Friday, May 22, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Florida] Folks flocking to firearm training:
... During his tenure in the Senate, Latvala helped pass a law that allowed concealed weapon permit holders to renew the license every five years, instead of annually. Since 2008, the permits are good for seven years.

Bunting handed out wallet cards showing a map of the 34 other states that honor Florida's concealed weapon permits under "reciprocity" regulations.

Another recent trainee under Bunting's tutelage was mother-daughter recruits Beverly and Rachel O'Connor.

"We've never seen so many women," Bunting said about concealed weapon courses.

The Second Amendment Club also has seen many women interested in firearm training and safety education sessions. About 35 college students, mostly women, attended one recent class.

[Texas] Campus carry bill passes First Reading:
College students and faculty members with a concealed handgun license would be able to pack their firearms on campus under a bill that the Senate tentatively approved on Tuesday. The measure, passed on a 20-10 vote, was offered by a state senator who said he wants to give Texas students protection against mass shootings such as occurred at Virginia Tech University in 2007. Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, said the right-to-carry measure also would protect students from other life-threatening situations.

"When I read about massacre in Virginia (in 2007), I felt I would feel personally guilty if it woke up one morning and read that this had happened on one of our college campuses and I had done nothing to prevent it from happening," Wentworth explained to other senators. A series of amendments seeking to soften the bill were rejected as Wentworth argued they would infringe on the rights of Texans licensed to carry. One amendment would have allowed college governing boards to decide whether to allow firearms on their campuses. ...

[Louisiana] House shoots down "assault weapons" ban:
BATON ROUGE -- Legislation designed to impose a statewide ban on semi-automatic weapons was killed 10-2 by the House Committee on the Administration of Criminal Justice today.

House Bill 387 by Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, is dead for the session unless he can amend it on to another bill or get the full House to order the panel send it the bill.

Richmond said his fallback position will be to ask the New Orleans City Council to adopt a local ban on automatic weapons. ...

[California] San Francisco will fight NRA lawsuit:
A spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said today the city will defend three gun control measures against the latest lawsuit filed by the National Rifle Association.

"We don't think there's anything in current federal law that endangers anything in San Francisco gun control provisions," spokesman Matt Dorsey said.

But Dorsey said he thinks the lawsuit is part of an effort by the Virginia-based NRA to "push the envelope" of the constitutional Second Amendment right to bear arms in the wake of a key U.S. Supreme Court decision last year.

In that ruling, which overturned a Washington, D.C. handgun ban, the high court said the Second Amendment encompasses an individual right to possess guns for self-defense.

The new lawsuit was filed in federal court in San Francisco Friday by the NRA, six San Francisco residents and a retired police officers' association.

It seeks to invalidate three gun-related provisions of the city police code. One provision, signed into law by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2007, requires that handguns in the home be stored in a locked container or disabled with a trigger lock. ...

Public more conservative on Second Amendment:
The matter of gun control is moving to the right. More and more Americans favor the conservative view, that the second amendment gives them freedom to own a gun. Gun ownership is growing in popularity.

Attitudes on gun control are more conservative this year than last, mostly with men than women. Nearly as many people believe gun ownership rights to be important at 45% than to control it at 49%. Last year 58% believed control over guns was important as opposed 37% protecting gun rights. Women by themselves have a different view, with 60% of them believing it is more important to control guns compared with 30% placing emphasis on protection of gun ownership.

It is only in the East Coast that controlling guns has greater priority and there has been no change of opinion. Other regions of the country have moved at least 7 points towards gun ownership being important, indicating a growing movement toward the conservative view on guns. ...

[Iowa] Councilman speaks out for Second Amendment (video available at link):
Sioux City city councilman Aaron Rochester is speaking out about national gun control legislation.

He says talks of allowing authorities to search homes for unregistered guns goes against the right to bear arms, and he wants to make sure Sioux City police know it.

Aaron Rochester, City Council Member:"I think it's going against constitutional rights, and I think our police department in Sioux City should really know every bit of the second amendment so that they can interpret it and do things according to what our founding fathers meant."

Rochester's given council direction to make sure all new police officers have a thorough review of the second amendment. ...

[Nebraska] Governor signs preemption, limited church carry bill:
LINCOLN -- Two state senators hailed the signing of a new law on carrying handguns as a way to make certain law-abiding citizens aren't breaking the law.

Nebraska has had a concealed carry law for three years. More than 4,500 permits have been issued.

But State Sens. Tony Fulton of Lincoln and Mark Christensen of Imperial said passage of LB 430 this year will make sure that holders of permits will not run afoul of city ordinances that prohibit concealed carry.
Under LB 430, those who obtain state concealed carry permits would be exempt from any city ordinances banning such gun possession.
One aspect of LB 403 that stirred controversy is a clause that now allows churches to permit their security guards, if they have a state permit, to carry concealed guns.

Howard Nemerov tears apart another VPC claim (data and tables available at the link for the stats geeks):
... When it comes to homicide and overall violent crime, Table 2 tells a different story. Where “weak” states had much higher murder and violent crime rates in Table 1, the full dataset shows that “weak” states are safer: 19.8% lower firearms homicide and 6.8% lower non-firearms homicide rates. Moreover, the “weak” states had 21.5% less violent crime.

Bottom line: Suicide rates drive the difference between “gun death” in VPC’s “strong” and “weak” gun law states, but since “weak” states also have higher rates of non-gun suicide, VPC must either admit there are other causative factors besides gun availability, or admit that if more guns cause more suicides, then guns also cause less homicide and violent crime. As it stands right now, VPC’s own data proves that more guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens is an effective anti-crime tool.

On Obama's support for gun control treaty:
President Obama voiced his support for an anti-gun treaty with such wide ranging implications that it could ban everything from assembling guns in kits to repackaging spent shells.
The treaty was signed by former President Clinton, but never approved by Congress. It has gained approval in 29 other countries. Obama put his weight behind it during his whirlwind tour abroad late last month.

Yesterday’s passage of legislation that revoked the longstanding ban on guns in national parks proved that this treaty would probably fall by the wayside once more, said Larry Pratt, President of Gun Owners of America. But the fact that Obama voiced his support for it speaks volumes about the President’s view of the Second Amendment, after his famous claim to not “take away guns” from law-abiding Americans. ...

The New Prohibition?:
... Several people who have left comments on my columns have averred that they will not give up their guns without resistance. I fear that passing a law to fix the "gun show loophole" like the Lautenberg bill in the Senate or the Rush bill in the house will create a large, new class of criminals. Most of the appointees by the Obama administration have an anti-gun pedigree. The majority of Americans who care about the issue believe that this administration and a compliant congress will try to clamp down on gun ownership in the face of statistics that give lie to their stated motives. I see the huge jump not only in ammunition sales but also the number of guns being bought by first time buyers as a vote against further gun control, and a belief that congress will try to do it.

Where do you come down on the issue? Do you say "The duly elected representatives of the majority of Americans have said I must reach an unattainable level of perfection to own a gun, therefore I will obey the new law of the land and turn in my guns." Or do you say "The duly elected representatives of the majority of Americans have overstepped the intentions of the founders of America and I will not obey an unconstitutional law" knowing that at that point, the Supreme Court has not ruled on the law, and you are not on the Supreme Court. I suspect that millions of Americans will appeal to natural law, which predates the US Constitution. Our rights come from God first, and include liberty and the right to self defense. The US constitution is an attempt to codify and protect the natural rights of man. I predict that millions of law-abiding citizens will quietly decide not to follow this law if it is passed, and will join the felons and uncaught criminals who already don't obey the existing laws. This will erode respect for law overall among the most staunch supporters of the rule of law as provided by the US Constitution. If the government over-reaches with national permitting of gun-owners, (not just concealed carry which is bad enough) we will see disobedience like what occurred during Prohibition. ...

[D.C.] House approves National Parks carry amendment:
Gun rights advocates have found a sweet spot in Democratic-dominated Washington, and they are using it to aggressively push legislation.

Their latest victory came yesterday when the House passed a bill that will allow people to bring concealed and loaded guns into national parks. Advocates won with the help of moderate Democrats.

Those Democrats, many from states in the South and Midwest, joined nearly all House Republicans to back yesterday's provision, which has passed in the Senate and could become law this week. The gun bill passed 279 to 147 in the House with the help of 105 Democratic votes; 145 Democrats opposed the bill.

The legislation was the latest defeat for gun-control advocates, who had expected more success with a Democratic president and Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress. ...

Comment: Because both chambers have now approved the measure, it won't be stripped out in conference committee as I had expected. Fortunately, I'm happy to be wrong on this. :)

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