Saturday, July 18, 2009

Concealed Carry Reciprosity - Part II

On the Brady Blog, Paul Helmke writes about the seriousness of the pending legislation regarding concealed carry, a topic we recently discussed.

Senator John Thune of North Dakota has introduced an amendment (No. 1618) to the Department of Defense appropriations authorization bill (S. 1390) , which could come up for a vote as early as Monday, July 20.

This proposal would override state law by forcing every state (except Illinois and Wisconsin) to accept the carrying of loaded, concealed firearms by non-residents of their state, even if those persons are legally barred from possessing guns in that state.

Under this proposal, states would be forced to recognize all concealed weapons permits – even if the requirements for out-of-state permit-holders fall well below their own.

Mr. Helmke uses Texas as an example of a state that has training requirements prior to the issuance of a concealed carry permit. Mississippi, on the other hand has none. Under the proposed legislation, Texas would be forced to accept Mississippi concealed carry holders visiting Texas and carry guns. There are many examples of this type of disparity between states' requirements.

But that's not the worst of it. The worst is what we refer to around here as the 10%ers. These are the supposedly lawful gun owners who for various reasons should not be trusted with a gun. Helmke itemizes several high-profile cases in which the shooter was actually in possession of a concealed carry permit.

One of the commenters on the Huffington Post, where the Helmke post is cross-published, a certain JD59, had this to say:

Well I guess I'm one of those scary people with a conceal carry permit. I am an honorably discharged veteran 49 years old. Have worked for several Gov. agencies, have a daughter in college, and a wife that works at Starbucks. Yea, I know I sound real scary.

This is typical of the pro-gun response to a serious suggestion that "[d]angerous people have concealed carry permits who shouldn't be allowed near a handgun, much less be given permission to carry one anywhere in the country."

Mr. JD59 exaggerates the comment to somehow read "all concealed carry permit holders are dangerous." He puts on that practiced self-righteous indignity and with sarcasm tries to mock the suggestion. The fact is no one ever said all gun owners are dangerous, or all concealed carry licensees should not own guns.

My theory that the problem group accounts for about 10% has been met with criticism, to say the least. Many pro-gun commenters claim the true percentage is less than 1%. I'd say a quick glance at the cases cited by Paul and the links provided in his article would suggest 10% is more like it. If anything, that estimate is probably low.

What's your opinion? Why do gun owners who are responsible and law abiding take offense at these suggestions?

Please leave a comment.

Fascinating Videos

Friday, July 17, 2009

Domestic Squabbles - Kansas City Style reports on a Belton man who shot his domestic partner dead. He was one of those abusers who make sure the partner gets a lethal shot to the head but when he turns the gun on himself the result is a superficial wound, in this case to the chest.

After hearing two gunshots coming from her family’s kitchen, an 18-year-old found her mother dead on the floor and her father sitting next to her smoking a cigarette, court records say.

The father, Michael S. Adams Jr., 37, was charged late Wednesday with second-degree murder in the death of Amber Hartwig, 36.

Adams also was shot in the incident about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in the 400 block of Robie Drive in Belton. Police think he shot himself and sustained a superficial wound to his chest after shooting Hartwig in the head with a .45-caliber handgun.

This sad story is yet another illustration of my recent post entitled "Guns and Women" in which I put forth the idea that "guns are bad news for women." Some people accused me of being sexist for making such a statement, offering examples of their mothers who shoot guns or female gun bloggers famous for their snarky and aggressive writing style.

My idea is simple. In America there is a certain amount of domestic violence. Women are the victims in most cases. In households like that of Michael S. Adams, Jr., of Belton Kansas, the presence of guns is not good news for those women. If anything, my ideas are sexist against men, men who abuse women, especially the cowards like Michael Adams who have the inner fortitude to shoot their partner in the head but get nervous about turning the gun on himself.

I suppose Mr. Adams is an example of the famous 10% as well. This type of flow, from law-abiding gun owner to criminal, seems to be never ending. Why can't the pro-gun folks see that the more legal guns there are the more incidents like this we have. It's simple math.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gun Flow into Canada

The Winnipeg Free Press reports on the iron pipeline flowing for the U.S. into Canada.

A young Winnipeg man attending a North Dakota college to play football has admitted to fuelling street crime in his home city by helping smuggle nearly two-dozen high-powered guns across the Canadian border in exchange for cash and drugs, according to court documents.

Thomas Scher, 20, was sentenced in an American courtroom Monday to 366 days jail, in addition to three years of supervised probation, after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. Scher has been living south of the border while attending Minot State University. He struck a plea bargain with federal prosecutors to quickly deal with his case in exchange for a reduced sentence.

Scher and a college buddy named Curtis Rolle, a North Dakota resident also attending Minot State were recruited by Gokhan Ozturk, 24, a Winnipeg resident.

Rolle would purchase the guns and then smuggle them across the Canadian border with Scher. This was done on at least eight separate occasions and involved at least 22 semi-automatic handguns of various makes and models. They would meet Ozturk in Winnipeg and be paid with either $1,000 cash per weapon or ecstasy tablets.

Scher and Rolle admit they sold approximately 1,800 doses of the illegal drugs to people in North Dakota and pocketed the profits.

Rolle bought the guns from three main outlets — the Scheel’s and Sportsman’s stores in Minot and a local pawnbroker. Rolle made false statements on his firearms transaction forms.

At least one of the guns has been directly linked to a crime. A Jimenez Arms 9-mm semi-automatic pistol was purchased by Rolle from the Dak Pawnbroker in Minot and later smuggled into Canada.

After hearing so much about the gun flow into Mexico, it's fascinating to read that the same thing is happening on the Canadian border. Even more fascinating is that North Dakota is involved, a state which has been mentioned on this blog as exemplifying the pro-gun ideal of lots of guns and little crime.

What's your opinion about this? What percentage of Canadian crime guns comes from America? Do you think it must be something on the order of 90%?

What does "false statements on his firearms transaction forms," mean? What kind or forms are those that can be so easily fooled?

What about the price paid for the guns? I remember one commenter pointed out that gun flow like this is impossible because criminals can get guns for $50 or $100. His point was that proper guns bought from dealers started out too expensive to be of any use to the criminals. I guess that's another pro-gun excuse which this story puts to rest.

What's your opinion?

Paul Powell to Die in the Electric Chair

Inside Nova reports on the fast-track execution which is approaching for Paul Powell.

Powell, 31, was sentenced to death in the 1999 slaying of 16-year-old Stacie Reed. He also raped and attempted to kill her 14-year-old sister Kristie the same day.

After his conviction in 2000, the Virginia State Supreme Court overturned that decision, saying prosecutors could not prove Powell intended to rob or rape Stacie before he killed her.

Afterward Powell wrote a taunting letter to prosecutors admitting that he attempted to rape Stacie before he killed her, and was indicted again, this time on the charge of murder in the commission of an attempted rape.

He was found guilty in 2003 and was again sentenced to death.

Since then state and federal courts have repeatedly rejected his double jeopardy claims that he was tried twice for the same crime.

A fascinating case if ever there were one. Paul Powell is the kind of killer who would test the resolve of many a death penalty abolitionist. But apparently what happened in the courts is a bit unusual. First he was convicted of rape and murder, which was overturned, then he was convicted of murder and rape. No double jeopardy there, huh?

I'm opposed to the death penalty and I'm especially opposed to it when the government has to circumvent their own rules in order to achieve it.

What's your opinion? Do you think Paul Powell deserves to die? What do you think about the letters? After writing the most vile and taunting admissions of his wrongdoing to the prosecutor, seemingly remorseless, he more recently wrote quite moving things to the family of the victims expressing what sounds like sincere remorse. Does all that have anything to do with whether he deserves to die or not?

Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Concealed Carry Reciprosity

The Gun Guys have published a joint statement on the proposed legislation issued by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, Freedom States Alliance, Legal Community Against Violence, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Violence Policy Center.

S. 845, the erroneously titled ‘Respecting States Rights and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2009,’ would create a national system for the carrying of concealed handguns, commonly referred to as CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) licenses. The bill would allow individuals with state-issued CCW licenses to carry their handguns in any state that issues concealed handgun licenses--today the vast majority of states.

One of the problems with that is states like New Jersey have very strict criteria for issuing the license while many other states do not. The results would be that out-of-state license holders would be able to legally carry their guns in New Jersey contrary to the wishes of the voting public, citizens at large and political representatives.

And that's not the worst of it.

"This year, there have already been three confirmed mass shootings committed by concealed carry permit holders. In April, Richard Poplawski ambushed four Pittsburgh police officers, fatally shooting three and injuring one. In March, CCW holder Michael McLendon killed 11 people, including the wife of a deputy sheriff, before taking his own life following a gun battle with police in Alabama. In February, CCW holder Frank Garcia killed four people in a shooting rampage in upstate New York.

Around here we refer to these characters as members of the 10% club. As vehemently as pro-gun folks deny even the existence of this 10%, they claim it's less than 1%, and as much as they demand proof, which is another way of denying what has been proposed, my theory stands. Furthermore, I don't think I'm the only one proposing such an outrageous theory either. I say anyone with a minimum of common sense and honesty would accept it as valid.

Law S. 845, just like the recent legislation that guns be allowed in National Parks, is indication of the powerful influence of the gun lobby in Washington. Often against popular opinion, often against common sense inself, these pro-gun victories do not augur well for the future of america.

What's your opinion?

The Glass Observation Deck

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Pythons of the Everglades

The Miami Herald reports on the proposed python hunt which is suggested to meet the growing problem of python overpopulation in the Everglades.

Florida wildlife managers are poised to unleash a team of trained hunters to track and kill the giant snakes on state lands.

''We've got to start doing something,'' said Rodney Barreto, chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. "Gov. Crist wants to take action to stop the spread of this snake.''

The program, which Barreto said he expected the governor to sign off on Wednesday, would be the first of what could turn into a two-fanged assault on a serpent that routinely grows longer than a Hummer. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson on Tuesday also called for organizing a controlled hunt in the federal lands of Everglades National Park.

One of the things that triggered this initiative is a terrible tragedy that took place near Orlando. In that case it was a house pet that did the deed and not one indigenous to the Everglades. Nevertheless, the python overpopulation in the Everglades may cause problems other than a treat to humans.

Birds, bobcats and deer have been found in their guts, and as one of the largest snakes in the world, sometimes topping 20 feet, they could potentially challenge natural dominant predators -- a concern underscored in 2005 by now-famous photos of a 13-foot python that burst after attempting to swallow a six-foot alligator.

What's your opinion? Is the culling of animal populations in controlled areas an acceptable way of maintaining the proper balance? Or do you think they should let the alligators fend for themselves and allow the snakes to take over if that's what Mother Nature wants.

Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marlo Stanfield in Real Life

The New York Daily News reports on a shootout in Brooklyn outside Jamie Hector's wife's baby shower that left one dead and one wounded.

His HBO character might have a taste for violence but a star of the crime show "The Wire" said he had nothing to do with gunplay that erupted outside his wife's baby shower.

One man was killed and two others wounded in a gunfight outside the Brooklyn bash hosted by actor Jamie Hector - who played drug dealer Marlo Stanfield on the former hit show.

Hector said in a statement released Monday that his " heartfelt prayers and condolences" went out to the victims' families.

"I would like to make it clear that the shooting incident [Sunday] did not take place at my home, nor did it involve me, my wife, nor any of the invited guests," the actor said.

Some neighbors had a different version of the facts. They say the two targets of the shooting had just left the party.

I'm hoping Mr. Hector is telling the truth and that he knows how to separate his real life from his screen life. You remember Lillo. He wans't able to do it.

Here's Marlo stepping up to the plate.

Police Shooting Suspects - L.A. Style

L.A Now reports on a spate of police shootings, none of which is seriously in question as to legitimacy.

Saturday night.

Authorities said the suspect pointed a .40-caliber semiautomatic handgun at the deputy after a chase that ended about 9:30 p.m. Saturday in the 1000 block of South Townsend Avenue. The deputy shot the man in the chest.

The man, who has not been identified, was taken to a hospital, according to a news release from the Sheriff's Department. He's listed in stable condition and will be charged with assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer, authorities said.

Friday night (two incidents).

1. Deputies were called to the 11200 block of Berendo Avenue in unincorporated Athens at 8:45 p.m. Friday after someone reported that a man with a gun had threatened her and their child.

Deputies saw a man matching the description driving about a block west of Imperial Highway and Vermont Avenue. The man fled after officers stopped his vehicle, and officers shot him multiple times after they "saw what they believed to be a weapon in the suspect's hand," authorities said. A weapon was found inside the man's car. He was declared dead at the scene.

2. About two hours after Player's shooting, a sheriff's deputy shot at a man near the intersection of East Florence and Compton Avenues. According to a news release from the Sheriff's Department, deputies stopped a vehicle for suspected traffic violations about 10:40 p.m. Friday and detained three occupants "when a fourth occupant, the front passenger, produced a small-caliber handgun."

A deputy shot once at the man and missed him. The man, identified as 23-year-old Maynor Guerra, ran away and tossed the gun before he was arrested, authorities said.

Last Sunday.

16-year-old Avery Cody Jr. was shot and killed by a sheriff's deputy who had stopped and questioned him in Compton. Authorities said Cody had a loaded handgun when he was shot, but an attorney for Cody's family said the teen did not brandish a weapon and posed "no threat" to deputies or anyone else.

What's that sound like to you? I realize Los Angeles is a big city, but such a series of police shootings makes it sound like an incredibly violent and dangerous place. And, I don't think L.A. is the worst, is it?

Where do you suppose all those guns are coming from? If California has strict gun control laws, why are there so many weapons in the hands of people who shouldn't have them? I know this question has been put to me pertaining to the Mexican guns traced back to California, but I just don't have an answer. Do you think the crime guns in these four incidents originated in California? How exactly would they move from a legitimate sale which required a background check into the criminal world? Or do you think the young thugs and gang members go over to Nevada and Arizona to pick up their guns?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Miami Cop Adam Tavss Kills Two in a Row

The New York Times reports on the apathy with which Miami is responding to the two fatal shootings within a week of their patrolman Adam Tavss.

The first one was Husien Shehada, which took place on June 14th. The second was Lawrence McCoy Jr., which took place three days later.

The grainy video from an outdoor security camera shows Husien Shehada walking through South Beach just after 4 a.m., then stopping and putting his hands in the air. His brother, Samer Shehada, steps beside him — then three gunshots from a police officer off-screen throw Husien Shehada to the sidewalk. “His eyes were still open,” said Samer Shehada, 31. “And when they say you can see the life leaving someone’s eyes, I could see that.”

Four days later, the same officer who shot Husien Shehada, 29 — Adam Tavss, a Miami Beach patrolman who had been on the force for three years — was involved in a second shooting. Calls to 911 suggested that each man was armed, but neither appeared to have a weapon when shot. Both later died.

The Miami Beach Police Department and the state attorney’s office are investigating the shootings. But since the first shooting on June 14, the police and lawyers representing the victims’ families have been battling for sympathy with leaks, exaggerations and omissions, and the public struggles with who to blame, who is covering up — and how much to care.

I find it hard to believe these shootings would be met with apathy. Has Miami become so savage that anything less than a major shooting in which several people are killed and wounded gets ignored?

The first incident was covered by video surveillance as well as eye-witnesses. It turned out the victim had a coat hanger under his shirt, which could have been mistaken for a weapon, not the ridiculous claim that he had an AK under his shirt, but some kind of weapon that patrolman Tavss mistook for a gun. Still, I'd say that threat was met with excessive force.

In the second shooting, the men were running away. This is unacceptable police brutality at its worst.

What's your opinion? Do you think the police should be given a break due to the incredible pressure they're under putting their lives on the line every day? Or do you think they should be held to an even higher standard as far as gun-play goes?

Has Miami become jaded to all the violence? Don't these kinds of incidents in other cities generate a mass outcry and demonstrations? What's going on down there?

Please feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Big DGU Question

The question is "how many?" How many times per year do people use guns to protect themselves? Professor Gary Kleck, noted pro-gun criminologist from Florida State University conducted a survey which he claims leads to the conclusion that 2.5 million such encounters occur each year. Of course this has been refuted by other academics, including Dr. David Hemenway of Harvard in his book entitled Private Guns, Public Health. Hemenway's contention is that Kleck's inflated numbers are the result of many "false positives" from the respondents.

The NCVS (National Crime Victimization Survey) is offered as a more reasonable alternative. This survey controlled for a "threatened, attempted or completed victimization," thereby eliminating most of the false positives Kleck retained. The resulting estimate for defensive gun use is between 55,000 and 120,000 annually.

The NCVS report has some limitations. It only considered six serious crimes, omitting such things as trespassing and vandalism, which could certainly warrant legitimate defensive gun use. On the other hand, no one seems too concerned with the offensive and unnecessary use of guns which are often described as legitimate after the fact. Perhaps that kind of thing has no place in serious academic research, being impossible to quantify. Blogs like this are the place to explore these possibilities, but it requires common sense, logic and honesty. My contention has always been that when you've got millions of gun owners, you're going to have a certain amount of this misuse which is naturally covered up as much as possible. It's human nature. It's all part of the 10%.

Cliff wrote a wonderful post last year over at One Utah about this. Reference is made to the National Institute of Justice report entitled, Guns in America: National Survey on Private Ownership and Use of Firearms.

Regardless of which estimates one believes, only a small fraction of adults have used guns defensively in 1994. The only question is whether that fraction is 1 in 1,800 (as one would conclude from the NCVS) or 1 in 100 (as indicated by the NSPOF estimate based on Kleck and Gertz’s criteria).

What's your opinion? Does the insistence that there are 2.5 million DGUs per year remind you of the anti-gun crowd insisting that 90% of the Mexican guns come from the U.S.? Maybe it's about time the pro-gun folks backtracked on this one the way the gun control people have on the other.

Please leave a comment.

Crossing the Line

MSNBC has posted a series of videos of the entire Dateline documentary. We've talked about this fascinating case before. There's just one question I still want to know: where is Whitey?

Come to think of it, I think I spotted him myself one day while sipping a cappuccino near the Coliseum. He was speaking perfect Italian and looked just like Jack Nicholson.

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