Saturday, April 30, 2011

Old Meets New

Patriots of the American Revolution at the NRA Annual Meeting.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

You've Come A Long Way, Baby

No, I'm not talking about women's rights, suffragettes, or even cigarettes - though I am from North Carolina. I'm actually talking about bloggers and gun bloggers in particular.

Bloggers are considered by the media to be the crazy cousins in the attic obsessed with their Shih-Tzu's or the Royal Wedding. (Oh, wait, it is the mainstream media that was obsessed with that last thing.) Still, it can be truthfully said that bloggers are given little respect by the mainstrain media.

At 10am or so this morning, NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre is expected to call on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to resign, in part, due to the fallout from Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker).

Without two gun bloggers - David Codrea of WarOnGuns/Gun Rights Examiner and Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars - we would not have known of this sordid affair. When they broke the story last December that the weapons found at the murder scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry were linked to an ATF operation, it was ignored by the mainstream media. There were no headlines in the Washington Post who had been doing a whole series of feature stories on firearms and crime. There was nothing in the New York Times though their editorial page had been active in pushing for "common-sense" gun control. It was ignored by the networks.

Fast forward to the present. All three major gun rights organizations are on board. Congressional investigators from the offices of Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Chuck Grassley are in Arizona probing the Phoenix Field Division for answers. Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News has done a number of on-camera and on-record reports with ATF whistle-blowers such as Senior Agent John Dodson and former ATF Attache to Mexico Darren Gil (among others). Contempt of Congress proceedings may be forthcoming from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee for the failure of ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson to respond to a subpoena from the committee.

I'm sure David and Mike had hopes in those cold gray days of December and January that Project Gunwalker would been seen for what it is. However, I think even they at times would have said the chances were somewhat slim. So when Wayne LaPierre speaks at the Members Meeting this morning and calls for Holder to resign, I will be thinking of them and saying to myself  "You've come a long way, baby."

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quote Of The Day

While taking the shuttle bus from the David Lawrence Convention Center to where our car was parked, I overheard the following comment.
I just bought my first gun so I thought I should join the NRA to protect my rights.
This was from an unknown guy who had just been asked why he joined the NRA from his seatmate.

NRA- ILA On Reporting Requirement

The NRA-ILA has responded to ATF's proposed new reporting requirement for dealers in the SW.

BATFE Requests Comment Period Extension for Proposed Multiple Rifle Sales Reporting Rule

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives today republished its proposal to require firearm dealers to report multiple sales of various rifles. Compared to its initial request in December, which was rejected as an "emergency" request, the new notice clarifies that the proposed requirement would apply only to dealers in four southwestern states, and would apply only to semi-automatic rifles of a caliber greater than .22 (including .223) and that can use detachable magazines. The notice fails to address the NRA's comments, which pointed out that the agency has no legal authority to demand this information.

The BATFE estimates that roughly 2,500 dealers would be required to file such reports, about one-third of all dealers in the four affected states, and compliance with the requirement would take the average dealer about 1.5 hours annually.

The BATFE says that comments should address whether the information in the reports would be useful and whether the BATFE correctly estimated the burden that a multiple sales reporting requirement would impose on dealers.

Given the information provided in the Wilson Center’s report, the answer to the question about the usefulness of the information would appear to be “no.” Comments may be faxed to (note the underscore after “oira”) or faxed to 202-395-7285 until May 31. Disturbingly, the comments on the first proposal ran more than 2-1 in favor of this useless and unauthorized bureaucratic fishing trip; the new notice gives gun owners the opportunity to correct that situation.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

SR1911 Is Popular

Ruger's entry into the 1911 market is getting a lot of attention at the NRA Annual Meeting.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle is also getting a lot of looks.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Browning 1911-22

The scaled down 1911-22 is gaining a LOT of attention from everyone who goes by the Browning booth.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

First Impressions

Good turnout to the NRA Annual Meeting. It seems a little less crowded than Charlotte.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

ATF's Multi-Long Gun Reporting Proposal

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives opened the 30-day comment period on their proposed requirement that Southwest FFL's submit reports of multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles. The full proposal is below and the comment period is open until May 31st.

If they aren't misstating the prior comments, then the gun control groups were able to get many more comments submitted than those who believe in freedom. Time to start writing!!

In addition to submitting a comment, make sure to write your Congressman about supporting Sen. Jon Tester's S. 570 which would prohibit ATF from tracking multiple sales of long arms.

[Federal Register: April 29, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 83)]
[Page 24058-24059]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives

[OMB Number 1140-NEW]

Agency Information Collection Activities; Proposed Collection
Comments Requested: Report of Multiple Sale or Other Disposition of
Certain Rifles

ACTION: 30-Day Notice.


The Department of Justice (DOJ), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco,
Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) will be submitting the following
information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget
(OMB) for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork
Reduction Act of 1995. The proposed information collection is published
to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies. This proposed
information collection was previously published in the Federal Register
Volume 75, Number 242, page 79021 on December 17, 2010, allowing for a
60-day comment period. ATF received 12,680 comments from this
collection (8928 commenters support the collection, and 3752 commenters
opposed to the collection).
The purpose of this notice is to allow for an additional 30 days
for public comment until May 31, 2011. This process is conducted in
accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10. To ensure that comments on the
information collection are received, OMB recommends that written
comments be faxed to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs,
OMB, Attn: DOJ Desk Officer, Fax: 202-395-7285, or e-mailed to oira_ All comments should be identified with the OMB
control number [1140-NEW]. Also include the DOJ docket number found in
brackets in the heading of this document.
Comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies
concerning the proposed collection of information are encouraged. Your
comments should address one or more of the following four points:

--Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the
proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether
the information will have practical utility;
--The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed
collection of information, including the validity of the methodology
and assumptions used;
--The quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected;
--The burden of the collection of information on those who are to
respond, including through the use of appropriate automated,
electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or
other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic
submission of responses.

Overview of This Information Collection

(1) Type of Information Collection: New.
(2) Title of the Form/Collection: Report of Multiple Sale or Other
Disposition of Certain Rifles
(3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the
Department of Justice sponsoring the collection: Form Number: ATF F
3310.12. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
(4) Affected public who will be required to respond, as well as a
brief abstract: Primary: Business or For-Profit. Other: None. Abstract:
The purpose of this information collection is to require Federal
firearms licensees to report multiple sales or other dispositions
whenever the licensee sells or otherwise disposes of two or more rifles
with the following characteristics: (a) Semi-automatic; (b) a caliber
greater than .22 (including .223/5.56 caliber); and (c) the ability to
accept a detachable magazine, to the same person at one time or during
any five consecutive business days. This requirement will apply only to
Federal Firearms Licensees (FFLs) who are dealers and/or pawnbrokers in
Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas.
(5) An estimate of the total number of respondents: ATF estimates
that 8,479 respondents will be subject to the reporting requirement.
However, ATF anticipates fewer than 30% of the potential respondents
will be required to report multiple sales of the subset of rifles that
is the subject of this collection. This estimate is based upon the fact
that, during fiscal year 2010, 2,509 FFLs in the affected states
submitted reports of multiple sales of hand guns. ATF estimates that a
similar number of FFLs are likely to submit reports of multiple sales
of the subject rifles.

[[Page 24059]]

(6) The estimated average burden per respondent: In fiscal year
2010, 36,148 reports of multiple sales of hand guns sales were
submitted by FFLs in the four southwest border states. Because the
specified rifles ((a) semi-automatic; (b) a caliber greater than .22
(including .223/5.56 caliber); and (c) the ability to accept a
detachable magazine) are a subset of the long gun category, we estimate
we will receive 18,074 reports of multiple sale of the specified rifles
from FFLs located in the four southwest border states. We estimate that
each report will take 12 minutes to complete. If we receive 18,074
reports from 2,509 licensees the total burden is 3,615 hours. The
estimated annual burden per respondent is 1 hour and 26 minutes.
If additional information is required contact: Lynn Murray,
Department Clearance Officer, United States Department of Justice,
Policy and Planning Staff, Justice Management Division, 2 Constitution
Square, Room 2E-808, 145 N Street, NE., Washington, DC 20530.

Dated: April 25, 2011.
Lynn Murray,
Department Clearance Officer, United States Department of Justice.
[FR Doc. 2011-10355 Filed 4-28-11; 8:45 am]

Thursday, April 28, 2011

ATF Continues With Multi-Long Gun Proposal

Reuters is reporting that ATF will be publishing a proposed rule in Friday's Federal Register concerning the reporting of multiple sales of certain semi-automatic rifles. This is the same proposal from late 2010 that was postponed for further comment.

The proposal to be published tomorrow will open up a 30-day comment period on the reporting requirement.

Within the Reuters story was this note about the response from the prior 60-day comment period.
It was first published in December and had a 60-day comment period that garnered almost 13,000 responses. About 30 percent opposed the reporting requirement and 70 percent favored it, ATF said.
70% of comments in favor of this requirement just doesn't pass the smell test. Frankly, unless I could see each and every comment submitted to verify this, I think either Reuters misunderstood what ATF told them or ATF has misstated it for their own bureaucratic purposes.

I will publish the comment requirements as soon as it is released.

If I can get a comment from the NRA on this tomorrow, I will post it.

From The West

If you are going into downtown Pittsburgh for the NRA Show from the west - airport area, Carnegie, Green Tree, etc. - by way of I-376 East, make sure to give yourself plenty of time!

We have been here since Wednesday and the traffic heading into Downtown has always moved at a snail's pace. It is also bumper to bumper.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Bitter Rules!

We're sitting in our room in Pittsburgh watching the local news on KDKA CBS Channel 2 and we hear that "gun rights activists" are upset with a "Pittsburgh institution" just before the NRA Annual Meeting. Of course, we have to listen to this story!

The story is about Primanti Brothers and the picture of the cook wearing a MAIG T-shirt. They interview a higher level manager with the company who says they welcome anyone. He goes on to say that he thinks the cook was "just trying to be friendly" by wearing the MAIG shirt.

They then feature a photo of the Snow Flakes in Hell website. They then intone that the NRA and the website wouldn't "answer questions" and referred them to the blog.

If anyone thinks that gun bloggers don't have an impact is wrong. Whether it is Primanti Brothers or Project Gunwalker, gun bloggers brought attention to things that needed that attention. As usual, the media is late to the party.

If you want to hear what Bitter and Sebastian have to say, go here and here. It will make more sense than anything a local TV reporter puts out.

Test Post - From Pittsburgh

I'm giving BlogPost for the iPhone a try. I hope to use it to post pictures, etc. from the NRA Annual Meeting.

We've arrived in Pittsburgh. Fortunately, we missed all the severe weather - so far.

Did see on the Weather Channel that they had some tornadoes in the Knoxville area. I hope the bloggers from that area such as SayUncle and Insty are OK.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Road Trip!

We're leaving for Pittsburgh in the next hour or so.

If there is anything special that you'd like me to cover from the NRA Annual Meeting and its "acres of death", just send me an email or post it in the comments. I'll try to get something up about it.

So what better way to get started on a road trip than the ultimate road trip song.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Meet Both Top Shot Winners In Pittsburgh

Iain Harrison of Crimson Trace just sent out this release this evening.
Crimson Trace announced today that the winners of both Season One and Two of the History Channel's hit shooting show, Top Shot, will be appearing in their booth at the NRA Meetings in Pittsburgh, PA, on Saturday April 30th. The celebrities will be on hand to sign autographs and give away merchandise to promote the new Crimson Trace Lightguard™ weapon mounted light between 10:30 - 11:15 and again from 1:30 to 2:15.

Show visitors are invited to stop by the Crimson Trace booth to meet both winners - Iain Harrison from Season One - and (TBD) from Season Two - shoot the breeze and get a little inside information on the competition.

The final episode for Top Shot: Reloaded (Season Two) will air on Tuesday, April 26th at 10/9c on the History Channel.

UPDATE: And the winner of Top Shot: Reloaded is Chris Reed of Franklin, TN.

ATF In Arizona Gets Visitors

Actually, I'm not sure I'd call them visitors and I definitely know that they aren't that welcome - at least by ATF. The "they" are House and Senate investigators who have converged on Arizona in the course of their investigation into Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker).

Sharyl Attkisson of CBS News reports that:
CBS News has learned that House and Senate investigators have descended upon Arizona for their probe into the so-called "Gunwalker" scandal. They're gathering interviews from witnesses, including ATF insiders and area gun shop owners. Sources tell CBS News the congressional investigators are frustrated by what they view as across-the-board stonewalling by government agencies which have refused to provide information in the investigation. Government officials have said they won't provide information while their own investigations are ongoing.

"They're investigating themselves," says one source on Capitol Hill, "and then claiming the open investigations preclude them from giving Congress information it needs for independent oversight. It's highly improper."
Attkisson's report also identifies the Assistant U.S. Attorney who advised Operation Fast and Furious as AUSA Emory Hurley. Mr. Hurley's boss U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke was the long-time chief of staff for Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. As a reminder, one should not forget that Napolitano was the Governor of Arizona until she assumed the DHS post in 2009.

In a related development, Attkisson reports that George Gillett continues to spill the beans to Sen. Charles Grassley's staff. As I emphasized earlier in the month, this is the equivalent of a Nixon White House insider giving the goods to Sen. Sam Ervin's Watergate investigation.

Other Gun Rights Measures Gaining Traction In Congress

Much attention has been placed on HR 822 – National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act – and rightfully so. It now has 171 co-sponsors and, hopefully, will have more after Congress gets back from its district “work” break. Besides this bill, there are a number of other gun rights measures starting to gain traction in Congress if measured by the number of co-sponsors.

HR 58, the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act, which was introduced by Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) now has 93 co-sponsors including a number of Blue Dog Democrats. Under current law, you are allowed to purchase a long gun at a gun shop outside the state of your residence if it is allowed by your state of residence and the state in which the transaction takes place. HR 58 would change this to include pistols and revolvers. Moreover, it would more broadly define state of residence for those in the military.

The next bill that is starting to pick up steam is Rep. Denny Rehrberg’s Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of 2011 (HR 420). This bill would create a 90-day amnesty period for veterans or their families to register firearms subject to the National Firearms Act. The firearm must have been acquired outside of the United States while serving in the Armed Services and must have been acquired prior to October 31, 1968. The bill also would allow the firearm to be forfeited to the U.S. and then transferred to a museum. It forbids the destructions of any firearm forfeited to the U.S. HR 420 now has bi-partisan support from 103 co-sponsors. One side effect of this bill is that it could start the process to re-open the NFA Registry that was closed due to the Hughes Amendment in 1986. If it is opened for vet bring-backs, why not re-open for new weapons?

Also dealing with collectible firearms is HR 615, Collectible Firearms Protection Act, which is sponsored by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY). While written broadly to include other firearms, it is aimed at allowing the repatriation of the M-1 Garands and M-1 Carbines that the South Korean government is seeking to sell U.S. importers. This bill now has 71 co-sponsors.

A bill to do away with gun control in the District of Columbia, HR 645, has 99 co-sponsors. This bill was sponsored by Arkansas Democrat Mike Ross and is supported by a broad coalition of Democrats and Republicans. The bill would remove the DC District Council’s authority to restrict firearms, repeal the ban on semi-auto firearms, repeal the registration requirements, authorize ammunition sales, and repeal the ban on the sales of handgun ammunition.

The final bill that seems to be gaining some traction is the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform Act of 2011. Introduced as HR 1093 in the House and S 835 in the Senate, this bill is a repeat of a similar bill introduced in the 111th Congress. The bill is a comprehensive approach to reforming the way that ATF deals with licensed firearms dealers among other things. It institutes a graduated system of penalties for minor record-keeping errors doing away with the all or nothing current approach. Moreover, it forbids the Attorney General from using the number of warnings issued or fines levied by an ATF agent as the basis for a bonus or promotion. This bill is sponsored in the House by Rep. Steve King (R-IA) and it has 82 co-sponsors. In the Senate, the bill was introduced just a couple of weeks ago by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). Significantly, the first co-sponsor in the Senate is Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee which will be where hearings are held on this bill.

It is still relatively early in the 112th Congress but a number of pro-gun rights bills have gained traction. The difficulty will be in seeing that they get the hearings they need and then the support in both the House and Senate.

NSSF On Traditional Ammunition

The National Shooting Sports Foundation took exception to the comments of a Minnesota DNR employee's attack on traditional ammunition. By traditional, I mean ammo that contains lead. Here is their response.

Earlier this month at a Minnesota Association of Conservation Professionals event, a Minnesota DNR employee, Molly Tranel, used dubious science and questionable statistics to attack the use of traditional ammunition (ammunition containing lead-core components) by sportsmen and shooters.

In her presentation, Ms. Tranel implied that the use of traditional ammunition poses a danger to (1) wildlife, in particular raptors such as bald eagles, that may feed on entrails of unrecovered game left in the field and (2) that there is a human health risk from consuming game harvested using traditional ammunition. Perhaps most troubling is the depths to which agenda-driven researchers will stoop. In one slide an experiment where researchers “force-fed” lead pellets to doves is discussed. And hunters are the bad guys?

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry, opposes efforts to ban or restrict the use of traditional ammunition unless there is sound science conclusively establishing an adverse impact on a wildlife population, the environment or on the human health of those consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition.

In recent years traditional ammunition has come under increased attack from anti-hunting groups. As such, when misinformation related to traditional ammunition surfaces, NSSF believes it must set the record straight. Let’s do that now:

With very limited exceptions, such as waterfowl and possibly the California condor, where, in the latter case the evidence of a causal connection to spent ammunition fragments is far from conclusive, there is simply no sound scientific evidence that the use by hunters of traditional ammunition is causing harm to wildlife populations. In the case of raptors, there is a total lack of any scientific evidence of a population impact. In fact, just the opposite is true. Hunters have long used traditional ammunition, yet raptor populations have significantly increased all across North America — a trend that shows no sign of letting up. If the use of traditional ammunition was the threat to raptor populations some make it out to be, these populations would not be soaring as they are.

Furthermore, it is the excise tax dollars (11 percent) manufacturers pay on the sale of ammunition – the very ammunition some choose to demonize – that is the primary source of wildlife conservation funding in the United States and the financial backbone of the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The bald eagle’s recovery, a truly great conservation success story, was made possible and funded by hunters using traditional ammunition. Not surprisingly, recent statistics from the United States Fish and Wildlife Service show that from 1981 to 2006 the number of breeding pairs of bald eagles in the United States increased 724 percent.

Needlessly restricting or banning traditional ammunition absent sound science will hurt wildlife conservation efforts – efforts such as those that aided recovery of the Bald Eagle – because fewer hunters will take to the field, thereby undercutting financial wildlife management resources. Alternatives to traditional ammunition are not economical. The higher costs associated with this ammunition will price many everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of metallic nontraditional ammunition –neither its higher cost, performance or benefits are justified.

Also necessary to clarify is the notion that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition poses a human health risk. This unjustified fear stems from a politically-motivated dermatologist in North Dakota who, in 2008, claimed to have collected from food pantries packages of venison that contained fragments from lead bullets. Many people became concerned and some officials overreacted to the allegations made by the dermatologist, who sits on the board of the Peregrine Fund, that consuming game posed a human health risk.

The state of North Dakota failed to conduct its own study. Instead, it merely accepted the lead-contaminated samples hand-picked by the dermatologist and submitted those samples to a lab in Iowa for testing. Based on those test results, North Dakota health officials ordered state food pantries to destroy all donated venison and to stop accepting further donations. The Iowa lab official in charge of the testing, Rick Kelly, was highly critical of North Dakota, “I think North Dakota is drawing the wrong conclusions. We did what they asked, but they did not take an arbitrary sample.” And the least fortunate among us were deprived of a high-protein, low-fat, organic food source.

To put this issue in perspective, consider this statement from the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH), a state agency that has tested the blood lead level of Iowa residents for over 15 years: “IDPH maintains that if lead in venison were a serious health risk, it would likely have surfaced within extensive blood lead testing since 1992 with 500,000 youth under 6 and 25,000 adults having been screened.” Iowa has never had a case of a hunter having elevated lead levels caused by consuming harvested game.

A study from 2008 by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on blood lead levels of North Dakota hunters confirmed that consuming game harvested with traditional ammunition does not pose a human health risk. Calls to ban or restrict the product by groups opposed to traditional ammunition, like the Peregrine Fund, and anti-hunting groups, like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are scientifically unfounded and nothing more than a scare tactic to advance their agenda. In looking more closely at the CDC study results, perhaps most telling is the fact that the average lead level of the hunters tested was lower than that of the average American. In other words, if you were to randomly pick someone on the street, chances are they would have a higher blood lead level than the hunters in this study. Studies regarding the use of lead in other applications have no application when considering the use and utility of lead in ammunition for hunting, on shooting ranges or for self-defense.

The science of wildlife biology and conservation is based on managing populations of species, not on preventing harm to individual members of a species. Absent sound scientific evidence demonstrating a wildlife population or human health impact arising from the use of traditional ammunition, there is no justification for banning its use.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Real NRA Women Respond To Bozo Columnist From Pittsburgh

Featuring Bitter from Snow Flakes in Hell and Katie Pavlich of I don't Eric Heyl would stand a chance if he met either of them.

New Sign For Brady Campaign

Courtesy of those wildly inventive folks on the CalGuns Forum. By the way, the small print in the corner says "Parody not to be taken seriously".

Quote Of The Day

After calculating the cost to make silver bullets for his .45, Jim at the Travis McGee Reader concludes:

It is cheaper to feed the werewolves.

Which, come to think of it, would make as good a personal slogan as any for Bernanke and Geithner.

The cost with silver selling for approximately $49 per troy ounce is $22.47 per round.

H/T Tam

"Acres of Guns = Acres of Death"

So screams the headline of a flyer put out to promote a protest march against the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh. According to a background memo (see below) put out on the march, they hope to get 300 people to attend including at least "5 spirtual leaders". My guess is if they even have 30 people attending, the local media will probably give them at least as much press as the 65,000 estimated attendees at the Annual Meeting.

Still, as a blogger, I have to say the picture taking opportunities of this protest march undoubtedly will be superb. I still remember some of the pictures from Charlotte featuring Breda and the gun prohibitionists.

Heck, I might invite one of them in to see the Acres of Death and to touch a gun. Maybe the fact that their hands won't be instantly destroyed when they touch the gun will change their minds. On second thought, it probably won't as their minds are not open.

Rally and March to keep illegal guns off the street
When: Saturday, April 30, 2011

Time: Meet at 11:30 a.m. -- Rally and March at 12:00 Noon

Where: Freedom Corner (Centre Ave & Crawford St.) 1506 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 - Across the street from St. Benedict the Moor Church March: From Freedom Corner to the Convention Center

Why: To counter the the NRA's presence in Pittsburgh with our own message to the NRA and to the politicians and public officials that cow to their pressure: that we, the people, demand that illegal guns be kept out of our communities. And this can be done with our state and federal governments taking two steps that over 80% of Americans overwhelmingly support:

Submit the names of all individuals who should be prohibited from buying guns into the national background check system, especially criminals, drug abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill; and
Require a background check for every gun sale in America.

Background of the Event / Specifics / Message / Purpose

The NRA leadership and their lobbyists stand adamantly opposed to measures that would keep illegal guns off the street and out of our communities and ultimately save lives. In other words, they champion lax gun laws that result in the killings of our loved ones, friends, community members, etc. It makes me angry just to write that knowing that it's true. This is the organization that's coming to town claiming they support freedom and so-called American values. Well, all I can say is that they don't share my values and I'd go as far as to say they probably don't share your values either. But who am I to say.

We have seen people gathering en mass to act on their values in a show of power all across the world in the past four months, from the Middle East to our Midwestern state neighbors. It's our turn to stand up for our values and show our state and federal officials that we are serious about keeping illegal guns off the street. They need to see us, the people, take action. They need to hear the people's voice.

We will begin a Freedom Corner by voicing our message loud and clear and explain why this issue is important to us. We will have several people directly affected by gun violence give their testimony as to the effect gun violence has had on their lives and the lives of their family. We will then drive home the need for our state and federal officials to take action and call upon them to listen to the voice of the people and do so. We will then march to the convention center while the churches in the downtown area toll their bells 600 times - once for each person killed in PA last year by an illegal gun. We will then gather in front of the convention center (the site of the NRA convention) and read aloud the names of those in Allegheny County who have died as a result of gun violence.

*The memory of those lost to gun violence leads us to action.
*Keep illegal guns off the street and reduce access to them.
*Never touch a gun!
*Fight for a fair economy -- Gun violence is often the end product of the convergence of a laundry list of problems, ones that could be remedied if our governments (state & federal) weren't considering slashing the programs and services that help sustain our communities all because large corporations aren't paying their fair share in taxes. We need our economy to grow (as well as good-paying jobs) and to invest in our communities and the future not solve the so-called budget crises on the backs of those who can least afford it.
*Holy Ground Campaign -- We are all holy... the land we walk, live, and recreate on is holy and as stewards of our communities the responsibility is on us to take action to make sure that it is treated as such and that we are treated as such.


The plan is set and it's now time to make sure the rally and march are well attended. Our goal is to have at least 300 people there, which would mean if the 10 or so active members of the task force were working on turnout, each person would need to be responsible for having 30 people there. That's not all that many when you think about that number including congregants, colleagues, friends, family, acquaintances, other people with whom you're in a relationship, and anybody those people bring.

And that's what we should be focusing on -- having passionate and motivated people who care about reducing gun violence bring people they know. All of the leaders who have worked on turnout for Holy Ground actions or other events know that making an announcement about it, having a blurb about it in the bulletin, and/or putting a flyer in their hand, while all helpful, by themselves they won't ensure that people show up. We need to literally ask them to come and get a commitment from them to be there.

We would also like to ask you to reach out specifically to at least 5 spiritual leaders you know to come stand with us, literally, that afternoon. We want them to stand along side of us at the action and march.

Attached is the flyer. Also please keep a list of the people you know that are coming. This is also great to have people go around either at services or meeting, etc. and take names of those who commit to coming. It's a great way to keep track of how many people are coming but also a great way to get their information so we can get in touch with them when we again need their support.

Next Steps

For these sorts of events, turnout is crucial. But this is what we do best: move people of faith into action. Spread the word far and wide, talk it up and get commitments to come. A Facebook event page will be made for the march. When it's sent out, please RSVP to come and invite everyone of your friends/contacts you have in Pittsburgh to join us. Get it to the younger generation and tell them to run with it.

Fort Pitt Museum: The American Frontier Rifleman

Just in time for the NRA Annual Meeting this week, the Fort Pitt Museum will open an exhibit entitled The American Frontier Rifleman: Tall Tales and Truth. Opening Wednesday, the exhibit will run until October 30th. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,
The exhibit will include more than 50 objects, some on loan from institutions, many culled from private collections.

In addition to about a dozen rifles, the museum will showcase gear essential to the true rifleman. Powder horns -- cow horns used to carry gunpowder -- make an appearance, including an 18th century example engraved with patriotic sayings: "LIBERTY OR DEATH," "KILL OR be KILLD."

An original 18th century hunting shirt, a dusty-looking but well-tailored garment, also will be displayed. Owned by a collector, the shirt will be shown to the public for the first time this week, Mr. Gutchess said.

"There were thousands of these garments in existence in the period, and now there's only four believed to be from the 18th century," he said.
Admission to the museum is normally $5 but NRA members will only have to pay $2.50 with their membership card through May 1st. I was pleased to see that the Fort Pitt Museum in just a few blocks away from the David Lawrence Convention Center where the Annual Meeting will be held.

For a student of early American history, this sounds like a great exhibit. It is hard to believe now but Pittsburgh at one time was definitely considered the frontier.

Originally built as a British fort at the Forks of the Ohio River in 1754, Fort Pitt served as the western headquarters for the Continental Army during the American Revolution. The fort had many names over the years including Trent's Fort, Fort Duquense, Fort Mercer, Fort Dunmore, and, more than once, Fort Pitt.


April 25th is ANZAC Day. The day is a national day of rememberance in both Australia and New Zealand. It commemorates the sacrifice of the Australia New Zealand Army Corps in the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. The date of April 25th stems from the day the battle began in 1915.

ANZAC Day is considered the most important national occasion in both countries. It is like Memorial Day and Veterans Days rolled into one and celebrated with greater reverence than either is in the United States.

The day starts with a Dawn Service to mark the time of day that the Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on Gallipoli. A Day Ceremony is held with marches, laying of wreathes, prayers, and a bugler play The Last Post (similar in composition to Taps). Families then traditionally put red poppies on the graves of those lost in battle.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Comparison Of Them And Us

The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence lives for hyperbole. This afternoon they posted the following:
PHOTOS of large Heeding God's Call protest in front of Mike & Kate Sport's Shop in Philly. #PA #politics #faith #peace
Being the skeptical sort, I looked up the "large Heeding God's Call protest" from yesterday. By my count, they have about 35 people standing out in front of Mike & Kate's Sports Shop blocking the entrance.The rest of the pictures can be found here.

If that is large, what would they consider the picture below from ISRA's IGOLD Day.

Courtesy of Days of our Trailers.

95 Years Ago Today

95 years ago today, in what has become known as the Easter Rising, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the Irish Citizens Army, and the Irish Volunteers occupied key buildings and locations in Dublin. These included the GPO (General Post Office), the Four Courts, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin City Hall, and other locations. However, they failed to capture the center of British rule, Dublin Castle, despite an attack on it.

While the British were caught by surprise by the Easter Rising, they regrouped and crushed it over the next few days. Patrick Pearse, who was acting commander at the GPO, ordered a surrender on Saturday, April 29th. The remaining rebel held locations surrendered as well.

Between May 3rd and May 12th, the seven men who had signed the proclamation of the Irish Republic were executed by British firing squads along with another 8 Irish republicans. Another 1480 men were interned in England and Wales until December 1916. These internment camps became known as the University of Revolution as many of those interned would later become leading figures in the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921).

The Easter Rising was a premature act met with ambivalence - and even hostility - by many Irishmen. The over-reaction of the British government after the rebellion was crushed helped to swing the public mood in Ireland from ambivalence and hostility towards the Easter Rising to increased support for Irish Nationalism. The Irish Free State came into existence in 1922 after the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed to end the hostilities of the Irish War of Independence. Thus, the proclamation of an Irish Republic in the Easter Rising did lead to the establishment of an independent Ireland.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

More On Potential House Contempt Citation For ATF

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He appeared on FoxNews on Friday to discuss the failure of ATF to respond to the subpoena issued by the Committee.

Quote Of The Day

Wildfires have raged around the state of Texas for weeks now. It is estimated that these fires have burned over 1.8 million acres of land.

One of the hardest hit spots in terms of homes lost is the weekend and resort community of Possum Kingdom Lake west of Forth Worth. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that 159 house and 2 churches have burned in this fire. Residents have been told during the last week to pack those things they want to save in their cars because of the speed with which the fire has moved.

From this order to pack what you want to save comes the quote of the day.
"We're in Texas, so we pack guns and knives," said Ted Lewellen, a real-estate agent.
God Bless Texas!

Friday, April 22, 2011

NSSF On Threat Of Mexican Lawsuit

The National Shooting Sports Foundation responded to reports that the Mexican government will seek to sue American gun manufacturers for the violence in Mexico. The NSSF says, in essence, not so fast amigo - but politely. They remind President Calderon that the overwhelming majority of the firearms seized in Mexico do not come from the United States.
This week a Mexican official confirmed that President Felipe Calderon’s government has hired U.S. trial lawyers to investigate possible litigation against U.S. gun manufacturers and firearms retailers, seeking to hold these lawful companies responsible for the criminal misuse of firearms in Mexico. Though the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, signed into law in 2005 by then President George W. Bush, prevents such frivolous lawsuits, the mere threat demands a response.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), the trade association for the firearms industry, respects the work of President Calderon to willingly take on his country’s powerful drug cartels; however, we are disappointed that he would seek to hold law-abiding American companies responsible for crime in Mexico. This is especially troubling given investigative reports that show more than 80 percent of the firearms recovered in Mexico do not come from the United States. The most recent of these reports, from the independent research group STRATFOR, determined that less than 12 percent of the guns Mexico seized in 2008 came from the United States.

Furthermore, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), firearms traced in Mexico were originally sold at retail not recently, but, on average, 14 years earlier. This is completely inconsistent with any notion that a flood of newly purchased firearms are being illegally smuggled over the border. And let’s not forget that no retail firearm sale can be made in the U.S. until after an FBI criminal background check of the purchaser has been completed.

Exacerbating misconceptions about the firearms used by Mexican drug cartels, even mainstream publications such as the Washington Post, repeat erroneous information. For example, in today’s editorial the paper stated that Mexican drug cartels are “snapping up the military-style machine guns available in U.S. gun shops.” The fact is that machine guns are heavily regulated and virtually never sold at retail in the United States.

Still, in response to concerns over the violence in Mexico, ATF conducted more than 2,000 inspections of firearms dealers along the border. The result? Not a single dealer was charged with committing any crime and only two (or 0.01%) had their licenses revoked for unknown reasons that could have nothing to do with the cartels illegally obtaining firearms from retailers in the United States.

While these ATF inspections were clearing the law-abiding retailers’ good names, which were being smeared by many in the mainstream press and anti-gun officials in both the United States and Mexico, as many as 150,000 Mexican soldiers defected to work for the drug cartels, bringing their American-made service-issued firearms with them.

Perhaps the Mexican government should seek to file suit against their military personnel actively engaged in such illegal conduct.

Members of the firearms industry take seriously the criminal acquisition and misuse of their products. This is why our industry has for more than a decade partnered with the ATF in a national campaign to make the public aware that it is a serious crime to straw purchase a firearm. The program, called Don’t Lie for the Other Guy, is now funded completely by members of the firearms industry and also helps ATF to educate firearms retailers – whom ATF considers the first line of defense – to better detect and prevent illegal straw purchases.

The firearms industry is one of America’s oldest and most-storied entities. We played a prominent role in America’s westward expansion, continue to serve as the Arsenal for Democracy and support the conservation of America’s wildlife and great outdoors. We are also one of the most regulated industries in the world. From production to distribution, distribution to sale, everything we as an industry do is overseen by the United States government.

Again, we applaud President Calderon for taking steps to stop the cartels when past Mexican administrations paid only lip service and allowed rampant corruption to fester. Still, it is wrong for anyone to blame America’s firearms industry for the problems Mexico is currently facing.

Crossbow Permit Repeal Passes NC General Assembly

Senate Bill 406 which repeals the requirement to get a permit from your local sheriff's office to purchase a crossbow passed the North Carolina House on Wednesday and was presented to the Governor yesterday.

The North Carolina Senate had passed the repeal bill on March 30th with a 50-0 vote.

It ran into some trouble in the State House. According to a newsletter sent out this morning by Rep. Ray Rapp (D-Madison), Rep. Frank McGuirt led the opposition to the bill. McGuirt, who was formerly the Sheriff of Union County, opposed the bill because a criminal in Union County used a crossbow to murder someone when he was "unable to obtain a license to purchase a gun." Supposedly that led to the addition of crossbows to the pistol purchase law. The only problem with that story is that North Carolina only requires a license (or more properly, a permit) for purchases of handguns.

Nonetheless, SB 406 passed the State House 69-48 on Wednesday. It has now been sent to the Governor for her signature.

The bill as ratified can be found here.

Provided Bev Perdue signs the bill, this will open up crossbow sales significantly. You will now be able to purchase them locally, on-line, or by mail order. I think we will be seeing a growth in their sales here in NC due to the repeal of the permit requirement combined with the NC Wildlife Resources Commission's approval of crossbows for big game hunting for everyone. Prior to this past season, you had to be disabled and have a special permit in order to use a crossbow for big game hunting.

"It Was Disturbing"

"It was disturbing" was one of the comments regarding a group of Open Carry proponents in Pasadena protesting attempts to ban open carry in California.

A Brady Campaign spokeswoman agreed.
"I believe the open carry movement is very intimidating," said Suzanne Verge of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. "I think as a citizen I should be able to go along Colorado Boulevard and shop where I want to shop and not have to worry about running into somebody with a loaded weapon."

Substitute "Negro" for "loaded weapon" and I'm sure that either of those comments could have been also said by certain white people in Birmingham about seeing Rosa Parks sitting in the front - as opposed to the back - of the bus.

One of the major reasons Judge Irma Gonzalez gave for dismissing the challenge to California's requirement to show good cause for a concealed carry permit was that California allowed unloaded open carry along with loaded open carry in certain rural areas. Because the state did provide that alternative, the good cause requirement passed constitutional muster.

You have to wonder which the gun prohibitionists fear most: unloaded open carry or shall issue concealed carry.

H/T Brandon Combs

Thursday, April 21, 2011

SigSauer - Pre-NRA Releases

The major gun manufacturers are starting let out the new guns that they will be introducing at the NRA Annual Meeting. Monday was Ruger's day with its introduction of the SR1911. Today is SigSauer's day.  Nothing is really new - more like variation on existing models - but they are bringing back the Sig P210.

2011 SIG SAUER® New Products - Pistols

The P226 Extreme Series pistol features a Nitron®-coated, machined stainless steel slide and a hard coat anodize aluminum frame, SIGLITE® night sights, a built-in accessory rail, front cocking serrations and a reversible magazine catch. Aggressive styling is provided by Hogue® Extreme Series grips.

The Enhanced Elite models boast the same features as all Elite series pistols, with the addition of ergonomic, one-piece reduced reach grips used in our E2 pistols. Available in both P226 and the updated P229.

The 1911 Traditional Reverse Two-Tone is a full-size 1911 featuring a natural stainless steel frame and Nitron-coated stainless slide. Black control levers, low profile SIGLITE® night sights, and Hogue® Black Diamondwood checkered grips round out the sleek look.

The 1911 Traditional Ultra Compact features a natural stainless, officers-length slide and frame. White controls, custom wood checkered grips, and low profile SIGLITE night sights are standard.

The SIG SAUER P210, the timeless pistol of the Swiss Army, is once again in production by SIG SAUER GmbH in Germany. This historic gun features the same precision and reliability as its ancestors, but also offers a number of modern improvements. The carbon steel slide, machined from solid billet steel, now features a durable Nitron coating, and the improved beavertail adorns the Nitron-coated, heavy-style, carbon steel frame. The P210 Legend also offers an improved manual safety, internal drop safety, side magazine release, and custom wood grips. Limited quantities available.

The P290 offers superior ergonomics, flawless reliability and deep concealment, while still providing the defensive capability of the 9mm. Despite its small size and weight the P290 offers ergonomic features to fit a wide variety of shooters. Interchangeable grip panels allow for personalization as well as a custom fit. In addition to the standard polymer inserts, optional panels will be available in aluminum, G10 and wood. An optional Integrated Laser Module (ILM) is custom designed for the P290 pistol's frame. Lightweight and compact, the ILM seamlessly blends with the lines of the pistol.

2011 SIG SAUER® New Products - Rifles

SIG SAUER Offers SIG556R in 7.62x39mm
The first SIG556® to be offered in a caliber other than 5.56mm NATO, the SIG556R is chambered in the legendary intermediate Russian cartridge. Most often linked to the AK-series of rifles, 7.62x39mm power is now available in the very accurate, highly dependable SIG556 platform.

The SIG522 Commando for Realistic Training
The Commando features an inert training suppressor mounted by standard ½ x 28 TPI threads. The inert tactical trainer can be removed and the Commando used in the patrol rifle configuration. The threaded barrel also accepts many of the most popular flash suppressors and sound suppressor mounts on the market.

The fulfilled potential of The AR-15/M16. One of the most tested and proven weapons systems in the world achieves ultimate refinement with the introduction of the SIG516 rifle. With its chrome-lined, phosphate finished, military grade barrel and adjustable, four-position gas valve, the SIG516 incorporates all of the most desirable mechanical improvements. Add to these a free-floating quad rail fore-end and barrel, and you have the most advanced, versatile AR-based rifle available.
Sig also announced their schedule for demos and presentations at the show. Many of these will showcase Max Michel, Team SIG Captain.
10:00 AM Max Michel Shooting Tips
11:00 AM Concealed Carry Tips and Techniques
12:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
1:00 PM SIG Principles
2:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
3:00 PM NEW Pistols Presentation
4:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
5:00 PM NEW Rifles Presentation

10:00 AM Concealed Carry Tips and Techniques
11:00 AM Max Michel Shooting Tips
12:00 PM NEW Pistols Presentation
1:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
2:00 PM NEW Rifles Presentation
3:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
4:00 PM SIG Principles
5:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips

11:00 AM Max Michel Shooting Tips
12:00 PM NEW Pistols Presentation
1:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips
2:00 PM NEW Rifles Presentation
3:00 PM Max Michel Shooting Tips

Electronic Tracking Revisited

Earlier in the month I speculated about the ATF, Project Gunrunner, and GPS tracking chips. My thoughts on the subject were spurred by comments made by Michael Bane in his Down Range Radio podcast.

Today, while looking for reaction to the threat of a Contempt of Congress cititation made by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), I came across an article in The Daily Caller which gave a bare-bones outline of Project Gunrunner. The article by Michael Boyle was entitled What we know about Project Gunrunner. Contained in the article was this about its origins:
The project began during the Bush administration in Laredo, Texas, in 2005 as a trial, morphing into a national program in 2006. The guns were sold and tracked electronically, giving law enforcement agents valuable intelligence on where the weapons went and who had them.

During the Bush years, no guns were allowed to cross the border into Mexico. When President Obama took office in 2009, things changed. Obama’s ATF continued Project Gunrunner, but made a crucial decision to allow guns to be “walked” into Mexico, eventually ending up in the hands of Mexican drug cartels.
If this article is indeed correct about firearms being electronically tagged and tracked as far back as 2005 during the Bush Administration, then a number of questions immediately come to mind.

First, if the guns sold out of Laredo in 2005 were electronically tagged and tracked, did ATF continue this method of electronically tagging and tracking the firearms sold later in Project Gunrunner?

Second, if they stopped the electronic tracking, this leads to the question why? Was it too expensive, too unreliable, or what? Did someone in the Obama Administration make the decision to discontinue the electronic tagging and tracking? Again, why?

Third, if the ATF did continue electronically tagging and tracking the straw purchases of firearms, then how did they lose track of these guns and let them cross the border into Mexico? It didn't happen during the Bush Administration (according the Daily Caller) so who made the conscious decision to allow tagged guns to cross the border.

Finally, if the guns were still tagged electronically, who was responsible for tracking them once they crossed the border into Mexico?

I don't know the answers to any of these questions nor do I have some inside source feeding me leaks. I'm just going on what was said was done during the Bush Administration by The Daily Caller and from what I've seen and read happened in the period since. It raises questions that should be answered in any investigation of Project Gunrunner or Operation Fast and Furious.

Raleigh City Council Votes To Oppose Concealed Carry In Restaurants And Parks

The Raleigh City Council voted on Tuesday to oppose HB 111 which would allow concealed carry in restaurants and eating establishments as well in city and county parks. The bill has already passed the North Carolina House and is now before the State Senate.
City Council Opposes Concealed Handgun Bill
The Raleigh City Council on April 19 voted 7-0 to approve a resolution opposing provisions of a concealed handgun bill before the North Carolina General Assembly.

The proposed legislation would allow people with concealed permits to carry their handguns into public parks and restaurants that serve alcohol. The bill has been approved by the House and is now in the Senate.
Based upon the agenda item for the April 19th City Council Meeting, It appears that they are more concerned about firearms in parks than in restaurants. This resolution was placed upon the Consent Agenda which meant that it was consider "routine" and not worthy of extended discussion.
Handgun Resolution
On March 30, 2011, House Bill 111 “Handgun Permit Valid in Parks and Restaurants(Short title),” passed on the third reading and was delivered on 4/4/2011 to the Senate where after passing the first reading was referred to and currently rests with the Committee on Rules and Operations of the Senate. This act seeks to allow citizens with concealed handgun permits to protect themselves and family in restaurants and to additionally carry handguns in parks. The bill limits local government ability to restrict carrying a concealed handgun by ordinance to government buildings, their peripheral premises and recreational facilities. Within the bill, “recreational facilities” are defined as playgrounds, athletic fields, swimming pools and athletic facilities.

The Parks and Recreation Department in discussion with and supported by the Raleigh Police Department considers the scope of the “recreation facilities” definition encompassed in HB 111 to be too narrow and limiting to the City of Raleigh’s interest in preserving order in its parks and greenway systems. Many of the “recreational facilities” identified are not stand-alone amenities; rather, they are co-located with other spaces within a park creating a challenge for law enforcement as well as confusion for citizens.

Approve the resolution prepared by the City Attorney seeking greater authority for the City of Raleigh to broaden the “recreational facilities” definition within HB 111 to “parks and greenways.” Such a change will enhance the level of comfort for citizens using the City park system as well as simplify the enforcement of the law.
Allowing the City of Raleigh or any municipality to determine the scope of a state-level law and the definitions within them undermines the state's preemption statutes regarding firearms. The very reason state preemption exists is to ensure consistency from one jurisdiction to another.

If you live in Raleigh, do business in Raleigh, or travel to Raleigh on a regular basis, you might want to make this point to the City Council. You can reach the individual members as well as the Mayor at the email addresses below.
City Council Members

•Mayor: Charles Meeker | email:
•District A: Nancy McFarlane | email:
•District B: John Odom | email:
•District C: Eugene Weeks | email:
•District D: Thomas Crowder | email:
•District E: Bonner Gaylord | email:
•At-Large: Mary-Ann Baldwin (Mayor Pro Tempore) | email:
•At-Large: Russ Stephenson | email:
Email the entire City Council at


CCRKBA - Melson Should Quit Or Be Fired

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms issued this press release yesterday evening regarding the continued refusal of ATF to release documents related to Operation Fast and Furious.
The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms today said Kenneth E. Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, should resign or be fired for continued stonewalling on "Project Gunrunner," the controversial operation that allegedly allowed thousands of guns to be funneled across the border into Mexico.

Congressman Darrell Issa today threatened Melson with contempt for failing to produce documents that Issa's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform subpoenaed on March 31. Melson had until April 13 to provide the documents, and the deadline passed without any response.

"Melson's continued stonewalling on the Project Gunrunner investigation is intolerable," said CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb. "It appears obvious that he has no intention of cooperating with Congress on this serious matter. He should resign or be fired, and he should be replaced by a professional who will work quickly to clean up the ATF, and that starts with providing all Project Gunrunner documents to Congress."

Rep. Issa sent a letter to Melson earlier today, chastising him for not complying with the subpoena. In that letter, Issa also complained that Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich's responses on behalf of the ATF have been "largely unhelpful."

"It appears that Mr. Weich is running interference for Melson and the ATF officials who controlled Gunrunner and its adjunct, Operation Fast-and-Furious," Gottlieb said. "The only conclusion one can draw from this is that Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department is fully engaged in this smoke and mirrors sham."

"Obama administration officials evidently believe this scandal will just go away if they ignore it," he continued. "Congressman Issa's committee has every right to demand documents and the authority to review them. Barack Obama promised the most transparent administration in history, and this cover up proves his rhetoric was as empty as the suit he is wearing."

"If Melson, and for that matter, Weich, cannot deliver today," Gottlieb concluded, "they should both clean out their desks tomorrow."

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

HR 1552 - The "Juveniles Can Never Be Rehabilitated Act"

Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY-1) introduced HR 1552 last week. The text of it has finally become available and is seen below. Congressman Israel has titled his bill "Preventing Gun Violence Act". The bill would prohibit the possession of a firearm by anyone who had been convicted of any crime involving violence while a juvenile that would carry with it a sentence of more than one year if committed by an adult.

That sounds like a great get-tough-on-crime approach except when you think about it.

It seems barely a week goes by where you don't see some third grader is arrested at school, put in handcuffs, and taken down to the police station for some imagined crime by an overzealous law enforcement officer. We roll our eyes, make fun of the system, and get on with life. What happens if this child is found guilty of assault in a family or juvenile court? Under Israel's bill, he or she would probably be precluded from possessing a firearm for the rest of his or her life.

What this bill precludes is the idea that someone can be rehabilitated. It never imagines that kids who have grown up on the wrong side of the tracks and gotten into trouble as a kid would ever become a productive member of society. The idea of redemption is foreign to the author of this bill. It isn't a three strikes law aimed at habitual criminals; it is a one strike and you're out law. There is no rehabilitation, there is no redemption, there is no repentance for past sins.

Beyond being the author of this bill, Congressman Israel is also the Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. His bio there states he is a "defender of civil and human rights". You wouldn't know it by this bill.

H.R.1552 -- Preventing Gun Violence Act (Introduced in House - IH)

HR 1552 IH


1st Session

H. R. 1552

To amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the possession of a firearm by a person who is adjudicated to have committed a violent act while a juvenile.


April 14, 2011

Mr. ISRAEL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


To amend chapter 44 of title 18, United States Code, to prohibit the possession of a firearm by a person who is adjudicated to have committed a violent act while a juvenile.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
This Act may be cited as the `Preventing Gun Violence Act'.
(a) Possession Ban- Section 922(g) of title 18, United States Code, is amended--
(1) by striking `or' at the end of paragraph (8);
(2) by striking the comma at the end of paragraph (9) and inserting `; or'; and
(3) by inserting after paragraph (9) the following:
`(10) who has been adjudicated by a court of the United States to have committed a violent juvenile act,'.
(b) Violent Juvenile Act Defined- Section 921(a) of such title is amended by adding at the end the following:
`(36)(A) The term `violent juvenile act' means an act by a person before the person attains 18 years of age that, if committed by an adult, would be punishable by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year, and--
`(i) has as an element the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against another person; or
`(ii) that by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against another person may be used in the course of committing the act.'.

Issa Threatens ATF Acting Director With Contempt Citation

Rep. Darrell Issa, Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, is not a happy man. He is not happy because the Department of Justice and the Acting Director of ATF, Kenneth Melson, are continuing to blow off the requests for documents related to Operation Fast and Furious (aka Project Gunwalker). This is in the face of a supoena requesting documents issued by the Committee.

Rep. Issa is so unhappy that he is threatening to have Melson cited for Contempt of Congress according to a letter released this morning. I have embedded the letter below. In the letter, Issa states that absent a claim of executive privilege ATF and DOJ have no authority to withhold the documents requested by Issa's committee. Moreover, internal DOJ policies do not suffice as a reason to withhold documents and impede Congress in its constitutional authority.

A year ago this could not have happened. The Republicans did not have a majority in the House of Representatives and there is no way that Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) would have threatened to jack up the head of ATF. Elections most certainly do have consequences.
4-20-11 Melson Follow Up Letter

H/T David Codrea and Mike Vanderboegh

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

HR 1558 & S 838 - Changes In Toxic Substances Act Regarding Lead

Two new bills have been introduced in Congress that would clarify the exemptions for ammunition contained in the Toxic Substances Control Act. These bills, if passed, would moot the Center for Biological Diversity's lawsuit that is attempting to force the EPA to ban lead based ammunition and lead in fishing tackle.

HR 1558, the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act of 2011, was introduced by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) and Rep. Mike Ross (D-AR). It currently has 38 co-sponsors and the bipartisan support of the Congressional Sportsman's Caucus. Rep. Ross had this to say about the bill.
"It's always important to find a commonsense balance between protecting the rights of hunters, anglers and outdoorsmen and protecting our environment and wildlife habitats for future generations," said Congressman Ross. "There is no credible scientific evidence that demonstrates traditional ammunition and fishing tackle pose any threat to human health or wildlife populations and this legislation is needed to permanently address this issue once and for all. I'm pleased to join this bipartisan effort and to work to stop the TSCA petition, which is the most recent in a long string of attacks on our cherished hunting and fishing heritage."
The Senate version of the Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act of 2011, S. 838 was introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) and Sen. John Thune (R-SD). It has three co-sponsors.

Both bills have the strong backing of the NSSF and were introduced right after they had the Industry Fly-In.
"Wildlife management is the proper jurisdiction of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the 50 state wildlife agencies," said NSSF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Lawrence G. Keane. "But no one should be misled about what's truly at stake here. A ban on traditional ammunition will not only affect hunters and sportsmen, but law enforcement, military, self-defense and target shooters who may never go afield. This is precisely why all Americans, not just gun owners, have a vested interest in the passage of the Hunting, Fishing and Recreational Shooting Sports Protection Act."

The higher costs associated with alternative ammunition will price everyday consumers out of the market. This is evidenced by the low 1 percent market share of alternative ammunition. This would lead to fewer hunters taking to the field and shooting ranges across the United States being needlessly closed.

"The economic growth of America's firearms and ammunition industry continues to be a bright spot in our country's still-ailing economy," continued Keane. "Passing this important legislation will help to ensure that our industry, which is responsible for more than 183,000 well-paying jobs and has an economic impact of more than $27.8 billion annually, continues to shine."
As I reported last week, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) also has a bill, HR 1445, that removes the EPA's authority to regulate lead in ammunition and fishing tackle. The text of HR 1558 and S 838 are not yet available so I'll reserve judgment on which will be the more effective until I've had a chance to read both bills.


The Asheville area of Western North Carolina is a retirement mecca, a haven for hippies and other counter culture sorts, and a vacation destination for the Obamas.The Chamber of Commerce ran an ad campaign for years called Asheville: Altitude Affects Attitude.

The car of choice in Asheville for both hippies and registered nurses seems to be either the Subaru Outback Wagon or the Subaru Forester. It is often joked that there is a requirement to have at least one of the family cars be a Subaru if you live in Asheville

Bumpersticks are big in Asheville. One of the more popular bumpersticks in town is "Asheville Where Weird Is Normal". Vying for popularity is "Coexist" where the letters are religious symbols for the major religions as seen below on a Subaru Forester.

About a year ago, SayUncle had a post about how Coexist bugged him. He linked to an alternative Coexist for gunnies composed of gun manufacturer's logos.

I thought it was cool and showed it to the Complementary Spouse. Now she is a crafty one and can make something out of nothing in a heartbeat. So she took the picture, blew it up, printed it out on a color laser printer, and then laminated it. Instant bumpersticker! And given the politics of Asheville, a counter-revolutionary one at that.

We love tweaking the noses of the liberals and gun banners. The best thing about it - they don't even realize it most of the time. She has explained the symbols to her more conservative co-workers who have to be somewhat closeted about their politics and they just smile.

"Buyer Power" As A Means Of Gun Control?

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence released a study proposal today entitled "Utilizing the "Buyer Power" Strategy to Reform the Gun Industry." The gist of this proposal is that state and local governments can force gun manufacturers to adopt the regulations suggested by Mayors Against Illegal Guns by refusing to buy law enforcement firearms from those that don't conform to this "code".

In theory it sounds good. In reality it ignores two salient facts. First, while large purchases are made by law enforcement agencies, these sales are dwarfed by sales to individuals at retail. Second, any manufacturer that decides to play along - or even engages in such talks - would be hit with a boycott so quick that heads would spin. The authors of this proposal obviously have forgotten what happened to the old Smith and Wesson when they signed an agreement with the Clinton Administration. The remnants of the old Smith and Wesson were sold by their British corporate owners to Smith and Wesson Holding Corporation which quickly repudiated that agreement.

The Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence maintains that criminals and "mentally unbalanced individuals" have easy access to firearms with which to perpetrate their crimes. They blame this on two factors.
1) The lack of a comprehensive regulatory scheme to prevent prohibited persons from acquiring firearms, and;
2) The refusal of the gun industry to engage in any type of self-policing to prevent illicit sales.
If the National Instant Criminal Background Check System which is run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and mandated under the Brady Law isn't a comprehensive regulatory scheme, then what is it? Every sale made by a licensed dealer goes through this system unless the purchaser holds a CCW permit which is accepted in lieu of the NICS check. Even then, that state's CCW permit had to be expressly approved by the Federal government as an acceptable alternative.

The second "factor" ignores the efforts made by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to educate dealers about straw purchasers. The Don't Lie for the Other Guy program is aimed at preventing straw purchases by prohibited persons.
Understanding the importance of cooperating with law enforcement, the firearms industry through the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the industry's trade association -- has for nearly a decade partnered with the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) to assist law enforcement in educating firearms retailers to be better able to identify and deter illegal straw purchases and to raise public awareness that straw purchasing is a serious crime.
The report also accuses "unscrupulous FFLs" of selling firearms "off the books".  Undoubtedly this has happened but it is so rare as to become a headline event when a dealer is arrested for doing this.

The following are the procedures that the Educational Fund wants implemented.
• All firearms sales are videotaped and these videos are maintained for an extended period of time.
• A computerized log of crime gun traces relating to the retailer is maintained in-house. When a customer who has a prior trace at that retailer attempts to purchase a firearm, the sale is electronically flagged. The dealer has the discretion to stop the sale.
• The dealer posts clearly visible signage to alert customers of their legal responsibilities at the point of sale.
• Customers are prohibited from making in-store calls on their cell phones.
• The dealer requires criminal background checks for all employees that sell or handle firearms in the store.
• The dealer conducts daily and quarterly audits to make sure no firearms are missing.
• The dealer prohibits all sales based on “default proceeds,” which are permitted by law when a background check has not returned an approve/deny result within three days.
• The dealer keeps all firearms in customer-accessible areas in locked cases or secured to gun racks.
Every gun shop that I've been in over the last 5-10 years or more has kept the handguns in a locked case. This is nothing new. Dealers also do and would do regular inventories and audits regardless of any regulation. It is simply good business practice.

I do have big problems with the "crime gun traces" requirement and the cell phone requirement. Why should an individual who has been the victim of a theft be made even more of a victim just to appease these gun prohibitionists? With regard to the banning of cell phone usage within a store, that is really a "WTF?" measure.

The proponents of the "buyer power" scheme think that a "grassroots" effort will convince municipal officials to try and force the "gun industry" to go along with them. Using the term grassroots along with gun control is an oxymoron. These groups have no grassroots. Most don't even have members and those that do lie about how many members are on their rolls.

The Educational Fund's sister organization, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has set up a web page with "resources" to be used in this grassroots (sic) effort. It is filled with "reports" from the Clinton era as well as from the Brady Campaign and other well-known "violence" researchers. They also have templates for your letters to the editor and "dear elected official" letter.

I say let them waste the Joyce Foundation's money on this as I don't think it is going anywhere. If it does crop up in a locality other than Chicago or New York, I'll report on it.

Journalist's Guide To Project Gunwalker - Part 3

David Codrea is back and has posted Part 3 of the Journalist's Guide to Project Gunwalker. You can find it here. It starts with events as of Sunday, April 17th.

The earlier parts:

Part 1:    December 28, 2010 to March 8, 2011

Part 2:    March 9, 2011 to April 15, 2011

Arizona Citizens Defense League Response To Brewer's Veto

The AZ Citizens Defense League, the Arizona pro-gun rights organization, issued this response on their Facebook page to Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of SB 1467.
SB 1467, the AzCDL-requested Campus Carry bill, was vetoed by Governor Brewer on April 18, 2011.

SB 1467 would simply have prevented the governing boards of colleges and universities from prohibiting the "lawful possession or carrying of a weapon on a public right-of-way." That covers streets, sidewalks, etc. open to public use. Her press conference cited concerns about the lack of a definition of a "public right of way" that sounded suspiciously similar to the complaints of the anti-rights forces that have been bombarding the governor and urging her to veto the bill. Apparently, the fact that the term "public right of way" is used numerous times throughout Arizona law does not provide sufficient clarity, at least not when it comes to protecting the rights of the law abiding on our college and university campuses.

The anti-rights crowd has pulled out all the stops this year to prevent teachers, staff, and students in Arizona from having a safe learning environment. East Coast based national groups have beefed up their staff in Arizona. At the Capitol, they have spared no expense on lobbying, including holding a closed meeting with "freshmen" legislators in the House (AzCDL tried to attend but we were stopped at the door). On college and university campuses, they have conducted a series of fear-mongering indoctrination sessions, disguised as "forums," to stop Campus Carry. Sadly, they have also exploited the victims of the January Tucson shooting tragedy in order to intimidate nervous legislators. Now, they appear to have succeeded in convincing an otherwise pro-rights governor to ensure that campuses remain safe havens for criminals and dangerous places for students.

Let's make sure the governor doesn't make any more mistakes because she listened to bad advice. SB 1201 is still awaiting action by the governor, and if we act now, we can make sure the anti-rights crowd isn't the only voice heard.

SB 1201 is the AzCDL-requested bill that says that if a state or local government office (Public Establishment) is going to ban firearms, then security measures (metal detectors, armed guards, etc.) must be in place to ensure that no one is capable of bringing in a firearm without detection. Under current law, all that's needed is a "No Firearms" sign and a place to lock up your firearm. This has had the perverse effect of disarming the law-abiding while allowing those with no respect for the law to remain armed at will.

It's time to let the Governor know that you support the passage of SB 1201 and urge her to sign it into law.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The New Head Of The Democratic National Committee On Guns

Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) was selected to head the Democratic National Committee earlier this month. She will succeed former Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine who plans to run for Sen. Jim Webb's seat.

The choice to be head of the DNC came down to Wasserman Schultz and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Gov. Strickland was pro-gun and pro-life. As Doug Powers said about the choice on
I didn’t believe it when I heard that the Democrats chose an anti gun control pro-lifer who’s opposed to the health care law to be the next head of the DNC, and sure enough, my disbelief has been totally confirmed.

UPDATE: The Hill has a full story on new DNC head Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her anti-gun positions. I'm guessing she wants to remain in the Minority while serving in the House of Representatives given these comments.
"It is outrageous that gun buyers evade the background-check system every day, even in broad daylight," Wasserman Schultz said Monday at a gun-reform rally in Miami sponsored by Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

"While we likely cannot end all gun violence, we certainly can do much, much better," she added. "We have laws on the books designed to keep guns out of the hands of those that should not have them. We just need to close the loopholes and improve the information available to law enforcement."