Monday, January 31, 2011

Discreet Gun Cases

What is discreet when it comes to a gun case? Cheaper Than Dirt has this video with what they call a discreet gun case. I think the case is small enough but I just don't find anything in coyote to be discreet. Maybe it is because I associate colors like coyote, OD green, and black with tactical gear.

A year or so ago there were a couple of threads about using field hockey bags for carrying your AR or AK on and Arfcom. Both of these threads are well worth reading if you are looking for discreet ways to carry your carbine. I think some of the examples below - though bright and colorful - are more discreet than the more tactical versions.

Other suggestions were baseball bat bags and a skateboard bag. Here are some examples:

Bag filled with gear
With AR stored inside
Power to the AR?
Skateboard Pack

I actually have the blue "Revolt" bag with the white "Power to the People" fist shown three pictures up. As I live not too far from the hippie paradise of Asheville, I think it would fit in well around here. It is well made and it only cost $35 from Mantis Hockey Equipment.


The Brady Campaign is upset that budget cuts may be coming for their favorite Federal agency ATF.
ATF, Strong Gun Laws Needed to Fight Illegal Guns
by Paul Helmke on January 31st, 2011

According to a recent report in the Washington Post, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) could suffer budget cuts of almost 13 percent, which would effectively eliminate Project Gunrunner, a program designed to combat gun-trafficking from the U.S. to Mexico.

Any cuts to the already under-staffed and under-funded ATF would be a setback, but the kinds of cuts that are rumored would be devastating to the ATF’s ability to interrupt the flow of illegal guns across America and Mexico. Worst of all, though, would be for the Obama Administration to pursue these cuts without pushing to implement strong, commonsense gun laws, such as those to ban large-capacity , assault weapons, and closing the gun show loophole.

These laws would be more effective and efficient because they offer a pro-active means — instead of a reactive one — to stemming the flow of guns to Mexican drug cartels and to criminals and gangs on America’s streets. Not having an ATF director in place is also problematic. If we don’t get these new laws and the ATF has to absorb substantial cuts, our nation will have effectively surrendered to the purveyors of the most massive gun violence in the U.S. and Mexico.
From the sounds of it, ATF isn't trying to interrupt the flow of arms to Mexico but rather are behind some of it. I wonder what Mr. Helmke has to say about that.

H/T Sebastian

Project Gunwalker Heats Up

The heat on the ATF just got hotter.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) just released letters sent from his office to Kenneth Melson, Deputy Director of ATF, regarding allegations of misconduct in Operation Gunrunner. The biggest allegation is that ATF facilitated the smuggling of 500 semi-automatic rifles into Mexico without the Mexicans' knowledge. Further, it is alleged that one of these rifles was used in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.

Grassley's second letter, which he copied to Attorney General Eric Holder, concerns retaliation taken by Asst SAC George Gillette of the Phoenix Field Division against one possible whistle blower. Under Federal law, whistle blowers within an agency are protected from retaliation.

I think the last thing ATF wants are Congressional hearings into their agency and their actions. However, I don't think they are going to get their wish.

Mike Vanderboegh has more on this at Sipsey Street Irregulars.

UPDATE: The political news website Politico has picked up the story. It will be interesting to see where it goes from there.

UPDATE II: Now it is really starting to get interesting. The story has been picked up by the AP and the Miami Herald. It will be hard to keep this bottled up now.

UPDATE III: I was right. Instapundit just linked to it from the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

Rule No. 1 Violation

The Truth About Guns has a story today that will just curl your hair.

A guy in the Norfolk, VA area wins an auction on for a HK USP Compact. He has his local gunshop send the FFL to the dealer in Arizona who then ships it to Virginia.

Couple days go by and I am just sitting here waiting for a phone call to go and pick it up. When I received the call I was talking to the owner of the receiving FFL.

Supposedly the shop that shipped it, packaged it fully loaded.

When they realized this it was too late. Inadvertently the employee that was inspecting it ended up shooting himself in the hand. So now my USP is sitting in evidence and there is going to be an investigation.
So now the guy's recently purchased pistol is now impounded as evidence because of one fool shipping a loaded handgun and one fool forgetting that all guns are loaded.

Read the whole story at the link above. It also looks like MSNBC has picked up the story from WAVY-TV in Norfolk.

Remember all guns are loaded even if you don't think they are.

Bloomberg Back To His Old Tricks

According to a story in the New York Times, Bloomberg sent undercover investigators to the Crossroads of the West gunshow in Phoenix, Arizona the weekend of January 22-23. The story isn't clear on whether these were private investigators or actual NYPD undercover cops.

The goal of these investigators was to purchase firearms from private sellers without a background check. As you can guess, they succeeded.
In two instances, the New York undercover officers specifically said before buying a gun, “I probably couldn’t pass a background check,” but were still sold guns, city officials said.

In a third case, an investigator bought a Glock pistol and two high-capacity magazines like the ones used in the Tucson shooting. Such purchases were made without any background check but were perfectly legal.
Bloomberg plans to release the results of his "investigation" today. I'm sure he'll make a big deal out of it. What will be missing from any discussion is that the purchasers broke Federal law in purchasing handguns in another state without going through a FFL.

Now, I think a couple of those sellers were stupid as it sounded like an entrapment situation. Given this was in a border state, I would be surprised if the BATFE didn't have undercover agents at the show pursuing Operation Gunrunner. Instead of muckraking investigators from New York City trying to make hay for Bloomberg, they could have been dealing with an ATF agent trying to pad his arrest statistics.

UPDATE: The New York Daily News also is covering this story in their typical idiotic way. According to their story, Bloomberg used private investigators to make the purchases. Of course, the Daily News refers to the sellers as "Arizona gun dealers" as opposed to private individuals giving the impression that they are being sold off the books from a FFL.

Bloomberg promises to have video of the transactions at a news conference.

This all leads to an obvious question - does being a billionaire mayor and gun banner absolve you from conspiracy to commit a felony?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

There have been a number of bills introduced in Congress that impact firearm ownership, ammunition, magazines, concealed carry, and other related issues. Some of the bills are actually good for us. However, the rest are either bad or really bad. While Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308 has gotten the most press, some of the other bills have the potential to cause real mischief for gun owners.

Below you will find a thumbnail description of each bill, its sponsor, number of co-sponsors, and other information available about the bill.

The Good

HR 58. Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act
Sponsor: Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Cosponsors: 1
This bill would allow interstate purchases and transfers of all firearms including handgun so long as it is legal in the state where the transfer takes place and the state of residence of the recipient. Currently, only rifles and shotguns are eligible to be purchased outside your state of residence. This bill would also allow a member of the Armed Forces define his or her residence as their home state, the state of their permanent duty station, or their place of abode from which they commute daily to their permanent duty station.

HR 126. Fairness in Firearm Testing Act 
Sponsor: Phil Gingrey (R-GA)
Cosponsors: 22
Amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) to make a video recording of the entire process of its examination and testing of an item for the purpose of determining whether the item is a firearm (and if so, the type of firearm) or ammunition. Bars ATF from editing or erasing any such recording.

Directs ATF to make available a digital video disc that contains a copy of the recording: (1) at the request of a person who claims an ownership interest in such item; and (2) to a defendant in a criminal proceeding involving such item. Provides that an item which ATF has determined is a firearm or ammunition shall not be admissible as evidence unless: (1) ATF has complied with the requirements of this Act to make its digital video disc available; or (2) such compliance has been waived in writing by the person against whom the item is offered as evidence.

A law such as this might have prevented the conviction of David Olofson on charges of illegally transferring a machine gun. The AR-15 in question was made to burst fire through the use of cartridges with soft primers.

HR 420.
Sponsor: Denny Rehrberg (R-MT)
Cosponsors: 1
To provide an amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register certain firearms in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, and for other purposes. (Short title and text is not yet available.)

The Bad

HR 263. Fire Sale Loophole Closing Act
Sponsor: Gary Ackerman (D-NY)
Cosponsors: 26
Amends the federal criminal code to make it unlawful for: (1) anyone whose federal license to import, manufacture, or deal in firearms has been revoked, or whose license renewal application has been denied, to transfer business inventory firearms into a personal collection or to an employee of such person or to receive a firearm that was a business inventory firearm as of the date of a revocation or renewal denial notice; and (2) anyone who has received a license revocation or renewal denial notice to transfer to any other person a firearm that was a business inventory firearm. Imposes a fine and/or prison term of not more than one year (five years for willful violations) for violations of this Act.

In essence, forces a NICS check on all firearms sold by a former FFL in liquidating their business.

HR 347. Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011
Sponsor: Thomas J. Rooney (R-FL)
Cosponsors: 1
Amends the federal criminal code to revise the prohibition against entering restricted federal buildings or grounds to impose criminal penalties on anyone who knowingly enters any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority. Defines "restricted buildings or grounds" as a posted, cordoned off, or otherwise restricted area of: (1) the White House or its grounds, or the Vice President's official residence or its grounds; (2) a building or grounds where the President or other person protected by the Secret Service is or will be temporarily visiting; or (3) a building or grounds so restricted due to an special event of national significance.

The bill would increase the penalty from one year to ten years for violations if the person possessed a deadly weapon or firearm.

HR 367. Freedom to Serve Without Fear Act of 2011
Sponsor: Laura Richardson (D-CA)
Cosponsors: None
Amends the federal criminal code to prohibit any person from knowingly carrying a firearm in, or within 250 feet of an entrance to or exit from, a building or structure, or at, or within 500 feet of, any other place, where a Member of Congress is performing an official and representational duty or engaging in campaign activity as a candidate for federal, state, or local office, if there are visible at such distances signs which clearly and conspicuously state that a Member will be present and the time the Member will be present. Specifies exceptions, including pursuant to the express written permission of the Member or the chief of police of the locality involved.

Requires a 10% reduction in funds a state would receive for the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program for a fiscal year if the state fails to have in effect by the specified compliance date laws and policies that similarly prohibit individuals from knowingly possessing firearms near a venue at which an elected or appointed state or local official is performing an official and representational duty or campaigning for public office.

Part of the findings includes "Fear of gun violence at events where elected representatives are performing their official or representational duties has a chilling effect on our democracy." If you were driving down the street in front of a building where a Congressman was campaigning and you had a loaded firearm in your car, you would be in violation of this law if it were to be passed.

HR 496. No title.
Sponsor: Peter King (R-NY)
Cosponsors: 4
To amend title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the carrying of a firearm near a place where a senior Federal official is holding an official public event or carrying out an official or representational duty, or where any person is campaigning for Federal elective office.

Seems to duplicate HR 367. The text has not been made available yet to the Government Printing Office.

HR 505.
Sponsor: Gerald Nadler (D-NY)
Cosponsors: None
To amend title 18, United States Code, to place limitations on the possession, sale, and other disposition of a firearm by persons convicted of misdemeanor sex offenses against children. The text has not been made available yet to the Government Printing Office.

This is a slippery slope sort of bill akin to the Lautenberg bill which made misdemeanor domestic violence a disqualifying factor in gun ownership. What is a misdemeanor sex offense involving children? Is it a 16 year old have sex with his 15 year old girlfriend?

The Ugly

HR 227. Child Gun Safety and Gun Access Prevention Act of 2011

Sponsor: Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX)
Cosponsors: None
Amends the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act to: (1) raise the age of handgun eligibility to 21 (currently, 18); and (2) prohibit persons under age 21 from possessing semiautomatic assault weapons or large capacity ammunition feeding devices, with exceptions.

Increases penalties for: (1) a second or subsequent violation by a juvenile of Brady Act provisions or for a first violation committed after an adjudication of delinquency or after a state or federal conviction for an act that, if committed by an adult, would be a serious violent felony; and (2) transferring a handgun, ammunition, semiautomatic assault weapon, or large capacity ammunition feeding device to a person who is under age 21, knowing or having reasonable cause to know that such person intended to use it in the commission of a crime of violence.

Prohibits any licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer from transferring a firearm to any person (other than a licensed importer, manufacturer, or dealer) unless the transferee is provided with a secure gun storage or safety device. Authorizes the Attorney General to suspend or revoke any firearms license, or to subject the licensee to a civil penalty of up to $10,000, if the licensee has knowingly violated this prohibition.

Prohibits keeping a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm and ammunition within any premises knowing or recklessly disregarding the risk that a child: (1) is capable of gaining access to it; and (2) will use the firearm to cause death or serious bodily injury.

Requires the parent or legal guardian of a child to ensure that a child attending a gun show is accompanied by an adult.

HR 308. Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
Sponsor: Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY)
Cosponsors: 65
Bans "a magazine, belt, drum, feed strip, or similar device that has a capacity of, or that can be readily restored or converted to accept, more than 10 rounds of ammunition". Sebastian at Snow Flakes In Hell has an excellent analysis of this bill and how it differs from the Clinton era ban.

This is the legislation that has attracted the most attention in both the press and in the gun community. It also has the largest number of co-sponsors.

S 32. Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 10
Is the Senate version of Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308.

S 34. Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 9
A bill to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.

This is a reintroduction of a bill that Lautenberg proposed in 2009 that went nowhere. It would make a person who was on the Terrorist Watch List or Do Not Fly list ineligible to buy or sell a firearm. As there is no set criteria for inclusion on this list and one does not know he or she is on the list, it is fraught with civil rights violations.

S 35. Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011
Sponsor: Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Cosponsors: 11
A bill to establish background check procedures for gun shows. A gun show is defined as anytime you have 50 or more firearms for sale, 10 or more firearms exhibitors, or at least 20% of the exhibitors are selling firearms. By this definition, a large flea market might fall into the category of "gun show".

S 176. Common-Sense Concealed Firearms Act of 2011  
Sponsor: Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Cosponsors: None
The text has not been received by the Government Printing Office yet. However, Boxer's press release on the bill says:
Senator Boxer’s legislation would require all states that allow residents to carry concealed weapons to establish permitting processes that would include meaningful consultation with local law enforcement authorities to determine whether the permit applicant is worthy of the public trust and has shown good cause to carry a concealed firearm.

Currently, two states do not permit residents to carry concealed firearms, while three states, including Arizona, allow residents to carry concealed firearms in public without a permit. The other 45 states require residents to obtain permits to carry concealed firearms, but the majority of these states would not meet the standard set in this bill.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cheap Way To Improve Poor Sights

I thought this was a pretty good tip. He has a load of other gun related stuff on YouTube as well.

Part II - Not A Sport

According to the study on the importation of shotguns just released by ATF, they don't consider this event a sport and so many of the shotguns used here would not meet the sporting test of the GCA of 1968.

Compare this with Part I and think about which requires more athleticism. A bonus feature is that the competitor is using a Saiga shotgun. You know, one of those evil, no sporting purpose, shotguns.

Part I - Sport

According to the ATF, this would count as a sport and meet the sporting test if they were allowed to regulate croquet mallets. I mean you could kill someone with those mallets and the best ones are imported.

Friday, January 28, 2011

NRA On Shotgun Study

The NRA-ILA released this statement on the just released ATF study on shotgun imports and the "sporting test". I couldn't agree more that the sporting test needs to be abolished.
Proposed Shotgun Import Ban Shows Need To Change Law

Friday, January 28, 2011

On Thursday, Jan. 27, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives released a Study on the Importability of Certain Shotguns, which proposes that “military shotguns, or shotguns with common military features that are unsuitable for traditional shotgun sports” be prohibited from importation. This would apply to all shotguns—not just semi-automatics. As in previous “working group” studies on rifles, the study fails to give proper credit to the widespread use of these guns in newer shooting sports, or to their adaptability to hunting.

The study underscores the need for Congress to change the firearm importation law. That law requires the Attorney General to approve the importation of any firearm “generally recognized as particularly suitable for or readily adaptable to sporting purposes.” This “sporting purposes” test was imposed by the Gun Control Act in 1968, a time when the right to self-defense with a firearm was not as widely respected by the courts as it is today.

Clearly, the main reason to change the law is that the Second Amendment—as the Supreme Court said in District of Columbia v. Heller—protects our right to keep and bear arms for defense, not for sports. In its 2008 Heller decision, the court observed that “the inherent right of self-defense has been central to the Second Amendment right” and ruled that the Second Amendment protects “the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation,” particularly within the home, where “the need for defense of self, family, and property is most acute.” The court also dismissed the notion that the amendment doesn’t protect modern arms, saying “Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms.”

Another reason to change the law is to end the BATFE’s 22-year history of misinterpreting it. In 1989, the bureau banned the importation of semi-automatic rifles, claiming they were not used for “organized marksmanship competition.” (In fact, the banned guns were of the type most commonly used by competitors in the most popular marksmanship competitions in the United States—the National Matches, and the hundreds of local, state and regional competitions that precede the national events each year.) In 1998, BATFE expanded the ban, absurdly claiming that semi-automatic rifles’ “suitability for this activity [marksmanship competition] is limited.” At the time, a Clinton White House official said “we’re taking the law and bending it as far as we can to capture a whole new class of guns.”

Now, BATFE is bending the law one more time. As this issue develops, the NRA will be looking at every legislative and legal option to bring our firearms import laws back in line with the Constitution.

NRA members and other concerned gun owners can submit comments on the study until May 1, 2011. Comments may be submitted by e-mail to or by fax to (202)648-9601. Faxed comments may not exceed five pages. All comments must include name and mailing address.

Politicizing The Tucson Shooting Even More

From reading this Brady Campaign press release, it looks like they and their fellow traveler friends are pushing the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee to hold hearings on the Tucson shooting.
Gun Violence Prevention Groups Applaud Push For Congressional Hearings On Tucson Shootings

Jan 28, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. - National gun violence prevention groups applauded a written request made today by the Democratic members of the House Judiciary Committee calling for a hearing to address gun violence in the wake of the shootings in Tucson, AZ that killed six and wounded 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

“Congress for too long has ignored the 30,000 Americans killed and another 70,000 injured by gun violence every year,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Now is the time for action. We are grateful that the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee are pushing the House leadership to hold hearings on gun violence. It’s the right thing to do for our nation, and for the way too many families and communities that suffer from gun violence.”

The letter requests a hearing that is narrowly tailored to address specific weaknesses with our gun laws that permit shootings like the one in Tucson to take place. “The Arizona shooting is only the latest is a long line of mass killings made possible by easy access to large capacity ammunition magazines,” said Kristen Rand, Legislative Director of the Violence Policy Center. “Congress can help prevent tragedies like Tucson from occurring by adopting simple and reasonable proposals like Rep. Carolyn McCarthy’s legislation, H.R. 308.”

The Judiciary Democrats urged Chairman Lamar Smith to convene a hearing sometime within the next month. “Chairman Smith has a real opportunity to make a difference here,” said Josh Horwitz, Executive Director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. “Once Congress realizes that this is not a Left/Right issue but a Right/Wrong issue maybe we can usher some sanity back into the debate about our nation’s broken gun laws.”
Horwitz may be correct that this is a Right/Wrong issue but not in the way he wants you to think. It is wrong to push laws that would have had no impact in Tucson except to further burden the rest of us law-abiding gun owners. It would be right for Congressman Smith to tell them to take hike.

Here is a link to the House Judiciary Committee website with a list of the members. Just a quick look at the Democrat members and I see many who are listed as co-sponsors of HR 308. To expect them to not politicize the hearings is like expecting the sun to set in the East. It ain't going to happen. I would suggest if your Congressman is on this list to send them an email saying you oppose this effort.

UPDATE: Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, says no hearings. According to a story in the Los Angeles Times, Rep. Smith said:
Smith, in his response, said the committee should review the database, known as the National Instant Criminal Background Check System "at the appropriate time." But hearings now might affect criminal proceedings in which Loughner's "mental status is likely to be a key issue," he said.

"Jared Loughner has not been found to be mentally ill," Smith said. "It is inappropriate for Congress to hold hearings on NICS that presume otherwise while Loughner is facing trial."
Imagine that - a politician who believes enough in the rule of law and fair trials that he won't allow grandstanding in the committee he chairs.

As to the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, 10 out of the 16 are co-sponsors of McCarthy's HR 308.

VPC Blames The Tool

The Violence Policy Center just released a study on homicide rates in the African-American community. The report, Black Homicide Victimization in the United States: An Analysis of 2008 Homicide Data, examined homicides across the nation where the victim was an African-American using 2008 data from FBI reports.

The study reports that Missouri leads the nation with the highest black homicide victimization rate. This is the number of homicides of African-Americans per 100,000 residents. Missouri is followed by Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan, and Tennessee. At the bottom were states like North Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and Utah.

The rates can be deceiving. For example, North Dakota is ranked last as it had no African-American homicide victims. Neighboring South Dakota which had only two homicides with black victims ranked 22nd. The low overall population of the state of South Dakota exaggerates the homicide rate.

What is also interesting in this report is that states with high African-American populations such as Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia rank in the middle of the pack. These states also have much less restrictive gun laws than states like California which ranks 7th overall.

The report's conclusion:
For blacks, like all victims of homicide, guns—usually handguns—are far and away the number one murder tool. Successful efforts to reduce America’s black homicide toll must put a focus on reducing access and exposure to firearms.
For the Violence Policy Center it is much easier to just blame an inanimate object than to look at the underlying causes. Nowhere in the report are actual underlying causes of crime like level of gang membership or poverty rate even considered. The Violence Policy Center had a chance to do some serious research on a serious issue. They didn't because all they were looking for was another reason to blame the tool and not the criminal.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interesting Sights On This Steyr M40 A1

Tactical Gear magazine tries out the Steyr M40 A1 at the SHOT Show. They love the sights.

Steyr's US website describes these sights as:
The unique trapezoid sight offers a new dimension in rapid target acquisition. The sight's shape guides the eye onto the target, and thus the target is captured exactly and quickly.
Has anyone had a chance to try this pistol or the 9mm version out yet? If so, I'd love to hear your comments on it.

SAF Reacts To New Jersey AG's Response

The Second Amendment Foundation released this reaction to the Attorney General of New Jersey's response to their lawsuit, Muller v. Maenza, challenging that state's concealed carry provisions:
For Immediate Release: 1/27/2011

BELLEVUE, WA – The New Jersey Attorney General’s motion to dismiss a recently-filed Second Amendment Foundation lawsuit against the state’s subjective handgun carry laws was “predictable and disappointing,” SAF said today.

The lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Garden State’s “justifiable need” gun permit standard also involves the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs and six private citizens. It was filed in November in federal court.

The Attorney General’s brief asserted, “When a handgun is carried in public, the serious risks and dangers of misuse and accidental use are borne by the public.”

“That is a pretty lame argument,” said SAF Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “Considering that there are more than 6.2 million law-abiding citizens licensed to carry in 48 states, and that many of these people have either intervened in, or prevented crimes by their mere presence, New Jersey’s position on this issue simply defies common sense.”

Gottlieb said the very nature of New Jersey’s “justifiable need” requirement is arbitrary, discriminatory and “wide open to official abuse.”

“We are disappointed but not surprised by the State’s response to our lawsuit,” noted ANJRPC President Scott Bach. “The right to defend yourself with a firearm outside the home has long been disparaged in the Garden State, and if necessary we are prepared to take this lawsuit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to change that.”

SAF is also challenging gun permit provisions in neighboring New York and Maryland, and has filed a federal challenge to North Carolina’s Emergency Powers Act. Additionally, SAF filed a lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder over enforcement of provisions in the 1968 Gun Control Act that prevent American citizens living abroad from purchasing firearms in this country. SAF won Second Amendment incorporation in its lawsuit against the Chicago handgun ban, McDonald v. City of Chicago.

An Alternative To JaPete's Common Nonsense

Brady Campaign board member Joan Peterson who goes by JaPete online has a website called Common Gunsense. She calls it a blog to advocate for "common-sense" gun legislation. Many gun bloggers and podcasters have tried to engage her in dialogue without success. She eventually calls them "mean spirited" and bans them from commenting on her blog.

There is an alternative!

Gail Pepin has started her own blog called Uncommon Gunsense. For those that don't know Gail, she is a Registered Nurse, IDPA competitor, and part of the ProArms podcast crew. She is also Massad Ayoob's significant other and helps Mas with the Massad Ayoob Group.

Gail got fed up with people being banned on JaPete's site so started Uncommon Gunsense as the alternative. As she says:
Tired of false promises of thoughtful reflection about the issue of guns and gun violence?

Tired of the misperceptions and the culture of gun violence in America?

Tired of misrepresentation of facts and the censuring of posts that don’t support a given agenda?

Then it’s time for some Uncommon Gunsense.

Comments here will be unmoderated, post what you can’t get posted on other blogs.
Welcome Gail to the blogging world and visit her blog by going here.

More On The Micro-Nines

Guns America, the online sales and auction website, has a video from the SHOT Show about the Sig P290 that they have just released.

Bob Mayne of the Handgun World Show podcast just released an audio review of the Kimber Solo 9. You can listen to it here or download from iTunes. He rates it a 7 on a 10-point scale. Bob explains why in the podcast.

If you like to listen to podcasts and you haven't listened to the Handgun World Show, you should start. It is part of the Gun Rights Radio Network. Bob is just a regular guy who makes it a point to emphasize he is not ex-military or ex-law enforcement. It is one of my favorite podcasts out there.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sons of Guns

I watched both episodes of Sons of Guns tonight. It is the Discovery Channel's new reality TV show featuring a custom gun manufacturer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I'd say the show is kind of a blend of American Chopper with the family bickering (but not as nasty) and Monster Garage with its machine shop ingenuity.

The first episode featured the modern and the historic. Red Jacket was commissioned to construct a suppressed Saiga 12 shotgun. After one misfire because it was too loud, they succeeded in reducing the sound to 144 db. Even better, the shotgun is available for sale from Red Jacket for $2500 plus NFA tax stamp.

The historic was a Confederate cannon made in 1862 from the church bells of New Orleans. It was valued at $250,000 and the owner wanted to know if it was safe to fire. After having it X-rayed, they took it out to the field and had a go with it. For something that hadn't been fired since 1865, it held together and was as accurate as could be expected.

Overall, I enjoyed the show. I think they overdid Will's daughter Stephanie trying to control Will's child-like impulsiveness but it wouldn't be a "reality TV show" without a bit of the bickering.

In News From The Country Formerly Known As Great Britain

A Canadian couple run afoul of airport security at Gatwick Airport recently.
It may be three inches long and made of plastic – but that didn’t stop a toy soldier’s gun being branded a “firearm” by zealous airport officials.

Ken Lloyd and his wife bought the “signaller crouching” figurine during a recent visit to the Royal Signals Museum at Blandford Garrison.

But when the box containing the figure passed through the scanning machine at Gatwick airport, security officials declared the tiny plastic rifle a “firearm”.

 Mrs. Lloyd eventually had to ship the 3-inch toy gun home by mail. However, before she could do that, the Royal Mail insisted that it be scanned by the X-ray machine. The Lloyds did receive the figurine's SA80 rifle about 5 days after they returned home to Canada.

If these security officials ever get tired of working in the UK, I'm sure TSA has a place just waiting for them!

H/T Cam Edwards

Get Off My Lawn!

Want to be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse? Don't want to expose yourself to their depredations? Then you need the deFNder Medium from FN Herstal.

Good For Pete Brownell For Standing His Ground With ThinkProgress

Pete Brownell, President and CEO of Brownells, Inc and NRA board member, was interviewed at the SHOT Show by a reporter from ThinkProgress. I think they were trying for a repeat of their "report" supposedly indicating that a number of SHOT Show attendees didn't see a need for standard capacity magazines. They failed.

ThinkProgress asked Mr. Brownell about a report from the Center for Public Integrity which tried to make a link between monetary support for the NRA and the NRA's fight against restrictions on standard capacity magazines. The Center for Public Integrity bills itself as a center for investigative journalism in the public interest. The majority of their funding comes from foundations including, as you might guess, the Joyce Foundation.

The CPI report entitled "High-Capacity Magazine Sellers Raise Millions for NRA" attempted to portray the donations from MidwayUSA owners Larry and Brenda Potterfield as payoff of sorts to the NRA in exchange for lobbying against restrictions on magazine capacity. The report also noted that Pete Brownell and Ronnie Barrett serve on the NRA Board and Brenda Potterfield is on the Board of Directors of the NRA Foundation. Given that all three have companies that sell products that the anti's love to hate, the report took this as prima facie evidence of the NRA kowtowing to "the gun industry." They quote Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center as their authority on this.

When ThinkProgress questioned Mr. Brownell on connections between NRA stances and his service on the Board, he said:
The NRA has always been active in the public interest. They’ve been a defender of the Second Amendment. It’s not because of financial interest, it’s because they defend the Second Amendment, what the founders, the original people that wrote this, were intending, what they actually wrote down. So they defend the Second Amendment. They don’t necessarily say, “We’re going to do this because someone is writing me a check.” [...]

We need leaders to lead organizations, and the one place they get leaders is the military. The other place they get leaders are politicians and really the third place they get them are entrepreneurs. You can’t just get leadership from one area because then you’ll become pretty myopic in that area as an organization.
Listening to the audio recording posted along with the ThinkProgress interview, you could almost hear the disappointment in the reporter's voice that he hadn't gotten another "gotcha" interview. Nonetheless, he couldn't resist throwing in this little tidbit to conclude his article after Mr. Brownell said standard capacity magazines give the defender an advantage:
Indeed, high-capacity magazines are an advantage. And one such clip was an advantage for Jared Loughner in Tucson this month, who was subdued by attendees at Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D-AZ) constituent event only after he stopped to reload his 31-bullet clip.
People with an agenda just don't want to get it, do they?

H/T Brownells

Changes In South Dakota's Concealed Carry Law

SayUncle points to a story today indicating that the South Dakota legislature is rethinking its ban on concealed carry permits for non-citizens. As I pointed out in examining a Kentucky case, Say v. Adams, I didn't think South Dakota had much of a leg to stand on.

As it is, South Dakota has one of the best concealed carry laws short of constitutional carry. It only requires a clean criminal and mental health record. The law also allows 18-year olds to obtain a permit. There are no training or marksmanship requirements.

HB 1149 which would change the law to include legal residents was introduced yesterday. The text of the bill is below:
State of South Dakota


Introduced by: Representatives Gosch, Blake, Bolin, Brunner, Conzet, Gibson, Hansen (Jon), Hunt, Kirkeby, and Liss and Senators Cutler, Begalka, Brown, Frerichs, Olson (Russell), Peters, and Rave

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to allow legal residents of the United States to obtain a concealed pistol permit.
Section 1. That § 23-7-7.1 be amended to read as follows:
23-7-7.1. A temporary permit to carry a concealed pistol shall be issued within five days of application to a person if the applicant:
(1) Is eighteen years of age or older;
(2) Has never pled guilty to, nolo contendere to, or been convicted of a felony or a crime of violence;
(3) Is not habitually in an intoxicated or drugged condition;
(4) Has no history of violence;
(5) Has not been found in the previous ten years to be a "danger to others" or a "danger to self" as defined in § 27A-1-1 or is not currently adjudged mentally incompetent;
(6) Has physically resided in and is a resident of the county where the application is being made for at least thirty days immediately preceding the date of the application;
(7) Has had no violations of chapter 23-7, 22-14, or 22-42 constituting a felony or misdemeanor in the five years preceding the date of application or is not currently charged under indictment or information for such an offense;
(8) Is a citizen or legal resident of the United States; and
(9) Is not a fugitive from justice.
A person denied a permit may appeal to the circuit court pursuant to chapter 1-26.
Rarely would I say that the passage of a bill in any legislature is a slam dunk. However, this bill will be passed.

It is sponsored by both Democrats and Republicans in the South Dakota House and Senate. More importantly, it has as co-sponsors the Speaker Pro Tem of the House and the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. Finally, the Governor of South Dakota has come out in favor of the change. It is good to see a legislature that is so quick to move to correct what is a constitutional defect in a law.

Lautenberg's Bills

Sen. Frank Lautenberg introduced the following three gun control bills yesterday. While the text of the bills is not available yet, I am presuming that S. 32 is a clone of Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308 and that S. 34 is a reiteration of Lautenberg's proposal to ban anyone on the Do Not Fly list from buying a firearm (or explosives).
S.32 : A bill to prohibit the transfer or possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices, and for other purposes.
Sponsor: Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] (introduced 1/25/2011)
Cosponsors (9)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/25/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.

S.34 : A bill to increase public safety by permitting the Attorney General to deny the transfer of firearms or the issuance of firearms and explosives licenses to known or suspected dangerous terrorists.
Sponsor: Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] (introduced 1/25/2011)
Cosponsors (8)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/25/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
S.35 : A bill to establish background check procedures for gun shows.
Sponsor: Sen Lautenberg, Frank R. [NJ] (introduced 1/25/2011)
Cosponsors (10)
Committees: Senate Judiciary
Latest Major Action: 1/25/2011 Referred to Senate committee. Status: Read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.
The co-sponsors of the bills above read like a who's who of gun banners in the Senate. Senators Boxer, Feinstein, Durbin, and Schumer are all co-sponsors of the bills along with an assortment of other lesser gun banners.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

History Wasn't Made

Yesterday, Dennis Henigan of the Brady Campaign called on President Obama to "make history on guns" in his State of the Union speech.
Since the tragic shooting in Tucson, President Obama has been a force for healing, recovery and reconciliation. As a nation, we were reeling. He steadied us. The President has been a profile in understanding and empathy.

He now needs to be a profile in courage.

In his State of the Union speech tomorrow night, he needs to talk about guns.

I can imagine the voices advising him to do nothing of the kind. They have been telling him to avoid the gun issue for two years. After Tucson, however, everything is different. Their arguments now ring especially hollow.
From my reading of the text of Obama's State of the Union address, I don't see the word "firearm", "gun", or "magazine." I only see Gabby Giffords mentioned once and Tucson mentioned three times. I even see Forsyth Tech (aka The University of Silas Creek)* in Winston-Salem, North Carolina mentioned more than anything to do with guns.

So for poor Dennis and the rest of his fellow travelers all I can say is that history wasn't made. Obama did listen to those other voices telling him to avoid the gun issue.

* Forsyth Technical Community College is located on Silas Creek Parkway in Winston-Salem.

Shilling For Lautenberg's Gun Proposals

The Brady Campaign is already shilling for bills that Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) is introducing. According to the Library of Congress' Thomas legislation tracker, none of his anti-gun, anti-rights legislation has been officially introduced.
Jan 25, 2011

Washington, D.C. - The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence today announced strong support for a package of legislative proposals introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). The three bills seek to close loopholes in federal gun laws and restrict civilian access to large capacity ammunition magazines.

“This important package of legislation is straightforward, reasonable, and long overdue,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign. “We have only a few federal gun laws on the books, and even those have loopholes which allow dangerous people to get firearms all too easily.”

Sen. Lautenberg’s bills would strengthen the Brady background check system by closing the gun show loophole; prevent suspected terrorist from gaining access to firearms; and ban ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.

The package of bills comes during a month that has seen horrific examples of gun violence. Fourteen police officers have been shot to death in the past four weeks, and a tragic shooting in Tucson, AZ left six dead and wounded thirteen others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ).

Sen. Lautenberg’s bill banning large capacity magazines is identical to a bill offered last week by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). It would reinstate a ban, lapsed since 2004, on the type of ammunition magazines used by the shooter in Tucson. The House bill has already garnered 64 cosponsors.

“There is no legitimate reason for civilians to have 30-round magazines,” continued Helmke. “They aren’t useful for hunting or self defense. And in the hands of dangerous people, they can cause unspeakable damage.”
As to Helmke's comments that standard capacity magazines aren't useful for self-defense, what utter bullshit. Let him tell that to a guy who is defending his family against home invaders and see what the home owner's response will be.

UPDATE: Lautenberg's S. 32, S. 34, and S. 35 have been introduced into the Senate and have been referred to the Judiciary Committee.


Days of our Trailers has the Brady Campaign's response to the State of the Union speech.

Here's a hint.

Eight New Co-Sponsors For HR 308 (updated)

The following are the latest co-sponsors of Carolyn McCarthy's HR 308 - the magazine ban bill.
Rep Gutierrez, Luis V. [IL-4] - 1/24/2011
Rep Sires, Albio [NJ-13] - 1/24/2011
Rep Carson, Andre [IN-7] - 1/24/2011
Rep Rangel, Charles B. [NY-15] - 1/24/2011
Rep Markey, Edward J. [MA-7] - 1/24/2011
Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51] - 1/24/2011

As far as I can tell, all the bill's co-sponsors are Democrats. The other co-sponsors can be found in this post.

UPDATE:  Two more co-sponsors - both Democrats - were added to the list for HR 308 on Wednesday. They are:
Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3] - 1/26/2011
Rep Grijalva, Raul M. [AZ-7] - 1/26/2011

Two Gun Rights Lawsuits Filed In West Virginia

The West Virginia Citizens Defense League (WVCDL) filed two lawsuits in Federal court on Monday challenging restrictions on firearms in four West Virginia cities.

The first lawsuit, WVCDL et al v. City of Charleston et al, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia. This lawsuit challenges the ban on carrying firearms on city-owned property in the cities of Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar. It also challenges the City of Charleston's 3-day waiting period for the purchase of a handgun alown with the city's one handgun per month rationing scheme. Named in the lawsuit are the cities along with their respective mayors and chiefs of police.

The second lawsuit, WVCDL v. City of Martinsburg et al, was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of West Virginia.This suit challenges a City of Martinsburg ordinance prohibiting the carrying of firearms in city-owned buildings. Named in the suit are the City of Martinsburg, its mayor, city manager, and chief of police.

The WVCDL's attorney, Jim Mullins of Beckley, has this to say about the lawsuits to the Charleston Gazette:
"No criminal or deranged lunatic is going to be deterred from committing a crime on public property by the prospect of a whopping 30 extra days in jail for violating a municipal ordinance prohibiting guns on city property," Mullins, a Beckley attorney, said in a prepared statement.

"Neither will a criminal wait while his intended victim goes through the three-day waiting period Charleston imposes on buying a handgun," he said. "And if you happened to have bought a handgun recently and it was stolen? Well, that same criminal also won't wait for you to become eligible to purchase another handgun under Charleston's one handgun per month rationing ordinance."

The mayor of South Charleston, Frank Mullens, said his city attorneys would examine the ordinance and Federal law and implied they would change them if needed. Mayor Danny Jones of Charleston was more defiant about his city's ordinances:
"If it's illegal for us to do it [ban guns on city property], then it's illegal for the state Capitol to do it, it's illegal for the county courts and it's illegal for the federal courts to do it," Jones said. "I think we should be able to restrict firearms on our own property."
He went on to add that he didn't feel his city's handgun purchase restrictions were unreasonable saying people can still buy guns.

According to the Charleston Gazette, the restrictions in Charleston, passed in 1993, were a reaction to the drug trade in the city during the 1980s and 1990s. An unintended consequence of the strict gun laws and bans in New York City and other large cities was that a flood of drugs were introduced to West Virginia by drug dealers from those cities seeking guns. Drugs were traded for guns or sold for cash to buy guns through straw purchases.

The complaint against Charleston, South Charleston, and Dunbar can be found here while the complaint against Martinsburg is found here.

Morally Outdated?

A few days ago the Russian Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov, began a firestorm of controversy in Russia (and in the blogosphere) by saying that the Kalashnikov and Dragunov SVDs sniper rifles are "morally outdated". He made it worse by saying he was thinking of buying foreign weapons.

Somehow I don't think these guys in this recruiting video for the Russian airborne, the VDV (vozdushno-desantnie voiska), would agree.

I still like my AK-74 but think those blue berets and blue-striped undershirts are a little...uh, different.

H/T SayUncle

Monday, January 24, 2011

Why Is ATF Involved And Not DEA?

I've subscribed to the press releases from BATFE headquarters and certain of their field divisions. I think it is smart to keep tabs on what they are doing. I got the following press release sent out by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Illinois.
McHenry County Man Charged with Federal Drug Trafficking Charges

ROCKFORD — PATRICK J. FITZGERALD, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, together with ANDREW L. TRAVER, Special Agent-In-Charge of the Chicago Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and KEITH NYGREN, McHenry County Sheriff, today announced:

A federal grand jury in Rockford yesterday returned an indictment charging BRIAN M. BLUM, 31, of McHenry, with two counts of distributing cocaine. If convicted of the offenses charged, Blum may be sentenced up to 30 years of imprisonment, as well as a fine of up to $2,000,000, for each count. Blum will be arraigned on January 19, 2011, at 10:30 a.m. before Magistrate Judge P. Michael Mahoney in the federal courthouse in Rockford.

The case was investigated by Special Agents of the Rockford Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Department with the assistance of the United States Marshals Service. The case will be prosecuted in federal court by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph C. Pedersen.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. The defendant is entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving that defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Beyond the self-serving nature of this press release, why is ATF involved in a drug case and not the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration)? It would seem outside of their assigned mission of alcohol, tobacco, firearms, and explosives. Am I missing something here?

Permanent Injunction Issued Against California AB 962

From Chuck Michel regarding Parker et al v. California where the Fresno Superior Court today issued an Order of Permanent Injunction against the handgun registration act.
January 24, 2011 - Today the Fresno Superior Court issued an Order of Permanent Injunction in the NRA - CRPA Foundation funded legal challenge to AB962, Parker v. California. The order permanently prevents the state and its agents from enforcing the provisions of AB962 (Penal Code sections 12060, 12061, and 12318). A copy of the Order is here. The Order comes following a dramatic ruling giving gun owners a win in a National Rifle Association / California Rifle and Pistol (CRPA) Foundation lawsuit. On January 18th, Fresno Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Hamilton ruled that AB 962, the hotly contested statute that would have banned mail order ammunition sales and required all purchases of so called "handgun ammunition" to be registered, was unconstitutionally vague on its face. By enjoining enforcement of these statutes, mail order ammunition sales to California can continue unabated, and ammunition sales need not be registered under the law. A formal written ruling from the court will be issued soon.

The lawsuit was prompted in part by the many objections and questions raised by confused police, ammunition purchasers, and sellers about what ammunition is covered by the new laws created by AB 962. In a highly unusual move that reflects growing law enforcement opposition to ineffective gun control laws, Tehama County Sheriff Clay Parker is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit. Other plaintiffs include the CRPA Foundation, Herb Bauer Sporting Goods, ammunition shipper Able’s Ammo, collectible ammunition shipper RTG Sporting Collectibles, and individual Steven Stonecipher.

In addition to these plaintiffs, Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman, along with ammunition shippers Midway USA, Natchez Shooters Supplies, and Cheaper Than Dirt also submitted declarations in support of the lawsuit.

The ruling comes just days before the portion of the law that bans mail order sales of so called "handgun ammunition" was set to take effect on February 1, 2011. The lawsuit, Parker v. California is funded exclusively by the NRA and the CRPA Foundation. If it had gone into effect, AB 962 would have imposed burdensome and ill conceived restrictions on the sales of ammunition. AB 962 required that "handgun ammunition" be stored out of the reach of customers, that ammunition vendors collect ammunition sales registration information and thumb-prints from purchasers, and conduct transactions face-to-face for all deliveries and transfers of "handgun ammunition." The lawsuit successfully sought the declaration from the Court that the statute was unconstitutional, and successfully sought the injunctive relief prohibiting law enforcement from enforcing the new laws.

The lawsuit alleged, and the Court agreed, that AB 962 is unconstitutionally vague on its face because it fails to provide sufficient legal notice of what ammunition cartridges are "principally for use in a handgun," and thus is considered "handgun ammunition" that is regulated under AB 962. It is practically impossible, both for those subject to the law and for those who must enforce it, to determine whether any of the thousands of different types of ammunition cartridges that can be used in handguns are actually "principally for use in" or used more often in, a handgun. The proportional usage of any given cartridge is impossible to determine, and in any event changes with market demands. In fact, the legislature itself is well aware of the vagueness problem with AB 962's definition of "handgun ammunition" and tried to redefine it via AB 2358 in 2010. AB 2358 failed in the face of opposition from the NRA and CRPA based on the proposal’s many other nonsensical infringements on ammunition sales to law abiding citizens.

Constitutional vagueness challenges to state laws are extremely difficult to win, particularly in California firearms litigation so this success is particularly noteworthy. Even so, an appeal by the State is likely, but the Court’s Order enjoining enforcement of the law is effective – February 1, 2011 – immediately regardless.

Despite this win for common sense over ill-conceived and counter productive gun laws, additional legislation on this and related subjects will no doubt be proposed in Sacramento this legislative session. It is absolutely critical that those who believe in the right to keep and bear arms stay informed and make their voices heard in Sacramento. When AB 962 passed there was loud outcry from law abiding gun owners impacted by the new law. Those voices must be heard during the legislative session and before a proposed law passes, not after a law is signed. To help, sign up for legislative alerts at and and respond when called upon.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

SHOT Show Wrap-Up -

Woollard v. Sheridan - Amended Complaint Filed

At the end of 2010, Judge J. Frederick Motz partially denied the State of Maryland's motion to dismiss the Second Amendment Foundation's challenge to Maryland's concealed carry law requirement of "apprehended danger".  He did, however, dismiss that portion of the case claiming violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment because it did not make a claim upon which relief could be granted. Fortunately, he gave the plaintiffs until the January 21st to file an amended complaint correcting this defect.

Alan Gura filed the amended complaint on January 19. The amended complaint follows the original complaint word for word up until the statement of a claim in Count II.
Maryland Public Safety Code § 5-306(a)(5)(ii)’s requirement that handgun carry permit applicants demonstrate cause for the issuance of a permit impermissibly classifies individuals with respect to the exercise of a fundamental constitutional right. The provision creates two classification of individuals. Applicants who have demonstrated to Defendants’ satisfaction that a handgun carry permit is “necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger,” or that they face a greater than average level of danger, are given permits; applicants who cannot satisfy that burden are not given permits. The classification system is inherently arbitrary, irrational, and deprives individuals of their fundamental right to bear arms based on criteria that cannot be justified under any means-ends level of scrutiny for the security of a fundamental constitutional right. The provision thus violates Plaintiffs’ Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the law, damaging them in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Plaintiffs are therefore entitled to permanent injunctive relief against the enforcement of this provision.

Bold text represents the addition to the complaint.

The most significant part of this restating of the claim is that it argues that under any level of scrutiny the Maryland requirements are unconstitutional. A "means-end level of scrutiny" refers to the rational basis level of scrutiny which is the lowest used in consideration of constitutional rights. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals' recent decision in Chester calls for intermediate scrutiny - or a level higher - as the minimum in Second Amendment cases.

Indefensible Is Right

Judge Milton Shadur denied attorneys fees to the plaintiffs in McDonald v. Chicago saying that because Chicago changed their gun laws the case was moot. Since it was moot, then there was no prevailing party which, to be blunt, is utter bullshit. Chicago lost and McDonald won.

Dave Hardy has the whole ruling and his comments on it at Arms and the Law.
This ruling is, I'm sure, simply indefensible. They fought all the way to the U.S. Supremes, won there, Chicago (with no choices left) changed its ordinance ... and the court still rules McDonald was not the "prevailing party." I trust this is going to appealed, although it may be assigned to the same Seventh Circuit panel (which definitely did not like the McDonald result and thus may, like the District Court, let it show).

Why They Hate Us

The Wall Street Journal's Weekend Edition ran a travelogue by journalist Kate Bolick on her visit to Austin, Texas. On her last day she visited a shooting range. Here is how she described it:
Day Four: Monday
9 a.m. Close out your trip with a bang—literally! Red's Indoor Range (6200 Highway 290 West; 512-892-4867; in the aptly named Convict Hill, is only a 15-minute drive away, and for the uninitiated, shooting a gun can be shockingly intoxicating. There's no better way to imbue yourself with a dose of Texan swagger—and the testosterone rush will embolden you for the trial to come: flying home.
 The gun prohibitionists of the Brady Campaign, the Violence Policy Center, and others of their ilk would have you believe that the only reason to have and shoot a firearm is to kill someone or something. In their dour, almost Calvinistic, worldview, the thought that someone - especially a woman - could enjoy herself by indulging in an hour or two of target shooting is inconceivable. That there are sports like IDPA, sporting clays, and cowboy action shooting which involve firearms and no killing is beyond their comprehension.

I don't know Ms. Bolick's background with guns and don't know if this was the first time she ever handled a firearm but her experience reinforces the idea that taking someone shooting is the best way to inoculate them against the anti-gun message peddled by the prohibitionists and their allies in the media. What these groups fear most of all is the feeling that Ms. Bolick describes - the sheer joy combined with the feeling of empowerment that can come from shooting.

And that is why they hate us.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Astroturfing By ThinkProgress

Reporters from ThinkProgress, which is the lefty website for the Center for American Progress Action Fund, attended the SHOT Show this week. They were trolling for people who would say that standard capacity magazines were not needed for self-defense. As might be expected in an edited video, they found the answers they wanted. I imagine this clip will be shown to Congressional staffers and wavering Representatives in an effort to pass HR 308.

You have to wonder how many of the people answering the question realized that they were being used. It points out just how tricky it can be dealing with the press and advocacy groups.

ThinkProgress attended the SHOT Show convention in Las Vegas this week — “the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports and hunting industries” — and asked many attendees if they thought these types of clips are necessary for self-defense. Most we talked to concurred, “Not really”:

TP: Do you think that for self defense purposes it matters whether you have 10 or 15 rounds in your magazine?

ATTENDEE 1: Probably not. No probably not. Honestly. [...]

ATTENDEE 2: It takes one shot to kill. … Anything more than one shot is excessive. I mean if someone is breaking in to your house at a panic you’re might going to shoot him once. You’re not going to empty your load on him while they’re lying on your kitchen floor. [...]

TP: If someone were to use a gun for self protection purposes, would they need 10, 30 rounds?

ATTENDEE 3: No, I hope not. I don’t know why. If ten rounds of ammunition can’t do the job you probably shouldn’t own a gun. I don’t want to live next to that guy.

The Other Brady Bill - HR 318

Congressman Bob Brady (D-PA) of Philadelphia has followed through on his promise to introduce a bill to criminalize threatening speech against members of Congress. His bill would piggy-back on existing law that makes it a crime to threaten the President or Vice-President. The existing law, 18 USC 871, makes it a crime to:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits for conveyance in the mail or for a delivery from any post office or by any letter carrier any letter, paper, writing, print, missive, or document containing any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect, the Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President of the United States, or the Vice President-elect, or knowingly and willfully otherwise makes any such threat against the President, President-elect, Vice President or other officer next in the order of succession to the office of President, or Vice President-elect, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.

The text of Brady's bill, HR 318, is below. Currently, it has no co-sponsors.
Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend title 18, United States Code, to punish threats to commit violent crimes against Members of Congress, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


Section 871 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by striking `or Vice President-elect' and inserting `Vice President-elect, Member of Congress or Member-of-Congress-elect'.


(a) Section Heading- The heading for section 871 of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

`Sec. 871. Threats against President, Vice President, and Members of Congress'.

(b) Table of Sections- The item for section 871 in the table of sections at the beginning of chapter 41 is amended to read as follows:

`871. Threats against President, Vice President, and Members of Congress.'.
I know Members of Congress are convinced of their own importance but frankly they are not the Head of State and don't need to have the Secret Service following up on every letter from an angry constituent. This is not to say that credible threats should not be investigated. They are and should be investigated. However, there are plenty of other laws on the books, both Federal and state, which can take care of these type of offenses without making one specifically for Members of Congress. People have spoken of the Imperial Presidency for decades. We don't need to add the Imperial Congress to that list.

DRTV SHOT Show Day Two

Holster Testing

One of the things mentioned at Everyday, No Days Off is that the holster is a Raven Concealment which has been featured in Magpul Dynamics videos. Travis Haley, who was a founder of Magpul Dynamics and interim CEO of Magpul Industries, left Magpul this week to start another company, Haley Strategic Partners. He "starred" with Chris Costa in the Magpul videos. This is from a report in GearScout. The parting of ways is reported to be friendly.

H/T Everyday, No Days Off

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Another By-Product Of The Tucson Shootings

Beyond the call for more gun control, another by-product of the shootings by the madman in Tucson is an upsurge in the media calling for the confirmation of Andrew Traver.

Helping to push this is Mayor Bloomberg and his Mayors Against Illegal Guns. They are calling for "common sense" measures. Number three on their list released on January 11th is this:
Fill the Leadership Gap and Appoint an ATF Director – The Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, the federal law enforcement agency responsible for fighting gun crime, has operated without a Director for four and a half years. President Obama has nominated Andrew Traver, a career law enforcement officer, to fill the position. The nomination has the strong support of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and the Senate should give Mr. Traver a careful and prompt review to help ATF spearhead the fight against gun crime.
From Jonathan Alter in Newsweek comes this from a piece entitled Can Obama Turn Tragedy Into Triumph? Saturday’s shooting spree could prove a turning point in the Obama presidency. How the White House should talk about the tragedy:
Finally, the president should speak out forthrightly for better enforcement of existing gun control laws, which the gun lobby is always fighting to undermine. He should re-state his support of Andrew Traver to be head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF). The NRA is currently blocking the nomination because Traver once had the temerity to serve as an adviser to a police association on its gun violence reduction program. Obama can reiterate his (and Giffords’) support for the 2nd Amendment while using this chance to make a case for common sense gun control.
Alter is hoping that Obama could turn the shootings in Tucson into an Oklahoma City bombing sort of event and use Jared Loughner just like Bill Clinton used Timothy McVeigh.

The New York Daily News devoted an entire editorial to the Traver nomination accusing "NRA toadies in the Senate" of keeping the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives without a permanent Director. In typical, over-the-top, Daily News fashion they said:
The truth is, the National Rifle Association and its puppets in Congress push just as hard to hogtie enforcement as they do to gut the nation's all-too-feeble statutes.

And the prime example is their blockade against confirming a permanent chief for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives - the federal front-line force against gun trafficking.
In the editorial they also try to link the shootings at Virginia Tech, Fort Hood, and Tucson to the lack of an ATF Director. They conclude by urging Senators to confirm Traver saying "As bodies pile up, it's the least they can do." Obviously, they haven't heard Obama's call for civility in political discourse.

In California, the Sacramento Bee has picked up the call for Traver saying that we shouldn't let the NRA dictate who should be "the top gun cop." After dismissing Traver's cozy relations with the gun ban lobby, they say:
The bureau responsible for enforcing the nation's gun laws has not had a permanent director since 2006. Senate Republicans even held up the Bush administration's appointee to the post at the behest of gun-rights groups. The bureau is under siege by the powerful gun lobby as illegal gun trafficking within the United States and abroad is rife. Our neighbor, Mexico, is being held hostage by vicious and well-armed drug cartels that buy their weapons in the United States.

The NRA is pushing so-called reform legislation that would make it even harder for law enforcement agencies to prosecute illegal gun dealers. In the face of relentless pressure from the gun lobby, Congress and even the president have shown themselves unwilling and unable to support even the most common-sense gun-safety laws.

Traver's nomination is a test for the nation and its lawmakers. If a cop with an exemplary record of going after illegal gun sales can't win confirmation as ATF director following last Saturday's rampage, we are likely to see more Tucsons, more Columbines and more Virginia Techs.
These incendiary editorials have just begun as well as the push for more gun control - ineffective though it would have been in preventing Jared Loughner from doing this deranged act. We can expect more calls and more pressure on Senators to approve Andrew Traver.

If you haven't called, written, emailed, or faxed your two Senators, what the hell are your waiting for? Do it and do it now.

UPDATE: In what should be no surprise, NPR is the latest media outlet reporting that ATF has been without a permanent Director and asking why Traver hasn't been approved.
The Senate has yet to hold a hearing on Traver. A Judiciary Committee aide says the panel is waiting for the administration to submit the necessary paperwork.

Cavanaugh says the lack of a Senate-confirmed director with the backing of the president is disconcerting.

"The agency goes on because law enforcement people are 'can do' people and they're mission people, but nevertheless there's not an agency in government that has to face that kind of problem," he says. "Can you imagine a big city police force not having a chief for 4 1/2 years?"

And while that might suit the gun lobby, gun control advocates hope the shootings in Tucson will spur the administration to push for Traver's confirmation.

For some reason, James "Waco Jim" Cavanaugh must be the only former ATF person in the mainstream media's Rolodex. Rachel Maddow had him on within the last week and now NPR uses him to push their story. Heck, even the SPLC has used Waco Jim.

SHOT Show Day Three -

Pushing Obama On Gun Control

Gun control groups are pushing hard to have Obama not only mention, but push for gun control in the State of the Union speech on Tuesday, January 25th.

The Brady Campaign is one of the main groups pushing it. From a story yesterday by Michael Isikoff of NBC News:
“There’s a major push to get [Obama] to say something on this,” said Chad Ramsey, legislative director of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a leading gun control group. “We’ve been told he will say something, but we’re not sure how strong it will be.”

There have been a number of different gun control ideas put forward since the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting. But gun control groups most of all want Obama’s endorsement of the bill introduced this week by Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York (with more than 40 co-sponsors so far). That bill would ban the sale or transfer of high-capacity gun magazines such as the one allegedly used by Jared L. Loughner to fire off more than 30 rounds. So far, the proposal (and a companion bill to be introduced next week by Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey) has yet to pick up a single Republican co-sponsor.
The Brady Campaign and their congressional backers are also campaigning to get big Democratic donors to prod Obama on gun control according to that story. What is giving them some hope are the comments made by Dick Cheney who said maybe it was time to enact restrictions on standard capacity magazines.

Sarah Brady in a commentary for CNN has this to say:
We feel it's our duty, and we're asking President Barack Obama to help lead the way. As he so eloquently put it in his remarks at the memorial service in Tucson, Arizona, if we want our democracy to be as good as Christina Taylor Green and other children imagine it, we have to be able to come to that proverbial table of brotherhood and work on solutions to gun violence.

He is the only political leader who has the capital, the conscience and the competence to gather us. On Thursday, press secretary Robert Gibbs affirmed the president's commitment to banning assault weapons, and with them those high-capacity-killing magazines.

Obama is our best hope, because he is surely aware that much of the resistance to common-sense changes to our gun laws is meant to shut us down and shut us up. It is meant to allow the guys with the guns -- instead of ordinary Americans like us with the ideas -- and men and women of good conscience, like Gabby and Jim -- to make the rules.

The bullies have succeeded too often. They have made cowardly lions out of too many members of Congress. This moment, as grievous as it is, presents a new opportunity for the president and other elected leaders to demonstrate political courage -- the way President Bill Clinton did when he stood by the side of victims and fought with all he had to pass the Brady Bill.
I love all the buzz words in that statement by the sainted Sarah. High-capacity-killing magazines, gun violence, common-sense changes, the guns with guns, ordinary Americans. Of course, despite all the calls for civil discourse, we who disagree with her are "bullies."

The online political website Politico ran an article this morning entitled "Barack Obama’s conspicuous silence on guns". The article notes that despite his longtime and unambiguous record on gun control he has been relatively quiet on the issue since becoming President. It goes on to say despite the efforts of gun control groups and liberal Democrats the White House has been noncommittal about using the State of the Union speech to push gun control and McCarthy's magazine ban. The article goes on to say that gun control groups are saying that Obama has "a moral responsibility" to push for it. They quote Paul Helmke who says:
“If the president could address the issue in the State of the Union that would be really important,” says Paul Helmke, president of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a major gun control group.

“If he could announce his support for the high-capacity clip legislation, that would be the best thing. The next best thing would be for him to support a presidential commission to study gun violence,” adds Helmke, the former mayor of Ft. Wayne, Ind. “But he can’t stay silent. Either way, he’s just got to do something.”
There is always that refrain that we must "do something" when often the best course to take is to do nothing.

And this evening, Peggy Noonan, who seemingly has been Obama's biggest cheerleader on the Wall Street Journal editorial page despite her time in the Reagan and Bush 1 White Houses, suggests that one idea Obama should embrace in the State of the Union speech is a "ban on extended ammo clips."
What civilian needs a pistol with a magazine that loads 33 bullets and allows you to kill that many people without even stopping to reload? No one but people with bad intent. Those clips were banned once; the president should call for reimposing the ban. The Republican Party will not go to the wall to defend extended clips. The problem is the Democratic Party, which overreached after the assassinations of the 1960s, talked about banning all handguns, and suffered a lasting political setback. Now Democrats are so spooked they won't even move forward on small and obvious things like this. The president should seize the moment and come out strong for a ban.
Noonan seems to believe that such a ban is a "centrist" position. I'm sure in her milieu that might be a centrist position but then again I bet she has a doorman to guard access to her apartment building.

Another NC Representative Plans To Carry Concealed

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC 11) made news when he announced after the Tucson shootings that he had a Concealed Handgun Permit (NC's version of CCW) and planned to carry concealed at public events.

According to WRAL - Raleigh, Shuler will now be joined by freshman Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC 2) who defeated incumbent Bob "Who Are You" Etheridge in November. Ellmers obtained her CHP after taking the required training back in February 2010. She never hid the fact that she had a CHP during her campaign and even spoke of it with regard to belief in Second Amendment rights.
"We have to protect ourselves. We know that. That is something we have always been cognizant of,” Ellmers said. "There have been times in the past I have carried my weapon, and I will probably continue to do so. Some days I might have it. Some days I might not."...“I feel safe with it, and I think we should all be able to defend ourselves as we need to,” Ellmers said.
WRAL also reported that in addition to Shuler and Ellmers, Rep. Sue Myrick "told The Charlotte Observer that she's a good shot and likely would carry a gun when she felt the need to do so."

While I am glad that Representatives Shuler, Ellmers, and Myrick plan to take their protection into their own hands, North Carolina may be problematic. As Sean point out in his blog, NC law forbids carrying concealed at certain public events.
§ 14‑277.2. Weapons at parades, etc., prohibited.
(a) It shall be unlawful for any person participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at any parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned or under the control of the State or any of its political subdivisions to willfully or intentionally possess or have immediate access to any dangerous weapon. Violation of this subsection shall be a Class 1 misdemeanor. It shall be presumed that any rifle or gun carried on a rack in a pickup truck at a holiday parade or in a funeral procession does not violate the terms of this act.

(b) For the purposes of this section the term "dangerous weapon" shall include those weapons specified in G.S. 14‑269, 14‑269.2, 14‑284.1, or 14‑288.8 or any other object capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death when used as a weapon.

(c) The provisions of this section shall not apply to a person exempted by the provisions of G.S. 14‑269(b) or to persons authorized by State or federal law to carry dangerous weapons in the performance of their duties or to any person who obtains a permit to carry a dangerous weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration from the sheriff or police chief, whichever is appropriate, of the locality where such parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration is to take place.
Subsection C does provide for obtaining a permit to carry a dangerous weapon at those events. Frankly, after Tucson, I don't see any sheriff or police chief turning down a permit for a sitting Congressman who plans to carry concealed.