Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[D.C] Anti-gun Violence Policy Center says U.S. gun industry feeding Mexican violence:
... "If one wanted to design a system to pour military-style guns into
criminal hands, it would be hard to find a better one than the U.S.
civilian gun market," [VPC Senior Policy Analyst] Diaz testified before the Subcommittee on National Security & Foreign Affairs of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "The only 'better' way would be openly selling guns to criminals from the loading docks of manufacturers and

Diaz pointed out that officials of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) have stated that Mexican drug lords increasingly seek military-style weapons easily available on the U.S. civilian market. These include: the Barrett 50 caliber anti-armor sniper rifle capable of piercing armor plate from a mile and a half; semiautomatic assault rifles, including variants of the Colt AR-15 and the Kalashnikov AK-47; and, the "vest-busting" anti-armor handgun the FN Herstal Five-seveN 5.7mm pistol, known as the "cop killer" in Mexico. ...

[D.C.] Nevada Senator John Ensign writes and op-ed about the amendment to the D.C. voting bill to repeal D.C.'s anti-gun laws:
... The District imposed a number of restrictions, including burdensome registration processes and reporting requirements. It required parental consent for legal adults old enough to enlist in the military and carry weapons. The city also banned many firearms, including some handguns, which the justices noted are effective for self-defense. All of this serves only to frustrate and discourage D.C. residents from exercising their legal rights to bear arms.

If strict gun control worked, then the District -- which had long been home to the nation's most restrictive gun control measures -- would be the safest place in the country. But gun violence in the city was consistently among the highest in the nation throughout the 30 years that the city banned handguns. The reason is obvious: A gun control law will not dissuade violent criminals from killing or robbing with guns. Criminals use illegal guns purchased on the black market. Washington's police officers are on the front lines of the battle against violent crime, and they know, as the Fraternal Order of Police recently stated, that the handgun ban was "a miserable failure by any estimation." They also know that many city officials are devoted to the gun ban because it provides political cover for the District's dismal crime numbers.

Contrary to the impression left by some on these pages, my amendment will not turn the District into the Wild West of the East Coast. It would apply federal gun control law to the city. It would prohibit anyone from carrying any firearm in public without a permit; would require residents to submit to an FBI background check when they purchase a firearm; and would apply federal restrictions regarding, among other things, mental health issues, felony convictions, immigration status and age. My amendment upholds the court's ruling while allowing reasonable regulations consistent with the constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Those who seek to mischaracterize this amendment are only spreading fear. ...

National Park Service wants to ban all lead from fishing and hunting by 2010:
The National Park Service has set a goal of eliminating lead from fishing and hunting gear by 2010.

Acting Park Service director Dan Wenk announced the goal Wednesday in Washington. Fragments of lead bullets are suspected to contaminate scavenger birds, like ravens and eagles, and lead used as fishing weights could poison waterfowl and other species.

New regulations would have an effect in Grand Teton National Park, where hundreds of hunters kill elk every fall during an annual elk reduction program. Yellowstone National Park already has restricted the use of lead for fishing weights and lures; the initiative could extend restrictions to Grand Teton. ...

[Georgia] Appeals court upholds felon-in-possession ban:
... Carlton D. Brye, serving 22 years for being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, appealed on grounds including last year's Supreme Court ruling in District of Columbia vs. Heller, which overturned a ban on gun possession in the nation's capital. Brye, arrested in Clearwater, Fla., in 2007, said the ruling upheld Second Amendment rights of all Americans to "use arms for self-defense."

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the argument Friday. ...

New York Times says Dems still fear gun control issue:
... But there is one issue that retains the power to leave Democrats quivering: gun rights. Gun issues still persistently tie the party in knots and have been used by Republicans to stall two major bills this year, with more likely to come.

“It is a hot-button issue,” said Representative Allen Boyd, Democrat of Florida, a longtime hunter and one of the moderates who typically split from the more liberal wing of the party to support the rights of gun owners. “Some people around here know they can use it as a wedge issue, and they try to do that.”

It is a particularly hot-button topic with veteran Congressional Democrats who believe the party’s strong support for a 1994 assault weapons ban was the real reason they lost control of the House that year — not the House bank scandal, the failed health care initiative, the Contract with America or Newt Gingrich.

The power of that bad memory was unmistakable a few weeks ago in the immediacy with which Speaker Nancy Pelosi shot down the suggestion by new Attorney General Eric Holder that Congress might reinstitute the assault weapons ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” said Ms. Pelosi, echoing the position often taken by advocates of gun rights.

Gun rights are probably equaled only by abortion rights in their ability to split Democrats and create political havoc.

Well aware of the Democratic sensitivity on guns and the reluctance of suburban and rural lawmakers to cast any vote that could be perceived as anti-gun, Republicans see the issue as one of their most effective poison pills to sabotage legislation. They were able to add an expansion of gun ownership in the District of Columbia to a long-sought measure giving the district a full-voting seat in the House of Representatives. Now the gun issue is an anchor on the bill in the House. ...

[Oklahoma] CCW permits applications, guns and ammo sales rising:
Four months after the election of President Barack Obama, firearms and ammunition sales in Tulsa remain at a fever pitch.

Popular self-protection ammunition is often sold out at local stores, weapons are flying off shelves and the state reports an 87 percent increase in concealed carry permit applications for February 2009 over February 2008.

"People are hoarding. They're creating a shortage," Jim Prall at Sports World on 41st Street said of ammunition sales. "We've sold more ammunition in the last three months than we sold last year." [emphasis added]

Gun sales spiked in November with the election of Barack Obama and Democrats adding to their majority in Congress. But local gun dealers say the spike is turning into a steady climb with political worries about gun rights as well as worries about the economy and potential for increased crime.

Prall said his store planned ahead for the increase, having seen a similar spike
after Bill Clinton was elected, but the previous jump in sales pales in comparison to what's happening now. ...

[Kansas] Gun, ammo sales soaring:
Local gun shop owners say President Obama has definitely stimulated one part of the economy.

”Since November gun sales have increased 75 percent, 80,” Paul Duke, owner of Duke’s gun shop, said.

They tell me its no coincidence that there was a spike in gun sales at the same time the president was elected.

“He wants to do away with them, the way I hear it.”

[New Hampshire] Guns, ammo sales rising:
It's unclear how effective President Barack Obama's policies will be in reversing the nation's economic slide, but since his election he has proven to be a one-man stimulus package for one sector of the economy — gun sales.

Since November, sales of handguns and tactical or semiautomatic rifles have increased by 50 percent in 15 states as gun shops and sporting-goods stores like the Kittery Trading Post and Dick's Sporting Goods have benefited from concerns, real or not, that the Obama administration will enact strict gun-control laws such as a revival of the 1994 assault weapons ban — or even, as some pro-gun Web sites have suggested, take guns away from lawful owners.

Nationwide, according to data from the FBI and the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, November gun background checks increased 42 percent from the year before. In December, background checks were up 24 percent, 29 percent in January, and 23 percent in February. Background checks are considered an indication of retail sale activity.

"We've had a double-digit increase in sales of handguns and tactical rifles beginning about a week before the election...," said Fox Keim, vice president of the Kittery Trading Post. "Manufacturers can't keep up with demand and we are seeing a backlog of orders ranging from six months to two years for certain products."

Smith & Wesson, which has a Rochester barrel-making facility and is one of the country's largest firearms manufacturers, reported in its most recent financial statement that hunting rifle sales were down nearly 46 percent, but "sales of all other firearms, specifically handguns and tactical rifles, were $70.7 million, a $23.8 million or 51 percent increase over the same quarter last fiscal year." ...

[Florida] Guns and ammo sales spike even makes the Times of London:
... Manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand, and many gun shops running low on stock as the US public buys weapons in anticipation of tighter controls.

On the campaign trail last year Mr Obama proposed restoring a Clinton-era ban on several types of military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, as well as background checks for buyers at gun shows, and other "common-sense measures".
Personal background checks - which, under federal law, are required of people purchasing rifles and handguns - jumped 42 per cent at gun stores to a record 1.5 million in November after Mr Obama was elected. Since then, they have risen by an average of 25 per cent each month.

In Florida, state authorities have hired an extra 61 people just to help process the waiting list for gun permits. [emphasis added] ...

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