Results so far:
- Manchin-Toomey (medium background checks): failed.
- Grassley-Cruz-Graham (better background checks): failed.
- Leahy-Collins (trafficking): failed.
- Cornyn (national concealed-carry reciprocity): failed.
- Feinstein (assault weapons ban): failed.
- Burr (restore gun rights for veterans): failed.
Looks like nothing passed, good or bad. In this environment, that's a victory for our side.
Thank you for everyone who called or wrote in to help defend our rights, and extra thanks to Sebastian
for watching the hearings and keeping the rest of us informed.
Full text of the legislation
at the link. I haven't had time to figure out if it's any good or not.
Push for gun control in Minnesota
Obama plans to visit Minnesota today. They are rolling out a carpet of anti-gun legislation to welcome him. Highlights include a magazine ban with a move-out-of-state-or-destroy requirement for existing magazines
-- no grandfather clause. Hearings will be held
on this legislation, as well as other gun control legislation, on Tuesday Feb 5th starting at 10am and running through Thursday.
Here's what's coming down the pipe
- Ban on standard capacity magazines
- Ban on ugly semi-auto rifles
- Ban on private transfers
Contact information for the so-called Public Safety Committee is available.
More information is available from the PowerLine blog on the magazine ban
and the ugly semi-auto ban
, and A Geek With Guns has even more legislation
One of the things PowerLine points out about the semi-auto ban: while it does have a grandfather clause (which has already expired, so if you run out to buy one today before the legislation passes it's not protected), you have to register the firearm, undergo yearly background checks, and give the state permission to inspect your home
That's right, the law purports to invalidate your 4th Amendment rights.
One of the bills at A Geek With Guns would change concealed carry permit rules from shall issue to may issue
for people with no convictions but past police contact by requiring a mental health professional sign off on the permit application. Remember, anyone with a felony or domestic violence conviction, or an involuntary hospitalization for mental health issues, is already barred from even possessing a firearm. People who intend to commit murder don't ask for a license to carry their firearms first.
Minnesotans, go to the contact information link above and CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS.
This stuff is much easier to stop before it passes.
I'll tell you one other thing. The Heller case at the Supreme Court famously protects firearms in common use
. This onslaught of bans on semi-automatic firearms is designed to make the argument to the Supreme Court that these firearms are not in common use... because the government banned them.
Sebastian has the list of proposed gun control laws in New Jersey
. It's scary, and I'm glad I don't live there.
A Keyboard and a .45 has an update on a standard-capacity magazine ban in the House
, HR 138
As he points out, the law is completely unenforceable. There are literally millions of standard capacity magazines in existence without serial numbers or special markings. 10 rounds of ammunition in a magazine is not a magical number the divides good (less than) and evil (more than). Because the legislation does not specify a detachable magazine, it will ban lever-action rifles from the 19th century.
A criminal can bring as many illegal guns, as many illegal magazines, and as many criminal friends as he wants to the scene of his intended crime. When he does, you can count yourself lucky if you have one gun and one magazine within easy reach, because you weren't planning on being attacked by a criminal that day. Would you rather have 10 rounds in your limited-capacity magazine, or a standard-capacity magazine that could hold 15, or 17?
What does the Senate have in store for us?
- Comprehensive Immigration Reform
- Sandy Hook Elementary School Violence Reduction Act
- Strengthen our Schools and Students Act
- Rebuild America Act
- Violence Against Women Act
- Putting Our Veterans Back to Work Act
- Preparing for Extreme Weather
- End Wasteful Tax Loopholes
- Clean and Fair Elections Act
- Agriculture Jobs Bill
Well,it sure looks like gun control is on Reid's agenda after all. Gun control with side dishes of pork, pandering, and more pork.
Write your representatives in the House.
A rare piece of legislation filed by a democrat that I can support wholeheartedly, though I do think that naming laws after individual people is silly. This law is intended to prevent prosecutors from charging you with a felony for violating a website's terms of service
; instead, it should be treated as a violation of contract law, a civil matter without criminal penalties.
Aaron was faced with a choice between 35 years in jail and spending the remainder of his life as a felon, or pleading guilty to the same felony and spending 6 months in jail. His "crime" was to break into a network closet to download material he had legal access to, and which the owner later released for free. Neither sentence would be justice, and using the plea bargain process to force a guilty plea or risk 35 years in jail is abuse as well.
Proposed bill in Connecticut legislature to require single shot firearms
This is only proposed
, not yet passed. Note that it clearly violates the 2nd Amendment under Heller (which says you cannot ban firearms in common use, and which concerned a handgun capable of firing more than one shot). There is an exception for law enforcement, military, and "certain gun clubs", which seems to mean that official government employees can have guns whose only purpose is killing lots and people and that's somehow OK.
I doubt this is a serious threat, but if you live up that way and don't want to have to go to a lot of trouble overturning this in court, you know the drill. Call your legislators just in case.
Federal Registration and Licensing of Firearms
The Democrats now in power aren't wasting any time in moving forward with their anti-gun agenda. There has been a bill introduced in the House
which would establish national registration and licensing requirements for firearms possession
(not merely purchase!); and almost as a by-the-way includes criminal penalties for failing to report a stolen firearm within 72 hours, failing to store a firearm in such a way that it can't be stolen, fingerprinting of firearms owners, a written test before the firearms license is issued, and god only knows what else.
The only good news in this picture is that the bill has only no co-sponsors. That means support for it is low... at least for now. These things can pick up momentum in a hurry.
Make no mistake, this is the 11:59 bill. If this one passes, the next one will be "Mr-and-Mrs-America, turn them all in."
It seems one of our state senators wants to introduce a Castle Doctrine bill. This is pretty old news, and it may well have already passed, but what I would like to know (and don't have time to research myself) is what the specific changes are. Does anyone have the text of the proposed legislation handy?
Hat tip to Blogonomicon
... and the push is back
. Representative Moran has introduced a bill that would ban the manufacture or sale of .50 caliber rifles, and require that existing examples be registered under the NFA rules. And here I was thinking that the Democrats had figured out that gun control was a losing issue; not that I ever thought they weren't lying through their teeth about "supporting" the 2nd Amendment, I'm just surprised that they are willing to go back to their same old tricks openly. Speaking of old tricks, he's also trying to resurrect the so-called Assault Weapons Ban.
Well, perhaps it's not quite so backwards as all that; apparantly the only organization willing to share the press release upon which this story was obviously based was the "Virginians Against Handgun Violence". Notably absent are the Violence Policy Center, the Million-Mom-March-United-With-Somebody, and the Brady Bunch.
I'm not too concerned about either bill with the current makeup of Congress. The House is probably
secure enough even if the Senate would be a close vote on the Assault Weapons Ban. I'm a bit more concerned about what happens after the November elections. If the Democrats take back some ground with anti-gun rhetoric, and both sides feel like that is the new winning formula, we could see Republicans caving to cowardice and some losses.
Time to start saving up for that Barret .50, just in case.
... the government is now requiring firearms dealers to include a child safety device
("trigger lock") with all handgun purchases. This will have little practical effect as many manufacturers and dealers were doing so voluntarily, but it was passed into law as part of the compromise required to get the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act through the Senate. My feelings are mixed. On the one hand, it is a compromise; on the other, it was a worthwhile one, with small cost to our side and badly needed protection to manufacturers.
We must be vigilant, however, and ensure that we do not lose the benefits of the compromise later on.
A while back I posted a hypothetical question
about what should be done
concerning Class-III weapons (machine guns) that were captured from an
invading army. The weapons would be illegal to possess -- well,
technically illegal to transfer across state lines, I suppose, but for
all practical purposes illegal to possess -- and the people possessing
them would be instant criminals, quite possibly without ever knowing
it. The problem of war trophy firearms is not entirely
hypothetical, however, and it seems the NRA is taking steps to address it
While the bill's provisions, which provide a 90-day amnesty period for
registration of firearms acquired overseas between 1934 and 1968, are
better than nothing, they aren't nearly broad enough.
You might want to write your Congressman in support of the bill
anyway. If they get favorable attention from this they'll be more
likely to expand it later.
UPDATE: FreedomSight is more critical of the bill
I don't disagree with his arguments (but see the note below on the
surrender provision), but if we want our legislators to support the 2nd
Amendment, we need to get that message across loud and clear.
Unless you are very lucky (or own a lobbyist), your representative
doesn't actually listen
anything you say, or read anything you write to him or her about;
instead, their staffers take messages from the constituents and try to
categorize those messages into a simple binary value on each topic the
representive is tracking: yes, or no.
So, if the representative is paying attention to comments about this
bill, his staffers will be trying to characterize all the comments they
receive on the bill as either a yes vote or a no vote. They're
not reading any deeper than that, and any information you write in with
that doesn't fit readily into that paradigm is probably lost.
The way to get support from Congress on gun issues is to write in to support positive firearms legislation even if it has philosophical flaws
Like it or not, we won't be seeing Congressional repeal of most current
gun control any time soon. When something positive does become
available, we need to support it in order to encourage more positive
legislation in our favor.
Finally, while I understand Jed's reluctance regarding the surrender
provision the NRA didn't bother to mention, you only need to look at
the alternatives to understand why it's there. Right now, people
possessing Class-III weapons affected by this bill are subject to
prosecution for a severe federal felony; there is no way they can get
out of that, no matter what they do with the gun. The bill will
provide an amnesty period, and after that amnesty period, it will
provide an out for veterans in that situation, by allowing them to
surrender the firearm upon notification that continued possession is
illegal. The alternative for the veteran at that point is a
federal felony conviction, prison time, and confiscation
of the firearm at gunpoint, not continued peaceful
That strikes me as an improvement, albeit a small one.
What we have here is a House bill that effectively allows a collection of facts (for example, a database of phone numbers, like the phone book) to be treated by the courts as property. I can perceive their motivation -- that is, corporations want to have some property right with respect to the information they collect on their customers -- but there are a lot of potential problems with this rule.
The law also covers "collections of data" like, for example, building codes. Yes, laws can become the private property of businesses, off-limits for personal reproduction and use. It's apparantly fairly lucrative if you can secure a monopoly on the right to publish the legal code of your city, county, or state! In the case of building codes, anyone who wants to build a new building or modify an older one needs to come to you and buy a copy of the laws they are required to follow.
And that's not even getting into issues like the AMA owning the billing codes hospitals use on itemized bills, so that if you want to decode your hospital bill you need to talk to -- and probably pay -- the AMA.
Read this good summary of the issues. And if you don't like what you see, complain to the committee members.
While CNN and other media outlets are rejoicing because of the capture of Saddam Hussein, Bush again introduced new legislation last Saturday which increased the federal powers to investigate and reduces the privacy rights of American citizens
:Comments of Ron Paul, Congressman for Texas on HR 2417 :
It appears we are witnessing a stealth enactment of the enormously unpopular "Patriot II" legislation that was first leaked several months ago. Perhaps the national outcry when a draft of the Patriot II act was leaked has led its supporters to enact it one piece at a time in secret. Whatever the case, this is outrageous and unacceptable. I urge each of my colleagues to join me in rejecting this bill and its incredibly dangerous expansion of Federal police powers.
Altering specified requirements for the issuance of handgun permits; repealing the requirement that the Secretary of State Police find that an applicant seeking a permit has a good and substantial reason to wear, carry, or transport a handgun; establishing a 45-day period within which the Secretary must issue a permit to carry a handgun after an application is approved; requiring that an individual be certified by a qualified handgun instructor before receiving a permit; etc.
Maryland considers shall-issue. Only a few states left!
Some lawmakers are introducing a bill that Hollywood is not happy about ? one that would allow consumers to make personal copies of digital entertainment like DVDs to be played on whatever device they want.
Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., author of the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act, says consumers should not always have to worry about being slapped with a lawsuit every time they make a copy of their favorite videos.
The Digital Millenium Copyright Act, which this bill is intended to loosen, says in essence that it is illegal to understand the technology that operates the media you buy. It is, in other words, a bill designed to maintain the role of large "media" companies in the distribution channel for artist's work, in a time when the Internet has rendered the old distribution channels obsolete.
It's not as urgent as some other things... but if you have a chance to tell your representatives about this bill, and that you support it, many engineers will be thankful that their desire to tinker with technology will not put them in jail.
The governor of California exercised both his pen and his veto on Monday, resulting in a mixed return for the issues I've been watching. Here's the bad news:
Schwarzenegger signed two gun control measure. One, SB 1858, prohibits public display of fake guns that look real. He also signed AB 2431, which will require police to return firearms seized if owners pass a background check showing they can legally own a gun.
SB 1858 is silly -- it's another measure banning toy guns to help the police avoid shooting kids playing cowboys and indians. While I don't really have much problem with regulating toy guns, is it too much to ask for the police to evaluate the situation before shooting a kid? Who is the real threat to our children in this scenario?
AB 2431 seems like common sense, especially since the police seem to have a habit of holding on to any guns that enter their grasp whether they have a legal right to confiscate or not.
There was also some good news:
The governor vetoed two gun measures by Sen. Jack Scott, D-Altadena: SB 1152 would have required stores that sell bullets to keep information about buyers; SB 1140 would have made it a crime to store a handgun where a child can easily find it.
Both SB-1152 and SB-1140 were pretty bad bills. I lobbied Arnold to veto both of them, so I'm pleased that he did, but I also lobbied him to veto AB-50 (passed by the infamous "ghost vote") and he has already signed that. I think he's trying to play both sides of the issue, and frankly, that's doomed to failure. But we only got one of three really horrible bills, which is better than three of three.
It looks like death was just the beginning for the never-introduced "Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003," otherwise known as "PATRIOT II." As the Associated Press, LA Times, and Washington Post reported last week, lawmakers are circulating draft legislation that breathes new life into some of the most threatening provisions in PATRIOT II. The draft legislation is meant to implement intelligence reforms as recommended by the 9/11 Commission Final Report, but goes far beyond those recommendations -- including giving federal agents the power to use secret foreign intelligence warrants and wiretap orders against people unconnected to any terrorist group or foreign nation. In other words, it proposes lowering the legal standards for surveillance so that the government has the same leeway to spy on people like you and me as it does those suspected of being international agents or terrorists.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation warns us that the government is trying to bring PATRIOT-II back from the dead... as predicted. They keep telling us that these things aren't coming back, and they keep coming back. It's like a bad zombie film, where the creatures just won't die.
There are a number of amendments, and a final vote is scheduled for July 11th
Some of the amendments are nasty; for example, exceptions for .22
caliber "assault weapons" were removed, and "assault weapons" purchased
before the ban must be registered within 90 days, and normal-capacity
magazines can only be possessed in conjunction with a registered
The Senate proposal is mixed news. It's not bad, but it's not perfect, and it has a fairly long list of exceptions:
I don't think those exceptions should be necessary under
the "public use" standard, but they may help avoid litigation.
I'm nervous about the exceptions for flood control projects, and the
community sports arenas exception is obviously wrongheaded. It's
also implemented as legislation, rather than a Constitutional
amendment, meaning that the legislature can ignore it with a simple
majority vote any time they feel like adding an exception.
Under Senate Bill 62, the taking of private
property through eminent domain lawsuits for economic development
purposes or to be turned over to a private developer mostly would be
Approved exceptions would include transportation projects such as
railroads, highways, ports and airports; water supply projects;
pipelines and utility projects; flood control projects; and community
sports arenas, such as the new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington.
Citing the exceptions as proof the measure would have wider impact
than predicted, foes criticized it as a legislative wolf in sheep's
The Texas House is working to put an amendment on the ballot instead. That may be a better approach.
The Democrats are arguing in favor of eminent domain, of course; it's
hard to believe that they really are this deaf to public opinion:
Whitmire and others warned that the wording
of the measure would prevent or impair such projects as San Antonio's
new Toyota plant and a hotel-parking-conference center proposed at the
University of Texas.
Yes, a new Toyota plant is a taking for economic
development. Toyota should buy the land. A new hotel at the
University of Texas is a taking for economic development, even if the
university will own the land, and the university should buy the land
(or preferably, get out of the hotel business! Sheesh).
The MPAA wants to make it illegal (in Ohio) to use a recording device if a movie is being shown. At first glance, this seems a reasonable thing -- they're trying to fight people who bring camcorders into movie theaters, right? But that's not all. The law doesn't just apply to camcorders in movie theaters, but anywhere a movie is being shown. Including, say, in a store selling both TVs and cameras. And it gets better. The law includes an arrest power for the owner of the establishment. But wait, there's more! The first offense is a misdemeanor; the next one is a felony.
You heard that right, folks. Over a year of hard time for turning on a camera where a movie is being shown.. whether or not you recorded some or all of the movie.
The way I see it, everyone has a right to record -- and to share, for that matter -- anything that their eyes and ears take in. People will pay for a better experience for their own eyeballs than the second-hand view from someone else's. Unless, that is, your product is overpriced in the first place. Like, say, most movies?
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