It turns out that the police probably used burglars to obtain probable cause for their search warrant in the case. Not a burglar they happened to have arrested... rather, a burglar they told to go out and get the evidence they would need for a police raid.
BATFE's registry of restricted weapons challenged in court
The details are here. The basic idea: a prominent statistics expert has testified that the BATFE's registry of restricted weapons is not sufficient to maintain a criminal conviction "beyond a reasonable doubt". There's all sorts of reasonable doubt as to whether someone's registration was lost or incorrectly recorded, based on poor record-keeping procedures and the possibility of lost or inaccurate records.
Democrats stalling pro-gun legislation in the Senate.
The House has passed legislation taking authority for regulating firearms out of the hands of the DC local government and putting in place reasonable regulations consistent with the regulations present in the majority of states. The bill now proceeds to the Senate, where the Democratic leadership has so far refused to schedule a vote. This would be a good time to contact your Senators and urge them to push the bill.
Remember, this will likely be our last chance to pass the bill before the 2008 elections. We want Congress to go on the record for supporting or opposing the 2nd Amendment. This is a very simple case: does the DC government need to follow the Constitution or can they make it up as they go along?
shrill PTA hockey-mom... aggressively hostile to all intelligent women everywhere... nausea and a general recoiling... antagonistic, anti-female... nasty caricature of femininity... homophobic, Creationist evangelical nutball... anti-choice, God-pandering woman... basically wants to shove women's rights back about five decades... deer-in-the-Palin-headlights fans... bizarre, dangerous sentiment... gaggle of strangely named kids who hunt and don't believe in evolution
and get pregnant before they're old enough to buy a pack of Marlboros... not giving a damn for equal pay, or honest sex education, or separation
of church and state, or alternative energy, or a woman's right to
choose, or their own daughters' rights if they get knocked up after
being raped or incested... the baby bump she gave McCain... shrill charade and damn well recognize an imposter in their midst...
The fury the left turns on those who disagree with them is truly something to behold. But it's not very convincing. Oh, and speaking of prejudice:
Truly, it's usually men who are the knuckleheaded ones, who will flip
their vote merely over a single inconsequential issue ("I like
everything about Obama except he supports gun control, and I love my
guns, so I guess I gotta go for McCain"). Women, according to the
eternal mythology, are no such dupes, and choose more wisely, from
deeper intuition, instinct.
I don't think the gun issue is "inconsequential", but even if I did, I wouldn't vote for Obama. I have lots and lots of reasons for that.
Local government reluctantly allows citizens to exercise civil rights
Yes, the DC government has passed a new law "allowing" private citizens to more freely exercise their 2nd Amendment rights by removing the ban on semiautomatic firearms. It only took three lawsuits, one Supreme Court victory, and the House of Representatives passing a much better law to take the issue out of their hands. How much better?
The bill includes measures that would restrict the council from
regulating gun ownership, remove the District's gun-registration
requirement, remove criminal penalties for possessing an unregistered
firearm and allow D.C. residents to purchase handguns in Maryland and
In other words, the law in DC would be fairly similar to the law in the rest of the United States, and better than some.
It may not be nearly so bad as other places, but when a police officer can detain, physically strike, and then arrest a citizen for not pulling up their pants... something is badly wrong. The Constitutional fig leaf here is presumably a law that requires people to wear their pants properly pulled up rather than low on the hips; ostensibly it regulates "gang signs" but in practice it appears to allow police to harass anyone they see violating the law. After all, there is a "violation" in plain sight which eliminates any need for probable cause of a more serious offense.
Once the initial contact is made the officer can respond to backtalk however he chooses... up to and including deciding to actually write out a ticket for the low-riding pants, and as soon as he decides to do that, he's justified searching anyone on the scene for "officer safety". Even if he doesn't find anything he's just spent 15-30 minutes harassing a citizen with threat of violence for not obeying a dress code. In the United States of America!
The cop in the video was fired. Which is comforting until you realize this is probably not the first time he's done something like this.
There are two wrong ways to do an email announcement online. The first is only a little bit wrong:
My name is L. Neil Smith. I'm about to make an important announcement for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. If you would send me any e-mail address(es) of folks you think might be interested, it would be easier, and I would appreciate it.
I've read a few of his books and I would not mind at all receiving his announcement, but I draw the line at sending in other people's email addresses for him to "announce" to. Email ettiquette demands that you not sign up other people for announcements, mailing lists, or the like. This is a consequence of the huge amount of spam being sent to every conceivable email address. So, if you want to receive his announcement, sign up for yourself. (I note that David had a similar reaction).
And then there was the much less pleasant interaction I had with the Opposing Views folks. I won't link. It started with a simple email:
My name is Edgar Acosta and I am an editor at Opposing Views. I came across your site, liked what I read, and wanted to introduce us because we both write about gun issues.
So far so good, I made a mental note to check out the site sometime when I have time. (That's rare, these days.) A couple days later, I received another message:
This is Edgar from Opposing Views, the debate website. I sent you an email a few days ago and had not heard back from you, so I thought I would touch base again.
Well, OK, two emails is not so bad and I had in fact not yet had a chance to check it out, so I held off saying anything. But then...
I understand that you probably get lots of inquiries, so I'm guessing you haven't had the time to respond to my email.
I will go ahead and put you on our list for the Opposing Views newsletter so you can keep an eye on the topics we are covering and come by the site when you have time. If you aren't interested, there is an opt-out on every email.
... and it's that easy to cross the line from friendly contact to spam. By adding my name to their mailing list without my consent, Opposing Views became a spammer. To their credit, they promptly replied and claimed to have removed my address from their newsletter. To their detriment, they argued with me about whether adding me in the first place was spamming or not. I haven't yet received any newsletters from them, so I assume they have removed my address, but I won't know for sure for a while.
If you are going to play with email marketing on the internet, you need to play by the rules. Opt-out is never an acceptable model. Even conduct allowed by the so-called CAN-SPAM act can still land you in a lot of hot water with your ISP.
No charges... but still arrested and his guns not returned
In a free society, police who make mistakes and arrest people who haven't violated any laws would be punished. Police who then refused to return the man's property would be charged and convicted of theft -- and in cases like this, armed robbery would be a more useful charge.
SaysUncle points to a report that the Department of Justice has given a New Jersey company $250K to continue work on a smart gun program. The existing program is apparantly based on sensors in the gun designed to identify the user by the varying amount of pressure their hand places on the gun. There are a huge number of problems with this idea -- not least of them the simple fact that a gun that won't fire is useless for self-defense. How confident are you that your grip when casually test-firing a handgun will be identical to the point of uniqueness when flooded with adrenaline and fighting for your life against a criminal?
Quite simply, this is an idea that's made to fail. But there's a catch... once the technology is available in New Jersey, existing law will ban all firearms that do not include it.
Oh. Except that the police have an exception.
Why do they need an exception if the technology works?
Good question to ask yourself, isn't it?
The only safety a defensive handgun needs is the owner's brain.
Over at The Agitator, Radley has a SWAT training video for warrant service. He points out a couple significant flaws with the training depicted from a civil rights perspective. Among others, the identification of the team as police officers is not made until after the door has been smashed in with a battering ram. The officers do appear to be in uniform, but the uniform does not appear to have any indication that the officers are actually police -- it's basically camoflage under body armor. That by itself has dangerous military implications.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Barack Obama has made his big mistake. While trying to reassure Pennsylvania voters that he would not be taking their guns away, he came up with the following:
"Even if I want to take them away, I don't have the
votes in Congress. This can't be the reason not to vote for
me. Can everyone hear me in the back? I see a couple of sportsmen back
there. I'm not going to take away your guns."
In all fairness, Obama was explicitly trying to reassure voters that he wouldn't institute gun confiscation programs. But in the process he admitted that he wants to. And someone who wants to confiscate guns -- remember that he supported the DC gun ban before he was against it, and the assault weapons ban is still an official part of the Democratic platform -- will not have any objection to other forms of gun control.
Mark Marchiafava was arrested for opening carrying a firearm -- even though it's legal to do so. He sued the city that arrested him, and received a significant settlement (the exact amount is confidential).
After his arrest, Marchiafava said, Police Chief Bill Landry told
other people: ?We have a policy of arresting anybody carrying any type
of firearm without a concealed-gun permit."
?We will follow the law as prescribed,? Landry said, adding that the
law permits carrying a firearm in an unconcealed holster. But Landry
will not discuss the case further.
Pity it takes a lawsuit and a substantial out-of-court settlement to get police officers to know and follow the law.