Thursday, March 26, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

Another article on the flow of guns from the U.S. to poor little Mexico:
EL PASO, Texas - U.S. authorities say that as attention increases on gun running between Mexico and the United States along the border, the illegal trade is emanating from deeper in the United States.

"We're finding guns aren't just coming from [the] Southwest border," said William McMahon, deputy assistant director for field operations at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). "We're seeing hot spots farther north and east, too."

In 2007, guns recovered in Mexico were traced back to states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Washington state, he said. Cartels are using long-established drug-smuggling routes that extend deep into the United States to secure and move weapons south, Mr. McMahon said.

Still, "the majority are from the state of Texas" and other border states, said Tom Crowley, ATF special agent and spokesman at the Dallas field division.

U.S. officials estimate that 90 percent to 95 percent of guns smuggled into Mexico come from the United States, and ATF officials say that more than 7,700 weapons recovered in Mexico last year were traced to U.S. gun sellers.

The Mexican government estimates that 2,000 firearms are smuggled into the country from the United States every day.
[emphasis added]
Sen. Richard J. Durbin, Illinois Democrat, told a Senate hearing on March 18 that the U.S. and Mexico are connected by what he described as an "iron river of guns."
Firefights between cartel members and Mexican government troops often resemble guerrilla war-style engagements. While heavier armaments such as fragmentation grenades and grenade launchers - shipped primarily by sea or through the porous Mexico-Guatemala border - are becoming increasingly commonplace, the United States is still the prime source for firearms, ATF officials say. ...

Comment: Folks, we're getting set up for more gun control. Politicians and their government lackeys (who would never distort the truth, now would they?) will keep pounding the "90 to 95%" number (used to be 90%, I guess that fabricated figure was too low) into the American consciousness, aided by the unquestioning media (who are generally enthusiastic gun control supporters). By the way, if 2,000 guns a day are flowing into Mexico from the U.S., or 730,000 a year, how come only 7,700 recovered guns from the entire year were traced back to U.S. sources? Granted, we don't know the total number of guns recovered, but doesn't it seems suspicious that you can estimate with such certainty (90 to 95%) from only one percent of the estimated inflow from U.S. sources (which of course isn't the total inflow)?

[D.C.] Sens. Sessions, Durbin have different takes on Mexico's gun problems:
At a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on Crime and Drugs and the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, conservative Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama said just because Mexican drug traffickers are smuggling U.S. guns into Mexico to wreak bloody havoc, doesn't mean that U.S. gun laws are somehow responsible.

“If they don’t get guns from the United States, they’ll get them from their own military, they’ll steal them from other countries, they’ll buy them, there are markets out there,,” Sessions said. “The problem really isn’t the guns. The real problem is that this group is attempting to continue illegal operations in Mexico, and they will intimidate and kill people that try to stop them.”

But liberal Democratic Sen. Richard Durbin of Illinois, the current majority whip, directly blamed American laws and policies for facilitating the influx of weapons into Mexico. [emphasis added]

Durbin acknowledged that the U.S. Constitution gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms, but added: “This [right to bear arms] does not allow us to aid and abed criminal conspiracies in neighboring countries by shipping thousands of firearms everyday with impunity to ignore our laws and policies that is making life dangerous for people living south of the border.”

He added: “(F)or the record I would like to say guns are a problem; guns are a serious problem.’ ”

Sessions stuck to his guns -- figuratively speaking.

“They are already guns in Mexico, they can get guns from South America, they can get them from their own military, American guns are already there,” Sessions said, “and we have a constitutional right in America to keep and bear arms, and we’re not changing our Constitution.”

Durbin, who chairs the subcommittee on crime and drugs, however, got the last word:

“We have a responsibility and to ignore it by saying ‘Well if we weren’t irresponsible somebody else would be irresponsible’ is no comfort to people living in a country where 6,000 innocent people were killed last year mainly because of American firearms.”

The comments came in response to testimony from witnesses that up to 90 percent of the traceable weapons taken from Mexican drug traffickers come from the United States. [emphasis added] ...

[New Hampshire] Surge in gun sales is "lunacy", says anti-gunner:
Like it or not, gun sales are, well, booming.

There are a number of reasons but the most prevalent are people are afraid the Obama administration, sooner or later, will get around to creating more-restrictive gun ownership laws and taxes. And those are not unfounded fears.

So gun owners are stocking up on ammunition, handguns and semiautomatic rifles. Sales are up 50 percent since Barack Obama was elected.

And gun-control advocates have taken notice.

In a story in Seacoast Sunday last week, Peter Hamm of the Washington-D.C.-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence used words like "lunacy" to describe people who are buying guns.

He also said, "In this economic environment, I question the sanity of extremists who are buying up guns. What kind of choices are they making for their families?"
[emphasis added] ...

Comment: All you "lunatic", "extremist" gun owners better stock up, because "Hope and Change" is a'comin' your way.

[Massachusetts] Columnist wonders why gun sales are up:
Gun sales are up significantly across the nation the past few months. Some point to a significant change in the White House, Congress and the economy as the reason for the rapid rise.

The Braintree Rifle and Pistol Club is open to its members, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

And more people are coming than ever before.

But why?

Is economic turmoil leading to a predicted rise in break-ins and the increased need for protection?

Or is the belief that the Obama Administration will renew the ban on assault weapons leading to a spike in the sale of guns and ammunition?

In the days following the election in November, sales were brisk at Northeast Trading Company in North Attleboro, Mass.

Now more than four months later, gun dealers continue to be busy and new members are coming to shoot in record numbers at the Braintree Rifle and Pistol Club. ...

[Massachusetts] Fears about crime, economy stoking gun sales:
PLYMOUTH, Mass. - The popular handguns are on back order. Some kinds of semiautomatic rifles are even harder to get. Ammo, too, is at a premium. In short, the gun industry is weathering the recession just fine.

In Massachusetts and across America, the recent surge in gun buying has been fueled by fears that President Obama will restrict gun rights, and by creeping anxiety about crime and the economy.

“It’s a tug-of-war between the anxiety of the general public and their lack of money,” said Andrew Molchan, president of the Professional Gun Retailers Association. “Right now, anxiety seems to be winning out.”

At M&M Plimoth Bay Outfitters in Plymouth, AR-15s and other military-pattern semiautomatic rifles, once heavily restricted as so-called assault weapons, have been quickest to sell.

Owner Peter Tache stressed that frantic customers were not forming lines outside his shop, but he also said his “display is much emptier.”

“It’s fear, anxiety, and ‘get ’em while you can,’” he said.

Many gun-rights advocates are aghast at indications that the Obama administration wants to reinstate the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. President Clinton signed the law in 1994, banning or severely restricting 19 types of semiautomatic military-style rifles, including AR-15s and AK-47s, along with the sale of magazines that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. The ban expired in 2004; a proposed extension was later voted down.

Similar restrictions remain on the books in Massachusetts.

Tache said more first-time buyers walk into the shop these days. The discussion often revolves around the recession driving up crime levels. There’s even talk about the potential for civil unrest. ...

Anti-gun retired general wants new "assault weapons" ban, says join the military if you want guns:
When General Wesley Clark was recently on Geraldo Rivera's Fox News show, he said that the United States needs to impose a new "assault weapons ban," and said that if Americans want machine guns, they should join the military.

I don’t know how many times it has to be said, but the so-called "assault weapons" that Attorney General Holder wants to ban aren't machine guns. They're the same semi-automatic firearms that have been around for more than 100 years. General Clark is deliberately misleading the American people.

Clark also said that the problem we have isn't sealing the border from south to north, but from north to south. The Los Angeles Times recently reported the opposite. The paper says military weapons, including machine guns, anti-tank rockets, RPGs, grenade launchers and grenades are the new weapons of choice for the drug cartels. Sorry, General, but they're not getting that kind of weaponry at a gun show in Arizona.

Geraldo Rivera should know better than to allow this kind of nonsense to go unchallenged. In fact, Geraldo agreed with Clark, and wondered why anyone would need an "AK-47 to go hunting." Sorry Geraldo, but the "A" in AK-47 stands for "automatic"... as in, fully automatic. As in "machine gun." ...

Comment: Two clueless anti-gun liberals talking about guns. Might be entertainment, but it ain't news.

[Iraq] SOF Magazine says OIG report shows ATF agents in Iraq engaged in fraud:
Amid the orderly transfer of power, our new Chief Executive has issued a call for responsibility. As is the case with most of his public statements, his meaning is not clear. However, if he means holding government officials accountable for their actions, a novel and great idea, it is something that we can all embrace. It is particularly true of those officials within agencies with a long and well documented history of abuses of entrusted powers. Somehow, ATFE comes to mind as the poster boy for irresponsibility and unaccountability.

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Justice recently (December 2008) reported on “An Investigation of Overtime Payments to FBI and Other Department of Justice Employees Deployed to Iraq” during the period 2003 through 2008. The “other” employees in the title of the report included ATFE Special Agents as well as DEA Special Agents and Deputy U.S. Marshals.

ATFE Special Agents were deployed in Iraq on 90-day TDY assignments between 2003 and 2008. During that time, they were paid $4,175,731.00 in unauthorized and unlawful overtime pay. They filed fraudulent claims for the overtime and ATFE senior officials did nothing to monitor the claims or review them for conformity with federal law and regulations. In other words, the ATFE Special Agents, law enforcement officers who are sworn to faithfully execute the laws of the United States, filed false time and attendance reports claiming pay for overtime which was not worked and for which payment was not authorized under federal law. ...

[California] Oakland cop killings may prompt more infringements:
If history repeats itself, the fatal shootings of four Oakland police officers on Saturday afternoon will become the next benchmark in the national debate on a federal law to ban assault weapons.

If there is a grain of hope to be gathered from a loss so tragic, it's that last weekend's horrific events will help end the debate on an unresolved policy issue that has resulted in thousands of deaths and helped sustain veritable demilitarized zones in some of our nation's largest cities.

In Oakland, a city already struggling with high crime and gun violence, the deaths of two officers gunned down with an AK-47 qualify city officials to lend their voices to any national debate on the issue.

While the tragedy in Oakland lacks the scale of the shootings at Virginia Tech in 2007 and Columbine High School nearly a decade ago, the deaths of four officers in a single incident is a significant event that sends shock waves across the nation.

The use of the deadly weapons - which can fire hundreds of rounds per minute - has become an all-too-familiar feature in the gun violence being played out. ...

Comment: Doesn't California already ban "assault weapons"? And wasn't the alleged killer, a parolee, already prohibited by law from owning or even possessing any gun?

[California] More talk of need for new "assault weapons" ban:
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Talk of bringing back a national ban on assault weapons is resurfacing following the recent Oakland shootings. At a law enforcement symposium Monday in San Francisco, officers say they are defenseless against the kind of fire power involved with assault rifles.

At the law enforcement symposium, the issue of banning assault weapons could not be avoided. Susan Manheimer, police chief for the city of San Mateo, says no equipment can really protect officers from the high powered weapons.

"It is something we feel very strongly about is a ban on assault weapons and you need only look at what happened in Oakland to understand the power and the danger of those type of weapons," Manheimer said.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein has said she plans to introduce legislation to bring back the weapons ban. President Clinton signed it into law in 1994, but it expired in 2004. Monday, she stayed clear of talking about the specifics of such a ban. ...

Comment: Of course, the fact that California police chief Manheimer doesn't know that such weapons are already banned in California, might be troubling to rational readers. Until you realize that this isn't about guns, but about power over peaceable and free men and women (although I use the appellation "free" with some reservations with respect to California). As the old saying goes: Gun control isn't about guns, it's about control. That saying is the Rosetta Stone for deciphering most (all?) gun control schemes.

David Codrea says Oakland shootings show uselessness of gun control:
... See, that's the thing. Being a "prohibited person," it was illegal for Mixon to touch any gun. It was illegal for him to have a handgun, to carry it, to kill with it. And California has "assault weapon" bans that cover not only the model Mixon used, but also the characteristics.

And then there's this:
The bulletproof vests that Romans and Sakai wore were no help - when Mixon fired his automatic rifle through a closet door in the apartment, he hit the two sergeants in the head.

The reporters (I like to call them "Authorized Journalists") managed to convey several visceral messages in that compact statement.

One of the bits of disinformation used to justify banning semiautomatic rifles is that the ammunition they fire can penetrate police vests. The truth is, the AK and variants fire a round that is hardly high-powered by rifle standards--so while the gunhaters are quick to assure people their hunting rifles are safe, any such rifle will penetrate body armor designed to stop handgun rounds. But note in this case, vest penetration was not a factor--so why even bring it up?

The other problematic choice of words? Using the term "Automatic rifle."

If, in fact it, was full-auto, that's yet two more sets of "gun control" laws ignored--state and federal. More likely, and information is conflicting at this point, it was a semiauto. But we in the gun rights advocacy community are used to seeing the press confuse the public on the difference. It's actually part of a larger disinformation plan that the media continually either intentionally propagates or obliviously parrots.

Here's what we do know: "Gun control" laws were utterly useless at keeping guns out of the hands of a killer. And when he went on a rampage, it took other men with guns to stop him. ...

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