Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[Wisconsin] Progress in the Badger State:
In just the past month, gun rights advocates have managed to do the following, under the noses of the most radical gun hating administration at the federal level, and Jim Doyle and friends in Wisconsin.

One month ago, Attorney General J B Van Hollen said in a memo to law enforcement publicly what has been the law in Wisconsin since forever. Open carry is lawful and is not by itself, disorderly conduct.

His memo has (predictably) prompted talk at the Capitol of a bill to ban open carry. This is good. The people of Wisconsin passed an amendment in 1998 to protect their rights to bear arms for self defense and other lawful purposes. They have been prohibited from carrying a gun concealed for 137 years but since open carry is allowed, the states law and constitution worked well together. If open carry becomes prohibited, it will be impossible for anyone to exercise their constitutionally protected right and the Wisconsin Supreme Court will get to decide which (or perhaps both) law to overturn. This outcome will give some anti-gun democrats serious heartburn because they know your good judgement can’t be trusted (you did elect them after all) but it is not likely to stop them from trying to deny you your rights anyway. You can fix this problem at the polls.

There is also talk of repealing the states preemption law which says local jurisdictions can not create ordinances which are stricter than state law. Well, unconstitutional local ordinances will not stand either, and for the same reasons. This is an opportunity for a few people to sue for civil rights violations in federal court and redistribute some city’s wealth to them self. ...

[Georgia] Open carry arrest prompts lawsuit:
... When the police first stopped and surrounded Mr. Woodard, he asked "What is the problem?" He was told that the problem was that he was "carrying a firearm openly." His attempts to explain the legality of his conduct fell on deaf ears. Ironically, Mr. Woodard was not charged with carrying a weapon openly, but with carrying a concealed weapon.

Because the charge of carrying a concealed weapon is a disqualifier, Mr. Woodard lost his Georgia firearms license, and he was facing two years in jail. The charges against Mr. Woodard were pending for months until the intervention of the Georgia organization GeorgiaCarry.Org and Marietta criminal defense attorney Doug King. The criminal charges have now disappeared, and Mr. Woodard retained Roswell attorney John Monroe to file a federal lawsuit for violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. Yesteday, Mr. Woodard filed a motion for summary judgment. ...

Democrats beat retreat on gun control (for now):
... Amid the ambitious sweep of the '09 policy agenda, it's easy to overlook the battles that Obama is loath to fight. Case in point: He and the Democrats are notoriously gun-shy. They don't dare clamor for a crackdown on the easy purchase of over-the-counter weaponry, because they have judged the gun-control issue to be a stone-cold political loser, now and forever. On this front in the long-running culture war, they have surrendered and the gun lobby has won.

The White House line is that any fight for the restoration of the assault-weapons ban would distract Congress at a time when the economic and health-care crises deserve top priority. That's true, as far as it goes; tangling with the National Rifle Association, and putting the squeeze on pro-NRA Democratic lawmakers, would require the expenditure of precious political capital.

Obama's reluctance is merely the latest manifestation of Democratic skittishness, stretching back nearly a decade. The party's surrender isn't necessarily rooted in the belief that the gun-control argument lacks merit; rather, the party has made a practical determination that the issue hurts them with blue-collar white guys.who view all gun curbs as akin to confiscation or privacy invasion. ...

[Oklahoma] Guns in parking lots law stands:
A 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that allows Oklahomans to store firearms in locked vehicles parked on company property will stand after the filing deadline passed for further legal appeals, Attorney General Drew Edmondson announced.

Edmondson's office, in partnership with the National Rifle Association (NRA), defended the constitutionality of two Oklahoma gun laws that prohibit businesses from forbidding their employees to store firearms in locked vehicles parked on company property. ...

[Louisiana] Gun, ammo sales tax holiday bill advances:
Gun, ammunition and other hunting-related purchases would be exempt from sales taxes one weekend a year under a bill approved Thursday by the Senate.

The Senate voted 34-0 to establish an annual Second Amendment sales tax holiday the first weekend in September.

The tax break would cover sales between Friday and Sunday.

State and local government would lose about $263,000 in revenue, according to a fiscal note on the measure from lost sales taxes.

State Sen. Rob Marionneaux, D-Grosse Tete, said his Senate Bill 52 had the support of the National Rifle Association and hunting supply stores.

The tax break only applies to consumer purchases. ...

Guns barred in National Parks until Feb. 2010:
The Interior Department says a new law allowing loaded guns in national parks and wildlife refuges will not take effect until next year.

President Barack Obama signed the gun law Friday as part of a measure creating new rules for the credit card industry. But the Interior Department says that because the credit card law won't take effect until nine months after it is signed, the gun measure also will be delayed. ...

[New York] Ammo registration proposal sparks debate:
ALBANY — One of the most controversial measures to come before the County Legislature in some time is expected to draw an overflow crowd at a public hearing Tuesday night.

At issue is a proposed law that would require gun shops to register sales of ammunition, a measure that has been condemned by gun proponents as a back-door means to register guns and learn what weapons people have. Supporters say it is merely an attempt to close a loophole in state law governing how ammunition is purchased.

In the weeks since the March meeting when proposed Local Law A, gun rights advocates have spoken at public forums before the start of legislature meetings. The measure is sponsored by three Democratic legislators: Phil Steck of Colonie and Wanda Willingham and Doug Bullock, both of Albany.

In advance of this week's hearing, opponents have distributed fliers at guns shops and sportsmen's clubs, and, for the last week, they have taken to the airwaves. ...

[Tennessee] Op-ed by widow of man killed in bar supports restaurant carry bill:
I am Nicole Goeser, widow of Benjamin Felix Goeser. First, I want to say that I love my husband very much and I miss him terribly. He was the most giving, loving, concerned, thoughtful person I have ever met.

My husband was gunned down on April 2 right in front of me at Jonny's Sports Bar on Nolensville Road here in Nashville. There is a very important bill that has passed the House and Senate called the Restaurant Carry Bill. This bill is awaiting Gov. Phil Bredesen's signature.

I support this bill.

I am a permitted gun owner here in the state of Tennessee. If I could have been allowed to carry my gun that night, perhaps I could have saved my wonderful husband (Metro Police have charged Hank Calvin Wise, 43, of W. Main Street in Hendersonville with Benjamin Goeser's death).

I can tell you that the odds would have been more in our favor. I had to leave my gun locked in my car in the parking lot that night because we have a law in place right now that makes innocent people "helpless" and at the mercy of people with horrible intentions. People who have gone through proper training, a complete background check and have the permit should be allowed to carry a concealed gun for their own protection and protection of loved ones as long as they are not under the influence of alcohol. ...

[Colorado] Firearm training classes booked:
More and more people are trying to learn how to use handguns, and at least one local instructor chalks up the interest to fears about the Obama administration.

Another, though, says interest in self-defense started with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has never really abated.

Either way, instructors said, they’re seeing more women joining men in looking for training on how to handle a handgun.

“It used to be about 20 percent” of his students were women, said Linn Armstrong, a National Rifle Association instructor. “After 9/11, it went up to 40 to 45 percent” and has remained at that level, he said.

Randy Jones, also an NRA instructor, said he likewise saw an increase after 9-/1. “And then it leveled off until last fall” after the presidential election,” Jones said.

“I hear people say that,” Armstrong said, though he added that his classes are as crowded as ever.

Either way, Jones said, he’s now booked five to six months out, and there’s no sign of slackening interest. ...

Retired cop asks: Does gun control benefit law enforcement? (lots of comments on his op-ed at the link):
... Gun Control Laws actually have existed for hundreds of years. Of course, in colonial America they were vastly different than they are today. For instance, in colonial Massachusetts, it was required that any citizen traveling more than one mile from home be armed. Get that? It was required that they carry a gun! Can you imagine? In Massachusetts no less?

Today - a couple hundred years and a lot of technological evolution later - the reality of citizens carrying guns isn’t embraced quite as strongly by most state governments and usually not by the federal government. And, although we can all be cynical and wonder what’s really behind the votes, even our current federal government seems to want to avoid gun control issues… for now. Just recently Congress passed a bill that will allow those with concealed carry permits to carry those weapons in federal parks. While this bill may have passed because it was attached to a Credit Card Reform bill, the separate vote taken indicates suprisingly large support for the carry law.

But let us return to the question at hand: do Gun Control Laws benefit law enforcement? ...

[D.C.] Gun case triggers amicus support from ACLU:
Robert Ord says he stays away from the District of Columbia because he fears he will be arrested on a gun charge. The private security officer unsuccessfully sought a declaration in federal court that he is immune from prosecution on D.C. gun laws. His suit was tossed for a lack of standing.

Ord is challenging the dismissal in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the Second Amendment Foundation and the ACLU National Capital Area are participating as amicus curiae in support of Ord, saying his case against the city should move forward. At issue on appeal is whether Ord has standing to sue the District.
The amicus curiae lawyers, Alan Gura of Gura & Possessky and Art Spitzer of the ACLU National Capital Area, say the D.C. Circuit has adopted too narrow a standard to prove standing, effectively limiting access to the courts.

“We think the doors to the courthouse ought to be open to people who have legitimate disputes,” Spitzer says. Gura, who successfully argued in the Supreme Court the landmark Second Amendment case, D.C. v. Heller, says the Ord case is a chance for the D.C. Circuit to “correct its error” in how to show standing. ...

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