Sunday, March 22, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

Washington Times op-ed says Obama secretly ending armed pilots program [hat tip to reader Jim P.]:
After the September 11 attacks, commercial airline pilots were allowed to carry guns if they completed a federal-safety program. No longer would unarmed pilots be defenseless as remorseless hijackers seized control of aircraft and rammed them into buildings.

Now President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program, risking public safety on airlines in the name of an anti-gun ideology.

The Obama administration this past week diverted some $2 million from the pilot training program to hire more supervisory staff, who will engage in field inspections of pilots.
Since Mr. Obama's election, pilots have told us that the approval process for letting pilots carry guns on planes slowed significantly. Last week the problem went from bad to worse. Federal Flight Deck Officers - the pilots who have been approved to carry guns - indicate that the approval process has stalled out.

Pilots cannot openly speak about the changing policies for fear of retaliation from the Transportation Security Administration. Pilots who act in any way that causes a “loss of confidence” in the armed pilot program risk criminal prosecution as well as their removal from the program. Despite these threats, pilots in the Federal Flight Deck Officers program have raised real concerns in multiple interviews. ...

Gun advocates brace for new AWB fight:
... Attorney General Eric Holder is using the drug violence in Mexico to "confuse and mislead" Americans in an attempt to reinstate the expired Federal Assault Weapons Ban, gun advocates claim.

Holder revealed his intention to reinstate the ban last month while announcing more than 700 arrests in connection with a crackdown on Mexican drug cartels operating in the United States.

"As President Obama indicated during the campaign, there are just a few gun-related changes that we would like to make, and among them would be to re-institute the ban on the sale of assault weapons," Holder said. "I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."

Holder said reinstating the ban would decrease the flow of guns from the U.S. into Mexico. He declined to offer a timeframe for any re-implementation; Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller also declined comment on Tuesday.
During a House subcommittee hearing last week, Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, warned against making U.S. gun owners "scapegoats" for the Mexican crisis.

"The message here is clear: According to some, the violence in Mexico is not the fault of the drug cartels or their American customers, nor is it the fault of decades of Mexican government corruption," Cox said in prepared remarks.

"In their view, the fault lies with American gun owners. This is an outrageous assertion."

Authorities should ramp up border security and continue targeting so-called straw buyers who do the cartels' "dirty work," Cox said.

But Tom Diaz, senior policy analyst at the Violence Policy Center, testified at the subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on Thursday that the U.S. civilian gun market is fueling violence in Mexico and on both sides of its border.
... Arizona state Sen. Jonathan Paton, who testified at last week's hearing, said additional gun laws are just not the answer.

"It would actually hurt the problem rather than help it," Paton, a Republican, said of re-instituting the federal assault weapons ban. "They're not giving us the resources on the laws that we already have on the books. What makes me think they're going to give us the resources for new laws?"

Paton cited Mexico's far stricter gun laws as proof that new domestic laws in the United States won't deter criminals intent on trafficking arms.

"It's not going to solve the problem you have with M-16s and AK-47s; they're already banned and they're already going into Mexico at a feverish pace," Paton told "The day they start taking their border security as serious as we do, Mexico will cut down tremendously on its amount of guns."

[Kansas] Ammo shortages hit gun owners:
WICHITA - Around Wichita, the supply of ammunition -- particularly for handguns -- is not keeping pace with a strong demand. The demand is emptying shelves at the big discount stores, owners of local shooting ranges and gun merchants say.
At the Goddard Gunnery, which sells mainly hunting supplies but also handguns and ammunition, owner Monte Reese said he has gotten new customers who said they couldn't find ammunition at the big discount stores.

"There does appear to be a shortage through the distribution channels," Reese said. "Certainly... demand is outpacing supply."

In 15 years in business, he said, "we had the best year we've ever had last year."

"We noticed the trend well before the election," he said. "It certainly didn't slow down after the election."

At the Bullet Stop, prices are rising with the demand, Holman said. In the last six months, for example, a box of 50 rounds of one type of ammo has gone from $36 to $53.

The shooting ranges are restricting carry-out sales so they have enough for their range customers.

Holman said he's seeing more couples, more women and more families coming to the shooting range --"just a heavy migration toward an acceptance of firearms in the role it plays in their lives."

David Ewald, spokesman for Minnesota-based Gander Mountain, one of the nation's largest gun retailers, said the company has seen brisk gun and ammo sales for the last six to eight months. Gander Mountain has a store in downtown Wichita. ...

[Georgia] Atlanta ammo scarce:
Larry Guarcello is having trouble locating a source of discounted ammunition. He has been attempting to make a group purchase for members of GeorgiaCarry.Org who are attending firearms classes with instructor Ken Forbus at Firearmz. These courses are not run of the mill familiarization courses where a student might expect to expend a single box of ammunition, but intensive courses requiring hundreds or even thousands of rounds. At current prices, such prodigious shooting that can add up to a noticeable sum.

Because the cost is significant, Mr. Guarcello thought he could realize a substantial savings if the students banded together to purchase their ammunition, but so far he has met with frustration. "Nobody is willing commit to price or availability at this time," he remarked. He added that he has not given up.

Many readers no doubt have experienced similar frustration recently. Mike Jones was at the Walmart sporting goods counter in Fayetteville, Georgia this evening, looking desperately through the empty shelves for ammunition to feed his .45 ACP pistol. He did not find any, and his said that this was the second store he had visited in less than a week. ...

The Oath Keepers Project gets some press:
An invitation to soldiers and peace officers across the United States to pledge to refuse illegal orders – including "state of emergency" orders that could include disarming or detaining American citizens – has struck a chord, collecting more than 100,000 website visitors in a little over a week and hundreds of e-mails daily.

Spokesman Stewart Rhodes of Oath Keepers told WND his organization's goal is to remind military members their oath of allegiance is to the U.S. Constitution, not a particular president.
One testimonial posted by an active duty Army soldier, who was kept anonymous, said that message already has gotten through.

"I want you guys to know I'm with you 100 percent and so are a lot of my fellow soldiers. These kinds of discussions go on between us often, and we all know that we did not swear an oath to any politician (of either party)," he wrote.

"And just for the record not me or anyone else in my platoon would ever follow an order to disarm the American people," he wrote. ...

[Tennessee] Bill would end fingerprinting of gun buyers:
FOUNTAIN CITY (WATE) -- A 1998 state law that requires gun buyers to provide a fingerprint could soon be a thing of the past.

A bill that passed 82-11 in the State House is now headed for the Senate. It says firearms dealers in Tennessee would no longer be required to take thumbprints from people buying a gun.

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation asks that gun dealers buy a specific type of ink and also provides them with a thumbprint form, but many local dealers say they're not taught how to accurately take a thumbprint.
The current law requires gun dealers to keep prints on file for a year.

TBI reports it has only requested one thumbprint since the current law was enacted. That print was smudged and unusable

"In the ten years I've been here I have never had law enforcement come in and say we would like to have the fingerprints from this individual," says Bowman. ...

[Florida] Broward schools may consider ammo a "weapon":
A box of bullets or shotgun shells brought onto Broward County Click here for restaurant inspection reports school grounds would be considered weapons if the School Board approves a recommended change to the district's student code of conduct.

Ammunition already isn't allowed on campus, though the school district does not classify it as weapons. The district's code of conduct does not specify how school officials will discipline a student who brings bullets or other similar items to school.

The proposed change comes just months after the November shooting death of Amanda Collette, who died after she was shot by a classmate at Dillard High School. It also comes amid heightened public concern over an increasing number of weapons found on Broward campuses. In the 2007-08 school year, school officials seized 503 weapons, up from 315 the previous school year.

If the School Board approves the change Tuesday, a student who next school year brings bullets or other ammunition to school would be considered in possession of a Class B weapon, the same category as knives, toy guns, razor blades, Chinese stars, nunchakus, pepper spray and ice picks. ...

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