Monday, May 18, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Nevada] Reid, Ensign support National Parks carry amendment:
Nevada's two U.S. senators don't agree on too many things outside of the state. But Democrat Harry Reid and Republican John Ensign both voted Wednesday in favor of an amendment that would allow people to carry loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges.

The amendment sponsored by Oklahoma Republican Tom Coburn passed by a vote of 67-29.

Coburn says it would protect the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens. ...

[D.C.] The democrats' "gun problem":
New legislation currently winding its way through Congress is forcing Democratic leaders to face the serious problem the party has when it comes to guns.

At the heart of the matter is the question of packing heat in Yellowstone.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly to attach an amendment to unrelated credit card legislation allowing people to carry guns in National Parks, something more liberal House Democratic leaders are determined to yank out of the bill. ...

[Minnesota] States rights' bill introduced (read the text of the leglslation at the link):
On May 7th, State Representative Tom Emmer [R-Delano] introduced the “Firearms Freedom Act,” legislation that will protect firearm owners and manufacturers in Minnesota from federal government restrictions on the lawful exercise of Second Amendment rights.

“For far too long elected officials and unelected bureaucrats at the federal level have passively forgotten or actively neglected the Tenth Amendment that guarantees rights not enumerated in the Constitution be left to the individual states,” said Rep. Emmer. “The willful disregard of the Tenth Amendment in relation to a citizen’s right to bear arms isn’t the only constitutional infringement that we should be worried about, but it is one that has been singled out by the new administration.”

The bill would exempt any personal firearm, firearm accessory or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in Minnesota and that remains within the boundaries of the state from federal law or regulation; including registration. ...

[Arizona] New governor may back pro-gun bills:
PHOENIX — Gov. Jan Brewer signaled her support Friday for laws to expand the rights of Arizonans to carry loaded weapons in their cars, and maybe even into bars.
Brewer told members of the National Rifle Association meeting here of the long-standing relationship between Arizonans and their firearms.

"Over the years, our Arizona frontiersmen always kept a gun under the seat of their wagon," she said.

The comments came just days after the state House voted overwhelmingly to allow individuals to have their guns in their cars in parking lots on private property, even over the objections of the property owner. That measure, now awaiting Senate action, is being pushed by the NRA.

Gubernatorial press aide Paul Senseman said Brewer never firmly commits to signing legislation until she's seen the final version that lands on her desk.

"But generally speaking, she's supportive of the thrust of that legislation," he said. ...

But Brewer herself told the NRA that she has a very broad view of the rights of Arizonans to carry firearms, pointing out that the state constitution is, in some ways, more absolute than the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. ...

[Alabama] Legislature passes permit privacy bill:
The Alabama Legislature has decided the identities of people with permits to carry concealed handguns or stow them in their cars should be secret.

The Alabama Senate voted 24-0 Friday to give final approval to a bill pushed by the National Rifle Association. The House passed the bill 102-0 in February. It now goes to the governor.

The bill would seal the handgun permits maintained by county sheriffs and make them available only to law enforcement officers. The public would have access to individual records only if the gun owner had committed a felony. ...

[Germany] Paintball ban may be off the table:
The Social Democrats (SPD) say they will not support a ban on paintball - just two days after they and their senior coalition party, the Christian Democrats (CDU), agreed on the proposed ban as part of a new set of strengthened gun control measures.

"There will be no ban," said SPD politician Dieter Wiefelspuetz, an expert on domestic affairs.

In addition to a ban on war-like games such as paintball and laser tag, the coalition's reforms would include random inspections of gun owners' premises to ensure guns and ammunition are properly stored and locked. ...

[D.C.] Op-ed: Senate should say no on Koh:
The Senate has a chance this week to kill the most offensive nomination of an executive-branch official since President Clinton's ill-fated selection of radical black racialist Lani Guinier for assistant attorney general in 1993. Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh is unfit to be chief legal counsel at the State Department. Senators should vote him down.

Mr. Koh's repeatedly stated agenda is contrary to the American tradition of law originating in the "consent of the governed." In its place, Mr. Koh would apply what he calls a "transnationalist" approach whereby domestic laws and even the Constitution could be brushed aside in favor of international authorities.
The Second Amendment fares no better. In an essay called "A World Drowning in Guns," Mr. Koh endorsed a "global regulatory" regime to outlaw firearms though "rules negotiated among governments at a horizontal, intergovernmental level and interpreted through the interaction of transnational actors." Those laws, he wrote, could then be "internalized into the domestic statutes, executive practice and judicial systems of those participating nations."

What he means is that international gun bans could be imposed on American citizens without a vote of the American people. Likewise, the Eighth Amendment could be newly read to bar the death penalty despite the Constitution's explicit acceptance of it elsewhere in the document, merely because American judges suddenly decide to "pay decent respect to the opinions of mankind." ...

[Colorado] Governor vetoes pro-gun bill:
DENVER — Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter vetoed a bill Friday that would have allowed some gun owners to bypass additional background checks each time they buy a gun.

In a letter to lawmakers, Ritter said the bill had inadequate safeguards to prevent people who have had their handgun permits revoked.

He said there also was no way to notify law enforcement that a person has a valid handgun permit because the state is barred from keeping a list of permit holders.

"There are numerous troubling aspects to this bill," Ritter wrote.

The bill would have allowed some people with permits to carry concealed weapons to skip additional background checks each time they buy a gun. ...

[Connecticut] House backs limit on machine gun use:
Prompted by the death of an 8-year-old Connecticut boy at a Massachusetts gun club, the state House of Representatives voted unanimously Thursday night to keep machine guns out of the hands of anyone under the age of 16.

The House action came after the state Senate recently voted 31-2 in favor of the bill, with two Republicans voting against it. ...

[Arizona] Governor champions gun rights at NRA convention:
Violence continues to roil south of the border between drug cartels at war with each other and the Mexican government.

But Republican Gov. Jan Brewer says she opposes additional regulations intended to keep weapons purchased in this country from finding their way into the fight.

"New gun laws are not the answer to increasing gun violence in Mexico," Brewer told National Rifle Association members gathered Friday in downtown Phoenix for the gun-rights group's annual convention.

"The answer is to secure the border and leave the freedoms of the United States citizen alone. Don't mess with the Second Amendment," declared Brewer, an NRA member. ...

[Wisconsin] No charges for bicyclist:
RACINE — The armed bicyclist who scared off a group of teens he believed were trying to rob him earlier this month will not be charged, the Racine County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.

In a letter to the 42-year-old Racine man, who has asked not to be identified, District Attorney Mike Nieskes wrote, “After speaking with the investigating officer on this matter, I have decided it would not be in the greater interest of justice in the community to charge you with violation of Wisconsin Statute regarding gun free zones.”

According to police reports, the man was riding his bicycle in the 1100 block of Grand Avenue on May 1 when he was knocked from his bicycle by four teens. The man told police he thought the group was trying to rob him, so he pulled out the revolver he was openly carrying in a side holster. Reports said he pointed the gun at the sky and yelled, “Gun!”

The group of teens fled and the man flagged down a Racine police officer. During the assault, the man suffered a wrist injury. He was treated at the scene by Racine rescue.

Police did not arrest the man. They escorted him home and returned his gun to him.

However, the incident raised questions from law enforcement because the man was armed within a 1,000 feet of a school, which is illegal under state statute. The current law conflicts with a recent opinion by the state Attorney General’s Office which said it is legal to openly carry a firearm.

In his letter, Nieskes said the decision not to charge the man was based on the recent determination of the attorney general, along with the man’s lack of prior criminal record and no showing of irresponsible use of the firearm. “I don’t believe it would be appropriate to charge you,” Nieskes wrote. “I will presume that you understand that despite the announcement by the Attorney General for the State of Wisconsin regarding open carry, that you and all other individuals, a notable exception being on-duty police officers, are barred from possessing a firearm in certain circumstances and place.” ...

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