Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Mexican Ambassador Can Go Screw Himself

When the ambassador of a neighboring nation disparages our Second Amendment rights and our commitment to them, in my humble opinion, he can go screw himself. The Ambassador of Mexico to the United States, Arturo Sarukhan, suggested today that our concerns about his country's attempts to denigrate our Second Amendment rights is "gobbledygook".
In a slap at gun-rights advocates, the Mexican ambassador to the U.S. dismissed accusations that Mexico is seeking to undermine the Second Amendment in order to curb the influx of U.S.-purchased guns.

“There is an urban myth out there that somehow the Mexican government ... is seeking to lobby against and destroy the rights enshrined in the Second Amendment,” said Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan. “This is gobbledygook.”
He also praised the Obama Administration's multiple rifle purchase reporting requirement in the Southwest border states but then said that the cartel's will just look elsewhere.

Well, duh! They have already looked elsewhere and that elsewhere is your own army as well to Guatemala and quite possibly Chavez's Venezuela.

If you would like to give the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary from the Republic of Mexico a piece of your mind, the Embassy's phone number is 202-728-1600 and you can send an email through this form on their website.

According to the article, representatives from the NRA and NSSF didn't take his comments lying down.
Sarukhan was making excuses for Mexico's failure to curb police, judicial and military corruption that undermines its pursuit of the cartels, they said.

“There's finger-pointing at America but no mention of the corruption so pervasive in Mexico,” said Andrew Arulanandam, spokesman for the National Rifle Association, when asked for reaction to Sarukhan's comments.

“Restricting the Second Amendment rights of Americans is neither an option nor a solution to Mexico's internal crime problem,” said Lawrence Keane, general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, which represents gun manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers.

NC Wildlife Resouces Commission Backs More Public Ranges

Gordon Myers, Executive Director of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, testified last week before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans, and Insular Affairs. They were holding hearings on HR 3065 - the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act. Mr. Myers was testifying in favor of the bill on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

From the release put out by the NCWRC:
H.R. 3065, named “Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act,” promotes construction and maintenance of public shooting ranges. The bill was introduced in the House by Reps. Heath Shuler (D-N.C.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) as a companion bill to a similar piece of legislation introduced in the Senate.

HR 3065 provides incentives for states to develop much-needed shooting ranges on federal and nonfederal lands by increasing the amount each state could spend of its Pittman-Robertson grant funds on shooting ranges. Because these funds are allocated to states on a formula basis, changing the reimbursement rate would not result in increased federal spending.

Further, this bill does not require a state to use the money on ranges. Instead, it provides incentives. All of these incentives would enhance the ability of states to build and maintain shooting ranges. Based on Fiscal Year 2011 apportionments, North Carolina would be eligible to allocate an additional $700K of its apportioned funds to build or upgrade shooting ranges in our state.

“It seems fitting that this legislation is being considered as wildlife agencies, industries, and conservation groups have come together this year to mark a hallmark partnership that has led to 75 years of quality hunting, shooting, and wildlife-related recreation,” Myers said. “The Pittman-Robertson Act is the cornerstone and the life blood of one of the most significant and successful partnership approaches to fish and wildlife conservation in our nation’s history.

“More and more governmental lands are being closed, and fewer and fewer outdoor ranges are being built. The effects of this pattern are amplified by increased urbanization. It is simply harder and harder to find a place to shoot.”

Myers explained the need to address emerging patterns that hinder successful implementation of this conservation model. The shortage of shooting ranges is detrimental to the future of recreational shooting. It is jeopardizing the ability to practice the safe handling of firearms, and it is diminishing opportunities to participate in our nation’s longstanding user-pay, public-benefit conservation model.

“In North Carolina, one of the principle impediments to shooting range development is the initial capital cost attributed to land acquisition, facility design and construction,” Myers said. “H.R. 3065 includes a combination of key incentives that significantly reduce these barriers.

“Shooting sports are a part of our heritage. Further, recreational shooting is growing in numbers. To accommodate this growth, as well as to ensure that hunters continue have places to shoot and practice firearms safety, and that ranges are available to train law enforcement and members of our military, we need to provide and maintain the infrastructure necessary to support these activities.”
Currently the Wildlife Resources Commission has only one range. This is located at the Cold Mountain Game Land in Haywood County. This is the same Cold Mountain featured in the book and movie of the same name. Given that the range is a 15-20 minute drive from my house I am one of the lucky ones. It is a nice range and it is free. The only downside is that you can't shoot on Sundays.

The Black Pastor Not Invited To Meeting

Attorney General Eric Holder held a meeting on Wednesday with a number of African-American religious leaders to discuss ways that they can discuss political issues (and support President Obama) without endangering their tax-exempt status. One of the major issues that they will discuss is Voter ID laws.

Rep. Emanual Cleaver (D-MO) had this to say as reported by the Washington Examiner:
"We will have representatives from nine denominations who actually pastor somewhere in the neighborhood of about 10 million people, and we're going to first of all equip them with the information they need to know about what they can say and what they cannot say in the church that would violate their 501c3 status with the IRS," Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., told MSNBC today.

"In fact, we're going to have the IRS administrator there, we're going to have the Attorney General Eric Holder there, we're going to have the lawyers' organization from around the country, the ACLU -- all giving ministers guidance about what they can and cannot do," he noted.

Cleaver said they would not tell pastors which candidate to support. They will let them know who to regard as the bad guys, though (hint: not Democrats). "We're going to talk about some of the draconian laws that have cropped up around the country as a result of the 17 percent increase in African American votes," Cleaver said, describing voter ID laws as a form of Jim Crow-style "poll tax" on seniors and black voters.
One African-American pastor not invited to the meeting was Rev. Kenn Blanchard. NRA News' Ginny Simone interviewed Kenn about this meeting as well as the attempt to use black clergy to put pressure on Speaker John Boehner over a contempt citation for Eric Holder.

Kenn didn't hold back in the interview. He described many of those who claim to be "civil rights veterans" as mere opportunists who are not even close to following in MLK's footsteps. That is pretty powerful stuff!

ATF And Local Police Invade Wrong House In Colorado

SWAT teams and drug task forces raiding the wrong house isn't a new story or, unfortunately, even a rare one. Radley Balko has written many stories about these raids and the tragic aftermath. If it isn't the homeowner getting killed, it is the family dog.

Fortunately for Amanda Griego of Greeley, Colorado neither she nor her son Colby were physically injured when a combined ATF-Greeley PD task force knocked down her front door at 7 am on the morning of June 15, 2010. They were looking for a previous tenant by the name of Angela who had not resided at the location for over a year. Moreover, officers from the Greeley Police Department had been informed she didn't live there twice preceding the day of the raid.

Ms. Griego filed suit in US District Court for the District of Colorado on Tuesday charging the Greeley Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the City of Greeley with violating her 4th Amendment rights. The lawsuit names Officer Alan Steinhage and the unnamed officers and agents of the entry team in both individual and official capacities. It would seem that her attorney is trying to pierce the veil of qualified immunity in this case.
Ms. Griego alleges that Defendants violated her and her son’s Fourth Amendment rights when, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, and with deliberate indifference to her constitutional rights, entered her home without a warrant, without consent, without exigent circumstances, and without any basis for believing they had any legal right to enter the home.
Ms. Griego was not shown any warrant at the time of the raid nor has she ever been shown one since despite her requests to see it according to the complaint.

The reporter in the video above is correct in that "Angela" is still listed in databases at that address. Even though the reporter blacked-out her last name in the video, you can still read it. When I did a search for that name in Greeley, I found three people with that name in three different locations in Greeley. However, given the local police had visited Ms. Griego's house twice prior to the raid, you would have to think they could have found the correct address.

I think, unfortunately, when all is said and done that Ms. Griego's suit will be dismissed because the court will accept the officers' claim of qualified immunity. It won't be right and her son will continue to have nightmares of that morning in June.

"I Got Shot In The Buttock"

This is what Lakita Owens must be telling her friends now. That is because this is exactly where Mrs. Owens was shot when her husband, Harrisburg (PA) Bureau of Police Officer William Owens, "was showing his gun to family and friends during a get-together at his Harrisburg home...when his city-issued firearm discharged multiple times."
>(Dauphin County District Attorney Edward) Marsico said investigators do not believe the shooting was intentional, but charges could be brought if they determine the act was reckless. He couldn't say how many shots were fired, just that there were more than one.

Investigators are also looking into what role, if any, alcohol played in the incident, Marsico said.

William Owens' family and friends were socializing when they began discussing firearms, Marsico said. That's when William Owens' brought out his gun to show the group, Marsico said.

William Owens, who is suspended without pay, declined comment on the incident, citing the ongoing investigation.

Fortunately, Mrs. Owens is recovering and in good condition. I'm not so sure about Officer Owens' career in law enforcement.

This is not an accidental discharge; it is a negligent discharge. I don't know the department issue firearm for Harrisburg but pistols don't fire without a finger on the trigger. Officer Owens violated, at the very least, Rules 2 and 3. The reports do not indicate whether Officer Owens was actually carrying the pistol or not when he brought out his gun. They do say he had been out for the last 18 months on disability.

One of the great fallacies is the "Only Ones" are gun experts. While this may be the case with trainers such as Dave Spaulding, Massad Ayoob, or the late Jim Cirillo, the average cop shoots only enough to qualify. Moreover, given budget cutbacks, this is getting even worse unless the cop buys his own ammo with which to practice.

I'm not here to bash cops but being responsible is being responsible. You and I are held to that standard and so should police officers.

A Mid-Week Tab Clearing

I have been too busy this week to be able to post on some of the stories I've been following. Three day weekends are great until you realize you have to cram five days of work into four days.

On the Project Gunwalker front, Mike Vanderboegh reports in a pair of posts that Speaker John Boehner is being lobbied by Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights & The Leadership Conference Education Fund to back off on a contempt citation for Attorney General Eric Holder. He has their letter here. You do have to wonder why a group like the National Association of Social Workers National Center for Transgender Equality is involved in this when their focus should be LGBT issues.

And speaking of "human rights", the United States was criticized by the People's Republic of China aka Red China over gun ownership which the ChiComms consider a human rights violation. Other than being worried about armed resistance if they ever tried a Red Dawn II on the US, what business is it of theirs? As Tam says, you've got to be kidding me. David Codrea has more on it here.

Over at God, Gals, Guns, Grub, there is a feature on the Ruger SR9 and SR9c. His family standardized on it a while back and he discusses why. I have both the SR9 and SR9c and like them both. I shot both training classes I've taken with the SR9 and had nary a misfire. I might mention that if you want some precision parts for your SR9 or SR9c, check out Galloway Precision. They are a local company which makes a number of improvements for the SR9 similar to what Apex Tactical does for the M&P.

Finally, Paul Valone, the Charlotte Gun Rights Examiner and President of GRNC, has a post on the involvement of a Bloomberg supported group in an effort to overturn North Carolina's Stand Your Ground/Castle Doctrine laws. I outlined the new bill introduced into the NC General Assembly that is intended to do that earlier this week.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

HR 5846 - The Second Amendment Sovereignty Act (Updated)

Representatives Ben Quayle (R-AZ) and Denny Rehberg (R-MT) have introduced HR 5846 - the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act - which is intended to counter the UN's proposed Arms Trade Treaty. During the Bush Administration, the US actively worked against this treaty as they felt it violated the Second Amendment rights of its citizens. The Obama Administration, by contrast, is a willing participant in this effort.

While the text of HR 5846 has not been released yet, Rep. Quayle did have this to say:
WASHINGTON (DC) – Congressman Ben Quayle today proposed the Second Amendment Sovereignty Act of 2012 in order to protect American gun owners from potential regulation from the United Nation’s Arms Trade Treaty (ATT). The Arms Trade Treaty is to be finalized by the UN this year, and could potentially contain a number of provisions which directly conflict with the constitutional rights of American citizens. This bill blocks funding to negotiate, or implement this treaty.

“The second amendment is an individual constitutional right and we must never allow that right to be trampled on by an international treaty” Quayle said. “This UN treaty is a direct threat to American sovereignty and the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Among other faulty provisions, the Arms Trade Treaty might require participating nations to establish national gun registries to ensure that domestically produced weapons aren’t exported. The treaty also requires that nations that allow the production of firearms within their borders set up a compensation fund to pay for violence that occurs in other nations.

Quayle continued, “law abiding American gun owners should never have to pay compensation or damages for violence in foreign countries that they had absolutely nothing to do with. This is typical United Nations overreach, and the United States should not allow it under any circumstances.”

Congressman Quayle has been an ardent proponent of the right of Americans to bear arms. “Congress needs to put its foot down, and make clear that it, not the United Nations, is the only body with the constitutional right to impose laws in the United States” Quayle concluded.
In addition, Rep. Rehberg successfully proposed an amendment last week to the FY2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would cut off funding for any effort to advocate or agree to any of the provisions of the Arms Trade Treaty. His amendment passed on a 30-20 vote in committee.

From Rehberg's release:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Montana's Congressman, Denny Rehberg, today successfully added an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to block funding to advocate for or agree to any provision of a United Nations (UN) small arms treaty that would restrict the Second Amendment rights of American citizens or further regulate U.S. firearms users or manufacturers. The amendment was adopted in committee by a vote of 30-20.

“The Bill of Rights are simply not subject to the authority of the United Nations or any other international body,” said Rehberg, a member of the Second Amendment Task Force with an A+ Rating from the National Rifle Association. “President Obama and his Senate allies have waged a proxy war on gun rights, appointing anti-gun Supreme Court justices and deferring to international laws. But the Second Amendment is crystal clear, and I’m going to do everything I can to protect law abiding gun owners from President Obama’s dangerous agenda.”

The UN is currently planning on entering into negotiations over an international Arms Trade Treaty that would provide a standard for regulating arms sales internationally. For advocates of the Second Amendment, this poses a number of problems from actual gun rights to a question of sovereignty.

While the previous administration was reliably opposed to entering into talks on a UN Arms Trade Treaty, the anti-gun Obama Administration reversed that position and on October 30, 2009, the US voted in the General Assembly to support UN-sponsored talks on a treaty to regulate the $55 billion-a-year trade in conventional weapons.

While a treaty would require Senate ratification, the Senate has lately been eager to rubber stamp President Obama’s treaty agenda, including most notably, New START which requires unilateral US nuclear disarmament.

“Taxpayer funds should not be used to lobby against our constitutional rights. Law-abiding Americans have the right to keep and bear arms. The scope of the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty could drastically undermine this constitutional right. The NRA firmly believes that the U.N. should never be allowed to be the arbiter of American freedom,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director for NRA's Institute for Legislative Action. “The NRA would like to thank Congressman Rehberg for his leadership and for offering this vital amendment in support of the Second Amendment.”

Of course, we are portrayed as being part of the Tin-Foil Hat Brigade by Think Progress which holds that there is no treaty and even if there were one, it wouldn't impinge upon our Second Amendment rights.

I hate to tell the journalists at Think Progress but reliance upon Snopes is not the be-all and end-all that they portray it to be. There is an Arms Trade Treaty being drafted at the United Nations, the Obama Administration has been a willing participant, and groups such as SAF and the NRA have sent NGO representatives to these meetings.

UPDATE: The text of HR 5846 has been released.

To prohibit funding to negotiate a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty that restricts the Second Amendment rights of United States citizens.

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 `Second Amendment Sovereignty Act of 2012'.


(a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:

(1) In October 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the United States support and participation in negotiating the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to be finalized in 2012, signaling a shift in United States policy.

(2) An Arms Trade Treaty that regulates the domestic manufacturer, possession, or purchase of civilian firearms and ammunition would infringe on the rights of United States citizens protected under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

(b) Sense of Congress- It is the sense of Congress that the sovereignty of the United States and the constitutionally protected freedoms of American gun owners must be upheld and not be undermined by the Arms Trade Treaty.


No funds may be obligated or expended to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States, in connection with negotiations for a United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, to restrict in any way the rights of United States citizens under the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, or to otherwise regulate domestic manufacture, assembly, possession, use, transfer, or purchase of firearms, ammunition, or related items, including small arms, light weapons, or related materials.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Counter-Attack On NC's Castle Doctrine Law

The attack on North Carolina's Castle Doctrine and Stand Your Ground law has begun. Today, a group of Democratic legislators introduced HB 1192 - Amend Castle Doctrine/Repeal Stand Ground. This bill would remove many of the hard-won protections that finally passed in 2011 (SL2011-268) especially those related to the workplace and in motor vehicles.

The text of the bill is below:

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 14-51.2 is repealed.
SECTION 2. G.S. 14-51.3 is repealed.
SECTION 3. G.S. 14-51.4 is repealed.
SECTION 4. Article 14 of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new section to read:
"§ 14-51.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder.
(a) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder's unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.
(b) A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence does not have a duty to retreat from an intruder in the circumstances described in this section.
(c) This section is not intended to repeal, expand, or limit any other defense that may exist under the common law."
SECTION 5. This act becomes effective December 1, 2012, and applies to offenses committed on or after that date.
The primary sponsors of this bill are Rep. Alma Adams (D-Guilford), Rep. William Wainwright (D-Craven), Rep. Mickey Michaux (D-Durham), and Rep. Rodney Moore (D-Mecklenburg). Rep. Rosa Gill (D-Wake), and Rep. Pricey Harrison (D-Guilford) are co-sponsors of the bill. All of the legislators with the exception of Pricey Harrison are African-American. Harrison, an heir to the Jefferson Standard Insurance fortune, has sponsored gun control bills in the past including a proposal to create a centralized database of those denied pistol permits in North Carolina. Pistol purchase permits it should be remembered are a remnant of the Jim Crow era and was a way to deny blacks their Second Amendment rights.

The first section removed established the presumption of a reasonable fear of death or severe bodily harm for which deadly force could be used in the home, workplace, or motor vehicle if a person had unlawfully and forcibly entered (or was in the process of doing it) the home, car, or workplace. It also protected the lawful use of defensive force from civil liability.

The second section being removed deals with the defense of person and the use of force to protect oneself if you believe you are in danger of death or severe bodily injury. The current law also removed the duty to retreat as well a protected someone defending him or herself in accordance with the law from civil liability.

Finally, the third part of the Castle Doctrine removed, GS 14-51.4, states that the justification for use of defensive force is not available to anyone in the commission of a felony as well as to anyone who provoked an encounter. However, the person provoking the encounter can regain justification for the use of defensive force if they have explicitly backed off or if they have no possible way to retreat and the provoked person is about to kill them.

Frankly, HB 1192 is about making a political statement and not about changing the existing Castle Doctrine and Duty to Retreat. It has no chance of passing in this General Assembly and the sponsors know it. I'm just surprised that they haven't named it the "Trayvon(TM) Martin Memorial Act". I guess that would be even a bit much for this group of legislators.

Military Bureaucracy

With Memorial Day still fresh in our memories, I thought it a good time to discuss a couple of stories concerning the military that I read recently.

The first deals with an order sent out by TACOM Life Cycle Management Command. TACOM stands for Tanks-automotive and Armaments Command. They are responsible for a lot of the military's weapons system research and development as well as managing the existing inventory.

In mid-April they sent out a directive concerning magazines for the M4 and M16. The directive stated that only the military issue aluminum magazines were authorized for use and that commercial polymer magazines such as the Magpul PMAGs were not authorized.
2. Issue: TACOM has become aware of units ordering 30 rd. commercial (i.e. polymer, etc.) magazines for their M4/M16 family of weapons. The M4/M16 Army authorized magazines are the following: NSN 1005-00-561-7200 (improved magazine) and NSN 1005-00-921-5004 (older magazine; use until exhaustion).

3. User Actions: TM 9-1005-319-10, the Additional Authorized List (AAL),
states that NSN 1005-00-921-5004 is authorized, as well as NSN 1005-00-561-7200. Units may use the older magazine NSN 1005-00-921-5004 with the green follower until exhausted. The improved magazine is available in stock, NSN 1005-00-561-7200, and has a tan follower. The improved magazine features an improved follower and follower spring. These new features help to reduce the risk of magazine-related stoppages. Units are only authorized to use the Army authorized magazines listed in the technical manuals. Remember; "tan-is the plan, green-start to lean, black-take it back." Magazines with the black follower are the oldest and should be turned in to your unit supply sergeant or local supply point.
While this directive attracted some attention on military-oriented forums such as, it was not until a feature story in that the issue picked up steam. What makes this directive even more puzzling is that the Magpul PMAG not only has a NSN (National Stock Number) assigned to it but millions of them have been purchased for use by troops in the field. Moreover, anecdotal evidence from the field indicates that the PMAG is more reliable.
The decision has left combat troops puzzled, since the PMAG has an Army-approved national stock number, which allows units to order them through the Army supply system.

“This just follows a long line of the Army, and military in general, not listening to the troops about equipment and weaponry,” said one Army infantryman serving in Southwest Afghanistan, who asked not to be identified.

“The PMAG is a great product … lightweight and durable. I have seen numerous special ops teams from all services pass through here, and they all use PMAGs. Also, a large amount of Marine infantry here use PMAGS, including their Force Recon elements.”

TACOM officials said the message was issued because of “numerous reports that Army units are using unauthorized magazines,” TACOM spokesman Eric Emerton said in a written response to questions from Emerton added that only “authorized NSNs have ever been included in the technical manuals. Just because an item has an NSN, does not mean the Army is an authorized user.”

This seems to be a complete policy reversal, since PMAGs are standard issue with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment and they have been routinely issued to infantry units before war-zone deployments.
It sounds to me like TACOM Life Cycle Management Command has a serious case of "not invented here" going on. While the thought of being able to pick up a bunch of surplus PMAGs cheap is appealing, I most certainly don't want to do it at the expense of soldiers and Marines serving in the front lines. For me to have a mag misfeed is an inconvenience; for a soldier in combat it is a matter of life and death.

I would hate to see a decade of actual combat experience with weapons and other equipment tossed as the military cuts back and begins to adopt the bureaucratic garrison mentality of yesteryear. Or as said about this story "In case you had any doubt that the Army considers the war over and is circling its wagons to recreate the peacetime Army.."

For more extended discussions on the magazine directive, read the comments at the KitUp Blog,, the Firearm Blog, and SoldierSystems.

The second article was by Brig. General Mark Arnold in the Armed Forces Journal. Arnold is the commander of the Army Reserve's 100th Division and is the President and CEO of GSE Environmental which makes geosynthetic lining products for a variety of industries. The article by General Arnold is entitled "Don't Promote Mediocrity."

The article argues that the current system for promoting officers and NCOs is outdated. Not only is it outdated but it serves to promote mediocrity by promoting based upon the person's time in the service and not their abilities.
Largely unchanged since 1947, military human resources policies reward compliance, not performance or innovation. The HR bureaucracies are quantity-driven, not talent-focused. They are narrowly focused on assigning officers to jobs that align with their branch or specialty, with little consideration given to individual inclinations for assignments and almost none to past performance for O-2s through O-4s.

Yet the employment expectations of highly talented people changed a generation ago. The desire for lifetime employment has been replaced by a desire for lifetime employability. That means they vote with their feet when employers fail to reward performance, fail to give people a voice in their work and fail to fire bad bosses.

Indeed, a 2010 study by the Army Research Institute found that the main reason talented people leave is not the lure of a lucrative civilian career, but because mediocre people stay in and get promoted.

Year-group systems promote high talent at nearly the same pace as mediocre and below-average officers during their first 20 years of service. For instance, the active-duty Army promoted 99 percent of lieutenants to captain and 95 percent of captains to major during its 2011 boards. In 2010, selection rates for Army O-5s were 94 percent and above 85 percent in all other services. This is unheard of in the private sector. It rings loudly of institutionalizing mediocrity at best, and poisoning the pool of future senior leaders at worst.
Arnold proposes a number of changes including the elimination of the "up or out" promotion culture and the mentoring of rising talent by senior officers much like GE does with their up and coming executives. This latter proposal is much the same way that Gen. George Marshall operated throughout his career. He kept tabs on those he considered to be promising officers and he put this to use at the beginning of WWII. Marshall's list of promising officers reads like a who's who of WWII generals: Eisenhower, Bradley, Maxwell Taylor, and Matthew Ridgeway.

The military is in the process of undergoing force reductions. They have a war-tested officer corps as well as a tested mid-level group of NCOs. They know who is a leader, who performs, and who doesn't. If we are to have drastic force reductions, we need the cream of the crop running the leaner and, hopefully, meaner military at the company and battalion levels. We as a nation cannot afford to have the military run at the operational level by those who have reached the level of their own incompetence aka the Peter Principle.

Oh, Just Like A Sex Offender Registry

CBS ran a story this weekend on the growth in concealed carry permits in El Paso County, Colorado. Sheriff Terry Maketa says he believes in them and signs an average of 85 permits a week. El Paso County has the highest percentage of CCWs per capita in the state of Colorado.

Of course in the interest of providing balance, CBS's Jeff Glor had to interview Dan Gross of the Brady Campaign. Gross's comments were interesting.
Forty nine states, every one except Illinois, have some form of concealed carry but not all require permits, including Alaska, Arizona, Vermont and Wyoming. There is no national database on who has the weapons, something Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, thinks needs to change.

"I am willing to accept that the majority of concealed carry permit holders are law-abiding citizens," said Gross. "That's not where this debate or conversation needs to be. It needs to be on the percentage that are not."
So Dan Gross believes that there should be a national database of concealed carry holders which is publicly accessible. Hmm, that sounds just like the databases of convicted sex offenders. Will CCW holders be required to notify their neighbors that they hold a permit? Will you be able to go online and pull up all CCW holders within a certain distance from your home? Will permit holders need to get the permission of authorities if they want to change their residences? Will permit holders by banned through zoning of residing in certain areas of a town because it is too close to a school?

I'm sure the Brady Campaign would deny that they want concealed carry permit holders to be treated just the same as convicted sex offenders. Nonetheless, a public, national registry would have a similar impact and that would make the gun prohibitionists very happy.

Monday, May 28, 2012

On This Memorial Day

In going through some of my Dad's old papers, I found this from his second tour of duty in South Vietnam in 1970. He was serving as the First Sergeant for Co. A of the 554th Engineer Battalion (Construction). It is an inventory of equipment that was assigned to him as First Sergeant. What's cool about it is that it lists the Pistol, Caliber .45, (Automatic, M1911A1) that was assigned to him including its serial number. As I know he didn't get to keep it, I wonder what ever became of it.

He was originally drafted into the Army in October 1940 and served during WWII. He rejoined the Army in 1953 and continued serving until he was medically retired in April 1972. I should clarify that his medical retirement was not due to wounds received in Vietnam but other health issues. At the time he was in South Vietnam with the 554th Engineer Battalion, he was 51 years old. He passed away in 1981 almost nine years to the day from when he retired.

So on this Memorial Day, I'd like to remember the service of my father and all the men and women who have served and are serving in our Armed Forces.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

NRA Responds To VPC's Misleading Research

While it may be giving the Violence Policy Center more attention than it deserves, I think the NRA-ILA had to respond to the misleading research regarding "gun deaths" versus deaths by motor vehicle. As Tom Gresham continually points out about his Truth Squad project, a lie left unchallenged becomes the truth for many people. The NRA-ILA's post on the subject entitled "Dust Off the Old Stuff--VPC Tries to Revive 'Guns and Cars' and 'Consumer Products' Nonsense" was published on Friday.
In the 1990s, it was common for anti-gun activists to predict that firearm-related deaths--suicides, murders, self-defense shootings by private citizens, shootings by law enforcement officers, and accidents combined--would soon outnumber motor vehicle accident deaths.

It was also common for them to demand that the design and manufacture of firearms be subject to the Consumer Products Safety Commission or the Bureu (sic) of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Their goal was to get handguns banned by setting standards higher than any handgun manufacturer could achieve, at least at a price the market would bear. For example, in 2000, the Violence Policy Center said "Congress should vest the Department of the Treasury [to which BATF belonged at the time] with strong authority to regulate the design, manufacture, and distribution of firearms. Such authority should include the ability to remove from the market firearms that pose a serious threat to public health and safety. . . . Products such as three-wheel ATVs and lawn darts had related death rates microscopic in comparison to handguns, but were nevertheless banned."

To anti-gun activists' dismay, the closest that motor vehicle accidents came to accounting for fewer deaths than all five categories of firearm-related deaths combined was in 1993, when firearm-related deaths hit an all-time high, one year after motor vehicle accident deaths fell to their lowest point since 1962. But even then, motor vehicle accidents accounted for 2,298 more deaths than all categories of firearm-related deaths combined.

Fast forward to the present. This week, the VPC claimed that in 2009, firearm-related deaths outnumbered motor vehicle accident deaths in 10 states. It said, "Motor vehicle deaths are on the decline as the result of a successful decades-long public health-based injury prevention strategy that includes safety-related changes to vehicles and highway design informed by comprehensive data collection and analysis. Meanwhile, firearms are the only consumer product not regulated by the federal government for health and safety."

That's baloney, of course. The reason that anti-gun activists dropped their "cars and guns" propaganda more than a decade ago is that after 1993, motor vehicle accident deaths began increasing sharply, despite massive government regulation of vehicles, drivers and roads, while deaths involving firearms began decreasing. So great did the disparity between the two trends eventually become, that by 2004 there were 15,364 more motor vehicle accident deaths than all firearm-related deaths combined.

VPC knows that, but it brought up "cars and guns" this week anyway, for a couple of reasons.

First, cranking out "analyses" that insult the intelligence of a fence post is what the Joyce Foundation pays the VPC to do.

Second, with people driving less--due in large part to the lack of jobs and high gasoline prices--deaths from motor vehicle accidents dropped from 43,945 in 2007 (the year before the economic recession began) to 36,216 in 2009 (the last year for which national data have been reported). In the 10 states on VPC's list, decreases ranged from 6.1 percent in Colorado to 37.6 percent in Nevada.

Nationally, firearm-related deaths remained fairly steady, at 31,224 in 2007 and 31,347 in 2009, with decreases in homicides and accidents. But firearm and non-firearm suicides, each of which accounts for half of suicides, both increased from 2007 to 2009. Suicides account for nearly 60 percent of firearm-related deaths, and between 2007 and 2009 firearm suicides increased in nine of the 10 states on VPC's list.

Of course, it's pointless to compare vehicle accident statistics to those for the aggregate of five categories of firearm-related deaths. There's little similarity between motor vehicle accidents and firearm accidents, and none whatsoever between vehicle accidents and firearm suicides and homicides. For example, more than 90 percent of people who commit suicide suffer from depression, other mental disorders, and/or a substance-abuse disorder. Other risk factors for suicide include a prior suicide attempt or a family history of mental disorder, substance abuse, suicide or family violence. There is also evidence suggesting that suicides can be instigated by news media coverage of suicides and by exposure to suicide themes in literature and entertainment. By contrast, risk factors for motor vehicle accidents include excessive speed, fatigue, poor eyesight and ambient conditions limiting visibility, travelling in darkness and bad weather, mechanically unsound vehicles, and defects in road design and maintenance.

Since we're on the subject of motor vehicle accidents, let's all remember to be especially safe on the roads over the Memorial Day Weekend. Next week, with the holiday behind us, there will be plenty of time to remember how full of beans anti-gun activists can be.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Citizens Committee On HB 489

The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms just released an alert on North Carolina's HB 489 and the attempt to overturn the Bateman ruling.

The alert:
BELLEVUE, WA – The Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms is alerting North Carolina gun owners that state lawmakers are attempting to pass a new “emergency powers” law that may be more restrictive than the one a federal judge just struck down.

House Bill 489, according to Grass Roots North Carolina, would enable cities to restrict firearms rights in the home in emergencies, something they never had the authority to do. Attorney Alan Gura, who represented GRNC and the Second Amendment Foundation in the recently-won federal lawsuit striking down the state’s emergency power to regulate firearms in a declared emergency, says that anyone who tries to enforce a ban on guns under this new legislation would lose qualified immunity.

The legislation, now in the Senate Judiciary I committee, establishes “dangerous weapons restrictions in emergencies.”

CCRKBA Chairman Alan Gottlieb said the new proposal suggests that North Carolina lawmakers responsible for this bill “either simply don’t get it or they are determined to undermine a constitutionally-protected civil right no matter what a judge says.”

“The federal court ruled against this sort of emergency regulation, but the legislature is turning around and trying to pass an even more restrictive law,” he observed.

CCRKBA is urging firearms owners to contact their state senator to oppose the measure.

“Try to adopt bad legislation in an effort to replace a bad law that was struck down by a federal judge is not just bad policy,” Gottlieb said, “it is an egregious abuse of legislative power.”

I Just Love (Southern) Politicians

I thought the days of the old-time Southern politician in the mold of Huey Long or any of the other rascals like him were long gone. The type of politician who would portray himself in public as a God-fearing, tea-drinking, gun-owning, pro-American family man with a pretty wife and cute kids while in private he wasn't above having a nip or two and consorting with college co-eds.

SC State Rep. Ted Vick (Chesterfield Cty) has restored my faith in Southern politicians. He is was running for Congress in the new 7th District of South Carolina. On his campaign website, he notes that he is "a businessman, a farmer, a pastor, a sportsman, a soldier and a state representative" who is seeking to return values like "hard work, common sense, and bipartisanship" to Washington. Vick is also a Lt. Col. in the SC National Guard.

He was considered one of the leading candidates in the race. He was even mentioned in an article in the Washington Post about possibly being one of the surprises of this election cycle. However, that was before his little escapade early Thursday morning.

Rep. Vick was stopped in Columbia for doing 44 mph in a 30 zone. A little over the limit but nothing major except:
  • He had been bar hopping.
  • He refused the sobriety test and was charged with DUI.
  • He was carrying a Kel-Tec .380 pistol in his pocket.
  • His concealed carry license expired in 2007.
  • He had a woman in the car with him.
  • The woman was not his wife but a 21-year old recent graduate of USC whom he met in a bar.
Ooops! Rep. Vick has been charged with DUI, speeding, and for the unlawful carrying of a firearm without a permit. He also spent the night in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and was released on his own recognizance.

Vick announced just a litle while ago that he is ending his campaign for Congress.
"After spending time with my family, my pastor and my friends, I have decided to end my campaign for the United States Congress.

While I have full confidence that the legal system will clear much of this up, it will not change the fact that I made some serious mistakes that I alone am responsible for. I realize that I have caused pain to those who love and support me and it's my responsibility to make this right.

Now is the time to allow the legal system to work, time for me to concentrate on my family and time for me to focus on the needs of my State House constituents.

I look forward to spending more time at home with my family and constituents. I will humbly seek re-election to the State House in November. If re-elected I will continue to work across party aisles to seek consensus and progress."

Now have I left anything out? Hmm. The 21-year old not-his-wife woman was blond (his wife has brown hair) and Mr. Vick is a Democrat who recently made news when he quit the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC.

A Disturbance In The Force

To paraphrase Darth Vader, "I detect a disturbance in the gun blogger force."

That disturbance in the force is because Frank W. James - Farmer Frank - of Corn, Beans, Spent Brass, An Empty Page and A Deadline has decided to hang it up after four years. The frustrations he felt with the constraints of Blogger and some of their new "features" was too much for him. He made the announcement on Tuesday in his final post.
I've never made a dime off this blog, so by my father's estimation it has had zero commercial value and my time was wasted......UNLESS I enjoyed it.

And I did for a long time, for over 4 years in fact, but due to the changes being made in the software that Blogger is now putting forth, I no longer enjoy it. In fact, this damn thing has become work.

Work that has zero value because Dad was right, I'm not getting paid anything for it, so it has had no value.

The alternatives in my view are worse because in just about all the acceptable (to me in terms of usage rules) cases I will have to spend money to do this nonsense which means by Dad's reasoning my 'work' would have less than 'zero' value. It would have a negative value solely for 'vanity' purposes. That's pretty lame and it's not going to happen.

So, after approximately 480,000 visits and 626,000 page views over just 4 years of duration, this blog experiment has come to an end.

I'm glad I got to meet Frank at the recent NRA Annual Meeting. I know I will miss his blog. He promises to do guest blogging in the future for movie and book reviews. I plan to take him up on that offer as I am sure will a number of other bloggers.

It is a damn shame that in the effort to make things "better", technology companies often ruin a decent product. I still can do more with MS Word 2003 than their 2007 version, I'm still not enamored with the Facebook timeline, and, like Frank, I don't really care for the "new" version of Blogger. As my grandma used to muse, "Such as life."

Thursday, May 24, 2012

NRA-ILA's John Frazier Fisks Car Deaths Vs. Gun Deaths Report

John Frazer, NRA-ILA Director of Research & Information, spoke with Cam Edwards yesterday about the report from the Violence Policy Center that purported that "gun deaths" outnumbered those from motor vehicle in some ten states. He notes that accidental deaths are at a low which was not reported.

As to the non-critical reports in many media outlets around the country, he suggests pointing out the fallacies in the report in letters to the editor or comments on the site.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

And Why Again Is It We Can't Own This?

I did a post last year on the CZ Scorpion EVO 3A1. Today, a video of it in action was posted by the folks from Guns and Ammo Magazine.

I'd love to have one of these but I'm not a cop or a Class 3 dealer. And thanks to the Hughes Amendment, it isn't likely that I'll ever get to own one.


Update On Attempt To Negate Bateman Win

Grass Roots North Carolina sent out an update this evening regarding the NC Senate Judiciary I committee substitute for HB 489. The proposed language of this substitute would effectively negate the win that Alan Gura secured in Bateman v. Perdue.

The substitute has been pulled from the calendar to give the Judiciary I committee "more time to study the issue." As to why it was even proposed, GRNC speculates that it was legislative staff run amok.
What is becoming clearer, however, is that this might be a case of inadequately supervised staffers running amok. When emergency management bill HB 843 went to the Senate Judiciary I Committee, it still contained the language found unconstitutional in Bateman. Committee chair Sen. Pete Brunstetter then reportedly gave it to staff to “fix.” But instead of simply repealing the now-unconstitutional gun ban, they apparently took it upon themselves to draft new gun bans. Equally clear is that although HB 489 was Rep. “Skip” Stam’s bill, Stam wasn’t even informed that his bill would be gutted before it was attempted.

What remains to be seen is whether Brunstetter and other Republicans will do the right thing and simply repeal the old ban. Right now, too many are still making noises about using gun bans to combat looting during natural or manmade disasters – once again falling for the old trap of targeting lawful guns instead of unlawful behavior.
GRNC is now asking that people contact their state senator (as opposed to the committee members) and make their displeasure known. You can find out your state senator (if you don't already know) by going to this link and putting in your ZIP+4. If you don't know your ZIP+4, you can find it on your driver's license or most any piece of mail coming to your home.

The suggested letter composed by GRNC reads:
Dear Senator:

I strongly urge you to oppose the Proposed Committee Substitute for House Bill 489: “Dangerous Weapons Restrictions in Emergencies” (H489-CSSA-71 [v.4]). The bill would be more accurately titled: “Gun Rights Authorized by Bureaucrats.”

North Carolina’s existing ban on bearing arms outside the home was recently declared unconstitutional under the Second Amendment by a federal court in the case
Bateman v. Perdue. But instead of simply repealing what is now a largely unenforceable statute, HB 489 would replace it with an even more insidious ban.

That HB 489’s long title describes “authorizing” arms and ammunition in the home speaks volumes about the bill. Language purporting to restrict cities from banning guns outside the home is vague to the point of being useless; the bill is sloppily drafted; and worst of all, it stipulates for the first time which lawful firearm-related activities I may or may not exercise IN MY OWN HOME.

Understand that I will accept NO NEW GUN BANS, but only the repeal of the state of emergency gun ban found unconstitutional in

Please advise me of your position on this issue. I will be monitoring it via Grass Roots North Carolina legislative alerts.

This is too important an issue to just let other people do it. If you live in North Carolina and you value your gun rights, get off your duff, copy and paste this message into an email, and send it.

Expect A Coordinated Campaign

The Violence Policy Center report that compared "gun deaths" with deaths by motor vehicle is, as I pointed out yesterday, misleading. However, that hasn't stopped their friends in the media and the gun control community along with gullible local media from picking up the story.

A quick Google search shows a slew of stories on the report especially from the ten states where so-called gun deaths exceed deaths by motor vehicles. Most of the local media reporting about it do not have the time nor the smarts to question it. They just report it as the gospel truth because it is coming from an organization that is supposedly dedicated to studying violence.

Then you have stories like the one by Brian Dickerson of the Detroit Free Press. Mr. Dickerson is the Editorial Page Editor. While he should know better I don't think he wants to delve into the numbers. He'd rather use it to push his agenda.
But don’t expect the from-my-cold-dead-hands crowd to embrace the center’s conclusion that the disparity has everything to do with federal regulation — extensive and wildly successful in the case of motor vehicles, and virtually non-existent in the case of firearms.

Like I said, expect a coordinated campaign of puffball stories along with tut-tutting editorials and earnest letters to the editors about how we have to do something.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

There Is Research And Then There Is Junk Research

The Violence Policy Center released a report today that analyzed and compared firearm and motor vehicle related deaths for the year 2009 on a state-by-state basis. They found that in ten states firearm related deaths outnumbered  deaths caused by motor vehicles. These states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington

VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand states, “Americans are reaping the benefits of smart safety regulation of motor vehicles. The idea that gun deaths exceed motor vehicle deaths in 10 states is stunning when one considers that 90 percent of American households own a car while fewer than a third own firearms. It is also important to consider that motor vehicles--unlike guns--are essential to the functioning of the entire U.S. economy. It is time to end firearms’ status as the last unregulated consumer product.”
As a result of their study, the Violence Policy Center has proposed a number of regulations, bans, restrictions, and enforcement actions.
Comprehensive regulation of the firearms industry and its products could include: minimum safety standards (i.e., specific design standards and the requirement of safety devices); bans on certain types of firearms such as “junk guns” and military-style assault weapons; limits on firepower; restrictions on gun possession by those convicted of a violent misdemeanor; heightened restrictions on the carrying of loaded guns in public; improved enforcement of current laws restricting gun possession by persons with histories of domestic violence; more detailed and timely data collection on gun production, sales, use in crime, involvement in injury and death; and, public education about the extreme risks associated with exposure to firearms.

America is reaping the benefits of decades of successful injury prevention strategies on its highways, but continues to pay an unacceptable, yet equally preventable, price in lives lost every year to gun violence.
There is only one little problem with their study and recommendations. They have aggregated all deaths from the use of a firearm - homicides, legal interventions (police shootings), suicides, and accidents - into what they call gun violence. In each of the ten states listed, suicides comprise the vast majority of firearm-related deaths. Homicides and legal interventions comprise only a fraction of the firearms-related deaths. This ranges from a low of 14% in Utah to a high of 46% in Michigan.

If you look at their recommendations, they do nothing to reduce suicide. Does it really matter to a person who is intent on committing suicide that they can't use "junk" guns (sic) or a "assault  weapon" (sic) or that there are restrictions on concealed carry? We all know the answer is an unequivocal no.

Suicide is a sad thing. It is painful for those left behind who are left wondering why. It is hard on the law enforcement, EMT, and medical personnel who have to deal with the aftermath. And it is extremely sad that someone has given up all hope of living and decided to take their own life.

If the Violence Policy Center really wanted to propose something useful, they would push for more suicide hotlines. They would advocate for putting mental health treatment on par with other healthcare and not have it treated as a second class illness. They would conduct research into the root causes of suicide.

If VPC really wanted to look at the numbers, it would find that there were more suicides - 36,909 - than deaths from motor vehicles and only about half of those were committed with a firearm. Moreover, deaths from suffocation (hanging) and poisoning outnumbered homicides by almost 4,000 deaths.

VPC doesn't really want to propose useful solutions nor do they really want to look at the numbers. They do junk research to promote their gun prohibitionist agenda and to continue getting money from the deep pockets of organizations like the Joyce Foundation. It is actually rather pathetic.

UPDATE: Sebastian has more on just how dependent VPC has become on that grant money. Support from donations now comprise less than 20% of their total revenues and you can guess where they get the rest of the money. Moreover, 55% of their budget goes to support the salaries of just Josh Sugarmann and Kristen Rand.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Winchester Reintroduces The Model 70 Alaskan

The Winchester Model 70 Alaskan is being reintroduced to the Winchester line of bolt action rifles. Now made by FNH-USA down in Columbia, South Carolina, it will be available in .30-06, .300 Win Mag, and .338 Win Mag.

It will feature one of the things that made pre-'64 Model 70s the "Rifleman's Rifle" - controlled round feed with a Mauser-type claw extractor.

From the press release:
For big game hunting in Alaska or anywhere else in the world, the new Winchester Repeating Arms Model 70 Alaskan comes back with all the features that have made the Model 70 a favorite among big game hunters. The Model 70 Alaskan will be available in three calibers 30-06 Sprg, 300 Win Mag and 338 Win Mag.

The Satin finish Monte Carlo walnut stock gives the gun a beautiful look and aligns the shooters eye up perfectly with open sight or a scope. The Model 70 Alaskan features a folding adjustable rear sight and a hooded gold front bead for fast target acquisition.

The pre-’64 style controlled round feed with claw extractor fully controls the cartridge from magazine to chamber to ejection. To help reduce felt recoil, the Model 70 Alaskan features the Pachmayr® Decelerator® Recoil Pad.

Some of the features on the Model 70 Alaskan that have given the Model 70 the reputation of being a very accurate firearm include:

  • MOA Trigger System - Zero creep and zero overtravel
  • Integral Recoil Lug -Forged and machined as part of the receiver
  • Free floating barrel – All Model 70 barrels are cold hammer forged
  • Alloy One-Piece Bottom Metal- Adds solid rigidity for better accuracy

Suggested Retail, $1,269.99
Now if they would only build this in a stainless model with a fiberglass stock I think it would stand up to the wet weather of Alaska.

State Senator Leland Yee - The General Gage Of California

A few weeks ago, CBS 5 in San Francisco had a breathless report about a "loophole" in California gun laws that allowed people to have "assault weapons". The so-called loophole that was just discovered by the intrepid reporters is something called a bullet button which has been around for five years or so. A bullet button allows the use of a removable magazine on an AR-15. However, one must use a tool or the tip of your bullet to remove that magazine. Essentially, it is device that allows fixed magazines to be removed for either loading or clearing a jam.

As sure as the sun sets in the West, you just knew that some politician was going to jump on this imagined bandwagon and introduce a law to outlaw bullet buttons. That politician is State Senator Leland Yee, Ph.D. who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.

Today, Yee introduced his bill to outlaw bullet buttons. He will be gutting the contents of SB 249 and replacing them with his anti-bullet button language.

Leland Yee - California's General Gage

From his press release:
“There is absolutely no reason why these military style weapons need to have such easily changeable magazines,” said Yee. “While most gun owners are law abiding, I am deeply concerned with these assault weapons getting into the wrong hands, resulting in mass casualties of civilians or law enforcement officers.”

Magazines, or the storage areas that allow for repeat firing, that can be removed by a normal push button in combination with features such as a pistol grip and telescoping stock are banned in California. The law essentially requires magazines to be fixed, or removed or replaced with the use of a tool, in order to slow down the process of reloading.

To get around the law, gun makers have created a new mechanism, or “tool,” that allows the magazine to be easily removed by the tip of a bullet or in some cases by just putting a small magnet over the “bullet button,” basically recreating a normal push button and allowing magazines to be changed within seconds.

“These conversions are circumventing the spirit of California’s assault weapon statute,” said Yee. “Absent this bill, California’s assault weapon ban is significantly weakened. For the safety of the general public, we must close this loophole.”
Fortunately, the people of California have groups like CalGuns and its president, Gene Hoffman, fighting for them. I just loved the historical lesson Gene gave the reporter from CBS 5 and Senator Yee.  Having seen them in action, it would be good for them to take it to heart.

Yee seems to be the type of politician that thrives on attention from special interest groups such as the Brady Campaign and the Violence Policy Center. In his recent effort to be elected Mayor of San Francisco, he touted how he had landed virtually "every major endorsement in the race for mayor." Yee finished in 5th place.

As a final aside, I find it amusing that Senator Yee insists on putting Ph.D. after his name on his legislative website. While some may find legislators childish, Yee's doctorate in child psychology has nothing to do with his job as a State Senator. I am reminded of something my late wife Rosanne said about her own Ph.D. - earned at a much more prestigious institution and in a more rigorous field - when asked why she didn't put it after her name in general usage. She said, and I quote, "that and 50 cents will buy you a cup of coffee." I think that puts it into perspective.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

An Attempt To Negate The Bateman Win Which Must Be Stopped

Bateman v. Perdue was a win for the Second Amendment. US District Court Judge Malcolm Howard found the North Carolina emergency ban on off-premises firearms during a declared state of emergency unconstitutional.
Rather, the statutes here excessively intrude upon plaintiffs' Second Amendment rights by effectively banning them (and the public at large) from engaging in conduct that is at the very core of the Second Amendment at a time when the need for self-defense may be at its very greatest. See Heller, 128 S. Ct. at 2799 ("[A]mericans understood the 'right of self-preservation' as permitting a citizen to 'repe[l] force by force' when 'the intervention of society in his behalf, may be too late to prevent an injury. ' " (quoting 1 Blackstone's Commentaries 145-146, n.42 (1803) ) (second alteration in original)). Consequently, the emergency declaration laws are invalid as applied to plaintiffs.
On Tuesday, the NC State Senate Judiciary I Committee will take up consideration of HB 489 which is currently titled "Mechanics Lien and Bond Law Changes". It had been approved 116-0 last May by the NC House. However, there is a proposed Committee substitute "H489-CSSA-71 [v.4]" which would effectively negate the Bateman win and would, in fact, give state and local official more power to infringe upon gun rights. This proposed change has not been published on the General Assembly's website but a copy was sent to Grass Roots North Carolina.

Grass Roots North Carolina points out the flaws in the substitute in an alert sent out late Friday. They are also encouraging everyone to send an email to the committee members which can be found at the link here.
The bill still restricts firearms outside the home during emergencies: Although new language in G.S. 14-288.12(b)(4) purports to let cities restrict outside-the-home carry only "when necessary to preserve the public peace where there is an imminent risk of damage, injury, or loss of life or property," that language is so vague as to be meaningless. Virtually every state of emergency - be it hurricane, riot or snowstorm - carries these "imminent risks."

Regulations now reach into your home: Although the bill purports to forbid cities from regulating guns and ammunition in the home during emergencies, neither cities nor the state ever had the power to apply in-home bans during states of emergency. Translated, by stipulating what lawful gun-related activities you may do in the home, the bill tries to replace your unequivocal right to arms in the home with a restricted "right" to arms in the home.

HB 489 replaces an unconstitutional statute with another unconstitutional statute: But because laws are constitutional until proven otherwise, you'll have to go back to court to prove it.
The proposed committee substitute to HB 489 reads as follow:

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:
SECTION 1. G.S. 14-288.7 is repealed.

SECTION 2. G.S. 14-288.12 reads as rewritten:
"§ 14-288.12. Powers of municipalities to enact ordinances to deal with states of emergency.
(a) The governing body of any municipality may enact ordinances designed to permit the imposition of prohibitions and restrictions during a state of emergency.
(b) 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;congregate, including places that sell dangerous weapons, notwithstanding subdivision (4) of this subsection.
(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; and gasoline, when necessary to preserve the public peace where there is an imminent risk of damage, injury, or loss of life or property, except that prohibitions and restrictions adopted pursuant to this subdivision shall not do any of the following:
a. Prohibit the possession, storage, or use of a dangerous weapon for self-defense in a person's home or for other lawful purposes in a person's home or on other real property in which a person has a lawful possessory or ownership interest.
b. Prohibit the transportation, possession, sale, purchase, or use of ammunition for self-defense purposes in a person's home or on other real property in which a person has a lawful possessory or ownership interest.
(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.
The ordinances may delegate to the mayor of the municipality the authority to determine and proclaim the existence of a state of emergency, and to impose those authorized prohibitions and restrictions appropriate at a particular time.
(b1) For purposes of Subdivision (b)(4) of this section, the term 'home' means a building or conveyance of any kind, to include its curtilage, whether the building or conveyance is 16 temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed as a temporary or permanent residence.
(c) This section is intended to supplement and confirm the powers conferred by G.S. 160A-174(a), and all other general and local laws authorizing municipalities to enact ordinances for the protection of the public health and safety in times of riot or other grave civil 21 disturbance or emergency.
(d) Any ordinance of a type authorized by this section promulgated prior to June 19, 23 1969 shall, if otherwise valid, continue in full force and effect without reenactment.
(e) Any person who violates any provision of an ordinance or a proclamation enacted or proclaimed under the authority of this section is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor."

SECTION 3. If House Bill 843, 2011 Regular Session, becomes law, then Section 2(c) of that act is rewritten to read:
"SECTION 2.(c) G.S. 14-288.7 is repealed."

SECTION 4. If House Bill 843, 2011 Regular Session, becomes law, then G.S. 166A-19.31(b), as enacted by Section 1(b) of that act, reads as rewritten:
"(b) Type of Prohibitions and Restrictions Authorized. – The ordinances authorized by this section may permit prohibitions and restrictions:
(1) Of movements of people in public places, including imposing a curfew; directing and compelling the voluntary or mandatory evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the governing body's jurisdiction; prescribing routes, modes of transportation, and destinations in connection with evacuation; and controlling ingress and egress of an emergency 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. congregate, including places that sell dangerous weapons, notwithstanding subdivision (4) of this subsection.
(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. gasoline, when necessary to preserve the public peace where there is an imminent risk of damage, injury, or loss of life or property, except that prohibitions and restrictions adopted pursuant to this subdivision shall not do any of the following:
a. Prohibit the possession, storage, or use of a dangerous weapon for self-defense in a person's home or for other lawful purposes in a person's home or on other real property in which a person has a lawful possessory or ownership interest.
b. Prohibit the transportation, possession, sale, purchase, or use of ammunition for self-defense purposes in a person's home or on other real property in which a person has a lawful possessory or ownership interest.
As used in this subdivision, the term 'dangerous weapon and substance' has the same meaning as it does under G.S. 14-288.1.
(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.
The ordinances authorized by this section need not require or provide for the imposition of all of the types of prohibitions or restrictions, or any particular prohibition or restriction, authorized by this section during an emergency but may instead authorize the official or officials who impose those prohibitions or restrictions to determine and impose the prohibitions or restrictions deemed necessary or suitable to a particular state of emergency."

SECTION 5. If House Bill 843, 2011 Regular Session, becomes law, then G.S. 166A-19.31, as enacted by Section 1(b) of that act, is amended by adding a new subsection to read:
"(b1) For purposes of Subdivision (b)(4) of this section, the term 'home' means a building 22 or conveyance of any kind, to include its curtilage, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed as a temporary or permanent residence."

SECTION 6. This act is effective when it becomes law.
When I read through this substitute bill I was aghast. It explicitly authorizes the same restrictions that Judge Howard just found unconstitutional with the exception of the transport of ammo. Moreover, the Heller decision explicitly - not implied or inferred but explicitly - said the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear a firearm in the home for self-defense. So where does the drafter of this substitute bill get off saying the state can "authorize" the possession of a firearm in my home?

At the GRNC Annual Meeting held in Greensboro yesterday evening, GRNC President Paul Valone discussed this bill at length. He noted that no one on the committee seems to be willing to take credit for its drafting.

I should hope not! The Judiciary I Committee should consign this committee substitute to the dustbin of history.

How Would You Feel About MAIG Regional Coordinators Paid With Your Tax Dollars?

You'd probably feel just the same way I do - angry, disgusted, and, if it were my tax dollars, pissed off.

From the All Nine Yards blog:
Here’s a great way to reduce overhead and be effective at running a national organization dedicated to infringing on the gun rights of everyday people all at the same time… Have cities hire your people for you so that tax payers pay for ¼ of your people’s salary and benefits, most of their operational costs, and all of their other resources! It also embeds your people as leaders in city government so that you don’t have to lobby there!

Sounds like another conspiracy theory from the tinfoil hat brigade… Right?

Back in March, while researching the repeal of some anti-gun ordinances, I stumbled across an Orlando City Council agenda item that grabbed my attention. It was, on its surface, just a mundane action item for the annual contract renewal of a city employee. But this city employee’s job title was, well, unique…

“Approving Employment Contract for the Grant-Funded Position of Mayors Against Illegal Guns Regional Coordinator.”
Sean Caranna has uncovered this rat's nest and it isn't limited to Orlando, Florida. He has found similar regional coordinators embedded in city governments in Maine, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania as well other place in Florida.

Sean's well-research and well-documented post is a must read. After you read it - and stop cursing - forward links to it to all your friends.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Brady Campaign Shills For Eric Holder

In the latest missive from the Brady Campaign, their new president Dan Gross shows his true colors. It is obvious that he cares more about protecting Attorney General Eric Holder than in discovering the truth about Operation Fast and Furious. As I said yesterday, to these people a few dead Mexicans (or even hundreds) are worth it if they can get more gun control out of the operation.
“A strong whiff of hypocrisy rises from the letter sent today to Attorney General Holder by the House leadership. Speaker Boehner and his colleagues pretend to be concerned about the harm operation Fast & Furious has done to our relationship to Mexico, but they cannot explain why the House of Representatives, under their leadership, has done nothing to respond to the Mexican government’s desperate pleas for the Congress to strengthen American gun laws to stop gun trafficking from American gun shops to the Mexican drug cartels.

The House Republican leadership decries the failure of U.S. authorities to prevent illegal guns from crossing the border, yet the House recently voted to block an Obama Administration effort to give the authorities a vital (sic) additional tool to fight trafficking of assault rifles to Mexico.

Speaker Boehner pretends concern for gun violence victims, but on the recent fifth anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre, he could not find the time to meet with a group of victims, despite finding time, some weeks before, to travel to Florida to meet with the leaders of the gun industry.
Earth to Dan - the bulk of the guns that the narco-terrorists are getting are not from Ranger Bob's Gun and Bait Shop in Laredo, Texas but from either deserters from the Mexican Army or are being smuggled across Mexico's southern border. As to the ATF requiring the reporting of multiple sales of semi-automatic rifles, that is hardly a "vital" tool and is of dubious legality to boot.

The only hypocrisy that I see here is from the Brady Campaign who are showing themselves to be a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Obama Administration. I guess sending out missives like this is what it takes to get gun control under the radar.

The Letter From The Republican Leadership To Holder

As I said in the previous post, the House Republican leadership sent a letter yesterday to Attorney General Eric Holder demanding answers on Operation Fast and Furious. If Holder and the rest of the Obama Administration continue to obstruct and impede this investigation, I think the contempt citation, which in my opinion is overdue, is a foregone conclusion.

I think the House leadership has looked to the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and the political fallout for the Republicans from it as a reason they should go slow. However, they are missing one essential difference: Bill Clinton lied about having sex while two Federal law enforcement officers and hundreds of Mexican nationals died as a result of Operation Fast and Furious. I think the Republican leadership should have enough faith in the American people to understand that the people will see that essential difference.

From the press release:
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and Oversight & Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder this morning demanding full cooperation with the ongoing investigation into the “Fast and Furious” operation and the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.

The letter states that the Department of Justice has not sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena seeking answers on the operation, and questions whether false information that was provided – and later withdrawn – was “was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation.”

“The Terry family deserves to know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terry’s murder,” write the Congressional leaders. And “the American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.”

And the letter:
May 18, 2012

The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Holder:

We write to express our concerns with the lack of full cooperation from the Department of Justice (“the Department”) with the ongoing Congressional investigation into the operation known as “Fast & Furious” and the related death of Border Agent Brian Terry. While we recognize that the Department has provided some documents in response to some aspects of the October 11, 2011, subpoena from the Chairman of the Oversight & Government Reform Committee (“the Committee”), two key questions remain unanswered: first, who on your leadership team was informed of the reckless tactics used in Fast & Furious prior to Agent Terry’s murder; and, second, did your leadership team mislead or misinform Congress in response to a Congressional subpoena?

We are troubled by the Department’s assertions that the Executive Branch possesses the ability to determine whether inquiries from the Legislative Branch have been fully complied with. As the Supreme Court has noted, each co-equal branch of our Government is supreme in their assigned area of Constitutional duties. Thus, the question of whether the Executive Branch has sufficiently complied with a Congressional subpoena requesting specific information pursuant to Congress’ Article I responsibilities is one only the Legislative Branch can answer.

One fact appears to be undisputed by all concerned: Fast & Furious was a fundamentally flawed operation. It was taken to an extreme that resulted in at least one death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and unknown other consequences, because U.S. law enforcement agencies allowed thousands of firearms to be illegally “walked” into Mexico and into the hands of drug cartels. Beyond the horrific impact on the Terry family, there is no doubt that this operation has done serious harm to one of the United States’ most important bilateral relationships. It is our hope that, in finding the truth, we can both provide closure to the Terry family, begin to repair our relationship with Mexico, and take steps to make necessary changes at the Department.

Clearly, the Department must take steps to ensure that tragic mismanagement like Fast & Furious does not occur in the future. Unfortunately, without the disclosure of the information requested in the October 11, 2011, subpoena regarding which members of your leadership team were informed of the reckless tactics that were used in the operation, the American people cannot be confident that any remedial steps you implement will accomplish this goal. For example, your leadership team recently asserted that “Department leadership was unaware of the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious until allegations about those tactics were made public in early 2011.” Yet, Federal law requires that you, or a member of your leadership team, approve the application to a Federal judge for use of a wiretap.

In approving such an application, you or your designee would – or should – have reviewed the accompanying materials and affidavits that provided the basis for the wiretap application prior to affixing the Department’s approval to the application. We understand that the Fast & Furious operation may have included seven such wiretaps between March and July 2010. Whether the information used to justify the wiretap application or the information gained from the wiretaps is being used in any ongoing criminal prosecution is immaterial to the question of who on your leadership team reviewed and approved the wiretaps and was therefore privy to the details of the Fast & Furious operation. The assertion that your leadership team could approve wiretaps in 2010 and yet not have any knowledge of the tactics used in Fast & Furious until 2011 simply cannot be accurate and furthers the perception that the Department is not being forthright with Congress.

We would note that correspondence between your Deputy and Chairman Issa raises concerns that further Congressional actions might cause damage between the Legislative and the Executive branch. We would submit that the damage to that relationship began with a February 4, 2011, letter from the Department to the Congress that was subsequently withdrawn because it provided Congress with false information. The means to repair the damage caused by your Department lies within your powers to work with the Committee to find a mutually satisfactory level of compliance with the subpoena and avoid further confrontation.

While we are disappointed that a Senior Department official would provide false information to Congress, we are also concerned that it took your Department ten months to acknowledge the inaccuracy and ultimately withdraw the letter. In light of the letter and its subsequent withdrawal, it is critical for Congress to understand whether the letter was part of a broader effort by your Department to obstruct a Congressional investigation. We are unaware of any assertions of executive privilege that would prevent compliance with the Congressional subpoena. We are also unaware of any national security concerns or diplomatic sensitivities that would preclude compliance with the subpoena. Finally, as these post-February 4, 2011, communications concern the Department’s response to Congress, their disclosure to Congress would not impact any ongoing criminal investigations or prosecutions.

If the Office of Legal Counsel has provided a legal opinion that takes into account the specific circumstances of this investigation and you are relying on that opinion to maintain your current position, we would request that the opinion be provided to Congress at the earliest possible opportunity. Similar to arrangements previously made between your Department and Congressional investigators, we are confident that you possess adequate means to provide substantive compliance with a Congressional subpoena while protecting the integrity and confidentiality of specific documents.

We firmly believe and hope that you agree that a mutually acceptable resolution to this matter may yet be achieved. The Terry family deserves to know the truth about the circumstances that led to Agent Terry’s murder. The whistle-blowers who brought these issues to light deserve to be protected, not intimidated, by their government. And, the American people deserve to know how such a fundamentally flawed operation could have continued for so long and have a full accounting of who knew of and approved an operation that placed weapons in the hands of drug cartels.

As co-equal branches of the U.S. Government, the relationship between the Legislative and Executive branches must be predicated on honest communications and cannot be clouded by allegations of obstruction. If necessary, the House will act to fulfill our Constitutional obligations in the coming weeks. It is our hope that, with your cooperation, this sad chapter in the history of American law enforcement can be put behind us.


Honorable John A. Boehner

Honorable Eric Cantor
Majority Leader

Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Majority Whip

Honorable Darrell E. Issa
Chairman, Oversight and Government Reform Committee