Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Texas] Military weaponry from U.S. government inventory available on black market:
EL PASO -- Military weaponry and supplies, everything from fighter jet parts to meals for combat soldiers, are vanishing from the U.S. government inventory. A recent government report says some of that lost equipment could be used against America's military and police agencies.

A weapon stash in Juárez and night-vision rifle scopes stolen from combat teams in Iraq for sale on the black market in El Paso are part of a wider problem, according to the 2008 Government Accountability Office report.

The report documents the purchase of sensitive military items on eBay and Craigslist by undercover GAO agents between January 2007 and March 2008.

They bought the items "no questions asked," according to the report. They also found dealers who regularly bought and sold the gear. Store owners said that they purchased much of the equipment from U.S. service members, but that some was obtained from government liquidators.

The gear included military aircraft antennas, military-specification night-vision goggles, Army combat uniforms with infrared tabs used to identify friendly forces, and body-armor vests with the most recent plates. ...

[Illinois] State Supreme Court dismisses lawsuit against gun manufacturers:
Fairfax, Va. - Today, the Illinois Supreme Court dismissed yet another reckless lawsuit aimed at putting firearms manufacturers out of business. Adames v. Beretta was dismissed under the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005 (PLCAA). The court’s order affirmed the original trial court judgment in the case.

This is the second judicial decision in 2009 upholding a dismissal under the PLCAA. Ten days ago, the U.S. Supreme Court denied appeals in the cases of New York v. Beretta and District of Columbia v. Beretta.

NRA chief lobbyist Chris W. Cox said, “We are pleased that the Court recognized that the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act is the law of the land. America’s law-abiding firearms manufacturers must be protected from reckless suits, such as this one, that have no legal merit. Blaming gun manufacturers for the acts of criminals is not the way we do things in America, and today the Illinois Supreme Court confirmed this view.”

The Illinois Supreme Court found that “the discharge of the Beretta was caused by a volitional act that constituted a criminal offense, which act shall be considered the sole proximate cause of any resulting death.”

The Court also agreed with the appellate court in finding the PLCAA was constitutional. Finally, it let stand the trial court’s findings that "the Beretta [pistol] was not unreasonably dangerous or defectively designed" and that the danger of pointing a gun at another person and pulling the trigger is open and obvious, even if the person pointing the gun mistakenly believes that the gun is not loaded. ...

[Montana] Bill would allow concealed carry without permit:
HELENA — Members of Montana's law enforcement community came out in force Tuesday against a controversial bill that would allow citizens to carry concealed firearms without a permit.

During a lengthy hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Bill 228 pitted public safety officials against the National Rifle Association and other gun-rights advocates.

Under the proposed law, citizens could carry a firearm inside city limits without a permit and would have the right to defend themselves with it without having to first call for help or try to run away.

Opponents of the measure call it a "shoot-to-kill" bill, adding it will weaken prosecutors' ability to convict violent criminals.

The measure was introduced by Rep. Krayton Kerns, R-Laurel, but its primary author is Gary Marbut, president of the Montana Shooting Sports Association. The bill has become one of the most controversial and politically divisive bills of the 2009 legislative session. It passed the evenly divided House 60-40, with several Democrats crossing party lines.

Rep. Deborah Kottel, D-Great Falls, is one of SB228's most ardent champions.

"Currently, in the state of Montana, when you raise the defense of self-defense, it is an affirmative defense, and the burden of proof shifts to you to prove that you were justified in using that defense," Kottel said. "This bill clearly keeps the burden of proof with the state, which is where it should be." ...

[Illinois] Anti-gun indoctrination in school:
... Ms. Razeq emailed me to ask if I would be willing to come and speak to her students about the proposed concealed carry law in Illinois, after she had been unable to find another pro gun person who was willing to do so. I emailed her back, and expressed possible interest in speaking to her class if she remained unable to find a speaker (I’ve never appeared as a pro gun speaker and therefore would prefer to have someone more experienced do the job if possible, not to mention that I’m rather busy at the moment with school, work, and preparing for the bar exam). Ms. Razeq politely emailed me back, said that she had found a pro gun rights speaker - but that the school was unwilling to allow any pro gun rights speaker to come speak to her class, out of concern for how the parents would react. The school said that only the anti gun rights speaker from the Million Mom March (an anti gun group) could come speak to the class, although Ms. Razeq (who is not an expert in the pro gun rights area) could offer her opinions. I emailed Ms. Razeq back, and explained that having a one-sided indoctrination session with the anti gun rights speaker would be a disservice to the students as well as the society in which those 11th graders would soon be voters. Unfortunately, she politely dismissed my concerns and decided to go ahead with plan of allowing the anti gun speaker to lecture to her class, while denying anyone from the pro gun rights side of the debate a chance to do the same. [emphasis added] ...

Comment: A follow-up article indicates that the school has canceled the anti-gun presentation due to numerous complaints about fairness. You wonder, however, how many of these anti-gun presentations go on below the radar, in schools across the nation.

[United Kingdom] Ad for new film banned for "glorifying" gun use:
A television advert for the DVD release of Angelina Jolie's film Wanted has been banned for "glorifying" gun use.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruled that the commercial gave the impression that "using guns was sexy and glamorous".

Makers Universal Pictures have been told the advert cannot be shown again in its current form, and is unsuitable to be seen by older children.

One complaint from a member of the public was received by the ASA. [emphasis added]

The complainant said the promotion glamorised guns and claimed it was unsuitable to be shown early on a Saturday morning when children were likely to be watching. ...

Comment: Those evil, sexy guns! Note that a single complaint from one person was all it took to get the ad banned.

Columnist asks: Are we shadow boxing on gun rights?
... It seems that when it comes to guns, the administration dodges and weaves, advances and retreats. There are two ways we could see that: As ineptitude, in which Obama isn’t capable of keeping his people marching to the same tune …

… or as disingenuity, in which administration henchmen launch little, plausibly deniable, trial balloons.

What if, for example, Obama or Holder or the ever-partisan Rahm Emanuel decided that they would make us chase shadows for awhile? Perhaps make us seem to cry “wolf” enough times that when the onslaught really comes, fewer people will be listening.

That’s just conjecture, of course. But one thing is certain: At some point, the jab will come at you from the shadows. When it does, you’d better have your guard up.

[D.C.] Mayor Fenty says bite the bullet to get D.C. a House vote:
Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said he believes that District residents support pushing a voting rights bill through Congress even if it means the city's gun control laws would be weakened by an amendment being offered by gun rights supporters.

In an interview with The Washington Post this week, Fenty (D) said that it would be a "tough call" to accept an amendment to the bill and that he hopes the city "won't have to make that choice."
"Hopefully, it will be resolved, and I think there's a couple of strategies in play," Fenty said during an interview for "Voices of Power," a Post online series about Washington power players. "But if we had to make that call on a close margin, I do believe a majority of District residents say: 'Give us the vote. Give us the vote, and we hate this gun law, but we'll find a way to get rid of that if necessary.' "

The mayor's position appeared to differ from that of several D.C. Council members, who have questioned whether the city should support the legislation if it means loosening the firearms restrictions. The Senate already has approved a similar D.C. vote bill with an amendment that would overturn the gun control laws. The council passed a resolution opposing the move.

"I strongly disagree," said council member Phil Mendelson (D-At Large). "He is under-appreciating the severity of the amendment. A lot of work is being done to get the amendment off the bill." ...

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