More judicial support for the restoration of gun rights where one’s felony conviction is many years old, did not involve violence or the use of a firearm, and one has lived a law-abiding life since. Johnston v. North Carolina finds that 2nd Amendment protects gun rights in those cases. It’s time for some amendments to the Gun Control Act of 1968. Just repeal the whole thing, I’d say.
When deciding which side of a political issue is the correct one it’s always advisable to note whether one side is lying and the other side is telling the truth. The side of truth is the place to be. Long ago I decided the gun issue was a clear case of one side lying through its teeth to support its position and the other side being mostly truthful and when it was wrong it was more a matter of an honest mistake than an outright lie.
The gun control crowd has always relied on falsehoods to support their draconian gun control agenda. That’s still the way it is. The “Violence Policy Center”, i.e., the current name of Handgun Control, Inc., is claiming that since May 2007 at least 300 people — including 11 law enforcement officers — have been killed by private citizens legally allowed to carry handguns. Only problem is that they’re telling a bald faced lie, by counting as victims people justifiably shot in self defense, shooters who were carrying illegally, victims killed by other than legally carried handguns, etc.
There are probably some number of people out of the 10 Million or so who currently hold CCW permits in one of the 49 states that provide for some form of permit, who have actually committed crimes with their handguns since 2007. If the VPC is claiming that number to be 300, then we know for sure the number is inflated and the true number is less, probably much less. Even if we took their number of 300 as gospel and even if the number of CCW holders in the U.S. is only 5 Million (there are about 2 Million confirmed in Florida alone). 300 out of 5 Million is .06%. That’s right, Six One-Hundredths of One Percent. (One percent of 5,000,000 50,000; 1/10th of 1 percent of 5,000,000 is 5,000; 1/100th of 5,000,000 is 50; 300 is 6/100th of 1 percent).
Most statistics I’ve seen indicate that between 1% and 1.5% of the general population will commit a violent crime in a given year, and that’s not even looking at the 4-year period used by the VPC. CCW holders thus are shown to be the most law-abiding citizens in the country. I can’t prove it, but I’d bet a higher number of VPC members committed violent crimes during 2007-2011 than CCW permit holders.
Conclusion: The VPC can’t get to its alarming conclusion without telling big fat lies. Moreover, it’s conclusion, even if it were true, would not be that alarming.
Florida has had a state preemption statute since 1987 preventing local gun restrictions. All gun laws in Florida must be enacted by the Florida State legislature. Cities, towns and counties must enforce only those laws, and cannot make up new ones for their own jurisdictions. But there were no penalties for violation of the state law by local officials, so they willy nilly adopted their own ordnances often banning guns or denying the carrying if guns even by those with State-issued concealed carry permits. In other words, local officials charged with local law enforcement routinely and systematically violated state law. And some wonder why I’m so cynical about bureaucrats and politicians?
That changes this Saturday. That’s when a new Florida State law goes into effect that will impose fines up to $5,000 on municipal and county officials for enforcing local gun ordnances. In some cases, they may even be removed from office. One official says “This is the stupidest thing the State Legislature has ever done.”
Yeah, pretty stupid. Making sure those charged with enforcing laws obey them.
About one million Florida residents have CCW permits issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture. Now they will have all the rights the permit confers.
One need not be a resident of Florida to qualify for a permit and several thousand permits have been issued to non-residents. Florida has many visitors and before their CCW law was enacted in 1987 tourists were being targeted by criminals. Requirements to qualify are a clean criminal record, lawfully ability to posses firearms under Federal Law, and satisfaction of a firearms training course.
Florida residents enjoy substantial gun rights making Florida a high liberty state. It’s law against misuse of firearms are among the strictest in the nation. For example, merely pointing a gun at another person in anger or to settle a dispute, even if the gun is unloaded, is a felony carrying a 3-year mandatory prison sentence. In many other states the same conduct would be charged as a misdemeanor, at least once.
FBI Crime report for 2010 is here.
The nation-wide violent crime rate fell 6.5% to 403.6 per 100,000 population and the overall murder rate declined 4.8% to 4.8/100,000. As usual, violent crime and murder are lowest in states with firearms freedom and highest in states with draconian firearm restrictions.
Overall the Western states, however, have the highest violent crime rate when compared broadly to the Northeast, Midwest and the South. That’s because it includes California and Arizona (lack of border control means high number of illegal alien criminals), and Alaska (lots of criminals seeking refuge in a land-wise large state with low population where law enforcement is often hours or even days away).
Within the statistics for the West are included Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Idaho and Colorado — all states with relatively low violent crime and murder. Other states with very low crime are New Hampshire and Vermont. Those two have the most firearms freedom of all states, New Hampshire with minimal controls and Vermont with essentially none.
The District of Columbia and Chicago continue to be basket cases.
According to The Daily Finance the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the U.S. lie in the following zip codes, in order from the 1st to the 25th most dangerous: 60612, 44104, 89106, 89101, 30313, 19123, 30303, 20003, 37402, 37403, 37408, 28206, 38106, 29403, 29405, 40203, 40204, 76102, 76111, 76103, 27105, 30312, 60609, 38105, 44115, 77550, 30310, 64106, 45210, 32805, 32801.
This is not a list of the most dangerous zip codes, it is a list of zip codes in which lie some of the most dangerous neighborhoods. There may be other neighborhoods within one or more of these zip codes which are not considered to be among the 25 most dangerous neighborhoods in the nation. Some zip codes cover several square miles so that a relatively safe neighborhood could share a zip code with a very dangerous one. I’d say that zip codes 60612 (Chicago) and 20003 (Washington D.C.) are not recommended if you’re looking to relocate, however. 90210 is still a good one, if a bit on the pricey side.
Your chances of becoming a crime victim in a year’s time in these neighborhoods range from 1 in 4 in the first most dangerous to 1 in 13 in the 25th most dangerous. For the methodology of how these determinations are made see The Daily Finance.
The case is Ezell v. City of Chicago, on appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, Judge Virginia M. Kendall. Three individual plaintiffs, Rhonda Ezell, William Hespen, and Joseph Brown (all Chicago residents); and three organizations, Action Target, Inc.; the Second Amendment Foundation, Inc.; and the Illinois State Rifle Association, challenge Chicago’s ordinance requiring one-hour of range training to obtain a gun license while at the same time banning all firing ranges in the City of Chicago. Their claim is that the ordinance violates their Second Amendment right to firearm training at a range and is unconstitutional on its face. Plaintiffs ask for a preliminary injunction against the City barring it from enforcing its firing range ban. Plaintiffs cite irreparable harm, a likelihood of succeeding on the merits, and argue that any alleged harm to the City is speculative and unlikely to occur. The trial court judge, Virginia Kendall, ruled that Plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm and were not likely to succeed on the merits because, she reasoned, firearms training is not protected by the Second Amendment.
The 7th Circuit United States Court of Appeals reversed Judge Virginia Kendall, and said,
For nearly three decades, the City of Chicago had several ordinances in place “effectively banning handgun possession by almost all private citizens.” In 2008 the Supreme Court struck down a similar District of Columbia law on an original-meaning interpretation of the Second Amendment. District of Columbia v. Heller, 554 U.S. 570, 635‐36 (2008). Heller held that the Amendment secures an individual right to keep and bear arms, the core component of which is the right to possess operable firearms— handguns included—for self‐defense, most notably in the home.
Soon after the Court’s decision in Heller, Chicago’s handgun ban was challenged in McDonald v. City of Chicago. The foundational question in that litigation was whether the Second Amendment applies to the States and subsidiary local governments. The Supreme Court gave an affirmative answer: The Second Amendment applies to the States through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. In the wake of McDonald, the Chicago City Council lifted the City’s laws banning handgun possession and adopted the Responsible Gun Owners Ordinance in their place.
The plaintiffs here challenge the City Council’s treatment of firing ranges. The Ordinance mandates one hour of range training as a prerequisite to lawful gun ownership, see CHI. MUN. CODE § 8‐20‐120, yet at the same time prohibits all firing ranges in the city, see id. § 8‐20‐080. The plaintiffs contend that the Second Amendment protects the right to maintain proficiency in firearm use—including the right to practice marksmanship at a range—and the City’s total ban on firing ranges is unconstitutional.
Circuit Judge Rovner, wrote a concurring opinion in which he said,
Stung by the result of McDonald v. City of Chicago, the City quickly enacted an ordinance that was too clever by half. Recognizing that a complete gun ban would no longer survive Supreme Court review, the City required all gun owners to obtain training that included one hour of live‐range instruction, and then banned all live ranges within City limits. This was not so much a nod to the importance of live‐range training as it was a thumbing of the municipal nose at the Supreme Court. The effect of the ordinance is another complete ban on gun ownership within City limits. That residents may travel outside the jurisdiction to fulfill the training requirement is irrelevant to the validity of the ordinance inside the City. In this I agree with the majority: given the framework of District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald, the City may not condition gun ownership for self‐defense in the home on a prerequisite that the City renders impossible to fulfill within the City limits.
Plaintiffs lost in the trial court but now the 7th Circuit reverses. The Court of Appeals holding is as follows:
Holding Number One:
On the present record, the plaintiffs are entitled to a preliminary injunction against the firing‐range ban. The harm to their Second Amendment rights cannot be remedied by damages, their challenge has a strong likelihood of success on the merits, and the City’s claimed harm to the public interest is based entirely on speculation.
Holding Number Two:
Article III of the U.S. Constitution restricts the Federal judicial power to actual “Cases” and ” Controversies,” a limitation understood to confine the federal judiciary to “the traditional role of Anglo‐ American courts, which is to redress or prevent actual or imminently threatened injury to persons caused by private or official violation of the law.” The doctrine of standing enforces this limitation. Standing exists when the plaintiff suffers an actual or impending injury, no matter how small; the injury is caused by the defendant’s acts; and a judicial decision in the plaintiff’s favor would redress the injury.
The individual plaintiffs in this case, all Chicago residents, have standing because the City’s ban on firing ranges inflicts continuous harm to their claimed right to engage in range training and interferes with their right to possess firearms for self‐defense. These injuries easily support Article III standing.
Moreover, the organizational plaintiffs [The Second Amendment Foundation; Action Target, Inc.; and The Illinois Rifle Association] also have standing and the trial court’s contrary holding was in error. Action Target, as a supplier of firing‐range facilities, is harmed by the firing-range ban and is also permitted to act as an advocate of the rights of third parties who seek access to its services. The Second Amendment Foundation and the Illinois Rifle Association have many members who reside in Chicago and easily meet the requirements for associational standing: (1) their members would otherwise have standing to sue in their own right; (2) the interests the associations seek to protect are germane to their organizational purposes; and (3) neither the claim asserted nor the relief requested requires the participation of individual association members in the lawsuit.
The 7th Circuit found the district court’s emphasis on the organizational plaintiffs’ standing puzzling. It’s clear the individual plaintiffs have standing. Where at least one plaintiff has standing, jurisdiction is secure and the court will adjudicate the case whether the additional plaintiffs have standing or not.
Holding Number Three:
Irreparable harm is established because the City’s ordinance interferes with the plaintiffs’ right to exercise their second amendment right to engage in firearm training at a range. The ordinance is unconstitutional on its face because no matter how applied it violates the second amendment rights of all Chicago residents. The City Council violated the second amendment when they enacted the ordinance.
Holding Number Four:
The plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits.
After deciding the plaintiffs could not show irreparable harm the trial court judge didn’t pay much attention to whether the plaintiffs had shown a likelihood of prevailing on the merits, a necessary pre-requisite to a preliminary injunction. She rejected heightened scrutiny outright saying the ban on range training in the City might not violate anyone’s Second Amendment rights. The 7th Circuit says her reasoning misses the point.
Heller focused almost exclusively on the original public meaning of the Second Amendment, consulting the text and relevant historical materials to determine how the Amendment was understood at the time of ratification. This inquiry led the Court to conclude that the Second Amendment secures a pre‐existing natural right to keep and bear arms; that the right is personal and not limited to militia service; and that the “central component of the right” is the right of armed self‐defense, most notably in the home.
Heller said the total ban on firearms in the District of Columbia was unconstitutional under any standard of scrutiny. The 7th Circuit now says that what was meant by “any standard of scrutiny” was “any standard of heightened scrutiny.” Rational basis scrutiny could never be the standard of scrutiny because if a firearms law only had to satisfy a rational basis the Second Amendment would have no meaning at all. All laws must have a rational basis.
Because the “central component” of the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for defense of self, family, and home, the right to possess firearms for protection implies a corresponding right to acquire and maintain proficiency in their use; the core right wouldn’t mean much without the training and practice that make it effective. Therefore, the trial court judge was simply wrong when she said she didn’t think the City’s ban on firing ranges would not violate anyone’s Second Amendment rights.
The 7th Circuit remanded the case to the trial court with instructions to grant the Plaintiff’s request for an injunction against the City of Chicago prohibiting it from enforcing its ban on firing ranges within the City. If a trial on the merits ensues, that is if Chicago still wants to fight the case, the 7th Circuit opinion sets forth all the arguments and rationale the trial judge will need to reach the proper decision which will be that the City of Chicago will be permanently barred from enforcing its total ban on firing ranges within the City.
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. … Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that’s good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.
— George Washington
This quote is believed to be authentic, and comes from a site called Liberty Tree. Other quotes from this cite have been easily verified as authentic, so I tend to trust it. Also, the words sound like other quotes from Washington that are well documented. Teeth are a metaphor that runs through other of Washington’s writings and speeches. It makes sense that teeth would be on his mind, since his were in pretty bad shape and he ended up losing them all. His dentures were not wood as used to be commonly believed. Modern science has examined them and found them to be made from gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components). But were they comfortable? Not likely. No matter, Washington was a man of action and must have gotten used to discomfort and hardship in all its forms.
Otis McDonald and The National Rifle Association win an award of attorneys’ fees in their suit against the City of Chicago, the 7th Circuit rules. McDonald and the other plaintiffs prevailed in the Supreme Court ruling in McDonald v. Chicago. That case struck down Chicago’s draconian gun ban. See this post from last year for an explanation of that case: The Good Guys Win One In Chicago — Mayor Daley Beside Himself.
The amount of the fees will have to be determined in a separate evidentiary hearing in the trial court. The case was fought hard by the City through the trial court, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court. The fees can be expected to amount to several hundred thousand dollars or even more.
The City of Chicago repealed its gun ban law after McDonald was decided but enacted a new law that is almost as restrictive. That law is being challenged by several plaintiffs in a new law suit against the City.
Liberty lovers are overjoyed. Local governments are forewarned that their unconstitutional ordinances and laws may not only be overturned in Federal Court but they may be forced to pay dearly for their attempts to infringe fundamental rights.
Howard Nemerov has these thoughts:
The Brits know how to control their women.
After imposing draconian gun control in 1997, the next decade saw about a 60% increase in the rape rate. Where women used to be safer than in the U.S., British women are now raped about twice as often as here in gun-toting USA.
Read the whole thing.
It’s not remarkable to note that gun control in a place like Great Britain would disproportionately effect women. Any restriction on self defense and having arms for that purpose have always disproportionately burdened the weakest citizens [or subjects] in any society. American gun control has historically been felt most strongly among Black citizens. Unlike Great Britain where making women more vulnerable to rape is an unintended consequence of draconian gun control, American gun laws in the 19th Century were explicitly aimed at keeping Blacks from having guns. If you are holding a population in slavery, and after abolition you want to enforce Jim Crow laws on them, and lynching is a common practice to keep that population in fear, you certainly don’t want them to have guns. Thus, strict laws against possessing or carrying firearms were enacted during and after the Civil War which were vigorously enforced against Blacks and hardly enforced at all against Whites. Sometimes the laws were expressly made to apply only to Blacks, and that became part of the impetus for the 14th Amendment. It is a strange irony, therefore, that today African Americans as a group are one of the strongest proponents of gun control laws. Maybe if they better understood the Racist Roots of Gun Control they would change their minds.
African Americans still suffer disproportionately when gun control laws prevent them from having an effective means to defend themselves. Now, however, their tormentors are not racist Whites but African American drug dealers and criminals in inner-city neighborhoods. With the rise in drug use among Blacks and the consequent rise in Black crime, honest hard-working Blacks are the chief victims of Black criminals. One Black citizen of Chicago became the plaintiff in the recent Supreme Court case of McDonald v. Chicago which held that the Second Amendment applies to the states. This case held Chicago’s municipal gun laws to be unconstitutional under the Second Amendment. Those laws had left Mr. McDonald helpless in a his once-peaceful but now crime-ridden neighborhood.
The 14th Amendment was adopted in 1867 and was aimed at protecting the newly-freed Black slaves from oppression by White racists. Those conditions have now been alleviated almost entirely and, irony of ironies, it is now the Second Amendment that was written by slaveholders in 1789 that is lifting racist burdens off the shoulders of Black Americans.
Final thought. Firearm freedoms and widespread gun ownership makes people of any race, color or creed more civilized. Here’s why.
The Virginia Tech Shooting the killed 32 people; the Tucson shooting that killed 5; and other mass shootings used to bring calls for more gun control. They still do but those are being drowned out by more and more places beings opened up for law-abiding citizens to carry guns. Finally, the common sense notion that it’s nuts for only crazies and crooks to have guns is taking hold. Texas and Oklahoma appear ready to enact legislation the will prohibit the states’ colleges and universities from denying persons over 21 with a CCW from carrying on campus, to the horror of college administrators and regents.
Inside Higher Ed reports:
College administrators in the 15 states where pending bills would legalize concealed carry of weapons on campuses are not only running out of time to plead their case to politicians, they’re also being faced with the possibility that legislators simply don’t care about their concerns — at least, not enough to vote down the bills.
Maybe that’s because of the stark reality that in the Virginia Tech shooting a crazed gunman would never have been able to gun down 32 defenseless people if there have been other people there with guns. In every case of a mass public shooting the mayhem continues until either the gunman runs out of ammunition or victims or kills himself, or he is stopped by someone else, usually someone with a gun be it police officers or citizens.
The dire predictions of a blood bath if the good guys get to have guns never come true but that doesn’t seem to phase the campus administrations when it comes to allowing students and professors to have a fighting chance against crime and mass murder. The prospect of anyone lawfully having the means to defend himself and others terrifies them.
“I think we must all be mindful that law enforcement professionals are highly trained to appropriately respond to threats and violent acts,” A&M President R. Bowen Loftin said in a statement to Inside Higher Ed. “In the heat of a gun battle, how does a police officer quickly discern that one person is actually a law-abiding citizen trying to help and someone else is a ‘bad guy’ trying to hurt?… I worry about putting our campus police, as well as our students, faculty and staff, in a very difficult and dangerous position.”
This statement seems immature, uninformed and downright dumb coming from a supposedly intelligent and educated person. First, in none of the mass shootings that have killed dozens at a time have the police arrived in time to save many lives. In the usual case, all they can do is gather evidence and write reports after the shooting has already stopped. Second, if police are so highly trained why can’t they learn to distinguish good guys from bad guys. The two appear and act quite differently, after all. Third, what could put campus police, students, faculty and staff in a more dangerous and difficult position that a Virginia Tech type whacko with free rein to kill?
A&M’s Bowen doesn’t say what horror he thinks will happen if CCW holders who have been subjected to a thorough criminal background check are allowed the basic and natural right of self defense. To the contrary, a few CCW holders with weapons will be the best thing that ever happened the next time a mentally disturbed gunman shows up. CCW holders are the true first responders because there’s a chance they will actually be there at the moment calamity strikes. The police are the not the first responders, they are the second responders.
Law professor Glenn Reynolds says this to University Campus Officials:
Relax guys. Those people may not seem like your kind, but they’re not as threatening to your way of life as you think. Your worries that this will “change the culture” will soon seem bigoted and out of place as the integration process proceeds.
Is it just me, or is the notion that guns are especially dangerous on university campuses because they’re lawless and full of alcohol and drugs one of those arguments that “proves too much?” If campuses are really that bad, isn’t the problem, you know, bigger than just whether someone with a permit has a gun there?
…in allowing citizens who are not prohibited from owning a handgun under state or federal law to carry their firearm concealed without a permit.
Colorado House Bill 11-1205 has passed the Colorado House (by a vote of 45-25 which means some Democrats voted for it) but must clear the Democrat controlled Senate and acquire the signature of Colorado’s Democrat governor to become law, so it remains in significant doubt at this point. If hell freezes over and the Democrats actually do agree on it and the governor signs it anyone legally in possession of a handgun could carry it concealed in Colorado without a permit. They would do so under the same restrictions that apply to carrying with a permit, and permits will still be available for those wanting them, such as for carrying in other states under reciprocity or recognition.
In Wyoming pretty much the same result will be obtained under SF-0047 which has passed both houses of the Wyoming legislature and awaits the signature of Governor Meade, which is probably a certainty. As in Colorado, anyone carrying without a permit in Wyoming will be subject to the same restrictions as if carrying with a permit, and permits will still be available for carrying in other states.
One reason I can see for still wanting a permit, and which I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere, is to avoid delay upon contact with law enforcement. A law enforcement officer will likely run you through a few computer checks before letting you go if you’re carrying without a permit and that could take some time. If you have a permit the process would likely be shortened to a simple check of the permit to ensure it remains valid. Whether that’s worth $152 in Colorado and close to $100 in Wyoming would be individual choice. It would be worth it to me.
There is one big difference between the Colorado and Wyoming bills. The proposed Colorado bill does not require one to be a resident of Colorado in order to take advantage of it, should it pass. Thus, for the first time a Chicago Alderman who might be the only person who can carry a concealed handgun in Chicago but was prohibited to carry while on vacation at his ski chalet in Aspen, will no longer have to swish down the slopes unarmed. Wyoming continues its historical parochialism and extends the protection of the new law only to Wyoming residents. Aren’t you glad Wyoming doesn’t require one to be a resident to drive a car, or to own a house, or to enjoy the sweet smell of sagebrush?
Just who is and who is not a resident in Wyoming remains a mystery. The statute provides no guidance. The Chicago Alderman will be OK in Wyoming because Wyoming will recognize his out-of-his-resident-state permit such as, for example, a Florida permit. His “very-special-privilege-for-Alderman-and-other-big-shots” only Chicago city permit will remain as worthless as a three-dollar bill in Wyoming.
UPDATE: Colorado’s gooney bird journalists are creating confusion by referring to the proposed new law in Colorado as “conceal and carry repeal” even though the proposed law does not repeal anything but only adds additional language to the existing statute. Must be liberal media wishful thinking. These are the same bird brains that label Colorado’s law allowing you to use deadly force to resist a home invader bent on killing you and everyone you love as the “make my day” law. As if it would make your day to have violent criminals break the peace and safety of your home. Disgusting sickos.
Today is the anniversary of the executions in Munich, Germany of three members of the White Rose, an underground student group that anonymously distributed leaflets critical of the Nazi government. Sophie Scholl, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine on this day in 1943.
They created their leaflets on mimeograph machines and distributed them all over Munich. One of their leaflets contained this message:
Every word that proceeds from Hitler’s mouth is a lie. When he says peace, he means war. And when he names the name of the Almighty in a most blasphemous manner, he means the almighty evil one, that fallen angel, Satan. His mouth is the stinking maw of hell and his might is fundamentally reprobate. To be sure, one must wage the battle against National Socialism using rational means. But whoever still does not believe in the actual existence of demonic powers has not comprehended by far the metaphysical background of this war.
Such bravery was little known in Germany of the 1940’s and these three paid a dear price for it. The Gestapo response was swift and deadly. A tribute to their courage and love of liberty is here:
The courage to act and risk everything is a prerequisite for liberty to flourish. Remembering that they were not endowed with any particular human trait we don’t ourselves possess makes their sacrifice all the more extraordinary.
Read it all at An Anniversary of Three Executions
From The Detroit News:
State Sen. Mike Green is looking to abolish the limitations concerning concealed weapons and allow those with licenses to carry a firearm essentially anywhere in the state. Green, R-Mayville, said he introduced the bills today in order to prove “there are no places that should be gun free.”
This is a good idea and I hope it gets some traction in Michigan, and then in other states. Anyone with a CCW has already been given a thorough criminal background check and found to be law abiding and of good character. State by state records show CCW permit holders to be extraordinarily law abiding and trustworthy. Typically, less than 1%, sometimes much less, of all currently outstanding CCW holders get involved in anything that results in a suspension or revocation of their permit. In most states it takes only relatively minor offenses (other than traffic infractions) to cause a permit to be suspended or revoked. A high number of suspended permits are reinstated when the matter causing suspension is cleared up.
Gun free zones are danger zones. That is where violent criminals and the mentally disturbed go to commit their heinous acts, knowing there will be no one there to immediately stop them. Jared Loughner was still capable of shooting more people in the Arizona shooting when a lawfully armed citizen helped others subdue him. This man was not in the immediate area but heard the gun shots and ran toward the gunfire. It is often the case that lawfully armed citizens are not only good citizens, they are courageous citizens proving that we do indeed live in the land of the free and the home of the brave. At least when it’s allowed.
UPDATE: Some place restrictions are just absurd. Georgia prohibits permit holders to carry their guns in any place of worship, even if the church gives its permission. This precludes a pastor from having his gun in his own study. The absurd thing about this law is that can be no justification for it. None. It’s just a naked restriction for…what? Churches have been targeted by criminals and nut jobs and making them a gun-free zone increases rather than reduces the likelihood of a massacre. A more reasonable policy is to let the church decide whether it wants to allow its members who are CCW holders to carry their guns, as Utah does. Any church in Utah can prohibit guns in its church by filing a notice with the Utah BCI [Bureau of Criminal Identification] which will then list it on the BCI website. Only one church in Utah has done that: The Church of Latter Day Saints. I don’t know their reason. All other churches allow guns.
I’ve just returned from the SHOT Show in Las Vegas where every kind of gun or gun accessory was on display. I didn’t see all of it because the show only lasts four days and it’s not possible to see it all in that short a time. Besides, one of my days was spent in the Glock Armorer’s class to renew my factory certified armorer’s certificate with the great Dennis Tueller (of “Tueller Drill” fame) as instructor.
These past fews days have caused me to reflect on gun rights today and where we were just ten years ago. In 2001 the Clinton gun ban was still in effect, the Colorado CCW law had been killed in 1999 just as it was ready to go the governor for signature, as a result of Columbine. I lost a good friend over Columbine, not because he was a victim of the madmen who shot up the school but because he became an hysterical anti-gun sort who blamed all gun owners, including me, for the acts of two evil and depraved teenagers. I think that sort of thing was happening in a lot of places. Friendships destroyed over political nonsense.
Since then the Clinton gun ban was allowed to expire in 2003. Colorado got its CCW law enacted in 2003. Later, the U.S. Supreme Court settled the long-standing argument over whether the Second Amendment protects an individual right to keep and bear arms by holding that it does (Heller v. District of Columbia). Two years later the court held that the Second Amendment is incorporated by the 14th Amendment and applies to the States (McDonald v. Chicago). It would be hard to overstate how these two cases have changed the conversation on gun rights in America. It’s now respectable to say you are a supporter of gun rights, that gun rights are a good thing, and that owning a gun can make a lot of sense for a lot of people. Gun sales have gone through the roof (that’s one reason the SHOT show has got so big) and crime has continue to go down. Widespread gun ownership and gun knowledge is not such a good thing for criminals.
When Barack Obama appeared on the verge of being elected to the Presidency an electric shock went through the world of gun enthusiasts. No friend of guns or gun owners, it was feared that Obama would try to institute new Clinton-style gun bans. The execrable Frank Lautenberg was back in the Senate licking his chops, and Long Island Representative Carolyn McCarthy was in high key for a bunch of new gun restrictions. California Senator Dianne Feinstein and New York’s Chuck You Shumer stood in the ready to take up the fight. But the political climate had changed. No new restrictions of any significance were passed and, lo and behold, the gun restriction in National Parks was lifted.
The Brady Campaign seems not to have noticed this and keeps up their efforts to outlaw guns but they don’t have any juice with enough politicians anymore. The politicians just got tired of losing elections over the gun issue, I think. In fact, some Democrats have clearly got the message and come out in support of gun owners. Witness the complete collapse of the efforts of a few liberals to try to capitalize on the Arizona shooting to get new gun laws enacted.
This is no time to get overconfident but even such lefty websites as The Huffington Puffington Post seem to have a new attitude. A current post on that site by Dan Baum, a former writer for The New Yorker of all things, has a pro-gun piece that is quite good. In After Tucson: Stricter Gun Laws Aren’t The Answer, Mr. Baum says:
Gun control not only does no practical good, it actively causes harm. It may be hard to show that it saves lives, but it’s easy to demonstrate that we’ve sacrificed a generation of progress on things like health care, women’s rights, immigration reform, income fairness, and climate change because we keep messing with people’s guns. I am researching a book on Americans’ relationship to their guns, and keep meeting working-stiff gun guys — people whose wages haven’t risen since 1978 and should be natural Democrats — who won’t even listen to the blue team because they’re convinced Democrats want to take away their guns. Misguided? Maybe. But that’s democracy for you. It’s helpful to think of gun control as akin to marijuana prohibition — useless for almost everything except turning otherwise law-abiding people into criminals and fomenting cynicism and resentment. All the talk of a new large-magazine ban hits gun guys’ ears like liberals using this disaster to trim back gun rights a little. It reinforces the toxic narrative that the Democrats are the enemy of regular guys, which is the last thing we need right now.
I think we’ve won the argument with liberals over guns. So, on to all that other stuff Mr. Baum identifies on the liberal agenda, health care, immigration, income fairness, climate change, etc. Conservatives are just as right and liberals are just as wrong about all that stuff too.
Only Wisconsin and Illinois have no provision for any citizen to get a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The Wisconsin legislature has twice passed a CCW law but former Democrat Governor Jim Doyle vetoed it both times. The last time the law passed with a veto-proof majority (by one vote) but was not overridden when Doyle convinced one legislator to change his vote on the override.
Now Wisconsin will be getting a CCW law this session and won’t have to worry about a governor vetoing it. New Republican governor Scott Walker will sign it.
Wisconsin underwent a political sea change in November, and is a solid red state now. Not sure what cheesehead CCW law will look like, or what recognition or reciprocity of out-of-state permits it will contain. Have to wait and see. It will be posted here when it is introduced.
It was always an serious anomaly that the freedom-loving state that created Harley Davidson did not have a CCW law. That’s about to be fixed. Good.
Used as a metaphor, a “minefield” is a subject or situation presenting unseen hazards that might “blow up in your face.” A legal minefield might be thought of as a trap for the unwary, entangling one in a legal problem such as a civil suit or a criminal charge. Most people who are law-abiding, and gun owners with CCW permits are statistically a law-abiding group, believe that avoiding a criminal charge is a no-brainer. How can a non-violent person who does not lie, cheat or steal inadvertently run afoul of the criminal law?
The problem is there are too many crimes that are defined as felonies today, and too many felonies that should not be crimes at all. There are federal felonies that most people would think should not be crimes at all because they do not require a guilty state of mind or intention to inflict harm on anyone. There is a spate of new books about this phenomenon, such as Three Felonies a Day, How the Feds Target the Innocent; Go Directly to Jail: The Criminalization of Almost Everything; and One Nation Under Arrest, How Crazy Laws, Rogue Prosecutors and Activist Judges Threaten Your Liberty.
For gun owners any felony conviction takes away the right to possess firearms for life [U.S.C. §922(g)(1)]. It need not be a violent felony, and it need not be a felony that even meets the classical definition of a “felony” as an act of violence usually involving murder, arson, assault and battery, rape or robbery. It can even be a crime designated a felony in one state and not a crime at all in another state. For example, it was only recently a felony in New Mexico to carry a firearm into any establishment that dispensed alcoholic beverages, even a convenience store that sold beer (the law has now been changed somewhat from the original). But in Colorado it was and is not a crime at all for a CCW permit holder to carry his or her concealed firearm into a bar. Here is a legal minefield. A Colorado CCW holder may have thought the law to be similar in New Mexico and end up with a felony conviction, and loss of the right to possess a firearm for the rest of his or her life.
Gun owners who travel must know the laws of the state they’re in, if they travel with their guns. [the Federal Volkner-McClure Act on the right to travel is of limited protection and is a subject for another day]
The New Mexico/Colorado legal dichotomy is but one example. Others abound. Don’t even think about carrying a firearm into New Jersey. Thinking about it might be a felony.
How about the argument that disparate treatment in different states of what constitutes a felony, especially treating non-violent acts as felonies that are not even crimes in other states, constitutes a violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment? Forget it. That argument has been soundly rejected by Federal Courts, such as in United States v. Vongxay, 594 F.3d 1111, 1114 (9th Cir. 2010).
Nevertheless, the denial of 2nd Amendment rights to non-violent felons may be an emerging issue. In United States v. Duckett, (9th Circuit, Dec. 10, 2010) one of the judges said this:
Although I join the majority in full, were I not bound by United States v. Vongxay, 594 F.3d 1111 (9th Cir. 2010), I would examine whether, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s dicta in District of Columbia v. Heller, ___ U.S. ___ 128 S.Ct. 2783, 2816-17 (2008), the government has a substantial interest in limiting a non-violent felon’s constitutional right to bear arms. See United States v. Williams, 616 F.3d 685, 693 (7th Cir. 2010) (“[W]e recognize that § 922(g)(1) may be subject to an overbreadth challenge at some point because of its disqualification of all felons, including those who are non-violent.”)
Duckett is a “not for publication” decision meaning it can’t be cited as authority. Don’t you wish you could designate some things you write or say as “not for publication” so you couldn’t be held responsible? For judges, it’s the legal equivalent of “King’s X” which in real life is only for children.
Seventy-two years ago last night, November 9-10, 1938, Kristallnacht occurred throughout Germany and parts of Austria. Just over four years later the holocaust had killed millions of Jews when the Warsaw Ghetto uprising began on January 18, 1943 and ended on May 16, 1943. All of the Jews in the uprising died but they made the Nazis pay a price for their death and they, not the Nazis, determined how they were going to die. They died fighting.
The 2001 television docudrama, Uprising, about the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, is available on DVD. Netflix doesn’t carry it (I guess Jews defending themselves doesn’t fit the narrative).
If more German Jews had guns the history of the holocaust would be much different. In this review of Uprising, David Kopel writes that 2,000 years of Jewish passivity came to an end in the Warsaw Ghetto:
The Warsaw battle had begun on Passover, and like the first Passover, the Warsaw resistance led directly to the establishment of a Jewish state. Without the fighting spirit that was rekindled by the Warsaw ghetto revolt, it is doubtful that the Jews would have prevailed when Arabs attacked them the moment the state of Israel was proclaimed.
The Jewish commander of the uprising was a 24-year-old schoolteacher named Mordechai Anielewicz. On April 23, 1943, he wrote a letter from Warsaw to a friend named Yitzhak, explaining what was happening. Here is one paragraph from that letter:
From this evening, we are switching to a system of guerilla action. At night, three of our units go out on two missions: an armed reconnaissance patrol and the acquisition of weapons. Know that the pistol has no value, we practically don’t use it. We need grenades, rifles, machine guns, and explosives.
The entire letter is reproduced in this review of Uprising.