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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #200 on: July 06, 2007, 05:26:43 AM »

Fort Worth police praise man who shot at Albertsons robber

FW: Suspect in crime at store left at hospital; 2 others sought in case
12:00 AM CDT on Thursday, July 5, 2007

By MARISSA ALANIS / The Dallas Morning News
malanis@dallasnews.com A Fort Worth man who only wanted to protect his wife stuck in an Albertsons store during a robbery is being hailed for his heroics by police.

The retired man may have shot one of the robbers early Wednesday at the store in the 3500 block of Sycamore School Road.

Three men armed with guns robbed the store shortly after midnight and stole wallets and purses belonging to customers, said Lt. Dean Sullivan, a Fort Worth police spokesman.

The man, whom police didn't identify because he is a witness, saw two of the men walking around nervously before they entered the store. The witness said he called 911 when one of the men pulled out a gun and fired as he walked into the store.

About 20 seconds later, the witness's wife tried to call him from her cellphone inside the store. But he never got to talk to her.

"I just heard her saying, 'There is nothing in my purse,' " he recalled. "And there was a 'pow.' The phone went dead."

The man, who has a concealed handgun license, sprang into action. He walked into the store with his .45-caliber pistol under his shirt.

"I really thought I'd find her in the store shopping and get her out the back door," he said. "That was my intention. ... I had no intention of confronting these armed bandits."

But in the store, one of the robbers pointed the gun at the man. The man then fired twice. The robber ran away, and it's unknown whether he returned fire, Lt. Sullivan said. Outside the store, the retired man fired again.

Lt. Sullivan said Rayshaun Johnson was possibly hit during the robbery. Mr. Johnson, 17, was injured on his backside and foot. He was dropped off in the parking lot of Huguley Memorial Medical Center in Fort Worth.

Lt. Sullivan said Mr. Johnson faces a charge of aggravated robbery with a deadly weapon once he's released from the hospital. Police continue to search for the other two robbers. Descriptions were unavailable.

The man said he does not feel like a hero.
"I don't feel good at all that there is an 18-year-old guy who's been injured and is going to go to some terrible place because it was a horrible mistake that somebody talked him into," he said. "I was worried about my wife. I just wanted to get her out of there."
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #201 on: July 06, 2007, 08:14:24 AM »

Second post of the AM

Proposed OSHA Regulation Threatens
Firearm and Ammunition Industry

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the government agency charged with assuring the safety and health of America's workers, is proposing a regulatory rule affecting the manufacturing, transportation and storage of small arms ammunition, primers and smokeless propellants.

As written, the proposed rule would force the closure of nearly all ammunition manufacturers and force the cost of small arms ammunition to skyrocket beyond what the market could bear—essentially collapsing our industry. This is not an exaggeration. The cost to comply with the proposed rule for the ammunition industry, including manufacturer, wholesale distributors and retailers, will be massive and easily exceed $100 million. For example, ammunition and smokeless propellant manufacturers would have to shut down and evacuate a factory when a thunderstorm approached and customers would not be allowed within 50 feet of any ammunition (displayed or otherwise stored) without first being searched for matches or lighters.

NSSF and SAAMI have already had a preliminary meeting with OSHA officials to begin the process of explaining to them the major problems this proposed rule presents for all levels of the firearms and ammunition industry. Furthermore, NSSF and SAAMI are each seeking a 60 day extension of the public comment period (currently scheduled to expire July 12).

NSSF is urging all retailers to contact OSHA directly and request a 60-day extension of the public comment period. Retailers should inform OSHA that the proposed rule constitutes a "significant regulatory action" as defined in Executive Order 12866 (1993) Section 3(f)(1) in that it will clearly "adversely affect in a material way" the retail sector of the firearms and ammunition industry, productivity, competition and jobs and that the annual compliance cost for all retailers of ammunition will far exceed $100 million dollars.

Click here for a template letter. If you choose to draft your own letter, the reference line must read as follows:

RE:  Docket No. OSHA–2007–0032
         Request to Extend Public Comment Period and Request for Hearing on
        "Significant Regulatory Action" as Defined in Executive Order 12866

Please fax the letter to: 202-693-1648 (include the docket number and Department of Labor/OSHA on the cover sheet and in the reference section of your letter).

Please e-mail the letter by visiting: http://www.regulations.gov and following the submission instructions.
 
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buzwardo
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« Reply #202 on: July 07, 2007, 12:05:19 AM »

Lawyers, Guns and Money
This time, the Supreme Court may have to decide what the Second Amendment means. But how much will really change?

By Elaine McArdle

Michelle Thompson
“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.”
U.S. Constitution, Amendment II

This time, the Supreme Court may have to decide what the Second Amendment means. But how much will really change?

“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.” U.S. Constitution, Amendment II

Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the District of Columbia’s stringent gun-control regulations, ruling squarely that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms.

In the cultural and legal battle over gun control, the decision was the proverbial shot heard ’round the world.

The ruling—in Parker v. District of Columbia—marked the first time a gun law has been found unconstitutional based on the Second Amendment, and it set up a direct conflict among the circuits. Nine federal appeals courts around the nation have adopted the view that the amendment guarantees only the collective right of organized state militias to bear arms, not an individual’s right. (A 5th Circuit panel found that individuals have gun rights but upheld the regulation in question, so both sides claim that ruling as a victory.)

In May, when the full D.C. Circuit Court refused to grant a rehearing en banc, the stage seemed set for a showdown in the Supreme Court, which has thus far managed to dodge the question of whether the Second Amendment guarantees an individual’s right to bear arms.

According to HLS Professor Mark Tushnet, author of “Out of Range: Why the Constitution Can’t End the Battle Over Guns” (Oxford University Press, 2007), earlier petitions were cluttered by issues that allowed the Court to decline review or avoid the Second Amendment question. But Parker “is more straightforward,” Tushnet says, and the Court will have a tougher time avoiding the issue.

If Parker is the long-awaited “clean” case, one reason may be that lawyers for the National Rifle Association—who helped steer the legal strategy of the plaintiffs and backed them financially—have learned from earlier defeats, and crafted the case to maximize the chances of Supreme Court review. For one thing, it is a civil case, not a criminal one, and the six plaintiffs, in the words of NRA President Sandra Froman ’74, are “ordinary people whose lives are impacted by not having the right to protect themselves.” They include a woman who lives in a high-crime area and has been threatened by drug dealers, a gay man assaulted because of his sexual orientation and a special police officer for the Federal Judicial Center.

In addition, the laws challenged in Parker are among the most stringent in the nation: Handguns cannot be registered in the district; those registered before a 1976 ban cannot be carried from one room to another without a license; and any firearm in a home must be kept unloaded and either locked or disassembled.

Also important, says Tushnet, is the fact that because Parker emanates from the District of Columbia, where only federal law applies, it doesn’t involve the overlaying question of whether the Second Amendment applies to a state by way of the 14th Amendment—a question that clouded an earlier case involving one city’s complete ban on handgun possession. He adds that a number of states urged the Court not to take that case, and the solicitor general did the same in another one.

Pro-gun activists like Froman are confident that the Court will hear an appeal by the district in Parker, and they say that they couldn’t have gotten this far without help from an unlikely quarter: liberal law professors. In the past 20 years, several prominent legal scholars known for liberal views, including Professor Laurence Tribe ’66, have come to believe that the Second Amendment supports the individual-rights view. In the 2000 edition of his treatise “American Constitutional Law,” Tribe broke from the 1978 and 1988 editions by endorsing that view. Other liberal professors, including Akhil Reed Amar at Yale Law School and Sanford Levinson at the University of Texas at Austin, agree.

“My conclusion came as something of a surprise to me, and an unwelcome surprise,” Tribe said in a recent New York Times interview. “I have always supported as a matter of policy very comprehensive gun control.”

Froman says the fact that Tribe and others reversed their interpretation in recent years has had enormous influence. Indeed, the majority opinion in Parker, written by Judge Laurence H. Silberman ’61, referred specifically to Tribe’s revised conclusion.

The 27 words of the Second Amendment may be the most hotly contested in the Constitution. Gun-control advocates and opponents read its tortured syntax entirely differently. Each side resorts to what Tushnet calls “a simplified version of constitutional analysis” to support its viewpoint, looking solely at the wording of the amendment and what the language meant in 1791 rather than at whether society has changed in the meantime and what judicial precedents offer guidance. In “virtually no other area in constitutional law” is analysis done that way, he says, although he’s not sure why.

“There’s very little guidance on what the actual meaning of the Second Amendment is,” says Froman, a Tucson lawyer who was interviewed by the Bulletin when she returned to HLS in early April to speak on a panel. “The courts have talked a lot about the Second Amendment but have always been nibbling around the periphery. There’s never really been ‘Let’s explain and elaborate on what it means.’”

For Anthony A. Williams ’87, who served as mayor of the District of Columbia from 1999 until earlier this year and vigorously enforced the district’s gun laws during his tenure, the meaning of the amendment is unambiguous, no matter what interpretive theory is used. “Let’s take [Justice Antonin] Scalia’s approach,” he says. “I think the framers’ intent was to see to it that [through] militias, states as sovereign entities had a right to arm themselves. To me, it’s not about individuals—it’s about groups.”

But Froman firmly reaches the opposite conclusion: “A lot of people say that the prefatory clause of the Second Amendment—the words ‘A well regulated militia …’— limits the active clause pertaining to bearing arms. They want to say that means you can only exercise the right to keep and bear arms as part of a militia, meaning as part of the National Guard, forgetting that the National Guard didn’t exist then.”

“Remember,” Froman adds, “the Second Amendment guarantees a right—it does not confer a right. It’s God-given. It’s natural. The right of self-survival is a basic instinct of any organism.” The Constitution “acknowledges that.”

Tushnet believes that if the Court grants certiorari, it will ultimately overturn the decision of the D.C. panel. “My gut feeling is that there are not five votes to say the individual-rights position is correct,” he says. “[Justice Anthony] Kennedy comes from a segment of the Republican Party that is not rabidly pro-gun rights and indeed probably is sympathetic to hunters but not terribly sympathetic to handgun owners. Then the standard liberals will probably say ‘collective rights.’”

But Tribe is less confident of that prediction. Should the case reach the Supreme Court, he told The New York Times, “there’s a really quite decent chance that it will be affirmed.”

If that happens, Tushnet says, it is unlikely to end all gun regulation, because the Court would probably tailor its decision narrowly to reach consensus. The three-judge panel in Parker struck down only D.C.’s tight laws. “Once you recognize [gun ownership] as an individual right, then the work shifts to figuring out what type of regulation is permissible,” he says.

Tushnet says the gun-control debate is an intractable one in which neither side will move, and a constitutional “answer” from the Supreme Court will be something of a nonstarter. Like the arguments over abortion and stem-cell research, he says, the argument over guns is in truth another battle in the culture wars and cannot be solved by constitutional analysis because neither side can be persuaded.

No gun-control strategy with any chance of surviving the political process would have a significant effect on overall gun violence or crime, Tushnet believes. To say so publicly would be the boldest and most honest stand that a major politician or candidate could take, he adds.

The tragic shootings on the campus of Virginia Tech seem to have changed no one’s position: “People responded to it in exactly the way you would expect,” Tushnet says. Supporters of gun control sought stricter laws and better enforcement, and the NRA advocated that teachers and others be armed to protect themselves.

Activists on both sides bear out that observation. Williams believes that the district’s gun laws were having a demonstrable effect on gun-related violence. “When I started as mayor, we had well over 200 homicides a year,” he says. “We brought that down to below 160, so we made serious inroads in reducing violent crime; but still, in many neighborhoods, the situation is horrific.”

Says Froman: “Statistically, the parts of the country with the greatest number of firearms have the lowest rates of violent crime with guns. It’s easy to understand why. Let’s say there were 30 people in this room, and this was a state that allowed people to carry concealed weapons for self-defense, and a criminal walked in. At least half the people in the room would draw down on the criminal. That would be the end of it.”

Froman had nothing to do with guns until, some 25 years ago, someone tried to break into her Los Angeles home. “I was terrified,” she says. “It was a real epiphany for me, for someone who had never been a victim of crime, who never thought I needed to protect myself.” The next day, she walked into a gun shop to purchase a weapon. She has been a staunch gun advocate ever since.

Does Froman ever worry about repercussions, given that she’s at the center of such a heated issue? “I live in a very rural area, at the end of a long driveway,” she says. “People ask me, ‘Don’t you get scared?’ I say, ‘Are you kidding? I have a clear shot all the way to the road.'

http://www.law.harvard.edu/alumni/bulletin/2007/summer/feature_3.php
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G M
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« Reply #203 on: July 07, 2007, 12:35:34 AM »

Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms. Ratified 12/15/1791. Note

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. 

****If the above is to be interpreted as a collective right of the state and not of the individual, then below is only a collective right as well.****

Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

****So this only matters when the federal gov't is searching a state gov't? ****  wink
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #204 on: July 07, 2007, 09:31:42 AM »

Buz, GM et al:

The Parker case out of the DC circuit is highly significant and looks like to go to the SCt.  Nice point about the same phrase in the 4th GM!  I had not seen it made before and will be using it.   Thank you!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #205 on: July 10, 2007, 12:19:34 AM »

Texas State Lawmaker Opposing Deadly Force Bill Shoots Would-Be Thief

Monday , July 09, 2007

HOUSTON —
A state lawmaker who opposed a bill giving Texans stronger right to defend themselves with deadly force pulled a gun and shot a man he says was trying to steal copper wiring from a construction site, police said Monday.


Rep. Borris Miles told police he was fixing a leak on the second floor of the Houston house he's building Sunday night when he heard a noise downstairs and saw two men trying to steal the copper. After Miles confronted the pair, one of the men threw a pocketknife at him, Houston Police spokesman Victor Senties.

Miles, a former law enforcement officer, shot the man in the left leg, police said. The wounded suspect was being treated at a Houston hospital. Police were trying to identify the other suspect.

Charges of aggravated robbery are pending against the wounded suspect, Senties said.

Police said Miles, who is in his freshman term, is licensed to carry a concealed weapon. No charges have been filed against Miles, Senties said.
Miles, a Democrat, voted against a bill that gives Texans stronger legal right to defend themselves with deadly force in their homes, vehicles, and workplaces. The so-called "castle doctrine," passed by the Legislature this year, states that a person has no duty to retreat from an intruder before using deadly force. The law goes into effect Sept. 1.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #206 on: August 17, 2007, 08:10:59 AM »

"The whole of that Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the
right of the people at large or considered as individuals...t
establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and
which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of."

-- Albert Gallatin (letter to Alexander Addison, 7 October 1789)

Reference: That Every Man Be Armed: The Evolution
of a Constitutional Right, Halbrook; original MS. in
N.Y. Hist. Soc.-A.G. Papers, 2
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buzwardo
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« Reply #207 on: August 17, 2007, 04:45:13 PM »

Crafty:

Glad you found Halbrook. About as comprehensive look at the 2nd Amendment as can be found. Dimes to dollars he's being consulted on Parker.

Reason Online has a cartoon up on the subject I found amusing:

http://reason.com/news/show/121979.html
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #208 on: September 07, 2007, 12:05:11 PM »

http://www.usconcealedcarry.com:80/public/903.cfm
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buzwardo
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« Reply #209 on: September 08, 2007, 06:12:10 PM »

Article published Sep 7, 2007
D.C.'s flawed reasoning

September 7, 2007


By John R. Lott Jr. - In asking the Supreme Court to let the District of Columbia ban handguns, the city has a simple argument: Whatever one thinks of the Second Amendment, banning handguns is a "reasonable regulation" to protect public safety. The problem for the city is that anyone who can look up the crime numbers will see that D.C.'s violent crime rate went up, not down, after the ban.

D.C. notes that criminals like to use handguns to commit crimes. We all want to disarm criminals, but, as long as one recognizes the possibility of self defense, at best the city's claim can only be part of the story. As with all gun-control laws, the question is ultimately whether it is the law-abiding citizens or criminals who are most likely to obey the law. If law-abiding citizens are the ones who turn in their guns and not the criminals, crime rates can go up, not down.

The city's brief focuses only on murder rates in discussing crime in D.C. Yet, in the five years before Washington's ban in 1976, the murder rate fell from 37 to 27 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose back up to 35. But there is one fact that seems particularly hard to ignore. D.C.'s murder rate fluctuated after 1976 but has only once fallen below what it was in 1976 (that happened years later, in 1985). Does D.C. really want to argue that the gun ban reduced the murder rate?

Similarly for violent crime, from 1977 to 2003, there were only two years when D.C.'s violent crime rate fell below the rate in 1976. These drops and subsequent increases were much larger than any changes in neighboring Maryland and Virginia. For example, D.C.'s murder rate fell 3.5 to 3 times more than in the neighboring states during the five years before the ban and rose back 3.8 times more in the five years after it. D.C.'s murder rate also rose relative to that in other similarly sized cities.

Surely D.C. has had many problems that contribute to crime, but even cities with far better police departments have seen crime soar in the wake of handgun bans. Chicago has banned all handguns since 1982. Indeed, D.C. points to Chicago's ban to support its own ban. But the gun ban didn't work at all when it came to reducing violence. Chicago's murder rate fell from 27 to 22 per 100,000 in the five years before the law and then rose slightly to 23. The change is even more dramatic when compared to five neighboring Illinois counties: Chicago's murder rate fell from being 8.1 times greater than its neighbors in 1977 to 5.5 times in 1982, and then went way up to 12 times greater in 1987.

Taking a page from recent Supreme Court cases, D.C. points to gun bans in other countries as evidence that others think that gun bans are desirable. But the experience in other countries, even island nations that have gone so far as banning guns and where borders are easy to monitor, should give D.C. and its supporters some pause. Not only didn't violent crime and homicide decline as promised, but they actually increased.

D.C.'s brief specifically points to Great Britain's handgun ban in January 1997. But the number of deaths and injuries from gun crime in England and Wales increased 340 percent in the seven years from 1998 to 2005. The rates of serious violent crime, armed robberies, rapes and homicide have also soared.

The Republic of Ireland banned and confiscated all handguns and all center fire rifles in 1972, but murder rates rose fivefold by 1974 and in the 20 years after the ban has averaged 114 percent higher than the pre-ban rate (never falling below at least 31 percent higher).

Jamaica banned all guns in 1974, but murder rates almost doubled from 11.5 per 100,000 in 1973 to 19.5 in 1977, and soared further to 41.7 in 1980.

Evidence is also available for other countries. For example, it is hard to think of a much more draconian police state than the former Soviet Union. Yet despite a ban on guns that dated back to the Communist revolution, its murder rates were high. During the entire decade from 1976 to 1985 the Soviet Union's homicide rate was between 21 and 41 percent higher than that of the United States. By 1989, two years before the collapse of the Soviet Union, it had risen to 48 percent above the U.S. rate.

Even if D.C.'s politicians want to keep arguing for a ban based on public safety, hard facts must eventually matter. If they can't see that gun-control laws have failed to deliver as promised, may be the Supreme Court can point it out for them.

John R. Lott Jr., author of "More Guns, Less Crime" and "Freedomnomics," is a senior research scientist at the University of Maryland.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #210 on: September 12, 2007, 12:30:10 PM »

"Those who hammer their guns into plows will plow for those who do not." 
 ~ Thomas Jefferson
   
(This is why Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton wants gun
control so badly! ) 
   
FIREARMS REFRESHER COURSE
1.  An armed man is a citizen.  An unarmed man is a subject.
2.  A gun in the hand is better than a cop on the phone.
3.  Colt:  The original point and click interface.
4.  Gun control is not about guns; it's about control.
5.  If guns are outlawed, can we use swords?
6.  If guns cause crime, then pencils cause misspelled words.
7.  Free men do not ask permission to bear arms.
8.  If you don't know your rights, you don't have any.
9.  Those who trade liberty for security have neither.
10.  The United States Constitution (c)1791.  All Rights Reserved.
11.  What part of "shall not be infringed" do you not understand?
12.  The Second Amendment is in place in case the politicians ignore
the others.
13.  64,999,987 firearms owners killed no one yesterday.
14.  Guns only have two enemies; rust and politicians.             
15.  Know guns, know peace, know safety.  No guns, no peace, no
safety.         
16.  You don't shoot to kill; you shoot to stay alive.
17.  911:  Government sponsored Dial-a-Prayer.             
18.  Assault is a behavior, not a device.
19.  Criminals love gun control; it makes their jobs safer.
20.  If guns cause crime, then matches cause arson.
21.  Only a government that is afraid of its citizens tries to
control them.
22.  You have only the rights you are willing to fight for.
23.  Enforce the gun control laws we ALREADY have; don't make more.
24.  When you remove the people's right to bear arms, you create
slaves.
25.  The American Revolution would never have happened with gun
control.
               
IF YOU AGREE, PASS THIS "REFRESHER" ON TO TEN FREE CITIZENS.
   

"Calling an illegal alien an "undocumented immigrant" is like calling a
drug dealer an "unlicensed pharmacist."

IF YOU DON'T STAND BEHIND OUR TROOPS, PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO STAND IN
FRONT OF THEM !!!
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #211 on: September 13, 2007, 01:52:27 PM »

HELP CA DEFEAT THE MICROSTAMP BILL - See the EASY CALL Instructions!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Please call the governor's office re: that Microstamp Bill. I just did this!

EASY TO DO - Please give $.10 and 1 minute of your TIME!

And if you are out of state, remember, there are other states looking to impose similar state (and federal) legislation, so feel free to call in and post your opinions too

CALL Gov's Sac number (916-445-2841)

Press 1 - for English
Press 2 - for Voice your opinion on Assembly Bills
Press 1 - for Micro Stamping Bill (AB1471)
Press 2 to OPPOSE the gun control bill.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #212 on: September 17, 2007, 08:57:07 PM »

Originally Posted by Lott
John R. Lott Jr.: D.C. Handgun Ban
Friday , September 14, 2007
By John R. Lott Jr.

Is banning handguns a "reasonable regulation"? The District of Columbia certainly hopes that the Supreme Court thinks so.

D.C. filed a brief last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let it keep its 1976 handgun ban, but how the city argued its case was what was most surprising. Instead of spending a lot of time arguing over what the constitution means, the city largely made a public policy argument. D.C. argues that whatever one thinks about the Second Amendment guaranteeing people a right to own guns, banning handguns should be allowed for public safety reasons.

Claiming that the Second Amendment doesn't protect individual rights might be a tough sell, but the city's public safety argument will be at least as tough. After the ban, D.C.'s murder rate only once fell below what it was in 1976. From 1977 to 2003, there were only two years when D.C.'s violent crime rate fell below the rate in 1976. After the ban, DC’s murder and violent rates rose relative to Maryland and Virginia as well as relative to other cities with more than 500,000 people.

But it is not just D.C. that has experienced increases in murder and violent crime after guns are banned. Chicago also experienced an increase after its ban in 1982. Island nations supposedly present ideal environments for gun control because it is relatively easy for them to control their borders, but countries such as Great Britain, Ireland, and Jamaica have experienced large increases in murder and violent crime after gun bans. For example, after handguns were banned in 1997, the number of deaths and injuries from gun crime in England and Wales increased 340 percent in the seven years from 1998 to 2005.

Passing a gun ban simply doesn't mean that we are going to get guns away from criminals. The real problem is that if it is the law-abiding good citizens who obey these laws and not the criminals, criminals have less to fear and crime can go up.

D.C.’s brief makes a number of other claims:

The ban comes "nowhere close to disarmament of residents. The District's overwhelming interest in reducing death and injury caused by handguns outweighs respondent's asserted need . . . ." The obvious key here is that DC says people can use rifles and shotguns for self-defense. D.C. also adds that they don't believe that the regulations that lock up and require the disassembling of guns does not "prevent the use of a lawful firearm in self-defense."

But locked guns are simply not as readily accessible for defensive gun uses. In the U.S., states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a 5 percent increase in murder and a 12 percent increase in rapes. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes and those attacks are more likely to be successful.

Since potentially armed victims deter criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages increased crime.

— "All too often, handguns in the heat of anger turn domestic violence into murder."

To put it bluntly, criminals are not your typical citizens. Few people should be fearful of those who they are in relationshipswith. Almost 90 percent of adult murders already have a criminal record as an adult. As is well known, young males from their mid-teens to mid-thirties commit more than their share of crime, but even this is categorization can be substantially narrowed. We know that criminals tend to have low IQ’s as well as atypical personalities. For example, delinquents generally tended to be more “assertive, unafraid, aggressive, unconventional, extroverted, and poorly socialized,” while non-delinquents are “self-controlled, concerned about their relations with others, willing to be guided by social standards, and rich in internal feelings like insecurity, helplessness, love (or its lack), and anxiety.” Other evidence indicates that criminals tend to be more impulsive and put relatively little weight on future events. Finally, we cannot ignore the unfortunate fact that crime (particularly violent crime even more so murder) is disproportionately committed against blacks and by blacks.

— "handguns cause accidents, frequently involving children. The smaller the weapon, the more likely a child can use it, and children as young as three years old are strong enough to fire today's handguns."

Accidental gun deaths among children are, fortunately, much rarer than most people believe. With 40 million children in the United States under the age of 10, the Centers for Disease Control indicates that there were just 20 accidental gun deaths in 2003. 56 children under the age of 15. While guns get most of the attention, children are 41 times more likely to die from accidental suffocation, 32 times more likely to accidentally drown and 20 times more likely to die as a result of accidental fires. Looking at all children under 15, there were 56 accidental gun deaths in 2003— still a fraction of the deaths resulting from these other accidents for only the younger children.

Despite the image of children firing these guns and killing themselves or other children, the typical person who accidentally fires a gun is an adult male, usually in his 20s. Accidental shooters overwhelmingly have problems with alcoholism and long criminal histories, particularly arrests for violent acts. They are also disproportionately involved in automobile crashes and are much more likely to have had their driver's licenses suspended or revoked. Even if gun locks could stop children from using guns, gun locks are simply not designed to stop adult males from firing their own guns — even if they were to use the gun locks.

Of course, D.C. makes other claims as well, but the city’s crime problems and the fact that they began after the gun ban are hardly a secret. After the ban, D.C. regularly ranked number one in murder rates for cities over 500,000 people. That wasn’t even close to being true before the ban. The fact that D.C. must argue that the gun ban reduced the murder rate shows how incredibly weak the city's case really is.

*John Lott is the author of the book "Freedomnomics," and is a Senior Research Scientist at the University of Maryland.
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« Reply #213 on: September 25, 2007, 04:03:55 PM »

Wisconsin Circuit Court Sides With Gun Owners

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9/24/07 - Today, the 31st Circuit Court of Milwaukee County ruled that the Concealed Carry Weapons (CCW) statute was unconstitutional as applied to a particular defendant -- in this case, a pizza delivery driver who carried a gun for self-defense on the job, after being robbed repeatedly in a high crime area.

Andres Vegas is a pizza delivery driver and has been robbed and mugged while attempting to deliver a pizza on four different occasions. The first time was in March of 2005. The second time was July 14, 2006, when Vegas was attacked and threatened at gunpoint. Vegas, armed with a firearm, exercised his constitutional right of self-defense and shot one of the assailants. Vegas was not charged with the crime of carrying concealed and was ruled as acting in self defense. Not only was his firearm confiscated at the time of arrest, but it was never returned. He was subsequently told by the prosecuting District Attorney that if he were to use a firearm in self-defense again he would be prosecuted.

On September 13, 2006, an unarmed Vegas -- acting under the orders of the District Attorney to avoid prosecution -- was robbed, beaten, and sprayed with pepper spray by three assailants. Consequently Vegas went out and purchased another firearm. On January 4, 2007, Vegas was again attempting to deliver a pizza when two men approached him and pointed a gun in his face. This time, he responded by again exercising his right to self-defense and shot his assailant in the hip. Vegas then secured his assailant' s firearm along with his, placed them both on the roof of his car, dialed 911, and waited for the police to arrive. The DA determined that he acted in self defense, but he was subsequently charged with CCW for the moments before he was assaulted and defended.

Even though this charge was brought forward by the DA's office, the court has ruled in favor of Vegas, saying:

“Defendant Vegas has demonstrated the requisite extraordinary circumstances that warrant his concealed weapon…Vegas legally purchased his firearm for the purpose of security and protection. There is a strong inference that Vegas' concealed firearm has saved his life during these violent assaults…Vegas has a substantial interest in being secure and protecting himself by carrying a concealed weapon.”

“This Court is not convinced that there are any reasonable alternatives that would have secured Vegas' safety. Vegas' concealed weapon has most likely saved his life on several occasions; this the State cannot ignore. The State has conceded that Vegas did not have an unlawful purpose for concealing a weapon. Given the totality of the circumstances, this Court is satisfied that the Defendant has affirmatively answered the two-prong analysis as outlined in Hamdan and Fisher and thus grants the Defendant's motion to dismiss.”

This is a giant step forward in the battle for Right-to-Carry in Wisconsin. This court ruling will likely lead to future citizens exercising their right to self-defense by carrying concealed firearms. Unfortunately this will likely lead to subsequent prosecutions, but this circuit court ruling will become a perfect example of law-abiding citizens' need for concealed firearms for protection against crime, especially in high crime areas such as Milwaukee.
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« Reply #214 on: September 25, 2007, 11:54:59 PM »

I applaud the Wisconsin concealed carry decision but mainly I am struck by the facts - the poor man being mugged so many times.  It's puzzling that he stayed in Milwaukee and kept delivering pizzas in a high crime area.  What's wrong with this town that they allow crime to run out of control?  Looks like a good part of the answer is in the case: they took away the right of citizens to defend themselves.
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« Reply #215 on: September 26, 2007, 08:19:42 PM »

Doug & Crafty,

I was also "struck" by how many times this man was attacked.  I wonder if he qulifies for the Guiness Book!

Anyway Wikepedia's lastest national standing of concealed weapons by state:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concealed_weapon
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« Reply #216 on: September 27, 2007, 08:27:59 AM »

No URL came to me with this.
===========================

Veterans Disarmament Act To Bar Vets From Owning Guns

Larry Pratt | September 23, 2007

Hundreds of thousands of veterans -- from Vietnam through Operation Iraqi Freedom -- are at risk of being banned from buying firearms if legislation that is pending in Congress gets enacted.

How? The Veterans Disarmament Act -- which has already passed the House -- would place any veteran who has ever been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on the federal gun ban list.

This is exactly what President Bill Clinton did over seven years ago when his administration illegitimately added some 83,000 veterans into the National Criminal Information System (NICS system) -- prohibiting them from purchasing firearms, simply because of afflictions like PTSD.

The proposed ban is actually broader. Anyone who is diagnosed as being a tiny danger to himself or others would have his gun rights taken away ... forever. It is section 102((1)©(iv) in HR 2640 that provides for dumping raw medical records into the system. Those names -- like the 83,000 records mentioned above -- will then, by law, serve as the basis for gun banning.

No wonder the Military Order of the Purple Heart is opposed to this legislation.

The House bill, HR 2640, is being sponsored by one of the most flaming anti-Second Amendment Representatives in Congress: Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY). Another liberal anti-gunner, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is sponsoring the bill in the Senate.

Proponents of the bill say that helpful amendments have been made so that any veteran who gets his name on the NICS list can seek an expungement.

But whenever you talk about expunging names from the Brady NICS system, you're talking about a procedure that has always been a long shot. Right now, there are NO EXPUNGEMENTS of law-abiding Americans' names that are taking place under federal level. Why? Because the expungement process which already exists has been blocked for over a decade by a "funds cut-off" engineered by another anti-gunner, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY).

So how will this bill make things even worse? Well, two legal terms are radically redefined in the Veterans Disarmament Act to carry out this vicious attack on veterans' gun rights.

One term relates to who is classified a "mental defective." Forty years ago that term meant one was adjudicated "not guilty" in a court of law by reason of insanity. But under the Veterans Disarmament Act, "mental defective" has been stretched to include anyone whom a psychiatrist determines might be a tiny danger to self or others.

The second term is "adjudicate." In the past, one could only lose one's gun rights through an adjudication by a judge, magistrate or court -- meaning conviction after a trial. Adjudication could only occur in a court with all the protections of due process, including the right to face one's accuser. Now, adjudication in HR 2640 would include a finding by "a court, commission, committee or other authorized person" (namely, a psychiatrist).

Forget the fact that people with PTSD have the same violent crime rate as the rest of us. Vietnam vets with PTSD have had careers and obtained permits to carry firearms concealed. It will now be enough for a psychiatric diagnosis (a "determination" in the language of the bill) to get a veteran barred ­for life ­ from owning guns.

Think of what this bill would do to veterans. If a robber grabs your wallet and takes everything in it, but gives you back $5 to take the bus home, would you call that a financial enhancement? If not, then we should not let HR 2640 supporters call the permission to seek an expungement an enhancement, when prior to this bill, veterans could not legitimately be denied their gun rights after being diagnosed with PTSD.

Veterans with PTSD should not be put in a position to seek an expungement. They have not been convicted (after a trial with due process) of doing anything wrong. If a veteran is thought to be a threat to self or others, there should be a real trial, not an opinion (called a diagnosis) by a psychiatrist.

If members of Congress do not hear from soldiers (active duty and retired) in large numbers, along with the rest of the public, the Veterans Disarmament Act -- misleadingly titled by Rep. McCarthy as the NICS Improvement Amendments Act -- will send this message to veterans: "No good deed goes unpunished."
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« Reply #217 on: September 27, 2007, 10:47:05 AM »

Second post of the morning:

The D.C. Gun Ban: Supreme Court Preview
by Robert A. Levy
Robert A. Levy is senior fellow in constitutional studies at the Cato Institute, and co-counsel to the plaintiffs in Parker v. District of Columbia.

On September 4, the District of Columbia government asked the Supreme Court to reverse a federal appellate decision in Parker v. District of Columbia, 478 F.3d 370 (D.C. Cir. 2007), which upheld a Second Amendment challenge to D.C.'s ban on all functional firearms. The six D.C. residents who brought the lawsuit — although they won in the lower court — agree with the city that the Supreme Court should revisit the Second Amendment for the first time since 1939. A four-square pronouncement from the High Court is long overdue. The entire nation, not just Washington, D.C., needs to know how courts will interpret "the right of the people to keep and bear arms." Sometime before yearend, the justices will decide whether to review the case. If the Supreme Court chooses to intervene, a final decision will probably be issued by June 30, 2008.

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and attorney general Linda Singer, in their petition to the Supreme Court and in a Washington Post op-ed ("Fighting for Our Handgun Ban," September 4), raise four arguments in support of the city's ban. Their first argument is that the Second Amendment ensures only that members of state militias are properly armed, not that private citizens can have guns for self-defense and other personal uses. That contentious question has been debated at length on these pages. See Dennis Henigan, "The Mythic Second," March 26, 2007; and Robert A. Levy, "Thanks to the Second Amendment," April 16, 2007.

The city's remaining three arguments — two legal claims and one policy claim — have received comparatively less attention. First, declares the mayor, even if the Second Amendment protects private ownership of firearms for non-militia purposes, a ban on all handguns is reasonable because D.C. allows possession of rifles and shotguns in the home. Second, the Amendment restricts the actions of the federal government, but not the states, and D.C. should be treated the same as a state for Second Amendment purposes. And third, "handgun bans work"; the streets of the Nation's Capital are safer as a result. Let's consider each argument in turn.

It's okay to ban handguns as long as rifles and shotguns are permitted.
The D.C. Circuit, for good reason, called that argument "frivolous." "It could be similarly contended," wrote Senior Judge Laurence Silberman, "that all firearms may be banned so long as sabers were permitted." After all, D.C. does not ban home possession of knives or hatchets. Does that justify the city's handgun ban? Could publication of cookbooks be barred under the First Amendment as long as restaurant guides were allowed?
Moreover, the D.C. Code bans not just handguns, but all functioning firearms. Rifles and shotguns in the home must be unloaded and either disassembled or bound by a trigger lock. That's why one of the Parker plaintiffs, who owns a shotgun, had to sue in order to render the weapon usable in an emergency.

Not to worry, says the mayor. "The District does not … construe this provision [regarding rifles and shotguns] to prevent the use of a lawful firearm in self-defense." That assurance might be heartening were it not disingenuous. Once a rifle or shotgun is loaded, it is no longer a "lawful firearm." Accordingly, D.C.'s pledge, limited to lawful weapons, is an empty one. A gun must be operative before it can be used in self-defense. Any owner who waits to load and assemble a gun until it's needed for self-defense has waited too long. If the mayor means what he says, he should have no problem repealing the city's ban on home possession of functional rifles and shotguns, as the Parker plaintiffs have demanded.

D.C. is like a state, and the Second Amendment doesn't apply to states.
The District relies on an 1886 case, Presser v. Illinois, for the proposition that the Second Amendment applies only to the federal government, not to the states. Admittedly, D.C. is not a state. But, says the mayor, the city should be treated the same as a state when courts review its gun control regulations. Therefore, so the argument goes, the city is immune from a Second Amendment challenge.

That argument fails on two counts. First, none of the amendments in the Bill of Rights originally applied to the states. Beginning in 1897, however, 11 years after Presser, the Supreme Court decided that the post-Civil War enactment of the 14th Amendment was intended to "incorporate" most of the Bill of Rights in order to hold state governments accountable for violations. To be sure, the Court never formally ruled that the Second Amendment was incorporated, but even ultra-liberal Ninth Circuit judge Stephen Reinhardt has conceded that "Presser rest on a principle that is now thoroughly discredited."

Second, even if states are exempt from the Second Amendment, the Constitution expressly grants to Congress, not a state, plenary legislative power over all matters whatsoever in the Nation's Capital. Because the Second Amendment indisputably applies to the federal government, it therefore applies to the District, a federal enclave. D.C.'s assertion that its city council, a creature of Congress, should enjoy an exemption from the Second Amendment that binds Congress itself, is quite simply bizarre. If it were true, then the Seventh Amendment right to a jury trial in civil cases — which also hasn't been incorporated — would not apply to D.C. But the courts have held otherwise. See, e.g., Pernell v. Southall Realty (U.S. 1974).

The city responds that the Second Amendment is different because, unlike the Seventh, the Second is a limitation on federal power over the states. In effect, that's the collectivist or states' rights view of the Second Amendment. Thus, the District's claim of exemption merges with, and depends on, its collectivist interpretation of the Second Amendment. If D.C. is wrong about the Second Amendment, then its "no-incorporation" argument collapses as well.

"Handgun bans work"; they've "saved countless lives."
Before the District banned handguns in 1976, the murder rate had been declining. But soon afterward, the rate climbed to the highest of all large U.S. cities. It also rose relative to nearby Maryland and Virginia as well as relative to other cities with more than 500,000 people. During the 31-year life of the ban, with the exception of a few years during which the city's murder rate ranked second or third, there have been more killings per capita in Washington, D.C. than in any other major city.

In 12 of the years between 1980 and 1997, including all nine years from 1989 through 1997, the violent crime rate in D.C. exceeded 2,000 per 100,000, reaching a high of 2,922 in 1993, versus 1,481 in 1976 — a 97 percent increase in violent crime, 17 years after citizens were forbidden from defending themselves with firearms. Moreover, the murder rate climbed as high as 81 per 100,000 inhabitants in 1991 — triple the pre-ban levels. As of 2005, the last year for which I have data, the murder rate is still 32 percent above the 1976 level.

Two non-partisan, respected federal government agencies recently examined gun controls and found no statistically significant evidence to support their effectiveness. In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences reviewed 253 journal articles, 99 books, and 43 government publications evaluating 80 gun-control measures. The researchers could not identify a single gun-control regulation that reduced violent crime, suicide, or accidents. A year earlier, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on an independent evaluation of firearms and ammunition bans, restrictions on acquisition, waiting periods, registration, licensing, child access prevention laws, and zero tolerance laws. Conclusion: none of the laws had a meaningful impact on gun violence.

Based on those statistics, there's a compelling argument that Americans deserve an opportunity to defend themselves by possessing suitable firearms. But even if the data were to cut the other way — even if it could be demonstrated (which it emphatically cannot) that more gun laws lead to less crime — gun laws are not just about public policy. They're about the meaning of the Constitution. Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court, at long last, will answer this vital question: Does the right to keep and bear arms belong to us as individuals, or does the Constitution merely recognize the collective right of states to arm the members of their militias?

This article appeared in Legal Times on September 24, 2007.
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« Reply #218 on: October 18, 2007, 08:40:07 AM »

By KIMBERLY DURNAN and STEVE THOMPSON / The Dallas Morning News
Dennis Baker's home security system includes three cameras that feed video to 42-inch screens in his living room and bedroom. But it was his pet parrot, he says, that alerted him to a burglar he shot and killed early Tuesday.
Also Online

Video: Homeowner Dennis Baker, accompanied by his parrots, talks about shooting the intruder

"Hello, hello," the parrot said, waking Mr. Baker from what he says was a deep sleep.

The 59-year-old locksmith keeps several pet birds in his northwest Dallas home, including a Mexican Red-headed parrot named Salvador. The bird says "hello" whenever he sees someone. When someone passed by a window about 2 a.m., Salvador squawked the greeting.

"It woke me up," Mr. Baker said. "I guess you could call him a stool pigeon."

Police say it appears that Mr. Baker was within his rights to shoot the burglar, but as is routine in such cases, they will turn the facts to a grand jury for review.

Mr. Baker killed 46-year-old John Woodson, whose criminal record includes charges of burglary, theft and possession of a controlled substance.

Tuesday's burglary, police say, was the fourth on Mr. Baker's property within a month. Investigators say preliminary information indicates Mr. Woodson may have been responsible for some or all of them.

Mr. Baker puts the number at five.

"I got hit five times this month. I have tools in my garage, my house and my van," Mr. Baker said. "They were coming here like they owned the place. I hate what happened, but somebody has to do what's necessary."

Mr. Baker runs a locksmith shop at the home in the 3600 block of Cortez Drive. A large safe sits on the porch. The door of the detached garage is off its hinges. He plans to fix the doors soon but has to replace some of the wood first.

Mr. Baker said he installed a video surveillance system after burglars targeted his home repeatedly. Thieves have taken $20,000 worth of locksmith equipment, saws and lawn gear, he said.

After the parrot woke him, Mr. Baker said, he got up and walked to the garage.
North of Love Field

"He was in the very back of the garage," Mr. Baker said of Mr. Woodson. "There were no lights on. The only thing I could do was see a silhouette, and as you saw in the video, he had his hands in his pockets when he came through here. I had no idea what he had."

The security video shows a man – presumably Mr. Woodson – with his hands in his pant pockets, casually walking around the perimeter of the garage and then inside.

Neither police nor Mr. Baker would give a detailed account of the confrontation that followed, and the cameras don't capture it. But police said Mr. Woodson didn't try to flee and that Mr. Baker shot him in his midsection.

The case is one of several in recent weeks in which a home or business owner has shot an intruder.

A West Dallas business owner fatally shot a suspected burglar on Sunday, the second time in three weeks that he has killed a prowler, police say.

Last week, the owner of Joe's Cleaners in Far East Dallas shot a man who tried to rob him at gunpoint.

Last month, a Mesquite business owner shot and wounded a suspected burglar after finding him with bolt cutters and copper cable taken from the building.

Musician Carter Albrecht was shot to death Sept. 3 after he tried to kick in a neighbor's back door during a drunken rage. The neighbor reportedly thought Mr. Albrecht was a burglar and fired a pistol high through the door as a warning, but struck 6-foot-4 Mr. Albrecht in the head.

Earlier this year, Texas lawmakers approved the Castle Law, which removes any obligation for a crime victim to retreat before responding with deadly force when faced with an intruder in his or her home, vehicle or business.

Despite the new law and the recent series of intruder shootings, Dallas police homicide Sgt. Larry Lewis said he would not describe them as a growing trend.

"We get them over the year from time to time," Sgt. Lewis said.

When police officers arrived at his home after the shooting, Mr. Baker said, Salvador began greeting them with his signature "hello."

"Sometimes he says 'hi,' but you can't get him to speak on cue," Mr. Baker said. "He has a mind of his own."

Mr. Baker said police officers are doing their jobs, but are overworked and understaffed. Dallas police recorded more than 14,400 residential burglaries last year.

"I will protect my property and my life," Mr. Baker said. "The fifth time is enough. It's not something you want to do, but you have to do."

kdurnan@dallasnews.com; stevethompson@dallasnews.com
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« Reply #219 on: October 19, 2007, 07:35:38 AM »

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,303417,00.html

Gun Safety
A student at Hamline University in Minnesota has been suspended and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation for advocating the carrying of legal concealed weapons on campus.
TownHall.com reports Troy Scheffler made the case in an e-mail to a school official that licensed gun owners could stop or prevent the kind of violence that struck Virginia Tech earlier this year. He pointed out that research has indicated the possibility of armed resistance discourages potential criminals. And he noted that many Virginia Tech students have said the massacre there would not have happened if the school had not banned concealed weapons.
But even though the school has a policy that guarantees students will be free to discuss all questions of interest and express their opinions openly, the dean of students says Scheffler's e-mail was deemed to be threatening. Scheffler was placed on interim suspension, which will only be lifted after he agrees to a psychological evaluation.
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« Reply #220 on: October 26, 2007, 03:36:39 PM »

I did not know that Charles Krauthammer is VERY anti-gun. Here's what he wrote in an op-ed piece entitled "Disarm The Citizenry", in 1996:


Ultimately, a civilized society must disarm its citizenry if it is to have a modicum of domestic tranquility of the kind enjoyed by sister democracies such as Canada and Britain. Given the frontier history and individualist ideology of the United States, however, this will not come easily. It certainly cannot be done radically. It will probably take one, maybe two generations. It might be 50 years before the United States gets to where Britain is today. Passing a law like the assault weapons ban is a symbolic - purely symbolic - move in that direction. Its only real justification is not to reduce crime but to desensitize the public to the regulation of weapons in preparation for their ultimate confiscation.
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« Reply #221 on: November 02, 2007, 05:28:29 AM »

Ex-marine store owner overcomes gun in face and shoots

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0DoG_zcWpc&NR=1
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« Reply #222 on: November 16, 2007, 10:56:44 AM »

“The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.” —Samuel Adams

PATRIOT PERSPECTIVE
“The right of the people to keep and bear arms”
By Mark Alexander

There is yet another ideological contest brewing in our nation’s capitol, this one between two distinctively different groups in the federal judiciary: constitutional constructionists, who render decisions based on the “original intent” of our nation’s founding document, and judicial despots, who endorse the dangerously errant notion of a “Living Constitution.”

This is no trivial contest, however, and the outcome will have significant consequences across the nation.

The subject of this dispute is Washington, DC’s “Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975,” which prohibits residents from owning handguns, ostensibly to deter so-called “gun violence.”

Of course, suggesting that violence is a “gun problem” ignores the real problem—that of socio-pathology and the culture which nurtures it. (See the Congressional Testimony of Darrell Scott, father of Rachel Scott, one of the children murdered at Columbine High School in 1999.)

In 1960 the frequency of violent crime in the District was 554/100,000 residents, and the murder rate was 10/100,000. In 2006, the frequency of violent crime in the District was 1,512/100,000 residents, and the murder rate was 29/100,000. That is a 200 percent increase, and according to the latest data from Washington Metro Police, violent crime is up 12 percent thus far this year.

Fact is, firearm restrictions on law-abiding citizens in Washington, and other urban centers, have created more victims while protecting offenders. There is nothing new about this correlation. As Thomas Jefferson noted in his Commonplace Book (quoting Cesare Beccaria), “Laws that forbid the carrying of arms... disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes... Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”

Simply put, violent predators prefer victims who have no means of self defense.

Most pro and con arguments about firearms are constructed around the crime debate, including excellent research by John Lott, whose book More Guns, Less Crime, clearly establishes that restrictive gun policies lead to higher crime rates.

The arguments from both sides in the current case in Washington are also constructed around the crime issue. However, the Second Amendment debate is not about crime, but about the rule of law—constitutional law. Fortunately, the appellate court for DC is making this distinction.

In March of this year, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down that federal jurisdiction’s restrictions on gun ownership, finding that the District is violating the Second Amendment’s prohibition on government infringement of “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.” The case has been appealed to the Supreme Court, and should the High Court accept the case, its ruling would be the first substantial decision on the scope of the Second Amendment since 1939.

At issue: Does the Second Amendment prohibit the government from infringing on the individual rights of citizens to keep and bear arms, or does it restrict the central government from infringing on the rights of the several states to maintain well-armed militias?

The intent of the Second Amendment, however, was abundantly clear to our Founders.

Indeed, in the most authoritative explication of our Constitution, The Federalist Papers, its principal author, James Madison, wrote in No. 46, “The advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation... forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any...”

Alexander Hamilton was equally unambiguous on the importance of arms to a republic, writing in Federalist No. 28, “If the representatives of the people betray their constituents, there is then no recourse left but in the exertion of that original right of self-defense...”

Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by James Madison, wrote, “The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

In other words, the right of the people to bear arms is the most essential of the rights enumerated in our Constitution, because it ensures the preservation of all other rights.

Accordingly, the appellate court, in a 2-1 decision, ruled, “The Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms. That right existed prior to the formation of the new government under the Constitution and was premised on the private use of arms for activities such as hunting and self-defense, the latter being understood as resistance to either private lawlessness or the depredations of a tyrannical government... The individual right facilitated militia service by ensuring that citizens would not be barred from keeping the arms they would need when called forth for militia duty.”

Additionally, the majority opinion notes, “The activities [the amendment] protects are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual’s enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued or intermittent enrollment in the militia.”

The dissenting judge’s conclusion did not dispute the plain language of the Second Amendment’s prohibition on government, but he insists that the District is not a state, and is, thus, not subject to the prohibition.

This is ridiculous, of course, since such a conclusion would imply, by extension, that District residents are not subject to any protection under the Constitution.

The real contest here is one between activist judges, those who amend the Constitution by judicial diktat rather than its clearly prescribed method stipulated in Article V, and constructionist judges, those who properly render legal interpretation based on the Constitution’s “original intent.”

As Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 81, “[T]here is not a syllable in the [Constitution] under consideration which directly empowers the national courts to construe the laws according to the spirit of the Constitution...” In other words, nothing in the Constitution gives judges the right to declare the Constitution means anything beyond the scope of its plain language.

However, activist judges, including those among generations of High Court justices, have historically construed the Second Amendment through a pinhole, while viewing the First Amendment through a wide-angle lens.

For example, though the First Amendment plainly says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” judicial activists interpret this plain language to mean a public school coach can’t offer a simple prayer before a game.

Equally absurd, they argue that the First Amendment’s “freedom of speech” clause means burning the American flag, exploiting women for “adult entertainment,” or using taxpayer dollars to fund works of “art” such as a crucifix immersed in a glass of human waste.

If these same judicial despots misconstrued the Second Amendment as broadly as they do the first, Americans would have nukes to defend themselves from noisy neighbors.

The appeals case regarding the constitutionality of DC’s Firearms Control Regulations Act of 1975 is not about crime prevention, or whether the District is subject to prohibitions in the Bill of Rights. It is about the essence of our Constitution’s most important assurance that all Americans have the right to defend themselves against both predatory criminals and tyrannical governments. It is about the need for the High Court to reaffirm this right and stop the incremental encroachment of said right by infringements like that in the District, or more egregious encroachments like those found within the Feinstein-Schumer gun-control act.

Of self-government’s “important principles,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, “It is [the peoples’] right and duty to be at all times armed.” Indeed, the right of the people to keep and bear arms should not be infringed.
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« Reply #223 on: November 23, 2007, 04:41:36 PM »

AT LAW

Second Amendment Showdown
The Supreme Court has a historic opportunity to affirm the individual right to keep and bear arms.

BY MIKE COX
Friday, November 23, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case that will affect millions of Americans and could also have an impact on the 2008 elections. That case, Parker v. D.C., should settle the decades-old argument whether the right "to keep and bear arms" of the Constitution's Second Amendment is an individual right--that all Americans enjoy--or only a collective right that states may regulate freely. Legal, historical and even empirical reasons all command a decision that recognizes the Second Amendment guarantee as an individual right.

The amendment reads: "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." If "the right of the people" to keep and bear arms was merely an incident of, or subordinate to, a governmental (i.e., a collective) purpose--that of ensuring an efficient or "well regulated" militia--it would be logical to conclude, as does the District of Columbia--that government can outlaw the individual ownership of guns. But this collective interpretation is incorrect.





To analyze what "the right of the people" means, look elsewhere within the Bill of Rights for guidance. The First Amendment speaks of "the right of the people peaceably to assemble . . ." No one seriously argues that the right to assemble or associate with your fellow citizens is predicated on the number of citizens or the assent of a government. It is an individual right.
The Fourth Amendment says, "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated . . ." The "people" here does not refer to a collectivity, either.

The rights guaranteed in the Bill of Right are individual. The Third and Fifth Amendments protect individual property owners; the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments protect potential individual criminal defendants from unreasonable searches, involuntary incrimination, appearing in court without an attorney, excessive bail, and cruel and unusual punishments.

The Ninth Amendment protects individual rights not otherwise enumerated in the Bill of Rights. The 10th Amendment states, "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people." Here, "the people" are separate from "the states"; thus, the Second Amendment must be about more than simply a "state" militia when it uses the term "the people."

Consider the grammar. The Second Amendment is about the right to "keep and bear arms." Before the conjunction "and" there is a right to "keep," meaning to possess. This word would be superfluous if the Second Amendment were only about bearing arms as part of the state militia. Reading these words to restrict the right to possess arms strains common rules of composition.

Colonial history and politics are also instructive. James Madison wrote the Bill of Rights to provide a political compromise between the Federalists, who favored a strong central government, and the Anti-Federalists, who feared a strong central government as an inherent danger to individual rights. In June 1789, then-Rep. Madison introduced 12 amendments, a "bill of rights," to the Constitution to convince the remaining two of the original 13 colonies to ratify the document.

Madison's draft borrowed liberally from the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and Virginia's Declaration of Rights. Both granted individual rights, not collective rights. As a result, Madison proposed a bill of rights that reflected, as Stanford University historian Jack Rakove notes, his belief that the "greatest dangers to liberty would continue to arise within the states, rather than from a reconstituted national government." Accordingly, Mr. Rakove writes that "Madison justified all of these proposals (Bill of Rights) in terms of the protection they would extend to individual and minority rights."

One of the earliest scholars of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, Justice Joseph Story, confirmed this focus on individuals in his famous "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States" in 1833. "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms," Story wrote, "has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of republics, since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers . . ."

It is also important to consider the social context at the time of the drafting and adoption of the Bill of Rights. Our Founding Fathers lived in an era where there were arms in virtually every household. Most of America was rural or, even more accurately, frontier. The idea that in the 1780s the common man, living in the remote woods of the Allegheny Mountains of western Pennsylvania and Virginia, would depend on the indulgence of his individual state or colony--not to mention the new federal government--to possess and use arms in order to defend himself is ludicrous. From the Minutemen of Concord and Lexington to the irregulars at Yorktown, members of the militias marched into battle with privately-owned weapons.

Lastly, consider the empirical arguments. The three D.C. ordinances at issue are of the broadest possible nature. According to the statute, a person is not legally able to own a handgun in D.C. at all and may have a long-gun--even in one's home--only if it is kept unloaded and disassembled (or bound with a trigger lock). The statute was passed in 1976. What have been the results?





Illegal guns continue to be widely available in the district; criminals have easy access to guns while law-abiding citizens do not. Cathy L. Lanier, Acting Chief of Police, Metropolitan Police Department, was quoted as follows: "Last year [2006], more than 2,600 illegal firearms were recovered in D.C., a 13% increase over 2005." Crime rose significantly after the gun ban went into effect. In the five years before the 1976 ban, the murder rate fell to 27 from 37 per 100,000. In the five years after it went into effect, the murder rate rose to 35. In fact, while murder rates have varied over time, during the 30 years since the ban, the murder rate has only once fallen below what it was in 1976.
This comports with my own personal experience. In almost 14 years as prosecutor and as head of the Homicide Unit of the Wayne County (Detroit) Prosecutor's Office, I never saw anyone charged with murder who had a license to legally carry a concealed weapon. Most people who want to possess guns are law-abiding and present no threat to others. Rather than the availability of weapons, my experience is that gun violence is driven by culture, police presence (or lack of same), and failures in the supervision of parolees and probationers.

Not only does history demonstrate that the Second Amendment is an individual right, but experience demonstrates that the broad ban on gun ownership in the District of Columbia has led to precisely the opposite effect from what was intended. For legal and historical reasons, and for the safety of the residents of our nation's capital, the Supreme Court should affirm an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Mr. Cox is the attorney general of Michigan.

WSJ
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« Reply #224 on: December 31, 2007, 09:59:46 AM »

Who says God is without a sense of humor?
================

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl.../BAOSU71JB.DTL

Richmond police have found the car that was carjacked at gunpoint from State Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata in North Oakland, authorities said today.
The red 2006 Dodge Charger was found near the corner of Wiswall and Colette drives near the Hilltop Mall in Richmond at about 11 p.m. Saturday, nine hours after the carjacking, police said. The car will be processed for evidence.
Told about the recovery of the car, Perata, 62, said today that he was heartened that no one was hurt. "The car is immaterial to me," said the Oakland Democrat, whose home was guarded by the California Highway Patrol and police overnight.
He joked, "At least it was found in my district."
Perata was unharmed after he was accosted by a gunman at 51st Street and Shattuck Avenue in North Oakland at about 1:45 p.m. Saturday.
Perata said he was waiting for the light to change when, out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a man walking up to him. The senator, who has campaigned against assault weapons and crime, said he mistook the man for a panhandler or window washer at first.
But then the man began pulling a mask over his nose and pointed an automatic handgun at him "gangster style" - holding it sideways - before tapping it on his window and bellowing at him, "Get out of the m- car."
Perata said he told the man, "I'm outta here" and jumped out of the car, which police say may have been targeted for its 22-inch rims. The man got inside and took off in the car, which also had Perata's cell phone in it. The carjacker was followed by an accomplice in a gold 2000 Chevrolet Camaro that was stolen in San Leandro on Friday in an incident in which shots were fired, authorities said.
Oakland police Lt. Lawrence Green said police do not believe the assailants had recognized Perata on Saturday. The senator told officers that he believed he saw the men at a Union 76 gas station minutes earlier on Broadway Terrace, so it was possible that they followed him to 51st and Shattuck before carjacking him, Green said.
Perata said he was preparing to get onto the freeway when he was carjacked while he was the third car waiting at the red light. The gunman was no more than 3 feet away, and at one point, Perata said, he feared that if the assailant panicked and fired a round while fumbling to get his mask over his face, "that would have been the end of me."
Perata said today that he no longer carries a concealed-weapons permit and there was no gun in his state car.
Perata said he never had the permit renewed when it expired two years ago because he "just never had the opportunity to re-qualify" at a gun range. Perata obtained the permit out of security concerns stemming from his work regulating firearms.
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« Reply #225 on: December 31, 2007, 11:34:55 PM »

We finish the year on a happy note:

Gun-packing man, 65, fights off 5 thugs

WKMG LOCAL 6 NEWS
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A Central Florida man who collects cash for parking at a church fought off five armed men who had ambushed him and demanded cash.  The 65-year-old victim, who did not want to be identified, said he was collecting cash in the Parramore area before an Orlando Magic basketball game when someone put a gun to his head.  He noticed that that he was surrounded by four other men as well.  The man said he pretended to reach into his jacket for cash but instead pulled out his hidden gun and opened fire.  The men fled during the shooting and it was not known if any of them were hit by bullets.  The victim said he had a permit for the concealed weapon.

He said he has been a victim of crime before.

"A couple of years ago, eight teens attacked me with a pipe trying to rob me," the man said.
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« Reply #226 on: January 04, 2008, 07:13:33 PM »

The DC's brief in the case going to the Supreme Court on whether the Second Amendment is an individual right:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...rief010408.pdf

Its long.  If you are in a hurry, start at page 22.

=======================

Here's an AP article on the brief:

D.C.: 2nd Amendment Does Not Apply Here

January 4, 2008 - 7:28pm

By MATTHEW BARAKAT
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Second Amendment's provisions protecting the right to keep and bear arms apply only to the federal government, not the 50 states and the District of Columbia, lawyers for the nation's capital argued Friday in a written brief to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The district is seeking to preserve its three-decade ban on handgun possession after a federal appeals court ruled in March that the ban is an unconstitutional infringement on an individual's right to keep and bear arms.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take the case, setting up what could be a landmark ruling on the scope of the Second Amendment. The court has not addressed the issue in a significant way for nearly 70 years.
"We are going to argue not just the most significant legal case in the history of the District of Columbia, but one of the most significant legal challenges in the history of the country," Mayor Adrian Fenty said at a press conference Friday in which he introduced former U.S. Solicitor General Walter Dellinger as the lead attorney representing the district.
The primary issue is whether the right to keep and bear arms is an individual right or a collective right belonging to state militias. A majority of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the founding fathers intended the right apply to individuals and struck down the D.C. law, though it remains in effect while the case is on appeal.
The district argues that the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms only in the context of an organized militia.

In the brief, the district makes an additional argument: That the founding fathers' concern in drafting the Second Amendment was to protect states from an overbearing federal government that might restrict access to firearms as a means of crippling state militias.

As such, the Second Amendment only restricts Congress, they argue.
"The primary goal of those who demanded (the Bill of Rights) as a condition of ratification to the Constitution was to control the federal government," the lawyers wrote. "That is especially true with respect to the inclusion of the Second Amendment."

Alan Gura, the lawyer representing the D.C. resident who challenged the law, called the district's argument "very creative but wrong."

The fundamental flaw, he said, is that the district is a creation of Congress and the federal government, so the D.C. Council would be subject to the same restrictions as Congress in passing gun-control laws.
Randy Barnett, law professor at Georgetown University, agreed that the argument is strained, and said that if the high court accepts the notion that the right to bear arms is an individual right, it would be hard pressed to turn around and allow the district and the states to violate that right.

The district's interpretation "is at odds with the text and the original meaning of the Second Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights as well," Barnett said.

The Supreme Court may hear arguments in the case in March.
Because the case addresses not only the Second Amendment but also the peculiar status of the District of Columbia as a federal enclave, it is unclear whether the Supreme Court ruling will have a direct impact on the national gun-control issue.

(Copyright 2008 The Associated Press
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« Reply #227 on: January 12, 2008, 09:49:58 PM »

 angry angry angry

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« Reply #228 on: January 14, 2008, 11:47:46 AM »

Woof Guro C.
 Don't worry Crafty, it's only wishful thinking on the part the press, media and anti-gun left that this case isn't going to settle once and for all that the second amendment is an individual right. So keep your chin up! grin
                                              P.C.
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« Reply #229 on: January 15, 2008, 09:43:59 AM »

Woof,
 The D.C. gun ban has already been struck down by a lower Federal Court and a appellate court panel ruled to uphold that decision on the grounds that the ban against owning a handgun and possesing a functional long-gun in a home, was a violation of the Second Amendment. This left D.C. with no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court, otherwise their gun ban would have been immediately lifted.
 The Brady Campaign has said for years that the most settled point in American law is that the Second Amendment is not an individual right for citizens to own guns. Yet, after D.C. lost its case, Paul Helmke, the head of the Brady Champaign, begged D.C. not to file an appeal with the high court but simply rewrite its gun laws. You see the lower court ruling would only apply to the District of Columbia law and no other. The prospect of the Supreme Court making a ruling on the Second Amendment terrifies the anti gun left because in one fell swoop, years of carefully laid misinformation, lies, and intellectually dishonest interpretations of the Second Amendment that fill our libraries and are repeated daily in the press and preached religiously in our universities, will be wiped away! And the ruling will apply nationwide.
 The D.C. argument that the Second Amendment doesn't apply to D.C. or the States, if upheld by the high court, would mean that the entire Bill of Rights would not apply to D.C. or the States. And thus a State could deny religious freedom, freedom of the press, the right to assemble. The States could search your home without a warrant etc; of course this is total nonsense but it shows just how far they are willing to go to continue the fairytale that the Second is not an individual right that they are forbidden to infringe upon.
 In a very rare move the Supreme Court chose to write its own Question Presented. The Question Presented is the narrow area of the case that the high court will hold up to the light of the Constitution. The question that the court crafted is: "Whether the following provisions- D.C. Code sections 7-2502.02 (a) (4), 22-4504 (a) and 7-2507.02 violate the Second Amendment rights of individuals who are not affiliated with any state militia, but who wish to keep handguns and other firearms for private use in their homes."
 When the court comes down on the side of individual freedoms we can expect the left to start crying "Activist court! Activist court!" And then they'll start all over again putting out their propaganda to brainwash citizens into believing that we have no individual rights.
 On the other hand if the high court finds in favor of the D.C. ban, then it will be time for the second revolution to begin. evil
                                                P.C.
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« Reply #230 on: January 15, 2008, 10:02:55 AM »

PC: 

I didn't know that the SCOTUS wrote its own question presented.  VERY interesting!

Here's this discouraging piece from John Lott on the DOJ's intervention in the case.  How do I call/email the White House?

======
http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZmIyM2ZlMDhkOTFkMTc5ZGZhMjU0ZDE4N2QzN2U2YzM=
Bad Brief
The Bush DOJ shoots at the Second Amendment.

By John R. Lott Jr.
A lot of Americans who believe in the right to own guns were very disappointed this weekend. On Friday, the Bush administration’s Justice Department entered into the fray over the District of Columbia’s 1976 handgun ban by filing a brief to the Supreme Court that effectively supports the ban. The administration pays lip service to the notion that the Second Amendment protects gun ownership as an “individual right,” but their brief leaves the term essentially meaningless.

Quotes by the two sides’ lawyers say it all. The District’s acting attorney general, Peter Nickles, happily noted that the Justice Department’s brief was a “somewhat surprising and very favorable development.” Alan Gura, the attorney who will be representing those challenging the ban before the Supreme Court, accused the Bush administration of “basically siding with the District of Columbia” and said that “This is definitely hostile to our position.” As the lead to an article in the Los Angeles Times said Sunday, “gun-control advocates never expected to get a boost from the Bush administration.”
As probably the most prominent Second Amendment law professor in the country privately confided in me, “If the Supreme Court accepts the solicitor general’s interpretation, the chances of getting the D.C. gun ban struck down are bleak.”

The Department of Justice argument can be boiled down pretty easily. Its lawyers claim that since the government bans machine guns, it should also be able to ban handguns. After all, they reason, people can still own rifles and shotguns for protection, even if they have to be stored locked up. The Justice Department even seems to accept that trigger locks are not really that much of a burden, and that the locks “can properly be interpreted” as not interfering with using guns for self-protection. Yet, even if gun locks do interfere with self-defense, DOJ believes the regulations should be allowed, as long as the District of Columbia government thinks it has a good reason.

Factually, there are many mistakes in the DOJ’s reasoning: As soon as a rifle or shotgun is unlocked, it becomes illegal in D.C., and there has never been a federal ban on machine guns. But these are relatively minor points. Nor does it really matter that the only academic research on the impact of trigger locks on crime finds that states that require guns be locked up and unloaded face a five-percent increase in murder and a 12 percent increase in rape. Criminals are more likely to attack people in their homes, and those attacks are more likely to be successful. Since the potential of armed victims deters criminals, storing a gun locked and unloaded actually encourages crime.

The biggest problem is the standard used for evaluating the constitutionality of regulations. The DOJ is asking that a different, much weaker standard be used for the Second Amendment than the courts demands for other “individual rights” such as speech, unreasonable searches and seizures, imprisonment without trial, and drawing and quartering people.

If one accepts the notion that gun ownership is an individual right, what does “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” mean? What would the drafters of the Bill of Rights have had to write if they really meant the right “shall not be infringed”? Does the phrase “the right of the people” provide a different level of protection in the Second Amendment than in the First and Fourth?

But the total elimination of gun control is not under consideration by the Supreme Court. The question is what constitutes “reasonable” regulation. The DOJ brief argues that if the DC government says gun control is important for public safety, it should be allowed by the courts. What the appeals court argued is that gun regulations not only need to be reasonable, they need to withstand “strict scrutiny” — a test that ensures the regulations are narrowly tailored to achieve the desired goal.

Perhaps the Justice Department’s position isn’t too surprising. Like any other government agency, it has a hard time giving up its authority. The Justice Department’s bias can been seen in that it finds it necessary to raise the specter of machine guns 10 times when evaluating a law that bans handguns. Nor does the brief even acknowledge that after the ban, D.C.’s murder rate only once fell below what it was in 1976.

Worried about the possibility that a Supreme Court decision supporting the Second Amendment as an individual right could “cast doubt on the constitutionality of existing federal legislation,” the Department of Justice felt it necessary to head off any restrictions on government power right at the beginning.

But all is not lost. The Supreme Court can of course ignore the Bush administration’s advice, but the brief does carry significant weight. President Bush has the power to fix this by ordering that the solicitor general brief be withdrawn or significantly amended. Unfortunately, it may take an uprising by voters to rein in the Justice Department.
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« Reply #231 on: January 15, 2008, 08:07:49 PM »

Thank you Leo Daher-- here's how to let the White House know what you think:

comments@whitehouse.gov
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prentice crawford
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« Reply #232 on: January 16, 2008, 09:05:56 AM »

Woof,
 I'll add to the list:   White House switchboard 202-456-1414
                                                          FAX 202-456-2461
                                           comments line  202-456-1111
   and:  vice_president@whitehouse.gov
   and for snail mail: The White House
                            1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                            Washington, DC 20500
 
Then for the Department of Justice: Main switchboard 202-514-2000
                                Office of the Attorney General  202-353-1555
                                  Office of the Solicitor General  202-514-2201
                                              Office of Legal Policy  202-514-4601
   and for snail mail: U.S. Depatment of Justice
                            950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                            Washington, DC 20530-0001
                           
 
                           
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« Reply #233 on: January 16, 2008, 09:44:02 AM »

Woof,
 The DOJ is obviously unaware of the facts regarding fully automatic machineguns. Full auto guns are not out and out banned but they are regulated by the ATF. To lawfully own, possess and sell a fully automatic firearm you must either be an authorized law enforcement officer or member of the U.S. Military or as a private citizen be issued a class three firearms license by the BATF.
  Prior to 1933 a private citizen did not need a license to own a machinegun. Today thousands of people own tens of thousands of full auto weapons with this license. Check out www.machinegunshoot.com
 Since 1933 only two license holders have committed crimes and neither of these involved a fully automatic weapon.
                                    P.C.
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« Reply #234 on: January 16, 2008, 01:36:16 PM »

Whats all the hype about owning a fully auto machine gun? Alot of people I know want to own a assult rifle incase we are invaded or America becomes a poilce state..My responce is that if America becomes a police state or Military state you are not about to fight off the oppression with a ak-47..Then I also state For about 300.00 you can by a 30/30 or 30-o6 with a mag scope and do far more damage a mile away then owning a assult rifle..I own a complete set of the new Smith and Wesson .357 Magum 8 round rev. , A mossberg Shotgun and 30-o6 with a mag scope..But trying to ban all guns is just not gonna happen...


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« Reply #235 on: January 17, 2008, 08:53:08 AM »

Quote
Woof,
 I'll add to the list:   White House switchboard 202-456-1414
                                                          FAX 202-456-2461
                                           comments line  202-456-1111
   and:  vice_president@whitehouse.gov
   and for snail mail: The White House
                            1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                            Washington, DC 20500
 
Then for the Department of Justice: Main switchboard 202-514-2000
                                Office of the Attorney General  202-353-1555
                                  Office of the Solicitor General  202-514-2201
                                              Office of Legal Policy  202-514-4601
   and for snail mail: U.S. Department of Justice
                            950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
                            Washington, DC 20530-0001
                           
 
                           

Woof,
 This is the email I sent out:

Dear Sir,
  The U.S. Department of Justice, filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, that basically agrees with the District's position that their gun ban law is not an infringement on the Second Amendment rights of individual citizens. This is an outrage! The D.O.J. is obviously confused as to the difference between [Federal regulations, that allow private citizens with a Class Three firearms license, to posess functioning, fully automatic weapons] and [the D.C. law that bans the possession of any kind of functioning firearm in their home.]
 There has never been a danger that a government body would send a state militia member into battle, unarmed. The states ratified the Second Amendment because they feared that a tyrannical government body would disarm its citizens, leaving them defenseless and powerless. This is exactly what the D.C. ban does!
 I ask that you direct the D.O.J. to withdraw this ill advised brief immediately.
 

 And this is the email address for the U.S. D.O.J. you can address it to the Attorney General: askdoj@usdoj.gov
           P.C.
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« Reply #236 on: February 03, 2008, 09:44:22 PM »

Excerpt from article: http://www.icadp.org/page236.html from Chicago Tribune writer published in 2004:


"Obama, however, called for a host of new gun-control measures: strengthening the assault-weapons ban to include high-capacity clips made prior to 1994; holding parents criminally responsible for children who injure someone with a gun found in the home; placing trigger locks on all guns; and allowing gun buyers to purchase only one weapon per month.

Hynes advocated increasing penalties for crimes committed with a gun, and Hull would increase funding to update technology that provides instant background checks on gun buyers.

All of the candidates, except Hynes, said they opposed allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons. Hynes and Chico said states, not the federal government, should regulate the matter.

"I consider this an issue for the states to decide, not the federal government," Chico said.

Obama disagreed. He backed federal legislation that would ban citizens from carrying weapons, except for law enforcement. He cited Texas as an example of a place where a law allowing people to carry weapons has "malfunctioned" because hundreds of people granted licenses had prior convictions.

"National legislation will prevent other states' flawed concealed-weapons laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents," Obama said."
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« Reply #237 on: March 04, 2008, 12:52:24 PM »

Sanity and the Second Amendment
By LAURENCE H. TRIBE
March 4, 2008; Page A16

The Supreme Court is set to hear oral argument later this month in a politically charged gun-control case from the District of Columbia. The case involves a city resident who contends that the District is violating his rights under the Second Amendment with a citywide ban on handguns.

Gun enthusiasts on the right are all but daring justices who protect a woman's right to choose, nowhere mentioned in the Constitution, to trash the "right of the people to keep and bear arms," enshrined in the text of the Second Amendment. If the Supreme Court does what they fear and reduces the gun right to a relic of the days when all "able-bodied men" constituted each state's "militia," they will use that defeat to suggest that we need a president who will bring us a truly "conservative" Supreme Court.

Those on the left have at the same time challenged a court that they see as already leaning hard right to live up to its conservative principles, follow precedent, and limit the Second Amendment -- as the text of its preamble seems to invite -- to the preservation of each state's "well-regulated militia," ending once and for all the idea that the Constitution enshrines a personal right to wield firearms.

The court would be foolhardy to accept either side's invitation that it plunge headlong into the culture wars by accepting these extreme ways of framing the issue. It is true that some liberal scholars like me, having studied the text and history closely, have concluded, against our political instincts, that the Second Amendment protects more than a collective right to own and use guns in the service of state militias and national guard units. Opponents of the District's flat ban on handgun possession have cited my words to the court and in newspaper editorials in their support.

But nothing I have discovered or written supports an absolute right to possess the weapons of one's choice. The lower court's decision in this case -- the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found the District's ban on concealable handguns in a densely populated area to be unconstitutional -- went overboard. Under any plausible standard of review, a legislature's choice to limit the citizenry to rifles, shotguns and other weapons less likely to augment urban violence need not, and should not, be viewed as an unconstitutional abridgment of the right of the people to keep or bear arms.

For the Supreme Court to go any further than this in overturning the lower court's decision -- for it to hold, for instance, that no firearms ban could violate the Second Amendment unless it were to prevent states from organizing militias in their collective self-defense, as the District appears to urge -- would gratuitously fan the flames of doubt about the court's commitment to core constitutional principles, and would save no lives in the process.

Equally foolish would be a decision tilting to the other extreme and upholding the lower court's decision simply because the right to bear arms is, judicial precedent to the contrary notwithstanding, a right that belongs to citizens as individuals. Such a holding would confuse the right to bear arms with a right to own and brandish the firearms of one's choosing.

Worse than that, it would transform a constitutional provision clearly intended and designed to protect the people of the several states from an all-powerful national government into a restriction on the national government's uniquely powerful role as governor of the nation's capital, over which Congress, acting through municipal authorities of the District, exercises the same kind of plenary authority that it exercises over Fort Knox.

Using a case about national legislative power over gun-toting in the capital city as a vehicle for deciding how far Congress or the state of California can go in regulating guns in Los Angeles would be a silly stretch.

Chief Justice John Roberts, ever since his days as a judge on the court of appeals, has virtually defined judicial modesty by opining that if it is not necessary for the court to decide an issue, then it is necessary for the court not to decide that issue. For this reason, and for the further reason that the scholarship on the reach of the Second Amendment and its implementation is still in its infancy, the court should take the smallest feasible step in resolving the case before it.

Issuing a narrow decision would disappoint partisans on both sides and leave many questions unresolved. But to do anything else would ill-suit a court that flies the flag of judicial restraint.

Mr. Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, is the author of the forthcoming book "The Invisible Constitution" (Oxford Press).
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« Reply #238 on: March 11, 2008, 08:09:37 AM »

WEAPONS OF CHOICE
Press 'ignore' terrorist stopped by armed student
'Yitzak Dadon's apparently well-placed bullets interrupted a rampage'


Posted: March 07, 2008
9:33 pm Eastern

© 2008 WorldNetDaily

A gun rights organization in the United States is accusing
the media of trying to conceal the fact that a gunman who
attacked students at Jerusalem's Mercaz Harav seminary
was stopped by an armed student at the school.
Authorities report that Ytizhak Dadon, 40, was a "private
citizen who had a gun license and was able to shoot the
gunman with his pistol," according to a statement released
today by the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
In its earlier reporting on the tragedy, WND confirmed, "One
terrorist reportedly was shot to death by a student who was
armed…"
However, the gun rights organization said "the American press
is downplaying his heroism because it proves that armed
students can stop campus gunmen."
"Yitzhak Dadon is a hero," said Alan Gottlieb, the chairman of
CCRKBA, "and he is living proof that armed students have a
place on college campuses. Thankfully, his quick action was
reported by the international press … so unlike incidents here in
the United States where the press was able to completely ignore
the actions of armed students or teachers, the truth about this
incident will not be suppressed."
He continued, "Mr. Dadon is not going to become a victim of this
conspiracy of silence. Elitist American college administrators, the
national press, nor anti-gun politicians can sweep this incident
under their rug."
The gun rights group said international reports credit Dadon, who
studies at the school, had his pistol available when the shooting
erupted. "When the gunman emerged from a library, Dadon reportedly
shot him twice in the head. The gunman was subsequently shot by
the off-duty soldier," the group said.
"Yitzhak Dadon's apparently well-placed bullets interrupted a rampage,"
Gottlieb said. "What a pity that someone like Mr. Dadon was not in
class last April at Virginia Tech. What a tragedy that anti-gun extremism
would keep him from attending class at Northern Illinois University. He
would never be allowed to teach at Columbine High School, hold a job
at Trolley Square in Salt Lake City, or go shopping at Omaha's Westroads Mall.
"America's acquiescence to anti-gun hysteria has led to one tragedy
after another," Gottlieb stated. "This disastrous policy has given us nothing
but broken hearts and body counts, and it's got to end. The heroism of an
armed Israeli seminary student halfway across the world sends a message
that we needn't submit to murder in victim disarmament zones. That's why
his actions are getting such short shrift from America's press. It's a story they
are loathe to report because it affirms a philosophy of self-reliance that they despise."
The organization boasts more than 650,000 members and supporters nationwide,
and is dedicated to preserving firearms freedoms through active lobbying of elected
officials and facilitating grass-roots organization of gun rights activists in local
communities throughout the United States.
WND had reported just days earlier on plans in Arizona, where lawmakers are
considering a way to stem the wave of unarmed students killed in campus
slayings by allowing adults to carry firearms onto the grounds of state universities.
"The police got to both the Virginia Tech murder scene and the New Life Church
[in Colorado] in about six minutes," noted Larry Pratt, the chief of Gun Owners of America.
"At Virginia Tech, 30 people died. At New Life, two died in the parking lot and once
the bad guy got inside the building he was engaged by (armed) security team
volunteers and nobody else died. In fact, he was finished in about 30 seconds."
Pratt noted the circumstances of the two attacks. After killing two people at a Christian
training center in Arvada, Colo., last December, 24-year-old Matthew Murray went to
Colorado Springs intending more murder and mayhem.
Murray shot and killed two girls in the New Life Church's parking lot, then headed inside
the building where thousands of worshippers were concluding a service.
A volunteer security guard, Jeanne Assam, confronted him almost immediately and
fired at him. He fell, and an autopsy later said he had shot himself.
But at Virginia Tech, Cho Seung-Hui, 23, armed himself and went to a classroom
building on a campus where guns were banned. He fatally shot a total of 32.
The latest attack on unarmed teachers and students happened on Valentine's Day,
when Stephen Kazmierczak, 27, walked into a Northern Illinois University auditorium
and shot and killed five people, and wounded 16 others.
The gunman then shot himself.
In Jerusalem, reports said one or possibly two gunmen infiltrated the Mercaz Harav
Yeshiva, located near the entrance to Jerusalem, and fired hundreds of rounds of bullets
at students. One terrorist, who may have been armed with an explosive device, made
his way to the yeshiva's main study room, where about 80 students were reportedly gathered.
Israeli police said eight were killed and nearly a dozen were wounded, some seriously.
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« Reply #239 on: March 21, 2008, 09:39:01 AM »

Elderly Man Shoots, Kills Near-Naked Intruder
POSTED: 5:41 pm EDT March 20, 2008
UPDATED: 6:33 pm EDT March 20, 2008

TUCKER, Ga. -- An 81-year-old man who shot and killed an intruder said Thursday he would do it again if he's ever faced with the same situation. Robert Jenkins is recovering from injuries he suffered during a struggle with a man who had broken into his DeKalb County home Tuesday about 11 p.m.

Jenkins and his wife said they were in bed when they heard noises in the house. "I said 'Bob they're in the house, how did they get in the house?' and with that Bob hopped out of the bed went to the closet, got his gun,'" said Peggy Jenkins.

When Jenkins got to the kitchen he found Jynad Marshall, 25, stripped down to his underwear. "He said 'give me that gun' and started at me, so I put a round in him right then,'" Jenkins told WSB-TV Channel 2 reporter Eric Philips.

Meanwhile he wife was dialing 911. "I heard pow, and I told the operator and she said 'stay on the line', and I said 'no, I can't stay on the line,'" Peggy Jenkins explained. "Then I heard another pow."

The 6 foot 225 pound Marshall fell on top of Jenkins. Marshall continued attacking Jenkins until he died. "I don't feel good about killing anybody, but I'm glad I did because it was us or him," said Jenkins.

Police said Jenkins won't face charges since the shooting was self-defense.
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« Reply #240 on: March 22, 2008, 12:17:45 AM »

Guns and Legal Ammo
March 22, 2008
As shoot-outs go, the Supreme Court had a famous one Tuesday during oral arguments over the constitutionality of Washington D.C.'s handgun ban. The smoke won't clear until the High Court issues its decision, but the debate this week augurs well for a conclusion that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms.

District of Columbia v. Heller has become the test case for a question that has animated legal scholars, politicians and lower courts for much of our modern history: Is the Second Amendment guarantee a collective right, which is to say it is reserved only for state militias, or is it an individual right?

Judge Laurence Silberman's landmark opinion last year for the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down D.C.'s ban on handguns, rejecting the militia argument and scouring the historical and legal record to show that the Founders clearly intended to protect an individual's right to defend himself and family. The District appealed, and so the Supremes will issue the most important Second Amendment ruling in decades.

Judging by Tuesday argument, the High Court has a majority in support of the circuit court opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts asked why the Framers included the word "people" if the Amendment only applied to militias. Justice Antonin Scalia discussed the importance the Framers attached to providing citizens the means to protect against tyrannical government. Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the Court's swing vote, informed all in attendance that "In my view, there's a general right to bear arms quite without reference to the militia either way."

The debate also focused on what restrictions, if any, government could impose on such an individual right. Several Justices had particular fun with Solicitor General Paul Clement, who was charged with defending his (and thus the Bush Administration's) odd split-the-baby amicus brief arguing that while the Second Amendment is an individual right, the D.C. Circuit opinion would bar governments from banning even such heavy weapons as machine guns.

In fact, that opinion leaves ample room for a government to regulate machine guns, bazookas and the like -- much as even the First Amendment protects speech as an individual right but not as a right to shout "fire" in a crowded theater. We hope the Supreme Court agrees with Judge Silberman that the Second Amendment does protect the right to own pistols, rifles and other guns of the kind the American Founders believed were needed to protect liberty.

See all of today's editorials and op-eds, plus
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« Reply #241 on: March 23, 2008, 06:05:13 PM »

GORDON DILLOW
Register columnist
GLDillow@aol.com

Comments 4 | Recommend 6
It was the sort of incident that never makes it into the official crime statistics – that is, an incident in which a crime may have been prevented by a firearm.
It happened earlier this month in Irvine. Police were looking for a man suspected of raping an 18-year-old woman in her home. As the cops searched, the fleeing suspect, a 27-year-old L.A. gang member, tried to hide by breaking into another home. Inside, the homeowner, a man who had recently undergone defensive firearms training, heard the commotion, grabbed a handgun and confronted the suspect.
The homeowner didn't shoot the alleged rapist, although legally he almost certainly could have. If someone breaks into your home, and you have a justifiable fear that he might kill or harm you or someone else, you have a right to defend yourself with lethal force.
But as I said, the homeowner – for security reasons, he declined to be interviewed or identified by name – didn't shoot. Instead, he shouted at the suspect to stop, at which point the guy ran out of the house. Shortly thereafter he was caught and arrested by the police.
"The homeowner took the appropriate safety steps," Irvine Police Lt. Rick Handfield told me. "And he had had some firearms training, which is an important part of gun ownership."
But did the homeowner's use of a gun prevent another crime from occurring – perhaps an assault on the homeowner or his family? Or would the suspect, who turned out to be unarmed, have fled when confronted by the homeowner, gun or no gun? The police can't definitively say.
So how will that incident be reflected in the crime statistics?
Yes, the rape will be added to the grim numbers of that despicable crime, and the successful arrest will appear in the Irvine Police Department's annual statistics. And ironically, if the homeowner had justifiably shot and killed the intruder it still would have been listed in the overall statistics as a gun-related homicide – the same statistics that anti-gun activists use to promote stricter so-called "gun control" laws to keep firearms out of the hands of law-abiding citizens.
But police departments and other government agencies don't collect hard numbers on crimes that may have been prevented by armed citizens – because, as in the Irvine case, they're difficult and sometimes impossible to quantify.
And that's unfortunate. Because crimes prevented by firearms are as important in the debate over guns as crimes committed with firearms.
As you probably know, last week the U.S. Supreme Court took up the 2nd Amendment question. The case could finally decide whether the U.S. Constitution gives individuals the "right to keep and bear arms," as opposed to a collective right afforded only to organized state "militias" such as the National Guard.
(By the way, California law defines our state's "militia" as "all able-bodied male citizens … between the ages of eighteen and forty-five" – which, at age 57, I find somewhat insulting and discriminatory. And in any modern application I guess we would have to include the gals in the militia, too.)
Well, I don't have enough space to go into all the 2nd Amendment arguments. But to me it's obvious that a homeowner in Irvine – or any other law-abiding citizen – has a constitutional right to have a firearm.
Of course, whenever gun ownership rights are debated, anti-gun activists like to point out that about 30,000 people are killed by guns in America every year -- although they seldom note that about 60 percent of those deaths are suicides, or that the firearm murder rate has dropped by 40 percent in the past 15 years, or that far more people are killed by motor vehicles or medical malpractice every year than are killed by guns.
And they never mention how many crimes have been prevented by citizens bearing arms.
Once again, that's a hard thing to quantify. One U.S. government survey in the 1990s estimated that more than 80,000 Americans a year used guns in an effort to protect themselves or their property against crime. Other estimates put the number far higher, at more than 2 million crimes prevented each year by the presence of privately-owned firearms.
But those are estimates and extrapolations – which means we can argue about the numbers all day long.
Still, this much is clear. When faced with a violent criminal in his house in the middle of the night, it would be hard to argue that that homeowner in Irvine would have been better off without a gun.
714-796-7953 or GLDillow@aol.com



http://www.ocregister.com/articles/g...-police-irvine
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« Reply #242 on: April 17, 2008, 03:14:38 PM »

The Democrats and Gun Control
By DAVID KOPEL
April 17, 2008; Page A19

Imagine an election race of Pat Robertson versus James Dobson, each of them appearing at organic grocery stores and Starbucks throughout Massachusetts, with each candidate insisting that he alone deserves the vote of gay-marriage advocates. An equally silly spectacle is taking place these days in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama compete for the pro-gun vote.

 
Mr. Obama supports the Second Amendment – or so his surrogates have been claiming all over Pennsylvania, the state with the highest per-capita membership in the National Rifle Association. The effort was set back last weekend with the publication of Mr. Obama's remarks claiming that people in small towns in Pennsylvania and other Midwestern states "cling" to guns because they are "bitter" that the government has not solved their economic problems.

Mrs. Clinton shot back with an excellent speech in Valparaiso, Ind., recounting that her father had taught her how to shoot when she was a little girl. "People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are," she said. "Not because they are bitter."

 
Surely she is right. The shooting sports culture in Pennsylvania was thriving long before the domestic manufacture of steel began to decline. Indeed, that culture was thriving before steel was invented. Pennsylvania's 1776 state constitution declared "That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state . . ." A separate provision guaranteed "the liberty to fowl and hunt in seasonable times."

However, having the right to arms and the liberty to hunt is worthless if you can't buy a gun. In 1999, Mr. Obama urged enactment of a federal law prohibiting the operation of any gun store within five miles of a school or park. This would eliminate gun stores from almost the entire inhabited portion of the United States.

As a state senate candidate in 1996, Mr. Obama endorsed a complete ban on all handguns in a questionnaire. The Obama campaign has claimed he "never saw or approved the questionnaire," and that an aide filled it out incorrectly. But a few weeks ago, Politico.com found an amended version of the questionnaire. It included material added in Mr. Obama's handwriting.

When the U.S. Supreme Court voted last year to hear a case on the constitutionality of the Washington, D.C., handgun ban, Mr. Obama's campaign told the Chicago Tribune: "Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional" and that "local communities" should have the ability "to enact common sense laws." Other than Washington, D.C., the only American cities with handgun bans are Chicago and four of its suburbs. As a state senator, Mr. Obama voted against a 2004 bill (which passed overwhelmingly) to give citizens a legal defense against prosecution for violating a local handgun ban if they actually used the firearm for lawful self-defense on their own property.

Mr. Obama's campaign Web site touts his belief in the Second Amendment rights to have guns "for the purposes of hunting and target shooting." Conspicuously absent is the right to have firearms to defend one's self, home and family. In 2001, as a state senator, Mr. Obama voted against allowing the beneficiaries of domestic violence protective orders to carry handguns for protection.

Yet, as Mr. Obama has mockingly pointed out, Mrs. Clinton is not exactly a modern-day Annie Oakley wiling away weekends in a duck blind. As first lady, she helped organize the Million Mom March for "sensible gun laws" in 2000. It was led by the shrill gun prohibitionist Rosie O'Donnell.

Mrs. Clinton has repeatedly voted for antigun proposals, and co-sponsored many of them. After Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans and St. Tammany police confiscated guns from law-abiding citizens, violating an explicit Louisiana law. In some cases, the confiscation was carried out with the assistance of federal agents, and was perpetrated via warrantless break-ins into homes.

The next year, the U.S. Senate voted 84-16 for a homeland security appropriations rider stating: "None of the funds appropriated by this Act shall be used for the seizure of a firearm based on the existence of a declaration or state of emergency." Mrs. Clinton was one of the 16 who voted "no." Mr. Obama commendably voted with the majority.

Forty states currently allow most law-abiding adult citizens to carry concealed handguns for lawful protection, after a background check and (in almost all such states) a safety class. Of course those laws only apply to carrying within the relevant state. Mr. Obama told the Chicago Tribune in 2004 that he favored a national ban on concealed carry, to "prevent other states' laws from threatening the safety of Illinois residents." Mrs. Clinton campaigned against a licensed carry referendum in Missouri.

Both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama voted against legislation to stop mayors from suing gun manufacturers and gun stores because of gun crime. That legislation banned lawsuits only if businesses had complied with all laws regarding firearms manufacture and sales.

A presidential candidate could of course swear devotion to the First Amendment, while declaring that the amendment's purpose is to protect sports reporting and book collecting. And that candidate could still support government lawsuits against publishers, local bans on newspapers, and draconian restrictions on political commentary.

Civil libertarians who supported such a candidate because of his alleged love for the First Amendment would be foolish. Civil libertarians who support Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton because of their purported fealty to the Second Amendment may be bitterly disappointed.

Mr. Kopel is research director of the Independence Institute and co-author of the law school textbook, "Gun Control and Gun Rights" (NYU Press, 2002).
WSJ
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« Reply #243 on: June 15, 2008, 09:55:33 AM »

http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/an-illustrated-guide-to-obamas-gun-grabbing/

Not a right, says the Obamessiah.
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« Reply #244 on: June 24, 2008, 02:51:35 AM »

Have only skimmed it, but this appears to be an excellent resource:

http://www.gunfacts.info/pdfs/gun-facts/5.0/GunFacts5-0-screen.pdf
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« Reply #245 on: June 26, 2008, 01:25:16 PM »

Finally, a good ruling from the SCOTUS!!!!!!
 grin  grin  grin

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/26/gun-battle-heller-time/

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« Reply #246 on: June 26, 2008, 02:01:40 PM »

http://www.gallup.com/poll/108394/Americans-Agreement-Supreme-Court-Gun-Rights.aspx

73% agree.
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« Reply #247 on: June 27, 2008, 09:02:43 AM »

Silver Bullet
June 27, 2008; Page A12
The 2008 Supreme Court term ended with a bang yesterday as the Justices issued their most important ruling ever in upholding an individual right to bear arms. The dismaying surprise is that the Second Amendment came within a single vote of becoming a dead Constitutional letter.

That's the larger meaning of yesterday's landmark 5-4 ruling in D.C. v. Heller, the first gun control case to come before the Court in 70 years. Richard Heller brought his case after the Washington, D.C. government refused to grant him a permit to keep a handgun in his home. The District has some of the most restrictive handgun laws in the country – essentially a total ban. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision by Judge Laurence Silberman, overturned the ban in an opinion that set up yesterday's ruling by taking a panoramic view of gun rights and American legal history.
===========

In a First, High Court
Affirms Gun Rights
By JESS BRAVIN and SUSAN DAVIS
June 27, 2008; Page A1

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees individuals the right to keep handguns in the home, ending a debate about the Second Amendment's 18th-century language while opening new battles over the politically charged issues of guns, crime and violence.

 
See how justices have split in cases this term
In a 5-4 opinion by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court struck down perhaps the nation's toughest gun law, a 1976 District of Columbia ordinance that effectively bans handguns and required that rifles be disassembled or disabled by trigger locks in the home.

The decision stopped short of invalidating other local, state and federal gun regulations. The court also declined to hand legislators a blueprint for permissible gun regulations, acknowledging that the contours of the Second Amendment right, like other constitutional rights, will have to be mapped in litigation over the years to come.

Gun-rights advocates said their efforts will now swing toward challenging handgun bans in other cities, licensing laws and other statutes, such as zoning laws that ban gun stores. Among the issues that the court left to future litigation: whether the government can restrict other kinds of firearms besides handguns, specifically assault weapons, which have been the focus of numerous legislative battles at the state and federal level.

 
The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down one of the nation's strictest gun bans, ruling that individuals have the right to own guns for personal use. Video courtesy of Reuters. (June 26)
Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence, one of the NRA's chief opponents, said there could be a silver lining. Because the decision eliminates the specter of gun confiscation, advocates will be more willing to come to the table and discuss other gun-control issues.

Reflecting the passion and political importance of gun owners in an election that could be decided by independent voters, both presidential candidates immediately embraced the opinion -- while shading their comments to emphasize different portions of the decision that appealed to their varying bases.

Candidates React

"Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today's ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right -- sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly," said Republican John McCain, seeking to join the gun enthusiasts' celebration while warning that the decision still left open the chance that lawmakers could enact firearms regulations that stopped short of an outright ban. "This ruling does not mark the end of our struggle."

His Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, was more restrained, saying that he "always believed that the Second Amendment protects the right of individuals to bear arms." He emphasized that while the ruling protects a core right and "the D.C. gun ban went too far," the protection "is not absolute and subject to reasonable regulations enacted by local communities to keep their streets safe."

 
Getty Images 
Three activists from Virginia cheered the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on the District of Columbia's gun ban Thursday.
The Bush administration sought simultaneously to endorse the decision while assuring the public that existing federal gun regulations would remain intact.

"As a longstanding advocate of the rights of gun owners in America, I applaud the Supreme Court's historic decision today confirming what has always been clear in the Constitution: the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear firearms," the president said in a statement. He urged the District of Columbia to "swiftly move" to protect residents' Second Amendment rights.

In its own statement, however, the Justice Department noted that the court said some restrictions on gun possession were permissible. The Justice Department said it "will continue to defend vigorously the constitutionality, under the Second Amendment, of all existing federal firearms laws."

The court's decision appears to strike a balance on gun ownership that reflects the views of the general public. A majority of Americans, 59%, said they oppose laws that ban the sale of handguns, according to an April poll conducted by the Pew Research Center. Yet a similar number, 58%, said it is more important to place controls on gun ownership versus the 37% that said it is more important to protect the right to own a gun.

Despite the opinion's broad language, it was unclear if it would apply beyond the District of Columbia, the federal enclave whose unique status as the seat of government makes it part of no state. Although the district's elected City Council operates autonomously under home-rule legislation approved by Congress, Washington's municipal government is, as a constitutional matter, part of the federal government.

In a footnote, Justice Scalia noted that the issue known as "incorporation" -- whether federal rights also are binding on state governments -- wasn't before the court, and observed that prior cases "reaffirmed that the Second Amendment applies only to the Federal Government." In a 1997 book, he suggested views even more ominous for gun enthusiasts, writing that "properly understood, [the amendment] is no limitation upon arms control by the states."

For Dick Heller, the security officer who challenged the ordinance, the court's 5-4 ruling means district officials must issue him a license to keep a handgun in his Washington home. But it doesn't necessarily allow him to buy another one in the district -- or require the city to allow gun stores to operate within its boundaries. District officials, noting that the decades-old gun ban was widely popular within their city, pledged to do all they can to limit firearms in their jurisdiction.

Elsewhere, cities with tough gun laws seized on the decision's focus on Washington. Because it only concerns the District of Columbia, the ruling "does not apply to state and local governments," said Benna Solomon, a deputy corporation counsel for Chicago. Chicago has one of the strictest gun regulations. City officials said they are expecting a challenge but would continue to enforce its handgun ban until ordered by a court to cease.

 
Associated Press 
Pro-gun advocates and supporters of the District of Columbia's firearms ban demonstrated outside the Supreme Court in March.
States with assault-weapons bans or licensing requirements for gun owners said that they felt confident their laws wouldn't have to change as a result of the ruling. "The decision affirms the right of states to regulate gun ownership in order to preserve public safety," said David Wald, a spokesman for New Jersey's attorney general.

The village president of Morton Grove, Richard Krier, said that lawyers were reviewing the community's ordinance following the decision and that he had "every intention" of complying with it.

Morton Grove has banned the possession of handguns in the homes of its 22,000 residents since 1981, as well as other dangerous weapons.

Delivered on the last day of the Supreme Court's term, the 5-4 decision underscored the central place the court plays in the nation's politics and culture as well as its law. For the third time this month, a major constitutional issue was decided by a single vote -- that of Justice Anthony Kennedy, the maverick conservative who earlier sided with the court's liberals to extend habeas corpus rights to Guantanamo detainees and bar the execution of child rapists. Today, he lined up on the right to hold that each household in Washington may arm itself with deadly weapons to fend off intruders.

Gun-Right Origins

Justice Scalia's opinion was a 64-page tour from the obscure origins of gun rights in the fratricidal wars of 17th-century England through the violent struggles that defined America in its colonial revolt against the British crown, its division over slavery and the subsequent repression of freed blacks. It continued through to the modern era, where battles against foreign invasion and between internal factions have given way to urban crime.

"By the time of the founding, the right to have arms had become fundamental for English subjects," Justice Scalia wrote, in an opinion joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. "The Second Amendment, like the First and Fourth Amendments, codified a pre-existing right."

The Second Amendment, in its entirety, reads: "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."

That phrasing has led to countless debates over what precisely is being protected -- a right of states and their citizens to organize militias, obviating the need for a standing army; a right of individuals to arm themselves, in case they may someday need to form a militia; or some other construction involving either or both personal and collective rights.

The Supreme Court last heard a Second Amendment case in 1939, when it upheld a federal ban on interstate transport of short-barreled shotguns. Since sawed-off shotguns had no "reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia, we cannot say that the Second Amendment guarantees the right to keep and bear such an instrument," the court found then. Ever since, most courts have seen the amendment as providing for weapons possession in connection with service in a militia, or its modern descendant, the state-run National Guard.

Justice Scalia, however, wrote that his opinion was consistent with the 1939 ruling, which he saw as holding only that not all guns were covered by the Second Amendment. Otherwise, he wrote, why would the court focus on "the character of the weapon rather than simply note that the two crooks were not militiamen?"

Gamut of Restrictions

The court's liberal wing strenuously disagreed, offering its own historical construction that emphasized a gamut of restrictions on firearms over the same swath of time and asserting that the 1939 case, which itself examined precedents on weapons possession dating to colonial times, had settled the matter.

Yet the lead dissent, by Justice John Paul Stevens, did not dispute that the Second Amendment protects an individual right. Rather, he wrote, the question was the "scope of that right," which protected militia service but left additional regulation to the judgment of the legislature. The Second Amendment's drafting history revealed the founders' "concern about the potential threat to state sovereignty that a federal standing army would pose," something that could be checked by state militias, he wrote, joined by Justices David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

--Gary Fields and Louise Radnofsky contributed to this article.

Write to Jess Bravin at jess.bravin@wsj.com and Susan Davis at susan.davis@wsj.com


In writing for the majority, Justice Antonin Scalia follows the Silberman Constitutional roadmap in finding that the "right of the people to keep and bear arms" is an individual right. The alternative view – argued by the District of Columbia – is that the Second Amendment is merely a collective right for individuals who belong to a government militia.

Justice Scalia shreds the collective interpretation as a matter of both common law and Constitutional history. He writes that the Founders, as well as nearly all Constitutional scholars over the decades, believed in the individual right. Many Supreme Court opinions invoke the Founders, but this one is refreshing in its resort to first American principles and its affirmation of a basic liberty. It's not too much to say that Heller is every bit as important to the Second Amendment as Near v. Minnesota (prior restraint) or N.Y. Times v. Sullivan (libel) are to the First Amendment.

Which makes it all the more troubling that no less than four Justices were willing to explain this right away. These are the same four liberal Justices who routinely invoke the "right to privacy" – which is nowhere in the text of the Constitution – as a justification for asserting various social rights. Yet in his dissent, Justice John Paul Stevens argues that a right to bear arms that is plainly in the text adheres to an individual only if he is sanctioned by government.

Justice Breyer, who wrote a companion dissent, takes a more devious tack. He wants to establish an "interest-balancing test" to weigh the Constitutionality of particular restrictions on gun ownership. This balancing test is best understood as a roadmap for vitiating the practical effects of Heller going forward.

Using Justice Breyer's "test," judges could accept the existence of an individual right to bear arms in theory, while whittling it down to nothing by weighing that right against the interests of the government in preventing gun-related violence. Having set forth this supposedly neutral standard, Justice Breyer shows his policy hand by arguing that under this standard the interests of the District of Columbia would outweigh Mr. Heller's interest in defending himself, and the ban should thus be upheld.

But as Justice Scalia writes, no other Constitutional right is subjected to this sort of interest-balancing. "The very enumeration of the right takes [it] out of the hands of government" – even the hands of Olympian judges like Stephen Breyer. "Like the First, [the Second Amendment] is the very product of an interest-balancing by the people – which Justice Breyer would now conduct for them anew."

In that one sentence, Justice Scalia illuminates a main fault line on this current Supreme Court. The four liberals are far more willing to empower the government and judges to restrict individual liberty, save on matters of personal lifestyle (abortion, gay rights) or perhaps crime. The four conservatives are far more willing to defend individuals against government power – for example, in owning firearms, or private property (the 2005 Kelo case on eminent domain). Justice Anthony Kennedy swings both ways, and in Heller he sided with the people.

Heller leaves many questions unanswered. Contrary to the worries expressed by the Bush Administration in its embarrassing amicus brief, the ruling does not bar the government from regulating machine guns or other heavy weapons; or from limiting gun ownership by felons or the mentally ill. Any broad restriction on handguns or hunting rifles will be Constitutionally suspect, but legislatures will still have room to protect public safety.

Heller reveals the High Court at its best, upholding individual liberty as the Founders intended. Yet it is also precarious because the switch of a single Justice would have rendered the Second Amendment a nullity. With the next President likely to appoint as many as three Justices, the right to bear arms has been affirmed but still isn't safe.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #248 on: July 19, 2008, 06:28:25 PM »

Alan Gura
How a Young Lawyer Saved the Second Amendment
By JAMES TARANTO
July 19, 2008; Page A7

Alexandria, Va.

For decades the Second Amendment might as well have been called the Second-Class Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court spent the late 20th century expansively interpreting the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments, not to mention unenumerated rights ranging from travel to sexual privacy. But not until last month did the court hold that the Second Amendment means what it says: that "the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

What took so long? I put the question to Alan Gura, the 37-year-old wunderkind lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in District of Columbia v. Heller.

 
Ismael Roldan 
A native of Israel, he grew up in Los Angeles and never owned a firearm until after that city's riots in 1992. That summer, before he enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center, "I bought a gun in Los Angeles. I did not have it with me in law school, of course -- that was illegal."

After law school, he worked for California's attorney general and the Senate Judiciary Committee before settling into private practice in this gun-friendly Washington suburb. As we talked last week, we exercised our rights under the 21st Amendment, sipping cocktails at a speakeasy-style bar across the street from his office.

The meaning of the Second Amendment had long been disputed because of its prefatory clause, "A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state . . . ." Opponents of gun rights argued that the Founders meant to establish only a "collective right" -- authorization for states to raise militias. The Supreme Court had not addressed the question since 1939, when it held, in U.S. v. Miller, that sawed-off shotguns were not appropriate for use in a militia and therefore could be banned.

The Miller decision "was agreed by everybody to be somewhat murky and inconclusive," Mr. Gura says. "We read the case, like a lot of people, to mean that it's an individual right." But firearm foes claimed that the court had endorsed the collective-rights theory.

By the beginning of this century, notes Mr. Gura, that theory had fallen into disfavor among legal academics. "Many scholars, including very well-known left-of-center or liberal scholars, had come to concede that the Second Amendment, whatever its scope, guarantees some sort of an individual right to own and carry firearms, not connected to military service."

But the judiciary lagged behind the academy, owing to a dearth of Second Amendment litigation. Traditional civil-liberties groups like the ACLU largely backed the collective-rights theory, and gun-rights groups like the National Rifle Association focused their efforts on lobbying, in the belief that litigation was too risky.

"Virtually all the decisions that addressed the Second Amendment were styled United States v. Somebody," says Mr. Gura. "'Somebody' was a crack dealer, a bank robber -- some lowlife who had made a spurious Second Amendment claim as part of a package of desperate appeals." Faced with these sorts of cases, almost every federal appeals court had desultorily endorsed the collective rights view.

That changed in 2001 with the case of Emerson v. U.S. A federal grand jury had indicted a Texas man for possessing a pistol while under a restraining order not to threaten his estranged wife. The trial judge dismissed the charges on Second Amendment grounds. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the indictment, but held that the Second Amendment does protect an individual right.

"For the first time ever," says Mr. Gura, "we had a clear, concise, intelligent examination of the Second Amendment with a true analysis of the document, and the conclusion was that it secured an individual right." What's more, "with Emerson we had, for the first time, a circuit split" -- a disagreement among appellate courts over how to interpret the amendment.

The government was not about to appeal Emerson, for it had prevailed in reinstating the indictment. But the circuit split made it likely that the high court would take up the Second Amendment question sooner or later. The danger, Mr. Gura says, was that the argument would be made by "some pro se lunatic criminal" or a defense lawyer focused on exonerating his client rather than vindicating the Constitution.

The case that became D.C. v. Heller was the brainchild of three lawyers at a pair of libertarian organizations, the Cato Institute and the Institute for Justice. All were busy with other matters, so they hired Mr. Gura. "Alan was willing to work for subsistence wages," Cato's Robert Levy tells me, "in return for which he got a commitment from me that if the case went anywhere, it would be his baby. It turned out that that commitment was very important."

Mr. Gura says he set out "to do a careful, strategic litigation on the issue." One court that had not yet taken a position on the Second Amendment's meaning was the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. As it happened, the nation's capital had the most restrictive gun law in the country: a total ban on handguns, and a requirement that shotguns and rifles be kept disassembled or locked within the home.

To challenge the law, Mr. Gura says, "it was very important for us to pick decent, law-abiding people . . . . We consciously wanted to have plaintiffs from across the demographic spectrum in Washington, D.C. We wanted all manner of diversity, because it's important -- people want to see that you are arguing for a right that is held by ordinary people."

Mr. Gura tells me his clients' stories: "Shelly Parker . . . is an African-American lady who moved to a part of Capitol Hill that was improving, but apparently not fast enough. [She] would call the police, get the neighbors involved, to try to get the drug dealers off the street. The drug dealers figured out fairly quickly what the source of their problem was and started harassing her, subjecting her to all kinds of threats, vandalism and so on. . . .

"Dick Heller is a special police officer of the District of Columbia . . . . When we started this suit, he was guarding -- with a gun -- the Federal Judicial Center on Capitol Hill . . . . But Mr. Heller was not allowed to have a gun in his own home for self-defense. . . .

"Tom Palmer is a Cato scholar, a gay man who had previously, in California, fended off a hate crime using a firearm that he happened to have on him. He is alive today, or at least avoided serious injury, because he was able to have access to a gun when he needed it. . . .

"Gillian St. Lawrence is a mortgage broker in Georgetown. . . . [She had] a lawfully registered shotgun, but . . . had to always keep that shotgun unloaded and disassembled, or bound by trigger lock. There was no exception for home self-defense. . . . Of course, she asserted the right to have a functional firearm. If you're allowed to have guns, you're allowed to have guns that actually work as such. We're gratified that both the D.C. Circuit and the Supreme Court agreed with us on that proposition." They did -- but it was close. The circuit-court panel that ruled in his clients' favor split 2-1.

When the case reached the Supreme Court, Mr. Levy says he came under pressure to replace the young Mr. Gura, who had never argued a case before the high court, with a veteran litigator like Ted Olson, Ken Starr or Miguel Estrada. No dice, Mr. Levy replied. He had a commitment, and besides, Mr. Gura "had been immersed in this issue for 5½ years . . . so he knew the material cold."

The results speak for themselves. All nine justices agreed that the Second Amendment established an individual right. But four dissenters offered an interpretation of that right so cramped as to render it a nullity.

"My biggest surprise is that it was 5-4," Mr. Gura says. "I thought the case was much stronger than 5-4. . . . However, I'll take the five and be very happy with that."

The court's close division meant that Mr. Gura needed the vote of Anthony Kennedy. Most court-watchers consider him the least predictable justice, but not Mr. Gura: "I received a lot of grief from people about Justice Kennedy going into the argument. We were told that we were not responsible, gambling on the views of this one justice who might be completely inscrutable and unpredictable. . . .

"Justice Kennedy did not trouble me all that much. The fact is that if you look at Justice Kennedy's voting pattern, the cases where he tends to disappoint the so-called conservative bloc -- in almost all those cases, Justice Kennedy sides with a claim of an individual right being held by a person against the government, whether that is in the abortion context, or whether that's in the context of intimate sexual relations, whether it's the habeas case in Guantanamo Bay."

One key unresolved question in D.C. v. Heller is whether it limits the states as well as the federal government. The Bill of Rights originally restrained only Congress, but under the "incorporation" doctrine, the Supreme Court has held that the 14th Amendment protects most constitutional rights against state encroachment. Because the capital is a federal district, its local government is a creation of the U.S. Congress. Heller gave no reason to think incorporation doesn't apply, but further litigation will be necessary to settle the question.

Nor does Heller settle which restrictions are constitutional and which are not. Justice Scalia wrote that "nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt" on laws against possession of firearms by felons or the mentally ill or in "sensitive places" like schools or government buildings, or laws regulating commerce in firearms. That's fine with Mr. Gura, but many laws currently on the books fall somewhere between these uncontroversial provisions and D.C.'s onerous restrictions.

These questions will be sorted out in litigation to come. Mr. Gura's first stop: Chicago, which has a handgun ban identical to Washington's and burdensome registration requirements for long guns.

The Chicago lawsuit was "ready to go" when the Supreme Court decided Heller on June 26. "I looked at the opinion," Mr. Gura says, "and I called my counsel in Chicago and said, 'Yeah, looks good.'" The next day another lawsuit was filed, challenging the ban on handguns in San Francisco's public housing projects. Among the plaintiffs: the National Rifle Association. Thanks to Mr. Gura's efforts, the NRA is no longer gun-shy about going to court.

Mr. Taranto, a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board, writes the Best of the Web Today column for OpinionJournal.com.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #249 on: September 07, 2008, 03:04:03 AM »

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/0...our-guns-away/
September 5, 2008, 2:38 pm
Obama: ‘I’m Not Going to Take Your Guns Away’


Christopher Cooper reports from Duryea, Pa., on the presidential race.

The Obama campaign talks a lot about new ideas and expanding the political map, but in the swing state of Pennsylvania, which the campaign has focused on almost exclusively since the Democratic convention, old-school issues still rise to the fore.

The latest example came Friday during a small political event at SCHOTT North America Inc., a glass factory in Duryea, Pa., where even a hand-picked crowd threw Barack Obama a curve ball.

A woman in the crowd told Obama she had “heard a rumor” that he might be planning some sort of gun ban upon being elected president. Obama trotted out his standard policy stance, that he had a deep respect for the “traditions of gun ownership” but favored measures in big cities to keep guns out of the hands of “gang bangers and drug dealers’’ in big cities “who already have them and are shooting people.”

“If you’ve got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it,’’ Obama said. But the Illinois senator could still see skeptics in the crowd, particularly on the faces of several men at the back of the room.

So he tried again. “Even if I want to take them away, I don’t have the votes in Congress,’’ he said. “This can’t be the reason not to vote for me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back there. I’m not going to take away your guns.’’
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