Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pelosi Shoots Down Assault Weapons Ban

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has gotten into the pro-2nd Amendment game by shooting down the prospect of renewing the so-called Assault Weapons ban. This comes after recent statements by AG Eric Holder (see next post) saying the administration would attempt to reinstate the ban.

Pelosi said Holder had not consulted with her before issuing his comments. She added her own opinion on what to do:

"On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now," Pelosi said. "I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that."

See complete references online on The Hill.

Score one for the Speaker! This shows Nancy Pelosi, whatever her personal feelings, "gets it" and understands that the new Democratic-controlled Congress will not support further restrictions on our 2nd Amendment rights.

While Eric Holder's anti-2nd Amendment positions are well-known, you also have to wonder how much he consulted with his boss before his recent statements. My guess is, not much.

Concerning Holder's actual statement, here it is:

"Holder said that putting the ban back in place would not only be a positive move by the United States, it would help cut down on the flow of guns going across the border into Mexico, which is struggling with heavy violence among drug cartels along the border."

Um, sorry, but if "assault weapons" are coming into Mexico from the U.S., they're passing into the L.A. harbor on Chinese merchant ships first. Those ships can dock anywhere north or south of the border. And considering Mexican drug gangs now employ squads of former Mexican special forces officers as assassins, no change in U.S. law is going to impact the availability of firearms for Mexican mobsters. However, given Holder's conversations with Mexican officials on the issue, it is important that no treaties with Mexico are allowed to serve as backdoor routes to gun control.

But again--nice one, Pelosi!

Obama to Seek New "Assault Weapons" Ban

Here's a link to yesterday's ABC News article with some comments by AG Eric Holder that make me feel less than comfortable. Apparently he is wanting to re-institute the ban to protect Mexico!?! Sacrificing Second Amendment rights as a foreign policy ploy sounds a little scary to me.

C. Michael Arnold,
Attorney at Law
Eugene, Oregon

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oregon House Introduces BIll to Support CHL Privacy

There is excellent news this week in the ongoing effort to secure privacy rights for Oregon's Concealed Handgun License (CHL) holders.

Representatives Jeff Barker (D-Aloha) and Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) have put forward HB 2727, a bill which

"Prohibits public body from releasing information that can be used to identify holder of or applicant for concealed handgun license. Authorizes disclosure for criminal justice purposes and pursuant to court order."
HB 2727 was one of several bills drafted to address the gaping hole in Oregon law that currently allows anyone access to records of who does or does not possess a CHL; and I'm happy to say the HB 2727 already has an extremely long list of bi-partisan co-sponsors. (A similar bill being drafted by Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Portland) was designed to address the same issue, but is now moot. Reps. Bailey, Nick Kahl (D-Gresham) and several others not yet listed as co-sponsors have indicated they intend to co-sponsor and vote for Barker's and Thatcher's bill as well.)

Blue Steel Democrats has had several earlier posts in support of CHL privacy. Keeping CHL records private is a position supported by all major firearms advocacy groups in the state, as well as the Oregon State Sheriff's Association.

The Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon encourages all gun owners and other individuals concerned with privacy rights to contact their legislators with thanks and encouragement that HB 2727 becomes law.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Three positive gun rights bill in the Oregon legislature

The Oregon Firearms Federation (OFF) has posted a list of 3 positive gun rights bill currently pending in the Oregon legislature. These are on the table largely due to the influence of House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Jeff Barker (D-Aloha, District 28), a dependable long-time advocate for gun owners in the state of Oregon.

The bills are HR 2463, HR 2330, and HR 2314. Check them out here on OFF's website, and thank Rep. Barker when you see him.

OFF is asking for support of these bills by contacting your legislature--details for this campaign are also on the OFF website.

Monday, February 02, 2009

But What Do We Do About the Nut Jobs?

There have several high-profile incidents involving the all-too-familiar refrain of disturbed loaners or depressed "providers" (mostly out-of-work husbands/fathers)--that is, murdering SOBs--massacring strangers or family members with guns. I personally believe these incidents reflect a troubled culture in this country that is largely unconnected to guns, but which unfortunately has fixated on guns as its means of expression. In other countries, the murderous minds turn to other favored means of violent self-destruction--arson in Turkey, explosives in China--in ways common and predictable enough within each society to let us realize guns are not the cause of the illness.

But as gun owners and gun advocates, we have to admit guns are a hell of a symptom. To protect our rights and our society's long-term freedom by maintaining the primacy of the 2nd Amendment, we need to answer the objections of those who believe a ban on guns would provide the bromide they seek.

Predictably in the wake of the recent events, there has been the predictable outcry for greater gun control. Most of it is uninformed and reactionary. One exception to this is an op-ed piece in the Oregonian by self-declared anti-gun writer, Reagan Ross.

While I disagree with Ross that gun control is desirable or beneficial to society, it's clear that Ross and pro-gun rights activists like myself have a common goal of trying to create a more peaceful society. It's worth reading Ross's entire article, but I'd like to quote some of what he says here:

While I'm [Ross] a big believer in stricter gun control -- registration, safety locks, automatic gun bans, background checks and so on -- and while the volume of dangerous guns available is distressing, the reality is that if a violent offender wants a gun, he will get a gun. However, I would argue that it is less the availability of a gun itself than a sensibility that jointly romanticizes and glorifies gun ownership and, by extension, accentuates masculinity for these young, angry males. For this reason alone, we need to break through this "gun culture" sensibility and move to a more constricted view of gun ownership. - Reagan Ross, Marylhurst University

Ross's point about the romanticism around guns in America is easy to see. He's also honest enough to report what he knows to be true--it isn't the presence of the gun, it's the cultural attitude toward the gun that leads to gun violence.

But what he says about a "more constricted view of gun ownership" is a good idea--a view that does not include romantic images of a loser redeeming himself through murder of innocents in a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid meet Sam Peckinpah fantasy. In short I'd say we need to make guns more about hunting, political freedom, and crime prevention and less about sex, personal power and instant fame.

Which leads me to an open question to our caucus members:

What steps can we take as gun rights advocates to change the image of guns, gun owners, and gun ownership to create a positive image of guns that will no longer make gun violence an attractive, romantic cliche for the disturbed and impressionable?