Court Should Make Cincinnati Document Claims or Drop Lawsuit
The National Rifle Assn. has steadily opposed the Brady law, which requires a background check of potential gun buyers. Now, with a friendly majority in Congress, the pro-gun lobby is close to significantly weakening this vital crime control tool. The House passed legislation before its holiday recess that would require the FBI to destroy gun buyer records within 24 hours of the sale of a weapon, wiping out a database that police use to solve gun crimes and rescind some gun sales. The Senate will take up the NRA-drafted proposal this month, and senators who regularly declare themselves to be tough on crime will have no choice but to oppose it.
The Brady Handgun Violence Protection Act, approved in 1993, requires that would-be handgun buyers pass a national computer background check before they can walk out of the store with their new weapons. Prospective purchasers are barred if they've been convicted of a felony or domestic violence, are "mentally defective" or are the subject of a restraining order or arrest warrant.
The law has worked well so far. Ninety-one percent of the time, the person gets an instant green light to buy the gun; last year, the checks disqualified 136,000 dangerous or unstable people. That part of the law would remain untouched. However, federal law requires the Justice Department to keep those electronic records for 90 days. FBI agents combing through this data sometimes discover that incomplete or incorrect information let someone who can't legally buy a handgun get one anyway. That's how the FBI retrieved more than 18,000 firearms since 1994 from ineligible buyers, according to federal studies. Law enforcement agencies also use this database to trace recently purchased weapons used in crimes.
It doesn't surprise me that the LA Times opposed any pro-gun measure. What surprises me is the ignorance revealed by this particular complaint. The particular law in question only applies to legal gun sales! What does that mean in this case? It means that if the application comes back DENY than the record can be kept. I'm not sure how delays would be handled, but presumably while the status is "delay" they can be kept, and when a final determination is made that can be acted on appropriately.
Does the anti-gun lobby really think that criminals get their guns by filling in legal and correct information on their background check forms?
Pentagon officials' intention to hold hundreds of prisoners captured in the Afghanistan war indefinitely at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo, Cuba, will soon become untenable for legal and humanitarian reasons.
Prisoners are being held without charges, and no military tribunals are scheduled. One Pentagon official has said that even if there are tribunals, a convict still might not be released at the end of a sentence if he were deemed too dangerous.
It is perfectly understandable that the U.S. military would hold prisoners of war with the intention of repatriating them at the end of conflict. But the Pentagon considers the war on terrorism open- ended and detainees as potential terrorists who be held for years without legal process, military or civilian.
The religous institutions? motion for summary judgment asserts that the Conceal & Carry Law was passed as part of a bill that includes more than one subject, in violation of the Minnesota Constitution. The Minnesota House of Representatives improperly attached the Conceal & Carry Law to a Department of Natural Resources bill already passed unanimously by the Minnesota Senate, says the motion.
?Our motion papers contend that the Minnesota House hijacked a non-controversial bill and used it as an unlawful vehicle for conceal-and-carry,? said David Lillehaug, one of the attorneys for the religious institutions. ?If the motion is granted, the Conceal & Carry Law will be null and void.?
The motion also alleges that the Conceal & Carry Law?s provisions regarding parking areas and tenant spaces are unconstitutional. The Law prevents owners of parking areas and tenant spaces from banning gun-carriers. The motion contends that this violates the rights of private property owners under both the Minnesota and the United States Constitutions.
I think this can be best classed as a technicality, and even if the suit succeeds, the legislature will likely return to the issue in short order to correct the problem. However, anyone living in Minnesota should be paying attention for opportunities to speak out on this issue; the fight isn't over yet.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation brings us the story: the recent parody of "This Land is My Land" has spawned a copyright-infringement suit. Legally, it's a tough case; the material in question is clearly a parody, but a parody of the election rather than the song; while the lyrics are changed, the tune isn't (so far as I can tell); and the whole song appears to be present, rather than snips about which "fair use" could be argued. Perhaps worst of all for their case, the creators put their material behind some advertising material, presumably in hopes of obtaining financial benefit.
It's a shame to stifle something that funny, though.
It is one of the benefits of being a politician. While handguns are banned for citizens in Washington, D.C., congressmen are allowed to have a gun for self-protection on the Capitol grounds. Well-known liberal politicians such as Senators Chuck Schumer and Ted Kennedy have armed bodyguards. The wives of politicians, such as Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle's wife, Linda, also have bodyguards. Undoubtedly, these politicians and their families have extremely good reasons for this protection, but many other Americans, especially those living with the high crime rates in D.C., also feel the same way.
Later today, the U.S. House of Representatives will finally vote on whether to overturn D.C.'s handgun ban.
I've commented before about the elitist mindset that is revealed by laws such as these. If police officers are an armed knighthood with special privileges to carry weapons, and politicians represent the nobility with even greater privileges and immunities, then the average citizen is left to play the roles of peasant and serf. Americans once rejected this idea. But gun control has brought it back in style.
In the United States, no one deserves special legal rights. Police should be permitted to carry firearms under the same laws that permit anyone else to carry firearms. Carrying a firearm for self defense should be legal, whether concealed or not, without any requirement to obtain a permit in order to do so. That's equal justice under the law. Everyone has the right to self-defense.
Even though this bill won't actually repeal the onerous gun control laws in the District of Columbia without a Senate companion bill, it's good that it passed. It tells us which representatives need to be replaced in November.
The city that bucked state law and sanctioned gay marriage is now taking aim at the constitutional right to bear arms by proposing a ban in San Francisco on private ownership of all handguns.
Just in case anyone forgot about it. Idiots.
"When you get guns out of people's homes and off the streets, it means that that gun is not going to be used in a shooting that kills someone, whether a murder or an accidental shooting," said Chris Daly, supervisor of San Francisco.
This is a very common idea in the language of gun control. It's technically correct -- if you destroy one specific gun, that one specific gun won't be used to shoot anyone. It won't be used for anything else, either, because it won't exist anymore. At least, not as a functioning gun. But it does absolutely nothing about all the other available weapons, including the other guns as well as knives, swords, crossbows, spears, rocks, sticks, etc.
More importantly, it doesn't assess the risk factor for a particular firearm. Allow me to illustrate with an example. Although it's difficult to measure rates of gun ownership precisely, conservative estimates put the number of guns in America appoximately equal to the number of people. If confiscating a single firearm could stop a murder or accidental shooting, we would all be dead. We're not all dead because each individual gun has only a very small risk factor of being used in a murder or involved in an accident.
How small is that risk factor? Absurdly small. If you assume about 300 million firearms in the United States, and about 30,000 firearms fatalities per year, then in any given year a firearm has an average chance of being involved in a fatal shooting of merely .01%. Not 1%; one one-hundredth of a percent, which works out to odds of 1 in 10,000.
That's a back-of-the-envelope calculation, which ignores a lot of what we know about crime and accidents -- such as one firearm being used in more than one fatal shooting. But it's making the assumptions in the most favorable manner for gun control, so we can take it as a reasonable lower bound on how many firearms you need to confiscate in order to prevent one fatal shooting.
Not very promising, is it? Especially if you weigh the lives you "save" that way against those you end by removing their only effective means of self-defense. Reliable estimates put the number of defensive gun uses at around 2.5 million per year. That's 8.3% of firearms involved in a self-defense act per year, meaning that you condemn someone to being a victim of crime 8 times for each 100 guns that you confiscate.
Assuming I've got my math right, that's 800 new crime victims for every life saved. Sound like a good trade to you? How many of those 800 crimes are murders? I don't know. (Murder victims don't respond to surveys). But I think "too many" would be an entirely adequate answer.
In the interim, the state of Maine began its movement towards not only banning ownership and manufacture of .50 caliber rifles, but of owning .50 caliber ammunition as well. Even reloading your own casings is prohibited! The proposal calls for confiscation without compensation. Believe it or not, this piece of legislation is actually WORSE than California and Illinois.If you're a Maine resident, please contact your legislators and tell them you oppose banning guns and ammunition, including the .50 rifles.
Their bill, LD-1579, is in the Committee on Criminal Justice and Public Safety. If you're from Maine, please contact your legislators IMMEDIATELY to prevent this piece of legislation from making you into a criminal overnight.
Capitol Hill -- After reaffirming the Second Amendment's prohibition against government encroachment on the rights of individual firearms owners last week, the White House is now calling for more study into the possibility of a nationwide so-called "ballistic fingerprinting" system that would implement de facto registration of gun owners.
The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was one of the first national gun control advocacy groups to call for so-called "ballistic fingerprinting," creating a database of sample bullets and shell casings from otherwise unused, new firearms.
California Sen. Dianne Feinstein says the Department of Defense should be prevented from moving any further with its so-called "Total Information Awareness" (TIA) program until Congress has specifically authorized it.
She says it could be used to gather vast amounts of personal information on U.S. citizens.
"If the Total Information Awareness program is not developed in a carefully prescribed manner, with close oversight from Congress, it could lead to an Orwellian America, where a person's every move is tracked by the government," Ms. Feinstein says. "I find this deeply disturbing."
Strangely enough, Feinstein is right on this one. Of course, she did vote for the USA PATRIOT act, which makes her rather a hypocrit on the privacy issue. She's still not worth voting for, but an alliance on the issue of the TIA program might be worthwhile -- and if she finds herself on the same side as the gun lobby, she might just rethink some of her positions.
Where does the federal government get its Constitutional authority to enact laws such as the National Firearms Act, which has been codified to Chapter 44 of Title 18 of the United States Code? Upon whom are such laws operative, and where? Since a careful reading of the Constitution reveals that the federal government has no specifically delegated authority to regulate firearms, from where does the federal government's authority to regulate firearms come?
This is a somewhat nit-picking analysis of one of the major federal firearm laws in the US. Not being a lawyer and not having made an in-depth study of the issue myself, I can't say whether he's right or he's wrong. If you buy the enumerated powers doctrine, then it's at least a plausible argument. I will say this, though: I doubt any trial judge would buy an argument based on this concept. One or two levels up and you might get lucky, if the case is very clearcut and technical in nature.
Whether he's right or not (and make no mistake: I think he should be right!), as a practical matter the courts simply don't take this view.Please note that this is not intended as legal advice.
The Justice Department properly withheld the names and other details about hundreds of foreigners detained in the months after the Sept. 11 attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday. The powerful decision was deferential to the Bush administration's arguments over continued threats to America from terrorists.
Secret courts, secret evidence, secret prisoners... what is this country coming to?
Even after Bin Ladin's departure from the area, CIA officers hoped he might return, seeing the camp as a magnet that could draw him for as long as it was still set up. The military maintained readiness for another strike opportunity. On March 7, 1999, Clarke called a UAE official to express his concerns about possible associations between Emirati officials and Bin Ladin. Clarke later wrote in a memorandum of this conversation that the call had been approved at an interagency meeting and cleared with the CIA. When the former Bin Ladin unit chief found out about Clarke's call, he questioned CIA officials, who denied having given such a clearance. Imagery confirmed that less than a week after Clarke's phone call the camp was hurriedly dismantled, and the site was deserted. CIA officers, including Deputy Director for Operations Pavitt, were irate. 'Mike' (the CIA's Bin Ladin unit chief) thought the dismantling of the camp erased a possible site for targeting Bin Ladin.
The above is a quote from the 9-11 commission report. Seems fairly damning to me, especially when Clarke is busy criticizing the current administration for what he characterizes as mistakes.
The Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership have caught the Beauro of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives on video trying to lock someone up because their firearm was malfunctioning. Based on an anonymous tip that someone was constructing automatic firearms, they seized an old, worn rifle from someone's inventory and test-fired it. The rifle was worn enough to double-fire occasionally, so they indicted him.
But then a firearms manufacturer with expert knowledge stepped in, took apart the firearm, and demonstrated that it was a semi-automatic firearm with all appropriate semi-automatic parts. The indictment was dropped because prosecutors were honest enough not to charge someone with a felony because his firearm was worn.
But the BATFE hadn't even bothered to take apart the gun to find out.
This could happen to anyone the BATFE decides to target, folks.