A Disarmed Populace . . .

. . . is a vulnerable populace.

Desperate Brits are resorting to shopping online for improvised weapons. They are buying Amazon.uk out of baseball bats, billy clubs, and folding shovels. Yesterday, billy clubs saw a 41,000%+ increase in sales, until the item was pulled. Shipping times on their most popular baseball bat (up over 36,000%) slipped to 4-6 weeks. Today, a folding shovel is their new Sports and Leisure top seller, with sales up 239,000% in the past 24 hours!

When seconds count, help is only minutes away.  And in England, that help is generally unarmed and more concerned about the “rights” of the rioters than the safety of their victims.

Published in: on August 10, 2011 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

The Brilliant Fast And Furious Operation

This, apparently, was the ATF’s plan for the Fast and Furious operation:

1.   Sell over a thousand weapons to Mexican Sinaloa drug cartel.

2.   Don’t follow the guns.

3.   Don’t follow the money.

4.   ???

5.   Take the entire Sinaloa cartel down!  Yeah baby!

It didn’t quite work out as planned.  Details here

The more I read about it, the more I am convinced that the whole plan was directed at using U.S.-bought  weapons in the hands of Mexican drug cartels as an excuse to agitate for more gun control in the U.S.

Via Ace of Spades.

Published in: on August 5, 2011 at 5:16 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s Not The Crime That Gets You. . . .

It’s the cover-up.  “[A] key ATF manager told Congress [today] he discussed the case with a White House National Security staffer as early as September 2010.”  Drip, drip, drip. 

Published in: on July 27, 2011 at 10:17 am  Leave a Comment  

“Fast and Furious” — Astonishingly Incompetent, Even For The Obama Administration

So much about operation “Fast and Furious” makes no sense to me. 

First of all, is this: What were they trying to accomplish?  I honestly have no idea what legitimate purpose the operation may have had.  Surely there was one, right?  But what was it?

More importantly, did they really need to walk 2,000 weapons across the border to accomplish that purpose, whatever it was?  Next up, a child molester sting operation involving unfettered access to actual schoolyards.

Worst of all, though, is this:

Their investigators say at least 122 firearms bought by suspected gun traffickers were found at Mexican crime scenes or caught going to the cartels.

Of the 2,000 weapons sold to the suspected gun traffickers, just over half remain unaccounted for, the report added. The Justice Department said that the ATF was not aware of the majority of those gun sales when they occurred.

Huh?  Wasn’t the ATF even paying attention to its own operation?

Oh, and so far, a dozen have been confiscated at crime scenes inside the United States.  Brilliant.

UPDATE: Wow.  Just wow.

In the latest chapter of the gunrunning scandal known as Operation Fast and Furious, federal officials won’t say how two suspects obtained more than 360 weapons despite criminal records that should have prevented them from buying even one gun.

Under current federal law, people with felony convictions are not permitted to buy weapons, and those with felony arrests are typically flagged while the FBI conducts a thorough background check.

It appears that the Feds may have just skipped the background checks. 

Increasingly, I have a feeling that this whole mess was primarily intended to create a pretext for arguing for more gun control laws rather than any legitimate law enforcement purpose.  Did Obama/Holder lie, and people die?

Published in: on July 26, 2011 at 9:59 am  Leave a Comment  

I Wonder If Alcohol May Have Been Involved

A guy in Pueblo, Colorado decided to play Russian roulette, with predictable results.  No one should play with guns.  Stupid, and almost certainly drunk, people really should not play with guns.   Overall, the story is kind of dog-bites-man, but this description caught my attention:

“[Witnesses] said the man was playing Russian roulette and the gun went off and killed him.”

As usual, the media attempts to blame guns for human-caused events.  In this instance, where causation is pretty damn clear, they use the passive voice to absolve everyone of responsibility and blame it on the gun.  It just “went off and killed him.” 

No, what happened is that an idiot pulled the trigger while the gun was pointed at his own head.  This was not an accident.  It was suicide by 1-in-6 chance.

Published in: on July 14, 2011 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  

They Keep Saying They Aren’t Anti-Gun, Yet I Don’t Quite Believe It

Because they keep doing stuff like this:

The Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011 would greatly expand the definition of those legally prohibited from owning firearms to include anyone who’s ever been arrested — even if never convicted or found guilty — for drug possession within a five-year period.

Let’s see.  The same party that has no problem with convicted felons voting wants to deprive people who have never been convicted of a crime of their Second Amendment right to bear arms.  Moreover, the change is, shall we say, somewhat over-inclusive if they were really interested in barring dangerous drug addicts from possessing weapons:

A little more than 1,600,000 people were arrested in 2009 on drug violations, according to statistic from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. About half of those people were arrested on marijuana charges, with simple drug possession — rather than sale or manufacturing — accounting for [90%] of those [marijuana possession] collars, according to Reason magazine.

Meanwhile, lawmakers in Connecticut are pursuing legislation that would confiscate ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds and would charge people who failed to turn them in with a felony.  For people as ignorant of firearms as Connecticut legislators, the vast majority of semi-automatic pistols have magazines that hold more than ten rounds. 

Query: Does anyone honestly think that a potential armed robber or murderer is going to hesitate one second to violate such a law and hold onto whatever capacity magazines they can get their hands on?  But your average law-abiding citizen who wants a pistol for self-defense will mostly likely meekly abide by it to avoid being charged with a criminal offense, and risk being outgunned by an armed intruder as a result. 

On what planet does this kind of legislation make sense?  But no, they aren’t anti-gun, you see.

Published in: on March 23, 2011 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Highly Suspect Waste Of Time

Ed Morrissey comments on a proposal hasty gun control proposal coming on the heels of the Tucson shootings;

Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, is planning to introduce legislation that would make it illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a government official, according to a person familiar with the congressman’s intentions.

King is chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. The proposed law follows the Saturday shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and a federal judge that left six dead, including the judge, and 14 wounded.

Morrissey notes some possible constitutional and effectiveness problems with such a proposal. 

I will add a few practical problems. 

How do you know when you are within 1,000 feet of a federal government official? 

Our federal court is downtown.  So are lots of lofts and condos, well within 1,000 feet of the federal courthouse.  Would it be e federal crime to have a gun at home if you lived in one of these places?  Would it be a federal crime to have a gun in your car when visiting downtown, or just driving through it? 

Hell, I have a neighbor who is a federal judge, and I own a pistol.  Would it be a crime for me to have that pistol in my home?

What if one is walking through a park (otherwise lawfully carrying a pistol) and, unbeknownst to you, a Senator is speaking in another part of the park?    What if you drive past the park, or drive by a few blocks away, and have a pistol in your car?

What if one is sitting on bench (otherwise lawfully carrying a pistol) and a federal judge in street clothes walks up to you?

And, of course, what makes anyone think that banning law-abiding persons from carrying firearms anywhere will stop the not law-abiding from carrying or using a firearm for purposes of shooting someone?

Does anyone think Rep. King’s proposed law would have done anything to deter or prevent Loughner or another nutcase from breaking the law and shooting at federal officials?  If so, how?

UPDATE: CLiff may at NRO Online appears to have details about the proposal that would minimize the problems with respect to accidential/incidental/residential violations above:

Peter King, the new chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg this morning proposed federal legislation that would prevent people from knowingly bringing guns within 1,000 feet of an event at which members of Congress and federal judges are appearing.

The last problem, however, remains unaddressed.  Honestly, does anyone think someone plotting murder would hesitate for a second to violate a carry law?  And if only law-abiding citizens would be affected by the law, what good is it?

Andy McCarthy says it better:

Fourth, and finally, the people who would be a threat to our political representatives, like the people who might be a threat to me, are not law-abiding Americans. They are enemy operatives, criminals, or the mentally disturbed. As to the former, once you have crossed the Rubicon of plotting murder, you are not going to be backed up by a law that criminalizes carrying a weapon within a certain distance of your target. For the latter, the laws don’t matter.

That is, Rep. King’s proposal penalizes only the law-abiding, in a way that affects their fundamental rights, without having any effect on the people he is actually worried about — assassins and the deranged. I don’t think Americans should have to tolerate a situation in which their rights are circumscribed, through no fault of their own, by society’s lowest common denominator.

Published in: on January 11, 2011 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Good Guys: 1 — Car-Jackers: 0

True story in Detroit.

A guy in Detroit stops at a gas station to fill up his Cadillac Escalade.  His girlfriend goes inside to get some snacks or something while her five-year-old daughter stays behind in the SUV.  A would-be carjacker then steps up and shoots the guy while he’s pumping gas, hoping to drive off in the Escalade and the little girl inside.  But the injured Escalade owner has other ideas. 

After being shot, the victim falls to the ground, and from there returns fire with his concealed-carry pistol.  When the smoke clears, the victim is on his feet, and his attacker lays dead.  The victim then has the presence of mind to secure the attacker’s weapon before stumbling into the gas station and calling for help on his cellphone.

The guy is a hero.  Guts, clear thinking, and a concealed pistol saved at least one life and possibly prevented a kidnapping or worse. 

Via Hell In A Handbasket.

Published in: on October 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

True Grit Remake — Get It Right Pilgrims, Don’t Make Me Ask You Twice

Just watched the trailer, courtesy of Hot Air.  True Grit is one of the best westerns of all time, starring John Wayne, arguably the best western actor of all time.  

As a fan of westerns — note the name of this blog — I applaud the effort.  And from what I saw in the trailer, I applaud the casting and the overall tone they appear to have set. 

Sadly, however, I have so little faith in Hollywood that I half expect it to end up being a propaganda piece against the personal right to keep and bear arms.  Here’s hoping they don’t screw it up.

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 11:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Obama Administration Blocks Arms Sale To Dangerous Radicals

By dangerous radicals, I mean ordinary United States citizens.  Which, of course, many in the Administration appear to believe are dangerous radicals bitterly clinging to guns and religion.

According to the Korea Times, the South Korean government is trying to sell about 100,000 M1 Garand and Carbine combat rifles that have been sitting in warehouses for the past 50 years to American gun collectors.  But the Obama Administration has so far stopped the plan, claiming that ambiguous “problems” could be caused by re-importing the rifles into the U.S., such as accidents or use by terrorists and gangs.  Seriously?

These rifles were made during WWII and the Korean War.  If you watched Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan, M1 Garands are mostly what you saw — the one that went ping! after a few shots and sent a metal clip flying up in the air.

They look like this:

Not exactly the kind of thing your typical gang-banger shoves into the waistband of his droopy jeans in case he gets dissed at the local nightclub.  They are collectors items. 

Moreover, Dave Kopel at the Volokh Conspiracy notes that these rifles are indisputably importable under current U.S. law, and “M1 rifles are the quintessential firearms of responsible citizenship.”  They are exactly the kind of rifle one would expect a citizen-militia to carry — cheap and reliable.

During the 2008 campaign, President Obama promised that he believes there is an individual right to bear arms guaranteed by the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution.  Keeping these collectors items out of the hands of responsible citizens is not consistent with that pledge.

Published in: on August 18, 2010 at 2:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Illegal Immigrant Thieves In JeffCo Not Facing Charges; Elderly Property Defender Charged With Attempted Murder

An 82-year old man in Wheat Ridge , CO was charged with “twelve felony counts, including four counts of attempted first degree murder,” for firing two shots at two men when they tried to run him over while stealing his flatbed trailer.

The kicker — the two thieves both have prior arrest records, are apparently in the country illegally, and face no charges in the incident. 

I cannot justify just shooting property thieves who are outside the home.  But if the guy had even the barest of reasons to believe his life was in danger, the shooting was justified.  He did not create the situation — the thieves did.   Maybe they were not trying to run him over, or maybe there is no chance that they could have hurt the owner even accidentally.  But the thieves created the risky situation, and the victim had the right to err on the side of self-defense in responding to it.  He had no obligation to act with restraint and assume the risk that he might not survive.

The “Jefferson County [District Attorney], Scott Storey, indicated he’ll take a closer look at his office’s decision to throw the book at the homeowner and hinted the charges could be reduced. He said the investigation continues into the confessed thieves.”  Hmmm.  There are two confessed thieves who are here illegally.  I am not sure what investigation is required.  Apparently, the DA had enough information to charge the victim; he should have plenty of cause to charge thieves who confessed to the crime.

Published in: on July 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

The NYT’s Take on McDonald

How is it possible that they miss the irony here?  In attacking the McDonald decision, the NYT editorial board has this to say:

The court’s members ignored the present-day reality of Chicago, where 258 public school students were shot last school year — 32 fatally.

Uh, how was that gun ban working out, Chicago?  Yet, according to the NYT, the gun ban was so ineffective that they really need a gun ban, therefore the Constitution cannot mean what it says?  OK. 

The editorial also does a nice job of showing how the NYT wants its preferred outcome to determine what the law should be, instead of the law dictating the outcome:

[T]the justices spent scores of pages in the decision analyzing which legal theory should bind the Second Amendment to the states. Should it be the due process clause of the 14th Amendment, or the amendment’s immunities clause? The argument was not completely settled because there was not a five-vote majority for either path.

The issue is not trivial; had the court backed the immunity-clause path championed by Justice Clarence Thomas, it might have had the beneficial effect of applying more aspects of the Bill of Rights to the states. That could make it easier to require that states, like the federal government, have unanimous jury verdicts in criminal trials, for example, or ban excessive fines.

To the extent that I understand it, as it is not an area of law that I have studied, I agree with Justice Thomas.  The early decisions neutering the Privileges and Immunities Clause make no sense, and Justice Thomas does a great job of demonstrating that the Privileges and Immunities Clause is where the Court should be looking in these cases.  But that is not because looking to the Privileges and Immunities Clause might have had any “beneficial effect.”  It may or may not, and reasonable minds can differ as to whether the effects to which the NYT points would be beneficial, whether in the abstract or in concrete manifestations. 

The point is, the question of whether constitutional rights (a/k/a privileges and immunities) are free from governmental intrusion is not supposed to turn on whether the effect is “beneficial” according to the NYT, 5+ Ivy League lawyers, or me.  As the McDonald majority held, the question is whether “the Framers and ratifiers of the Fourteenth Amendment counted the right to keep and bear arms among those fundamental rights necessary to our system of ordered liberty.”  The historical and textual analyses of the Heller and McDonald decisions make clear that they did.  If the NYT editors think the implications are not sufficiently “beneficial,” they should advance the cause of amending the Constitution, not ignoring it.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 1:16 pm  Leave a Comment  

More McDonald v. Chicago

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary Contentions notes a WaPo editorial regarding the McDonald decision in which the editors observe a new-found respect for the opinion of legislatures and ask the courts to “‘act with proper restraint and respect for the limits of the judicial role’” with respect for Second Amendment rights.  Her key observation: “Once you acknowledge that something is a fundamental right, the highest level of judicial scrutiny applies — whether it is abortion, free speech, or gun ownership.”

Ms. Rubin is quite correct.  McDonald creates a real problem for those on the left who are enamored of certain rights and want them to be sacrosanct and inviolate, while being less concerned about legislative encroachment on what they deem to be lesser rights.  If forced to support fairly draconian restrictions on the Second Amendment as reasonable, they will be undermining cases, particularly abortion cases, that have previously held that restrictions on rights deemed fundamental must be very strictly reviewed and narrowly tailored. 

The problem runs in both directions, of course.  But given the left’s decades of advancement of their chosen policies through the courts as fundamental rights, pushing the debate into somewhere in the middle is probably a pretty good trade-off for many on the right.

Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 11:45 am  Leave a Comment  

McDonald v. Chicago

In case you have not read it (justifiable, given the 200+ pages of opinions the case generated), the Supreme Court issued a decision holding that the Second Amendment applies equally to the states.  The prior decision striking down the DC gun ban applied only to federal restrictions.  The majority opinion is pretty straightforward. 

Justice Scalia’s separate opinion is what really caught my eye.  He does an excellent take-down of Justice Stevens’ dissent, including this brilliant response to Stevens’ attempt to cast his activist position as one of judicial restraint: 

 

The notion that the absence of a coherent theory of the Due Process Clause will somehow curtail judicial caprice is at war with reason.  Indeterminacy means opportunity for courts to impose whatever rule they like; it is the problem, not the solution.  The idea that interpretive pluralism would reduce courts’ ability to impose their will on the ignorant masses is not merely naïve, but absurd.  If there are no right answers, there are no wrong answers either.

 

The rest of the opinion simply eviscerates Stevens’ approach, which cannot be described as anything more principled than “the Court should allow restrictions that I like on rights that I don’t like (guns), and the Court should not allow restrictions that I don’t like on those rights that I do like (abortion).”

 I also enjoyed this part:

 JUSTICE STEVENS next suggests that the Second Amendment right is not fundamental because it is “different in kind” from other rights we have recognized. . . .  In one respect, of course, the right to keep and bear arms is different from some other rights we have held the Clause protects and he would recognize: It is deeply grounded in our nation’s history and tradition.
 I would add that it is also deeply grounded in the actual words of the freaking document.  You know, the part about “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  It is amazing that Justice Stevens has no qualms about implying all kinds of things that are not in the text but cannot just accept it when the Constitution actually says something in black and white.Stevens’ posturing is just more of people on the left trying to wrap themselves in the mantle of judicial restraint, while taking positions that cannot possibly be squared with it.

Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm  Leave a Comment