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Author Topic: We the Well-armed People (gun and knife rights stuff )  (Read 540517 times)
Power User
Posts: 784

« Reply #150 on: February 24, 2006, 12:25:51 PM »

Sex and Guns
Posted on Thursday, February 23 @ 00:10:00 EST   

By Gerard Valentino

When abstinence is floated as a way to keep teenagers from having unwanted pregnancies, the left is openly scornful of the idea. Liberals claim that sex-education and familiarity with contraception are the only viable way to teach teenagers to practice safe sex. They argue that kids are going to have sex so it is important to teach them how to avoid the pitfalls involved with irresponsible behavior.

Liberals preach education as the answer for a host of other social ills as well, including discrimination, sexism and environmental issues.

Funny, however, that the only problem liberals refuse to attack with so-called education are accidental gun deaths among children. When it comes to guns, liberals and anti-gun groups, are unwilling to discuss how educating children can lead to a decrease in the very type of accident they use to justify their existence.

Currently, Ohio is considering a bill that would offer gun safety training as part of the high school curriculum. While pro-gun groups are quick to praise such a move as a way to decrease gun accidents through education, anti-gun leftists are already using their tired propaganda in opposition of the bill.

They claim that teaching gun-safety in schools will push a pro-gun culture on unsuspecting students. Yet, at the same time liberals claim that teaching sex-education with mentioning abstinence won?t teach a culture of promiscuity among high-school students.

The question at hand isn?t whether people agree with how sex-education is being taught in schools. It is simply a useful example of how the liberal anti-gun movement continues to fight their losing battle against guns with blinders on, completely unaware that they are becoming a political laughing-stock.

Pro-gun advocates have for years claimed that groups like the Ohio Coalition Against Gun Violence are not interested in pushing gun-safety and decreasing gun accidents, but instead have only one goal ? total gun confiscation.

Their decision to oppose a current proposal to teach gun-safety in high schools proves that pro-gun advocates are correct.

Liberal anti-gun groups, and their cohorts in the establishment media, are blinded by an emotional hatred of guns to such an extent that they would oppose a program designed to achieve their claimed goal of making kids safer. They won?t admit that if gun accidents are reduced it takes away their biggest public relations bonanza.

The liberal anti-gun reaction to such programs is actually a public relations win for the pro-gun movement because the American public is smart enough to see that anyone who truly wants a decrease in accidental gun deaths should support teaching gun-safety in schools.

Only the help of the establishment media keeps the anti-gun movement afloat by giving credence to the otherwise discredited studies and statistics bandied about by groups determined to confiscate guns. The establishment media also fails to point out the hypocrisy of how liberals recommend sex-education as a way to stop teen pregnancy, but refuse to accept gun-safety education as a way to stop teens from accidentally shooting each other.

The anti-gun movement has seen its power and credibility wane as gun-control laws have failed to bring about a violence free nirvana as promised. Legal concealed-carry put more guns on the street without a corresponding increase in crime which further damaged the argument that guns are at the root of crime. Now, in desperation they steadfastly refuse to accept that properly educating children on the dangers of guns is just another example of how far they will go further tragedy - and then exploit it.

They are terrified because they know that as people become educated about guns, and the gun issue, it will further expose their duplicity. A great example is how the anti-gunners use the absurd assertion that the definition of children includes anyone to the age of 25 when it comes to statistics on gun deaths, including suicides. But they are unwilling to care for children when it would really matter due to the fact that it would hurt their message.

Gun-safety programs in schools will save lives, and to steal a line from the anti-gun movement, if only one life is saved by such a program they are worth implementing.

Gerard Valentino is the Buckeye Firearms Association Central Ohio Chair,, and writes for the
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #151 on: February 27, 2006, 07:01:03 PM »

U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) recently introduced H.R. 4547-a national Right-to-Carry (RTC) reciprocity bill that would honor state carry licensees nationwide.  The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria.  The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
For more information on the bill, please visit
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4547!
Posts: 10

« Reply #152 on: March 02, 2006, 10:13:45 AM »

Not sure if this the right tread to post but I though you all would find this interesting. This is from the globe and mail a national newspaper in canada. A kirpan looks like a kerambit without the ring.

Supreme Court rules kirpans okay in school

Globe and Mail Update

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that Sikh students can carry ceremonial daggers to class and that doing so does not pose a undue danger to others in the schools.

The top court overturned Thursday morning a Quebec Court of Appeals ruling that had barred the kirpan from schools in the province. The Quebec court had said a limit on religious freedom was reasonable, given the safety concerns from carrying the daggers to school.

"Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society," the top court judges wrote in their decision.

"A total prohibition against wearing a kirpan to school undermines the value of this religious symbol and sends students the message that some religious practices do not merit the same protection as others."

If the kirpan is sealed inside clothing the risk of it being used for violent purposes, or being taken away by other students is very low, the judges said. "There are many objects in schools that could be used to commit violent acts and that are much more easily obtained by students, such as scissors, pencils and baseball bats."

Several other provinces have long ago reached compromises with the Sikh community, allowing the carrying of the kirpan ? a requirement for baptized followers of the Sikh religion ? as long as it is safely sheathed and concealed.

The 2004 ruling from the Quebec appeal court, however, dismissed any possibility of a compromise in that province.

The specific case that went to the Supreme Court involves Gurbaj Singh Multani, now 17. Five years ago, he accidentally dropped his kirpan in the schoolyard of a Montreal elementary school.

Parents of other children pressured the local school board to ban the dagger, because of a zero-tolerance policy concerning weapons.

Gurbaj's parents sued, and the case wound its way through the courts for several years.

When the Supreme Court heard the arguments last April, several organizations ? including the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and the World Sikh Organization of Canada ? intervened to support the family.

They noted that there have been no examples of any violent acts in schools as a result of wearing of the kirpan.

The youth transferred to a private school soon after the controversy erupted in 2001, and some of the intervenors were concerned that there would be a mass exodus by Sikh students from public schools across the country if the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the ban.

In its intervention, the Quebec government supported the ban, arguing that any potential weapon can cause a unnecessary risk in the schools.
Posts: 43

« Reply #153 on: March 23, 2006, 01:21:11 PM »


Attempted rapist learns a hard lesson
The girl wrestled free, grabbed a pen and stabbed the man in the groin; she then kneed him in the face.
An attempted rapist is sure to be a little sore after his most recent attempt.
It was a brazen attack. The 16-year-old said the man followed her from the bus stop at Wilson High Friday morning, then he tried to pin her hands behind her back and unbutton her pants.

Neighbors are shocked. "There's people continually here, and to have that happen in the middle of the day, I just can't believe it," said Greg Sherwood.

However, the perpetrator paid for his attempt. The girl wrestled free, grabbed a pen and stabbed the man in the groin. Then, while he was doubled over from the pain, she kneed him in the face.

Barb Higgins uses the school's track and said she'll think twice before going out for a run.

The suspect is Latino, in his mid 30's, about 5'4" tall with a stocky build. He was dressed in all dark clothing.

If you have any information, contact police

Best regards,

Posts: 4

« Reply #154 on: March 23, 2006, 01:56:02 PM »

Defenseless Decision: Why were guns taken from law-abiding citizens in New Orleans?

John R. Lott Jr.*

In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans? residents got an idea of what life is like without the rule of law. They had no telephones, no way to call 911. Even if they had, the police who reported for duty were busy with rescue missions, not fighting crime. Citizens had to protect themselves. This was made rather difficult by the city?s confiscation of guns, even from law-abiding citizens.

After five months of denial in federal district court, the city last week made an embarrassing admission: in the aftermath of the hurricane, the severely overworked police apparently had the time to confiscate thousands of guns from law-abiding citizens.

Numerous media stories have shown how useful guns were to the ordinary citizens of New Orleans who weren?t forcibly disarmed. Fox News reported several defensive gun uses. One city resident, John Carolan, was taking care of many family members, including his three-year-old granddaughter, when three men came to his house asking about his generator, threatening him with a machete. Carolan showed them his gun and they left. Another resident, Finis Shelnutt, recounts a similar story that the gangs left him alone after seeing ?I have a very large gun.?

Signs painted on boarded up windows in various parts of town warned criminals in advance not to try: the owner had shotguns inside.

Last September 8, a little more than a week after the hurricane, New Orleans? police superintendent, Eddie Compass announced: ?No one will be able to be armed. Guns will be taken. Only law enforcement will be allowed to have guns.? Even legally registered firearms were seized, though exceptions were made for select businesses and for some wealthy individuals to hire guards.

Undoubtedly, selected businesses and well-connected wealthy individuals had good reason to want protection, but so did others without the same political pull. One mother saw the need for a gun after she and her two children (ages 9 and 12) saw someone killed in New Orleans after the hurricane. The mother said: ?I was a card-carrying, anti-gun liberal ? not anymore.?

John C. Guidos was successfully guarding his tavern on St. Claude Ave on September 7, when police took his shotgun and pistol; indeed, it was the only time that he saw any cops. Soon afterwards robbers looted the tavern. Wishing for a gun during disasters isn?t anything new. Just a little over a decade ago, police stood by, largely helpless, during the Los Angeles riots after the Rodney King verdict. Yet, not all the victims were defenseless. Korean merchants stood out as one group that banded together and used their guns to protect their stores from looting.

A similar lesson hasn?t been lost on New Orleans? citizens. As one resident, Art DePodesta, told the New York Daily News shortly after the storm hit, ?The cops are busy as it is. If more citizens took security and matters into their own hands, we won?t be in this situation.?

Not only do law-abiding citizens with guns deter many criminals from committing a crime to begin with: Possessing a gun is the safest way to confront a criminal if you are forced to.

Deterrence works. The United States has one of the world's lowest ?hot? burglary rates (burglaries committed while people are in the building) at 13 percent, compared to the ?gun-free? British rate of 59 percent. Surveys of convicted burglars indicate American burglars spend at least twice as long as their British counterparts casing a house before breaking in. That explains why American burglars rarely break into homes when the residents are there. The reason most American burglars give for taking so much time is that they?re afraid of getting shot.

Even without a catastrophe like Katrina, it would have been a poor strategy for would-be victims in New Orleans merely to call 911 and wait for help. The average response time of police in New Orleans before the hurricane was eleven minutes. The Justice Department?s National Crime Victimization Survey has shown for decades that having a gun is the safest course of action when a criminal confronts you, far safer than behaving passively.

It would be nice if the police were always there to protect us, but we don?t live in a utopia and the police understand that they almost always arrive on the scene after the crime has been committed. What does New Orleans? Mayor Nagin recommend that people such as John Carolan and his granddaughter do the next time that have to fend for themselves? The city must know that there isn?t much of a defense for taking citizens? guns; after all, it took them five months to admit to it.

? Mr. Lott, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, is the author of "More Guns, Less Crime" (University of Chicago Presss, 2000) and "The Bias Against Guns" (Regnery 2003).
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #155 on: April 08, 2006, 06:41:52 AM »

Originally posted by Buzwardo on another thread which I feel is better located here.
Firearms Fight?

When does customization of a firearm become manufacturing? That seemingly simple question is occupying the near undivided attention of the firearms industry. Observers say it is a question with the potential to become a firestorm that could put custom gunsmiths out of business; if not behind bars.

The controversy began with a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms inspection of Competitive Edge Gunworks in Bogard, Missouri. BATF and tax agents appeared and began examining the company's records. When they finished, owner Larry Crow was told he potentially faced felony charges for manufacturing firearms without a license.

Crow says he was stunned.

Agents went on to tell him that his manufacturing status would mean liability for federal excise taxes - and penalties - from the beginning of his business. There is, they told the thunderstruck Crow, no statute of limitations for failing to file Federal Excise Taxes, but there were serious penalties.

"I'm confused, " an obviously shaken Crow told The Outdoor Wire during a telephone conversation last Thursday, "and more than a little concerned."

Since the BATF visit, Crow hasn't done any gunsmithing, but has initiated the licensure process necessary to change his classification from gunsmith to manufacturer. He also says he's agreed with the BATF to settle the whole matter as quickly as possible. In the meantime, Crow says he's struggling financially, but despite the costs of waiting for his licensure process to be completed, he told The Outdoor Wire "I'm not doing any more work until the manufacturing paperwork's complete."

Whether Crow's is a single case brought by an overzealous agent or the opening shot of a BATF campaign against gunsmiths has the entire firearms industry abuzz.

If it proves to be the first shot of another fight, the stakes are very high. The fallout would be felt by virtually any company or individual involved in the gunsmithing business; from individual gunsmiths and educators teaching firearms repair to companies like Brownells or Midway USA. Those companies primarily supply componentry to gunsmiths, but also produce instructional material. The firearms they produce in the course of those instructional pieces are apparently enough to qualify them as manufacturers in this very narrow interpretation. Likewise, custom gunsmiths' samples are also apparently under scrutiny.

Consequently, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the National Rifle Association and others are looking for clarification of a single question: at what point does gunsmithing become manufacturing?

BATF regulations appear to offer a solid definition of manufacturing. It would appear, says experts, that a new, and considerably narrower definition is being used against Crow. A definition that has the potential to make virtually any change, from changing parts inside the lockworks to re-barreling or changing firearm calibers enough to constitute manufacturing. Enough, for example, to make any gunsmith's show samples or writers' samples "manufactured" and subject to taxes and penalties.

Should that become the new working definition for ATF and IRS enforcement agents, gunsmiths we've contacted the effect would be immediate and would bankrupt what they consider "one of America's remaining cottage industries."

Hamilton Bowen, of Bowen Custom Arms in Louisville, Tennessee, is a longtime gunsmith and member of the prestigious gunsmiths' guilds. He feels the narrow definition "won't stick" should it come to a fight. He also says the fight itself might be sufficient to put gunsmiths out of business.

"We might win the fight," Bowen said, "but the loss of business along with the associated legal fees for the fight would more than put most of us out of business."

"If the ATF came in and told me that I was liable for federal excise taxes and penalties for all the years I've been in business, I'd just hand them the keys and head to the unemployment office," he said. "ATF is charged with writing regulations to enforce Congressional statutes. They have the ability to clarify statutes, but this one's anything but clear."

San Antonio, Texas gunsmith Alex Hamilton agrees. "I'm essentially a sole proprietor," he says, "if the ATF came in here and started an in-depth investigation, I couldn't work for a couple of reasons. First, I'd be afraid not to be with them the whole time they were here. Secondly, the anxiety their even being here would cause would keep me from doing my job anyway."

The issue isn't licensure; manufacturing licenses are relatively inexpensive, although they add another layer of paperwork and compliance to a small business group that says it already spends a disproportionate amount of working time on compliance paperwork. A retroactivity tax liability could spell significant enough economic damage to shut most gunsmiths down.

Off the record, industry officials say they're starting to receive reports of other gunsmiths being "visited" by BATF officers. Despite those unconfirmed reports, they remain confident the situation can be clarified and a confrontation avoided.

That might be the equivalent of whistling in a graveyard.

Battles between the firearms industry and the BATF have historically been bitter, protracted affairs. Passage of recently-introduced legislation giving gunsmiths a 50-firearm annual tax exemption passed late in the prior Congressional session. The battle to get the legislation introduced, however, took 15 years. It still lacked the support to win the retroactivity gunsmiths had hoped for.

Although they unwilling to say so on the record, some gunsmiths feel the BATF may be getting a little "payback" for the passage of legislation they so vehemently opposed.

In the meantime, the National Rifle Association is attempting to mediate what may have the potential to blossom from a skirmish into a bitter war.

Eric Schwartz, clerk to the NRA's Chief Legislative Counsel, told The Outdoor Wire, "we believe there are inconsistencies by ATF and the IRS that make it difficult, if not impossible, for a law-abiding gunsmith to practice their trade."

"We'd like to see, if necessary, steps taken to address any inconsistencies and make it crystal-clear what acts are manufacturing acts and which are gunsmithing acts so our members can ply their trade in a law-abiding manner."

That might be easier said than done.

One obstacle in the way of "crystal clarity" is a multitude of statutes, regulatory language and opinions; many of which appear to contradict each other. Another; the simple fact that the question lies squarely at an intersection of IRS and BATF regulatory and enforcement areas.

Both agencies have reputations as ferocious opponents to any perceived weakening of their enforcement powers.

The Federal Excise Tax itself may prove to be a bone of litigation should a gunsmith be deemed to be a manufacturer. As observers have pointed out, a Federal Excise Tax on the firearm had already been paid - by the original manufacturer.

Deeming a firearm to have been "manufactured" in the course of customization and subject to FET appears to be a BATF attempt at "double dipping" the firearms industry.

Further, in customization and gunsmithing, labor is the major cost. The gunsmith would have already paid federal income tax on that labor. Again, this creates an apparent attempt at double-taxation.

And what about record keeping? For income tax purposes, businesses are required to maintain their records for a clearly-defined period. BATF has implied no statute of limitations on the potential FET liability for gunsmiths that find themselves declared manufacturers. Consequently, there would be a requirement that records be kept in perpetuity. That creates what legal experts call a "practical impossibility" - a situation where one federal agency creates a requirement that's "practically impossible" to satisfy. Small businesses normally operate in small spaces, i.e., tax records outside the IRS maintenance requirements are routinely destroyed as each year's taxes are filed.

Whether the BATF visit to Competitive Edge was a single agent operating under a personal interpretation of regulations or the first shot in another war between the firearms industry and the BATF is, at this point, irrelevant.

Another genie has been released from another bottle.
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Posts: 42447

« Reply #156 on: April 10, 2006, 07:38:16 AM »

Permitted to conceal arms
Debbie Kavanaugh and husband Bill, who holds a concealed-carry permit, practice at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center.
Staff Photos by Chris Seward  
Jim Nesbitt, Staff Writer
Every day, Bill Kavanaugh carries a stubby, stainless-steel .45-caliber semiautomatic -- at the grocery store or mall, in a booze-free restaurant, on a short stroll around the block, in the car for a quick jaunt or a cross-country journey.
Tucked in a well-worn, zip-up leather daybook, this gun goes where Kavanaugh does -- everywhere except the places prohibited by law, a list that includes schools, churches, courthouses, post offices and anywhere alcohol is served.

"I believe I have a responsibility to make sure my family is safe, that I'm safe, that my neighbors are safe," says Kavanaugh, 52, a telecommunications engineer. "It's a personal decision I've made to refuse to be a victim."

Kavanaugh is a street-legal pistolero, one of almost 76,000 North Carolinians who hold a permit that allows them to carry a concealed handgun under a state law enacted in 1995. Far from being a teenage gangbanger or predator in neighborhoods where weapons are illegal and crime is rampant, he fits the demographic of a typical Tar Heel permit holder -- a white, middle-age man.

Short, bald and bespectacled, Kavanaugh keeps his pistol within easy reach for that moment he hopes never happens.

Until that day, he and his wife, Debbie, who also shoots but doesn't have a concealed-carry permit, live what could be called a "tactical" lifestyle from their modest, brick-trimmed ranch home in southern Durham County.

They've worked out how they'd fight a home invasion. They keep their car doors locked and are careful about where they park at the mall or grocery store. One never goes to a drive-up ATM without the other as a backup, sitting in the car, gun at the ready.

Like an Old West gunfighter, Kavanaugh tries never to sit in a public place with his back to the door -- unless he's covered by another gun-toting friend.

People who hate guns or aren't familiar with them may find his stance distasteful or paranoid, particularly in the face of North Carolina's falling crime rate.

To them, all guns are bad. They see America's firearms fetish -- rooted in frontier myth and a latent Southern celebration of violence -- as a fearsome cultural telltale, a Neanderthal instinct they wish would just become extinct.

To them, people like Bill Kavanaugh are wild-eyed pistol wavers, paranoids who are cocked and locked to spray lead at the barest of provocations.

But if you listen to Kavanaugh explain why he carries a gun -- and does so legally -- you hear a a marked willingness to shoulder this deadly weight responsibly. He isn't content just to punch holes in paper targets at the gun range; he has taken combat pistol courses, learning how to move and look for cover during a gun fight.

You also hear a tightly knit rationale, the product of a deliberate progression. The main threads in this weave are a strong credo of personal responsibility bolstered by religious conviction and a conservative political stand.

"The good Lord requires you to defend your life," said Kavanaugh. "He gave you the power and wherewithal to take care of that life and expects you to do so."

Bill Kavanaugh also believes strongly that legally armed citizens can foil criminals. And a dollop of common sense tells him a little guy in a dangerous world needs a high-powered equalizer.

Born of experience

This last thread is powerful, laced with fear-laden memories of working late at night in the deserted office towers of New Orleans' central business district, at the height of the crack epidemic.

In a recurring, acid-etched image, he also sees the would-be carjacker who jammed a gun barrel against his wife's rib cage at a Union 76 truck stop near Meridian, Miss.

That after-midnight moment is still vivid almost 30 years after it took place during a bathroom break as the couple, their infant son and a woman friend drove from Texas back to Wilmington, the Kavanaughs' hometown.

Kavanaugh can still see the barrel of that gun as it arced from Debbie's midsection to his face and back again. He can see the calm, road-weary and clueless faces of diners in the truck stop's brightly lit cafe just a few yards from the front bumper of his car. And he can still taste the helpless bile he swallowed that night, when all he could do was reach for his wallet and pray the man would take it and run.

"I was extremely upset I could do nothing to defend my wife, my son and my wife's friend," he said. "I was not going to let myself be in that position ever again."

That Mississippi night caused Kavanaugh, an Air Force veteran, to reach for a gun.

His first pistol? A clone of that quintessentially American gun, the Colt 1911 Government Model, the .45 caliber semiautomatic designed by the legendary John Browning and carried by American soldiers and sailors through two world wars, through Korea and Vietnam.

He rarely carries anything else.

"For whatever reason, a 1911 fit my hand when I picked it up," he said. "It's like I carried one in a past life."

Where the permits are

Guns are as American as Wyatt Earp and Al Capone.

And ever since a Republican majority swept into Congress in 1994 and started taking over state legislatures, more and more states have passed concealed-carry permit laws.

North Carolina is one of 38 states with relaxed concealed-carry laws or no permit requirements for someone who wants to tote a pistol. Most of these states, including North Carolina, have "shall-issue" laws that require a sheriff or other authority to grant a permit provided the applicant doesn't have a criminal record or other disqualifying mark, pays a fee and -- if required -- submits to a criminal background check and takes a training course.

State records show there are 75,818 valid concealed-carry permits in North Carolina.

Could be the petite woman waiting to get her nails done at the local salon has a snub-nosed Smith & Wesson .38 Special five-shot revolver tucked into her fanny pack.

Maybe the well-tailored lawyer striding through the marbled lobby of a Raleigh office tower has a .40 caliber Glock semiautomatic nestled in his briefcase.

And could be the long-haul trucker sipping coffee at a Wilco truck stop has a Beretta 9mm semiautomatic -- the civilian version of the pistol American troops carry in Iraq and Afghanistan -- riding beneath his Carhartt canvas coat.

Chances are more than one in 100 they do.

And then there's Kavanaugh, sitting in his car, calmly watching Debbie step up to an ATM, his daybook open and his Para-Ordnance .45 within easy reach.

"I don't want to freak anybody out. I don't want people paranoid when I walk by," he said. "But I'm not going to be a victim again if I can help it."

Like abortion, prayer in schools and the death penalty, guns have defined one of the primary battle lines in America's cultural and political wars.

Back when the concealed-carry law was a subject of debate in the North Carolina legislature, the gunsmoke from both sides of this contentious divide got mighty thick.

Opponents sounded dire warnings of Dodge City-style shootouts. Proponents argued legally armed citizens would reduce North Carolina's crime rate and allow people to protect themselves and their families until cops could arrive.

More than 10 years later, neither the fear of blood in the streets nor the predicted crime-rate reduction have become reality, police officers and prosecutors say.

"They both were wrong," said Durham County District Attorney Mike Nifong. "It's been a non-factor as far as I can see."

Triangle law enforcement officials running programs to reduce gun violence say they don't worry about the pistol-centered life of Kavanaugh or North Carolina's relatively thin cadre of concealed-carry permit holders.

Instead, their focus is riveted on the primary cause of this chronic and oft-times deadly problem -- criminals packing illegal firearms.

In the eyes of Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell, there are two distinct gun universes -- one features the pistol-packing outlaw he tries to arrest; the other is a smaller world of concealed-carry permit holders.

In reality, there's a third gun universe, a gray world peopled by firearms owners who steer clear of serious illegal activity, but don't bother with a carry permit for the handgun they routinely carry in car or pickup.

Bizzell keeps his focus on the blatantly lawless and the patently law-abiding.

"The individuals who apply for a permit are the good citizens of our county who get up and go to work every day, go to church, are family people," Bizzell said.

This accepting attitude is based on the lawman's belief that few permit holders commit a criminal act -- either by reckless use of a handgun or otherwise.

However, the state doesn't compile a list of criminal violations by permit holders, nor is there a breakdown on the reasons for denials and revocations. Instead, the state justice department just tallies permit applications, approvals, denials and revocations -- numbers that originate with the county sheriffs responsible for issuing the permits.

Why they carry

Most Triangle area sheriffs and prosecutors say they haven't had a violent crime committed by a concealed-carry permit holder in their jurisdictions.

Chatham County Sheriff Richard Webster says permit holders haven't shot up the streets or stopped crime.

"I think it's a gray line right down the middle that hasn't veered one way or the other," he said.

On the surface, there isn't a single, lock-step reason for North Carolinians who decide to get a concealed-carry permit.

Some are small-business owners who regularly carry a lot of cash. Others are lifelong shooters who see the permit as a convenience that keeps them from unintentionally violating the law when carrying a pistol, said Ken Dodd, a former Wake County Sheriff's Department captain from Garner who teaches a state-approved handgun course.

But deep down, Dodd says, most students are motivated by a fear about their vulnerability to criminal violence. Fear makes them reach for a gun, a reflex tempered by the desire to do so within the lines of the law.

When Stephanie Bennett was found murdered in her Lake Lynn apartment in May 2002, Dodd said, he saw a sudden spike in the number of students -- young, single women in particular.

"When it hits close to home, a specific crime, you'll see more people taking the class," said Dodd, whose students include judges, prosecutors and plumbers.

Polite side effect

For Kavanaugh's friends, Cindi and Gregg Swensen, the 9/11 terrorist attacks shattered their sense of safety and security.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in New Jersey, Gregg Swensen felt a bloodline jolt from the fall of the Twin Towers. Gregg's father, Sonny, was an ironworker who helped build the World Trade Center; Swensen is a former ironworker who helped erect some of the office buildings that surround the now-sacred turf known as Ground Zero.

He now sees a high-risk world where terrorists, gangbangers and criminals are on the prowl and the cops always arrive after a violent deal has already gone down.

"The criminals have gotten so brazen -- home invasions where people are sitting at home, watching TV when the door busts open and criminals rob and rape and kill," said Swensen, 40. "You know what? There is an element in this world whose intent is to kill as many of us as possible -- Americans, Westerners."

The Swensens already had a shotgun in their house for self-defense. When they decided they needed a pistol, Gregg Swensen looked to his co-worker, Bill Kavanaugh, for advice.

"I never thought in my whole life I'd own a gun," said Cindi Swensen, 52, a petite retired administrative assistant who was born and raised in New Jersey. "It never entered my realm of consciousness. I wasn't afraid of them; they just weren't relevant to me."

She and her husband both got concealed-carry permits two years ago. She carries a .38-caliber revolver in a fanny pack; he carries a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol.

"Let me tell you about carrying a gun -- it makes you more polite," said Cindi Swensen, who describes herself as feisty and confrontational. "You don't want to do something stupid, and provoking a confrontation while carrying would be stupid. The idea that people with a permit are wild-eyed and full of road rage -- nothing could be further from the truth."

Bill Kavanaugh first got his permit in 1997 after passing a criminal background check and taking the state-mandated course on firearm safety and on the strict regimen of laws that dictate where it's legal to carry a handgun and when it's legal to pull a pistol in self-defense.

The permit marks a major turning point in his evolution into an armed private citizen who will take a day off to bend the ear of a state legislator about Second Amendment issues. He's a member of Grass Roots North Carolina, a pro-gun group, but takes pains to point out he isn't an officer or a lobbyist.

He's a true believer in the deterring power of a concealed hand gun, his faith in firepower shaped by that late-night brush with a would-be carjacker at a Mississippi truck stop.

Sitting on his living room couch, he hefts his .45-caliber pistol.

"This helps me not live in fear -- with it or without it on me," he said.

(News researchers David Raynor and Denise Jones contributed to this report.)
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« Reply #157 on: May 31, 2006, 11:27:23 PM »

Interview With Jeff Snyder
by Carlo Stagnaro

Very often, anti-gun activists claim guns do kill people, while their opposers assure that guns, on the contrary, do save lives. Actually, real statistics and crude numbers seems to agree with the latter, as ? among other ? John Lott showed in his well known More Guns, Less Crime. Anyway, stats and numbers cannot answer the entire question; rights cannot lie on data books. One should also make a moral argument. Do people have the right to be free? In that case, do they have the right to protect themselves? Finally, do they have the right to use arms for self-defence? If so, it shouldn?t matter whether, according statistics, guns wither kill or save lives. The fact that one should be allowed to defend himself simply excludes that government disarm him.

We have talked of this, and much more, with Jeff Snyder, whose last book, Nation of Cowards (Accurate Press, 2001) is a strong case in defence of the individual right to keep and bear arms.

On September 11, 2001, the worst terrorist act in history was committed without any guns. The terrorists were armed only with knives and box-cutters. Some say that the hijackers found it quite easy to realize their plans; airplane passengers, in fact, can?t carry firearms. Even pilots and cabin stewards are unarmed. What about gun-free airplanes and airports?

The track record of gun-free zones is, how shall we say this, less than impressive: post offices, schools, and now, airplanes. The events of September 11 could not have occurred but for the fact that air travelers are disarmed, and airplanes are a Second Amendment free zone. In no other way could the terrorists have commandeered the planes with box cutters and pocket knives, turned them into flying bombs, and wrought such massive destruction of life, property, and our economy. This is not because the terrorists would have been afraid of being shot and killed by passengers, since they were obviously prepared to die. Instead, they would have known that they would not succeed in carrying out their mission against the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and so there would have been no point in trying that.

So it turns out that depriving people of freedom has its costs. It is hard to conceive of a more graphic illustration.

People imagine that curbing liberty will prevent those with evil intentions from carrying them out, by depriving them of the ability to act in a dangerous or deadly fashion. However, liberty is not just the necessary condition for bad people to act, it is also the necessary condition for good people to act. Unless the act prohibited is mala in se (wrong in itself), like murder, then restricting liberty in hopes of rendering bad people harmless comes at the price of incapacitating good people and rendering them helpless.

This is a Faustian bargain that would not appear desirable to the good unless the good believed that it was not their responsibility to act. It appeals to those who think of themselves as consumers of public safety, who believe, with the State?s encouragement, that government can and will control external reality to deliver a safe world to them. So they choose to trust in government control, which expressly promises to deal with the problem, rather than relying on the unpredictable chance that their fellow citizens have the moral capacity and willingness to do the right thing when circumstances call upon them to do so. They know that they do not intend to act, but expect government officials to save them. How, then, can they believe that other citizens will do so? Fundamentally, then, this concept of the "gun-free zone" reveals a very profound failure or inability to trust in one another. Of course, we are encouraged by the State to trust in it, in lieu of or in preference to trusting in one another.

Do you still believe that America is "a nation of cowards"?

No. Actually I think that Americans are, by and large, encamped in a mental state that precedes cowardice. Cowardice implies that a person knows what he ought to do, but shrinks or flies from it in fear or self-interest. The bulk of Americans, it seems to me, are in one or two states that precede awareness and acceptance of the notion that they should defend themselves: (1) denial that anything will happen to them, or belief that their risk is adequately controlled by insuring that they work and live and travel only in what they perceive to be "safe" neighborhoods, i.e., relatively crime free zones; or (2) belief that it is not really their responsibility to protect themselves or others, but the state?s, and that the state will protect them. I suspect that most Americans do not acknowledge that they have any responsibility to protect themselves from a violent assault, or have not realized or accepted the reality of what that entails, or believe that avoidance of "dangerous areas" is adequate. I might be wrong, because there is a third possibility, namely, that they are fully cognizant of the risks and accept them, but do not wish to become "the kind of person" that carries a gun everywhere, or cannot be bothered with the nuisance of it all. If that position is adopted with full awareness of the implications, it is not cowardice.

Your book is a strong case against utility. You state every individual has the right to keep and bear arms and, more generally, certain rights, no matter whether or not it leads to a more prosperous and peaceful society. Why?

I do not believe that rights are founded on prudential grounds, nor do I believe that individuals are entitled by society or their government to possess or exercise rights only so long as society or the state judges (whether rightly or wrongly) that the rights confer an aggregate net benefit upon society or the state as a whole. I have been concerned in many of my writings to demonstrate this, as well as the corollary proposition, that rights cannot be defended or justified on utilitarian grounds, since to undertake such a defense is to imply that rights require a utilitarian justification, and are therefore contingent on positive aggregate outcomes. By the way, I speak of social utilitarianism, normally expressed as "the greatest good for the greatest number," not of individual utilitarianism, that is, the notion that each individual acts to maximize his individual welfare.

Utilitarianism is a result-driven ethic, that is, it is driven by a desire to secure a specified result, a particular "greatest good," desired by the greatest number. Utilitarianism thus concerns itself with gaming the outcome of the exercise of man?s freedom. By definition, all matters are necessarily subordinate to the acquisition of the "greatest good" for the "greatest number," a particular aggregate net benefit. As a result, particular individuals simply don?t count and, in fact, the philosophy sanctions the use of individuals solely as a means to an end, that is, it sanctions human sacrifice, so long as those to be sacrificed are not so numerous that it eliminates rather than contributes to the overall aggregate benefit.

This is very evident in Handgun Control Inc.?s writings in favor of gun control. They do not deny that some people successfully use guns to defend themselves, and they freely site Department of Justice Statistics that report that this happens about 65,000 times a year. But they argue that this benefit is small in comparison to the number of homicides, suicides and crimes committed with guns each year, and that it would result in a greater benefit to society to eliminate or severely restrict access to handguns. Thus, tacitly, by their own admission, the 65,000 persons a year who would otherwise benefit from having a gun are to be sacrificed in favor of the hundreds of thousands a year who will benefit from elimination of guns.

Because utilitarianism is concerned with securing a desired aggregate outcome, whether the individual is permitted liberty to act depends on whether his fellow citizens are, in the aggregate, using their liberty to achieve the desired good. If not, the individual?s liberty may be curbed or re-directed. Thus, the individual?s freedom depends on how others behave, and is defined and circumscribed with reference to the results that others achieve. In other words, you cannot carry a gun, because too many others are using them to commit crimes. Thus the scope of your freedom depends not on how you act, but on how others act.

By contrast, classically, individual rights are founded on the notion, as expressed by Kant, that each individual is "an end in himself," that all are entitled to be treated as having equal dignity, and that it is therefore wrong to treat others solely as a means to a desired end. A philosophy of individual right is not results-driven, and therefore does not sanction human sacrifice in favor of the highest good desired by the greatest number. An approach that rests on man?s freedom cannot, by definition, be driven by outcome or result: if men are left free, the outcome will be left variable! Of necessity, then, an approach that rests on freedom cannot possibly guaranty a specified, favorable outcome, either individually or in the aggregate. It cannot, therefore, promise safety, security, a reduction in violent crime, etc. Such concerns are blissfully beside the point, for the point is precisely to respect each individual as an end in himself.

However, individual autonomy and dignity are thin reeds to hang anything on these days! It?s just not enough, you understand! And I often think that that would be a pretty good epitaph for the whole wretched 20th Century: "Dignity Was Not Enough." People seem to believe they are more secure on the seemingly "scientific" grounds found in the results uncovered by social scientists. For example, in the gun control debate, you find people who are immensely comforted and bolstered by the findings of John Lott, that concealed carry laws are associated with measurable, significant decreases in violent crimes. They feel that this, truly, establishes legitimacy for their right to carry arms. Who needs ethics when you have numbers? Amazing.

Many people agree with you, that anyone should be able to own and carry a handgun for personal defense. But what about military weapons? Don?t you think it would be dangerous to let people be so strongly armed?

I do not wish to alarm you, but we already freely permit people to have military weapons and, what?s worse, the people we permit to have these weapons are clearly the most dangerous people on the planet. I mean, of course, those in government. Do I take your question, then, to mean, that while we manage to live in the world with this state of affairs, the incremental danger of letting anyone else (who is so inclined) have these weapons would be simply too dangerous and intolerable, so that it is better to protect the monopolies enjoyed by those now in power?

I am sorry to be a little glib, but really I don?t know how to answer your question. It is a sometimes unfortunate fact that we generally take the familiar, the status quo, as the proper baseline for judging all matters and see any change productive of uncertainty as an intolerable threat to our current comfort level. This is illustrated in the gun control debate all the time. People are concerned that, if concealed weapons permit laws are passed that allow any sane, law-abiding adult to carry a handgun for self-defense, these unknown strangers will be a danger to their community. You see, what do we really know about these people, and what training do these people really have? Yet ask them how much they really know about the police who are carrying not only handguns but also who have shotguns and, sometimes, semiautomatic rifles in their cars. What do they really know about the temper, character and personality of these people? What do they really know about their training? Basically, they know nothing about that. They know they wear uniforms that make them look "official" and that they work for a respected organization that is supposed to protect them, and this is enough. It is familiar; it is part of the ordinary fabric of life, so it is part of the baseline or background against which risks are measured, rather than part of the risk assessment itself. If you try to point out to them that they already live, quite comfortably and with scarcely a thought, with the risk they are supposedly worried about, they look at you like you are a madman. It is a failure of imagination. They cannot step off the baseline, cannot see the world apart from the baseline.

Really, would we any better or worse off if the individual right to keep and bear arms clearly encompassed the right to own tanks, fighter jet aircraft, stinger missiles, and suitcase nukes? I have no idea, but I think that the question is unanswerable except as a general indication of our beliefs about the nature of people. However, I will say that, at least here in the United States, historically, at least prior to the 1960s, except for the 1934 tax imposed on machine guns (which had the merit of doubling their cost to help keep them out of the hands of the disgruntled poor), I believe that there were no legal prohibitions against owning most military weapons. I am not aware of any instances during this period in which the absence of these legal prohibitions led to societal horrors. Perhaps almost all who are inclined to use these weapons against their fellow man are attracted to service in government, where it is socially acceptable?

You say that the Second Amendment affirms an individual right, which exists before any organized government, so that it cannot be repealed any more than we could repeal the right to life or any other natural or God-given right. But don?t you think, as some say, that it is an anachronistic legacy of the Revolutionary War?

Okay, you?re baiting me now! First, I hope that I do not say this, but that I simply state what was once believed or elucidate the implications of the now largely forgotten theory of natural rights. I try to demonstrate how far we have fallen away from this understanding and, correspondingly, how illegitimate our government has become judged by reference to its founding principles. I do this mostly for my own edification but also in hopes that others will pick up the thread and re-examine the whole question of the nature of the state and its legitimacy.

I?m not going to take the bait and argue that the right is just as relevant today as it was at the time of the Revolutionary War, nor address the claim that, since small arms are insufficient to defeat a modern army, with its helicopter gun-ships, laser-guided bombs and satellite surveillance, the right is quite anachronistic, at least in terms of protecting against government tyranny, because I?m not really interested in that. You?re still judging the right?s right to exist by whether or not the right works. The question implies a utilitarian standard. If it isn?t productive of desired or useful results in the present age, it has no raison d?e?tre. The question in this case is, rather, why you think you have a right to deprive a peaceable individual of this liberty because it doesn?t produce any discernible benefits for you or others. Is Carlo?s idea of utility the measure of all things, is Carlo the center of the universe which, himself unmoved, moves all he surveys? Or do others have equal autonomy and dignity? For if so, then there is no single measure of a common utility held in common, and, all being equal, no one has a right to impose his will on others. Or to say the same thing a bit differently, a common or shared utility exists, if at all, only to the extent of what people do entirely by voluntary association and cooperation.

Or perhaps your question really inquires into the status of natural rights, namely, whether or not what we call "natural" rights are really simply historical in nature, or creatures of custom, and can therefore come into and go out of existence. If they can be made by custom, why can?t they also be unmade by custom? Or, if they are made by custom, why can?t they be unmade by positive law?

The theory is that such rights are in some sense "God-given," or necessarily presupposed in individual autonomy or dignity and in the tacit requirement of mutual respect among persons of equal inherent dignity. Or some would argue that they are the necessary logical conditions of a government by consent of the people, and are in that sense prior to government. As such, government cannot legitimately change them, without government ceasing to be a "servant" of the people.

Yet the fact remains that what we call individual rights achieve recognition of that status at some particular point or era in history, and reflect the temper of that time. For example, in 1689, the English Bill of Rights took formal recognition of the right of English Protestants to keep arms, after a Catholic King endeavored to disarm them. However, the "right" reflects a long-standing custom of leaving people free ? largely undisturbed ? to own and bear arms for self-defense. So because the right is manifested in human affairs at particular times and places and not universally among all peoples at all times and places, it appears a matter of custom, "arbitrary" in the sense that it does not express the necessity of a physical law. Then here is the leap: therefore we can change it, or refuse to recognize it as a legitimate ethical principal. This debate has been going on since the Greeks. In Ethics, Aristotle distinguishes between what we call positive or man-made laws and natural laws and notes that some say that even so-called "natural" laws are just based in human custom. Aristotle concedes that there is some merit to this view, in the sense that so-called "natural" laws are not "natural" in the sense of physical laws, but cautions that the distinction is a legitimate one and not to presume that because such laws are "customary," that natural laws are subject to ready political manipulation. The implication is that human nature is not infinitely or readily malleable, least of all by fiat.

What about Christians and guns? Some of them say that people should not resist aggressions, because violence is never justified. Some others believe that life is a gift from God, which should be defended by every necessary means. What of this?

Frankly this is not as clear as I would like, although I will certainly not blame God for my confusion! The position that the Christian does not offer violence against violence, or resist, even in self-defense, is rooted both in the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill," and in the Sermon on the Mount, where Christ counsels not to resist evil, to turn the other cheek and to love one?s enemies (Matthew 5: 38 ? 45). On this basis, the use of all force, even to fight for or establish what is right or just, is wrong, and the counsel implicitly condemns all governments, which are founded on coercion. Few have written as forcefully on this issue as Leo Tolstoy. If you are interested in this I recommend The Law of Violence and the Law of Love and The Kingdom of God is Within You. However, there are those who, examining the nuances of the original, untranslated words, argue that Christ?s counsel is against retribution, revenge or punishment, and does not prohibit self-defense in the moment of assault. This seems also to be Aquinas? position, who essentially argues that self-defense is legitimate as long as there is no hatred or retribution in your heart, and the current Pope has also written that self-defense is legitimate in the eyes of God. Frankly, I am not sure where the truth lies, because I find it difficult to accept the notion that loving one?s enemies is consistent with striking them down or killing them, and further, non-resistance is consistent with Christ?s own life as revealed in the Gospels. So I suspect that Tolstoy is correct. But even the alternative view implies a severely limited domain for the exercise of force and, I believe, essentially prohibits the use of force to render justice.

You write, "self-government, not war." What does it mean?

This is from an article I wrote titled, "The Line in the Sand," which addresses the question of when it is appropriate for people to take up arms against their government. Basically it means, don?t wage war trying to reform the government, or to institute a new form of legitimate government; instead, ignore the state, accept and handle your responsibilities without trying to pass them off onto others, and govern yourselves through voluntary arrangements. That warrants some elaboration. First, I think it necessary to recognize and admit that perhaps the most important fact of the American experiment in limited government, with its Bill of Rights and express reservation of rights to the People, is that it did not work. I don?t think any new, supposedly better institutional or structural elements of a reformed government will work either. Fundamentally, it is a problem of the nature of man, and his ready desire to use force to compel others to secure benefits to himself; fundamentally, this is a religious problem. If you create an institution with the sole legitimate power to compel others, nominally only for certain limited purposes, the power will eventually be used for any purpose. It?s like building a car that can go 120 miles per hour, telling the driver he can only ever drive 10 miles per hour and expecting that he won?t exceed the self-imposed speed limit.

Second, its pretty clear from de Jouvenel?s examination of the growth of power of states that government grows by offering to relieve individuals from burdensome social obligations that they have (such as educating their children or taking care of one?s parents in their old age) or intervening on their behalf where they are the weaker party (such as in employer-employee relations), thereby creating fealty to the government in return for empowerment against others or a release from obligations. This process ultimately creates an individual who is free from all social ties, a solitary figure who relates to everyone else only by and through the state. This theory makes sense of the seemingly incongruous expansion of personal, sexual or reproductive rights following the radical curtailment or destruction of individual property and contract rights and all encompassing expansion of the Federal government?s power via a creative interpretation of the commerce clause during the New Deal. Whatever may be your opinion of sexual freedom or marriage, the fact is that the Supreme Court?s "discovery" that the use of contraceptives and abortion are fundamental individual rights, coupled with the growth of no-fault divorce, high taxation that drives women to work, subsidized day-care and increasingly, children?s rights, are gambits by the state to break down what most would consider to be the final and most basic structure of society: the family. It is an indication that the process of freeing the individual from all obligations to others in favor of one, all encompassing obligation to the state, is nearly complete.

In this light, the state is best resisted by ignoring it and refusing it?s offers and assistance and, since the state seeks to isolate, by forging voluntary social relationships with one another to provide for our mutual needs and wants. A good and so far successful example of this is the growth of home-schooling.

If America is a nation of cowards, what about other nations? For example, European countries have no Second Amendment (and no Bill of Rights) to stand for. What do you believe those people should do?

Okay, from de Jouvenel to popular culture. In The Empire Strikes Back, when Luke is about to enter the cave that "is strong with the dark side of the Force," Yoda says to him, "Your weapons, you will not need them." I would like people to understand, "Your rights, you will not need them." Rights do not make you free; only by acting free can you become free. The knowledge of the prior existence of rights is useful, as reminders of what men once were, what they fought for, where they drew a line against compulsion by their King or government; it helps us perceive that men one time conceived themselves as possessing a core dignity and autonomy that they would not permit others to lay hands on ? it helps us to perceive our baseline, which we would otherwise be blind to.

But to fight for the establishment of rights or for recognition of rights by one?s government involves tacit subordination to the state. The struggle to make a government recognize a right works in favor of the state, because it implicitly sets up government as the arbiter of the existence of the right. If one will not act within the scope of freedom delineated by the right unless or until the state concedes it lawful to do so, why of course then there is no right and the state controls your conduct. Thus, the passage of concealed carry permit laws in the United States is an admission that the right to keep and bear arms no longer exists in this country.

But there is more to it than that. The whole notion of individual rights is fundamentally a bankrupt notion, and not because of the problem I spoke of before concerning whether or not the rights were really "God-given" but merely customary and subject to change. The notion of "fundamental rights" is correlative to the notion of legitimate coercion; it implies, and tacitly depends upon acceptance of subjection to a domain of coercive authority. You can be governed, except that government must leave you alone in such and such spheres of activity: free speech, free exercise of religion, bearing arms, etc. The "rights" analysis pictures envelopment in a sphere of coercive authority, with specified, limited pockets of freedom. It?s the baseline problem! Why are just those areas of my behavior "protected" and not others? The fundamental question is not what rights do I have, but why may anyone exercise coercive authority over me in the first place? It is coercion, not freedom, which must be justified. If coercion is not legitimate, there is no need for "rights." Arguing "rights" is arguing from an acknowledged and accepted subordinate ? unfree ? position.

So, your rights, you do not need them! They cannot and will not help you, because no government wishes to recognize them (although it may make a show of doing so as long as it thinks it necessary, until most people can be brought around), and it is fine with the state if you spend your life attempting to compel the state to acknowledge and respect their existence. The question is whether you will act free or how you will use your freedom. But take care that you do not throw yourself away cheaply or needlessly, for such a one as the state; choose well how to create good in the world. Seek and speak the truth about what you know about the nature of the state, ignore the state as best you can, refuse its assistance, accept and fulfill your responsibilities instead of seeking ways to shift your burdens to others, and forge the social relationships you want or need to live as you would like without the state?s tender mercies.

February 8, 2001

Carlo Stagnaro [send him mail] co-edits the libertarian magazine "Enclave" and edited the book "Waco. Una strage di stato americana." Here's his website.

Copyright ? 2002
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« Reply #158 on: June 01, 2006, 04:43:49 PM »

Wow. Amazing piece posted above. Reminds me a lot of "Rational Anarchy," a philosophy for dealing with the vagaries of a given state. Here's one treatsie describing it:


Copyright George H. Smith (november 1997)
Anarchism is a theory of the good society, in which justice and social order are maintained without the State (or government). Many anarchists in the libertarian movement (including myself) were heavily influenced by the epistemological and moral theories of Ayn Rand. According to these anarchists, Rand's principles, if consistently applied, lead necessarily to a repudiation of government on moral grounds.

I call this rational anarchism, because it is grounded in the belief that we are fully capable, through reason, of discerning the principles of justice; and that we are capable, through rational persuasion and voluntary agreement, of establishing whatever institutions are necessary for the preservation and enforcement of justice. It is precisely because no government can be established by means of reason and mutual consent that all Objectivists should reject that institution as unjust in both theory and practice.

Although it is sometime useful to distinguish between the meanings of "State" and "government," such distinctions are irrelevant to the present discussion, so I shall use the terms interchangeably. Following the classic discussion of the sociologist and historian Max Weber, I shall define the "State" as a human community that (successfully) claims the monopoly of the legitimate use of physical force within a given territory."

The State is vested with the exclusive power to enact legislation, adjudicate legal disputes, enforce laws, etc., while forcibly preventing other individuals and associations from engaging in the same activities. The State, in other words, exercises a coercive monopoly in the enforcement of justice. This ultimate power of decision-making is known in political theory as "sovereignty." In the words of the historian A. P. d'Entreves, "the problem of the birth of the modern State is no other than the problem of the rise and final acceptance of the concept of sovereignty."

The concept of sovereignty is the focal point of the current debate between anarchists and minarchists (a label coined by Sam Konkin for the advocates of minimal, or "limited," government). The fundamental problem is this: Where does the right of sovereignty come from, and how can it be justified? This is an especially difficult problem for those in the Lockeian tradition of minarchism - which, in this context, includes the followers of Ayn Rand.

John Locke (like Ayn Rand) believed that all rights belong to individuals. There are no special "group rights" that exist in addition to individual rights. The rights of all groups (including the group that calls itself a "government") must be based on, and in some way derived from, the rights of individuals.

I call this approach political reductionism, because it maintains that the sovereign rights of a (legitimate) government are reducible to the rights of individuals. Political reductionism stands in opposition to political emergence theory, which argues that at least one right (usually the right to enforce the precepts of justice) does not originally belong to individuals, but emerges only in civil societies under government.

Now, having presented this background material, I will address several key issues in the minarchist/anarchist controversy.


According to John Locke, every person in an anarchistic state of nature would possess the "executive power" to enforce his own rights against the aggressive actions of others. But owing to various "inconveniences" (such as the likelihood of personal bias when acting as judge in one's own case), Locke argued that rational people would unanimously agree to leave this state of nature and join a "civil society," which would thereafter use majority rule to decide upon a particular form of government, such as constitutional monarchy, democracy, and so forth.
This "social contract" was Locke's way of accounting for our obligation to obey the political sovereign. Beginning with the rights of individuals, Locke tried to show how the executive power to enforce these natural rights would be delegated, through a process of consent, to government. Eighteenth-century Americans were chiefly indebted to John Locke for their belief in government by consent.

Ayn Rand defends a consent doctrine in several of her essays, but she never explains how this consent should manifest itself - whether, for example, it must be explicit or merely tacit (as Locke believed). Nor does she explain precisely which rights are delegated to government and how they are transferred. Therefore, although Rand appears to fall within the social contract tradition (at least in a general way), it is unclear where she would stand on the nature and method of political consent. I sincerely hope that some of her minarchist followers can shed some light on this problem.


Many of John Locke's critics - such as David Hume, Josiah Tucker, Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and Jeremy Bentham - argued that the inner logic of consent theory, if consistently applied, will land us in anarchy. As these critics pointed out, no government has ever originated in consent, and there is no reason to suppose that individuals, in full possession of their natural rights, would ever subordinate themselves voluntarily to a government.
I agree with these critics. If we accept the premise that individuals (and only individuals) possess equal and reciprocal rights, and if we insist that these individuals must consent to be ruled by a government, and if we condemn as illegitimate all governments that rule without consent - then all governments, past and present, have been illegitimate.

Furthermore, I maintain that Objectivists, if they are to remain true to the consent doctrine, must embrace this kind of "practical anarchism" and condemn all historical governments as unjust. True, Objectivists insist that government can be justified in theory - though none (that I know of) has ever spelled out the necessary criteria - but this theoretically legitimate government has never existed anywhere on this earth. Nor can it exist anywhere except in what Edmund Burke called "the fairyland of philosophy." As Josiah Tucker (a contemporary of Burke) put it, the consent theory of government is "the universal demolisher of all governments, but not the builder of any."

John Locke identified two fundamental problems that must be addressed by the political philosopher. First, what is the justification of the State? Second, assuming that we can justify the State in theory, what are the standards by which we can judge the legitimacy of a particular government? Too often minarchists deal only with the first question, while ignoring the second.

Suppose I am asked what could conceivably change my mind and cause me to endorse government, and suppose I give the following reply: "If I believed in the God of Christianity, and if I believed that God had dispatched a squad of angels to communicate with me personally, and if these angels told me that the State is a divine institution, ordained by God for the protection of human rights, and if these angels further informed me that anarchism would lead to widespread death and destruction - then, under these circumstances, I would abandon my anarchism in favor of minarchism."

But consider an important feature that would be missing from my newfound justification of the State. While believing that the State is justified, qua institution, I would not possess specific standards by which to judge whether a self-professed "government" is in fact a legitimate State at all, or whether it is merely a gang of usurpers and oppressors who claim to act on behalf of that divine institution.

As a remedy for this problem, suppose the angels provide me with a clear and unmistakable standard, to wit: "You will know legitimate rulers by the visible halos over their heads. This sign, and this sign alone, will mark the agents who are authorized by God to act on behalf of the State." Well, after looking around at the functionaries of existing governments, and after seeing no such halos, I would conclude that no one who presently claims to represent the State is morally authorized to do so. On the contrary, I would surmise that America is currently in a state of anarchy, since it contains no legitimate government - so, devoted minarchist that I am, I would dedicate my life to abolishing our wicked "government" and to exposing those Satanic politicians who fraudulently pose as functionaries of that divine institution, the State.

This is a species of the "practical anarchism" that Objectivists must logically endorse. For halos, they have substituted consent as the discernible sign of a legitimate government - and, like halos, consent is nowhere to be found in real-life governments. Hence, while defending the State in theory, these consent-minarchists should oppose all existing governments in practice. And this, I dare say, is a kind of minarchism that I can live with quite well - for we are more likely to be visited by angels than to find a government based on consent.


My next point will probably cause me to be branded as a psycho-epistemological pervert, but here it is: I am convinced that Ayn Rand was essentially an anarchist in substance, if not in name. She was at most a nominal governmentalist. If the conventional meaning of a word is to count for anything at all (and it should), then Rand's ideal "government" is in fact no government at all, but is merely a sheep in wolf's clothing.
How can I make this outrageous claim? I base it on Rand's moral opposition to coercive taxation. The power of coercive taxation, as Alexander Hamilton said in The Federalist Papers is the very life-blood of government. Indeed, the great debate over ratification of the United States Constitution centered on whether or not the federal government should have the power to tax. The Articles of Confederation had withheld this power from Congress, reserving it exclusively for the states. Many Anti-Federalists opposed the Constitution because they realized that the federal government, if granted the power to lay and collect taxes directly from the people, would strip the states of their sovereign authority.

If the defenders of either side in the ratification debate had encountered Rand's argument for "voluntary taxation," they would have assailed it, first, as a veritable contradiction in terms (which it is), and, secondly, as a rejection of sovereign government altogether (which it also is). Virtually every defender of government - from John Locke to Thomas Jefferson to Ludwig von Mises - has recognized coercive taxation to be an essential component of sovereignty, a power without which no true government can exist.

The principle of "voluntary taxation" reduces Rand's "government" to a free-market protection agency, which, like every business, must either satisfy its customers or close up shop. What is to prevent a dissatisfied customer from withholding his money from a Randian "government," while subscribing instead to the services of another agency? Why cannot a landowner (or combination of landowners) refuse to pay for the services of their Randian "government," which they regard as inefficient, and take their business elsewhere?

The right to pay for services or not, according to one's own judgment, is a characteristic of the free market; it has no relationship, either theoretically or historically, to the institution of government. There is no way a government can retain its sovereign power - its monopoly on the use of legitimate force - if it does not possess the power of compulsory taxation.

When the nineteenth-century minarchist Auberon Herbert advanced his theory of "voluntary taxation," he was widely praised by anarchists, such as Benjamin Tucker, who embraced him as one of their own. But he was assailed by fellow minarchists, such as Herbert Spencer, who correctly pointed out that Herbert's position was indistinguishable from anarchism. Likewise, Rand's position on taxation places her squarely in the anarchist camp - her idiosyncratic use of the word "government" notwithstanding. We should focus in this debate on the concept of government and its essential characteristics, not on the word usage of a particular writer.


I defend anarchism, or society without the State, because I believe that innocent people cannot be forced to surrender any of their natural rights. Those who wish to delegate some of their rights to a government are free to do so, provided they do not violate the rights of dissenters who choose not to endorse their government.
As Ayn Rand has said, the lives of other people are not yours to dispose of. Yet this is precisely what every government attempts to do. A government initiates physical force (or the threat of force) to prohibit other people from exercising their right to enforce the rules of justice. (Either every person has this executive power, or no one does, according to the principle of political reductionism.) A government, while engaging in certain activities which it claims are just, coercively prevents other people from engaging in those selfsame activities.

By what moral means, I ask, does a government come to possess this exclusive right? A government cannot bestow justice on an action that would be unjust if undertaken by someone else. Nor can a government, through force or arbitrary decree, render an action unjust when undertaken by someone else, if that same action is just when undertaken by government. The principles of justice are objective and therefore universal; they apply equally and without exception to every human being, as does every rational precept and procedure. A mathematical computation, for example, cannot be correct when computed by a government, and incorrect when computed by someone else. A deductive syllogism, if valid for those in government, is equally valid for those outside of government. Murder, if wrong when committed by an individual, is equally wrong when committed by a government.

Likewise, an activity, if moral when pursued by a government, is equally moral when pursued by someone else. All this should be obvious to those who agree with the principles put forth by Ayn Rand. If, therefore, the principles of justice are objective (i.e., knowable to human reason), then a government can no more claim a monopoly on the legitimate use of force than it can claim a monopoly on reason.

Those minarchists who claim that justice can prevail only under government must implicitly defend the view that justice is either subjective or intrinsic. If justice is subjective, if it varies from one person to the next, then government can be defended as necessary to establish objective rules. Likewise, if justice is intrinsic to government itself, if whatever a government decrees is necessarily just, then government is justified automatically.

If, however, justice is neither subjective nor intrinsic, but instead is objective - i.e., if it can be derived by rational methods from the facts of man's nature and the requirements of social existence - then the principles of justice are knowable to every rational person. This means that no person, group of persons, association, or institution whether known as "government," "State," or by any other name - can rightfully claim a legal monopoly in matters pertaining to justice.

Rational anarchism, in short, is simply the application of Ayn Rand's theory of objective knowledge to the realm of justice.


As far as I know, the first sustained attack on legal pluralism came from Marsilius of Padua in the fourteenth century. In his Defender of the Peace, Marsilius attacked the legal pluralism of his day - especially as it pertained to the political authority of the Church and he maintained that one authority, and one alone, should have sovereign power in a given territory.
In defense of this view, Marsilius argued that to deny the right of sovereignty leads ultimately to a logical contradiction. Someone - some person, association or institution - must have the authority to render a final verdict in order for a legal system to operate. One of Marsilius's more interesting examples went something like this:

Suppose two "competing governments" (to use the misleading terminology of Ayn Rand) claim jurisdiction over the same territory, and suppose both have the right to issue compulsory subpoenas that require a person to appear in court on a given day. Furthermore, suppose I receive subpoenas from both agencies demanding that I appear in court at exactly the same time. Since it is impossible for me to be in two places at once, it is impossible for me to obey both governments simultaneously.

Yet this conflicts with our initial premise - that both agencies have a rightful authority to issue subpoenas - because I am logically required to disobey at least one of these governments.

I don't know the official Objectivist position on subpoenas, but the logic of the foregoing argument can easily accommodate other examples. The important point here is the reasoning behind this "logic of sovereignty argument," as it is sometimes called. This argument exerted considerable influence after 1576, when Jean Bodin used it to defend absolute monarchy. It was also used for the same purpose in the seventeenth century by Sir Robert Filmer (Locke's dead adversary) and Thomas Hobbes.

It is scarcely accidental that the logic of sovereignty argument was a favorite among the defenders of absolutism, and was vigorously opposed by John Locke and other champions of limited government. For consider: If the sovereign (whether one man or group of men) is the final arbiter in all matters pertaining to justice, then how can the sovereign himself be held accountable for committing acts of injustice? The absolutists insisted that he cannot be so judged by any human authority; the sovereign was accountable to "none but God."

Sovereign power, in this view, must be absolute (i.e., unconditional), because by definition there is no higher authority than the sovereign himself. The sovereign is therefore above the law, not under it, which means that there can exist no rights of resistance and revolution by the people. To advocate a "divided sovereignty," according to Filmer, Hobbes and other absolutists, is to advocate anarchy.

I cannot go into the various ways that Locke and other minarchists tried to get around this logic of sovereignty argument, but I think the absolutists had the stronger philosophical case. Either a government has sovereign power, or it doesn't. Either a government has the final authority to render and execute legal decisions, or it doesn't. Sovereignty is an all-or-nothing affair. And if this is true, then no person has a right to resist the sovereign, however unjust his actions may appear. For who is to decide whether a law is unjust, if not the sovereign himself? Who is to decide whether a right has been violated, if not a sovereign government in its role as final arbiter?

In any dispute between a sovereign government and its subjects, the government itself must decide who is right; and, as Locke suggested, the sovereign, like everyone else, is likely to be biased in his own favor.. I would therefore like to know how those Objectivists who use the logic of sovereignty argument as a weapon against anarchism can avoid sliding down the slippery slope into absolutism.

If I am arrested for smoking pot or for reading a prohibited book (say, Atlas Shrugged) do I have a right forcibly to resist my incarceration?

If you say "no," then you are defending absolutism. If you say "yes," then what happened to the sovereign power of government to render final decisions in matters of law? - for in resisting the government I am clearly acting as judge in my own case.

Ayn Rand somewhere says that a government becomes tyrannical when it attempts to suppress freedom of speech and press, but who is to decide when this line has been crossed, if not the sovereign government? Surely we can't have crazy people like Ayn Rand running around condemning some laws as unjust and calling for disobedience, because this will lead to anarchy. We cannot preach sovereignty when it suits our purpose, and then oppose it when we don't like particular laws, for this undermines the rationale of sovereignty itself - i.e., that legal matters cannot be left to the discretion of individuals. The doctrine of natural rights, as foes of consent theory repeatedly pointed out, is inherently anarchistic. Burke called natural rights "a digest of anarchy," while Bentham castigated them as "anarchical fallacies."

If at any point Objectivists are willing to admit that individuals have the right to resist an unjust law or overthrow a despotic government, then they are conceding the basic premise of anarchism: namely, that true sovereignty resides in each individual, who has the right to assess the justice of a particular law, procedure or government.

There can be no (logically consistent) middle ground between state-sovereignty and self-sovereignty, between absolutism and anarchism. I defend the self-sovereignty of anarchism. If Objectivists do not understand how I can defend the individual as the "final authority in ethics," I recommend they read Ayn Rand's essay on that topic.


In over twenty-five years of arguing with Randian minarchists, I have encountered few who seem even remotely aware that the logic of sovereignty argument has been a central theme in political theory for over four centuries. Those familiar with its long history will understand that it has everywhere and always been used to defend and expand the absolute power of government.
In The Federalist Papers, for example, both Madison and Hamilton repeatedly use the logic of sovereignty argument to defend extensive discretionary powers in the federal government, and to prove that no limit can logically be imposed on the taxing power of Congress. Indeed, Hamilton insists that an "unqualified" (i.e., absolute) power to tax is logically deducible from the axiom of sovereignty, and Madison defends a similar position.

As the saying goes, if you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. The minarchists who lie down with the logic of sovereignty argument are infested with the fleas of absolutism, but apparently they haven't noticed or don't care.

Our primary concern should be with the justice of a legal system - i.e., with what laws are enforced, not with who enforces them. This justice can be ascertained by objective standards of right.

If the legal system of an agency (whether governmental or private) is truly just as evaluated by objective standards - and if, by "competition," we mean any attempt forcibly to overturn this legal system, replacing it with an unjust system - then our agency may forcibly resist and overthrow the outlaw agency, owing to its effort to violate individual rights.

As I said, however, the right to suppress the outlaw agency has nothing to do with the alleged necessity for a final arbiter. Rather, it is simply an application of the right of every individual, whether by himself or in combination with others, to resist and repel despotism, whatever the source of that despotism may be. The pertinent issue, therefore, is not whether we need a coercive monopoly to enforce justice; but whether we can determine the justice of legal system by objective methods, and whether, having objectively condemned a given system as unjust, we can then forcibly resist any individual or agency which seeks to impose that system.

This has everything to do with the individual right of self-defense, as manifested in the libertarian rights of resistance and revolution, and has nothing whatever to do with the supposed need for a final arbiter.

Objectivists, if they are to remain true to the theory of rights defended by Ayn Rand, must agree with anarchists that the moral legitimacy of a particular government depends, not on the subjective claims of that government, but on true measure of justice in its legal system, as evaluated by objective criteria.

If a legal system is objectively just, then its enforcement agency (whether governmental or private) may properly restrain the "competition" of an unjust legal system, whether implemented by a government or by a private agency. If, however, the competitor also works within the framework of a just legal system (perhaps differing from the other agency in optional matters of procedure), then that competitor may not be forcibly restrained from entering into contractual relationships with willing customers.

The logic of sovereignty argument is valid only within a subjective theory of justice, where a coercive arbiter must prevail in the absence of reason. In an objective theory of justice, however, what appears to minarchists (mistakenly) as the logic of sovereignty - i.e., the right forcibly to eliminate unjust agencies - has in fact nothing to do with the supposed need for a final arbiter, but is instead the application of an individual's right of self-defense.

Minarchists, after noting that an objective theory of justice can generate the right to exclude competing agencies in some cases (i.e., when the agency is unjust), erroneously conclude that this right flows from political sovereignty. But sovereignty demands the exclusion of competing agencies in all cases, even if the competitor is far more just than the sovereign itself. Sovereignty, based as it is on subjectivism, cannot logically discriminate between just and unjust legal systems, so it transforms the de facto power of an existing government into de jure sovereignty - operating, in effect, from the maxim of Alexander Pope, "Whatever is, is right." This is why the theory of sovereignty and its attendant absolutism have always denied the rights of resistance and revolution.

A system of objective justice, on the other hand, enables us to discriminate between the initiation of force and the retaliatory use of force, thereby providing a rational method of assessing any person, agency or government which claims to use legitimate violence. Furthermore, a system of objective justice defines and sanctions the use of defensive violence, which has traditionally been expressed in libertarian theory as the rights of resistance and revolution.

These rights, which stem from the individual right of self-defense, can justify the suppression of any agency or government that seeks to impose an unjust legal system. And though this suppression of "competition" may sometimes bear a superficial resemblance to the sovereign suppression of all competition (whether just or unjust), this should not mislead Objectivists and libertarians into supposing that these two actions - one by a sovereign government, the other by a private justice agency - are based on the same mode of justification.

One (suppression by a sovereign government) is rooted in political subjectivism (or relativism), and has no relationship to the justice or injustice of the victimized agency. The other (suppression by a justice agency) is rooted in political objectivism, and is confined solely the suppression of unjust agencies and governments. The former power is justified by political sovereignty, a right that cannot be reduced to the rights of individuals. The latter power is justified by the right of self-defense, a right that is possessed equally by every individual and can be delegated (or not) to a specialized agency. The former theory leads necessarily to absolutism and cannot be reconciled with consent. The latter theory generates agencies whose power is specifically limited by the consensual delegation of rights by individuals.

As I have said before, we must ultimately choose between state-sovereignty and self-sovereignty, between absolutism and anarchy, between subjective decree and objective justice. There is no middle ground in logic. The chickens of the Law of the Excluded Middle have come home to roost. And they are fouling the minarchist nest.


The lesson here is that power is always dangerous, regardless of who wields it - be it a private protection agency or a sovereign government.
As Acton said, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Even the rulers in an ideal Objectivist society would be likely to abuse their power, and would therefore require constant monitoring. (I ask you, who is more likely to seek power in an Objectivist society - the Howard Roarks or the Ellsworth Tooheys?) It was this concern about the abuse of power that led Thomas Jefferson and others in his tradition to favor decentralization, a system in which power is checked by other external powers.

This was the original idea behind "limited government." A "limited government" was a government whose power was limited, or checked, by another power external to itself. Ultimately, according to Locke, Jefferson, and other minarchists, the only effective check on sovereign power is the right of the people to resist unjust laws and overthrow despotic governments. This sovereign right of the people was the external check that imposed real limits on a "limited government."

There are very good reasons to suppose that legal pluralism would be more effective in preserving justice than legal monism. The Western legal tradition, as many historians have pointed out, was rooted in legal pluralism. Legal pluralism existed in Europe for many centuries, until it was finally destroyed by rapacious and violent monarchs. Medieval Europe had a complex network of political authorities, legal systems and overlapping jurisdictions. There existed customary law, the king's law, feudal law, municipal law, canon law, and so forth. What some minarchists claim cannot exist, therefore, did in fact exist for many centuries.

Moreover, as Voltaire, Lord Acton and other liberal historians have argued, the Western World owes its liberty to the conflict among these competing authorities. Neither the spiritual nor the temporal authorities had libertarian intentions, but the ongoing competition between these institutions gradually led to the development of "intermediate" institutions (such as municipalities), as Pope and Prince conceded various "liberties" and "immunities" in an effort to win allies to their side. And it was these intermediate institutions, not governments, which were largely responsible for the freedom that is unique to the Western World.

A remarkable system of competing governments also existed in America for many decades prior to the War for Independence. The colonials came to regard their provincial governments as independent and autonomous institutions that were necessary to check British power. And the British government, in its turn, restrained the power of the colonial assemblies. This situation resulted in a paralysis of power (since neither government could do much) and in a great deal of personal liberty.

Later, after the countervailing power of Britain had been eliminated by a successful Revolution, the Constitution established a powerful national government - which, as Madison proudly announced during the Philadelphia Convention, was vested with greater powers than even the British Parliament against which Americans "have so lately rebelled."

This sentiment was seconded in The Federalist Papers by Alexander Hamilton, who criticized the fundamental principles of the American Revolution, called for their repudiation by the American people, and advocated instead a Constitution and monopolistic government that were based on a newer and more sophisticated "science" of political sovereignty.

In just a few short years the decentralized legal pluralism of pre-Revolutionary America had succumbed to the logic of sovereignty and a powerful central government - those evil Siamese-twins that are largely responsible for our present unhappy condition.

Consider two of the most powerful and influential ideas in twentieth century politics: the notion of an all-powerful State that is the sole arbiter of justice, and the notion of an infallible general will that can force people to be free. The former was the brainchild of Thomas Hobbes, the latter of J.J. Rousseau. Consider also that it was these two philosophers of sovereignty who, more than anyone else, separated sovereignty from its religious roots in the divine right of kings, gave it a secular foundation, and unleashed the "mortal god" of Leviathan on the Western World.

I don't defend anarchism because I ever expect to see an anarchist society. (An anarchist America is almost as unlikely as an Objectivist America.) But I do think we can effectively combat statism with the right intellectual ammunition, and this includes the total repudiation of political sovereignty in favor of individual rights and voluntary institutions.

The address of this document:
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« Reply #159 on: July 26, 2006, 11:48:31 AM »

The Washington Post published an exhaustive anti-gun piece that managed to get some important facts quite wrong. Here is John Lott's take:

A Fair Shot
New legislation aims to ease the unfair burden on gun-store operators.

By John R. Lott Jr.

It is tough operating a gun shop under harassment from the federal government and unjustified media attacks. But the harassment might soon get a little better, as today the House Judiciary Committee starts marking up a bill by Representatives Howard Coble and Bobby Scott to ease the burden on gun merchants.

According to Justice Department numbers, since Bill Clinton was elected president in 1992, the number of federally licensed firearms dealers in the United States has plummeted by 80 percent. Kmart no longer sells guns, Wal-Mart just recently stopped selling guns at a third of its stores, and tens of thousands of other gun shops have gone out of business. With all the talk of the recent legislative success by gun owners, they have been winning some battles but possibly losing the war. Gun-control advocates may be the ones winning where it really counts.

Part of the drop in licensees has been due to fees imposed by the federal government. Many license recipients were in the business of selling only a small number of guns, and the fees made that practice unprofitable.

The constant breakdowns of the ?instant? background-check system during the Clinton administration halted guns sales for hours or even days at a time, costing stores untold sales and raising their costs. Even by the end of the Clinton administration, from September 1999 to December 2000, the system was down about one hour for every 16.7 hours of operation. The breakdowns often came in big blocks of time, the worst during a period covering 60 hours during two weeks in the middle of May 2000. Try running a business where neither customers nor sellers are ever informed on how long outages are expected to last.

Fortunately, the background-check problems are now fixed. And there are no new fees. So why are gun shops still going out of business? There were about 100,000 license holders at the end of Clinton?s last term. By today that has been cut almost in half.

The Washington Post?s front page on Sunday illustrated the problems with both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives abuses as well as the media?s out-of-control attacks. The piece examined the supposed abuses of Sandy Abrams?s gun shop in Baltimore, a shop he took over from his father in 1996.

The second paragraph scarily points out that ?there were 422 firearms missing ? more than a quarter of his inventory.? The count listed guns as missing if there were simple paperwork mistakes (e.g., two digits in a number transposed). Taking all these mistakes since Sandy Abrams took over the story in 1996 and comparing them to his current inventory, not the 25,000 guns that he has sold over the last decade, borders on journalistic malpractice. It surely doesn?t provide readers with an accurate understanding of what is happening.

So what is the right number of missing guns? Abrams claims it is 19. Nineteen out of 25,000 isn?t great, but .076 percent is a lot less scary than 25 percent, a difference of 329-fold. More importantly, the government has apparently never found any of those guns to have been used in a crime. As Abrams notes, ?we have had the paperwork and successfully traced every gun whenever [the government] asked.?

Is this the type of gun dealer who should lose his license? The BATFE thinks he is a prime candidate. Nine hundred rules violations over ten years certainly sounds impressive. That is until you realize that violations include writing ?Balt.? instead of ?Baltimore,? or that the government-approved ledger was apparently missing a column. Of course, the information the column was supposed to record was redundant anyway.

Part of the problem may simply be a government agency that manipulates numbers to make the problem seem a lot worse than it is so that it can get more funding. But Coble and Scott?s legislation would reduce the discretion currently available to the BATFE and allow licensees who face revocation to be heard before a neutral administrative judge.

This legislation may not entirely reverse the massive decline in licensed firearms dealers, but it would be a promising a start.

? John R. Lott is the author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns (Regnery 2003).

National Review Online -
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« Reply #160 on: August 01, 2006, 05:02:05 PM »


Tuesday, August 1, 2006 ? Last updated 12:10 a.m. PT
60 years ago, vets took up arms in Tenn.


ATHENS, Tenn. -- Harold Powers was only 20 when he watched a frightening sight unfold here 60 years ago: Battle-hardened World War II veterans in a shootout with armed sheriff's deputies.

The so-called "Battle of Athens" began Aug. 1, 1946, when veterans opened fire on the local jail to stop corrupt local officials from stealing an election.

"It was scary," said Powers, a retired elementary school principal who was right in the middle of the fighting and was sprayed with pellets from a shotgun blast.

Felix Harrod, 84, was a 25-year-old poll watcher at the courthouse during the shootout and said it was common for incumbents in the county about 45 miles northeast of Chattanooga to take ballot boxes to the jail and stuff them with pre-marked ballots.

That was a practice the former soldiers hoped to stop. They offered an all-ex-GI, nonpartisan ticket that promised a fraud-free election and reform. Their rallying cry: "Why fight overseas for freedom and come home and be denied the right to have your ballot counted?"

The shooting continued until the pre-dawn of Aug. 2 when the former soldiers tossed dynamite at the jail, prompting deputies and a sheriff candidate holed up with ballot boxes to surrender.

The uprising left one man with a bullet wound and sent a deputy to prison.

On the 60th anniversary of the uprising, Powers and others who can recall the 1946 violence shake their head as state election officials predict only about 35 percent of voters will cast ballots in Thursday's primaries in Tennessee.

"The lesson is that people ought to take voting a whole lot more seriously than they do and not let things get out of hand," Powers said. "Don't let the politicians just take over."

The insurrection prompted a drastic change in the makeup of McMinn County government. McMinn County historian Joe Guy, now an assistant to the county mayor, said it amounted to the start of the county manager form of government.

Former Tusculum College historian Jennifer E. Brooks described the battle as "the most violent manifestation of a regional phenomenon of the post-World War II era" in the Tennessee Encyclopedia.

"Seasoned veterans of the European and Pacific theaters returned in 1945 and 1946 to Southern communities riddled with vice, economic stagnation and deteriorating schools," wrote Brooks, now a professor at Auburn University.

"Across the South, veterans launched insurgent campaigns to oust local political machines they regarded as impediments to economic 'progress.'"

Guy said it remains unclear exactly how many veterans took up arms for the Battle of Athens.

"Estimates have ranged between 50 to 250," he said. "No one really knows. It wasn't any organized military type of assault. They only wanted the ballot boxes."

The former soldiers raided National Guard and State Guard armories for weapons, and the governor mobilized the Guard, although troops never went to Athens.

The veterans shielded themselves behind overturned cars as they fired shots at the jail from across the street. Sympathizers even served them refreshments.

"It almost got to be like a party-type atmosphere," Guy said.

Guy said that after the fighting, the GIs recovered several ballot boxes that hadn't been manipulated and counted the votes. The veteran-backed candidates were declared the winners and sworn into office.

"The McMinn County veterans had won the day in a hail of gunfire, dynamite, and esprit de corps," Brooks wrote.

The local government had been part of a statewide political machine run by Memphis Mayor Ed "Boss" Crump.

"That's just the way things were all over the South, machines everywhere," Guy said. Outdated state laws and overly powerful sheriffs who had the power to arrest and collect fines and fees contributed to the frustration.

"Unfortunately Athens sort of got to be the tinder point of a great many social problems," Guy said.

Powers said the violence was motivated by disgust about corruption. "Some folks just had had all they could take. They just lost it," Powers said.


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Battle of Athens:
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« Reply #161 on: August 09, 2006, 09:46:41 PM »

It was just are 3:30 Wednesday morning when a Minneapolis apartment dweller was forced to defend himself and his property with a sword.

Police say they got a call from residents of the 3100 block of Lyndale Avenue South that four people had forced their way into a residence.

According to police, once the burglars were inside, they got into a fight with one of the residents who grabbed his roommates sword and started slashing the intruders. His feisty attack send the invaders running, but not before he wounded several.

Shortly after Minneapolis police arrived, they were called by doctors at HCMC about the arrival of three people to the ER with severed fingers and lacerations.

One had minor injuries and was treated and arrested. The other two were more seriously injured and were treated at HCMC. They'll be transported to the Hennepin County Jail when they are released by the hospital.

The apartment resident was slightly injured in the attack.

Police continue investigating the incident.
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« Reply #162 on: August 18, 2006, 12:15:40 PM »

Lengthy piece with its share of coarse language:
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« Reply #163 on: August 21, 2006, 11:17:22 AM »

Some of we the well-armed people are idiots:
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« Reply #164 on: August 21, 2006, 12:22:14 PM »

"Some of we the well-armed people are idiots"

Doh! I hate being near these kinds of boneheads at the range. . . .
« Reply #165 on: August 21, 2006, 12:25:41 PM »

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« Reply #166 on: October 16, 2006, 04:38:44 PM »

"If people carry guns, there will be murders over parking spaces and neighborhood basketball games."

Well it sounds like he hit the nail on the head with this one.  Is the author a DC native?

"This is a war, and we are soldiers. Death can come for us at any time, in any place." ~ Morpheus
Dog Dave
« Reply #167 on: October 21, 2006, 11:24:09 AM »

Words from a man I greatly admired, whose clear thinking and ability to cut through the B.S. will surely be missed.

"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
?Jeff Cooper 10 May 1920 - 25 September 2006 R.I.P.

Woof, DD
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« Reply #168 on: November 02, 2006, 04:40:58 PM »

When you  get right down to it, we drunkards are a pretty easy-going bunch.

Our needs are not excessive. Give us a glass of whiskey and a comfy place to drink it and we?re happy. Good drinks, good friends, good times?these are keys to a good life. Every once in a while, though, teetotalers and bureaucrats get it into their heads that we are easy to push around, or even worse, that we are so inebriated so much of the time that we won?t notice when they step on our toes. They hardly ever recall their anti-alcohol actions with fondness.

Case in point: The Whiskey Rebellion.

In 1791, Alexander Hamilton, Treasury Secretary for the newly-minted United States of America, woke up one morning with what he thought was a very good idea. The country was in a small financial bind. Nothing major, but it could certainly become so if the budget was suddenly faced with a major expense, such as another war with the increasingly angry Natives or another lengthy set-to with the still-smarting Brits. A prudent man, Hamilton was loath to go any further into debt to the French. He wanted a robust source of local income?American money put to use defending American interests. Which seems a perfectly swell idea, until you discover that Hamilton thought to collect his loot by imposing a huge tax on whiskey. Not on all intoxicating beverages, mind you, just whiskey, the nation?s favorite drink, bar none.

For Hamilton, taxing whiskey served multiple good purposes. First, it would cement the needed defense monies, and second, it would force his countrymen to drink something other than whiskey, which he considered a blight on the nation?s health and morals. Drinking wine and beer was fine by Hamilton. He enjoyed both himself. Whiskey, on the other hand, made people crazy and caused them to behave too much like Irishmen. A heavy tax would deter such unseemly excesses.

Much to Hamilton?s chagrin, many people reacted badly to the idea. Thomas Jefferson, who already thought Hamilton was an ass, called the tax ?infernal.? Other people rightly pointed out that the country had only recently finished a bloody war to extricate itself from the claws of a government that had oppressively taxed its people without their consent. Pennsylvania assemblyman Albert Gallatin lambasted the proposal, saying it would put an undue burden on farmers in his state, where, incidentally, an estimated 25 percent of all American stills were located.

Despite these voices of reason and outrage, the tax bill wafted through Congress as easily as a leaf on a warm summer breeze. At the beginning, the levy was set at seven-and-a-half cents per gallon, but was quickly increased, first to nine cents, then to 11 cents. Then, to make matters worse, an additional yearly charge was leveled at farmers; sixty cents for each gallon to the full capacity of his still. It didn?t matter if the farmer distilled only five gallons of whiskey from a ten-gallon-capacity still. He was taxed for all ten gallons.

Needless to say, the nation?s farmers (who were also the nation?s whiskey distillers) were outraged, and none more so than the Pennsylvanians. The Pennsylvanians went berserk.

With assistance from assemblyman Gallatin, an association of Pennsylvanian farmers wrote to Congress, protesting the ridiculous law:

[The law] appears unequal in its operation and immoral in its effects. Unequal in its operation, as a duty laid on the common drink of a nation, instead of taxing the citizens in proportion to their property, falls as heavy on the poorest class as on the rich; immoral in its effects, because the amount of duty resting on the oath of the payer, offers, at the expense of the honest part of the community, a premium to perjury fraud.

One aspect of the law that particularly annoyed the protestors was that it allowed tax collectors to ?snoop in barns, closets and cellars looking for hidden untaxed spirits.? The potential was high for abuse by authorities in their zeal to enforce the law.  Plus, to allow such intrusions upon a free person?s private land would be the same as inviting the hated British back to run things.

Congress listened patiently to the complaints from Pennsylvania, smiled benignly, and totally ignored them. The whiskey tax became law.
Enforcing it became a whole other kettle of ale.

Federal tax collectors descended upon Pennsylvania like a cloud of bugs. Right from the outset, though, local farmers let it be known in no uncertain terms that the tax men were not welcome, and if they chose to show up anyway they could count on repercussions. The farmers meant it, too. Tax men were routinely harassed. Angry whiskeymen attacked them with pitchforks or lured them down lonely roads, where they were waylaid and beaten bloody. If the revenue collectors remained tenacious, midnight raiders would learn where they lived and burn down their houses. But by far the most popular way of dealing with unwelcome tax officials was to capture them and spend a few free-wheeling hours having them tarred and feathered. Oppressed farmers kept a ready supply of both ingredients, and many revenuers stumbled home looking more like poultry than men, and in a great deal of pain?ridding one?s self of a coating of tar and feathers was both excruciating and time-consuming. When finally cleansed of their new plumage, victims looked as if they had been vigorously boiled. These and numerous other tactics were used against the odious tax collectors.

Back in Virginia, Alexander Hamilton was livid. He issued decrees in which he demanded that the farmers obey the law, cease terrorizing government inspectors, and pony up the money they owed without further complaint. The farmers listened and then, not to put too fine a point on it, told Hamilton and his congressional cronies to go pound sand. To illustrate their resolve, Pennsylvania whiskey makers formed themselves into an army, some six thousand strong. They sent word to Hamilton that they would sooner secede from the Union than pay the hated tax.

President George Washington now found himself in a truly rotten position. He wanted to uphold the law, no matter how stupid he might have found it, but he was horrified at the prospect of dispatching American soldiers to battle American citizens. Eventually, in 1794, his envoys arrived at a compromise with the Pennsylvania distillers. The tax would be reduced to a tolerable level and, in return, Washington?s army would depart. Additionally, anyone who had been arrested for violating the law would receive a presidential pardon and be allowed to return home.

Most distillers began paying the tax, but remained angry. Some refused outright. The tax was unfair and oppressive, facts that remained unchanged regardless of George Washington?s involvement. Those who refused to pay, as well as their children and grandchildren, invented methods of dodging the tax that would remain useful right up until today. They were America?s original moonshiners. Today, in dry counties all over the south and west, right-thinking whiskeymen continue to dodge the revenue man.

Our country almost had a civil war over whiskey. It?s a worst-case scenario, but indicative of what you can expect when you awaken the drunken giant.?
?Richard English

(Note: the Author is indebted to the works of Eric Burns, Mark Edward Lender & James Kirby Martin, and Sharon V. Salinger.)
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« Reply #169 on: November 08, 2006, 01:29:41 PM »

November 08, 2006, 9:40 a.m.

Arms-Bearing Can Bear the Defeat
The Second Amendment emerges from the election relatively unscathed.

By Dave Kopel

The Second Amendment has emerged from the biggest Democratic victory since 1974 with relatively little damage. One reason is that in races all over the country, Democrats returned to their Jefferson-Jackson roots by running candidates who trust the people to bear arms.

I do not disagree that the Democratic gains in Congress will, on the whole, be harmful for the economy, and extremely dangerous for the war against Islamofascism.

Nevertheless, the class of pro-gun Democrats who will be joining the House and the Senate includes some who will eventually become party leaders, and who will help move the Democratic party back towards its traditional position of respect for the civil liberties of the American people. A very constructive development, in the long run.

The information below is based on the results as of early Wednesday morning. The ratings cited below are from the National Rifle Association.

Governors: In a year in which Democrats gained a half-dozen governorships, only one  pro-gun incumbent governor was defeated. Pro-gun Republican incumbents who repelled anti-gun challenges included Schwarzenegger (Calif.), Carcieri (R.I.), and Douglas (Vt.). After trailing for months, Tim Pawlenty won a very close re-election in Minnesota, while Jim Gibbons survived a last-minute scare in Nevada.

Democrats Janet Napolitano of Arizona and Jennifer Granholm of Michigan were not considered friendly to the Second Amendment when they were elected, but they helped ensure their re-election by generally supporting Second Amendment rights during their first terms. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, Phil Bredesen of Tennessee, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, and Dave Freudenthal of Wyoming won their first terms by promising to protect Second Amendment rights, and they won easy re-election in part because they kept their promises.

In open seats, winners were pro-gun Democrat Culver (Iowa), and pro-gun Republicans Palin (Alaska), Crist (Fla.), and Otter (Idaho). All of the Republicans defeated candidates with weaker records on the Second Amendment.

Second Amendment activists did not achieve their goals of unseating Jim Doyle (Wisconsin) or Ted Kulongoski (Ore.).

In Maryland, incumbent Governor Bob Ehrlich was rhetorically pro-gun, but did very little to help gun owners. He was defeated by the ?F?-rated Martin O?Malley. Next year, the gun-prohibition lobby in Maryland will make a major push to ban self-loading firearms.

The other major Second Amendment loss was in Colorado, where strongly anti-gun Democrat Bill Ritter will replace retiring Governor Bill Owens. In addition, moderately anti-gun George Pataki of New York will be replaced by vehemently anti-gun Democrat Elliot Spitzer.

Retiring anti-gun Republican Governor Bob Taft of Ohio will give way to solidly pro-gun Democrat Ted Strickland. Preliminary results suggest that the Ohio legislature still has a pro-gun majority, so prospects for constructive reform of Ohio laws ? particularly pre-emption of local gun bans ? appear good.

Net gubernatorial results: -1.5.

Gains: Ohio.

Losses: Colorado, Maryland, and half of one in New York.

Senate: With McCaskill taking Talent?s seat, we lose one seat for Second Amendment rights. In Vermont, Bernie Sander (?C-? rating) will take the place of retiring Jim Jeffords (?B? rated in his last election, but performed worse in his final term), so let?s call that a wash. In all other states, incumbents won, or were replaced by candidates who had nearly identical ratings on gun issues.

Net Senate results: -1.

Of the new pro-gun Democrats, Casey does not appear very deep intellectually, but Webb may emerge as an articulate, well-informed spokesman for America?s traditional culture of gun ownership. Jon Tester of Montana has Second Amendment views that are consistent with his state?s.

Assuming that Tester and Webb win, Majority Leader Reid will be one of a half-dozen generally pro-gun Democrats, along with Baucus, Ben Nelson, and Casey. The number of Democratic Senators who will vote against guns under all circumstances appears to be less then 20 (based on the number who voted in favor of allowing federal funds to be spent on gun confiscation during emergencies, even when the confiscation is not authorized by any law).

House: Pro-gun losses were about half the size of Republican losses ? which is another way of saying that many of the Democrats who made the 2006 takeover possible are pro-gun. These include FL 16 (Mahoney), Indiana (Donnelly, Ellsworth, Hill), MN 1 (Walz), NC 11 (Shuler), Ohio (Wilson, Space), PA 4 (Altmire), TX 22 (Lampson), and VT (Welch).

Party control changed in the following races where pro-gun candidates were defeated by gun-control supporters: AZ 5 (Hayworth), CA 11 (Pombo), CO 7 (open), CT 2 (Simmons), IA 1 (open), KS 2 (Ryun), KY 3 (Northrup),  NH (Shea, Bass),  PA (Weldon, Fitzpatrick, Sherwood), NY 20 (Sweeney), WI 8 (open).

Net House results: -14, which would drop to -15 if Reichert (WA Cool loses his lead.

Several other districts had changes that were only a matter of degree: In NY 24 (open) an ?F? rated Democrat took the seat of retiring ?D+? rated Sherwood Boehlert. In FL 16, Shaw (?C+? rated) was replaced by an ?F? challenger. The Illinois seat of retiring, and inconsistent, Henry Hyde was won by ?A? rated Republican Peter Roskama. Democrat Peter Welch (?A? rated) of Vermont will take over the at-large seat vacated by Socialist Sanders (?C-? rated). The sum of the results in these four races is no net change.

There were, of course, many other tough races where pro-rights activists provided the  volunteer work and votes that helped keep seats in pro-gun hands. Among these are AZ 1 (Renzi), CA 4 (Doolittle), CO 4 (Musgrave), CO 5 (open, Lamborn), Florida (Buchanan, Keller, Bilirakis), IN 3 (Souder), MN 6 (Bachmann), NM 1 (Wilson), Ohio (Chabot, Schmidt, Tiberi, Pryce), VA10 (Wolf), and WY (Cubin).

Many Democrats are now saying that 2006 is their 1994. Arguably so. The number of 2006 losses by pro-gun candidates, however, is very small compared to the number of 1994 losses by anti-gun candidates. Democratic victories are no longer synonymous with gun control victories.

 ? Dave Kopel is research director at the Independence Institute.

National Review Online -
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« Reply #170 on: November 27, 2006, 11:47:57 PM »

a piece on mindset from Gabe @ WT

Good Morning,

Many have used my writing as an example for mind set development. Thank you. I'll say that it is made up many issues. It is part self-searching, part faith, part physical roughness, and part experience.

A man must come to the self-agreement that he will fight. That although he will seek to avoid UNNECESSARY conflicts, he will not cower and submit when it cannot be avoided. That takes precedence over any legal issues. One problem, particularly from the court-fearing police is that we develop an attitude of "do-nothing so you won't get arrested and sued".

I'd rather be arrested and sued than watch my wife abused, or my children beaten. I once investigated a case of a man who ran from an axe wierlding thug, leaving his wife and children behind for him to hack up. There are times when even death is preferable.....a death with honor over a life as a coward.

For a sound warrior mind set, one must accept his own death. Its easy for a young tough guy to claim he's not afraid to die until he has his death set in front of him. It is essential to understand that we do not grasp for death like the kamikaze, but rather we accept the possibility of it, take up that cross when we must and move on. A warrior may not wish to die, but he cannot fear it either.

A man must be tough. Do you stop lifting when you feel a little resistance? Do you stop running when you break a sweat? Are you a sissified american? If so, CHANGE. All of history's warriors - from Joshua to Jesus were men of physical strength. They could live and fight through hunger, cold, thirst, pain, and harrowing odds. BE TOUGH!! You need not become an olympic powerlifter or a Jackie Chan, but some physical ruggedness is essential. Develop it.

A man must also understand about killing. Oh this is the stuff that all gun writers avoid. I embrace it in my Truth In Training concept. Picture this - a man is standing in front of you. He's an evil man and looks the part. He is tough, and coming to rape your wife, kill your children, and after he's done with them, he's coming for you. What do you need to do with him?

Spray him with OC?
Flash a 3" Delica and snipe his hands?
Draw your gun and warn him?

No grasshopper. Such a man needs to be killed. That is the only thing that will stop him. If you are not comfortable with that eventuality, then everything you've trained is a lie. There are ways to become comfortable in this realm. If you are not certain about your soft heart, the way to develop some inner strength here is to hunt large animals. Unpopular perhaps in some circles. You know what you need. If those around you take exception, surround yourself with others. Life is too short to surround yourself with sissified men or domaneering women who disagree with your views of life.

Experience is important too. I've been in lots of fights (lethal and otherwise). I think I know when its time to back off, and when its time to attack. I'm comfortable with killing when its necessary, and with the possibility of dying. This is based on life experience. It cannot be duplicated in totality without lots of blood, and some tears. I can be duplicated to a degree by training with the right people in the right things.

SUch a topic can fill pages....and it does. Perhaps this thread will become one of those keepers. Feel free to add to it brothers.
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« Reply #171 on: November 29, 2006, 04:22:56 PM »

Concealed weapons a threat - to ignorance

By Steve Chapman

November 29, 2006

CHICAGO -- Lots of kids, when very young, worry about monsters under the bed. Even when Mom or Dad comes in to reassure them, the kids may still worry. But as they get older, they begin to check under the bed themselves. And eventually, after many monster-free nights, they figure out that the danger is purely imaginary and they stop worrying.

You would think by now that gun-control supporters would have made the same progress on one of their most fearsome demons: the licensing of citizens to carry concealed firearms. But they seem to be trapped in a recurring nightmare that exists only in their minds.

So imagine their alarm at a bill recently introduced in Congress that would allow people with concealed-carry permits to take weapons into their home state national parks. The indefatigably anti-gun New York Times warned that the measure is a step toward "nationalizing the armed paranoia that the National Rifle Association and its cohorts stand for" and "can only endanger the public."

Such fears may have been plausible once upon a time - when Americans were generally not allowed to carry firearms. But since 1987, when Florida decided to let law-abiding citizens get concealed-carry permits, that has changed. Today, about 40 states have such "shall-issue" laws. They've become the norm, and the fears they inspired have proved unfounded.

As it happens, serious crime has waned in the intervening years. Murders are now at their lowest level since the 1960s. Violent crime has been cut by nearly 60 percent since the peak year of 1994. Gun crimes have plunged as well.

At the outset of this experiment, gun opponents forecast that hot-tempered pistoleros would spray bullets at the slightest provocation. In fact, one of the most conspicuous facts about handgun licensees is their mild temper. It's rare for them to commit crimes, and even rarer for them to use their firearms to commit crimes.

A report by the Texas Department of Public Safety found that in a state with more than 200,000 people licensed to carry guns, only 180 were convicted of crimes in 2001, and most of those didn't involve firearms. Only one licensee was convicted of murder.

This record should not be surprising. As a rule, concealed-carry licenses are off-limits to anyone with a history of crime, substance abuse, drunken driving or serious mental illness, and most states require safety training. In any case, people who are inclined to commit mayhem generally don't seek state licenses to carry guns, any more than they ask permission to break into houses or beat up girlfriends. It's the law-abiding folks who apply for licenses.

Why would these peaceable souls want to take their guns when hiking or camping in a national park? Same reason they might take them other places: a desire to protect themselves. Though federal lands are mostly safe, they sometimes play host to crime. In fact, park rangers are far more likely to be assaulted or killed than FBI agents.

The Times says, "If Americans want to feel safer in their national parks, the proper solution is to increase park funding, which has decayed steadily since the Bush administration took office." Maybe that would help, but we can't put a park ranger at every bend in the trail. And if you run into a thug in the backcountry, you can't expect the police or anyone else to come to the rescue.

For some people - solitary women in particular - having the means of self-defense in the woods can be not only a comfort but a lifesaver.

Judging from a wealth of experience, adopting this new policy would be a non-event with no unwanted repercussions. The only danger it poses is to criminals, who would lose some easy prey, and anti-gun zealots, who would once again be proved wrong.

Steve Chapman is a columnist for the Chicago Tribune. His column appears Mondays and Wednesdays. His e-mail is
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« Reply #172 on: February 17, 2007, 08:57:43 AM »

A debate between the UN and the NRA.  Shows just how extreme and uninformed the UN/anti-gun position is.
In four parts:
« Last Edit: February 17, 2007, 09:05:47 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #173 on: March 07, 2007, 05:54:21 PM »


March 5, 2007

A death averted
Passer-by uses gun to halt attack

By Nicklaus Lovelady

As customers watched in horror Sunday afternoon, a man stabbed a woman and attempted to set her on fire in the parking lot of a Jackson store, witnesses said.

The attack was stopped by a passer-by, who held the man at gunpoint until police arrived, witnesses said.

The suspect, Henry Watson, 42, was arrested and is expected to face aggravated assault charges, Jackson Police Department Cmdr. Lee Vance said. Watson's wife, Gracie Watson, 42, was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical center, where she was listed in good condition.

"It wasn't five minutes from when she had left my line when I heard a scream outside," said Theresa Stuckey, a cashier at the Family Dollar at 516 Nakoma Drive in Jackson. "I looked out, and (the attacker) was on top of her stabbing her, and stabbing her and stabbing her.

"She was screaming, 'Help, he's trying to kill me!' She was rolling on the ground, trying to get out of the way, but he kept stabbing her. He stabbed her about 20 times in the neck, back and arms."

As the attack continued, people were yelling at the man to stop and honking their horns, Stuckey said. She said she called 911.

"He was just standing over her hacking away," said Dolly Baker, who had just left the Save-A-Lot store next door when she saw the attack.

Baker said she watched the man pour gasoline on the victim then try to strike a match.

"He was literally trying to kill that lady in broad daylight," she said.

Baker said a passer-by stopped the attack.

"He told the man, 'Stop, or I'm going to shoot. And if you run, I'm going to kill you,' " Baker said.

The man held Watson at bay until police arrived at the scene.

"Right now, all we know is that (Watson) attacked his wife. For what reason, we don't know," Jackson Police Department Sgt. Eric Smith said.

Police said they are looking for the passer-by who stopped the attack and would like to talk to him but don't know who he is or where he went. [NOTE: They have found the rescuer, but didn't release his name. He might have had a "history" with the police, but despite this, he acted.]

The incident occurred about 3:50 p.m.

Smith said he did not know exactly how many times Gracie Watson was stabbed but said it was more than 10 times.
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« Reply #174 on: March 14, 2007, 12:35:33 PM »




Second Amendment Showdown
March 14, 2007; Page A14

Last week's decision, striking down the District of Columbia's ban on guns as unconstitutional under the Second Amendment, flowed directly from the text, history and original understanding of the Constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit's decision rejected the Ninth Circuit's "collective rights" theory and embraced instead the Fifth Circuit's holding that the Second Amendment protects individual rights. In so doing, the D.C. Circuit took a major step forward in protecting the rights of gun owners throughout the country.

In some ways, the decision should not be at all noteworthy or surprising. After all, the text of the Second Amendment explicitly protects "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms," and the D.C. gun ban amounted to a complete and total prohibition on citizens owning operational firearms in the District of Columbia. The challenged city ordinances prohibit the private possession of all handguns and also require that all long guns (i.e., rifles and shotguns) be disassembled or have trigger locks in place at all times. This latter requirement has no exceptions -- so that even if a violent crime is underway in your home, removing the trigger lock in self-defense or in defense of your family constitutes a crime.

No state in the union has a prohibition as draconian. Indeed, the constitutions of 44 states, like the federal Constitution, explicitly protect the individual right to keep and bear arms, and the legislatures of all 50 states are united in their rejection of bans on private handgun ownership. Forty-five states go even further, allowing private citizens to carry concealed handguns for self-defense.

So how is it that the District of Columbia could be so out of step with the rest of the nation and nonetheless arguably comply with the requirements of the Second Amendment? The answer that the federal district court seized upon -- like an earlier ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California -- is a theory popularized recently by several law professors and gun-control advocates: Because the Second Amendment refers to "a well regulated Militia," the Constitution protects only the "collective right" of the militia and not the individual right of any citizen.

This creative theory, useful for advancing the policy goals of its advocates, runs contrary to the text of the Constitution, to the debates and original understanding of the Framers, to Supreme Court precedent, and to the widespread understanding of state courts and legislatures for the first 150 years of our nation's history. At the time of the founding, the "militia" was understood to consist of all able-bodied males armed with their own weapons; indeed, the Militia Act of 1792 not only permitted individual gun ownership, it required every man to "provide himself with a good musket or firelock . . . or with a good rifle."

If the "collective rights" theory were to prevail, the result would be that no individual in the U.S. could ever claim any right under the Second Amendment, but rather that inchoate right would exist only collectively and amorphously for state militias. Such an outcome effectively reads out of the Constitution what respected law professor Sanford Levinson famously described as, from the perspective of anti-gun advocates, that "embarrassing Second Amendment."

Because the "collective rights" theory is unfaithful to the Constitution and undermines the individual rights of all Americans, Texas took the lead among the states in supporting the plaintiffs in the D.C. gun suit. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott assembled a collation of 13 states (Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Utah and Wyoming) who together supported the Second Amendment, and the amici states presented oral argument in the D.C. Circuit in the companion case to this one defending the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Notably, every state, including Texas, believes that some regulations on firearms are both permissible and advisable; for example, the states are united in supporting restrictions on violent felons owning guns. But all of the amici states are likewise united in the belief that the Second Amendment means what it says, that the individual right to keep and bear arms cannot be completely abrogated as under the D.C. gun ban.

The District of Columbia has pledged to appeal, and this case could well find its way before the U.S. Supreme Court. If so, Texas and the rest of the amici states stand ready once again to support the Second Amendment, and we are confident that the Court will in turn faithfully uphold the individual constitutional rights of all Americans.

Mr. Cruz is the solicitor general of Texas. He authored two briefs and presented oral argument for the amici states supporting the Second Amendment in the D.C. Circuit.
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« Reply #175 on: March 20, 2007, 10:17:23 AM »


Diner Owner Tells All After Killing Would-Be Robber

POSTED: 10:41 am EST March 9, 2007
A Philadelphia diner owner told all after he shot and killed a would-be robber and wounded another one on Thursday afternoon.

Jason Lee, 45, owner of Sunrise Breakfast in West Oak Lane, said he was not a hero, just a man trying to protect himself and those around him.

On Thursday morning, he shot and killed 20-year-old Cornell Toombs after he and 24-year-old Gary Williams pointed a gun at a diner employee, authorities said. The men demanded cash and threatened to open fire during the attempted robbery, Lee explained.

As the owner's wife stepped to action and started opening the cash drawer because the cashier was shaking too badly to do it, the store owner grabbed his registered gun and prepared himself for the worst.

One of the robbers fired at Lee, but missed. Lee shot Toombs in the head and pumped two bullets into Williams -- one in the face and another in the back, according to police.

Williams was listed in critical but stable condition on Friday morning, authorities said.

This wasn't the first time Lee was targeted. He was robbed twice in two others stores he owned. One of those times, he shot and killed a robber.

After shots were fired in his store on Thursday, a nearby witness grabbed his daughter's cell phone and captured the aftermath on the device's video recorder.
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« Reply #176 on: March 25, 2007, 12:11:03 AM »

Nice, lucid presentation by a qualified LEO on "assault weapons"

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« Reply #177 on: March 25, 2007, 06:13:49 PM »

Second post of the day:

(Manchester-WTNH) _ A chaotic scene at a Manchester auto parts shop Thursday night. Police say a man tried to thwart a theft by pulling out his gun, but he's now facing charges.

It happened around 7:00 at the Pep Boys on Spencer Street in the K-Mart mall.

Police say it started when someone went into the store to steal a generator.

"Guys have been stealing generators from us off the shelves," Pep boys worker Dave Sciaudone said. "We knew who they were, what their license plate was because they've been hitting all our stores. And my boss saw him grab a generator tonight, walk out the door and throw it into the truck. And he pulled his gun to stop him."

While the manager did have a permit for the gun, he was arrested.

"There's a line you can not cross when you're running through the parking lot chasing after a suspect brandishing a gun," Sgt. Christopher Cross said.

There was no evidence any shots were fired. The gunfire sounds people say they heard was likely backfire from the getaway truck.
"The truck was backfiring like crazy, so if there were shots I didn't hear anything like that. I heard backfiring a lot," Tracey Wilkerson of East Hartford said.

The manager, whose name was not available, may be charged with breech of peace and reckless endangerment.

"Right now my boss is in jail, but he didn't do anything," Sciaudone said.
Police are looking for an older model maroon Chevy truck that they believe was used by the thieves.
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« Reply #178 on: April 02, 2007, 08:17:09 PM »

Words from a man I greatly admired, whose clear thinking and ability to cut through the B.S. will surely be missed.

"The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles."
?Jeff Cooper 10 May 1920 - 25 September 2006 R.I.P.

Woof, DD

Col. Cooper was a true scholar and philosopher.

"One cannot legislate the maniacs off the street... these maniacs can only be shut down by an armed citizenry. Indeed bad things can happen in nations where the citizenry is armed, but not as bad as those which seem to be threatening our disarmed citizenry in this country at this time." Jeff Cooper

"Pick up a rifle and you change instantly from a subject to a citizen." Jeff Cooper

Liberty cannot be given by a 'benevolent government' was must be won FROM a 'benevolent government'.  The faith of Europeans in 'benevolent governments' never ceases to amaze me.  I suppose if you live as a subject long enough, you don't know the difference between a subject and a citizen.

When talking with people who come from places where the liberties I enjoy don't exist, they talk about how fearful they are of an armed public....precisely because their 'benevolent government' has taught them to be fearful of an armed public.  But it is the 'benevolent government' that is fearful of such things.  To quote a recent movie 'Governments should fear their people, people should not fear their governments'.

Personal defense has always been a secondary consideration of firearms ownership.  Primarily, the guns of armed citizens stand as a warning to all powers, foreign and domestic, that we are not subjects to be ordered around...but citizens to be respected.  This nations mission statement, the Declaration of Independence, made it abundantly clear.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

I hear people talk about being happy they don't have to worry about street violence turning in to a shooting in a disarmed society.  Those people, however, are usually very tough men who can handle themselves against physical violence.  They could care less about the 80 year old man who has no defense against the gang of young toughs who attempt to rob him.  Throughout history, bandits and thugs have not needed guns to terrorize the populace....young criminal toughs always have an advantage in such affairs.

The gun, however, is an equalizer.  It places everyone on equal footing.  A well trained and motivated woman who is armed is MORE than a match against an unarmed rapist.  Guns grant the individual true power against thuggery.  The answer has always been more guns in the hands of the right people.  Outlaw guns in the hands of the thug, place him in prison for possessing a gun, and allow his potential victims to be as armed as they want to be AND to use lethal force against the thug when the thug tries to victimize them.  THAT is the answer to violent crime.

Yet, our increasingly socialized 'benevolent governments' want to convince us of two contradictory things at once.....that they have control on violent crime....AND that guns have created a violent society to the point we need to be ban guns.  The truth is that the most violent parts of my society are the areas the government has attempted to ban guns from.  The most legally armed parts of my society are the safest.

« Last Edit: April 02, 2007, 08:31:59 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
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« Reply #179 on: April 11, 2007, 04:55:57 PM »

ABC's "20/20" Seeking "Armed Citizen" Stories
Friday, April 06, 2007

Gun ban groups often claim that private citizens rarely, if ever, use guns
in self-defense. ABC News' "20/20" is now putting that claim to the test,
asking viewers to submit their own real-life "Armed Citizen" stories.

ABC's website asks:
Have you ever defended yourself from a crime in your home, in your business,
or in public by using a gun? Perhaps you warded off a potential attacker by
simply showing a gun?

If you've personally used a gun in a legitimate act of self-protection
against a criminal attacker, we encourage you to tell your story to ABC News.

To tell your story, go to
and complete the web form.
« Reply #180 on: April 11, 2007, 05:22:04 PM »

Knowing the type of editing and manipulation that most of these news shows use, I wouldn't be surprised if their "unbiased" look at armed citizens turns the tables on its participants...
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« Reply #181 on: April 11, 2007, 07:58:10 PM »

Hopefully this is something John Stossel is working on. He's a breath of fresh air in the MSM.

He recently pointed out that swimming pools in the home are much more dangerous than guns in the home.
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Posts: 107

« Reply #182 on: April 14, 2007, 09:16:01 PM »

Hopefully this is something John Stossel is working on. He's a breath of fresh air in the MSM.

He recently pointed out that swimming pools in the home are much more dangerous than guns in the home.
To children under the age of 10, swimming pools are vastly more dangerous.  Approximately 110 children under the age of 10 are killed a year by handguns in the home in the US....each of them a tragedy, but an exceedingly rare tragedy given the nearly 300 million people in the US.

In 1997 alone (the last year for which data are available), 742 children under age 10 drowned in the United States. About 550 of those--about 75 percent of the total--drowned in residential swimming pools. According to the most recent statistics, there are about 6 million residential pools, meaning that one child drowns annually for every 11,000 pools.

About 100 children under 10 died in 1998 as a result of guns. About two-thirds of those deaths were homicides. There are an estimated 200 million guns in the United States. Doing the math, there is roughly one child killed by guns for every 1 million guns. Thus, on average, if you own a gun and have a swimming pool in the yard, the swimming pool is almost 100 times more likely to kill a child than the gun is.   

Backyard swimming pools are 100 times more dangerous to children under 10 than loaded firearms in the homes.....yet, I haven't seen a push for swimming pool registration, waiting periods, mandatory swimming pool locks, or outright swimming pool bans.

Anti-gun groups recommend that parents ask other parents if they own a gun before letting their children come over to play.....maybe they should be asking if they own a swimming pool.

Hopolophobia strikes again. 
« Last Edit: April 14, 2007, 09:21:51 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
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« Reply #183 on: April 20, 2007, 08:37:27 AM »

In the aftermath of VT, here's an interesting development:

Dingell, NRA Working on Bill to Strengthen Background Checks
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 20, 2007; A10

With the Virginia Tech shootings resurrecting calls for tighter gun controls, the National Rifle Association has begun negotiations with senior Democrats over legislation to bolster the national background-check system and potentially block gun purchases by the mentally ill.

Rep. John D. Dingell (Mich.), a gun-rights Democrat who once served on the NRA's board of directors, is leading talks with the powerful gun lobby in hopes of producing a deal by early next week, Democratic aides and lawmakers said.

Under the bill, states would be given money to help them supply the federal government with information on mental-illness adjudications and other run-ins with the law that are supposed to disqualify individuals from firearms purchases. For the first time, states would face penalties for not keeping the National Instant Criminal Background Check System current.
The legislation, drafted several years ago by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.), has twice passed the House, only to die in the Senate. But Cho Seung Hui's rampage Monday has given it new life.

Since 1968, individuals deemed mentally ill by the legal system are not supposed to be able to buy guns. A court's ordering Cho into treatment in late 2005 should have been reported to the federal background check system, congressional aides said. Instead, his background check came up clean, and he legally bought the two handguns used to kill 32 students and teachers before he committed suicide.

"The states are not putting records into the system," McCarthy said yesterday.

The measure could be the first gun control law to pass Congress since enactment of the now-lapsed assault weapons ban 13 years ago. But, McCarthy said, the deaths at Virginia Tech are not enough to propel the bill to passage. That is why the NRA is being brought into the process.
Multiple gun control measures were introduced after the Columbine High School shootings eight years ago, but the NRA helped thwart them all, then helped defeat Vice President Al Gore's 2000 bid for the White House. With that in mind, Democratic leaders are anxious to bring the NRA aboard as they try to respond to this week's shootings.

The gun lobby stayed relatively neutral during past efforts to pass the measure, but this time Dingell is pushing for an endorsement, or even for the NRA to make it a "key vote" for its supporters.
McCarthy, whose husband was killed during a gunman's rampage on the Long Island Rail Road, admits her crusades for far more stringent gun control measures have made her toxic in gun circles.

So Dingell is handling negotiations with the NRA, said an aide participating in those talks. Dingell is also in talks with Sens. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) and Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (Wis.), the senior Republican on the House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has asked Dingell to broker a deal by Tuesday. But the aide said Dingell and NRA negotiators are skeptical they can reach an accord that quickly.

"We'd rather get a good bill than a quick bill," he said.

But pitfalls remain. The NRA must balance its desire to respond to the worst mass shooting by a lone gunman in the nation's history with its competition with the more strident Gun Owners of America, which opposes any restrictions on gun purchases.

An NRA lobbyist said last night that the group would not comment on the effort.
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« Reply #184 on: April 20, 2007, 08:53:45 AM »

I think that's a good idea. Ensure state level psych commitments get into the federal database and pre-empt stupid legislation.
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« Reply #185 on: April 20, 2007, 07:31:00 PM »

Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster
POSTED: 5:26 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2007

More on CNN TV: Ted Nugent participates in a roundtable discussion on gun control tonight on "Glenn Beck," Headline Prime, 7 p.m. ET.
By Ted Nugent
Special to CNN
Adjust font size:

Editor's note: Rock guitarist Ted Nugent has sold more than 30 million albums. He's also a gun rights activist and serves on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association. His program, "Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild," can be seen on the Outdoor Channel.

Read an opposing take on gun control from journalist Tom Plate: Let's lay down our right to bear arms

WACO, Texas (CNN) -- Zero tolerance, huh? Gun-free zones, huh? Try this on for size: Columbine gun-free zone, New York City pizza shop gun-free zone, Luby's Cafeteria gun-free zone, Amish school in Pennsylvania gun-free zone and now Virginia Tech gun-free zone.

Anybody see what the evil Brady Campaign and other anti-gun cults have created? I personally have zero tolerance for evil and denial. And America had best wake up real fast that the brain-dead celebration of unarmed helplessness will get you killed every time, and I've about had enough of it.

Nearly a decade ago, a Springfield, Oregon, high schooler, a hunter familiar with firearms, was able to bring an unfolding rampage to an abrupt end when he identified a gunman attempting to reload his .22-caliber rifle, made the tactical decision to make a move and tackled the shooter.

A few years back, an assistant principal at Pearl High School in Mississippi, which was a gun-free zone, retrieved his legally owned Colt .45 from his car and stopped a Columbine wannabe from continuing his massacre at another school after he had killed two and wounded more at Pearl.

At an eighth-grade school dance in Pennsylvania, a boy fatally shot a teacher and wounded two students before the owner of the dance hall brought the killing to a halt with his own gun.

More recently, just a few miles up the road from Virginia Tech, two law school students ran to fetch their legally owned firearm to stop a madman from slaughtering anybody and everybody he pleased. These brave, average, armed citizens neutralized him pronto.

My hero, Dr. Suzanne Gratia Hupp, was not allowed by Texas law to carry her handgun into Luby's Cafeteria that fateful day in 1991, when due to bureaucrat-forced unarmed helplessness she could do nothing to stop satanic George Hennard from killing 23 people and wounding more than 20 others before he shot himself. Hupp was unarmed for no other reason than denial-ridden "feel good" politics.

She has since led the charge for concealed weapon upgrade in Texas, where we can now stop evil. Yet, there are still the mindless puppets of the Brady Campaign and other anti-gun organizations insisting on continuing the gun-free zone insanity by which innocents are forced into unarmed helplessness. Shame on them. Shame on America. Shame on the anti-gunners all.

No one was foolish enough to debate Ryder truck regulations or ammonia nitrate restrictions or a "cult of agriculture fertilizer" following the unabashed evil of Timothy McVeigh's heinous crime against America on that fateful day in Oklahoma City. No one faulted kitchen utensils or other hardware of choice after Jeffrey Dahmer was caught drugging, mutilating, raping, murdering and cannibalizing his victims. Nobody wanted "steak knife control" as they autopsied the dead nurses in Chicago, Illinois, as Richard Speck went on trial for mass murder.

Evil is as evil does, and laws disarming guaranteed victims make evil people very, very happy. Shame on us.

Already spineless gun control advocates are squawking like chickens with their tiny-brained heads chopped off, making political hay over this most recent, devastating Virginia Tech massacre, when in fact it is their own forced gun-free zone policy that enabled the unchallenged methodical murder of 32 people.

Thirty-two people dead on a U.S. college campus pursuing their American Dream, mowed-down over an extended period of time by a lone, non-American gunman in possession of a firearm on campus in defiance of a zero-tolerance gun ban. Feel better yet? Didn't think so.

Who doesn't get this? Who has the audacity to demand unarmed helplessness? Who likes dead good guys?

I'll tell you who. People who tramp on the Second Amendment, that's who. People who refuse to accept the self-evident truth that free people have the God-given right to keep and bear arms, to defend themselves and their loved ones. People who are so desperate in their drive to control others, so mindless in their denial that they pretend access to gas causes arson, Ryder trucks and fertilizer cause terrorism, water causes drowning, forks and spoons cause obesity, dialing 911 will somehow save your life, and that their greedy clamoring to "feel good" is more important than admitting that armed citizens are much better equipped to stop evil than unarmed, helpless ones.

Pray for the families of victims everywhere, America. Study the methodology of evil. It has a profile, a system, a preferred environment where victims cannot fight back. Embrace the facts, demand upgrade and be certain that your children's school has a better plan than Virginia Tech or Columbine. Eliminate the insanity of gun-free zones, which will never, ever be gun-free zones. They will only be good guy gun-free zones, and that is a recipe for disaster written in blood on the altar of denial. I, for one, refuse to genuflect there.

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Posts: 15530

« Reply #186 on: April 20, 2007, 07:37:30 PM »

****And now the spineless coward....I mean anti-gun point of view****

Plate: Let's lay down our right to bear arms
POSTED: 3:31 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2007

By Tom Plate
Special to CNN
Adjust font size:

Editor's note: Tom Plate, former editor of the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times, is a professor of communication and policy studies at UCLA. He is author of a new book, "Confessions of an American Media Man."

Read an opposing take on gun control from Ted Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Most days, it is not at all hard to feel proud to be an American. But on days such as this, it is very difficult.

The pain that the parents of the slain students feel hits deep into everyone's hearts. At the University of California, Los Angeles, students are talking about little else. It is not that they feel especially vulnerable because they are students at a major university, as is Virginia Tech, but because they are (to be blunt) citizens of High Noon America.

"High Noon" is a famous film. The 1952 Western told the story of a town marshal (played by the superstar actor Gary Cooper) who is forced to eliminate a gang of killers by himself. They are eventually gunned down.

The use of guns is often the American technique of choice for all kinds of conflict resolution. Our famous Constitution, about which many of us are generally so proud, enshrines -- along with the right to freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly -- the right to own guns. That's an apples and oranges list if there ever was one.

Not all of us are so proud and triumphant about the gun-guarantee clause. The right to free speech, press, religion and assembly and so on seem to be working well, but the gun part, not so much.

Let me explain. Some misguided people will focus on the fact that the 23-year-old student who killed his classmates and others at Virginia Tech was ethnically Korean. This is one of those observations that's 99.99 percent irrelevant. What are we to make of the fact that he is Korean? Ban Ki-moon is also Korean! Our brilliant new United Nations secretary general has not only never fired a gun, it looks like he may have just put together a peace formula for civil war-wracked Sudan -- a formula that escaped his predecessor.

So let's just disregard all the hoopla about the race of the student responsible for the slayings. These students were not killed by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun.

In the nineties, the Los Angeles Times courageously endorsed an all-but-complete ban on privately owned guns, in an effort to greatly reduce their availability. By the time the series of editorials had concluded, the newspaper had received more angry letters and fiery faxes from the well-armed U.S. gun lobby than on any other issue during my privileged six-year tenure as the newspaper's editorial page editor.

But the paper, by the way, also received more supportive letters than on any other issue about which it editorialized during that era. The common sense of ordinary citizens told them that whatever Americans were and are good for, carrying around guns like costume jewelry was not on our Mature List of Notable Cultural Accomplishments.

"Guns don't kill people," goes the gun lobby's absurd mantra. Far fewer guns in America would logically result in far fewer deaths from people pulling the trigger. The probability of the Virginia Tech gun massacre happening would have been greatly reduced if guns weren't so easily available to ordinary citizens.

Foreigners sometimes believe that celebrities in America are more often the targets of gun violence than the rest of us. Not true. Celebrity shootings just make better news stories, so perhaps they seem common. They're not. All of us are targets because with so many guns swishing around our culture, no one is immune -- not even us non-celebrities.

When the great pop composer and legendary member of the Beatles John Lennon was shot in 1980 in New York, many in the foreign press tabbed it a war on celebrities. Now, some in the media will declare a war on students or some-such. This is all misplaced. The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible.

Last month, I was robbed at 10 in the evening in the alley behind my home. As I was carrying groceries inside, a man with a gun approached me where my car was parked. The gun he carried featured one of those red-dot laser beams, which he pointed right at my head.

Because I'm anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?

This occurred in Beverly Hills, a low-crime area dotted with upscale boutiques, restaurants and businesses -- a city best known perhaps for its glamour and celebrity sightings.

Oh, and police tell me the armed robber definitely was not Korean. Not that I would have known one way or the other: Basically the only thing I saw or can remember was the gun, with the red dot, pointed right at my head.

A near-death experience does focus the mind. We need to get rid of our guns.

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« Reply #187 on: April 21, 2007, 12:21:32 AM »

Some comments on a separate point follow.


82-Year-Old Ex-Beauty Queen Stops Intruder by Shooting Out Tires

Friday , April 20, 2007


Miss America 1944 has a talent that likely has never appeared on a beauty pageant stage: She fired a handgun to shoot out a vehicle's tires and stop an intruder.

Venus Ramey, 82, confronted a man on her farm in south-central Kentucky last week after she saw her dog run into a storage building where thieves had previously made off with old farm equipment.
Ramey said the man told her he would leave. "I said, 'Oh, no you won't,' and I shot their tires so they couldn't leave," Ramey said.
She had to balance on her walker as she pulled out a snub-nosed .38-caliber handgun.

"I didn't even think twice. I just went and did it," she said. "If they'd even dared come close to me, they'd be 6 feet under by now."
Ramey then flagged down a passing motorist, who called 911.

Curtis Parrish of Ohio was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, Deputy Dan Gilliam said. The man's hometown wasn't immediately available. Three other people were questioned but were not arrested.

After winning the pageant with her singing, dancing and comedic talents, Ramey sold war bonds and her picture was adorned on a B-17 that made missions over Germany in World War II, according to the Miss America Web site.

Ramey lived in Cincinnati for several years and was instrumental in helping rejuvenate Over-the-Rhine historic buildings. She returned to Kentucky in 1990 to live on her farm.

"I'm trying to live a quiet, peaceful life and stay out of trouble, and all it is, is one thing after another," she said.

Also, in all the hoopla in the wake of VT, one point that I have not seen made and which makes sense to me is the point that our homeland is in danger from Islamo-fascism.  Unilateral disarmament is always a bad idea, but particularly so in such a moment.
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« Reply #188 on: April 21, 2007, 12:41:07 AM »

This actually the time for the Israelification of America. We need to adopt the ethic that every citizen is a frontline soldier for freedom.
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Posts: 42447

« Reply #189 on: April 21, 2007, 01:00:22 AM »

The "Israelification of America".  I like the sound of that.

Here's this from the WSJ:

Guns, Politics and the Law
The Second Amendment may finally get its day in court.

Saturday, April 21, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

That the Virginia Tech massacre did not occasion a widespread round of political hand-wringing over gun control is, as one newspaper put it, a silent testimony to how far the gun-control debate has shifted in the past decade and a half.

Yes, the usual suspects have attempted to use the murder spree on campus as evidence of the danger of guns in America. But as unlikely a combination of leaders from Harry Reid to George Bush has been as one in warning we should avoid a "rush to judgment" in the wake of the killings.

That's progress of a sort, even if the Democrats' abandonment of the issue flows more from political calculation than principle. Political calculation, after all, is based on something beyond mere politics. The Democratic Party may have decided that gun control became a political liability in the 1994 and 2000 elections, but that doesn't go far toward explaining why that is so.
First, as we noted earlier this week, what happened in Blacksburg was evidence more than anything of the fact that there are sick and evil people in the world willing to do harm to others for no earthly reason. Pushing much beyond that point is political opportunism.

But over the past decade and a half, evidence of another sort has been accumulating. Violent-crime rates peaked in 1991, according to the Justice Department, and have fallen steeply since. Over the same period, gun-control laws in many states have been relaxed. Correlation does not equal causation, but it does make it difficult to argue that greater legal access to guns drives up levels of violent crime.

Whether concealed-carry laws and the like have held down crime rates remains a hotly debated subject. Certainly, more aggressive and effective policing, especially in big cities, has been a major force in driving down crime. One irony of this is that law-enforcement types have long been a major pro-gun-control force, even though it would seem that how their job is defined and performed has much more to do with crime levels than whether guns are available legally.

When violent-crime rates were rising, as they did steadily from the mid-1960s through the 1980s, it was easy to get political traction with calls to "do something" about gun control. This was true whether legally available guns had anything to do with those crime rates. But with crime rates falling even as legal gun access expanded, the argument has lost much of its plausibility, and so its force.

Which isn't to say no one makes the argument any more. The nearly uniform reaction in Europe to the Virginia Tech shootings has been to pin it on America's gun culture. Related to this is the charge that America is prevented from taking sensible steps to prevent gun violence by the invidious influence of groups such as the National Rifle Association. Quite apart from the fact that this implies American politicians and voters alike are dupes of the "gun lobby," it ignores the evidence, noted above, that violent crime and legal gun access either have nothing to do with one another or are, if anything, inversely correlated.

As this political debate evolves, it appears that the Supreme Court may finally get a case in which to weigh in on the Constitutional question of the right to bear arms. Last month, Judge Laurence Silberman on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of plaintiffs who claimed that their Second Amendment rights were violated by Washington's strict gun-control laws. The Supreme Court has not heard a Second Amendment case in decades, but federal appeals courts have generally taken a very restricted view of citizens' rights under the Second Amendment. The D.C. Circuit's 2-1 decision sets up a direct conflict with other circuits, and could wind up at the Supreme Court.
This could be a defining moment for gun control, as Judge Silberman's ruling unequivocally declares that "the right to keep and bear arms" under the Second Amendment belongs to individuals and not, as some have argued, only to National Guardsmen or members of government-organized "militias." "The phrase 'the right of the people,'" Judge Silberman wrote, ". . . leads us to conclude that the right in question is individual." He added: "The wording . . . also indicates that the right to keep and bear arms was not created by government, but rather preserved by it." In all, the decision is as clear a statement of the right to keep and bear arms as one could want. The mayor of D.C. has requested a rehearing of the case by the full D.C. Circuit. If that is denied, or if the full court sides with Judge Silberman, the next stop would be the Supremes.

A Supreme Court decision on what the Second Amendment means could transform the gun-control debate in this country. For now, the relatively muted political response to the Virginia Tech killings may be taken as a sign that, on this issue at least, our politics have become a little less reactive and a little more rational.
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Posts: 107

« Reply #190 on: April 21, 2007, 08:09:40 PM »

****And now the spineless coward....I mean anti-gun point of view****

Plate: Let's lay down our right to bear arms
POSTED: 3:31 p.m. EDT, April 20, 2007

By Tom Plate
Special to CNN
Adjust font size:

Editor's note: Tom Plate, former editor of the editorial pages of the Los Angeles Times, is a professor of communication and policy studies at UCLA. He is author of a new book, "Confessions of an American Media Man."

Read an opposing take on gun control from Ted Nugent: Gun-free zones are recipe for disaster

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Most days, it is not at all hard to feel proud to be an American. But on days such as this, it is very difficult.

The pain that the parents of the slain students feel hits deep into everyone's hearts. At the University of California, Los Angeles, students are talking about little else. It is not that they feel especially vulnerable because they are students at a major university, as is Virginia Tech, but because they are (to be blunt) citizens of High Noon America.

"High Noon" is a famous film. The 1952 Western told the story of a town marshal (played by the superstar actor Gary Cooper) who is forced to eliminate a gang of killers by himself. They are eventually gunned down.

The use of guns is often the American technique of choice for all kinds of conflict resolution. Our famous Constitution, about which many of us are generally so proud, enshrines -- along with the right to freedom of speech, press, religion and assembly -- the right to own guns. That's an apples and oranges list if there ever was one.

Not all of us are so proud and triumphant about the gun-guarantee clause. The right to free speech, press, religion and assembly and so on seem to be working well, but the gun part, not so much.

Let me explain. Some misguided people will focus on the fact that the 23-year-old student who killed his classmates and others at Virginia Tech was ethnically Korean. This is one of those observations that's 99.99 percent irrelevant. What are we to make of the fact that he is Korean? Ban Ki-moon is also Korean! Our brilliant new United Nations secretary general has not only never fired a gun, it looks like he may have just put together a peace formula for civil war-wracked Sudan -- a formula that escaped his predecessor.

So let's just disregard all the hoopla about the race of the student responsible for the slayings. These students were not killed by a Korean, they were killed by a 9 mm handgun and a .22-caliber handgun.

In the nineties, the Los Angeles Times courageously endorsed an all-but-complete ban on privately owned guns, in an effort to greatly reduce their availability. By the time the series of editorials had concluded, the newspaper had received more angry letters and fiery faxes from the well-armed U.S. gun lobby than on any other issue during my privileged six-year tenure as the newspaper's editorial page editor.

But the paper, by the way, also received more supportive letters than on any other issue about which it editorialized during that era. The common sense of ordinary citizens told them that whatever Americans were and are good for, carrying around guns like costume jewelry was not on our Mature List of Notable Cultural Accomplishments.

"Guns don't kill people," goes the gun lobby's absurd mantra. Far fewer guns in America would logically result in far fewer deaths from people pulling the trigger. The probability of the Virginia Tech gun massacre happening would have been greatly reduced if guns weren't so easily available to ordinary citizens.

Foreigners sometimes believe that celebrities in America are more often the targets of gun violence than the rest of us. Not true. Celebrity shootings just make better news stories, so perhaps they seem common. They're not. All of us are targets because with so many guns swishing around our culture, no one is immune -- not even us non-celebrities.

When the great pop composer and legendary member of the Beatles John Lennon was shot in 1980 in New York, many in the foreign press tabbed it a war on celebrities. Now, some in the media will declare a war on students or some-such. This is all misplaced. The correct target of our concern needs to be guns. America has more than it can possibly handle. How many can our society handle? My opinion is: as close to zero as possible.

Last month, I was robbed at 10 in the evening in the alley behind my home. As I was carrying groceries inside, a man with a gun approached me where my car was parked. The gun he carried featured one of those red-dot laser beams, which he pointed right at my head.

Because I'm anything but a James Bond type, I quickly complied with all of his requests. Perhaps because of my rapid response (it is called surrender), he chose not to shoot me; but he just as easily could have. What was to stop him?

This occurred in Beverly Hills, a low-crime area dotted with upscale boutiques, restaurants and businesses -- a city best known perhaps for its glamour and celebrity sightings.

Oh, and police tell me the armed robber definitely was not Korean. Not that I would have known one way or the other: Basically the only thing I saw or can remember was the gun, with the red dot, pointed right at my head.

A near-death experience does focus the mind. We need to get rid of our guns.

I'm amazed by his attempt to turn cowadice in to virtue...then convince us that we should endorse it as our national motto.  Funny how where I live, where most folks own and carry guns legally, we don't get mugged in alleyways.  His 'logic' tells him that if he makes guns illegal, there won't be any crime.  That tells me his logic is broken, and painted by his irrational fear of inanimate objects.

Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion and the Right to Bear Arms are not apples and oranges issues.......they are apples and the apple tree issue.  All of those rights, government itself, springs from the barrell of a loaded gun.  In America, we decided those guns should be in the hands of the populace. 

This Tom Plate wants to buy himself the illusion of security by selling some Liberty back to the government....assuming, of course, that the benevolent government will keep all his other rights exactly in place.  What Tom Plate fails to realize is that the other freedoms he takes for granted, have been protected by the blood and arms of better men than him.  Only a society where good men sacrificed, would a base coward like Tom Plate have the liberty to pen such a diatribe against liberty itself.  You're welcome, Tom.

Liberty is for the brave.  Cowards will always sell liberty to anyone who will promise security and make the trains run on time.  Bread and Circus

Keep in mind that Liberty dies in this country when this man's opinion becomes that of the majority.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 08:15:18 PM by sgtmac_46 » Logged
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« Reply #191 on: April 25, 2007, 08:05:47 AM »

The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"[W]hereas, to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole
body of the people always possess arms, and be taught alike,
especially when young, how to use them; nor does it follow from
this, that all promiscuously must go into actual service on
every occasion. The mind that aims at a select militia, must be
influenced by a truly anti-republican principle; and when we see
many men disposed to practice upon it, whenever they can prevail,
no wonder true republicans are for carefully guarding against it."

-- Federal Farmer (Antifederalist Letter, No.18, 25 January 1778)

Reference: The Complete Anti-Federalist, Storing,
ed., vol. 2 (342) The Founders Constitution
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Posts: 42447

« Reply #192 on: April 26, 2007, 08:56:24 AM »

Gun Confiscation after Katrina
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« Reply #193 on: April 27, 2007, 08:30:24 AM »

I posted this on the Race thread in the SCH forum, but frankly SCH has lower readership than R&P here and the closing line of this piece which I find funny in the extreme I think merits it being posted on this thread as well.


EEOC Is Moving On; Fast Food and a Dicey Neighborhood Await

By Al Kamen
Friday, April 27, 2007; A21

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is in an uproar over a decision by Chair Naomi C. Earp to move its 500-employee headquarters from fine offices in downtown to a "developing" -- but not quite arrived -- area in desolate Northeast near the old Woodie's warehouse on New York Avenue.

At a hostile meeting yesterday to quell a growing rebellion, Earp told several hundred employees -- and others viewing on closed-circuit television -- that "the determining factor is price" in her decision and that employees "should not overreact to concerns about safety."
The agency has been at 18th and L streets NW since then-Chairman Clarence Thomas blocked Reagan administration efforts in 1989 to ship it to the suburbs. The downtown location also houses the Washington field office, which is where people go to file discrimination complaints.
But the current landlord didn't renew the lease, and Earp said she did not want to "pick a fight with" the General Services Administration over the location. So the employees -- mostly civil rights lawyers -- are out by July 2008.

Some employees surveyed the new neighborhood. They found, according to an e-mail Monday about their field trip, that across from the proposed headquarters there's a seven-acre empty lot with "lots of garbage, empty wine and liquor bottles, broken glass, and condoms ringing the perimeter of the (chain link) fence." The nearest business is a "dilapidated liquor store two blocks away."

There are also warehouses in the area and self-storage buildings and, across from the employee parking lot, another big vacant lot. There are a few small dilapidated buildings and a building under construction, the surveyors reported.

For lunch, instead of Luigi's, the Palm or several excellent Asian bistros near the current headquarters, there'll be only a McDonald's 3 1/2 blocks away and a Wendy's a block beyond that. For a change of pace, there's the upscale Chez Roi, also known as Roy Rogers, just four blocks away.
Some employees are disabled, opponents of the move note, and on dark winter evenings they would be especially vulnerable to criminals. The McDonald's parking lot, next door to the city's largest methadone clinic, was named in 2002 "as being one of the largest open-air drug markets in the region." "It is unclear whether this has improved," the employees said.
Still, the area is clearly changing. And the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters is nearby, and those employees don't seem to be worried about crime.

"Give me a handgun and a bulletproof vest and an ATF windbreaker, and I wouldn't worry either," an unhappy EEOC official told us.
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #194 on: April 27, 2007, 08:44:25 AM »

Second post of the morning:

Scotland: A Model for the Rest of Us

by Rob Blackstock

After the terrible tragedy at Virginia Tech, it is time that we turned to an older, more civilized country as a role-model. I speak, of course, of Scotland. Scotland has long since evolved beyond such displays of violence as we saw in Blacksburg this past week.

A United Nations report has labeledScotland the most violent country in the developed world, with people three times more likely to be assaulted than in America. England and Wales recorded the second highest number of violent assaults while Northern Ireland recorded the fewest.

The reason why is obvious: on March 13, 1996, a lone gunman entered the Dunblane, Scotland school gym and killed 16 children and their teacher. Within the next year handguns were made illegal in Britain bringing an end to gun violence in that ancient land.

The ban has had no discernible effect on gun crime, which has continued a steady rise dating back more than 25 years and which accounted for some 4,000 injuries in the UK last year [2006]. Immediately after the ban, the number of shootings actually went up and has stayed up, though the homicide rate, which is relatively low, has been almost unaffected. In Scotland, for instance, the rate of about eight killings a year by guns has remained the same despite the Dunblane ban.

Bravo for the Brits! Without guns, people are now safe to walk the streets.

[Dr. Ian] Holland and his colleagues operate on someone in Glasgow an average of every six hours, every day of the year. They try to fix the damage done by knives, razors, bats, fists, kicks and, very occasionally, innocent accidents. More than a thousand patients are sent to maxillofacial surgery every year as a result of violence in Glasgow alone – and the figure is rising. Only a fraction is reported to the police.

When will we Americans realize that the only way to make law-abiding people safe is to take away everyone’s guns?

Early indications, in the west [of Scotland] at least, suggest [crime statistics] will be up again in 2006-07, at least for murder – the easiest violent crime to count. There were 60 murders in Strathclyde between April and December 2006, 19 more than in the last nine months of 2005. Officially, reported attempted murders were up too – to nearly 300.

Without the guns, criminals are no longer able to hurt the innocent. Gang violence will come to an end.

[In Scotland, a] crackdown on the sale of swords has been launched as part of a campaign to tackle knife crime and violence….

The measures are the latest steps from the Scottish Executive to curb the problem of knife crime….

[Justice Minister Cathy] Jamieson said: "Knife-carrying is all too prevalent in some communities, particularly in the west of Scotland, and has cut short and scarred too many young lives.

"In these areas police, doctors and law-abiding citizens have seen the damaging effects of swords, including samurai swords, being wielded on the streets. "It is simply far too easy at present for these weapons to be bought and sold."

Other parts of the plan brought in under the Police, Public Order and Criminal Justice (Scotland) Act doubled the maximum penalty for carrying a knife to four years, gave police the unconditional power to search someone they suspect of carrying a weapon and increased the minimum age for buying a knife from 16 to 18.

[Detective Chief Superintendent] John Carnochan, head of the police's violence reduction unit, hailed the measures as "another major step forward in the fight against knife crime and violence". More than half the murders in Scotland each year are carried out with knives or other sharp weapons.

True, law-abiding people including women and the elderly will no longer have the means to defend themselves from the young, violent criminal once all guns are confiscated, but those people will no longer have a need for self-defense. Without the guns, there will be no violence from which to be protected.

3 per cent of Scots had been victims of assault compared with 1.2 per cent in America and just 0.1 per cent in Japan, 0.2 per cent in Italy and 0.8 per cent in Austria. In England and Wales the figure was 2.8 per cent.

Scotland has shown us all, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that removing guns solves the underlying problem. Today, Scotland is once more a picturesque land where you and your mates can gather for a peaceful pint at the local pub.

Glasses and bottles face being banned from Edinburgh's pubs and clubs under plans to tackle the soaring number of violent attacks fuelled by drink….

The move comes after the number of glass and bottle attacks in the city soared by 40 per cent last year….

A similar ban is about to be rolled out across Glasgow….

So allow me to raise a glass to my ancestral people, the Scots, and to say thank you. Thank you for showing us the result of outlawing guns. Peace, serenity and culture.

The machetes are worst. As heavy as they are sharp, they cleave cheeks and split jaws – mash faces. Victims never look the same again, their twisted smiles revealing the true scale of Scotland's toll of violent crime.

April 27, 2007

Rob Blackstock [send him mail] teaches economics at Louisiana Tech University and is the Senior Economist for American Economic Services.

Copyright © 2007
Power User
Posts: 15530

« Reply #195 on: April 27, 2007, 11:22:43 AM »

Well, it worked for Hitler and Mao....
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #196 on: May 19, 2007, 08:40:56 AM »

KALAMAZOO (AP) - Two would-be bandits got more than they expected when they tried to rob a Kalamazoo County man early Friday morning.

Deputies say two men approached 32-year Brian Smith as he tried to enter his Oshtemo Township home. One man asked for directions to Kalamazoo Valley Community College, while the other pulled out a revolver.

Smith pulled out his own gun to defend himself. Deputies say Smith fired twice, hitting one man in the hand. Both suspects took off.

The wounded man was arrested a short time later when he sought medical attention. He's in jail. The other suspect remains at large.
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #197 on: June 18, 2007, 05:12:56 PM »

 "Compromise" bill represents the most far-reaching gun ban in

Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Monday, June 18, 2007

The Associated Press got it right last week when it stated that, "The
House Wednesday passed what could become the first major federal gun
control law in over a decade."

It's true. The McCarthy bill that passed will DRAMATICALLY expand
the dragnet that is currently used to disqualify law-abiding gun
buyers. So much so, that hundreds of thousands of honest citizens
who want to buy a gun will one day walk into a gun store and be
shocked when they're told they're a prohibited purchaser, having been
lumped into the same category as murderers and rapists.

This underscores the problems that have existed all along with the
Brady Law. At the time it was passed, some people foolishly thought,
"No big deal. I'm not a bad guy. This law won't affect me."

But what happens when good guys' names get thrown into the bad guys'
list? That is exactly what has happened, and no one should think
that the attempts to expand the gun control noose are going to end
with the McCarthy bill (HR 2640).

Speaking to the CNN audience on June 13, head of the Brady Campaign,
Paul Helmke, stated that, "We're hopeful that now that the NRA has
come around to our point of view in terms of strengthening the Brady
background checks, that now we can take the next step after this bill
passes [to impose additional gun control]."

Get it? The McCarthy bill is just a first step.

The remainder of this alert will explain, in layman's terms, the
problems with what passed on Wednesday. Please understand that GOA's
legal department has spent hours analyzing the McCarthy bill, in
addition to looking at existing federal regulations and BATFE
interpretations. (If you want the lawyerly perspective, then please
go to for an extensive analysis.)

So what does HR 2640 do? Well, as stated already, this is one of the
most far-reaching gun bans in years. For the first time in history,
this bill takes a giant step towards banning one-fourth of returning
military veterans from ever owning a gun again.

In 2000, President Clinton added between 80,000 - 90,000 names of
military veterans -- who were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress
(PTS) -- into the NICS background check system. These were vets who
were having nightmares; they had the shakes. So Clinton disqualified
them from buying or owning guns.

For seven years, GOA has been arguing that what Clinton did was
illegitimate. But if this McCarthy bill gets enacted into law, a
future Hillary Clinton administration would actually have the law on
her side to ban a quarter of all military veterans (that's the number
of veterans who have Post Traumatic Stress) from owning guns.

Now, the supporters of the McCarthy bill claim that military veterans
-- who have been denied their Second Amendment rights -- could get
their rights restored. But this is a very nebulous promise.

The reason is that Section 101(c)(1)(C) of the bill provides
explicitly that a psychiatrist or psychologist diagnosis is enough to
ban a person for ever owning a gun as long as it's predicated on a
microscopic risk that a person could be a danger to himself or
others. (Please be sure to read the NOTE below for more details on

How many psychiatrists are going to deny that a veteran suffering
from PTS doesn't possess a MICROSCOPIC RISK that he could be a danger
to himself or others?

And even if they can clear the psychiatrist hurdle, we're still
looking at thousands of dollars for lawyers, court fees, etc. And
then, when veterans have done everything they can possibly do to
clear their name, there is still the Schumer amendment in federal law
which prevents the BATFE from restoring the rights of individuals who
are barred from purchasing firearms. If that amendment is not
repealed, then it doesn't matter if your state stops sending your
name for inclusion in the FBI's NICS system... you are still going to
be a disqualified purchaser when you try to buy a gun.

So get the irony. Senator Schumer is the one who is leading the
charge in the Senate to pass the McCarthy bill, and he is
"generously" offering military veterans the opportunity to clear
their names, even though it's been HIS AMENDMENT that has prevented
honest gun owners from getting their rights back under a similar
procedure created in 1986!

But there's still another irony. Before this bill, it was very
debatable (in legal terms) whether the military vets with PTS should
have been added into the NICS system... and yet many of them were --
even though there was NO statutory authority to do so. Before this
bill, there were provisions in the law to get one's name cleared, and
yet Schumer made it impossible for these military vets to do so.

Now, the McCarthy bill (combined with federal regulations) makes it
unmistakably clear that military vets with Post Traumatic Stress
SHOULD BE ADDED as prohibited persons on the basis of a
Are these vets now going to find it any easier to get their names
cleared (when the law says they should be on the list) if they were
finding it difficult to do so before (when the law said they

Add to this the Schumer amendment (mentioned above). The McCarthy
bill does nothing to repeal the Schumer amendment, which means that
military veterans with PTS are going to find it impossible to get
their rights restored!

Do you see how Congress is slowly (and quietly) sweeping more and
more innocent people into the same category as murderers and rapists?
First, anti-gun politicians get a toe hold by getting innocuous
sounding language into the federal code. Then they come back years
later to twist those words into the most contorted way possible.

Consider the facts. In 1968, Congress laid out several criteria for
banning Americans from owning guns -- a person can't be a felon, a
drug user, an illegal alien, etc. Well, one of the criteria which
will disqualify you from owning or buying a gun is if you are
"adjudicated as a mental defective." Now, in 1968, that term
referred to a person who was judged not guilty of a crime by reason
of insanity.

Well, that was 1968. By 2000, President Bill Clinton had stretched
that definition to mean a military veteran who has had a lawful
authority (like a shrink) decree that a person has PTS. Can you see
how politicians love to stretch the meaning of words in the law...
especially when it comes to banning guns?

After all, who would have thought when the original Brady law was
passed in 1993, that it would be used to keep people with outstanding
traffic tickets from buying guns; or couples with marriage problems
from buying guns; or military vets with nightmares from buying guns?
(See footnotes below.)

So if you thought the Brady Law would never affect you because you're
a "good guy," then think again. Military vets are in trouble,
and so
are your kids who are battling Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
Everything that has been mentioned above regarding military veterans,
could also apply to these kids.

Do you have a child in the IDEA program -- a.k.a., Individuals with
Disability Education Act -- who has been diagnosed with ADD and
thought to be susceptible to playground fights? Guess what? That
child can be banned for life from ever owning a gun as an adult. The
key to understanding this new gun ban expansion centers on a shrink's
determination that a person is a risk to himself or others.

You see, legislators claim they want to specifically prevent a future
Seung-Hui Cho from ever buying a gun and shooting up a school. And
since Cho had been deemed as a potential danger to himself or others,
that has become the new standard for banning guns.

But realize what this does. In the name of stopping an infinitesimal
fraction of potential bad apples from owning firearms, legislators
are expanding the dragnet to sweep ALL KINDS of good guys into a
permanent ban. It also ignores the fact that bad guys get illegal
guns ALL THE TIME, despite the gun laws!

So back to your kid who might have ADD. The BATFE, in an open letter
(dated May 9, 2007), said the diagnosis that a person is a potential
risk doesn't have to be based on the fact that the person poses a
"substantial" risk. It just has to be "ANY" risk.

Just any risk, no matter how slight to the other kids on the
playground, is all that is needed to qualify the kid on Ritalin -- or
a vet suffering PTS, or a husband (going through a divorce) who's
been ordered to go through an anger management program, etc. -- for a
LIFETIME gun ban.

This is the slippery slope that gun control poses. And this is the
reason HR 2640 must be defeated. Even as we debate this bill, the
Frank Lautenbergs in Congress are trying to expand the NICS system
with the names of people who are on a so-called "government watch
list" (S. 1237).

While this "government watch list" supposedly applies to suspected
terrorists, the fact is that government bureaucrats can add ANY gun
owner's name to this list without due process, without any hearing,
or trial by jury, etc. That's where the background check system is
headed... if we don't rise up together and cut off the monster's head
right now.

NOTE: Please realize that a cursory reading of this bill is not
sufficient to grasp the full threat that it poses. To read this bill
properly, you have to not only read it thoroughly, but look at
federal regulations and BATF interpretations as well. For example,
where we cite Section 101(c)(1)(C) above as making it explicitly
clear that the diagnosis from a psychologist or psychiatrist is
enough to ban a person from owning a gun, realize that you have to
look at Section 101, while also going to federal regulations via
Section 3 of the bill.

Section 3(2) of the bill states that every interpretation that the
BATFE has made in respect to mental capacity would become statutory
law. And so what does the federal code say? Well, at 27 CFR 478.11,
it explicitly states that a person can be deemed to be "adjudicated
as a mental defective" by a court or by any "OTHER LAWFUL
(like a shrink), as long as the individual poses a risk to self or
others (or can't manage his own affairs). And in its open letter of
May 9, 2007, BATFE makes it clear that this "danger" doesn't
have to
be "imminent" or "substantial," but can include
"any danger" at all.
How many shrinks are going to say that a veteran suffering from PTS
doesn't pose at least an infinitesimal risk of hurting someone else?


(1) The Brady law has been used to illegitimately deny firearms to
people who have outstanding traffic tickets (see

(2) Because of the Lautenberg gun ban, couples with marriage problems
or parents who have used corporal punishment to discipline their
children have been prohibited from owning guns for life (see

(3) Several articles have pointed to the fact that military vets with
PTS have been added to the NICS system (see
Power User
Posts: 42447

« Reply #198 on: June 19, 2007, 12:53:50 PM »

Man bites Dog
Harvard Law Review on guns
Posts: 43

« Reply #199 on: July 02, 2007, 03:25:47 PM »

Subway customer lauded as hero for gunning down robbers in Plantation
By Akilah Johnson, Andrew Tran and Juan C. Ortega
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

June 29, 2007

Some are calling a former U.S. Marine a hero for shooting two men — killing one — during the botched robbery of a sandwich shop in Plantation. But the men's friends and family want to know how he could gun them down and not be charged.

John Lovell had just finished dinner at about 11: 15 p.m. Wednesday when, Plantation police say, two men armed with guns rushed inside a Subway shop and demanded cash. After robbing the store, the men turned to Lovell. They wanted his money, police said.

But like his attackers, Lovell was armed.

The retired military man opened fire, shooting dead Donicio Arrindell, 22, of North Lauderdale, and critically injuring Fredrick Gadson, 21, of Fort Lauderdale.

Lovell, 71, of Plantation, has a valid concealed weapons permit and is not expected to be charged in the shooting, said police spokesman Detective Robert Rettig. Gadson, however, faces multiple felony charges that could include murder, he said. Under Florida law, anyone who commits a felony such as armed robbery resulting in a death can be held accountable for the capital offense.

"He feared for his life," Rettig said of Lovell. "And if he's in fear for his life, then he has a right to defend himself, even if it means severe bodily injury or death."

Florida law gives people the right of "self-defense without the duty to retreat." That means individuals can use deadly force virtually anywhere to prevent death or serious injury.

Lovell could not be reached for comment despite calls and visits to his home.

His attorney, Wesley White, of Yulee, near Jacksonville, said he has known Lovell for 19 years and described him as a "quiet Clint Eastwood-type you don't want to mess with." He is a former Marine who was a member of the helicopter detail that transported Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, White said.

Lovell, a retired Pan-Am and Delta Airline pilot, has held a concealed weapons permit since September 1990. Three months earlier, Plantation police had arrested him for having a loaded .9 mm and three extra clips behind the driver's seat of a Corvette without proper permits for the gun. The Broward State's Attorney's Office declined to file charges in that case.

According to a police statement, Arrindell ordered Lovell to hand over his wallet. He intentionally dropped it on the floor and refused to pick it up, saying he was afraid. That's when Arrindell ordered him into the women's restroom.

"The victim believed he would be executed and when he noticed [Arrindell] distracted ... reached behind his back, removed his loaded .45 caliber handgun from his holster and fired seven rounds," the statement said.

Arrindell was struck twice — once in the head and once in the stomach — and collapsed. Officers found him face down, wearing sunglasses and a bandanna, with a gun near his left hand. Gadson was hit in the chest and ran from the store. Police dogs found him in the hedges of a nearby office building and bank.

Both men were taken to Broward General Medical Center, where Arrindell died and Gadson was in critical condition Thursday.

Sebastian Shakespeare, 23, of Lauderhill, was going to buy a sandwich at the Subway at 1949 N. Pine Island Road when he saw Lovell, gun in hand, standing over Arrindell. A former employee, Shakespeare worked the night shift and often worried about getting robbed.

He said Lovell did a good deed. "A civilian was a hero."

Lovell's neighbor agreed.

"If I was in the same situation ... I hope I could've done the same thing," said Bryan Sklar, 45.

But Gadson's grandmother, Rosa Jones, said: "He ain't no hero. He is a murderer and God will serve justice."

She and her husband, Ivory Jones, pastor of a Fort Lauderdale church, sat on their front porch in Fort Lauderdale on Thursday wondering how a man could shoot two people and not go to jail.

They said their grandson sometimes hung with the wrong crowd but never got into legal trouble. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, he has no arrest record. They said Gadson, who never finished high school, got tired of low-wage jobs and was pursuing his GED.

Arrindell, friends said, found himself in a similar situation: no high school diploma and working odd jobs. So he went back to school. He was a man with past troubles, including a 2004 arrest for carrying a concealed weapon, but he was improving his life, they said. He recently bought a car and had a girlfriend.

Kathy East, 54, whose son went to school with Arrindell, said she took him in two years ago when he and his mother had a falling out.

"I'm absolutely stunned," she said Thursday.

Staff Researchers Barbara Hijek and William Lucey contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel,0,1772093.story

Best regards,

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