Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

A Washington Times editorial calls Obama on the bogus stats:
The Obama administration is fudging when it claims that 90 percent of guns used in crimes in Mexico come from the United States. The bogus statistics are being used as an excuse to push gun control.

The Obama White House and the Mexican government are in agreement that Americans' rights to purchase firearms should be curtailed. Appearing on CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, ahead of President Obama's trip this week to Mexico, Mexican Ambassador Arturo Sarukhan stated that "reinstituting the [assault weapons ban] could have a profound impact on the number and the caliber of the weapons going down to Mexico."

The ambassador used the 90 percent number to justify new gun bans in the United States. Mr. Obama, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano all have made policy recommendations based on this claim.

The gun controllers have to use phony statistics because the truth does not support their agenda. According to William La Jeunesse and Maxim Lott of Fox News, "only 17 percent of guns found at Mexican crime scenes have been traced to the U.S." On Friday, National Public Radio asked the attorney general about the Fox News analysis. Mr. Holder sidestepped the facts with more misleading data. "It almost doesn't matter if it's 60 percent, 70 percent or 90 percent," Mr. Holder claimed. "The reality is that too many guns are flowing from the United States into Mexico." ...

Attorney General Holder says "vast majority" of guns seized in Mexican crimes come from U.S.:
... Gun-rights advocates say the 90 percent figure is exaggerated, since Mexican officials estimate that only about one-third of the arms seized are handed over to the ATF to be traced. And, they say, not all of those can be traced because the serial numbers have been filed off. Chris Cox, chief lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, says he believes some quarters in the US are overstating the figure for political aim. "[Second Amendment rights] aren't going to be used as a scapegoat for the mayhem that's happening in Mexico," says Mr. Cox. "The idea that if we pass one more gun law in the US, these cartels are going to put their guns away - if it wasn't so sad, it would be laughable."

Instead, Mr. Cox says, Salvadoran gunrunners, Mexican Army deserters, and the global underground arms markets involving Chinese, Russian, and US military arms are just a few of the ways that Mexican criminals acquire weapons.

Mexico's southern border with Guatemala has long been an entry point for such weapons and today could account for 10 to 15 percent coming through, says Mr. Benitez. During the 80s and 90s, the arms used in Central American wars were a prime source for Mexico. But today, he says, the great majority streams from north to south, particularly for the crime networks operating along the northern Mexico border.

When asked about the disputed "90 percent" statistic during a visit last week to Mexico, US Attorney General Eric Holder said one thing is clear, even if the actual percentage is not: The "vast majority" of guns seized in crimes in Mexico come from the US, he told reporters. ...

Christian Science Monitor says gun, ammo sales booming:
What do an elderly Oklahoma homeowner, a Virginia Citizen Militia member, and a Texas airline pilot all have in common these days?

They're all part of America's massive gun-and-ammunition buying spree – a national arming-up effort that began before last year's election of President Obama and continues unabated. Across the United States, it has led to shortages of assault-style weapons, rising prices, and a broadening of gun culture to increasingly include older Americans, women and – gasp – liberals.

The causes are varied – from fears over crime, both rational and irrational, to the concern that Second Amendment rights will be curtailed by a Democrat-controlled Washington. With the stock market deeply uncertain, some buyers simply think guns are a good investment. The run on guns suggests a shift in public attitudes about gun rights, and it presents a snapshot of a country that has historically turned to powder and balls in times of turmoil.

"There's the sort of stereotype that gun owners were middle-aged Republican white men who were fairly easy to isolate ... in order to regulate them out," says Brent Mattis, a shooting instructor in Florida. "Now that more women are owning guns, more liberals are owning guns, and just average everyday people who want to keep themselves and their family safe. It's turning into an incredibly strong political phenomenon." ...

[California] Police department may face charges over lead at school:
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office is considering whether to file criminal charges against the Redondo Beach Police Department after hundreds of potentially hazardous lead bullet fragments from its firing range were found at a nearby elementary school and in the surrounding neighborhood.

Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the district attorney, said Monday that prosecutors were "looking at specific criminal violations" and were continuing to review the material. They could also file civil charges against the police department.

According to documents from the state Department of Toxic Substances Control, which turned over the results of its investigation to prosecutors, the lead fragments appear to have come from the police department's outdoor shooting range. During training, lead bullets hit metal targets, broke into fragments and ricocheted into the Torrance neighborhood that grew around the shooting range, which was built more than 60 years ago.

After toxic control found "elevated lead levels" in the sandbox at Towers Elementary School, across Beryl Street from the shooting range, the school replaced the sand, finishing the job a day before school opened in September.
Toxic control found 330 metal fragments at the elementary school, including on the cafeteria roof, seven in a sandbox at the park and others on the roofs and lawns of homes, according to the letter to Redondo Beach officials.

Webb disputed the state's contention about the lead's origin. "I think evidence as part of our investigation is that there are neighbors who are spreading the lead," he said. "Certainly we think people for their own political agenda, to get the range closed down, were salting the mine, so to speak."

A group of about six people called Concerned Residents Against Pistol Range Redondo have complained for several years about noise from the firing range. ...

[Germany] German gun owners face increased scrutiny in wake of mass shootings:
In a low-ceilinged room in west Berlin, a gunman steadies himself, aims and fires. The noise is startling even through sizeable ear protectors, but he doesn’t flinch before pulling the trigger again. Despite the Magnum revolver he looks like an off-duty lawyer, which he is, down to his shiny brown brogues.

Next to him, firing a similar weapon at the cardboard targets 25 metres away, is a ginger-bearded mechanic in a baseball cap. It is practice night at Kleinkalibersch├╝tzen Berlin (Small Calibre Shooting Club Berlin, or KKS), and an eclectic handful of men — the one woman present doesn’t appear to move out of the common room — have come to take part in one their country’s favourite pursuits. To British ears, guns plus Germany means wartime armies or dramatic shooting sprees, particularly in the wake of last month’s school massacre and this week’s bloody gun attack in a Bavarian courthouse. But guns are part of the national culture, and their appeal stems from the centuries-old hunting, sporting and back-to-nature traditions of German life rather than the more recent penchant for militarism.

There are more than 15,000 gun clubs in Germany with around 1.5 million members, not to mention the legions of hobby hunters. There are roughly 10 million legally-held guns and perhaps double that in unregistered weapons, making it the fourth-largest civilian firearm-holding nation in the world behind the US, India and China, according to the Geneva-based Small Arms Survey. Every summer Schuetzenfest, or shooting festivals, take place in towns and villages across the country and in some places are the centrepiece of the civic calendar. But guns are now, in the wake of recent events, under scrutiny. ...

[Alaska] Rep. Young packs heat at gun rights meeting:
Rep. Don Young was packing heat at a public meeting, and the crowd fully supported it.

Young addressed the Second Amendment Task Force, a gun rights group, Monday in Fairbanks. Young went straight to the meeting from the airport so he didn't have a gun with him.

But he gladly strapped on a borrowed holster with a Smith & Wesson .44 Magnum in it. He said "this feels pretty good," and posed for pictures with group members.

About two dozen people in the restaurant audience also had
handguns holstered at their sides. ...

Comment: It's hard not to like Alaska, ain't it? When was the last time your elected representatives openly carried at a public meeting?

[Iowa] Lawsuit challenges discretionary-issue CCW law:
A trial date is set for next year for a father and son from Osceola County who filed a federal lawsuit challenging an Iowa law giving local authorities power to decide who gets permits to carry weapons.

The lawsuit was filed last fall by Paul Dorr and his son Alexander Dorr, both of Ocheyedan.

The suit names Osceola County Sheriff Douglas Weber, the sheriff's department and the county. It claims the law used to deny them nonprofessional carry permits is unconstitutional. ...

[Nebraska] Guns in churches bill advances:
A Nebraska bill that would allow church security guards to carry concealed handguns advanced in the state legislature on Thursday.

The church provision was tacked on as an amendment to a measure that prohibits cities from having their own ban on concealed weapons.

State lawmakers voted 29-15 to adopt the amendment and 40-4 to advance the bill.

The amendment was introduced by Sen. Beau McCoy of Omaha whose decision was prompted by recent shootings and violence at other churches.

"A house of worship is a sacred place," McCoy said, according to Fremont Tribune. "And as such, it should be kept that way." ...

Comment: Obviously, the measure should not be limited to security guards, but well, baby steps, I guess.

[Ohio] Op-ed advocates concealed carry for residents of neighborhood:
... But there is no street credibility to be gained by robbing a hardworking man of a few dollars. Reputations are earned with gunplay and brutality. That is the punk mindset so rampant in our streets.

So now what?

The Glenville neighborhood where Jason was killed is a violent place. Street robberies are common, although many don't get reported.

The city has tried periodic gun sweeps and gang patrols to stifle the terrorists who feed on those who remain trapped or loyal to the neighborhood.

But it's not enough.

Glenville, like so many neighborhoods in this crime-ridden city, needs a militia - a militia of committed, responsible citizens willing to reclaim the streets.

It starts with turning in Jason's killer.

It also starts with more people exercising their rights to obtain permits to carry concealed weapons and embarking on street patrols. I'm not advocating vigilantism. But if criminals know that armed, law-abiding people are walking the streets, maybe the criminals will stand down. ...

Napolitano stands by "right wing extremist" report:
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Wednesday that she was briefed before the release of a controversial intelligence assessment and that she stands by the report, which lists returning veterans among terrorist risks to the U.S.

But the top House Democrat with oversight of the Department of Homeland Security said in a letter to Ms. Napolitano that he was "dumbfounded" that such a report would be issued.

"This report appears to raise significant issues involving the privacy and civil liberties of many Americans - including war veterans," said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, in his letter sent Tuesday night.

The letter was representative of a public furor over the nine-page document since its existence was reported in The Washington Times on Tuesday.

In her statement Wednesday, Ms. Napolitano defended the report, which says "rightwing extremism" may include groups opposed to abortion and immigration, as merely one among several threat assessments. But she agreed to meet with the head of the American Legion, who had expressed anger over the report, when she returns to Washington next week from a tour of the U.S.-Mexico border. [emphasis added] ...

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