Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Preparing For The Zombie Apocalypse?

Needing a break from Project Gunwalker, the economy, and the trials and tribulations of ATF, I stumbled across this - the South African made NeoPup PAW A4 20mm infantry weapon system. If there was ever a weapon designed for the Zombie Apocalypse, it was this. One hit from its 1698 grain projectile and it will be all over for the living dead!

The NeoPup PAW 20 A4 is sort of a rifle crossed with a stand-along grenade laucher put on an off-set bullpup body. The Kitup Blog notes that the PAW 20 is:
Intended for infantry targets in open and behind cover as well as unarmored or lightly armored vehicles…Maximum range for the PAW is 1,000 meters for area targets or a group of Soldiers. Against point targets such as small vehicles or machine gun positions the maximum effective range is 500 meters.

Caliber - 20x42
Muzzle velocity - 1,017 ft/s
Weight - 6kg
Length (open) - 33.25 inches
Length (stowed) - 30.3 inches
Barrel - 14.76 inches
Range - 1000m
Magazine capacity - 6
Semi-auto, rotating bolt, gas operated

About That 90% Claim

Julian Assange may be a creepy pervert but the State Department documents being released through WikiLeaks are providing some valuable insight about arms trafficking and seized firearms in Mexico.

Mike Vanderboegh has a post on Sipsey Street Irregulars about a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City to the State Department, DOJ, and many other U.S. agencies. The unclassified cable sent on October 28, 2009 has a subject heading of "MEXICO ARMS TRAFFICKING: ACCESS TO CONFISCATED WEAPONS, A NECESSARY STEP MEXICO". After much discussion of how Mexico stores and catalogs confiscated weapons and how their court system treats the information, there is an acknowledgment that the claim that 90% of weapons found in Mexico originated in the United States is incorrect.
¶6. (SBU) Comment. Claims by Mexican and U.S. officials that upwards of 90 percent of illegal recovered weapons can be traced back to the U.S. is based on an incomplete survey of confiscated weapons. In point of fact, without wider access to the weapons seized in Mexico, we really have no way of verifying these numbers.
So given this, why do Obama Administration officials including the new Acting Director of ATF continually repeat a claim that has been proven false in more than one venue?

Chuck Grassley On FoxNews About ATF Changes

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) was interviewed today about the changes at ATF and DOJ by Jenna Lee of Fox News.

While Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) was given a courtesy call by Attorney General Eric Holder about the changes, Grassley was not despite being the Ranking Minority Member on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Common courtesy never has been a strong suit of anyone in the Obama Administration it seems.

Asked about whether DOJ is still stonewalling on the request for documents, Grassley said it has improved but they are still getting many documents that are just black sheets of paper.

Updated Report On Moves At ATF And DOJ By CBS

Sharyl Attkisson had an updated report on the reassignment of Kenneth Melson and the resignation of Dennis Burke. Also revealed in this report is the ATF Senior Agent John Dodson is being transferred from Arizona to South Carolina. While not mentioned in the report, it is my understanding that three out of the four ATF Special Agents who testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee have been transferred out of Arizona.

Darrell Issa On FoxNews About Melson And Burke

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, was interviewed last night on Greta van Sustren's On The Record. He said his real concern is that no one involved in Operation Fast and Furious has been held accountable to the point of facing criminal charges for their actions.

A Roundup Of Interviews From Cam And Company On DOJ Moves

Cam Edwards of NRA News devoted most of the show last night to the big moves at the Department of Justice. Among his guests were Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) both of whom serve on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He also had Katie Pavlich of and columnist Michelle Malkin on as guests. They have done a great job of reporting on Project Gunwalker over the past months.

First, Rep. Blake Farenthold who noted that the reassignment of Newell, Voth, and McMahon to ATF HQ reminded him of a shell game on a street corner in New York City.

Second up is Rep. Paul Gosar who calls the administrative shuffle of ATF agents and Ken Melson as "bringing them home to the nest" so they can protect them.

Michelle Malkin says the moves yesterday were not a surprise coming from the "master of screwing up and moving up" Eric Holder.

Finally, Katie Pavlich says that the moves are an attempt to buy time by DOJ as they continue to stonewall the Congressional investigation into Project Gunwalker.

Quote Of The Day

The quote of the day comes from Michelle Malkin. It is actually two quotes from her article last night in the New York Post regarding the changes at the Department of Justice made due to Project Gunwalker.

First on the reassignment of Kenneth Melson to a position within the Department of Justice as well as the promotions of Newell, Voth, and McMahon to ATF Headquarters in Washington, DC:

Keep your friends close and your henchmen on the verge of spilling all the beans closer.

The second quote from Malkin is an indictment of the Department of Justice for its handling of Operation Fast and Furious and the fact that only U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke is out of a job:

Screw up, move up, cover up: It’s the Holder way, the Obama way, the Washington way. And innocent Americans pay.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Reactions On Capitol Hill To Melson "Reassignment"

Some in the Obama Administration must have thought that the furor over Project Gunwalker might blow over if Kenneth Melson and Dennis Burke were gone. I don't think they are going to get their wish.

Rep. Darrell Issa's statement on resignation of Dennis Burke and the reassignment of Kenneth Melson:
(WASHINGTON) House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) today released the following statement regarding Department of Justice personnel changes involving Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Emory Hurley:

"While the reckless disregard for safety that took place in Operation Fast and Furious certainly merits changes within the Department of Justice, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will continue its investigation to ensure that blame isn't offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department. There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels. I also remain very concerned by Acting Director Melson's statement that the Department of Justice is managing its response in a manner intended to protect its political appointees. Senator Grassley and I will continue to press the Department of Justice for answers in order to ensure that a reckless effort like Fast and Furious does not take place again."
While Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has not issued a statement yet,  Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) did issue one. Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is one of the newer critics of Project Gunwalker as it seems to have spread to his home state of Texas.
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and former state Attorney General, today responded to reports that Kenneth E. Melson, the acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and other Department of Justice officials who oversaw the “Fast and Furious” gun-walking operation, have been reassigned to new positions within the Justice Department:

“Instead of reassigning those responsible for ‘Fast and Furious’ within the Department of Justice, Attorney General Holder should ask for their resignations and come clean on all alleged gun-walking operations, including a detailed response to allegations of a Texas-based scheme.”

Earlier this month, Sen. Cornyn sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers following recent press reports of alleged Texas-based “gun-walking” programs similar to the “Fast and Furious” operation currently being investigated by Congressional lawmakers. To date, Attorney General Holder has refused to respond.
The Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee seem to be rather quiet on the whole change. Nothing is listed on the minority section of the committee's website nor on Ranking Member Elijah Cummings' page. Checking the Queen Bee of Gun Control Rep. Carolyn McCarthy's website and there is nothing there either. Finally, checking Rep. Carolyn Maloney's site there is no mention of Melson being reassigned either.

UPDATE: Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) represents the 1st District of Arizona. He is also a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In what must be a disappointing sign to administration officials, Gosar says the investigation into Project Gunwalker must go forward.
Congressman Gosar’s Statement on Arizona U.S. Attorney Burke’s Resignation and BATFE Acting Director Melson’s Reassignment

Safford, AZ –Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01) issued the following statement regarding the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE) Acting Director Kenneth Melson’s demotion to the Department of Justice Office of Legal Policy, and the resignation of Arizona U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke:

“The resignation of U.S. Attorney Burke and the demotion of Acting ATF Director Melson are only small steps on the long road to accountability for the Department of Justice.  As the only Arizona congressman who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, please be assured I will continue to press the Department of Justice for answers about Operation Fast and Furious.”

“I will not rest until the American people are informed about who authorized the program, who allowed it to continue despite grave misgivings on the part of dedicated ATF agents, and who is responsible for the lack of transparency from DOJ thus far.”

Congressman Paul A. Gosar, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, represents Arizona’s First Congressional District.  For more information on Congressman Gosar’s involvement in the investigation into Operations Fast and Furious, please visit
 UPDATE II: The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire has some comments by Senator Chuck Grassley on the "reassignment" of Ken Melson and resignation of Dennis Burke.
“There’s a lot of blame to go around. As our investigation moves forward, and we get to the bottom of this policy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more fall out beyond the resignations and new assignments announced today,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa)....

Mr. Grassley called the shakeup “an admission by the Obama administration that serious mistakes were made in Operation Fast and Furious, and is a step in the right direction that they are continuing to limit any further damage that people involved in this disastrous strategy can do.”
 UPDATE III: Sen. Chuck Grassley posted the following reaction to today's events at ATF and DOJ on his website this evening:
Grassley Reacts to New Fall-out from ATF Oversight

Senator Chuck Grassley made the following comment after the resignations and new assignments of several officials involved in the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives strategy known as Fast and Furious.

“Today’s announcement is an admission by the Obama administration that serious mistakes were made in Operation Fast and Furious, and is a step in the right direction that they are continuing to limit any further damage that people involved in this disastrous strategy can do.

“There’s a lot of blame to go around. As our investigation moves forward, and we get to the bottom of this policy, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more fall out beyond the resignations and new assignments announced today.

“The Justice Department and the ATF have yet to answer a majority of the questions and still must produce many of the documents Congressman Issa and I have asked for. We’re looking for a full accounting from the Justice Department as to who knew what and when, so we can be sure that this ill-advised strategy never happens again.”

Sharyl Attkisson On Changes At ATF

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News has an on-air report on the changes at ATF today. One of the things she says towards the end of her report was quite interesting. An administration official told CBS that "nobody is naive enough to believe these changes end the controversy but the Department of Justice believes ATF has been bogged down by mistakes made over the past couple of months and desperately needed fresh air and a new start."

ATF Acting Director Todd Jones Interviewed By Minnesota Public Radio

The new ATF Acting Director B. Todd Jones was interviewed by Minnesota Public Radio today. Jones, who is also the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota and who will continue in that position, was asked if he would like be considered for the position on a full-time basis. He gave an emphatic no in response.
Jones says he plans to take the pulse inside the agency, refocus its energy on law enforcement priorities, and bring stability to the agency.

"They haven't had a confirmed director at ATF in almost six years," Jones said. "I will be the fifth acting director at ATF and that lack of stability takes its toll on an organization and I go into this knowing full well that there's a lot of work to do."

The full interview can be heard by clicking on the embedded link below.

CCRKBA Says Holder Should Have Resigned Instead

Alan Gottlieb doesn't mince words. He says that Eric Holder should have resigned instead of engaging in a "shell game" of reassignment.

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

BELLEVUE, WA – Today’s replacement of Kenneth Melson as acting head of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is a political charade by the man who really ought to tender his resignation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms said today. That man is Attorney General Eric Holder.

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb called for Holder’s resignation after this morning’s announcements that Melson was being “reassigned” and replaced. This action appears to be an attempt by Holder to convince people he is taking action in response to the Fast and Furious scandal, now being investigated by Congress.

“Holder is just moving deck chairs on the Titanic,” Gottlieb stated. “Today’s announcements will do nothing to restore America’s confidence in the BATF or the Justice Department so long as Eric Holder remains the Attorney General.

“The ultimate responsibility for Fast and Furious lies with Holder,” he continued. “Melson is just the latest player to be shifted around, rather than lose his job. Everyone directly involved in the Fast and Furious scandal has simply been moved to another position. There has been no discipline and no accountability, because the man who should be ultimately accountable is still running the Justice Department.”

Gottlieb called today’s announcement “self-serving” for Holder, who is “looking out for his own interests.”

“That’s the only thing that is really transparent about this entire administration,” Gottlieb observed. “They are looking out for themselves, and playing administrative games when they should step up to the plate and accept responsibility for this scandal. Several people have been moved from the ATF office in Phoenix to other jobs, especially in Washington, D.C. because of Fast and Furious.

“If there had not been significant wrong-doing,” he said, “none of these moves would have been made. This is an admission of guilt by the Obama administration without saying so. And where is the president in all of this? Maybe he’s hiding out on the ninth hole of a golf course.”

Burke Out As U.S. Attorney For Arizona

Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for Arizona and a protege' of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, is out as U.S. Attorney. The release below does not indicate whether he was fired or whether he resigned. However, the Arizona Republic is reporting that it is a resignation. Combined with the reassignment of Ken Melson, I would speculate that the Obama Administration and Attorney General Eric Holder are hoping this will take attention away from Project Gunwalker by making Melson and Burke the fall guys.

Burke and the U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona have been in the thick of Project Gunwalker since the start as numerous emails released by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) have shown.
Statement of Attorney General Eric Holder on the Resignation of U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis Burke

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Eric Holder issued the following statement today on the resignation of U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis Burke:

“United States Attorney Dennis Burke has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s office, first as a line prosecutor over a decade ago and more recently as United States Attorney.

“Under his leadership, the office has made great progress in its pursuit of justice with the creation of special units focusing on civil rights enforcement and rule of law, as well as more robust outreach to key communities, particularly in Indian Country. The office’s quick response to the devastating shootings in January that claimed the lives of several people and critically injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was crucial in arresting and charging the alleged shooter.

“I am grateful to Dennis for his dedication and service to the Department of Justice over these many years and commend his decision to place the interests of the U.S. Attorney’s office above all else.”
The story about Burke's resignation in the Arizona Republic which I mention above has an interesting comment from former U.S. Senator Dennis DeConcini (D-AZ) about the resignation.
Former Arizona Sen. Dennis DeConcini said if the resignation is tied to Fast and Furious, it would be a misguided effort to lay blame on Burke.

"If his resignation is tied to Fast and Furious, it's ridiculous. It would be absolutely outrageous for 'Justice Main' to take it out on Dennis and make him the fall guy," DeConcini said. "It's just typical Washington cronyism. It just shows you how incompetent government can be to save themselves. It appears they screwed up, based on congressional hearings."
Laurie Roberts, a columnist for the Arizona Republic, had this to say about Burke's resignation which appears to be forced.
Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar, who sits on the committee investigating Fast and Furious, has told me that he believes the responsibility for this lies at the top, in the office of Eric Holder or someplace nearby.

This move to dump Burke -- who oversaw the operation -- looks like an effort to make this mess go away.

My bet: it won't happen. And it shouldn't, not until the complete story is told.
FoxNews reports that Burke gave testimony to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last week which didn't go well.
U.S. Attorney for Arizona Dennis Burke, one of the officials closely tied to Fast and Furious, is also a casualty in a shakeup tied to the botched gun-running program. Burke was on the hot seat last week with congressional investigators and, according to several sources, got physically sick during questioning and could not finish his session.
Bob Owens, at Confederate Yankee, speculates that Burke resigned to save his own skin.
Burke is the same slimeball that blocked Brian Terry's family from being recognized as crime victims in court after Terry was murdered and two Fast and Furious weapons were recovered at the scene of his death.

The only plausible reason Burke would have done that was an attempt to limit his own legal exposure and that of the government as it relates to investigations about Agent Terry's murder.
Bob also thinks it looks like Grassley, Issa, and Cornyn have painted the Obama Administration into a corner which I agree with. However, I think we need to keep a really close eye on Obama and Holder now as, like any cornered animal, they are more dangerous when back into a corner.

Melson Out At ATF

The Department of Justice released this just a bit ago announcing that Kenneth Melson is being reassigned outside of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones is being appointed the Acting Director. At the same time, DOJ has announced that Dennis Burke, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona is leaving. More on that in another post.

It is interesting to note that Todd Jones will serve as both U.S. Attorney for Minnesota and as Acting Director of ATF. I would have thought they would have learned their lesson about a part-time Director after the experience of Michael Sullivan as both U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts and Acting Director of ATF. They didn't seem to work out too well.
Department of Justice Announces New Acting Director of ATF and Senior Advisor in the Office of Legal Policy

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice today announced the appointments of U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota B. Todd Jones to serve as Acting Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson to become Senior Advisor on forensic science in the Office of Legal Policy (OLP).

“As a seasoned prosecutor and former military judge advocate, U.S. Attorney Jones is a demonstrated leader who brings a wealth of experience to this position,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “I have great confidence that he will be a strong and steady influence guiding ATF in fulfilling its mission of combating violent crime by enforcing federal criminal laws and regulations in the firearms and explosives industries.”

Jones will continue to serve in the capacity of U.S. Attorney when he assumes the role of ATF acting director on Aug. 31, 2011.

A veteran of the Justice Department, Jones has served as U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota under two presidential administrations. He first served from 1998 to 2001. He was nominated again in 2009 by President Obama and has been in that role since being confirmed that year.

In 2009, the Attorney General appointed him to serve as chair of the Attorney General Advisory Committee (AGAC), a group of U.S. Attorneys appointed to advise the Attorney General on policy, management and operational issues affecting U.S. Attorneys’ Offices throughout the country. Jones previously served as a member, vice chair and chair of the AGAC from 1999 to 2001.

During his several years as a federal prosecutor, Jones conducted grand jury investigations and has been the lead trial lawyer in many federal prosecutions involving drug trafficking, firearms, financial fraud and violent crime.

Throughout his career, Jones has served as a partner with Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi (2001-2009); a partner with Greene Espel, PLLP (2001; 1994-1997); First Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota (1997-1998); and Assistant U.S. Attorney (1992-1994).

Following admission to the Minnesota bar, Jones went on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as both a trial defense counsel and prosecutor in a number of courts martial proceedings.

Jones received his B.A. from Macalester College in 1979 and his J.D. from the University of Minnesota Law School in 1983.

Melson will join OLP on Aug. 31, 2011, in his new role as senior advisor where he will focus on issues relating to policy development in forensic science.

“Ken brings decades of experience at the department and extensive knowledge in forensic science to his new role and I know he will be a valuable contributor on these issues,” said Attorney General Holder. “As he moves into this new role, I want to thank Ken for his dedication to the department over the last three decades.”

He is a past president and distinguished fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and currently participates on behalf of the department on the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors/Laboratory Accreditation Board. He has been an adjunct professor at George Washington University for almost 30 years teaching both law and forensic science courses.

Melson was appointed acting director of ATF in 2009. Prior to that, he was director of the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and served several years in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia.

Melson received his B.A. from Denison University in 1970 and his J.D. from George Washington University in 1973.
CNN also has a report up on this move which repeats the info from the DOJ release and adds some old info about Project Gunwalker.

Politico is also reporting on this move and have a reaction from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, who has been spearheading hearings into Project Gunwalker.
In a statement Tuesday, Issa said “the reckless disregard for safety” by the Justice Department “certainly merits changes” in personnel.

But the committee will continue to investigate Fast and Furious “to ensure that blame isn’t offloaded on just a few individuals for a matter that involved much higher levels of the Justice Department,” Issa said. “There are still many questions to be answered about what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and who else bears responsibility, but these changes are warranted and offer an opportunity for the Justice Department to explain the role other officials and offices played in the infamous efforts to allow weapons to flow to Mexican drug cartels.”

But What About Gourmet Shops?

Knife Rights sent out the following on an attempt by two Boston City Councilmen to force retailers who sell knives to be licensed for "knife sale." In other words, a local equivalent of an FFL for knives. These politicians don't say whether it will apply to Target, Walmart, and gourmet shops which sell knives 10 and 12 inch blades.
Boston City Councilors Propose Licensing Knife Retailers

As previously reported, the Massachusetts legislature was looking at proposing a law that would make purchasing a knife nearly as difficult as purchasing a firearm, which to date has not gained any traction in part due to Knife Rights' efforts. Now, anti-knife activists have turned to the city of Boston. Two Boston members of the City Council have proposed that knife retailers be licensed in a purported effort to prevent sales of knives to minors.

As noted in the article linked below, existing Boston law already prohibits knives with a blade two inches or longer from being sold to anyone under age 18. A number of stores were fined as a result of a recent sting operation for illegally selling knives to underage persons.

Knife Rights has a representative on the ground in Massachusetts and will be monitoring this proposed ordinance in case it grows legs. There is no indication that there has been any factual connection made between violence committed with knives in the city and these retailers, or that licensing would actually help the situation any more than simply enforcing the existing law on the books.
A link to the article referred to in the Knife Rights post can be found here.  For a video report see below:

Cam Interviews Head Of Gibson Guitar

One of the major issues that is holding American companies back from investing in new plant and equipment not to mention hiring more employees is regulatory uncertainty. We saw a prime example of regulatory overreach last week when armed agents from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as well as Homeland Security raided Gibson Guitars of Nashville, TN. Many have started to refer to the incident as Operation Fast and Fretless.

Cam Edwards interviewed Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson, for NRA News this evening. As he says to Cam, it has been a nightmare.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A Governor Who Takes Concealed Carry Seriously

Unlike Governor Bev Perdue (D-NC) who, despite her protestations, takes concealed carry lightly, Governor Susanna Martinez (R-NM) takes it very seriously. The state of New Mexico requires a refresher course to renew your concealed carry license. This course must include range time.

Gov. Martinez is shown below doing her refresher training. It looks to me that she went over and beyond the shooting requirements. She's not a bad shot either!

UPDATE: Gov. Martinez passing her refresher course has gotten a lot of press in New Mexico. She qualified with both a .38 Special revolver and a .45 ACP pistol and got perfect scores according to the reports.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Boston Globe: Extreme Gun Control And Gun Manufacturing Can Co-Exist

The Boston Globe ran an editorial today discussing the potential for firearms manufacturers located in New England to leave for more gun friendly states if the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island legislatures adopt micro-stamping legislation.

Colt's management has already told Connecticut back in 2009 that they will be relocating if the state did adopt the requirement for micro-stamping.

After devoting a full paragraph to how easily micro-stamping can be defeated and that it has questionable utility in the first place, the Boston Globe editors essentially tell the gun manufacturers to sit down, shut up, and put up with this intrusion into their manufacturing practices.
While firearms manufacturers have a right to lobby against this legislation and explain their objections to it, it is inappropriate to wield the jobs of hundreds of workers as a weapon. Micro-stamping does not place any significant burden on the sale or manufacture of guns. It is not a ban or an arduous tax. It merely requires the engraving of a serial number in one more place on the weapon. If a state legislature decides micro-stamping is appropriate, it should not be forced to choose between citizens’ lives and citizens’ livelihood.
The Globe's editors don't get it. They want to eat their cake and have it, too. They want to have onerous gun control and they want the well-paying jobs provided by the gun industry. Sorry guys but it doesn't work that way.

There are many other states with good industrial locations, great industrial training programs, and which are gun friendly who would love to have the Colt's, the Smith and Wesson's, the Mossberg's, and Ruger's of the gun industry relocate to their state. Even the New York Times - the owner of the Boston Globe - recognizes this in a recent story.

The Globe concludes:
Massachusetts has had gun-control laws for almost three centuries, and the Connecticut River Valley has been a center of gun-making since George Washington established an armory in Springfield. There is no reason that both gun control and gun manufacturing cannot co-exist for the next few centuries as well.
Inertia and the existence of a well-trained force of machinists and gunsmiths is one reason that the gun industry has remained in the Northeast. However, if these states think inertia will keep the gun industry in a place that treats them like something the cat drug in, they are sadly mistaken.

UPDATE: For two other takes on the Boston Globe editorial, there are posts by Kurt Hofmann, the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner, and by Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell.

Kurt notes that:
Industries have no moral obligation to remain in states (or countries, for that matter) that actively work against them. They have every right to move their tax dollars and good jobs to states that won't use those resources to implement and enforce laws that work directly against the industries' interests.

Sebastian takes apart their claim that Massachusetts has had 300 years of gun control.
The Globe describes gun control in New England as a “centuries old tradition”. Reality is, it’s not even a century old tradition, at least not for the kind of gun laws that the Globe regularly speaks in favor of. Most of it, in fact, is less than a half-century old, and much less than 25. Centuries old Boston gun control was regulating where and how one could set up for target practice on Boston Commons, or the old Boston ordinance that said if you’re going to store your rifle, musket, pistol, bomb grenade or artillery piece, it would be nice if you stored it unloaded/deactivated so as not to cause fire hazards. It was still, until the 20th century, legal to carry a loaded pistol around Boston. Does the Globe favor returning to that gun control tradition?

Practice Targets

Oleg Volk has come up with an interesting printable practice target as seen below.

The VCA stands for Violent Criminal Actor. As Oleg notes, "The point of including the letters is to break the ingrained fear of official-looking outfits or criminals impersonating their members (as was the case with Brevik wearing a police vest)." With the number of home invasions increasing and with crooks starting to impersonate police, I think this is important. Make sure to read Oleg's full explanation about the features of the target.

Oleg has included a link to the the printable PDF here.

Quote Of The Day

Sheriff Jim Wilson puts the government's raid on Gibson guitars in perspective:

The DOJ doesn't have time to respond to the gun-running scandal, it's too busy going after Gibson Guitars!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Thank God For Soldiers Like This

Hurricane Irene is making its way up the East Coast as I write. In the midst of the heavy winds and the driving rain, there is a special breed of soldier who is braving the bad weather to continue to honor the brave soldiers that gave their all. This solider is an Tomb Sentinel with the 3rd Infantry Regiment - the Old Guard. They have guarded the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier every minute of every day since April 6, 1948.

The pictures below were taken today at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and are posted on the 3rd Infantry Regiment's Facebook page.

Dealing With The Aftermath Of Hurricane Irene

Hurricanes and their aftermath can be trying times. While we don't have to face the full fury of hurricanes here in western North Carolina, they do impact us. Hurricanes Frances and Ivan back in 2004 caused widespread flooding, power outages, water supply interruptions, and deadly landslides. As noted elsewhere, preparation is important even if it is only for a Zombie Apocalypse.

So in that spirit (or is it spirits), here are an assortment of hurricane preparedness drinks courtesy of The Bald Heretic. Some are drinkable and some are left for really desperate times when you've run out of all the good stuff. Reminds me of finding a bottle of Kümmel when I was a teen and seeing if you could mix it with Coke. Caraway seed liqueur and Coke doesn't make it even for a teenager.
Hurricane Preparedness Drinks from The Bald Heretic

1 1/2 oz. Absolut Ruby Red vodka
1/2 oz. vermouth
Prune juice
Combine vodka and vermouth in cocktail glass. Fill remainder of glass with equal parts clamato and prune juice. Stir. Drink. Ask next-door neighbor whose ficus tree blew over and crashed onto your roof– even though you’d warned him for months to uproot it–if you can use his bathroom. Repeat.

1/2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. tequila
1/2 oz. rum
1/2 oz. bourbon
1/2 oz. gin
Sweet-and-sour mix
Splash of fruit juice
Combine vodka, tequila, rum, bourbon and gin in a tall glass. Fill remainder of glass with sweet-and-sour mix and splash of juice. Stir, then garnish with an inverted drink umbrella. Drink during peak storm hours, and vow not to believe anyone who tries to tell you the hurricane that flooded your garage and destroyed your shed was just a Category 1.

1 oz. cinnamon schnapps
1 sugar cone
Pour the schnapps into the sugar cone. Every time you hear a TV weatherman say, “cone of probability,” bite off the end of the cone and down the shot. If you hear Weather Channel StormTracker Jim Cantore say it, drink two shots consecutively. (they should change this to the “Cantore Zone”… damn him.) Have you ever noticed that, despite all the cone of probability talk, if Cantore is parked in front of your house your ass is toast?)

2 oz. Midori
2 oz. rum
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
After your home loses power, combine Midori and rum in a cocktail glass. Add a scoop of the vanilla ice cream that is melting in your freezer. Stir, and drink through a straw.

1 1/2 oz. Goldschläger
1 1/2 oz. apple brandy
1 pack Sugar in the Raw
Combine Goldschläger, apple brandy and sugar in cocktail glass. As you drink, seriously contemplate moving your Yankee ass back to New Jersey where it belongs.

1 1/2 oz. rum
5 oz. Jolt Cola
Combine ingredients in a cocktail glass. Drink while trying to figure out how the heck you’re supposed to go two freakin’ weeks without television and AC.

2 oz. Kahlúa
2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
4 oz. rum
Serve in a 6-ounce glass and laugh-cry deliriously as the mess spills all over the countertop.

2 oz. Blue Aftershock
4 oz. Sprite
Combine in a cocktail glass with crushed ice you received after waiting in line for three hours at a mall parking lot. Take a deep breath, sip and scream like a little girl when the cold beverage hits your tongue. Repeat.

1 oz. Jack Daniel’s
Splash of sarsaparilla
Rock salt
Load both barrels of a shotgun with rock salt. Climb to the roof of your house with gun, bottle of Jack Daniel’s and can of sarsaparilla. Fill shot glass with Jack and splash of sarsaparilla. Watch for looters. When you spot one, blast his ass with rock salt. Drink shot. Repeat.

1 oz. Goldschläger
1 oz. Rumplemintz
3 oz. Jim Beam
Splash of vermouth
Combine Goldschläger, Rumplemintz and Jim Beam in an empty soup can. Add splash of vermouth. Drink. Remove chain saw from garage and attempt to cut up fallen tree limbs in yard. Ask neighbor to drive you to hospital when it all goes horribly wrong.

1 1/2 oz. vodka
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Midori
1 1/2 oz. vodka and Galliano
1 1/2 oz. vodka and grenadine
Pour each ingredient into a separate shot glass. Serve one to yourself and three other people. The person with the clear shot of vodka drinks first. The person to his right drinks the Midori shot, and so on. If somebody drinks out of order, develop a quick case of road rage and beat the living crap out of him.

1 1/2 oz. Curacao
2 oz. pineapple juice
Splash of lime
Combine ingredients in a leaky paper cup and serve. Wait six to eight months for someone to repair the cup. If you’re impatient, hire an unlicensed, out-of- state contractor to do the job for an exorbitant sum and pray he doesn’t hurt himself in the process.

1 1/2 oz. Southern Comfort
2 oz. sloe gin
Tonic water
One week after the storm has passed and your neighborhood is still in ruins with no sign of help on the way, combine Southern Comfort and gin in a cocktail glass. Fill remainder with tonic and add a dash of Angostura bitters. Serve with a nut brownie. Before drinking, raise the glass and say the toast, “Doing a helluva job Brownie.”
Now someone just need to invent a "Visit From Cantore" because anytime you have Jim Cantore of the Weather Channel standing outside in your yard it ain't good!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aerial Gunnery

According to these release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, you can now pay a helicopter pilot to take you up to shoot coyotes and feral hogs. Previous to this revision, a pilot couldn't be paid for his or her time if it involved shooting coyotes and hogs from a helicopter. I remember Ted Nugent talking about this on Tom Gresham's GunTalk a few months ago.
Texas OKs Revisions for "Pork Choppers"

AUSTIN - Effective September 1, qualified individuals can pay to take depredating feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter under rules adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

The commission at its Thursday, Aug. 25 public meeting approved permit requirements for implementation of HB-716 passed by the 82nd Texas Legislature. The new law is aimed at helping manage feral hogs or coyotes by allowing qualified landowners or their agents to participate in management of feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter. Previously, a person was prohibited from paying, bartering or exchanging anything of value to participate as a gunner or observer from an aircraft.

About 130 helicopter operations are currently permitted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to conduct aerial management of depredating feral hogs or coyotes. The new rules permit qualified landowners or their qualified agents to pay these helicopter operators to participate in aerial operations.

To qualify, landowners or landowner agents must have on file with TPWD a completed Landowner's Authorization to Manage Wildlife or Exotic Animals by Aircraft (LOA) form. There is no application fee to become qualified, but the LOA does not take effect until TPWD issues an authorization number.

Individuals convicted of a federal Lacey Act violation, or a Parks and Wildlife Code Class A misdemeanor or felony, are prohibited from obtaining an aerial management permit, and from being a gunner, observer or pilot under an aerial management permit.

Feral hog populations in Texas are estimated at upwards of 2 million. According to a Texas Department of Agriculture study, each hog is responsible for $50-500 in damage to agriculture and wildlife habitat annually.
I wonder if sales of this Magpul Dynamics video on aerial platform operations will increase.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Hurricane Irene Brings With It The Usual NC State Of Emergency

Gov. Beverly Perdue (D-NC) issued Executive Order Number 103 today which declares a state of emergency for 39 eastern North Carolina counties due to the approach of Hurricane Irene. The counties are:
Beaufort, Bertie, Bladen, Brunswick, Camden, Carteret, Chowan, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Currituck, Dare, Duplin, Edgecombe, Gates, Greene, Halifax, Harnett, Hertford, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lenoir, Martin, Nash, New Hanover, Northampton, Onslow, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, Pitt, Robeson, Sampson, Tyrrell, Washington, Wayne, Wilson
As Bob Owens notes, these are essentially all the counties east of Interstate 95. He is also correct in asserting that it invokes a ban on off-premises carry of a firearm in the affected counties due to the provisions of NCGS 14-288.7 which goes into effect when a state of emergency is declared under Article 36A of Chapter 14. I must correct his assumption that it is only that part of a county on the east side of I-95 that is impacted. As the order above states, it is the whole county and not just part of it.

Gov. Perdue invoked the State of Emergency using both sections of the General Statues that deal with emergency management and states of emergency.
Section 7.

This order is adopted pursuant to my powers under Article 1 of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes and 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.
Bev Perdue is incorrect in her assertions that the declaration of the State of Emergency does not trigger firearm restrictions. As I noted last year when she invoked a State of Emergency in the face of Hurricane Earl, if she uses Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes, it invokes G.S. § 14-288.7 which states in part, "it is unlawful for any person to transport or possess off his own premises any dangerous weapon or substance in any area" if a state of emergency is declared. Just because she is the governor does not give Bev Perdue the authority to ignore plainly written state laws when it is politically inconvenient for her.

The relevant section on the declaration of an emergency under Article 36A is § 14‑288.15. This section grants the power to the governor to declare a state of emergency AND to impose further restrictions on firearms and alcohol as enumerated in § 14‑288.12(b) which include:
The ordinances authorized by this section may permit prohibitions and restrictions:
(1) Of movements of people in public places, including directing and compelling the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the governing body's jurisdiction, to prescribe routes, modes of transportation, and destinations in connection with evacuation; and to control ingress and egress of a disaster area, and the movement of persons within the area;
(2) Of the operation of offices, business establishments, and other places to or from which people may travel or at which they may congregate;
(3) Upon the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, and consumption of alcoholic beverages;
(4) Upon the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage, and use of dangerous weapons and substances, and gasoline;
(5) Upon other activities or conditions the control of which may be reasonably necessary to maintain order and protect lives or property during the state of emergency.
I thought Gov. Perdue had learned her lesson giving the uproar over the State of Emergency at the start of last year's dove season. Subsequent Executive Orders 75, 78, and 87 which declared states of emergency had this statement:
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.
Notice that these Executive Order explicitly noted that they were not adopted under Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes. By contrast Executive Order 103 was adopted "pursuant to my powers under Article 1 of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes and under Article 36A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes."

I don't know whether it was a drafting error in Executive Order 103 that included both Chapter 166A and Chapter 14 or not. I do know that legally - the Governor's proclamation notwithstanding - that the method she chose to invoke her  powers just triggered a ban on the off-premises possession of firearms in those counties named above.

And as we all know, this is the basis of the suit brought by the Second Amendment Foundation and Grass Roots North Carolina against Governor Perdue and Secretary of Crime Control and Public Safety Young. Bateman et al v. Perdue et al is still proceeding albeit too slowly for my tastes!

Sunnyvale Planning Commission Wants To Impose Unconstitutional Restrictions Due To NIMBYs

Attorney Chuck Michel who works with the NRA/CRPA Legal Action Project in California posted an article this evening about the Sunnyvale, California Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is seeking to have the Sunnyvale City Council adopt a new municipal ordinance which would put increased restrictions on the sale of firearms in Sunnyvale. The Commission is responding to unfounded complaints from some neighbors of a firearms dealer that opened in Sunnyvale in 2010. The complaints include that they weren't notified and that children walk by the store on their way to school as if just merely seeing guns will turn their kids into the next Klebold and Harris (of Columbine infamy).

On August 22, 2011, the Planning Commission for the City of Sunnyvale held a meeting to consider the City’s ongoing "Firearms Sales Study Issue." The issue originated when a firearms dealer, U.S. Firearms, opened for business in Sunnyvale in the fall of 2010. Despite the fact that the dealer had all necessary permits and licenses from both the state and federal government, neighbors made complaints to Sunnyvale staff and elected officials.

The Sunnyvale Planning Commission ultimately decided to sponsor the issue as a result of the complaints, but the City Council ranked it number 4 of 4 for 2011. Even though this issue had the lowest ranking by the City Council for 2011, and the fact that the Staff Report on the issue (AVAILABLE HERE) indicates that "there has been no evidence of increased crime, property devaluation or land use incompatibilities as the result of the businesses," and Sunnyvale "staff ha[d] not identified any adverse land use impacts associated with a firearms store," the Planning Commission nonetheless recommended that the City Council adopt an ordinance to amend the City’s municipal code to place restrictions on firearm sales in Sunnyvale. Though the staff report acknowledged there had been no problems with firearm sellers, staff nonetheless inexplicably noted in the report that, "[t]he greatest concern regarding firearm sales is the business operator that is engaged in buying and selling the firearms."

The approved ordinance would: 1) add a definition for "firearms sales business;" 2) prohibit these businesses in commercial and industrially-zoned districts within 200 feet of public schools in order to provide a buffer to the schools; and 3) require a new DPS Firearms Dealer Permit that would include additional conditions such as requiring a security plan to be installed and then inspected by the City, and that the Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder and all employees meet the state and federal requirements regarding past criminal convictions, etc. (current requirements are limited to the dealer and not the employees).

Michel & Associates attorneys submitted an opposition letter to the Planning Commission on behalf of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and California Rifle & Pistol Association (CRPA) noting that firearm dealers are subject to a variety of background checks at both the state and federal levels. The letter (AVAILABLE HERE) also noted that firearm dealers are generally some of the most upstanding members of society, and that after the Supreme Court’s McDonald decision, they enjoy a protected status as purveyors of a fundamental right. So the fact that some "residents [of Sunnyvale] have expressed [unfounded] concerns about the potential crime and public safety risk associated with a firearm sales business located near their homes and schools" does not mean that the City of Sunnyvale is free to infringe on fundamental Second Amendment rights.

The letter explains that since the Second Amendment is a newly court-recognized right, the contours of the Second Amendment’s protections are still being litigated in courtrooms across the country. The letter also amicably explains the current legal landscape regarding firearm regulation, and suggests Sunnyvale should avoid litigation on these issues by consulting with the NRA, CRPA, and their attorneys.

As the city continues moving forward with the proposed ordinance, additional correspondence will be submitted.
I have examined the 141 page staff report submitted to the  Sunnyvale Planning Commission. Much of the document was devoted to reporting on the comments at a public meeting on the issue. Approximately 120 people attended the June 2011 meeting and it appears that the overwhelming majority were against any new regulations and were indeed pro-rights. Many of the letters received also support the existing gun store, U.S. Firearms, and gun stores in general.

However, the Legal Community Against Violence (LCAV) has weighed in on the issue with a 59 page submission urging the Planning Commission to adopt new regulations. Unfortunately, this submission and not the majority of the residents of Sunnyvale seems to have carried the day. You must wonder if LCAV will also foot the legal bills for Sunnyvale when they get the pants sued off of them on Second Amendment grounds. I somehow doubt it.

What Ever Happened To Thinking

The Chicago Public Schools have suspended Doug Bartlett, a second grade teacher at Washington Irving Elementary School, for "weapons possession" and "negligently supervising children". From the charges you would have thought he was letting the little kids play with a loaded Glock. Instead he was doing a "show and tell" on tools for a learning module. The tools included wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and, horror of horrors, a 2.25 inch penknife. The children were just shown the tools and did not handle them. Mr. Bartlett stands accused of violating the school system's zero tolerance policy. Zero tolerance policies should be renamed zero thinking policies!

Fortunately for Mr. Bartlett, his case is being taken up by The Rutherford Institute. Their press release is below:

Zero Tolerance Alert: Chicago Elementary School Teacher Accused of Weapons Possession for Demonstrating Use of Tools in Classroom
CHICAGO, Ill. — In yet another instance of zero tolerance run amok, The Rutherford Institute has come to the defense of a Chicago public school teacher who is being charged with possessing, carrying, storing or using a weapon after he displayed such garden-variety tools as wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers in his classroom as part of his second grade teaching curriculum that required a "tool discussion". Despite the fact that all potentially hazardous items were kept out of the students’ reach, school officials at Washington Irving Elementary School informed Doug Bartlett, a 17-year veteran in the classroom, that his use of the tools as visual aids endangered his students. Bartlett now faces disciplinary action and possible termination. Warning the school that disciplinary action under these circumstances could constitute a violation of Bartlett’s Fourteenth Amendment right to due process, Rutherford Institute attorneys are demanding that the school halt the disciplinary proceedings against Bartlett.

The Rutherford Institute’s letter to Washington Irving Elementary School officials in defense of Doug Bartlett is available here.

"The charges against Doug Bartlett are absurd—a gross overreaction to a simple teaching demonstration—and underscore exactly what is wrong with zero tolerance policies in the schools," said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. "School officials should know better than to impose such draconian punishments for innocent actions. Commonplace, basic tools such as wrenches and pliers used as part of a classroom exercise are clearly not weapons. Education truly suffers when school administrators exhibit such poor judgment and common sense."

Doug Bartlett teaches second graders at Washington Irving Elementary School in Chicago. On August 8, 2011, Bartlett used several garden-variety tools he uses around the classroom, including wrenches, screwdrivers, a box cutter, a 2.25" pocketknife, and pliers, as visual aids for a "tool discussion" which is required by the teaching curriculum. It is common for teachers to use such visual aids to help students retain their lessons. As he displayed the box cutter and pocketknife in particular, Bartlett specifically described the proper uses of these tools. None of the tools were made accessible to the students. When not in use, the tools are secured in a toolbox on a high shelf out of reach of the students.
However, on August 19, Bartlett received notice that he was under investigation for, among other things, "possessing, carrying, storing, or using a weapon," and for negligently supervising children. If found at fault, Bartlett faces punishments ranging from a simple written reprimand to termination. Bartlett then turned to The Rutherford Institute for help. In coming to Bartlett’s defense, Institute attorneys point out Bartlett had no intent to use the tools as weapons. In fact, he has used some of the same tools for years without incident.

Institute attorneys are urging Valeria Newell Bryant, the principal of Washington Irving Elementary School, to immediately dismiss any and all disciplinary actions against Bartlett. "In an age where public schools face an unprecedented number of real challenges in maintaining student discipline, and addressing threats of real violence, surely no one benefits from trumped up charges where no actual ‘weapons’ violation has occurred and there is no threat whatsoever posed to any member of the school community," stated the Institute in its letter.

New Second Amendment Case From Hawaii

A challenge on Second Amendment grounds to Hawaii's concealed carry laws has been launched by Chris Baker and the Hawaii Defense Foundation. They are suing the State of Hawaii, the City and County of Honolulu, and the Honolulu Police Department on Second and Fourteenth Amendment grounds.

Hawaii is one of those may issue states like New Jersey where it damn near impossible to obtain a permit. The suit is also challenging the ban on non-lethel items such as stun guns.

For Immediate Release: 8/23/2011

Honolulu, HI – The Hawaii Defense Foundation’s founding director and president, Christopher Baker, has filed a lawsuit against Honolulu Chief of Police Louis Kealoha, the Honolulu Police Department, the City and County of Honolulu, the State of Hawaii, and Governor Neil Abercrombie in connection with civil rights violations of the Second and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States constitution.

The complaint filed in the United States District Court for the District of Hawaii by attorneys Richard Holcomb, Alan Beck, and Kevin O’Grady alleges that Hawaii’s license to carry statute and various other firearm regulations are unconstitutional. State law mandates that citizens may be provided licenses to carry only in “exceptional circumstance” or “where a need or urgency has been sufficiently indicated,” all at the discretion of the county’s Chief of Police. The complaint asserts that this language violates the Second Amendment, which secures the right of all responsible, law-abiding citizens to bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. Additionally, the complaint also addresses the use of non-lethal tools for self-defense such as electric guns, which are banned in in Hawaii.

“The Second Amendment protects the right to self-defense. Everyday around the islands good people are robbed, assaulted, raped, or in the worst cases murdered. It’s simply a matter of physics, the Police can’t be everywhere to stop criminals from committing violent acts. We must be allowed to carry the tools that give us a chance to protect ourselves from harm,” says Chris Baker. “We want criminals to have to think about the consequences of attacking someone,” he continued, “but right now, nothing serves as a deterrent to them - the odds are in their favor.”
 The only criticism I might have about their suit is that it isn't narrowly focused. The issue of the non-lethel weapons might have been better to be in a separate lawsuit. I come from the Alan Gura school of suing on the most egregious item as opposed to the NRA school of suing bases on everything plus the kitchen sink. The respective suits against Chicago's New Gun Law provides examples of both of these approaches.

I have embedded the full complaint from Baker v. Kealoha et al below. I haven't had time to read it in its entirety yet so cannot speak to its points of law.


H/T Brandon Combs

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Donkey Whisperer

I love good political ads. Last year we had some good ones like the one for Dale Peterson of Alabama - though his gun-handling skills left a bit to be desired.

The first really good political ad of the season is from Roger Williams who is running as a Republican for the newly created 33rd District in Texas. This district is in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex of North Texas. Williams is a former Texas Secretary of State and a small businessman.

I think the ad below is ingenious. It gets his message across very clearly about the Democrats but is still friendly given the herd of donkeys surrounding him.

Since this IS a gun blog, here is Williams' statement on the Second Amendment.
I’m a Texan, a lifetime NRA member, and a gun owner. I don’t want anyone messing with my 2nd Amendment rights, and I won’t allow anyone to mess with yours.

H/T Sister Toldjah

The NRA, Gun Manufacturers, and GCA '68

I was alive when the Gun Control Act of 1968 was enacted. However, given I was an 11-year old, I don't have any memories of its enactment and the debate around it. I do remember Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King being assassinated and the riots after Dr. King's death. I do remember the war in South Vietnam because my Dad was "in country" at the time. However, policy debates on firearms just were not on my radar at the time.

Fortunately, Sebastian at Snowflakes In Hell has done an excellent job of examining some of the myths around the passage including those that the NRA and major gun manufacturers were complicit in its passage. He also looks at some of the other myths regarding the enactment of  the National Firearms Act of 1934.

Sebastian is correct that much more research using original documents is needed to get a better handle on all the issues surrounding the passage of this legislation. Rather than relying on undersourced modern accounts of the bill's passage, using the original documents will give a clearer picture of the forces involved in the bill's passage as well as the forces that opposed it.

On Crossbows

Now that North Carolina has not only changed regulations to allow the use of a crossbow for hunting but gotten rid of its ridiculous requirement for a pistol permit to buy a crossbow, I am seriously thinking of buying one. Part of my rationale is that I just don't have the upper body strength anymore to adequately and humanely hunt with a compound bow. Another part is that I think they are kinda cool. Finally, I want one just because I can have one now without all the regulations that were out there in the past.

So what do I see in my e-mail yesterday but a link to a story by Outdoor Life where they tested eight of this season's newest crossbows. As shown in the video below, they were quite rigorous in their testing of things like vibration, noise, and speed. I really was surprised to find out that some of the bows exceed 100 decibels when fired. So much for believing what you see in a James Bond movie!

Their Editor's Choice Award went to the TenPoint Stealth XLT. It retails for only $1,199. I didn't realize that crossbow prices were quite that high. I've bought good rifles with good optics for half of that!

The Outdoor Life Editor's Great Buy went to a crossbow from Horton Archery - the Horton Ultra-Lite Express - which retails for $599.

I think I have my work cut out for me. I see a number of visits to different outdoor and archery shops to check out and test fire a number of crossbows before I make a purchase.

If anyone who reads this blog has a crossbow, I'd love to hear your experience on buying one. Why did you buy the one you did? What features are essential and what are just nice to have?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

How Is This Possible?

On Saturday, both during and after the traditional pre-season exhibition game between the San Francisco Forty-Niners and the Oakland Raiders, violence broke out. In addition to a brawl in the stands shown in the video below, two people were shot in the parking lot. One of the victims was shot multiple times in the stomach and is in the hospital in serious condition. It is reported by police that he was wearing a T-shirt that said "F*** the Niners".

There is some dispute over the police report about the man's T-shirt. According to story today in the San Francisco Chronicle:
The father of the victim shot in the abdomen said his son had described an out-of-control scene at the stadium.

"It was crazy out there," said the father, who was not at the game. He declined to be named and asked that his son not be identified.

He said his son is a 49ers fan, denying police reports over the weekend that the man had been wearing a "F- the 49ers" T-shirt. The son was driving in a pickup truck after the game, following a friend to make sure he got to his car safely, his father said.

People wearing Raiders garb attacked the friend before he got to the car and kicked him on the ground, the father said. When his son got out of the pickup to help, he said, someone shot him four times in the abdomen.

"My son got out, took two steps and heard boom, boom, boom," the father said. "He said he didn't realize it until it hurt. He stumbled back to his truck and drove to the front gate. He opened the door and told them, 'I think I'm dying.' "

He said his son, born and raised in San Francisco, is married and has a 10-month-old son.
If one listens to the drivel from the Violence Policy Center, concealed carry permit holders are prone to acts of violence.
In addition, the gun lobby has been successful at hiding the truth about crimes committed by concealed handgun permit holders by forcing most states to keep secret the identities of permit holders. As a result, until recently, the false claims made by pro-gun advocates regarding these "upstanding community leaders" have been left unchallenged.

In 2009, the Violence Policy Center began an ongoing research project to identify killings from May 2007 to the present involving citizens legally allowed to carry concealed handguns. Because detailed information on such killings is not readily available, the VPC is forced to rely primarily on news accounts for reports of such killings and subsequent legal proceedings.
If one makes the assumption that the shooters in the incidents are from the counties surrounding San Francisco Bay so as to take in fans of both the Niners and Raiders, just how many permit holders are we talking about?

Thanks to Brandon Combs of the CalGuns Foundation I have those numbers for 2010. If we look to the south of Candlestick, you have 101 permit holders in San Mateo County and 53 in Santa Clara County (Silicon Valley). If you look to the East Bay area, you have 11 permit holders in Contra Costa County and 75 in Alameda County (Oakland). Immediately to the north of San Francisco is Marin County with its 35 permit holders. Finally, in San Francisco itself you have one permit holder. That is correct - in a city and county of approximately 800,000 people you have one permit holder.

According to the gun prohibitionists, controlling permits and controlling firearms will reduce this sort of violence. So how is it possible to have two shootings at a stadium in a region with only 276 combined concealed carry permit? Using their logic, it is unpossible! Try telling that to the young father who is lying in San Francisco General with multiple gunshot wounds to the abdomen.

Monday, August 22, 2011

NSSF Files For Preliminary Injunction In Suit Against ATF

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has filed for a preliminary injunction in it's suit to stop the reporting requirement for the multiple sale of certain semi-auto rifles. Their release on this move is below.
Today, in its federal lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for America’s firearms industry, filed a motion asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction blocking the ATF from requiring 8,500 federally licensed firearms retailers along the Southwest border (Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California) to report multiple sales of certain long guns. Specifically, the regulation requires retailers to report to ATF the sale of more than one semi-automatic rifle larger than .22 caliber and capable of accepting a detachable magazine that is purchased by the same individual within five consecutive business days. These commonly owned rifles, like all firearms, are lawfully sold by federally licensed firearms retailers only after an FBI background check is performed.

The NSSF lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on Aug. 3. 2011, alleges that ATF exceeded its legal authority under the Gun Control Act by sending a letter imposing this new record-keeping and reporting requirement. Today’s motion, if granted, would freeze the reporting requirement while the court considers NSSF’s underlying lawsuit.

NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane commented on the NSSF motion: “A preliminary injunction will curtail an unlawful regulation by ATF that sets a dangerous legal precedent. If ATF can demand this information from these law-abiding retailers simply by sending a letter requiring it, then there is no record or report ATF cannot require of any licensee, anywhere in the country, simply because ATF had decided it wants to see the information. This is the proverbial ‘slippery slope.’ Our industry abhors the criminal misuse of firearms, whether on the streets of El Paso or in Juarez, Mexico. Though we can understand ATF’s motive is to try to curtail violence in Mexico, Congress simply has not granted ATF regulatory carte blanche.”

Despite its lawsuit, NSSF is encouraging all retailers to continue to cooperate with law enforcement and report any suspicious activity to the ATF.

“Members of the firearms industry take great pride in their longstanding cooperative relationship with ATF,” said NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti. “Retailers have long been considered by ATF to be a vital source of information for law enforcement in combating illegal firearms trafficking.”

Sanetti pointed out that for more than a decade the firearms industry has done its part to help prevent illegal straw purchases of firearms through its Don’t Lie for the Other Guy anti-straw purchasing program. The campaign, a cooperative effort between NSSF and ATF, educates retailers on how to better detect and deter illegal purchases of firearms and warns the public that it is a serious crime to attempt such an illegal purchase. The program is active in firearm retailer shops across the country. Over the last several years the firearms industry has solely funded the roll-out of Don’t Lie along the border to deter individuals from illegally purchasing firearms. See

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

CalGuns Foundation's Strategy For Carry In California

Gene Hoffman of the CalGuns Foundation is a really smart guy and it shows in the methodical strategy to win handgun carry for all in California that he has outlined below. I believe it was Gene who said last September at the 2010 Gun Rights Policy Conference, "we lost our gun rights one step at a time and we will have to win them back on step at a time."

As to why anyone not living in California should even care, one-eighth of all Americans live in the Golden State. They have 53 Representatives in Congress. What begins there often ends up in the rest of the United States over time. If Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) had her way concealed carry laws in the rest of the U.S. would look like those in California.
As I read around the web, I see a lot of confusion and lack of understanding about what CGF is up to to clean up and sanitize carrying a firearm in urban California.

I want to outline the strategy a bit as there have been enough public revelations to make it easy to help outline what's going on.

The way we see the carry problem here is that there are big issues and little issues that can be resolved both before and after a SCOTUS carry case.

Big Issue

The big issues are the Good Cause and Good Moral Character requirements of California law. Also, we're taking the narrowest and strongest view of carry which is that it will be heavily influenced by governments' ability to place time place and manner restrictions on it so long as loaded carry of some sort is allowed all to all non prohibiteds. That's why we filed Sykes which became Richards v. Prieto. That's also why SAF also filed, Palmer v. DC, Bateman v. Perdue (NC), Higtower v. Boston, Muller v. Maenza (NJ), Woolard v. Sheridan (MD), and Moore v. Madigan (IL). The whole point was to get SCOTUS to confirm there is a right to carry and may issue/discretionary laws are a prior restraint on the right to carry. Williams and Masciandaro are criminal actions that moved faster and may get us a SCOTUS carry case faster. We are currently cautiously optimistic that we'll get a a carry case decision from SCOTUS by 6/30/2012, but we're pretty confident that if that date isn't hit, it would certainly be complete by 6/30/2013.

Pre SCOTUS Clean Up - The Sunshine Initiative

1. The clean up of California can start now - even before we win the big issue. Amongst the things that need to be fixed are Sheriffs with no policy, Sheriffs who force you to waste money by (having insurance, getting a doctor's note, making you apply to a PD who will absolutely turn you down first, etc.) This effort can be seen by SF Sheriff's Office finally issuing a (bad) policy and is exemplified by Rossow v. Merced.

2. Also, some sheriffs tend to be far more lenient on good cause statements from people they "know" for whatever reason. As such we can force a lot of sheriffs to head toward shall issue now (while we wait on SCOTUS) with cases like Scocca in Santa Clara that rely on Guillory v. Gates. This was why we sued Ventura for not disclosing their good cause statements.

3. Further, non California residents really have no way to carry in California. That's why we filed Peterson v. Denver County Sheriff of the Week. We can prove the issue in the 10th Circuit (and get Californian's the ability to carry in Denver) and then re-import that decision.

4. California's license is pretty darn clean. Even 18 year olds can get it. However, we're watching NRA's handgun purchase and carry cases in Texas because we'll want to import those wins here too.

All of this means that, while we wait, more people get permits, more counties get closer to shall issue, and when SCOTUS hits, we can quickly remove all the silly roadblocks to getting permits once they're clearly our right - in many cases because we already have removed unlawful procedures in most of the California counties.

Post SCOTUS clean up.

1. Hold outs. We'll have a few. However, we should have fresh case law to prove that much of what they do is unlawful. Add that to the Ezell standard that denial of 2A rights is irreparable harm and we'll choose one or two counties to make examples of with TROs and PIs.

2. Too slow. Some counties will move too slowly - or are already too slow. Part of the plan with point 1, is to address that. Some time is allowed to complete the background checks, but after the initial crush of applicants 30-60 days is more than enough to process licenses.

3. Too expensive. Many gun owners can't afford the license. Government is going to have to make accommodations for them. Our initial license is expensive. It's ongoing maintenance is actually pretty cheap.

4. Other stuff. Psych evals will be killed by inference from a SCOTUS decision but we may have to pick on some issuer. More 42 USC 1988 fees for the attorneys!

A couple additional notes.

1. Licensed carry may be the bare minimum. Just as those of us closely watching Heller got a lot wider decision than we were expecting around carry, who knows how wide SCOTUS' carry decision will be. We're asking for the narrowest that gives us a real right because it's prudent. If we get more on the first bite, well... Things above may be stated too conservatively.

2. CGF has focused on Sheriffs because they can't weasel out like a PD can/could. However, that means in the future (and even now) sometimes the PD you live in could be a better option. We expect competition based on customer service between sheriffs and PD's to pop up after SCOTUS. That's the flip side of our relatively expensive initial permit - it's a decent revenue source for cash strapped agencies.

I'm sure there is something I've forgotten, but I hope this clarifies what we're up to a bit. There is nothing truly proprietary here - it's just the best way to go about making life easy for CA gun owners who want to carry a firearm. There are a couple of additional items/clean ups that I've not talked about as we need to hold those back until we file them, but suffice it to say that there is a plan and that it should be relatively easy for all who want to carry - hopefully starting July 4, 2012.

I expect the biggest problem to be the lines. I can already tell you that BoF is impressed at what we've done in a couple of counties already based on their "carry applications pending" stats.
I certainly hope Gene is correct that the biggest problem will be the lines!

I'm Shocked - Rahmbo Joins MAIG

The AP is reporting that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has joined Mayor Bloomberg's Illegal Mayors. I am shocked, shocked I say by this news.
In a statement, Emanuel says almost half of the guns recovered in Chicago come from outside Illinois. He says Chicago has to work with other cities to fight gun trafficking and pass federal legislation.
It is interesting that such important news as this was first reported on a Sunday afternoon. Moreover, the release still isn't up on Emanuel's City of Chicago website nor even MAIG's website.

Chicago officials are also reporting that "more than 80 percent of murder victims last year were killed with a gun." The victims must have been hanging around outside all those shooting ranges in Chicago. Oh wait, there weren't any as the Chicago Gun Law forbid them and the 7th Circuit hadn't ruled in favor of Rhonda Ezell until July of this year.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Flash Mobs - Not Just For Philly And Milwaukee

When I think of flash mobs of urban teens who have gathered to rob and cause mayhem, I think of large cities like Philadelphia, Chicago, or Milwaukee. I need to readjust my thinking.

Thanks to Doc Wesson's Gun Nation Podcast, I found out about a flash mob in my hometown of Greensboro, NC in late July. While I have not lived in Greensboro for thirty years, I still have my late mother's house there and visit on a regular basis. To say I was shocked by the news is an understatement. Greensboro's population is in the mid-200 thousand range which puts it in the mid-size city category with cities like Buffalo, Ft. Wayne, Birmingham, or St. Pete, Florida. While I am biased, I think most would say it is a very liveable city and a number of corporations have moved operations there in recent years.

According to the report above, one man was injured in an attack and the Carolina Theater was vandalized - all within view of the Greensboro PD headquarters.

There are conflicting reports on whether this was actually a "flash mob" or not. The Greensboro News-Record contends it was not and they reported that GPD spokeswoman Susan Danielson denies that they had any reports of attacks or a flash mob. Obviously, Greensboro station WFMY-TV above believes a flash mob attack happened and so does former Mayor Keith Holliday who now runs the Carolina Theater.

Regardless of the conflicting reports, the potential for violence when large groups of youth suddenly converge on a location due to a call posted on Facebook or Twitter is there. Combine bored youth with a bad economy and the potential rises. The best advice given by people I respect is not to be in a location where the mobs would gather in the first place and, if you are, to get out as fast as you can. If it can happen in a Greensboro, it can happen in Knoxville or Richmond or other small-to-moderate sized cities.

NOTE: The title on the video above was put there by the person who posted it on YouTube. I had to use this version instead of embedding directly from WFMY-TV. I do not condone the equating of flash mobs with black youths. Violent youths come in all colors and all races.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

American Defense Enterprises or A.D.E. thought they could fade away from the view of their critics by taking down the YouTube video that had people rolling their eyes and shaking their heads in disgust. However, as we all know - and teens and politicians forget this at their peril - once it is on the Internet, it is there forever.

Thanks to Jimmyjive98, their original video was preserved and, I might say, enhanced for all to see. It also has a more appropriate soundtrack in keeping with what they are doing.

H/T Caleb