Saturday, June 13, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

[South Carolina] Obama stimulating the gun business:
President Barack Obama is the best friend gun dealers have had in a long time.

Thanks to widespread paranoia among Second Amendment fanatics, gun and ammo sales are booming. A story in Monday's Herald reported that local customers are loading up on all sorts of lethal hardware.

Firearms and ammunition are flying off the shelves at area gun shops, hunting supply stores and pawn shops. Shooting instruction classes are filling up fast, and some now have waiting lists. The number of area residents getting concealed weapons permits also has risen sharply.

The price of ammo has skyrocketed, but so have sales, as gun owners stockpile bullets. Even the York County Sheriff's Office, which buys ammunition in bulk, is feeling the pinch. ...

Comment: Note the op-ed writer's anti-gun bias, using terms like "widespread paranoia" and "Second Amendment fanatics". Prior news reports, however, indicate that many of the recent purchasers are evidently first time gun buyers, who are unlikely to fit this description.

[Illinois] Gun rights rally planned for June 26th in Chicago (details available at link):
A gun rights rally in Chicago, of all places? A bit counterintuitive, perhaps, but it's one more sign that the gun rights advocacy movement in Illinois is tired of playing defense--that now, it's the citizen disarmament advocates who are going to have to try to stop us, rather than the other way around.

If you live anywhere near Chicago, this is where you need to be on Friday, June 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM. ...

[Illinois] Many Chicagoans (gasp!) packing guns despite gun ban:
... Mayor Daley and the National Rifle Association are headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a showdown over Chicago's ban on handguns. There are powerful, compelling arguments on both sides. CBS 2 talked to a shop owner who said that if he had obeyed the city's ban, he'd be dead.

"We were actually broken into, you know, during the day," he said.

He owns a small business on the South Side. He doesn't want us to reveal his identity. Although it's illegal in Chicago, he often packs a .25 caliber pistol. He claims it saved his life twice, most notably when a robber hit him from behind with a hammer.

"As he reached to hit me again, I drew my pistol," he said. "He saw the pistol, and I shot and missed him totally 'cause I was half-knocked. He took off running."

Chicago police who responded did what officers often do in the city's toughest neighborhoods. They pretended that the victim had not broken the law by defending himself with an illegal handgun.

"Nothing was said about the gun going off," he said. "The police come over to make a report. The guy said to me, 'Well, you're lucky you weren't killed. You should've had a gun with you. If you had killed the guy, then you would have had to say you took the gun off him.'" ...

Pro-gun gay rights groups support national reciprocity provision in hate crimes bill:
One month after successfully tucking an amendment into the credit card reform bill that expanded gun rights, a small number of Senate Republicans are looking at the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act as another chance to score a victory for the Second Amendment. The possible plan — to add an amendment that would allow gun owners to carry their weapons from one state to another in accordance with concealed carry laws. The possible rationale — to defend gay rights.

“It makes sense for a group of people who would be protected by hate crime legislation to support something that would let them defend themselves before or after the crime,” said one Republican Senate aid familiar with the discussions. “It’s relevant, and we want to work together with gay groups to get the message out.”

While the aide described the discussions over a gun rights amendment to the hate crimes bill as “very fluid,” conservative and pro-gun rights gay groups outside of the Senate are ready to make a real push for it. GOProud, a new gay rights group that broke away from the Log Cabin Republicans in April, has talked with top staffers for Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) about how to make the civil rights case for conceal and carry reciprocity.

“We support this because we think it’s advantageous to make it legal and relatively easy for gay people to arm themselves so they can protect themselves,” said Jimmy LaSilva, who became the executive director of GOProud after three years working on policy for the Log Cabin Republicans. “In the next few weeks we want to start highlighting some of those stories. There are people who have averted gay bashings because of their ability to use guns.” ...

Another op-ed on the gay rights support:
Twenty-five years ago, Tom Palmer and a male companion were threatened by a group of 20 or so young males on an empty street in San Jose, California. The group shouted anti-gay epithets and made death threats.

Palmer and his companion ran, and the attackers gave chase. Moments later, Palmer pulled out a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, one he owned legally, and pointed it at the group. Palmer was positive they intended to seriously harm or even kill him and his companion.

The gun stopped the group in their tracks. Palmer told them that if they got any closer to him, he would use the gun and shoot. The young men didn't take that chance, and Palmer credits that pistol for saving his life.

Tom, who currently works as a scholar at the libertarian Cato Institute, knows first hand that a gun can save your life. ...

[Washington] Seattle mayor wants to disarm gays at PrideFest:
Does the City of Seattle under Mayor Greg Nickels believe that one civil right is more important than another, perhaps at the peril of the city’s gay residents who will participate in PrideFest at the Seattle Center?

It’s beginning to appear that way, as gay gun rights activists note with chagrin that, while the city will allow anti-gay demonstrators at the Seattle Center in recognition of their First Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, the city is requiring PrideFest organizers to prohibit firearms at the Center as part of its lease agreement.

It is also beginning to appear that Nickels lacks the guts to actually issue his long-threatened executive order banning guns, probably because he knows he will be immediately sued, and that he will lose. So, instead he plays this little game of forcing lease holders to enforce a ban, which they have no authority under law to do, and should not be put into such a position in the first place. Only cowards force others to do their dirty work.
Anti-gay protests at the Center in past years have, according to one gay gun owner, speaking on condition of anonymity, left many gays and lesbians feeling threatened and intimidated, and worried about their safety. Yet the city dismisses their concerns. This is yet another manifestation of the social bigotry against firearms owners being practiced in Nickels' Seattle. He's all for gay rights, until that gay person decides to exercise his or her rights under the Second Amendment and Article 1, Section 24 of the state constitution. At that point, the gay person's rights suddenly become far inferior to the First Amendment rights of anti-gay protesters, or even the illegal activities of gay bashers who may be attracted to the Seattle Center to commit a violent hate crime. ...

Holocaust Museum shooting another example of the fallacy of "gun-free" zones:
Predictably, within hours of yesterdays assault on the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC, gun control advocates began citing it as an example of why more gun control is needed. Actually, this attack proves the opposite.

According to the Washington Times, gun control groups "said it highlights the need for lawmakers to reconsider efforts to ease the District's tough gun laws and allowing firearms into national parks."
The fallacy is that no law, no policy, no posted sign can truly create a "gun-free zone." Only a victim disarmament zone can be created as only those who are inclined to follow the law in the first place will abide by such rules or laws. Does anyone truly believe that a "no guns allowed" sign could have stopped Brunn from pulling the trigger? Especially since it is already illegal for private citizens to be armed on the streets of DC. Those laws and policies are currently in place, and there very well may be a sign already posted on the Museum prohibiting firearms, yet Brunn still attacked. There certainly are strict security measures including security checkpoints, all failed. It was another man with a gun who stopped the violence. ...

[Pennsylvania] Another town passes gun control ordinance, despite state preemption law:
Wilkinsburg has joined the growing number of municipalities to require gun owners to report lost or stolen firearms or face stiff fines and criminal charges.

The June 3 unanimous 6-0 vote sent the measure to Mayor John Thompson, who said he would sign it.

“Homicides are rising in the Pittsburgh area, and illegal handguns are fueling the problem,” said Council Vice President Jason Cohn. “This ordinance is a reasonable step to help police identify illegal traffickers and keep handguns out of the hands of criminals. It’s our job to protect the citizens of Wilkinsburg, and I believe this law helps us do that.”

Under the ordinance, failure to report missing handguns within 24 hours could result in a fine of up to $500, court costs and mandatory gun safety training. A second offense could mean fines up to $1,000 per violation plus court costs or up to 30 days imprisonment, for additional offenses. Anyone who fails to pay the fines will face up to 30 days in jail.
Whether or not it violates the U.S. Constitution’s Second, Fourth or Fifth amendments, the ordinance, like those passed in Philadelphia, Allentown, Pottsville, Reading, Harrisburg, and Pittsburgh, clearly violates state law.

Commonwealth Court ruled Philadelphia’s gun laws violated the 1996 Supreme Court ruling that “the General Assembly, not city councils,” is responsible for writing gun legislation. The city has appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. Under federal law, only licensed firearm dealers must report loss or theft within 48 hours. ...

[New York] Senate change may have scuttled gun control bills:
The NRA and other pro-gun lobbyists are still maintaining their guard, but Senator Dale Volker's office has advised sportsmen's groups that the Senate has pretty much declared the Assembly's 13 anti-gun bills as dead for this term.

You can thank the political coup that occurred on Monday, redistributing the power in the Senate from a two-vote Democrat majority to a Republican majority.

The parliamentary maneuver, piloted by our Senator Tom Libous, has produced a coalition majority that includes all 30 Republicans and two Democrats. The two Democrat defectors have chosen to "caucus" with the Republican Conference, but have not changed their party affiliation.

Senate Bill 4397A (micro-stamping legislation outlined in this space last week) was placed on the Senate calendar before this chaos ensued, so it will remain on the calendar and still has the potential to be acted upon by the Senate- hence the NRA sentinels.

Efforts are being made move S 4397A from the floor calendar to the Rules Committee or to seek some other means by which the bill may be tabled.

The new Senate majority was still locked out of the chamber last I heard, so it's anyone's guess how things will transpire. But for now it looks like anti-gun legislation is stalled if not dead. ...

[Tennessee] Rep. says governor has cut deal on park carry bill:
Rep. Frank Niceley said today he has "cut a deal" with Gov. Phil Bredesen on the so-called "guns in parks" that he sponsored to passage earlier this session.

Under the arrangement, as explained by the Strawberry Plains Republican, the House will recall the HB716 from the governor's desk and amend it to delete the section that allows handgun permit holders to carry their weapons in parks operated by city and county governments.

The governor then, would agree not to veto the bill, which would still have provisions allowing guns in state and national parks, said Niceley, who sponsored the measure. He said Senate sponsor, Sen. Mae Beavers, R-Mount Juliet, had also agreed to the plan.

Further, Bredesen agreed not to veto any other bills expanding gun owner rights. That explicitly will include an amendment to be added to legislation sponsored by Rep. Eric Watson, Niceley said. That amendment will prohibit local governments from trying to "opt out" of legislation that allows guns in restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages. ...

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