Saturday, June 27, 2009

Gun Rights News Roundup

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

Former NRA president Sandy Froman on Judge Sotomayor:
Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Barack Obama’s first nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, has a narrow view of the Second Amendment that contradicts the Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller. A heated debate has started in the U.S. Senate over her opposition to the right to keep and bear arms. This issue, which has decided the fate of presidential elections, could also decide her nomination. Gun owners, and especially the members of the National Rifle Association, must aggressively oppose Judge Sotomayor’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

On June 24, senators began speaking on the floor of the Senate expressing grave concerns over Judge Sotomayor’s Second Amendment record. Senator Jeff Sessions R-AL, the Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, pointed out that although her record on the issue is “fairly scant,” she has twice stated that the Second Amendment is not a fundamental right. Senator Sessions also noted that in Second Amendment and other constitutional cases, Sotomayor’s analysis of important constitutional issues has been lacking suggesting “a troubling tendency to avoid or casually dismiss difficult Constitutional issues of exceptional importance.” Sotomayor’s view on the Second Amendment clearly reflects an extreme anti-gun philosophy, and some Democrat senators from pro-gun states are justifiably nervous. ...

Howard Nemerov rebuts a reader's comment:
... In his rush to derogate without performing his own analysis of the data, two points were neatly avoided:

· The comment distracts from the fact that, “significant” or not, there is a negative correlation between Brady grades and violent crime, personal freedom, etc. In simpler words, the higher Brady regards a state, the more dangerous it is to live in for law-abiding citizens, and they suffer more at the hands of the criminals and also their own government.

· None of the charts show a positive correlation. In other words, there is no data to support the idea that Brady may at least be partially correct.

I left a response that I would provide Excel data and formulae, but no response yet. While this is not surprising–my book includes a positive comment from Peter Hamm, Communications Director of the Brady Campaign, praising me as a “very good writer” while challenging none of my datasets or conclusions–we will re-examine the data in the near future to ensure that those final nails are firmly secured in the Brady Campaign’s coffin. ...

On D.C. and Chicago gun controls:
... Washington D.C. and Chicago have two things in common: the most restrictive gun laws in the country, and a near-"leadership" position in terms of murder rates. Whether or not one believes that the strict gun laws in those cities actually contribute to the violent crime, it would certainly be difficult to argue that they do much to reduce it.

Groups like the CSGV argue instead that those restrictive gun laws would be effective, if only similar laws were put in place everywhere else. In other words, violence would be reduced if the rest of the country would enact the kinds of laws that have been in place for decades in some of the most violent cities in the U.S. Yeah--that makes sense. ...

Republicans challenge Sotomayor on gun rights:
WASHINGTON -- Senate Republicans vowed Wednesday to press Sonia Sotomayor on gun rights -- a politically divisive issue that they hope could potentially weaken Democratic support for the Supreme Court nominee.

While Republicans are a pronounced minority in both the House and Senate, they have used the gun issue to their advantage to divert the Democratic legislative agenda, forcing members from moderate and conservative states to take politically risky votes on gun provisions.

Sotomayor's judicial record appears to provide the GOP with another opportunity to bring the issue to light. Since the Supreme Court decided in a landmark case last year that restrictive gun laws in Washington, D.C. -- a federal entity -- infringed on a constitutionally protected right to own a handgun, the legal debate over guns has shifted to whether that ruling also affected handgun-control laws in individual states.

Earlier this year, Sotomayor was part of a three-judge panel on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York that held the Second Amendment didn't apply to the states. At a press conference Wednesday, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, and other senators said they were concerned about the decision and pledged to grill Sotomayor about it at her confirmation hearings, which begin July 13.

The panel's reasoning, Sessions said, "would eviscerate the Second Amendment in many parts of the country." ...

Dave Workman says anti-gunners still in denial over Heller ruling:

Has it really been one year since the United States Supreme Court in a disappointingly narrow 5-4 ruling struck down the Washington, D.C. handgun ban and affirmed once and for all that the Second Amendment protects an individual civil right to own a gun that has no connection with militia service?

For some, it appears the ruling never happened at all. Even now, gun prohibitionists are loathe to acknowledge that they were wrong about the Second Amendment; that their own hostility toward the private ownership of firearms had led them to conclude – largely by misinterpreting and deliberately misrepresenting the high court’s 1939 ruling in U.S. v. Miller – that the Second Amendment protected only some mythical “collective” right of the states to organize a militia. My colleague, Daniel White, offers an analysis of the ruling here.
The Second Amendment is not a constitutional obstacle to the regulation of firearms, since the amendment by its own terms deals with the rights of the state militia, not individuals.” - Edward M. Kennedy, June 15, 2009

As Justice Antonin Scalia so wisely noted in his majority opinion, “Miller did not hold that and cannot possibly be read to have held that.” ...

[Michigan] Open carry picnic planned:
Gun advocates have a bang-up idea for a picnic in Traverse City.

A group called Michigan Open Carry Inc. plans to host a gun-toting picnic at Sunset Park on Saturday.

It's part of the nonprofit's ongoing effort to promote the legal, open carry of firearms and the Second Amendment to the Constitution. ...

[Arizona] House panel advances, expands restaurant carry bill:
PHOENIX -- State lawmakers agreed Thursday to let some gun owners bring their weapons into restaurants -- but not before they expanded the measure to also apply to bars.

That change in SB 1113 came not at the behest of the National Rifle Association which crafted the bill but after a push from the organization that represents bar owners. Lobbyist Don Isaacson of the Arizona Licensed Beverage Association said there is no sharp definition in state law that spells out what is a restaurant and what is a bar. But Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, noted that NRA lobbyist Todd Rathner has argued all along that the legislation is aimed at providing relief to gun owners who simply wanted to get a bite to eat and did not want to leave their loaded weapons in their vehicles. She called extending that right to places where food isn't served "a dangerous cocktail."

Sinema acknowledged that the law would preclude anyone who is armed from also drinking. ...

Op-ed: Terror list not the right tool for curtailing gun sales:
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg has a point, to a point.

The Democratic lawmaker from New Jersey says it “simply defies common sense” to allow gun sales to people suspected of being terrorists. He’s right – until he proposes that the government’s terrorism watch list should be the deciding factor of whether someone can buy a gun.

At Lautenberg’s request, the Government Accountability Office recently studied firearms and explosives purchases among terror watch list members. It found that people on the list tried to buy guns 963 times in the last five years, and nine out of 10 times they were successful because nothing else in their background disqualified them.

That sounds outrageous, but consider this: The FBI refused to divulge details about who was able to buy a gun and what their connection to terrorism might be. That itself makes conclusions rather hard to draw.

Then there’s the watch list itself, which has a number of problems, the first being its size. At last count, the list had more than 1 million names representing 400,000 people, and it’s growing quickly. Just four years ago, the list stood at one-fourth of its current size.

It’s also rife with errors. While much of the criticism can be attributed to cases of mistaken identity – such “false positives” have snared the likes of Sen. Ted Kennedy and members of the Federal Air Marshal Service – the list itself is also suspect.

Just last month, the Justice Department inspector general found that the list included the names of at least 24,000 people who may not have belonged on it. Other names that should have been on the list weren’t.

But the most significant concern is the secrecy surrounding such intelligence tools, which doesn’t necessarily make much room for due process.

A person may never find out that a government agency nominated them for the list, and even if he or she does, getting off can prove impossible. ...

No comments: