Sunday, October 31, 2010

GRNC vs NRA

I received the email below from the NRA-ILA on Saturday. It was sent to NRA members living in western North Carolina. They are reacting to Grass Roots North Carolina's radio ads and mailers attacking Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC-11) in his re-election efforts.

Shooting Straight About Congressman Heath Shuler

Dear John Richardson:

A group purporting to support the Second Amendment is either grossly misinformed or deliberately attempting to mislead voters in North Carolina's eleventh congressional district about the record of Congressman Heath Shuler.

In their communication, they claim that Congressman Heath Shuler "brokered House passage of the misnamed DISCLOSE Act - legislation that would require gun 'orgs' . . . to REPORT MEMBERSHIP LISTS to the federal government . . ." In fact, Congressman Shuler filed an amendment (http://tinyurl.com/382njjf) to H.R. 5175 with the House Rules Committee to exempt all 501(C)(4) non-profit organizations that fund election activities with individual contributions from the adverse effects of this legislation. While that is not the amendment eventually adopted by the House, it was Congressman Shuler's effort to change this legislation. It is important that you know the real story about this legislation and not be misled by others who seem to have their own agenda.

Congressman Heath Shuler tried to protect the First Amendment rights of all gun rights organizations. He has consistently voted to protect our Second Amendment rights and he has earned our endorsement and support.

On November 2, Vote Freedom First -Vote Heath Shuler for Congress!

NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION INSTITUTE FOR LEGISLATIVE ACTION

GRNC responded to this email with one of their own to their members and supporters. As I am a member of both organizations, I got both emails.
GRNC-PVF Alert 10-31-10:

NRA's Shot in the Dark for Shuler

In defending their endorsement for HEATH SHULER, NRA lashes out at a
"group purporting to support the Second Amendment" claiming that the
unnamed organization is "either grossly misinformed or deliberately
attempting to mislead voters in North Carolina's eleventh
congressional district about the record of Congressman Heath Shuler."
Oh really?

They further state that "Congressman Heath Shuler tried to protect
the First Amendment rights of all gun rights organizations," and that
Shuler "has consistently voted to protect our Second Amendment rights
and he has earned our endorsement and support." Is that a fact? Well,
let's see...

DISCLOSE ACT, THE FACTS

Where do we start? After finishing scratching our heads over how much
of a champion of the First Amendment (not to mention the Second
Amendment on which he has a GRNC 0% voting record) -- according to the
NRA -- Shuler is, the question occurs of why the NRA waited to remove
their opposition to the DISCLOSE Act until their champion Shuler
introduced an amendment with an exemption so narrow that the only
Second Amendment organization that was exempted was THEM. Of course
according to their latest communication, they are the only true
defenders of the Second Amendment and everyone else simply "purports"
to support the Second Amendment.

So, why does a congressman with a ZERO percent voting record on the
Second Amendment suddenly get a favorable rating from NRA after
cutting a deal to allow them to be the only 2A organization who is
allowed to speak without having to turn over their donor list to the
government during an election cycle?

So, what would the DISCLOSE Act do to 2A groups not fortunate enough
to have an anti-gun politician willing to go to bat for them?

Organizations such as GRNC, Gun Owners of America and CCRKBA will be
effectively banned from engaging in political debate. The demand would
be on such organizations to enumerate their donors any time they issue
any kind of campaign advocacy ad.

Along with that it also does the following:

* Bans political speech by government contractors and TARP recipients
but not unions with collective bargaining agreements with the
government or unions who receive dues from government payroll
deductions.

* Imposes legally unsound limitations on coordinated communications
between federal candidates and organizations - possibly subjecting
candidates to investigations and fines for activity they don't know
took place.

* Creates highly complex reporting requirements - unlikely to impact
unions - that would have high compliance costs and disproportionate
effects on small businesses.

* Places more stringent "stand by your ad" requirements on
organizations than candidates by forcing organization heads and top
funders to appear in ads, stating their organizations' names up to
five times.

* Deliberately and recklessly seeks to affect the 2010 elections by
taking effect in 30 days without waiting for the FEC to issue
instructions and rules so people can follow the law and avoid criminal
and civil punishment.

GRNC and the NRA have clashed for years on the best way to advance gun rights in North Carolina. The best comparison I can give between the two organizations is that GRNC is the Tea Party movement and the NRA is the Republican establishment (even though I know that the R doesn't stand for Republican). The former uses guerrilla tactics to wage the battle for gun rights while the latter believes in the set-piece battle. The NRA believes compromise is often needed in order to advance the cause of gun rights while GRNC finds compromise anathema. GRNC and its leadership can sometimes be intemperate in their actions while often the NRA on the state level has been temperate to the point of ineffectiveness.

A couple of weekends ago on Tom Gresham's GunTalk radio show, Tom had Chris Cox on the show to ask him about the NRA taking all the credit for the McDonald decision (among other things). Tom didn't think much of it and I have previously called it tacky. Cox was  both very dismissive as well as defensive about it.

Chris Cox argued that the NRA was "the tip of the spear" in the battle for Second Amendment rights. He went on to say that the criticism of the NRA only helps the opponents of the Second Amendment. Cox thought the Brady Campaign and their allies will use any conflict between the NRA and other gun rights organizations as a means to hurt our Second Amendment rights. If this is truly what Chris Cox thinks, then why did he allow the organization which he heads, the National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action, to send out an email attacking another gun rights organization? Doesn't this contradict what he just said should not be done?

You can listen for yourself here and here. It is towards the end of Part A and it begins again in Part B.

UPDATE:  For another perspective on the NRA-ILA's actions, you should read the comments of Sebastian at the Snow Flakes in Hell blog. He may have a better perspective of the thinking of the insider's in the NRA than I do.

As my comments on his blog makes clear, I feel the NRA comes across like a bully in this situation. By doing so, they serve to publicize and legitimize Grass Roots North Carolina. The stronger organization shouldn't need to respond to a provocation by the smaller state organization. However, as Sebastian alludes to in his comment back to me, the GRNC attacks on Shuler may be cutting much closer to the bone than either the NRA or Shuler is comfortable with and the NRA felt they had to respond.

I wonder if similar emails have gone out in Davidson County to NRA members regarding NC House Majority Leader Hugh Holliman who is also a NRA endorsed candidate and GRNC target. Holliman, for those not familiar with NC politics, did nothing to prevent an anti-gun committee chair from bottling up a bill on the Castle Doctrine in committee.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Appeal Filed in Ezell Case

Alan Gura and David Sigale have filed an appeal on Friday to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals of Judge Virginia Kendall's denial of a preliminary injunction in Ezell et al v. Chicago et al. This is the case brought against the City of Chicago's ban on gun ranges within the city limits. The notice of appeal does not give the grounds but merely informs the District Court and the defendant's attorneys that an appeal has been filed.

According to a notice issued by the Clerk of Court for the District Court, the entire record of the case must be furnished to the Circuit Court by November 18th and the parties have until November 11th to notify the Clerk of any missing items from the online record which needs to be sent.

The notice of appeal as filed with the Seventh Circuit is below:


Ezell et al v. Chicago - Appeal Filed With 7th Circuit

Friday, October 29, 2010

I Thought They Changed Their Name in 2001

According to the official history of the Brady Campaign, they changed their official name from Handgun Control, Inc. to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence (sic). From their official history:
In 2001, HCI was renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and CPHV was renamed Brady Center to Prevent Gun VIolence in honor of Jim and Sarah Brady for their commitment and courage to make America safer.
However, when I was checking the recent visitors to this blog, I found the following and made a screen capture of it.


It is like the words out of the mouths of children. It is sometimes embarrassing, it is sometimes awkward, and it almost always is true.

NRA Amends Complaints in Texas Cases Challenging Higher Age for Purchase and CCW

The NRA has amended the complaints in their cases in US District Court for the Northern District of Texas challenging laws that impact 18 to 20 year olds who wish to purchase a handgun or carry a handgun concealed. Links to and description of the original D'Cruz case can be found here.


The changes in the suits include adding additional plaintiffs, additional information on James D'Cruz's marksmanship qualifications, some wording changes, and a bit more emphasis on the Second Amendment. Since there are two suits, I will detail the changes case by case.

D'Cruz et al v. BATFE et al

The first change is that an additional individual plaintiff has been added as well as the NRA itself as an organizational plaintiff. The new individual plaintiff is Andrew Payne, an 18 year old resident of Lubbock, Texas. Mr. Payne is the owner of several long guns but would like to be able to purchase a handgun and handgun ammunition from a federally-licensed dealer.

The NRA itself has become an organizational plaintiff in the case representing members residing in Lubbock and other areas of west Texas. It is also representing federally-licensed dealers (FFL's) who are members of the NRA who wish to be able to sell firearms to 18-20 year old adults.

I think - and this is only a supposition on my part - that the additional plaintiffs were added for two reasons. The first reason is that with the additional plaintiffs it shows that more people than just Mr. D'Cruz are impacted by Title 18, Sections 922(b)(1) and 922(c) which ban the sale of handguns to the 18-20 year old adult citizens. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the addition of the NRA as a plaintiff to the suit removes the possibility that the issue becomes moot when Mr. D'Cruz and Mr. Payne turn 21. Federal cases can take years to move through District Court and then the appellate courts.

In discussing the law at issue, the amended complaint recognizes that:
The Second Amendment secures the right to purchase handguns and handgun ammunition for self-defense and other lawful purposes. And the Second Amendment’s protections extend in full to law-abiding adults aged eighteen or older.
The other major addition to the complaint is information on Mr. D'Cruz taking and passing the course required to obtain a Texas Concealed Handgun License which he passed with flying colors. I believe the intent is to show that Mr. D'Cruz is extremely competent with the handling of a handgun.

With the exception of naming the plaintiffs instead of just referring to them as "plaintiffs", both Counts and the Prayer for Relief remain the same as the original complaint.

D'Cruz et al v. McCraw et al

The National Rifle Association was added to this case in the amended complaint as an organizational plaintiff. It notes it has members in Lubbock and west Texas who are in the 18-20 year old range who would wish to carry a handgun for self-defense and would want to obtain a Texas CHL. Again, I think the NRA was added as a plaintiff to protect the suit from being declared moot if Mr. D'Cruz either ages out or, peculiar to this case, joins the military.

Additions to this complaint include a paragraph outlining the 14 requirements under Texas Gov't Code § 411.172(a) that must be met in order to qualify for a Texas Concealed Handgun License. Another addition is a paragraph describing the coursework and shooting proficiency tests required to demonstrate evidence of handgun proficiency required under Texas Go'vt Code § 411.174(a)(7).

Mr. D'Cruz, to bolster his case, took the required Texas CHL course:
On September 26, 2010, Mr. D’Cruz completed a handgun safety and proficiency course taught by a CHL instructor licensed by the Texas Department of Public Safety. The course consisted of approximately eight hours of classroom instruction and two hours of range instruction. The course culminated with administration of the written and range tests that are given to applicants for a CHL. To qualify for a CHL, applicants must achieve a score of 70% or better; an applicant may attempt each test three times to achieve the required score. On his first attempt, Mr. D’Cruz achieved a score of 92% on the written examination and a score of 93.6% on the range examination. Indeed, in terms of knowledge and skill with respect to the safe and proper handling of handguns, Mr. D’Cruz’s instructor has stated that he would place Mr. D’Cruz in the top 5-8% of students he has instructed over fifteen years.
Thus, with the only exceptions being his age and lack of military service, Mr. D'Cruz would qualify under Texas law for a concealed handgun license. When he went to apply again online for his Texas CHL, he got the following:
Upon receiving Mr. D’Cruz’s “customer authentication” information requested on the first page of the application, the website returned the following response: “Persons between the ages of 18 and 21 are only eligible to apply for license under the Active Military or Veteran conditions.”
The remainder of the complaint including both Counts 1 and 2 and the Prayer for Relief remain the same as the original complaint. His grounds remain an infringement of his Second and Fourteenth Amendment rights to keep and bear arms as well as an infringement of his Fourteenth Amendment rights to equal protection based upon his age.

Bearing in mind that I am not a lawyer, I think the changes strengthen both cases. Protection against the case becoming moot is built in with the addition of the NRA as an organizational plaintiff. Moreover, with Mr. D'Cruz now having taken the required handgun safety and proficiency class and passed with flying colors, it is hard to argue that it is a safety or proficiency issue. Given that the judge in this case, Judge Sam Cummings bolstered the Second Amendment as an individual right with his opinion in the Emerson case, it will be very interesting to see how these cases turn out. At least, we know we can't blame a loss on an anti-gun judge.

Voter Fraud

By all accounts, the majority in both Congress and many state houses will turn on a small number of races rated as "toss-ups" or "in play". Along with this have been many reports of voting machine irregularities across the country. In my home state of North Carolina have come many reports of voters wishing to vote a straight Republican ticket and it showing up on the screen as something other than what the voter indicated.

Thanks to starting my morning reading with the Day By Day web cartoon, I found an app that is available for the iPhone, Droid, and Blackberry that contains pre-formatted reports (along with image capture) for reporting voter fraud and intimidation incidents that can be sent to the various Board of Elections. While this won't work for me as I don't own any of those phones and I have already voted early, I would encourage everyone who has one of those phones and who hasn't voted to download the app. It can be found here.

Professor Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, has been arguing for a return to the paper ballot for years. Given the ease with which it seems voting machines can be tampered with by those trying to pervert democracy and steal elections, I think he is on to something. I used to vote on a paper ballot and it was quick, easy, and efficient. I wish my county still was allowed to use that system by the NC Board of Elections.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anatomy of an AK-47

From Every Day, No Days Off comes this cool animated x-ray view of the AK-47.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cowitness Versus Lower 1/3 Cowitness? - Vuurwapen Has The Answer



Andrew at the Vuurwapen Blog goes over both the pro's and con's of how high you mount your optics on your AR. As always, I learned something watching his video.

Quite the Contrast

Last year the Joyce Foundation gave a grant for $250,000 to the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The purpose of the grant was:
To continue implementation efforts around the recommendations contained in the report of the Great Lakes States Summit on Gun Violence.
The specific recommendations of the Great Lakes States Summit on Gun Violence (sic) include:
• Requiring judges and law enforcement to remove guns from situations of domestic violence, as well as from people whose adjudicated mental illness, drug use, or previous criminal record suggests the possibility of violence
• Requiring that all gun sales take place through Federal Firearms License (FFL) holders with mandatory background checks
• Enacting an effective ban on military-style assault weapons, armor-piercing handgun ammunition, .50 caliber sniper rifles and other weapons that enable criminals to outgun law enforcement
• Restoring COPS funding to provide vital resources to state, local and tribal law enforcement
• Repealing the Tiahrt Amendment, which hinders investigation of illegal gun trafficking
• Destroying guns that come into police possession once their law enforcement use has ended
• Improving officer training in debriefing suspects and handling crime guns, including tracing all guns
• Training police officers in tactics that can lessen the possibility that a hostile situation will erupt in violence
• Mandating safe storage of firearms by private citizens and providing safe facilities where gun owners can store their weapons
• Mandating reporting of lost and stolen firearms
While improving officer training is a laudable objective, most of the rest of these recommendations trample upon the civil rights of lawful Americans. That they would improve public safety and reduce crime is quite debatable. That it would help the officer on the street, again debatable.

Today's Shooting Wire contained an item about a major donation given to two organizations that assist families of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The organizations are the Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.) Charity and the Drug Enforcement Administration Survivors Benefit Fund (DEA SBF). COPS was given $50,000 and DEA SBF was given $20,000. The donations were presented at the recent IACP Conference held in Orlando. These donations brought the amount given by the donor to non-profit organizations to $550,000 for 2010.

The donor? Glock, Inc. You know, the international arms merchant and purveyor of undetectable plastic pistols which threaten airline passenger safety.

So in the greater scheme of things who is really doing more for the officer on the street and their families? My vote goes to Glock.

Illinois FOID Challenge - Plaintiffs Respond to Motion to Dismiss

As I posted a little more than a week ago, the State of Illinois sought to have the case brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation on behalf of Ellen Mishaga challenging the state's FOID requirements dismissed. They maintained that the FOID Card Act provided exceptions for out-of-state residents and thus they had not abridged her constitutional right to keep and bear arms nor her right to travel freely.

Attorney Jim Manley filed a reply in opposition to the defendant's motion to dismiss yesterday. He gives a two-fold argument as to why the court should not dismiss this case: standard of review and that no FOID Act exceptions apply to Ms. Mishaga's claims.

Courts, when reviewing motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim, must view the initial complaint in such a way as to be most favorable to the plaintiff. This includes accepting as true all factual allegations and all possible inferences stemming from those allegations. Thus, as the plaintiff argues:
Accepting the truth of the allegations in the Complaint, and drawing all inferences in the light most favorable to Ms. Mishaga, this Court should deny Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
The defendant suggested that 430 ICLS 65/2(b)(9) and (10) would be exceptions that would apply to Ms. Mishaga and allow her to possess a firearm in the state of Illinois without a FOID Card. The plaintiff's reply argues that neither of these apply to Ms. Mishaga's case. First, 430 ICLS 65/2(b)(9) states that "nonresidents whose firearms are unloaded and enclosed in a case" are not required to hold a FOID Card. However, an unloaded and cased firearm is inoperable and not available for self-defense. The plaintiff argues that "this subsection of the FOID Act suffers from the same constitutional infirmity as the law struck down by the Supreme Court in District of Columbia v. Heller." The Supreme Court said in Heller that inoperable firearms make it impossible for citizens to use them in self-defense and thus it was unconstitutional.
Subsection (9) specifically prohibits the constitutionally-protected activity Ms. Mishaga intends to engage in by requiring nonresidents’ firearms to be “unloaded and enclosed in a case” at all times. 430 ILCS 65/2(b)(9). Thus, even if 430 ILCS 65/2(b)(9) were not unconstitutional, this exception to the FOID Act would offer no support for Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss. Accordingly, Ms. Mishaga respectfully requests that the Court deny Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
The second exception to the FOID Card noted by the defendant involved citizens licensed or registered to possess a firearm in their resident state. However, Ms. Mishaga is a resident of Ohio which requires no licensing or registration to possess a firearm in that state. Indeed, as the plaintiff's points out:
Ohio law forbids such licensing or registration. See Ohio Rev. Code § 9.68(A) (“[A] person, without further license, permission, restriction, delay, or process, may own, possess, purchase, sell, transfer, transport, store, or keep any firearm, part of a firearm, its components, and its ammunition.”)
Lawful possession in one's state of residence is not the same as either registration or licensing though this seems to be the argument of the defendant. If that were the case, then Ms. Mishaga could possibly lawfully possess a functional firearm in Illinois without a FOID Card. As the brief in opposition notes:
Defendant conflates “licensed or registered” possession of a firearm with “lawful” possession of a firearm; however, the statutory exception applies only to the former....Unfortunately, neither Defendant nor this Court has the power to rewrite Illinois law. Virginia v. American Booksellers Ass’n, 484 U.S. 383, 397 (1988) (“we will not rewrite a state law to conform it to constitutional requirements.”); United States v. Wilburn, 473 F.3d 742, 746 (7th Cir. 2007) (“[I]t is not our role to rewrite the law.”). Accordingly, Ms. Mishaga respectfully requests that the Court deny Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss.
Frankly, having read both the motion to dismiss and the plaintiff's reply in opposition, I was amazed that Illinois made the arguments that they did in the first place. One argument provided for an inoperable firearm when it was clear from the original complaint that Ms. Mishaga was seeking to possess a functional firearm for self-defense. The other argument made the erroneous assumption that Ohio required licensing or registration. It may be too much to expect that Illinois will continue to make these types of errors in the future but one can always hope.

Is NYC Trying to Avoid Being the Next Target?

Sebastian at the Snow Flakes In Hell blog had two posts yesterday about New York City and Mayor Bloomberg. One post detailed the proposed reduction in fees to obtain a gun permit in the city and the other looked at New York's "reasons" for denying a permit. Both of these are worth a read.

I'm sure that NYC will be sued eventually on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds. I just don't think it will be until some of the other cases currently in litigation advance beyond the competing motions stage. Of course, the New York City Council could pass some new egregious gun restriction like Chicago and then I think the suits would fly.

However, I don't think a full frontal assault on NYC and their laws, in my opinion, is the course that Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation will take. It isn't that "the Alans" won't sue big targets - they will - but I think they want to have all the pieces in place when they do sue. One of those pieces has got to be Kachalsky v. Cacace which is working its way eventually to trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. A precedent set in this case would then be valid in NYC because they are in the same judicial district.

Strategy and not just mere tactics is what will win our battles with the anti-gun, anti-civil rights forces. Just filing a case because you can - see for example the third Chicago gun case, Second Amendment Arms et al v. Chicago et al - is not the way to go about it.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Keep Your Beta C-Mags

When I saw this, the first thing that went through my head was that you can keep your Beta C-Mags!





H/T The Firearm Blog

Otis McDonald on the Illinois Gubernatorial Election



I can't begin to say how proud and happy I am that we had a gentleman of Otis McDonald's stature as the face of the battle to bring the Second Amendment to the states.



H/T SayUncle

My Kind of Female Politician

Susana Martinez is the Republican nominee for Governor in the state of New Mexico. Polls currently show her in the lead over Lt. Gov. Diane Denish. When CNN was wiring her up for an interview they got a bit of a surprise.
When CNN interviewed Susana Martinez, New Mexico's Republican candidate for Governor, we got a surprise. Our cameraman John Torigoe was trying to clip the microphone pack to the candidate's belt when she pulled away and said "Be careful, that's a gun back there." Martinez tells CNN she has a permit to carry a concealed weapon.
Now I understand why Cope Reynolds of The Shooting Bench podcast and owner of Southwest Shooting Authority in Luna, NM is such a big fan of hers!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Art of the Dynamic Shotgun Trailer



According to Magpul Dynamics:
Available now at Magpul.com and authorized dealers for Preorder. Shipping 1st week of November.

While it's the most versatile and violent weapon system in the small arms arsenal, the shotgun brings a level of complexity that requires extensive training to master.

Join Magpul Dynamics instructors, Travis Haley and Chris Costa as they guide a diverse group of shot gunners up an intense ladder of excellence. On this journey, the viewer takes a student perspective, benefiting as the students identify and solve problems with a variety of shotgun platforms. This 3 disc instructional set progresses quickly as it covers the fundamentals of shotgun manipulation, pattering, weapon's configurations, actions types, ammo management, and real life complex scenarios for the Home Defender, Law Enforcement Officer, Military Operator and Competitor.

That reminds me, I need to install the TacStar Side-Saddle I bought on my Remington 870. It does no good sitting in the box!

CCW Win in Sacramento County, California

Just sent out by the Second Amendment Foundation:
SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS REAFFIRMED AFTER SACRAMENTO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE CHANGES CARRY LICENSE POLICIES SAY GUN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS

CASE CONTINUES AGAINST YOLO COUNTY TO SECURE RIGHT TO SELF-DEFENSE


BELLEVUE, WA & SAN CARLOS, CA - The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Calguns Foundation have dismissed their case against Sacramento County, California and its Sheriff, John McGinness, after the Sheriff modified his handgun carry permitting policy. Law-abiding Sacramento County residents may now successfully apply for permits to carry handguns by asserting self-defense as a basis for carry permit issuance. A one-year residency requirement has been eliminated, as has policy language that tied self-defense to arbitrary geographic factors.

While Sacramento County has changed its policies, other counties still fail to recognize that self-defense is a legally sufficient reason for issuance of a handgun carry permit. The litigation will continue against Yolo County and its Sheriff, Ed Prieto, on behalf of SAF, Calguns, and Davis resident Adam Richards. Additionally, this past March, Calguns supporter Brett Stewart unsuccessfully asserted self-defense as a basis for seeking a carrying license from Sheriff Prieto. The Sheriff's written policy states that "self protection and protection of family (without credible threats of violence)" are insufficient reasons to exercise Second Amendment rights. Mr. Stewart will seek to join the litigation as a plaintiff in this case, now styled Richards v. Prieto.

"We are very happy to have been able to work with Sheriff McGinness to assist Sacramento County in revising their policies and practices," said Gene Hoffman, Chairman of the Calguns Foundation. "Over the past year, more than 30 of our law abiding members and supporters have received licenses to carry firearms with good cause' statements that are simple variations of self-defense. Even though the Sheriff is retiring at the end of the year, both candidates to replace Sheriff McGinness have publicly stated their support for Second Amendment rights and that they consider self-defense a compelling reason for issuance of gun carry permit."

"The Second Amendment Foundation will continue working with the Calguns Foundation and keep funding attorney Alan Gura's lawsuits in California until everyone's firearms civil rights are fully protected," added SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. "Together, we will see many more legal victories."

For those who wish to apply for a CCW permit, the Calguns Foundation maintains an informational portal to assist applicants in all 58 California counties as part of its recently announced Carry Licensing Compliance and Sunshine Initiative. The Sacramento County page has details on the actual procedure and successful good cause statements and is available at http://bit.ly/CGFSacCarry .
Congratulations to the CalGuns Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, and Deana Sykes for taking a stand for gun rights in California - and winning.

Given Nikki Stallard's comments at the Gun Rights Policy Conference on this case, I wonder how the California media will play it.

Vuurwapen Discussion on AR-15 Magazines

Andrew at Vuurwapen Blog has released another of his great videos. In this video he discusses the pro's and con's of the various magazines available for use in the AR-15 including USGI, PMags, EMags, Lancer, and the H&K. There is some excellent advice in it.


Steinbeck on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

John Steinbeck, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was commissioned by the US Army Air Force to write a book called Bombs Away: The Story of a Bomber Team. It was a wartime report and a nonfiction account of his experiences with Air Force bomber crews during WWII. I picked up a copy of the book while out in California for the Gun Rights Policy Conference.

I came across this interesting paragraph which indicates the fight for the Second Amendment is nothing new:
And we may be thankful that frightened civil authorities and specific Ladies Clubs have not managed to eradicate from the country the tradition of the possession and use of firearms, that profound and almost instinctive tradition of Americans. For one does not really learn to shoot a rifle of a machine gun in a few weeks. Army gunnery instructors have thus described a perfect machine gunner: When he was six years old, his father gave him a .22 rifle and taught him to respect it as a dangerous weapon, and taught him to shoot it at a target. At nine, the boy ranged the hills and the woods, hunting squirrels, until the pointing of a rifle was as natural to him as the pointing of his finger. At twelve, the boy was given his first shotgun and taken duck hunting, quail hunting, and grouse hunting; and where, with the rifle, he had learned accuracy in pointing, he now learned the principle of leading a moving target, learned instinctively that you do not fire at the moving target, but ahead of it, and learned particularly that his gun is a deadly weapon, always to be respected and cared for. When such a boy enters the Air Force, he has the whole background of aerial gunnery in him before he starts, and he has only to learn the mechanism of a new weapon, for the principles of shooting down enemy airplanes are exactly those of shooting duck. Such a boy, with such a background, makes the ideal aerial gunner, and there are hundreds of thousands of them in America. Luckily for us, our tradition of bearing arms has not gone from the country, and the tradition is so deep and so dear to us that it is one of the most treasured parts of the Bill of Rights - the right of all Americans to bear arms, with the implication that they will know how to use them.
I just love that first line about "frightened civil authorities and specific Ladies Clubs". I wonder if Steinbeck had a premonition about the Brady Campaign and their so-called Million Mom March.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Hidden Life of Guns

It is indeed ironic that the quote "follow the money" traces its lineage back to then-Washington Post reporters Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein. "Deep Throat" told the reporters that the key to understanding Watergate was the money. And so it is with a collection of feature stories in today's Washington Post entitled The Hidden Life of Guns.

The stories feature a multi-media piece (at least online), a hit piece on a gun store in Prince George's County, MD, and a tut-tutting piece on the "gun lobby" and the Tiahrt Amendment. It is this last story entitled Industry pressure hides gun traces, protects dealers from public scrutiny where the role of money in supporting so-called gun policy research becomes apparent. To support the authors' contention that the Tiahrt Amendment protects "rogue" dealers from scrutiny by groups such as the Brady Campaign and Mayors Against Illegal Guns as well as making it harder for the police, they call on Professor Glenn Pierce of Northeastern University and Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum.

First, Wexler:
"It was extraordinary, and the most offensive thing you can think of," said Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit group for police chiefs. "The tracing data, which is now secret, helped us see the big picture of where guns are coming from."

And now, the work of Prof. Glenn Pierce:
But in 1995, Professor Glenn L. Pierce of Northeastern University analyzed ATF tracing data and discovered that a tiny fraction of gun dealers - 1 percent - were the original sellers of a majority of the guns seized at crime scenes - 57 percent. Pierce's analysis "blew everybody away" at the ATF, recalled Joseph R. Vince Jr., then deputy chief of the firearms division. Law enforcement might be able to reduce crime by focusing on a relative handful of gun dealers.
Many in academia and the non-profit world have become grant-whores. In a publish or perish world, securing a grant is the road to salvation for a professor. It supports grad students to do the grunt work, it brings you recognition, it legitimizes your work as being "significant", and, most importantly, it makes your university very happy as they get a cut of the grant for so-called overhead. And as for non-profits, it keeps their doors open as they exist on soft money.

So, if we follow the money, where does it lead? To the surprise of almost no one in the gun community, both the Police Executive Research Forum and Dr. Glenn Pierce are recipients of grants from the Joyce Foundation either directly or indirectly. The Joyce Foundation is THE leading funder of gun violence (sic) groups along with anti-gun oriented research in academia. If the National Rifle Association were to set up a grants program for pro-gun research, the academic world as well as journalists would be in an uproar. However, when it comes to the Joyce Foundation, silence.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Alan Gura on Strategic Civil Rights Litigation



This is a speech that Alan Gura gave at the Grass Roots North Carolina Gala for Gun Rights. The event was held in Charlotte, NC on Friday, May 14th. It was held concurrently with the NRA Annual Meeting.

I was in attendance at this dinner. I learned more about the entire process of carefully selecting litigants and cases in those 15 minutes than I had ever before.

To put this into perspective, I took two semesters of Constitutional Law as an undergraduate from a professor who lived and breathed the constitution. I also spent 3 1/2 years in a PhD program in Political Science at UNC-Chapel Hill before leaving with a wife but no degree. It is one thing to learn about the courts and the Constitution in a classroom. It is an entirely different thing to hear the inside story of the process from a lawyer who has argued - and won - two major precedent setting cases before the Supreme Court.

If you want to learn how pro-gun civil rights litigation should be done, take a few minutes and listen to this YouTube video.

H/T Gene Hoffman

Cry Me A River

Colbert King, in an op-ed in today's Washington Post, laments that the expected increase in the number of conservatives and Republicans in Congress after mid-term elections doesn't bode well for the District of Columbia's autonomy. Pardon me if I am not sympathetic especially when he writes:
What's more, a new Congress, under Republican influence, is likely to give the District more of what it doesn't want.

Expect, for example, a renewed effort to weaken D.C. gun laws and restrict the D.C. Council's regulation of firearms. Gun-rights forces tried to do that this year when they attached pro-gun language that ultimately derailed voting rights legislation. The Nov. 2 elections, if all goes as predicted, will only strengthen their hands.
I guess we should be happy that the District has been run by foolish politicians or we never would have gotten the Heller decision. Mayor Adrian Fenty's intransigence led to DC's appeal of the Court of Appeals win for Dick Heller. This, in turn, led to the Supreme Court acknowledging, finally and concretely, that the Second Amendment is an individual right.

So to assuage Mr. King's sorrow, I send him this nice rendition of "Cry Me A River" sung by Susan Boyle.


Annie Oakley Does Not Exist

The New York Times ran an article this week contrasting real life police work with TV police work. After police-involved shootings, cops are often asked why they didn't just shoot the weapon-wielding perpetrator in the hand or leg. Indeed, New York State Assembly Members Annette Robinson (D-Brooklyn) and Darryl Towns (D-Brooklyn) actually sponsored a bill earlier this year requiring police to shoot to wound if possible.
Two recent police shootings in New York City actually did result in shots to the legs which stopped a deranged man with a knife and a guy shooting at police respectively. However, as the article notes, this was more by accident than by design.
In fact, in the Thursday case at Pennsylvania Station, a second bullet fired by the officer missed the knife-wielding man and went flying into the pavement near the shooting scene.
Police officers, the article notes, are trained to shoot to stop the criminal by going for center of mass.
John C. Cerar, a retired deputy inspector who was the commander of the Police Department’s firearms training section, said officers are taught to shoot at center mass — which means the “head and torso” of a suspect like a man armed with a gun.

“You can’t just shoot to aim for a leg or an arm; it just doesn’t work,” Mr. Cerar said. “You are trying to hit the biggest part to the target, to stop the actions of the person using, or attempting, deadly physical force.”

He paused and added, “Annie Oakley does not exist.”
It is interesting to see the difference in reporting in the Times. The guy who covers the police beat recognizes the reality of the confusion, fear, and excitement inherent in violent encounters. Those who usually pen the editorials which involve firearms don't have a clue. At least somebody at the Times gets it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

I Worked So Hard....

Filmmaker David Zucker voted for Senator Barbara Boxer in past elections. To make amends and do penance for his past transgressions, he had created this little video. Oh, and by the way, Carly Fiorina is being attacked by Boxer as being out of touch and supporting assault weapons (sic).




Call Me Senator from RightChange on Vimeo.

Carolyn McCarthy - Scared?

As a general rule of thumb political candidates don't run negative ads against their opponents unless they are feeling pressed. Negative ads, while often effective, turn off a lot of voters. Studies have shown that it tends to lower voter turnout especially among independents. Actually, some candidates want this as it will improve the chances of them being elected. Only their loyalists will turn out as everyone else is repulsed by the negativity.

Incumbents don't usually want to resort to running negative ads against their opponent for another reason. It gives the challenger more name recognition and transforms a "nobody" into somebody.

The timing of negative ads gives a clue as to how the incumbent is feeling about his or her chances. The earlier the mud starts to fly, the more trouble the incumbent is in.

Carolyn McCarthy who is finishing up her 7th term of office must be feeling the heat. She has started to go negative against her opponent Fran Becker. With luck, instead of turning off the independent voter, it will piss them off and they will vote for Becker. Let's keep our fingers crossed!

Plaintiff Drops Out in NRA's Suit Against Chicago

On Tuesday, attorneys for the plaintiffs in the NRA's lawsuit against the new Chicago gun law, Benson et al v. Chicago et al, filed a motion to dismiss Raymond Sledge as one of the plaintiffs in the case. From the motion:
RULE 21 MOTION TO WITHDRAW AS PARTY PLAINTIFF

NOW COMES Plaintiff Raymond Sledge, by and through his attorneys, and respectfully moves the Court pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 21 to dismiss him as a party plaintiff to this civil action, with the case to continue as to all other Plaintiffs. By email dated October 15, 2010, Plaintiffs’ counsel sought from Defendants’ consent to this motion, but Defendants’ counsel has not responded to that request
Mr. Sledge was a plaintiff in both the original complaint and the amended complaint. According to paragraph 35 of the amended complaint:
Plaintiff Raymond Sledge is a 53-year-old, African-American male, and a resident of Chicago. He has been employed for the last sixteen years as a teaching assistant at a public elementary school in Chicago.
I don't know why Mr. Sledge requested to be dismissed as a plaintiff in the case. He was, however, the target of a mocking editorial in the New York Times back in July. The Chicago Gun Rights Examiner made note of that editorial here.

Given the workings of Mayor Daley and his machine one wonders if a none too subtle message was sent through an intermediary that if Mr. Sledge wanted to keep his job in the Chicago Public Schools he better drop out of the lawsuit. The unvarnished truth probably will never come out but one has to wonder.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Oral Arguments Released for McDonald v. Chicago

Unlike in the Heller case, the Supreme Court did not immediately release the oral arguments for the McDonald case to my dismay. However, they are now available.

The oral arguments can be heard or downloaded here.  This page also has the audio of Justice Alito reading the Court's decision in the case.

I think they are worth downloading and saving.

Needs More Trigger Discipline!

Jim Piccillo is a Democrat running for Congress in the Tampa Bay area. Until two years ago he was a Republican whose main claim to fame was introducing then-Senator Joe Biden at an Obama rally as "John McCain." He was a member of Republicans for Obama and volunteered in the Obama campaign.

Piccillo, who served in the 101st Airborne but did not see any combat, is emphasizing his military service. His latest ad shows him holding a M-4 and says he will "kick butt".

Screen capture from Piccillo ad
Florida's 5th Congressional District is home to many veterans. I hope for Piccillo's sake that one of those vets isn't his old drill sergeant. If not, Piccillo will probably be reamed a new one for his poor trigger finger discipline.

The website FiveThirtyEight rates this seat as having a 99% chance of the Republican winning.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Maryland Handgun Carry Permit Review Board

Michael Smigiel is a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing District 36. This district lies on Maryland's Eastern Shore and consists of Caroline, Cecil, Kent, and Queen Anne's counties. He is also a practicing attorney.

One of his constituents who is also a client had applied for a handgun carry permit. Smigiel wondered how his constituents were treated by the Handgun Carry Permit Review Board so he applied for a permit. The video below is from his hearing before that Board. Mind you, he is a Delegate so his treatment is probably going to be much more cordial than for someone like Raymond Woollard. According to this thread on Maryland Shooters Smigiel's experience is not typical.


Pantano's Steel Challenge Fundraiser

Ilario Pantano, the Republican nominee for Congress from the 7th District of North Carolina is not your usual candidate. First off, he is a New York City boy running for Congress in eastern North Carolina. Second, he left Wall Street to re-enlist in the Marines after 9/11 and ended up leading a platoon of Marines in Fallujah. And third, he has some innovative ways to both fund raise and show his support for the Second Amendment.

This Saturday Pantano is sponsoring a Steel Challenge shooting match as a fundraiser for his campaign. And he is betting he can shoot better than his challengers.

WANTED: Patriots to help Pantano protect the Second Amendment and fire Pelosi and the Liberal Congress!

Come see if you have what it takes to out-shoot Pantano, your candidate for the U.S. Congress. Pantano needs your help to fix Washington, so come on out to the social fundraiser for an afternoon of fun, food, and guns!

Join us on Oct 24

WHO: Any patriot who thinks they can outshoot their next Congressman

WHAT: A fundraiser pistol match, $25 per entry. Bring your own guns/ammo.

WHEN: Sunday, October 24, registration begins at 11 AM. Match starts at noon.

WHERE: Ant Hill Range, Off Hwy 211 (Green Swamp Rd) near Southport, NC, in Brunswick County. Visit www.anthillrange.com

CONTACT: Joe Moran, 910-520-5982, JJRMoran@juno.com

REWARD! Your $25 entry fee is refunded if you can outshoot your next Congressman!

Lots of details on the steel challenge format are below the fold. And please print out the attached flier to hand out and invite folks!
This isn't the first time that Pantano has held a Steel Challenge to raise money for his campaign. He did it back in the primary as well. According to the rangemaster at Ant Hill Range, Pantano is a pretty fair shot:
Was Pantano a good shot?

“Yeah, he was,” Moran said. “I beat him on the last match by about a half a second, but he beat everybody else there.”
Imagine that - a politician who when it comes to shooting does more than just shoot off his mouth.

Pantano is running against Blue Dog Democrat Mike McIntyre and he has made it a very competitive race. He has raised twice as much money as McIntyre in the last quarter and stands a good chance of beating him in this traditionally Democratic district.

Cognitive Dissonance

Cognitive dissonance is a theory about human behavior that was developed by psychologist Louis Festinger in 1957. It refers to a situation where you have two incompatible beliefs or bits of knowledge which cause psychological discomfort. According to Festinger, when this situation occurs people seek to diminish it by changing one belief to bring it into conformity with the other.

So why on a gun blog would we even care about some psychological theory?

What if your Democratic Congressman who is endorsed by the NRA-PVF, who delivered the carve-out on the DISCLOSE bill for the NRA, and spoke at the NRA Annual Meeting finds himself in a tough race for re-election. In an effort to shore up his Democratic base he reaches out to a former President who is roundly despised by gun people and who implemented some of the worst gun control laws in recent memory.


At Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden, NC - 2008

I am speaking about Congressman Heath Shuler and former President Bill Clinton who will share a stage together Thursday in Asheville, North Carolina. Clinton is coming to Asheville to headline a campaign rally for Shuler in an effort to shore up the "base". According to an article in the Asheville Citizen-Times, Bill Clinton was one of the people who encouraged Shuler to run for Congress in 2006 as well as holding a fund-raiser for him last year. The other person who pushed Shuler to run was Rahm Emanuel. The relationship between Emanuel and Shuler is or was so close that lefty blogger Jane Hamsher referred to Shuler as "Rahm Emanuel's puppet".

I realize that politics in western North Carolina suffer from a bit of schizophrenia. I still remember a classmate in graduate school who, in her mind, saw no conflict between being a big Clinton fan and supporting arch-conservative Jesse Helms.

That said, how is one to reconcile Shuler's pro-gun views with Clinton's anti-gun behavior? Frankly, I don't know. All I can figure is that Shuler is determined to stay in Washington longer as a Congressman than he did playing for the Redskins.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do Girls Need Guns?

The above was the title of a MSN Lifestyle interview with Paxton Quigley. They were interviewing her about her new book Armed and Female: Taking Control. Surprisingly enough, they played it straight and it was a good interview.

I got to meet Paxton at the Gun Rights Policy Conference where she was one of the conference speakers. Her book was one of the books given to us by the Second Amendment Foundation. She was kind enough to autograph one for the Virtual Step-Daughter.


H/T Conservative Scalawag

CalGuns Foundation Launches CCW Project

The CalGuns Foundations has launched a new web portal dedicated to providing information about concealed carry in every county of California. They call it their Carry License/CCW Compliance and Sunshine Initiative. The goal is to make CCW-related information available to the law-abiding public in one central location and to prod local governments into compliance with California state law.
"Detailed information about carry licensing, or CCW (Carry a Concealed Weapon), has historically been kept out of reach by the local authorities who issue carry permits," notes Calguns Foundation Director Brandon Combs. "Many Sheriffs don't want citizens to see to the current reality of the right to bear arms in their county. It's time that we hold these officials accountable." As part of the initiative, Calguns Foundation and its network of volunteers requested from each of California's 58 sheriffs carry license-related documents such as their policy, local forms, and application instructions as well as statements of “good cause” that lead to both granted permits and denials. "After reviewing a small sample of the records, we knew we had to make a real effort to clean up policies that violate state or Federal law across the state."
The new web portal will have county-specific information including editable forms, contact information for each sheriff's office, and all carry license-related local materials. There will also be county-specific discussion threads so that applicants and others can share information and experiences. The site will also have as it becomes available copies of each county's accepted "good cause" statements with applicant information redacted.

Gene Hoffman, chairman of the CalGuns Foundation had this to say about the site:
"We want the public to know how each California sheriff determines 'Good Cause' and 'Good Moral Character,’' their only areas of discretion under existing law. There is a substantial public interest in this information since the right to bear arms hinges squarely on these standards, which currently vary from county to county,"...“We believe that after the McDonald v. Chicago Supreme Court case, the Second Amendment right to bear arms requires that “good cause” be interpreted as ‘self defense’ and ‘good moral character’ be interpreted as ‘not prohibited from possessing firearms.’ We have already filed a federal lawsuit entitled Sykes v. McGinness challenging the constitutionality of unfettered discretion in carry licensing in Sacramento and Yolo County.”
Concurrent with the roll-out of the CCW project, CalGuns has sued Ventura County for because Sheriff Bob Brooks decided to withhold certain public records in violation of the California Public Records Act. The complaint can be found here. Their attorney had this to say about the lawsuit:
"I am not sure what they are hiding, but Ventura's suppression of records previously held by the courts to be public should concern all those who expect accountability from public officials," said Mr. Jason Davis, who brought the case on The Calguns Foundation’s behalf. "This is the first in a potential string of lawsuits to be filed against local agencies should they continue to disregard the public's interest in their carry licensing programs. Not only does the Act require these authorities to release the information, the very application Sheriff Brooks refused to produce reminds applicants that the applications are public records which could be disclosed upon request. It makes no sense for counties to fight losing battles in these tough economic times."

Out of Touch?

Senator Barbara "Don't Call Me Ma'am" Boxer is running this ad against Carly Fiorina accusing her of "being out of touch" with California. Why she is even endorsed by (audible gasp) Sarah Palin.

It accuses her of being for "assault weapons" which the Marin County sheriff calls "reckless" and "dangerous". It says she is in favor of "oil drilling" which will "cost jobs" according to the Sierra Club. Her "plan" would mean "slashing Social Security" according to a group called the Congress of California Seniors which is affiliated with numerous union and public employee groups. And because she is pro-life, Planned Parenthood says she would "make abortion a crime." I'm surprised it didn't accuse her of wanting to ship poor undocumented immigrants back to their country of origin.

All of this leads me to ask the obvious question - just who is out of touch? Carly or Boxer.


Very Effective Ad!

Fran Becker is running this ad in his race against Carolyn McCarthy. I don't know how they found the location but, damn!, that's an effective ad.



H/T Sebastian

Monday, October 18, 2010

NBC News: .50 Caliber Machine Guns Available Over the Counter

According to the clip from NBC News featuring Richard Engel, the Mexican drug cartels are getting their .50 caliber machine guns over the counter in the U.S. If they could tell me where I can just go in and buy a Ma Deuce over the counter without a NFA tax stamp, I'd like to know!

The claim is made at about the 2:40 mark.





H/T Cam Edwards

Mishaga v. Monken - Illinois Responds in FOID Challenge Case

The State of Illinois has responded to the challenge to the FOID Card - Firearms Owner Identification Card - requirements brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation with a Motion to Dismiss. They base their motion on a Federal Rules of Civil Procedure Section 12 (b)(6) failure to state a claim on which relief can be granted.

Illinois contends that Ms. Mishaga, if a lawful gun owner in the State of Ohio, does not need an Illinois FOID card as she meets the exceptions to the requirement to possess a FOID card. As such, they argue that they have not interfered with her right to bear arms or her right to travel.
Tellingly, sections (2)(b)(9) and (2)(b)(10) allow Plaintiff to possess her firearms so long as she is lawfully able to do so in her resident State. See 430 ILCS 65/2(b). Assuming, as Plaintiff asserts, that she is lawfully able to carry guns in Ohio, Plaintiff qualifies under the exemptions and is not required to have an Illinois FOID Card to possess firearms in the State of Illinois. As such, the Defendant’s refusal to issue Plaintiff an Illinois FOID Card has no impact on her ability to possess firearms in the State of Illinois. Therefore, Plaintiff’s constitutional rights have not been harmed by Defendant’s actions and Plaintiff’s complaint should be dismissed.
Here is how the sections referred to, 430 ILCS 65/2 (b)(9) and (b)(10), read (with emphasis added):
(9) Nonresidents whose firearms are unloaded and
enclosed in a case;

(10) Nonresidents who are currently licensed or
registered to possess a firearm
in their resident state;
As Jim Manley, the attorney bringing this case on behalf of Ms. Mishaga, pointed out in an email to me regarding this case:
the Illinois law plainly states that nonresidents can possess functional firearms for self-defense only if they are "licensed or registered to possess a firearm in their resident state." Since Ohio does not require a license, or offer one, Illinois law denies Mishaga her 2nd Amendment rights.
He is absolutely correct. If one examines the Ohio Revised Code on firearms, there is no mention of any license or registration requirement for firearms possession in the State of Ohio.

The State of Illinois is bordered by five states: Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, and Wisconsin. The states of Indiana, Kentucky, and Missouri require no license or registration to either possess or purchase firearms. Iowa requires no license or registration to possess a firearm but does require a permit to purchase a handgun. While Wisconsin requires no license or registration to possess or purchase any firearm, they do impose a 2-day waiting period on the purchase of handguns. By my reading of 430 ILCS 65/2 (b)(10), none of the residents of those states, with some exceptions, would be permitted to possess a functioning firearm in Illinois either.

Most states do not require a license or registration of the owner in order to possess a firearm. There are exceptions like the states of New York and Massachusetts which either require a permit to possess a pistol in New York's case or a Firearms ID card in the case of Massachusetts.

When you read the response from the State of Illinois to Ms. Mishaga's complaint, you are left wondering whether the Assistant Attorney General who drafted their response, Joanna Belle Gunderson, is even aware that many other states including Ohio don't require a license nor require registration of gun owners. If she isn't, then she has unwittingly pointed out a fatal flaw in her own argument.

Two-Shot System for Sighting in a Rifle

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released a video showing how to sight-in your rifle using only two shots. I had heard the system described before but until I saw this video I did realize just how easy it was to do. The video is clear and to the point.

One caveat - you are still going to need to bore sight your rifle first. The video assumes that your rifle was sighted-in previously as in "last season".


Saturday, October 16, 2010

And I Almost Went to a Gun Show Today!

Courtesy of Everyday, No Days Off we have a description of the personalities that you will run into at a gun show. He also has a description of many of the vendors.

I almost laughed myself hoarse after reading these. And the sad part is that they are all just a bit too accurate.

My favorite personality was No. 15:
The “south will rise again” guy, normally between 350-450 pounds, wearing a confederate hat and sweat-stained grey Walmart sweatpants. He talks about old Bobby Lee like an old friend he hasn’t seen in awhile and how he is looking forward to the next American civil war where he is going to single handily kick the crap out of every government agency himself. Check
And my favorite vendor was No. 5:
Ammo purgatory. He has a huge display with every type of ammo anyone could want – set up with absolutely no order to any of it.
If we didn't have out-of-town visitors coming tomorrow, I would have printed this out and taken it with me to the Land O'Sky Gun Show at the Ag Center to compare it against the people I saw there. There is always a next time.

The State of Concealed Carry in the State of Wisconsin

When an obscure Wisconsin judge made a monumental ruling in an obscure case, the blogging world sat up and took notice. Clark County Circuit Judge Jon Counsell ruled earlier this week that the ban on concealed carry by the state of Wisconsin was unconstitutional. The pro-rights community celebrated his ruling while the anti-rights community (as usual) warns of blood in the streets.

Joshua Schultz was arrested for having a concealed weapon. In this case, the concealed weapon was an orange-handled, fixed-blade knife that he had stuck in the front waistband of his pants. He was in a private apartment when a Clark County deputy opened the door. Schultz immediately informed the deputy of the knife and showed him where it was when asked. He was then charged with carrying a concealed weapon in violation of Section 941.23 of the Wisconsin Statutes.

Schultz, as noted later, was represented in court by Assistant State Public Defender William Louis Poss. Poss introduced a motion to dismiss the case. He argued in his brief supporting that motion that the court had the authority to decide constitutional questions, that the level of scrutiny should be strict scrutiny, and that the Wisconsin statute was over-broad and therefore facially unconstitutional. He also argued that the right to keep and bear arms is a privilege of American citizenship and applies to the states through the Fourteenth Amendment's Privileges or Immunities Clause.

Judge Counsell, in his decision, first examines what level of scrutiny should be applied in this case. He concluded:
This court concludes that a strict scrutiny test should be applied in evaluating the statute in question here, section 941.23. The court reaches this conclusion because sec. 941.23 absolutely prohibits the carrying of concealed weapons for all persons in Wisconsin, except “peace officers.” The statute flatly prohibits a certain behavior/activity. It thus takes away what this court understands Heller and McDonald to deem an individual and fundamental right.
He goes on to say that to pass the strict scrutiny test, the concealed carry ban must be justified by a compelling governmental interest, be narrowly tailored to achieve that interest, and be the least restrictive means for achieving that goal. While finding that the government did have a compelling interest in protecting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens, he said the law over-reached and was over-broad. He compared the statute to a leaden blanket when a lightweight silk blanket would suffice. Moreover, he found that the law was not the least restrictive means to achieve the government's goal. He noted that 48 other states had some form of concealed carry and mass crime did not break out. Indeed, he referred to the work of John Lott and said there is a strong argument that concealed carry makes citizens safer.

Judge Counsell concluded:
Thus, while the State has an interest in public safety, sec. 941.23 is unconstitutional because it is not narrowly tailored to achieve the State’s interest nor is it the least restrictive means for achieving that interest.
Finally, in a vindication of Alan Gura's argument in McDonald regarding the Privileges or Immunities Clause, Judge Counsell applied the reasoning in Justice Thomas's McDonald concurrence to this case. He said the right to keep and bear arms is a fundamental right and must not be abridged by state laws such as Section 421.23. He then found this law also violated the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the U. S. Constitution and ordered Schultz's case dismissed.

Cases that have advanced our civil rights have taken two primary forms. First, there is the strategic civil rights litigation approach that Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation are taking advancing gun rights. It involves carefully screening the plaintiffs, picking your battles, suing in the proper venue, seeking good precedents, and then building on those wins. This was the same approach that the NAACP Legal Defense Fund took starting in the 1930s and which led to many civil rights victories including the end to segregation by race. Likewise, Lamda Legal is also following this same approach in their efforts to expand rights for gays and lesbians.

Then there are the cases, usually in criminal court, where a civil rights victory is achieved quite unexpectedly with a less than ideal defendant. Looking at some of the great Supreme Court civil rights cases of the 1960s that were won this way two come immediately to mind: Miranda v. Arizona and Gideon v. Wainwright. In the former case, Ernesto Miranda was a sexual deviant, robber, and rapist who was convicted of raping an 18-year old girl after he confessed to the crime under interrogation. Miranda made his confession without being advised of his right to an attorney as well as his right to remain silent. His win for civil rights in the Supreme Court secured the "Miranda Warning" which requires that a person who is arrested be advised of their right to an attorney and to remain silent.

In the latter, and to my mind, more important case, a poor drifter named Clarence Earl Gideon was convicted of felony theft after representing himself in court because he couldn't afford to hire an attorney. From his cell at the Florida State Prison he sent his handwritten appeal to the Supreme Court and they accepted it. The Court assigned future Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas as his attorney and he won in a 9-0 decision. Gideon's win led to court-appointed attorneys and public defenders for the indigent. While there can be some debate about the quality of some of these attorneys, a poor man is no longer forced to conduct his own legal defense without an attorney.

Joshua Schultz, the defendant in the Wisconsin concealed carry case, is not a choir boy. According to the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access System, he has been found guilty of everything from drunk driving to disorderly conduct and theft. He is currently under a temporary restraining order for domestic spousal abuse. Nonetheless, due to Clarence Gideon's earlier win, Mr. Schultz was represented by an assistant state public defender who was energetic enough and smart enough to see the constitutional conflicts inherent in Wisconsin's ban on concealed carry. Out of this has come a win for civil rights in at least one part of Wisconsin.

Annuities: The Pros and Cons

One hears a lot about annuities nowadays. Here is a video from MarketWatch.Com that does a decent job in explaining the pro's and con's.


Friday, October 15, 2010

Bushmaster ACR Recall

If you own a Bushmaster ACR and don't want to end up like David Olofson - that is, 30 months in a Federal prison, you better read the following press release from Bushmaster:
Important Bushmaster ACR Product Safety Notice

We are notifying you as a result of information provided to us indicating that you are the owner of a Bushmaster produced ACR rifle.

Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC has become aware of a possible firearms performance issue that may develop with a small number of ACR rifles and we are requesting you discontinue the use of this rifle immediately, and contact us at your earliest convenience so that we can make the necessary arrangements to have the rifle returned to us for inspection and update if necessary.

**All Bushmaster produced ACR rifles are impacted by this notification.**
**This notice is not applicable to any other Bushmaster firearms.**

During routine test firing, Bushmaster discovered a design flaw which could result in multiple rounds firing continuously when the trigger is pulled. This unexpected firing of multiple rounds creates a dangerous situation.

Since the safety and quality of our firearms is our utmost concern, Bushmaster is implementing the following corrective actions plans to correct the effected firearms as quickly as possible. Therefore, we are requesting your timely assistance with the following action:

1) Please discontinue the use of your ACR rifle(s).

2) Contact our Customer Service Department at 1-800-883-6229, (Monday-Friday, 8:30 AM – 6:00 PM EST).
Please have the serial # of your firearm(s) available when you call.

3) We will provide you with return shipping instructions and issue you a RMA# (Return Authorization Number).
This will assist us in processing, and updating of your firearm and returning to you as expeditiously as possible.

4) If you have sold your ACR rifles, please provide the full name, address, and phone number (if known) of the new owner so that we may contact them as soon as possible.

**The shipping address for the return of your firearm is listed below**
**Please contact us prior to shipping**

Bushmaster Firearms International, LLC
Attention: Dept. ACR
999 Roosevelt Trail
Windham, ME 04062
CustomerService@Bushmaster.com

5) This process will be accomplished at no cost to you and will be completed as expeditiously as possible.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you, and we will return your firearm to you as expeditiously as possible.
If you have any further questions concerning this request, please call us on the above noted toll free number between the hours of 8:30 AM and 6:00 PM Eastern Standard Time.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation in resolving this important matter.
As Caleb notes on his Gun Nuts Media blog, accidental or not, full auto can mean prosecutions by the friendly folks at ATF.  If nothing else, do it because it could save your dog's life if ATF comes knocking on your door.

A Challenge and A Request

There are a lot of good pro-gun candidates around the country that need our help. I plan on sending contributions to a handful of them early next week. I'd like to ask the readers of this blog to make suggestions on who should get those contributions.

Here are my requirements:

  • Pro-gun
  • In a winnable race
  • Conservative to libertarian in outlook
  • If a Democrat, the Republican has to be really, really anti-gun
  • Preference is given to challengers over incumbants
  • Running for US House, US Senate, or Governor
  • Outside of North Carolina as I am already supporting politicians here
The only other thing I ask is that you say why I should give them money. In other words, do more than just suggest a name. You can either post the name and supporting info in the comments section or send me an emal at jpr9954@gmail.com.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

City of Cleveland v. State of Ohio

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Cleveland and the state of Ohio squared off before the Ohio Supreme Court over Ohio's state preemption of local gun laws. The Ohio Supreme Court is, in my opinion, very progressive in allowing access to court proceedings by the public. They offer live streaming video of all proceedings as well as archiving the oral arguments. Some are available as video and others are available as audio only. It appears this case is audio only.

The audio can be found here. Unfortunately, my efforts to use their embedded audio player didn't work.

Civil Rights for Wounded Veterans

Grass Roots North Carolina just released this video regarding gun rights for veterans. It features a speech by Senator Richard Burr of NC on his bill that would have protected the rights of wounded veterans. He gave it at GRNC's Gun Rights Gala held in Charlotte this past May.

In light of the Second Amendment Foundation's newest lawsuit, the timing is impeccable. And yes, that is Alan Gura sitting to Burr's right on the dais.


Schrader et al v. Holder et al: A New SAF Gun Law Challenge

Alan Gura and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of a Georgia man who was prohibited from purchasing a firearm due to a decades-old conviction for simple misdemeanor assault. The plaintiff, Jefferson Wayne Schrader, was also informed that he must surrender all of his current firearms or face criminal prosecution. The defendents in this case are Attorney General Eric Holder and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Jefferson Schrader was serving in the U.S. Navy when he was attacked by a street gang in the summer of 1968 while stationed in Annapolis, Maryland. The gang assaulted Schrader because they said he was "in their territory". A few days after this initial attack, he was walking in Annapolis when he was accosted by one of his original assailants. A fight ensued and Schrader punched the gang member. Unfortunately, this was seen by a local police officer and Schrader was arrested for assault and battery, and disorderly conduct.

In court, Schrader was found guilty of misdemeanor assault and battery. He was fined $109 including court costs which he paid. The alternative to not paying the fine was 30 days in jail. Sometime after this, Schrader shipped out for a tour of duty in Vietnam and then was honorably discharged upon his return. Since that time, Schrader has not had any further brushes with the law with the exception of one traffic ticket.

The key points to remember here is that Schrader was only convicted of a simple misdemeanor for which at the time Maryland law did not set any maximum sentence. As the complaint notes, the only maximum was that guaranteed under the Eight Amendment governing cruel and unusual punishments. Further, he is an honorably-discharged veteran, did not commit any act of domestic violence, does not have any domestic restraining orders against him, doesn't use drugs, and has not been found to be mentally defective or had a commitment to a mental institution.

All Schrader is guilty of is being in the wrong place at the wrong time and, perhaps, reacting a bit strongly when accosted by a street thug. Schrader is a normal guy who served his country, kept his nose clean, has gone about his life, and who, by all accounts, should be allowed to exercise his Second Amendment rights to purchase and possess a firearm.

Fast forward to late 2008. His companion attempted to purchase a shotgun for him as a gift. This transaction was canceled when the NICS check indicated he was a prohibited person. According to the complaint, in January 2009, Schrader also placed an order at his local gun shop for a handgun for self-defense.

In June 2009, Schrader was advised by the FBI that the shotgun transaction was denied because of his Maryland misdemeanor assault conviction and that he was considered a prohibited person under 18 USC §922(g)(1). An FBI Agent at the time also advised Schrader to dispose of any firearm that he might possess or he would face criminal prosecution. He immediately canceled his handgun order.

18 USC §922(g)(1) which describes who is a prohibited person is as follows:
It shall be unlawful for any person—
(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
(2) who is a fugitive from justice;
(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802));
(4) who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or who has been committed to a mental institution;
(5) who, being an alien—
(A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or
(B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101 (a)(26)));
(6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
(7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship;
(8) who is subject to a court order that—
(A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had an opportunity to participate;
(B) restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
(C) (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or
(ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or
(9) who has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence,
to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.
The suit asks that the Attorney General correct the erroneous NICS information under his authority from 18 USC §925A and remove Schrader from the prohibited person's list. The relevant part of that section of the code reads:
A person who is prohibited from possessing, shipping, transporting, or receiving firearms or ammunition may make application to the Attorney General for relief from the disabilities imposed by Federal laws with respect to the acquisition, receipt, transfer, shipment, transportation, or possession of firearms, and the Attorney General may grant such relief if it is established to his satisfaction that the circumstances regarding the disability, and the applicant's record and reputation, are such that the applicant will not be likely to act in a manner dangerous to public safety and that the granting of the relief would not be contrary to the public interest.
The second claim for relief made in the suit asks for a permanent injunction barring enforcement of 18 USC §922(g)(1) by the Defendents and all of those under their power on the basis of simple common-law misdemeanor offenses which have no statutory penalties.

As Alan Gura said at the Gun Rights Policy Conference regarding his post-McDonald litigation, he looks for situations where you have "low hanging fruit", it is annoying, and unconstitutional. I would say this situation qualifies on all three counts.