Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

Articles, news stories, and op-eds of interest to gun owners:

Op-ed: Proposed "assault weapons" ban threatens fundamental right:
... The proposed ban was part of the agenda announced during Obama's campaign, and now the head of the Department of Justice appears to be making it a priority. Whether or not a ban renewal will pass in Congress is questionable, as similar bills in 2007 and 2008 never made it out of subcommittee. Nevertheless, Americans must recognize the ban as a significant infringement of the Second Amendment.

A government that transgresses the core rights affirmed in the Bill of Rights is one to be feared. The right to keep and bear arms was recognized by the Founding Fathers as one that enabled them to win the Revolutionary War. One of the acts of aggression against the colonists by the British authorities was the confiscation of arms and ammunition from local militias and individuals. Father of the Bill of Rights George Mason knew disarmament posed a significant threat to liberty. At the Virgina convention to ratify the U.S. Constitution, Mason said, "When the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually." ...

Columnist urges Obama to muzzle Attorney General Holder:
Here’s my summation. Any attempts to reauthorize the AWB is an impossible mission with no chance of achieving the intended results (i.e. stopping crime) and counterproductive to efforts by politicians, mostly Democrats, to get re-elected.

So why do it? The only answer can be political pay back. All those gunshy urbanites voted for Obama, and they think the AWB might keep crazies from shooting up schools and malls. Now, through his attorney general, Obama has to give them something in return. No matter that we saw no decrease in school or mall shootings or any other gun-related crime during the ten years (1994-2004) the AWB was in effect. And there has been no increase in the five years since it expired.

Is there anything else we need to know about the AWB?

As I’ve proved several times in this column, I’m not a gun expert, but I’ve learned one thing. It’s impossible to define an “assault weapon,” ballistically or physically, and when you try, you sweep up commonly used sporting firearms like semi-automatic hunting rifles and pump-action shotguns used for bird hunting and trap shooting, firearms perfectly acceptable to most people, even many serious anti-gunners.

And even if you could define an “assault weapon” in legalese, the manufacturers could and would instantly make subtle design adjustments to land outside of the ban.

(Don’t, incidentally, confuse Holder’s push for the AWB with legislation already in Congress, H.R. 45, ironically sponsored by Bobby Rush, D-Ill, the guy who whopped Obama in his first election, which requires firearm registration and photographing, fingerprinting and testing for anybody who tries to buy a gun--another unneeded gun bill that deserves a quick and decisive death.)
I only hope Holder’s pronouncement was merely a token political balloon put out there to appease the gun-hating constituency with no intention to push hard for it. If not, well, I see it as a serious broken promise by Obama who came to New West several times during his campaign and promised hunters and gun owners that they had nothing to fear from him.

President Obama, you have plenty of reasons to not-so-quietly tell Congress to forget about the AWB (and H.R. 45) and put a cork in Eric Holder.

Howard Nemerov asks whether Mexico's own gun control laws are its problem:
Research from the United Nations (UN) indicates that it may be Mexico’s own restrictive gun control laws which contribute to the country’s rising murder rates.

In Mexico, possession of firearms above .22 caliber is practically prohibited, though there is a second set of rules for the wealthy. Mexico also requires registration for all civilian gun owners, and federal and state governments actively discourage firearms ownership.

Nevertheless, over 6,000 Mexicans have been murdered in the last year––700 in the past month––due to the battle over the drug trade.
... These data contradict Annan’s assertion that firearms “damaged development prospects and imperiled human security” and the SAS assertion that firearms availability “undermined political and economic development.” The UN’s own reports prove that other factors besides gun control play a larger role in homicide rates.

Returning to Mexico, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that in 2000 (latest UN data), Mexico’s homicide rate was 14.11, over 2.5 times the U.S. rate, and Mexico’s violent crime increased 68% through mid-2007. ...

[Arizona] House panel votes to approve guns-in-parking-lots bill:
PHOENIX -- Faced with a choice between gun rights and property rights, a House panel sided Thursday with the former.

On a 6-2 vote the Judiciary Committee approved legislation to allow people to drive into privately owned parking lots with loaded weapons in their vehicles. The wishes of the business owner would become legally irrelevant.

With bipartisan support, the bill now goes to the full House.

The measure is being pushed by the National Rifle Association, which has convinced lawmakers in some other states to approve similar measures. Lobbyist Todd Rathner said people have a constitutional right to be armed.

"If they carry a gun for self-defense, they're not able to exercise that right if they carry a gun from their home to their place of work,'' he said, as most companies and property owners do not provide lockers or other places for the gun owners to store their weapons while they are inside the office, manufacturing plant or store.

Rather said more than the right to be armed is at stake.

"People should have the right to privacy in their own vehicle," he said. "If they want to keep their firearm there, they should be able to do that." ...

[Arkansas] House committee approves permit privacy bill:
... Most of the Committee seemed in favor of the bill, one or two legislators made mention that they had recieved multiple calls from constituents in support of HB 1623. Good job you guys.

Rep. Dawn Creekmore mentioned that she was contacted by an undercover officer who was on the concealed carry list that was published and now was in jeapordy and feared for his life. Another relayed a call that a constuent's car was broken into immediately after it was known that the list was published and his handgun was stolen from his vehicle. Several other legislators thanked Rep. Stewart for bringing HB 1623 to the committee as a responsible measure to an undeniably irresponsible act.

I went to the Committee with intentions of just watching the proceedings, until Arkansas Times Publisher Alan Leveritt went on a spittle producing tirade against the bill. Debate was limited to 5 minutes for each person speaking for or against the bill and he used up all the time he had denouncing the bill and portraying concealed carry holders as a bunch of lawless reprobates.

So I spoke in support of the bill. ...

[Texas] Article on campus carry and other gun-related bills:
FORT WORTH, Texas - Jason Bowman would feel safer walking to his night classes at Tarrant County College if he had his concealed handgun. But he leaves it behind because state law doesn’t let him carry it on campus.

The 23-year-old Benbrook man is among those hoping that will change soon, as state lawmakers consider the issue.

"I applaud campus police, but there is absolutely no way they can be all places at all times," said Bowman, a paramedic and firefighter. "Please don’t make me prove that I will stand up and fight an armed man without my weapon if (there is) danger. At least give me my gun, too."

The expansion of the concealed-carry law is just one of several firearm proposals ricocheting around the Texas Capitol, drawing fire from gun safety advocates.

Among the bills this year are efforts to let Texans buy rifles and shotguns in noncontiguous states; allow counties to regulate noise, which could affect shooting ranges; and let employees with concealed-handgun permits leave their guns in their locked cars at work.

Even as some proposals seem to be gaining support, one hot gun topic - letting Texans openly carry handguns - seems to be losing steam, as supporters fear they won’t find a lawmaker to carry the bill. ...

[Iowa] Bill would allow Alaska-style permitless carry (no permit required, but permits available for out-of-state permit recognition/reciprocity purposes):
... 7 32 The bill eliminates the requirement that a person,
7 33 including a person employed in a certain occupation whose
7 34 employment reasonably justifies that person going armed with a
7 35 dangerous weapon, must have and carry a professional or
8 1 nonprofessional permit to carry a weapon and makes it optional
8 2 to apply for and receive such permits. However, if a person
8 3 applies for either permit, the issuing officer (sheriff or
8 4 commissioner of public safety) shall issue the permit if
8 5 certain requirements are met. Such permits shall be issued
8 6 for a five=year period at a cost of $50. If a person chooses
8 7 to apply for a professional or nonprofessional permit to carry
8 8 weapons, the person is required to complete a firearm training
8 9 program conducted by a private individual or a professional
8 10 organization who shall conduct the training consistent with
8 11 the standards set forth by the national rifle association.
8 12 The bill also repeals Code section 724.5 relating to a
8 13 person's duty to carry a weapons permit if the person goes
8 14 armed with a revolver, pistol, or pocket billy concealed upon
8 15 the person, currently a simple misdemeanor. ...

Comment: Readers in the Hawkeye State may wish to contact their elected servants to urge them to support this change. The bill number is HF 596.

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