Monday, March 9, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

News stories, articles, and op-eds of interest to gun owners:

[D.C.] Reports of evil Gun Lobby's death exaggerated:
... Said capitol watchdog, The Hill, yesterday in a piece entitled "NRA forces Pelosi retreat":

“Democrats may be running the House, but the National Rifle Association (NRA) can still stop a bill in its tracks.”

Unlike the Senate, House leaders were fully prepared to pass a version of the bill without the gun amendment, enabling a conference committee, tasked with resolving differences in House and Senate versions, to keep the measure out of the final bill … that is, until the NRA quietly hinted that procedural votes related to the measure would be considered “test votes,” potentially placing Democrats’ NRA “A” ratings at risk.

Now the bill is on hold, and its advocates are decidedly unhappy: Said D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), “Members are reacting in knee-jerk fashion to the NRA.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) pronounced the tactic, “not appropriate.” ...

David Codrea on Racism and gun control:
... Here's one such voice, Madison J. Gray of Black Voices. The provocative title of his article tells us much about his mindset-- "Ban on Assault Weapons: A Good Idea for the Gun Nuts."

Shall we see if his reasoning is equally inviting?
[T]hose of you who read me regularly, know how much I HATE guns. The very concept of handling a device that is actually designed for the sole purpose of ending a human life, I find abhorrent...

I've written here before against people who have a bloodlust for killing, and are pompous enough to call it self-defense.

So people who load up on weapons just because the president is concerned about things other than people's right to a phallic substitute won't get much respect from me.

I'm not going to spend time here "fisking" Mr. Gray's irrational and hate-filled screed. The comment posters on his site have done more than an adequate job of taking him to task. Still, this opens the door to discussing a "third rail" we cannot avoid if we are to have a complete dialog: guns and race, or more accurately, gun rights and racism. ...

L.A. Times on new Obama AWB:
... About 6,000 deaths in Mexico during the last 13 months have been attributed to the narco-war, and it's feared a similarly high level of drug-related violence will spill into the U.S.

But is reinstating a ban on the sale of so-called assault rifles in the U.S. part of a solution? Probably not.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder said during a news conference last week that the Obama administration ought to consider renewing a 10-year ban that expired five years ago.

Naturally, hunters, target shooters, general gun enthusiasts and supporters of the 2nd Amendment cringed. Many countered that the ban did not reduce crime in the U.S. and that any spike since the expiration cannot be attributed to the resumed sale of semiautomatic weapons to private citizens. ...

Debunking the "Assault Weapons" propaganda:
... The gun-ban lobby understands that the confusion over what is and what is not an "assault weapon" only benefits them. Consider this statement from Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center:

"The public's confusion over fully-automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons -- anything that looks like a machine gun is presumed to be a machine gun -- can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons." ...

The article above also includes a link to this video debunking "assault weapon" myths, by Leroy Pyle, then with San Diego P.D.:

[New York] Sen. Gillibrand denies flip-flip on guns:
... Senator Gillibrand's staff called me today to insist I was wrong to say, "she didn't understand the gun legislation she sponsored last year." That was my interpretation based on the fact that Gillibrand co-sponsored abill eight months ago and then pulled her support after becoming a Senator because:

The Senator told News 4 New York on Friday she was misled by language in the bill that implied it would help law enforcement. Gillibrand said she was unaware when she cosponsored hr 4900 that it would actually hurt.

See more here. But I would contend that if you were unaware of the consequences of a bill that you supported, it's fair to say that you didn't fully understand the bill.

The issue is complex, but it has become a litmus test for politicians who want to have a strong relationship with organizations like the NRA and SCOPE. Gillibrand has always enjoyed a strong bond with such groups, but that's in jeopardy now. ...

Comment: To paraphrase a certain Massachusetts senator (and second place finisher Silver Medalist in the 2004 presidential election race), I guess Sen. Gillibrand was for gun rights, before she was against them.

Dave Workman opines that anti-gunners are trying to demonize yet another class of gun:
... Now, VPC’s Tom Diaz, who has made a career demonizing different firearms, is now going after a class of large-caliber handguns developed solely for big game hunting (thus deflating another myth of the anti-gun lobby, that handguns are designed only for shooting people). Like the terms “assault rifle” “plastic handguns” and “sniper rifle,” Diaz has invented a slur term for the huge handguns, dubbing them “vest busters.” This alludes to the claim that bullets fired from such handguns will penetrate soft body armor worn by police officers.

It is no accident that every time the gun ban lobby launches a campaign to ban one type of gun or another, it camouflages the campaign with claims that “it’s to protect children” or “it threatens the safety of law enforcement officers.” Yet the VPC even acknowledges that handgun bullets do not constitute a threat to police wearing bullet resistant vests. ...

[D.C.] From the Washington Post, on the status of the bill that would give D.C. a vote in the House (despite the fact that D.C. isn't a state):
... The vote bill would give the majority Democratic District its first full vote in the House and add another for Republican-leaning Utah for political balance. A similar measure was approved by the Senate last week only after an amendment was added that would strip most of the city's gun-control laws.

D.C. leaders hoped that provision would not be included in the House version, but the National Rifle Association indicated this week that it might keep track of which House members voted in favor of bringing the voting rights bill to the floor without the possibility of amendments. Those members would be judged by the NRA as opposing gun rights, a position that could be unpopular in many of their home jurisdictions.
Norton said she and her allies discussed a list of Democrats "to size up who was genuinely at risk [of repercussions from the NRA] and who was not. I can report to you going through the list that many are not at risk."

Norton's staff workers reported that she was encouraged after a brief conversation with Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), one of the leaders of the Blue Dog Democrats, a group of moderate- and conservative-leaning members.

Cardoza said that he supports the NRA's position that D.C. residents should have the right to own guns without cumbersome restrictions but added that he also supports the voting rights bill. ...

[D.C.] And from the Washington Times:
A bill granting the District of Columbia full voting rights in the House of Representatives is on hold as House Democrats try to figure out how to fend off two proposed pro-gun amendments without exposing Democrats from conservative districts to the wrath of the gun lobby.

The amendments have put House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California and other top Democrats in a bind because they don't want to pass a bill that relaxes gun laws in the District. The Senate passed the bill with such an amendment last week.

The pro-gun amendments offered by Rep. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, and Rep. Steve King, Iowa Republican, caused the bill to be pulled abruptly from consideration on Tuesday by House Democrats. Leaders are reluctant to move the bill forward until they find a way to prevent the amendments from coming to a vote on the House floor.
If the House bill is passed with the gun amendments, Democrats would be unable to purge the pro-gun language in conference committee, where members of both houses iron out their differences, because gun rights language would exist in both the House and the Senate versions. ...

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