Monday, June 30, 2008

Monday in the Lobby

I'm on a creepy-slow hotel lobby Internet connect (on IE...yeech!), so I'll be brief...or as brief as I ever am.

I wanted to mention something about guns that wasn't about gun control. The cherubs and seraphim tell me that a major American ammunition manufacturer is getting ready to pop, so to speak, a high performance .380 round tailored specifically for the little Ruger LCP. Well why not? With sales still grinding through the stratosphere, the little LCP has redefined "pocket pistol" and given the long dis'sed .380 a quick poke in the butt. Mine is the very definiiton of "reliable" and it's now generally stoked with Cor-Bon DPXs.

Also in LCP news, Crimson Trace is now offering their LCP trigger guard-mounte laser - which is pretty cool...I've handled the prototypes a bunch - with a Galco pocket holster fitted for the laser. Neat set-up. Am looking forward to getting a laser on my LCP as soon as next week. I'm going to be appearing inthe next Crimson Trace training vid, BTW, which we'll be filming at the new Swanson Tactical training center outside of Salt Lake later this month.

I'll be at the .50 Caliber Worlds at the Whittington Center in NM on Saturday when they're shooting the Hunting class guns, doing a little filming for the upcoming DRTV Big .50 Internet series. I'll also have a chance to put some rounds downrange through my own Barrett 99...BOOMERS RULE!

I gotta run by SureFire before I head home...these days, you can't get in the building without signing a big non-disclose and promise to keep your eyes tightly shut when you walk around the campus.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The LAST Last Word

From Poligazette in the Netherlands, of all places:
Gun Control Lost; What Happened

It’s really quite simple: gun control legislation did not reduce violence. Secondly, people started actually reading the text of the second amendment of the United States Constitution. Thirdly, 'laws allowing concealed weapons proliferated - with no ill effects.’

To put it more succinctly; the idea that outlawing guns makes society more safe was proven wrong, this while Americans started to realize that, just perhaps, the US Constitution actually means what it says.

Who would have thought it could be that simple?
Maybe we should forward this to the Chicago Red, Tribune! Actually, this is a very accurate summation of a longer article in Real Clear can read the whole thing there.

Politics and Heller

I missed a phone call yesterday from a high-speed national political reporter asking how Heller would play here in the Rocky Mountain West, accepted as one of major battlegrounds in November.

First, here's an interesting take on the subject from Eric Raymond over at ARMED & DANGEROUS:
Barack Obama has demonstrated, at least, great tactical cunning in his campaign. Therefore, I’m certain that right now he’s wishing the Heller ruling had come down 7-2 or better and he didn’t have to deal with what McCain is going to do to him over this issue.

I’ll finish by re-quoting McCain’s delicious, deadly zinger:

“Unlike the elitist view that believes Americans cling to guns out of bitterness, today’s ruling recognizes that gun ownership is a fundamental right — sacred, just as the right to free speech and assembly,”

The sting here isn’t just McCain’s “sacred right” appeal to gun owners, it’s the way he links Obama’s anti-firearms record to the sense of elitism, entitlement and disdain for traditional American values that radiate from the man. These traits play well in Berkeley and on the Upper West Side, but they lose national elections.
We've all been thinking about this issue. Bottom line (for me) comes down to 2 points:
1) The "new" politics of b-HO is really the same old politics of lies that is in the DNA of Chicago and Cook County, IL. This means that there's no point in even listening to what he says — he's an opportunistic liar, like every other Chicago pol I've met. And I've met a bunch. Rather, he will do what he has done before, and that is nothing in our favor.
2) Although b-HO'd dream of nullifying the Second Amendment is now off the table, our ability to exercise that ennumerated right is still at risk, and we have no reason to believe that b-HO won't use the substantial powers of the Presidency (remember Bill Clinton?) to chip away at the right.
There has been a lot of political commentary to the effect that Heller takes guns off the table as an issue this fall. That analysis is consistent with the view of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the MSM (which of course may be redundant)...the Bubbas have their precious Second Amendment, so now they'll chill, pop the top on a Bud and tune in NASCAR...

In the West, we're locked in a winner-take-all battle centering on what vision of the previously Wild West will prevail — will we be expat urban dwellers surrounded by millions of acres of a look-but-don't-touch park sprinkled with "acceptable" outdoor activities in specific areas, or will we continue a lifestyle that includes farming, ranching, hunting, fishing and shooting in addition to trendy mountain biking and rock climbing (and yes, I do both).

Just like in the cult movie Highlander, there can be only one.

It has taken us two years to beat back a U.S. Forest Service initiative to ban recreational shooting on public lands, and my sources inside USFS and other agencies tell me that "beat back" is indeed the operative words...we haven't won by a long shot. Should Obama be elected, those antigun/antihunting elements — and they are one in the same, as my sources agree — within the federal agencies that administer public land will be emboldened to close literally millions of acres first to recreational shooting, next to hunting.

There are numerous other RKBA issues that Heller did nothing to settle — the flawed technology of ballistic fingerprinting, bullet serialization, one gun a month laws, so-called "assault weapon" bans (there's still one in place in Denver, BTW), the endless number of "nibbled to death by ducks" strategies employed by our enemies. An Obama Presidency would no doubt support and enhance those efforts.

Denver's mayor, whom I know and like as a person, is talking new gun laws as a way of avoiding the brutal reality in the Mile High City that after dark, the gangs own the streets. It takes a computer and a mapping genius to figure which parts of Denver belong to which Mexican, Central American (including MS-13), Asian or genuine all-American gang of thugs rules the turf. It's easy to talk new — and, as usual, worthless — laws directed against the law-abiding rather than addressing the real issue.

Typically, Democrats in Colorado (and most of the Rocky Mountain West) have been relatively gun friendly...some, such as Congressman John Salazar, copped an NRA endorsement. Governor Bill Ritter's campaign negated the gun issue by coming out in support of recreation shooting on public land while his Republican opponent largely ignored or took the gun vote for granted. In the fall Senatorial race, we see Boulder liberal Democratic Congressman Mark Udall frantically distancing himself from his former closest buddy, antigun fanatic Diana DeGette...I fully expect to see Udall out whacking Bambi any day now.

In the West, being blue on a local level doesn't guarantee a state majority for Obama. Western conservatism carries a strong tinge of the libertarian, which is why I live here. Outside of the expat urban centers like Denver and Boulder, the West is gun, arther than latte, country, and we are not fools.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Inconvenient First Amendment

First, read this repulsive editorial from the Chicago Tribune...yesterday, they were so proud of it they bannered it on their editorial they buried it down in their blog instead of queueing it onto the list of previous editorials...apparently, one of the few adults who still work at the Tribune read it and realized there's nothing quite as embarrassing as adolescent prose from aging hippies:
Repeal the 2nd Amendment

No, we don’t suppose that’s going to happen any time soon. But it should.

The 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is evidence that, while the founding fathers were brilliant men, they could have used an editor.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

If the founders had limited themselves to the final 14 words, the amendment would have been an unambiguous declaration of the right to possess firearms. But they didn’t and it isn’t. The amendment was intended to protect the authority of the states to organize militias. The inartful wording has left the amendment open to public debate for more than 200 years. But in its last major decision on gun rights, in 1939, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously found that that was the correct interpretation.
Some view this court decision as an affirmation of individual rights. But the damage in this ruling is that it takes a significant public policy issue out of the hands of citizens. The people of Washington no longer have the authority to decide that, as a matter of public safety, they will prohibit handgun possession within their borders.

Chicago and the nation saw a decline in gun violence over the last decade or so, but recent news has been ominous. The murder rate in Chicago has risen 13 percent this year. Guns are still the weapon of choice for mayhem in the U.S. About 68 percent of all murders in 2006 were committed with a firearms, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

Repeal the 2nd Amendment? Yes, it’s an anachronism.

We won’t repeal the amendment, but at least we can have that debate.

Want to debate whether crime-staggered cities should prohibit the possession of handguns? The Supreme Court has just said, forget about it.
I call for another debate, and unlike the sad remnants of a once-great newspaper, I don't think we need to repeal the First Amendment, but I think we need to consider reasonable restrictions on only a portion of the media.

While newspapers once filled an important role in society, their day has clearly passed. Cable television and the Internet have surplanted their role as newsgathers on an international, national and local scale. Newspapers no longer serve the function for which they were chartered — news — and instead provide a devisive and often harmful counterpoint to the communities they allegedly serve.

How many people are injured each year by incoorect and often malicious reporting? How much damage to the political and cultural body is sustained because of junior reporters, willing to work for the kibble the declining news business pays, attempt to "make their bones?" How much suffering must we put up with before we have this discussion?

The regulations I propose are simple, unobtrusive and will not in any way hinder newspapers' pursuit of whatever their wouldlike to pursue in their declining years:
1) Registration of all reporters and photographers, including a comprehensive list of their equipment allegedly used in "newsgathering." At their option, residences and businesses can post signage banning reporters or photographers from their premises, on penalty of arrest.
2) Because they represent a more "dangerous and unusual" threat, we call for the licensing of editors, including extensive background checks and annual renewals. Editors will not be allowed in public or government buildings or at public gatherings.
4) All newspapers must submit to a minor bit of prior restraint, providing for a review by adults in the newspaper's community before publication. So what that you get Tuesday's news on Wednesday? Youv'e already surfed the Internet for the real news.
5) Editorial page writers become responsible for the ethical, legal and moral consequences of each word they write. If, for example, an editorial leads even indirectly to a person;s death, the writers of that editorial are subject to laws on murder; bad fanancial reporting can leads to charges of conspiracy and grand theft.
Simple and can any right-thinking individual object?

Friday, June 27, 2008

Dense Weekend Reading

I strongly recommend that you spend some time onver on The Volokh Conspiracy reading through the Heller decision posts. There's a lot of 'em, and many are pretty dense, but they are all fascinating reading.

Also read Megan McCardle's fascinating piece over at The Atlantic:
Now the gun controllers pour out of the woodwork to claim that you're more likely to kill yourself or a family member with a gun than a criminal.

Some of the people deploying this statistic really ought to know better. Composition fallacy, anyone?

These are not double blind experiments. Guns may be the weapon of choice for all sorts of crimes; that does not mean that they cause the crimes.

Men like to kill themselves with guns. (This is not culture-specific; women tend to choose poison everywhere, presumably because of some deep fear of disfigurement). Gun suicides tend to be successful. But this does not mean that if you took away the guns, people wouldn't commit suicide. There are many other near-surefire ways of killing yourself, like jumping off a high bridge, gassing yourself with carbon monoxide, driving your car at high speed into a piling, hanging yourself, etc. Think of it this way: most people who choose to wear high heels are women. That doesn't mean that if I threw out my Manolos, I would turn into a man.

Post-Heller Commentaries

This AM I'm focusing on audio interviews for DRTV...Larry Keane, attorney for NSSF, is up and David Hardy of the "In Search of the Second Amendment" documentary will be up in minutes.

Meanwhile, read the excellent panel discussion on Reason Online...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

June 26, 2008

I just looked up and discovered it is approaching 5PM, which means I've been glued to the computer since about 7:30AM after getting home from Colorado Springs late last night...I suddenly realize I am very tired.

We owe a huge debt to Bob Levy, Dick Heller and of course Alan Gura, but it is important to remember that nothing could have been accomplished without the people in the trenches for decades. We have fought the good fight, and we have gained a tremendous victory. The war isn't over, because the war for our freedom is never over. And we will rise to the new challenges, because that is who we are and what we do.

I only wish that Charlton Heston and my old friend Neal Knox could be standing here to see this day.

God help me, but I thought of high school Shakespeare...probably because I'm so whipped...

There is a tide in the affairs of men.
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitted, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.

"We must take the current when it serves..." Today, June 26, 2008, the tide in the affairs of men turned toward liberty, and we will take that current.

The Michael Bane Blog is officially closed for the day.

Good Round Up Article on MSNBC

Here it is, and be sure to hit the live poll:
Advocates for gun rights quickly declared the ruling a landmark victory and said they would seek to strike down gun regulations across the country.

“This is a great moment in American history,” said Wayne LaPierre, chief executive of the National Rifle Association.

In a statement, the White House said: “The president strongly agrees with the Supreme Court’s historic decision today that the Second Amendment protects the individual right of Americans to keep and bear arms. This has been the administration’s long-held view. The president is also pleased that the Court concluded that the D.C. firearm laws violate that right.”
NRA to take battle to states
LaPierre said the NRA would use decision as “the opening salvo in a step-by-step process” to dismantle gun regulations in cities across the country. He said the NRA would begin with lawsuits in San Francisco and in Chicago and several of its suburbs.

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, which has suffered a recent spate of gun violence affecting everyone from schoolchildren and teachers to the elderly, fervently criticized the ruling, calling it “a very frightening decision” that was incongruent with the Supreme Court’s own security policies.

“You can’t carry a gun into the Supreme Court,” Daley said. “You can’t carry a gun in and around the Capitol building. You can’t get into a capital building without being searched,” Daley said. “So why should the streets of our American cities be open to someone carrying a gun?

“Why can’t you stand outside the Supreme Court with a gun and say, ‘This is my constitutional right?’” he asked.

Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the other likely target state of the NRA’s first efforts, also criticized the ruling.

“I believe the people of this great country will be less safe because of it,” she said.
BTW, regarding to the last post, in addition to only being able to register one handgun per life in D.C., it's gotta be a revolver, since D.C. equates all semiauto firearms with machineguns.

Why We Must Stop Obama

In a word, "reasonable restrictions."

First this from Snowflakes in Hell on "What Should Scare Us":
Four justices of the Supreme Court of the United States were completely willing to read out part of the Bill of Rights because they don’t like the result that comes from it. We can seek comfort that we got a five vote majority, but it’s a little close for my comfort. Come this fall, we must do absolutely everything humanly possible to ensure that Barack Obama is defeated, or watch future courts retreat from the Heller ruling faster than you can shake a stick.
Already, the D.C. Attorney General is adding layers of additional regulations to their already Byzantine firearms legal structure/ This from the Washington Post:
Among the likely regulations: Gun owners would have to be 18 or older and could not have been convicted of a felony or any weapon-related charge or have been in a mental hospital for the past five years. Registrants also will be finger-printed and required to pass a written test to be sure they understand the city's gun laws, Nickles said.

At least initially, he added, residents would be limited to one handgun apiece. The city will set up a hotline for firearm registrations.

Nickles said he did not expect the court to undo the ban on automatic weapons.

One major question, he said, was whether the court would undo the city's trigger lock requirement that all shotguns in homes remain unloaded with locks on the triggers. If the court overturns that provision, Nickles said, the mayor's office likely would propose new legislation to the D.C. Council that would require that guns remain unloaded in the home expect in the case of self-defense.

Handguns would only be allowed in the home, Nickles added, with residents banned from carrying them on the streets or into other buildings.
Great piece from Armed Canadian addressing this very subject:
And if the Mayor's office does this, he is in violation of the ruling! A requirement to keep a firearm unloaded until needed is exactly the same thing as required it to be kept locked until needed. Mayor Fenty is splitting hairs here. Expect him to define unloaded as no ammunition near the gun, readily accessible for use in a gun and must be held in a separate, locked container. A magazine in a handgun but no round chambered he would define as "loaded".

Does he seriously want to spend another 5 years in court battles over semantics?

Newsfeed on Heller Decision

The DRTV site has an excellent newsfeed on Heller reactions, in addition to our own commentaries. Thare are also a couple of excellent threads on the DRTV Forums going right now.

We'll be talking to David Hardy and Larry Keane from NSSF tomorrow

First Lawsuits Against Chicago Filed!

At 9:15AM today the Illinois State Rifle Association filed suit against the city of Chicago for their ban on handguns; an NRA suit is already in the works. This from
The U.S. Supreme Court says Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, and the ruling will likely invalidate the 26-year-old ban on handguns in the City of Chicago.

In fact, the Illinois State Rifle Association has already filed a lawsuit challenging the Chicago ban. They filed the suit within 15 minutes of the high court's ruling.
Mayor Richard M. Daley is a staunch supporter of gun control, and said he does not know if the Supreme Court decision striking down Washington's handgun ban will affect the Chicago ban.

But the mayor called the ruling "a very frightening decision."

Dave Kopel on Heller

This from Dave Kopel on Pajamas Media:
The Supreme Court’s decision upholding the Second Amendment, and striking down the District of Columbia’s handgun ban and the ban on the use of any firearm for self-defense in the home, is solidly reasoned. Although the case leaves ample room for moderate gun control laws, the case casts doubt on the continuing validity of a variety of other gun prohibitions.

Justice Scalia, who has long shown an interest in firearms law and policy, wrote the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Thomas, Kennedy, and Alito. A dissent written by Justice Stevens, and joined by Justices Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer argued that the Second Amendment protects only an individual right of vanishingly small proportions — the right of a militiaman not to be disarmed by the federal government when he is on active militia duty. Justice Breyer wrote a separate dissent, joined by the other three dissenters, arguing that even if the Second Amendment protects all law-abiding citizens, the handgun ban should be upheld because it is reasonable.
Today the law-abiding citizens of D.C. regained their right to defend themselves in their home, and to use the most suitable defensive arm for that purpose. But the bigger winner today was the Constitution itself, vindicated by a majority decision which was faithful to the Constitution’s text, and to the spirit of liberty which animated the American people who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment.
We'll be talking to Dave later today on DRTV.

DRTV Podcast Commentaries on Heller...

...are up here.

One I HOPE Is Wrong!

From the Political Insider:
Supreme Court Makes Guns a Non-Issue

Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the District of Columbia's 32 year ban on handguns as incompatible with the 2nd amendment is not exactly a win for Republicans -- even though it went farther than even the Bush administration hoped.

By re-affirming that Americans have a right to own guns for self-defense and hunting, the court effectively takes the gun issue out of the fall campaign. Republicans will now have a very hard time arguing that if you elect Democrats they will take away your guns.
BTW, if you're having trouble hitting the blog, it's because traffic levels are staggering. Keep trying...

The first podcast material on DRTV should be up within the hour...

Second Amendment Foundation Weighs In


BELLEVUE, WA – With this morning’s ruling on the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, America has begun “its long march back toward liberty under a Second Amendment that means what it says,” the Second Amendment Foundation said.

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court should forever put to rest any contention that the right to keep and bear arms is not a fundamental, individual civil right,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb. “For six decades, anti-gun rights extremists have engaged in a monumental fraud that has been unfortunately perpetuated by activist judges who erroneously insisted that the right to keep and bear arms applies only to service in a militia.

“Wisdom and truth have triumphed over hysteria and falsehood,” he continued. “This decision makes it clear that a right ‘of the people’ is a right enjoyed by, and affirmed for, all citizens. It destroys a cornerstone of anti-gun rights elitism, which has fostered – through years of deceit and political demagoguery – the erosion of this important civil right.

“This ruling also makes it abundantly clear that laws which ban the possession of firearms, or make it simply impossible through regulation for citizens to exercise their right to keep and bear arms, are unconstitutional and cannot stand,” Gottlieb stated. “Today, America has taken a small but significant step toward restoring the Second Amendment to its proper place in our Bill of Rights.

“For too many years,” he observed, “Americans have seen this fundamental civil right under constant and unrelenting attack. We are hopeful that today’s decision will halt an insidious campaign for citizen disarmament through legislation and regulations that have made our neighborhoods less safe, our cities less secure and our people less self-reliant, which is the trait that has made America unique among nations.

“But this fight is hardly over,” Gottlieb concluded. “Today’s ruling is a stepping stone, the foundation upon which we can rebuild this important individual right. Our work has only just begun.”

NSSF Statement on Heller... now up on DRTV:
Firearms Industry Hails Victory in Supreme Court Second Amendment Case

NEWTOWN, Conn. -- The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) -- the trade association for the firearms industry – hailed today’s United States Supreme Court 5-4 decision written by Justice Scalia that determined authoritatively that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees an individual right to keep and bear arms.

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major victory for all Americans,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “The Heller decision reaffirms the wisdom of our founding fathers in creating the Bill of Rights to protect and preserve individual rights, the cornerstone of our democracy. Furthermore, this decision solidifies an historical fact, the commonsense understanding that governments have powers, not rights -- rights are reserved exclusively for individuals.”
"Today’s decision lays to rest the specious argument that the Second Amendment is not an individual right and marks the beginning of the end of repressive gun laws that have infringed upon individual liberty and done nothing to make America safer,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF senior vice president and general counsel.”

NSSF filed a friend of the court brief in support of the respondent, Mr. Heller.

Brady Response

From Helmke:
“Our fight to enact sensible gun laws will be undiminished by the Supreme Court’s decision in the Heller case. While we disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling, which strips the citizens of the District of Columbia of a law they strongly support, the decision clearly suggests that other gun laws are entirely consistent with the Constitution.

“For years, the gun lobby has used fear of government gun confiscation to thwart efforts to pass sensible gun laws, arguing that even modest gun laws will lead down the path to a complete ban on gun ownership. Now that the Court has struck down the District’s ban on handguns, while making it clear that the Constitution allows for reasonable restrictions on access to dangerous weapons, this ‘slippery slope’ argument is gone.
“The Heller decision, however, will most likely embolden criminal defendants, and ideological extremists, to file new legal attacks on existing gun laws. With the help of the Brady Center’s legal team, those attacks can, and must, be successfully resisted in the interest of public safety.
B-HO treads water:
Obama Camp Disavows Last Year's 'Inartful' Statement on D.C. Gun Law

ABC News' Teddy Davis and Alexa Ainsworth Report: With the Supreme Court poised to rule on Washington, D.C.'s, gun ban, the Obama campaign is disavowing what it calls an "inartful" statement to the Chicago Tribune last year in which an unnamed aide characterized Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., as believing that the DC ban was constitutional.

"That statement was obviously an inartful attempt to explain the Senator's consistent position," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells ABC News.

The statement which Burton describes as an inaccurate representation of the senator's views was made to the Chicago Tribune on Nov. 20, 2007.

In a story entitled, "Court to Hear Gun Case," the Chicago Tribune's James Oliphant and Michael J. Higgins wrote ". . . the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said that he '...believes that we can recognize and respect the rights of law-abiding gun owners and the right of local communities to enact common sense laws to combat violence and save lives. Obama believes the D.C. handgun law is constitutional.'"

Initial Impressions from Eugene Volokh

The Volokh Conspiracy law site is swamped, so here's Eugene Volokh's (who was cited in the ruling) initial impressions:
My basic thought after reading Justice Scalia's majority opinion is that it is relatively narrow -- in the sense that it leaves a lot for another day. It recognizes the individual right (citing, by my count, 3 articles by Eugene and one by Randy, not that we academics count such things), but does not resolve the degrees of scrutiny, does not address incorporation, and indicates (without establishing) that traditional gun restriction laws are valid.
I'm still reading...

NRA Moves on Chicago Ban; McCain Slams Chicago

The NRA has stated on Fox News that they are moving immediately against the Chicago handgun ban in the wake of the Heller decision.

The cherubs and seraphim tell me that San Francisco is also on the table.

Verified...This now up from AP:
Gun rights supporters hailed the decision. "I consider this the opening salvo in a step-by-step process of providing relief for law-abiding Americans everywhere that have been deprived of this freedom," said Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association.

The NRA will file lawsuits in San Francisco, Chicago and several of its suburbs challenging handgun restrictions there based on Thursday's outcome.

McCain: Chicago Gun Ban Infringes On Rights

Republican Presidential Candidate Singles Out Chicago In Statement Praising Supreme Court Ruling

Gun Rights Ruling May Change Chicago Law
ARLINGTON, Va. (CBS) ― U.S. Sen. John McCain said Thursday that the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gun ownership showed that the Chicago handgun ban has "infringed on the constitutional rights of Americans."

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee called the ruling a "landmark victory for Second Amendment freedom in the United States."

Tell us what you think of the ruling and gun control.

"For the first time in the history of our Republic, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms was and is an individual right as intended by our Founding Fathers," McCain said in a statement.

He criticized Sen. Barack Obama for not signing a bipartisan amicus brief supporting the ruling later issued by the Supreme Court, and singled out the Chicago ban in describing what the ruling should change.

Heller Opinion


1. The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a
firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for
traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.
Pp. 2–53.
(a) The Amendment’s prefatory clause announces a purpose, but
does not limit or expand the scope of the second part, the operative
clause. The operative clause’s text and history demonstrate that it
connotes an individual right to keep and bear arms. Pp. 2–22.
(b) The prefatory clause comports with the Court’s interpretation


of the operative clause. The “militia” comprised all males physically
capable of acting in concert for the common defense. The Antifederal-
ists feared that the Federal Government would disarm the people in
order to disable this citizens’ militia, enabling a politicized standing
army or a select militia to rule. The response was to deny Congress
power to abridge the ancient right of individuals to keep and bear
arms, so that the ideal of a citizens’ militia would be preserved.
Pp. 22–28.
(c) The Court’s interpretation is confirmed by analogous arms-
bearing rights in state constitutions that preceded and immediately
followed the Second Amendment. Pp. 28–30.
(d) The Second Amendment’s drafting history, while of dubious
interpretive worth, reveals three state Second Amendment proposals
that unequivocally referred to an individual right to bear arms.
Pp. 30–32.
(e) Interpretation of the Second Amendment by scholars, courts
and legislators, from immediately after its ratification through the
late 19th century also supports the Court’s conclusion. Pp. 32–47.
(f) None of the Court’s precedents forecloses the Court’s interpre-
tation. Neither United States v. Cruikshank, 92 U. S. 542, 553, nor
Presser v. Illinois, 116 U. S. 252, 264–265, refutes the individual-
rights interpretation. United States v. Miller, 307 U. S. 174, does not
limit the right to keep and bear arms to militia purposes, but rather
limits the type of weapon to which the right applies to those used by
the militia, i.e., those in common use for lawful purposes. Pp. 47–54.
2. Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is not unlimited.
It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any
manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose: For example, con-
cealed weapons prohibitions have been upheld under the Amendment
or state analogues. The Court’s opinion should not be taken to cast
doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by
felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of fire-
arms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or
laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of
arms. Miller’s holding that the sorts of weapons protected are those
“in common use at the time” finds support in the historical tradition
of prohibiting the carrying of dangerous and unusual weapons.
Pp. 54–56.
3. The handgun ban and the trigger-lock requirement (as applied to
self-defense) violate the Second Amendment. The District’s total ban
on handgun possession in the home amounts to a prohibition on an
entire class of “arms” that Americans overwhelmingly choose for the
lawful purpose of self-defense. Under any of the standards of scru-
tiny the Court has applied to enumerated constitutional rights, this
Cite as: 554 U. S. ____ (2008) 3

prohibition—in the place where the importance of the lawful defense
of self, family, and property is most acute—would fail constitutional
muster. Similarly, the requirement that any lawful firearm in the
home be disassembled or bound by a trigger lock makes it impossible
for citizens to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense and
is hence unconstitutional. Because Heller conceded at oral argument
that the D. C. licensing law is permissible if it is not enforced arbi-
trarily and capriciously, the Court assumes that a license will satisfy
his prayer for relief and does not address the licensing requirement.
Assuming he is not disqualified from exercising Second Amendment
rights, the District must permit Heller to register his handgun and
must issue him a license to carry it in the home. Pp. 56–64.

478 F. 3d 370, affirmed.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which ROBERTS,
C. J., and KENNEDY, THOMAS, and ALITO, JJ., joined. STEVENS, J., filed a
dissenting opinion, in which SOUTER, GINSBURG, and BREYER, JJ.,
joined. BREYER, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which STEVENS,
SOUTER, and GINSBURG, JJ., joined.


We have a clear victory!

The Supreme Court has spoken: "We hold that the Districts ban on handgun prohibition violates the Second Amendment..."

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Competition Shooting Discussion Group (4)

Paul Erhardt, Erhardt & Associates: "Handgun competition shooters now outnumber shotgun competition shooters...competition shooters are the super-users...hunters may be very avid, but they're not going to shoot a lot during the season...Todd Jarrett, in preparing for the Steel Challenge, will shoot 30,000 rounds of give you an idea of how many rounds USPSA shooters might shoot, based on their most recent classifier scores, the rough but conservative estimate is that in the last 60 days those 20000 classifier scores amount more than a million rounds downrange...16,000 members of USPSA spent approxmately $45 million just on that sport last year... we are a significant driver of sales...GSSF is a huge feeder into USPSA...where we have a problem is that we know this information, but nobody else does because we don't talk to anybody...there's some truth to the idea that we have a hostile press, but as we proved in the Maryland sniper shootings we were able to control what was going on in the media with just three people...Schloastic Clay Target Program got fantastic press...Steel Challenge we've gotten great media, including television like Fox News...the ress doesn't know about's not that they don't like us, it's that they don't know about us...unless we tell them about us, they'll never know about us...the more they know about us, the more likely we'll be able to be on the offensive rather than forever on the defensive..."

Competition Shooting Discussion Group (3)

Dave Thomas, USPSA: "This month our membership topped 17,000 current active shooters...over the years, 65,000 shooters have gone through the organization...wasn't always so rosy a view...a few years ago our growth was stagnant, members breaking off to form other organizations and our remaining members were was formed as a testing ground for handguns in self defense...the founders were too successful..the sport became very very competitive, and practical shooting quickly became the home of very specialized firearms and offered very little opportunity for the kind of guns people actually's interesting to know that the 'arms race' that was so harmful to our sport was very beneficial for the firearms industry and the much of what was derided as being 'impractical' is now routinely used in a world that doesn't get any more real, the U.S. military...USPSA serves as R&D for the firearms get us past the equipment barrier, we introduced three new divisions based on the specific types of guns allowed in those divisions...we found out our initial thinking was correct...we couldn't afford traditional marketing, but we can have important relationships...we're attempting replicate the success of the Scholastic Clays and Steel Challenge...we're promoting out sponsors with press release blasts supporting their support of the sport...we're also promoting the sport with hometown hero press releases...we want local people to know about people in their area who are exceling at our sport...we have an email campaign to members whose memberships were about to expire or just expired...the result was a 20% improvement in retention...our goal is 20,000 members by the end of the year...last year USPSA purchased the Steel Challenge and the Steel Challenge Shooting Association...the effect of all we've done has been dazzling..."

Competition Shooting Discussion Group (2)

Robert Ray, IDPA: "IDPA founded in response to the rise of concealed carry around the country...IDPA is a sport...not tactical training; not a gun class...but it does use a lot of aspects of defense pistol training...big thing about IDPA is it allows CCW holders to get out there and get familiar with their guns, go out with a couple of boxes of ammunition and have a good time...IDPA is designed to level out the playing field as much as possible...66% of our members drive less than an hour to a maych; 77% of our members are also members of the local gun club...each of us have our own little Walter Mitty-esque fantasy we want to play out during a match...our survey shows that more than 82% of our memebrs have CCWs...hope to reach 15,000 members by the end of the year..."

Competitive Shooting Discussion Group

Am here listening to the presentations on competitive shoting, which I don't believe are not being streamed on the Internet. I'm probably going to make an ass of myself here to make sure our specific comments are on the record. The panel includes Cindy Delana of NSSF's First Shots, Harper Creigh/Judge Roy Bean of SASS, Dave Thomas of USPSA, Robert Ray of IDPA, Chris Edwards of GSSF and Paul Erhardt.

Judge R. Bean, SASS#1: "We're in the entertainment business...with cowboy action shooting, we've found that instant gratification isn't fast enough...the most important things a new shooter can here is , 'Ding, ding, ding, ding.' After those first hits on steel, they're hooked...the only negative press w've ever had was from the Sierra Club...give the people what they want and let them pay for it..."

Chris Edwards, GSSF: "Original intent of the program was to show a sporting purpose for and to market the Glock pistol...over the years we've had 70,000 participants...our primary concern must always be in the sense of not that it's just a safe match, but that the customer, the competitor, perceives the match to be safe, and that's not the same thing...we ask that our competitors, if they're wearing a gun in the holster, to have the magazine removed and the slide locked to the allows the participants and the range officers to see the gun is unloaded and not anything you can do to brighten up or make the environment easier for the participants...important to have a professional and trained staff...prior to the match and during the match we have absolute adherence to the four rules of gun safety..."

Blooger Commentary on NSSF Summit

This from Bitter:
Now, as for the NSSF statement on the offending action items. I generally applaud it, but I’m just wondering where it is other than Bane’s blog. I’d just like to see some public solidarity with the handgun industry. I appreciate their statement, but I guess it’s still a little bit of a letdown after we were expecting the statement yesterday during the thesis presentation.

* My phone call with Frank Briganti and Ted Novin from NSSF yesterday was somewhat helpful in understanding where this mistake happened. Frank is adamant that there is no bias at all. I disagree, but I understand why he wouldn’t like that word. He agreed that the problem action items are very poorly worded, and should not have been worded in such a way. I appreciate that. However, I view this is bias influencing how those things were worded. It would appear that Michael Bane and Jim Shepherd would agree:
[the researchers] desperately needs to read a basic primer on researcher bias…again, as Jim Shepherd andI say in the podcast, “bias” in this case isn’t a dirty word, just a bad one
I did suggest that they have someone who has a strong background in each of the different sides of the shooting sports and hunting communities review publications like this before they are distributed to see if there are unintentional pot shots at the other groups. They seemed open to that idea. It’s a very simple and cheap internal control that can save them major headaches and not rehash many of the same fights in the community.
I stand on my comments that the researchers at Responsive Management suffered from a bad case of researcher bias...the fact that chief researcher Duda is actively defensive proves my point. Researchers on soild ground dont react the way he has.

RE: The NSSF statement, at got the "formal" copy this morning at breakfast, and my understanding is that it has gone out to everyone. I will check on that in a couple of minutes. We will be posting the formal release on DRTV in a few minutes...

Huckabee to Boulder

Huckabee on "tree-huggers:"

"If you want to hug a tree, go for it...lick the bark off it for all I care..."

Note to b-HO

From Huckabee:

"If you're willing to put a million people out of work and take $30 billion out of the economy, be sure to tell people that's what you're really doing..."

The Evangelist...

Me, from yesterday...verily I say unto you, come unto the First Church of John Browning....

Huckabee's Pretty Funny...

He'd make a pretty good VP choice.

Direct Link..

For NSSF Webcasts...

NSSF Web Feed

I should have mentioned that you can get a live web stream at the NSSF site...follow the links...


Yeah well, if you're the Supremes you can do anything you want. The way the decision is being orchestrated, I fully expect dancing girls and a pony tomorrow.

Am in the Shooting Sports Summit waiting for the keynote from Mike Huckabee, who I'm hoping has an offensive b-HO joke. Okay, too much coffee. I'm not speaking today, so I thought I'd do some live blogging as we keep slamming away at our differences and similarities....

Waiting For Heller

As David Hardy over at Of Arms and the Law says, it either will or it won't come today...the Supremes are meeting in public session in an hour.

In the meanwhile, I'm in the Springs at NSSF's Shooting Sports Summit, which is not nearly as contentious as it might be...yesterday was more of a listening day than today promises to be. I put together a podcast last night covering the issues that we've been talking should be up in an hour or so.

Lot of blogging from Bitter Bitch, Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell, Say Uncle and others. I'm too groggy to list them all this, as I was up until the wee hours fighting the podcast...technical problems...a low low upload speed from the host hotel. As soon as I get home I'll be getting a wireless Internet card!

In the meanwhile, NSSF Prez Steve Sanetti issued the following statement last night (actually, I read it on his cellphone at the Outdoor Channel/SCI dinner):
NSSF Statement on Shooting Sports Summit Action Items

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) - the trade association for the firearms, ammunition, hunting and shooting sports industry -- has issued the following statement following the concern by some regarding the action items listed for discussion as part of the Shooting Sports Summit:

The action items presented as part of the NSSF Shooting Sports Summit have been developed by researchers predicated upon three years of public opinion research.

The purpose of the summit is to take the intelligence that has been gathered concerning the public opinions of shooters and non-shooters alike and take our ideas and meld them into coherent new programs and policies to attract, retain and re-introduce participants into the shooting sports – ALL the shooting sports.

NSSF has programs for rifles, shotguns, pistols and revolvers. And, as our motto says, we are always shooting for more.

The intelligence gatherers, like any effective reconnaissance team, studied the opinions we must face and reported their suggestions. As to the strengths and weaknesses of possible courses of action, NSSF does not have to accept their recommendations. All decisions as to what actions NSSF will take will be made by NSSF, after full discussions and consideration of all points of view.
The NSSF has no intention of abandoning pistol shooters. Our very successful First Shots program is specifically designed and targeted to encourage pistol sports shooting. Much of the NSSF staff, including its new president, have been pistol shooting both recreationally and competitively for decades – and, in fact, some have worked in the handgun industry.

NSSF looks forward to completing a successful summit, helping to foster a strong future for all of the shooting sports.
I think it's a good statement. I understand that NSSF can't throw their 3-year research project under the bus, and there is a lot of good information in the document that helped clarify my understanding of where we are right now. As I've said in an earlier post, the study confirms what I and many others have said — the shooting sports are the tail wagging the dog.

In my podcast, I refuse to let Responsive Management and lead research Mark Damian Duda off the hook...he has confused "a lot of research" with "the right research" in many place, and he desperately needs to read a basic primer on researcher bias...again, as Jim Shepherd andI say in the podcast, "bias" in this case isn't a dirty word, just a bad one. When I co-authered the book on new product development in world-class corporations a few years back, I outlined the problems with surveys and focus groups and strongly urged product managers to look beyond these often profoundly flawed tools before making critical decisions. Duda's probably got a little shrine in his house where he bruns incense at the alter of the God of Focus Groups, and in this case his gods failed him badly.

More later...gotta get some coffee before SCOTUS...lots and lots of coffee!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Only in Israel...

Only in israel

...but certainly my vision for America!

Really, doesn't this one hit all the bases?

Fear of Handguns Spreads!

From WBIR:
Newly crowned Miss Tennessee packs heat

She's a daddy's girl.

But don't think this year's Miss Tennessee is a pushover.

Ellen Carrington, 21, who was crowned Miss Tennessee on Saturday night, has a concealed weapons permit.

"I have a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber," Carrington told reporters on Sunday, "(with a) silver top and black body."

A Jackson native and senior at Union University, Carrington decided to get the permit because she was spending a lot of time traveling to and from Nashville at night. She said spending time at shooting ranges with her father, Pat, helped create an even deeper bond between the two.
Maybe we should ask Response Management to poll the new Miss Tennessee to see if she'd be more comfortable with something girly, like a .22 single shot rifle...

An Important Day Even Without Heller!

On the eve of the anticipated Supreme Court decision on D.C. v. Heller, what could perhaps be the victory we have sought for more than four decades, we still have some work to do with elements of our own industry who have apparently failed to understand the lessons of an even more important case, Gun Culture v. Jim Zumbo.

Today the biggest shooting industry summit in years begins in Colorado Springs, hosted by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF). It may be the most important industry conclave in gun culture history. We are between a potential landmark victory with the High Court matched against the potential election to the Presidency of the most antigun politician in U.S. history.

We are also at a precarious tipping point culturally. The dual national blows of 9/11 and Katrina have demolished the antigunners' prime arguments against firearms, and the antigunners know it. For the first time we are making major strides in the cultural wars on other fronts. CCW is now an accepted part of everyday life, and the recent spate of largely positive stories on open carry tell me that the overall marketplace has moved dramatically in our direction. We are first the first time close to establishing firearms ownership and use as, once again, the norm rather than the exception.

We have achieved these victories not by "staying the course," but by taking the battle to our enemies. We have gotten here not by "playing nice," but by doing what Americans do — standing up for our beliefs and speaking our minds and hearts. We are succeeding because we have stopped watering down our message and trying to pander to the very people who would strip us of our rights.

That is scary stuff indeed!

The L'affaire du Zumbo sent a message to the industry that the tail — the huge part of the culture involved in sports shooting and self-defense issues — was now officially wagging the dog — the hunting side of the industry. That's something we in the tail have known for a long time...we buy the lion's share of the guns and ammo, pay the lion's share of the federal excise tax and face the lion's share of the heat from our enemies.

While we've extolled a united front in the new post-Zumbo universe, there's still a high level of fear without the industry about how we go forward, and we must address that fear.

This is from the morning's SHOOTING WIRE:
Today, that wound appears to be healing- but it wouldn't take much to rip that scab off and get the blood flowing again.

Shooters - especially those who primarily shoot handguns feel they've been consistently ignored. So too, I'm hearing, are some of the manufacturers who see their dollars going into a pot where they don't feel they're getting equitable shares.

So, there's an undercurrent of tension that most of those in attendance will do everything possible to either downplay or minimize.

But the stage is set- and the Survey itself has contributed to the tension with its long litany of suggested action items.

Bottom line, if the survey of "recruitment and retention strategies" is endorsed or adopted as written, the damage will be certain. It will also be obvious very quickly, due to the fact that the "blogosphere" is already chattering about the report.

In short, the natives are restless. They're not revolting -yet, but they're getting tired of the status quo.
These items Jim references are here, buried deep in the back of the omnibus "The Future of Hunting and the Shooting Sports," prepared by NSSF and Response Management, produced under a grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

PAGE 235
Public acceptance of rifles and shotguns is greater than
acceptance of handguns, the latter having some negative connotations for some individuals in American society.

Action Item 163. Efforts to promote acceptance of shooting sports should focus on rifles and shotguns.

Action Item 164. Avoid communications imagery that shows people shooting at human silhouettes. Be aware that there is much resistance among the general public to target shooting at human silhouettes, and images showing this will not be as well-received as alternative images (e.g., a person shooting at a standard bull’s eye target with a rifle).

PAGE 224-225
Fear of firearms is an important disincentive to participation in hunting and the shooting sports; this fear cannot be downplayed by professionals when developing recruitment programs. While many Americans show an interest in wanting to shoot, the fear of firearms prevents them from trying the activity, and research shows that, once they try shooting, their fear is often overcome. Just as the bicycle industry would not flourish without the important use of training wheels to alleviate fear and facilitate proficiency, neither will sport shooting flourish without its own “training wheels” in the form of controlled environments and non-lethal beginner firearms.

Action Item 106. Consider that the use of non-lethal firearms will be effective in getting non-shooters to shoot, allowing them to become more comfortable around firearms. After they are comfortable with non-lethal firearms [Emphasis mine...mb], they will “graduate” to lethal firearms. This is the shooting sports’ parallel to the training wheels on bicycles. Fewer bicycles would be sold to children if the bicycle industry did not manufacture and sell training wheels.
I don't have to tell my regular readers how wrong-headed and profoundly incorrect these "action items" are. They are old school the worst way, a distillation of policies that have not only failed us in the past but are in fact the very policies that are responsible for nearly destroying us. "Hide, hide!" "Play nice!" Be something that you're not, and maybe everyone will love you!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Action items like these are a proven path to failure...and in our case, oblivion.

To their credit, NSSF is already distancing themselves from the "action item" part of the report, which they would have done in the opening remarks tomorrow morning in any case. Both Say Uncle and myself were on the phone late yesterday with NSSF executives, and they were all adamant that the very purpose of this Summit is to separate the wheat from the chaff. I was told that when you hire a research group, you are obligated to take all their recommendations — even the ones you strongly didn't agree with — and present them to the larger body for discussion and approval. I agree that is the ethical thing to do.

Read Bitter Bitch's excellent commentary here:
Actually, I’m more interested because this hits at the great divide between shooting and hunting that I would like to see bridged. The problem is that as long as either side keeps throwing pot shots, we won’t get anywhere. I don’t see that being an efficient use of our resources.

So did someone throw a pot shot? I have to say, I think they did. At best, it was careless and a result of internal biases. At worst, well, I don’t want to assume the worst yet. We’ll find out during tomorrow’s public webcast if it’s a best case scenario and the offending action items are denounced or if it’s not so simple. (I’ll be watching to find out.)
Two more points before I head for Colorado Spring:
1) The blame here lies with sloppy researchers without a iota of understanding of the current state of the gun culture. RM apparently thinks this is 1972 and acted accordingly...and don't give me that happy crap about "focus groups finding what focus groups find..." I went to college a loooong time ago, and part of my final exam in Statistical Analysis in the Mass Media was to create both an "objective survey" and a set of focus groups that would yield outcomes I chose in advance. A dog can do that these days. America has changed, and changed in our direction. We have had no trouble generating mainstream publicity for the Steel Challenge, USPSA, IDPA, Cowboy Action Shooting, even .50 BMG! Handguns! Big scary calibers! Some humanoid targets! Even mainstream cable channels are actively soliciting for shooting shows, and not rifles at X-ring targets, but rather run and gun flash! Whatever NSSF paid these bozos, they're due a refund.

2) There are a lot of us at the Summit who have been on the sharp edge for a long time, and WE WILL NOT BE RUN OVER! We have stood up to the Bradys and the Violence Policy Centers and the lying weasels in the MSM, and we will damn sure stand up to regressive elements in our own industry.
No babies get thrown off the lifeboat! Time to go to Colorado Springs...wish us luck!

The Ballad of Thunder Road

No Heller this AM..the Supremes are going to take it all the way to the end. And before I get into some really serious stuff this morning, I want to first send you to a wonderful article on one of the greatest movies of all time, Robert Mitchum's flawless Thunder Road. Here's some opening lyrics, written and sung by Mitchum, to get you in the mood:

Let me tell the story, I can tell it all
About the mountain boy who ran illegal alcohol

His daddy made the whiskey, son, he drove the load

When his engine roared, they called the highway Thunder Road.

Sometimes into Ashville, sometimes Memphis town

The revenoors chased him but they couldn’t run him down

Each time they thought they had him, his engine would explode
He'd go by like they were standin’ still on Thunder Road.

And there was thunder, thunder over Thunder Road
Thunder was his engine, and white lightning was his load

There was moonshine, moonshine to quench the Devil’s thirst

The law they swore they'd get him, but the Devil got him first.

Mitchum's son Jim, who played Mitchum's younger brother, is planning an updated — but honest — remake. This from the Knoxville Metro Pulse:
Thunder Road is 50 this year.

It has been called the Hillbilly Gone With the Wind, mainly based on its incredible durability on the big screens of the Southern Appalachians. Its status throughout American culture is almost mythical, claimed as an inspiration for the title of one of Bruce Springsteen’s early hits and the design of the Batmobile in the iconic ‘60s TV series. The movie’s plot has nothing obvious to do with the story of the Springsteen song “Thunder Road,” but it seems to have a lot to do with a much-later hit song by Steve Earle called “Copperhead Road.” Here in Knoxville, the movie has inspired the name of a strong ale at Calhoun’s and a distinctive cheeseburger at Litton’s. Local rock ’n’ roll hero R.B. Morris has recorded his own version of the movie’s theme, “The Ballad of Thunder Road,” and sometimes closes shows with it.

Whether it’s a great film or not depends on which critic you talk to. It was a B movie not taken very seriously even by some of the people who made it, and it wasn’t any bigger a winner at the box office in 1958 than its makers expected it to be. But long after its contemporaries were forgotten, Thunder Road was enjoying a long and almost eerie afterlife, shown in drive-ins throughout the South for more than 20 years in the ’60s and ’70s as if it were a new movie.

It earned a surprising superlative. It was, allegedly, the most-screened film in the history of United Artists. It may have further life still. Jim Mitchum, son of Robert Mitchum, the real creator of Thunder Road, is planning a reprise, a new movie with some big-name backing. The younger Mitchum will be in Knoxville this weekend for several events, among them a public screening of the movie at the Tennessee Theatre.
As you've read here before, Thunder Road played large in my early years because the transportation of untaxed whiskey was something of a family business. I thrilled to stories of my uncles and cousins who were "runners," out-distancing "the damn revenue agents" on backroads, across cotton fields and sometimes in just flat-out sprints. It was ineveitable about about 50 viewings of Thunder Road that I became a street racer as soon as I could lay my hands on the car, my much-written-about Ford factory racer, a 1968 British racing Green Cougar without a single badge or marking on the outside to hint at the almost 400 horsepower, dual four-barreled monster under the hood.

One summer full moon night, I outran a Sheriff's Deputy in a dead sprint to the Mississippi state line. It was a street racing game of sorts...I'd go to jail if he caught me, but fairs fair...he'd stop at the Mississippi line and if I got there ahead of him, I got a free pass. Yes, he could have radio'ed ahead, but these were different times, the last of the old America, where "bad" boys didn't get madatory Ritalin and anger counseling and the cops who policed the county back raods had been racing on them a couple of years before.

It is a moment preserved in amber — the hot, damp wind screaming through the open widows, radio blaring the movie version, it should be nasty rockabilly, like Ubangi Stomp or Meat Man, but truth be told I don't remember...I do remember my semi-crazy friend Martin laughing hysterically in the shotgun seat as the big Ford mill roared toward the state line...we were running lights-out, as was the cop car, the bean fields and overgreen creeks nothing but a silvery blur...I hit the Mississippi line about a half mile ahead of the deputy at over 100 miles per hour.

Funny, but when I remember that moment, I see it in black-and-white, and the dashboard of the Cougar looks suspiciously like a '50's vintage tanker...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Suicide is Painless (and Apparently Gunless)

This from Reuters:
TOKYO (Reuters) - Over 33,000 people took their lives in Japan last year, topping 30,000 for the tenth consecutive year despite a government campaign to reduce what is one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

A report issued by the National Police Agency on Thursday showed that 33,093 people killed themselves in Japan in 2007 -- the second-largest number on record after 34,427 in 2003 -- mostly because of debt, family problems, depression and other health issues.

There was also a leap in the number of suicides involving toxic hydrogen sulphide gas made from household detergents, a previously obscure method that is spreading rapidly as Internet messages tell victims how to produce the poison at home.
The population of Japan in 2007 was approximately 128 million. The U.S. is about 300 million people; in 2005, the most recent year with compiled number for suicides in the United States is 32,637.

Why am I talking about such grim statistics? Because, IMHO, the biggest success of the so-called "antigun movement," aided and abetted by the U.S. government and the MSM, has been the semantic "tricks" of combining homicide, accidental death and suicide into a single category of "violent deaths."

This has allowed the weasels at Brady to endlessly talk about "violent death" (or "gun violence") in the United States as if such terms represented a single entity. How many times have you heard how much safer the gun-free paradise of Japan is than the U.S.? Japan has a low homicde rate (although there have recently been a number of references that homicides are "buried" by Japanese police into other stats...for example, Yakuza soldiers are never "murdered," "disappear" or even "sleep with the fishes." They go visit relatives in Okinawa). Here's a little tidbit of what I'm talking about from a moonbat website:
In general, then, Japan has crime but it is of a much less violent nature than crime in the U.S. This makes Japan a much safer place to live then in the average American city. A great deal of this difference is related to the strict gun-control laws in japan, unlike the U.S. where special-interest groups promote the idea that people have the "right" to whatever kinds of weapons they want
in whatever quantity. Rights involve responsibilities and the concept of responsibility is more ingrained in the Japanese culture than it is in the U.S. culture. Guns kill people and it is people who are using the guns; the guns do not act by themselves.
Okay, we get it! Let's look at Japan's "violent death" rate...add 33,000 suicides to, let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say 100 homicides and maybe 1000 "deaths by misadventure" to come up with 34,100 violent deaths. Now let's bring Japan up to a United States population level...multiplay by 2.3...and you get the equivalent of 78,430, almost 50% larger than the U.S.'s annual violent deaths. Hmmmmm...hell of a paradise when a big afternoon is huffling hydrogen sulphide!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Somewhere Cruising Through Jimmy Buffett World

Well, it is Thursday, which implies that sooner or later it may be the end of the week. I wish I was in the Caribbean...I'm thinking Barbados, where I can get flying fish and cold toast a la foggy London for breakfast on the beach. Maybe Orient Beach on St. Martins, not far from a French restauant on the water. Sigh...instead, I guess I'll listen to ancient Leon Russell, Back to the Island, from one of the first albums I ever reviewed, Will O' The Wisp...does that make me ancient, too? HA! Don't answer that!

Hear the night birds cry (listen to the night birds cry)
Watch the sunset die (sit and watch the sunset die)
Well I hope you understand I just had to go back to the island

I suppose what brought this on is a couple of days in the hospital fretting over chest pains. I discovered that when you go to a clinic today and say you have chest pains, you are whisked into the maw of the heart attack machine, all deadly serious to save your butt...or at least your heart.

As it turned out, my heart didn't need saving. Thousands of dollars of necessary tests later, including a tube threaded up through my groin into my heart...yeeech...couldn't they have sent Sarah Michelle Geller instead?...I was deemed more or less okey-dokey and sent home. This is far preferable to the option, which is dropping dead on some range somewhere and causing my crew a lot of dissonance.

Still, it weighs on one. I have, as my friend Patrick Sweeney has noted repeatedly, the work ethic of rabid weasels. Makes me really good at what I do; perhaps less good at being a decent human being. When you have a dream job and an intimate relationship with a travel agency, it's hard to remember that the way of the warrior is, indeed, balance.

Okay...flip the "Overy Introspective" switch to "OFF!" I got a .50 boomer in the basement and 80 rounds of ball just waiting for me to rock...that ought to work as well as trying to reason with hurricane season, right?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Guess Which Gun Obama Does NOT Want To Ban!

Saw this Illustrated Guide to Obama's Gun Grabbing from Bob Owens over at PajamasMedia, so I thought I'd turn it into a contest! Your job is to guess which gun b-HO does NOT want to ban!

Let's get started! How about a Mossberg Magnum waterfowl shotgun like this?

WRONG! It's a semiauto, and b-HO has gone on record as wanted to ban all semiautos!

How about my father's 1911A1 from World War 2?

WRONG again, and it's a TRIPLE WHAMMY BONUS! No only is my father's 1911A1 a semiauto, but it's a handgun, and b-HO has gone on record as wanting to ban all handguns, and you can conceal it, and b-HO wants to ban all concealed carry in the United States!

Okay, how about Combat Tupperware?

GONE IN 60 SECONDS! It's a semiauto, concealable handgun, almost as disgusting as a Christian farmer from Kansas! This Remington hunting rifle...who can be against hunting rifles???

RUN AND HIDE! IT'S AN "ASSAULT WEAPON!" Yes, b-HO wnats to ban the most popular selling rifle in the world, the AR-15 in ALL its variations. Permanently. No sunset clause. You think you'll be grandfathered in? Hey, hold your breath!

One of the most popular revolvers in the world, the S&W J-frame?

CONCEALABLE! That's a big no-no for b-HO! If people in his home town of Chicago had something like this available to them, maybe they wouldn't have to ake pay-offs to politicians and the cops to stay alive! Well, can't we have relics?

NO, SILLY RABBITS! Concealable dangerous weapons!

The super high-tech Beretta competition shotgun?

That's right...GONE BABY GONE...Chicago gang-bangers would love this semiauto baby, so in the Gospel According to b-HO, it's Evil!

And the winner is:

FINALLY, a gun that b-HO HAS NOT gone on the record as wanting to ban!

Wait a coud put somebody'e eye out with that thing! Paging the Right Reverend Jesse "Who You Calling Racist" Jackson! Mobilize the usual suspects!

What to Look for in the Heller Decision

Got this link for Concurring Opinions from John Lott's website, and it is a great summary of what to look for when the Heller decision comes down (probably next Monday). Read the whole will give you the right context to view the decision. Essentially, the site outlines 10 major things to look for in the decision.

DRTV will be gearing up to cover the decision as we did the oral arguments.

In all probablility, the decision will come while I (along with Jim Shepherd, Dave Kopel, Paul Erhardt and Larry Keane from NSSF) am in Colorado Springs for the NSSF Shooting Sports Summit. This would be basically a "best case," since we'll be able to gauge industry reaction quickly.

DS Arms Fights the Good Fight!

My good friend at DS Arms outside of Chicago took another battering from that perennial Rockin' Man of God Jesse "Boom Boom" Jackson last week. This from the Chicago Tribune:
Vowing to intensify his campaign against gun violence, Rev. Jesse Jackson held a protest rally Saturday at a Lake Barrington semiautomatic rifle manufacturer.

Leading 80 supporters to the remote industrial park that houses D.S. Arms, Jackson said assault weapons were turning Chicago into a war zone.

"It does not stand to reason that we'll fight a war to end weapons of mass destruction from flowing in Iraq and increase the flow of weapons at home," he said.

Notably absent from the protest was Rev. Michael Pfleger, who often joins Jackson's protests against gun violence. Both were arrested last June after a confrontation during a protest at a south suburban gun store. Criminal charges of trespassing were dropped.

Pfleger is on a mandated leave from his parish at St. Sabina Catholic Church following incendiary comments he made last month about Sen. Hillary Clinton during a guest sermon at Trinity United Church of Christ.

Last summer, Jackson, accompanied by Pfleger, first visited D.S. Arms, the closest gun manufacturer to Chicago. The company has a catalog of 20- to 30-round semiautomatic rifles geared mostly for military and police use.
You wouldn't know it from this article, but DSA has done a tremendous job of battling the disgusting fake "Reverend's" grandstanding. I've been thinking what I can do to help month, I'll be going to DSA to do a full episode of SHOOTING GALLERY on their exclusive law enforcement training. We'll also be doing video coverage on DSA and their superb line of SA-58 FALs for DRTV!

Woa! Maybe the Right Reverend JJ Himself will attend! Maybe I can get his autograph!

Congrats to my friend Marc Galli and DSA President Dave Selvaggio for standing up for us all! Damn nice rifles, too!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Victims of Our Own Success?

Jim Shepherd from the SHOOTING WIRE sent me this LA Times link. It's a story we all need to read and ponder, both for its hits and its misses:
NRA's political clout is waning

With 2nd Amendment rights expanded and Democrats reluctant to tackle the issue, gun control isn't the GOP weapon it used to be. The rifle group, in essence, is a victim of its own success.

WASHINGTON -- Eight years after a national debate over gun control helped keep Democrat Al Gore out of the White House, the National Rifle Assn. and its Republican allies are launching a new campaign to defeat Barack Obama.

But this time, the issue that GOP strategists once relied on to provide crucial votes in close elections has lost much of its political punch.

Congress hasn't passed major legislation to restrict gun use in 14 years. Democrats -- scarred by past NRA campaigns -- almost never talk about the issue anymore.

And Americans now show little interest in gun control. Just half want tougher rules for gun sales, compared with nearly two-thirds in 2000.

"The issue has been essentially removed from the political agenda," said Robert Spitzer, a political scientist at the State University of New York in Cortland who has written extensively about the politics of gun control.

This marks a major victory for gun rights groups, which less than a decade ago were fending off demands from both Democrats and Republicans for strict new limits on gun ownership after the 1999 Columbine school shootings.

Yet that very triumph may prove politically perilous for Republicans hoping to put John McCain in the White House. Two years ago, GOP candidates backed by the NRA lost in a number of swing states, including Virginia, Missouri and Wisconsin, that could play pivotal roles this fall.
When asked about gun control while campaigning in South Dakota recently, Obama replied: "What I believe is that there is a 2nd Amendment right. I think it is an individual right. I think people have the right to lawfully bear arms."

Obama's formulation is a marked contrast to Gore's campaign in 2000, when the vice president frequently boasted of having strengthened gun laws.

Gore and former New Jersey Sen. Bill Bradley, his Democratic primary opponent, frequently clashed over the issue in high-profile debates, each claiming to be more committed to cracking down on guns.

The NRA and its GOP allies have responded to Obama's defense of the 2nd Amendment with increasingly insistent warnings that it is a ruse. "Liberals in Washington often keep their real opinions to themselves," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told NRA members at their convention. "Don't be fooled."
Read the whole thing...meanwhile our candidate is casting glances fraught with meaning at the second most antigun politician in American (assuming Obama is the first on that list)...the weasel Bloomberg, while still soliciting our vote.

Is John McCain really stupid enough to create the perfect storm that grinds the Republican Party into kibbles and bits?

Stay tuned...

NEW...the NRA on b-HO...yes, he's even worse than you thought...even worse than I though!
On the Second Amendment,
Don’t Believe Obama!

The presidential primary season is finally over, and it is now time for gun owners to take a careful look at just where apparent nominee Barack Obama stands on issues related to the Second Amendment. During the primaries, Obama tried to hide behind vague statements of support for “sportsmen” or unfounded claims of general support for the right to keep and bear arms.

But his real record, based on votes taken, political associations, and long standing positions, shows that Barack Obama is a serious threat to Second Amendment liberties. Don’t listen to his campaign rhetoric! Look instead to what he has said and done during his entire political career.
Read through the whole list of what b-HO has supported, then pray that McCain doesn't launch one into his wee-wee.