Saturday, January 30, 2010

Boy Steals Gun - Shoots Dog for Barking reported on this unusual story in Virginia.

An 11-year-old boy from Spotsylvania County, Va., is in juvenile lockup after allegedly shooting a neighbor's dog because it barked too much, according to police.

The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office and Animal Control went to a house in the 13000 block of Mullins Court on Monday in response to reports that a dog had been shot. When they arrived, they found Molly, a German shepherd mix, lying on the porch. She had been shot in the neck.

Police canvassed the neighborhood looking for anyone who might have seen what happened. A short while later, the boy's mother called police to say she found a .22 caliber rifle in her son's possession and that he admitted to her that he shot the dog, according to the police report. He also confessed to stealing the gun from a neighbor, the report said. He was arrested and taken to juvenile detention.

The boy, who is not being identified, faces animal cruelty charges and several weapons charges. He could spend the next 10 years in juvenile detention.

You know what I say? Investigate the neighbor. If that gun hadn't been stored securely, which obviously it hadn't, the owner should be arrested along with the boy. Once that's done, we should investigate the boy's parents to try and determine where in the world he learned the ever-more-common lesson that "the gun is the answer." It wouldn't surprise me if there's a bit of the old shared responsibility within the family.

What's your opinion? How could an 11-year-old steal a neighbor's gun without at least some lapse in security on the neighbor's part?

Where do you think 11-year-olds learn about guns and shooting things that bother you? Is that from rap music or is that from daddy and his attitudes, generally speaking I mean?

Please leave a comment.

High-Tech Weapons

Wired has published a series of photographs of the latest products introduced at the SHOT show in Las Vegas last week. I was enjoying the innovative guns and rifles very much until I got to this little gem. When I read its description, specifically what the serrated edge is for, I remembered what we're dealing in here. We're dealing in tools of death. Anyone who is fascinated by these products, I would say has mental problems. These are tools for killing other human beings, and anyone who is fascinated with that is sick.

"A sales representative told us that the serrations on the inner edge are designed for beheading people."

How cool is that, I ask ya?

The Most Exclusive Club

Opinione published a fascinating article about the U.S. Senate. I don't often hear the things The Prince describes.

Sometimes described as “the world’s most exclusive club”, the United States Senate is perhaps one of the least known and understood institutions in the American government. A close examination of the composition and structure of the United States Senate helps explain how America has transformed from an agrarian republic envisioned by James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, to a financial aristocracy favored by Alexander Hamilton.

Further giving credibility and weight to the statement that American democracy has evolved into a plutocracy ruled by the wealthy are to include the list of millionaires in the lower House of Representatives, where 240 legislators were worth at least $1 million. The richest representative was likely Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who was worth an estimated $251,025,020 in 2008. The average net worth across the House was $4,670,831.

If American voters cast their votes in the 2010 Senate races based on their pocketbook and not based on their gun holster or union card, then and only then would you really see the interests of hard working American people be represented in Washington DC.

I find it very interesting that so many Americans are struggling financially yet these career politicians are, for the most part, on the other end of the spectrum. Do you think there's a problem with that? Can wealthy men truly represent the regular folk?

Did you like the Prince's advice to not vote with your gun holster or your union card but rather with your pocketbook? Do you think gun owners tend to vote for gun friendly politicians at the expense of other issues?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Asteroids and Meteorites

FishyJay sent these.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blue Flame Shooters to be Sentenced

The Washington Post reports on the trial of the two surviving robbers of the Harlem restaurant supply store.

The two surviving members of a group of would-be stickup artists thwarted by a shotgun-wielding Harlem restaurant supply store owner have pleaded guilty to robbery.

Prosecutors say 21-year-old Shamel McCloud and 22-year-old Bernard Witherspoon entered their pleas Wednesday. They're expected to be sentenced to five years in prison on March 11.

They were among four men who tried to hold up the Kaplan Brothers Blue Flame Corp. in August. Seventy-two-year-old store owner Charles Augusto Jr. fired at them, wounding McCloud and Witherspoon; two other men were killed.

McCloud's lawyer, Scott Leemon, called the episode a "drastic mistake" for McCloud. Witherspoon's lawyer didn't immediately return a telephone call.

Augusto wasn't charged. He says he hopes McCloud and Witherspoon aren't punished too harshly and fears prison would "mess them up."

It's a bit difficult to reconcile this remark from Mr. Augusto with the facts of the case. This is from the original report in the New York Times.

As the bandits bolted from the store, Augusto squeezed off three blasts from the pistol-grip shotgun from 20 to 30 feet away from the pistol-whipped employee.

I guess if this could have been considered a legitimate shooting, anything is possible, even for the trigger happy gun owner to be concerned for his victims, worried that prison might "mess them up."

To me what this shows is that even in gun-sensitive New York, the vigilante mentality is encouraged. Young criminals are open game even after they cease to be a threat.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment

Police Shoot Man with Baseball Bat of Phoenix reports on a police shooting which took place in Peoria.

Peoria police shot a man who officers said came at them with a baseball bat.

Police said they responded to a domestic violence call near 107th Avenue and Deer Valley Road on Monday evening. Investigators said a 62-year-old man had been fighting with his wife over finances. When police got to the house, they said the man, who was not identified, ignored their commands to back down and came at them with a baseball bat.

"He refused to comply with their commands, and at one point charged at them with the bat," said Jay Davies, Peoria Police Department spokesman. "A bat in close contact can do some serious damage, and the officers absolutely feared for their lives and fired to protect themselves and each other."

A third officer may have deployed her Taser, said police.

The man was airlifted to the hospital in critical condition.

How much do you want to bet they'll be exonerated? I'm sure the gun crowd supports this loose definition of lethal threat. I'm sure none of them would consider that one guy with a baseball bat cannot truly threaten several police officers. But what can happen is when police officers have their adrenalin pumping and issue commands like "drop the bat," which are ignored, they get very mad. Afterwards, like so many DGUs, they describe it as having been afraid for their lives.

What's your opinion? Do you condone this kind of police shooting?

Please leave a comment.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Stray Bullet Kills 13-Year-Old reports on the tragic shooting, via Ooh Shoot.

A 13-year-old boy was hit and killed by a stray bullet at a Gwinnett County apartment complex Monday night.

Officials with the Gwinnett County Police Department identified the victim as 13-year-old Tre Shambry.Several people called 911 to report gunshots at the Holland Park Apartments on Holland Place just before 10 p.m. Monday, according to police.At the same time, a woman called police to report her 13-year-old son had been shot in their apartment.

When police arrived they found the teen had been shot in the torso while lying in bed.Paramedics took the wounded teen to Gwinnett Medical Center, where he died.Police believe the fatal shot was fired while two men were arguing in the parking lot of the apartment complex."

It is possible that the parties responsible are unaware that a person was struck by their gunshots," said Officer Brian Kelly of the Gwinnett Police Department in a release.Officials believe that the individuals responsible for the shooting left in two separate vehicles. Witnesses stated that they saw a red-type vehicle and a silver or gray-type vehicle leave the complex shortly after the shooting, police said.

When is enough going to be enough? I say now. That's enough. Legitimate gun owners need to be prepared for serious inconvenience in the future. When their star begins its descend, common sense restrictions will be put in place. Gun registration, background checks on every transfer, closer scrutiny of FFL dealers, to name just a few of the needed changes, will be implemented as soon as the country gets fed up enough with what's going on.

The great weblog Ooh Shoot lists only accidental deaths, which everyone agrees are a tiny fraction of the deliberate ones. Yet these accidents are daily fare in the media. Enough is enough.

How can so-called responsible gun owners continue to turn a blind eye on these tragedies and deny any involvement? If they're not involved, I'd like to know who is, the non gun owners? No, I don't think so.

The first group responsible for this mess is the criminals who do the shootings, next it's the legitimate gun owners from whom the criminals get their guns, and next it's the gun manufacturers from whom the legal gun owners get theirs.

What's your opinioon? Please leave a comment.

A Scott Roeder Supporter

CNN interviewed Rev. Michael Bray, who supports killing abortion doctors. Before we talked about the possible involvement of Bill O'Reilly due to the numerous remarks he'd made on his show about Dr. Tiller. But, Michael Bray is even more direct.

The Great State of Indiana reports on a wild story that took place in Kokoma.

A Kokomo woman was arrested Wednesday after her 2-year-old daughter tested positive for methamphetamine, police said.

Heather M. Roe, 25, was preliminarily charged with neglect after police were called to a home in the 1700 block of N. Market St. to check on the welfare of the girl.

When officers began questioning Roe, they said she told them that her daughter had accidentally drank from a cup containing methamphetamine left on the counter of the home she was visiting.

The girl, who also had marks on her face, tested positive for the drug at a local hospital, police said. She was taken into state custody. Roe also faces a charge of illegal possession of anhydrous ammonia, an ingredient used in the manufacture of meth, in connection with a 2008 arrest.

Now, I don't usually point out grammatical errors and such, especially from fellow bloggers and commenters, but the guy who wrote this is supposed to be a journalist.

had accidentally drank

What's wrong with Indiana journalists and Indiana readers?

The other thing I can't help but notice is, as anyone who has ever cared for a 2-year-old knows, you give them downers not meth. What is wrong with Indiana mothers?

What's your opinion? Is the State of Indiana, which is well known for its backward gun attitudes, also suffering from other social ills? Do you see Indiana as perhaps taking over the top spot on the ridicule scale. Alabama and Mississippi have long enjoyed that popularity, but I think Indiana is on the move.

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

A Different View of Obama's 1st Year

From Liberal Viewer.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Colbert on Hunting Licenses and Bears

Via The Gun Guys.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Tip/Wag - Creigh Deeds & ScareBear Trail Companion
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorEconomy

Walla Walla Clerk Shot reports on an interesting shooting which took place during a robbery.

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A clerk who was shot in the back during a robbery at a convenience store in Walla Walla is expected to recover after surgery.

Police say the 35-year-old clerk didn't believe the gun was real, grabbed at it, and was shot during the struggle.

Police have surveillance video of the Friday night holdup as they look for the robber who fled the PDQ store with a small amount of cash. His face was covered and he wore a dark coat.

How do you think the store clerk could have mistaken the gun for a fake? It reminds me of the Colored Gun Ban in New York City which was roundly mocked by the pro-gun guys who tend to mock any gun legislation regardless of how sensible.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Niles, Illinois Teen Shoots Sister Accidentally

The Chicago Tribune reports on another accidental shooting.

No charges are expected to be filed against the Niles teen who accidentally shot his sister in the face Sunday with a gun he took from his father's business more than a week ago, authorities said.

"Was anything done with criminal intent? We didn't see that," said Sgt. Tom Davis. "There's nothing to charge the parents with because they didn't do anything, and the boy — he didn't do it with intent to hurt his sister."

The girl was expected to be released Monday night from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Davis said.

Authorities said the 13-year-old boy and his 8-year-old sister were playing with a toy gun in the basement of their house in the 8600 block of North Oketo Avenue about 3:40 p.m. Sunday.

"The girl was pretending to shoot him with a cap gun," and then the boy pulled a semiautomatic pistol from his pocket and shot her, Davis said.

The parents told police they had no knowledge a gun was in the house, Davis said, adding it was later learned the boy took the gun without anyone's knowledge from his father's Chicago business on Jan. 16. The gun was properly registered, police said.

It's certainly comforting to know that no charges will be brought against the father. We wouldn't want gun owners held responsible for the misdeeds of others, right? After all, the gun was properly registered.

Sarcasm aside, I find it absolutely unacceptable that gun owners can get away with things like this. If a man cannot control the guns in his possession, he should not be allowed to own them. If a man who owns guns has not taught his 13-year-old the difference between a real one and a fake one, that man should not be allowed to own guns.

If these qualities are too difficult to screen beforehand, fine, we wouldn't want to violate anyone's privacy or rights. But, once someone shows such appalling irresponsibility, he should become disqualified.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Glenn Beck on Progressives

The National Examiner ran a piece about Glenn Beck's latest foolishness. I honestly can't believe anyone sees him as anything other than an entertainer. (After this Stephen may have to change the title of his blog.)

Last Friday Glenn Beck aired a "documentary" which illustated the atrocities committed by historical leaders like Mao, Stalin, and Hitler. Throughout the documentary Beck hinted that these men were all somehow "progressives" and that progressive policies would lead our country to the same end.

POLITICO has since run a piece in which various professional historians contradict Beck. Their issue is not so much with Beck's condemnation of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler (almost every sensible person agrees they were evil dictators) but instead with Beck's twisted connection between these men and progressives.

What's your opinion about Glenn Beck? Please leave a comment.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Blind Man Shoots Brother by Accident

The Pasadena News reported this very bizarre and sad shooting. H/T Ooh Shoot.

EL MONTE - The fatal shooting of an El Monte man by his blind brother last week was not a murder, but rather a tragic accident, a homicide detective said Friday.

Erik Diaz, 19, was fatally shot about 1 a.m. on Jan. 16 in the apartment where he lived with his brother in the 4100 block of Rowland Avenue, sheriff's and police officials said.

His brother, Alex Diaz, 24, who is completely blind, was initially arrested following the shooting but was released Thursday, Detective Q. Rodriguez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau said.

"We don't believe it was an intentional shooting," said the detective, who described the incident as a "very unfortunate accident."

The brothers had a good relationship, and there was no argument prior to the shooting, he said.

Alex Diaz was devastated when detectives told him his brother had died, Rodriguez said. "He took it extremely hard."

The gun belonged to Alex Diaz, Rodriguez said, who told investigators he had it for protection from local gang members. He was not believed to be involved in gangs himself.

Officials were still investigating where he got the gun.

The shooting took placed as the brothers were in the living room of their apartment, Rodriguez said.

"The gun was pulled out," he said. The men were examining it when, "somehow it went off."

Alex Diaz was holding the weapon when it fired, the detective added. The handgun was found at the scene.

Can you believe Detective Rodriguez actually said, "somehow it went off?"

The question comes up, of course, should blindness be considered a disqualifying factor for gun ownership?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Schuylkyll River Trail in Pennsylvania

Sebastian recently posted about a shooting that took place on this trail in Pennsylvania. It was an interesting case of a man defending himself with a gun.
Some of you might remember the case of a guy who was assaulted by some kids on the Schuylkyll River Trail while on bicycle, and took a few shots at them after they began fleeing with the legally licensed pocket 380 he was carrying with him on the trail. I covered this case here, here and here.

The shooter was lucky enough not to have killed anyone, some suggested it was on purpose, which, of course, would violate any number of rules. His luck held out in court as well. Not only was he not severely punished for such reckless gun behavior as shooting at fleeing
teenagers on bikes, but he made a great plea bargain for himself, one which will enable him to preserve his precious gun rights.

Well, imagine my surprise, when I clicked on The Armed Citizen and read this story, which also took place on the Schuylkyll River Trail.

Man shoots at dog, owner cited for leash law

A dog owner was cited for not having his dog on a leash after a pedestrian on the Schuylkill River Trail in Norristown shot at the animal claiming it had charged at him Sunday morning.

After Cpl. David Brooke heard gunfire around 6:12 a.m., he went to the trail near Markley Street and encountered 27-year-old William Lee Bennett, who admitted shooting at a dog, according to Norristown Police Department.

Bennett said after he crossed the bridge over Markley Street on the way to the Norristown Transportation Center, he spotted a dog running free that was growling in a threatening manner and headed in his direction. Fearing he would be attacked, he fired at the animal with a Glock brand handgun.

Shooting at a dog or other animals threatening to attack a domestic pet or person is legal in Pennsylvania; however, as a precaution, Brooke took the man’s gun and pepper spray he was carrying.

Seconds after the dog’s owner heard gunfire, Kenyatta Spruill, 33, told police his Shepherd mix dog came running back to him near the path; however, Bennett didn’t see Spruill until after firing at the animal, according to police.

What is it with that trail? It sounds like it gets more than its share of gun play. What do you think?

Would this one be considered a legitimate DGU? Don't you think counting things like this is a way of padding the results in the favor of DGUs? I mean, this is a far cry from killing someone who's attacking you with a machete. Am I right?

Did you notice the guy had a Glock and pepper spray? Maybe he's been reading Sebastian who does the same thing. What do you think?

Please leave a comment.

Concealed Carry is on the Rise

The Lima Ohio Daily Me reports on the incredible increase in concealed carry permits in their part of Ohio. The link was provided by one of our favorite commenters, FatWhiteMan.

The number of people obtaining licenses to carry a concealed handgun exploded in 2009 up as high as 500 percent in the region.

"I hope criminals think twice before they attempt to steal from someone or harm someone," said Auglaize County Sheriff Al Solomon, who saw the number of concealed-carry licenses go up by 500 percent.

Solomon's department issued 464 new licenses in 2009 compared to 93 the previous year. But his agency is not alone. Putnam County Sheriff Jim Beutler issued 139 new licenses compared to 31 in 2008, an increase of 448 percent.

Allen County more than doubled its number issued at 684 last year compared to 323 in 2008. The county has 1,867 license holders, although some are from nearby counties. The number of license holders in Allen County represents nearly 2 percent of the population, which mirrors the state as a whole.

Allen County Sheriff Sam Crish said people obtaining licenses should put criminals on notice that people are serious about protecting themselves. And those people come from all walks of life from women to men, old, young and all professions, he said.

"With the numbers growing, it's a huge risk if you're committing some type of offense you don't know who may be carrying," Crish said.

According to the pro-gun crowd this will lead to such a decrease in crime that the benefits will be indisputable.

According to the gun control folks, the results will be a clear increase in gun accidents and those terrible incidents of concealed carry guys going off the deep end. Stolen weapons would increase too.

Whatever happens, it should become clear, don't you think?


FishyJay sent me a wonderful link, which although it may be a bit tedious for Zorro, will probably be of special interest to everyone else.

Washington - The United States is doing little to defend the planet against potentially devastating asteroids and is not doing the basic searches that Congress has ordered, according to a report released on Friday.

While most of the really big and obvious threats are being found, almost nothing is being done to find the smaller objects that are arguably a more likely threat, the strongly worded report from the National Academy of Sciences said.

"It means we are not looking for the small ones which can cause huge damage on earth," astronomer Mike A'Hearne of the University of Maryland, who helped chair the committee that wrote the report, said in a telephone interview.

I've got an idea. How about if gun owners, as a public service, you know to give something back, work in shifts monitoring the heavens. We could have tens of millions of heavily armed folks searching for the tell-tale signs of meteors and asteroids entering the atmosphere. If a fiery ball threatens, they could easily blast that sucker to smithereens, and thereby save the planet. Talk about a grandiose and noble mission. Who could resist it?

Jack Bauer is the Greatest

I used to think it was Captain Kirk, but this Bauer guy is something else. Kirk used a phaser, Bauer uses real guns and real bullets. This is real isn't it?

My favorite scene so far is Season 2, Episode 1. When he killed the witness in CTU headquarters, looks up and says, "I'm gonna need a hack saw."

Indiana Gun Laws

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette published an article about two Indiana gun laws which they oppose.

House Bill 1068 would seal a public record, an act that almost never serves the public. The bill would make permits to carry handguns a private record, no longer open to the public. These are not “gun permits”; these are licenses that specifically allow people to carry handguns in public. Such permits are not necessary to carry rifles or shotguns, nor are they needed to have a handgun in your home.

The move comes after the Indianapolis Star and the Bloomington Herald-Times published information about gun permits. Notably, neither paper published the names and addresses of permit holders – the information the gun lobby says should be secret. The Star’s story, in fact, illustrated exactly why the permits should be a public record: It found numerous instances where the carry permits were wrongly issued to convicted felons or unwisely issued over the recommendations of local police chiefs and sheriffs.

Did you notice this part? "Notably, neither paper published the names and addresses of permit holders." I've yet to read a single instance of a pro gun blogger admitting he was wrong about this when so many of them copied the same misinformation from each other a few weeks ago and reported that indeed names and addresses were published.

I brought it up here and got 0 comments.

House Bill 1065 would require businesses to allow their employees to leave guns in their cars in employee parking lots. Consider that the same conservatives supporting this bill generally reject new regulations on business. Consider, too, that businesses have long had the right to control what kind of personal belongings employees are and are not allowed to bring to business property.

What could possibly be the rationale for something as obviously detrimental as this? Do these Indiana gun owners think they're driving through Mogadishu on the way to work? Are they being attacked at the red lights along the way? Is it a war zone?

Wouldn't the possibility of cars containing guns in the parking lot being broken into or stolen, far outweigh any benefit to the individual gun owners?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Steve Lee's Video

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on the controversy surrounding Steve Lee's very popular video. In the six weeks it's been on Youtube, it's had 1.2 million views, a few of which I'm happy to report came from right here.

It seems the gun control folks in Australia are up in arms about what they consider "irresponsible," especially since some of the weapons in the video are banned.

What's your opinion? Does it make sense that people who are against guns would take exception to a video like this? Does their concern that it glorifies guns and increases the problem make sense?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Laci Speaks to Mike W.

Mike W. must have said something to Laci about Vermont. I vaguely remember it. But in responding, in between the name calling which everyone knows I don't condone, Laci points out some interesting things about the Green Mountain State.

From the Vermont State Police:

“Please be aware that Vermont does not at this time require or issue gun permits. Some Vermont towns and cities do have local ordinances, so if you are planning on visiting, it would be wise to contact the local police chief to find information pertaining to local information.”

What does that mean? Is it that the citizens of certain cities have chosen to ban guns? Why is the NRA letting them get away with that? Why don't the local gun owners stand up for their rights?

Or, maybe it's not that severe. Maybe they just have laws against open carry or have decided they don't want people carrying concealed in their town. But that would be a terrible infringement against the rights of those who disagree, even if they're in the minority.

Does it all mean that Vermont is not the gun paradise it's often described as?

What do you think? Please leave a comment.

The Gun is the Answer

The Houston Chronicle reports on the latest incident.

A man was arrested after he was accused of fatally shooting another man during an argument in Montgomery County on Saturday, authorities said.

Deputies arrived in the 15000 block of Palmetto Road in the Magnolia Bend subdivision, where they found Hollis Clayton Haley, 43, wounded with a shotgun wound to the chest, authorities said.

He was taken to Conroe Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at around 5 p.m.

Investigators said Haley and Russell Douglas Hubbard, 31, were arguing when Hubbard went inside a residence, retrieved a shotgun and returned outside. He then allegedly fired the shotgun once, striking Haley in the chest.

Hubbard was arrested and charged with murder. He was booked into the Montgomery County Jail. No bail has been set at this time.

I believe this kind of incident happens more in Texas than it does in New Jersey. We're talking about incidents involving normal citizens who decide to use the gun to settle things, as opposed to, say, drug dealers or terrorists.

Do you think the reason is the difference in the laws or the difference in the attitudes? Or, do those things go hand in hand?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Montana vs. the Fed reports on the battle between States' rights and the Federal Government as it pertains to Montana gun rights. Thanks to Laci for the link.

Montana doesn't have the authority to exempt itself from national gun control laws, the federal government argued in new court filings, hoping to beat back a movement from states adopting the Firearms Freedom Act.

The Department of Justice, in a brief filed this week in U.S. District Court in Missoula, said that federal gun control is a "valid exercise of Congress' commerce power under the Constitution."

The agency asked a judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by gun advocates in Montana who argued the state should decide which rules, if any, would control the sale and purchase of guns and paraphernalia made in Montana. The state would then be exempt from rules on federal gun registration, background checks and dealer-licensing.

I know this has come up before but I still don't understand it. In this case the gun rights people say the Fed should stay out of it and let the local folks decide what's best for them. But in Heller vs. D.C. and McDonald vs. Chicago it's exactly the opposite. In those famous cases the gun rights folks want the Fed to step in and prevent the local governments from doing what they think is best.

Does that about sum it up?

Please leave a comment.

Most Gun Owners Are Just Like Non Gun Owners

JSOnline published an opinion piece by Frank Luntz and Tom Barrett about the recent poll.

The culture war over the right to bear arms isn't much of a war after all. As it turns out, there is a lot everyone agrees on.

A new poll of gun owners and National Rifle Association members makes it clear that they share many attitudes and beliefs with Americans who don't own guns.

The poll, conducted by The Word Doctors, a national research and communications firm, and commissioned by the bipartisan coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, shows that gun owners in general and NRA members in particular share the belief that commitment to the Second Amendment goes hand in hand with more vigorous law enforcement and common-sense solutions that prevent criminals from getting guns.

For instance, 69% of NRA members and 86% of non-NRA gun-owners support closing the "gun show loophole." The loophole allows some vendors at gun shows to sell guns without conducting the federal background checks that all licensed gun dealers perform. Gun shows provide hunters, collectors, sportsmen and gun enthusiasts with a great place to shop - but as the Department of Justice has reported, 30% of guns in illegal gun-trafficking cases are linked to gun shows.

Mayors of small and large cities and police from throughout the country strongly support closing the gun show loophole. Now we know that gun owners - including NRA members - do, too. The only question is: Are their elected representatives listening?

What's your opinion? Do you think it's true that "the vast majority" of gun owners are more like non-gun-owners than they are like the passionate gun bloggers? That would make the claims often used by the passionate types that there are 80 million of them or 100 million of them completely misleading, wouldn't it?

After a bruising partisan battle on health care, it might seem strange to suggest that gun laws - long-considered a third-rail political issue - could bring all sides to the negotiation table. But centrists in both parties have an opportunity to join the American people in recognizing the culture war over guns is more myth than reality.

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Is Obama Finally Coming After the Guns?

The Doom Daily Newspaper reports the executives and employees of military and law enforcement products companies that were arrested in Las Vegas while attending the 2010 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (Shot show), represents the first volley of Obama's War on Guns.

What’s being touted as the largest single investigation and prosecution against individuals in the history of the Justice Department’s enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act occurred Monday in Las Vegas.

The indictments allege that the defendants engaged in a scheme to pay bribes to the minister of defense for a country in Africa but the alleged sales agent was in reality an undercover FBI agent.

The defendants allegedly agreed to pay a 20 percent commission to a sales agent who the defendants believed represented the minister of defense of an African country in order to win a portion of a $15 million sale to outfit the country’s presidential guard.

Whether you call that practice bribery or paying a commission, it's part of doing business in many countries and is certainly tolerated as such most of the time. Do you think this crackdown indicates a turning point for the Obama administration as far as guns go?

David Codrea had this to say:

It's too early to assess what is going on there beyond the information we have at hand, but here's my initial reaction: We've seen apparent efforts to directed at gun shows. Now we're seeing one directed by high levels in the Justice Department at the trade show of the year. Will the NRA Annual Meeting be the next convenient "opportunity"?

We're dealing with a federal law enforcement establishment that hasn't exactly earned the trust of gun owners over the years, and one that appreciates the benefits of high profile media coverage. And it's not like there isn't renewed administration emphasis on international arms trade treaties.

I usually can't resist the opportunity of pointing out the paranoia and grandiosity of gun enthusiasts. But in this case I think David may be right. Of course the "apparent efforts directed at gun shows," was about the background-check loophole, which most gun owners themselves favor. The arrests at the SHOT show, although I don't think a little bribery here and there is such a bad thing, may very well indicate a long overdue attempt to zero in on the real source of the gun problem, the gun manufacturers. At least I hope so.

Mr. Codrea's remark about the NRA convention being next, is not only silly but also misleading. To place the other two incidents, attacking the gun show loophole and arresting international arms dealers for improprieties, in the same category as harassing NRA conventioneers, is misleading at best.

What's your opinion? Do you think the Obama administration is about to launch the War on Guns? Are these efforts at Las Vegas all the more interesting because of the recent United Nations efforts globally? Would it make sense to tackle the problem from the top down instead of what we've been doing up till now?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Penn Law Student Sentenced for Shooting reports on the sentencing of Cho.

Joseph Cho, a bright but mentally troubled man who shocked his law-school classmates in 2007 by shooting into his neighbors' front door, was sentenced to five to 10 years in prison yesterday.

Philadelphia Common Pleas Judge Rose DeFino-Nastasi also ordered Cho to complete a 20-year probation period after he is released.

Cho, 34, who at the time of the shooting was a second-year Penn Law School student and is a graduate of Yale University, pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to attempted murder, burglary, aggravated assault and possession of an instrument of crime stemming from the Jan. 31, 2007, shooting incident.

On that day, Cho, who has since been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, left his third-floor apartment on Pine Street near 44th, walked one floor down and began pounding on the door of two male Drexel University students.

When no one answered, Cho began firing rounds from his 9mm handgun into the door's lock. Police said Cho suspected that his neighbors were terrorists, though they were actually bioengineering students of Indian descent.

The one student who was at home at the time of the shooting was not injured.

What's your opinion? Was that a fair sentence, as Assistant District Attorney Melissa M. Francis said? I'd say it was a fair sentence for her. She marked a nice victory for herself with this one. But for the defendant, I'm not so sure.

He was a severely mentally disturbed individual with no criminal record. Wouldn't residential mental treatment be more appropriate for someone like that, followed by probation and of course placement on the disqualified-for-gun-ownership list?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Shotgun Expulsion Overturned

What do you think about this? CNN had the video story.

Scott Roeder's Trial Begins in Wichita Kansas

The Philadelphis Inquirer reports on the opening of the trial of Scott Roeder, the one who killed Dr. George Tiller last May.

A sound "like a popping of a balloon" rang out at a Wichita church last May 31 before Dr. George Tiller fell to the ground fatally shot, witnesses told jurors yesterday as the trial opened for a man charged with murdering the abortion provider.

The start of testimony in the case of Scott Roeder, 51, coincided with the 37th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion.

Prosecutors managed to get through the first day of trial without using the word abortion in front of jurors - and have said they do not even want it mentioned. Instead, they tried to focus on the facts - a doctor gunned down in his church.

Roeder, of Kansas City, Mo., has publicly acknowledged shooting Tiller, 67, who specialized in late-term abortions, and has said he killed the doctor to protect unborn children.

I realize they want this trial to be about murder and not about abortion, but isn't it odd that they cannot even mention the word "abortion," yet they were able to show the jurors bloody pictures of the slain doctor? I guess it makes sense, it just strikes me as odd. What do you think?

In another report I read how Roeder had gone out shooting with his brother to practice but the gun kept jamming. They brought it to a gun shop and were told they had been using the wrong cartridges. I guess they weren't very gun savvy.

No one can really blame this one on the gun lovers the way we do when one of them goes rogue. Of course we've got the old lament about gun availability in general. Do you think abortion protesters need to be added to the list of disqualified persons?

What's your opinion? Please leave a comment.

Jon Stewart on Keith Olbermann

Here's the funniest man on TV. Maybe Stephen was right about Keith Olbermann.

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