Friday, December 21, 2007

John Edwards and the 2nd Amendment

In continuing to promote accurate understanding of candidates' positions on the 2nd Amendment, I offer this following round-up of John Edwards on gun rights:
  • Supports the Brady Bill
  • Makes statements suggesting support for renewing the so-called Assault Weapons Ban.


"I haven’t met a hunter yet who needed an AK-47 to hunt, but I think we need to be very careful to make sure that the second amendment rights are protected." (Quoted in Field & Stream)

"I think, first and foremost, that we need a president who actually believes in the Second Amendment and in the individual right to own firearms. And, the importance in that, both for hunting and for protection, and I do. I think part of it is the way of life that I grew up with, and the culture of which I grew up in. It’s been with me my entire life." (Also from Field & Stream)

"Owning a handgun is a privilege, not a right." (He says this in a YouTube video, but to be fair he wasn't given a change to elaborate.)


I don't personally think the 2nd Amendment has a thing to do with hunting or not hunting. But for those who do, take a look at Edwards's "Hunting and Fishing Bill of Rights And Responsibilities," publishing in October 2007. Among other things, it says:

"Edwards will support "Open Fields" programs that encourage private landowners to let people hunt and fish on their land. He also supports setting up regional Public Access Councils to give local sportspeople a voice in land management and, instead of opening up backcountry for logging and drilling the way President Bush has done, Edwards will work to preserve our roadless backcountry . . . Protect the Tradition of Responsible Gun Ownership. Edwards hunted when he was young and grew up in rural areas where owning a gun was part of a way of life. He respects that way of life and believes that we can do two things at once: protect gun rights and promote gun safety. "

So there you go--he's not Bill Richardson, but he doesn't seem to be Obama or Biden either when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. Vote your conscience.


Monday, December 17, 2007

NY Times And Civil Liberties

Click on the link to head over to Chuck for . . . to read an excellent dissection of the NY Times intellectual dishonesty underlying that paper's stance on gun control.

In a nutshell, the NY Times writes that the Constitution should be interpreted freely by whomever has the power to do so, regardless of what it says. Shameful, disturbing stuff for many reasons and not just limited to their disregard for the 2nd Amendment.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2nd Amendment Blogging

Sometimes spending time on a blog regarding the 2nd can pay off outside narrow interest blogs like this one. If you go to this page of Reuters News you will find one of my efforts published there. It will depend on how many decide to look at it how much effect it has. I was going to cross post it from Chuck for but it is now dated. This is why keeping our point of view out is so important, it not only supports the 2nd, but does it as Democrats.

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear "District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290"

On Tuesday (11/20/07) the U. S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the 2nd Amendment case concerning the D.C. ban on handguns and assembled rifles/shotguns in one's home. There's plenty of coverage on the Internet on this case (search on "District of Columbia v. Heller, 07-290), but I thought one quote from an article on said it all:

"Supreme Court Will Hear Guns Cases"

. . . "Washington banned handguns in 1976, saying it was designed to reduce violent crime in the nation's capital . . ."

Yeah. And we've seen how well THAT worked.

Whatever your party, don't let the candidates duck this issue in '08. If the Supreme Court sides with the District, it will set off a rash of copy-cat bans nationwide--make sure you don't elect anyone who would support those. Vote to defend your rights, your safety, and your liberty.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Exercise your rights--get your name on a list

Gun advocates are sometimes mocked as paranoid when they resist efforts to create national databases for gun registration. The piece below--reprinted with permission from Kevin Starrett of OFF--shows that you're not paranoid if people really are out to get you. (Or if you just have reasonable cause to think they are.)

The basis of the article is that Bob Hunter, editor of the Medford Mail Tribune, has demanded the local sheriff provide him with a list of names of everyone in Jackson County who has a concealed carry permit. Mr. Hunter has not explained what he intends to do with such a list but so far Jackson County Sheriff Mike Winters has refused to comply.

Printing a list of concealed permit holders is the same as hanging out a sign begging someone to burglarize their house while they're not home or to expose them to sanctions in the workplace from biased or uneducated employers.

For those who do not follow this issue, understand that this is precisely the kind of thing that destroys dialog with gun owners and leads the pro-2nd Amendment community to say "I told you so" when it comes to gun registration and calls to close the so-called "gun show loophole."

Please note too--in pursuing this story, The Oregonian also did research to try to find teachers or school board members who also are concealed carry permit holders. The Oregonian had the good sense not to publish any of the names they found--for which they should be commended.

Read on...
Original piece from the OFF website:


As you may have heard, the Medford Mail Tribune has sued to get the names of concealed handgun license holders.

This action was taken as a result of the lawsuit brought by a Medford teacher against the Medford school district. As you know, teacher Shirley Katz was suing to be allowed to carry her defensive firearm to work at Medford High School.

The Mail Tribune, which has repeatedly editorialized that licensed, trained adults should NOT be allowed to carry firearms on school property, believes that one of the ways to promote its anti-gun agenda is to intimidate gun owners by demanding that the Sheriff turn over the names of license holders.

What possible purpose this would serve, beyond invading the privacy of the most law abiding residents of Oregon, remains a mystery. But the Tribune's Editor, Bob Hunter is determined to proceed.

Jackson County Sheriff Mike WInters has so far refused, correctly pointing out the dangers this would present. “We were reluctant to hand over the names because we don’t want to make it easier for anybody who would use the information for harm in terms of credit card fraud or identity theft." Winters said.

Editor Bob Hunter believes that he has the right to those names for whatever purpose he chooses to use them. "This is information bought and paid for by the public, and the public has a right to it.” But of course, that's not true. The public did not buy and pay for this information. The information was paid for by the fees license holders are forced to pay to exercise a "right." But Bob goes on “It’s important for news media to take a stand on something like this because if public information is withheld in this way it will diminish the amount of public information the public is allowed to see,”

The truth is, whether it is legal for the press to obtain these names or not, (and attorneys have recently informed us it may NOT be legal) the only purpose being served is to chill the rights of gun owners. It would be no different if we published the home addresses and phone numbers of Tribune staff and hid behind the First Amendment.

While the Sheriff should be applauded for his efforts to protect license holders,Bob Hunter and the Mail Tribune and its advertisers should know that it's wrong to promote their anti self-defense crusade by threatening the privacy of gun owners.

You can contact Hunter by e-mail here or by regular mail and phone here:Mail Tribune P.O. Box 1108 111 N. Fir St. Medford, OR 97501 541-776-4411

[End of article.]

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Ruger No.1 45-70 Govt Peep Sight

***Originally Posted on Chuck for...

This rifle will fire a 500 grain bullet at 1900 feet per second and possibly more, I have no intention of putting my face behind a scope. So:

***Left click for full size picture***

This is a New England Custom Gun Service, Ltd #N-100 peep sight for Ruger No.1 and M77. The sight is a receiver mount adjustable peep sight with two apertures, 0.093 inch and 0.125 inch. The sight mounts to the rear scope mount point machining with two knurled knobs driving crescent moon dadoes into the machined rear scope sight mounts. There is a depression machined in the top of the scope mount point into which another dado inserts for positive locating. Windage is adjusted using the two knobs, the right has a hex head lock screw. Elevation is adjusted with a slotted screw in the top of the sight, loosening the aperture frees the screw.

The sight is robust in construction and pretty much idiot proof. It will certainly withstand the significant recoil of this rifle and looks to be capable of the insults available during hunting. The machining is precise, it takes care to align all the mating surfaces, it simply will not go together if everything is not precisely mated. I used the Ruger back-up leaf sight to set windage and elevation during install, it looks as though with elevation bottomed out the front sight will center at around 150 yds. NECG notes in its advertisement that all Rugers shoot differently and the front sight may need replacing - they also supply those.

The Ruger flip up leaf sight might be adequate in case of scope failure but they certainly are not useful as a dedicated sight. There are quite a few calibers available in Ruger #1 that would not make a scope an iffy proposition, but two things are in operation here, recoil and the amount of drop at the speeds these rounds can be fired at.

You will find NECG here. For more on Ruger NO.1 45-70 see this.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Colt Commander Lightweight .45 ACP

***Previously Posted on Chuck for...***

Based on the venerable 1911A1 the Commander is one of the smallest of that family with a 4.5 inch barrel. As with the entire family it is a recoil operated auto-loader and is single action. This is the Light Weight Model, little known and somewhat dismissed as weak in the frame due to its alloy composition. This prejudice prevented the pistol from gaining wide acceptance and over time has proved fallacious. Continuous firing of hot heavy loads will cause frame wear eventually, but failures due to such loads have had no press. This pistol has fired thousands of rounds of target loads, 230gr hardballs with 4.5 gr Bullseye and several hundred heavy load 200gr JHP (jacketed hollow point) with 7.2 gr Unique. A 30 yd shot just behind the heart killed a 150 lb field dressed mule deer. While it did not pass through it broke a large rib and shredded the lungs. I no longer hunt with this pistol because the lack of through and through made tracking very difficult.

The magazine shown is an eight shot magazine, in carry configuration - one in the chamber, full mag, cocked and locked you have 9 rounds, the 200gr JHP are very serious self-defense rounds. While the alloy frame cuts weight that many rounds are not light. This pistol can be easily aimed by a smaller woman but the recoil with those rounds is significant and compounded by the inertia of the slide.

The bluing on this pistol is quite worn from holster carry and use and while not nearly as pretty as new, its functions are unimpaired. It is accurate, quick to point, and with proper rounds never mis-feeds. I have never been able to use wad cutters with any reliability, but it happily feeds hardballs and hollow points.

Other than plinking or competitions involving this weapon type; this gun's duty is self-defense. This pistol meets and exceeds the demands of self-defense, especially in safety mechanisms. For those unfamiliar with this family of pistols these are the safeties: grip safety below hammer must be depressed by the hand, safety lock at left rear of slide-locks trigger, half cock hammer position, slide in any back position trigger lock. This pistol does not have a transfer bar and it is therefor unsafe with hammer down on a loaded chamber. The pistol's ease of use and intimidation factor are huge pluses, it looks exactly like what it is and each trigger pull fires a shot without the trigger drag of double action revolvers and there are nine of them. The rounds it fires are of some consideration, the heavy bullets will penetrate thick clothing and break large bones, but the lack of velocity reduces the chances of over penetration - shooting through a body and then through other things not desired or with a miss of shooting through several walls and so on. These are very realistic considerations for a self-defense weapon and of real importance in the horrid conditions involved in an actual use.

The disassembled picture is field stripped condition, all that is required for a complete cleaning and a basic inspection. Field stripping is easily accomplished in one minute with a little practice. The eight round magazine is Colt manufactured after market.

I've had a love affair with Colt autos for most of my life, for some reason, and this was the first pistol I purchased. I've put a lot of miles on this gun, but I still enjoy the heck out of shooting it. I have more powerful revolvers that are more accurate that are very nice shooters but this remains my favorite.

Right click pictures for full size.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Brian Schweitzer at the Oregon Summit

Montana governor, Democrat and avid gun owner Brian Schweitzer was the keynote speaker at this weekend's Oregon Summit in Bend. Before he spoke on Saturday night, the governor took some time out to meet with members of the Gun Owners Caucus, shown in the photo here.

For those of you who made it this weekend, it was a hell of time. For those who didn't, you were sorely missed.

Blogging Diva and Gun Owners Caucus member Jenni Simonis has highlights of Scheweitzer's speech posted on her Blog for Oregon site. I recommend reading her version, but there's a portion of her post important to quote on this 2nd Amendment site:

"Schweitzer and the state legislature also passed an item calling for the federal government to get rid of the Patriot Act. Needless to say, they never received a response.

Neighbors spying on neighbors just isn't right, he explained.

Montana had something similar in the early 1900s, called the Sedition Act. This was copied by many states, including Oregon, as well as the federal government.

The Act allowed them to arrest and jail people for things such as calling the president a stupid son-of-a-bith. Schweitzer said it's a good thing we're not doing that now, else we'd have to put up a fence around Alaska to hold everyone.

Schweitzer had research done into the cases of those people tried and convicted under this Act (something like 79 cases). Come to find out, not a single one was found guilty for a crime that would be punishable today.

One such case was a German man who had been ordered to come into town, kiss the American flag, sing the anthem, and buy war bonds. He stated "I will not," and that he loved this country.

He was brought before a judge who eventually sentenced him to 36 months in jail.

The Montana government tracked down the families of those convicted under the Act and had them come to the capitol building, where the "crimes" were pardoned. The grandson of the man who wouldn't kiss the flag read some of the letters his wife had sent him during his time in jail, as well as one he'd written back. The first told him their two year-old son died. The next was saying they didn't know if they would make the crop that year. In the next, there was a foreclosure sale. The next she'd moved to another state to live with a relative and their remaining four children had been sent around the country to live with other relatives.

There weren't many dry eyes left in the room once he was done with the story.

But he brought it back to Oregon, pointing out that we too had a Sedition Act and that we may need to make some pardons as well."

We all know the quote about how "...when they came for the Jews, I said nothing because I wasn't a Jew; when they came for etc. etc." Well, America locked up a lot of German-Americans and anyone who happened to think Wilson was a bastard in WWI; a war quite possibly as stupid for us to have fought in as any you can name. A generation later it was done to the Japanese, even while their sons were dying fighting under the American flag. Sure, we said we were sorry later, but it doesn't change anything.

Unfortunately, I fear we are about one more terrorist attack away from doing it again, this time to Muslims or Arabs in general. There are a lot of comments these days in the media, from the right, from far too many people in military uniform who ought to know better, and frankly even from some who claim to be progressives, about how western culture is locked in a clash to the death with Islam or Muslims or anyone--Sunni, Shiite, Assyrian Christian, Yazidi, or others--who comes from any of the deep-rooted cultures of the Middle East. Well, that's just ignorance. The Middle East, particularly but not exclusively the Arab regions, is locked in a civil struggle between competing forces of religious extremism and modernity. For all our navel gazing, 9/11 was collateral damage in their internal fight. The vast majority of Muslims who came to this country did it in order to join up on our side of the fight. (Remember the Arabs in Detroit who actually attacked the Aljazera reporters for being anti-American?)

Religious or secular, 99% of the people who immigrate here from the Middle East do it for the same reason Germans and Japanese came--because they admire American society and values and want to contribute to both. Remember that, and the Japanese, and the Germans that Brian Schweitzer pulled off the dusty shelf of the past next time you hear vicious talk about "those people" who just can't fit in to our society, whomever they may be. If you haven't got the guts to stand up for the rest of the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment alone won't matter a damn.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More on Medford

The Oregon Firearms Federation continues to fund the legal expenses for the Medford teacher seeking to protect herself from her violent ex-husband by exercising her rights to carry a concealed handgun at school.

Updates on the case, as well as a radio interview by OFF's Kevin Starrett, can be accessed via the OFF website.

This case has the potential to set a variety of precedents within the state of Oregon and should be followed with interest by 2nd Amendment supporters. Contributions to the legal defense fund also can be made via the OFF website.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ruger No.1 Rifle in 45-70 Govt.

***Previously Posted on Chuck for...

The Ruger No.1 is a falling block , under-lever, single shot rifle which follows some of the Farquharson design characteristics but contains features never previously found in rifles of this type. The No.1 buttstock is mortised onto the receiver with a bolt passing through the stock into the receiver. The forearm is attached to a heavy steel extension from the receiver. The hammer is concealed and retracted by the first opening motion of the lever and can never strike the firing pin unless the breech block is fully elevated. The swinging transfer block virtually locks the firing pin forward against gas pressure during firing.

At the top rear of the receiver is a sliding ambidextrous safety which can only be moved to safe with the hammer cocked. Loading and unloading can be accomplished in the safe position.

This rifle loads from the breech, or rear of receiver and ejects rearward as well. Fast operation of the lever can throw hot brass onto the shooter, the standard ejector mechanism can be modified easily to only partially eject cartridges. Directions are included in the manual.

This is one of the strongest actions available in a rifle and has been known to handle outrageous
pressures. This is not a recommended policy. Within the safe operating pressures high performance loads can be accomplished, loading data for 400gr bullets show muzzle
velocities of 2100fps and 500 gr bullets at 1900 fps.

The 45-70 Government cartridge is the oldest rifle cartridge chambered in modern firearms. It is a straight taper rimmed cartridge and the bullet, although a 45 is a .458 diameter bullet vs the modern 45 Colt which is .451-.452. Commonly available bullets are 250, 300, 350,
400, and 500 grain. For comparison's sake typical 30-06 rounds are 150, 180, 200, and 220 grain. Loading data for the Ruger No.1 show muzzle velocities of 2100fps with 400 gr and 1900 with
500 gr. A typical 30-06 muzzle velocity is 2600 fps. This is an extremely powerful rifle and is capable of hunting anything that walks the earth. The cartridge and un-cased bullet shown are .458 Speer Jacketed Flat Nose 400 grain which were loaded for Model 1895 Marlin.

With all that power comes significant recoil. This gun will hit the shooter quite hard and with big game loads is not for the faint of heart or small of stature.

Due to the relatively low speed of the rounds serious drop occurs over distance so the shooter must allow for an occurrence that is not common in smaller high velocity rounds. It is of very real importance to remember that rounds suitable for the Ruger No.1 are not suitable for other rifles chambered in 45-70 and serious care must be taken with vintage arms to not use rounds that even a Model 1895 Marlin is capable of using, that rifle is considerably stronger than the old Springfields.

From my first exposure to the 45-70 Govt, which was a Marlin Model 1895, I have wanted a Ruger No. 1 in 45-70. Today it arrived, the rifle you are seeing is unfired and anticipation is killing me - it is also not nice out today, mixed snow, rain and wind.



This thing kicks like a mule, it is a very light rifle and 400 gr bullets at 1900fps (57 gr IMR 4895) are in the painful range. It is a lovely piece and demonstrates good repeatability at 100yds, grouping is tight considering the recoil aversion I experienced after about 10 rounds. Shooting from a prone position with heavy loads is asking to get hurt. Although the rifle came with nice scope rings, they will not get used and the folding leaf sight will be replaced when I find a better peep that will fit well.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Menacing in Medford

By now you have probably heard of the teacher in Medford, Oregon who has come afoul of her district's policies by arguing for the right to bring a firearm to campus. The case seems tailor-made to be a precedent setting case on several fronts, and as such has gotten attention from both pro- and anti-gun advocates.

Mercifully the facts in this case are pretty straight-forward and, apparently, not in dispute:

* The teacher in question has suffered long-term abuse from her spouse who has attacked her and threatened to kill her.
* The teacher has taken steps to protect herself by buying a handgun, learning how to use it, and getting a concealed permit to carry it.
* Her husband has a history of violence and lost his own concealed carry permit for menacing someone else.
* The teacher has asked for permission from the district to carry her firearm on school campuses, and in fact had an article in the September 16, 2007 Oregonian titled "A Loaded Question."

After the facts though, the situation gets muddy, and I haven't heard much explanation for the rest of the story. For instance, before ever asking for permission to bring her firearm to school, the teacher was summoned to her principal's office where she was confronted by her principal and a police officer and told if she had a firearm on her she would be fired. I have to wonder about this--how did the principal find out that she had a concealed carry permit? Did the police tell him on their own? This seems rather bizarre, and probably illegal.

At the case stands at the moment, the woman is being helped with her legal bills by The Oregon Firearms Federation (see "OFEF TO CHALLENGE ILLEGAL SCHOOL POLICY") The Sunday Oregonian carried Op-Ed pieces by Lars Larson (in favor of the teacher) and State Senator Ginny Burdick (D) (guess her position) who, as always, is using this opportunity to pursue her personal obsession in banning legally carried firearms from all school buildings (and, as always, helping Republicans raise money by invoking her name.)

To my mind, the real issue here is not about guns in schools. Schools are public buildings and, as Larson pointed out in his Op-Ed, concealed permit carriers are allowed by Oregon law to take their weapons into almost all public buildings, including schools. Further, there hasn't been a single instance of a visitor to a school endangering students because he or she has a concealed handgun. Ginny Burdick's regular protests against responsible gun-owners are the classic "solution in search of a problem."

The real problem is the husband--he created this mess and he should be the one penalized for it. The Medford school district is in a no-win situation driven by selective enforcement of the law. As soon as they learned the teacher had been threatened by her husband and had taken out a restraining order against him, the teacher should have been transferred to an administrative position regardless of whether she took out a permit or not. To not have done so seems to have already opened the district up to extensive liabilities if any students are injured as a result of the teacher's husband's action. This may seem unfair to the teacher and to the district, but it seems to be the best solution for the children in any such case.

As for the husband, he has assaulted his wife, threatened her life and threatened at least one other person with a firearm in the last year. Because his wife works at a school, he is a threat to the community's children and should be dealt with accordingly by the full force of the law. For starters, he should be charged with assault. He also needs an ankle-bracelet to track his movements. He should also be subject to a civil suit by his wife for denying her an income and by the district for denying them the use of an employee. If we need any new legislation, it would be to clarify that perpetrators of violence or threats of violence should be financially responsible for the results of their actions.

And finally, while I really don't think this case is about the broader question of whether guns should be allowed on school campuses, IT IS ABOUT the rights of employers to prohibit their employees from bringing guns to work. This raises other questions of fault and liability. Most, I would venture to see nearly all, employers have policies against employees bringing firearms to work. In some cases, these bans may have led to the deaths of employees who were unable to protect themselves against outraged spouses or angry co-workers (see the April archives for this blogsite for an example.)

The question is whether employers of any kind, not just schools, should continue to have the right to deny employees with valid concealed carry permits from carrying those firearms on the job. That is really the broader question of what this case is about: not whether the PUBLIC should be allowed to carry guns on campus (those with permits should) but whether EMPLOYEES at public or private institutions should be prohibited from bringing firearms into the workplace.

In the case of the Medford teacher, I think the solution that follows the law and common sense would be (1) lock up the husband and charge him in civil court as well as criminal court for the cost to the teacher and to the district his stupid behavior has cost them, (2) move the teacher to a job where she is not around children until the eminent threat of violence is gone. I don't personally see a problem with trained, emotionally stable people carrying guns where ever and whenever they please. But I do see a problem with having a teacher who is currently the target of a violent, dangerous stalker teaching children. I don't mind if teachers carry guns to school, but a teacher who rightfully fears she has become a bullet magnet shouldn't be in the classroom and I can't think of a parent I know who wouldn't agree with that.

Send any bills to the husband....when he gets out on parole.

Thursday, August 30, 2007


1. Shiny new, high-powered deer rifle.............. $1200.00

2. Quality, high-powered scope........................ $ 550.00

3. Bore sighting device..................................... $ 140.00

4. Forgetting to remove the bore sighting device prior to shooting?


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Liberals Take Up Arms - the Video

Posted here with their permission is The Daily Courier's fun & accurate video coverage of the Gun Owners Caucus range visit for our July '07 meeting.

It shows our caucus doing what we were formed to do: promoting 2nd Amendment Rights, teaching gun safety, and depoliticizing firearms rights by promoting Americans' common support of our Constitution.


(Keep your powder dry, Tracee!)


Liberals Take Up Arms

The following article is republished here with permission of The Daily Courier in Grants Pass, Oregon. Report Patricia Snyder covered the Gun Owners Caucus shooting event which was graciously hosted by the Josephine County Sportsman Association, which runs an outstanding facility I recommend to everyone. Enjoy!

Liberals take up arms

By Patricia Snyder of The Daily Courier

Democrats gathered at the Josephine County Sportsman Park to squeeze off a few rounds Saturday morning and take aim at the perception that liberals oppose Second Amendment gun rights.

The Blue Steel Democrats gathering coincided with a quarterly meeting of the Democratic Party of Oregon, held in Grants Pass for the first time in at least seven years. About 70 Democrats met at the Performing Arts Center at Grants Pass High School to discuss party business, training and strategy for the 2008 campaign.
In 2005, the party officially expressed support for the Second Amendment right of individuals to keep and bear arms.

The Gun Owners Caucus began last fall to promote gun rights and safety, and members want to challenge the perception that Democrats are opposed to rights for gun owners, said Zak Johnson, caucus chairman and a Portland resident. So far, the majority of the 50 members who have joined the caucus are from the Portland area.

The Josephine County Sportsman's Association, which operates the park, is not politically oriented, said Steve Ware, organization spokesman.

"The whole idea is that things shouldn't be political," he said as the soon-to-be shooters listened to a safety lesson from Baker resident Chuck Butcher, a former congressional candidate. "The Second Amendment goes across political parties."

Gun issues have been used to divide Americans, Johnson said. "We should be united in support of the Constitution," he said. He blamed some of the perception of Democrats as anti-gun on the historical rise of figures who come from regions where gun ownership is controversial. It's more of a regional conflict, he said. Voters need to look an individual's stance, he added, as some members of both the Democrat and Republican parties have stronger stances on gun restrictions.

One recently passed state law the party is celebrating is House Bill 2370, which passed unanimously except for opposition from Wilsonville Republican Jerry Krummel.
It includes the statement that, during an emergency, "a unit of government may not seize a firearm from an individual who lawfully possesses the firearm," notwithstanding laws related to emergencies such as rationing and seizure of property with compensation. It provides some protection in light of what happened after Hurricane Katrina, Johnson said.

Saturday's gathering marked the first shooting experience for a few of the 10 Blue Steel Democrats who participated. "Just making people familiar, I think, takes away the fear of the firearm," Johnson said.

First-time shooter Tracee Larson's hands shook a bit as she gripped a loaded Lady Smith revolver that Johnson inherited from his mother.

"There's something kind of exhilarating about it," she said after she finished her round of shooting, giggling with excitement. The self-described Portland liberal grew up in the city, exposed only to her grandfather's shooting rifle that was left on the wall with the mandate to stay away from it. Before buying a gun, she would want to know how to operate it safely, she said, and she doesn't have much opportunity to learn from someone experienced.

She lives alone, but she's in a secure apartment building and doesn't worry about a home invasion, she said. However, she added, she believes in Second Amendment rights. If existing laws were better enforced, she thinks that gun control wouldn't be an issue.

Trent Lutz, executive director of the Democratic Party of Oregon, was among those who took pistol in hand Saturday morning. The Portland resident doesn't own a gun, but he grew up in a family that owned guns, he said. So far, reception to the party's gun stance has been positive, he said.

Josephine County has historically been heavily Republican, but holding a quarterly meeting in Grants Pass sends the message that every vote counts and the party wants every voice to be heard, Lutz said.


Reach reporter Patricia Snyder at 474-3817 or

Friday, August 03, 2007

Cowpoke - Cowboy Action Dress

right click for full size

I know I said I wasn't interested in playing dress up, well, it is a part of the game and so I went far enough with it to satisfy most requirements. Though it insulted me no end, I bought a pair of cowboy boots, my logging boots are disqualified by having traction soles. I have never liked cowboy boots, my feet are wide and my toes completely unacquainted with pointy toed shoes. I've been putting a bunch of boot oil on them and achieved minor relief. The drawers are Carharts I wear for work, the shirt and tie are new western stuff, the vest is Salvation Army suede and the hat is "cheap" Stetson felt. Overall about $140 invested in dress-up cowboy gear.

I can't keep a straight face in that get up. No, I'm not in the least interested in buying a horse or a steer.
Look out Republicans, there's a new sheriff in town.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Cowboy Action Custom Gun Leather

***click pictures for full size***
This belt is custom cut for my waist and hips and the holsters are custom fit to the 3 1/2 inch .45 Colt SAA Ubertis. The load tail is for .45 Colt shells for either extended shooting, beyond the 6 loops each side, or for the 1873 Winchester by Chaparrel. The holsters are canted at 30 degrees for a draw that brings the revolvers to point rather than vertical draw. Trailsman Leather Co. of Baker City, OR -, Vern Trowbridge, for information.

I chose the dark brown stain in a mottle finish and plain buckle & conchos as my taste runs to less ornamentation, the rigs are available in various colors and degrees of ornamentation, tooling, and fittings (shell loops, etc.) Vern will travel distances for fitting and option choices. This is high end leather work, intended for competitive shooting and authentic re-enactments. I have inspected one of his top end tooling and decorative option rigs, a thing of beauty and function, carrying a price tag commensurate to that.
Because I am neither a representative nor principal I will not give pricing, but be ready to spend several hundred dollars for a simple set-up. You will be rewarded, there is absolutely no break-in or personal forming required, the rig will be absolutely comfortable, gun safe, and ready to use the minute you pick it up.
Yes, Vern is a member of my sportsman club, the local director of Cowboy Action Shooting, and a friend, but this product would be worth this endorsement if he were a stranger.

Virtue Flats Vigilantes

The Virtue Flats Vigilantes are the Cowboy Action Shooting club at Powder River Sportsman's Club Virtue Flats range. Tonight we had a night shoot, the first one. It was also my first shoot in this sport. It is fairly involved shooting and because a certain amount of moving around is involved the safety rules are extensive and rigorously enforced.

Because I don't want to get into the dress up part of the sport, wearing period clothing, and because I shoot single handed I am shooting in the Duelist or Gunfighter category. Now for those who'd enjoy period clothing Classic Cowboy requires it but neither my budget nor my comfort requirements put me in mind of doing that. My weaponry allows me to shoot in any of the classes and was acquired with that in mind. Some clothing is required or prohibited .

(2) 3 1/2 in. SAA Colt by Uberti w/Birdshead Grip .45 Colt

1873 Winchester octagonal barrel lever action by Chaparral .45 Colt

2 3/4 in. 12 Ga side by side double barrel hammered stagecoach Remington shotgun

double holster with 2 sets of 6 cartridge loops and 20 round load tail

all ammunition is low power loads to reduce target damage and chances being struck by bullet splash.

Target sets are varied as is the order of fire and order of weapons. Since I forgot my camera I'll have to give a written description of one of the sets. There were two firing stations 30 feet apart. The shooter approached the far (right) station and lays down unloaded shotgun and holds loaded rifle at port arms, at the timer's signal, cocks and fires at 5 silhouettes at 30 yards one shot left to right and again left to right (10 rounds), lays down rifle action open, picks up shot gun and moves to left station, lays down shotgun. Draw revolver, fire 5 shots at 5 silhouettes at 15 yds, holster, load shotgun, knock down 2 silhouettes (10 yds), carry shotgun to right station, lay down shotgun and draw revolver. Shoot 5 rounds at 3 silhouettes (15yds) any order hitting both at least once, holster, load shotgun and knock down 2 silhouettes (10 yds), time ends with unloaded shotgun. Scoring is by time with 5 seconds added for each miss and a "P" for any procedural errors. I managed to finish last, I wasn't doing too badly until the last stage where I lost the front sight of the revolver when my wind dried contacts blurred out completely and I missed 5 of 10 shots. I didn't mind whatever place I finished in, I was there to have fun and learn how to actually do this.

This isn't a rich man's sport but it also isn't cheap, purchased new the firearms will run around $2000 and factory loaded ammunition for .45 Colt cowboy action is about $25 for 50 rounds and this shoot involved over 120 rounds plus a box of shotgun shells. Dress will cost as will some accessories like a cart for holding long guns and ammo. Reloading is the most reasonable approach to ammo costs which will drop the 50rd cost to around $5 and used firearms are available. Now while I find this to be a lot of fun, I'd suggest anybody with interest attend a shoot and if possible borrow some equipment.

SASS is the organizational body for this shooting sport. Much more information than I've been able to provide is located there. This sport is strong on procedure and a large part of the competition involves an ability to stay focused while moving about and changing shooting order and firearms.

Monday, July 16, 2007

"Gun Owners Caucus Quarterly Meeting" or "Let's go shooting!"

Hello Gun Owners Caucus!

We have a treat in store for the SCC meeting next weekend: combining our meeting with a trip to the gun range!

The operators of the non-profit Josephine County
Sportsman Association
(JCSA) have agreed to let the GOC-DPO meet at 8 AM Saturday morning for a group shoot at their range.

Here is the link to the JCSA range website and DIRECTIONS.

HOSTS KNOW HOW MANY TO EXPECT. (Just send me a quick email if you're coming--the email address is in my profile to the right.)

This is an excellent opportunity to get our word out, and to network with other pro-2nd Amendment Democrats (and others) from around the state--especially in the SW.
Please work on getting turn-out and let me know by Thursday evening if you're coming (last minute attendees will also be welcome, of course.)

(Please note, the JCSA is a non-profit that in no way endorses the GOC-DPO, they are simply allowing access to the public range.)

The range opens at 8 AM, and we'll start our morning by shooting till 9:15 AM, then breaking for a quick 15 minute meeting to handle our agenda. To date, our meetings have been very quick and efficient, so we should have no problem concluding all business by 9:30. This will allow those who need to leave for committee meetings time to get there. Then the rest can get back to shooting.

Shooting fees a $7 per person, but we can buy 10-hole punches for $35 if we have enough interest. I haven't been before, but this range looks great.

Please forward this message to any and all Democratic 2nd Amendment supporters you know who might have the opportunity to attend.

Finally, please let me know if you have other agenda items to cover in the meeting. Here's the list so far:

Other Agenda Items:

* Election of New Treasurer
* Election of New Secretary
* Other business

See you there!
-Zak Johnson, Chair
Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon

Gun Owners page on

Monday, June 25, 2007

Democratic controlled Oregon Senate bans "emergency" gun seizures

I've been alerted to the following good news by the Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF): the Democratic-controlled Oregon State Senate has passed HB 2370, which:

Creates Office of Emergency Management in Oregon Military Department. Abolishes Office of Emergency Management in Department of State Police and transfers functions to office in Oregon Military Department.
Prohibits unit of government from seizing firearms from individuals in lawful possession of firearms during declared emergency.

As you may recall, illegal gun seizures from law-abiding citizens' homes in the aftermath of Katrina caused quite a national uproar. This was done by the same police force that had so many officers walk off the job that they had no control over the city for days or even weeks after the hurricane. It's good to see the Oregon legislature taking pre-emptive steps to ensure that people's ability to protect themselves will not be arbitrarily trampled by local governments in the event of a wide scale catastrophe. Hopefully the House will concur today and Governor Kulongoski will be able to sign it this session

Please call your reps!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Senator Obama's Position on Gun Ownership Rights

Given the recent activity in Congress, it seemed an good time to ask Senator Barack Obama, the leading "unknown" Democratic presidential candidate, his position on 2nd Amendment rights. So I sent him an email on the subject yesterday. Posted here is his reply.

I recommend you write him on this issue.

Obama's response on the 2nd Amdendment:

"Dear Friend,

Thank you for contacting me about gun laws and the Second Amendment. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue. Americans broadly agree that guns must be kept from those who may pose a threat, and that the rights of legitimate hunters and sportsmen should be protected.

We must work to ensure that guns do not fall into the hands of criminals or the mentally ill through an effective background check system. We also have to strike a reasonable balance between public safety and sportsmen's rights.

I will continue to work for effective gun laws, including reinstatement of the assault weapons ban that the last Congress allowed to expire, and effective law enforcement. I will also speak out against the culture of violence that traps so many of our young people.

Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue.


Barack Obama"

[end of letter]

Well. If you think the 2nd Amendment is about the right to bear sporting goods, I guess you just found your candidate.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

"Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes" is now available

If you haven't visited photographer Kyle Cassidy's website promoting his book "Armed America: Portraits of Gun Owners in their Homes," you really ought to take a look.

The book comes out in July and is currently available in pre-order from Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, and Powells.

As a gun owner, I find Cassidy's book great fun, but also a fresh opportunity to begin conversations with non-gun owners or even anti-gun voters who have a negative view not just of guns but of gun owners in general. When I mention my own involvement with firearms and the Gun Owners Caucus, I sometimes get the reaction, "Oh, you don't seem like a gun owner." (I guess if I wore a bright orange vest or Elmer Fudd hat around the office, people wouldn't be as surprised.)

On the point of "who seems like a gun owners," Cassidy's book will turn your preconceptions on their head. Here's the approach he says guided the project:
"I tried to remove 'gun owner' from my mind as much as possible when making the actual photograph," says Cassidy. "I would go into someone's house and immediately start thinking 'how can I capture this person or this family fairly?" While it would be very easy for any photographer to pose a man with a military weapon in a stern and menacing way, light it dramatically and come away with a shocking photograph, Cassidy chose another more accurate and startling route. "I would ask myself 'What's this guy like every day? How do his friends and family see him?' He's a guy who owns a parakeet, or two cats, or a poodle, he's got two kids--he doesn't frown all day long because he's got a gun."
The work is exceptional. And surprising. Even gun owners may not know the full range of citizens who own guns--or their motivations: Cassidy ended each interview with a basic question, "Why DO you own a gun?" The answers are as interesting as the photographs.

Well worth a look.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Electronic Weapons: After the firearms are gone.

(The following was authored by GUn Owners Caucus member, John Sweeney of Portland.)

Many electronic weapons are in test or reduced power forms. The electronic weapons are coming, eventually. A ban on firearms will mean sooner not later!

There are three main types of electronic weapons:

Laser Weapons. These are now coming into use with police agencies as riot control weapons. Even in this form, misuses can results in short or long term eye injuries. From the loss of night vision (no night flying, no night driving, no night bike riding) to total blindness. Advanced weapons will have the power to kill and injure at a long range. There are line of sight weapons with almost no limits. Beam velocity, 186,000 miles per second.

Microwave Weapons. These are now coming into use with police agencies in riots as control weapons (see above). Advanced weapons will be able to cook a live elephant (all 13,000 lbs) at a mile. Beam velocity, 186,000 miles per second.

EM Guns. Electromagnetic Guns, also known as Rail Guns. These are projectile weapons, with muzzle velocity of 26,000 feet per second (17,760 miles per hour). They could possibly shoot 17,000 shots per second. They could be used to shoot down buildings. Experimental versions are big now, but persoanl sizes are due soon.

Question for Blue Steel: What will "the right to keep and bear arms" mean when these and other technologies make gunpowder-based projectile weapons obsolete?


Monday, April 16, 2007

School Violence

Today it was at Virginia Tech. "It" refers to random acts of violence with firearms on school campuses. "It" is also one of the primary high-profile acts that leads many in the general public to advocate curtailing 2nd Amendment rights. "It" is unfortunately also a regular feature of American life.

Everybody who reads this blog knows the arguments for and against gun control--let's not waste time rehashing that.

But does anyone have solutions to offer for "it" that don't involve taking away civil liberties? As proponents of the 2nd Amendment, it is in our best interest to find and promote those solutions.

Any ideas? Please discuss.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

DeFazio, The Senate, And Eastern Oregon

I won't tell readers that Peter DeFazio will win a Senate race in Eastern Oregon, he could and conditions are good, but it will take smart politics to do it. Democrats out here are hungry for a Candidate and Peter DeFazio has a consistent and honorable record. His easy going populism should play well in an area that has not benefited from Republican economic policies. He would not have to dodge a gun-grabber identity, his "B" rating from the NRA is not too bad for a national Democrat. Gordon Smith has a voting record that he is stuck with, if a campaign makes sure of it.

Democrats can win out here, Ron Wyden (D) has carried or nearly carried these counties, Gov. Kulongoski got good numbers (despite his campaign's early lack of attention) and local Democrats can do well. There are national issues that have, over the years, very nearly poisoned the well for Democrats, but a DeFazio campaign could overcome that. Money and press are a large part of that, but so is grass roots, and Democratic Parties in the counties can be or are active. The $5 contributions mentioned here are the kind of thing that show a grass roots support. A candidate must have visible support out here, signage and press and a campaign headquarters of some sort are a must and that takes attention. Ron Wyden pays visible attention to Eastern Oregon, others have dropped the ball. Fortunately for national candidates most television out here is westside, their ads get play, but on the ground support is essential. Newspapers, radio, and a general noise level are important. A viable candidate will get newspaper attention, but letters to the editor from locals and a general buzz are only possible from grassroots.

Peter DeFazio is a skilled politician and he knows this stuff, that's why a demonstration of support is so important, those $5 contributions.The Senate is very narrowly in Democratic hands, any Democratic losses would be catastrophic and additions would be hugely beneficial. Peter DeFazio is one of the best of the Democrats in the House today, in order to show that the loss of his presence in the House is outweighed by his chances in the Senate he needs to be shown broad support, he and the national Democratic machine. Bloggers can help, but it will take more than that, his Website has important info on his activities and contact information, he encourages E-mail as post mail is slow to reach him. Phone calls and letters:

Washington, DC Office2134 Rayburn H.O.B.Washington DC, 20515Phone: (202) 225-6416

Eugene Office405 East 8th Ave. #2030Eugene, OR 97401Phone: (541) 465-6732

Coos Bay Office125 Central, Suite 350Coos Bay, OR 97420Phone: (541) 269-2609

Roseburg Office612 S.E Jackson Street, Room 9Roseburg, OR 97470Phone: (541) 440-3523

If you'd like to see someone like Peter DeFazio as Oregon's other Democratic Senator it's going to take persuasion. The Smith people have more money than god himself and certain rather stupid editorial boards on their side, Pete needs to be shown that he has more on his side. Not only does Gordon Smith need to be sent home, he needs to be replaced by someone like Peter DeFazio, that being the case, why not have the actual article?

This will be cross posted at Chuck for and Bluesteel Democrats and Draft DeFazio since it's been awhile since I've had somebody to actually be "For." I'm doing my little part, how about you?

Monday, April 02, 2007

On-Campus Gun Ban Didn’t Save UW Domestic Violence Victim

The University of Washington suffered a tragic loss today when a campus employee was gunned down by her domestic violence abuser. She apparently had a restraining order (RO) to protect her along with a university administrative rule banning guns at her workplace (the university).

When representing domestic violence victims, I always instruct them that ROs don’t make them bullet proof and criminals don’t always follow the law. While ROs and the criminal statutes protect most people from most perpetrators, they don’t protect victims from the worst offenders—those intending to do harm regardless of the consequences. I recall this being evident in at least three of the recent Lane County domestic violence murders where all the perpetrators had protective orders against them.

Washington’s campus gun ban differs from Oregon law. Washington bans firearms on campus even when a person has a lawful concealed carry license. A person can apply for an exception to that rule through the university chief of police. An official at the University Police Department stated that the person needs a good reason to get approval.

Considering the seriousness given to domestic violence these days, one could assume that this victim could have successfully pursued this. However, this exception likely only applies to those aware of a potential personal threat, leaving unaware coworkers without the means of protecting themselves and others.

Oregon on the other hand does not allow campuses to make administrative rules restricting the right to possess a firearm when you have a concealed carry permit. That authority is vested solely in the state legislature. This means campuses including universities and school districts cannot regulate the possession of firearms without a statute permitting such action. Currently no such mechanism exists; hopefully it will stay that way considering virtually all campus gun violence is perpetrated by criminals without a conceal carry permit.

Because of this Oregon legislative preemption, Oregonians have a greater chance of a law-abiding citizen at their campus workplace carrying a firearm. I often wonder how the outcome of campus violence would differ if districts and universities actively encouraged concealed carry permit holders to exercise that right. Perhaps that would be the difference between a defenseless situation at the UW and a less tragic outcome.

ORS 166.170 State preemption. (1) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate in any matter whatsoever the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition, is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly.
(2) Except as expressly authorized by state statute, no county, city or other municipal corporation or district may enact civil or criminal ordinances, including but not limited to zoning ordinances, to regulate, restrict or prohibit the sale, acquisition, transfer, ownership, possession, storage, transportation or use of firearms or any element relating to firearms and components thereof, including ammunition. Ordinances that are contrary to this subsection are void.
C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Eugene, Oregon

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

GOC - Quarterly Meeting Report

Greetings GOC-DPO! Once again Cyreena Boston came through and found a place for the GOC-DPO to get out of the rain at Chemeketa College and hold our quarterly meeting. Some issues remain the same, others have changed. This meeting saw a lot of new faces, energy, and ideas to start promoting our message inside & outside the DPO and around the state. Here's a summary:

Jesse Bontecou of the DPO gave us some pointers on organizing the grass roots:
  • GOC-DPO members can be effective by stressing your beliefs within your own social network.
  • Follow the lead of the GLBT "pub crawl"--go where the gun owners congregate and engage them in a positive way.
PCP Sign Up Drive - Changing the party from within.
The PCP (Precinct Committee Person) is the entry position into the Democratic Party. County Party PCPs vote to elect members to represent them locally and in the DPO. The more pro-gun Democrats who become PCPs, the better chance we have of electing pro-gun leadership within the state party (like the new DPO Chairwoman!)
But more importantly, PCPs stay in touch and connected with local politics--you learn what's going on. If you are not currently a PCP in your county organization, sign up to become one.
(Congratulations to Bert Lowry--GOC-DPO member and newly signed PCP for Multnomah County [application pending].)

Treasurer Resignation
Jim Robison, a well-known DPO activist from Multnomah County and a founding SCC member of the Gun Owners Caucus, announced he has too many irons in the fire these days and will need to resign as GOC-DPO Treasurer. Best wishes to Jim on his other projects, especially the Portland Progressives Toastmaster Club he has founded.
Jenni Simonis has put her name forward as a replacement for Jim and is currently "acting" treasurer. She easily meets the primary qualification, which is to have a good working relationship with Cindy Moody. ; )

Fund Raising
In visiting with the other caucuses, it's clear that fund-raising remains problematic for all of the special interest communities. Ideas were offered at the meeting that will both raise funds for the DPO and GOC-DPO, while simultaneously promoting our pro-RKBA position as Democratic gun owners. The idea with the most legs was to host gun raffles at Oregon county fairs. Preferably the guns would be modern (i.e. semi-automatic) weapons.
Because the GOC-DPO does not have the capacity to raise funds on its own, members suggested that fund-raising efforts by done in partnership with county parties and the DPO.
An ad hoc Gun Raffle Committee was formed, led by Bert Lowry along with Zak Johnson and Jenni Simonis.

Let's Go Shooting
The next DPO quarterly meeting is to include a well-publicized outing to a range near the meeting site. Zak will coordinate with Chuck Butcher, Chris Roop, and others who live near the next meeting site to find local media coverage but most of all to have a good time. Chuck mentioned the ranges in eastern Oregon offer somewhat longer distances for practice that is generally the case in the western half. . .

Membership and Literature
We gained several new member at the meeting, including some first members from The Dalles and Colton.
Several members have asked for the membership list to be posted publicly. However, several people--both members and "supporters"--have asked that their personal information not be posted publicly. Zak is currently working with DPO Tech Dude John Springer to do two things:
1) Set up an automated membership sign-up on the Democratic Gun Owners page on the DPO website
2) Make that list available for GOC-DPO members for sending announcements.
That should be in place by the next quarter. John's a busy guy, too, but if you see him, be sure to bug him about getting it done. ; )
Additionally, I am also working with getting online merchandising set up online--a lot of you are asking for more GOC-DPO hats.

Currently we have several sources of information on the caucus you can download and distribute or send as links to your Democratic and non-Democratic friends alike.
1) Blue Steel Democrats blogsite - Feel free to quote or print any part of this blog (in context, please.)
2) The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon webpage on the DPO website. We can also post documents to this site which members could then access and download. Please send me anything you'd like to have added there.
3) Resolution 2005-008:

The DPO message on the 2nd Amendment could not be any clearer that what this resolution says. I'd recommend including it in any publication you put out:



WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of civil liberties; and

WHEREAS, the Democratic Party has long been dedicated to the preservation of freedom and social justice.


Section 1. To recognize and support the right to keep and bear arms in Article 1 Section 27 of the Oregon State Constitution and the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America as an individual right not granted by the government, but rather guaranteed by the government.

Section 2. In recognition of the tremendous personal responsibility engendered by the right to keep and bear arms, the Democratic Party of Oregon further advocates severe penalties and their enforcement for criminal use or misuse of the right.

ADOPTED by the Democratic Party of Oregon on the 16th day of July, 2005.

[End of Resolution here.]

Last point: Please sign up to contribute to the blog. We're all busy people, but if each member could contribute just one article a year to the blog it would be more than we need to generate discussion and keep it fresh. If I've sent you an invitation to join as a full member, please consider it. If I haven't sent you an invitation--just ask and if you're bona fide GOC-DPO, you're eligible for write access.

If you're looking for a topic, there are any number of bills currently circulating both in the state and at the national level (H.R. 1022) that deserve our scrutiny and comment.

That's the report. Comments, rejoinders, admonishments, or even blandishments, are welcome.
Zak Johnson, Chair GOC-DPO

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Right to Bear Sporting Goods & the Oregon Constitution

Whenever the anti-gun folks mention that no one wants to take away hunting guns, I simply remind them that that the Second Amendment and Oregon Constitution do not say that there is a "right to keep and bear sporting goods." Its sole purpose is to allow citizens the ability to protect themselves from tyranny – not to shoot deer.

In fact, most people fail to realize that the Oregon Constitution protects firearms more strongly than the federal constitution. It is broader than the Second Amendment and specifically covers self-defense (and was written well after handguns were widely used):

The people shall have the right to bear arms for the defence [sic] of
themselves, and the State, but the Military shall be kept in strict
subordination to the civil power[.]
Oregon Constitution, Article 1, Section 27 (emphasis added)."

C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Eugene, Oregon

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Zumbo, backlash, hunting, and rights

Let's all relax about the Zumbo affair a little. A great deal of what Zumbo has said has been represented poorly by both sides, so let's break it down a bit. There are five issues that I think we need to look at within the scope of this issue.

1) Terrorist Rifles:
Zumbo did refer to AR-15 as "terrorist rifles." Now, I know that guns haven't been a popular rights issue for Democrats or the left. However, over the last few years, we have had zero tolerance for the hard-leaning conservatives who have claimed that we're giving aid and comfort to our enemies or terrorists because we question the current administration's policies in Iraq. We backlashed as hard as we could when a senior defense official called for corporations to stop supporting or employing attorneys who do pro bono work for Guantanamo detainees. We (as a group) have upon occasion called for peoples' firing or resignation during these times.

So, I think we have created for ourselves a bit of a double standard here. Many anti-gun Democrats have such a knee jerk reaction to the bad old National Rifle Association, that anything they do is immediately bad. The NRA and the "gun nuts" ruined some poor guy for directly implying that they were terrorists. However, referring to someone as a terrorist for these so-called "assault rifles" is pretty bad. I'm not usually one to cast a big stone, and I don't think Zumbo should have been ruined for this, but when we see someone referring to an American Citizen as a terrorist for using their First Amendment rights, we're appalled. We call for resignations, firings, angst and anger, sound and fury, boycotts and sit-ins, marches on the Mall. But when someone exercises a right that Democrats (myself and many NOT included) don't necessarily agree with, we call the people who do fight back "gun nuts" and certainly worse.

Let's add a premise: Exercising and defending ANY of our Constitutional Rights and Rights enumerated in the Amendments and Bill of Rights should be defended by all. We all support the ACLU when they defend the KKK's right to assemble. Likewise, we should support people who exercise their Second Amendment rights, even when we do not.

Now, I'm usually loathe to discuss in such public forums my own beliefs and actions. This is only my second blog post, and it makes me nervous. I personally, own an AR-15 rifle (for those interested, it's a Colt 6920, pretty much stock except for a Knights RAS). And I do take exception to being labeled a terrorist. I'm one of those who believes that the Second Amendment is an individual right, that self defense is also an important right, and that the very existence of the Second Amendment is an important check against tyranny; even more so with the erosion of rights we've witnessed in our lifetimes (please note, I am not in any way advocating violence). I’ve never been arrested, nor do I hunt, and I don’t want to do either. The hunters among us can chime in. Besides that, I am neither criminal nor terrorist. While we bristle at the thought of people trampling our First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights through legislation or implication of some sort of treason, so too should we bristle when others are painted the same way for their beliefs in rights also codified in our Federal and State Constitutions.

2) Hunting and the Second Amendment: Let's get this straight: Hunting has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. One's right to own a certain type of firearm should not be tied to whether or not you hunt, where you hunt, or what type of animals you hunt. The Second Amendment is about defense of the nation, a check against tyranny, and peoples' rights to own firearms in support of those ideals (Please note that I say in support of, not subject to). It's not a state right, it's not (in my opinion) a collective right, it's a right guaranteed. Further, many states have self defense as part of that right in their own constitutions.

So let us not pretend that limiting the right to own firearms because they are suited to hunting doesn't by definition reduce the rights of the people. Even if you are against guns, it is an unarguable fact that limiting gun ownership reduces a right that exists today. Let's not try oblique ways to limit rights. As Zak J. recently said (along with a lot of others throughout our history), rights should always be interpreted expansively, and the burden of proof for limiting rights should be on those who seek to do so. That proof should be overwhelmingly compelling, and it should make its case without attempts at oblique arguments.

3) The NRA: The NRA is, for better or worse, perceived as a bastion of the far right. That's unfortunate. It does occasionally, do good things in defense of our liberties. The ACLU seems to have forgotten the Second Amendment while it defends the rest, so someone needs to do it. I'm not sure that the NRA has always been well managed, well thought of, or particularly magnanimous in reaching out to all for education. In essence though, it is defending an important right (at least important to some 40-80 million people). Our knee-jerk reactions should not be, "Oh the NRA's in this one? Well then I'm against it." This is equally true for the “right” when it discusses the ACLU. I personally am a member of neither at the moment. I want to be a member of both, but the fact that the ACLU ignores one important right and the fact that the NRA has been mismanaged have kept me out of both. I hope that soon I can be convinced to join both, because in theory, they are important bastions in the check against government's encroachment on our rights.

4) Lessons learned: If there is one thing that this instance can show, it's that guns and the Second Amendment are an incredibly important issue to a lot of people. It's slowly becoming a third rail of politics. While some argue that it's another reason to dismiss gun owners as crazy and irrational, it's not. If anything, it shows that guns should be left off the Democratic legislative agenda (as I stated in a previous post) and that we might even have a little bit of a double standard.

5) What about Zumbo?
I don't think Zumbo should have been ruined for his comment. I think he made a mistake, and even a pretty big one. But I think he's going to learn from it. Pat Rogers, ex-Marine and NYPD Sergeant in the Counter Terrorism business, has invited Zumbo to EAGTactical's Carbine Operators course, and Zumbo has apparently accepted. I think we should offer Zumbo the benefit of the doubt. Let's see what comes of his new education, and maybe, just maybe, we'll have another well-respected advocate in our community.

Friday, February 23, 2007

First Quarterly Gun Owners Caucus Meeting

The Gun Owners, Rural, Faith, and GLBT Caucuses will meet at the next SCC Meeting. Details are as follows:

TIME: 9:30 to 11 AM, March 10, 2007

LOCATION: Chemeketa Community College, Salem, OR

Driving directions:

The DPO has a number of meeting rooms reserved at Chemeketa Community College on March 10th prior to the SCC meeting. (Credentialing for the SCC begins at noon; the general SCC meeting starts at 12:30 PM.) Here is a tentative list to clarify who has which room and the timing of the room reservations:

  • Bldg. 3, Room 118 – Rural Caucus: 9:30 – 11:00 am
  • Bldg. 3, Room 119 – Gun Owners Caucus: 9:30 – 11:00 am
  • Bldg. 3, Room 120 – Faith Caucus: 9:30 – 11:00 am
  • Bldg. 3, Room 269 – GLBT Caucus: 9:30 – 11:00 am
  • Bldg. 6, Room 125 – 2nd Congressional District: 10:00 am – noon
  • 5th Congressional District – TBD
These rooms & times are subject to change--watch this space for further updates!

  1. Recruiting Gun Owners Caucus members, new and old, to serve as PCPs or in other county-level party positions
  2. Union membership outreach strategies
  3. Post further agenda items in Comments of this post, or forward them to:
Thanks. I hope you can plan to attend.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Chaparral "Winchester Model 1873 in .45 Colt-Cowboy Action

***Cross posted from Chuck for ...***

This is a 22 inch octagonal barrel rifle in .45 Colt, Charter Arms and Chaparral Arms joined together in this production. It is an historically accurate reproduction of the Model 1873 Winchester lever action saddle gun with case hardened receiver and butt plate, brass case lifter and brass front blade sight. The rifle being an accurate reproduction does not utilize modern "safes." The hammer down rests on the firing pin and half-cock can be overridden with a blow, therefor it should not be carried with an unspent round in the chamber.

The rifle was designed for the black powder .45 Colt cartridge and is unsuited to higher power smokeless cartridges.The lever incorporates a trigger locking pin which disables the trigger unless the lever is closed to the stock, requiring pressure. When the hammer is in half cock the trigger is also disabled. These safeties are of modest utility in preventing accidental discharge.

The receiver has a dust cover which can be manually closed to keep dust and debris from the receiver, it is opened by either drawing it back with fingers or opening the lever. At the rear of the lever is a toggle for locking the lever against the stock.

It is available in the following calibers: WCF 38-40, WCF 44-40, .45 Colt, .357, and .44 Special. Because this is a tubular magazine rifle only flat nose or soft lead round nose ammunition should be used.The rifle is considered unserviceable by the consumer and there is no exploded drawing with the manual. It is warranted for one year. The rifle is quite pretty, fit and finish is outstanding and it fairly comfortable to shoulder. You can expect to pay close to $900 for this gun. The 1873 Winchester is a popular Cowboy Action Shooting rifle, which is my intended use for it.

Short 2nd Amendment Analysis

To begin, I need to move to the beginning and that would be England and King John and Magna Charta. This was an historic document for a reason seldom mentioned, this forced a King, whose rule was derived from Divine Right to acknowledge rights that preceded and surpassed his. You must take this course if you follow the logic of the proposal that King John could not act outside the Charter despite his claim to rule with God's approval, thusly if there is something that the King is prohibited there must be a countervailing authority. This line of reasoning was minimized in the interests of feudal rule, but still existed.

There followed of course the development of Common Law and restrictions on feudal authority until finally the English Parliamentary form was achieved in nearly its modern form. The American Revolution was built on the foundation of that form but took new directions and further extensions of a neglected reasoning.

You have to look at the Declaration of Independence as the model for what later became the national charter, ie: Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Declaration set out the principles of the Revolt; these were several but for our narrow discussion the existence of Rights outside government, which pre-exist and pre-empt governmental law and the absolute right of the People to change their government, by force.

The Bill of Rights was found to be necessary by the framers not due to shortcomings of the Constitution but the inherent shortcomings of government of any sort; that unless certain Rights were noted as guaranteed not granted by government that they would inevitably be infringed. If you look at the BOR in the light of preeminent rights you will see that the Amendment follow the natural course of human behavior, that people will speak their minds, associate, have gods, arm themselves, wish to be secure in their homes, etc. In the Declaration these Rights are attributed to the Creator's design.

When we talk about the 2nd these concepts are its basis, that the right to arms is natural and irrevocable and that the people have recourse to force regarding their government. The wording of the Second becomes very important, and particularly in regard to its meaning in 18th Century America.

"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

"well regulated" in the terminology applied to the military and militia meant "well turned out" and "fully equipped" it did not have the current "ruled" - "regulatory" meaning typical today.
The militia was any able bodied free male (white in cases) etc, in today's world all citizens. The militia specifically was not the organized military, it was the citizenry.

This moves us to a section frequently misused and improperly defined, "a free state," any understanding of the term that uses it to signify a governmental body is deliberately misusing English. These were highly literate and very careful authors, they said exactly what they meant to say, a free state - an indefinite article and no capitalization during a period of "over capitalization." This is of huge significance when the dependent clause "A well...state," is applied to the independent clause "the right..." because the operative noun in the independent clause is the "people." The entire dependent clause is referential to "the people." It is a "free state" of the people, it is a militia of the people, it is a guarantee that the people will have the ability to secure that free state through an un-infringed right to keep and bear arms. It probably is not necessary for this discussion to go through the definitions of arms applicable at the time, other than to note that they would be carried by a single individual, cannons, etc are precluded.

This is the starting point of ANY discussion of the Second, the beginning and its meaning. As with all rights they are not absolute in their application, famously, shouting "Fire!" in a crowded theater. This recognition is one of universal inevitable disastrous outcome with no countervailing value to the individual or people. Fully automatic weapons due to their "spray and pray" characteristics virtually guarantee problems with general availability. Sawed-off shotguns are a fact of law, I believe probably challengeable, but of questionable value to challenge. Their military function is undeniable, their value in self-defense is undeniable, their use in criminal endeavors is minimal. There is little chance of change in that regard and frankly other than as a matter of principle I see little point in pursuing it. Side arms and long guns are of universal military application so we'll stay there.

What about NY,NY? The Fourteenth Amendment clearly imposes the Rights of the Constitution on all jurisdictions. There are no exemptions or exclusions, so the 2nd applies in all cases in all places. (with regard to the "Fire" exceptions-courthouses, etc) NY, NY & DC, et al claim this exception, the problem is that they cannot prove it. They have made the emotional appeal to security and safety without regard to logic or facts. Those laws are blatantly un-Constitutional and unevenly applied - ie: wealth, power, & influence determine the outcome. Concealment of weapons without some sort of permitting process, legitimizing the practice, will have the catastrophic outcomes noted above, law enforcement and the general citizenry should have knowledge of armament in general terms or the security that such carry is approved of by the state. However, such permitting must be evenly applied and restrictive only in regards to lawfulness of usage, not wealth and influence. This applies to "instant background check," the check is that those who have abrogated their rights are not attempting to exercise such. The reason it is IBC is that any other process is an infringement; it is an attempt to unlawfully deny ownership to those lawfully entitled to such.

I'm sure I've left questions unanswered or raised some unaddressed. Huge volumes have been written on this subject, for instance the DOJ's analysis of the 2nd as an individual right vs collective runs over 100 pages with annotations. I've taken a shot at the whole thing in 2pgs.


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gun Owners Caucus Gets a Page on the DPO

The Democratic Party of Oregon website has a new look. Check them out over at:

You can read the DPO platform, by-laws, and other documents of interest. And while you're browsing over there, click on the menu for "Communities." One of the communities listed there is Democratic Gun Owners, our caucus:

They tell me an automated sign-up is in the works.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

101 Hours: Democrats should stick to the program

This past November certainly saw some sweeping changes in our federal and state congressional makeup, with Democrats making huge gains. Here in Oregon, we saw the legislature change control, as it did at the federal level. But what, specifically, caused voters to push Democrats into power? The easy reasons that come to mind are:

  • Iraq
  • Ethics and lobbying reform for politicians
  • Healthcare reform
  • Bush’s blatant disregard for science and the environment
  • The reduction of so many civil liberties during the last 12, and more specifically the last 6 years: Things like the PATRIOT act, warrantless spying, and reduction of Habeas Corpus rights.
Notably, voters did not mark gun control as a big reason for the change. They did not vote Democrats into power on a platform of gun control. There is no well-communicated mandate to politicians that gun control should be on the legislative agenda in either Oregon or the nation.

Most Democrats running for office realized this, and left "the gun issue" out of their rhetoric and platforms. Polls have shown that Democrats own guns at rates ranging from 31% to 41%. That's a high number, and is one of the reasons that guns are an easy swing issue for Republicans to “wedge” on. Beyond that, that the numbers don't tell the whole story. Guns are a swing issue in swing states, and swing states are where the Democratic Party made important gains in November '06. States like Oregon, Indiana, Montana, and West Virginia are all part of the new Democratic mandate, and are all states that can swing on this issue.

If Democrats go after the guns, an issue that is currently a non-issue becomes a swing issue. A lot of pro-gun Democrats, Independents, and Republicans believe that gun ownership IS a Constitutional right. These voters have a deep sense of history, often unique in its American perspective, that gun ownership is a right, a responsibility, or even a duty. They are tired of having to justify what they see as a right. When you say, "I don't like the Republican administration's awful handling of the Iraq war" you rarely feel the need to then defend the very ability to say such a thing, because it is assumed: It's a right well written into the first amendment.

Gun owners are constantly under attack for exercising their (and your) rights. They look back to English common-law, the Constitutional Conventions, and note that the right to bear arms is an important part of our history and democracy, as well as a check against tyranny. They are pointing to Constitutional Framers such as Theodore Sedgwick, Noah Webster, George Mason, James Monroe, Patrick Henry, Samuel Adams, and others. Other people do the same as they refer to other rights enumerated in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.

Please note, I am not attempting to debate history, Constitutional law, or whether the Second Amendment is an individual right. I’m trying to present how a large block of voters views the issue. These very voters helped change our political maps from Red to Blue.

Given these strong beliefs, attempts at further gun control will mitigate the value of the Democratic mandate. If Democrats force gun control, many centrist democrats, independents, and left-leaning Republicans will become one-issue voters. Iraq, healthcare, ethics and others become secondary. These swing voters believe that there is nothing more important than the Bill of Rights, and even that the Second Amendment protects the other nine. Whether right or not, these voters swing elections.

So, now that congress is done with its “100 hour” legislative agenda, don't lose sight of where this country should go. Don't lose a sense of direction over guns, when there is so much to be done elsewhere. Gun control has largely proved ineffective in a number of ways, starting with reducing crime. Nor should Democrats lose their legislative control by forcing voters to become one-issue voters (which I generally abhor). As we’ve seen over the last six years of George Bush, without at least a balanced government, everyone loses civil rights.

I've included a light vote from here, just to see where some readers might land on this one. Vote for/against it and let's where it goes.