Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[D.C.] NSSF press release on bill to change firearms and ammunition excise tax payment schedule:
... The firearms and ammunition excise tax (FAET) is a major source of wildlife conservation funding in the United States. The Firearms Fairness and Affordability Act (S. 632) will allow the firearms and ammunition industry to pay the FAET on a quarterly basis, the same payment schedule on which every other industry supporting conservation pays the federal excise tax. Joining Sen. Baucus in introducing this important bi-partisan legislation were Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), the current co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and five other senators.
"Singling out the firearms industry for tax payments every two weeks is bureaucratic and discriminatory," said Sen. Crapo. "Changing to a quarterly excise tax payment system, as is used throughout the rest of the sporting goods industry, will allow firearms manufacturers to reinvest funds into developing new products and marketing efforts. It should provide increased funding for state wildlife preservation programs by easing restrictions surrounding the collection of these taxes. The firearms industry would still pay its full share of taxes, but it would do so in a more equitable manner that is in keeping with other business practices."

Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Ensign (R-NV) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) have co-sponsored the Senate FAET legislation.

A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI), the immediate past co-chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus, and was co-sponsored by fellow immediate past co-chair of the Congressional Sportsmen's Caucus Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI). The House bill has the support of 37 members of Congress.

[Michigan] Newspaper says CCW permits rise "alarmingly":
It's a Second Amendment right. Michigan law doesn't stand in the way.

Bay County people are flocking to do it.

This month, 84 applied for a permit to carry a concealed weapon. Twenty-three were for renewals, the rest were newcomers.

That's more than twice the monthly average here.

That's alarming.

Some of the applicants told our reporter they were getting a permit to carry a concealed handgun for personal safety. That's even though the rate of crime isn't rising.

Although, that insurance agent in Auburn did pretty well for himself last month, didn't he, when he shot one man and chased off another when they tried to rob his office.

But he's the exception, not the rule.

Handguns, if not handled with the utmost care, are true home wreckers. While stories of handgun-wielding citizens winning the day against criminals are rare, nearly every year Michigan newspapers report of a child or family member injured or killed - accidentally or intentionally - with a handgun kept in a home. ...

Comment: At least the reporter didn't actually use the old "Blood Will Run In the Streets" argument.

[Michigan] A slightly calmer take on the rise in CCW permit applications:
The fear of new limits on gun ownership under a Democratic administration and concern over personal safety during a weak economy could be fueling a boom in the number of people getting permits to carry handguns.

According to figures provided by the Livingston County clerk, the number of permits issued in 2008 was nearly double the number issued the year before. The trend has continued in the early months of this year.

Clerk Margaret Dunleavy reports that 438 concealed weapons permits were issued in 2007 and that number soared to 823 in 2008. That means 4,107 Livingston County residents (out of a population estimated at 184,662) are licensed to carry a handgun, according to the clerk's office.

So far this year, the number of concealed gun permits issued in Livingston County has increased exponentially, with 146 in January, compared to 36 in January of last year, and 134 in February, as opposed to 42 in 2008.

"There is a general feeling that the new administration in Washington will take a very hard line on citizen rights to bear arms,'' said Livingston County Commissioner Dave Domas, chairman of the county public safety committee. "Wherever the threat is made, or perceived, the reaction is predictable, so it wouldn't surprise me if more people get permits because their rights would be challenged by the administration." ...

[Florida] Gun sales booming:
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.

"Yes, there was a big rush," Christopher W. Drum, owner of CRS Weaponry in Port Richey, said. Sales boomed as much as 60 percent since November, although sales seem to be leveling off of late.

"It was kind of wild for a while," Drum observed, with even grandmotherly types shopping for firearms. Costs of guns have been going up accordingly, with 21 manufacturers raising prices.

"Gun sales are going through the roof," said Bill Bunting, a Republican state committeeman, longtime leader of the Pasco Republican Party and lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
"We've never seen so many women" seeking the firearms training the Second Amendment Club offers, Bunting said. About 35 college students, mostly women, attended the most-recent class. ...

[Missouri] Gun sales rising [video available at link]:
While many shoppers are cutting back on spending, sales of one item continue to soar.

Buyers across the Ozarks are snapping up firearms in record numbers as some people worry the new government will result in major changes to gun laws.

The lines at Loftis Jewelry and Pawn Brokers in Springfield are only getting longer as the new administration plans to tighten gun laws around the country.

"There are times on Fridays and Saturdays where you can't even see the gun counters. It gets so busy that people have to just mingle around, look at other stuff through the store because they can't even get up to the counters to see the guns and stuff that are in the showcases," says co-owner, Darrell Loftis. ...

[Kansas] Senate panel endorses state constitution change:
TOPEKA - A Senate committee has endorsed a proposed amendment to the Kansas Constitution to guarantee an individual's right to own a gun.

The Judiciary Committee's unanimous voice vote Friday sent the measure to the Senate for debate.
The Kansas Constitution says: "The people have the right to bear arms for their defense and security."

But a 1905 Kansas Supreme Court decision says it's a collective, not an individual, right. The proposed amendment would give the right to each person. [emphasis added]

If both legislative houses adopted the proposal by two-thirds majorities, it would be put to a statewide vote.

Comment: Kansas and Nebraska's relatively late entrance to the "shall-issue" concealed carry party was always a little surprising to me, given the mostly rural nature of both those states. I guess this change to fix the Kansas Constitution to properly reflect the individual nature of the right to keep and bear arms, is another case of "better late than never." Note that it was a bunch of judges who ruled that "[t]he people" in the Kansas RKBA constitutional provision did not refer to individuals, but to some mythical "collective".

[Kansas] Gun sales rising:
... Visit Bullseye Shooting Range and you are likely to find them standing in line waiting for a turn. You're also likely to find a lot of empty shelf space. Dealers are selling bullets faster than they can stock them. Manager Harry Ross says all types of guns are selling like crazy.

"We sell massive amounts of weapons now," Ross says.

This nationwide trend follows the election of a Democratic president and a Congress that many believe will push for tougher gun control.

"I think more people are worried about their own security," Ross says. ...

[Tennessee] Senate gun bills on the move [list of the major firearms-related bills under consideration available at link]:
NASHVILLE, TN: The pace quickened on Capitol Hill this week as the State Senate acted on a wide variety of bills, including key environmental legislation and several bills protecting our citizens’ second amendment rights.
The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Firearms and Ammunitions Legislation recommended ten bills for passage this week aimed at revising Tennessee’s gun laws and assuring the Second Amendment rights of citizens “to keep and bear arms.” Earlier this year, Senate Judiciary Chairman Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) referred 47 bills to the Subcommittee chaired by Senator Mike Faulk (R-Church Hill) for review. These bills range from permit confidentiality to a legal permit holder’s right to carry in public places. ...

[New York] Lawmakers consider changes to gun sales laws:
The sale of guns (firearms, rifles, or shotguns) at auctions, flea markets, or garage sales would be considered a "gun show" in New York, according to legislation cosponsored by Senator Eric T. Schneiderman (D-New York City) and Assemblywoman Amy R. Paulin (D-Westchester).

"Realizing that guns are often offered for exchange as well as for sale or transfer in a range of places, this bill adds the word 'exchange' to the current statute," Schneiderman said. "Clarifying the term 'gun show' will attempt to address the cases in which the court will have to determine whether or not the sale or transfer of firearms that takes place in a variety of venues constitutes a gun show. Additionally, in the event that firearms, rifles, or shotguns are offered for sale, transfer, or exchange at a public auction, flea market, or garage sale, these venues will also be considered a gun show."

A second measure pertaining to the sale of rifles or shotguns would require a sale to be conducted through a federally licensed firearms dealer. "The bill provides for the return of the firearm to the appropriate party, should the sale of the firearm constitute a violation of the penal law," Paulin said. "This bill does not apply to the sale of firearms in four specified situations: sales to federally licensed firearms dealers; sales of an antique rifle or shotgun, a collector's item, a device not designed or redesigned for use as a rifle or shotgun, or designed solely for use as a signaling, safety, or similar device, or an unserviceable rifle or shotgun; sales to purchasers authorized to purchase on behalf of a law enforcement agency; and sales to immediate family members, which include spouse, natural and adoptive parents, children and siblings, stepparents, stepchildren and step-siblings, fathers-, mothers-, brothers-, sisters-, sons- and daughters-in-law, and grandparents and grandchildren." ...

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