A surprisingly balanced article on gun control

At the Roanoke Times.

About 30 years ago as a young reporter in Florida, I was assigned a series on gun control in response to gun violence, which had peaked in the U.S. in 1980.

I began the series with profiles of three gun users, including a woman who had killed her would-be rapist, the owner of a sport shooting club and a convicted murderer on death row at the Florida State Prison in Starke.

Most dramatic was the woman, who was attacked as she entered her apartment after work one evening. She had just moved in and boxes were stacked floor-to-ceiling, nary a broom nor a pot to use in self-defense.

In her panic, she suddenly remembered the small derringer in her purse, which still hung over her shoulder. Already, the man had her pinned against the wall. Reaching into her bag, she grabbed the gun, pressed it to his side and, boom! He died instantly. To my question, she replied: “Hell, yes, I’d do it again in a New York minute.”

Or words to that effect.

Most chilling was the murderer, whose name I no longer recall. I do remember that his fingertips were oddly flared and he pressed them together, expanding and contracting his hands like a bellows. No doubt aware that I was nervous, he seemed amused by my questions.

“Sure,” he chuckled. “I’m all for gun control. Because that means you won’t have a gun. And I will always have a gun.” [Emphasis added - Jake]

I may not agree entirely with the author, but it’s at least a balanced and fair article, without the normal heavily anti-gun bias the Roanoke Times usually publishes. Go read the whole thing. It’s worth it.

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[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 9/20/13]

A July 4 assault on liberty

This is still a developing story, and the veil of lawyer-advised silence is descending, but TJIC has again been targeted by the repressive government of Massachusetts and/or his local government. This time, they’ve dragged his fiance into it, confiscating her legally owned firearms after he applied for a new MA LTC. From Tam, who has been in direct communication with the TJIC household:

Well, TJIC got his Massachusetts FID* reissued, and has reapplied for an MA LTC**.

Now the local po-po*** is surrounding his crib, wanting to inspect the premises. Without a warrant. In the suburbs of Boston. On Independence Day.

More from Tam, in various comments to her original post:

Jenn was like “There’s a cop looking at me through the window with a flashlight and his hand on his holster!”

I’m on the phone with Jenn; she’s walking through the house with the officer. They’re seizing her guns as we speak.

They’re already in contact with counsel.

TJIC himself chipped in a little info:

I had an EXCELLENT gun lawyer on speed dial. It took half an hour to get a callback on a vacation day, but after that, he was with us every step of the way.

I repeatedly refused the cops’ requests for a voluntary walk-through of the house.

I repeatedly refused to answer any questions.

The cops repeatedly told me that if I had nothing to hide, I should just allow a walk-through, and if I was a good guy, I’d have a “conversation” with them.

In the end they illegally seized my FID (just plan CAN NOT do it, but they took it and wouldn’t give it back) and they illegally seized Jennifer’s firearms. My lawyer was appalled but not surprised.

Jennifer and I have been talking about moving out of MA in 3-6 years.

We are officially looking for real estate tomorrow; I will not spend one more day than is necessary in this totalitarian hell hole.

and

At the end, some of the cops who ransacked the house tried to shake hands with me. “No hard feelings”.

I refused and said “Gentlemen, please think about what you’re doing. On the fourth of july, the day we celebrate freedom, you stole legally owned firearms from a women who is engaged to a guy who made a joke you don’t like. You are not the good guys. You are ‘just doing your jobs’. Look in the mirror. You’re the bad guys.”

Response: “I’m sorry you feel that way. Have a good Fourth.”

My lawyer says that there’s a decent chance I may yet be arrested.

And with that, I should probably go radio silent for a while.

Words do not describe how wrong this is. Tam seems to have the direct scoop for now, keep your eyes open there for new information.

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A Second Amendment Epiphany

Linoge linked to a couple of articles last week, and one of them – once I finally got around to reading it – tripped one of those switches in my brain that said “Oh! Now I get it!” regarding the deceptively clumsy phrasing of the Second Amendment.

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. – U.S. Constitution, Amendment II

The relationship between the two clauses, and how or even if they cause the Right to relate to militias, has been debated for at least a century. A popular argument among those who favour gun control – whether outright bans on all guns, or bans of “assault weapons” – is that the 2nd Amendment is preconditioned on membership in a militia, and that the National Guard and/or the advent of professional police forces has superseded the founder’s model of local militias. As a result, they argue, the 2nd Amendment does not apply to ordinary citizens, only to police and National Guard members.

While this argument certainly ignores the fact that the unorganized militia is still embodied in US law, it is flawed on a much more basic level – the 2nd Amendment clearly and specifically assigns that right to the people, not to the militia or members of a militia. This is the classic dependent/independent clause argument – that the reference to a “well regulated militia” explains the necessity of protecting the right of the people to keep and bear arms, but does not limit that right to membership in a militia.

But there was a point in reading that article where something else clicked for me, though I can’t point to any one sentence or paragraph and say “this is where I understood”. It’s a surprisingly simple concept.

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed, so that they may quickly and easily form a militia should the need arise.

When the Right for each and every citizen to own, possess, and carry arms is restricted, a militia cannot be formed without those people first going out and obtaining arms. If the government is allowed to restrict how, when, and if a citizen can purchase firearms – yes, even military weapons – then the government can restrict or prevent the formation of any militias.

But why, you ask, in our modern society, would anyone need to form a militia so quickly that they couldn’t wait for the government to approve it if it truly was needed?

Leaving aside the assumption that the government a) would approve it in the first place, and b) would do so quickly enough to do any good, it also ignores the speed in which bad situations can develop. A perfect modern day example of this is the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles in 1992, and the events that took place in Koreatown during those riots.

With the police overwhelmed (and, by all accounts, not terribly motivated to intervene in that neighborhood anyway), it fell to the citizens there to defend their homes, livelihoods, and their lives themselves. They banded together in small groups for their own defense – the very definition of an unorganized militia. Once the riots started, they didn’t have time to go to a store and buy a gun. They didn’t have time to sit through a background check. They were dependent on the guns they had at the time.

Without the protections afforded by the Second Amendment, Koreatown would have been destroyed by the rampaging mobs.

What would have been more effective in Boston last month – unarmed citizens cowering in their homes with the police and National Guard imposing martial law (lite! with only half the jackboots!) while searching house to house, or armed citizens standing watch over their own neighborhoods while directing the police towards any suspicious activity?

I’ll say it again. The Second Amendment Right to keep and bear arms does not depend on membership in a militia, it is what allows us to form militias where and when they are needed.

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Quote of the Day – 2013-04-02

From Sean Sorrentino, in a comment at Shall Not Be Questioned.

Because Compromise is the process where you lose slightly less of your rights than the anti-rights crowd asked for, BUT YOU STILL LOSE.

This. It’s what the anti-Rights cultists have been doing to us since NFA ’34. The best illustration of how it works is LawDog’s Parable of The Cake. They continually talk us into a “compromise” where we lose yet another little bit of our Rights and they lose nothing, and they consider it a win because they can always come back later to push us to “compromise” again, and again, and again, until our Rights are gone.

No more. As the anti-Rights bills move through Congress and your state legislature, tell your Representatives, Senators, Governors, everybody, “No more compromises.” Enough is enough.

It’s my cake, dammit. They’ve had too much of it already.

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Legislative Update (Federal) and Quote of the Day – 2013-03-13

Sebastian has a post up with some information on the federal “background check” bill that was voted out of the Senate committee yesterday. It’s bad. Very bad. Go, read the whole thing, follow his link to the actual text of the bill, and decide for yourself how unbelievably bad it is. Then get on the phone and computer to call and email your senators. Let them know that their vote on this bill will be remembered, and that a vote against freedom will not be forgiven.

Which leads me to today’s Quote of the Day, by jdrush, in a comment to Sebastian’s post.

Wow, they really aren’t coming for our guns. They are coming for US.

This looks to be the real point of this legislation – make gun ownership so fraught with legal dangers that it actively discourages people from trying to own firearms. Make teaching others how to shoot so difficult to do legally that it discourages people from trying.

Their aim is to strangle gun ownership with such a dense web of laws that are easily unintentionally broken, in order to choke the Right to the point that it is so weak that it can be excised out of American culture entirely.

Call and write your legislators. Kill this bill, before it can kill us.

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Quote of the Day – 2013-02-05

From an anonymous comment at No Lawyers – Only Guns and Money:

It’s not about the DEER, it’s about the BOXCARS !

Also, take a moment to watch the video in the original post. It’s one of the most angry public meetings I’ve seen that didn’t end with somebody being hauled off in handcuffs.

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Quote of the Day – 2013-02-01

From Joe Huffman:

Background checks to prevent some people from gaining access to firearms is like checking ID to prevent underage drinking and smoking.

How long does it take your average high school dropout to find a way to light up while drinking a beer?

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Quote of the Day – 2013-01-30

From Roberta X:

And I’m done listening to calls for “compromise.”  The antis don’t really want compromise.  They want whatever they can get now and they’ll be back later for the rest of your firearms rights later — followed by the rest of the Bill of Rights, already plenty nibbled-at.

It’s well past time to say “enough” — and to keep on saying it, by whatever means it takes to get ‘em to hear.

This. A thousand times, this. They keep wanting more and more of our cake, and we’ve “compromised” again and again for so long that all we have left is half a slice and some crumbs. Now they want that half-slice. No more. It’s beyond time that we tell the Anti-Rights cultists to go bugger themselves.

By whatever means are required to make them listen.

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Resource for Virginia Gun Owners – VCDL

I’ve mentioned the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) before, and I’ve had their website in my links to the right for a long time, but this is a good day to mention them again. They now have their 2013 Legislation Tracking Tool online, with a full listing and synopsis of this year’s gun and gun-related bills in the Virginia legislature – including links to the state’s website for details and actual text. In addition, they’ve revamped the site a bit, which is great. They do some incredible work with the legislature, but the old website had some serious design issues. While I see that some of those issues have carried over to the new design, it’s still light years better than it used to be.

I’m going to back off on posting my Legislative Updates now that they have the tracking tool up and running for this year’s session. I will still post on major bills and events as I see the need, but VCDL has people dedicated to that who are able to do a much better and more consistent job than I can.

Go check it out!

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Legislative Update: Virginia Gun Bills #2

Some more gun bills have been filed in Virginia. In addition to the ones I listed previously, they are:

  • HB 1506 – Reduces from 15 years to 10 years the minimum number of years that certain officers must serve in order to qualify to purchase their service handguns. [I don't see anything objectionable here.]
  • HB 1557 – Requires every school board in the Commonwealth to designate at least one qualified person for every school in the district who, upon application with the school board, may carry a concealed handgun on school property. Establishes required training for such persons. [This is a good thing, specifically requiring school boards to allow at least one person in every school to be armed. The list of people they can designate includes teachers, administrators, and volunteers with CHPs, so bad guys don't have to just "look for the cop". This allows greater protection for our children.]
  • HB 1582 – Permits any armed security officers, licensed by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, to carry firearms onto school property if such officer is hired by the school to provide protection to students and employees. The bill also prohibits the Board of Social Services from adopting any regulations that would prevent a child day center from hiring an armed security officer. [Like HB 1557, this allows greater protection for our children, though it is limited to hired security.]
  • HB 1604 – Prevents the applicable regulatory body from prohibiting locksmiths and employees of any electronic security business from carrying firearms if they have a valid CHP. [I'm all for limiting the state's power to prevent people from carrying.]
  • HB 1660 – Prohibits prisoners in state, local, or community correctional facilities from possessing or transporting weapons. A violation of this prohibition constitutes a Class 6 felony and may carry a minimum sentence if the violator was previously convicted of a felony. The bill also excludes such prisoners from the process whereby individuals may petition the circuit court for a permit to carry a firearm, stun weapon or explosives. [I assumed prisoners were already prohibited from having weapons in prison, but maybe its isn't actually a crime currently. I can't say I have any objections, unless it would be a redundant law.]
  • HB 1662 – Allows a locality to adopt an ordinance that prohibits firearms, ammunition, or components, or a combination thereof, in libraries owned or operated by the locality. [Pure anti-Rights cultist BS. I don't know why they have this obsession with guns in libraries, but it's just as stupid as any other victim-disarmament gun-free zone.]
  • HB 1679 – Adds another group of LEO’s to the list of people who can carry concealed without a CHP. [Yet another privileged class designated as better than the peasantry.]
  • HB 1693 – Repeals the section of current law that allows someone to possess a firearm on school property as long as it’s unloaded and in a closed container. [This is a step backwards. I don't believe there has been one single case where someone took advantage of that exception to facilitate breaking the law. More anti-Rights cult BS, trying to take advantage of a horrible tragedy.]
  • HB 1833 – Reorganizes the existing concealed carry law into separate, discrete sections. [This is purely a clarifying measure. I don't see any actual changes to the law, it just splits it up into separate and smaller code sections to make it easier to parse.]
  • HB 1866 – Removes certain weapons from the definition of weapons that require mandatory expulsion from school for up to one year. [If I'm reading it right, it removes knives, stun guns, etc., and limits the mandatory one year expulsion to firearms.]
  • HB 2025Requires a background check for any firearm purchase and requires the Department of State Police to establish a process for sellers to obtain such a check from licensed firearm dealers. [The anti-Rights cult's coveted "gun show loophole" bill. This bill MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 965Another “lost or stolen” bill. [This one is far worse than the one I listed last time. That one required reporting within 48 hours and imposed a monetary "civil penalty". This one only allows 24 hours to report it, and makes failure to do so a CRIME. This bill also MUST be opposed and killed.]
  • SB 1012 – Prohibits the possession of a firearm in Capitol Square, including the Capitol and other buildings predominantly used to conduct the business of the General Assembly. [Of course, they exempt themselves from this law. Another one to oppose.]

I’ve put the bills that are more relevant to the average citizen in bold type, and critical bills are in red. Contact your Virginia state representatives!

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