Saturday, May 22, 2010

Dennis Henigan on the Calderon Speech

The Brady Blog contained a wonderful post by Dennis Henigan. As if in response to the pro-gun reaction to the Mexican president's speech, Henigan makes a case for the gun control side.

Unlike many of our own political leaders, President Calderon understands that the American people have as much at stake on this issue as the Mexican people. He told Congress: “Today, these weapons are aimed by the criminals not only at rival gangs but also at Mexican civilians and authorities. And with all due respect, if you do not regulate the sale of these weapons in the right way, nothing guarantees that criminals here in the United States with access to the same power of weapons will not decide to challenge the American authorities and civilians.”

The Mexican President was being diplomatic. Criminals with assault weapons challenging American police and civilians represent not a future prospect, but today’s continuing and tragic reality. As Congress listened to Calderon’s words, two Arkansas police officers lay fatally wounded. What more justification for action does Congress need?

What do you think? Are there probably some handguns going south of the border too? I guess the gun dealers and manufacturers are making out like bandits, eh? And, of course, the NRA and gun owners at large have their own stake in the game. But, it's bad news and something should be done.

And then there is President Obama. He should be profoundly embarrassed that it took the President of another country to call on Congress to take action on guns, while he and his Administration cower in fear of the gun lobby. If our President ever summons the courage to ask Congress to do the right thing on guns, he need look no further than the words of President Calderon: “I admire the American Constitution, and I understand that the purpose of the Second Amendment is to guarantee good American citizens the ability to defend themselves and their Nation. But believe me, many of these guns are not going to honest American hands.”

President Calderon understands that it does no damage to the Second Amendment to protect police officers from assault weapons. Thank you, Mr. President, for speaking for our people, as well as your own.

Are you listening, President Obama?

It is still a bit of a mystery to me that Obama has failed so badly in this. I'm hoping Sarah Palin was right at the NRA Convention and that we'll see the results in Obama's second term.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Canadian Gun Dealer Arrested

Seattlepi reports.

Federal agents said Thursday they have arrested a Canadian gun dealer who kept a stash of sniper rifles and ammunition at a Washington storage unit near the U.S. northern border.

Oliver King - who also uses his given name, Hamid Malekpour - was arrested Wednesday in Ferndale, which is about 10 miles south of the Canadian border. He made an initial appearance Thursday at U.S. District Court in Seattle on charges of making false statements to a government agency and being an alien in possession of firearms.

"Being and alien in possession of firearms?" Now that's a law I'll bet FatWhiteMan can get behind. What do you think?

Glenn Beck Meets Tony Soprano

The No-Fly List

FishyJay sent us the link for this fascinating story about the no-fly list.

The United States has issued a written apology to a jet-setting billionaire businessman with close ties to former President Bill Clinton whose name was added to the no-fly list in the wake of the attempted Christmas day bombing of an American passenger plane.

Gilbert Chagoury, 64, a Nigerian citizen of Lebanese descent, was pulled off a private jet Jan. 15 at Teterboro airport in New Jersey and detained for more than four hours after federal agents discovered his name was on the then-recently updated no-fly list.

It seems there was a tenuous connection between a Nigerian banker of Chagoury's acquaintance and the Christmas day bomber. Part of the government's explanation was this:

"Please understand that in order to detect those international travelers involved in illicit activities, we must, at times, unfortunately inconvenience law-abiding travelers," the DHS official wrote to Chagoury in April.

What's your opinion? Doesn't that make sense? Of course it does, but it brings up a disquieting concern.

If it was difficult for a politically-connected billionaire to restore his privileges to fly into the United States, what about ordinary people entangled in the enhanced screening for the no-fly list?

What do you think? Is it worth it that some people will be inconvenienced in order for the government to do its job of searching out terrorists? Aren't the stakes too high to allow everyone free movement unless they've already been convicted of terror related crimes? Don't you think it's possible to ensure this terror-list policy is not abused, short of eliminating the whole thing?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Tennessee Veto

Trigger-Happy Cops in Fort Worth

The Star-Telegram reports on what they suggest may have been a case of suicide-by-cop. I don't think so.

Contrary to what an agitated Jose Vieira told a 911 dispatcher -- "I do have a gun" -- investigators did not find a weapon after the 21-year-old man was fatally shot by a Fort Worth police officer Monday morning, officials said Wednesday.

Police released more information about the confrontation on a residential Richland Hills street, saying that Vieira shouted, "I do want to hurt somebody!" just seconds before grabbing something that appeared to officers to be a gun from inside the SUV he was driving.

They learned later that Vieira was holding a cellphone and music CDs, said Lt. Paul Henderson, a police spokesman.

"In their minds, he had a black and silver gun," Henderson said. "We may never know if Mr. Vieira intentionally wanted the officers to think that he had a gun, but his actions and his behavior are certainly consistent with cases of suicide by cop."

In my opinion, part of the problem is that cops know they will usually get the benefit of the doubt in such cases. They don't have to be as careful as they could be, they don't have to take chances. That leads to too many unnecessary police shootings.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Conflict Resolution the Pennsylvania Way

Public Opinion reports on a Pennsylvania gun owner who got himself in a little trouble.

A 54-year-old Bedford County man allegedly pointed a loaded gun at a 36-year-old woman, then fired a round into a nearby field Sunday afternoon.

Pennsylvania State Police, McConnellsburg, said Barry Duke Bunker, 54, of Six Mile Run, showed up at the woman's home on Waterfall Road in Taylor Township and demanded that his 18-year-old daughter leave with him. He reportedly became upset when the woman refused to notify his daughter.

The woman and other witnesses told police that Bunker then got a gun from his vehicle and loaded it before confronting her.

No one was injured. Bunker is charged with aggravated assault, terroristic threats, simple assault, and reckless endangerment.

Now, anyone who knows me knows that I'm all for weeding out these kinds of gun owners, the ones who can't deal with conflict and resort to the gun. But, what is it with these new "terrorist" laws? Isn't it ridiculous to charge a guy like this with anything with the word "terror" in it?

Of course the story brings up one of my favorite themes. How many gun owners are like this, percentage-wise? What's your opinion about that? Is it so low that we don't need to worry about it? Or is it something to be concerned with?

Please leave a comment.

States' Rights vs. The Fed

Bloomberg Businessweek reports on the battle between states' rights and the federal government.

The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence is joining the federal government's fight to stop states that want to exempt themselves from national gun control laws, arguing the effort threatens public safety.

The gun control advocates and the U.S. Department of Justice both filed new arguments Tuesday in the ongoing legal battle over federal gun control and states rights.

The issue was sparked with the "firearm freedoms act" first enacted in Montana last year and subsequently in several other states, and is leading to a constitutional showdown over the reach of Congress into state borders.

"That concern is no less important here, where an illegal market for firearms exists across state lines," the federal government's court brief said in asking for a quick dismissal. "In essence, Montana will create weapons that are readily accessible to those who seek to avoid a background check, with no record of transaction and no traceable markings."

It said the firearms freedom acts would stimulate the illicit interstate market in firearms.

Doesn't that make sense, the idea that gun control laws are made less effective if individual states exempt themselves? It seems pretty obvious to me.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

When in Doubt, Watch Pulp Fiction

Iowa Hero Survives Shooting

Radio Iowa reports on the incredible survival story of a victim of a home invasion shooting.

A southwest Iowa man who was shot three times Monday afternoon by an intruder says he noticed something strange when he got home from work.

Matt Herring left his construction job in Atlantic early and got home at about six o’clock, but the doors of his home near Corning were locked. They’re usually unlocked. Then he saw something in a window.

“I didn’t see a face. I just saw like a silhouette of a person in there and I thought, ‘Well, somebody is in the house and that’s kind of crazy and then there was like a split second and he fired three rounds and I caught all three of them, I guess,” Herring says, “two in my arm and one in my flank.”

All right, I guess his military training didn't include enough situational awareness. And the common sense was a bit lacking. Obviously this is not the kind of place you should leave your doors unlocked.

After the shooting, Herring took cover in some nearby trees, called his wife on the cell to warn her not to come home with the kid, and successfully evaded his attacker. That was pretty heads-up reacting. But here's the best part, where he credits the military.

“They teach you how to fix up yourself and other people, but I couldn’t rip my shirt because I only had one arm, so I couldn’t bandage it up,” Herring said. “So I just stuck my fingers in the two bullet holes and proceeded to the neighbor’s house.”

If he'd been armed himself, would it have made much difference? Maybe he wouldn't have had to cower in the bushes for fear of his life. What do you think? With a gun he could have faced his attacker like a man and shot it out with him. Last man standing is the winner, right?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The Pleasures of Hunting

FishyJay said, "mikeb appears to even oppose hunting, despite the parent & child bonding benefit that we see here."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Rights of non-Citizens

FatWhiteMan left this comment about the video which the Liberal Viewer is commenting on.

If they are a foreign national, regardless of where they are committing their act of terror, they have nothing.

Sorry, FWM, the Liberal Viewer says you're wrong about that.

New Wintemute Study

The Ethiopian Review is the first place I've seen reference to this study, which should attract a bit of attention.

A new UC Davis Health System study finds that handgun buyers, if they have any prior criminal record, go on to commit felonies and violent misdemeanor crimes at much higher rates than law-abiding gun owners do. Identifying individuals who legally purchased guns and likely still own them after being convicted of subsequent crimes that prohibit gun ownership could be a valuable violence prevention measure, according to the study.

“The United States works hard to prevent felons, domestic violence offenders and other people with serious criminal convictions from buying guns,” said Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician and director of the UC Davis Violence Prevention Research Program. “We looked at how often people who have purchased guns legally, then became prohibited from owning them. It was a surprise to find such a significant correlation between minor criminal records among legal handgun purchasers and their subsequent convictions for more serious crimes.”

I think the good doctor was being a bit sarcastic when he said that last sentence. I don't find that surprising at all. In fact this is one of the common sense conclusions that reasonable people could easily agree upon, the very type that gun rights advocates insist on denying unless proof is supplied. Well, here it is.

Of course, when surveys and polls prove what any unbiased person would already agree to, the gun folks attack the survey and say it was all a trick. I'm sure they'll have no trouble disproving any study Prof. Wintemute comes up with. He is the enemy, after all.

What's your opinion? Do you think people with minor criminal records are more likely to commit felonies than people with clean records? If that's the case, do you think some or all of them should be disqualified from buying guns?

Please leave a comment.

Soldier of Fortune on Kagan

Soldier of Fortune sounds off on Elena Kagan.

So it is more than a little interesting that Barack Qbama has reached into his closet of political leftists to bring out Elena Kagan — a woman whose legal views have been shaped by the most extreme socialist voices in Washington.

Did you get that: "shaped by the most extreme socialist voices in Washington?"

Kagan doesn’t have a record of judicial opinions. She hasn’t been a judge. So the crafty Obama figures that, without a paper trail, we won’t know of the ways she is moving American jurisprudence to the left until it’s too late.

Did you get that: "the crafty Obama?"

Kagan was also part of the Clinton team that pushed the firearms industry to include gun locks with all gun purchases and was in the Clinton administration when the president pushed legislation that would close down gun shows.

How about this one: "pushed legislation that would close down gun shows?"

President Obama has made it very clear that he expects Kagan’s “powers of persuasion” to make her and Justice Anthony Kennedy the swing votes to uphold his anti-gun ObamaCare legislation.

And this: "President Obama has made it very clear."

Kagan, like the President who nominated her, is an extreme leftist. According to (May 6, 2009), she is so far to the left she has lamented that socialism has “never attained the status of a major political force” in our country.

And finally, this: "Kagan, like the President who nominated her, is an extreme leftist."

What's your opinion? Do you think the Soldier of Fortune writer likes to exaggerate a little? Or do you find these descriptions accurate?

Please leave a comment.

Vermont Manslaughter Trial

Google reports on the manslaughter trial in Vermont.

John Reiss, English Professor Emeritus was sitting down to eat dinner in his suburban Essex home when a rifle bullet tore through a window and hit him in the chest, killing him on the spot.

Police didn't have to look far to figure out what had happened. At the house next door, four men were taking target practice with rifles and a shotgun in a backyard shooting range, the sound of gunfire still heard by police arriving at Reiss' home in response to a frantic 911 call from his wife.

Because the four had been taking turns shooting the weapons, prosecutors concede they don't know who fired the fatal shot.

But they charged two of the men with involuntary manslaughter, and the trial got under way Tuesday for one of them — Joseph McCarthy, a 40-year-old tool operator at IBM who had set up the shooting range in his backyard, about 750 feet from Reiss' house.

Prosecutors say McCarthy, who had passed a hunter safety course 10 days before, should have known the risk posed by the shooting party and should be held criminally liable for Reiss' death. If convicted, he could get 15 years in prison.

Isn't it possible to blame this accident on the lax gun attitudes in Vermont? And by extension, wouldn't it be possible to blame all gun rights supporters who tout Vermont as the paragon of gun-totin' liberty?

I say yes. And you're only defense is a shabby one, that it happens infrequently enough that it's worth it.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Virginia Boy to be Tried as an Adult

The Washington Post reports on another case of trying a teenager as an adult.

A judge has ruled that a 15-year-old student accused of firing a gun inside a Portsmouth high school will be tried as an adult.

Keith Elliott is charged with underage possession of a firearm, brandishing a firearm and discharging a firearm, one count of breaking and entering while armed with a deadly weapon and two counts of discharging a firearm in a school.

A police detective testified in Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court on Monday that Elliott told him he didn't intend to hurt anyone.

The judge watched a video of students running out of the Wilson High School cafeteria after shots were fired on April 28.

I don't know whose bright idea it is to try kids as adults, but it just doesn't make sense. Regardless of the severity of the crime, who could possibly believe that putting a kid into an adult prison will do anything but make matters worse?

In this case it's especially silly. One of the charges is "underage possession of a firearm." What are these people thinking?

Of course, we are talking about Virginia which is giving Texas and Arizona a run for their money as the state with the most backward laws.

Ehat's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Boulder, Colorado - Murder / Suicide

Fox News Denver has the report.

A disgruntled employee shot and killed the owners of a Boulder flooring store in an apparent dispute over sales commissions, police said Tuesday.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Beckner said officers found the bodies of 50-year-old Robert Montgomery, 40-year-old Sean Griffin and 41-year-old Staci Griffin inside Boulder Stove & Flooring on Monday after witnesses heard gunshots in a back office.

Beckner said the Griffins, who lived in Longmont, suffered multiple gunshot wounds, while Montgomery had just one. A coroner will officially rule whether Montgomery killed himself.

The video says he bought the gun ten days beforehand and practiced. Too bad he didn't live in Washington D.C. where the authorities have some kind of chance at spotting a nut like this and preventing him from getting his hands on a gun. In Colorado, where guns are a way of life, that's not possible.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Good Advice

More on D.C Gun Laws

FishyJay sent us this link to the Chicago Tribune's article on the D.C. gun laws since Heller.

But they are not likely to succeed. The court said some restrictions are permissible, such as a ban on carrying concealed guns and barring sales to felons. But new regulations will have to be defensible as means to protect vital governmental interests without unduly burdening gun rights. Registration and safety training are plausible requirements. But anything that seems designed more to deter people from getting guns than at assuring their safe use will be invalidated.

Not that this fact will stop the gun control zealots in Washington from doing their worst. They may not be able to get their way, but they can postpone the day when the Second Amendment actually means what it says in their jurisdiction.

What FishyJay had to say about it is this.

Invalidated? One can hope. But as we recently discussed, to deter people from getting guns is an important goal of "gun control." No wonder Heller is such a problem.

Of course, some gun rights activists will disagree with "registration and safety training are plausible requirements." But the underlying objection to registration is all the instances where registered guns have been confiscated and where registration and safety training are purposely made complex to deter compliance for the sake of deterring gun ownership. If further clarifications of Heller do indeed prohibit confiscation and "anything that seems designed more to deter people from getting guns than at assuring their safe use," then the main objection by many gunowners to registration and safety training will have been removed.

I agree with the idea that it's unlikely anything will be invalidated, but not with the motive behind these things.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

D.C. Gun Laws

FishyJay sent us the link to this Wall Street Journal article about the evolving gun rights situation in Washington D.C. since Heller.

Mark Snyder, an amateur biathlete, wanted to buy a .22-caliber bolt-action rifle for target shooting and figured the process would take about a week. After nearly six weeks, six visits to police departments and $300 in fees, he secured his rifle.

"I was not expecting a free ride," said Mr. Snyder, 45, "but this is an obstacle course they put in place."

The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the District of Columbia's 32-year ban on handguns in 2008, a victory for the gun-rights lobby that seemed to promise a more permissive era in America's long tussle over gun ownership. Since then, the city has crafted rules that are proving a new, powerful deterrent to residents who want to buy firearms.

I wondered if the folks in power in the District, the ones who make these rules are being sore losers and saying in effect, "oh, yeah, you think you won, well we'll show you."

On the other hand, many of the restrictions make good sense.

After the Heller decision, the District's city council passed the Firearms Registration Amendment Act of 2008.

Under the law, would-be gun owners must go through a process requiring fingerprints, photographs and the detailing of some job history.

Applicants have to take a 20-question test on the District's gun laws and regulations. There is a five-hour class, including at least one hour at a gun range, although the city doesn't have a public one. Buyers are required to find trainers from a list approved by police. There is a vision exam, and once the process is complete, the gun must be taken back to the police to be fired for a ballistic identification.

The registration expires after three years and must be renewed. If it lapses, the police can seize the gun, and for a first offense, the owner could be jailed for up to one year and fined $1,000.

The law designates certain guns as assault weapons that can't be bought in the city. It limits the size of the ammunition-feeding devices to no more than 10 bullets. Many common semi-automatic pistols can hold more than that.

In 2011, the city will require semi-automatic pistols owned in the city to be produced with devices that imprint shell casings with a code or serial number as part of the firing process. That would make it easier to link shell casings to guns. The technology, known as micro-stamping or micro-engraving, is in its infancy, and most manufacturers haven't yet adopted it.

On second thought, they don't make all that much sense. What possible good is a 20-question test? And what kind of skills do you think people get from one hour at the range and four in the classroom? No, those are pretty much worthless.

I'd say the written examination should be more like testing for the bar, something which requires serious study and preparation. And for the training aspect, something along the lines of Parris Island Marine training would work. All right, I admit I'm exaggerating, but you get my point, right?

Another thing is I find it hard to believe a biathlete like the one mentioned in the story would be treated the same as someone applying for a handgun license. If that is the case, it's wrong. The right way for me would be to expedite certain applications, athletes, collectors and the like. The rest should have to jump through all the hoops.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

9th Grade Murder in Alabama

CNN reports on the latest school gun tragedy in Alabama.

A ninth-grade student was in custody Saturday and charged with murder after he allegedly shot a classmate in the back of the head at their northern Alabama middle school, authorities said.

The shooting happened during a class change around 1:45 p.m. Friday at Discovery Middle School in Madison, just west of Huntsville, police said.

Police Chief Larry Muncey was on the scene with the following observation.

Muncey said the threat to the school is now over.

"It's a horrific event and I hate it, and I wish we could have changed it, but our schools are safe," he told reporters.

Do you believe that? Do you believe "our schools are safe?" I don't. And they won't be safe until we start moving away from the gun-friendly attitudes that are so prevalent in places like Alabama. They won't be as long as guys like Dale Peterson are immensely popular with the regular folk. As long as the gun-totin', horse-ridin' images of real men who carry guns continue to brainwash the young people, our schools won't be safe.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

When You're Right You're Right

"You know what, you're right. I have been a little over the top lately. Point taken. Sorry."

Hartland Sportsman's Club

JSOnline reports on the stray bullet incident which took place a couple weeks ago, slightly wounding a woman in a nearby diner. It seems this is not the first time bullets have gone astray from the shooting range. Part of the problem is that over the years residential development has crowded the area surrounding the club. For the time being it's closed pending investigation. But the reactions are typical.

The club is conducting its own investigation into last month's incident, and the club's attorney, Steven H. Gibbs, declined to comment on the police report released Thursday because he had not received it yet.

But Gibbs has challenged gun club opponents' assertions that bullets have strayed from the club at W302-N963 county Highway E at least four other times prior to the Brewhaus case.

Naturally you'd expect denial from the lawyer. But how about this comment by Steve Paluch?

Journal Sentinel's war on guns continues.

What's your opinion? Would it be right to inconvenience all the shooters who use the range because the occasional round goes astray? Where would they go then? It might be worse.

Please leave a comment.

The Florida GOP

The Orlando Sentinel reports on the political climate in central Florida.

U.S. Senate hopeful Marco Rubio and four other Republican hopefuls stumped at Central Florida’s largest gun show Saturday, courting a powerful force in Florida politics: gun owners.

Rubio, a Miami native, made his rounds at the Central Florida Fairgrounds to meet gun enthusiasts and suppliers while displaying his support for the Second Amendment — the one protecting the right to keep and bear arms. Rubio received his concealed-weapons license last summer after announcing his Senate candidacy.

“It’s an important constitutional right,” Rubio said at the Great Southern Classic Gun and Knife Show. “It separates us from the rest of the world.”

Now, there's something worthy of a QOTD. "It separates us from the rest of the world."


Attorney General Bill McCollum, who is running for governor, spent most of the morning at the show shaking hands with conservatives.

McCollum doesn’t have a concealed weapons license but noted he’s a quail hunter and owned a shotgun before it was stolen “a while ago.” But he affirmed he was a defender of the Second Amendment.

Why would he even say that? Doesn't he realize that having a gun stolen is almost as bad as misusing the weapon himself? As a savvy politician, isn't he smart enough to keep his mouth shut about something that can be damaging to his career, something about which people might think he's a stupid and irresponsible man who failed to properly secure his shotgun?

Of course, the people he was addressing wouldn't think any such thing. To them, getting a gun stolen every once in a while is part of the deal. It's certainly nothing that can reflect back on the gun owner since only the thief is responsible for his actions. That's about it, right?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Guns are Bad News for Women - Part 253

The Dallas Morning News reports. Many couples argue. But in order for something like this to happen, some critical factors need to be in place, one of which is gun availability. Way to go Texas. Way to go gun owners. Guns are still bad news for women.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office says a man has been arrested in the shooting death of his pregnant wife in front of their three young children.

Authorities say the man shot the woman multiple times Sunday morning. Neither the husband nor wife has been identified.

Mark Herman, assistant chief in the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's office, says the woman was getting her three children — ages 2, 8 and 10 — into a car in their driveway when she was shot.

The Houston Chronicle reports that neighbors told investigators they heard a loud argument before hearing gunshots.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Glenn and Bill on Terrorists' Rights

Can we all agree at least that this is a fascinating issue?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Worst-Case Thinking

Thanks JadeGold for the link to this wonderful article.

There's a certain blindness that comes from worst-case thinking. An extension of the precautionary principle, it involves imagining the worst possible outcome and then acting as if it were a certainty. It substitutes imagination for thinking, speculation for risk analysis and fear for reason. It fosters powerlessness and vulnerability and magnifies social paralysis. And it makes us more vulnerable to the effects of terrorism.

Worst-case thinking means generally bad decision making for several reasons. First, it's only half of the cost-benefit equation. Every decision has costs and benefits, risks and rewards. By speculating about what can possibly go wrong, and then acting as if that is likely to happen, worst-case thinking focuses only on the extreme but improbable risks and does a poor job at assessing outcomes.

Second, it's based on flawed logic. It begs the question by assuming that a proponent of an action must prove that the nightmare scenario is impossible.

Third, it can be used to support any position or its opposite. If we build a nuclear power plant, it could melt down. If we don't build it, we will run short of power and society will collapse into anarchy. If we allow flights near Iceland's volcanic ash, planes will crash and people will die. If we don't, organs won't arrive in time for transplant operations and people will die. If we don't invade Iraq, Saddam Hussein might use the nuclear weapons he might have. If we do, we might destabilize the Middle East, leading to widespread violence and death.

Reading the article I couldn't help but think about the way Xavier prepares for that home invasion that in all likelihood will never come. And so many other times the individual responsibility guys explained how although the chances are slim, they must be prepared because the possible consequences are so great. This, of course, led to the meteorite metaphor.

What's your opinion? Do gun owners go in for this kind of worst-case thinking? Can the article be applied to them?

Please leave a comment.

Obama Does Standup

Thanks to Coonsey's World.

The Filthy Mess in Afghanistan

Thanks to A Tiny Revolution.

Background Checks on Gun Rentals

JSOnline reports on the question of no background checks for gun rentals.

Gun stores must check the criminal background of anyone buying a gun. But no check is required if someone rents a gun to use on the store's shooting range. In fact, a background check is not even allowed for rentals.

Prosecutors say a felon or other person legally barred from having a gun is breaking the law by handling one and could be charged. But they need proof.

"They can go and play with a gun, handle it, fire it, even take pictures with it to intimidate other people and nobody is going to know about it," said Joseph J. Vince Jr., a retired supervisor from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

At first it doesn't seem like all that much of a problem. But the more you think about it the more it does.

Badger Guns owner Adam Allan said the store recently stopped renting guns after two men - including one who was barred from having a gun - committed suicide on the store's shooting range on April 27 and May 1.

Without a background requirement for rentals, it would be nearly impossible to charge a clerk or store owner with supplying a gun to a felon, prosecutors said.

"It seems to provide cover for the gun shop owner," said Daniel Bach, a Madison attorney and former federal prosector.

It seems there's a bit of ambiguity about what constitutes possession of the gun.

A background check in that case is not needed because the gun store has "constructive possession" of the gun, according to Robert Schmidt, spokesman for the ATF, which regulates gun stores.

"As long as it doesn't leave the facility, they don't have to do a check," Schmidt said. "That is how the law reads. It is pretty clear. They don't have to do it. Those are the laws we are working with."

Legal experts said the ATF's legal logic appears to contradict federal law on what constitutes possession.

"The underlying concept is bizarre," said Frank Tuerkheimer, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin and former U.S. attorney for western Wisconsin.

And finally, the question of gun-range suicide is covered.

Like Badger Guns, a Florida gun store, Shoot Straight, was the scene of two suicides in a short time.

Like Badger, the owner of the store said he would stop renting guns because the State of Florida would not allow him to run background checks on renters. The store later resumed rentals anyway at its three central Florida locations. The store's owner declined to comment.

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn said he was alarmed to hear that stores can rents guns without doing background checks.

"It is just stunning to me we can't take an elementary precaution to make sure we are not allowing dangerous criminals to become more firearms proficient, wrapped in the protections of federal law," he said. "Nothing wrong with target practice, but target practice for violent felons, not such a good idea."

What's your opinion? Wouldn't requiring background checks on folks who want to rent guns at the range screen out some of these problems? Why does it often seem the gun owners and gun dealers have things slanted in their favor? Why does public safety and common sense always lose to gun rights?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

The ex-Boyfriend

The Pasedena Star-News reported on a murder which took place in broad daylight.

A suspect was behind bars Saturday on suspicion of killing his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend with a shotgun.

Rafael Berumen, 55, was booked on suspicion of murder a short time after Friday's 1:30 p.m. shooting in the parking lot of El Primo Foods in the 600 block of Monterey Pass Road, Detective David Gunner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau said. He initially was believed to be a Pomona resident.

Monterey Park police officials and sheriff's deputies found Berumen at a Los Angeles residence about 4 p.m. Friday, where he was arrested after a brief armed standoff, officials said.

"He stood in the middle of the street for approximately 15 minutes with a handgun," Gunner said. "He never pointed it at officers or deputies. He just stood there asking to be shot."

People who feel a gun is the answer to a failed relationship, or who can't take the breaking up, should not own guns. They certainly shouldn't have them handy in their cars.

People who claim that California's gun laws don't work should consider that over the border in Nevada and Utah you can buy guns as easy a fishing poles. That's what's wrong.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Rambo vs. Godzilla

FishyJay's latest contribution reminds me of one of the gun control arguments we don't talk about much: the ever-escalating cycle of violence that results from striving to out-arm yourself compared to the "bad guys."

Another point of reflection is the 3%er foolishness of arming themselves to fight off the godzilla-government.

All good stuff. Thanks FishyJay.

Who's Next

This has got to be one of the greatest rock albums of all time. Listening to it this morning I couldn't decide which song to post about. Who could choose from among such greats as Baba O'Riley (teenage wasteland) and Won't Get Fooled Again (new boss - old boss)?

So, when in doubt, I always pick the song with the gun reference. Which is your favorite?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Glenn Beck at the Convention

On The Truth About Guns, one of my new favorite gun blogs, Brad Kozak posted his live-blogging description of Glenn Beck's talk at the NRA convention. It was a fascinating account. Several times Brad referred to the crowd loving it, but I wondered what Brad himself thought.

I really hope his not specifically saying he loved what Beck was doing is an indication of some reservations on his part about Glenn Beck. I find The Truth About Guns to be a refreshing change from the usual fare in the gun blogging world, but if they're Glenn Beck fans, I don't know, I may have to reconsider.

I'll add that the fact the NRA conventioneers enthusiastically encourage Glenn Beck's nonsense says more about them than it does about the "rodeo clown."

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

3-Year-Old Alaskan Boy Dead

Fox News reports on another tragedy in Alaska.

Anchorage police say a 3-year-old boy has died after finding a gun and accidentally shooting himself.

Police spokeswoman Anita Shell says the father called 911 after 9 a.m. Friday. The father reported the child had taken a gun off a TV stand and shot himself.

Shell says investigators were interviewing both the father, the only other person at home at the time of the shooting, and the mother.

There's your gun paradise.

Paul Helmke's Steady Consistent Message

This was at the NRA gun rally last month. I find it more and more difficult to understand the animosity of gun rights folks towards this man. He's a paragon of reasonable discourse and common sense.

Ohio Cop Guilty of Shooting Motorcyclist in Back

The Toledo Blade reports on the conviction of cop who shot a motorcycle rider in the back during a traffic stop. The story is about former Police Officer "Thomas White, 27, who was indicted on one count of felonious assault with a firearms specification for the May 23, 2009, shooting of Michael McCloskey, Jr."

Video taken by a dashboard camera about 2:15 a.m. showed Mr. McCloskey pull over his motorcycle and look back at the patrol car. When Mr. McCloskey again turns to look back, he is shot and he and the motorcycle fall over.

The officer then appears on the screen and has his gun drawn while the victim is on the ground. After a period, the officer and another man lift the motorcycle off of the victim.

Mr. Lingo said the video was the prosecution's strongest evidence.

What's your opinion? Is McCloskey another one for the VPC list? Oh, I almost forgot, even if they did include cops on that list, this one didn't kill anybody.

At least he's been convicted and will be punished. It shows they don't always get away with that old "I thought he was about to pull a gun and my life was in danger" excuse.

What do you think is the appropriate punishment for this? Should he spend a lot of time in jail, or would the career-changing felony conviction itself be punishment enough?

Please leave a comment.

Washington State Cop Loses It

CNN reports on the double murder and suicide of a Pierce County Deputy.

A Washington state deputy accused of killing two relatives was found dead in a home Saturday morning, police said.

The suspect, an 11-year veteran Pierce County deputy, had been barricaded in the home for hours after shooting his in-laws, police said.

Authorities were not "100 percent" sure that the suspect died from self-inflicted wounds, according to a police spokeswoman.

The suspect's father-in-law died in the home, said Ed Troyer, another sheriff's department spokesman. His mother-in-law was taken to a nearby hospital where she later died, police said.

Troyer added that the deputy held his teenage children hostage for a while, but that they had been released.

A sad story indeed. It made me wonder about the VPC tabulations. Maybe they need to add police killers as a separate category. They count too.

The answer is not to disarm all the policemen, or to disarm all the people. The answer is to screen them better and to monitor them better.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Bloomberg is Not the Enemy of Gun Rights

FishyJay sent me this New York Times article about Mayor Bloomberg's plans to streamline the system for obtaining gun permits in NYC.

The Bloomberg administration announced on Friday that it was moving to simplify the process for New Yorkers to obtain gun permits, thus speeding up a set of byzantine licensing requirements that gun-rights advocates have long criticized as among the most restrictive in the country.

Now, that doesn't sound like the ogre gun rights advocates like to make him.

A spokesman for the mayor said on Friday that despite Mr. Bloomberg’s continuing fight, he had never taken issue with legal gun ownership, a perspective that Colin Weaver, of New Yorkers Against Gun Violence, said he was in sync with.

“The mayor is focused on crime control, not gun control,” said the Bloomberg spokesman, Jason Post. “He has no problem with people who want to go hunting. The issue is illegal guns that are killing people and, all too often, police officers.”

"The mayor is focused on crime control, not gun control." Who could object to that?

Even Alan Jura said it “sounds like progress.” What's your opinion? Wait, let me guess. Some will say it's too vague and won't change anything, that the system will continue to be too subjective. Others will say, the statement is political smoke and doesn't mean anything. And of course, we'll have some who insist Bloomberg is the enemy and we can't trust anything he says.

What do you think? Myself, I believe it when Bloomberg says he has nothing against legitimate gun ownership and that he's interested in crime control not gun control.

Please leave a comment.