Friday, January 30, 2009

England Wants Their Guns Back!

Hello all. I recently received an email from gunsamerica.com about the citizens of England fighting to get their guns back. As we all know, England has extremely constricting gun laws. Years ago, the citizens of England were forced to give up all of their handguns to be destroyed. Now, they are facing a hunting ban, and many see this as the last straw.

A link to a great youtube video was included in the email. It is a little lengthy, but well worth the time it takes to watch it. According to the video, the citizens of England staged the country's largest ever peaceful protest to try to regain their liberties. The people interviewed in the video warn us Americans, that our liberties will be taken from us if we let them.

Below is a link to the video. Give it a watch if you have not already done so.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTq2NEUlhDE

We need to continue to fight to ensure that our liberties are not taken from us!

brian r

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Blair Holt Bill: Cynicism at Its Finest

H.R. 45, also known as "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and record of Sale Act of 2009," is a wide-reaching gun control bill introduced in Congress in January 2009 by Rep Rush, Bobby L. (IL-D).

The bill's namesake, Blair Holt was by all accounts a brave young man who was murdered at age 16 in Chicago in 2007 while protecting a girl on a public bus from another young man trying to shoot her. The killer, Michael Pace, also 16 in 2007, apparently got the gun from yet another minor, Kevin Jones , who was only 15 in 2007.

Note that both of the perps were under 21. Neither had any legal right in any state to own a handgun, let alone to carry one legally. There is no place in the United States where anyone could have legally sold or loaned a gun to either of those kids. Bizarrely these facts are ignored in H.R. 45's call for NEW laws, when the existing laws are either unenforced or unenforceable.

Illinois, especially Chicago, already has some of the strictest gun laws in the country, which you would think would be prima facie evidence that gun control laws will be ignored by criminals and only put the law-abiding at a disadvantage. (I haven't been able to find a source about where Kevin Jones got the murder weapon, but I'd lay money that it wasn't from a gun dealer, a pawn shop, or non-licensed seller (non-dealer) at a gun show. If you have any info on where Jones got his gun please post it here, but chances are the gun was from a robbery, which according to sources in the know, is also the main source for illegal guns on the streets of Portland.)

My guess is that Rep Rush is a pretty smart man, and as such knows all this. But doesn't care. It's easier to use an unfortunate victim to pass through a gun control bill he would have proposed anyway. And H.R. 45 is a veritable Christmas tree of anti-gun legislation, most of which is already in place in Illinois, and none of which would have saved Blair Holt.

Here's a sampling.

Sec 101 - Requiring a national license to own a handgun or semiautomatic firearm:
"It shall be unlawful for any person other than a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector to possess a qualifying firearm on or after the applicable date, unless that person has been issued a firearm license."

A qualifying firearm is defined earlier in the bill as "any handgun; or any semiautomatic firearm that can accept any detachable ammunition feeding device."

Sec 102 - Application Requirements:
". . . a certification by the applicant that the applicant will keep any firearm owned by the applicant safely stored and out of the possession of persons who have not attained 18 years of age. . ."

Sec 201 - Banning any transfer of a firearm other than via a licensed dealer:
"It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer a qualifying firearm to, or for, any person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, or to receive a qualifying firearm from a person who is not a licensed importer, licensed manufacturer, licensed dealer, or licensed collector, unless, at the time and place of the transfer or receipt."

The bill goes on in like fashion. Regarding Sec 102--the order that you keep your firearm stored in your home and sign a paper swearing you'll do so--it doesn't appear that Rep. Rush believes that precedent was set by the Heller decision, which reads:

. . . Held: . . . 3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to self-defense) violate the second Amendment. The District’s total ban on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scrutiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and is hence unconstitutional . . .

Sorry, Rep. Rush, but this bill ain't happening; SCOTUS will strike it down even if it does pass. But I'm pretty sure you knew that already. At this point H.R. 45 appears to have no co-sponsors; I hope that's as good a sign as it appears, and that Congress will not waste time with bills that violate the Constitution, reinforce the stereotype of "gun grabbers" on the Hill, and which would have no positive impact on crime.

Surely the 111 Congress can do better?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Priorities: Why Democrats Should Fight the Gun Grabbers

This piece is written in hopes of reaching out to the anti-gun wing of the Democratic party. It's pointless to pretend you aren't hoping for your turn at bat; so please listen.

We all agree there is a lot of work to do in this country right now to fix the problems of the past 8 years and more. What does this have to do gun rights? Very simple. In one of the very first posts on this blog, we documented a very simple cause and effect:

When Democrats work for gun control, they lose national elections. Period.

So, as George W. Bush prepares to leave office it's worth remembering the Bush presidency would not have happened if Al Gore had supported gun rights. That is the analysis of Al Gore's 2000 campaign spokesman Doug Hattaway--that Gore lost the election because of his stance on guns. If even a small portion of the "single issue" pro-2nd Amendment voters (roughly 20% of the electorate) had voted for Gore in 2000, he would be been elected president in 2000, regardless of events in Florida and the behavior of the U.S. Supreme Court. Think about that when you think about the 2010 mid-term elections . . .

With Hattaway's comments in mind, I invite you to watch Keith
Olbermann's depressing summary (below) of last 8 years and to keep the following in mind:

* The Bush years wouldn't have happened if Gore had won just one other state a with pro-gun electorate. (Gore lost his home state, Tennessee, you will recall.)

* If the Obama administration or the Democratic majorities in Congress try to bring back the assault weapons ban, Bush and his ilk will be back in four years, if not 2010.

To "bringing back the ban" we should add any draconian back-door methods to neuter the Heller case and the 2nd Amendment in general such as ammunition taxes or bans as well as any attempt to bring about a de facto end gun sales by allowing law suits against manufacturers. Don't get cute with trying to get around the Constitution; we've seen the last 8 years where that leads. Please folks--don't give the Republicans an opening. Regardless of your own views on guns, Democrats must join together to oppose and educate gun control advocates within our party in order to save our strength for the difficult work ahead.

If you don't agree with 2nd Amendment supporters on the positive purpose of guns in society, then I have one word of advice I hope you will heed: "Priorities."

Here's Olbermann's review for those who can stand another retelling:



Molon labe.

Monday, January 12, 2009

"In 2008, NRA Shot Blanks."

Ray Schoenke, President of the American Hunters and Shooters Association (AHSA), offers his analysis of gun politics in the last election on his AHSA website blog:

In 10 of the 11 states where the NRA Political Victory Fund's efforts against Obama were concentrated -- gun-friendly regions in states like Colorado, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico – they lost . . . (On the plus side, the NRA’s histrionics and fear mongering tactics did succeed in bolstering gun sales after the election, which is a good thing in this dreadful economy). . .

. . . So why is the NRA "shooting blanks" these days? Because they don’t get it. The landscape has changed. With the Supreme Court overturning the D.C. gun ban, our gun rights are secure and government confiscation is off the table. Now, we can actually talk about responsible gun laws, conservation, public access, global warming – and even the economy.

Read more and comment on the AHSA website: http://www.huntersandshooters.org/

-Z.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Help protect the privacy of CHL holders

Hello all. As you are all aware, the privacy of Oregon concealed carry permit holders may be in jeopardy because of vagueness in the law as it is written. A couple of us have already spoken with State Representatives who are interested in pushing for legislature that would protect the privacy of CHL holders. Our friend Zak Johnson has written a great letter which has been sent to the correct people. Zak has given me permission to post this letter here as an example for you all to follow if you feel comfortable doing so. The letter is as follows:

I am writing to you to strongly encourage you to introduce and support legislation to protect the privacy and safety of concealed handgun license (CHL) holders in Oregon. Records of who does and does not have a CHL should not be available to anyone who wants to see them, and the lists of CHL holders should not be available to the press for review or publication. Current law, unfortunately, is ambiguous on this point, and the privacy of CHL holders from scrutiny by the press or potential employers is not currently protected.

As I expect you are aware as a long-time supporter of gun owners' rights, there is an on-going controversy in Oregon on this issue. The current controversy began as a result of the Medford Mail Tribune's lawsuit filing to discover whether teachers or school board members in Jackson Co. were CHL holders, but that lawsuit has much wider implications. Unfortunately, the current legal status of CHL privacy is not clear. Currently, it up to each county sheriff to determine their own policy. Most sheriffs, including the sheriffs of Jackson Co. and my own county (Multnomah) have decided not to release CHL records at this time, but the legal standing for them to continue to do this long-term is not settled. In some counties (Washington), the sheriffs have decided only to keep the records private if specifically requested to do so; but this policy is flawed because the only time a "request denied" would come back would be when the individual was a CHL holder who had requested privacy!

Because of the Oregon legislature's position (sensible, in my opinion) to make gun laws consistent and uniform throughout Oregon, I believe CHL-holder privacy is an important issue for the legislature to take timely action on. I and the gun-owners I have spoken with overwhelmingly believe that CHL holder records should not be released to the general public or to the media.

Raul Ramirez
, CEO of the Oregon State Sheriff's Association, nicely summed up many of the reasons for CHL privacy when he wrote:

"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." (Source: http://www.salem-news.com/articles/december042008/weapons_permits-12-4-08.php)

I would add to Mr. Ramirez's reasons the following: the Internet and "blogging" journalism has increasingly blurred the line between who is and is not a legitimate journalist. There are little to no controls over bloggers and what the choose to publish. Leaving records of CHL holders open to searches by anyone--even those claiming press credentials--invites likely "outing" of CHL holders. (I have written further information on my reasoning on the blog of the Gun Owners Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, here: http://bluesteeldemocrats.blogspot.com/2008/12/concealed-carry-permits-should-remain.html).

The actions of both the Medford Mail Tribune and the local Medford school board suggest that if CHL permits are treated as public records there will be nothing to prevent both public and private employers from checking job applicants' public records to see who has a CHL and to then deny employment (whether openly or unofficially) to anyone whose name they find on the roles.Further, given the current controversy, I think it's very likely that companies or government agencies may begin CHL reviews as part of their job screening process (if they are not doing already.) This would leave employees subject to hidden penalties as a result of simply exercising their civil and legal rights.

The controversy with the Medford Mail Tribune asking for records of all CHL holders was in response to a single teacher in Medford declaring publicly that she intended to bring a firearm into the classroom for self-protection. But this case is irrelevant to the larger issue of privacy. Whether or not local school boards may implement policies to ban employees from bringing firearms to work is a separate matter that should not mean that CHL holders as a class forfeit their rights to privacy simply because one of them might be violating a policy of either a public or private employer.

I believe CHL permits are in the same category as medical history--they are a record of an individual's personal, not public, profile, and they should remain such.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

I hope that all of you please consider writing similar letters to your legislators. Here is a link:

http://www.leg.state.or.us/index.html


brian r

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Josephine County Sheriff To Meet With Gun Owners

Attention Josephine County Residents:

AN EVENING WITH SHERIFF GIL GILBERTSON (Josephine Co.)

Tuesday, January 13th
7:00pm-8:30pm
Redwood Grange
1830 Redwood Ave, Grants Pass

Should concealed handgun permit holders information remain private? Should the media be allowed to publish the names and address of permit holders?

Sheriff Gilbertson recently stated his opinion on this issue, and his strong belief in the Constitution, specifically the 2nd amendment. This will be the central topic of discussion, as well as other 2nd amendment related issues, such as “restricted shooting districts”.

This will be an open forum, with questions from the audience welcome. As time allows we will also discuss the ongoing funding issue, and the future of Josephine County Law Enforcement. Plan on attending this informative meeting and learn more about this important issue, the Sheriff’s position, and how this affects you.

For info call 541-291-3158 or e-mail mancuso@grantspass.com

(This announcement comes from the Oregon Firearms Federation. A complete synopsis of the event and background issues can be found on the OFF website.)

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Evolution in Reverse

There's a very interesting article in the latest Newsweek called "How Hunting is Driving Evolution in Reverse," subtitled "It's Survival of the Weak and Scrawny." The basic premise is that by selecting the biggest, fittest, most extraordinary animals as trophies, humans are altering the gene pool with the effect that hunted species are getting smaller:
"Researchers describe what's happening as none other than the selection process that Darwin made famous: the fittest of a species survive to reproduce and pass along their traits to succeeding generations, while the traits of the unfit gradually disappear. Selective hunting—picking out individuals with the best horns or antlers, or the largest piece of hide—works in reverse: the evolutionary loser is not the small and defenseless, but the biggest and best-equipped to win mates or fend off attackers."
The example of the increase in "tuskless" elephants is quite interesting:
"Tusks used to make elephants fitter, as a weapon or a tool in foraging—until ivory became a precious commodity and having tusks got you killed. Then tuskless elephants, products of a genetic fluke, became the more consistent breeders and grew from around 2 percent among African elephants to more than 38 percent in one Zambian population, and 98 percent in a South African one. In Asia, where female elephants don't have tusks to begin with, the proportion of tuskless elephants has more than doubled, to more than 90 percent in Sri Lanka."
Other examples are cited in the article, including a study on Canadian bighorns turning into "little bighorns" that seemed credible.

The evidence isn't overwhelming, but the premise makes sense, and doesn't seem to be anything new. PSU archaeologist Ken Ames has shown that selective hunting of male antelope to preserve herd size has been going on in the Middle East for 10,000 years or more. Similarly, the steady shrinking in size of North American bison over thousands of years has been explained in terms of smaller specimens having shorter gestation periods that make them less susceptible to human hunting than bigger animals that stay pregnant longer.

But perhaps selectively going after "trophy" animals represents a new type of natural selection that we should rethink? I completely understand the impulse of wanting to find that special trophy animal, but if we want to maintain the health of species through hunting, people may want to occasionally take on the traditional role of wolves--eat the small, scrawny, and weak--and find a way to make sure da 30-point buck (or at least some of them) keep breeding.