Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Texas] Seamen consider piracy risks:
In Houston’s maritime union halls, sailors and engineers were talking guns Thursday. They discussed the pirates’ guns. Their own lack of guns. And the possibility that the hijacking of a U.S.-flagged container ship off Somalia on Wednesday will force the Navy to bring more firepower to the high seas.

“Step it up, because the pirates are,” said Spencer Reed, 52, a marine engineer. “Those guys mean business.”

“Pirates have been around a long, long time, but now it’s gotten more sophisticated,” said another engineer, Phillip Sistrunk, 60, of Pasadena. “It was a little bit of a shocker because normally they don’t mess with U.S. vessels.”

Both men advocate allowing commercial seamen to use firearms to defend themselves from pirates. Most commercial ships sail the world unarmed, relying on “evasive maneuvers” and blasts from fire hoses to repel would-be hijackers, according to industry analysts. ...

Howard Nemerov on the lawyer lobby and gun rights [charts and stats at the link for the stats geeks:
Previous articles noted that gun rights groups contribute very little money to federal election campaigns, and that there appears to be a link between law firm contributions and Nancy Pelosi’s support for firearms registration. Looking at the entire House of Representatives, pro-rights voting records and law firm contributions negatively correlate, meaning that as law firm money comprises a greater percentage of a candidate’s total campaign fund, the more likely they are to vote against the civil right of self-defense. [emphasis added]

All winning 2008 House candidates’ campaign contributions (total and lawyer/law firm) were correlated with the National Rifle Association’s grading system (as an indicator of relative pro-rights voting records). The focus on winning House candidates is because only those winning a seat can vote, and it is the link between campaign contributions and voting records that need examining.

Since total campaign contributions varied from $117,097 for Bill Delahunt of Massachusetts to $7,353,034 for Colorado’s Jared Polis, the percent of total is a more accurate indicator of influence, assuming candidates are most beholden to those who gave them the greatest piece of their campaign pie. Races “cost” various amounts to win, based upon many factors such as rural versus urban, hotly-contested contests, etc. Law firm contributions comprised between 0.4% for Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri (NRA grade “A”) and 29.1% for Bruce Braley of Iowa (NRA grade “D-”). Total amounts are included for comparison purposes only. ...

[Washington] Politician: Criminals ought to expect a "lead enema":
MASON COUNTY, Wash. -- Mason County Commissioner Tim Sheldon said a budget crisis means the sheriff will have cut $382,000 from its budget which the sheriff said could mean up to five deputies yanked off the road.

The commissioner said he's confident Mason County residents can defend themselves from criminals if necessary.

"It's always open season on criminals in Mason County, and there is no bag limit," Sheldon said.
Sheldon said he's just warning criminals that people in Mason County have guns and know how to use them.

"You might expect a lead enema. I'm telling you, people in Mason County are fed up with crime. They know how to protect themselves," Sheldon said. ...

[Texas] Campus carry bill gaining support:
AUSTIN — Legislation allowing state university students and employees to carry their concealed handguns on campus appears to have enough pledged support from lawmakers to pass the full Texas House.

The bill would prohibit public universities across Texas from creating rules that forbid concealed handgun license holders from carrying their pistols into a classroom, but it would allow private institutions to exempt themselves.

Chances for passage in the House — if it gets there — look strong, as 76 members have signed on to support the bill, authored by Rep. Joe Driver, R-Garland.

The House Public Safety Committee already has signed off on the measure. Now, it needs to get scheduled for debate in the full House. ...

[Missouri] Pro-gun rights bills advance:
Legislation lowering the minimum age for obtaining a concealed-weapons permit and allowing concealed guns at public colleges and universities received first-round approval Wednesday in the Missouri House.

A 2003 state law allows Missouri residents to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons if they are at least 23 years old, have no felony convictions and pass a firearms training course and background check.

That law also bars concealed weapons in certain places such as schools, public hospitals and stadiums with at least 5,000 seats.

The House bill lowers the minimum age for obtaining a concealed-carry permit to 21 and lifts the ban on concealed weapons at public colleges and universities and expands Missouri's castle doctrine law to allow the use of deadly force to cover any private property.

House members gave the measure first-round approval on a voice vote. It needs a second vote to move to the Senate. ...

Paper says prospects dim for more gun control:
Fatal shootings in Binghamton, N.Y., and Pittsburgh prompted renewed calls for stricter gun control from traditional advocates such as the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and the Rev. Jesse Jackson. But such calls haven't echoed in the halls of Congress or in statehouses across the country.

"The silence has been deafening," Dennis Goldford, a Drake University political scientist, said of federal lawmakers' response to new incidents of gun violence across the country.

In the face of a series of tragedies, the political position of opponents of firearms restrictions appears weaker than it's been in decades. On the national and state levels, the prospects for new restrictions on gun ownership are dim.

In the late 1980s and 1990s, gun-control debates were a staple of political discourse. But in more recent years, the national Democratic Party -- intent on expanding the party's natural constituency -- has essentially abandoned efforts to impose new restrictions on gun ownership. ...

[Virginia] Senate fails to override Gov. Kaine's veto:
RICHMOND, Va. - The Senate has upheld Gov. Tim Kaine's veto of a bill that would have allowed those with concealed carry permits to take handguns into restaurants as long as they don't drink alcohol.

The Senate came up three votes shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override Kaine's veto Wednesday. It was the second year the body upheld Kaine's objection to the bill on the grounds that it puts the public at risk. [emphasis added]

Retired law enforcement officers likely will be allowed to carry concealed guns into bars. The Senate voted 30-10 to override Kaine's veto of that bill. The House had not taken up the issue.

Currently, guns can be taken into restaurants as long as they are out in the open.

Comment: So close, and yet so far. According to the governor, not allowing law-abiding citizens (who can already carry openly in restaurants) to carry concealed will somehow put the public at risk. The anti-gunners aren't known for their irrationality for nothing.

[Tennessee] Meanwhile, in the Volunteer State:
NASHVILLE - The House on Monday passed a bill to allow people with handgun carry permits to bring their weapons into establishments that serve alcohol.

The chamber voted 70-26 in favor of the bill sponsored by Rep. Curry Todd, a Collierville Republican and a retired police officer.

"It's a matter of public safety," Todd said after the vote. "It's a matter of them protecting themselves, which they have a right to do.

"And to make them leave their guns in the car is just asinine," he said. ...

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