Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gun Blogger Needs Your Help

Jeff at Alphecca.com and the "Tribal Elder" of People of the Gun needs your help to keep his blog going.

He was "downsized" at the auto dealership where he has been working for the last few years. As a result, he is working longer hours for less pay. According to Jeff, "So, I took the job. I’m broke but I’m getting about a hundred more than if I signed up for unemployment. At least I’m earning my few dollars."

Jeff is a gun blogger who has been around for years. Checking his Sitemeter stats, he has over 2 million visits. Knowing how hard it was to get to 10,000 visits, that illustrates how long he has been around and how important his site has become over the years.

If you can spare a few bucks, drop something into his tip jar. I did and I hope you will, too.

Appleseed Responds to the New York Times

Yesterday, the New York Times ran an article with pictures and a video on the Appleseed Project. As others have commented, for the Times it was remarkably balanced. In other words, they didn't condemn gun owners as bloodthirsty savages. They did, however, try to associate the Appleseed Project with the Tea Party movement, militias, and anti-government sorts.

The Appleseed Project has responded with a detailed rebuttal to the Times story. It is worth reading the whole thing.

To summarize their rebuttal, they make five major points.

First, Appleseed is not "militia". They note Appleseed only offers instruction in rifle marksmanship and in the history of the American Revolution. They do not stress nor teach military or small unit tactics.

Second, Appleseed is not just "white".
Appleseed is filled with students and instructors of all races, creeds, genders, and identities. We make no distinction for color, religion, sexual preference, political beliefs or any other discriminatory category. Our program is comprised at all levels of all Americans, and we explicitly urge all Americans to come. We have no patience for those who would take this great nation and divide it up by race, or who would single out someone else for ridicule or derision.
Third, Appleseed is not anti-government, anti-military, or anti-law enforcement.
Appleseed has zero tolerance for anti-government, anti-military, or anti-law enforcement attitudes, comments or advocates. To the contrary, we offer free spots on our shooting lines for active duty military personnel and have been called onto military bases to teach troops deploying for overseas duty in combat theaters.
Fourth, Appleseed is not "right wing". They note they have no interest in partisan politics and have attracted students from across the political spectrum.

Finally, Appleseed doesn't have some "secret plan."
We wish we had a Secret Plan to get more people involved but we don't. There is no inner group, no special level, no wizard behind the curtain. There is only this: Our ancestors were left with two paths: submission or bloodshed. They chose the latter so that we could be left with a third path: citizenship and civic participation. To take this third path we must get off the couch, turn off the TV, and get involved in our communities. Those who would blather about a "choice" between submission and bloodshed in modern American do not understand what American was meant to be, or is.

Civic participation is not our secret plan. It is our openly stated mission.
I wish them luck in getting their rebuttal published in the New York Times. After all, it is the Times who decides what is the news fit to print - not the rest of us.

For a better review of the Appleseed Project, I suggest reading Massad Ayoob's review of it in Backwoods Home magazine. Mas not only participated but was awarded his Rifleman Patch.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Working for Gun Rights in India

After the Sepoy Mutiny in 1857, the British rulers of India banned all non-Europeans from owning firearms. It was their way of keeping the Indian people defenseless, if not totally submissive. Even Gandhi, the foremost proponent of non-violence, termed this act "the blackest" of the many misdeeds of the British rule in India.

The Indian Government replaced that law in 1959. Its replacement "granted every citizen the right to bear arms, regardless of race or social standing." That was then and this is now.

As noted in an article in the Indian newspaper The National,
Along with highly restrictive curbs on the sale of ammunition and the creation of a national database of firearm owners, the new regulations also require gun-licence applicants to prove a “grave and imminent threat” to their lives in order to be approved.
Indian gunowners are outraged and have finally formed The National Association of Gun Rights India (Nagri) to fight for their gun rights. They have patterned it after the NRA. They aim to lobby lawmakers as well as fund legal cases to make it easier to own and carry firearms.
This month the organisation began a membership drive – and in doing so, they have provoked a debate about the role of fire arms in the land of Mahatma Gandhi.

“The bottom line is it’s about freedom,” said Abhijeet Singh, 37, an entrepreneur and one of Nagri’s founders.

“The first line of defence has to be the citizen. It always has been like that, it will always continue to be like that.”
Their opposition, Control Arms Foundation of India (Cafi), takes the same approach as the Brady Campaign and seeks to blame the gun and not the criminal.
But anti-gun campaigners say arming citizens is not the way forward. The Control Arms Foundation of India (Cafi), which was set in up 2004 in response to rising gun crime in the north-east, estimates there are already some 46 million firearms in India, making it the country with the second largest number of guns in civilian hands after the US.

“If I say I am going to protect myself then I exempt the state from doing its job. What India are we living in? This is not some failed state,” said Arundhati Ghose, a former India ambassador to the UN who campaigns for Cafi.

The founder of NAGRI counters that is nonsense. He notes that criminals can get more firepower and be less traceable if they go to the black market.

This is a group that bears watching. It would be nice to see real gun rights come to the second largest country in the world.

Finance Friday

I am starting a new feature on the blog. Every Friday I will post 2-3 links to stories about personal finance that you can use. As the title of the blog says, this blog is about guns AND money. The money part has gotten less attention lately because of all the great work that the Second Amendment Foundation, Alan Gura, and other gun rights attorneys have done since McDonald v. Chicago. And also because hobbies and interests are usually more fun than the day job!

Taxes
Taxes and the potential expiration of the "Bush tax cuts" have been in the news a lot lately. The Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconcilation Act of 2001 lowered taxes across the board. In addition to income taxes, it lowered the capital gains rates, expanded deductions and limits for retirement savings, and increased the gift tax exclusion. Unfortunately, the capital gains rate as well as income tax rates will increase in 2011 if the 2001 cuts are not extended or made permanent. This is because to get the bill through Congress, the Bush Administration had to agree to a sunset provision.

To assess the impact of these tax changes, the Tax Foundation has provided a calculator. It envisions three scenarios: Bush cuts extended, Bush cuts expire, and the Obama budget is passed with a mixture of extensions and expirations. The calculator lets you put in your income, deductions, interest and dividend income, and sales which result in capital gains or losses. It then gives you an estimate of the impact of the above scenarios. I found it a very useful tool.

Inherited IRA'S

When inheriting a retirement account you can easily make costly mistakes. Unlike some mistakes, these cannot usually be undone. This article by Deborah Jacobs in Forbes Magazine gives five rules for handling inherited retirement accounts. It points out common mistakes and makes suggestions for how to avoid these mistakes.

Target Date Funds

Target retirement dates funds have been pitched as an one-stop quick and easy alterantives for allocating your IRA and 401(k) accounts. If only it were that easy! With the proliferation of these funds in many retirement plans, how do you make an informed decision? The Wall Street Journal has a good article in their Weekend Investor section that deals with making the decision. The bottom line is that fees matter and that passive investing - usually index funds held within these funds - works better.

If you have areas that you would like to see covered in the future, let me know in the comments section. In addition to being a financial planner and a gunny, I teach both financial planning and retirement planning as a Visiting Instructor in the College of Business at Western Carolina University. If I don't know the answer to your question, I know someone who does.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Good Things Happen In Three's

Yesterday, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, the CalGuns Foundation, the NRA, the Folsom Gun Club, and two individuals brought the third suit in California over the state's new handgun ammunition law. Today, Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation filed their third lawsuit after their win in McDonald v. Chicago.

The newest case involves a Baltimore County, Maryland man who's renewal of his handgun carry permit was turned down by the Maryland State Police because he couldn't demonstrate “a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger.” The case, Woollard et al v. Sheridan et al, was filed in U. S. District Court for the District of Maryland. In addition to Raymond Woollard, the Second Amendment Foundation is also a plaintiff.

The Second Amendment Foundation said in their release,
The lawsuit alleges that “Individuals cannot be required to demonstrate that carrying a handgun is ‘necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger’ as a prerequisite for exercising their Second Amendment rights.” Plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction against enforcement of the Maryland provision that requires permit applicants to “demonstrate cause” for the issuance of a carry permit.
 On Christmas Eve, 2002, Mr. Woollard and his family were attacked in a home invasion by a burglar. He and his family finally subdued the intruder and had to wait  2 1/2 hours for the police to arrive. The police were confused as to whether he was in Baltimore County or not. The home invader was convicted of 1st Degree Burglary and given a sentence of three years probation.

Mr. Woollard was granted a handgun carry permit after this incident. His permit was renewed in 2005 after the home invader (who lives a mere three miles from him) was released from prison on probation violation charges. When Mr. Woollard went to renew his permit in 2009, he was denied a renewal because he didn't provide proof that he was in danger. He appealed this denial to the Handgun Permit Review Board. They affirmed his denial saying “has not submitted any documentation to verify threats occurring beyond his residence, where he can already legally carry a handgun.”

The lawsuit is suing the Maryland State Police and the Handgun Permit Review Board on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. The suit contends,
28. Individuals cannot be required to prove their “good and substantial reason” for the exercise of fundamental constitutional rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.

29. Individuals cannot be required to demonstrate that carrying a handgun is
“necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger,” or that they face a greater than average level of danger, as a prerequisite for exercising their Second Amendment rights.

30. Maryland Public Safety Code § 5-306(a)(5)(ii)’s requirement that handgun carry
permit applicants demonstrate “good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun, such . . . that the permit is necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger,” violates the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, damaging Plaintiffs in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
The suit seeks to permanently enjoin the Maryland State Police and Handgun Permit Review Board from requiring a showing of "apprehended danger as well as "from denying a permit to carry firearms on grounds that the applicant does not face a level of danger higher than that which an average person would reasonably expect to encounter." The suit is also asking for Mr. Woollard's permit to renewed, cost of the suit, and attorney's fees.

I see this lawsuit as well as the Westchester County, NY case as a direct frontal assault on "may issue" states. A win in either or both of those cases would mean that one doesn't have to be rich, famous, or well-connected in order to secure a carry permit.

The whole complaint can be found here.



UPDATE: Dave Hardy at the Of Arms and the Law blog has a very perceptive observation.
And to think -- it was only a few years ago that Brady and others were suing gun manufacturers right and left, as part of a campaign to bankrupt the industry, a campaign that had a good chance of succeeding. Today, they're on the defensive (to the extent they act at all) and the progun side is on the offense. Since almost all of it has occurred over the last month or so, it's more than an offense, it's a legal blitzkrieg.
 UPDATE II: Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell makes a very good point about Maryland. It is in the 4th Circuit but is the outlier in terms of concealed carry. The other states in the 4th Circuit - Virginia, West Virginia, and the Carolinas are all "shall issue" states.

UPDATE III: The Baltimore Sun didn't even cover this in today's paper. The Washington Post did have a story but it was buried on page B6. I'm sure they be screaming bloody murder if and when Woollard wins.

NC Wildlife Resources Commission on Crossbows

I received this from the NC WRC today:
Crossbow Hunting

The use of crossbows is now a legal hunting method by licensed hunters anytime bow-and-arrow hunting is allowed. However, state law requires that anyone buying or otherwise receiving a crossbow in North Carolina must first obtain a pistol permit from the sheriff’s office in their county of residence or hold a valid concealed handgun permit. Questions about obtaining pistol permits and issuance of concealed handgun permits should be directed to the local sheriff’s department.

The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission does not regulate the sale or purchase of firearms and crossbows.
They must be getting a lot of calls about the requirement to have a pistol permit or CHP before you can buy a crossbow in North Carolina. I would say it is time for the General Assembly to get their act in gear and remove the permit requirements from crossbow purchases. They must have gotten scared after seeing Carol Bouquet as Melina Havelock in the James Bond movie "For Your Eyes Only" when they imposed that requirement.

From MArooned: Something To Be Proud Of...

A great post at MArooned: Something To Be Proud Of... on Obama having to choose between The View over the Boy Scouts.

Jay at MArooned hit it on the head especially on the rage meter.

The View or the Boy Scout National Jamboree at Ft. A.P. Hill? Hmm.

Well, we know which one Obama chose as ABC is running ads touting his appearance on The View. Besides, those Boy Scouts are meeting on an icky military base!

I haven't been active in Scouting for 35 years. That said, I was an Eagle Scout (bronze palm) and a Brotherhood member of the Order of the Arrow (Tali Tak Taki 70) and I still remember the Scout Law.

Boy Scout Law

A Scout is:

Trustworthy,
Loyal,
Helpful,
Friendly,
Courteous,
Kind,
Obedient,
Cheerful,
Thrifty,
Brave,
Clean,
and Reverent.

In my not so humble opinion, the first of the Scout Laws trips up Obama almost instantly. As to the Scout Motto, Be Prepared, well after his handling of the Deepwater Horizon oil debacle, I guess he can forget that one as well.

Washington Times: Kagan's Snowe Job on Gun Rights

The Washington Times had an editorial today on Senator Olympia Snowe's (R-ME) support of Elena Kagan to be the newest Supreme Court Justice. She based part of her support for Kagan on the Second Amendment.

Snowe's office sent out a press release announcing her support for Kagan that said, in part,
“Also, she has affirmed forcefully that adherence to Court precedent is a vital command for the Court. And in that light, in my view as a longtime, ardent supporter of Second Amendment rights, it was critical that General Kagan stated during her testimony that the precedents set by the Supreme Court in the Heller and McDonald cases – which upheld a personal right to possess a firearm -- are ‘deeply rooted in this nation's history and traditions’ and are ‘settled law;’ that she has ‘absolutely no reason to think that the court's analysis was incorrect in any way;’ and, that she will apply these cases as law ‘going forward.’”
As the Washington Times notes, "We've been down this road before" with Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her contention that the Second Amendment was settled law.
Once the "wise Latina" donned the robes of her lifetime office, any pretense of upholding the individual's right to bear arms was jettisoned. Ms. Sotomayor signed onto the gun rights dissent of Justice Stephen G. Breyer last month, which stated, "I can find nothing in the Second Amendment's text, history or underlying rationale that could warrant characterizing it as 'fundamental' insofar as it seeks to protect the keeping and bearing of arms for private self-defense purposes."
The editorial examines Kagan's past statements regarding guns and the Second Amendment. They think her "new" statements were nothing more than a means to provide cover to "squishy" Republicans - or what the rest of the world would call RINO's. The editors think Kagan will follow the same path as Sotomayor when, and if, Second Amendment cases reach the Supreme Court - lipservice now, knife in the back later.

They conclude that,
No senator, Democrat or Republican, can claim he supports gun ownership and then turn around and elevate someone to the nation's highest court who will work to undermine the fundamental nature of the Second Amendment. A vote for Ms. Kagan is a vote for a nominee who will join with Justices Breyer and Sotomayor to scale back - and try to eliminate - the individual's right to gun ownership.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the Senate's confirmation of Elena Kagan, the old saying, "As Maine goes, so goes the Nation" is probably correct. A filibuster cannot stop her now.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Third Lawsuit Filed Against AB 962

From the CalGuns Foundation:

Truckers and gun owner groups file lawsuit against California to void handgun ammunition shipping ban


AB-962 Pre-empted By Federal Laws That Regulate Interstate Shipping

For Immediate Release: 7/28/2010

Redwood City, CA - The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has joined with the Calguns Foundation, the National Rifle Association, the Folsom Shooting Club and two individual truckers to challenge California’s soon to be implemented ban on the interstate shipment of handgun ammunition to California.

Last year, Governor Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 962 into law. Starting in February 2011, the law will criminalize the delivery and transfer of handgun ammunition not done in face-to-face transactions. The law requires shipping companies to implement procedures to determine whether the recipient of a package containing handgun ammunition is covered by one of the exceptions in the law before delivering handgun ammunition in California. This places a big burden on the shippers, and will make shipping ammunition to California much more difficult and likely more expensive.

The new lawsuit, filed today in Sacramento’s Eastern District Federal Court, alleges that these provisions of the law violate the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act, which prohibits states and local municipalities from interfering with carriers’ rates, routes, or services.

“This isn’t about firearms or ammunition. Congress made an important decision to keep motor carriers free from a patchwork of burdensome regulation as we move America’s goods to market” said Jim Johnston, OOIDA President. “We cannot allow California to subject our members to criminal liability where the state has no right to meddle.”

California depends on the efficient movement of goods by carrier into California. “California legislators have become accustomed to trampling the rights of California’s gun community. However, this time they’ve taken that recklessness into a field that will hurt every Californian. AB-962 will slow down everyone who orders goods online or buys goods at a retail store,” said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of The Calguns Foundation.

In February 2008, a unanimous United States Supreme Court struck down Maine’s directly analogous law regarding the delivery of cigarettes to Maine in Rowe v. New Hampshire Motor Transport. “It does not matter what the State’s goal is or how honorable they believe their cause is,” stated lead attorney, Jason Davis of Davis & Associates. “Rowe made it clear that a state cannot interfere with a carrier’s rates, routes, or services. AB962 does just that.”

“At Sacramento Valley Shooting Center, we currently provide handgun ammunition sales to the public,” said Jim Bass, President of Folsom Shooting Club. “Should the shipping restrictions in AB-962 take effect, we have no way to prove to shippers that we are a handgun ammunition vendor under the law.”

This case follows a Second Amendment and Commerce Clause challenge entitled State Ammunition v. Lindley, and a California State Court Challenge to the vagueness and other requirements of AB-962 brought by the NRA-CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project.

The delivery prohibitions of AB-962 take effect in February 2011; Plaintiffs in this case will be moving quickly to obtain an injunction before the shipping portions of the law takes effect.

The case is filed as OOIDA et. al v. Lindley, U.S. Dist. Ct. E.D. C.A. 2:10-at-01095. A copy of the complaint is available from http://ia360709.us.archive.org/23/items/gov.uscourts.caed.211363/gov.uscourts.caed.211363.1.0.pdf .

---

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is the largest national trade association representing the interests of small-business trucking professionals and professional truck drivers. The Association currently has more than 154,000 members nationwide. OOIDA was established in 1973 and is headquartered in the greater Kansas City, Mo., area.

The Calguns Foundation (http://calgunsfoundation.org) is a non-profit legal defense fund for California gun owners. The Calguns Foundation works to educate government and the public and protect the rights of individuals to acquire, own and lawfully use firearms in California.

Established in 1871, the National Rifle Association is America’s oldest civil rights and sportsmen's group. Four million members strong, NRA continues its mission to uphold Second Amendment rights and to advocate enforcement of existing laws against violent offenders to reduce crime. The Association remains the nation's leader in firearm education and training for law-abiding gun owners, law enforcement and the military.

The Folsom Shooting Club Inc. was incorporated in 1951 and currently operates Sacramento Valley Shooting Center at Sloughhouse CA. Sacramento Valley Shooting center provides ranges for private, government and public use with rifles, handguns and shotguns. FSC and its 1500 members constantly work with law enforcement, the military, youth and wildlife groups and members of the public to promote safe and proper handling of firearms for sporting, recreational and personal use.
I'll have more after I have a chance to read the complaint.

UPDATE: A report on the lawsuit from Land-Line Magazine - The Business Magazine for Professional Truckers.

In Their Own Words - Alan Kachalsky and Christina Nikolov

Over the last few years we have come to know and respect the courage and tenacity of Dick Heller and Otis McDonald (and their fellow plaintiffs) as they fought the District of Columbia and Chicago respectively. We learned that Mr. Heller was an armed security guard trusted to protect the court buildings in DC but not trusted to have a handgun in his home to protect he and his family. Likewise, we came to know Mr. McDonald, a courageous African-American gentleman with a quiet dignity, who just wanted to protect his family with a handgun after being threatened by the drug dealers targeting his neighborhood.

But what do we know about the plaintiffs in the case of Kachalsky et al v. Cacace et al - the Westchester, New York case that challenges New York's pistol permit law? If you depended upon the media or "authorized journalists" as David Codrea calls them, nothing. Absolutely nothing. It is as if post-McDonald the media considers gun rights old news not worthy of their time and talent.

Doing a Google search on Alan Kachalsky, I find that he is an attorney in private practice in Westchester County. Going to Martindale-Hubbell (law directory), I can learn that he is a graduate of New York Law School and that he has been licensed to practice since 1981.

Likewise, doing a similar search for Christina Nikolov, I find that she is the Director of Research for ChartWatchCentral, a web-based service offering technical analysis and research on stocks to investors. I also found out that she is a 1LT in the Civil Air Patrol, a licensed single and multi-engine commercial pilot, and a certified flight instructor.

This is all good information and it tells us that they are solid citizens and accomplished in their professions. But it doesn't tell the how and the why of the lawsuit nor does it tell us what they hope to change with their lawsuit (other than being granted their permits). Because I was curious, I contacted them by email and sent them a set of questions. I got lucky. They were gracious enough to answer my questions. The questions and each of their unedited responses are below.

First, why did you become a plaintiff in this case? What was it that convinced you to take a stand against those who denied you a pistol permit for failing to show "good cause"?

Alan Kachalsky

My story is that for various reasons, I decided a few years ago that it was time to get a pistol permit. I picked up an application in Westchester County, and filled it out as best as I could. I saw the choices for target this, and business carry, and full carry. My purpose was for self-defense, so I applied for a concealed carry permit (only). I filled out the ‘Attachment -full carry’ form which asked me to ‘list all factors which I believe to be relevant to establish proper cause for the issuance of a firearm license for the purpose of full carry.’

I responded:

***********The factors which establish proper cause for the issuance to myself of a Full Carry pistol Permit are: 1) The Second Amendment of the Constitution grants citizens the right to bear arms. As a citizen, I am therefore entitled to exercise my Constitutional right to bear arms. I believe that Constitutional right entitles me to the permit without further the need to establish “proper cause.”

If the issuing agency for some reason requires more than this, then I will cite the fact that we live in a world sporadic random violence might at any moment place one in a position where one needs to defend oneself or possibly others, e.g. random shootings in universities (Virginia Tech), post offices, airline check-in counters, malls, road rage, as well as the run-of-the-mill street muggings and robberies. While the odds of finding oneself in a Virginia Tech type situation are remote, one must reflect that had there been even one armed person, the death toll might have been considerably less than 31 dead. While one never knows what one might do in such situations, it is my belief that it is better to have the option to defend oneself (and others) than not to have the option. As a pilot and a skydiver, I have been trained to handle emergencies, and I have actually handled several emergencies, so it is unlikely that I will respond in a dangerous manner. *********


I submitted the application along with the Affidavits, etc., and crossed my fingers hoping to get it approved.

Much to my disappointment, many months later, I received the decision denying my application on the grounds that I did not demonstrate a need for self-protection beyond that of the general public.

Although I had heard that it was quite difficult to get a carry permit, I felt it was my Constitutional right, and it annoyed me that some bureaucrat had the right to sit and decide whether I demonstrated ‘a need for self-protection. . .” What does that mean anyway? And who gave this bureaucrat the right to sit in judgment and say, no, you don’t have a need . . .

Christina Nikolov
My 2nd Amendment rights were being violated by Westchester County. Whenever I have the opportunity or means to do so, I always take a stand for what I believe in. For example, I once fought a traffic ticket all the way to the NY Appellate Court, when I knew I did nothing wrong, and won without an attorney to assist me, since no lawyers wanted to help.

How did you become a plaintiff in this case? Were you recruited or did you contact the Second Amendment Foundation or Mr. Gura?

Alan
Sorry, we can’t talk about that.

Christina
I contacted Mr. Gura. Prior to this litigation, I already knew Alan Kachalsky, who was also denied for his permit. He already had this litigation in the works with Mr. Gura. I was not recruited and never contacted the 2nd Amendment Foundation.

What is your background with firearms (hunting/target shooting/self-defense)? Are you a longtime shooter or relatively new to guns?

Alan
My background is that I shot rifles when I was a kid in Summer Camp for about three summers. I went to a shooting range once when a friend invited me, and perhaps three or four times over the years when friends had pistols.

Christina
I have been a gun owner for almost 5 years and only shoot paper targets. I do not go hunting. I have taken three 6 hour firearm courses, two of which were in Florida. Each of the Florida courses involved 400+ rounds of live fire, while the New York course does not involve any gun firing. Actually, in NY you cannot even touch a real gun during your six hours of training because it is against the law, so I have more practical experience taking courses in Florida than anyone who has ever taken the firearm course required to be licensed in NY.

What has been your experience since the lawsuit was filed? Have you been contacted by the media? Have friends or colleagues who know of the suit asked you about it? If so, what has been their reaction?

Alan
Nope. No contact from the media. Friends and family are supportive.

Christina
I have not been contacted by the media yet. Very few people have said anything to me about the lawsuit and as a matter of fact, many people I have mentioned the lawsuit to were not even aware of it. Reactions have been unanimously positive. Everyone I mentioned this to wished me well with the case.

Finally, in addition to being granted your permit, what would you like to see come out of this lawsuit?

Alan
The outcome I am looking for would be precisely the relief requested in the Complaint - that carry permits are granted to law-abiding citizens who meet the criteria of New York Penal Code § 400.00:

(1), in that each (a) is over 21 years old, (b) of good moral character, (c) has never been convicted of a felony or serious crime, (d) has never been mentally ill or confined to any institution, (e) has not had a license revoked or been the subject of a family court order, (f) has completed a firearms safety course, and (g) should not be denied a permit other than for any good cause.

Christina
What I wish to see come of this lawsuit is first of all, for me to obtain my unrestricted carry permit. But I would also like to see the law changed, to allow responsible people to own and carry firearms if they want to and are competent. NY needs to change its backwards way of looking at things and realize that criminals are committing crimes and that restricting gun ownership of people who obey the law only helps the criminals, since the criminals will always find ways to obtain firearms regardless of how strict the gun laws are.


I want to thank both Alan and Christina for taking the time to answer my questions so fully. I think we all owe them a debt of gratitude even if we live in an area where gun rights are respected and  "shall issue" concealed carry permits are the norm.

You can read the details of the lawsuit including the complaint in my earlier blog post here.

Obsolete Signs

Now that Arizona has passed constitutional carry - concealed carry without a permit - signs in Tucson parks that warned "Carry a firearm in this park is limited to persons who possess a permit" are coming down. Why? They are obsolete!

Here is a link to the KVOA story with video. Of course the reporter goes into anti-gun hysterics about kids being scared and that they will less safe.

Only 3% Hippie

You are 3% hippie.
Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

Ending up at only 3% must be a reaction on my part from living so close to Asheville, North Carolina. Thanks to Breda, our favorite gun-toting reference librarian, for the link to the quiz.

Sheriff Clay Parker - Lead Plaintiff in NRA/CRPA Foundation Suit Against AB 962

About two weeks ago,  I posted a story on the NRA/CRPA Foundation Legal Action Project lawsuit againt California's new handgun ammo law that goes into effect on February 1, 2011. The suit was filed in California Superior Court for Fresno County. We still haven't seen the complaint in this case as the plaintiff's attorneys are being "tactically" coy about it.

However, the Corning Observer in Corning, California has a story about Sheriff Clay Parker, the lead plaintiff in the case. The story notes that he is passionate about protecting the "citizen's right to bear arms."

Sheriff Parker says about the bill,
“The bill is too broad,” Parker said. “What is handgun ammunition? If you ask, no one could tell you. Some people may say a .357 shell is handgun ammunition, but I have a .357 rifle. This bill has to be defined better.”
The article also quotes an employee of a local hardware store that sells ammunition,
Tim Ross, an employee of Hatfield’s Ace Hardware, which sells firearms and ammunition, said he agrees with Parker that the language of the bill is too broad.

“There is a lot of firearms ammunition that is interchangeable between pistols and rifles,” Ross said. “Another issue we have with the bill is the record keeping. For every box of ammunition we sell we will have to keep fingerprint, driver’s license, and other information on our records for who knows how long and that will create an unimaginable paper trail headache.”

H/T Dave Hardy of Of Arms and the Law blog

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Will Steve Gibson, CEO of RightHaven LLC, Sleep with the Fishes?

Only an idiot would sue a reputed mob enforcer for copyright infringement. Steve Gibson, CEO of RightHaven LLC, qualifies.

Anthony "Tony the Animal" Fiato was the subject of a book by Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John L. Smith and was also a source for many of his columns. The book was entitled "The Animal in Hollywood" and is still available on Amazon. Mr. Fiato is being sued for copyright infringement for putting up LVR-J stories about the mob in Las Vegas on his blog "Hollywood Goodfella".
Fiato said he was surprised to learn of the lawsuit, since he had been unaware of any concern about him posting R-J stories on his website. Fiato learned about the suit because he was contacted for comment by the Las Vegas Sun.

"I’m not concerned about it. It sounds like someone made a mistake,’’ he said, noting his assistance with Smith’s book and in providing information to the Review-Journal.

Fiato said he lives at an undisclosed location as a relocated government witness.
 Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has more on RightHaven LLC and a program he has for WordPress blogs to check on links to any of Stephens Media LLC stories.

H/T Snowflakes In Hell

UPDATE: The Armed Citizen has an extensive update on the suit filed against them by RightHaven LLC. They also have a link to a website that gives in quite a bit of detail on the connections between Steve Gibson, both Michelle and Barack Obama, and Obama's copyright czar Victoria Espinel.

UPDATE II: Walter Olson writing for Cato at Liberty discusses lawsuit filing "millls". Among them is what he calls "the most recent to emerge - copyright mills" as evidenced by RightHaven LLC. It is an interesting article on all sorts of "litigation-mills".

Free Elk Hunting Opportunity - No Joke

Imagine a chance to go elk hunting where you don't have to buy a license or special tags and don't have to pay a fee to participate. It sounds too good to be true but isn't. The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is seeking applications from hunters to help cull 250 cow elk from their herd.

They need up to 20 hunters per week for the 12 week program beginning on Nov. 1. According to Park Superintendent Valerie Naylor,
In order to be considered, applicants must be able to demonstrate a high level of shooting proficiency using lead-free ammunition, agree to participate for an entire five-day week, self-certify they are fit enough to perform the rigorous activity necessary, be able to legally possess a firearm, and be willing to sign a volunteer agreement after arriving at the park.
To be considered, you must fill out an online application here and return it by August 9th. More information can be found here.

The only downside to this opportunity is that you have to get to North Dakota and might be hunting during December and January. The average temp in January is 18 deg. Medora, the closest town, has a whopping population of 100. That said, Medora does have 1 hotel and 2 motels. Go here for more info.

Outdoor Life's Crossbow Test 2010

With North Carolina approving crossbows for use during all archery seasons (and gun seasons as well), I found this review of the latest models of crossbows by Outdoor Life magazine very interesting.

 Horton Vision Crossbow

Now if North Carolina would get rid of their ridiculous requirement to get a purchase permit from the local sheriff, I'd be happy. The problem with the law (besides the permit requirement) is that it prevents you from shopping online. Out-of-state dealers are not going to ship you a crossbow and run afoul of state law. I see some road-trips to various archery dealers in my future.

Outdoor Life is also giving away their editor's choice and best buy crossbows. However, I'd suggest boning up on crossbow history and lore before taking their 20 question quiz. If I got 5 out of 20 correct, I'd be lucky.

What Kind of a Conservative Are You?

     Quiz: What Kind of Conservative Are You?

My Conservative Identity:

You are a Free Marketeer, also known as a fiscal conservative. You believe in free-market capitalism, tax cuts, and protecting your hard-earned cash from pick-pocketing liberal socialists.
Take the quiz at
About.com Political Humor

Monday, July 26, 2010

Project Isaiah -Arrrrgh!

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department will take 8,300 confiscated firearms to Tamco Steel Mill tomorrow and turn them into rebar. And they seem to be very proud of themselves over it. Deputy Bill Brauberger describes the event as a celebration and says, "It’s pretty exciting and very visual".

Picture of the 2009 Project Isaiah

The LA Times story shows a picture of Sheriff Lee Baca holding a stainless Ruger Mini-14 which will be turned into rebar. Checking the price of this on Gunbroker.com, I find prices ranging from about $400 up to about $1,000. So they will be taking high grade steel and turning it into rebar which is utterly stupid. Moreover, the rebar will be used for upgrades to highways and bridges in California, Nevada, and Arizona. 

Arizona? I thought LA was boycotting Arizona over their immigration enforcement bill SB 1070.

No one said governments in California were smart. If they were then they would be making use of companies like this or this one that does auctions for the City of Anchorage.

UPDATE: Of course Project Isaiah makes some fools happy.

Howler of the Day

From a FoxNew article on pro-gun Democrats comes the howler of the day courtesy of Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY):
"They've been very open about saying... 'Carolyn, if the NRA comes against a bill, I gotta vote with the NRA.' They're not going to take that chance. I understand that," said McCarthy of her Democratic colleagues. "Does it bother me? Of course, it bothers me because I'm not trying to take away anyone's right to own a gun."
And I'm sure she has the check in the mail as well.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Pistol Ammo Reloading Cost Calculator

Hoplocate.com has released an alpha version of a calculator which lets you calculate the cost of reloading your pistol ammo. I've played with it and it seems to work OK. I'm not sure how the recovery cost portion of the calculator works.

The calculator was developed by Robb Allen of the Sharp As a Marble blog.

H/T to Rob of the Personal Armament Podcast for the link

UPDATE: Robb explained the Recovery Costs for me. In his words,
The Recovery Costs section indicates how many rounds you would need to load in order to justify a cost. For example, I want to purchase a new barrel for the Glock that lets me shoot lead. Running the numbers for JHP's, I get 50 rnds for $14. Lead bullets run $11.50 for 50.

I set the reloading items up for lead, then put $105 for the Item Cost in Recovery Costs, $14 per 50 in Ammo Cost, and see that I would need to shoot 2100 rounds before the cost savings paid for the new barrel.

LSAT (Lightweight Small Arms Technologies)

The military has been working on a program to lower the weight of both the ammo and weapons carried by soldiers. Called the Lightweight Small Arms Technologies program, it is being run by the Joint Service Small Arms Program based at the Picatinny Arsenal. A summary of the goals of the program can be seen here along with an update here.

The video below shows both a live fire demo and a lab demo of the LSAT lightweight SAW.



The video below is from Military.com. It shows the only publicly available video of the field testing at Ft. Benning according to them.


According to the article in the Kitup blog at Military.com, development of the lightweight M-249 SAW-like weapon is almost finished. It fires lightweight cased telescoped (CT) ammo. Researchers have fired about 10,000 rounds through three prototype weapons. According to Kori Phillips, the program manager,
With millions of dollars in Army research investment, the JSSAP office says it will be ready to put weapons in warfighters' hands by next year. Phillips said eight new SAWs will be built by AAI Corporation. She also said that the office plans to run an exercise with an infantry squad equipped with the new lightweight machine gun and 100,000 rounds of cased telescoped ammo.
While the new weapon looks much like the older M-249 SAW it "uses a rotating action and a novel feed system that fires a standard 5.56mm ball projectile and ejects the plastic case and link from its own port." The engineers report that have completely avoided failures to feed and eject.

While the cased telescoped ammo is almost ready for actual use, there are still developmental problems with the caseless ammo.
While the cased telescoped ammo is almost ready for prime time, the more exotic caseless rounds still need some work, Phillips explained. Testers are having problems keeping the rounds -- which are essentially hard, molded propellant with an embedded 5.56 mm bullet -- from degrading in high heat. They're also expensive, hard to make, and tough on the shooter.....Excessive smoke, inexact timing and other uncertainties have kept the weapon attached to a bench.

Another article at Military.com goes into more detail about the M-4 version as well. It is interesting to read the comments regarding the lightweight ammo. One commenter noted that if the weight of ammo is cut in half he would end up just carrying twice as much.

How Much Does Your AR-15 Weigh?

I stumbled across the Vuurwapen Blog today for the first time - and am I ever happy that I did!

Andrew, who runs the blog, has developed a calculator to determine what each thing you add to your AR-15 will weigh. For example, your basic M4 carbine configuration with a 6-position adjustable stock, Troy BUIS, Eotech 552 optic, Vortex flash hider, and a PMag full of 62 grain 5.56x45 ammo will weigh 8.525 pounds. If you decide you want the Vltor Clubfoot Modstock on it instead of the basic Tapco M4 buttstock, then the weight drops to 8.44375 pounds.

This tool is a great way to figure out in advance what hypothetical configurations will weigh without having to buy, assemble, and then weigh the weapon.

But wait! Andrew doesn't stop there with his calculators. He also has developed a balance calculator that helps you determine the center of gravity of your AR-15. It helps you determine how the weigh will shift if you change various parts. He has a 3-part article that discusses weight and balance in AR's.

If you have an AR-15 and you plan to modify it, you should bookmark these calculators. While you are at it, bookmark the Vuurwapen Blog as well.

G4TV Video of the Oklahoma Full Auto Shoot & Trade Show

I have got to go to either Knob Creek or this show! I have never fired anything full auto but one of these days.....

It really starts to get interesting at the :46 mark.


H/T SoldierSystems.net

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Violence in Chicago - Why It Continues

The Chicago Sun-Times ran a very interesting investigative piece today. Entitled "Why they won't stop shooting in Chicago", it examines the aftermath of an April 2008 weekend in Chicago where 40 people were shot, seven fatally.

So what has happened to the shooters in the two years since that weekend? Nothing.
So far, not one accused shooter has been convicted of pulling the trigger during those deadly 59 hours from April 18-20 of that year, a Chicago Sun-Times investigation has found.

Only one suspected triggerman — a convicted armed robber caught with the AK-47 he allegedly used to blow away his boss — is in jail awaiting trial.
 Six of the seven murders remain unsolved. In three other cases, the victims know who shot them but won't testify against the shooter. They don't want to get labeled a snitch or rat in the neighborhood.

Last year Chicago PD detectives cleared 18% of the outstanding non-fatal shootings from 2009. However, almost half were due to "exceptional" circumstances. Exceptional means that the victim won't testify, the prosecutors don't want to go to trial on the evidence, or, if luck would have it, the shooter is dead. This means that about 91% of the shooters during 2009 were never charged with a crime.
“The certainty of punishment is very, very low in Chicago, and that’s going to embolden people,” said defense attorney Thomas Needham, who was a top legal adviser to former police Supt. Terry Hillard. “It’s going to lead to less fear by the people who are going to consider shooting. That’s very alarming.”
Part of the problem is that the victims are not choir boys and may have criminal records themselves. Police and prosecutors acknowledge that this makes their case in court tougher. Also, as some privately told the reporters, the police and prosecutors work harder for innocent victims than for those that have been involved in past criminal activity.

While Mayor Daley continues to mouth off about the violence being due to guns, the reality is that most criminals know they can get away with shooting someone in Chicago. If victims won't testify, police don't investigate, and the State's Attorney avoid prosecutions, the shooters walk. And as long as that continues to go on, the violence will continue. Only when their is certainty of punishment will it start to abate.

I suggest reading the whole article to get the victim's full stories.

Stephens Media LLC, RightHaven LLC, and Bloggers

On Thursday of this week, Clayton Cramer, blogger, historian, software engineer, and gun rights activist,  announced that one of his blogs, The Armed Citizen, was being sued by RightHaven LLC for copyright infringement. In response, he closed down that blog and his personal blog.

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell has covered this quite extensively. He has stories here, here, here,and here. Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, has put up stories about it as well. Copyright lawyer Ron Coleman has an interesting analysis on his blog Likelihood of Confusion. In the comments section are a few comments from Clayton Cramer with more details on the case.

Wired Magazine has an extensive story about RightHaven LLC and their "business" plan. In an interview with RightHaven's CEO, Steve Gibson, his business plan is to buy the copyrights to newspaper content and then turn around and sue bloggers for copyright infringement. The article says that,
Gibson’s vision is to monetize news content on the backend, by scouring the internet for infringing copies of his client’s articles, then suing and relying on the harsh penalties in the Copyright Act — up to $150,000 for a single infringement — to compel quick settlements. Since Righthaven’s formation in March, the company has filed at least 80 federal lawsuits against website operators and individual bloggers who’ve re-posted articles from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, his first client.

Now he’s talking expansion. The Review-Journal’s publisher, Stephens Media in Las Vegas, runs over 70 other newspapers in nine states, and Gibson says he already has an agreement to expand his practice to cover those properties. (Stephens Media declined comment, and referred inquiries to Gibson.) Hundreds of lawsuits, he says, are already in the works by year’s end. “We perceive there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there,” he says.
There were many interesting comments to this article in Wired. One was from a former employee who said, "I used to work for this guy. In my opinion he is a legal opportunist and a sociopath. And also in my opinion all the comments prior to mine are accurate descriptions of his moral character, or lack thereof." Another comment was from an attorney which I found very interesting.
Steve Gibson, according to another Las Vegas attorney, has been “working on” developing Righthaven for years. Why? As I understand it from those who practice in intellectual property because there’s an automatic attorney’s fee provision in the copyright statutes. So, Steve Gibson has become a “douchebag” and a pariah and a bottom feeder and a stain on the profession, but he will also become very wealthy for doing very little. There’s lots of other professions that should be culled because their members take care of themselves and their pocket books at the expense of the greater community. For what it’s worth, I also understand from intellectual property attorneys in Las Vegas that Steve Gibson was a total “douchebag” well before he concocted Righthaven. So, if you want to stop these “nuisance” law suits (and that is truly what they are), and keep the likes of Steve Gibson from lining their wallets, petition your federal delegation to update the copyright statutes to: 1) mandate a “take down” letter before any lawsuit can be filed, with penalties attached to plaintiffs who file before doing so; and 2) delete the automatic entitlement to attorney’s fees. In the meantime, quit cutting and pasting and you will prevent Steve Gibson from earning additional money to get rid of that second chin.
Now that we know who is RightHaven LLC and their business model, just who is Stephens Media LLC? According to Wikipedia, the company started in Ft. Smith, Arkansas as Donrey Media Group. Upon the death in 1993 of its founder Donald Reynolds, Donrey was sold to the Stephens family of Arkansas. The Stephens are best known for their privately held investment bank and wealth manager, Stephens, Inc. In terms of wealth, the Stephens family is ranked second in Arkansas only to the Walton clan. Not only are the Stephens wealthy, they are well connected to both Democrats and Republicans. They had connections to both Bill Clinton and the Bush family. Now that is connected.

The newspapers owned by Stephens Media LLC are listed below by state. As the Wired article notes, many of these papers will be using the "services" of RightHaven LLC. As for me, I plan to never link to any of these papers. The only paper they own in North Carolina just happens to be the newspaper from the town where I was born. The only regret that I have is that I will be missing out on some of the columns by Vin Suprynowicz. Oh, well, 

Arkansas
  •      Booneville Democrat - Booneville, AR
  •      Cabot Star-Herald - Cabot, AR
    •            Cabot Weekly
  •      Carlisle Independent - Carlisle, AR
  •      Charleston Express - Charleston, AR
  •      Fayetteville Free Weekly - Fayetteville, AR
  •      Greenwood Democrat - Greenwood, AR
  •      Hot Springs Village Voice - Hot Springs Village, AR
  •      Jacksonville Patriot - Jacksonville, AR
  •      Lonoke Democrat - Lonoke, AR
  •      Morning News of Northwest Arkansas - Springdale, AR
  •      Paris Express - Paris, AR
  •      Pine Bluff Commercial - Pine Bluff, AR
    •           The Market Place
    •           The White Hall Progress
  •      Press Argus Courier - Van Buren, AR
    •            Alma Journal
  •      Sherwood Voice - Sherwood, AR
  •      Southwest Times Record - Fort Smith, AR
  •      The Maumelle Monitor - Maumelle, AR
  •      The Times - North Little Rock, AR
  •      Van Buren County Democrat - Clinton AR
  •      Washington County Newspapers
    •            The Lincoln Leader
    •           The Prairie Grove Enterprise
    •            The Farmington Post
Hawaii
  •      808 Classifieds - Hilo, HI
  •      Big Island Weekly - Hilo, HI
  •      Hawaii Tribune-Herald - Hilo, HI
  •      North Hawaii News - Waimea, HI
  •      West Hawaii Today - Kailua-Kona, HI
    •            North Hawaii News
    •            Big Island, HI
    •            Westside Weekly
Missouri
  •      McDonald County Newspapers
    •            The Anderson Graphic The Goodman News-Dispatch
    •            The McDonald County News-Gazette
    •            The McDonald County Press
    •            The Southwest City Republic
    •            El Tiempo
Nevada
  •      Ely Times - Ely, NV
  •      Eureka Sentinel - Eureka, NV
  •      Las Vegas Review-Journal - Las Vegas, NV
    •            View Neighborhood Newspapers
    •            El Tiempo
    •            Las Vegas CityLife
    •            Las Vegas Business Press
    •            Rebel Nation
    •            New Homes Guide
    •            Luxury Las Vegas
    •            Southern Nevada Home And Garden Magazine
    •            Nifty Nickel
    •            Neighborhood Shopper
    •            Jobs Today Weekly
  •      Pahrump Valley Times - Pahrump, NV
  •      Tonopah Times-Bonanza - Tonopah, NV
North Carolina
  •      Courier-Tribune - Asheboro, NC
Oklahoma
  •      Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise - Bartlesville, OK
  •      Pawhuska Journal-Capital - Pawhuska, OK
Tennessee
  •      The Daily Herald - Columbia, TN
    •            The Advertiser News Of Spring Hill And Thompson's Station
    •            Franklin Life
    •            Brentwood Life
Texas
  •      Anna-Melissa Tribune - Anna, TX
  •      Herald Democrat - Sherman, TX
    •            Grayson County Shopper
  •      Lake Texoma Life - Van Alstyne, TX
  •      Prosper Press - Prosper, TX
  •      Van Alstyne Leader - Van Alstyne, TX
Washington
  •      The Daily World - Aberdeen, WA
    •            The North Coast News
    •            The South Beach Bulletin
    •            East County News
  •      The Montesano Vidette - Montesano, WA
UPDATE: I found this article today about RightHaven suing someone for using material from the Las Vegas Review-Journal in which the article was based on his own research. Jeez!
Copyright enforcement outfit Righthaven has filed some questionable lawsuits in the past, but really outdid itself in a case against Anthony Curtis, publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.

That lawsuit, one of several filed on Friday, alleges that Curtis infringed copyright by reposting an article from the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Problem is, that article was itself based on an annual survey conducted by Curtis of ticket prices for entertainment shows.

Washington Times Editorial: UN Threatens 1st and 2nd Amendments

Today's Washington Times features an editorial about the UN's Arms Trade Treaty. They call it a threat to both the First and Second Amendments of our Constitution. Of course, they are right. The editorial follows on the heels of a report released by the Heritage Foundation on the UN and "arms control".

Theodore Bromund, one of the authors of the Heritage Foundation's report, is quoted as saying that he thinks micro-stamping will be included, that there will be some sort of gun registration and licensing system, that this licensing system will cover both guns and ammo, and that there may even be restrictions on trade between private individuals.

The Washington Times takes a dim view of the whole thing as well as the role of the Obama Administration in it.
Any U.N. Arms Trade Treaty will undermine freedom around the world. The right to bear arms is an individual's protection against oppression anywhere. It took herculean efforts by George W. Bush's administration to thwart this U.N. power grab a few years ago. Unfortunately, we now have a left-wing White House working to make this dangerous treaty a reality.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A New Song and Video from Steve Lee

As a follow-up to his YouTube hit "I Like Guns", Aussie singer Steve Lee has released "I'll Give Up My Gun". I love the refrain line - I'll give up my gun when the ocean runs dry. Good on ya, mate!



H/T to the Firearm Blog

Guess Donations Are Down for Brady

I got this in my email today addressed to my mother - who has been dead for two years. I guess when donations are down you'll do just about anything to stay afloat.

What a bunch of losers!

Hearing Date Set in Benson et al v. Chicago et al

September 1st has been set as the hearing date for Benson et al v. Chicago et al. This is the case supported by the NRA that challenges the new Chicago gun laws enacted after the McDonald case struck down the City of Chicago's handgun ban.

Judge Ronald Guzman is the US District Court judge assigned to the case. He was appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1999. He doesn't get high marks from those that have rated him on the website The Robing Room. On a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being awful and 10 being excellent, he rates a 3.4.

Civil litigators in particular don't seem to like him. From the comments:
He's got to look for a job he really likes. He's almost always late, is lazy, unreasonable, procrastinates and doesn't care. He makes short-shrift of cases and looks for the easy way out--not very analytical. Has a very unlikeable and unpleasant attitude in court. - 2010

Agree with other comments. Judge Guzman is unlikeable and doesn't always seem to catch on quickly. If you hate lawyers, why be a judge? - 2008

Judge Guzman is perpetually late to court and always in a grumpy mood. That said, he doesn't seem to have any noticeable bias towards either side, because he equally despises them both. - 2006
I hope this isn't a bad sign for Benson.

Bateman et al v. Perdue et al - Meet the Attorneys

The City of King filed a motion of an extension today which was granted. They were the last of the defendants to request and be granted an extension. They will have until August 17th to respond to the complaint. Governor Perdue and Secretary Young have until August 15th and Stokes County has until August 12th for their response.

With the filing by the City of King, we now know all the legal players in this contest.

Plaintiffs

Alan Gura needs no introduction after winning both the Heller case and the McDonald case. He will be appearing as a pro hac vice attorney. This means he is appearing with the permission of the court as he is not licensed in North Carolina.

Kearns Davis, a partner in the law firm of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey and Leonard is the lead North Carolina attorney for the plaintiffs. Brooks, Pierce is a mid-size law firm with offices in both Greensboro and Raleigh, NC. He is a 1995 graduate of the University of North Carolina Law School where he was the managing editor of the law review. He has been listed in "The Best Lawyers in America" for 2010 and is listed as a "North Carolina Super Lawyer".

Davis is being assisted by Andrew Tripp of Brooks, Pierce. Tripp is a 2004 graduate of Duke Law where he was managing editor of the Duke Journal of Comparative and International Law. After graduation, he served as a clerk for District Court Judge Terrence Boyle of the Eastern District of North Carolina. Interestingly enough, Alan Gura served as a clerk for Judge Boyle a few years earlier.


Defendants

Mark Davis, Special Deputy Attorney General for the State of North Carolina, will be representing Bev Perdue and Reuben Young as they have been sued in their roles as Governor and Secretary of the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety respectively. According to Martindale-Hubbell, Davis is a 1991 graduate of the University of North Carolina Law School. Davis serves in the Special Litigation Section of the NC Department of Justice. A quick Google search seems to indicate he handles many Federal and appellate level cases for the Attorney Generals office.

Representing Stokes County are Henry Jones, Jr. and Lori Jones of the law firm Jordan, Price, Wall, Gray, Jones, and Carlton in Raleigh. Mr. Jones is a 1978 graduate of the University of Richmond Law School. Among his past activities was serving as Chairman of the Wake County Democratic Party from 1987 through 1991. He is AV Peer Review rated by the Martindale-Hubbell.

Lori Jones is an associate in Jordan, Price and is a 2004 graduate of the University of North Carolina Law School. According to the Jordan Price web site, her practice focuses on general civil litigation matters. All the filings submitted by Stokes County have been signed by her to date.

Finally, Kevin Williams of Bell, Davis, and Pitt in Winston-Salem represents the City of King. Williams is a 1998 graduate of Wake Forest University Law School where he made law review. He is listed in "Best Lawyers in America" for 2010 under Commercial Litigation. He is also listed as a "Rising Star" in the North Carolina Super Lawyers.

So there you have it. By mid-August we should start seeing the responses from the defendants and will get some idea of how hard they plan to fight.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I'm a Lumberjack and I'm OK

Naval Special Warfare Group 2 has a procurement solicitation out there for Filson Double Tin Bibbs, Filson Tin Cloth Field Jackets, and Filson forest green wool liners.


The Kitup blog of Military.com has the story here.

Checking the Filson website, the Double Tin Bibs retail for $206, the Tin Cloth Field Jacket for $295, and the liners for $120. While expensive, it is tough enough to stand up to the wear and tear of lumberjacks....or Navy SEALS.

As they say on the Filson website, "Might As Well Have the Best". I think that can be said for both the equipment and the men in the Special Operations community.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

State Ammunition et al v. Lindley et al - Another California Gun Case

State Ammunition, a California-based on-line ammo retailer, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit brought in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California seeking to overturn AB 962. This law, officially the Anti-Gang Neighborhood Protection Act of 2009 bans the sale of "handgun ammunition" in other than face-to-face transaction starting February 1, 2011. CRPA/NRA Legal Action Project is fighting this law in state court. This makes sure that the two cases cannot be consolidated.

A virtually identical lawsuit was filed by the plaintiffs in early June and then was voluntarily dismissed on July 16th. Of course, on June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court found for Otis McDonald and the Second Amendment was applied to the states through incorporation. The new complaint has added the Second Amendment as one of the grounds for the complaint.

The other plaintiffs in this case are Jim Otten who owns a Minnesota-based on-line ammo retailer named a1ammo.com and Major Jim Russell, USMC (Ret)., a California resident, who is a disabled veteran. Major Russell is active in the Paralyzed Veterans of America as their Director of Shooting Sports.

What makes this case unique when compared to the rest of the post-McDonald litigation is that it makes the Commerce Clause the centerpiece of the complaint. While it does include the Equal Protection and Due Process Clauses of the 14th Amendment and the Second Amendment as part of the basis for the lawsuit, the complaint devotes most of its arguments to the Commerce Clause and AB 962's interference with interstate commerce.

The lawsuit first attacks the definition of "handgun ammunition" as being impermissably vague. The law defines it as:
"Handgun ammunition" means ammunition principally for use in pistols, revolvers, and other firearms capable of being concealed upon the person, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 12001, notwithstanding that the ammunition may also be used in some rifles.
There are many calibers of ammunition that can be used in both handguns and rifles. For example, the ubiquitous .22LR rimfire can be used in both the Ruger 10/22 carbine and the Ruger MkIII pistol. Likewise, you have many common rifle cartridges that can be used in the Thompson/Center Contender pistol. As the complaint notes,
it forces individuals and businesses to guess what is meant by “handgun ammunition.” As a result, people engaging in constitutionally protected activity (interstate commerce), selling and buying constitutionally protected products (firearms and ammunition), are placed in the precarious position of not knowing whether or not the legal product they are buying is considered by someone somewhere buried deep in the bureaucracy of the State of California to be “handgun” ammunition or “rifle” ammunition.
Other provisions of AB 962 requires vendors to make sure that their employees are allowed under the law to sell ammunition and to make sure the recipient of the ammunition is allowed by law to buy. The former requires employers to know whether certain employees are ineligible to sell the ammo while not being authorized by law to conduct criminal background checks. As to the latter, there is no Brady Law forcing a NICS check of ammo purchasers. Furthermore, since the law forbids the sale to gang members, the vendor has no way know if the buyer is or is not a member of a criminal street gang. Unless one is immersed in the gang culture or is a law enforcement officer specializing in gangs, I would venture to say it is hard to tell a wannabe gang member from an up and coming rapper. Or vice-versa.

The meat of the argument against AB 962 is that it interferes with interstate commerce. By requiring a face-to-face transaction, California vendor and manufacturers cannot ship their product out of state. Conversely, out of state sellers and manufacturers cannot ship their handgun ammunition to buyers in California. It goes on to state that,
In addition to a ban on handgun ammunition sales in all but “face to face” transactions, AB962 includes an irrational, preempted definition of “ammunition” so expansive that out-of-state vendors will be unable to determine what is or isn’t legal and what actions are or are not criminal. As a result, out-of-state vendors will simply refuse to sell or ship to California residents. Likewise, the criminalization of the sale of ammunition to an ever-expanding impossible-to-ascertain list of prohibited purchasers will cumulatively interfere with and regulate channels of interstate commerce.
With regard to violations of the Second Amendment, the suit says,
AB962 further discriminates against individuals on the basis of whether or not they are employees of the government, exempting “Authorized law enforcement representatives of cities, counties, cities and counties, or state and federal governments for exclusive use by those government agencies” and “peace officers” from its provisions. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution expresses fundamental and individual rights that cannot be reserved only to government employees. These rights are guaranteed to every citizen. To denying these rights to all but government employees, AB962 violates the Second Amendment. This disparate treatment is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
The entire complaint can be seen here.

I am not a lawyer (nor do I play one on television!) but I do think this complaint does make a strong prima facie case that AB 962 interferes with interstate commerce.

Guns in Video Games

The Firearm Blog has a guest post by Pascal Eggert on designing guns for video games.

Since the Complementary Spouse's nephews play Halo 3 professionally on Teams Instinct and Status Quo, I found this quite interesting. Having watched their tournaments both in person and on-line, I always thought the guns were almost right. However, for a gunny, almost right just grates.

Pascal addresses that here:
I think about stuff like this a lot and have come to the conclusion that the one thing that is even worse than wrong visual representations of real guns in games are horribly designed fictional guns. In this area a lack of understanding of firearms gets easily multiplied and if you thought an AK47 is a magic device in the first place your sci-fi AK7000 will be a magic device so random it will not convince even the stupidest player. Yes, in the realm of fantasy you can invent whatever you want and find an explanation for any technical problem, but there are still the laws of physics that should be considered. Unfortunately most sci-fi guns are so bad that people just stopped caring about them with no questions asked

The AHSA and Bloggers

AHSA, the American Hunters and Shooters Association, the anti-gun front group was called to task by the bloggers on the Days of our Trailers blog. AHSA was asked if they were such a "pro-gun" group why didn't they submit an amicus brief in the McDonald case.

Their response was that they filed one but it was not "publically published" and would be released "post decision". Obviously, they were using the Dean Wormer (of Animal House fame) "double secret" type of brief.

When called on this, they got testy.
Good sir, please refrain from writing me or I will report you to the local authorities for harassment.
It reminds one of those e-mail letters you get on behalf of deposed Nigerian rulers. That really isn't fair to the Nigerian scammers as all they are after is your money whereas the AHSA seeks to give cover to politicians who would violate your Constitutional rights.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bushmaster President to Retire

From Bushmaster:

Bushmaster Firearms® Announces the Retirement of the Company President

Windham, ME –After over a 40 year career in business and manufacturing, John A. DeSantis, President of Bushmaster Firearms has decided to retire and to pursue other challenges and another exciting phase of his life. John has been a tireless driving force behind the success of Bushmaster. He surrounded himself with a great team of professionals and together they have grown Bushmaster into the largest commercial AR platform rifle manufacturer in the world. John commented that “Bushmaster will always have a warm place in my heart and I have enjoyed my experience with the Freedom Group of Companies. I look forward to spending more time with my family.”

“On a personal note, John is truly a world-class gentlemen and I am proud to call him a personal friend. John has been an invaluable asset to our company and me personally. His wisdom and his high regard for our product, combined with his deep respect for the rich traditions of our industry, have been a great source of counsel and advice to me.” said Ted Torbeck, CEO, Freedom Group, Inc.

John’s retirement will be official on July 31, 2010, but he has graciously agreed to stay on and oversee the day to day business of Bushmaster until his replacement can be found. He also will continue on a consulting arrangement to help grow our modern sporting rifle business.


About Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC

Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC (BFI) is the leading supplier of AR15/M16 type rifles in the United States for Law Enforcement, security and private consumer use. Headquartered in Windham, Maine, with additional facilities in Dallas, Georgia and Lake Havasu, Arizona, BFI supplies aluminum and advanced carbon fiber-based rifle platforms in calibers ranging from 5.56mm/223 to 50BMG. These and associated accessories manufactured by BFI meet the tactical rifle needs of US customers as well as Military, Law Enforcement and Security clients from over 50 countries worldwide. Visit our web site at www.bushmaster.com.

I wonder if this has anything to do with the plans for the Freedom Group to go public.

Heritage Foundation on the UN's "Programme of Action" on Small Arms

Theodore Bromund and David Kopel have just released a research report for the Heritage Foundation entitled "As the U.N.’s Arms Trade Treaty Process Begins, U.N.’s “Programme of Action” on Small Arms Shows Its Dangers".

It is a short report and well worth a read to get an idea of what the UN and the Obama Administration is up to.

As the Bromund and Kopel note:
The PoA is becoming a dangerous failure. Like many international initiatives for conventional arms control, it is being hijacked by true believers who refuse to distinguish between arms used for aggression and arms used for legitimate self-defense. As a result, the PoA’s modest potential for good is disappearing. This is a warning sign that the U.S. should heed as the Arms Trade Treaty process begins.

As long as the PoA ignores the fact that many U.N. member states approve of the transfers they pretend to condemn, the PoA—and especially a treaty based on it—will be counterproductive: It will limit the defensive arms of the law-abiding, while law-breaking states continue to supply arms to their proxies.

The U.S. should resist all efforts to turn the PoA into a treaty. If preparations for the 2012 meeting show that these efforts are continuing or that the PoA will persist in wasting time on broad, controversial, or unrelated items, the U.S. should withdraw from the PoA process. If it participates, it should keep the focus on using voluntary cooperation between law-abiding democracies to facilitate control of illicit arms trafficking.

There is also a discussion of this paper on the Volokh Conspiracy.

UPDATE: I just received this from the Second Amendment Foundation who as a NGO (Non-Government Organization) is represented at the Arms Trade Treaty talks.
SAF REPORT LIVE FROM THE UN

The Following is an up to the minute report from Julianne Versnel, Director of Operations for the Second Amendment Foundation who is representing SAF as an NGO delegate at the United Nations ATT meeting.

The Arms Trade Treaty Prep Committee began on July 12, 2010 and will conclude on July 23, 2010. Ambassador Roberto Garcia Moritan of Argentina is the Chair. On Friday, July 19, Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) representatives were told that the majority of the meetings would be closed to them. The critical discussions on the scope of the treaty will have no input from any non-governmental entity. Scope is critical in the Arms Trade Treaty process. In North America, some Pan Asian Countries and in some other parts of the world, the arms that we expect to have covered in this treaty are nuclear weapons. In much of Europe and most all of Africa, the delegates anticipate that the ATT will cover rifles, shotguns, handguns and ammunition as well.

There appears little doubt that some sort of treaty will be adopted by 2014, if not by 2012. It is anticipated that the final treaty will attempt to register all firearms, require micro-stamping, destruction of surplus ammunition on a very set schedule, registration of all firearms and restriction on any transfer of arms including between private individuals and many other restrictions. If the United States is a signatory and this is ratified by the U.S. Senate, this UN treaty would be the law. On October 30, 2009, UN members voted in favor of an ATT. The United States voted in favor of an ATT.

The UN has an aggressive schedule of meetings planned to push for these restrictions and we will be there representing you in every way we can. We will be at the CTOP/COP meeting in Vienna the week of October 18 and a General Assembly meeting at the end of October. In January, the five permanent members of the Security Council will meet and this is on the agenda. There will be another ATT Preparatory meeting at the end of February in New York. The regional UNIDIR meeting sponsored by the EU will start in March. We will come full circle with the Programme of Action Experts Meeting in May 2011 and the July 17-21 ATT Preparatory meeting that is expected to offer the final draft to the treaty.