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Countertop gets Converts

Seems Countertop managed to take some coworkers shooting.  Seems they liked it.  Even the one from California.  Good work.

2006-03-15 21:35:30.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Illinois is trying to pass an assault weapons ban...

... and that effort is probably what's behind "The Gun Lies".  This legislation, unlike the expired, so-called federal "assault weapons ban", would actually criminal possession as well as manufacture.  Opponents of the law claim it was sparked by a major hunting and fishing retailer seeking to open a store in Chicago.  Luckily it's also behind something else: threats from the several firearms manufacturers based in Illinois that they will leave the state if the law passes.  Damn straight.  Y'all are welcome in Texas.  Seems to me that a state that doesn't want the business shouldn't get the business.   I guess we'll see what the vote on that legislation turns out to be.

Hat tip to Alphecca, whose roundup on this story was useful.
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2006-03-14 23:08:48.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

What is Nagin smoking?

Frustrated by the continued failure of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley to comply with a federal injunction issued last September to halt illegal gun confiscations following Hurricane Katrina and return all seized firearms to their owners, the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association have filed a motion in federal court to have both Nagin and Riley held in contempt.
The story pretty much says it all.  The City of New Orleans is pretending that the NRA and SAF lawsuits concerning gun seizures will simply go away if they hide their head in the sand long enough and stonewall by refusing to admit that any firearms were seized.  What they appear to have forgotten is that we have video of the policy announcement and at least two seizures.  This is not going to go away.
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2006-03-14 22:53:33.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Lies, and the lying liars who tell them...

So, I subscribed to the mailing list of "The Gun Guys", a political action group and public relations campaign masquerading as an anti-gun blog.  That ensures a daily dose of intelligence on the anti's latest targets, tactics, and temperment.  Most of the time, the content is offensive, idiotic, and just plain boring.  But today... today's email was different.  My jaw dropped.  I'm used to the media telling blatant lies about firearms and firearms laws, because they are ignorant.  But since he is a paid lobbiest, I have absolutely no idea what "The Gun Guys" excuse will be for this whopper:
Before 2004, it was illegal to own an assault weapon in America.  You couldn't own them, you couldn't sell them, and if you were found doing either, you went to jail.  But in 2004, the ban dropped, and our Congress failed to renew it (at the urging of the gun lobby).
Reality: for the entirety of our history, Americans have been able to own "assault weapons".  The assault weapons "ban" did not ban owning assault weapons, or even selling them, it only banned manufacturing them.  Even that was ineffective, as manufacturers complied with the law by removing one or cosmetic features from each firearm and continuing to sell them legally.  Even if you accept the premise that the assault weapons ban actually banned assault weapons, however, it was in effect for 10 years in a nation whose history extends for over 200; for 95% of our nation's history it has been perfectly legal to manufacture, sell, or own an assault weapon.  Characterizing that with the blanket description of "before 2004" is so misleading as to qualify as a deliberate lie by omission, built on top of another deliberate, outright lie. 

Am I surprised?  No, not really.  I've long known that the anti-gun forces in this country are willing to do anything necessary for their cause, up to and including murder.  Lying is nothing new.  It was the sheer audacity of this incident that got to me.  Anyone willing to lie that boldly has absolutely no fear of being contradicted or exposed.  And I have no idea what that man's mind is like.  How does he rationalize his attempt to convince the public of a lie in order to influence their vote on legislation that has already been convincingly proven ineffective? 

I am quite willing to respect someone who disagrees with me, even while arguing with them, so long as they are willing to do the same.  But I have no respect for someone whose tactics are dishonest.  By that yardstick, I lost all respect for the anti-gun point of view years ago.  They will lie, mislead, and cheat their way to their goals with the full support of the media.  And that sickens me.

UPDATE: He lies again, the very next day.
The gun guys like to say that criminals ignore laws, and of course they do.  That's why they're criminals.  But they can't ignore strong, blanket regulations on where and when they can obtain guns.  They can't ignore gun laws like an assault weapons ban-- under that law, if you have an assault weapon, you're going to jail.  Period.
The so-called assault weapons ban criminalized the manufacture of so-called "assault weapons" following the date of the law, not their ownership, possession, or sale -- unless the ownership, possession, or sale involved one of the weapons manufactured after the law passed.  Such post-ban weapons were designated "law enforcement only" and peasants could get in trouble for having one.  But those manufactured before the ban were fully legal to possess or sell even while the ban was in effect.
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2006-03-13 19:14:47.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Machete registration

I've often mocked our elder cousin-over-the-sea, the UK, for its silly weapons laws.  Not only do they ban handguns from civilian possession, up to and including their Olympic shooting teams (who must practice in Europe), they also ban rifles (single-shot, bolt action, and semiauto make no difference), and the requirements to own a hunting shotgun pretty much require you to be a member of the nobility -- and even that won't last long, since the government is eagerly seeking to ban hunting, and once hunting is gone there will no longer be an acceptable excuse to own a firearm of any kind.   Bans on BB and pellet guns are in the works.  If you are ever attacked, you can call the police, and rest assured that within an hour someone without a gun will stop by to photograph your corpse and open an investigation.

But I digress.  The UK has limits on the purchase and possession of knives.  No one is allowed to carry a knife in public, unless the knife is securely wrapped.  No one under... I think it is 18 years of age is allowed to purchase a knife.  I figured that in the US we would never stoop so low.  We're proud citizens who vigorously defend our rights, right?

I was wrong.  Massachussetts, bastion of liberal democracy, has a bill in the works that would implement machete registration, and several towns have banned machetes entirely.

Hat tip to Of Arms And The Law for the second story.
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2006-03-13 17:08:10.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Angel Roundup...

I've got only a little breathing space from non-blogging pressures, but I've been trying to follow the Angel Shamaya situation.  For those who don't already know what's going on, Angel Shamaya is the founder of KeepAndBearArms.com, one of the most prominent pro-gun websites.  He was arrested recently, in Michigan, on charges of possessing unregistered firearms and one additional, more troubling, charge -- malicious use of a communication device.  The police say the last charge is related to making threats against his (presumably ex) girlfriend.

Details are thin.  Very thin.  Especially on that last, and most worrisome, charge.  My gut feeling is that there's probably a miscommunication or simple vindictiveness involved, since anyone involved in the life of a politically-aware gun owner knows that the easiest way to put some hurt on such a person is to file some sort of domestic-violence-related charges, since such charges will result in the confiscation of the individual's firearms and a permanent ban on further possession if convicted. 

But that's just a gut feeling.  I don't know what happened, and neither do most people.  We have to make decisions based on what we do know, and on what we hear from people we trust.  So while I can't personally vouch for Angel, I trust the people who have. 

The best place to watch for updates is Gary Marbut's page on the situation.  There is a legal defense fund available.

Regardless of the outcome, I suspect we'll be hearing about this the next time we're tempted to celebrate an anti-gun activist who runs afoul of the law.  There are real people involved, and it won't always be the other side on the receiving end.  In fact, it's already started, with The Gun Guy engaging in vile mockery (Nicki and David have responses).

There's a court date on March 14th, apparantly.  We may know more then.

There are threads on The High Road and Free Republic.

Some character references:

2006-03-12 21:42:35.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Why the police should not be allowed to investigate themselves

Recently, the ATF conducted an intimidation and harassment campaign against gun owners and prospective gun purchasers at several Virginia gun shows.  They had a very visible presence at the show, followed certain attendees around on the floor, illegally obtained the personal information of purchasers they found "suspicious" and used that information to conduct home visits, asking family members (and in some cases neighbors!) whether they "knew that so-and-so was at a gun show buying a gun".

You'll be reassured to know that the BATFE's assistant director of field operations, Michael Bouchard, has conducted an internal investigation and determined that "his agents broke no laws and violated no one's civil rights".  I know I'm comforted that "his boys" didn't do anything wrong:

"Our internal review has shown no evidence of misconduct or any concerns reflecting negatively on the integrity of our agents or our [other law enforcement agency] partners," Bouchard said.

"I listened to the allegations of racial profiling that were leveled against ATF and I can assure you they have no basis in fact," Bouchard said. "Our focus is on disrupting criminal activity without regard to the race [or] gender of those who appear to be engaged in unlawful acts."

Bouchard is probably not aware that civil rights can be violated without engaging in racial discrimination.  For example, gun ownership is a civil right.  But regardless, Bouchard's defense of his agents appears to be factually challenged:

As Cybercast News Service previously reported, numerous individuals claiming to be eye-witnesses or victims accused agents of targeting women, African-Americans and, in particular, African-American women for special scrutiny.

"If a woman showed up at my table, she was surrounded by law enforcement," said John White, a former law enforcement officer who now works as a gun dealer. "Every woman that makes a purchase, every woman who comes to my table to buy a gun was automatically [treated as] a 'straw purchaser.'"

Sure sounds like racial and sexual discrimination to me.  Go ahead, read the whole thing.  Freemarket News has another account, and points to an audio recording from JPFO.  A similar program in Pittsburgh has police knocking on doors a week after the show and requesting to see the purchased gun -- an illegal search if I've ever heard of one.

The full transcript of testimony from Annette Gelles, John White, and James Lalime is worth reading, too.  More details on the hearings are available from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
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2006-03-12 11:12:04.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

"Customer Service" from the South Florida police...

Recently, a police watchdog group investigated the process of filing a complaint against a police officer in a number of police departments in Florida.  The results were shocking.  Only very few actually had formal complaint forms, which isn't in itself a major problem -- it's possible to take complaints without a paper form.  The question is whether it's possible to do so fairly, as a number of extremely unprofessional police officers demonstrated while caught on a hidden camera.   Some of the officers pictured threatened the members of the group with traffic tickets, or demanded id while calling the behavior "suspicious", and one irate officer followed the attempted complainer out into the street and put his hand on his gun. 

Are these people we want to have a monopoly on lethal force?
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2006-03-09 23:10:36.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

For the record...

The next time someone asks "Where were the WMD?" you can point them here; and if they ask about terrorist links, here.  If they still aren't convinced, send them here, and here.

Then, tell them about what's happening in Iran.

2006-03-06 19:58:13.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

Founder of KeepAndBearArms.com jailed...

Angel Shamaya, founder of KeepAndBearArms.com, has been arrested in Michigan for possession of unregistered firearms.  David Codrea at The War On Guns has the details.  If you know Angel well enough to provide a character reference, now would be a good time to do it.  
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2006-03-04 08:27:34.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

What I want to know is...

... where can I buy tickets?

Hat tip to AlphaPatriot on this one too.
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2006-03-01 18:41:16.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments

McCain strikes back

In the past, I've expressed a little distaste for something called the Incumbent Protection Act, which bans anyone except the media elite from doing anything that could possibly alter the outcome of an election.  It seems that in the wake of media-driven scandals about lobbyists bribing politicians, the author of the Incumbent Protection Act has decided the time is ripe to go for the jugular.  In addition to banning Americans from exercising their free speech rights, he has decided to ban Americans from telling politicians what they think.

Here's how it works, according to AlphaPatriot: With the so-called "Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act", every invitation issued to the general public by a group like Gun Owners of America to engage in "lobbying contacts" would need to register their intent 20 days in advance. 

What does this mean in practice?

First, it means that if you want to pass out flyers to your friends suggesting they call a politician to complain about something, you need to hire a lawyer.  How many grassroots lobbying efforts are going to pass that hurdle?  Damn few.

Second, it means that interest groups -- again, like GOA -- will no longer be able to keep up with the twists and turns of legislation.  Take, for example, the Patriot Act; it was proposed and passed within 7 days, less than half the mandatory notification period under McCain's proposed law.  No interest group could organize effective opposition to a fast-tracked bill.

Third, it means this website would be illegal.  Why?  Well, it's an organization whose reason for existance is promoting political activism.  When I wrote the software I included specific features intended to invite the public (people who subscribed) to make "lobbying contacts".  And I'm not going to register my posts.  For all practical purposes, it probably makes any political blog illegal; mine is hardly unique.

I don't have time to do any sort of detailed analysis on this one.  Head over to AlphaPatriot for the scoop.  But I do have time to say this: McCain is no longer an asset to the cause of freedom, if he ever was.  He has become a liability.  He should be retired, and I encourage the voters of his state to do so at the first opportunity.

UPDATE: There may be some good news from the Supreme Court on this front.
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2006-03-01 18:34:11.0 by TriggerFinger. 0 comments
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