Friday, December 31, 2010

Even In Monastery Fires There Are Priorities

The Trappist (Cistercian) monks at the 13th century monastery Notre-Dame de St-Remy Abbey in Belgium are best known for brewing their Trappistes Rochefort beer. On Wednesday, while the monks were at dinner, a fire broke out that destroyed a good part of the monastery. Fortunately, none of the monks were injured or killed in the fire.

The firemen who fought the blaze made it their priority to protect the monastery's library with its collection of 700-year old rare books and the brewery. The BBC reports:
Francois Bellot, mayor of Rochefort, said he was confident that it would be possible to resume beer production within a few days.
This monastery is only one of five that brews Trappist beer and has been producing this strong beer (7.5- 12% ABV) since 1595.

So if you plan to celebrate tonight with a good strong Belgian beer like the Trappistes Rochefort, remember the firemen who preserved that part of the monastery. Also, say a prayer for the now-homeless monks as they go about doing God's work by brewing one of the world's best beers.

ATF, Chuck Schumer, and Andrew Traver

Mike Vanderboegh at Sipsey Street Irregulars has a very interesting post on the Traver nomination being sent back to the White House. Rumor has it that the Traver nomination was sent back with the full approval of notorious anti-gunner Senator Chuck Schumer.

The Chief Counsel's Office at ATF has a reputation for being a nest of vipers. That comes from both ATF agents in the field and pro-gun advocates. They also have good relations with Schumer and have been at his beck and call for years.

The rumor is that Andrew Traver wanted the Chief Counsel's Office cleaned out before he arrived so he wouldn't have to do it. Because of that the CCO worked with Schumer to have the nomination killed or at least stalled.

Remember this is all rumor and conjecture on Mike's part but he was the first one to call the Traver nomination. It was Mike's first post on Traver that got me to doing Google searches on the guy. Read his whole post linked above in the first paragraph.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More From NSSF On Proposed ATF Long Gun Reporting

The NSSF posted this yesterday on their blog:

More on ATF Multiple Sales Reporting

December 29, 2010 By Larry Keane

An editorial in today’s Washington Post discussed the recent decision by ATF to require federally licensed firearms retailers along the Southwest border to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of most semi-automatic rifles. Specifically this would impact .22 caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine and are purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

Though the Post supports this ill-advised proposal, it did acknowledge the legitimacy surrounding one of industry’s objections:

“When reports of its plan surfaced, the administration came under immediate attack from the gun rights lobby. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry trade association, argued that the administration lacked the legal authority to demand data on rifles and shotguns. It has a point: While Congress authorized the ATF to collect information on handgun sales, it declined to extend the requirement to long guns. A court is likely to be asked to decide whether demand letters may be used to shake loose this information …”

NSSF continues to oppose multiple sales reporting of semi-automatic rifles. Such reporting requirements will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

NSSF would also like to remind all members of industry, sportsmen and gun owners to voice their concerns by doing the following:

1. Call the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulation Affairs, Department of Justice, Desk Officer at (202) 395-6466.

2. E-mail Barbara A. Terrell, ATF, Firearms Industry Programs Branch at

3. Call your Senators and Representative: United States Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

4. Send an already formatted cap-wiz letter.

Points to make:

1.Multiple sales reporting of long guns will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

2.Long guns are rarely used in crime (Bureau of Justice Statistics).

3.Imposing multiple sales-reporting requirements for long guns would further add to the already extensive paperwork and record-keeping requirements burdening America’s retailers – where a single mistake could cost them their license and even land them in jail.

4.Last year, ATF inspected 2,000 retailers in border states and only two licenses were revoked (0.1%). These revocations were for reasons unknown and could have had nothing to do with illicit trafficking of guns; furthermore, no dealers were charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

5.According to ATF, the average age of a firearm recovered in the United States is 11 years old. In Mexico it’s more than 14 years old. This demonstrates that criminals are not using new guns bought from retailers in the states.

6.Congress, when it enacted multiple sales reporting for handguns, could have required multiple sales of long guns – it specifically chose not to.

Woollard v. Sheridan - Mixed Ruling On Motion To Dismiss

Yesterday, the plaintiffs in the Maryland concealed carry case, Woollard et al v. Sheridan et al, got a win and a tie on Maryland's motion to dismiss the case. District Court Judge J. Frederick Motz denied the defense's motion to dismiss on Count I - Second Amendment grounds - and approved it on Count II - 14th Amendment Equal Protection grounds. However, he gave Alan Gura leave or permission to file an amended complaint to make up the deficiencies in the claim in Count II. I'd call that a tie.

The Attorney General of Maryland had filed a motion to dismiss the case pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and (6) back in September. Rule 12(b)(1) argues that the District Court lacks subject-matter jurisdiction while Rule 12(b)(6) maintains the plaintiffs fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. In this case, the defense argued that the District Court should abstain from hearing the case as a state proceeding on the matter was still ongoing and that it implicated important state interests. This is what is known as a Younger abstention. They also challenged the standing of the Second Amendment Foundation to bring this case as an organizational plaintiff. Finally, they argued that with regard to the Equal Protection claims, the plaintiffs made an assertion that the state violated those rights without providing sufficient evidence to back up the claim.

Judge Motz takes up the standing of the Second Amendment Foundation in a footnote.
Defendants also assert SAF lacks standing to bring suit. I need not reach this issue, however, because it is undisputed that Woollard has standing to bring a facial challenge to the Maryland statute. In cases where, as here, plaintiffs seek injunctive and declaratory relief, "so long as at least one individual plaintiff . . . has demonstrated standing," a court "need not consider whether the other individual and corporate plaintiffs have standing to maintain the suit." Village of Arlington Heights v. Metro. Hous. Dev. Corp.
He goes on to add that he is denying the Motion to Dismiss on these grounds and will deny Maryland's request for discovery on this issue. Judge Motz says that he will address SAF's standing at a later date only if it is needed.

The meat of the opinion in this case deals with whether the Younger abstention claim is valid. To be valid, a Younger abstention requires three elements: an ongoing state judicial proceeding that implicates important state interests which provides an opportunity to raise constitutional issues. Judge Motz says:
Because I conclude that the state proceeding at issue here is not of a type that warrants abstention, I need not consider the gravity of the state‘s interest or whether the proceeding provides a sufficient opportunity to raise the constitutional claims.
Judge Motz then examines in detail the state proceedings and its characteristics. He notes that many courts, including the Fourth Circuit, have found that the key factor is whether the state administrative proceedings are coercive or merely remedial. In the Fourth Circuit, the rule is to abstain only if the proceedings could be deemed coercive. Thus, he says, "I will not abstain from deciding this case unless the Handgun Permit Review Board‘s hearing can be categorized as 'coercive.' "

He examines the Review Board hearing for the factors that would deem it coercive. They include mandatory participation, whether the state proceedings are the wrong that is sought to be corrected in Federal court, and are the proceedings meant to punish the plaintiff for a bad act. He concludes and rules:
In light of these factors, I conclude that the Board hearing was non-coercive. Woollard is challenging the state proceeding itself—that is, he alleges his constitutional rights were violated by the denial of his application for a handgun carry permit, not a distinct wrong. Nevertheless, Woollard, rather than the state, initiated the administrative proceeding. His participation in the proceeding was not mandatory, and he would have faced no liability if he opted not to participate. Furthermore, the state is not seeking to punish Woollard for any bad act. Indeed, it was Woollard‘s compliance with the law —specifically, his choice to apply for a handgun carry permit rather than carrying a handgun illegally — that prompted the initiation of the state proceeding. The present case therefore lacks the "common thread" linking cases in which Younger abstention is appropriate.

In sum, there is no ongoing state proceeding that warrants abstention under the Younger doctrine. Accordingly, I will deny the Defendants‘ Motion to Dismiss on this ground.
He finally examines whether Count II of the complaint can be dismissed under the 12(b)(6) rule and concludes that it can. He found that Count II which makes a general assertion that Maryland Public Safety Code Sec. 5-306(a)(5)(ii) violates the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause was "insufficient to make the defendant aware of the nature of the claim being brought." He goes on to say that the plaintiffs have not alleged any facts to suggest that the state employed a suspect classification. However, because he cannot conclude that such "an allegation would be futile", he will approve the Motion to Dismiss on Count II but give Alan Gura the opportunity to correct that defect with an amended complaint "stating their equal protection claim with more particularity."

All in all, I would say that even though Count II was dismissed this was a win for Alan Gura. He survived the more critical challenge on standing and will have an opportunity to correct what the court saw as a defect in Count II.

The Maryland Shooters forum has a long string of posts on this case. The relevant comments regarding the Judge's ruling starts near the bottom of of page 77 and goes from there. As usual, there are some very perceptive comments to be found there.

Obama Makes Six Recess Appointments But Not Traver

Yesterday, the White House announced six recess appointments. Four were ambassadors, one was to the position of Public Printer (head of the Government Printing Office), and one as Deputy Attorney General.

From my perspective this is important not for who was appointed but who wasn't - Andrew Traver to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Of course, Obama still could make Traver a recess appointment as the new Congress doesn't begin until January 5th. My guess is that if no more appointments are made by Friday, then these six are it.

John Elwood at the Volokh Conspiracy goes into detail on the mechanics of these appointments and recess appointments in general.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ruger Should Have Introduced This Years Ago!

I received an email from Ruger a couple of hours ago announcing their new Gunsite Scout Rifle. This is the rifle that Ruger should have introduced when they first came out with their M77 Frontier a few years ago.

The Gunsite Scout Rifle is based upon Col. Jeff Cooper's scout rifle concept. It is a bolt-action .308 rifle with a 10-round detachable box magazine. The rifle features the integral forward scope mount typical of all scout rifles along with a ghost ring rear sight and a Mini-14 style protected front sight. It also have a flash suppressor with standard 5/8-24 muzzle threads allowing the use of other .30 caliber accessories such as different flash suppressors, muzzle brakes, or a sound suppressor.

The only thing I see missing is the third sling stud for the requisite Ching sling from Andy Langlois. Ed Head at Gunsite had this to say about it according to the Ruger press release:
"Ruger has taken an in depth look at the intended purpose of a Scout Rifle and developed a full-featured rifle designed to meet the Scout Rifle criteria of hunt, fight, defend," says Head. "This firearm offers outstanding features in an affordable, versatile and reliable rifle designed to deliver .308 Winchester performance in a variety of situations. It is compact, lightweight, offers 10-round box magazines, can be fit to the individual shooter, and accommodates a host of optics. It is a serious rifle for those serious about rifles."
I may not buy this rifle as I have the Ruger M77 Frontier which I have been slowly building up over of the years. If I had to do it over again, I'd go with this. Heck, I still might do it!

UPDATE: Michael Bane has a long blog post about the rifle and his impressions on shooting it out at Gunsite. He is buying one.

UPDATE II: DownRange TV has put up two videos on the new Gunsite Scout Rifle. The first includes an interview with the Colonel himself and the second continues the discussion with Dave Spaulding on how this rifle came to be.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

And In Massachusetts News...

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts approved $6 million in tax incentives to help Smith and Wesson expand their manufacturing plant in Springfield. According to the Boston Globe, this was the second-largest tax incentive award by the commonwealth in 2010.
The $6 million in tax breaks, which will be spread out over seven years, work out to nearly $27,000 per job and form the second-largest incentive package the state has awarded this year. The state recently reconfigured its tax incentive program to steer more money to manufacturers and other companies with significant out-of-state sales, and to give preference to businesses expanding in poorer cities such as Springfield.
Smith and Wesson is expanding their Springfield plant as they shift production from their Thompson/Center plant in New Hampshire. They plan to add 225 new jobs at the Springfield plant. Greg Bialecki, Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development called it a very big expansion for western Massachusetts.

The company announced the award on December 21st in a press release on their investor website. They noted the company had been approached by other cities and states to expand outside of Massachusetts.
The award resulted after several months of discussion between the Commonwealth and Smith & Wesson, while the company considered location options for its rifle manufacturing. James Debney, President of Smith & Wesson Firearms, said, "Although several states and cities have approached us to entice expansion into their locations, Massachusetts and the Patrick-Murray Administration, Secretary Bialecki and his office, and Springfield Mayor Sarno and his staff, collaborated on the project to make our choice clear. These administrations are highly collaborative and worked closely with us on incentive programs to structure an agreement that demonstrates the commitment of both the Commonwealth and the City to not only Smith & Wesson, but to our employees, the local community, and to manufacturing in Massachusetts."
Given that Governor Deval Patrick is very anti-gun, it goes to show that jobs trump liberal policies in a recession. I'm surprised we haven't heard from the Brady Campaign moaning about this being a waste of taxpayer monies.

Now This Is Something I'd Pay To Watch

From David Burge, the Iowahawk, comes this modest proposal on a way to control the growth of the bureaucracy:
Idea: Fed agency caged death match tournament. Each bureau given regulatory power over the others. Survivor gets shipped to Cuba.
I nominate TSA to be one of the first agencies to be featured in this tournament. Who should be their worthy opponent?

Update On NC's State of Emergency

The Governor's Office finally posted the Executive Order declaring a State of Emergency due to the heavy snow received. It was declared by Lt. Governor Walter Dalton on Christmas Day under the powers granted to him when the Governor is out of the state. It notes that he did this only after consulting Governor Bev Perdue.

Where this order declaring a State of Emergency gets interesting is that it is declared pursuant to the powers vested in the Governor under N.C. General Statutes Article 1 of Chapter 166A. This is the North Carolina Emergency Management Act of 1977. An emergency declared in this manner does not trigger the prohibition on the off-premises possession of firearms and ammunition unlike NCGS 14 § 288.15.

The Executive Order makes specific note that:
This order is adopted pursuant to my powers under Article 1 of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes and not under my authority under Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes. It does not trigger the limitations on weapons in G.S. § 14-288.7 or impose any limitation on the consumption, transportation, sale or purchase of alcoholic beverages.
The previous six States of Emergency declared by Governor Perdue were pursuant to both Chapter 166A (Emergency Management Act) and Article 36A (NCGS 14 § 288.15). The latter is what triggers the ban on firearms off-premises.

When Governor Perdue declared a State of Emergency prior to Hurricane Earl in Executive Order 62 on September 1st, she insisted that it did not impact the possession of firearms off-premises as that would have interfered with the start of dove season. The wording of the current Executive Order with specific references to Article 36A gives lie to that assertion.

In Executive Order 62, Governor Perdue delegated all powers and authority to the Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety that had been granted to her by Chapter 166A and Article 36A of Chapter 14. It did not specifically mention NCGS 14 § 288.15 but that would have been included under Article 36A of Chapter 14.

It looks like someone in Raleigh must finally be getting the message about gun bans during a state of emergency. One can only hope that the newly elected Republican majority in the North Carolina General Assembly will amend the law to prohibit gun bans during emergencies.

Not Anti-Gun?

Of course Colin Goddard, the assistant director of legislative affairs for the Brady Campaign, is not anti-gun. He is anti-firearm (or rifle). As R. Lee Ermey graphically illustrated in Full Metal Jacket there is a difference. I'm sure that is what Robin meant.

Newsbusters has more on the whole interview between Robin Roberts and Colin Goddard on Good Morning America.

UPDATE:  David Codrea examines this interview in his National Gun Rights Examiner column.
Oh, no, Goddard assures her. He’s been hunting. He’s been to the range.

Hell, if shooting is the criteria, gun rights advocates could have no bigger supporter than Lon Horiuchi.
That should be the money quote of the year!

H/T Cam Edwards

Monday, December 27, 2010

Home To Carolina

Light blogging today as we are leaving Illinois to return home to North Carolina. In a reversal of the usual sequence of events, we'll be coming from an area with light snow to an area with heavy snow.

It will be good to returning to a somewhat free state. I wonder if Illinois declares statewide states of emergency over a little bit of snow. Somehow, I doubt it.

UPDATE: Home safe and sound. Most of the trip was uneventful with clean, dry roads. That is, until we hit the Pigeon River Gorge on Interstate 40 at the NC-TN state line. It took us at least an hour to travel 20 miles because there was only one lane open. If the left lane had been plowed and salted, it certainly didn't look like it.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Here We Go Again With A State Of Emergency

Here we go again.

North Carolina Lt. Gov. Walter Dalton declared a state of emergency on Christmas Day for the entire state. He did this after consulting with Gov. Beverly Perdue. The state of emergency was declared due to heavy snow. News reports don't detail why it was the Lt. Governor who made the declaration and not the Governor. While it is not specified, I am presuming that this state of emergency was declared under authority granted by NCGS 14§ 288.15. Neither the Governor's nor the Lt. Governor's website has posted the actual Executive Order declaring the state of emergency.

As most will remember, it was the declaration of a state of emergency by the City of King, Stokes County, and the Governor due to a snow storm which lead to the first post-McDonald case, Bateman et al v. Perdue et al. In North Carolina, a declaration of a state of emergency triggers a ban on off-premises carry of firearms and ammunition. NC Gen. Statues 14§ 288.7 bans transportation and off-premises possession of "dangerous weapons":

Transporting dangerous weapon or substance during emergency; possessing
off premises; exceptions.
(a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area:
(1) In which a declared state of emergency exists;
(2) Within the immediate vicinity of which a riot is occurring.
(b) This section does not apply to persons exempted from the provisions of G.S. 14-269
with respect to any activities lawfully engaged in while carrying out their duties.
(c) Any person who violates any provision of this section is guilty of a Class 1
misdemeanor. (1969, c. 869, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 192; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)
G.S. 14 § 269 deals with the carrying of concealed weapons. The only exemptions it provides to those "carrying out their duties" involve law enforcement and military personnel. The holder of a NC Concealed Handgun Permit does not have "duties" and therefore could not be considered an "exempted person" under G.S. 14 §  288.7.

Back in September when a state of emergency was declared due to anticipated problems from Hurricane Earl, the Governor's Office declared that they had structured it so that it would not invoke the ban on off-premises possession of firearms. As I said then and I will say now, nothing in the law allows the Governor (or Lt. Governor) to arbitrarily decide which part of a law will be valid or not.

Since coming into office in January 2009, Governor Bev Perdue has declared seven states of emergency. Three have been snow or winter storm related, three have been due to tropical storms or hurricanes, and one was due to a rockslide which closed Interstate 40 in Haywood County.

It is interesting to contrast her use of state of emergency powers with that of her predecessor Mike Easley. In his eight years in office, Easley declared 25 states of emergency. Most of Easley's declarations were combined with declaring a state of disaster and, more importantly, were limited to the locale where the problem existed. They did not extend statewide. The exceptions were the back to back years of multiple major hurricanes hitting the state in 2004-2005. Finally, he only declared a state of emergency due to snow once in those eight years.

All I can say is that if you are carrying concealed or are traveling with a firearm in your vehicle, be careful.

UPDATE: See my post on the Executive Order proclaiming a state of emergency.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Story - Arfcom Style

After have just watched Ralphie finally get his Daisy Red Ryder on TV, I came across this. Don't shoot your eye out Ralphie!

A very Merry Christmas to one and all.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All-out Cardboard Warfare

I'm surprised that the Brady Campaign, Code Pink, or any of their fellow-traveling friends hasn't tried to outlaw this yet. Those papercuts can be deadly!

Will Obama Poke Gun Owners In The Eye Again?

The Senate adjourned on December 22nd. With that adjournment, the nomination of Andrew Traver to head the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives fell by the wayside. The Senate neither voted to confirm nor deny his appointment so if Obama still wants Traver as Director of ATF he will need to resubmit his name to the Senate.

According to the Congressional Research Service:
Nominations Returned to the President

Nominations that are not confirmed or rejected are returned to the President at the end of a session or when the Senate adjourns or recesses for more than 30 days (Senate Rule XXXI, paragraph 6). If the President still wants a nominee considered, he must submit a new nomination to the Senate. The Senate can, however, waive this rule by unanimous consent, and it often does to allow nominations to remain “in status quo” between the first and second sessions of a Congress. The majority leader or his designee also may exempt specific nominees by name from the unanimous consent agreement, allowing them to be returned during the recess or adjournment.
Checking the Congressional Record (page S11071) for December 22nd, Andrew Traver's nomination was specifically mentioned as being returned to the President. Along with him were a number of other nominations including many judicial nominations.

The website, Main Justice, first reported on this yesterday, noting that Traver had faced "strong opposition from the National Rifle Association." David Codrea notes that we are not out of the woods yet in his Gun Rights Examiner column.
Gun owners dodged a bullet—but only one. Without individual senators, including nominally “pro-gun” Democrats, taking a stand and publicly opposing Traver, and without them pledging further opposition and consequences if Obama attempts a recess appointment end run, we’re not out of the woods yet.
Joe Huffman at the View from North Central Idaho offered this wry assessment of the situation.
I think this means we will have a more gun friendly Senate to review Traver’s background with the Klan Joyce Foundation.
Two questions remain regarding Andrew Traver. First, will Obama renominate him now that Rahm Emanuel is no longer Chief of Staff? As reported earlier, Emanuel was the person in the Obama White House who was pushing Traver. Without Rahm as his champion, is the controversy over Traver worth it to Obama?

The second question is whether Obama is so committed to sticking it to us "bitter clingers" that he will make Traver a recess appointment. He has until 11:59am on January 5, 2011 to make that decision. My gut reaction is that he punts and there won't be a recess appointment. The Brady Bunch and their ilk are just not worth the bad will that would ensue.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Rat-A-Tat Annihilators?

Editorials in the New York Times are known for their hyperbole when it comes to firearms. Today's editorial entitled Cartel Gunmen Buy American goes even further. In an effort to bolster support for ATF's proposed "emergency" and "temporary" semi-automatic rifle reporting requirement for multiple purchases, they use words like body count, carnage, war weapons, and gun lobby. However, after seeing one too many repeat showings of The Untouchables, they have outdone themselves.
...with use of high- power long guns more than doubling in the past five years as cartel gunmen turn to the rat-a-tat annihilators easily obtainable across the border.
Who writes this stuff? Moreover, who reads it without rolling on the floor laughing?

The rest of the editorial tries to make the case that "AK-47s and other battlefield assault rifles" are being sold by dealers along the Mexican border to the narco-terrorists and that it is only right-wing Republicans, cowed Democrats afraid of the "gun lobby", and the National Rifle Association itself that stands in the way of "courageous" legislation that would make the proposed requirement law. They even ask Obama to ignore Congress and just issue an Executive Order. This, of course, would modify the Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986.

We know, of course, that "battlefield assault rifles" are covered under the National Firearms Act of 1934 and require a tax stamp, background investigation, and that no new automatic weapons can be sold to non-LEO, non-military since the Hughes Amendment of 1986.  The bulk of the real automatic weapons in Mexico, if U.S. made, are coming from Mexican Army arsenals sold by corrupt and/or fearful Army officials. As for the full-automatic AKs, the fine hand of Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Eastern Bloc gun merchants can be seen in that.

That's the reality of the situation which is completely and obviously ignored in this editorial.

Spetnatz With EoTech Optics?

The KitUp Blog posted this video today of Russian special forces engaged in urban operations - presumably counter-terrorism. Virtually all of their AK's were equipped with what looked like an EoTech holographic optic. They also have some very interesting mounts for these optics. While I'm sure LaRue Tactical has nothing to worry about, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on a set to use with my AK-74.

As they note in the KitUp blog, they don't know whether these are real or knock-offs of EoTechs. Given that the EoTech optic is a controlled item, it would be interesting to know if they are indeed real just who approved their export to Russia. As you can see by EoTech's disclaimer below, they require export licenses. Perhaps this is what Hillary meant by hitting the "Re-Set Button".
This Holographic Weapon Sight must be exported from the United States in accordance with Export Administration Regulations ECCN 0A987. Diversion contrary to U.S. law is prohibited. In accordance with U.S. law (Title 15 CFR part 746 and Supplement No. 1 to Part 774; and Title 31 CFR) resale/re-export or transfer of Holographic Weapon Sight Models 552, 551, 512, 511, 4X magnifier and 3X magnifier to certain designated countries is prohibited without prior written consent of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The Holographic Weapon Sight Models 553, 557 and 555 are controlled under U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and may not be exported without proper authorization by the U.S. Department of State.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Melson Addresses FFL's On The "Two-A-Day" Requirement

The ATF obviously wants to get the message about about their new "emergency" initiative to require Federal Firearms Licensees (FFL's) to report the purchase of two or more semi-automatic rifles in calibers greater than .22 and with a detachable magazine.

ATF put a video up on their website with a message from Deputy Director Kenneth Melson on the proposed requirement as well as the transcript of the video. Thanks to David Codrea it is now on YouTube.

Transcript of ATF Acting Director Melson — Webcast
December 20, 2010

Acting Director Announces Demand Letters for Multiple Sales of Specific Long Guns in Four Border States
Hello, I’m Ken Melson, the Acting Director of ATF.

A recent initiative by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has caught the attention of national media outlets. I wanted to make sure everyone heard from me about this law enforcement initiative so there isn’t any confusion.

Recently, ATF announced through the Federal Register our intent to initiate a new Demand Letter requiring the reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns by Federal Firearms Licensees, known as FFLs, in the four Southwest Border States. We took this step as a way to help gain actionable law enforcement intelligence which we believe will help reduce criminal firearms trafficking along the Southwest border.

Before we can actually issue the Demand Letter we must receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget for purposes of the paperwork reduction act. We expect to receive that approval in early January, 2011.

As many of you already know, the goals of ATF’s Southwest border firearms trafficking strategy are:

•: To prevent violent crime;
•: Ensure the safety of the communities and law enforcement situated along the Southwest Border;
•: And to disrupt and dismantle the firearms trafficking networks responsible for the diversion of firearms from lawful commerce into the hands of the Mexican Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs)
Since 2006, there has been a significant increase in drug and firearms-related violence in Mexico and along our Southwest border. In response to this increased violence, ATF has deployed focused resources nationally to prevent the firearms trafficking along the Southwest Border and into Mexico.

According to ATF trace data, investigative experience, and Mexican law enforcement officials, a large number of rifles are being used in violent crimes in Mexico and along the border. Our new Demand Letter will implement a limited reporting of multiple sales of certain long guns that functions similarly to the current practice of reporting on the multiple sales of handguns. Currently, all FFLs in the country are required to submit a report of multiple sales to the National Tracing Center when an FFL sells two or more handguns to the same purchaser within five consecutive business days.

The proposed Demand Letter, which is narrowly circumscribed to meet our objectives, will apply a similar reporting requirement to certain long guns, but with these distinct differences:

First, the reporting requirement will apply only to FFLs doing business in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California, which are major source states for crime guns seized in Mexico and traced to federal firearms licensees.

Secondly, the reporting requirement applies only to those rifles having all of the following characteristics:

•: A semi-automatic action;
•: A caliber greater than .22; and
•: The ability to accept a detachable magazine.
These specific characteristics subject a very narrow group of long guns that have been identified by ATF and the Government of Mexico as being involved in violent crimes in Mexico to the reporting requirement.

This reporting requirement would apply to the disposition of all rifles in the inventory of the FFLs exhibiting these characteristics, both new and used.

Third, we propose to implement this initiative as a pilot project for a period of one year.

Taken together, limiting the geographic scope, impacting a limited number of licensees, affecting a specific group of rifles, and limiting the duration of this reporting requirement, form a tailored, discreet, responsible and proactive response to a significant law enforcement issue.

Let me be absolutely clear. The purpose of requiring FFLs to report the specified multiple long gun sales in these four source states is to identify criminal firearms traffickers, not to prevent the full and free exercise of our Second Amendment rights, or to encumber the FFLs with burdensome paperwork.

These reports will give ATF real-time leads for the investigation of gun trafficking. ATF’s experience in these source states proves that multiple purchases of the described rifles are strong indicators of firearms trafficking to Mexico. By obtaining information about these multiple sales, ATF increases the likelihood of uncovering and disrupting trafficking schemes before the firearms make their way into Mexico.

I know that FFLs are good citizens who share ATF’s interest and commitment in keeping guns out of criminal hands. Working together we can do that without infringing on the rights of law abiding Americans.
I guess when you are pushing an initiative that contravenes the authority given to your agency by Congress as well as a shorter than required comment period, you really need to get your propaganda ducks in a row.  Too bad we are on to him if not the mainstream media.

H/T David Codrea for the video. Make sure to read his column on this.

Plaintiffs File A Motion For Summary Judgment In NJ Challenge

Attorneys for the plaintiffs in the New Jersey case challenging the restrictiveness of the state's concealed carry law, Muller et al v. Maenza et al, have filed a motion for summary judgment. This is the case in which both the Second Amendment Foundation and the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs have banded together with a number of individual plaintiffs to challenge the constitutionality of the NJ concealed carry law.

You can read the motion here.

While I haven't had time to read it, I thought it was important to get this information out as quickly as possible. As Sebastian has noted, this case is a facial challenge as opposed to an as applied challenge.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Off To The People's Republic of Illinois

We are leaving in a few minutes for St. Louis and the People's Republic of Illinois. To paraphrase Toy Story II, I've got my traveling buddy!


UPDATE: After arriving in Illinois yesterday afternoon, we went out shopping with family to Walmart. Going around with my nephew in the sporting goods department, I realized it would be ridiculous to check the price of ammo as I don't have a FOID card and they couldn't sell it to me.

I wondered if Walmart had a no CCW sign on the door while waiting for everyone to check out. Well, duh! This is Illinois and they don't allow concealed carry. Hopefully, after the first of the year they will be the only remaining backward state that doesn't allow concealed carry. I think the recent election results in Wisconsin should mean they will leave the dark side.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Brian Aitken's Sentence Commutted by Gov. Christie

Here is the official commutation order:
Office of the Governor
Office of Constituent Relations
Post Office Box 001
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0001


Please see below the signed commutation order for Brian Aitken, signed by Governor Christie at 4:30 pm today.


WHEREAS, Brian D. Aitken was convicted of Possession of Dum-Dum
Bullets in the Fourth Degree in violation of N.J.S.A 2C:39-3(f)(l), Possession of
Large Capacity Ammunition Magazine in the Fourth Degree in violation of
N.J.S.A 2C:39-3(j), and Unlawful Possession of a Handgun in the Second
Degree in violation of N.J.S.A 2C:39-5(b) in the Superior Court, Law Division
(Criminal), Burlington County, New Jersey, and was sentenced on August 27,
2010 under Indictment No. 09-03-00217-1 to a seven-year term of imprisonment
with a three-year mandatory minimum; and

WHEREAS, the said Brian D. Aitken, caused to be made a written
application to the Governor for a Commutation of Sentence for the aforesaid
crimes of which he was convicted, and the State Parole Board, upon request of
the Governor in accordance with the law, has made an investigation of the facts
and circumstances concerning said application for a Commutation of Sentence;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, CHRIS CHRISTIE, Governor of the State of New
Jersey by virtue of the authority conferred upon me by the Constitution of New
Jersey and the statutes of this State, do hereby grant to the said Brian D. Aitken,
a commutation of the aforesaid sentence to time sewed, and satisfied on
December 20,2010.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED, that Brian D. Aitken's release from the
custody of the New Jersey Department of Corrections be effected as soon as
administratively possible, or within a reasonable period to allow for release
processing pursuant to customary policy and procedure. ,

This Order is subject to revocation at any time, at the discretion of the
Governor, without notice.

The Free Brian Aitken page on Facebook has lots of discussion about it. has the story here and the Philadelphia Inquirer has the story here. Some of the comments from the anti-gun sorts make my blood boil but I'll just leave it at that.

Congratulations to Brian Aitken and his family. I hope his appeal which is pending totally overturns the conviction.

Bradys All For ATF Reporting Requirement

The Brady Campaign is very much in favor the ATF's proposed "temporary" requirement that sales of more than one semi-automatic rifle with certain characteristics in a five day period be reported to ATF. I know that surprises no one. Here is their (as usual) misleading press release on the proposal:
Brady Campaign Applauds ATF Plan to Collect Reports of Bulk Weapons Sales
“A step toward battling Mexican gun violence”

Dec 17, 2010

Washington, D.C. - The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today applauded the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) for its plan to issue an emergency rules change to require that federally-licensed gun dealers near the Mexico border report multiple sales of assault weapons.

Under the proposal published in the Federal Register today, certain gun dealers would be required by a “demand letter” issued by the ATF to alert the agency when they sell two or more semi-automatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines to the same person within five consecutive business days

“It makes sense that law enforcement should be alerted if someone is buying 5, 10, or 100 assault weapons, when it’s likely that those guns could be headed to drug cartels in Mexico,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. “It will give ATF the same amount of information about people who buy military-style assault weapons in bulk that they already have had for more than 40 years about people who buy handguns in bulk. It’s the kind of crime-fighting information that our law enforcement officials ought to have if we want to reduce the number of assault weapons being trafficked illegally to Mexico, as well as to American cities.”

While the National Rifle Association and other gun lobby groups have already expressed strong opposition to this attempt to stop illegal gun trafficking and curb gun violence in Mexico, the Brady Campaign noted that the Obama Administration has clear legal authority to require the bulk sales reports. “Demand letters” were used during the Clinton administration to force dealers with high crime gun traces to submit additional information to the ATF and the courts have upheld their use. For example, in 2001, the 4th Federal Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a challenge to this authority by former NRA Board member and gun shop owner Sandy Abrams, whose license was eventually revoked for massive violations of federal gun laws.

The Brady Campaign also urged the Obama Administration to develop a comprehensive approach to gun violence by advancing policies to require background checks on all gun sales at gun shows, limit the bulk sales of guns and restrict access to military-style weapons. “Steps like these will improve our border security and our ‘hometown security’ in neighborhoods and communities of the United States,” added Helmke.

MAIG And CredoAction Push Traver In Joint Website

Michael Bloomberg's Mayors Against Illegal Guns and CredoAction have formed a joint website to push the nomination of Andrew Traver to head ATF. The website is called They say that Traver:
Special Agent Andrew Traver has dedicated his career to keeping our families and communities safe from gun violence. He understands firsthand the challenges that the ATF faces and knows what our agents need to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

CredoAction is a one of the parts of the liberal funding group Working Assets. The group promotes their credit card, cellular service, and long-distance telephone service as a way to support "progressive causes". With regard to CredoAction, they say, "Our CREDO Action Web site plugs you into a network of like-minded citizen activists and provides easy and effective ways to take action on the issues you care about.." Among the other causes they are promoting currently is the START Treaty and opposition to the crackdown on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Bloomberg's Mayors Endorse Andrew Traver

Somehow along the way I missed this press release from MAIG. They released it in November with their endorsement of Andrew Traver.
November 16, 2010
No. 9


Joint Statement of Coalition Co-chairs Michael R. Bloomberg and Thomas M. Menino:

“On behalf of the more than 500 mayors who have been petitioning for tougher
enforcement of our nation’s gun laws, we commend the President on his nomination of Andrew Traver to lead the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. Mr. Traver has dedicated his career to keeping guns out of the hands of criminals, and his nomination to this post as America’s top cop on illegal guns deserves careful and swift review by the U.S. Senate.”

About Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Since its inception in April 2006, Mayors Against Illegal Guns has grown from 15
mayors to over 500. Mayors Against Illegal Guns has united the nation’s mayors around these common goals: protecting their communities by holding gun offenders and irresponsible gun dealers accountable, demanding access to trace data that is critical to law enforcement efforts to combat illegal gun trafficking, and working with legislators to fix gaps, weaknesses and loopholes in the law that make it far too easy for criminals and other prohibited purchasers to get

Contact: Mayor Bloomberg’s Press Office (212) 788-2958
Mayor Menino’s Press Office (617) 635-4461

UPDATE: David Codrea at the National Gun Rights Examiner received a very interesting email from a confidential source regarding the Traver nomination. The bottom line is that this nomination is not good for ATF. As the source put it, "Appointing Traver has f***ed ATF royally."

Sunday, December 19, 2010

BATFE And Proposed "Two-A-Day" Long Arms Regulation

The Washington Post is reporting that the BATFE is requesting an "emergency regulation" that would require Federal Firearms Licensees along the Mexican border to report any sale of two or more semi-automatic rifles in a caliber greater than .22 that may accept a detachable magazine within any five consecutive day period. The actual language from the Federal Register reads:
The purpose of the information is to require Federal Firearms Licensees to report multiple sales or other dispositions whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of two or more rifles within any five consecutive business days with the following  characteristics: (a) Semi automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22; and (c) the ability to accept a detachable magazine.
The Post headlines the article "Proposal calls for gun dealers to report bulk sales of assault weapons" which makes it seem like BATFE is talking about crate sized sales of AK's and AR's sold in Arizona. Despite what the Post would have you believe, it doesn't matter if you live in Tucson, Arizona or Talkeetna, Alaska the requirement is the same.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation calls the Post on this and has some suggestions for commenting on this proposed "emergency regulation":
ATF to Require Multiple Sales Reports for Long Guns
December 17, 2010 By Larry Keane

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is moving to require federally licensed firearms retailers to report multiple sales of modern sporting rifles beginning January 5, 2011. Specifically, the ATF requirement calls for firearms retailers to report multiple sales, or other dispositions, of two or more .22 caliber or larger semi-automatic rifles that are capable of accepting a detachable magazine and are purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days.

Today’s Washington Post suggests that the reporting mandate would be limited to retailers along the Southwest border; however, the Federal Register Notice does not limit the geographic scope of the reporting requirement.

This ATF “emergency” mandate was originally pushed by the anti-gun Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) coalition, headed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, more than a year and a half ago. And the Post reports that the Department of Justice has “languished” over this plan for several months. Given this timetable, it’s hard to see exactly where the “emergency” is.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation opposes this reporting requirement because it further burdens America’s law-abiding firearms retailers with yet another onerous regulation that will do nothing to curb crime. Multiple sales reporting of long guns will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement, thereby driving traffickers further underground. This is not unlike how criminals maneuvered around one-gun-a-month laws in states like Virginia – which is still considered an “exporting source state” by anti-gun organizations like the MAIG despite its restrictions on the number of firearms law-abiding residents may purchase.

Multiple sales reporting for long guns is an ill-considered mandate and one that ATF does not have the legal authority to unilaterally impose. In fact, ATF has not specified under what legal authority it presumes to act. The decision as to whether ATF can move forward with this agenda-driven mandate will be left to Cass Sunstein who heads the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). This is the same Cass Sunstein who in a 2007 speech at Harvard University said, “We ought to ban hunting, if there isn’t a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.”

NSSF will be submitting comments in opposition to this registration scheme and is encouraging all firearms retailers, sportsmen and enthusiasts to do the same.

Please voice your concern by doing the following:

1. Call the Office of Management and Budget, Office of Information and Regulation Affairs, Department of Justice, Desk Officer at (202) 395-6466.

2. E-mail Barbara A. Terrell, ATF, Firearms Industry Programs Branch at

3. Call your Senators and Representative: United States Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

Points to make:

1.Multiple sales reporting of long guns will actually make it more difficult for licensed retailers to help law enforcement as traffickers modify their illegal schemes to circumvent the reporting requirement. Traffickers will go further underground, hiring more people to buy their firearms. This will make it much harder for retailers to identify and report suspicious behavior to law enforcement.

2.Long guns are rarely used in crime (Bureau of Justice Statistics).

3.Imposing multiple sales-reporting requirements for long guns would further add to the already extensive paperwork and record-keeping requirements burdening America’s retailers – where a single mistake could cost them their license and even land them in jail.

4.Last year, ATF inspected 2,000 retailers in border states and only two licenses were revoked (0.1%). These revocations were for reasons unknown and could have had nothing to do with illicit trafficking of guns; furthermore, no dealers were charged with any criminal wrongdoing.

5.According to ATF, the average age of a firearm recovered in the United States is 11 years old. In Mexico it’s more than 14 years old. This demonstrates that criminals are not using new guns bought from retailers in the states.

6.Congress, when it enacted multiple sales reporting for handguns, could have required multiple sales of long guns – it specifically chose not to.
This "emergency regulation" goes along with the Department of Justice Inspector General report on Operation Gunrunner released back in November. At the time, Deputy Director Kenneth Melson said he concurred in the recommendation to require reporting of multiple long arm sales but thought it required a change in the law. Now that Andrew Traver has been nominated as Director and I presume is now the Acting Director of ATF, I guess how the law reads is of no great importance as long as the words "emergency" and "Mexico" are used in conjunction.

See also Sebastian's post regarding the statutory authority for BATFE to do this. There is none.

UPDATE: Thanks to Kurt Hofmann, .45Superman, who pointed out that the caliber restriction is for calibers greater that .22 which presumably means an AR-15 in .223 would be covered. I had originally read it as .22 or above. I guess they were afraid of irritating people who were merely buying Ruger 10/22's for their twin sons.

UPDATE II:  David Codrea put up a special Gun Rights Examiner column on this issue. It is well worth reading. With regard to the ATF's notice in the Federal Register, he says:
That’s funny. I don’t see anything in there about “Assess where in the Constitution such authority in data-gathering is determined consistent with the intent of the Founders that 'the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.'” I guess that kind of archaic thinking generally results in a scornful “Are you serious?” rejection these days…

Animated AK Or How To Really Waste Some Time

I love this!

I watch it over and over as if I don't have other things to do to get ready for Christmas.

This is from Miguel at Gun Free Zone.

Is Harry Reid Greasing The Skids For Andrew Traver?

According to a post from the NFA Owners Association, it seems that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has not scheduled any hearings or votes on the nomination of Andrew Traver to head ATF.

From their post:
"Pinky" Reid is showing his true colors again.
He is stealthily, but very clearly, supporting anti-gun zealot Andrew F. Travers, to become the new head of BATFE. He has to do this by stealth in order to maintain the myth that he is a strong supporter of our RKBA.

Reid has NOT made any real effort to ensure the Traver nomination is voted on before congress adjourns.

This is typical of him.

He will let Traver become a recess appointment, then continue to claim that he "really does" support our RKBA. If anyone complains he will deny all responsibility, probably blaming the republicans for time running out.

Readers here might remember that one of the claims for allowing Reid to remain in office was that he is SENATE MAJORITY LEADER, and a (claimed) supporter of our RKBA. IF he TRULY wanted Traver's nomination to be scheduled and voted on it would be.

I checked with his DC and local office, asking when a hearing would be held.
They could not give me a direct answer. The D.C. office insisted they did not know, and transferred me to a busy signal. The Carson office promised to send me a written response, which I expect to get several days after the question is moot.

We can let him slide on this, or we can demand that he actually make more than a token effort to REPRESENT US on this!

Contact info:

Senator Harry Reid (D) NV.
Web site:
Mail: United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510-2803
Ph. (202) 224-3542, Fax (202) 224-7327

Carson City - Ph. (775) 882-7343

Reno - Ph. (775) 686-5750

Las Vegas Ph. (702) 388-5020

Rural Mobile - Ph. (775) 772-3905

Using senate rule 14 Reid could easily bring the Travers nomination to a vote before the "Lame Duck" session's end.

That he is NOT doing so confirms for me that he intends to see ATF headed by an anti-RKBA zealot via "Recess Appointment", and deny all responsibility for it.

I checked status on this before posting, as of today there is still no hearing scheduled for the Travers appointment.

While this does make some sense and would make it easier for Traver to be a recess appointment, I have to say I doubt that not scheduling a vote on Traver is akin to pushing Traver. Reid has plenty of other things on his agenda before the end of this session that are of greater importance to both Reid and Obama than Andrew Traver. Indeed, Reid has threatened to not recess the Senate in order to get it all in before the new Congress forms in January.

Full hearings in the Judiciary Committee take time for any nomination. Checking the committee's website, no hearings of any sort have been scheduled for the month of December. They also have a number of judicial nominees that have had their hearings waiting for confirmation.

The last hearings held by the full committee were on November 17th which was the same day that Traver's nomination was sent to the Senate. The hearings on the 17th were for judicial nominations from May.

Frankly, I hope Harry Reid carries through with his stupid obstinate refusal not to recess because it prevents any recess appointments. Let's face it, castrating the U.S. military's nuclear capability is more important to Obama and Reid than Andy Traver.

H/T SayUncle

If Money Is The Root Of All Evil....

Then the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Ownership should feel very blessed. Seems they don't have a lot of it and are begging for more.

A post from The Madman Raves discusses their fundraising email about the budget shortfall.

I guess in these hard economic times people are less likely to continue donating to an organization that is becoming increasingly irrelevant. What a shame. Not.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

NRA Responds To ATF Proposal

From the NRA Grassroots Alert:
BATFE Requests “Emergency”
Authority To Track Semi-Automatic Rifle Sales

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has proposed that it be given emergency authority for six months, beginning January 5, to require about 8,500 firearms dealers along the border with Mexico “to alert authorities when they sell within five consecutive business days two or more semiautomatic rifles greater than .22 caliber with detachable magazines.” A Washington Post story reporting on the BATFE proposal described that definition as being applicable to “so-called assault weapons,” but it would also apply to many rifles that have never been labeled with that term.

The reporting requirement will apparently be imposed under the “authority” the BATFE has used in the past to demand reporting of other types of transactions from certain limited groups of dealers over the past 10 years, but the new proposal is far broader than any previous use of this authority. Of course, there's no law today that prevents dealers from reporting suspicious transactions (or attempted transactions) to the BATFE, and dealers often do so. The BATFE is also free to inspect dealers' sales records—either for annual compliance inspections or during a criminal investigation.

NRA-ILA’s chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, denounced the attempt to establish a registry of Americans who purchase semi-automatic rifles that gun control supporters ultimately want to see banned. "This administration does not have the guts to build a wall, but they do have the audacity to blame and register gun owners for Mexico's problems," Cox told the Post. "NRA supports legitimate efforts to stop criminal activity, but we will not stand idle while our Second Amendment is sacrificed for politics."

The Post says “The plan by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives revives a proposal that has languished at the Justice Department and in the Obama administration for several months,” and that the gist of the plan was proposed by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) last year. It its August 2009 Blueprint for Federal Action on Guns, MAIG indeed proposed that “ATF should identify the long guns most linked to crime and require dealers to report multiple sales of such guns.”

The idea must have appealed to the BATFE, because in June of this year Congress’ Government Accountability Office released a report noting that BATFE officials had claimed that U.S. efforts to stop the smuggling of firearms to Mexico are hindered by “a lack of required background checks for private firearms sales, and limitations on reporting requirements for multiple sales.”

Curiously, in September, a draft of the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s Office’s unfavorable review of BATFE’s Project Gunrunner, established to combat the trafficking of firearms to Mexico, didn’t mention multiple sales at all. But the final version of the review, released in November, mentions “multiple sales” 43 times and says “the lack of a reporting requirement for multiple sales of long guns – which have become the cartels’ weapons of choice – hinders ATF’s ability to disrupt the flow of illegal weapons into Mexico.”

Whether BATFE intends its plan as another expansion of its oft-criticized firearm sales record tracing empire, or to lay the groundwork for legislation or regulations restricting “assault weapon” sales, or to fatten the files the agency keeps at its National Tracing Center in West Virginia remains to be seen. And the legality of requiring sales reports on any long guns is also in doubt. When the Congress specifically imposed multiple sales reporting on handguns only, it implicitly stated its intention that the same requirement not apply to sales of long guns.

However, it is crystal clear that some in the Obama Administration agree with those who believe the answer to crime is always more gun control. In September, MAIG blamed crime in states that have “strong” gun laws, on states that don’t have the same laws. And ever since President Obama took office, gun control supporters have been blaming Mexico’s crime problem on America’s gun laws.

The fact that Mexico’s multi-billion dollar drug cartels have machine guns, rocket launchers, grenades, and other potent weaponry you cannot buy in the United States is, to gun control supporters, irrelevant. The fact that most of the cartels’ guns have never been on this side of the U.S. border is, as far as they are concerned, a trifling inconvenience. The fact that the cartels will never have enough “assault weapons” or any other guns from the U.S. to hand out to all the Mexican policemen, soldiers and politicians on their payrolls, is, in their view, an unimportant detail. And the fact that the murder rate in the United States is at a 45-year low, while crime in Mexico is through the roof (the murder rate in Juarez is 115 times higher than in El Paso) is, they would certainly say, a contradiction best ignored.

To read the BATFE's Federal Register notice about the plan, and for information on how to send your comments, click here ( Comments about the proposal will be accepted for two months; if you choose to comment, please state your firm but polite opposition to the plan.

Needless to say, the NRA will not only comment, but take whatever other action is appropriate to block this sweeping expansion of federal recordkeeping on gun owners. Stay tuned.

Don't Tread On My....Christmas?

H/T Cam Edwards

Bonidy v. USPS: Postal Service Moves To Dismiss

Last week, Department of Justice attorneys representing the U.S. Postal Service filed a Motion to Dismiss the suit brought contesting the ban on firearms on Postal Service property. This suit was brought by the Mountain States Legal Foundation on behalf of Debbie and Tab Bonidy as well as the National Association for Gun Rights.

The Bonidys live outside of Avon, Colorado in an area which does not receive home mail service. As a  result, they have to pick up their mail at the Post Office in Avon where they are provided a free mail box. The Bonidys, both of whom have Colorado concealed carry licenses, want to be able to carry a handgun for self-protection on the way to, while, and upon returning from picking up their mail. Current postal regulations prohibit possession of a firearm on USPS property including the parking lots.

The Motion to Dismiss the plaintiffs' complaint seeks to have it dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). The Postal Service argues that even if all the facts are true as presented, the Bonidys have failed to state a viable claim. They argue that the Bonidy's Second Amendment claim is precluded by existing precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. They summarize their argument as follows:
First, the regulation does not even implicate the Second Amendment because that Amendment does not extend so far as to protect the carrying of firearms on postal property. Second, even assuming that the USPS regulation implicates conduct protected by the Second Amendment, the regulation would pass constitutional muster. If the Court reaches the issue, it should follow the vast majority of courts and analyze the USPS regulation under intermediate scrutiny. But the USPS regulation passes muster under any level of constitutional scrutiny, including strict scrutiny. Accordingly, the Court should uphold the USPS regulation and dismiss this lawsuit.
The attorneys for the Postal Service have divided their argument into three parts. First, they argue that the Heller decision made the Second Amendment a limited right. Second, they argue that Postal Service property including parking lots fall into the "sensitive places" exclusion of Heller. Third, they argue that even if the District Court does get to the point of conducting an independent analysis, they will find there is no Second Amendment right to have a handgun on Postal Service property and that intermediate scrutiny is the proper level of scrutiny.

The first of their arguments is that the Second Amendment is a limited right. They start by examining the Heller decision. They note that in Heller, "the Court repeatedly emphasized that the District of Columbia handgun ban extended 'to the home, where the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.'" This emphasis on the home is to point out that the Second Amendment protection outside the home is more limited. They then go through some of the exceptions noted in Heller such as the mentally ill, felons, and laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in "sensitive" places. They then note that the Supreme Court limited the types of weapons protected. However, here they misstate Heller by saying that the Second Amendment protection was limited to "'those in common use' at the time of the Amendment's passage" which implies that we are limited to flintlock pistols, Kentucky rifles, Brown Bess muskets, and fowling pieces.

As part of their argument that the Second Amendment is a limited right, they examine how lower courts have treated the Second Amendment and what level of scrutiny they applied post-Heller. In general, the cases they cite in defense of their position used intermediate scrutiny or some level approximating it if the courts got to the point of applying any level of scrutiny. This level of scrutiny generally requires the challenged law or regulation be substantially related to an important governmental objective.

However, many courts avoided trying to determine any level of scrutiny by comparing the law being challenged on Second Amendment grounds to the list of "longstanding prohibitions" provided in Heller. As an aside, I get the feeling that the Justice Department lawyers are trying to "guide" the District Court to take this approach.

The second of the arguments presented is that the USPS property is a sensitive place and thus the USPS regulations forbidding firearms do not violate the Second Amendment. After a discussion of how the Tenth Circuit and other Courts of Appeal have handled the Second Amendment and felons in possession, they note that courts have extended the logic of Heller "to conclude that prohibitions of firearms beyond those specifically enumerated in Heller do not violate the Second Amendment." Included in this extension are misdemeanor domestic violence convictions, possession by drug users, and prohibitions against firearm possession by illegal aliens.
If categories of restrictions beyond those enumerated in Heller do not violate the Second Amendment, as the Tenth Circuit has held, then the constitutionality of the USPS regulation, a quintessential “law[] forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings,” Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2817, follows a fortiori.
They specifically note that courts have interpreted sensitive places broadly. In a Fifth Circuit case, U.S. v Dorosan, a Postal Service employee's conviction for having a handgun in his car on a USPS parking lot was upheld since they found the Postal Service "used the parking lot as a place of regular government business." Other places that the Federal courts have found to be sensitive places include park facilities, fairgrounds, aircraft, proximity to a school zone, and National Park lands. On this last location, National Park lands, they devote a full page to U.S. v Masciandaro. This was a 2009 case in Virginia where the court found that though it wasn't specifically mentioned in Heller it would "fall within any sensible definition of a 'sensitive place.'" Indeed  this court found that roads and parking lots are even more sensitive because they are "frequented by large numbers of strangers, including children." The Justice Department attorneys fail, however, to point out that later Congressional action specifically allowed firearms in National Parks as of February 2010.

The third and final argument raised on behalf of the Postal Service is that if this court does undertake an independent analysis it will find that the USPS regulation doesn't violate the plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights. Moreover, they argue that the appropriate standard to use is intermediate scrutiny. Their argument is that the USPS regulation is one of the "presumptively lawful regulatory measures" identified in Heller. As such, they say the Bonidy's claim should be denied as a matter of law.
As Heller expressly approved the comparison of the Second Amendment to the First, 128 S. Ct. at 2799, 2821, this doctrine reinforces the notion that the “presumptively lawful regulatory measures” enumerated in Heller – such as restrictions on carrying firearms in “sensitive places” – are outside the reach of the Second Amendment altogether.
The Justice Department attorneys argue that this court should follow the majority of other courts and apply intermediate scrutiny. They argue that the USPS regulation banning firearms on their property is similar to a "time, manner, place" restriction that would bear intermediate scrutiny in the First Amendment context. The restrictions, they argue, are minor and consistent with the government acting in a proprietary capacity. The example they use for comparison is the USPS restrictions on the solicitation of "alms and contributions on postal premises" by charities.

The conclude their final argument in favor of dismissal by saying that the gun ban on USPS property would pass constitutional muster under any level of scrutiny, even strict scrutiny. They assert that the ban is in the interest of "promoting order and public safety and preventing criminal violence" on Postal Service property which courts have found to be legitimate and compelling. Moreover, the regulations are "narrowly tailored and substantially related to furthering public safety." They end by quoting an aside from the Dorosan case where the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals suggested Mr. Dorosan could have just parked elsewhere if he wanted to have a gun in the car and to abide by the regulation.

I do not know how this District Court will look upon this Motion to Dismiss. Nonetheless, this Motion to Dismiss is important outside this immediate case because it gives a good look at the mindset of Justice Department attorneys regarding the Second Amendment within the Obama Administration. Other post-McDonald challenges on Second Amendment grounds have been against states and municipalities and not the Federal government. In this case we see a Federal entity, albeit a semi-autonomous one, which has regulations prohibiting firearms on their property. The argument made by the Justice Department is, in essence, we are the government and we say we have a good reason for the regulation. Therefore, it doesn't impact your precious little Second Amendment so sit down, shut up, and park elsewhere.

Brady Campaign Seeks To File Amicus Brief In Bateman Case

From the Brady Campaign:
Brady Center Urges Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Seeking Right to Carry Guns During Riots and States of Emergency

Dec 16, 2010

Washington, D.C. -- The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence today filed a brief in federal court in North Carolina urging the court to dismiss a lawsuit seeking a right to take up arms in streets and other public spaces during riots or other emergencies. The lawsuit challenges a longstanding North Carolina law that allows gun carrying on a person’s property but temporarily bars public gun carrying in the vicinity of a riot and during states of emergency.

“The Second Amendment does not grant a right of vigilantes to take up arms on our streets during a riot or state of emergency,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. “Police and emergency responders seeking to quell a riot or deliver aid during an emergency should not be forced to contend with legally-authorized armed individuals and groups roaming alleys and public streets.”

The Brady Center’s brief argues that there is no right of armed vigilantes to take to the streets during riots or congregate in the vicinity of emergency responders trying to secure a downtown during riots, looting, or terrorist attacks. The prospect of police and emergency responders being powerless to stop bands of armed citizens from taking to the streets during emergencies, looting, or rioting poses a serious threat to the government’s ability to maintain public order and deliver emergency services. If the lawsuit were successful, law enforcement would be unable to detect whether roaming armed individuals or gangs were would-be looters, terrorists, or vigilantes, thus jeopardizing their safety and their ability to respond to states of emergency.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently held that the Second Amendment grants a right to possess a gun in the home for self-defense, but emphasized that this right “is not unlimited” and is subject to “reasonable firearms regulations.” The Supreme Court has held that bans on carrying concealed weapons do not violate the Second Amendment and courts have given the government broad authority to restore order during riots and emergencies.

The lawsuit, Bateman v. Purdue, was filed by the Second Amendment Foundation in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The Brady Center’s brief was joined by North Carolina Million Mom March Chapters of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Religious Coalition For a Nonviolent Durham. The brief was filed by attorneys with the Brady Center and the firm Hogan Lovells US LLP, along with Drew Erteschik of the Raleigh, N.C. firm Poyner Spruill LLP.

To paraphrase Lynyrd Skynyrd -
Well, I heard Ms. Brady sing about her
Well, I heard ole Sarah put her down
Well, I hope Sarah Brady will remember
A Carolina man don't need her around anyhow

UPDATE: David Codrea has some good commentary on this nonsensical press release from the Brady Bunch in his National Gun Rights Examiner column.

Rahm and Andrew Traver

In a story in the Washington Post that I linked to yesterday about the BATFE's proposal to require reporting of multiple purchases of certain rifles was a little tidbit about who pushed the nomination of Andrew Traver in the Obama Whitehouse. Turns out it was Rahm Emanuel according to Ben LaBolt who is a spokesman for Emanuel's mayoral campaign.
LaBolt said that Emanuel recommended Andy Traver of Chicago to be nominated by Obama to be director of the ATF and was the "point man" in the Clinton administration when Congress passed an assault weapons ban and required background checks for gun sales. Clinton later blamed those bills for the GOP takeover of Congress in 1995.
The plot thickens.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Time For DC To Pay Up

Not only did Alan Gura have to fight the District of Columbia over the Second Amendment, now he is having to fight them in an effort to get paid for his efforts in the Heller case. The Legal Times Blog is reporting that the District of Columbia is balking over the bill submitted to the District Court by Gura. Basing his bill for fees on the prevailing market rates for complex Federal litigation, he submitted a request for $3.13 million to Judge Emmet Sullivan. This was for over 3,000 hours of billable time for six attorneys including himself.

The District has countered that they should only have to pay $722,000.
Samuel Kaplan of the District’s Office of the Attorney General argued the plaintiffs’ team had failed to prove why they should receive compensation on par with major law firms in the District. Kaplan called the gun litigation complicated but not complex, a term he reserved for class actions.

Kaplan said Gura’s team did not build the case from scratch, relying instead on what he called decades of scholarly literature on the Second Amendment.
It takes a lot of gall to say the premier case establishing the Second Amendment as an individual right is merely complicated but not complex which is a designation that the District's attorneys reserve for the cases brought by the bottom-dwelling plaintiff's attorneys for stuff like cigarette smoking and exposure to asbestos.

Judge Sullivan, according to this account, questioned whether he should take the District's finances into account when considering Gura's bill and how much he should be paid from the taxpayer's money. Gura countered,
telling Sullivan he (Gura) should not be (in) a position that requires him to assess the city’s budget priorities. Sullivan should base his fee ruling on an objective analysis of market rates and performance, Gura said.
My humble suggestion to Judge Sullivan is that if he doesn't want to use taxpayer money to pay Mr. Gura he should take it out of the assets and retirements of the so-called public officials who passed the handgun ban in the first place as well as those like former Mayor Adrian Fenty who kept enforcing the unconstitutional ban.

The bottom line is that it is well past time for the District of Columbia to stop being cheap bastards. You lost and we won. Now pay up.

UPDATE:  After Mark C. made the comment below, I looked up Alan Gura's motion for fees. You can find it here. It is brought under 42 USC 1988 as he surmised. If you want to know about the history of the Heller case, it is worth reading the few first pages.

Every Question And Answer On A Gun Forum, Part II

And how to prepare for the Zombie Apocalypse among other things as answered on the gun forums.

Every Question And Answer On A Gun Forum

If you have ever been on any gun forum, you know that are always some mall ninjas out there - or wannabe Green Berets, Seal Team 2 members, and SpecWar operators who need the coolest, most expensive, tactical doodads and weapons. Whomever did this video had them in mind!

Some profanity and not necessarily suitable for work.

H/T GearScout Blog

ISRA On Cook County's Brief In Wilson v. Cook County

Wilson v. Cook County is the State of Illinois case challenging Cook County's Blair Holt Assault Weapons Ban. It was remanded back to the the First District Appellate Court for reconsideration based upon the McDonald decision.

Here is the Illinois State Rifle Association's take on Cook County's brief which they released this morning.
The Cook County State's Attorney's Appellate Court defense of the county gun ban (Wilson, et. al. v. Cook County, et. al.) got off to a bad start when briefs filed by the county before the First District Appellate Court were found to contain factual errors. More specifically, these factual errors included the misquoting of U.S. Supreme Court decisions in the DC v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago cases. (The ISRA was a Plaintiff in McDonald). When these errors were brought to light by the plaintiffs, the county hastily filed a motion to withdraw the erroneous briefs in favor of amended versions. Presently, the plaintiffs in the case have moved to strike the amended briefs as the amendments do not remedy the ramifications of the misquotes contained in the original set of briefs. In fact the County may have used their own "errors" to further violate the Court's rules and to additional arguments and bolster existing arguments in their amended brief.

"We find it interesting that the Cook County State's Attorney's office would blame 'electronic errors' for the tainting of its briefs with misquotes," commented ISRA spokesman, Richard Pearson. "This situation is made all the more curious given that the misquotes would fundamentally alter the intent of two landmark Supreme Court decisions – D.C. v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago. In the county's briefs, the two high court decisions are erroneously quoted as addressing 'common handguns' whereas the decisions, as written, do not contain the phrase 'common handguns.' There is a clear difference when one addresses handguns versus 'common' handguns in that the latter would drastically reduce the types of firearms whose ownership is protected under the Second Amendment."

"If I were a cynic," continued Pearson, "I'd suggest that these 'electronic errors' were just poorly executed attempts by the Cook County State's Attorney's office to re-write the Heller and McDonald decisions more to Mayor Daley's liking."

The ISRA is the state's leading advocate of safe, lawful and responsible firearms ownership. For more than a century, the ISRA has represented the interests of millions of law-abiding Illinois firearm owners.
How the heck can an electronic filing system be responsible for misquoting Supreme Court decision? Does the Cook County State's Attorneys Office have some sort of computer-generated, artificial intelligence system with a random quote generator that writes its briefs? I sincerely doubt that a computer is at fault here. I guess this is just another of the gifts from Cook County and the City of Chicago like President Obama, Mayor Daley, and Andrew Traver.