Friday, December 19, 2008
And don’t forget that Oregon Constitution affords its citizens broader protections than the Second Amendment and specifically covers self-defense.
Gun control advocates are often quick to point out that there are more than 30,000 people shot to death each year in this country. However, they routinely neglect to point out how many of those deaths were in self defense or by criminals against an unarmed victim. Additionally, their usual statistics never take into account how many crimes are deterred and deaths prevented by citizens with firearms.
In the last 100 years, governments have murdered millions more people than were killed by common criminals. More importantly, those government-sponsored murders were preceded by gun control laws making the citizenry easier to control and kill when they were unable to resist.
It is amazing how quickly we forget the gun control laws of the Soviet Union, Nationalist China, Nazi Germany, Communist China and the Khmer Rouge that preceded their killing of more than 60 million people. And that still leaves us to ponder the gun control legislation that preceded the death of the one million Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turkey, or the indigenous peoples and other political enemies killed at the hands of Guatemala or genocide at the hands of government in Rwanda and Uganda.
Our Founding Fathers knew the threat of a government to its people, hence the Second Amendment. History has unfortunately reaffirmed this lesson again and again.
We do not get to pick and choose which constitutionally guaranteed rights we will support like we are at a salad bar of rights. It is disingenuous to complain about the neo-cons stepping on our civil liberties (First, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Amendments) — by their dispersing lawful assemblies, illegal wiretaps, deprivation of the right to counsel, torture, etc. — but completely ignore what the Framers found so important of a right that they listed it #2. We should protect all of our civil rights, including the right to keep and bear arms.
C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Friday, December 12, 2008
The proposed rule change is captioned, "Rules for Use of Buildings, Grounds and Parking Lots under Department Control." The hearing is to decide whether to amend OAR 125-075-0015 to bring it into compliance with ORS 166.170 and 166.370.
In a nutshell, if implemented, the rules change is likely to verify the rights of CHL holders as well as the drivers of certain classes of vehicles to have their firearms with them in DAS buildings, grounds and parking lots, as the case may be.
View the proposed changes, here.
Information on how to comment (hopefully in favor) of these rules changes can be found, here.
You may also provide oral or written comments in favor of the proposed rule changes at the public hearing set for Monday, December 22, 2008, at 10:00 a.m.
Location: Department of Administrative Services, Facilities Division
1225 Ferry Street SE 2nd Floor
Salem, OR 97301
Mt. Ashland Conference Room
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Raul Ramirez, CEO of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, weighed in recently with an opinion piece arguing that concealed carry permit (CHL) holders should be entitled to privacy. In that regard, it's hard not to agree with him.
"Sunshine and transparency is central to American democracy, as is the oversight role of the press. This does not mean that every public record should be subject to review by all who request it . . . Those with legitimate need for a gun permit will not want that need, their name and address, and the fact that they carry a weapon to become known publicly. Indeed, disclosure would defeat the purpose of the concealed weapon permit. The point of having the permit is to be able to be armed safely without public knowledge.
Privacy of this information makes sense! The information should be deemed private in the case of any permit holder. To do otherwise invites trouble, whether it be aggression directed at an armed permit holder or a burglary in search of firearms."
I couldn't agree more. When it comes to the right to privacy, I can't think of any compelling reason to grant public access to knowledge about who has or hasn't obtained a CHL for the purposes of self-defense or even simply to exercise their constitutional rights.
To back up, the current controversy in Oregon began with the famous case of the Medford teacher who sought to carry a concealed weapon at work due to a belief that her husband was stalking her. As a result, the following occurred:
"The lists have always been available under Oregon's Public Records Law but the issue drew major controversy last year when a Medford teacher with a CHL got national attention when she wanted to carry her gun at school.The story prompted reporters to ask for a list of every permit holder in the county and -- after a court battle -- they got those names.But the court also decided that because of concerns for personal safety anyone who has a CHL can choose to keep their name off the list, and that's exactly what the Linn County sheriff is offering." (Source - KPTV, Oregon)
To my thinking, having to fill out additional forms to keep your name off a list is absurd. It seems that in such a case, people without permits would still be identified as not having them while people with them but not on the list would be identified as having them. So the only time a record's request would be denied would be in cases where someone is on the list but asked to have that information kept private. Will this really be that hard for people to figure out? I doubt it.
A recent opinion piece on BlueOregon.com took up the issue with the following statement:
"But I'm surrounded by thousands of people bearing handguns, and apparently I do not have the right to know who these people are (I'm not sure how Multnomah County is handling this). Yes, the right to possess guns and other weapons is contitutionally [sic] protected, but so are other rights for which citizens must be responsible. Abuse the right of free speech, and you can pay in court. Abuse the right to bear arms, and another human being may die. I can let evil words slip past me, but I have no protection when someone, especially someone who succumbs to fear, chooses to aim a gun my way."
Conflating or intentionally confusing the act of legally carrying a weapon with "abuse" or the desire to threaten people is especially galling, but not perhaps atypical (most of the comments in response to the author took him to task for these insinuations.) These statements recall to mind the over the top hysteria about gun violence escalating back when Oregon adopted the concealed carry law. The violence hasn't happened--and most studies show a strong correlation between concealed carry laws and a drop in crime--and I truly believe the author of the quote above is made safer by the "thousands of people" quietly, legally and responsibly carrying firearms around him.
You might ask, why not just carry openly? In Oregon, it is currently legal to openly carry firearms in most circumstances. However, unless you're actively engaged in hunting at the time, this simply isn't culturally acceptable even if it is legally acceptable. It's also arguably provocative to wander around flaunting a gun (and more than likely to attract unwanted attention of all types, including police harassment.) Try dropping your kid off at school with a six-shooter on your hip and see what the public reaction is if you don't believe me. Concealed carry, while also turning crime into a guessing game for the criminals, is also less provocative and more civil. The desire to "out" people exercising their right to carry concealed seems to be driven more by a desire for decidedly uncivil political power over them in order to press the anti-gun agenda. Witch hunts and attempts to expose or intimidate people for legal, constitutionally protected behavior--including exercising the right to privacy for non-public individuals--is not democratic with a big or small "d."
If government allows witch hunts or public intimidation of people trying to exercise their constitutional rights, it comes close to any definition of "infringement" that I can think of. In my opinion, the sensible thing to do is to treat CHL permits like any other privacy issue. Just because you go to a publicly funded clinic doesn't make your medical records public knowledge. Just because you decide to exercise your constitutional rights to bear arms doesn't mean the whole world needs to be able to find out about it from a quick google search.
I recommend contacting your local sheriffs and also your state legislators to let them know your feelings on this one.
Thursday, December 04, 2008
From the Associated Press:
A police chief was among three men indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges in the death of an 8-year-old boy who accidentally shot himself in the head with an Uzi at a gun show.
The Westfield Sportsman's Club also faces the manslaughter charge in the death of Christopher Bizilj (bah-SEAL') of Ashford, Conn., who lost control of the 9mm micro submachine gun as it recoiled while he was firing at a pumpkin.
The boy's father was 10 feet behind him and reaching for his camera when the child fired the weapon.
Apparently the Uzi was a licensed, legally owned full auto model. Hard to believe someone experienced enough to have a full auto would hand it over to an 8 year old, but there it is. This would be comical in a Three Stooges kind of way if not for the pointless loss of a young boy's life. Remember--the brain is the first, best weapon and needs to be turned on at all times; especially around kids. It's incidents like this that give ammunition to the anti-gun crowd. This is really sad.
Monday, November 24, 2008
In addition to working for gun owners' rights, the Nevada Outdoor Democrats Caucus has a decidedly progressive outlook that includes conservation of and access to wilderness areas a central part of their mission:
Good stuff. Check them out and contact them via their website pages.
"We are Nevada Democrats that support and speak out for citizen's rights in hunting, shooting, fishing, wildlife conservation, OHV, 4x4, ATV, motorcycles, hiking, camping, and all things to use, but never abuse, our great Nevada Outdoors.The NODC was an affiliate of the Nevada State Democratic Party when it organized. The Party has reorganized clubs and caucuses so the NODC will be affiliating with Nevada Democrats at the County Party level in 2008. See your County Chair if you want to assist in affiliation or if you want to organize your own Chapter. We will assist you in both efforts. This is a great opportunity to get Outdoor Democrats more active at a local level."
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
But Begich's win is also a huge win for gun owners. Begich joins the growing ranks of Democratic congressmen and senators (not to mention state and local officials) with strong pro-2nd Amendment records. Among Begich's other credentials are his "A" rating from the NRA. Concerning their endorsement, Begich had this to say:
“I appreciate the NRA’s recognition of my support for the Second Amendment,” Begich said. “Responsible gun ownership is a fundamental right guaranteed by our Constitution, and as a U.S. Senator, I will continue to fight to protect the rights of law-abiding gun owners.”Other online statements about Begich include the following from "OnTheIssues.org":
"He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, owns firearms and was one of the first Anchorage citizens to obtain a concealed weapons permit when it was required. Most recently, Mark applauded the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns. "Personally, I like his attitude to concealed carry very much. In the coming months, it is imperative that pro-gun Democrats loudly and frequently show our strength, our numbers, and our commitment to upholding gun owners' rights by supporting Democratic legislators who defend them. A majority of the Democratic party and a majority of the American people support the 2nd Amendment, and we must not let the broad victory of the Democratic party across the whole country be side-tracked by the misguided vocal minority who have made a name for themselves attacking our rights, Constitution and common sense in their dogmatic efforts to impose gun control.
Let Mark Begich and other pro-2nd Amendment legislators know they have your support.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Here's the scoop:
Suzanna Gratia-Hupp, whose parents were killed by an insane gunman while her gun was out in the car, gives very moving and bold testimony about the REAL reason for the second amendment: to protect our God-given right to keep and bear arms.
Watch till the end for her take on so-called assault weapons and the argument that they have no legitimate hunting purpose. To quote: ". . . the Second Amendment isn't about duck hunting. . . " I couldn't agree more.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
When it scrolls by, it is worth noting the mention of "Vote 202, S Amdt 4615 Adopted 84-16." This is a vote Obama supported preventing the confiscation of firearms during emergencies. (I should note a similar bill passed almost unanimously in the Oregon legislature.)
Anyone who scrolls through this blog will know I've come lately to the Obama camp. I have questioned his views on RKBA. But what I am seeing is an evolving understanding from an open-minded politician about issues his initial constituents in Chicago and Illinois were not well informed about. As he has become a national leader, he has realized he has a national constituency. This constituency is damn serious about its 2nd Amendment rights, and I believe Obama understands that.
This Obama ad about hunting rights is running is on radio in Montana right now.
And this video is words from the senator's mouth, instead of others putting words into them:
Senator Obama on gun rights:
These are good signs.
Friday, October 03, 2008
The Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association provided the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon range rental Sunday Sept 28 and provided Range Officers for a very reasonable price. Association President Bill Flocker worked with GOC Vice-chair Chuck Butcher (me) to make this work, and it did and the Assn deserves great credit. This is a fine organization with great facilities, and it appears they may have gained a few members. Sandra Lowry of Deschutes Co Democrats provided invaluable help in coordination.
Before shooting started I conducted one of those basics of any shooting event that might include anyone unfamiliar with firearms, the safety orientation. It never hurts for those with experience to hear it once again. Firearms are potentially dangerous tools and it is entirely too late to try to correct something afterwards. GOC Chair Zak Johnson is to my right in the photo. The bed of the SSR is filled about half way with firearms and ammunition. The object being to provide opportunities for those who don't own firearms and something different for those who do. Zak also brought along extras.
Around 25 shooters from disparate parts of the state attended, Portland and Multnomah County were well represented as was the Bend area, and Baker City. I do not have at hand the names and homes of all attendees, but this was a gathering of urban and rural Democrats with a common interest. Maren Lundgren, a candidate for the State Senate District 2 7, is pictured learning the function of a .45 Colt SAA which is an uncommon handgun requiring special treatment. Other candidates present were:
Judy Stiegler, HD 54 candidate, Conrad Ruel, House District 53 candidate, Noah Lemas - running for Congress, 2nd CD (apparently he antelope hunts close to COSSA), Al Unger. current Mayor of Redmond, running for Deschutes Co. Commissioner.
Pictured is Bill Flocker, Assn Pres and one of the Range Officers giving a helping hand with accuracy. Range Officers provide an invaluable service on a shooting range, monitoring for safe conduct and opening and closing the firing line for target changes. I would like to make clear to those unfamiliar with shooting clubs that you will seldom find anyone more friendly or more helpful than their members. Politics stop at the gates, we flew our Democratic 'flags' but in no way advocated for candidates or issues. Shooting clubs, for obvious reasons, are predominately Republican and the mere presence of so many Democrats being just like them at the range is political capital that is hard to beat.
Here is Wayne Kinney who wears many hats as a Democrat, he is the DPO's DNC Committeeman and general activist as well as Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR)'s eastern Oregon chief liaison. He is shooting a Ruger Vaquero .45 Colt and grouping his shots nicely but hitting low and left of his aim point. Chuck is making the point that with that consistency the fundamentals of firing are good but the sight picture he is using has a consistent fault. I know this is not about the revolver since I can hit a 10 inch circle of metal at 200 yards with it, although with much heavier loads than used on this 7 yard pistol range or by anyone not familiar with very high power rounds - Hotrod Reloads for Vaquero 45 Colt.
Media has paid some attention to these Democratic Party activities, specifically James Sinks of the Bend Bulletin.
SALEM — On any given Sunday in campaign season, you’d expect to find Democrat Judy Stiegler, a candidate for the Oregon House, knocking on doors in Bend, or maybe in a coffee shop, sipping a latte.
What about shooting pistols?
That’s exactly what Stiegler, a Bend attorney, and several other Democratic candidates from Central Oregon did Sunday near Millican, as part of an event staged by the Democratic Gun Caucus.
Now wait just a minute, you might be thinking.
Yes, it’s true.
It’s events like those that Democrats — especially those who are seeking office east of the Cascades, which has been reliably Republican turf for decades — say are helping to illustrate that not every Democrat fits a stereotype that they’re identical to Portland liberals.
James and I disagree about Portland liberals, since Zak Johnson certainly qualifies as a Portland progressive and the largest percentage of GOC membership lives in the Portland urban area. Ah stereotypes.
“That’s the whole idea,” said Conrad Ruel, a La Pine retiree who is seeking an Oregon House seat and who attended the shooting event with his son, who is a member of the National Guard.
“There are a lot of Democrats who have guns and support the Second Amendment,” he said.
State Sen. Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, said it’s good political strategy for Democrats to say they’re just like most folks in rural Oregon.
But he doesn’t think it will sway many voters.
“A great deal of the registration in rural Oregon is Democrat, but they are conservative, gun-owning, God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens, and they vote conservative,” he said.
“They are not going to be fooled, no matter how much rhetoric you pile on.”
Um, Ted, that ain't rhetoric - it's gun powder and lead - and it's concrete not the air you're pushing around. In point of actual fact, his Party's stance on the issue of the 2nd Amendment is inferior in every respect to the DPO's Resolution 08-05. Really Ted, considering your public statement that Democratic voting Democrats are somehow less "God-fearing, red-blooded American citizens" than those who vote for your Party sounds a lot like really stupid really ugly partisanship typical of many in your Party. I don't vote for you or your ilk and I'll match my contributions to this society and my values against yours any day. As far as red-blooded, I've run in a real tough Federal campaign while you hang onto your safe State campaign and most of my pastimes and manner of making a living would put your ass in the dirt.
Chuck Butcher, a former Democratic congressional candidate from Baker City, helped to form the Gun Owners Caucus because he was frustrated at the perception that all Democrats were anti-gun, he said.
“Yes, there are Democrats that want to ban all ammunition, but there are Republicans that want to do that, too, such as (former New York Mayor) Rudy Guiliani.”
But at the same time, plenty of Democrats are hunters and gun owners, he said.
James Sinks is a pretty good reporter, so I'm not going to undercut his livelihood by poaching too much of his article. Buy a copy of the Bend Bulletin, 10/3/08 and help support them. Sure, the paper is more conservatively oriented than I am, but they perform an important function and do it well.
If the DPO/GOC strikes your fancy as an organization you could get behind there are a lot of ways to contact us, DPO Contacts is probably the best or see your County Party. The GOC is not just a propaganda arm of the DPO, though it is certainly one of our functions to educate the voting public, it is also an interest group within Party politics. If you're thinking, "oh sure, like you've got leverage," it pays to know that GOC is one of the two largest caucuses in DPO with one of the very largest geographic representations. Are we visible?
That cap worn in a parade reads:
GUN OWNERS CAUCUS
Democratic Party of Oregon
That parade just happen to be in Lane County, not Eastern Oregon, Sen Ted. We aren't
playing at anything and we're not pretending to be something we're not. This is about "why in the hell are the Republicans getting to run the show in the ditch over this issue?" Cutting firearms crimes is not about guns, it is all about people and exactly one Party has the ideas to address the things that drive crime, how people live.
GOC is tired of stupidity, blaming guns for crimes is just like blaming Chevrolet for drunk driving. People are the issue, drug and alcohol treatment, job creation, equal treatment, sufficient income, some sort of civil and economic fairness and that is not the agenda of the Party that gets the "gun vote." While gun ownership spreads across the economic spectrum it is concentrated amongst those who are most ignored and harmed by the Party they vote for, and vote for as an individual right guaranteed by the Constitution and this divide is stupid. This is the Party of the expansion of civil liberties, not the Republicans - let's help that happen.
Monday, August 04, 2008
- Sunday, September 28th, 2008
- 10 am to 4 pm
- At the Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association (COSSA), just SE of Bend, OR.
Save the date!
This centrally located and well-equipped all-purpose range was selected as the ideal spot for Oregon Democrats who enjoy shooting and standing up for our civil rights to get together for a fun day with friends from around the state. The COSSA is east of Bend on Highway 20, at the first road on the left past mile post 24.
The range will be at our disposal for the day, with plans for shooting from 10 am to 4 pm. There will be both rifle and pistol bays available for target practice. We're looking into catering, too--if you've got a friend with a taco cart send them our way.
For those who support the 2nd Amendment but don't exercise the right to own a firearm yourselves, we expect to have a virtual arsenal on hand for people to learn or practice on. However, you will need to pay for your own ammunition. Those bringing firearms should bring sufficient ammunition for the day. And for anyone wanting to learn how to clean a firearm, I'm sure there will be opportunity for that as well. ; )
Start talking to your friends about car-pooling to Bend and having a day of fun before the final push towards November 4. We've already gotten commitments for participation from several prominent pro-2nd Amendment Oregon Democratic office holders and candidates. This will be a great opportunity to meet your fellow activists and elected representatives from around the state. Please plan on coming.
For more information, send me an email at Zakariah.Johnson at gmail dot com or call (normal hours, please) at 503-863-0783.
Spread the word; and hope to see you in Bend!
P.S. Some people have asked me about additional directions. COSSA is east of Bend as you head toward Burns on the Hwy 20. Here's what I could tweak out of Google Maps:
COSSA LOCATION, TERRAIN MAP:
View Larger Map
COSSA LOCATION, ROAD MAP:
View Larger Map
"Those who turn their swords into plow shares will plow for those who don't."
Friday, June 27, 2008
Long time readers will be surprised to see a short post on this subject. I am disappointed by the margin at the Supreme Court, 5-4, but I am less than astonished at the finding. The historical record is clear, despite the dissent, and this outcome was assured if the record held any meaning.
My friend, Zak Johnson, over at Blue Steel Democrats has an article that I don't see myself improving on, so go over there and then stop back.
The SC ruled against total bans as an infringement of the individual right. The concept of individual right guaranteed that DC's ban would go, but the idea of unlimited rights has never been affirmed or even hinted at. The statement about the 1st not allowing the shouting of "fire" in a crowded theater makes it clear that certain exercises of a right are universally and inevitably disastrous and have no redeeming value. The question that has not been sorted out by this ruling is where that limit lies.
This is the crux of the issue. A sawed-off shotgun is a fearsome self-defense weapon, and uniquely qualified in that use as both not needing great accuracy and not over-penetrating but its role in criminal activities is also fearsome. Fully automatic weapons are regulated for the simple reason that their ability to fill the air with bullets guarantees disaster with them in general possession. These examples are about the nature of the function of the arms, the thing, but the real danger comes in the person of the operator.
We continue to see things as a problem rather than the societal effects that create operators of a criminal nature. We continue to try to band aide the problems by addressing things rather than the operators and the root causes of their behavior. As an example the entertainment industry's portrayal of firearms and shooters is almost complete nonsense; it isn't a case of artistic license being a problem; it is that this license exists in an atmosphere of ignorance. By demonizing a thing, education and knowledge of it evaporates and complete horse pucky becomes common currency.
There are perfectly good explanations for the existence of gangs and their use of violence to protect turf and the usage of firearms. These explanations have not one thing to do with the existence of firearms and everything to do with both governmental policies and societal constructs. As long as the focus is on the thing, we seem to be free to ignore and not address the actual problems. For some reason "gun control" is seen as a left idea, it is in fact authoritarian and a perpetuator of the problems the left proposes to address.
The mere existence of a firearm guarantees that the criminal use of it will happen, the criminal will find a way even though we attempt to make that difficult. The object is to reduce the criminal activity and that requires changes in the environment that creates criminal activity. The War on Drugs is the most corrosive use of governmental resources I know of, it creates huge profit potentials accompanied by violence, encourages bureaucratic corruption, and ensures the restriction of civil liberties and encourages scoff law attitudes. Removing this one policy would tremendously reduce firearms violence but we are wedded to it for some unfathomable and historically nonsensical reason. (oh it's free lance pushers vs government endorsed pushers)
While I find Heller only mildly influential it may force open a dialogue regarding dealing with the actual problems rather than trying to bury them under gun bans...don't hold your breath.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
The Supreme Court released a ruling this morning in the case of District of Columbia ET AL v. Heller. The decision apparently upholds the principle of gun ownership as an individual, as opposed to a collective, right. What that means is that the Supreme Court believes citizens can own guns regardless of membership in a government- or community-run military or paramilitary organization. It also appears to limit the government's ability to prohibit ownership of guns--including handguns--outright.
To quote from the ruling:
"The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home."Writing for the majority, Justice Scalia said, the Constitution does not permit "the absolute prohibition of handguns held and used for self-defense in the home." Unfortunately that leaves far too much room for continued restrictions, in my opinion, especially when you consider the lessons that should have been learned by anyone watching D.C.'s descent into violence and absolute chaos in the years following the de facto total ban on usable weapons, first enacted in 1976.
The decision overturns D.C.'s 32-year-old hand gun ban, which was--not coincidentally IMHO--put in place only a few years before D.C. became consumed in a unending cycle of gun violence that virtually destroyed the city, and which continues to plague it. The problem was that, quite frankly, once guns were outlawed only outlaws had guns. Regular law-abiding citizens could no longer defend themselves, their property, and their families from the depredations of armed, usually teenage, gangsters. The complete failure of the D.C. government to protect its citizens is similar to the failure of local city governments from Philadelphia to Chicago to Los Angeles to small towns in BFE anywhere to protect a disarmed population from criminals.
I lived in D.C. in the late 80s, and hearing gun fire was common place. The murder rate was so extreme that local organizations began trying to draw attention to it by referring to young black men as endangered species. In truth, they were. And this was in large part because their elders had been disarmed and the communities left to mercy of the drug dealers, who, supported by the Reagan administration's inane War on Drugs, suddenly had a huge profit motive for violence and destruction within their communities. Kind of a perfect storm. The police, of course, are limited in what they can do and aside from sting operations or fortuitous encounters with ongoing crime, they can usually only clean up afterwards. The surge in gun violence and drug dealing, the obvious helplessness of the public, and the inability of the police to do anything other than apply tourniquets led to a complete breakdown in respect for law across the board. Other than the D.C. Metro, which remained mostly crime-free, respect for law and order across the board virtually crumbled and a general sense of anarchy reigned. Government in a Democracy is ultimately the manifestation of the public's will and energy. In D.C. in the 1980s both faltered. I firmly believe the catalyst for the collapse was the disarming of the citizens, which removed from even experienced community leaders, war veterans, retired police and others who might have led the resistance to the crack epidemic, the ability to react. The will to act soon followed.
This is why I am only partially reassured by the recent decision. Scalia's writing seems to leave open the ability of governments to ban concealed carry rights. These would have been essential in D.C. to allow local leaders to really resist the criminal gangs, who don't worry about such things. Scalia says, that nothing in the ruling should "cast doubt on long-standing prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings." I have no idea what a "sensitive place" should be, but the ruling seems to conclude that our schools should remain disarmed, unprotected free-fire zones for every nutcase who can burgle a firearm and use it for public acts of mass murder. Thanks, Scalia!
A couple of Scalia's collegues show even less understanding about the true nature of the criminal mind to disregard laws. In his dissent, Justice Breyer wrote, "In my view, there simply is no untouchable constitutional right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to keep loaded handguns in the house in crime-ridden urban areas." This is an asinine statement that equates ownership or desire for ownership of a usable firearm with criminal intent. Who else would have greater need of an at-the-ready, loaded handgun in their own home than residents of a crime-ridden urban area? No one would.
An fine example of this need has been demonstrated by independent firearms researcher Gary Kleck, who reported in his landmark book, Point Blank:
"...though blacks were generally less likely than whites to own guns, they were more likely than whites to own solely for protection. In particular, 9.8% of all Illinois black female respondents [to the Illinois survey cited in the book] owned a gun solely for protection, compared to only 2.4% for the white males . . . These findings are significant in light of the symbolic imagery used by gun control advocates to justify disarming defensive gun owners. [Bordua] has noted that these advocates paint a picture that stresses the "obstructionist refusal of 'rednecks' to join the twentieth century [the study was from the 1980s] but downplays "disarming frightened black women whose frontier is now . . .The common stereotype held among gun control proponents of a Daniel Boone lingering on from yesterday should perhaps give way to that of a black nurse hoping to make it to tomorrow."Breyer's statement about "urban" gun-owners is patronizing, and essentially racist in its overtones and worldview. People are more likely to need guns in areas of high crime. But Breyer would deny me and my fellow urbanites that right based on some unspoken rule that "urban" people cannot be trusted with firearms as much as "rural" people can. It doesn't take a huge stretch to believe Breyer is talking about minorities when he mentions "urban" areas. Personally, I think the Constitution guarantees the same rights to everybody.
Today's ruling on D.C. v. Heller at least affirms the individual right to own firearms. The 5 to 4 decision could have been worse. But the struggle for sane gun policy will apparently continue.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
For more information, please visit www.jeffmerkley.com.
Jeff Merkley on the 2nd Amendment
Jeff Merkley believes in increasing personal freedom by keeping government out of people's bedrooms and out of their gun cabinets.
Merkley believes government works best when it is promoting personal freedom and responsibility, not trying to impede by getting involved in people's personal lives.
Merkley is a strong supporter of the 2nd amendment and as Oregon's next US Senator he will work to protect the right of individuals to own guns.
He believes we need to focus our efforts on enforcing the laws we already have on the books. And we need to close loopholes that allow guns to get into the hands of criminals. This is why he strongly supports a national law requiring back ground checks at gun shows.
(End of Statement)
Monday, April 28, 2008
For more information, please view Novick for U.S. Senate.
NOVICK FOR SENATE - Statement on Firearms and the 2nd Amendment
"Growing up in rural Oregon, I have a deep appreciation of the importance of firearm ownership for many Americans. It is my pledge as Oregon’s next senator to support sensible gun safety measures, while preserving the rights of lawful Americans to possess and use firearms. In addition, it is my pledge to always provide an open door for Oregonians to register their concerns and priorities and that pledge extends to all firearm owners.
Generally, I think that Clinton-era federal laws struck the right balance between the constitutional rights of firearm owners and concerns about public safety regarding the dangerous or illegal use of firearms. I believe that the Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights guarantees the right of individuals to own and use firearms. As I have said frequently on the campaign trail, progressives can’t pick and choose what part of the Constitution they support. If you stand up for the First, Fourth or Fifth Amendments, you need to stand up for the Second too.
My campaign is founded on upholding consistent principles and being honest with voters about the issues and choices we face as a nation. I know from personal experience that the vast majority of firearm owners are responsible, law-abiding citizens who pose no threat to others and regard guns as an important part of their daily life – either for protection or recreation. In my mind, it is also basic common sense to recognize that the realities of firearm ownership are very different for those living in rural communities to those living in our urban areas – yet absolutists on both sides of the issue fail to recognize this distinction. It is my commitment to offer sensible, fair representation of Oregonians when it comes to gun safety and gun rights issues in the Senate."
(End of Statement)
Saturday, April 05, 2008
First, here's Obama, in his own words:
And here's Clinton, Obama, and Edwards (what the heck) answering a gun rights question at a pre-Nevada joint interview:
These videos are both worth watching in full.
Unfortunately, I didn't hear much about holding criminals responsible for breaking gun laws, unless the oft-mentioned "rogue gun dealers" are included. A recent post on this blog (see "Lock em up!") quoted a Portland shooting suspect as saying guns on the street are coming from break-ins, not "rogue dealers" or the so-called "gun show loophole." I think that's probably the case. If you see one of the candidates, try to mention that. My feeling is simply that neither of our candidates knows much about guns (none seem to know the difference between semi- and full-auto fire), and the best thing that can happen for the party is a strong decision from the Supreme Court in D.C. vs. Heller--a ruling strong enough to make political attacks on gun rights a hopeless waste of political capital by anyone.
Keeping my fingers crossed at this point, but if you do get a candidate's ear, please try to educate. Health care reform, a balanced budget, a way out of Iraq and restoration of our national standing and reputation, equal rights, economic justice, and all the rest of the main Democratic agenda are too important to lose over a lack of understanding or appreciation of basic constitutional rights.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
For an interesting perspective on the proceedings and qualifications of both the lawyers who argued the case and the justices who heard it, see this link at the Oregon Firearms Federation, which ponders the question of what kind of gun laws we'd have if the 2nd Amendment were interpreted by those who actually know something about firearms.
On the positive side, this excerpt by Justice Scalia is worth noting:
"[But] why isn't it perfectly plausible, indeed reasonable, to assume that since the framers knew that the way militias were destroyed by tyrants in the past was not by passing a law against militias, but by taking away the people's weapons -- that was the way militias were destroyed. The two clauses go together beautifully: Since we need a militia, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. "
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Hot rodding loads is a very iffy proposition taken from the pressure capabilities of a firearm and the published load data pressures. Due to liability concerns both numbers are safe and reliable along with a built in safety margin. A good condition firearm loaded to the published maximum load table for that firearm is safe, well within a margin of minor loading errors and temperature effects. Exceeding load table data is something to be done with great care, if at all. I do not recommend doing it and anyone who does so should be aware of the risks, starting with a damaged firearm and going to serious injury and death. If that does not scare you...
I have a Ruger Bisley Vaquero in .45 Colt with 5.5 inch barrel, a new and very nicely put together revolver. A local company, Oregon Trail Bullet Co makes Lazer Cast bullets, these particular cast bullets are .452 diameter 360 grain gas checked with copper base semi-wad cutters. Gas checking is accomplished with o-rings and the lead is silver alloyed to increase hardness without brittleness. The load tables call for a max load of 22.5 grains H110 with a velocity of 1221 fps. Brass was once fired PMC +P and CCI Magnum Pistol Primers. This round is a handful and I have very strong and tough hands. I have a hammer bite mark on the back of my hand just off the side of my thumb, I shoot single handed. These are very intense rounds, at twenty five yards the round went through the tread face of a steel belted semi tire (10-22) and out the tread on the opposing side at the max diameter (approx 40 inches), tearing a half-dollar sized hole. That might be enough.
I moved the loads up by 0.5 grains to a total of 24 grains. I built each of those 0.5 grain increases and fired them by one round loads each firing from the first increase and checked each round carefully for case condition, bulged primer or case or any signs of cracking and during extraction whether there was any sticking. The cases showed no sign of damage although the extractor rod was required for removal on the 23.5 & 24 grain loads, the push required was minimal. Let me be very clear, this revolver is in known new condition and was checked with each firing and temperatures were just below 40F. These rounds are a very intense shooting experience, the Bisley design makes ordinary heavy load recoil much more manageable than other designs, at the max table load barrel climb is extreme, note the hammer bite. The two upper over loads result in not only that extreme muzzle climb but also in the revolver winding up turned on its side from barrel twist rate. This makes a second shot time consuming and difficult. Note that I shoot single handed, though I am doubtful a two handed grip would make any appreciable difference. I don't think the overloads are needed, the penetration demonstrated by the max loads is sufficient for anything short of grizzly or Alaskan Browns, unless as a last measure. The bullet manufacturer tested this round at its max load and achieved 26 inches penetration in a ballistic gel block. ****Please note this is a new model Ruger Bisley Vaquero**** the only other make strong enough is a Thompson Contender. If you own another .45 Colt it is important to plainly mark each individual round, I used black permanent magic marker on the primer base, these rounds will damage or destroy most models with very serious injury probable.
The Ruger No1 in 45-70 is a light rifle for its caliber and though short achieves that through the absence of a bolt mechanism, it is a breech loader falling block. This rifle is capable of high pressures, 50K CUP is the published data. The bullet is .458 diameter and the bullets I used are 500 grain Speer jacketed soft round nose. Per Lyman reloaders handbook for Ruger No 1 & 3 -ONLY - using IMR 4895 the max load is 57 grains generating 39K CUP and 1897 fps. I moved the load up to 58 grains, fired one and checked for case damage. The case ejected easily and showed no sign of any damage. The damage was all mine, scuffs on the back of my fingers from the lever and a nice sized knot on my right cheek from the stock, my shoulder only mildly tender. My reaction - Holy Mackerel. I was shooting from a bench so my position was not optimal for this heavy round's recoil. I was shooting at a 100yd target on a 200 yd range position, the backstop for 200yds is approx 240 yds, the bullets threw fist sized dirt clods and left holes in the ground plainly visible to the naked eye. These are not target shooting rounds beyond what is needed to zero them. I set windage and approximate elevation with standard 400 grain "any rifle" factory rounds, these are soft slow rounds, going about 1000 fps, they are quite capable of taking a deer. The hot rod 500 grains will kill anything in North America, the draw back is that this is a single shot rifle, requiring a breech reload after having the snot knocked out of you. Because even at a pushed velocity the rounds will not exceed 2000 fps the drop at 200 yards is considerable which puts dangerous game into fairly close proximity. An enraged Alaskan Brown bear can cover 100 yds very quickly, lacking a second shot would be bad. This is a beautiful powerful rifle but it has limits. The 45-70 is the oldest commonly used cartridge, a straight tapered rimmed cartridge which means that for resizing the cases should be lubricated, even with carbide dies, or crushing is possible. The penetration capability of a 500 grain round nose bullet is extraordinary and bullet carry after target strike is a real consideration, what is on the other side of the biggest bull elk is at risk with this sort of round.
If you will insist on trying these hot rods, be aware that they were tested in known new firearms of high quality manufacture and with CUP ratings vastly superior to other more common ones. Use of this loading in any other firearm or one of these in poor condition is a recipe for disaster. Best practice is to follow loading data from reputable loading books.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
"A car pulled over for speeding and squealing tires on a North Portland street Tuesday night turned out to have been involved in a drive-by shooting moments before . . . Two handguns were recovered from the backseat floorboard; one was reported stolen from Vancouver . . . At least three cars were involved in what police described as a gang-related "running gun battle" with nearly a dozen shots fired between the vehicles in the 8000 and 9000 blocks of North St. Louis . . . Remarkably, police said, no one was hit. "
The only good news about this would be the inference that gang-bangers don't have many opportunities to practice firing their stolen guns, and hence have less than perfect aim (though I won't claim I'd do better firing blindly from a speeding Chrysler Sebring.)
But the bad news is that break-ins and other thefts continue to provide criminals with guns. Here's another quote from the article:
"All guns on the street are stolen," [alleged shooting suspect Gary Lonell] Black told police, the affidavit says."
So there you have it from the horse's mouth--not the NRA, not the GOA, not the OFF--but from a shooting suspect himself: "All guns on the street are stolen." Please note that Mr. Black did NOT say that guns are flooding the streets because of any "gun show loophole."
The take-home message here is clear. As firearms owners it is our responsibility to keep our guns out of the hands of criminals. I do not support laws that mandate keeping your guns under lock and key, even when you're not home. When you are home, whether you lock up your guns or keep them "at the ready" is a personal decision you have to make by balancing your need for security from intruders with your own housing and family situation, (i.e. young children + loaded guns in bedside tables = bad idea.)
But when you aren't home it's only common sense that an unsecured gun isn't going to do you any good. You're only leaving it around for a burglar to find and then sell to someone like Mr. Black. And by doing so you help perpetuate gun crime and the anti-gun crusaders.
Do us all a favor: when you're not around, lock them up. If you can afford guns, you can afford a gun safe. If you can't afford a safe and only have a single firearm for protection; then I recommend you get a concealed carry permit and take it with you when you're not at home. Again, what you do depends on your own situation, but an once of prevention can hold off a lot of anti-gun extremists thinking more legislation is the "cure."
Friday, February 22, 2008
Montana Secretary of State Brad Johnson declares, "urged the Supreme Court to uphold an individual rights interpretation of the Second Amendment, rather than a collective interpretation, as best in keeping with Montana’s Compact with the United States."
This isn't a conspiracy or exaggeration--the statement is found on the Montana SOS's home page.
Here's the complete text of the letter:
Second Amendment as individual right:
"The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide D.C. v. Heller, the first case in more than 60 years in which the court will confront the meaning of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Although Heller is about the constitutionality of the D.C. handgun ban, the court's decision will have an impact far beyond the District ("Promises breached," Op-Ed, Thursday).
The court must decide in Heller whether the Second Amendment secures a right for individuals to keep and bear arms or merely grants states the power to arm their militias, the National Guard. This latter view is called the "collective rights" theory.
A collective rights decision by the court would violate the contract by which Montana entered into statehood, called the Compact With the United States and archived at Article I of the Montana Constitution. When Montana and the United States entered into this bilateral contract in 1889, the U.S. approved the right to bear arms in the Montana Constitution, guaranteeing the right of "any person" to bear arms, clearly an individual right.
There was no assertion in 1889 that the Second Amendment was susceptible to a collective rights interpretation, and the parties to the contract understood the Second Amendment to be consistent with the declared Montana constitutional right of "any person" to bear arms.
As a bedrock principle of law, a contract must be honored so as to give effect to the intent of the contracting parties. A collective rights decision by the court in Heller would invoke an era of unilaterally revisable contracts by violating the statehood contract between the United States and Montana, and many other states.
Numerous Montana lawmakers have concurred in a resolution raising this contract-violation issue. It's posted at progunleaders.org. The United States would do well to keep its contractual promise to the states that the Second Amendment secures an individual right now as it did upon execution of the statehood contract.
Montana secretary of state
Once more it is worth noting that the Democratic Party of Oregon has already declared that the 2nd Amendment is an INDIVIDUAL right.
Stay tuned and get your passport ready for that trip to Glacier Park.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Peter DeFazio joined a bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress that filed an Amicus Brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn the blatantly unconstitutional D.C. gun ban:
As reported in today's Washington Post:
"Majority of Hill Stands Against D.C. Gun Ban"
"A majority of the Senate and more than half of the members of the House will file a brief today urging the Supreme Court to uphold a ruling that the District's handgun ban violates the Second Amendment. . . Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Tex.), who led the effort to file the friend-of-the-court brief, said her staff could not find another instance in which such a large portion of Congress had taken a position on an issue before the court . . . Hutchison and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), who spoke at a Heritage Foundation said the court could find D.C.'s law unconstitutional without another trip through the courts and without endangering Congress's ability to pass other gun control legislation, such as banning assault weapons."
Way to go Tester! This proves the importance of the U.S. Senate races in 2008 and the need for us to back our pro-2nd Amendment Democratic candidates for Congress.
I should also note (as mentioned in the article) that the Bush administration is SUPPORTING THE DISTRICT in its effort to maintain bans on personal or individual ownership of firearms (another reason Bush sucks, as if we needed one.)
Here's a portion of the Amicus Brief worth highlighting:
"IV. A HANDGUN BAN IS UNREASONABLE ON ITS FACE, RENDERING A REMAND FOR FURTHER PROCEEDINGS UNNECESSARY
Congress has historically viewed the Second Amendment as protecting from infringement the right of the people at large to keep and bear arms. It has further regarded ordinary, commonly-possessed rifles, handguns, and shotguns to be constitutionally protected arms. It has also passed regulations for engaging in firearms businesses and to require background checks on firearm transferees, and has restricted certain dangerous categories of persons from possession of firearms.99 None of these laws is called into question by the lower court’s limited holding.
The standard for whether a right is “fundamental” is whether it is “explicitly or implicitly protected by the Constitution, thereby requiring strict judicial scrutiny.” San Antonio Independent School Dist. v. Rodriguez, 411 U.S. 1, 17 (1973). The right of the people to keep arms is obviously such a right. Yet even if this Court applied a lower “reasonableness” test
as the standard of review, the District’s handgun ban is unreasonable on its face. The lower court’s categorical approach in holding a prohibition on handguns to be unconstitutional per se was correct."
There it is; hard to be any clearer than that. Let's hope SCOTUS sees the light.
Here's the list of members of the House and Senate cosigning the amicus brief. Remember to send Peter DeFazio your warmest regards and contributions!
Thursday, February 07, 2008
The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon will be holding our quarterly meeting February 9th in The Dalles, Oregon in conjunction with the ongoing DPO State Central Committee that same weekend.
To accommodate conflicts with other caucus meetings, we'll hold our caucus meeting near the others at The Dalles Middle School at 2:30 where the State Central Committee meeting is to be held. Andrea Cooper has got us a room and folks can feel free to bop back and forth to other caucuses in which our members are heavily involved (Rural, GLBT, Faith, and Motorcyclists to name a few.)
For those who are interested, there are shooting ranges in The Dalles so there will probably be opportunities for an informal shoot sometime over the weekend. It's a pretty short agenda for the meeting:
1) Statement of purpose
2) Volunteers for the state DPO Platfrom convention April 11-13. We hope to have a booth--let me know if you can staff it for an hour or two over that weekend. This is a prime advertising and statement recruiting event.
3) Pro-2nd Amendment statement by Oregon Senatorial candidate (by proxy, not in person, alas, but still very good news)
4) Gun Owners Caucus phone banking in the general election (post-primary)
5) Open forum
Please send me other topics of discussion, and remember to represent.
Friday, January 18, 2008
Sunday, January 13, 2008
In case you've been living in a cave, this case is going forward to the Supreme Court due to D.C.'s appeal of the overturn of it's total ban on handguns and of "assembled" rifles and shotguns in the home. This case has the potential to secure the "individual" right of firearms ownership (vs. corporate or militia-based ownership rights) as clearly outlined in the Bill of Rights.
Here's an excerpt:
The District claimed that "keep" means either for an individual to possess guns only for militia purposes, or for a state to "keep up" a militia, a theory the Court of Appeals said "mocks usage, syntax, and common sense." The Court of Appeals added, "Such outlandish views are likely advanced because the plain meaning of 'keep' strikes a mortal blow to the collective right theory."
And of course there's always the "guns in private hands causes violence" b.s.:
As if looking for even more ways to undercut its case, the District also claimed that in the mid-1970s it "sensibly concluded" that gun bans would make the city safer. Of course, as is well known, the city's murder rate tripled within 15 years after D.C. imposed the ban.
Give it a read, and hope the Supreme Court can read as well as the Court of Appeals.
Who will millions of Democrats vote for on Super Tuesday?
Find out at the DPO’s Super Tuesday Party on February 5th at the Tiffany Center in Portland.
Come support your candidate and enjoy complimentary beer, wine and appetizers, and plenty of political talk.
There will be plenty to chew on as more than 20 states will be holding primaries on February 5th including California, New York, Alaska, Colorado and Illinois.
In addition to the complimentary drinks, food and huge TV screens we’ll have candidates, elected officials, live music and fabulous raffle items.
Some of our raffle items will include a book of restaurant gift certificates from Portland’s best restaurants, dinner and a wine tour for 10, a weekend cabin on the Metolius, an antique kimono jacket, a salmon, steelhead, or sturgeon fishing trip on the Oregon Coast with accommodations, a weekend at Mike Lindberg’s beautiful Seaside beach home and much more.
Raffle items will be posted at www.dpo.org starting January 15th.
Tickets Still Available
Don't miss this opportunity to root for your candidate, support your party and have a great time.
Tickets cost $50 (Grassroots Democrats price is $40) and are available at www.dpo.org or by calling (503) 239-8629.
Super Tuesday Party
> Tiffany Center
> 1410 SW Morrison St.
> 6 -10 p.m.
> Tickets $50
Democratic Party of Oregon
P.S. Live music. Complimentary drinks, food and amazing raffle prizes. It’s too good to turn down! So join us on Tuesday, February 5th at the Tiffany Center.
EVENTS IN EUGENE:
If you have members in the Eugene/Springfield area, the Lane County Dems
are having a Super Tuesday party at OEA Building, 2815 Coburg Rd., Eugene,
Oregon from 6pm-9pm. It's also part of our United Way's Project Homeless
participation. People are asked to bring donations of toiletries and
If you're in the area, pleease join us!
Carol Horne Dennis
DPLC LGBTQ Caucus Chair
Wednesday, January 09, 2008
THE PRESIDENTIAL "CANDIDATE CALCULATOR."
According to the survey, I should apparently be a Gravel fan, followed closely by Richardson.
If you take the survey, be sure to list your preferences here. Note that the rankings will changed based on whether you mark a topic as being of 'high/medium/low" importance.
Be sure to vote in the real thing to.