Monday, March 16, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Illinois] Senate panel says no to concealed carry:
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A committee of the Illinois Senate has rejected a proposal to give Illinoisans the right to carry concealed weapons.

Senate Bill 1976 would allow county sheriff's to issue concealed carry permits to qualified gun owners. The idea was voted down by members of the Senate Public Health Committee, which is dominated by Chicago-area lawmakers. ... [emphasis added]

[D.C.] Las Vegas Sun laments Sen. Ensign's pro-gun amendment to the bill to give D.C. a House vote:
Washington — Republican Sen. John Ensign has engineered a major political coup that could leave the District of Columbia with weaker gun laws than those of Las Vegas and thwart a long-sought effort to give residents of the capital voting rights in Congress.

In a victory for gun rights advocates, the Nevada lawmaker led Senate efforts to strike down a gun control law in the capital by adding an amendment to a long-fought bill to give the district a voting representative in Congress.

The amendment stripping out gun restrictions in the capital drew widespread support as moderate Democratic lawmakers were hesitant to confront the powerful gun lobby. Sen. Harry Reid, the majority leader, joined Ensign and 60 other senators in voting for its passage.

Ensign won praise from guns rights advocates, but he is now facing pushback from members of the District of Columbia City Council as well as complaints that he is creating a more lax environment for guns in the nation’s capital than in his home state. ...

[D.C] House Democratic leaders looking for way to weasel out of pro-gun amendments to D.C. vote bill:
House Democratic leaders are offering the National Rifle Association (NRA) a separate vote on legislation that would weaken the District of Columbia’s gun laws, trying to wriggle out of a conundrum created by their centrist members.

An amendment supported by the powerful gun-rights lobbying organization is holding up a bill that would give the District of Columbia a voting member of Congress. That legislation is a priority for Democratic leaders.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the chief advocate among leadership for D.C. Voting Rights Act, confirmed Tuesday that a standalone bill on the gun provisions has been discussed.
If Democrats had a separate vote on the D.C. gun language, sponsored by Rep. Travis Childers (D-Miss.), it would probably pass with the support of Republicans and centrist Democrats.

But there would be nothing to compel the Senate to take it up. Gun-rights lawmakers and the NRA still remember last year, when the NRA negotiated a House vote on a similar bill, only to have the Senate ignore it. The Senate this year voted to amend the gun provisions to its version of the voting rights bill, allowing centrists in that chamber to show their support. But the upper chamber would likely take up the House version without the amendment, or strip out the language in a conference.

Hoyer said there is also discussion of trying to get centrist Democrats to stick with leadership on a procedural vote that excludes the gun amendment. But the NRA has threatened to “score” that procedural vote, meaning the NRA would tell its members that those who support leadership have opposed gun rights. That’s not a popular position in many rural, conservative districts.

Comment: Having a separate bill would be a way for squirrelly dems (and republicans) to vote in favor of a pro-gun bill, while knowing that there's very little chance that such a bill would actually become law. Let's hope the Republicans don't fall for this sleight of hand, although the cynic in me is not that hopeful.

Montana senators tell AG Holder to back off:
WASHINGTON — Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have a message for the Obama administration: they will oppose any gun restrictions the new administration may be considering.

In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the two Montana senators said the Justice Department should enforce existing laws rather than propose additional laws they said could infringe on Second Amendment rights.

"We oppose reinstating the ban on the sale of assault weapons, and we call on the Department of Justice to enforce existing laws before it considers imposing any new restrictions on gun ownership," Baucus and Tester wrote.

The senators said their letter was prompted by Holder's recent comment that reinstating a ban on the sale of assault weapons could help reduce bloodshed in Mexico, where 6,000 people were killed last year in drug-related violence.

A spokesman for Holder declined comment.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., has said she plans to push legislation to reinstate a federal ban on some assault weapons that became law during the Clinton administration in 1994 but expired in 2004 under President Bush. Feinstein also has backed a plan to require gun shows to conduct background checks before selling firearms.

Barrett Kaiser, a spokesman for Baucus, said the senators sent the letter as a "pre-emptive strike" to warn the Obama administration that any effort to push new gun control will meet with resistance.

"If it even smells like gun control, rest assured that Max Baucus will be standing in the way," Kaiser said Wednesday.

Patrick Devlin, a spokesman for Tester, said Tester's opposition to gun control in "part of who he is as a Montana Democrat."

During last year's presidential campaign, Tester said that he had no qualms about backing Barack Obama for president, calling him an "ordinary person" who is no threat to gun owners.

"He told me flat out, 'I'm not taking your guns away and don't let anybody tell you that I will," Tester said last August, referring to Obama. "This guy is not going to take away your guns."

Devlin said Tester still believes that, but wanted to make it clear that he and Baucus oppose any new gun control efforts. ...

[Chicago] Article: How can a city that bans handguns lead the nation in murders?:
You cannot legally buy a handgun in Chicago, the nation’s most murderous city.

You can own one, but only if you’ve owned it since before 1982 and you register it every year with the Chicago Police Department.

Gun-control advocates and gun-rights advocates don’t – or can’t – agree on how a city with a handgun ban can lead the nation in murders.

To proponents of owning guns it means the ban doesn’t work.

“Laws are only for law-abiding citizens anyway,” said John Riggio, owner of Chuck’s Gun Shop and Pistol Range in Riverdale. “Criminals by definition don’t follow the law.”

To proponents of regulating guns it means the ban isn’t big enough. ...

Columnist: Are college professors "trigger angry?":
... Leftists love to use the phrase “trigger happy” when they are justifying fascistic gun control policies that would curtail the rights of ordinary citizens. When leftists use the term “trigger happy” they get a mental image of a person who is just itching to kill a fellow citizen. I use a similar term, “trigger angry.” And when I use it I get a mental image of Professor Paula Anderson.

John Wahlberg gave a speech in Professor Anderson’s communications class at Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). The topic was a general one on relevant issues in the media. John decided to argue that concealed weapons permits would reduce violence and, more specifically, would have saved lives during the Virginia Tech massacre of 2007.

After John’s speech, his trigger angry professor decided to call the police. As a result, John was hauled down to the station and interrogated. To date, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) has failed to provide John with the support he needs as his professor seeks to undermine his First Amendment rights en route to undermining the Second Amendment rights of all Americans.

The 23-year old Wahlberg was greeted by campus police officers who read off a list of all his registered firearms. When the campus police reminded Wahlberg that guns were prohibited in campus, they apparently were not aware that he lives off campus. In fact, he lives twenty miles off campus. He also keeps the guns in a safe.

Professor Anderson’s actions were outrageous, partly because the questions police asked were so invasive. Imagine police presenting a gay professor with a list of his sex partners and then reminding him that sodomy is against the law. But, wait, sodomy is a constitutional right. Wahlberg was talking about gun ownership. ...

[New Hampshire] Guns, ammo sales soaring:
DERRY – AL BACON is explaining to one of his regular customers why the ammo he wants is out of stock. Meanwhile, three more people enter the tiny gun shop, doing an awkward two-step around other customers patiently waiting for a word with Bacon.

It will be nearly an hour before Bacon catches his breath.

"It's been like this all day, every day," he said of the constant traffic to his store, Al's Gun and Reel Shop, on Linwood Avenue. "It's difficult to keep up. In all my years here, it's never been like this." ...

[Florida] Guns, ammo sales soaring:
PORT RICHEY - The November election produced an unintended stimulus package for one industry: gun sales.

About as soon as Democrats took control of both the White House and Congress last fall, people began lining up to buy guns at local shops. Ammunition has been flying off store shelves, merchants say. ...

[Arizona] Ammo shortages in Tucson:

After November's election, gun shops across the country saw a spike in sales, presumably because customers worried a new administration would make it tougher and more expensive to get a gun.

Since then people are also buying ammo and now there's a shortage of it.

Rich Eldert went shopping for bullets but instead is finding bare shelves.

"The shelves are empty. If they do get a shipment, people just buy it up like that," he says. ...

[West Virginia] Guns, ammo sales soaring:
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- If you're a hunter or gun owner, you already know how hard it's become to find guns or even basic accessories like ammunition or parts.

Todd Borders is the Vice President of Borders Sporting Goods in Summit, Kentucky. He says finding guns these days isn't easy, even for shops like his.

"Most all the other dealers I know are having a difficult time," Borders said. "The distributors even the manufactures are running full staff and they just can't keep up with the demand right now." ...

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