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Author Topic: We the Well-armed People (gun and knife rights stuff )  (Read 535945 times)
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #250 on: October 20, 2008, 04:04:28 PM »

When seconds count, the cops are just minutes away.

I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.
« Last Edit: October 20, 2008, 07:44:39 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
« Reply #251 on: October 20, 2008, 04:56:32 PM »

Much of the case against private firearm ownership is made via loaded terms with little empiric meaning. "Assault weapons," "junk guns," "Saturday night specials," and recently "disposable AK 47s," are all terms that defy meaningful definition. "Gun show loophole" is one of the more recent terms that fit this pattern; a new study suggests that this boogeyman also is little evident when the evidence is examined.

Article follows:

Gun shows do not increase homicides or suicides

October 1, 2008


A new study finds no evidence that gun shows lead to substantial increases in either gun-related homicides or suicides.

The University of Michigan and University of Maryland study also shows that tighter regulation of gun shows does not appear to reduce the number of firearms-related deaths.

"We believe that this analysis makes an important contribution to understanding the influence of gun shows, the regulation of which is arguably the most active area of federal, state, and local firearms policy," said Brian Jacob, a professor at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

"To our knowledge, this is the first study that directly examines the impact of gun shows on gun-related deaths."

Jacob wrote the study with co-authors Mark Duggan and Randi Hjalmarsson from the University of Maryland.

The researchers analyzed data from Texas and California, chosen because they are the nation's two most populated states, have large numbers of gun shows, and are at opposite ends of the spectrum regarding gun show regulation. California has some of the most aggressive gun show regulations, including background checks for all gun show purchasers and a 10-day waiting period to obtain the firearm. Texas has no similar regulations.

Data came from the dates and locations of more than 3,400 gun shows, and firearm-related deaths from 1994 to 2004. More than 105,000 homicides and suicides were reported in the two states during the 11-year period.

To determine the impact of gun shows, the authors traced the number of gun-related deaths in ZIP codes close to where gun shows took place, looking at how the number of deaths changed leading up to and following the shows. Researchers looked at the gun-related deaths in the weeks immediately after gun shows and actually found a small decline in the number of homicides following shows in Texas.

"The absence of gun show regulations does not increase the number of gun-related deaths as proponents of these regulations suggest," said Jacob, director of its Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP).

The researchers offered two caveats to their analyses. The study focused on the geographic areas surrounding the gun shows, and would not capture the effect when weapons were transported more than 25 miles away. In addition, the data tracked the effects only up to four weeks after the gun shows, which would exclude later gun-related deaths.

Jared Wadley is a writer for the University of Michigan News Service
« Reply #252 on: November 04, 2008, 02:39:22 PM »

A new study for the most part confirms John Lott's "more guns, less crime" thesis, and calls into serious question the only intervening study that found otherwise. The piece is very statistically dense; abstract and conclusion follow:

Carlisle e. Moody and Thomas B. Marvell

“Shall issue” right-to-carry concealed weapons laws require authorities to
issue concealed-weapons permits, allowing the permit holder to carry a concealed
handgun, to anyone who applies, unless the applicant has a criminal record or a
history of mental illness. The shall-issue laws are state laws, applicable to all coun-
ties within the state.3 In contrast, states with “may issue” laws allow considerable
discretion to the authorities. In may-issue states, authorities typically require that
the applicant demonstrate a particular need for a concealed weapons permit, and
self-defense usually is not deemed sufficient. Consequently, shall-issue states are
much more permissive of individual freedom to carry concealed handguns.
In 1997 John Lott and David Mustard published, “Crime, Deterrence and
Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns” in the Journal of Legal Studies. They found that
shall-issue states had lower violent crime rates, presumably because the laws result
in more people carrying concealed weapons. Criminals might be deterred by the
greater likelihood of others being armed, and of arms being concealed. Lott and
Mustard’s article created a furor and the debate continues. Much of this debate takes
place in op-ed columns, letters to editors, internet chat rooms, and web logs. In this
article we concentrate on the academic debate. We review the main threads of the
discussion in the literature and extend the debate with our own statistical analyses. In
particular, we extend the investigation of influential work in Stanford Law Review by
Ian Ayres and John J. Donohue III (2003a, 2003b), who, contrary to Lott and Mus-
tard, claim to find that shall-issue laws actually lead to an overall increase in crime.
The new statistical analysis contained in the present article finds that shall issue laws
are generally beneficial. Purists in statistical analysis object with some cause to some
of methods employed both by Ayres and Donohue, by us, and by the literature in
general. But the new investigation presented here upgrades Ayres and Donohue in
a few significant ways, so, at least until the next study comes along, our paper should
neutralize Ayres and Donohue’s “more guns, more crime” conclusion.
are generally beneficial. Purists in statistical analysis object with some cause to some
of methods employed both by Ayres and Donohue, by us, and by the literature in
general. But the new investigation presented here upgrades Ayres and Donohue in
a few significant ways, so, at least until the next study comes along, our paper should
neutralize Ayres and Donohue’s “more guns, more crime” conclusion.

suMMary and ConClusion
Many articles have been published finding that shall-issue laws reduce crime.
Only one article, by Ayres and Donohue who employ a model that combines a
dummy variable with a post-law trend, claims to find that shall-issue laws increase
crime. However, the only way that they can produce the result that shall-issue laws
increase crime is to confine the span of analysis to five years. We show, using their
own estimates, that if they had extended their analysis by one more year, they
would have concluded that these laws reduce crime. Since most states with shall-
issue laws have had these laws on the books for more than five years, and the law
will presumably remain on the books for some time, the only relevant analysis
extends beyond five years. We extend their analysis by adding three more years
of data, control for the effects of crack cocaine, control for dynamic effects, and
correct the standard errors for clustering. We find that there is an initial increase
in crime due to passage of the shall-issue law that is dwarfed over time by the
decrease in crime associated with the post-law trend. These results are very similar
to those of Ayres and Donohue, properly interpreted.
The modified Ayres and Donohue model finds that shall-issue laws
significantly reduce murder and burglary across all the adopting states. These laws
appear to significantly increase assault, and have no net effect on rape, robbery,
larceny, or auto theft. However, in the long run only the trend coefficients matter.
We estimate a net benefit of $450 million per year as a result of the passage of
these laws. We also estimate that, up through 2000, there was a cumulative overall
net benefit of these laws of $28 billion since their passage. We think that there
is credible statistical evidence that these laws lower the costs of crime. But at
the very least, the present study should neutralize any “more guns, more crime”
thinking based on Ayres and Donohue’s work in the Stanford Law Review.
We acknowledge that, especially in light of the methodological issues of
the literature in general, the magnitudes derived from our analysis of crime statistics
and the supposed costs of crime might be dwarfed by other considerations in
judging the policy issue. Some might contend that allowing individuals to carry a
concealed weapon is a moral or cultural bad. Others might contend that greater
liberty is a moral or cultural good. All we are confident in saying is that the evidence,
such as it is, seems to support the hypothesis that the shall-issue law is generally
beneficial with respect to its overall long run effect on crime.

Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #253 on: November 07, 2008, 03:42:38 PM »

Putting the toothpaste back in the tube is difficult:
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #254 on: November 09, 2008, 05:59:57 PM »


"Yes We Can . . . Ban Guns"--Obama Announces Gun Ban Agenda Before The Final Vote Count Is In

Friday, November 07, 2008

Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign slogan, "the audacity of hope," should have instead been "the audacity of deceit." After months of telling the American people that he supports the Second Amendment, and only hours after being declared the president-elect, the Obama transition team website announced an agenda taken straight from the anti-gun lobby--four initiatives designed to ban guns and drive law-abiding firearm manufacturers and dealers out of business:

"Making the expired federal assault weapons ban permanent." Perhaps no other firearm issue has been more dishonestly portrayed by gun prohibitionists. Notwithstanding their predictions that the ban's expiration in 2004 would bring about the end of civilization, for the last four years the nation's murder rate has been lower than anytime since the mid-1960s. Studies for Congress, the Congressional Research Service, the National Institute of Justice, the National Academy of Sciences, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found no evidence that gun prohibition or gun control reduces crime. Guns that were affected by the ban are used in only a tiny fraction of violent crime-about 35 times as many people are murdered without any sort of firearm (knives, bare hands, etc.), as with "assault weapons." Obama says that "assault weapons" are machine guns that "belong on foreig n battlefields," but that is a lie; the guns are only semi-automatic, and they are not used by a military force anywhere on the planet.

"Repeal the Tiahrt Amendment." The amendment--endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police--prohibits the release of federal firearm tracing information to anyone other than a law enforcement agency conducting a bona fide criminal investigation. Anti-gun activists oppose the restriction, because it prevents them from obtaining tracing information and using it in frivolous lawsuits against law-abiding firearm manufacturers. Their lawsuits seek to obtain huge financial judgments against firearm manufacturers when a criminal uses a gun to inflict harm, even though the manufacturers have complied with all applicable laws.

"Closing the gun show loophole." There is no "loophole." Under federal law, a firearm dealer must conduct a background check on anyone to whom he sells a gun, regardless of where the sale takes place. A person who is not a dealer may sell a gun from his personal collection without conducting a check. Gun prohibitionists claim that many criminals obtain guns from gun shows, though the most recent federal survey of convicted felons put the figure at only 0.7 percent. They also claim that non-dealers should be required to conduct checks when selling guns at shows, but the legislation they support goes far beyond imposing that lone requirement. In fact, anti-gun members of Congress voted against that limited measure, holding out for a broader bill intended to drive shows out of business.

"Making guns in this country childproof." "Childproof" is a codeword for a variety of schemes designed to prevent the sale of firearms by imposing impossible or highly expensive design requirements, such as biometric shooter-identification systems. While no one opposes keeping children safe, the fact is that accidental firearm-related deaths among children have decreased 86 percent since 1975, even as the numbers of children and guns have risen dramatically. Today, the chances of a child being killed in a firearm accident are less than one in a million.
« Reply #255 on: November 18, 2008, 09:22:30 AM »

How the Second Amendment Was Restored

The inside story of how a gang of libertarian lawyers made constitutional history

Brian Doherty | Decemember 2008 Print Edition

On the last date of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2008 spring session, justices declared by a 5-4 decision in D.C. v. Heller that, yes, the Second Amendment does secure an individual right to keep and bear arms. With that, the high court voided the District of Columbia’s extreme regulations on gun ownership, which had amounted in practice to a complete ban on any usable weapon for self-protection, even in the home.

In retrospect, D.C. v. Heller seems almost inevitable, because of shifting public and academic attitudes toward gun rights. But victory came only after a protracted struggle, with many pitfalls along the way. It was pulled off by a small gang of philosophically dedicated lawyers—not “gun nuts” in any stereotypical sense, but thoughtful libertarians who believe Second Amendment liberties are a vital part of our free republic. Together they consciously crafted a solid, clean civil rights case to overturn the most onerous and restrictive set of gun regulations in the country. In the process, they set the stage for further legal challenges to other firearms restrictions from coast to coast.

Someone was going to reach the Supreme Court with a challenge to firearms regulation. In the 2001 Fifth Circuit case U.S. v. Emerson, a federal appeals court for the first time declared unequivocally that the Second Amendment, despite containing the word “militia” in its preamble, did indeed protect an individual right to bear arms. Though groundbreaking in the judicial system, that individual rights interpretation was already dominant within the legal academy, after decades of scholarship chipped away at the once-preeminent “collective rights” view that the amendment only protected either a state’s right to maintain a militia, or an individual’s rights within the context of militia service.

The Emerson decision rippled beyond the courts. On November 9, 2001, then–Attorney General John Ashcroft sent a memo to all U.S. attorneys praising the case for how it “undertook a scholarly and comprehensive review of the pertinent legal materials and specifically affirmed that the Second Amendment ‘protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms.’ ”

Gun rights were on the rise politically as well. Democrats lost Congress in 1994, and the White House in 2000, in part because of a backlash against the 1994 assault weapon ban. In the 21st century, the party no longer makes gun control a major issue. On the state level, laws making it easier for citizens to carry weapons have also been proliferating over the past two decades; the number of states with concealed-weapon “shall issue” standards (objective criteria with little or no bureaucratic discretion) now stands at a de facto 37, up from just eight in 1986.

That was the legal, political, and social environment in which Heller was launched in 2003. “The timing was ripe,” says attorney Robert Levy, then a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute (and now its chairman) and the man who financed and spearheaded the case.

Yet Heller was almost derailed on a series of occasions, sometimes by the very people who cherish gun rights and constitutional protections the most, including the National Rifle Association (NRA). Many lacked confidence that the Court was ready to catch up with the legal academy. In the hour of opportunity, many blinked. Victory over these self-doubts provide a powerful reminder that, as Barry Goldwater reminded us, sometimes an overly fearful moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue, and that even decades of bad policy and bad political philosophy can turn around with smart, tenacious efforts.

Parker Becomes Heller

The inevitable post-Emerson challenge to gun restrictions could well have come from a radically different point of view. Various Washington, D.C., public defenders, for example, were trying to apply Emerson to reduce the prison sentences of their clients—street criminals who typically had a whole host of charges hanging over their heads, not otherwise law-abiding citizens seeking to arm themselves in their home.

So, prodded on by suggestions from a young lawyer named Clark Neily from the libertarian public interest law firm the Institute for Justice, Robert Levy assembled a team that included his Cato colleague Gene Healy (who dropped out before the case reached the Supreme Court), Neily himself, and the private-practice attorney who eventually argued the case in front of the Court, a Virginia libertarian named Alan Gura. Levy’s team then went searching for the ideal clients.

D.C. was the best place to start litigating the Second Amendment. The district is not a state but a federal enclave under direct control of Congress (though it has its own government with home-rule leeway), so lawyers could sidestep the contentious and still-unsolved issue of whether the Second Amendment applied to the states via the Fourteenth Amendment, which stipulates that “No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States.…nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” That amendment has for the past half-century or so been interpreted to apply the provisions of most of the Bill of Rights to state and local government actions.

Besides, the city had the most ridiculously severe gun laws in the country. According to D.C. Codes 7-2502.01, 7-2502.02, 7-2507.02, and 22-4504 and 4515, it was illegal to have a handgun without registering it, and you couldn’t register it if you didn’t already own it before the law was passed in 1976; it was illegal to have your long gun in the home in any condition other than unloaded and disassembled or trigger-locked; and if you had a registered handgun, even carrying it around your house could net you a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

After much searching by Levy’s team, six plaintiffs were selected. They filed the case on February 10, 2003. Back then, it wasn’t the Heller case, but the Parker case, named after original lead plaintiff Shelly Parker.

Parker, a black woman, had the potential to become a new kind of civil rights icon, standing up not just for the right to be treated fairly by other people but to take control over her own life and safety. She had a dramatic story of the type that should make everyone this side of Sarah Brady want to
overnight her an out-of-state mail-order handgun.

In February 2002, Parker, a former nurse now working in software design, moved to a neighborhood on the northeastern edge of Capitol Hill rife with tenacious drug gangs. She wanted her neighborhood to be a safer and more comfortable place for law-abiding citizens, and so made a nuisance of herself to local drug dealers, walking the streets as a one-woman citizen patrol, calling cops when she saw illegal activity, and installing a security camera for her yard.

By June of that year, Parker’s car window had been broken, her security camera had been stolen, and a gang lookout rammed a car into her back fence. When the first news stories about the case appeared, one young drug dealer, physically imposing at over seven feet tall, allegedly shook her gate one night, shouting, “Bitch, I’ll kill you! I live on this block, too.” Parker thought it would be a good thing for her to have a firearm to protect herself in her home; D.C. law forbade her from doing so.

But, like four of the other original six plaintiffs, Parker was found by the Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C.Circuit to lack legal “standing”—that is, actually suffering a direct injury under the law legitimate enough for her to legally challenge it. By March 2007, Dick Heller was the only plaintiff left. As many involved with the case would admit without wanting to stress it too much, Heller was probably the plaintiff they wanted least as a Second Amendment poster boy.

Heller isn’t a sweet lady trying to turn around a dodgy neighborhood; he’s an outspoken ideological activist seeking to push the federal government back within its constitutional bounds, and therefore (his lawyers fretted) potentially off-putting to judges, media, and citizens alike. One of his best friends, a thick, intense, walrus-mustachioed man named Dane vonBreichenruchardt, runs a small-scale political action group called the Bill of Rights Foundation, appears with Heller at most press conferences and events.

The best hook about Heller was his day job, as a trained and licensed special police officer contracted by a private firm to provide security services for the District of Columbia. For years, he carried a gun every day at the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judicial Center, yet he still had to turn over his sidearm and bullets at the end of each workday and go home, defenseless.

The city could hardly maintain that it was inherently unsafe for Dick Heller to possess or handle a weapon, since he does it every day as part of his job, and is deputized to do so by the city itself, background checks and all.

Heller knew his lawyers weren’t comfortable with him openly discussing many of his anti-government enthusiasms. When the cameras or notepads were in front of him, he wanted to talk about “the insanity of it, the overreach of government relegating all of us to second-class citizenship. The government grants us a gun then takes it away, says your life is not worth spit, but says ‘take care of us 9-5.’ That’s where I developed the idea that we truly are second-class citizens. How is that any different than Moscow?”

And that, he acknowledges, “is when the lawyers would go like this.” He makes a pained and annoyed face. “ ‘Moscow’ and ‘communist’—they didn’t want to hear that yet—until June! They said after the decision comes down, go for it. They almost wrote it down for me: ‘I just want to defend my own life in my own home.’ ”

The NRA v. Heller

The Heller case quickly found a powerful opponent in the National Rifle Association. This surprises nearly every layman I discuss the case with, most of whom assume the NRA was behind the lawsuit in the first place. The Parker lawyers received backroom visits from allies of the NRA before their case was filed, discouraging them from going forward. The Supreme Court (which still had Sandra Day O’Conner back then) would not reliably deliver a victory, they argued, and an authoritative statement from the Supremes that the Second Amendment did not protect an individual right could prove devastating to the long-term cause.

This was an intellectually respectable objection, the Levy team thought, but ultimately too fearful. If no one would fight for the Second Amendment qua Second Amendment in a relevant case, then its supposed paladins were as complicit in its irrelevance as were the most rabid partisans for the idea that the Second Amendment only applied to militias and is thus a dead letter.

“The second problem the NRA had with our case was territorial,” Gura says. “They didn’t want something like this going on that they didn’t have their hands in.” In fact, in April 2003, less than two months from Parker’s filing in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, a new lawsuit challenging D.C.’s gun laws, Seegars v. Ashcroft, was filed with the backing of the NRA and its longtime Second Amendment legal eagle Stephen Halbrook in charge.

As per then-standard NRA practice, Halbrook offered the court a menu of options to choose from to overthrow D.C. gun laws, hoping one of them might work even if a direct Second Amendment challenge did not. Among them were claims that Congress had only empowered D.C. to create for itself regulations that were “usual and reasonable,” and that D.C.’s gun laws, being the most severe ones in the nation, were therefore unusual and unreasonable.

Unlike the Levy team, Halbrook and the NRA chose to sue not only Washington, D.C., but the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ is a significantly more formidable opponent than the District of Columbia. To add insult to injury, because of their unease with Levy and his comparatively inexperienced crew, the NRA team used Seegars as an excuse to try to scuttle Parker altogether by taking over the case, through the legal gambit of “consolidation.” That’s when two cases that are asking courts to decide on essentially the same matter can be combined, whether or not one of the parties really wants it—a hostile takeover of the litigation, as it were. The consolidation request, made to the court in April 2003, was denied.

Then in January 2004, at the D.C. District Court, all but one Seegars plaintiff—a woman with a registered shotgun contesting the trigger-lock aspect of D.C.’s laws—were denied standing. The last remaining plaintiff lost the case on a basic “doesn’t belong to a militia” argument. The Seegars team appealed, bringing their case into the appeals process before Parker had even been considered at the District Court. It wasn’t until March 31, 2004 that that court dismissed Parker, basically on the grounds that those plaintiffs weren’t in a militia, either. The Levy team expected this initial loss, but appealed, determined to fight the case all the way through the appeals process.

Because the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the issues in both cases were essentially the same, they halted the appeals progress of Parker, at D.C.’s request, pending resolution of Seegars. Then in a February 2005 decision, Seegars was wrecked on the rock of standing, for D.C. Circuit-specific peculiarities explained further below.

The NRA also harmed Parker through its decision to bring DOJ into the case. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals, in coming down with its Parker decision on March 9, 2007, booted five of the original plaintiffs off the case, for the same reason of standing that the five Seegars plaintiffs were all tossed away. The standing argument had been introduced to the case by the Justice Department; D.C. hadn’t thought of it on its own.

Sure, Parker and her compatriots might think that a core, fundamental constitutional right was being denied them. But by the D.C. Circuit’s standard, they had suffered no specific injury such that they had standing to sue.

The D.C. Circuit has a peculiar position on standing, more stringent than in any other circuit. The 1997 case Navegar v. U.S., coincidentally involving a gun manufacturer, established that plaintiffs must, in the language of D.C.’s filing to dismiss the plaintiffs in Parker, “demonstrate a threat of prosecution that is ‘credible and immediate,’ or imminent, and ‘not merely abstract or speculative.’ ” More or less, D.C. said that since the plaintiffs might be able to get away with breaking the gun laws, they had no standing to challenge those laws.

How is it that Heller alone survived the standing challenge? Even before the Parker case was officially filed, his friend Dane vonBreichenruchardt knew Heller was involved and intending to be a plaintiff—it was vonBreichenruchardt, who already knew Levy, who had introduced Heller to Levy.

VonBreichenruchardt had been a plaintiff in a previous case against certain regulations affecting the operations of nonprofits, rules that he felt amounted to a prior restraint on his First Amendment rights. He saw his case dismissed for lack of standing, for various reasons, one of which was that since he had not actually been punished for violating the law, it could be said that his claim that the regulations in question violated his rights was merely speculative.

So vonBreichenruchardt encouraged Heller to fill out a form to register one of the handguns Heller owned (apparently stored outside the district), even though he knew there was no way the city would actually accept the illegal pistol.

“It makes all the difference in the world that this one guy went down and filled out an absolutely meaningless piece of paper which you knew in advance was a futile act,” Neily says. “It was not intentional on the part of Alan, Bob, and myself, but it was intentional on the part of Dick and Dane, and it was very important that Dane had that insight and did that.” Heller slid in because he had a permit denied: a clear injury with a paper trail.

Standing wasn’t the only issue the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decided on March 9, 2007. The other action judges took that day proved to be better news for the Parker team. In a two-one vote, the three-judge panel sent the case back to District Court with an order: Grant summary judgment to Heller. Translation: Heller wins.

The decision was a glorious victory for the Levy team and for the Second Amendment. Judge Laurence H. Silberman, in his majority opinion, hit all the right points. He decided that the “people” referred to in the Amendment meant the people, that is, all of us as individuals. He decided that “bear arms” had more than just a military meaning in the idiom of the Founding era.

Silberman’s decision interpreted the 1939 Supreme Court case U.S. v. Miller, the dominant precedent regarding the Second Amendment, to say that cases hinged on the type of weapon the right affected, and whether the weapon had potential militia use, not on whether persons claiming the right were themselves in a militia. The judge did not accept D.C.’s claim that any constitutional infringement was mitigated because the city might not punish a long-gun owner for loading and using his weapon in self-defense in defiance of the letter of the law. “Judicial leniency,” he wrote, “cannot make up for the unreasonable restriction of a right.”
« Reply #256 on: November 18, 2008, 09:22:52 AM »

Heller at the Supreme Court

After some hesitation—causing it to miss the initial filing deadline—the District of Columbia appealed to the Supreme Court. The NRA was simultaneously pushing a new federal law that would have mooted the newly renamed Heller case by overturning the city’s anti-gun laws. Levy lobbied against the measure, arguing that a Supreme Court victory would be more permanent and more important to the whole country than just overturning D.C.’s restrictions. That bill did not pass in 2007, and the Heller case was taken up by the Supreme Court in November of that year. Only at that point, after years of obstruction, did the NRA became highly cooperative, putting together a significant amicus brief endorsed by the majority of both houses of Congress and by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Chris Cox, head of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, is happy with how his organization’s relationship to Heller turned out. Sure, he admits, there was conflict along the way. “In my experience, you get a bunch of lawyers in the room and you’ll probably not have agreement,” he says. “There was concern prior to [ John] Roberts and [Samuel] Alito even being on the Court as to whether or not the timing was right. It all worked out. Was it lucky? Was it strategy? I’ll let other people answer that. But I applaud Alan [Gura] and his team. The victory was ultimately due to a lot of hard work by a lot of people for decades, certainly including the NRA, and in the end the Second Amendment is stronger.”

At the oral arguments before the Supreme Court, decades of intellectual debate about the meaning of the Second Amendment came springing to life. D.C.’s lawyer Walter Dellinger started off by proposing a version of the Second Amendment which, while claiming it protects an individual right, but only if that individual is participating in the common defense in the form of a militia, in essence means that, no, the Second Amendment really doesn’t mean a thing in practical terms to Americans today in terms of home defense.

Chief Justice John Roberts prodded him on why the Framers said “the people” if they meant “the militia.” Dellinger said, well, the terms were really congruent, so the right applied to all the people but only for a militia purpose. For example, Dellinger offered, a private citizen might have a cause of action under the Second Amendment if the federal government interfered with his state’s right to form a militia.

Dellinger was only a few minutes into his presentation when Justice Anthony Kennedy—considered to be the swing vote, in this case as in many others—buoyed the Levy team by suggesting the Second Amendment “supplemented” the militia “by saying there’s a general right to bear arms quite without reference to the militia either way,” and talking of how the Founding Fathers’ attitudes about guns were born from a frontier experience, with worries about personal, not merely civil and political, defense from hostile crooks, Indians, wolves, and grizzly bears.

At the same time, Kennedy made it clear that he believed the Second Amendment right to bear arms was, like other rights in the Constitution, subject to regulation. Even with the historical examples from early America and England, he saw that by some of those laws, “You couldn’t conceal a gun and you also couldn’t carry it, but yet you had a right to have it.”

Dellinger argued that the legal right in D.C. to own (yet not, by the letter of the law, ever use in the home) long guns obviated any constitutional difficulties that might exist in the handgun ban. Chief Justice Roberts, straight out of the Heller team’s playbook, made the First Amendment analogy, asking Dellinger: Would it be constitutionally acceptable for a municipality to ban books as long as newspapers—a viable substitute source of expression—were still legal?

When it was Gura’s turn, he was asked to explain the meaning of the militia reference. He said it was to describe a purpose of the right of the people that the Amendment protected. He angered some in the hardcore gun rights movement when he concluded that the weapons protected by the Amendment should be ones that combined a militia purpose and a normal civilian purpose, since people were expected to supply them from their own everyday collection of weapons they typically used. Gura did not want to be pressed into arguing that machine guns should have unlimited Second Amendment protection.

He did ably defend the idea that personal self-defense was built into weapons rights during the Founding era. He granted that reasonable licensing doesn’t necessarily violate the Second Amendment. He also granted that empirical considerations about such matters as murder rates could play into policymakers’ decisions about what made for a reasonable gun regulation—but added that the very purpose of a constitutional right is to make sure that not everything is up for grabs just because a legislature thinks regulations are “reasonable.”

Many Internet gun-rights activists accused Gura of selling out on the machine gun issue. “We wanted to win,” Gura responds. “And you win constitutional litigation by framing issues in as narrow a manner as possible. I could not tell the justices honestly that I hadn’t thought about machine guns. ‘Gee, I don’t know, maybe…’ That’s a bunch of crap. I would have lost credibility, it would have been obviously a lie and I’m not going to lie to the Court, and I would have lost the case.”

Heller Wins

Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion said everything that Gura said, and that a generation of Second Amendment scholars had been saying for decades. The Second Amendment protected an individual right. The prefatory clause did not restrict the operative one; the protected right went beyond militia service. The relevant contemporaneous debates and state constitutions at the time of the Founding supported this interpretation. The Miller precedent was about the type of weapon, not the people to whom the right accrued.

Still, the decision wasn’t everything devotees of gun rights might have hoped for. Scalia also wrote: “The Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, concealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”

Heller, then, by no means settled the entire gun control debate. It did instantly generate a series of lawsuits, many sponsored by the NRA, against jurisdictions with gun bans similar to D.C.’s, including Chicago (hit with two suits) and three of its suburbs. Some Illinois towns have already rescinded their handgun restrictions. Washington, D.C., after months of foot-dragging that prompted Dick Heller to file another lawsuit against the city, has finally allowed its citizens to register, own, and keep loaded in the home both revolvers and semiautomatic handguns.

Still, most gun laws short of total bans will likely survive under the Heller standard, even if it is authoritatively established that the Second Amendment ruling in the case applies to state and local actions. In the near term at least, Heller will heat up the gun debate instead of ending it.

But the case was vitally important to American public policy. One, it normalized within constitutional law the notion that self-defense is a right. Guns can kill, to be sure. But the principle that Heller vindicated was one at the core of Western liberalism, that of self-defense, which is for life. Those who believe in a strong activist government generally do so because they fear the potential savagery of human social life. They just don’t seem to want, with gun control, to allow the individual to do anything about it.

The Heller case was a prime example of how calm, dedicated, and strategic thinking on the part of crusaders for smaller government can achieve real and (probably) lasting victories. Fighting against even those who should have been their staunchest allies, Levy and his team of libertarian lawyers watched the zeitgeist, crafted a smart (though risky) strategy, and won.

Our legal system and our Constitution allowed them to do something about D.C.’s gun laws, even as D.C.’s gun laws did not allow its citizens to do much about their own safety. Because this group of people acted to preserve the right to self-defense, the rest of America has seen affirmed at least the basics of that right. The contours of that right to self defense remain to be defined by others who choose to follow in Levy and his crew’s footsteps.

Senior Editor Brian Doherty is the author of Gun Control on Trial: Inside the Supreme Court Battle Over the Second Amendment, from which this is excerpted.

« Reply #257 on: November 21, 2008, 11:18:22 AM »

[David Kopel, November 20, 2008 at 7:41pm] Trackbacks

Eric Holder on firearms policy:

Earlier this year, Eric Holder--along with Janet Reno and several other former officials from the Clinton Department of Justice--co-signed an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller. The brief was filed in support of DC's ban on all handguns, and ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home. The brief argued that the Second Amendment is a "collective" right, not an individual one, and asserted that belief in the collective right had been the consistent policy of the U.S. Department of Justice since the FDR administration. A brief filed by some other former DOJ officials (including several Attorneys General, and Stuart Gerson, who was Acting Attorney General until Janet Reno was confirmed)took issue with the Reno-Holder brief's characterization of DOJ's viewpoint.

But at the least, the Reno-Holder brief accurately expressed the position of the Department of Justice when Janet Reno was Attorney General and Eric Holder was Deputy Attorney General. At the oral argument before the Fifth Circuit in United States v. Emerson, the Assistant U.S. Attorney told the panel that the Second Amendment was no barrier to gun confiscation, not even of the confiscation of guns from on-duty National Guardsmen.

As Deputy Attorney General, Holder was a strong supporter of restrictive gun control. He advocated federal licensing of handgun owners, a three day waiting period on handgun sales, rationing handgun sales to no more than one per month, banning possession of handguns and so-called "assault weapons" (cosmetically incorrect guns) by anyone under age of 21, a gun show restriction bill that would have given the federal government the power to shut down all gun shows, national gun registration, and mandatory prison sentences for trivial offenses (e.g., giving your son an heirloom handgun for Christmas, if he were two weeks shy of his 21st birthday). He also promoted the factoid that "Every day that goes by, about 12, 13 more children in this country die from gun violence"--a statistic is true only if one counts 18-year-old gangsters who shoot each other as "children."(Sources: Holder testimony before House Judiciary Committee, Subcommitee on Crime, May 27,1999; Holder Weekly Briefing, May 20, 2000. One of the bills that Holder endorsed is detailed in my 1999 Issue Paper "Unfair and Unconstitutional.")

After 9/11, he penned a Washington Post op-ed, "Keeping Guns Away From Terrorists" arguing that a new law should give "the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms a record of every firearm sale." He also stated that prospective gun buyers should be checked against the secret "watch lists" compiled by various government entities. (In an Issue Paper on the watch list proposal, I quote a FBI spokesman stating that there is no cause to deny gun ownership to someone simply because she is on the FBI list.)

After the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the D.C. handgun ban and self-defense ban were unconstitutional in 2007, Holder complained that the decision "opens the door to more people having more access to guns and putting guns on the streets."

Holder played a key role in the gunpoint, night-time kidnapping of Elian Gonzalez. The pretext for the paramilitary invasion of the six-year-old's home was that someone in his family might have been licensed to carry a handgun under Florida law. Although a Pulitzer Prize-winning photo showed a federal agent dressed like a soldier and pointing a machine gun at the man who was holding the terrified child, Holder claimed that Gonzalez "was not taken at the point of a gun" and that the federal agents whom Holder had sent to capture Gonzalez had acted "very sensitively." If Mr. Holder believes that breaking down a door with a battering ram, pointing guns at children (not just Elian), and yelling "Get down, get down, we'll shoot" is example of acting "very sensitively," his judgment about the responsible use of firearms is not as acute as would be desirable for a cabinet officer who would be in charge of thousands and thousands of armed federal agents, many of them paramilitary agents with machine guns.
« Reply #258 on: November 24, 2008, 03:53:15 PM »

One of my ongoing major annoyances is that few in the MSM and few in various legislatures know squat about firearms. Indeed, one of the reasons I think the MSM and politicians are held in sure low esteem is that just about everyone can think of some local gun guru they can call and get accurate firearm information from, a guru that the MSM and politicos, however, are unable to find. This leads to all sorts of assault weapon, Black Rhino bullet, disposable machine guns damnfoolishness appearing in what claim to be reputable sources of information.

In this instance, Obamaniacs appear to be trolling for dirt related to a constitutionally protected behavior, apparently utterly unaware that most firearms in the US are unregistered. Methinks they need to get out of DC and Chicago more often:

Is Owning a Gun More or Less Embarrassing Than Hiring an Illegal Alien?

Jacob Sullum | November 24, 2008, 3:29pm

Is it significant that the 63 questions would-be Obama appointees have to answer include a query about gun ownership? Question 59, which comes right after one about "any websites that feature you in either a personal or professional capacity" and right before one about the applicant's medical condition, reads:

Do you or any members of your immediate family own a gun? If so, provide complete ownership and registration information. Has the registration ever lapsed? Please also described how and by whom it is used and whether it has been the cause of any personal injuries or property damage.

Some Second Amendment advocates have taken offense at this question, which appears to be unprecedented and which they think reflects Obama's lack of enthusiasm for gun rights. But an Obama aide told Politico "the intent of the gun question is to determine legal permitting." In other words, just as the questions about "domestic help" do not imply that anyone who has ever paid someone to clean his house can forget about working in the Obama administration, the question about firearms does not mean gun owners are automatically disqualified. Obama's transition team just wants to make sure all legal niceties have been observed, so there aren't any embarrassing surprises.

Although that sounds plausible, there are many other things an applicant might possess that raise issues of legal compliance and of damages to others but are not specifically mentioned in the questionnaire, including cars, boats, pets, swimming pools, and trampolines. The selection of guns out of all the dangerous and/or regulated things people own is telling, I think, and suggests that gun ownership itself might be deemed an embarrassment, at least past a certain threshold. Note that the question assumes no one applying for a job in the Obama administration would own more than one gun. It also assumes gun-owning job candidates would be subject to registration requirements, which apply in only a small fraction of the country.
« Reply #259 on: December 03, 2008, 11:04:23 AM »

Misfiled, I suspect, but it does give one pause: there are a lotta civilians in my sphere far better equipped and far better trained than India's constabulary.

Cops just had 577 rifles, hadn't fired in 10 yrs
2 Dec 2008, 1203 hrs IST, Prafulla Marpakwar, TNN

MUMBAI: The state constabulary was grossly unprepared to deal with the worst-ever terror attacks on the metropolis because of an acute shortage of weapons and ammunition.

Official records show that for a force of well over 1.8 lakh, the home department procured a meagre 2,221 weapons — 577 for Mumbai, and 1,644 for the rest of Maharashtra.

‘‘Under the centrally sponsored modernisation programme, we purchased almost all types of weapons, but for a state like Maharashtra, the number of weapons was grossly inadequate ,’’ a senior official told TOI on Monday.

In the absence of a firing range and of ammunition for practice, members of the law enforcement agencies have not opened fire in the last ten years. ‘‘I’ve been in the police force for a long time, but I had no occasion to open fire for practice,’’ a senior inspector of police said.

As per the police manual, officials ranking from constable to assistant inspector get rifles with 30 rounds each, and those with the rank of police sub-inspector and above get revolvers, also with 30 rounds each.

Jawans with the State Reserve Police Force are given SLRs or self-loading rifles. In addition, AK-47 rifles have been given to officials posted in areas where there is Naxal activity, while officials on VIP security duty are armed with either revolvers or carbines.

The manual also prescribes mandatory training for all officials, especially shooting practice at the firing range. According to a senior IPS official, the norms prescribed in the manual now exist only on paper because of the acute shortage of ammunition for practice and the non-availability of a firing range.

As per the rules, every district should have a firing range exclusively for the police. But official records indicate that more than half the state’s districts have no independent firing range.

‘‘We have constables who have not opened fire even for practice ever since their recruitment,’’ the official said.

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« Reply #260 on: December 06, 2008, 07:33:27 AM »

Author Barrett Tillman has come up with some excellent additions to the Liberty Poll (, aimed at those who would seek to take away our guns:

"Tell me why you think a woman should 'lie back and enjoy being raped' instead of shooting a rapist dead with the handgun in her handbag."

"Tell me why black Americans should submit to being lynched instead of shooting the lynch mob dead."

"Tell me why homophobes should be free to beat up homosexuals without the risk of being shot."

"Watch Schindler's List and tell me again why only the police and military should have guns."

"Tell me why you think police should be able to shoot an attacker to save their lives but I shouldn't."

 "Tell me why I shouldn't have the best means of defending myself -- a semiauto firearm with a standard capacity magazine."

"Tell me why a woman's right to choose should not include weapon, mag size and ammunition."

"Tell me why you think I shouldn't be able to defend my life or my freedom."

"More than that, tell me why you should not have that right!


"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have" -- Thomas Jefferson
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« Reply #261 on: December 08, 2008, 12:59:39 PM »

Nordyke ( has been scheduled for oral arguments on 15 Jan 2009 before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in S.F., CA. Due to Heller, this case should incorporate the 2nd A to the states in the 9th circuit (incl CA and HI). This is a critically important case that, if it goes our way and many in the know believe it will, will be used to shoot down many anti-gun laws in CA and will be used to either loosen up our "May Issue" CCW system or force it to be replaced w/a "Shall Issue" CCW system. The next 5 years should be very exciting and good for CA gunnies!

Hopefully, pro-2nd A people in HI are also organizing to exploit this opportunity.

We expect the opinion to be published probably between April and Aug '09.

Be sure to regularly stop by:
for the latest info on CA gun laws/politics.


To give others (incl Gabe), who may think CA is a lost cause, some idea of what we'll be going after Nordyke incorporation, the below is copied from (bold-ing added):

Gene Hoffman is one of the alpha-dogs at and Calguns Foundation.


Lots of confusion in this thread.

1. California is pretty unique in that it does not have a right to keep and bear arms in the State constitution. As such, the only thing (other than politicians getting unelected) that keeps California from seizing firearms is the Federal Second Amendment.

2. Heller states that the keeping of all non NFA firearms are protected by the Federal 2A and that bearing arms means to carry them loaded for confrontation, but that States are still free to regulate CCW. Heller made no ruling on whether the Federal 2A applies to the states but hinted that all the rulings that would say it doesn't aren't valid anymore.

3. Nordyke will be a 3-0 or 2-1 victory for the Alameda Gun Show at the 9th Circuit court of appeals. It will establish that there is a right to possess firearms to be able to sell them at otherwise state regulated gun shows on public property that isn't one of the classic prohibited areas (courts, prisons, city hall.) It will also be the first case in the US to find that there is a right of undefined scope to participate in the lawful commerce of firearms under the 2A. However, most importantly, it will rule that all State and local laws will be reviewed by the Federal Courts as potentially violating the 2A at intermediate or strict scrutiny.

After Nordyke, all California laws will be challengeable. Some are quicker and easier to file a new suit against and beat back than others. Here is the list of things that we're going to be able to get overturned in the order I bet we'll choose to attack them:

1. [CCW Reform.] CA Sheriffs denying a clean applicant because their CCW good cause isn't good enough. The logic is that even though states can regulate CCW, they can't make CCW may issue while banning loaded open carry as the combination of laws violates the right of the people to bear arms.

2. Subsequent waiting periods. A 10 day wait to acquire a firearm after one can show that one already owns a firearm has no rational basis. If I'm mad, suicidal, or homicidal, what good does a cooling off period do when I can just use the gun I already own?

3. Not Unsafe Roster. This is a bit harder as we need to let the facts that the new requirements (LCI, Mag Disco) are a defacto ban on new handguns coming into the state.

4. SB-23 Feature Ban. This one is unconstitutional in so many ways but we need to play the politics on it well. The rest of the nation will care deeply about this one as a win here ends all future Federal AWB speculation. I may also have this ranked too low in priority order but some things that are afoot may make overturning this moot in the short term - hence my downgrade.

5. Large-capacity magazine import ban. There are potentially interesting commerce clause issues with "offer for sale" in the export context. However, it's not clear that the rationing ammo argument can survive intermediate scrutiny - especially as we start to push for the "patrol officer" equivalent analysis under 2A/14A. The basic premise is that if a "patrol officer" is issued something by the State, then its very hard for the State to argue that that something is "dangerous and uncommon."

Each one of those is a case or legislation or both to get it fixed. The major difference is that we'll win all of them.


If you don't get the "CAl-erts" from CalNRA, you'll want to.

Also, if you don't know about, you'll want to check them out. Most of them are based in OC and are VERY active in reigning in the new sheriff.

Expect defeat at the trial court level, then the case moving the appellate levels for decissions that actually matter.

This is the dog & poly show right now. The Court that matters is in D.C.

In October, shortly after we filed our Rule 16 motion (see Oct. 24 post below), the NRA filed similar motions in their companion case challenging Chicago’s handgun ban, as well as its case challenging Oak Park’s handgun ban. Although our cases do not perfectly overlap, the goal of all three Rule 16 motions in each case was the same: to seek an opinion from the Court that, as a matter of law, state and local governments are bound by the Second Amendment.
On Thursday, the District Court issued an opinion and order in the NRA cases, denying the motions. A similar opinion and order, adopting the Court’s rationale in the NRA cases, was entered in our case. The District Court ruled, essentially, that whatever the merits of our claims, it is bound by existing precedent holding that the Second Amendment does not apply to state and local governments. The order in our case denied not only our Rule 16 motion, but also our previously unresolved motion for summary judgment. A hearing is set in all three cases for December 9, to see where the matters now stand.
Although we would have preferred that the Court had ruled in our favor, we are not disappointed. From Day One, it was clear that this case would be decided conclusively on appeal. This development takes us one step closer toward the elimination of Chicago’s failed and unconstitutional gun ban, and for that, we are grateful.

« Last Edit: December 08, 2008, 01:18:07 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #262 on: December 12, 2008, 01:20:45 PM »

Around the nation: Concealed carry in national parks
Last week, the Department of Interior adopted a new regulation that allows concealed weapons permit holders to carry their weapons into national parks if the state in which the park is located allows concealed carry. This is a significant change from the previous regulations, which prohibited the possession of loaded firearms in national parks. Indeed, the new recognition that there is a Second Amendment even in national parks is a step in the right direction. There is also a Tenth Amendment issue here -- that the laws of states prevail, even on federal land.

Although the NRA and sensible gun owners across the country welcomed this change, gun-control advocates reacted with their usual hysteria. Using the same apocalyptic exaggerations they trotted out (unsuccessfully) to oppose state concealed carry laws, the gun grabbers issued warnings of bedlam. Of course, their predictions of carnage never came true in states that have enacted concealed carry laws. To the contrary, crime dropped in these states. For the same reasons, national parks will not become the free-fire zones that the gun grabbers predict. Instead, law-abiding citizens now can defend themselves and their families against hostile predators -- human and animal -- that might threaten their lives.

Although the regulation takes effect before Obama takes office, his record shows his support of radical gun-control laws, and we expect an executive order undoing the regulation. During his tenure in the Illinois Senate and again in the U.S. Senate, Obama rarely saw a gun-control measure that he didn't support. He supported a ban on handguns; he voted in favor of a ban on virtually all semiautomatic rifles, pistols and shotguns; he favors registration and licensing; he opposes concealed carry. Yet he promises, "I believe in common-sense gun safety laws, and I believe in the Second Amendment. Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. I think people can take me at my word." But a simple check of his "Change" Web site (under Crime and Law Enforcement) puts the lie to this promise.

« Reply #263 on: December 13, 2008, 12:57:59 PM »

George Jonas: Guns don't kill people, terrorists do
Posted: December 13, 2008, 11:00 AM by Kelly McParland
George Jonas, Full Comment
The terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month claimed some 500 casualties, dead and injured. Among the many questions raised by the outrage, there was a purely practical one: Why was the attack so successful? How could so few terrorists claim so many victims?

One obvious answer is firepower. Guns were illegal in the hands of both the terrorists and the victims. The victims obeyed the laws, the terrorists didn’t. The police had guns, of course, but instead of protecting people, they stayed away until the massacre was practically over. Gun laws -- surprise, surprise! -- weren’t strong enough to defend victims, only strong enough to keep victims from defending themselves.

India’s gun control, one of the strictest in the world, goes back to the 19th century when Britain introduced it to forestall a repetition of the Indian Mutiny. “The guns used in last week’s Bombay massacre were all ‘prohibited weapons’ under Indian law,” wrote Richard Munday in the Times Online, “just as they are in Britain.” The terrorists were successful because they didn’t obey the gun control law rooted in the Raj, while their victims did.

India isn’t alone. Many countries, including Canada, have gone out of their way to make criminals as invincible and victims as vulnerable as possible. This isn’t the aim, of course, only the result.

“Guns don’t kill, people do.” The gun lobby’s old slogan is true enough, but it’s also true that guns make people more efficient killers. That’s why gun control would be such a splendid idea if someone could find a way to make criminals and lunatics obey it. Since only law-abiding citizens obey it, it’s not such a hot idea. It’s more like
trying to control stray dogs by neutering veterinarians.

The police carry guns for a reason: They’re great tools for law-enforcement. No doubt, guns make criminals more efficient, but they make crime-fighters more efficient, too. Letting firearms become the monopoly of lawbreakers, far from enhancing public safety, is detrimental to it. What you want is more armed people, not fewer, on the side of the law. It would be hard to imagine a Mumbai-type atrocity in Dodge City -- or in Edwardian Europe, for that matter, where gentlemen routinely carried handguns for protection.

Some regard carrying guns uncivilized. I’d hesitate to call an era of legal guns in the hands of Edwardian gentlemen less civilized -- or less safe -- than our own era of illegal guns in the hands of drug dealers and terrorists. The civilized place was turn-of-the century London, where citizens carried guns and the police didn’t. In any event, a constitutional guarantee to one’s “security of person” shouldn’t depend on how fast a 911 operator can pick up the phone.

Society needs crime control, not gun control. Munday writes that “violent crime in America has plummeted” in the past two decades after the majority of states enacted “right to carry” legislation and issued permits to carry concealed weapons to citizens of good repute. I think there were many reasons for the decline, but “right to carry” certainly wasn’t detrimental to it.

There are Second Amendment absolutists in America, and libertarians elsewhere, who regard a person’s birthright to own/carry a firearm beyond the state’s power to regulate. I’m not one of them. I think it’s reasonable for communities to set thresholds of age, proficiency, legal status, etc., for the possession of lethal weapons, just as they set standards for the operation of motor vehicles, airplanes and ham radios. But it seems to me that, within common sense perimeters, you’d want to enhance, not diminish, the defensive capacity of the good guys, and increase rather than decrease the number of auxiliary crime-fighters who are available to be deputized when the bad guys start climbing over the fence.

Munday quotes no less an advocate of non-violence than Mahatma Gandhi on the imperial decree of the Indian Arms Act of 1878 that laid the foundation for the defenselessness of the victims of the Mumbai massacre 130 years later. “Among the many misdeeds of British rule in India,” said the Mahatma, “history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest.”
« Reply #264 on: December 23, 2008, 04:19:18 PM »

St. George Tucker, Saul Cornell, and Justice Stevens: The Lecture Notes of St. George Tucker: A Framing Era View of the Bill of Rights has just been published by the Northwestern University Law Review Colloquy. The article, by David Hardy, will also appear in the printed edition of the N.W.U.L. Rev.

St. George Tucker is perhaps the preeminent source of the original public meaning of the Constitution. His 5-volume American edition of Blackstone's Commentaries was the by far the leading legal treatise in the Early Republic. Tucker included extensive analysis, in footnotes and in an appendix, explaining how the English common law of Blackstone had been changed in America. Tucker's analysis of the Second Amendment plainly described it as an individual right, encompassing the keeping and bear of arms for personal self-defense, for hunting, and for militia service. Justice Scalia's majority opinion in Heller quoted from Tucker's American Blackstone.

Justice Stevens' dissent in Heller cited a 2006 article by historian Saul Cornell. That article stated that Tucker's 1791-92 lecture notes described the Second Amendment as relating only to the militia.

David Hardy's article reviews Tucker's lecture notes, as they involve various freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights. Hardy finds that Tucker's view of the Constitution was far more libertarian (regarding issues such as free speech and press, or warrantless searches) than either modern Supreme Court doctrine, or the views sometimes ascribed to the Founders.

As for the Second Amendment, Hardy finds that Cornell's article, and therefore Justice Stevens' opinion, contains a major factual error: the militia language which Cornell quoted was not from Tucker's description of the Second Amendment. The language was from Tucker's explanation of Article I's grant of militia powers to Congress. Tucker's description of the Second Amendment comes 20 pages later in the 1791-92 lecture notes, and is nearly a verbatim match with the text Tucker's 1803 book, unambiguously describing the Second Amendment as encompassing a personal right for a variety of purposes, not just for militia service.

The Cornell article is St. George Tucker and the Second Amendment: Original Understandings and Modern Misunderstandings, 47 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1123 (2006). Perhaps the error in article, and the derivative error in a Supreme Court opinion, could have been averted with bettter cite-checking.

Readers interested in Tucker may also be interested in my article The Second Amendment in the Nineteenth Century (BYU L. Rev.)(also discussing the scholarship of Tucker's son Henry St. George Tucker, and his grandson John Randolph Tucker), and in Stephen Halbrook's response to Cornell, St. George Tucker’s Second Amendment: Deconstructing "The True Palladium of Liberty" (Tenn. J.L. & Pol’y).
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« Reply #265 on: December 28, 2008, 08:21:21 AM »

Nice find!!!  A logical knock out!!!  Now if only the world was a logical place we could put our 2nd amendment worries to rest.  Keep up the good fight!!
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« Reply #266 on: December 29, 2008, 02:26:13 PM »

Nice find!!!  A logical knock out!!!  Now if only the world was a logical place we could put our 2nd amendment worries to rest.  Keep up the good fight!!
Unfortunately we live in a world that is peopled by folks who would gladly sell individual liberty to the most charming strongman in exchange for charming declarations that he'll endeavor to ensure that they are secure, and that their yoke is no tighter than he deems 'necessary'.

The desire to sell individual freedom, for the illusions that someone else will worry about their problems for them, is too strong for too many people.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2008, 02:28:20 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
« Reply #267 on: January 20, 2009, 10:35:44 PM »

So the standard leftist anti-second amendment gibberish is already up on the web site, according to NRO. I wish one of these fools was able to tell me what an assault weapon is. . . .

Christ, this feels like a rerun:

Now Obama Debuts Pledge to Make Guns 'Childproof'
Surprising very few of us, we see that once in office, Obama is more open about his gun control efforts at

Address Gun Violence in Cities: Obama and Biden would repeal the Tiahrt Amendment, which restricts the ability of local law enforcement to access important gun trace information, and give police officers across the nation the tools they need to solve gun crimes and fight the illegal arms trade. Obama and Biden also favor commonsense measures that respect the Second Amendment rights of gun owners, while keeping guns away from children and from criminals. They support closing the gun show loophole and making guns in this country childproof. They also support making the expired federal Assault Weapons Ban permanent.

How, precisely, does the Obama Administration plan on "making guns in this country childproof"? Mandatory trigger locks?
« Reply #268 on: January 21, 2009, 01:04:04 PM »

A recent very long, comprehensive, well annotated discussion of the problems associated with "supply side" firearm regulation, whose conclusion reads as follows:

Without a commitment to or capacity for eliminating the
existing inventory of private guns, the supply-side ideal and
regulations based on it cannot be taken seriously.  It is best to
acknowledge the blocking power of the remainder and adjust our
gun control regulations and goals to that reality.  Policymakers who
continue to press legislation grounded on the supply-side ideal while
disclaiming the goal of prohibition are deluded or pandering.
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« Reply #269 on: January 30, 2009, 11:55:22 AM »

"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." --Second Amendment, United States Constitution

Sixty million armed Patriots ... and counting
By Mark Alexander

By now, you've probably heard that large sectors of the U.S. economy have collapsed, consumer confidence is at a historic low, Democrats control the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government, and they're poised to print "bailout and infrastructure" money on the theory of "trickle up poverty" -- risking a prolonged recession followed by hyperinflation.

If there is an economic recovery any time soon, it will be the result of private sector initiatives and a consumer confidence recovery, not the redistribution of a few trillion dollars among friends. Never fear, there is a "community organizer" at the helm.

And that's the good news.

The bad news is that Barack Hussein Obama and his congressional cadre may well use the current crisis as cover to further undermine our constitutional rule of law.

Yes, Obama and his Demo colleagues in the Senate and House have taken a sacred oath to "support and defend" our Constitution, but they have no history of honoring their oaths.

So where does that leave "The People"? Well, if the politicians don't honor their oath, why should we honor their office? That is a question for another day.

At no time in our history has the future of American liberty been secure without a vigorous defense of the plain language of our Constitution, opposed to the adulterated interpretation of the so-called "Living Constitution" promoted by Barack Obama and his gang of judicial activists.

And there is no more important place to start at this moment in our history than with the Second Amendment to our Constitution.

In 1833, Justice Joseph Story, appointed to the Supreme Court by our Constitution's principal author, James Madison, wrote the following in his "Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States": "The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them."

That was never more true than today.

Obama claims: "I believe in the Second Amendment. Lawful gun owners have nothing to fear. I said that throughout the campaign. I haven't indicated anything different during the transition. ... We can have reasonable, thoughtful gun control measures that I think respect the Second Amendment and people's traditions. I think there's a lot of room before bumping against a constitutional barrier."

However, Obama's nominee for attorney general, Eric Holder (formerly Janet Reno's Deputy Attorney General), who faces Senate confirmation next week, reaffirmed in the recent DC v. Heller Supreme Court case his long-held position that the Second Amendment affirms no right of individual gun possession by private citizens.

Holder insists that the Second Amendment "does not protect firearms possession or use that is unrelated to participation in a well-regulated militia," which he interprets as a military unit. Of course, our Founders understood "militia" to be synonymous with "the people," but Holder must have skipped his law school's elective on "original intent."

Holder's remarks seem to conflict with his boss's statements about gun ownership, but Obama is not referring to the rights assured by the Second Amendment: "I'm a strong believer in the rights of hunters and sportsmen to have firearms." That's the same subterfuge his mentor John Kerry propagated back in '04.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso understands what's at stake: "Given Holder's career of attacks on the Second Amendment, his nomination continues to be of great concern to me. ... Our nation's highest law enforcement officer must be committed to protecting and defending our individual rights to keep and bear arms."

Other conservatives also get it, like Louisiana Sen. David Vitter: "[Holder has] clearly advocated near-universal licensing and registration, and he joined and filed an amicus brief in the District of Columbia v. Heller U.S. Supreme Court case arguing that the Second Amendment was not an individual right. That's deeply disturbing."

Statistically, those who are not "deeply disturbed" by the implications of Holder's appointment are likely residing in one of those blue urban centers which typically elect liberals to national office.

I came across an essay from one such misguided urbanite this week -- Fred Lebrun, who writes for the Albany (NY) Times-Union.

Fred wrote of the unprecedented number of gun sales since Obama's election: "Otherwise sensible people seem to completely lose their marbles when it comes to the loaded question of handgun ownership, and what rules ought to apply. I'm not sure why that is. The latest example of mass paranoia at work for no discernable reason is a rush to gun shops across the country to buy sidearms. The rationale, or vague impetus, is that with the election of Barack Obama as president, we're heading for the confiscation of our guns, for sure. ... Well, if it's true, why in the world would you go out and buy something the government is going to take away from you anyway?"

Fred, those of us who still uphold our Constitution and honor our oaths, as have generations of Patriots before, understand that, in the words of James Madison, "The ultimate authority ... resides in the people alone. ... 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."

Madison's words are truer today than when he wrote them in 1787. (Our adversaries at the time of that writing, the British, are learning that gun confiscation leaves one defenseless against tyranny -- and they are now protesting ... with cardboard placards.)

As for why some folks "go out and buy something the government is going to take away from you anyway," well, the only guns that will ever be taken from my hands, or those of tens of millions of like-minded gun owners, will be seized posthumously, and with empty magazines -- which is the only reason Obama and his congressional Leftists have not completely discarded that venerable old Constitution.

Fred concludes: "For the first time since 1935, with an all-Democratic national government, we are in a position to finally institute some meaningful and sensible gun control measures that will help mightily in regaining our cities from gun terror, street by street. Gun control doesn't have to be a dirty word."

What Fred doesn't seem to understand is that there are already some 20,000 -- TWENTY THOUSAND -- gun laws on the books. The argument that more laws will make America safer is ludicrous at every level, and to suggest that somehow such laws justify undermining the Second Amendment's clear intent is to undermine the strongest pillar of our Constitution.

Y'know, Fred, old Ben Franklin had a word of advice for folks like you: "They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

And to those for whom such a struggle proves too much an encroachment on their comfort zone, Sam Adams said, "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go from us in peace. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"

Currently, some 80 million Americans are gun owners, and it is estimated that 60 million of them own guns for purposes other than hunting. If you are not among them, you might thank God for the ranks of us who are, because as our Founders knew, we are the vanguard between liberty and tyranny.

(Visit PatriotShop.US for 2A products, and take a stand.)

Quote of the week
"No freeman shall ever be debarred the use of arms." --Thomas Jefferson

On cross-examination
"It ought to be a law that people must have a gun in their homes. I know many fine police officers. But we can't depend on the police to protect us anymore. The value of human life means nothing to [criminals]. If it had been my house [this thug] came in on, he would have wound up at Coulter Funeral Home." --General Sessions Court Judge Bob Moon (Chattanooga, TN) advising a female victim of a home invasion to buy a gun

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away...

Open query
"What is a left-wing socialist but a Marxist without a gun?"â?¨--Don Feder

The BIG lie
"I am not in favor of concealed weapons. There has not been any evidence that allowing people to carry a concealed weapon is going to make anybody safer." --Barack Obama
Power User
Posts: 2004

« Reply #270 on: January 31, 2009, 08:57:37 PM »

Left democrat, gun control and $%^&*.  All synonymous one might think.   smiley  But there are a few of us;

Kirsten Gillibrand the new Democratic Senator from the State of New York;

 • Endorsed by the National Rifle Association, from which she has a 100% rating.

who believe in the right to bear arms.  We just need a few more...

Power User
Posts: 192

« Reply #271 on: February 07, 2009, 01:31:27 PM »

Canada's Conservative PM is about to take another shot at killing off atleast part of our gun registry.  A couple years ago he killed off all user fees for us and refunded any money a gun owner had spent due to the registry system.
I got a check back for just under $500, which i used to buy a new gun.  I think Canada has the only federal govt right now taking steps towards improving the rights of gun owners.  If the registry is killed off, even for a week there will be alot of "canoe accidents" up here.............

Harper says gun registry debate near

The Miramichi region of New Brunswick will not lose a single federal job if and when the government does away with the long gun registry, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday.

Harper told reporters during a whirlwind visit to Miramichi that local gun registry jobs are safe, despite his goal of eliminating the program.

More than 200 people work at the Miramichi firearms registry where the main processing centre is located.

Harper said a debate on the registry will happen in the near future, but jobs will not be lost.

"The Conservative party for a long time now has been committed to the abolition of the long gun registry, we are very clear about that," Harper said while visiting a hockey rink.

"At the same time, you can be absolutely clear that we understand the economic challenges of this region, and there will be no loss of federal employment in the Miramichi area as a cost of (cutting the program)."

Introduced by the Liberals a decade ago, the long gun registry was supposed to cost $2 million a year but has ended up costing more than $1 billion so far.

The Conservatives introduced a bill in 2006 to abolish the registry, but it had no support from the other parties. Unable to do away with the registry altogether, the government instead announced a series of fee waivers and amnesties to take away the program's punch.

Rifle and shotgun owners who are legally licensed to own guns do not have to comply with registration requirements until May.

"The firearms centre here (in Miramichi) does more than just the long gun registry," Harper said. "There are other aspects of gun control that this government has every aspect of maintaining."
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #272 on: February 13, 2009, 12:18:32 AM »

The latest case in point is Kirsten Gillibrand. Remember how, when she was appointed to Hillary Clinton's Senate seat, she was widely described as a "conservative Democrat?" In particular, her 100% rating by the National Rifle Association was widely touted. But that was then, and this is now: Gillibrand is a convert to the cause of gun control. She has met with the parents of a 17-year-old girl who was killed by a stray bullet fired by a gang member and undergone a conversion:
It clearly touched her. "I care deeply. I am very upset about the horror and the tragedies that so many families experience," Gillibrand said. ...
On Monday she said Nyasia's story convinced her to introduce gun trafficking legislation. "I will be a fighter to make sure we keep these illegal guns off the streets," Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand is so intent on changing her image on gun violence that she's even asking for a meeting with Mayor Michael Bloomberg, one of the leading anti-gun advocates in the nation.
Gillibrand on Monday established two internships in her New York and Washington offices in honor of Nyasia.

Apparently Ms. Gillibrand had never realized, until now, that it is possible to use a firearm to commit a crime. Be that as it may, now that she will be running for re-election statewide she has no more need for an endorsement from the NRA; on the contrary, such an endorsement would be a liability--a liability that Ms. Gillibrand lost no time in jettisoning.
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #273 on: February 13, 2009, 11:54:33 AM »

It has already started…
Ammunition Accountability Legislation
Remember that criminals, by definition, do not obey the law.  Therefore anti-freedom (anti-gun) legislation does not one damn thing to limit criminals.  It only affects those who abide by the law.
Obama said that he wasn't going to take your guns!  Well, it seems that he and his allies in the anti-gun world have no problem with taking your ammo!
The bill that is currently being pushed in 18 states requires all ammunition to be coded by the manufacture and a database maintained of all ammunition sales.  They will know how much you buy and what calibers.
Nobody can sell any ammunition after June 30, 2009 unless the ammunition is coded.
Any privately held uncoded ammunition must be destroyed by July 1, 2011.  (Including hand loaded ammo.) 
They will also charge a .05 cent tax on every round so every box of ammo you buy will go up at least $2.50 or more!
If they can deprive you of ammo they do not need to take your gun!
This legislation is currently pending in 18 states:  Alabama, Arizona,  California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Washington.
Send to your friends in these states AND fight to dissolve this BILL!!
To find more about the anti-gun group that is sponsoring this legislation and the specific legislation for each state, go to:
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #274 on: February 16, 2009, 12:57:22 PM »

Why I Have A Gun

My old grandpa said to me, "Son, there comes a time in every man's life when he stops bustin' knuckles and starts bustin' caps and usually it's when he becomes too old to take an ass whoopin'."

I don't have a gun to kill people.  I have a gun to keep from being killed.
I don't have a gun to scare people.  I have a gun because sometimes this world can be a scary place.
I don't have a gun because I'm paranoid.  I have a gun because there are real threats in the world.
I don't have a gun because I'm evil.  I have a gun because I have lived long enough to see the evil in the world.
I don't have a gun because I hate the government.  I have a gun because I understand the limitations of government.
I don't have a gun because I'm angry.  I have a gun so that I don't have to spend the rest of my life hating myself for failing to be prepared.
I don't have a gun because I want to shoot someone.  I have a gun because I want to die at a ripe old age in my bed, and not on a sidewalk somewhere tomorrow afternoon.
I don't have a gun because I'm a cowboy.  I have a gun because, when I die and go to Heaven, I want to be a cowboy.
I don't have a gun to make me feel like a man.  I have a gun because men know how to take care of themselves and the ones they love.
I don't have a gun because I feel inadequate.  I have a gun because unarmed and facing three armed thugs, I am inadequate.
I don't have a gun because I love it.  I have a gun because I love life and the people who make it meaningful to me.
Personally, I carry a gun because I'm too young to die and too old to take an ass whoopin'.

-- Author Unknown
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #275 on: February 20, 2009, 01:21:55 AM »

Blair Holt, Other Gun-control Efforts, on Horizon

Written by Alan Scholl
Monday, 19 January 2009 18:02

No sane person wants innocent people victimized, maimed, or murdered, nor to see the perpetrators escape justice. This is true, whether the perpetrators use their hands or objects — like baseball bats, rocks, knives, vehicles, or a host of other readily available inanimate objects of endless variety — or a firearm. It is the intent and the will of the criminals, and not the inanimate objects they use, that are responsible for the criminal acts and the harm done to victims.

From the dawn of man, violent acts have been a sad aspect of life in nearly every civilization and culture. The violence in prisons shows how ineffective even close confinement, total control, and total surveillance can be in preventing this.

Many heavily restrictive governments have failed to prevent violence. In fact, history has shown that powerful, unrestrained governments commit murder and other acts of violence against their own citizens. According to careful statistical analysis by Professor R. J. Rummel of the University of Hawaii, in his detailed work Death By Government, "The more power a government has, the more it can act arbitrarily according to the whims and desires of the elite, and the more it will make war on others and murder its foreign and domestic subjects." On the other hand, "The more constrained the power of governments, the more power is diffused, checked, and balanced, the less it will aggress on others."

Regardless of who commits the crimes, brutality and murder are moral issues, and the means or equipment used is really immaterial to the root problem, which is the condition of the human heart and mind. In our system of government, an important check against immoral acts of violence — whether committed by individuals acting alone, gangs, or unrestrained government — is the Second Amendment, which guarantees "the right of the people to keep and bear arms."

Yet today in America, the proponents of civilian disarmament often insist that inflicting a grievous wrong on all citizens — removing their most effective means of defense against the violence, in contradiction of the Second Amendment — will somehow correct the underlying moral problem.

Many Americans fear that despite the evidence, we are about to witness a broad array of gun-control efforts to limit or completely disenfranchise Americans' right to keep and bear arms.

After last November's elections changed the political climate at the national level and in a number of states, a huge surge in gun sales has been reported among retailers and dealers. FOX News' Catherine Herridge reported that the month Barack Obama was elected, the number of background checks was 42 percent greater than in November 2007. "It's not a hard tea leaf to read," said Jim Shepherd, publisher of the news service Outdoor Wire, which claims Obama's election has "frightened consumers into action."

Obama has repeatedly stated that he supports Second Amendment rights and will not crack down on gun owners, and in June he said he agreed with the Supreme Court when it overturned the District of Columbia handgun ban. But gun owners are not convinced. Obama's legislative record in support of gun control, and his offhand remark during the primaries that small-town Americans are "bitter" and "cling to their guns," suggest a very different approach to firearms regulation during his presidency. A December poll from Southwick Associates found that 80 percent of hunters and shooters expect the new administration and a Democratic Congress will make purchasing firearms more difficult.

An electronic news service that covers outdoor news has even named Obama its "Gun Salesman of the Year." "It's clear that gun owners and prospective gun owners are concerned about the incoming Obama administration and Congress," said Ted Novin, spokesman for the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

As a sentaor, incoming Vice President Joe Biden was a strong supporter of the assault-weapons ban, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1994. As a state legislator in Illinois, Barack Obama backed a ban on semiautomatic weapons.

Obama will likely use the heavily liberal legislative bodies in Washington and in statehouses across the nation to help them accomplish this disenfranchisement of Americans piecemeal over the next few years. Unwittingly, or intentionally, many of our elected leaders are working hard to remove the ability of Americans to effectively defend themselves corporately — as our forefathers did — or individually against crime.

Touted as measures to prevent crime or capture criminals, they completely ignore the concept of individual rights on several levels. Nearly all will insert state or federal government very powerfully and dangerously deep into the personal and property rights and daily activities of law-abiding American people.

Nearly every one of these efforts will instead either disarm or make criminals of a wide spectrum of law-abiding citizens by means of a dizzying array of new regulations, laws, taxes, and rules.

The Obama administration will almost certainly lead the charge. A federal bill, H.R. 45, also known as "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009," is a good example of an Obama-endorsed bill that threatens all of the ill effects mentioned above.

This bill was named after teenaged Blair Holt, a Julian High School student killed on a city bus in Chicago.

The bill requires a "Blair Holt" license, involving a detailed application including photo, thumb print, written test, release of mental health records, and new fees. Firearms owners would also be required to report all gun transfers (even those to other family members) to the attorney general's database. It would also be illegal for a licensed gun owner to fail to record a gun loss or theft within 72 hours or fail to report a change of address within 60 days. H.R. 45 is a relaunch of H.R. 2666 in 2007, co-sponsored by 15 other representatives including Barack Obama's new chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel.

The Northeast, a major battleground in this fight over the right to keep and bear arms, is home to monuments dedicated to men who two centuries ago fought and died to keep British soldiers from removing cannon, powder, and shot from storehouses in Lexington and Concord. They knew tyranny would follow disarmament.

As a nation our elected leaders and many in law enforcement have lost sight of the significance of that series of events and their purpose and the importance of arms to preserving liberty. In efforts supposedly intended to stem the moral problems that spawn the violence, they have turned to restricting liberty and denying law-abiding Americans a means of self-defense.

OrigamiAK Offline
Freshman   Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 10 
 H.R. 45, sample letter, and fax numbers


Hi all,

H.R. 45 has been introduced to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee. H.R. 45 is really bad. See the whole thing here:

Here is the letter I wrote to all the US House Judiciary Committee members. Getting this bill stopped while in committee is vastly better than it going to the House floor for debate and a vote. We need to get this stopped early.

Begin Letter:

January 27, 2009

Re: Vote NO on HR45

Dear House Judiciary Member,

I urge you to vote NO on HR45, the "Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009."

Constitutionally protected rights are not subject to licensing, taxes, applications, fees, requirements, or any other subversion at the hands of federal, state, or local government. HR45 is just as immoral and unconstitutional as any poll tax or literacy test requirement for voting.

In addition, HR45 will not be effective for its stated purpose, and will put an undue burden on those of our citizens who have fewer financial resources. Instead, I ask you to focus on the enforcement of existing laws against violent crime, which will be vastly more effective than curbing the Civil Rights of all private citizens in the United States.

This is not a gun issue; this is a Civil Rights issue.

If you vote for HR45, you will not receive my vote or financial support at any time in the future.


End Letter

Anyone who wishes to sign their own name to my letter and send it is welcome to do so.

In sending this to the various House Judiciary Committee members yesterday, I discovered that many of them do not accept emails from outside their district. I found it much more convenient to fax all of them. Below are the fax numbers to the Washington D.C. offices of most of the House Judiciary Committee members (not all of them.) I didn't attach the Representatives' names to the fax numbers.

Here they are:

Happy faxing!!!
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #276 on: February 20, 2009, 05:32:53 PM »

Subject: Gun Law Update by Alan Korwin, Democrats have already leaked a gun-ban list. Forward or send to every gun owner you know....
Gun Law Update by Alan Korwin, Author Gun Laws of America Jan. 5, 2008 &g t; > Gun-ban list proposed.
Slipping below the radar (or under the short-term memory cap), the Democrats have already leaked a gun-ban list, even under the Bush
administration when they knew full well it had no chance of passage (HR 1022, 110th Congress) It serves as a framework for the new list the Brady's plan to introduce shortly.

I have an outline of the Brady's current plans and targets of opportunity, It's horrific. They're going after the courts, regulatory agencies,
 firearms dealers and statutes in an all out effort to restrict we the people. They've made little mention of criminals.

Now more than ever, attention to the entire Bill of Rights is critical. Gun bans will impact our freedoms under search and seizure, due process,
confiscated property, states' rights, free speech, right to assemble and more, in addition to the Second Amendment.

The Democrats current gun-ban-list proposal (final list will be worse):

Rifles (or copies or duplicates):

M1 Carbine, Sturm Ruger Mini-14, AR-15, Bushmaster XM15, Armalite M15, AR-10, Thompson 1927, Thompson M1; AK, AKM, AKS, AK-47, AK-74, ARM, MAK90, NHM 90, NHM 91, SA 85, SA 93, VEPR; Olympic Arms PCR; AR70, Calico Liberty, Dragunov SVD Sniper Rifle or Dragunov SVU, Fabrique National FN/FAL, FN/LAR,or FNC, Hi-Point20Carbine, HK-91, HK-93, HK-94, HK-PSG-1, Thompson 1927 Commando, Kel-Tec Sub Rifle; Saiga, SAR-8, SAR-4800,  SKS with detachable magazine, SLG 95, SLR 95 or 96, Steyr AU, Tavor, Uzi, Galil and Uzi Sporter, Galil Sporter, or Galil Sniper Rifle ( Galatz ).

Pistols (or copies or duplicates):

Calico M-110, MAC-10, MAC-11, or MPA3, Olympic Arms OA,  TEC-9, TEC-DC9, TEC-22 Scorpion, or AB-10, Uzi.

Shotguns (or copies or duplicates):

Armscor 30 BG, SPAS 12 or LAW 12, Striker 12, Streetsweeper.

Catch-all category (for anything missed or new designs):

A semiautomatic rifle that accepts a detachable magazine and has:

(i) a folding or telescoping stock,
(ii) a threaded barrel,
(iii) a pistol grip (which includes ANYTHING that can serve as a
grip, see below),
(iv) a forward grip; or a barrel shroud.

Any semiautomatic rifle with a fixed magazine that can accept more than 10 rounds (except tubular magazine .22 rimfire

A semiautomatic pistol that has the ability to accept a detachable
magazine, and has:

(i) a second pistol grip,
(ii) a threaded barrel,
(iii) a barrel shroud or
(iv) can accept a detachable magazine outside of the pistol grip, and
(v) a semiautomatic pistol with a fixed magazine that can accept more
than 10 rounds.

A semiautomatic shotgun with:
(i) a folding or telescoping stock,
(ii) a pistol grip (see definition below),
(iii) the ability to accept a detachable magazine or a fixed magazine capacity of more than 5 rounds, and (iv) a shotgun with a revolving cylinder.

Frames or receivers for the above are included, along with conversion kits

Attorney General gets carte blanche to ban guns at will:

Under the proposal, the U.S. Attorney General can add any semiautomaticrifle or>&g t; shotgun originally designed for military or law enforcement use, or a  firearm based on the design of such a firearm, that is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, as determined by the Attorney General."

Note that Obama's pick for this office (Eric Holder, confirmation hearing set for Jan. 15) wrote a brief in the Heller case supporting the position that you have no right to have a working firearm in your own home.

In making this determination, the bill says, "thereshall be a rebuttable presumption that a firearm procured for use by the United States military or any
federal law enforcement agency is not particularly suitable for sporting purposes, and a firearm shall not be determined to be
particularly suitable for sporting purposes solely because the firearm is suitable for use in a sporting event."

In plain English this means that ANY firearm ever obtained by federalofficers or the military is not suitable for the public.

The last part is particularly clever, stating that a firearm doesn't have a sportin g purpose just because
it can be used for sporting purpose -- is that devious or what? And of course, "sporting purpose" is a
rights infringement with no constitutional or historical support whatsoever, invented by domestic enemies of the right to keep and
bear arms to further their cause of disarming the innocent.

Respectfully submitted,
Alan Korwin,
Author Gun Laws of America

Power User
Posts: 192

« Reply #277 on: February 22, 2009, 03:04:08 PM »

What are your thoughts on this?  Looks like the U.S is going to have a registration system more restrictive then Canada's.

Text of H.R.45 as Introduced in House
Blair Holt's Firearm Licensing and Record of Sale Act of 2009
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #278 on: February 22, 2009, 03:07:09 PM »

Guardsmen to conduct urban training at Arcadia in April

Staff Writer

The Carroll National Guard unit will train on urban military operations by holding a four-day exercise at Arcadia.

The purpose of the April 2-5 drill will be to gather intelligence, then search for and apprehend a suspected weapons dealer, according to Sgt. Mike Kots, readiness NCO for Alpha Company.

Citizens, law enforcement, media and other supporters will participate.

Troops will spend Thursday, April 2, staging at a forward operations base at Carroll. The next day company leaders will conduct reconnaissance and begin patrolling the streets of Arcadia to identify possible locations of the weapons dealer.

The primary phase will be done Saturday, April 4, when convoys will be deployed from Carroll to Arcadia. Pictures of the arms dealer will be shown in Arcadia, and soldiers will go door to door asking if residents have seen the suspect.

Soldiers will knock only at households that have agreed to participate in the drill, Kots noted.

"Once credible intelligence has been gathered," said Kots, "portions of the town will be road-blocked and more in-depth searches of homes and vehicles will be conducted in accordance with the residents' wishes.

"One of the techniques we use in today's political environment is cordon and knock," Kots explained. "We ask for the head of the household, get permission to search, then have them open doors and cupboards. The homeowner maintains control. We peer over their shoulder, and the soldier uses the homeowner's body language and position to protect him."

During this phase of the operation, troops will interact with residents and media while implementing crowd-control measures and possibly treating and evacuating injured persons.

The unit will use a Blackhawk helicopter for overhead command and control, and to simulate medevacs.

The drill will culminate in the apprehension of the suspected arms dealer.

Alpha Company will conduct a review of the drill on Sunday, April 5.

A meeting to give residents more information and accept volunteers will be held 7 p.m. Monday, March 2, in the Arcadia American Legion hall.

Kots said the exercise will replace Alpha Company's weekend drill for April.

"We have a lot of extended drills this coming year," he added.

In addition to surveillance, searching and apprehension, the exercise will also give the troops valuable experience in stability, support, patrol, traffic control, vehicle searches and other skills needed for deployment in an urban environment.

"This exercise will improve the real-life operational skills of the unit," said Kots. "And it will hopefully improve the public's understanding of military operations."

The pre-drill work with residents is as important at the drill itself.

"It will be important for us to gain the trust and confidence of the residents of Arcadia," said Kots. "We will need to identify individuals that are willing to assist us in training by allowing us to search their homes and vehicles and to participate in role-playing."

"We really want to get as much information out there as possible, because this operation could be pretty intrusive to the people of Arcadia."
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #279 on: February 22, 2009, 03:08:31 PM »


See entry number 275 above.
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #280 on: February 24, 2009, 12:20:20 PM »

Swiss soldiers face loss of right to store guns at home
Story Highlights
Swiss soldiers could lose their famous right to store their weapons at home

Coalition of groups get enough signatures for referendum on gun laws

They want weapons stored on bases and a national register
Next Article in World »

(CNN) -- Switzerland's part-time soldiers could lose their famous right to store their weapons at home.

Switzerland's part-time soldiers could lose the right to store their weapons at home.

A coalition led by the country's Social Democrat party and the Greens has collected nearly 120,000 signatures to force a national referendum on whether the weapons should be stored at military bases.

The coalition of 74 groups says the weapons are involved in too many suicides and murders in the country and tighter controls are needed.

Switzerland's armed forces consist of just a few thousand permanent full-time staff, with the rest essentially a militia.

Service in the militia is compulsory for men aged between 19 and 31 and in between call-ups they store their weapons at home. There are currently around 220,000 conscripts.

However, a 2007 law change banned the storage of ammunition in homes. The coalition is looking to extend this, control the purchase of military weapons and set up a national gun register.

Green lawmaker Josef Lang said more than 1.5 million unused weapons were kept in Swiss homes.

Lang said their presence "at the heart" of the population could not be justified.

He said a national register had to be created to keep track of the weapons, something police had long been seeking.

Lang said the weapons had to be "banished" from homes.

Barbara Weil, of the Swiss Medical Association, said it had been scientifically proven that if the guns were less freely available the number of suicides would drop.

The studies had also shown that other methods of suicide did not increase in countries who had brought in stricter gun controls.

The coalition estimates that 300 deaths annually are connected to gun use.
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #281 on: February 26, 2009, 09:08:18 AM »

U.S. Is Arms Bazaar for Mexican Cartels

Published: February 25, 2009
PHOENIX — The Mexican agents who moved in on a safe house full of drug dealers last May were not prepared for the fire power that greeted them.

Skip to next paragraph
When the shooting was over, eight agents were dead. Among the guns the police recovered was an assault rifle traced back across the border to a dingy gun store here called X-Caliber Guns.
Now, the owner, George Iknadosian, will go on trial on charges he sold hundreds of weapons, mostly AK-47 rifles, to smugglers, knowing they would send them to a drug cartel in the western state of Sinaloa. The guns helped fuel the gang warfare in which more than 6,000 Mexicans died last year.

Mexican authorities have long complained that American gun dealers are arming the cartels. This case is the most prominent prosecution of an American gun dealer since the United States promised Mexico two years ago it would clamp down on the smuggling of weapons across the border. It also offers a rare glimpse of how weapons delivered to American gun dealers are being moved into Mexico and wielded in horrific crimes.

“We had a direct pipeline from Iknadosian to the Sinaloa cartel,” said Thomas G. Mangan, a spokesman for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Phoenix.

Drug gangs seek out guns in the United States because the gun-control laws are far tougher in Mexico. Mexican civilians must get approval from the military to buy guns and they cannot own large-caliber rifles or high-powered pistols, which are considered military weapons.

The ease with which Mr. Iknadosian and two other men transported weapons to Mexico over a two-year period illustrates just how difficult it is to stop the illicit trade, law enforcement officials here say.

The gun laws in the United States allow the sale of multiple military-style rifles to American citizens without reporting the sales to the government, and the Mexicans search relatively few cars and trucks going south across their border.

What is more, the sheer volume of licensed dealers — more than 6,600 along the border alone, many of them operating out of their houses — makes policing them a tall order. Currently the A.T.F. has about 200 agents assigned to the task.

Smugglers routinely enlist Americans with clean criminal records to buy two or three rifles at a time, often from different shops, then transport them across the border in cars and trucks, often secreting them in door panels or under the hood, law enforcement officials here say. Some of the smuggled weapons are also bought from private individuals at gun shows, and the law requires no notification of the authorities in those cases.

“We can move against the most outrageous purveyors of arms to Mexico, but the characteristic of the arms trade is it’s a ‘parade of ants’ — it’s not any one big dealer, it’s lots of individuals,” said Arizona’s attorney general, Terry Goddard, who is prosecuting Mr. Iknadosian. “That makes it very hard to detect because it’s often below the radar.”

The Mexican government began to clamp down on drug cartels in late 2006, unleashing a war that daily deposits dozens of bodies — often gruesomely tortured — on Mexico’s streets. President Felipe Calderón has characterized the stream of smuggled weapons as one of the most significant threats to security in his country. The Mexican authorities say they seized 20,000 weapons from drug gangs in 2008, the majority bought in the United States.

The authorities in the United States say they do not know how many firearms are transported across the border each year, in part because the federal government does not track gun sales and traces only weapons used in crimes. But A.T.F. officials estimate 90 percent of the weapons recovered in Mexico come from dealers north of the border.

In 2007, the firearms agency traced 2,400 weapons seized in Mexico back to dealers in the United States, and 1,800 of those came from dealers operating in the four states along the border, with Texas first, followed by California, Arizona and New Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian is accused of being one of those dealers. So brazen was his operation that the smugglers paid him in advance for the guns and the straw buyers merely filled out the required paperwork and carried the weapons off, according to A.T.F. investigative reports. The agency said Mr. Iknadosian also sold several guns to undercover agents who had explicitly informed him that they intended to resell them in Mexico.

Mr. Iknadosian, 47, will face trial on March 3 on charges including fraud, conspiracy and assisting a criminal syndicate. His lawyer, Thomas M. Baker, declined to comment on the charges, but said Mr. Iknadosian maintained his innocence. No one answered the telephone at Mr. Iknadosian’s home in Glendale, Ariz.

A native of Egypt who spent much of his life in California, Mr. Iknadosian moved his gun-selling operation to Arizona in 2004, because the gun laws were more lenient, prosecutors said.


Page 2 of 2)

Over the two years leading up to his arrest last May, he sold more than 700 weapons of the kind currently sought by drug dealers in Mexico, including 515 AK-47 rifles and one .50 caliber rifle that can penetrate an engine block or bulletproof glass, the A.T.F. said.

The authorities say weapons from X-Caliber Guns in Phoenix fueled gang warfare in Mexico. Officials say weapons from George Iknadosian’s store in Phoenix ended up in the hands of a cartel that included Alfredo Beltrán Leyva.
Based on the store’s records and the statements of some defendants, investigators estimate at least 600 of those weapons were smuggled to Mexico. So far, the Mexican authorities have seized seven of the Kalashnikov-style rifles from gunmen for the Beltrán Leyva cartel who had battled with the police.

The store was also said to be the source for a Colt .38-caliber pistol stuck in the belt of a reputed drug kingpin, Alfredo Beltrán Leyva, when he was arrested a year ago in the Sinaloan town of Culiacán. Also linked to the store was a diamond-studded handgun carried by another reputed mobster, Hugo David Castro, known as El Once, who was arrested in November on charges he took part in killing a state police chief in Sonora.

According to reports by A.T.F. investigators, Mr. Iknadosian sold more than 60 assault rifles in late 2007 and early 2008 to straw buyers working for two brothers — Hugo Miguel Gamez, 26, and Cesar Bojorguez Gamez, 27 — who then smuggled them into Mexico.

The brothers instructed the buyers to show up at X-Caliber Guns and to tell Mr. Iknadosian they were there to pick up guns for “Cesar” or “C,” the A.T.F. said. Mr. Iknadosian then helped the buyers fill out the required federal form, called the F.B.I. to check their records and handed over the rifles. The straw buyers would then meet one of the brothers to deliver the merchandise. They were paid $100 a gun.

The Gamez brothers have pleaded guilty to a count of attempted fraud. Seven of the buyers arrested last May have pleaded guilty to lesser charges and have agreed to testify against Mr. Iknadosian, prosecutors said.

In one transaction, Mr. Iknadosian gave advice about how to buy weapons and smuggle them to a person who turned out to be an informant who was recording him, according to a transcript. He told the informant to break the sales up into batches and never to carry more than two weapons in a car.

“If you got pulled over, two is no biggie,” Mr. Iknadosian is quoted as saying in the transcript. “Four is a question. Fifteen is, ‘What are you doing?’ ”
Power User
Posts: 15426

« Reply #282 on: February 26, 2009, 09:32:20 AM »

Maybe Mexico should consider securing it's border with the US?
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #283 on: February 26, 2009, 06:47:07 PM »

Pelosi tosses cold water on assault-weapon ban

Pelosi tosses cold water on assault-weapon ban
By Mike Soraghan

Posted: 02/26/09 11:59 AM [ET]

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban, highlighting Democrats’ reluctance to take on gun issues.

Attorney General Eric Holder raised the prospect Wednesday that the administration would push to bring back the ban. But Pelosi (D-Calif.) indicated on Thursday that he never talked to her. The Speaker gave a flat “no” when asked if she had talked to administration officials about the ban.

“On that score, I think we need to enforce the laws we have right now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference. “I think it's clear the Bush administration didn’t do that.”

Outside of the dig at the recent Republican president, that phrase is the stock line of those who don’t want to pass new gun control laws, such as the National Rifle Association.

The White House declined to comment on Holder's remarks, referring reporters to the Department of Justice. The DoJ did not respond to The Hill's request for comment.
« Reply #284 on: March 03, 2009, 11:01:05 AM »

This piece at the Cato web site links to some pretty good sources.

Holder’s “Assault Weapons” Folly

Posted by David Rittgers

Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the Obama administration will seek a new federal “assault weapons” ban.  This is an ill-advised policy that defies common sense.

The ban would be a revival of a law passed in the early years of the Clinton administration that expired in 2004.  The law prohibited the sale of newly-manufactured magazines holding more than ten rounds of ammunition and having two of five cosmetic features on semi-automatic rifles.  If you had a pistol grip and a detachable magazine, you couldn’t have a bayonet lug.  More recent proposals have attempted to ban “barrel shrouds,” which the rest of the world calls “handguards” - the place you put your hand (instead of on a hot barrel) to prevent burning it while firing.

The emphasis here is on the cosmetic - any rational discussion of the issue ought to note that an “assault weapon” is any object you use to assault someone with - and banning the presence of a bayonet lug on the barrel of a rifle is senseless.  Knives, tire irons, and bricks can all serve as “assault weapons.”  This is an instance where quotation marks are not just appropriate, they are required.

Much of the public support for the law was based on a warping of the issue by gun control proponents to make the public believe that these firearms are machine guns.  The fully automatic weapons that gun controllers use to push this agenda have been heavily regulated by the federal government since 1934 and not produced for civilian sale since 1986.  Don’t take my word for it - here’s Josh Sugarmann of the Violence Policy Center: “The weapons’ menacing looks, coupled with the public’s confusion over fully automatic machine guns versus semi-automatic assault weapons-anything that looks like a machine gun is assumed to be a machine gun-can only increase the chance of public support for restrictions on these weapons.”

This intentional distortion has moved from advocacy groups to the attorney general’s office.  Attorney General Eric Holder claims that the law is needed to counter Mexican Drug War violence, that American gun laws support “cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades.” Again, these devices are already illegal.  It is far more likely that these weapons of war are from Mexican Army troops who deserted their posts for the higher pay that drug kingpins offer.  The drug cartels have even taken the brazen step of setting up billboards meant to draw soldiers and police officers from their government jobs and into the drug trade.  My colleague Ted Galen Carpenter wrote the book on how to deal with this issue.  Holder’s War on Everything is not it.

It defies reason to think that multi-billion dollar criminal syndicates will not be able to get their hands on guns because of an American law banning cosmetic features and dictating lower magazine capacity.  If the Mexican government gets better control of its own armaments, the cartels will simply go to the black market and buy the guns.  Or make them.  Guns are hand-crafted in the frontier provinces of Pakistan, and there is no reason that the cartels could not do the same in a country with far more industrial know-how.  Three minutes of internet research will reveal plans to make fully automatic sub-machine guns, so enough capital to set up a machine shop and buy some sheet metal is all it would take.

The expired ban did not demonstrably impact crime anyway.  The Centers for Disease Control conducted a study in 2003 that found no reduction of crime attributable to the law.  This should come as no surprise, since most criminals’ weapons of choice are cheap, small caliber pistols.  They traditionally dominate the ATF’s top crime gun list.  There are some bad apples out there selling guns to people they know to be “straw buyers,” people who have clean records and re-sell the guns to those who don’t.  Prosecute them.  Enforce the existing laws before deciding to restrict the freedom of law-abiding citizens.

Predictably, both Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have temporarily quashed the issue.  Let’s hope they keep it out of the halls of Congress, and focus instead on a sensible drug policy that impacts the demand created by an illicit drug market.

Pelosi and Reid realize that this proposal will do is come back to haunt Democrats in the 2010 mid-term elections, which historically trend against the president’s party anyway.  Many Democrats attributed the flip of the House of Representatives to Republican hands in 1994 to the first “assault weapons” ban.  Numerous experts believe that the reason Al Gore could not carry his home state of Tennessee in the 2000 election was his push for broader gun control.  Blue Dog Democrats that ran on pro-gun platforms in conservative districts must be rolling their eyes.  The rest of the country should do so as well, and send this proposal to the dustbin.

UPDATE: Since I started writing this, the “ban guns for Mexico’s sake” narrative has taken on a drumbeat’s tempo.  60 Minutes did this piece echoing the gun ban crusade, and the Wall Street Journal published this.  Expect more of this nonsense.
« Reply #285 on: March 04, 2009, 05:20:38 PM »

Second Amendment incorporated via 'chucks?

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

[Randy Barnett, March 4, 2009 at 5:53pm] Trackbacks
Holodeck 2009: Here is an updated variation of the virtual reality holodeck concept that was such an entertaining feature of Star Trek: The Next Generation. The video, entitled World Builder, took one day of filming and two years of post-production by Bruce Branit. (Hat tip: Gizmodo)

World Builder from Bruce Branit on Vimeo.

[Orin Kerr, March 4, 2009 at 4:23pm] Trackbacks
John Yoo:
"Now that I'm not in the government, part of my role, because I have a certain amount of expertise, is to try to keep the government honest."
-- From an interview with the Orange County Register.

  On the other hand, back when he was in government....

[Dale Carpenter, March 4, 2009 at 1:12pm] Trackbacks
California Supreme Court hears Prop 8 challenge tomorrow: The oral argument will be three hours long, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. You can watch it at this site. If in the state you can also watch the oral argument on the California Channel, a cable public-affairs station. At its website, the court has a page devoted to the Prop 8 challenge, including links to all of the briefs filed on either side.
The main argument is that Prop 8 was a "revision" (not an "amendment") to the state constitution requiring prior legislative approval and not simply a majority vote of the people. The state attorney general, Jerry Brown, makes the different and, shall we say, more creative, argument that same-sex marriage is among the "inalienable" rights protected by the state constitution that simply cannot be taken away. Ken Starr has been making the primary case for upholding Prop 8 as a valid "amendment" requiring only a simple majority vote.

On the revision vs. amendment question, the text and history of the initiative process created in 1911 tell us little. The initiative process was a Progressive reform designed to circumvent a state legislature thought to be dominated by wealthy business interests. Whatever else can be said of them, the contending sides in the SSM debate are not robber barons.

The state court precedents don't provide a clear answer, either. As usual, both sides can point to decisions (and to isolated passages in decisions) that support their positions. One side argues that California has a long history of direct democracy, which the state courts have generally honored by liberally allowing constitutional changes as "amendments." The other argues that in light of last May's marriage decision, In re Marriage Cases, Prop 8 is unprecedented in form: it strips a fundamental right from a vulnerable minority. Starr's briefs in the case are lively and excellent in many ways, but they never really come to grips with the California marriage decision and its potentially game-changing significance for the Prop 8 challenge. That doesn't mean Prop 8 will lose. I've previously written that I think the petitioners have a good argument, but I still doubt it will be a winning one.

The other important question raised by the case is the status of the 18,000 same-sex marriages entered between June and November 2008. The plain text of Prop 8 supports an argument that these marriages are invalid, in my view ("Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.") So the main issue is whether an explicit statement about retroactive effect must be included when legislation or constitutional change produces an important alteration in a citizen's status and rights.

Tomorrow, throughout California and across the country, there will be "viewing parties" to watch lawyers and judges thrust and parry over Prop 8. It's the Super Bowl for SSM, though we won't know the winner for weeks (the court has 90 days to issue an opinion). It'll be the final word, until the next final word.


[Eugene Volokh, March 4, 2009 at 1:07pm] Trackbacks
Does Senator Kennedy Need Congressional Permission for His Knighthood? The New York Times Caucus blog reports (quoting Prime Minister Gordon Brown) that the Queen of England "has awarded an honorary Knighthood for Sir Edward Kennedy." A couple of people have asked: Does this require Congressional approval, under article I, § 9 of the Constitution, "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States], shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State"?
I'm no expert on the subject (though I'm not sure whether anyone is), but my tentative thinking is that membership in the Senate or the House is not an "Office of Profit or Trust under [the United States]." Three pieces of evidence for this:

Article II, § 1 provides that "no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector." This strongly suggests that "Senator or Representative" and "Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit" are two different things.

Article I, § 6, provides that "no Person holding any Office under the United States, shall be a Member of either House during his Continuance in Office." This likewise suggests that "Office under the United States" doesn't include membership in Congress.

There's 1790s Senate precedent for the proposition that a Senator is not a "Civil Officer[] of the United States" for purpose of impeachment, though the question is not free of controversy.

Note that the situation with Alcee Hastings, an impeached and removed federal judge who became a Representative, doesn't shed light on the subject. Article I, § 3 does allow the Senate to include "disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States" as part of the "Judgment in Cases of Impeachment"; the Hastings situation might thus have tested whether membership in Congress is an "Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States" -- but it didn't, because the Senate didn't include such a disqualification within its judgment (a decision that was for the Senate to make).

If any of you have more information on this, please do pass it along, since this post is the result of only a bit of quick research on my part.


[Eugene Volokh, March 4, 2009 at 12:55pm] Trackbacks
Kirkland & Ellis Will Ask Supreme Court To Consider Incorporation of Second Amendment, in the Second Circuit's Nunchaku Case: Benjamin Wolf (The Elliot Schlissel New York Law Blog) has a guest-post from the petitioner in Maloney v. Cuomo that reports this.
Kirkland & Ellis (which is doing this case pro bono) is a top-notch law firm, with a top-notch Supreme Court practice. My guess is that the Supreme Court would prefer to consider the incorporation question in a case that involves more common facts, and that doesn't raise the additional legal question of whether nunchakus qualify as "arms" for Second Amendment purposes. But it's hard to tell for sure: It's possible for the Justices to use the case to decide the purely legal question of whether the Fourteenth Amendment incorporates the Second Amendment and thus constrains the states to respect an individual right to keep and bear arms. The Justices must be aware that the question is out there in lots of cases.

Moreover, the main criterion for choosing whether to decide a case -- whether there's a split among federal circuit courts or state supreme courts on the subject -- may well not arise on this issue: The existence of late 1800s Supreme Court precedent against applying the Second Amendment to the states (in a case that also held the same as to the First Amendment, a view that the Court has long since rejected) may keep a split from developing in the first place, as lower courts conclude that they're bound by the precedent despite the Court's relatively broad embrace of incorporation throughout the 1900s. So it's possible that the Court might conclude that there's no time like the present to decide the issue, though I'd still guess the odds are against it, even with Kirkland involved.
« Reply #286 on: March 05, 2009, 11:46:02 AM »

Wow, CNN actually gets something on guns right:

Good Coverage of AG Holder’s War on Guns

Posted by David Rittgers

As I said earlier this week, Eric Holder’s push for an “assault weapons” ban is a misguided policy that will not have any serious impact on Mexican drug cartels.  It really ought to be called a “ban on semi-automatic firearms with politically incorrect cosmetic features,” but that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.  I am pleased to see that CNN is providing coverage of this that notes (1) the difference between semi-automatic sporting arms and machine guns and (2) that Mexican authorities are not releasing the serial numbers of firearms seized from the gangsters.  This is probably because many of these guns are coming from the Mexican government, not American gun stores.  The drug cartels are putting up billboards to recruit soldiers and policemen as hired muscle.  Don’t be surprised when they walk off the job with the guns you issued them, and don’t shift the blame to the Second Amendment.
prentice crawford
« Reply #287 on: March 12, 2009, 09:03:29 AM »

 Well here we go; over the past week we've had three suicidal psycho's go on rampages, two in this country and one overseas, this of course pleases the anti-gun crowd and makes for good ratings, so that makes it all the more sweeter for the Left leaning Press and Media. It also makes the maniacs happy because they can go out in a blaze of sick glory, not only taking a few with them but also making sure society at large is effected by their insanity. This is the, "Well, I'll show'em!", five year old mentality that most wacko's have.
 The Press and Media seems to be obsessed with how many guns and how many bullets these guys had. The guy that shot the preacher had 30 rounds on him, that's about a half a box of shells; the news reported that he had enough bullets to kill 30 people. The police chief down in Alabama said that the murderer sprayed them with automactic fire from an AK47 then said, "I don't know what kind of gun he had for sure." The 17 yearold in Germany was reported to have used a automatic high caliber pistol and that his father was a gun club member and owned 14 weapons.
 They didn't say anything about the lack of mental heathcare or look at the pressures of family life and at work or school. And they certainly didn't mention that when one of these incidences happen and the Press and Media go on their 24/7 gore feast, sloshing through the blood of victims to stick microphones into the crying faces of their loved ones, that there are almost always copycat events staged by other empty brained, on the edge nut jobs more than willing to take the stage that's all setup just for them.
 Of course the Press and Media claim they're innocent of any wrong doing and they hide behind their right to freedom of the press. On the other hand, they have no problem with pushing for more gun control and infringing on the right to keep and bear arms. They do this by trying to make the guns, the culprits and they try to influence the public and lawmakers by putting the emphasis on the guns and often use misleading information to do it. When someone uses a knife, they don't report that he could have killed an unlimited number of people, after all a knife never runs out of ammo. And they don't call it a cop killer knife, even though a bullet proof vest won't stop a knife. Oh and just to point this out, no cop has ever been killed by a so called, cop killer bullet! And even though the anti-gun folks want to ban 50 cal rifles and the Media are constantly running stories on how powerful and dangerous these are, no one in the US has ever been murdered by one. Not many guns you can say that about. Of course they always say automatic weapon, when it is usually a semiautomatic. A semiauto is just like a revolver, one bullet fired for each pull of the trigger and they alway fail to mention that fully automatic weapons have been banned since the 1930's.
 If you want to keep your rights, the next time you read this crap in the paper or hear it on the news, would you please write them, email them, or call them and let them know that they should be held liable for these copycat masacres and to stop exploiting them for ratings and using them to push their Leftwing agenda.
                Thanks, P.C.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 10:31:38 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
Power User
Posts: 9341

« Reply #288 on: March 12, 2009, 09:49:13 AM »

Interesting take Prentice.  "They didn't say anything about the lack of mental heathcare or look at the pressures of family life and at work or school." 

I haven't looked into these cases at all but in general would add that the tools to force treatment or confinement for the suicidal have been dropped in our society.  Their freedom comes with these risks. 

Just like the terrorists, fear of administrative penalty on equipment violations isn't a motivator for those intent on ending their own life.  Only a giant government magnet can make certain that criminals and wackos comply with each new law change.

I hope that I am with one of my concealed carry friends if ever caught up in one of these rampages.
prentice crawford
« Reply #289 on: March 12, 2009, 11:28:05 AM »

 The large news networks and major papers, are located in what are for the most part, big liberal cities. Most of their editors and reporters grew up in these cities and went to liberal colleges. Even the few that claim to be Conservative are Left leaning on social issues. Most have never served in the military, have never been hunting before, and have never even shot a gun before, much less owned one. They've never exercised their right to keep and bear arms, so the thought of banning guns or infringing on rights with idiotic gun control laws, doesn't bother them at all.
 This is why it is so important that We the People, let these ivory tower a hole's know that they are not the only citizens that count. If they don't want to exercise their rights, fine, but they need to be reminded that rights are not something that can be given up, even when you don't use your right, you still have it and just because they think they know what's best for them, it doesn't mean that they have some kind of right to take everybody else's choice away. We are born with the right to keep and bear arms, it's not a privilege given to us by the government. We have numerous gun laws in this country plus it's against the law to murder people by any means.(Well, any means other than hyping killing spree's for profit and political gain; then you can get away with murder.) News flash, criminals don't obey the law! All that these so called reasonable new gun laws do, is make it harder for law abiding citizens to protect themselves and their families.
 I don't care if people vote or belong to a political party; I think you should but that's your business; but if we continue to let our rights be eroded, pretty soon someone may hold a gun to your head and tell you who to vote for; that's the way it's done in many nations. So even if you are not interested in politics you still need to stand up for your rights and tell the Press and Media to stop this madness or one day we're going to wake up and not have any rights and no guns to fight with to get them back.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2009, 11:59:07 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
prentice crawford
« Reply #290 on: March 12, 2009, 01:21:18 PM »

 Tell them to stop exploiting these suicide masacres for profit and to stop encourageing copycats and other people on the edge to do the same thing by showing them how it's done and how much publicity they'll get if they kill more people than the last guy.

prentice crawford
« Reply #291 on: March 13, 2009, 09:54:00 AM »

 Here is an up date on the Alabama shooter; you will notice they correct the types of weapons he had, none of them fully automactic and they address his state of mind. Of course this time they have another target in their agenda to disarm the public, those deadly DVD's that teach people how to defend themselves!
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 10:31:01 AM by prentice crawford » Logged
prentice crawford
« Reply #292 on: March 13, 2009, 10:13:08 AM »

 Just in case anyone thinks that guns are the only dangerous things out there and only they can cause accidental deaths or be used as a way to kill large numbers of victims, check this out. I wonder if they did a background check on this lady before she bought this dangerous weapon?
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #293 on: March 18, 2009, 06:58:44 AM »

U.S. and Texas Law on Independent Militias

Our duty as citizens

Most American citizens are aware that the U.S. Constitution guarantees
certain rights and limits the powers of government. However, it also imposes
certain duties, not only on organs of government, but on each citizen. One
of these duties is to function as members of the Militia, and the state has
the duty to organize and train citizens to so serve.

The U.S. Constitution provides for this in Article I, Section 8:
  Congress shall have power ...

  To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

  To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for
governing such Part of them as may be employed in the service of the United
States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the
Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the
discipline prescribed by Congress;

The Framers contemplated that the citizens who compose the Militia would
provide their own weapons, which is reflected in the Second Amendment:
  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.

It is important to understand that the prevailing practice at the time the
Constitution was adopted was for people in each locality to organize as
independent local militias and to train themselves. The only change the
Framers sought to make was to make this organization and training more
systematic, along the model of Switzerland. They never imagined that future
governments might try to restrict the local organization and training of
independent militias by contending that people had the right to assemble and
the right to keep and bear arms, but not to combine the two rights. To them
that would have seemed absurd.
U.S. legislation on the Militia

In 1792 President Washington tried to get Congress to fully implement the
constitutional requirement for organizing and training the Militia, but
Congress, wanting to avoid the expense imposed on the states, only agreed to
pass a law that required every able-bodied [free] male to keep a "musket or
firelock". This was the Militia Act of 1792. By failing to require
organization and training, it laid the basis for the decline of the Militia
In 1903, the Militia Act of 1792 was superseded by the Dick Act, which
established the National Guard system, and made a distinction between the
"organized" and "unorganized" Militia, reflecting the attitude that the
Powers that Be didn't want most of the people to get organized as
independent militias, despite the support for universal military training
from most U.S. Presidents up to the administration of Harry Truman.
The Dick Act is encoded in 10 USC:
United Stated Code (USC)

Section 311. Militia: composition and classes (a) The militia of the United
States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and,
except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who
are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the
United States and of female citizens of the United States who are
commissioned officers of the National Guard. (b) The classes of the militia
are-- (1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and
the Naval Militia; and (2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the
members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the
Naval Militia.Section 312. Militia duty: exemptions (a) The following
persons are exempt from militia duty: (1) The Vice President. (2) The
judicial and executive officers of the United States, the several States and
Territories, Puerto Rico, and the Canal Zone. (3) Members of the armed
forces, except members who are not on active duty. (4) Customhouse clerks.
(5) Persons employed by the United States in the transmission of mail. (6)
Workers employed in armories, arsenals, and naval shipyards of the United
States. (7) Pilots on navigable waters. (Cool Mariners in the sea service of a
citizen of, or a merchant in, the United States.(b) A person who claims
exemption because of religious belief is exempt from militia duty in a
combatant capacity, if the conscientious holding of that belief is
established under such regulations as the President may prescribe. However,
such a person is not exempt from militia duty that the President determines
to be noncombatant.TITLE 32--NATIONAL GUARD

Section 313. Appointments and enlistments: age limitations (a) To be
eligible for original enlistment in the National Guard, a person must be at
least 17 years of age and under 45, or under 64 years of age and a former
member of the Regular Army, Regular Navy, Regular Air Force, or Regular
Marine Corps. To be eligible for reenlistment, a person must be under 64
years of age. (b) To be eligible for appointment as an officer of the
National Guard, a person must-- (1) be a citizen of the United States; and
(2) be at least 18 years of age and under 64.It should be understood that
these definitions apply only to the Militia that is subject to call-up by
the federal government, and states may require other people to perform
militia duty, with different age ranges and exemptions.

      Texas law on the Militia

      The Texas Constitution once had a strong provision regarding militias:
      Article 16. Section 46.

        The Legislature shall provide by law for organizing and disciplining
the militia of the State, in such manner as they shall deem expedient, not
incompatible with the Constitution and Laws of the United States.

      This section was deleted. The effect of this is that such authority
reverts back to local communities.
      Present statutes are encoded in Texas Government Code Chapter 431:
      Subchapter A. General Provisions

        431.001. Definitions

        In this chapter:
        (1) "Reserve militia" means the persons liable to serve, but not
serving, in the state military forces.
        (2) "State militia" means the state military forces and the reserve
        (3) "State military forces" means the Texas National Guard, the
Texas State Guard, and any other active militia or military force organized
under state law.
        (4) "Texas National Guard" means the Texas Army National Guard and
the Texas Air National Guard.

        431.010. Organization Prohibited

        (a) Except as provided by Subsection (b), a body of persons other
than the regularly organized state military forces or the troops of the
United States may not associate as a military company or organization or
parade in public with firearms in a municipality of the state.
        (b) With the consent of the governor, students in an educational
institution at which military science is a prescribed part of the course of
instruction and soldiers honorably discharged from the service of the United
States may drill and parade with firearms in public.
        (c) This section does not prevent a parade by the active militia of
another state as provided by law.

      Subchapter D. Texas State Guard

        431.051. Supplemental Militia

        To provide militia strength for use by the state as a supplement to
the Texas National Guard, the Texas State Guard exists as part of the state
militia under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and a
defense force under 32 U.S.C. Section 109.

      Subchapter F. Service and Duties

        431.081. Persons Subject to Military Duty; Persons Not Eligible to
        (a) A person is subject to military duty if the person is: (1)
able-bodied; (2) a citizen or a person of foreign birth who has declared an
intent to become a citizen; (3) a resident of the state; (4) at least 18 and
not more than 60 years of age; and (5) not exempt under Subsection (b) or
(c) or United States law.(b) A person is exempt from military duty, except
in case of war, insurrection, invasion, or imminent danger of war,
insurrection, or invasion if the person is: (1) the lieutenant governor; (2)
a member or officer of the legislature; (3) a judge or clerk of a court of
record; (4) a head of a state agency; (5) a sheriff, district attorney,
county attorney, county tax assessor-collector, or county commissioner; (6)
a mayor, council member, alderman, or assessor and collector of a
municipality; (7) an officer or employee of the Texas Department of
Corrections, a state hospital or special school, a public or private
hospital, or a nursing home; (Cool a member of a regularly organized and paid
fire or police department in a municipality, except that a person is not
relieved of military duty by joining such a department; (9) a minister of
the gospel exclusively engaged in that calling; or (10) a person who
conscientiously scruples against bearing arms.(c) A mentally disabled
person, vagabond, confirmed alcoholic, narcotics addict, or a person
convicted of an infamous crime is exempt from military duty regardless of
      Now, what about that Section 431.010 prohibiting military companies or
organizations or parades within municipalities? It clearly expresses
hostility to independent local militias within municipalities, but it has no
penalties, and does not apply to rural areas. It's main intent seems to be
to discourage local officials from calling up the militia.
      The only statutes which local officials might invoke against a militia
muster within a municipality would be those against exhibiting a firearm in
a way that "alarms" the public. However, centuries of common law makes it
clear that merely carrying firearms is not to be considered "alarming". The
arms must actually be brandished toward someone in a threatening manner.
This would not prevent arrests on this ground, of course, but successful
prosecution is unlikely if the courts follow the law and the Constitution.
      Some of these points are more fully discussed in 29 Tex. Jur.,
Sections 4 and 5, and in 12 Tex. Jur. 3d., Sections 12-28.
      The only significant case law involving this statute is a federal
case, Vietnamese Fishermen's Ass'n v. Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (D.C.
1982) 543 F.Supp. 198, in which the plaintiff invoked the state statute in a
federal suit for injunction against the defendant. The injunction was
granted, and the judge took advantage of the case to write an opinion on the
interpretation of the state statute. However, that opinion has no stare
decisis effect, because this was not an appeal, nor was the judgement
appealed. The injunction was properly granted under common law against
intimidation, but a federal judge had no real business interpreting state
law. However, it is indicative of how that judge might decide the
constitutional issues in other cases. The case does, however, underscore the
importance of distinguishing between private associations and public
militias, and of making sure that any constitutional militias that may be
organized take care not to take on the attributes of a private group. Too
many people, including authorities, have examples in mind like the KKK, and
we must always make sure to distance ourselves from such partisan
organizations, and, indeed, indicate that the suppression of such groups is
one of the things that a real militia might be called up to do.
      There is another statute that arguably involves the Militia, the Texas
Disaster Act of 1975, which has among its purposes, "providing an emergency
management system embodying all aspects of predisaster preparedness and
postdisaster response. See 12 Tex. Jur. 3d. Sections 51-53. If fully
implemented, the organization of local militia units seems to be required
under this Act.

      Present U.S. and Texas law clearly fail to implement the requirements
for organizing and training the Militia established by the Framers. However,
we must also recognize that this failure goes all the way back to 1792, and
that such organizing and training are, therefore, left to the people
themselves, in the form of independent local militias, which they have a
constitutional duty to maintain in a high state of preparedness, even if
they get little support from the authorities, and indeed, especially if they
get opposition from the authorities.
Power User
Posts: 15426

« Reply #294 on: March 18, 2009, 08:52:49 AM »

**I read this yesterday, and i'm still pissed off. WTF?Huh??**

Marine Amputee Acquitted On Gun Possession Charges
By Keith L. Alexander
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 14, 2009; B01

After being deadlocked twice, a D.C. Superior Court jury yesterday acquitted a Marine amputee on felony charges of gun possession stemming from an arrest while he was on the way to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.

In the 2006 incident, Cpl. Melroy H. Cort, 24, and his wife, Samantha, were en route from their home in Columbus, Ohio, to Walter Reed. Cort's legs had been amputated above the knees when he was wounded by a makeshift bomb in Ramadi during his third tour of duty in Iraq.

The couple's car got a flat tire, forcing them to pull over at a car repair shop in the 5000 block of Georgia Avenue NW. While there, Cort said, he reached into the glove compartment, removed a 9mm pistol and put it in his jacket pocket.

A witness who noticed Cort handling the gun called police, who arrested and handcuffed Cort while he was sitting in his wheelchair. He was charged with three counts of carrying a pistol without a license, possession of an unregistered firearm and possession of ammunition. He spent the night in the D.C. jail before returning to Walter Reed.

He was assigned a public defender, who encouraged him to plead guilty. But Cort refused, because a felony on his record could cost him his military benefits. So he decided to represent himself.

"I had to fight for myself," he said yesterday. "I wasn't going to plead guilty and lose everything."

During his trial, which began Friday before Judge Lynn Leibovitz, the two arresting officers testified that Cort had thrown up his hands and told them he had a gun in his pocket when they approached him.

Taking the stand in his defense, Cort tried to tell his personal story: How he enlisted in the Marines in 2004 after graduating from Ohio's Wright State University with a business degree. How he went to Iraq in 2004 and 2005, when he was was critically injured. How he was fitted with prosthetic legs and honorably discharged in 2007.

But Leibovitz ordered him to discuss only the case at hand.

Cort, who said he had a permit to carry the gun in Ohio, said he had it with him because he had moved out of his house in anticipation of an extended stay at Walter Reed.

He said his commanding officer had advised him to take the gun to the armory on Walter Reed's base as soon as he arrived.

Cort said 12 rounds of ammunition were in his car trunk, but police said the ammunition was in the gun's clip.

Although acquitting him of the gun charges, the jury found Cort guilty of possessing ammunition, a misdemeanor. He was sentenced to time already spent in the D.C. jail.

Cort, his wife and their 3-month-old daughter, Charlott, now plan to drive home to Columbus, where Samantha Cort is in real estate. Cort said he plans to appeal the verdict and tend to his family.

"I just plan to take care of my daughter," Cort said.
« Reply #295 on: March 18, 2009, 01:24:30 PM »

Hell yes, GM, that is wrong on so many levels I don't know where to start. An injured hero unable to defend his family while seek treatment for his wounds in the hellhole that is DC? UnFreakingBelievable.
Power User
Posts: 15426

« Reply #296 on: March 18, 2009, 05:10:51 PM »

It's so tragic in so many ways. I can't believe any working cop would do this.

The proper response to this call:

1. Once the gun is in your possession, you run the gun, verify the Ohio CCW, verify the military ID and orders. Once it comes back clear and valid. You load the Marine and his wife and their baggage into your patrol car.

2. You take them to Walter Reed.

3. You thank the Marine for his service, shake his hand and give him your business card with your personal cell number is he or his wife need anything while in DC.

4. Clear from the call and go back into service.
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #297 on: March 18, 2009, 10:08:52 PM »

EXACTLY SO!!!  angry
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #298 on: March 18, 2009, 11:47:21 PM »

California Assemblyman introduces Shall Issue CCW bill.
Power User
Posts: 42018

« Reply #299 on: March 19, 2009, 12:38:37 PM »

Dems opposed to BO-Holder's AWB!!!
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