Friday, March 27, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[North Carolina] Lawmaker introduces bill to protect vets from losing gun rights:
North Carolina U.S. Senator Richard Burr, along with 14 other cosponsors, introduced legislation that would end a seemingly arbitrary process by which the government "strips" veterans and other Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) beneficiaries of their Second Amendment rights.

Currently veterans who have a fiduciary appointed to act on their behalf are deemed "mentally defective" and are reported to the FBI's National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), a system which prevents individuals from purchasing firearms in the United States.

The Veterans' Second Amendment Protection Act would require a judicial authority to determine that a VA beneficiary poses a danger to themselves or others before VA may send their names to be listed in the FBI's NICS.

"Under current law, veterans who have come to (the) VA for help but who are determined to be unable to manage their own financial affairs are labeled as mentally defective and, on that basis alone, are denied their 2nd amendment rights," Burr said. "I am very concerned that government employees can so easily take away a veteran's right to bear arms. My legislation would protect the rights of veterans and their families by ensuring that only a proper judicial authority is able to determine who is referred to NICS." ...

[Massachusetts] Fewer gun dealers due to onerous regulations:
Fifteen years ago there were 23 federal firearms licenses issued in Belchertown.

Today, there are three.

"I would say that's a pretty major decline," said Rich Kimball, of R&R Gun Sales, 450 State St., and one of the three remaining license holders.

Stricter federal licensing regulations dating back to 1993, plus the overall climate in Massachusetts with some of the toughest firearms laws in the country, have made it tough for gun dealers in the Bay State, according to Kimball. The combination, he says, "caused a lot of dealers to get out of the business."

Since 1994, the number of federal firearm licenses - FFLs - issued in Massachusetts has declined from 4,109 to 531, or by 87 percent.
In 1993 there were 240,000 federal firearms licenses issued nationwide. As it was pointed out at the time by one pro-gun control group, there were more licensed firearms dealers in the United State than there were gas stations.

Since then the number has declined to about 109,000, or by 62 percent, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The decline is part of a national trend that dates back to two pieces of legislation, according to the federal agency that oversees the licensing.

The first is the Brady Bill, named after White House press secretary James Brady who was shot in an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981. It increased the license fee from $10 per year to $200 for the first three years and $90 for each three-year renewal.

The second piece of legislation was the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, also known as the Crime Bill. It requires applicants for the federal licenses to notify their local police department, submit fingerprints and a photo with the application, and certify that their businesses adhere to local zoning regulations.

It also requires gun dealers to have an established location for their shops that must be separate from their residences. This eliminated many hobbyists and part-time dealers.
Ultimately the federal legislation and state regulations did little to fight crime, Wallace contends, but they have managed put a lot of honest dealers out of the business. He also cited the Massachusetts Gun Control Act of 1998, which, he said, enacted more layers of restrictions and regulations for the purchase and sale of guns. ...

[West Virginia] Lawmaker wants permitless carry ... for himself:
CHARLESTON — Controversy often inflames passions, and mindful of this lawless age and a propensity of some in society to go over the edge, a few lawmakers want the right to arm themselves without a weapons permit.

One sponsor of such a House bill, in fact, Delegate Mark Hunt, D-Kanawha, relayed a personal threat directed at him and his family, penned by the hand of a convict.

A self-described “monster,” the man behind bars warned of what he intended to do to Hunt and his children.

Hunt decided to leave nothing to chance and get a firearm, but was told he had to wait during a two-month concealed weapon application process. [emphasis added] ...

Comment: What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Shouldn't the citizens Mr. Hunt represents have the same RKBA rights as their elected servants? Mr. Hunt's complaint appears to be that West Virginia law also applies to him.

[Ireland] From the "oops" file: Gangster shoots himself in head [hat tip to reader Jim P.]:
A WELL-known criminal who is a central figure in Limerick's ongoing feud was in a critical condition on a life support machine last night after he accidentally shot himself.

Feared gangster Philip Collopy (29) from St Mary's Park, Limerick is in the city's Mid-Western Regional Hospital where he has been since he shot himself in the head on Saturday morning.

The career criminal shot himself with a glock handgun at close range in a house at St Munchin's Street, St Mary's Park. He had been inspecting the gun and removed the loaded magazine from it while handling it. However, he failed to realise a bullet was still in the chamber before he discharged the weapon while it was pointed at his head. [emphasis added] ...

Comment: Well, at least he now knows the gun works. :)

Columnist asks: Would you know an "assault weapon" if you say one?
... If you answered "D)all of the above" congratulations, you qualify for a California Senate seat! You'd also be wrong.

Those who want to take away gun from civilians know they can't take them all at once. The only way to get them is to vilify and ban one class of firearms at a time. Two of the most frequent targets are handguns and "assault weapons." But, what exactly is an assault weapon, and why do they claim we need to ban them?

Actually, the term "assault weapon" is made up. It is a derivative of the real phrase "assault rifle" which is a selective fire (can switch between automatic and semi-automatic) rifle or carbine firing ammunition with muzzle energies intermediate between those typical of pistol and high-powered rifle ammunition. If you look at the above pictures again, only one of the above is an assault rifle, and that is "B", a M-16. Both the AR-15 (A) and the SIG 556 (C) are semi-automatic only. But the gun grabbers want to ban them because they are evil looking black rifles.

Since there is a very specific definition of an assault rifle, the gun control crowd needed something that sounded similar and scary so that they could apply that label to this scary looking class of firearms. So, they made up "assault weapon". Sounds close enough.

Looks are the only thing these firearms have in common with real assault rifles. No army or terrorist group in the world would limit themselves to such weapons as they are primarily suitable for sporting purposes and civilian self defense, not the battlefield. A study done by the US Department of Justice found that these kinds of guns are used in less than 1% of all gun crimes. And yet, these unscrupulous individuals have absolutely no qualms about lying to the public in order to sell their agenda.
One of the reasons this incident made the headlines is because how rare it is that such an incident occurs. That hardly makes for a description of our cities as "demilitarized zones." Much more troubling is the fact that witnesses to the crime were cheering the deaths of these officers. But, why focus on the root of violence and try to fix the real problem when you can just blame the gun and try to disarm innocent, law-abiding citizens?

One argument regularly used by those in favor of an AWB is that criminals can easily convert these semi-automatic firearms into automatic firearms (machine guns). If it is so easy, why isn't it being done? Right now, there is no AWB, so there shouldn't there be machine gun killings on the news every night? The ban is a farce for crime control, and they know it. ...

[Washington] Seattle mayor moves ahead with gun ban:
Mayor Greg Nickels is going forward with a controversial executive order which would ban "dangerous weapons" - including firearms - on Seattle owned parks and properties. An exact date has not been set yet for when the ban will go into effect. However, a spokesman for the Mayor's office said the ban is currently expected to begin sometime in May.

Coincidentally, this places the time somewhere around the one-year anniversary of the freak shooting incident at Folklife, last year, that left two people injured and was the casus belli for the order.

The move also comes in spite of legal concerns questioning whether the city can unilaterally prohibit firearms owners, particularly those possessing Concealed Pistol Licenses, from exercising their legal rights. ...

[Arkansas] Open carry bill dies in committee:
Yet another weapons bill hit committee this afternoon as the House Judiciary Committee considered Rep. Mark Martin’s legislation to allow people to carry firearms in plain sight. The bill’s lack of provisions for training and its apparent permissiveness toward the open-carry of machine guns was too much for the committee. Though Rep. Martin did not agree with these criticisms, he pulled the bill down for amendment to ensure that it would not be legal for children to wield a gun.

Several legislators suggested they might vote for the bill if it required some sort of permit or training for open carry, but Rep. Martin firmly resisted making a change. He argued that such a requirement would place a financial burden on impoverished people. The poor who couldn’t pay would be unable to exercise what Rep. Martin considers a constitutional right to bear arms in the open. In response to the comment that anyone who owns a gun can also afford a training course, Rep. Martin responded that a gun might be inherited or earned from some sort of program.

“[A fee] would have a chilling effect on people who were discriminated against before,” Rep. Martin said in reference to the 19th century slave laws he cited to justify the necessity of open-carry legislation. ...

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