all of your comments about grenades, most of which are not published here. I am aware that the grenades sold on-line or sometimes at gun shows, which they have been, are the casings without the explosives needed to make them a dangerous weapon. "he grenade casings or shells when they are configured into an inert format are not illegal to possess or to be sold. They become an illegal dangerous weapon when they are reconfigured to make them active or when a suspect purports as a form of intimidation that the device will explode or purports for sell that the device can explode or fragment." from: So the problem with having these type of "grenades" available is that they could be made into devices that can explode and cause serious damage. One wonders why the casings are even for sale anywhere. "
So, they are not real grenades after all, but that really does not matter. Joan does not like them, they make her scared, so they should be banned.  Gosh, maybe she will go after lengths of pipe next?

While I continue to read Common Gunsense, I do so less often, and I have stopped posting comments to her articles. I feel that I thoroughly understand her positions and I believe that she is not really interested in what the pro-rights community has to say. She is only interested in preaching to us, while those that still post comments are trying to convince her that she is utterly wrong. A pointless exercise for the reasons I list above. The “debate” on Common Gunsense is at an impasse, and has been for a long time, so reading the site has become quite tiresome.


Updated: 9/26/2011

Comment from this post:
"I believe there is a difference between someone carrying a loaded gun on their hip in a public place and a group of unarmed people rallying."
In other words Joan Peterson does not believe that the 2nd Amendment protects a civil right to be armed in public.  As a strict matter of constitutional law, she is right at this time, but I am optimistic that the Supreme Court will find in favor or carry some time on the next couple of years.


Updates: 9/27/2011

Comment from this post:
"You guys don't care about anything except your selfish desire to carry your toys with you wherever you go. It's the law. The public doesn't even know what's in that law and would find it disconcerting to see you walking around with your holstered gun as you love to do. Just like the public at the zoo in Indiana. And when the legislators who voted in favor of the bill realized what it meant, they started to change their minds. But keep carrying your guns, Bryan. I'm sure everyone will think it's just wonderful to see a guy with a loaded holstered gun strutting around in their communities. It's a great sight- so friendly and peaceful."

This post says it all: the desire to be armed for self defense is "selfish", and we are demeaned as childish for wanting our "toys" where ever we go.  And of course the public must have been somehow hoodwinked into voting in favor of permissive carry laws because there is just no common sense in the idea of carrying firearms in public.  And what Joan is really objecting to about the Indiana incident is the new state law preempting local gun ordinances.  The individual in question was not breaking any law, but just making zoo patrons, and Joan, uncomfortable. To Joan, we are not citizens exercising rights, we are "strutting" around, purposely creating a disturbance.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Media Still Wrong About Fast & Furious

This Newsday story still gets it wrong about Operation Fast & Furious:

Fast and Furious was designed to track guns that "straw buyers" purchased in Phoenix area shops in 2009. The goal was to trace the guns and make cases against traffickers supplying firepower to deadly drug cartels in Mexico. But agents quickly lost track of the weapons and many turned up at crime scenes, including the December shootout in Arizona where border agent Terry died.
 Wrong. Fast & Furious was designed to boost the number of weapons confiscated in Mexico that were traceable to U.S. retail firearms dealers, which would then be used as a pretext to adopt stricter gun control laws, especially the reintroduction of the Federal Assault Weapon Ban.

Fast & Furious was not a "bungled investigation", but rather a covert political operation designed to subvert the 2nd Amendment.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Armed Self Defense

Taking inspiration from the NRA Armed Citizen column, and The Armed Citizen web site, which is unfortunately no longer updated, I have started a page of links to news articles describing incidents where armed citizens have successfully defended themselves with firearms in public places.  This page can be accessed here.

This is an attempt to show that despite the insistent denials of some people, ordinary poeple use firearms to defend themselves every day.

I invite all of my readers, and I know that there must be more than the five followers, to report incidents like these so I can include them on my page.

Ralph Nader Forming a Cicular Firing Squad

As reported in this article, Ralph Nader is beginning to search for a primary challenger to President Obama.  While I happen to agree that the President is facing an uphill battle to re-election, nothing would guarantee a Democratic defeat, no matter who the Republican nominee might be, so much as a slit amongst Democrats.

If one does not want a President Bachmann, and I don't, then Democrats must stand united. Even if they are defeated, Democrats could do our country a great service by running a hard campaign that forces the Republicans to moderate their choice of candidate.

Of course, if the economy, especially unemployment gets worse, Obama is toast no matter who runs against him.

Give The Black President A Pass

Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver said Sunday:
"If [former President] Bill Clinton had been in the White House and had failed to address this problem, we probably would be marching on the White House. There is a less-volatile reaction in the CBC because nobody wants to do anything that would empower the people who hate the president."
So, because Obama is black, he gets a pass on policies that have been nothing short than disastrous to blacks in America.  Maxine Waters should divert some of the anger she feels toward the Tea Party to her own party leadership. 

The more I hear from black politicians, the more I am convinced that they are a bunch of stooges who are relentlessly exploited by the Democratic Party, which has become a party of Wall Street and Ivy League elites, much like the Republican Party, who have no interest in solving the problems that blacks face in this country.  Democrats like having blacks, other minorities, and the poor helpless and dependent on Democratic politicians.

I believe that the CBC would do well to realize that blacks are on their own, and act to bolster their fellows themselves.  The government handouts and hands-up are not coming anytime soon.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Brady Campaign Quote on AB 144

The following quote appeared in this article that ran in the Los Angeles Times:

Gun control advocates hope that California will now pave the way for the rest of the country to outlaw the practice.

"Openly carrying a gun with [an ammunition] magazine in your back pocket into Starbucks and other establishments creates a culture of fear and intimidation,'' said Brian Malte, director for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "It is irresponsible and dangerous.''

"People in other states look to see what California does,'' he said. If Brown signs the bill, "other states will follow suit.''
People in other states look at what California does, and them they laugh their asses off.

The Brady Campaign comment is really a combination of disinformation and hopeful speculation.  Open carry of loaded weapons is legal in all but 9 states, and is unlikely to change soon, as many states allow concealed carry with a license.  California, in effect, has already banned open carry because carry of loaded weapons has been illegal in incorporated areas for about thirty years.

But AB 144 is not trivial legislation.  It is in fact very important that this bill be defeated.  The goal of the gun-rights community is to normalize the carry of weapons in public by law-abiding citizens, a goal that I completely support.  AB 144 is an attempt to further marginalize that practice, so defeating it is important.

The Brady Campaign, LCAV, GVPC, and other anti-rights groups realize this, and they realize that carry is the current battleground.  They also realize that carry is the last line: if they loose this, then gun control as a political issue will be dead.  That is why AB 144 is so important to Anthony Portantino and other anit-gun activists.  This is their last stand.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fast & Furious Coverup

Today, in Human Events, John Hayward wonders why the media is not even asking questions about the Fast & Furious investigation:

As Heritage Foundation communications director  Rory Cooper noted via Twitter this morning: “Media hasn’t asked White House about Fast and Furious since JULY 5. Not in one briefing. I have questions, do you?”  That was 77 days ago.  The L.A. Times and CBS News are virtually alone in providing comprehensive mainstream-media coverage of the “Gun Walker” outrage.  At what point does the remarkable media ignorance of this historic scandal become impossible to regard as anything less than willing co-operation in the cover-up?
It seems obvious to me that in an era when news of a presidential candidate's affair and illegitimate child was broken by the National Enquirer, that at least some of the media is in the tank for liberals. 

H.R. 822 - Where Do I Stand?

H.R. 822 was recently debated in a House subcommittee, and this begs the question of where do I stand on this issue?

While nobody who regularly reads Left Coast Conservative will be surprised to learn that I support this bill and hope for it to become law, I want to express why it is good law.

The entire issue of carrying weapons in public is ripe for the next level of regulation.  Regulation?  I can hear you all cry "How can my rights be regulated?". Many may not like it, but the fact is that the courts have long held that the exercise of rights are subject to time, place, and, manner restrictions.  Hence, carry licenses are not unconstitutional, not are the objective requirements to obtain one, as long as the issuance is fairly administered.

49 states have some form of carry licensing, or allow carry without a license.  With more and more citizens licensed to carry weapons, carry in states other than the state of residence becomes an issue.  Many states have reciprocity agreements with other states, allowing licensed citizens to carry in other states, subject to the laws of that state. Unfortunately, state laws concerning carry are not uniform, so there is a burden on the citizen to be aware of the differences in the laws between the state of residence, and state where they are carrying at any time.

H.R. 822 provides the first step to uniformity in national carry laws, requiring reciprocity between all states that issue licenses.  If adopted, and shown to be without problems, future enhancements might address uniform objective minimum requirements for carry licenses, or places where carry is prohibited, or procedures for businesses to prohibit carry on their premises.  I firmly believe, that uniformity of the law can only benefit the law abiding citizen, and for this reason I support this bill.

Citizens and politicians in carry-hostile states like California may react in horror at the thought of visitors carrying weapons on our streets.  I would suggest to these people that they are behind the times.  Carry is the front-line issue in the gun right community, and there are many smart people working through the court system to make carry in public a recognized fundamental right.  And there is a good chance that they will succeed.  If successful, then the California system of may-issue licensing will be abolished, forcing our state legislature to confront the issue.  Why not use the passage of H.R 822 to get in front of the issue, and provide California citizens the same privileges enjoyed by citizens of other states?

I am sure that such optimism about our dysfunctional legislature is completely misplaced as we wait for Governor Brown to either sign of veto AB 144, a bill that would ban public carry of unloaded firearms.

Nationwide carry is going to be a reality one day. We need to start a national debate about uniform laws dealing with carry in public, allowing all citizens to understand the legal requirements that they must abide.  The sooner we start, the better off all citizens will be.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Baltimore Mayoral Candidate Proposes Bullet Tax: Stupid is As Stupid Does

As reported in this story, Baltimore, MD mayoral candidate Otis Rolley proposed a $1 per round "bullet tax", that he claims would have the following effects:
"While the courts have consistently ruled against significant gun control legislation, there is still a way to decrease crime: substantially increase the cost of its commission," Rolley's plan states."
As if there is not already a criminal black market trafficking in highly dangerous and illegal commodity already in Baltimore.  Fortunately for lawful gun owners in Baltimore, the Democratic incumbent won the primary election.

Testimony of David Kopel - H.R. 822

David Kopel, contributor to the Volokh Conspiracy, testified before the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in favor of H.R. 822.  His written statement can be read here, and has been added to my Get the Fact section.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chicago Tribune Delivers a Slap to President Obama

When your hometown newspaper urges you to not run for re-election, it is a pretty hard slap in the face.  Is President Obama even losing "favorite son" status in Chicago?  Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman calls for the President to step aside in favor of of Hillary Clinton:
Besides avoiding this indignity, Obama might do his party a big favor. In hard times, voters have a powerful urge to punish incumbents. He could slake this thirst by stepping aside and taking the blame. Then someone less reviled could replace him at the top of the ticket.

The ideal candidate would be a figure of stature and ability who can't be blamed for the economy. That person should not be a member of Congress, since it has an even lower approval rating than the president's.

It would also help to be conspicuously associated with prosperity. Given Obama's reputation for being too quick to compromise, a reputation for toughness would be an asset.

As it happens, there is someone at hand who fits this description: Hillary Clinton. Her husband presided over a boom, she's been busy deposing dictators instead of destroying jobs, and she's never been accused of being a pushover.
It won't happen, of course.  Obama is too much of a narcissist to do something selfless for his Party or the nation.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Testimony of Joyce Lee Malcom in Favor of H.R.822

This document contains the testimony of Joye Lee Malcolm, Professor at George Mason University school of law comparing the approaches to self defense of the United States and the United Kingdom.

This brief testimony compares two approaches to crime prevention and public safety, the American approach of permitting armed citizens to carry weapons for protection and the British approach of disarming subjects of guns and all other means of defense with the promise the state will protect them.

I have never read a better short summation of the reasons justifying laws allowing citizens to be armed in public than this.

This is a must read document.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

600 bills, $12,000,000 and a part-time Legislature

In this article, which I was reading because it mentioned AB 144, the Open Carry ban, one finds this little factoid:
Many aren't worth the paper their glowing news releases were printed on — and certainly not worth the $20,000 legislative cost, on average, that each bill ate up in processing. “
So, let's do the math, shall we? 600 bills means that our frivolous legislature has wasted most of the $12,000,000 that has been spent on the pile of steaming BS that it sent to the Governor's desk.
This seems to be a pretty powerful justification for switching to a part-time legislature.  It seems to work for a lot of other states.
When will we, the citizens, learn that we get the government we deserve?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Urge Governor Brown to Veto AB 144, AB 809, and SB 427

AB 144, AB 809, and SB 427 have all been passed by the state legislature and have gone to Governor Brown's office for his signature or veto.  Please contact Governor Brown to urge that he veto these bills.  Governor Brown's office may be contacted by:

Governor Jerry Brown
c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: (916) 445-2841
Fax: (916) 558-3160

Here is the text of my fax:

Governor Brown,

As a citizen of this great state, and a lawful firearm owner, I am asking you to veto the following bills that will come before you for signature:

AB 144 - This is a piece of legislation in search of a problem. Carrying of unloaded firearms in public cannot possible be a threat to the public at large because the firearms are, by law, required to be unloaded, and subject to inspection by police officers. Banning a poor substitute for a real defensive carry mode is simply bad law. A good law to adopt would be a shall-issue style CCW program similar to those adopted by other states in recent decades. Requiring citizens who wish to carry in public to do so concealed would allow citizens to protect themselves and prevent alarming the general public.

AB 809 - Long gun registration will be an expensive program to adopt at a time when the state is in fiscal crisis. In addition, experiences in Canada and New York state, and other places that have registration laws, have shown that firearms registration systems do not help police solve crimes. Laws should be effective in accomplishing the goals used to justify them. AB 809 would not be effective.

SB 427 - This is another attempt to regulate handgun ammunition, an attempt that was mooted by the courts when AB 962 was overturned at a very low level in Federal Court. SB 427 is similarly bad law, certainly to attract a lawsuit, almost certainly to be overturned or stayed by a permanent injunction. Once again, laws should be effective in their stated purposes, and SB 427 is not, and thus worthy of a veto.

For the forgoing reasons, I urge you to veto AB 144, AB 809, and SB 427.