Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Michigan] Ammo supplies running short:
The fear of a Democratic Party agenda in Washington has triggered a shortage of ammunition, a gun group said.

"Many of the lawmakers in power right now have a long history of supporting legislation that violates the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans," said Ted Novin, the director of public affairs at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, The Detroit News reported Friday.

"Gun owners recognize this and are reacting accordingly," Novin said, referring to a run on ammunition that has caused shortages in 9 mm and .22 caliber rounds, the News said.

Several Michigan stores are rationing sales, the newspaper said.

U.S. manufacturers produce about 8 billion rounds of ammunition a year, the foundation said. Winchester Ammunition, on a company Web site, says, "our team is literally working around the clock to make quality ammunition available for purchase." ...

[Ohio] Concealed carry permit applications continue to rise:
In conjunction with the record pace of firearms sales, issuance of concealed handgun licenses in Ohio is also increasing.

For example, the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office is reporting that "the county is well on its way to surpassing the number issued in 2004 - the first year the county issued permits."

This increase is attributed to a number of factors.
Sheriff's Office officials chalk up the increase to several factors. They say people fear a backlash from rising unemployment rates and an increase in crime, such as burglaries, robberies and breaking and entering incidents. Others, such as Tom Parrish, feel their Second Amendment rights are on the line.

Parrish said his decision to get his concealed-carry permit came just months after President Barack Obama took office.

We've already talked about the increase in gun ownership, but this trend shows that not only are concerned citizens purchasing firearms for self defense, but they are carrying them as well. The Ohio attorney general reports that nearly 150,000 CHLs have been issued since the law's inception over five years ago, which means more than 1 out of every 100 Ohioans has a license. A side note that has always amused me is that Canada's military has 65,890 active personnel. So, Ohio CHL holders outnumber them more than two to one! ...

[Illinois] Illinois Carry says NRA lobbied against "shall issue" carry bill:
... A little background first. For the past decade and a half license-to-carry bills introduced in the IL General Assembly have become routine and hold little to no expectation of passing due to opposition from the Chicago/Cook Co. legislators. That opposition means every year the same old bills calling for statewide preemption which would force the carry law into Chicago guarantees the bill is dead on arrival. A bill or two may make the headlines but never to the floor for a vote largely due to the opposition of Mayor Daley and Cook County legislators. The likelihood of a statewide preemption bill being passed is greatly reduced by the fact that bills preempting home rule status require 71 votes for passage rather than a simple majority of 60. Double or triple that reduction by the fact that in Chicago it is illegal to even own a handgun let alone carry one for self-defense purposes. We find it somewhat ludicrous to even consider a statewide preemptive bill passing in the state of Illinois given those circumstances.

Other states like Ohio and Nebraska faced years of major opposition like this. They finally won their battle by passing a carry law which we in Illinois would call "subject to home rule". An imperfect bill that allowed major cities to opt out but did provide a means for license-to-carry to get a foothold in the state. Pro-Second Amendment groups in Ohio were then able to prove carrying firearms for self-defense works and they came back in just a few short years and successfully expanded the law to include everyone. Nebraska, just two short years after passing their license-to-carry bill now has statewide preemption according to their state's Attorney General and are now working to amend their law.
HB2257 started off with good promise, the sponsor reported he felt sure he could garner the 60 votes needed to pass it out of the House. So it came as a huge shock and disappointment to learn from legislators that the NRA was actually lobbying against it.

When contacted by lllinoisCarry the NRA-ILA lobbyist confirmed the NRA-ILA was indeed lobbying against the bill and vowed to kill it. The reason given for the opposition was that the bill did not include statewide preemption, that it would create a patchwork of ordinances all across the state which could be detrimental to license holders, and it would ultimately be vetoed by Gov. Quinn and still need 71 votes for a veto override. Therefore we should continue to wait and work toward a change in the political makeup of the IL legislature. ...

Comment: To quote Voltaire, "The perfect is the enemy of the good."

[Arizona] House passes guns in parking lots bill:
PHOENIX -- The state House voted Thursday to elevate the right of people to carry guns in their vehicles over the right of property owners to keep those weapons out of their parking lot.

On a voice vote, lawmakers gave preliminary approval to legislation which says individuals can have loaded weapons in their vehicles even if an employer, a private business, a day care center or an apartment complex don't want them there. The only exceptions would be for the owners or renters of single-family detached homes or for businesses willing to fence their properties, search every vehicle coming in and providing a place for gun owners to check their weapons.

Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, who is carrying HB 2474 for the National Rifle Association, acknowledged the measure could be construed as infringing on the rights of property owners.

But Kavanagh said that is trumped by the Second Amendment right of people to bear arms to protect themselves.

"The Bill of Rights, and in fact, many other laws, do not stop at the private property line," he said. Kavanagh said this wouldn't be the first time that private property rights have to fall to more important rights.

"The owner of a private business can't say, 'I don't like blacks,' therefore the Civil Rights Act doesn't apply in my business," he said. "No blacks can come in." ...

[Arkansas] Group say park gun ban is illegal:
Arkansas Carry has contacted Sebastian County Judge David Hudson, asking him and the Sebastian County Quorum Court to repeal a county rule that bans firearms at Ben Geren Park, according to information provided by Arkansas Carry Vice Chairman Steve Jones.

The Sebastian Code rule reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to introduce or otherwise bring into the Ben Geren Regional Park any firearm or to have within his or her possession a firearm while within the Ben Geren Regional Park unless the person has been given express permission to do so by the administration of the Ben Geren Regional Park.”

Officials with Arkansas Carry, which labels itself a “staunch ally of gun owners and the Second Amendment,” believe Arkansas law prevents local governments from enacting gun control legislation. ...

[Tennessee] House passes restaurant carry bill:
The House voted Thursday to allow Tennessee handgun carry permit holders to bring their weapons into any establishment that serves alcohol.

The chamber voted 66-23 to approve the bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville, a retired police officer.

The measure abandons earlier efforts to impose an 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew for carrying handguns where alcohol is served and to keep a total ban on establishments that enforce age-restricted entry.
The Senate would have to agree with the House version before it can head for Gov. Phil Bredesen's consideration, but it appears likely to pass since the agreement largely reflects the measure originally approved on a 26-7 vote last month.

The Democratic governor has not said whether he would sign it into law.

The bill would take effect June 1. The measure would leave unchanged an existing ban on consuming alcohol while carrying a handgun, and restaurant owners would still be able to ban weapons from being carried in their establishments.

Comment: Hopefully, the Senate will concur and Gov. Bredesen will sign the bill. We see more and more states (see next story below) removing these silly "gun free zone" restrictions (which only apply to the law-abiding) as the anti-gunners' "blood will run in streets / bars / churches / etc." argument is proven false time and again, and evidence continues to show that permit holders are the most law-abiding group of citizens in the nation.

[Arizona] Guns in parking lots, restaurant carry bill passes House:
The National Rifle Association will bring more than 50,000 visitors to downtown Phoenix for its national convention later this week, but the group's presence has already been felt at the state Capitol.

If the NRA gets its wish, registered gun owners in Arizona will be able to keep weapons locked in their cars outside of a business, regardless of the business' policy on weapons in the workplace; they'll also be allowed to bring guns into certain restaurants that serve alcohol.

The guns-in-cars legislation, House Bill 2474, moved out of the House on Thursday and its sponsor, Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, expects it to pass through the Senate. ...

[Germany] No more paintball for germans?:
The German government is planning to ban paintball and laser shooting games in reaction to the recent school massacre in which 15 people died.

Under legislation agreed by the ruling coalition of the chancellor, Angela ­Merkel, using air rifles to shoot paint-filled pellets at opponents is likely to be made illegal, and would be punishable with fines of up to €5,000 (£4,480).

The decision, which is expected to be fast-tracked through the Bundestag before the summer recess, comes two months after 17-year-old Tim Kretschmar shot dead 15 people at his former school in Winnenden, south-west Germany, with a weapon he had taken from his father's bedroom. Kretschmar's love of paintball as well as violent video and computer games was widely publicised. ...

[Massachusetts] Gun, ammo sales booming:
The firearms industry appears to be riding out the recession in fine form, with sales across the country flourishing. And the enthusiasm for purchasing such weaponry has spread to communities south of Boston, according to area gun dealers.

Firearms of all types are in demand as well as the ammunition to feed them. Customers run the gamut from the seasoned hunter and skilled marksman to the novice. Training classes for new gun owners are not only full but booked months into the future.

Eric Goldman, president of the Braintree Pistol & Rifle Club's executive board, said training class enrollment has gone up dramatically over the last several months.

"Classes are required of all new owners," Goldman said. "It teaches safe gun handling. We offer new members' classes once a month, and used to have from 30 to 35 people take them. Right now, our classes are 70 to 75." ...

[Pennsylvania] Gun, ammo sales booming:
Fueled by rumors that the Obama administration will ban assault weapons and heavily tax ammunition, gun enthusiasts are stocking up.

Handguns, semiautomatic weapons, and all types of ammunition are flying off store shelves, despite the recession.

The FBI reports a 27 percent increase in background checks for guns purchased by federally licensed dealers for the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2008.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation, an industry trade association, notes on its Web site that manufacturers are working at "full capacity (24/7)" to keep up with the "unprecedented" demand for ammunition.

James Mastroddi, director of the Philadelphia Archery and Gun Club in South Philadelphia, said the furor was probably being caused by the "Obama factor." ...

Op-ed: arm sailors against pirates:
Somali pirates attacked a U.S. vessel and captured a Dutch ship on Thursday. These raids could be prevented if merchant mariners had guns and could defend their ships.

Richard Phillips, the heroic captain of the crew that fought off pirates on the Maersk Alabama a month ago, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee April 30 that armed crews "should be part of the overall debate about how to defend ourselves against criminals on the seas."

Capt. Phillips noted that protecting U.S.-flagged ships is the "responsibility of the U.S. government," but that he understands the limits of what even the U.S. Navy can do to protect all the commercial traffic spread across vast oceans. Just as police arrive on the scene after crimes on land have occurred, the Navy cannot be everywhere all the time. More than 25,000 ships travel off the Horn of Africa every year. That's a target-rich environment.
There are several legal obstacles to arming ship crews. Some naysayers worry that if crews were armed, things could somehow go wrong and that violence with pirates would escalate. But as the widespread ownership of guns on land has proven, alarm over gun possession is based on conjecture with no evidence to back it up. States that have passed laws permitting concealed handguns have experienced less violence, not more.

Liability concerns of some shipping companies are similarly unfounded, as commercial aviation has shown. U.S. pilots were allowed to carry guns until as recently as 1987. No training was required, and yet there were no accidental gunshots or incidents of pilots harming others. After the program to allow armed pilots was renewed in 2003, there has been only one accidental shot and no one was harmed. ...

[New York] Assembly passes more gun controls, bills move to Democrat-controlled Senate:
MAYVILLE - The state Senate's new Democratic majority could soon pave the way for tighter restrictions on gun ownership.

Under measures adopted last month by the state Assembly, gun owners would have to renew their permits every five years and undergo background checks if they buy guns from pawnshops. They also would have to give up their 50-caliber weapons, including the 12-gauge shotgun. [emphasis added]

If passed by the state Senate and signed by Gov. David Paterson, the laws would also require all semiautomatic pistols to be capable of stamping spent ammo casings so they can be identified and matched with the firearm, and new restrictions will be imposed on merchants to make it harder for criminals to purchase weapons.

Frequent attempts by the Democratic-controlled Assembly at passing such measures failed in the Republican-controlled state Senate in recent years. Now that the Senate is controlled by Democrats, though, those laws might be easier for Democrats to pass. ...

Comment: I urge my New York readers to get involved and contact your elected servants regarding these proposed gun controls.

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